The Early Christian Community in ContextPosted by: admin | Posted on: October 12, 2019
The light of Christ was the beginning of Christianity, but the history of the Christian Church began with the resurrection of Jesus and a time forty days later with the first sermon given by Peter. His sermon and the whole-hearted commitment of the disciples at Pentecost illustrate the power of Jesus’ death and the gifts that Jesus Christ gave to them for humanity’s sake. The Christian community in the first several centuries survived as a sect within the Roman empire, until early in the 4th century and Emperor Constantine will the Christian community be altered into a Christian empire.
The early Christian community functioned as a sect, much like Judaism during the time of Jesus. Sects and counter-cultures generally defy the broader world, they are moralizing and a sect is exclusivistic. The Christian community in the first three centuries is defined by these characteristics.
Early Christianity denied many of the tenants of the pagan Roman world. The Romans viewed Christians as atheists because Christians denied traditional and imperial worship. Christian monotheism clashed with the culture’s polytheism. An implication of Christian religiosity was pacifism, since Christians were members of the Kingdom and dwelled on earth temporarily they did not take texto-para-jovens-cristaos part in warfare. Christians, as well, were slandered by some Romans for participating in incestuous behavior and practicing cannibalism. It was written that members of the Christian community were involved in incest during their evening meals, a skewed version of Christians being literally brothers and sisters. They were labeled as cannibals because of their Eucharistic beliefs. Romans also viewed Christians as ignorant and foolish for their missionary work to the poor and those of low status in society.
The Christian community was exclusivistic and moralistic. A Christian had to be baptized to enter the faith, they had to agree to enter the community and put himself or herself under the jurisdiction of the Church. The Sacrament of Initiation, originally combined baptism, Eucharist and confirmation, was a long and intensive process. The function of baptism was purification, conversion and to renew the human through the power of the Spirit. In preparation for baptism, one’s sins needed to be repented, full observation of the commandments and, one had to receive and proclaim the good news of Christ.