- Christians Follow the Way of Jesus
- Crucified and Risen from the Dead
- Our knowledge of the early Christians comes from the
description of their community in the Book of Acts, and the letters to
the early congregations, most of which were written by Paul.
- Paul's letters are clearly replies to questions raised
by the congregations in Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Galatia, Rome, Thessolonica,
and Colossae. Unfortunately we do not have their letters to him, which
might cast more light on how the members of those congregations lived out
- The early Christians followed what they called The Way
of Jesus Christ. They listened to Jesus at the ascension
and took their belief in him to the end of the known world,
which at that time was Rome.
- The Romans not only honored their emperors as rulers,
but they also worshiped them as gods. Worshiping the One God
only was a central part of the lives of the early Christians, and the Romans
were confused by the Christians' behavior.
- Some of the Roman rulers persecuted the early Christians
brutally, but others, like Herod Agrippa II speaking
to Paul in Acts 26, were bemused.
- Pliny the Younger, the Roman proconsul of Bithynia and
Pontus in the years 111 - 112, describes the Christians like this:
- They were in the habit of meeting
on a certain fixed day before sunrise and reciting an antiphonal hymn to
Christ as God, and binding themselves with an oath - not to commit any
crime, but to abstain from all acts of theft, robbery, and adultery, from
breaches of faith, from denying a trust when called upon to honor it. After
this, they went on, it was their custom to separate, and then meet again
to partake of food, but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.
- Pliny continues in deeper confusion:
- Nor has this contagious superstition spread through
the cities only, but also through the villages and the countryside.
- The early Christians believed that their community was
built by the Holy Spirit. They won converts by
their kindness and compassion for one another. People wanted to live the
same way the Christians did. Can we say the same about ourselves, the modern
- In later times Christians became know for their health
and longevity, because they took care of their sick during plagues and
epidemics, while the pagan peoples left their friends and families to die
because they were afraid of catching their diseases. The first hospitals
for both physically and mentally ill people were established by Christians.
- Antiphonal hymns are sung in call and response form -
have your class sing Listen, God Is Calling (With One Voice
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