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  1. #1
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    Christianity: Has it changed?

    It is often claimed by a few people on this site that Christianity in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Century, is much different than the Christianity of today. Yet, for all these claimed difference, the people who make this claim never give any examples. For those that feel Christianity was different in it's beginnings, please give examples of how it was different. It would also be helpful if you could give quotes from specific people who were Christians, or refer us to early Christian texts that give us a much different picture of Christainity than it is today...any evidence what-so-ever would be helpful...
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  2. #2
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Below are some quotes by early Church leaders from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Centuries...

    Clement was one of the first Church father/leaders, he was teaching in the 1st Century, let's see what he had to say about the Christian faith and how it compares with todays teachings:

    Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us - Clement

    Wow. This sounds exactly like something you would hear in a sermon today.

    Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. – Clement

    Yup! Jesus being raised from the dead, Christianity still teaches that!

    This is the way, beloved, in which we find our Saviour, even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity – Clement

    Jesus being our Saviour and 'high prist', still sounds like modern Christianity to me.


    “Remember the words of Jesus our Lord: for He said, "Woe unto that man; it were good for him if he hadnot been born, rather than that at he should offend one of Mine elect. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about him, and be cast into the sea, than that he should pervert one of Mine elect" - Clement (46:8)

    “…being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake, teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For thus He spoke: "Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you ; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you." – Clement

    More classic teachings of Christ, the last one gives us portions of Jesus sermon on the mount, I hear this in sermons today as well!

    Now that we have a 1st Century Church father's thoughts on Jesus and Christianity, let's move to the second century, with Justin Martyr:


    ”when a star rose in heaven at the time of his [Jesus'] birth, as is recorded in the Memoirs of his apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognizing the sign by this, came and worshipped him” – Justin Martyr

    Hmmmm...Magi following a star coming to worship Jesus...I hear sermons similar to this around Christmas time.

    “...in the Memoirs [Gospels] which, as I have said, were drawn up by the apostles and their followers, [it is recorded] that sweat fell like drops of blood while he [Jesus] was praying, and saying, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass'.” – Justin Martyr


    This is what happened to Jesus in the garden of gethsemane shortly before his crucifixion...nothing different than modern Christianity here.

    ”Moreover also among us a man named John, one of the apostles of Christ, prophesied in a revelation made to him that those who have believed on our Christ will spend a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that hereafter the general and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all will likewise take place” – Justin Martyr


    This same teaching (whom he is quoting from) can be found in the book of Revelation..nothing changed here.

    Finally, let us move to the end of the second century though the middle of the 3rd Century with Origen:


    The Apostle (St. Paul) declares what is written about Adam and Eve thus: This is a great mystery in Christ and in the Church ; He so loved her that He gave Himself for her, while she was yet undutiful, even as he says: When as yet we were ungodly according to the time, Christ died for us; and again: When as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us - Origen


    Chrit dying for us while 'we were still sinners', again, no change here, you will hear this is many modern sermons.

    Then again: Christ Jesus, He who came to earth, was begotten of the Father before every created thing. And after He had ministered to the Father in the foundation of all things, for "all things were made through Him" , in these last times He emptied Himself and was made Man, was made flesh, although He was God; and being made man, He still remained what He was, namely, God. He took to Himself a body like our body, differing in this alone, that it was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit. And this Jesus Christ was born and suffered in truth and not merely in appearance, and truly died our common death. Moreover He truly rose from the dead, and after the resurrection... He was then taken up into heaven. - Origen

    More of the same, we have Jesus, coming to earth who was 'begotten' of the Father, gave himself a body like our own, was born of a virgin and suffered and died and rose again resurrected...absolutely nothing different than modern Christianity here.

    The Son of God, through whom all things were created was named Jesus Christ and the Son of man. For the Son of God also is said to have died-in reference, namely, to that nature which could admit of death; and He is called the Son of man, who is announced as about to come in the glory of God the Father, with the holy angels. And for this reason, throughout the whole of Scripture, not only is the divine nature spoken of in human words, but the human nature is adored by appellations of divine dignity. - Origen

    More of the same. See above. There is absolutely nothing different in the teachings of Christianity from it's beginnings until now. For those that claim otherwise, please show us some evidence.
    Last edited by nanderson; March 15th, 2006 at 10:13 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Change has come about..or there wouldn't be numerous branches of Christianity. If it was all the same, with no change, there would be one branch with the same belief. How about the Salem Witch Trials, or Galileo? Do you think those same things would happen in our current day society? Never. That's because religion has changed and people realize that killing others, because they believe in something else, is wrong.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  4. #4
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    Change has come about..or there wouldn't be numerous branches of Christianity.
    I'm talking about major changes to the central tenets of Christianity. Also, there has always been differences in interpretation in Christianity, you have just cited instances where these differences led people to split...Christianity did not change though...

    How about the Salem Witch Trials, or Galileo? Do you think those same things would happen in our current day society? Never. That's because religion has changed and people realize that killing others, because they believe in something else, is wrong.
    This is not at all what I am talking about. How has the Christian doctrine changed? You have given examples of evil done in the name of religion/Christianity, which still happens today(abortion clinic bombers etc...), but the teachings and tenets have remained the same.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    How about a discussion of how early Roman taxes influenced the behavior of early Christians?

    http://www.torahresource.com/English...20Judaicus.pdf

    I'd like to copy & past parts of it, but I'm not able to in my browser. To sum up, it basically talks about a tax the Romans put on Jews for simply being Jewish, how the Romans defined a Jew, and how that definition caused early Christians to distance themselves from Judaism. Worth reading.

  6. #6
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Is this about the behavior of some Christians? Or is this about how Christianity as a religion is different NOW than it used to be? *hint* (read op).

    People here have claimed that it has changed...and Christianity today is not the Christianity of the past. Very well, how so? Don't just claim it, support it.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    To sum up, it basically talks about a tax the Romans put on Jews for simply being Jewish, how the Romans defined a Jew, and how that definition caused early Christians to distance themselves from Judaism. Worth reading.

    I just read almost the whole thing, I skimmed some parts in the middle. However, this barely addresses the issue at hand. If the article proved what it set out to prove, it might be a little more relevant, but unfortunately, it doesn't.

    For example, they quote Justin as saying:
    "But if, Trypho, I continue, some of your race, who say they believe in this Christ, compel those Gentiles who believe in this Christ to live in all respects to the law given by Moses, or choose not to associate so intimately with them, I, in like manner do not approve of them. But I believe that even those who have been persuaded by them to observe the legal dispensation along with their confession with God in Christ, shall probably be saved."


    What does this prove? Nothing has changed. He is simply saying that he believes that even those who still follow the OT laws but believe in Jesus will probably be saved. This is debateable, but no Christian doctrine has been changed. The entire article mainly talks about how Christians quit quoting the Torah as much...O.K. but no Christian doctrine changed, which is what this thread is about. The author then tried to say that it was because of this tax that Christians quit quoting from the Torah extensively, but guess what? Correlation does not equal causation. What makes this worse, is that this is simply false, Justin himself quoted extensively from the OT, ESPECIALLY the Torah:

    In keeping with the difference of his purpose, Justin has other preferences. He quotes the Pentateuch (FYI, the Pentateuch is just another name for the Torah) often and liberally, especially Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy; but he quotes still more frequently and at greater length the Psalms and the Books of Prophecy -- above all, Isaias. Source

    Read some of Justin's writing, or other Church fathers for that matter, they definately quote extensively from the OT...especially the Torah.

    As Apok said though, this does not address the topic at hand. Even if everthing in that article was true (which it's not) that would only tell us that some CHristians quit quoting the Torah. I am asking if CHristianity as a religion has changed, what beliefs changed etc...the article does not address that, it only addressed the behavior of some CHrisians, not how Christian doctrine has changed.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Is this about the behavior of some Christians? Or is this about how Christianity as a religion is different NOW than it used to be? *hint* (read op).
    It's about how Christianity changed. Stating that following the Torah = doutful that you'll be saved doesn't sound like Christian behavior to me. Take a look at page 6 of the pdf file. I'd paste it in here, but for some reason I'm not able to.

    People here have claimed that it has changed...and Christianity today is not the Christianity of the past. Very well, how so? Don't just claim it, support it.
    I guess I misread Nan's claim and thought I'd post how Christianity changed in the first century.




    My prediction for this thread: Non-Christians will post instances of how Christian doctrine has been used to justify bad things through history and Christians will counter that the words in the books haven't changed. Should things go that way, then I'd call the Christian side intellectually dishonest as I further predict the "they weren't really Christian" defense.

  9. #9
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Didn't we just have a thread arguing wether or not Christianity favored democracy over monarchy or vice versa?

    Interpretations keep changing.

  10. #10
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanderson
    You have given examples of evil done in the name of religion/Christianity
    Actually, I thought heresy was punishable by death in the Christian religion (regardless that the information comes from the OT, you follow the part where it explains the punishments of heresy). If that's the case and people aren't killed for heresy...that's changing Christianity to suit the current day society, regardless if the text is removed.

    Here is a site, and it looks like Christian's are pissed about all the editing done to the bible.

    http://www.wrongbible.com/2006/01/post.html

    What's to say that people didn't do friendly editing to the bible in your house.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  11. #11
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhav
    My prediction for this thread: Non-Christians will post instances of how Christian doctrine has been used to justify bad things through history and Christians will counter that the words in the books haven't changed. Should things go that way, then I'd call the Christian side intellectually dishonest as I further predict the "they weren't really Christian" defense.
    Zhav, please read the OP. My goodness. Has bad been done in the name of Christianity using scripture, yes, bad has been done in the name of Christianity in the 1st Century as well as the 21st Century both using scripture...however, the scripture hasn't changed, it is the same scripture just a different interpretation (which is what this thread is about). This thread is not about whether bad has been done in the name of Christianity or whether people are 'true Christians' are not and I'm surprised that you are this confused.
    This thread is about whether or not Christain doctrine itself has changed...bad being done in the name of Christianity and 'true CHristians' are completely off-topic...please stay on topic. Please tell me how Christians in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd centuries believed differently than Christians today.
    Last edited by nanderson; March 15th, 2006 at 01:53 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    Actually, I thought heresy was punishable by death in the Christian religion (regardless that the information comes from the OT, you follow the part where it explains the punishments of heresy). If that's the case and people aren't killed for heresy...that's changing Christianity to suit the current day society, regardless if the text is removed.
    The change of those standards occurred with Christ - not in the 1st-3rd centuries. Christ made it fairly clear (read Matthew 6:43-48, John 15:9-27) that the church is not to punish those who disagree, but rather, 'speak the truth in love'.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    Here is a site, and it looks like Christian's are pissed about all the editing done to the bible.

    http://www.wrongbible.com/2006/01/post.html

    What's to say that people didn't do friendly editing to the bible in your house.
    Seems off topic...and what he is talking about is somewhat regarding editing, it iss primarily the result of an attempt to translate accurately the original text.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Clement was an adherent of the fledgeling gentile church started by Paul but considered a heresy by the Jewish Notzrim off of whose faith traditions Paul rt al. leveraged. Justin Martyr was a storefront evangelist in the tradition of Pagan seers, and his thinking was notably divergent from the more mainstream christian establishment of the time.

    Read Papias or Polycarp or Athenagouras or even Jerome to get a better picture of how Gentiles were reconciling their beliefs with the pure Jahwehism of the original tradition.

    look at http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=402

    A nice christian source that is rather candid about the heretical origin of what is now the root of modern christianity.
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdPersonPlural
    Clement was an adherent of the fledgeling gentile church started by Paul but considered a heresy by the Jewish Notzrim off of whose faith traditions Paul rt al. leveraged. Justin Martyr was a storefront evangelist in the tradition of Pagan seers, and his thinking was notably divergent from the more mainstream christian establishment of the time.
    Examples 3PP, the challenge was to give examples. Rather than just stating "Justin Martyr was divergent from the mainstream christian thinking of the time", please give me examples (whether it be quotes or full texts) of Christians of that day (who were mainstream) who believed differently than Christians today. You have done EXACTLY what I described in my OP, made a claim with no support.

    If Clement and Martyr were radicals, then PROVE IT and please give examples of mainstream Christian teachings and thought that is different than the Christian teachings of today. This thread was made after I read several posts of yours stating that 1st Century Christians would be 'appalled' at modern Christian worship of Jesus or just modern Christian teachings in general. SUPPORT your claim.



    A nice christian source that is rather candid about the heretical origin of what is now the root of modern christianity.
    Please give examples of how 1st Century Christianity is different than modern Christianity. You are failing to do this. All you link does is explain some errors made by early church fathers...it does not say that Christianity was different in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Centuries...which is what this thread is about.
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by oomps
    Seems off topic...and what he is talking about is somewhat regarding editing, it iss primarily the result of an attempt to translate accurately the original text
    Translation is very important to determine if the doctrine has changed from the 1-3 century. Thou shall not murder, has been translated as thou shall not kill, and there is a huge difference between the two. That issue came about because of a mucky translation.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  16. #16
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Alas, nan, I haven't got the time this week to do the research needed to be convincing, let alone 'Prove' something that is not scientific in nature.

    Let's state at the beginning. Before Paul all Christians were Jews, not christians. Jews with some apocalyptic expectations, but Temple goin' Torah believin' Jews nonetheless.

    Between Paul and Marcion, the Jesus movement was still a predominantly Jewish, but the Gentile church that Paul started had departed from the Jewish law that Jesus advocated and started on it's path to Roman Christianity.

    To Clement Jesus just "is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the [ordinary] form of men."

    Do you agree with that? Today Jesus is well and truly incarnate. He got plenty of form and glory. No deficiencies.

    And wash your mouth out with soap for having the arrogance to declare that people's understanding of Jesus was 'in error' in the first century, but your comprehension 2000 years later is better. You don't even have enough reliable and uninterpolated data to prove he even existed as the gentile 'Christ', yet if he lived when the gospels claim he did, the fellows who you so blithely dismiss as being 'in error' probably KNEW the guy. How is it again that they're wrong about him and you're right?
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  17. #17
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdPersonPlural
    Alas, nan, I haven't got the time this week to do the research needed to be convincing, let alone 'Prove' something that is not scientific in nature.
    Well, until you do show me some evidence that the 1st Century Christian church was different than today, this claim will automatically be dismissed as no evidence has been shown for it thus far.

    To Clement Jesus just "is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the [ordinary] form of men."

    Do you agree with that? Today Jesus is well and truly incarnate. He got plenty of form and glory. No deficiencies.
    Clement was refering to Isaiah 53:2-3:

    He had no form or comeliness that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not"

    Which is a prophecy of what the Messiah would look like. Basically it is just saying that there is nothing 'extraordinary' about his appearance (he had no form THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT HIM)...not that he didn't have any form at all (in that very quote of Clements you posted he says "but His form was without eminence"...you can't have a form without eminence if you don't have a form at all). And if you read the rest of the Clement quotes, you will note that he did indeed believe in an incarnate Christ (how he mentions Jesus coming to earth from God etc...)

    And wash your mouth out with soap for having the arrogance to declare that people's understanding of Jesus was 'in error' in the first century, but your comprehension 2000 years later is better.
    lol. Calm down 3PP. I was just referring to the article YOU linked me too, that is what the article said. And if you read the article, you will realize that it said they were 'in error' in reference to interpreting a text based on the culture of the day as opposed to what the text actually says (which still happens today and doesn't address the issue of what beliefs changed).

    Now, the challenge still stands and you have yet to meet it, please stay on topic and tell me how the beliefs of 1st, 2nd or 3rd Century Christians are different than today...and provide examples, merely saying "their beliefs were different" isn't going to cut it.
    Last edited by nanderson; March 15th, 2006 at 08:00 PM.
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    Translation is very important to determine if the doctrine has changed from the 1-3 century. Thou shall not murder, has been translated as thou shall not kill, and there is a huge difference between the two. That issue came about because of a mucky translation.
    The goal of translation is to best represent the text. It is fairly well accepted that the most literal translation of the Greek New Testament is either the New American Standard Bible, the NKJV, or the English Standard Version... these are accurate not b/c they 'best word' the Christian doctrines, but because they are the most scholarly and best represent the actual text. I'm not going to defend lame translations, and I still fail to see the connection between bad translators and jumping to the conclusion that the fundamentals of the Christian faith have changed.

    The reality is that the fundamentals are based on the (unchanging) original Greek text.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oomps
    I still fail to see the connection between bad translators and jumping to the conclusion that the fundamentals of the Christian faith have changed
    Because a single word can change the entire meaning of the passage.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  20. #20
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    Re: Christianity: Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    Because a single word can change the entire meaning of the passage.
    Jamie, what did 1st Century Christians believe that modern Christians do not any longer believe or what do they not believe that we DO believe...THAT is what we are discussing.
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