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Getting Down To The Root...


Kat22
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I am a Christian who has been following another post for quite a while. I had started by posting my comments about what I thought was right and, after hearing so many sides, realized I didn't know as much as I thought I did. So, as I mentioned to another poster, I needed to sit down, shut up and listen to their claims. Though I still believe very firmly in my faith, my intention has changed from one of ministry to one of learning. For, even if my faith is true, how can I minister if I know so little about the other views?

 

And so, because I am not looking for a debate as much as an exchange of information for the sake of learning, I start this topic in the Lion's Den. My goal is to invite all those who have factual information which leads them down their current belief. This means no speculation, no IMOs and no mocking or attacks on anyone’s character or beliefs (including using fake titles for names). Let's stick to real names as not to offend. If you cannot back up your conclusion with fact based data, or if you want to say something just because you are irritated, please do not post.

 

I appreciate everyone's effort to find truth and want to thank everyone in advance for helping all of us get down to the root of Christianity.

 

I will start with a question:

 

If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change into it's current from?

 

Again, I ask for all answers to be logically based and backed by documentation (i.e., "These documents give a good indication that the early Christians believed..."). Remember that the goal is to exchange information, not prove each other wrong.

 

May God's truth (and not our own) bless this topic,

Kat22

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu
If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change into it's current from?

 

It currently has many forms. Ask a better question.

 

May God's truth (and not our own) bless this topic,

 

You'll fair far better around here if you drop this kind of rhetoric.

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The kind of reply you're looking for takes a lot of time and effort to put together, so I won't be adding anything, but I admire your openess. :)

 

You might try checking out books from the library, Ehrman is a good author to look up, as is Crossan.

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If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change into it's current from?

 

It currently has many forms. Ask a better question.

 

Better question? ok. If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change from non-Trinitarian to Trinitarian?

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My first response to opening statement.

 

Philo from Alexandria (20 BCE-40 CE), Jewish philosopher, taught to read the Torah allegorically instead of literal, and established the idea of "Logos" the Word of God which was later used in Gospel of John.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo#Attitud...literal_meaning

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo%27s_Works

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo%27s_view_of_God

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/

 

He was by some church fathers in the 2nd-3rd century to have been the "first christian".

Source: http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/philo.php

 

He was most influential on the first Christians.

To Philo, the stories of the Pentatuch were allegorical, in keeping with the secular nature of history as Aristotle had taught. So the great myths of Genesis and Exodus should not be taken literally. What they had to tell us was hidden in inner meaning; and the spirit of intuitive apprehension was the way of knowing that meaning.

 

It was a neat theological trick, but none of this made any sense to the Semitic Jews. But to the enthusiastically Hellenized Romans of the era, searching as they were for a highly moralistic philosophy of living, and attracted as they were to Judaism for that very reason, it made a great deal of sense. They didn't have to have a literally jealous, blatant, thundering God, but one of unknowable subtlety would do quite nicely. Just give us a plan for living, they seemed to be saying, and we'll forget about thundering avengers. And so Jewish schools of thought based on Philo's interpretations of the scriptures began to spring up all around the Mediterranean basin. This dichotomy between the ethnic Jews and the converts to Philo's school of Judaism was to have important consequences for development of Christianity a couple of centuries later.

Source: http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm

 

His works was saved because of the Christians. Probably because of verses like these:

"I have heard also an oracle from the lips of one of the disciples of Moses which runs thus: Behold a man whose name is the rising [shoot], strangest of titles, surely, if you suppose that a being composed of soul and body is here described. But if you suppose that it is that Incorporeal One, who differs not a whit from the divine image, you will agree that the name 'rising' assigned to him quite truly describes him. For that man is the eldest son, whom the Father of all raised up, and elsewhere calls him his first-born, and indeed the Son thus begotten followed the ways of his Father, and shaped the different kinds, looking to the archetypal patterns which that Father supplied."

- Philo, De confusione linguarum 4:45

Notice that Philo is making a point that this "shoot" is expected to be incorporeal (lacking material form, immaterial). And this quote could just have been a quote from Paul or in the Gospels, but was written before the Gospels, before Pauls letters, and most likely before or during the time of the supposed Jesus.

 

So Philo talked about "Jesus" at the same time as "Jesus", but gave him incorporeal form, and only allegorical meaning, and the Christians loved his writings.

 

So a question back is, when did Christians deem in necessary to interpret the Bible literally when one of the most important early philosopher (or even first philosopher?) to Christianity saw it the other way? I'll see if I can answer that tonight or tomorrow.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu
Better question? ok. If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change from non-Trinitarian to Trinitarian?

 

Have you tried researching these questions on your own? Google is all you need.

 

Wiki Trinity

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Better question? ok. If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change from non-Trinitarian to Trinitarian?

 

Have you tried researching these questions on your own? Google is all you need.

 

Wiki Trinity

 

I am currently involved in a very in depth research project regarding the matter of Christ and the NT. However, I also know that I may not see all the information that is out there and want to involve others in case they have information I have not looked at yet. Like Hansolo's comment on Philo. I did not know about him. But, Philo's veiw makes sense. Otherwise we would ahve to say that Christ is a loaf of bread (I"I am the bread of life") and a big slab of wodd with hinges ("I am the door") :lmao:

 

Anyway, this discussion is for those who wish to share what they have learned.

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Did my post answer anything? Or do you want more detailed? I'm in the middle of a lot of stuff, so I just threw it together.

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If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change into it's current from?

Your question assumes that there was ever something called the "Christian faith" that existed as a single entity. If this ever was the case (and I mean "if") it was for so brief a period it might as well have never even occured. The general undertone of the NT is watch out for fake versions of our religion so warnings against competing sects is built right into the religion itself. So differences aren't something that come over time but are evident in the earliest known versions. In the accepted versions known today Paul had issues against the Jerusalem church. It doesn't matter what these reasons were it is simply the matter that differences existed even in the accepted form that there wasn't harmony since day one.

 

It likely goes back further than that though.

 

Here's a starting point:

 

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/

 

Be sure to read the Deuterocanon and Pseudepigrapha.

 

When you're done there look at:

 

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

 

Since this is a lot of reading try to get in at least a decent sample from from each something like the Life of Adam and Eve, I Enoch, the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache, and the Apocolypse of Peter.

 

Your goal is to get yourself into the mindset of the people of the late 1st century BCE/1st CE. Keep in mind there was no official set of scripture that they had to limit themselves to like people do today (ie. don't read outside the bible or else). So people were influenced by a wide variety of texts. Early sects fought over which of these texts were legit and later destroyed those that didn't agree with their particular views. However, you should read these texts before moving onto this part of the discussion because we know which texts and views won out so it's important to go back and see, as much as possible, what views existed prior to this purging.

 

Beyond this there's a lot to learn. A lot of homework to do. I've been learning for the last year and I'm still learning and it's not easy. There isn't one point in time or one thing that you can point to and say "Aha! That's it!" It just doesn't work that way (so you'll get more than one opinion to that effect I'm sure). I originally started learning contradictions in the bible just to piss someone off and I've ended up reading volumes and volumes about history, geology, mythology, theology and related topics (and I would still consider myself a novice). What you're asking isn't as simple as it sounds if you're truly serious.

 

However, if you simply want to bolster what you think you already know, or your "faith," then just go to some apologetics websites and save us all some time and effort. They have all the answers you want. Because we will argue with you and we will call names and all sorts of other shit (especially here in the Lion's Den) if it looks like you're jerking us around. Anyhow, I don't know how helpful I can be but try the websites I gave you. They have good texts and you really do need to know what people really did read back then.

 

mwc

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Did my post answer anything? Or do you want more detailed? I'm in the middle of a lot of stuff, so I just threw it together.

 

Han,

 

You're awesome! Thanks for giving me such a great start :grin:

 

I had not heard about Philo and the links are definately worth checking out. Anyone who really wants to research would benefit from checking out the links you provide.

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Your welcome Kat, and I have more to say, but won't be able to give much the next days. And I agree with MWC, it's quite a challenge to understand what really happened back then. There's some guesswork, but some things seems more likely than others. For instance it's hard to pinpoint Paul, who he was and where he really came from. The later church fathers seems easier to put in a box. It seems like Paul was Gnostic or heavily influenced by it.

 

MWC, thanks for the the link to early jewish writings. That's what I was missing. :)

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mwc,

 

Thanks for the links :grin:

 

I have www.earlychristianwritings.com as a favorite and look at it regularly. As a matter of fact, when checking out a Christian site, I often go back to this one to verify that the information on the Christian site has not been tainted by bias.

 

Hope that answers your question about my sincerity in finding answers and not just finding what will support my current belief.

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My goal is to invite all those who have factual information which leads them down their current belief. This means no speculation, no IMOs and no mocking or attacks on anyone’s character or beliefs (including using fake titles for names). Let's stick to real names as not to offend. If you cannot back up your conclusion with fact based data, or if you want to say something just because you are irritated, please do not post.

 

I appreciate everyone's effort to find truth and want to thank everyone in advance for helping all of us get down to the root of Christianity.

 

I will start with a question:

 

If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change into it's current from?

Well Kat I appreciate your wanting to know what leads me down the road to my current beliefs, but your question about the evolution of Christian faith falls short of touching on those many reasons. I will say though that in studying church history myself, I did find it's inconsistency through the ages to betray something more human than divine about it. In the end I see that God is a product of man. But do understand, that does not mean I see it as having no value.

 

One reference I find good is this Frontline special they did on PBS some time back with various theologians who look at current modern scholarship on the birth of Christianity. It to me shows a reasonable look at the humaness of birth and evolution of the faith, and speaks of the different "Christianites" that existed at the time of the early church: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/

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Hello Kat:

 

A few more contributions to your search. :)

 

Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts

John Dominic Crossan & Jonathan L. Reed

HarperSanFrancisco

 

Stones talk. The ground speaks to us of history and events. So do words. Can the two work hand in hand to combine physical and oral history? What do they, archaeology and the written word, say about the historical Jesus? Excavating Jesus has at its heart this sole purpose: to integrate archaeology and gospel. Two people, one an experienced field archaeologist, the other a scholar of Jesus, attempt tot race the truth of each aspect back through time and stone, through parchment and artifact.

 

The Gnostic Discoveries

The Impact of the Nag Hammadi Library

by Marvin Meyer

 

Also:

 

The Gospel of Thomas

By Marvin Meyer

 

The last two are the best - but that's just my opinion. :grin:

 

Anyway - really researching the whole Gospel of Thomas and the Nag Hamadi Library is worth your time and energy. Thomas was a very early gospel. It is a sayings gospel - which is typically a 1st layer written tradition. So it gets you closer to the actual time of Jesus.

 

I admire your willingness to dig into all this. Just go to your local library and start borrowing books, if you're anything like me, you'll devour them faster than they can get them for you through inter-library loan. :)

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(Maybe this topic should be moved to the Colosseum? I'll try to behave myself, but no promises. :wicked: )

 

I have a problem with this entire proposal of discussing "When did Christianity first change?" It implies or suggests that "Christianity" was once a noble and wonderful religion, and that somewhere along the line it was "corrupted" by men. I can smell this stinky fish a parsec away, because I used to think the same way.

 

My exodus from the faith can best be described as one peeling back layer after layer of onion, as I sought to find the center, the Core of the faith. Some "good seed". But as I peeled the onion, with tears, of course, each layer of "bad Christianity" simply exposed another layer of "bad Christianity". And when I finally reached the center I found nothing. Nothing but myth and folklore used to abuse the ignorant.

 

I refuse to concede that the religion was ever "good" or "decent". From what I have viewed, the religion was ALWAYS non-sense and over the years it has gotten progressively worse. So what difference does it make, "When it changed?" It's a matter of going from the frying pan into the fire. :shrug:

 

My apologies if this comes off as "mocking" or an "attack". But I just feel compelled to warn the participants of "hidden" or "subliminal" undercurrents that may be lurking about.

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I just knew this topic would attract the Grinch. ;)

 

I have a problem with this entire proposal of discussing "When did Christianity first change?" It implies or suggests that "Christianity" was once a noble and wonderful religion, and that somewhere along the line it was "corrupted" by men. I can smell this stinky fish a parsec away, because I used to think the same way.

I feel the same way. I sort of alluded to this in my post.

 

My exodus from the faith can best be described as one peeling back layer after layer of onion, as I sought to find the center, the Core of the faith. Some "good seed". But as I peeled the onion, with tears, of course, each layer of "bad Christianity" simply exposed another layer of "bad Christianity". And when I finally reached the center I found nothing. Nothing but myth and folklore used to abuse the ignorant.

Although I disagree a bit here. I think when it was just stuck as a bunch of little Jewish sub-sects it really didn't abuse anyone except those Jews who ran out into the desert and chose to be abused waiting for their messiah (xianity would have died along with them too). Once the gentiles got their hands on it and realized its potential we have the monster we know today. At least that what I see when I look back to the beginnings. Instead of that "good seed" that we were brainwashed to believe to see that exists in the bible there's just a rotten core.

 

mwc

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mwc,

 

Thanks for the links :grin:

 

I have www.earlychristianwritings.com as a favorite and look at it regularly. As a matter of fact, when checking out a Christian site, I often go back to this one to verify that the information on the Christian site has not been tainted by bias.

Definately check out the Jewish writings I suggested too. There's a definate shift in theology going on due to the Hellenistic influences in the region.

 

mwc

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I think the Gnostic gospels being uncovered-- whether the Gospel of Thomas (an excellent example) the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, or the Gospel of Judas-- are pretty convincing examples that Christianity has changed-- a LOT. (Incidentally, has the FULL text of the Gospel of Judas been published? I saw the excepts in National Geographic, and watched the special on TV of course)

 

Gnostic Christianity-- which asked people to seek to attain Gnosis, or knowledge-- was not necessarily Trinitarian in nature. It would more correctly be called a mystery school. We know the "orthodox" Christian movement was worried about the Gnostics by at least 195 AD when Irenaeus wrote his missive. They were probably worried before that point.

 

So my answer is that "Orthodox" Christianity was starting to attack the less Trinitarian Gnostics, therefore changing Christianity quite a lot, by 195 AD and probably before.

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:)Hi Kat22! May I suggest that you take the time to consider what makes sense to you. I too, am a follower of Christ, however... he was NOT promoting what you see as traditional Christianity today... but, just about the opposite!

 

There is no literal hell, no throwing away of people, but peace and joy for everyone eventually. May I ask, how do you feel about that?

 

If you want to, and are brave enough to learn about biblical positions, you've come to the right place! :wink:

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I will start with a question:If the Christian faith really has changed over time, what time period did it begin to change into it's current from?

 

Well, the question is slightly misleading. I suppose we could say that orthodox christianity - or "catholic" christianity began to gain enough strength to choke out all of the other branches after the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E.

 

Had Constantine decided he preferred the Arian version rather than Athanasius' version of Jesus - chances are that we would have an entirely different christianity today.

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My favorite extra-biblical text is The Book of EnochPrecisely because it is quoted in the New Testament and was considered scripture by many church fathers, but didn't make it into the Christian canon. The oldest fragments date before Christ. It was pivotal in my deconversion.

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Pardon my blatant cynicism, but...having once been a Xtian who would have seen a site like this as a playground to minister in...I am curious as to the motive of this discussion. Particularly since you ask for "facts". Can you clarify the direction you are taking this in, Kat?

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how has christianity come to what it is.

 

christianity is no different now then when it was began by Jesus. He was opposed then and will always be opposed by certain groups. i think christianity returned to its biblical teachings during the protestant reformation in the 16th century. Martin Luther was opposed to the Roman Catholic Church and wrote a thesis on how the church should return to thier biblical roots, practices and doctrines. Yes we are all human, and everyone will have a certian interpritation within certain limits. but the foundation of christianity as stated by Luther should have no other interpritation.

 

 

 

 

1-“Sola Scriptura” or Scripture Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that the Bible alone is the sole authority for all matters of faith and practice. Scripture and Scripture alone is the standard by which all teachings and doctrines of the church must be measured.

 

 

 

2—“Sola Gratia” Salvation by grace alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is by God’s grace alone and that we are rescued from His wrath by His grace alone. God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. This grace is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

 

 

 

3—“Sola Fide” Salvation by Faith Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. It is by faith in Christ that His righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.

 

 

 

4—“Solus Christus” In Christ Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is found in Christ alone and that His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to God the Father. The gospel has not been preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and His work is not solicited.

 

 

 

5—“Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God for His glory alone. It affirms that as Christians we must glorify Him always and must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for His glory alone.

 

 

 

These five important and fundamental doctrines are the reason for the Protestant Reformation. They are at the heart of where the Roman Catholic Church went wrong in its doctrine and why the Protestant Reformation was necessary to return churches throughout the world to correct doctrine and biblical teaching. They are just as important today in evaluating a church and its teachings as they were then and in many ways, much of evangelical Christianity needs to be challenged to return to these fundamental doctrines of the faith much like the reformers challenged the Roman Catholic Church to do in the sixteenth century.

 

Hey, no slamming she asked.

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i think christianity returned to its biblical teachings during the protestant reformation in the 16th century. Martin Luther was opposed to the Roman Catholic Church and wrote a thesis on how the church should return to thier biblical roots, practices and doctrines.

 

Martin Luther, besides being a misanthropic turd, had little if any clue as to the nature of the true origins of xtianity. He would burned Philo at the stake if he could've. Read the OP again - she wants facts, not knee-jerk dogma.

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but the foundation of christianity as stated by Luther should have no other interpritation.

 

 

Martin Luther dismissed the Epistle of James as straw and false (because it says justification by works), it is also self-contradictory to his notion "Sola Scriptura", should it be "Sola Paul"?

We are even getting into his other anti-semitic book.

 

Freeday you either follow Martin Luther rejecting one book of the Bible, or you can admit Martin Luther can be wrong. If he can be wrong, his interpretation on Paul's letter thus Sola Fide can be wrong.

 

I won't be responding to your further reply as it is slightly off topic already.

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