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Periods of Christian Literature. Edificatory Period 90-150 CE.

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Presentation on theme: "Periods of Christian Literature. Edificatory Period 90-150 CE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Periods of Christian Literature

2 Edificatory Period CE

3 I. Characteristics A. Written with purpose of devotional help and strength B. Were simple and informal in style C. Shows little knowledge of pagan philosophy D. Shows great reverence for Jewish Scriptures E. They demonstrate a relatively “pure” Christianity

4 II.Examples A.Clement of Rome (96 CE)—written to the church at Corinth; emphasizes revelation of faith through Jesus, speedy return of Jesus, Jewish Scriptures respected B.Epistle of Barnabas—claims to have been written by Barnabas of NT but internal evidence denies this, gives many mistakes regarding Jewish rituals; written against Judaism

5 C. Ignatius—7 epistles written between CE; importance in that they show ecclesiastical development with sacraments, clergy, relationship of grace and suffering, and doctrine of the church D. Shepherd of Hermes (140 CE)—very influential; baptism completes regeneration; shows Gnostic influence, shows a corruption of morality in the church E. Didache (Teaching of the 12 Apostles) (100 CE)—very important

6 Apologetic Period CE

7 I. Characteristics A. Writers trained in theology and philosophy B. Writings produced to define the faith C. Most important ones are addressed to Roman emperor D. Tried to answer charges of atheism E. Tried to picture Christianity as an ancient religion F. Makes use of Jewish Scriptures G. Set forth main evidence of Christ as prophetic H. Emphasize purity of Christian life and teaching

8 II. Example Justin Martyr (150 CE)—wrote Apology, divided into three parts; truths of the Christian gospel and proper teachings. His Dialogue with Tyrpho the Jew was divided into three parts, refutes opinion of Jews regard law; Christ was God incarnate, and OT predicted the coming of Jesus

9 Polemical Period CE

10 I. Characteristics A. Writers are 2 nd generation Christians B. Alarmed at increasing “error” in the church C. Recognized authority of “catholic” church D. Allegorized some Scripture E. Tried to make opponents looked ridiculous

11 II. Examples A. Iranaeus ( CE)—know for five books against heresy; wrote mainly against the Gnostics and Marcion; forms first canon of Scripture as now recognized; emphasized apostolic succession B. Hippolytus—wrote against Montanism C. Tertullian—some regard as greatest theologian of period; very strict morally, wrote against paganism, forms of Gnosticism, and Jews, wrote in Latin rather than Greek D. Cyprian (200 CE)—moderate toward the lapsi; hierarchical view of bishops, apostolic succession, importance of Bishop of Rome

12 Systematic (Scientific) CE

13 I. Characteristics A. Part of Alexandrian school— allegorical method of interpreting Scripture B. Platonic in nature C. Very systematic

14 II. Examples A. Clement (160 CE)—taught that Greek philosophy was one preparation for coming of Christ; God is the “remote cause”; interpreted “fall” allegorically; stressed “free will” B. Origen—sought to moderate Greek thought and Christian teachings; taught interpretation of Scripture has 3 levels (1) simple-level for the simple-minded; (2) soul of Scripture or moral—had to do with ethical understanding; (3) allegorical; first to study Bible scientifically

15 “Preserving” the Faith

16 Judaism and Christianity

17 I. Council of Jerusalem--ch. 15 A. First apostolic decree--ch. 15:19ff 1. abstinence from idolatry 2. abstinence from blood 3. abstinence from eating animals killed by strangulation 4. abstinence from immorality

18 Tightening of Church Organization

19 I. No single example of church polity in NT II. Ignatius—Bishop of Antioch— CE A. Wrote letters to the churches through the bishops B. Emphasized the “unity” of the church 1. Unity is found in the affairs of the church 2. Bishops were basis for unity

20 C. The bishop had help through the presbyteroi—priests D. The bishop became the earthly counterpart of Christ E. Was first to use the word “catholic” III. Cyprian—wrote that there where there is “no bishop there is no church”

21 Formation of NT Canon

22 I.NT writers II. Marcion (144 CE) III. Iraneaus (Bishop of Lyons)—around 180 CE in his book Against Heresies IV. Canon appeared as it is now with Anthanasius in 367 CE V.Council of Carthage gave final consent in 397 CE

23 Development of the Creeds

24 I. Earliest creed is simply “Jesus is Lord” II. The old Roman Symbol A. Evolves around 336 CE B. Would become the “test” of orthodoxy C. In the 7 th or 8 th centuries it became the Apostles Creed III. Nicene Creed in 325 CE

25 Further Attempts of “Defining” the Faith

26 Novationism—250 CE What to do with the “lapsi

27 I. Should those who desert the church during persecution be re-baptized and allowed to rejoin the church? II. Novation said “No” III. The more liberal positions of the bishops prevailed—they were allowed to rejoin IV. Donatism—in 312 CE—wanted to excommunicate the lapsi

28 Trinitarian Controversy

29 I. Arius—presbyter of church at Alexandria who saw a difference in Jesus and the Father—his position would lose although he has had followers through the years II. Athanasius of Antioch was trinitarian A. He would oppose Arius and Eusebius B. Arius emphasized heterousios C. Eusebius emphasized homoiousian

30 III. Decision made at Council of Nicea in 325 CE A. Would no settle the controversy B. Popes would alternate between Arianism and Trinitarianism IV. Council of Constantinople in 381 CE proclaimed that the Son and the Spirit were of the same essence of the Father

31 Christological Controversy What is the Nature of Christ?

32 I. What is relationship between humanity and divinity? II. Appolinarious said Christ had 3 parts A. An animal body—flesh B. A human soul C. The Divine Logos D. Jesus this is 2/3 human and 1/3 God

33 III. Nesorius of Antioch came to conclusion that there was a “fusion” of the two natures—his claim would become the orthodox view IV. Cyril of Alexandria said that in the incarnation the fusion is so great that it become depersonalized—thus in reality only one nature, Jesus had no human personality

34 V. The Council of Ephesus in 431 CE declared Nestorius a heretic and Cyril was banished. The term “mother of God” was given to Mary VI. The Council of Calcedon in 451 CE declared Jesus was one person with two natures VIII. The 3 rd Council of Constantinople in 680 CE declared Jesus was one person of two natures and two wills—the human will was always in submission to the Divine Will

35 Anthropological- Soteriological Controversies

36 I. First strictly “western” controversy II. Two major parties—Pelagius and Augustine III. Pelagius, British, early 5 th century CE A. Said sin did not taint human nature B. Emphasized “free will” C. Humans can choose “not to sin” D. Fall of Adam was an isolated mistake— has no effects on others

37 IV. Augustine—born in 354 CE A. Emphasized “original” sin B. With fall of Adam, all humanity has fallen C. Humans have same flesh as Adam through human reproduction VI. Council of Orange in 529 CE supported Augustine

38 Development of Pertrine Primacy

39 I. Because of Roman prominence, the church at Rome assumed a role of importance and the Bishop of Rome would increase that importance A. In 96 CE Bishop Clement wrote his first letter to the church at Corinth and ordered the church to seek peace within itself B. Victor I ( CE) ordered the convening of local synods in the East and West to debate the Easter celebration—he attempted to excommunicate those who did not agree

40 C. Bishop Stephen I (256 CE) demanded that North African churches not require baptism during Decian persecution D. Bishop Dionysus in 260 CE called Dionysus of Alexandria to account for using heterdox expressions regarding the Logos

41 II. Some bishops would write concerning the primacy of Rome A. Ignatius (110 CE) of Antioch in his Epistle to the Romans wrote that the Roman church was “presiding in love”—affirming a special primacy of faith for Rome B. An inscription found on the tomb of Bishop Abersius of Hieaboles dated CE said that Abersius was called to Rome by the Holy Shepherd

42 C. Iranaeus (135 CE) writing against Gnosticism wrote of Rome’s “plentitude of power” since she had dual apostolic foundation through Peter and Paul D. Cyprian (254 CE) in an epistle regarded the Roman church as the “chair of Peter and principle church from which issues priestly unity

43 III. Council influences with regard to primacy of Roman bishop A. In Canon 38 of the Council of Constantinople in 381 CE and Canon 28 of the Council of Calcedon in 415 CE there is mention that the bishop of New Rome “should be given precedent of honor over Old Rome B. In 343 CE the Synod of Saardia declared bishop of Rome the “highest court of appeal” for whole church in matters of discipline

44 IV. In 493 and 495 CE Bishop Gallicius said that it was the office of the Roman church to judge other churches and was not to be judged by any human tribunal V. In the 6 th century Emperor Justinian spoke of the Bishop of Rom as “the first and chief of all priests of God”

45 The Work of Jesus

46 The Nature of Humanity

47 SIN

48 Two Major Views

49 A. Peglagian view 1. Immediate creation of soul free from sin in God 2. Adam’s sin only an evil example 3. Imputation is of personal sin only 4. Sin is a violation of rules and standards

50 B. Augustinian View 1. Natural headship of Adam 2. Organic unity of race—sin comes seminally 3. Immediate imputation of sin at birth 4. Whole race is condemned

51 Historical Perspective of Sin

52 I. Hebrew Bible View A. Some definitions of sin: 1. a departure from what is good, i.e., holy 2. a violation of the Law of a commandment, a legal definition 3. a revolt, rebellion, or defying— stresses a willful nature, willful act 4. misc., terms, godless, profane, impious, estranged, polluted, etc.

53 II. New Testament View A. Jesus’ view 1. Jesus saw sin as an interior motive; an inward attitude 2. This perspective is seen in the Sermon the Mount 3. He emphasized the law was good, but that morality was more than a legal obedience

54 B. Paul’s view 1. The great theologian of the Gospel 2. Jesus spoke in generalities; Paul spoke in specific 3. Jesus was founder; Paul was consolidator 4. He agreed with Jesus that sin in internal, but saw it more of a cosmic struggle 5. That part of humanity which sin is the “flesh”

55 A Historical Development of Sin

56 I. Ignatius, 110 CE A. Greatest effect of sin is mortality— Jesus came to make us immortal B. Sin is an expression of our finitude C. Our flesh is a symbol of mortality D. Jesus came in flesh to give us immortality

57 II. The Didache, 120 CE A. Strong legalistic bent B. Church was beginning to be aware of sin in its community—what to do? C. Beginning of a double-standard 1. Requirements were so stringent that not all could keep them 2. Thus some will keep them for the total 3. A “double ethic” developed

58 III. The Shepherd of Hermes, CE A. Baptism wipes away all sins, but what about the sins committed after baptism? B. Are all sins equally serious?

59 C. Hermes developed three categories of sin 1. trivial sins—wrong thoughts, etc.—these sins are forgiven by repetition of the Lord’s Prayer 2. serious sin—dishonesty, greed, etc., only one repentance allowed, effected only if real inward repentance 3. unforgivable sin—murder, adultery, idolatry

60 IV. Marcion, 140 CE A. Emphasizes a sharp contrast between Judaism and Law and Christianity and the Gospel B. We were created in mortal, flesh bodies C. Flesh is evil D. Jesus came to undo the creator God by giving us a spiritual body

61 V. Iranaeus, CE A. Emphasized that God created humanity for a purpose—to prepare us for eternal life B. Humanity created in the image and likeness of God—draws distinction between the two

62 C. Image of God—humanity was made rational, free, and responsible—we have built into us a natural law—which is the law of love for Christ D. Likeness—not actually created— but potentially created in God’s likeness 1. Only Adam was created in God’s likeness for it means immortality

63 2. When Adam fell he lost the likeness and kept the image 3. Emphasis on image gives an optimism for humanity; not totally evil

64 VI. Tertullian, CE A. Very legalistic—when we sin we rob God of His omnipotence B. Sin is a legal crime against God C. Each person is created free so we do not have to disobey the laws of God

65 D. Deals with post-baptismal sins 1. mortal sin—includes murder, sexuality, idolatry—not even Christians can be forgiven for these sins 2. venial sin—one can commit and remain in church if repentance is sought and penance given

66 VII. Augustine, CE A. His view is a synthesis of Christian thought, Platonic philosophy and his own experience B. He stresses God’s creation is good and hence humans are good and set within a good creation C. Evil is the tendency of all created things to lapse again into the nothingness from which they came

67 D. Sin is a voluntary defection of humanity from the natural order of creation E. Evil is turning away from God and a turning toward the changeable world F. By rejecting God we are refusing to obey any other authority except ourselves—we fall into a bondage of desire

68 G. Fall was result of Adam’s misuse of free will H. All Adam’s progeny has been contaminated by Adam’s sin, not voluntarily, but by being in Adam “as in a root” I. Primal sin of Adam is concupiscence J. Sexual union is a primary and obvious expression of concupiscence

69 K. In his early writings, he thought that Genesis 1:27-28 should not be interpreted literally L. Later he acknowledged that sexuality existed in humanity’s state of original righteousness, but held it was then totally subject to reason

70 VIII. Thomas Aquinas, CE A. Humankind exists in 2 worlds, natural and supernatural attained by grace B. Also draws distinction between image and likeness of God 1. Image refers to the essential character of God as a rational being—this is the natural person; a person is rational and able to bring orderliness to the world

71 2. Likeness is an added gift from God—not essential to define human, but it is essential to salvation 3. This theory is called donum sueradditum—added on 4. Likeness gives power to preserve the body from corruption, to bring about immortality—with the fall we lost the likeness

72 5. We lost communion with God, but we retained our rationality 6. Aquinas was very optimistic about human nature

73 IX. Martin Luther, A. Sin is the eruption of our relationship with God B. Image and likeness meant same thing 1. Thus, he had concept of total depravity 2. Every dimension of humanity is touched by sin 3. Sin is not static—it is a continuing state of rebellion

74 C. Only the law can reveal sin—but by itself it drives humanity into despair D. Law must always be connected with grace

75 X. John Calvin, A. Three ways we can know God 1. God is known in the human soul or consciousness, a point of contact in the natural person 2. God is known in nature and history, see evidence of order in nature—general revelation is important 3. Holy Scripture—special revelation given by God

76 B. Somewhat similar to Luther C. Sin is pride and rebellion—very personal and relational D. Rejects view that sin is transmitted by sex act E. God’s will is that that we should become sinners F. Yet, we are still responsible for our sin because we accept and freely affirm the sin within us G. Concerned about God’s sovereignity


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