Great Moments In The First 100 Years Of The Catholic Church

2215 words - 9 pages

- "Great Moments in the First 100 Years of the Church"Qu 1) The early Church faced many perplexing theological questions and concerns, for example, explaining the "personhood" of Jesus, liturgical norms and practice etc. What theological concerns of the early Church remain theologically relevant in the area of contemporary Religious Education?On Pentecost Sunday in approximately 33AD, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, the apostles and hundreds of disciples of Jesus Christ and the Christian Church was born. On that day, thousands joined the church and many were strengthened and confirmed by the Spirit of God to spread the word of the risen Christ, the Lord. These were the early beginnings of the Church, and during this time, and for two centuries after it, the Church has faced perplexing theological questions and concerns- many of which are still relevant today such as Christological controversies and Iconoclasm. Concerns and questions about these issues are often raised by young Catholics and those who study the Church, and are therefore concerns of contemporary Religious Educators. It is important to note that the study of the Church and it's beliefs and practices without reference to it's history cannot be accurate. History has moulded the Church into what it is today, as it has all other institutions.Christology is that part of theology which includes a study of Jesus Christ's "personhood". Students and others studying the Church and her beliefs often have difficulty with the concept of the Holy Trinity and Jesus as a human man who is also divine as God, the Son. This is a concept that has been controversial since the beginnings of the Church.During the first three centuries of the Church, doctrines differed between different communities regarding the personhood of Jesus, however these heresies were overshadowed by the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. It was not until 313 C.E. when Emperor Constantine passed a law to make Christianity a legal religion, that Christians had the freedom and the safety of being able to explore and develop an understanding of the Church's teachings and the various heresies were able to be addressed.The actual material humanity of Jesus Christ was debated widely in the early days of the church. According to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopaedia,"the Docetist Marcion and the Priscillianists granted to Jesus only an apparent body; the Valentinians, a body brought down from Heaven. The followers of Apollinaris denied either that Jesus had any human soul at all, or that He possessed the higher part of the human soul, they maintained that the Word supplies either the whole soul in Christ, or at least its higher faculties."Other beliefs during this time granted Jesus his humanity, but not his divinity. One heresy of the early church was Gnosticism. According to Crawford (1991), on the issue of Christiology, Gnosticism held "very simply that spiritual things were good and material things were evil". Since...

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