1st Cen. Christianity - One Organization

by StandFirm 144 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Paul constantly gets off point trying to defend his credentials. Many people were challenging them. He doth protest too much unless it continued to be a mess. Let us hear your learning on the Gnostics.

    Do we truly need to hear the JW slant here? We can get it directly from the Beast.

    I believe it was harder to corral and control people back then b/c of communication deficits.

    Where is the Jerusalem Post article or Roman Times describing your one organization. People here can read and think.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I'm not saying that there were not bishops of Rome. There isn't a shred of proof Pete was a bishop of Rome. Roman traditon places him there which would be expected. I'm curious what the Orthodox believe. We tend to forget the Eastern and Asian churches in the West. The Church Fathers had minimal involvement with Rome. Rome wasn't a player until Constantine.

    Frankly, if my government were sending my co-religionists to the lions and worse, I'd get away from the seat of power. Perhaps Christianity disappeared when Constantine took control and started the creeds. I don't know. Personally, I love the creeds. Nicea, not Rome. Augustine, not Rome, Iranes-not Rome. It was a Middle Eastern church until it was co-opted. I suppose one could also say the church would have disappeared without Constantine.

    Do people believe the pilgrims in Rome (old poor ladies) climbing St. Helena's steps are truly walking on the steps Jesus took during the Passion. What about all the relics people worshipped? All the saints that did not exist? Remember, St.Christpher?

    There may be truth in the legends. I don't believe the Bible is the complete story.

    The early Christians scare me. They stayed and helped people when plague brought out. Martyrdom was a constant. Yet the church survived. And I complain about the boring meetings.

  • Buster

    I agree with Mad Sweeney. Paul's direction to go forth and enforce seems more of an indication of a lack of organization. But such a scripture snippet is not conclusive.

    Consider: Even if the 1st century folks organized, does it follow that that organization was "God's Organization?" Just because they collected together for emotional and/or financial support, does that mean god ordained it?

    Even if so, please tell me how that translates to god selecting one teeny cult from the array of teeny numerology-based cults of the time, and calling that "His Organization?" It really doesn't follow.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Good point. I was going to say self proclamation isn't enough. Jesus self-proclaimed but he also fed the hungry, clothed the poor, healed the sick. None of which the Witnesses do. Jesus knew self=proclamation wasn't enough. Even Jesus' detractors noted that he super powers which they ascribed to Satan. Why aren't the Mormon's God's org. Or the Roman Catholics-they at least have some sort of continuous rule. There are several churches in Asian founded by St. Thomas.

    The Roman Church may not trace from Peter but it does trace from the martyrs. Keeping one's faith when being fed to a lion is something. Maybe Gnostics were fed, too. We can surmise but we don't know and neither do you.

  • sabastious

    I'd rather not debate the innerworkings of Santa and his Elves at the North Pole, tyvm.


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I'd like the quote from a Roman source that Peter was definitely in Rome b/c I have read scholarship to the opposite and read it consistently. Roman Catholic later sources don't can't.

    My main point is that there was no universal church but a group of people who believed loosely in the importance of a historical figure. Gnostics would assert that Jesus was not a historical figure. There was autonomy. People had their own cultures and interpreted Jesus through that culture. This is why I say to no to Rome as a central authority until Constantine imposed an order. The North Africans had there church. India had churches supposedly found by St. Thomas that are ancient. There are central themes. I've read that Jesus' sayings existed before a narrative. Rome would be important as a military and cultural power. The Greeks had their church. There were a plethora of churches. The one thing lacking was central authority.

    The Coptics. Constantine imposed an organization they did not seek. Jesus has lasted these centuries because Jesus is malleable. Picasso can do a Christ and Rembrant can do a Christ. No one can say which Christ is correct. Carl Jung wrote that we project our values onto Jesus instead of the other way around. Godspell in the 1970s had Jesus the hippie. Scorcese had the powerful portrait in the Last Temptation of Christ. Whatever I want Jesus to be, Jesus is there. My mind's eye sees a Royal Shakespearean Company actor with blonde hair and blue eyes who is very emaciated with sparkly eyes and a powerful voice. He dominantes every setting visually. Maybe it is not screwy. Jesus may be Semitic but Christ is universal.

    Look at this thread. We have a discussion about whether Peter ever was in Rome. And the world survived.

  • Buster

    StandFirm: Is this your idea of a debate? You put out a straw poll as for a topic and select "1st century organization." Then you throw out a few scritpures from "Make Sure of All Things."

    Please tell us you have more than that.

    - Cliff

  • pirata

    sidenote: we stopped using "Make Sure of All Things." 26 years ago (was replaced by Reasoning with the Scriptures)

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I am backing down a bit from my assertions concerning Peter. My fascination with early Christianity is a bit scary since I don't have practical use for it. Many times I've read by reputable scholars that Peter being in Rome is only legend. There is a slight chance he was there. I don't know the details. The authors contrast Paul for whom there is no doubt he was in Rome (maybe b/c of Romans, outside sources) and no doubt that he was executed as a Roman citizen. The Peter record is murky. The NT was n ot written until a later point in time so church legend infiltrated the narratives.

    It strikes me odd, too, b.c Peter has one of the most strongly defined personalities in the entire Bible. The Indian churches which I only found out about recently believe strongly from very early dates that Thomas is associated with them. I don't know what scholars believe about Thomas. The people believe it. Peter seems strongly entrenched in Jerusalem with James. Does anyone else wonder why the NT does not contain more info. about the carrying of the gospel. For me, the act of encompassing the Holy Spirit and spreading the good news is just as important as the gospels and epistles.

    I feel that different apostles or disciples empahsized different teachings. Of course, St. Paul claimed a different link to Jesus and prevailed in setting orthodoxy. We studied why Christianity as we know it survived and variants that were just as legitimate declined. Social and political factors were mentioned. Certain forms of Christianity were more survivable through multiple generations.

    I love the idea of doubting Thomas, the apostle with whom I most identify, becoming fearless and reaching India.

    I've also wondered how the beloved disciple (never identified as John expressly in the Bible) did not play a more crucial role post-Resurrection. Why don't we know what Mary Magdalene did? She was not the sort to just disappear (of course, the answer to that one is obvious).

    Another thing that always strikes me is that for the most part the Gnostics use the sayings and even narratives in broad stroke. Their interpretation, however, is radically different. If one were a Gnostic, one would assume Gnosticism had legitimacy.

  • botchtowersociety

    I'm curious what the Orthodox believe.

    The Orthodox do not dispute Peter's being the Bishop of Rome.

    The Church Fathers had minimal involvement with Rome. Rome wasn't a player until Constantine.

    We have the letters of Pope Clement to the Corinthians to demonstrate that this is not so.


    We also have many references from other Christian writers and Fathers from the second century that show that the Roman church was prominent. This is well before Constantine.

    Does anyone else wonder why the NT does not contain more info.

    The NT is not comprehensive, and it was never intended to be. Fundamentalists misuse it when they treat it in this way (not saying you are fundamentalist).

    And yes, the story of the Thomist Christians is fascinating.

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