Early Christians?

In the Acts of the Apostles we read how Paul and the other apostles traveled around preaching and teaching. What exactly did they preach about and teach?

Also, how did early Christians worship?

If the Apostles determined that early christians had to, at the minimum, believe in Jesus/the Holy Spirit and not eat meat that had been strangled, blood and not be sexually immoral, why is catholocism so complicated like the US TAX CODE, with rules and exceptions for salvation and the CCC and the magesterium and the Vatican City State and all the red tape. How did apostolic succession transform what seemed like a very simple faith/practice to the Roman Catholic Church what we have now?

Because we are a living breathing faith, not stuck in AD 33.

Because there are one billion people living in a very complicated society which itself has evolved, everywhere, over the last two thousand years.

The apostles did NOT determine that until the end of time, Christians would only have to minimum believe in Jesus/Holy Spirit (did you forget the Father here?) and not eat bloody meat and not be sexually immoral and nothing else, ever. That’s why Jesus instituted a Church (Matthew 18) and that’s why He gave His apostles authority to ‘bind and loosen’. Why bother if there were never going to be things that developed and had to be either accepted or rejected (bound or loosened?)

You think Catholicism is complicated? It’s not. Really, it’s not. But in AD 33, people weren’t going around demanding ‘same sex marriage’, or cloning. You didn’t have Protestant sects. You didn’t have Islam. And the rampant secularism you faced was pretty much local, because you yourself didn’t move around much. You also didn’t live very long. You came from an oral tradition, not a written one. You had a certain worldview that was itself ‘simpler’, but your civilization had itself advanced from even simpler ones. Your knowledge was deeper than it had been 100 years ago, and your opportunities were greater in some ways, less in others.

A lot of what you think is ‘extra’ came about because say 200 years ago, some people started questioning a truth, and saying it wasn’t really true. . .and the Church actually would be put in the position of having to come out and state it with all the ‘bells and whistles’ because otherwise people would say that unless they heard it that way, they didn’t ‘have to accept it’. (Example: The Immaculate Conception. Didn’t spring up out of nowhere in 1854 after centuries of never being taught or heard of by ‘early Christians.’ Always known and believed until some hotheads decided to ‘reinterpret scripture’ and teach something different–and needing to be CLARIFIED by the Church so that people would realize it was, and had been, true all along.)

So that’s why you get a living, breathing Church that has to keep on saying what Christ taught.

They preached the Kingdom of God, just as their successors do today.

Also, how did early Christians worship?

Much in the same way as they do today.

If the Apostles determined that early Christians had to, at the minimum, believe in Jesus/the Holy Spirit and not eat meat that had been strangled, blood and not be sexually immoral, why is Catholicism so complicated like the US TAX CODE, with rules and exceptions for salvation and the CCC and the Magisterium and the Vatican City State and all the red tape. How did apostolic succession transform what seemed like a very simple faith/practice to the Roman Catholic Church what we have now?

The Apostles determined? Or do you mean the Apostles taught Jesus said to teach as a minimum? In either case, Jesus told the Apostles to teach everything He said and did. What has been complicated is the tradition, whose role is to keep the meaning of what the Apostles taught, because men who view Christs words relative to their own sinful nature. The CCC teaches, exactly the meaning of what the Apostles taught. It also teaches what rational men can deduce from what the Apostles taught insofar as it doesn’t conflict with Scripture.

As an example we find that abortion is sinful and shouldn’t be practiced because it is taking the life of the innocent and fails to respect human dignity. The societal customs of the modern world are quite different from those of antiquity. What is important to us in the modern world is quite different to those in antiquity, yet there are certain moral truths that don’t change, the faithful need and want to know the ‘red tape’. I suppose to the unfaithful it is just so much red ribbon inhibiting expressions of free thinking.


Hi. I’m not like a Protestant trying to shoot down the Church. I am a card carrying Catholic. But as I am reading through the bible for the first time and am going through Acts I wonder about these thing. As far as minimum requirement for being Christian, the Apostles did decide. Paul converted the first batch of gentiles and the Apostles who were Jews were angry (because the gentiles do not follow the law if Moses) until they found out the Gentiles recieved the Holy Spirit. They said, well let’s at least instruct them to do the following, like amndngry few minimum thing just to give a nod of sorts to the laws of moses.

Actually, you can get a better idea of how the early Christians worshipped by the letters of St. Paul and from early Church Fathers (like St. Justin Martyr, whose feast was celebrated today - June 1 (I’m posting from the Mountain Time Zone, where it’s still June 1).). What you can gather is that, though it wasn’t as, umm… codified… as it is today, it’s apparent that there was reading from the Hebrew scriptures, possibly a public reading from a recent correspondence from St. Paul or another one of the apostles (which might have stood in for a homily), and remembrance of Jesus’s teachings (remember, the gospels hadn’t yet been put to writing). There were probably adult & whole family baptisms at almost every celebration (as the Church was rapidly expanding), and ways where individuals could share their unique charisms from the Holy Spirit. There most certainly were collections for the poor and for the Church in Jerusalem (which continues to this very day every Good Friday). And there was the Eucharist, originally called “The Breaking of the Bread”.

As the Church grew, it became necessary to codify many of these elements. Why? First and foremost, for the sake of sanity. Secondly, it became necessary to make sure that the teachings of the apostles passed on without moving to the right or the left (in other words, to prevent false ideas of who Jesus was from spreading). The Council of Nicea was incredibly important - even though it was convened by a non-yet-baptized Constantine (he waited for baptism until he was near the point of death) - because it forced Christianity to codify its beliefs. And it displayed how far many bishops had strayed from the faith by that time - it was the Pope and the laity that had stayed true to the original teachings; most of the bishops had adopted Arian ideas. Through the ages, the Church has needed to reassert its teachings, and has held many Church Councils, often to codify what the Church had, up to that point, taken as assumptions that all Christians believed - but later found out that there were Christians who didn’t believe a given assumption. For example - Jesus being the Second Person of the Trinity (Nicea & Constantinople); Jesus being fully human and fully divine (Chalcedon); the necessity of the magisterium (Trent), etc., etc., etc.

As for Canon Law - the entire code of Canon Law fills a book about the same size as an average Bible. And, honestly, for the most part, it deals with things regarding the Sacraments (how they are to be ministered, who can minister them, exceptions, what is allowed and not allowed at Mass, etc.). Honestly, most of Canon Law (like the Book of Leviticus) applies more to the clergy than to the laity. The two big things, of course, that affects laity, are marriage law in the Church and the list of automatic excommunicable offenses.

Justin Martyr gives us a pretty good idea of what a second century Mass would have looked like.

On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors [give assistance to] the orphans and widows, and those who, through sickness or any other cause are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.

I can show you several different reasons why we are what we are.

How Is A Catholic Saved?

Who REALLY Preaches “A Different Gospel”?

What Was Authentic Early Christian Worship Really Like?

You have a very badly oversimplified idea of what you have been reading. I suggest that you wait 'til you get all the way through the New Testament before offering your assessment of your Catholic faith.

The very fact that you are only now reading the Bible is informative to those of us who have also been there and discovered our faith in its pages. You have a lot to learn…be prepared to be reading it for the rest of your life…

Early Christian worship was Eucharistic.

***On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight. *(Acts 20:7)

The first day of the week is Sunday. This is when everyone gathered to break bread. The bread is the Eucharist.


They passed on a lot more than that. We have the Order of Worship passed on by The Apostles as early as A.D. 50. The parts of what they passed on only got written down much later, as late as the end of the first century. By then, every Christian was practicing much what The Apostles had taught, so it didn’t need to be written down, but continued to be passed down in The Church.

I disagree with what the OP has characterized as what was being taught. Yes, individuals were baptized after professing faith in the Trinity, but their education did not stop there. Read also the Gospels and the New Testament epistles—there is much, much more, including the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the works of mercy, the theological virtues, lists of sins that exclude from the Kingdom, institutions and instructions of the sacraments, etc., etc. The Catechism basically just explains the Creed, the Commandments, the Sacraments, and the Lord’s prayer.

What is in the Catechism is developed from what was left by the Apostles. St. Vincent explained this process in the 5th century:


Heb 10:25-29 is about the mass on Sunday (the day) CCC 2178 , 2181

[FONT=Arial]Heb 10:25-29 explained** #**[/FONT]22

Jesus never gave us minimulistic teaching. Therefore, we don’t think or do just the minimum.

Are you talking about the proto-Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15? And the resolution and letters that went out to the early Christian Churches?

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. [Acts 15:28-29]

Umm, I didn’t notice anything about believing in Jesus in there.

Are you saying that the proto-Council of Jerusalem taught something (about believing in Jesus) that is not actually recorded in Scripture? Are you saying that the Council taught some OTHER minimum teaching than is recorded in Scripture? Are you saying that the Council taught some additional and hidden doctrine that YOU somehow know about?

If that’s NOT actually what you are saying, then obviously the teachings proto-Council of Jerusalem were not comprehensive (since they did not even mention Jesus).

Why do you think Catholicism is so complicated?

According to the CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter, as of 2013, it now takes 73,954 regular 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of paper to explain the complexity of the U.S. federal tax code.

The Code of Canon Law is available in paperback at 319 (paperback-sized) pages (including the index and table of contents). That is a rather thin paperback book. A spot-check of the most skinny (popular, non-theological) books in my paperback library did not find anything with less than 400 pages. Canon Law is much less than 0.004% as large as the US tax code.

But, the thing is - NO Catholic layperson is ever expected (or even encouraged) to read one single Canon of Canon Law. Canon Law is written for Canon Lawyers and Catholic ministers (mainly Bishops). Most faithful Catholics have never read a single Canon (and that’s perfectly OK).

For Catholic laity, there are exactly FIVE rules of commission (things we are expected to do). These are the precepts of the Church. And they could be written down on a matchbook. And most apply only once a year.

Where is the complexity here?

Back to the mustard seed eh?:wink:

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