was the true early church actually Jewish?

Hello everyone!

I was reading online about the early church, and I came across a comment on an article that described the true early church as being Jewish. It made a claim that the very early church actually worshiped in homes and not churches. It went on to say that at the end of the first century, there was a sort of split between the Jews and the Gentiles, and thats when a hierarchy and liturgical worship started to “creep in.” It then continued saying that they (whomever was writing the comment) were part of a congregation in India that was started by Thomas the apostle and they have authentic Jewish-Christian worship. They also mentioned something called the “Nazarene sect” but I did not want to read on.

I have not found any good answers to this online yet, so I thought I would ask here. Surprisingly, I actually found this really unsettling to be honest, even though I thought I was growing in my faith.

Thank you all in advance for your answers, and sorry for any rambling.

Potato:D

Yes, almost exclusively Jewish to begin with. In fact Christianity seems to have started out as a sect of Judaism (a bit like the SSPX) , worshipping both in the Synagogues and separately at homes.

Then Judaism (e.g. Saul) started kicking Jewish Christians out of the Synagogues.
At the same time Gentiles were converting to Christianity - presumably first becoming Jews to start off with. Eventually circumcision was no longer necessary to become a Christian but rather Baptism.

Keep in mind Christianity was not a uniform organisation in the beginning and practises initially varied widely from town to town.

These links, mostly centring on the Jerusalem Church, may be a start:
newadvent.org/cathen/08355a.htm
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_of_early_Christianity_and_Judaism
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision_controversy_in_early_Christianity

Thank you for the resources. Would the lord have been OK with these changes?

Also, the person who made the comment has a blog.

derrickbowdown2yhwh.blogspot.com/2015/06/part-ii-simon-peter-betrays-jesus.html

This a very disturbing article that is posted there. Any help with this also would be appreciated. I’m really starting to question everything now.

The winners get to write the history so who knows what Jesus really wanted :o.

I think Blue Horizon covered most of the questions raised. I will just cover some of the rest

I would think that the split from Judaism happened earlier then the end of the first century. As Blue Horizon mentioned, Christians got kicked out of synagogues and that was recorded in Acts, so it was quite early. But there would have been some synagogues which accepted the message and became Christians.

Nero was the first emperor to distinguish Christians as a religion distinct from Judaism when he blamed Christians but not Jews for starting the Great Fire of Rome 64AD, launching the first persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.

There has always been a hierarchy and liturgical worship from the very beginning. Jesus had the Last Supper and Acts mentioned its commemoration in homes - that would have been the first masses.

Hierarchy in the Catholic Church consist of the triple orders of bishops, priests and deacons. The first bishops were the Apostles - so, that’s in the Gospels. The appointment of the first seven deacons were mentioned in Acts - one of them, Stephen, became the first martyr. The order of priests split from bishops a bit later - before that bishops covered both functions. By the beginning of the second century, the triple orders of bishops, priests and deacons were pretty much established in most places.

The story was that the Apostles drew lots and it fell to Thomas to go to India. After some initial reluctance (great story that one) he baptised many people there and started one of the oldest Christian communities in the world existing today. I wouldn’t say they were Jewish-Christians as by then the Apostles were clear that they were not really Jewish but Christians. The descendants of those Christians are known as St Thomas Christians or Malabarese Christians (after the coast in India where they live). Due to the high regard for St Thomas, almost every other person their Church seem to be called Thomas or Thomasina. Not unusual for there to have a Fr Tom Thomas to marry Mr Tommy Thomas and Ms Thomasina Thomas in the parish church of St Thomas. :D:D Most of them today are Catholics but not Roman Rite. They are Syro-Malabarese Catholics and Syro-Malakarese Catholics and are as authentic Catholics as we are since they are just as faithful to the Pope.

The Nazarenes were first mentioned in Acts as the label Jews gave to Christians. Subsequently many other peoples (e.g. Muslims) called Christians as Nazarenes (or Nasrani or variation on that name) but the Christians never used it on themselves.

There was a Nazarene sect that emerged later in the fourth century as a semi-Jewish-Christian sect who sees themselves as Jews who accept Jesus as Messiah Son of God born of a virgin. They follow the OT Torah and their own Gospel: they do not use any of our Gospels. They are since extinct but they lives on in mythologies of Dan Brown (of Da Vinci fame) and many Muslim scholars. There are a few Christian Churches today that carry the name Nazarene but they are not related to this extinct sect.

Thanks for the helpful info. I’m having a small crisis of faith right now so your insight is greatly appreciated.

This person is not a believer and is writing stuff just to shake people up. He does not even understand how to read something from a time different from ours!

Please, Potato, don’t try tomlearn more about Jesus from His enemies! Or even from His misguided friends.

I would say that of course God was happy with the growth of His Church which allowed and necessitated new buildings for people to gather in: God wants *everyone *to be Catholic!

I was reading online about the early church, and I came across a comment on an article that described the true early church as being Jewish.

Yes, Christ, and His Apostles were all Jews, as described in the Bible.

It made a claim that the very early church actually worshiped in homes and not churches.

Of course. The early Church was small and persecuted.

It went on to say that at the end of the first century, there was a sort of split between the Jews and the Gentiles

There was a split between those Jews who accepted Christ as Messiah and those who did not, long before the end of the first century.

that’s when a hierarchy and liturgical worship started to “creep in.”

The Last Supper on Holy Thursday was the first Divine Liturgy. Pentecost shows us the hierarchy, when Christ established His Church, under St. Peter.

It then continued saying that they (whomever was writing the comment) were part of a congregation in India that was started by Thomas the apostle and they have authentic Jewish-Christian worship.

The Eastern Christian Churches in India were founded by St. Thomas.

Don’t waste your time reading anti-Christian propaganda. This guy has nothing to back up his wild claims.

Thanks for the answer!

You make a great point. Thanks for the response.

[BIBLEDRB][/BIBLEDRB]

Well, he does cite some scripture passages. How well they can back up his claim under scrutiny, I simply don’t know.

This a very disturbing article that is posted there. Any help with this also would be appreciated. I’m really starting to question everything now.Potato, you need to stop reading internet idiocy sites like that.

The early church certainly started off in the Jewish synagogues, even as Christ Himself was a Jew but the church ceased to be Jewish after persecutions kicked them all out of their communities and we began to meet and worship on Sundays in honor of the resurrection.

Where else would believers have met that early on? There weren’t any Christian church buildings for many years yet. Keep in mind what St. Augustine said in the 4th century. [FONT=&quot]“All heretics wish to be styled Catholic, yet if anyone asks them where is the Catholic place of worship none would venture to point out his own.”

That site is a load of a-C trash that can’t even give supporting evidence for itself. Don’t go back there and just forget about it.

If, as that clown says St. Peter was a liar then why did he give his life for a lie? And we know that he did, being crucified upside down because he professed that he wasn’t worthy to die like Jesus.

If you want to be a faithful Christian you need to feed on the Catholic sites that will feed you truth and not tin foil hat conspiracy theories.

Have a look at Bible Christian Society and Preface Bishop Sheen (keep reading both sites!)[/FONT]

Thanks for the resources, and I will take your advice!

The writer of the article is questioning everything…I wouldn’t pay much attention to it. :stuck_out_tongue:

All falsehood has some truth :shrug:

Of course the early church started out Jewish. Jesus was foremost the Messiah, but it would be through the Jews that all nations would be gathered into God’s people. And… that’s what happened. It’s quite clear that the first Christians and their leaders understood that the Jesus movement was for ALL people. I mean hello — remember the council of Jerusalem in Acts?

Not everything will be fully understood at once. It makes sense that Gentile inclusion was gradual on the one hand, and that Christian distinction would elaborate on the other. It only makes sense that Christianity would become a “Gentile religion” since Gentiles vastly outnumbered the Jews. BUT that doesn’t stop the Church from being the fulfillment of Judaism. Remember, there is no longer “Jew or Gentile.”

Some replies have implied that organization of the church came later. Well, where’s that proof?? Early Christian sources – in the New Testament and without – show a universal unfolding of the faith, focused on the “Apostles’ preaching” and the “breaking of the bread.” It should be no scandal that there were no church buildings. The church started out as a sect of Jews, and it took time to gain influence and acceptance. Remember Christians were persecuted by both Jews and Gentiles (the Romans).

That Christianity IS liturgically-centered actually expresses its Jewish roots. Honestly I have not researched this TOO much, but I’ve often heard that the Mass is basically based off the synagogue service – there is reading of the scriptures and psalms. The Eucharist IS THE NEW Passover celebration and the fulfillment of the Malachi prophecy that the Gentiles would have a “pure offering.”

It’s been said that presbyters (priests) were based off synagogue leadership of elders. That may be true, but the monarchical episcopate (single-bishop over elders) was firmly established from the beginning. The terms were loose, but the roles were in place. The Apostles obviously acted as the initial overseers (“bishops”) who had authority over the other pastors (elders/presbyters). This role was expanded to others and not just the Apostles (look at Timothy and Titus who were to set up the churches in Crete and Ephesus). And look at James, who led the church in Jerusalem. AND it’s quite obvious that Peter held the primacy over the church. All of the basic church structures were in place in the first century. Ignatius of Antioch, writing about AD 110, is well-aware of the bishop-priest (elder)-deacon hierarchy in multiple churches, not only his.

Thanks for clearing this up everyone. Your answers were very helpful.

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