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Religion & Culture / Reformed Theology
|Subject: Believers' Priesthood||Date: 1/29/2003 6:34 PM|
|Author: GoldRushs||Number: 227 of 301|
The earliest Christian churches that grew up after the Lord's death and resurrection, consisted of ordinary folk in simple circumstances, who worshiped God in Spirit and truth according to the O.T. Scriptures, and according to the Apostles' eye-witness accounts of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The first churches were independent, and believers, having all things in common, assembled daily in houses of fellow Christians as a spiritual family in order to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, read the O.T., pray, sing, baptize converts and remember the death of Jesus Christ through the observance of the Lord's Supper . . all in good order, with Elder oversight, but without rank amongst the members. Poverty and secular persecution prevented any fancy trappings or special houses being built for the reason of worship.
False teachings and heresies sprang up early (e.g. Gnosticism) which necessitated the development of formal theology. Towards the end of the 4th century, a canon of Scripture was determined upon and the the first creeds were articulated as statements of faith.
At this time, and after victory over heathenism, the church began to merge with state. This eventuated in the elevation of Constantine as the first “Christian” Caesar, which produced a theocratic rule in the Roman Empire. Politics married the Apostolic tradition of passing church authority from Bishop to Bishop, that eventually developed into Papal rule and Magisterial control over the entire Christian church.
The early Protestants, several centuries later, were led by God through studies of Scripture to reform themselves from this theocratic rule that had led the church astray into darkness, oppression and mysticism. Through private study of the Holy Scriptures these Christians were shown the necessity of rescuing the church from institutional control and delivering it back to Jesus Christ and the leading of His Holy Spirit. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and all the other early Reformers taught:
All regenerated Christians are saints:
“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” Romans 1:7
“Now, therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the