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The History of Christianity #13
Our Scripture verse today is Acts 4:33 which reads: "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
Our quote today is from Timothy Keller. He said, "The early church was strikingly different from the culture around it in this way - the pagan society was stingy with its money and promiscuous with its body. A pagan gave nobody their money and practically gave everybody their body. And the Christians came along and gave practically nobody their body and they gave practically everybody their money."
Today, we are discussing "The Church In Jerusalem" (Part 1) from Justo L. Gonzalez's fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).
The Book of Acts affirms that from the very beginning there was a strong church in Jerusalem. But then that very book moves on to other matters, and tells us very little about the later history of that Christian community. The rest of the New Testament offers a few other bits of information. But it, too, deals mostly with the life of the church in other parts of the empire. Yet, by piecing together what the New Testament tells us with information gathered from other authors, one can come to a general idea of the life of that earliest Christian community and its later history.
Unity and Diversity
The earliest Christian community is often idealized. Peter's firmness and eloquence at Pentecost tend to eclipse his wavering on what ought to be done with the Gentiles who wished to join the church. The possession of all things in common, commendable as it may be, did not abolish all tensions between various groups, for "the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution."
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