My main point, which I think I made in the OP, was: why the need for so many denomonations? Each one of you makes the claim to know "the truth" but hardly any of you agree on the finer points, the nitty gritty.
there are so many denominations because they are being led by man rather then God....the bible is second fiddle.
Everyone has their own ideals about christianity and they teach christianity based on their own ideals and own interpretations.
Then you use an avatar that can be easily associated with atheism. Your avatar is an image created for and used by the rock band Pink Floyd. Did you realize that most, if not all, of the members were or are atheists? All three of the surviving members are.
do you think because i'm religious i dont like good music?
Do you think because im religious i condemn non believers?
Religion should never be about pitting believers against non believers. It may be like that for some groups but its not about that among my group. My group is about worshiping God the way he directs...that is all. Its also about inviting non believers to come and do the same...its not up to us to condemn them for the choice that God gives them.
So says every other christian on this board. Hell, probably in the world. Do you not understand the arrogance/hypocrisy in "The No True Scotsman" fallacy?
yes i know thats the case and yes perhaps it does come across as a little arrogant
but let me put it to you this way. There must be a way to determine if your religion is in harmony with the bible. The way to determine that is to look at the first century congregation that the apostles established and look at the things they did and the way they did them and the way they were organized, you should be able to see if your church is practicing the way christianity was in its original form.
If it is, then its certainly not arrogance to state as much.
Just a simple question with intention of being confrontational. What are your sources for this knowledge, Peg? I feely admit that my Biblical knowledge, while better than that of most Christians I meet, is still dwarfed by those who study the Bible daily. So I really just want to know - how do you know this stuff about the first century church?
I have studied this stuff for a very long time is all. As a JW, we are all students and our meetings are designed to teach...the Watchtower magazines and booklets we produce are teaching material and study aids to give all JWs a solid bible knowledge.
Jesus established the church and he showed how the church should be organized. One thing he stipulated was that there should not be positions among the brothers.
Mathew 20:25-28 writes:
“You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. . . . Anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
we can see examples of how the apostles did not view themselves as any greater then even the new members of the congregation. There is an account about when Peter visits a roman officer named Cornelius and this man fell down at Peters feet, but Peter stopped him from doing that.
Acts 10:24-26 "As Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet and did obeisance to him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying: “Rise; I myself am also a man.”
This shows that first century congregation wasnt split into a clergy and laity.
2ndly, when you look at the greek words used in the original texts, you soon find out that their meaning is different to what translators put to them today.
from pre.sby.te'rous we get the word priest....but this word actually means 'older men' in its original form.
and from e.pi'sko.pos we get the word bishop....but the original word means 'overseer'
Now this is interesting because the church has put bishops in a position 'above' priests....yet the NT writers did not. Have a look at this
Acts 20:17 - 28 writes:
However, from Mi‧le′tus he sent to Eph′e‧sus and called for the older men (presbyteros) of the congregation. 18 When they got to him he said to them: ...28 Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed YOU overseers (e.pi.sko'pous), to shepherd the congregation of God,
Do you see that the NT puts overseers (bishops) and priests (older men) as one and the same...these older men/priests were appointed by holy spirit to shepherd the congregation...they WERE the overseers/bishops
But in christendom, they have made different positions within their church's and have elevated 'bishops' over 'priests'
First Timothy chapter 3 isn't in the JW Bible? Or was it written after the first Century? It gives qualifications for bishops, and then for deacons.....
I think you're being just a mite selective about what counts as N.T., Peg.
Yes it is in our bible translation, No it wasnt written after the 1st century...but the translation where bishops and deacons is found most certainly was.
The King James Version was translated by men who belonged to the Church of England at a time when the office of “bishops” and “deacons” was in full swing. So when they translated the Greek words episkopos and diakonos (oldermen and assistant/attendant) they did so according to the 'titles' within the church rather then rendering the 'meaning' of the words. This makes it appear to bible readers that bishops and deacons were always a part of the christian church, but by doing a bit of research you'll find that its not the case.
If you look at 'An American Translation' you'll see that it renders these words by their original meaning rather then by the, later evolved, church title. The NWT does this too in 1 Tim 3.
I believe that most Roman historians or chroniclers at the time were either not interested or misinformed about the Christians, and I don't know of any who would have been Christians themselves. So what documentary or archaeological sources do you have other than the New Testament?
you can learn alot about the early church from the writings of tertulian, Origen, Jerome...basically the nicean fathers Wiki give a list of the progression of 'fathers' (another non NT idea) starting with the first, Clement
As christianity got further down the track, you see the result is that the teachings and the organization of the church slowly changed. But the best place to start for church history (besides the NT) is the writings of these early men. Things hadnt changed much in the 2nd century...the bigger changes came around the 3rd century and onward.
Is your assertion that information about the first hundred years of Christianity was transmitted faithfully and accurately, possibly without written records, or at least written records other that what's in the New Testament?
the links i've given are for the written records of early christians which record events that took place within the church. They give a general idea of the going ons within the congregations, but i wouldnt say that they are gospel...some of what they write may or may not be true. But the reason why these writings are valuable is because they record the changes that the church went thru.
I'm not saying that this isn't possible, but neither do I have any reason to assume that the writers of the second century would know much at all about the first Christians were doing. One hundred plus years went by with no centralized leadership, and no generally accepted authoritative texts.
the lives of some of these men overlapped with the earliest christians. Clement of Rome died around 96 as an aged man, and so he lived during the time of the apostles.
and there certainly was a centralized leadership...it began with Jesus, then the Apostles, then the older men of the congregations who were responsible for overseeing the teachings and management of the congregation. One things that proves they were organized is that in various cities, entire libraries of NT writings were compiled and safeguarded. Some of the writers i've named actually mention these libraries.
You also have to consider that just because the NT wasnt 'authorized' until the 3rd century, that doesnt mean there were no authorized texts. The letters of the apostles were circulating among the congregations for a very long time...in fact, if there were no letters circulating, then there would not have been any congregations or any texts to 'authorize'.
Also, the apostles would visit these congregations and in many cases personally deliver the letters of instruction they had written. So its not like the congregations got an annoymous letter and were left wondering if it was from the apostles or not. They knew who the writings came from because they were hand delivered.
I believe that the early church also functioned largely in secret. The very period that you want to assert as the model for the "true" church is the one that's the least documented.
im afraid thats a misconception. The church was so well documented that there are literally thousands of ancient texts still available today. Much more of the bible exists then does some of our most respected ancient historians. Its true that there are only a handful of secular writings about the christians, but this is only to be expected considering the christians were such a new religion.
Zen Monkey writes:
What's your basis for believing that Origen had accurate information to base his own writings on?
I dont subscribe to origens teachings...but they are good to compare them to NT teachings because you can clearly see where much of the current non-biblical ideas sprang from. I believe he was a sincere teacher, but he became very influenced by pagan thought. He introduced the idea of allegory into scripture, he dabbled in greek philosophy and he also taught that Jesus did not have a beginning which led to the trinity teaching later on.
So he's a good example to see how the teachings of christianity changed form their original form to what we have today. One good thing that comes from Origen is that in the 'Hexapla' he used God’s name in its original form, called the Tetragrammaton. This provides powerful evidence that the early Christians knew and used the personal name of God Jehovah because the church has since removed the name of Jehovah from the bible entirely. This confuses the issue of who the true God is...is it Jehovah, or is it Jesus? When there is only one God named in the bible, the issue is removed and Jesus is God....hence they can 'prove' their trinity doctrine.