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Provide examples of the diversity found in Christianity in its first three centuries.

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Introduction

Provide examples of the diversity found in Christianity in its first three centuries. "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." (1Cor 12: 12-13) The Christian religion is said to be a "diverse phenomenon".1 This is because there is so much diversity existing in it although it claims to be a religion with unity based at the very core of its teachings. According to the Oxford English dictionary, Christianity is"the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ." 2 Considered to be the Messiah and "Son of God", Jesus' teachings and words of wisdom were not recorded until after his death around 30 C.E. The diverse nature of Christianity therefore becomes the main issue as the early Christians question whether or not the information they gain is true. Today, there are many denominations of Christianity proving that even now, it is impossible to know which church is the "true" church to follow. Although all containing certain crucial and similar core messages, all the forms of Christianity are different. This is a result of the early Christians interpreting Jesus' teachings in a way in which they saw fit, therefore spreading their message of God. ...read more.

Middle

Valentius, a Gnostic theologian, further claimed that the emergence of the Demiurge was due to the fall of Sophia the last of the three "aeons". The spiritual world or "pleroma" is compromised of 30 "aeons" emanated by the Primal Ground of Being. Sophia was one of these "aeons".8 The Gnostics argued that the God of the Jews either did not know about the Supreme Being or if he did know, he concealed the identity. The Gnostics went on to argue that Jesus Christ came as a messenger of the Supreme Being to bring "gnosis". As he was Divine, he temporarily inhabited a human body which was that of Jesus. He did not die and he was not resurrected. They were just "play acting" (the doctrine known as "docetism")9 Like the Gnostics, a Christian thinker called Marcion was determined to pull Christianity away from its Jewish roots. He maintained, like the Gnostics, that the God of the Old Testament was a violent God. Jesus' human flesh was an illusion and his "death" ought to be blamed on the Demiurge.10 Marcion further argued that the Old Testament had to go. However, there was a strong opposition to the Gnostics. In particular was Irenaeus of Lyon (a member of the ministry) who argued that Gnosticism contained features of paganism. ...read more.

Conclusion

3 Birger A. Pearson, The emergence of the Christian Religion, (Trinity Press International, 1997), p.169 4 Diarmaid MacCulloch; Groundwork of Christian History; (London: Epworth Press, 1987); p.39 5 F.L. Cross & E.Livinstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 1997) p.683 6 Diarmaid MacCulloch; Groundwork of Christian History; (London: Epworth Press, 1987); p.46 7 F.L. Cross & E.Livinstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 1997) p.684 8 Ibid 9 Diarmaid MacCulloch; Groundwork of Christian History; (London: Epworth Press, 1987); p.46 10 Ibid; p.49 11 F.L. Cross & E.Livinstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 1997) p.684 12 Birger A. Pearson, The emergence of the Christian Religion (Trinity Press International, 1997), p.170 13 Birger A. Pearson, The emergence of the Christian Religion (Trinity Press International, 1997), p.171 14 Lecture notes (Dr Carolyn Muessig) 15 Diarmaid MacCulloch; Groundwork of Christian History; (London: Epworth Press, 1987); p.56 16 Lecture notes (Dr Carolyn Muessig) 17 F.L. Cross & E.Livinstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 1997) p.1107 18 Diarmaid MacCulloch; Groundwork of Christian History; (London: Epworth Press, 1987); p.56 19 F.L. Cross & E.Livinstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church,(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 1997) p.1107 20 Birger A. Pearson, The emergence of the Christian Religion (Trinity Press International, 1997), p.185 ?? ?? ?? ?? AM4431 1 ...read more.

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