From the beginning, followers of Jesus have believed in the importance of community. You can look throughout the whole New Testament and you won’t ever find someone who comes to faith in Jesus and then doesn’t get connected to the community, the body of Christ, the Church.
This session will be a brief overview of what this community of believers that we call the Church has looked like over the centuries. The outline below follows along with the video and includes a few reflection questions for you at the end.
Outline: A Brief History of the Church
New Testament and the Early Church
The Book of Acts -Acts 1:8b, Jesus says “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts follows this outline as the Gospel spreads through Jerusalem, then the surrounding areas of Judea and Samaria, and then to the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire, and now literally to the ends of the earth as we continue to share the Good News of Jesus. -Peter’s Ministry (Acts 1-12; Peter is sometimes called the Apostle to the Jews) -Paul’s Ministry (Acts 13-28; Paul is sometimes called the Apostle to the Gentiles)
From Early Church to the Medieval Church
The Church Fathers
7 Ecumenical Councils
The Church in the Middle Ages
The Reformation (1500s and 1600s)
Lutheran (most conservative and earliest; Luther said to fix what was wrong with the Roman Catholic church, especially with the Mass or Worship)
Reformed (middle of the road; Regulative or Scripture Principle: that all of faith and life is regulated by the Word of God; this is the tradition Presbyterians come out of!)
Radical or Anabaptist (most radical and last part of the Reformation; this group said the Reformation hadn’t gone far enough; began rebaptizing those who had been baptized as children; Baptists are NOT direct descendants of this movement)
Our Contemporary Context
Mainline Protestants not enjoying the influence we used to
Working together across traditions!
For Your Reflection:
Did you learn anything new about the history of the Church? Is there anything you want to learn more about?
How does the Church’s past help you see where you stand? How can it help guide our church’s future?