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Showing posts from July, 2019

Early Church Dynamics: Disappointed Enthusiasm or Missional Vigour?

Was there a crisis over a supposed ‘delay’ of Christ’s reappearing—His Second Coming—in the early Church?   Did the early Church set itself up one way only to have to reorient itself later in the 1 st century when believers’ initial enthusiasm about an imminent return of Christ was thwarted?   The purpose of this essay is to challenge the thesis that (1) there was a ‘delay’ in the Church’s thinking about Christ’s return; (2) that this was the catalyst for the development of the Church from a non-eschatological/apocalyptic version of Christianity into a different version, ‘early Catholicism’; and (3) that the early Church maintained views, such as its understanding of Christian teaching (theology and ethics) or its ecclesial structure, that were not compatible with a focus on the question of Jesus’ imminent return.   This discussion is of particular concern for missions, as will be shown.   It offers a developmental view of the Church in the 1 st century that finds disappointed enth