First Century Writings, First Century, A History of the Christian Church, Lesson 2, 6-9

In these early times, every Christian church consisted of the people, their leaders and the ministers or deacons. When we consider it, these three elements belong in every religious society. The people were undoubtedly first in authority, for the apostles showed by their example that nothing of importance was to be carried out without the consent of the people. It was the people therefore, who elected their teachers and elders, or accepted them from another assembly. The same people confirmed or rejected the laws proposed to them by their leaders, expelled the profligate and unworthy members and restored the pertinent.

There reigned in the church a perfect equality regardless of their everyday rank, and this was shown by their indiscriminate mixing and their calling each other “brother and sister.” At this time, there was no distinction made between Christians, but whoever acknowledged Christ as the Savior was immediately baptized and received into the church.But when the church began to grow, the Christians were divided into two orders: the believers and the learners. The believers had been baptized and were admitted to vote in assemblies, as well as to receive communion. The learners were not admitted to public prayer, communion or the ecclesiastical assemblies.

The rulers of this early church were the Presbyters, or elders. but their duties were not always the same and the division gave rise to the division we have today… the teaching elder and the ruling elder. Undoubtedly, from the first, the church was provided with deacons to serve the people and it is believed that the young men who carried out the bodies of Aramas and Sapphira were deacons. We should recognize that the Bishop in the First Century was not the Bishop of today’s church. This First Century bishop was a ruler over only his own church, and there was any association or council of churches in this First Century.

The Books of the New Testament were all written during this First Century. When they were assembled into one volume is not known, but the first four Gospels were assembled during the life of John. There is no reason why we shouldn’t consider that the rest of the New Testament was also assembled during this century. In addition to the Gospel writers, there were two other noted writers of this century. They were Clement, Bishop of Rome, and Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who was fed to the lions by the Emperor Trojan. However, the writings of both of these men have suffered so through interpreters who were too zealous in putting words in the writer’s mouth, that there is suspicion about the real author of all works attributed to them.

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