EARLY CHRISTIANITY

 

 

 

Ante-Nicene Age - Nicene Creed

 

The Ante-Nicene Age spans from the 2nd century to 325 in the 4th century when the first Nicene Creed was adopted. This era had a significant impact on the unity of Christian doctrine and the spread of faith to a greater world. 

 

 

During this time of the Roman Empire, early Christian bishops traveled to the town of Nicaea at the direction of emperior Constantine the Great. Today, the town is called Iznik in the provence of Bursa, Turkey. It's located in a fertile basin at the eastern edge of Lake Ascanius and surrounded by hills.

 

Constantine called the clerics together to unify the 4th century church in the face of growing theological disputes, primarily over the nature and divinity of Jesus Christ. 

 

Some 300 bishops gathered in the emperor's grand lakeside palace. In the center of the chamber, on a throne, lay the four gospels. Constantine was dressed in a purple gown and wore a silver diadem. He opened the Council of Nicaea by saying, "I rejoice to see you here, yet I should be more pleased to see unity and affection among you." 

 

The dispute began when a bishop of early Christianity preached Christ was created by God. This horrified many clerics, who argued that Christ co-existed eternally with God.

 

Constantine told the delegates assembled in the Senatus Palace in Nicaea to resolve their differences. Many bishops argued that God the Father created Christ the Son before the beginning of time, while others asserted that Christ had the same divine essence as God the Father.

 

If Christ is not God, then how can he overcome the infinite gap between God and man? 

 

The bishops finally voted and approved the Nicene Creed in 325 AD. But disagreement over the meaning of Scripture on the deity of Christ continued for more than fifty years. Another council of bishops met in Constantinople in 381 AD and adopted an expanded form of the earlier creed.

 

The creed affirms the doctrine of the Trinity: that God is three "persons" (Father, Son, and Spirit) in one nature or essence. Each person is fully divine, yet each is distinct.

 

 

 

Today . . . people who reject the doctrine of the Trinity argue that it was neither taught by Jesus nor part of the early church, but rather was imposed by Constantine on the bishops who gathered at Nicaea. But this was not the case. The doctrine is at the heart of Christ's Great Commission in the New Testament, which tells believers to ". . . go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. . . ." The doctrine was a widely held belief before the council met. Among the leading church fathers who defended the doctrine were Polycarp, Justin, Martyr, Ignatius, Tertullian, and Origen. 

 

 

 

What We Learn from the Early Church

Tim Keller of the Gospel Coaliton  Read HERE

 

What Do Earliest Christian Manuscripts Tell Us About Their Readers?

Dr. Larry Hurtado of the University of Edinburgh  Read HERE

 

A Survey of Church History, Part 1 A.D. 100 to 600 (Video Series)

Dr. Robert Godfrey of Ligonier Ministries  Read HERE

 

What Really Happened at Nicaea?

Christian Research Institute  Read HERE

 

Submerged Church Honoring Council of Nicaea in AD 325 Discovered

Associates for Biblical Research  Read HERE

 

Translations of Writings of Ante-Nicene Fathers To A.D 325

Reprint of Edinburgh Edition, 1913  Read HERE

 

Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume One, by Phillip Schaff

Christian Classics Ethereal Library  Read HERE

 

Guide to Early Church Documents

Internet Christian Library  Read HERE

 

Comprensive Biblical & Theological Education

Biblical Training.org  Read HERE

 

High Quality Biblical Material On Web

Theologyontheweb.org  Read HERE

 

Persistent Myths About Origins of New Testament

Drs. Michael Kruger and Don Carson  Watch Video 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Road to Nicaea

 

A Marriage Made in Byzantium

 

Constantine and the Bishops

 

Athanasius: Defense of Orthodoxy

 

Eusebius: Father of Church History

 

Why do we need the Nicene Creed?

 

The Christian Codex

 

Ancient Versions of New Testament

 

Life and Times of Early Christianity

 

Persecution of Early Christians

 

How Early Christians Worshiped

 

Liturgy of the Early Church

 

How we got the Bible

 

What Happened to the 12 Apostles?

 

 

 

A Greek doctor named Lucanus penned a personal account of the life of Jesus Christ and his apostles in the first century A.D. Scribes convert the doctor's papyrus scrolls into a single codex, which he then takes on a perilous mission to visit Christian exiles in ancient Bithynia of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).

 

Along the way, the valuable codex falls into the hands of Jews who had fled Jerusalem when Roman legions sacked the city in the year 70. But the Christian book--to be known as the Nicaea Codex--is mysteriously lost and becomes the object of a relentless quest over time and place by people who are determined to possess it at all costs.

 

What finally happens to the priceless codex is revealed in the novel's epilogue that will surpise you. The Nicaea Trilogy is a sprawling saga told in three novellas under one cover. It unfolds against a backdrop of persecution and war during the Roman Empire.

 

And then comes hope with the crowning of the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, and the adoption of a new statement of faith called the Nicene Creed. 

 

 

"Entertaining and illuminating" -- Rodney Stark, author of The Triumpy of Christianity

 

"Knows how to spin a story" -- Kathryn Bennett, for Readers' Favoirite

 

"A solid, enjoyable read" -- Historical Novel Society

 

 

The Nicaea Trilogy is published by Redeption Press (ISBN 978-1-63232-885-4)

 

Also available at Amazon,com and Christianbook.com

 

 

Read a Sample Chapter

 

 

A Personal Relationship with Christ

 

A personal relationship with Christ begins at the moment of our salvation. Only when we are born spiritually into God's family do we become members of His spiritual kingdom. While we may not know exactly when this new life begins, we can understand the steps we need to begin this new relationship: 

 

First, admit our lost condition. We come into this world separated from the life of God and absorbed with an interest in finding satisfaction on our own terms.

 

Second, acknowledge what God has done for us. Jesus's death was of infinite value. When He rose from the dead, He proved that He had died in our place to pay the price of all sin--past, present, and future.

 

Third, personally believe and receive God's gift. No one is saved by trying to be good but by trusting in the Good News of Christ.

 

(Adapted from Our Daily Bread)

 

 

 

Drawing Closer to God

 

Give Thanks. Gratitude opens our eyes to all that God is doing around us. It helps us cultivate a heart that is satisfied and trusts God.

 

Pratice Humility. Biblical humility is giving up our own selfish and vain desires so we can do the will of God.

 

Study the Word. We can't become like Christ if we don't know him The Bible is alive and active, and God uses our time reading it to transform our thinking.

 

Memorize Scripture. Bible study helps us know God and his ways, but memorizing scripture keeps His word in our heart.

 

Serve Others. We can grow more like Christ when we look for ways to serve others, to see people as God sees them, and to be willing to help. 

 

Prioritize Prayer. Jesus prayed often, and He made it a priority to get away by himself for regular prayer with the Father. 

 

Die to Self. If we want to grow more like Christ,we need to die to ourselves--our comfort, agenda, ambitions, cravings, and sin. 

 

Transform Thoughts. If we want to grow more like Christ, we have to make a daily decision about what we allow to enter our minds. 

 

Confess and Repent. Confession helps us acknowledge specific sins and weaknesses, and repentance is our declaration to turn from them. 

 

Love One Another. We recognize others' needs before our own, to forgive an offense, to encourage rather than envy, and to bear each other's burdens.

 

(Adapted from article by Lisa Appelo, on iBelieve.com)

 

 

 

 

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