On September 12, 2020, the first-ever English language debate between a message pastor (Jesse Smith of Akron, OH) and an ex-message Christian (Rod Bergen from the Off The Shelf podcast) took place. The discussion was moderated by Jay Cox and Tim Kraus.
This article is one in a series on the history of the Church - you are currently on the topic that is in bold:
- Church History
- Early Heretics
- Popes Through History
- Ethiopian Christianity
- Non-Catholic Christians
- Individual Christians
- Persecuting Christians
- The Date of Easter
Before ascending into Heaven, Jesus had told his disciples to return to Jerusalem and stay there until they were "endued with power from on high." On the day of Pentecost, a rushing wind from heaven filled the room in Jerusalem where the disciples were sitting, tongues of fire appeared above the 120 people who had gathered to pray and, running into the streets, the disciples spoke in foreign languages understood by strangers in the city.
The people asked: "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?"
The disciple Peter replied:
|This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:16, 36)|
The people then asked Peter saying: Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Peter again replied:
- "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
This call to repent is still heard around the World today.
The Early Church
The healings, miracles, and teachings that followed Jesus' ministry also flourished in the early church. They healed the sick, raised the dead, spoke in tongues, and prophesied in Jesus' Name. The persecution that followed Jesus' ministry also followed the early church. As evidence of the truth of Jesus' resurrection, 10 of the 11 remaining disciples (Judas Iscariot having hung himself after betraying Jesus) were martyred for their Christian testimony. The 11th disciple, John, was sent to a penal colony on the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ".
One of the people who persecuted the early church was a Pharisee named Saul. While heading to Damascus from Jerusalem, a bright light appeared to Saul and said "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest." Saul then changed his name to Paul and became a great Christian Apostle, writing a significant portion of the Christian New Testament.
Peter was the first disciple to preach to the Gentiles (those who were not Jews), and found that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as it had fallen on the Jews. Inspired, Paul began missionary journeys around the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, preaching, healing, and being persecuted.
Both Peter and Paul prophecy in their writings of false doctrines arising in the church. Paul even said "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). The gospel that Paul and the Disciples preached is recorded in the New Testament. The only way to verify whether historic or modern churches teach correct or false doctrines is to see if they hold to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles above all other teachings, and see if they have the fruit of the Spirit.
The early Christian church was also persecuted, and did not persecute heathens or other Christians. Any Church guilty of persecution does not follow the example of Jesus Christ set forth by the Apostles in the Bible.