Men Who Changed New Testament Doctrine  


The Organization of the Church Changed

After the establishment of the church in Jerusalem in 29 A.D. it spread throughout the Roman Empire at a rapid rate. At first the apostles played the dominant role in its spread and growth. Soon we see other men called evangelist taking on the important role of evangelizing. Some assisted the apostles while others went in different directions.

Next elders appear in local congregations. This is not strange as synagogues had elders. The work of elders in the synagogues was similar to the work of elders in the church. No doubt in Jerusalem whole synagogues were converted.

It was an easy transition for synagogue elders to adapt to the work of an elder in the church. At the close of Paul’s first missionary journey he and Barnabas returned over the same route they had already taken appointing elders in the churches they had established.

The main difference would be that these Christian elders received some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which would enable them to teach and stabilize the churches they oversaw as there was no written word (Bible) that soon. Still later deacons appear.

There was opposition to the doctrine Paul and Barnabas taught. It came from Judaizing teachers who seem to follow Paul everywhere he would go. As soon as Paul would move on the Judizers moved in and would attempt to convince the new Christians they were to observe certain things set forth in the Old Testament, especially circumcision.

These false teachers were converted Jews who taught that certain items in Judaism were still intact. This was especially true in reference to the act of circumcision. They argued that Gentile converts should be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas made a special trip to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles and elders about what these false teachers were saying.

The Judaizers claimed they had been sent out by the church in Jerusalem which was false. The matter was settled but it did not stop the Judaizers as they continued to infiltrate many churches with this false doctrine.

Another very disturbing false doctrine was Gnosticism. It declared that Jesus did not come in the flesh because anything material was evil. Thus, Jesus would not come in the flesh because this would be sinful. He only appeared to have flesh. What they saw was only an illusion. This false doctrine would continue to be a thorn in the side of the church on into the third century.

The second century would bring in a second generation of Christians. These Christians seemed to have been faithful to the Scriptures with the exception of the role of elders in the local churches. The apostles had seen to it that a plurality of elders existed in each church. There were qualifications set forth for a man to qualify to become an elder in the church. They considered elders would serve in this office for a lifetime.

For some reason this second generation seem to feel the church would functioned better under the leadership of one man rather than a plurality of men.

The names elder and bishop both applied to the same work. The apostles made no distinction between the two names but later on churches selected one man to be the primary leader of the church. He was addressed as the “Bishop.”

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Men Who Changed New Testament Doctrine    


"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."