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Little-known or remarkable facts about worship in the early church

genesisone

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Not sure which forum to put this in. But since it's from  Protestant publication, I thought this might be a good place to start  :).

The thread's subject line is the sub-title of this article.

Perhaps our Protestant friends might like to comment as to why these facts might be "little-known or remarkable".
 

Volnutt

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In the first century, the Lord’s Supper included not only the bread and the cup but an entire meal. As part of the meal, neighbors who had quarreled made peace again.
This part has always been interesting to me. Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect? I can understand why the Church would want to separate out the Eucharist proper given the way people were abusing the meal as at Corinth.
 

scamandrius

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genesisone said:
Not sure which forum to put this in. But since it's from  Protestant publication, I thought this might be a good place to start  :).

The thread's subject line is the sub-title of this article.

Perhaps our Protestant friends might like to comment as to why these facts might be "little-known or remarkable".
As a former Protestant, these facts are probably "little known" simply because history for a Protestant generally doesn't extend further back than 50 years at most. Hence, why they are constantly reinventing the wheel and then are "surprised" to learn that something they are doing now is actually reminiscent of Christianity 1800 years ago.  But, upon realization of that, they will continue to reinvent the wheel so that they are ever-changing in an attempt to remain "hip" and "relevant" or "contemporary."  And the downward spiral continues.
 

rakovsky

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Volnutt said:
In the first century, the Lord’s Supper included not only the bread and the cup but an entire meal. As part of the meal, neighbors who had quarreled made peace again.
This part has always been interesting to me. Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect?
Yes.
 

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scamandrius said:
genesisone said:
Not sure which forum to put this in. But since it's from  Protestant publication, I thought this might be a good place to start  :) .

The thread's subject line is the sub-title of this article.

Perhaps our Protestant friends might like to comment as to why these facts might be "little-known or remarkable".
As a former Protestant, these facts are probably "little known" simply because history for a Protestant generally doesn't extend further back than 50 years at most. Hence, why they are constantly reinventing the wheel and then are "surprised" to learn that something they are doing now is actually reminiscent of Christianity 1800 years ago.  But, upon realization of that, they will continue to reinvent the wheel so that they are ever-changing in an attempt to remain "hip" and "relevant" or "contemporary."  And the downward spiral continues.

Exactly! There are tens of articles over the internet just like that.


https://imperfectpastor.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/what-worship-looked-like-in-the-early-church/
http://www.laudemont.org/a-witec.htm


I remember a former Protestant who was then Orthodox and is now an Atheist (I forgot his name, some of you may know) saying that he turned towards the Orthodox Church at first by studying early liturgy.
 

Volnutt

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Frank Schaeffer, Jr?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Volnutt said:
Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect?
I would say it is reminiscent of the meal rather than being a remnant of it.  It's not like "coffee hour" has been practiced as a consistent tradition in the Church through the centuries or across the earth. 
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect?
I would say it is reminiscent of the meal rather than being a remnant of it.  It's not like "coffee hour" has been practiced as a consistent tradition in the Church through the centuries or across the earth.
A revived tradition, perhaps?
 

Mor Ephrem

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rakovsky said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect?
I would say it is reminiscent of the meal rather than being a remnant of it.  It's not like "coffee hour" has been practiced as a consistent tradition in the Church through the centuries or across the earth.
A revived tradition, perhaps?
It would be interesting to trace the history of "coffee hour".
 

Volnutt

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Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect?
I would say it is reminiscent of the meal rather than being a remnant of it.  It's not like "coffee hour" has been practiced as a consistent tradition in the Church through the centuries or across the earth.
Ok.
 

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I'll comment. I recall one day, as a newly minted Calvinist, lamenting that the local Christian bookstore only carried history as far back as the Azusa street revival. Where were all the books on Luther and the reformation? Yep, I actually thought I was being radical by pushing things back a further 500 years. Imagine how my mind was blown when I eventually got a copy of the Didache and other early church writings and discovered that, crikey, these ancient Christians seemed to believe the same sorts of things as me. For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along. So essentially, one word. Ignorance.
 

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Eruvande said:
I'll comment. I recall one day, as a newly minted Calvinist, lamenting that the local Christian bookstore only carried history as far back as the Azusa street revival. Where were all the books on Luther and the reformation? Yep, I actually thought I was being radical by pushing things back a further 500 years. Imagine how my mind was blown when I eventually got a copy of the Didache and other early church writings and discovered that, crikey, these ancient Christians seemed to believe the same sorts of things as me. For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along. So essentially, one word. Ignorance.
Good example.

The writings from 50-200 AD outside the Bible don't get emphasized by the Reformed, and "original" Christianity gets reinterpreted by Reformed to meet their own expectations of the world. eg. Reformed don't believe Jesus' spirit body could be in food on earth, so based on that presumption they reinterpreted the Eucharist food to be originally only symbolic and a tool. Calvin was open about his reasoning on that.
 

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Eruvande said:
Imagine how my mind was blown when I eventually got a copy of the Didache and other early church writings and discovered that, crikey, these ancient Christians seemed to believe the same sorts of things as me. For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along.
And for a while, I went through a lot of mental gymnastics trying to figure out how those early church writings could be rationally interpreted in a Calvinist sense, unwilling to accept the idea that the Church has apostasized since the 2nd century.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
Would you say that coffee hour is a remnant of the "entire meal" aspect?
I would say it is reminiscent of the meal rather than being a remnant of it.  It's not like "coffee hour" has been practiced as a consistent tradition in the Church through the centuries or across the earth.
A revived tradition, perhaps?
It would be interesting to trace the history of "coffee hour".
Maybe if one was over caffeinated and needed to sleep?  8)

Seriously, is it true that a long time ago prior to our current formal liturgy, the Apostles and their followers would preach of 2 to 3 to 4 hours first, then Celebrate?
I simply find that a sweet picture. Hope it's true.
 

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[quote author=Eruvande]For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along.
[/quote]

You may have read Acts chapter 20:

Paul — verses 29-30 said:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
An open and general question in relation to this: Would it be possible to be an Orthodox Christian while rejecting several Church Fathers' teachings as corrupt? Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
 

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The existence of false teachers doesn't wholesale cancel out ' the gates of hell shall not prevail'...
 

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sestir said:
An open and general question in relation to this: Would it be possible to be an Orthodox Christian while rejecting several Church Fathers' teachings as corrupt?
Yes, but you would need to be very careful and accept other fathers and not reject them wholesale.
sestir said:
Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
It sounds like you are pushing things. Clement was a 1st century bishop of Rome, IIRC. This would suggest that the first or second generation of mainstream Christians collectively had many corrupt teachings.
 

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The author of that piece produced a film "Holiness in Tertullian."  Reading that reminded me why I am so thankful to no longer be a Methodist, because (a) in Methodism, even though John Wesley fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays and reccommended the practice, no one actually bothered to pass the down or teach it to most Methodists, (b) the "little known facts" mentioned actually are "little known" rather than "basic and foundational" and (c) you have scholars admiring Tertullian in the context of "holiness," which becomes chilling in light of Tertullian's apostasy to Montanism and the fact that the Charismatic or Pentecostal movement originated from some of the outlying sects of the Wesleyan "holiness movement." (Wesleyan "entire sanctification" as a doctrine on the other hand was based directly on Theosis).
 

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sestir said:
[quote author=Eruvande]For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along.
You may have read Acts chapter 20:

Paul — verses 29-30 said:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
An open and general question in relation to this: Would it be possible to be an Orthodox Christian while rejecting several Church Fathers' teachings as corrupt? Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
[/quote]

Which teachings? Keep in mind how many Orthodox disagree with St. Augustine on some things.
 

TheTrisagion

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sestir said:
[quote author=Eruvande]For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along.
You may have read Acts chapter 20:

Paul — verses 29-30 said:
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
An open and general question in relation to this: Would it be possible to be an Orthodox Christian while rejecting several Church Fathers' teachings as corrupt? Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
[/quote]
I take exception to St. Clement of Rome's belief that the phoenix was a real animal. It isn't like they were infallible. Obviously if you are going to take exception to something like the virgin birth or something, that would certainly pose a problem if you wish to be an Orthodox Christian.
 

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rakovsky] [quote author=sestir said:
Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
It sounds like you are pushing things. Clement was a 1st century bishop of Rome, IIRC. This would suggest that the first or second generation of mainstream Christians collectively had many corrupt teachings.[/quote]

I think it was with Clement like with Apollos:
Acts 18:24 said:
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.
Clement may have been skilled at leadership, perhaps schooled in it. That's my impression based on reading the letter to the Hebrews and parts of 1 Clement.

Yet even though Apollos was early and "competent in the Scriptures", "when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (v26)". Similarly Clement was certainly convincing and appreciated by his contemporaries, but possibly in part by means of knowledge and ideology of non-Christian origin.
 

minasoliman

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Are you suggesting that Clement of Rome wrote his epistle BEFORE knowing anything about the Christian faith????
 

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sestir said:
rakovsky] [quote author=sestir said:
Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
It sounds like you are pushing things. Clement was a 1st century bishop of Rome, IIRC. This would suggest that the first or second generation of mainstream Christians collectively had many corrupt teachings.
I think it was with Clement like with Apollos:
Acts 18:24 said:
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.
Clement may have been skilled at leadership, perhaps schooled in it. That's my impression based on reading the letter to the Hebrews and parts of 1 Clement.

Yet even though Apollos was early and "competent in the Scriptures", "when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (v26)". Similarly Clement was certainly convincing and appreciated by his contemporaries, but possibly in part by means of knowledge and ideology of non-Christian origin.
[/quote]
Clement was bishop of Rome in the 1st century, Apollos was not.
When you say Clement was wrong on many things, that starts to go in the direction of saying that the first century Christians were wrong on many things.

If you say that the Pope and numerous Catholic theologians are wrong on many things today, the implication is that Catholics under him are wrong on many things too. Of course, EOs would agree with that. But we don't agree with saying that the 1st-2nd century mainstream key leaders and theologians were wrong on many things about Christianity.

Orthodoxy is 1st-2nd century mainstream Christianity.

The modern Reformed movement says that they agree with their main Book, but not with the Christians themselves on some major things, and they use materialistic rationalism to justify their arguments against 1st-2nd c. Christians. The problem is that 1st-2nd c. Christians were not modern materialistic rationalists, and nor was their main Book.
 

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rakovsky said:
Orthodoxy is 1st-2nd century mainstream Christianity.
I think this and the advice from Trisagion together form a good answer to my question. Thank you both!
 

Volnutt

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sestir said:
rakovsky] [quote author=sestir said:
Let's say if someone (me obviously  ::)) wish to take exception to many of the teachings of Clement of Rome, Hippolytus and Irenaeus?
It sounds like you are pushing things. Clement was a 1st century bishop of Rome, IIRC. This would suggest that the first or second generation of mainstream Christians collectively had many corrupt teachings.
I think it was with Clement like with Apollos:
Acts 18:24 said:
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.
Clement may have been skilled at leadership, perhaps schooled in it. That's my impression based on reading the letter to the Hebrews and parts of 1 Clement.

Yet even though Apollos was early and "competent in the Scriptures", "when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (v26)". Similarly Clement was certainly convincing and appreciated by his contemporaries, but possibly in part by means of knowledge and ideology of non-Christian origin.
[/quote]

Of course, none of this applies to Sts. Ireneus and Hippolytus, whom you also mention.
 

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primuspilus said:
Could I have some examples of teachings of St. Clement that you have a problem with?

PP
I'm curious about this as well. I've read St. Clement's writings a number of times (he was the first Church Father I began reading when exploring Orthodoxy), and I can't really recall much that I found to be in any way out of line with what Scripture teaches.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
primuspilus said:
Could I have some examples of teachings of St. Clement that you have a problem with?

PP
I'm curious about this as well. I've read St. Clement's writings a number of times (he was the first Church Father I began reading when exploring Orthodoxy), and I can't really recall much that I found to be in any way out of line with what Scripture teaches.
Maybe he's thinking of Clement of Alexandria:


"Those whom nature has joined in wedlock need the Educator that they might learn not to celebrate the mystic rites of nature during the day, nor like the rooster copulate at dawn, or after they have come from church, or even from the market, when they should be praying or reading or performing the good works that are best done by day."

 

Mor Ephrem

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NicholasMyra said:
TheTrisagion said:
primuspilus said:
Could I have some examples of teachings of St. Clement that you have a problem with?

PP
I'm curious about this as well. I've read St. Clement's writings a number of times (he was the first Church Father I began reading when exploring Orthodoxy), and I can't really recall much that I found to be in any way out of line with what Scripture teaches.
Maybe he's thinking of Clement of Alexandria:


"Those whom nature has joined in wedlock need the Educator that they might learn not to celebrate the mystic rites of nature during the day, nor like the rooster copulate at dawn, or after they have come from church, or even from the market, when they should be praying or reading or performing the good works that are best done by day."
Thank God for electricity.
 

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Eruvande said:
I'll comment. I recall one day, as a newly minted Calvinist, lamenting that the local Christian bookstore only carried history as far back as the Azusa street revival. Where were all the books on Luther and the reformation? Yep, I actually thought I was being radical by pushing things back a further 500 years. Imagine how my mind was blown when I eventually got a copy of the Didache and other early church writings and discovered that, crikey, these ancient Christians seemed to believe the same sorts of things as me. For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along. So essentially, one word. Ignorance.
This is my experience too. There is the pervasive idea in contemporary Protestantism that the Church fell away almost immediately after the death of the Apostles, or at best it slid within the first two or three centuries into apostasy. When challenged on what this means, most Evangelicals attribute it to Constantine and the Council of Nicaea if they have heard of these. I studied theology in a Pentecostal Bible college and if pushed, I simply regurgitated this. However, the incongruity here is twofold:

1) The Biblical canon was "set" by all accounts later than Constantine, yet Evangelicals would not dare alter it either by removing a book or adding one (Revelation 22 is often cited, as well as 2 Timothy 3:16). The same Church that agreed the canon also had many practices that Evangelicals would reject outright for being "unbiblical".

2) The period after the Apostles is not some sort of dark age of which we know nothing, but we have plenty of writings from the first three centuries, including the Didache from the first century. Despite all the talk of "returning to the early church", I was almost entirely ignorant that we could actually find out more about their teaching and practice than the scant details we find in Acts and what we can piece together from the epistles.

I am still attending an evangelical church at present, but sadly I find most reactions to my comments so far are either some level of disbelief or simply apathy. "So what about these writings? We have the Bible and this doesn't sound very seeker sensitive/trendy/relevant"...
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
I am still attending an evangelical church at present, but sadly I find most reactions to my comments so far are either some level of disbelief or simply apathy. "So what about these writings? We have the Bible and this doesn't sound very seeker sensitive/trendy/relevant"...
Protestants in general seem to give a mystical outturn to the Bible, as if it was handwritten by God like Muslims believe the Quran to have been. This gets so unhistorical with so much time until full development and so much textual variation that IMO it kind of explains  why some sects eventually sticked to KJV-Onlyism. I myself went through a bit of Bible-overrating in reconversion simply due to reading too much Protestant apologetics and this kind of anti-Protestant apologetics that will try to use solely the Bible to disprove that point, in some kind of "turning sola scriptura against itself" that I personally think that harmed me as a newby.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
Eruvande said:
I'll comment. I recall one day, as a newly minted Calvinist, lamenting that the local Christian bookstore only carried history as far back as the Azusa street revival. Where were all the books on Luther and the reformation? Yep, I actually thought I was being radical by pushing things back a further 500 years. Imagine how my mind was blown when I eventually got a copy of the Didache and other early church writings and discovered that, crikey, these ancient Christians seemed to believe the same sorts of things as me. For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along. So essentially, one word. Ignorance.
This is my experience too. There is the pervasive idea in contemporary Protestantism that the Church fell away almost immediately after the death of the Apostles, or at best it slid within the first two or three centuries into apostasy. When challenged on what this means, most Evangelicals attribute it to Constantine and the Council of Nicaea if they have heard of these. I studied theology in a Pentecostal Bible college and if pushed, I simply regurgitated this. However, the incongruity here is twofold:

1) The Biblical canon was "set" by all accounts later than Constantine, yet Evangelicals would not dare alter it either by removing a book or adding one (Revelation 22 is often cited, as well as 2 Timothy 3:16). The same Church that agreed the canon also had many practices that Evangelicals would reject outright for being "unbiblical".

2) The period after the Apostles is not some sort of dark age of which we know nothing, but we have plenty of writings from the first three centuries, including the Didache from the first century. Despite all the talk of "returning to the early church", I was almost entirely ignorant that we could actually find out more about their teaching and practice than the scant details we find in Acts and what we can piece together from the epistles.

I am still attending an evangelical church at present, but sadly I find most reactions to my comments so far are either some level of disbelief or simply apathy. "So what about these writings? We have the Bible and this doesn't sound very seeker sensitive/trendy/relevant"...
Don't forget

3) the "Constantinan Shift" wasn't universal, as there were many churches located outside of the Roman Empire that weren't impacted much (at least not at first) by his conversion.

For example, the Assyrian Church of the East never held any kind of state power, so if Constantine and the Council of Nicea had not happened, the resulting church probably would have ended up something like ACOTE. And yet the Assyrians used a very similar (not exactly the same) Biblical canon and most of the same practices. Had the Council of Nicea really amounted to an apostasy, then the Assyrians would have been the first to cry foul and sever all ties with the Imperial church, since they would have had no material incentives not to (as they were not under the control of the empire). If anything, the political pressure would have been in the opposite direction, since the Sassanids didn't like Rome.

However that didn't happen; ACOTE accepted the Nicene definition and remained in full or intermittent communion with the Imperial church until at least the 7th century, and when there eventually was a split it was for completely different reasons than the ones a Protestant with a "great apostasy" view of church history would have expected.
 

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Daniel2:47 said:
Eruvande said:
I'll comment. I recall one day, as a newly minted Calvinist, lamenting that the local Christian bookstore only carried history as far back as the Azusa street revival. Where were all the books on Luther and the reformation? Yep, I actually thought I was being radical by pushing things back a further 500 years. Imagine how my mind was blown when I eventually got a copy of the Didache and other early church writings and discovered that, crikey, these ancient Christians seemed to believe the same sorts of things as me. For some reason I had got into my head the notion that pretty early on the faith had been corrupted and we knew next to nothing about how the faith developed until the Reformers came along. So essentially, one word. Ignorance.
This is my experience too. There is the pervasive idea in contemporary Protestantism that the Church fell away almost immediately after the death of the Apostles, or at best it slid within the first two or three centuries into apostasy. When challenged on what this means, most Evangelicals attribute it to Constantine and the Council of Nicaea if they have heard of these. I studied theology in a Pentecostal Bible college and if pushed, I simply regurgitated this. However, the incongruity here is twofold:
That brings up a "chicken or egg" question; is this American Protestant idea influenced by Mormonism (which officially teaches such an apostasy) or did the Mormon view originate from the Protestant one? None of the magisterial reformers held to the early-apostasy view (the Anabaptists were a different story). Martin Luther taught a relatively late "falling away" around 1054, to the extent that he viewed the EO church as an uncorrupted one and supported reunion (although his own theology, perhaps due to ignorance, was different from that of the EO).

In contrast, John Calvin put the date earlier; he viewed St. Gregory the Great as the last good pope. John Knox was the most extreme in that he did blame Constantine for the "great apostasy" and dated it around the time of Nicea, even though he didn't reject Trinitarianism.
 
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