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How were the doctrines formed in the early church?

To listen to Nancy's full response on Mornings with Kelli and Steve on Moody Radio, here!


It is helpful to note that the New Testament, as we know it today, came long after the first Jewish Christians lived. The early church used the Old Testament exclusively in the years following the resurrection of Jesus. When the church spread outside of Jerusalem letters were sent to the different churches to encourage, to admonish and to teach the truth of Jesus and His teachings.

When people forgot what was taught by Jesus or exactly what happened to Jesus, letters were written by those who had been close to Jesus or, as in Paul’s case, had a personal encounter with Jesus. 

Long before councils were ever convened, Christians, especially local church elders, were constantly collecting, evaluating and deciding which of the many writings of their day carried the authority of the Apostles. 

The doctrines of the church are a reflection of what Christ taught and what was originally set by the disciples of Christ. Paul recorded the New Testament doctrine. in Hebrews 6:1-2, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

The point was to explain that they were to move away from the covenant of the law, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to meThe change over time has come from man. When there is a conflict of doctrine, one needs to make sure that it reflects the Truth of the original Scripture and not man or culture.” 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8

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