(This is the second of a three-part post.)
“Go…make disciples of all nations“
(Matthew 28.19 NIV)
Christianity is supposedly an “inclusive religion”. Last post, we took a brief look at how this commandment was enacted. In this post we take not quite so brief a look at how Christianity has come to be an exclusive club often open to only a few who share the same belief systems within Christianity. Next time we will close our look at Christianity as an exclusive religion.
Christianity started being exclusive while still within the Jewish religion. Judaism excluded the followers of “The Way” (i.e.: the first Christians) from the very religion from which it sprang even from the advent of the ministry of the Christ. (Read Christ as the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah for the English word Savior.)
In the A.D. 60’s, while the Christians are hunted to the edge of extinction, they become more and more exclusive – much of which is for their own preservation. The Christians were generally shunned from their birth religion and polite society. At the same time the Christians were beginning to separate out certain of their own would-be members for various beliefs about Jesus bar Joseph of Nazareth, the Son of GOD. Such factions were labeled heretics because they might believe that Jesus was too divine or not divine enough to actually believe that Jesus was GOD become man to live among us. (e.g.: Essenes; Gnostics).
Christianity suffered a major split by A.D. 1000 becoming the eastern (Eastern Orthodox) and western (Roman Catholic) churches. At the time the center for the Christian church had moved from Jerusalem to Rome. Rome was the center of the Roman Empire. It was a logical choice. And, it was determined to be the catholic (read: universal) church – thus, the Roman Catholic Church.
Next post will be more about the exclusivity of Christianity.
Loving and Challenging GOD,
Thank You for giving us “The Way” to walk the same path as did our Savior Jesus Christ. Forgive us our faltering, stumbling steps.