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Volume V: The Formation of a Church

THE STORY OF THE CHRISTIANS continues with VOLUME V: THE FORMATION OF A CHURCH. At the Feast of Pentecost, the Spirit descended upon the Apostles. They immediately set about preaching and baptizing in Jerusalem, where a community of believers in Jesus the Messiah began to grow. And as the news about Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, spread like wildfire through the synagogues of the Roman Empire, that loosely organized congregation of believers in Jerusalem was about to start morphing into a church, an organized institution with set and well-defined characteristics. For this to transpire several developments had to occur:

Volume V:

The Formation of a Church

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  1. A hierarchy began to coalesce.
  2. The liturgy became more elaborate and then regularized.
  3. The Christians began to collect their own corpus of sacred scripture.
  4. A unique Christ-centered theology began to evolve.
  5. A recognizably Christian artistic vocabulary emerged.

None of this happened in a vacuum. There were powerful political, linguistic, theological, philosophical, ethnic, cultural, religious, and artistic forces pulling and pushing the multitude of Christian communities (ekklesiai) in different directions. That a fairly unified organization even emerged, albeit briefly, from all this chaos is nothing short of incredible and rather impressive. In VOLUME V: THE FORMATION OF A CHURCH we trace the evolution of the ekklesia from a simple congregation based in Jerusalem into a complex church organization that spanned the Roman Empire.

Chapters in VOLUME V:

  1. Ekklesia: From Congregation to Church
  2. The Formation of a Hierarchy
  3. The Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome (132-135)
  4. The Bishop of Rome
  5. The Formation of a Liturgy: Baptism
  6. The Formation of a Liturgy: The Eucharist
  7. The Formation of a Corpus of Sacred Literature
  8. The Formation of a Theology
  9. The Gnostic and Docetist Visions of the Christ
  10. The Roman Empire: “From a Kingdom of Gold to One of Iron and Rust”

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