Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

The Early Church Example



Most if not all Christian denominations believe that they adhere to the earliest and therefore most valid precepts of Christianity and its church practice. The actual fact is that for the first few centuries after Christ there was no set, fixed understanding of Jesus, salvation, and the church’s role post Christ.


There was no Bible yet since there was no agreed upon scriptural canon. The canonization process occurred centuries after Christ and was as much a political exercise as it was a religious one. The cooperation between the religious and political authorities in the development of the Bible we now have will always raise questions about what prompted some books to be rejected from the canon while others were included. Political expediency inevitably played a role in that selection.


What actually marked the earliest elements of Christianity was the freedom to openly discuss and debate the as yet unfinalized tenets of the subsequent Christian religion. A true return to early Christianity would be to experience a theological free for all in which people were unencumbered by traditional doctrines which could never be challenged. In other words there was no Christian Orthodoxy in the first centuries, so there can be no return to an early unadulterated theology. 


No one need imagine that any denomination’s supposed reverence for early Christianity really involves seeking to re-evaluate and possibly discard any significant aspects of Christian Orthodoxy. Instead appeals to the early church are merely another way to reinforce current doctrinal issues by claiming historical pre-eminence and longevity as solid evidence of a divine theology. Such appeals simply ignore the theological and political realities of that period.