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Christianity in the context of the times

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1. Jesus in the Context of the Times Jesus in the context of the times came during the period of two Jewish factions, the Sadducees and Pharisees. The Sadducees believed there was no oral tradition, only the written word of the Talmud. The Pharisees believed in the oral tradition of the history of the Jews, which included the Ten Commandments and the first five chapters of the Bible. The Second Temple Era is thought to be around 500 years before Jesus’ birth until 70 AD. The First Temple was created by David but destroyed when the Jews were defeated. The Sadducees believed in the Talmud literally. An eye for an eye meant an actual eye for an eye. The Pharisees felt the oral tradition could be interpreted as an eye could be replaced for the value of the eye. Although both the Sadducees and Pharisees fought against each other, both group groups disapproved of Jesus.

Both believed in one God. Jesus was preaching that He was the Messiah. Instead of the law that both Sadducees and Pharisees believed in, Jesus was preaching forgiveness and love. While the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife, the Pharisees thought the way to heaven was by following the law. When Jesus tore down the money changer tables in the Temple, both groups decried him as a sacrilege. Jesus came preaching new concepts that the Jews did not want to listen to at the time.

2. Pivotal Event
I believe the pivotal event in the emergence of Christianity between Jesus’ death and the end of the Roman Empire was the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine I. I think if any other Roman Emperor such as Caligula, Nero, or any other save for Constantine had promoted Christianity than Christianity would have remained a cult and not grown. However, since Constantine, I had many military victories and his greatness helped promote Christianity.

3. Baptism
In Catholicism anyone baptized is saved. Children are baptized as soon as possible to save their immortal soul. This practice uses baptism as a way to be saved. On the other hand, Calvinists believe only someone who has accepted Jesus in their heart should be baptized. A preacher must talk and be convinced of the individual’s sincerity. This type of baptism is used to show they have been saved. For a Calvinist to submit to baptism and not be saved only infuriates God. It would be better to be saved and not baptized than be unsaved and baptized.

4. Schisms
Two theological issues that caused the Reformation was King Henry VIII declaring himself not under the authority of the Pope. Henry became head of the new English Church. The second theological issue was the Bible. The Catholic Bible was in Latin. The Reformation advocates, including a former priest Martin Luther, wanted the Bible translated into everyday language for pastors to study on their own. The fear was Catholic Priests were not interpreting the Scriptures right. If everyone could read the Bible, religious decisions could be made by the believer, not the church. William Tyndale printed Bibles and promoted the English version of the Bible before King James released a legal copy.

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