what was the first christian religion?

What was the first religion in the New Testament. Some say Catholic. Some say Pentecostal. Some say other things. In Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost, Pentecostal was formed. They may not have called themselves that, but they did preach and teach the same thing. In filling of the Holy Ghost with speaking in other tongues. And then baptism in Jesus name. God is 1, and so on. They say Peter was the first Pope. How come he preached the Holy Ghost and baptism in Jesus name and the Catholics do not believe in it? I really want some good answers, please don't say religion started with Adam. :) Thanks!

19 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    The first disciples of Christ were simpler referred to as "followers of Jesus". It was about 20 years after the church began in Acts11:26 that they were first called "Christians" in the city of Antioch. Appears that it was originally an insult, calling them "Little Christs", which is what the word actuall meant. But the early church liked the term and turned it around into their title instead.

    At the time of the New Testament, there was only one "religion", Christianity, and everyone was part of it. But because of geography there were many local churches that meet in different cities. And sometimes more than one church within a single large city. Over time, differences in teachings began to show up in the different individual churches. With no means of instant communication between them, it was difficult for a Coptic church in Egypt to know what was being taught in an Bryzantine church in Russia, etc. If you compare the New Testaments used by all these different groups, they are identical. They started with the same foundation, but over time drift apart in how they interpreted and act out the rituals of their common religion.

    If there is an "original church", it is not the church in Rome. Christianity had been around for almost 30 years before it was ever preached in Rome. It stated in Jerusalem, and established its first church leadership council there. It was headed, not by Peter, but by James the brother of Jesus. According to the book of Acts (See Acts chapter 11 and Galatians chapter 2), James was the recognized leader of the church (the first "Pope") not Peter. (Sorry Catholics, but that is what the Bible says).

    From Jerusalem, the center of the church shifted northwest to the city of Antioch. Partly because it was a seaport, and allowed for faster travel to the rest of the world, and also to avoid the persecution that was coming from the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. It is in Anthoich were Peter is last seen (see Galatians 2). Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that Peter traveled to Rome during his lifetime. (And also does not say he didn't. It is silent on the subject.)

    As divisions in doctrine began to appear, the church responded by electing several bishops to head the churches in the largest cities of that time. Originally there were seven bishops. You will find a letter addressed to each of those bishops in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. Written around 95AD, about 25-30 years after the death of Peter, the letters are address to the messengers of each of these most important churches of that time. Notice that Rome is NOT on the list. If Peter had a "successor" who lead the church from Rome, Jesus in the book of Revelation did not consider him important enough to list him as one of the church leaders.

    By the middle of the second century there were already several different "divisions" within the Christian church. Just as the eastern and western half of the Roman Empire were splitting and warring with each other, so the eastern and western halves of the church were competing. As well as there being groups like the Coptic Christians in Egypt (originally Jewish Christian forced out of Israel when the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD) that were rejected by the church because of their Jewish blood. They have preserved for us today more of the early New Testament manuscripts then any other group. There were the Armenian Christians whose country was not part of the Roman Empire, and so were rejected also by the Christian church. And many dozens of other divisions were in existance at that time.

    When the ban on Chrisitanity was lifted by Emporer Constantine in the early 300ADs, the church was able to have its first official council. It was there that the canon of the New Testament was officially established and other church doctrinces and rituals standardized. There were also five bishops appointed at that time to head the church. The bishop of Roman was one of the five.

    As the Roman Empire continued to split, with competing Empires - one in Roman and another in the Bryzantine empire, so the church continued to split, with one "bishop" in Roman claiming to be the head of the church, and another in the west making the same claim. This continued until 1054AD, when the Roman bishop official declared himself the "pope" and excommunicated the western half of the church. While on the same day the western bishop declared himself the head of the church (they did not use the term "pope") and excommunicated the eastern half of the church. At the time the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches were official formed. At the time of the split, the Catholic and the Orthodox churches each took about the same number of Christians with them when they split. Of course this was long after dozens of other splitter groups, all of which can trace their lineage back to the first apostles, where already around.

    Skip ahead to the late 1400s, and you get a maverick German priest by the name of Martin Luther. He challenged many of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Church. It let to the Protestant Reformation. Once of the things that marked the Protestants was that they did not look to any single person or tradition as the "head" of their religion. They looked only to the Bible as the source of their doctrines and pratices. And each Christian was allowed to read and understand the scriptures on his own. There was no church heirachry to interpret the scriptures for them.

    The results have been hundreds of different denomination (one religion but with differences in practice) that have sprung up. Some from disagreements or splits that divided the church. Others from revivals or moves of God where they people were drawn in and eventually formed a denomination to support and spread their revival.

    Any one of these groups, if they worked at it, could trace a line all the way back to the first apostles. Everyone of them at some point as split (or drawn its members) from other "churches". Like the Pentecostals who point to Acts 2 (the day of Pentecost) as the beginning of their church (even though the first organized groups did not appear until the early 1900s - I pick on the Pentecostals because I am one).

    So there has been no one, unbroken, line of succession from the early apostiles to today. There is no one denomination that can claim to be "the" church. Rather the church of the Bible is the union of all people who trust Christ as their Savior and Lord, and have been reborn within by that faith. We may meet in different buildings and different towns - but so did the first century Christians. There were differences in practice and rituals even then, but they were still "one body and one church".

    That union of all who name the name of Christ is the one, true, unbroken church which has held the faith since the time of Christ 2000 years ago. The name over the door has nothing to do with it. It is the faith in the heart that is the true church.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, the first Christian religion was of course-Christianity. It was a new movement. It had holdover baggage from Judaism (no offense), and was similar in service as the Jewish Synagogue. It was nothing like temple worship-more like Sunday school. As this new Church began to grow and spread it was persecuted by the Romans and the Jews. The Christians spent more time defending attacks from the outside that their greatest enemy grew within, which was paganism. Every new convert brought with them preconceived ideas about religion. Great division began to grow within the church leaders. By the time Constantine came along(c. 325) and set the new church free, it had already split (251) over baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. The loosing side in that split were called the Anna-Baptist (that is significant). The Bishop at Rome was becoming the supreme leader, mainly because he oversaw far more churches that any other bishop; there were about 40 churches in Rome early in the 2nd century. Around 600 the church had become the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the first pope was installed. The rest is history.

    Peter never had anything to do with the catholic church, and he was never a pope. By the time the church was 'the Holy Roman catholic church' , it was very corrupt and it plunged the world into the "dark ages"- study history. The Reformation was a new beginning for every one. Many denominations began to spring up.

    So, the first church was Christian-not Catholic, and not Pentecostal. The Pentecostal movement began in the United states in the late 1800's during the 'camp meetings' of the Baptist, Methodist, and Prysbeterian churches.

    --sorry for the break----

    Churches were so few and so scattered that the 3 denominations would meet togather in a common place, and hold camp meetings. People would actually travel many miles and camp out for up to a week at a time just to hear a preacher. They would take turns going back and forth between the three. The preachers would deliver many sermons in a day to different groups. It was in these camp meeting that the Pentecostal movement was born. They did not have any developement until around 1914 (date may be off a year or two). This new movement was very unstable because thy had no defining theology. The Pentecostal movement fractured hundreds of times into many different denominations. The first group that had any organization at all was the Assembly of God. They seem to be the most stable group today. However they still suffer from poor theology. No two churches in this movement believe the same thing. There are today hundreds of Pentecostal denominations. Some are more stable that others. Many have suffered financial scandals. Look at Benny Hinn, Kathern Kulman, Jim and Tammy Baker, Paul and Jan Crouch. Most all this is due to loose morals and no organised rules and regulations. The famous "Toronto and Pensacola Revivals" made many people believe but was also a time of great money scandals in many different Pentecostal churches.

    Probably the greatest thing that has happened to the Pentecostal movement was when the Calvary Chapel (the Jesus people) seperated from the Vineyard movement. Calvary Chapel is a large movement with churches in all 50 states and in Europe. It was started by Chuck Smith who came from the Assembly of God church. They are a very conservative church that teach the Bible word for word. If the whole Pentecostal movement has done one thing for the good-it was to birth the Calvary Chapel movement. Find one and try it.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Catholic Church was not the first Christian Church neither was the Pentacostal Church. After the death and resurrection of Jesus the disciples started spreading their message. The Christian Church was born on Pentacost but even then there were divisions among the disciples in doctrinal views. However the divisions were always second to them and Jesus first. They knew that their teaching about the death and resurrection of Jesus was of utmost importance. They became known as the Christians or Christ followers long before the Catholic Church was ever born. They did not have a denomination name like we have today - they were simply Christians. The formation of the Catholic Church came with emporer constantine making Christianity the state religion. This miracle soon became the Churches downfall as power corrupted those in places of authority within the Church. The Church of the first century or the Christians as we read about in the New Testament was corrupted into what we see in the Dark Ages. Then Martin Luther and others like him came and the protestants were born. All Churches today apart from the Catholics are born out of the protestant movement. Before the protestant movement there was only one Church - The Catholics and before the Catholics there was only one Church - The Christians.

  • 4 years ago

    tl;dr: Protestant churches have only been around for 500 years. The Catholic Church reaches back to the apostles with St. Peter buried beneath St, Peter' Basilica at the Vatican in Rome.

    The Catholic Church was established by Jesus. Jesus Christ gave the Keys of Heaven to St. Peter, and there is a lineage of Popes all the way up to the present Pope. Jesus established only one church, the one He founded on Peter, the rock. He also told Peter that he will be with this Church till the end of the age and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. None of the other churches recognize the Papacy. St. Augustine, when speaking about the Church of Christ, calls it the Catholic Church 240 times in his writings.

    Saint Peter, the first Pope, appointed St. Ignatius to be the Bishop of Antioch. St. Ignatius used the Greek word "Katholicos," which means "universal," to describe the Church of Christ. It is in his writings that we find the word Catholic used for the first time.

    Catholic bishops can have their lineage of predecessors traced back to the time of the apostles.The Catholic Church teaches the doctrines of Christ and the apostles have been preserved through an unbroken line of Catholic bishops. The Orthodox Church also has apostolic succession, but they contradict the Roman Church on the Papacy, among some other things. Due to the East-West Schism of the Catholic Church, there was a split and the Catholic Church and East Orthodox Church divided, mainly due to cultural, geographical, and political differences.

    Protestants have been around only for about 500 or so years.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The plain historical fact is, there is absolutely no record of any Christian church on earth but the Catholic Church between the time of Christ and the 11th Century, when the Orthodox split away from the Catholic Church. The earliest known written record of Christ's Church calling itself the Holy Catholic Church is the writings of Ignatius, the Catholic bishop of Antioch, who knew the Apostle John personally, and was catechised by him. The Catholic Church was and is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ for all mankind, and is the only Church Christ ever intended to exist. The existence of any other Christian or semi-Christian churches is a direct violation of the stated will of God - that they all may be ONE.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Given the earliest recorded New Testament was the Septuagint, I think it was Greek Orthodox Christian.

    Sometimes I think that it was Baptist because of John the Baptist. He was born 6 months prior to Christ and foretold his arrival while still in the womb.

    I also view your theory on the rise of Pentecostal theology as a religion as quite interesting. The Pentecostal (cloven) tongue as evidence for being filled with the Holy Spirit is a tough act to follow.

  • leng
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    So you begin out no longer even knowing that almost all of non christian faith are honestly atheist then!!! ATHEIST - anybody who does no longer think in a God – any God – no longer simply the Christian one. But that doesn't imply they don't preserve robust ethical or devout ideals! They can comply with any faith that doesn't have a god and there are plenty of the ones!! I feel your query smacks extra of desperation, lack of expertise and intolerance than any want to search enlightenment! Just check out studying a small pattern of Christian postings on right here!!! Intolerant, egotistical, hate crammed and bigoted!! Eschewing schooling, technology, evolution works of fiction and far, a lot more. Christians are the one faith opposing human rights and persecuting gays, professional alternative and so a lot more - however a long way worse even as they call for freedom of faith they deny it to all non Christians and persecute them!!! Just how will you get them to tolerate someone else's strategies?!!!! Forget the loving and forgiving god they deserted that many years in the past!!!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There was simply the congregations, which were used as places of learning. The fragmentation of Christianity did begin fairly early, as Christians found they couldn't completely leave behind their old traditions, rituals, observances, and holidays. The Apostle Paul said he felt that he had worked for nothing. Since every country had its own traditions, each would have begun developing its own version of Christianity.

    One you leave out above is Greek Orthodox, which split from Rome because they wanted to celebrate Christmas on January 5th, rather than December 25th. I'm not sure what Greek observance it matches up to.

    What we see today is just 1900 years of further fragmenting and drifting away from the basic teachings of Christ. If Paul was disappointed back than, imagine what he would think now?

  • 1 decade ago

    Jesus never made Christian religion, he made disciples

    the word Christian first came in the bible in


    25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."

    There is no need of religion just follow the golden rule "Love one another as he loved"

  • 1 decade ago

    Christianity started with Christ, who said He would build His Church. The first church was laid upon the foundation of the Apostle and prophets and was to be preached throughout the whole world by believers in Jesus Christ. Denominationalism started even in Bible times and was condemned by Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 1. Christ set himself up as the head of the church not Peter. Catholocism did not start until Constantine in 325 AD and he was the first pope. Pentacostalism started in 1906 under the derection of Charles Fox and Agnes Osmond. What happened on the day of Penacost (A Jewish Holiday) has no similarity to what pentacostals do today. Try to get a pentacostal to speak in a language they have never learned. It just doesn't happen.

    Christianity was not meant to be denominational it was meant for its followers to follow Jesus and His teachings. We need to just stay in God's word and be faithful to Christ.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Most people won't understand this answer, but it's the truth.......CHRISTIANITY, they were christians, that's it.

    I percieve that you have been taught differently. I hope one day you can be blessed with the truth.

    Consider this....if Pentacostal was the first, should it still be the ONLY? Because the same bible directs the the church to be of one faith, and to not be divided. If that's so, why don't you reject ALL other denominations and religions.

    There's no "oneness" in people getting up on Sunday morning and driving pass a dozen "churches" before they get to the one that they want, the one that preaches and practices in a way that suits them. Are Pentacostals calling all "christians" to come together as one faith? Why not?

    As far as I can honestly see, the group of people that most accurately attempt to be the New Testament church today, are those that "discribe" themselves as the church of Christ. They're just local congregations in communities, with no earthly headquarters, using the bible ONLY as their guide.

    The church belongs to Christ. True christians make up the church. we belong to HIM.

    If the bible is our only guide today. Where in the bible is the name of all these long and eleborate names? Can one simply pick up the bible and come up with these church names? Not to mention the diverse doctrines and dogmas that contridict one another? Is God not inteligent enough to tell us what (who) we are? Or is he a god of confusion? No, MAN is confused. Just look at all the contradictary answers given for this or any number of questions asked. Man is truly confused.


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