CH101 - The Second Century

The Persecuted Church, 90 - 202 A.D.

Key People:
Clement of Rome
Ignatius of Antioch
Justin Martyr
Irenaeus of Lyons
Clement of Alexandria

Summary and Applications
The church of the second century grew into a force, but not without struggle. Roman persecution was a consistent challenge, but this only helped the church grow with internal strength. Sometimes the reaction to brutal persecution was heroic, sometimes ridiculous. There was a general sense among Christians that it was virtuous to be tortured and, especially to be executed for the faith. Because of this persecution it seems like this young movement developed real inner strength.

But is it always GOOD to put yourself forward for persecution?
This attitude seems to encourage less thoughtful Christians to be overly aggressive in their witness, almost taunting others to "persecute" them. We all need wisdom when it comes to aggressive evangelism. We do not want to avoid stepping out and speaking up when the occasion demands it, but we do not need to thrust ourselves into harm's way just so we can "be a witness." Many of us know a few believers who have a habit of speaking too harshly, or being too "holy" around non-Christians. It seems that they are happy (maybe even proud) when non-Christians mock and scorn them. I think we need wisdom to know when, and where, to be aggressive.

The era of Christianity when there were possibly the most "heresies" was the second century. Oddly, Christian theology was not very developed in the second century compared to modern times.

Outside basic and essential theological positions, is good or correct theology important?
My personal opinion is that most Christian sects/denominations put too much emphasis in their theology. I am not saying that theology is NOT important, but outside what should be called the "essentials" I think we need to hold our theology with humility. What are the essentials? To a great extent, it depends on which denomination you are aligned with.
My baseline position is the Apostle's Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilot,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
On the third day He rose from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of the saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Questions, Comments or Criticisms:
You can send an email to directly to me Al Baker, CH101.
CH101 retains the right to edit and post comments/questions unless you specifically ask that your comments NOT be posted. Comments that are personal or private are never posted...only questions about Church History, the Bible, etc.

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- Is the NT inspired?
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Culture and Opinion
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- end of the spear

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Second Century Church History
Second Century Church History
Roman Persecution of Christians
Early Church Martyrs - Roman Empire
Second Repentance - Hermas, Tertullian
Apostolic Fathers - Justin, Ignatius, Barnabas
1 Clement, Didache, Barnabas, Ignatius, Polycarp
Second Century Christians and Heresies
Heresies: Docetism, Marcion, Montanus
Gnosticism - Nag Hammadi Texts
Intro to Gnostic Writings
Gnostic Writings - Nag Hammadi
New Testament Canon - NT Canon
Apostolic Fathers and Heresies
Early Church Heresies
Second Century Christian Apologists
Irenaeus Tertullian Justin Martyr
Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria,
Questions 2nd Century Church History
How the NT was Formed
New Testament Canon, Canonized
Questions regarding Christian Issues
Early Church Heresies
First Century Persecution
1st Century Persecution of Christians
Gnosticism in the 1st Century Early Church
Early Church History of Galations
Early Christianity War and Conflict
Early Christianity Constantine and War
Important Issues in Early Christianity