Basic Ecclesiology notes and videos

1. Quick trip through history

a. Where it all started

In the story of creation, we see only one God. As the story continued, we learned about good and evil. That began with the tree of forbidden fruit. Then we learned about Cain and Abel. As the human race continued to grow, we learned about other transgressions. Among these were the worship of multiple gods and idols (polytheism). 

UrAbraham lived in the city of Ur located in what we now know as Iraq. Originally known as Abram, he was known to the Jewish people as the recipient of a covenant between the people and God. In Christianity he is seen as the father of all believers, Jewish and Gentiles. In Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and ends with Muhammad.

Abraham today is seen as the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All three faiths believe in monotheism - only one God. They all believe in the same God. All three faiths are also known as the Abrahamic religions. (Supplement: current world map to explore)

One God (monotheism) but many digressions. Fundamental lesson - leave idol worship and paganism. Return to God who speaks to Abraham, Moses, Judges, Kings, Prophets. Warnings, hope and promises. Only religion was Judaism. God seen as almighty, holy,  righteous, just - yet loving, forgiving,merciful even when not obeyed. 

b. Early Christianity 


Reference to the Crucifixion in the Old Testament (Ps 22:4-18). Reference to the person of Jesus in the Old Testament (Is 53:3-6).

Emphasis on outreach to the oppressed and marginalized. Jesus' approach to sinners - inclusion and exclusion. Acceptance vs. tolerance. Parables. Jesus and fulfillment of the Old Testament stories. Jesus was completely Jewish. There was no Catholic Church. Worship took place in the Temple.

The Last Supper as the establishment of the Eucharist (Christian practice). The upper room where the Last Supper was held.

Upper room

Eucharist

The Last Supper was followed by the Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension. Persecution of "Christians." Early churches met underground or even in homes. Jews and Gentiles. At this point we have two monotheistic religions - Judaism and Christianity. Old Testament common to both; New Testament for Christians. 

 c. Muhammed and Islam

A few centuries after the development of Christianity, we encounter Muhammed and the Islamic faith.

Discussion: Sarai and Hagar; Isaac and Ishmael. Medina and Mecca. At this point we have three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

c. The Protestant Reformation and the Counter-reformation

Discussion: Martin Luther's story. The church digs in. Other Christian sects.

Chapter summary and discussion: Perceptions of each other - Jews, Catholics and other Christians, Muslims. Understanding the roots of conflict can (and will) lead to peace. Will we see it in our time? Significance of "family" - local to global. Interfaith movement.