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When the Dust Settles Essay

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During the middle empire, the church was often viewed as the only universal institution. The Bible constituted the center of most of the learning activities[1].During these times, the government and the church ruled together. Abbots and Bishops would write and read for Kings and sometimes became vassals. The local lords often appointed the local priests. It is also during these times that the church became known as the single most central institution so that its impacts were seen in almost day-to-day living in ways that impacted different aspects of living such as the calendar, marriage, rites and so on. Most of its teachings were meant to provide a proper framework for factors such as the mainstream beliefs and the implication of life and the afterlife. To understand the study topic effectively, the essay attempts to outline some of the issues regarding apostasy, the ethical norms and the manner in which the church in the middle empire period handled social pressures on matters concerning persecution. A significant section of the essay bases its view of the study topic on the Flavian policies (during the roman imperial dynasty).


During the middle empire era, the period between the Flavian dynasty and the early Christian context, apostasy in Christianity was used to imply the rejection of the Christian faith by an individual who formally harbored Christian beliefs[2].The term apostasy traces its origin from the ancient Greek context. It implies departure, revolt, or rebellion. In the early Christianity, there are significant instances of prophecy concerning apostasy in the books of the epistle (such as in the book of Acts, Timothy and so on). It was after the prophecy that the general purity of the early Church and the piety began declining significantly. This was mostly occasioned by the emergence and rising of false teachers (after the apostles).The great Romish apostasy is one of the phenomena which took place even before the death of Apostle Paul (was occasioned by the destruction of Temples, and mass persecution and eventually the fall of Jerusalem). Christians often found themselves engaging in acts of apostasy as a result of temptations that lured them to fall back to their former lives which constituted vices such as sexual immorality, idolatry, covetousness and so on before they converted to Christianity. Christians also found themselves engaging in apostasy as a result of numerous instances of deceptions as a result of teachings from false prophets that seemed to lead them astray from the actual teaching and Christian faith. Another reason is that Christians were also forced to abandon their faith as a result of the fear of prosecution as outlined in the First Epistle of Peter and the Epistle to the Hebrews. The issue of false teachings can be found in the Pauline Epistles (Second Epistle of Peter, Epistle of Jude). Others can also be found in the Johannine epistle. Some of the common imagery of the issue of apostasy includes rebellion, turning away, falling away, “a rebellious ox,” “stain that will not wash away,” and “wild vine” among others.

The Ethical Norms

The early Christian outside the Jewish context appeared free and open to assimilate what they deemed as the best available ethics in their environment. Perhaps there is no better example of this than the instances of Saint Paul who shared many of the principles and values of the stoic ideologies in the Mediterranean region. Paul’s catalogues of vices and values were literary lifted from the Roman and Greek societal settings. It is this time that Paul exercised a critical eye and also transformed the then existing societal ethos by shaping them with the Christian way of living. He However did not challenge the then existing institution which could better be seen as deeply etched in matters concerning slavery. For instance, he advises masters to have a loving heart for their slaves, just the same way the Lord loves his people; slaves respect their masters the same way the church must show respect to God. Renowned preachers and teachers were in the early church were referred to as the fathers of the church. The fathers of the church didn’t seem to present the doctrine of the Christian way of living in its entirety but did play a role or two in ensuring that they helped solve some of the problems and questions in their local communities. It was later on that the Roman empire during the Flavian dynasty allowed for their policies to recognize some of the Christian doctrines and belief such which were manifested through architecture such as monuments, churches, statues, cathedrals and so on. This also includes the manner in which certain rulers and citizens carried themselves.

How the Church Handled Persecution

Christian persecution did not commence with the establishment of the Roman Authorities and dynasties such as the great Flavian dynasties. This is somewhat because there are sections of the New Testament that Attempt to present writings regarding fratricidal strife between the early Christians and the Jews[3]. In the first chapters of the book of Acts, we are presented with the story of James and Stephen who became victims of the King Herod Agrippa and the Mob of Jerusalem respectively. During these times, Christians did not have any radical way to oppose or to counter persecution. In this case, the early Christians viewed suffering as part of Christianity[4]. For them, Christ died on the cross and therefore there was not greater integrity than imitating him through persecution (or martyrdom). Most of such teachings can be found in the 1st book of Peter. Here, he tells Christians that they should not be ashamed of suffering as Christ did; instead, they should give God the praise because they bear his name.


Boff, Leonardo. Church: Charism and power: liberation theology and the institutional church. WipfandStock Publishers, 2012.

Coffey, John. Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England 1558-1689. Routledge, 2014.

Santaniello, Weaver. Nietzsche, God, and the Jews: his critique of Judeo-Christianity in relation to the Nazi myth. SUNY Press, 2012.

  1. . Leonardo, Boff, Church: Charism and power: liberation theology and the institutional church. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012. 30-31

  2. . Weaver, Santaniello, Nietzsche, God, and the Jews: his critique of Judeo-Christianity in relation to the Nazi myth. SUNY Press, 2012. 30-33

  3. . John, Coffey. Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England 1558-1689. Routledge, 2014. 5-7

  4. . Coffey, 5.

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