There were factors that impacted the growth of the early church…what were those factors? Which of the factors mentioned in the book would you say had the greatest impact and which would you say had the least? Make application to modern missions efforts.
It seems to me that it was the love that Christian’s had for others that really made it become appealing and expand the early church. We can see this described by the words of second-century church father Tertullia.
“It is our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents”
When we stray from this “care for the helpless” and “practice of lovingkindness” then we no longer see a growth in disciples. We may however see a growth in a corrupted religion.
An example of this is stated in pg 110 with the abusses of the Spanish towards the Native Americans. Chief Hatuey from Cuba, fled the Spanish with his people when he saw that the christians “God” was really gold and jewels. He was eventually captured and burned alive. Before he was burned, a friar told him that if he’d become a Christian then he’d go to heaven. The chief then stated that he’d rather go to hell, so that he wouldn’t see such cruel people as the Spaniards.
On the flip-side of this we see Christian’s showing this “lovingkindness” during this same time. Christians such as the Dominican Bartolome de Las Casas “who worked tirelessly to alleviate the sufferings of the indigenous populations” and played a big role in influencing the Spanish court to bring about laws that curbed the abuses of the Native Americans.
One made the Christian church appealing while the other obviously did not.
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