My Study       
Benno Zuiddam

 

The answer key to period 2: the emerging Western Church  

 

Give it a thought 

1.       The Church became an important organisation as the established religion of the empire, which was worth controlling. Rules and exact definitions became very important. Rules and practices that emerged was the importance of the Bishop of Rome as leader with claims to universal Christian leadership, relics, veneration of departed saints, Mary as semi goddess, compulsory fasting and celibacy. 

2.       The Church remained as a strong organisation in a politically weak western empire. She became to see herself as the preserver of Roman culture and the Latin language. Politically and culturally the church was automatically a force to be reckoned with as it was the only universal force in the West. As Rome was the only metropolitan see in the West (all the other important traditional bishoprics -Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, plus later Constantinople- were in the East, so there was no competition. 

3.       Leo saved Rome from Atilla the Hun, adding to the prestige and confidence of the Roman Church. 

4.        Both were deposed by so-called Christian authorities and exiled. John died because of ill treatment.  Athanasius kept coming back and eventually died a natural dead in his hometown of Alexandria. 

5.       Yes, because it summarizes what the Bible says and helps you think the right things about God. Answer for yourself if you give it much thought and if it receives positive attention in your church. 

6.       Orthodox contents of the faith. This helped to distinguish Christianity from those who used the same words but with a different meaning. Nicea: the Trinity, Constantinople: the divine nature of Christ was truly God, Ephesus: Jesus is one person with a human and a divine nature, Chalcedon: Jesus was a truly human being. How you understand God has implications for the way you treat and worship him. It is important to try and do justice to the Scriptures and learn from the historical Church in its understanding. 

7.        Answer for yourself, addressing turned into asking, miracles with relics would have suggested power and potential to intervene in earthly circumstances. The Roman idea of extra gods and demigods (Caesars turning into gods at their death) for special needs would have left people naturally inclined to this practice.  In the Bible people always pray to God. Jesus told his disciples to address their prayers to the Father (Lord’s Prayer). 

8.       It might, but one does not find a practice or ‘ministry’ that involves people applying relics for healing purposes or pilgrimage to healing sites of relics, with an inherent and lasting spiritual power that is mediated by the bones. In the New Testament healing manifestations only take place with relics of living saints (mantle, cloth, shadow, spit). It was the intermittent visitation of an angel that made Bethesda a site of healing.  

9.       Answer for yourself, the Greek (not in the Bible but in later Church terminology speaks about giving birth to a Divine person, which does not suggest a Divine family relation necessarily but only a human. Luke and Matthew say that she gave birth to the Son of God, not that she became God’s mother, but the mother of a Person with a Divine and human nature that descended from her as far as his body was concerned. She was willing to undergo the stigma of illegitimacy, facing tremendous social risks in faith, and gave birth to the Saviour.  

10.   No, several of the Apostles were married, Peter included. Celibacy was recommended by the apostle Paul. This recommendation became a requirement for bishops later on and compulsory for priests in the West only many centuries later. Epiphanius basically did the same as the Pharisees of old, if you commit something to God, this discharges you from all promises and responsibilities that you have towards people. They said you didn’t have to help your needy elderly parents if you put the money on the collection plate instead. For Augustine marital rights of wives and the validity of an earthly commitment didn’t seem to exist either.  

11.   They spread the Gospel and Christianity, and often brought a higher level of civilisation.  

 

Essay: should at least reflect essentials of answers above. 

Answers to multiple choice: 1a,2c,3b,4a,5d,6a,7d,8d,10c,11a,12c. 

 

Bible study John 1: the nature of Christ 

a)      It shows that Jesus existed before the world was made, that he was both with God and God at the same time and that through him everything was made. In other words, he was already God before he became man. He wasn’t always man, but mankind was made in his image (vs1-3). 

b)      The Word became flesh, became part of a body end lived on earth (vs14). 

c)       Through welcoming him and his authority in your life spiritually and trusting his claims (vs12).The Holy Spirit causes people to awaken to God spiritually (vs13). Jesus made God’s grace available and God’s truth known. 

 

Prof. Dr. Benno A. Zuiddam