Early Church Persecution

How did the Christian movement develop in theology and practice as a result of persecution? The early church faced a considerable amount of obstacles in the stages of their growth. In the first three centuries the church faced many sporadic persecutions from the hands of the Roman Empire. The church responded with power and vigilance throughout this time of persecution and oppression. Persecution helped them fuel and understand their passion to see people come to know Christ. Nero in the first century was focused on wreaking havoc upon early believers along with Domitian. Throughout the organized persecution under Decius and Diocletian the church flourished because people saw the authenticity of the believer’s testimony and turned towards Christ. The culture that was created through persecution spoke of martyrs as heroes of the faith. The word “martyr” means witnesses. Although some recanted their belief in God through this time, the church grew in new converts daily.

The church went through changes in their understanding and practice of communion. Through this time of history, Christians held communion as the highest act of worship. One aspect of the early church and communion was its time of celebration. One thing that changed through persecution was communion was done more in secret in order to silence rumors. The church began to understand the importance of living by scripture through the development of the New Testament canon. The church became stronger in its trust of Jesus as the only true way to Heaven. The many believers who were martyrs for Christ helped fuel the entire movement of Christianity. Another aspect of the early churches development was that many churches had to move into smaller venues so they would not be spotted and began the “house church” type movement. This movement helped the church to become more closer knit in their relationships, worship and witness for Christ. The early church left us with an awesome legacy to follow in our passion and love for Christ above all else.