Religion and Theology: Organization of the Church

First off, the church in Christianity has a history that is parallel to that of the religion, which goes back to the early church. The issue of church discipline is made clear in 1 Corinthians 11 when the apostle Paul sends a letter to the Corinthians instructing them on how they should behave in the church. Similar to this, after Emperor Constantine recognized Christianity as a legitimate faith in 313 A.D., more churches popped up and people started to wonder what the body of Christ was made of. (Pelikan 413-417). Due to the debate and issues on church order, philosophers and scholars such as St Cyprian and St Augustine emerged to lay a foundation for the organization of the church.

According to St Cyprian, who converted to Christianity in 246 A.D, Christians avoid heresy and schisms through authority. Moreover, he portrays the church as an invisible union of all sorts of denominations each holding various beliefs, but all having a common base. Hence the church unity cannot be divided. (Dunn 551-574)

St. Augustine, with a philosophical background, claimed that there are two realities; the visible and the invisible. (Sulivan 125-130) The visible body is the institutional body on earth with preachers, the gospel and administers of the sacraments, which is founded on the invisible reality of God.

Likewise, Wilken supports Christianity as reasonable, as he says the religion developed not merely as a cultural view or belief but rather from people’s real experiences of interaction with God and experience of His guidance. Therefore, an understanding of the religion ought to be founded on the communion with Him and only then would it be reasonably understood. (Wilken 162-185)

In conclusion, both St Cyprian and St Augustine correspond with Wilken about the reasonableness of faith since they all believe that life is not necessarily about what we should believe in but rather whom we should believe since God created man possessing free will.

Works Cited

Dunn, George D. "Heresy and Schism according to Cyprian of Carthage." Journal of Theological Studies 55.2 (2004): 551-574.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. University of Chicago Press, n.d.

Sulivan, John. The Image of God the Doctrine of St Augustine and its Influence. 1963.

Wilken, Louis, Robert. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press 2003, n.d.

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