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Early Church
(2,556 words)

1. Term

In church history the idea of the early church has theological as well as historical significance. A theological evaluation sees in it the true church, whose teaching and forms have an authoritative character. Agreement with it guaranteed not only one’s own orthodoxy but also the catholicity of one’s church. Since the church did not remain unchanged through the centuries, the question of the limits of the early church as the true church unavoidably arises. The Roman Catholic Church is least disturbed by such questions, since …

Cite this page
Mühlenberg, Ekkehard, “Early Church”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 26 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_E6>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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