Blog Post 8, Question 1

Considering the fact that the Didache translated to “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” it can be inferred that the leadership of the church at this time was based off of those lessons which the apostles passed down throughout the years. The excerpt also mentions appointing deacons and bishops who are “a credit to the Lord, men who are gentle, generous, faithful, and well tried.” The excerpt also states that “you must not, therefore, despise them, for along with the prophets and teachers they enjoy a place of honor among you.” This obviously places these spiritual leaders in higher positions in the church, which led to a hierarchal ordering of leaders within the church. From a historical perspective, this would have been very effective in organizing a rapidly growing church that was spreading out geographically.

The largest problems that seemed to be troubling the church was that of its size. This was most notable in the large number of “false prophets” who were roaming about and claiming to be with the church for financial gain. Due to the breadth of the church at this point, this activity could not be monitored effectively. As such, the Didache outlined some restrictions for dealing with prophets, mainly that they should not be allowed to remain in any town for more than a day or two, and that they should never accept any money. These strategies were, perhaps, limited to the spread of the literature. Locations that received many false prophets and never saw the Didache would have had no idea of the deception that they encountered. Eventually, advancements in communication and a generally more organized church system would correct these issues in later centuries. 

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3 thoughts on “Blog Post 8, Question 1

  1. I like the thought that in the future it would be an improvement in communication thatwould make the large impact in dealing with the issues the church faced. It’s incredible to think of how such an important document might not have reached some towns just because of their relative location and size.

  2. ehunckle says:

    It’s important that you point out that the church was growing faster than the organization of it could deal with which seems to have a great influence on the hierarchy of the church that developed.

  3. The Didache belongs to a category of early Christian writings known as “church orders”–which basically amount to sets of instructions for organizing an early Christian community. One of the debates surrounding these documents is to what extent these writings reflect ACTUAL church practice and to what extent they reflect how someone wishes churches were run (perhaps based on some bad experiences, like local communities being taken advantage of by false prophets). These documents set out guidelines, and the fact that documents like the Didache seem to have been copied and widely circulated suggest that some communities at least seem to have found the advice useful.

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