yellow pillar candle

There had been divisions among Christians even in the apostolic era; the New Testament bears plenteous witness to this reality – so much so that the reader can easily get the impression that division was far more common than unity among the early Christian communities … The differences had always been there, and in many respects were more or less as old as the faith itself; but for most of the time they were scarcely noticed, since the guiding concern of most Christians was not some perennial wisdom or immemorial doctrine handed down from the past, but rather the rapid approach of the Kingdom of God, the Age to Come, and the final advent of Christ as Lord of all things. Apocalyptic expectation – an eager certainty of the imminence of the full and final revelation of God’s truth in a restored and glorified cosmos – and not dogmatic purity was the very essence of faithfulness to the Gospel.

Christianity entered human history not as a new creed or system of religious observances, but as apocalypse.