Need help with my writing homework on Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries. Write a 1500 word paper answering; The second section concerns the contents of the message that influenced Christians with such a powerful force. The third section dwells on different methods employed and hostility suffered in the mission’s voyage until it attained the masses’ recognition. This paper offers a critical analysis of Harnack’s work about the mission and the expansion of Christianity.
Right at the beginning, in Book-1, Harnack brings to the attention of his audience Christianity’s germination on the fertile land of Jews and examines how it has fared then on. The context has remained favorable for Christianity’s growth. Jewish foothold has been substantial, and its propaganda profound. Judaism gradually kept transforming in a philosophical context. However, afterward, the religion has “presented itself in the eyes of the law and the authorities as a religion distinct from that of Judaism. Its character as a religion illicit was assured” (Harnack p. 302). Simultaneously, the religion has blended itself into the lives and other aspects of the society in the east. This was syncretism, which looked like a unity from a distance but is heterogeneous in reality. When “Christianity came to formulate ideas of God, Jesus, sin, redemption, and life, it drew upon the materials acquired in the general process of religious evolution standing against polytheism.” Harnack showed that Jesus’ preaching and works are the base for further mission work and the impulse given by His genuineness worked as its spirit. The earliest followers, especially Paul, got this profound consciousness of being an apostle to the world. He was driven to the western ends of the Roman Empire. Harnack clearly shows the transition from the Jewish mission to the gentile mission. In between, he argues against the Jews’ evilness and unworthiness of God’s grace. He takes it to extremes.
In the gospels, one can first find the obligation to go to the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus, however, did not give an explicit command for this, which remained further afield to think upon. However, His message was for the whole of humanity.
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