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Title: An historical analysis of early church mission methods
Author: Graham, Laurence A. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5988 8729
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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The main focus of this thesis is an historical analysis of the methods of mission used by the Church during approximately the first six centuries of the Common Era. The New Testament describes the effectiveness of sermons preached to large crowds of people as well as providing evidence of evangelists and Church planters who travelled around the Roman Empire calling people to conversion and gathering converts into congregations. However, the extant evidence suggests that such high profile evangelism all but died out during the second and third centuries. It appears that the main means by which the Church grew during these centuries was the attractiveness of the Church community and the lifestyle of ordinary Christians. In the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries the Church moved from being a small, marginalised and sometimes persecuted group of people to becoming one of the central institutions of Roman society. In this context the Church began to grow simply because it became aligned with the mainstream of society, as well as by coercion. During these same centuries there were also Christians who lived outside the Roman Empire where they were a minority who shared their message by showing their neighbours a positive alternative way of living. In a concluding section the variation in methods of mission across the first six centuries CE are summarised before a short discussion raising some possible implications for mission today. It is suggested that the contemporary Church in the Western world has lessons to learn from the Church of the first three centuries regarding the importance of ordinary Christians demonstrating a distinctive Christian lifestyle to their neighbours.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available