Saturday, May 5, 2018
The early followers of Jesus as a group were referred to as "The Way." They hung around their native environs, talking to fellow Jews about who Jesus is, but always connected to what he said to do. So the early believers were followers of his way of living. Belief and action were always connected. They did not take up the sword against those who disagreed with them, build economic empires, or rule everyone not them. They shared all their wealth, healed people, prayed and preached The Way in their belief in Jesus' identity. Then something happened. There was a persecution and followers of the Way began to go to other lands. One of these new places was Antioch, which is Turkey today. Here believers talked to non-Jews who then talked to more non-Jews. There were conversions to a belief in who Jesus is, which eventually became the Dogma. Here in Antioch, the followers of the Way began to be called Christian. In time, I conjecture, the Way, the following of what Jesus said to do, as in the Sermon on the Mount, began to lose traction, as the belief in who Jesus is became the litmus test of being a believer. Action softened up and Dogma hardened. This would be a bit like someone saying they are in Alcoholics Anonymous but do not practice the Twelve Steps. Membership without action, what is the point?