As we have traced some major thinking and attitudes in particular eras of the definition and subsequent actions to prove ones allegiance to Jesus, there is one other theme that I have noticed takes place throughout the history of Christianity that changes over time. That theme would be from where does ones theological authority emanate? Who is the ‘final authority’ when it comes to theological matters. Do I just answer ‘God’ questions from my own mind? Does it matter how accurate this authority is, or is it basically whatever works for me?
As in the previous posts this subject will take several postings.
First and foremost it is understood by all that when Jesus walked on the earth the theological authority came from Him, He is the God/man, the Word became flesh, ‘the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature’ (Hebrews 1:3). Everything Jesus did and said was in total sync with God (for He is God). So when the Apostles and others had questions about how to please God, they asked Jesus or one of His disciples.
I know this sounds simplistic to say that the first Christians’ religious authority came from God, but there will be a shift soon to where there is a debate between well meaning followers of Him as to who holds the final say in life and practice.
The initial followers of The Way listened to Jesus and put into practice (as best they could) what he taught.