Christianity Takes Shape in Organization and Doctrine

Two of the most striking features of the history of Christianity in the first five hundred years of its existence were the development of visible organization and the intellectual formulation of belief. The two were so intimately interrelated that the course of their growth can best be treated together. By the time that the majority of the population of the Roman Empire had adopted the Christian name, the main features of the structure of the Christian community had appeared and the major verbal expressions of the Christian faith, including the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, which remained standard for the large majority of Christians from then onward, had been framed. While the faith was spreading and winning the population, the organization of the Church and the formulation of the intellectual statements of the faith were proceeding. Here were parallel, reciprocally interacting movements.

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