How did so many move so far so quickly? This is the question that simply leaps out at us as we examine the history of the early Church.
At the time of the Apostle John's death near the dawn of the second century ad, the Christian movement, though obviously beset by many problems and false teachers, bore at least a recognizable resemblance to the Church of God of the book of Acts. But, by the beginning of the third century ad, most of those same congregations, though still calling themselves "Church of God," bore far more resemblance in doctrine to the medieval Catholic Church than to the Church of God during the days of the Apostles Peter, James, Paul and John.
During the second century a number of gradual shifts occurred in both the doctrine and practice of the vast majority of church congregations. The stage was set for those shifts by some of the very ideas that began to be promulgated only a few years after Christ's resurrection and ascension into heaven. Ideas always produce consequences!
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