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Pentecostal Spirit—Natural Today!

From the June 2009 issue of The Christian Science Journal

One interesting aspect of the early formation of the Christian Church is how quickly it came together as a functioning organization, even with its widespread and diverse congregations. The Christian church started out as a splinter group or sect of the Jewish faith. Scholars refer to that early time as the Jewish–Christian period.

At first very much centered in Jerusalem, Christianity quickly spread into the greater Near East, largely due to the extraordinary efforts of the Apostle Paul. By the end of the first century ad there were more Christians beyond Jerusalem than in the city, resulting in varied views among the members.

One of the great controversies in the early church centered on the question, Who could be a Christian? Did one first have to become a Jew and conform to all the Hebrew law, such as male circumcision and dietary laws? Paul argued "no" and Peter "Yes," but eventually Peter converted to Paul's view (see Acts 15:1–11 and Gal. 2:11–14). So, in spite of opposing opinions, this diverse group did come together as a church.

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