25 - Ecclesiastical Institutions: Unity, Martyrs, and Bishops
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Description
The Epistle of Jude can be dated to somewhere during post-apostolic Christianity and before the formation of the Canon. It refers to the apostles as representing a prior generation, yet it quotes from texts later excluded (perhaps, for example, by 2 Peter) from the Canon. The letters of Ignatius of Antioch contain evidence of a move toward the institutionalization of early Christianity. It mentions, for example, three different church offices: bishops, presbyters, and deacons. It also heavily emphasizes the authority held by those with these titles. The Didache contains liturgical and ritual instructions for rites such as baptism, the Lord's Prayer, and the Eucharist. All these documents show the change in early Christianity toward greater church structure and institutionalization.
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