After our study of the beginning and spread of the early church, it is necessary for us to consider the sacrifices made by the early Christians, especially the disciples left by our Lord to propagate Christianity.
- SIMON PETER: Tradition says he was crucified in Rome head downwards.
- JAMES THE ELDER: He preached and converted many in Jerusalem. He was eventually beheaded by Herod around AD 44.
- JOHN THE BELOVED: Laboured in Asia Minor especially at Ephesus; was banished to Patmos Island where he wrote the book of Revelation. He was freed afterwards and died naturally.
- ANDREW: Crucified on a St Andrew’s Cross.
- PHILIP: Stoned to death at Hierapolis.
- BARTHOLOMEW: Burned at the stake in Armenia.
- THOMAS: Suffered martyrdom in India.
- MATTHEW: Thrown alive into hot oil in Persia,
- JUDE: Said to have been burned alive in Persia.
- MATTHIAS: Martyred in Ethiopia. .
- LUKE: Believed to have been hung on an olive tree by the idolatrous priest of Greece.
CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST: DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH
The martyrs proved by their joyful endurance of persecution to the end that their faith was better than life itself. It was left to those who lived to explain to Jews and Pagans what the faith really was. These writers were called Apologist, because they wrote books, which explained and justified Christianity. The arguments they used in defense of Christianity can be divided into four way or groups.
- Appeal to the authorities to treat Christians Justly;
- Attack on pagan religious beliefs and practices;
- Presentation of Christian beliefs and way of life;
- Theological arguments to justify Christianity.
These apologists included Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Aristides, Quadrates, Tertian and a host of others.
We leave our review of the development and life of the early church with gratitude to God for all that He gave to Christians through those times of persecution, and express our hope and confidence that God will surely complete the building of His body, which is the church.
– gabriel ajibade