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The Original Church Community

Hi folks, my name is Jim Papandrea. I’m an author, and Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, and I have a PhD in the early Christian Church, the history of the Roman Empire, and New Testament Interpretation. I’ve written over 20 traditionally published books in the field, and I teach early and medieval Church history and historical theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (but to be clear, this is not an official program of Garrett-Evangelical, and whatever I say here does not necessarily represent the Seminary).

I came up with the concept of The Original Church as a way for Christians of all traditions to come together and explore our common heritage – the trunk of the family tree, if you will – the early Church that existed at a time when the Church was still one, before any of the major or lasting schisms. This is an ecumenical group, open to all Christians (and the Christian-curious), and committed to ecumenical dialogue. We’re interested in great, fun, edifying conversations, in the spirit of St. Augustine and St. Anselm, “faith seeking understanding.”

Everyone who is willing to learn and grow in a respectful, supportive atmosphere is welcome, but just so you know, we define a Christian as someone who identifies with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (obviously), AND who believes in the TRINITY, believes the Nicene Creed, and accepts the authority of (at least) the first three ecumenical councils: Nicaea (325 AD), Constantinople (381 AD) and Ephesus (431 AD). We give special reverence to the ancient communions of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox (Coptic), because these are most directly connected to the Original Church and have the most legitimate claim to its legacy, but again, everyone is welcome, and all Christians are encouraged to join us! We’re not about proselytizing, debating, or apologetics for the most part, but we are honest about what the early Church was, and what it was not. We stay as non-political as possible, but we are definitely interested in the intersection between our faith and popular culture. So that means conversations about films, TV shows, music, are all good – but don’t expect much about current events.

For more information about the concept of The Original Church, check out my video series on YouTube: .

FYI, I won’t necessarily be able to respond to all the comments, but part of the great thing about being on Locals is that I can trust you all to respond to each other in a respectful, supportive way. And pray for each other – and don’t forget to pray for me! Full disclosure: I am a Catholic lay person.

Community Guidelines

Please respect the following community guidelines to maintain an enjoyable and peaceful environment:

  • Keep conversation respectful, and supportive, without personal attacks
  • Keep comments short and sweet - try to resist the temptation to sermonize in comments.
  • Please interact with each other, but respectfully, and with humility - don’t be judgmental, or blow up other members’ feeds. If someone isn’t responding to you, let it be.
  • No pornography (that should go without saying), but also no violent or hateful speech, no political rants, and no judgmentalism.
  • Refrain from any behavior that could be seen as trolling/spamming. Please do not use the community to advertise or engage in marketing.
  • Relax, be teachable, and enjoy the conversation!
  • Remember the maxim: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” Or to put it the way Pope St. John Paul II did, see each others’ differences as gifts that different members of the Body of Christ offer each other.

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