Tuesday, Sept. 6 Early Church Seminaries
In the last half of the first century and the second century several cities became centers of Christian learning. 1. Antioch: the church that supported Paul’s missionary work in Asia Minor. 2. Alexandria: a large population of Jews, many of them now Christian, dating back to the writing of the Septuagint, completed in 132 B.C. 3. Rome: a strong church at the center of the Roman Empire that had endured severe persecution in the mid-first century, 4. Smyrna: a church near Ephesus in Asia Minor, commended by Christ in Rev. 2, and Ephesus, where Paul, Timothy, and the Apostle John had taught, became important centers of learning. They would be the Christian seminaries of the early Church. They also had catechetical schools to teach new converts. These were the places where doctrinal issues were debated and Christian theology was developed. Letters flew among these Christian centers, synods and councils were common, and the debates were intense. Besides dealing with such issues as the trinity and the dual nature of Christ, they had to deal with inspiration, canonicity, and false doctrines. They also endured harsh persecution by both Jews and Romans, always at the risk of their lives.