Two Challenges In the book, The First Thousand Years, church historian Robert Louis Wilken describes many of the most important events that shaped the growth and direction of the Christian faith in the first millennium. Through Wilken’s description of the historical flow of Christianity and the Church from Europe to Africa to Asia, two great struggles of Christianity were apparent--the struggle of Christians to fulfill the words of Jesus to “love one another” and the never-ending struggle of Christians to be in this world and yet not of it. Some things never change.
One can see that the challenge of loving one another was already apparent in the first- century churches. Paul scolded the Corinthian Christians for their fights for prestige and begged the Ephesian churches to maintain unity. In the same way throughout history, Christians have squabbled and divided. Some issues were truly important, such as the Arian schism concerning whether or not Jesus was truly divine. Other divisions appear completely trivial through the lens of history, such as which Christian city should receive the most honor. But it all feels so familiar.> read more