A hundred years after the church was founded in Jerusalem, a controversy raged within the congregation. The outcome was a doctrinal turnaround with far-reaching consequences. The losers in that debate were subsequently rejected by Christianity. The winning side passed down to us their slant on church history which has strongly influenced our understanding of the New Testament.
Few Christians are aware of the changes that occurred at that time. The traditional interpretations of events are seldom questioned. Like the author of the historical account below, we allow our presuppositions to blind us to the implications of those early changes to Christianity.
For an overview of the early development of Christianity, let's look at a classic text that was first published in 1776 and is still widely used and respected by historians. Although various scholars have disagreed with some of Edward Gibbon's interpretations of history, the accuracy of the historic facts he recorded has rarely been disputed.