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11.   The disciples: the apostle churches and Paul

Jesus did not found the church, he did not appoint disciples.

Volcano Pichincha, crater floor
Volcano Pichincha, crater floor

It was not until after his death that religious communities developed whose leaders referred to Jesus and claimed that they were fulfilling his work as his successors.

These communities, which I call apostle churches, were rivals with one other and with other religious movements in the competitive market of religions and cults in Palestine and the Greek-speaking eastern part of the Roman Empire.

The most important apostle churches were the Baptists of the church of John, which had a special relationship with the disciples of John the Baptist; the Jewish Christian church of James, which had to distance itself from the Rome-hostile Judas of Galilee and his disciples; the spiritual church of Simon Peter, which competed with the Gnostics of Simon Magus (Acts 8).

First Paul tried to achieve church unity and to get away from the schism not only between Jewish and gentile Christians, but also between all different Christian groups. Paul claimed that Jesus and faith in him was important, not in the apostles.

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