Original Research - Special Collection: P.M. Venter Dedication

The amazing growth of the early church

Wim A. Dreyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1268 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1268 | © 2012 Wim A. Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 May 2012 | Published: 02 November 2012

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Wim A. Dreyer, Department of Church History and Church Polity, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The church grew rapidly during the first centuries. The question is: Why? Generations of scholars approached this question from different perspectives and with different methods. Historical research, analysis of early Christian texts and theological reflection were the most common methods used to shed light on the growth of the church. In this contribution five different models of growth were discussed, using the approach of A.M. Schor as a point of departure. These models of church growth were put under the headings of an apostolic mission model, values reproduction model, social reaction model, network model with an institutional model added.

Keywords

Church growth; early church; text analysis; quantitative social methods; institutional church

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