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Apostolic Age

From Academic Kids

The Apostolic Age is, to some church historians, the period in early church history during which some of Christ's original apostles were still alive and helping to influence church doctrine, polity, and the like. This period ended at about the close of the first century C.E., perhaps with the death of John the Apostle.

To some conservative Protestant groups, this marked the end of the working of miracles by the Holy Spirit through human agency. This concept is based on the idea that only the apostles and those upon whom they had laid their hands could perform miracles at will in order to confirm the truth of the Christian faith. To this group, this is the event foretold by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 -- the passing away of these gifts was a necessity once the entire New Testament had been revealed. Once those upon whom the apostles had laid their hands had all died, this miraculous ability, according to this theory, also died out. Other equally conservative Protestants discount this theory largely or entirely, insisting that all of the miraculous gifts reported in the Acts of the Apostles and elsewhere in the New Testament are available today to those who truly believe.

To members of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and other faiths accepting the doctrine of apostolic succession the Apostolic Age is in a sense ongoing, since the apostle's legitimate successors are alive and working on earth today. Most of these groups agree that there exists in the world "one holy, apostolic, and catholic (universal) church," so in fact the Apostolic Age, according to this belief, will continue until the Second Coming of Christ.

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