During the early years of the church, leaders settled many of the doctrines we now hold dear. In the book How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind, Thomas Oden says African Church Fathers played a crucial role, not only in shaping these doctrines but also in teaching them to Europeans. In doing so, these church fathers relied on what the apostles taught and wrote. Paul had stressed that the church must actively uphold and practice the truth–not only by what we teach but also by how we live. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul stated that there is only one God, and one mediator who can reconcile God and humanity –the man Christ Jesus. He also stressed that God’s people must conduct themselves as members of God’s family. Jesus Christ, he said, is the model for the lifestyle we should seek to live. We can devote ourselves to Him because even though He existed from all eternity, He came to live in a human body as we do. He taught and performed miracles in the power of the Spirit. Angels announced His birth, appeared at His temptations, witnessed His resurrection and ascension into heaven. All this proves that He came from God. Now we who place their faith in Him discover that God forgives our sin; He enables us to live godly lives. He challenges us to share His message of love and forgiveness, and to practice justice and honesty in our world.
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