Nov 022005
 
Authors: Amber Baker

They sit at a table on the fringe of the Lory Student Center Plaza with a banner that reads in painted white letters: Primitive Christianity.

That's not something many people know much about.

The roots of primitive Christianity go back 1,800 years, to the days of the early Christians who were martyred by the Roman arenas for their faith.

The new primitive Christian church, simply called "A Church in Fort Collins," is fairly obscure in the Christian community.

Dan and Katie Wiesner started the church just three years ago. It's grown to about five families and five to 10 individuals that meet on Sundays to pray, sing praises to God and share testimonies of what God is doing in their lives.

"We're focused on authentic Christianity," said Dan Wiesner, 28. "And how do we know what is authentic Christianity? We look at the early Christians. They didn't go to war. They didn't fight back when they were persecuted. They didn't try to change laws. They just followed Jesus. And his example was one of meekness and humility. He said to turn the other cheek when someone hit you."

These unconventional Christians don't align themselves with any denomination. Rather, they veer as far away from modern Christianity as possible, shaping their lives after the early Christians.

Defining themselves as "Bible believing Christians," they not only study the Bible, but also the writings of early Christians who knew the apostles personally and took up the leadership of the church after they died. Their writings date between 80 A.D. and 325 A.D.

Dan Wiesner said he takes their example seriously, but doesn't consider their writings to be God-inspired Scripture.

"I think their writings are critical and something that Christians need to study," he said. "It would help to clear some of the smoke of division that's in the church today on topics such as divorce and re-marriage, infant baptism and war, church leadership and discipline. The list goes on. It's heavy- duty stuff, and it's gotten us really excited about it."

But what really sold Wiesner on early Christian philosophies is how they lived their lives according to their beliefs.

"They were willing at all costs to live for Jesus," he said. "And a lot of the time the cost was their lives. For 300 years they were persecuted and killed for their faith. But Jesus said 'don't be surprised if the world hates you because it hated me first.' That's the mark of the Christian – they're going to be different, separate and hated. But for those that will humble themselves and open their hearts to God, they will be a fresh spring of water."

Katie Wiesner, 26, said her prayers were answered with their new church.

"It's a real blessing to have fellowship with like-minded Christians who are interested in being involved," she said.

Ten months ago, Eric Schmidt, a double major in math and computer science, wasn't sure about his spiritual beliefs. Then one day he heard Dan talking in front of the LSC. After approaching him to find out more, Schmidt decided to go to one of the meetings.

"I really admired their strong faith," he said. "Now the meetings encourage my faith."

 

 

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