Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 3, “The Church in Jerusalem.” Loc. 550-643.
As Gonzalez moves into a discussion of the infant Christian community he observes diversity in the body. Citing a controversy in Acts 6:1, he says, “these last words do not refer to a conflict between Jews and Gentiles, for Acts makes clear that at that time there were still no Gentiles in the church” (Gonzalez 2010, Loc. 564). The conflict was between the converts who kept the Jewish customs of tradition and the more Hellenized groups. Seven men, all Hellenized, judging from their names, were appointed to care for the widows (Ibid., Loc. 568). Gonzalez reads from the narrative of one, Stephen, in Acts 7, as well as other passages, that early Jewish persecution of Christians was carried on largely against the Hellenized converts. This situation serves to spread the Church from Jerusalem. By Acts 9 (Ibid., Loc. 582) the narrative is centered on ministry to the Gentile world.
“The earliest Christians did not consider themselves followers of a new religion” (Ibid., Loc. 587). They looked to Jesus as the fulfillment of their Jewish faith and continued in worship as before (Ibid., Loc. 590). Much, but not all, leadership was in the apostles (Ibid., Loc. 597).
By the year 62, persecution against the church in Jerusalem resulted in dispersal of the people, including leaders (Ibid., Loc. 612). Leadership in the Church had passed primarily to Gentiles by the second century (Ibid., Loc. 626). While there were frequent attempts to persuade Jews to convert, there were also movements to view Jews and even Jewish converts in a negative light.