The Didache is said to be "The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations." It is likely the oldest document of Christianity not found in the bible (written somewhere around 50-120). The Didache is very law centered & sin focused, so much so it starts off focusing exclusively on rules & sins. It quotes a lot of scripture as many preachers do today. The problem comes with the focus & selectiveness of the scriptures/teachings they choose. Of course some of these ideas are inherited from Judaism but we see this earliest group of Christians miss the cross, not even making mention of it or the blood even when speaking about the Eucharist!!! At the end you'll see a list of false ideas that were presented in the Didache that are still prevalent today. First I break down the good :), bad :(, funny :D, confusing :/, & disgusting :x
Examining Chapter 1
Focuses on commands mostly given by Jesus & claims that keeping His commands "give you life." It calls keeping the commands the "way of life." The truth is that Jesus is the Way & Jesus is The Life & God is Eternal Life. Jesus Himself said two of those things yet only keeping His commands are said to be "the way of life" here.
It says guilt is removed by "giving according to the commandment."
It says those "receiving without having a need shall pay the penalty."
Most of the commands were given by Jesus.
"Let your gifts for the poor sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give."
Examining Chapter 2
Focuses on abstaining from sins, listing as many as it could again sometimes quoting scripture/Jesus.
"Some you shall love more than your own life."
Some harmful things are listed here not quite found in scripture.
"You shall not take things by force."
"You shall not commit pederasty (pedophilia)."
"You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born."
Examining Chapter 3
Focuses on more sins to abstain from.
Poses an extreme fear of falling into idolatry by looking at things.
"Always tremble at the words you have heard."
"Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass."
"Do not be a purifier"??
Examining Chapter 4
"For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord." As if the lord isn't everywhere or inside of you.
"Do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions."
"If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins."
"Teach them the fear of God from their youth." Jesus was the end of fear. Jesus' coming was prophesied as a time to not fear (John 12:14-15).
"You slaves shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear."
"You shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience." Says you must avoid God if your conscience condemns you, boy did that idea last!
It again calls these commands "the way of life."
"Do not long for division."
"Share all things with your brother."
"You are partakers in that which is immortal."
"God comes not to call according to the outward appearance."
"In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions" but ONLY good if it is to reconcile with people you've hurt.
"Do not add or take away from the commandments of the Lord." Funny because this writing adds many commands claiming they are from the Lord & obviously leaves things Jesus commanded out like, "Do not be called leaders" & "You shall not exercise authority over one another." Possibly because elsewhere it teaches slaves to treat their masters as "a type of God" & the next quote below.
"Honor him who speaks the word of God to you as you do the Lord."
Examining Chapter 5
All about sins being the "way of death." Sad that good works are "the way of life." People following these teachings so far are screwed.
"Not knowing Him Who made them" is one of the "ways of death." I support this one because if you don't know Him who saves you from death you will die.
Being "advocates of the rich" is a bad thing? Sounds like bitter class prejudice.
Examining Chapter 6
"If you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect. but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able." This makes His yoke sound hard & heavy rather than easy & light as Jesus said it is. Suggests some may not be able to bear it. Also yokes are made for two. We are never expected to "bear the entire yoke." Includes the "as long as you try your best God is pleased with you" idea so prevalent in churches as if trying or working is needed to please God.
"Don't eat meat sacrificed to idols." Paul's teaching that idols are fake so what you eat doesn't matter is nowhere to be found in this ultra legalistic writing.
"Against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods." "Dead gods?" There is only one true God.
Examining Chapter 7
Baptism rules are discussed here.
"Before the baptism let the baptizer, baptized, & whoever else can fast; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before." People were baptized on the spot in Acts. No time to fast there. What a dumb rule.
They take "living water" literally. Where are you to find this physical living water to baptize in?
"But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm." Only promotes a sprinkling type of baptism if you have no living, cold, warm, or "other" water.
Examining Chapter 8
Repeats the Lord's Prayer
Says to pray the Lord's Prayer "three times each day." Vain repetition anyone?
Says to only fast on certain days of the week.
Examining Chapter 9
Rules about what to recite during the Eucharist.
Calls the unbaptized "dogs."
"We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus"
Makes no mention of Jesus' blood for the cup of wine!!!
Makes no mention of Jesus' body for the broken bread!!!
Examining Chapter 10
"We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever."
"Make your people perfect in Your love"
"Permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire."
"Remember, Lord, Thy Church." Goes from saying "God's name" is in our hearts to asking God to remember them. Christian double-mindedness like we see in most churches today. We don't have to ask God to remember us, He "always lives to participate in our lives." (Hebrews 7:25)
"Let grace come" but grace has come, "Grace & truth came through Jesus Christ."
Examining Chapter 11
Rules, rules rules about how apostles & prophets are supposed to be some of these are hyper-legalistic & silly.
"Don't try or judge prophets who speak in the Spirit." A very dangerous idea that also goes against Paul's teaching on the matter in 1 Corinthians 14:29.
"Every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet." This sounds good but suggests that "truth" only consists of what you do, thus the prophets in view teach laws.
"apostles shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet." I sorta like this because it keeps them from hanging around & taking authority. However it also prevents relationships from being established. The 3rd day thing is pretty goofy too.
"Every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet." I told you these rules were silly.
Examining Chapter 12
"Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward." Good call in getting to know a person first.
Rules about what to do when coming into contact with travelers. Man made rules = not listening to the Spirit. While similar to 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which addresses locals, it makes Christian hospitality limited.
Examining Chapter 13
Equates prophets to high priests. Jesus is our only high priest now.
Suggests a mandatory giving to support local prophets which goes against 2 Corinthians 9:7's "don't give under compulsion."
"Take the first-fruit of every possession, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment." not sure what they mean "as it may seem good to you" when they are being commanded to do so.
Examining Chapter 14
"confess your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure." What a Christless idea. The Eucharist was apparently considered a "sacrifice." Funny that considering how there is no mention of the sacrifice of Jesus even while addressing the Eucharist in this writing.
Examining Chapter 15
"reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel."
Requires apology before forgiveness among brothers, demanding no association with a person until he repents.
Examining Chapter 16
"then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning." Similar language to Revelation regarding an anti-Christ type of person. Also speaks of "the sign of the sound of the trumpet" & "the resurrection of the dead."
"The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven."
"the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time." Perhaps a loss of salvation concept is being taught here?
"Let not your loins unloosed but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come."
Major problems/falsehoods that exist to this day:
Main focuses are sins & commandments
No focus on (or mention of) the cross or resurrection of Jesus & thus no focus on His finished work on our behalf.
Filled with tons of man made rules like nearly all doctrines, sermons, & books today. This is bad because man made rules = not listening to the Spirit.
Teaches God is only present in certain places or at certain times.
Teaches that God allows all evil & harm.
Teaches to have no respect for a person when reproving (rebuking). This isn't typically taught today but it sure is practiced.
Teaches you must avoid God if your conscience condemns you. Similar to today's teachings of "God won't hear your prayer if you have unconfessed sin" & "God breaks fellowship with you when you sin." Also similar to today's tendencies to run from God because of feelings of shame but that traces back to the garden of Eden.
Says to treat men who are over you as "types of God." While few would say it so literally today it is very evident that this is still done. Also says to honor preacher types as much as you honor God because they speak the Word of God.
Makes the burden of Jesus' yoke sound heavy instead of light. People today are always talking about how hard difficult & burdensome the Christian life is & the "cost of discipleship."
Promotes the idea of 'as long as you try your best God is pleased with you,' as if you must always try hard to please God.
Teaches perfection (holiness) comes by performance.
Demands the Lord's Prayer be recited 3 times a day. The vain repetition of that prayer is still heavily done today.
Asks God to "Remember His people." This old covenant practice is everywhere today. What a sad idea that the children have to tell their Father to continue to act like a basic father.
Tells you not to judge prophets. Likewise today many are shamed if they question a Pastor's teachings. "Touch not God's anointed" they say.
Sees truth as primarily consisting of commands God has given that you should keep rather than being about who God is & how He loves you.
Promotes non-relational teaching/discipling/mentoring.
Promotes over the top fear of idolatry. In this case just by looking at creation & yet still that is not as bad as today's false teaching on idolatry that you can make the people you love the most into idols, sickening.
Places limits on hospitality. This is prevalent today especially within church walls.
Claims prophets are high priests. Jesus is our only High Priest. Catholics still have priests that are "higher" than the congregation & the rest do too, they just use a different title than "priest" because somehow that makes it all better right?
Promotes mandatory giving.
Promotes sin confession among Christians for purification.
Suggests the loss of salvation is possible. Ultimately suggesting that faith doesn't save you, it just keeps you around until you screw up.
Promotes fear & trembling before God, y'know instead of boldly coming to the throne of grace.
Requires the offender apologize before forgiveness is offered. Also demands you not associate with that person until they "repent." This is shunning which is done in many ways today. One of the main ways is if you leave a church (especially the church system all together) people refuse to relate to you.
Less common problems/falsehoods that exist to this day:
Acts as if grace has not come.
Promotes strange fasting rituals.
Seems to promote bizarre abstinence.
Promotes literal self-righteousness saying keeping commands "give you life."
Says you must "give ransom for your own sins."