Location of the Early Church:

Another Look at Jerusalem, Ephesus, Smyrna, Rome, and Alexandria

By COGwriter

 

I. Introduction

 

The old Church of God, Seventh Day (CG7) and the Radio Church of God (RCG), which became the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), taught that the churches in Revelation 2 & 3 represented God's true church throughout history (though they did not agree on all of the specifics[1]).While various groups with origins in those churches officially still hold to that teaching of church eras (e.g. [2]), some others no longer do.

 

On June 13, 2007 , then Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI again publicly urged his followers to look into church history[3].

 

Do you realize that the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches apparently intend to convince the world that their version of early church history is the only possible one?

 

Do you know much about early church history?

 

Do you know where the early Christian church was based? Was it in Rome, Jerusalem, or perhaps some other location? Did the location change? Where did the apostles go?

 

This relatively long paper will look into the Bible and other early writings to attempt to answer those questions.

 

This is a different type of paper. When looking into early church history (beyond the biblical account), we are faced at looking at whatever documents are left that were not destroyed by imperial or religious sources, hence little to do with early church history is as clearly documented as historians and theologians prefer.? This is not to say that there is no information, but only that such information that is available is often incomplete and is usually subject to interpretation.

 

This paper mainly focuses on the location of the early Church, with a focus on the first two churches (Ephesus and Smyrna ) mentioned in Revelation chapter 2. Many theologians believe that the churches mentioned in Revelation 2 & 3 represent an outline of what would happen to Christ's true church throughout history this author holds to that view.

 

And even for those who have a different view of Revelation 2 & 3, this paper will hopefully provide some additional biblical, doctrinal, and even extra-biblical reasons (including from Catholic-approved writings, such as from Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Eusebius) why Asia Minor, and not Rome or Alexandria, appears to have been where most of the faithful early Christians were.

 

It will attempt to show through both biblical and historical sources some of what happened to the early true Church and essentially how and when the Greco-Roman confederation became predominant.?

 

This paper mentions several of the early heretics, discusses how those in the early church attempted to deal with some of these heretics, and shows that there were two major groups in the second century--one of which apparently was the true church and the other of which accepted many of the teachings of condemned heretics.

 

(Note for the purposes of this paper, the terms "Catholic" or "Roman Catholic" are intended to refer to the Church headquartered in Vatican City; it is not intended to convey Anglican Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Catholics unless otherwise specified. The term "Orthodox" or Orthodox Church refers to what is commonly known as the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church.The term "Greco-Roman" normally refers to positions jointly held by the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox in areas once in the ancient Roman and/or Greek empires.)

 

II. Jerusalem, Pella and Asia Minor

 

The New Testament Church began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost around 31 A.D. (dates from 27-33 A.D. have been proposed).? After being filled by the Holy Spirit on that day, the disciples began to preach and thousands were added to the true Church that day (Acts 2).

 

And although the apostles dispersed (see section VI. below), the Bible shows that in the early church, Jerusalem, and never Rome, was where its leadership conferred on topics of importance (see Acts 15; Galatians 1:18; 2:1-9).

 

Actually, three of the four times that the Bible shows that Paul conferred with Peter it was in Jerusalem (ibid).? And the fourth time, it was in Antioch (Galatians 2:11), which is just south of Asia Minor .

 

However, near the times of the deaths of Peter (date uncertain) and Paul (circa 64-67 A.D.), major changes happened in Jerusalem and elsewhere.

 

Beginning in 66 A.D., there were revolts in Jerusalem by the Jews that resulted in probably all the Christians fleeing and ended in Jerusalem's destruction by the imperial Roman authorities.

Dr. M. Germano reported:

 

...scholars speculate that the flight of the last remaining members of the church at Jerusalem on the Feast of Pentecost in CE 69, may have been recorded by Flavius Josephus who writes:

 

Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost as the priests were going by night into the inner court of the temple...they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking and heard a sound as of a multitude saying, ?Let us remove hence.? (Josephus, Wars, bk. VI, ch. v, sec. 3; Whiston 1957:825.)[4]

 

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports,

 

When Titus took Jerusalem (April-September, A.D. 70) he ordered his soldiers to destroy the city)...Meanwhile the Christian community had fled to Pella in Paraea, east of the Jordan (southeast of Jenin), before the beginning of the siege.[5]

 

The Orthodox Church recognizes an important role for Jerusalem,

 

The Church of Jerusalem, as the Mother of all Churches, during the first days of Christianity consisted the centre of life. From it, the Holy Apostles went to visit all nations and renounced the whole world (Marc. 16, 15)?The ?Lord?s City? was completely destroyed in 70 A.C. by Titos, resulting to great and tragic consequences to the Judaist and Christian lives.[6]

 

According to the fourth century Catholic historian Eusebius,

 

James, the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour...But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella...until the siege of the Jews, which took place under Adrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession there, all of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate. For their whole church consisted then of believing Hebrews who continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles. But since the bishops of the circumcision ceased at this time, it is proper to give here a list of their names from the beginning. The first, then, was James, the so-called brother of the Lord; the second, Symeon; the third, Justus; the fourth, Zacchæus; the fifth, Tobias; the sixth, Benjamin; the seventh, John; the eighth, Matthias; the ninth, Philip; the tenth, Seneca; the eleventh, Justus; the twelfth, Levi; the thirteenth, Ephres; the fourteenth, Joseph; and finally, the fifteenth, Judas. These are the bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the time referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision[7]

 

So notice that it is recognized by the leading Catholic historian that the first and early second century Christian leaders in Jerusalem were all circumcized Jews and that these early bishops "received the knowledge of Christ in purity". Thus, their teachings should have been continued.

 

Dr. Samuel Bacchiocchi wrote that,

 

Nazarenes were the direct descendants of the Christian community of Jerusalem which migrated to Pella prior to the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem "Nazarenes" according to Epiphanius "fulfill till now such Jewish rites as the Sabbath." [8]?

 

The Nazarenes ended up in "synagogues of the East" ( Asia Minor) according to the Catholic priest Jerome.[9]? These? ?Nazarenes? referred to ended up dwelling in Syria, Asia Minor, and Armenia.

 

Interestingly, according to Eusebius, at Jerusalem until about 135 A.D.,

 

until the siege of the Jews, which took place under {Roman Empire}Adrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession there. All of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate. For their whole church consisted then of believing Hebrews who continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time. [10]

 

In other words, it is acknowledged by Catholic, Orthodox, and other historians that the church in Jerusalem kept the true knowledge of Christ. Therefore, it should have originally been considered to be among the most reliable of any Christian churches. Jerusalem was also where the apostles would often meet, though most were not based there.? And apparently it remained the headquarters of the church until shortly after Peter and Paul died.

 

Its first invasion (which many believe God first provided a warning for Christians to leave Jerusalem) suggests that God did not intend that Jerusalem would remain as the church?s headquarters, and history shows that some of its spiritual descendants (including the Apostles John and Philip) went to Asia Minor.

 

And while some Christians returned, eventually there was a change in beliefs and practices in Jerusalem.? Notice what the historian E. Gibbon states:

 

The Nazarenes retired from the ruins of Jerusalem to the little town of Pella beyond the Jordan, where that ancient church languished above sixty years in solitude and obscurity. They still enjoyed the comfort of making frequent and devout visits to the Holy City, and the hope of being one day restored to those seats which both nature and religion taught them to love as well as to revere. But at length, under the reign of Hadrian, the desperate fanaticism of the Jews filled up the measure of their calamities; and the Romans, exasperated by their repeated rebellions, exercised the rights of victory with unusual rigour. The emperor founded, under the name of Alia Capitolina, a new city on Mount Sion, to which he gave the privileges of a colony; and denouncing the severest penalties against any of the Jewish people who should dare to approach its precincts, he fixed a vigilant garrison of a Roman cohort to enforce the execution of his orders. The Nazarenes had only one way left to escape the common proscription, and the force of truth was on this occasion assisted by the influence of temporal advantages.

 

They elected Marcus for their bishop, a prelate of the race of the Gentiles, and most probably a native either of Italy or of some of the Latin provinces. At his persuasion the most considerable part of the congregation renounced the Mosaic law, in the practice of which they had persevered above a century. By this sacrifice of their habits and prejudices they purchased a free admission into the colony of Hadrian...

 

When the name and honours of the church of Jerusalem had been restored to Mount Sion, the crimes of heresy and schism were imputed to the obscure remnant of the Nazarenes which refused to accompany their Latin bishop. They still preserved their former habitation of Pella, spread themselves into the villages adjacent to Damascus, and formed an inconsiderable church in the city of Bercea, or, as it is now called, of Aleppo, in Syria.[11]

 

In other words, after the first Latin Bishop in Jerusalem (who may or may not have had any direct affiliation with Rome?the churches that became Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox at that time were still not unified) was put in charge, those who had been faithful Christians were accused of heresy there in the second century.

 

It should be noted that, because of this Jewish revolt, Emperor Hadrian outlawed many practices considered to be Jewish. The Christians in Judea had a decision to make. They either could continue to keep the Sabbath and the rest of God's law and flee or they could compromise and support a religious leader (Marcus) who would not keep the Sabbath, etc.

 

Sadly as E. Gibbon reported, most, but not all, made the wrong choice in 135 A.D. Jesus, of course, taught that the true church would be a "little flock" (Luke 12:32). This clearly led to a separation between the Christian faithful and those who preferred a form of Christianity more acceptable to the Greco-Roman world.? Clearly from 135 A.D. onwards, Jerusalem was not primarily composed of those who kept the original faith, but of those who changed because of persecutions from the Roman Emperor Hadrian and who followed an apparently Latin leader named Marcus.

 

Was the church supposed to change its beliefs and practices throughout history or be faithful to what the apostles originally received? Notice what Jude wrote:

 

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted).

 

III. Early Rome

 

The New Testament clearly shows that there were faithful Christians in Rome (e.g. Romans 16:1-16).? And there undoubtedly were many true Christians there for decades.? However, by some time in the second century, there seems to have been a shift from a majority of those who professed Christ in Rome from following apostolic Christianity to a majority following various forms of 'Christianity' based to a degree on allegory and human tradition.

 

While certain Catholics have tried to persuade the world that Rome was the successor headquarters of the Christian Church after Jerusalem (as early as 42 A.D. by some Catholic accounts[12]), and even claim the Church in Rome was started by Peter and Paul, this is not born out by the Bible nor the writings of certain historians.

 

The fact is that the Bible itself mentions nothing about any church of Rome in terms of any leadership significance for the true church.

 

Other than Paul's letter to those in Rome and his imprisonment there, only three other, non-related, times does the New Testament actually use the word Rome . The first mentions that Jews from Rome and other areas of the world were in Jerusalem around Pentecost (Acts 2:10); the second that Claudius had the Jews depart from Rome (Acts 18:2); and the third that involves Onesiphorus who visited Paul in Rome and later in Ephesus (2 Timothy 1:16-18).

 

(While most Roman Catholic writers believe that Peter was in Rome when he made this statement in his first epistle--She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you, 1 Peter 5:13--this was not clearly a reference to Rome, there were other towns called Babylon then; Peter was probably in the one in Mesopotamia--yet even if it was a reference to Rome, it would not prove that Rome was of central significance to the church or that Peter was even in Rome. The essential Catholic position seems to be that since tradition claims that Peter died in Rome , he somehow passed the leadership of the church--the cathedra as they call it-- to one named Linus and established a succession of Roman bishops. None of this is alluded to in any New Testament writings before or after this alleged occurrence.)

 

Contrary to certain claims and foundational traditions (even Pope Benedict XVI is still perpetuating this myth[13]), the Bible shows that Paul did not start the Church in Rome as he wrote,

 

And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, but as it is written: "To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand." For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you" (Romans 15:20-22).?

 

Also, the following passage from the Book of Acts demonstrates that no one prior to Paul (circa 60 A.D. according to The Catholic Encyclopedia[14]) preached publicly to the Jewish leaders there:

 

And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." 21 Then they said to him, "We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere." 23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening (Acts 28:17-23).

 

Therefore, it seems impossible that Peter could have been proclaiming Christ?s Gospel of the kingdom as a bishop in Rome for any period of time prior to the above incident recorded in the Book of Acts.

 

Hence, neither Peter nor Paul founded the church in Rome.

 

Interestingly, when personally addressing the leadership for the Christians who lived in Rome , Paul never mentioned Peter, even though he listed at least 27 others (Romans 16) none of which are included in any listing of early "bishops of Rome ".

 

How did Christianity first get to Rome? While the historical record is not clear, the Bible does provide a possible clue. In the Book of Acts, chapter 2 verse 10, it mentions that there were Jews visiting Jerusalem from Rome on Pentecost. Since thousands were converted to Christianity that day, it is certainly possible that some of them were converted as well and hence would have been the first Christians in Rome .But these first converts were not from any "bishop of Rome" as even the Roman Catholic Church does not teach Peter or any one else was "bishop of Rome" that early.

 

It is of course true that Rome had true Christians in it from before the time of Paul. However, what we now recognize as the Roman Catholic Church probably did not really begin to form prior to 120-155 A.D. And even then, there were many factions and groups of decentralized professing Christians in Rome (including true Christians, Gnostics, and various heretics). But ultimately, many of them (even though they had differing beliefs) apparently melded into what is now known as the Church of Rome.

 

Notice the following admission from a Roman Catholic scholar concerning the early church in Rome:

 

The Roman synagogues, unlike their counterparts in Antioch, had no central organization.? Each one conducted its own worship, appointed its own leaders, and cared for its own members. In the same way, the ordering of the early Christian community in Rome seems to have reflected the organization of the synagogues which had originally sheltered it, and to have consisted of a constellation of independent churches, meeting in the houses of wealthy members of the community. Each of these house churches had its own leaders, the elders, or "presbyters"[15].

 

The above account demonstrates that even Roman scholars recognize that there were a variety of groups professing Christ in Rome (this subject is covered in more detail in the article What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History?).? And that there really was no single Roman bishopric in charge of all Rome representing Christianity in the first century.

 

It is not until the middle of the second century that there were any who actually took the title Bishop of Rome until Anicetus (circa 155) did (some suspect that Pius, who apparently preceded him, may have been the first, but this is less certain than Anicetus).

 

IV. Heretics Mainly in Rome, but Denounced By Church Leaders in Asia Minor

 

Every writer of the New Testament recorded warnings about false or heretical teachers.? And many false leaders did arise, as Jesus Himself foretold they would (see Matthew 24).

 

In the first and second centuries, a number of heretics who professed Christ went to, or were based in, Rome as well as Alexandria, Egypt.? Among these were followers of Simon Magus (who himself was condemned in the Book of Acts, Chapter 8, Cerinthus (condemned by the Apostle John), Marcion (who personally came to Rome), Valentinus (who personally came to Rome from Alexandria, Egypt), and Montanus (the last three were condemned by church leaders from Asia Minor).

 

Even those now considered to be early supporters of the Roman Catholic Church (such as Justin[16], Tertullian[17], Irenaeus[18], and Hippolytus[19]) condemned Simon? Magus and his followers for doctrines such as statues, revering a woman, incantations, mysteries, mystic priests, claiming divine titles for leaders, accepting money for religious favors, preferring allegory and tradition over many aspects of scripture, divorcing themselves from Christian biblical practices considered to be Jewish, and having a leader who wanted to be thought of as God/Christ on earth.

 

In the late 2nd Century, the Roman-supporting historian Irenaeus recorded the following:

 

Cerdo was one who took his system from the followers of Simon, and came to live at Rome in the time of Hyginus?He taught that the God proclaimed by the law and the prophets was not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the former was known, but the latter unknown; while the one also was righteous, but the other benevolent.? Marcion of Pontus succeeded him, and developed his doctrine...[20]

 

(Hyginus has been claimed to have been a bishop in Rome from 136-140 A.D.)

 

Irenaeus also noted that various claimed bishops of Rome (Hyginus, Pius, and Anicetus) had problems with certain heretics, but that is was both the Apostle John from Ephesus and Polycarp (a disciple of John) from Smyrna (major cities in Asia Minor) who strongly denounced the Gnostic and similar heretics:

 

Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too, Marcion's predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus?Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus... But the rest, who are called Gnostics, take rise from Menander, Simon's disciple?

 

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna?always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time -- a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles...

 

There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Do you know me?" "I do know you, the first-born of Satan."

 

Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, "A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and , being condemned of himself."[21]

 

Valentinus, Cerinthus, and Marcion are considered by Catholics[22] and others[23] to have been Gnostic heretics, while Hyginus, Pius, and Anicetus were Roman leaders.? Thus these quotes from Irenaeus show that the Roman ?bishops? did not have a higher leadership role than Polycarp of Smyrna had, because it apparently took the stature of the visiting Polycarp to turn many Romans away from the Gnostic heretics.

 

The heretic Marcion came to Rome about 140 A.D.? Marcion was possibly the first organized heretic to attempt to do away with the most of the Old Testament, most of the Gospels, the Sabbath, the Book of Revelation and the millennial reign of Christ on earth.[24] [25] Melito of Sardis, who taught the millennial reign of Christ, condemned Marcion in a work titled περί σαρκώσεως χριστού, but only fragments of that work seem to have been found.[26]

 

Valentinus was a second century heretic who attempted to blend much pagan Gnosticism with what he perceived to be the Christian faith. He came from Alexandria and went to Rome. Valentinus and his followers clearly believed in merging Greek pagan philosophy with Christianity, taught about various Aeons, believed in the gnostic Ogdoad concepts, believed in tradition over the Bible, believed in having a higher knowledge, endorsed a non-immersion form of baptism, developed a version of the Godhead similar to what Plato had developed earlier, taught the world was created from pre-existent matter by the angels, taught that Jesus really was not made flesh, and taught that Jesus was a defect, and taught that man was not fashioned from the earth.

 

According to a Catholic bishop called Marcellus of Ancyra, Valentinus? teachings corrupted the church:

 

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God...These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him 'On the Three Natures'.  For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato. [27]?

 

Hence, it was Valentinus, who Polycarp renounced, who is believed to have been the first affiliated with Christianity to teach the Trinitarian concept of three hypostasis or make any clear statement of ?equality? regarding three alleged persons of God .

 

On the other hand, Polycarp[28] and the Apostle John (John 1:1-3), specifically referred to both the Father and the Son as God, but never referred to the Holy Sprit as God. Ignatius did the same in his letters to the Ephesians and the Smyrnaeans.[29]

 

Polycarp also correctly kept the Passover. Eusebius noted that in Polycarp's region,

 

the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's Passover.[30]

 

Irenaeus knew and reported that Polycarp condemned heretics such as Marcion and Valentinus, but Irenaeus failed to point out that they were still allowed to be affiliated with Roman bishops until at least two decades later. Sadly, Irenaeus supported the Roman Church even though Irenaeus knew that its leadership tolerated heretics that had earlier been condemned by Polycarp (and eventually by Irenaeus himself) (it may be of interest to note that Pope Benedict stated that Irenaeus was the "true founder of Catholic theology"[31]).

 

Notice that this Roman tolerance was essentially confirmed by Tertullian (?the first of Latin theological writers?[32]?almost every theological writing was written in Greek prior to Tertullian) near the end of the second century:

 

Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago,?in the reign of Antoninus for the most part,?and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled.[33]

 

Antoninus was also known as Titus Hadrianus Antoninus (not to be confused with the Emperor Hadrian who reigned from 117-138) and reigned from 138-161, while Eleutherius (there are differing spellings of his name) was the Bishop of Rome from 175-189.? Thus, even though Marcion and Valentinus were condemned by Polycarp as heretics about two decades before Eleutherius became ?Bishop of Rome?, apparently they were not put out of the Roman Catholic Church then. (Marcion allegedly professed repentance and gave a large financial contribution that kept him in good graces for a while[34]--though the Roman Church allegedly returned that contribution after some time?it is less clear why Valentinus was tolerated as long as he was, other than perhaps he had a lot of followers.)

 

Montanus was also a heretic in the second century. The followers of Montanist were eventually denounced by the Roman Catholics, but only decades after he was repeatedly denounced by leaders in Asia Minor associated with the true Church including Thraseas of Eumenia and Apollinaris of Hierapolis (both towns of which are in Asia Minor). And while Thraseas denounced Montanus before 160 A.D., Montanus was accepted and encouraged after this by one or more bishops of Rome.

 

Notice the following report from Tertullian:

 

For after the Bishop of Rome had acknowledged the prophetic gifts of Montanus, Prisca, and Maximilla, and, in consequence of the acknowledgment, had bestowed his peace on the churches of Asia and Phrygia?[35]

 

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia [36], the Bishop of Rome mentioned above was either Eleutherius (175-189) or Victor (189-199). Hence, Montanus was another heretic tolerated/encouraged by Rome for decades after he was condemned by one or more leaders of the church in Asia Minor.

 

And why is all of this about Rome and heretics so important?

 

Because it is clearly documented that those that the Roman Church currently considers to have been heretics were in Rome, were tolerated by the Romans even after they were denounced as heretics, and that the Roman Catholic Church continues to hold to practices that were introduced by these heretics. Furthermore, it shows that leaders associated with the true Church in Asia Minor in the first, second, and early third centuries repeatedly attempted to denounce these heretics, and refused to accept their teachings.

 

Would the leaders of the true Church be more likely to tolerate or denounce heretics?

 

The answer should be obvious (and to those it is not, recall that Jesus, Peter, Paul, Jude, John and others denounced false religious leaders in the New Testament).

 

V. Was the Headquarters for Christians Expected to Remain In One City?

 

While there are several churches that claim direct descent from places such as Alexandria, Antioch, Asia Minor, Jerusalem, and Rome , the one very real question is: Was the headquarters of the true church to remain in the same city?

 

Let us look at what Jesus taught on this matter:

 

And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:22-23).

 

Jesus, of course, has not yet returned. Whatever Christians there have been in the area of Palestine have been chased through all the cities in that geographic region since Jesus stated this (the Crusades also helped insure this).

 

Thus Jesus must be referring to more cities than just those in the area of Palestine (such as those Jacob was alluding to in Genesis 49:1-27). Jesus, thus, seems to be prophesying that it would not be possible that any headquarters of the true church could permanently remain in one city for hundreds or nearly two thousand years. These statements from Jesus would suggest that only a church whose headquarters moved relatively often could possibly be the true church.

 

The concept is also confirmed in the Book of Hebrews:

 

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come (Hebrews 13:14).

 

Rome, however, has been a continuing city (though several Roman Catholic Bishops were based out of Lyon, France), and thus neither Rome nor any other single city (as the Eastern Orthodox claim) could possibly have been the leadership city for Christians for multiple centuries.

For my Roman Catholic friends who may have concerns about translations, let us look at what Jesus taught in Matthew and Paul taught in Hebrews using the Rheims New Testament of 1582?which is the Roman Catholic approved translation of the Latin Vulgate into English:

?and you shall be odious to all men for my name, but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another (Matthew 10:22-23, RNT).

For we have not here a permanent city: but we seek that which is to come (Hebrews 13:14, RNT).

Thus, even the Catholic Rheims New Testament effectively proves that no single city, including Rome, could have remained the headquarters of Christendom for nearly 2000 years.

VI. Though the Apostles Went Abroad, the New Testament Focus Was the Church in Asia Minor

 

Jesus told His disciples to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). The New Testament records that in addition to Jerusalem/Palestine (where the Bible shows all the original apostles, plus Paul, spent time), the apostles went to Antioch, Asia Minor, and parts of Europe .

 

Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote: 1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

 

As it turns out, other than Pontus, I have visited everyone of those places--and they all are in Asia Minor. Peter was writing to the saints, the elect, who were scattered in Asia Minor. Obviously there were many Christians in Asia Minor at that time.

 

A Protestant scholar has written:

 

After the ascension of Christ, the history of the apostles whom He had trained is left in the utmost obscurity. Except James, who was early killed with the persecutors' sword in Jerusalem, we know not when, or where, or how any of the Eleven died. The Acts of the Apostles briefly speaks of them collectively in its first few chapters, then it drops all except Peter and John?

 

Since Patmos, the place of John's exile, is only a day's sail from Ephesus, "the metropolis of Asia," it is quite probable that this city was the place of his abode both before and after his sojourn on that rugged island?[37]

 

Catholic tradition, from the Roman Catholic theologian Hippolytus in the third century (that may or may not be valid) makes the following claims:

 

Where Each of Them Preached, And Where He Met His End

 

1. Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner.

 

2. Andrew preached to the Scythians and Thracians, and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia; and there too he was buried.

 

3. John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan's time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.

 

4. James, his brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.

 

5. Philip preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.

 

6. Bartholomew, again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia.

 

7. And Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia.

 

8. And Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spears at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.

 

9. And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem. was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple.

 

10. Jude, who is also called Lebbaeus, preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia, and fell asleep at Berytus, and was buried there.

 

11. Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years.

 

12. And Matthias, who was one of the seventy, was numbered along with the eleven apostles, and preached in Jerusalem, and fell asleep and was buried there.

 

13. And Paul entered into the apostleship a year after the assumption of Christ; and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum, and Italy, and Spain, preaching the Gospel for five-and-thirty years. And in the time of Nero he was beheaded at Rome, and was buried there.[38]

 

Most of the above are also discussed similarly in Fox?s Book of Martyrs. But here are some that Fox words a bit differently (plus he included Luke):

 

VII. Andrew

Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground?

IX. Peter

Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof?

 

XII. Bartholomew

Preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters?

 

XIV. Luke

The evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He travelled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.

 

XV. Simon

Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.

 

XVI. John

The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.[39]

 

Paul and his companions spent time in Ephesus (Acts 18:18-21; 19:1-41) and other parts of Asia Minor (Acts 13:31-41; 14:1-25).

 

It may be of interest to note that by combining the accounts of the Bible, Fox, and Hippolytus it is clear that most of the disciples spent some time in Asia Minor (though several apostles only had to pass through Asia Minor to get to the locations Hippolytus listed). However, the reader will note that with Simon Zelotes, for example, Fox and Hippolytus list two differing locations, and apparently contradictory accounts are mentioned.Hence, early traditions as to where the apostles ended up should be considered just that, early traditions.

 

One tradition, which was not written down until the late 1800s and thus has been criticized concerns Thomas who is discussed in the Ramban Pattu (also known as the Rabban Song):

 

The Rabban Song, which has been passed down orally by generations of Indian Christians, recounts Thomas' career in India in some detail. It states that the apostle arrived in India in late A.D. 49, stayed briefly then went to China.? This generally agrees with Indian traditions. Such a trip would have occurred shortly after Thomas's arrival in South India.? Farquhar and Garitte believe that it is unlikely that Thomas actually went to China proper--certainly not Peking--within the short space of perhaps a year alotted by the Indian narratives.They believe that he did evangelize in what are now Burma and Malaysia for a short time before returning to South India. According to the Rabban Song, between A.D. 52 and 59 Thomas founded seven churches and baptized one king...In A.D. 69, Thomas settled permanently in Mylapore...According to most Indian traditions, Thomas died of stab wounds on July 3, A.D. 72. The Braham priests of Mylapore feared that Christianity would eclipse Hinduism.[40]

 

Other traditions include/add that Andrew founded the church in Bithynia (Byzantium), James brother of John went to Spain, Bartholomew was in also Asia Minor, Thomas also went to China, Burma, & Malaysia, Matthew went to Ethiopia & Egypt, and Simon Zelotes also went to Iran, Africa, & Egypt, Jude (Thaddeus) went to Iran & Armenia (and is claimed to have began what is now called the Armenian National Church) and most likely some of those traditions are true.[41]

 

But what about the Bible?

 

Jesus told his disciples to go to all the world to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). The Bible shows that Paul was in Jerusalem, Asia Minor, Rome, Greece, Antioch, Malta, Spain, and many other places.? It states that John was in Jerusalem and Patmos.? It shows (or at least indicates) that Peter was in Jerusalem, Antioch, Caesarea, Joppa, Asia Minor, apparently Mesopotamia, and elsewhere.? It essentially shows that all the disciples were originally in Jerusalem before dispersal?but the exact lands they were dispersed to is not normally stated (many of the apostles are never even named after Acts 1:13).

 

Since the New Testament mentions a variety of places that most non-Greek speaking individuals know little about, very few people are aware that, after the four gospel accounts, that the New Testament is mainly written to the church leadership in Asia Minor.

 

There are a total of 27 books in the New Testament.? At least 10 books of the New Testament were directly written to the church leaders in Asia Minor. The ones written to those in Asia Minor include Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy (Timothy was in Ephesus), Philemon, 1 Peter, 3 John, and Revelation. According to The Ryrie Study Bible John's Gospel, 1 Corinthians, 1 & 2 John, and possibly Philippians were written from Ephesus.

 

In addition to these 15, there may be more as 2 Peter and possibly Jude may have also been mainly directed to one or more of the churches in Asia Minor . James was written to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" and some of them were in Asia Minor (others according to the historian Josephus were ?beyond Euphrates?). It is also likely that some others, like Acts, were written at least partially from Asia Minor (Acts also has a section written to Christians in Ephesus). So probably 15 to 19 New Testament books were written to or from Asia Minor.

 

There is only one book written to those in Rome (and it never mentions any of the so-called Roman bishops), with 2 to Corinth, 2 to Thessalonica, 1 to Philippi (which is near Asia Minor), and 1 to Crete (Titus), a total of 7 letters not addressed to specifically to those in Asia Minor.

 

What this clearly shows, is that although there were Christians in various areas, the focus for the New Testament writers were the churches in Asia Minor. And interestingly, the last book of the Bible is specifically addressed to the churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:4,11).

 

Furthermore, scholars do recognize that it was those in Asia Minor, and not Rome, who first knew which books made up the New Testament canon. Notice the following from the late James Moffatt:

 

Was not the Apostolic Canon of scripture first formed...in Asia Minor? Was not Asia Minor ahead of Rome in the formation of the Apostolic, Episcopal, ministry?...The real thinking upon vital Christianity for centuries was done outside the Roman Church.[42]

 

VII. Ephesus and John

 

Just before Jerusalem was destroyed, John moved to Asia Minor.

 

The Christian writers of the second and third centuries testify to us as a tradition universally recognized and doubted by no one that the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province.[43]

 

John?made his way to Ephesus to take over the ?orphaned? churches of Asia, once superintended by the martyred Paul.? This would have been around A.D. 66 or 67.[44]

 

Notice the timing.The Christians fled Jerusalem around this time, Paul and possibly Peter were martyred, and that is when John took over the churches.

 

Eventually, he was exiled to Patmos (an island that John could still see Asia Minor from; this writer personally saw it from the cave it is believed that John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ). John was inspired to write,

 

To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate' (Revelation 2:1-6).

 

Unlike Rome, Ephesus was a church commended by Christ in the book of Revelation (and at that time was apparently the second largest city in Asia Minor). Any and all references to the famed city of seven hills (Rome) in the Book of Revelation (i.e. 17:9) are negative.

 

Many Catholics point to Matthew 16:18-19 as proof that the authority of the Church was given just to Peter and his successors in Rome,

 

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

 

But of course Peter died, Paul taught that Jesus is the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), and Rome was not mentioned. As these verses show, it is the true Church, and not a location, that was not to be prevailed against by death. And although Peter was one of the stones that would help build the church, he was not the only one.

 

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul makes clear that the Church was not just built on Peter but is built on the foundation of the apostles (plural) AND the prophets, with Jesus as the CHIEF cornerstone, and including all the members in the church as well,

 

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, In whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

 

(More on this subject of keys can be found in the article Peter and the Keys.)

 

By combining these passages in Matthew and Ephesians, we may be learning that just like Peter was a predominant apostle until his death, that Ephesus itself would be the predominant church until, as Revelation 2:1-10 allows, Smyrna gained predominance?with the true church never dying out.? While the Roman and Orthodox Churches teach that it is the same church organization itself that would continue, Revelation 2 & 3 instead shows a series, in an apparent overlapping succession of churches, each with somewhat different strengths and weaknesses (as well as attitudes that exist throughout the church era).

 

Tertullian reported that the Apostle John was taken temporarily to Rome from Ephesus, then suddenly exiled to Patmos, by Emperor Domitian [45], and,

 

after the tyrant's death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus.[46]

 

About this time, a schism occurred in Corinth and someone apparently decided to contact the Christians in Rome for assistance (possibly because John may have been in Rome then).? According to those in Rome, the response that came was delayed,

 

Because of the sudden and repeated misfortunes and reverses which have happened to us?[47]

 

Perhaps that delay included John?s exile or perhaps his death (which occurred circa 100 A.D.).

 

If this letter was sent to Rome because John and others were there, it simply shows that some in Corinth were trying to contact the leadership of the church. Also, it seems logical that those in one of the churches in Rome may have decided that since John was being exiled, they should simply respond with their opinion.

 

Although many Catholics suggest the response sent from Rome (which they call normally 1 Clement, while other scholars simply call it The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians) is definitive proof that Rome was the ruling Church, the letter actually refers to its contents only as ?our advice?[48], does not list any author, and does not otherwise prove anything about Roman authority.

 

Here is the opinion of one Roman Jesuit priest and scholar concerning it:

 

In the past, Catholic writers have interpreted this intervention as an early exercise of Roman primacy, but now it is generally recognized as the kind of exhortation one church could address another without any claim to authority over it...I Clement certainly does not support the theory that before the apostles died, they appointed one man as bishop in each of the churches they founded. This letter witnesses rather to the fact that in the last decade of the first century, the collegial ministry of a group of presbyters...was still maintained in the Pauline church of Corinth. This was most likely also the case in the church in Rome at this period.[49]

 

Perhaps, it should be noted that probably within 10 years of the above, Ignatius, while in Smyrna, sent a letter via the Ephesians to the church in Rome[50] as well as other letters to several other churches; so based on Corinthian letter logic, Catholics who claim as proof of Roman dominance would have more reason to accept Asia Minor as the main church instead of Rome.

 

But even more so, because Ignatius specifically acknowledged that the church in Ephesus had been predestined for greatness by God, as he wrote,

 

to the church at Ephesus in Asia, blessed with greatness through the fullness of God the Father, predestinated before the ages for lasting and unchangeable glory forever.[51]

 

Ephesus, of course, was biblically important.? Paul himself did many important miracles in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-17). Paul also said,

 

I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).

 

Notice that the above verses show that it was in Ephesus that a great door to proclaim the Gospel was opened for Paul and the church.This is never said of Rome.

 

The early church in Ephesus was led by Paul for at least three years (Acts 20:17,31), probably Timothy (1 Timothy 1:3), and later John.Ephesus clearly was a Gentile church (Ephesians 2:11 ;3:1) that kept God's Holy Days such as Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8) and Passover/Unleavened Bread (as Polycrates' later testimony indicates). Paul, who was given to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8) and approved to do so by Peter and John (Galatians 2:7-9), played a major role in the church at Ephesus.

 

Furthermore, it may be of interest to note that John wrote that the antichrists are those that did not follow him. John taught,

 

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us (1 John 2:18-19).

 

So what may have been the first specific departure from the practices of John that we have a historical record of (involving John's name)?

 

The changing of the date of Passover!

 

The fact that the Roman Church specifically decided on Sunday Passover shows that they intentionally ignored his warning about antichrist.

 

Paul once noted that it was "James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars" (Galatians 2:9) of the Church in Jerusalem (Cephas is the Aramaic word for Peter). Once James and Peter were killed, this only left one pillar, the Apostle John, and he moved to Ephesus.

 

Is it logical that if any one was to be the leader to succeed Peter it would be John? Is it logical that the one who wrote the last 3-5 books of the Bible would be the primary leader of the church until he died?

 

The Catholic Encyclopedia records this about John,

 

John had a prominent position in the Apostolic body. Peter, James, and he were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark, v, 37), of the Transfiguration (Matt., xvii, 1), and of the Agony in Gethsemani (Matt., xxvi, 37). Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make the preparation for the Last Supper (Luke, xxii, 8)...John alone remained near his beloved Master at the foot of the Cross on Calvary with the Mother of Jesus and the pious women, and took the desolate Mother into his care as the last legacy of Christ (John, xix, 25-27). After the Resurrection John with Peter was the first of the disciples to hasten to the grave and he was the first to believe that Christ had truly risen (John, xx, 2-10)?"the disciple whom Jesus loved". After Christ's Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, John took, together with Peter, a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the Church...the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province...After Domitian's death the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, and at Ephesus he died about A.D. 100 at a great age. [52]

 

Similarly the Orthodox Church has acknowledged,

 

John also was sent with Peter to Samaria, where they prayed that the converts might receive the Holy Spirit. In Jerusalem, he was present at the Council of the Apostles. John was "one of the two" with Andrew who first had an audience with the Lord, He was the one "whom Jesus loved"?Jesus from His cross entrusted His mother to John?He was the one who ran with Peter to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection, and who recognized the Risen Lord at the Sea of Tiberius, where our Lord spoke to him the words that he would not die (John 21:7). According to tradition, he went to Asia Minor and settled in Ephesus.? Later he was exiled to Patmos, an island.[53]

 

Therefore, it is no surprise since John outlived Peter and all the other original apostles that any church leadership succession would have transferred to him. Recall that even the Catholics admit that John guided the churches in Ephesus.? It would seem illogical that since most Catholics claim to have had four 'bishops of Rome' (after Peter)[54] before John died, that John, an original apostle, would be subservient to them.

 

This is especially true since none of those 'bishops of Rome' claim to have held the position of apostle (or even bishop!)--a bishop is essentially an elder who is a pastor or overseer (compare Acts 20 vss. 17 and 28).

 

Even the noted Catholic scholar F.A. Sullivan writes,

 

...in Luke's day, local church leaders could be called either elders or overseers, without a clear distinction between the terms? [55]

 

(Overseers in the above passage is the translation from the Greek term episkopoi which also means bishop.)

 

Yet, as the Bible shows, an apostle is the highest spiritual position in the church,

 

And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28).

 

Thus, it does not seem biblically reasonable that a local elder in Rome ruled the true Church at a higher level than a prominent apostle ordained by Jesus and noted to be a pillar by Paul.

 

Notice that in the early 4th Century, Eusebius wrote,

 

Timothy, so it is recorded, was the first to receive the episcopate of the parish in Ephesus [56].

An episcopate means a bishopric (or pastorate), which demonstrates that in the time of Timothy (1st century), evangelist ranked ministers (2 Timothy 4:5) and not mainly apostles, were considered to be bishops (Catholic accepted writings do not normally refer to bishops as apostles, though some do). Hence, this further suggests that the Apostle John would not be subservient to any bishop of Rome.

 

It is in Paul's letter to the Ephesians that the offices of church government are listed, with apostles again listed ahead of pastors,

 

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-15).

 

It is Ephesus, and not Rome, that the Bible gives pre-eminence for the start of a major Gentile church. It is logical that these offices would be listed for the church at Ephesus as it would become the predominant church during the apostolic era. Also note that this governance structure was intentionally designed to prevent the church from being tricked doctrinally and other ways.

 

It was also in Asia Minor (Caesarea), and not Italy, that the Holy Spirit was first poured out on the Gentiles (Acts 10:47). It was specifically the Gentiles of the church of Ephesus that Paul states were added to the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets and Christ (Ephesians 2:20 ) this is nowhere stated about Rome.

 

In the second century, even the Catholic Irenaeus noted,

 

...the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles. [57]

 

But Ephesus was not to remain predominant, and may have ceased being so about 135 A.D., this is about same time of the second major invasion of Jerusalem [58] and about when Polycarp of Smyrna sent out his letter to the Philippians.

 

God sometimes seems to fulfill prophecies in ways we humans cannot tell until after the fact.

 

In the case of Ephesus where John wrote, ?repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place", what happened was astounding.? Not only did Ephesus cease to be an important city, it ceased to be a port! The silt from a local river pouring out over time has actually removed Ephesus a distance of 4-5 miles (according to a Turkish tour guide named Faymi, who told me that my last visit there, around May 2005) from the ocean. As I personally verified, the view from the ancient harbor of Ephesus to the actual ocean is a long one.

 

When my wife and I were in Ephesus , we also visited the site where Mary's final house was supposed to have been (and is so recognized by the Roman Catholic Church). Since Mary (who they consider the "Queen of Heaven and the Mother of God") is believed to have left Palestine with John and died in Asia Minor, one would think that Catholics would consider that possibly Asia Minor, and not Rome, was the primary location of the post-Jerusalem church.

 

Currently, Ephesus itself is now just a bunch of partially excavated ancient ruins with two large parking lots, some souvenir stands, and one camel apparently for tourists to take pictures of. The Turkish city of Kusadasi (which borders the ocean) has replaced it as the major city in that immediate area.

 

VIII. Justin Martyr: Two Groups

 

Paul told those in Ephesus,

 

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk (Ephesians 4:17).

 

Yet certain ones did not heed this.

 

While living in Ephesus, around 135 A.D., a philosopher trained in the ways of the Greeks who professed Christ named Justin recorded this accusation against himself,

 

But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations[59].

 

While the Ephesians were told to live differently than the other Gentiles in whose nation they co-existed with, those with Justin could not be distinguished.Thus, Ephesus (who Christ later commends) and not Rome (who embraced Justin as a saint[60]) would seem to have been the place where the early teachings of the true Church were being preserved.

 

Although Justin ended up in Rome, this discourse between Trypho and Justin took place in Ephesus . [61]? This shows that there were two very different professing Christian groups in Ephesus as Justin specifically claimed his group did not observe the Sabbath, keep the Feasts, or eat unleavened bread[62], nor did he care to affiliate with those that did, yet Polycrates later confirmed that Passover was continually kept on the 14th and unleavened bread was still eaten annually by the Christians who were the followers of Polycarp and John in Ephesus.[63] It is possible that the reason that Justin decided to leave Ephesus and return to Rome was because the true Christians in Ephesus would not accept him or his teachings.

 

Notice this astounding admission:

 

But if, Trypho, some of your race, who say they believe in this Christ, compel those Gentiles who believe in this Christ to live in all respects according to the law given by Moses, or choose not to associate so intimately with them, I in like manner do not approve of them.[64]

 

Justin admits that there were two groups in Ephesus , one that kept all the law and the other that did not. These statements from Justin specifically prove that those in Polycarp's region kept the Saturday Sabbath?and that those that did observe the Sabbath would not associate with those that did not! Furthermore, Justin did not approve of those faithful Christians.

 

It is possible that the reason that Justin decided to leave Ephesus and return to Rome was because the true Christians in Ephesus would not accept him or some of his teachings.

 

When responding to Trypho about the ten commandments, Justin also stated,

 

For the law promulgated on Horeb is now old, and belongs to yourselves alone; but this is for all universally?an eternal and final law--namely, Christ--has been given to us, and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance. [65]

 

But look at what John, the last apostle in Ephesus wrote,

 

He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4).

 

Interestingly, recall that Jesus commends the church at Ephesus because, "you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Revelation 2:2)--in other words, the church at Ephesus had the ability to know who the true leaders of the Christian church actually were. Nothing in the Bible says this about the Roman Church.

 

Perhaps it should be noted that although the Roman and Orthodox Churches consider Justin to be a saint, it teaches that Justin may have been less than truthful.? The Catholic Encyclopedia states this about Justin,

 

In both "Apologies" and in his "Dialogue" he gives many personal details, e.g. about his studies in philosophy and his conversion; they are not, however, an autobiography, but are partly idealized, and it is necessary to distinguish in them between poetry and truth?He received a good education in philosophy, an account of which he gives us at the beginning of his "Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon"?This account cannot be taken too literally; the facts seem to be arranged with a view?This interview is evidently not described exactly as it took place, and yet the account cannot be wholly fictitious.[66]

 

Not wholly fictitious suggests that even Catholic scholars realize Justin was partially bearing false witness, thus not likely to be part of the true church. Justin actually made a variety of clearly false statements in his writings that others have noted[67] (here is a detailed article Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate?).

 

One reason that it seems odd that the Roman and Orthodox Churches considers that Justin is a saint is because in addition to his not "wholly fictitious" account, Justin wrote the following statement which condemns a belief that many (including them) hold as non-Christian:

 

For I choose to follow not men or men's doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians?[68]

?

Anyway, apparently after Polycarp left Rome, Justin greatly influenced the Roman Bishop Anicetus and while Justin had some orthodoxy, his influence led to more heresy within Rome.? Notice what the Catholic historian Eusebius wrote:

 

And in Rome ...Anicetus assumed the leadership of the Christians there... But Justin was especially prominent in those days.[69]

 

Also, note what a modern Roman source states:

 

ANICETUS, ST. (155-166) Born in Syria, he came to Rome as a collaborator of St. Justin in the battle against the heretics...Another heresy, Montanism flourished at that time.[70]

 

Actually, Justin was not much of a battler of heresies (though he did condemn some of the Gnostics), but sometimes a supplier of them.? And apparently he also did not oppose Montanism, even though leaders in his earlier home of Asia Minor did.? Justin was the first associated with Christianity to specifically mention that worship services were on Sunday, around 150 A.D. (this will be discussed later).? And while it was true that around this time, Roman leaders began to observe Passover on Sunday, I also suspect that some associated with Rome also had weekly worship services on Sunday, but that the Sabbath was also kept until probably decades after the time of Anicetus by the main Roman Church.

 

IX. Smyrna of Asia Minor and Polycarp

 

John lists the church in Smyrna after the church in Ephesus in Revelation 1:11. Interestingly, a letter purportedly from Ignatius (in the early 2nd Century) somewhat ties Smyrna in with Ephesus,

 

The Ephesians greet you from Smyrna , from where I am writing you. They have refreshed me in every respect, together with Polycarp, the bishop of the Smyrnaeans.[71]

 

Notice that Polycarp is clearly called a bishop (an overseeing pastor) in Smyrna (which is in Asia Minor ). This early second century document is the first to call anyone a bishop who is considered by any group as a successor the Apostles (other than perhaps Ignatius himself who is in the Orthodox Church of Antioch's succession list).There is no such early statement about any bishop of Rome.

Polycarp called the Father God and Jesus God, but he never referred to the Holy Spirit that way (see Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians) this is a binitarian view. Here is the only extant direct quote from Polycarp that clearly mentions the Holy Spirit:

I bless you because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among them in your presence today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as you have prepared and revealed beforehand, and have now accomplished, you who are the faithful and true God. For this reason, indeed for all things, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High-priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom to you with him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and for the ages to come. Amen.[72]

More historical and scriptural information on the Holy Spirit can be found in the article Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?

Polycarp also correctly kept the Passover. Eusebius noted that in Polycarp's region, the parishes of all Asia , as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's Passover. [73]

 

Irenaeus reported,

 

And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points?For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect; so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace with the whole Church, both those who did observe [this custom] and those who did not.[74]

 

But were they truly in peace after that?

 

I do not think so.

 

Actually, I am convinced that Irenaeus glossed over the degree of disagreement. What really seems to have happened then is that Polycarp denounced a variety of Gnostic and other heretics during that trip. Anicetus was new to his position, decided it was advantageous to defer to Polycarp for either one meal or Passover service, then Polycarp left (Protestant scholar H. Wace seemed to feel that this was a Passover service, see note [75]). About that time, according to Eusebius, Justin gained more influence in Rome[76], and it appears that he influenced Anicetus further away from the practices of the true church in Asia Minor.

 

Furthermore, the Catholic monk and historian Epiphanius wrote,

 

For long ago, even from the earliest days, the Passover was celebrated at different times in the church. In the time of Polycarp and Victor, the east was at odds with the west and they would not accept letters of commendation from each other.[77]

What Irenaeus and Epiphanius writings seem to show is that the aged Polycarp went to Rome to primarily deal with Gnostic heretics that claimed to be Christian. He also he tried to persuade the Romans to observe Passover on the 14th day of the first month, and not on an annual Sunday.? Apparently Anicetus conceded enough (such as about Polycarp's position on that and probably about Marcion, who Anicetus apparently agreed was a heretic) that no recorded major ?blowup? between the two survived.Notice that "the east" (Polycarp's side) did not accept the authority of the bishop of Rome and they refused commendations from each other. This clearly shows that the churches in Rome and Asia Minor did not accept the authority of each other over either one throughout the second century.

 

Also, around that time, the Romans were tolerating too many heretics?heretics that those in Asia Minor condemned. In addition to Montanus, Marcion, and Valentinus, Roman Bishops apparently also tolerated what became knows as Sabellists.

 

Notice two accounts, the first from a Protestant scholar:

 

Sabellius taught the strict unity of the godhead: "one Person (hypostasis), three names." God is hyiopater, Son-Father. The different names Father, Son, and Spirit, merely describe different forms of revelation; the Son revealed the Father as a ray reveals the sun. Now the Son has returned to heaven, and God reveals himself as the Holy Spirit...Despite these flaws, Sabelliansim seems to have won the adherence of two bishops of Rome, Victor and Zephyrinus, both who were involved in bitter struggles with the adoptionists. Zephyrinus' successor, Callistus, repudiated Sabellius, but continued to use rather Sabellian language...The entanglement of these three bishops...has proved a continuous embarrassment to the traditionalist Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility...

 

The modalism of Sabellius influenced later orthodox formulations in that it insisted on the diety of the Holy Spirit...By insisting that the Holy Spirit is also God, Sabellianism helped counteract the tendency to what we might call ditheism.[78]

 

If the doctrine of the trinity is so critical to being a "Christian" than why did not even the Roman bishops misunderstand it so much? Could it have been because the true Church was never Sabellian nor trinitarian? If the doctrine of the trinity was true from the beginning (which it was not), why do Protestant scholars feel the need to credit the heretical Sabellian for insisting that the Holy Spirit is God? The simple truth is that the early true Church never considered that the Holy Spirit was God or that God was some type of trinity.

 

Notice that according to Catholic scholars, Sabellianism was condemned from the start in Asia Minor, then decades later in Rome according:

 

Yet further evidence regarding the Church's doctrine is furnished by a comparison of her teaching with that of heretical sects. The controversy with the Sabellians in the third century proves conclusively that she would tolerate no deviation from Trinitarian doctrine. Noetus of Smyrna, the originator of the error, was condemned by a local synod, about A.D. 200. Sabellius, who propagated the same heresy at Rome c. A.D. 220, was excommunicated by St. Callistus.[79]

 

It should be noted that the above writing is a bit in error. While it is true that the Church in Asia Minor (Symrna) would not tolerate Sabellian heresy from the beginning, the Roman Catholic Church did until around 220 A.D.

 

But these writings do show that there were different views in Rome and Asia Minor and that it was in Asia Minor that the heretics would be denounced first?normally decades earlier than in Rome.

 

Furthermore, I believe that when one carefully reads Polycrates' later rebuttal of Sunday Passover (which is shown later), it is clear that Polycrates really did not care what Bishop Victor wrote and that perhaps Polycarp made it clear to the followers in Asia Minor that Rome was full of heretics (this may also be why Polycarp may have been the first to claim that 666 signified a Latin Man).

 

Unlike Justin, Polycarp endorsed the commandments of God? in his Letter to the Philippians[80]. About two decades after Polycarp?s death, Theophilus, the leader of those who professed Christ in Antioch of Syria, specifically endorsed the ten commandments when he wrote,

 

Of this divine law, then, Moses, who also was God's servant, was made the minister both to all the world, and chiefly to the Hebrews...Of this great and wonderful law, which tends to all righteousness, the ten heads are such as we have already rehearsed.[81]

 

Since Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians[82] indicated that there were faithful Christians in Syria, this suggests that true Christians believed that they needed to observe all of the ten commandments.

 

Since Polycarp was a disciple of John, it is more logical that the true church could be traced from the last apostolic head of the Ephesus church to the first major head of the Smyrna church once it became predominant (recall that Revelation 2 lists the Smyrna church following Ephesus church) than it could be from Peter through an undistinguished elder named Linus (which is basically the Catholic position).

 

Regarding Smyrna, even The Catholic Encyclopedia states,

 

Smyrna...Christianity was preached to the inhabitants at an early date. As early as the year 93, there existed a Christian community directed by a bishop for whom St. John in the Apocalypse (i, II; ii, 8-11) has only words of praise?There were other Christians in the vicinity of the city and dependent on it to whom St. Polycarp wrote letters (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", V, xxiv). When Polycarp was martyred?the Church of Smyrna sent an encyclical concerning his death to the Church of Philomelium and others. [83]

 

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that Eusebius records that Polycarp's critics called him the "father of the Christians" [84] and that Irenaeus stated, "Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures" [85].

 

Hence, even these Catholic writers support the idea that Smyrna was important part of the true and faithful church.

 

X. The Great Sabbath

 

Although we in the COGs do not consider the Gospel of Thomas to be scripture, the following passage from it shows that the sabbath was being observed in the 2nd Century, and that the observance of the Sabbath was considered to be of great importance:

 

"...If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father. [86]

 

Noted scholar Kirsopp Lake states, ?Polycarp's martyrdom was on Saturday.[87]

 

According to the letter The Martyrdom of Polycarp by the Smyrnaeans, "on the day of the preparation, at the hour of dinner, there came out pursuers and horsemen" and the Polycarp was killed "on the day of the great Sabbath".[88] The use of these two expressions ("day of the preparation" and "the day of the great Sabbath" strongly indicates that those in Polycarp's area were still keeping the Sabbath in the latter portion of the 2nd century. Furthermore, this combined with Justin's statements, in my opinion, absolutely proves that the Sabbath was being kept then.

 

This clearly demonstrates that those in Smyrna (a Gentile filled area) were still keeping the Sabbath around 156 A.D. [89] On more than one occasion, the Apostle Paul himself kept the Sabbath in Pisidia in Asia Minor (Acts 13:14,42-44).

 

Sabbath-keeping in Asia Minor was publicly still going on to at least 364 A.D. or else the Eastern Church would not have convened a Council in Laodicea to excommunicate any who rested on the seventh day.This still did not stop all Sabbath keeping.

 

Around 404 A.D. Jerome noted,

 

the believing Jews do well in observing the precepts of the law, i.e. keeping the Jewish Sabbath, there exists a sect among the synagogues of the East, which is called the sect of the Minei, and is even now condemned by the Pharisees. The adherents to this sect are known commonly as Nazarenes; they believe in Christ the Son of God, born of , the Virgin Mary; and they say that He who suffered under Pontius Pilate and rose again, is the same as the one in whom we believe, a most pestilential heresy. [90]

 

But it was not just Jewish Christians keeping the Sabbath. Noted historian K.S. Latourette wrote,

 

...for centuries even many Gentile Christians also observed the seventh day, or Sabbath. [91]

 

The mid-5th Century historian Sozomen reported,

 

The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria .[92]

 

This shows that Sabbath keeping continued in parts of Asia Minor through the time of Sardis and into what is sometimes considered to be the Pergamos era.

 

These Sabbath observances clearly disagree with a position in an article by Michael Morrison of the current WCG, who quotes the writer Maxwell,

 

Many Christians were already honoring Sunday near the beginning of the second century.... Evidence is very strong...that many if not most Christians had given up the Sabbath as early as A.D. 130.... Just as Sunday observance came into practice by early in the second century, so among Gentile Christians Sabbath observance went out of practice by early in the second century...Maxwell, op. cit., pp. 136, 142. [93]

 

Since the Ephesus and Smyrna churches were Gentile churches that did keep the Sabbath, showing that the Smyrna church did succeed the Ephesus church does help demonstrate that the true COG did not drop Sabbath observance, nor that of the Holy Days. And no Protestant (who normally accepts that Protestantism came out of Catholicism[94]) nor Catholic nor Orthodox researcher has seriously claimed that Polycarp was not part of the true Church.

 

Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox may wish to ask themselves why they do not observe the Passover on Nisan 14 as Polycarp claimed that the Apostle John taught while a 'Bishop of Rome' insisted on a Sunday that later became called Easter?

 

Actually, the main reason that I believe that the Protestants do not refer much to Polycarp or Polycrates is that the Protestants ended up following Rome on the Passover/Easter matter.

 

XI. Ignatius, Justin, the Sabbath, and Sunday

 

Ignatius was an early leader in Antioch who apparently knew some of the apostles, as well as Polycarp.

 

Many Sunday advocates cite Ignatius? Letter to the Magnesians (circa 108 A.D.) as the strongest early evidence that Sunday was replacing the Saturday Sabbath, and to a lesser degree the Didache (the alleged Epistle of Barnabas is sometimes also cited, but scholars do not believe that Barnabas wrote it, and it essentially claims God wanted the "eighth day" instead of the Sabbath in the Book of Isaiah, a concept without biblical support). There is also a quote allegedly from Ignatius? Letter to the Trallians, however it is from verse 9 in the longer version? of that letter, which scholars discount as not authentic (it was lengthened much later by someone else)?the shorter version, whose authenticity is widely accepted, says nothing about "the Lord's Day".[95]

 

While in Greece , I was able to verify that the word in classic Greek translated as "Lord's Day" in the Didache and the Letter to the Magnesians, Κυριακήν, could not be translated that way as the Greek word for day is not present in the text nor required by the context. Also the nineteenth century scholars also intentionally mistranslated the word in front of it, Κατα, to force an apparent predetermined outcome that is not supported by the Greek; this is all documented in the article The Didache, Ignatius and the Sabbath.

 

What I wondered before going to Greece was why native Greeks did not realize that Κυριακήν did not mean "Lord's Day" in the original, classic, Greek. But after speaking with several knowledgeable Greeks, I concluded that the meaning of this term had been changed over time. Now the modern Greek word for Sunday is Κυριακή [96].However, even in modern Greek, Κυρια (the base of the other words) still literally means Master or Lord; it has nothing to do with the Sun or a day, nor is that supported by the context in Ignatius.

 

The adoption of Sunday itself was probably the result of various heretics and weak ones associated with Christianity. The first person associated with Christianity to clearly use the term for Sunday was Justin Martyr around 150 A.D.

 

Justin used the Greek expression τῇ τοῦ ῾Ηλίου λεγομένη ἡμέρᾳ.

 

The terms he used were ἡμέρᾳ that means day and Ηλίου (Helios, a sun-god) which means Sun (λεγομένη currently means said) this demonstrates that the term Κυριακήν was not then the common Greek word for Sunday.

 

Thus, other than possibly the change in the date of Passover, the earliest change to Sunday may not have occurred in Rome until near the middle of the second century. There are simply no documents that show that any who professed Christ kept Sunday prior to the latter 2/3's of the second century.

 

XII. Melito

 

Sometime after Polycarp was killed, Melito became the Bishop (pastor) of Sardis.

 

St. Melito Bishop of Sardis, prominent ecclesiastical writer in the latter half of the second century. Melito?had been one of the great authorities in the Church of Asia who held the Quartodeciman theory. [97]

 

Melito taught that there would be a literal millennial reign of Christ. Melito was the first Christian to list the Books of the Old Testament--and he listed none of the extra, so-called deuterocanonical books that the Romans use today.

 

Melito kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan, instead of on a Sunday as the Romans were doing. Melito taught against the use of idols, taught against placing the teachings of fathers (tradition) above that of the Bible[98] -- all of these positions are in conflict to positions now held by the Roman and Orthodox Churches even though they contend that Melito was a saint.

 

Speaking of millenarianism, even The Catholic Encyclopedia notes,

 

...a large number of Christians of the post-Apostolic era, particularly in Asia Minor, yielded so far to Jewish apocalyptic as to put a literal meaning into these descriptions of St. John 's Apocalypse. A witness for the continued belief in millenarianism in the province of Asia is St. Melito, Bishop of Sardes in the second century... [99]

 

The truth is that even the Greco-Roman churches during the time of Melito also believed in a literal millennium, though that view is now condemned strongly by the Roman Catholic Church.? Notice what the Catechism of the Catholic Church that was approved by Cardinal Ratzinger (before he became Pope Benedict XVI) states:

 

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism...[100]

 

Hence, the idea of a millennial reign of Christ, which people that the Roman Catholic Church considers to be saints once taught, is now condemned as a doctrine of antichrist by the Church of Rome.

 

Furthermore, Melito apparently held a binitarian view as his writings specifically teach that the Father and the Son are God, but indicates that the Holy Spirit was simply used by God.[101]

 

XIII. Polycrates

 

Polycrates was a Christian bishop who claimed to continue Melito's, Polycarp's, and John's practices.

 

Eusebius quoted what Polycrates wrote to Bishop Victor about Passover:

 

"We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man.' ". [102]

 

Note that Polycrates:

 

1) Claimed to be a successor of the Apostle John

2) Claimed that he was being faithful to the teachings of the Gospel

3) Relied on the position that teachings from the Bible were above those of Roman-accepted tradition

4) Claimed that he was being faithful to the teachings passed down to him

5) Was then the spokesperson for the churches in Asia Minor

6) Claimed he and his predecessors observed the time of unleavened bread

7) Refused to accept the authority of Roman tradition over the Bible

8) Refused to accept the authority of the Bishop of Rome, as did his predecessors

9) Claimed that his life was to be governed by Jesus and not opinions of men

 

These statements demonstrate that those in Ephesus under John's leadership, as well as those in Smyrna under the leadership of Polycarp, those in-between Polycarp and Polycrates, and later those affiliated with Polycrates, ALL observed Passover on the 14th day and ALL refused to accept Rome?s position as it was not of God. It may also be of interest to note that Catholics (and others) consider that John, Philip, Thraseas, Polycarp, Sagaris, Apollinaris, and Melito were genuine, faithful, saints. Note that not one of the leaders listed by Polycrates ever would accept that the teachings of the traditions of any Roman Bishop as on par with scripture.

 

It is also reasonable to suspect that they did not accept the position of Eleutherius (Victor?s immediate predecessor) who supposedly ruled that Christians could violate biblical dietary laws. [103]

 

Towards the end of His direct message to the Church in Smyrna, Jesus said "you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death" (Revelation 2:10 ).? About a century after Polycrates, a ten year persecution from 303-313 A.D., unleashed by Roman Emperor Diocletian, resulted in many deaths, and we in the Continuing Church of God believe this occurred towards the end of the time the Smyrna Church predominated.[104] The area of Smyrna is now a major Turkish city called Izmir.

 

XIV. Apollinaris

 

Apollinaris was bishop of Hierapolis on the Maeander, and, Lightfoot thinks, was probably with Melito and Polycrates, known to Polycarp, and influenced by his example and doctrine. (Roberts and Donaldson pp. 772-773).[105]

 

Hierapolis is region in Asia Minor, near the town of Laodicea.

 

Like Melito, Polycrates, and Polycarp, Apollinaris would be considered a Quartodeciman, and he is considered a saint by the Roman Catholics.

 

Apollinaris wrote, "There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame -- it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them...The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb". [106]

 

Thus, Apollinaris clearly took a different view of this matter than the Roman bishops did.

 

XV. Tertullian Says Two Possibilities

 

Tertullian was once a Catholic theologian who lived during Polycrates' time. Regarding the identity of the true church, Tertullian wrote,

 

The real question is, 'To whom does the Faith belong? Whose are the Scriptures? By whom, through whom, when and to whom has been handed down the discipline by which we are Christians? The answer is plain: Christ sent His apostles, who founded churches in each city, from which the others have borrowed the tradition of the Faith and the seed of doctrine and daily borrow in order to become churches; so that they also are Apostolic in that they are the offspring of the Apostolic churches. [107]

 

To further answer those questions, Tertullian then concluded that there were only two possibilities at the time (around 200 A.D.) as he wrote,

 

Anyhow the heresies are at best novelties, and have no continuity with the teaching of Christ. Perhaps some heretics may claim Apostolic antiquity: we reply: Let them publish the origins of their churches and unroll the catalogue of their bishops till now from the Apostles or from some bishop appointed by the Apostles, as the Smyrnaeans count from Polycarp and John, and the Romans from Clement and Peter; let heretics invent something to match this.[108]

 

He essentially claimed no other group could prove they were the church started by the apostles (hence that would eliminate Alexandria and Constantinople). Note that he specifically mentioned the Smyrnaeans who traced themselves through John and Polycarp.

 

It is of interest to note that even though he was based out of North Africa, Tertullian did not claim that the church in Alexandria was one that could claim apostolic ties.? I suspect that the reason that Tertullian listed the two that he did was not only did they both claim ties to the apostles, they both were different.? Tertullian, who tended to side with Rome , ultimately ended up being a Montanist and then separated from Rome.

 

Tertullian (and others like Irenaeus[109]) apparently felt that since the independent Gnostic heretics had no direct link to Christ or the Apostles, they should not be given any credibility in terms of being the true Church with the true Christian faith. 

 

Thus by Tertullian's time, it was apparent that there were just two possible ways that the true faith could have been preserved:

 

1)      Through a claimed succession of bishops that were based in Rome who allegedly received authority from Peter--a concept without biblical support as Rome is never biblically discussed in that manner.

2)      Through a faithfulness of the teachings of the Church as taught by Christ and the apostles (like John from Ephesus) and those who later continued with those teachings (like Polycarp from Smyrna)--a concept supported by Revelation 1:11; 2:1-15; and Ephesians 4.

 

Since the two churches Tertullian described did not believe the same things in many significant ways (those in Asia Minor were biblical literalists, while those in Rome often resorted to allegory or claimed tradition), only one of these options could be valid.

 

Tertullian?s use of the term "Smyrnaeans" is interesting as this probably was not referring simply to those in Smyrna proper (as it was essentially destroyed by an earthquake in 178 A.D., just after Melito's martyrdom, though it was somewhat rebuilt then), but to those in Asia Minor who followed the teachings of the Bible, John, and Polycarp.

 

Interestingly, during Tertullian's time, in a response to the letter from Polycrates (as mentioned previously), the then bishop of Rome (Victor) attempted to excommunicate Polycrates and his churches (who said they were not afraid of the words of men) for not observing a Roman tradition (though Victor later rescinded his attempt after other church leaders objected).[110] Tertullian would probably have known about that when he wrote of the two different churches with claimed apostolic ties.

 

XVI. Polycrates? Amended List

 

The following is a chronological list of those I believe to have been true Christian leaders that I have put together from the Bible, The Catholic Encyclopedia, certain historical literature, and from Polycrates:

Peter/Paul/James through death circa 64-68 (mainly oversaw churches from Asia Minor and Jerusalem?Peter?s date of death may be the least certain)
John through death circa 95-100 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
Polycarp through death circa 155-156 (oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor)
Thraseas through death circa 160 (oversaw the churches from Eumenia, but died in Smyrna)
Sagaris through death circa 166-167 (died in Laodicea of Asia Minor)
Papirius through death circa 170 (oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor THIS DATE IS APPROXIMATE AND BASED ON THE LOGIC THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA USED FOR THRASEAS)
Melito through death circa 177-180 (oversaw churches from Sardis of Asia Minor)
Polycrates through death circa 200 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
*Apollonius of Ephesus through death circa 210 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor).
*Camerius of
Smyrna through death circa 220 (possibly oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor).

        Note: Some/much of the time when Polycrates was bishop of Ephesus, Victor was bishop of Rome, thus his end date is possible. However, history concerning Apollonius is not totally clear, but indications are that he was most likely in the true church (the 210 date came from The Catholic Encyclopedia). There is basically no information about Camerius of Smyrna, other than he is listed as bishop of Smyrna prior to the third century in sources like The Life of Polycarp (a questionable book). After Polycrates and Apollonius, the official history (with Eusebius the main writer) says almost nothing about the true church in Ephesus, though a compromised church from there develops importance in the fourth century.

What this list shows is that there were known leaders in the first couple of centuries of the Christian church that simply were not Roman bishops.? The above leaders are also NOT (with the exception of Peter) listed in any succession list that the main branches of the Orthodox Church claim either. Historical records demonstrate that many of them confronted heretics, yet never shows that they ever accepted the authority of any bishop of Rome or Alexandria for that matter (actually history shows that the true Christian leaders in Asia Minor either defied or ignored those Roman/Alexandrian leaders). Ephesus (which included the churches of all of Asia Minor), according to Roman and Orthodox writings, was recognized as as "original apostolic see", and hence was a valid location from their perspective as well.

Thus we in the COG can document a succession of leaders from the first through early third centuries. And although scholars in certain churches may not believe that these individuals were truly leaders of the Church of God, all known scholars accept that those leaders did live and that those leaders all (at least for some time) observed Passover on the 14th.

The Celtic/Keltic churches, around 600 A.D. claimed to have been descended from the church of the Ephesians:

The Keltic Churches of Ireland, of Galloway, and of Iona were at one with the British Church. These claimed, like Southern Gaul and Spain, to have drawn their faith from the Apostolic See of Ephesus. Their liturgies, or such fragments as have come down to us, bear marks of belonging to the Oriental family of liturgies. (Dawson W. The Keltic Church and English Christianity. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (New Series), 1884, p. 377 doi:10.2307/3677978)

Thus, those from Asia Minor had an impact all over.
 

XVII. Mark and the Church in Alexandria?

 

Many of the non-biblical teachings that the Greco-Roman churches adopted seem to have had origins in pre-Christian cultures and religions.

 

One of the most influential areas seems to have been Alexandria in Egypt.

 

While the Orthodox Church claims that church in Alexandria was faithful and was founded by the author of the Gospel According to Mark, this is not the position of those who consider themselves to be biblical literalists.? It is also inconsistent with the writings of Tertullian and other early writers.

 

Yet, the Orthodox Church of Alexandria claims that Mark was an apostle and that he passed on the succession to a pious one named Anianus (or sometimes spelled Anianos). Essentially, these claims are not based upon the Bible, but upon records from the fourth century writer Eusebius, which, however, the Bible and secular history reveals contains several flaws.

 

Notice the following claimed succession list (much of which was apparently put together based upon Eusebius' writings) from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa:

 

1) Mark 42 - 62

2) Anianos 62 - 84

3) Avilios 84 - 98

4) Kedron 98 - 110

5) Primos 110 - 121

6) Ioustos 121 - 131

7) Eumenis 131 - 144

8) Markos II 144 - 154

9) Keladion 154 - 167

10) Agrippinos 167 - 179

11) Ioulianos 179 - 189

12) Dimitrios 189 - 232 [111]

 

It needs to be understood Eusebius only states that he heard that Mark was in Alexandria (this differs from many other accounts from Eusebius where he claims to rely on written records).

 

The Coptic Catholic Church of Alexandria also holds a position similar to the Orthodox Church of Alexandria as it claims,

 

The Coptic Church was founded by the martyr Mark between A.D. 40 and 60 in Alexandria.[112]

 

However, Eusebius does not claim that Mark was actually in Alexandria for any specific time period. Actually, since Mark is mentioned many times in the New Testament (and never with the title of apostle), the dates and events in the Bible that mention Mark, demonstrate that Mark could not have been the Bishop of Alexandria at that time (as he was in, or traveling to, many other places).

 

Around 43-44 A.D., Mark is mentioned in first Acts 12:12, when he is praying in Jerusalem. Herod is noted as dying in Acts 12:20-23, which was in 44 A.D.[113] Sometime after Herod's death, notice:

 

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:25).

 

Notice that Mark was in Jerusalem and then went with Paul and Barnabas. Also notice what certain scholars believe:

 

In A.D. 46[114], Mark spent time with Paul and Barnabas in the Antioch Church before his accompanied them as a helper on their first missionary journey.

 

Mark apparently went with Paul and Barnabas from around 47-49 A.D.[115]

 

But Paul was not pleased with Mark and did not want him to accompany him on the next trip:

 

Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-39).

 

Notice that Paul considered Mark unfaithful, and notice that Mark then went to Cyprus (not Alexandria)--and this was around 50-53 A.D.[116]

 

Later Paul apparently changed his mind about Mark:

 

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him) (Colossians 4:10).

 

This occurred around 60 A.D. and Mark is believed to have been with Paul in Rome then.[117]

Later Paul declared that Mark was useful:

 

Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11 ).

 

And this occurred around 67 A.D.[118]

 

It should be noted that the Bible never mentions that Mark was ever in Alexandria, nor ever gives any indication that he somehow was a "bishop" over any area.

 

Instead, the biblical account contradicts the position of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria that Mark was its bishop from 42-62 A.D. as Mark was in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Cyprus and other areas during this time. Plus, according to various historians, he was still alive in 67 A.D.

 

Furthermore, even though Eusebius mentions Mark, Eusebius noted that there was a problem with those who professed Christ early in Alexandria:

 

1. And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria.

 

2. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life.[119]

 

When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of Alexandria.[120]

 

It should be noted that Eusebius' source or conclusion regarding Anianus must be in error.

 

The eighth year of Nero's reign would be 61-62 A.D., and the Orthodox does claim that Anianus was a bishop there from 62 A.D.

 

However, this cannot be if he succeeded Mark.

 

Why?

 

Because according to Peter, Mark was alive when Peter wrote 1 Peter 5:13, which states:

 

She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son...

 

Furthermore, according to Irenaeus (c. 175 A.D.), Mark was alive after Peter died:

 

Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter?[121]

 

While it is not certain that Peter actually preached in Rome (at least one of Irenaeus' other claims about Peter and Rome are considered to be false according to certain Roman Catholic scholars), if Irenaeus is correct that Mark wrote after the death of Peter, then Mark could not have died before 67 A.D. Thus if there was an apostle Mark in Alexandria in the first century, he would have been a false apostle and not the Mark who the New Testament discusses.

 

Of course, pretty much nothing is known about Anianus or any of his "successors"--but it does not seem possible that he could have become a bishop after the time of the death of 'Mark'; hence Eusebius's writings about Alexandria have been discounted by many scholars.

 

But it does need to be understood that, in the first century, Philo reported that there were problems with those who were in Alexandria who professed Christ. Here is some of what Eusebius said Philo taught about the ascetic followers (who he seems to improperly allege followed Mark) in Alexandria:

 

3. In the work to which he gave the title, On a Contemplative Life or on Suppliants, after affirming in the first place that he will add to those things which he is about to relate nothing contrary to truth or of his own invention, he says that these men were called Therapeut? and the women that were with them Therapeutrides. He then adds the reasons for such a name, explaining it from the fact that they applied remedies and healed the souls of those who came to them, by relieving them like physicians, of evil passions, or from the fact that they served and worshiped the Deity in purity and sincerity.

 

4. Whether Philo himself gave them this name, employing an epithet well suited to their mode of life, or whether the first of them really called themselves so in the beginning, since the name of Christians was not yet everywhere known, we need not discuss here...

 

7. Philo bears witness to facts very much like those here described and then adds the following account: "Everywhere in the world is this race found. For it was fitting that both Greek and Barbarian should share in what is perfectly good. But the race particularly abounds in Egypt, in each of its so-called nomes, and especially about Alexandria...

 

9. And then a little further on, after describing the kind of houses which they had, he speaks as follows concerning their churches, which were scattered about here and there: "In each house there is a sacred apartment which is called a sanctuary and monastery, where, quite alone, they perform the mysteries of the religious life. They bring nothing into it, neither drink nor food, nor any of the other things which contribute to the necessities of the body, but only the laws, and the inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns and such other things as augment and make perfect their knowledge and piety."

 

10. And after some other matters he says:

 

"The whole interval, from morning to evening, is for them a time of exercise. For they read the holy Scriptures, and explain the philosophy of their fathers in an allegorical manner, regarding the written words as symbols of hidden truth which is communicated in obscure figures.

 

11. They have also writings of ancient men, who were the founders of their sect, and who left many monuments of the allegorical method. These they use as models, and imitate their principles"...

 

15...Philo's words are as follows:

 

16. "Having laid down temperance as a sort of foundation in the soul, they build upon it the other virtues. None of them may take food or drink before sunset, since they regard philosophizing as a work worthy of the light, but attention to the wants of the body as proper only in the darkness, and therefore assign the day to the former, but to the latter a small portion of the night.

 

17. But some, in whom a great desire for knowledge dwells, forget to take food for three days; and some are so delighted and feast so luxuriously upon wisdom, which furnishes doctrines richly and without stint, that they abstain even twice as long as this, and are accustomed, after six days, scarcely to take necessary food." These statements of Philo we regard as referring clearly and indisputably to those of our communion.

 

19. For they say that there were women also with those of whom we are speaking, and that the most of them were aged virgins who had preserved their chastity...by their own choice, through zeal and a desire for wisdom...

 

20. Then after a little he adds still more emphatically: "They expound the Sacred Scriptures figuratively by means of allegories. For the whole law seems to these men to resemble a living organism, of which the spoken words constitute the body, while the hidden sense stored up within the words constitutes the soul. This hidden meaning has first been particularly studied by this sect, which sees, revealed as in a mirror of names, the surpassing beauties of the thoughts"...

 

23. In addition to this Philo describes the order of dignities which exists among those who carry on the services of the church, mentioning the diaconate, and the office of bishop, which takes the precedence over all the others.[122]

 

So Eusebius claims that Philo (circa late 1st century) reported that those in Alexandria were ascetic, had mysteries, seem to have been Gnostics (ones who claimed to have special knowledge/wisdom was essential for salvation), had some promotion of celibacy, allegorized scripture, and had a bishop--and Eusebius seems to claim that they are part of the Catholic Church (see vs. 17 above)--even though the Roman Church did not have celibacy rules at that time. This seems to have been where a major departure from the true faith occurred.

 

When the Alexandrians first had a bishop over the entire area is not clear--and if it was Anianus, it appears that he led a group that did not teach the Bible the same way that the apostles did. Since the Orthodox Church claims an unbroken link of bishops here, they are apparently including individuals who overly allegorized scriptures and taught other doctrines contrary to those of the apostles.

 

The book falsely titled The Epistle of Barnabas (the Barnabas of the Bible did not write it) is believed to have originated in the Alexandria in the early second century and it specifically advocates an allegorical understanding of the Bible.?

 

Alexandria was the original home of the heretic Valentinus (who later went to Rome), and it seems like some of the leaders in Alexandria adopted some of his traits. The Protestant historian HOJ Brown noted:

 

Alexandria was the home of the celebrated gnostic Valentinus. Valentinus adopted Philo's method of allegorical interpretation...For a time, Valentinus and his followers existed with the orthodox Christians of Alexandria.[123]

 

One man who was affiliated with Valentinus was Marcus (also can be spelled Markos in English; this is different from the first century person claimed to be Mark). Notice what Irenaeus wrote:

 

I showed thee, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to these persons.[124]

 

Eusebius claimed:

 

In Alexandria Marcus was appointed pastor, after Eumenes had filled the office thirteen years in all.[125]

 

One researcher noted:

 

Marcus, the seventh bishop listed by Eusebius, could just as well have been the famed disciple of the second-century Valentinus.[126]

 

And that is possible.

 

Irenaeus even condemned the gnostic Marcus who had been acquainted with Valentinus for coming up with some type of a "eucharistic -like" mystery?which may be similar to that still practices by the Roman and Orthodox Churches. Notice:

 

1. In the first book, which immediately precedes this, exposing "knowledge falsely so called," I showed thee, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to these persons.[127]

?

1. But there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name, who boasts himself as having improved upon his master...

 

2. Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them. Again, handing mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence.[128]

 

If these two Marcus's are the same person, it is clear that one in the list of Alexandria's Orthodox successors was condemned by Irenaeus as a heretic. And even if they are not, the practice of consecration with mysterious invocations was condemned in the second century--even though this was a practice somewhat adopted by the Roman and Orthodox Churches.

 

In spite of claims from the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, little is known about those it claims as early leaders.

 

The Catholic Encyclopedia goes so far as to state:

 

...Demetrius is the first Alexandrian bishop of whom anything is known. St. Jerome has it that he sent Pant?nus on a mission to India , but it is likely that Clement had succeeded Pantnus as the head of the famous Catechetical School before the accession of Demetrius. When Clement retired (c. 203-4), Demetrius appointed the young Origen, who was in his eighteenth year, in Clement's place. Demetrius encouraged Origen when blamed for his too literal execution of an allegorical counsel of our Lord, and is said to have shown him great favour...In 230 Demetrius gave Origen a recommendation to take with him on his journey to Athens.[129]

 

Demetrius is in the list of successors for the Orthodox Church of Alexandria from 188-231. During that time, Demetrius encouraged the allegorical heretics like Clement of Alexander and his successor.

 

Furthermore, this Alexandrian Catechetical School clearly had problems as the noted theologian John Walvoord has pointed out:

 

In the last ten years of the second century and in the third century the heretical school of theology at Alexandria, Egypt advanced the erroneous principle that the Bible should be interpreted in a nonliteral or allegorical sense. In applying this to the Scriptures, they subverted all the major doctrines of faith...the Alexandrian school of theology is labeled by all theologians as heretical...[130]

 

Clement mixed Gnosticism with his form of Christianity according to Catholic and Protestant scholars:

 

Clement of Alexandria, himself infected with Gnosticism?[131]

 

Unlike Irenaeus who detested it, Clement refers to secret tradition, and his affinities to Gnosticism seem to go beyond mere borrowing of gnostic terms.[132]

?

In other words, many scholars understand that Clement of Alexandria, who is often listed as a major leader in Alexandria, held a lot of gnostic views.

 

It should also be noted that many historians do not believe that there was an actual succession of bishops in Alexandria prior (or much prior) to Demetrius.[133]

The idea that there also was NOT a succession of apostolic teachings from the apostles through any early bishops of Alexandria appears to be confirmed by the following account of Clement of Alexandria who wrote:

 

Now this work of mine in writing is not artfully constructed for display; but my memoranda are stored up against old age, as a remedy against forgetfulness, truly an image and outline of those vigorous and animated discourses which I was privileged to hear, and of blessed and truly remarkable men.

 

Of these the one, in Greece, an Ionic; the other in Magna Graecia: the first of these from Coele-Syria, the second from Egypt, and others in the East. The one was born in the land of Assyria, and the other a Hebrew in Palestine.

 

When I came upon the last (he was the first in power), having tracked him out concealed in Egypt, I found rest. He, the true, the Sicilian bee, gathering the spoil of the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the souls of his hearers a deathless element of knowledge.

 

Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God's will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds.[134]

 

The above account shows that Clement claims that he basically has apostolic knowledge based on him coming upon a variety of individuals who claimed to know the apostles. Notice that Clement never even hints that this information was preserved by a line of early bishops in Alexandria.

 

Why?

 

Well, amongst other reasons, because there is no proof that there ever was no real apostle to bishop to bishop transfers in Alexandria (though there appears to have been proof of some early heretical bishops). And as shown earlier, even the Bible disagrees with the position that Mark could have been there much from 42-62 A.D.

 

Later, the Church that Demetrius led split in the year 451 into the Coptic Church and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

 

The Gnostic practice of allegorizing scripture was encouraged in Alexandria, as were many parts of Gnosticism in general.

 

Thus, any claims to physical apostolic succession in Alexandria (which cannot be proven) are made irrelevant by doctrinal and other compromises as this particular church is definitely not the spiritual successor of the apostles.

 

XVIII. When Did the Roman/Orthodox Church Become Predominant?

 

Since there were true church leaders after the death of Peter including the Apostle John, and running throughout the entire second century, when and how did Rome become predominant?

 

This is a fairly complex subject, but will be touched briefly in this paper.

 

Several factors combined for this to occur.

 

One was that the church in Rome tended to be wealthier than in other areas, as Rome was the capital of the Western world for several centuries after the death of Jesus.?

 

Another was that when certain persecutions set in, although many heretics were also killed, after a while those who were more accommodating of the Roman government tended to be more likely to survive.? Since it had a habit of tolerating those that most Christians now consider to be heretics, sometimes Roman/Orthodox leaders and their supporters sometimes survived persecutions that killed the more faithful (though this was not always the case as even many Gnostic heretics were killed by Roman authorities).

 

Another was that inroads were made in Antioch and Asia Minor by those who preferred allegory in the third century?allegory that had long been in place in Alexandria and increasingly in Rome.

 

During the time of Serapion of Antioch, the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus unleashed persecution that was severe towards those in Antioch?the two both died the same year (circa 211). While Serapion of Antioch may have been part of the true church (he was just outside of Asia Minor, and would have probably been a Syrian), it does not appear that Serapion was succeeded by one who was faithful to Christian teachings.

 

Both Alexander of Alexandria and Clement of Alexandria often mixed pagan practices with their forms of Christianity. Eusebius records that Alexander praised the "successor" to Serapion:

 

But, on the death of Serapion, Asclepiades...succeeded to the episcopate of the church at Antioch. Alexander alludes to his appointment, writing thus to the church at Antioch:

 

"Alexander, a servant and prisoner of Jesus Christ, to the blessed church of Antioch, greeting in the Lord. The Lord has made my bonds during the time of my imprisonment light and easy, since I learned that, by the Divine Providence, Asclepiades, who in regard to the true faith is eminently qualified, has undertaken the bishopric of your holy church at Antioch."[135]

 

Since the "successor" to Serapion, Asclepiades, received a letter of approval from Alexander of Jerusalem who was against various biblical practices for Christians, it is reasonable to conclude that Asclepiades was NOT a faithful and true Christian. There do not seem to be any early letters from leaders of Rome or Alexandria or Jerusalem ever commending anyone for becoming bishop in Antioch or Asia Minor prior to this. Thus, this is probably a change to the type of person that those who went along with the Greco-Roman churches liked.

 

Roman Emperors themselves persecuted those of Smyrna, with perhaps the first notable one being under the reigns of Decius and Gallus.

 

Smith says of the Church at this period:

 

"About one hundred and twenty years after the Church of God at Pella was permitted to become again established at Jerusalem, under the leadership of Mark, an imperial edict was issued from Decius, the Roman emperor, and the Church was again exposed to great calamities. The venerable bishops of Jerusalem and Antioch died in prison, and many true followers were scourged to death, many sacrificed to wild beasts, some burned, and others perished by the sword. The Lord interfered, it seems, by sudden death coming upon the emperor Decius, but Gallus his successor, continued in the path of his predecessor. In two years, however, Gallus fell at the hand of one of his own soldiers, thus the year 253 closed this brief but terrible period of violence to the Church." -- Hugh Smith's History.

 

After Emperor Decius, we no longer clearly see any of the true Smyrna leaders in the "succession lists" that the Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic Church refer to in Asia Minor or Antioch. This was due to scattering, apostasy, and later Roman and Orthodox influence.

 

Around this time, the Roman Church acknowledges that there was a leader in Smyrna named:

 

Eudaemon (250), who apostatized during the persecution of Decius?[136]

 

But after Eudaemon, I have seen no listed bishops of Smyrna in any historical writing. Nor do I know if Eudaemon recanted Christianity, or simply fled the persecution.

 

Furthermore, after Polycrates and Apollonius, the official history (with Eusebius the main writer) says almost nothing about the true church in Ephesus, though a compromised church from there develops importance in the fourth century.

 

Note the following where Eusebius lists leaders just about everywhere in the empire except Asia Minor circa 250-255:

 

AT that time Xystus was still presiding over the church of Rome, and Demetrianus, successor of Fabius, over the church of Antioch, and Firmilianus over that of Caesarea in Cappadocia; and besides these, Gregory and his brother Athenodorus, friends of Origen, were presiding over the churches in Pontus; and Theoctistus of Caesarea in Palestine having died, Domnus received the episcopate there. He held it but a short time, and Theotecnus, our contemporary, succeeded him. He also was a member of Origen's school. But in Jerusalem, after the death of Mazabanes, Hymenaeus, who has been celebrated among us for a great many years, succeeded to his seat.[137]

 

It is my belief that this lack of coverage by Eusebius (probably the main ecclesiastical historian for that period) is intentional. The Catholic Encyclopedia indirectly confirms this when it stated,

 

We have no information concerning the further course of the matter under Victor I so far as it regards the bishops of Asia.[138]

 

In another place, The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

 

Of the lost works of Tertullian the most important was the defence of the Montanist manner of prophesying, "De ecstasi", in six books, with a seventh book against Apollonius.[139]

 

I suspect that full coverage of what occurred in Asia Minor would have disclosed significant doctrinal differences from Rome that his emperor (Constantine), may not have cared to learn.

And I suspect that Tertullian's book against Apollonius would have highlighted doctrine that the Roman Church changed that the Smyrnaeans adhered to.

It appears that by the time the persecution by Decius (249-251) many of the true believers had left Antioch and Asia Minor, or at least were much less public. The area of Asia Minor was also afflicted by Bishop Gregory of Neocaeseria. Gregory (died roughly 270 A.D.) seems to have been the first to have claimed to have seen an apparition of Mary. This apparition allegedly appeared to him before he became a bishop. Gregory is also known as “Gregory the Wonder Worker” and Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (wonder worker). He had been trained by Origen in Alexandria. “He was believed to have been gifted with a power of working miracles, which he was constantly exercising…the demons were subject to him…he could cast his cloak over a man, and cause his death…he could bring the presiding demons back to their shrine.” Because of Gregory’s power over demons and other “wonders” was apparently accepted, it seems that his enchantments and/or sorceries (cf. Isaiah 47:5-12) may have greatly assisted the Greco-Roman faction essentially eliminating the organized faithful in Asia Minor. Gregory may have been a factor in the Marian cults that began to rise up around that time (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).  

Shortly after that persecution ended, Dionysius of Alexandria writes that this is basically when the areas of Asia Minor (which he mainly calls the East below) ceased being part of the Church of God, but became in unity with Rome and Alexandria.

 

Notice that Dionysius reported that "the churches of the East" had been divided (from Rome and Alexandria) prior to this time:

 

But know now, my brethren, that all the churches throughout the East and beyond, which formerly were divided, have become united. And all the bishops everywhere are of one mind, and rejoice greatly in the peace which has come beyond expectation. Thus Demetrianus in Antioch, Theoctistus in C?sarea, Mazabanes in ?lia, Marinus in Tyre (Alexander having fallen asleep), Heliodorus in Laodicea (Thelymidres being dead), Helenus in Tarsus, and all the churches of Cilicia, Firmilianus, and all Cappadocia. I have named only the more illustrious bishops, that I may not make my epistle too long and my words too burdensome.[140]

During this timeframe, the apocryphal Acts of Andrew was apparently put together.[141] Although the Acts of Andrew were condemned by Eusebius, it may have been the basis for the Orthodox Church ultimately claiming Constantinople (previously called Byzantium and now called Istanbul) as its premier see. But what is interesting to note is that the Bishop of Byzantium is not listed in Dionysius' listing if the Bishop of Byzantium was truly the successor to the Apostle Andrew and was one of the original Apostolic Sees (as the Eastern Orthodox Church claim), then why was the Bishop of Byzantium missing? Probably because it did not take on significance until a few years after Asia Minor became part of the Greco-Roman churches.

 

Around this time, Paul of Samosata, came to be considered to be a bishop in Antioch (part of the East, but normally considered to have been in Syria, hence not actually part of Asia Minor). But he was accused of immoral behavior and became considered a problem by the Alexandrians and Romans, who held several synods to investigate him. This resulted in increased Roman influence.

 

Actually, in Antioch with the successor to Paul of Samosata, we see for the first time, a bishop outside of Italy that was apparently installed because of direction from the Church in Rome (note that Dionysius of Rome, below, is not Dionysius of Alexandria even though they were contemporaries):

 

A letter written by Malchion in the name of the synod and addressed to Pope Dionysius of Rome, Maximus of Alexandria, and all the bishops and clergy throughout the world, has been preserved by Eusebius in part; a few fragments only remain of the shorthand report of the disputation.

 

The letter accuses Paul of acquiring great wealth by illicit means, of showing haughtiness and worldliness, of having set up for himself a lofty pulpit in the church, and of insulting those who did not applaud him and wave their handkerchiefs, and so forth. He had caused scandal by admitting women to live in his house, and had permitted the same to his clergy. Paul could not be driven from his see until the emperor Aurelian took possession of Antioch in 272. Even then he refused to vacate the house belonging to the church. An appeal was made to Aurelian, and the pagan emperor, who was at this time favourable to Christians, decided most justly, says Eusebius (vii, 30, 19), that the house should be given up to those to whom the bishops in Italy and the city of Rome should write.[142]

 

Here is more from a related account:

 

In the church struggle over Paul of Samosata, Lucian held aloof from both parties. When it appeared as if neither side would win, appeal was made to the pagan emperor Aurelian. The party led by the bishops of Rome and Alexandria could well bow its head with shame that the aid of a heathen emperor was invoked to settle a controversy over the divine Son of God. Most astonishing to relate, the emperor declined to judge the case and commanded (A.D. 270) that it should be submitted to the judgment of the bishops of Italy and Rome.[143]

 

Notice that it was because of a pagan emperor that Rome got to choose a bishop for Antioch.

 

Also notice what else was happening in Antioch at the time:

 

Lucian of Antioch...Though he cannot be accused of having shared the theological views of Paul of Samosata, he fell under suspicion at the time of Paul's condemnation, and was compelled to sever his communion with the Church...

 

The opposition to the allegorizing tendencies of the Alexandrines centred in him. He rejected this system entirely and propounded a system of literal interpretation...[144]

 

It is not clear that Lucian ever had any communion with the Roman Catholic Church, as he was opposed to allegorizers.? It seems that essentially the Greco-Roman Church took over Antioch at this time. And that combined with various Roman persecutions forced true Christians to flee from portions of the Roman Empire to many lands.

 

Various historical accounts, that are beyond the scope of this text, show that there were those who professed Christ during the first millennium that were not part of the Greco-Roman Churches in places as far flung as Ireland, England, Scotland, India, Africa, Armenia, parts of continental Europe, and even China.

 

XIX. Conclusion

 

The subject of early church history is controversial.? But that does not mean that it is not relevant to Christians today.

 

On a regular basis, Pope Benedict XVI keeps hammering away at the idea that the Roman Catholic version of early church history (which includes the Eastern Orthodox churches) is the only possible one.? His public position is an error.

 

What does another look at Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome, Ephesus, and Smyrna show? It shows that the Bible, history, and even some Catholic writings support the view that the true Church should be traced through Ephesus after Jerusalem and Pella, and not Rome.?

 

It shows that various heretics were in Rome and Alexandria and that many of their teachings were eventually adopted by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.? It is also of interest to note that even though early (and even modern) Roman/Orthodox Catholic writers condemned these heretics, they seem to think nothing about the fact that they have adopted many of the teachings and practices of those heretics.

 

This article shows that the leadership in the Churches in Asia Minor could and did trace their origins through the original apostles, that they kept the original teachings of those apostles, that they did not deviate from scripture, that the kept the Holy Days, observed the seventh day Sabbath, were binitarian, believed in the millennium, taught against the use of idols, and used the same Old Testament that those in the COGs and Protestant churches do.

 

It also shows that the argument that many Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant supporters espouse that the true early Gentile church did not keep the Sabbaths or Holy Days is not accurate.

 

As we get closer to the end, it is my opinion that the Catholics of Rome will even more continue to point to its list of bishops of Rome as proof that its version of Christianity has legitimacy based upon history. Yet the Bible and early Church history says much more about locations in Asia Minor being the leader of the early true Church than Rome.

 

Tertullian was essentially right when he indicated that the true Christian Church needed somehow to be able to tie itself back to Christ through the apostles. He mentioned that the Smyrnaeans who traced themselves through John (via Ephesus) could do that. The church era position of many of the COGs does, in fact, also do that (though possibly not as Tertullian intended). And I believe that the church era explanation has the most biblical and historical support of any ideas that I have come across. Much more so than that of the Romans, the Orthodox, the Protestants, or those who claim to be in the COGs yet do not consider the idea of predominant church eras to be true or of any significant importance.

 

It is historically accurate to conclude that there were Christians in the Gentile areas of Ephesus and Smyrna who considered themselves as part of the Church of God, who only called the Father and the Son God, who believed in the millennium, who taught against idolatry, who kept the ten commandments, who continued to keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days as they understood from scripture and the Apostles, and who did not accept any contrary teachings from Rome.

 

While ever detail of early Christianity has not been preserved, it is historically accurate to conclude that there were Christians in the Gentile areas of Ephesus and Smyrna who considered themselves as part of the true Christian Church, who believed in the millennium, who taught against idolatry, were not allegorists, used the same Old Testament that non-Roman/Orthodox churches do, who continued to keep various practices as they understood from scripture and the Apostles, and who did not accept any contrary teachings from Rome.

 

By now you may be asking yourself, if this is true (and as the documentation shows, it is), how can it possibly make sense that only such a small minority of people could have been in the true church? Does not God want to save more? Certainly He does and certainly He will! Two articles that help explain that are Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis and Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants.? (Comparisons of beliefs of other churches include Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God? and Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God.)

 

We in the Continuing Church of God truly are the descendants of the only faithful group of first, second, and third century Christians (additional details are in the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).? And no one, not the Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestants can prove their positions as apostolic Christians as well as we can.

 

(For more information, here is a link to a free booklet: Continuing History of the Church of God).

 

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 3:22). 2005/2006/2007/2010/2011/2012/2014 0918

 

 

XX. References



[1] Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed.? Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day).1990 reprint. And Hoeh H.A True History of the True Church.1959 ed.? Radio Church of God

[2] Church History. The Living Church of God Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, SBF ed. 1.3. March, 2004

[3] Pope: Church History a Lesson in Awe, Reflects on Eusebius of Caesarea. Zenit, the News from Rome - June 13, 2007

[4] Germano M. Pella.? http://www.bibarch.com/ArchaeologicalSites/Pella.htm 06/20/07

[5]? Fortescue A. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. (Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099). The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright ? 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[6] Archim. Titos (Chortatos). THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM. Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem http://www.jerusalem-patriarchate.org/ May 24, 2005

[7] Eusebius. Church History (Book III, Chapter 5; Book IV, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4) Translated by the Arthur Cushman McGiffert Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890 Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[8] Bacchiocchi S.? The Sabbath in the New Testament.? Biblical Perspectives, Berrian Springs (MI), 1985, pp.90-91

[9] Jerome.? Translated by J.G. Cunningham, M.A. From Jerome to Augustine (A.D. 404); LETTER 75 (AUGUSTINE) OR 112 (JEROME). Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series One, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1887. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight.

[10] Ibid. Book IV, Chapter 5.?

[11] Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I, Chapter XV, Section I. ca. 1776-1788

[12] Ray, Stephen K., in, Upon This Rock. St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999, p. 67

[13] Pope Benedict: Faithful episcopal succession is guarantee that authentic teaching of apostles carries through history: Vatican City, May 10, 2006.? Catholic News Agency. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6691 June 19, 2007 verification

[14] Prat F. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon.? St. Paul. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[15] Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes, 2nd ed. Yale University Press, London, 2001, p. 9

[16] Justin. First Apology, Chapter XXVI. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885

[17] Tertullian. Translated by Peter Holmes. A Treatise on the Soul, Chapters 34-35. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885.

[18] Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book 1, Chapter 23. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885.

[19] Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies. Translated by J. H. Machmahon. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886.

[20]Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book 1, Chapter 27, Verses 1-2

[21] Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4

[22] Arendzen J.P.? Transcribed by Christine J. Murray.? Gnosticism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI.? Copyright ? 1909 by Robert Appleton Company.? Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by Kevin Knight.? Nihil Obstat, September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

[23] Knight A. Primitive Christianity in Crisis, 2nd edition.? A.R.K. Research, Antioch (CA), 2003

[24] Tertullian. Against Marcion.? Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2005 by K. Knight

[25] Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 65

[26] NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. SECOND SERIES TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH WITH PROLEGOMENA AND EXPLANATORY NOTES. VOLUMES I?VII. UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OF PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D. AND HENRY WACE, D.D., Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine. Melito and the Circumstances which he records. Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) Print Basis: New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890. Note 1276

[27] Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), 'On the Holy Church': Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9.  Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95

[28] Polycarp.? Letter to the Philippians. Verse 12.? In:? Holmes, pp. 218-219

[29] Ignatius.? Letter to the Ephesians.,Verse 0 and Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Verses 0 & 1.? In:? Holmes, pp. 136-137; 184-185

[30] Eusebius.? Church History.? Book V, Chapter 23

[31] Pope Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. June 29, 2005, http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/647/Homily_on_Saints_Peter_and_Paul_Pope_Benedict_XVI.html 6/19/07

[32] Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[33] Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 30. Translated by Peter Holmes. Electronic Version Copyright ? 2006 by Kevin Knight

[34] Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 30. Translated by Peter Holmes. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[35] Tertullian.? Against Praxeas, Chapter 1.? Circa 200 A.D. Translated by Dr. Holmes

[36] Chapman J. Transcribed by Robert B. Olson. Montanists. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[37] Steele, Daniel. Half-Hours with St. John?s Epistles: A Commentary on 1, 2 & 3 John.? Copyright 1901

CHRISTIAN WITNESS COMPANY. Text scanning and formatting by Craig L. Adams. This text was scanned from a 1972 reprint by H. E. Schmul.

[38] Hippolytus. On the Twelve Apostles

[39] FOX'S BOOK OF MARTYRS. Edited by William Byron Forbush

[40] Ruffin C.B.? The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary.? Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington (IN), 1997, pp. 132-134

[41] Ruffin C.B.? The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary.? Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington (IN), 1997

[42] Excerpt of James Moffatt's review, p.292. In: Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, 2nd ed. Sigler Press Edition, Mifflinown (PA), 1996

[43] Fonck L. Transcribed by Michael Little.? St. John the Evangelist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

 

[44] Ruffin C.B.? The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary.? Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington (IN), 1997, p. 94

[45] Tertullian.? The Prescription Against Heretics.? Chapter 36. Translated by Peter Holmes. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson.? American Edition, 1885.? Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight?

[46] Eusebius. Church History. Book III, Chapter 23.?

[47] The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians commonly known as First Clement. Verse 1. Holmes MW, ed. As translated in The Apostolic Fathers Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 3rd printing 2004, pp. 28-29 (Note: Since the actual date of this letter is uncertain, another theory holds that the letter was not sent out until after John?s death)

[48] Ibid.? Verse 58..2, pp. 94-95

[49] Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 91,101

[50] Ignatius.? Letter to the Romans.? Verse 10.? In Holmes. pp. 176-177

[51] Ignatius.? Letter to the Ephesians.? Verse 0.? In Holmes. pp. 136-137

[52] Fonck L. Transcribed by Michael Little.? St. John the Evangelist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright ? 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[53] Matrantonis, George. The Twelve Apostles. Copyright: ? 1990-1996 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7065.asp 07/05/05

[54] Lopes A. Translation by Charles Nopar. The Popes.? Pontifical Administration, Rome, 1997

[55] Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 65

[56] Eusebius.? Church History. Book III, Chapter 4.

[57] Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses.? Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[58] I Will Build My Church, Part 1. Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 49. Radio Church of God, 1954, 1965 Edition.

[59] Justin.? Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 10. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright ? 1885. Electronic version copyright ? 1997 by New Advent, Inc.

[60] Lebreton J.? Transcribed by Stephen William Shackelford.? St. Justin Martyr.? The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Copyright ? 1910 by Robert Appleton Company.? Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight.? Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor.? Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[61] Ibid.

[62] Justin Martyr.? Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 18.

[63] Eusebius.? Book V, Chapter 24.

[64] Justin.? Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 47. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2005 by K. Knight

[65] Justin Martyr.? Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 11.

[66] Lebreton J.?

[67] Savelli G. Apostate Fathers of Christianity.? Volume 1.? Justin Martyr. Isaiah 58 Broadcast & Tracts, Louisville.? http://www.isaiah58.com/APOSTATEFATHERS.HTM 8/22/05

[68] Justin. Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 80.?

[69] Eusebius Church History. Book IV, Chapter 11

[70] Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 4

[71] Ignatius.? Letter to the Magnesians. Verse 15. In: Holmes ,pp. 158-159

[72] The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14:2-3. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.239

[73] Eusebius.? Church History.? Book V, Chapter 23

[74] Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS.? Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright ? 1885. Electronic version copyright ? 1997 by New Advent, Inc.

[75]? From Wace and Piercy, ?For although former bishops of Rome, from Xystus to Soter, had never kept Nisan 14, they had always maintained full communion with any who came from dioceses where it was observed; e.g. Polycarp, whom Anicetus permitted to celebrate in his own church, both separating afterwards in peace.? Wace H, Piercy WC, eds. Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. edition. ISBN: 1-56563-460-8 reprinted from the edition originally titled A Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature, published by John Murray, London, 1911, reprint 1999

[76] Eusebius Church History. Book IV, Chapter 11

[77] Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verse 9,7. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p.411

[78] Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 103

[79] Joyce GH. The Blessed Trinity. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[80] Polycarp.? Letter to the Philippians. Verse 2.2.? In:? Holmes, pp. 208-209

[81] Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter IX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight?

[82] Polycarp.? Letter to the Philippians. Verse 13.? In:? Holmes, pp. 218-219

[83] Vailhe? S.? Transcribed by Lucia Tobin. Smyrna. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV.? Copyright ? 1912 by Robert Appleton Company.? Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by Kevin Knight.? Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor.? Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[84] Eusebius. Church History. Book IV, Chapter 15

[85] Ibid. Book V, Chapter 20

[86] Patterson S, Meyer M. The "Scholars' Translation" of the Gospel of Thomas. Verse 27. Scholars Version translation of the Gospel of Thomas taken from *The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version.* Copyright 1992, 1994 by Polebridge Press.

[87] Lake, Kirsopp.? Comments on the Martyrdom of Polycarp. The Apostolic Fathers (published London 1912), v. II, pp. 309-311

[88]? The Martrydom of Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna,? Verse 7.1 & 8.1.? Charles H. Hoole's 1885 translation. ? 2001 Peter Kirby 

[89] Ibid. p. 223

[90] Jerome.?

[91] Latourette K.S. A History of Christianity, Volume 1, Beginnings to 1500. Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1975, p.198

[92] Sozomen.? THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SOZOMEN. Comprising a History of the Church, from a.d. 323 to a.d. 425. Book VII, Chapter XIX.? Translated from the Greek. Revised by Chester D. Hartranft, Hartford Theological Seminary UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OF PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D., AND HENRY WACE, D.D., Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Seminary, New York. Principal of King's College, London. T&T CLARK, EDINBURGH, circa 1846

[93]? Morrison, M. Sabbath and Sunday in Early Christianity Part 2: Early Second Century and Justin Martyr. Copyright 1999; http://www.wcg.org/lit/law/sabbath/history2.htm 7/05/05

[94] Radmacher E., ed.? How the Three Branches of Christianity Came About.? In The Nelson Study Bible.? Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, pp. 1890a-1890d

[95] Ignatius.? Letter to the Trallians. Verse 9. In: Holmes, pp. 164-165

[96] Stavropoulos DN.? Oxford English-Greek Learner?s Dictionary, 14th ed.? Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003, p. 487

[97] Hudleston G.R. Transcribed by Kenneth M. Caldwell. St. Melito. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X

Copyright ? 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by Kevin Knight.

Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[98] Melito the Philosopher.. Fragementf from Melito of Sardis.? Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright ? 1885. Electronic version ? 2001 Peter Kirby.

[99] Kirsch J.P.? Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Millennium and Millenarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright ? 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of? New York

[100] Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995

[101] Melito. Fragments from Melito of Sardis.?

[102] Eusebius.? Church History. Book V, Chapter 24?

[103] Lopes. p. 5

[104] Ogwyn J.? God's Church Through the Ages.? Living Church of God, Charlotte (NC), 2004

[105] Roberts A, Donaldson J. The Ante-Nicene Fathers; American Edition copyright ? 1885, pp. 772-773

[106] Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright ? 1885. Copyright ? 2001 Peter Kirby

[107] Tertullian. Liber de praescriptione haereticorum, circa 208 A.D.? As quoted in? Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian.? The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright ? 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[108] Tertullian. Liber de praescriptione haereticorum, circa 208 A.D.? As quoted in? Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian.? The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright ? 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[109]? Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses.? Book III, Chapter 4, Verses 1,3

[110]? Eusebius.? Church History.? Book V, Chapter 24

[111] Source: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. List of the Patriarchs of Alexandria and all Africa 42 AD up to today. http://www.greekorthodox-alexandria.org/main.htm 06/15/07.

[112] Eastern Catholics Key for Christian Unity, Says Pope. Zenit - Dec 15, 2006

[113] Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 1813

[114] Ibid, p. 1636

[115] Ibid, p. 1813

[116] Ibid, p. 1813

[117] Ibid, p. 2008

[118] Ibid, p. 2052

[119] Eusebius. Church History, Book II, Chapter 16. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[120] Ibid, Chapter 24

[121] Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book III, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight).

[122] Eusebius. Church History, Book II, Chapter XVII. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[123] Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 86

[124] Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book II, Preface, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[125] Eusebius. Church History, Book IV, Chapter 11, Verse 6. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[126] Coulter Fred. The New Testament In Its Original Order, Appendix U. York Publishing, Hollister, CA, 2004, p. 859

[127] Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book II, Preface, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[128] Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book I, Chapter 13. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight

[129] Chapman J. Transcribed by Gary Mros. St. Demetrius. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright ? 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

[130] Walvoord, John F.? The Prophecy Handbook.? Victor Books, Wheaton (IL), 1990, pp. 9,15

[131] Arendzen J.P. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. Marcus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

 

[132] Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 87

[133] For two examples, see Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Edited by R. Krafy and G. Krodel. Sigler Press, Mifflintown, PA, 1996, pp. 44-45 and Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah, NJ, 2001, p. 15

[134] Clement of Alexander. The Stromata, Book I, Chapter I. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright ? 2004 by K. Knight.

[135] Eusebius. Church History, Book VI, Chapter 11, Verses 4-5

[136] Vailhe? S. Transcribed by Lucia Tobin. Smyrna. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright ? 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[137] Eusebius. Church History, VII, Chapter 14

[138] Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Michael T. Barrett. Pope St. Victor I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Copyright ? 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[139] Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright ? 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[140] Cited in Eusebius. Church History, Book VII, Chapter V, Verse I

[141] The Acts of Andrew. From "The Apocryphal New Testament" M.R. James-Translation and Notes

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/actsandrew.html 07/09/07)

[142] Chapmen J. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. Paul of Samosata. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright ? 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright ? 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

[143] Wilkinson BG. Truth Triumphant, ca. 1890. Reprint: Teach Services, Brushton (NY) 1994, p. 48

[144] Healy P.J. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. Lucian of Antioch. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

 

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