Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Orthodox Bishop John Chrysostom

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

John Chrysostom on Ceiling in Constantinople

John Chrysostom (Istanbul, Turkey. May 2008)

COGwriter

Today is the day that the Church of Rome and the Church of England honor one of their ‘saints,’ who is also a ‘doctor’ of the the Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches, named John Chrysostom.

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches the following about him:

St. John Chrysostom

John — whose surname “Chrysostom” occurs for the first time in the “Constitution” of Pope Vigilius (cf. P.L., LX, 217) in the year 553 — is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church and the greatest preacher ever heard in a Christian pulpit. (Baur, Chrysostom. “St. John Chrysostom.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 11 Aug. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm>)

Here is some information from another Catholic source:

Saint John Chrysostom

Also known as

  • Greatest of the Greek Fathers
  • Golden-Mouth
  • Giovanni Crisostomo

Memorial

  • 13 September

Profile

John’s father died when he was young, and he was raised by a very pious mother. Well educated; studied rhetoric under Libanius, one of the most famous orators of his day. Monk. Preacher and priest for a dozen years in Syria. While there he developed a stomach ailment that troubled him the rest of his life.

It was for his sermons that John earned the title Chrysostom = golden mouthed. They were always on point, they explained the Scriptures with clarity, and they sometimes went on for hours. Made a reluctant bishop of Constantinople in 398, a move that involved him in imperial politics…Archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople. Revised the Greek Liturgy. Because John’s sermons advocated a change in their lives, some nobles and bishops worked to remove him from his diocese; he was twice exiled from his diocese. Banished to Pythius, he died on the road.

Greek Father of the Church. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 451. (http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-john-chrysostom/ viewed 08/11/13)

He is considered to be so important, he is one of the four ‘doctors of the church’ who is shown supporting what is called the Cathedra Petri (Chair of Peter) in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. This is a structure that I have pointed out has been called Satan’s Throne (see Another view of ‘Satan’s Throne’?).

While some apparently thought John, the Bishop of Constantinople, was a captivating speaker, he did not understand the Bible nor properly explain it.

Over 1600 years ago, God’s Holy Days were condemned by this racist, John Chrysostom, who is now considered to be a Catholic and Orthodox saint. Several years ago, the Protestant Christianity Today named John Chrysostom the person of the week and the then Pope Benedict XVI praised him (see Christianity Todays’ “Person of the Week”).

Here is what their John Chrysostom publicly preached in 387 A.D.:

The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now…If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies…Does God hate their festivals and do you share in them? He did not say this or that festival, but all of them together. (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2. Preached at Antioch, Syria in the Fall of 387 AD. Medieval Sourcebook: Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407) : Eight Homilies Against the Jews. Fordham University. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.html 12/10/05).

The wicked and unclean fast of the Jews is now at our doors. Thought it is a fast, do not wonder that I have called it unclean…But now that the devil summons your wives to the feast of the Trumpets and they turn a ready ear to this call, you do not restrain them. You let them entangle themselves in accusations of ungodliness, you let them be dragged off into licentious ways. (John Chrysostom. Homily II Against the Jews I:1; III:4. Preached at Antioch, Syria on Sunday, September 5, 387 A.D.).

So also the Law fixed the feast of Tabernacles (John Chrysostom. Homily IV Against the Jews IV:3. Catholic Christians of Antioch Turning to Sabbath and The New Moon Day and Other Holy Days. 387 A.D.).

John Chrysostom preached against the Fall holy days, because some who professed Christ were observing them. Specifically he mentioned the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement (Fasts above), and the Feast of Tabernacles. It is interesting to note that John Chrysostom must have realized that the second century church kept Passover the same time as the Jews did (this was even true in the early second century in Rome). And that the Catholic Church still kept Pentecost. Thus by preaching what he did, John Chrysostom is preaching against his own church as the Roman and Orthodox Catholics claim to keep both Passover (though on a different date, and with a different name) and Pentecost–as both of those festivals would be part of “all of them together.”

It should be noted that the basic reason that John Chrysostom preached against the holy days was due to antisemitism. In demonstrates this in his Homily Against the Jews (of which there are at least eight antisemitic homilies) as he calls the Jews by a variety of names. Here are a few of his statements:

But do not be surprised that I called the Jews pitiable. They really are pitiable and miserable (I:II:1).

So the godlessness of the Jews and the pagans is on a par. But the Jews practice a deceit which is more dangerous (I:VI:4).

Do you see that demons dwell in their souls and that these demons are more dangerous than the ones of old? (I:VI:7).

Since it is against the Jews that I wish to draw up my battle line, let me extend my instruction further. Let me show that, by fasting now, the Jews dishonor the law and trample underfoot God’s commands because they are always doing everything contrary to his decrees. When God wished them to fast, they got fat and flabby (VI:IV:2).

Indeed, the fasting of the Jews, which is more disgraceful than any drunkenness, is over and gone (VIII:I:5).

But the facts are that the Holy Days were kept by Jesus, the New Testament Church, and those faithful to their teachings. And the other fact is that no where in the Bible do we see hatred against the Jews. Jesus taught we were to love our neighbor (and most the of “neighbors” He was then talking to were Jewish).

Furthermore, the New Testament calls one of the so-called “Jewish” holy days “great.” Notice the following from both a Protestant and a Catholic translation:

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out (John 7:37, NKJV)

And in the last, the great day of the festivity JESUS stood, and cried (John 7:37, Rheims New Testament).

So who is right?

Those who follow Jesus’ practices or those who condemn them?

Recall that John Chrysostum, in this case, somewhat correctly stated,

If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies.

So which days should be observed? Which have a “great day” according to the Bible? Which days are lies?

John Chrysostom supported days with pagan ties such as Christmas and Easter.

John Chrysostom was not faithful to the scriptures and no one should follow his false traditions above the word of God.

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Recollections of WCG, etc. in Canada

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Victoria, B.C. Harbor, Canada Children's Choir in Victoria, B.C.

COGwriter

A reader from Canada, who was once part of the old Worldwide Church of God, sent the following to me and gave me permission to post this:

Considering the short time (two years) that the Continuing Church of God has existed, to have “a couple dozen congregations” is a fairly good achievement. You also mentioned having a few supporters scattered in [across] Canada. Recalling the history of the (original)  Radio/Worldwide Church of God in Canada, the number of Canadian supporters is more than that of the WCG for the first two years they had. Radio stations, in Mr. Armstrong’s time were less powerful and were barely reaching the northwestern Canada/USA border. It took several years and many more stations added across the USA before Canadians were able to listen to the “World Tomorrow” broadcast. As more stations were added to the Pacific Northwestern states, more Canadians were able ‘tune in’ and started to write for literature.

Finally, in the 50′s (I cannot recall the exact date) Mr. Armstrong sent his son Garner Ted to Vancouver to obtain a post office mail box and and open a small office there. I believe Mr. Dean Wilson was sent there to operate it and later became the first Canadian director of the Work in Canada. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wilson several times (during the 70′s) both at the Feast of Tabernacles in Penticton, BC and Victoria, BC. He also held a Personal Appearance campaign at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton. A (then) young minister, Ronald Miller sang two solos during this event. During the early years, these two men (with possibly one or two others) took a ‘baptizing tour across Canada. Soon afterwards, there were bible study groups, that later became congregations in every province across Canada. My wife and I started attending WCG Edmonton in the summer of 1972. In 1975, Ron Miller baptized my wife and his ministerial assistant Clyde Killough (now president of COGWA) baptized me while they were ministers here. I would say that in 1976, the WCG in Canada reached its peak in membership. At that time in Edmonton, there were four congregations in the city with an average of 210 attending in each congregation. Calgary had two. However, as bible studies were flourishing throughout the province, they quickly became church congregations and many people, who came into Edmonton for Sabbath, started attending a congregation closer to home. We then merged Edmonton North with Edmonton West for the north side of the river and merged Edmonton East with Edmonton South for the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, which runs right through the centre of the city. Calgary did the same and went back to having only one congregation. Both cities were ‘field training centres’ for many Ambassador College Graduates from Big Sandy and Pasadena, and even a few from Bricket Wood. We have had somewhere between 30 and 40 ministers that spent time In fact, I could list most of their names and I am sure you would remember many of their names from COG news articles you either read about in Dixon Cartwright’s Journal or your own research (for COG News) as they have surfaced in many stories. These years in the 70s were indeed exciting times. I get carried away writing or talking about this era.

I will not write much more but feel it necessary to briefly mention when I left the WCG. When my sister died in 1992, I moved to Chilliwack, BC, 80 miles east of Vancouver to look after my elderly mother for seven years … It was while I was there that the WCG started to fall apart and early in 1996, I left the WCG as did 70 percent of the Abbotsford congregation. While ‘in transition’ I met with others in various homes. Occasionally, I attended Global in that area, as did many of my friends who left WCG but then problems started occurring there as well. Finally, I started attending UCG in White Rock, just east of Vancouver and later a UCG congregation, although less than thirty people, was started in Abbotsford, which was closer to Chilliwack. …

That briefly tells the story of the church situation in western Canada, and a little bit of my own COG experience.

The writer wanted me to add that this was the recollection of events to the best of his knowledge, but that he felt it accurately represented what happened with him and various others in Canada.  It should be mentioned, however, that while Clyde K. is with COGWA, he is not its president.

Anyway, in 1991, our family went to Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) for the Feast of Tabernacles. Over 1,000 (perhaps 2,000 or more) attended. At the beginning of this post is a picture of Victoria Harbor and the children’s choir at the Feast that year.

As far as Canada and the Feast of Tabernacles goes, the Continuing Church of God is planning to have a video site in New Brunswick, Canada next month (see Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7.The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Marcion, the Early Church of God, and COGaIC

Friday, August 29th, 2014

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Several years back, David Hulme of COGaIC interviewed John Garr about Church History, and here is how that interview began:

Reexamining the roots of Christianity has become a major endeavor among New Testament scholars. In an attempt to better understand and relate to Judaism in the wake of the Holocaust/Shoah, their studies have yielded some surprising admissions and necessary corrections to the way Jesus of Nazareth, Paul of Tarsus and the early Church are regarded. A general conclusion is that first-century Christianity was far more Jewish or Hebraic in its beliefs and practices than has been accepted for almost 2,000 years.

One scholar who has pondered the implications of these rediscovered roots is John Garr, president of Restoration Foundation, which specializes in making known the Hebrew heritage of what came to be called Christianity. Vision publisher David Hulme interviewed him…

DH You have written: “In the middle of the second century, the Hebrew foundations of Christian faith were attacked by the first great heresy that challenged the church.” You also note that “some of the ideas of this heresy so permeated the church’s corporate psyche that it has not yet fully recovered its spiritual and scriptural equilibrium.” What was the heresy and what has been its specific effect?

JG The heresy was called Marcionism after Marcion, a very wealthy man who was strongly influenced by Hellenic culture, the ideas of Plato, and much of Gnosticism. Marcion wanted to separate Christianity from any connection with Judaism and the law. He said that the Old Testament was a record of a failed religion that should be destroyed, and actually had been destroyed by Jesus Himself. He even went so far as to rewrite Matthew 5:17, where Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Think not that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to destroy them but to fulfill them.” Marcion turned it around and said that Jesus’ actual words were “Think not that I have come to fulfill the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to fulfill them but to destroy them.” Further, he took some of Paul’s epistles and some sections of the book of Luke and edited them to eliminate any connection with Judaism or the Old Testament. As a result of his actions, church leaders finally branded him a heretic and excommunicated him.

With this background one would think Marcion would have faded into history, but the residue of his influence has continued to permeate the Christian church even to the present time. It is probably best characterized as antinomianism—the position of being against the law—which is very much a part of many denominations. Many antinomians would say that they are preaching the gospel of the grace of God, and that grace and law are violently opposed to each other and cannot exist in one another’s presence. So the idea that the law has been completely abrogated, that the Old Testament is no more of any effect, that Jesus came to destroy the law, and that believers today are only under the grace of God, is fundamentally neo-Marcionism…Von Harnack’s thinking in this regard was really a pure form of neo-Marcionism. He went so far as to say that if the church had had the courage to do so, it would have recognized that Marcion was right, that Judaism had been abolished and the law destroyed. He was very adamant about that view.

The above interview did not go into much more detail about Marcion and his heresies, but there is an article at the COGwriter.com website that does: Marcion: The First Protestant?

Irenaeus in the second century noted that the faithful Polycarp opposed Marcion:

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, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having 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 — that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. 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, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.”(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).

Polycarp, and other true early Christian writers, kept all the ten commandments that were first mentioned in the Old Testament (an article of related interest may be The Ten Commandments and the Early Church). This is how Polycarp (and others) differed from many of the early heretics like Marcion.

Another to specifically opposed Marcion was Theophilus of Antioch (late 2nd century). The Syriatic version of Eusebius’ Church History notes:

BUT as to Theophilus, concerning whom we have said that he was Bishop of Antioch, there are three treatises by him against Antolycus, and another which is inscribed “Against the heresy of Hermogenes,” in which he uses testimonies from the Revelation of John; and there are other books by him which are suitable for teaching. But those, who pertained to heretical doctrine, even at that time like tares were corrupting the pure seed of the doctrine of the Apostles; but the Pastors which were in the churches in every country, were driving them like beasts of the wilderness away from the flock of Christ; at one time by teaching and exhortation to the Brethren, but at another time openly before their faces they contended with them in discussion, and put them to shame; and again, also, by writing treatises they diligently refuted and exposed their opinions. But Theophilus, together with others, contended against them; and he is celebrated for one treatise, which was ably composed by him against Marcion, which, together with the others that I have already mentioned, is still preserved. And after him Maximinus received the Bishoprick of the Church of Antioch, who was the seventh after the Apostles.

But Philip, respecting whom we have learned from the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth,2 that he was Bishop of the church of the city of Gortyna, he also composed with accuracy a treatise against Marcion (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Syriac version, Book 4 (Extract), Chapter 24. Spicilegium Syriacum (1855). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font/Polytonic Greek).

This is of interest because it shows that both Philip and Theophilus also wrote against the heretic Marcion (though the document, while apparently available to Eusebius, is currently unavailable).

Notice what the Protestant historian Kenneth Latourette stated:

Marcion insisted that the Church had obscured the Gospel by seeking to combine it with Judaism (Latourette KS. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: to A.D. 1500. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1975, p. 126).

In other words, the original true Church of God truly did combine faith in Christ with practices that Marcion considered to be to Jewish. And Marcion was denounced by leaders from Asia Minor for rejecting the true faith.

Most know very little about early church history or where their doctrines came from–and what many think they know is clouded by misinformation and misconceptions.

But those willing to be called and led by God can find the truth in the Bible and the scattered records of early church history (e.g. the free booklet Continuing History of the Church of God).

COGaIC used to post more related to its understandings of early Church History in a blog called “First Followers.”  However, after 2011, this reduced to only one or two posts per year there.

Those interested in early Christianity may wish to read the following documented articles to learn more:

Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Church of God, an International Community (COG aic) This is the group led by David Hulme. It seems to minimize parts of biblical prophecy.

Roman Bishop and Theologian Hippolytus

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

An Originally Female Statue Transformed to Allegedly Represent Hippolytus (found in 1551)

COGwriter

August 13th is one of the dates that Catholics of Rome set apart to honor Hippolytus of Rome (the Eastern Orthodox use January 30). He was a Bishop of Rome in the third century.

Although known as the first “antipope,” The Catholic Encyclopedia claims that Hippolytus is a Catholic saint and was “the most important theologian…of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era” (Kirsch, Johann Peter. “St. Hippolytus of Rome.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 18 Jul. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07360c.htm>).

Despite being a Catholic saint and important theologian, Hippolytus apparently held a binitarian, not trinitarian, view of the Godhead:

He did not say, “I and the Father am one, but are one.” For the word are is not said of one person, but it refers to two persons, and one power…(Hippolytus. Against Noetus: Against the Heresy of One Noetus, Chapter 7. from The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus: Dogmatical and Historical. Roberts-Donaldson English Translators. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby)

Hippolytus also taught that God has a 6000-7000 year plan, like those of us in the Continuing Church of God do (see Does God Have a 6,000-7,000 Year Plan?):

And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.” For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. “Since, then, in six days God made all things”, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. (Hippolytus. On the HexaËmeron, Or Six Days’ Work. From Fragments from Commentaries on Various Books of Scripture. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0502.htm viewed 9/17/07)

Hippolytus thus taught the 7,000 year plan (6,000 for humankind, followed by 1,000 from God).

Hippolytus also noted that in the third century celibacy was not required for the clergy (and not by his rival, Roman Bishop Callistus) including bishops, and he condemned this:

About the time of this man, bishops, priests, and deacons, who had been twice married, and thrice married, began to be allowed to retain their place among the clergy. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886)

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that the 3rd century Bishop of Rome, “Callistus allowed the lower clergy to marry.” (Chapman J. Transcribed by Benjamin F. Hull. Pope Callistus I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Hippolytus also wrote about idol or icon makers:

If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, Chapter 16, Verse 3)

Idols and icons were not even part of the early worship practices of the Church of Rome (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?).

Hippolytus noted:

That it is not meet for Christians to bear arms…(Hippolytus. Heads of the Canons of Abulides or Hippolytus, Which Are Used by the Ethiopian Christians. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886.)

16:6 A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7 If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8 If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9 A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. 10 If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11 The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. From the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992) as translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html viewed 08/06/09)

All legitimate scholars realize that until the late third/early fourth centuries, even Greco-Roman professors of Christ were generally opposed to Christians being in the military (for more information, please see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).

Hippolytus wrote the following about Zephyrinus (who is believed to have been Bishop of Rome from 199-217):

Zephyrinus, an ignorant and illiterate individual, and one unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VI)

Perhaps it should be noted that Callistus (Bishop of Rome from 217-222) was considered to have been corrupt. Callistus was condemned by Hippolytus for his corruption, allowing abortion/infanticide, and for instituting a Saturday fast.

In circa 217 A.D., Callistus became bishop of Rome and somehow succeeded Zephyrinus. After he did, as Hippolytus reports, Callistus lowered standards and many who professed Christ liked that:

Callistus…a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, (and) who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne. Now this man moulded to his purpose Zephyrinus, an ignorant and illiterate individual, and one unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions. And inasmuch as Zephyrinus was accessible to bribes, and covetous, Callistus, by luring him through presents, and by illicit demands, was enabled to seduce him into whatever course of action he pleased. And so it was that Callistus succeeded in inducing Zephyrinus to create continually disturbances among the brethren, while he himself took care subsequently, by knavish words, to attach both factions in good-will to himself. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VI)

The impostor Callistus … And the hearers of Callistus being delighted with his tenets, continue with him, thus mocking both themselves as well as many others, and crowds of these dupes stream together into his school. Wherefore also his pupils are multiplied, and they plume themselves upon the crowds (attending the school) for the sake of pleasures which Christ did not permit. But in contempt of Him, they place restraint on the commission of no sin, alleging that they pardon those who acquiesce (in Callistus’ opinions). For even also he permitted females, if they were unwedded, and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity through a legal marriage, that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bedfellow, whether a slave or free, and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII)

Notice that Callistus’ allowance of biblically condemned sin led to an increase in Roman Church attendance, and that Callistus allowed (or at least permited) abortion and adultery. Callistus apparently thus caused many pagans to become part of the Church of Rome.

Note that even The Catholic Encyclopedia admitted this about Callistus and Zephyrinus:

Callistus…Our chief knowledge of this pope is from his bitter enemies…He obtained great influence over the ignorant, illiterate, and grasping Zephyrinus by bribes. We are not told how it came about that the runaway slave (now free by Roman law from his master, who had lost his rights when Callistus was condemned to penal servitude to the State) became archdeacon and then pope…Again Callistus…permitted noble ladies to marry low persons and slaves, which by the Roman law was forbidden; he had thus given occasion for infanticide. (Chapman , Pope Callistus I)

Here is Hippolytus’ condemnation of Callistus’ Sabbath fast:

Even today some allow themselves the same audacities: they order fasting on the Sabbath of which Christ has not spoken, dishonoring even the Gospel of Christ. (Hippolytus. In Danielem commentarius, 4, 20, 3 as Cited in Bacchiocchi Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 65)

Hippolytus also wrote about nude baptism, which apparently was a practice in Alexandria, and possibly for a while in Rome. But neither the Alexandrian Orthodox nor Roman Catholics currently teach that.

Despite having some views consistent with genuine Church of God positions, Hippolytus condemned others. Notice some complaints from Hippolytus concerning beliefs of those he considered to be heretics:

…a passover of the Lord God kept unto our generations, by those who are able to discern (this mystery), at the commencement of the fourteenth day…

And certain other (heretics), contentious by nature, (and) wholly uniformed as regards knowledge, as well as in their manner more (than usually) quarrelsome, combine (in maintaining) that Easter {Passover} should be kept on the fourteenth day of the first month, according to the commandment of the law, on whatever day (of the week) it should occur. (But in this) they only regard what has been written in the law, that he will be accursed who does not so keep (the commandment) as it is enjoined… In other respects, however, these consent to all the traditions delivered to the Church by the Apostles. ( Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book 8, Chapters 7 and 11)

So sadly, Hippolytus of Rome clearly is condemning the views and practices of those who kept Passover on the 14th as heretical (a term he referred to them as in the verse that followed the one above), even though he seemingly otherwise considers them to be faithful.

Hippolytus also wrote about Simon Magus (Simon Magus, What Did He Teach?), prophetic matters (When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?, Some Doctrines of Antichrist, and Who Are The Two Witnesses?) and is one who also attempted to put together the locations that the original apostles went to (see Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome).

Yet, while he was not truly part of the genuine Church of God, his writings show that many practices that the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox now hold were simply not even the practices of those churches in the third century. They changed, but the genuine Church of God has not.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Hippolytus of Rome A third century Catholic saint and one elected to be Bishop of Rome who condemned others for taking bribes and allowing abortions. Why was he considered to be the first antipope?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
Did Real Christians Practice Nude Baptism? This is not a joke. Find out what was taught in the second and later centuries.
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians?
“Pope” Zephyrinus (199-217) He was the first bishop publicly accused of accepting bribes (and this was by one now recognized as a saint by Roman Catholics). He refused to condemn the Montanists and seemed to have had a confused view of the Godhead.
“Pope” Callistus (217-222) He is the first bishop known to have been a criminal prior to his election. He was also accused of a variety of corrupt acts, including allowing indulgences and infanticide (abortion).
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios .

151st anniversary of CGA’s, now CG7′s magazine

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Rebuilt Gymnasium in Sardis

COGwriter

Tomorrow is the 150th anniversary, according to CG7-Denver, of its magazine, now called the Bible Advocate. The following is from former CG7 President Robert Coulter:

The Michigan State Conference of the Church of Christ, predecessor to the Church of God (Seventh Day), made plans for the publication of a magazine in its conference at Bangor in June 1863.

It chose The Hope of Israel as the name, solicited subscriptions at seventy- five cents per year, received offerings to defray startup costs, and hired H. S. Dille as its editor. On August 10, 1863, the first edition of The Hope was sent to fewer than forty subscribers…

The Hope taught the Advent, Sabbath, and conditional immortality, while advocating sola scriptura

Our pioneer church had no theological statement on God, and its discussions of Christology proved unfruitful. Its earliest clerics were divided in their opinions on Christ’s identity. Some taught that Jesus was a natural son of Mary and Joseph, later adopted as God’s Son…

The Church was founded on an anti-Trinitarian doctrine, in which the Holy Spirit is not a personal part of the Godhead but a mere influence or power emanating from God.

The Hope of Israel went through several name changes and became the Bible Advocate and Herald of the Coming Kingdom in 1900. It is now simply know as the Bible Advocate.

The Church itself was originally called the Church of God (Adventist) (CGA) and then became the Church of God (Seventh Day) (CG7) in 1923.

The late Herbert W. Armstrong was a minister with CG7 in the 1930s later claimed that CG7 represented the Sardis era of the Church of God.

Robert Coulter of CG7 is a church historian and I have had several discussions with him on various aspects of church history, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Based upon those discussions and additional research, because of concerns of CGA’s ‘Christology’ (many leaders of it according to Robert Coulter denied the deity of Jesus), I have not felt that the way some considered CGA organization as truly COG necessarily correct (though I believe it had some real COG members in it).  Earlier this year, Robert Coulter released a 500 plus page book on his version of CGA/CG7 history that I read, and let me simply state that he seems to feel that doctrine should be much more open/undefined than I do and he takes a partial preterist view of prophecy (he believes that the Great Tribulation is over and most of the Book of Revelation has been fulfilled).

That being said, CG7 claims 300,000 are affiliated with it, though when I visited a group that supposedly was in South America last year, they were not aware of that affiliation. But the group did keep the Sabbath, avoided unclean meats, and had other doctrines as far as I could tell consistent with CG7 teachings.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous?
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains who he was and how he should be viewed today.
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Thyatira Church of God

Thursday, August 7th, 2014


COGwriter Peering into Ancient Thyatira (2008)

COGwriter

Jesus said:

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:  19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.  20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.  21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.  22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.  23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.  25 But hold fast what you have till I come.  26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ —

as I also have received from My Father;  28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘   (Revelation 2:18-29).

This era of the Church of God was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D.  Some of the Catholic Inquisitors reported about their some of their doctrines.

Because the bolded portion above, some have felt that some of the Thyatira remnant would be around until Jesus Christ returns. And I share that view. It is also of note that it was only to Thyatira (Revelation 2:25) and to Philadelphia (3:11) that Jesus said to “hold fast what you have.” So this got also me to consider that perhaps both groups were possibly being told to “hold fast” to many of the same things–but it is also interesting to see that Thyatirans are threatened with the Great Tribulation (2:22).

But in this post, I would like to focus on some doctrines and the Inquisition.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about one of its inquisitors:

Bernard Guidonis
Inquisitor of Toulouse against the Albigenses and Bishop of Lodève, b. at Royères (Limousin) in 1261, d. at Lauroux (Hérault), 30 December, 1331. He was one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages (De Moreira M. Transcribed by Albert Judy, O.P. Bernard Guidonis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Here are some of the beliefs he found that those he persecuted held:

Nevertheless, attention should be called to the fact that among the Beguins are found some who know, accept and believe many or all of the errors listed below. These are more steeped and hardened in them. Others can say less about these errors yet are sometimes found to be worse in holding and believing them than are others. Still others have heard or remember less and yield to valid reason and saner counsel. Others obstinately persist and refuse to recant, choosing to die rather than abjure their errors, saying that in this matter they defend the gospel truth, the life of Christ, and evangelical and apostolic poverty…

Again, they say that the prelates and inquisitors who judged and condemned them as heretics – and indeed all those who consented or now consent knowingly to their condemnations – have by this action become heretics (if they persevere in it), and by this action have lost the ecclesiastical power to bind, loose and administer the ecclesiastical sacraments…

Again, they say that prelates and members of religious orders whose clothing is too abundant or too costly violate gospel perfection and Christ’s precept, according instead with the precept of Antichrist. Such clerics who go around in pompous fashion are of the family of Antichrist…

Again, they say they are not required to take oaths, nor should they be made to reveal under oath the names of their fellow believers, accomplices and associates, because, as they say, this would violate the command to love one’s neighbor and would on the contrary injure one’s neighbor…

they say the carnal church (by which they mean the Roman church as it exists, not only in the city of Rome, but throughout the whole area under Roman jurisdiction) is Babylon, the great whore of whom John spoke in the Apocalypse. Thus they apply these passages to the Roman Church and attribute to the church all the evil things written there, such as that it is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ…

Again, they distinguish between two churches, the carnal church which they say is the Roman church which contains the multitude of rebrobate, and the spiritual church which contains those people they describe as spiritual and evangelical, who emulate the life of Christ and the apostles. They say the latter is their church…

Again, some of them claim that on those elect spiritual and evangelical individuals through whom a spiritual and benign church will be founded in the seventh and last period, the Holy Spirit will be poured out in greater or at least in equal abundance as on the apostles, the disciples of Jesus Christ, on the day of Pentecost during the time of the primitive church. And they say the Holy Spirit will descend on them like a fiery flame in a furnace, and they take this to mean that, not only will their souls be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will live in their bodies as well.

Again, they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist…

Again, they say that both in the time of persecution by Antichrist and in that of the aforesaid war carnal Christians will be so afflicted that, despairing, they will say, “If Christ were God, he would not permit Christians to suffer so much and such intense evil.” Thus despairing, they will apostacize from the faith and die. But God will hide the elect spiritual individuals so that they cannot be found by Antichrist and his ministers. Then the church will be reduced to the same size as the primitive church when it was first founded…

Again, they say that after Antichrist’s death these spiritual individuals will convert the entire world to the faith of Christ; and the whole world will be so good and benign that there will be no malice or sin in people of that period, except perhaps for venial sins in a few of them; and all things will be common as far as use is concerned; and there will be no one who offends anyone else or encourages another to sin. For there will be the greatest love among them, and there will be one flock and one pastor. According to some of them this period and condition will last for one hundred years. Then, as love fails, malice will creep back in and slowly increase until Christ is, as it were, compelled to come in universal judgment because of it.

Again, these insane heretics seriously and ignominiously rail against the Lord Pope, the vicar of Jesus Christ, calling him the mystical Antichrist, precursor of the greater Antichrist, preparing the way for his life (Bernard Gui: Inquisitor’s Manual, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://phi.kenyon.edu/Projects/Margin/inquisit.htm 04/09/07).

It should be pointed out that perhaps the Inquisitor slightly confused the millennium, the first part of it (happening after the death of Antichrist), with the 100 years which happens afterwards.

It should be also be pointed out that Albigneses and Waldenses were sometimes arrested with the Beguins. Now while most that were killed in the Inquisition were not in the Church of God, nor were the Franciscan Beguins, it is obvious that Church of God doctrines such as that ministers should not dress like the Roman clerics, Christians are not to swear oaths, and that God will offer salvation to all, were clearly condemned by the Roman Catholics during the time of Thyatira.

As far as a spiritual or mystic antichrist and a later one, that is consistent with what the Apostle John taught in 1 John 2:18 (more on this can be found in the article Some Doctrines of Antichrist).

Furthermore, the same inquisitor claimed the following about the Albigenses:

In the first place, they usually say of themselves that they are good Christians, who do not swear, or lie, or speak evil of others; that they do not kill any man or animal, nor anything having the breath of life, and that they hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel as the apostles taught. They assert that they occupy the place of the apostles, and that, on account of the above-mentioned things, they of the Roman Church, namely the prelates, clerks, and monks, and especially the inquisitors of heresy persecute them and call them heretics, although they are good men and good Christians, and that they are persecuted just as Christ and his apostles were by the Pharisees.

Moreover they talk to the laity of the evil lives of the clerks and prelates of the Roman Church, pointing out and setting forth their pride, cupidity, avarice, and uncleanness of life, and such other evils as they know. They invoke with their own interpretation and according to their abilities the authority of the Gospels and the Epistles against the condition of the prelates, churchmen, and monks, whom they call Pharisees and false prophets, who say, but do no.

Then they attack and vituperate, in turn, all the sacraments of the Church, especially the sacrament of the eucharist, saying that it cannot contain the body of Christ, for had this been as great as the largest mountain Christians would have entirely consumed it before this. They assert that the host comes from straw, that it passes through the tails of horses, to wit, when the flour is cleaned by a sieve (of horse hair); that, moreover, it passes through the body and comes to a vile end, which, they say, could not happen if God were in it.

Of baptism, they assert that the water is material and corruptible and is therefore the creation of the evil power, and cannot sanctify the soul, but that the churchmen sell this water out of avarice, just as they sell earth for the burial of the dead, and oil to the sick when they anoint them, and as: they sell the confession of sins as made to the priests.

Hence they claim that confession made to the priests of, the Roman Church is useless, and that, since the priests may be sinners, they cannot loose nor bind, and, being unclean in themselves, cannot make others clean. They assert, moreover, that the cross of Christ should not be adored or venerated, because, as they urge, no one would venerate or adore the gallows upon which a father, relative, or friend had been hung. They urge, further, that they who adore the cross ought, for similar reasons, to worship all thorns and lances, because as Christ’s body was on the cross during the passion, so was the crown of thorns on his head and the soldier’s lance in his side, They proclaim many other scandalous things in regard to the sacraments.

Moreover they read from the Gospels and the Epistles in the vulgar tongue, applying and expounding them in their favor and against the condition of the Roman Church in a manner which it would take too long to describe in detail; but all that relates to this subject may be read more fully in the books they have written and infected, and may be learned from the confessions of such of their followers as have been converted. (From the Inquisitor’s Manual of Bernard Gui [d.1331], early 14th century, translated in J. H. Robinson, Readings in European History, (Boston: Ginn, 1905), pp. 381-383, http://essenes.crosswinds.net/albe.html 05/27/07).

I will simply state that we in the Continuing Church of God consider ourselves to be true Christians, do not swear, do not kill any man, do consider inquisitors as non-Christians, do not consider that the “Eucharist” is the actual flesh of Christ, oppose the selling of sacraments, do not believe priests can forgive sin, do not revere instruments of death like the cross, do normally read the Bible in the Vulgar tongue (which is English in my case), and that we hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel as the apostles taught (this latter point is shown fairly clearly in the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

And as the inquisitor’s accounts show, our positions were also held in the Middle Ages (for documentation that our views have been held since the beginning of the Church age, please go to the History of Early Christianity page).

Some items of related interest may include:

In Search of Thyatira This era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
Joyce’s Photos of Thyatira Thyatira is the fourth of the seven churches listed in the Book of Revelation. Here some photos of our visit there.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
News Articles Related to Church History This link is to articles on Church history that were once published on the COG News Page.
ChurchHistoryBook.com This is a URL with some information on Church History.
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like the beliefs held by the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2013 o 2014? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.

Nicodemus: A Pharisee who Knew Jesus

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014


Nicodemus per Michelangelo

COGwriter

August 3rd is the day Catholics have declared as the day for Saint Nicodemus as allegedly part of his body or possessions were found that day.

Nicodemus is mentioned several times in the Gospel of John. Here is the first:

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:1-21)

There are many things learned from the above. The first is that many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew that Jesus was special and that logic told them that He had to be doing God’s work (but most rejected Him and His work, as most still reject God’s true leaders and work today).

The next main item is the teaching about being born again. Details about this are in the article Born Again: A Question of Semantics?

The next one to mention is that God’s plan involving Jesus and humanity is about love. Jesus was also teaching that He came to die for all and not a few (see also Universal Offer of Salvation and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants ). And then Jesus finishes with telling that humans often love darkness and evil and that they hate the light, which is the truth. This is one reason why real Christians have long been subject to ridicule and persecution (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

Getting back to Nicodemus, he has further mention in scripture:

47 Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

52 They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (John 7:47-52)

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby. (John 19:38-42)

So, Nicodemus even helped lay Jesus’ body in the tomb. This shows that after his encounter with Jesus in John 3, Nicodemus remained a believer.

Some believe that Josephus (a first century Jewish historian) mentioned this same Nicodemus in the following:

1. A Little afterward Pompey came to Damascus, and marched over Celesyria; at which time there came ambassadors to him from all Syria, and Egypt, and out of Judea also…2. In a little time afterward came ambassadors again to him, Antipater from Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus from Aristobulus; which last also accused such as had taken bribes; first Gabinius, and then Scaurus,—the one three hundred talents, and the other four hundred; by which procedure he made these two his enemies, besides those he had before. (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. Book XIV, Chapter 3).

If this was the Nicodemus of scripture, it implies that he had a certain amount of influence when alive.

The Jewish Encyclopedia teaches this about him:

Nicodemus:

Prominent member of the Sanhedrin, and a man of wealth; lived in Jerusalem in the first century C.E. He is mentioned in John iii. 1-21, vii. 50, xix. 39. In the first of these passages he is represented as “a ruler of the Jews” who learned from Jesus what “rebirth by baptism” meant, as if that rabbinical term had been altogether unknown to him (but see Baptism and Birth, New). The second passage records how he made his visit to Jesus by night, in order that he might not be known as one of the latter’s disciples. In the third passage he and Joseph of Arimathæa are described as having taken charge of the body of Jesus in order to give it decent burial. That the man brought into such prominence in the fourth Gospel must havebeen a well-known figure of Jewish society at the time is evident. In all probability he is identical with the Talmudical Nicodemus ben Gorion, a popular saint noted for his miraculous powers; and this would explain also the reference to “heavenly things” in Jesus’ arguments with him (John iii. 12).

The apocalyptic Gospel of Nicodemus, which gives an account of Jesus before Pilate and the Sanhedrin, as well as of his death and resurrection, belongs to the third century, while the oldest extant manuscript of it dates from the twelfth. (Nicodemus. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11525-nicodemus_ viewed 08/03/13)

Notice that the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus was believed to have originated well after Nicodemus would have died and hence is not a true writing from him. There is also no reliable evidence that Nicodemus performed any miracles, but it is possible that God used him in that capacity.

Tradition holds that Nicodemus was later martyred, and that is possible, though not certain.

Nicodemus believed Jesus, stood up for following Him, and helped place Him in the tomb. His encounter with Jesus in John 3 presented the opportunity for Jesus to make various doctrinal statements that God wanted recorded for our time.

Do you truly understand what Jesus was teaching Nicodemus?

If you want to know more, some items of possibly related interest may include:

Do you know about Nicodemus? Nicodemus was a Pharisee who lived at the time of Jesus. Do you know what the Bible and other accounts teach about him?
Born Again: A Question of Semantics? Many Protestants use the term born-again. Do they know where the concept came from or does it matter? Are you born or begotten upon proper baptism?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some persecutions that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted? This article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Priscilla and her husband Aquila

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

COGwriter

July 8th is observed in honor of Priscilla and Aquila by some associated with the Greco-Roman churches.

Priscilla and Aquila were apparently early converts to Christianity, and must have worked together. I have listed Priscilla (also called Prisca) first, as the Bible twice lists her first. This is not to say that she was necessarily superior to her husband Aquila, but since the Bible gives her that honor as often as it gives it to her husband, I thought I would also list her first.

Luke records that Priscilla and her husband Aquila were from Rome and shared the same occupation as the Apostle Paul:

After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers (Acts 18:1-3, NKJV throughout).

So when Paul met Priscilla and Aquila, they were living in Corinth as it was unsafe for them to have stayed in Rome at that time.

Priscilla and Aquila were quite well versed in early Christian doctrine as God used them to help Apollo:

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).

Apparently, after being with Paul for a while, they returned to Rome. They were also apparently quite brave and also had church services in their home in Rome:

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house (Romans 16:3-5).

When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, they still had church services in their home, and they apparently continued to support Paul, as he wrote:

The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house (1 Corinthians 16:19).

Later, they apparently moved again. In his letter to Timothy, who was then in Ephesus, Paul wrote:

Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 4:19).

So, near the end of Paul’s life, they became part of the true church in Ephesus.

Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple who were also tentmakers. They knew and supported Paul, knew and taught Apollo, and also knew Timothy.

Although originally from Rome, they traveled extensively. The fact that they had church services in their house in Rome when Paul wrote two of his letters seems to suggest that the early church in Rome was not particularly large.

Some items of possibly-related interest may include:

Priscilla and Aquila An early Christian married couple from Rome who moved to Asia Minor.
Women and the New Testament Church What roles did women play in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul violate Jewish traditions regarding their dealings with women? Do women have any biblical limitations on their role in the Church? Were there female prophets? Do women have any special responsibilities in terms of how they dress? What does the New Testament really teach about women? Here is a related sermon titled: New Testament Women.
True Womanhood: A Lost Cause? Is there still a place for being feminine? Here is an article from Herbert Armstrong about his thoughts relating to women and womanhood.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?

India and the Apostle Thomas

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


India

COGwriter

July 3rd is held to be the ‘day’ for Thomas the apostle. He is believed to have been stabbed with a spear c.72 in while in prayer on a hill in Mylapur, India.

Thomas is mentioned various times in the Bible. In Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Luke 6:15 his name is listed next to the Apostle Matthew.

He seemed to have a certain bravery, was willing to ask questions, and apparently was a twin or perhaps resembled someone else well:

12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” (John 11:12-16)

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:1-5)

1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:1-4)

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Acts 1:12-14)

He is probably best known for the following:

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29)

Yet, if the legends about him later are true, he traveled farther than any other apostle. Some believe that he reached Malaysia and perhaps even the edges of China itself. But he seems best known for apparently reaching India.

In the early third century, Hippolytus wrote about Bartholomew and Thomas:

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…

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 (Hippolytus. On The Twelve Apostles).

This may be the earliest reference to any form of Christianity coming to India.

One legend, that was written down in the late 1800s, but has been questioned, concerns Thomas:

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

“St. Thomas Christians” are claimed to be an ancient body of professing Christians on the east and west coasts of India. They claim spiritual descent from the Apostle Thomas and also claim various versions of the Ramban Pattu (Rabban Song). While none that I am aware of still keep the same faith that the Apostle Thomas kept, as they eventually accepted Roman dominance, it is probable that the Apostle Thomas was there and that there have been Christians in India since the times of the apostles (it should also be noted that there is, however, a congregation in the South-east coastal region of India in the area of Bhimavaram that does practice true Christianity–it is just that they do not refer to themselves as “St. Thomas Christians”.

The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions this about the “St. Thomas Christians”:

St. Thomas Christians An ancient body of Christians on the east and west coasts of India, claiming spiritual descent from the Apostle St. Thomas…

Theophilus (surnamed the Indian) — an Arian, sent by Emperor Constantius (about 354) on a mission to Arabia Felix and Abyssinia — is one of the earliest, if not the first, who draws our attention to them…The people referred to were the Christians known as a body who had their liturgy in the Syriac language and inhabited the west coast of India, i.e. Malabar…

Gregory of Tours (Glor. Mart.), before 590, reports that Theodore, a pilgrim who had gone to Gaul, told him that in that part of India where the corpus (bones) of Thomas the Apostle had first rested (Mylapur on the east or the Coromandel Coast of India) there stood a monastery and a church of striking dimensions and elaboratedly adorned, adding: “After a long interval of time these remains had been removed thence to the city of Edessa.” The location of the first tomb of the Apostle in India is proof both of his martyrdom and of its Apostolate in India. The evidence of Theodore is that of an eyewitness who had visited both tombs — the first in India, while the second was at Edessa. The primitive Christians, therefore, found on both coasts, east and west, witness to and locate the tomb at Mylapur, “St. Thomas”, a little to the south of Madras; no other place in India lays any claim to possess the tomb, nor does any other country. On these facts is based their claim to be known as St. Thomas Christians…

There is one incident of the long period of isolation of the St. Thomas Christians from the rest of the Christian world which they are never tired of relating, and it is one of considerable importance to them for the civil status it conferred and secured to them in the country. This is the narrative of the arrival of a Syrian merchant on their shores, a certain Mar Thoma Cana — the Portuguese have named him Cananeo and styled him an Armenian, which he was not. He arrived by ship on the coast and entered the port of Cranganore. The King of Malabar, Cheruman Perumal, was in the vicinity, and receiving information of his arrival sent for him and admitted him to his presence…

It was only after the conversion of Sulaka in 1552 that the Chaldeans in part returned to the unity of faith. The truth is that the Malabar Church remained from A.D. 496 up till then in heresy….

During the centuries that these Christians were isolated from the rest of Christendom, their sole intercourse was limited to Mesopotamia…But from the close of the thirteenth century Western travellers, chiefly missionaries sent out by the popes, sent to the West occasional news of their existence (Medlycott, A.E. Transcribed by Mary and Joseph P. Thomas. St. Thomas Christians. 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).

Whether or not Thomas Cana was completely Syrian or part Armenian, the religion that his followers embraced was not one that allowed them to accept the authority of the Roman Church. Thomas Cana is believed to have died around 346 A.D. But eventually (after 1552) the bulk of the “St. Thomas Christians” accepted Roman authority–hence would no longer have some of the characteristics of the early Christian church.

The reality, as real scholars will admit, the professing Christian world was NOT dominated by nor led by the Church of Rome in the first couple of centuries after Jesus’ resurrection. Church of God doctrines were found in many places including India, Asia Minor, various parts of Europe, and the British Isles.

Some items of possibly-related prophetic interest may include:

India, Its Biblical Past and Future: Any Witness? The Bible discusses the origins of those of Indian heritage.  This article quotes the Bible and also discusses some of the witness to India throughout history and what is happening in the 21st century (including those in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).
India and the Beast of Revelation 13 Do biblical, Catholic, and even Hindu prophecies suggest that many in India will follow, for a while, the Beast and False Prophet/Antichrist? Here is link to a related YouTube video Will People in India Worship the Beast of Revelation 13?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
News Articles Related to Church History This link is to articles on Church history that were once published on the COG News Page.
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?

Peter, Paul, Francis, and the Eastern Orthodox

Sunday, June 29th, 2014


Improperly Claimed Tomb of Peter

COGwriter

Today is the day the Greco-Roman churches observe for the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul:

29 June 2014

June 29 marks the day of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Pavel (Paul) in the Bulgarian Orthodox calendar.

The feast day commemorates the martyrdom of the two great Apostles, assigned by tradition to the same day of June in the year 67. http://www.novinite.com/articles/161691/Bulgarians+Celebrate+Saints+Peter+and+Paul%E2%80%99s+Day#sthash.TMNyThUG.dpuf

Pope Francis said the following:

On this Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the principal patrons of Rome, we welcome with joy and gratitude the Delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch, our venerable and beloved brother Bartholomaios, and led by Metropolitan Ioannis.  Let us ask the Lord that this visit too may strengthen our fraternal bonds as we journey toward that full communion between the two sister Churches which we so greatly desire.  http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/06/29/homily_for_the_solemnity_of_saints_peter_and_paul/1102327

Pope Francis called Peter and Paul patrons of Rome and again pushed for full unity with the Eastern Orthodox.

Interestingly, certain Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars and priests, Peter and Paul were not the patrons/founders of the Church in Rome.

Here are some Roman Catholic sources:

Neither Peter nor Paul founded the Church at Rome, for there were Christians in the city before either of the Apostles set foot there. Nor can we assume, as Irenaeus did, that the Apostles established there a succession of bishops to carry on their work in the city, for all the indications are that there was no single bishop at Rome for almost a century after the deaths of the Apostles. In fact, where ever we turn, the solid outlines of the petrine succession at Rome seem to blur and dissolve…

Neither Paul, Acts nor any of the Gospels tells us anything direct about Peter’s death, and none of them even hints that the special role of Peter could be passed on to any single ‘successor’. There is, therefore, nothing directly approaching a papal theory in the pages of the New Testament (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press, New Haven (CT), 2002, pp.2,6).

Antonio Ferrua …was the Jesuit archaeologist responsible for uncovering what is believed to be the tomb of St Peter in the grottoes under St Peter’s Basilica in Rome…Ferrua was more circumspect. Aware of the scepticism that surrounded even the analysis of the Greek fragment – which others had read as Petros endei or “Peter is not here” – he recently told the Italian Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire that he was “not convinced” that the saint’s bones had been found…A man of deep faith, Ferrua was a rigorous scholar, much admired for his refusal to allow his beliefs to compromise his work (The Rev Antonio Ferrua.  Telegraph, London – May 29, 2003 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1431338/The-Rev-Antonio-Ferrua.html viewed 07/20/09)

Irenaeus focuses on the church of Rome which he describes as “greatest, most ancient and known to all, founded and established by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul.” Here we must acknowledge a bit of rhetoric, as the church of Rome was obviously not so ancient as those of Jerusalem or Antioch, nor was it actually founded by Peter or Paul (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 147).

ALTHOUGH CATHOLIC TRADITION, BEGINNING IN the late second and early third centuries, regards St. Peter as the first bishop of Rome and, therefore, as the first pope, there is no evidence that Peter was involved in the initial establishment of the Christian community in Rome (indeed, what evidence there is would seem to point in the opposite direction) or that he served as Rome’s first bishop. (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.25).

Some of the Eastern/Greek Orthodox use even stronger terms:

From the outset we must clarify that we Orthodox, not taking part in the politically correct spirit of western and especially ecumenist “Christianity,” do not refer to those religious communities who have, sadly, been separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church as “Churches.” But, following the example of our Holy Fathers throughout the ages, refer to them as heretics, and you, Your Excellency, and your followers, we denominate as “Papists” and your heresy as “Papism.”…

That the Apostle Peter did not travel to Rome after the composition of his first epistle is witnessed to in his second catholic epistle, understanding , of course, that this epistle was obviously written for the Gentile Christians, whereas the first was written for the Jewish Christians. In this epistle there is also no mention of city of Rome.

Finally, the fact that, near the end of his life, the Apostle Peter did not journey to Rome is verified by the Apostle Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, in which he writes: “At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it.” From this epistle of the Apostle Paul, which was written near the end of his life, it is clearly verified, that during its writing, the Apostle Peter was not in Rome, otherwise the Apostle Paul would out of necessity have mentioned it.

Moreover, it is clear that before the composition of this epistle, the Apostle Peter had not traveled to Rome. If he had already preached there it would not be possible for the Apostle Paul to write that “also in Rome the Gentiles were taught and heard the preaching by him.”

When we add to these Biblical witnesses all that is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles regarding the Apostle Paul’s first journey to Rome, something that we will expand upon shortly, along with his epistle to the Romans, we come to the indubitable conclusion that, before the Apostle Paul’s first journey to Rome and also before the composition of his second epistle to Timothy, the Apostle Peter had not traveled to Rome…

Regardless, however, of the time and place of the death of the Chiefs of the Apostles, in our opinion, the most significant witness to the fact that the Apostle Peter did not travel to Rome before the Apostle Paul, and therefore that he did not found the Church in Rome, is concluded from the juxtaposition of the epistle to the Romans with the Acts of the Apostles regarding the Apostle Paul’s first journey to Rome…

Consequently, the Apostle Peter had not journeyed to Rome before the composition of this epistle, that is, before 58 A.D. Perhaps he made the journey during the two – year period that intervened between the writing of the epistle and the Apostle Paul’s first visit to Rome? For us, that which is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles regarding the Apostle Paul’s first visit to Rome, and his subsequent two – year stay, rules this out completely…

As for the fifth detail, that Peter and Paul meet their end at the same time (in Rome), we find no witnesses save apocryphal sources, which are bereft of validity…The witness of Origen regarding the death of Paul in Rome under Nero is refuted by Clement of Rome, who wrote “and come to the extreme limit of the West, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects.”…

And so, it is nowhere proved that the Apostle Peter traveled to Rome, nor that he preached and died there. Rather the opposite is witnessed to by the Holy Scriptures and Ecclesiastical History…

After reading the above, your recent presentation of the alleged Holy Relics of the Apostle Peter, unknown for two centuries, strikingly presents the tragic character of your religious system…

With respect,

+ Andrew of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa

+ Seraphim of Piraeus and Faliro

(Letter to Francis. HOLY AUTOCEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH OF GREECE. April 10, 2014, pp. 1, 37, 41, 45-56, 89. http://cdn.romfea.gr/images/stories/photos/2014/4/romfea1/spiti/Epistle%20to%20Pope%20Francis%20I.pdf viewed 04/21/2014)

Yet, despite the fact that the Apostle Peter is not buried in St. Peter’s, etc., the Eastern Orthodox will end up with unity with the Church of Rome.  Both biblical and Catholic prophecies warn this will happen, and although much of the media will endorse this, it will not be good for the Roman or Eastern Orthodox Catholics, or the Protestants for that matter.

As far as the Protestant go, there was another meeting with them a few days ago. Charismatic Ken Copeland and others met with the Pope (the original report is in Italian, with the machine-translated English version below it):

Francesco si è incontrato con degli importanti ‘leaders evangelici’ per pianificare l’alleanza tra la Chiesa Cattolica Romana e gli Evangelici, o meglio sancire una «unità nella diversità». L’incontro si è tenuto il 24 giugno 2014 in Vaticano presso il Palazzo Santa Marta. Ecco i nomi di coloro che si sono incontrati con lui: John e Carol Arnott (fondatori di Catch The Fire), Kenneth Copeland (fondatore di KCM Ministries), James Robison (fondatore di Life Outreach Int.), Geoff Tunnicliffe (Capo della Worldwide Evangelical Alliance ossia l’Alleanza Evangelica Mondiale). C’era anche Tony Palmer (Vescovo della Communion Evangelical Episcopal Churches)…

USCITE E SEPARATEVI DALL’AEI. Guardatevi e ritiratevi da tutti coloro che promuovono questa diabolica alleanza o unità nella diversità.

Chi ha orecchi da udire, oda (http://giacintobutindaro.org/2014/06/26/francesco-incontra-predicatori-pentecostali/)

June 26, 2014

Francis met with the important ‘evangelical leaders’ plan for the alliance between the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical, or rather establish a “unity in diversity”. The meeting was held at the Vatican June 24, 2014 at the Palace of Santa Marta. Here are the names of those who met with him: John and Carol Arnott (founder of Catch The Fire), Kenneth Copeland (founder of KCM Ministries), James Robison (founder of Life Outreach Int), Geoff Tunnicliffe (Head of Worldwide Evangelical Alliance that is the World Evangelical Alliance). There was also Tony Palmer (Bishop Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches)…

Shameful and scandalous.

LEAVE AND SEPARATE FROM THE AEI { l’Alleanza Evangelica Italiana}. Look and turn away from all those who promote this unholy alliance or unity in diversity.

The ecumenical movement is going forward, though some few are realizing some of the dangers of it.

Some Protestants and some Eastern Orthodox keep trying to have ecumenical unity with Rome.  Sadly, many more of them will join in this disastrous unity as well.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27
This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2014, 2015, or 2016? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2013 o 2014? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Blood Moons and Prophecy There are four ‘blood moons’ expected in 2014 and 2015. Do they signal the Day of the Lord or the return of Jesus Christ? A related YouTube video is also available: Blood Moons, Prophecy, 2014, and 2015.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? Former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? Could a Jesuit be “the black pope”?
The Last Pope Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Why might Pope Francis be the last pope? What happens if he is? Biblical and other prophecies help explain what to expect.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Amazon Book What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roman”? This 186 page book provides information and answers.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of the printed book which is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.