Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Cartwright’s Journal out: 20 year ‘calendar’ anniversary, UCG’s ‘Binity’ and new COE member, 7000 year plan, and Elijah

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

COGwriter

The latest issue (says #196, print date June 30, 2017) of The Journal: News of the Churches of God was just posted online.

There was information regarding The Journal’s anniversary, UCG’s position on the Godhead, UCG’s COE, 7000 year plan, Elijah, and Feast of Tabernacles’ sites.

Here is some of what The Journal reported about its start and anniversary:

20 years since conference helped launch The Journal

BIG SANDY, Texas—It’s been 20 years.

Where has the time gone?

A trusty calendar can help you determine where time has gone and help you keep track of it.

Twenty years ago, in 1997, calendar concerns were in the air in the Churches of God. Two church members, Lawrence Maayeh and Michael Turner, who at the time lived in Plano, Texas, set out to settle the dust in the air about the calendar as part of their their Scattered Brethren ministry.

They presented their conference in a Dallas hotel Jan. 3-5, 1997.

It was their observation that the churches and other ministries wending their way out of the old Worldwide Church of God in the ’90s were sitting on the calendar story, perhaps because they had trouble explaining to the brethren why they should observe the nonbiblical invention of “postponements.”

Postponements are regulations built into the Jewish calendar that can delay for up to two days the beginning of the festival year.

Two comments: The Journal essentially was launched as a replacement of a publication called In Transition, which was discontinued shortly before The Journal began. In Transition, published by John Robinson, was the predecessor of The Journal. Dixon Cartwright did work on In Transition.

Calendar issues still arise these days. Information on the calendar and postpostments can be found in the following:

Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia? A sermonette in English covers: Colossians, Galatians, and the Feasts of God.
Calculated or observed calendar? Did Jesus use a calculated calendar? This article addresses this issue that many wonder about.
What are Postponements? This is by the late evangelist Raymond McNair and explains a lot about postponements and calculations.
Hebrew Calendar and “Postponements” This late evangelist John Ogywn writing explains why the most faithful in the Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as “Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?”

The United Church of God was the subject of two articles on the front page of The Journal. Here is one related to the Godhead:

UCG releases study, conclusions re nature of Jesus, rejects Trinity, Unity in favor of Binity

he United Church of God an International Association (UCG), based in Milford, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, released several documents in June 2017 that pertain to the church’s opinions and doctrines about the nature of Jesus.

In the documents, the UCG comes down solidly on the side of Binitarians when it comes to understanding what the church’s leaders believe the Bible says about whether God is one, two or three.

Most Churches of God derived from the old Worldwide Church of God founded by Herbert Armstrong think of God as in some sense two.

Mr. Armstrong would sometimes say God is one in that He is one family. But that one family, he went on to say, consists of two beings: the Father and Son. Trinitarians likewise, at least many of them, say God is one, but one God in three persons or hypostases. The Churches of God with origins in Mr. Armstrong reject God as three in that they do not think of the Holy Spirit as a separate person or entity. Rather, most of them say that the Holy Spirit is the power of God, not a separate consciousness.

Complicated matter

Complicating matters in the Church of God movement, Ken Westby and Anthony Buzzard, among others, argued since the 1980s that God is one: He is neither two nor three.

They do accept Jesus as the Son of God and Savior and Messiah, but to them Jesus is not God.

THE JOURNAL , over the years, has reported on what some people call the one-God controversy including Mr. Westby’s and Sir Anthony’s one-God conferences, which ran during Mr. Westby’s lifetime for 13 annual gatherings from 2002 through 2015.

It is not widely known that more than one UCG elder who was in agreement with Mr. Westby about the nature of Jesus lobbied leaders of the UCG to consider changing its doctrine about the nature of Jesus.

Several current and former UCG elders could be thought of as closet one-God believers. But the UCG never seems seriously to have considered the one-God view.

Some of the closet one-God people have since migrated to the Church of God a Worldwide Association, also known as the CGWA or Cogwa.

Still more complicatedly, some in the leadership of the UCG have hinted and in at least one case have explicitly stated the view that neither the Trinity nor Binity nor Unity accurately represents God, that rather there are simply two Gods: the Father and the Son. …

A special E-mailing that went out to elders and other members in June included the UCG’s booklet called Who Was Jesus? The booklet affirms the validity of the view held by Mr. Armstrong, that God is a family with two beings in it. It also affirms that, though “more than simply human,” Jesus was “human in the fullest sense.

One of my longstanding criticisms of The Journal has been its giving the unitarians as much press as it has. As far as UCG and unitarianism goes, UCG dealt with this years ago, but the subject came up again as I reported here a couple of weeks ago (see UCG apparently again dealing with unitarianism). I actually provided biblical anti-unitarian information to UCG’s one-time president Clyde Kilough (now in COGWA) when UCG faced this issue years ago. For those wanting more information on the Godhead, check out the following:

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? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, and SDA Ellen White did, but does the Bible allow for this?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.

The Journal had the following related to a UCG leadership change:

UCG gets a new council-of-elders member

MILFORD, Ohio—The United Church of God an International Association (UCG) has a new council member. At the 2017 General Conference of Elders in nearby Cincinnati May 9-11, the assembled several hundred elders elected Dan Dowd, a fellow elder and pastor serving in Milwaukee, Wis., to sit on the council.

Mr. Dowd takes the place of Robin Webber of Bakersfield, Calif.

Those two changes bring the current 12-man-council lineup to the following:

Scott Ashley, Jorge de Campos, Aaron Dean, Dan Dowd, Robert Dick, John Elliott, Mark Mickelson Rainer Salomaa, Mario Seiglie, Rex Sexton, Don Ward (council chairman) and Anthony Wasilkoff.

Victor Kubik, as church president, is not a member of the council.

While I have had contact with several of those council members, I do not recall any with Dan Dowd. Long-time readers of this page realize that I have long had issues with the governance structure at UCG (and well before COGWA formed). Some items of related interest would be:

Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from two of the largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this is the largest group that came out of the United Church of God.  Here is some history and concerns about it. UCG’s former president Clyde Kilough and UK CEO Peter Hawkins are part of it.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.

Kathleen McCann had the following in an article in The Journal:

MILTON KEYNES, England—Most people who anticipate the return of Jesus Christ expect Him to return after about 6,000 years of human history, at the start of the seventh millennium. …

However, on this basis did the ancient Israelites have any awareness of time concluding and an end to human history? Did they make any connection between the Feast of Tabernacles and the “latter” or “last” days? Is it only in recent years that we have made such a link? …

When we observe the Feast of Tabernacles today we observe a festival that takes place at a certain season, but the precise days move slightly backwards or forwards in chronological time.

We also believe that it heralds the seventh millennium in the plan of God for the salvation of mankind.

Did the Israelites before Jesus’ time anticipate a 7,000-year plan of God or that there would be an “end time” of human civilization or history as they knew it? …

While most Israelites in earlier days and Jews in later times would simply see the Feast of Tabernacles as a time of appointment with Jehovah so they could look back on the Exodus from Egypt, it was the later prophets who began to see a connection between the mo’adim of the annual holy days and the ultimate mo’ed or appointed time in the future with Jehovah (Daniel 11:35). Of course, most of the Jews in Jesus’ time would not make this connection, their minds being focused on the loss of kingdom and their longing to have it restored (Acts 1:6). …

Perceiving the future From this study I understand that initially the Israelites did not perceive an “end time,” a time that would bring a culmination to human history. Their reasons for observing the Feast of Tabernacles were to remember the Exodus from Egypt and rejoice before the Lord and with each other, enjoying the abundance that God had given them. However, a perception of the future is to be found in Job and Deuteronomy. It is not until the coming of the ma- jor prophets, after the exile of Northern Israel, that a clearer understanding is achieved, of both a utopian time for human history and a time before that, when world events would come to a climax.

While I am not convinced that MOST people who believe Jesus will return believe He will return at the end of 6,000 years, the 6000 year return is a valid biblical view. As far as WHEN many Jews first understood the 6000/7000 year plan, that can be debated but many did.

Here are specific traditions related to the 6000/7000 year plan from the Jewish Babylonian Talmud:

R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day {Isaiah 2:11}.

Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight {Hosea 6:2}.

It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,’ and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day {Psalm 92:1},  meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past {Psalm 90:4}.

The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;  two thousand years the Torah flourished;  and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 97a).

And while there are some errors in the above, it appears that there is a six thousand year plan, that the current two thousand years essentially represents the Church/Messianic era, and that a one thousand year period remains. Note: I inserted the scriptures quoted or alluded to above within {} as they are in the footnotes associated with the above.

Christians understood this 6000/7000 year plan as well. Also, according to the Catholic saint Jerome, they felt that the Feast of Tabernacles pictured the 1000 year millennial reign. Here is some of the actual Latin from the Catholic saint and doctor Jerome, with a translation into English following it:

1529…Judæi et Christiani judaizantes… Judæi Christiani…1535-1536… Omnes, inquit, qui relicti fuerint de gentibus quae venerint contra Jerusalem, ascendent per singulos annos, ut adorent regem Dominum exercituum, et celebrent festivitatem Tabernaculorum. Hæc quoque Judei cassa spe in mille annorum regno futura promittunt, cujus solemnitatis istud exordium est: (Jerome, Commentariorum in Zachariam Lib. III.  Patrologia Latina 25, 1529; 1536).

Jews and Christian judaizers…Christian Jews… All, he says, those who remain survivors of the nations that come against Jerusalem, shall go up every year, to worship the King the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. These also shall hope in, through the hollow devotion of Jews, a thousand years old promise of the future kingdom, whose festival this is the beginning of: (Thiel B. Translation of Jerome’s Commentariorum in Zachariam Lib. III.  Patrologia Latina 25, 1529; 1536)

Jerome himself said, “It is a common belief that the world will last 6,000 years.” Information about the 6000/7000 year plan and the Feast of Tabernacles can be found in the following:

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? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
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? 2026 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.

The Journal also had an advertisement from COG-ff’s Don Billingsley that stated the following:

God’s Chosen Instruments— God chose special men over time to fulfill His purpose, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, followed by His apostles. These were the Real Heroes used by God! Though these imperfect men sinned at one time or another (I John 1:8-10), they repented when they did (Revelation 12:10-11). And for that reason God continued to use them to fulfill His will and purpose with mankind This also includes God’s late apostle, and the Elijah to come, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. …

It should be realized by believers of the Holy Bible that some man had to come to fulfill the prophecies of the end- time Elijah (Malachi 4:4-6; Mat- thew 17:10-11)! If one did, what would he restore that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong did not restore?

Let’s deal with two of the issues above.

First, according to Herbert W. Armstrong’s own writings, he could not have been the prophesied Elijah. Herbert Armstrong wrote this:

Those called into the Church were called not merely for salvation and eternal life, but to learn the way of God’s government and develop the divine character during this mortal life in the Church age…Also Malachi 4:5-6 pictures the Elijah to come at the very end of the Church age (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, pp. 201, 349).

When did he write that the Church age was over? Notice:

At the end of the Church age and 6,000 years from Adam, Christ would return to earth as King of kings and Lord of Lords, ruling all nations, with the saints, for one millennium. (Armstrong HW. What If Adam Had Taken of the Tree of Life? Plan Truth, March 1983)

The “very end” of the Church age was not over 30 years ago! The 6000 years has NOT yet been fulfilled (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?). Since the “very end of the Church age” has not happened, and HWA died in January 16, 1986, his writings support that there must be another Elijah. And he was referring to an individual in the Mystery of the Ages.

As far as the second point, since Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, much has been restored concerning church history, prophecy, and the fulfillment of Matthew 28:19-20, etc. For information related to these matters, check out the following:

The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
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 Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

The Journal once again reported numerous Feast of Tabernacles’ sites. I previously submitted the following to The Journal related to the Continuing Church of God sites:

Dear Dixon:
Saw you would like a list of Feast of Tabernacles sites to be sent in.
So, here is our current expected list (and yes, Oscar’s email and last name are intentionally spelled differently) in no particular order:
San Diego, California, USA. Continuing Church of God, contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email cogwriter@aol.com
Wichita, Kansas, USA, Continuing Church of God, contact Richard Close email closesr@comcast.net
Ontario or Quebec Canada. Continuing Church of God, contact Herb Haddon email hwhaddon@gmail.com
Uzice, Serbia. Continuing Church of God, contact Aleksandar Veljic, email radsonmulozowa@gmail.com
Rotorua, New Zealand. Continuing Church of God, contact John Hickey, email john.h@vodafone.net.nz
Silay City, Philippines. Continuing Church of God, contact Oscar Mediavilla, email hansmeidavilla@rocketmail.com
Gambella, Ethiopia. Continuing Church of God, contact Koang Deng, email koangdeng5@gmail.com
Ashanti, Suame-Kumasi, Ghana contact Samuel Ofosu Gyeabour fosusamuel81@gmail.com
Ndhiwa, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email evochieng74@gmail.com
Bomet, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email evochieng74@gmail.com
Kitui, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email evochieng74@gmail.com
Mau, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Joseah Kipngetich, email joseahts@gmail.com
Nairobi, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email evochieng74@gmail.com
Transmara, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email evochieng74@gmail.com
Migawi, Malawi. Continuing Church of God contact Radson Mulozowa email radsonmulozowa@gmail.com
Mozambique, Continuing Church of God contact Radson Mulozowa email radsonmulozowa@gmail.com
Utegi, Tanzania. Continuing Church of God, contact Martin Wanga, email matinwanga@gmail.com
Best regards,
Bob Thiel

Since the above letter, the CCOG site in Canada was finalized to be in Kingston, Ontario. More on sites can be found in the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017.

As far as The Journal goes, it also had the usual letters to the editor and other advertisements, various comments, and opinion articles. The advertisements mainly seem to be from possibly Laodicean groups and/or individuals (not all seem to be COG) who seem to think that the ads are somehow doing the work of God. More of the real work that the COGs should be doing are in the article The Final Phase of the Work.

The Journal itself is available by paid subscription (though Dixon Cartwright says some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it). It tends to have a non-Philadelphian approach to many, but not all, matters.

Church of Rome and CCOG teachings on repentance and confession

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

COGwriter

The Bible does say to confess sins, but has the Church of Rome taken this beyond the practices recorded in the Bible or any found in early Christian documents?

What do the Bible and the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) teach?

Let’s start by reading a passage from the Douay-Rheims Bible (a Catholic version, abbreviated herein as DRB):

16 Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. (James 5:16, DRB)

Notice that this was not a command to confess sins to the clergy.

For those who prefer a more modern version, the following is the same verse from the New Jerusalem Bible (another Catholic version, abbreviated herein as NJB):

16 So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully. (James 5:16, NJB)

Both versions teach confession of sins to lay members of the church as opposed to auricular (essentially audible) confession to a priest.

Here is the other time the Bible specifically talks about confessing sins:

7 But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:7-10, DRB)

The above says that Christians are to confess sins, and Jesus will forgive them. There is no discussion of penance here or in James 5:16.

According to other scriptures, God/Jesus again is the one we are to confess to:

11 For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself. (Romans 14:11-12, DRB)

1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus (Hebrews 3:1, DRB)

14 Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. 16 Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:14-16, DRB)

Notice also the following:

18 And many of them that believed, came confessing and declaring their deeds. 19 And many of them who had followed curious arts, brought together their books, and burnt them before all; and counting the price of them, they found the money to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Acts 19:18-19, DRB)

The above people apparently repented of their sins and destroyed certain wicked books, but this was not penance in the sense that the Church of Rome now advocates.

Since the Bible has a different view, than Rome now has, has the Roman Catholic Church changed its position? Well, yes it has, even though it has suggested otherwise in the past.

The Council of Trent in the 16th century made a variety of statements about auricular confession. Perhaps the first one to deal with is the following:

CANON VI.–If any one denieth, either that sacramental confession was instituted, or is necessary to salvation, of divine right; or saith, that the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone, which the Church hath ever observed from the beginning, and doth observe, is alien from the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be anathema. (The Council of Trent The Fourteenth Session The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 92-121. Hanover Historical Texts Project Scanned by Hanover College students in 1995. http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct14.html 05/19/12)

Of course, the above is wrong as this most certainly was not the practice of the early Christians nor the Church of Rome from the beginning. And lest someone claim that I am “anathema” for teaching this, the reality is that even the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the “sacrament of forgiveness” was changed:

1447 Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament. It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration. In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1447. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Image Books by Doubleday, NY 2003)

So, it took until the 7th century for the modern practice to develop widely, but it seems to have been related to Callistus’ actions combined with a syncretic adaptation of scripture and non-biblical practices that took time to develop (along with the general acceptance of the Greco-Romans to be willing to utilize practices of non-Christian religions with theirs). But the fact is that the Council of Trent was wrong–and this Council put forth many dogmas, all of which had papal approval–thus the Council of Trent disproves the idea of papal infallibility. Catholics really need to realize that.

So, it took until the 7th century for the modern practice to develop widely.

Of course, repentance was taught for becoming a Christian, and acknowledging our sins to God is taught for remaining one:

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. (1 John 1:9, NJB)

And while the Bible advocates repentance, penance is from outside of sacred scripture as well as the earliest traditions of the true Church of God.

While some Catholics believe that sins cannot be forgiven without the “sacrament of confession,” this is not the case. And, as the Catechism admits (#1447) the current “sacrament of confession” was not an original apostolic practice.

Penance vs. Repentance

The true Church of God which existed since the beginning (see, for example, the page The History of Early Christianity) is not Protestant (see, for example, the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants). It bases its beliefs primarily upon the Bible, which teaches:

38 ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered, ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, NJB)

Repentance was taught for becoming a Christian, and acknowledging our sins to God is taught for remaining one:

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. (1 John 1:9, NJB)

Christians are not to inflict punishment on ourselves, thinking that this will force God to hear our prayers (Isaiah 58:2-7). God is not interested in penance, but repentance and change. We should not be like certain Muslims and whip our backs, while effectively saying, “Look at our suffering, God, so hear us.”

And while the Bible advocates repentance, penance is from outside of sacred scripture as well as the earliest traditions of the true Church of God. While the Church of Rome tends to claim that its beliefs come from sacred scripture or the traditions of the original apostles, the idea of auricular confession and penance did not come from either source–they are late heresies, essentially adopted from non-Christian sources.

The Bible teaches against a worldly repentance:

10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Here is something that the late Herbert Armstrong wrote related to that:

Admit Your Sins

Prayer and fasting aren’t the only requirements in seeking God. If you will read back over the examples of Daniel and Nehemiah as well as any of the other prophets of God, you will notice that in every case they FREELY ACKNOWLEDGED their own sins and shortcomings. It takes a deeply sincere man to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

If we are earnestly seeking God and His way, this is the attitude we will be reflecting. We will freely admit our own sins and shortcomings and be earnestly importuning God to show us the right way. Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know that THE WAY OF MAN IS NOT IN HIMSELF: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing” (Jer. 10: 23-24).

We as individuals do not know how to live. Once we begin to learn that lesson, and look to God to show us how to live and how to change our lives, we are on our way to real repentance.

The steps are simple. Yet it is not easy to completely give of yourself, to admit your own faults and sincerely ask for God’s forgiveness.

Turn From Own Ways

The people of this world outwardly follow many of these steps and yet fall short in the final, most important of all the steps — TURNING FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS. That is why it is so hard to distinguish between the believer and the non-believer. That is why the “distance between our professed faith and our daily performance is astronomical.” So many people of this day and age profess to be repentant — profess Christianity and yet still live in all the wretchedness of their sinful ways. So, finally, one of the most important of all the steps in coming to true repentance is to STOP SINNING! Millions CLAIM membership in a church. They loudly proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ. They testify for Christ, BUT THE FRUIT IS NOT THERE.

All too often our repentance is the worldly repentance spoken of in II Corinthians 7:10. What we really need to come to see and understand is the kind of repentance God speaks of. “Therefore also now, saith the Eternal, Turn ye even to me WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and REND YOUR HEART, and not your garments, and turn to the Eternal your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil”. (Joel 2:12-13).

No, God doesn’t want the worldly kind of repentance which is manifested by a trip down the sawdust trail. No, He doesn’t just want your name on the membership rolls of some church. What God wants and what you should come to deeply desire is to SINCERELY acknowledge your sins and ask forgiveness. God wants you to say, “I’M SORRY” — and mean it! He wants you to repent of breaking and to begin obeying His LAW. (Armstrong HW. Just What Do You Mean — Repentance?)

Notice, he taught that sins are to be acknowledged and behavior changed. More on this subject is also covered in the article When You Sin: Do You Really Repent?

All Sins that Are Properly Repented of Will Be Forgiven

While some Catholics believe that sins cannot be forgiven without the “sacrament of confession,” this is not the case. And, as the Catechism admits (#1447) the current “sacrament of confession” was not an original apostolic practice.

While some people erroneously believe that God could not forgive them and that they have possibly committed the “unpardonable sin,” those who feel that way pretty much can be assured that they have not committed it–recall that scripture teaches:

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. (1 John 1:9, DRB)

For more details about the “unpardonable sin,” please see the article What is the Unpardonable Sin?

The Bible, like the Continuing Church of God, says to confess sins to one another but mainly to Jesus Christ. Scripture does not say to do so to a priest, nor does the Bible ever authorize penance for sin. For more details, check out the new article History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests? A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid 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 Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
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.
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?
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
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 Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

The Didache and the Sabbath

Friday, July 7th, 2017


Old manuscript mentioning the Didache

COGwriter

Did early Christians keep Saturday or Sunday?

While there are various opinions about this, some of those opinions are not based upon biblical or historical fact.

The Bible Sabbath Association, which is not a Church of God group (though it has members that are in the COGs, as well as members who are not), published a version of the following in an edition (March-April 2016) of its The Sabbath Sentinel magazine:

The Didache and the Sabbath

This is the first part of a multi-part series explaining why certain early documents that are claimed against the seventh-day Sabbath are misunderstood and not actually against it.

Many on the internet and elsewhere, have pointed to some basically 19th century translations of certain ancient documents in an attempt to support their contention that Sunday was observed early on by the original Christians. But do they?

The Didache, also known as the Teaching of the Twelve, is an ancient letter that may have been written near the time of the Apostle John’s death. Many consider it to contain the earliest indirect reference to Sunday worship by Christians.

The late French Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie Danielou is amongst those who have claimed that it supports Sunday observance by early Christians [1].

But, does this document support the observance of Sunday?

To determine that, we will include some of the original Greek to demonstrate what the early writings actually teach.

Early Writings

Before getting to those the Didache, there are two other writings that perhaps should be mentioned first.

The first is the alleged Epistle of Barnabas. This anonymous document is sometimes cited as proof for Sunday worship, but scholars do not believe that Barnabas wrote it [2]. It is not a truly “Christian” writing. It essentially claims God wanted the ‘eighth day’ instead of the seventh-day Sabbath in the Book of Isaiah (even though terms for eight or eighth are never mentioned in Isaiah). Like some other heretical writings, it relies heavily on allegory to interpret the Bible.

There is also a quote allegedly from Ignatius’ Letter to the Trallians. However this “quote” is from verse 9 in the ‘longer version’ of that letter, which scholars discount as not authentic–it was lengthened much later by someone else—the shorter version, whose authenticity is widely accepted, says nothing about Sunday or “the Lord’s Day” [3].

The Didache

The Didache has been cited as the earliest non-scriptural “proof” of Sunday worship by those who profess Christ [4], although it does not ever use the word Sunday nor the expression ‘first day of the week.’

However, verse 14.1 is often cited as proof of Sunday observance by promoters of Sunday observance. The Greek expression in verse 14.1 in the Didache, is:

Κατὰ κυριακὴν δε κυριου [5].

The Greek word κυριακὴν above is transliterated as kuriaki/kyriake.

Here is something from a Catholic priest and scholar on the meaning of it:

… the Greek kyriake, meaning “belonging to the Lord (kyrios),” from which the English word “church” is derived. [6]

Basically kuriaki means the Lord’s way. I believe I have translated verse 14.1 in the Didache, properly below (with two options):

According to the Lord’s way, even the Lord’s. or

According to the Lordly {way}, even the Lord’s.

However, it has normally been incorrectly translated by many Protestant scholars. Here are two examples:

“On the Lord’s day of the Lord,” by Kirsopp Lake [7].

“But every Lord’s day,” by Hall and Napier [8].

There are at least two reasons that the above by Lake, as well as Hall & Napier, can be shown to be mistranslated. The first is that the translators should have realized that the Greek term for “day” (ἡμέρᾳ) is missing in verse 14.1 [9] and is not required by the context. The second is how each of them began the translation of this particular verse. The beginning in both translations is in error and is inconsistent with the translators other translations in this letter.

The Greek word translated in verse 14.1 as “On the” by Kirsopp Lake and “But every” by Hall and Napier (Κατὰ) truly does mean “According to” as I have translated it. Κατὰ should not be translated as “On the” or “But every.”

The Greek word Κατὰ is translated as “according to” by Kirsopp Lake five times (1.5, 11.3, 12.4, 13.5, and 13.7 [10]) and “with respect” one time (4.10) in the same document. The other times Lake used the term “on” (verses 1.4, 7.3, 8.1a, 8.1b, 11.12, 16.8 [11]), it was NOT a translation from the Greek term Κατὰ.

Also the one time the Didache uses “on” with a day (which is in the translations of both Lake and Hall/Napier), it does not use Κατὰ, but it does include the Greek term for day (verse 8.1b) [12].

It may be of interest to note that in the KJV New Testament, Κατὰ is translated as “according to” approximately 110 times, and the only time (Acts 8:36) it is inaccurately translated as “on” it is not translated as “on” in the NKJV or NIV.

Hall and Napier translated Κατὰ as “according to” the six other times it is translated that SAME letter (see verses 1.5, 4.10, 11.3, 12.4, 13.5, and 13.7 [13]) and never translated it as “But every.” The one other time Hall and Napier used the term “But every” (verse 13.1) while translating the Didache it is not translated from the term Κατὰ [14]. Also, it may be of interest to note that the KJV never translated Κατὰ as “but every.”

Hence it appears that several translators intentionally exercised bias when translating verse 14.1.

The context of this portion of the Didache suggests that it may be referring to the Christian Passover (compare with 1 Corinthians 22:23-29) or some other gathering (compare with Acts 2:42), but only a forced and inaccurate translation would suggest Sunday (which is what many Sunday advocates suggest). The belief that this refers to Passover is centuries old. F. Coneybeare reported it was a belief of the Paulini c. 7th century:

But the Paulini also keep the feast of the Pascha on the same day (as the Jews), whatever be the day of the full moon, they call it Kuriaki, as the Jews call it Sabbath, even though it be not a Sabbath. [15]

Since the Protestant translating scholars of the Didache did not observe an annual Christian Passover and tended to be Sunday observers, this may explain why they did not translate it literally. Instead they used terms that have, sadly, misled multitudes.

Irrespective of why, the reality is that the Didache did not do away with the seventh-day Sabbath and replace it with Sunday.

References

[1] Danielou, Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, p. 343
[2]Holmes M. The Apostolic Fathers–Greek Text and English Translations, 3rd printing 2004. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI) p. 271

[3] Ignatius. Letter to the Trallians. Verse 9. In: Holmes M. pp. 164-165

[4] Slater T. Sunday. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

[5] The Didache. Verse 14.1. In: Holmes, pp. 250-269

[6] Pixner B. Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion. Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1990: 16-35,60

[7] The Didache. In Apostolic Fathers. Kirsopp Lake, 1912 (Loeb Classical Library) © 2001 Peter Kirby

[8] The Didache. Translated by Isaac Hall and John Napier. Revised by K. Knight. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight. Note: The Greek is from Holmes, above.

[9] The Didache. Verse 14.1. In: Holmes, p. 266

[10] The Didache, Verse 14.1. Lake.

[11] Ibid

[12] The Didache. Verse 8.1. In: Holmes, p. 258

[13] The Didache. Hall Napier.

[14] Ibid
[15] Conybeare F.C. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, p. clii

Bob Thiel, Ph.D.

Dr. Thiel has been interested in the Church of God for over 40 years. He was baptized by a Worldwide Church of God minister in 1977. He writes extensively. He is currently the Overseeing Pastor of the Continuing Church of God, one of the top ten groups (in terms of membership) whose leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God. Hundreds of thousands know him as “COGwriter” as he writes over 1000 news posts and articles per year at www.cogwriter.com.

This is the first article I have had published in The Sabbath Sentinel.

The published article is basically an extract from my article Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath. Because of the restrictions in article length for The Sabbath Sentinel, I submitted just a few pages which they published. However, they asked for more, so the next issue should also have a short article from me, essentially continuing where the March-April article left off.

It is my hope and prayer that those who read the submitted articles will see that early church history supports Saturday, and not Sunday, as the Christian day of rest. This article should be able to reach people we have not been able to reach in other ways. It is also my hope and prayer that those who read the articles will see that we in the Continuing Church of God have a true and proper grasp of early church history.

The series of articles expected to be published in The Sabbath Sentinel should also help non-Sabbath keepers realize that the historical evidence points to early, faithful, Christians resting on Saturday and not Sunday.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
How to Observe the Sabbath How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord?
Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day? A related sermon is also available: Sunday: First and Eighth Day?
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
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 Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?
Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath
Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal? Are mistranslations of these early writings relied on for false doctrinal positions?

The Seven Churches of Revelation 1-3

Friday, June 30th, 2017


COGwriter at site of “Church of the Apocalypse/Revelation” on Patmos in 2008

COGwriter

Seven churches are mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation. Then more details about each are in the second and third chapters of Revelation. The information about the churches tells us a lot about the Christian church age.

Tracing the history of the Christian church through the churches of Revelation 2 & 3 gives strong indications of who the descendants of the true church are today. This tracing provides information that demonstrates that the true Church of God (COG) is neither Protestant nor Eastern Orthodox nor Roman Catholic, but is truly the church that has continued with the same beliefs as the original apostles.

The Continuing Church of God and certain others claiming to be in the Church of God trace their history from the Book of Acts and through the churches eras of Revelation 2 & 3.

Yet, the prevailing attitude among many in the sabbatarian Churches of God (COGs) seems to be that this is not a particularly important issue, and some who used to teach it, teach against it. Is this correct or do churches of Revelation 2 & 3 matter?

Now everyone truly part of the COG would agree that the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 must to some degree matter (as do serious professing Christian people outside the COGs). But while many will point out that the term “church era” is not mentioned in the Bible, they often forget to mention that the Church will have factions (1 Corinthians 11:19), hence it will not entirely be uniform. Many now seem to teach that the messages to the seven churches were only for the time that John penned the Book of Revelation. And even more appear to act that the messages to the Churches in Revelation does not matter much.

Many who were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) are puzzled as to why there are so many groups that split off from WCG, yet if they understood the messages to the “Church in Philadelphia” (Revelation 3:7) and the “Church of the Laodiceans” (Revelation 3:13), they would better understand–and hopefully make the appropriate changes with their life and their fellowship. Those who accept the idea of ‘church eras’ have always taught that in the end (which would now be the 21st century), that the Laodiceans would vastly outnumber the remaining Philadelphians. That is part of why there are so many claimed COG groups today.

Here is something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught about the churches of Revelation:

Now, here we find, while it’s pictured as seven churches, it’s really seven stages of the one True Church.., in seven successive times. Also, you’ll find every one of the seven conditions in the church at all times but, in the early years, the Ephesus condition dominated and the tail end of it the Laodicean condition is to dominate on the earth and there you are.(Armstrong HW. History of the True Church – Part 4. Radio broadcast, transcript)

And Laodicea does dominate numerically today.

As far as the Philadelphians and the fate of the Laodiceans goes, the late evangelist Leroy Neff wrote this when he was part of the old Radio Church of God:

The Church of Philadelphia Compared with Laodicea

Let’s compare this parable and the Church of Laodicea with the Church of Philadelphia. We have proved through history and through God’s Word that this work, the Radio Church of God, is the “Philadelphia Era” of the Church.

Notice now the differences. Revelation 3:7-13: “And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that OPENETH, and no man SHUTTETH; and SHUTTETH and no man openeth.” The great door that God has opened to this work is the facility to go into all the world and preach the gospel; the door of radio, the door of the printing press, plus many other such doors. God has set before us an open door and no MAN can shut it. God can shut it, and He will when the work is finished and the Philadelphia Church goes to a place of safety.

“I know thy works: Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (verse 8). Notice that this Church has works. It has works of ZEAL and of REPENTANCE. This Church has only a little strength.

But, by contrast, the Church of Laodicea believes that IT is increased with goods and has a great deal of strength. Philadelphia has little strength to do this great work that God has given it to do. God has opened the door, and yet look how insignificant, how weak, how little strength we as a Church have to do that work. How much we lack in every way, and yet God has opened the door and has given us certain vital, supernatural, spiritual gifts. Very often we lack enough money to pay the radio bills and other expenses. WE ARE FEW IN NUMBER, while many other eras of the Church of God numbered in the hundreds of thousands. We indeed have little strength. And yet, look at the great power that God has placed before us.

Let’s bring it down to the individual level even though it is referring primarily to the Church as a whole. Most of us as individuals realize how little strength we really have, how we lack in some of the spiritual gifts. God has given the Church a good measure of wisdom and of knowledge and faith. He has given us many other gifts but we still lack in many things, but we also realize it. Our Church has not denied the name of God.

THIS Church is going to be protected from the hour of temptation, or of trial and tribulation which will come upon all the world (Rev. 3:16). But the Church of Laodicea must go through severe tribulation…

The Church of Laodicea is to be lukewarm, lacking in zeal and repentance.The Laodicean Church is not going to he worthy to escape to a place of safety. When it is too late, they will find that the Church of Philadelphia has gone to safety. Only two choices remain for each person left. They will be tried by the fire of men, and may lose their lives in severe tortures; or if they recant, they will lose their lives in the final gehenna fire. In either case, they will be tried in the fire. If they are tried by the fire of men and still overcome, they will be given eternal life. If they fail this, the final GEHENNA FIRE with everlasting destruction will be their doom. Judging from the parable of the ten virgins, if you are found in the Church of Laodicea, YOU PROBABLY DON’T KNOW IT. You may think you are in the Church that will go to safety. When you find out it will be too late.(Neff L. What Is the “LAODICEAN CHURCH”? Good News August 1959 Vol. VIII, Number 8.)

Many do not truly believe that today. As a result, the non-Philadelphian groups have improperly changed doctrines, so much so in the prophetic region, that most will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin, until it is too late (for a brief prophetic listing of such errors, see Is there a need for a prophet now?).

Now, one of the many unique aspects of the Book of Revelation is that it is the only book of the Bible that with this type of blessing, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (1:3). Therefore it is very important to read and try to keep what is written in it.

Yet, most once part of the COG, despite keeping the commandments and having the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17), will not truly do so (Revelation 3:14-22). What about you?

For more information, please check out the following:

The Seven Church Eras of Revelation A summary of the history of the Christian church’s history is included in chapters 2 & 3 of the Book of Revelation. Do you know what happened to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia? What are some signs of Laodicea? Who is keeping the word of God and who is holding to traditions of men above the Bible? This is a video.
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.
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 Acts 2 in the first century to the 21st century. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it? Here is a related article in the Spanish language: Unidad: ¿Cuál Iglesia de Dios para usted?
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? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “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!
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.
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.
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that 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? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
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?

Greco-Romans and Peter and Paul

Thursday, June 29th, 2017


Improperly Claimed Tomb of Peter

COGwriter

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

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 about it

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. He also made comments about it yesterday (see Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, Cardinal Koch, and the ‘Great and Holy Council’).

Interestingly, according to 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 nor Eastern Orthodox Catholics, nor 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.
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
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? 2015, 2016, or 2017? 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 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
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.

Irenaeus: Major saint or major heretic?

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017


An engraving allegedly of Irenaeus, in Gaul (now Lyons, France)

COGwriter

Today is considered to be the feast/saint’s day for Irenaeus of Lyon. His writings are some of the earliest available on certain heresies and he claimed to have met the faithful Polycarp of Smyrna.

A reader sent me the following:

Celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church on June 28, and by Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine tradition on August 23, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons was a second-century bishop and writer in present-day France.

He is best known for defending Christian orthodoxy, especially the reality of Christ’s human incarnation, against the set of heresies known as Gnosticism.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke admiringly of St. Irenaeus in a 2007 general audience, recalling how this early Church Father “refuted the Gnostic dualism and pessimism which debased corporeal realities. He decisively claimed the original holiness of matter, of the body, of the flesh no less than of the spirit.” http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/st-irenaeus-stand-for-orthodoxy-honored-june-28/

Did Irenaeus properly defend Christian orthodoxy?

For years, I have considered Irenaeus to be a major heretic.

Notice also something from the late evangelist, John Ogwyn wrote:

Justin Martyr (ca. 95–167AD) and Irenaeus (ca. 130–202AD), while maintaining some truths they had learned under Polycarp, also sought to accommodate themselves to the new direction of Roman theology in the name of “church unity”…Justin also molded the thinking of Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons…He believed that the God of Plato was also the God of the Bible (Ogwyn J. God’s Church Through the Ages. 2003).

While I have not seen any major other treatise explaining why Irenaeus was a major heretic (actually, outside of Church of God circles, I have seen little that specifically considers him to have been a heretic, though groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses probably do), it appears to me that he may have been the most dangerous heretic.

Why?

Because, Irenaeus’ heresies were not obvious to those outside the true Church of God. His heresies and false statements were less numerous and less obvious than Justin’s, thus have been missed by nearly all scholars (though some have noticed one or two errors he made).

What were His Most Important Heresies?

Irenaeus heard Polycarp, yet made deals with Rome that disagreed with Polycarp’s teachings. Irenaeus knew that Justin did not agree with Polycarp, yet he approved of Justin–and sadly seemed to prefer to be influenced more by him that by Polycarp.

Irenaeus knew that Polycarp condemned heretics such as Marcion and Valentinus, but Irenaeus failed to mention that they were still allowed to be part of the Roman Catholic Church until at two decades later. Irenaeus supported the Roman Church even though Irenaeus knew they tolerated heretics that had earlier been condemned by Polycarp (and eventually by Irenaeus himself).

Notice this from Tertullian:

Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago,—in the reign of Antoninus for the most part,—and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled (Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 30. Translated by Peter Holmes. Electronic Version Copyright © 2006 by Kevin Knight. All rights reserved).

Even though Marcion and Valentinus were condemned by Polycarp as a heretic about two decades before Eleutherius became bishop, apparently they were not put out of the Roman Catholic Church then. (Marcion gave a large financial contribution that kept him in good graces for a while–though the Roman Church allegedly returned that contribution after some time.)

And why is all of this about Polycarp and Irenaeus so important?

Because Irenaeus knew that Polycarp had the original faith that the apostles had, but did not stand up for it. Apparently, he did not consider that faith to be important enough to fully follow it personally–he compromised.

Notice what Irenaeus records about Polycarp:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

So we have from this early Roman Catholic source that Polycarp and his successors in Asia Minor (at least until the time that Irenaeus wrote this, around 180 A.D.) practiced the true teachings that they learned from the apostles.

Irenaeus also wrote:

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).

What Irenaeus failed to mention is that Marcion was possibly the first heretic to do away with the seventh-day Sabbath. And while Justin did not believe in keeping the Sabbath either, Justin did attend church services on Sunday. Irenaeus apparently felt that neither Saturday nor Sunday was of particular importance, as long as one worshipped God regularly–and this is a heresy that many still hold to today (including even the Jehovah’s witnesses).

Irenaeus also had some teachings that Polycarp held. For example, like Polycarp, Irenaeus clearly did not teach the trinity–he held a binitarian view, hence he did not follow that error of Montanus or Valentinus:

…there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book IV, Preface, 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).

Notice that Irenaeus states that only the Father, the Son, and those who possess the adoption (Christians) are God. This is a binitarian, not a trinitarian view.

So why would binitarians consider Irenaeus a dangerous heretic?

Because he sided with Roman unity above the teachings that he must have known that Polycarp held. And he also introduced prophetic and other misunderstandings that many still accept today.

The Real “Passover Plot”

Irenaeus clearly knew that Polycarp kept Passover yet he did not condemn Rome for changing it. Notice what he wrote:

And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect (Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc).

Eusebius records that Polycrates explained how the Apostles Philip and John, as well as faithful church leaders and martyrs such as Polycarp and Melito, kept the Passover on the 14th of Nisan in accordance with the gospel and would not deviate from it.

This displeased the Roman Bishop Victor. Notice what Eusebius also recorded:

But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him: “We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away…”

He then writes of all the bishops who were present with him and thought as he did. His words are as follows: “I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus.” Thereupon Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops. And they besought him to consider the things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor. Among them was Irenaeus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom and after many other words he proceeds as follows:

“For the controversy is not only concerning the day, but also concerning the very manner of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more; some, moreover, count their day as consisting of forty hours day and night. And this variety in its observance has not originated in our time; but long before in that of our ancestors. It is likely that they did not hold to strict accuracy, and thus formed a custom for their posterity according to their own simplicity and peculiar mode. Yet all of these lived none the less in peace, and we also live in peace with one another; and the disagreement in regard to the fast confirms the agreement in the faith.”

He adds to this the following account, which I may properly insert:

“Among these were the presbyters before Soter, who presided over the church which thou now rulest. We mean Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Xystus. They neither observed it themselves, nor did they permit those after them to do so. And yet though not observing it, they were none the less at peace with those who came to them from the parishes in which it was observed; although this observance was more opposed to those who did not observe it. But none were ever cast out on account of this form; but the presbyters before thee who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it. And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John the disciple of our Lord…” (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24).

Notice that what Irenaeus did was to persuade the Roman Bishop Victor to not be as angry against those who in Asia Minor did what the Bible and the Apostles Philip and John stated. And also notice that Irenaeus himself did not stand up for the biblical Passover even though he knew that Polycarp observed it.

So why was that so heretical?

First of all, because Irenaeus’ own practices were complicit with Rome’s–Irenaeus should have condemned Rome’s practices. And secondly, because Irenaeus knew that Sunday was not observed by Polycarp as Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John–hence should not have advocated it. Thirdly, Irenaeus also had to have known that Victor was not binitarian (he was Sabellian). And fourthly because he, unbiblically, is referring to Sunday as the Lord’s Day (an article of related interest may be Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord?). Because of Irenaeus most who profess Christ now accept Easter.

And why was that so dangerous? Besides the pagan connections, notice what Eusebius recorded:

Irenæus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day…Thus Irenaeus, who truly was well named, became a peacemaker in this matter (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24).

Instead of condemning Irenaeus for not standing up for the biblical Passover, he is praised by Roman supporters for persuading those in the second century to not be too harsh on those that kept the proper biblical teaching of the date of the Passover.

Notice that the Apostle John taught that those who seemed like Christians, but did not do what John did were following leaders John describes as antichrists,

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

The change of Passover may have been the first specific departure from the practices of John that we have a historical record of (involving John’s name) (see also Some Doctrines of Antichrist).

Roman supporters ultimately did eliminate the observance of the Passover on the 14th among those they had cordial contact with by the decree of the pagan Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. And later did try to kill those who refused to accept that decree (please see the article Europa, the Beast, and Revelation).

Apparently Irenaeus valued doctrinal compromise above biblical truth. Irenaeus, while knowing that Polycarp was faithful, only followed some of his faithful teachings (this reminds me of what Daniel told Belshazzar–Belshazzar knew what happened earlier, yet chose to ignore much of it and live the opposite–see Daniel 5:22-23).

These are reasons that most Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant scholars seem to have overlooked. Instead, they all tend to consider that Irenaeus was a great early apologist and/or saint.

Furthermore, notice that Pope Benedict XVI called him:

The true founder of Catholic theology, St. Irenaeus of Lyon (Pope Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. June 29, 2005, http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/647/Homily_on_Saints_Peter_and_Paul_Pope_Benedict_XVI.html 6/19/07).

Those in the Church of God do not consider that Irenaeus was the founder of true theology.

Irenaeus Quoted “The Shepherd of Hermas” the Same as He Did Scripture

In a writing called The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, Irenaeus wrote:

For it is necessary that, things that are made should have the beginning of their making from some great cause; and the beginning of all things is God. For He Himself was not made by any, and by Him all things were made. And therefore it is right first of all to believe that there is One God, the Father, who made and fashioned all things, and made what was not that it should be, and who, containing all things, alone is uncontained (Irenaeus, St., Bishop of Lyon. Translated from the Armenian by Armitage Robinson. The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. Wells, Somerset, Oct. 1879. As published in SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO, 1920).

The 69th footnote at that writing, which includes the original Greek states:

69 In IV, xxxiv. 2 he quotes, as “Scripture,” the Shepherd of Hermas, Mand.: Πρώτον πάντων πίστευσον ότι είς έστίν ό θεός, ό τά πάντα κτίσας καί καταρτίσας, καί ποιήσας έίκ τού μή όντος είς τό είναι τά πάντα, καί πάντα χωρών, μόνος δέάχώρητοςών. Cf. also I, xv. 1.

This is also the opinion of Roman Catholic scholars:

…”The Shepherd” (Poimen, Pastor), a work which had great authority in ancient times and was ranked with Holy Scripture. Eusebius tells us that it was publicly read in the churches, and that while some denied it to be canonical, others “considered it most necessary”. St. Athanasius speaks of it…St. Irenæus and Tertullian (in his Catholic days) cite the “Shepherd” as Scripture. Clement of Alexandria constantly quotes it with reverence, and so does Origen (Chapman. J. Transcribed by Don Ross. Hermas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

No one can read The Shepherd of Hermas and think that it is on par with scripture–it is simply too bizarre. Irenaeus, however, was apparently the first known leader to do so. Irenaeus may have deferred to it as many believe that it was written by the brother of the Roman “bishop” Pius. This was a dangerous compromise. And one of the most dangerous.

What Motivated Irenaeus?

While it is impossible to know for certain what Irenaeus thought, there are some clues in his writings.

Irenaeus’ writings against heretics shows that there were many heretics who held views of God that they could not have possibly gotten from the Bible–essentially the views of the followers or Simon Magus and others like Valentinus that were later termed “gnostics”. Apparently as far as Irenaeus was concerned, these were the important heresies.

And while Irenaeus commended Polycarp for blasting the heretic Valentinus (who originated the idea that God existed as three hypostases) and Marcion (who tried to do away with the Old Testament, the law, and the sabbath), he apparently did not think that changing the date of the Passover to Sunday (as some Roman bishops did) or the day of worship to Sunday (as Justin advocated) was heretical.

The question is: Was he right?

The answer is simply no.

The proof that Irenaeus gave (as mentioned earlier) was tradition, not scripture. However, based upon the following writing, it might appear that Irenaeus is providing scriptural justification for his position:

The apostles ordained, that “we should not judge any one in respect to meat or drink, or in regard to a feast day, or the new moons, or the sabbaths.” Whence then these contentions? whence these schisms? We keep the feast, but in the leaven of malice and wickedness, cutting in pieces the Church of God; and we preserve what belongs to its exterior, that we may cast away these better things, faith and love. We have heard from the prophetic words that these feasts and fasts are displeasing to the Lord. (Fragments of Irenaeus XXXVIII.)

However, he has misconstrued that scripture. He left off the end of the statement, Colossians 2:17. The verse he left out has been translated:

3739…. .2076…….. 4639… 3588…….. 3195…… 3588…1161 ..4983… 9999 3588…5547
Which are a ………shadow of things ….to come; the…… but…body….. is…….. of …..Christ

(Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright (c) 1994 by Biblesoft). Note: The term is does not exist in the original Greek (that is what 9999 represents–a translator added term).

Thus Colossians 2:16-17 literally states:

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ.

Since the church is “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27), this passage is stating to ignore outsiders (those that are not true Christians) as to how the feasts and the sabbaths should be kept, but that the church is the judge.

Notice that Irenaeus did not appeal to vs. 17 that the Roman Church had authority on this over those in Asia Minor–he probably did not do this because almost none outside of Victor thought that the Roman Church had that type of authority (Victor was the first to clearly attempt to actually project Roman Catholic authority to distant areas).

And this is why Irenaeus was possibly the most dangerous heretic. He decided to ignore what the Bible taught, decided that those not faithful to the original teachings were close enough and that both sides had valid views. Irenaeus, like nearly all theologians after him, concluded that certain traditions were of more value than what the Bible (or those faithful to the teachings of the apostles) taught.

The New Testament warned of the same type of problems in Jesus’ day:

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43, NKJV).

And the approval of men was apparently more important to Irenaeus than the truth of God.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Irenaeus: The Most Dangerous Heretic? Was Irenaeus a faithful peacemaker or was he possibly the most dangerous of the early heretics?
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? A YouTube video or related interesy may be: Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him.
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?]
Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings.
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?
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.
Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate? Justin is considered one of the first Christian theologians and scholars. But did he support a Gnostic version of Christianity? Do you know what he taught about souls going to heaven upon death? This article shows from his own writings, what Justin really taught.
Marcus and the Marcosians: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
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?

Do scholars realize that the early church was not trinitarian, but binitarian?

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

As regular readers of this page are aware, the early church was neither trinitarian nor unitarian. The early church was binitarian.

That is, early Christians considered that the Father and the Son were God and that the Holy Spirit was the power of God. And while some dispute this, historically it is a fact.

Do any scholars realize this?

While there are many articles at the COGwriter website which document the binitarian beliefs of 2nd century Christians, I thought that a few quotes from modern theologians may be eye-opening for those who have had little exposure to the binitarian truth of the Godhead.

Modern scholars, like Larry Hurtado, have realized the Christians who claimed to be Nazarene including most considered to be “proto-orthodox” held a binitarian view of the Godhead:

…”Nazarene” Christianity, had a view of Jesus fully compatible with the beliefs favored by the proto-orthodox (indeed, they could be considered part of the circles that made up proto-orthodox Christianity of the time). Pritz contended that this Nazarene Christianity was the dominant form of Christianity in the first and second centuries…the devotional stance toward Jesus that characterized most of the Jewish Christians of the first and second centuries seems to have been congruent with proto-orthodox devotion to Jesus…the proto-orthodox “binitarian” pattern of devotion…(Hurtado LW. Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 2003, pp. 560-561,618).

Furthermore, it perhaps should be mentioned that the sacra nomina (generally two-letter abbreviations, perhaps intended to identify the documents as “Christian”) found on early documents associated with Christianity is also believed to support the position that those that professed Christ in the second century were binitarian. Larry Hurtado also observed:

The Christian nomina sacra…differ in form from any Jewish scribal devices…Most significantly, the four earliest Christian nomina sacra are the two key words for God (Theos and Kyrios) and key designations for Jesus (Iēosus, Christos, and Kyrios).If therefore, as is usually believed, the nomina sacra practice represents an expression of piety and reverence, it is a striking departure from pre-Christian Jewish scribal practice to extend to these designations of Jesus the same scribal treatment given to key designations for God.That is, the four earliest Christian nomina sacra collectively manifest one noteworthy expression of what I have called the “binitarian shape” of earliest Christian piety and devotion (Hurtado LW.The Earliest Christian Artifacts.William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids (MI), 2006, pp. 105-106).

Dr. Harold Brown, a Protestant trinitarian scholar, has admitted:

The language of the New Testament permits the Holy Spirit to be understood as an impersonal force or influence more readily than it does the Son…those who saw the Holy Spirit as a Person, were often heretical, for example, the Montanists (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 140).

Harold Brown also has admitted:

It is impossible to document what we now call orthodoxy in the first two centuries of Christianity (ibid, p.5).

And that is true. And he was specifically referring to doctrines like the trinity and other teachings that are contrary to what the Continuing Church of God holds.

What about Catholic scholars? The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches this about the 4th century binitarians, which it calls the Semi-Arians:

Semi-Arians…A name frequently given to the conservative majority in the East in the fourth century…showing that the very name of father implies a son of like substance…rejected the Divinity of the Holy Ghost (Chapman, John. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. Semiarians and Semiarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus it is clear that many held the binitarian view at that time (including no doubt, many who were not true Christians).

What about Orthodox scholars? Notice this frank admission from a bishop of the Orthodox Church about the late acceptance of the trinity:

…the councils defined once and for all the Church’s teaching upon the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith — the Trinity and the Incarnation. All Christians agree in regarding these things as ‘mysteries’ which lie beyond human understanding and language…the first two, held in the fourth century…formulated the doctrine of the Trinity…The work of Nicea was taken up by the second Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 381. This council expanded and adapted the Nicene Creed, developing in particular that teaching upon the Holy Spirit, whom it affirmed to be God even as the Father and the Son are God…It was the supreme achievement of St. Athanasius of Alexandria to draw out the full implications of the key word in the Nicene Cred: homoousios, one in essence or substance, consubstantial. Complementary to his work was that of the three Cappadocian Fathers, Saints…(died 394). While Athanasius emphasized the unity of God — Father and Son are one in essence (ousia) – the Cappadocians stressed God’s threeness: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons (hypostasis) (Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp. 20-23).

So it took councils of men to change the predominant view that the Godhead was basically binitarian to trinitarian. Yet, as recorded in the New Testament, Jude wrote:

…contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered for the saints” (Jude 3).

The faith delivered once for all should not have been changed.

Such a doctrinal change to the trinity should never have been made and never has been adopted by the true Christian Church.

Regarding the New Testament, even a trinitarian scholar has admitted:

The binitarian formulas are found in Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:20, 1 Tim 1:2, 1 Pet. 1:21, and 2 John 1:13…No doctrine of the Trinity in the Nicene sense is present in the New Testament…There is no doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense in the Apostolic Fathers…(Rusch W.G. The Trinitarian Controversy. Fortress Press, Phil., 1980, pp. 2-3).

Since modern scholars know that the early church was binitarian and not trinitarian, have you been taught this before?

If not, perhaps you had better look into this further.

Some items of related interest may include:

Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
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? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?

Those who hold to the faith of Jesus will be persecuted

Sunday, June 18th, 2017


Artist depiction of Catholic saint Dominic presiding over burning two at the stake

COGwriter

Is persecution for Christians over?

Well, obviously not.

In addition to persecution for those who profess Christ in various Islamic lands, losing religious rights and freedoms in certain Western lands, and the promotion of immoral behavior by nations around the world, persecution will specifically be coming to true Christians.

Jesus foretold persecution:

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12, NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified).

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44).

23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:23).

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:35)

29… Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time–houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all men for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” (Mark 13:3-13).

12… they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake (Luke 21:12).

20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).

2… yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you (John 16:2-4).

Many are aware of some of the early persecutions, but few understand what teachings true Christians were persecuted for in the fourth century and beyond–some may seem shocking. At least two major persecutions are prophesied to come. Which doctrines are expected to be causes for the coming persecutions? Are the Greco-Roman churches planning on persecuting Sabbath-keepers, those who do not accept a non-biblical Mary, and those who do not wear crosses?

All the faithful will be subject to persecution and being betrayed by professing believers (Matthew 24:9-13, Mark 13:12-13; Luke 21:16-18; Daniel 11:32-35).

In the past (for details see Persecutions by Church and State), Christians in the Church of God were persecuted because they:

Almost all the above were beliefs of original first century Christians. Some of the others did not come on the scene until they were adopted by the Greco-Romans and then later denounced by the faithful.

In the future, according to Catholic teachings, they ALSO will be persecuted for:

Christians have been persecuted for holding doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God hold and are clearly expected to be persecuted in the future for holding Continuing Church of God doctrines.

The Book of Daniel shows a two-part persecution coming (I added the a and b below for emphasis):

25 a He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand b For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

First of all (a), he shall persecute certain of the saints, which is consistent with what Jesus said was coming:

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:9-14)

Much of the above will affect the Philadelphian Christians (cf. Revelation 12:13), but they will later be protected (Revelation 3:8-10) in the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time (Revelation 12:14-16; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra). Part of why they will be persecuted is for proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and probably also for identifying the coming King of the North, who will not wish to be identified that way. This will likely result in internet and other restrictions on getting the truth of God out to the world (cf. Amos 8:11-12).

Second of all (b), the remaining saints will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. This is the portion of the COG, the non-Philadelphians, who are NOT protested in the wilderness as Revelation 12:17 shows this separation:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

While many in the Church of God have experienced economic and social persecution in their walk with Christ, future severe persecution, beginning first with the Philadelphia remnant of Christians, is expected.

Persecution is a fact of history. It has happened before and we should be prepared for the fact that it will happen again. And during the time of the final persecutions, the Bible records:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

Thus, though the Philadelphian Christians will be subject to intense persecution first before this, even the Laodiceans (The Laodicean Church Era) and other Christians will receive some praise if they endure the persecutions that will then come during the time of “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10).

While many seem to not wish to pay attention to this subject, the reality is that persecution has existed throughout history against those with Church of God doctrines. Jesus predicted that as well as more persecution to come. Some may be shocked by certain doctrines that Christians have been persecuted for (and often by those who profess to be Christian).

Those in the true Church of God have always been on the side being persecuted and has never been on the side of the persecutors. And this will be true again in the future.

Some items of related interest may include:

Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some 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 Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? A video of related interest is titled: The Past and Future Inquisition.
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 who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
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 Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?
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.

Sermon: Ephesus Church Era

Saturday, June 17th, 2017


Amphitheater of Ancient Ephesus

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

Ephesus is the first of seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. It was considered the most prosperous city outside of ancient Rome. It was a city on the Aegean Sea. Where the Ephesians Gentiles? What beliefs did they hold. What was the period of time that the Ephesian church era dominated? What happened towards the end of its era? What did Marcus do in 135 A.D.? What did the Apostles Paul and John write related to Ephesus? What were the “two groups” on Ephesus? What are some of the lessons it has for us today? Was Ephesus considered to be an Apostolic See? What happened to Ephesus that fulfilled prophecy? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 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. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
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 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. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
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 Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube video sermonettes for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Jewish or Gentile Christianity: Which do Roman Catholic scholars teach was the original faith?

Friday, June 16th, 2017

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Was the Christian church originally Greco-Roman-Gentile or did it resemble Jewish-Christianity?

Was the early Christian church led by a pontiff from Rome?

If the Apostle Peter was the primary leader of the original Christian Church of God, then was his successor Linus or would it make more sense that it was the Apostle John?

Many would be surprised what Roman Catholic scholars admit and teach about early church history.

For example, did you know that it was the written position of late 20th century Cardinal Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou that church history has generally been mistaught and missed many aspects of what he called Jewish Christianity? He specifically wrote that this has led to a “false picture of Christian history” (Daniélou J, Cardinal. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminster Press, 1964, Philadelphia, p. 2).

And while there are issues with aspects of his research, he was correct that the vast majority have not been properly taught the truth of church history and overlooked Christianity that is more “Jewish” than that accepted by most of the mainstream churches. Sadly in the 21st century, many seem to prefer the false version of history than the real one.

Cardinal Daniélou’s view is also consistent with the following writing from the Catholic ‘father of church history’ Eusebius:

2. But I have learned this much from writings, that until the siege of the Jews, which took place under Adrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession there, all of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate. For their whole church consisted then of believing Hebrews who continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles.

3. But since the bishops of the circumcision ceased at this time, it is proper to give here a list of their names from the beginning. The first, then, was James, the so-called brother of the Lord; the second, Symeon; the third, Justus; the fourth, Zacchæus; the fifth, Tobias; the sixth, Benjamin; the seventh, John; the eighth, Matthias; the ninth, Philip; the tenth, Seneca; the eleventh, Justus; the twelfth, Levi; the thirteenth, Ephres; the fourteenth, Joseph; and finally, the fifteenth, Judas.

4. These are the bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the time referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision. (Eusebius. Church History, Book IV, Chapter 5. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that these early bishops “received the knowledge of Christ in purity,” hence their teachings should have continued. However, this did not last as this church was eliminated after a Latin took it over.

What about apostolic succession in Rome?

The Church of Rome teaches:

…that Peter founded the Church of Antioch, indicates the fact that he laboured a long period there, and also perhaps that he dwelt there towards the end of his life…It is also probable that Peter pursued his Apostolic labours in various districts of Asia Minor for it can scarcely be supposed that the entire period between his liberation from prison and the Council of the Apostles was spent uninterruptedly in one city, whether Antioch, Rome, or elsewhere… Peter returned occasionally to the original Christian Church of Jerusalem…The date of Peter’s death is thus not yet decided; the period between July, 64 (outbreak of the Neronian persecution), and the beginning of 68 (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It is not biblically clear that Peter founded the church in Antioch (Stephen or Barnabas seems more likely, see Acts 11:19-22), but he probably spent a lot of time there Antioch (Galatians 2:11). However, it is clear even from Catholic history that Peter spent little time in Rome and thus did not fix his residence there. Even though certain scholars like J.P. Kirsch believe that Peter went to Rome, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, even he admits this about Peter,

we possess no precise information regarding the details of his Roman sojourn (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

No precise information means that the Roman Church has essentially relied on accounts, nearly all of which were written over 100 years after Peter’s death, that say that he was in Rome and/or died in Rome. This is especially true because the biblical accounts never specify Rome and those that do specify locations of Peter point to Asia Minor and Jerusalem.

Hippolytus, considered by Roman Catholic scholars, as one of their greatest early theologians wrote:

Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia (Hippolytus. On the Twelve Apostles Where Each of Them Preached, and Where He Met His End. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus even these Roman accounts suggest that Peter could not have been in Rome very long (and biblical evidence, Acts 3:1-11; 4:13; 8:14; Galatians 2:9, suggests he was often with the Apostle John). A careful reading of 2 Peter 1:14-18 and Matthew 17:1-5 indicates that Peter was with James or John right before he died. Yet, since James died in Judea (Acts 12:1) by 39 A.D. and there is no evidence that John was in Rome prior to 90 A.D., this would suggest that Peter was NOT in Rome when he wrote that “the laying away of my tabernacle is at hand” (2 Peter 1:14, RNT)–for more information on Peter’s death and burial, including information from Catholic scholars (such as the Catholic scholar Antonio Ferrua who is credited for finding Peter’s body, but later stated that he did not believe that he found Peter), see the article The Apostle Peter.

Thus the statement “Early Christian history tells us that before his death, he fixed his residence at Rome” seems biblically and historically false.

Interestingly, when personally addressing the leadership for the Christians who lived in Rome, Paul never mentioned Peter or any who were later claimed to be Roman bishops, even though he listed at least 27 others (see Romans 16).

The Catholic Encyclopedia article about the Epistle to the Romans mentions this about Paul not mentioning Peter:

The complete silence as to St. Peter is most easily explained by supposing that he was then absent from Rome. Paul may well have been aware of this fact, for the community was not entirely foreign to him. An epistle like the present would hardly have been sent while the Prince of the Apostles was in Rome and the reference to the ruler (xii, eight) would then be difficult to explain. Paul probably supposes that during the months between the composition and the arrival of the Epistle, the community would be more or less thrown on its own resources. (Merk A. Transcribed by W.G. Kofron. Epistle to the Romans. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Another explanation is that Peter simply was not in Rome long enough for Paul or any early writer to consider that Peter was actually the bishop of Rome.

Note that it takes MONTHS from when Paul could have written the epistle and for it to get to Rome. How could Paul have possibly assumed that that Peter was not in Rome then and would not be in it for months? Only because he knew Peter was not some type of bishop of Rome! Because if Peter was the bishop of Rome, Paul would have most likely at least referred to him or his absence in this epistle, as at some time he would have expected Peter to read it in Rome. But this never took place. Since it is believed that “Romans was likely written in the fall of A.D. 57” (The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 1876), it is most likely that Peter had not even been to Rome (as until at least 54 A.D. he had meetings in Jerusalem–see below).

Eamon Duffy, a Catholic scholar and a member of the Pontifical Historical Commission, observed:

Paul’s epistle to the Romans was written before either he or Peter ever set foot in Rome, to a Christian community already in existence (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press, New Haven (CT), 2002, p.8).

Some modern Catholic scholars have admitted that Peter and the other Apostles were not ‘bishops,’ and could not have taken up residence in any city:

A “bishop” is a residential pastor who presides in a stable manner over the church in a city and its environs. The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it likely at all, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 14).

The cited Catholic quotes show that the Church of Rome acknowledges that Peter labored long in Asia Minor (hence, he could not truly have been the bishop of Rome then as they are quite far apart–it normally took MONTHS to travel from Rome to Asia Minor in those days, plus there were no telephones or fast ways to communicate), tended to return to Jerusalem (which is near Asia Minor), spent little time in Rome, could not have been the bishop of any city, and that there are no precise details of anything that Peter did in Rome. While it is possible that Peter visited and even died in Rome (and this has been contested by some scholars), that of itself would not seem to be a reason for the city of Rome to have to be the place of the headquarters of the true church.

There also is no known early document that states that upon his death Peter bequeathed the cathedra to anyone (recall also that Jesus Himself died in Jerusalem, and the importance of His death to the Church is more significant than that of Peter). When Jesus discussed the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16) with Peter, this was in the Jerusalem area. When the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2, this was in Jerusalem. Later, Peter and the other apostles spent a great deal of time in Asia Minor.

Furthermore, Rome was a Gentile area, not full of circumcised Israelites.

Who does the Bible teach had that responsibility? Look at what Paul wrote:

7. But contrariwise when they had seen that to me was committed the Gospel of the
prepuce, as to Peter of the circumcision 8. (for he that wrought in Peter to the Apostleship of the circumcision, wrought in me also among the Gentiles) (Galatians 2:7-8).

Thus it does not appear that Peter was considered to be the bishop of Rome during Paul’s lifetime (and they both died about the same time) as Rome was clearly a Gentile area. If Peter, and he alone, had the keys, the fact that, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia “Peter pursued his Apostolic labours in various districts of Asia Minor” shows that PETER COULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE BISHOP OF ROME FOR MUCH OF THE TIME THAT HE “HAD THE KEYS”! IT IS AN ABSOLUTE FACT THAT PETER WAS NOT THE BISHOP OF ROME BEGINNING WITH THE START OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH that began on the Pentecost after Jesus was resurrected (Acts 1-2). NOR COULD PETER HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN BISHOP OF ROME FOR MUCH OF THE THIRTY-PLUS YEARS AFTER THAT TIME AS HE TRAVELED WITHIN ASIA MINOR AND TO JERUSALEM REPEATEDLY.

Rome is simply not close enough to Asia Minor or Jerusalem for Peter to have been based out of Rome. Thus Antioch or other regions within Asia Minor would seem to have been the main areas that Peter possibly could have had an episcopate. Actually, the book of Galatians specifically mentions that Paul visited Peter on two occasions, and both of those were in Jerusalem and not Rome. Why? Because Rome was still not the headquarters of the Church at a very late time in Peter’s life. This is clearly documented from the Bible:

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days (Galatians1:15-18).

21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ (Galatians 1:21-22).

1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me…
9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:1,9).

What does all that mean? According to The Catholic Encyclopedia,

St. Paul’s conversion was not prior to 34, nor his escape from Damascus and his first visit to Jerusalem, to 37 (St. Paul. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911).

Thus the earliest possible date for Paul to have made his second recorded visit to Jerusalem with Peter was 54 A.D. (3 years plus 17 plus 34 A.D., and it may have been later, like 57 A.D.). And from there, Peter told Paul to go to the Gentiles again. Hence Peter could not have become the Apostle to the Gentiles in Rome until much later (if at all)! Interestingly, The Catholic Encyclopedia admits,

It is comparatively seldom that the Fathers, when speaking of the power of the keys, make any reference to the supremacy of St. Peter (Joyce G.H. Transcribed by Robert B. Olson. Power of the Keys. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Also notice the following from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar:

The conferral of the power of the keys of the kingdom surely suggests an imposing measure of authority, given the symbolism of the keys, but there is no explicit indication that the authority conferred was meant to be exercised over others, much less that it be absolutely monarchical in kind…In Acts, in fact, Peter is shown consulting with other apostles and even being sent by them (8:14). He and John are portrayed as acting as a team (3:1-11; 4:1-22; 8:14). And Paul confronts Peter for his inconsistency and hypocrisy…Paul “opposed him to his face because he was clearly wrong” (Galatians 2:11; see also 12-14) (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., pp. 30-31).

Notice that even traditions of early Catholic writers did not teach that Peter was given sole authority as the devout Catholic historian von Dollinger noticed:

Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter’s successors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these three texts, yet not one of them who commentaries we possess–Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas–has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter!

Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church as the office given to Peter to be transmitted to his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter’s confession of faith in Christ; often both together (Cited in Hunt D. A Women Rides the Beast. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR) p. 146).

It was not until quite late that the Roman Catholic Church decided that Peter was the first bishop of Rome:

(254-57)…Stephen I seems to have been the first pope to have appealed to the classic “you are Peter’ text in Matthew’s Gospel (16:18) as the basis for Roman primacy…Peter was not regarded as the first Bishop of Rome until the late second or early third century (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., pp. 27,28).

Hence, it may be that the idea that Peter was the only apostle that church leadership could be traced through and that it must be Rome does not appear to have much early support.

It needs to be understood that as far back as the second century, both Irenaeus and Tertullian taught that some version of “apostolic succession” occurred in areas other than Rome. Furthermore, even into the 21st century, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the legitimacy of churches of the Eastern Orthodox based in cities such as Constantinople , Jerusalem, and Alexandria who were founded by someone other than the Apostle Peter (which tradition states were founded by the Apostles Andrew, James, and the gospel-writer Mark, respectively). More information can be found in the article Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom?

It is important to note that several Catholic scholars recognize that there is no proof that anyone was actually considered to be a bishop in Rome until sometime in the second century. One such Catholic scholar, A. Van Hove, wrote this about early bishops:

  • This local superior authority, which was of Apostolic origin, was conferred by the Apostles upon a monarchic bishop, such as is understood by the term today. This is proved first by the example of Jerusalem, where James, who was not one of the Twelve Apostles, held the first place, and afterwards by those communities in Asia Minor of which Ignatius speaks, and where, at the beginning of the second century the monarchical episcopate existed, for Ignatius does not write as though the institution were a new one.
  • In other communities, it is true, no mention is made of a monarchic episcopate until the middle of the second century (Van Hove A. Transcribed by Matthew Dean. Bishop. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, although there were bishops in Jerusalem and Asia Minor in the first and second centuries, there is no mention of a monarchic episcopate (a bishopric) in other places, like Rome, until the middle of the second century.

Furthermore, even some more recent Catholic scholars understand that the New Testament provides no support for the idea that one of the apostles appointed someone to be “bishop of Rome”.

The consensus of scholars is that there was NOT an apostolic succession of bishops starting from Peter in Rome. And notice that according to Roman Catholic scholars, the first clear bishop of Rome was not until the middle or latter half of the second century:

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. Not until the pontificate of St. Pius I in the middle of the second century (ca. 142-ca. 155) did the Roman Church have a monoepiscopal structure of government (one bishop as pastoral leader of a diocese). Those who Catholic tradition lists as Peter’s immediate successors (Linus, Anacletus, Clement, et al.) did not function as the one bishop of Rome (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.25).

To begin with, indeed, there was no ‘pope’, no bishop as such, for the church in Rome was slow to develop the office of chief presbyter or bishop…Clement made no claim to write as bishop…There is no sure way to settle on a date by which the office of ruling bishop had emerged in Rome…but the process was certainly complete by the time of Anicetus in the mid-150s (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes, 2nd ed. Yale University Press, London, 2001, pp. 9, 10,13).

…we have good reason to conclude that by the time of Anicetus (155-66), the church of Rome was being led by a bishop whose role resembled Ignatius or Polycarp (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 143).

We must conclude that the New Testament provides no basis for the notion that before the apostles died, they ordained one man for each of the churches they founded…”Was there a Bishop of Rome in the First Century?”…the available evidence indicates that the church in Rome was led by a college of presbyters, rather than by a single bishop, for at least several decades of the second century (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 80,221-222).

As I see the problem and its possible solution, it is not a question of apostolic succession in the sense of an historical chain of laying on of hands running back through the centuries to one of the apostles; this would be a very mechanical and individualistic vision, which by the way historically could hardly be proved and ascertained. The Catholic view is different from such an individualistic and mechanical approach. Its starting point is the collegium of the apostles as a whole; together they received the promise that Jesus Christ will be with them till the end of the world (Matt 28, 20). So after the death of the historical apostles they had to co–opt others who took over some of their apostolic functions. In this sense the whole of the episcopate stands in succession to the whole of the collegium of the apostles. To stand in the apostolic succession is not a matter of an individual historical chain but of collegial membership in a collegium, which as a whole goes back to the apostles by sharing the same apostolic faith and the same apostolic mission (Kasper, Cardinal Walter. Keynote speech from the Conference of the Society for Ecumenical Studies, the St. Alban’s Christian Study Centre and the Hertfordshire Newman Association at St. Alban’s Abbey, Hertfordshire, England, on May 17, 2003).

In March, 2006…I argued unity, unanimity and koinonia (communion) are fundamental concepts in the New Testament and in the early Church. I argued: “From the beginning the episcopal office was “koinonially” or collegially embedded in the communion of all bishops; it was never perceived as an office to be understood or practised individually” (Kasper, Cardinal Walter. Cardinal Kasper to Anglican Communion “The Aim of Our Dialogue Has Receded Further”. CANTERBURY, England, JULY 31, 2008 (Zenit.org)).

These are astounding admissions. These Roman Catholic scholars are essentially admitting that there was no possible succession of bishops beginning with Peter in Rome, there was NOT one bishop who led all of Christendom from the beginning, but that the succession of a bishop from the Apostle John to Polycarp did occur (and it occurred probably 60 years earlier). Leaders like the Apostle John and Polycarp practiced what many Catholic scholars considered to be Jewish Christianity (such as observing Passover on the 14th and not a Sunday).

When Ignatius wrote his various letters in the early second century, he referred to Polycarp as a bishop and mentioned bishops in nearly all of his letters. However, in his letter to the Romans he neither addresses it to any particular leader in Rome, nor does he ever refer to anyone as a bishop in Rome.

Various Catholic writings state that Hegesippus came to Rome in the mid-2nd century and asked about its early leaders. F.A. Sullivan and R.P. McBrien seem to suggest that those Romans apparently mentioned names of leaders they had heard of (as most would have had no direct contact with any from the first century) as there were no early records with names. Because there was, at the time of Hegesippus’ visit, a bishop of Rome and there had long been bishops in Jerusalem and Asia Minor, F.A. Sullivan also suggests that Hegesippus and later writers presumed that the early Roman leaders were also monarchical bishops, even though that is not considered to have been likely.

While there were certainly a lot of religious leaders in Rome, since the actual Christian Church (according the Catholics and nearly all those who profess Christ) began in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after Christ’s crucifixion, it is important to realize that both the Bible and Roman Catholic approved writings support the idea that there were true churches in the region the Bible refers to as Asia Minor (nearly all of which is now part of the country of Turkey).

When the Apostle John, for example, wrote the Book of Revelation, he was the last of the original 12 apostles to remain alive (and as an Apostle he ALSO would have been was part of the foundation of the church as Ephesians 2:19-22 teaches). And he specifically addressed Revelation “to the seven churches which are in Asia” (Revelation 1:4), and later listed those seven (vs. 1:11) all of which were in Asia Minor (here is an article on The Seven Churches of Revelation). He also never positively addressed the church in Rome in that or any other or his known writings (nor, except in his gospel account, did he ever mention Peter). Furthermore, The Catholic Encyclopedia records this about John,

John had a prominent position in the Apostolic body…the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province (Fonck L. Transcribed by Michael Little. St. John the Evangelist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But there is no scriptural reason to think that John only considered that the churches in Asia Minor were under his leadership. Actually, in one of his other letters, John also wrote “To the elect lady and her children” (2 John 1)–which appears to be a reference to the entire Church (see also Revelation 12:17). Hence he felt he had a leadership position related to the entire Church, not just those in Asia Minor.

This also appears to be confirmed from this quotation that Eusebius records:

Take and read the account which rims as follows: “Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit…” (Eusebius. Church History, Book III, Chapter 23. Translated by the Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Referring to Irenaeus’ writings, Eusebius writes:

And in the third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words: “But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.” (Eusebius. Church History. Translated by the Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Now John greatly outlived Peter and is believed to have lived as late as 95-100 A.D. John was an apostle, the early leaders of Rome were only presbyters. The Bible clearly teaches that apostles were first (I Corinthians 12:28). Notice that even Roman Catholic scholars understand:

Unlike Peter, the pope is neither an apostle nor an eyewitness of the Risen Lord (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.33).

Since that is true, it makes no sense that the Apostle John would be somehow subordinate to Linus, Anacletus, Clement, and Evaristus, all of whom have been claimed to have been pontiff after Peter died and while John was still alive.

What is true, and what does make sense, is that John had a disciple named Polycarp who became the bishop of Smyrna. While Ignatius may have had prominence in-between, his writings clearly endorsed Polycarp’s leadership. Polycarp was probably 25-30 years old when John died. Polycarp himself lived until his was martyred around 156 A.D. Look at what else is admitted by the Catholic historian Irenaeus about the early Church in Asia Minor, under the leadership of Polycarp:

Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

So we have from this Roman Catholic source that Polycarp and his successors in Asia Minor (at least until the time that Irenaeus wrote this, around 180 A.D.) practiced the true teachings that they learned from the apostles (it should be noted that these churches had several doctrines that differ from those currently held by the Roman Church, some of which are documented in the article Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome). This is also later essentially confirmed by Tertullian:

Anyhow the heresies are at best novelties, and have no continuity with the teaching of Christ. Perhaps some heretics may claim Apostolic antiquity: we reply: Let them publish the origins of their churches and unroll the catalogue of their bishops till now from the Apostles or from some bishop appointed by the Apostles, as the Smyrnaeans count from Polycarp and John, and the Romans from Clement and Peter; let heretics invent something to match this (Tertullian. Liber de praescriptione haereticorum. Circa 200 A.D. as cited in Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It is probable that Tertullian was aware of elders in Rome prior to Clement (as Irenaeus wrote prior to him), as well as bishops of Smyrna prior to Polycarp, but that Tertullian felt that the apostolic succession could only have gone through Polycarp (who he listed first) or Clement. It must be understood that Tertullian’s writing above, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia, is one of the most important writings regarding the Catholic Church. Specifically the Catholic Church teaches:

Among the writings of the Fathers, the following are the principal works which bear on the doctrine of the Church: ST. IRENÆUS, Adv. Hereses in P.G., VII; TERTULLIAN, De Prescriptionibus in P. L… (Joyce G.H. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. The Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus Catholics themselves must recognize the importance of these statements by Tertullian–there were two churches with proper apostolic claims as far as he was concerned. And not just Rome–but one in Asia Minor that had been led by the Apostle John through Polycarp and his descendants.

The one in Asia Minor was considered to practice Jewish Christianity according to various Roman Catholic scholars (e.g. Daniélou J, Cardinal. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, Philadelphia).

Here is a link to a ContinuingCOG YouTube video titled: Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

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? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “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?
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
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?
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.
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.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
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? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
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 Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?