Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

The Seven Churches of Revelation 1-3

Thursday, June 15th, 2017


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

COGwriter

Seven churches are mentioned in Revelation 1, with additional information about them in the next two chapters.

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 like 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 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.
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.
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.
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! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related article 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 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?

Pope Francis’ comments on the ‘feast of the Holy Trinity’ overlooks Christian history

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

COGwriter

Today is called the “feast of the Most Holy Trinity” or “Trinity Sunday” by various ones. Pope Francis spoke on it today:

11 June 2017

The biblical Readings this Sunday, feast of the Most Holy Trinity, help us to enter the mystery of God’s identity. …

The Christian community, despite all its human limitations, can become a reflection of the communion of the Trinity, of its goodness and beauty. …

May the Virgin Mary help us to enter ever more, with all our being, in the Trinitarian Communion, to live and witness the love that gives meaning to our existence. https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-the-feast-of-the-most-holy-trinity/

While he did mention one scripture, Pope Francis did not explain the history of the trinitarian doctrine nor the history of this Eastern/Roman Catholic festival.

As far as the origins of this festival, The Catholic Encyclopedia gives the following information:

Trinity Sunday

The first Sunday after Pentecost, instituted to honour the Most Holy Trinity. In the early Church no special Office or day was assigned for the Holy Trinity. When the Arian heresy was spreading the Fathers prepared an Office with canticles, responses, a Preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays. In the Sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great (P.L., LXXVIII, 116) there are prayers and the Preface of the Trinity. The Micrologies (P.L., CLI, 1020), written during the pontificate of Gregory VII (Nilles, II, 460), call the Sunday after Pentecost a Dominica vacans, with no special Office, but add that in some places they recited the Office of the Holy Trinity composed by Bishop Stephen of Liège (903-20) By other the Office was said on the Sunday before Advent. Alexander II (1061-1073), not III (Nilles, 1. c.), refused a petition for a special feast on the plea, that such a feast was not customary in the Roman Church which daily honoured the Holy Trinity by the Gloria, Patri, etc., but he did not forbid the celebration where it already existed. John XXII (1316-1334) ordered the feast for the entire Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost. A new Office had been made by the Franciscan John Peckham, Canon of Lyons, later Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1292). The feast ranked as a double of the second class but was raised to the dignity of a primary of the first class, 24 July 1911, by Pius X (Acta Ap. Sedis, III, 351). The Greeks have no special feast. Since it was after the first great Pentecost that the doctrine of the Trinity was proclaimed to the world, the feast becomingly follows that of Pentecost.(Mershman, Francis. “Trinity Sunday.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912)

But what is the history of the trinitarian doctrine?

Well, students of early church history interested in the truth can learn that the early Christians were NOT trinitarian. They held what would be considered as a binitarian view of the Godhead. This is obvious from the writings of many in the second century (for details, see Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning).

According to Roman Catholic sources, the term trinity, in relation to the Godhead, did not come until the late second/early third century.

However, the idea of the trinity was apparently voiced by the heretic Montanus and developed by a famous Gnostic heretic named Valentinus in the mid-2nd Century–two people denounced by Church of God leaders in Asia Minor and finally eventually considered to be apostates/heretics by the Church of Rome.

One of the so-called Montanist Oracles, spoken by Montanus was:

“I am the Father and the Son and the Paraclete.” (Didymus, De trinitate iii. 41. 1.) (Assembled in P. de Labriolle, La crise montaniste (1913), 34-105, by Bates College, Lewston (Maine) http://abacus.bates.edu/Faculty/Philosophy%20and%20Religion/rel_241/texts/montanism.html 01/31/06).

This is one of the first references to a trinitarian view of the Godhead (the other earliest one was from the heretic Valentinus–it is unclear which was first). The paraclete is a term used to signify the Holy Spirit (it is from the Greek term parakletos).

Eusebius records (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapters 18-19) that Church of God leaders in Asia Minor and Antioch, such as Apollonius of Ephesus, that Serapion of Antioch, Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and Thraseas of Eumenia opposed the Montantist heresies (Apollinaris of Hierapolis and Thraseas of Eumenia were Quartodecimans, and Apollonius likely was as well). However, Roman Bishops would not renounce the Montantist heresy until sometime in the third century, and that after Rome accepted certain Montanus beliefs (see Montanists in The Catholic Encyclopedia)!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church admits the Church (not the Bible) had to come up with terms of “philosophical” (pagan/Greek) origin to explain it::

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop its own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance,” “person,” or “hypostasis,” “relation” and so on (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 74).

Here is what it is recorded that a one-time Catholic bishop named Marcellus of Ancyra wrote, around the middle of the fourth century, where certain aspects of trinitarianism came from–paganism:

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God…These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him ‘On the Three Natures’.  For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato (Source: Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), ‘On the Holy Church’: Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9.  Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95 ).

Valentinus also wrote this in the heretical ‘Gospel of Truth’,

The Father uncovers his bosom, which is the Holy Spirit, revealing his secret. His secret is his Son! (Valentinus.  Gospel of Truth.  Verse 17.  English translation by Patterson Brown).

Hence Valentinus is the earliest known professing Christian writer to make clear trinitarian claims (though he, himself, did not come up with the term trinity). It also should be noted that Valentinus was denounced as a heretic by Polycarp of Asia Minor, when Polycarp visited Rome (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4) and is considered to have been a heretic by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, most Protestants, and those in the Churches of God.

In his comments today, Pope Francis brought in his version of Mary. That is of some historical significance as the the idea of the trinity really became promoted by a student of Origen’s called Gregory the Wonder Worker or Gregory Thaumaturgus who claimed Marian ties:

The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen’s pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus. In his Ekthesis tes pisteos composed between 260 and 270, he writes:

There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: nor is there anything that has been added as though it once had not existed, but had entered afterwards: therefore the Father has never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit: and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever (P.G., X, 986).

It is manifest that a dogma so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation. (Joyce, George. “The Blessed Trinity.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 20 Apr. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm>.)

An interesting last statement.

Well, Gregory claimed to see an apparition of the Apostle John as well as Mary, the Mother of Jesus (and is generally considered the first such person to do so), so it seems he may have gotten some “revelation” from a claimed Marian apparition. According to other sources, he had the power to cause death by placing his cloak on people, promoted non-biblical positions about Mary, and may have been the first to promote the expression “the Holy Trinity” in one of his writings. Notice the following:

Here the mystery of the Holy Trinity was revealed by the archangel to the Holy Virgin according to the gospel (Gregory Thaumaturgus, Homily concerning the Holy Mother of God, Section 35. Translated from the Armenian by F. C. CONYBEARE The Expositor 5th series vol.3 (1896), p. 173. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/gregory_thaumaturgus_homily.htm viewed 11/13/12).

The gospel never uses the expression trinity, much less “Holy Trinity.” But Gregory put his own interpretation on scripture (in this case, he was referring to Luke 1:35). Gregory was a major reason that the trinity started to get accepted much outside of Montanist circles (Origen, too, was a factor). For more information on him, check out the article Gregory the Wonder Worker.

Many people know that there was a great debate at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. Although he did not wish to go to this meeting, Emperor Constantine summoned and forced Dr. Arius to attend the pagan Emperor’s council. According to historical accounts, the attendees at this council were split into three factions:

1) Arians – Supporters of the position of Dr. Arius, about 10% of the attendees.
2) In-Between – Those who held a position between the Arians and Proto-Trinitarians, about 75% of the attendees. Eusebius was the main spokesperson for them.
3) The Proto-Trinitarians – Those who supported the views of Athanasius, about 15% of the attendees.

Trinitarians were NOT the majority at Nicea as the historians Henry Bettenson and Chris Mauder admit:

The decisions of Nicaea were really the work of a minority, and they were…disliked by many who were not adherents of Arius. (Bettenson H, Mauder C. eds., Documents of the Christian Church.  London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 45)

Notice what a Roman Catholic priest wrote about Athanasius:

Remember the example of St. Athanasius, the great champion for the true Faith in the 4th-Century crisis concerning the Person and nature of Jesus Christ. St. Athanasius stood up against 90% of all the bishops in the Church, and even endured the appearance of being excommunicated by Pope Liberius . . . (Gruner N., Priest. Part II FATIMA: Roadblocks and Breakthroughs. The Fatima Crusader 110, Fall 2014, p. 48)

So, the above account claims that 90% of Greco-Roman bishops did NOT support the trinity. The idea that the trinity was a fundamental part of even the Greco-Roman faith simply does not agree with the facts.

Although, Eusebius led the biggest group, he and his side did not win.

Emperor Constantine was familiar with a trinitarian viewpoint as he had practiced Mithraism, which had a type of triad/trinity leading it (see Do You Practice Mithraism?). After an impassioned speech by Athanasius, Emperor Constantine arose. And since he was the Emperor (plus he was dressed as a golden “angel”; Feldmeth N. Early Christianity. CD Lecture. Fuller Theological Seminary, c. 2003), his standing was noticed by the bulk of the attendees who correctly interpreted the Emperor as now supporting Athanasius. Athanasius of Alexandria was the big supporter of the trinity and his speech moved Constantine. Because of Athanasius’ speech and the Emperor’s approval, the bulk of the attendees decided to come up with a statement on the Godhead that the Arians could not support.

This to a degree solved the Emperor’s immediate concern about unity of his version of Christianity, and pretty much drove the Arians out.

Because of Athanasius’ speech and the Emperor’s approval, the bulk of the attendees decided to agree with a statement that the Arians could not support. This solved the Emperor’s concern about unity of his version of Christianity, and pretty much drove the Arians out. But even some of the strongest supporters of Athanasius’ position, such as Marcion of Ancyra, actually did not believe in the trinity as now taught (that is why this paper used the term “Proto-Trinitarians” above).

Also notice that Emperor Constantine was heavily involved:

Although Constantine is usually remembered for the steps he took toward making Christianity the established religion of the Roman Empire, it would not be wrong to consider him the one who inaugurated the centuries of trinitarian orthodoxyIt was he who proposed and perhaps even imposed the expression homoousis at the Council of Nicea in 325, and it was he who provided government aid to the orthodox and exerted government pressure against nonconformists. (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 332-333).

Thus a pagan emperor, proposed and militarily imposed, a doctrine on his own. And this did not come from the Bible into the world’s largest churches, but from a pagan (Constantine still honored the pagan sun deities after his supposed conversion to Christianity and was not even baptized into the world’s church until his death bed–and even then he insisted upon being buried in a grave dedicated to a pagan deity).

Notice the following Roman Catholic writing:

God did not stop speaking once He had given the Church the apostolic deposit of faith. He continued to explain the full meaning of that deposit through the development of doctrine, which continues down through this present age by the work of the Magisterium, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is how the Church came to understand more clearly, for example, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity–the truth that God is three Persons in one divine Essence. This most basic of Christian doctrines took several hundred years for the magisterium to define in a way that would do justice to all the various aspects of the revelation that God had given us in Christ. (Thigpen P. The Rapture Trap, 2nd edition. Nihil obstat Joseph C. Price, June 14, 2002. Imprimatur Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, June 18, 2002. Ascension Press, 2002, p. 226)

Notice that it is admitted that the New Testament and the original apostles did NOT understand the “mystery of the Trinity” even though this supposedly is the “most basic of Christian doctrines.” It should be noted that it took a non-baptized person in the 4th century to push for it and partially define it–that person was an unbaptized sun-worshiping Emperor Constantine whose then current religion had a trinity of sorts when he pushed for this (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?). Emperor Constantine did not possess God’s Holy Spirit, but instead his mind had “been blinded by the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NJB).

It should be noted that the trinity as now taught was not completely adopted until many decades after this 325 A.D. the Council of Nicea. It was not even the necessary position of the bishops of Rome or Constantinople in the middle of the fourth century.

Notice what a Roman Catholic priest wrote about Athanasius:

Remember the example of St. Athanasius, the great champion for the true Faith in the 4th-Century crisis concerning the Person and nature of Jesus Christ. St. Athanasius stood up against 90% of all the bishops in the Church, and even endured the appearance of being excommunicated by Pope Liberius . . . (Gruner N., Priest. Part II FATIMA: Roadblocks and Breakthroughs. The Fatima Crusader 110, Fall 2014, p. 48)

So, the above account claims that 90% of Greco-Roman bishops did NOT support the trinity. The idea that the trinity was a fundamental part of even the Greco-Roman faith simply does not agree with the facts.

And at least one now claimed to be Pope (Liberius) was believed to have been Semi-Arian. Notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

The second Formula of Sirmium (357) stated the doctrine of the Anomoeans, or extreme Arians. Against this the Semi-Arian bishops, assembled at Ancyra, the episcopal city of their leader Basilius, issued a counter formula, asserting that the Son is in all things like the Father, afterwards approved by the Third Synod of Sirmium (358). This formula, though silent on the term “homousios“, consecrated by the Council of Nicaea, was signed by a few orthodox bishops, and probably by Pope Liberius (Benigni, Umberto. “Council of Rimini.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 11 Jul. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13057b.htm>).

Pneumatomachi…The majority of this sect were clearly orthodox on the Consubstantiality of the Son; they had sent a deputation from the Semi-Arian council of Lampsacus (364 A.D.) to Pope Liberius, who after some hesitation acknowledged the soundness of their faith (Arendzen, John. “Pneumatomachi.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 11 Jul. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12174a.htm>)

Notice that the Orthodox bishop of Constantinople, Macedonius, in the fourth century held to some form of Semi-Arian/binitarian view:

Towards the middle of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, and, after him a number of Semi-Arians, while apparently admitting the Divinity of the Word, denied that of the Holy Ghost (Forget J. Transcribed by W.S. French, Jr. Holy Ghost. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, into the middle of the fourth century, the two major leaders of the Greco-Roman churches endorsed Semi-Arian, non-trinitarian positions. How then can the Greco-Romans and Protestants claim then that the trinity was the original view of the church? It is a historical fact that it was NOT.

The trinity was finally formally adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381–though many in the Roman and Orthodox Church believed in versions of it prior to this–but even in 381 it was not exactly the same trinity teaching as now understood. In spite of this, however, the trinity is considered to be so important that The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion (The Blessed Trinity, 1912).

The Council doctrine of the trinity is considered to be so central to the mainstream that they often teach that one is either not Christian or is in a cult if one does not accept this false doctrine. Yet in the early third century, the bishop of Rome (Zephyrinus) would not make a decision about the trinity as the nature of God. How central to the Christian religion could a doctrine, not fully embraced until a later date, actually be?

Similarly, notice this contradictory statement from a Protestant theologian:

The doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental for the Christian faith, even though the doctrine was not clearly formulated and generally accepted by an ecumenical council until the fourth century..The Council of Chalcedon, the decisions of which were reaffirmed at the Trullanum of 680-681, gave us the formulation of Christological doctrine we now call orthodox. Why did it take over two centuries for debate to cease on a topic, only to leave us with what was already said in 451?…Is it possible to say that Chalcedon politics created theology? There can be no doubt that political factors played a role, and a very important one…The formula for laying the trinitarian and Christological controversies to rest was spelled out at Chalcedon in 451, although it took more than two centuries to accomplish this goal (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 127,192-193,194).

Anything that was truly “fundamental for the Christian faith” must have been clear and accepted by the true church from the first century. This fact alone demonstrates the fallacy of the trinity.

Muslims correctly recognize that the “trinity” was not the belief of early Christians:

The concept of the Trinity, that “God” consists of three persons, who are all “gods” themselves, specifi – cally “God” the Father, “God” the Son, and “God” the Holy Spirit, is the pillar of pagan Christian theology. But it was not always so. Actually, one finds a historic disconnect between the beliefs, on this issue, of the Eastern Church of the Levant and Byzantium and those of the Western Church of Rome, the latter supporting the pagan concept of human divinity and the former making a clear separation between god and man. Break the Cross. Dabiq, issue 15, Shawal 1437, 31 July 2016, p. 51)

While the above came from a radical portion of Islam, the conclusion that early Christians did not believe God was a trinity is correct–and this is one of the doctrines they point to showing that the bulk that claim Christianity are NOT faithful.

A bishop of the Orthodox Church also confirmed the trinity’s late acceptance:

…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).

If this doctrine were originally part of the true Christian Church, it would seem that this would be a charge laid against true Christians (such as Stephen, Peter, and Paul in the Book of Acts)–but it never was. And of course, as even most Roman and Orthodox Catholics admit, the term trinity is not mentioned in the Bible.

To insure that people would be forced into accepting the trinity, shortly after the 381 council, Emperor Theodosius’declared:

…let us believe in the one diety of the father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in out judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that the shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation an the second the punishment of out authority, in accordance with the will of heaven shall decide to inflict…(Theodosian Code XVI.1.2. Cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 31).

So the trinity need the force of Roman punishment against non-trinitarians.

Why?

The reason is that the trinity simply was not something that true Christians ever taught.

Yet, hate and violence against those that did not accept it was promoted by the late fourth century Greco-Roman bishop and saint Gregory of Nyssa:

I affirm, then, that it is a lawful thing to hate God’s enemies, and that this kind of hatred is pleasing to our Lord: and by God’s enemies I mean those who deny the glory of our Lord, be they Jews, or downright idolaters, or those who through Arius’ teaching idolize the creature, and so adopt the error of the Jews. Now when the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are with orthodox devotion being glorified and adored by those who believe that in a distinct and unconfused Trinity there is One Substance, Glory, Kingship, Power, and Universal Rule, in such a case as this what good excuse for fighting can there be? (Gregory of Nyssa. Letter 17 to Eustathia, Ambrosia, and Basilissa. Translated by William Moore. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 5. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893)

Historical scholar Jonathan Roberts (who was not in the COG) wrote:

Until Theodosius commanded his subjects to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, and enforced his commands upon them by the most inhumane ways, that doctrine was rejected and resisted by the Greek and Roman followers of the Christos…That so senseless and unnatural doctrine should have been forced upon any people, by any means, however tyrannical is a mystery even more mysterious than the arithmetic that can make one three, and three one (Roberts JM. Antiquity Unveiled: Ancient Voices from the the Spirit Realms Disclose the Most Startling Revelations, Proving Christianity to be of Heathen Origin …Published by Oriental publishing co., 1894. Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized May 21, 2007, p. 468).

As far as the Bible goes, if the trinity doctrine was originally part of the Christian Church, it would seem that Paul would have mentioned three members of the Godhead in his letters to the churches–he never does. Paul mentions the Father and Jesus in every introduction of every book he wrote (Rom 1:7; I Cor 1:3; II Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2;Col 1:2;I The 1:1; II Thes 1:2; I Tim 1:2; II Tim 1:2; Ti 1:1; Phi 1:3; Heb 1:1-2;), but he never mentions the Holy Spirit–this is a binitarian position. If the Holy Spirit was a co-equal member of the trinity, could this possibly be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29)?

Anyway, the early Christian church was not trinitarian, and those who actually “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) are not as well.

Those interested in studying this doctrine in more detail, should consider looking at the following documented items:

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 is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
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?
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 Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of a new 186 page book (in the print version). 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.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? 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 Roma”? This 186 page book provides information and answers. This book is available for USD$9.98 in printed form The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis.
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
The ‘Lady’ of Guadalupe: Any Future Ramifications? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future? A video of related interest is titled: The ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ and Prophecy.
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?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?

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.
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I 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 I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
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.
Fatima and Pope Francis Could end time prophecies be fulfilled by apparitions? May 13, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of a ‘Lady’ that appeared before three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis will declare them Catholic saints on the 100th anniversary–how did the children describe what they saw? Is it possible that Jesus’ mother Mary appeared at Fatima? Could signs and lying wonders come from apparitions? How could the Fatima hype be setting the world up for the end? Did the old Radio Church of God teach about Fatima? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more. This is a video.
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.

Sermon: The Past and Future Inquisition

Saturday, June 10th, 2017


Artist depiction of Catholic Massacre of the Waldensians of Merindol in 1545

COGwriter

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

According to Roman Catholic sources, the Inquisition was started by Pope Lucius III in 1184. In the next century, Pope Innocent IV officially authorized inquisitors to  use torture. This video was shot in Europe and includes night scenes from Barcelona, Spain. The Spanish Inquisition, early Roman Empire persecutions, and Protestant persecutions are discussed. Antisemitism in Sweden and modern speech restrictions are also discussed. What is “The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition?” What were the type of torture and execution used? What about property confiscation? Does any of this tie in with Revelation 17? What doctrines have Christians been persecuted for?  Will Christians be persecuted in the future for holding to original Christian teachings?

Here is a link to the video sermon: The Past and Future Inquisition.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Past and Future Inquisition.
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. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
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?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? 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 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
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.

Justin Martyr: True saint or worldly apostate?

Thursday, June 1st, 2017


Artist’s Imagination on Justin Martyr’s Appearance

COGwriter

Justin, called Justin Martyr, is considered to have been an important religious leader and saint by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and even most Protestants. June 1st certain Catholics celebrate him as June 1st is considered to be his holiday:

The saint who was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church

St Justin Martyr (June 1) began his career as a pagan philosopher…

Justin Martyr (c 100-165) was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church. Yet he began his career as a pagan philosopher and did not convert to Christianity until he was about 30. Thenceforward he was much concerned with the relation between faith and reason, exploring the differences and similarities between his new religion and the speculative Hellenism in which he had been raised.

Justin was born to Greek parents at Shechem (modern Nablus) in Samaria, the hilly region to the north of Jerusalem. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/spirituallife/saintoftheweek/2013/05/29/the-saint-who-was-one-of-the-earliest-fathers-of-the-church/

He is not considered to be a Christian saint by those of us in the Continuing Church of God.

Why?

Because some of us have studied about him and considered the ramifications of several of his teachings. Catholics who closely study what he taught would likely not consider that he was one of their saints either, but most still do. Nor do we in the Continuing Church of God celebrate his holiday.

However, Justin, despite his heresies, does add information of use to those interested in early Church history.

In the second century, Justin was in Ephesus as were early Christians.

Ancient Ephesus
Photo of Ancient Ephesus taken June 2005

Perhaps one of the most important points that needs to be emphasized was that there were two main groups of professing Christians in Ephesus during Justin’s time (plus the various known gnostic and other heretical groups).

Justin (c. 135) taught that there were Christians in Asia Minor who had Jewish practices like the Holy Days and the Ten Commandments, but that he did not care to associate with them. Justin also seemed to accept the false “Gospel of Peter,” which the true Christians never did. Hence there were two groups in Asia Minor in the second century–one under the direction of faithful leaders such as Bishop Polycarp and others who were more independent like Justin. Apparently, the true Christians in Asia Minor (who were apparently the majority at that time) did not care to associate with those like Justin either, so Justin went to Rome.

Before the time of Justin, the Apostle Paul told those in Ephesus:

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

Yet certain ones like Justin did not heed this. In Ephesus, Justin Martyr wrote, in response to a Jew named Trypho,

But if, Trypho, some of your race, who say they believe in this Christ, compel those Gentiles who believe in this Christ to live in all respects according to the law given by Moses, or choose not to associate so intimately with them, I in like manner do not approve of them (Justin. Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 47. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus, Justin admits that there were two groups in Ephesus, one that kept all the law and the other that did not. He also admits that he did not approve of those who kept the law.

Justin Martyr records this accusation from Trypho,

But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or Sabbaths…you do not obey His commandments (Justin Martyr. Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 10. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.).

While the Ephesians were told to live differently than the other Gentiles in whose nation they co-existed with, those with Justin Martyr could not be distinguished. It is interesting to note that Trypho expected that Justin would have kept the Sabbath–this is because that was the common practice of those that professed Christ in Asia Minor.

It is believed that the discourse between Trypho and Justin Martyr took place in Ephesus, though Justin Martyr later ended up in Rome (Lebreton J. St. Justin Martyr)–which may have been when he adopted Sunday.

Thus, there would have had to be two very different professing Christian groups in Ephesus. Justin Martyr specifically claimed his group did not observe the Sabbath, keep the Feasts, or eat unleavened bread (Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 18)—yet, according to the Catholic historian Eusebius, Polycrates later confirmed that Passover was continually kept on the 14th and unleavened bread was still eaten annually by the Christians who were the followers of Polycarp and John in Ephesus (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24). Yet, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox claim both Polycarp and Justin as saints–the two were too different for both to have been saints. To determine which of the two could have been, please read this article completely and also read the article Polycarp of Smyrna.

It is possible that the reason that Justin Martyr decided to leave Ephesus and go to Rome was because the true Christians in Ephesus (and nearby Smyrna) would not accept him or his teachings.

Although the Catholics of Rome keep Sunday, there are many teachings that Justin had, however, that even Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and even most Protestants would find troublesome.

Notice:

Was Christ Cursed?

One concern that Trypho had was,

But whether Christ should be so shamefully crucified, this we are in doubt about. For whosoever is crucified is said in the law to be accursed, so that I am exceedingly incredulous on this point (Dialogue. Chapter 89).

Ultimately, Justin responded with,

Therefore our suffering and crucified Christ was not cursed by the law, but made it manifest that He alone would save those who do not depart from His faith (Dialogue. Chapter 111).

This seems to conflict with what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13,

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Thus, it appears that Justin somewhat contradicted this scripture. Instead, Justin perhaps should have simply quoted the entire section in Galatians 2:10-14 where Paul appears to address this particular concern.

Who is the Supreme Pontiff and the Father? Is the Roman Senate Sacred?

Justin addressed his First Apology to the Emperor and “to the sacred Senate” (The First Apology. Chapter I).

And in his conclusion mentioned,

The Emperor Caesar Titus AElius Adrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Supreme Pontiff, in the fifteenth year of his tribuneship, Consul for the third time, Father of the fatherland, to the Common Assembly of Asia, greeting (The First Apology. Chapter LXVIII).

The ultimate “Father of the fatherland” would seem to be God the Father, though it is likely that Justin is simply trying a bit too hard to be polite here.

Catholics may have been surprised to learn that when addressing the Supreme Pontiff in Rome, Justin was referring to the Emperor (the bishop of Rome did not take this title to himself until the late 4th Century). Pontiff is a term that seems to mean bridge builder and has historically, in a religious context, has suggested being the bridge between the Chief God (Jupiter for the Romans, or the Father for the Catholics) and man. Or essentially, a mediator.

The Bible teaches this, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). It is also not likely that God would consider that the assembly of the Roman Senate was sacred (e.g. Amos 5:21).

Justin also stated,

For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians (Dialogue. Chapter 80).

While those in the CCOG would agree that souls die (Ezekiel 18:4) and are not taken to heaven upon death (Job:14:14; John 3:13), those in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches would seem to disagree with Justin here.

Justin is clearly stating that those who believe that souls are taken to heaven when they die are not Christians. Therefore, it is surprising that any in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches would consider Justin to be a saint, since he teaches that none of them can be.

An article of related interest may be Did the Early Church Teach Human Immortality?

Justin was not a saint. Yes, he had some belief in a compromised form of Christianity, but simply refused to live as a Christian. Though he had some correct doctrinal points, he also took a variety of positions that were typical of apostates.

Justin tends to be revered by many because of one of his comments about the day of the Sun god Helios (now called Sunday), but in my view that showed that he held apostate, not saintly views, of such matters. He was not a real saint, nor should his ‘day’ be celebrated.

More on Justin, some of his doctrines, and church history can be found in the articles:

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.
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.
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?
Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.
What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
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?
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.
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? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?
What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?

Did the early, faithful, first century, Christians in Rome hold to modern Church of Rome beliefs?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Did the early, faithful, first century, Christians in Rome hold to modern Church of Rome beliefs?

Was the early Christian church even possibly 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.

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 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 would have taken 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).

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. While his letters show that there were Christians in Rome, they were most certainly not like the modern Church of Rome–not in dress, nor liturgy, nor in Holy Day observations, etc. Ignatius praised people like Polycarp, when he wrote him, and Polycarp held Church of God doctrines. Furthermore, by the time Polycarp met who may have been the first “Bishop of Rome,” he tried to get him to change doctrine back to the original teachings, but the Roman Bishop Anicetus would not listen.

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) as well as true Christians in Rome. But they were not like the current Church of Rome, nor did Rome have significant Christian influence in other regions.

When the Apostle John penned 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 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 (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).

While there were Christians in Rome from an early time, those we have information on who were faithful held to Church of God, not current Church of Rome doctrines.

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
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?
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?

1 John 5:7-8 and the Trinity

Monday, May 29th, 2017


COGwriter

Some claim that 1 John 5:7-8 is proof of the Greco-Roman trinity (and that the above diagram ‘explains’ the trinity).

But is 1 John 5:7-8 really even supposed to be in the Bible?

The above drawing is also used by some trinitarians to explain the trinity, even though it clearly violates laws of logic. It was basically developed because although most who profess Christ claim to believe in the trinity, it is a concept that is contradictory, so trying to show it in a drawing supposedly makes the illogical easier to understand.

But was the trinity a doctrine of the New Testament or early Christians?

Here is what one modern historian wrote about it:

Like other doctrines that became central to the faith, however, belief in the Trinity was a historical development, not a “given” from the early years of the faith. A. The basic notion of the Trinity is that there are three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are all equally God and of the same substance, but despite the fact there are three persons, together, they compromise only one God, indivisible in nature. B. This doctrine does not appear to be a doctrine pronounced by the historical Jesus, Paul, or any other Christian writer during the first hundred years or so of Christianity. C. It cannot be found explicitly stated in the earliest Christian writings. The only passage of the New Testament that declares the doctrine (1 John 5:7-8) was not originally part of the text but was added by doctrinally astute scribes at a later date (it is not found in any Greek manuscripts until the 11th century) (Ehrman B. From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity, Part 2. The Teaching Company, Chantilly (VA), 2004, p. 43).

The above properly concludes that the trinity was not an original Christian belief and that only passage in the New Testament that supposedly declares that doctrine (1 John 5:7-8) was added at a later date.

Here is the version of 1 John 5:7-8 as improperly shown in the NKJV and the modern Douay Rheims:

7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. (1 John 5:7-8, NKJV)

7 And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. 8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7-8, Douay-Rheims)

But much of what is shown above was ADDED to the original biblical texts.

Here is what the original text supports according to Dr. Daniel Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary (a trinitarian institution) wrote:

The Textual Problem in 1 John 5:7-8:

“5:7 For there are three that testify, 5:8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement.” –NET Bible

Notice that this is much shorter than what most Protestant or Catholic translators now show. Even certain trinitarian scholars realize that instead of teaching the trinity, the above has to do with Jesus and baptism (see Nelson Study Bible, p. 2147 which is also quoted in the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?). It was only after someone scribbled a side note well after the Bible was written that the trinitarian view was added.

How late was the addition that makes it longer?

Here is more from Dr. Daniel Wallace on the longer addition:

This longer reading is found only in eight late manuscripts, four of which have the words in a marginal note. Most of these manuscripts (2318, 221, and [with minor variations] 61, 88, 429, 629, 636, and 918) originate from the 16th century; the earliest manuscript, codex 221 (10th century), includes the reading in a marginal note which was added sometime after the original composition. Thus, there is no sure evidence of this reading in any Greek manuscript until the 1500s; each such reading was apparently composed after Erasmus’ Greek NT was published in 1516. Indeed, the reading appears in no Greek witness of any kind (either manuscript, patristic, or Greek translation of some other version) until AD 1215 (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin)…

The Trinitarian formula (known as the Comma Johanneum) made its way into the third edition of Erasmus’ Greek NT (1522) because of pressure from the Catholic Church. After his first edition appeared (1516), there arose such a furor over the absence of the Comma that Erasmus needed to defend himself. He argued that he did not put in the Comma because he found no Greek manuscripts that included it…

In reality, the issue is history, not heresy: How can one argue that the Comma Johanneum must go back to the original text when it did not appear until the 16th century in any Greek manuscripts? (Wallace DB. The Textual Problem in 1 John 5:7-8. http://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8)

Although the NIV gets I John 5:7-8 right, in the KJV, Douay-Rheims, NKJV and many other translators of I John 5:7-8 include words not in the original text. On page 1918, The Ryrie Study Bible reminds everyone, related to the NKJV:

“Verse 7 should end with the word witness. The remainder of v. 7 and part of v. 8 are not in any ancient Greek manuscript…”.

In other words the words “in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth” are not inspired and are not supposed to be in the Bible.

Now lest any Catholics have a different view, although the CHANGED version of the Latin Vulgate contains a version of this, the Codex Amiatinus (Codex Amiatinus. Novum Testamentum Latine interpreter Hieronymo. Epistula Iohannis I V:6-8. Constantinus Tischendorf, Lipsiae. 1854 http://books.google.com/books?hl=pl&id=x0opAAAAYAAJ&q=NOVUM_TESTAMENTUM_LATINE#v=onepage&q=NOVUM_TESTAMENTUM_LATINE&f=false viewed 04/21/12), which is believed to be the closest to the original document that Jerome originally translated into Latin, also does not have this as The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

Codex Amiatinus The most celebrated manuscript of the Latin Vulgate Bible, remarkable as the best witness to the true text of St. Jerome…(Fenlon, John Francis. “Codex Amiatinus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Apr. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04081a.htm>)

Note: Yes, I personally read the Latin in the Codex Amiatinus and compared it to the changed version and more modern version of the Latin Vulgate which differs from the early version in that the modern version adds “in caelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus. Et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra:” (Latin Vulgate . com is provided by Mental Systems, Inc. http://www.latinvulgate.com/verse.aspx?t=1&b=23&c=5 viewed 04/21/12).

In other words, Catholic scholars realize that the texts that Jerome used to originally put together the Latin Vulgate Bible (the basic Bible for Catholics) did not have the late addition (which, of course, it could not originally have had as that addition came about many centuries after Jerome did his translation).

Basically, what seems to have happened is that a monk put a personal note related to his interpretation of the ‘three’ mentioned in the first part of 1 John 5:7. One or more scribal monks after him, inserted his note actually in the text. It was NOT inspired by God.

The Protestant and Catholic Bibles that have the added words are relying on very late documents that were not considered to be original. Some, of course, have ignored the truth about the origin of 1 John 5:7-8 and wish to believe that because early heretics seem to have possibly referred to it (one popular online source falsely claims that Tertullian, who followed the heretic Montanus, quoted the omitted words in Against Praxeas–this is not true as I have read that writing and it is not in there–but even if it was, Tertullian was a heretic follower who did not seem to have the proper canon), that it must be true–but that of course is a lie.

Even various trinitarian scholars have concluded that 1 John 5:6-8 essentially has to do with Christ–not the “trinity” (see Nelson Study Bible, p. 2147 which is also quoted in the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?).

I would like to mention here that BECAUSE most Bibles contain the false long addition to 1 John 5:7-8, that Muslims often cite this as absolute proof that the Bible has been tampered with and cannot be trusted like they claim the Koran can. The belief and use of 1 John 5:7-8 causes the name of Christ (through the term ‘Christianity’) to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5). No honest translator should have ever included it in the Bible as anything other than a footnote that it was improperly added in later centuries as a pretended addition to the text.

Origins of Certain Trinitarian Terms

The Cathecism of the Catholic Church itself admits that the Church (not the Bible) had to come up with terms of “philosophical” (pagan/Greek) origin to explain the trinity:

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop its own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance,” “person,” or “hypostasis,” “relation” and so on (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 74).

According to a Catholic bishop named Marcellus of Ancyrae, around the middle of the fourth century, certain aspects of trinitarianism came from paganism and the term “hypostases” entered the professing Christian world from a heretic named Valentinus:

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God…These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him ‘On the Three Natures’. For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato (Source: Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), ‘On the Holy Church’: Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9. Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95 ).

So, it was a heretic that introduced the trinitarian term hypostasis.

The term “substance” basically comes from a Greek term that was introduced to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches by the pagan sun-worshiping Emperor Constantine. Protestant scholar H. Brown noted:

Although Constantine is usually remembered for the steps he took toward making Christianity the established religion of the Roman Empire, it would not be wrong to consider him the one who inaugurated the centuries of trinitarian orthodoxy. It was he who proposed and perhaps even imposed the expression homoousis at the Council of Nicea in 325, and it was he who provided government aid to the orthodox and exerted government pressure against nonconformists. ( Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988)

It should be noted that it is understood, even by some Catholic scholars, like Priest Bellarmino Bagatti, that those considered to be Judeao-Christians did not accept the Emperor’s non-biblical term:

The point of view of the Judaeo-Christians, devoid of Greek philosophical formation, was that of keeping steadfast to the Testimonia, and therefore not to admit any word foreign to the Bible, including Homoousion. ( Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 47-48)

Regarding the New Testament, even a trinitarian scholar has admitted that the Bible promotes a binitarian view, and does not teach what is now considered to be the trinity:

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).

The terms trinity, threeness, or trinitarian are not found in the Bible. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther himself taught:

It is indeed true that the name “Trinity” is nowhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures, but has been conceived and invented by man. (Luther Martin. The Sermons of Martin Luther, Church Postil, 1522; III:406-421, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

According to Roman Catholic sources, the term trinity, in relation to the Godhead, did not come until the late second/early third century. Yet, the idea of the trinity was apparently voiced by the heretic Montanus and as well as developed by a famous Gnostic heretic named Valentinus in the mid-2nd Century. One of the so-called Montanist Oracles, spoken by Montanus was:

“I am the Father and the Son and the Paraclete.” (Didymus, De trinitate iii. 41. 1.) (Assembled in P. de Labriolle, La crise montaniste (1913), 34-105, by Bates College, Lewston (Maine) http://abacus.bates.edu/Faculty/Philosophy%20and%20Religion/rel_241/texts/montanism.html 01/31/06).

This is one of the first references to a trinitarian view of the Godhead (the other earliest one was from the heretic Valentinus–it is unclear which was first). The paraclete is a term used to signify the Holy Spirit (it is from the Greek term parakletos). Eusebius records (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapters 18-19) that church leaders in Asia Minor and Antioch, such as Apollonius of Ephesus, that Serapion of Antioch, Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and Thraseas of Eumenia opposed the Montantist heresies (Apollinaris of Hierapolis and Thraseas of Eumenia were Quartodecimans, and Apollonius likely was as well). And Irenaeus recorded that Polycarp denounced Valentinus.

The reality is that the longer addition of 1 John 5:7-8 was unknown to early Christians as it was not part of the Bible. And shockingly to some, the early faithful clearly held what has been called a binitarian or semi-Arian view of the Godhead.

Those interested in studying this doctrine in more detail, should consider looking at the following documented items:

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?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? For a related sermon, watch: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. 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?
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.
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?
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.
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.

Might Satan’s throne be the ‘Cathedra Petri’?

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017


Satan’s Throne’ (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Numerous times, my wife Joyce and I have been able to see and visit what could be ‘Satan’s throne,’ if the devil does in fact have a physical throne on the earth.

The first time we saw it was back in 1987 on a tour of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Those of us on that tour (all WCG members) were told by a Worldwide Church of God minister who was conducting the tour that Joseph Tkach, Sr. (who was then the Pastor General of WCG–he died in 1995) stated that he felt that this was “Satan’s throne.”

The WCG tour guide minister also said that that there was a tradition/legend (which possibly can be tied to one interpretation of a 12th century prophecy by the Bishop Malachy) that the final pope would sit on this throne. This particular throne is black and the bottom of its legs are about 5 feet off of the ground. Despite odd claims, no one allegedly has ever sat on this final version of it.

Here is a little bit of history about it:

As a young boy Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) visited St. Peter’s with the painter Annibale Carracci and stated his wish to build “a mighty throne for the apostle”. His wish came true. As a young man, in 1626, he received the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and worked on the embellishment of the Basilica for 50 years…Bernini then turned his attention to another precious relic, the so-called Cathedra Petri or “throne of St. Peter” a chair which was often claimed to have been used by the apostle, but appears to date from the 12th century. As the chair itself was fast deteriorating and was no longer serviceable, Pope Alexander VII determined to enshrine it in suitable splendour as the object upon which the line of successors to Peter was based. Bernini created a large bronze throne in which it was housed, raised high on four looping supports held effortlessly by massive bronze statues of four Doctors of the Church, Saints Ambrose and Augustine representing the Latin Church and Athanasius and John Chrysostom, the Greek Church. The four figures are dynamic with sweeping robes and expressions of adoration and ecstasy. (St. Peter’s Basilica. Wikipedia, viewed 07/21/12)

While there is no actual evidence that Peter had his chair (or a bench he sat upon) turned into this (or presumably part of it), the reality is that some chair/throne/seat has existed for some time, and now is overlaid as the large black one is shown. The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches about at least two:

From the earliest times the Church at Rome celebrated on 18 January the memory of the day when the Apostle held his first service with the faithful of the Eternal City… This double celebration was also held in two places, in the Vatican Basilica and in a cemetery (coemeterium) on the Via Salaria. At both places a chair (cathedra) was venerated…In its present (ninth-century) form the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” gives a second feast of the Chair of St. Peter for 22 February, but all the manuscripts assign it to Antioch, not to Rome… by the ninth century one of the two feasts of the Roman cathedra had drifted away to Antioch, shows that the cathedra of the Via Salaria must have perished as early as the sixth or seventh century. We come now to the question, where stood originally the chair shown and venerated in the Vatican Basilica during the fourth century? On the strength of ancient tradition it has been customary to designate the church of Santa Pudenziana as the spot where, in the house of the supposed Senator Pudens, the two great Apostles not only received hospitable entertainment, but also held Christian services. But the legends connected with Santa Pudenziana do not offer sufficient guarantee for the theory that this church was the cathedral and residence of the popes before Constantine… In 1776 there was excavated on the Aventine, near the present church of Santa Prisca, a chapel with frescoes of the fourth century; in these frescoes pictures of the two Apostles were still recognizable. Among the rubbish was also found a gilded glass with the figures of Peter and Paul. The feast of the dedication of this church (an important point) still falls on the same day as the above-described cathedra feast of 22 February; this church, therefore, continued to celebrate the traditional feast even after the destruction of the object from which it sprang. In the crypt of Santa Prisca is shown a hollowed capital, bearing in thirteenth-century letters the inscription: BAPTISMUS SANCTI PETRI (Baptism of Saint Peter), undoubtedly the echo of an ancient tradition of the administration of baptism here by Peter. In this way we have linked together a series of considerations which make it probable that the spot “ubi secundo sedebat sanctus Petrus” (where Saint Peter sat for the second time), must be sought in the present church of Santa Prisca; in other words, that the chair referred to by St. Damasus was kept there in the period before Constantine. It was there, consequently, that was celebrated the “natale Petri de cathedrâ”, set for 22 February in the calendars beginning with the year 354… How Pope Damasus might be led to transfer the cathedra Petri from Santa Prisca to the Vatican, can be readily understood from the circumstances of that time. From the reign of the first Constantine the Lateran had been the residence of the popes, and its magnificent basilica their cathedral, while the neighbouring baptistery of Constantine served for the solemn administration of baptism on the eve of Easter. In the half-century from 312 to 366 (date of the accession of Damasus), the importance of Santa Prisca, its baptistery, and its cathedra must naturally have declined. Damasus could therefore be certain of the approval of all Rome when he transferred the venerable Apostolic relic from the small chapel in Santa Prisca to his own new baptistery in the Vatican, where it certainly remained to the first quarter of the sixth century, after which it was kept in different chapels of the Vatican Basilica…We conclude, therefore, that there is no reason for doubting the genuineness of the relic preserved at the Vatican, and known as the Cathedra Petri. (Waal, Anton de. “Chair of Peter.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Jul. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03551e.htm>)

It should be stated that it is by tradition, as opposed to historical fact, that Peter was actually ever in Rome and there is no evidence that he conducted any church service in Rome on a chair. The admission that at least one of the Roman chairs must have been destroyed and others may have come from elsewhere should help persuade those interested in the truth that the Cathedra Petri is not really Peter’s “throne,” or a place from whence he “ruled” all Christendom. It also should be pointed out that even the Vatican does not believe that its ‘cathedra’ chair is in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, but is actually in Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. While a Pope (Damascus) apparently believed he was transferring a seat/chair of Peter to the Vatican, that does not make it so (and even if there actually was a seat that Peter once sat on that is now in St. Peter’s Basilica, this proves nothing other than a seat Peter sat on still exists). The throne that is now built over Cathedra Petri provides no actual proof that it was some place that Peter actually sat upon.

The “no reason to doubt” conclusion in The Catholic Encyclopedia should be understood to mean “no real proof,” despite claims otherwise. Other sources claim that part of the reason for the legend of Cathedra Petri, as well as why there were multiple “seats/chairs/thrones,” was essentially that in the late second and third centuries that competing power blocks made the stories up to attempt to gain dominance (e.g. Sabatier A. Religions of authority and the religion of the spirit. Volume 16 of Theological translation library, 2nd edition. Translated by Louise Seymour Houghton. McClure, Phillips & Co., 1904. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Feb 9, 2011, p. 112). It has also been asserted that the seat underneath could never have been Peter’s as it came from the 8th century or simply the 17th century (Greatest Forgery in History: Chair of Saint Peter. Copyright © One-Evil.org 2011. http://one-evil.org/acts_forgery/forgery_chair_of_st_peter.htm viewed 07/22/12).

Anyway, some believe that the final pope on the Catholic Bishop Malachy’s list, Peter the Roman, will sit on the Cathedra Petri (some consider that he will be an antipope, and thus a henchman for Satan) in St. Peter’s Basilica. And for those unfamiliar with Malachy’s list, he in the 12th century, predicted, with what some believe is complete accuracy, every pope since 1143. When Malachy’s list became public in the 16th century, it was considered to have been so accurate in predicting the 12th – 16th century pontiffs, that some thought that it had not been written until the 16th century. Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia reported about it:

In 1139…St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II to console him in the midst of his tribulations, and that the document remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590…These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1143, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc.

It does need to be pointed out, especially for Catholic readers, that Malachy’s list is only “accurate” if several admitted “antipopes” are counted, and the final one on the list, is believed by some to be the final Antichrist:

Catholic Priest Connor: [W]hen Malachy visited Pope Innocent II in Rome in 1139, he was given a vision of all the Holy Fathers of the future…A study of the entire prophecy shows that fulfillment is made possible only by including anti-popes...(Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 7-9) D. Lindsey: After the 266th pope, according to St. Malachy, there will be no more popes. In addition to being the last pontiff, some visionaries hint that the 266th pontiff will be the Antichrist. (Lindsey DM. The woman and the dragon: apparitions of Mary. Pelican Publishing, 2000, p. 65)

Here is what Malachy wrote in Latin about the last pope on his list:

In persecutione extrema SRE sedebit. Petrus Romanus, quipascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, et Iudex tremendus iudicabit populum suum. Finis. (Gurugé A. The Next Pope. Anura Guruge, 2010, p. 221)

Here is a translation of parts of it:

During the persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit upon the throne, Peter the Roman…the City of Seven Hills (Rome) will be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will then judge the people. (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 138)

Here is some of what a Catholic writer commented about the last one on the Malachy list:

There are many, around the world, who, thanks to this prophecy, are totally convinced that the next pope will indeed call himself ‘Peter’–most not considering or caring what the implications of this could be. In the considered opinion of the author, it is highly improbable that the next pope will be ‘Petrus Romanus‘ or even ‘Petrus II.’ For a start, given the Last Judgment implications, many respected Catholic sources have tried to point out, for quite a long time, that the pope talked about in motto 112 does not have to necessarily be the pope who follows the one described by motto 111; this 111th pope now being the current pope, Benedict XVI (#266). The justification for this “hedging’ is that the mottos were not numbered in de Wyon’s 1595 Lignum Vitae. The numbering, to facilitate manageability, came later. Consequently, it can be contented that the author of this prophecy, whoever it was, did not necessarily mean that the pope described in the last motto would come immediately after the one identified in the previous motto. Basically, the last, very long, atypical motto describes the last pope. This last pope may come to be at a much later time–with an indeterminate number of intervening popes between him and the one described by motto 111. Therefore, this last motto may not actually apply to the next pope, in which case, the expectation of ‘Petrus Romanus‘ becomes mute. But what the proponents of the ‘Petrus Romanus‘ belief do not appear to appreciate is that the next pope, by the sheer necessity of the duties confronting him, is not going to be naive. Naiveté…is not a characteristic that one readily associates with today’s cardinals. They know the ways of the world and are world politic. There will be none amongst them who is not familiar with the Malachy prophecy. They all understand what the ramifications would be if the next pope surprised them all by stating that he will be called ‘Petrus Secundus.’ The protodeacon announcing ‘Petrus Secundus‘ from the balcony of St. Peter’s would be worse than shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. There would be mayhem in what is likely to be another jam-packed St. Peter’s Square. People would panic. There could be a stampede, people could get hurt. The authorities in Rome and the Italian government would be forced to take immediate action to quell the understandable alarm. It would be considered, quite rightly, a security threat! For the first time in over a century there could be troops, Italian, NATO or both, surrounding the Vatican. There would be no celebrations, The Urbi et Orbi blessing, if it was to take place, would be viewed with understandable askance. It is difficult to imagine the next pope doing anything this reckless. It is difficult to envision the cardinal electors permitting him to do anything this reckless. Hence, it is extremely unlikely that the next pope will be ‘Petrus Secundus,’ let alone ‘Petrus Romanus.’ If he is, head for the hills, and hope for the best. (Gurugé, pp. 221-223)

Now, I agree that the current pope Francis (who could be the last pope and is the one following #111 on the Malachy list) may or may not ever chose the name Peter II or anything similar–but that does not mean that he could not fulfill that prophecy (though his age has tended to suggest he is not the final Antichrist/antipope).

It needs to be clear, whether any pope does or not pick that name, the final major pope will be a destructive antipope. Malachy’s list did not actually name pontiffs, but basically gave short descriptions. And while some have concluded that Petrus Romanus is a name, it could be a description. The description could signify that he is a pebble (or “rocky” which is what the term petrussignifies) supporting the final Roman empire. Notice also the following translation of Malachy’s predicted final pope:

Malachy (12th century): During the persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit upon the throne, Peter the Roman who will feed his flock through many tribulations. After which the City of Seven Hills (Rome) will be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will then judge the people. (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 138)

Notice that the Bible warns against the religious city that will rules from the seven hills:

9 This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits…18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:9, 18, NIV)

So, perhaps the above photos do show at least one of Satan’s physical thrones on earth.

Why do I say at least one? The Bible does specifically use the expression Satan’s throne once:

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:12-13, NKJV)

Smith’s Bible Dictionary notes, “It is called “Satan’s seat” by John, which some suppose to refer to the worship of Æsculpius, from the serpent being his characteristic emblem. Others refer to it as the persecution of Christians which was the work of Satan” (p.500).

And that particular throne/seat, presuming it involved a physical one, probably was not the same physical one as the one shown above. The main period of the Pergamos Church era was from 450-1050. Just as the initial local Church at Pergamos (time of the Apostle John) was situated in a city where Satan swayed human politics, much of this work of God’s church during 450-1010 A.D. occurred within the bounds of the government of Satan’s Eastern Roman Empire. Yet, whether it physically is or not, in a spiritual sense it seems to be the same throne.

Why?

Four basic reasons.

The first is that the old Roman Empire had two divisions, the West (based out of Rome) and the East (based out of Constantinople/Byzantium). While in the West, the “fall of Rome” is taught in history, the fact that the eastern leg of the empire lasted nearly a thousand years longer is relatively unknown–and it existed before and after the entire time that the Pergamos era predominated. Furthermore, prophetic writers, including Catholic ones, have tended to consider that the two legs of the image of the Beast in Daniel 2 have to do with the division of the old Roman Empire. And while the old Roman Empire is no more, there still is a difference between the West (which tends to be Roman Catholic, with Protestant daughters) and the East (which tends to be more Eastern Orthodox). But historically (the “great schism of 1054 not-with-standing) they have supported the same goals, the same body, the same throne.

And the second is because the Bible also teaches that the harlot woman, who would presumably have two legs or two lungs (Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders have stated that they are two “lungs” in the same body) and who sits on the seven hills (both Rome and Constantinople are cities of seven hills/mountains), has a history of persecuting the real saints, those in the genuine Church of God:

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. (Revelation 17:1-6)

So, from the above we see that the harlot woman reigns and has a history of persecuting the saints. This is the same woman/city that sits on the seven hills and reigns (both Rome and Constantinople are known for having seven hills/mountains). And the throne known as the Cathedra Petri is considered to be a throne of importance to at least Rome.

The third has to do with the fact that it has a sun on the top of it. While that of itself is not proof, consider something that the old Radio Church of God published:

In Rev. 2:13-14, Christ, speaking to the Church of Pergamos, says, “I thy works, even where Satan’s seat is… thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.” In Pergamos, which was outstandingly “Satan’s seat,” the SUN-DIVINITY BAAL — Balaam’s doctrine was idolatrous sun worship (Num. 25:1-3; 31:16) — WAS WORSHIPPED UNDER THE FORM OF A SERPENT and under the name of Aesculapius, “the man-instructing serpent” (Macrobius Saturnalia, book I, p. 650). In Satan’s seat, over 60 years after Christ’s time, the main worship was sun and serpent! This sun and devil worship was TRANSFERRED to Rome when Pergamos became part of the Roman Empire. According to the fundamental doctrine of the Mysteries, as brought from Pergamos to Rome, THE SUN WAS THE ONLY GOD. In Pergamos the sun had been worshipped as a serpent! (Meredith C. Paul. Today’s Religious Doctrines… how did they begin? – Installment 4. Plain Truth, February 1960)

The connection of Pergamos to the sun god along with the sun on the Cathedra Petri, along with the other information gives pause to consider that it could be Satan’s throne as he has long advocated sun god worship.

The fourth is simply that the foundation of the so-called Cathedra Petri is supposed to be four “Doctors of the Church.” Two are Latin (Roman Catholic) and two are Greek (Eastern Orthodox). So, it apparently has long been the intent that the the so-called Cathedra Petri is to portray Greco-Roman unity–they all are shown supporting the same throne. From a Church of God perspective the four individuals are interesting (they are somewhat listed based upon chronological impact of their teachings):

  1. Athanasius: He was at the Council of Nicea (325) and was able to persuade Emperor Constantine to support the idea of a trinity, which at the time was a very small minority position among the Greco-Roman bishops who attended. Additionally, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the “Holy Ghost,” his circa 360 paper was the first to “clearly and fully” explain the current Greco-Roman doctrine of the Holy Spirit (see also Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?). Catholic prophecy warns that in the end time it will have to deal with a group (like the Church of God, and likely it) that denies its (and Athanasius’ view) of the “unity of God.”
  2. Ambrose: He was a major factor in promoting and getting Athanasius’s view of the Holy Spirit adopted. He and the other four also heavily pushed celibacy. The trinitarian view that he helped get adopted by the Council of Constantinople in 381 that resulted in Church of God persecution at that time and since. He is also known for his work on Catholic “sacraments” (see Duties of Elders/Pastors).
  3. John Chrysostom: He was a big advocate of Greco-Roman religious holidays and, in 387, a big condemner of God’s holy days as observed by the Church of God (see Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?). His views have been cited throughout history and likely will be against the faithful in the Church of God in the end.
  4. Augustine: Mainly in the fifth century, he used the writings of Ambrose to expand upon sacraments. While he was not the first to turn against teaching the biblical doctrine of the millennium, he has been one of its main “intellectual” discounters that the Greco-Roman churches have relied on. Since the millennial teaching is the only doctrine listed in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194), it is likely that Satan’s supporters will use his writings against those of us in the true Church of God that will continue to teach this (more on the millennium can be found in the article Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? ).

So the foundation, holding up the so-called Cathedra Petri is based upon Greco-Roman leaders who often took strong intellectual positions against the Church of God. This is another reason that, spiritually at least, it seems to represent Satan’s throne.

Biblical, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox prophecy suggests that the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics will unify. They will strongly support (for a time) leaders that Satan inspires (cf. Revelation 16:13-14). False leaders likely to have complete access to Saint Peter’s Basilica and the so-called Cathedra Petri, and who for a while, will advocate the positions of the foundational doctors of the throne.

The Bible tells of a time when the King of the North will set up the abomination of desolation in Jerusalem and the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God” in the end times:

31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:31)

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

If this Cathedra Petri (or the one in the Basilica of St. John Lateran) is moved to an area of the Church of God in Jerusalem’s Western Wall (commonly called the Cenacle), it is possible that it could fulfill some of the above prophecies. We will see.

In the end times, it is possible that Satan or one of his demonically-inspired representatives (cf. Revelation 16:12-13) may literally sit upon the black throne shown above. And while it may or may not literally be the throne of Satan, the basis the so-called Cathedra Petri and its anti-Church of God foundation suggests reasons why it spiritually seems to at least partially represent Satan’s throne.

Items of possibly related interest may include:

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”? Who is the king of the North?
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?
Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
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.
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?
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the 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.
Joyce’s Photos of Pergamos Pergamos (also known as Pergamum, but currently known as Bergama, Bergamo, or Bergamum) was one of the seven churches of Revelation. Joyce’s Photos of Rome, St. John’s Basilica, and the Vatican Rome has been a major world city for centuries. Since the late second century, it has made claims of prominence over Christianity. There are also two views of the Cathedra Petri shown.
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. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.

Church of Rome and the Bible on confession

Friday, May 19th, 2017

COGwriter

The Bible does say to confess sins, but how has that been historically understood? What is the position of the Bible? When did the Church of Rome develop its current practices? What did the old Worldwide Church of God teach?

First, 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 (a 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.

Although the Church of Rome sometimes cites earlier sources, it needs to be understood that according the Catholic saint and Bishop Augustine, auricular confession to a priest was not the practice in the 4th/5th century—instead he advised people to pray to God for forgiveness:

15. Forgiveness of sins. You have [this article of] the Creed perfectly in you when you receive Baptism. Let none say, I have done this or that sin: perchance that is not forgiven me. What have you done? How great a sin have you done? Name any heinous thing you have committed, heavy, horrible, which you shudder even to think of: have done what you will: have you killed Christ? There is not than that deed any worse, because also than Christ there is nothing better. What a dreadful thing is it to kill Christ! Yet the Jews killed Him, and many afterwards believed on Him and drank His blood: they are forgiven the sin which they committed. When you have been baptized, hold fast a good life in the commandments of God, that you may guard your Baptism even unto the end. I do not tell you that you will live here without sin; but they are venial, without which this life is not. For the sake of all sins was Baptism provided; for the sake of light sins, without which we cannot be, was prayer provided. What has the Prayer? Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. Once for all we have washing in Baptism, every day we have washing in prayer. Only, do not commit those things for which you must needs be separated from Christ’s body: which be far from you! For those whom you have seen doing penance, have committed heinous things, either adulteries or some enormous crimes: for these they do penance. Because if theirs had been light sins, to blot out these daily prayer would suffice.

(Augustine. Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, Chapter 15. In: Seventeen short treatises of S. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. Volume 22 of Library of fathers of the Holy Catholic Church. J. H. Parker, 1847. Original from Harvard University, Digitized Sep 28, 2007, p. 575)

And real Christians do pray to God for forgiveness of sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the “sacrament of forgiveness” was changed in their church:

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.

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.

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 Catholic Encyclopedia points to John 20:23 as proof that auricular confession is to be made to priests (The Catholic Encyclopedia also pointed to Matthew 16:19, but for more details on that, please see the article Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom?).

Here are two Catholic translations of it and the two verses preceding it:

21 He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. 23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John 20:21-23, DRB)

21 and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ 22 After saying this he breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained. (John 20:21-23, NJB)

What is the problem with the above?

Well, for one, no early leader in the Church of God or Greco-Roman Catholic Church believed that this meant that Christians were supposed to confess each of their sins to a priest who would then prescribe penance. This is clear from early church history as well as what the current Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.

Historically, here is how the Church of God has explained John 20:23:

Some try to use John 20:23 to prove that persons in ecclesiastical offices have the power to forgive sins. This verse reads: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (New King James Version). However, it does not mean that mere men can actually forgive sins in a spiritual sense. God alone can forgive sins (Mark 2:7-10; Luke 5:21-24). Christ spoke these words to His future apostles in the context of the Church authority He was giving them (see John 20:21)–the power to disfellowship those who were dissenters or heretics (see I Corinthians 5:2 and I Timothy 1:20) and bring them back into the congregation upon repentance (II Cor. 2:6-10). (Letter 032-0189, Confession. Personal Correspondence Course. WCG)

Why is the old Worldwide Church of God position correct? Well besides the scriptures cited, and the fact that the Church has the biblical right to “mark” dissenters (Romans 16:17, DRB, KJV), the reality is that is how early professors of Christ seemed to understand the Church of God’s authority. And forgiveness was related to allowing the marked or disfellowshipped to return.

Notice what Bishop Ignatius wrote (early 2nd century):

3…For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. (Ignatius. Letter to the Philadelphians, Chapters 0,3. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0108.htm>

This is consistent with what the presbyters of Rome wrote (late 1st century):

You therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. (Letter to the Corinthians (Clement), Chapters 7,52,57. Translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm>)

That is the authority that they claimed regarding forgiving dissenters.

And that is consistent with the Church of God position that most groups claiming ties to the old WCG, like the Continuing Church of God, still teach.

Regarding priests, The Catholic Encyclopedia goes so far to teach:

Priest This word (etymologically “elder”, from presbyteros, presbyter) has taken the meaning of “sacerdos”, from which no substantive has been formed in various modern languages (English, French, German)…In this sense, every religion has its priests, exercising more or less exalted sacerdotal functions as intermediaries between man and the Divinity (Boudinhon A. Transcribed by Robert B. Olson. Priest. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Yet, notice that the Bible teaches:

5 For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: (1 Timothy 2:5, DRB)

The only mediator in the Christian religion is supposed to be Jesus the Christ. Thus, the opinion of certain Catholic scholars seems to be in conflict with scripture, since the Bible says the one Mediator is Jesus, not some priest or human leader.

It is partially because of this inaccurate “intermediary/mediator” position that Rome now has priests hear private confessions and claim to forgive sins.

The Bible 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 what the Catholics generally mean by “penance” for sin.

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.
Elementary Doctrines of the Church: Hebrews 6 Seven doctrines are mentioned and discussed. A related sermon is also available titled: Basic Doctrines of Hebrew 6.
Are You Being Called by God? Norman Shoaf wrote various points to consider.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is titled: Real Christian Repentance.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son.
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. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
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 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?

Have any Popes supported abortion?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017


Colosseum of Rome (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Abortion is wrong and it is good that many Catholics now realize this.

But not all of them. I recall hearing former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, mention that the Church of Rome was not always opposed to abortion. And on that point, Nancy Pelosi was correct.

Most Catholics would generally be surprised to hear that in the third century, Callistus Bishop of Rome, openly allowed abortion.

In circa 217 A.D., Callistus became bishop of Rome. The Roman Catholic saint Hippolytus reported:

Callistus…a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, (and) who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne…Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII)

Notice that Callistus allowed (or at least permitted) abortion and adultery.

Note what The Catholic Encyclopedia has admitted about Callistus:

Callistus…permitted noble ladies to marry low persons and slaves, which by the Roman law was forbidden; he had thus given occasion for infanticide. (Chapman , Pope Callistus I)

Yet, the following is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church on abortion and was approved by the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI (when Benedict XVI was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger):

Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to moral law (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2271. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 606).

However, they seem to be ignoring the Roman Bishop Callistus (as well as later Popes and others) who did allow abortion.

Furthermore notice what one Protestant scholar wrote about other Roman Catholic Popes:

Most Catholics are not aware that the infallible Church and popes have changed their minds several times on this topic–unthinkable from today’s perspective.

From the fifth century onward, Aristotle’s view that the embryo goes through stages from vegetable to animal to spiritual was accepted. Only in the final stage was it human. Thus Gregory VI (1045-6) said, “He is not a murderer who brings about abortion before the soul is in the body.” Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than 40 days since it wasn’t yet human. His successor, Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed. His Bull of 1588 made all abortions for any reason homicide and cause for excommunication. His successor, Gregory XIV, reversed that decree. In 1621 the Vatican issued another pastoral directive permitting abortion up to 40 days (Hunt D. A Women Rides the BeastHarvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR), 1994, pp. 519-520).

Quite similarly notice what one former Roman Catholic priest wrote:

Most Catholics assume that the soul is infused at conception…For fourteen hundred years until the late nineteenth century, all Catholics, including the popes, took it for granted that the soul is not infused at conception…

From the fifth century, the church accepted without question, the primitive embryology of Aristotle. The embryo began as a non-human speck that was progressively animated.

In the fifteenth century, moralists began to ask whether it was not possible in certain circumstances to get rid of the foetus without fault…Some went further. They said it was permissable to save a mother’s life even after the foetus was humanized…

Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than forty days since it was not human…His successor, the tempestuous Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed entirely. In his Bull Effraenatum of 1588, he said all abortions for whatever reason were homicide and were penalized by excommunication reserved to the Holy See. Immediately after Sixtus died, Gregory XIV realized that, in the current state of theological opinion, Sixtus’ view was too severe. In an almost unique decision, he said Sixtus’ censures were to be treated as if he had never issued them (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolbeg Press, Dublin, 2000, p.p 374-375).

Even some Catholic monks put out instructions for how women could perform abortions in the Middle Ages:

Looking for Medical Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts

Spiegel – March 25, 2010 excerpts…

Obscure passages can also be found in “Macer floridus,” another standard work of monastic medicine. “When a pregnant woman takes in the scent of the wilting flower through her nose, this shall abort the fruit of the womb,” a monk wrote in punchy Latin hexameter. He was referring to the flower of the wild arum plant. The same effect could be achieved, he added, “if the crushed root is inserted into the uterus from below with a small wool suppository.”

The abortion method involving the suppository could even have worked. “Arum is quite toxic,” says Mayer. However, the intervention was probably not completely safe for the pregnant woman. “In the Middle Ages, toxic substances were used very often,” Mayer explains. “The people in the monasteries knew about the risks and side effects, but they often had no better alternatives.”

Monks giving abortion tips? The medical historian doesn’t find this outlandish at all. “The Catholic Church only formulated its rigid position on abortion in the 19th century,” Mayer explains. It was not as clear in the past, he adds. http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,685432,00.html

Although there is no evidence that any legitimate Church of God leader endorsed abortion, sadly some affiliated with the Roman Church have.

So, while it is good that some Catholics now oppose abortion, Catholics may wish to consider that their church has sometimes held to different positions.

Most people, Catholic or otherwise, simply do not know enough about the real truth about early church history.

Some items documenting these and other items of possibly related interest include the following:

Callistus (217-222) He is the first bishop known to have been a criminal prior to his election. He was also accused of a variety of corrupt acts, including allowing indulgences and infanticide (abortion).
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
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 viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein 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?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from 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.

Sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

CHOG Book Cover 2015

COGwriter

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


1:24:17

Claims of Apostolic Succession

Various churches claim to have something termed ‘apostolic succession.’ Does any church have this? Where does the concept come from and what does it teach? Is there biblical support for apostolic succession? Is the doctrine of the laying on of hands related? Did the gospel writer Mark found the Alexandrian Orthodox Church? How long could the Church of God in Antioch have held true succession? Did succession cease in Jerusalem in 135 A.D.? What about Constantinople? Was their apostolic succession in Asia Minor until about 250 A.D.? What about Rome? What do Catholic scholars really understand about early claims of succession? Of the two churches that Irenaeus and Tertullian claim had succession from the apostles, which was faithful to the teachings of the Bible and the apostles? Is there still such a church today? Why is any of this important to Christians in the end times? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more from the Bible and historical writings.

Here is a link to the video sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 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.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes] Here is a link to the video sermon: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
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? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
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.
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.