Pionius of Smyrna

By COGwriter

Pionius was a martyr, as well as an apparent Quartodeciman Christian leader, in Smyrna of Asia Minor in the third century.

Quartodecimans kept Passover (please see the article on Passover) on the 14th of Ahib (also known as Nisan), in spite of the preferences of Roman Bishops who preferred a Sunday date which ultimately became Easter Sunday (Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).

There is not a lot of information on Pionius. He may have written part of the Life of Polycarp and his own martyrdom was written about by others. From these we can get some idea of his beliefs.

While he is considered to be a saint by the Church of Rome, Eastern Orthodox, and the Continuing Church of God, the views he did have are inconsisent with those now held by the first two listed groups.

The Church of God in Smyrna Kept the Sabbath and Holy Days

Much of what we know about those in the Smyrna Church era was written by those who were opposed to them. And we know that the Fall Holy Days were kept by them, because this was specifically preached against during the time of Smyrna's predominance (cf. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite).

The writing know as the Martyrdom of Polycarp teaches that Polycarp of Smyrna was martyred on the Day of the Great Sabbath.

Certain scholars, like Adolphus Hilgenfeld have concluded that the 'Great Sabbath' Polycarp was killed was on the First Day of Unleavened Bread:

Hilgenfeld ... adopts the day given by the Paschale Chronicle, vii Kal. April. ..., so that Polycarp must have suffered on the 15th Nisan, i.e. on the First Day of Unleavened Bread. (Lightfoot JB. S. Ignatius. S. Polycarp: Revised Texts with Instructions, Notes, Dissertations, and Translations, Volume 1, 2nd edition. Macmillan, 1889. Original from the University of California Digitized Feb 1, 2012, p. 45)

Bucher... further calculates that in A.D. 169, March 26 coincided with Nisan 15, the First Day of Unleavened Bread. ... In like manner, Ussher... adopts 169 as the year of the martyrdom and accepts the day as given in the Paschale Chronicle. (Ibid, p. 702)

There is also further confirmation about the fact that those in Smyrna kept the same holy days in the third century. Notice something related to the elder Pionius of Smyrna in the mid-third century:

2. On the second day of the sixth month, on the occasion of a great Sabbath, and on the anniversary of the blessed martyr Polycarp, while the persecution of Decius was still on, there were arrested the presbyter Pionius...

3. It was Saturday and after they had prayed and taken the sacred bread with water, Polemon the temple verger came in on them with his men in order to seek out the Christians and drag them off to offer sacrifice and to taste forbidden meats. "Surely you are aware," said the verger, "of the emperor' edict commanding us to sacrifice to the gods." "We are aware," said Pionius, "of the commandments of God ordering us to worship him alone."

Polemon said: "Come then to the market-place; there you will change your minds."

Sabina and Asclepiades said: "We obey the living God." He led them off then without restraint and as they walked along everyone saw that they were wearing their chains, and such a crowd rushed up in haste as it were for a strange sight, that they jostled one another. As they came into the forum, by the eastern Stoa and the double gate, all the forum and the upper storeys of the porches were crowded with Greeks, Jews, and women. They were on holiday because it was a great Sabbath. They drew near, looking towards the tribunal steps and the voting urns. (The Martyrdom of Pionius and his Companions, Chapters 2,3. Text from H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs (Oxford, 1972), 137-167. http://archive.is/abf7S accessed 07/25/15)

It may be interesting to note that according to something from a 3rd century document (that was probably altered in places in the 4th century) claimed to be written by Pionius, titled The Life of Polycarp, shows that the Apostle Paul endorsed keeping the  Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost to those in Smyrna:

In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians...but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).

Thus according to 'Pionius,' the "apostle to the Gentiles" (Romans 11:13), taught Gentile Christians in Asia Minor (specifically in Smyrna) to keep the Holy Days. Days many now consider to be Jewish and not Christian--but apparently Paul considered them important for all Christians to keep (see also 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 where he told the Gentiles in Corinth to keep them as well). Strataeas (per Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 190) is the same as Thraseas who also was known to keep the Passover on the 14th. That would have made him fairly old by the time he died, but as Polycarp lived to be over 100 (see, for example, the Harris Fragments, cited in Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter), this is not out-of-the question.

Evidence shows the Days of Unleavened Bread were being kept in the second and third centuries by those trying to be faithful in Asia Minor. This observance was confirmed by Polycrates, who also showed that Passover on the 14th was kept from the time of the apostles through his time--and he wrote in the late second century. It is reasonable to conclude that some of the Jews would have been "on holiday" for the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Notice something else from The Life of Polycarp:

What must one say, when even He that was gentler than all men so appeals and cries out at the feast of Tabernacles? For it is written; And on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink ((Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 19. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).

And on the sabbath, when prayer had been made long time on bended knee, he, as was his custom, got up to read; and every eye was fixed upon him. Now the lesson was the Epistles of Paul to Timothy and to Titus, in which he says what manner of man a bishop ought to be. And he was so well fitted for the office that the hearers said one to another that he lacked none of those qualities which Paul requires in one who has the care of a church. When then, after the reading and the instruction of the bishops and the discourses of the presbyters, the deacons were sent to the laity to enquire whom they would have, they said with one accord, 'Let Polycarp be our pastor and teacher' (Chapter 22).

And on the following sabbath he said; 'Hear ye my exhortation, beloved children of God...' (Chapter 24).

Hence, there is an ancient document traditionally ascribed to Pionius that claims that Polycarp did keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days, like the Last Great Day (of course, other ancient documents support this). And there would have been no reason for Greco-Roman supporters in the 4th century to change the document to indicate that he did so, hence since The Life of Polycarp does claim that Polycarp kept the Sabbath and the Holy Days (yet, there are reasons to believe that one or more added information about Sunday, hence that is one reason that I consider that The Life of Polycarp was tampered with), it is logical to conclude that Pionius did as well.

Respected the Bible

The Life of Polycarp also shows that Pionius revered the Bible based on how he wrote Polycarp believed and used the Scriptures:

Polycarp advanced greatly in the faith that is in Christ and that pursues a virtuous life. And in his untiring diligence, he from his Eastern stock bore (if one may so say) blossom as a token of good fruit hereafter to come. For the men who dwell in the East are distinguished before all others for their love of learning and their attachment to the divine Scriptures...Thus reflecting on this with a godly delight he offered himself day and night wholly and entirely as a consecrated sacrifice to God, exercising himself in the oracles contained in the divine Scriptures and in continual services of prayer and in devotion to all those who needed either attention or relief and in contentment of living (Chapter 6).

Such was his behaviour towards those from whom no benefit could be got. But bad men he avoided as mad dogs or wild beasts or venomous serpents; for he remembered the Scripture (Chapter 7).

...proving this from all the Scriptures (Chapter 13).

For he would extend his discourse to great length on diverse subjects, and from the actual Scripture which was read he would furnish edification with all demonstration and conviction (Chapter 18).

So also he pursued the reading of the Scriptures from childhood to old age, himself reading in church; and he recommended it to others, saying that the reading of the law and the prophets was the forerunner of grace, preparing and making straight the ways of the Lord, that is the hearts, which are like tablets whereon certain harsh beliefs and conceptions that were written before perfect knowledge came, are through the inculcation of the Old Testament, and the correct interpretation following thereupon, first smoothed and levelled, that, when the Holy Spirit comes as a pen, the grace and joy of the voice of the Gospel and of the doctrine of the immortal and heavenly Christ may be inscribed on them (Chapter 19).

The wealth of the grace given by Christ to Polycarp has led us on, while recording his course of life, to explain in turn the character of his teaching likewise. How he used to interpret the Scriptures, we will defer relating till another time, setting it forth in order and showing our successors also how to minister correct instruction in the holy and inspired Scriptures (Chapter 19).

And all things whatsoever being taught of God ye know, when ye search the inspired Scriptures, engrave with the pen of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, that the commandments may abide in you indelible.' Thus speaking in this way from time to time, and being persistent in his teaching, he edified and saved both himself and his hearers (Chapters 24-25).

The view of scriptures that Polycarp and Pionius held to is virtually identical to what we in the Continuing Church of God have, and their views are quite different than those practiced by the Greco-Roman churches (see also Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings).

Pionius Refused to Eat What Seems to have been Unclean Meat

What about unclean meats? Notice the following about Pionius:

3. It was Saturday and after they had prayed and taken the sacred bread with water, Polemon the temple verger came in on them with his men in order to seek out the Christians and drag them off to offer sacrifice and to taste forbidden meats. “Surely you are aware,” said the verger, “of the emperor’ edict commanding us to sacrifice to the gods.” “We are aware,” said Pionius, “of the commandments of God ordering us to worship him alone.”

Polemon said: “Come then to the market-place; there you will change your minds.”

Sabina and Asclepiades said: “We obey the living God.” He led them off then without restraint and as they walked along everyone saw that they were wearing their chains, and such a crowd rushed up in haste as it were for a strange sight, that they jostled one another. As they came into the forum, by the eastern Stoa and the double gate, all the forum and the upper storeys of the porches were crowded with Greeks, Jews, and women. They were on holiday because it was a great Sabbath. They drew near, looking towards the tribunal steps and the voting urns.

6. There was a lawyer by the name of Alexander, a wicked man, who spoke: “Listen to us, Pionius.”

“You should be concerned,” said Pionius, “to listen to me. What you know, I know; but what I know, you are ignorant of.” Alexander was minded to make sport of him, for he said to him ironically: “Why are you wearing these chains?” “First of all,” said Pionius, “so that though we are passing through your city, we mlght not be suspected of having come to eat forbidden foods…

9. Then he interrogated him for the sake of the record, while a notary took everything down. “What is your name?” he asked him.

“Pionius,” was the answer. “Are you a Christian?” asked Polemon

“Yes,” said Pionius.

Polemon the verger said: “What church do you belong to?”

“The Catholic Church,” was the answer; “with Christ there is no other.” (The Martyrdom of Pionius and his Companions, Chapters 3,6, & 9. Text from H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs (Oxford, 1972), 137-167. http://archive.is/abf7S accessed 07/25/15)

While some associated with the Greco-Romans, like Justin, apparently ate unclean meat, Pionius (who seems to have had a connection to Polycarp of Smyrna) did not.

(As far as the ‘Catholic Church’ goes, the first two times this appears in the literature it is a reference to the Church of God in Smyrna (Ignatius' Letter to the Smyrnaeans and the Matrydom of Polycarp). It was not until the late 4th century that the Church of Rome and its Eastern Orthodox confederation had it for its exclusive legal use because of a decree of the Emperor Theodosius related to the Council of Constantinople he called for in 381.)

I should also add that the Church of Rome considers that the presbyter Pionius was a saint, hence the fact that he did not even wish to be accused of eating it in the mid-third century should show that those that considered themselves faithful Christians did NOT eat biblically unclean meats in the third century. There is also proof in the fourth century that the faithful did not eat unclean meats then either (for details see The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats).

Pionius Taught the Resurrection and that Samuel was Not Raised by the Witch

Notice something the Pionius of Smyrna taught:

13. "I understand also that the Jews have been inviting some of you to their synagogues. Beware lest you fall into a greater, more deliberate sin, lest anyone commit the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Do not become with them rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrha, whose hands are tainted with blood. We did not slay our prophets nor did we betray Christ and crucify him. But why need I say much to you? Recall what you have heard; and now put into practice what you have learned. For you have also heard that the Jews say: Christ was a man, and he died a criminal. But let them tell us, what other criminal has filled the entire world with his disciples ? What other criminal had his disciples and others with them to die for the name of their master? By what other criminal' name for so many years were devils expelled, are still expelled now, and will be in future? And so it is with all the other wonders that are done in the Catholic Church. What these people forget is that this criminal departed from life at his own choice. Again, they assert that Christ performed necromancy or spirit-divination with the cross. Yet what Scripture in their possession or in ours says this of Christ? Did any good man ever say this? Are not those who say this wicked men? How then can you believe the words of the wicked rather than those of the good?

14. "For my part, this lie that is repeated now as though it were recent, I have heard uttered by Jewish people since I was a child. It is written that Saul inquired of a diviner, and that he said to the woman who was performing the necromancy, Bring up for me Samuel (1 Sam 28:11), the prophet. And the woman saw a man rising up wrapped in a robe, and Saul recognized that it was Samuel, and put to him the questions that he wanted.

"Well, then, was the diviner able to bring up Samuel or not? If they say she was, then they admit that wickedness has more power than righteousness, and then they are accursed. If they say that she did not, then they should not assert it of Christ the Lord. But the explanation of this story is as follows. How was this wicked diviner, herself a demon, able to bring up the soul of the holy prophet that was resting in the bosom of Abraham ? For the lesser is commanded by the greater. Surely then Samuel was not brought back, as these suppose ? Of course not. The truth is somewhat as follows. Whenever anyone revolts from God he is followed by the rebel angels, and demonic ministers assist him with every sort of drug, magician, priest, and wizard. And no wonder: for the Apostle says: Even Satan disguises himself us an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness? (2 Cor 11:14-15). Indeed, even the Antichrist will appear as Christ. So then Samuel was not brought up from the grave; but rather demons from Hell disguised themselves as Samuel and thus appeared to the diviner and to the faithless Saul. The Scriptures themselves will show you this. For Samuel in the apparition says to Saul: You too shall be with me today. How is it possible that the idolatrous Saul is found together with Samuel? Rather is it clear that he is with the wicked demons who have deceived him and have become his masters. Hence it cannot have been Samuel. But if it is impossible to bring back the soul of the holy prophet, how is it possible to see rising from the earth Jesus Christ who is in heaven, whom the disciples saw being taken up, and they died because they would not deny him.

"And if you are unable to maintain this against them, tell them: However it may be, we are stronger than you, who committcd fornication and worshipped idols without being forced to. Do not yield to them in despair, my brethren, but cleave to Christ by repentance; for he is merciful in receiving you back as his children." ...

20.   As Pionius was silent, hanging in torture he was asked: "Will you sacrifice?"

"No," he answered.

Once more he was tortured by his fingernails and the question was put: "Change your mind. Why have you lost your senses?"

"I have not lost my senses," he answered; "rather I am afraid of the living God."

The proconsul said: "Many others have offered sacrifice, and they are now alive and of sound mind."

"I will not sacrifice," was the answer.

The proconsul said: "Under questioning reflect within yourself and change your mind."

"No," he answered.

"Why do you rush towards death?" he was asked.

"I am not rushing towards death", he answered, "but towards life."

Quintillian the proconsul said: "You accomplish very little hastening towards your death. For those who enlist to fight the beasts for a trifling bit of money despise death. You are merely one of those. Seeing you are eager for death, you shall be burnt alive."

The sentence was then read in Latin from a tablet: "Whereas Pionius has admitted that he is a Christian, we hereby sentence him to be burnt alive."

21.  Hastily he went to the amphitheatre because of the zeal of his faith, and he gladly removed his clothes as the prison-keeper stood by. Then reaIizing the holiness and dignity of his own body, he was filled with great joy; and looking up to heaven he gave thanks to God who had preserved him so; then he stretched himself out on the gibbet and allowed the soldier to hammer in the nails. When Pionius had been nailed down the public executioner said to him once again: "Change your mind and the nails will be taken out."

But he answered: "I felt that they are in to stay."

Then after a moment's reflection he said: "I am hurrying that I may awake all the more quickly, manifesting the resurrection from the dead." (The Martyrdom of Pionius and his Companions, Chapters 13, 14, 20, & 21. Text from H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs (Oxford, 1972), 137-167. http://archive.is/abf7S accessed 10/17/15)

We in the Continuing Church of God do believe that Jesus was raised by God, that God did not raise Samuel, and that Christians await the resurrection of the dead. Most in the Greco-Roman churches currently have a different view (see also Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?).

Pionius Was a Faithful Martyr

Pionius of Smyrna was persecuted and killed. Around 250 A.D., Pionius of Smyrna after he was arrested, he asked:

To whom have we done wrong? Have we perchance murdered someone? Or, do we persecute anyone? Or have we obliged anyone to venerate idols? (Martyrdom of Pionius as translated in Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 155)

He asked those questions knowing full well that real Christians had not done any of those things. Notice also:

Smith says of the Church at this period:

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

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

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

Eudaemon (250), who apostatized during the persecution of Decius (Vailhe’ S. Transcribed by Lucia Tobin. Smyrna. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But after Eudaemon, I have seen no listed bishops of Smyrna. From what I have been able to tell Eudaemon recanted Christianity under pressure of being killed (Sweeny Silver S. Footprints in Parchment: Rome Versus Christianity 30-313 Ad. AuthorHouse, 2013, p. 97).

Eudaemon possibly had the mantle of succession, before he lost it--if he ever had it.

The old Worldwide Church of God taught:

Since Church leaders are appointed and not voted into office, and since, therefore, the members are not watchdogs over the leaders, who is responsible for keeping these leaders on track spiritually and administratively?

  1. The answer is that God's government in His Church is a government of faith. Simply put, this means members believe that behind the physical, outward appearance of the Church, is the unseen hand of Jesus Christ, who directs its affairs.

  2. True Christians today trust Christ to direct the Church, bless it, correct it or its officers if need be and steer its general course.

  3. From the time of Moses and the rebellion of Korab (a leader in the congregation who was killed by God for insubordination — Numbers 16), through the age of the apostles and the rejection of Judas Iscariot from his apostleship, to the present day, Christ has demonstrated His ability to:

    1. run His Church,

    2. place capable men in their proper positions,

    3. discipline those who need it,

    4. and reject from the Church those unfit to wear the Christian mantle.

  4. The very existence of the Church and the Church's continuing vitality proves this beyond dispute! (Doctrines of the Church: Church Governance. Worldwide Church of God, 1986/1987

This is important as, even though many have had hands laid upon them, they were not always faithful, yet the true Church has continued from the time of the apostles. But leaders who are not truly faithful, lose the mantle. Hence, while I am not sure if Eudamon ever held it--he lost it. But as Pionius remained faithful, I have traced apostolic, laying on of hands, succession through him and not Eudamon.

Doctrines Held by the Smyrnaeans

Since the Smyrna portion of the early church was the post-apostolic period, the faithful ones during that time obviously believed the teachings of the apostles and writings in the New Testament.

Here are summaries some of the doctrines held during the time of the Smyrna Church:

The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor--the Smyrnaeans had it as the above articles demonstrate.
Baptism was by immersion.
A Binitarian view was obviously held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.
Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.
Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.
Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings.
Deification of Christians (which begins after the first resurrection) was taught by the early leaders of the Church.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental.
Easter was not observed by the apostolic church.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.
The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.
Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.
Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.
Idols were taught against, including the use of the cross.
Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught.
Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.
The Kingdom of God was preached.
Lent was not observed.
Mary was the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:28) and called blessed (Luke 1:48), but was not prayed to, etc. by true early Christians.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth) was taught by the early Christians.
Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second Century Christians in Asia Minor.
Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians.
Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.
The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians
The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.
Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that practiced "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians.
The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians.
Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and proclamation.
Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.
The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians.
The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

As a faithful leader in Smyrna, Pionius would have held to those basic views.

Perhaps it should be added that Pionius of Smyrna was faithful when killed c. 250 A.D., but the claimed bishop there at that time (Eudaemon/Euctemon) was not. It is well know that Eudaemon compromised with the pagans. Although Eudaemon/Euctemon looked to many to have the 'mantle' of succession for the 'see of Ephesus' (see Apostolic Succession), spiritually Pionus appears to have had it at that time.

We in the Continuing Church of God are the only COG group that I know of that specifically considers Pionius as part of our early leaders of succession.

Concluding Comments

The writings about Pionius suggest a theology closer to that held by the genuine Continuing Church of God, than the Eastern Orthodox or Catholic faiths. And that helps demonstrate that it is the Continuing Church of God that holds positions most consistent with truly orthodox Christianity, than the majority who now profess Christianity do.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.

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Thiel B., Ph.D. Pionius of Smyrna. http://www.cogwriter.com/pionius.htm 2016 0921