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Bringing Tongues Of Fire From The Sparks Of Faith...

 

 

LESSON 18

ACTS 2

CHURCH HISTORY



INTRODUCTION TO LESSON 18

This lesson will not divulge some secret mystery, but it may show us the division between the Body and Church, or perhaps add something to our hope we may have missed. Each of us heard the calling of God's prophetic voice, we know Jesus said Many are called, but Few are chosen, yet we are determined to be among the Chosen. 

However, the Body of Christ is on this earth, within the Body we find Good fish and Bad, Wheat and Tares, a man’s enemies are of his own household. The term "Church" has become more of a metaphor, or a general term for those of the Body, thus for the sake of clarity we used Church (with a capital C) in reference to the Church which is established on the Rock, and church (with a lower case c) in reference to the Body on earth: the term Body refers to the Body on the earth. This helps keep things in order, thus when we see the terms “church of Jerusalem”, “Western church”, or the “Easter church”, or “church father” we understand they are not The Church, but elements of the Body. Therefore, history is not really a look at the Church, it’s a look at the Body, the same premise we find regarding the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. We don’t want to make the mistake of thinking the History is about the Church, when it’s about the Body (churches).

The history of the Body has some dark spots, yet God always has a people who are spiritual and faithful. It's clear from history we have seen the wolves move into positions of leadership, in some cases it would appear as if they won a battle, but the war isn't over until the Judgment. Simply because there appears difficult times, we can use those experiences to shore up leaks in our own foundation. Just as we can use the victories of those who stood in faith as supports for our foundation of belief.

In some cases its obvious the false leaders thought they were doing God a service, they assumed their actions were just and righteous, but history shows they were not. On the other hand the Christ like leaders were humble, faithful and honorable. From this it's also obvious the biggest enemy of the Body is self-deception, the mother of self-deception is the self. Few have suffered the lustful desire to be the special of the special, higher than the other members of the Body, or have the special element making them think they are more holy, or more righteous than all the others of the Body. On the other hand there are those who remained humble, they heard the voice of the Lord, walked the path of righteousness, thus the Net holds those who make a difference (Jude 22-23). The history will also show us some powerful people who held the testimony of Jesus in the face of adversity. There is a Precious in the history for us, shall we begin.


LESSON 18 - HISTORY OF THE CHURCH

The history of the church is not so much the history of the Church, as it is the history of the Body of Christ relating to the churches. To define the "Church" as the entire grouping of the Rock and Church would be misleading, when Jesus wrote to the seven churches it was to the Rock. From our study in Matthew we recall how Jesus called Peter a piece of the Rock, then said Upon the Rock (massive Rock) He would build His Church (Matt 16:17-18). Jesus did not say, “upon you”, rather it was “upon this”, if Jesus was referring to Peter it would be “you”, not “this”. Paul tells us the Rock is Christ, as in the Body of Christ, or Bread. Jesus gave us the Keys, then defined their use is the power to forgive as we are forgiven (Matt 16:19, 16:24, & 18:22-35). We are Born Again to become spiritual in nature, when we forget the basic premises we tend to transfer our trust in God to people. History shows it happened, but God was not defeated, neither was the Church.

The world sees a small part of the Body, they tend to judge us all based on what they think is error; therefore to judge the Church based on an element of  the Body produces confusion. Jesus said the gates of hell shall not prevail, then why does it appear they have? They haven’t against the Church, but anyone can read the letters to the churches in the Book of Revelation denoting an invasion has taken place (Rev 2:9, 2:13, 2:15, 2:20-23 & 3:16-17). If we understand the Wicked are within, then this is no surprise, rather we see the invasion entered the Rock, not the Church. The gates of hell are methods of division, producing strife and envy. On the same note we see many within the Body who are the Church continuing on the course set before them, there is a Precious to be found.

The history of the Body has both good and bad; unfortunately the bad fish made the headlines, while the good were noted somewhere just above the want adds. The world could care less about the Victories of the saints, they rejoice in the iniquities. History painted by the brush of man seems to ignore the spiritual, yet centers on the natural. History of the Christian written by the Christian gives us clarity to the things of the past, so we can gain from their victories, while we learn from the mistakes.

Jesus began the entire ministry by training disciples, then the disciples became leaders. He never intended for any one disciple to be the only leader, rather He made sure there were leaders (Acts 15). Even to the point of the Holy Ghost assigning people to the Offices (Acts 13:1-3), thus the Holy Ghost made sure we had Offices, not an Office. Whenever we find one leader without the checks and balances, we will also find problems ensuing, in some cases we find a Whacko. Well, what about Paul? Paul wasn't alone in his ministry, there was Luke and others. Do you think Paul faxed information to Luke? Well, what about Stephen? Stephen was a Deacon, he was under the guidance of the Apostles. Stephen went to Synagogue, where he ended up preaching based on others disputing (Acts 6:9). What about Philip, he went to Samaria alone. He was still under the authority, thus John and Peter came to Samaria to assist him (Acts 8:14). There was one who enjoyed being the only one in an office, Jesus who appointed the twelve, gave one, Judas by name charge over the money affairs of the ministry. Judas was not a Roman, not a Pharisees, not even a member of the Jewish temple guard, he was part of the ministry of Jesus. For some reason we use the term “antichrist” to show anyone who doesn’t like Christians, but the term refers to one who has the opportunity to be Christ Like, but rejects it for the “he in the world”; therefore, we will find antichrist subjects throughout history, but we will also find many more Christ Like people as well.

There were some good men and woman of God throughout history, yet we can't take those people and put them on some pedestal. When we elevate a figure, other than Jesus, we tend to make them an idol. Those who elevate people above measure rarely say they made an “idol” out of the person, rather they call them heroes, or favorites, or some other pet term, nonetheless if we elevate a person or thing higher than God has, we make it an idol. We can make the glory an idol, the anointing an idol, just as we can make Paul, Peter or John idols. There are some who won't speak against their favorite anointed person, but they speak evil of others who have the anointing. Why? Their favorites have become idols, once the idol is placed in the mind, it won't be long before the same mind forms icons.

This is not a lesson on warfare, but we will see warfare in the Body throughout history. When the Romans and Jews were wrecking havoc the Body grew in numbers; however, when the war on the outside stopped, the war within began. Warfare has three areas, 1) opposition, or coming against something; 2) attempting to take something someone else has, or 3) protecting what one has. Spiritual warfare also has three areas, fighting to become spiritual, fighting to remain spiritual, and those who fight the spiritual; for the most part our battle is to remain spiritual.

The Greek word Didache means The Teaching, in 1873 Bryennios discovered a document known as The Teaching Of The Lord To The Gentiles By The Twelve Apostles. There had been other discoveries of like documents, but none had the entire content. Within the document we find the basics of the teaching of the Apostles, showing Two Ways, one to Life, one to Death, they didn't teach many Ways, only two, with only one of them pointing to Life. James says even the devils believe in One God, thus believing in One God isn’t enough, one must accept the Son of the One God. 

Within the Didache there were tests to be applied to those who considered their self a prophet or apostle, the main test was "only if he exhibits the Lord's Ways", it wasn't the Acts coming to pass, but the Ways of the person determining if they were of God. The Way of Life consisted of "Bless those who curse you, Pray for (not against) your enemies, Fast for those who persecute you, For what credit is it, if you love those who love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? But you must love those who hate you". The Way of Death consisted of A double tongue, being greedy, a hypocrite, malicious, arrogant, hating people, being angry, jealous, quarrelsome, hot-tempered, lustful, mingling with astrologers, magicians, or enchanters, giving false testimony, deceitful, persecutors of good people,  unbelieving, boastful, or prideful. Then we find, "for if you are able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect. But if you are not able, then do what you can".

History shows there seems to be certain elements appearing just before God brings reform. It seems Corruptness is a primary sign, when Israel fell into corruptness revival followed. Not the corruptness in the world, it's expected at anytime, but the corruptness within the Net is not. It doesn’t mean we promote corruptness to bring revival, it means we prepare for revival when we see corruptness in the world taking place. Each generation will have revival in some manner, each also has the opportunity to make Godly corrections where they are needed. Revival is to Re-Live, it pertains first to the Body. Revival is exciting, but self-induced revival lasts until the parking lot, usually dying within days. The Galatians faced revival when Paul said, “my little children of whom I travail in birth again” (Gal 4:19). Until we are Revived we will not produce Revival.

Today the Clarity of God is bringing us into the Pure Light of God, we are discerning many things, some good, some bad, but at least we are discerning. After the corruptness in the Body is exposed, the laity begins to seek the Holy Ghost for restoration. When this occurs certain elements of the Mystic oppose the true Charismatic influences. History shows there were Charismatics, they were not termed as such, rather they were wrongly termed “Mystics”. A Mystic is someone who counterfeits the Spiritual, they use the elements of darkness but say they are “light”. Like “card readers”, they listen to devils tell them what people did, then they tell the person all they did, the person joins to the mystic, then the mystic begins to tell the person about “their future”. Just like the damsel who followed Paul and Silas around, there are mystics, but there are also those who hear the Holy Ghost, who follow the principles of being Spiritual. Those who are spiritual tell us what God is doing, the mystic tells us what they want us to do. Very different, indeed. Those in history were called Mystics because they had outward signs which the carnal didn’t understand. One was speaking in unknown tongues, thus the Bible tells us it’s a negative sign to the unbeliever (I Cor 14:22).

In some cases the misuse of spiritual elements caused problems, even in Paul’s day, as the letters to the Corinthians prove. However, it’s no reason to reject spiritual abilities, rather it’s more reason to enter them lawfully. Since we are human and not divine, we tend to enter Charismatic experiences with great emotionalism, with little concern for doctrine; however, most emotionalism being driven by the wild emotions, is usually short lived; whereas enthusiasm is the center of continuing Joy. It’s the out of control emotions producing harm, yet without saved emotions we can't worship the Lord. God has emotions, if not where would the Joy of the Lord be? If not, where would the wrath of God be? However, God is not run by His emotions, nor does He allow His emotions to dictate His actions. An aspect of the Saving of the Soul is the saving of our emotions, bringing them to the point of being beneficial and useful for praise and worship, lasting well beyond the parking lot.

Jesus told the twelve, "Have I not Chosen twelve of you, and one of you is a devil". He also told the Pharisees, they were of their father the devil, and the lusts of their father they would do. Two groupings, Judas who was termed a devil, the Pharisees who did the lusts of the devil, yet Jesus never cast the devil out of either. Why? It wasn't devil possession, but the lusts of the devil, they followed the spirit lusting to envy (old man), they loved the things of darkness, they desired the feeling they obtained by the self-nature. These groups are around today, but knowledge has increased, we have the advantage of knowing more today, thus as the world knows more, we know more (Dan 12:4 & 12:10). 

There is the Cloud of God, and the Moves of God. Along with the various moves of God we find four groups of people, these four groups can be seen in the earthly ministry of Jesus, and followed throughout history to our day. Jesus was the central figure of the earthly ministry, thus each move will have Jesus as the central figure. Jesus also had His three, or the core of the those around Him, thus the first group will be a small core of called out ones who lead in the movement. For the most part those whom God uses had no idea they would be used; Martin Luther wanted to be left alone with his new found revelation, “the just live by faith”, but God had other plans. The second group are those who hear, then join the movement, they are akin to the other disciples, excluding Judas. Then we have the third group those who hold the character of Judas, the mind of Balaam, or the Jezebel spirit; however, they are few indeed, but still about. If we continue in faith the bad fish will fall to the wayside. The third group are found in the tent of Achan, those who seek the self-benefit, yet hide it in their tent. They wear a mask of righteousness, but inside the old man still reigns. They tend to use natural reasoning to define spiritual matters, twisting the concepts into self-indulgence.

The fourth group are the carnal religious leaders on the outside of the movement, yet they are nonetheless within the Net. These are leaders, yet being carnal use natural reasoning. Usually they are those who want to see signs condoning to their theology, or thinking. They demand a sign of Christ from those in the movement, but they nonetheless stand on the shore looking at the evidence, while denying it. There will be some from this group who see, believe, and follow as did Nicodemus.

The Cloud of God has three elements, those who hear the Voice and follow, those who wonder if the movement is of God or not, and those who stand back and wonder if God is involved or not. The first group will pick up many things, some good, some not so good; the not so good are cast to the wayside. The second group sees the movement is God motivated, they run to catch up. In the process they will pick up some of the discarded concepts, attempting to make square pegs fit round holes. They will soon cast them off;  within time they catch up to the first group. Since the third group never left their self-based tents, they see the cast off pieces, assuming the cast off pieces are the movement. Their envy produces strife, then confusion causing them to send darts of theological abuse after the first group. They assume they are doing God a service, they also assume they are protecting the Body. Wait, if they think they are protecting the Body, why do they attack the Body? They are so self-deceived they presume they are bringing "correction", yet they use all sorts of deception, tricks and subtle methods. Their reasoning is, "well, I'm not to sure they are of the Body". So what? Who are we to determine who is, or who is not of the Body? Even the vessels of dishonor are of the Body, if not how could the Body be Broken?

History has its fault seekers, as well as slander speakers who trust in their own intellect and abilities. They tend to use Scripture to interpret the Logos, rather than allow the Logos to define the Scripture. They have a knowledge of God, they have entered the Study Hall of God, but they reject their wilderness experience to know the Ways of God, ending ignorant of God's Wisdom. The Study Hall is good, but it must be coupled with the Wilderness, or religious pride will be the result.

Around 300 BC the realm of the philosopher opened, it was Daniel who was told "shut up the words, and seal the Book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan 12:4). The "time of the end" started with the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, thus on Pentecost Peter said, "but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord" (Acts 2:16-17). Did Peter say, "which Joel said will soon be"? No, Peter said those days had come, but the End has two elements, the Day and Night. We are of the Day, the time of Salvation, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The Reform movements all wanted to go back to the Power of the early church; however, our goal is not to go back to what was, but to find the Purpose God has for those who are. If God wanted us to go back, we would be doing the Law of Moses. We want to be ready for the release of whatever God has for us, rather then chase the shadow of things that were.

Eschatology was a vague concept in the early church, due largely to four factors. The last resurrection and coming of Jesus were united in one concept, the early church strongly believed Jesus would return and judge the good and evil after the prophecy "it's appointed unto all men once to die, then comes the judgment", at which time the Kingdom would be complete. However, they were also looking at the Book of Revelation, on the surface there were variables which simply didn't fit with their time. The early church held Five basic tenets of Eschatology; 1) a state of revelation sealed and promised by the Resurrection of Jesus, 2) the resurrection of the body to immorality of the soul, 3) death is a punishment for sin, the first death is appointed to all, but the second death for the unjust, 4) death and immorality are a blessing to the Christian, a state of absolute misery for the unrepentant sinner, and 5) the general judgment after the resurrection, determining the fate of all men. With this the Nicene Creed stated, "He shall come again, with Glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end", and "And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come". This latter statement opened all sorts of opinions, none of which had more than three verses to support it. Looking further back to the first generation of disciples we find James the Less said, "His second glorious and awful appearing, when He shall come with Glory to judge the quick and the dead, and render to every one according to his works". Mark's liturgy said, "His second terrible and dreadful coming, in which He will come to judge righteously the quick and the dead, and to render to each man according to his works". The word Quick and the wording a Quickening Spirit are different. The word Quick means one either has Life, or is promised Life, but a Quickening Spirit is able to project Life. John pointed out the Works judged are mercy based, centered on those who didn’t take part in the First Resurrection (Rev 20:5 & 20:13).

To the early church all this seemed a mess, the disciples of John and Peter talked of the Day and Night, then the completed Kingdom. However, in those early days the Jews were killing as many Christians as the Romans. They rightly felt Jesus would return at any moment, Peter’s and John’s letters answered the questions, by saying even if the Lord tarries, it’s because He wants all to come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel. Nonetheless we find a paradox, we are to expect the Lord at any second, yet we are also told by the Lord as long as we see wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, and famine the end is not yet. What gives? The Rapture, we expect the Rapture at any second, but the end of the world is not yet, two Seasons the Day and Night.

As a general rule the Millennarians believed there was yet a Golden Age for the church, an Age just before the 1,000 years. John shows the Door to heaven opened for those who are partakers in the First Resurrection, then the 1,000 years begins. The Time of Comfort view caused the confusion, most felt God couldn’t use the Jews since they were killing Christians. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, some twenty years before John had his vision, but more important was the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome after John's vision and death. This last quandary added to the question of the Two Resurrections noted by John. Assuming the partakers of the First Resurrection would be resurrected on the earth by Jesus, then the 1,000 years, then the second resurrection; however, the assumption was based on prophecies relating to Christ on earth before the 1,000 years, not Jesus on earth during the 1,000 years. As long as there is one Christian on this earth, then Christ is here.

Those who knew John proclaimed the Remnant were Jewish, yet were called heretics by the Judaizers. The only millennarian passage used by the Chiliasts (Jesus on earth thinkers) was Revelation 20:1-6, wherein they saw the devil bound, sealed, and shut up for the 1,000 years, then the thrones, with the Souls of them beheaded for the Witness of Jesus; with the partakers of the First Resurrection, along with the rest of the dead not being resurrected until after the 1,000 years. The error came when they saw the word Souls assuming these souls would receive resurrected bodies on earth. No where in the verse does it say these people would be on earth, placing it with Revelation 7:9 we find they are in heaven during the 1,000 years. They viewed the phrase "beheaded for Jesus" as those who were martyred, but not all Christians were beheaded, really few were, many of the martyrs were burned, some were given to the beasts, and others were crucified. The phrase "beheaded" means without their own head, thus it refers to those who have made Jesus the Head (Authority) over them by denying the self; therefore it equates to the phrase “Loved not their souls (lives) unto the death”.

The Chiliasts also failed to place Revelation 6:9-11 with the passage, where the souls under the Altar of God receive their White Robes at the opening of the fifth and sixth seals. All this must be taken into consideration to define how the events of the day promoted a desire for the return of Jesus, yet the events and times didn't line up with the sayings of the prophets. Although John and his disciples said the Jews were the Remnant, the early church rejected it, assuming there was no way God could find 144 Jews, much less a 144,000. Also, they knew the Time of Peace and Safety was yet to come, when the persecution ended they jumped for joy assuming it was upon them, yet they remained, and Jesus didn't come. Some wandered away, some became religious in nature, yet there were others who knew it was real, who had the Spirit, they remained faithful. However, there was also the opportunist, those who saw a chance to gain power, or exalt their selves through “religion”.

There were many prophecies regarding Christ on the earth in the very latter days of the church, thus the prophecies were correct, the interpretations, or the assumed timings were faulty. They interpreted Christ as Jesus Himself, rather than seeing the Two fold aspect of Christ, Jesus the Christ, as well as the Body of Christ. In John’s account we find he corrected the false assumption of Jesus returning before John died (21:22-24). These types of assumptions have plagued the Body for years. Some assumed the time element was based on, "To the Lord a Day is like a Thousand Years and a Thousand Years like a Day". Some took this saying adding Paul's expectation of the Rapture, then assumed the time would be 500 AD. Others thought Nero would be the one to come from the earth with the head wound, others took the number 666, then used the Greek letters (which also stood for Greek numbers) then fixed the number on some Emperor of Rome. Today we find some taking the number and placing on many people, but it's the number of "a man", not many men. Usually it they centered on a political or religious enemy, thus causing them to place the number on a person they disliked; however, the person died, then they picked another enemy.  

The “head wound” became another issue, would it be by an axe? Or a sword? The Scriptures tell us God caused the “head wound” to the house of the Wicked (idol worship) (Hab 3:13), thus it refers to Authority. Peter understood the end times, noting how the church he attended was located in Babylon (I Pet 5:13, Acts 15:7 & Gal 4:25), the church wasn’t Babylon, rather it was located in a place metaphorically known as Babylon.

The concepts held by some in the early church are understandable, since the emperors of Rome seemed to be the enemy at the time. When it all changed suddenly, the concept of the Emperor being the Beast dissolved, as did many of the end time concepts. A few years ago the “rumor of the day” was Russia invading Israel, but it changed, then it was Iraq. Making the Beast our personal political enemy seems to fall flat in the process of time. The Scriptures tell us there is a division of time, we of the Day must be concerned regarding the things of the Day, yet be knowledgeable of the things of the Night. What we must not do, is mix the things of the Day into the things of the Night, or visa versa (Acts 1:6-8). The Night is approaching, but not yet.

The Fragments of Papias have been beaten half to death by natural intellectuals; Papias was a Bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor who wrote a five-volume work entitled Expositions Of The Sayings Of The Lord. Irenaeus noted how Papias had knowledge of the events, but Papias himself, said he didn’t know the Apostles, nor the disciples of the Apostles. In the words of Papias we find "my interpretations", and "as I suppose", showing his comments were at times guesses at what he thought may have happened. These hints show he didn't hear from the Apostles, nor did he gain his understanding from the Holy Ghost. He held some Jewish fables, one of which was exposed by Eusebius regarding the 1,000 years. Papias felt Jesus would reign on earth in a human body, but as we know Jesus gave up His human body through Death (Luke 24:39). Eusebius commented "These ideas, I suppose, he got through a misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not realizing the things recorded in figurative language were spoken by them mystically. For he certainly appears to be a man of very little intelligence, as one may say judging from his own words". What men wrote about the Bible must always be judged by the Bible, when we take the words of men over the Bible, we have make man greater than the Holy Ghost.

Years passed, yet knowledge began to open, but had yet to Increase. When the time of the persecution came and went, so did much of the eschatology, until our day when the Timing is upon us. We have said all this to show God allows certain thinking to bring hope during great periods of persecution, but He also brings prophecy to correct us. There is a vast difference between praying for an Hour, and praying about the Hour; there is a vast difference between Preparing the Kingdom of God, and having the Kingdom within (Luke 17:20-22). There is a vast difference between putting verses to memory, and having the concepts deep in our heart. There is even a greater difference between the natural intelligence of man, and God’s knowledge coming by the Holy Ghost. One can quote verses while beating us half to death with them, another can know the concepts of Love, Hope and Faith as they encourage us, the latter is better.

Chiliasm became the foundation for much of the end time teachings today; however, Origen proclaimed it a Jewish Dream. Dionysius the Great (264 AD) denied the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation) as written by John, even Eusebius felt the Apocalypse was out of tune considering the attitude of the Jews during their day. They taught the apocalyptic millennium would be Christ in the Catholic (Universal) church as Jesus reigning on earth for the 1,000 years. They felt the Remnant in the Book of Revelation couldn't be the Jews, since the Jews of the day were persecuting the Christians. They saw the First Resurrection as the translation of the martyrs and saints into heaven, but failed to couple the First Resurrection with the Resurrection of Jesus. The Protestant reformers also classed Chiliasm as heresy. It seems whenever Christians fear the world, the same Chiliasm thought process surfaces.

The center of Millenarianism rejected Acts 1:7, as the Restoration of Israel. They devised notions regarding the Antichrist, but rejected the Apocalypse, since it doesn't refer to “The Antichrist” as such. They longed for a Golden Age for the church on earth, they saw the Power and Authority of the Christian during the Persecution, but it was hardly peace, they also felt the Christian was being defeated. They failed to see how the Body had to begin in blood to end in Glory. When the Body did find “peace”, they ceased seeking the Lord, soon finding they lacked Power and Authority. This produced a longing for some to find the Power and Authority of Christ in the 1,000 years, yet we know the Day is separated from the time of Peace and Safety. Some mixed the Day into the Night, violating the basic warning in Acts 1:7, they made the error of seeking Peace in the world, thinking it would cause Peace and Safety in the Body. All this mixed the Day and Night into some twilight zone of confusion.

The prophets show the Remnant will sit on the mountains of the world, thus when they rejected Paul's concepts of all Israel will be saved, they also rejected the concept of the time when Jerusalem will rule the world. As a result they attempted to make the Kingdom of God a physical place on the earth, rather than within the person. 

Events come close to written prophecy, but without all the elements fitting we have a preview, not the actual event. The previews have been seen throughout history, some very close, some not so close, but a preview is nonetheless a preview. Today we see many things seemingly close, but to assume the Days of Noah mean man's lust would be running wild, also places the time during the days of Paul, John and the early church as well as including most, if not all of the world's history since the Cross. To assume wars, rumors of wars, or earthquakes would be the only signs, also assumes the time has passed, since all these have been around for years. Jesus never said the wars, rumors of wars, pestilence and famine would be the "end" of time, rather He said those would be signs of the Beginning, then added “the end is not yet” (Matt 24:6).

Were there wars prior to the Cross? Yes, were there times of famine? Yes, were there times of pestilence? Yes, but not progressive and continual. Since the Cross there has been a war, or rumor of war daily; pestilence in some part of the world daily, just as there has been famine in some part of the world continually. It's the "signs" not a sign here or there denoting the time and timing. The Days of Noah show a time when man was not concerned about the Judgment of God, a time when man lived in peace with man, but held violence (unrighteousness) toward God. People were so convinced God would not bring punishment they were given in marriage as if there was no tomorrow. One need only read about those days to see the earth was without war, pestilence, famine, governments, and more important, there were no Christians on the earth in the days of Noah. As long as there as one person who is Born Again on this earth the Night is not upon us.

The counter balance shows the world has tribulation, but be of good cheer Jesus has overcome the world. There were the so-called prophets who would say the problems within the world were the result of God punishing the world, but God so loved the world, He gave, why then would He now Punish during the time of Grace? The world is the world, the Kingdom the Kingdom, like the Day and Night if we mix them one into the other we will frustrate ourselves; we cast the net into the world, we don’t become the world.

Unfortunately history shows us what was persecuted, became the persecutor, thus it went from preaching the Gospel in love and faith, to “believe or die”, then traditions changed to doctrine, with dogma becoming commandment. During the persecution many parents became concerned about their children, thus if the parents were killed, who would care for the children? Jesus laid hands on the children, so it was felt in order to remove the concern of the parent, yet keep the children under Godly guardianship, the parents would pick “God parents” to replace them if they were martyred. Many Gentile converts still had unsaved family, the interdiction of the God Parents assured the parents their children would remain in a Christian family setting. To ensure the Vow a token was given, since the act was introduction by mercy into another family order, they felt water would represent the Dedication and Token. Rather than the God parents giving the Token to the baby, it was a matter of the God parents being received, by covering the child with water as their token. This act soon became infant baptism a controversy erupting in the 15th Century, yet in some places it’s still erupts from time to time. Whether one agrees with infant baptism or not doesn’t matter, whether they have clear Scripture to back it up does. Since church dogma replaced the Scriptures as the authority of the Body, the debates over infant baptism raged; however, the inception was just a “good idea” to be used as a token by God parents. Jesus told us to teach, then baptize, whether it’s John’s Baptism or under the Name of Jesus there isn’t one verse showing any infant was water baptized. They had hands laid on them, but it’s a different doctrine within the Doctrine of Christ (Heb 6:1-2). Some things are “good ideas”, something we should do at the moment, but they are not Doctrine. It’s a good idea to pray with the group before we preach, but Jesus never did, and neither did Paul. They prayed before and after, but not with the group. Whenever we make a tradition a doctrine, we must take something away from the Commandment. In Matthew we are told to Teach, then baptize, thus with infant baptism we must remove the Teaching, thus removing something from the Commandment. For the candidate other than water, the only requirement for water baptism is “belief” (Acts 8:36-37 et al). Even if we fall back to John’s baptism, the person still must be able to “confess their sins” (Mark 1:5). The caution is keeping traditions as traditions, and doctrine as doctrine. Infant baptism was not for the infant’s sake, it was for the parent’s sake. Our water baptism didn’t save us, God did; our water baptism was our Token to accept the conditions of God’s Mercy as we entered the Body of Christ, when we gave our belief in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. History will show many traditions which took on the form of doctrine, from time to time someone would challenged them by using Scripture. However, if one lives by dogma, they will kill for the dogma.  

We would think it strange indeed to see someone casting a net in the corn field, yet some attempt to. There are those sent to the Sea to bring in the fish: there are those sent to the Field to point out the division and separation between the Wheat and Tares. Reform is a Field process, not a Sea endeavor. When Reform begins, God starts a separating process, the Wheat become more refined, the Tares exposed: evidenced by History.

Justin Martyr saw the second perousia of Christ as Jesus with the Clouds in heaven, surrounded by angels, but his misconception of the Restoration of Israel confused  the Christian as the Remnant of Israel, or confused the House of Judah with the House of David. Yet he knew the Pious Jew would be established in the millennium, and Jerusalem will be restored, but he couldn't see how any Jew could be Pious; nonetheless he did see the last resurrection after the millennium as the judgment, then the annihilated earth as a transformed earth with the inner parts becoming the surface. Other Greek Apologists remain silent on the subject of the end times, soon Justin followed as he considered The Faith more important than the vague issues of the Millennius.

All this only confirms the prophecy, Knowledge will increase; the Book of Revelation wasn't written for the early church, it was written for those who shall be at the Door when the Day closes. Today we can see how the Remnant of the seed of the Woman is Jewish, we can also see Jerusalem being restored for the Jew alone, as well as other factors  showing the leaves on the Fig Tree are about to spring forth. We are of the Olive Tree, not the Fig Tree, we can't confuse one into the other.

The time for the Day to end was not yet, yet the Book of Revelation was not considered heresy, nor was it considered heresy to give ones view, or opinion of the Book of Revelation, thus the "knowledge of God" would also include a clear understanding of the Book of Revelation as it relates to the Prophets and Truths of Jesus. The time is now, yet as history shows there are those who mix the world into the Kingdom bringing views not supported by the Prophets or Scripture. Many sects, some cultist in nature, some not, started based on the Coming of Jesus at a certain appearing on earth. It also stands, the closer something becomes, the clearer it is. Today we know we're at the door step, it's so very close, yet not in hand.

The Judgment was known to the Jews, the chief passage in Rosh Hoshanah states, "There will be three divisions on the day of judgment, the perfectly righteous, the perfectly wicked, and the intermediate class". John said the Sea, Death, and Hell shall gave up their (plural) dead (Rev 20:13). Rabbi Akiba (120 AD) limited the punishment of the Jew in Gehenna to twelve months, one month for each tribe; although he had nothing to support his opinion, it was nonetheless accepted by the Jew then, as well as some Jews during the earthly ministry and today. The religious leaders in the time of Jesus felt if they were wrong about Jesus, then one year is all they had to serve in hell, but if they were right about Jesus they would be honored before God. When Jesus talked about everlasting punishment, the Pharisees had a theological fit, as some do today. The Rosh Hoshanah writings also show there will be those in Gehenna who keep rising and sinking, we know this to be the resurrection of the damned, who have resurrected bodies in the lake of fire.

Some felt the term of 1,000 years is attributed to Plato who said the wicked who failed to leave the earth would be in hell for a period of only 1,000 years, but he failed to see the Wicked as the Beast of the Earth, then mixed the term with those who Sleep in Jesus, two completely different groups (I Thess 5:5-7). Justin Martyr said, "We believe all who live wickedly and do not repent, will be punished with eternal fire", which would be after the 1,000 years, more true to the Scriptures than Plato’s thoughts on the subject.

Jesus, Paul and John said, the 1,000 years will be the Time of Comfort, although it will be Peace and Safety, it will nonetheless be the Night, a time of darkness when no man can work, thus we are of the Day, not the Night, or Darkness. Celsus stated the Christian belief was eternal life for those written in the Book of Life, but eternal punishment for those whose names are not found in the Book of Life, which is supported by Revelation 20:15. All of them agreed, it was not God doing the punishing, but sin punishing itself, as the sinner brings about their own punishment through their rejection of Life Eternal. Both salvation and hell are a matter of choice on man's part, with the result being conducted by God. The evidence was seen at the Fall, God merely told Adam the result of the Fall.

History shows the involvement of the Holy Ghost in early church activities; today we have the assumption of the Holy Ghost slowly moving into the Charismatic movement, which was really people moving back to being Charismatic. For some reason there are some who think the Holy Ghost is now 2,000 years older and slower, but we know He ages not, it's the desire of man's heart determining the difference. The Holy Ghost is still bringing the Seed of God, people are still being Born Again, this is still the Day. We have said all this to show the Holy Ghost is still the teacher, but He is not obligated to teach us matters which don’t concern us. In the very early days is was the casting of the Net to  build the Body so Jesus could build the Church, the End Times were not a valid point then, but we are very close to the closing of the Day, this is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

What about the whackos? Have then been around? The opening of the New Birth  by the Holy Ghost granting on Pentecost, until the End shows there will be whackos (I Jn 2:18-19 & 4:1-4). There could be no “antichrist” until there was first Christ on the earth. Judas being the first antichrist, yet many have followed in his footsteps (I Jn 2:19). Although Judas was the first antichrist, Simon of Samaria was the first "whacko". Someone who is antichrist is opposed to the Christ nature, thus they still use the spirit of the world. However, a whacko is opposed to order God has established for the Body. Jesus is the Head of the Body, a whacko thinks they are, they presume the Body is a gift for their pleasure. They are still independent, self-reliant, self-based, and manipulative in nature. Whackos are Pharisees with a gun, they all have the delusion they are greater than the sum, some of them think they are God’s great gift to humanity. Whacko, or Nutso, it’s all the same, someone who uses religion as a mask to bring about their personal desires in a violent way. Some claim “religion” is the problem, it’s not religion it’s the spirit of the world using religion in an evil violent manner.

Some of us confuse the Power of the Anointing with manipulation and control,  then we toss the Baby Jesus out with the bath water. The Spirit guides, thus the Anointing will also guide, but a manipulative spirit has a hidden agenda, something not clear on the surface. Mind games also have a hidden agenda, but the hidden agenda is hidden from the one using the mind game as well. A hidden agenda is when the person wants God to please them, or serve them, to get what they want out of Godly principles, without any regard for procedure or people. The Anointing never hides the agenda, it makes it clear. What we see, is what we get, thus the Anointing brings clarity.

In respect to the Doctrine of Baptisms the early church did one type, sought the others. The concept of “Living Water” is not the same as “running water”, Jesus said Living Water was Mercy coming from the Spirit of Christ in the person (Jn 7:37-39). Running water means they preferred running water over stagnate water. The Didache says to use running water when possible, if not use standing clear water: the purpose is clear, standing dirty water not only has the potential to be polluted, but it also represents confusion and guilt. However, if we also find if neither running or clear standing water was available, it was acceptable to use water in a vessel to pour it over the head of the person.

Paul said the children in the wilderness were Baptized unto Moses (I Cor 10:2), does it mean Water baptism was conducted by Moses? Does it mean the people were immersed into Moses? Did they use sand instead of water? Hardly, the Greek verb Baptizo means To be identified with, thus the children in the wilderness were identified with Moses through the Law, we identify with Jesus through the Spirit, but we identify with the Mercy of the Father by our water baptism.

In the East the evidence regarding the Baptism rite goes back to the second and third century, It included what some term Exorcism, or as we know it, casting out devils and unclean spirits. The original term “Exorcism” or “Exorcists” referred to someone who would bind devils in a person (Acts 19:13). Water baptism was often done three times, each time pointing to a different vow or token connected to Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. First it was Mercy, forgiving as one is forgiven, next to accept the call of the Cross turning from the world and seeking the Kingdom of God. Then the third, the token to continue to believe beyond acceptance into the Body to receive the Holy Spirit. After the Tokens the candidate would then receive the abilities, the one doing the baptism would breath on the person granting them power to forgive, as well as permission to receive the Baptism with the Holy Ghost (The Ingress Airs - John 20:21-23). They would lay hands on them, presenting them to the Lord to be baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:6 et al). They would touch the ears with the exclamation "Ephphatha!" for the opening of the ears, they would then use of olive oil on their fingers making the sign of the cross (X  the Greek letter used for Christ) on the forehead of the candidate. 

In Africa they had the addition of giving salt, as a token regarding their continual belief. The Didache confirms how Water Baptism was done three times, In the Name of the Father (1), Son (2), and Holy Ghost (3); but done by someone who was in the Name of Jesus. Each had a meaning to the Vows or Tokens by the candidate, but this was not three separate baptisms, rather the person was dipped three times under the Authority (Name) of Jesus, since the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is one Name. In either case water baptism was conducted by someone who was in the Body, greeting someone who wanted to become a member of the Body, with the one proviso, the candidate must Believe. 

Proselytes often took a new name as a sign of dying on the Cross, or leaving the old man behind. In the act of baptism the candidate would first face toward the west renouncing Satan, then facing the east they Vowed fidelity to Christ, thereby making the Vow by the physical turning from one direction to another in order to Identify with the Purpose of their repentance. They would confess their faith in the Triune God coupled with their belief in Jesus. Our definition of Repentance comes from the act of "turning around to face another direction", but our concept of using the self to move in the direction is not the same as turning and allowing the Holy Ghost to take us in a different direction.

In the Western church the candidate would also receive a mixture of Milk and Honey; Milk for the Basics the Word, Honey for Prophecy. In 305 AD, Cyril the Bishop in Jerusalem relates how the process for baptism included Exorcism, then explained it as putting off the old garments (not becoming naked, more like Blind Bartimaeus casting off the robe of religious conceit), receiving the anointing, a short confession of faith, triple immersion, anointing with Olive oil, explaining Communion, then taking Communion. Within Cyril's description we find the Doctrine of Baptisms, not only was Water Baptism an issue, but the Anointing of Oil with the presentation to be united in Christ by the Spirit. The process differed, but the context was the same, Water, Blood and Spirit; therefore, any rite or policy of baptism without the Baptisms lacks compliance with the Doctrine of Baptisms.

The Types and Shadows of history continue on, as the history of the Jewish people showed there were those who followed God, and those who used God; the same pattern moves through our History. There are those who desire to serve God, and those who desire for God to serve them. There are those who seek to be Christ Like, those who seek for Christ to be like them. Those who seek to be the Image of God’s Son, those who seek to be Adam like. There are those used of God, and those who used the things of God for self-glory. Our study is to separate ourselves from those who use God, becoming those used of God for His Glory.

In using certain dates we must keep in mind the calendar in our hands is not accurate in all respects. Around 550 Dionysius Exgiuus in his Cyclus Paschalis picked the year 754 A.U.C. for the founding of Rome, instead of the more accurate 749 A.U.C.  From the wrong date he assumed the birth of Jesus, but he missed it by five years. Instead of 1 AD as the time for the birth of Jesus, it's really 5 BC. It doesn’t change the birth, but we can become involved in debates over trivial matters, the fact remains Jesus was born of a virgin, the Word did become flesh (Jn 1:14 & Luke 1:27).

There have been great controversies regarding the meaning of Christ; between 325 and 451, and between 1517 and 1648 people sought to define Christ in terms of creeds or dogma. The Charismatics sought Christ by a personal experience, the intellectuals attempted to define Jesus. The Christness of the Body was often confused with Jesus the Christ, the natural intellect without the Spirit couldn’t make the separation. Others in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries spoke of Jesus as the Christ of history, promoting the false concept of "all has passed away". Paul faced the same attitude when Hymenaeus and Philetus who were preaching the Resurrection was passed (II Tim 2:17-18). In their case they were saying there was no Rapture, the Resurrection of Jesus was complete. Paul called their concept of “The resurrection has passed” blasphemy, which is one step past heresy. Heresy often leads people in the wrong direction, usually to acts of the flesh, but blasphemy is when someone attempts to overthrow the faith of the saints.

In the process of time the Bible became known as "the only Word of God", which seemed to replace Jesus as the Word. This allowed man to become intellectual in his studies of the Bible, presuming he had life by assuming he was "in the Word", rather than the “Word was in him”. Those fables were condemned by Jesus when He told the Pharisees simply reading about Life, didn't mean one had it (Jn 39-40). The Bible defines itself, it doesn’t interpret itself; however, it defines itself as the Scriptures and Jesus as the Word of God made flesh. It doesn’t take away from the Bible, rather it still points to Jesus.

The basis of being a Christian was centered around the Spirit, the purpose of the New Birth is still to bring about that Born of the Spirit is Spirit. From 30 AD to around 44 AD the church in Jerusalem held the leading position in the Christian community. The primary focus of the Body until around 62 AD was centered on bringing the Jew into the Promise. The Gentile was a second class citizen in the Kingdom according to the Jew, but according to God there is no Jew or Gentile (Jew being the first presented the Gospel), but we are all One in Christ.

It was the church in Jerusalem to settle the first controversy regarding the Jew who came out of the Law, and the Gentile who came around the Law (Acts 15:1-32). The first persecution against the Body was by the Jews when Stephen the Deacon was stoned to death (Acts 7:60-8:1). Herod the Jew who was appointed by the Romans, killed James the brother of John (Acts 12:2). When Paul was still Saul the Christian hunter he persecuted the Body (Gal 1:23). It really wasn’t until Nero wherein the Romans began a campaign against the Christians, nonetheless we find during the Persecution of the Body there was little discussion over theology, rather they received and followed the Spirit. After the Persecution came theological debates, interesting enough the Power of the Holy Ghost also started to diminish. On the other hand there were many who broke through and found the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Many maintained in the Faith, thus the conclusion must be, it didn't pass away, rather some passed from it.

We know Stephen was the first disciple killed, history tells us Nicanor, one of the other seven suffered as a martyr during the persecution which arose from his sermon of Stephen. We also know James, the brother of John was martyred, Paul was beheaded, but what of the others? History shows Philip of Bethsaida (the apostle, not the evangelist) went to upper Asia to spread the Gospel, there he was thrown into prison and crucified around 54 AD. Matthew went to Parthia and Ethiopia, where he suffered as a martyr when he was slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah in 60 AD. James the less, who wrote the Book of James, as well as being the pastor in the church in Jerusalem died at the age of 94 when he was beaten and stoned to death at the hands of the Jews, finally to have his brains dashed out with a fuller's club. It is also possible, and recorded just prior to being stoned by the Jews James was taken to the top of a building where he was told to denounce Jesus. He of course did not, they tossed him off, when he hit the ground, the Jews stoned him, finally dashing his brains out. Matthias, who was elected in the first chapter of Acts was supposedly stoned to death in Jerusalem, but never produced any Apostolic signs as evidence of Jesus accepting him into the office, nor was he mentioned in the remaining Book of Acts. There is also some confusion if the Matthias who was stoned to death is the same Matthias noted in Acts 1:23. Andrew preached in many Asiatic nations, on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross. This cross was shaped like an X rather than a T, the X shape became known as "Saint Andrew's Cross". The Greek letter X was used as a symbol for Christ, seen in the conversion of Constantine several years later.

Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria at the feast of Serapis, their idol. Jude, the writer of the letter, and a recognized prophet was crucified at Edessa in 72 AD. Bartholomew was beaten then crucified by idolaters. Thomas preached in Parthia and India where pagan priests thrust him through with a spear, then reportedly skinned him alive. Luke was hanged on an olive tree by idolatrous priests in Greece. Simon, surnamed Zelotes preached in Nauritania, Africa, and even ventured to Britain, where he was crucified in 74 AD. Barbnabas was killed around 73 AD. This leaves two more, Peter who is said to be crucified at Rome by some, and outside of Rome by others, yet all agree he demanded to be crucified upside down, declaring he was not worthy to be crucified as his Lord, recorded by the historian Jerome. Peter's wife was also crucified, apparently it was done to force Peter to deny the Lord, but Peter did not, neither did his wife. While she was being crucified, Peter called out to her, "Remember Christ", afterward Peter was crucified.

The other is John the beloved, whom we know was the scribe to John's Account, John I, II, III and the Book of Revelation, he was also the founder of the churches in Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea and Thyatria, as well as an elder in the church in Ephesus. The Emperor Domitian attempted to boil John in oil, but failed, in his frustration he sent John to the Isle of Patmos. Nerva, the successor of Domitian recalled John from the isle, releasing him. John died a natural death, and was buried in Ephesus, reportedly next to the grave of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

We have said all this to show faith is not something to avoid the event, it's the granted power of the peace of God in the event. If we think we can avoid events by our faith, we not only error, we will end using witchcraft, then calling it faith. Also the events help us to define the term Martyr, today there are religious orders who think a martyr is someone who kills many in the “name of religion”, but it’s not the historical, or Godly view of a Martyr. A True Martyr never takes life, they refuse to denounce God, when faced with death. A murderer takes lives, even if they give their own in the process. Not one Christian Martyr ever took a Roman life, or a Jew’s life, they simply refused to deny the Lord when faced with death. In many cases the false martyr has leaders who fight to save their own lives, while sending others out do die in the “name of religion”. Jesus who is our example, “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He Humbled Himself an became Obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross” (Ph’l 2:7-8). Jesus said, “Father forgive them”, a false martyr takes pleasure in the death of others. Today there are some who twist the concept of being Martyr, if the person claims to be a Martyr, yet takes their own life, they are not a martyr, they have committed suicide based on a political issue. The basis of being a martyr is having ones life taken, not taking other lives, nor in committing suicide for a political belief. They may be a murderer, but they are not a martyr according to the historical record. 

The term church fathers comes from the title given to the elders who lived between the end of the apostolic age, until the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD). These men heard from those who were with the disciples; or from those who studied under the disciples of the disciples. Clement of Rome (30-100 AD) was a disciple of Paul (Ph’l 4:3) he wrote his first letter around 95 AD to stop a serious disturbance occurring in the church at Corinth. Like Paul, Clement used Scripture; he started by praising the Corinthians, while not praising them. He spoke of what should be, from the introduction of the letter it would appear Clement was looking at a Perfect Body, but further into the letter we find he was inserting his prayer of faith seeking what they should be, but in fact were not.

There were several men by the name of Gregory, there was Pope Gregory, but there was a church father named also Gregory of Nazinazus (330-389), he was known for his contributions to the theological definition of the Trinity. The concept of the Trinity was not something some heretic came up with, it was an accepted doctrine since the beginning of the Body. Gregory of Nazinazus, Basil in Pontus, as well as Gregory of Nyssa were called Cappadocian fathers, all were brought up in the Cappadocian town of Nazinzus (present day Bekar in Turkey), where Gregory’s father was bishop. Gregory as a young man was reluctant to take a position of responsibility in the local church, retiring instead to a monastic community started by Basil in Pontus. He explained his purpose in a writing entitled, Defense Of the Flight To Pontus, which became the basis for works on the priesthood by Saint John Chyrsostom and Pope Gregory I.

Gregory of Nazinazus was consecrated as a bishop in 371, but did not become actively involved in ecclesiastical affairs until he assumed leadership in 379 of the orthodox community in Constantinople. He played a major role in the Council of Constantinople (381), which continued the definition of the Christian teaching at the councils at Nicaea. However, opposition in the council to Gregory's claim of the bishopric of Constantinople made him decide to return to Nazianzus, then in 384 he retried to monastic life. Gregory was not a writer of books, rather his writings were more orations, or letters. In the Orthodox church he became known as the "the Theologian" because of his influential sermons dealing with the Trinity and Christology.       

Hermas was another church father who flourished around 140 AD, he was also a  Christian writer noted for his vivid description of early Christianity. According to his own testimony, Hermas was sold into slavery as a boy, then sent to Rome. There he was purchased by a woman called Rhoda, who freed him. Hermas' book, The Shepherd, is a series of revelations granted to him through two heavenly figures, an old woman and an angel who assumed the form of a shepherd. The work is divided into 3 sections with 5 visions on penance and doctrine, 12 precepts on morality, and 10 parables, principles of Christian living. The Shepherd was widely regarded as a canonical book of the Bible until the 4th century. One might ask why didn't Jesus appear to him? Who knows, the figure of the "old woman" represented Jewish roots, the figure of the "angel" the Christian influence, thus the figures used represented the message, they were not there for show, or some mystic involvement. Peter had a vision, Paul had one, and John had a massive one, all pertained to the greatness of Christ, not the men.

In the very early days the term "bishop" was used for the office of the person over "helps", as was the role of a "deacon", both were assigned to helps. Later after Rome became the center of religion the term "bishop" took on many meanings, but even today we find "bishops" in the Catholic church tending to the needs of the Pope. Unfortunately the role has moved into the realm of "governments" in both the Catholic and Protestant circles, as has the term "Church Board". Nonetheless God has a working Operation, when we move from the Operation we find problems (I Cor 12:28). Perhaps the root to all the problems in the History of the Body stem from failing to operate in the manner God intended.

The Office of Bishop was moved from overseeing Helps to Governments, which  opened the area for man to ordain people into the offices, which in turn took the requirements for Helps, then forced them as qualifications for the offices of the Lord. All this removed the Holy Ghost from appointing the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Pastor, producing many self-appointed people. Leaders do appoint bishops, deacons and elders, but no where are they given authority to appoint anyone to the five-fold offices.

Clement was as surprised as anyone when he found the Corinthians in his day had not grown from the rebuked Corinthians in Paul’s day. One would think if an Apostle corrected us, we would learn and repent. Choice is choice, the same Envy Paul warned the Corinthians about, surfaced again in the same body, but with different members and leaders. Clement wrote to the new members with the anticipation of having them remove themselves from the yoke of Carnal thinking. After all, even the second generation in the Wilderness learned from the errors of the first.

Clement reminds them, "Every kind of honor and happiness was bestowed upon you", but he also notes, "hence flowed emulation and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and disorder, war and captivity". Clement used the historical evidence of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, then adds, "you see brethren, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother". The evidence of division, strife and envy was obvious, this was at the beginning of the Persecution. The Carnal mind produced after it’s own kind, yet Paul gave them the keys to open the spiritual, as did Clement.

Although we hear of those who were martyred, there were some who denounced Jesus. They lacked a spiritual foundation, Clement was concerned not for Christianity, but for the Corinthians, if they remained carnal, they would reject the Cross to save their own necks. 

The Gift was at hand, but the Corinthians failed to put it in hand. Clement points to the ministry of the Grace of God by the Spirit as the source of Peace, then issues a call for them to enter repentance. He gave them hope by saying, "As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner, but rather his repentance". He also added, "Wash you, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before my eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see justice is done to the widow; and come, let us reason together". Was Clement telling them to become baptized in water again? No, the reference goes to the washing of the Water by the Word as they submit to be cleaned by the Spirit.

Clement continued by telling the Corinthians, "Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious Will; and imploring His mercy and lovingkindness, while we forsake all fruitless labors, strife and envy which leads to death". Clement then says, "I have seen the foolish taking root", pointing directly to the problem by saying, "You are fond of contention, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are true utterances of the Holy Ghost. Observe nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them. There you will not find the righteous were cast off by men who themselves were holy. The righteous were indeed persecuted, but only by the wicked". He then promotes the goal by saying, "Why are there strifes, tumults, divisions, schisms and wars among you: Have we not one God and one Christ? Is there not One Spirit of Grace poured out to us? And have we not one calling in Christ? Why do we divide and tear to pieces the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own Body, and have reached such a height of madness as to forget we are members one of another?". Clement defined Grace is having the Spirit, he also quoted many verses from the Gospel, letters to the Romans, Ephesians and other Scriptures, laying the ground work for repentance. These words spoken to the carnal, thus the violations of Grace in the history of the Body can all be attributed to a failure to receive words of correction. First and Second Corinthians tell us many things to keep us humble, we can have the Spirit, but be carnal. We can speak in unknown tongues, yet use envy, division and strife. We can be in the Body of Christ, yet not be Spiritual.

Ignatius and Polycarp were disciples of John the Apostle, both wrote letters, both quoted John, giving validation to John’s letters. Polycarp wrote to the Philippians, his praise for their efforts to remain in the Love of God was genuine. Polycarp had an eschatology in line with the Book of Revelation, he said when Jesus returns it will be to judge and finish His Kingdom in heaven, rather than set up His Kingdom on earth. Polycarp explained two loves, the inward Love of Jesus, which was coupled with a true love for Jesus bringing Righteousness, while putting us far from all sin; however, the other side of the coin was the love of money, which is the root of all evil. Polycarp summed up his thought process by saying, “only that we believe". Polycarp was martyred as he confessed himself as a Christian by refusing to revile Christ. Polycarp displayed the true act of being a Martyr, he refused to denounce Christ when faced with death at the hands of evil persons.

The early church held the Name of Jesus was the combined Authority of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians (A.D. 30-107), in Chapter 2 had this say: There is then one God and Father, and not two or three; One who is; and there is no other besides Him, the only true [God]. For the Lord thy God, saith [the Scripture], is one Lord. And again, Hath not one God created us? Have we not all one Father? And there is also one Son, God the Word. For “the only-begotten Son, saith [the Scripture], who is in the bosom of the Father. And again, One Lord Jesus Christ. And in another place, What is His name, or what His Son's name, that we may know? And there is also one Paraclete, giving validity to the First John 5:7-8.

In the early days history shows Rome honored heathen gods, they even looked at Caesar as a god, thus they considered the Christian an atheist. The only charges against any Christian, was the refusal to bow to Caesar or the gods of Rome. Even faced with death Polycarp told the Roman proconsul "since you are vainly urgent, as you say, I should swear by the fortune of Caesar, and pretend not to know who and what I am, hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrine of Christianity is, appoint me a day and you shall hear it". Polycarp was sentenced to burn at the stake, he also prayed giving thanks unto God for all things as the flames were leaping toward him. The end of his prayer denotes the positions of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as he said, "Wherefore also I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with Whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages, Amen". When the flames consumed Polycrap the witnesses reported a great miracle; instead of the man burning, the flames arched around him and instead of the smell of fire, there came the smell of frankincense. The Epistle regarding the martyrdom of Polycarp ends with, "We wish you, brethren, all happiness, while you walk according to the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; with Whom be Glory to God, the Father and Holy Ghost, for the salvation of His holy elect, after whose example the blessed Polycarp suffered". The concept of God being Father, Son and Holy Ghost was well known among those who studied under the disciples.

Ignatius of Antioch, was also the bishop of Antioch as one of the Apostolic fathers of the church: during the reign of Trajan the Roman emperor, Ignatius was condemned to be devoured by wild beasts. On his way from Antioch to Rome, where the execution was to take place, he wrote seven letters. Of these, five were addressed to the Christian communities of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia, and Smyrna, all cities in Asia Minor, who sent representatives to greet him as he passed through. The other letters were addressed to Polycarp the bishop of Smyrna, and to the Christian community of Rome. Of late there is a controversy over how many Christians were devoured by lions in the Coliseum; however, there is no debate regarding the roads around Rome being lined with crosses by the hundreds, some say by the thousands with crucified Christians. 

The letters of Ignatius are an important source of information about the beliefs and organization of the early Christian. Ignatius wrote some as warnings against heretical doctrines, thus providing his readers with detailed summaries of Christian doctrine. He also gave a vivid picture of the local church as a community.  His knowledge of the term Bishop shows it was attached to the Helps ministry, he never equated it to any Office of the five fold ministry, rather he kept in the same framework as Paul. It also shows the importance of Helps, without Helps, Governments just sits around wondering what to do. Ignatius was the first Christian writer to stress the virgin birth, or to use the term catholic church as a collective term for the faithful. The word Catholic really means Universal, or something going far beyond the confines of the earth.

Ignatius' letter to the Ephesians noted how they acquired the Righteousness of Jesus according to The Faith and Love of Christ, then he notes the Love of God is found in the Blood of Jesus. Ignatius profoundly declared how the Ephesians held to the Faith by the Spirit, it was through the Spirit they joined together in concord and harmonious love in songs to Jesus. The Unity of the saints was found in the Spirit by the Unity of the Faith, not in the theology of natural man.

The word Unity appears twice in the New Testament, both times in the Book to the Ephesians (Eph 4:3 & 4:13). First it's the Unity of the Spirit, then the Unity of the Faith, this is the only condition and position where we can find Godly Unity. Attempting to unite by theology, or by natural means, only leads to division, not unity.

Ignatius didn't look at things as passed away, simply because John went home to be with the Lord, rather he said, "We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus Christ". This man who studied under John the Apostle had no problem equating Jesus as "the Lord our God". He also pointed to the Holy Ghost, saying the Holy Ghost doesn't Speak His own things, but those of Christ, even as the Lord announced things He received from the Father. This is the same equation we find in Acts 13:1-3, when the Holy Ghost appoints to offices on behalf of Jesus.

Ignatius quoted much of John's account: although chapter and verse were not introduced until the 1600's he nonetheless quoted what we term John 12:32, 14:24, 16:13, 17:4-6, 16:14, and 14:6, thus giving credence to John's account as known and believed among those who studied under him.

In reference to false teachers, Ignatius pointed out they follow the spirit of deceit, but he also placed them into a position called a "he"; thereby, equating them to the he in the world (I Jn 4:1-5). Ignatius tells us the he in the world preaches himself, speaks his own things, seeks to please himself, glorifies himself, is full of arrogance, lies, fraudulent, soothing, flattering, treacherous, rhapsodical, trifling, inharmonious, verbose, sordid and timorous. On the same note he said, "From his power Jesus Christ will deliver you, who has founded you as the Rock, as being chosen stones, well fitted for the divine edifice of the Father, and who are raised up on High by Christ, who was crucified for you, making use of the Spirit as a hope, and being borne of Faith, while exalted by Love from the earth to heaven, walking in company with those who are undefiled". He then adds, "Blessed are they of you who are God-bearers, Spirit-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the Commandments of Jesus Christ, being a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people". We see Ignatius also quoted Peter, yet he didn't say the Rock was Peter, rather he said, Christ is the Rock, whose Cornerstone is Jesus, upon Whom Jesus established the Church.

Ignatius tells us the Kingdom of God is not in word, but by Power. Ignatius defines the Armor of God as he tells us to come together giving Thanks unto God, showing forth His Praise, by so doing the powers of Satan are destroyed, his fiery darts urging us to return, or fall back become ineffectual. Therefore showing the purpose of warfare is to continue in the saving of our souls, rather than draw back to perdition.

An example of giving God the Glory is found in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, as he said, "Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to Christianity. For whosoever is called by any other Name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be you changed into the New, Which is Jesus Christ. Be you salted in Him, lest any one among you should be corrupted, since by your savor you shall be convicted. It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, so every tongue which Believes might be gathered together in God".

There were two dangers facing the Body, mixing with the world is always a danger, but there were some who used the Name of Jesus, yet denied the Ways of the Lord, they were more of a danger than the world. They wanted the Power, but didn't want to be responsible to the Authority. Fighting the darkness is one thing, finding the darkness sitting next to you on Sunday morning another. In the Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians he identifies the victims as the Babes in Christ; although he praises them on one hand, he rebukes them on the other. He warns them of the false who are vain talkers, deceivers, not Christian (Christ Like), but Christ-betrayers, bearing about the Name of Christ in deceit while corrupting the Word. His concept of the “Word” could not mean the Bible, since the Bible as we know it was not around, thus he defines the Word as Jesus. Like a true saint Ignatius knew reproof without Faith ends in condemnation, reproof by faith ends in edification. He tells us how the false intermix poison in their persuasive talk, they mingle aconite (wolf-bane) with sweet wine, thus he who drinks their concoction is being deceived by his taste, meeting his own death. In reference to the Spirit, the false do not display He exists in them by their nature, denying the Power of Christ, while claiming to be Christian. In his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius gives us the clue to overcoming when he says, "Be you strong, I pray, in the Power of the Holy Ghost", and "Fare ye well in the Grace of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, being Filled with the Spirit and divine and sacred Wisdom".

In his Second Epistle to the Ephesians Ignatius pointed out, those who are carnal are not able to do spiritual things, nor those who are spiritual carnal things: in like manner, neither can faith do those things which are foreign to faith. Ignatius pointed to the intent and motive produced by the nature; therefore, all of us make mistakes, it's the intent and motive determining if those mistakes are sin, or not. Peter was weak, Judas was wicked, unless we make the distinction between the two we will condemn everyone who falls because of a weakness.

In Ignatius’ Epistle to the Tarsians he writes; "I have learned certain of the ministers of Satan have wished to disturb you, some of them asserting Jesus was born only in appearance, was crucified in appearance, and died in appearance; others say He is not the Son of the Creator, and others say He is Himself God over all. Others again, hold He is mere man, others saying we are not to rise again, so our proper course is to live and partake of a life of pleasure, for this is the chief good to beings who are in a little while to perish. A swarm of such evils has burst in upon us. But you have not given place by subjection to them, no, not for one hour. For you are the fellow citizens as well as the disciples of Paul, who fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum and bare about the marks of Christ in his flesh". How could Jesus allow these false to enter? Didn’t He say the gates of hell shall not prevail? They won’t against the Church, but will against the Body.

Today there are some who desire to change John to read, "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was a god". Others who look only on Jesus as the only God, two extremes, both errors, yet they were seen in the early days. Ignatius quotes John, by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God". He also points out Jesus Himself is not God over all, rather the Father is God over all, the Father made the Son the God over all until the Father makes the enemies of Jesus His footstool. He supports this by showing the Son said, "I ascend unto My Father and your Father and to My God and your God"; thereby quoting more of John's account. In answer to this, he also shows, Jesus is God the Son, by adding, "When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall He also Himself be subject unto Him who put all things under Him, so God may be all in all". In his Epistle to the Antiochians he makes it clearer by saying, "The Lord thy God is One Lord, thus proclaimed there was only one God, did yet forthwith confess also our Lord when He said, The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord". Then he places Isaiah into the equation showing the Father called the Son "mighty God" (Isa 9:6).

Ignatius quoted John 1:1 several times as the Word became Flesh, showing the Word was not Flesh prior. Those who claim One God, yet deny Jesus His rightful place in the equation remove Jesus from the divinity, Ignatius calls them "a devil, an enemy of all righteousness". Anyone who rejects the Incarnation and is ashamed of the Cross, "this man is antichrist". Ignatius didn't say this was The Antichrist, rather he said the person was antichrist, denoting a position, then he indicates the antichrist person is one who has entered the Body, then denies the purpose of the Incarnation.

Ignatius like the other early disciples knew Jesus as the Word incarnate, as he said to the Philippians, "and how can He be but God, who raises up the dead, sends away the lame sound of limb, cleanses the lepers, restores sight to the blind, and either increases or transmutes existing substances, as the five loaves and the two fishes, and the water which became wine, and Who puts to flight a whole host by a mere word?"; he didn’t say Only God, rather Jesus as part of the Godhead. Ignatius added, "But If, He is both God and man, then why do you call it unlawful to style Him The Lord Of Glory, who is by Nature unchangeable". This same Ignatius knew John the Apostle, we have letters from Ignatius to John showing the closeness of the two men; therefore, Ignatius didn't voice some strange doctrine, but the same doctrine John taught him, yet he also named Jesus as the Son of man, declared the Son of God by the Resurrection.

Ignatius wrote Mary, saying, "For I have heard things wonderful to tell respecting your (son) Jesus, I am astonished by such a report". Mary wrote back and said, "The things which you have heard and learned from John concerning Jesus are true, believe them, cling to them, hold fast the profession of Christianity which you have embraced". Then she added, "I will come in company with John to visit you, and those with you". This gives validity to Jesus not only knowing John would be the only disciple to out live Mary, but shows Jesus did tell her, "Woman, behold your son" (Jn 19:26-27).

These types of statements are important, one cannot find a Manuscript and assume the outside additional letters and writings are unimportant. Two Manuscripts lack the last verses in Mark, but external evidence shows the verses were accepted text. The doubters and pouters look for reasons not to believe, the Believer looks for opportunity to build their belief.

 The difference between one who is of Israel, and a Jew became more defined. The title Jew comes from the tribe name of Judah, it referred to one who had right to Covenant by circumcision. Accordingly Paul shows a “true Jew” is one who is circumcised of heart. Within the Body there are two classes of “Jew”, one belongs to those who submit to the circumcision of the heart, the other say they are Jews, but are not, they belong to the synagogue of Satan (Rev 3:9). Paul equated the term “true Jew” to those in the Body, the title Israel to the nation of Israel, there is no “true Israel” in the Scriptures. Therefore, Ignatius wrote, "if any one says the Lord is mere man, he is a Jew, a murderer of Christ". Receiving Jesus as a Sacrifice is different, it was well considered, if you haven’t accepted the Sacrifice of Jesus, you caused it.

Ignatius also explained the difference between the Tabernacle, and Temple of God, as he wrote "keep yourself pure as the habitation (tabernacle) of God. You are the temple (holy of holies) of Christ. You are an instrument of the Spirit". In order to be the Tabernacle of God, we must first become the Temple, then move to the Tabernacle as a usable Instrument of the Spirit.

Ignatius was martyred around 107 AD (or 116 depending on which calendar one uses) under the reign of Trajan, who was an emperor so filled with pride there was hardly enough room for his blood, he was known as unjust and mean. Ignatius was not slow to speak in the face of Trajan, but spoke as he was moved by the Holy Ghost. Ignatius was a peaceful man, a mild man, yet Trajan a mean man. When Ignatius faced Trajan, Trajan said unto him, "Who are you, wicked wretch, who sets yourself to transgress our commands, and persuades others to do the same". Ignatius replied, "No one ought to call Ignatius wicked; for all evil spirits have departed from the servants of God. But if because I am an enemy to these evil spirits, you call me wicked in respect to them, I quite agree with you; for inasmuch as I have Christ the King of heaven within me, I destroy all the devices of these evil spirits". Ignatius was devoured by the beasts at Rome, his disciples gathered up the remains and buried him at Antioch. Ignatius was not beheaded, does it mean he will not be among those "beheaded for Christ"? Hardly, he knew who the Head (authority) was, it wasn't Ignatius, it was Jesus.

The early danger of Judaizing hung around even after Paul addressed it through his letter to the Galatians. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, but Jerusalem itself was destroyed some thirty years later. With the destruction of Jerusalem the Judaizers came in full force in an attempt to make a second Israel. Anything given to Abraham or Moses which became included into the Law of Moses, became the Law of Moses regardless.  There are many like “words” found in the Old and New, but they differ widely in concept and definition. There is a sabbath day in the Old, yet Jesus is our sabbath in the New; there is a circumcision in the Old, and one in the New, but they differ by definition.

The Judaizers couldn’t accept the Gentile coming around the Law, they fought and fought to get the Gentile to go back to the Law of Moses to begin again. The evidence as Paul said, is the Spirit, if one has the Spirit they have been accepted by Jesus. They also held certain points of the Law of Moses, proclaiming them to be attached to the New Covenant by association. Paul showed them time and again their premise was wrong, if one wanted to keep a day, or not, it was between them and the Lord; it was not to be doctrine, nor to be imposed on others.

There were the Defenders of the Faith known as Apologists, but these people didn't apologize for the faith, rather they used Christian concepts and Scripture to stand for Faith. Some of us think an Apologist is one who goes around saying, "Oh gee, we're sorry, oh my, excuse me, or golly we're so sorry". No, they defend the faith, the term means one who stands without apology: one such Apologists was Justin Martyr (110-165 AD) who was a Gentile, but born in Samaria, near Jacob's well (of all places), the same place Jesus told the woman about the Living Water. Justin shows how the natural intellect of man will call devils (idols) gods; when they give place to idols in man's religion, they themselves become demons; whereas, the Christian knows their God, by faith they fashion a place in their hearts for Him to dwell. Clearly they knew the Kingdom was within, they were not waiting for it, they were being perfected by it.

The Romans called the Christians atheists, Justin admits, as far as those who hold to heathen gods are concerned, truly we are atheistic; but the Prophetic Spirit of Christ has taught us in Whom we worship and adore. Justin speaks of those who will come on the last day saying, "Lord, Lord" but will be ravening wolves in sheep's clothing, thus Justin noted there were those from within who attack the Faith, but it didn’t mean the Faith was faulty, rather there were others who proved Christ in them by their nature.

Justin pointed out how the Christian would gladly serve Rome, but not worship it, for no Christian should be caught giving worship to an earthly kingdom. Justin talks about Simon the Samaritan, but he also shows there were others who did magic, but they didn't have the ability to forgive men's sins, or lead men to salvation. Justin doesn't discount signs, rather he places them in the right perspective, all signs of Believers point to Jesus.

Justin, like Peter noted there were some who could translate languages, such as Hebrew, but they didn't understand what was written, for only the Holy Ghost can interpret the language. Again we find the difference between the Scriptures and the Word, without the Spirit in us we will use Scriptures against people, not for them. In reference to the Holy Ghost, Justin said, "for sometimes He declares things yet to come to pass, in the manner of one who foretells the future; sometimes He speaks as from the person of God the Lord and Father of all; sometimes as from the person of Christ". In reference to translation he said, "And this the Jews who possessed the books of the prophets did not understand, therefore did not recognize Christ even when He came, but even hate us who say He has come, and who prove, as was predicted, He was crucified by them". He also tells us to discern for "when the Spirit of Prophecy speaks of things about to come to pass as if they had already taken place". We know this as calling things which are not to us, as a Were to God, but it shows we can miss the prophecy by attempting to interpret it through natural reasoning.

Many of Justin’s writings center around defending the faith, part of the faith would be inclusive to the Doctrine of Christ. For instance he speaks of two types of baptism, one in Water, the another granting someone the Living Water within. He also explains the Sacraments to the heathen reader, showing how many prayers were given for all parties, those who accepted the call, and for those whom the Lord is calling. At the end of the prayers comes the Bread and a Cup with Wine and Water mixed. The early saints didn’t use all wine, or all grape juice, rather in accordance with both Paul and John the Water and Blood (Wine) were mixed (I Jn 5:6 & I Tim 5:23). The Communion (Eucharist) is taken by Believers, who have not only accepted the Body (Bread), but have accepted the Spirit (Church). Does it mean only those who are the exactness of Christ can partake? Not at all, it means we get our hearts right by focusing on being Christ Like by the Spirit. The unworthy state at the table is when one fails to see the importance of the Bread and Wine. Paul’s comments to the Corinthians was based on their carnal disrespect for the table, for some reason we think if we have some sin in our life we can’t partake. Not so, not so at all, it’s the perfect time to come to the table to find the place in the Bread and Blood of Christ to be set free indeed by the Spirit within.

There were other evidences regarding Christians outside of the writings of the saints, some of which came from the Romans (not the letter to the Romans, but the people known as Romans). The Epistle of Marcus Aurelius to the Senate became an eye opener; Marcus was surrounded by the enemy, not just a few but nearly 900,000 of mixed multitudes coming to destroy Marcus and his troops. Marcus being a Roman immediately summoned help from his heathen Roman gods, but gained no help at all. He then summoned those called Christian among the slave armor bearers, cooks and non-combatants. Marcus was not only surrounded by the enemy, but was without water for several days, the future looked dim, death and failure were knocking on the door. Out of desperation Marcus requested for the Christians to pray to their God, and soon found they entered a battle he was not prepared for. The Christians didn't grab swords, knifes or pickets, they cast themselves on the ground to pray, not only for Marcus, but for the whole Roman army, the same army who had been persecuting their brethren. While these Christians were praying it started to rain, not just any rain, but as Marcus wrote "water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool". A miracle indeed, but what about the enemy? Marcus wrote "but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail". Marcus made a plea to Rome, Be careful how they handle these Christians, lest they pray against Rome. Marcus being admittedly ignorant of the Christian belief, didn't understand Christians didn't render evil for evil, rather they pray for those who persecuted them.

Were Christians conducting miracles, healings and casting out devils in Justin's time? He reports, "for numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world, and in your city, many of our Christians casting them out in the Name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists, and those who used incantations and drugs". This was well after the time of the original Apostles, thus it’s the Name of Jesus, not the individual power of man; the Name has not passed away, neither has the Power of Christ.

Were these man and women of God faced with heresy? Yes, but they disproved the heresy by the Power of Christ. Irenaeus wrote against many heresies, although they go by different names, the same types are around today. Irenaeus saw the one trait of the natural minded attempting to interpret the “Word of Revelation" producing error. He also noted, "Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous) more true than truth itself. One far superior to me has well said, in reference to this point. A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on the precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some), unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit". Among the many heresies were those started by Simon of Samaria, who was called the "father of heresies". This same Simon was the one noted in Acts 8 who believed the signs, was baptized in water by Philip, but rebuked by the Apostles when his heart was not right. However, instead of getting right with God, Simon wandered deeper into darkness.

Simon being baptized in water did show he entered the Body, but like the bad fish, and birds, he loved darkness more than Light, ending with the very darkness he loved, but never making it to the Church. Was Simon a whacko? Yes, there were others, even those who killed others in "the Name of God", or those who caused mass suicides with the false promise of the act being a means to reach the great by and by. The opposite only proves the real still exists, Paul said God allows the vessels of dishonor to prove there are vessels of honor (Rom 9:21-23).

History shows Simon purchased a slave woman by the name of Helena from Tyre, then declared her the first conception of his mind, the mother of all. Simon did magic, tricking many, Rome even gave him a statue. To us, this seems silly, but a Whacko seeks the lusts in others, when they find a lust, they exploit it. They attempt to find something to make them the special of the special, some outside document, something from the Law, anything to make them appear more important than the rest of the Body, thus separating themselves from the Body. Jude said they separate themselves by thinking they are more holy, more righteous and more Christian then the rest of the Body. Anyone who is Born Again has the Holiness and Righteousness of God within, there isn’t any higher holiness or righteousness than God’s.

The Ebionites (poor men) emphasized the doing of the Law of Moses, they also said Jesus was the human son of Mary and Joseph, thus inserting their efforts of self-righteousness to become sons of God. They assumed if a dog could sit, it could be a man, simply doing religious acts doesn't change one's character or position; they missed the premise of being Born Again. Paul said Jesus was declared the Son of God by the Spirit of Holiness based on the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4). It doesn’t mean Jesus wasn’t the Son of God prior, it means the declaration was based on the Resurrection, the same Spirit is our proof of the Resurrection of Jesus, making us sons of God.

The Elchasaites observed the Mosaic Law, but mixed it with certain elements of Christianity. They held circumcision of the flesh, the sabbath, other areas benefiting their self-righteous stand. They also drifted into Chaldean astrology and magic, assuming spiritual and magic (Mysticism) were the same, rather than seeing supernatural endeavors to please the flesh are still witchcraft. Anytime we do some deed thinking our doing caused God to love us more, or honor us more, we are mistaken, those are the roots of self-righteousness enhancing the flesh in order to steal God’s glory. If God tells us to do something, we do it, then God rewards us based on God’s love, but it doesn’t mean we impressed God, or gained more honor than anyone else who obeyed God. 

The Doctrines of the Ophites and Sethians proclaimed there were three separate gods, the Father, the Son, then the Holy Ghost, they also said God was a man, had body parts, and Adam was more God, than man. They felt by their efforts they could become Adam Like, thus having a chance to defeat sin in Adam’s place, yet by so doing they also denied the call to become Christ Like. Adam fell, thus man's self-based soul assumes he can be like Adam, yet defeat the devil on his own. The Ophites and Sethians said the Spirit was the first woman, both the father and son had intercourse with the woman, whom they called the mother of all living. This same heresy is found today in those who claim “Mother Holy Ghost”, assuming God is the husband to the Holy Ghost, when the Scriptures tell us God is not a man that He should lie.

Gnosticism was a philosophical heresy, the same type Paul addressed in his letter to the Colossians. They used human intellectualism and reasoning to discover the sense of evil and good, the approach was to save the self, not the soul. From the Gnosticism approach we might make the mistake any knowledge is heresy, not so, since there is a knowledge from God. It wasn’t knowledge causing the heresy of the Gnostics, it was their belief in natural intellectualism to save the self by the soul. A discovery in 1946 of the Nag Hammadi revealed the central thoughts of Gnosticism, allowing us to separate their thoughts from the Christian. They sought a clear separation between the material and the spiritual, without acquiring the spiritual nature through God to discern either. They assumed all material was evil, only the spirit world was good, thus God couldn’t have been the Creator of the material world. This posed a problem, if God didn't create it, who did? They formed the Demiurge a series of emanations from the high god of Gnosticism flowing down the ladder through various gods until they reached the evil god. They associated the evil Demiurge with Jehovah of the Old Testament, Whom they disliked. They didn’t care about the salvation of the soul by the Spirit, but sought the Gnosis (knowledge) of man to accomplish the act of saving the self, which we know as the soul attempting to save itself. A man by the name of Basilides headed a school for the Gnostics, as did Saturninus, but Marcion and his followers appeared to be the most influential Gnostics. Marcion (145 AD) taught Judaism was evil in all aspects, he not only disliked Jehovah, but hated the Old Testament. John says if we hate the Testimony of the Father, we hate the Son as well. Gnosticism had separate gods, they rejected any human aspect of Jesus, including His Sacrificial death, or the Resurrection. Instead of the saving of the soul, they ended with pride and arrogance as their natural reasonings, leading to religious conceit.

The Valentinus heresy was another Gnostic heresy, they trusted in the natural intellect of man to save man. Their mixture of heathen concepts with changes in names was common, yet the imitation can’t replace the real. All these systems made promises they were unable to deliver, like the devil in the tree. They used phrases to bring God to man's level, or to lower Christ to being a mere man, all of which gain man an equal start without the Spirit to become Christ Like. This basis is the same as "we're all sons of God" while rejecting being Born Again. Worldly religions all center on self-righteousness, with the false concept of man being basically good in and of himself, or man can get to heaven on his own merits. This false mentality is akin to the Lucifer complex, gaining heaven on ones fleshly merits. The Valentinus heresy sprang from the heresy of Simon, just as the term Simony came from Simon. Simony became an issue as people were buying positions, paying for their indulgences, and using money as a means of power. One point Irenaeus made was how the Apostles taught the kingdom before the Cross, but under direct supervision of Jesus. That is, Jesus was present if anyone wanted to question Him regarding the disciples; however, the disciples after the Cross did not preach until they were Endowed with The Gift from the Power on High. Thereby they still had Jesus, but by the Spirit in them. The disciples preached One God; Father, Son and Holy Ghost, they gave God the glory, as they sought humbleness; whereas, the heretics seek self glory in one form or another.

Heretics either rewrite scripture, produce their own writings, or twist Scripture to fit their doctrines. They refuse to apply faith in a Godly manner, although they talk of faith, yet their concept of faith is mind power. In reference to One God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Irenaeus uses what we know as Hebrews 1:8, showing the Spirit Spoke, thus the Father witnessed the Son by calling the Son “God”. Irenaeus took a stand some today call heresy, but nonetheless, he proved it by Scripture and faith; he showed if one is Born Again Spirit filled Believer they are a son of God. They will by nature submit to the Father as Jesus submitted and became obedient, even obedient to the Cross. His concept of a son of God, shows the person is like the Son of God by the Spirit; not saying they are God. Rather they stand out as a symbol of who God is, thus he equates the concept to "if you have seen me, you have seen Jesus". However, he also points out one must be Born Again, walk in the Spirit, as they continually believe in order to proclaim the confession.

Irenaeus used the same Scriptures as Jesus used in front of the Pharisees, along with the adoption by which we cry, Abba Father. His argument displayed how we are sons of God by the Spirit. Truly we are not God, but sons of God, if sons we are gods. There are some today who might say, “It’s what the devil promised”, which is true, but the devil couldn’t deliver the promise. Jesus not only made it possible for us to have the position, He offers it to anyone who is Born Again. Simply if we are not God, yet born of God, how can we not be gods if God is God? It’s a far cry form those who attempt to be gods by self endeavors, or the flesh, or independent “gods”, rather he placed it in the same area as Jesus making us kings and priests. We are kings, but subject to the King of kings; we are priests, but subject to our High Priest, we are sons of God, but subject to Jesus. Irenaeus separates the heathen aspect from the Godly, showing if one is not Born Again they are not a god in reference to being a representative of God, but an image of the devil, of which they call themselves gods, who are not gods. There is a vast difference between an independent god formed by one’s own self-righteousness, and being Born Again.           

Manicheanism was founded by Mani (216-276 AD), who mixed some Christian concepts with Zoroastriamism, or other oriental religious ideas. They held two opposing and eternal principles as their gods, but Manicheanism gave the devil eternal wisdom and knowledge, thus they held two kings, one of light, and one of darkness. They went further and claimed them to be brothers, a heresy still seen today as some claim the devil and Jesus were brothers, with God picking the good over the evil. The Bible tells us Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of the Father, not One of the many begotten.

These two kings, according to Manicheanism tricked primitive man into a mixture of light and darkness. This is like saying "it was those kings you gave me". This principle started the concept of man having an old spirit which was the basis for the spiritual New Birth. This presupposes man had some active goodness from which God could build on, hereby removing the premise of all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. In his search for the truth Augustine, a church father became involved in Manicheanism, after his conversion he spent a great deal of time refuting the concept, thus when he did receive the truth it opened his eyes, allowing him to see how corrupt Manicheanism was.

Some used terms and concepts seemingly Christian, but lack the ability and Power thereof. Neoplatonism was a type of Mysticism: Mysticism is broken down into four types, epistemological approaches mysticism by logic and reason. The Roman Catholic Quietists of the seventeenth century, and the Quakers held this view. Some hold the metaphysical form of mysticism, this is explained by the word Meta, which means Between, thus this was a place Between the physical and spirit world, but it was hardly spiritual. This is known to us today as Mysticism, it is not Spiritual in any sense, it’s witchcraft, or a position of the natural attempting to be spiritual. Neoplatonism was a type of ontological of mystical philosophy, it originated in Alexandria by Ammonius Saccas (174-242). Neoplatonists assumed the Absolute Being as the transcendent source of all that is, as a result of the past overflowing. The universe was a re-absorption into the divine essence, making the universe first, the divine second. They would read John 1:1 as, in the beginning was the flesh and the flesh then became God; hardly the case. The fourth aspect which was mistakenly termed Mysticism by some in the days preceding the 18th century is the Bible concept of being spiritual by the Spirit. We call this by the term Charismatic, where one submits to the Spirit in order to be used by the Spirit to become spiritual in nature. The other types of mysticism testify of man, the Spirit testifies of Jesus. Mysticism without the Spirit is demonic, yet with the Spirit it’s charismatic (Grace Motivated).

Montanism surfaced around 155 AD, which centered on the problems of formalism in the church. In order to avoid the confines of rules and regulations they jumped to the Second Advent of Christ, they said they sought the Holy Ghost; however, their confusion produced heretical views of the Second Advent, which corrupted their endeavors to reach the Holy Ghost. Montanus was the leader of this group, he soon thought he was the Holy Spirit, claiming Jesus would set up the Kingdom in Phrygia. This is one of the first views placing the Kingdom of God on earth, or having Jesus on earth during the 1,000 years. Not only did the Council at Constantinople reject Montanism, but said they should be looked on as pagans. Montanus is a perfect example of a leader not being accountable to anyone, other than their wild mind, then allowing their natural mind to make them greater than the sum.

Monarchianism went the opposite direction, it started a form of Unitarianism by denying the deity of Christ. Their leader, Paul of Samosata was a bishop of Antioch, but he would seek the recognition of applause, or people giving him honor, soon he felt he was God. He had a female choir sing hymns praising him, not the Lord. He said Jesus was not divine but was a mere man, although a good man, thus by acts of self-righteousness Jesus was able to penetrate the divine. This same heresy is still around, thus it wasn't the men who started these heresies, but the spirit of the world being used in a religious sense attacking the Spirit which is of God, in an attempt to keep man from the divine.

Saint Augustine, born in what is now Souk-Ahras, Algeria, in AD 354, brought a systematic method of philosophy to Christian theology. Augustine taught rhetoric in the ancient cities of Carthage, Rome and Milan before his Christian baptism in 387. His discussions of the Bible were based in the spiritual knowledge of truth pointing to the existence of God. A vigorous advocate of Roman Catholicism, Augustine developed many of his doctrines while attempting to resolve theological conflicts with Donatism and Pelagianism, two heretical movements. Augustine said it was nearly impossible to define heresy, then added, all heresy must be judged by the Spirit, not the mind of man. Augustine held the Holy Ghost was the only Teacher of the church, adding the purpose of being in the Body was to grow by the Spirit into a Christ Like nature. On error he added, the error is in the person, rather than the person being the error. The lost natural soul of man can take a Truth, twisting it into the self nature making the Truth a heresy, thus Augustine said we need the Unction, not intellect to discern the spirit of error.

Irenaeus also gives us a clue to Mark's role in the New Testament Church; Peter could speak Roman, Hebrew and Greek, evidenced since he didn’t need anyone to interpret for him when he spoke to Cornelius, yet Irenaeus calls Mark "Peter's Interpreter"; thus Paul said we needed an interpreter of tongues in the meeting. Irenaeus proved the point, Mark by the Spirit would interpret Peter’s tongues in the meeting.

Irenaeus wrote about the change the Spirit made in Peter by using the experience at the Gate Beautiful, when Peter told the lame man, "Silver and gold I have none; but such as I do have give I thee, In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk".  The evidence was the man leaping and praising God, rather than sitting, and praising Peter.

Irenaeus like other saints knew the difference between weakness and wickedness, the weakness in Peter before Pentecost was Peter’s misconception of his strength. Peter felt he could do anything, even protect the Lord, indicating his weakness. Judas on the other hand was wicked, he formed his agenda and plan, then put it into motion. Only when it didn’t turn out the way he wanted did he seek repentance, but it was self-repentance. Paul knew his weaknesses, he knew Christ was strong where Paul was weak. Accordingly Paul knew by himself, and of himself he was weak, the only true strength was Christ in him.

Irenaeus reported how the heretics would find a way to introduce their greatness, and importance in their acts of self-exaltation. The heretics attempted to copy many things, they were pseudo-prophets who talked in riddles, then interpreted their own jabber, but it always pointed to the self, or introduced man's greatness and ability, rather than pointing to the Greatness of God.

There were the Polemicists who unlike the Apologists had backgrounds in Christian culture and attacked heresy, whereas the Apologists approached heresy from the aspect of preaching the truth in love. Many of the Apologists had been converted out of heretical systems, making them able to approach the corrupt systems by speaking on the failure of the heretical system. The Polemicists were more firm in their approach, they were like unto a prophet with a rebuking message. They would expose the false by exposing their ways; whereas, the Apologist talked about how to avoid the false.

Irenaeus also looked at Paul's writings as intended, he never said there was a "gift of salvation", but he did point to the Gift of Grace over and over again as the vehicle given by God to reach salvation.

After the church fathers laid out all the correctness of seeking the Spirit, along would come those who trusted in the mundane theological premises of men. Great theological debates over matters of little difference started, problems with understanding Mercy and other areas would also surface. The result wasn't the purposed beginning, but nonetheless the Lord knew what would happen before He went to the Cross. We can't look with disdain at the result, but we must seek to be among the Few who walk with the Lord.

On the brighter side the Cannon of Scripture began around 180 AD, it appeared important to preserve the writings of the early disciples and fathers. Many writings were about, many felt the Rapture would happen at any second, but as many of the disciples as well as the disciples of the disciples passed, there was a concern to preserve their writings.

The four pillars of the corruption of the Body are much different from the Five Pillars  of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors designed to be Servants to lift the Saints. The Four Pillars of corruption surfaced near the end of the Persecution; the Cultist invasion started in 250 AD with the Sacrament perversion, then Gregory added days, seasons, and times. The Constitution or Polity, which put one person as the leader began around 313 AD, the Creed or Intellectual Natural Theology started around 325 AD, which would lead to “critical thinking”, thus man began to use his own intellect to ascertain who God is, what God wants, or how to reach God. The Tower of Babel was being reconstructed by the hand of man, yet God still had a purpose and a function. Choice without choice is no choice at all, if everyone in the Body was raising the dead, healing the sick, preaching with authority and walking by the Spirit, it would be obvious, thus God formed vessels of dishonor to hone the vessels of honor. If we are among the Few who walk with Jesus, we can be assured there seems to be more vessels of dishonor than honor, but it doesn't mean there are, neither does it mean we have to be among the bad fish. Few is only relative to the number it’s taken from, if we count everyone who said they were Christian since Pentecost, then a Few would be a number one couldn’t count.

We also know man equates numbers with success, it's obvious God doesn't, rather God looks to quality. The errors of history are not written for the people who committed them, they are written for us. The Correctness was not written to give honor to the men of Correctness, it was written for us to enter our Correctness in our Time in this Season. The choices were granted to them, as to us, but the test is on us. Even today we have many choices, what Manuscript will be believe? Do we really believe the Holy Ghost is the Author? Or do we think man was? Choices are presented to the Just and Unjust, the decisions tell which is which.

Jesus specifically said, If our brother repents, we forgive, no if's, and's, or but's, forgiveness must be applied by Mercy in order for us to be forgiven by God; however, during this time in history the concept went by the wayside, along with Grace. Donatism was a Schism (division) caused by a churchman named Donatus to lash out at some. During the Persecution there were some who were weak, they succumbed to the pressure of Rome, after the Persecution many of them came back repenting, by asking forgiveness. Caecilian was a bishop consecrated by Felix, but Felix was accused of being a traitor under the Diocletian Persecution. Donatus said, the failure to remain true during the persecution invalidated the power of Felix to ordain anyone, since Donatus considered Felix, or anyone who succumbed to denouncing Jesus as the unpardonable sin. Donatus' misconception of the unpardonable sin, coupled with his refusal to forgive, caused a split. How could the sin be unpardonable if the person was asking to be pardoned? The unpardonable sin in this case was the refusal to pardon.

Other great theological problems came about; Did the Holy Ghost come from the Father? Or from the Father and the Son? Or from the Father at the request of the Son? No one considered, Do we have the Spirit? Another question came, Do we use unleavened or leavened bread for Communion, never mind judging ourselves, what type of bread do we use? These questions became the seeds of critical thinking, placing a Yoke on the Neck of the Body. To show how bad it became, we find few, if any writings talking about the anointing after 330 AD. We find some who had the anointing, who were the Good Fish who appeared to bring hope to a hopeless situation; however, for the most part it was "I think", or "I demand". This is not to say we worship the anointing, but it's still a good sign when God is moving, Amen?

Heresy within the walls of the Body became more common; around 318 AD Alexander preached on The Great Mystery Of The Trinity In Unity, but one Arius had a theological fit, he felt the sermon failed to show a clear distinction between the persons of the Godhead. Arianism brought the Chistological Controversy, as  Arius (from whom the name Arianism came) denied the true divinity of Jesus. Arius taught the Son of God was not eternal, but created by the Father, as Christ being a separate element of God, and Jesus became the Christ and Son through obedience. Arius based this on Christ being a different (Greek Hereros) substance from the Father, thus created from nothing, as the earth was created from nothing. His error was in using the title Christ, rather than looking at the Son as the Word, who was before the beginning. Arius mixed the Body of Christ with Jesus Christ, thus making his conclusion faulty. Rather than see the Body as a product of the Covenant between the Son and Father, which began as the Rock, he saw Jesus as a product of creation, rather than the purpose. This also supposes the Father is a product of creation, thus Arius was equating God to man, or man to God, a basic fault of heresy. The questions came, Could Christ save man if He was merely a demigod? What was the relationship between the Son and the Father? What was the relationship between the Holy Ghost and the Son? These questions, among others had two answers, one was of course the Bible answer, the other was natural reasoning. We have the advantage of having a printed Bible, we know In the beginning was the Word, showing the Word was before the beginning; however, these people also had the writings of John, or Polycarp who quoted John many times. The error was making the words of John the words of a man, thus making them subject to natural reasoning. Peter wrote how the holy men of Old were moved by the Holy Ghost, thus there is no private interpretation. The efforts of natural interpretation end in heresy, not interpretation. Arius wanting a special something to make him greater than others in the Body. Some seek a position in the Body to serve, some seek a position to validate their existence in the Body, some seek a position to be exalted, Arius fit the last group. Some seek a special knowledge, or book, or writing making them assume they are greater than the rest of the Body.  

Division over the Trinity drove a wedge in the Body, in the summer of 325 AD the council held their meeting in Nicaea. For the first time the Body was now facing political leadership in the Body, the Yoke grew tighter. A minority of those present thought Jesus did not exist from eternity, but had a beginning through a creative act of God. Athanasius (296-373) brought forth a view becoming the Orthodox view. He insisted Jesus had existed from all eternity with the Father, as the same essence (Greek Homoousios) as the Father, although Jesus was given a distinct personality to equate to man as the Son of man, yet nonetheless was the Word of God. This was both John’s and Paul’s view.

To Athanasius this was a serious matter, he felt man's salvation was at stake, if Jesus was mere man who became Righteous by the Baptism, than all men could be God-man, yet none could. If Jesus was mere man, then the Authority He granted us was faulty, and marred. Athanasius said Jesus was coequal, coeternal, and cosubstantial with the Father, of course he was exiled five times for his views, but later those views were accepted as Cannon. Athanasius wrote the De Incarnation, showing how God by the Word (Logos), came by union with manhood to restore man through the Cross, to bring man into the image of God by the Spirit (New Birth), thus the death and Resurrection provided man a benefit Adam never had. Athanasius was not alone in his views, the evidence was in their hands, many of the fathers used the phrase "In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God (internal), and the Word was God". They understood the concept, thus many died holding to the Promise provided by the Resurrection. The heresy not only placed Salvation in the hands of man’s natural ability, it also made the Scriptures man breathed leaving Salvation as an act of self-righteousness. The misconceptions of water baptism began to grow at this time, yet others knew the Truth, and used Paul’s letter to the Corinthians to show baptism was important, but the Spirit more so.

John Chrysostom (347-407) was a patriarch of Constantinople as one of the four Eastern fathers of the Body. The son of Christian parents, John was educated in rhetoric,  later in theology by Diodore of Tarsus. Feeling the call to the monastic life, he practiced a strict asceticism at home; later in life he retreated to a mountainous area. On his return to Antioch he was ordained a deacon (381 AD), then a priest (386 AD). In 398 AD, John was consecrated as patriarch of Constantinople. He administered the diocese with courage, especially in a series of reforms. John was unable to be subservient to the emperor Arcadius and his wife, Eudoxia, the problem was the attempts of the emperor and his wife to interfere in church activities. John kept the line between submission and invasion intact; however, in so doing he also became tactless. When idealism united with the opposition, he was condemned and deposed at the illegal Synod of the Oaks in 403 AD. After a brief return to Constantinople, he angered the empress again, and was forced to leave the city in 404 AD, later he died during a forced journey to Pontus. 

John was a Greek preacher, his eloquence gained him the name of "Chrysostom" (golden mouth). Most of his writings are in sermon form, depicting how he knew the Holy Ghost interprets the Word, and how one needed faith in Jesus before the Scriptures could have life. He was noted as having the unusual facility of seeing the spiritual meaning of Scripture, while also providing practical application of the Scriptures. Chrysostom was endued with Power from on High enabling him to see the intent of the Author.

Macedonius a bishop of Constantinople between 341 and 360 AD taught the Holy Ghost was "a minister and a servant" like unto the angels, a creature subordinate to the Father and Son. Those without the Holy Ghost find it difficult, if not impossible to define the Spirit. The Holy Ghost never speaks of Himself, attempting to define the Spirit by the attributes of the Holy Ghost is a mistake. The Holy Ghost brings the Gift, the Gift is the Seed of God known as the Holy Spirit. The Report consists to the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, thus before the beginning the Word was. The Witness on earth consists of the Water (Father’s mercy), the Blood (shed Blood of Jesus), and the Spirit (Gift of the Holy Ghost - I Jn 5:7-8).

God is Love, thus the Spirit is also Love, but it still doesn’t define Him. God is Spirit, and so is the Holy Spirit, but it still doesn’t define Him. The study of the Spirit is termed Pneumatology, or the study of spiritual things, especially the Holy Spirit. We found the title Holy Spirit is only used seven times in the Bible, referring to the New Man. The confusion is mixing the authorities; if we were to say Jehovah has given us a Covenant, Elohiym has granted us a position, El is our Almighty God, would we be speaking of One God? Or many? One of course, but each Name represents a place of authority wherein God is dealing with us. So it is with the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost delivers the Seed, the Seed is the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth, the Greater He, Another Comforter, New Man, Spirit, yet in each area there is an authority identifying the title, it is not a bunch of different spirits, but as Paul said, One Spirit.

For the most part the study consists of what the Bible says about spiritual matters, but it still doesn’t define the Holy Spirit. We know His course, attributes, abilities, and desires, but it still doesn’t define Him. Unless we include the Holy Spirit into the New Birth, as we hold the connection as the greatest, most complete Gift God has ever given man, we will not respect the Gift as we should. The Holy Ghost still teaches by comparing spiritual to spiritual, yet Macedonius entered denial, lacked spiritual awareness, yet he was made a bishop nearly 350 years after the Cross. It didn't take long for the Tares to invade the Rock, but the Wheat was still becoming the Church.

There was also the danger of making Mary more than she was, or removing her from being who she was. Apollinarius taught Jesus had a true body of flesh, a soul like unto man, but the Spirit in Him came by the Logos, rather than Jesus being the Logos from the Beginning. Paul said Jesus was made (not created) the Son of man (Seed of David) according to the flesh, but declared the Son of God by the power of the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4). The view of Apollinarius was condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 381; however, the concept even condemned, still planted corrupt seeds; today we still see the Apollinarius heresy taught in some circles.

The Apollinarius concept was another effort to lower Jesus to being mere man, while making Mary less than a handmaiden of the Lord. Why would one even think this in light of the Scriptures? The answer? The spirit lusting to envy, the same lust makes man think he can be equal to Jesus, without having the Spirit. Worldly religions all center on the precept of self-righteousness, man making his own conclusions regarding holiness or righteousness, yet it’s the spirit of man defining holiness, hardly a valid insight. We still judge a person by their Ways, self-righteousness usually finds itself joined to religious conceit, producing religious pride.

In order to reverse this plague of Apollinarius’ thinking, the Council took the position of Mary one step past the intended "handmaiden" of the Lord, by giving her the name Theotokos (God-bearer), later to be known as Mother Of God. There are variables, and constants, a constant never changes, but a variable is subject to change. Mary was special, but nonetheless a vessel, she was changed like all the rest on the Day of Pentecost. God changes not, Jesus as the Word made flesh stood as the Son of man, but He was still the Word, still the Son of God, still God the Son, it was the Resurrection  Declaring Him the Son of God, it didn’t make Him the Son of God (Rom 1:4): we become sons of God by having the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.

The Council overacted by rejecting the difference between Son of man and Son of God; thereby holding Mary as the mother of God, rather than following Scripture which shows Jesus was made the son of David, but declared the Son of God by the Power of the Resurrection. Nestorious (381-452) disliked the term Theotokos, since it seemed to exalt Mary unduly. Nestorious admitted Mary was the holder of Jesus, but he also noted she was not the source. He held Mary was the mother of the human side of Jesus, the God side came solely from the Father via the Holy Ghost, but this was taken to mean Jesus was some Siamese Twin in fashion. Nestorious felt, Jesus was the God-bearer, not Mary. This view maintained the Divine Nature of Jesus, later the Council of Chalcedon took the view proclaiming Jesus was "complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man" having "two natures, without confusion, without change, without division"; however, this last aspect seemed to deny the physical Body of Jesus being changed in the Resurrection into complete Incorruptibility. Jesus separated the purpose of the Body, from the Blood, yet joined them in the Communion. The concept of the Body being Christ on earth seemed to get lost in the debates which centered in moot questions having little to do with Grace, or Salvation.

Then came the question of Will's, did Jesus have a separate Will from the Father, if so how could He be of the Father? Which Will was divine or human, which was subordinate, which supreme? The dispute was based on the Garden prayer, but it wasn’t a dispute of Wills, it was in reference to method and acceptability; thus it was over the “Cup” of the Wrath of God; the will of the Son, and the will of the Father were in union. The Father didn't want to pour out the Cup, neither did the Son, but for the suffering of the Son it must be done by the Son. 

Then the issue of Sin came around with the questions: was man sinful from the beginning? Sinful at some point in time? Are there those who are not bound to Sin without hope? The sin nature, and committing sin are different, we are all born under the sin nature, since that born of the flesh is flesh. We are more prone to commit sin, than not, as evidenced by Adam. The first opportunity when we discovered the use of the self could gain us favor with ourselves, or gain for the self, wherein we gained pleasure for the flesh,  we did Commit sin. From then on we were sold to sin, it guided us, defined good and evil for us, we were then disobedient. The Ten Commandments were a written conscience for those sold under sin, but Jesus paid the Ransom, by the Cross and Resurrection to set us free from the realm of sin. Death was not the issue, it was the element leading to death. A rose dies, does it go to hell? No? Why not, sin does prevail on the earth. A rose has not sinned, although it will die. Death as a result of sin began with Adam, thus man from Adam is much different than all the other creations. 

Pelagius believed all men were created free of sin as Adam was prior to the fall,  but under the sin nature. Each person had the power to choose good or evil, each soul is a separate creation of God; therefore, uncontaminated by the sin of Adam. He failed to connect the flesh to the equation, he didn’t see the flesh as a reproduction, nor Adam’s flesh as a reproduction of the earth which was in darkness and void. His argument was based in his dislike for infant baptism; therefore, since there was no original sin, infant baptism was a useless act. The one element he forgot was the Belief issue, in the verses pertaining to water baptism belief is required for the candidate. Even under John’s baptism repentance was the call, thus for one to repent they had to know they committed sin. In order to counter something he felt was wrong, Pelagius went to the other extreme. It is easy to do, we can catch ourselves beating a dead horse to prove it’s dead. 

Augustine believed man was originally made in the image of God, free to choose good and evil, but Adam's sin bound all men because Adam was the head of the human race. He insisted the only possible method of regeneration was exclusively the work of the Holy Ghost, not man. The Holy Ghost called men to repentance, and without the calling, man is incapable of making the decision, rather man will follow his flesh. Many assumed Adam's fall was the fault of Adam-female, rather than Adam-them, thus the assumption placed the blame on the female; however, Paul said the woman was deceived, the man knew what he was doing (I Tim 2:14), regardless, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

St. Augustine's viewpoint became the basis for many medieval theologians, such as Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Pascal, who drew heavily on his works. Some of his works pointed to how his thoughts before his conversion, some after, if one mixed one into the other, they would assume the old was new, or the new was old, his views changed considerably after his conversion.

Pelagius was a learned and moral monk but held: 1) Adam would have died even if he had not sinned; 2) the sin of Adam injured himself alone and not the hold human race: 3) newborn children are in the same condition as Adam before the fall; 4) the whole human race does not die because of Adam's death or sin, nor will it rise again because of the Resurrection of Jesus; 5) the Law of Moses as well as the Gospel offers entrance to heaven, and 6) even before the coming of Jesus there were men wholly without sin or iniquity. His concept of children was correct, before either Jacob or Esau were born, or before they had done either good or evil, God knew which would serve, and which would rebel (Rom 9:11-12). The rest of his concepts are heretical, opposed to many Scriptures. Did God know the Body would be invaded in this manner? Yes, the church fathers saw how choice without choice is no choice at all.

Pelagius held a type of a Hyper-Calvinism view, wherein man need only cooperate with the divine to obtain salvation, once obtained, man could not lose it. His view held man didn't need the Spirit, rather by man's cooperate effort he could be saved, which we know is the basis for self-righteousness. The same view shows how self-righteousness becomes unrighteousness. Hyper-Calvinism still says By Grace You Are Saved, but adds "by my intellect I have made it", thereby giving man more credit than God. Hyper-Calvinism introduces self-righteousness into the premise; although it claims Grace, it also introduces the “gift of salvation”, which is nonexistent in the Scriptures. Hyper-Calvinism is the common heresy of our day, a concept of man being able to save his own soul, but it’s based on the false concept of Salvation being the gift. Hyper-Calvinism depends on critical thinking, while denying the Power of Christ, unless it fits the thinking of the Hyper-Calvinist. Hyper-Calvinist thinking places intellectual endeavors in a higher position than the Mind of Christ. It's not whether or not one is walking in the Spirit, it's whether or not they hold the proper degrees of theology from the proper institutions. This attitude take it upon itself to change the Bible to fit the dogma of Hyper-Calvinist thinking.

What caused all this? How did they move from Belief in the Name of Jesus, to all these foolish questions? During the very early days faith was the call, not intellect, but when the Persecution stopped the theological questions came. During the Persecution people would hear the Gospel, submit to water baptism, learn of the Holy Ghost, receive the baptism to have the Spirit, with a confidence in their Lord and Savior to the degree wherein they would die in the most horrid ways, rather than deny Him. Some die for a religious thought process, some thinking their death is a one-way ticket to heaven, but the Persecution saw these people die based on their Love for the Lord. Theology was not the basis of their thinking, Faith and Love by the Spirit was.

Jesus also said, if the Branch fails to produce fruit, it will be cut off, thus it's always the Fruit making the difference, not the Acts. The institution of various orders, including, but not limited to the papacy came after 313 AD. The martyrs proved Faith is the course, not reasoning; they proved the Spirit brings a relationship to bring forth the Strength of Christ, not failing theology. When the persecution stopped, the people wanted to see the Head of the Body, they wanted to touch the Head of the Body, they wanted to have pleasure for a season. Historians give us written conclusions, by telling us, "I have read, what I have read"; however, in reference to the first birth stages of the Body until 300 AD the mass of evidence was found on the walls of the tombs, then the historian has to tell us, "I have found, what I have found".

Along the way there were many heretical writings, the word heresy means Self-defined, or a doctrine based on ones opinion. The heretical writings came from men writing their own history, or using their writing as a source to begin their own sect. The same practice is termed as an attempt at Private Interpretation, it continues today. Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428 AD) opposed the allegorical system of interpretation, insisting on an intellectual understanding of the grammar of the text, coupled with knowledge of the historical background of the text in order to understand the meaning of the writer. His error came from the misconception of men being the authors, rather than seeing they were merely scribes, the Holy Ghost is Author. Within those same Scriptures Mopsuestia felt they could only be interpreted by intellect, yet Peter’s warning was not to us intellect as the interpreting guide (II Pet 1:19-21). Mopsuestia became the father of using Scripture to interpret Scripture, which then developed into natural men using the Bible to interpret the Bible, neither did they consider Faith comes by hearing, the hearing by the Rhema. If the Spirit doesn't speak of Himself, neither does the Son speak of Himself, how can the Bible speak of itself? The Bible defines itself, it does not interpret itself. The Holy Ghost still interprets the Scriptures, the Scriptures speak Of Jesus, they are not Jesus. Interpretation is not the understanding of the writer, but the purpose in the mind of the Author who moved the writer.

Going back to the time of the Persecution we find there were several Emperors of Rome involved in the persecution. Nero began the persecution by saying Christians must be punished for "their hatred of the human race"; he also blamed the Christians for setting fire to Rome, although he did it. Nero was born at Antium (Anzio) on December 15, 37 AD, he died in Rome on June 9, 68 AD at the age of 31 from suicide. Second was Galba, or Servious Galba Imperator Caesar Augustus, who was born near Tarracina on December 24, 3 BC, he died at Rome on January 14, 69 AD at the age of 72 as the result of an assassination. His reign was only one year, some don’t even count him among the reigning emperors. Otho, or Imperator Marcus Otho Caesar Augustus was next, he was born on April 28, 32 AD, he died at Brixellum on April 16, 69 AD at the age of 37 from suicide. He reigned less than a year, he was also considered by some not to be counted among the reigning emperors. Next was Vitellius, born on September 7, 12 AD, he died on December 20, 69 AD at the age of 57 from assassination during the Flavian Revolt. His body was dumped into the Tiber River, he too reigned less than a year; so much for job security. Then came Vespasian born at Falacrinae on November 17, 9 AD, he died in Rome on June 23, 79 AD at the age of 70 from illness, he reigned 10 years. Then came Domitian (Titus Flavius Domitianus) who was born on December 30, 39 AD, he died on September 13, 81 AD. He reigned two years, he was the last Roman emperor of the Flavian dynasty. Domitian had several campaigns against the tribes beyond the Rhine and Danube rivers with mixed results. He sponsored a number of important domestic reforms; however, these achievements were overshadowed by the reign of terror he initiated in 89 AD. Provoked by a rebellion in Germany, Domitian began to attack senators and officials he mistrusted, as well as suppress even the mildest forms of dissent. Not surprisingly, these autocratic excesses inspired conspiracies of the sort Domitian had feared. He managed to survive most of them, but on September 18, 96AD he was murdered by assassins who were in the pay of his wife, Domitilla. His dealings in the Persecution was not against Christians in general, but against those who rejected the Roman gods. Why didn't the Romans also persecute the Jews? Because the Jews didn't attempt to convert Romans. It was during the reign of Domitian when John was exiled to the island of Patmos.

Trajan is a different story, Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus) was born on September. 18, 53AD, he died in August of 117AD. He was a Roman emperor from 98 to 117AD, he pursued an aggressive policy of expansion, gaining a Roman reputation for "benevolence". Although born in Roman occupied Spain, he was nonetheless considered "Roman". He worked his way up in the ranks by distinguishing himself early on with military and political posts until 97 AD when he received a position with Emperor Nerva, with the rank of Caesar holding a share of imperial power. Supported by the military, Trajan became sole emperor at Nerva's death. An effective administrator, Trajan reduced taxes and sponsored subsidies for the poor, began a massive building program with the admission of provincials to prominent positions. He became best known among the Romans, and some historians for his campaigns against the Dacians (101-02, AD and 105-06, AD), which led to the creation of a Roman province north of the Danube. Also noted in his historical past is the war with the Parthians in 113 AD, who were Rome's principal adversary in the East. Trajan captured Ctesiphon the Parthian capital, then marched to the Persian Gulf but could not eliminate the resistance. By Trajan's death the Parthians were again in control of most of the overrun territory. Hadrian, his successor, retained the province of Dacia but renounced most of Trajan's eastern conquests.

Trajan's role in the Persecutions was somewhat overshadowed by his concerns to expand Rome, thus we find some historical letters from a Roman named Pliny to Trajan showing the role Trajan played. Pliny was the governor of Pontus (a place not the person), and Bithynia, the region was in upheaval with unrest and corruption. Apparently Trajan wanted the region brought to order by sending Pliny to correct the situation. The trouble according to Pliny was centered in social, political and religious clubs. The Romans were afraid of "secret societies", yet they had many of their own. Trajan figured the secret societies were the problem, so he banned them, but in the process they also banned any and all religious activity "unless" such religious activity was conducted toward the various gods and goddesses of Rome. Therefore, the only allowed religion was idol worship, but it was not the only problem facing Christians, according to the Pliny letters it was a capital offense simply to be named Christian, thus many people were brought before the governmental authorities changed with the Roman crime of being Christian. Some were accused by family, or friends, some by anonymous letters; whatever the source, once the charge was made there would be a trial. Pliny's method of gaining evidence was simply to ask the person whether they were Christian, if they confessed, he would ask a second, or third time with threats of punishment increasing if they continued to admit they were Christian. If they retained their stand, Pliny would have them executed. However, if one of the Christians claimed Roman citizenship, they were dispatched to Rome for trial, then executed.

According to Pliny the execution was the easy task, his question came about when someone who claimed to be Christian denounced the faith in face of execution. According to historical records there were several, but it doesn't take away from those who stood in the faith, it only shows there were weaknesses in some. Pliny wrote how some of the Christians who faced him, "recited a prayer to the gods at my dictation, and made supplication with incense and wine to your statue,..... moreover they cursed Christ". The question being, since they did renounce Christ, should they still be tried for the crime of being Christian? In Trajan's reply he set the policy, which existed for decades: "There was to be no official persecution, but being a Christian was to remain a capital offense", further he added, "They are not to be sought out, but if they are accused and convicted, they must be punished...yet on this condition, whoever denies himself to be a Christian and makes the fact plain by his action, that is, by worshipping our gods, they shall obtain pardon on his repentance, however suspicious his past conduct may be". Interesting how Trajan felt “repentance” was an act of turning from Christianity to idol worship, the complete opposite of the true meaning of the word.

The name "Christianity" was banned in Rome, which brings in the Jews. The Jews were unhappy, to say the least when they heard Trajan’s ruling, although it was illegal to be Christian, the reluctance of Rome to hunt them down caused the Jews to set out on their own hunting expedition. However, after a period of time Rome saw the Jewish exercise as a threat, much like Pharaoh’s thinking against the Jews, Rome felt if the Jews would kill the Christians, they might kill the Romans as well. The Jews were ordered to stop killing Christians, but many continued until the Persecution stopped.

Next would come Publius Aelius Hadrianus who was born on January 24, 76AD, he was known as Hadrian, becoming the emperor of Rome from 117AD to 138AD. On the death of his father in 85AD he was made a ward of his cousin Trajan, who would later become emperor (see above), as it turns out Hadrian soon became a favorite of Trajan's wife Plotina. Trajan's elevation to the imperial throne in 98AD assured Hadrian's political career, but not until just before his death in 117AD did Trajan formally adopt his ward to designate him as his successor. In domestic matters Hadrian followed Trajan's practices, but he rejected his predecessor's imperialistic policies. He retained the province of Dacia beyond the Danube, but did not attempt to recapture the Parthian territory which Trajan's troops had temporarily occupied. During a series of tours of the provinces around 125AD, Hadrian developed a new defensive strategy, he authorized a great wall in to be built in northern Britain. This wall separated Rome from the world, but at home things were not so separated.

Hadrian admired Greek culture, under different circumstances, he might have devoted his life to literature and philosophy rather than politics. He clearly considered his election as archon of Athens (112AD), and his dedication of the Temple of Olympian Zeus during his visit to Greece in 128-129AD among the high points of his life. He was notably less benevolent in his attitude toward the Jews. His prohibition of circumcision, and his decision to build a shrine to Jupiter Capitolinus on the site of the Temple of Jerusalem incited a serious Jewish revolt (132-135AD), which he ruthlessly crushed in 138AD. The rebellion and his success over the Jews gave him an idea, take the land, change the name, and soon the Jews will fade. He did change the name, he did take the land, but the Jews didn't fade. He changed the name of the territory to "Syria-Palestina", later the land would be divided into two separate lands, one named Syria the other Palestine. Therefore, Palestine obtained its name from a Roman, who was set on removing the Jews from the face of the earth. When we add the Ishmael factor, we can see why there is so much conflict in the land today. The Jews claiming the land was unlawfully taken from them, the Palestinians claiming the land was given to them by a ruling order.

Hadrian died on July 10, 138AD, his successor was Antonimus Pius of a Gallo-Roman family. Then would come Constantine, bringing an end to the Persecution. All this was to show how anyone, even if they claim to be Christian cannot "come against" Christians, the result is the loss of their "kingdom".

Things could get confusing if one thinks each emperor had their own time of persecution against the Christians, historical we find Ten Persecutions, some of which were carried on by the following emperor, which is the case with Trajan and Hedrian. The Ten Persecutions are seen as the first under Nero, the second under Domitian, the third under Trajan, then jumping to Marcus Aurelius for the fourth, the fifth commencing with Severus (AD 192), then under Mazimus for the sixth, the seventh under Decius, the eighth under Valerian, the ninth under Aurelian and then the tenth under Diocletion around 303 AD, giving us nearly 250 years for the Persecutions.

Marcus Aurelius (161-180) felt Christians were in conflict with his extreme Stoicism, he was right. Then there was Septimius Sevrus who was responsible for some of the most horrid martyrdom's. In 202 AD he forbade conversion to Christianity, he had a Spiritual woman from the African church named Perpetua imprisoned and executed in the arena at Carthage. Tertullian, a church father recorded the martyrdom of Perpetua, he also made a strong appeal to Sevrus for toleration of the Christians, which produced some minor effects. Sixth was Maximus Thrax (235-238), who restored to strong persecution; he called the Christians "enemies of the gods". Seventh was Decius (249-251), who in his short reign started the first systematic persecution of Christians. The Eighth was Valerian (253-260) who was at first mild toward Christians, but banished ministers and prominent laymen, taking their property, as he prohibited religious assembly. When these acts failed to stop Christian worship, Valerian started the persecution again. Ninth was Aureliam (270-275), who wasn't as bad as the others, but nonetheless persecuted the Body. Lastly was Diocletian the last of the Ten who would be the last devil of the Ten Days (Rev 2:10). He centered all worship on himself, making his palace the Domus Divina (House of the Divine). His nephew Maximin Daza issued an edict in 308 AD, commanding all Christians to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

The Body during this time did suffer poverty, mainly because it was very hard to do any business without it being known one was a Christian; however history also shows they did have their needs cared for. These Christians held tight to the Promise, so tight they placed a great deal of hope in the Rapture coming before 500 AD. The persecution fits with the view of the church of Smyrna, even reflecting why it’s the second church. It was after Smyrna when the Balaam’s and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes invaded Pergamos, and Jezebel with her children in Thyatira, leading to Sardis who has a Name, with a few who have not defiled their garments.

Cyprian (200-258) was the bishop of Carthage, he was a theologian of the early African church. The son of wealthy parents, he was a teacher before coming to Christ in 246, soon after he was ordained a priest and elected bishop of Carthage (246). Cyprian was forced to flee Carthage during the persecutions (249-251) of Emperor Decius. After his return he turned to the growing problem of the Christians who failed to stand firm during the persecution. Cyprian favored the re-admission of such Christians to the Body  but under stringent conditions. Opposing the schism of Novation, who believed lapsed Christians should be permanently excluded, he argued baptisms performed by the schismatics were invalid. This confirms the concept of water baptism as a Token regarding entrance into the Body; accordingly if the schismatics were rejected, they could not introduce anyone into the Body. On this issue he was opposed by Pope Stephen I, in the renewed persecution of Valerian's reign, Cyprian was beheaded near Carthage. Cyprian still held if one repented, even of the sin of denying the faith in the face of the persecution, they should be forgiven and restored. He often used Peter's denial of the Lord coupled with Peter’s conversion in the last chapter of John to prove his point (although the Bible didn't have chapter and verse then, he still used the language therein).

If the time of the Persecution fits the second church, what about the First, the church of Ephesus? One need only read Paul's letters to the Romans, the Corinthians, and the Galatians to find they left their first love. The Romans and Corinthians were called to be saints, they were yet to reach the position (Rom 1:7 & I Cor 1:2). The Galatians were falling away from Grace, by entering Judaizing thoughts. Their concept of Love the Lord thy God, moved to, What act of the flesh can I do to please God?

When we view History we see the word Catholic doesn't refer to the Roman Catholic church, rather the word Catholic means Universal. The Universal Church came from the Command of Jesus to "go ye" into all the world. From the Universal roots came all the Christian Movements, including the Protestant, with the many branches thereof, yet it’s still the Body of Christ. Jesus didn't destroy the Body, and neither did man, rather Jesus was still building His Church from those in the Body.

We will find various holidays instituted by the papacy and Orthodoxy, but the holiday isn't at question, our intent for keeping it is. Jesus kept the Feast of Dedication, yet it wasn't in the Law of Moses, rather it was only 170 years old when Jesus kept it, but His intent and purpose for keeping it was to establish His reason for coming. The early church prior to 300 AD held two holidays, Passover and Pentecost; Passover is always on the 14th of Abib, every since it was established in the days of Moses. Pentecost is 50 days past Passover, anyone can look at a calendar and find the Jewish Passover day, then count fifty days forward to find the Day of Pentecost.

The Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born, but it does tell us when He went to the Cross, and was Resurrected, it also shows when the Church was born. The early church didn't keep the day we call Easter, rather they incorporated the day of the Anointing in Bethany, the Passover, and the Discovery of the Resurrection into one Love Feast for the entire week. Pentecost was the holiday to celebrate the Birth of the Church, they incorporated Pentecost with the Ascension Day as one Feast;  therefore, they held Five Feasts in Two time periods.

Later there were other holidays added, the Birth of Jesus was celebrated on the 25th of December, not saying He was born then, rather it was picked because of the Dedication of Lights is on the same date. The reasoning is how Jesus celebrated a day not in the Law, thus since Jesus is Light, as He grants us Light they picked a day pointing to the Oil and Lights. Some claim it was some pagan day, but it’s still not the day, it’s man who makes it evil or not. One could claim Passover was a bloody day of death, and reject the Resurrection since it was connected to Passover. Things are things, days are days, if we keep the day, keep it unto the Lord, if not, keep it not unto the Lord, but don’t make it doctrine, nor force the keeping, or not keeping on people (Rom 14:1-7 & 14:13-14).

The Byzantium period ran from 330 to 1453 AD, since Byzantium and Rome started from the same premise we find similarities in their beginning, but not in their end. The Byzantium was termed the New Empire, so named with the hope of taking the place of old Rome. Byzantium saw the growth of architecture and art, evidenced by many mosaics found in several churches. Many of which became patterns for what we see as pictures of Jesus, Mary and the Apostles, although none of those who painted these pictures ever saw Jesus, Mary or the Apostles. Many used models, or what they supposed the figures would look like. The painting was a painting, giving it worship was wrong, which began the error of icon worshiping.

The idea of moving the capital of Rome to the east was not new, Julius Caesar suggested it in 45 BC, but it came to pass under Constantine. When Diocletian became emperor in 284 AD he attempted to maintain the empire by dividing it into the eastern and western halves. Diocletian continued the persecution of the Christians, but his successor, Constantine would have a reported experience changing the course of events. When Constantine was going into battle he saw a vision of Jesus; some say the vision said, Fight for Me Constantine; others said the words of the vision were, "Constantine why do you persecute Me?". Like Paul, Constantine made a decision, he carried the "sign of Christ" on his shield, the sign was an X, the Greek letter standing for Christ, it’s used in such terms as XMAS. Constantine didn't give the empire to the Christians, rather he opened the door for Christian worship under him. Constantine wanted to call his city New Rome, but it quickly became known as Constantinople (City Of Constantine). Constantine stopped the persecution, but he merely did as God knew he would. The "ten days" of persecution was over, it would appear as if Constantine did a holy thing, but we will find he still refused to give himself to Jesus.

Constantine reached a compromise with the Christians, he took the title "The Thirteenth Apostle"; this was more of a warning to future generations, than an honor for Constantine. The twelve apostles before the cross were sent to the Jews, they were endued with Power from on High on Pentecost, but still sent to the Jews first, but the order changed around 60 AD. From our study in Acts we found Peter wanted to fill the position of Judas before Pentecost, but failed to see what the position represented. The Jewish tribes were thirteen, not twelve: twelve refers to government organization, the thirteenth tribe was Levi, the religious order, who was separated from the government; however, in our case, the Five Fold Ministry is like unto the government order, only the number Five represents Grace. The New Testament order was suppose to remain separated from the governments of the world by being joined to the Kingdom of God. Paul was no doubt an Apostle, but his calling to the position came when the Holy Ghost said, "Separate unto Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). Man taking on the role of the Holy Ghost to appoint people into any of the five-fold offices is usurping authority, thus the number of rebellion is 13. 

If we are set on the number being “12”, or presume the positions are appointed by man, we have problems from the outset. We would have to count Matthias as the replacement for Judas, then the beheading of James reduces the number back to eleven, but then the Holy Ghost appointed both Barnabas and Saul (Paul) as apostles, making Barnabas the twelfth, with Paul the thirteenth apostle. However, if we see there are 12 positions, or office functions, then we would have to see the appointment of Matthias was out of order, thus not ordained by God. If Paul was appointed by God as he said, and the Holy Ghost set him in the office as the Scriptures show, then we can see Barnabas replaced James, making Paul the Twelfth. The Offices and the person in the office are different, the Office makes the person, not the other way around. Peter attempted to replace the man, rather than fill the office, thus he made two mistakes in the same meeting. Leadership does appoint Bishops, Deacons and Elders, but the positions are assigned to Helps. No less important in the order, but things must be in Order if we want Order in our ministry, leadership concurs the appointment to the Administrations of the Lord as they hear from the Holy Ghost. The biggest problem was yet to come, making the five fold Offices subject to Helps, reversing God’s Order.

As soon as the title was bestowed on Constantine a division started to take place. The Greek words, Orthodox and Heresy became an issue; Orthodox means a person who follows an official belief, we already know what the word Heresy means, thus a Heretic is one who refuses to follow an official belief. What Rome did to the Christians, the Christians were now attempting to do to one another. The controversy came, but the question became what is an official belief? To the heretic they held the official belief, to the Body they held the official belief. The Orthodoxy Byzantine order remained in Constantinople, the Eastern segment became the Roman Catholic body, yet both Branches were from the Catholic (Universal) church. For all intents and purposes, the Universal, or United Body ceased, but the Few who followed Jesus were nonetheless the Universal Church whichever church in the Body they attended.

Within months after the appointment of Constantine the first split took place, one could say denominationalism started with The Roman Catholic Body divided from the Orthodoxy Catholic Body, since both were still in the Body. Nonetheless man builds the Body, Jesus builds the Church. Paul said if the hand says it is not of the Body, does it make it so? If the arm says the foot is not of the Body, does it make it so? No, we are placed in the Body by God. Division is always a sign of carnal behavior, whether the division is entirely carnal or not remains to be seen. The carnal can separate from the spiritual, or God can call the spiritual out from the carnal, but it doesn’t mean one can make an independent decision of forming a New organization assuming they are not of the Body, or the Body is not of them. The Body remains unbroken until the Rapture, whether we like it or not, members of the Body are members indeed.

The early times in the Byzantine Empire produced “creedmakers”, resulting in the Nicaea Council. This Council laid out many premises, producing the Official Policy. There arose another order, the Byzantine Emperors became the heads of the Body, producing the first papacy order. Rather than Christ being the Head, it became Peter. In essence, Constantine became the first Pope, although he was never considered as such. The Pope position has it’s roots in the Latin, as strange as it may seem it means “father of bishops” in the Latin, in the Greek it means “papa”. It’s referred to as the Bishop of Rome, or the Head of the Roman Catholic church on earth. It was also known as “the patriarch of Alexandria”, or the “Coptic patriarch of Alexandria”. The most interesting aspect is how it remains as a Bishop position, thus the formers knew they could appoint a Bishop, without crossing the line into Governments, but they moved the Bishop office into Governments, removing the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. The position of Cardinal would come later, this in no way is against the Pope, or the office, it merely shows the roots, since the Protestants seem to make Helps over Governments. 

From the persecution where they faced lions in the circus, they now used it as a circus, everyone sought the church's blessing on everything, fishing, hunting, moving, houses, children, money, thoughts or most anything else. Rather then pray to God, they sought an official in the church to pray for them. They produced another Veil by placing a human between man and God. The purpose was Order, but it was forced order. This expanded their view of Peter, he was no longer a piece of the Rock, but the entire Rock. The greatest problem is of course at the time when Peter was called of the Rock he was not Born Again, he didn’t understand spiritual matters, and within a few verses Jesus told him, “get behind Me Satan”. Nonetheless, the change placed a human as the Head, which in turn removed Jesus as the Head. The exact warning Paul gave the Corinthians in First Corinthians chapter 11 came to pass again, a yoke was placed on the Neck of the Body. 

The Byzantine influence regarding icons and images came from Rome, thus both branches of the church were exposed to the practice. The Byzantines worshipped icons and images, they had to see their god, or see to whom they were praying. The concept of their god speaking to them was out of the question, they could speak to God, but not the other way around. A bitter controversy erupted in 726 AD when Leo III banded the worship of icons in the Byzantine order. This wasn't Leo's thinking, rather some in the Body considered the worship of Mary and/or the Apostles idolatrous, demanding for Leo to put a stop to it. It does show there were Believers who did hear the voice of the Holy Ghost, by  rejecting icon worship; the icons weren’t the problem, worshipping them was.

On the other hand the practice flourished in Rome, becoming a pillar in their worship. With all the icon worship it was bound to happen, the Image-smashers surfaced. They white washed, or defaced thousands of church paintings and sculptures. Today the Image-smashers are called barbaric, or "destroyers of fine art"; however, we would call them defenders of the faith. If their acts would have been successful, the history of the papacy would have been much different, but Rome considered the Image-smashers more barbaric than Atila the Hun.

The Byzantine order was much different from the Roman influence, although both were considered Roman in concept. Byzantine and Roman Catholic were both subject to the government, both had influence on the government. When Constantine died in 337 civil war broke out almost immediately, the Byzantium empire was assailed by Goths, Huns, Persians, Avars, Buglars, Slavs, Vikings, Arabs, Berbers, Turks, Normans and even Christian Crusaders. The Crusaders needed money, the Byzantine empire had money, thus it was Christian against Christian for the sake of money.

In 527 AD Justinian I became the emperor of Byzantine, he built hundreds of churches, including Hagia Sophia, which means, the church of Holy Wisdom located in Constantinople. Justinian devoted his long reign of 38 years to recreating the old Roman Empire, but with a Christian theme. By 555 AD all Italy with the southern part of Spain were in Byzantine hands under Justinian's armies. The Legal Code Of Justinian became the basic Roman Law, much of which is still around today. Instead of capital punishment for the minor offenders, Justinian listened to the church, instituting the placing of a minor violator in a monastery for the good of his soul, producing the first attempt at rehabilitation; however, the Law also called for punishment. Instead of locking a thief in jail, they cut off his hand. Some public executions were held in the Hippodrome, which was located a short distance from the church of Holy Wisdom. The basis for the Law was the family order, thus Justinian and his wife Theodora brought the first Woman's Rights. The Body at this time still had spiritual individuals who rightly interpreted Paul's letters, both Justinian and Theodora agreed with the spiritually minded, mothers were given equal authority with fathers in the upbringing of the children.

Justinian had absolute authority, he had many of the higher offices occupied by eunuchs. He believed a eunuch would spend time viewing the Law without viewing the person bringing the Law. This practice moved to the Body in what is termed Clergy Celibacy. The premise they used to support the move was the saying of Jesus, "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matt  19:11-12). It's only the last of the three classes of eunuchs pertaining to the kingdom of heaven, one must know why one becomes a eunuch in order to understand the saying. Eunuchs were used in the Bride's Chamber, they could be trusted with the protection of the Bride. These verses have nothing to do with Celibacy, they refer to the responsibility of taking care of the Bride. Men and women who make the decision to protect and serve the Bride of Christ, as a Eunuch would take care for the King's Bride with honor. Peter was married, thus if being a eunuch was a hard fast rule, then Jesus violated it by appointing Peter. As Paul noted to the Corinthians, if one desires to remain a virgin and serve the Lord, fine, if they want to be married and serve the Lord, fine as well (I Cor 7:25-40). It was up to the person, yet it became a requirement for holding office. The problem is of course a forced regulation on someone who is weak, usually can’t keep it. Like keeping or not keeping a day, Paul felt if one could remain a virgin fine, if not fine, but they had to settle the issue between them and the Lord, rather than allow it to become Dogma (I Cor 7:36). 

Until 650 AD the Byzantine Empire suffered many enemies (noted above) until they came with their secret weapon of "Greek Fire", a mixture of sulfur, naphtha, quicklime and salt-petre, a formula helped in part by certain monks in the church. The mixture was fired through tubes mounted on fast moving ships, since it contained naphtha, the more water tossed on it, the more it burned. Greek Fire caused the enemies of the Byzantine Empire to flee in fear, until the Arabs discovered the secret, then used it against the Byzantines. The proverb, “form a weapon against man, and man will use the weapon against you” became fact, as will as “give and it shall be given back to you”, only in the case of the Byzantine would rather not “receive”.

In the 9th Century under a dynasty of emperors including Michael III (842-67), who was also known as Michael The Drunkard, the tide turned to worshipping idols again. Under the regency of his mother, Theodora (not related to Justinian) the worship of icons was restored. Michael was murdered by one of his own grooms, who became Basil I in 867. Basil began the Macedonian dynasty which held the throne of Byzantium for the next two centuries. Next would come Nicephourus II (963-9); then John I (969-76). After John came Basil II, the titles give us a clue to the names of the Popes who continued the order of the Byzantium's. Jesus didn't call James the brother of John "James I", or the other James "James II"; rather it was James, and James the Less, no one was called The Great nor did Jesus allow anyone to be called Holy Father but the Father. A process was beginning to form, which would last for several years.

The placement of a person between God and man revisited the people called of God, but not by God’s design, yet allowed for a purpose. Instead of the Law of Moses, it was a position, but nonetheless it imposed a restriction between the congregation and the Head of the Body. The Bible tells us the Government is the Shoulder, not the Neck of the Body (Isa 9:6). Paul warned the Corinthians of the folly of allowing anything natural or carnal to separate the leaders from Christ (I Cor 11:1-16). How to repair this? Paul’s suggestion was to come to the Lord’s table (I Cor 11:16-34) by faith, with the expected anticipation of coming face to face with the Spirit of the Lord.

The decline of the Byzantine Empire began after a terrible defeat by the Turks at Manzikert in 1071. By the middle of the 13th Century the Byzantium Empire was little or nothing, then would come the fullness of the papacy. The Byzantine order would remain to some degree until the power of Islam under Mehmet II took Constantinople in 1452. Some of the remaining Byzantine Orthodoxy members submitted to the Roman Pope order, others, especially the leaders moved to Russia to become leaders of Russian Orthodoxy.

The history of Islam depends on how one looks at Abraham, or history. We know from Genesis 16:1 Ishmael was born to Abram and Hagar, and from Genesis 21:10 how God said Isaac was the heir: because God said the “promised son” would come from one man, Abraham, and one woman, Sarah. We also know how Paul said Hagar was the bondwoman, Sarah the free. Keeping it in mind we find the view of Islam is much different, but we also know the beginnings of Islam didn’t come to pass until well after the Cross of Jesus. Anyway, according to Islam, Abraham lived in the desert with his two wives, Sarah and Hagar. Sarah was childless, but Hagar gave birth to a boy, named him Ishmael. So far it’s close, but the Bible tells us Ishmael was not born to Abraham, but to Abram, yet Hagar was not his wife, but his wife’s slave (Gen 16:1-16). The Covenant with Abram came in Genesis 15:6, but the token was not until Genesis 17:1-2. The Token secures the Covenant, thus the Covenant was not Sealed until after Ishmael was born, separating him from the Promise, yet Ishmael still was circumcised of the flesh, because he was of the house of Abraham.

According to Islam when Ishmael was ten years old Sarah gave birth to Isaac; however, the Genesis record shows when Ishmael was born Abram was 86 years old (Gen 16:16), but Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Gen 21:5), making Ishmael nearer to 13 years of age. God did tell Abram how Ishmael would be blessed, and would produce 12 princes, but Ishmael was never a king (Gen 17:20). The most interesting aspect about Ishmael was how God heard Ishmael, but God spoke to Sarah, to Hagar, to Abraham, but not to Ishmael. No where in the Genesis account do we see God actually speaking directly to Ishmael.

According to Islam Sarah feared Ishmael would claim to be the heir, or receive the first-borns share of his father’s inheritance, thus she pleaded with Abraham to have Hagar and Ishmael banished. Abraham was grieved by Sarah’s wishes, but sent Hagar and the boy away. When Hagar and Ishmael were in the desert the heat became unbearable, Hagar sat on a rock and started to weep. Ishmael stood beside her and kicked at the sand, all of a sudden a well of water sprang forth. When Abraham heard of this miracle in the desert he came to Hagar and Ishmael calling the well Zemzem, nearby he built a temple, and called it Kaaba (cube). Then he sat a “black stone”, which Islam claims was handed down to Abraham from Adam, when Adam took it from the Garden of Eden, which of course makes Adam a thief. Accordingly Hagar and Ishmael remained at the place calling it Mecca, then Ishmael had a family; Islam feels because of the birth right, and the miracle of the well Ishmael is the true promised son, not Isaac. Unfortunately the Genesis record was written well before, showing God picked Isaac, not Ishmael (Gen 17:16-19 & 17:21). From Isaac would come David the anointed and appointed king, then Jesus the King of kings. Of course the controversy still produces conflicts in the Middle East, nonetheless the Bible and the Prophets have spoken on the subject making it clear.  

On the other side of the coin was Rome, with Leo I's accession to the Episcopal throne in 440 AD, the Roman bishop began to claim his supremacy over other bishops. The Pope seat was based on two factors; first there needed to be one leader, since the people wanted a leader they could see. Next there had to be some form of authority to place the Pope on the seat of leadership. The conclusion was the "keys to the kingdom", coupled with the assumption of Peter receiving actual keys, gaining the conclusion, "Peter had the keys and the keys are the papacy". Orthodoxy had icon worship, Rome had the papacy, but both had drifted from the Power of the Holy Ghost. The drift didn't come overnight, rather it took from 313 AD to 900 AD before they would separate themselves. We understand the Keys refer to deny yourself; pick up your cross, forgive as you are forgiven. Nonetheless the ground work was laid, then taken advantage of.

At the time Rome used everything to promote religion, including God. God became the tool, making religion a god, the result was carnal thinking leaders who Yoked the Body from the Head. None of these factors came into being until land became an issue, they wanted a kingdom on earth, rather than a Kingdom in heaven. The Body began a process of gaining treasure on earth, in spite of the warnings in the Gospel.

It came to a head when Gelasius I, Pope from 492 to 496 AD wrote in 494 AD how God gave both sacred and royal power to the Pope and the king, with the Pope being over the king, thus all rulers should submit to the Pope. The secularization of the church moved it from spiritual to carnal, with carnal purposes and goals. The veneration of Mary the mother of Jesus moved at a great pace around 590 AD, concluding in 1854 with the adoption of the doctrines of her immaculate conception, coupled with her miraculous assumption to heaven, neither of which were recorded in Scripture, or early writings. Of course at this same time the only thing the people knew about Scripture, was what they were told, there were no printed Bibles, or scrolls available to the general public.

Around 590 AD many false apocryphal writings surfaced proclaiming Mary did miracles before Pentecost, the Nestroian and other controversies of the fourth century resulted in Mary being called "Mother of God". The virginity of Mary was not an issue, Clement, Jerome and Tertullian all testified she was, it was the thought without Mary there were be no Son of God, which caused the problem. God saw Mary believing the words of the angel before the foundation of the world, Mary had no idea how the miracle was going to happen, she believed and became blessed. Mary was chosen among women, she was not chosen among the “gods”, nonetheless she believed what she was told.

However there were the good fish, Tertullian a church father not only believed in the Trinity, he defended it strongly. Also in reference to the "wiles" of the devil, we find Tertullian had the same definition of the wiles In his paper "7 against Praxeas" the context is "Satan's wiles against the truth, as they take the from of the Praxean heresy. The Praxean heresy could be termed a "Father only" thought process, this wile had a twist we might all remember. Tertullian begins by saying, "In various ways has the devil rivaled and resisted the truth. Sometimes his aim has been to destroy the truth. He maintains there is one Lord, the Almighty Creator of the world, in order he may promote his doctrine of the unity he has fabricated a heresy, he says the Father Himself came down into the virgin, was Himself born of her, Himself suffered, indeed was Himself Jesus Christ. Here the old serpent has fallen out with himself, since, when he tempted Christ after John's baptism, he approached Him as "the Son of God;" surely intimating God had a Son". Tertullian goes on to prove what we would term the "Trinity", although he doesn't use the term, rather he used the more common term Unity in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, also known to us as the Report. The Praxeas heresy was named after the man who brought it to Rome from Asia; Praxeas, he used the wiles to disrupt the foundation of many new converts.

Augustine took it one step further, he taught Mary never committed actual sin, yet Paul said All have sinned and come short, thus it wasn't the belief of Mary, rather it appeared as if God picked her because of her holiness. What started as acknowledgment of her belief became a thought she could stand for man and persuade Jesus to accept prayers from the masses. Again this places a person between man and God, negating the New Birth. If the lay person wanted to reach God, they had to go through a leader. If they wanted to reach God in their prayer closet, they had to go through Mary, in any regard they were separated from the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. All this took away from “Follow Me”, it also introduced sending someone in our place to make a request for us.

In the fifth century March 25th became the Feast of the Annunciation, which celebrated the angelic announcement of the birth of Jesus, then came Candlemas on February 2nd for the celebration of Mary's purification after the birth of Christ. Which should have been the evidence showing she had sin, since the Law of Moses only called for purification of those who are sinners. From this grew the veneration of saints, then praying to the saints; even with the evidence in the Scriptures allowing those in the Body to pray directly to God in the Name of Jesus. These saints were "angels", or messengers of God, yet the worshipping of angels is forbidden in the New Testament. John doesn't show one saint under the altar interceding for the saints, rather they say, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them who dwell on the earth?"; therefore, Jesus intercedes on our behalf by His Blood (Rev 6:10).

Until 300 AD celebrations for the saints were merely gathering at their graves, or thanking God for the faith of the saints, rather than asking the saint to intercede. By 590 AD the purpose changed; instead of thanking God for them, it became prayer to God through them. Then Ambrose brought the special vestments; until this time there were no special vestments for the priests to wear, they were no different in dress from anyone else. When the leaders moved from the Power of His Christ, they needed outward adornments to show who they were. These issues are all important, the Body saw the errors, then attempted to reach back to what was, but we can't reach behind the Veil, it must be ripped so we can become what God has said we should be.

How did the pagan icons and images become used to depict saints? When did the papacy move from the leaders of the Body to a person as the Head of the Church and why? Recalling Ignatius one of the early church fathers and his words to the Ephesians, we are reminded how he told them to stand in the Faith and Love of Jesus, and how they "took on a new life by the Blood of God" (Ignatius to the Ephesians). Ignatius commented on the Harmony with the Mind of God, which he termed was the combination of the Mind of the Father with Jesus, producing the Mind of Christ for the Body, it was this Like Mind which seemed to slip away. The Mind of Christ is Love, Mercy, Obedience, Endurance, and Patience (Ignatius to the Ephesians 3 & 4). Did God give up? Hardly, He kept sending Reformers and Prophets to the Body.

The Didache noted a true prophet as one who held the Ways of the Lord, but the false would always seek money, reward or promise of the same, or some self-generated reward. Greed is a ugly animal, a ruler of darkness. When greed takes over the mind the words become greed motivated: "if you don't have enough people I'm not coming", or "I didn't make enough there, I'm not going back", words from the heart of greed. The world demands payment for service, not the saint. Some think when they minister, they should be paid, it not only takes away from "freely you received, freely you give", but it becomes the motivation behind a Balaam attitude.

We know Paul faced the heretics, but what about John? Did he have to face the heretics as well? There was a man by the name of Cerinthus who was around during John's time, Cerinthus held many strange theological ideas. When Cerinthus ventured on the scene, John would leave, fearing the very sky would fall. John didn't debate Cerinthus, he didn't curse him to his face, John preached Jesus, not dogma. Cerinthus could best be described as an Ebionite, he said God didn't create the earth, but the earth was created by an angelic being. He added, Jesus was a mere man, the biological product of both Joseph and Mary, not conceived by a virgin in any regard, Jesus became the Christ at the baptism when the Spirit came in the form of a Dove. We have no trouble in seeing this as heresy, but the intent of Cerinthus continues today. If man can place Jesus in the position of mere man, than all men can equal what He did by their efforts, rather than submitting to the New Birth. Placing mankind as an equal to Jesus rejects the Cross, Resurrection and Spirit, making man his own Christ.

Another group who was active at the same time was the Elchasaites (sacred power); they held to the Law of Moses, except for the blood sacrifices. They produced another gospel, one with a different method of obtaining. The Elchasaites were not satisfied with the deeds from the Law of Moses, they added Chaldean astrology and magic, assuming supernatural was the same as Spiritual. They used mystical ways and spiritualism, both of which are natural counterfeits to the Spiritual.

In 220 AD another group came to the surface, they used twenty books they called The Preaching Of The Apostle Peter. These twenty books were declared heresy based on their content being sensual (soulish), as well as being opposed to Peter's letters. The introduction of these counterfeits made it appear as if Peter turned from Christ to paganism. They said Peter viewed Christianity as Judaism with the ambiguity and error removed. They said Jesus was a prophet, though greater than Moses, He was not the Redeemer, and neither true man, nor true God. They did use Scripture, but twisted it to support their writings, rather than use it to check the Truth of their writings. What was the root of their heresy? Pride, the desire to be lord, absent God.

Gnosticism was another heretical concept, discussed in part prior. Gnosticism taught all world matter is controlled and governed by an evil principle, which tends to be violent, the opposite was the spiritual world ruled by a good god; thereby introducing a multiple independent god theology. Gnosticism assumed all natural things were evil, created evil to be evil, which we know is not true by the Genesis record. Their teaching supposed Thought in and of itself was spiritual, but in so doing they made their minds a god, placing their god in the purposed temple of God, claiming their natural minds as God. The word Gnosis is a Greek word pointing to all schools of philosophical knowledge, the Gnosticism used the natural, carnal mind of man to save the self, truly a wreck in the making.

Like others, the Gnostics wanted an equal start with Jesus, instead of using faith, they trusted in intellectual knowledge. The Gnostics had many problems, they assumed the world and man were created by the Demiurge (middle god), who was an angelic being, inferior to the good and higher god, but still able to create. This places Creation in the hands of a creation, thus making creation higher than the Creator. Gnostics assumed Jesus could not have a real human body, since all natural things are evil. To get around their heresy, they brought another, by saying Jesus used a form of magic to make those around Him assume He had a body of flesh. If the Body of Jesus was not flesh, then man is not redeemed, if man is not redeemed how could the Holy Ghost bring the Seed of God? Gnostics produced more problems than they had answers; from their error came the Docetic Heresy. What was the source? Self-righteousness motivated by pride, if they could prove Jesus was not human in any form, they would have the ability to be as Jesus without the Spirit. Many of Paul’s writings repute the Gnostic thinking, as we will see.

One of the leaders of the Gnostics was a man named Basildes of Alexandria, he claimed to possess a Secret Tradition given directly to him by Peter. Basildes had the secret revelation the Body wasn't ready for, whether it’s the revelation we’re not ready for, to some secret book, or special day, it’s still a lust to be the special of the special. This supposed Secret of Basildes included the concept of multiple gods; however, Peter said there was One God, which consists of Father, Son and Holy Ghost (I Pet 1:2-3). Basildes attempted to mix Greek and Roman mythology into the Christian Belief. The pillar of the Gnostics was not the God we know, they added the supreme god as God's Nous or mind of God. There was the lower god of evil, yet all these gods never knew what the other was doing, thus the creator god could create without the other gods knowing. The Gnostics assumed all mankind had the Mind of Christ, but it could only be developed by intellect and schooling; the more intellectual, the more of the Mind of Christ one had; however, they also said one's own mind was greater in ability than the Mind of Christ. This allowed the Gnostics to use man's natural reasoning over the mind of Christ, thus it became a form of intellectual power to define spiritual matters. Paul used the Greek word Nous in his letter to the Romans by saying, We must renew the Nous from this world to the life of Christ (Rom 12:1-3). He also said "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind (Nous - Col 2:18). Were these heresies around in Paul's day? Yes, but Paul knew they were products of the spirit of disobedience. His approach was to preach the Truth in Love, thus to rebut a heretic without sound Scripture presented through love, ends with one dog calling the other dog, a dog.

An example of one who held a religious opinion, then cast it away for the Truth can be found in the testimony of Origen (184-254 AD). At one time Origen taught all spirits were created equal, which is a Truth, but he added man's spirit was Re Born rather than man being Born Again to have the Spirit. As he saw it, the devil made a choice causing his own self-destruction, thus all spirits who sinned became demons. He once felt man's soul is prehistoric, thus each soul had fallen in the past prior to man taking on flesh. He mixed his teachings with mystical theology, which was termed a heresy in the First Council of Constantinople (553 AD). Origen's early teaching was termed heresy, he did become a well respected church father after he was converted, he studied under Clement in the Catecherical School in Alexandria. According to Eusebius, thousands came to hear him after he was converted; however, according to Origen himself, his early thoughts were cleaned away by the washing of the Water by the Word. The weakness of Origen is the same as Babe, wanting truth so bad, anything sounding right is accepted. However, Origen developed a sound study discipline, becoming an example of how anyone can allow their mind to conjure up ideas or thinking lacking a Bible basis, yet when the fables are exposed they are cast away by the insertion of Truth.

What about some of the churches who endured? Ignatius wrote his epistle to the Ephesians around 70 to 90 AD, a time period when John the Apostle was still around. Ignatius congratulated the Ephesians on their ability to detect and reject false teachers.  He noted how they held to the teachings of Paul, were Bible based, able to "close their ears to error" while "opening them to God". Ignatius said the "spirit of deceit" was a "he"; does it mean the he no longer exists? John said this it was the he in the world, Paul called it  the iniquity already working in his day, it's still around today. 

Ignatius in his letter to the Trallians described those who taught false doctrines as, "they also calumniate (make a slanderous accusation) about Him being born of a virgin; they are ashamed of His cross; they deny His passion, they do not believe His Resurrection. They introduce God as being unknown (made known), they suppose Christ to be unbegotten, and as to the Spirit, they do not admit He exists". Ignatius didn't refer to the Holy Ghost, but the to Spirit, or being Born Again. He also told the Trallians "be on your guard, therefore, against such persons, that you admit not for a snare for your souls".

Around 155 AD or 170AD (depending on which calendar one uses) a man named Montanus came on the scene, teaching what we term Montanism. He claimed to be the spirit of prophecy, saying he was the Paraclete (Holy Ghost), teaching he was the one who Jesus said would come to lead them into all Truth (Jn 16:7). Aided by two women, Maximilia and Priscilla (or Prisca) Montanus founded a sect of enthusiasts who preached the imminent end of the world, as well as teaching austere morality with sever penitential discipline. They forbade second marriages, denied the divine nature of the Church, refused forgiveness of sins a person committed after baptism. Montanus called for less church hierarchy and more prophecy. Among his followers was Tertullian for a short period of time, Tertullian was drawn by the supposed Charismatic influence of prophecy, but was dismayed at the lack of knowledge. Terullian was able to leave the sect, later combined knowledge to the true Charismatic nature allowing him to be become a useful servant. 

Another thought process called Monarchianism (a name given them by Tertullian), came along in the second century, this group like the Praxeas could be termed a "Father only" sect. They denied the Trinity; at the time any sect who denied the Trinity was classed as heretical. Two major types of Monarchianism existed, the Adoptionist, or Dynamic from, which viewed Jesus as a unique person, divinely energized, called to be the Son of God; then the Modalistic, also called Sebellianism and Patripassionism, proclaiming Jesus was  the Father incarnated into the Son's divinity. The arguments of Tertullian against these heresies was Bible based, showing they failed in their foundational theology.

Around 415 AD a teacher named Pelaguis was condemned twice for his teachings, but he continued to teach his heresies. He said Adam would have died regardless, all men were made to die, as well as Adam's sin being personal to him alone. He also said Adam's sin didn't curse the earth or man, rather all men begin as Living Souls, and all men had the same start as Jesus. He said the only difference between Jesus and mere man, was Jesus didn't sin, thus Jesus was not the Son of God by design, but by the efforts of Jesus. He taught how all humans would not be raised because of Christ, but because of their efforts to remain sinless. In essence Pelaguis was teaching self-righteousness in place of God’s righteousness, thus allowing man to use his lost soul in a feeble attempt to save his soul. There is concise Scripture saying with man salvation is impossible, but not with God, thus no man can save his own soul making Pelaguis a heretic without question or debate.

Arius was another, from him we obtain the term Arianism. He taught the Father was the only God, making the Son independent or different than the Father in all respects. He said the Son's deity was given based on the foreseen righteousness, Jesus was not eternal, but created by the Father as an instrument for creating the world. Like others, Arius based his conclusions on his interpretation of the word Firstbegotten; however, he knew the Greek, he also knew Paul's teachings discounted his views. Paul said Jesus is the Image of the Invisible God, the "firstborn of every creature", then Paul listed all creations as the product, thus Paul showed before creation, there was Jesus. If Jesus was before anything was created, how could Jesus be created? The Greek word for Image means a Prototype, or the Original from which others are copied, not the copy itself. The Image became the Visible of the Invisible, but the Form or outside covering stood for mankind, it was not the other way around. Paul also used the Greek Eikon for Begotten, removing the concept of Jesus being created. The relationship between the Son and Father is not coincidental, or the Son being like the Father, but the Son is the direct Image of the Father, as the Son the Word took on flesh for all men who have sinned in the flesh. If Paul would have used the Greek Ktizo rather than Eikon, Arius would have a point, but the Greek shows Arius erred. John rebuked Arius’ by simply saying, In the Beginning was the Word, thus at the very start of any beginning the Word Was (Jn 1:1).

When Pope Pelagius died of the plague in 590, Gregory was chosen to replace him. Although he disclaimed the title of Pope, he exercised all the power of the title. John the Faster of Constantinople claimed the title of Ecumenical (Universal Pope) Gregory was quick to give battle. Gregory was willing to share, but not willing to let anyone use the title of Universal Pope. 

When Phocas took over the civil throne in Constantinople, Gregory renewed friendly terms with him. Phocas was not a holy man, he was vulgar, he murdered the wife and family of the former emperor, but he was nonetheless in power and Gregory ceased the opportunity. Phocas sided with Gregory, making Rome the "head of all the churches". In the new official position Gregory the Great sent missions into other lands (590-604). Gregory knew debate was a sin, but how could they show the Christian endeavor without being forceful? By this time the Holy Ghost was being ignored for the natural intellect of man. The Holy Ghost as the connection between the True Head of the Church and man, was replaced with a man being the head of the church making the church the head of God. Instead of the Body being the Rock, man made it the entire Body the Church, although Jesus was still building, as the Holy Ghost behind the scenes was still seeking those who desired to walk with Christ.

Gregory assumed if Rome was tolerant of the Christian, the Christian must be tolerant of the pagan. The introduction of Tolerance for the sin of man began with Gregory. There were some who were moved by the Spirit, with signs and wonders following, they didn't need to debate the pagan, or be tolerant, they merely cast the devils out, and preached with Power and Authority.

When Gregory started the tolerance toward the pagan, the result became the use of pagan temples, icons and images, yet giving them new names. The Turks returned the favor by taking church buildings, and turning them into mosques. The church added many heathen festivals to the Christian calendar. They left the original Passover, but gave it the name Easter, which comes from the Norse goddess Eostre, who had a holiday in her honor every spring. Eostre was the Northern version of the Phoenician earth-mother Astarte, the goddess of fertility, whom Jeremiah called the queen of heaven (Jere 44:18-25). To celebrate the fertility rites to Astarte they used eggs as a symbol of birth, by painting pictures on the eggs to attract the goddess. Later we added the bunny as the great fertility king, bringing mother earth in union with the fertility king. Does this mean we should stop Christmas and Easter? Not at all, if we stop the celebration of Passover (Easter) we miss the Resurrection. If we miss the Resurrection we miss Pentecost, we simply remove the paganism, then focus on Jesus, the reason for the season.

What about the times after Gregory until the Renaissance? Some of the same old debates lingered on. The issue of the Filioque, or the concept of the Spirit coming from both the Father and the Son raised it's head again. Photius (810-895 AD) came against the Filioque, but he also noted the debate counted as nothing if one didn’t have the Spirit. Debating if the Spirit came at the request of the Son, by the Faith of the Son, or through the Father can be resolved by knowing if one had the Spirit; then the Holy Ghost planted the Seed.

One element still stands, the Apostle's Creed, which contained the basic elements believed by the Apostles. At first there were several documents, all of them contained the same points, perhaps in different wording, but basically the same points. The Creed was simple enough, it listed the elements of the Trinity, beginning with the Father, then the Son, then the Holy Ghost. The accepted Creed reads:

 

We (I) believe

1. in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;

2. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;

4. suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

5. He descended into Hades; the third day He rose from the dead;

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

7. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

8. And We (I) believe in the Holy Ghost;

9. the communion (fellowship) of saints;

10. the forgiveness of sins;

11. the resurrection of the body;

12. and the life everlasting.

It's interesting how they settled on twelve points, yet one can see this is really a brief overview of the Gospel. The rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ are given in the Book of Hebrews, which we will go over later. However, even in the days of Polycrap the concern was for every convert to know the six basic premises to the Doctrine of Christ, as outlined in the Book of Hebrews. Without the awareness of those six points the convert would be subject to winds of doctrine. The six elements are not all the Doctrine of Christ consists of, but they are the fundamental pillars. They are listed in Hebrews 6:1-2, as 1) repentance from dead works, 2) faith toward God, 3) doctrine of baptisms, 4) laying on of hands, 5) resurrection of the dead, and 6) eternal judgment. All six are reflected in some way in the Creed.

The system changed over the years and became known as "catechism", or "new believer classes", or the such, which changed from the rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ to denominational premises, or doctrines lacking foundational elements of the Doctrine of Christ. How many of us remember being taught about "repentance from dead works"? Or "the doctrine of baptisms"? Simple milk premises, but some have ignored the Babes in Christ by suggesting they already knew these elements. If we should know them, why didn't someone teach us? Good question, it needs to be explored.

While things were going on in Rome, there were things going on in other places as well, for instance, there was the Russian church.

 

THE RUSSIAN CHURCH

Today there is some question regarding the office of the Apostle continuing beyond John; however, Ulphilas (311-383) was known as the Apostle to the Goths; Willibrord of the Netherlands was called the Apostle to the Netherlands (658-739). He was a champion of Romanism at the Synod of Whitby, he began missioniszing Europe. The title Apostle not only denoted a Leader, but it entailed the spreading of the Gospel to virgin areas, as well as bringing commandments. The Evangelist tossed the net to bring converts into established bodies, or begin new bodies in established areas. There are some who think being an Apostle makes them “boss”, but the Bible shows the disciples were called Apostles before the Cross (Matt 10:1-5, Mark 3:13-19, 6:7-13, 6:30, Luke 6:12-16 & 9:1-10). The First position established was the Apostle, then came Prophets, then Evangelists, then Teachers, then Pastors, all callings based on the gift for the Office, but none has ceased until He who now lets takes us out of here. The Apostle gives commandment, the Prophet delivers doctrine, the Teacher teaches the doctrine. The Pastor is the overseer of the entire local grouping, the Bishop the overseer of Helps, the Deacon the doer of Helps, the Elder the adviser. There is the Operation of God, or the manner in which God desires any local body to operate (I Cor 12:6 & 12:28). All matters of Order so the power of Christ can freely move through the Believer.

On the other hand, there were also the Crusades, which were really forced acts of Revival: "be Christian or die" was the gospel of the Crusades. The First Crusade (1096-1099) was to remove the Turks (Islam or Infidels) from the Holy Land. Emotionalism brought about the call; Pope Urban II said the "wicked race" holding the Holy Land had no right, God would stand with anyone who freed the Holy Land, he ended his sermon with "Deus Volt! Deus Volt!" (God wills it, God wills it); the call went out and many joined the cause. In June of 1098 Antioch was taken where they discovered the Holy Lance which was supposed to be the one used to pierce the side of Jesus. With this discovery, they gained more land until they took Jerusalem, where they set up Godfrey of Bouillon (Loraine) as governor of Jerusalem, then entitled him "Defender Of The Holy Sepulcher".

The second Crusade (1147-1149) came as a result of the invasion, and recapture of Jerusalem by Edessa of Islam. The Crusade was led by Louis of France but failed; many of the crusaders never reached the Holy Land. The medieval Christians were astonished, how could the victory be preached in the name of God, yet fail? How indeed, the land was not given to the Christian, nor the Muslim, holding to it while it is not theirs to hold to is still being a thief, so how could God honor it? He couldn’t, and didn’t.

The third Crusade (1188-1192) came when Mohammedan under Saladin enforced the Holy Land with Muslim concepts. Richard I, king of England made a three year peace with Saladin (1192), which allowed small groups of crusaders to visit the Holy Sepulcher.

The fourth Crusade (1202-1204) under Pope Innocent III was a complete nightmare ending with Christians fighting Christians. This Crusade, rather than being a success, destroyed the bulwark which the eastern empire had formed against Islam, further embittered the relations between eastern and western Christendom. They proved  natural minded people acting foolishly in the name of God produce foolish results.

Instead of leaving a profound impression on Islam, Islam left a profound impression on the Crusaders. It was during the thirteenth century when the use of the rosary came into prominence, influenced by the Moslem ritual of Tasbih. The Crusades enlarged the concept of Absolution, which edict said anyone could kill in the name of God and gain absolution for their sins. The concept came from the Muslim concept of "dying in a holy war", of course we find the poison fruit of that folly today.

Not only were those who fought granted absolution, but one who gave money for the Crusades gained absolution for their sins, which is the sin of Simony. Repentance was based on how much money one had, rather than how much remorse one had. Many of the rites picked up from the pagans and other religions became the focus of the Reformation. The Cup became more important, than what was in it, beginning all sorts of stories about the “holy grail”.

The Crusades left another impression, the Cathari would protest against the Roman church, contending the True Church endures, it need not persecute in order to do so. Theologically the Cathari had many problems; they felt Jesus was an angel, not a human,  He neither died, nor rose from the dead; they rejected the Cross, the Sacraments, instead of looking for the Resurrection, they held to reincarnation. What they saw, they saw, what they didn't see, they couldn't understand. Their concept of enduring was not by Faith, but by intellectualism, attempting to save their own souls. They denied reproduction, marriage and other things, considering the flesh as sin. Like similar groups who sprung up in later years with the same thinking they counted on new members to survive, thus they soon died out, leaving nothing behind.

The Western church was also moving, but in a different direction. Russia was shaped by European influences, both Kiev, and Moscow were primarily religious in nature. Valadimir the Grand Prince sought a national religion, one to best benefit God and man, he became a Christian in 988 AD. He made his choice after sending envoys to the Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Byzantine Orthodox churches, when the envoys returned they commented on how impressed they were by the Orthodoxy and the Byzantine influence, they advised Vladimir to adopt the same concepts for the infant state of Russia. Although Vladimir received the Christian concept, he still held to some of his old thoughts; it was reported he had as many as 800 concubines. The ancestors of Russia were a group of Slav tribes who took up residence in the land around 400 AD. The area was wooded with great forests, allowing the men to become experts with the ax. Some could carve all sorts of things with an ax, including the great onion dooms adorning many of the Russia churches and monasteries.

The Russian people loved Christianity, over 200 churches sprang up almost overnight. By choosing the Orthodox church over the Roman, Vladimir set Russia on a path separating it from western Europe. The Russian influence also had icons, but refused worship toward the icons. Russian Christianity never became either Eastern or Western, rather it hovered often uneasily between the two.

The Kremlin was first a large church as the religious center of Muscovy. The seat of the Russian Patriarch who since the fall of Constantinople, became the leader of the Russian Orthodox church.

On the outskirts of Kiev was the Monastery Of The Caves, the first monastery in Russia. In this monastery the monks composed the first historical chronicles of the lives of the saints. The Monastery lasted through the Tarar years from 1237 to 1240; the Tarars were heirs to the empire of Genghis Khan. Russia survived during those years, mainly because the Tarars sought plunder and blackmail, not residence. Since there was nothing to be gained from the Christian church, the Tarars left it alone. it wasn't until later when the Russia church began teaching how icons perform miracles they begin to move from their basic foundational precepts. The most famous was the Virgin of Vladimir, painted by an unknown Byzantine artist. It was credited with saving Moscow from foreign conquest on three occasions, including Napoleon's invasion of 1812. God saved Moscow, not the icon. The danger in having to see ones God was answered by Jesus when He told Thomas, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29). Jesus didn’t say, “have not seen Me”, rather it was a blanket statement, “have not seen”, which would include having to see a miracle before we believe in God being able to do miracles.

Even after overcoming the Tarars, the Russians still were unable to call the land their own; because their church was controlled by the Patriarch of Constantinople. The break came at the Council of Florence in 1439, when the Byzantine emperor tried to unite the Orthodox church to the Catholic church in Rome. The Muscovites opposed the union, based on the worship of icons, the papal seat, and other conflicts. Soon afterwards the Turks took Constantinople in 1453, leaving Moscow and the Russian church the sole representatives of independent Orthodoxy. The marriage between Ivan the Great and the niece of the last emperor of Byzantium in 1472 seemed to seal Orthodox to Russia alone.

Ivan the Great's grandson, Ivan IV (1544-84) became known as Ivan The Terrible; he was the first ruler to be crowned as Tsar (Czar) a title derived after the Latin title “Caesar”. People were massacred, deported, or ill-used by Ivan the Terrible, the Russians suffered yet more sever tribulations during the Time of Troubles from 1605 to 1613. The situation was so bad, Poland fought with Sweden to determine who would get the leftovers. In 1610 Moscow fell to the Poles, but it was caused by the Russians giving rise to the patriotic party in Russia. In 1613 the city was freed, the party elected a new Tsar, Michael Romanov. The three Romanov Tsars varied from feeble to mild, but never became powerful.

Peter the Great would begin reforms toward the end of the 17th Century (1682-1725). From his time until 1905 the Orthodoxy church changed little; in 1905 the first bits of the Revolution emerged, the birth pains of the Soviet regime began with Lenin's leadership in 1917. Josef Stalin was the Communist Party secretary, he attained full totalitarian power by 1928. The government became central in all things, the church was allowed to remain under strict restrictions. They could preach what the government allowed, really they could only do as the government allowed. When Christians are oppressed they fall to their knees, often it’s the first step to victory. The True Orthodoxy church went underground, but in the process they found something; many were Born Again, the Holy Ghost is not hindered by politics, or walls. Many were filled with the Spirit, there are many stories of healings, deliverance out of the hand of the government, miracles, and other works too numerous to mention here.

The evidence came out in bits and pieces until the end of the Soviet reign. People were hungry for the words of Christ, they loved to hear the Truth of God, but whenever people are hungry the birds bring their heresies as well. The Door to Russia opened, but both the Good and Bad Fish came; however, by this time many Russians were Born Again with ears to hear the Holy Ghost. Perhaps God allows what we consider horrid things to befall us so we will fight the good fight of Faith. For some reason we tend to blame the government, rather than take the lesson by falling to our knees before we're knocked to them.

 

ENGLAND - FRANKS & OTHERS

The word Barbarian comes from the Greek BarBar meaning one who speaks with a strange language. The Franks were not simply farmers, nor were they simply mercenary raiders, but they were nonetheless classed as Barbarian. They sold slaves, wine, and swords in nearly every town in France. They also broadened their trade to the Atlantic countries, they founded a great market of the 7th Century until it was destroyed by the Vikings in the 9th Century. To the Mediterranean people, the Germanic Franks were barbarian, simple, uncomplicated brigands, who founded territory on the former Roman Empire. The Empire failed, while the barbarians succeeded. The Franks preserved much of what was Roman and Gaul, including the language and religion. The Saxons, later to be known as the Anglo-Saxons crossed the North Sea to settle in England. They drove out the Latin and brought the first non-Mediterranean literature.

Beyond the lands of the English, were the earlier inhabitants of the British Isles with the Celts (Britons). They included the Picts of the north and the Irish who often challenged the power of the Roman Empire. Until the coming of the Vikings some four centuries later the Picts and western Scots dominated Scotland. Finally the Scots of the west, with help from the Scandinavians took over western Scotland and the Pictish nation disappeared. Living in southern Scotland the Welsh speaking tribes remained.

The Irish were the first people outside the Roman world to be converted to Christianity since the splint in 330 AD. Traditionally Ireland is said to have been converted around 400 AD by a young Romano-Briton named Patrick, who also founded the church at Armagh. Patrick had the great task of teaching the Gospel, and the Trinity, yet the concept of the Trinity was so foreign to the people, it seemed near impossible. They believed in many gods, but One God who was Three in One, who could not be separated, yet was separated? Patrick found the land filled with a unique clover, a certain type of clover with three leaves joined to one stem. The famed Three Leave Clover would be the tool to show the Irish how something can be Three, yet One.

The Irish heard of the Christian persecution, and how the old Roman government burned crosses, thus they devised a method to tell the story of the Gospel in such a manner no one could burn it. They took great stones, carved them into crosses, then used the face of the stone to carve many Biblical scenes. Patrick was reported to rid the land of snakes; however, the historians confused snakes with serpents, Patrick took up serpents (malicious people and devils) converting them to Christians, the proof of Mark 16:18. Patrick became known as the Apostle of the Irish, making the Irish brand of Christianity a simple, pure faith based love doctrine, as he showed the people the love of God, rather than just talk about it.

Gregory was the first to consider using compromise to win converts. His conclusion was to stop killing the pagan, and start converting them by using the same technique as Patrick; however, Patrick didn't use pagan idols or days, he used the love of God. Gregory would enter a pagan temple, see the statues and say, "Oh it's not Diana, it's Mary" or "it's not Apollo, it's John the Baptist". He used their pagan holidays then interjected the names of Apostles and saints. When the pagans would have a festival, he would term it some historical Christian holiday, such was the case with June 1st being the birthday of John the Baptist. His idea seemed simple enough, the goal seemed Godly, but the means was turning stones into bread. By this time the assumption of December 25th as the birthday of Christ, thus if John was born six months prior, why not June first?

The worship of gods didn't die out at once, Gregory had strict orders for the missionaries to leave the pagan shrines alone, and try to introduce Christian worship alongside of paganism. As noted this produced many problems, including the continual worship of icons and images. The English church turned its attention to its western and northern neighbors. In 663 AD a Council of the Old British church, and the New English church was held at the monastery of Whitby. The English church established by St. Augustine won the day, the English church was brought in line with Roman Theology. The Prayer Book of St. Augustine is still in use today. The date of Easter (Passover), and the manner in which monks shaved their heads were to follow Roman practice.

Nonetheless it was Gregory who sent St. Augustine to England toward the end of the 6th Century. St. Augustine established the English church much like the organization in Rome. The Bishoprics at Canterbury and Dorchester began known as the Episcopalian, or a church governed by Bishops. It was basically the same system as Rome, without the Pope. This was apparently a compromise, rather than a office appointment by the Lord. The body was established with Bishops only, leaving government still in the hands of Rome. However, it soon changed to making the Bishops leaders over the local bodies. The influx of making Helps the local Government rather than Pastor and Teacher, still left the appointment in the hands of leadership, but the Bishop was never intended to be Government, it was designed for Helps. This change introduced Deacon Boards to rule over Governments, a completely out of order system.

The church of England didn't take on it's complete form until Henry VIII wanted an annulment of his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry considered himself a good Catholic, he even put to death thousands of Protestants for heresy, but he also put many Catholics to death for treason. The Roman church refused Henry’s request, so he began his own church, thereby securing his annulment. We know how he later felt getting an annulment was a waste of time, he began to have his wives beheaded.

Under Elizabeth I the church of England emerged with the Prayer Book of 1552.  Also under the reign of Elizabeth the Catholics were persecuted, if one was a practicing Catholic they stood the chance of being punished, or quartered. The Catholic priests were subject to death, it was brother against brother, the sin outlined in First John.

King James focused on having a Bible for the masses, his actions were seen many years prior when a Christian was burning on stake gave a prophecy saying the king of England would bring forth a Book of Scripture for the people. The King James Version (1611) is the result of the prophecy; although some say King James was anything but Godly, he was nonetheless the one to bring about the Version, which is more of a miracle than they suppose. The history of the King James Version has many elements showing it was inspired, not contrived, even the use of the word Version separates it from the mind of man. It’s interesting to see the motivations for the various translations, some “think” we need one, some are motivated by their theology, some want to make sure their views are in print, some want to change what is in a manuscripts to fit their theology. Yet, those who were picked for the King James had a much different motivation, even to the point of their names not being associated with the document. They wanted God to get the glory, not man.  

The King James Version was the first to put chapter and verse numbers in the text, also the first to make it clear if a word or words were added by translators they were in italics to make sure it change was known. Some Hebrew and Greek sentences demand words be added to make the sentence read in English. Nonetheless the reader was able to know what was original, and what was placed into the text for clarification. The translators didn’t grab some text which was already in existence, then copy it, they took all the documents they could find, including some original letters and teachings. The proper method of translation is to use both the external and internal, the Textus is important, but letters written by others of the time help secure the text. The translators didn’t put the King James together over the week-end, or even in two or three years, they most certainly didn’t change possession or tense. The most prime example of this is Galatians 2:20, where the early text shows “the faith of Him”, not “our faith”. The possession of whose faith is vital, if our measure of faith can gain us heavenly ability by death, we don’t need Jesus. The Faith of Jesus has proven itself, by His Faith the path is opened for us, to assume our measure of faith is as great as the Faith of Jesus is very dangerous. It does take our faith with the New Man to find the path, but the command is still “have faith in God”, rather than “have faith in yourself”.

The external assisted the internal, but behind it we can see the hand of the Holy Ghost guiding the translators. The King James Version is the proof of Peter's comments, holy men of old wrote the text as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, the translators of the King James translated as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Today we are faced with many translations, some private, some not, but regardless it still takes the Holy Ghost to interpret the words. Some men hold their theology above the Bible, they make changes based on what they assume the Text should say, rather than leaving the Text as written. Could it be, the common man with the Holy Ghost can understand more of God's ways than some of our theologians? It doesn't take away from a theologian who is Holy Ghost centered, but it does point out the difference between a Spirit run theologian, and a self-run theologian.

The classic Charles Dickens tale of Scrooge, or A Christmas Carol tells about a sinful man who lacks the Child of Bethlehem in his heart. The man sees his past, yet it's not enough to change him; he sees his present, yet it's not enough to change. He then sees "what might be" repents and changes his path by receiving the Spirit of the Mass for Christ or as we know it, Christ - Mass. The Dickens tale is about simple salvation, it too came about near the time of King James.

King James was the only child of Mary, Queen of Scots, as the first king to rule both England and Scotland. James was born on June 19, 1566, James was only 15 months old when he succeeded his mother to the Scottish throne. He received his education from tutors such as George Buchanan, he began his personal rule of Scotland in 1583. During the next 20 years James successfully asserted his position as head of church and state in Scotland, outwitting the nobles who conspired against him. Being eager to succeed the childless Elizabeth, who was the First to the English throne, he merely protested when his mother was executed for treason in 1587. James went to Scandinavia in 1589 to bring home his bride, Anne of Denmark, who bore him several children but annoyed him by becoming a Roman Catholic.

In 1603, James became the first Stuart king of England, he devoted himself almost entirely to English affairs thereafter. Although raised as a Presbyterian, he immediately antagonized the rising Puritan movement by rejecting a petition for reform of the church of England at the Hampton Court Conference (1604). Roman Catholic hostility, manifested in the attempt (1605) by Guy Fawkes who set to blow up both king and Parliament. James did not dissolve the English suspicion of him being pro-Catholic when he concluded peace with Spain in 1604. The suspicion intensified when James took only ineffective diplomatic steps to secure the restoration of his Protestant son-in-law, Elector Palatine Frederick V, after he had been deposed in the Thirty Years' War.

Initially guided by Robert Cecil, 1st earl of Salisbury, an able chief minister, James subsequently allowed his court favorites; Robert Carr, earl of Somerset, and later George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckinham, effective control. The role of these ministers complicated James's stormy relations with Parliament. The Parliament’s views of its rights, especially in financial matters, clashed with the king's view of the royal prerogative.

Confident in his own wisdom and experience, James avoided hard work, preferring to hunt. He was fortunate in having the services of Lionel Cranfield, earl of Middlesex, a former merchant, who looked after the royal finances until he was impeached (1624) for corruption at the Behest of Buckingham. Parliament also impeached (1621) another able minister, Francis Bacon, then blocked James in his attempts to arrange a formal Anglo-Scottish union to exchange his rights to feudal dues for a permanent grant of revenue from Parliament. James wrote books about kingship, theology, witchcraft, tobacco, he also commissioned the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible. He died on March 27, 1625, having warned his son and heir, Charles the First, of future dangers to the monarchy from Parliament.                

As far as the King James Version itself we find it’s a work not only prophesied about, but it held many interesting facets. Often our lack of information, as well as having the wrong information can cloud our thinking, so it is with a lack of knowledge regarding the King James Version. Some tend to think since it’s called a “Version” it isn’t really a translation; however, in 1611 the word Version didn’t stand for ones opinion, or ones personal concept of a matter, it went much further. Version as it was understood by the people of the time means, An adaptation of a work of art, or literature into another medium without changing the meaning, context, or the integrity of the work. The Preface of the original Authorized King James Version was very long, it set forth the concerns of the workers, as well as the reasons for their labor. The work itself took nearly 100 years to reach its final conclusion; although the people who did the work wanted to keep their names out of it, we do know who they were. The translating was done at Westminster, Oxford and Cambridge. The First Westminster Company engaged in the translation of the historical books, beginning with Genesis and ending with the Second Book of Kings. The team consisted of Dr. Lancelot Andrews, Dr. John Overall, Dr. Hadrian Saravia, Dr. Richard Clarke, Dr. John Laifield, Dr. Robert Tighe, Francis Burleigh, Geoffry King, Richard Thompson, Dr. William Bedwell. The Oxford Company translated from Isaiah to the end of the Old Testament, consisting of Dr. John Harding, Dr. John Reynolds, Dr. Thomas Holland, Dr. Richard Kilby, Dr. Miles Smith, Dr. Richard Brett, Daniel Fairclough. The Second Oxford Company translated the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Revelation of St. John the Divine, consisting of Dr. Thomas Ravis, Dr. George Abbot, Dr. Richard Eedes, Dr. Giles Tomson, Sir Henry Savile, Dr. John Peryn, Dr. Ralph Ravens, Dr. John Harmar. The Fifth Company of Translators at Westminster translated all of the Epistles of the New Testament, it consisted of Dr. William Barlow, Dr. John Spencer, Dr. Roger Fenton, Dr. Ralph Hutchinson, William Dakins, Michael Rabbet, Thomas Snaderson. The Sixth Company of Translators at Cambridge translated the apocryphal books, it consisted of Dr. John Duport, Dr. William Brainthwaite, Dr. Jeremiah Radcliffe, Dr. Samuel Ward, Dr. Andrew Downes, John Bois, Dr. John Ward, Dr, John Aglionby, Dr. Leonard Hutten, Dr. Thomas Bilson, Dr. Richard Bancroft, with Alexander McClure heading up the Apocryphal Committee.

Many of the translators were gifted with talents, some knew the original languages, such as Francis Dillingham who was called, "The great Grecian" because of his ability regarding the original Greek language. The completed work was not a combination of many other works, but they used many works for reference. The Bishop’s Bible, the TR,  and other documents were around at the time, as well as many other early manuscripts in the original tongues. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate was also used, since it was perhaps the earliest first complete work, but the King James is not a copy of the Vulgate. Jerome didn’t use the Greek Old Testament, rather he was well learned in the Hebrew language, thus he went back to the Hebrew. The completed King James was more than a Bible, Alexander W. McClure in The Translators Revived said, "It was well remarked by Robertson, above a hundred years ago, it [the King James Bible] may serve as a Lexicon of the Hebrew language, as well as for a translation" (The Translators Revived: A Biographical Memoir of the Authors of the English Version of the Holy Bible, New York: Board of Publications of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, 1855, p. 239).

The wording of the King James Bible represents the labors of almost one hundred years of Godly scholarship, men who were rightly filled with the “fear of God”, they knew any attempt at “private interpretation” would bring down the wrath of God upon them. Some of them only engaged in the work after much prayer and a sense of duty imposed on them by the Holy Ghost. They were very concerned about mishandling the translation, so much so there was little debate, but many deep discussions.

From Tyndale to the KJV several dozen of some of the best biblical linguists who have ever lived applied their minds and their prayers to translating into English Precisely what the Hebrew and Greek text stated. There are areas of question, not to the translation, but to the Author’s meaning. Paul’s comments on Virgins in First Corinthians is one area, the translators knew exactly what the context was pointing to, but refused to change the wording. There were other areas where the temptation would be to change the text to fit their theology, but they refused to, keeping the language intact. This was made clear in the Preface to the King James showing their great concern for integrity. They noted how they didn’t make a Version to make King James happy, or to make the Church of England happy, nor to make themselves happy, or famous. They felt God had moved on them, for some it became a life’s work. They showed how history itself sought after a “Bible for the masses”; they viewed the Scriptures as the basis of Doctrine.

They didn’t copy works of the day, as some suppose, all of them were well versed in the original languages, as they said, but now what piety without truth? what truth (what saving truth) without the word of God? What word of God (whereof we may be sure) without the Scripture? The Scriptures we are commanded to search John 5:39. Isa 8:20.  They  reprove those who are unskillful in them, or slow to believe them Matt 22:29. Luke 24:25. They can make us wise unto salvation 2 Tim 3:15. If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us Tolle, lege; Tolle, lege, Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures [Saint August. confess. lib 8 cap 12], (for unto them was the direction) this was said unto Saint Augustine by a supernatural voice. ‘Whatsoever is in the Scriptures, believe me’; saith the same Saint Augustine, ‘is high and divine; there is verily truth, and a doctrine most fit for the refreshing of men's minds, and truly so tempered, everyone may draw from thence which is sufficient for him, if he come to draw with a devout and pious mind, as true Religion requires.’ [S. August. de utilit. credendi cap. 6] Thus S. Augustine. and S. Jerome: ‘Ama scripturas, et amabit te sapientia etc.’ [S. Jerome. ad Demetriad] Love the Scriptures. S. Cyril against Julian; ‘Even boys  are bred up in the Scriptures, become most religious, etc.’ [S. Cyril. 7 contra Iulianum] But what mention we three or four uses of the Scripture, whereas whatsoever is to be believed or practiced, or hoped for, is contained in them? or three or four sentences of the fathers, since whosoever is worthy the name of a father, from Christ's time downward, hath likewise written not only of the riches, but also of the perfection of the Scripture? ‘I adore the fullness of the Scripture,’ saith Tertullian against Hermogenes. [Tertul. advers. Hermo.] So Saint Justin Martyr before him; ‘We must know by all means,’ saith he, ‘it is not lawful (or possible) to learn (anything) of God or of right piety, save only out of the Prophets, who teach us by divine inspiration.’ So Saint Basil after Tertullian, ‘It is a manifest falling way from the Faith, a fault of presumption, either to reject any of those things written, or to bring in (upon the head of them) any of those things not written’. We omit to cite to the same effect, S. Cyril B. of Jerusalem in his 4::Cataches., Saint Jerome against Helvidius, Saint Augustine in his 3::book against the letters of Petilian, in many other places of his works. Also we forebear to descend to later fathers, because we will not weary the reader. The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so perfect, how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study them, of curiosity, if we be not content with them?”.

Their words indicate their knowledge of other documents, but it shows they used them. There were areas found in John and Mark which did not appear in two early manuscripts, but the external writings affirmed they belonged. There are some opponents to the King James, but one has to examine their motives, usually we find they dislike the King James because it conflicts with their doctrinal attitudes, or denominational theology. 

As today there were challenges to the work then, some felt the translators should have copied the works around in their day, others accused them of doing just that. The translators felt their work called for something deeper, a work reaching back in time to take into consideration what the disciples of the Apostles understood from the teachings given to the Apostles. The King James was not a work to enhance the buildings called churches, it was for the home, the place where families could grow in the Scriptures. Of course there were those who feared putting the Scriptures in the hands of the “unlearned”, but the translators took it into consideration, as they answered with, “but how shall men meditate in what they cannot understand? How shall they understand what is kept close in an unknown tongue? as it is written, ‘Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him who speaks, a Barbarian, and he who speaks, shall be a Barbarian to me.’ [1 Cor 14] The Apostle except no tongue; not Hebrew the ancient, not Greek the most copious, not Latin the finest. Nature taught a natural man to confess, all of us in those tongues which we do not understand, are plainly deaf; we may turn the deaf ear unto them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand, barbarous; [Clem. Alex. 1 Strom.] so the Roman did the Syrian, and the Jew (even Saint Jerome himself called the Hebrew tongue barbarous, belike because it was strange to so many) [Saint Jerome. Damaso.] so the Emperor of Constantinople [Michael, Theophili fil.] calls the Latin tongue, barbarous, though Pope Nicolas do storm at it: [2::Tom. Concil. ex edit. Petri Crab] so the Jews long before Christ called all other nations, Lognazim, which is little better than barbarous. Therefore as one complain, always in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other called for an interpreter: [Cicero 5::de finibus.] so lest the Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations in a readiness. Translation it is to open the window, to let in the light; to break the shell, so we may eat the kernel; to put aside the curtain, so we may look into the most Holy place; to remove the cover of the well, so we may come by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered [Gen 29:10]. Indeed without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob's well (which is deep) [John 4:11] without a bucket or something to draw with; or as the person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a sealed book was delivered, with this motion, ‘Read this, I pray thee,’ he was fain to make this answer, ‘I cannot, for it is sealed.’ [Isa 29:11].”

By their words they knew the importance of their work, they were not ashamed of the Gospel, nor did they attempt to change it. They spent several pages addressing the various adversaries toward the King James Version, showing there was more to the King James, than a bunch of “thee and thou”, and other terms of the day. They felt from the beginning there was a need to go back to the original languages, yet they also felt there was no need to make a “New Translation”, thus indicating all others bad, nor to make a bad one of a good one, or a good one of a bad one, or take the many and make one. They wanted a work as much Lexicon as it was Bible for the common reader to not only enjoy, but to assist them in gaining a firmer relationship with the Lord.

They showed how translations which stood the test of time were God motivated and inspired as they noted, “Saint Jerome makes no mention of the Greek tongue, wherein yet he did excel, because he translated not the old Testament out of Greek, but out of Hebrew”. There was a Greek translation of the Old Testament in the time of Jerome, so why didn’t he use it? Jerome himself said he was moved by God to reach back to the original language, rather than use a chain of languages. Jerome was the first to warn us of using translations to make translations. Taking the language from one source and putting it in another is one thing, taking a language from a source, then attempting to make it another language leaves large gaps in the translation. Using the King James to form another translation would fall into the area of mistranslation. One could view the King James and wonder what “charity” would mean in another language, then insert a word seemingly to fit “charity”, but the word may not fit the meaning of Agape. They could have used the Bishop’s Bible, or any of the others around at the time, and merely “check” to see if they were correct, but it still would not render the correctness of the language. They went back to many manuscripts, but they didn’t leave it there, they used letters and documents written in the time to determine how certain words were used by the people of the time. Something some of us fail to do with the King James, we take a “thou” and make it “you”, without thinking of what thou, or thee means. They indicate possession, just as “charity” today doesn’t mean the same as it did in 1600. To us charity is giving someone a helping hand, back in 1600 it meant to give up something for another without consideration of the loss to the giver. 

There is much more regarding their concern for translation correctness, the four rules of correct translation were held intact, they never changed possession, they never changed meaning, they never changed the tense, and they never changed wording to fit doctrine. When one considers which translation they will use as a basis for teaching, they must take into consideration why the translation was produced, what doctrinal influence if any was there, and were the rules of translation adhered to.

On the other hand there was the church of England, who was so concerned about Roman intervention, it rejected any other religion from practicing in England. Of course this produced the move to the Colonies by those who desired to practice their denominational religion without government interference. Many of the denominations in the Colonies came from England, but they didn’t all originate there, some came from Rome, some from Europe, as well as some from other countries. The original influence was to practice a religious denomination in an area without restrictions. Of course some restricted the preaching to only the domination allowed in the area, which caused other problems, as we will see.   

The first English Historian was the Venerable Bede, a monk at Farrrow. He left a vivid picture of the Anglo-Saxon England in his Ecclesiastical History. Bede recorded the Viking movement as the last great stronghold of paganism. the Vikings brought the one last onslaught against Christian Europe in the 7th century. In 793 the Vikings raided the monastery founded by St. Aidan at  Lindisfrane; the monks and nuns were murdered or dragged off into slavery. The Northumbrian scholar Alcuin described the effects of the raid as, "Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race...Behold the church, spattered with the blood of the priests of God". The Vikings were active in eastern Europe, but not as pirates, they were mainly traders. Their raids supplied them with goods to sale, including slaves, gold and the such. By the 9th Century the Danish Vikings settled in areas north of a line from Essex to Herefordshire England. The Dane-Law as it was called was soon brought under English rule, the Vikings left their mark throughout north England in a myriad of names, such as Derby (deer village), Whitby (white village) and Scunthorpe (Sluma's farm). Many basic words in the English came from the Scandinavian, such as Law, Bread, Ugly, Husband, Ship and Mast.

Christianity in the Scandinavian countries came from Germany and England; Christianity in Africa was a different story. The Africans already had roots leading back to the Jew, we know Simon surnamed Zelotes and Matthew were both active in Africa and Ethiopia after the Gospel was introduced to the world. Prior the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon, thus she knew of Jehovah God. The tradition of the Asian, or other origins have roots in Christianity as well. As early as Paul's ventures there were prophets from the area of Niger (Nigeria - Acts 13:1). The word Niger simply means one from Nigeria, other uses have nothing to do with its origin. The name Ethiopia comes from the Greek Aithiops meaning Dark Skinned, the Ethiopian Jewish community claimed the Queen of Sheba noted in the Bible as the Queen of Sabaea, was from an ancient kingdom of southern Arabia, whose people migrated across the Red Sea to Ethiopia. They also claim the Queen not only gained knowledge from Solomon, but a child as well, who became the emperor of Ethiopia, who founded the Solomaic dynasty. This line was purported to be the royal line from whom all Ethiopian emperors claim direct descent. We also know the first Gentile to be water baptized in the Name of Jesus was an Ethiopian Eunuch who was associated to Candace the queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:26 & 8:36-37).

In the 4th century king Exana of Axum was converted to Christianity by a Syrian Christian named Frumentius. The culture, religion, and written language of the Axumites spread to most of Ethiopia. Ethiopia remained free of Islam until the Portuguese arrived around 1500. The argument used by Islam during this time was the unholy condition of the Roman church, which seemed effective. A witness can be used in a good light, or our witness can be used by others against us, depending on the type of witness we portray.

The Portuguese found a mixture of African and Byzantine Christianity. Africa was a land rich in goods until they were convinced to move from Christianity to Islam, then the land started to suffer making the people suffer. Today we see the change is going back to Christianity, but the struggle between Christianity and Islam is evident. When Africa was Christian, she was rich and at peace, when she became Islam based, she found herself in slavery, subject to hardships in the land, or as we know it, under the curse. Does it mean Islam is evil? No, it means once a Christian, one better not change ships, they might find they can no longer walk on water.

The problem wasn’t being converted, rather it was those who converted them left them to fend for themselves. They were given base knowledge, but the missionaries failed to introduce them to the Skill of the Word, or the Baptism with the Holy Ghost to gain Power. This same lack of concern for the proselyte caused men like Voltaire to write horrid things about the Body. Today we hold Voltaire in contempt, but we must also understand what Voltaire was looking at to bring his anticlerical sentiments. Without a target, he had nothing to shoot at, but given the target? Voltaire declared himself a non-Christian, his attacks on the Roman church caused him to be exiled to England from 1726 to 1729.

Voltaire didn't stop with his critical behavior toward the Body, he attacked the moral condition of England and Europe, he saw nothing but hypocrisy, the reformation to him was another form of man attempting to take control of God. Voltaire's real name was Francois Marie Arouet, a Frenchman by birth, he was not English or Roman. Before Voltaire, came John Locke a reformist who wrote "Glorious Revolution" in 1688, Voltaire praised Locke, but continued to fail to see there were people of spiritual quality in the Body. Voltaire set his sights on leadership, but was attempting to sink the entire ship. It was the writing of Locke and Montesquieu whose writings led men into the American Revolution, and later became the basis for the American Constitution. Voltaire saw nothing but the vile, yet there was the Precious.

Prior to the Renaissance there were attempts to reform the church from within. Arnold of Brescia (1100 - 1155) was an Italian reformer: after studying in Paris, he became an Augustinian monk; he exposed what he saw was the worldliness of the church. He advocated church reforms, including a life of poverty for the clergy. Sounds tough, but he felt the indulgences had such a hold, the only way for the church to regain any confidence was to show how uninterested in money the clergy were. He also rejected the idea of confession to a priest, noting man repents in prayer to God, thus no man has the right to stand between man and God. In 1139 the Second Lateran Council condemned his views, Pope Innocent II ordered Arnold exiled, and his books burned.

Arnold was able to avoid prison, and for a short period of time he returned to Paris where he taught, until he was expelled from France by the royal authorities. He then traveled to Switzerland and Bohemia, until he achieved a reconciliation with Pope Eugene III, then he returned to Italy. Eugene III (sat as Pope 1145-1153) was a Pisan named Bernardo Pagabelli, who served as a Cistercian monk and abbot, who was also a friend of Bernard of Clairviaux. Eugene helped to promote the Second Crusade as he worked to reform clerical behavior. It may have been the connection to reform causing Eugene to grant Arnold reconciliation; whatever, Arnold returned and soon became the head of a political group in Rome setting up a republic, forcing Eugene III into exile (1155). A rather tough "thank you" to say the least. Arnold remained in Rome until 1155, when Pope Adrian IV banished him, within a year he was captured by Frederick I, then hanged as a political rebel. However, he did lay the seeds of reform which would grow.

The Lateran councils were five ecumenical councils of the Roman Catholic church, they were held during the 12th, 13th and 16th centuries at the Lateran Palace in Rome. The first council (1123) was called by Pope Callistus II to ratify the Concordant of Worms (1122), formally ended the lengthy investiture controversy. The "investiture controversy" concerned conferring of symbols of higher office in the church to members of the church hierarchy; the question was not the granting, but who should do it. When Christianity became the official state religion in the Roman Empire, the emperor approved and often nominated the higher clergy for office. In the medieval kingdoms, the secular rulers continued this practice. It goes beyond establishing a religion, it's using the religion to place people in high ranking positions who will give the secular powers "approval".

Pope Gregory VII (Pope from 1075-1085) was an active reforming Pope; following the Benedictine Clunian reform movement, and the Gregorian reform movement he enforced celibacy on the clergy, and fought simony. However, the practice of investiture was not considered simony by the secular powers since the person didn't buy the office, the secular powers granted it, but they did so based on "favor" and political gain, which is the same as simony, which is how Gregory saw it. Gregory fought any and all political control over the church, his chief opponent was the "holy Roman Emperor" Henry IV, who could ill afford to have the German bishops become princes independent of him. Gregory handled it like most Popes, he excommunicated Henry, in so doing it caused Henry to lose much of his power. Henry saw the "handwriting on the wall", as he did penance before Gregory at Canossa (Jan 25-28, 1077), forcing the Pope to remove the excommunication. The investiture controversy still lingered until Emperor Henry V and Pope Callistus II reached a compromise called Concordat of Worms in 1122. Worms is a city in south-west Germany on the Rhine river, it was the site of the “Diet of Worms” in 1521 in which Martin Luther refused to recant his beliefs on the Just live by faith.

The emperor guaranteed the free election of bishops and abbots, renouncing the right to invest them with ring and staff, the symbols of their “spiritual” duties, so much for the Holy Spirit being the Seal. Out of all this do we see something amiss? Yes, where is there room for the Holy Ghost to say, "separate unto Me"? They went back to "voting" the recourse left open to those who don't hear the Holy Ghost. We also see how Authority was cast aside, they were appointing Offices, but they also took the Bishop position making it a government post, a very big mistake. No longer did they wait for "separate unto Me", they began to appoint Offices, although it was the Bishop, they still made it a government position, a clear violation of Jesus giving Gifts unto men.

The Second Lateran council (1139) was called by Pope Innocent II to reaffirm the unity of the church after the schism of 1030-1038 of the antipope Anacletus. It also condemned the teachings of Arnold of Brescia (noted above). The Third Lateran council (1179) called by Pope Alexander III, ending the schism of 1159-1177 of the antipope Callistus III and his predecessors. It also limited papal electors to members of the College of Cardinals. Although each of the first three Lateran councils decreed a number of reform measures, the Forth would become the most important. Attended by will over 1,000 churchmen from throughout Christendom, the council sanctioned a definition of the Eucharist in which the word "transubstantiation" was used officially for the first time. It was a big deal, considering a majority taught the wine turned into the actual Blood of Jesus, and the Bread into His flesh when it entered the Believer. The council also attempted to organize a new crusade to the Holy Land, by encouraging crusading efforts against the Albigenses and Waldenses. Many of these precepts are still binding on the Roman Catholics, such as Easter duty, or obligation of annual confession and Holy Communion. In many respects the council marked a pinnacle in the power and prestige of the medieval papacy. The Fifth Lateran council (1512-1517) convened by Pope Julius II was called to bring about reform, but the main causes of the Reformation were left untouched. Its most significant decree was a the condemnation of conciliarism. Two questions now face us, what is Conciliarism? And what is an antipope? Is the antipope someone who is against the Pope? No, it's a term given to someone who unlawfully has claimed the office of Pope, or who claimed to hold the office of Pope in the Roman Catholic church without being elected by the Cardinals. Throughout the history of the papacy, antipopes have risen for many reasons, including outright unlawful, forceful overthrow of the sitting Pope, as well as holding outside elections for the seat, some gained the seat by political differences between church and state, or by holding a new election because the previous was found invalid, or confusion over what constitutes a lawful papal election. Right back to the absence of the Holy Ghost saying “Separate unto Me”, all indications of a lack of spiritual awareness.

The next question is what is Conciliarism? Conciliarism is both a theory and a movement; as a theory it pointed to an ecumenical council being superior in authority to the papacy. This view sees the Pope as a constitutional ruler who receives his authority from the entire church membership, whose decisions may be viewed by the church community through an ecumenical council. This was to be a "safe guard" to save the church from whackos, but it removed the appointment from the hands of the Holy Ghost. In any regard Conciliarism was condemned by the First Vatican council (1869-1870). Along with Conciliarism we find Gallicanism, which is the name commonly given the complex theological doctrines and political views which emphasize the relative independence from the papacy of the Roman Catholic church in France including the French king. The Gallican theorists felt the decisions of the ecumenical councils had supremacy over the Pope, much like Conciliarism, but in this case it wasn't the body, but the bishops who were the divine institution. This is the same as the deacon board ruling the Offices, a complete reverse from the intended. A more radical form called Parliamentary Gallicanism argued the church must be subordinate to the state, the state could then intervene in the church's financial and disciplinary problems. This was the basis for the famed, “separation of church and state”, which still allowed the state to dictate by disallowing the church freedom in the state matters.

As all this was going on, there was another threat, one far greater, the Muslims in Jerusalem. Who ever heard of such a thing? Somebody do something? They did, several times by using "The Crusades". Paul never address the Muslims, or Islam, because they weren't around in his day; however, the thought of a person believing in One God, yet not accepting the Son of the One God determines if they are saint or devil. Paul, Peter, John and James all addressed the premise, only for them it was the Jews who held to One God, yet denied the Son. John told us, “who is a liar but he who denies Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son” (I Jn 2:22).

For some reason we address the classes in the world as Gentile, Jew and Arab, but it’s not the case at all. It's still Gentile and Jew, thus the Arab is a Gentile, related to Ishmael yes, but still a Gentile, no different than the sons Abraham had with Keturah (Gen 25:1-6). Abram was a Gentile, from him came Ishmael, but from Abraham came the Jews, thus even Abram was a Gentile at one time. The Muslim religion gained support with Mohammed, as we will see. The point? The city of Jerusalem was to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles, since the Arab is a Gentile, the prophecy has come to pass. As long as the Dome of the Rock Mosque remains in Jerusalem, the city is trodden under foot by the Gentiles. They can build the temple next to the Dome, under it, across the street, on top of it, but none of it will not remove the "trodden under foot". If they attempt to tear down the Dome of the Rock Mosque, the biggest war of all time will begin. Arab's are not the only Muslims in the world, we know of the problems in Europe and Africa concerning the Radical Muslims, evidenced by the conflicts. In essence not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs.

The Dome of the Rock Mosque isn’t some corner meeting place either, it holds special significance to the Muslim. Mecca is probably the most holy place for the Muslim, but the Dome of the Rock Mosque follows closely behind. The Dome of the Rock Mosque is covered with mosaic work, not just a tile here or there, but detailed work, taking years to complete. Mecca was the birth place of Mohammed, the  tradition says he ascended into heaven from the "rock" upon which the Dome of the Rock sits. The biggest problem is the "rock" is Zion, considered the place where the 144,000 will be marked. As we can see the Dome of the Rock Mosque is a headache and a half to the Jew, it's like putting a statue of Zeus or Baal on Zion. It’s one reason why they wait for Elijah to come back, to redeem Zion, and cause the false prophets to be killed. However, we know as long as the Dome remains then the prophecy of the city being trodden under foot remains, the end is not yet.

What do the Jews have now? The local synagogue, the Wailing Wall, with a hope of building the Temple again. Some of us wonder why would Israel even provoke the Arab's? To begin with it’s based on something they know they haven’t received fully, yet were promised by God. The land they were promised went to the river Euphrates, which runs through Iraq. Nonetheless, Jerusalem is the center of all controversy in the Middle East, to the Muslim Jerusalem is like the "gate to heaven", to the Jew it's the center of their entire faith. There are two places called Jerusalem, Paul made it very clear, Jerusalem of the earth is in bondage, New Jerusalem is not, we are assigned to New Jerusalem.

Viewing the reign of Mohammed we find Mohammed was his last name, he was born to the Koresh tribe as Kutam Mohammed. His parents died when he was very young,  his grandfather raised him until his grandfather’s death when Mohammed was six years of age. The age of six at the time was when a child entered school, but Mohammed went to live with his uncle, Abu Talib a camel trader. Although Mohammed could not read or write he nonetheless traveled with his uncle to many places, including Yemen, Syria, Abyssinian and many other places where he came into contact with Jewish and Christian traders, accounting for the mixture of Jewish and Christian beliefs in the Koran. Later in life Mohammed headed up in the camel business, then married a woman named Khadijah who was forty, he was twenty-five, but the marriage was reported to be happy. As was his custom during Ramadan, Mohammed went to cave to meditate; while in the cave he heard a voice say, “read Mohammed”, but he answered, “I cannot read”. This happened three times, the next morning he heard a voice say, “Oh Mohammed, you are Allah’s messenger and I am Gabriel”. Sounds a little like Peter on the roof, but Gabriel is the angel who brought the news about the Birth of Christ, did Jesus fail so bad God had to pick another?

Mohammed began to have visions, his wife obtained a scribe by the name of Abu Bekr to write all the things down. Mohammed began to preach his new found concept of Islam, but it was not well received. After his death Abu took the writings and became known as “Caliph Abu Bekr” or the Successor Abu Bekr. The writings were put into a book called the Koran (or Quran), or The Reading. The Koran became known as the “actual words of God given to Mohammed by Gabriel”, but in truth they were the visions Mohammed had. Muslims from the time claim they are the “True Believers”, of course Mohammed never said he came to take away the sins of the world, nor did he say he would die for the sins of many, nor did he say the only way to Allah was through him, more important he wasn’t resurrected, thus his followers have no hope of avoiding the second death. This is not against Muslims, they are classed among the other earthly religions who are not privy to the Holy Ghost or Spirit. The Record in heaven is still the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, the Witness is still the Water, Blood and Spirit. The Witness must be three-fold cord, which is not easily broken. We must have the Mercy of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the Spirit by the Holy Ghost in order to have a Godly Witness. Out of all the religious orders on the earth, only one has the God granted permission and authority to baptize in water, to heal the sick in the name of the Lord, and to preach the Gospel of Peace. No brag, just fact, proven by the lack of power to overcome death by leaders and founders of the various earthly religions. The Resurrection is always a key factor, Paul said there were many eye-witnesses to Jesus being raised from the dead. Unless the leader and founder is raised from the dead, the follower has no hope beyond the grave.

 

THE CRUSADES

How about the Christian in all this? Now we come to the Crusades, and how we got involved in something we had no business engaging in. The causes for the Crusades were many and somewhat complex, mainly they were based in three reasonings, pilgrimage, war and money. The pilgrimage was to visit the holy land, the war part was to get the Muslims out of Jerusalem, the money was of course to finance the Crusades, yet a great deal of the money ended in the treasury, not in the Crusades.

Jerusalem had been under Muslim rule since the 7th century, but pilgrimages were cut off until the 11th century when the Seljuk Turks began to interfere with Christian pilgrims. For Christians, the very name of Jerusalem evoked visions of the end times, but they confused Jerusalem of the earth with New Jerusalem, assuming New Jerusalem was Jerusalem of the earth which should be in the hands of the Byzantine Empire.

The end time frantic thinkers were as many then, as now, they felt it was the "duty" of the Christian to summon in the Kingdom by freeing the Holy Land of the Muslims. As if Jesus wasn’t able to return unless they made a place for Him to land.

Of course the Muslims were not deaf to this, they felt they had a right to the city based on the life and teachings of Mohammed, they were willing to fight to the death to protect their religious heritage. When the Muslims (Turks) felt this pressure of pending attack, they attacked back, which caused a political call for help from the Byzantine Empire by the Christians in Europe. The year 1071 saw both the capture of Jerusalem and the decisive defeat of the Byzantine army at Manzikert, creating fear of further Turkish (Muslim) conquests. In addition, the hopes of the papacy for the reunification of East and West were slipping fast. The nobility's hunger for land in a time of crop failures, the population explosion of the West, with an alternative to warfare at home all pointed the finger of war toward the Muslims as the cause. How could God allow this? Muslims defeating Christians? We had no right to attempt to take the land for our own self-glory. God had nothing to do with it, man’s self interest did. Just as we find in Acts chapter one, when we are out of order, God turns a deaf ear. The Voice of the Lord could have told Peter, “I said tarry, not vote”, but Jesus already said Tarry, like crossing the lake obedience was the call, not repetitive commands. When we are out of order, we have caused our own problems, until repentance places us back in order, we are left to our own reasonings.

The next question, how do we get Crusaders? Ahh, political incentive, religious incentive, mom, and apple pie will get a bunch of well meaning people all worked up by emotional means to battle to the death for an idea. However, there is an underlining factor in all this, the love of money, a desire to fill the treasury. Carnal minded leadership always seems to hide the intent behind, “it’s for the Lord’s work”. Yes it is, well some of it anyway. A nation going to war to protect its freedom from invasion is one thing, but to engage in war for financial gain is still the love of money.

For some reason these people felt if you weren’t Christian, you should be dead. Today there some radicals who think if you are Christian, you should be dead. All this taken to the Night shows us there is only one religion in the Night, all the knowledge  about God will come from the Temple in Jerusalem. The Christian will be Raptured, or sleep in Jesus, the rest of man’s religions will fall when the great earthquake comes to shake the earth as a drunken man. No one is going to eradicate the Christian, when the time comes when we will leave here, until then, we still tell them about Jesus, the King of kings. 

Many participants were lured by the fabulous riches of the East, this was before oil became a factor. Also a campaign abroad appealed as a means of escaping from the pressures of a feudal society with many poor and starving people; the Crusaders promised three meals a day, with a chance to have their sins absolved. Of course they also had a chance of being killed; there was no righteous cause for the Crusades, when a Christian gets involved in something lacking righteousness, they are headed for a fall.

On a larger political scale, the major European powers and the rising Italian cities of Genoa, Pisa and Venice all saw the Crusades as a means of establishing and extending trade routes, again motivated by the love of money. The Crusades had the flavor of "religious freedom", but the smell of greed. 

 

THE FIRST CRUSADE (1096-99)

The first crusade was launched by Pope Urban II in a speech at the Council of Clermont, France on November 27, 1095. Urban spoke of the need to help the Christians in the East in order to stop the desecration of the holy places. Especially those in Jerusalem, in the process of his speech he stressed the moral duty of keeping the "Peace of God" at home. Strange use of words, war in the East, Peace at home. The response was overwhelming, as the cry of Deus Volut! (God wills it!) thousands took the cross, and headed east. Bands of poorly armed pilgrims, most of who were poor and inexperienced set out for Constantinople under Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless even before the full army gathered. The result was a bunch of angry, war motivated people, instead of attacking the Muslims, they stopped along the way and engaged in massacring Jews in Rhine valley. Jerusalem belonged to the Jews by God’s decree, here they were off to save Jerusalem, but killed Jews to whom the city was given, then wondered why they failed? Many perished on their way east, the rest were destroyed by the Muslims when they crossed into Anatolia.

The main army then followed, who were mostly French and Norman knights under the baronial leadership of Godfrey Bouillon, Balwin of Flanders, Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, Bohemond of Taranto, and others who assembled at Constantinople and proceeded on a long, arduous march through Anatolia. The group led by Peter the Great ended in Anatolia, but the main army captured Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and the "Kingdom of Jerusalem", where Baldwin was crowned king. Continuing rivalry among the leaders undermined any chance of consolidating these acquisitions almost from the beginning.

The "kingdom of Jerusalem" fell to the Muslims in 1291, but prior around 1140 it included Palestine from the Gulf of Aqaba to Beirut, claiming sovereignty over the other Crusader states to the north, the principality over Antioch, and the counties of Tripoli and Edessa. The history of the kingdom during this age falls into two periods separated by the reconquest of Jerusalem by the Muslim leader Saladin in 1187. Saladin whose real name was "Salah ad-din, Yusuf ibn Ayyub" was born in 1138, he died in 1193. He was a Muslim warrior and founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, he was also an opponent of the Crusades. He was of Kurdish descent, recently we have heard of their plight in Iraq.

Saladin was raised in northern Syria, where members of his family were prominent government and military leaders under the rule of the Zangid dynasty. In 1152 he joined the staff of his uncle Shirkuh, later accompanied him and the Zandig army to Egypt where he helped the Fatmid rulers resist the Crusaders. Saladin was most noted as the leader of now famed "jihad" or "holy war", the original concept was a war within a person, but it changed to war within the land. Accordingly a Jihad cannot go beyond the borders, according to the Koran, no Muslim can destroy a green tree, take the life of a child, or woman, if their enemy gives up, or desires peace, they must show mercy. Of course it all changes depending on who is running the war, or the political motivation. The intent of the “holy war” was to use self-righteousness to conquer the inner self, a lost hope to begin with without the Spirit. Later when the leaders needed incentive to cause the ill-informed to die for a cause, they devised the precept of dying in a holy war becoming a one way ticket to heaven. Recalling how the call of the Crusaders was "God wills it" we can see how Saladin made use of the phrase as did later leaders to defeat the Crusaders and other “infidels”. The concept of getting to heaven through violence is not in God’s character; it’s going to be a sad day when they find they died for nothing.

Not only did Saladin vanquish the Crusaders, but he also restored Egypt as a major power in the Middle East. Within Egypt he established a stable dynasty, encouraged education, and reformed the financial structure to support the armed Kurdish and Turkish cavalry. Saladin initiated a prolonged period of economic prosperity, population growth, and cultural revival. However, after he died in 1193 the Turks and the Mamelukes began to dominate the area. The point being, prosperity is not a sign of holiness, even the heathen can prosper, but their soul does not. Holiness is seen in the Mercy of a person, hardly an attribute of Saladin. As far as the "kingdom of Jerusalem" goes, the "kingship" was held by various dynasties, without regard for Jesus the King of kings.

 

THE SECOND CRUSADE (1147-49)

The second crusade had its immediate cause in the loss (1144) of Edessa to the Muslims of Mosul and Aleppo. Again the thought of "God wills it" appeared, but some asked "Does He really?". The use of statements to make God fit our plans is evident in the Crusades, yet the same faulty concept was taken up by the Muslims. They held a meeting, their leaders make the decision if it’s a “holy war”, then they expect God to back them up. It’s the same mindset as the false prophets, they make statements, then demand for God to perform to their words. The same misconception invades our faith thinking at times: faith fits the plan of God, it's not making up plans then attempting to make God fit them. The zeal may be there, the rhetoric may be there, the cause may be there, but the methods are still carnal, or self-serving. They are merely examples of the spirit of man becoming religious, then tempting to make God perform.

Challenged by Bernard of Clairvaux, King Louis of France, with the German King Conrad III tried to lead separate armies through Anatolia. What remained of their armies joined in an unsuccessful siege of Damascus. The only success of this Crusade was the capture of Lisbon, Portugal (1147) by the English and Frisian Crusaders on their way to the East by ship.

 

THE THIRD CRUSADE (1188-92)          

The third Crusade was in response to the conquest (1187) of Palestine, including Jerusalem by Sultan Saladin, who had consolidated Muslim power in Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt. This Crusade's leadership included King Philip II of France, Emperor Frederick I, and King Richard I of England. This Crusade spun off the fable of "Robin Hood", the protector of England while Richard was off "fighting the Crusades".

Frederick drowned en route to the battlefield in Cilicia, the crusade disintegrated through attrition and lack of cooperation. Acre was recaptured (1191), but Philip returned to France soon after. Jaffa was secured, mainly through the initiative of Richard, who also captured Cyprus, giving Richard the title "Richard the lion hearted".

 

THE FOURTH CRUSADE (1202-04)

Pope Innocent III attempted to reorganize the Crusading efforts under papal auspices, but the lack of funds to pay for the passage of the 10,000 plus crusaders forced a diversion of the mostly French army. At the request of the Venetians, who apparently paid for the Crusade, the Crusaders first attacked the Christian city of Zara, in Dalmatia. The purpose was to rid the city of any Muslims, but Christians attacking Christians is not a wise move on anyone's part. They sailed on to lay siege to Constantinople, the Byzantine capital fell on April 13, 1204; it was looted particularly for it's treasures of relics.

The Latin empire of Constantinople came into existence as a result of this fourth Crusade, which was primarily composed of Frenchmen, Venetians and other Italians, collectively called "Franks". The Crusaders elected Baldwin as "Emperor Baldwin I"; his successors, Peter of Courtenay (1216-17), Robert of Courtenay (1217-28), John of Brienne (co-emperor 1231-37), and Baldwin II (1228-61) were weak and incapable. The empire in its final years depended on the Venetian navy and financial aid from Louis IX of France with some minor help from Venice. Baldwin II, who repeatedly visited western Europe in quest of aid, was forced to mortgage his son for a loan from Venice. After 1240 his authority scarcely extended beyond the city walls. The Latin states in Greece survived the fall of the empire.

There were other Crusades, during the 13th century several attempts were made to revive the declining enthusiasm for the Crusades. The Muslims under Ayyubid rulers were in firm control of Syria and Palestine. All these Crusades proved one thing, Christians are sent to spread the Word of Christ, not to use force and power. No where do we find a "Crusade" based on evangelism, they were based on destroying the Muslims, which never happened. The resolve of the Muslims was fortified by the failure of the Crusades, thus the Muslim influence gained, rather than declining. It could be said the non-Christian activities of the Christians caused revival among the Muslims. When we attempt to engage in Christian matters by carnal means, we become our own worst enemy.

The Palestine foothold on the land gained until the British took over the land. Palestine and the Philistine are different, there are no more Philistines, but there are Palestinians. Today the Palestinian lays claim to Jerusalem; however, for many years the British held the land, but the Palestinian lived there. After World War II and the Holocaust the United Nations granted Israel a separate nation in 1948, but it didn't make Israel "free" by any means.

God promised Abraham the land to the river Euphrates, the promise still holds. Any tribe (nation) within those boundaries who attacks Israel, loses. The Six Day War and other like conflicts prove it, but nations outside of the boundary can still attack Israel. None have, and none will until the very last of the last days when the four protecting angels are removed from the Euphrates. In the meantime, or until the Time of Comfort there will be wars, with rumors of wars, but we are not to be terrified, the end is not yet. "Oh yeah, what about Hitler?", Hitler never attacked Israel, he killed Jews, Catholics and anyone else who opposed him. Hitler was not "of God" in any sense of the word, but God nonetheless used him, just as God used Pharaoh. Prior to Hitler the Jews were satisfied to live as the dispersed; after the holocaust the call of the Jew has been "Never again", their experience with Hitler gave them resolve to hold to the land God promised them.

As we know the land was given the name "Syria-Palsetina" by Hadrian, a Roman, thus the inhabitants gained their name from the Romans, but the land was given to Abraham. Therein is where the descendants of Ishmael lay claim, they feel the “firstborn” son of Abraham, regardless of the mother has claim and right to the promise. However, God promised the land to the son of one man named Abraham, whose wife was named Sarah. We also know the mother determines the nation, thus Isaac is the promised son.

 

SCHOLASTICISM

The term Scholasticism comes from the Latin word Schola meaning School, referring both to doctrine, and the method of teaching. It seems to have come about during the medieval times in European schools, then to their successive revivals, it remains to this present day. As a method, scholasticism involves the close detailed reading of a particular book recognized as a great or authoritative work of human or divine origin. For example, Aristotle studies regarding logic, Euclid for geometry, Cicero for rhetoric, Avicenna and Galen regarding medicine, and the Bible for theology. The second step in scholasticism was open discussion (Latin Disputatio) in strict logical form of a relevant question (Latin Quaestio) arising from the text being studied. As a doctrine scholasticism refers to the kind of philosophy, theology, medicine and law (cannon and civil) taught by the faculties responsible for the discipline. The four faculties of philosophy, theology, medicine and law constituted the medieval universities which began to organize around the 12th century, beginning in Bologna, Paris and Oxford. The most important faculties to the people were philosophy, referred to as the "arts", then second was theology. The term scholasticism is usually in the context of two disciplines of the Arts and Theology. Scholasticism becomes an important issue, it formed many of the "schools of thought" we see today. The concept is believed to be a major part of the humanist movement, when philosophy was introduced into theology, taking on a life of its own. It admittedly did not involve the Holy Ghost, or the Witness in any study program, thus this system laid the groundwork for natural reasoning regarding spiritual matters, a serious problem, which always leads to heresy, or at the very least confusion.

In order to gain a grasp on scholasticism and how it can actually interfere with sound Bible study discipline we have to look at the players, and their influence. We know John and Paul told us the Word is Jesus, the very Logos of God, but the philosophy side of scholasticism has a different view. Plato was a student and admirer of Socrates; Plato was born in Athens in 428, both of his parents were from well known and powerful Athenian families, his stepfather was an associate of Pericles. It seems Plato was destined for an aristocratic political career, but the execution of Socrates in 399 caused a massive profound effect on Plato. After the death of Socrates, Plato retired from active Athenian life and traveled widely for years. In 399 he journeyed to Italy and Sicily, where he became friends with Dionysius the Elder. Plato returned to Athens, where he founded an Academy devoted to the research and instruction of philosophy. Plato's writings consist of 26 dialogues on philosophical and related themes. Socrates is a focal character in all but a few of the dialogues, showing how profound the death of Socrates influenced the mind of Plato. Plato viewed things in a "what is?" thinking, with the famed "what is X?" concept. This questioning was suppose to cause one to think independently, unfortunately in most of the “What Is” cases the source was left out. For instance Plato's "what is holiness?" left out the source of holiness.

The central area of Plato's thought process was the "power of reason", the premise of man being able to create peace by a political and individual level. The sought after "good life", or the "harmonious and happy life" as considered by Plato to be a means of thinking, rather than engaging in repentance to acquire peace with God. To him the good life was grounded in knowledge refined into a view of philosophical education, in order to effect a harmony between reason and passion as a life of self-mastery in which reason governs the will, not something alien to it, but it’s still natural. This places the will of man as the guide, rather than the Spirit of Christ. This division of the philosophical from theology seems to place emphasis on natural thinking, and education. Natural education teaches us to read and write, it doesn't teach us the things of the Spirit of God.

Plato's doctrine of recollection is based on the learning and remembering of what he termed "wisdom", from his view of "wisdom" we find the confusion today in reference to the term. Man's concept of wisdom is the ability of man to reason, but it’s not God's view of wisdom. God's view is the manner in which a person deals with other people and situations, as outlined in James. Plato centered on the wisdom of man, the same wisdom James calls “earthly, sensual (soulish) and devilish” (James 3:15). Plato never told us to seek Wisdom by faith, rather his conclusion was seeking wisdom by the self.

Plato also had a different view of the Logos, to Plato the Logos was "reason" alone. This concept of Logos was the medium in which reason articulates, it is the central topic throughout his dialogues. Plato was impressed by the ability of language having the capacity both to articulate the intelligibility of the world and to belie (disprove) the world's true being. He constantly addressed the question of how to purge language of its potential deceptiveness, but his mistake was in thinking deceptive language was the problem, rather than the deceit of man producing the deceptive language. Jesus said from the heart the language (words) come, thus Plato saw the logos as language, whereas the Bible sees the Logos (Word with all reasoning and purpose) as Jesus.

 Next in line is Aristotle, another philosopher. Why even look at these people? Their influence will explain how carnal thinking and natural reasoning drifted into Bible study discipline. It was once said, "Bad things happen when good men do nothing", but we will find bad things happen when good men do things they are not suppose to do. With the possible exception of Plato, Aristotle (384-322) was perhaps the most influential philosopher in western thought (reason, or logic). When we speak of Logic we wonder how many times the word appears in the Bible? Only once, it's translated as "reasonable", in Romans 12:1. Plato, Aristotle and some with like thoughts felt the reasonableness of man was to think on the things of the world; however, the Bible tells us presenting our bodies a living sacrifice to God is our reasonable (logical) service. We can see their error was using the natural process of man to define spiritual matters, which is always error.

Aristotle's life began at his birth in northern Greece, his father, like Plato's had influence with the government. Aristotle joined Plato's Academy in 367, first as a student, then as a teacher. The purpose of the Academy was to train up young men for political careers in order to provide rulers. The thought of "peace by logic" became the purpose, showing how natural thinking ends in corruption, we find Aristotle moved on to the court of Philip II of Macedonia, where he became tutor to the young Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great held the "logic" scholasticism by putting it to use through war. 

Aristotle's writings were many dialogues, like those of Plato. All have been lost except for a few fragments, what remains are treatises apparently meant for use within the Academy. These form the so-called Corpus Aristotelicum; in addition there survives a mutilated version of his Constitution of Athens, some letters of doubtful authenticity, with some poems, including the elegy (dirge) on Plato. To Aristotle Logic was a theory of what he felt was formal truth and validity, originated in reflections on the practice of dialectic, a type of debate found in Plato's dialogues. Aristotle became the source and authority for all philosophers. Even beyond the Renaissance we find his influence in at least one person's thinking. Charles Darwin regarded Aristotle as the most important contributor on the subject of biology, he used the concept of "reason and logic" in his theory of evolution.

On the other side of the coin we find people like Philo of Alexanderia, also called Philo Judaeus, who was a Jewish philosopher and theologian of the Greco-Roman period, whose writings have survived. Their preservation is felt to have a heavy influence on the study discipline of some of the early Christians, especially the theologies of Clement and Origen who were both Alexandrians. Philo's principle contribution was his allegorical interpretation of the Bible within context. Unlike Plato, Philo substituted the Logos or "divine Word" as both the actual creator and the intermediary between God (all Spirit) and man (all matter), while at the same time stressing the total transcendence of God.     

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (a name of a person) was born in 480AD, he was educated in both the Latin and Greek. A friend and advisor of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths who occupied Italy, he became a Roman consul in 510, then in 522 he became "master of the Palace". Unjustly charged with treason in his relations with Pope John I, he was executed by Theodoric, so much for friendship. During his imprisonment at Ticinum (Pavia) Boethius seeing the civilization crumbling around him composed some, later to be important, theological treatises. These became the major source of early medieval education in the liberal arts, as well as most of the succinct (to the point) presentations of Christian Greek theology on the Trinity, the incarnation, and creed.

Boethius also laid out the discipline for study known as "medieval scholasticism", which became the prerequisite to understanding the Bible, and the writings of the Latin church fathers. Rather than asking "what is X", he moved to "why did you say this God?".  The premise leads one to the Author, then to proper interpretation regarding spiritual matters. One can either be a Bible teacher, or a teacher of Bible history, the former is far better.

In this early period there was also the dominant philosophical influence of Platonism, also known as Neoplatonism, particularly as it was reflected in the work of Saint Augustine. Augustine formulated the maxim, "Understand so you may believe, believe so  you may understand"; an approach laying at the heart of scholasticism, he urged the use of dialectics (the art or practice of examining statements logically by question and answer within the confines of the statement to establish validity) in examining Christian doctrine. This method is used not to question the statement, but why it is there. Also this doesn't ignore verses, it seeks to include all the verses on the subject to find where each fits. Augustine felt one could have one verse saying one thing, another saying the complete opposite, but through prayer and searching one would find a third linking the first and second making the matter one of completeness, rather than opposition. From this we can see how Augustine added prayer to gain guidance from the Holy Ghost, but he also noted the proper frame of mind, providing a sound study discipline required hearing the Holy Ghost. One cannot study to prove someone else wrong, or to prove their self right, they must center on “why did you write this God?”, the basis for the search of Truth.

Neoplatonism was a school of thought which flourished in the Roman empire in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It had a strong influence on religious thought, playing a part in the development of modern western philosophy. Neoplatonism originated in Alexandria where Plotinus, a Hellenized Egyptian, with his teacher, Ammonius Saccas (185-250) sought to revive Platonism, (the thoughts of Plato) as a viable contemporary philosophy. It's major development as a school occurred in Rome, not Egypt, where Plotinus headed an influential philosophical academy from 244 to 270AD. In truth this type of Platonsim was not associated to Plato, the ideas seemed to be more Pythagorean and Stoic. It was still a study discipline translated into religious circles, it wasn’t the same as the "What is X?", rather they began to search the Scriptures for the Truth. Of course at this time in history there was no printing press, thus the documents to be searched were few indeed. This limited the searching to a few available texts, but it doesn’t change the discipline.

Peter Abelard was another among those who were exponents of scholasticism in the field of theology. Born in 1079AD, he died in 1142, Peter was a French theologian who soon became recognized as a teacher. Although he was a teacher, he had a weakness and fell into an affair with the young niece of Canon Fulbert of Notre Dame. Peter was castrated by order of Fulbert, and publicly disgraced. Branded, and rejected, he became a Benedictine monk. He continued to devote his vast energies to theological studies, he never considered his fate the fault of God, rather he felt he was given an opportunity to seek God, without the hindrance of his flesh. He repented and accepted his situation, allowing God to make the best of it for the glory of the Lord. His works were not always accepted, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux had one of Abelard's books on the subject of the Trinity burned (1121). In 1125 Abelard established a convent called the Paraclete, located near Troyes. The same young lady who became the subject of his disgrace by Fulbert became the prioress of the convent, enduing as a teacher. Both show what God can do with a repentant heart, although they both committed sin, it didn’t stop God from using them after their repentance.

However, the works of Abelard were again attacked by Bernard, only this time Abelard started off to Rome to defend the works. He was now in his sixties, the trip was proving too much, he got as far as Cluny; where Peter the Venerable, a personal friend of Bernard's, who was known for his moderation in controversy. Peter listened to Abelard, then set himself to reconcile Bernard and Abelard. Peter felt the entire issue was two brothers in the Lord with aught, which had to be mended for the sake of all. The reconciliation was effected, thus Abelard spent the rest of his life in Cluny. All this leads us to the Renaissance, and how it effected mankind, as well as the Body of Christ.

 

THE RENAISSANCE

The term Renaissance means “rebirth”, it spread to other areas in Europe, even Italy. It was also connected to the rediscovery of ancient philosophy, literature and science, increasing the empirical methods of study. Increased awareness of classical knowledge created a new resolve to learn by direct observation and study of the natural world. Consequently, secular themes became increasingly important to artists; with the revived interest in antiquity came a new repertoire of subjects drawn from Greek and Roman history, coupled with mythology. The models provided by ancient buildings and works of art also inspired the development of new artistic techniques, with a desire to redevelop the forms and styles of classical art.

Central to the development of Renaissance art was the emergence of the artist as a creator, who was sought after and respected for his erudition and imagination. Art too, became valued, not merely as a vehicle for religious and social didacticism, but even more as a mode of personal, aesthetic expression.

Although the development of Italian Renaissance art was a continuous process, it is traditionally divided into three major phases: Early, High, and Late Renaissance. The last phase has been the subject in recent years of complex interpretations recognizing many competing, or contrasting trends. Some scholars date the beginning of the Italian Renaissance from the appearance of Giotto Di Bondone in the early 14th century; others regard his prodigious achievements in naturalistic art as an isolated phenomenon. According to the second view, the consistent development of Renaissance style began only with the generation of artists active in Florence at the beginning of the 15th century.

The Renaissance was broken into defined periods, the Early Renaissance had it's principal members of the first generation of Renaissance artists; Donatello in sculpture, Filippo Brunelleschi in architecture, Masaccio in painting, all shared many characteristics. Central to their thinking was a desire for theoretical foundations of art, with the thought of development and progress were not only possible but essential to the life and significance of the arts. Ancient art was revered, not only as an inspiring model, but also as a record of trial and error revealing the successes of former great artists. Intending to retrace the creative process, rather than to imitate the final achievements of antiquity.

Early Renaissance artists sought to develop art forms with the appearance of the natural world, with their experience of human personality and behavior. The challenge of accurate representation concerning mass sculptural form, or the pictorial considerations of measurable space and the effects of light and color, was addressed in the intense and methodical inquiry. Of course this had a two-sided effect, on one hand it limited the art to the mind of the artist, but on the other it proved the interpretation was what the artist had in mind, not what the viewer perceived. This opened the discipline of study, coupled with the earlier “what do you mean by this God?”, helping to understand the difference between Interpretation, or attempted “private interpretation”. The “private” would be what the viewer thinks the words say, whereas the interpretation is what the Author says the words say.

Rational inquiry was believed to be the key to success; therefore, efforts were made to discover the correct laws of proportion for architecture and for the representation of the human body, to systematize the rendering of pictorial space. Although these artists were keenly observant of natural phenomena, they also tended to extrapolate general rules from specific appearances. They made an effort to go beyond straightforward transcription of nature to instill the work of art with ideal, intangible qualities, endowing with a beauty and significance greater and more permanent than the actual subject found in nature. These characteristics, as rendering ideal forms rather than literal appearance, with the concept of the physical world as the vehicle or imperfect embodiment of monumental supposed spiritual beauty, remained fundamental to the nature and development of Italian Renaissance art.

It would be during this period man conceived the idea of man being "spiritual" in nature without God, or man had a "spirit" making him able to reach above the stars. This was merely another Tower of Babel looking for a place to land, but nonetheless the idea took hold in the souls of man, thus man no longer considered himself a "soul", but took on the concept of man being spirit and spiritual without needing the Spirit. Sounds like the same old temptation from the tree; they considered their ability in “creativity” as “spiritual”, with any contact with the supernatural as “spiritual”, both concepts fail in light of Adam being a “living soul”, rather than a “quickening spirit”.

The term Early Renaissance characterizes virtually all the art of the 15th century. Florence, the cradle of Renaissance artistic thought, remained one of the undisputed centers of innovation. Around 1450 a new generation of artists including such masters as Pollaiuolo, and Sandro Botticelli came to the forefront in Florence. However, other Italian cities, such as Milan, Urbino, Ferrara, Venice, Padua, Naples became powerful rivals in spreading the wave of change. Leon Battista Alberti's work in Rimini and Mantua represented the most progressive architecture of the new Humanism; Andrea Mantegna's paintings in Padua displayed a personal formulation of linear perspective, antiquarianism, and realistic technique; Giovanni Bellini's poetic classic exemplified the growing strength of the Venetian school. The theological problem were the many paintings of Jesus, Mary, or the disciples, all of which were what the artist supposed, not what the actual figures looked like. When someone saw a painting of Jesus, they set their minds to conceive the painting is really what Jesus looked like. The seeds developed to worship the image, without knowing who the model was, the character of the model, or even if it was a model, or the figment of the artists imagination.

By the late 15th century the novelty of the first explosive advances of Renaissance style had given way to a general acceptance of such basic notions as proportion, contraposto (twisted pose), and linear perspective; consequently many artists sought means of personal expression within this relatively well-established repertoire of style and technique. The Early Renaissance was not, as was once maintained, merely imperfect, yet it was a necessary preparation for the High Renaissance art. In retrospect, however, Early Renaissance paintings seem to fall short of thoroughly convincing figural representation, it’s expression of human emotion is stylized rather than real. Furthermore, the strength of individual features of a work of art is disproportionate to the whole composition.

Then came the High Renaissance, a period of art termed by some to be great, however, it sought a general, unified effect of pictorial representation or architectural composition, increasing the dramatic force and physical presence of a work of art and gathering its energies into forming a controlled equilibrium. Man again fought to control his endeavors, then gave himself the credit. Because the essential characteristic of High Renaissance art was its unity, which was a balance achieved as a matter of intuition. The High Renaissance style was destined to break up as soon as emphasis was shifted to favor any one element in the composition.

The High Renaissance style endured for only a brief period (c.1495-1520) it was endowed by a few artists of quality, among them Leonardo da Vinci, Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Leonardo da Vinci's unfinished Adoration of the Magi (1481; Uffizi Gallery, Florence) is regarded as a landmark of unified pictorial composition, later realized fully in his The Last Supper (1495-97); Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. The Last Supper is a prefect example of how they used what they thought was more “artistic” then real. Leonardo had all the disciples sitting side by side at a table, when in truth the disciples would have been sitting on the floor. Copies of The Last Supper are found in many homes, there are those who presume it’s how Jesus and the disciples ate. It really doesn’t change the purpose of the Passover, but it does show how the artist used their own reasoning, rather than fact.

Leonardo is considered the paragon of Renaissance thinkers, engaged as he was in experiments of all kinds; having brought to his art a type of restless inquiry seeking to discover the laws governing diverse natural phenomena. In a different way, Michelangelo has come to typify the artist endowed with solitary ability. His talents are exemplified by the tomb of Julius II (c.1510-15), San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome; the Medici Chapel (1519-34), Florence; the Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508-12) and Last Judgment (1536-41), the cupola of Saint Peter's Basilica (begun 1546). The works represented major accomplishments in the separate fields of sculpture, painting and architecture; however, they were still the thoughts of the man, or what man presumed God was like.

Raphael, a man of very different temperament, evoked in paintings of the Madonna and in frescoes, not overwhelming forces but sublime harmony and lyric, graceful beauty, but again "Madonna" was a model, not Mary herself; Raphael never saw Mary, there are no written descriptions of her: however, today many think his representation of Mary, is what Mary looked like. Even before the death of Raphael, in 1520, anticlassical tendencies had begun to manifest themselves in Roman art. Some early exponents of Mannerism, including Jacopo Carucci Pontormo, Parmigianino, and Rosso Fiorentino, contributed to the development of a style reaching its most extreme expression in the work of Giorgio Vasari, or Giovanni da Bologna. Mannerism was an aesthetic movement in the maniera, or the style of pomp behavior from which Mannerism takes its name. Many of the artists painted more pictures of Jesus and Mary, some are still around. This period formed the mental impressions of what man felt Jesus would look like, changing “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” to “I think this is what Jesus looks like”.

Other areas of the Renaissance were also active, as the Renaissance in the North. The Netherlands Debate continues regarding the concept of the Renaissance considered valid for Italy may be properly applied to the art of northern Europe prior to the year 1500. Fifteenth-century northern artists did not intensively cultivate classical sources, nor did they show the predilection for abstract, or theoretical systems of representation seemingly  characterized in Italian art. Nonetheless, the radical transformation of northern artistic traditions took place during in the 15th and 16th centuries, although by no means parallel to Italian developments, it can be described as a Renaissance.

Jan van Eyck, the master of the Netherlandish school, is recognized as having been the first to exploit the new medium of oil painting. In his work, the Ghent Altarpiece (1432; church of Saint Bavo, Ghent), and in portraits such as the wedding portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife (1534; National Gallery, London), this technique is used to render minute detail, delicate textures, with luminous effects of light.

The enigmatic Master of Flemalle made an equally important contribution to the vivid, miniaturizing realism of Netherlandish painting. In his two most famous works, the Dijon Nativity (c.1420; Musee des Beaux-Arts, Dijon) and the Merode Altarpiece (c.1426), the Master of Flemalle, like van Eyck, combined his direct, fresh observation of nature with elaborate symbolic structures lending a profound dimension to mundane objects within religious scenes. These vivid likenesses provoked what we find today, people assuming the painting is the exactness of the event. In some cases a person will question the Bible based on a 15th century painting.

Rogier van der Weyden, famous for portraits and altarpieces such as the Descent from the Cross (1439-43; Prado, Madrid), worked in a more idealistic vein, instilling his compositions with unprecedented emotional intensity. With the rising importance of new schools of painting in the cities of Brussels, Louvain, and Haarlem, which came to rival those of Bruges, painting continued to flourish in the Netherlands during the mid and late 15th century. Van der Weyden, a idiosyncratic artist, exercised a dominant influence on many later figures including Dirk Bouts. Other notable artists were the short-lived painter Geertgen Tot Sint Jans, who specialized in tender, nocturnal scenes demonstrating a feeling for light effects; Hans Memling, whose style is characterized by a languid, delicate air; or Gerard David, whose works were more severe.

The hallucinatory paintings of the Dutch Hieronymus Bosch seem out of place in a period when artists were intent on portraying their impressions of what they felt was the beauty and nobility of humankind. The portrayal of humankind became the motivation behind many of the art works, although Bosch went into a type of  "never, never land" with his works. In keeping with the Renaissance attitude there were others such as Hugo van der Goes, who was active in Ghent and Bruges. His Portinari Altarpiece (1474-76; Uffizi Gallery, Florence) is considered a work of crucial importance. Painted for the Florentine church of San Egidio, it introduced Italian artists to the realism of oil painting technique of the Neatherlandish. The realism captured the mind, to modern day natural thinkers it almost appears as a photograph.

Germany had its period as well; German art of the 15th century was dominated by many local, independent schools. Largely based on the Gothic International Style, German art received important influences from the Netherlands which intensified as the century progressed. The painter-sculptor Hans Multscher displayed a typically German blend of Gothic conventions, with a strange fascination for brutal aspects of human behavior. In Basel the painter Konrad Witz created a severe style indebted to van Eyck; whereas the pupil of Rogier van der Weyden, the painter-engraver Martin Schongauer, emerged through his graphic work, as a draftsman, eventually to serve as a model for Albrecht Durer.

The art of Durer's contemporary Mathias Grunewald, most fully represented by the multipaneled Isenheim Altarpiece (1515; Musee d'Unterlinden, Colmar, France), is by contrast filled with high-pitched expressive power conveyed through agonized human forms, with brilliant, piercing color schemes. Both Durer and Grunewald had to contend personally with the questioning brought about by the Protestant Reformation. The conclusion was no one could depict the spiritual in the natural, especially in a painting. The many paintings of Jesus, Mary, Paul and Peter drew many “winds of doctrine”; people were more concerned with what the saints looked like, more then what they said.

It appears as if some of the protests did take effect, so personal had been Durer's involvement with southern Renaissance ideals no established school developed in his wake. The Danube School, whose principal members of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Altdorfer, or Wolf Huber reflected an extraordinary awakening of interest in landscape painting. Despite their diversity they shared a common sympathy for miniaturizing anticlassical tendencies derived from late Gothic art.

Hans Holbein the Younger, a painter who was originally a member of the Augsburg school, a rival in importance to the school in Nuremberg. He later practiced in Basel, then in England as court painter to Henry VIII, developing in the process a psychologically penetrating precise style of portraiture paralleled in many ways the work being done simultaneously in Italy and France. All these artists brought about many of the religions renditions we find today, however, one must keep in mind these were things the artists felt a saint would look like, not as the saint appeared.

France had it's time as well, In the 15th century the art of France, like Germany, came increasingly under the influence of the Netherlandish school. The painter Jean Fouquet, or the anonymous artist responsible for the celebrated Villeneauve Pieta (c.1460; Louver, Paris) were also aware of contemporary Italian art. By introducing elements of stability in their work, they achieved a unique combination of formal weight with factual and portrait like design.

At the beginning of the 16th century Italian styles became extremely popular in France because artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Benvenuto Cellni, Francesco Primaticcio, Rosso Fiorentino, or Niccolo dell'Abbate (c.1512-71) were employed by Francis Features. The Italian Renaissance style was adopted at first by French artists in a rather superficial manner, producing effects of fascinating disquiet alongside native forms of medieval origin, the Chateau de Blois (1515-20), incorporated Italian decorative architectural elements with the medieval-style architecture.

Architecture regained fame with the construction of the massive Chateau de Chambord, or the Chateau de Fontainebleau. The court workshop established at the Chateau de Fontainebleau became known as the school of Fontainebleau. In its exaggerated complex fantasies of combining sculpture, painting and architecture, the school of Fontainebleau represented a high point in the development of Mannerism.

By the mid-16th century a number of highly talented French masters made their appearance, among them the architect Philibert Delorme, who reasserted a classical style based on measure and proportion. The painter Francois Clouet developed a polished style of court portraiture, during the last decades of the century Germain Pilon produced sculptures representing the achievements of the French Renaissance.

The term Renaissance merely describes the period of European history from the early 14th to the late 16th century, as we found the word is derived from the French word for rebirth, originally referring to the revival of the values and artistic styles of classical antiquity during the period, especially in Italy. To Giovanni Boccaccio in the 14th century, the concept applied to contemporary Italian efforts to imitate the poetic style of the ancient Romans. In 1550 the art historian Giorgio Vasari used the word rinascita (rebirth) to describe the return to the ancient Roman manner of painting by Giotto Di Bondone around the beginning of the 14th century.

It was only later the word Renaissance acquired a broader meaning; Voltaire in the 18th century classified the Renaissance in Italy as one of the great ages of human cultural achievement. Of course Voltaire was a humanist who considered anything man could accomplish as a move to show what God couldn't. Voltaire failed to see three things, first if it was Good, then it came from God, next God knew about the Renaissance before the creation of the world; lastly the “genius” of these artists was housed in the God created soul of man.

In the 19th century, Jules Michelet and Jakob Burckhardt popularized the idea of the Renaissance as a distinct historical period heralding the modern age, characterized by the rise of the individual, scientific inquiry and geographical exploration, with the growth of secular values. Daniel termed this "knowledge increasing", this period began the very concept of Daniel’s prophecy coming to pass. Too bad Voltaire didn't see it.

In the 20th century the term Renaissance was broadened to include other revivals of classical culture, such as the Carolingian Renaissance of the 9th century or the Renaissance of the 12th century. Emphasis on medieval renaissance's tended to undermine a belief in the unique and distinctive qualities of the Italian Renaissance, some historians of science, technology, and economy even denied the validity of the term. Today the concept of the Renaissance is firmly secured as a cultural and intellectual movement; most scholars would agree there is a distinctive Renaissance style in music, literature, and the arts.

The Renaissance as a Historical Period began with what is termed the “new age in Padua”, as other urban communes of northern Italy in the 14th century, where lawyers and notaries imitated ancient Latin style, or studied Roman archaeology. The key figure in this study of the classical heritage was Petrarch, who spent most of his life attempting to understand ancient culture, he captured the enthusiasm of Popes, princes, and emperors who wanted to learn more of Italy's past. Petrarch's success stirred countless others to follow literary careers hoping for positions in government and high society. In the next generations, students of Latin rhetoric and the classics, later known as humanists, became chancellors of Venice and Florence, secretaries at the papal court, as well as tutors in the courts of northern Italy. Renaissance Humanism became the major intellectual movement of the time, its achievements became permanent, later drifting into theology, thus man went from the Bible proving man, to the Bible having to prove itself.

Grace is the primary connection between the saint and God, evidenced by the Seal of the Holy Spirit. However, if one removes the New Birth from their theology, or induces another spirit, then Grace takes on a different meaning. The beginning of the Protestant movement, with Protestant theology centered on the dislike for the Catholic concept of Grace, they attempted to separate themselves from the concept to the point they almost removed themselves from the Bible form of Grace. Medieval Roman Catholic theology treated Grace as a divine power entering a person, in cooperation with the person's own will, to transform him or her into one who loves God, in turn is loved by God. To a point it’s correct, Grace comes when the Holy Ghost planting the Seed of God, then the Seed being the Holy Spirit as a divine power bringing a change in our nature, and character, as Grace transfigures us, whereas Mercy transforms us. However, they took it further by assuming Grace is transmitted especially, perhaps exclusively, through the church's sacraments (the "means of Grace"), changing the Sower to the priest who administers the sacraments; allowing room for human merit because the one who receives Grace must also cooperate with it in the process of transformation. To the Protestant there were several things wrong with the theology, of course the main one was the transforming by the sacraments, which was the concept of the wine becoming the actual Blood of Christ, and the bread the actual flesh from the Body of Christ within the person, removing the concept of “Remember”.

History is vague on how the premise began, but Jesus said take in “remembrance”, not take to become. We are the Bread, thus we are the Body before we take Communion. Even the early baptismal rites included Communion after the candidate was accepted into the Body. In Romans 12 the Charisma (actions, or workings) of Charis (Grace) are Spirit motivated, thus if one is Born Again they have Grace in them. The Protestants also disagreed with the word "cooperation", which to the early Protestant view meant "works", thus Grace is not of "works" that any man should boast; however, Grace has works of Grace.           

This introduced the early Protestant concept of Grace, which was based on the rejection of the Catholic concept. In contrast to the ideas the sacraments transmit Grace, or one must cooperate with Grace, the Protestant theologians insisted Grace is given where God wills, it is not conditional on a person's receptivity. Thus the sacraments are signs of Grace, but do not impart it, as salvation depends entirely on God, not at all on human will, a theme close to the idea of predestination without choice. Paul talked about Predestination, but he also included “choice”, if not the vessels of dishonor would not exist. Predestination merely tells us God has a plan complete as the Record in heaven, but we must by faith allow God by the Spirit to fit us into the plan by the Witness. At times we are so terrified, or angry at a concept, we take the complete opposite view. We claim the one we are opposed to is heresy, or traditional, yet we go so far to the other side we commit another heresy, or form another tradition, in this case it began the “the gift of salvation”  tradition of man, without any Scripture to support the concept.

The early Protestant concept of predestination was without choice, it appeared as if  God had an A list, and a B list. No matter what a person did, pray, beg, ask, if they were on the B list they would not be accepted. If they were on the A list, regardless of what they did, they were accepted. However, the Bible says, “whosoever”, if the desire of God is for all to come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel, He has provisions for all to make it. Clearly the choice of  “receiving” is up to us, thus we have the Keys. God knows if we will or won’t, yet God doesn’t need Salvation, we do. This restricted view of predestination left no room for "ask", no room for "repentance", and no room for the “whosoever”, much less moral free choice.

There were Scriptures, although twisted making the premise not correct, regardless of the verses. God loved Jacob, and hated Esau, thus there was an A list and a B list, or so it seemed. Yet we also find it’s based on God’s foreknowledge, not God’s intervention. This view of predestination induced God’s intervention, but rejected God’s foreknowledge. Since Grace and the Spirit are one in the same, and since Jude said some who receive Grace can turn the gift into lasciviousness (Jude 4), it stands God gives to who asks, but asking is not a "work", it's a faith issue.

In many ways, the period of the Renaissance saw a decline from the prosperity of the High Middle Ages. The Black Death (bubonic plague) which devastated Europe in the mid-14th century reduced its population by as much as one-third, bringing about chaotic economic conditions. Laborers became scarce, industries failed, the economy stagnated. Probably the actual per capita wealth of the survivors of the Black Death rose in the second half of the 14th century. In general, the 15th century saw a modest recovery with the construction of palaces for urban elite's, a boom in the decorative arts, and renewed long distance trade headed by Venice in the Mediterranean, or the Hanseatic League in the north of Europe.           

During the 15th century, students from many European nations had come to Italy to study the classics, philosophy: eventually spreading the Renaissance north of the Alps. Italian literature and art, even Italian clothing and furniture designs were imitated in France, Spain, England, the Netherlands, and Germany, but as Renaissance values came to the north, they were transformed. Northern humanists such as Desiderius Erasmus of the Netherlands and John Colet (c.1467-1519) of England planted the first seeds of the Reformation when they endeavored to discover the original intent and meaning of the New Testament by applying to it the critical historical methods developed in Italy. The northern humanists, who, like their Italian counterparts, served as advisors to kings and princes created a flexible, colloquial Latin style so their writings would have a broad appeal. Through their efforts, knowledge of classical mythology, ancient history, Greek and Latin literary forms became widespread, and soon absorbed into the vernacular literature.

Philosophy, Science, and Social Thought were also popular during this time, no single philosophy or ideology dominated the intellectual life of the Renaissance. Early humanists had stressed a flexible approach to the problems of society, as well as a more active life in service of one's fellow human beings. In the second half of the 15th century, Renaissance thinkers such as Marsilio Ficino at the Platonic Academy in Florence turned to more metaphysical speculation. Though favored by the humanists, Plato did not replace Aristotle as the dominant philosopher in the universities. Rather there was an effort at philosophical syncretism, to combine apparently conflicting philosophies to find common ground for agreement regarding what they felt was Truth, as did Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola in his Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486). Renaissance science consisted mainly of the study of medicine, physics, and mathematics, depending on ancient masters, such as Galen, Aristotle, and Euclid. Experimental science in anatomy and alchemy led to discoveries both within and outside university settings.

Under the veneer of magnificent works of art, the refined court life described in Baldassare Castiglione's Book of the Courtier, the Renaissance had a darker side. Warfare was common, death by pestilence and violence was frequent. Interest in the occult, magic, or astrology was widespread, also officially sanctioned persecution for witchcraft began during the Renaissance period. Many intellectuals felt a profound pessimism about the corruption of society as seen in the often savage humanist critiques of Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) and Desiderius Erasmus. Sir Thomas More in his Utopia, prescribed the radical solution of a classless, communal society, void of Christianity, yet guided by the dictates of natural reason. The Renaissance thinker, Nicolo Machiavelli, in his Prince and Discourses constructed a science of human nature aiming at reform for the Italian society, with the development of civil life. Machiavelli's Republican principles informed by a pragmatic view of power politics and the necessity of violent change were the most original contribution of the Renaissance to the modern world.

Erasmus lived in a time when the breakup of medieval feudalism, the increase of abuses and corruption in the church produced widespread anxiety and uncertainty, which in turn disintegrated Europe into religious factions. Erasmus sought peace, reconciliation and unity. Erasmus' heart was right, the scope of his concern however seemed to spread too far. He sought a compromise, or a reconciliation between faith and reason in order to bring together Christianity with the culture of the times. Unfortunately the culture of the times was humanism; faith and humanism have no compromise. He lived at the same time as Martin Luther, like Martin, he was critical of the corruption of the church, although he did not repudiate as Martin Luther. Although his work appealed to the leaders of the Reformation, Erasmus was drawn into a conflict with them, his attempt to reform the church through gentle reason and tolerance was swept aside by the fanaticism of the Reformation. Erasmus was more successful in the literary field, in one of his works entitled Encomium Moriae (1509; The Praise Of Folly) he attacked the superstition, vulgarity, and foolishness of his day with merciless wit. His Christian background would shine, his translations of the Greek version of the New Testament, with his Latin version did show his concern, and zeal for the faith.

We have said all this to show how many of the paintings and icons we consider "actual" portrayals of Jesus, Mary, Peter, Paul, or others of the very early church age are merely the thoughts of some talented people, nothing more or less, yet to worship the images is the same as idol worship. Isaiah 54:17 tells us the smith forms his image in the coals, but no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Simply, the person who forms the image is a creation, the thing formed is not a creation, but a formation, thus nothing Formed by the creation shall prosper against us. It could be said by using Isaiah 54:17, God created the soul of the artist who formed the painting, yet no image formed by the soul of man shall prosper against the called of God.

It's always strange how the mind of man thinks he is doing a great service for God and mankind, yet in the process the carnal natural endeavor is usually doing something God didn't want done. Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah, the Father said, "hear ye Him", so what did man do? As time passed man did build three tabernacles, even today people go to visit this “wonder”. Wonder? If Peter was rebuked for thinking it, what would be the result for doing it?         

Time marches on, as it does, in all this there were some changes in Theocracy, changes slowly carved away at the very anointing making the difference between Christian and the worldly religions. Some of the changes went right back to the error in Acts 1, acting without the Power to do so, or doing something outside of the granted Authority. Acts 13:1-3, as well as many other Scriptures tell us only the Holy Ghost on behalf of Jesus can appoint to the Doma Offices, thus if man does, then man is usurping the authority of the Holy Ghost. Will it be allowed? Yes, God allows to show us what not to do.

Perhaps the greatest change was the change of helps offices, Bishop was no longer associated with Helps, rather it gained a ruling order over the offices, it would be second only to the Pope. The position of Pope had elevated from the "12" to the "1", of course the position of Peter was no longer a piece of the Rock, but the "Rock". Prior we viewed the major problem with making Peter the Rock, rather than a piece of the Rock. Jesus said, “upon this Rock”, rather than “upon you”, showing Jesus was referring to the combined unit of disciples. Reasoning out of order, leads us to the Humanist Experience.

 

THE HUMANIST EXPERIENCE

The term Humanist is defined as Placing the emphasizes on the personal worth of the individual, with the central importance to human values as opposed to religious belief, or as Paul put it, placing the emphasis on the spirit of man. It's primarily assumed the Humanist element didn't surface until the 1500's; however, we find the same temptation from the fruit of the same tree, by the same serpent. Adam became the first humanist when he said, “it was the woman You gave me”, Eve the second when she said, “it was the serpent, he beguiled me”. Both used natural reasoning to define the event, each made their humanist nature their center of importance.

The manifestation of the Humanist thought became prevalent after the invention of the printing press, but so did the knowledge of God. We also know of the importance of the printing press for the Christian; the very first printing press introduced to the Colonies was for the purpose of printing Godly documents. In 1640 the "Bay Psalm Book" was the very first book published in the American colonies, it was prepared by New England clergymen, including Richard Mather and John Eliot, it was printed at Cambridge, Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was the only work of its kind in New England, churches for more than a century used it; however, the early editions gave no music, but the 1690 edition contained 12 tunes. The Bay Psalm Book is still considered the most valuable of all American printed books because of its rarity and historical importance.

Before we can understand the Reformation, or the events thereafter we must examine this thing called The Humanist Experience. The 1935 Webster's defined Humanist as One versed in the knowledge of human nature. There are three types of humanist, one is secular, or worldly in thought and concept alone, another places the will of man above the will of God, the last uses the soul of man to make change, the latter two are found in the concept of Humanistic Thinking, it does not relay, use, or consider the “Mind of Christ”. Paul told us how the Holy Ghost teaches by comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Cor 2:13). The Humanist thinks man is the ultimate creature, leaving little or no room for God. Humanist scholars of theology began by telling us what the Scriptures should say, rather than what they did say. Some made their own translations, leaving out verses to promote their theology. 

The Italians called this period of time La Rinascita (Renaissance), since it appeared to them to be a resurrection from the barbarous dark ages of the past thousand years, but it wasn't a resurrection, rather God was using this time to resuscitate the Body. God doesn’t leave us, neither will He force change. We must be willing to be changed, before God will make a change in us. The same is true with society, the times when local churches are filled, are the times when man is faced with destruction, or despair. Sad as it may be, it’s still opportunity for the “fishers of men” to cast the net.

The humanist saw reformation as a time of intellectual change, or human learning. The concept of the Church Board, rather than Spirit filled leaders was first derived by the humanist. The emphases of humanism were; 1) a confidence in the human nature, which John called the Pride of Life; 2) a belief in toleration, due less to conviction about fundamental human rights than to theological indifferentism; 3) a critical view or the use of skepticism to study the Bible. This latter element began a nightmare, man would no longer seek to find Faith, rather he would seek to find fault in the Bible by using critical thinking. Causing the Bible to prove itself, which it was not intended to, it was intended to define itself, or give information and knowledge regarding God, as God’s Plan for Redemption.

Man saw this time as the flowering of letters (writings) and the arts, but Daniel saw it as the beginning of the end. Our lesson in all this projects God's longsuffering on one hand, but it also shows there is a point where even God says, Enough is Enough. Our Time has a Timing, we are either going to fit the path to become a part of God’s plan, or sit on the Tower of Babel theology becoming targets of the enemy, the choice is ours, the result is in God's hand.

The leaders of the church all had the warnings, the Scriptures, with the conclusive evidence of their folly. Yet, like the Pharisees, they rejected the obvious for a self-based, self-serving theology attempting to make God servant to their cause.

A connection between the Italian Renaissance and the humanist movement could best be seen in the life of Francesco Petraraca, generally known in the English speaking world as Petrarch; who was born in Arezzo in 1304, his father was a Florentine notary in political exile, who moved the family to the French city of Avignon in 1312. Petrarch attended the University of Bologna, in 1327 while in the church of Santa Clara he fell in love with a woman called "Laura", but whose real name still remains uncertain. Laura became the focus of Petrarch's love lyrics, found in his Songbook (1342). In 1353 he returned to Italy, to associate with the Visconti family in Milan, where he undertook several diplomatic missions. His works emphasized the humanist concepts, in his work Petrarch's Secret (1353-58) he displays a conflict between flesh and spirit of man which troubled him throughout his life. The work is a dialogue in Latin between himself as the poet, and his second self as Saint Augustine. In the pitiless analysis the Augustine impression berates Petrarch's ability to resist earthly temptations of love and fame, and urges him to "save his soul". The dialogue ends in a stalemate; however, when the poet was ready to renounce his earthly goals, he turned from the power of the human, to the power of God. Petrarch embraced the humanist movement, since it allowed him to end his conflict between world and religion, unfortunately he never made the separation between religion and Christianity.

According to the Bible, the Love of Money is the root of all evil, according to the men of the Renaissance, money is the root of all civilization. Man's purpose in the Renaissance was an advance of commerce, or independent ideas. It made it's home first in Florence (City of Flowers); one could speculate the "blooming of the seed of corruption" was coming forth into the Blade of corruption.

Cosimo de' Medici offered his own resources to the delegates of the Council of Florence (1439); the purpose being to reunite the Eastern and Western Christian fractions. When Constantinople fell to the Turks, many Greeks ran to Florence. It would be the Greeks who supplied many ancient texts and manuscripts, but they also included many texts from Greek poetry and philosophy. The concept became known as The Medici, but it was based in man's reasoning, rather than the Mind of Christ. The bankers, merchants, manufacturers, skilled workers and professionals organized into Guilds representing their own interests. As the self nature was also building in society, the Body was given the opportunity to make a decision, If God be God follow Him, but if humanism be your god, follow it.

The Humanists turned religion into philosophy, then inserted pagan art into their theology. The birth of Humanities (more human letters) came to the front, Peter's warning of "no private interpretation" became prophecy unfolding. Leonard Bruni, secretary to four Popes (1427-44) translated several dialogues of Plato into Latin for the use of the clergy, yet few had time to translate the Bible for the masses. Paul warned the Colossians, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy"; which he termed "the tradition of men" (Col 2:8). The word Philosophy means The study of wisdom, but it's limited to two things, man’s study centered in man’s wisdom.

The humanist introduced the words of Socrates and Plato as uncanonized saints,  using them to repute the Pauline Theology, yet at the time few knew the Truth of Pauline Theology. The introduction of Many Ways To God became the rule, man was able to be like the Most High through intellect. Paul advocated No Salvation Outside Of Jesus; whereas the church turned his statements to mean No Salvation Outside Of The church.  The reasoning was Jesus would build the Church, but they confused “church” with Church.

The humanist saw the time between Constantine and Dante as a waste; however, they viewed it from the eyes of man, void of the Spirit. The humanist for the most part termed Christianity a myth, they saw signs and wonders, except the sign they saw was Simony, causing them to wonder how God could allow the Body to continue? They failed to see the Precious, for the most part there were those doing the work of the ministry, there were those who had the Spirit, but they were not seeking the headlines.

It was a time when the fault was obvious, standing in the forefront, the Precious saints were still around, but not as prominent. History is a Warning Sign to those in the present; the humanist sought to mix Christian doctrine with Greek philosophy, thus removing the Holy Ghost. Simply using the concepts doesn't make the doctrine Christ Like, it takes the Holy Ghost to bring the doctrine into the realm of Life. The Scriptures without the Spirit and Faith will be twisted into a self-serving dialog, at times used to control the people. So it was, the people were told what the leadership wanted them to know, thus Peter’s warning to “watch over the flock” was cast aside, for “control the flock” (I Pet 5:1-4).

The humanist had their Platonic Academy, a place where the "faithful" could study minds of men. Marsilio was one of those who spent his life translating Plato into Latin; for a time he cast away his religious faith, seeking Platonism, which seemed to him to be superior. He addressed his students with the phrase "beloved in Plato", rather than the usual "beloved in Christ". Today we find the humanist moving further from religion, but in Mersilio's day the idea was not to replace Christianity with another faith, but to reinterpret it in terms a philosopher could accept. They wanted God to condone to their way of thinking, rather than change their thinking toward God. Of course, their example was the hierarchy of the Body, what else could they think? The humanist devised their own concept of creation, with their own words for creation. Instead of the Genesis account they assumed, "I created thee as being neither heavenly nor earthly...that thou mightiest be free to shape, and to overcome through the self"; becoming man attempting to save his own soul, the  thing Jesus said was impossible. Instead of saving their souls, pride, ego and arrogance hit new heights. In all this it still stands, God saw it from the foundation of the world, He made a Way of escape for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose.

There was the Wheat, men like Lefevre (1455-1536) who published his work on the Psalms. John Colet (1467-1519) who sought the literal meaning of the Pauline Epistles, rather than the mystic method used by natural theologians of the day. Colet was among those who felt Paul's tongue in cheek remarks about wives went further than gender, he felt Paul was using allegories in more places than Paul said he was. Colet used various areas of Paul's writings to give meaning to the allegories and metaphors.

Reuchlin and Erasmus were the more influential of the humanists, John Reuchlin (1455-1522) was a Hebrew scientific scholar, who combined Hebrew grammar and the Hebrew dictionary in his text Of The Rudiments Of Hebrew. Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) was the most out spoken against the abuses of the Roman Catholic church, especially in his books, The Praise Of Folly, and Familiar Colloquies, he used satire to point out the evils of the priestly order. The humanists satirized, the Reformers denounced the evils of the church, but both were seeking Reformation rather than dissolution. When Luther came on the scene Erasmus agreed with him, but later Luther opposed him for not breaking with the church, as did Luther. Moreover the theology of Erasmus differed from Luther’s on some issues. The biggest enemy to the Faith was the naturalist thinker, the one who wants to appear moral and correct, but rejects the Spirit of Truth. Natural intellect is not the same as Holy Ghost knowledge. The Author is still the Holy Ghost, until the time when He who now let’s, stops letting, it’s still the case.

 

THE REFORMING COUNCILS 1409-1449

With Wycliffe and Hus working for Reform from the outside and Savonarola working on the inside, the people being disenchanted in the middle, the decision for complete reform was evident. Reform is like Revival, they needed to be Revived, but revived to what? The traditions of men taught as Doctrine? The doctrines of devils? Or the Doctrine of Christ? The Doctrine of Christ of course.

In 1378 the Great Schism took place when Urban VI and Clement VII both claimed to be the legitimate successor to Peter. Europe was caught in the middle; however, instead of seeking God's favor, the leading theologians begin to hold councils using the form of the ecumenical councils from 325 to 451 as models, but they used the guidelines as they saw them while lacking spiritual insight. The Council of Pisa (1409) was held in the spring when Benedict XIII was in control of Avigon, at the same time Gregory XII retained the chair in Rome. The council arrived at a solution, they disposed both Benedict and Gregory and elected Alexander V, now they had three Popes instead of two. Again none of them heard, "separate unto Me", what they heard was "I'm the one, I'm the Pope, pick me, pick me".

The Councils of Constantinople consisted of eight councils held at Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) from 381 AD 1341 AD. In the Western church, only four of these councils are recognized as ecumenical, they include the first three and the sixth, which is called the Fourth Council of Constantinople.

 

FIRST COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE (381)

This council was really the second ecumenical council, convened by Theodosius I, the emperor of the East. The 150 bishops meeting at the council condemned various religious sects as heretical, reaffirmed the resolutions of the first ecumenical council of Nicaea (325); defining the Holy Ghost as consubstantial and coeternal with the Father and the Son in the Trinity, they proclaimed the bishop of Constantinople second in precedence to the bishop of Rome. The ratifying of the Trinity by this council was based on  the beliefs of the church fathers and apostles, not their own opinions.

 

SECOND COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE (553)

This meeting at Constantinople was really the fifth ecumenical council of the church. It was convoked by Justinian I, Byzantine emperor, in order to consider the writings of the Greek theologians Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, and Ebas of Edessa. These writings, known as the Three Chapters, had been approved by the fourth ecumenical council, held at Chalcedon in 451. The council of 553, however, condemned the Three Chapters as heresy, then anathematized their authors. This type of endeavor shows how the "Rock" was infiltrated by carnal leadership, yet the Church was still in the process of construction. 

 

THIRD COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE (680)

The third council held at Constantinople was the sixth ecumenical council, called by the request of Constantine IV the Byzantine emperor (reigned 668-685) in order to condemn Monothelitism, a doctrine declaring Jesus Christ had only one will, even though He had two natures (human and divine). Their thinking was Jesus had a human will and a divine will, thus the will Jesus held in the Garden was the human will, but if it’s the case, then Jesus didn't have the same mind as the Father. 

 

FOURTH COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE (691)

The fourth meeting held at Constantinople was called by Justinian II, Byzantine emperor (reigned 685-695; 705-711) to enact a legislative code for the church. This code later became part of the canon law of the Orthodox church, but was largely rejected by the church in the West. The council of 691 was regarded in the East as supplementary to the previous ecumenical councils (the fifth and sixth), it is therefore known as the Quinisext (Latin - fifth-sixth) Synod. This council was also sometimes called the Trullan Synod from its meeting place in the Trullum ("dome") of the emperor's palace.

 

FIFTH COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE  (754)

The fifth council at Constantinople was called by Constantine V, Byzantine emperor (reigned 741-775), to deal with the problem of image worship. The council condemned the worship of images; the position, however, was rejected by the seventh ecumenical council, held at Nicaea in 787 saying the council of 754 was not recognized as ecumenical in the West. The worship of "images" later turned into the worship of saints, but in either case it’s still idol worship according to the first two Commandments.

 

SIXTH COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE  (869-870)

The sixth meeting at Constantinople was the eighth ecumenical council, yet considered the Fourth Council of Constantinople by the Western church. It was convened by Basil I, Byzantine emperor of Constantinople to recognized him, and confirm his deposition of Photius, patriarch of Constantinople. Photius, who was the principal instigator of the 9th-century schism between the Eastern and Western churches, was formally deposed. The council of 869-870 was not recognized by the Eastern church.

 

SEVENTH COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE  (879)

The seventh assembly at Constantinople was recognized in the East as the eighth ecumenical council. It was called by Photius, who had been reinstated as the patriarch of Constantinople in the previous year (see above information on the Sixth Council). This council, which repudiated the council of 869-870, was not recognized by the church in the West.

 

EIGHTH COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE  (1341)

The last council held at Constantinople was recognized in the East as the ninth ecumenical council. It was held to deal with the problem of the Hesychasts, a sect of Charismatic monks living on Mount Áthos. The council condemned the Greek monk Barlaam as a heretic for his opposition to the sect.

From all this we can see what happens in the Body when natural man, with his natural will is found in the place of authority. If the gates of hell shall not prevail, how come they did? Ahh, these Councils are related to the Body, not the Church. Simply because we see the term "church" doesn't mean it is the Church.

The Council of Constance (1414-1418) was called by Sigismund, the emperor of the Roman Empire, and John XXIII the successor to Alexander V. It was called the Constance Council since they fashioned it after the Constantine Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. John wasn't going to be left without a voice, he attempted to fill the voting number with his Italian followers. In order to stop John's attempt at takeover, it was decided no matter how many showed up, each nation was allotted one vote. Any five nations would give a quorum for a binding action. Pope Gregory XII resigned, after a great deal of negotiation both Benedict XIII and John XXIII were disposed in 1415. The council also declared the ideas of Wycliffe heresy, then burned Hus at the stake. They discussed the problems of Schism and Heresy, as they saw them. They decided Schism could only be solved by the use of councils, heresy would be determined by the councils. Both are error, Schism can only be solved by the Unity of the Spirit and Faith, Heresy by the Holy Ghost granting us God’s knowledge.

The Councils of Basel and Ferrara (Florence - 1431-1449) were called to settle the unrest in Bohemia, after the martyrdom of Hus (noted above), they found it was growing into a theological nightmare. The council began in Basel but the plague outbreak caused it to be moved to Florence, thus the name “Basel and Ferrara”. The Seven Sacraments of the Roman church were declared by this council. The Council attempted other endeavors, but ended in defeat by dissolving itself in 1449. Puis II issued a bull entitled Execabilis which condemned any future appeals for general councils. The French clergy joined with the French ruler under the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges in 1438, thus making the French church independent of the Pope, but also placed it under the power of the state. The councils failed at reform, but kept the Great Schism from dividing the church further. A “Bull” is an official document issued by the Pope, then sealed with a “bulla” (a round seal  marking the official document, it comes from the word for “blister”).

The history wasn't a waste, it showed how any of us can fall into certain religious aspects which seem Godly on the surface but are self-based in intent. The councils went back to the same old Acts 1 meetings; casting lots to determine what God desires, this is still using the mind of man to turn the stones into Bread. The truth remains spiritual things are foolishness to the natural minds, since natural man is still run by the spirit of man.

History has many points where we gain if we have ears to hear. Any leader can become so busy they forget who is the Head of the ministry, their forgetfulness results in voting to determine what they think God desires. We can center on indulgences, or sell the Dove, or we can preach the truth in Love. The Indulgences were used to gain money for the treasury, it seemed right to those who did it, but it was nonetheless selling the Dove. History has to show us one thing, which was confirmed in the Book of Revelation, the Body is in our hands, what we do, we do. Jesus by the Holy Ghost will make suggestions, but we must be Born Again to, “hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.

After all this, there has to be the Precious, in 1054 Michael Cerularius spoke out to wake up Rome, and bring clarity to a dark cloud. Not desiring to turn the boat over, but merely waking up the inhabitants, he pointed out several minor errors, including the use of unleavened bread, eating meat strangled, or allowing singing during Lent, all of which had little to do with salvation. His concern over the use of unleavened bread was not the bread but why they remain leavened while using something unleavened?

On July 16, 1504 Michael was excommunicated, then Michael followed suit by excommunicating the Pope and the Pope's followers. The real concern of Cerularius was the government intervention into the church. He wanted to either have the church remove itself from the civil government, or dispose the emperor. Both Michael Cerularius and Photius became known as the Schism Patriarchs, although their concerns were valid.

One of the noted Charismatics in the medieval age was Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153 AD). Not only was he Charismatic, but he was also a doctor of theology, a degree not easy to come by in those days. We read how his conflict with Abelard was healed at Cluny, but there is more to the man than his understanding of Abelard's writings. He was a leader in the Western church, he became a Cistercian monk in 1113, he was chosen abbot of Clairvaux. Although Bernard did not reject the idea of rationalism in theology, he did become one of the major opponents of rationalist theologians who, in his view, mistreated religious orthodoxy (the concept of study discipline wherein one seeks truth, rather than using critical thinking). Bernard contributed to the rules for the Order of the Knights Templars, which he hoped would become a model of Christian chivalry. His many writings, which have been collected and translated into six volumes, show his grasp of biblical studies, spiritual theology with one of his works based on the Charismatic, which was canonized in 1174. He even has a feast day named after him (August 20), but his real work was in the area of allowing the Holy Ghost to guide and instruct. He was not in favor of any "rational" thinking on the part of man to interpret the Bible.

Along came the Cathari, who like Barnard knew man in and of himself was dualistic (body and soul). They rejected everything they considered worldly as evil in general. However, theologically they believed Christ was an angel, not human, thus He couldn't be raised from the dead, because He couldn't die. We are called angels or messengers of God, Paul told the Galatians they received him as an angel, even as Christ (Gal 4:14), yet we die. John said if we are Born Again we have moved from death to life (I Jn 3:14), but the context sees us free of the Second death (Rev 20:6), it’s still appointed unto all men once to die, then comes the judgment. The Gospel is based on the death of Jesus for us, without His death, there is no way we can impute the flesh dead. Denying His Resurrection is also denying our ability to live again by the Spirit, notwithstanding the removal of our hope, as the same Spirit who raised Jesus will raise us. Also we know Paul said we must believe God raised Jesus from the dead in order to fit, “shall be saved”.

John Wycliffe (1328-84 AD) was termed the Morning Star of the Reformation. He felt everything belonged to God, and everyone was called to be a servant of God, but it nonetheless depended on their acceptance of the call. By this time there were many things going on wherein Wycliffe saw error, masses for the dead to move them from purgatory; immorality for the priesthood; the indulgences, just to name a few. Wycliffe said, no man, not even the Pope had permanent lordship. He also felt, simply because a group of men made a man a Pope, didn't mean the Pope was holy, or simply because someone called someone else a bishop, didn't mean the person was a bishop. He joked about purgatory, as he felt if one couldn't make it now, surely they would be like the Rich Man, remaining as the same hardhearted person in hell, or purgatory. He believed, and held to the Bible, he said the Bible must be available to all men, thus man would find his Creator in the Bible, not in the traditions, or rites of Rome.

Wycliffe made a pin hole in the Veil, the Light did shine. He traveled with a group called the Lollards (Mumblers). The term had two meanings, depending on which historian one reads; one said the term referred to their constant mumbling about the church, the other said the term had to do with their strange language during prayer. Wycliffe died in peace in 1384; however, in 1401 the bishops passed an act against heretics, based on their conclusions of heresy being anything they didn't like. The same old carnal, envy filled meetings to bring about a heresy trial to condemn the Just. A Pharisee is a Pharisee, regardless of the time in man's history: beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. The bishops saw the Lollards as a threat to the Pope, the teachings of Wycliffe as dangerous to the papacy. The Council of Constance in 1413-14 found Wycliffe guilty of 260 counts of heresy, of course by this time Wycliffe was dead. The defense of Wycliffe was not conducted by him from out of his grave, but by the Holy Ghost, Who is not bound by death or graves. Although the Council burned all of the available books of Wycliffe, then ordered his bones removed from the consecrated ground, they burned his bones, and tossed the ashes into a nearby stream, nonetheless Wycliffe’s testimony followed in men like John Hus. While they were burning Wycliffe’s bones, his soul was still under the Altar of God, a place where no devil, or child of the devil can reach.

In 1326 Meister Eckhart was found guilty of heresy, for teaching how man should be immersed in God, he felt being immersed in water was a bath without repentance. He termed repentance as a vow to reject unbelief, and be immersed in God by the Spirit of Christ. This went directly against infant baptism, as Meister said, "feet, and hands, and mouth and eyes, the heart, all man is has to become God's own". He was speaking in reference to being subject to God by becoming Born Again, yet to the bishops being Born Again meant water baptism, they taught once a infant was water baptized, they were filled with the Spirit, saved, and in the Kingdom of God. It would be heresy, since it negates choice, belief, it also opposes the Doctrine of Baptisms. The bishops took circumcision, water baptism, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost, then put them into one pot of Pig Theology, all under their control. They didn't present anyone to the Lord, they felt they were the Lord. They went about killing others for heresy, when they were up to their self-deceived ears in it. The saddest of all this is how the six rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ pointed out the their errors (Heb 6:1-2).

Pope Calistus III (1455-1458 AD) found Joan of Arc free of heresy, and completely removed her death sentence; however, Joan was put to death at the stake by fire in 1431, some twenty-five years prior. What was Joan's heresy? She heard from God, during the time church dogma stated no one, not even the Pope could hear from God. The dogma claimed the ability to hear God passed with the last Apostle; the church dogma was the heresy, not Joan's ears.

Joan said God told her when to enter battle and when not to; history shows she gave God the Glory, not the church, it caused the Council to proclaim she as a heretic. They couldn't hear from God if He stood on the Council seat, thus if they couldn't hear from God, no one could. They didn't take into consideration, Joan was giving God the glory, she was humble before the Lord, it was obvious she served the Lord. However, the bishops were mad because Joan refused to bow or become humble before them. She refused to give them service, she refused to follow their heretical dogma, thus they allowed pride and anger to rule them, they put her to death on a burning stake.

There were other saints as well, they didn't have any problem with the world, it was the worldly minded in the Body, who became the problem. History was once termed, "something we know, but learn little from", it should not be so, God wants us to learn from history. When the church entered the Renaissance period, all they should have learned went into the same "all has passed away" bucket. They were about to make the muddy water, more muddy than before. It need not be the case in our Time, in this Season, we can learn, then enter God's purpose for us.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST DURING THE RENAISSANCE

As we found the Word Renaissance means Revival or Rebirth, but it doesn't mean New Birth. The Renaissance was prophecy opened, but it didn't end the prophecy. Daniel was told "But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan 12:4). Daniel was also told, "but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Dan 12:10). Therefore, the prophecy is two fold, first the knowledge of God shall open up, which includes the Bible being printed for the masses, but the second area shows the wicked will be more wicked, which came to pass, yet at the same time the only ones to see it would be the Wise.

During this time of “re-birth” there was another movement, one called the "Black Death". Between 1347 and 1351 the bubonic plague devastated Europe, it picked up the name Black Death from the black spots appearing on the bodies of the victims. The plague was carried by fleas feeding off the blood of infected rats, then infesting people. It is estimated to have killed from 25 to 50 percent of the European population. Panic was widespread, many groups of "flagellants" roamed from place to place hoping to stay the disease; however, rather than laying hands on the sick they used another means. The "flagellants" subjected themselves to ritualized whipping as "atonement for sin", which we know is not only a fruitless effort, but completely self-righteous in nature. This same false concept captured the mind of Martin Luther for a period, until he found the truth of "the Just shall live by Faith". Nonetheless the act shows us the teaching regarding the Stripes of Jesus fell away, but it had not passed away, only twisted into the stripes on the people.

Individual flagellation had become a common form of ecclesiastical punishment around the 14th century, several monastic areas allowed voluntary group flagellation as a form of penance. It seems the flagellants made their appearance in Europe in the mid-13th century, the major factors stimulating this phenomenon seem to have been famine and war, seen in the words of Joachim of Fiore (1132-1202), as a sign of divine displeasure at the sinfulness of the world. Jesus said we would have wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, and famine in the world, but we were not to be terrified (concerned to the point of attempting to change the world), for these things must be (Luke 21:9). The world wasn’t the problem, it was the place to cast the net, the problem was the he in the world used by leadership. The act of  flagellation is self-penance stemming from a lack of faith in God’s forgiveness. Like validation, the person wants some assurance from humans, or they want to pay for their sins by their own efforts. To the natural mind simply asking God to forgive seems far too easy, yet we also know the method does call for us to do something: forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us.

The city of Florence was the starting place for the Renaissance, with the Medici family as it's leading benefactor. The Medici were humanist in nature, but the humanist in this stage of the game was a mixture of humanist and Christian thinking, but lacking Christian Faith. A painting by Benozzo Gozzoli showed Lorenzo Medici (1449-92, also known as Lorenzo The Magnificent) as the leader of the Magi pointing the way to the birth of Christ. Hardly the case since Lorenzo came on the scene some 1500 years later, but the painting shows how the humanist placed himself as the center of attention, rather than God as the center of all things.

We're not going to indulge in some history lesson on all the Popes, their families, wrongs or rights so we can judge them, we will be searching for the lesson to find the Hand of God reaching toward His people. Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this earth, thus when the church turned to political means to capture lands in the feeble attempt to make the Kingdom of the earth, the Body lost Power, but retained it's authority. Bankers became the power behind the church, the Turks were a threat, the kings of the lands were threats, the inner structure of the church was the biggest threat of all, none of the leaders considered any of these people potential converts.

Since they lacked Christ in Power, they decided to paint Him on walls, or place self-promoting pictures of Jesus about them to give an air of holiness. As in times past God would send a prophet, or a reformer would surface, or someone would bring Truth, yet they would not hear. The history of the Jews proved little to the Body, the wicked could not understand, but the wise did. Boccaccio was not a dogmatic Christian, but a writer who simply saw the errors of the church, but approached them in a somewhat different manner. In his humor we see God had a plan, whether man knew it or not. In The Decameron, a novel by Boccassio who used the fictitious Jew name of Jehannat who was in the stages of being converted to Christianity by the argument, "Christianity must be divine, since it has survived so much clerical immorality and Simony". Boccaccio made fun of every aspect of the carnal activities of the church, he left none uncovered; whether nuns, the confession, priests, monks, friars, asceticism, or the canonization of saints, he made jokes of them all, but he didn't joke about God. One of his popular satires was about a friar who promised to display a true and priceless relic if the people gave much money. The relic was suppose to be one of Gabriel's feathers, which remained in the Virgin Mary's chamber after the Annunciation. Boccaccio wrote stories of the hidden chambers, the acts of the religious who lacked the Christ nature, the immoral behavior, some so vivid they could not be told in mixed company. How did the church view this? They laughed, thus missing the exposure; God was still using whatever means would benefit His people, if they would listen.

As strange as it seems some of the same acts drifted into some Protestant circles, the selling of prophecies, give in order to be blessed, selling items, while at the same time saying they are not. Sob stories to pull at the strings of the emotions, money to support a new window, having ones name enshrined, all going on back then. Because of these factors, as well as other carnal activity they lacked the Power of Christ, ending misusing authority, especially the authority of the Offices. These things need not be so.

After 313 AD the church entered a political era, thus instead of being subject to government, the church began to establish an earthly government kingdom. In 1309 Pope Clement V moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon, which became known as the Babylonian Captivity. Clement was a Frenchman, he wanted the seat in his country, but he didn't consider the House of God being Spiritual in the heart of the Believer.

From Gregory VII (1073-85) to Boniface (1294-1303) the goal of the church was to develop a complete European world under the hand of the Pope; however, for the most part it failed; nationalism of mankind won over the theocratic federalism of the Church. The Papal States were divided into four provinces, the Latium, the Umbria, the Marches and the Romagna. The method was not "repent, prepare ye the way of the Lord"; but "accept us, be one of us, or die". The use of the Sword changed from the Sword of the Spirit to the sword of steel.

The war against the Turks and Islam cost the church a great deal of money, leaving it three choices. First to determine if their means were of God, or of man; second to pray for God to meet their need, third to sell the dove and meet their own need. They picked the third, when Boniface was harassed for funds, he sold ecclesiastical benefices to the highest bidder. It's interesting to note the seat of the Pope was also called "Peter's Seat" yet it was Peter who said, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; Not For Filthy Lucre, but of a ready mind: neither be lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock" (I Pet 5:2-3). When the Body becomes the blunt of the world's jokes, it has lost it's Power by separating itself from the Head of the Body (I Cor 11:1-7). Jesus said they would hate us, not laugh at us.

The term "Indulgence" means to grant forgiveness of sins based on money given, but the concept of Simony means to purchase a position. Simony was written about long before the Indulgences, yet both were active elements of the church during this time in history. Clement V reorganized medical schools, he didn't lay hands on the sick. He placed his trust in the medical arts, he died of a painful disease in 1314.

Since 1274 the election of Popes was done behind closed doors (conclave or with a key), the cardinals were the only ones who could place a Pope in position, thus it was the cardinals who ran the church, the Pope was merely a figure head. It’s even stranger since there is no office for a “cardinal”, rather the term means “hinge”, coming from the Latin. In the beginning the term was attached to those who had permanent church attachments. Nonetheless there is no provision in the Bible for any board to appoint Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, Prophets or Apostles. The leaders appoint Deacons, Bishops and Elders, but those appointed by leaders do not appoint leaders.

The sign was clear, the leaders determined the church was the Master, the Pope the head of the church, but the Cardinals were the head of the head. The church became cardinal possessed, the election was based on what the Pope could do for the cardinals, rather than what the Pope could do for Jesus. Each Pope had their names changed to reflect the position, but it didn't mean their hearts were changed by the Power of Christ. The method of election was casting lots, the same method used by Peter and the disciples before the Holy Ghost brought the Spirit (Acts 1:26). The cardinals were unable to hear the Holy Ghost say, "Separate unto Me --- for the work I have” (Acts 13:2). The church had moved to the natural, becoming another worldly religion. The lesson is written for us, not for their sakes.       

During this stage of the history of the Body there were many carnal theological stands, or as Luther called them, Pig Theology. The twisted concepts of the End Times surfaced again, they wanted Jesus to come and clean this mess up, they wanted Jesus to make it right, by giving them complete control over the masses; however, this was the same error the Pharisees held. Jesus told us to Go Ye, teach, baptize and teach all to observe whatsoever He has commanded us, not whatsoever man has commanded us, or whatsoever the Law of Moses commanded (Matt 28:18-20). The prelude to the command was, Tarry until you be endued with Power from on high (Luke 24:49). Neither concept was included in the theology of the cardinals. The church dogma replaced the awareness of the Rock; it all looked like it was going to crumble, but it didn’t.

The Italians wanted the Pope back in Rome, but only six of the twenty-four cardinals were Italian. The cardinals waited for nearly two years until the majority of the cardinals were Italian, then they turned right around and picked John XXII, a Frenchman, the son of a cobbler. John followed suit by selling benefices; his success was not a sign of his holiness, rather he felt he could serve God best by winning Mammon on his side. His social endeavors seemed good in the eyes of man, he founded a Latin college in Armenia, fought against magic, yet died suspected of heresy. He claimed no one, not even the Pope could have direct contact with God, nor could anyone have a vision, rather he said, no one could hear God until the Last Judgment. This same thought is around today, there are those who say God does not speak anymore, yet the Spirit of God bears witness with our Spirit (Spirit that is of God) we are children of God.

The University of Paris condemned the Pope's view and Philip VI of France ordered him to change his theology, instead of changing his theology, he died in 1334. Benedict XII followed John, but instead of selling benefices, he demanded they be given on merit only. He repressed bribery and corruption in the church administration, but the leaders turned on him when he demanded for them to reform. They all rejoiced when he died early in 1342.

Clement VI followed, instead of Clement running out the whoredoms, he wanted them around him in the form of many women. Rome sent news to Clement making him an offer to restore the Popes in Rome. The catch was complete submission to the Popes and the renewal of political power to the seat of the Pope. Clement packed his bags, and moved to Rome. The political machine and offices were filled with political minded personal, who knew how to use political power to their advantage, but didn’t have a clue to the Ways of God. All this was seen by God well before the time, yet God allowed the Body Choice, they could be vessels of honor or dishonor. The letters in the Book of Revelation depict these problems, the Doctrine of Balaam, and the such. It’s clear the Predestination was not based on God’s A list or B list, since the Book of Revelation repudiates the assumption. There would be no reason for Jesus to tell the churches to repent, or hear what the Spirit says, if the Spirit wasn’t saying anything. There would be no reason to tell them to repent if they couldn’t sin. The Book of Hebrews tells us God speaks to us by His Son, meaning one has to be Born Again to hear (Heb 1:2).

Needless to say, Protests came from every corner, the Good Fish saw the corruption of political power in the hands of those called by God. Alvaro Pelayo was loyal to the papacy, but wrote in his booklet On The Lamentation Of The Church, "Whenever I entered the chambers of the ecclesiastics of the papal court, I found brokers and clergy engaged in weighing and reckoning the money which lays in heaps before them". Pelayo concluded, "Wolves are in control of the church". Edward III, king of England, who himself was no stranger to taxation reminded Clement, "the successor of the Apostles was commissioned to lead the Lord's sheep to the pasture, not fleece them". The truth remained, the Net contained both Good and Bad, it was the Bad in control, the Good calling out to God for help.

The Charismatics surfaced again, as they did during many church lapses throughout the history of the Body. They desired direct contact with God through the Spirit, they believed in a spiritual awareness. Before every out pouring of God on the Body we will find the Spirit filled saint as the prelude; God needs leaders who are Spiritual in nature, it would do little good to have revival, if the only leaders were carnal minded. This concept of direct contact with God was unheard of, for years the only way the congregation could make contact was through leadership, or at least they were told so. The Body became fashioned after the Law of Moses, a human standing between God and His people. However, here would come the “Spirit filled people” saying one could have direct contact with God, since God was willing to have contact with them. Who has heard of such a thing? Anyone who is Born Again. 

After the Black Death took its toil of the total population of Europe, some wanted to find out if God was still God, or had the devil won the battle. Added to this was the Peasants' Revolt in England (1381); people were frightened, the death took many, the government was controlling those who remained, it appeared as if all was lost. The Babylonian Captivity and the many errors caused the faithful to question their leadership, thus the Lord allowed the evil to bring a desire in the people to seek their God, face to face; thereby producing those who would seek out the Holy Ghost.

The Charismatics in this era fell into two groups, the Latin and the Teutonic. The Latin were more emotional, they tended to use the gathering; whereas the Teutions sought a more quite personal experience with Christ. Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century would be classed as a Teutonic, he emphasized a personal experience with Christ, a oneness in the will of God, rather than a oneness with man. Oneness is not heresy, yet it can be. Jesus said we are to be One with the Father and Son, as the Son is One with the Father, but we are not to be One with the world. Barnard is proof to show there was the Precious who sought God, there were those who were baptized with the Holy Ghost, and walked in the Spirit.

Catherine of Siena was born, lived, and died in a modest room. At fifteen she joined the Order of Penance of St. Dominic, then lost herself in prayer. Her family felt she was crazy, or would end praying herself to death. In order to make her cease, they engaged in manipulation, forcing her to do all sorts of chores, even placing the heaviest of burdens on her just to keep her busy and away from prayer. She submitted and remarked, "I make a little corner apart in my heart for Jesus". No matter what she was doing, Jesus was with her, thus her Character was always full of joy, regardless of the event; it was her joy in the Lord sustaining her. It is written of her, “Other girls sought joy and ecstasy in worldly acts, Catherine found joy in Christ”. The general feeling at the time was prayer was so private it could only be done in a private place. Catherine made it known the “prayer closet” was within, thus a person could talk to Jesus no matter where they were.

Catherine often said Christ was her heavenly lover, she spoke of a relationship, she thought so long on the Five Wounds of the Cross, she could feel them as if she were being Crucified with Christ. When she appeared on the scene, she didn't have to say, "watch your mouth, I'm a Christian don't you know"; men would curb their own tongues, many were convicted of their sins whenever she appeared. She concluded all evils of human life were the result of human wickedness, but all sins of mankind could be swallowed up and lost in the sea of God's love. Luther was the Faith preacher, Catherine the preacher of God's love.

Catherine was horrified at the condition of Italy and France, she said Rome was filthy and desolate, a sign of the hearts of the men who ran Rome. Confident in her divine mission, she denounced the religious carnal minded, and pontiffs to their faces: she not only convicted them of their sins, but told them only decency could save the church. She presented the choice, not the means, the pontiffs and cardinals had to make the choice, seek God, or find themselves in the same condition as their filthy streets. She failed as a statesmen, but won the people.

Catherine's heart was broken, she felt the pain of Jesus, the breaking of His Body appeared to be taking place in her day. The religious leaders never saw Catherine as a sign of Jesus reaching out to them. Catherine of Siena firmly believed God spoke to her in visions; history shows she used the Visions for Good. She fearlessly denounced clerical evils, as any Prophet would, yet she never called herself a prophet, rather her Witness spoke for her. Like Elijah, she marched into Pope Gregory XI with the Name of Jesus as her shield, she persuaded him to return to Rome from Avignon to end the Babylonian Captivity. God wanted to begin again in Rome, thus He sent a prophet to speak the Word.

Catherine died in 1380 and went home to meet her Lord face to face. In the year and city of her death St. Bernardion was born. Since he was born in the same year, the false tradition of her forming him started, which was not the case at all. St. Bernardion had a heart for the sick and dying, but his heart was formed by God, not Catherine. He joined the order of the Franciscans (Brethren) becoming an example of what they were suppose to stand for. Bernardion used the Gospel and persuaded Roman men and women to toss away their vices, and receive the Lord. Bernardion was a strict persecutor of heretics, but used Truth to convince them of their errors, not burning stakes.

The Charismatic movement in Germany centered in the Dominican order; Meister Eckhart (1260-1327) studied at the University of Paris, but believed only the Divine was real; he said the world is a illusion. He taught all who use the title Christian should be in Union with the Spirit of Christ by a Fusion of the human essence with the divine, something we call the Engrafted Word. His teaching centered on the will of man submitting to the Will of God to enter the experience. He understood the soul of man and how the soul had to seek Unity with the Spirit. He said, "God must become I, and I God"; however like all who seek the face of God in the den of thieves, he faced charges of Pantheism (Emotions Only). There is a difference between emotions controlling us and enthusiasm based on the Spirit of God motivating us.

After the death of Eckhart a group known as The Friends Of God carried on his teachings. One of the followers, John Tauler (1300-1361) became more evangelical than Eckhart. This is the true mark of a teacher sent by God, none of us expect our children in kindergarten to be smarter than their teacher, but God expects the students of His teachers to be Wiser than the teacher. A true sign of an anointed teacher of God, is his students, not his theology. The progress is thirty, to sixty, to hundred, not a hundred to sixty to thirty. An Anointed Teacher plants and waters, God brings the increase. Tauler with the Friends of God made their headquarters in the Rhine Valley, by uniting the Charismatic with the Evangelical, the way it should be.

Heinrich Suso (1295-1366) was the poet of the Friends of God, or as they called him “the Psalmist”, then a banker named Ruleman Merswin (1307-1382) furnished a religious house where the members lived. The work entitled Theologia Germanica (German Theology) has been associated with the Friends of God. Luther found this book a great help in his struggle to find the way of salvation, it pointed him to, The Just Shall Live By Faith; therefore, the teaching went on and increased to bring about the Luther Movement. Although the Luther Movement was based in faith and mercy, the intent was to find the purpose of the Charismatic. It was the prayers of the Charismatic foundation  producing the Protestant, a point often overlooked. Therefore, we find the Evangelical and Charismatic joined to bring about the result of Revival. Not a bad way to go.  

There were a few who thought the Charismatic rejected the theological approach to the Bible for the emotional experience; however, the teachings show they rejected man's reasoning of the Bible for the Interpretation by the Holy Ghost coupled with a relationship with God by the Spirit.

Others like Wycliffe, Hus, and Savonarola were interested in bringing the church back to a Bible based institution, which included all the aspects of the Spirit, Pentecost and other functions noted by Paul and the other apostles. John Wycliffe (1328-84) wanted to reform the Roman church by the elimination of immoral clergymen, by stripping the church of all it's property. In his work entitled Of Civil Dominion (1376) he preached for a moral basis for ecclesiastical leadership. He noted how God gave His children blessings and property, not to use as a possession, not for the use of church leadership, but to be a blessing to others. He called for the leadership to Trust in God and Be Used for the Glory of God, rather than the supposed glory of the church.

Wycliffe was rejected by the leadership, yet God used him as a rebuking prophet. God's approach extends a hand to recover, when the hand is rejected, then comes the Exposing Rebuking Finger of God by the prophets. In 1379 Wycliffe insisted in his writings Christ not the Pope was the head of the church. He said the Bible instead of church dogma, or the church was the sole authority for the Believer; thus the church should model itself after the New Testament by becoming as God intended. However, he also noted in order to reach the state, one had to repent and receive the Spirit, a move the leadership denied.

Wycliffe also brought a blow to the church leadership rocking their foundation, but they still refused to repent. He felt the elements of the Lord's Supper were indestructible,  Christ was spiritually present in the Sacrament, obtained by faith, rather than the Bread becoming the actual Body, or the Wine becoming the actual Blood within the person. The church at this time held absolute control over the elements, twisting Paul's teachings, and calling everyone unworthy if they didn't receive at the hand of one appointed by the church. The church said salvation was obtained in the Sacraments, yet the priests also said they were the only ones who could give the Sacraments, thus they also controlled salvation. If Wycliffe's view was accepted, the priests could no longer hold the threat of taking one's salvation from them by withholding the Sacrament. Although the church's outlook on the Sacrament was false, as well as their view of how one obtains salvation, it also tended to negate the Covenant upon which the Sacrament stood. The opposite approach would be considering Salvation as the Gift obtained on earth which can never be lost. Both extremes are heresy, neither brings us into the Gift of Grace by The Faith of Jesus.

The Sacraments are symbols of the Covenant, they are for us to Remember, making them Belief centered. A Jew doesn't run back to Egypt and allow God to deliver them every Passover, nor are they circumcised every eight days, they would consider it foolishness. We don't call Jesus down from heaven, we don't dominate the Cup of the Lord, we partake to remember the Covenant as we judge ourselves to the Body and Blood, thereby avoiding being condemned with the world. The Body represents the Mercy of God, the Cup the Grace of God, both are reflective on what Jesus gave us, not what we give Jesus.

John Hus (1373-1415) was another forerunner to the Reformation, he was a pastor of the Bethlehem Chapel in Bohemia after Richard II of England married Anne of Bohemia. Hus wanted to reform the Church in Bohemia along the same lines as Wycliffe desired. Hus wrote a book entitled De Ecclesia (1413) which projected many of Wycliffe's views. Hus was ordered to the Council of Constance under "a safe-conduct pass"; however, the Pass was false, he was to stand before the Council. Like all Council's who are motivated by carnal motives, or Pharisaical premises, they attacked Hus’ book. When Hus refused to recant, they burned him at the stake. They may have destroyed his body, but the Words didn't come from Hus alone, they continued on.

The Taborites followed, rejecting everything in the church which couldn't be proven by Scripture. The Utraquists were another group who felt, only what the Bible forbade should be eliminated, the laity should receive both the Bread and Wine at mass without the restrictions of the priests. Their conclusion was simple, the person should know if they are worthy or not, or if they need the Bread and Cup; Jesus has made us kings and priests.

The leadership of the church twisted the Table concept, considering a person worthy if they followed church dogma, rather than knowing a person is worthy when they respected the Table. The movement would bring the Unitas Fratrum (United Brethren, or Bohemian Brethren) around 1450, who would develop into the Monravian church a Charismatic Group instrumentally used by God to bring John Wesley to a spiritual understanding of the Lord. The teachings of Hus also influenced Luther, thus Wycliffe, Hus and the Charismatics stirred the ground to bring the Reformation; God surely brought the increase.

Savonarola (1492-1534) was more interested in reform within the church, whereas Hus and Wycliffe made the Bible the standard of authority for those inside or outside who were seeking God. Savonarola purposed to replace the Medici with Christ, an unpopular view among the leadership. As a youth he studied many humanist concepts, but thought the works of Thomas Aquinas more absorbing; however, his parents wanted their son to be a doctor, or such. Savonarola wrote home often, complaining of the naturally minded people around him, his distaste for the carnal came from his desire to have the Spirit of Christ. He often said, "to be considered a man here, you must defile your mouth with the most filthy, brutal and tremendous blasphemies...if you study philosophy and the good arts you are considered a dreamer; if you live chastely and modestly, a fool; if you are pious, a hypocrite; if you believe in God, an imbecile"; Savonarola became an imbecile in the eyes of man, a prophet in the eyes of God, the latter is better.

It was assumed the eschatology of Savonarola was patterned after Joachim of Flora; but the two differed in some important aspects. Joachim felt Jesus Himself would set up the Kingdom on earth, Savonarola felt Christ (as the Body) should be set up on earth; Joachim felt the Kingdom was of virtue, Savonarola felt the Kingdom was Power within a person. Savonarola taught the spirit of antichrist was already among them, just as John (I Jn 4:1-4 & 2:18-19). He felt Satan was already reigning in the world, and had made inroads to the Body, just as Paul taught (II Cor 11:13-15).  He felt the time was nearing for Christ to reign on earth (kingdom of heaven, or Body). Savonarola prophesied about Christ (Body of Christ) being the element of Great Power before the end of this Age, his prophecy has been twisted to some degree by confusing the Body of Christ with Jesus the Christ. Paul used the title Christ in different ways, depending on the subject, as did Savonarola. To both men Christ could be the Body, or the Anointing, or Jesus, but more often than not the reference was the Body.

Savonarola didn’t think the church would rule, rather he was convinced the Power of Christ would rule, in truth it does. There is no greater Power than the Power of Christ, the confusion over the term “rule” draws the problems. To man “rule” means to control, but to God it means the world, darkness, devils, the things of the world have no power or authority over us. Someone run by the spirit of disobedience can say “no”, but it does little good, a Born Again believer says “No” with power and authority, it does good. The early disciples understood this, thus the Romans had no power over them, just as Jesus said Pilate had no power over Him.

Savonarola began by teaching in the churches in San Marco and San Lorenzo, his sermons tended to be spiritual in nature, yet proved too much for the humanist to take. The truth of spiritual matters being foolishness to the naturally minded became the case. Savonarola became bold in the Lord, he preached against immorality, gave prophecies of doom, but he also provided the means of escape through repentance. Thousands came to hear him, so much so the buildings couldn't hold them. Savonarola equated the Glory of God as the Glory of Christ as the purposed Glory for the Body. He desired to see the Glory within manifest for all to see, but he knew for it to happen there would have to be major changes in the leadership.

When Savonarola was a young man before he found the Lord, he used debate and argued his point, but now he stood with vivid descriptions, truth upon truth exposing the self nature. One such sermon began with, "Ye women, who glory in your ornaments, your hair, your hands, I tell you, you are ugly. Would you see true beauty? Look at the pious man or woman in whom the Spirit dominates matter; watch when they pray, when a ray of the divine beauty glows upon them when their prayer is ended; you will see the beauty of God shining in their face, you will behold it as it were the face of an angel" (Savonarola, 28th Sermon on Ezekiel).

He explained the pious were faced with the corruption of the leaders, but it didn't stop others from seeking God's Glory, or a touch from the Master, or a Ray of Divine Beauty. The Savonarola sermon on Ezekiel exposed the corruptness of leadership, "in these days there is no Grace, no gift of the Spirit, that may not be bought and sold. On the other hand the poor are oppressed by grievous burdens; when they are called to pay sums beyond their means the rich cry onto them Give me the rest”. He pointed his prophetic finger at the bankers and priests; "You have found many ways of making money, and many exchanges which you call lawful but which are most unjust". He had a word for the self-serving, "Tyrants are incorrigible because they are proud, because they love flattery, and will not restore ill gotten gains". He didn't leave out the humanist, "the humanist merely pretend to be Christians... their art is an idolatry of heathen gods, or a shameless display of naked women and men". Could he mean men like Michelangelo or Marsilio Ficino? Both were members of the Platonic Academy, both followed the mixed views of the humanist and papal authority, both painted naked men and women.

In the early church the Feast of Pentecost was called Ascension Day, in 1497 on Ascension Day Savonarola gave one his striking sermons, but it was interrupted by a riot when some of his enemies attempted to seize him; however, their plans went astray when Savonarola's friends came to his aid. With all this going on Pope Alexander VI was becoming deeply concerned over the preaching of Savonarola, what would happen if the people really believed him? It didn't matter to Alexander if the people were repenting, what mattered to him was his position, regardless of the truthfulness of the sermons. Like the Pharisees of old, Alexander wanted to know, "By what authority do you say these things?". Alexander feared another French invasion, assuming Savonarola was attempting to unite Florence with France against the seat of the Pope.

The fears of Alexander were fueled by three letters written by Savonarola to Charles VIII, in which Savonarola called Alexander "an infidel and heretic". Savonarola was seeking help to reform the church from the top down, which included disposing Alexander. Alexander had the faith of a marshmallow, he sought to protect his position by killing Savonarola, but without a confession of treason there was no way he could accomplish his demonic task. On July 21, 1495 Alexander sent a brief note to Savonarola asking him to visit; Savonarola knew, first they invite you, then they beat you into confessing, even if there is nothing to confess.

The request was triumph for the enemies of Savonarola, they knew the Pope's motives were political, provoked by self-interests, but they didn't care, they wanted the mouth of Savonarola closed. On the advice of his friends, Savonarola wrote to Alexander and said he was too ill to travel to Rome. This caused Savonarola to stop preaching for almost a year, but in the mean time the Council changed. Alexander then appointed a Dominican bishop to examine Savonarola's published sermons for evidence of heresy. Alexander made the mistake of picking an honest man, the bishop reported, "Most Holy Father, this friar says nothing which is not wise and honest; he speaks against Simony and the corruption of the priesthood, which in truth is very great; wherefore I would rather seek to make him my friend". Instead of beheading Savonarola, Alexander was moved to offer him a red hat (cardinal seat), this was not Simony by any means, Savonarola really didn't know how to answer. He told Alexander's emissary, "Come to my next sermon and you will have my reply to Rome".

Savonarola being anointed preached as he was moved by saying, "the Pope may not give any command opposed to charity or the Gospel. I do not believe the Pope would ever seek to do so; but were he so to do I should say to him, Now thou art no pastor, thou art not the church of Rome, thou art in error". Alexander was doing what he was not suppose to, by refusing to do what he was called to do, he was in error, but now he was in error and extremely angered. Savonarola didn't stop there, he returned to the pulpit the next week and said, "One thousand, ten thousand, fourteen thousand harlots are few for Rome, for there both men and women are made harlots". This didn't mean harlots were hanging around Rome, it means the Pope was making the called men and women of God harlots by selling out their faith.

Alexander used Padre Giacomo in an attempt to move Savonarola to some small village; today we would say Alexander was "taking Savonarola's papers". Savonarola refused the order by taking his case to the people; this wasn't rebellion, since he also preached for the Body of Christ, not the Pope. He wrote a pamphlet entitled, An Apology Of The Brethren Of San Marco, adding the Lenten Sermons by Savonarola. The pamphlet caused many people to follow him around singing hymns and praising the Lord, they found they could touch God, they didn’t need a middleman, or strict overseer. In the Lenten Sermons, Savonarola moved into a prophecy by saying, "The LORD says, I gave thee beautiful vestments, but you have made idols of them. You have dedicated the sacred vessels to vain glory, the sacraments to Simony. You have become a shameless harlot in your lusts; you are lower than the Beast; you are a monster of abomination. Once you felt shame for your sins, but now you are shameless. Once anointed priests called their sons nephews, but now they speak of their sons (a reference to Alexander VI's candor about his many illegitimate children). Thus, O prostitute church, you have displayed your foulness to the whole world, you stink unto heaven". This he spoke in 1497 on the heels of the Protestant Movement, thus this prophecy did come to pass when Luther, and others were moved by God to a place outside of the corruption. The warning to change came again and again, then God did a New Thing, He brought to pass, “come out of her My children”, but only after the warnings were completely rejected.

The reference to the illegitimate children of Alexander was not something hidden under the rug; Alexander made public displays of his children and grandchildren, although they were the products of illicit affairs. Other Popes had illegitimate children, but at least they called them nephews attempting to keep it silent. The people didn't care, after all the example was the example for years, corruption breeds corruption. Men like Savonarola were never asked by the cardinals to become Pope, mainly because the cardinals couldn't control them; therefore, the Good Fish preached among the people, there was a Precious to be found.

One would think Savonarola was done with prophecy, but God had more to say. On February 11, 1498 while Savonarola was preaching in San Marco he said, "Therefore, on him who gives commands opposed to charity let them be accursed. Where such a command pronounced by an angel, even by the Virgin Mary herself, and all the saints let them be accursed. And if any Pope has ever spoken to the contrary, let him be declared excommunicate". For nearly 1,200 years God heard how the church hid the Bible, how the church was the only means for salvation, how the church was the master of God, how the church was the center of all spiritual endeavors, but He also saw the Good, those who loved Him and were called according to His purpose. God always has a people of love and mercy, His mercy endures forever.

Savonarola continued to preach, but only in his monastery in San Marco. Rome hated Savonarola so much, no Florentine citizen was safe in Rome. Instead of repenting they attacked, the result of a soulish reaction to God's call for restoration. Surely God would be done with this bunch, but God is longsuffering, Savonarola would speak again, but this time it would be in writing. Savonarola wrote to the sovereigns of France, Spain, Germany and Hungry, begging them to call a general council to reform the church. The contents of the letter is still available in Villari page 645. Some of the contents read: The moment of vengeance has arrived; The Lord commands me to reveal new secrets and make manifest to the world the peril by which the bark of St. Peter is threatened: the church is all teeming with abomination: Where the Lord is greatly angered and has long left the church without a shepherd: this Alexander is no Pope, nor can he be held as one; inasmuch as, leaving aside the mortal sin of Simony, by which he has purchased the papal chair, and daily sells the benefices of the church to the highest bidder, and likewise putting aside his other manifest vices, I declare he is no Christian, he believes in no God”.

Savonarola was a Protestant (Protester) before Luther, like Luther, Savonarola first called for reform within the church, but unlike Luther, Savonarola was restricted to the confines of the church. Luther called him a saint, a Prophet Sent By God, his record shows it was the case. Did Savonarola make a difference in Italy as Luther did in Germany? A moral revolution transformed what had been immoral Florence: the Medici was overcome by holiness, people sang hymns, they freely gave alms to the poor, local churches were filled to the brim, some of the bankers restored illegal gains. Luther who stood on the premise of the just shall live by faith in God, Savonarola said, Your reform must begin with the things of the Spirit. Both show us the Just can only be Just by having the Spirit and maintaining ones faith in God.

On the matters of government, he was faced with a government claiming God as its leader, thus he said, "If you desire a good government you must restore it to God". Some historians assume Savonarola called Utopia over Florence, but he was merely calling for reform to restore a Christ nature to the Body, it was also based on what could have been, not what was going on. Savonarola said, "O Florence! then will you be rich...."; we stopped here to show the phrase "then will you be rich" clearly points to what could have been, since Savonarola predicated this by saying, in order to achieve Florence must have Christ as the Head, not Rome, but the result was a people who failed to make Christ the Head, what little they did have, they lost; thus some historians assume Savonarola missed the mark, when in fact he was on target, the people missed it. Savonarola continued by saying, Florence couldn't remain rich with temporal riches, they had to be secure in the riches of Christ, If they would move to the path of the Spirit they would spread Greatness over the world; however, the result shows the prophecy didn’t fail, Florence failed to enter in.

Another Good Fish, Guillaume Durand, Bishop of Mende not only called out to God, but reported to the Council of Vienna, "The whole church might be reformed if the church of Rome would begin by removing evil examples of itself". The finger of the prophet pointed to the source, calling for the source to change in order to bring a different result. The method used by the cardinals was not to bring change to their order, but to change all those below them. Durand knew the corruption at the top filtered down to the masses, attempting to force change in others, without being changed yourself was no change at all.

Petrarch added the second witness, by concluding, "the impious Babylon, the hell on earth, the sink of vice, the sewer of the world. There is in it neither faith nor charity nor religion nor the fear of God". Petrarch spoke as a prophet, he exposed the heart of the matter, then added, "all the filth and wickedness of the world have run together here". Petrarch concluded, the examples of the church were more corrupt than the witness of the world, they didn't glory in the Cross, they gloried in their flesh, they were feasting at the expense of Christ, they were fornicators, drunkards, rapists, adulterers, who played lascivious games. At times we find the prophet tends to make the matter clear by removing any mistaken content.

The concept of a Cheerful Giver was out of the question, the Tithe was enforced to provide for the treasury, but they also added the Indulgences to extract more money out of the people. Anyone who failed to Tithe to Pope Gregory XI was considered a heathen; not only were the people to Tithe, but each group along the ladder was to Tithe as well, each increasing in the amount until the last was nearly ninety percent, rather than ten. In 1372 the Abbots of the Archdiocese of Cologne refused to Tithe to Gregory, one point they used was Tithes were for the House of God, not the Pope's personal endeavors. They added, "the Apostolic See (bishop's office) has fallen into such contempt the Catholic faith in these parts seems to be seriously imperiled. The laity speak slightingly of the church because, departing from the custom of former days, she hardly ever sends forth preachers or reformers, but rather ostentatious (uses money to attract attention) men; cunning, selfish, and greedy. Things are such few are Christians in more than name". The warnings were before the Seat of Rome, those who truly loved the Lord were calling out for reform to begin at the highest level. The Yoke had to be removed from the shoulder of government before the congregation could be free indeed (I Cor 11:1-7).

The cardinals blamed the people for the division of the Papal States, they wanted Clement VI to reunite the order by using the guise of the "unity of the faith" as the purpose; unfortunately their concept of the unity of the faith was so twisted they assumed it meant uniting with dogma, rather than be united in the Faith of Jesus. Clement engaged an army to recapture the Papal States, his successor Innocent VI made what he felt was restoration by stopping the use of nepotism, corruption and putting an end to the epicurean splendor and waste of money given to the church. Nepotism is the favoritism shown by giving advancement to relatives; but Innocent VI advanced his own relatives, which was Nepotism, then said No more, hypocrisy is still hypocrisy.

Innocent VI claimed to be a man of peace, but concluded the only way to win back the Papal States was war. He had a choice to fall on his face before God, toss out tradition with his Pig Theology then receive with meekness the engrafted Word, or find someone to battle in the name of God against the people of God. He picked the latter and found Gil Alvarez Carrillo de Albornoz, who took the name Cardinal Egidio d'Albornoz, he soon persuaded  the republic of Florence to advance him funds to organize an army. Instead of using the Godly premise of spiritual warfare, he picked the warfare of the world by using forced negotiation to dispose of one leader after another until he came with the Edigian Constitutions in 1357. The Edigian Constitutions became a workable compromise between government and the allegiance to the papacy, but nonetheless it was compromise.

The history of the Body was divided into periods, thus allowing one group to disassociate from another, yet not disassociating from the Body. Jesus was Jewish, came for the Jews, picked Jews to begin the Body, then on Pentecost the birth of Church came as the door to the Kingdom of God was opened. Later Philip water baptized a Gentile, turning the knob to the door. Peter than cracked the door with Cornelius, then the Holy Ghost busted it wide open with Paul and others. Did it mean no more Jews could enter in? No, we know better, the progression was to Increase the Body, so the Church could be Increased. From the Day of Pentecost anyone who was baptized in water became a member of the Body, they could not reject it, yet they could deny it. Even the Protestant movement can't divorce itself from the Body, we are all members in particular, we can’t say, “Look at them, they are not of the Body”, nor can we say, “Well, I want no part of it, I separate myself from them”, assuming we have left the Body. On the same note, we can separate ourselves from the Spirit, as Jude shows. Therefore, one can divorce their self from Christ remaining an independent rock, but they are still in the Body. 

The third period of the church began with Pope Sylvester around 1280, who added more corruption and errors, all centering on the love for money, or the lust for control. The church historian, Dolcino spent many hours recording the history of the Body; his conclusion was not nice or kind, rather he noted from Sylvester all the Popes with the exception of Celestine V had been unfaithful to Christ. History did show how Benedict, Francis, and Dominic had attempted to bring the church back to Christ, but failed.

Under Boniface VIII the comparison between the church and the Whore in the Book of Revelation was so close, it confused the Good Fish, they assumed the end was at hand, or perhaps they wished the end would be at hand. The Whore in the Book of Revelation has 12 stars as her crown, pointing to the 12 tribes of Israel, the Sun as her covering as a metaphor for Israel (Jacob), with the Moon as her foundation, showing Zion of the earth,  only one city on the earth matches the premise, Jerusalem of the earth. Rome may have come close, but not close enough. Nonetheless, it doesn’t excuse any of the corruption, rather it all becomes a sign and a warning to us: remain spiritual, trust in God, and allow the Holy Ghost to run the ministry. We have the Holy Spirit in us for the Manifestation of the Spirit, for the saving of our souls, but the Holy Ghost has anointed ministries for the work of the ministry, thus Jude tells us to pray in the Holy Ghost regarding the masses (Jude 20-23). Our ministry is Holy Ghost operated, we are Holy Spirit operated, putting the two together we find spiritual to spiritual, but if we remain carnal, we miss the teaching.

           

1378 - 1447

In order to understand why there seems to be so many Popes at the same time during this period, we must view the schism, also known as the Papal Schism running from 1378 to 1447. The cardinals picked the Pope, but they found there are times when their picks can turn on  them. Urban VI shocked the cardinals when he announced reform, from the top down. He condemned the morals of the cardinals publicly, he forbade them to accept pensions, simony or any gift for their office. When Cardinal Orsini protested, Urban called him a blockhead. On August 9, 1378 the cardinals issued a manifesto declaring Urban's election invalid, they said the decision was the peoples choice then acquired a Roman mob to apply pressure on them, making it appear as if it was the choice of the people, in truth they simply didn't like their appointee. They proclaimed Robert of Geneva to be Clement VII, the true Pope, thus Urban remained in Rome, Clement in Avignon, the papal was split. This sign had two sides, the division and strife showed how the leadership was yet carnal, but God was still using their folly to show how He wanted to break the yoke, if they would only let Him. It also displayed how the appointed Cardinals were picking the head, something completely out of order. This would be the same as Stephen and Philip picking apostles, after the apostles picked them. There is no office for Cardinal, rather it comes from a term meaning an high Bishop, thus it’s still helps, not governments. 

Clement  VII was called a Judas; St. Vincent Ferrer applied the same term to Urban VI. Urban found seven cardinals who plotted against him, he arrested them, tortured them until they confessed, then put them to death in 1385. Urban's own death didn't heal the division, rather the fourteen cardinals in his camp made Piero Tomacelli Pope Boniface IX a Pope. When Clement VII died in 1394, his cardinals in Avignon named Pedro de Luna as Pope Benedict XIII as their Pope.

Just like today, the Christian community was becoming weary of the division, strife and envy. Charles VI of France called for both Popes to resign, but Benedict refused. In 1399 Boniface IX proclaimed a jubilee for the following year, with a premise based on the fifty year jubilee wherein the debts were forgiven; however, Boniface took it two steps further. Instead of material debts being forgiven, man could pay money to gain remission of sin, if they gave more money they could buy the remission of sins for the entire family. Money became the god of salvation, the more money one could give, the greater the forgiveness, or so they thought.

The premise being, if one came to Rome they could be forgiven in person, but if they couldn't come to Rome they could pay the price of travel and still be forgiven. This formed the Indulgence heresy, which branched to other areas as well. If someone knew they were going to sin, they could pay in advance, thus be forgiven before the fact; if they died in the process, they were already forgiven. So much for Repentance and having a change in heart. This evil came with many hats, but centered on money; the love of money is still the root of all evil.

Bonifice’s secretary admitted the man had a thirst for gold which couldn't be filled. Peter's warning regarding the Flock of God had little effect, rather the opposite was true, the wolves were taking the wool from the Sheep, using constraint and manipulation. The wicked changed the meaning of Faith to Intelligentsia, but God would prevail as Faith would again surface in the 1800's, Faith always prevails.

Innocent VII took over when Boniface died in 1404, but revolt broke out in 1405, causing Innocent to run to Viterbo for protection. This time there was a mob led by Giovanni Colonna, they sacked the Vatican, threw the religious registers and Bulls (Pope written decrees) into the street. The people thinking Rome would be without a Pope made their peace with Innocent, who returned to Rome where he died in 1406.

Gregory XII was after Innocent, he used his head and invited Benedict XIII to a conference to settle the division. With this the king of France again urged Benedict to resign to save the church, but Benedict was more interested in saving himself, thus he refused, based another division between Benedict and his cardinals, Benedict ran to Spain, his cardinals ran to Gregory. On March 25, 1409 a Council was held at Pisa, the same place where the leaning tower is found.

The Council Of The Popes lasted from 1409 to 1418, this division was not in accordance with the Bible, neither was the Council. Jesus told us to lay our gift on the altar and make amends with our brother, during this time the gift on the altar was the head of one's enemy. Not only was Grace and Faith pushed aside for self-indulgence, but they removed Mercy as well. Paul tells us the difference between a vessel of honor and one of dishonor is Mercy (Rom 9:21-23).  

Many years prior William of Occam protested against identifying the Body as the clergy; he said the Body is the congregation of All the faithful; the whole has authority superior to any part; thus the Faithful were to identify with Christ to become the Church, rather than identify with the clergy to become members of a church.

The introduction of the leadership being the Church produced confusion, the assumption of the Body and Church being one in the same soon followed, adding to the confusion. All this took away from Jesus being the Head, to the seat in Rome being the “head of the church”. It removed the very premise the Cross produced, the one on one relationship with God by the Spirit through faith in Jesus. Nonetheless, God would reach through the hardened wall of religious conceit to touch someone to bring the Word of the Lord.

The Council wanted power to elect, reprove, punish or depose the Pope, any Pope, they used Scripture to prove their point, but they lacked Faith, thus the Scripture again was used as a weapon against people, rather than unto Salvation and Righteousness. This is an element of what we call the “Deacon Board”, a faction appointed by leaders, to be over leaders. The elders were to speak on behalf of the people, but when there are no elders, the voices of the people fall short. Of course by this time no one heard, “Separate unto Me…”. Their acts were completely out of order, the Council became so carnal their concept of ending division was not the unity of the Spirit, but by killing the Pope.

Heinrich von Langenstein the German theologian from the University of Paris wrote a tract entitled Concilium Pacis in 1381. He stated the Popes were men under authority to God, yet men with authority from God. Only a power outside the Popes and superior to the cardinals could rescue the church from the chaos overtaking it. Although the Council did meet as scheduled it had the added problem of neither Benedict or Gregory recognizing if it had any power to decide anything. The Council summoned Benedict and Gregory to appear before them, of course they did not, thus the Council placed the Cardinal of Milan as Pope Alexander V in 1409, now they had three Popes. Rather than solve the division, they added to it. Alexander was a great help, he died in 1410; then his cardinals picked John XXIII, who became the most unmanageable man to occupy the seat since John XXII.

Then would come Baldassare Cossa, the vicar of Bologna, a man of great wealth. He dominated and controlled, he didn't govern, he used absolute and unscrupulous power. He taxed everything, including prostitution. Whatever made money, he taxed, whatever didn't make money he taxed. According to his secretary, he seduced over two hundred virgins, matrons, widows and nuns. He was a man of politics and war, a man who would put a stop to the division by ungodly means. His plan was to take the Papal States from Gregory reducing him to nothing. In 1411 a man by the name of Sigismund became the uncrowned king of Rome, this man was considered by the people as the head of the Holy Roman Empire. He compelled John to hold a Council to stop the division; on November 5, 1414 the Council was held with many cardinals, abbots, archbishops, doctors of theology and others, making it  the largest Council in Christian history. On April 6, 1415 they produced the most revolutionary official document, they claimed to be legally assembled in the Holy Ghost, but never claimed to be assembled By the Holy Ghost. They made the false assumption of the church as the Head, rather than Jesus being the Head, instead of building the saints to do the work of the ministry, they used the saints to build the treasure chest of the leadership. They ended the document by saying, "and if necessary, recourse shall be the aid to justice"; their intent was clear, stop the Schism or die. They sent a committee to John XXII asking for his abdication, by May 25th they had yet to receive an answer from John, thus on May 29th the Council deposed John XXIII, and Sigismund ordered him confined. John was released in 1418, then found asylum with Cosimo di' Medici.

Gregory saw the handwriting on the wall, he resigned on July 4, 1415. The Council confirmed the validity of all his appointments for the sake of peace, but Benedict continued to resist. On July 26, 1417, the Council deposed him, he ran to his family's estate near Valencia, where he died at the age of ninety, still proclaiming he was the true Pope.

On November 17 1417 the Council electoral picked Cardinal Oddone Colonna as Pope Martin V. All Christendom accepted him as the Pope, after thirty-nine years of division the Great Schism ended. One element the Council set out to do, they felt was accomplished, yet their concept of Reforming the Church was to end the Schism, rather than holiness. Before the Body was able to regain a spiritual position, the papacy started to rebuild its political power.

 

THE PAPACY REBUILDS ITS POLITICAL POWER

Martin V being a Roman wanted to the Seat of the Pope in Rome, but when he arrived in 1420 he found the city a wreck. The capital of Christendom was one of the least civilized cities in Europe, the division took its toll, the corruptness from the top had reached the people in the streets. When a nation calls itself of God, yet the religious leaders fail to be run by God, the nation will soon become corrupt. Martin was faced with many problems in the reconstruction of the church, but instead of seeking men who knew God, he picked men of intellect, or who were renown in the community. He sold offices to get money, his conclusion was, God helps them who help themselves to the money.

In 1430 a German envoy came to Rome with a letter of rebuke; some of the contents of the letter pointed to the greed in the Roman Court; the exhorting of money from Germany, while refusing to bring Christ to the people, yet it also indicated there were a people whose hearts were burning because of a lack of Christ. It was obvious, the papacy had become a government, not a religion, void of spiritual endeavors.

Eugenius IV succeeded Martin, he appeared to be a saint, yet more of a politician, than a Pope. He first faced the cardinal rulers by signing the Capitula, promising the cardinals freedom of speech, guarantees of their offices, the ability to control over half of the revenues, and consultation with them over important matters. Martin called for the Council of Basel, Eugenius called for it to dissolved, but it refused (1431). The Council of Basel wanted to gain supremacy of the Councils over the people, the cardinals wanted equal power with the Pope, the Pope wanted all the power. Power became the issue, but none of them had the display of having the Authority of Christ (Rev 12:10-11). There are all sorts of Power; however once we receive the Authority of the Lord, we must tarry until we receive the Power from on high. It was not the type of power these leaders were seeking, they wanted power over the people. The title Nicolaitanes means Power over the people, whereas Nicodemus means Power of the people. The church had entered the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing Jesus hates (Rev 2:15)

The Council of Basel was still in session when the Colonna saw a chance for revenge; they attacked Eugenius by making war with him, but they were defeated. The Council of Basel was mainly comprised of Frenchmen, their aim was pronounced by the Bishop of Tours as "either to wrest the Apostolic See from the Italians, or so to despoil it so it will not matter where it abides". The Colonna seized the city, set up a republican form of government, now the church was faced with division from the lower ranks.

Eugenius fled down the Tiber River in a small boat, as he was leaving the city he and the boat were pelted by arrows, spikes and stones, he nonetheless found refuge in Florence, then in Bologna. With Eugenius out the picture, the Council gained control, but started giving Indulgences, dispensations and benefices in abundance. The Council also demanded for any money paid to it, not the Pope. With Eugenius in exile the Council assumed it had complete control, but Eugenius again ordered the Council dissolved. They countered by disposing him, then naming Amadeus VIII of Savoy as  Antipope Fleix V; the Schism renewed itself in 1439. Where there is division and strife, there is every evil work, and so it was.

To make matters worse, Charles VII of France convened at Bourges in 1438, proclaiming the supremacy of Councils over the Popes by issuing the famed Pragmatic Sanction Of Bourges. Henceforth the ecclesiastical offices were to be filled through election by the local chapter of clergy. This only had effect in France, but then Germany followed a year later with the Diet at Mainz.

The Bohemian church had separated itself from the papacy during the Hussite revolt; the archbishop of Prague called the Pope "the Beast of the Apocalypse". Further letters of the archbishop explain how he saw the Pope as the Beast of the Earth. In all this Eugenius would be rescued by the Turks, thus the Muslims saved the Pope from the Christians.

Christianity was strong among the people, but weak in the leadership. As a means to resolve the matter Emperor John VIII called for the unity of the church; Eugenius agreed, the two of them also agreed to a Council at Ferrara. The Council at Basel lingered on, but since the majority of its funds were now being withheld, it declined in prestige. The Unity of the Body was a useless endeavor, unless they seek the Unity of the Spirit in the Faith of Jesus.

The news of the Greek and Roman joining together caused all of Europe to stir with excitement; along with the other divisions, this division had lasted since 1054. On February 8, 1438 the Bysantine Emperor, the Patriarch Joseph of Constantinople, several monks, Greek metropolitans, scholars and bishops arrived at Venice. The Council appointed several commissions to reconcile the differences in theology, the major differences were: the primacy of the Pope, the use of unleavened bread, the nature of the pains of purgatory, the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and/or the Son. None of these issues relate to a relationship with Jesus, but the theology of natural man looks for the needles in the hay stack. The Greeks said, The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son; the Romans said, The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. Neither looked at the purpose, or the difference between the Holy Ghost in the Record, or the Spirit in the Witness, nor were they concerned with their lack of spiritual ability (I Jn 5:7-8). Mundane points of theology are the weapons of the Pharisee, the legalist truly swallows the camel, but chokes on the gnat.

There were other matters regarding the split, the worship of icons and the such, which didn’t address the question as to why people even worshiped the icons to begin with. On July 6, 1439 they came into agreement on some of the issues, one giving this, the other giving that, except when it came to the Orthodoxy view being subject to the Roman view. The agreement was one of compromise to a point, but not unity. The decree was read in Greek by Bessarion, and in Latin by Cesarini. Many accepted Eugenius as the Pope, except for the Muscovites in Russia, since their church remained Orthodoxy. Some of the Orthodoxy moved to Moscow to join the Muscovites, along with the Patriarch of Orthodoxy.

For the first time Christendom was joyful, then came the offense, no Root, they had points of theology, but lacked the Root. Without the Root good intentions tend to become carnal, yet to be carnally minded is death. When the Greek Emperor and his council returned to Constantinople, the people came with insults, the populace of the city refused to submit to Rome. Mohammed II simplified the situation by making Constantinople a Turkish capital in 1453. Mohammed allowed the Christians freedom of worship, but the city was nonetheless Muslim. This came after the Florence Council in 1439, thus the Orthodoxy moving from Constantinople to Moscow, made Moscow the Third Rome.

When Eugenius was in exile in the city of Florence he became involved in the humanist movement, adding several humanists to his secretariat. He also brought Fra Angelico to Rome, having him paint the Chapel of the Sacrament at the Vatican. Angelico was a humanist, not only did he give his impression of Christ, Mary and the Apostles, but he added Mars, Roma, Hero and other Greek gods and goddesses, even Leda the swan and Cupid (Eros) as figures of angels. The same use of the Greek god Cupid as a reproduction of an angel of God is seen today as the little child with wings and a harp, but in Greek mythology he was Eros, the god of the flesh. From the Greek Eros we gain the English word erotic, thus the one Greek word for love not found in the Bible is Eros.

Pope Nicholas V began to reign in 1447, Rome was hardly a tenth of what it used to be when it was enclosed by the walls of Aurelin in 270-75. The surrounding seven hills had been without a reliable water supply, causing many of the people to drink from the Tiber. During this time the papacy held to the Donation of Constantine as the papacy authority, although Nicholas admitted it was a papacy forgery by Pepin, later confirmed a forgery by Charlemagne it remained as the authority. The Popes coined their own money as far back as 782, as well as using money changers since 800. Nicholas became Pope seven years before Gutenberg printed his Bible, thus the control of the Bible was still in the hands of hierarchy. The people were rarely given quotes from the Bible, but many from church dogma. From time to time a Good Fish would surface with Bible quotes and Truth, but  for the most part the people heard only what pointed to the dogma of the church. Such was the case with infant baptism, the premise being if one was baptized in water, they automatically received the Holy Spirit, thus they need not seek any other baptism. Of course Acts shows it’s not the case, the Book of Hebrews tells us there is a Doctrine of Baptisms (Heb 6:1-2). The next step was making water baptism the means by which one is saved: of course the only ones allowed to water baptize were the leaders, which put salvation in the hands of man. Adding membership through water baptism, it’s true one’s water baptism is a token regarding entrance into the Body, but it’s not a token for entrance into a sect, denomination, or a fragment of the Body. This elevated water baptism to baptizing infants, which gave them the false security of being saved, without the need to accept the Gift of Grace, Faith, repent, or believe. It also placed them under authority of the church, subject to leadership. The Commandment of Teach before we Baptize was not taken into consideration, the issue would be the fuel for the Anabaptist movement in the 1500's.

The rule of the Popes applied to their seat; therefore, they used secular rules and church dogma to rule as absolute monarchs. Nicholas spent nearly all of his money on books of all types, or manuscripts. This was before the printing press, thus any book or manuscript was handwritten, making them worth a great deal of money. His ambition was to establish the Vatican Library; Nicholas had three aims, be a good Pope, to rebuild Rome, and to restore classical literature and art. It's obvious there are many things missing from the agenda, but he nonetheless wanted to be a good Pope, it was his definition of Good causing him problems. Prior the Popes used Indulgences to finance war, Nicholas wanted to finance his goals, thus he used Indulgences again. Many rumbled at the influx of gold into Italy, some saw the riches as corrupting the church, others saw their income and businesses being taken from them. Whatever, they saw their leaders as thieves.

On the Feast Of Epiphany while the Pope and his cardinals were at Mass in St. Peter's there was an attack made on the Vatican, the treasury was seized under the guise of supplying funds for the Republic. Just prior to the attack a man by the name of Porcaro secretly left Bologna on December 26, 1452, his absence was discovered, and a warning was sent to the Vatican. The revolt was overturned, some were beheaded, this caused the Republicans to denounce the executions as murder, the humanists condemned the plot as monstrous infidelity to a benevolent Pope. Why would the humanists side with the Pope? Nicholas was building a library with all sorts of books, including the humanist view,  witchcraft, and other sorted material within the Vatican.

In 1453 the Turks entered Constantinople over the corpses of 50,000 Christians, turning St. Sophia into a mosque. Nicholas sought support for another Crusade; however, all the other Indulgences caused the rejecting of his notion. Nicholas bowed to reality, thinking he had failed as a good Pope, he died in 1455. He did restore peace within the church, avoided nepotism, loved the church and his books, but it was never recorded if he Loved the Lord. There is a difference between Loving the Lord, Trusting in the Lord and having Faith in the Lord, a good leader needs all three attributes by the Spirit in order to rule in a Godly manner.

In 1455 Pope Calixtus III took over, he had a legalist mind which he used. His prime purpose was A Crusade Against The Turks; Calixtus made friends in the College of Cardinals with the purpose of making the papacy a constitutional order, as well as an elective monarchy. Later Popes overcame this movement, just as the kings of the world defeated the nobles.

Calixtus died while attempting to stir Europe to come to his aid in defeating the Turks. The thought of converting the Muslims was now out the window, not because they were so hard, but because of all the failing Crusades. The Muslims believed God was on their side, after all they had the land, the victories, and what appeared to be the Power. However, God also placed His people under the hand of Babylon, yet Nebuchadnezzar made the mistake of looking about and saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of my kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" (Dan 4:30). His reward was eating grass, with his mind taking a trip without him (Dan 4:31-34). Good men had an idea outside the confines of Scripture, and did something, the result was terrible. Whether men do nothing, or do something is not the question, whether they did nothing, or did something based on what God tells them is the issue.           

Pope Pius II took over in 1458; however, he studied at Florence under Filelfo, a devout humanist. He had several illegitimate children, he managed to excuse his behavior as "being no holier than David or Solomon". He never considered neither David or Solomon were privy to the Spirit, had the responsibility of representing Jesus to the world, thus self-deception was still self-deception. He was noted as "the young devil", yet he could quote and use Scripture to suit his purpose, but failed to live by it. His qualifications to become a Pope were listed as a man of wide experience, a successful diplomat, a scholar who could bring luster to the papacy. Not one note on his beliefs, on his love for the Lord, or his spiritual ability to sit as a shepherd of God's heritage. The humanist loved him, he talked like them, had the same interests, read the same books, sought after the same concerns with the same carnal thinking. Nonetheless he did seek reform, but found no one else in Rome wanted it.

In 1463 he addressed a final appeal to the cardinals, he acknowledged the people knew they lived for pleasure, were arrogant, if the truth be known, the luxury and pomp of the court was far too great. He looked to the predecessors to determine how they obtained their authority, but his concept was based in one having temperance, chastity, innocence, and a zeal for faith. His concept of Faith was defined by the humanist mind as faith being a self-means to acquire what the person desires, not faith in Christ to reach a purposed goal. His suggestion was rejected, but he didn't hold to it either.

His means of being a Christian was revealed in his attempt to convert the Sultan in 1461. He promised the Sultan, If he would become a Christian, their would be no prince on earth who could equal his glory, he would be the emperor of the Greeks, perhaps the world. The Sultan never replied, he considered the Muslim faith more moral than the Christian. In the face of no righteousness, self-righteousness does seem superior.

Pius turned to using the clerical tithe, then in 1462 rich deposits of Alum were found at Tolfa. Pius felt God was meeting the need of the church, or God giving His approval of the papacy for killing all the Turks. The Papal States were now the richest in all Italy, Pius began his war against the Turks. Venice promised to send its navy to help him; however, when he reached Ancona he found most of the crusaders deserted, those who remained lacked food, or wanted to go home. Brokenhearted by the vanishing armies, and the nonappearance of the Venetian Armada, Pius became sick and near death. Then the fleet was sighted, but by this time he was so sick and weak he fell dead on August 14, 1464.

Since Pius was dead, the venture was no longer at issue and Venice recalled her vessels, the remaining soldiers went home, the Crusade fell completely apart. So much for the blessing of God to defeat the Turks. Pius viewed everything from the eyes of the humanist mind, he never saw the blessing was to provide for God's people, not to kill. When we misuse the blessing, it becomes a cursing. If only they would have read the Scriptures, Jesus came to bring Life, not take it. Conversion to these people was not persuasion by the Holy Ghost, but forced by the sword of unrighteousness.

Paul II became Pope in 1464, he was Very Proud, he held his appearance higher than all men. When elected Pope he wanted the name Formosus (good-looking), but settled for Paul, since it was also the name of the Apostle, but really wanted to be Paul I, rather than Paul II. Like Pius, Paul II vowed to fight the Turks, but he also wanted to limit the number of cardinals to twenty-four to match the ruling Elders noted in the Book of Revelation. Finally someone read the Scriptures, but they also twisted them to their own glory, missing the point by miles. The twenty-four elders cast their crowns before God, and worship God, thus Paul II wanted the twenty-four cardinals to worship him. Rather than identifying with Christ, Paul II wanted Christ to identify with him.

The bad fish appeared to be in control, nonetheless the Good Fish were still holding the Faith. Choice was before each person, whether Pope, cardinal, mock or commoner, what they did with the choice determined the result. These examples are still written for us, not for them. Some of these people loved not their lives to the death, they lived their lives, died, and were buried. Therefore, God still provided hope for the Good Fish, although the bad fish were in control of the pulpit, the treasury, and the house of God, the time was coming when God would remove the Good Fish and establish a move yet to see its pinnacle. The truth was evident, God allowed the vessels of dishonor to show His Mercy on the vessels of honor (Rom 9:21-23).

The pride of Pope Paul II was evident, he wore a tiara outweighing a palace in price. He loved jewels, medals and cameos; however, he also refused to stoop Simony, repressed the sale of indulgences, but didn't stop them. He governed Rome with Justice, void of Mercy, he lacked the ability to apply Mercy, thus it shouldn't be expected of him.

Pius loved the humanist, Paul II quarreled with them making them his enemies. The leader of the humanist in Rome was Iulio Pomponio Leto, who gathered great crowds with his rhetoric. Leto despised the Christian religion as it appeared to him at the time, he denounced the preachers as hypocrites, but he also trusted in the mind of man to save man. The members of his following took pagan names for their children at baptism, he also exchanged the Christian Faith for a religious worship toward the genius of Rome. Baptism? What say thee? Oh yes, he felt he was of the Body, and baptized in the Name of Jesus, but he judged the Christian by what he saw in the leadership. The “word of their testimony” is the same as the word of our testimony, it’s what people say about us.

Early in 1468 a citizen reported Leto and his Academy was plotting to arrest, and depose the Pope. It was all Paul II needed, he decreed the dissolution of the Academy as a nest of heresy, then stopped the teaching of pagan literature in the schools in Rome. This wasn't done to further Christ, it was done to stop the humanist. Paul II successor allowed the Academy to reopen, although reformed. Leto's assistant, Platina was given charge of the Vatican Library, thus Platina found riches of history in the Library as he wrote his biographies of the Popes in his book, In Vitas Summorum Pontificum. When it came to Paul II, Platina didn't waste any time taking out his revenge: Paul II supplied more than enough sordid information to pick from, Platina left none out.

After Pope Paul II came Sixtus IV from 1471 to 1484. When Sixtus IV was elected fifteen of the eighteen cardinals were Italian, later one participant would describe the election as a mass of intrigue and bribery. Sixtus IV was a product of the Franciscan and Minorite Orders, he studied philosophy and theology at Pavia, Bologna and Padua. When he was elected Pope his reputation was based on intellect and learning, not on Godly ability. Almost overnight he turned into a politician and warrior, many claimed this was a transformation of his inner self to the surface. Sixtus IV set out  to establish two points, first to restore order to Rome, next to bring Italy under the rule of the Pope. Sixtus IV appointed many of his nephews to positions of power, Pietro (or Piero) was one of his favorite, whom he made a cardinal at the age of twenty five. Piero had a taste for gold, his salary would be equivalent to  $1,000,000 a year, yet he spent it all on things made of gold, silver, and fine cloth. Not only did Piero have a taste for gold, he also had a taste for women. He often displayed his mistresses in flamboyant attire without any shame for his sordid activity. He made plans to become the next Pope but died in 1474 at the age of twenty-eight.

The Medici, more specifically Lorenzo de' Medici schemed to get the treasury and bank of the papacy to Florence in order to control both the papacy and the bank; however, Sixtus IV outguessed him, replacing the Medici with the Pazzi (bankers for the papacy). Of course Lorenzo didn't take this laying down, he attempted to ruin the Pazzi, they in turn attempted to kill him. Sixtus IV knew of the conspiracy to kill Lorenzo, but he didn't want to have the blood on his hands, thus he told the Pazzi, "go and do what you will, provided there be no killing". Like Pilate, he knew the plan was to kill Lorenzo, but he didn't want the responsibility of the blood on his hands. The result was a war lasting for two years, it was only stopped when the Turks threatened to overrun Italy. Sixtus IV began hoping for European peace, but ended with Italy at war.

When Sixtus IV wanted money, he devised a plan to hold the monopoly on the sale of corn. He sold the best aboard, the rest to his people at a great profit. He based his conclusions of success on the worldly adage, "the price of the product depends on the gullibility of the purchaser". He was able to excuse his sin of merchandising by blaming the purchaser, but he nonetheless fleeced the sheep. Sixtus IV became known as the first Renaissance Pope whose chief interest was to establish the papacy as a strong political power in Italy.

The failure of Sixtus IV brought chaos to Rome, after his death mobs sacked the papal granaries, broke into banks, or attacked the palaces. A conclave (cardinals behind locked doors) was hastily assembled in the Vatican, again they elected a Pope based on promises of self-importance and bribes. They picked Giovanni Battista Cibo of Genoa as Pope Innocent VIII (1484-92). Was he holy man? He had at least one daughter and son, probably more, he viewed the vow of celibacy as a means to gain control, not a way of life. Whether one believes in the vow of celibacy or not really doesn't matter, if they take the Vow it does. Like any Vow before God, He expects us to keep it, making foolish vows before God produces failures, not victories. Few Romans held Innocent's immorality against him, not because the tone of the day was such, it was because the tone of the church was such. Although the people excused his sexual behavior, they were shocked when he celebrated the marriages of his children and  grandchildren.

Innocent would be caught in a plan to help the Turks instead of killing them. When Mohammed II died in 1481 his two sons fought a civil war to gain control of the Ottoman throne. This war went on until one son, Djem faced certain defeat in the face of the Knights. The Sultan agreed to pay for the maintenance of Djem, it he was kept out of the picture; however, the problem was where to keep him? Innocent then appears on the scene with a plan; Djem was not only housed, but given a great entrance into Rome as the Grand Turk on March 13, 1489. In exchange for the housing, Djem's brother Bajazet (the Sultan) gave Innocent what was assured to be the head of the lance that pierced the side of Jesus. Accordingly the relics were of more importance than He who hung on the Cross, and Innocent added it to the treasure of the collection of artifacts.

The Sultan (Bajazet) supplied Innocent with a great deal of money to care for Djem, but it wasn't enough; Innocent sold offices and appointments. Innocent found it so lucrative, he made new offices and new appointments, then sold them. Everything in Rome seemed purchasable, from judicial pardons to the papacy. The secularization of the papacy, its zeal for politics, its love for war and desire for money filled the college of cardinals, yet from the cardinals would come the Popes. This doesn't mean all of them were greedy or evil, some were very saintly, but few indeed. The majority who purchased their positions were secular in nature, humanist in thinking, they loved the feeling of religion, but they didn't love God. They loved the power of politics, the authority of being a diplomat, above all they loved the feeling of being superior over people. This had a great effect on Rome, which was now filled with thievery, rape, bribery, conspiracy and all sorts of open vices. If money was needed, simply accuse someone of heresy, then allow them to buy their way out. This was done to over 500 families, as well as many others who were not within the inner circle of the college of cardinals. On September 20, 1492 Innocent VIII died, opening the way for the famed Borgia Reign.

Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia was brought up in the age of freedom of expression, his parents were cousins, he was among the college of cardinals; his concept of the gifts of God were not spiritual, but something one could spend and wear. He had prosperity down to a fine art, it was Mercy, Love, Faith and Grace he refused to understand or enter into. In 1464 Rodrigo accompanied Pius II to Ancona where he acquired some minor sexual disease, the cause was reported by the doctors as "he had slept alone, we know not what happened". In 1466 he found a more permanent attachment to Venozza de' Catanei, unfortunately she was married, but it meant little to Rodrigo. Venozza bore four children, one of which was called Cesare (Caesar) who later would become the very subject to expose the affair between Rodrigo and Venozza.

Caesar was made a cardinal, but clearly he was not cut out for the ecclesiastical order. Caesar wanted to be free of the position to engage in politics, the problem of releasing him, yet not excommunicating him introduced another canon law, No bastard can be a cardinal. Rodrigo was now Pope Alexander admitted Caesar was the bastard child of he and Venozza, thus releasing Caesar from being a cardinal; but making the admission a matter of record. This was made easier since Sixtus IV had reported how Caesar was the son of  Rodrigo in a bull written on August 16, 1482.

This abuse against the clerical celibacy was not uncommon, Pius II fathered children, Sixtus IV had several children, Innocent VIII brought his into the Vatican. On August 10, 1492, the same year Columbus would discover the Americas, Rodrigo would be elected as Pope Alexander VI. Not only did the cardinals want Rodrigo as Pope, so did the people, they loved the pride of the man, his power to control, they hoped he would take control of Rome, they were of “one mind”, but it was not the Mind of Christ. The people desired a leader, but much like the people in the days of Saul, they were moved by what they saw. When Samuel saw David he knew God looks to the inner person, not the outward one.

Alexander had a swift manner in handling crime, he would hang the violator with the violator's family. All Italy was glad a strong hand was now running the church, but this hand was one of cruelty, not Mercy. He reigned by using the spirit of fear over the people, do wrong and your entire family will die. He also censored publications, saying no book could be published without approval of the local archbishop, but he allowed a wide birth for satire and debate while rejecting Truth. He considered Rome a city of free speech, not free printing.

Columbus discovered the Indies and gave them to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Portugal also claimed the New World by virtue of an edict of Caliztus III (1479). Alexander issued two bulls on May 3 and 4 1493, allotting Spain all the discoveries west and Portugal all those to the east of an imaginary line. No one seemed to care about the people in those lands, except how they must be converted to Christianity, one way or the other.

In 1494 when Ferrante of Naples died, Charles VIII of France decided to invade Italy, to restore Naples to French rule. In a move to stop the invasion Alexander wrote to the Turks, saying Charles really desired to take Djem, and make him the Ottoman of Constantinople, supposing Bajazet would join with the papacy to defeat Charles. Religion to the common person is hope, to a ruler it's power, Bajazet would rather see his brother (Djem) dead than have him used as a threat. When Charles made advances, the cardinals decided it was better to side with Charles, by coming against the Pope, then suffer at the hands of Charles. Charles didn't want to remove the Pope, neither did he want to rouse Spain. Charles made peace with Alexander on the conditions of free passage through the land, forgiveness for the Pro-French cardinals and the surrender of Djem. What Alexander feared the most came upon him, what would he do with Djem? Charles was standing at the door, Bajazet was in Constantinople, he gave Djem to Charles.

On January 25, 1495, Charles moved to Naples with Djem, but on February 25, 1495 Djem died of bronchitis. There was some gossip of Alexander using a slow poison on Djem, since there were other rumors of Alexander using poison on others, none of which has been established.

Alexander had children, as noted, but unlike others he decided to parade them about with some sort of pride in his sinful efforts, Alexander considered it an Openness with the people. In 1493 Infessura reported La Bella was the concubine of Alexander, thus he didn't stop when he became Pope, but continued in his sinful endeavors. This wasn't his only problem, like most who are theological in nature, but carnal minded, his theology was worldly, because he was. He said many times, The papacy needs a statesman, not a saint. Not only did he sale offices, he sold dispensations for divorce and annulments by the thousands. King Ladislaus VII of Hungary paid 30,000 ducats for the annulment of his marriage with Beatrice of Naples. A man by the name of Pas-quino in 1503 said, "the keys, the altars, Alexander sells, and Christ; with right, since he has paid for them".

On June 19, 1497 Alexander called his cardinals then told them, "we on our part are resolved to amend our life, and to reform the church". A committee of six cardinals was appointed to draw up a plan of reform. With the plan came the question, How will we make money? Alexander faced with the question of revenues, thought the plan was nice, but not practical. When Alexander died it was reported a little devil had been seen at the moment of his death carrying his soul to hell.

After Alexander would come Julius II the Warrior (1503-13). Julius kept Italy at war and in turmoil for more than a decade. He had a violent temper, yet he didn't know one thing about "Be angry and sin not"; rather he was angry all the time and sinned. He wanted Michelangelo to make a colossal statue of him for all to see, an indication of his pride and ego. He dreamed not only of preserving the possessions of the papacy, but wanted to be Master of all Europe. He would try to reconcile Christianity with paganism in the arts, he loved Hebrew theology, but he also loved to see pagan gods intermingled with Christian and Jewish Truth. He mixed mythology and philosophy with Christian sentiment and faith ending with many of the misconceptions some of us face today.

Julius connected himself to people like Raphael, Michelangelo, and others in order to have paintings and items projecting his concept of Christianity and paganism mixed. It's always better to stick to the Bible and worship God, rather than stand before an image we know nothing about. Some of the figures seen as Mary were merely models, some of which were mistresses of the artists. When asked why Mary was so much younger than Jesus, Michelangelo said, Virgins always look younger. The truth was, Michelangelo used models for much of his work, he looked for display, not holiness.

Once the carnal leadership formed the Yoke of canal thinking, they also removed the Holy Ghost from their decision making; therefore, making the New Birth a vague concept without meaning. They didn’t expel the Holy Ghost, rather they refused to follow the Order God had established, thus turning from the Holy Ghost. God never intended for Bishops, whether archbishop, or cardinal to elect people to the five fold offices.

The next Pope would lay the ground work to bring us to the Luther experience. Pope Leo X took office in 1513 until 1521; before him was Pope Leo X, he was the son of Lorenzo de' Medici the humanist. Although Lorenzo was a humanist, he was a humanist of the time as he told his son, "be grateful to God", and "this is not through your merits, your prudence or solicitude, it's by God". It sounds good, except Lorenzo also told his son to continue in the humanist concepts. During those days if a cardinal died, his land was taken for the papacy, Leo promised to no longer take the estates left by the cardinals. He seemed to be a happy Pope, one with a kind word for every one, except the Protestants, whom he admitted, he didn't understand. Leo's interest in the arts and education moved him to unite the College of the Holy Palace (Vatican) with the University of Rome on November 5, 1513. The Vatican Library was added to the University, so much so it needed a score of people to care for it. Girolamo Aleandro became the librarian in 1519, he spoke Latin, Greek and Hebrew with such perfection, Luther assumed he was a Jew. At the Diet of Augsburg it was Aleandro who spoke the loudest against the Protestant movement. He saw the Protestant movement reaching for something no longer available.

From 450 AD until Luther the ministry visitation by the Holy Ghost was rare indeed,  but not lost. The leaders and carnal minded held the false concept of the ministry of the Holy Ghost having passed, or being established just for the early church, but it left the awful truth, did the Holy Ghost leave the church to fend for itself? If so did Jesus lied when He promised the Holy Ghost would remain with us? Or could it be Holy Ghost aged so much He was no longer able? When Luther, and others spoke of Faith in Jesus or spoke of the Holy Ghost, they were outcasts, rejects, fools, not to be considered. 

Leo sided with Raphael, whom the world calls a great artist, but who painted the home of Cardinal Bibbiena with frescoes glorifying Venus the goddess of love. Who used Psyche, Mercury, Jupiter, Cupid, and other pagan gods and goddesses as models for his Christian paintings. He used Cupid as an angel of God, the same Cupid noted above. Raphael's La Donna Velata was on most churches in the Papal reign, but it was reported La Fornarina posed for the paintings. He always returned to the Madonna as his main theme, yet he advocated total worship to her painting. Vasari saw the face of the Madonna and knew it was the mistress of Raphael (La Fornarina), thus Raphael had the Christian world giving worship to his mistress. It was reported how Raphael said he was in the only profession where a man could look on a naked woman and be paid for it. When Raphael started to work on the Transfiguration, he moved too far, dying in 1517 never finishing the work, in  more ways than one.

When the church has authority and no Power, the occult will run through the streets without fear, such was the case in Rome. The people of Italy looked upon many relics of Jesus and the Apostles assuming the relics would bring miracles, rather than having the Power of His Christ do the miracles. When they began looking for signs, they also admitted they were a sinful generation. Rather than signs following, they started looking for paintings and statues to produce signs.

Venetian churches displayed the body of St. Mark, an ear of St. Paul, some of the roasted flesh of St. Lawrence, even some of the stones which killed Stephen, yet they failed to hold a like faith of these men. Some of the Carmelite monks taught how it wasn't a sin to seek knowledge from devils; then claimed sorcerers, and demons helped them in their theology. Witches, sorcerers and the such were believed to have special power, thus access to devils was not only allowed, it was encouraged. The supernatural was so far above what the papacy held, even the wicked supernatural seemed holy. Innocent VIII did burn many witches by holding to the Old Testament commandment, "thou shall not suffer a witch to live", too bad he didn't see the New Testament method, "come out of them in the Name of Jesus".

Innocent failed to see witchcraft went further than dolls and spells, even with the burning of witches, it was reported over 15,000 people attended a witches sabbath on a plain near Brescia. So general was the belief of the stars governing human affairs, many university professors of Italy annually issued predictions based on the stars, thus they used astrology as if it was prophecy from God. From the acceptance of witchcraft we find many suffered from the French Disease, known to us as Syphilis. The treatment of Syphilis was akin to the modern day treatment of AIDS, they attacked the result, not the cause of the problem. The name Syphilis was first applied to the disease by Girolamo Frcastoro; how syphilis started is debatable, but it was traced to the French navy. Apparently the French navy docked in Italy, then returned to France with the disease. The outbreak in France of the disease was then blamed on Rome, as strange as it may seem, Syphilis was a god noted in ancient mythology. The evidence of the sins of Rome manifesting in a sexually transmitted disease should have been a sign to their condition and position. Adding, we find Syphilis was a god portrayed as a shepherd who decided to worship the flock rather than the gods. The sign was so very clear, God was exposing the sinful nature of devil worship: reform was needed, it was time to get things right, if not? God had a plan, a removal from under the hand of corruption by a Godly separation. There are various types of division, the phrase “Come out of her My children” is a Godly separation in order to save God’s people. The ungodly division is separation from the Ways of God into the ways of carnal theology or leadership.

             

THE PROTESTANT MOVEMENT

The Protestant Reformation movement in the 16th century came about because the church refused to reform itself, but the Prostestant movement almost made the same mistake, some would argue it did make the same mistake. A product of the Protestant Reformation was a revival of theology by returning to the language of the Bible, coupled with the letters of the early saints. The scholastics of the 13th century, which was termed the Second Scholasticism, was aided by the founding of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), by Ignatius Loyola. The seeds to revival are planted by people seeking Truth, revival does not begin by someone attempting to bring revival, rather the Holy Ghost begins revival, the people of God merely join to what the Holy Ghost is doing.

This movement came about because someone saw what was wrong, grabbed a Bible, went into prayer and study until the Light shinned in a dark place by the words, "The Just Shall Live By Faith". The someone was Martin Luther, just a man who wondered if the methods he had been taught were really Bible based. Martin Luther was a man used of God, not a god used of man. Until the Luther experience all reform was conducted within the church, or not at all. The word Catholic means Universal, the word Protestant means Protester, the term Roman Catholic refers to the Catholic church in Rome. In truth the Church was known as Catholic, or Universal, but it nothing to do with denominational influence, rather it points to the Body accepting Jew and Gentile, yet is based on a Kingdom not of this earth. Denominationalism is within the Body, it not found in the Church; the Church is always in Unity, no voting, no carnal activity, just Spirit filled people who are being formed by Jesus into the potential Bride of Christ.

The Protestant movement started with Luther, but he wasn't the only person  contributing to the movement. Luther was looking for Truth, not to start another movement, neither did he figure his discovery would result in a movement. All he was doing was seeking Truth, applied proper study discipline and Truth found him. Revelation is not the discovery of some new truth, it’s the words of Truth being opened to the willing saint. Although Luther had no idea God would use him, God did, it was in the Plan.

God was removing His people from the Yoked leadership, yet keeping them in the Body. God did not began a New Body, rather He used Godly division, thus the reformers came from the same Rock. Paul said the foot cannot say if it’s not the eye, it must not be of Body, rather God has set in the Body as He sees fit (I Cor 12:14-18). God knew what was going on, yet He allowed, giving us a teaching in Godly leadership as opposed to ungodly leadership. In this case it was not Luther saying he wasn’t of the Body, rather the division was of God within the Body. Revival must begin with Recovery, meaning Getting back to the Basics, renewing the mind comes from Godly Order.

Luther the man was no different from any man, yet he was. He remembered two incidents in his childhood, both referred to excessive beatings, one at the hands of his mother for stealing, the other at the hands of his father. The latter produced a Tare which would take years to heal, but it was healed. Luther himself disciplined his children, but noted there was a difference between discipline and punishment. The marked difference came as a result of his introduction to the Lord's Mercy. Luther found Mercy  corrects, but it will not abuse. The revelation by Luther was Mercy based, not Grace based.

Luther was an intellectual, but his intellectual ability was a hindrance in his early years, not a benefit. Although he laid the Bible to memory, he didn't have it in his heart. Like Paul he found intellect isn't the answer, faith is. Luther's youth and religious foundation held to the justice of man, rather than the justice of God. At the age of four his father sent him to school, not as punishment, but as a result of his father seeing the ability of Luther. As a youth, Luther saw a painting of Jesus with a great Sword, the painting gave Luther a twisted view of God's justice. Luther viewed God's justice, not as Mercy but as strict punishment, with his experiences he had in being disciplined by his parents, the picture only added to his misconception of the Ways of God. God with a Sword may not seem like a big thing, but the most unseemly of icons can lead to the most dangerous of conclusions, the most seemly innocent of statements can be perceived as the most devastating. It's not so much what we say, or how we say it, it's how it's perceived making the difference. Luther had a Wheat field created by God, but filled with tares. However, the truth remains, what our Father hasn’t planted will be uprooted.

Martin was born in 1483 on the Eve of St. Martin's day, thereby giving him his name. St. Martin's day is not named after him, rather he was named after the day. By the time Martin came on the scene the church was already engaged in political endeavors; therefore, whomever ran the church, ran the country. Luther became a priest in 1507; however, not at the wishes of his father, who looked for Martin to become a vehicle to remove them from their lower class to a higher one. Luther's father deplored the concept of his son being a celibate friar, he wanted him to be a doctor, someone of “importance”.

The Luder (Luther) family were church going, paid tithes, prayed, acted like the Rome dictated Christian, why would they have to give up a son to the church? When Martin made his decision the public view of the church was anything but good. When the religious leadership walked down the street the people would give respect to their faces, but spit behind their backs. The friars and other religious figures were the subjects of common jokes, the concepts of the church were based in pay for repentance, become Christian or die, the church is God, the Pope is Christ: to go against any of these premises was certain excommunication or death. Also the church was the only place in town, no one could go down the street to some other gathering.

Martin was plagued with the concept of God's forgiveness, the forgiveness wasn't his problem, his concept of forgiveness was. He felt no man, good, bad, or indifferent could reach God, he was taught God was so high and lifted up, no man could reach Him. Martin spent hours in confession, yet he felt none the better, often he would leave confession with more guilt than he entered with. He would even fall to beating himself to “fell better” about himself, but even it didn’t work. In his heart he knew there was a God, in his mind he felt no one could find God.

Education in the Scriptures was entirely in the hands of Rome, no common person was allowed to view the Bible; after all if they found the Truth, God only knows what they would do. Luther would become a Good Fish in the net of wanton theology, or as he called it Pig Theology. The most advanced in intellect during the time were the Humanists, although they viewed the Bible and God from man's natural perspective. Acts involving the Holy Ghost were out of the question, really Granted Mercy was nearly out of reach, but this wasn't God's fault. Rather the church claimed a change in times, those days passed with the church fathers, now the Pope and the church were the center posts of religion for the Christian.

The Humanists mixed philosophy with religion, but limited it to the wisdom of man, never moving to the Wisdom of God. The Humanists were divided into the North and South sections, each still humanist in nature. The South held the artistic, technical, and classical thoughts of Greek philosophy. The North attempted to make man's knowledge and philosophy spiritual in nature, but ended with more self-based carnal thinking. The systems of education and the thoughts of Rome were one, if one went to school they were taught of God from the view point of Rome. Since poverty was a way of life, it was looked upon as holiness, but most of the poverty came as a result of the Indulgences placed on the people by Rome. The constant taxing by Rome for acts of religion, such as praying for the dead, taxing to gain forgiveness, or other such acts were common. The people felt forgiveness of sin was a matter of money, not Mercy. No one experienced the Father granting Mercy based on acceptance of Jesus.

Although the warning in the Book of Acts regarding Simony were written long before, the practice was nonetheless common. These people weren't selling the Dove, they didn't have the Dove to sell, but they were selling Mercy, but whether the Dove, Grace or Mercy it was still wrong to fleece God’s lambs.

The new use of the Indulgences was confusing, even to Luther. There were certain days set aside for Indulgence usage, one such day was called All Saints Day, or a day when the people would pay money to the church and become saints. Today we know this day as Halloween, but its roots are based in the Indulgence system. As hard as we try to blame the heathen for this demonic day, it nonetheless began by the efforts of the church seeking money. The masks were symbols of those who paid before the fact, but didn't want to be seen going about at night. Other heathen practices were joined to it, but the source was still from within.

The Humanist in the midst of this would promote Free Lectures, with special permission to attend. Although free, they were done to show they were more holy than the church, making both unholy. To do something to make one feel superior over others is still motivated by a lust. The Humanist view point hasn't changed, it still revolves around the past achievements of man: it still uses either man or God to promote man for man's sake, not God's sake.

Luther was in the midst of darkness, in the very belly of religious hypocrisy, a man condemned by his religion and past, a man so far from God's Mercy, he could only wish such a concept could be true. This one Good fish in the Net of the kingdom of heaven was surrounded by antichrists, taught by antichrists, engrossed into antichrist theology, yet God would break through it by planting one seed of Mercy. The spark, although small was more than enough to develop into a fire of hope, later used to remove God's people from the Yoke of religious hypocrisy.

Luther is not an example of the Power of the Spirit, nor is he an example of the Holy Ghost at work, rather he will be an example of one reaching for the Mercy of God by faith. The first step for any of us is Mercy, we come boldly to the throne of Grace to obtain Mercy, in order to find Grace. Unless we obtain the Mercy, we will never find Grace, therein lays the problem, they vacated Mercy for the humanist nature, meaning they were unable to fine Grace. The condition and position of the Body in the days of Luther was full of religious conceit, void of faith, mercy, or hope, much less the Holy Ghost. Luther becomes an example of one who applied faith to the Scriptures to find Truth, when found he held to the one fragment of Truth which changed the course of events. He is truly an example of one person seeking after God who found the reward.

Luther didn't run to the calling, God produced signs to bring the decision. Luther was too honest to lie to himself, but as a child he would take what he wanted when he wanted. Luther was self-based, just like we were, he heard the words Deny the Self, but assumed they meant to join the clergy. He had a close encounter with a knife (a real one) as a youth, nearly killing himself, but it didn't produce change. The next encounter was with a bolt of lighting, it produced the choice to make the change. Were either of God? God uses, He doesn't always produce the event, but He does use it. Later Luther would center his quest on four words, Faith, Love (Agape), Justice and the word "Is". In this, how did the word Is become an issue? Rome taught everything Was, thus the word Is was merely for the times past, it had no influence on time present; however, Luther saw the word "Is" as a present tense promise not limited to the time of man.

Faith in the mind of the religious was based on three pillars, vows of obedience to the church, poverty for the lesser class, and chastity. Any other use of faith was forbidden, or called heresy. Luther's experience with his guilt drove him to find the evidence, thus what appeared to the leadership to be evil, was in fact Good and God ordained, what appeared to them to be good, was heresy. Luther was accused of coming against the church for his sake, rather than for the sake of God, yet he did nothing more than find a Truth in the Bible. Some who accused him were so self-deceived they couldn't see the Truth; self-deception will twist Scripture to become a lie in order to attack the Truth. One such accusation claimed Luther would only recognize the authority of Scripture, and not the church: although presented in the negative, it proved he was Scripture based.

The concept of forgiveness of sins was based in the absolution from guilt when one paid, or confessed to a the leadership of the church; however, Luther found it didn't remove guilt, it produced more guilt. During this time the thought of asking God directly for the forgiveness of sin was out of the question. Luther spent most of his time in the letters of Paul, searching for the Truth of forgiveness. The concept of forgiveness by God’s direct Mercy never occurred to him. Luther admitted during his early days he hated God, he hated a God who would place Himself so high, no man could reach Him. A God who told us forgiveness was at hand, but refused to grant it. It wasn't God's fault, it wasn't Luther's fault, thus Luther was a victim of those who misrepresented God to the masses, those who continued to beat the Rock with a stick of theological abuse. Luther was a child of religious whoredoms, an aborted fetus on the alter of reason, but he was not forgotten by God.

In May of 1501 at the age of 17 Luther was inscribed on the rolls of the faculty of Erfurt University. He knew the words of the Bible, but he didn't know the Logos or Rhema, rather like his counterparts, he had an intellectual encounter with the Bible. There were two schools of thought, both contributed to the Yoke; there was the Queen Of Arts based in mathematics, and the Queen Of Sciences based in theology. The concepts were seen in St. Augustine’s writings eleven centuries prior, but were much different from the concepts in Luther's time. Theology, canon law, civil law and philosophy were all tossed into one pot then called holy. The church moved into a political field becoming as corrupt as the world. Julius II conducted a survey of the Holy See, finding a cesspool of graft, power hungry clergy selling their offices, selling their religion, homosexuality was common in the clergy, the indulgences were also common place. The local parish priests were illiterate, Bible stupid, superstitious, greedy, ruled with force by using fear as a weapon. Change the date to the 20th Century where we find some go into a panic when the government claims it may raise the taxes, or some cult buys a building on the same block where our church is located. Luther had no knowledge of the New Birth, after all it was only mentioned three times in the Bible, but neither did he understand God’s Mercy, yet it’s mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. Knowledge did increase with Luther, but we have the advantage to walk with the Lord by the Spirit, something unheard of in the 14th Century.

Luther received his Master's Degree on January 7, 1505, but in 1510 the Mad Year Of Erfurt began. Civil disorder, rebellion against the municipal government broke out; riots and lynch mob justice was common place, Luther saw man's justice first hand, knowing there had to be something more to God, than his view of religion.

Later Luther became a Doctor of Theology, receiving a Closed Bible, which God would later Open. The science of theology in which he held the highest of all degrees was not taught from the Bible at all, it was taught from exegetical writings of the church, and only as far as the church approved them. Luther was a Doctor of Theology, yet he never heard the voice of God, never felt the revelation of Truth, never had an experience of the Interpretation by the Holy Ghost opening the Life in the Scriptures to him.

The self-imposed glory of the local churches were in grossed in their material possessions, not in Truth, Faith or Love. Wittenberg had a collection of 17,433 exhibits to prove its holiness. They claimed such beauties as nine thorns from the crown of Christ, one reported to have drawn Blood, 35 splinters of the Cross, and other such artifacts proved their holiness, but they didn't have the New Man, who is after God’s True Holiness. They assumed Communion produced the actual Body and Blood of Christ being created in them by proxy, they claimed Communion could only be administered by the hands of leadership, which of course put it under the control of leadership. However, the evidence of the day showed it was manipulation in order to control the populace. Communion is for us to Remember Christ, as we examine ourselves in reference to our position in the Body (Mercy), and our condition by the Blood (Grace). Paul told the carnal Corinthians to examine their selves, thus if the carnal could take Communion, surely the saint could (I Cor 11:28-34).

The manipulation of Communion caused the Protestant to take the complete opposite viewpoint, they claimed it was not a Commandment, but an Ordinance, yet Jesus said, “here take”, He did not say, “if you want to”. An Ordinance is something we should do, but not something we have to do. However, the other end of the spectrum says if you don’t take Communion from the proper hand, you are no longer of the Body. To Luther Communion was not the question, the forgiveness issue plagued him. He did everything the church told him to do, yet he still felt as if he was not forgiven. After his encounter with God’s Mercy he knew he was forgiven, Mercy gave him the ability and confidence not only to know he was forgiven, but to forgive. He possessed the ability to break free of the Yoke of religious carnal leadership. Luther proved faith is not a now, but reaching toward the hope of total forgiveness. He found the first step was accepting God’s forgiveness, then by faith walking in the forgiveness until it manifested in his life.

 God warned them over many years of their folly, even the Early Reformers from St. Benedict to St. Francis of Assisi all had healings in their ministries. They also called for the return of the holiness to the early days of the Body before 300 AD, but they also called for reform in the church based on the Word of God. The early lessons provoked Rome to remove the Bible from the masses. Until Luther the only church in the neighborhood was Rome, thus it wasn't Rome but the church itself needing Reforming, but is it possible to reform a vessel of dishonor? Or does God have to move us around the corrupt system in order to form us into a vessel of honor? It is possible, but the vessel has to make the decision to be changed, here they refused change.

There were many various divisions in the church when Luther surfaced; the divisions were not on church dogma, but on methods of reaching dogma. Thomas Aquinas advocated religion with reason as the guiding factor in order to reach faith. Duns Scotus advocated how philosophy and religion had to remain elements apart from one another, but he also advocated the knowledge of man is the guiding factor. No one had really viewed God's Mercy, Justice and Faith in the same context. Some of these factions had names, Thomism was based on the virtue of understanding, however, it depended on man's understanding and wisdom. Occamism made man's will the decisive factor, but didn't view the Will of God is the guiding factor.

The three views of God's Predestination caused conflict, one holding God made the decision who would be happy and who would be sad, yet man could do nothing to change it. The second was Election, or how some received everlasting life, others everlasting damnation, yet man could nothing to stop it. The third was God's eternal knowledge of all things, but like the other two it failed to include man's faith, or man's decision to reach God. The Realists placed reason above revelation, but in all fairness, revelation was not a considered element. The Realists believed the General Council of the church was the supreme authority in spiritual matters, the Bible was not, to them neither was God. In their view God left them to fend for themselves. The Modernists placed the supernatural above everything, but recognized the Pope as the absolute head of Christendom. Supernatural and Spiritual are much different, although they sought the supernatural, they were far from obtaining it, much less obtaining the spiritual. On the other side there was Humanism and Mysticism, each battling the other. They all debated the precise composition of the Trinity, the precise method of the virgin birth, what Grace entailed, or how one could become spiritual in nature, none of which included the words Faith, Mercy, the Holy Ghost, or the Seed of God. The Mystic road to salvation was meditation; however, their view of Rapture was a suspension of temporary separation between man and God to reach God on the earth, rather than a catching away from the earth.

All these views within the same church, lacking Spiritual Wisdom and Faith in order to reach the goal. Although Luther was taught from writings outside of the Bible, he nonetheless read the Bible almost every day of his life, but he admitted he couldn't understand it, or break it down in order to gain from it. Being a monk he had access to a Bible, yet he didn’t possess one. Luther assumed Faith came from reading, but would soon learn Faith comes from Hearing, the hearing by the Word (Rhema) of God, not through reading alone. It in no way takes away from the Bible, but we must see simply having an intellectual view of the Bible isn't going to grant us Life, or Wisdom. The same Bible says we must ask God by faith to obtain Wisdom (James 1:1-5). Above all, we must have the Spirit of Christ (Word) in us dividing, separating, which is able to save our souls (James 1:21).

Among his reading, Luther read the Epistle to the Romans where he saw, "The just shall live by faith"; yet it meant nothing, in fact he assumed it was in error. The quote is from Habakkuk which reads, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by His faith" (Hab 2:4 & Rom 1:17). Intellectualism or natural theology and reasoning based on the knowledge of man all lift (fill with pride) man's soul, but only the just can live by His faith. Luther saw the word “His” in Habakkuk, then saw how it was missing in Romans, thus his intellectual view saw “error”, rather than a mystery. We know the “His Faith” is the faith of Jesus; nonetheless we find two elements worth noting. There are those who refuse to believe, to them it’s error without recourse. Then there are those who lack knowledge, they think they see error, but know they have not. For the Believer it’s opportunity to find a mystery, to the unbeliever it’s error. 

Although Luther would be the one in his day to find the meaning of “faith”, he wasn't the first faith teacher, Jesus was. Abraham found faith, but he didn’t teach it. Luther not only rocked the boat, he turned it upside down. Luther read on and found, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, as it is written, The just shall live by faith". The Righteousness of God? Faith? His Faith? Life? Justice? Mercy? It hit home, God's justice wasn't punishment, it entailed Mercy to be free of the judgment. God's Mercy wasn't out of reach, it was within the grasp of Luther's faith, it was based in Luther first believing God had forgiven his sins, then living a life by faith knowing the Mercy of God was a constant  working function in him making him the Just. Luther wanted a physical sign of forgiveness, he never considered faith as a means to obtain. All he had to do was ask God, then forgive others, all based in faith, rather than feelings. What a relief, no more crying for hours and hours, then walking away with more guilt than you came with. Surely the leaders of the church would rejoice over this news, surely they would, wouldn’t they?

Luther tells us of his joy, as he wrote, "Now at this I experienced such relief and easement, as if I were reborn and had entered through open gates into paradise itself. The whole Bible all at once looked different". Luther found Mercy as the light of his eye opened the Bible as the cloud of guilt vanished. From this premise he would gain more insight, yet the words Faith, Love (Agape), Justice (Mercy), and “Is” would still be the foundation of his preaching.

From these pillars would come many sermons, many thoughts and from time to time a soulish outburst would get him into trouble, yet he still knew God was able to forgive all his sins, past, present and future. Luther changed from hating God, to loving Him, from seeking his self-righteousness to looking toward the Righteousness of God. He concluded "Man was saved, man is being saved", he knew salvation was a process of man's heart, not man's wallet. Righteousness was not found in many religious acts, beating one's self have to death, paying someone to say “you are forgiven”, it was found in God's Mercy and Righteousness. Luther overflowed with happiness for the first time in his life, but he also viewed Rome and the church from God's perspective. Clarity can be sad at times, looking at things as God sees them can weigh heavy on ones heart.

God's purpose was to cause reform from within, but as we know, God's purpose and God's reality can be different. God would not believe for the church, He would not make their decision, but He would present the evidence regarding the necessity for change, if only they would “hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.

Luther looked at the theology of the church, then termed it Pig Theology, then he found a new theology which he termed Tower Theology or Anti-Merit Theology to dispel the churches false theology. He assumed, as many of us, this word of Faith would change them, they would run to hear this Truth. Luther was under the impression the leaders of the time wanted Truth, or wanted to be Free, but he soon found they loved the things of darkness, yet hated the Light. They claimed to be Christian, claimed to seek the Truth, since Luther had what he knew to be Truth, surely they will receive it, they must desire to hear. Not so, there were the wicked in the grouping claiming Christian ties, but  they were religious Pharisees who held dogma, yet hated the word Faith.

Luther was looking for the answer to forgiveness of sins, not remission, thus when he found “the just shall live by faith” he knew his problem. It wasn’t forgiveness it was the acceptance of forgiveness by faith. They first had to believe Jesus on the Cross voiced the request, “Father forgive them”, they had to believe it was for them, then by faith receive the Mercy of God to become among the Just. This was his news, a process, a path, a Way, a manner of walking to obtain the Promise.

Luther admitted he had read all the church fathers notes and letters, but now he saw something different, he saw what they were talking about. He no longer had to say, "What Augustine really meant to say was"; he knew what was said. Luther became a Seed of Faith by Mercy looking for Grace, thus his movement began on Mercy; Luther suffered from many illnesses, yet he knew the source of all of them. He didn't blame God, he knew his battle was with the old nature of the flesh. Luther wrote many books, some on theology, some rebuking the church, some showing correction needed to take place; however, Luther wrote a few from Luther, it was the Luther based documents producing his personal problems, the God inspired documents produced problems for the church.

During October of 1518 Luther was summoned to Rome to discuss his new found theology. Luther assumed he would be allowed to discuss the issues, knowing Truth would be received with welcome arms. His conclusion was based on the compromise with Cardinal Cajetan, but the Cardinal lied to Luther in order to trick him into facing the Council. Luther started his famous statement, "If I'm wrong show me in the Bible and I will recant". Pharisees are loaded with opinions, but few if any Scriptures to back up their claims. The Council hardly knew the Bible, much less finding any verse telling Luther to accept church dogma over faith. As in most heresy trials, the ones putting on the trial are those in heresy, not the accused, thus the words "show me Scripture" were rejected. They would have to write their own Bible to support their traditions, no where could they find anything to counter Luther, expect their heretical church dogma.

Martin was looking for a Bible discussion, but found himself in a face to face fight. The Council made it appear as if Luther was following John Hus, when the truth was, God appointed John Hus and others to expose the carnal leadership. Luther knew the wicked first burn your books, then they burn you. Of course they were never able to burn Luther, since the Truth of Luther was becoming accepted by the people. Freedom does have a feeling, but it took faith to reach it. To harm Luther would bring hordes of people down on the papacy, like their Pharisees forefathers, they feared the voices of men.

Luther being an avid fan of Bible prophecy used prophecy to attack the Pope. Luther said the "whore" in the Book of Revelation was the Pope, the Beast was the result of the Pope's influence on the church. The Pope and some of his followers attacked Luther  by using the same premise against Luther. Many scholars at the time felt the "false prophet" would be born in Europe in the 1400's, some even picked the year as 1483, the very year Luther was born. From the false premise the Pope said Martin Luther was the false prophet come to turn the people from God. Luther was now faced with the false assumption, he admitted it came because of his own misuse of prophecy, thus gaining from his own lesson, a sign of one who is humble and teachable.   

The year of testing was between May 1521 to March 1522, a ten month period. Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) was an ally of Luther's, who rejected the authority of the Roman church, the cannon Law, and the Scholastics, by placing the Bible above these elements as the authority for all Christians. His book on the subject was to "incite people to the Scriptures"; in 1530 the Diet of Augsburg was held, Melanchthon with Luther's approval drew up the Augsburg Confession then presented it to the Diet. It became the official creed of the Lutheran church; out of the twenty-nine points, seven were negative centering on religious abuses.

Lutheranism was also marred by internal doctrinal controversy, most of the issues were similar to the issues Luther and Melanchthon had differences on. One dispute was over how much of the Law of Moses should be preached. When people follow people to obtain experiences, differences will surface, but when they center on the Unity of the Faith of Jesus, there is no division. The same elements of division caused the denominations, all of which say they run their organizations "according to the Bible".

Luther's concept of the Jews was based on his teaching from Rome, his early views and latter views changed, although he still couldn't understand why the Jews would reject so great a gift. Luther's call was Mercy, not the End Times, or the Jew, he was sent to the church, not Israel. His views in areas not given to his calling were his, not God's. It's better to stick to our calling and message to stop the wicked from coming in after the fact, and using our opinions to discolor the Truth. Luther had a Truth, he had his opinions, however, there were times when he mixed the two, opening the door for the wicked to attack him. Patience and time taught him when to speak, and when not to, as well as what to say, and what not to.

In 1516 the first complete New Testament was printed in Greek, the purpose was to "enlighten the peoples of the world and so usher in a millennium of universal virtue". The  concept was not to usher in the Kingdom, but Virtue, or having an honest leadership. Nonetheless the New Testament was now in the hands of the people; it wouldn't be until the early 1600's for the Bible to be available in English, but Luther was in Germany, not England. The German language was not something in a book, but a spoken language passed from father to son. It was a chore producing a written German Bible, not so with Greek or Latin. The printing in German proved God is always able to move past the hand of man to keep His Word pure. Luther saw the Greek word Metanoia rendered in the Latin of St. Jerome as Poenitentia, meaning a Change Of Heart, not a change of occupation, whereas dogma termed it a change from the world to the church. Luther’s discovery of faith was only confirmed by finding this latest truth; a man can leave the world, enter the church, yet retain the same heart. There needed to be “circumcision of heart”, before Metanoia could take place.

The church condoned images of Saints by saying, Worshipping saints who lived and died in Christ is not the same as worshipping heathen idols, even if they were both presented in graven images. This false thinking caused the common man to look upon the image assuming no man could reach the same position as these saints, so why try? Did Solomon make an image of David? Even the Jew knew better, they knew placing a man, even a man of God above God was a sin, placement of an image a greater sin. The children in the wilderness found out what happens when one makes a “symbol” of their leader (the golden calf). 

Rome held more holy places than any other religion on the earth, but they failed to hold God. The assumption was if one had holy images, the were holy. They had the tombs of St Peter and St Paul, but Luther noted, if they would have placed their ears to the ground, they would have heard Paul and Peter twisting and turning in their graves. Rome had eighty thousand remains of the martyrs in the catacombs, but they forgot why these saints became martyrs. They had the Sacred Stair of twenty-eight steps from the palace of Pilate. They said if anyone walked up those steps on their knees, kissing each step they could release a loved one from purgatory. This associated with All Saints Day, where they could purchase absolution for someone to free them from purgatory, or punishment of sin. This enforced the theology of Indulgence, some would carry coffins from town to town having the people fill the coffin with money, before they would pray for their dead. Luther traced Indulgence back to Pope Boniface VIII (1300), finding the traditions of man still make the Word to no effect.

Pope Boniface VIII declared the Jubilee Indulgence, where anyone could obtain Total Remission of sin when they visited the graves of the Apostles in Rome. Luther found the concept of purgatory was merely a means to obtain more Indulgence money. Following Boniface came Popes Clement VI (1343), Urban VI (1389) and Paul II (1470) who all continued with the acts of Indulgence. Sacrifice turned to sacrilege, repentance turned to bank accounts, faith to fear, Mercy to oppression, Grace became twisted in the minds of the humanist.

Before Luther would bring his 95 Theses, he would visit Rome. Julius II was the Pope, the same Julius who found homosexuality running amuck, money-hungry priests, self-based, self-centered theologians in his midst, surely he would listen to the Hope presented by Luther. However, Julius was in love with his worldly pursuits, the arts and all the things of man. After Julius would come Pope Leo X in 1513, surely the system would change, Faith would again enter the confines of the church. Regardless of the Pope there were the wicked who hedged themselves around the Pope, they viewed, or interpreted all letters to the Pope while influencing the Pope in all matters.

Luther gave a sermon regarding Simony, instead of receiving the rebuke, the wicked claimed Luther was talking about the Holy Father (God the Father), when the interpretation of holy father really pointed to the Pope. They used the title Holy Father to convince the people Luther was talking against God, but in truth they knew he was pointing the prophet's finger at the Pope, and the supporters of the Pope.

Luther published his 95 Theses on Indulgences, the 95 points were not like the 97, rather the 95 were a probing invitation to question the Indulgences. Luther didn't know the outcome, but God did. Much to the surprise of Luther, the "whole world was complaining about indulgences"; he hit a nerve while striking a cord with the people. Theses 1 through 4 were concerned with defining the precise of penance and penitence. Theses 5 through 7 viewed the papal indulgences. Theses 8 through 29 looked at the indulgences for the dead and the assumption of papal power over purgatory. Luther wanted to know if the Pope had so much power, why not pray once and empty purgatory? Theses 30 through 40 pointed to the indulgences of living. Theses 41 through 52 compared the contributions of the building fund for St. Peter's: Why did the Pope who had more money than Abraham go after the poor to furnish money for the building fund? Theses 53 through 80 looked at the preaching indulgences; How can one freely give what they freely have received if they keep charging for it? Theses 80 through 89 looked at the days set aside for indulgences again asking, if the Pope has all this power, why not empty purgatory, rather than robbing the poor. The thoughts of Rome included "the end justifies the means"; whatever it took to get money to continue the efforts of the church was godly, it didn't matter what they used, as long as it worked. Theses 90 and 91 said to muzzle the objections without answering them was a grave mistake. Theses 92 through 95 summed up the prior Theses points.

In 1517 Luther's 97 Theses would be placed on Wittenberg castle door, they were concerned with Scholastic Theology taught in Rome which was void of Truth or the Spirit. The Theses on Indulgence ruffled more feathers than the Theses on Theology; Luther hit the papal in the pocket book, exposed their bank accounts, turned their income sources upside down, ran the Dove selling turncoats out of the temple into the street where all could see them. Whenever one exposes the wicked showing their intent is based in the spirit of man turned to the spirit of the world, the wicked will come out swinging; they may not hit us, but they will take a swing.

Luther's friends all came to his aid, but they also reminded Martin, If you write against the Pope, do you think he will sit still? Elector Frederick didn't like Luther to begin with, now it was all out war. Tetzel was a cut throat debater, who used his tongue as a weapon, one could call him a watchdog for church dogma. Frederick sent word to Tetzel, Open doors, come at once, safe-conduct, debate Luther. Recalling how Luther lived in an age where debate was used as a means of teaching, it stands he assumed this was an opportunity to convict the loss souls of the papacy.

Frederick and Tetzel wanted a debate, Luther wanted to know where the Bible said he was wrong. Whatever Frederick and Tetzel desired didn't stop the people from looking at Luther as an Apostle, a Holy Man of God, a Defender of God. Frederick had the power of excommunication, but Luther had John 16:2 "they shall put you out of the synagogues". Luther didn't understand the Yoke, he didn't know if the church would reject the correction, thus God removed Luther from the Yoke in order to bring the Truth of Faith to those who desired it. We can’t forget many years prior Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this very issue, if the husband (leaders) yoke themselves from Christ, the congregation (wives) are left without authority, or the anointing (I Cor 11:1-16). In order to bring authority and honor back to the leadership roles, one of two things had to a happen, the leadership (whether appointed by God or man) had to repent, then get right with God. Or, God would remove His people from the hand of corruptness, making new leaders. This didn’t remove either Luther or the leadership from the Body, but it shows us something interesting. If man appoints leaders, yet we accept them as our leaders, we are nonetheless under them, such was the case with these people and the Corinthians (II Cor 11:13-15). Moving out from under their leadership was not rebellion, since God had not appointed them to begin with. Rebellion would be the case if Luther felt for a second God had appointed and anointed the leadership. However, he knew Faith was a powerful issue, If the leadership was anointed they would know the Truth. Obviously if the leadership not only lacked authority but the anointing, indicating they were not of God, and not to be recognized.

What about the God appointed leadership? If God appoints a leader, they are a leader, even if they place an Yoke between them and Christ, they may end voiding their self of authority (I Cor 11:1-6). Evan if the congregation wants to move out from under carnal leadership, they can’t, since the leaders are God appointed. The Congregation is left in a silent position, they cannot pray or prophesy in the gathering, but they can still learn at home (I Cor 11:5-16, 14:34 & II Cor 13:1-5). 

During Luther's time the first order of excommunication was the failure to pay tithe or any other church tax, not only would they excommunicate the person, as well as their entire family. Rather than receive tithes, they were taking them. One way or the other, the church was going to get their money. All they wanted from Luther was an apology for his writings against the indulgences. To the leadership they were doing the honorable thing, it was a means to get the funds to continue the “work of God”. In truth the words of holiness, faith or mercy didn’t upset them as much as interfering with their Indulgences. All Luther wanted was some Bible evidence saying what they were doing was the Will of God, rather than Simony, or Indulgence. Luther knew the tithe had nothing to do with salvation, thus how could the church say a man was damned, when he was not (Heb 7:5-8).

The most they could do was exclude someone from fellowship with the church, in which case, it was more of a blessing than a curse. If they cast Luther out, it’s obvious he didn’t rebel or leave them, which made him free to seek God on his own void of the yoke. Time would go on, Frederick would tell Luther, "Recant"; Luther would say, "Show me in the Bible and I will"; he didn’t recant, they never were able to show him one verse where he was in error.

In 1520 a bull was issued by the Pope, instigated by Frederick to excommunicate Luther, band him from Rome, and cause a warrant of death to be placed against him, but the warrant lacked force or power. According to the Pope the excommunication removed Luther from the Mercy of Christ, when Luther knew it was by faith which he obtained Mercy. The Pope used the threat of taking something away from Luther, the Pope never gave him; big deal, let the Pope write his bull, Luther had Jesus.

Rome was more afraid of the people, than they were of Luther. They knew killing Luther would be a great mistake, thus the warrant stayed, but no one carried it out. However, the wicked weren't the only problem, the devil sent false prophets known as the Zwickau Prophets to disrupt the Faith stand of Luther. The Zwickau Prophets sided with Luther on his views of Rome, but they also wanted to abolish the Bible and hold to their prophecy alone. Luther judged the prophets wanton and false, but by the time he saw them, they had already established themselves with the people in Wittenberg. Luther saw how the prophets lacked character, merely wanting to use the coat tails of the Luther Movement to promote their own movement. The prophets soon went to the way side from whence they came, yet Luther's Movement went forward.

Luther finally made the entire matter simple, "Let him who believes, believe and follow me; let him who believes not, believe not and go his way". He added "Christianity consists neither in desisting from nor engaging in outward ceremonies, only in faith".

Luther made mistakes, some were very costly, not to him, but to others. In 1522 Luther wrote, "We have triumphed over the papal tyranny which weighed down kings and princes; it will be still easier to demolish the kings and princes themselves". This came from Luther, not God, the result was a bloody civil war. People of God carry weight, their words carry weight, whether the words are from God or their own minds. Paul was careful in saying, "This I say, not the Lord"; whereas Luther was not. So, why didn’t the Lord stop him? The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Luther hated people putting his name on the movement, he often said, It's not New, it's fifteen hundred years old. When they termed it Lutheran, he had a fit. Protester was more in tune, he merely made a stand for God, no more than anyone who says they love  the Lord their God.

The measure of faith holds mankind’s “creative” ability, which we know is really an inventive ability. Along those lines we know the Chinese invented gun powder, but it was Roger Bacon (1214-94) who communicated the formula of gunpowder into terms where the formula could be reproduced. Berthold Schwarz (1300) invented a portoypal gun, both men were Franciscan friars. The best guns were made in Nuremberg, a place noted for its peaceful craftsmen. Nuremberg manufactured a gun and named it The Nightingale, in remembrance for a man by the name of Sickingen. When Sickingen was in the thick of battle he noted the adversary was unfair, in fact he said, "Never have I known such unchristian shooting". One has to ask what is “Christian shooting like?”.

Many years prior the church assumed by killing all Muslims, they could abolish Islam, but they found their hostile action did just the opposite, they actually were able to increase the members of Islam, rather than eradicate it. Why didn’t God warn them? He did, the Bible warned them of all these things, the use of force, Simony, ruling by force, failure to provide mercy, unbelief, absence of faith, separating ourselves from the Spirit, all products of “choice”. Yet on the same note the Power, Authority and Kingdom were also at hand for any who would reach out by faith. Wasn’t it Luther’s point? Yes, he couldn’t understand why they were so opposed to the Way of God.

Luther had an impact on the common man as well, somewhere an average person took Luther’s Theses, then came up with the Twelve Articles of the common man, which in turn became the basis for the civil war. The “common man” took the Theses too far, they wanted control of the local perish, the right to hire, or fire the pastor. They also wanted a pastor who would preach the Gospel, not dogma. They wanted freedom from serfdom, a right to own their land, ability to hunt animals on their own land, the ability to farm their own land. They also added, If any of these conditions are opposed to the Holy Scriptures, we will recant them, which they picked up from Luther. They said the congregation is of the leader, but all leaders come from the congregation. Also what a leader is suppose to be like; however, the “common man” retorted by showing what a leader should be, not what the leaders were.

The “Twelve Articles of the common man” also produced something not in the Bible, the “deacon board”. The leaders in the past took the position of Bishop from the helps, making it a government by calling it Cardinal, now the “common man” was taking the Deacon from helps placing it over the Offices, leaving no one in helps. All government and no helps is as bad as all helps and no government.

Luther saw the similarity in words, but he also saw the intent was much different. The common man was using presumed Godly methods to alter the government, a position Luther disagreed with. Luther wrote Exhortation To Peace, in which he told the nobles they had no one to blame, but themselves. He also told the peasants, “True Christians” never take the law into their own hands. Neither group wanted to hear the words of Luther, the uprising spread like wild fire. Luther wrote another tract entitled Against The Murderous And Thieving Hordes Of Peasants. In this tract he incited the nobles to "stab, smite, throttle, slay these rabid mad dogs", this time Luther wrote from his frustration. The nobles took Luther as a man of God, assuming God granted them permission to kill, rob and destroy, they did so for many days. Luther knew what he did, but he also knew God was able to forgive him, and them. Luther became another to prove, people of God are people nonetheless, they should never be placed above God, or the principles of the Bible.

Luther found another experience, a helpmeet by the name of Katharina. Luther wanted to be married about as much as he wanted to be Pope, but God knew this man needed a helpmeet. Luther himself knew God put the plan together, thus he submitted to the will of God, but was still full of apprehension regarding the prospect of marriage.

The story regarding Katharina and Martin Luther seemed to come out of a story book. The cast off friar, the rejected nun, the two most unlikely people in the world, with the most horrid start of all, yet with an ending showing how God unites people. Katharina was able to bring the humor of Luther to the surface, to finish the joy of Luther's faith bringing him into a place to enjoy his life of Mercy.

Katharina was a nun, yet for a nun to leave the confines of the church was a death sentence. A priest pledged loyalty to the church, but a nun was married to Christ and bound to the marriage until death, one way or the other. When Katharina and Martin were married, she was twenty-six, he forty-two, but in those days forty-two was near death, the average life of a man was forty-five, not sixty.

As a young lady, Katharina von Bora joined the nuns at Numbschen in 1522, but soon heard of the Faith Movement. She along with some other nuns sent word to Luther, "Our consciences, enlightened by the Gospel, do not permit us to live as nuns any longer". They needed help to escape, what could Luther do? Martin had a friend by the name of Leonard Koppe of Torgau, a man who sold herring in barrels, a perfect mode for escape, but not for a love story. Luther would later comment, Only God would send me a bride in a herring barrel.

On Resurrection Day Eve in 1523 Koppe made good the escape, at the time Katharina had no idea of marrying Luther. When the nuns arrived at Luther's monastery, known prior as the Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg (a gift to Luther) there was room but no food. Letters went out to find husbands, if no husbands, then send food and clothing. Katharina fell in love with a young man by the name of Hieronymus Baumgartner, but the Baumgartner household didn't like, or condone the relationship. Katharina spent two years in the Baumgartner household to learn how to be a good wife, but the Baumgartner's sent their son away to a school during the time, thus the intent wasn't to make Katharina a good wife, but to discourage her from being one. Their plan didn't work, Katharina loved the toil of being a housekeeper, nonetheless the Baumgartner's sent her back to Luther's monastery.

Luther became a matchmaker, sending a letter to Hieronymus saying, "If you don't want to lose your Kathe von Bora, beset yourself before she is given to another who wants her". Katharina had her own plans, she would take Luther or anyone of his two friends if asked. When Luther heard the news he said, "Good God! Not Me!"; later he changed his mind about Katharina's proposal.

Luther had written for years against the celibacy of priests, he applauded those who left the system to take wives. Now he was faced with his own words; would he follow his own words, or turn into a hypocrite? Luther married Katharina, but his reasoning was not love. Luther listed four reasons for the marriage, 1) to fulfill the dearest wish of his father, 2) to bear witness to his own confessions, 3) to infuriate the papists and spite the devil, and 4) taking pity on a deserted woman. This was the beginning but not the end, Luther would later write, "My Katharina, my Kathy, My Katie, my rib, Doctor Kate, my lady of the orchards".

Luther would also say, “In truth there is a lot to get used to in marriage. One wakes up in the morning finding a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before”. When Katharina was with their first child Luther wrote, “My Katie is fulfilling Genesis! There is to be born a child of a monk and nun”. Katharina bore six living children in eight years, later two of the girls would die.

Luther's love for Katharina grew; he often wrote about her. In one letter he said, "My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me, I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of Croesus"; "I would not exchange Katie for all France or Venice, because God has given her to me". In Luther's eyes the beginning of this venture looked anything but good, but the result proved it was very good, thus God knew the heart of Luther, better than Luther did.

The marriage completed Luther, brought him into the Paradise he was seeking, plus adding to his character. Luther told all married men, When Satan rages, wake up your wife and talk to her. Luther repented for giving more credit to Katharina than Christ, but admitted he couldn't help it. His children were miracles to him, faces of joy, the "loveliest of miracles".

Luther's sense of humor often came to the surface, as evidenced by his statement: "Christ said we must become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Dear God, this is too much! Do we have to become such idiots?". His joy and humor surfaced after God gave him the gift of Katharina, his beloved helpmeet. Katharina would out live Martin, but during their years she could be counted on to bring in enough food to care for all the students, visitors, or others Luther would invite in. Luther never turned anyone from his door, whether friend or foe.

Before Luther found the Mercy of God his view of the Jews was like Rome’s, not good at all. Later Luther changed his views, seeking to convert many Jews by faith and love, rather than force and violence. Hitler attempted to use Luther's prior view of the Jews to support his actions, but even Hitler knew Luther wrote many later papers regarding the conversion of the Jews to The Faith. In 1523 he wrote the tract, "Jesus Christ Was Born A Jew"; hardly the words of a Jew hater. Within the tract Luther said the papists have so discredited themselves, a Good Christian would rather be a Jew than one of them, a Jew would rather be a pig than a Christian. Luther added, "I therefore beg by dear papists, when they get tired of abusing me as a heretic, to abuse me rather as a Jew". In reference to converting the Jews Luther said, "We should lean towards the Jews not the Pope's law of hate, but Christ's Law of Love".

Luther preached until February 15, 1546, when he fell ill, three days later he went home to be with the Lord, but his words still call out for us to enter by Faith. Luther proves, By your words you are justified, or by your words you are condemned.           

The Luther had an experience with God, but Luther related the generalities of the experience, not the specifics. At one point in time during the early months of his revelation he disappeared, his enemies assumed he was dead. Because the people loved Luther so much, they had to make a search, at least to appease the people. Luther surfaced, but locked himself up for another seven months, during these ten months he came face to face with the Faith and Love of God. The Luther experience was Luther's, any attempt to copy his experience without holding the same faith, or walking the path in the wilderness will breed failure.

Some who followed Luther attempted to re-live his teachings, without living his manner of life; some wanted the Faith experience without living the faith to bring it: yet there were others who found their experience with Jesus and maintained the Faith. Far too often we hear the details of someone's experience, then we Try It Out to see if it will work or not, it’s not of faith, but an experiment. We try on clothes, we believe in Jesus.

The Protestant Reformation fell into two groups, Lutheranism and Calvinism. Today we see a type of Hyper-Calvinism which bears little resemblance to Calvin's teachings, but in the early days Calvin looked at the Cross and Salvation, the Luther movement looked at Faith in order reach the Mercy of the Father. It was akin to Paul looking at Abraham's faith in the beginning stages toward the promise, and James looking at the fruit of Abraham's faith after the man held the promise. Paul saw the beginning of faith, James saw faith being tested, but both Paul and James used the same Abraham, just different stages of the man’s belief and faith. The mistake is attempting to fit the Calvin thoughts after the Luther experience, it has to be the other way around.

From both the Luther and Calvin camps came the Mennonites who rejected infant baptism, as well as the thought of Christ Himself entered the person at communion, rather they saw the person entering Christ (Body), and the Spirit of Christ entering the person. They also believed both men and women could preach, from this group came the Anabaptist and Amish. From the Anabaptist came the Baptist, and from the Baptist came over 300 denominations. The name Anabaptist didn't mean they were Anti Baptism, rather it means they were Anti Infant Baptism, or against the teaching of Rome regarding infant baptism. The Anabaptist re-baptized many, they said one must make a decision to repent, and be able to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. They also believed in the baptism with the Holy Ghost as well as the Doctrine of Baptisms.

Around the 1600's another move came about, this movement mixed philosophical and theological teachings, mainly the teachings of Protestantism and Calvinism with some old philosophical heresies which in the past corrupted the Roman church. This movement was termed Deism, instead of bringing all the foolishness of the past, it brought it's own. Deism believed God created the world and those in it as a law-biding society, then God allowed man to continue without any interference. This was based on God resting on the Seventh Day, but it failed to include, "His Word watches over to see His Work complete"; nor did it include He is Alpha and Omega. They didn't say, "it has passed away" they said, "it never was". They held, "God gave us a brain to make choice", or "God gave us common sense" or the famed, "pull yourself up by our own boat straps". The Deist holds "God is out there and we're down here". Ben Franklin was a Deist, as were others in the early American Experience. They believed there was a God, they simply failed to believe He involved Himself in our lives. Deism is like Martha, it concerns itself with many things, little of which have to do with Faith.

From this point in history it would be a stones throw to the Enlightenment Period the second step of the Renaissance, leading to the Third. The Enlightenment would better be termed as the Second Step Of Endarkenment. Splits and divisions would develop like wild fire, some elements had a name so long they would take a fifty foot sign on the front of their building. The Northern, the Southern, the Holy, the Second Most Holy, the Holier Than The Holiest, The Holier Than The Other Holiness, Who Are As Holy As We Are, and so on, all of which started when God revealed the word Faith to Luther. The differences were carnal based, yet each of them said they fashioned their order after the Bible, but mainly by their interpretation of the Bible.

Seeds from Luther, Calvin and a man by the name of Huldrech Zwingli (1484-1531), all gave rise to the Anabaptist. Zwingli's insistence on the Bible being the basis for the teaching of the preachers encouraged the rise of Anabaptism. He also raised the issue of mandatory tithing, according to Zwingli tithing was voluntary in order for it to remain Cheerful. He argued the concept of the Tithe being used by Rome had nothing to do with Abraham, but much to do with the Law. Zwingli also confronted the Roman rules on Lent, in 1522 several citizens broke the fast by eating sausages in public, while saying their authority came from the teaching of Zwingli. In response Zwingli held an open debate on the subject in Zurich, with Zwingli being the victor.

Shortly thereafter fees for baptism and burials were eliminated; monks and nuns were allowed to marry, images and relics were removed, with the abolition of many of the Mass rules. Zwingli could not come into agreement with Luther over the presence of Christ in the Communion, thus he started a separate group known as Zwinglianism. Zwinglian later joined to the Calvinistic thinking; however, Zwingli went one step further, or backward, and held the Bible was the only source for teaching. It sounds great, but where is the Holy Ghost? The Holy Ghost is the Teacher, He uses the Bible, but remove the Holy Ghost, and the Bible becomes just another intellectual religious book. There are many people who use the Bible as a tool to attack others, or use the Bible to promote their own agenda. The Bible is Holy, but it has to be interpreted by the Holy Ghost to produce Life.

However, Zwingli's strong stand on Bible teaching encouraged the rise of the Anabaptist concepts on the Bible; however, Zwingli’s intellectual view left little if any room for the Holy Ghost. Some of the ideas were good, some areas are so plain in the Bible it takes a work not to believe them, for the most part these were the areas the Anabaptist held to. The process of the Evangelical came to the raise, meaning they believed in Salvation through Grace by faith. Charismatic means Grace motivated, put the two together and you have the Gospel.

Conrad Grebel (1498-1526) could be considered as the founder of the Swiss Anabaptist movement. After his conversion in 1522 he worked side by side with Zwingli. George Blaurock in 1525 was baptized by Grebel, who in turn baptized Blaurock, then the both of them baptized several others, all giving rise to the movement. They were members of the Body prior, but felt there had to be a re-baptized based on belief. This would be much like Paul re-baptizing the disciples in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6).

Balthasar Hunmaier (1481-1528) was one of the early German Anabaptists, who studied under John Eck. His travels brought him into contact with the Swiss radicals, when he and several hundred others were baptized by affusion (pouring upon).

The Protestant movement also suffered persecution; Hubmaier was banished to Moravia, but had escaped the Austrian authorities, ending in Zurich. He was responsible for several Moravian converts, this will become an important issue when we move to the life of John Wesley.

The Anabaptists had some problems from fringe radicals, but Menno Simmons (1496-1561) assumed leadership, removing the stigma. The Anabaptists later became known as the Swiss Brethren, or Mennonites, then under Jacob Amman they became the Amish. Some Anabaptists moved to England, there under Thomas Helwys they became known as the Baptists.

There were also the "Spiritual Radicals" who followed Kaspar Schwenkfeld (1489-1561). They believed in the Bible and the Holy Ghost, a small group of them ended in the United States in the area of Pennsylvania several years later. Another Spiritual Radical (if there is such a thing) was Sabastian Franck (1499-1542). Although some tend to give credit to Luther and Calvin alone for the Reformation, their efforts would never have amounted to a thing without the Holy Ghost, coupled with the Spiritual Radicals praying for them.

Luther's stand was simple, By Faith, but John Calvin's was more complex, and vague. Calvin's five points which could be taken in any number of ways, but remained five points. Bible students for years have used the word "Tulip" as a clue to the five points of Calvinism: the T stood for the Total depravity of all men, the same thought as all have fallen short of the glory of God. Calvin saw this depravity as the result of every man inheriting the fallen nature from Adam through the flesh. Next was the U standing for the Unconditional Salvation being obtained by the Unconditional  election apart from human merit, based on the sovereign will of God, wherein God has selected some unto Salvation, and some unto Damnation. This is the catch, the presumption was for God to maintain an A list and a B list. This was based on Paul’s comments about the Potter forming the vessel, the part Calvin left out was the vessel became one of honor or dishonor based on the Mercy the person rendered, or refused to render. This view removes the “whosoever” who calls on the Lord, it also takes the Keys from man. The "L" stood for Limited atonement, or the concept of the Cross paying for the Adam sin nature, it required the Blood of Jesus to reach remission, very true, but he failed to mention being Born Again to enter the Blood. The "I" stood for Irresistible Grace, which means one is saved apart from their own initial desire as the Holy Ghost draws them to the Cross. This was in direct conflict with Peter’s teaching regarding those who enter, yet return to the world as a pig to mire (II Pet 2:13-22). The "P" stood for Perseverance, or Preservation, which became the problem producing Hyper-Calvinism. Originally Preservation stood for the protective power of the Spirit to keep and preserve us until the day of redemption, but it later turned into "once saved always saved", the foundation of Hyper-Calvinist thinking. Today Hyper-Calvinism depends on one premise which is absent in the original Calvin theology, the thought of Salvation being the Gift: without this one premise all the points of Hyper-Calvinism fall apart. Although Hyper-Calvinism is common today, we find more and more questioning the "once saved always saved" doctrine. The obvious pitfall is when someone makes a mistake, they are told they were never saved. They prayed, were baptized in the Name of Jesus, studied, asked for and received the Spirit, yet now they are not saved, go figure? Being saved from the world to enter the course of Grace unto Salvation has places where we learn by our mistakes, Peter did, Paul did, and so do we.

Hyper-Calvinism leaves no room for mistakes, as it also leaves no room for those who leave the faith to become the Wicked. It sits in the middle, never allowing room for two very important areas, we are not of them who draw back to perdition, but of them who believe unto the saving of the soul. The Bible shows we can fall from Grace, there will be a falling away from The Faith, there are bad and good fish in the same net, tares and wheat in the same field, a man’s enemies are of his own house. Hyper-Calvinism also contents we must be saved every day, this is different than dying daily, rather it tends to suggest God’s mercy was not sufficient to save us from the world, nor the Cross sufficient, meaning we are a people without hope, not so, we are a people with a Great Hope.

Judas cast out devils, preached, baptized others in water, held a position in the ministry of Jesus, sat at the same table, yet began a position known as the son of perdition. Jesus said He lost none Except for the son of perdition, meaning Judas made the decision to leave Jesus. Peter was among the three of the inner-circle, he too was ordained an apostle, preached, went out and healed the sick, yet he failed because of a weakness, not a wickedness. Judas had the opportunity to deny his own agenda, but he didn’t. John was also among the inner-circle, yet he stood at the Cross and heard, “Behold thy mother”. Three men, all ordained, all baptized in water, all members of the ministry of Jesus, yet all different. Judas became the Wicked, John the beloved, and Peter restored.

Calvin based a great deal of this thinking on Romans Chapter 8 (although at the time chapter and verse were not in the Bible), where Paul talked about predestination. Accordingly Paul did say those whom God foreknew, He predestinated to be conformed into the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29). The one area forgotten is the wording, “might be”, rather than “will be”. Those God did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified (Rom 8:30). The tenses in these verses, and the wording need to be examined, we find “might”, and “called”, the tenses are all past tense, giving us a clue to Predestinated. Simply God has a plan set for us, He knows all there is to know, and more; however we don’t. Our faith trusts in God’s ability to save our souls, yet He has also given us the keys, we are the ones who have the power to bind or loose. The Report is in heaven, but in order for the Plan to be effective in our lives we need the Witness of the Water, Blood and Spirit. Since we have the keys, we also have the initiation of the process. The plan may be in heaven, but it’s we who either loose God’s mercy on us by forgiving, or bind God’s mercy in heaven by refusing to forgive. If predestination means God has His A list and B list, then we never had the keys, and Jesus lied, but we know better.

The confusion over Calvin's theology stems from two areas, first it cannot be placed after Luther's concept of "the just shall live by faith", it must come before. The five points lead one to the Cross, no further, once at the Cross then comes the "just shall live by faith". If God desires all to come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel, then He has provided for all to be in the Body, so why aren’t they? Free moral choice. The other aspect is the false assumption of Salvation as the Gift, or even A gift. Paul said, Grace is the Gift, Salvation the goal (Eph 2:8 & 3:7). Paul told the Ephesians they were Sealed by the Holy Spirit AFTER they believed, not before, thus they had to believe in order to be sealed, they weren't tricked into the Kingdom (Eph 1:13). On the same note, Paul said we could grieve the Holy Spirit AFTER we are sealed (Eph 4:30). Isaiah said, when the children vexed (grieved) the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit turned and became their enemy (Isa 63:10). Hyper-Calvinism tends to pick Scripture suggesting something, not said in the verse, it also ignores all the verses regarding opposite viewpoint. They say no man can pluck us out of the hand of Jesus, true, but the Scriptures also show we can remove ourselves from the hand. Simply, no person has the authority to remove us from the Body, no Counsel, or Board has the power or authority to remove us from the Body. They may toss us out of their church,  but it’s all they can do. On the same note, we have the keys, thus we can fail at Grace (Heb 12:15). Peter says, “while they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…for if AFTER they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (II Pet 2:19-22). John says those who are antichrist came from us, but were not of us (I Jn 2:19). Jude says they crept in unawares, but he also tells us to pluck them out of the fire: on some having compassion, knowing we made a difference, but on others save with fear, hating event the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 19-23). Jude also tells us, although we should know, how the Lord having SAVED the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who believed not (Jude 5). The destruction was not the choice of God, it was predicated by the unbelief of the children. God didn’t make them enter unbelief, He provided evidence for them to believe, they made the decision to reject the evidence. Keep things in prospective, no person has the authority to tell us we are not of the Body, but it doesn’t mean we can tip toe through the kingdom thinking we don’t have to continue to believe (Mark 16:16-18).

Calvin stressed the Sovereignty of God, yet God's sovereignty is found in His Wisdom and Knowledge. God knew the children in the wilderness would rebel, but the children didn't. God called them holy, so were they? Would we call someone holy who made a golden calf? Or who challenged their anointed leader? What made them holy? God was dealing with them as children, it always makes one holy. God knew Saul would rebel against David, but neither Saul or David knew. God knew the Lamb would be slain before the foundation of the world, but Adam didn't. Simply because God knows, doesn't mean we do, neither does it mean God manipulates man.

Calvin knew a man by the name of Guillaume Farel (1489-1565), in 1536 Calvin was in Geneva, where Farel urged him to join his ministry. Calvin declined and wanted to continue his studies; however, Farel told him the Curse of God would fall on him if he refused. Later Calvin confessed, he was so stricken by fear he stayed; so much for election, if it was election it was in the hand of God, there would be no place for fear. This isn't against Calvin, but shows his teachings were not what they are purported to be today. Calvin instituted the openness of the Lord's Supper for all Believers to enjoy, singing in the congregation with a short confession of faith. Like any doctrine, it can be twisted to mean something it did not in the beginning. Calvin’s words were twisted to mean man does not have the Keys, which we know is not true.

Luther, Calvin and others wrote their Theological foundations to show others how they thought, not as a means to reach God through them. Instead of taking those discourses as intended, others used them as a means to form their lives after the thinking of Luther, or Calvin, yet void of the faith of the men. Scholars are helpful, but the words of a scholar never replace the Bible, they are suppose to support it. When we make the Bible prove itself to our scholars, we are misusing knowledge.              

The Protestant movement began many revivals, even the Roman church started a missionary movement. The French Jesuits carried their faith to Latin America, Quebec and Southeastern Asia. The most effective weapon of the positive propaganda of the Roman church was provided by the Jesuits. The founder of the order, Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) related while he was reading one day, he had a "spiritual experience" in 1522, leading him to dedicate his life to the service of God and the church. His wording is a clue, it was not “church” alone, or “church and God”, he placed his first love first. In 1534 he and six friends became the nucleus of the order, which was approved by Paul III in 1540. Loyola's book entitled, Spiritual Exercises became a guide to new recruits. Several weeks were spent in meditation on sin, life, death, and the resurrection of Christ.

With the Jesuits busy on the road of revival, the church made a decision to back up their work with two weapons of coercion. The Inquisition and the Index became the weapons of "believe like us or die". The Index was a list of prohibited books, some needed to be prohibited, but they also prohibited every book which didn't agree with Roman church dogma. The Inquisition handled the problem of heresy, or at least what they termed as heresy. The accused were presumed guilty until they proved their innocence; they were never confronted with their accusers; they could be forced to testify against themselves; they could be tortured to extract a confession, if sentenced, they were punished with loss of property, imprisonment, or burning at the stake. The only freedom was to recant their views. Under Thomas Torquemada ten thousand were executed and under Ximenes nearly two thousand were.

In order to enter the reform movement, without having to enter it, Paul III called the Council of Trent in 1545. In 1547 the Council declared the Bible alone is not the source for man but Canonical Scriptures and the Apocrypha in the Vulgate, with the tradition of the church constituted the final authority. Although they knew the Scripture, "Your traditions have made the Word to no effect" they still introduced tradition as a foundation. Few on either side of the fence sought to introduce the Holy Ghost as the Interpreter of the Bible. The Council made it impossible for any reconciliation with Protestantism because the Protestants would not accept the concept of equal authority between tradition and Scripture.        

           

REVIVAL COMETH

There are different types of revival, some are based in emotionalism, someone knows how to get the people stirred up for the moment, but it lasts until the parking lot. There are other revivals happening when the Holy Ghost moves, as history shows there came a time when the Tree was ripe for revival, the Holy Root was awaking.

The Puritans and Separatists also became activity reformers. After the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588 Queen Elizabeth felt she was through with religious turmoil. The Roman church was cast out of England, it appeared England would be the champion of Protestantism. In 1560 AD the Puritans contended far too many "rags of popery" were still in the Anglican church, they demanded Purity in the church, thus bringing about the name Puritans. They opposed the use of saints' days, clerical absolution, the sign of the Cross, the custom of having godparents in baptism, kneeling for Communion and the use of the surplice by the minister. They also followed William Perkins' interpretations of Calvin; unlike Luther's one line statement, "the just shall live by faith" Calvin's statements were left open to interpretation, thus producing many variables. 

In 1593 Elizabeth passed an act against the Puritans, the act gave the authorities permission to jail the Puritans for failure to attend the Anglican church. The Puritans were also known as Independents, thus the Independents must not be confused with the Separatists, who wanted separation of the church from the state with congregational government of the church. In essence the Puritans wanted a state church, but wanted it run by the church; whereas the Separatists wanted the state to keep completely out of the church. Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) changed the course of the Puritan efforts from reform of liturgy to reform of theology. Cartwright laid the foundations for the English Presbyterianism movement by using Calvin teachings in a more strict form, he believed the church government must be in control of bishops and elders, this is against the procedure God formulated (I Cor 12:28).

In 1658 at Savoy in London the Congregationalist followers of Henry Jacob (1563-1624) formulated a Calvinistic creed known as the Savoy Declaration. The main differences between the Independent Puritans and the Episcopal Presbyterian produced the Separatist Puritans. The Separatists bound themselves to Christ and each other in a type of state church. The State church consisted of Anglican (low church Puritans), Presbyterian Puritans (Cartwright followers), the Congregational (Independent Puritans as Jacob's followers); but the Separatists wanted a No state church, some like Browne, Greenwood, Barrow, Smyth, Robinson, and others who formed six groups, three groups for and three against. Robert Browne (1550-1633) argued believers were to be united to Christ by a voluntary covenant, the officers were to be chosen by the members and no congregation had authority over another.

Browne's views of Advanced Congregationalism were modified to a degree by John Greenwood who started a group around 1586. The authorities hanged both Browne and Greenwood for their views. A third Separatist group of Congregationalists was led by John Robinson (1575-1625), who settled in Holland in 1608. William Bradford (1590-1657) a member of the Plymouth landing party was a member of the group, he migrated to American on the Mayflower in 1620.

John Smyth (1565-1612) came under the influence of the Mennonites, along with Thomas Helwys (1550-1616). Both Smyth and Helwys organized the first English Baptist church; they followed Arminian Doctrines, and practiced baptism by affusion. They were known as General Baptists based on their general view of atonement, rather than a particular view. A spin off from Jacob's followers became the Particular Baptists, they conducted baptism by immersion, held Calvinistic theology as they emphasized limited atonement.

When Charles I was ruling from 1625 to 1649 the state church took on a pro-Catholic policy, causing many to venture to America in search of denominational freedom. It is mistakenly assumed by some the early settlers were seeking religious freedom, but they were seeking large plots of land where they could practice their denominational religion without interference from government or other denominations, thus making it more of denominational freedom. Many of the locals would allow one type of denominational thinking, but not another, which would lead to Patrick Henry rebuking many for holding religious trials over doctrines.

Nonetheless, preachers would surface who preached as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, including men like Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), the fiery New England congregational minister who could shake the house to it's knees, or George Whitefield the English preacher who started more revivals then most of us have seen.

Jonathan Edwards was a noted theologian and Congregational clergyman, who was deeply involved in the beginning of a religious revival called the Great Awakening. Edwards was born October 5, 1703, in East Windsor in the Connecticut Colony. At the age of ten he wrote an essay on the nature of the soul, at 13 he entered the Collegiate School of Connecticut (now Yale University), graduating in 1720 as valedictorian of his class. After two additional years of study in theology at Yale, he preached for eight months in a New York church, then returned to Yale as a college tutor. While acting as a tutor, he was also working on his master's degree. Edwards was ordained in 1727, he began to assist his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who was the pastor of the church at Northampton, Massachusetts Bay Colony. When Edwards was 26 his grandfather died, Edwards became pastor at Northampton. He was a firm believer in Calvinism and the doctrine of predestination, as it was known to him, but not as it's known to the Hyper-Calvinist of today. In Boston in 1731 Edwards preached his first public attack on Arminianism in a sermon entitled "God Glorified in Man's Dependence,". Three years later he delivered a series of sermons on the same subject in his own church; the series included, "Reality of Spiritual Light," in which he combined Calvinism with the Charismatic experience. In his day the Calvinist was a Charismatic, which is one of the main differences between Edwards and the Hyper-Calvinist of today. During the time when he was preaching his 1734 to 1735 sermons a revival broke out, Edwards received nearly 300 new converted members in his church alone. Edwards preached on the "fiery hell" to a point some of his new converts contemplated suicide. Edwards saw the need to add Salvation by Grace as hope from a fiery hell.

In 1740 the British evangelist George Whitefield visited Edwards, at the time revival happened, called the Great Awakening, engulfing all of New England. The conversions were characterized by convulsions, falling down, and a type of mumbling on the part of the converts. It was during Edwards sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," his congregation began to weep and moan from their seats. By 1742 the revival movement had grown, for the next 60 to 70 years it had the effect on American religion of preventing any attempt at liberal interpretation of doctrine. Many of the converts took the missionary path going to other countries.

In Northampton Edwards' sermons created a demand for a more sterner religious discipline. Eventually, however, his congregation turned against him because of what they though was his high-handedness. He instituted disciplinary proceedings in church against young people who had been reading what he considered improper books; later, he objected strongly to the Halfway Covenant, a New England church custom permitting baptized persons to have all the privileges of church membership except communion although they had not openly professed conversion. Although Edwards began with Grace, he moved to a "law" or regulatory control, moving from discipling the people to controlling them. A council representing ten congregations in the region dismissed Edwards in 1750.

The following year he received a call to Stockbridge, in Massachusetts, then on to the frontier, where he became pastor of the village church, and a missionary to the Housatonic people. During the next seven years in Stockbridge he wrote many theological works, among them was "A Careful and Strict Inquiry" (1754), in which he denied human beings have a self-determined will to initiate acts not known or decreed beforehand by God. In no way did he mean God directs the acts, only God knows the acts will happen, which would show his view of Predestination. The concept of man not being able to surprise God was the issue, liberal theological thinking at the time considered God a sort of "catch up God", rather than an all knowing God. In 1757 Edwards accepted the presidency to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). He was inaugurated in 1758, but five weeks later, on March 22, 1758, he died as the result of an inoculation against smallpox.

George Whitefield started the Holy Club along with the Wesley brothers, later to be known as the Methodists. The movements at the time had what was referred as New Lights and Old Lights, the New Lights wanted to mix the life of the Born Again Experience  indicating God was good, or it was all right to get excited. The Old Lights wanted logical to be their guide, safe theology based on the past. Instead of getting out of the boat to find Jesus, they didn't want the boat to leave the dock.

The Holy Ghost started to move as never before, the thirty-fold of Pentecost was no longer the goal, the Sixty-fold return was being granted. Why did the Holy Ghost pick this time? Who knows, but there were many ready for a fresh breath of God, there was a “need”. The Holiness Movement, the Pentecostal Movement, the Foursquare Movement, the Walsh Revival, the New England Revival, the Azusa Street Revival, and many more began as the Holy Ghost moved across the land. Saints were involved, but the saints didn’t begin the revivals, they were used by the Holy Ghost in revival.

Terms like Evangelical and Charismatic replaced Orthodoxy, and Roman church Dogma, men like Charles and John Wesley, or as they were known "the Wesley Brothers" would hear the difference between knowing Jesus, and knowing about Jesus. They didn't live in the experiences of Whitefield, they sought their own. They did ask Whitefield to come to America and preach, but not before they came face to face with a Charismatic Moravian who asked simple questions rocking the Wesley's theology to the core.

On a ship headed to America John Wesley was faced with an experience changing the course of his life. During the trip a great storm arose, John thought they were all going to die, not only he but all those who came with him from England. On the same boat were some German's, Wesley noticed not only were the Germans were not moved by the storm, they were singing. How could this be? Don't they care? The leader of the German Moravians was a man by the name of Spangernerg, the date was February 8, 1936 in the most uncommon of common places, in the face of a storm. Wesley saw the German's and thought it was courage, he preached this courage to his own people, but Spangernerg took Wesley to one side and asked, "Have you the witness within yourself?", adding, "Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your Spirit, that you are a child of God?". Wesley was dumbfounded, what was he talking about? Simply he was asked, Do you know Jesus? Wesley responded by saying he knew of Jesus. Wesley landed in Georgia where he preached and assisted other Christian groups, but was plagued by the questioning of Spangernerg. Later we will see if Wesley was able to discover the answer to his bewilderment.           

There were many who came to America, not simply from England, but all over the world looking for a place where they could worship as they desired. The British Isles were represented by England and Scotland; from England came the Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Puritan Separatists, Quakers, and Methodists; from the Puritan Separatists came the Baptists; from Scotland would come John Witherspoon and Francis Makemie who would bring the Presbyterians; from the European Continent would come the Huguenots from France, the Lutherans from Germany and Sweden, the Dutch Reformed and Mennonites from Holland; from the Dutch Reformed would come the Christian Reformed. The transplanting of all these cannot be separated from the religious influences they also brought. The United States has more denominations then most countries have religious followers. However, God had a plan in the plan, all these came to the United States in search of a place to freely worship, but the Holy Ghost moved through the land regardless of denominational influence, ministers were anointed on a daily basis. Some of the same ministers traveled back to their countries to preach by the Holy Ghost.

The Virginia Company had a charter in 1606 to settle the New Land, they sent  settlers to Jamestown in 1607. Among the settlers was Robert Hunt, who was the first to give the Lord's Supper to the colonists. John Rolfe, who married Pocahontas laid the foundation for the early wealth of the colony by successfully growing tobacco in 1612. Alexander Whitaker with his Puritan background became the leading minister of the Anglican church in Virginia (1611-1617). Slavery was established with the purchase of slaves from Dutch traders in 1619. Freedom to preach for some, slavery for others. This unequal status would soon boil over, bringing about what is known as the Civil War.

James Blair (1655-1743) became the pastor of the Bruton parish from 1710 to 1743, he founded the College of William and Mary in 1693. Congregationalism was established in New England in the early part of the 17th century. In August of 1620 the Mayflower set sail for America; Elder Brewster was their first religious leader and William Bradford was their first governor. The greater number of non-Separatist Puritans settled in Salem and Boston after 1628. In 1626 John White, a Puritan minister of Dorchester, England organized a company to settle in Salem. In 1631 the Massachusetts General Court limited the right to vote to church members, thus Congregationalism became the state religion. Again history shows it was not freedom to preach wherever you desired, rather it was freedom to live in a denomination area where you settled.

Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) was appointed as minister of Newton in 1633, yet becoming frustrated with limitations placed on church members; he gained permission, and moved his congregation to Connecticut. John Davenport (1597-1670) was a pastor in London, one of his members Theophilus Eaton sailed to America in 1636 with several members of the church. They settled in New Heaven in southern Connecticut.

Although Roger Williams (1603-1683) was not a Baptist, he nonetheless held some Baptists thinking when he came to America. Williams was educated by the Anglican church, but held Baptist and Separatist views. His views caused him to leave England in 1631 as he sought freedom in America. He upheld the Indian ownership of the land, which caused John Cotton to order him to leave the Plymouth area. It wasn't the only reason, Williams also said the civil magistrates held no power at all over a man's religion, nor could they stop, help, interfere with or become involved in religion. This wasn't a matter of church and state as we know it today, rather it meant the State had to ignore church activities in all regards.

Williams proclaimed the preachers and the church belonged to God, the land to the government, the two should not interfere with one another. He also said the Body was protected by a Hedge placed around it by God; however, if there was ever a hole punched in the Hedge and the government entered thereby, it was the fault of the Body, not the government. It was this premise Thomas Jefferson brought to the Danbury Baptists, which later became known as “separation of church and state”. Although Jefferson was making a promise not to interfere, it turns out his words were twisted to mean just the opposite.

In 1636 Williams purchased some land which was known as Providence; in 1637 Mrs. Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) fell under the ban of authorities for holding meetings in her home. She saw something beyond Luther’s Mercy, it was the "Covenant of Grace". She was forced to walk in the dead of winter to Rhode Island, where she and her followers settled at Newport and Portsmouth where some believe she started the First Baptist church in America. Some of us assume we have less religious freedom now than the first settlers had, but the evidence shows it’s not the case.

In 1639 Williams was "rebaptized" along with twelve members of his church, they organized a church along Baptist lines, thus some assume Williams started the First Baptist church; however, the records show his endeavors came one year after those of Anne Hutchinson.

In 1565 the Spanish introduced a short lived Roman Catholicism in Florida, later moved it to New Mexico, Arizona, and California. For the most part Catholicism remained on the West Coast of the United States, with some small inroads in the East. The famed "Bible Belt" of the East Coast was generated by Revivals, not the settling of the Pilgrims.

The Lords Baltimore headed by George Calvert (1580-1632), and his son Cecil (1605-1675) started in the area known as Maryland. Unlike Williams, the Calverts were interested in profits. At first both the Protestants and Roman Catholics had establishments in Maryland until 1692, when it became a royal colony, then Anglicanism became the state religion in 1702.

The Quakers were founded as the Society of Friends by George Fox, who was born in July of 1624, he died in January of 1691. Fox was an English preacher who was the son of a Puritan; although he was able to read and write, there is no record of him having had a formal education. It was felt he either taught himself, or God taught him, the latter is the one we always pick. He wasn't always a preacher, he began as an apprenticed to a shoemaker. In 1643 he underwent a religious crisis and left home; his religious experience led him to conclude Christianity should stress the inner life of the soul illumined by Christ, rather than the externals of religion dogma. He began to preach in 1647, making converts mostly in the north part of England. The Friends spread rapidly, with major concentrations in London and Bristol by 1654. By 1660 there were Quakers in America, Ireland, and the West Indies. The organizational center became Swarthmoor Hall, with George Fox and Margaret Fell, whom he married in 1669, coordinated the missionary activity. Persecution of the Friends was sporadic during the Puritan Commonwealth and Protectorate (1649-60), but after the restoration of the monarchy a determined effort was made to suppress all nonconformists; Fox was imprisoned many times. Reacting to internal divisions and the arrest of the movement's leaders, Fox established procedural guidelines as a structural framework of meetings. He proclaimed the right of women to full spiritual equality, in 1660, he insisted the Friends should not participate in war.

In the early days the Quakers were known as Charismatics, they set aside the doctrines of the church seeking the revelation of God's will by having the Holy Spirit. They believed the Inner Light was the Holy Spirit, they sought direct Wisdom from God apart from the Bible alone. George Fox started his search for the spiritual truth in 1643, he related how he was challenged by two Puritans to a drinking bout, the one who stopped first would pay the bill. In total disgust he left the church and around 1647 he had a Religious Experience ending his search. He said, Christianity became a way of Life, a spiritual experience where one could come directly to God and be changed, rather than spend their life in some futile attempt to make a self-change.

His followers called themselves Friends, but like most movements, many of them wanted the experience without having to walk the path of faith the originator did. The result brought rules, regulations, or carnal thinking to counterfeit the walk of the originator. However, there were those who did make the decision to walk the path of faith. Out of the Friends movement came Margaret Fell (1614-1702), who as we said married George in 1669. Margaret did walk the walk, she won Swarthmore Hall to Quakerism, her home became the unofficial center for Quakerism.

Robert Barclay (1648-1690) became the theologian of the movement. To Barclay the Spirit of God is the only Revelator of God, the Source of Inner Light within man to bring spiritual illumination. Barclay saw the Bible as secondary to faith, the inspiration of the writers was placed on the same level as the inspiration of Fox; however, he also said the Revelation should never contradict the Scriptures, rather the Revelation should be in conjunction with the Scriptures. Barclay’s works have been questioned by some, accepted by others.

In 1671-72, Fox journeyed to North America, visiting Quaker meetings. By the time of Fox's death in 1691, the Quakers in England had shed much of their missionary zeal becoming a “settled” denomination. Later the Quaker movement picked up rites regarding holiness which were not the concepts of Fox, some Quakers also appeared in Boston in 1656, others found their way to New England. After 1674 New Jersey (New Jehovah Says) was divided into East and West Jersey until 1702. William Penn was the founder of the Great Quaker Refuge, but it began with a debt paid. King Charles II owed sixteen thousand pounds to Penn's father, thus the king gave William Penn control over the land in 1681, the land is known today as Pennsylvania. Penn made the colony an asylum where the oppressed could find religious freedom; of course this shows there were some persecuted for their religious views, thus one could not preach one denominational view in an area holding a different view. In 1683 the German Mennonites settled in Germantown near Philadelphia. In 1740 a number of Moravians settled in Pennsylvania; Zinsendorf, the leader of the Moravians visited Pennsylvania from Germany attempting to unite the two German sects. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania became the leading center for the Moravians.

George Fox is not to be confused with John Fox (Foxe), who wrote the Book of Martyrs. John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, or better "Foxe's Book Of Martyrs" was a work showing how a true martyr acted in the face of opposition. John Foxe was born in 1516, he died on April 18, 1587; he was an English clergyman, educated at Oxford, becoming a fellow of Magdalen College. When Mary the First became the Queen in 1553, John fled to Strasbourg, Frankfurt, then to Basel, where he stayed until 1559. There he began to write a history of the persecutions of Christians, which was later expanded and published (1563) under the title, The Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes. The work itself became known almost immediately as the "Book of Martyrs", it speaks of the heroism of the Protestant martyrs of the Reformation. Foxe described their sufferings in vivid terms, so much so, it was looked upon as "obscene" by some. The value of his work was questioned by the "doubters and pouters", since Foxe was Protestant. Some questioned his sources, but later history proved his work not only a most valuable source of information regarding 16th Century England, but correct in its descriptive content. The work has undergone several editions, for the most part the facts remain the same. Foxe's work was historical in nature, it was not theological, thus it remains a historical witness defining a true Martyr.

Francis Makemie (1658-1718) an Irishman was termed the father of American Presbyterianism: by 1706 he organized a presbytery in Philadelphia, in 1716 the first synod adopted the Westminster Confession. All these various sects are the result of different divisions based on disagreements or debates over matters in the long run prove not to be important, or simply misunderstandings of what someone said the Bible said. The natural nature of man tends to follow men, thus we are told to follow Jesus by faith.

This brings us to Methodism which was introduced to all thirteen colonies by Robert Strawbridge in Maryland, and by Philip Embury and Captain Webb in New York after 1760. John Wesley sent Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor as official missionaries in 1768; the great circuit rider Francis Asbury (1745-1816) came in 1771; then again in 1784. The Charismatics from each group were united in the Spirit and were instrumental in the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening wasn't one big revival, there were many spontaneous revivals until 1865. Neither was the Great Awakening something which just happened, rather it began in the Body in the form of restoration. When the Holy Ghost began to move in the Body the spill over started effecting people all over. The Light caused the darkness to run for cover, but the people ran to Jesus. There is some argument whether the Great Awakening was Calvin inspired or Luther inspired, yet neither is the case it was Holy Ghost inspired.

The same Spirit of God who brought Wesley to the Lord, would bring others. After Wesley found the answer to Spangenberg's questions was having the Spirit of Truth within, things changed in his life, he ran across another Monrovian by the name of Peter Bohler. Both Peter Bohler and Wesley went to Oxford, it would be Bohler who would add to the teaching of Spangenberg. Wesley would go to England to preach, while there the Bohler influence of "the just shall live by faith" moved Wesley to preach on "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature". It may sound ordinary today, but back then it began a massive uproar. The concept taught in England through the church of England was "justification by works", but Wesley was saying, "justification comes by faith". The uproar was so great Wesley was asked not to preach anymore. Wesley was frustrated and disappointed, but Bohler told him, "preach faith until you have it, and because you have it, you will preach it". Wesley knew he was preaching what he felt was right, but not what he believed deep in his heart. He surrendered to the Holy Ghost, became Spirit filled, then he preached because he had it. The experience with Jesus produced the seeds, revival couldn't help but take place. Wesley preached Jesus as Savior and Lord, he knew what he was saying was Truth. This type of preaching became known as Evangelistic, with the Evangelical touch of preaching salvation by Faith through Grace alone; however, don't confuse Evangelical with Evangelist. They sound close, the Evangelist is an Office, Evangelical is type of theology. Charismatic meaning Motivated by Grace (Spirit), thus it was the Motivation by the Spirit producing the Experience, cementing Grace by faith.

Man no longer had to work his way up the theological ladder to gain God's approval or knowledge, now they touched both God’s Knowledge and Wisdom by the Spirit. All this started when a few narrowed the measure of faith to “have faith in God”.

John Newton was a converted slave trader, who couldn't get within fifty miles of  some local churches today, but he was a pillar in the Kingdom of God. He wrote the hymn Amazing Grace, at the same time the Methodists started Sunday Schools, the knowledge of God was no longer hidden in locked rooms, it was coming forth.

There were still wars, rumors of wars, famine and pestilence, but there were also healings, miracles, plus an inner peace passing understanding. The Revivals spoke for themselves, bars and brothels closed, not because someone forced them to close, simply because no one used them. The change was in the people, not in society, thus society changed because the people changed, no one had to legislate morality, morality became a life style without legislation. The laws remained the same, the people changed to make the laws regarding sinful activity moot. Changing the laws only produces more laws, changing people removes the necessity to debate the laws. If no one commits abortion, what good is a law condoning it? If no one over or under the age of eighteen drinks alcohol, what good is a law allowing it?

The Red River Revival displayed how the Holy Ghost can still add to the church; a little known man went to the woods and started to preach to a few folks. The largest and nearest town held no more than 1,800 people, yet the Revival had crowds of 10,000 or more. Men like Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) with sermons like Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God moved hundreds to the Lord. Samuel Davies (1723-1761) was another who was used of God to begin revival in Virginia. Out of revival came Samuel Morris who started his Reading House, where people would sit and read the Bible and pray. Shubal Stearns (1706-1771) was used of the Holy Ghost to begin the Baptist revival in the South. Daniel Marshall we used by the Holy Ghost in the New England revival. Devereux Jarratt an Episcopalian minister (1733-1801) held revival in the south. All these reported "unusual phenomena" following the preaching. The Second Awakening had all sorts of signs and wonders, the truth was still the truth, the signs follow those who believe.

Did the Revivals flow without opposition? Hardly, Pharisees follow along, they always seem to bring their unbelief and murmuring. In England the Old Lights led by Charles Chaunch opposed the revivals; in his opinion there was too much emotionalism. Chaunch didn't view the evidence, he allowed his stiff neck to get in the way of his eyes. The New Lights led by Edwards supported Revival, the Old Lights and New Lights brought the terms Rationalism and Revivalism to the surface. At the same time Deism began to spread with the writings of John Locke and Voltaire. Voltaire's deism permeated all his writings against the church and in favor of tolerance. Deism is a religion without written revelation, becomes a starry heaven above with an earthly moral law regulating man’s activity. Deism trusts in the Pride Of Life to accomplish religious matters, the Deists believe God left His creation to operate under natural laws; hence, there was no place for miracles or spiritual matters, including the manifestation of the Spirit. Deists teaching says, Jesus was only a moral teacher, insisting worship belongs to God. Another dogma was the belief of Virtue and Piety were the most important aspects of worship toward God; however, the Virtue and Piety were self-efforts, not products of the Righteousness of God within. Jesus said the Father seeks those who can worship in Spirit and Truth, we receive the Spirit of Truth by being Born Again.

Ben Franklin was a Deist who produced sayings like, "pull yourself up with your own boot straps" or "God helps them who help themselves". The latter saying is believed by many to be in the Bible, yet it isn’t, rather it was Deism at work. Deism was unduly optimistic because it tended to ignore human sin; after all, if man was sinful, then the thoughts of Deism were in error.

On the other hand before the Deists came with their Rational  Thinking based in the Critical Thinking School of Theology; the Charismatics were laying the foundation for revival, as the humanist and Deists were laying the ground work to destroy the works of Revival. The problem to the humanist or Deist is the question, If Revival is real, then God is still involved in the affairs of man. Along the same humanist route would come Critical thinking as a method to make the document prove itself, but the Bible defines itself, it doesn’t prove itself, signs and wonders do. 

Quietism was a Charismatic movement within the Roman Catholic church, it’s still active today. Regardless of the sect or non-sect if someone is seeking God, the Holy Ghost will find them, and plant the Seed. Revival isn't forcing change, it provides a means for change. The opposite of Revival is forcing moral change on people who want nothing to do with it.

Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), Ignatius Loyola, Theresa of Spain and Francis of Sales all were Charismatics. Francis of Sales wrote Devout Life, it’s read today by Protestants who seek the spiritual nature. Michael Molinos (1640-1697) wrote his Spiritual Guide emphasizing passivity (submission, or being humble). His ideas were adopted by Madame Guyon (1648-1717) who emphasized passive contemplation of the Divine as a method of union with Christ. Francis Fenelon (1651-1715) defended Madame Guyon in his work Christian Perfection. Pietism emphasized an internal, subjective, and individual return to the Bible study and prayer. Some think Pietism was in opposition to Charismatic thinking, but Pietism was a step to the Charismatic experience, not the other way around.

Without the Bible there can be no Revelation, without prayer there is no submission to the Spirit, thus Pietism places us in a position to receive, whereas Charismatic is the product after receiving. This is evident when we find the Pietism movement resulted in the Moravian church, rather than Moravian resulting in Pietism. The connection between the Moravian Charismatic, and the Wesley experience proved there was a step from the Study Hall of God to the Clarity of God, only known by a spiritual experience through the Spirit of Christ.

Other movements were also started, the Salvation Army was founded by William Booth (1829-1912) a Methodist minister, with a goal to reach the down-and-outs by open air evangelism centered with assistance to the needy. Booth brought the First Love and Second Love to practical application. John N. Darby (1800-1882)  who became a curate in the church of Ireland, organized groups known as the Brethren in Dublin around 1831. The Brethren emphasized the priesthood of believers by the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit. Edward Irving (1792-1834) a Scottish Presbyterian minister, believed the church should enjoy, and exercise the gifts of the Spirit. His followers emphasized "speaking in tongues" they had prophecies of the "imminent return of Christ". This latter was mistaken by some to mean their prophecies meant the return of Jesus to the earth, rather than the imminent return of the Christ nature to the Body. The truth of the prophecies became evident when thousands became Born Again, with evidences to prove it, thus Christ did return.

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) preached in England during the late 1800's. His preaching drew many, so many he had to keep moving to larger churches, until 1891 when nearly 15,000 people were attending his church. In his book, he recalled how he was asked how the Power of God was so manifested in his church. He showed a trap door behind the pulpit, under the trap door was a small room, where his elders would pray continually while Spurgeon was preaching. He felt as he preached, he was between the prayers of the holy men of God and God.

The correlation in the movements of God hold certain ties which always seem to be found in the beginning of the movements. Spurgeon was convinced of God's love for him, but he was nonetheless an insignificant man in a insignificant time and place. Spurgeon, and others like him, were men and women without recognition until God anointed them for service. Spurgeon was once described as: "wrapped in a rough blue overcoat, with a species of soft deerstalking hat on his head, a loose black necktie round his massive throat, and a cigar burning merrily in his mouth, he is surely the most unclerical of all the preachers of the Gospel" (Society Journal). Spurgeon was classed as a Calvinist, but he often said it was the later works of Calvin, thus his stand on Calvinism was not maintained by the Baptist pulpits of the time. In his later years Spurgeon assumed he was the only one standing for the Truth. He saw the moral condition of the times, how the standard of living was failing, skepticism running rampant. Many failed to believed in the miraculous, thus  miracles were ceasing. Spurgeon fell victim to the Elijah Cave Syndrome, he entered frustration, thinking he was the only left doing the work of the Lord, his frustration fell into bitterness, then sickness, then his death.

In 1875 under the leadership of Canon, T.D. Hartford-Battersby the Keswick Life Meetings took place. The Keswick meetings emphasized the Experience with the Spirit to bring about instantaneous and progressive sanctification. Keswick meetings sought to bring Life in with justification in the progressive to defeat sin.

By 1859 another Revival Movement began, the Welsh Revival of 1904 and 1905 was started when the Holy Ghost using Evan Roberts in the mining town of Loughor; the Welsh Revival became a Spear Head to worldwide Revival. Many major Revivals have been attributed to the Welsh Revival, including the great Revival in Korea in 1907. The Welsh Revival is a prime example of change coming to the people, rather than forcing change on the people. Bars closed, houses of ill repute closed, gaming centers closed, churches were filled beyond the doors, even into the streets, all of which was a matter of choice, not a matter of making laws, rules or regulations to force people to make change. When the Holy Ghost produces the Revival the people walk from sin on their own will, when man produces a self-based revival, he must enforce it with pickets, anger, laws, and social change forced on people.

Men like William Carey (1761-1834) said, "Expect Great things from God; attempt Great things for God". Yet, with when the Light gets Lighter, the darkness is sure to become darker, then came Frederick Nietzsche (1844-1900). Nietzsche was known as the Archenemy of all Christianity, unlike those in the past who questioned the church, Nietzsche had nothing to base his hate on; he proclaimed, "Death to God" by saying, "The one great curse, the immortal blemish of all mankind is Christianity". Nietzsche assumed Christians were weak, unable to cope with life, they had to use some crutch for help. He failed to see his concept of life, was death, his concept of power was what he controlled. Nietzsche maintained his thinking until he fell completely insane, then died with his mind in shambles.

Nietzsche laid the ground for the "God is dead" rebellion in the 1960's, he nourished the seeds of humanism to its latest form, human secularism. The so-called New Age is about as new as Simon Magus, but it regained status in the 1900's. Since the movements of the devil are based on lies, the mere use of the term New Age should tell us something; it's neither New nor does it have Age, it's old and pertains to death.

The radical critic surfaced, considering the Bible a work of man's hand to be judged by the mind of man. They ignored the function of the Holy Ghost as the Interpreter of the Bible, thus rejecting the inspiration of the Holy Ghost moving the scribes of the Bible. The idealistic philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) brought about a philosophic critic attitude planting the corrupt seeds, to him the Bible was merely a book of history. He became the seeds of modern Phariseeism, those who become offended when the word Faith is used or if the God moves with the Power of Christ.

Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) brought about the coldness of the human soul, the removal of emotions in respect to God. In his book The Christian Faith (1821) he presented religion not as a set of beliefs, but obligations of man to find the absolute dependence in the majestic. Religion in his view became a subjective apprehension of Christ, who serves as a Mediator to reconcile man to the Absolute. In his opinion man is freed from dependence on the historical revelation of the will of God, man needs only to cultivate the feeling of dependence. His view became known as the foundation to Modern Theology, or Thought void of the Spirit. The Bible or Scriptures are nonetheless Holy, but without our faith in Jesus by the Spirit we will never gain Life.

Albert Ritschl (1822-1889) was influenced by Schleiermacher's thoughts on religion, but insisted religion was a social consciousness as well. Accordingly if it felt good, it must be God, if it felt bad, it must be the devil. Ritschl's approach opened the door to extreme critical study of the Bible, according to him, the Bible was error unless it could prove itself true. This approach placed the scholars over the Bible, forcing the Bible to bow to the carnal mind of some scholars, rather than the scholars supporting the Bible.

Johann G. Eichhorn (1752-1827) planted seeds of corruption as well, he presented the dictum of the Bible being read as a human document, then tested by human means. His thoughts lead to the various books and translations with numerous changes, but for the most part the changes were in the little words. If revelation is found in the little words, changing them produces error. Man began to change the words to fit theology, rather than change their theology to fit the Bible. The removal of the Bible from the hands of the Holy Ghost produced all sorts of things, books found under trees as another gospel, changing words to remove possession, making translations to fit poor doctrinal thinking, removing verses such as James 2:1 as a means to remove any concept of Jesus having Faith, and so on. To a few their theology was considered superior to the Bible, so they changed the Bible to fit their theology. As soon as man determined his mind could control the Bible, he also assumed Grace was based in the faith of man. Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) argued the Scriptures served man as a guide primitive phrases of his religious endeavors, but now reason and duty were sufficient guides in the more advanced state of religion. His views lead to the "it has passed away" heresy, or "we have better manuscripts now, because we’re smarter" which means God had nothing to do with the prior manuscripts. The self turned loose shows why we bind the strongman, yet Jesus said the true Guide is still the Greater He (Spirit of Truth – Jn 16:13 & I Jn 4:1-4).

Materialism moved the Things from God's side of the Covenant  to man's side, thus it also moved Seek Ye The Kingdom Of God And His Righteousness to the other side of the Covenant as well. Parts of the Law of Moses were introduced to obtain by, rather than allowing God to operate on His side of the Covenant. Man feared God's ability to provide. These elements brought on Evolution with the thought of man being supreme, or as man being the product of a "just so happened" element. These elements also became involved in deism, thus by 1789 the influence of the Great Awakening was largely dissipated by deism. It didn't stop God, while deism was removing some seeds, the Holy Ghost was going about planting more. In 1787 a Revival started at Hampden-Sidney in a little college in Virginia. This revival wasn't started by great theologians, or critical Bible scholars, it began when three students who were concerned about their spiritual condition, as they were touched by the Holy Ghost. From there the New England Congregational Revival started with the leadership of Timothy Dwight (1752-1817). Nearly one-third of the students in various colleges reported conversions as a result of these revivals. Revival moved to the frontier with camp meetings, such as the Red River Revival.

James McGready (1758-1817) had a dynamic camp meeting at Cane Ridge in 1801. This meeting was "marked by strange physical phenomena"; some fell backward under the Power, some laughed uncontrollably, some jerked, some rolled on the ground, some danced, some barked like dogs, some received Joy, some had devils cast out, some danced in the Spirit, but nonetheless they received. The Frontier Revivalism was marked with many signs; however, along with Signs and Wonders from heaven, would come the signs of the carnal on earth. Division took place, the carnal wanted to remain carnal, the spiritual wanted to move on with God. The Cloud moved and the carnal didn't have their bags packed.

Revivalism didn't end with the Second Awakening; Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) became a revivalist in his campaigns of 1830-1831 at Rochester, New York. A lay interdenominational prayer based revival in 1857 and 1858 grew out of a noonday prayer meeting on Fulton Street in New York city when the Holy Ghost touched Jeremiah Lanphier resulting in meetings of 10,000 within six months (1857). The meetings didn't stop at 10,000 but grew to crowds estimated between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people. Dwight L. Moody was another evangelist: although he was never ordained, it didn't stop him from being used of God to bring converts into established bodies. He didn't use churches, but public halls; he helped organize the Chicago Evangelization Society in 1886,  those converted joined local bodies. From Moody's form of evangelism came Reuben A. Torrey, Gypsy Smith, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham. The mixture of church buildings and public halls was also used by other evangelists who taught Faith. From the early movements of Grace, came the Agape Movement, the Faith Movement, and others.

Billy Sunday, whose real name was William Ashley Sunday (1863-1935), known as an American Fundamentalist Preacher", which is a misnomer as it relates to him. Accordingly today we call a Fundamentalist someone who stays with the roots, to them a Rock is a Rock; Billy Sunday preached what the Bible said, if it made him a Fundamentalist, so be it. By definition a Fundamentalist, would be one who is associated with the organized, militant Evangelical movement beginning in 1920, which is directly opposed to Liberalism and Secularism. Except for the militant part it fits a majority of the Body of Christ. However, a carnal Fundamentalist refuses the concept of metaphors in the Bible, denies Parables based on truths, or the Holy Ghost manifests, or there are mysteries in the Bible. A Liberal is a new term, like Conservative which are really political terms. Nonetheless Liberalism means Not Limited, which sounds good, except it can broaden itself to include the ungodly as Godly. The Godly form of Liberalism would be free of dogma, while being in favor of Holy Ghost reform, yet limited to the confines of the Godly. Back to Billy Sunday, who played professional baseball from 1883 until 1891, when he began working for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Chicago. He was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1903, seven years after he had been called and operated as an evangelist. He was used in nearly 300 revivals all over the United States, it's said some attracted nearly 100 million people, most of which came into the Kingdom; all done before broadcasting. Billy Sunday was one of the many who took Faith to the people; however, when the truth of Faith surfaced, the opposite would also come;

Neoorthodoxy is the theology of crisis, or existential theology. Before the Cross Peter could fit in this group with "Somebody do something, we're all going to die". There was a near truth in Neoorthodoxy, the idea of God confronting man in crisis. God doesn't confront us in crisis to hurt us, destroy us, or punish us, He uses events to bring exposure and correction unto perfection. God is fully able to take any event and bring good for those who love Him, and those called according to His purpose. Neoorthodoxy takes a different view, they think God is out to get us, rather than God desires to bless us. A close second  almost seems the opposite to Neoorthodoxy is the thought "If I don't like it, it isn't God" theology. Faith moves us through or around the event, it doesn't make the event go away. Simply because the event doesn’t please us, doesn’t mean God isn’t involved. Some will even say, “Well I will bless God through it, but not for it”. If we don’t thank Him for “All things” we’re out of the will of the Lord (Eph 5:17-20).

Of course the obvious would take place, the truth of not dealing with the old man before entering the Office was evident in some, even in the 1800's. A man by the name of John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907), a British religious leader who was born and educated in Edinburgh, was ordained to the Congregationalist ministry, then became pastor of a church in Alma, South Australia. There were some signs, but they were due to the office, not the man. As it goes, at one of his meetings during a prayer many were healed, thus Dowie felt it was his prayers, later he moved to Melbourne and founded the Divine Healing Association of Australia and New Zealand. Then in 1888 he went to the United States, where he attracted many followers, then in 1896 organized the Christian Catholic church in Zion. We know about the Mormons as they claim Zion on the earth, Dowie felt the same, like the Mormons he was mislead. Dowie also proclaimed himself "Elijah the Restorer", meaning he felt he was Elijah who would return before the day of the Lord (1901). The lust to be more than the rest of the Body, the special of the special is the downfall of the novice left to their own (I Tim 3:6). Dowie used money donated by his followers to buy land in Illinois north of Chicago. Here he founded Zion City, later renamed Zion, where he ruled his flock like a dictator. In 1903 Dowie was ridiculed in New York City when he led his hosts there to reform the city, later in London he attempted the same, and was attacked by a mob. In 1906 the people of Zion City deposed him, charging him with fraud, tyranny, and polygamy. The polygamy is another sign of the flesh overrunning the persons religious morality.

Liberation theology is a spin off from crisis theology, it uses religion to promote social change, but without the Spirit to bring change to the person. Other groups such as Premillennialists, and Dispensational Premillennialists surfaced, who were often called Fundamentalists. Instead of Christ on the earth by the Power of His Christ, they decided Jesus had to come down to fix all things. Instead of being ready to be Partakers in the First Resurrection, they reached back to the same false concepts which disrupted the early church, they took the words of the prophets of Old, the words of Jesus regarding the Second Advent saying they were all wrong. They formed an end times thinking to appease the masses, but false in concept.

Nonetheless the Good Fish were many, so many it's hard to list them. Some who had experiences displaying God is real, included John G. Lake. Lake's ministry had many recorded healings, then he received the baptism with the Holy Ghost, dispelling any thought of the baptism with the Holy Ghost had to come before the acts of Mercy. The miracles weren’t restricted to male preaches alone. Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976) was ordained a Baptist minister, she had many healings in her ministry. She often said, she would rather be a doctor or lawyer, but God called her,  she answered. Kathryn also said, I have neither hope nor expectation of convincing a skeptic of miracles. She noted how our heart was the center of her belief, thus if one wanted to believe, there was more than enough evidence to believe, but if one didn't want to believe, there would never be enough evidence. Kathryn had a contrasting view to Spurgeon's; as Spurgeon was convinced of God's love for him, Kathryn was more convinced of her love for God. Her stand on Balance was, "Any Truth, no matter how valid, if emphasized to the exclusion of other truths of equal importance, is practical error". Several ministries came from the shadow of Kathryn Kuhlman, yet in some regards we also find the example of ignorant mentor worship. When Kathryn died, there was an empty void for those who looked at God through her. Although she pointed to God, there were those who pointed to her, to get to God. Nonetheless, restoration is a beneficial product of the Holy Ghost, those who entered mentor worship were soon restored based on their love for God. The Holy Ghost moved them into a position to be used of God, but the time between her death and their discovery of God was very lonely. Respect for the men and women of God is gain, worship of those same people places us in a valley of despair.

There were others like Maria Woodworth/Etter, Watchman Nee, Aimee Semple McPherson, Smith Wigglesworth, A.A. Allen, and many others, all "no bodies" until God touched them. Watchman Nee had an insight to the soul of man, as well as the danger of man receiving the Cross, but failing to enter the saving of the soul.

A.A. Allen was perhaps one of the most controversial, he like Kathryn Kuhlman was criticized for what some considered sensationalism. Allen was denounced for his personal habits, the media attacked him on a constant basis, denominational leaders banished him, while ordering their congregations to stay away from him. Nonetheless, like God using Luther, and others we can see the test at work during this time. Do we judge God by the people He uses? Or the signs proving God is using people? Some consider Allen to one of the most active revivalists to emerge, the healings and signs produced from his preaching became the most conclusive evidence, the people were always seen giving God the glory, rather than giving Allen the glory.

Aimee McPherson was converted through the ministry of Robert J. Semple, a Pentecostal evangelist whom she later married, and had a daughter by, but Robert died in 1908 during a missionary trip to China. Her second marriage to Harold McPherson brought her a son, but it also brought a divorce. American evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson was born near Ingersoll Ontario in Canada on October 9, 1890, she died on September 27, 1944; however, before her death she founded the International church of the Foursquare Gospel.

After Robert's death she returned to the United States with her infant daughter, where she married Harold McPherson, a grocery salesman from Rhode Island, she again began to hold revivals. She retained the name of her first husband (Semple), then added the McPherson, giving us Aimee Semple McPherson. She also became known as "Sister Aimee", yet as her following grew, her marriage began to fail, in order to safe the marriage she settled in Los Angeles in 1918, but soon her marriage to Harold ended in divorce. In 1918 Aimee established a headquarters in Los Angeles, she spent the next 5 years on the revival road. Her dream of having a more permanent Foursquare movement based on her understanding of the four roles of Jesus Christ, 1) as Savior, 2) the Baptizer, 3) the Healer, and 4) the soon coming King. The dream became a reality in 1923 when she opened the famed Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, California. The Temple is a 5,300 seat auditorium, with a raised stage area, as of the year 2000 it was still standing in Los Angeles. She subsequently founded a radio station, a Bible college, an evangelistic association, an International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (1927). Although she continued to focus on God, it seemed scandal repeatedly touched her personal life. The most notably was in 1926 when she disappeared for a month, reappeared, where she said she had been kidnapped, but there was never any evidence to support her assertion. When she died in 1944 from an accidental overdose of barbiturates, leadership of her church passed to her son, Rolf McPherson.

The Foursquare Movement was not the first Pentecostal Movement in the 1900's. The Holiness Movement started in 1901, from the movement came Bethel College. Charles F. Parham was a product of the Holiness Movement as well. One convert, William J. Seymore came to Los Angeles in 1906 where he started the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission on Azusa Street, which became the starting place for the famed Azusa Street Revival.

Thomas Ball Barratt came to the United States from Oslo, Norway to gain funds for a larger church, but he found the baptism with the Holy Ghost, as he gained the Spirit at a Pentecostal meeting in New York in 1905. He started a local church based on the Holy Ghost, not bricks or stone. In 1907 an Anglican clergyman named Alexander A. Boddy visited Barratt, then returned to England with the baptism. Boddy printed a pamphlet entitled Pentecost For England, then invited Barratt for a meeting, revival hit England as the Lord continued to baptize people with the Holy Ghost. Although the primary goal was not to have more denominations or enter any form of denominationalism, denominational influence nonetheless happened. From the  Pentecostal Movement came the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, the Church of God, the International Foursquare Gospel, the United Pentecostal Church International. Other Pentecostal groups also appeared, such as the New Order Of The Latter Rain, Wings Of Healing, the World Church, the Gospel Assemblies, the Full Gospel Fellowship Of Ministers And Churches International, along with the Pentecostal influence entering many denominations. Instead of a movement coming out of the Body, the movement moved into the Body; God was doing a New Thing, only this time He wasn't opening up the earth to swallow people, He was opening the doors of the Kingdom to welcome them in. Revival is when God brings an awakening to the Body, so the Body can again do what its suppose to, cast the Net. 

Smith Wigglesworth of England had a strange ministry, he would often strike people with his fist. At one meeting he hit a woman in the stomach, she fell and he told her to get back up. He then struck her again, a man came flying out of the audience to complain. When the woman stood, there was a big cancer on the floor next to her. When asked about striking people, Smith said, "I don't hit people, I hit the devil, if they get in the way, I can't help it". This was the manner in which the Lord had Smith operate, but if we attempt to copy him without hearing from the Lord we act presumptuously and are in for a big fall. Wigglesworth was taught to read by his wife, who used only the Bible as her source. Wigglesworth would not allow newspapers, or other types of written material in his house, saying the only Truth was contained in the Bible. The truth of Peter’s comments about a wife winning her husband is found in the relationship of Wigglesworth and his wife. Once he was won to the Lord he centered his life on two things, Jesus and his wife, in that order. For a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, it stands the husband must have the same love and character as Christ. For the wife to submit to the husband as her husband submits to Christ also takes the Spirit of Christ. This mystery is akin to Christ and the Church, Wigglesworth enjoyed a Christ filled ministry and marriage.

If History proves nothing else, it proves God takes people, cleans them, breaks them, then puts them into service. On the other side of the coin we find the self takes people, builds their pride and ego then sends them to stop the work of God. Yet, history shows the Body is still around, the Holy Ghost is still planting the Seed, Jesus is still Baptizing with the Holy Ghost, it’s real. We’ve seen how the bad fish operate, we know better than to follow in their destruction, we desire to be good and faithful servants, Spirit filled, Holy Ghost motivated, Mercy centered and Word based. It’s not impossible, it’s merely submitting to be used. Amen?   

 

By Rev. G. E. Newmyer - s.b.i. les18rev11/© 2003