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The early days of Christianity

1.2.       Considered as a danger

1.2.2.                    Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit

The “chosen family, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people having a special possession” (1 Peter 2:9) tried to hold itself straight and to keep their doctrines pure. They performed their Christian administration of the Last Sacraments under quite difficult circumstances.  Paul brought it as follows under words: “We become in each respect harassed, troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we see a way out of them. We are cruelly attacked, but not without hope; we are made low, but we are not without help” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9).

One only has to read the first chapters from the book Acts of the Apostles to see how much enthusiasm and joy there was, even despite persecution (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-34; 5:41; 6:7).  But in the course of ten years the situation changed, and many Jewish Christians did not keep up their speed in the race and obviously were going to take life a little more slowly. A state of lassitude and tiredness, of unfulfilled expectations, postponed hope, conscious not coming up the mark and actual disbelief came over the believers. They were Christians, but received little appreciation for the magnificence of their vocation. For some of them, Gods promises appeared unreal and a bridge too far.

During the first century, the future for the organized Christian municipality looked gloomy. Jesus had predicted that it would be as if a level strewn wheat field with bad seeds, so that the wheat would not be able to be distinguish with the weeds. For fear that by chance while taking out the false teachers they could be rooting up also the normal believers with them. (Matthew 13:24-30). And so it happened also.  At the end of the first century, when the elderly apostle Johannes functioned, as the last impediment, against corruption, the waste blossomed already (2 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 John 2:18). Not long after the death of the apostle arose a separate class from clergymen that suppressed the herd and clothed themselves with distinguishing attire. The waste spread as gangrene.

From the days of the apostles until now the root of the whole fabric and dominion of clericalism is there. Philosophy and heterodoxy, no doubt, did much to corrupt the church and lead her to join hands with the world: but the order of the clergy and all that belongs to it must be founded on the Jews’ religion. It is more than probable, however, that many may have been persuaded then, as many have been since, that Christianity is a continuation of Judaism, in place of being its perfect contrast. The Judaizing teachers boldly affirmed that Christianity was merely a graft on Judaism. But throughout the epistles we everywhere learn that some belong to the old, and the other to the new creation; that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Cuadro de la Trinidad en Percile

Representation of Three Gods: god the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost - La Trinidad - Santuario della Santissima Trinità - Vallepietra RM - Photo RoyFokker

Paul had warned the Hebrews to prevent that nobody there would ever develop in them a godless, unbelieving heart, because himself withdrawing of the living God. As well as appeared the other warnings of the other apostles sometimes a measure for nothing. Some who came in the municipalities, begun to bring their belief convictions in the terms of the Greek philosophy to expression, to make what they preached more acceptable for the men of the world. Gradually pagan doctrines came into the system, as the Holy Trinity and the inherent immortality of the soul, and became a part of a sullied form of Christianity. This led to the giving up of the hope in the Millennium.

The danger that there threatened became more and more reality and sin and waste came more in the community. For that reason Paul had reminded the municipalities to always remain watchful and to admonish each other. [1] From among the communities themselves came men who wanted to give wrong teaching, turning away the disciples after them. In subtle manner they ascribed to their own opinions and teachings a same or even yet higher value than the Holy Scriptures. When the occasion appeared for this purpose, this renegade church put itself available to serve even the interests of the political state. (Acts 20:30; 2 Peter 2:1, 3)[2]. To protect the community it was considerable to hold the feeling of unity high, as that is also today still important. Paul’s expression “take heed” emphasizes the necessity to be watchful (Hebrews 3:12, 13).  The early Christians got the warning that also today still goes on to have no flaw at belief and Bible so that we in would not develop something wrong in our heart, and we shall not withdraw us from God instead shall be able to approach him (James 4:8).

Then and now, it comes to it that the members of the community dare to trust each other, support each other but also dare to admonish. We need the heat of brotherly contact. “Who isolates himself, will be indulging his own desires; against all practical wisdom, defying all sound judgement, will he burst out” (Proverbs 18:1). The necessity of such contact moves Christians in this time to visit regular municipality assemblies, larger meetings and conferences.

One had to bring up interest for “the width and length and height and depth” of the truth, and according to go forward to maturity. (Ephesians 3:18, Hebrews 6:1, 2 Timothy 4:7).

Gathering on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur - Drawing Jewish Encyclopedia

Some Jews and heathens that stepped over to Christianity appeared in flaw to remain to increase their observations. They became slow in the accepting of the increased light with relation to the Law and the circumcision (Acts 15:27-29; Galatians 2:11-14; 6:12, 13). Some handled perhaps still large value on traditional practices as the weekly Sabbath and the solemn annual Yom Kippur or Day of reconciliation. (Colossians 2:16, 17; Hebrews 9:1-14).

Already in the first century the apostle Paul had warned Timothy that “godless men and cheats” would creep in the Christian municipality and would mislead many (2 Timothy 3:13).[3] This large waste began after the death of the apostles (Acts 20:29, 30).

Epikur

Epicurus - Epikouros Bust - Herculaneum, Villa dei Papiri, Sala 8, National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy

Some Christians maintained perhaps narrow ties with people, which stood under influence of the Greek philosophies, including that of the epicurean. The epicureans were supporters of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who lived from 341 until 270 b. C. T. He taught that enjoyment was the only or most high good in life. On the other hand he taught that enjoyment best can be reached by behaving in life with administration, courage, self-control and justice. He argued not the chasing of immediate and brief enjoyment, but of enjoyment that the whole life lasts. Because of this the epicurean can be compared with men that practised coarse sin, violated virtuousness. (Compare Titus 1:12). The epicureans for instance practised moderation in their chase of enjoyment. They attached more value to the on desire feelings of the mind than to physical enjoyment.

The Apostolic Fathers, as they are called, such as Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, and Barnabas, were, at first, the immediate followers of the inspired apostles. They had listened to their instructions, laboured with them in the gospel, and probably had been familiarly acquainted with them. But, notwithstanding the high privileges which they enjoyed as scholars of the apostles, they very soon departed from the doctrines which had been committed to them, especially as to church government. They seem to have completely forgotten — judging from the Epistles which bear their names — the great New Testament truth of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the assembly.

Their vanity claims that it is only given to a certain elite to be able to understand the Word of God and to explain it, simply ignores the strength of God in His consignment of the Holy Spirit or Pneuma concerning all people who wish to approach God.

File:San Saba - santa Balbina interno 1000904.JPG

4th century congregation house: Santa Balbina in Rome, Italy - interno. Photo by Lalupa.

The new teachers of the church seem also to have forgotten the beautiful simplicity of the divine order in the church. There were only two orders of office-bearers — elders and deacons. The one was appointed to attend to the temporal, the other to the spiritual need of the assembly of the saints. Elder, or bishop, simply means overseer, one who takes a spiritual oversight. He may have been “apt to teach,” or he may not; he was not an ordained teacher, but an ordained overseer. And as for the institutions of divine appointment, we only find in the New Testament, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or the “Breaking of the Bread”. Nothing could be simpler, more plain, or more easily understood, as to all the directions given for faith and practice, but there was no room left for the exaltation and glory of man in the church of God. The Holy Ghost had come down to take the lead in the assembly, according to the word of the Lord, and the promise of the Father; and no Christian, however gifted, believing this, could take the place of leader, and thus practically displace the Holy Spirit. But, from the moment that this truth was lost sight of, men began to contend for place and power, and of course the Holy Spirit had no longer His right place in the assembly or congregation.

Scarcely had the voice of inspiration become silent in the church, than we hear the voice of the new teachers crying loudly and earnestly for the highest honours being paid to the bishop, and a supreme place being given to him. Not a word about the Spirit’s place as sovereign ruler in the church of God. This is evident from the Epistles of Ignatius, said to have been written A.D. 107. Many great names, we are aware, have questioned their authenticity; and many great names contend that they have been satisfactorily proved to be genuine. Real ministry is of the Lord and of Him alone. This is what we have to note in view of what took place on the very threshold of Christianity. Christ only is the true Head of the church. It is a grave and solemn thing for anyone to interfere with Christ’s claims on the service of His servant. To touch this is to set aside responsibility to Christ, and to overthrow the fundamental principle of Christian ministry.

Priesthood was the distinguishing characteristic of the Jewish dispensation; ministry, according to God, is characteristic of the Christian period. Hence the utter failure of the professing church, when it sought to imitate Judaism in so many ways, both in its priesthood and its ritualism. If a priestly order, with rites and ceremonies, be still necessary, the efficacy of the work of Christ is called in question. In fact, though not in words, it strikes at the root of Christianity. But all is settled by the word of God.[4] “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down at the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified…. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. We also have a great Cohen, a high priest, over god’s household.” (See Heb. 10: 1-25)

Ministry, then, is a subject of the highest dignity and the deepest interest. It testifies to the work, the victory, and the glory of Jesus, that the lost may be saved. It is the activity of God’s love going out to an alien and ruined world, and earnestly beseeching souls to be reconciled to Him. [5] “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us…” (2 Cor. 5: 19-21)

The church alas! soon found that to hinder ministry, as it is set before us in the word of God, and to introduce a new order of things, did not hinder divisions, heresies, and false teachers springing up. From this time — the beginning of the second century, and before it — the church was greatly disturbed by heresies; and as time rolled on, things never grew better, but always worse. [6]


[1]  “Brothers, be on guard that at some time a wicked and unbelieving heart never come to exist in you, leading to apostasy from a Living God. Rather, encourage one another every day as long as we call it “Today.” Do this so that none of you ever become hardened by the seduction of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13 MHM)

[2]  “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1 KJBPNV)

“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.” (2 Peter 2:3 KJBPNV)

[3] “Yes, and all that will live godly in the Messiah Yahshua shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13 KJBPNV)

[4] Miller’s Church History

[5] Miller’s Church History

[6] Miller’s Church History

+

Please do find the Dutch version: Gelieve de Nederlandstalige versie te vinden onder:   Minimaliseren van Gods Kracht de Heilige Geest

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Please do find more on Judaism and Christianity:

  1. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  2. Judaism & Catholicism Universal ‘churches’

+

Please do find articles on Jesus as the Cornerstone of the community:

  1. Video: Who was Jesus?
  2. Who is Jesus #2 Jesus Christ, man who died
  3. Who is Jesus #4 Clear statements that our heavenly Father is his “God”
  4. Who is Jesus #6 Jesus prays to God
  5. Who is Jesus #8 Father greater than Jesus
  6. Who is Jesus #9 100% or not
  7. Who is Jesus #12 Conclusion
  8. Da Vinci Code: Was Jesus Human or Divine?
  9. Jesus son of God
  10. Christian thought: acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God
  11. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever
  12. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  13. The Victor
  14. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  15. The builder of the Kingdom
  16. Can we not do what Jesus did?
  17. The increasing rejection of the teaching of Christ
  18. For those who have not the rudiments of an historical sense

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Other articles of interest:

  1. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  2. Historical Development of Trinity
  3. How the Doctrine of the Trinity came to the Church
  4. Trinity function
  5. Trinity versus Tritheism
  6. Why the trinity was accepted in Europe
  7. The Pagan Influence of The catholic church ……The Pagan Trinity, and Saint B
  8. Summary on trinity
  9. Holy Sabbath
  10. A man with an outstanding personality
  11. Misleading Pictures
  12. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  13. Quit griping about your church
  14. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  15. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  16. Making church
  17. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  18. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  19. He has given us the Pneuma, the force, from Him
  20. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  21. Millions of Christians leaving conventional churches to meet in homes
  22. Working for God
  23. Efeziërs 2:21-22 Church no longer holds a central place in many Christian lives
  24. Prefering to be a Christian

+++

  • What Does the Qur’an Say About the Jewish and Christian Scriptures (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
    On many occasions I have heard Muslims attack the Bible. Some seem keen to slander it anyway they can. But what does the Qur’an say about it? This article examines what the whole Qur’an says about the Jewish and Christian scriptures. The Qur’an used is according to Imam Hafs and translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (AYA) or Mohammed Pickthall (MP).
  • Historical Jesus [Der historische Jesus] (consensuspatrum.wordpress.com)
    How do we know that the life of Jesus is not just a story that the Church made up?Tacitus, a Roman historian who wrote Annals in 115 CE, is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world.
    He wrote: “To dispel the rumor that the fire was started by Nero, Nero substituted as culprits, and treated with the most extreme punishments, some people, popularly known as Christians, whose disgraceful activities were notorious. The originator of that name, Christus, had been executed when Tiberius was Emperor, by order of the procurator Pontius Pilatus. But the deadly cult, though checked for a time, was now breaking out again not only in Judea, the birthplace of this evil, but even throughout Rome, where all the nasty and disgusting ideas from all over the world pour in and find a ready following.” (Annals 15:44). This means there were a significant number of Christians in Rome in 64AD, only 30 years after the Crucifixion of Christ.
  • Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    The relationship between Jews and Jesus has traditionally been a complicated one, to say the least.As his followers’ message swept the ancient world, Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah found themselves in the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, position of being blamed for his death.
    +
    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media personality who recently launched a bid for a U.S. House seat, argues in his own new book, “Kosher Jesus,” that “Jews have much to learn from Jesus – and from Christianity as a whole – without accepting Jesus’ divinity. There are many reasons for accepting Jesus as a man of great wisdom, beautiful ethical teachings, and profound Jewish patriotism.”
    +The flurry of recent Jewish books on Jesus – including this month’s publication of “The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ” by Daniel Boyarin – is part of a trend of Jews taking pride in Jesus, interfaith expert Edward Kessler said.”In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian New Testament scholars rediscovered the Jewish Jesus. They reminded all New Testament students that Jesus was Jewish,” said Kessler, the director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, England, which focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.
  • He Is Not Here: For He Is Risen! (pastorbobcrowder.wordpress.com)
    The early church, persecuted to the point of imprisonment and death should have failed.  The message they carried triggered division.  Their leader was murdered and yet He was resurrected.  Many saw him and heard him speak after He rose from the dead.  The Roman guards were paid off to tell a lie.And yet, His followers flourished.
  • Sunday of the Publican & the Pharisee… (thehandmaid.wordpress.com)
    Saint Paul says that we will have practiced the Apostles’ Faith when we “…have carefully followed my doctrine [and] manner of life….” Let us not think we are true, Apostolic Christians because we can speak ‘about’ the Faith reasonably well. For what Saint Paul means by ‘follow,’ surely  involves a manner of living, a consistent, day-in-and-day-out  application of the consequences that come from holding convictions  learned from the Apostles.
  • Only One Church United in Doctrine? – Part 2 of 2 (godsbreath.wordpress.com)
    The Church at Corinth was still recognized as being “of Christ” (1 Cor. 3:23), and yet “carnal” and “babes”. They were divided among themselves in which they were instructed to be joined together speaking the same thing in the same mind and the same judgment. The Apostle Paul was guided by Christ’s Spirit to correct doctrine and their motives. Therefore, unity in doctrine is possible being commanded by the Spirit of Christ.
    +
    Christians can be united by teaching as the Apostle Paul does here to unite. We must always go to Christ, to His words, to His Spirit, to His revelation to His Apostles and prophets (cf. Gal. 1:11-12, Eph. 2:19, 3:3-5, 2 Pet. 3:2, Jude 17). Following the command for unity, Paul noted that they had rejected Christ in pursuing wisdom over the words of His Apostles.

Comments on: "Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit" (10)

  1. […] Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit (belgianbiblestudents.wordpress.com) […]

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  4. […] Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit […]

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  5. […] had accepted his offering and taken him under his alms. Now he could convince them, also by the Power of God, the Holy Spirit which came over the apostles, that he was the Messiah by whom people could come […]

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  6. […] gifted with the Spirit, and could much more than they ever thought they could accomplish, by the Power of God. But already in their time the people wanting to follow Christ also wanted to follow their own […]

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  8. […] Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit […]

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  9. […] gives, the words He brings, the abilities we recognize, not because of our skills, but because of God’s power and presence within […]

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