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Posts tagged ‘2° Century’

Election of the Apostle Matthias

Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were the two candidates suggested as possible replacements for Judas Iscariot as an apostle. The lot fell to Matthias. Even though Justus was not chosen, his being considered for the office shows he was a mature disciple of Jesus Christ.—Ac 1:23-26.

(Mat·thi′as) [probably a shortened form of the Heb. Mattithiah, meaning “Gift of Jehovah”].

Judas Hangs Himself

Judas Hangs Himself (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disciple selected by lot to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle. After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, Peter, noting that not only had the psalmist David foretold Judas’ deflection (Ps 41:9) but David had also written (Ps 109:8) “his office of oversight let someone else take,” proposed to the approximately 120 disciples gathered together that the vacancy of office be filled. Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were put up for selection; after prayer, lots were cast, and Matthias was chosen. Occurring just a few days prior to the outpouring of holy spirit, this is the last instance reported in the Bible of the lots being resorted to in determining Jehovah’s choice in a matter.—Ac 1:15-26.

According to Peter’s words (Ac 1:21, 22), Matthias had been a follower of Christ throughout Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry, had been closely associated with the apostles, and was quite likely one of the 70 disciples or evangelists whom Jesus sent out to preach. (Lu 10:1) After his selection, he was “reckoned along with the eleven apostles” by the congregation (Ac 1:26), and when the book of Acts immediately thereafter speaks of “the apostles” or “the twelve,” Matthias was included.—Ac 2:37, 43; 4:33, 36; 5:12, 29; 6:2, 6; 8:1, 14; 9:27; see PAUL.

– it-2 pp. 354-355

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Though having strong conviction and proofs as to his own apostleship, Paul never included himself among “the twelve.” Prior to Pentecost, as a result of Peter’s Scriptural exhortation, the Christian assembly had sought a replacement for unfaithful Judas Iscariot. Two disciples were selected as candidates, perhaps by vote of the male members of the assembly (Peter having addressed himself to the “Men, brothers”; Ac 1:16). Then they prayed to Jehovah God (compare Ac 1:24 with 1Sa 16:7; Ac 15:7, 8) that He should designate which of the two he had chosen to replace the unfaithful apostle. Following their prayer, they cast lots and “the lot fell upon Matthias.”—Ac 1:15-26; compare Pr 16:33.

There is no reason to doubt that Matthias was God’s own choice. True, once converted, Paul became very prominent and his labors exceeded those of all the other apostles. (1Co 15:9, 10) Yet there is nothing to show that Paul was personally predestinated to an apostleship so that God, in effect, refrained from acting on the prayer of the Christian assembly, held open the place vacated by Judas until Paul’s conversion, and thus made the appointment of Matthias merely an arbitrary action of the Christian assembly. On the contrary, there is sound evidence that Matthias was a divinely appointed replacement.

English: Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Is...

Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot as apostle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Pentecost the outpouring of holy spirit gave the apostles unique powers; they are the only ones shown to have been able to lay hands on newly baptized ones and communicate to them miraculous gifts of the spirit. (See Apostle [Miraculous powers].) If Matthias were not in reality God’s choice, his inability to do this would have been apparent to all. The record shows this was not the case. Luke, the writer of Acts, was Paul’s traveling companion and associate during certain missions, and the book of Acts therefore undoubtedly reflects and coincides with Paul’s own view of matters. That book refers to “the twelve” as appointing the seven men who were to handle the matter of the food distribution problem. This was after Pentecost of 33 C.E. but before Paul’s conversion. Hence Matthias is here acknowledged as one of “the twelve,” and he shared with the other apostles in laying hands on the seven designates.—Ac 6:1-6.

Whose name then appears among those on the “twelve foundation stones” of the New Jerusalem of John’s vision—Matthias’ or Paul’s? (Re 21:2, 14) One line of reasoning would make it appear that Paul is the more likely one. He contributed so much to the Christian congregation by his ministry and particularly by his writing a large portion of the Christian Greek Scriptures (14 letters being attributed to him). In these respects Paul ‘outshone’ Matthias, who receives no further direct mention after Acts chapter 1.

– it-2 pp. 585-590

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Who replaced Judas Iscariot as a twelfth apostle?

Because of the defection of Judas Iscariot, who died unfaithful, there were only 11 apostles remaining, and during the 40 days from Jesus’ resurrection until his ascension to heaven he made no appointment of a replacement. Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill the vacancy left by Judas, not simply on the basis of his death but, rather, on the basis of his wicked defection, as the Scriptures quoted by Peter indicate. (Ac 1:15-22; Ps 69:25; 109:8; compare Re 3:11.) Thus, by contrast, when the faithful apostle James was put to death, there is no record of any concern to appoint anyone to succeed him in his position of apostle.—Ac 12:2.

It is evident from Peter’s statements that it was then considered that any individual filling the position of an apostle of Jesus Christ must have the qualifications of having been personally conversant with him, having been an eyewitness of his works, his miracles, and particularly his resurrection. In view of this it can be seen that any apostolic succession would in course of time become an impossibility, unless there were divine action to supply these requirements in each individual case. At that particular time before Pentecost, however, there were men meeting these requirements, and two were put forth as suitable for replacing unfaithful Judas. Doubtless having in mind Proverbs 16:33, lots were cast, and Matthias was selected and was thereafter “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Ac 1:23-26) He is thus included among “the twelve” who settled the problem concerning the Greek-speaking disciples (Ac 6:1, 2), and evidently Paul includes him in referring to “the twelve” when speaking of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances at 1 Corinthians 15:4-8. Thus, when Pentecost arrived, there were 12 apostolic foundations on which the spiritual Israel then formed could rest.

The Boppard Room:  Pashal Candle Holder: Saint...

The Boppard Room: Pashal Candle Holder: Saint Matthias (Photo credit: peterjr1961)

Congregational Apostleships.

Matthias was not a mere apostle of the Jerusalem congregation, any more than the remaining 11 apostles were. His case is different from that of the Levite Joseph Barnabas who became an apostle of the congregation of Antioch, Syria. (Ac 13:1-4; 14:4, 14; 1Co 9:4-6) Other men also are referred to as “apostles of congregations” in the sense that they were sent forth by such congregations to represent them. (2Co 8:23) And, in writing to the Philippians, Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as “your envoy [a·po′sto·lon] and private servant for my need.” (Php 2:25) The apostleship of these men was clearly not by virtue of any apostolic succession, nor did they form part of “the twelve” as did Matthias.

The correct understanding of the wider application of the term “apostle” can help to clear away any apparent discrepancy between Acts 9:26, 27 and Galatians 1:17-19, when applied to the same occasion. The first account states that Paul, on arriving in Jerusalem, was led “to the apostles” by Barnabas. In the account in Galatians, however, Paul states that he visited with Peter and adds: “But I saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” James (not the original apostle James the son of Zebedee nor James the son of Alphaeus, but the half brother of Jesus) was evidently viewed as an “apostle” in the wider sense, namely, as “one sent forth” by the Jerusalem congregation. This would allow for the Acts account to use the title in the plural in saying that Paul was led “to the apostles” (that is, Peter and James).—Compare 1Co 15:5-7; Ga 2:9.

– it-1 pp. 127-130

The Election of Saint Matthias

The Election of Saint Matthias (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

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15 Now during these days Peter rose up in the midst of the brothers and said (the crowd* of persons was all together about one hundred and twenty): 16 “Men, brothers, it was necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled,+ which the holy spirit+ spoke beforehand by David’s mouth about Judas,+ who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus,+ 17 because he had been numbered among us+ and he obtained a share in this ministry.+ 18 (This very man, therefore, purchased+ a field with the wages for unrighteousness,+ and pitching head foremost*+ he noisily burst in his midst and all his intestines were poured out. 19 It also became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that that field was called in their language A·kel′da·ma, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his lodging place become desolate, and let there be no dweller in it,’+ and, ‘His office of oversight* let someone else take.’+ 21 It is therefore necessary that of the men that assembled with us during all the time in which the Lord Jesus went in and out* among us,+ 22 starting with his baptism by John+ and until the day he was received up from us,+ one of these men should become a witness with us of his resurrection.”+

23 So they put up two, Joseph called Bar′sab·bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Mat·thi′as. 24 And they prayed and said: “You, O Jehovah,* who know the hearts of all,+ designate which one of these two men you have chosen, 25 to take the place of this ministry and apostleship,+ from which Judas deviated to go to his own place.” 26 So they cast lots+ over them, and the lot fell upon Mat·thi′as; and he was reckoned along with the eleven+ apostles.

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Proverbs 16:33

33 Into the lap the lot is cast down,+ but every decision by it is from Jehovah.+

Proverbs 18:18

18 The lot puts even contentions to rest,+ and it separates even the mighty from one another.+

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Act 6:2:

2 So the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them and said: “It is not pleasing for us to leave the word of God to distribute [food]* to tables.+ 3 So, brothers, search out+ for yourselves seven certified men from among YOU, full of spirit and wisdom,+ that we may appoint them over this necessary business; 4 but we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”+ 5 And the thing spoken was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit,+ and Philip+ and Proch′o·rus and Ni·ca′nor and Ti′mon and Par′me·nas and Nic·o·la′us, a proselyte of Antioch; 6 and they placed them before the apostles, and, after having prayed, these laid their hands+ upon them.

Acts 9:26, 27:

26 On arriving in Jerusalem+ he made efforts to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a disciple. 27 So Bar′na·bas came to his aid+ and led him to the apostles, and he told them in detail how on the road he had seen the Lord+ and that he had spoken to him,+ and how in Damascus+ he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

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v 23: Joseph, also called Barsabbas (perhaps a family name or merely an additional name) and surnamed Justus, was a witness of the work, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A Levite surnamed Barnabas and a native of Cyprus. (Ac 4:36, 37) He was a close associate of the apostle Paul.—See Barnabas.

v 24: Jehovah: “Jehovah.” Heb., יהוה (YHWH or JHVH):

There is evidence that Jesus’ disciples used the Tetragrammaton in their writings. In his work De viris inlustribus [Concerning Illustrious Men], chapter III, Jerome, in the fourth century, wrote the following: “Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed. Who translated it after that in Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Beroea to copy it.” (Translation from the Latin text edited by E. C. Richardson and published in the series “Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur,” Vol. 14, Leipzig, 1896, pp. 8, 9.)

Matthew made more than a hundred quotations from the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. Where these quotations included the divine name he would have been obliged faithfully to include the Tetragrammaton in his Hebrew Gospel account. When the Gospel of Matthew was translated into Greek, the Tetragrammaton was left untranslated within the Greek text according to the practice of that time.

Not only Matthew but all the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures quoted verses from the Hebrew text or from the Septuagint where the divine name appears. For example, in Peter’s speech in Ac 3:22 a quotation is made from De 18:15 where the Tetragrammaton appears in a papyrus fragment of the Septuagint dated to the first century B.C.E. (See App 1C §1.) As a follower of Christ, Peter used God’s name, Jehovah. When Peter’s speech was put on record the Tetragrammaton was here used according to the practice during the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.

Sometime during the second or third century C.E. the scribes removed the Tetragrammaton from both the Septuagint and the Christian Greek Scriptures and replaced it with Ky′ri·os, “Lord” or The·os′, “God.”

v 24: who know the hearts of all:

(1 Samuel 16:7): 7 But Jehovah said to Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance and at the height of his stature,+ for I have rejected him. For not the way man sees [is the way God sees],*+ because mere man sees what appears to the eyes;*+ but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart+ is.”*
(1 Chronicles 28:9): 9 “And you, Sol′o·mon my son, know+ the God of your father and serve+ him with a complete heart+ and with a delightful soul;+ for all hearts Jehovah is searching,+ and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.+ If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you;+ but if you leave him,+ he will cast you off forever.+

(Jeremiah 11:20): 20 But Jehovah of armies is judging with righteousness;+ he is examining the kidneys* and the heart.+ O may I see your vengeance on them, for it is to you that I have revealed my case at law.+

(Acts 15:8): 8 and God, who knows the heart,+ bore witness by giving them the holy spirit,+ just as he did to us also.

(1 Kings 8:391 Chronicles 28:92 Chronicles 16:9Psalm 7:9Proverbs 24:12; Jeremiah 17:10)

v 25: apostleship: (John 6:70): 70 Jesus answered them: “I chose YOU twelve,+ did I not? Yet one of YOU is a slanderer.”*+

v 26: they cast lots: (Proverbs 16:33): (Proverbs 16:33): 33 Into the lap the lot is cast down,+ but every decision by it is from Jehovah.+

with the eleven+ apostles: (Matthew 28:16):  16 However, the eleven disciples went into Gal′i·lee+ to the mountain where Jesus had arranged for them,

+ by the lot / drawing lots: (Numbers 26:55; Joshua 18:10; Proverbs 18:18)

+

Compare:

The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 1

Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1

Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1 v23-26 Choice of Matthias

Dutch version/ Nederlandse versie: Verkiezing van Matthias

Afrikaans: Matti′as is gekies als een van “die twaalf

Deutsch: Da warfen sie Lose und das Los fiel auf Matthias

Français: Élection de Matthias

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Please also do find:

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  • Commemoration of the Apostle Matthias, Martyred in Colchis, and Apostolic Succession (georgianorthodoxchurch.wordpress.com)
    there is evidence that the Apostle Matthias was martyred in Colchis  (the ancient name for Georgia’s Black Sea regions) and buried in Gonio, near Batumi.
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    The elevation of Matthias from the Seventy to the Twelve Apostles is interesting, as it is one of the first written accounts of Apostolic Succession
  • *Apostolic* (motivation1000.wordpress.com)
    Furthermore, for a person to profess to be a Christian (one who is like Christ) and do not obey God’s word in the bible is to make that person a hypocrite – hence, a hypocrites teachings is hypocrisy. In a narrower since, Doctrine is Teachings, and Teachings is Doctrine! Every movement has a doctrine, every religion has a doctrine, the Christian’s doctrine is the Holy Bible (God’s words passed on to His people by the Prophets and Apostles of the bible.
  • Acts 1 (sisterspray4me.com)
    23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen 25 as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.
  • Acts 14-15 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
  • Wait Upon The Lord (rootstothestream.net)
    Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
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    Consider if there are any aspects of your life that may be best served with simply waiting on the direction of the Lord.
  • Intro to the Book of Acts and the choosing of Judas’ replacement (sundayschoolbiblestudy.wordpress.com)
    Luke gives us a brief introduction and then summarizes the 40 days after His death and resurrection when Jesus prepares the Apostles for ministry. He instructs them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see The Holy Spirit and the Day of Pentecost).
  • Acts of the Apostles 4.32-5.11
    Thus far in the Acts of the Apostles the narrative has primarily been concerned with the formation of the Messianic community that would eventually become known as the Christian Church and the opposition to this community by the Jewish leaders and some of the Jewish people.
  • Acts 6:2-4…”So the Twelve gathered all the disciples
    New Testament model, and biblical clarity in the deacons’ role and function is invaluable for promoting peace and unity in our congregations.

  • It is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you
    Paul knew well the importance of God’s holy spirit when it comes to speaking the truth. He even entreated the congregation in Ephesus to make supplication for him that “ability to speak” might be given him. (Eph. 6:18-20)
  • The Greatness of the Apostle Paul / Die Größe des Apostels Paulus
    Among people critical of Christianity, the apostle Paul has a pretty bad press. Whilst quite a few of them recognize that Jesus had an exceptionally high ethic (at least for his time), Paul is generally regarded as a villain having sort of corrupted the message of his master.
    +Während nicht wenige von ihnen anerkennen, dass Jesus eine außenordentlich hohe Ethik (zumindest für seine Zeit) hatte, wird generell Paulus als einen Bösewicht angesehen, der irgendwie die Botschaft seines Meisters verdorben hat.

Politics and power first priority #2

The early days of Christianity

2.2.2. Politics and power first priority #2

Between ‘first-born’[1] indicating being the first one of the New Covenant period, the first born of the New Creation which was pre-eminent for the followers of the Messiah[2] , the New Adam opening the gateway for the new people of God, became under fire because certain people started to believe that Jesus was the first person born, even before Adam, the first man was created. This idea entered in the second period of the 2nd century and developed further in the 3rd century with Clement of Alexandria [c. 150- c. 214 CE] who used the term “protoktistos” in his Stromata[3] but later on calls Jesus “protoktistos”, [first-created][4] Clement uses the term first-created, as though it was first-born, to Clement and others, the two meant the same thing and were interchangeable and in fact, if we look at Clements same work [Stromata] just a little later on in chapter 14, page 465, we come across the expression, “tes sophias tes protoktistou tw thew”, which means, “Wisdom, which was the first of the creation of God”, here we clearly see the [genitive] “protoktistou” [of the creation]! Clement repeatedly identifies the Word with the Wisdom of God, and yet he refers to Wisdom as the first created of God; while in one passage he attaches the epithet “First-created,” and in another “First-begotten,” to the Word.

To the church fathers [pre-Nicene] the terms “prototokos” and “protoktistos” were naturally synonymous and interchangeable terms, they treat both equally and with the same meaning!

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a partnership formed (harmonia, syymphonia) wich became one of the foundations of the Christian Empire.[5] Because the religious peace of the East was threatened the Roman Emperor Constantine I convoked (325) the first ecumenical council (see Nicaea, First Council of Nicaea) to solve the problems raised by Arianism. Arianism as the theological view that Jesus was divine, but was created by and is lesser than God the Father, was officially condemned as incorrect by the Council of Nicaea in 325, which gave its seal of authority to the established trinitarian view. The Nicene Creed was formed and taken up in catechisms that require students to memorize the Nicene Creed. The Greek term homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular: it had been used before by the heretic Sabellius. Some, like Marcellus of Ancyra the Galatian churchman, the most violent opponent of Arianism in Asia Minor, developed the theory that the Trinity was the result of emanations from God that would ultimately revert to God in the final judgement. In attacking Arianism, lapsed into Sabellianism (Sabellius). The voices of orthodoxy, however, were not silent. In the West St. Hilary of Poitiers and in the East St. Basil the Great ( c.330–379, Greek prelate, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Doctor of the Church and one of the Four Fathers of the Greek Church with the Cappadocian theologian St. Gregory Nazianzen ( c.330–390) and St. Gregory of Nyssa ( d. 394?) continued to defend and interpret the Nicene formula. By 364 the West had a Catholic emperor in Valentinian I, and when the Catholic Theodosius I(346?–395, Roman emperor of the East (379–95) and emperor of the West (394–95), son of Theodosius, the general of Valentinian I) became emperor of the East (379), Arianism was outlawed.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (eastern ortodox icon)

St. Gregory of Nyssa (eastern ortodox icon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second ecumenical council was convoked to reaffirm the Nicene formula (Constantinople, First Council of 381, second ecumenical council). It was convened by Theodosius I, then emperor of the East and a recent convert, to confirm the victory over Arianism. Arianism within the empire seems to have expired at once. However, Ulfilas or Wulfila [Gothic,=little wolf], (c.311–383, Gothic bishop, translator of the Bible into Gothic) was converted to Christianity at Constantinople and was consecrated bishop (341) by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and carried (c.340) Homoean Arianism to the Goths living in what is now Hungary and the NW Balkan Peninsula with such success that the Visigoths and other Germanic tribes became staunch Arians. Arianism was thus carried over Western Europe and into Africa. The Vandals remained Arians until their defeat by Belisarius (c.534). Among the Lombards the efforts of Pope St. Gregory I and the Lombard queen were successful, and Arianism finally disappeared (c.650) there. In Burgundy the Catholic Franks broke up Arianism by conquest in the 6th cent. In Spain, where the conquering Visigoths were Arians, Catholicism was not established until the mid-6th cent. (by Recared), and Arian ideas survived for at least another century. Arianism brought many results — the ecumenical council, the Catholic Christological system, and even Nestorianism, and, by reaction, Monophysitism. Nestorianism on the one hand saying Jesus was to be two distinct persons, and Monophystium on the other, closely and inseparably uniteophysitism [Gr.,=belief in one nature], a heresy of the 5th and 6th cent., which grew out of a reaction against Nestorianism. It was anticipated by Apollinarianism and was continuous with the principles of Eutyches, whose doctrine had been rejected in 451 at Chalcedon (see Chalcedon, Council of ) fourth ecumenical council. [6]

The emperor Constantine completed what Paul had begun to some —a world hostile to the faith in which Jesus had lived and died. The Council of Nice in 325 determined that Church and Synagogue should have nothing in common, and that whatever smacked of the unity of God and of the freedom of man, or offered a Jewish aspect of worship, must be eliminated from Catholic Christendom.

The transfer of the seat of power from Rome to Constantinople, and the founding of the East Roman empire under Constantine I. gave to Asia Minor, and especially to Constantinople, a commanding importance in the history of the Church for several centuries. The seven oecumenical Councils from 325 to 787 were all held in that city or its neighborhood, and the doctrinal controversies on the Trinity and the person of Christ were carried on chiefly in Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt.


[1] “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;” (Colossians 1:15 ASV)

[2]The Greek for firstborn is proto with tikto: firstborn. The Greek for first created would be proto with ktizo: first created. Paul did not use the second but the first. Second, the biblical use of the word “firstborn” is most interesting. It can mean the first born child in a family (Luke 2:7), but it can also mean “pre-eminence.” In Psalm 89:20, 27 it says, “I have found David My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him…I also shall make him My first-born” (NASB). As you can see, David, who was the last one born in his family was called the firstborn by God. This is a title of preeminence here.” CARM(Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)

[3] Book, 5 chapter 6, section 35, and book 5, chapter 14, section 89

[4] Stromata in ANF 2, chapter 6, page 452

[5] June, 325. (First Council of Nicaea) plus fourteen councils, held between 341 and 360

[6] H. M. Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism (2d ed. 1900); J. H. Newman, The Arians of the Fourth Century (1933, repr. 1968); J. Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (1971).

W. H. Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement (1972); J. Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (1971) and The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

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Previous: Politics and power first priority #1

Next: Politics and power first priority #3

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie:  Politiek en macht eerste prioriteit #2

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  • The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils (catholicexchange.com)
    To be deep into history, John Henry Newman wrote, is to cease to be a Protestant. Put another way, to be deep into history is to become stronger in the Catholic faith—something we are all called to do in this Year of Faith.
    +
    one key to understanding the orthodox teachings of these councils is heresy. The councils, especially the earliest ones, were essentially anti-heresy conventions, called to sort the wheat of dogma from the chaff of heresy.
    +
    In all, there were 21 ecumenical councils.
  • From Lofty Words to Faithful Action (lifegivingwater.wordpress.com)
    Arius believed that people were putting too much emphasis on the Jesus’ divinity that they were forgetting his humanity. After all, does it not say in John 3:16 that Jesus was God’s only begotten son, explicitly stating that Jesus was brought into existence by the Father?  Yet, Alexander felt that to emphasize Christ’s humanity was to strip Christ of his divinity and to make him less than fully divine.

Hellenistic influences

The early days of Christianity

2.1. Hellenistic influences

An ingenious and learned school, formed at Alexandria, had contrived, by a system of allegorical interpretation, to infuse Platonism into the Old Testament, the school at Jerusalem had been growing increasingly rigid, and interdicted any such daring exegesis.

In the first centuries of our current calendar the influence of the Greek culture in the Roman Realm was still noticeable and guarded Greece its cultural inheritance one of the most important universities of the Roman Realm which stood in Athens.

At the Athenian schools also Christians, like Prohæresios, the sophist, were found under its members.

Sophists (sophistēs, meaning “wise-ist, one who does wisdom,” and σοφός, sophós means “wise man”) were a category of traveling teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. As itinerant intellectuals they taught courses in various subjects, speculated about the nature of language and culture and employed rhetoric to achieve their purposes, generally to persuade or convince others which could be of good use for the youngsters to be able to have their say in the official meetings or ekklèsia (Ecclesia)

Many sophists’ questioned the existence and roles of traditional deities and investigated into the nature of the heavens and the earth, which prompted a popular reaction against them. The attacks of some of their followers against Socrates prompted a vigorous condemnation from his followers, including Plato the most famous student of Socrates, and Xenophon. The sophists became considered greedy instructors who used rhetorical sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive, or to support fallacious reasoning. according to some the sophist was not concerned with truth and justice, but instead looked for power.

File:PopesixtusII.jpg

The martyrdom of Saint (Pope) Sixtus II and his deacons. Martyre de saint Sixte II et de ses diacres. Cote: Français 185 , Fol. 96v . Vies de saints, France, Paris – 14th century. – Richard de Montbaston et collaborateurs

Sixtus II, or Xystos, who suffered martyrdom in Rome about 258 C.T., also may have studied in Athens and is called “the son of an Athenian philosopher”. But the most noted men who frequented the schools here were Basil from Kæsareia, and Gregory from Nazianzos, about the middle of the fourth century. These schools of philosophy kept paganism alive for four centuries, but by the fifth century the ancient religion of Elevsis and Athens had practically succumbed. In the Council of Nikæa there was present a bishop from Athens. In 529 the schools of philosophy were closed. From that date Christianity had no rival in Athens.[1]

Jesus clearly taught that Jehovah is “the only true God” and that the human soul is mortal. (John 17:3; Matthew 10:28) Yet, with the death of the apostles and the weakening of the organizational structure, such clear teachings were corrupted as pagan doctrines infiltrated Christianity.

A key factor was the subtle influence of Greek philosophy. Explains The New Encyclopædia Britannica: “From the middle of the 2nd century AD Christians who had some training in Greek philosophy began to feel the need to express their faith in its terms, both for their own intellectual satisfaction and in order to convert educated pagans.” Once philosophically minded persons became Christians, it did not take long for Greek philosophy and “Christianity” to become inseparably linked.
As a result of this union, pagan doctrines such as the Trinity and the immortality of the soul seeped into tainted Christianity. These teachings, however, go back much farther than the Greek philosophers. The Greeks actually acquired them from older cultures, for there is evidence of such teachings in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian religions. As pagan doctrines continued to infiltrate Christianity, other Scriptural teachings were also distorted or abandoned.

File:HermesTrismegistusCauc.jpg

Hermes Trismegistus

The question how the Son was related to the Father (Himself acknowledged on all hands to be the one Supreme Deity), gave rise, between the years 60 and 200 C.T. to a number of Theosophic systems, called generally Gnosticism, and having for their authors Basilides, Valentinus, apologist and ascetic Tatian the Syrian or the Assyrian , writer of the Diatessaron (a  prominent Gospel harmony) and other Greek speculators.[2] According to some, it was through Gnosticism that pagan influences slipped into Christian worship. Gnosticism, they assert, served somewhat as a bridge between paganism and Christianity.[3] The Gnostic systems revealed more theosophy than theology and in the Jewish Kabbala is found a theosophy mixed with various forms of magic and occultism. The Kabbalah, which includes the tracts named Sefer Yetzirah, The Zohar, Pardes Rimonim, and Eitz Chaim, seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realisation.
The Hellenistic main source is the Corpus Hermeticum or the Hermetic Corpus, a collection of texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, which became again of importance in the New Age. Therein astrology and other occult sciences and spiritual renewal are addressed. Trismegistus may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

Alexandria was full of Jews, the literary as well as commercial centre of the East, and the connecting link between the East and the West. There the largest libraries were collected; there the Jewish mind came into close contact with the Greek, and the religion of Moses with the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. There Philo wrote, while Christ taught in Jerusalem and Galilee, and his works were destined to exert a great influence on Christian exegesis through the Alexandrian fathers.

During the fourth century Egypt was going to give to the church the Arian heresy, the Athanasian orthodoxy, and the monastic piety of St. Antony and St. Pachomius, which spread with irresistible force over Christendom.

The theological literature of Egypt was chiefly Greek. Most of the early manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures — including probably the invaluable Sinaitic and Vatican MSS. — were written in Alexandria. But already in the second century the Scriptures were translated into the vernacular language, in three different dialects. What remains of these versions is of considerable weight in ascertaining the earliest text of the Greek Testament.

To the Jews, that were the mostly receptive for Hellenic influences, belonged the priests. For many of them meant the accepting of the Hellenism a manner to have Judaism going with its time.

While many Jews accepted the Hellenism, a new group calling themselves Hasidim or Chassidim — devout people (literally “loving kindness”, diverted of the Hebrew חסידות (chassidoet), meaning “piety”) — encouraged people to keep stricter obedience to the Law of Moses. The first group of Hasidim, also called the Assideans or Hasideans (the Anglicized form, derived through the Greek asidaioi, of the Hebrew Hasidim, “the pious”, men endowed with grace (Psalm 39:5; 148:14)), were an ancient Jewish sect that developed between 300 B.C.E. and 175 B.C.E. They were the most rigid adherents of Judaism in contradistinction to those Jews who were beginning to be affected by Hellenistic influences. The Hasidim led the resistance to the Hellenizing campaign of Antiochus IV of Syria, and they figured largely in the early phases of the revolt of the Maccabees or Machabees, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C.E. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon. Their ritual strictness has caused some to see them as forerunners of the Pharisees. Throughout the Talmudic period numerous figures were referred to as Hasidim. [4]

The Hellenization of the Jews in the pre-Hasmonean period was not universally resisted. Generally, the Jews accepted foreign rule when they were only required to pay tribute, and otherwise allowed to govern themselves internally. Nevertheless, Jews were divided between those favoring Hellenization and those opposing it, and were divided over allegiance to the Ptolemies or Seleucids. When the High Priest Simon II died in 175 BCE, conflict broke out between supporters of his son Onias III (who opposed Hellenization, and favored the Ptolemies) and his son Jason (who favored Hellenization, and favored the Seleucids). A period of political intrigue followed, with priests such as Menelaus bribing the king to win the High Priesthood, and accusations of murder of competing contenders for the title. The result was a brief civil war. The Tobiads, a philo-Hellenistic party, succeeded in placing Jason into the powerful position of High Priest. He established an arena for public games close by the Temple. (Ginzberg, Lewis. “The Tobiads and Oniads.”. Retrieved 2007-01-23. Jewish Encyclopedia.) Author Lee I. Levine notes, “The ‘piece de resistance’ of Judaean Hellenization, and the most dramatic of all these developments, occurred in 175 BCE, when the high priest Jason converted Jerusalem into a Greek polis replete with gymnasium and ephebeion (2 Maccabees 4). Whether this step represents the culmination of a 150-year process of Hellenization within Jerusalem in general, or whether it was only the initiative of a small coterie of Jerusalem priests with no wider ramifications, has been debated for decades.” (Levine, Lee I. Judaism and Hellenism in antiquity: conflict or confluence? Hendrickson Publishers, 1998. pp. 38–45. Via “The Impact of Greek Culture on Normative Judaism.”)

The ordinary people were disgusted by the Hellenised priests and chose more and more party for the Chassidim. There broke a period of martyrdom when Jews in the whole country were forced to go along or to settle with pagan happenings and offerings or to die.[5]

A gold multiple of “Unconquered Constantine” with Sol Invictus, struck in 313. The use of Sol’s image appealed to both the educated citizens of Gaul, who would recognize in it Apollo’s patronage of Augustus and the arts; and to Christians, who found solar monotheism less objectionable than the traditional pagan pantheon

Constantine (C., Flavius Valerius Constantinus) was during the decline period of the Roman Realm the Big Emperor (306–337 C. T.) and tried to merge Christianity with particular pagan customs and doctrines. He undertook the first steps to make this merger religion as the official state religion. Accordingly Greece became a part of Christendom. He moved the capital of the realm of Rome to Byzantium, which he named in honour of himself Constantinople.

In 321 C. T. Constantine ordained that the Sunday (Lat.: dies Solis, an old title that was connected with astrology and sun worshipping, not Sabbatum [Sabbath] or dies Domini [day of the Lord]) would be a day of rest for everybody, except for the farmers. Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State. Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun as the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas.

The winged sun was an ancient (3rd millennium BC) symbol of Horus, later identified with Ra

Belief in the old polytheism had been shaken; in more stolid natures, as Roman Emperor Diocletian, it showed its strength only in the form of superstition, magic, and divination. Probably many of the more noble-minded recognized the truth contained in Judaism and Christianity, but believed that they could appropriate it without being obliged on that account to renounce the beauty of other worships. Such a man was the Emperor Alexander Severus; another thus minded was Aurelian, whose opinions were confirmed by Christians like Paul of Samosata. Not only Gnostics and other heretics, but Christians who considered themselves faithful, held in a measure to the worship of the sun. Constantine cherished this mistaken belief.[6]


[1] Christian Athens, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[2] Arianism., Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[3] Notion and characteristics, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[4] In the 18th Century Eastern Europethis movement would be taken up again for the third time by Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer (1698-1760) also known asIsrael Baal Shem Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic Judaism.

[5] S. Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (1962); S. G. Kramer, God and Man in the Sefer Hasidim (1966); A. L. Lowenkopf, The Hasidim (1973).

[6] The original Catholic Encyclopedia

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Some Jews are known to have engaged in non-surgical foreskin restoration in order to join the dominant cultural practice of socializing naked in the gymnasium, where their circumcisionwould have been a social stigma.

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Previous: The early days of Christianity 1.2. Considered as a danger 1.2.2. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit

Next: The early days of Christianity 2.2.1. Politics and power first priority

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Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit

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

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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’

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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

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  • 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.

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