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Posts tagged ‘Early Christianity’

Gainsayers In Apostolic Days

When people talk or think about fornication, they mostly only think about the physical act and forget that there is also a spiritual fornication.
About the spiritual fornication we do like to present an old article from the Australian Bible Students, from the previous century:

Already in the Apostles’ Day, some bad arisen in the Church to begin the age-long fulfilment of the prophetic “sign” of “the gainsaying of Korah“; on account of whom it was needful for Jude to write to the Christians and exhort them that they contend earnestly “for he faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Loc Market Place, Norwich It was so busy down ...

Local Market Place, Norwich, Gentleman’s Walk because of the French Market. People concerned about the things of the world which they can buy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These “ungodly sinners” are vigorously described in Jude’s Epistle and in 2 Peter 2, much of the language being almost identical. The ungodly ones, “crept in unawares,” “with feigned words.” They denied “our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4, R.V. I “These dreamers speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 8.) And to show that not subordinate “dignities” are here meant, but that the Highest over the Church — even our Lord Jesus Christ — is here particularly designated, we are told that these “murmurers, complainers, “ungodly sinners,” shall be convicted of all their hard speeches, which they, with “great swelling words,” “have spoken Against Him.”—Jude 15.

Primitive Christians had been forewarned of this Antichrist disposition that was to manifest itself among them.

“Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18 ASV)

The spiritual cancer was already eating its way (2 Timothy 2: 17), and it made the greater progress because some were weak and sickly, through neglect of their spiritual health. — 1 Cor. 11: 30-32.

“and their word will {1} eat as doth a gangrene: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; {1) Or [spread]}” (2 Timothy 2:17 ASV)

“30 For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. 31 But if we {1} discerned ourselves, we should not be judged. {1) Gr [discriminated]} 32 But {1} when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. {1) Or [when we are judged of the Lord, we are chastened]}” (1 Corinthians 11:30-32 ASV)

In post-apostolic times, the disease made great strides, and after some centuries it shaped up as the Papacy, whose “great swelling words” were matters of prophetic prediction and have become matters of historic fulfilment. All of these have spoken “hard speech-“against “our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ,” and in various ways they have spoken evil of His dignity.

Some of them have not hesitated to go in the evil way of Cain; many of them have run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, seducing God’s people into spiritual “fornication” (mixing of Church and world), as the ancient Balaam literally led astray fleshly Israel; some have particularly imitated the ways of Korah. But all of “these dreamers” have been “raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame,” yet they have been so lacking in spiritual perception that they have one and all gloried in their shame.

-From the Biblestudents magazine “The New Covenant Advocate” August, 1910

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Preceding articles:

Hebraic Roots Bible 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – Flee fornication and be joined to our Master

Nazarene Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – Flee from Immorality

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Read also:

No time for immorality

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  • What is Holy Tradition? (silouanthompson.net)
    Holy Tradition is the teaching of the Church, given by God with a living voice, a portion of which was later written down. Like Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition also contains holy revelation, and is therefore fundamental for our salvation. Holy Tradition is the life of the Church in the Holy Spirit; and, in concord with the enduring life of the Church, it is a wellspring of holy revelation, and thus it possesses the same authority as Holy Scripture.According to the old chronologies, 3,678 years passed from the time of Adam to Abraham; if we add 430 years of the Israelites’ time in Egypt, we have 4,108 years. Throughout this period of time Holy Scripture did not exist, nor was the Sabbath observed among the people. For thousands of years the faithful and chosen people were guided on the path of salvation by Holy Tradition alone—namely, from the teachings about God which they received from a living voice. Only during the 1,400 years from the time of Moses until the advent of Christ were they guided by the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament.
  • Church, the Theater of Hypocrisy (planksandnails.hubpages.com)
    It is unfortunate that the church mind is so adamant that they are right in their ideology that they frown upon and judge those who contend against it without weighing and testing the Word of God first to find the truth for themselves. The Ekklesia who have left the trappings of organized religion have come to understand the compromise and apostasy within the churches of men. They have allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them to truth, rather than allowing the salaried-to-serve class to dispense their religious name brand agenda upon their pulpits.
  • What we get wrong about church discipline (bloggingtheologically.com)
    habitual, unrepentant sin in all its forms should not associated with the people of God. Whether someone is a perpetual gossip, slanderer, malcontent, fornicator or adulterer, these things should not be known of among us, at least, not if we are to be people who are above reproach.
  • What Every Christian Needs To Know About Homosexuality (shoebat.com)
    The foundations of both Judaism and Christianity find their source in the Tenach/Old Testament. Hence, it is important that we start there first:Genesis 13:13: “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”What is the nature of their wickedness? Jehovah as the One Who personally visits Abraham along with the other 2 men, (an indication of the Trinity since Abraham addresses them in the singular: “My lord“,rather than plural), tells Abraham that the reason He is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah is for this reason:Genesis 18:20: “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;”
  • Hell & What the Bible Says About It (salvationlinks.com)
    If there is not an eternal Hell, why get excited about the salvation of the soul? But on the other hand, if there is an eternal Hell of endless horror awaiting all who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, salvation instantly becomes the most vital and important issue a human being can ever face, one that should be settled immediately. As another expressed it, “If there is no place like Hell, then to alarm people with such an idea is wrong. But if there is actually a place like Hell, then to keep silent and fail to warn people about it is worse than neglect of duty. It Is Criminal!”
  • Contend Earnestly For The Faith (jasonbiblechurchmember.com)
    to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints
  • The Nature of Spiritual Deception (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
     “Deception is everywhere” is a statement with which the regular reader of End Times Prophecy Report is well acquainted.  The question has come up: Well, what exactly is this “deception” about which we’re being warned?
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    Every piece of “literature” is deception and contributes to the interlocking series of lies by which we are surrounded. If an author is not a member-in-good-standing of the mystery of iniquity, they will not get published nor will they be promoted by the world.
  • Concluding Revelations And Exhortations (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    In contrast to the many human viewpoint foundations or cunningly devised fables upon which men try to build their lives stands the faithful and true Word from God. Man’s viewpoint without the Bible must be built upon speculation, human reason, and experience, all of which are very unreliable due to man’s condition in sin, his short life span, his deductive thinking, his constant tendency to interpret facts with his presuppositions, his limited experience and the amount of knowledge he can retain and use, and of course, due to the unseen and demonic forces which deceive and warp his viewpoint. All of this makes man’s human viewpoint ideas about as reliable as a lily pad for a foundation, especially in spiritual matters.
  • Sinners or Saints? (lhim.org)
    We find the first reference to sinners in Sodom where it says “the men of Sodomwere wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD” (Gen 13.13). In the time of Samuel God told Saul to “utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites” (1 Sam 15.18). Throughout the books of poetry, we see the righteous encouraged not to “stand in the path of sinners” (Psa 1.1), that sinners will not stand in the assembly of the righteous (Psa 1.5). After all, one sinner destroys much good (Ecc 9.18). Solomon taught his son notto be enticed by sinners (Prov 1.10), since they will get what they deserve (Prov 11.31). Wickedness, adversity, and the adulteress subvert the sinner (Prov 13.6, 21;Ecc 7.26) and his wealthis stored up for the righteous (Prov 13.22;Ecc 2.26). Even if they live a long time, you should not allow your heart to envy sinners (Ecc 8.12; Prov 23.17). Rather, like David, we should seek to convert sinners to God’s path (Psa 51.13). We hear the Psalmist begging, “do not take my soul away along with sinners” (Psa 26.9) since theywill be consumed from the earth (Psa 104.35; Isaiah 1.28; 13.9; Amos 9.10). In the end they too shall die (Ecc 9.2), or perchance if they live to see it, the day of the LORD will terrify them (Isaiah 33.14).In the Gospels, we find sinners often mentioned with tax collectors. These were the people that Jesus was calling to repentance—the people with whom the Pharisees and scribes did not want to have anything to do (Mat 9.10-13; Mark 2.15-17; Luke 5.30-32; 19.7).

Good or bad preacher

Ups and downs

Everybody in the world has his or her ups and downs, good and bad days. A pastor, minister or a person of God is not exempt from the problems of this earth, the illnesses nor bad feelings.

As human being we like to compare ourselves to others and also often want to know what others think of us. Many of us want a big following and lots of friends. But would that big amount of friends be a good sign or mean that we are on the right track?

Those who are willing to bring forwards the Word of God also would like to have enough people who listen at them. Who would not like a lot of people listening to what you have to tell? A preacher is no different and is nothing without people listening. And we do agree we are just as human like any body else and would love to have some feedback and see that people enjoy what we have to offer to them.

Personal gain

Those teaching or in the “preaching sector” being in it for the money, have chosen the wrong profession. Though we do agree we can see several mega churches which seem to flourish. Religiously sensitive people who prefer not to turn from their sin are willing to pay to hear preachers teach that all God requires of you is to be religiously sensitive, not to turn from your sin. In certain countries teachers claim that people can buy themselves free of the punishment of sin. By giving money to the church, those teachers claim, the believers would be set free and could have a much better life. Often the preachers want the people to believe that how more they give to the church how better their life will be.

This clearly should be a sign for the believer to know he is not in a House of God, but in the house of the wicked. We should look at those preachers as the insubordinate, unruly and vain talkers and deceivers of souls, like the apostles encountered already in their time. Also by the Jews, the men of the circumcision, such preachers could be found. For gifts or for money their mouths were expedient to stop. They were teaching things which they ought not for the sake of filthy lucre. It has been of all times that there where preachers who did  like to go for their own profit and did not mind to subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain. Such persons we should recognise as false teachers and we should rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish or Christian fables and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

“10 For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.” (Titus 1:10-14 NIV)

False apostles and boasters

The apostle Paul warned already for such  false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:13) He also gave the advice to look out if those preaching were people of sound mind, blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly, having charity out of a pure heart, with a good conscience and with faith unfeigned.

“5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.” (1 Timothy 1:5-6 NIV)

God does not like empty boasters of knowledge, rights, and particular privileges; all noise, empty parade, and no work. For sure those who are willing or saying they want to or work for God, should be of the right attitude. Specious pretensions should not find any place in the heart of a preacher or of somebody willing to work in the church community. It is not because they can be handy man putting words together, playing by good words and fair speeches that they will necessary bring the Word of God. We should be on the lookout that it are not a multiply of words which deceive the hearts of the simple.

Being there for each other

English: Jewish Children with their Teacher in...

Jewish Children with
their Teacher in Samarkand. Early color photograph from Russia, created
by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii as part of his work to document
the Russian Empire from 1909 to 1915. (Photo credit:
Wikipedia)

The one who likes to preach and have people in front of him he has to take care of,  knows that when he is a pastor of a flock he is like a teacher having to really love his students, willing to ensure that each one knows how uniquely talented he or she is and how we all have our reason to be here on this planet and to be a child of God. As a child of God every person has his  or her own speciality and those in charge of the ecclesia or community should try to see and nurture the potential in each member of the community.

As a preacher it is the task as like a teacher to care deeply about the meanings and purposes of the flock or members of the community their lives. We should be there for each one individually as a beacon in the dark see.  At all time we should be ready to be there for them who need us. We always should be willing to help them see the connections between their powerful talents and their callings and their futures.

Popularity trap

Today we can fall in the trap of the taste of popularity. Several churches around us do everything to be the most popular in their region. As believer in the Word of God, we should wonder if the aim by such churches is to grow to further the Word of God or to be a church which can bring enough money in the till for the pastor to survive on it or even to bring more wealth to that church than necessarily so.

In the postmodern age the church no longer enjoys a prevalent role in society and may look as something “passé”. We would tell lies if we would say we would not be interested in the growth of our church. We as preachers and leaders want our churches to grow and flourish through programs, curriculum, and outreach efforts. Many of us do also their best to reach as many people as possible. Lots of us are very limited in the means to attract people. Many preachers do not have an own church to preach in. Are those than the bad preachers? No. Are those the less fortunate preachers? Not necessarily so.

Church attendance in the industrialised countries is on the decline. Most of the people in the wealthy world are not interested in God. but there is one of the functions laid in front of the preacher or teacher. We do have to get people back to God. We should show those around us how important it is to have God in our life.

Ambiguity

A Boris on Rob Fairbanks his The Drum discussing a book by the editor of the Missional Church, Darrel L Guder, looks at life full of ambiguities we can have to face, because it is shaped by its context as the gospel reshapes the context.

In Ambiguity In the Church Fairbanks writes:

While ambiguity can cause stress, I’d like to argue that it is God’s tool to keep us on our toes. Instead of approaching the question of “are we reaching our culture?” as a reactionary instinct to a church crisis, I’d like to offer that we approach the issue as an opportunity to seek God. You see, the cause of ambiguity, and therefore many church problems, is not the lack of love for God or decline in spirituality (although this may sometimes be the case). The cause, as Guder puts it, is the dynamic “interaction between the gospel and all human cultures.” These cultures are always changing and need constant re-engagement by the church. In other words, ambiguity should be to the church as potholes are to the streets department (to contextualize it to the great City of Spokane). This is our business. As we move through ambiguity, we must seek God and the power of His Spirit to contextualize the message of the gospel and proclaim Jesus.

According to Darrell L. Guder in his book,Missional Church, the real issues in the current crises of the Christian church are spiritual and theological. Many have forgotten that the core of the church needs to flow from God and not as such from one or the other denominational organisation, be it the Papal instructors from Rome or the Tract and Bible Society from Pennsylvania.

Servant of the Master Teacher

We all should remember the task the Master Teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) has given those who are willing to follow him. Those who claim to be Christian should first of all be followers of Christ Jesus and try to do that what Jesus asked them to do. Secondly they also should take an example of their Master and try to step in his footsteps willing to become like him.

When you look for a good church, a good minister or good pastor you should look if in that place where you want to find God you can find the message of Christ and you find people trying to get the character of Jesus. The character of us individually and the character of us, collectively as a family, should clearly show positive results of the teachings of Christ and should show that it is a family of God. It was individual character and values that caused the first century church to grow rapidly during the Roman Empire’s pagan culture of many gods and emperor worship.

Lesslie Newbigin writes in Missionary Theologian:

Just because of the total dominance of European culture in the ecumenical movement there has seldom been any awareness among Western theologians of the extent to which their own theologies have been the result of a failure to challenge the assumptions of their own culture, and because theologians of the younger churches have been compelled to adopt this culture as the precondition of participation in the ecumenical movement they have not been in a position to present the really sharp challenge which should be addressed to the theologies of the Western churches.

In the religious world we have seen that the big accent went to what theologians had to say. Many forgot the Word that they had received and which was handed down from one generation to the other. Lots of priests, ministers, pastors or just the majority of clergymen where taken by the books of worldly people instead putting all their attention to the Holy Scriptures, the Book of books god has given humanity to find everything out.

Gospel Communication

It is truly the communication of the gospel which should conquer the hearts. And we should know that the right or the good preacher can be noticed in the willingness of him to submit himself to that Word of God and to let that Word of God speak for itself. The main focus in a service should be on that Word of God and not on the words of speaker such and so.

Preachers are not called to preach what’s popular according to the polls. They should concentrate on the Plan of God and may bring that in view by showing people the relation of what is going on and what God has in mind for our future. What happens today can be compared to previous happenings recalled in the Holy Scriptures. But the one speaking in front of the community is not called to preach merely moral exhortations or history lessons or social commentaries. We are called to preach the Word of God to the church of God and to everyone in His creation. This is how God brings life. Each person . . . is flawed and has faults and has sinned against God. And the terrible thing about our fallen natures is that we are greedy for ways to justify our sins against God. Every single one of us wants to know how we can defend ourselves from God’s charges. Therefore, we are in desperate need to hear God’s Word brought honestly to us, so that we don’t just hear what we want to hear but rather what God has actually said.

Serious word or entertainment

That what God has actually said must be brought forward. In the ecclesia everybody should come aware of what is written in the most Holy Book of Books. In case not much is read in the Bible at a service or in church, the visitor should wonder if in that church enough place is given to the Word of God. A tendency in churches today is that because people want to be entertained the church leadership is willing to oblige. If the people want more music and drama, many churches are willing give it and even to cut back on the time given to reading fragments of the Bible and on the time spent for the sermon or exhortation. Today music and drama will win hands down over preaching in many of our churches.

Holding on

When we look for a church we should look for the love of that word of life (Philippians 2:16). The great task of the preacher is to “hold out the word of life” to people who need it. The preacher willing to put himself aside for enabling that Word of God to resound in the church is the good preacher. Perhaps he may not be the best talker, the best preacher and not be the best entertainer, what is important is that he is a man of God and behaves like it.

Jehovah witnesses convention hall or Kingdom-hall in Varkaudessa

As a man of God he shall show love for God His Creation and shall respect all creations, no matter which believe they may have. We should listen very carefully how the preacher talks about others or how that church looks at other churches or treats other denominations. Do they bring hate talk or do they enjoy making the others look like devils? On the internet we can find hundreds of websites who spit on non-triniarian denominations like the Jehovah Witnesses (JW), the Bible Students (BS) and Christadelphians (Cd). Often many lies are told about those denominations and people are made afraid to encounter people from those denominations or to let others know they had already met such people.

Peterborough Cd Hall

Peterborough Christadelphian Hall

We would advice any person who has heard weird ideas about the JW, BS, or Cd, to go and look for themselves at their websites and to visit their kingdom halls, their a places of worship, prayer meeting-rooms or ecclesia buildings. It is not by a church-building with a classical tower that you shall be able to find the right preacher or right church. Church can be made in any sort of place. Any public room can be a place where people come to gather in the name of Christ, and there God will be with them. In church you should find people who love Jehovah, the Only One God, and who keep to His commandments and as such do not pray in front of portraits or statues, bow down for pictures and pray not to death people are saints, but direct their words to the Most High, Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

Watchdogs

We must be on our guard that we are not taken in by lies just because we hear them over and over again. We must also make sure that we ourselves are not guilty of trying to convince others of something that is not true by the use of repetition. We must be careful not having the Blind leading the blind. In the religious world there are many rebuking what is false but who not focus their teaching toward sound doctrine. Stemming from a pedestal of moralistic pride, Watchdog Preachers harp on everything that is wrong with the world. By those so called “Watchdog preachers” you shall  be able to find many who from their websites and from the pulpit spit on other denominations and try to picture those other denominations as awful as possible. For many it looks like a sport to find denominations which they can pull down. They would love to shoot down the ones in charge of that ghastly denomination. The preachers who love to show their dread and whose words are full of horror, should show you those are not people with love for the others in their heart.

When you encounter a website or when you do come in a church where you only hear remarks about others, you should question this. Those only telling their sheep where the poisoned food is, we often do not find them looking in their own bosom. Such Watchdog preachers rarely expound on the pure spiritual food of God’s word. Mostly they are more concerned to blacken others good name, to bring a misinterpretation of other denominations, to enjoy the slander and to run down the reputation of others. In the Body of Christ such malignant speaker when targeting other genuine Christians whose theology or philosophy of ministry does not exactly match up to theirs. Such a dogmatic approach makes the congregation sceptical of (at best) or judgemental toward (worst) anyone outside their camp. This also would make it more difficult for anybody with their previous background of an other denomination to have no conflicts after some time in that new camp of the Watchdog preacher.

All right, All good teachers

On the other hand having preachers who find everything is all right and everything can be done, it is also not good. Not everything is good ion the world. Not everything can be right. We live in a world of right and wrong, where not everything should be fully black and white. There may be shades of grey. While the Watchdog preacher may spit on those from outside he perhaps forgets to look what happens really in his own circles and like the “It’s All Good” Preachers he can look over the faults or wrong things which can happen in their own community.

Anybody in a Christian community always should listen carefully to and look at what others do and say in the community. When something happens which would not be according the teachings of Christ he or she should let the others know. The elder or preacher should exhort the people of the community and should help them to stay on the right track. But he also when he would be saying which could be wrong should be made aware of it. Perhaps it can be a misinterpretation or misunderstanding, but it is important that everything what is shared in the church community is according to the Biblical teachings.

Searching God’s Word

the word of God

The word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

Every teacher has to address false winds of doctrine. He himself should not only look to others that that preach according to the Holy Scriptures, but he also should always make enough effort to check that everything he says in the community is according to the Bible. He also best uses the Bible to let it speak in the meeting. The better teacher is that one who is willing to show others where in the Holy Scriptures is written that what he says it claims to say. A good teacher should not be afraid of the best handbook which God provided for him. We should be proud of it and use it as much as we can.

The good teacher or preacher is the one who understand that God is the Best Teacher and that His Word is the best way to bring the thought over to people.

Criticism and evaluation

Those who think the elder, pastor or minister may not criticise too much what is happening in the world should wonder if it is not our responsibility to look at the world and to take position in it. A “It’s All Good” Preacher may fail to critique current issues that need to be addressed and their congregation may never learn how to compare and contrast a secular worldview with a biblical one. Over time their congregation views current popular culture values as their source of authority in addition to (or instead of) the Bible. This results in over synthesizing and over-assimilating the unbiblical values of the culture.

In the past times admonition, warnings, and judgements were proclaimed, and so was good news — of victories, deliverance, and blessings — as well as praises to Jehovah God. (1Chronicles 16:23; Isaiah 41:27; 52:7) Many prophets like Jesus acted like an official herald, alerting their listeners to their Sovereign God’s activity, to a time of opportunity and decision. It was not only the ‘Good Newsshow’ which the prophets brought.

Comparison and attitude

When you are looking for a church you have to see and hear what is done and said in that church and should compare it to the Biblical texts and checking if what is preached is also be done or lived by.

Studying the Bible together in each others house or in a small space

As a preacher you should aim to live according to the commandments of God and to bring the Word of God in all its forms. You should try to do your uttermost best but should know that being a good preacher in the eyes of god does not necessarily mean that you will be a good preacher in the eyes of men.

You will notice when you look around that some people will believe the things said while other listeners would not believe. (Acts of the apostles 28:24) As a preacher it shall require patience and trust in God, who is the One who calls. Those coming in a Christian meeting should see if the Word of God gets the first place. Real Christian preaching should be based on God’s Word, making people to think about the essence of that Word and giving the community an opportunity to study that Word and to bring it in practice. Studying the Bible requires a response of some kind. It is vigorous, dynamic, and above all, it presents an issue on which people must take sides.

Man of God

Having a person of God, willing to serve the Only One God, Creator of heaven and earth, shall make that others look in vain to him or out of jealousy and out of anger others, also other preachers, will oppose him. Like  Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, (Acts of the apostles 13:50) teachers of ‘high position’ or noted people in the civil community, will oppose those men of God. Also good preachers will find that others will hate them and  be filled with envy, speaking  against those things which were spoken honestly from the heart in love with God. The other denominations contradicting and blaspheming the ones who dare to keep to the teachings of the Bible and withholding any form of tradition. The  unbelieving so called Christians shall like the unbelieving Jews stir up the Gentiles and plant evil in their minds against the brethren. (Acts 14:2) Therefore a teacher or preacher following the Word of God should not be afraid or wondering if he is doing right keeping on the track of God, when an assault is made both by the gentiles and also the preachers of other denominations, with their rulers. The preacher willing to be a man of God should know that when he places God His Word in the first place, he an the brethren he can show God’s Purpose, becoming followers of the churches of God in the world which are in Christ Jesus, remembering the suffering of the first Christians, for you also have suffered like things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews. (1 Thessalonians 2:14)

Going out in the world

Going from house to house witnessing for Jehovah God – Lisboa, Portugal

A brother or sister in Christ, following the task Jesus has given: to go out in the world and to teach the Gospel of the Good News. When Jesus sent out his early disciples to preach, he directed them: “Into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is deserving.” (Matthew 10:7, 11-14) A good teacher, preacher or elder can stimulate the ones in the congregation to keep going around telling the Word of God. The good preacher can persuade the listeners around him to continue in the grace of God, and is not afraid to personally dispute in the synagogue with the Jews, on the net with the other preachers who oppose him, and with the devout persons, and in the marketplace daily with those who met with him to discuss the Word of God. (Acts 17:17). But we should also know that such ‘searching out’ would reasonably include going to the people’s homes, where “deserving” persons would heed the message and where disciples even would be able to find lodging for the night if necessary. (Luke 9:1-6).

Place to meet

All people should know that there is no requirement of a special church building, but that any place can be a house for God. We as preachers should not be ashamed we do not have our own church building and do perhaps have to meet in small places not of our own, to discuss the Word of God. As the first followers of Christ came together in their own houses we also as brethren and sisters in Christ and as interested people in the Word of God, should share our houses with those who are willing to learn about that Word of God. Any private house is worthy to become a place where people can meet to read in the Holy Scriptures and to talk about the Wishes of God. A preacher should be happy when he can find such a house as a house-church, where he can enter and say first, ‘May this house have peace.’ (Luke 10:1-7) Than to make it a place where people can gather in peace and share the love of God between each other.

Presenting a place where holiness and expression of worship can come from inside shall foster a small community rich in spirit. With that fire going in the few their heart the preacher as well as the followers should be pleased because it will be a much higher treasure than what those people, present in a mega church, perhaps can find. Having not only a preacher committing himself to the trustworthy creator, but all present offering themselves to God, shows where the right preacher is working.

Action and reaction

As a person present in the community, but also as preacher you should know that some may become active opposers of the Kingdom message. (Acts of the apostles 13:50; 18:5, 6) We all should know that it is quite possible that some will listen for a time, but eventually will turn their back for various reasons. (John 6:65, 66) Not those disappointing happenings should get our minds in distress, but we should find joy in those, even when it are just a few, who will accept the good news and act upon it. (Acts 17:11; Luke 8:15). We should be pleased when we can find a growing amount of people willing to do the Will of God.

All of the community should go out and tell the world about the work Jesus has done for all of us. It is the task of the leaders to guide such a preaching work. At such occasions the good preacher should provide counsel on such superintending ministry. The good teacher shall always be reminding the ones of the community of our important task to bring the Word of God to all people all over the world. He shall not be afraid of telling about the biblical orders or commandments, charging them before God as witness, observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word.

A place of peace and clean pure words

In the place where God shall be able to be found it will be the preacher with the elders who shall take care that people can peacefully come together not to fight about words, a thing of no usefulness at all because it overturns those listening. They shall take care that all members of the gathering will be willing to give their share to the community and will do their utmost, to present themselves approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.

The good preacher shall shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness, and their word will spread like gangrene. The good preacher shall do his utmost best to use the Word of God to proof what we should know and how to keep all believing the right things.

Small but strong and upright, belonging to God

It is better to have the solid foundation of God staying standing strong in a small community than having a mega church where many people may have a lot of fun but do not really learn much about God His Word. The good or right church, or the best community or ecclesia is the one which is looking for God His Will.

The pleasure for the pastor should be that he can see that the flock is listening to God and having this seal: “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and: “Let everyone naming the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.”

“14  Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19  Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”” (2 Timothy 2:14-19 NIV)

Every preacher, pastor, minister or elder should be willing to give himself totally in the hands of God. Those people in charge of a church-community should make sure that their flock will gather regularly to hear from God.

When we have been hearing all sorts of messages all week long; when we come together with like minded brethren and sisters we all should take time to hear a message from God His Word and to feel how we all can be united under Christ as children of Jehovah God. As important as it is for the people in the gathering to have time to express themselves to God, it is more important that they hear God express Himself to them; that they be fed from His Word; that they be instructed in the ways of God’s kingdom; that they be effectively strengthened by His might in their inner beings to be salt and light to the world in which God has placed them and to have their joint training for the kingdom.

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Of interest:

  1. Does God Exist?
  2. Creator of heaven and earth and everything around יהוה
  3. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  4. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  8. God should be your hope
  9. Faith
  10. Faith a commitment to the promises of Christ and to to the demands of Christ
  11. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  12. Belief of the things that God has promised
  13. Fearing the right person
  14. Getting to know the Truth
  15. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  16. Eternal Word that tells everything
  17. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  18. The World framed by the Word of God
  19. Bible word of God, inspired and infallible
  20. True riches
  21. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  22. Meeting – Vergadering
  23. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  24. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  25. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  26. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  27. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  28. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  29. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  30. Many churches
  31. Was Jesus Religious
  32. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  33. Called Christian
  34. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  35. Casual Christians
  36. Breathing to teach
  37. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
  38. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  39. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  40. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  41. Making church
  42. Charles Taze Russell never claimed to have found a new religion, or a new church.
  43. Judaism & Catholicism Universal ‘churches’
  44. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  45. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  46. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  47. What’s church for, anyway?
  48. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  49. Commitment to Christian unity
  50. United people under Christ
  51. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  52. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  53. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  54. Hello America and atheists
  55. Engaging the enemy
  56. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  57. Knowing where to go to
  58. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  59. Love and cultivate that which is pure
  60. The business of this life
  61. Church sent into the world
  62. Democratic principles for the church of today
  63. Sociological changes to be taken serious by the church
  64. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  65. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  66. Reflection for today: hating your brother
  67. Kill the messenger
  68. The truest greatness lies in being kind
  69. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  70. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  71. Faith is a pipeline
  72. Faith and trial
  73. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  74. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  75. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  76. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  77. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  78. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  79. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  80. A Living Faith #8 Change
  81. A Living Faith #9 Prayer
  82. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  83. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  84. Solving all the problems that come to us
  85. Being Justified by faith
  86. Preventing us from going window-shopping in prayer
  87. Be Honest
  88. Kindness
  89. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  90. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  91. Bearing fruit
  92. Living in faith
  93. Feed Your Faith Daily
  94. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone!
  95. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  96. Who are you going to reach out to today
  97. Don’t Envy the World
  98. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  99. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships
  100. Let us meet in any suitable place
  101. An ecclesia in your neighborhood

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Readings from other groups and denominations:

  1. Does the method of preaching from house to house have its basis in the Scriptures?
    Some religions have acknowledged the Christian obligation to preach in public places and from house to house, although this is often left to a limited group of missionaries or clergy to fulfill… not every member.
  2. What is the “Good News of the Kingdom”? Who is Preaching it? And What Does “For a Witness to all the Nations” Mean? (Mt. 24:14)
    Telling us what will mark the last days, Jesus went on to say: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” (Luke 21:10, 11) Jesus also said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”(Matthew 24:14)
    +
    Jesus did not specifically say that every man, woman and child on earth will have the good news directly preached to in the last days. He said that the good news will be preached in all of the Earth for a witness to all of the nations. This means that every nation will have the good news preached in it to some extent.
  3. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
    We love and cherish our heavenly father Jehovah; we are committed to sharing the ‘good news’ of God’s kingdom, the same as Jesus.
  4. How Is Our Kingdom-Preaching Work Organized?
    We try to contact people at their homes. Jesus trained his disciples to preach the good news from house to house. (Matthew 10:11-13; Acts 5:42; 20:20) Those first-century evangelizers were assigned preaching 31specific territories in which to preach. (Matthew 10:5, 6;2 Corinthians 10:13) Similarly today, our preaching work is well-organized, and each congregation is given an assigned area to cover. This enables us to fulfill Jesus’ command to “preach to the people and to give a thorough witness.”—Acts 10:42.
  5. Preach the word, be at it urgently
    When you consider what stands to be gained or lost as a result of our preaching, you probably feel an urgent need to speak to others about the good news. (Rom. 10:13, 14)
  6. Bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God and by using persuasion with them concerning Jesus
    Was Paul disheartened because not everyone accepted the good news? By no means! Acts 28:30, 31 tells us: “He remained for an entire two years in his own hired house, and he would kindly receive all those who came in to him, preaching the kingdom of God to them.” w12 1/15 2:18-20
  7. As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”
    Jesus warned his apostles that many would oppose their Kingdom-preaching work. (Matt. 10:16-23) An especially painful form of opposition is experienced when family members reject the Kingdom message. (Matt. 10:34-36) Does this mean that happiness is out of reach for Christ’s followers who live in religiously divided households? Not at all!
  8. Preaching with zeal and urgency vital to keeping on the watch.
    no chain could silence the zealous apostle! Paul continued to find ways to bear witness. After three days, Paul summoned the principal men of the Jews in order to give them a witness. Then, on a chosen day, he gave an even greater witness.—Acts 28:17, 23, 24.w12 1/15 2:17, 18

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Additional reading about House-churches:

  1. An organic church
    By “organic church,” I mean a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic church life is a grass roots experience that is marked by face-to-face community, every-member functioning, open-participatory meetings (opposed to pastor-to-pew services), non-hierarchical leadership, and the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ as the functional Leader and Head of the gathering.
    Put another way, organic church life is the “experience” of the Body of Christ. In its purest form, it’s the fellowship of the Triune God brought to earth and experienced by human beings.
  2. The House Church Movement: Learning from the Past – Pioneering for the Future
  3. Why house church
    Many people today are catching the vision of what the church is meant to be as she throws off the hindrances and becomes the Spirit-filled movement of Believers she is destined for. They are catching the vision for living life 24/7, with and for God without one moment or place being more holy than another. It is a vision of every believer contributing to one another through the spiritual gifts that reside in each one.
    +
    Perhaps the most significant case for house churches is that they can be easily started and multiplied. God’s clear desire is for the earth to be filled with the “knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Rather than build buildings and organizations that require tremendous time, finances, and energy to reproduce, The Kingdom of God multiplies organically: one seed produces fruit, that produces more seed that produces more fruit. The principle of multiplication is far more powerful than we realize. Take a look at any forest and realize how much is accomplished through natural reproductive processes without any human aid at all.
  4. Are You in the Wilderness?
    So many Christians I meet today, whether in person, on social networks, or through emails, tell me that they are living in a spiritual wilderness. They feel alone, spiritually isolated, and they don’t have too many Christian friends that they are experiencing a rich and full fellowship in Christ with.
    Some of them attend a church on Sunday morning, yet still, they are living in the desert and they know it.
  5. Church in the Home? Or at Home in the Church?
    what we do in our own houses, our relationships with our families, with our sons, daughters, with our wives, we should bring all of it into the church. We should act as if these people are really our own brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, because that is what they really are.
  6. A Hundred Mothers, Brothers…Intimate Relationships
    true “house church” is bringing the home into our church life, not bringing our church into the homes. It’s very superficial to just bring our big building into little buildings, but never change anything in the heart.
  7. Time to Listen and Change
    The books of the Bible were written across continents. The letters and relationships are across years and across cities, countries and continents. Not a single book in the Bible is about only one local assembly. The point is, that even across the miles and the continents, we need each other. God’s call to us today is that we begin to live that way and involve ourselves in each other’s lives. Are we to admonish one another on Sunday only? No, daily. Why? So that we won’t be hardened and deceived. That’s in the Bible. Be called alongside one another daily so that we won’t be hardened and deceived. Whether we are old or young, single or married, ten children or two children, teenager or toddler—who are my mothers, brothers and sisters? We need each other, because you have gifts I don’t have.
  8. House Church Central
    All of the churches in the New Testament era were small assemblies that met in homes. While setting up institutional forms of “church” may or may not provide a way to honor God, the movement toward the institution and the human authority that tends to accompany hierarchical institutional structure are not theologically neutral.
  9. Thoroughly Biblical Church
    When they came together in their houses their corporate worship and sharing together was completely open and spontaneous (I Corinthians 14v26 describes the proceedings as, “…each one has…”), with no one leading from the front. The early believers didn’t have anything that even approximated a church service.
    As part of these proceedings they ate the Lord’s Supper as a full meal, indeed as their main meal of the day, commonly referring to it as the love-feast.
    They understood each church to be an extended family unit (the idea of churches being institutions or organizations would have been totally alien to them), and practiced non-hierarchical plural male leadership that had arisen from within the church they would subsequently lead. This indigenous eldership (elder, pastor/ shepherd, bishop/overseer being synonymous terms in the New Testament) sought to lead consensually wherever possible, and was understood to be purely functional and not in any way positional.
  10. Devonport House Church ->
    About House Church
    House church is an informal term for a group of Christians gathering regularly or spontaneously in a home instead of a building dedicated to the purpose. Another term with the same meaning is “home church”.
    Some groups meet like this because they lack a conventional church building; but these are not normally regarded as house churches. Others meet in homes because they prefer to meet informally, or because they believe meeting in a home is the true pattern set in the first century and intended by Christ. Some, perhaps, meet in homes for several of these reasons.
    House churches should not be confused with cell churches. A house church is not normally part of a larger, overseeing organization, although the group may associate informally with other Christians and house churches in networks reflecting equality rather than hierarchy. Those who meet in house churches regard themselves as belonging to the worldwide Church, but are self-governing and independent, generally without formal relationships with established “institutional” churches.
    Some house churches have a conventional leadership structure, others have none.
  11. The House Church Movement, the perfect church
    Thousands of Christians are now meeting in simple House Churches in the United States. They have “dropped out” of institutionalized religion and prefer to worship Jesus in biblical authenticity and simplicity – just like the early Christians did.
    +
    From living rooms to coffee shops, offices to parking lots, under trees and secretly underground (in oppressive countries), these new expressions of the Body of Christ are rapidly multiplying around the world. In recent years, Christian researchers and secular media alike have taken notice of the dramatic transformation within Christianity.
  12. House Church Basics — Pt. 3: Missional Church
    One of the hallmarks of the house church movement is that it seeks to be what the church, in fact, is: missional. Jesus went everywhere proclaiming and demonstrating the reality, love, and power of the Kingdom (healing the brokenhearted, setting captives free, proclaiming God’s acceptance, etc.) The church (the people of God) goes and does the same.
    This means that church, first of all, needs to transition from being a “come and see” place to a “go and be with the lost” movement.
  13. Inspired by Cuban Christians
    They have very little money, limited transportation, limited communication, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no church buildings in which to minister, and the knowledge that they are constantly being watched. The Christian work is primarily through house churches and word of mouth.
    Yet what passion; what joy; and what commitment to the Lord. They are sacrificing for the Lord in ways that would make most American Christians embarrassed.
  14. China cracks down on house church groups again
    The church tried to hold services in the open air after it was evicted from a rented space as the landlord was pressured to not renew the lease, China Aid said.
    +
    Underground church members are routinely sent to labor camps where abuse and persecution is reported even as they languish in the camps without trial.
  • Thoughts Concerning the Preacher (fromthepreacherspc.org)
    There is usually a lot of confusion in most congregations of the Lord’s church concerning the work of the preacher. Many have their own ideas, some have no real idea, and others have the wrong idea about the preacher’s job. To help the church and the preacher have a better working relationship, consider the following thoughts.
  • What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching? (holyspiritactivism.wordpress.com) wonders what would happen if certain preachers did what Jesus preached according to the Bible.
  • A Plea for Sharp and Polished Preachers… (pastorkemp.com)
    It is very easy to become so preoccupied with the work of the ministry that we fail to remain hidden for long periods of time with God.  It is seldom those hectic busy moments that are always clamoring for our time and attention where we are sharpen and polished by God—that only occurs when we are close to the “flesh-killing” presence of Almighty God.
  • In Have You Seen the Viral Videos of the ‘Pint-Sized Preachers’ Yet? (theblaze.com) you can see how children can be exploited and which impression some people have about “teaching” and “preaching” and what certain people do call a “sermon”.
    +Are you ready for National Geographic’s “Pint-Sized Preachers?” The new hour-long documentary explores the lives of three kid preachers who give their all to spread Jesus Christ’s message.While some believe that these children are being exploited my overly fervent parents, others see them as a beacon of hope. This latter group believes that, despite their youth, God has chosen to speak through them.

    The bizarre part (and there are some very intriguingly odd pieces to this puzzle)? One of the three — 4-year-old Kanon Tipton — is barely out of diapers, yet he delivers fiery sermons and inspires faith in those who listen.

  • Cotton Candy Preaching (fromthepreacherspc.org)
    Is it worse to teach in the Lord’s church false doctrine or to teach simple pleasant truths from God’s word? In answer to this question most people would quickly say that false doctrine would be the worst thing of all to teach. But consider this, what if we only taught concerning the loving story of Ruth, or about benevolence, or about the need for loving families, or about the need to feel good about ourselves? Now these are topics that we should be concerned about and are issues of interest, and should be taught. But, can a Christian survive spiritually solely on this kind of diet? Can a child of God mature and be grounded in the faith solely on these kinds of meals? The answer is no!
    +
    Many preach to please men and tickle their ears with what they like to hear. Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). Paul warned Timothy about people who have “itching ears” and warned that such people will gather around those who will scratch their ears by teaching lies (2 Tim. 4:3-4). The whole counsel of God must be preached, regardless of how it is received (Acts 20:26-27)! The truth is truth and must be preached! I didn’t write the book (Bible) and have no right to “water it down” to please men.
  • More Expository Preaching Please! (watumishiwaneno.wordpress.com)
    • Humanity seeking Self-Praise- All men uniting to build a tower whose top reaches the heavens with one aim of making a name for themselves!

    This is what man-made religion does; seeking glory and praise for man instead of giving praise and glory to God.

  • 10 Scriptures In The Bible That ‘Prosperity Preachers’ Choose To Ignore! (endtimereport.net)
    On one so called ‘Christian’ channel this evening, a prosperity pimp is selling potential “salvations” for 5 of your “loved ones”  in return for a financial donation. On another, a (proven) fraud is offering his “miracle mixture” and on another a so-called ‘financial preacher’ is manipulating the viewer to hurry up and send in a $58 ‘seed’ for a “triple blessing.”No mention of Jesus or any solid Bible teaching or call for repentance, just a manipulative call for your hard-earned cash! Welcome to perhaps 50% or more of Christian programming today (unfortunately).
  • Thinking over my life (mysecretlifewithyou.wordpress.com)
    People are really interested in just reaching the masses, and not everyone has issues and so we don’t have to talk about everything, but wouldn’t it be comforting to have someone talk to you in your situation.  I’m grateful that I’ve heard some great preachers in my life that have brought healing to my heart, but the majority of people I know in my church are about pretense and appearance.  I do it to, I smile when I don’t want to…. I shake hands and clap backs, and act like I’m happy, because being unhappy means I don’t have faith and I don’t believe God can handle my situation.

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.
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    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.
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    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.

Position and power

History of Christianity

1. The early days of Christianity

1.1.       Considered as a danger

1.1.1.  Position and power

The founder of the Christianity, Jesus from Nazareth, the Christ, prayed that between his followers could exist unity (John 17:21), and the apostles really tried to keep the unity of the Christian municipality (1 Corinthians 1:10; Jude 17-19), but already in the first century false teachings entered Christianity.

The fact, that the Christians were a closely united body, fresh, vigorous, hopeful, and daily increasing, while the heathen were for the most part a loose aggregation, daily diminishing, made the true prospective strength of the church much greater. But they remained strongly surrounded by all kinds of several pagan belief forms and popular activities which could be sometimes very tempting.

With the years going by, the Christians came to stand for all sorts of trials and persecution.  As the first disciples they draw consolation and encouragement from their meetings.  Consequently the apostle[1] Paul wrote to the Hebrews 10:24, 25: “let us keep paying attention to one another, in order to spur each other on to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Those words are much more than a command to come and remain together. They provide a through God inspired standard that counts for all Christian assemblies— and actually for each occasion that Christians come together.

The apostles had been aware that dispute in the belief could lead to vehemently, discord and even enmity. (Acts of the Apostles 23:7-10) The apostles and early inspired men of the first century defended the Christian faith in two ways: verbally (Acts 22.1, Philippians 1.7, 16, 2 Timotheüs 4.16) and by means of literature (1 Corinthians 9.3).
Already in their time the apostles had to warn the followers of Christ for false teachers and wrong teachings which slowly entered the faith already n the first century.

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus...

Conversion of Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus

The apostle John refutes misconceptions of how to live godly in the face of the docetic-gnostic teachers infiltrating the church (1 John 2.1). “For many deceivers have entered into the world, who confess not that Yahshua the Messiah has come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7 KJBPNV) “Because a number of false teachers have gone out into the world, who do not give witness that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Such a one is a false teacher and Antichrist.” (2 John 1:7 BBE)

Peter writes: “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) “Especially those who follow their old natures in lust for filth and who despise authority. Presumptuous and self-willed, these false teachers do not tremble at insulting angelic beings;” (2 Peter 2:10 CJB)

No one of genuine concern wants to be wrong on what the Bible teaches. Therefore we must be cautious and ready to see all the biblical evidence as slowly or quickly as it is analyzed. In principle, it is what we find in Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians: “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 KJBPNV)

Abiding in the words of the Gospel (John 8.31-32) we must be patient, hoping to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and let the scriptural facts reveal themselves on their own terms. Some early Christians were lacking that patience and found it not pleasant to give up their old customs. They then became attracted by those who found that it did not matter so much to love so strictly.

As long as the apostles lived, they protected the municipality. The history shows that the early Christians were not concerned by the political matters of the Roman Realm and that they had no prominent class of clergymen. Instead they were all diligent proclaimers of Gods kingdom. To the end of the first century, they had given testimony in all parts of the Roman Realm and had made disciples in Asia, Europe and North-Africa. (Colossians 1:23). These performances in the preaching meant however not that it was not longer necessarily to remain spiritually watchful. Jesus predicted coming lay yet far in the future.

Sects had to be avoided, since they belonged to the works of the meat (Galatians 5:19-21). Christians were admonished to promote no sects neither to let them self bring on a wrong track by false teachers (Acts of the Apostles 20:28; 2 Timothy 2:17, 18; 2 Peter 2:1). In his letter to Titus the apostle Paul commanded that a man who after a first and a second serious admonition continued to promote a sect, had to become rejected, what apparently meant that he must become rejected from the municipality (Titus 3:10). Those who refused to become involved by the causing of disunion within the municipality or by the supporting of a particular party, would distinct themselves through their faithful walk and give a token to own Gods approval. This was what Paul apparently meant when he said to the Corinthians: “For there must be also factions or sects among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

The Christians kept high principles of morality and probity, and with fiery diligence made the message of hope known. Thousands left Judaism and accepted Christianity (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:7). In the eyes of the Jewish religious leaders Jesus’ followers were unfaithful or apostate.  (Acts of the Apostles 13:45.) These furious leaders were of opinion that Christianity annulled their traditions. Yes, it denied even the view that they had on heathen! From 36 C. T. a heathens could become Christian and believe and hope in the same privileges as Jewish Christians. (Acts 10:34, 35).

Because of their high morality beginnings and the holding fast on to their belief conviction on more than one issue superior the Christians in the Roman world became not loved. Their separateness of the world (Johannes 15:19) triggered aversion. They did not take up political office and refused military service. As consequence of this they “became proposed as men that were dead for the world, and useless for all matters of life”, according to the historian August Neander. Not being part of the world, meant also to avoid the godless ways of the Roman world. “The small Christian-communities disturbed the pleasure making pagan world with their piety and decency”, explains the historian Will Durant (1 Petrus 4:3, 4). By pursuing and bringing the Christians before court perhaps the Romans tried to bring well the tormenting voice of the conscience till silence.

Extent of the Roman Empire from 133 BC unto 117 AD

Extent of the Roman Empire from 133 BCT unto 117 CT

The first-century Christians preached the good news of God’s kingdom with unshakable diligence (Matthew 24:14). About 60 C. T. Paul could say that the good news’ was preached in whole the creation that under the heaven is ‘(Colossians 1:23). At the end of the first century, Jesus’ followers had made supporters and disciples in the whole Roman Realm — in Asia, Europe and Africa! Even some members of “the house of Caesar” became Christians (Philippians 4:22). This diligent preaching woke resentment.  Neander says:’ Christianity steadily progressed under lay men from all forms of population and threatened to bring the state religion to fall.’ You can imagine how considerably important it really could be to let men infiltrate to let bring them on other thoughts.

Jesus’ followers offered Jehovah exclusive devotion (Matthew 4:8-10). Perhaps this aspect of their adoration brought them more than what else in conflict with Rome. The Romans were tolerant to other religions, as long as their supporters also participated at the emperor adoration. The early Christians normally could not participate at such adoration. They looked at themselves as people, that were due account at an authority that was higher, than that of the Roman state, namely Jehovah God (Acts 5:29). As a consequence of this a Christian became, though he was further in such a way in all respects such an exemplary citizen, considered as an enemy of the state.

There was yet another reason, about which faithful Christians in the Roman world became “objects of hatred”: Common backbiting over them was believed stylus, accusations, for which the Jewish religious leaders were in not small extent responsible, (Acts 17:5-8). About 60 or 61 C. T., when Paul waited in Rome for his trial by emperor Nero, prominent Jews said over Christians: “Really, what concerns this sect, it is us known that she experiences everywhere arguments” (Acts 28:22). Nero would certainly have heard defamatory stories over them. In 64 C. T. he chose, when he was held responsible for the fire that Rome afflicted, according to reports to use the already everywhere slandered Christians as scapegoats. This appears to have brought on a wave of violent persecution that had as target to exterminate the Christians.[2]

The false accusations that were brought in against the Christians were often based on a mixture of straight lies and a twist of their belief views. Because they were monotheistic and not adored the emperors, they were labelled as atheists. Because some non-Christian family members revolted with their Christian family members, they became accused to disrupt their family (Matthew 10:21). They were constituted for cannibals, an accusation that was based according to some sources on a twisting of the words that Jesus had uttered during the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:26-28).

Towards the end of Nero’s reign the Christians were required, under the heaviest penalties, even that of death, to offer sacrifices to the emperor and to the heathen gods. After the death of Nero the persecution ceased, and the followers of Jesus enjoyed comparative peace until the reign of Domitian, an emperor little behind Nero in wickedness.

The dispersion of the Jews, and the total destruction of their city and temple in 70 C.T., are the next events of consideration in the remainder of the first century. The numbers that perished under Vespasian in the country, and under Titus in the city, from A.D. 67-70, by famine, internal factions, and the Roman sword, were one million three hundred and fifty thousand four hundred and sixty, besides one hundred thousand sold into slavery.[3]

Domitian,” says Eusebius, the father of ecclesiastical history, “having exercised his cruelty against many, and unjustly slain no small number of noble and illustrious men at Rome, and having, without cause, punished vast numbers of honourable men with exile and the confiscation of their property, at length established himself as the successor of Nero in his hatred and hostility to God.”[4] He also followed Nero in deifying himself. He commanded his own statue to be worshipped as a god, revived the law of treason, and surrounded himself with spies and informers to bring a second persecution of the Christians.

Christianity, in spite of Roman emperors, and Roman prisons, and Roman executions, pursued its silent steady course. In little more than seventy years after the death of Christ, it had made such rapid progress in some places as to threaten the downfall of paganism.

Artemis Apollon Herakles

Artemis Apollon Herakles

Christians got the hatred of pagan worshippers on their neck. As the making of small silver temples of the goddess Artemis was a profitable business in the old Ephesus. But when Paul preached over there, a considerable number Ephesians reacted positively to his preaching and turned for this purpose their back to the adoration of Artemis. Now their trade was threatened, caused the silver blacksmith a tumult (Acts 19:24-41).  Something similar did happen after Christianity had expanded itself until Bithynia (now Northwest-Turkey). Not long after the Christian Greek Writings were finished, the ruler of Bithynia, Pliny the Younger, informed that pagan temples became left and the sale of feed for offering animals drastically collapsed. The Christians were blamed — and were prosecuted — because in their adoration there was no place for animal offerings and idols (Hebrew 10:1-9; 1 Johannes 5:21). It is clear that the spread of Christianity practiced influence on particular established interests connected with pagan adoration, and, those who as consequence of this lost as well trade as earnings, fumed about this.

By the progress of Christianity the temporal interests of a great number of persons were seriously affected. This was a fruitful and bitter source of persecution. The heathen temples became more and more deserted, the worship of the gods was neglected, and victims for sacrifices were rarely purchased. This naturally raised a popular cry against Christianity, such as the one at Ephesus: “This, our craft is in danger to be set at nought, and the temple of the great goddess Diana to be despised.”

goddess of hunting

Diana goddess of hunting

A countless throng of priests, image-makers, dealers, soothsayers, augurs, and artisans, found good livings in connection with the worship of so many deities. All these, seeing their craft in danger, rose up in united strength against the Christians, and sought by every means to arrest the progress of Christianity. The cunning priests and the artful soothsayers easily persuaded the vulgar, and the public mind in general, that all the calamities, wars, tempests, and diseases that afflicted mankind, were sent upon them by the angry gods, because the Christians who despised their authority were everywhere tolerated.[5] They invented and disseminated the vilest calumnies against everything Christian and laid many and grievous complaints against the Christians before the governors. This was especially so in the Asiatic provinces where Christianity was most prevalent.The First Christians naturally withdrew themselves from the pagans and became a separate and distinct people and held their meetings secretly. They could not but condemn and abhor polytheism, as utterly opposed to the one living and true God, and to the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ; this gave the Romans the idea that Christians were unfriendly to the human race, seeing they condemned all religions but their own. Hence they were called “Atheists,” because they did not believe in the heathen deities, and derided the heathen worship.[6] But that confinement of that pagan population seemed not always even easy.


[1] “apostle” signifies one “sent forth.”

[2] In the month of July A.D. 64 a great fire broke out in the Circus, which continued to spread until it laid in ruins all the ancient grandeur of the imperial city. The flames extended with great rapidity, and Rome being a city of long narrow streets, and of hills and valleys, the fire gathered force from the winds, and soon became a general conflagration. In a short time the whole city seemed wrapped in one sheet of burning flame.

[3] Dean Milman’s History of the Jews, vol. 2, book 16, page 380

[4] Roman History, Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 19, page 406

[5] Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, page 67. Cave’s Primitive Christianity; early chapters

[6] Christian worship, in true simplicity, without the aid of temples and priests, rites and ceremonies, is not much better understood now by professing Christendom than it was then by pagan Rome. Still it is true Today a lot of name Christians want also to see priests in special clothes and services with offerrings, incense and symbols in temples or special church buildings. Instead of knowing that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

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Persecution of Christians under Nero > Bible-history Nero

The Institutions behind the Terms in the 1st Century

First Century of Christianity

History of Christianity

1. The early days of Christianity

1.1. First Century of Christianity

When Jesus walked around on this World he talked about the Word of God which was given to men by the writings in the Holy Books. During his whole mortal life on earth, including the two or three years of His active ministry, Christ lived as a devout Jew, Himself observing, and insisting on His followers observing, the injunctions of the Law (Matthew 23:3). The sum of His teaching, as of that of His precursor, was the approach of the “Kingdom of God”, meaning not only the rule of righteousness in the individual heart (“the kingdom of God is within you” — Luke 17:21), but also the Church (as is plain from many of the parables) which He was about to institute.[1]

the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew - Image by humberpike via Flickr

For years many people had studied those book rolls. His disciples, the apostles wrote down the account of Jesus life and of the things they did to have Jesus be know in the world. Their letters were read by many and a lot of followers of Christ, known as the movement of the Israelitish sect The Way, studied those writings of the apostles. For them the whole history of the Jews as detailed in the Old Testament was something they had to share with next generations. When read in the light of other events it was for them to be a clear though gradual preparation for the preaching of Christianity. The new religion which came into existence after Jesus death and after the day of Pentecost, A.D. 29, was at first wholly confined to the synagogue, and it votaries had still a large share of Jewish exclusiveness; reading the Law, practising circumcision, and worshipping in the Temple, as well as in the upper room at Jerusalem.

For a long time Christianity regarded itself as part of Judaism. The apostles were like Jesus Jews and they considered themselves still Jews. The followers of Christ and the ones who became students of the teachings of Jesus the Nazarene and became baptized were considered to have become partakers of some communion, of the body of Christ. They had their centre in Jerusalem[2] the town God promised to His people.

In the first century the disciples were relatively small in number. Their Leader, Jesus, had been executed as an alleged rebel. Initially those supporters of the Jew Jesus were yet contemplated as part of the Jewish religion, that was fixed in the saddle and had in Jerusalem her realm splendour temple where they also could go to.

The first Christian municipality in the world history consisted of natural Jews and proselytes and became set up in 33 C. T. in Jerusalem. With Pentecost 33 C. T. several Jews found in Jerusalem came from Cappadocia and from Pontus (Acts 2:9). It can be that some of these Jews from Pontus that heard Petrus’ speech, became Christians and returned to their own territory. Probably Christianity spread itself to Cappadocia as a result of the present Cappadocians, and Petrus his first letter (ca. 62–64 C.T.) became directed at them and at “the temporary inhabitants” that were dispersed in Pontus and in other regions of Small-Asia.(1Petrus 1:1).

In the first century everywhere there were founded Jewish communities in the surrounding pagan nations. Those communities had synagogues where people regularly assembled to hear the Scriptures being read aloud and being discussed. Accordingly early Christians were in the position to build on the religious knowledge those men already owned (Acts 8:28-36; 17:1, 2).

Slowly the Good News of the Kingdom of God became more scattered self and the supporters of Jesus Christ under divine leadership came to be known as Christians. This term became used for the first time in Syrian Antioch, from which Barnabas and Paul, accompanied by Johannes Markus, begun at their first mission trip. (Acts 11:26).

Real Christians did their extreme best to bring around this Good News that a notion contained about the saint secret in “whole the creation that is under the heaven” to preach (1Corinthians 2:1; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 1:23; 4:3, 4). The apostles and the other first Christians gave in this respect a clear example.  In Acts of the Apostles 5:42, we read over their activity: ” And every day, in the Temple and privately, from house to house, they went on teaching and preaching the glad tidings that Jesus is the Christ and the good news.”

The book of the Acts of the Apostles let us see that solidarity for the first Christians formed an important part of their adoration. We read there: ” And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and unanimously breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. And they praised God and stood at the entire people in the favour, those that were saved eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46, 47).

Also the apostle Paul asked to hold on unanimously to the religious belief. “Let we without wavering hold on to the public profession of our hope, for he that has promised, is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). For him and the other apostles it was clear that this public notification was not limited till expressions during meetings of the municipality (Psalm 40:9, 10). A prophetic command to preach outside the municipality, until the nations, can be found in the words of Psalm 96:2, 3, 7, 8, 10: ” Proclaim day after day the good news of the rescue through Him (Jehovah). Make under the nations His magnificence known. Give unto Yahweh/Jehovah, O you kindreds of the people, give unto Yahweh/Jehovah glory and strength. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Give Adonai Jehovah the glory due to His name; bring an offering, and enter his courtyards. Say to the nations:’ Jehovah self became king.'” And indeed Jesus in Matthew 28:19, 20 and Acts 1:8 gave Christians this command to preach to all nations.

On this public preaching Paul points in his further words to the anointed Hebrew Christians: “Let we through mediation of him always continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to The God -that is, the fruit of lips confessing his name openly. (Hebrews 13:15). The book Revelation shows us that also the “large multitude” that from all nations has been brought together, exists of people that with a loud voice exclaim: “Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9, 10).

Christ had often gathered with his disciples to give instructions and to feed them spiritually. After his death his pupils continued this tradition. His followers came together, as on the Pentecost in 33 C. T., when the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who were together. (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4). The first Christians preferred to gather, mostly in small groups, regularly either in each other’s house or in the synagogue to come together to study the Word of God. It was for the first Jewish Christians not difficult to hold orderly, teachable bible study meetings, for the ground patron they had in the synagogues with which they were acquainted. The fundamental characteristics of the synagogue services became a taken over by the Christians for their meetings, where one read the Scriptures aloud, explained them, encouraged each other, prayed and praised God. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33, 40, Colossians 4:16). Sometimes “a considerable multitude” was present at their meetings (Acts 11:26).

As in the Jewish synagogue there was in the Christian municipality also no separate hierocracy neither a clergyman who had to say everything. In the synagogue every pious Jew took an active part in reading aloud and having time to explain. So also in the Christian municipality it was expected from everybody that these contributed to the meeting and all had to do a public notification and to each exhort each other to love and excellent works, but this had to happen in an orderly manner (Hebrews 10:23-25). In the Jewish synagogue the women taught not and exercised no authority over men; at the Christian assembly did they do neither. One Corinthians chapter 14 contain instructions for the meetings of the Christian municipality, and there it seems that there was some similarity with the course of affairs in the synagogue. (1 Corinthians 14:31-35; 1Timotheus 2:11, 12).

Just as there was no difference in the early Church on the territory of the responsibility to spread the gospel in all possible manners, no difference existed between full-time servants and lay people, so there was in this respect also no difference between the sex. It was firmly established that each Christian had been called to be a witness of Christ, not only through means of his way of life, but also with his lips. Everybody had to be an apologist or defender of the belief, at least in that extent that he was prepare to give a good exposition of the hope that he owned. And this went also for the women.  They had quite a large share at the promotion of Christianity.

Reports of the early church form the proof that they literally took up the gospel preaching not only serious but also literally. Even simplest members were messengers that spread the truth. The history shows how the first Christians, although they were respectful, order loving citizens, determined to be “no part of the world” continued without hesitating their preaching work, even when it brought violent persecution over them.

Christianity grew naturally from within by the sincerity of devout adherents of Jesus Christ. It attracted people by its very presence and by the character of the rest and peace which was over those followers of Jesus. While there were no professional missionaries devoting their whole life to this specific work, every congregation was a missionary society, and every Christian believer a missionary, inflamed by the love of Christ to convert his fellow-men. The example had been set by Jerusalem and Antioch, and by those brethren who, after the martyrdom of Stephen, “were scattered abroad and went about preaching the Word.” (Acts 8:4; 11:19). Fuller, and workers in wool and leather, rustic and ignorant persons, were the most zealous propagators of Christianity, and brought it first to women and children.[3] Women and slaves introduced it into the home-circle. It was the glory of the gospel that was preached to the poor and by the poor to make them rich. Origen informs us that the city churches sent their missionaries to the villages. Every Christian told his neighbor, the laborer to his fellow-laborer, the slave to his fellow-slave, the servant to his master and mistress.

The gospel was propagated chiefly by the way of living, preaching and by personal intercourse; to a considerable extent also through the sacred Scriptures, which were early propagated and translated into various tongues, the Latin (North African and Italian), the Syriac (the Curetonian and the Peshito), and the Egyptian (in three dialects, the Memphitic, the Thebaic, and the Bashmuric). Communication among the different parts of the Roman empire from Damascus to Britain was comparatively easy and safe. The highways built for commerce and for the Roman legions, served also the messengers of peace and the silent conquests of Christianity. Commerce itself at that time, as well as now, was a powerful agency in carrying the gospel and the seeds of Christian civilization to the remotest parts of the Roman empire.

Although different caesars governed as tyrants, the laws in the first century made it possible usually to defend and to affirm legally the good news. (Philippians 1:7).


[1] Origin of Christianity and its relation with other religions, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[2] Irenæus, “Adversus Hæreses, i. 26

[3] Celsus

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  • What Were The Early Believers Called: HaDerech (The Way), The Natzari Sect, Netzerim-Natzraya, Jessaeans, Essene’s, Saducee’s, Christians or Nasaraeans? What Is There Place In Middle Judiasm? (paradoxparables.wordpress.com)
    The Nazarenes-Netzerim-Natzraya is the title that the early church gave themselves. The Talmud actually refers to them a few times. The Twelth prayer in the Amidah added by Gamiliel II was add against the Sectarians, the Sect of the Nazarenes-Netzerim-Natzraya. In the Talmud the early Messianic believers we’re called Saducee’s, and Essene’s at times even Netzerim-Natzraya. Rashi did a job of restoring the title Netzerim-Natzraya where it had been removed.
  • Also Earliest (pre-Christian) Nazarenes: Pliny the Elder’s evidence and Earliest Nazarenes: Evidence of Epiphaniusdiscuss the name given to the followers of the Jew Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who were therefore called the Nazarenes. For this group did not name themselves Christians or with Jesus’ own name, but “Nazoraeans.”(“Panarion 29″ by Epiphanius) They also came to be called “Jessaeans” for a short while, before the disciples began to be called “Christians” at Antioch. Also today we still can find the non-trinitarian denomination of the “Friends of the Nazarene”.”While treating the name of the sect, we may deal here with a short notice by Pliny the Elder which has caused some confusion among scholars. In his Historia Naturalis, Book V, he says: We must now speak of the interior of Syria. Cœle Syria has the town of Apamea, divided by the river Marsyas from the Tetrarchy of the Nazerini; Bambyx, the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Mabog. This was written before 77 A.D., when the work was dedicated to Titus. The similarity of the name with the Nazerini has led many to conclude, erroneously, that this is an early (perhaps the earliest) witness to Christians  (or Nazarenes) by a pagan writer. Other than this, be it noted, there is no pagan notice of Nazarenes.” “… Can Pliny’s Nazerini be early Christians? The answer depends very much on the identification of his sources, and on this basis the answer must be an unequivocal No. It is generally acknowledged that Pliny drew heavily on official records and most likely on those drawn up by Marcus Agrippa (d. 12 B.C.). Jones has shown that this survey was accomplished between 30 and 20 B.C. Any connection between the Nazerini and the Nazarini must, therefore, be ruled out, and we must not attempt to line this up with Epiphanius’ Nazoraioi. One may, however, be allowed to see the Nazerini as the ancestors of today’s Nusairi, the inhabitants of the ethnic region captured some seven centuries later by the Moslems. …” (Neil Godfrey)
    “… everyone called the Christians Nazoraeans, as they say in accusing the apostle Paul, “We have found this man a pestilent fellow and a perverter of the people, a ring-leader of the sect of the Nazoraeans.” (3) And the holy apostle did not disclaim the name – not to profess the Nazoraean sect, but he was glad to own the name his adversaries’ malice had applied to him for Christ’s sake. (4) For he says in court, “They neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, nor have I done any of those things whereof they accuse me. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I, believing all things in the Law and the prophets .””

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