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Early Church Errors Repeating?
The Berean Call ^ | Dave Hunt

Posted on 12/04/2012 6:46:21 PM PST by fwdude

An excerpt from How Close Are We?

The Blessed Hope

With Christ’s I will come again! still fresh in memories, the early Christians eagerly waited and watched for their Lord’s return. He had said that they were not of this world, but that He had chosen them out of it. Paul would soon write under His Lord’s inspiration: “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20,21). The world held little interest for these citizens of heaven. They were homesick for the Father’s house, longing to be with their Lord in that eternal haven of rest.

Hated, persecuted, and killed by Rome, the early church took comfort in the belief that Christ might return at any moment to rescue His followers from their trials. Paul called the anticipation of an imminent Rapture “that blessed hope” (Titus:2:13), and indeed it was for those early believers who went through “fiery trials” and “rejoiced at being partakers of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter:4:12,13). How they longed to leave this world to be with Him!

As the weary weeks became years, however, and the years multiplied into decades, and finally centuries passed, the vast majority of those who claimed to be Christ’s followers gave less and less thought to that “blessed hope.” The promise of Christ’s return was first neglected and then forgotten. Finally it was lost in the maze of new interpretations and heresies which began to multiply. Attitudes and outlook changed. Citizenship in heaven had proved to be too nebulous a concept. Something more tangible was desired. Being despised on this earth, hated, persecuted, and killed, as their Lord had been, no longer seemed a necessary accompaniment of true Christianity. Perhaps this world had something to offer after all. Perhaps the church could even take the leadership in political affairs and transform the world, establishing the kingdom in Christ’s absence. A more accommodating attitude toward secular society might even make the unsaved more receptive to the gospel—especially if they realized that becoming a Christian needn’t mean persecution or even much of a change in one’s way of life.

The First “Vicar of Christ”

The steadily worsening apostasy took on a hitherto unimagined dimension with the ascent to power of a new Emperor in a.d. 313. He was a brilliant military strategist and general named Constantine. He also had a genius for political organization and realism. Constantine faced the fact that almost three centuries of persecuting Christians had not stamped out that strange sect. Instead it had only grown until nearly one out of every ten citizens in the empire was among that despised band.

Tertullian’s remark that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church, inexplicable though it might be, had proved to be true. People apparently wanted something more than pleasure and profit. Only firmly held convictions worth dying for could make life worth living. These “followers of the way,” as they were called in those early days of the church, even prayed for the Roman emperors and other magistrates and soldiers who persecuted and killed them! Why not take advantage of that exemplary loyalty to kings and kingdoms which seemed to be a part of this strange religion?

The Christians were conscientious, hard workers. They didn’t get drunk or rebel against the government. Insurrection was not in their natures. Then why not encourage them, give them full rights? Perhaps their philosophy of industry and fidelity would spread to other citizens. The empire would be much the better for it if the numbers of Christians multiplied. The new policy was a very pragmatic one.

To further this strategy, Constantine himself claimed to have become a Christian, though he continued, as Pontifex Maximus, to head the pagan priesthood and to preside over the pagan holiday ceremonies. Of course, that was his duty as emperor and it was excused in view of his encouragement of the building of Christian churches. A new day of tolerance had dawned.

Worshiped as God, the emperor was the head of the empire’s official religion. Now that Christianity was recognized along with the old paganism, Constantine assumed leadership of the Christian church. In doing so, he took the title Vicar of Christ. Posing as the church’s greatest friend and benefactor, and perhaps even doing so sincerely, Constantine became its destroyer.

Christ had refused Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of this world if He would but bow down to him. In a moment of weakness, a church weary of persecution accepted the same offer from Satan, this time presented through the Roman emperor. It was the beginning of centuries of what would be known as the church’s “Babylonian captivity.”

Augustine lamented that those who were now inside the church were “drunkards, misers, tricksters, gamblers, adulterers, fornicators, people wearing amulets, assiduous clients of sorcerers, astrologers... the same crowds that press into the churches on Christian festivals also fill the theatres on pagan holidays.” For many Christians, however, it was a welcome change to go from being despised, hated, hunted, and killed, to being popular and even leaders in the world.

Once it had meant almost certain persecution and possible death to heed the gospel. There had been little need to worry about false professions of faith under those circumstances. Now it was just the opposite. False professions were more the rule than the exception.

The Church Marries the World

In the new order of things under Constantine, it had become a great advantage to be a Christian. One had to attend the growing number of Christian churches to get anywhere in business, politics, and even in the military. Conversions of convenience multiplied as church attendance soared.

Corruption quickly reached to the top in the church. The empire’s best-paying jobs with the most worldly prestige and influence were in church leadership. Constantine encouraged the growth of an ecclesiastical system that he could use to his own ends. It attracted men whose ambitions were not to gain reward in the world to come but in the present one.

Many who rose to power within the church hierarchy were master politicians who knew how to use Christian terminology but knew not Christ. As Will Durant put it in The Story of Civilization, the paganism of Rome “passed like maternal blood into the new religion, and captive Rome captured her conqueror. While Christianity converted the world, the world converted Christianity.” What a tragic commentary! Such was the birth of Roman Catholicism, which would dominate the scene from that moment on.

The church that was supposed to be the bride of Christ, awaiting eagerly the return of her Bridegroom to take her to heaven, had tired of waiting for Him and married the world instead. Now occupied with building an earthly kingdom over which she could reign in an adulterous partnership with kings and emperors, the church lost its hope of heaven and began to look upon itself as the replacement for God’s earthly people, Israel. Forgotten were admonitions such as this from the Lord: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew:6:19-21).

In disobedience to her Lord, the church became the wealthiest institution on earth and gloried in her earthly treasures. Much of the wealth was acquired by selling salvation. Every sin had its price for “forgiveness.” The greater and more numerous the sins the wealthier the church of Rome became. Crosses and altars that supposedly depicted the sacrifice of Christ were gilded with gold. Bishops, cardinals, and popes, who claimed to be the successors of barefoot fishermen disciples, lived lifestyles that shamed even secular kings. The perversion of the church which began with Constantine continued to worsen through the centuries, giving us today’s Roman Catholicism....

Hope of the Rapture Is Lost

There was no longer any reason for Christ to return. Claiming that Constantine had given them his authority, the popes ruled with an iron hand over what they conceived to be “the kingdom of God” come to earth. To this day the popes proudly bear Constantine’s three religious titles: Pontifex Maximus, Vicar of Christ, and Bishop of Bishops....

The Rapture is unknown in today’s Roman Catholicism. In fact, it is specifically contradicted by the twin Catholic dogmas of purgatory and indulgences. Although down through the centuries there have been many relatively small groups of evangelical believers independent of and persecuted by Rome, they, too, for the most part lost the hope of the Rapture....

The Reformation did little to recover any hope in Christ’s promise, “I will come again and receive you unto myself.” The Rapture is generally denied or has little importance among Reformed groups such as Presbyterians and Lutherans. There seemed to be good reason to avoid that teaching due to past fanaticism surrounding it. The best proof that the hope of an imminent Rapture was not biblical was found in the fact that Christ had not yet come.

Unfortunately, when the “blessed hope” of Christ’s imminent return has been revived periodically in the last two centuries, the excitement created here and there has usually developed into date setting, causing the Rapture to become an object of derision. Voluntarily divested of their earthly possessions, cruelly deluded, white-robed zealots have more than once waited in vain on hilltop or rooftop while the promised hour came and went. Such fanatical anticipation has always subsided once again into disillusionment and forgetfulness....

In the wake of such excited anticipation and then disappointment, greater disillusionment than ever has now smothered the legitimate hope of Christ’s imminent return. The Rapture and Second Coming are now looked upon as topics to be avoided by the vast majority of Christians—and, it would seem, with good reason. The gospel, too, because it was clearly preached by these date setters, has come in for increasing mockery.

Bringing Heaven to Earth

A surprising number of today’s evangelicals are rejecting the Rapture in favor of remaining here to take over the world. There is an entire movement known as Manifest Sons which rejects the Rapture. It is up to Christians, according to this teaching, to “manifest” themselves as “sons of God” by attaining to sinless perfection and immortality. This, they say, will not happen at the return of Christ, but must be accomplished to bring Him back. Overcomers who manifest themselves as sons of God in this way are then, in that power, to take over the world. When the church has established the kingdom, Christ will return to earth, not to take anyone to heaven but to rule over the kingdom the overcomers present to Him.

This clearly unbiblical teaching originated in a Pentecostal revival in Canada around 1948....Though immediately condemned as heresy by the Assemblies of God, and confined to a fanatical fringe for years, this teaching [has become “gospel”] among many Pentecostals and charismatics. In complete disregard for Christ’s promise to take us to heaven and for other Scriptures we have already cited, one of the leaders in the movement, writes: “You can study books about going to heaven in a so-called ‘rapture’ if that turns you on. We want to study the Bible to learn to live and to love and to bring heaven to earth.”

The consequences are rather severe for those who embrace this deception. The Scripture plainly declares that Christ is going to catch us up to meet Him in the air and take us to heaven. Therefore all those who meet a “Christ” with their feet planted on this earth—a “Christ” who hasn’t come to take them to heaven but to reign over the kingdom they’ve established for him—have been working for Antichrist!

It is often argued that belief in a pre-trib Rapture leaves one unprepared to face Antichrist and susceptible to deception. The facts are just the opposite. It is those who deny the Rapture who have set themselves up for the most horrible deception. Antichrist will pretend to be the very “Christ” whom they expect to come to earth to reign. He will congratulate them on the good work they’ve done in preparing the world for his rule. Hundreds of millions of those who call themselves Christians will be completely deceived.

Strong Delusion from God

Antichrist will do exactly what the Bible foretells. For example, as a means of stabilizing world economies, he’ll set up a worldwide system for buying and selling which will employ the number 666 in some way....Those who don’t obey him will not be allowed to buy or sell. He will set up his image in the temple—an image which all will be forced to worship on threat of death. How could one witness such events, all prophesied in Scripture and attributed to the Antichrist, and imagine that Christ was doing them?

Paul warns that God Himself will send a strong delusion to those who, prior to the Rapture, refused to receive the love of the truth. Those who reject the clear teaching of Scripture concerning the Rapture and opt instead to take over the world have already demonstrated their rejection of God’s truth. They will be completely convinced that Antichrist is Christ and will follow him enthusiastically. He will fulfill all the expectations they had concerning Christ’s return.

Won’t the disappearance of scores of millions of Christians prove to the hundreds of millions of professing Christians who are left behind that the Rapture has indeed taken place? No. There will be explanations to prove that what occurred was not the Rapture. For example, part of the Manifest Sons teaching is that those who refuse to accept their doctrine and do not become overcomers will be instantly removed to judgment. This is their interpretation of “Then shall be two in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matthew:24:40,41).

That those who embrace the Manifest Sons teaching have been left behind will not trouble them at all. Indeed, it will prove that they are the faithful ones. It is the missing, so they will believe, who have been taken away to judgment and who are thus to be mourned. What a setup for Antichrist!


TOPICS: History; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology
KEYWORDS: apostasy; christianity
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1 posted on 12/04/2012 6:46:32 PM PST by fwdude
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To: fwdude

“How Close Are We?” is a great book.


2 posted on 12/04/2012 6:59:46 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: F15Eagle
Thanks. Haven't read it yet, but plan to very soon.

I'm afraid Dave is on the last leg of his earthly journey, but he leaves a legacy of biblical truth to point the way.

3 posted on 12/04/2012 7:05:59 PM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: fwdude

There is nothing in the Bible to suggest the Rapture is secret. On the contrary it will be a very public event.


4 posted on 12/04/2012 7:17:10 PM PST by BipolarBob (Riding my stick horse yelling "Woop woop whopm Gangnam Style" & grinning like an idiot.)
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To: fwdude

.


5 posted on 12/04/2012 7:17:39 PM PST by doc1019 (Women have a choice, unborn babies don't.)
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To: fwdude

It is breathtaking how dishonest Dave Hunt’s writing is about Constantine is here.


6 posted on 12/04/2012 7:18:37 PM PST by Mount Athos (A Giant luxury mega-mansion for Gore, a Government Green EcoShack made of poo for you)
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To: Mount Athos

I suppose you think Constantine was an altruistic benefactor who loved children and pets?


7 posted on 12/04/2012 7:36:18 PM PST by BipolarBob (Riding my stick horse yelling "Woop woop whopm Gangnam Style" & grinning like an idiot.)
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To: fwdude
Constantine assumed leadership of the Christian church. In doing so, he took the title Vicar of Christ.

It's great how Dave Hunt just makes stuff up out of thin air, isn't it?

Constantine never used the title "Vicar of Christ". Ignatius of Antioch applied an expression (in Greek) similar to it to every bishop -- but that was two hundred years before Constantine. The title "Vicarius Christi" was first applied to a single individual in the person of Pope Gelasius I, two hundred years after Constantine.

Old Connie also never "assumed leadership of the Christian church," and in fact, wasn't a Christian at all until he was on his deathbed.

Hunt's view of church history is generally a network of fables.

Incidentally, nobody believed in your "rapture" before the early 19th century.

8 posted on 12/04/2012 7:44:54 PM PST by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: BipolarBob
There's a lot of room between claiming that he was an "altruistic benefactor who loved children and pets," and assigning to him a bunch of things that he never actually did, in order to frame a theological polemic divorced from historical reality.
9 posted on 12/04/2012 7:50:32 PM PST by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: fwdude
Much of the wealth was acquired by selling salvation. Every sin had its price for “forgiveness.”

He lies, too.

10 posted on 12/04/2012 7:53:36 PM PST by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: Mount Athos

He should be kinder to murders? If what Hunt said is not so then where is the error?


11 posted on 12/04/2012 7:54:26 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: fwdude

Another example, I’m afraid, of my own variant of Santayana’s dictum about not remembering history. As I’ve often written before: Those who cannot remember Church history are condemned to make it up.

Why is it that self-proclaimed “Biblical Christians” seem to live in an alternate universe in which the Donation of Constantine isn’t forgery? The nonsense about Constantine would be bad enough were it not compounded with a novelty I have not seen before — making the sentimental 19th century notion of “the Rapture” into the centerpiece of Christian belief.

Inadvertently the piece does show some insight: the author rightly opposes the notion of “the Rapture” to chiliasm. Unfortunately the Evil One sends heresies into the world in matched and opposing pairs, (as Arianism and docetism, Nestorianism and monophysitism, Pelagianism and total-depravity,. . .) or in this case chiliasm and belief in a “pre-tribulation Rapture”.

The passages of Scripture adduced to support “the Rapture” describe the experience of the Church still in the world at the time of the General Resurrection. The glory of the Church in the Last Days will be the same as the glory of the Church in its beginning — martyrdom for Christ’s sake.


12 posted on 12/04/2012 8:04:27 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: count-your-change

where is the error?

LOL, it would be easiser to ask, where is the truth?

lets’ see:

Constantine never was head of the church
Constantine never was a bishop
Constantine never had the title vicar of christ
it was no advantage being a Christian and you didn’t have to attend a church to get ahead
Constantine did not encourage the growth of any ecclesiastical system, Catholic Bishops were ordained fom the Apostles to the present, Constantine or no Constantine
the rapture is unknown to Catholics because it’s unknown to the Bible, only being invented in the 19th century.

i could go on, but i think that gives you a flavor into dave hunt and his stupidity or deceitfulness.


13 posted on 12/04/2012 8:11:38 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: fwdude

maybe old dave is senile, could that account for the stunning stupidity of this section of the book?

or maybe dave gets his church history from dan brown?

the problem dave has, is when he looks at church history, he can’t find anyone who believes what he believes until the 16th century. that’s a problem, no?
so what does dave do? same thing the jehovah witnesses do, the 7th day adventist, mormons, etc, etc. they invent the boogey man Constantine turning the church pagan.

well, Catholics believe the Holy Spirit is stronger than 1,000,000 Constantines and is able to protect the Church from the gates of hell prevailing against it. we believe that on pretty good authority, the question is, why doesn’t dave hunt?


14 posted on 12/04/2012 8:20:51 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: fwdude

“It is often argued that belief in a pre-trib Rapture leaves one unprepared to face Antichrist and susceptible to deception. The facts are just the opposite. It is those who deny the Rapture who have set themselves up for the most horrible deception. Antichrist will pretend to be the very “Christ” whom they expect to come to earth to reign. He will congratulate them on the good work they’ve done in preparing the world for his rule. Hundreds of millions of those who call themselves Christians will be completely deceived.”

Ho ho ho, that’s pretty funny stuff. Let’s see what the expectations really are, and see who is really likely to be deceived in each scenario:

Case #1: Pre-tribbers Are Right

In this case, the rapture happens before any seven year tribulation, or the appearance of the Antichrist. Since the rapture isn’t an article of faith pertaining to salvation, all the faithful Christians who are not pre-tribbers should be raptured as well, so they won’t be on Earth to be deceived. The ones “left behind” would only be non-faithful, unsaved “Christians”, who are probably not prepared for the tribulation in any case, and would likely be deceived easily, no matter what.

Case #2: The Pre-tribbers Are Wrong

In this case, the seven year tribulation period and machinations of the Antichrist begin while the pre-tribbers are still waiting for Christ to rapture them away. Some of them probably would notice that events happening are matching up with the prophecies, conclude that their belief in the rapture was premature or misplaced, and prepare accordingly. Others, however, will continue to believe that, since the rapture hasn’t happened, the tribulation can’t be happening either. Some, believing they wouldn’t be around for the tribulation, may not have bothered to study those prophecies closely in the first place. Their faith in the rapture could then be a big obstacle to recognizing and reacting to the dangers of that time.

Basically, it’s a version of Pascal’s wager. If pre-tribbers are right, both pre-tribbers and non pre-tribbers are fine. If they’re wrong, then the pre-tribbers are likely worse off than the non pre-tribbers. So, all things considered, non pre-tribbers have the best aggregate outcome.


15 posted on 12/04/2012 8:27:24 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: BipolarBob

Who here, or where in the piece, did anyone say it would be a “secret” rapture?


16 posted on 12/04/2012 8:29:12 PM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: fwdude

Is anyone aware of a more objective account of how the church developed? Something obviously happened that caused the church to change or even grow in a different direction with Constantine’s conversion. I don’t trust Dave Hunt, but I don’t believe the Catholic Church either.


17 posted on 12/04/2012 8:33:30 PM PST by bethelgrad
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To: fwdude

Is anyone aware of a more objective account of how the church developed? Something obviously happened that caused the church to change or even grow in a different direction with Constantine’s conversion. I don’t trust Dave Hunt, but I don’t believe the Catholic Church either.


18 posted on 12/04/2012 8:33:30 PM PST by bethelgrad
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To: fwdude

Is anyone aware of a more objective account of how the church developed? Something obviously happened that caused the church to change or even grow in a different direction with Constantine’s conversion. I don’t trust Dave Hunt, but I don’t believe the Catholic Church either.


19 posted on 12/04/2012 8:33:30 PM PST by bethelgrad
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To: fwdude

Is anyone aware of a more objective account of how the church developed? Something obviously happened that caused the church to change or even grow in a different direction with Constantine’s conversion. I don’t trust Dave Hunt, but I don’t believe the Catholic Church either.


20 posted on 12/04/2012 8:33:44 PM PST by bethelgrad
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To: bethelgrad

Ugh! Sorry for the quadruple post. I wish we had a delete button.


21 posted on 12/04/2012 8:35:10 PM PST by bethelgrad
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

Your sneering derision makes me feel like I’ve accidentally stumbled into DU.


22 posted on 12/04/2012 8:37:51 PM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: bethelgrad

i suggest you read the Church Fathers starting with Ignatius of Antioch who was a disciple of the Apostle John and was martyred in Rome.
you just might start looking at the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church differently.


23 posted on 12/04/2012 8:38:05 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: fwdude

i’m sorry, but i thought conservatives treasured the truth, and leftists like the DUmmies untruths.

what dave hunt wrote is laughable to anyone with a 6th grade knowledge of history and is worthy of all the derision i can muster!

choose truth my FRiend, it will set you free!


24 posted on 12/04/2012 8:41:57 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

I knew this article would bring out the rabid papist, just not so soon.


25 posted on 12/04/2012 8:43:05 PM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: fwdude

read my post #13 and prove me wrong on any of the blatant errors i pointed out.
not all of them, JUST ONE.

you see, rabid papists believe in truth, why doesn’t dave hunt?


26 posted on 12/04/2012 8:49:33 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: Campion
He lies, too.

Maybe, but not about indulgences. The church didn't get rich through giving stuff away.

27 posted on 12/04/2012 8:50:47 PM PST by BipolarBob (Riding my stick horse yelling "Woop woop whopm Gangnam Style" & grinning like an idiot.)
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To: All; fwdude

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1870465/posts


28 posted on 12/04/2012 9:22:13 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: fwdude

Amazingly ignorant of history. Constantine was Roman Emperor but never claimed to be a bishop or head of the Church.


29 posted on 12/04/2012 9:23:07 PM PST by iowamark
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To: fwdude
I have to say that this fellow's treatment of history breezes over a huge swath of it. It's as if someone wrote: "Rome rebelled against its King and became a Republic. The Republic then turned into an Empire. The Empire collapsed, and Europe descended into chaos, darkness and ignorance. Therefore, one should never rebel against the King."

But I do have to credit the fellow for warning against postmillenialism. Postmillenialism, once secularized, became Progressivism - and we know what that's led to.

30 posted on 12/04/2012 10:19:44 PM PST by danielmryan
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To: BipolarBob
"There is nothing in the Bible to suggest the Rapture is secret. On the contrary it will be a very public event."

Nor is there anything to suggest it will happen more than once or before the tribulation. There is one rapture that occurs with the second coming of Christ.

31 posted on 12/05/2012 1:05:56 AM PST by circlecity
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To: fwdude
Early heresies like Arianism are repeating in Jehovah's Witnesses, Nestorianism in Oneness Pentecostals and Seventh Day Adventists and Gnosticism in Mormonism

With the various neo-pentecostal movements this diversion from Christianity is hastening

32 posted on 12/05/2012 3:03:10 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: danielmryan

Please note that these are excerpts from his book. The author no doubt goes into greater detail from that source.


33 posted on 12/05/2012 3:20:48 AM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: bethelgrad
Is anyone aware of a more objective account of how the church developed?

I think that each person who desires to know about this must do his very own research from a wide variety of sources. It helped me to first look at the various denominations and sects as to when, where and why they began, and to examine their teachings in light of their origins.

All the history I have read has a bias - a point of view. If you can discern that, then you can filter it out and find agreements on the facts from various sources.

Which church traditions remember and commemorate their history? Which ones do not? Why is that?

Read the proceedings of the Ecumenical Councils. Catholics and Orthodox hold to the first seven as part of the bedrock. Find out how other traditions view the councils.

Read the oldest original theology you can find and find out who today clearly embrace the Church Fathers and who does not. Ask yourself why that is. Same thing with the Saints and the Martyrs.

Above all, at least for me this was vital, adopt a spirit of humility and try to have an open mind. Pray for understanding and safeguard from error.

34 posted on 12/05/2012 3:55:12 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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To: The_Reader_David
Another example, I’m afraid, of my own variant of Santayana’s dictum about not remembering history. As I’ve often written before: Those who cannot remember Church history are condemned to make it up.

Or even worse, - to assert that history does not even matter.

35 posted on 12/05/2012 4:01:15 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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To: bethelgrad
you can read the secular history -- it will show you that

The truth is that the beliefs that were held by the Early Christians before the 4th century remained and remain the beliefs of the Church as a whole.

What many of the fake "Dave-type" story writers don't tell you is that


36 posted on 12/05/2012 4:31:44 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: fwdude

The Catholic “religion” hijacked the true Church around the time of Constantine and became the work of Satan with many, many deceptions that are still working on people today. I gotta get this book.


37 posted on 12/05/2012 6:13:56 AM PST by crosshairs (Hurricane Barry is 1000 times more destructive than Hurricane Sandy.)
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To: bethelgrad

Well, you might try reading Jaroslav Pelikan’s magesterial four (or is it five?) volume history of the Church.

I point to it because Pelikan is arguably the greatest Church historian of the twentieth century. Incidentally, he was raised Lutheran and ordained as a Lutheran pastor, but after years of studying the history of the Church converted to Orthodox Christianity in 1998, eight years before his death, reposing as an Orthodox layman.

You could also go to the original sources and read the Ante-Nicene Fathers (I commend the Didache, the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Apology of St. Justin the Philosopher — called Justin Martyr in the West). Read them at face-value, ignoring any modern commentary on them which will always have confessional biases.

You can then skip ahead a few years and read the Catechetical Homilies of St. Cyril of Jerusalem — delivered in 341 or 342 after Hunt would aver St. Constantine “corrupted” the Church (we Orthodox venerate him as a saint, the Latins Hunt’s bizarre claims that Constantine “founded the Catholic Church” notwithstanding, don’t).

The whole point of St. Cyril’s homilies — delivered to those to be received into the Church that Pascha — is to demonstrate that Nicene Christanity is Biblical Christianity: he proves every point of the Nicene Creed from Scripture (although his hermeneutic method, which involves heavy application of typology may seem foreign to Biblical literalists, whose hermeneutic method seems to be “the Bible is true when read as if addressed primarily to 17th to 21st century rationalists”.) (In the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America St. Cyril’s homilies are our standard catechetical materials — I’m starting a class this evening at our little Orthodox chapel studying them on behalf of one catechumen and a few of the faithful who want a refresher course.)


38 posted on 12/05/2012 8:11:55 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: fwdude
I'm afraid Dave is on the last leg of his earthly journey, but he leaves a legacy of biblical truth to point the way.

In a nursing home, is what I heard. I know no more than that. I wish him no ill.

39 posted on 12/05/2012 8:56:57 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: fwdude
Please note that these are excerpts from his book. The author no doubt goes into greater detail from that source.

Maybe. Of course, in the book itself, the historical narrative may just be prefatory or peripheral to a discussion of faith. If that's the case, then I'm objecting to the window-dressing, not the window.

But still, it was jarring. To see why, just ask yourself what Christianity's development would have been had there been no Constantine figure. Without the prestige of the Roman Emperor becoming Christian [partially nominal in Constantine's case, but real after a brief repaganization], the Roman worthies would have remained pagan. There would have been no Roman Catholic Church, but there also would have been no connection to the top slots of a dying Western Roman Empire. Christianity would have gone on without the prestige of Rome behind it.

So, once the Western Roman Empire fell apart, the barbarian kings and leftover potentates would have no prestige-related reason to convert to Christianity. If anything, the prestige effect would have inclined them to stay pagan. The pagan historian Tacitus' characterization of Christianity as a "miserable superstition" would have been something 'everyone knew'.

So, over the course of the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages, the peasantry would have been overseen by pagans. Royalty, nobility, knighthood and gentlefolk would have been overwhelmingly pagan. And clerics would have been just one of the rabble to them.

Remember, the Dark and Middle Ages were a time when "power to the people" was a joke. A fully-armed and fully-equipped knight would likely prevail over a whole mob of peasants, and surely would with a faithful squad of longbowmen. Thus, commoners were treated with open disdain by the higher classes. Without the ameliorative effect of high-prestige [i.e., Church-of-Rome] Christianity, the gulf of disdain would have been worse.

That would have been the situation that Christianity would have had to get by on. Rather than shockingly modern, the labelling of Christianity as a "religion of slaves" would be both old-hat and taken for granted in refined company - refined company of pagans.

Again: I'm talking history, not faith, but Christianity's fate would have been profoundly different without Constantine or someone like him.

40 posted on 12/05/2012 10:30:03 AM PST by danielmryan
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To: danielmryan
But I do have to credit the fellow for warning against postmillenialism. Postmillenialism, once secularized, became Progressivism - and we know what that's led to.

I'm currently reading Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. (First book I ordered after the election. Seemed appropriate.) It's very interesting to me, you many manifestations of the leftist/progressive impulse have a religious component.


41 posted on 12/05/2012 11:12:16 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism
i’m sorry, but i thought conservatives treasured the truth, and leftists like the DUmmies untruths.

You should know better than that, after mucking through the Michael Rood thread.

42 posted on 12/05/2012 11:16:47 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: Boogieman
Since the rapture isn’t an article of faith pertaining to salvation,

Depends who you talk to. There's at least one member of FR's Dispensational Chorus who holds that if you don't toe the line on the whole dispensational package, you're a "scripture twister" and an obvious heretic.

43 posted on 12/05/2012 11:30:22 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism
maybe old dave is senile, could that account for the stunning stupidity of this section of the book?

According to Amazon.com, that book was published in 1993. Some other explanation is necessary.

That those who embrace the Manifest Sons teaching have been left behind will not trouble them at all. Indeed, it will prove that they are the faithful ones.

I find this interesting. He's speaking specifically against the Latter Rain heresy, now making a resurgence in certain circles.

44 posted on 12/05/2012 11:40:25 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism; Boogieman; Lee N. Field

from the book by LaHaye & Jenkins
- The Truth Behind Left Behind

Rapture

John 14:1-3
Romans 8:19
1 Cor 1:7-8 15:51-53 16:22
Phil 3:20-21 4:5
Col 3:4
1 Thes 1:10 2:19 4:13-18 5:9, 23
2 Thes 2:1, 3
1 Tim 6:14
2 Tim 4:1, 8
Titus 2:13
Hebrews 9:28
James 5:7-9
1 Peter 1:7, 13 5:4
1 John 2:28 - 3:2
Jude 1:21
Rev 2:15 3:10

Second Coming

Daniel 1:44-45 7:9-14 12:1-3
Zech 12:10 14:1-15
Matt 13:41 24:27-31 26:64
Mark 13:14-27 14:62
Luke 17:20-37 21:25-28
Acts 1:9-11 3:19-21
1 Thes 3:13
2 Thes 1:6-10 2:8
1 Peter 4:12-13
2 Peter 3:1-14
Jude 1:14-15
Rev 1:7 19:11 - 20:6 22:7, 12, 20
Malachi 4:2


45 posted on 12/05/2012 12:05:51 PM PST by BrandtMichaels
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To: Lee N. Field
That's a book I should read too. Your eyes will certainly be opened...
46 posted on 12/05/2012 1:54:13 PM PST by danielmryan
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To: Lee N. Field

I have the book, but haven’t gotten too far into it. Goldberg’s style is a little stilted, IMO. And he said some thing that was derogatory to moral conservatives shortly after I purchased it and that probably had something to do with my loss of interest.

But I’ll give it another shot.


47 posted on 12/05/2012 2:23:30 PM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: BrandtMichaels

That list is hilarious. It lists 1 Thes 3:13 as being about the Second Coming, because it reads:

“the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”

However, it then says 1 Thes 4:15, which mentions:

“we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord”

just one chapter later, is magically not about the Second Coming, but about the rapture. So, according to this source, there are two “comings of the Lord”, both of them described as THE coming, but they are completely separate events, even though they’re described in close succession with no differentiation or distinction.

This is, simply, “magical” Scriptural interpretation. The words in the Book have no set meaning to these people, they just magically assign whatever meaning is convenient at the moment, regardless of context, prior usage, contradictions, or any other reasonable considerations.


48 posted on 12/05/2012 2:52:06 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman; BrandtMichaels; one Lord one faith one baptism
So, according to this source, there are two “comings of the Lord”, both of them described as THE coming, but they are completely separate events, even though they’re described in close succession with no differentiation or distinction.

That's standard pop dispensationalism. The first second coming isn't really considered a second coming, more of a "touch and go".

What I have noticed is that dispensationalists I have interacted with tend to conflate dispensational distinctive teachings with what scripture says, as though not recognizing that there are any interpretive process.

BrandtMichaels, do you think anyone is denying any of those passages, because we don't think they teach what LaHaye, Hal Lindsay, Chuck Missler, et al say they do?

"You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means."

49 posted on 12/05/2012 3:36:44 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: danielmryan

Your argument seems to be, if the Church never got in bed with the pagans and the princes and empires, then Christians’ lives would have been harder, and that would be a bad thing.

Yet, we have Christ’s teaching in John 15:

“18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

So, if anything, the fact that Christian’s lives got easier, and they ceased being persecuted by the powers of the world would be a sign that those Christians were not keeping Christ’s sayings. Otherwise, they would have continued to be persecuted as He was. Instead, the world began to love them, because they had become worldly.

I don’t believe that such continued persecution would have stamped out Christianity either. I see Christianity more like quicksand, in that struggling against it is counterproductive. Persecution just provides more opportunities for the true power of faith in Christ to be displayed to the world.


50 posted on 12/05/2012 4:19:15 PM PST by Boogieman
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