FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

ORIGINS OF THE FALLING AWAY –

LESSON 4

2 Timothy 3:1-5But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

The History of the Falling Away Part II

In the previous lessons, we have learned that the Apostasy was already at work; yet, the Holy Spirit through the Apostles of Jesus Christ restrained it directly for a time (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Even during this time, the Apostle Paul witnessed clearly that the Apostasy would come, a falling away from the truth, brought on by false teachers and weak, unknowledgeable brethren.

This apostasy is going to take place in name, organization, worship, teaching, work, and reverence of scripture. As we look into the history of the apostasy, there are a couple of points we want to set forth up front –

  1. Historic Sources.

We want to acknowledge up front that much of recorded history is produced by the power in control of the specific times.  We would be incredibly naive to think that much of what we know is not slanted in favor of the powers that be. In this case, much of history was written by the apostate church; however, in the presentation of the birth of this apostate church, there is enough clear history to plainly share the fulfillment of the Apostle Paul’s words.

  1. Historic Periods.

We will share this information in highlights of specific periods (there are vast amounts of information over the thousands of years of history). We will point out important trends and happenings, but restrain from detail in many of the points, as massive books would be needed to record it all; however, everything is researchable in detail, if something catches your interests (just use the search engine on your internet explorer). There are also many good books written on the subject of church history. In your research, just be careful of the historic influence (where it may come from! – consider point #1).   

  1. Please Men, or God?

Universally, the importance of this series of lessons is to set forth that apostate churches and reforms of the apostate churches may do whatever their founders desire them to do, and please men; however, they will never please God!

If the church of our Lord is to be faithful, it must only do the bidding of its founder, Jesus Christ, and such will never please men in general!


Period Two:

The Spread and Persecution

101 to 310 AD

Important Dates (all dates are approximate):

Marcion of Sinope (Approx. 110-160), was a major second century apostate leader. He would be the founder of what would later be called Marcionism, and would be one of the first to be strongly denounced by early Christians. There are many who believe, because of his alliances with the church in Rome, that he would also be the father of the great apostate church – Roman Catholic. He created a strong supportive organization, with himself as sole Bishop (elder). After about 144 AD, he had been rejected by the majority of Christians and started a separate church, which had similar doctrine to the Gnostic theories (even though he would denounce the Gnostic doctrines). The movement that bore his name would carry well into the 5th century.

This would be the third and last of the Jewish revolts against Rome. Hadrin visited Jerusalem in about 130 AD, and was sympathetic to the plight of the Jews and promised to rebuild Jerusalem. When it was found out that he wanted to make it a Roman metropolis, the Jews that remained were outraged and revolted. The Romans were caught completely by surprise and it was three years before this revolt was put down. According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews were killed, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed. All the Jews that survived were forbidden to practice their faith in Judea and banished.

·         168 AD - Montanus would Publish His Writings.

With the work of the Holy Spirit complete through the labors of the Apostles and prophets of the New Testament, the constant association of the Holy Spirit through gifts and the work of the Apostles had faded. Montanus of Ardabau (a region in Asia Minor near Phrygia), would proclaim himself as an agent of the Holy Spirit. He claimed to be a mouthpiece for the Holy Spirit, and began to create doctrine apart from known scripture.

His movement gained many supporters and began to expand in Asia Minor, in direct competition with Marcionism; and although Marcionism would win out as dominant, this movement would retain supporters for long after this in this region of the world. Some outposts of faithful brethren denounced what would become known as Montanism; yet, many who did not develop a love for the truth would be consumed by it. 

·         202 AD – Persecution by Severus (Septimus Severus, Emperor of Rome, 193-211).

·         303 AD – Last General Persecution.

Second Century Authors (non-scripture), quick list:

Apocryphal Writings (non-scripture) quick list:

Overview:

This period would see three primary events, which would affect the body of Christ in this early period, after the guidance of the Apostles of Christ.

As it did in the first century, [persecution] had the opposite effect it was designed to achieve. Rather than stifle the Christian faith, it simply helped it to grow, strengthen, and even flourish. This is not to say that many Christians didn’t die horrible deaths at the hands of their persecutors; it is to say that they died in faith, and saw their death as transcendence to a greater existence. It is historically accurate to state that the blood of persecution would also be the seed of religious and civil freedom.

It would also be in this period that many [“Sons of Perdition”] would be born (2 Thessalonians 2:3). With the departure of the Apostolic rule, many of those who had spent time with them would begin to assert themselves as leaders among the brethren. This would create both teachers and writings in competition to the “Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Universally, whether there were good intentions towards the truth or not, it would create the beginning of the elevation of men. In addition, there would be those who would strait forward introduce heresy in competition to the truth of the Gospel of Christ. This would polarize the body of Christ into sects, and add to the persecution in the flesh that so many of the second century Christians knew. With this era, we also see the birth of mono-elder or mono-bishop rule within the body of Christ. This would add to the competition among the leaders of this era.

As a result of the early writings of these second century men, there would be a unique and beneficial side effect. Within the writings of these men are quotes from virtually every book of the New Testament that we call scripture. This is important, as it shows their existence prior to the council of Nice. It also shows that these early writers, almost without exception, recognized these earlier writings as scripture!

Summary

This early period witnessed great persecution, and because of this, great growth in the body of Christ. Christians were faithful to death because of the power of the Gospel in their lives. In addition, this caused a great work to be undertaken, Christians worked tirelessly copying and protecting scripture.

However, even more dangerous to the body of Christ, were the men who came from [within] the body of Christ and began to compete with the preeminence of Jesus Christ our King. This combined with the weakness of some brethren would create competing faiths that were not born of the Gospel (The Faith), but were born in the minds of men.

Apostasy was born here! It is in the next period that we will see it develop to a full scale departure from anything that resembles the body of Christ our Lord died to purchase.

Next: “The Birth of a National Church