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.






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 Three:

The Birth of a National Church

311 to 590 AD

This time frame will encompass the reign of Emperor Constantine, the Council of Nicea, and to the close of the sixth century; which will see the Vulgate Bible into existence. This time frame will also see the Christian church located primarily in the Mediterranean world, but beginning to expand into the frontiers of the Graeco-Roman Empire. This time frame will also mark the transition of Christianity from being persecuted by the Empire, to being protected and encompassed by it.

Nestorianism – This would be a doctrine born at approx. 400AD, and attributed to Nestorius of Constantinople (386-451 AD). He would teach that the Lord existed as two persons (man and Divine), rather than unified. This doctrine and his teaching that Mary was the mother of Christ only in His humanity (the false doctrine of the Divinity of Mary had already found its way into the church), caused great division in the Assyrian and Byzantine churches.

Constantine - Christianity would go from persecuted minority to the religion of the Empire during the life of Constantine (272-337 AD). Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantine (also known as Constantine the First, or the Great) would proclaim the Edict of Milan (313 AD), which would bestow imperial favor on Christianity. His predecessor (Galerius) would actually be the first Roman Emperor to pass an order of toleration for Christians in the spring of 311 AD. Constantine would also be remembered for his role in the Council of Nicaea (325 AD), and would grant him the title of the first Christian Emperor by many historians.

Arius and his Heresy – Arius was someone of importance under a bishop named Alexander. He began to find traction at about 318 AD, and he was removed from his post by Alexander. He began to write to followers concerning Jesus being a created being and not deity. He was characterized by his teaching concerning Jesus “there was when he was not.”

Athanasius – He was a deacon in the church of Alexandria and in time became bishop of Alexandria (293-373 AD). He would spend most of his time and effort denouncing the doctrine of Arius.

Council of Nicea – This Council would mark the first recorded collective work of the known leaders of the churches. It should be noted that this council was convened by Constantine; and he would participate in the debates. This council meeting would take place just twelve years after the persecution of the church ceased.

During this council, the doctrine of Arius would be condemned, and the Nicaea Creed would be formed. This creed was founded on the Son being of one substance with the Father.

In spite of the condemnation of Arius and his doctrine, his following would grow and would cause great schisms in the church for many years to come.

Editor’s Note: As we can see in the first few points of this era, many creeds are born apart from the one faith delivered by the Apostolic fathers (Jude 3). We could list them all; however, for space sake we cannot.

I encourage you to look up the Athanasian Creed (pronounced within its tenets as the catholic faith), the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (also pronounced within its tenets to be the catholic faith), Homoiousians, Episcopate, and Orthodox Monasticism.

We see during this time frame, the birth of the Orthodox Catholic Church (catholic – universal, from the Greek ‘catholicos’). Because we can clearly see that this apostate church was born of the influence of the Emperor of Rome and the lifting of persecution by Rome, history would also see the Orthodox Church and what would become the Roman church divide, based on an east and west geography and creeds.

Here is a list of other important figures that play important roles during this time for your research: Athanasius, Basil the Great, Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom, Augustine, Patrick of Ireland, Leo the Great, Columba of Iona, Benedict of Norcia, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Anthony (thought to be the first Christian monk). 

It is also important to note that it is erroneous on the part of many to claim that the canon of scripture for the New Testament was set and established at the Council of Nicea. In fact the canon of scripture was never recorded of as even being spoken of during this council. It is also already fact that the early writers of the second century recorded and recognized the canon of scripture in their works, establishing the New Testament long before this council. It is a text that has held the unity of God’s unique signature from its origin to this very day, by those trained by it!

We would see no discussion of the canon of scripture in this council due to the universal acceptance of the established canon prior to this. It would be during this period that the canon of the Bible would be known in thirteen different languages. One of those languages would be Latin, in the work of the Vulgate Bible (405 AD); produced by Jerome. Another would be the Gothic Bible created in the language of the Goths; by Ulfilas (311-383 AD). 

Pope – It should also be noted that although the Catholic Church claims the title of Pope had its origins with Peter; history bears out something very different. The term “pope” (meaning “father”), was first recorded as being used by Heracleus (also: Heraclas) of Alexandria, about 232-249 AD. The title would also be used of Constantine, Leo the Great (who is sometimes referred to as the first pope, and is also famous for his role in stopping the invasion of Italy by Attila, through moral suasion), Benedict (also known as the father of the Benedictine monks), Boniface (418-422 AD). It would be during the papacy of Boniface III (606 AD), that we would see the declaration of the title of universal pope.

Summary – It would be during this period that the church would go from the great persecution to unity with the same source as the persecution had come from, Rome as an Empire (with divisive capitals of Rome and Constantinople and divisive power struggles in doctrine). As we noticed in the previous period, apostasy had already begun in the Lord’s church (doctrinally, governmentally with mono elder oversight, etc…); however, we see the birth of a truly apostate church during this period.

We see cooperative work among the leaders of churches to establish universal creeds apart from the established doctrine of Christ. These creeds would begin to be elevated in importance in comparison to the word of God. Although God’s word was now available in many different languages, the memorization of the creeds of the church was propagated. This would lead to an uneducated body of Christ; which in turn lead to the advancement of creed over truth.

As the division of the church now becoming a geographical issue, true worship would digress into ritual, adornment, etc…, based on these schisms in geography and creed.

It will be due to the fusion of church and state that we will see in the next period that every progressive movement would find its way into the church, until tyranny was the rule of the day.

Next: “Medieval Christianity