Expanded Format for History & Missions:
1.  Early Church History (~30-300 A.D.)

2.  Church History's current modes (sects, denominations, movements & apostasy.)

3.  Church Missions.

précis:                       

The Missionary Strategy of the Early Church (70-135CE)

The expansion of the post-apostolic Church was unparalleled. Within ten years after the death and resurrection of Christ, there were churches in Alexandria and Antioch. By the end of the second century, churches were active throughout the Roman Empire and as far away as Mesopotamia. All without planes, trains or automobiles.

The apostles started the process of evangelizing the known world. Eusebius provides a listing (though his knowledge of Asian Christianity is limited). Eusebius writes in Book 3, Chapter 1: The Parts of the World in Which the Apostles Preached Christ:
Meanwhile the holy apostles and disciples of our Saviour were dispersed throughout the world. Parthia, according to tradition, was allotted to Thomas as his field of labor, Scythia to Andrew, and Asia to John, who, after he had lived some time there, died at Ephesus. Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way. What do we need to say concerning Paul, who preached the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and afterwards suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero.(?)
Much of the works of wandering ecstatic prophets take place before the death of the last writer of the New Testament. The destruction of Jerusalem and the death of Paul mark a significant change in mission strategy. The church lost its central point (soon to shift to Antioch and Rome) and its most important missionary. There are a limited number of extant writings from this period. They include some of the later New Testament writings, the Didache, First Clement, the writings of Ignatious of Antioch, the Epistle of Barnabas, Second Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and a few non-Christian sources (i.e. Josephus, Pliny's letter to Trajan, and Tacitus). By the year 135CE, the church no longer considered Jerusalem its only base.
The Existing Synagogue System and State of Judaism
As much as twelve percent of the Roman population was Jewish with over one million Jews in Egypt. The synagogue was the center of life for the Jew outside of Palestine. Diaspora {of the dispersion} communities would become magnets to draw missionary believers out of Jerusalem. Judaism at this time was experiencing its own renewed sense of mission, bringing in converts weary with the corrupt pagan practices of many religions. As Jesus told the Pharisees:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." [Matthew 23:15].
During this time, churches became more identified with the houses they gathered often to, and were considered to be like synagogues. By concentrating efforts within the established synagogue, but specifically reaching those who were not fully initiated into Judaism (not circumcised, unlearned, without position, etc.), early Christians went fishing for men &' women who would become persuaded/convinced of Christ. The early Christians did not believe they were following a new religion, instead, they believed they would be better Jews by acknowledging the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The existing synagogue system and the state of Judaism provided a natural starting point for the growth of the Christian faith. Christians were able to begin their work within a receptive and responsive population.

At the time of the New Testament, Judaism was a melting pot of ideas about the truth. A great variety of expression and belief was welcomed/tolerated within the synagogue. (Judaism at this time was bound more by its practice (i.e., of the Law of Moses) than by its belief system.) This included conservative elements associated with the temple, social revolutionaries, apocalyptic prophets, etc. A new branch of Judaism arose: Christian faith and expression.

Within 100 years, many Christians experienced a love-hate relationship with Judaism. The apparent break from Judaism truly began at the resurrection of Jesus, but Christians remained part of Jewish faith communities for decades after. Christians also remained in the synagogue until they were forcibly expelled. Expulsion from a synagogue does not happen to a people uninvolved in synagogue life. Yet, by 180CE, the church added Jewish Christians (called "Ebionites") to its listing of heretics. The early church utilized the Jewish religious system, in some places superceded it, and largely outgrew it.

Christianity identified itself as the appointed outgrowth of Judaism, and many believers sought to be both the former [Judaism] and the new [Christian]. New Testament authors wrote of problems associated with mixing the two, and later, in the early second century, the writer of the Epistle of Barnabas (about 130CE) argued that the Jews, by rejecting Christ, were no longer God's chosen people. Three decades later, Justin, responding to Trypho, begrudgingly affirmed the faith of Mosaic-law keeping (early Ebionite) Christians, as long as they did not try to persuade others to their view. And Trypho again asked,
"But if some one, knowing that this is so, after he recognizes that this man is Christ, and has believed in and obeys Him, wishes, however, to observe these [institutions], will he be saved?" I said, "In my opinion, Trypho, such an one will be saved, if he does not strive in every way to persuade other men, -- I mean those Gentiles who have been circumcised from error by Christ, to observe the same things as himself, telling them that they will not be saved unless they do so. This you did yourself at the commencement of the discourse, when you declared that I would not be saved unless I observe these institutions." --Justin Martyr.

Following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Greek culture was widespread throughout the Roman Empire. Hellenization had allowed for a common language and culture, as Koine Greek was spoken throughout the Roman Empire. Through Hellenization, the known world shared a common language and worldview. Perhaps even more important were the nuances that the Greek language provided. The later decline of this specialist vocabulary would lead to difficulty when Latin was to replace Greek as a common language. The gospel was able to thrive among Greek-speaking people, where its subtleties could be easily expressed. Hellenization was not just limited to language. Rigorous thought patterns of the Greeks helped to make men and women restless and unsatisfied with powerless deities.
Hellenization is to make or do things in the Greek manner/style. In Greek mythology, Hellen was king of Phthia (at the northern end of the Gulf of Euboea) and grandson of the god Prometheus; the presumed ancestor of all true Greeks, called "Hellenes" in his honor.
The culture that arose immediately before the coming of Jesus Christ was one where the Christian faith could grow and thrive. The same ideas that promoted Hellenization also made persons of the Roman Empire hungry for something more. Christianity was able to offer more. During these early times, Pliny wrote of the Christian faith, "For the contagion of this superstition has permeated not only the cities, but also the villages and even the country districts." From Irenaeus, we hear of the first missions to the "wild and barbarous" people who lived outside of the cities.

The faith of the Christians rapidly gained ground. The Roman Empire also made evangelization simpler with its many roads and tranquility of the Pax Romana. The Empire was eventually "taken over" by an outward form/image of Christianity. Rome's diocese system would become boundaries for churches and bishops. Its capital would become headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. "Christianity" then became the religion of the State.

Persecution of Christians certainly did occur under emperor Nero and throughout the history of the Church, though open persecution was usually sporadic and/or localized. Rather than serving to depress the Gospel message, persecution of Christians spurred a filling of the churches with repentant souls who came to see what great faith people were willing to die for.
Pliny the Younger was a governor of the Roman province of Bithynia (present-day Turkey) who cautiously executed a small number of Christians that were brought before him on trial for their Christian faith.
Between 70 and 95CE, there is little mention of persecution (other than a brief reference in the letter of I Peter). Even though Pliny knows Christianity is illegal, he does not know why. The tone of his correspondence with emperor Trajan is basically to leave the Christian alone unless forced to do otherwise.

The rise of religion and the decline of exact science, though contradictory to Hellenistic rationalism, provided an additional resource for the early Christian church. State religions were discredited and dissatisfying. Instead, mystery cults promised life after death, ecstatic union with the deity, and freedom from guilt. Mystery religions had some similarities with Christianity, including baptism, a ritualized meal, life after death, etc. However, what the mystery religions could only promise, Christianity was able to provide. The unbeliever could see the power of God in healings and exorcisms that the early church practiced.

Christians (and Jews before them) were called atheists because of their refusal to acknowledge the gods of the nations. Yet, it is an error to think that the early Christians did not believe in the gods of the nations. They did. They rightly regarded them as demons; "gods" to be battled, not worshipped or accepted. Furthermore, the mystery religions of the day were not intended for the sick, but for the healthy. Christianity ministered to the sick and the demonized. Faith in Christ with the power to truly overcome was well received by many.

    Reading:
  • Luke 5:17-32
  • John 12:20-36
  • Acts 17:16-34
  • I Corinthians 1:18-2:10
  • II Timothy 3
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Freemasonry is based on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, using builders' tools as symbols to teach moral codes. The Masonic motto is "morality in which all men agree, that is, to be good men and true." Belief in a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul are the two prime requirements for Masonic membership. A Masonic lodge may confer 3 degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Additional degrees are conferred by the York Rite and the Scottish Rite. Masons have formed a large number of Masonic family groups. The best known of these groups is the Shriners (official name: "Ancient Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine"). To be a Shriner, one must be a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, or its equivalent in the York Rite [The Knights Templar]. Only men (age 21 and older) can be Masons. Related organizations are available for their relatives: the Order of the Eastern Star for Master Masons and their wives; the Order of DeMolay for boys; Order of Job's Daughters, Order of Rainbow, and the Organization of Triangles for young girls. More than a hundred Masonic-fraternal organizations, including Daughters of the Nile, The Tall Cedars of Lebanon, The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets Of The Enchanted Realm (Grotto), The Knights Of The Red Cross Of Constantine, and The Blue Lodge. Masons trace their organization back to John The Baptist, Solomon's Temple, and even to the beginning of time. Modern Masonry began in 1717, when four lodges in Great Britain formed the first Grand Lodge of England. Masonry was originally a means by which people in the occult could practice their "craft" and still remain respectable citizens. Master Masons take an oath, "Ever to conceal, never to reveal." The official Scottish Rite Freemasonry publication is titled New Age. Masonic secrecy, teachings, rituals, customs and practices have had an inspirational effect on similar groups such as the Moose, Eagles, Elks, and the National Grange. Mormon Temple rites are similar to Masonic Lodge practices (Joseph Smith was also a Mason). The symbols on the back of the U.S. dollar bill (pyramid, all-seeing eye, the number of feathers on the eagle's spread wings, the stars above the eagle's head in the shape of the Star of David, and the mottos e pluribus unum [out of many one] and novus ordo seclorum [a new order of the ages]) also appear to come from Freemasonry. This would not be surprising because George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, John Hancock, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Robert Livingston, and 35 other lesser-known signers of the Declaration of Independence and/or the US Constitution were Freemasons.

Masonic leaders readily admit that Freemasonry is a religion. Joseph Fort Newton (1880-1950), an Episcopal minister and recognized authority in the Masonic world, said, "Masonry is not a religion, but Religion -- not a church, but a worship in which men of all religions may unite." In fact, Freemasonry sees itself as superseding and unifying all religions. Masons refer to the Bible as the "Volume of the Sacred Law", but the Bible is used only in a so-called "Christian lodge" -- the Hebrew Pentateuch is used in a Hebrew lodge, the Koran in a Islamic lodge, the Vedas in a Brahmin lodge, etc. Jim Shaw, a former 33rd degree Mason, says that Masonry is not based on the Bible, but on the Kabala (Cabala), a medieval book of mysticism and magic. Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Supreme Council of Scottish Right Freemasonry, said that the Masonic "search after light" leads directly back to the Kabala, the ultimate source of Masonic beliefs. Pike authored Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, which clearly traces Masonry to Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and other Eastern religions. Albert G. Mackey, one of Masonry's highest authorities, links Masonic teaching back to "the ancient rites and mysteries practiced in the very bosom of pagan darkness." Masons commonly refer to their deity as the "Great Architect of the Universe" or "the Supreme Being" or as "Grand Artificer" or "Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Above", Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, or Great Geometer. (The "G" in the Masonic ring can refer to God, and also to Geometry.) Manly Palmer Hall, another authority on Masonry, writes, "When the Mason has learned the mystery of his Craft, the seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands." Lynn Perkins writes, "Jesus of Nazareth had attained a level of consciousness, of perfection, that has been called by various names: cosmic consciousness, soul regeneration, philosophic initiation, spiritual illumination, Brahmic Splendor, Christ-consciousness." (from The Meaning of Masonry, 1971, p. 53). Masons believe that any "shortcomings" in man can be overcome by greater enlightenment; that salvation refers to being brought from the material to the spiritual, when that man returns to "his forgotten inherent spirituality." Masons believe that the degree of Master Mason is symbolical of old age, which allows a person to happily reflect on a life well-lived and to "die in the hope of a glorious immortality." In the 19th degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the initiate is told that attachment to Masonry's "statutes and rules of the order" will make him "deserving of entering the celestial Jerusalem." In the 28th degree, "the true Mason who raises himself by degrees till he reaches heaven."

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Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians and Romans

"I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." ~Philippians 4:3

Clement of Rome was probably a Gentile and a Roman. He seems to have been at Philippi with Paul (AD57) when that first-born of the Western churches was passing through great trials of faith. There, with holy women and others, he ministered to the apostle Paul and to the saints. Philippi was a Roman colony, and Clement was possibly in some public service capacity and that he personally visited Corinth in those days. From Luke, he had no doubt learned the use of the Septuagint, in which his knowledge of the Greek tongue soon rendered him adept. However, his quotation from it does not always agree with the Received Text, as the reader will perceive. Around the very same time that the apostle John is writing the Book of Revelation on the Isle of Patmos, Clement of Rome is writing to the churches in Rome and Corinth with an application of the Old Testament Levitical Priesthood for the Christian churches: the idea that church leadership ought to be a separate (higher) priesthood. This brought a distinction between 'clergy' [Christian ministers] and 'laity' [Christian people]. In this letter, Clement also writes against Docetic teachings that had emerged with/from Gnostic ideas.
1*
1 The Church of God which sojourns in Rome to the Church of God which sojourns in Corinth, to them which are called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace from Almighty God through Jesus Christ be multiplied. By reason of the sudden and repeated calamities and reverses which are befalling us, brethren, we consider that we have been somewhat tardy in giving heed to the matters of dispute that have arisen among you, dearly beloved, and to the detestable and unholy sedition, so alien and strange to the elect of God, which a few headstrong and self-willed persons have kindled to such a pitch of madness that your name, once revered and renowned and lovely in the sight of all men, hath been greatly reviled.
2 For who that had sojourned among you did not approve your most virtuous and steadfast faith? Who did not admire your sober and forbearing piety in Christ? Who did not publish abroad your magnificent disposition of hospitality? Who did not congratulate you on your perfect and sound knowledge?
3 For you did all things without respect of persons, and you walked after the ordinances of God, submitting yourselves to your rulers and rendering to the older men among you the honor which is their due. On the young too you enjoined modest and seemly thoughts: and the women you charged to perform all their duties in a blameless and seemly and pure conscience, cherishing their own husbands, as is meet; and you taught them to keep in the rule of obedience, and to manage the affairs of their household in seemliness, with all discretion
2*
1 And you were all lowly in mind and free from arrogance, yielding rather than claiming submission, more glad to give than to receive, and content with the provisions which God supplies. And giving heed unto His words, you laid them up diligently in your hearts, and His sufferings were before your eyes.
2 Thus a profound and rich peace was given to all, and an insatiable desire of doing good. An abundant outpouring also of the Holy Spirit fell upon all;
3 and, being full of holy counsel, in excellent zeal and with a pious confidence you stretched out your hands to Almighty God, supplicating Him to be propitious, if unwillingly you had committed any sin.
4 you had conflict day and night for all the brotherhood, that the number of His elect might be saved with fearfulness and intentness of mind.
5 you were sincere and simple and free from malice one towards another.
6 Every sedition and every schism was abominable to you. you mourned over the transgressions of your neighbors: you judged their shortcomings to be your own.
7 you repented not of any well-doing, but were ready unto every good work.
8 Being adorned with a most virtuous and honorable life, you performed all your duties in the fear of Him. The commandments and the ordinances of the Lord were written on the tablets of your hearts.
3*
1 All glory and enlargement was given unto you, and that was fulfilled which is written My beloved ate and drank and was enlarged and waxed fat and kicked.
2 Hence come jealousy and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and tumult, war and captivity.
3 So men were stirred up, the mean against the honorable, the ill reputed against the highly reputed, the foolish against the wise, the young against the elder.
4 For this cause righteousness and peace stand aloof, while each man hath forsaken the fear of the Lord and become blind in the faith of Him, neither walks in the ordinances of His commandments nor lives according to that which becomes Christ, but each goes after the lusts of his evil heart, seeing that they have conceived an unrighteous and ungodly jealousy, through which also death entered into the world.
4*  [Genesis 4:1-16]
1 For so it is written, And it came to pass after certain days that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice unto God, and Abel he also brought of the firstlings of the sheep and of their fatness.
2 And God looked upon Abel and upon his gifts, but unto Cain and unto his sacrifices He gave no heed.
3 And Cain sorrowed exceedingly, and his countenance fell.
4 And God said unto Cain, Wherefore art you very sorrowful and wherefore did your countenance fall? If you hast offered aright and hast not divided aright, didst you not sin? Hold your peace.
5 Unto thee shall he turn, and you shall rule over him.
6 And Cain said unto Abel his brother, Let us go over unto the plain. And it came to pass, while they Were in the plain, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.
7 you see, brethren, jealousy and envy wrought a brother's murder.
8 By reason of jealousy our father Jacob ran away from the face of Esau his brother.
9 Jealousy caused Joseph to be persecuted even unto death, and to come even unto bondage.
10 Jealousy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt while it was said to him by his own countryman, Who made thee a judge or a decider over us, Would you slay me, even as yesterday you slew the Egyptian?
11 By reason of jealousy Aaron and Miriam were lodged outside the camp.
12 Jealousy brought Dathan and Abiram down alive to Hades, because they made sedition against Moses the servant of God.
13 By reason of jealousy David was envied not only by the Philistines, but was persecuted also by Saul [king of Israel].
5*
1 But, to pass from the examples of ancient days, let us come to those champions who lived near to our time. Let us set before us the noble examples which belong to our generation.
2 By reason of jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Church were persecuted, and contended even unto death.
3 Let us set before our eyes the good Apostles.
4 There was Peter who by reason of unrighteous jealousy endured not one but many labors, and thus having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory.
5 By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance. After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the reward of his faith,
6 having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance.
6*
1 Unto these men of holy lives was gathered a vast multitude of the elect, who through many indignities and tortures, being the victims of jealousy, set a brave example among ourselves.
2 By reason of jealousy women being persecuted, after that they had suffered cruel and unholy insults as Danaids and Dircae, safely reached the goal in the race of faith, and received a noble reward, feeble though they were in body.
3 Jealousy has estranged wives from their husbands and changed the saying of our father Adam, This now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.
4 Jealousy and strife have overthrown great cities and uprooted great nations.
7*  [Hebrews 12:2]
1 These things, dearly beloved, we write, not only as admonishing you, but also as putting ourselves in remembrance. For we are in the same lists, and the same contest awaits us.
2 Wherefore let us forsake idle and vain thoughts; and let us conform to the glorious and venerable rule which has been handed down to us;
3 and let us see what is good and what is pleasant and what is acceptable in the sight of Him that made us.
4 Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ and understand how precious it is unto His Father, because being shed for our salvation it won for the whole world the grace of repentance.
5 Let us review all the generations in turn, and learn how from generation to generation the Master hath given a place for repentance unto them that desire to turn to Him.
6 Noah preached repentance, and they that obeyed were saved.
7 Jonah preached destruction unto the men of Nineveh; but they, repenting of their sins, obtained pardon of God by their supplications and received salvation, albeit they were aliens from God.
8*  [Isaiah 1:18]
1 The ministers of the grace of God through the Holy Spirit spoke concerning repentance.
2 yes and the Master of the universe Himself spoke concerning repentance with an oath:
3 for, as I live says the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, so much as his repentance,
4 and He added also a merciful judgment: Repent you, O house of Israel, of your iniquity; say unto the sons of My people, Though your sins reach from the earth even unto the heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, and you turn unto Me with your whole heart and say Father, I will give ear unto you as unto a holy people.
5 And in another place He says on this wise, Wash, be you clean. Put away your iniquities from your souls out of My sight. Cease from your iniquities; learn to do good; seek out judgment; defend him that is wronged: give judgment for the orphan, and execute righteousness for the widow; and come and let us reason together, says He; and though your sins be as crimson, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool. And if you be willing and will hearken unto Me, you shall eat the good things of the earth; but if you be not willing, neither hearken unto Me, a sword shall devour you; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things.
6 Seeing then that He desires all His beloved to be partakers of repentance, He confirmed it by an act of His almighty will.
9*
1 Wherefore let us be obedient unto His excellent and glorious will; and presenting ourselves as suppliants of His mercy and goodness, let us fall down before Him and betake ourselves unto His compassions, forsaking the vain toil and the strife and the jealousy which leads unto death.
2 Let us fix our eyes on them that ministered perfectly unto His excellent glory.
3 Let us set before us Enoch, who being found righteous in obedience was translated, and his death was not found.
4 Noah, being found faithful, by his ministration preached regeneration unto the world, and through him the Master saved the living creatures that entered into the ark in concord.
10*
1 Abraham, who was called the 'friend,' was found faithful in that he rendered obedience unto the words of God.
2 He through obedience went forth from his land and from his kindred and from his father's house, that leaving a scanty land and a feeble kindred and a mean house he might inherit the promises of God.
3 For He says unto him "Go forth from your land and from your kindred and from your father's house unto the land which I shall show thee, and I will make thee into a great nation, and I will bless thee and will magnify your name, and you shall be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed."
4 And again, when he was parted from Lot, God said unto him Look up with your eyes, and behold from the place where you now art, unto the north and the south and the sunrise and the sea; for all the land which you see, I will give it unto thee and to your seed for ever;
5 and I will make your seed as the dust of the earth. If any man can count the dust of the earth, then shall your seed also be counted.
6 And again He says; God led Abraham forth and said unto him, Look up unto the heaven and count the stars, and see whether you canst number them. So shall your seed be. And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.
7 For his faith and hospitality a son was given unto him in old age, and by obedience he offered him a sacrifice unto God on one of the mountains which He showed him.
11*
1 For his hospitality and godliness Lot was saved from Sodom, when all the country round about was judged by fire and brimstone; the Master having thus fore shown that He forsakes not them which set their hope on Him, but appoints unto punishment and torment them which swerve aside.
2 For when his wife had gone forth with him, being otherwise minded and not in accord, she was appointed for a sign hereunto, so that she became a pillar of salt unto this day, that it might be known unto all men that they which are double-minded and they which doubt concerning the power of God are set for a judgment and for a token unto all the generations.
12*
1 For her faith and hospitality Rahab the harlot was saved.
2 For when the spies were sent forth unto Jericho by Joshua the son of Nun, the king of the land perceived that they were come to spy out his country, and sent forth men to seize them, that being seized they might be put to death.
3 So the hospitable Rahab received them and hid them in the upper chamber under the flax stalks.
4 And when the messengers of the king came near and said, The spies of our land entered in unto thee: bring them forth, for the king so orders: then she answered, The men truly, whom you seek, entered in unto me, but they departed forthwith and are sojourning on the way; and she pointed out to them the opposite road.
5 And she said unto the men, Of a surety I perceive that the Lord your God delivers this city unto you; for the fear and the dread of you is fallen upon the inhabitants thereof. When therefore it shall come to pass that you take it, save me and the house of my father.
6 And they said unto her, It shall be even so as you hast spoken unto us. Whenever therefore you perceive that we are coming, you shall gather all your folk beneath your roof and they shall be saved; for as many as shall be found without the house shall perish.
7 And moreover they gave her a sign, that she should hang out from her house a scarlet thread, thereby showing beforehand that through the blood of the Lord there shall be redemption unto all them that believe and hope on God.
8 you see, dearly beloved, not only faith, but prophecy, is found in the woman.
13*
1 Let us therefore be lowly minded, brethren, laying aside all arrogance and conceit and folly and anger, and let us do that which is written. For the Holy Ghost says, Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor the strong in his strength, neither the rich in his riches; but he that boasts let him boast in the Lord, that he may seek Him out, and do judgment and righteousness most of all remembering the words of the Lord Jesus which He spoke, teaching forbearance and long-suffering:
2 for thus He spoke Have mercy, that you may receive mercy: forgive, that it may be forgiven to you. As you do, so shall it be done to you. As you give, so shall it be given unto you. As you judge, so shall you be judged. As you show kindness, so shall kindness be showed unto you. With what measure you mete, it shall be measured withal to you.
3 With this commandment and these precepts let us confirm ourselves, that we may walk in obedience to His hallowed words, with lowliness of mind.
4 For the holy word says, Upon whom shall I look, save upon him that is gentle and quiet and fears Mine oracles?
14*
1 Therefore it is right and proper, brethren, that we should be obedient unto God, rather than follow those who in arrogance and unruliness have set themselves up as leaders in abominable jealousy.
2 For we shall bring upon us no common harm, but rather great peril, if we surrender ourselves recklessly to the purposes of men who launch out into strife and seditions, so as to estrange us from that which is right.
3 Let us be good one towards another according to the compassion and sweetness of Him that made us. For it is written:
4 The good shall be dwellers in the land, and the innocent shall be left on it but they that transgress shall be destroyed utterly from it.
5 And again He says I saw the ungodly lifted up on high and exalted as the cedars of Lebanon. And I passed by, and behold he was not; and sought out his place, and I found it not. Keep innocence and behold uprightness; for there is a remnant for the peaceful man.
15*
1 Therefore let us cleave unto them that practice peace with godliness, and not unto them that desire peace with dissimulation.
2 For He says in a certain place This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me,
3 and again, they blessed with their mouth, but they cursed with their heart.
4 And again He says, They loved Him with their mouth, and with their tongue they lied unto Him; and their heart was not upright with Him, neither were they steadfast in His covenant.
5 For this cause let the deceitful lips be made dumb which speak iniquity against the righteous. And again May the Lord utterly destroy all the deceitful lips, the tongue that speaks proud things, even them that say, Let us magnify our tongue; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?
6 For the misery of the needy and for the groaning of the poor I will now arise, says the Lord. I will set him in safety; I will deal boldly by him.
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Epistle To Diognetus

In the first centuries of our Era, a number of Christian writers undertook the task of proving that Christianity was beneficial for the Roman Empire and for humanity as a whole. They wrote to defend their faith against attacks made by other people or to properly explain their faith.

The Epistle to Diognetus, a response to the accusation that Christians were a danger to Rome, is the first known of these apologetic writings. Date of this letter is uncertain…
Your TimeLine places its composition at between 130-200 A.D.
1*  [Mark 4:9; 23-24]
1 Since I see, most excellent Diognetus, that you art exceedingly anxious to understand the religion of the Christians, and that your enquiries respecting them are distinctly and carefully made, as to what God they trust and how they worship Him, that they all disregard the world and despise death, and take no account of those who are regarded as gods by the Greeks, neither observe the superstition of the Jews, and as to the nature of the affection which they entertain one to another, and of this new development or interest, which has entered into men's lives now and not before: I gladly welcome this zeal in you, and I ask of God, Who supplies both the speaking and the hearing to us, that it may be granted to myself to speak in such a way that you may be made better by the hearing, and to you that you may so listen that I the speaker may not be disappointed.
2*  [Acts 17:29]
1 Come then, clear yourself of all the prepossessions which occupy your mind, and throw off the habit which leads you astray, and become a new man, as it were, from the beginning, as one who would listen to a new story, even as you yourself didst confess. See not only with your eyes, but with your intellect also, of what substance or of what form they chance to be whom you call and regard as gods.
2 Is not one of them stone, like that which we tread under foot, and another bronze, no better than the vessels which are forged for our use, and another wood, which has already become rotten, and another silver, which needs a man to guard it lest it be stolen, and another iron, which is corroded with rust, and another earthenware, not a whit more comely than that which is supplied for the most dishonorable service?
3 Are not all these of perishable matter? Are they not forged by iron and fire? Did not the sculptor make one, and the brass-founder another, and the silversmith another, and the potter another? Before they were molded into this shape by the crafts of these several artificers, was it not possible for each one of them to have been changed in form and made to resemble these several utensils? Might not the vessels which are now made out of the same material, if they met with the same artificers, be made like unto such as these?
4 Could not these things which are now worshipped by you, by human hands again be made vessels like the rest? Are not they all deaf and blind, are they not soul-less, senseless, motionless? Do they not all rot and decay?
5 These things you call gods, to these you are slaves, these you worship; and you end by becoming altogether like unto them.
6 Therefore you hate the Christians, because they do not consider these to be gods.
7 For do not you yourselves, who now regard and worship them, much more despise them? Do you not much rather mock and insult them, worshipping those that are of stone and earthenware unguarded, but shutting up those that are of silver and gold by night, and setting guards over them by day, to prevent their being stolen?
8 And as for the honors which you think to offer to them, if they are sensible of them, you rather punish them thereby, whereas, if they are insensible, you reproach them by propitiating them with the blood and fat of victims.
9 Let one of yourselves undergo this treatment, let him submit to these things being done to him. Nay, not so much as a single individual will willingly submit to such punishment, for he has sensibility and reason; but a stone submits, because it is insensible. Therefore you convict his sensibility.
10 Well, I could say much besides concerning the Christians not being enslaved to such gods as these; but if any one should think what has been said insufficient, I hold it superfluous to say more.
3*  [Acts 17:24-25]
1 In the next place, I fancy that you art chiefly anxious to hear about their not practicing their religion in the same way as the Jews.
2 The Jews then, so far as they abstain from the mode of worship described above, do well in claiming to reverence one God of the universe and to regard Him as Master; but so far as they offer Him this worship in methods similar to those already mentioned, they are altogether at fault.
3 For whereas the Greeks, by offering these things to senseless and deaf images, make an exhibition of stupidity, the Jews considering that they are presenting them to God, as if He were in need of them, ought in all reason to count it folly and not religious worship.
4 For He that made the heaven and the earth and all things that are therein, and furnishes us all with what we need, cannot Himself need any of these things which He Himself supplied to them that imagine they are giving them to Him.
5 But those who think to perform sacrifices to Him with blood and fat and whole burnt offerings, and to honor Him with such honors, seem to me in no way different from those who show the same respect towards deaf images; for the one class think fit to make offerings to things unable to participate in the honor, the other class to One Who is in need of nothing.
4*  {profane: common; anything not sanctified/set apart to God.}
1 But again their scruples concerning meats, and their superstition relating to the sabbath and the vanity of their circumcision and the dissimulation of their fasting and new moons, I do [not] suppose you need to learn from me, are ridiculous and unworthy of any consideration.
2 For of the things created by God for the use of man to receive some as created well, but to decline others as useless and superfluous, is not this impious? 3 And again to lie against God, as if He forbad us to do any good thing on the sabbath day, is not this profane?
4 Again, to vaunt the mutilation of the flesh as a token of election as though for this reason they were particularly beloved by God, is not this ridiculous?
5 And to watch the stars and the moon and to keep the observance of months and of days, and to distinguish the arrangements of God and the changes of the seasons according to their own impulses, making some into festivals and others into times of mourning, who would regard this as an exhibition of godliness and not much more of folly?
6 That the Christians are right therefore in holding aloof from the common silliness and error of the Jews and from their excessive fussiness and pride, I consider that you hast been sufficiently instructed; but as regards the mystery of their own religion, expect not that you can be instructed by man.
5*  [Matthew 23:8-12; II Corinthians 4:8-18]
1 For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs.
2 For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practice an extraordinary kind of life.
3 Nor again do they possess any invention discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some are.
4 But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvelous, and confessedly contradicts expectation.
5 They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign.
6 They marry like all other men and they beget children; but they do not cast away their offspring.
7 They have their meals in common, but not their wives.
8 They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they live not after the flesh.
9 Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.
10 They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives.
11 They love all men, and they are persecuted by all.
12 They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life.
13 They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things.
14 They are dishonored, and yet they are glorified in their dishonor. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated.
15 They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect.
16 Doing good they are punished as evil-doers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened by life.
17 War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason of their hostility.
6* 1 In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world.
2 The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through the divers cities of the world.
3 The soul hath its abode in the body, and yet it is not of the body. So Christians have their abode in the world, and yet they are not of the world.
4 The soul which is invisible is guarded in the body which is visible: so Christians are recognized as being in the world, and yet their religion remains invisible.
5 The flesh hates the soul and wages war with it, though it receives no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hates Christians, though it receives no wrong from them, because they set themselves against its pleasures.
6 The soul loves the flesh which hates it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them.
7 The soul is enclosed in the body, and yet itself holds the body together; so Christians are kept in the world as in a prison-house, and yet they themselves hold the world together.
8 The soul though itself immortal dwells in a mortal tabernacle; so Christians sojourn amidst perishable things, while they look for the imperishability which is in the heavens.
9 The soul when hardly treated in the matter of meats and drinks is improved; and so Christians when punished increase more and more daily.
10 So great is the office for which God hath appointed them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline.
7*  [Job 26:7-14]
1 For it is no earthly discovery, as I said, which was committed to them, neither do they care to guard so carefully any mortal invention, nor have they entrusted to them the dispensation of human mysteries.
2 But truly the Almighty Creator of the Universe, the Invisible God Himself from heaven planted among men the truth and the holy teaching which surpasses the wit of man, and fixed it firmly in their hearts, not as any man might imagine, by sending (to mankind) a subaltern, or angel, or ruler, or one of those that direct the affairs of earth, or one of those who have been entrusted with the dispensations in heaven, but the very Artificer and Creator of the Universe Himself, by Whom He made the heavens, by Whom He enclosed the sea in its proper bounds, Whose mysteries all the elements faithfully observe, from Whom [the sun] hath received even the measure of the courses of the day to keep them, Whom the moon obeys as He bids her shine by night, Whom the stars obey as they follow the course of the moon, by Whom all things are ordered and bounded and placed in subjection, the heavens and the things that are in the heavens, the earth and the things that are in the earth, the sea and the things that are in the sea, fire, air, abyss, the things that are in the heights, the things that are in the depths, the things that are between the two. Him He sent unto them.
3 Was He sent, think you, as any man might suppose, to establish a sovereignty, to inspire fear and terror?
4 Not so. But in gentleness [and] meekness has He sent Him, as a king might send his son who is a king. He sent Him, as sending God; He sent Him, as [a man] unto men; He sent Him, as Savior, as using persuasion, not force: for force is no attribute of God.
5 He sent Him, as summoning, not as persecuting; He sent Him, as loving, not as judging.
6 For He will send Him in judgment, and who shall endure His presence? ...
7 [Dost you not see] them thrown to wild beasts that so they may deny the Lord, and yet not overcome?
8 Dost you not see that the more of them are punished, just so many others abound?
9 These look not like the works of a man; they are the power of God; they are proofs of His presence.
8*  [II Peter 3:9]
1 For what man at all had any knowledge what God was, before He came?
2 Or dost you accept the empty and nonsensical statements of those pretentious philosophers: of whom some said that God was fire (they call that God, whereunto they themselves shall go), and others water, and others some other of the elements which were created by God?
3 And yet if any of these statements is worthy of your acceptance, any one other created thing might just as well be made out to be God.
4 Nay, all this is the quackery and deceit of the magicians;
5 and no man has either seen or recognized Him, but He revealed Himself.
6 And He revealed (Himself) by faith, whereby alone it is given to see God. 7 For God, the Master and Creator of the Universe, Who made all things and arranged them in order, was found to be not only friendly to men, but also long-suffering.
8 And such indeed He was always, and is, and will be, kindly and good and dispassionate and true, and He alone is good.
9 And having conceived a great and unutterable scheme He communicated it to His Son alone.
10 For so long as He kept and guarded His wise design as a mystery, He seemed to neglect us and to be careless about us.
11 But when He revealed it through His beloved Son, and manifested the purpose which He had prepared from the beginning, He gave us all these gifts at once, participation in His benefits, and sight and understanding of (mysteries) which none of us ever would have expected.
9*  [Acts 17:30; Ephesians 2:1-3]
1 Having thus planned everything already in His mind with His Son, He permitted us during the former time to be borne along by disorderly impulses as we desired, led astray by pleasures and lusts, not at all because He took delight in our sins, but because He bore with us, not because He approved of the past season of iniquity, but because He was creating the present season of righteousness, that, being convicted in the past time by our own deeds as unworthy of life, we might now be made deserving by the goodness of God, and having made clear our inability to enter into the kingdom of God of ourselves, might be enabled by the ability of God.
2 And when our iniquity had been fully accomplished, and it had been made perfectly manifest that punishment and death were expected as its recompense, and the season came which God had ordained, when henceforth He should manifest His goodness and power (O the exceeding great kindness and love of God), He hated us not, neither rejected us, nor bore us malice, but was long-suffering and patient, and in pity for us took upon Himself our sins, and Himself parted with His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy for the lawless, the guileless for the evil, "the just for the unjust," the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal.
3 For what else but His righteousness would have covered our sins?
4 In whom was it possible for us lawless and ungodly men to have been justified, save only in the Son of God?
5 O the sweet exchange, O the inscrutable creation, O the unexpected benefits; that the iniquity of many should be concealed in One Righteous Man, and the righteousness of One should justify many that are iniquitous!
6 Having then in the former time demonstrated the inability of our nature to obtain life, and having now revealed a Savior able to save even creatures which have no ability, He willed that for both reasons we should believe in His goodness and should regard Him as nurse, father, teacher, counselor, physician, mind, light, honor, glory, strength and life.
10*  [John 3:16; Galatians 6:2]
1 This faith if you also desire, apprehend first full knowledge of the Father.
2 "For God loved" men for whose sake He made the world, to whom He subjected all things that are in the earth, to whom He gave reason and mind, whom alone He permitted to look up to heaven, whom He created after His own image, to whom "He sent His only begotten Son," to whom He promised the kingdom which is in heaven, and will give it to those that have loved Him.
3 And when you hast attained to this full knowledge, with what joy do you think that you will be filled, or how wilt you love Him that so loved you before?
4 And loving Him you wilt be an imitator of His goodness. And marvel not that a man can be an imitator of God. He can, if God wills it.
5 For happiness consists not in lordship over one's neighbors, nor in desiring to have more than weaker men, nor in possessing wealth and using force to inferiors; neither can any one imitate God in these matters; nay, these lie outside His greatness.
6 But whosoever takes upon himself the burden of his neighbor, whosoever desires to benefit one that is worse off in that in which he himself is superior, whosoever by supplying to those that are in want possessions which he received from God becomes a God to those who receive them from him, he is an imitator of God.
7 Then, though you art placed on earth, you shall behold that God lives in heaven; then shall you begin to declare the mysteries of God; then shall you both love and admire those that are punished because they will not deny God; then shall you condemn the deceit and error of the world; when you shall perceive the true life which is in heaven, when you shall despise the apparent death which is here on earth, when you shall fear the real death, which is reserved for those that shall be condemned to the eternal fire that shall punish those delivered over to it unto the end.
8 Then shall you admire those who endure for righteousness' sake the fire that is for a season, and shall count them blessed when you perceive that fire ...
11*  [John 1:1-18]
1 Mine are no strange discourses nor perverse questionings, but having been a disciple of Apostles I come forward as a teacher of the Gentiles, ministering worthily to them, as they present themselves disciples of the truth, the lessons which have been handed down.
2 For who that has been rightly taught and has entered into friendship with the Word does not seek to learn distinctly the lessons revealed openly by the Word to the disciples; to whom the Word appeared and declared them, speaking plainly, not perceived by the unbelieving, but relating them to disciples who being reckoned faithful by Him were taught the mysteries of the Father?
3 For which cause He sent forth the Word, that He might appear unto the world, Who being dishonored by the people, and preached by the Apostles, was believed in by the Gentiles.
4 This Word, Who was from the beginning, Who appeared as new and yet was proved to be old, and is engendered always young in the hearts of saints,
5 He, I say, Who is eternal, Who today was accounted a Son, through Whom the Church is enriched and grace is unfolded and multiplied among the saints, grace which confers understanding, which reveals mysteries, which announces seasons, which rejoices over the faithful, which is bestowed upon those who seek her, even those by whom the pledges of faith are not broken, nor the boundaries of the fathers overstepped.
6 Whereupon the fear of the law is sung, and the grace of the prophets is recognized, and the faith of the gospels is established, and the tradition of the apostles is preserved, and the joy of the Church exults.
7 If you grieve not this grace, you shall understand the discourses which the Word holds by the mouth of those whom He desires when He wishes.
8 For in all things, that by the will of the commanding Word we were moved to utter with much pains, we become sharers with you, through love of the things revealed unto us.
12*  [I Corinthians 8:1-3]
1 Confronted with these truths and listening to them with attention, you shall know how much God bestow on those that love (Him) rightly, who become a Paradise of delight, a tree bearing all manner of fruits and flourishing, growing up in themselves and adorned with various fruits.
2 For in this garden a tree of knowledge and a tree of life hath been planted; yet the tree of knowledge does not kill, but disobedience kills;
3 for the scriptures state clearly how God from the beginning planted a tree [of knowledge and a tree] of life in the midst of Paradise, revealing life through knowledge; and because our first parents used it not genuinely they were made naked by the deceit of the serpent.
4 For neither is there life without knowledge, nor sound knowledge without true life; therefore the one (tree) is planted near the other.
5 Discerning the force of this and blaming the knowledge which is exercised apart from the truth of the injunction which leads to life, the apostle says, "Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies."
6 For the man who supposes that he knows anything without the true knowledge which is testified by the life, is ignorant, he is deceived by the serpent, because he loved not life; whereas he who with fear recognizes and desires life plants in hope expecting fruit.
7 Let your heart be knowledge, and your life true reason, duly comprehended.
8 Whereof if you bear the tree and pluck the fruit, you shall ever gather the harvest which God looks for, which serpent touch not, nor deceit infects, neither is Eve corrupted, but is believed on as a virgin,
9 and salvation is set forth, and the apostles are filled with understanding, and the passover of the Lord goes forward, and the congregations are gathered together, and [all things] are arranged in order, and as He teaches the saints the Word is gladdened, through Whom the Father is glorified, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
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After knocking at the door of Adventism

In 1816, William Miller, a Baptist preacher, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843, capturing the imagination of thousands in protestant churches. Perhaps as many as 50,000 followers put their trust in Miller's chronological calculations and prepared to welcome the Lord. 1843 & 1844 passed uneventfully. Some of Miller's disappointed followers kept the movement alive, leading to the formation of several sects under the broad heading of "Adventism"; including the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and various Second Adventist groups.

Charles Taze RussellCharles Taze Russell was born on February 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Raised as a Presbyterian, at age 16 Russell found himself losing faith. A chance encounter brought him under the influence of Second Adventist preacher, Jonas Wendell. Russell continued to study Scripture with various Adventists, including George Stetson and The Bible Examiner's publisher George Storrs. He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor. At age 23, Russell received a copy of The Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine published by Nelson H. Barbour. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour's group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept captured Russell's attention. It meant that this Adventist group had not remained defeated, as others had, when Christ failed to appear in 1874 as they had predicted. Barbour had claimed that Jesus returned invisibly in 1874, pointing to the parousia (coming) from Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 as meaning "presence". [students of Greek: check also Matthew 24:30,42,44, ερχομαι]

The Herald of the Morning was failing financially. In the summer of 1876 wealthy Russell met with Barbour to discuss both beliefs and money. Russell became the magazine's financial backer and contributed articles for publication. Russell's small study group became affiliated with Barbour's. Russell and Barbour believed and taught that Christ's invisible return in 1874 would be followed in 1878 by the Rapture-(bodily snatching away of believers to heaven). When the 1878 date passed, Mr. Barbour came up with "new light". Russell rejected some of the new ideas and persuaded other members to oppose them. Finally, Russell quit the staff of the Adventist magazine and started his own: Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence was first published in July, 1879.

At this point, Charles Russell no longer wanted to consider himself an Adventist, nor a Millerite. Russell soon organized 30+ study groups or congregations scattered from Ohio to the New England coast. Followers had been taught that Russell himself was the "faithful and wise servant" of Matthew 24:45 and the "Laodicean Messenger," God's seventh and final spokesman to the Christian church. But he lived to see the failure of various dates he had predicted for the Rapture, and finally died on October 31, 1916, more than two years after the world was supposed to have ended, according to his calculations, in early October, 1914.

Joseph Rutherford, vice president of the organization, soon set about concentrating all organizational authority into his own hands. He used a loophole to unseat the majority of the Watch Tower directors without calling a membership vote. By gradually replacing locally elected elders with his own appointees, he managed to transform a loose collection of semi-autonomous congregations into a tight-knit organizational machine run from his office. Some local congregations broke away, forming the Chicago Bible Students, the Dawn Bible Students, and the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, all of which continue to this day. But most of the International Bible Students remained under his control, and Rutherford renamed them "Jehovah's Witnesses" in 1931.

Like Russell, Rutherford tried his hand at prophecy and predicted that biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be resurrected in 1925 to rule as princes over the earth. They failed to show up, of course, and Rutherford quit predicting dates.

Vice President Nathan Knorr inherited the presidency upon Rutherford's death in 1942. Knorr shifted the focus from dynamic leadership to dynamic membership. He initiated training programs to transform members into effective recruiters. Instead of carrying a portable phonograph from house to house, playing recordings of Judge Rutherford's lectures at people's doorsteps, the average Jehovah's Witness began receiving instruction on how to speak persuasively on a variety of subjects. Meanwhile Fred Franz revised the organization's chronology in predictions for Christ's invisible return as now to having taken place in 1914, rather than 1874. During the 1960's, the Society's publications began pointing to the year 1975 as the time for Armageddon and the end of the world.

COMMON DIFFERENCES:

  1. Tri-Unity or Trinity?  [Mark 12:29]
  2. The Holy Spirit  [Luke 3:22; 12:12; Acts 5:3-4, etc.]
  3. Gnosticism, and the flesh of Christ  [Colossians 1:13-20]
  4. Eschatology  [Revelation 20, etc.]
  5. The "Acts Letter"  [Acts 15; 21:25]
  6. "Not of this world"  [John 18:36 public holidays; military service]
  7. The apostate church  [2 Corinthians 6:14-18]
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A Peculiar People

They usually appear in black clothing, often travel in horse-drawn buggies and lead a separated life from the rest of society. They are spread from Canada to South America, living separate from the common culture. The more conservative branches are hard workers, farmers, living off of the produce of the land, and their work ethic pays off: many of them are also very wealthy. They are Anabaptists, and here is their story…

Around the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, the gospel with a variant of the Arian Christ made its way into the Teutonic/Germanic tribes through a captured boy named Ulfilas. Ulfilas took it upon himself to convert the Germanic people who captured him, to give them their own alphabet, and to translate the Scriptures into German. Upon his heels came the newly empowered Roman Catholic Church to "clean up" the Christianity of the Germans, mostly by forced "conversion" to Catholic Christianity. From 500 AD to 1500 AD, the Germans were energetically involved in Roman Catholic Christianity, the monastery movement, convents, and in devoting themselves to the ministry of the Church. When the Reformation was warming up, and the Germans and German-speaking Swiss began to read and hear the Bible for the first time in their own language, they were terrified at how far away they were from God and from obedience to the Gospel. In the upheavals of the Reformation era, men and women were waking up to the reality of a Living Christ for the first time in over 1,000 years! Many left the Roman church and followed Zwingli, Luther, or another Reformer.

As the Scriptures became more available to the general population - though many were illiterate - many Christian ministers became convicted of their need to make their stand for Christ. Luther and Zwingli had set out to change Roman Catholic Christianity within their own spheres of influence. Luther eliminated many of the sacraments but did not eliminate infant baptism, images, or the Mass (right away). Zwingli also eliminated most of the sacraments and pulled down the images, but continued with infant baptism. Not able to claim "apostolic succession" to ecclesiastical authority, the Reformers picked up the terms "sola scriptura" and "sola fide" as their claim to authority.

One of the problems these men of God faced was that through infant baptism everyone was considered a Christian, regardless of bad fruit. To remove infant baptism would be to introduce the idea that the church would not have control over all individuals. One of the controlling influences of the institutionalized church was that if everyone was baptized into the church, even at the age of eight days old, and the church remained melded with the secular power, everyone would be under the control of both the state and the church. A proper Christian would seek to fulfill the sacraments, and excluding one or all of them was considered un-Christian behavior to be severely chastised. Therefore, at this time, there was no separation of church and State as we know it today. To be a citizen of a country was also a new idea in this time, and the Germans had not yet felt the surge of nationalism. To be a German was to be a Catholic.

The Reformers knew this but they also knew that to keep their position they had to keep the secular government happy. There were people of the time who wanted to go on ahead following Christ, defying the Roman church and secular authority. Some of these would become known as the Anabaptists. There was no other move of God going on in those days. One remained a Catholic, became a follower of one of the institutionalized Reformers, or stepped totally out of the bounds of church authority and joined with the "re-baptizers". Oddly, the Reformers would become the Anabaptists' biggest persecutors.

The Anabaptist movement began in Zürich and Nürnberg. Conrad Grebel and Georg Blaurock were a part of Zwingli's reform church. They were both very encouraged with the steps Zwingli was making until Zwingli refused to reject infant baptism. Georg and Conrad decided that they would not compromise what they had learned from reading the Holy Scriptures and on January 21, 1525, they went to a meeting at Felix Manz' house were they fell under intense conviction and fear. These men cried out to God and asked Him to show them His will. In the next moment, Georg asked Conrad to baptize him and he did. After that, Georg baptized Conrad and the rest of those at the meeting.

Menno SimmonsUnlike the reformers, the Anabaptists called for a total destruction of the existing ecclesiastical order (along with secular meddling) in order to rebuild a totally new community based upon Christ (His presence) only. The Anabaptists were martyred under the auspices of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers. Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. These men openly gave their blessings to the secular arm to carry out capital punishment, declaring that if anyone under their church authority were to become an Anabaptist, he would do so at the loss of his life. One of the longest surviving Anabaptist leaders was Menno Simmons, from which we derive the name "Mennonite". But by the end of the revival period, over 100,000 would become part of the Anabaptist movement, with thousands being led to the beheading block, the burning stake, or being drowned in rivers and lakes.

Freedom in Christ? Death, no organized structure, no creeds, no plans? Their freedom in Christ enabled them to stand in the face of intolerable treatment. They found that Jesus was not about buildings; they met in houses. They found that Jesus Christ was not like fearful church leaders; He was humble, meek, and gentle. They found that God could dwell in their hearts by faith, and they found that He loved them with an everlasting love that smiled in the face of hatred, abuse, reviling, cursing, persecution and even death.

torture often came with persecutionAfter persecutions had diminished, the Anabaptists found themselves in basically two camps: the Mennonites and the Hutterites. Each group practiced "Believer's Baptism" and the "night-time meal" with communion. Each would agree that living in a community of believers was essential to fellowship, and that to obey the commands of Christ was inherently tied to salvation. Menno Simmons taught that every believer must, after being justified by faith, live out their faith in a practical way for the edification of all men.

The Mennonites, the parent church of the Amish, are one of the oldest religious groups in Pennsylvania. Today, it is their plain dress rather than their method of baptism that stands out. Avoiding the bright colors loved by the Amish, the Menonites usually dress in black or gray. The women wear small, neat black bonnets with house caps of fine white linen under them. Their dresses, with tight bodices and full skirts, have long tight sleeves and high necks. A kerchief of the same material as the dress comes to a point at the waist in front and in back and at both shoulders. Often aprons are worn and shawls instead of coats. The men, usually clean-shaven, wear flat broad-brim hats and coats with stand-up collars without lapels. In the speech of the Pennsylvania Dutch, to join the Mennonite Church is to "turn plain". The meetinghouses, with benches and whitewashed walls and a coal stove in the center, are severe and plain. A Mennonite has to be very sick to stay home from a church meeting. There is no instrumental music, nor is there a choir. At a service where a pulpit minister is chosen, Bibles are placed before the men of the congregation. In one of the Bibles is a slip of paper with the verse from Proverbs 16: 33, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." The man who selects the Bible with this slip of paper is the one chosen. He serves as minister for life and without pay.

The Mennonites in their settlement at Germantown in 1683 planted the first German colony in America. The larger part of the Mennonite emigration took place in the early eighteenth century. Mennonites turning Quaker were not unusual in the late seventeenth century. The two faiths had much in common: their emphasis on simplicity, their stand on nonresistance, and their interest in good conduct. The Quakers owe much to the teachings of Mennonites. Even the essential Quaker belief of the "inner light" was commonly held by the Anabaptists, from whom the Mennonites were descended. The Mennonites were fervent supporters of the Quakers, especially in the Quaker opposition to war. It was only in communities where the Mennonites were few in number that they were mistreated. Wars have served to make the Mennonites more convinced pacifists. The Mennonites also object to taking an oath. an objection shared by the Quakers and the Brethren. In so far as possible, the Mennonites avoid going to law. Instead they settle their differences among themselves. Even those Mennonites who leave the church and take up a profession give law a cold shoulder; most of them become teachers or doctors. Bankruptcy laws are regarded as new, frivolous, and evil. Life insurance is opposed: to insure life is to show no faith in God's goodness. The Mennonites see to it that widows and children are adequately provided for: none go to the poorhouse or the orphans' home; none go on to social assistance or disability payments. The Mennonites think of themselves as a peculiar people separate from the world; a people avoiding worldly pleasures and worldly sins. Simplicity marked every day of Christ's life. When He rode it was on a donkey; when He spoke, it was the speech of His neighbors and not in a polished tongue. They preach, "Only make certain your life is as pure and Christlike as possible." All the books in a Mennonite household are religious books. Most important of all is the Bible. They do not celebrate Christmas or national holidays. Though the Mennonite way of life may at first sight seem harsh and ascetic, there is an unusual gentleness and serenity among them. In helping others, Mennonites have in practice been very generous.

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Ignatius To Polycarp

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto Polycarp who is bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans or rather who hath for his bishop God the Father and Jesus Christ, abundant greeting. Welcoming your godly mind which is grounded as it were on an immovable rock, I give exceeding glory that it hath been granted me to see your blameless face, whereof I now have joy in God.

I admonish you in the grace wherewith you are clothed to press forward in your course and to exhort all men that they may be saved. Vindicate your work in all diligence of flesh and of spirit. Have a care for unity, of which there is nothing better. Bear all men, as the Lord also beareth you. Suffer all men in love, as also you do. Give yourself to unceasing prayers. Ask for larger wisdom than you have. Be watchful, and keep your spirit from slumbering. Speak to each man after the manner of God. Bear the maladies of all, as a perfect athlete. Where there is more toil, there is much gain.

If you love good scholars, this is not thankworthy in you. Rather bring the more irritating to submission by gentleness. All wounds are not healed by the same salve. Allay sharp pains by fomentations [heat & moisture applied].

"Be as prudent as the serpent" in all things "and guileless" always "as the dove." Therefore you are made of flesh and spirit, that you may humour the things that appear before your eyes; and as for the invisible things, pray you that they may be revealed unto you; that you may be lacking in nothing, but may abound in every spiritual gift.

The season requires of you, as pilots require winds or as a storm-tossed mariner a haven, that it may attain unto God. Be sober, as God's athlete. The prize is incorruption and life eternal, concerning which you also are persuaded. In all things I am devoted to you by love -- I and my bonds that you have cherished.

Let not those that seem to be plausible and yet teach strange doctrine dismay yoiu. Stand you firm, as an anvil when it is smitten. It is the part of a great athlete to receive blows and be victorious. But especially must we for God's sake endure all things, that He also may endure us. Be you more diligent than you art. Mark the seasons. Await Him that is above every season, the Eternal, the Invisible, who became visible for our sake, the Impalpable, the Impassible, who suffered for our sake, who endured in all ways for our sake.

Let not widows be neglected. After the Lord, be you their protector. Let nothing be done without your consent; neither do you anything without the consent of God, as indeed you do not. Be steadfast. Let meetings be held more frequently. Seek out all men by name. Despise not slaves, whether men or women. Yet let not these again be puffed up, but let them serve the more faithfully to the glory of God, that they may obtain a better freedom from God.

Flee evil arts, or rather hold you discourse about these. Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be content with their husbands in flesh and in spirit. In like manner also charge my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives, "as the Lord loved the Church." If any one is able to abide in chastity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him so abide without boasting. If he boasts, he is lost. It becomes men and women too, when they marry, to unite themselves with the consent of the bishop, that the marriage may be after the Lord and not after concupiscence [sexual desire]. Let all things be done to the honor of God.

Give heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. I am devoted to those who are subject to the bishop, the presbyters, the deacons. May it be granted me to have my portion with them in the presence of God. Toil together one with another, struggle together, run together, suffer together, lie down together, rise up together, as God's stewards and assessors and ministers.

Please the Captain in whose army you serve, from whom also ye will receive your pay. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism abide with you as a shield; your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as your body armor. Let your works be your deposits, that you may receive your assets due to you. Be therefore long-suffering one with another in gentleness, as God is with you. May I have joy of you always.

Seeing that the church which is in Antioch of Syria knows peace, as it has been reported to me, through your prayers, I myself also have been the more comforted since God has banished my care; if so be I may through suffering attain unto God, that I may be found a disciple through your intercession.

It becomes you, blessed Polycarp, to call together a godly council and to choose someone among you who is very dear to you and zealous also, who shall be fit to bear the name of God's courier -- to appoint him, I say, that he may go to Syria and glorify your zealous love unto the glory of God.

A Christian hath no authority over himself, but gives his time to God. This is God's work, and yours also, when you shall complete it: for I trust in the Divine grace, that you are ready for an act of well-doing which is meet for God. Knowing the fervour of your sincerity, I have exhorted you in a short letter. Since I have not been able to write to all the churches, by reason of my sailing suddenly from Troas to Neapolis, as the Divine will enjoineth, you shall write to the churches in front, as one possessing the mind of God, to the intent that they also may do this same thing -- let those who are able send messengers, and the rest letters by the persons who are sent by you, that you may be glorified by an ever memorable deed -- for this is worthy of you.

I salute all by name, and especially the wife of Epitropus with her whole household and her children's. I salute Attalus my beloved. I salute him that shall be appointed to go to Syria. Grace shall be with him always, and with Polycarp who sends him.

I bid you farewell always in our God Jesus Christ, in whom you abide in the unity and supervision of God. I salute Alice, a name very dear to me. Fare ye well in the Lord.

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Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp
BISHOP OF SMYRNA


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Judas Ischariot: betrayed Jesus and then went out and hanged himself.

James BarZebedee: executed by Herod about 44 AD (Acts 12:2).

Peter BarJona: crucified upside down in Rome about 66 AD.

Paul: beheaded in Rome about 66 AD.

Andrew BarJona: Asia Minor, Russia, Turkey; crucified in Greece.

Thomas: Syria, India; pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.

Philip: North Africa, Asia Minor; executed by a Roman Proconsul.

Matthew BarAlpheus: Persia, Ethiopia; possibly stabbed to death.

Bartholomew: India, Armenia, Ethiopia, Arabia; martyred for the Gospel.

Thaddaeus (Jude) BarJames: Armenia, Syria, Persia; martyred for the Gospel.

James BarAlpheus: Syria; stoned & clubbed to death.

Simon the Zealot: Persia; killed for refusing to sacrifice to the Sun god.

Matthias: Syria; death by burning.

John BarZebedee: Exiled to Patmos during Domitian's Persecution. (Revelation 1:9)

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Adoniram Judson, Missionary To Burma

Adoniram JudsonAdoniram Judson was born on the 9th August 1788, the son of a stern and humorless Congregationalist minister, in Malden, Massachusetts. During his time at Brown's College, he was influenced by the Deistic beliefs of a close friend, Jacob Eames. On his return home, he announced to his shocked parents his rejection of Christianity, and left for New York to take up a career as a playwright. This turned out to be a mistake, and sickened and disappointed he found himself alone at an inn. There was only one room left on that rainy night, and that was next door to a dying man. After a fitful night he was brought to his senses by the reality of death and returned home to his parents. It wasn't long before he began to become interested in overseas mission work, but as yet no American had ever considered missionary work except within the continent itself. It was during his study of mission work in the East that he came upon a copy of a book by a British army officer entitled An Account of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava. This book had a profound effect upon him and from that time on his goal was to preach the Gospel in Burma. On 19th February 1812, Adoniram, his wife Ann (known as Nancy) together with another missionary couple - Samuel and Harriet Newell - sailed from Salem, Massachusetts on board the brig Caravan. Their destination - India…

On the voyage, Adoniram continued a translation of the New Testament from Greek into English. Dr. Carey soon informed him that he had gained a false impression of Burma… Carey's son William had been there for four years and was nearly ready to abandon the attempt. The East India Company would not allow the Americans to remain in their territories, and the situation in Burma appeared hopeless. So, though Burma was still much on Judson's heart, they finally decided to sail on to Java or Penang. Yet after spending several weeks being hounded by the Company they took passage from Madras on the only ship available, and that was bound for Rangoon in Burma!

The Judson's suffered terribly from tropical diseases and from the corruption of the Burmese officials. Yet, through it all they struggled on. The Lord at times used their times of personal tragedy for good. The loss of their second child, Roger, became an opportunity to form an unlikely friendship with the Viceroy of Rangoon and his wife, which in turn gave them some protection from the unscrupulous petty officials.

Learning the language gave way to teaching and translation of the Bible. With the arrival of a printing press, Adoniram began to print tracts and portions of the NT in Burmese. His first breakthrough came when he decided to build a Zayat : a Buddhist-style meditation room on a main street where he could hold meetings and teach passers by in a way that was not foreign to the people. This helped to break down some of the barriers between him and his hearers, and produced, with time their first convert, Maung Nau. They had been in Burma for 6 years. The conversion of Maung Nau "gave the mission a new impetus". But. Judson's failure to convince the Emperor for "religious freedom" led to increased persecution of the believers, yet despite this they remained faithful. After recovering from the loss of Nancy, Judson continued with his translation of the Burmese Bible. It was at this time that he and a colleague George Boardman were instrumental in the conversion of a member of the Karen People, Ko Tha Byu. Ko Tha Byu recognized that Christianity was the fulfillment of his people's own legends. His ministry resulted in the conversion of thousands.

Adoniram Judson: Mission Burma

  1. He devoted himself to fully grasping the language and making the message of the Gospel (especially the abstract terms that that involves) understandable to the people of Burma.
  2. He recognized the importance of having a complete Burmese Bible that would not have to be revised within a few years. He translated from the original Greek and Hebrew, not from a translation.
  3. He began to print tracts and Scriptures in the language of the country.
  4. Nancy began a school for Burmese girls - evangelism through education.
  5. He worked on faithfully even though it took him six years to win his first convert.
  6. He built a Zayat or meditation place which Buddhist teachers used to teach and debate with passers by. He even visited a Buddhist service to learn how their meetings were conducted.
  7. He insisted that converts undergo a period of intense training.
  8. He avoided direct affronts to either the Emperor or to the Buddhist religion.
  9. In the presence of the Emperor he wore a white robe which would mark him out as a religious teacher, without allowing him to be confused with a Buddhist priest (who wore yellow).
  10. He saw mission work as a job for life, not for only a few years.
  11. He had three excellent wives: Ann (Nancy) Hasseltine; Sarah Boardman; Fanny Forester. All three where missionaries in their own right.
  12. He adopted the customs and way of thinking of the Burmese. This enabled him to think as they thought.
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George Müller

George Müller had not always lived a life of faith. As a young man in Prussia (Germany), he was busy pursuing his own pleasures. At age fourteen, while his mother lay dying, he was out partying drinking with his friends. He was a liar, a thief, a swindler, a drunkard, and in jail by age sixteen.

While at the University of Halle in 1825, George left behind the self-seeking of his old life and became completely devoted to serving his Lord. Humility then marked Müller's life, for he depended on God for everything, viewing himself as a tool in the hands of the Master Workman. By 1829, Müller had left Prussia for London, to train as a missionary to the Jews. However, in England the Lord directed him along other paths, and by 1832 he was serving with a Brethren congregation in Bristol, England. Bristol would be the center of his ministry for the next sixty-six years.

At Bristol, Müller began reading a biography of a leader of the "Pietism" movement, A.H. Francke, who had founded an orphan house at Halle in 1696. Francke's orphanage became the largest enterprise for orphans then existing in the world, and he had trusted in God for every provision. As Müller began to work with the poor in Bristol, he too wanted to trust the Lord and bring every need to Him in prayer. A year after coming to Bristol, Müller had established two Sunday Schools, two adult schools, and six day schools. In 1834 he founded the Scriptural Knowledge Institute. Debts were not allowed for this work of the Lord. The Lord prospered George Müller. By 1880, he was responsible for 72 day schools with 7000 students in Bristol, as well as in Italy, Spain, and South America.

As work among the poor in Bristol grew, Müller believed he should open an orphan house. Within a year, one hundred orphans were being cared for; by 1870, the orphanages had multiplied and two thousand children were being cared for. The history of the Bristol orphanages is page after page of answered prayer. Nothing was too small to bring to the Lord in prayer, for nothing was too small to be under God's care. In his prayers, Müller would confidently set his need and his case before God: He is their Father, and therefore has pledged Himself, as it were, to provide for them; and I have only to remind Him of the need of these poor children in order to have it supplied.

It was this unshakable faith in God's providing hand that made the Bristol orphanages so unique. The orphanage never accumulated a surplus of funds, but daily relied on the Lord for their provisions. When he was seventy, George Müller turned over the management of the orphanages to his son-in-law and began a series of worldwide missionary tours. From 1875 to 1892 he traveled 250,000 miles and addressed three million people in forty-two countries. Though much money had passed through his hands, he did not accumulate wealth for himself. His life demonstrated what extraordinary ministry can be accomplished through the combination of tender compassion for hungry and homeless children, unshakable faith in God, and practical action to meet need.

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Visit TO AN Inquisition

A sixteenth century document records an inquisition held in Flanders in 1569. The inquisitor is a Franciscan named Friar Cornelis. The prisoner is an Anabaptist shepherd (pastor) named Jacob de Roore. Observing the inquisition are two government officials who will be required to execute Jacob de Roore if he is found guilty of heresy.

Friar Cornelis opens by telling Jacob de Roore, "I've come here to see whether I can bring you back to the Catholic faith of our mother, the holy Roman church, from which you have apostatized to this damnable Anabaptism."

Jacob de Roore answers, "I have apostatized from your Babylonian mother, the Roman church, to the true Church of Christ -- this I confess and thank God for it."

The Friar responds with predictable indignation… "Do you call our mother, the holy Roman church, the whore of Babylon!? And do you call your hellish, devilish sect of Anabaptists the members of the true church of Christ!? Who the devil has taught you? This, your accursed Menno Simmons I suppose."
(At this point the Friar utters an obscenity.)

Jacob de Roore responds, "You talk very wickedly. It was not necessary that Menno Simmons should have taught us [this] since John teaches [it] in his Apocalypse… in the 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th chapters."

The Friar rebuts: Bah! What do you understand about John's Apocalypse?! You were nothing but a poor weaver and candle maker before you went around preaching and re-baptizing out here… I have attended the University at Louvain, and studied divinity so long, and yet I do not understand anything at all about St. John's Apocalypse.(?)"

To which Jacob de Roore responded, "Christ thanked His heavenly father, that He had revealed [the truth] to babes, and hid it from the wise of the world, as is written [in] Matthew 11:25."

Friar Cornelis once again responds contemptuously… "God has revealed [truth] to the weavers at the loom, to bellows-menders, scissors grinders, and all sorts of riff-raff. And to us ecclesiastics who have studied from our youth, night and day, He has concealed it!? Before you are re-baptized, you can't tell A from B, but as soon as you are re-baptized you can read and write. If the devil and his mother do not have a hand in this, I do not understand anything about you people."

Jacob de Roore replies that indeed the friar does not understand the Anabaptists, "for you ascribe to Satan the grace which God grants our simple converts, when we [diligently] teach them to read."

Predictably, this exchange of opinions ended with Jacob de Roore being condemned to death. On June 10, 1569, he was executed by the Flemish government in Bruges.
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Baha'i

John 14:6?
"We must not accept traditional dogmas that are contrary to reason, nor pretend to believe doctrines which we cannot understand. To do so is superstitious and not true religion." This has been the apology of the Baha'i religion. Baha'is interpret the Bible allegorically, rather than literally. Yet, despite this insistence that everything must be understood in order to be believed, they hold that God Himself is impersonal and unknowable; that He can only be perceived indirectly through the reflection of his Manifestations - Jesus being one of nine. Baha'is affirm that man is merely imperfect. Sins are characteristics of the lower, baser plane of nature, and education brings deliverance from them. Baha'u'llah taught that men ought not to confess their sins to one another [James 5:16], for this would lead to humiliation and abasement, which he taught, are contrary to God's will.

Baha'is believe in one Supreme Being, even though men have called Him by different names. Baha'is view religion as a progressive, evolutionary process that needs to be updated as humanity evolves mentally, socially, and spiritually. Every so often a new Prophet is sent to humanity to update religion to the current needs of mankind. These Prophets bring essentially the same spiritual message to mankind; in a form that meets the needs of the people of their time. Baha'is believe that the prophet Baha'u'llah has brought an updated message for mankind today. In fact, Baha'u'llah himself claimed to be the Messenger of God to the age of human maturity, the Bearer of a Divine Revelation that fulfills the promises made in earlier religions. Known as progressive revelation, these different Messengers of God are said to have each taught the same religious faith. They have developed and adapted it to meet the needs of the people for their period of history.

NAMETIMECOUNTRYRELIGIONSTATIONCREATORBOOKTEACHINGS
Abraham2000 BCUnknownUnknownFriend of GodUnknownUnknownBelief in One God
Moses1440 BCEgyptJewishThe LawgiverYahvehTorahObedience To Social Laws
Krishna1000 BCIndiaHinduVoice Of GodBrahmanBhagavd-GitaMan Can Choose Good Or Evil
Zoroastrian800 BCIranZoroastrianThe TorchAhuramazdaZend-AvestaPurity Of Mind
Budda520 BCIndiaBuddhistEnlightened OneBrahamPtiakaKnow And Love Thyself
Christ25 ADPalestineChristianSon Of GodGodThe GospelLove One Another As Ye Love Me
Muhammad570-633 ADArabiaIslamicApostle Of GodAllahThe Qur'anNational Unity
The Bab1844 ADIranBab'iThe GateSupreme BeingThe BayanUniversal Age Of Truth
Baha'u'llah1863 ADIranBaha'iThe Glory Of GodSupreme BeingKitab-I-AquadUnity 0f Mankind

The roots of the Baha'i faith lie in the Shi'ite sect of Islam. In 1844, Mirza Ali Muhammad (1819-1850) declared himself to be the "Gate," the "Bab" (pronounced Bob) to God. For six years he gathered the faithful around him, proclaimed a new revelation. The Bab was martyred by Muslims in 1850. Before his death, the Bab designated Mirza Yahya as caretaker to follow him, and Mirza changed his name to Baha'u'llah. The original followers of the Bab who gave their allegiance to Baha'u'llah became known as Baha'is. Publications: The American Baha'i, The Baha'i Newsreel, Brilliant Star (for children), One Country, World Order. Unique Baha'i terms: Most Great Peace, Manifestation, Fireside Discussion.
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Polycarp's First Epistle
to the
Philippians

A direct pupil of the apostle John, Polycarp lived between 70 and 155 A.D., connecting him to both the biblical apostles and the age of the early church fathers. Several ancient sources document the labors of Polycarp, including his letters written to the church at Philippi, in which he encourages the members to remain strong in their faith and to flee from materialism. He also instructs the members in the proper handling of financial dishonesty that was creeping into the church. Polycarp served as the bishop of the church at Smyrna (modern day Izmir), and was recognized as one of the early combatants of Christian heresies. He rejected the teachings of Marcion, an influential heretic who tried to create a "new brand" of Christianity by redefining God and rejecting Old Testament teachings. In his well-known thesis, Polycarp combats Gnostic heresies that were beginning to spread throughout the Christian church. Polycarp's martyrdom stands as one of the most well documented events of antiquity. The emperors of Rome had unleashed bitter attacks against the Christians during this period, and members of the early church recorded many of the persecutions and deaths. Polycarp was arrested on the charge of being a Christian. Amidst an angry mob, the Roman proconsul took pity on such a gentle old man and urged Polycarp to proclaim, "Caesar is Lord". If only Polycarp would make this declaration and offer a small pinch of incense to Caesar's statue he would escape torture and death. To this Polycarp responded, "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" Steadfast in his stand for Christ, Polycarp refused to compromise his beliefs, and thus, was burned alive at the stake.

  chapter 1  [Philippians 1:7]
1 Polycarp, and the presbyters
2 with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi: Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, be multiplied. I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example
3 of true love (as displayed by God), and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days
4 long gone by, endures even until now, and brings forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, [but] "whom God raised froth the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave."
5 "In whom, though now ye see Him not, ye believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;"
6 into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that "by grace ye are saved, not of works,"
7 but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.

  chapter 2  [Ephesians 2:8; I Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 7:1; Luke 11:4; Matthew 5]
1 "Wherefore, girding up your loins,"
2 "serve the Lord in fear"
3 and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude, and "believed in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory,"
4 and a throne at His right hand. To Him all things
5 in heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead.
6 His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him.
7 But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise
8 up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing,"
9 or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching: "Judge not, that ye be not judged;
10 forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you;
11 be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy;
12 with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;
13 and once more, "Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God."

  chapter 3
1 These things, brethren, I write to you concerning righteousness, not because I take anything upon myself, but because ye have invited me to do so. For neither I, nor any other such one, can come up to the wisdom
2 of the blessed and glorified Paul. He, when among you, accurately and steadfastly taught the word of truth in the presence of those who were then alive. And when absent from you, he wrote you a letter,
3 which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbor, "is the mother of us all."
4 For if any one be inwardly possessed of these graces, he hath fulfilled the command of righteousness, since he that hath love is far from all sin.

  chapter 4  [I Timothy 6:10,7]
1 "But the love of money is the root of all evils."
2 Knowing, therefore, that "as we brought nothing into the world, so we can carry nothing out,"
3 let us arm ourselves with the armor of righteousness;
4 and let us teach, first of all, ourselves to walk in the commandments of the Lord. Next, [teach] your wives [to walk] in the faith given to them, and in love and purity tenderly loving their own husbands in all truth, and loving all [others] equally in all chastity; and to train up their children in the knowledge and fear of God. Teach the widows to be discreet as respects the faith of the Lord, praying continually
5 for all, being far from all slandering, evil-speaking, false-witnessing, love of money, and every kind of evil; knowing that they are the altar
6 of God, that He clearly perceives all things, and that nothing is hid from Him, neither reasonings, nor reflections, nor any one of the secret things of the heart.

  chapter 5  [I Timothy 3:8; II Timothy 2:12; I Peter 2:11]
1 Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked,"
2 we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory. In like manner should the deacons be blameless before the face of His righteousness, as being the servants of God and Christ,
3 and not of men. They must not be slanderers, double-tongued,
4 or lovers of money, but temperate in all things, compassionate, industrious, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who was the servant
5 of all. If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live
6 worthily of Him, "we shall also reign together with Him,"
7 provided only we believe. In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from
8 the lusts that are in the world, since "every lust wars against the spirit;"
9 and "neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God," 10 nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ. The virgins also must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.

  chapter 6  [II Corinthians 5:10]
1 And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always "providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man;"
2 abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjust judgment; keeping far off from all covetousness, not quickly crediting [an evil report] against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive;
3 for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and "we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself."
4 Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us]. Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error.

  chapter 7  [I John 4:3; Mark 14:38]
1 "For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;"
2 and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross,
3 is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.
4 Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word that has been handed down to us from
5 the beginning; "watching unto prayer,"
6 and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing God "not to lead us into temptation,"
7 as the Lord has said: "The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak."

  chapter 8  [I Corinthians 11:1]
1 Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, "who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,"
2 "who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,"
3 but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him.
4 Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer
5 for His name's sake, let us glorify Him.
6 For He has set us this example
7 in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.

  chapter 9  [I Peter 2:21]
1 I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run
2 in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our sakes was raised again by God from the dead.

  chapter 10   "Alms delivers from death" from the Didache & Tobiah [Proverbs 10:2; 11:4; Philippians 2:15]
1 Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood,
2 and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because "alms delivers from death."
3 Be all of you subject one to another
4 having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles,"
5 that ye may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed!
6 Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.

  chapter 11  [I Corinthians 6:2]
1 I am greatly grieved for Valens, who was once a presbyter among you, because he so little understands the place that was given him [in the Church]. I exhort you, therefore, that ye abstain from covetousness,
2 and that ye be chaste and truthful. "Abstain from every form of evil."
3 For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall he enjoin them on others? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness,
4 he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Lord? "Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world?"
5 as Paul teaches. But I have neither seen nor heard of any such thing among you, in the midst of whom the blessed Paul labored, and who are commended
6 in the beginning of his Epistle. For he boasts of you in all those Churches which alone then knew the Lord; but we [of Smyrna] had not yet known Him. I am deeply grieved, therefore, brethren, for him (Valens) and his wife; to whom may the Lord grant true repentance! And be ye then moderate in regard to this matter, and "do not count such as enemies,"
7 but call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves.

  chapter 12  [Ephesians 4:26; Matthew 5:44]
1 For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted.
2 It is declared then in these Scriptures, "Be ye angry, and sin not,"
3 and, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath."
4 Happy is he who remembers this,
5 which I believe to be the case with you. But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who "raised Him from the dead."
6 Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings,
7 and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you,
8 and for the enemies of the cross, that your fruit may be manifest to all, and that ye may be perfect in Him.

  chapter 13
1 Both you and Ignatius wrote to me,
2 that if any one went [from this] into Syria, he should carry your letter with him;
3 which request I will attend to if I find a fitting opportunity, either personally, or through some other acting for me, that your desire may be fulfilled.
4 The Epistles of Ignatius written by him to us, and all the rest [of his Epistles] which we have by us, we have sent to you, as you requested. They are subjoined to this Epistle, and by them ye may be greatly profited; for they treat of faith and patience, and all things that tend to edification in our Lord.
5 Any more certain information you may have obtained respecting both Ignatius himself, and those that were with him,
6 have the goodness to make known to us.

  chapter 14
1 These things I have written to you by Crescens,
2 whom up to the present time I have recommended unto you, and do now recommend. For he has acted blamelessly among us, and I believe also among you. Moreover, ye will hold his sister in esteem when she comes to you. Be ye safe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with you all. Amen.
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THE DIDACHE

The Didache, also known as "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles", is probably the oldest surviving extant piece of non-canonical, extra-biblical literature that the church has to study. It claims to have been written by the twelve apostles, but this cannot be proved. While a copy of the full text of the Didache was not discovered until 1873, there are references to it in Clement of Alexandria's Miscellanies, Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, and Athanasius's Festal Letter.


  chapter 1  [Matthew 5:39-44,48; I Peter 2:11]
1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.
2 {The way of life} is this.
3 First of all, {thou shalt love the God} that made thee;
4 secondly, {thy neighbour as thyself.}
5 {And all things whatsoever thou wouldest not have befall thyself neither do thou unto another.}
6 Now of these words the doctrine is this.
7 {Bless them that curse you, and pray for} your enemies and fast for {them that persecute you;
8 for what thank is it, if ye love them that love you? Do not even the Gentiles the same? But do ye love them that hate you,} and ye shall not have an enemy.
9 Abstain thou from fleshly and bodily lusts.
10 {If any man give thee a blow on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,} and thou shalt be perfect;
11 {if a man impress thee to go with him, one mile, go with him twain;
12 if a man take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also;
13 if a man take away from thee that which is thine own, ask it not back,} for neither art thou able.
14 {To every man that asketh of thee give, and ask not back;}
15 for the Father desireth that gifts be given to all from His own bounties.
16 Blessed is he that giveth according to the commandment;
17 for he is guiltless.
18 Woe to him that receiveth;
19 for, if a man receiveth having need, he is guiltless;
20 but he that hath no need shall give satisfaction why and wherefore he received;
21 and being put in confinement he shall be examined concerning the deeds that he hath done, and {he shall not come out thence until he hath given back the last farthing.}
22 Yea, as touching this also it is said;
23 {Let thine alms sweat into thine hands, until thou shalt have learnt to whom to give.}

  chapter 2  [Exodus 20]
1 And this is the second commandment of the teaching.
2 {Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery,} thou shalt not corrupt boys, thou shalt not commit fornication, {thou shalt not steal,} thou shalt not deal in magic, thou shalt do no sorcery, thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born, {thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods, thou shalt not perjure thyself, thou shalt not bear false witness,} thou shalt not speak evil, thou shalt not cherish a grudge, thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued;
3 for the double tongue is a snare of death.
4 Thy word shall not be false or empty, but fulfilled by action.
5 Thou shalt not be avaricious nor a plunderer nor a hypocrite nor ill-tempered nor proud.
6 Thou shalt not entertain an evil design against thy neighbour.
7 {Thou shalt not hate} any man, {but some thou shalt reprove,} and for others thou shalt pray, {and others thou shalt love} more than thy life.

  chapter 3  [James 5:16; Galatians 5:19; Matthew 5]
1 My child, flee from every evil and everything that resembleth it.
2 Be not angry, for anger leadeth to murder, nor jealous nor contentious nor wrathful;
3 for of all these things murders are engendered.
4 My child, be not lustful, for lust leadeth to fornication, neither foul-speaking neither with uplifted eyes;
5 for of all these things adulteries are engendered.
6 My child, {be no dealer in omens,} since it leads to idolatry, nor an enchanter nor an astrologer nor a magician, neither be willing to look at them;
7 for from all these things idolatry is engendered.
8 My child, be not a liar, since lying leads to theft, neither avaricious neither vainglorious;
9 for from all these things thefts are engendered.
10 My child, be not a murmurer, since it leadeth to blasphemy, neither self-willed neither a thinker of evil thoughts;
11 for from all these things blasphemies are engendered.
12 But be meek, since {the meek shall inherit the earth.}
13 Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and {quiet} and kindly {and} always {fearing the words} which thou hast heard.
14 Thou shalt not exalt thyself, neither shalt thou admit boldness into thy soul.
15 Thy soul shall not cleave together with the lofty, but with the righteous and humble shalt thou walk.
16 The accidents that befal thee thou shalt receive as good, knowing that nothing is done without God.

  chapter 4  [I Corinthians 8; Romans 14; Acts 2:38? Acts 4:32-34; Matthew 6; conflict: Acts 15:20-29]
1 My child, {thou shalt remember him that speaketh unto thee the word of God} night and day, and shalt honour him as the Lord;
2 for whencesoever the Lordship speaketh, there is the Lord.
3 Moreover thou shalt seek out day by day the persons of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words.
4 Thou shalt not make a schism, but thou shalt pacify them that contend;
5 thou shalt judge righteously, thou shalt not make a difference in a person to reprove him for transgressions.
6 Thou shalt not doubt whether a thing shall be or not be.
7 {Be not thou found holding out thy hands to receive, but drawing them in as to giving.}
8 If thou hast ought passing through thy hands, thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins.
9 Thou shalt not hesitate to give, neither shalt thou murmur when giving;
10 for thou shalt know who is the good paymaster of thy reward.
11 Thou shalt not turn away from him that is in want, but shalt make thy brother partaker in all things, and shalt not say {that anything is thine own.}
12 For if ye are fellow-partakers in that which is imperishable, how much rather in the things which are perishable? Thou shalt not withhold thy hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but from their youth thou shalt teach them the fear of God.
13 Thou shalt not command thy bondservant or thine handmaid in thy bitterness, who trust in the same God as thyself, lest haply they should cease to fear the God who is over both of you;
14 for He cometh, not to call men with respect of persons, but He cometh to those whom the Spirit hath prepared.
15 But ye, servants, shall be subject unto your masters, as to a type of God, in shame and fear.
16 Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord.
17 Thou shalt never forsake the commandments of the Lord;
18 but shalt keep those things which thou hast received, neither adding to them nor taking away from them.
19 In church thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience.
20 This is the way of life.

  chapter 5  [Ephesians 6:5]
1 But the way of death is this.
2 First of all, it is evil and full of a curse murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, witchcrafts, plunderings, false witnessings, hypocrisies, doubleness of heart, treachery, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul-speaking, jealousy, boldness, exaltation, boastfulness;
3 persecutors of good men, hating truth, loving a lie, not perceiving the reward of righteousness, not {cleaving to the good} nor to righteous judgment, wakeful not for that which is good but for that which is evil;
4 from whom gentleness and forbearance stand aloof;
5 loving vain things, pursuing a recompense, not pitying the poor man, not toiling for him that is oppressed with toil, not recognizing Him that made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the creatures of God, turning away from him that is in want, oppressing him that is afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful.
6 May ye be delivered, my children, from all these things.

  chapter 6  [Matthew 7:6]
1 See lest any man lead you astray from this way of righteousness, for he teacheth thee apart from God.
2 For if thou art able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou shalt be perfect;
3 but if thou art not able, do that which thou art able.
4 But concerning eating, bear that which thou art able;
5 yet abstain by all means from meat sacrificed to idols;
6 for it is the worship of dead gods.

  chapter 7
1 But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize.
2 Having first recited all these things, baptize {in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit} in living (running) water.
3 But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water;
4 and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.
5 But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
6 But before the baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able;
7 and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before.

  chapter 8
1 And let not your fastings be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and the fifth day of the week;
2 but do ye keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation (the sixth) day.
3 Neither pray ye {as the hypocrites,} but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, {thus pray ye.
4 Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
5 Thy kingdom come;
6 Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth;
7 give us this day our daily bread;
8 and forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors;
9 and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one;}
10 for Thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever.
11 Three times in the day pray ye so.

  chapter 9
1 But as touching the eucharistic thanksgiving give ye thanks thus.
2 First, as regards the cup:
3 We give Thee thanks, O our Father, for the holy vine of Thy son David, which Thou madest known unto us through Thy Son Jesus;
4 Thine is the glory for ever and ever.
5 Then as regards the broken bread:
6 We give Thee thanks, O our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou didst make known unto us through Thy Son Jesus;
7 Thine is the glory for ever and ever.
8 As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and being gathered together became one, so may Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; 9 for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. 10 But let no one eat or drink of this eucharistic thanksgiving, but they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord;
11 for concerning this also the Lord hath said:
12 {Give not that which is holy to the dogs.}

  chapter 10  [Matthew 12:31-32]
1 And after ye are satisfied thus give ye thanks:
2 We give Thee thanks, Holy Father, for Thy holy name, which Thou hast made to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which Thou hast made known unto us through Thy Son Jesus;
3 Thine is the glory forever and ever.
4 Thou, Almighty Master, didst create all things for Thy name's sake, and didst give food and drink unto men for enjoyment, that they might render thanks to Thee;
5 but didst bestow upon us spiritual food and drink and eternal life through Thy Son.
6 Before all things we give Thee thanks that Thou art powerful;
7 Thine is the glory forever and ever.
8 Remember, Lord, Thy Church to deliver it from all evil and to perfect it in Thy love;
9 and {gather it together from the four winds}--even the Church which has been sanctified--into Thy kingdom which Thou hast prepared for it;
10 for Thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever.
11 May grace come and may this world pass away.
12 Hosanna to the God of David.
13 If any man is holy, let him come;
14 if any man is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.
15 But permit the prophets to offer thanksgiving as much as they desire.

  chapter 11
1 Whosoever therefore shall come and teach you all these things that have been said before, receive him;
2 but if the teacher himself be perverted and teach a different doctrine to the destruction thereof, hear him not;
3 but if to the increase of righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
4 But concerning the apostles and prophets, so do ye according to the ordinance of the Gospel.
5 Let every apostle, when he cometh to you, be received as the Lord;
6 but he shall not abide more than a single day, or if there be need, a second day;
7 but if he abide three days, he is a false prophet.
8 And when he departeth let the apostle receive nothing save bread, until he findeth shelter;
9 but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.
10 And any prophet speaking in the Spirit ye shall not try neither discern;
11 for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven.
12 Yet not every one that speaketh in the Spirit is a prophet, but only if he have the ways of the Lord.
13 From his ways therefore the false prophet and the prophet shall be recognized.
14 And no prophet when he ordereth a table in the Spirit shall eat of it;
15 otherwise he is a false prophet.
16 And every prophet teaching the truth, if he doeth not what he teacheth, is a false prophet.
17 And every prophet approved and found true, if he doeth ought as an outward mystery typical of the Church, and yet teacheth you not to do all that he himself doeth, shall not be judged before you;
18 he hath his judgment in the presence of God;
19 for in like manner also did the prophets of old time.
20 And whosoever shall say in the Spirit, Give me silver or anything else, ye shall not listen to him;
21 but if he tell you to give on behalf of others that are in want, let no man judge him.

  chapter 12
1 But let every one {that cometh in the name of the Lord} be received;
2 and then when ye have tested him ye shall know him, for ye shall have understanding on the right hand and on the left.
3 If the comer is a traveller, assist him, so far as ye are able;
4 but he shall not stay with you more than two or three days, if it be necessary.
5 But if he wishes to settle with you, being a craftsman, let him work for and eat his bread.
6 But if he has no craft, according to your wisdom provide how he shall live as a Christian among you, but not in idleness.
7 If he will not do this, he is trafficking upon Christ.
8 Beware of such men.

  chapter 13  [Malachi 1:14]
1 But every true prophet desiring to settle among you {is worthy of his food.}
2 In like manner a true teacher {is} also {worthy,} like {the workman, of his food.}
3 Every firstfruit then of the produce of the wine-vat and of the threshing-floor, of thy oxen and of thy sheep, thou shalt take and give as the firstfruit to the prophets;
4 for they are your chief-priests.
5 But if ye have not a prophet, give them to the poor.
6 If thou makest bread, take the firstfruit and give according to the commandment.
7 In like manner, when thou openest a jar of wine or of oil, take the firstfruit and give to the prophets;
8 yea and of money and raiment and every possession take the firstfruit, as shall seem good to thee, and give according to the commandment.

  chapter 14  [Matthew 24:4-44; 25:31]
1 And on the Lord's own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.
2 And let no man, having his dispute with his fellow, join your assembly until they have been reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled;
3 for this sacrifice it is that was spoken of by the Lord;
4 {In every place and at every time offer Me a pure sacrifice;
5 for I am a great king, saith the Lord and My name is wonderful among the nations.}

  chapter 15
1 Appoint for yourselves therefore bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men who are meek and not lovers of money, and true and approved;
2 for unto you they also perform the service of the prophets and teachers.
3 Therefore despise them not;
4 for they are your honourable men along with the prophets and teachers.
5 And reprove one another, not in anger but in peace, as ye find in the Gospel;
6 and let no one speak to any that has gone wrong towards his neighbour, neither let him hear a word from you, until he repent.
7 But your prayers and your almsgivings and all your deeds so do ye as ye find it in the Gospel of our Lord.

  chapter 16
1 {Be watchful} for your life;
2 {let your lamps not be quenched and your loins not ungirded, but be ye ready;
3 for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh.}
4 And ye shall gather yourselves together frequently, seeking what is fitting for your souls;
5 for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you, if ye be not perfected at the last season.
6 For in the last days {the false prophets} and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate.
7 For as lawlessness increaseth, {they shall hate one another and shall persecute and betray.
8 And then} the world-deceiver {shall appear} as a son of God;
9 {and shall work signs and wonders,} and the earth shall be delivered into his hands;
10 and he shall do unholy things, which have never been since the world began.
11 Then all created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish;
12 {but they that endure} in their faith {shall be saved} by the Curse Himself.
13 {And then shall the signs} of the truth {appear;}
14 first a sign of a rift in the heaven, then a sign of a voice of a trumpet, and thirdly a resurrection of the dead;
15 yet not of all, but as it was said:
16 {The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.
17 Then shall} the world {see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.}

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Clement
on
The Secret Writings of Mark

 (a fragment)

chapter 1
1 From the letters of the most holy Clement, the author of the Stromateis. To Theodore.
2 You did well in silencing the unspeakable teachings of the Carpocrations. For these are the "wandering stars" referred to in the prophecy, who wander from the narrow road of the commandments into a boundless abyss of the carnal and bodily sins. For, priding themselves in knowledge, as they say, "of the deep things of Satan", they do not know that they are casting themselves away into "the nether world of the darkness" of falsity, and boasting that they are free, they have become slaves of servile desires. Such men are to be opposed in all ways and altogether. For, even if they should say something true, one who loves the truth should not, even so, agree with them. For not all true things are the truth, nor should that truth which merely seems true according to human opinions be preferred to the true truth, that according to the faith.
3 Now of the things they keep saying about the divinely inspired Gospel according to Mark, some are altogether falsifications, and others, even if they do contain some true elements, nevertheless are not reported truly. For the true things, being mixed with inventions, are falsified, so that, as the saying goes, even the salt loses its savor.
4 As for Mark, then, during Peter's stay in Rome he wrote an account of the Lord's doings, not, however, declaring all of them, nor yet hinting at the secret ones, but selecting what he thought most useful for increasing the faith of those who were being instructed. But when Peter died a martyr, Mark came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those of Peter, from which he transferred to his former book the things suitable to whatever makes for progress toward knowledge. Thus he composed a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected. Nevertheless, he yet did not divulge the things not to be uttered, nor did he write down the hierophantic teaching of the Lord, but to the stories already written he added yet others and, moreover, brought in certain sayings of which he knew the interpretation would, as a mystagogue, lead the hearers into the innermost sanctuary of that truth hidden by seven veils. Thus, in sum, he prepared matters, neither grudgingly nor incautiously, in my opinion, and, dying, he left his composition to the church in 1, verso Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.
5 But since the foul demons are always devising destruction for the race of men, Carpocrates, instructed by them and using deceitful arts, so enslaved a certain presbyter of the church in Alexandria that he got from him a copy of the secret Gospel, which he both interpreted according to his blasphemous and carnal doctrine and, moreover, polluted, mixing with the spotless and holy words utterly shameless lies. From this mixture is drawn off the teaching of the Carpocratians.
6 To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way; nor, when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that the secret Gospel is by Mark, but should even deny it on oath. For, "Not all true things are to be said to all men". For this reason the Wisdom of God, through Solomon, advises, "Answer the fool from his folly", teaching that the light of the truth should be hidden from those who are mentally blind. Again it says, "From him who has not shall be taken away", and "Let the fool walk in darkness". But we are "children of Light", having been illuminated by "the dayspring" of the spirit of the Lord "from on high", and "Where the Spirit of the Lord is", it says, "there is liberty", for "All things are pure to the pure".
7 To you, therefore, I shall not hesitate to answer the questions you have asked, refuting the falsifications by the very words of the Gospel. For example, after "And they were in the road going up to Jerusalem" and what follows, until "After three days he shall arise", the secret Gospel brings the following material word for word:
8 "And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.' But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near, Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightaway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb, they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do, and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan."
9 After these words follows the text, "And James and John come to him", and all that section. But "naked man with naked man," and the other things about which you wrote, are not found.
10 And after the words, "And he comes into Jericho," the secret Gospel adds only, "And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them." But the many other things about which you wrote both seem to be, and are, falsifications.
11 Now the true explanation, and that which accords with the true philosophy…

this fragment, a.k.a. the "Mar Saba letter", discovered in a monastery 12 miles south of Jerusalem. Morton Smith discovered a copy of an ancient letter allegedly written by Clement of Alexandria (circa 150-213). It discussed a second version -- a "Secret Gospel" -- of the Gospel of Mark.

Fragments of the Secret Gospel of Mark are quoted in this letter to a man named Theodore. Clement tells of two different versions of the Gospel written by Mark—our familiar, canonical Mark; and an expanded, "secret" Mark, containing additional information to be read only to an inner circle of initiates. Apparently, a group of rogue Christians led by Carpocrates had expanded Mark to accomodate their own heretical practices.

      Was "Secret Mark" was written first or second? For example:

Mark 10:34-35: They came to Bethany. There was one woman there whose brother had died. She came and prostrated herself before Jesus and spoke to him. "Son of David, pity me!" But the disciples rebuked her. Jesus was angry and went with her into the garden where the tomb was. Immediately a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going up to it, Jesus rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb, and immediately went in where the young man was. Stretching out his hand, he lifted him up, taking hold his hand. And the youth, looking intently at him, loved him and started begging him to let him remain with him. And going out of the tomb, they went into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus gave him an order and, at evening, the young man came to him wearing nothing but a linen cloth. And he stayed with him for the night, because Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And then when he left he went back to the other side of the Jordan.

Mark 10:46: Then he came into Jericho. And the sister of the young man whom Jesus loved was there with his mother and Salome, but Jesus would not receive them.

Mark 14:51-52 ?

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New Testament Missions    |    Paul

The first trip was to send famine relief to the Saints at Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30). The church at Antioch sent Barnabas and Saul [Paul] to convey the things given by the Brethren at Antioch.
The first missionary trip or mission undertaken by Paul is recorded in the book of Acts, chapter 13: the brethren lay hands on Paul and Barnabas and sent them away (with John-Mark). So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. This mission was a particular work (trip or mission) that the Spirit had called Paul to do. The conclusion and fulfillment of this mission by Paul is recorded in Acts 14:26. "And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled."
The second missionary trip was for the purpose of visiting the places Paul had traveled to on his first mission. "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do" (Acts 15:36). During this revisiting of the churches and Brethren, they also delivered decrees from the church at Jerusalem and it was said that the churches were established and increased in number daily. Even during this visit the Spirit was very active in directing Paul's travels. The Spirit hindered him from going into Asia, but gave him a vision of going into Macedonia.
The third missionary trip was also to visit and strengthen the disciples they had already preached to. [Acts 18…] "And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples." (Acts 18:23)

The fifth trip (a mission to Rome) was due to Paul appealing to Caesar while on his third missionary trip. (Acts 25:10-12) He was carried to Rome under arrest. But the Lord used the situation Paul was in that he might testify and minister in Rome.

 memo for CHINA:
Early Christian Missions-
In A.D. 634, the first Christians arrived during the Tang Dynasty.
The second time the Christians arrived to China was during 1271-1368. This was expanded when Franciscans were commissioned by the Pope in 1294 to mission in China.

Late Christian Missions-
The third time was during the Ming Dynasty. - The Chinese had welcomed a famous European mathematician.
The Catholic pope thought he missionaries would be welcomed like the mathematician but this was not the case.
The fourth time started in 1807 when James Hudson Taylor arrived in China.

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BIBLE FEASTS

The Passover (Erev Pesach)
Sundown of the 14th of Abib/Nisan

Leviticus 23:4-8; Exodus 2:23-24; 6:5-8; 12:1-27; 13:3,14; Joshua 5:10-12; Matthew 26:2; I Corinthians 5:7b

Week of Unleavened Bread (Pesach/Hag HaMatzah)
15th to the 21st of Abib/Nisan (7 days)

Exodus 12:15-20; 1 Cor 5:7-8; Leviticus 23:4,6-14; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:1-2; Acts 20:6

First Fruits (Omer/Yom HaBikkurim)
day following the Passover Sabbath

Leviticus 23:7-14

Feast of Weeks/Pentecost (Shavuoth)
50 days following First Fruits

Leviticus 23:9-22; Deut. 16:9-12; Acts 2:1; 20:16; I Cor. 16:18

Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah)
1st day of Ethanim/Tishri

Leviticus 23:23-25

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
10th day of Ethanim/Tishri

Leviticus 16:1-34 23:26-32; Isaiah 34:5-6; 'The Fast' in Acts 27:9

Feast of Tabernacles/Booths/Shelters (Succoth)
15th-21st day of Ethanim/Tishri (7 days)

Leviticus 23:33-44; Neh 8:14-18; Zechariah 14:16-19; John 7:2

The Last Great Day (Hoshana Rabbah)
21st day of Ethanim/Tishri

Leviticus 23:33-44; Neh 8:14-18; Zechariah 14:16-19

8th Day High Sabbath (Shemini Atzeret)
22nd day of Ethanim/Tishri

Leviticus 23:33-38; Nehemiah 8:18

Feast of Dedication (Chanukah)
25th day of Kislev; for 8 days.

Daniel 8:13-14, John 10:22-23

Feast of Lots (Purim)
14th day of Adar

Esther 8:17

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From the Apology of Aristides chapter 15 and forward:

But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honour father and mother, and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols (made) in the image of man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they comfort and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies; and their women, O King, are pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest; and their men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world. Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they give thanks and praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them; and for their food and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom. Such, O King, is the commandment of the law of the Christians, and such is their manner of life. As men who know God, they ask from Him petitions which are fitting for Him to grant and for them to receive. And thus they employ their whole lifetime. And since they know the loving-kindnesses of God toward them, behold! for their sake the glorious things which are in the world flow forth to view. And verily, they are those who found the truth when they went about and made search for it; and from what we considered, we learned that they alone come near to a knowledge of the truth. And they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude the kind deeds they do, but are careful that no one should notice them; and they conceal their giving just as he who finds a treasure and conceals it. And they strive to be righteous as those who expect to behold their Messiah, and to receive from Him with great glory the promises made concerning them. And as for their words and their precepts, O King, and their glorying in their worship, and the hope of earning according to the work of each one of them their recompense which they look for in another world,-you may learn about these from their writings. It is enough for us to have shortly informed your Majesty concerning the conduct and the truth of the Christians. For great indeed, and wonderful is their doctrine to him who will search into it and reflect upon it. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine (lit: "a divine admixture") in the midst of them. Take, then, their writings, and read therein, and lo! you will find that I have not put forth these things on my own authority, nor spoken thus as their advocate; but since I read in their writings I was fully assured of these things as also of things which are to come. And for this reason I was constrained to declare the truth to such as care for it and seek the world to come. And to me there is no doubt but that the earth abides through the supplication of the Christians.
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Calvinism & Arminianism

A man named John Calvin (Jean Chauvin, 1509-1564) came to more fully develop the theology, political theories and ecclesiastic thought coming out of the Protestant Reformation. John was just 8 years old when Martin Luther posted his 95 Wittenberg Thesis. More so than Martin Luther, Calvin created the patterns and thought that would dominate Western culture throughout the modern period. At the heart of the way Americans think and act, you'll find the fierce and imposing reformation ideas of John Calvin.

Calvin was originally a lawyer, but like Zwingli, he became saturated with the ideas of Northern Renaissance humanism. He was dedicated to reform of the church, and he got his chance to build a reformed church when the citizens of Geneva revolted against their rulers in the 1520's. The Genevans successfully overthrew the Savoys and the local bishop-prince of Geneva in the 1520's. The Genevans were primarily French-speakers. The Protestant Canton of Bern was determined to see Protestantism spread throughout Switzerland. In 1533, Bern sent Protestant reformers to convert Geneva into a Protestant city. After considerable conflict, Geneva officially became Protestant in 1535. Calvin, by now a successful lawyer, was invited to Geneva to build the new "Reformed" church. Calvin's efforts radically changed the face of Protestantism, for he made a strong effort to address issues that early Reformers didn't know how or didn't want to answer. John's most important work involved the organization of church governance and the social organization of the church into the city. He was the first major political thinker [excluding God & Moses] to model social organization entirely on biblical principles. At first, his reforms did not go over well. He addressed the issue of church governance by creating leaders within the new church; he himself developed ways to impose doctrine on all members of the church, including a strict moral code upon the citizens of Geneva. Naturally, the people of Geneva wondered if they had thrown away one church [Roman Catholic] only to see it replaced by an identical twin [Protestant, Calvin-style]; a new form of papacy over the people, with different names and different personalities. So, the Genevans tossed John Calvin out (exiled him) in 1538. John then moved to Strasbourg, where he began writing commentaries on the Bible. Within these exhaustive commentaries, he developed all the central principles of Calvinism in his strict readings of the Old and New Testaments. In 1540, a new crop of city officials in Geneva invited Calvin back to their city. As soon as he arrived, he set about to incorporation of the church into city government and began to effect a series of changes in local law; a strict and uncompromising moral code for the whole city. By the mid-1550's, Geneva was thoroughly Calvinist in thought and structure.

The core of Calvinism is the Zwinglian insistence on the literal reading of Christian scriptures. Anything not contained explicitly and literally in these scriptures was to be rejected; on the other hand, anything that was contained explicitly and literally in these scriptures was to be followed unwaveringly. Calvin pushed beyond Zwingli's model by bringing the literal reading of Scriptures upon church organization, political structure, and in every part of society.

 Predestination:
The early church had struggled with this issue of "predestination". Since God knew the future, did that mean that salvation was predestined? That is, do human beings have any choice in the matter, or did God make the salvation decision for each of us at the beginning of time? John Calvin built his Reformed Church on the concept that salvation was not a choice, but was rather pre-decided by God from the beginning of time. This mean that individuals were "elect" by God, for salvation by God.

 Voluntary Associations:
This view of human salvation is called either the "doctrine of the elect" or "the doctrine of living saints" (in Catholic theology, a "saint" is a human being that the church knows to have gained salvation; in Calvinist theology, a "saint" is a living, breathing human being who is guaranteed to gain salvation no matter what he or she does here on earth, although the elect obviously don't engage in flagrant sin; not all good people were among the elect, but people with bad behavior were certainly not among the elect). It was incumbent on churches filled with living saints to recognize one another as elect of God. This organizational principle came to be called, "Voluntary Associations". Shall we say, "Birds of a feather flock together"? Voluntary Associations are predicated upon the idea that a community or association chooses its own members, and those members -- of their own volition -- choose to be a member of that community or association. In time, the concept of voluntary associations would become the basis of civil society in Europe.

    The Five Points of Calvinsim:
  1. TOTAL DEPRAVITY - Romans 3:10-11; 9:16; John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 2:14
  2. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION - Ephesians 1:4; John 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:4
  3. LIMITED ATONEMENT - John 10:15; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25
  4. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE - John 15:16; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 2:13
  5. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS - John 10:27-28; Philippians 1:6; 1 John 2:19
Jacobus Arminius was born at Oudewater, Utrecht, on October 10, 1560. His father died while Jacobus was a baby. A priest, Theodorus Aemilius, adopted Jacobus and sent him to school at Utrecht. About 1575, Arminius was sent to study theology at the University of Leiden through the kindness of friends. His teachers in theology included Johann Kolmann. Kolmann believed and taught that strict Calvinism made God both a tyrant and an executioner. Under the influence of these men, Arminius studied with success and had seeds planted that would begin to develop into a theology that would later compete with the dominant Reformed theology of John Calvin.

The original Arminian sect arose within the churches in the Netherlands to advocate a revision of the Reformed doctrine of predestination. They charged that the Calvinist sect had developed a system of doctrine that made God the author of evil as well as of good. The Arminians attempted to formulate a consistent system, and proposed five corrections of the Reformed doctrine that would better express the important proposition that all good originates with God, but sin in no sense originates with Him. These became known as the Arminian Articles of Remonstrance (‘corrections', 1610)

 Wesley and Finney

The Wesleyan revival in England, which was part of the first Great Awakening in America, did not widely result in the adoption of Arminianism. However, the Second Great Awakening, beginning approximately sixty years later, brought a widespread overthrow of Calvinism in favor of Arminianism, especially through the influence of Methodism and the Presbyterian Charles Grandison Finney, who aggressively advanced the Arminian system as an antidote to hypocrisy and religious apathy. Restoration Movement revivalists Alexander Campbell & Barton Stone popularized an anti-Calvinist, democratic concept of salvation early in the Second Great Awakening. Also, their followers typically reject all Arminianism vs. Calvinism, Augustinianism vs. Pelagianism, and other typical distinctions, as "ecclesiastical idols". Protestant denominations that traditionally adhere to Arminianism include most Methodist and related sects.

 Decision for Christ

In popular usage, Arminianism is the belief that a person must make the first move towards God by making some "decision for Christ" unaided, or at least unforced. Once a person has been "saved" (accepted the gift of salvation by choosing to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior), it is possible for the person to lose his or her salvation by leading an unfaithful life and/or turning away from Christ. When Arminianism is referred to in this sense, it is in contrast to the popular over-simplification of the Calvinist doctrine of Perseverance of the saints, commonly expressed as "once saved always saved."

 Atonement

Traditionally, Arminians have held to the governmental theory of the atonement. This doctrine says that the purpose of Christ's death is that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will strive to cease from anarchy in the world. This is in opposition to the Calvinist theory of substitutionary atonement that holds for how Christ died to substitute His punishment for the sins of believers. Traditionally, Arminians have recognized that if the Calvinist idea is true, that Christ substituted for the sins of a person, that person would be infallibly saved.

    The Five Points of Arminianism:
  1. FREE WILL WITH PARTIAL DEPRAVITY - Freedom of will is man's natural state, not a spiritual gift - and thus free will was not lost in the Fall. The grace of Christ works upon all men to influence them for good, but only those who freely choose to agree with grace by faith and repentance are given new spiritual power to make effectual the good they otherwise intend to do with out the power to carry out. John 1:37-39
  2. CONDITIONAL ELECTION - God has decreed to save through Jesus Christ, out of the fallen and sinful human race, those foreknown by him who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in Christ; but God leaves in sin those foreseen, who are irreconcilable and unbelieving.
  3. UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT - Christ's death was suffered on behalf of all men, but God elects for salvation only those who believe in Christ. John 3:16
  4. RESISTIBLE GRACE - The grace of God works for good in all men, and brings about newness of life through faith. Even so, grace can be resisted, even by the one God has transformed to newness of life. Matthew 23:4-7.
  5. UNCERTAIN PERSEVERANCE - Those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith have power given them through the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit, sufficient to enable them to persevere in the faith. But it may be possible for a believer to fall from grace. Hebrews 6:4-5.

SUMMARY QUESTIONS…

DEPRAVITY OF MAN?
Is man able to respond to the grace of God?
  …Without help from God?

ELECTION?
Has God elected men?

ATONEMENT?
Who/whom did Christ die for?

GRACE?
Does Grace overcome a man?
Can a man overcome grace?

PERSEVERANCE?
I John 2:19

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Edward Baierlein of the Chippewa

Edward von Valseck was born into a Catholic family in Poland.

Bethany in the Wilderness, site of Baierlein's mission.
When he became a Lutheran, his outraged father disinherited him and forbade him to use the family name any longer. And so, Edward took the name Baierlein, "Little Bavarian." Edward had planned to go to India, but sickness kept him from sailing at that time. Instead, he was reassigned on September 6, 1849, to work among a different "Indian" race on the other side of the world: the Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians, not far from today's little city of St. Louis, Michigan. (near Alma, about 45 miles west of Saginaw.)

At his first meeting with the Chippewa on their home ground, Edward (whom the Indians called ‘Black Coat') promised two things: to teach the tribe about eternal life and teach its children reading, writing and arithmetic, so they could read the Bible for themselves and so that they could keep accounts and no longer be cheated by traders. He also asked two things: that they send their children to his school and that they come to church meetings. The Indians thought about it and agreed, shaking his hand so long and hard that his arm ached for days afterward!

Unlike most missionaries, Edward and his wife didn't expect the Indians to adopt white ways. On the contrary --- they went to live in a bark hut with the Indians. They ate the Indians' food and shared their own supplies with the red men. Edward though that if he lived with the Indians, he could demonstrate at first hand what it meant to be a Christian and draw them into a Christian atmosphere. This attitude was so different from the normal white snobbishness (as expressed, for instance, by the critical attitude of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman in Oregon) that the Baierlein's were deeply loved by the Indians, who inducted them as members of their tribe.

Edward quickly learned Chippewa and translated and printed parts of the Lutheran catechism in their language. He also taught the Indians practical skills, such as how to build log cabins. He cleared land at a place he named Bethany, and built a cabin for church use. He set apart part of the cleared land as "God's acre." Edward wrote an informative little book titled, In the Wilderness with the Red Indians.

Michigan's climate was hard on Edward's health. After working with the Indians for five and a half years, he had to leave. Having fulfilled his original vision for the Chippewa, he went to sunny India, where he labored for many years. The man who then replaced Edward had little sympathy for Indian ways. He made his home ten miles from the tribe, which was suffering a great deal because of hard times. Edward would have shared his resources with them, but the new missionary did not, saying they were just "bread Christians" (that is, people who pretended to be Christians just so that they could get food). Hardship brought the tribe to scatter in hunt for food, and many died. The mission work there closed.

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Justin Martyr

Nearly a hundred years had passed since the birth of Christ. Now it was in the region between Judea and Galilee that Justin saw the light of day. Up and down picturesque Palestine the fledgling philosopher traveled, eager to meet any arid every master who could add to his store. This young Samaritan came in contact with Jews full of zeal to win him over to their cause, instructing him in the Tablets of the Law, told him of a great leader to come. Justin also met Christians steadfast in their faith despite Jewish hatred, even in the face of brutal persecution engineered by Rome's powerful Emperors. During his childhood in Samaria, the Emperor Nerva was savagely harassing the followers of Christ for refusing to join the pagan cults. Trajan, his successor, frowned harshly upon Christians, hinted at their crime in doing honor to "the Name" and permitted bloody persecutions. Hadrian (117—138) was penalizing the faithful. None the less, the Christians continued to grow in amazing numbers; people of both sexes, of all ages and of every rank became Christians. One needed only half an eye to see these fearless folk practiced social changes nothing short of revolutionary, and that in the face of bitter opposition. Justin did accept The Way. Attired in the robe of a philosopher, the valiant convert set out to teach the Gospel. His method was to use philosophy as a steppingstone to truth, and persuade his hearers of the validity of Christian doctrine. The law of Moses, he told Trypho, has given way to the law of Christ. The worship of Jesus is in true conformity with the worship of the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And the true Israel is to be found only among the Christians to whom belong the promise of the Covenant. "In 166, Justin was arrested in company with Chariton, Euelpistus from Cappadocia, Hierax from Iconium, Paeon, Liberianus, Valerianus and Charitina. All were brought before the Prefect of Rome, accused of crime against the state, urged to renounce the new religion. "We are Christians, God's will be done…"


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Marcus Whitman

  Missionaries Take New England to the Oregon Cayuse

In 1847, the Cayuse Indians of Oregon were unhappy. Great numbers of white people were coming over the mountains from the East. Not only did these invaders grab land, they brought diseases that were new to the Indians, including measles… diseases that were killing many of them.

Marcus Whitman, a doctor who had settled among the Indians to teach them about Christ, seemed to be at the root of the problems. Had he not guided a large party of the white invaders to the land himself? Did not the white people visit his home continually and receive any help they needed from his hands and from the hands of his wife, Narcissa?

As for Narcissa, although she had crossed the entire continent to bring the Gospel to Oregon's Indians (becoming one of the first white women to cross the Rockies), she disliked the Cayuse. She did not want them in her house, and both Whitman's considered the tribal ritual of gift giving to be a form of extortion. The Cayuse practice of killing unwanted babies tore at Narcissa's heart --- already broken by the accidental drowning of her only child.

The sad truth is that Marcus & Narcissa Whitman, while teaching about Christ and giving medical help to the Indians out of love and concern for them, never studied the local Indian culture with an eye to presenting the truth in terms that the Cayuse could understand. The Whitman's ideal of Christianity was culture-bound. To them, the Cayuse must adopt the ways of civilized New England in order to be Christian. This was a ‘mission' where Christianity was not to come to the Indians without adoption of the cultural ways of Marcus and his white friends.

Perhaps the final straw came when Marcus Whitman attempted to inoculate the Indians against measles. Many who received the inoculations not only took the disease, but also died of it. Whereas most of the white children he treated went on to live. This suggested treachery! By tribal law, Whitman must pay with his life.

On November 29, 1847, eleven Cayuse braves attacked the Whitman station. They killed Marcus, Narcissa and twelve others. This action led to a war with the whites in which the Cayuse came out badly. Two years after the massacre, five of its leaders voluntarily gave themselves up, in order to end further retribution against their tribe. Their leader, Tiloukaikt, said on the gallows, "Did not your missionaries teach us that Christ died to save his people? So we die to save our people."

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Martyrdom OF Marcellus

On the birthday of the Roman emperor, in the year AD 298, in the country we today call Morocco, a certain Roman centurion found himself torn by a test of loyalty. It was customary in the 3rd century for citizens of the Roman Empire to swear an oath of allegiance to the emperor and to worship his image on his birthday. This especially was required of men in the military, where allegiance was highly valued.

We don't know who shared the gospel with Marcellus, but we do know that he was not the first centurion to encounter the gospel. Jesus once healed the servant of a Roman centurion (Luke 7; Matt 8); the first Gentile to whom Peter carried the Christian gospel was a Roman centurion (Acts 10). With Centurion Marcellus in AD 298, we know the end of the story. During a banquet to honor and worship the emperor in July of 298, Marcellus threw down his soldier's belt in front of the "legionary standards" (the closest thing the Romans had to a flag) and spoke in a loud voice: "I am a soldier of Jesus Christ, the eternal king. From now [on] I cease to serve your emperors and I despise the worship of your gods of wood and stone, for they are deaf and dumb images." Ancient documents report that Marcellus' fellow soldiers were "amazed" and promptly arrested him, put him into prison, and reported him to the governor Anastasius Fortunatus, who demanded, "What was your intention in violating military discipline in this way?" Marcellus responded: "I declared clearly and publicly before the standards of this legion that I was a Christian, and said that I could not serve under this military oath, but only for Christ Jesus, the son of God the Father almighty." On October 30, 298, the case came to trial in front of Aurelius Agricolanus, who demanded of Marcellus: "What madness possessed you to throw down the symbols of your military oath and say the things you did?" Marcellus replied: "No madness possesses those who fear the Lord."

Agricolanus: "You threw down your weapons?"

Marcellus: "Yes, I did. For it is not fitting that a Christian, who fights for Christ his Lord, should fight for the armies of this world."

Agricolanus then reads the sentence: "What Marcellus has done merits punishment according to military rules. And so, whereas Marcellus, who held the rank of centurion, first class, has confessed that he has disgraced himself by publicly renouncing his military oath… I hereby sentence him to death by the sword."

So Marcellus died by the sword, laying down his life in witness to Jesus Christ.

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Origins of the Methodists

Charles Wesley
John Wesley
The origins of Methodism can be traced to the Holy Club at Oxford, an outside the church organization led by the Wesley brothers for young men determined to revive the spirituality of the Church of England.

Among the Oxford group were John Wesley, considered the founder of Methodism, and his brother Charles; sons of an Anglican rector. John preached, and Charles wrote hymns. Together they brought about a spiritual revolution, which some historians believe diverted England from political revolution in the late 18th century. The theology of the Wesleys leaned heavily upon Arminianism.

Methodist meetings were often conducted in open fields. Such meetings often led to revival, especially among the poor. John Wesley's message and personal activities among the poor encouraged a social consciousness that was retained by his followers. Methodist preachers often moved from chapel to chapel in what was known as a circuit. Soon after John Wesley's death in 1791, his followers began to divide into many separate denominations, each maintaining its own version of the Wesleyan tradition.

In 1769, John Wesley had sent his first missionaries to America. Francis Asbury, commissioned in 1771, was the missionary most instrumental in establishing the American Methodist church. Methodism, spread by the circuit rider and the revival meeting, advanced westward with the frontier. During the early 19th century, the tolerant doctrinal positions of Methodism and its stress on personal religious experience, universal salvation, and moral values, attracted large numbers of converts.

  SCHISM

The Methodist New Connection, the Primitive Methodist Church, and the Bible Christians separated from the Methodist-Anglican (Episcopal) Conference between 1797 and 1815. At the end of the 18th century, black members in Philadelphia withdrew from the church and established an independent congregation. Soon church groups from other cities along the Atlantic seaboard joined with them to form the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In the second decade of the 19th century in New York City a similar movement developed independently; it attracted black congregations from other cities and became the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Agitation against the power of the bishops and a desire for lay representation caused another split in 1830, resulting in the formation of the Methodist Protestant Church. Radical abolitionist Methodists broke away from the Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1840s to form the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which in the 20th century merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church to become the Wesleyan Church. In 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church South was formed by supporters of slavery after the General Conference became deadlocked over the issue. In the 1860s the holiness controversy produced another schism, when a group of Methodist dissenters who believed in a reemphasis on Wesley's doctrine of personal holiness broke away to form the Free Methodist Church of North America. After the American Civil War, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, encouraged its black members to form the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
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Fragments of Papias

In the first half of the second century, Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, wrote a five volume treatise called An Exposition of the Lord's Oracles/Reports.
Although this work is now lost, isolated fragments have been preserved in quotations and references by Irenaeus & others.


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The Mission

SCRIPTURE READING: I Corinthians 13; John 12:24-26; Ephesians 5:1-2; Matthew 28:18-20.

The Society of Jesus, The Jesuits, began in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola, and with just 6 members. The Order of the Jesuits soon grew to include thousands of Christian ministers. The Jesuits sought to live a simple lifestyle in imitation of Jesus. The motto of the Jesuits is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, "To the Greater Glory of God."

Nearly 400 years ago, in the Alto Paraná region (which is modern day Paraguay, northern Argentina, western Brazil and southern Bolivia), the Jesuits were chosen as the evangelizing wing of the Church and permitted to establish what came to be called the Reductionist [meaning: simplified] Missions. These are the Missions made famous in the movie, The Mission.

The Jesuits provided a social and economic vision and a means of artistic expression. They provided a means to a relaxed and fulfilling life. And they provided the message of the Gospel to the Guaraní. As a result, this region has a tradition of peaceful coexistence and interrelationship between the European settlers and the indigenous people who had lived on there.

Construction on the earliest Mission began in 1609. Each Mission consisted of a school, a church, living areas for the Indians, and a workshop area. These Missions were indeed a new concept of social-economic reform, providing living quarters, education and work for the Indians, as they brought the message of Christ. There were more than 80 Missions evangelizing to the Guaraní. Because they chose to fight, in 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from both Portugal and from Spain.


      QUESTIONS from viewing The Mission:

  1. What is The Society of Jesus?
  2. The film's setting was about 200 / 400 / 600 years ago?
  3. Two missions are featured in the film. In truth, the Jesuits had developed about 20 / 50 / 80 of these reductionist missions in the area of modern-day Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil & Bolivia.
  4. Why did the Guarani children not want to return to the forest jungle?
  5. The Missions became opposed by the civil authorities because…
            A. They were commercially competetive with the settlers.
            B. The paradise of the poor is seldom pleasing to those who rule over them.
            C. The protection that the missions afforded the indians from slave trade.
            D. All of the above.
  6. From what chapter of the Bible does Diego (Robert DeNiro) read text?
  7. Since they chose to fight, was the Jesuit order expelled from Portugal and Spain? (see handout)
  8. Were those who took up arms led by God to do so? [include Bible reference with your answer]
  9. Who's motto is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To The Glory of God)?
  10. How were the Guarani converted to faith in Christ?
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Missions
TO
Medievil Europe

After the fall of the Roman Empire, mobile barbarian peoples who gained supremacy were both pagan and illiterate. Literate culture was reintroduced along with the Christian religion through the establishment of monastic missions across northwestern Europe. These efforts came from different directions, which affected the nature of literate culture and writing. Efforts from Rome itself had resulted in the baptism of the Merovingian king Clovis, a symbolic event in the triumph of religious orthodoxy -- and in the face of competition from Arian proponents, and the establishment of churches which followed across France and into Kent.

In the 7th and 8th centuries a missionising push came from a center of missionising Christianity in Ireland, spreading across to northern England, resulted in the establishment of Irish and Anglo-Saxon monasteries across France and Germany to Italy and Switzerland. Inspired individuals that we know today as Patrick, Columba, Willibrond, Boniface, led, as Barbarian culture valued feats of heroic individualism and the church was quite adaptable. Monasteries founded in these efforts became centers of book production and literate culture. The pioneering clergy were missionaries, and as such were active practitioners of oral culture.

The earliest books which survive are gospels or other Biblical extracts and works of liturgy, as well as the teachings of the church fathers which formed the basis for sermons and preaching. Books were rare and precious, and their copying was important to the expansion of the church. The oral culture of the church was in Latin, for the liturgy, and in the vernacular, for preaching and teaching. Some early works were written in uncial script, a laborious process in which each letter is made separately. Sometimes the pages were in two columns and the letters ran on continuously; no word spacing, no punctuation. The letters were fitted into the line without regard for the ends of the words. This would seem to us to entail a mechanical process of copying letter by letter. It would also seem to us to be very difficult to read, certainly in the way that we might read a previously unknown passage, such as the newspaper or a web site on medieval writing. Did they conceptualise reading differently, or was this a memory aid for passages that were already well known and had been learned orally? Did the writers of continuous script have such a fluid concept of Latin that they could actually read it with facility in this way? Or, are these works designed not for a literate usage, but as an extension of oral learning? Christianity was a religion of authority and the didactic visual imagery in the churches and the oral ritual and teaching were all derived from specified written texts.
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More background for the History & Missions of the Church can be found at:
ICL's Guide To Early Church Documents
Early Christian Writings
Medieval Christian Missions
"This Week in Christian History"
Christian History Magazine
The Orthotom
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