What Is So Important About What The Early Church Believed

All over the world there are a myriad of gatherings in the name of Jesus Christ. All claiming they are inspired by the Holy Spirit and their interpretations of the scriptures are the truth, but the problem is when they vary or contradict, not all can be 100% correct, so what is the Truth and who is preaching it?

I, like them, could say how I am the one speaking the truth and offer my opinions but if I do not concede I could be wrong then is it not pride and arrogance as no one but God Himself is truly infallible, not a Roman Pope (even though they claim he is in their Catechism), not a Protestant, not an Orthodox and not Myself.

We all then must test our theories against the Word of God to see if what we believe is consistent with what the Lord has told us through His Holy Spirit inspired scriptures, the problem is, most tend to interpret the Bible according to either their own understanding, their cultural influence or their own desires. Then feeling justified through that interpretation, they justify their belief structure, believing all the more “I must be right”.

However, the scriptures tell us,

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:20-21

For this reason, Jesus Christ anointed His apostles as our guides and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, our teachers. Through this inspiration, they knew their teachings would be corrupted so they in turn appointed men to oversee the Churches after them after them in their Holy work in the service of the Lord. These Bishops, or if you prefer the term “Pastors”, after being proven to be of good character, sound in doctrine and full of the Holy Spirit were set in office over cities and regions to oversee or “shepherd” the Churches and continue in the name of Jesus Christ.

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:28-30

It is from these men, appointed by the apostles themselves by the inspiration of God we can test our interpretations of scripture. These men, who we know by our faith in the Word of God, continued after the apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as teachers of the true Christian faith as it was in the beginning.

Today, Christianity is a divided faith, Paul was correct when he said, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Up until the Council of Chalcedon 451AD we see what had once been a unified faith, other than when individuals arose teaching various forms of heresy against the true doctrines of Christ. But then there was a dramatic change, the once venerable Church of Rome under the leadership of Pope Leo 1st. and the Churches under their influence, what we today call the Eastern Orthodox Churches united with the secular authorities of the Eastern Roman Empire to take full control of the world wide Church to introduce their “primacy of authority” claim.

Simply, before Rome had its own Bishop, the home based Churches there were subject to the apostle Peter who at that time was the Bishop of the Church of Antioch. They also claim that Peter was “prince” over the other apostles as it was to Peter that Jesus first gave the keys to the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18). This claim however had two major flaws, the first being it was not consistent with all scripture and secondly even if it was true then the primacy would fall on the Church of Antioch, as they were founded well before Rome.

Prior to this, and as a result of the Church’s immense growth from its humble beginnings, the faithful were placed under four patriarchal structures at the Council of Nicea 325AD, not as a political-style power structure but rather as an administrative organization to maintain order, minimize the introduction of heretical beliefs and maintain the unity of faith as it had been held since the Day of Pentecost.

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

However, for Leo of Rome to take control, there stood in his path the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, the three that had primarily been the defenders of the truth throughout the Church’s history. To eliminate this problem it became necessary to discredit and take control over them before he could implement the changes to the faith he, and those with him desired.

(I have given a detailed report of the specific events leading up to and including the Council of Chalcedon itself in my article “The Council of Chalcedon, The spirit of Judas reborn”. In this I have included a number of quotes from the Roman emperors, the various individuals involved, those present at the Council according to the minutes of the council itself, and a few from others who have also researched this subject. I apologize for its length, approx. 9000 words, however to abridge the events would give a misleading account to be edited concerning the events at Chalcedon title

From this point on the once unified Church became two, the Church of Rome on one side, along with their allies, the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the secular Roman authorities while on the other, the persecuted Churches of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem that had been placed under a military governorship.

This also makes the pointing history when we witness Rome beginning to introduce many practices and doctrines that conflict with the original faith. One example is Pope Hilarius (and no, the name is not meant to be funny), who immediately held the office after Leo began changing the traditional dates of Easter etc. Later we see the introduction of doctrines such as the “Infallibility of the Roman Pope”, sale of “indulgences”, “Primacy of authority of the Roman Church”, “purgatory”, “immaculate conception of the virgin Mary”, to name but a few.

We also witness through history numerous wars instigated by the Church of Rome e.g. The Crusades and further divisions within their church e.g. the breakaway of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and later the Protestants. This is also relevant when we consider the scriptures instruct us to judge by the fruits and the fruits of Chalcedon can clearly be identified as division, false doctrine and a host of other conflictions against the Word of God.

“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:16

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33

Another unfortunate side effect of this corruption is that up until relatively recent years, Rome controlled much of European history and teaching. This resulted in the early leaders of the Protestant movement being solely dependant upon corrupted roman versions of events as their only source of information. Thus armed only with the scriptures and a desire to serve God, they proceeded to eliminate what they perceived to be roman introduced doctrine, however they often had no way of knowing what was roman and what was in fact apostolic, as Rome had so entwined the two that scripturally it was virtually impossible to distinguish between them.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

This then explains the importance of returning to the teachings as they were in the beginning, before the corruption divided the faith. Alternatively, do we assume in our pride we must be right, do we follow the roman example and claim we are infallible and prove ourselves to be nothing more than children of the Roman Church, divided by the fruits of corruption, pride and personal desire.

Surely it is better to abide in the faith as it was first introduced and in doing so, abide in God and receive what He has promised us, Eternal Life.

“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” 1 John 2:24

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