In Part 1 we saw how the church arrived by covenant to America and how it was politically established, But:
1) (Luke 24:46-51) Jesus had ascended into heaven.
2) (Acts 2:1-14) The Holy Spirit had been given to man at Pentecost (Passover).
3) (Acts 2:38-41 & 4:4) Thousands of Jews had been saved during the Pentecost “Revival”.
4) (Acts 10:1-45) Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, a Gentile (non-Jew), and his family were saved.
5) (Acts 11:1-18 esp. V.3 & 18) From then on both Jew and Gentile were saved in spite of the Jewish resistance to the Christian Movement.
6) (1John 1:1-5) In the living scriptures (Acts 8:1) we can “watch” the early church being formed and brought into existence.
7) (Acts 11:1-3) We can see the trials and troubles of the Apostles as they worked to maintain the purity of the doctrine brought by Jesus in His physical ministry and (John 14:15-26 & 2Tim. 3:16-17) in His spiritual ministry through the Holy Spirit.
8) (Acts 13:1-12, 13:42-48, 16:1; 1Cor. 1:2, 4:7; Gal. 1:2; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1-2; Col. 1:1-2; 1Thess. 1:1; Titus 1:4-5 and etc.) We can watch while the Holy Spirit inspires the Bible Writers as they wrote the Holy Scriptures and burned out their (1Pet. 2:3-6 esp. V.4 keyword: precious) precious lives establishing standards, order, doctrine (teaching) and administration while they founded and organized an international Church composed of many local Churches.
9) (Acts 28:1-31 esp. V.31) We see that, with the presence of the Apostle Paul, the center of Church authority shifts from Jerusalem to Rome which was provident because, according to history (Jewish Virtual Library), Jerusalem was destroyed in 73AD, over a million Jews and Christians were killed, (Matt. 24:1-2) the temple was torn down, its stones were carried away, its ground was salted and plowed by the Roman Legions under Titus AND (Isa. 14:30-31) the Roman government removed the name Israel from all maps and replaced it with the name Palestina (Palestine).
10) Then: After the Book of Revelation from God written by John NOTHING ELSE FROM GOD! So: How in the world did the “Biblical, Holy Spirit sanctioned Church” get to America? To you? To me? Is it the real Church?
Remember to look for Unknown Divine Appointments.
The most astonishing thing found during this research was: generally:
1) When a Catholic authors a historical church document it declares the Catholic Church is the only way to obtain salvation, the Pope is God’s authority on earth and their Church never did anything wrong.
2) When a Protestant authors a historical church document it declares the Catholic Church is all wrong, the Reformation was a rebellion against the Catholic Church, the Reformation defined scripture and refined salvation down to the point their denomination was formed as the one true Church and their teaching is the only way to obtain salvation.
3) When an atheist, agnostic, Wicca (witchcraft/witch) and etc. wrote a document about the Church the Church was degraded to a bunch of gibbering trash. SO: Secular historical documentation is the only believable source of information
Scripture ended as shown above because it gives the history of the Church and Israel from the beginning of time to, through prophesy, the ending of time. Scripture, especially the N T, tells each person who has ever lived how to be saved and become a Christian and how to conduct his personal life thereafter (see the: “Is God Fair” commentary if you don’t believe it). It tells how the Church is to be organized and how it is to be conducted.
There is nothing else required, the Holy Scriptures (Bible) are a complete, finished Book that is the revealed Word, identity and purpose of God. It all ties together with itself, there are no loose ends and nothing spiritual or doctrinal is left to chance. Man, saint or sinner, creates his own problems with the KJV Bible because of pride, stubbornness, ignorance, willfulness, sarcasm, unbelief and doubt.
Before the European Church Age started Europe and Asia Minor (Western Asia) had been invaded and settled by barbaric tribes such as Goths, Vandals, Angles, Celts, Saxons, Franks, Huns, Slavs, Bulgars, Vikings, Normans, Visigoths and a host of lesser tribes and they brought their Pagan idol, god and goddess religions with them.
Through wars, convenient marriages and strategic allegiances the stronger tribes grew stronger and accumulated more and more land and the weaker tribes were assimilated or destroyed.
That was the Pagan Empire that awaited the Church Jesus Christ had founded through the Apostles but NOT UNTIL man had mixed three main elements together to form the Roman Catholic Church that would shock the barbarians with its barbarism and put their idol worship to shame with its own brand of idolatry.
NOTE: (please read: Rom. 8:8-9 first) Oddly enough, in all the research through which God has led me, I have found the Holy Spirit mentioned only two times and a spirit mentioned one time.
#1) The Eastern part of the Catholic Church split from the western Catholic Church over the identity and origin of the Holy Spirit and they and eventually formed into the Eastern Orthodox church.
#2) In October, 1523 Ulrich Zwingli had said they would wait for the Zurich city council to decide if they could make the Anabaptist reforms. Simon Stumpf a radical priest and Anabaptist Reformer from Hongg, Switzerland stated “The decision has already been made by the Spirit of God”.
#3) The other was when 14 year old Joseph Smith started receiving his revelation from a spirit (an angel) that resulted in the Mormon Church. (See: Gal. 1:6-10 then 2Cor. 11:13-15 then decide).
(Matt. 16:13-19) (V.18) Jesus told Peter the gates of hell would not prevail against what Peter had said in (V.16); “Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 21:37-44 esp. V. 42 keyword: stone & 1Pet. 2:6 keywords: corner stone) The Stone (the Rock of ages) is Jesus who is the Cornerstone of the Church, not Peter! (2:3-9) The Cornerstone (Jesus) establishes the anchor, level and squareness of the foundation of the Church (V.5 keywords: the spiritual house). Jesus did not say Peter was in control or had any power other than being an Apostle and (V.19) reaffirms the strict responsibility of the coming church which Jesus had explained in (please read this Matt. 7:13-27 esp. V.14, 15 & 18-21 keywords: strait gate, false prophets, and corrupt tree).
The True Hidden Church: Despite what you read below there were always (Mark 13:1-27) small, hidden groups of Dissenter Christians scattered throughout the Roman empire and later on in Europe and Asia Minor who held to the oral traditions set forth by the original Apostles and scattered here and there were a very few men who could read the original Biblical texts and thus keep God’s word in its purity. They met in secret and worshipped God in Spirit and truth according to the instructions given in the Holy Scriptures.
When Christianity first came to Rome it was an entirely Pagan society bent on the military conquest of all the tribes and peoples they met.
Caesar is the title of the office of the Roman Emperor, same as the title President. The founding of the True Church flourished while Paul was in Rome. For a few years after Paul was beheaded the Church grew and spread under the authority of a succession of Bishops.
The Roman Government saw Christianity as a Jewish sect. The salt covenant originated with (Lev. 2:13 & Num. 18:14) God’s unbreakable covenant with ancient Israel. The ancient pagan world adopted it. Two men would drop a pinch of salt into each other’s salt pouch and swear their covenant oath.
It could be broken only if each man retrieved every grain of his salt from the other’s container without mix-up, which was impossible. If a Christian was brought before a Roman judge, would not recant and would not perform the salt covenant to Caesar he was killed, usually by some type of torture.
Active, hateful, cruel, hunt them down, take them to the arena and kill them persecution started in 64 AD under Caesar Nero and continued under various Caesars’ until 312 AD when General Constantine had a vision of the cross in a dream, made it his Legions’ Symbol and won a great battle against Emperor Maxentius in which Constantine became the sole Emperor of Rome and he claimed that event as his “Christian “experience”.
The strong, unbending Christians had been murdered when they refused to perform the salt covenant to Caesar SO: the visible and still true Church, though much more numerous, was spiritually weaker and was an easy mark for the apostasy that was coming.
For 12 years, until he finally consolidated absolute power in 324 AD, Caesar Constantine didn’t say much about Christianity but he did halt the persecution of the Church. In 324 AD he made Christianity the official religion of Rome, outlawed paganism, built a huge, beautiful Church on Vatican Hill and started adding a Roman political element to the Church.
The church hierarchy in order of importance was Bishop, Priests and Deacons. The succession of Bishops, later called Popes, claimed unbroken Episcopal succession from Simon Peter based on who Peter was and not what Jesus said to Peter His disciple in (Matt. 16:18 see above).
The Romanized Church said Jesus had chosen Peter to be the leader of the Apostles, the first Bishop, the Prince of the Apostles and the first Pope (Holy Father). Constantine was busy corrupting the visible Church by mixing Christian, pagan and political teaching and influence into the Church.
Vatican hill contained a huge cemetery and was the home of Vatica the pagan goddess of the dead. It was where Peter had been buried after Nero crucified him upside-down in 67 AD almost 250 years earlier. Vatica was the name of the bitter grapes that grew on the hill and were infamous for making the cheapest and worst wine in the ancient world.
Also Vatica was the name of a hallucinogenic weed (Vatica cannabis) that grew on the hill and was thought to produce prophetic visions. The Church Constantine built, on the bones of the Apostle, was torn down in the Middle Ages and replaced, in the same place, with the Vatican Church (St. Peter’s Basilica) you see today.
The central (main) Holy Roman Church was built on Vatican Hill,
#1) named after Vatica the pagan goddess of the dead who lived there, in the graveyard of the dead, on the bones of a dead apostle Rome had killed
#2) where bitter grapes named Vatica produced the worst wine in the world
#3) and a worldly plant named Vatica caused hallucinations that gave artificial prophetic visions!
Is God saying something?
#1) John 5:26 & 40 & 16:6) Jesus is the Son of life from God the Father of life and Jesus gives life.
#2) (John 2:1-10) Jesus turned water into the best wine.
#3) (Acts 2:17) Prophesy and visions come from the Holy Spirit. (1Tim. 4:1-3) Draw your own conclusions.
One of the outlawed Pagan “religions” was the worship of the goddess Diana which was the Roman name for the ancient Greek goddess Artemis. There were Temples of the goddess Diana in every major city throughout the Roman Empire.
Info from www.cowart.info about the temple of the goddess Diana: Carved marble columns surrounded the porch of the white tile roofed temple. Inside the temple was the statue that was Diana. On the torso of the grotesque, gold plated, pagan statue of Diana were rows and rows of breasts signifying fertility.
Praxiteles, the great Greek sculptor, carved the intricate altars where worshippers seeking the things of life bowed before the lifeless, gold plated statue. There were cryptic inscriptions of various prayers, magic formulas and magic incantations engraved on the huge pedestal upon which the idol stood with outstretched arms.
Priests copied these inscriptions on parchments and medallions and sold them to the supplicants to ward off disease, demons, bad luck, or whatever one wanted, or felt they needed. Everything had a price in the temple of goddess Diana.
Barren women who wanted a baby went to the temple and called on Diana. Pregnant woman who were afraid of the rigors of childbirth and wanted a safe delivery went to the temple and called on Diana. Anyone could come to Diana for anything if they had the price.
Craftsmen fashioned statuettes from gold, silver, marble, or terra cotta depending on how much the worshipper wanted to pay, then the worshipper presented the statuettes to their Idol and left them at her altar in the temple. Every female devotee of Diana served two years as a prostitute in the outlying buildings on the temple grounds with her earnings going into the temple treasury.
Soldiers, sailors, traders, whoever had the urge frequented the brothel of Diana. Mixed in with the swirling crowd were the true worshippers of Diana. Oddly enough, the temple treasury served as a bank and financial clearing house. An elite corps of guards permanently protected the temple. The temple priesthood controlled the commerce and finances in the area, for a cut of the proceeds! These were the persecuted pagans AND: Constantine had said; “Convert to Christianity or die”.
Recorded history states Vesta was the daughter of Chronos (time) and Rhea (earth) in Roman legend. History is blurred but it appears Vesta had to do with creation of life by fire, but she remained a virgin because she had no sexual organs. In Vesta’s temple virginity was a requirement of her attendants, called Vestal Virgins, and only these women were allowed into the inner sanctum to attend the sacred fire. State support was removed and the sacred fire tended by the Vestal Virgins was extinguished in 394 AD. These too were persecuted pagans AND: Constantine had said; “Convert to Christianity or die”.
Upon seeing the heresy, paganism and political affiliation corrupting the Church; Augustine (354-430 AD), Latin theologian, Bishop of Hippo Regius, from the Africa Province (present day Algeria) of the Roman Empire wrote a paper about the need for humility by the Church based on the scripture; “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”
He also wrote about divine grace, moral responsibility and the free will of the individual. The Church did not suppress Augustine’s writings (God’s last call to repent—turn around?) and they would come back to destroy the apostate Church by a man named Martin Luther. Were they two Unknown Divine Appointments?
Starting with Constantine and, over time, under different Caesars, the pagans were persecuted unless they “converted” to Christianity. They brought their temple wealth with them and many pagans professed Christianity but had no true change of heart and they introduced parts of their pagan worship into the Church services.
The politicizing of the Holy Roman Church continued and they named it the Roman Catholic (universal) Church because it was spread through the whole Roman Empire. Bishoprics were established throughout the Empire but the Bishop in Rome was supreme.
All the Bishops were called Pope (father) BUT: as time went on that was discarded and only the supreme Bishop in Rome was called the Pope (Holy Father). Dissenter Christians, the true, now hidden Church, kept their mouth shut, worshipped God in secret and went about their business but if discovered they were killed.
Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) was the Eastern Roman seat of political and Church power. Rome was the Western seat of political and Church power with Caesar and the Pope being supreme. Hundreds of Dissenters were killed.
The Catholic (universal) Church spread beyond the Roman Empire’s borders. When the physical Roman Empire began to decline the Holy Roman Catholic Church Empire did not decline and its influence continued to grow in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia Minor and northern Africa and the Pope reigned supreme. Through all this time Dissenters, if discovered, were simply hunted down and killed by burning alive, crucifixion, beheading and etc.
The Church continued to grow in power until in 390 AD Caesar Theodosius was excommunicated and required to do penance for the murder of 7,000 people in Thessalonica. In 66 years, from 324 above to 390 AD, The Catholic Church had attained the political, financial and religious power to enforce moral authority on a Caesar! Think of that!!
In 451 AD the Chalcedon Council of Catholic Churches was held to decide, among other things, the definition of faith. The Eastern Churches took the stance that the Western Churches in Rome were becoming too political, wealthy, heretical, and apostate but the Church held together. The Catholic Church told the world a person could only achieve salvation through the Catholic Church.
Charlemagne was crowned Ruler (Emperor) of the Holy Roman Empire in 800 AD and the union of Church and state was complete.
In 1054 AD the Eastern Churches split (1st schism) from the Catholic Church over the above grievances, liturgical differences and a disagreement as to who gave the Holy Spirit to man. The East said He was given by God and the West said He came from both God and Jesus. They also disagreed about papal authority. Western Pope Leo IX and Eastern Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other.
The East became the Eastern Orthodox and the West stayed Roman Catholic with the Eastern Orthodox keeping many of the Church’s oral traditions and, of course, the scrolls of scripture. The Eastern Orthodox is now comprised of the various Orthodox Churches, Russian, Greek, Romanian, the offshoot Coptic Church and etc. Each branch, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, claimed only theirs held the key to salvation.
Arnold of Brescia was an Augustinian monk who was excommunicated in 1148 AD when he called on the Roman Catholic Church to renounce the corrupting influence of wealth on the clergy. He continued his call for reform and said the Pope was not God’s authority and that salvation was from God and not from the Catholic Church. In 1155 AD he was hanged then his body was burned at the stake.
The Roman Catholic Church, spreading all through the European Continent, Asia and Africa became more corrupt, apostate, political, worldly, heretic and started inquisitions in various Bishoprics as an excuse to murder Dissenters and thus keep control. Thousands were killed.
From 800 to 1600 AD the name of the gradually less and less hidden true Church changed from Dissenters, to Reformers, to Protesters, to Protestants. Three of the Popes that helped bring on the Reformation of the Church were Pope John XII with his open love affairs, Innocent VII who proudly acknowledged his illegitimate children and lavished Church wealth on them, wealth taken from the poor, AND Urban VI who tortured and murdered several of his Cardinals. Political Rome, with its legions, was dead but the Holy Roman (Catholic) Church reigned supreme over more people and more land than the Caesars’ ever had.
From this point on it is understood all dates are AD (Anno Domini- the year Jesus was born. It does not mean “After Death” of Jesus) and the AD will not be added unless absolutely necessary. Given below is a time line of other events in this era you can research.
500-1500 commonly called the Middle Ages.
1095-1291 the Crusades led by Catholics against the Saracens–>Muslims. If you wish to read about how the Muslims first performed a multitude of crusades (jihads) against the Jews, Christians and other Arabic tribes before the Catholic Church finally fought back with their own crusades see the commentary on this website titled Hell: Covenant: Judaism, Christianity and Islam articles 10 through 15.
1209-1594 the Renaissance–>great strides in philosophy, science, medicine, math, astronomy, music, art, architecture and classic writing.
1347-1351 the Black Plague killed 25-50% of Europe’s population.
In the beginning very few people could read and all they had was what the Catholic Church told them, sold them, or took from them. The Bishops and priests became corrupt in raising revenue by tariffs and taxes on merchants, farmers and shippers. They also sold indulgences, healings and bits of parchment with “Holy Writings” on them that guaranteed whatever the supplicant wanted.
They sold statues of the saints, apostles and Popes that would provide blessing and “good luck”. The Roman Catholic Church controlled government, commerce, and finances. Everything had a price. Sound familiar, goddess Diana?
The Roman Catholic Church taught there was no salvation except through the Catholic Church, sold indulgences which were prayers for the dead and sold “holy offices” to the highest bidder and they were eagerly sought because whoever held the position got a cut of the tax, tariff and offering money they collected in their far-flung Bishoprics.
The Catholic Church taught the Pope was infallible, his edicts were the law of God and the Pope was the absolute authority on Earth. It was common for the Church hierarchy and priests to marry wives and keep mistresses at the same time.
Royal Families from several Monarchy States such as the Habsburgs, Bourbons, Wittelsbachs, Tudors and etc. took powerful positions in the Catholic Church in addition to being the monarch of the royal court in their particular state. These Royal families intermarried with each other to initiate, re-enforce, or guarantee peace between monarchies and for political and financial advantage or so two could unite and make war on a third monarchy.
Whoever owned the land owned the people and they kept their subjects subjected to the “Royals” religious, political and financial beliefs and the peasants and serfs didn’t have a choice.
These royal families could also afford to raise their own armies to enforce their will. The peasants resented Royalty and the Catholic Church, they wanted to own their own land and to be free to worship God in some other way than what they were seeing so their resentment at being forced to live under domination and bondage was festering.
The sides were being drawn in what had been a sort of guerrilla warfare as the Reformer faction tried to reform the Roman Catholic Church. These Reformers did not want to leave the Catholic Church, they wanted it brought back to the purity described in the Holy Scriptures! John Huss, a reformer leader, was excommunicated and burned alive in 1415.
Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440. Bibles, translated from the Greek and Hebrew, could be mass produced. More people were becoming educated and could read. More and more Reformer groups flared up all over the Holy Roman (Catholic Church) Empire.
They were generally led by rogue priests who were sick of being a part of the arrogant, apostate, sinful, greedy Church and they wanted the Church reformed. There were simmering fires of Church reform all over the European continent and they occasionally flared up into localized open warfare and the constant, grinding persecution continued. Thousands were killed.
Martin Luther, a German, was serving the Church in Germany as an Augustinian priest. He could read and translate; he had obviously studied the writings of Augustine (mentioned above) and he impressed the German Feudal Lord (salvation?) who was supporting him. Then Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Church. More and more Reformer groups had been and were springing up all over the Roman Catholic Empire and they became known as Protesters.
Luther’s 95 Thesis blew the lid off the smoldering pot of Church reform. The Catholic Church excommunicated him and placed a bounty on his head but he was a hero to the Protesters against the Church and to those who lived in bondage. The German feudal lord liked his now famous friar and killed the assassins as they came.
The Protestor movement grew stronger and stronger and started to split (2nd schism) away from the Catholic Church. The name Protestor was individualized into the name Protestant for individual Protestors. The Catholics fought to keep control and the Protestants were willing to fight to get away from the Catholic Church. Hundreds of thousands were killed.
Luther’s followers established the Lutheran church in Germany and Scandinavia. John Calvin and his followers established Reformed Churches in Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland and France. John Knox and his followers established the Presbyterian Church in Scotland and Hungary. Their uniting belief was the Bible, not the Pope, is the supreme authority for the Church. An ever growing number of some of the royal families were converted and joined with the Protestants.
The Huguenots were the largest Protestant group in France. Catholic King Henry created a heresy court known as the Burning Chamber because after Protestant prisoners were tortured into the confession of Dissident activities they were burned alive.
The event that ensured the two sides, Catholic and Protestant, would never again be one Church happened while Henry II was king of France. In 1559 the French Huguenots (French Calvinists) organized a military to protect themselves against their King and the House of Guise which was a powerful Catholic family with ties to the Catholic Spanish King and his royal court. In 1562 civil war broke out with guerrilla tactics, sporadic battles and much slaughter.
In 1572 a peace attempt was made by politically arranging a marriage between Henry of Navarre, the nominal head of the Huguenots, and Margaret of Valois a Catholic member of the Royal Family. Catherine de’ Medici, also of the royal family and a strident Catholic, persuaded the Catholics to kill the Protestants who attended the wedding in Paris and 3,000 Protestants were killed.
Catholic soldiers assaulted the Huguenot neighborhoods in Paris and in the French provinces of Rouen, Lyons, Bourges, Orleans and Bordeaux and an estimated 70,000 Protestants were killed. Huguenot soldiers killed Catholics in the fighting and they actively hunted down priests like animals and murdered them. It is reported some of the Huguenot Army officers wore necklaces strung with priest’s ears. The Pope responded with a mass in which he celebrated the Catholic victory.
Christians killing Christians and the Church (Pope) celebrated with a victory mass? Any thoughts of peace were roasted in the crackling flames of that Catholic celebration. During the 100 years of the 16th century, 1500-1600, wars like this one flared sporadically all across the Holy Roman (Catholic) Empire.
The Thirty Year War, 1618 to 1648, started in Bohemia and eventually spread to every nation in Europe. It was inspired by religious differences but it also had international (between European Nations) social, political, and economic ramifications. Several sources say the loss of life and destruction of property rivaled the losses suffered in WW1 which is estimated to be 20 million people dead at a cost of 206 billion in 1913 valued dollars.
After the Protestants split from the Catholic Church the Catholic Church took a long hard look at itself and started a counter reformation to rid itself of the undesirable elements that made it what it was. End of Catholic Church discussion.
With all the hatred, bloodshed and the impossibility of reason in Europe it is no great wonder that on Sept. 16, 1620 one hundred and two passengers faced the great unknown and fled across the huge, forbidding Atlantic Ocean in a tiny, rickety, wooden sailing ship named the Mayflower headed to colonize Plymouth in The New World.
The Protestant Church that came to America: The four main denominations to come out of The Reformation were #1) Lutheran, (Martin Luther), #2) Presbyterian (John Knox), #3) Anglican Church (England State Religion) and the #4) Reformed Church (John Calvin).
The Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches believed mankind is of a carnal, fallen nature because of the original sin in the garden of Eden, the Bible is the sole source of authority from God, that mankind in general has the free will to make a choice, that man receives salvation through the grace of God and not of works.
The Anglican Church (of England) had much of the trappings, rote, communion, ritual, Book of Prayer and etc. of the hated Catholic Church and entered into its own repressive policies when reformers in England attempted to make changes.
The Reformed Church (Calvinists) believed in predestination where only a few people are predestined to be saved and all the rest are doomed to hell and none have a choice in the matter. They believed holy works and strict adherence to the Bible earned heaven. The Calvinists also had a strict Church code of conduct that dictated their speech, dress, manner, number of times to attend Church each week and etc. Calvinism will be discussed in Part 3.
Of course it is easy to see the Puritans (Pure-i-tans) who brought their harsh beliefs and the Church Patrol to enforce discipline, were of the Reformed Church (Calvinists) because they had purified the Church. It is also easy to see the Pilgrims with their more gentle ways and belief in free will and grace were from the Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches.
After colonization began, people eventually flooded to the colonies (later named America) to escape servitude to various monarchies and governments and also to escape the persecution, bloodshed, instability and repression of the Thirty Year War.
In 1683 Dutch and German Mennonites of the Anabaptist denomination came to Pennsylvania and were followed by Swiss Mennonites around 1708. They united in 1725 and adopted the Dordrecht Confession of faith as their original Church statement of faith. My gentle friend and spiritual Brother Nathan, written about in this commentary in article #6 in the Growth as a Christian series, is a Mennonite.
John Smyth, an ordained Anglican minister, broke away from the Anglicans and founded the Baptist Church in the Netherlands in 1608. A member of that Church, Thomas Helwys, started the Baptist Church in Spitalfields, England in 1612. The Baptists also came to America.
John and Charles Wesley were ordained Anglican ministers who emphasized conversion (change to something else—born again) and holiness. They were barred by the Anglicans in England and they started the Methodist movement in 1738. In America mighty Methodist circuit riding evangelists froze, starved, and thirsted as they rode the lonely back trails and brought the Gospel to distant, far-flung, isolated settlements, farms and encampments. Hats off to you my Brothers.
The Church of Christ (1Cor. 1:10-14 Esp. v.12 keywords: I of Christ) with their belief they are the one true Church and that water baptism is essential to salvation is a “home grown denomination” founded by ex-Presbyterian, ex-Baptist Alexander Campbell in 1830. He never claimed that distinction but did say he was from a long line that extended back to John the Baptist.
The Pentecostal movement, a loose confederation of groups of Churches, is also a “home grown denomination” that started with a meeting to promote holiness by Sarah Langford in New York City in 1836. In 1902 William Seymour, a negro preacher, had been forced to sit in the hall (segregated) when white preacher Charles Parham gave a lecture concerning “tongues” as evidence of Holy Spirit baptism to a white audience.
The Pentecostal movement started growing in 1906 after William Seymour held a three-year Azusa Street Revival in an abandoned stable in Los Angeles, CA. All Pentecostal branches trace their origin back to that revival. God bless you my Brother, because of your humility the Pentecostal Church is now, 12-25-12, the fastest growing Protestant Church in the world.
Two Catholics, Thomas FitzSimons and Daniel Carroll, signed the Constitution and a Jew, Hyam Solomon, a member of the Sons of Liberty in 1776, collected donations from other Jews and bought food and clothing for the starving, freezing Continental Army at Valley Forge.
Hyam Solomon was captured and sentenced to death by the British for spying but managed to escape. When George Washington needed funds to fight the British at Yorktown, the final and conclusive battle in the Revolutionary War, he was told there was no money in the treasury to buy munitions. George Washington uttered a four word command; “Send for Hyam Solomon.”
The Continental Army won the battle of Yorktown, financed by the Jews through Hyam Solomon, the English left American soil and America was free from tyranny. (John 4:22) Christians owe their spiritual freedom to the Jews through Jesus and America owes her political freedom to the Jews because of their financial support of the Revolutionary War. Remember, the only two nations founded by covenant? Israel and America! What does America owe Israel?
THE FERTILE GROUND COVERED BY THIS BRIEF HISTORY IS WHERE YOUR CHURCH ORIGINATED. (Please read: Luke 21:33, John 6:63-68 & 2Tim. 2:15) You owe it to yourself to study your KJV Holy Bible and decide if your Church is part of God’s Church. Simply put; who do you trust with your eternal life; your Church, or your Pastor, or your denomination, OR: Jesus and His Bible?
(John 1:1-4 & 1John 1:1-4) Jesus is the Living Word of God. (Matt. 4:4, 13:18-23; John 5:24, 8:28-32, 14:23-25 & 17:6-14) You will be judged by Jesus’ words; not your pastor, your Church, or your denomination! Get a good concordance that lists and locates every word in the Bible, gives Hebrew and Greek definitions (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is a good one) and study for your life!
(Matt. 7:13-23 esp. V.14 keyword: gate & V.21 keyword: will) In these scriptures Jesus gives a picture of the true, Bible believing church within the (2Cor. 11:13-15) visible, apostate (abandonment of one’s religious faith) church. (John 14:6 & Acts 4:8-12) The only way to achieve salvation is through Jesus Who is the Gate. AND: (John 1:1-4 & 1John 1:1-7 keyword: Word) God’s Living Word, the Holy Bible, is God’s revealed reasoning, motive, Divine Expression (i. e. Jesus). (Luke 11:23) Jesus said; “He who is not with me is against me.” Christian, what could be more plain?
Read (Matt. 24:3-13): As America the nation goes deeper and deeper into sin under “civil law” the crescendo of God’s judgments grows greater. God is saying; “Come back to Me America because I love you and we have a covenant.” just like He did ancient Israel! Check the storms, floods, fires, droughts and etc.
America has not won a war since WW2. Sexual freedom and acceptance began its ascendancy in the late 1940s AND Korea was a draw as proved by the Korean DMZ. The counter-culture with its free sex and drug culture kicked in during the 1960s AND Vietnam was a defeat, the communists overran that DMZ and took that country.
Iraq and Afghanistan were a horrid joke–see below. America has the greatest, most sophisticated war machine the world has ever known, yet America cannot wipe out a few drug smugglers and a group of religious zealots. “Don’t offend anyone or deprive anyone of their “civil rights” while we are fighting for America’s survival!” “Oh my God, don’t kill an innocent bystander and we cannot cause any collateral damage!” If that’s the answer how stupid was the question?
The roaring twenties were followed by the great depression and the dust bowl farming disaster. Go to PBS NEWSHOUR, click on Weather’s Dozen: 2011 Breaks U.S. Billion-Dollar Disaster Record if you want to see God’s judgments. A judgment: the World Trade Center terrorist attack of 9-11-01. A judgment: hurricane Katrina cost 138 billion dollars and that was right after America’s leaders bragged; “We’ll come back from 9-11 on our own, we’ll rebuild, we’ll be stronger than ever”. Left unsaid in words but made plain by actions was; “America as a nation will not repent! America will not return to God! We don’t need You!”
Oh sure, there were a few weeks of knee-jerk prayers but America did not come back to God. Where was the unified Church of America? Spiritually asleep at the wheel, searching for entertainment and their electronic fix and shouting; “Tell us what we want to hear or we’ll vote you out as Pastor”.
The spiritually blind church missed the point EXCEPT: for those Holy Spirit led truth tellers in God’s hidden, true Church that people love to mock, disbelieve and desire to shut up, the hidden church inside the visible, apostate church. Where was the national repentance in spiritual sackcloth and ashes? Repent from what? (1Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21 & Rev. 21:8) National acceptance of abortion, drugs, fornication, homosexual lifestyle, lying, stealing and etc.
THE HORRID JOKE: What about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that only accomplished the waste of American soldier’s lives and much needed resources? We changed a few names by killing some of them but different faces carry the same old spirit don’t they? Nothing really changed did it? It can’t as long as the American government pussyfoots around trying not to offend anyone! Where was America’s leadership? IF YOU DON’T WIN YOU’VE LOST! Duuuhhhh!
This is not an attack on America’s gallant soldiers. I love them for what they are and I too know the depressing, terrible, soul killing frustration of being sent to war (Vietnam) but not being allowed to win. It’s like being the butt of a joke gone horribly wrong.
A lot of Christians have died in America’s wars and disasters just like obedient Jews did in Israel. Individuals don’t matter when it comes to a nation’s judgment. (Heb. 9:27 keywords: it is appointed unto men once to die) When death calls your name, the cause of your death matters very little because dead is dead.
EXCEPT (Heb. 2:9-11 esp. V.11 keyword: brethren) JESUS’ BROTHERS AND SISTERS. For a complete explanation go to the commentary The Holy Spirit & You, scroll the menu to the two-article series I Have Experienced Christian Physical Death and you will understand by scripture how God’s mercy extends far beyond a Christian’s wildest dreams.
(Rev. 20:11-15) Each of us will face God’s judgment SO: the only thing that will ever count is; are you a Christian or not AND: (Rev. 3:14-22 esp. V.16 keyword: lukewarm) if you are a Christian, how did you live your life?
The United States of America was officially established by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (amendments to the Constitution). AND: As you will see, since that time, except for a spurt of revival here and there, the visible Church has grown steadily weaker, more corrupt and less influential in American society under the rules of democracy (civil law) as are set forth in the founding documents because, basically, society is hell bent on feel goodism, sensual entertainment.
The definition of church in New Testament Greek is THE CALLED OUT ONES. (Eph. 2:13-22 esp. V.21-22 & Heb. 3:6) Individual Christians are the house in which God lives through the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 16:4-5) The Church house is the “special” building where God’s people assemble together to meet with God.
It contains the blood bought altar purchased by Jesus Christ, God’s Son, on the bloody cross at Calvary, it is consecrated to God, it is Holy Ground. BUT: When God’s people go home God goes with them IN THEIR HEARTS (SOULS) and the wood, plastic, porcelain, steel and stone building, the church house consecrated to God, is empty.
NOTE: John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, said before a ministerial Association in 1960: “For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a Baptist; Today I may be the victim; but tomorrow it may be you; until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped.” That was Kennedy’s reply to attacks upon his religious beliefs because he was a Catholic candidate for president.
Martin Niemoller, a Protestant minister, described what Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party did in Germany when they came to power in the 1930s; “First they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
There are nations where a single religion is the authority over every person. Would you want to live under that? There are nations where a dictator has all control and his political beliefs, sometimes under the guise of religious beliefs, are the rule of law over every person in that nation. Would you want to live under that?