“Deeper waters lie ahead.”
Deeper waters lie ahead, and dare we go farther? So Jesus ascended and the Apostles found what was about to become the Church left in their hands. On the Day of Pentecost a mighty Wind blew out of heaven and the Holy Spirit swept in with power! 3000 souls were saved that day, the Church was birthed and the rest is history, right? Yes…there is much history we have not considered. Sail on, Soul Sailors. No man-made motor will get you through this.
I call it the “Missing Two Hundred Years”. Why do we know so little about the ones the Apostles discipled and ordained? The men they handed the torch to. Those discipled by the Disciples and placed as heads of Home Churches, the early Church. Really there would be no need had we stayed exactly with the original template of the Church, but we have not, and so there is a need! But all we hear is silence, and consequently when I left our modern system in search of answers, I found I had at least 200 years of missing knowledge.
At first I was lost in my search, as if lost in a maze. I kept seeing the Church in Acts, and I was aware of the Catholic domination, the Dark Ages, Martin Luther, and the Reformation, but how did we get there?
I soon learned about the Roman Emperor Constantine, and that got me back to around 300 A.D.. The final chapters of our Bible were finished around 100 A.D. As I studied 100 and 300 A.D. I saw a tremendous difference, and I also saw the difference began accelerating into something far different than what Jesus did. Big change had begun during those 200 years I knew little of, and then accelerated even more with the arrival of Constantine!
I can see were not going to get far in this article. There is such a stage to set and so much meat to put on the table. You just can’t swallow meat whole. It’s got to be cut up. I did say deep waters were upon us. Soul Sailors must tred these waters if Soul Sailors they would be! We sail on.
Proof of what I say is the very fact that the 300 A.D. Church was willing to allow a heathen like Constantine to have great sway and influence in the church! Jesus never would have! The Apostles never would have! The early Church Fathers such as Polycarp never would have! But 300 A.D. Church did! So what happened? This 200 year period would seem to hold our answers. Let me establish this evidence this way. I’m afraid I got to give you a long quote but we will end with this quote and continue next time. This quote by E. Stanely Jones really says it all. I can say it no better.
He starts by pointing out how our Lord’s Beatitudes somehow got lost, and things would be so different had they not! E. Stanely Jones, a missionary to India, Quote >(Christ of the Mount, copyright 1931, starting page 12 of Introduction.) >
“India is forcing us to face anew the Sermon on the Mount. She insists that this is Christianity. No matter how much we may point to our creeds she insists on pointing us to the pattern shown her in the mount. The fact is that the Sermon on the Mount is not in our creeds. As the Apostle’s Creed now stands you can accept every word of it and leave the essential self untouched. Suppose we had written it in our creeds and had repeated each time with conviction: ‘I believe in the Sermon on the Mount and its way of life, and I intend, God helping me, to embody it!’ What would have happened? I feel sure that if this had been our main emphasis, the history of Christendom would have been different. With emphasis on doctrines which left unaffected our way of life the Christian Church could accept Constantine as its prize convert. And yet Constantine after his alleged conversion, murdered his conquered colleague and brother-in-law Licinius; sentenced to death his eleven year old nephew, killed his eldest son, Crispus, brought about the death of his second wife; took the nails that were supposed to come from the cross of Christ and used them in his war helmet and another on the bridle of his war horse. yet he was canonized by the Greek Church and his memory celebrated ‘as equal to the apostles.’ He talked and presided at the opening of the Council of Nicaea, which was called to frame a creed, and he was hailed as ‘a bishop of bishops’. Could this have happened if the men who had gathered there had made the Sermon on the Mount an essential part of the Creed? It had no place in it, so Constantine could be at home. What had happened was that the Christian Church had been conquered by a pagan warrior. And the Church allowed itself to be conquered, for this idea of Christ did not have possession of its soul. For the same reason, a bishop could kick another to death in the cathedral of Constantinople to prove his orthodoxy,…” (We’ll stop here.)
Also, Constantine was never even baptized till he was on his deathbed. Sounds to me he wanted to be a heathen right up to his dying day and then get into heaven at the last second. I wonder if that worked for him? But this Roman Emperor was given great influence in the Church of that time. What had happened to the Church? I rest my case.
The facts we need are out there. The new wine skin demands we know the truth. We must not fail in our endeavor. We sail on. The set of our sails is on those missing 200 years! Light be!