Grandpa White Feather / 12-13-18

20181102_114913 I can’t believe its been 2 months since my last entry already, and during that time many good things and much progress has been made. The purpose of this blog site is now two-fold. 1.) It is historical information concerning church history and how we left a “Table relationship” which Christ established, and returned to more of a “Temple relationship”, a relationship I decided I would do my best to leave, and thus was created “Fellowship of the White Path”, a church different. This site is a record of my personal journey to this discovery if you are industrious enough to study it for yourself. The articles are already written, plenty of them, and I do not need to write more. One must simply be willing to dig deeper into this site. But the journey with the Teepee continues, and I will occasionally give updates.

2.) Since the history is already written, and those who want to really know the truth about “Temple or Table” will be willing to search, I have recently been inspired to simply share short excerpts from my journals. I constantly journal. These will simply be spiritual and philosophical type thoughts that I feel worth sharing.

So…perhaps it is “3” fold. 1.) Historical records and personal journey already written. 2.) Quick updates as to the progress of Teepee and spiritual retreat. 3.) Thoughts from the journals of Grandpa White Feather.

And since “thoughts from my journals is the new thing, I will start with that, written just today, and I will leave you with some pictures and a few quick update comments. Assuming anyone is interested in these things I do, we will continue to do this, probably on a very irregular basis, as the Spirit inspires. Here’s my journal for today:

What is the least amount we can be the most happy with? (This question, this thought occurred to me today, worded in just this way.) That amount is worth fighting for. But there is the “Law of Diminishing Return”, and most people fail to heed the wisdom of that Law.

What is the least amount that makes me the most happy? Where is my level of contentment? Am I ever simply content? 

With God, less becomes more. Poverty becomes rich. Jesus told a rich church they were actually poor, and ready to be spewed out of his mouth. He also told a poor church they were actually rich.

God’s Word says godliness with contentment is great gain.

Journal Ends

I spent 2 weeks actually living in the Teepee as very bad November weather rushed in. We even had fifty mile an hour winds one day! But we now have a working wood stove. The bedroom chamber has made progress with floor laid and a swinging hatch door on inside wall to enter it, but I did fail to get it ready soon enough. It’s still not able to be used. And without a nice warm sleeping place, two weeks in the Teepee was enough for now.

I came home to the city house and cut it in half! It’s not a big house to begin with, but with a little innovation, I saw I could save on our utility bills by creating a Murphy bed in our living room. This was an interesting challenge. It’s been very successful. And now I can slowly turn the back half of house into a studio apartment. Completion of this project is way down the road, but for now, just saving on utilities is a big blessing, and I’m actually really enjoying the new set-up.

I end with pictures of teepee and house;  and yes, the pictures will fall off the shelves if I don’t remove them before lowering bed, but it only takes like one minute, and since I’m retired now, it’s certainly not a problem.

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Actions, or just more words?

20180829_171204 My wife and I watched a Christian movie the other day: “God’s Not Dead 3” – “A Light in the Darkness”. Another very good movie. I’ve enjoyed all 3 so far. But from my personal perspective, with the things God has spoke to me about and changes that have occurred, because of such new knowledge I’m now responsible for, I must say there was one thing that bugged me, and I see it so very pervasive in American Christianity. We talk big, but our actions don’t follow, and sometimes, perhaps even most times, our actions actually contradict the words we have so boldly spoken!

So what’s the deal? Do we not see we are actually sabotaging the very message we have worked so hard to send forth? Is the message of God or not? I just spent 3 weeks listening to 3 messages a Pastor preached to his Church. I was put onto these messages because a friend knew I was very into the subject of “The Early Church”, and his Pastor had just preached a message about getting back to the start, and did some teaching on the early church. So he let me know, and I began listening.

The Pastor began by saying there is a movement “out there” of people leaving the church because it is not “perfect enough”. It has problems, and these folks say they want to get back closer to the early church. Then he began explaining how Christianity is not a “Church building”. The people are the Church. He wanted to make sure his people were not hung up on the “building”, of which they have a very nice one, and plenty of debt with it.

He said the church is not perfect because it is a place for the sick to come. It’s like a spiritual hospital. This is true, but to that I say, just because the church takes care of sick people, that is not an excuse for the church to be sick! Are we giving them what they really need? In some cases yes, but in many, no.

Anyway, sounded like he opened a big subject, (which it is), the early church fathers, and I thought sure he was beginning a series. He preached very hard about revival and getting back to what the church “ecclesia” means. However, rather than continue this very vital message that most the church is ignorant concerning, he dropped the subject like a hot potato and followed it with two weeks of sermons about people “struggling” with their Christian faith! (Whaaat?) What kind of menu is this?

Not only that, but the one message he did preach, taught nothing new, had no real depth concerning the church Jesus started, and even taught that Constantine was a Christian! He made it sound like a Christian Roman Emperor heard the will of God and that is how we left home churches and moved into large buildings! He made it sound like there was no debate or concern, and it was the natural leading of God, and all was perfectly well! Nothing is further from the truth!

There was no educating his people of how Constantine lived as an unsaved man who should not have influenced the church, nor of any debate concerning these big changes after 300 years of small group ministries! His people walked out completely uneducated concerning getting back to the beginning, which was what he said in the beginning about his message.

(And my friend seemed unconcerned about this very misleading message. All he did was make excuses, and probably regretted making me aware. Evidently, like most people, this was not any serious problem to him. This is my perception of the conversation we had. What else can I surmise from his lack of concern? As far as I know, he still does not read the articles I write, in which if he were concerned, he could easily verify if I have a point, or not? Please let me know, friend, if you’re reading, so I know you’re taking anything I have said seriously enough to at least investigate?)

So as I anxiously awaited his next messages, I was greatly disappointed, because I cannot see that his actions in any way support what came out of his mouth that day. Except he put that personal slant to his message because he really does still want big building ministry. His church will not function without a big expensive building. He really is not interested in getting back to the “start”. That was a message of empty words, followed by two messages of struggling with your faith. No thanks. Not the kind of food my spirit is hungry for. But that’s just me. For all those who crave such spiritual food, there are plenty of places to find it. There is no lacking of these messages. This is not the spiritual food we are starving for, as if a famine in the land. But there is a famine!

So, as I was saying, my wife and I watched “God’s Not Dead 3”, and as you probably now realize if you have seen the movie, you know where I’m going. They did such a good job of revealing a serious problem. I mean, that Pastor was really stuck inside the box! He could not seem to envision how many ways true Christianity could invade that campus. It’s like water! If people are on fire for God, it cannot be stopped! It does not need a building! It targets hearts! It needs tables of fellowship! But he was stuck in the same thinking God seems to be shinning a spotlight on!

This seems to be the message of the hour! So many people are seeing it, saying it, preaching it, even making movies of it, but how many are actually DOING IT? I hear their words, but the words are instantly swept away by their actions! They do not mean what they say! Their living in a virtual reality! Nice words, great movie, but you fail to follow through! They ease their conscience with great words, and then go right back to the same stinking thinking! Do they think they have done their job? Do they think they have obeyed God? Do they think they have alerted their people, and been a good shepherd? Do as I say, not as I do?

In our last article we talked about the visitations of Christ in the garden, and how he came to his 3 disciples; Peter, James, and John. He expected them to pass on the words of his visitation, but they simply fell back to sleep. Are we doing any better? Perhaps we are passing on the word before we fall back to sleep.

After the great climax of the show, when the Preacher finally realizes how far off base he has gotten in his representation of the meek and lowly Christ, he makes a great speech to everyone about how Christianity is not a “building”, but almost the next thing you see, and the way the movie ends, the Preacher turns over the first spadeful of dirt to build the new building! Wow. I’m sorry. Like I said, I enjoy these shows, but does no one see how stuck we are in this box? We are so blind to it that we do not even see when we completely contradict the message we have worked so hard to preach! All that work “undone” in a moment! And Satan laughs the whole time, thinking how easy these people are.

I turned over several spadefuls of dirt this week, because my Teepee continues slowly growing, is debt free, and I try to match my actions to my words. I am now putting in a wall and door! The small group atmosphere in this place is awesome! Getting stronger every day! By next summer this spiritual get-away, this prayer garden, this school in the wilderness, should be ready. It has not been easy, but no matter how slow it has been, my actions are in harmony with my words. And maybe…just maybe….there will be a people who see the truth of that… and they will come hungry for food to make a soul strong in the Lord…so there is not so much spiritual struggle in God’s body. Is the body of Christ unhealthy? Is it sick? Why so much struggle? It ought not be so!

As I said before, just because the church helps sick people, is no excuse for the church to be sick! This Pastor accuses others of leaving the church because it is not perfect, but then spends the next two weeks preaching messages confirming the problem! Am I the only one who sees confusion here? God is not the author of confusion!

Yes, we RESIST the devil. We war against him! But we are strong in the Lord! Our faith is strong, not doubting and struggling! God has not given us a spirit of fear! Oddly enough, this place to build healthy souls has also made my body strong and healthy as I have dug in dirt, chopped wood, drank water from a deep fresh well, and built this Tipi. Everything seems to confirm and be in harmony. We are not confused in our simplicity. We do not function as a business, nor do we have the stress of such operations. I simply want to move with God, and stay under his shadow. Here’s a couple more pictures.

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I’m afraid all the hard work wore Shadow out. Supervision is a tough job.

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Easter or Passover?

Little did I know that I would be doing something different for Easter this year, such as defending Bishop Polycarp, the early church father of Smyrna.

Even defending the early churches of Asia Minor, against the ways of our modern church. Little did I know.

As a matter of fact, I discover “little have I known” for all these years now. It’s rather disturbing when I think about it. Sixty years of going to church, and Easter Sundays in which we put on our Sunday best and celebrated the resurrection of Christ, along with taking the Communion.

Over these years I have witnessed the slow evolution of Easter Sundays changing from a “dress-up day”, to a more casual day which included an Easter bunny and egg hunt at the end. Such progress we have made, and yet if Polycarp were here, or the Apostle John, they would likely say we have made no progress at all since we digressed, (un-progressed), way back around 300 A.D.!

So this year, much to my surprise, I find myself preparing to do a “Christian Version Passover Meal and Communion” with a handful of people. Have I ever done this before? NO. Do I know what I’m doing? I’ve learned enough to be able to do better than most churches will be doing this Easter. Does that sound conceited? Well… if you studied the historical records as I have the last couple months, you might realize I’m simply doing the best I can, in my own humble effort, to resurrect something the church let die many years ago. Something Polycarp, devoted disciple of Apostle John thought was extremely important. I’m resurrecting the “Welcoming Table” of our Lord. (In my own simple way.)

But I have written a considerable amount about all this in our blog-journey leading to this point, so today’s goal is to simply type in some pieces of early writings, historical records, as evidence I’m not losing my mind or making this stuff up.

And since I’m not the best typer: I only do this because of my great concern. I would not be attempting this unless I felt it so important. I want this blog site to be a source of important information for what God might be doing in the earth today. I don’t expect anyone to take my word for anything. Simply consider the evidence, and search for yourself.

If you want to research these for yourself, it might be possible to google. I bought books. 5000 pages worth of books! (LOL) So I have not tried the google thing. But I’m about to type excerpts of early church father “Irenaeus”, born around 130 A.D., and said he had actually sat under teachings by Polycarp. Another source is “Eusebius”, who put to record much early church history and lived during the time of Constantine.

I hope this will be helpful for your own consideration, but it will only be so if you are serious about what Christ first started as the church. If you think there is no danger in the changes we have made, or it’s too difficult to do anything now, then this won’t be much help to you. So for those who take such things very seriously, I make this effort.

Irenaeus: Fragment 3 (some excerpts) > “And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points, they were at once well inclined towards each other (with regard to the matter at hand), not willing that any quarrel should arise between them upon this head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance (Passover) (in his own way), in as much as these things had been always so observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant…”

(However, as I wrote in earlier articles, this Passover/Easter controversy would grow more heated as the years went by, and around 300 A.D., after Polycarp is long gone, Rome forces its way on the matter.)

Now here is some excerpts from Eusebius.

Eusebius: History Book 5 – Chapter 23 > A question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the 14th day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour’s  passover.” 

“But it was not the custom of the churches of the rest of the world to end it at this time…”

Synods and assemblies were held on this count…” (The synods voted in disagreement with the Asia churches.)

Chapter 24 > “But the Bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them…”

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen to sleep…” “Among these are Phillip, one of the twelve apostles…” “And moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord,…” “And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr…” (a few others are also mentioned.)

“All these observed the 14th day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith.”

“And I also, Polycrates,…” “For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven.”

“I, therefore, brethern, who have lived 65 years in the Lord, and have met with the brethern throughout the world, and have gone through every holy scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’

Chapter 25 > “Those in Palestine whom we have recently mentioned, Narcissus and Theophilus, and with them Cassius, bishop of the church of Tyre, and Clarus of the church of Ptolemais, and those who met with them, having stated many things respecting the tradition concerning the passover which had come to them in succession from the apostles,…”

Okay, wow…I hope that’s enough to show evidence of the importance of this observance that was changed by Rome in the day. It’s not only about the day it is observed on, but how it is observed too. If you read in your own Bible, in I Corinthians 11: 17-33, you will note this was a meal! Like Jesus had a meal with his disciples that night. It was a meal, and it was like family. The emphasis was on his death, not his resurrection. We have lost the proper emphasis along with the proper method and the proper “a lot of things” when it comes to all this. Yes… the machinery of our modern church scares me. When we came out of Catholicism, it seems we did not come all the way out, but carried baggage with us.

So at the age of 62, this year, there is going to be red on the doorpost of my house, and we’re going to talk about many things as we share a meal, and unleavened bread. It will start at sundown and end at midnight; and it will not be hard to fill the time. We have a great many things that need to be said…perhaps even resurrected.

One last thing: As I was reading I Corinthians 11, something occurred to me I had not realized before. Paul says in verse 23 that he is passing on what he received of the Lord! Now realize that Jesus was already gone by the time Paul was called to be an Apostle! So… as detailed in II Cor. 12, and Galatians 1: 11-24, Paul “somehow” had personal time with Jesus! And in this time, “evidently”, Jesus thought it important enough to also instruct Paul concerning the Lord’s Supper! And Paul is herein sharing some of those details!

If it is that important, that Jesus made it part of his personal instructions to Apostle Paul, then maybe we should pay this a little more attention, and ask our full-time, paid-staff experts, what’s going on here? Why are we ignorant concerning these things? Are we being sold a blue light special relationship to Christ?

It seems like a photocopy machine. I hate to say it. The church should be better than this. By the power of God we’re not subject to fading. But the more copies that have been made from copy to copy, the more our current copy seems to be a far cry from the original. But we still have God’s Word in which to ferret out the truth if we care enough.

I know this is a lot to think about, but for your own sake, and the sake of the Lord’s church, please do.

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“Fellowship of the White Path” / Grandpa White Feather.

MAZE IV – Continued.

“A Lord’s Supper Story” – Continued.

“Lock the door! Darkness has fallen! No one else can enter in!” the Elder shouted, and the door was locked.

After this announcement, Bishop Daniel stood before his people and motioned for everyone to settle in, draw close, and pay attention. “Welcome everyone. We’re so glad you are all here, and everyone made it in, because tonight is very special, and perhaps this night is God’s key to it all, as we enter into the Lord’s Supper, and His Table.

“For some of you this is your first “Lord’s Supper” on the Passover date.” The Bishop’s eyes fell for a moment on Daniel and his family, and another family present, before continuing. “Your children will have questions, and you will have the chance to explain very important spiritual truths. But this brings up my first topic of discussion, for a change is coming, and I do not think we are going to be able to stop it.”

If it were not silent before, it was now, as the Bishop had the full attention of every person. Was there news concerning the latest Christian persecution? Whatever it was, from the sound in Bishop Daniel’s voice, it must be of utmost importance. The people waited.

“As you know, this House Church has always followed the teachings of Bishop Polycarp, who was discipled by the Apostle John, and taught to observe the Passover in just the way we have always done it; but changes are coming, and they are not small. The Bishops of Rome have been pressing to go this way for quite some time, but we have steadfastly refused. Now they have their eyes on big buildings, large congregations, a short-form Lord’s Supper, and an Easter celebration that ends on Sunday. With changing tides in the air of Rome, these Bishops see their chance coming. They are pressing for the Bishop of Rome to be the one Pope, a title we have not approved of ourself, but he would become the “Holy See” over all, and all other Bishops would be expected to follow his rule, to maintain unity, or be excommunicated.”

“As you can imagine, this will have many effects, including the eventual loss of the Home Church which is so conducive to the Lord’s Welcoming Table, and a closeness we have always enjoyed. So be aware of these things, and as I now will pray and we begin our meal together, this meal symbolically representing the slaying of a spotless lamb, be sure to share with your brothers and sisters, and we can begin to discuss such things as are coming, and prepare ourselves to know what is right, and do what is pleasing in our Lord’s sight.” With that final statement, Bishop Daniel paused, taking one last look around at the flock, and then bowed his head to pray. This was the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing upon the meal about to be partook.

As usual, the fellowship during this time was rich. It was also a time of checking on the family. Usually, if a family was hurting, it could be detected. It was not just about laughing, hugging, and putting up a good front. It was real. If you were hurting, the family wanted to know. Food was passed around with special note being taken of any who seemed to not have much. But also, added to this night was talk of the changes Bishop Daniel had spoken of, along with reminders of why they were here this night for this purpose. Through the blood of Christ, each person here was safe from the Death Angel. After the meal, they would all partake of the Bread representing the Lord’s body, and the Cup representing his blood.

It was a very solemn occasion. Bishop Daniel took the time to explain how the Lord’s Supper, the Passover meal, was a yearly reminder of Jesus great sacrifice to set us free from our captivity to sin. How it was in the death of the sacrificial lamb that each family was saved from the Death Angel. The Passover meal was all about the Lord’s death on that cross, a people set free, and an evil Pharaoh defeated. Tonight was not about the Lord’s resurrection, but about His great love to embrace our Cross, and now we look at His passion for the world, and we enter that same passion, and that same cross.

If anyone was worried about passing so many hours from sundown to midnight, they should not have been so. So much sharing was accomplished in those hours. Each also reminding each other to try and imagine a real Death Angel flew over those houses that night. This was real! In the middle of the night wailing began being heard from the Egyptians, as they awoke to find loved ones dead! But the houses with blood on the doorposts, forming the sign of the cross even as it was applied, were safe.

Elder Joe also walked around encouraging everyone not to take God’s blessings for granted. God has saved us from an eternal judgement. We start our new year by reminding ourself of the curses of Pharaoh, the death of God’s first born Son, and how serious our life in Christ is. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride, even as God’s Word says a man is to love his wife, and give himself for her, even as Christ gave himself for the Church.

There were times of singing and worship, and times of questions and discussion. The night was passing far too quickly. But finally, Bishop Daniel stood to speak again. “Do not forget,” he began, “that Moses instructed the people to keep their clothes and shoes on, and have their staff nearby, ready to go. God had said they would be thrust out by the Egyptians with haste! And it happened just that way, while it was still dark, they were told to leave now! Before we decide to kill you! And they left with such haste there was no time to even add leaven to their bread! After this Passover meal, the Jews entered seven days of unleavened bread, and it was to always be a part of this Passover feast.

In God’s Word, leaven always represents sin. As we have begun this new year, we have the chance to embrace God’s passion and His glory even more than the year before. Let us get the sin out of our life, and live holy unto our God. As you practice the next seven days of unleavened bread, pray and ponder about these things. I want to thank everyone for coming tonight. As usual, a basket is by the door for free-will offerings. We do have needs in the body, and some were made known here tonight. If God has blessed you with extra, obey God in what you should give. With that said, I will ask Elder Joe to dismiss us, and do not feel you have to rush out of here like the Israelites had to. A better sacrifice has been made for us than the blood of any animal, and we rejoice in our High Priest Jesus tonight, and we do remember his death, until He returns. Amen.

Then the Bishop gave the Elder a nod, and a final prayer was prayed. Everyone gave hugs and slowly made their way out into the night. Some families walking together until paths parted with final hugs and handshakes.

Eli felt such a peace inside as he stared up into the night sky, with his little family. Another whole year laid ahead of them now, but he felt very good about the way they had started it. In the years to come, his children would grow up, and House Church would be just a memory for them. They would speak of the closeness they once had. They would question the direction of the current Church, but for the sake of unity they would continue on…until they did not…until such a darkness was upon them that no other choice was possible…and many would be the splinters of the church…and many the cold stone buildings…short-form Lord’s Suppers…and lack of knowing your brother and sister…even to the point of many falling through cracks no one spoke of.

The End

I hope this short story helped. So much more could have been written as far as the many ways those hours from sunset to midnight could have been passed, in which the time would fly. Also, the many things which could be taught from both the Passover in Moses day and the comparisons to what Passover includes for us today. This story was only meant to give a glimpse of the possibilities. To cover it all would require a book.

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Church History & The MAZE III

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This is the best picture I could get of this diagram. I’ll try to explain it some as we do a quick review of some major points before we dig into the Lord’s Supper itself. Starting at far left center, this diagram shows 2 House Churches, the one at Smyrna under Bishop Polycarp who trained under Apostle John. 2nd church, the House Church at Rome which they trace back to Apostle Peter. We see these 2 churches begin flowing forward in time, and they are in unity, “one church” as far as theology goes. At this time there is no High Pope or Holy See in Rome. Each House Church has their own Bishop, and that Bishop’s flock answers to, and follows him, as he follows Christ, the Word of God.

The word “catholic” itself was a word that meant “all-inclusive” or “universal”. It was not the name of the church! It simply meant anyone could get saved. It did not matter if you were slave or free, male or female, Gentile or Jew, any color, any language, salvation was for one and all. They were originally called “The Way”, and then “Christians”. But calling the church “The Catholic Church” comes way later. And then the “Orthodox” split away at 1054 A.D., so you could say the one title didn’t last long.

Now during this time persecutions pop up here and there, some worse than others, but as far as church unity, things seem to flow pretty good until the 6th Bishop of Rome. He puts out a few new rules and seems to be trying to flex some muscle. He seems to refer to himself as Holy See, and we quoted his writing on this in the previous article if you like to see it. But the churches desire unity almost above all else, and the Bishop of Smyrna, still being Polycarp, who had a very long life, goes along with things until a change to Passover/Easter/Lord’s Supper is spoken of by Rome. That seems to be a bridge too far for Polycarp!

It first appears with Bishop Telespuorus (125-136 A.D.). At this point Bishop Polycarp begins his defense of how they were taught by the Apostles to do it this way, and they would not be changing. Churches developing in the area of Smyrna agree with Polycarp, and they become the Asia Minor Churches. So the battle has begun, starting around 125-136 A.D.. Obviously, Rome is not the Holy See, the say all to end all to Polycarp, or the other Asia Minor Churches.

Bishop Polycarp is martyred around 155 A.D., and all this time the Bishops of Rome have still wanted all the churches to change to their way. However, for the sake of unity, they allow it. Until, Bishop Victor I. He puts his foot down in a big way! He wants to force the issue! He cuts communication with the Asia Minor Churches! This is somewhere in 189-199 A.D., and there is still no title of Pope, and he still can’t pull it off. And note, we are still in House Churches.

But early 3rd century, (205 A.D.?), for some odd reason, “ALL” the Bishops can be referred to as Pope! Not just Rome Bishops, but all Bishops. I don’t know the details on this, but now the title is coming into use.

It appears that House Churches under their own personal Bishop, with no Holy See they recognize, is the rule until at least 250 A.D., and probably even later. But past that point, things begin to change. At end of 3rd century, somehow, the title Pope now “only” applies to the Bishop at Rome. And somewhere as time goes along, they decide to “back date” that title of Pope to all the earlier Bishops of Rome, even unto Peter! How convenient for them. Did they ask the Apostle Peter if he wanted such a title?

Next big event is Roman Emperor Constantine gives favor to the Christian Church. The influence of this pagan Emperor causes huge change in the church. No “pagan” should be allowed such influence in God’s House! The Bishop of Rome gains even more power and is now able to force his way. House Churches become a thing of the past. Easter is all about Sunday. The Lord’s Supper has become something far from the simple home table, to all kinds of ritual, ceremony, and pomp. And as they say, the rest is history, folks. Now here we are today. And how much of the way your church does the Lord’s Supper has been affected by these Catholic decisions? You say none? You might be very surprised.

When I left my last modern day church, I became very curious about the early church, and I began to wonder why my many Pastors had never taught much on them? Were they afraid to? Did they think it might cause more problems than good? Were they afraid of questions concerning changes that have been made? Are they trying to hide something? Or are they just ignorant, like I was? All good questions. You choose the one you like best. But now, if you will forgive me for once again going way beyond 1000 words, I’ll try to at least open up this issue concerning the Lord’s Supper.

Apparently, various forms of fasting had been developed leading up to the Easter or Passover event. Polycarp had been specifically instructed by the Apostles to end the fasting on the same day the Jews did, in order to have the Passover meal, just as Christ did in that upper room. And for some reason, he had been taught this was very important. Do not change!

Evidently, Rome did not know that reason, or disagreed on the point, because obviously the Jews do not celebrate any resurrection of Christ, but we do. So Rome decided the fasting needed to continue till Sunday. The resurrection/ Easter, was to always be celebrated on Sunday. This was the important day and important event. Hhmmm. Wow. Yes…how can you have a Passover meal if you’re still fasting?

Is this really an important point? Well, I have become convinced it is, and for many reasons. Some of these reasons I would even blame for the lack of sacrifice in our modern churches today. Consider this scripture>

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Cor. 11:26)

Okay, why is this so important? This only “begins” to open the importance of the Lord’s Supper. It touches on everything from the fact we left the Table Setting in the Home, and our form of the Supper misses the opportunity for “family”, and an opportunity for “giving to the poor”, and it puts the emphasis on His resurrection more than His “death”! It brings us together to the empty tomb, more than His Cross! And the fact the modern church has become so materialistic and worldly, we do not even know what it means to embrace a cross the way our brothers and sisters in hostile lands do. IT IS THAT CROSS WE NEED TO SEE IF WE EVER HOPE TO ACHIEVE THE RESURRECTION IN OUR OWN LIFE! THE RESURRECTION HAS NO BENEFIT TO ME IF I FAIL TO EMBRACE MY OWN CROSS! IF YOU PRAY ABOUT THIS, I BELIEVE YOU WILL BEGIN TO SEE IT IS NOT A SMALL THING, AND HOW IMPORTANT IT REALLY IS. (And this is only the beginning of opening this up. The Lord’s Supper in the early church was special in many many many ways. Details that will need to wait for the next article.)

As we have said, taking the emphasis off a Home Table and into a stone Temple, and removing the emphasis of the Cross to the resurrection and colored eggs. The Cross is a picture of God’s love for us, and a picture of our love for Him, but we have shifted from Cross (Rom. 12:1-2) to empty grave, and from Table to Temple. Unless we are willing to have an open mind and truly ponder these things, we do not realize how big the effect has been on us. Jesus himself said, do this in remembrance of my “death”. It’s not meant to be a party, until after his death has been truly remembered. The early church knew how to do that. Then it becomes a celebration at the resurrection.

(Special note: I’m still exploring this, but some things I have read seem to indicate the early church fathers did not consider a person truly born-again until the day of resurrection. If that is the case, then truly, like Paul did not want to end up a “castaway”, we should not count our chickens before they are hatched! In other words, embrace the Cross for all it means, for we do not yet know if we will be faithful until the end! Just more food for thought.)

So…I have one last diagram for you. Maybe it will help you to see things even more clear. But logically speaking, I see the point Rome was trying to make. For us, the Passover is different than for the Jews, in that we have a grave and a resurrection. However, in the Spirit, many things have to be more spiritually discerned than logically. When viewed from the perspective of the Kingdom of God, many times these things do make logical sense, but only when viewed from there. So here is the diagram, and more coming soon.

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Church History & The MAZE II

20171117_161702 Solving the MAZE.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I think it’s best to give you an over view of where we’re going. Let me give you some of the BIG PICTURE. So to the best of “my” understanding and research, here we go. Please correct me if you find any serious mistakes.

For the first 10-20 years Christians continued worshipping in Jewish synagogues as they could, and in private homes. Eventually they were no longer allowed in the synagogues and the private homes became their churches. It will remain basically this way until the Roman Emperor Constantine rises, (who had a Christian mother), and he passes a law of religious tolerance, and begins giving great favor to the Christian church, even though he himself lived as a pagan until close to death, whereupon he (hopefully) got saved. He did get baptized.

So the “Home Setting” was very much the “norm” for the first almost 300 years of the church. It was very personable, AND… so was the Lord’s Table. The celebration of the Lord’s Table was very connected to the Jewish Passover. After all, the Jewish Passover is a vivid symbolic picture of everything Christ was going to do, in paying the price for our sins, and setting the slaves to sin, free! (Pictured by the Children of Israel being set free from slavery to Egypt after the death angel took out the first born son of the unbelieving families.) Blood on the doorposts. When the death angel sees the blood, he will PASSOVER you.

Jesus was celebrating the Passover with his disciples in that upper room. He was and is the Passover! He is the fulfillment of that very promise and prophecy. The Passover is the Easter story! The two are completely connected. The early church fathers knew this and evidently the Apostle John instructed his student, Polycarp, who becomes Bishop of House Church Smyrna, to continue in the way the Jews celebrate Passover, as far as when you end the fast, and how you have the meal. (These are very important details that will be shared later.)

Now we have to ask ourself why that would be? I can actually understand why the Bishops of Rome started thinking some changes had to be made. After all, for the Christian, the story of Passover no longer ended with a death angel and a hurried escape from slavery out of Egypt! But now… three days later there is a Resurrection! Seems logical to me.

However, knowing there would have to be a very good reason for Polycarp to risk causing “division” over a matter, that set me to a deep study. And much to my surprise, I found some very rich answers! But first…our OVERVIEW is not finished.

I may need more than 1000 words today. So the word “Church” actually means someone’s “Home” for the first almost 300 years. AND…by the very fact that Polycarp and the Asia Minor House Churches refuse to agree with Rome concerning the Passover, is proof positive there was not a monarchial system established “yet”. This big Easter controversy begins around 140 A.D., towards end of Polycarp’s long life. He lives like 85 or so before martyred.

The House Church in Rome held a position of honor because of recognition and RESPECT of people like Apostle Peter and Apostle Paul, who were both martyred in Rome. A lot of people were taken to Rome to be martyred, including Polycarp. They took this poor eighty-something year old guy on a long trip, (like Paul), just so he could be burned at the stake in Rome. He died bravely, not defending himself, but just like Christ, a lamb to the slaughter. And this is how many died. Bravely declaring their faith in Christ. Knowing that meant certain death. Again, a picture of THE CROSS! (Whether a burning stake, hungry lions, or crucifixion.)

This is why the Bishop of Rome held a certain position of RESPECT, not that they had any actual authority over any of the other House Churches. Each House Church had their own Bishop, whom they probably chose themselves, because they knew the character of the person before they ever elected them. And once that person was elected to that position, then submission to the authority was expected, in order to maintain order, and PEACE, in the House representing the Prince of Peace.

But we will see as Bishops come and go, some Bishops of Rome begin to try using their “advantage” to exercise more power. And the first real indication of this I found with the 6th Bishop from Peter. Again I point out, very odd to see this begin to rear its ugly head with the number 6! This Bishop, (still not Pope!), but this Bishop announces 3 new rules. I’ll give you the one most obvious of what I’m saying. This is Bishop Sixtus of Rome. He was Bishop of House Church Rome from 115 – 125 A.D.. He decreed this>

“Bishops who have been summoned to the Holy See shall, upon their return, not be received by their diocese except on presenting Apostolic letters.”

So this came somewhere in 115 – 125 A.D.. And as far as I can tell, it was honored, BUT…when the Easter controversy begins arising around 140 A.D., Polycarp, possibly the only Bishop left at that time who could still claim direct training from the Apostles, declares he does not agree and will not change! He declares the Apostles specifically taught him to do it this way. WOW!

So… at that time…Rome and the Asia Minor House Churches agree to disagree and basically do it the way they each want. However, this controversy continues to boil, and the waters will grow hotter and hotter. It is interesting to me, that it is the Lord’s Supper, of all things, that becomes the most vivid “KEY” and answer to all this.

Now leaving our Rome Bishop for a moment; for some reason, which I have yet to find explanation for, but very early 3rd century (205 AD?), letters floating around and terminology being used begins to call any church Bishop a Pope! This title which by the end of the century somehow becomes the title of just the Bishop of Rome, first comes onto the scene in early 3rd century as applicable to ALL the Bishops! Now this really disturbs me, because simple minded as I am, I have read explanations that just because Jesus very specifically said to call no man father, but your heavenly Father, certain experts say that doesn’t necessarily mean he was forbidding the use of the word “Father” as a title in the Church. He was merely coming against pride and self-exaltation.

Well…as I said…I’m pretty simple minded…and as a simple minded person…maybe I can’t see so deep…but when Jesus said something so plainly…it worries me to in any way seem to go against that…even to take a chance of such a thing…but already we begin to see as early as aprox. 205 A.D….at least some Churches are daring to do such things. You can decide for yourself if you think the use of the term “Father” is an issue or not. And they do spell it with a capitol “F”! (Hhmmm.) Maybe I’ve said enough on this. May the Holy Spirit guide you on what you think pertaining to this, but I know what I’m thinking.

Next BIG PICTURE item, Bishops of Rome continue reaching for more power and by end of 3rd century, somehow they are the only one with the title Pope, (pope is a Greek word meaning “Papa”, if I remember that right. Again, calling a man, Father), and now the Roman Emperor Constantine is coming on the scene, and because he gives such favor and benefits to Christians, everyone starts wanting to be a Christian, (at least on paper), so they can get the benefits! Congregations are growing like crazy. Constantine begins giving the Home Churches very nice buildings to move into. The Lord’s Table changes from a very plain wood table in a home, to a cold stone altar in a very large cold stone building! And as far as I can see, church was never the same again!

The Bishop of Rome continues pressing his power to change Easter, and eventually forces his way. One of the worse points happened with Bishop Victor I. There had been other debates with other Bishops of Rome, but until Victor I, they always ended in compromise in favor of UNITY. But during 189-199 A.D., the reign of this Bishop, and with church still in Homes, this Bishop tried to really put his foot down! And when the Asia Minor churches still refused, (Polycarp long gone), Victor I actually cut off communications with them!

Fortunately, a man by name of Polycrates of Ephesus manages to write a letter bringing some grace back to things, and some unity is restored. But Rome will continue pushing this until they get their way, never mind that the Apostles themselves, had said OTHERWISE!

My conclusion has been that the Church managed to hold onto a pretty pure form, at least some of them, like Asia Minor, until around 250 A.D., but when the pagan Emperor Constantine begins to be allowed to have great influence in the church, this pagan influence seals the deal. We’ve never been the same since. We have very well-meaning and sincere Pastors doing the best they can with what we know. We also have Pastors who are no better than the ones who linked arms with a pagan emperor and allowed a pagan to influence the House of God!

Now…the impact on the changes made to the Lord’s Supper and Easter, are much deeper than simply when the fast should end. As a sincere Christian, you are being hurt by this change without even knowing it. The whole Church has been. The Apostle John and Polycarp and others back then, knew this. It will take a whole article in itself to reveal how insidious this move actually was, and is! This has been an overview, and next article we work on the nitty-gritty. I hope this has given you enough to think about for now.

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Church History & The MAZE

1694 I have been on such a journey. If you don’t understand the title of “Church History & The MAZE”, please read previous article. If you read several previous articles you will find a growing vision of “The Cross”, as I have read these early church fathers, of which I just downloaded today another 2,000 pages! This last week, Billy Graham himself, gave us another reminder of the Cross. And oddly enough, even a movie “Maze Runner 3” left us hanging as to what would “you” do if your blood could save the world? Do you give yourself to it so others can live, but your life becomes a continual sacrifice?

A lot of odd things going on for those who have eyes to see. I asked my wife the other day, (after reading some “David Platt”); I asked her, “Why is it if a Muslim decides to receive Christ as his Lord, he has to pay such a high price, whereas, we have had to pay so little, such a low price?” And then I asked, “Have we REALLY been asked to pay a low price, or have we been asked the same price, but just have not paid it?”

Now I know what you are saying, “Salvation is free, you idiot! Don’t you know that!” Ahem…well yes I do. BUT…maybe I should have said “to live out the salvation we have freely received.” (Better?)

After all, if we do not live it out…does it do us any good to have it? Are we not one of the bad grounds in which the seed never lived? And as I have read these early church fathers, and stories of Christians in countries where they cut out your tongue for speaking the name of Jesus, I realize what a low price I have paid. Did I just happen to hit a “SALE”, a Blue Light special on Jesus? Did I find him at the Goodwill store. (Well, in a way you could say that, it was a place of good will and good news.)

But…our conversation continued:  “I personally pay nothing for salvation and yet it is supposed to cost me everything, per Romans 12:1-2 and many many many other scriptures. The early church fathers knew this…and Polycarp knew this when he took a stand about how the Bishop of Rome was wanting to change Easter, or Passover. We have not gotten into this yet, but we will…and it is very very very rich!

What salvation actually cost me is “my surrender”. How much have I surrendered? How much is a Blue Light special surrender worth? They say you get what you pay for. Scripture says he who gives little will receive little, and he who gives much will receive much. My Blue Light special Jesus?

Our surrender is a call to crucify the monster we were born and embrace real love. This can only happen by the power of God as we care enough to SEEK HIM and show we really want it, followed by OBEDIENCE. Our surrender looks strangely enough like a cross.

You see, the CROSS is not only a picture of God’s love for us, but also a picture of our love for him. How’s your picture looking these days?

In my searching I have been almost blinded by the light of a revelation of Jesus shifting everything from cold hard Temples, to a relationship developed at warm and loving Tables. From there, the “Dove”, the “Cross”, and “Love” have become a template by which I can measure every action I still choose to commit and every path I choose to walk.

I have reached a point where I am convinced the Lord’s Supper is the “KEY” to everything. I am convinced that Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, probably even the Bishop in charge when Jesus gave them a report card in Revelation, he probably knew it was the Key too, and also the Apostle John, whom he learned under. But evidently some Bishops of Rome did not agree on this, and in this I see a fork in the road revealing all. I have been amazed at the mystery of history unfolding in the evidence I have examined.

So…let me start here. The first “Christian Mystic” we looked at was Origen, and we did an article on him that is dated as Feb. 15, 2018, if you want to examine it. He will be spoken of more as time goes by, as well as other Christian Mystics. But for today it is time we introduce what are considered some of the early church father “SUPERSTARS”. At this point I would group them as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna. All three these guys became Bishops appointed by Apostles. (Some say Bishop Linus was the first Bishop of Rome, who was oddly enough connected to Paul, more than Peter. The order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Bishops of Rome are a little foggy, but no serious problem.)

I call these guys “Superstars” because their testimonies are above reproach, which makes them very valuable as far as whether to trust their leadership on “issues” that arise. These men not only were discipled directly by Apostles, but proved themselves so faithful, and able to fulfill the role of Bishop, that Apostles appointed them as Bishops over churches. They went on to fulfill those roles even unto a martyrs death! You can examine these three as much as you want, but they were all highly regarded even by those who would follow them, of whom more of their writings have survived.

I’ve read and examined Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians and find it awe inspiring, scripture confirming in every way, enlightening in unexpected ways, and just what I would expect from a disciple of the Apostle John. One of his biggest and dearest points was maintaining UNITY in the church!

So…when I show you that Polycarp got into a big contention with the Bishops of Rome, concerning the Passover, believe me this is no small thing! It is weird the way I actually begin to see something that seems a little different, a little odd, starting with the 6th Bishop of Rome! (6, as in the number of man/flesh/sin/etc.) Very odd, I know. But anyway, be that as it may…Polycarp would not have taken this stand unless he felt very strong about this.

He lived to be very old before being martyred. A lot of these early guys did not. Perhaps God kept him around for this very reason. Perhaps he got something from the Apostle John. Whatever the case, if you examine him, you will find nothing but a very humble Superstar for God and the church. He ran his race and served faithfully through all kinds of circumstances most of us will never see. (I hope.)

The Table is now set for us to get into the meat of this in the next article. I hope you realize how important these early church decisions are. After all, compare it to trying to send a rocket to the moon. You may be off by only a teeny tiny bit from the earth on your trajectory course, but by the time you get to the moon, you’re going to be LOST IN SPACE! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

So in the meantime, ponder the Cross, our cross, our price. Pray for our fellow believers in hostile countries. Remember the Dove, the Cross, and Love. Think about how the Lord’s Supper and the Passover relates to all this. Don’t forget Billy Graham’s funeral this last week and his reminder of the Cross. And I might add, I had no vision of all this when I painted the Cross big, bold, and bright upon my Teepee. (More coming soon.)

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