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Apostasy and Restoration

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claims that they are a restoration of Christ’s original Church and not just another denomination of Christianity. All other so-called “Christian Churches” are said to be in apostasy. On page 14 of a 1983 booklet titled, Apostasy And Restoration, the corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states, “As Latter-day Saints, we testify that shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles, there came seventeen hundred years of apostasy and darkness. Then in 1820, the resurrected Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet to all the world. Through him came the restoration of the priesthood, the gospel, and the true church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The booklet goes on to say, “We invite all men to test our claims, to know the truth for themselves.” (Ibid., p.14) We will accept this invitation by investigating some of the claims made in this booklet by the LDS Church and then compare those claims to what God says in scripture. There are four underlined portions in the following that we would like to discuss.

Under the heading, “The Great Apostasy- The Dark Ages” this booklet states, “Some may have known that the Messiah’s church, like the Messiah himself, would meet a violent death.” and “Following the death of the apostles, revelation ceased. The authority of God was no longer among men. Christianity sickened and died.” (Ibid. Pgs. 7,9)

This booklet also states, “Though the Messiah himself set up his true church on earth, yet Satan was able to set in motion- even during the lifetime of Jesus Christ and his apostles- those very countervailing forces that eventually led to the complete apostasy of the true church and the eventual creation of an apostate religion that has been responsible for the extermination of the Messiah’s true followers and the persecution of his chosen people, the Jews .The realization that the Lord’s true Church was not only vulnerable, but destructible, comes as a shock to many people. But if wicked men were able to put to death the Messiah himself, is it so strange that they should also have the power to destroy his church?” (Ibid. p.11)

According to the above, The Church of Jesus Christ met a violent death, sickened and died, fell into complete apostasy and was destroyed. This supposedly happened shortly after the death of the original twelve apostles. This is a very important point for Mormonism. In order for their claim of being the restoration of Christ’s Church to be valid, there needed to be a falling away of the original one. Did the first century Church really fall into complete apostasy? What did Jesus have to say about the subject?

Matthew 16:18- And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the Gates of Hades shall not overpower it. There is one major thing that we wish to point out in this verse. The Greek word for “overpower” is katischuo. It means, “against, and to prevail. To be strong against someone, prevail against or over. Used in a hostile sense, meaning to overcome, vanquish (Matt. 16:18);” (AMG Complete WordStudy Bible and Reference CD) The Greek word for “not” is ou. It means, “Not, no, expressing direct and full negation, independently and absolutely, and hence, objectively.” (Ibid.)

The first thing that needs to be realized about the above LDS quote, is that wicked men were allowed to put Jesus to death. Jesus was not overcome or triumphed over. He willingly laid down his life. In contrast to His willingness to die, He said that His church would not be prevailed over. It is a terrible jump in logic to think that because Jesus laid down His life, that He would allow His church to be overpowered also. Especially in the light of the fact that He specifically says that the Church will not be overpowered.

This is a clear promise made by Christ Himself. His church, once established, will not meet a violent death, sicken and die, fall into complete apostasy or be destroyed. We have one of two choices. Either Jesus was wrong, or the Mormon church is wrong. Jesus also stated, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) If Jesus is wrong, then He can not be trusted and must be viewed as either incompetent or as a liar. If the Mormon church is wrong, then there was no need for a restoration and their claims to be the only true church are false.

Another verse, which refutes the idea of a total apostasy, is Jude 3. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Notice that this verse says that the faith was delivered, “once for all.” If it was delivered “once for all,” then there is no need to deliver it again. Obviously Jude, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not believe in a coming total apostasy.

Lastly, we would also like to appeal to the Book of Mormon, for the sake of our Mormon readers. The book of 4th Nephi describes a time when the “true faith” continued to thrive. An official LDS church manual states, “As the original twelve Nephite disciples chosen by the Savior passed away, new disciples were chosen to take their place. This practice evidently continued as long as the Nephites were righteous enough to have a church organization amongst them. The three Nephite disciples who were promised by the Savior that they should live on the earth until his second coming apparently continued to work with the people for several hundred years.” (Book Of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, 1979 p.450)

We have an unavoidable contradiction. In one official LDS church booklet, the church claims that the apostasy occurred “shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles,” while another official publication says that the work continued for “several hundred years.” In the light of what the Bible has clearly stated regarding the endurance of Christ’s church, it is obvious that both LDS quotes are wrong.

http://evidenceministries.org/mormons.php?viewarticle=46

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BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY = An everlasting Gospel which has endured for “all generations”—never to disappear from the earth. Paul warned about those who would preach another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Jesus prophesied that the “gates of hell” wouldn’t prevail against His church, and in so doing, He ruled out complete apostasy (Matthew 16:18). Thus, the Gospel would never have to be restored (Jude 3). Ephesians 3:21 states: “to Him be the glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”1. How can an apostate church give glory to God throughout “all generations”?

GALATIANS 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.…but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”2.

2 CORINTHIANS 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

JUDE 3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [for all time] delivered unto the saints.” 3.

HEBREWS 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

MATTHEW 16:18: “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

EPHESIANS 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men”

1 TIMOTHY 3:15: “…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

http://www.4witness.org/mormon/lds_exp.php#restoration

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THE APOSTASY IS A MORMON FALLACY

Records reveal that Joseph Smith joined the Methodist church in June, 1828, eight years after the date that he later claimed he’d received a vision from God instructing him not to join any of the churches (mentioning the Methodist church by name), as they were all corrupt and their teachings were an abomination in His sight,

After he had joined the Methodist church, the Minister was informed about Smith’s bad reputation, as well as his involvement in the occult. (He had earned his living by promising to divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure, which never ever materialized.) He discussed this with Joseph, explaining that these activities were against everything that the church stood for. However, he was told that he could remain in membership provided that he repented and convinced the church board that he would change his ways. But if he was not prepared to do this, he would be required to formally resign from the Methodist church. Rather than give up the unethical type of lifestyle to which he was so strongly drawn, Joseph chose to resign.

Within two years he had started up his own church (the LDS), claiming that the Christian church had become apostate shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles, and that God had appointed him, as His latter-day prophet, to restore the true church.

Contrary to Joseph Smith’s claims, there has always been a remnant of faithful believers.

Ever since the inception of the Christian church they have been subjected to ongoing persecution, as well as attacks by false prophets, false teachers and the like. But history records a long line of Christian martyrs who have embraced sacrifice, suffering, torture and death rather than compromise their biblical beliefs. And it is a fact that Christians are still being persecuted and martyred today in various places in the world, for the same reason.

The Bible itself clearly disproves the LDS’s completely unsubstantiated claim that the early Christian church went into total apostasy shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles. Firstly, it teaches that the great apostasy will occur right at the very end times, shortly before the second coming of Christ, and will herald the appearance of the anti-Christ, who will display himself as God in the Jewish temple. That time hasn’t arrived yet, as the Jews still have to rebuild their temple.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV)

Secondly, Christ made the following promises concerning His body of followers (i.e. His church):

… upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18, KJV).

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20, KJV)

….. And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20, KJV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29, KJV)

….. I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16, KJV) (Italics by author)

….. I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. ….. I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world … (Revelation 3:8, 10, KJV)

Thirdly, one of the themes that runs steadfastly throughout the Bible is that God has always kept a remnant of faithful believers. The following are some of the scriptures that bear this out:

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18, KJV)

Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.(Isaiah 1:9, KJV).

And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:16, KJV).

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved. (Romans 9:27, KJV)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5, KJV)

Fourthly, shortly before his martyrdom, the apostle Peter warned the church against false prophets and false teachers, but then he went on to assure them that God always providentially protects those who are His own, against temptation and apostasy:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1, KJV)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations ….. (2 Peter 2:9, KJV)

In his book “The Trail of Blood,” Dr. J. M. Carroll traces the martyrs of the church of Jesus Christ from its inception right up to the present times.

Then too, history also records that there always has been a faithful remnant who refused to compromise. Many of them paid for this privilege with their own blood.

The LDS church cites many of the practices of Catholicism as proof that the church of Jesus Christ had gone into total apostasy. However, they are wrongly tarring everyone with the same brush. Roman Catholicism does not represent Christendom. What about the faithful remnant of Christ’s true church that history so clearly records were cruelly persecuted by the Roman Catholic church? What about Catholicism’s infamous, cruel and bloody inquisitions? History reveals that faithful Christians have been persecuted, tortured and killed for refusing to compromise the gospel throughout the ages, right up to this present moment in time. Remember all the burnings at the stakes in England, of Christians who refused to recant their biblical beliefs and who remained faithful even in the face of torture and death by burning?

Fox’s Book of Martyrs, still in print, should be a graphic eye-opener to members of the LDS church regarding the faithful remnant of Christ’s true church. Mormons are encouraged to read this book, if they can bear to do so.

There has always been a faithful remnant of the church of Jesus Christ. And don’t be confused by numbers. The Lord Jesus said:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14, KJV)

Copyright 2007, by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

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THE EARLY CHURCH WAS OUTSPOKEN ON THE DEITY OF CHRIST

If One examines carefully the writings of the early church writers their language and theology reflects their understanding of the Trinity. They contended from Scripture not from Greek philosophy or paganism as is charged from anti-Trinitarian opponents. Trinitarianism certainly was not developed in the 4th century but was part of the theology of the early church. Those who oppose it today, are not part of the Church just as they were not part of the Church in the beginning.

Ignatius Bishop of Antioch died about 110 A.D. he was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote about the lords 2nd coming, “Look for him that is above the times, him who has not times, him who is invisible”. Only God is without time , eternal and invisible. In numerous other places in his letter to Polycarp he states “Jesus is God”, “God incarnate”

“Be deaf, therefore, when any would speak to you apart from (at variance with) JESUS CHRIST [the Son of God], who was descended from the family of David, born of Mary, who truly was born [both of God and of the Virgin … truly took a body; for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin”… Bishop of Antioch died about 110 A.D. he was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote about the lords 2nd coming, “Look for him that is above the times, him who has not times, him who is invisible”. Only God is without time , eternal and invisible. In numerous other places in his letter to Polycarp he states “Jesus is God”, “God incarnate.”

“Be deaf, therefore, when any would speak to you apart from (at variance with) JESUS CHRIST [the Son of God], who was descended from the family of David, born of Mary, who truly was born [both of God and of the Virgin … truly took a body; for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin.”

Ignatius of Antioch “In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever” (n. 7; PG 5.988).

“We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For ‘the Word was made flesh.’ Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.” ( The ante-nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Vol. 1, p. 52 .)

“For our God Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost.”( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:9)

“…God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life.”( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:13)

“Continue inseparable from Jesus Christ our God.”( Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians 2:4)

“For even our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is in the Father”.( Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans 1:13)

Clement of Rome (Philipians 4:3)”For Christ is with those who are humble, not with those exalt themselves over his flock. The majestic scepter of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, did not come with the pomp of arrogance or pride (though He could have done so), but in humility, just as the Holy Spirit spoke concerning Him.” (1 Clement 16:1-2)

“Brethren, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ as of God : as of the judge of the living and the dead”.(2nd Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 1:1)

Justin Martyr ( 140 A.D.) “the word of wisdom, who is himself God begotten of the Father of all things, and word, and wisdom, and power, and the glory of the begetter, will bear evidence to me”.(Dialogue with Tropho Ch.61)

“God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness’ . . . I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself and also a rational being. . . . But this Offspring who was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with him” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 62).

“For Christ is King, and Priest, and God and Lord…”(Dialogue With Trypho, 34)

“…He preexisted as the Son of theCreator of things, being God, and that He was born a man by the Virgin.” (Dialogue With Trypho, 48 )

“We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein” (First Apology 13:5-6).

Polycarp (70-160). Bishop of Smyrna.A disciple of John the Apostle. “O Lord God almighty…I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever”

“Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, the God Jesus Christ, build you up in the faith…”( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi, 12

Iranaeus (120-202) “In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King…”(Irenaeus Against Heresies, 1.10.1)

180 A.D. “But he Jesus is himself in his own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, Lord, and king eternal, and the incarnate word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles …The Scriptures would not have borne witness to these things concerning Him, if, like everyone else, He were mere man.” (Against Heresies 3:19.1-2)

“For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness'”.( Against Heresies, 4:10)

Iranaeus gave the Church two statements which have continued in its creeds: (1) Filius dei filius hominis factus, “The Son of God [has] become a son of man, (Earl Cairns Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan, 1981, pg.110) Jesus Christus vere homo, vere deus, “Jesus Christ, true man and true God.” (Harold Brown Heresies, Zondervan, 1989, pg.84)

Irenaeus gave three forms of the statement of faith in three different contexts in This is showing the variety of ways that the faith could be expressed in his day:)

Third Form: IN ONE GOD ALMIGHTY, from whom are all things; and IN THE SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST, our Lord, by whom are all things, and in his dispensations, through which the Son of God became man; the firm -persuasion also IN THE SPIRIT OF GOD, who furnishes us with a knowledge of the truth, and has set forth the dispensations of the Father and the Son, in virtue of which he dwells in every generation of men, according to the will of the Father (IV. xxiii. 7).(God in three persons C.Beisner) this is long before the council of Niacea.

Diogneteus Diogneteus to Mathetes (written 130 A.D.) “as a king sends his Son, who is also king, so sent he him, as God (1) he sent him; as men he sent him; as savior he sent him,…” Chpt.7 says “God” (1) which refers to the person sent.

Theophilus (115-181) Bishop of Antioch (To Autolycus 2:22 ,160 A.D.) “For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice but what else is this voice but the word of God, who is also his Son.”

Tatian the Syrian (170 AD ) “Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is Himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the Maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible and untouchable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. This we know by the evidence of what He has created; and we perceive His invisible power by His works”.(Tatian, Address to the Greeks , 4)

“We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man” (Address to the Greeks 21).

Melito of Sardis (177 AD )The activities of Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the deity hidden in his flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, he gave positive indications of his two natures: of his deity, by the miracles during the three years following after his baptism… he concealed the signs of his deity, although he was the true God existing before the ages” (Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai’s, The Guide 13).

Athenagoras (160 AD.) Speaks of “one God, the uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, uncontainable, comprehended only by mindand reason, clothed in light and beauty and spirit and powerindescribable, by whom the totality has come to be.”(suppl. 10.1)

…”the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of Spirit, the understanding, and reason of the Father is the Son of God.” (Ante Nicene Fathers vol.2 p.133 a plea for Christians)

“For Christ is the God over all”.(Refutation of All Heresies 10.34)

Athenagoras identifies the Word as the Son of God, says ‘although the word is God’s offspring, he never came into being. Rather, having been with God and in God eternally he issued forth at a point in time.”( A plea for the Christians 12.20) “God the Word came down from heaven…He came forth into the world and…showed Himself to be God”.( Against the Heresy of a Certain Noetus, 17)

speaking of what the church believes, “they hold the Father to be God, and the Son God, and the Holy Spirit, and declare their union and their distinction in order.”(A plea for the Christians.10.3)

“Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists who admit God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who teach their unity in power and their distinction in rank?”( Intercession on Behalf of the Saints, 10)

Clement of Alexandria (190 AD) “The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning, for he was in God, and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone. is both God and man, and the source of all our good things” (Exhortation to the Greeks 1:7:1).

Tertullian (converted around 193 AD)(215 AD) “The origins of both his substances display him as man and as God: from the one, born, and from the other, not born” (The Flesh of Christ 5:6-7).

“God alone is without sin. The only man without sin is Christ; for Christ is also God.”(The Soul 41.3)

We find that it was the ones who did not understand the trinity that were looked upon as divisive. Tetullians theological writings consisted mostly in response to what the Oneness (modalists) believes. (God is singular in person) When he debated Praxeas of which he wrote. “thus the connection of the Father in the Son the Son in the paraclete, produces three coherent persons, who are yet distinct one from another. These three are one essence, not one person, as it is said, “I and my Father are one,” in respect of unity of substance, not singularity of number.”( Ante-Nicene fathers vol.3,p.621, against Praxeas.) He went on to say “Yet we have never given vent to the phrases ‘two Gods’, or ‘two Lords’: not that it is untrue the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God, each is God.” (ibid 13)

Tetullian developed his arguments and refined his belief of which the third form of his rule of faith became this. “We believe there is but one God, and no other besides the maker of the world, who produced the universe out of nothing, by his word sent forth first of all, that this word, called his Son, was seen in the name of God in various ways by the patriarchs, was always heard in the prophets, at last sent down, from the spirit and power of God the Father, into the virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and born of her, lived as Jesus Christ…”.

Not only is he careful in his explanation but throughout all his writings he defines three persons and one substance who are the one God. .”That this one and only God has a Son, his word, who proceeded from himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the virgin, and to have been born of her- being both man and God, the Son of man, and the Son of God, and to have been called the name of Jesus Christ;” (against Praxeas vol.3, p.598)

Novatian (235 AD. )”For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God” (Treatise on the Trinity 11).

Novatian “The rule of truth demands that, first of all, we believe in GOD THE FATHER and Almighty Lord, that is, the most perfect Maker of all things. . .’ The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also in the SON OF GOD, CHRIST JESUS, our Lord God, but the Son of God…. Moreover, the order of reason and the authority of faith, in due consideration of the words and Scriptures of the Lord ‘, admonishes us, after this, to believe also in the HOLY GHOST, promised of old to the Church, but granted in the appointed and fitting time.

The church did not have non-Trinitarians. The Gnostics, Arians, Oneness and others were considered to be praching heresy and were excluded from the church universal. (This is not my words but the Churches) This did not stop them from going out and starting their own movements and church’s. These were the first cultic movements and many today have aligned themselves with their teachings , some have synthesized several of them together to make something altogether new.

Hippolytus 190 A.D. (Against the heresy of one Noetus “a Oneness promoter” ch.14, ) After quoting part of Jn.1:1 “If then the word was with God and was also God what follows ? Would one say that he speaks of two God’s ? I shall not speak of two Gods but of one; of two persons however and of a third economy, the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father is indeed one but there are two persons because there is also the son; and there is the third the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the word executes and the son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of the harmony is led back to the one God, for God is one. It is the father who commands and the son who obeys and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding; The Father is above all the son is through all and the holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit”.

“God, subsisting alone, and having nothing contemporaneous with Himself, determined to create the world….Beside Him there was nothing; but He, while existing alone, yet existed in plurality….And thus there appeared another beside Himself. But when I say another, I do not mean that there are two Gods….Thus, then, these too, though they wish it not, fall in with the truth, and admit that one God made all things….For Christ is the God above all…..He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, ‘All things are delivered unto me of my Father.’ He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is (yet) God for ever….And well has he named Christ the Almighty. “(Hippolytus ” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pp. 227, 153, 225)

In another of his writings “This is the order of the rule of our faith…God the Father, not made, not material, invisible; One God, the creator of all things; this is the first point of our faith. the second point is this; the word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the fathers dispensation, through whom all things were made.”

Gregory the Wonder-worker (262 AD) “But some treat the Holy Trinity in an awful manner, when they confidently assert that there are not three persons, and introduce (the idea of) a person devoid of subsistence. Wherefore we clear ourselves of Sabellius, who says that the Father and the Son are the same [Person] . . . We forswear this, because we believe that three persons–namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–are declared to possess the one Godhead: for the one divinity showing itself forth according to nature in the Trinity establishes the oneness of the nature” (A Sectional Confession of Faith 8).

“But if they say, ‘How can there be three Persons, and how but one Divinity?’ we shall make this reply: That there are indeed three persons, inasmuch as there is one person of God the Father, and one of the Lord the Son, and one of the Holy Spirit; and yet that there is but one divinity, inasmuch as . . . there is one substance in the Trinity” (A Sectional Confession of Faith, 14)

Dionysius (262 AD )”Neither, then, may we divide into three godheads the wonderful and divine unity . . . Rather, we must believe in God, the Father almighty; and in Christ Jesus, his Son; and in the Holy Spirit; and that the Word is united to the God of the Universe. `For,’ he says, ‘The Father and I are one,’ and `I am in the Father, and the Father in me'” (Letter to Dionysius of Alexandria, 3)

Methodius (305 AD) “For the kingdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is one, even as their substance is one and their dominion one. Whence also, with one and the same adoration, we worship the one Deity in three Persons, subsisting without beginning, uncreated, without end, and to which there is no successor…. For nothing of the Trinity will suffer diminution, either in respect of eternity, or of communion, or of sovereignty” (Oration on the Psalms 5).

Arnobius (305 AD) “‘Well, then,’ some raging, angry, and excited man will say, ‘Is that Christ your God?’ ‘God indeed,’ we shall answer, ‘and God of the hidden powers'” (Against the Pagans 1:42).

Athanasius (290 -370) “[The Trinity] is a Trinity not merely in name or in a figurative manner of speaking; rather, it is a Trinity in truth and in actual existence. Just as the Father is he that is, so also his Word is one that is and is God over all. And neither is the Holy Spirit nonexistent but actually exists and has true being.” (Letters to Serapion 1:28).

“United without confusion, distinguished without separation. Indivisible and without degrees.” (Sermon on Lk.10:22)

http://www.letusreason.org/Trin1.htm

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Did The Early Church Believe In the LDS Doctrine of God?  by James White

Modern LDS apologists like to cite passages from early patristic sources, asserting that the early fathers taught that men could become gods. Is this true? Did the early Church teach the Mormon doctrine of God? Did they believe that men could become gods like God, and that God Himself was once a man?There are a number of passages in the early fathers that speak of men being “deified.” But what do these passages actually mean? Dr. G.L. Prestige commented: 

All such expressions of the deification of man are, it must be remembered, purely relative. They express the fact that man has a nature essentially spiritual, and to that extent resembling the being of God; further, that he is able to attain a real union with God, by virtue of an affinity proceeding both from nature and from grace. Man, the Fathers might have said, is a supernatural animal. In some sense his destiny is to be absorbed into God. But they would all have repudiated with indignation any suggestion that the union of men to God added anything to the godhead. They explained the lower in terms of the higher, but did not obliterate the distinction between them. Not only is God self dependent. [sic] He has also all those positive qualities which man does not possess, the attribution of which is made by adding the negative prefix to the common attributes of humanity. In addition, in so far as humanity possesses broken lights of God, they are as far as possible from reaching the measure and perfection with which they are associated in the godhead. Real power and freedom, fullness of light, ideal and archetypal spirit, are found in Him alone. The gulf is never bridged between Creator and creature. Though in Christ human nature has been raised to the throne of God, by virtue of His divine character, yet mankind in general can only aspire to the sort of divinity which lies open to its capacity through the union with the divine humanity. Eternal life is the life of God. Men may come to share its manifestations and activities, but only by grace, never of right. Man remains a created being: God alone is agenetos [i.e., uncreated] (Prestige, pp. 74-75).

Note well what Prestige says. He asserts that the early Fathers did *not* “obliterate the distinction” between God and man (Mormonism most definitely does, teaching that God was once a man who has progressed to godhood). Prestige says that “real power and freedom” are found in God *alone*, not in the creature man. And, in as clear a denial of the concept that is presented by Mormonism (and that Evenson is attempting to substantiate) that one could find, Prestige says, “The gulf is never bridged between Creator and creature.” He closes by saying, “Man remains a created being: God alone is agenetos.” Clearly, Prestige is saying that the early Fathers did *not* teach that men could become gods *in the sense that Mormonism would like us to believe.*

Some leading ideas about the nature of God may be illustrated in a few quotations from early writers. Tatian writes (ad Gr. 4.1,2), “Our God does not have his constitution in time. He alone is without beginning; He Himself constitutes the source (“arce”) of the universe. God is spirit. He does not extend through matter, but is the author of material spirits and of the figures (“schemata”) in matter. He is invisible and in- tangible” (Prestige, p. 3).

Note that Prestige is giving what he views as *representational* views of the early Fathers. And what do we find? Do we find Mormon doctrine here? Hardly! Note the many things that are *directly* contradictory to LDS teaching. First, God is eternal, that is, he does “not have his constitution in time.” The LDS God has progressed to his current position–obviously, then, he undergoes a progression of time. Tatian states that God is without beginning; yet Mormonism speaks of God’s once having been a man, so, obviously, he had to enter into the condition of a god at some point in time. Tatian says God is spirit. Mormonism says He is flesh. Tatian says that God is the “author” of “material spirits and of the figures in matter.” Joseph Smith taught that “God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354). Tatian says that God is invisible and intangible; Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 says just the opposite. We continue with Prestige:

Athenagoras (*suppl.* 10.1) expresses allegiance to “one God, the uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, uncontainable, comprehended only by mind and reason, clothed in light and beauty and spirit and power indescribable, by whom the totality has come to be.”…But, in brief, this statement implies that God is transcendent and everlasting; free alike from limitations of time or space and from subjection to sense or affections; and possessed of supreme supernatural power and glory. Theophilus speaks similarly (ad Aut. 1.3) of the abstract qualities of the deity. “The form of God is ineffable…in glory He is uncontainable, in greatness incomprehensible, in height inconceivable, in might incomparable, in wisdom without peer, in goodness inimitable, in well-doing indescribable…He is without beginning because He is uncreated, and He is unchangeable because He is immortal.” And again, (ib. 2.3), “it belongs to God, the highest and almighty and the truly God, not only to be everywhere, but also to overlook all things and to hear all things, and yet, nevertheless, not to be contained in space” (Prestige, p. 3).

We again note the completely different view of God presented here than that of Mormonism. The God of the early Fathers is uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, and uncontainable. The God of Mormonism entered into godhood at a particular point, he has not eternally been God, He is not invisible (in the sense the Fathers meant the term), he is certainly not impassible, incomprehensible, or uncontainable; many LDS *mock* these very aspects of the Christian doctrine of God.

But Prestige did not stop there. He continued on:

His absolute independence is a corollary to His absolute goodness and wisdom, as well as to His absolute capacity to create. Thus the emphasis…on God being uncreated (agennetos) implies that He is the sole originator of all things that are, the source and ground of existence ; and the conception is taken as a positive criterion of deity. The insistence that God is uncontained spatially (acoretos) conveys a very necessary warning against Stoic pantheism. Though the created universe contributes an implicit revelation of God through His works, it is by no means a complete or perfect revelation of His being; He is infinitely greater than His creation. Thus Justin claims (dial. 127.2) that God is uncontained either in one place or in the whole universe, since He existed before the universe came into being (Prestige, pp. 4-5). That all of this is directly contradictory to the LDS doctrine of a finite, limited God who has a physical body of flesh and bone (D&C 130:22) and who was once a man is too obvious to require further comment. The early Fathers did *not* believe in the God of Mormonism in any way, shape, or form.

One of the greatest patristic scholars, J. N. D. Kelly, has written,

The classical creeds of Christendom opened with a declaration of belief in one God, maker of heaven and earth. The mono- theistic idea, grounded in the religion of Israel, loomed large in the minds of the earliest fathers; though not re flective theologians, they were fully conscious that it marked the dividing line between the Church and paganism. According to Hermas, the first commandment is to `believe that God is one, Who created and established all things, bringing them into existence out of non-existence’. It was He Who `by His invisible and mighty power and great wisdom created the universe, and by His glorious purpose clothed His creation with comeliness, and by His strong word fixed the heavens and founded the earth above the waters’. For Clement God is `the Father and creator of the entire cosmos’ and for `Barnabas’ and the “Didache” `our maker’. His omnipotence and universal sovereignty were acknowledged, for He was `the Lord almighty’, `the Lord Who governs the whole universe’, and `the master of all things’. The reader should notice that at this period the title `almighty’ connoted God’s all-pervading control and sovereignty over reality, just as `Father’ referred primarily to His role as creator and author of all things (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 83).

But, so that no one thinks that we are simply citing authors who agree with us, below you will find a number of citations from early Christian sources on this very issue. The combined testimony of these Fathers is inarguable:

Ignatius to the Magnesians, (A.D. 110), 8:1

For that reason they were persecuted, inspired as they were by His grace to convince the disobedient that there is one God, who manifested Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is His Word proceeding from silence, and who was in all respects pleasing to Him that sent Him.

Aristides of Athens, Apology (A.D. 140), 1

I call the One who constructed all things and maintains them God: He that is without beginning and eternal, immortal and lacking nothing, and who is above all passion and failings such as anger and forgetfulness and ignorance and the rest.

Aristides of Athens, Apology (A.D. 140), 4

Let us proceed, then, O King, to the elements themselves, so that we may demonstrate concerning them that they are not gods, but corruptible and changeable things, produced out of the non-existent by Him that is truly God, who is incorruptible and unchangeable and invisible, but who sees all things and changes them and alters them as He wills.

Justin, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (A.D. 155), 5

For whatever things exist after God or will at anytime exist, have a corruptible nature, and are such as may be blotted out and no longer exist. God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, which is why He is God. Everything else after Him is produced and corruptible.

Tatian, Address to the Greeks (A.D. 165), 4

Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is Himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the Maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible and untouchable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. This we know by the evidence of what He has created; and we perceive His invisible power by His works.

Ibid., 5

Matter is not without a beginning, like God; nor is it of equal power with God, through being without a beginning. It is begotten, and not produced by any other begotten beings; but is brought into existence by Him alone who is the Creator of all things.

Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, (A.D. 177), 4

Is it not unreasonable to apply the name of atheist to us, who distinguish God from matter and teach that matter is one thing and God another, and that there is a great difference between them, the Deity being unbegotten and eternal, able to be known by reason and understanding alone, while matter is produced and perishable?

Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians (A.D. 177), 10

I have sufficiently demonstrated that we are not atheists, since we acknowledge one God, unbegotten, eternal, invisible, incapable of being acted upon, incomprehensible, unbounded….

Irenaeus Against Heresies, (A.D. 190) 1:10:1

For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, Father almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them….

Ibid., 1:22:1

We hold, however, the rule of truth, according to which there is one almighty God, who formed all things through His Word, and fashioned and made all things which exist out of that which did not exist….

Ibid., 2:1:1

Nor is He moved by anyone; rather, freely and by His Word He made all things. For He alone is God, He alone is Lord, He alone is Creator, He alone is Father, He alone contains all and commands all to exist.

Ibid., 2:11:1

It is easy to demonstrate from the very words of the Lord that He acknowledges one Father, Creator of the world and Fashioner of man, who was proclaimed by the Law and by the Prophets; and that He knows no other, this being God over all.

Ibid., 2:30:9

Of His own accord and by His own power He made all things and arranged and perfected them; and His will is the substance of all things. He alone, then, is found to be God; He alone is omnipotent, who made all things; He alone is Father, who founded and formed all things, visible and invisible, sensible and insensate, heavenly and earthly, by the Word of His Power.

Ibid., 2:34:2

…let them learn that to be without beginning and without end, to be truly and always the same, and to remain ever without change, belongs to God alone, who is Lord of all. All things, however, which are from Him, all that have been made and which will be made, receive each their own beginning of existence; and inasmuch as they are not unbegotten, in this way they are inferior to Him who made them. They perdure, however, and continue through a length of ages, according to the will of God their Maker; for indeed, He makes them to be in the beginning, and afterwards gives them continuance.

Tertullian, Apology (A.D. 197) 17:1

The object of our worship is the One God, who, by the Word of His command, by the Reason of His plan, and by the strength of His Power, has brought forth from nothing for the glory of His majesty this whole construction of elements, bodies and spirits; whence also the Greeks have bestowed upon the world the name KOSMOS. He is invisible, and yet He may be seen. He is intangible, and yet His presence is apparent through His grace. He is immeasurable, and yet He is measured by the human senses. He is, therefore, as real as He is great. In regard to other things, that which is able to be seen, to be touched, or to be measured is less than the eyes by which it is seen, than the hands by which it is touched, and the senses by which it is discovered. But what is truly infinite is known only to itself. Thus it is that the measure of God is taken, although He is really immeasurable. Thus it is that the force of His greatness makes Him known to men, although He is yet unknown. And this is the crowning guilt of men, that they do not want to know Him of whom they cannot be ignorant.

Tertullian, Apology (A.D. 197), 21:13

So also, that which proceeds from God is God and Son of God, and both are one. Likewise, as He is Spirit from Spirit, and God from God, He is made a second by count and in numerical sequence, but not in actual condition; for He comes forth from the source but does not separate therefrom.

Tertullian, The Demurrer Against the Heretics, 13:1

There is only one God, and none other besides Him: the Creator of the world who brought forth all things out of nothing through His Word….

Tertullian Against Hermogenes, 4:3

Whatever special property God has, it must necessarily be unique, so that it can belong to Him who is One. But what can be unique and singular except that to which nothing can be equated? What can be principal, if not that which is above all, if not that which is before all and from which all things are? It is by being the sole possessor of these qualities that He is God; and by being sole possessor, that He is One.

Tertullian Against Marcion, 1:3:1

Christian truth, however, has distinctly declared, “If God be not one, He does not exist”; for we more properly believe that that which is not what it must be does not exist at all. So that you may know, however, that God must be one, ask what God is, and you will find that such is the case. In so far as a human being is able to formulate a definition of God, I formulate such a definition as the conscience of every man may acknowledge; God is the Great Supreme Being existing in eternity, unbegotten, uncreated, without beginning, and without end.

Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 10:32

The one God, the first and only, both Creator and Lord of all things, had nothing coeval with Himself, neither infinite chaos, nor immeasurable water, nor solid earth, nor dense air, nor hot fire, nor gentle breeze, nor the azure roof of the great heavens. No, he was one, to Himself alone; and when He so willed, He created those things which before had no existence other than in his willing to make them and inasmuch as he had knowledge of what would be: for he has also foreknowledge. He first created, however, the diverse elements of the things which would come into existence, fire and air, water and earth, from which various elements he then made his own creation.

Origen, De Principiis, 1, Preface, 4

First, that there is one God who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into existence;

Origen, De Principiis (A.D. 220), 1:1:6

Since our mind is in itself unable to behold God Himself as He is, it knows the Father of the universe from the beauty of His works and from the elegance of His creatures. God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body, but as a simple intellectual Being, admitting within Himself no addition of any kind. Thus, He cannot be believed to have within Himself something greater and something lesser. Rather, He is in every part “monas” and, so to speak, “henas.” He is the mind and source from which every intellectual being or mind takes its beginning.

Origen, Ad Celsus, 1:23

How much more effective it is–and how better than all those invented explanations! –that when we are convinced by what we see in the excellent orderliness of the world, we then worship its Maker as the one Author of one effect, which, since it is entirely in harmony with itself, cannot, therefore, have been the work of many makers.

Novatian, The Trinity, (A.D. 235) 31

God the Father, founder and creator of all things, who alone knows no beginning, who is invisible, immeasurable, immortal, and eternal, is one God. Neither His greatness nor His majesty nor His power can possibly be–I should not say exceeded, for they cannot even be equaled.

Cyril, Catechetical Lectures, (A.D. 350), 6:11

Whence came the polytheistic error of the Greeks? God has no body: whence, then, the adulteries alleged among those whom the Greeks call gods?

Hilary, Commentaries on the Psalms, on Psalm 129, 3

First it must be remembered that God is incorporeal. He does not consist of certain parts and distinct members, making up one body. For we read in the Gospel that god is spirit: invisible, therefore, and an eternal nature, immeasurable and self-sufficient. It is also written that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. For of these the members of a body consist, and of these the substance of God has no need. God, however, who is everywhere and in all things, is all-hearing, all-seeing, all- doing, and all-assisting.

Didymus, The Holy Spirit (A.D. 375), 35

God is simple and of an incomposite and spiritual nature, having neither ears nor organs of speech. A solitary essence and illimitable, He is composed of no members and parts.

Ephiphanius, Against All Heresies, 70:5

Reject also the opinion of those who say the body is in the image of God. For how were it possible for the visible to be close to the invisible? How the corporeal to the incorporeal? How the tangible to the illimitable?

Chrysostom, Against the Anomoians, 4:3

For God is simple and non-composite and without shape….When, therefore, you hear that “no one has ever seen God,” consider it the same as hearing that no one can know God in an utterly perfect manner, as to His essence.

Cyril, Commentary on Psalm 11, 3

When the divine Scripture presents sayings about God and remarks on corporeal parts, do not let the mind of those hearing it harbor thoughts of tangible things, but from those tangible things as if from things said figuratively let it ascend to the beauty of things intellectual, and rather than figures and quantity and circumscription and shapes and everything else that pertains to bodies, let it think on God, although He is above all understanding. We were speaking of Him in a human way; for there was no other way in which we could think about the things that are above us.

Lactantius, The Divine Institutions, (A.D. 300), 2:8:8

But God Himself makes His own material, because He is able. To be able is a quality of God; and, were He not able, neither would He be God. Man makes things out of what already exists, because he is weak as a consequence of being mortal; and because of his weakness, he is of limited and moderate power. God, however, makes things from what does not exist, because He is strong on account of His eternity; and because of His strength, His power is immeasurable, having neither end nor limitation, like the life itself of the Maker.

Cyril, Catechetical Lectures, (A.D. 350), 4:4-5

First let there be laid as a foundation in your soul the doctrine concerning God: that there is one God alone, unbegotten, without beginning, unchangeable and immovable; neither begotten of another nor having another to succeed to His life; who neither began to live in time nor will ever cease to be; and that He is good and just….The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not circumscribed in any place, nor is He less than the heavens….He knows beforehand the things that shall be, and is mightier than all. He knows all, and does as He will. He is not subject to the consequences of events, neither to astrological geniture, nor to chance, nor to fate. He is in all things perfect, and possesses equally every absolute of virtue, neither diminishing nor decreasing, but remains ever the same and unchanging.

Hilary, The Trinity, (A.D. 356), 2:6

The Father is He to whom all that exists owes its origin. He is in Christ; and through Christ He is the source of all things. Moreover, His existence is existence in itself, and He does not derive His existence from anywhere else. Rather, from Himself and in Himself He possesses the actuality of His being. He is infinite because He Himself is not contained in something else, and all else is within Him. He is always beyond location, because He is not contained; always before the ages, because time comes from Him….God, however, is present everywhere; and everywhere He is totally present. Thus, He transcends the realm of understanding. Outside of Him there is nothing, and it is eternally His characteristic that He shall always exist. This is the truth of the mystery of God, of the impenetrable nature which this name Father expresses. God is invisible, unutterable, and infinite.

Gregory of Nazianus, Second Oration on Easter (A.D. 383), 45:3

God always way, and is, and will be: or better, He always is. Was and will be are portions of time as we reckon it, and are of a changing nature. He, however, is ever existing; and that is how He names Himself in treating with Moses on the mountain. He gathers in Himself the whole of being, because He has neither beginning nor will He have an end. He is like some great sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending every conception of time and nature.

Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, (A.D. 383), Jaeger, 2:163

We judge it proper, therefore, to believe that that alone is truly divine whose existence is found to be eternal and infinite, and in whom all that is contemplated is ever the same, neither increasing nor diminishing.

Augustine, Sermons, (A.D. 391-430), 7:7

Being is a name of unchangeableness. For everything that is changed ceases to be what it was and begins to be what it was not. Being is. True being, pure being, genuine being is had only by Him who does not change.

Augustine, The True Religion, 25:46

The first decision to be made is whether we should prefer to believe those who call us to the worship of many gods, or those who call us to the one God. Who can doubt that it is preferable to follow those who call us to one, especially when those worshipers of many agree that this one God is the ruler of all others? And certainly, rank begins at one. Those, therefore, are to be followed first who say that there is only one supreme God, the true God, who alone is to be worshipped. If truth does not shine forth from them, then a change is to be made.

John of Damascus, The Source of Knowledge, 3:1:5

The Divinity is perfect and without defect in His goodness, in His wisdom, in His power, without beginning, without end, eternal, infinite, and to put it simply, perfect in every respect. If we were to speak of many gods it would be necessary to recognize a difference among the many. But if there is no difference among them, there is but one and not many. And if there were a difference among them, where then were their perfection?

Ibid., 3:1:8

[We believe] in one Father, the beginning and cause of all things, begotten of no one, but uncaused and unbegotten, alone subsisting; Creator of all things, but Father by nature of One only, His Only- begotten Son and our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ…There never was a time when the Father was and the Son was not; but always Father, always Son, who is begotten of Him; for one cannot be called father apart from a son.

Ibid., 3:1:9

It seems that the most authoritative of all the names spoken of God is “WHO IS,” as He did Himself say on the mountain in answer to Moses….For, since He holds all existence in Himself, He is like a sea of being, boundless and infinite. 

http://vintage.aomin.org/ONEGOD.

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This chapter from this book is really important to Christians who ask “did the apostles and their direct successors practice baptismal regeneration?”. It is not the best read,,, as it is mostly Quotes from pre-Niceian Church Fathers. BUT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT HISTORICAL INFO. There will be more articles coming about the history of baptism, it’s pagan origins and the history of that damnable herasy creeping into the Christian church, thus danming billions of souls as some have claimed., by making salvation,,grace+ water baptism.

6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

 

WATER BAPTISM:

A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE,

BUT NOT CHRISTIAN

PROVEN BY SCRIPTURE AND HISTORY

CONFIRMED BY THE LIVES OF SAINTS

WHO WERE NEVER BAPTIZED WITH WATER 

JAMES H. MOON FALLSINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA Copyrighted, 1902

  

 

 

 

 

WATER BAPTISM AFTER THE APOSTLES’ TIME

By collateral evidence we are led to suppose that several of the apostles were martyred under the Roman Emperor, Nero, about A.D. 64.

The Jews rebelled against the Romans, A.D. 66. At the approach of war, Christians of Jerusalem and Judea removed to Pela, beyond the Jordan.[200] Eusebius says they fled in obedience to a Divine
revelation.[201] These were all Jews, and in their new homes were called Nazarenes or Ebonites.[202]

Jerusalem and the temple were utterly destroyed and the Jews massacred by the Romans, A.D. 70.[203]

Dean Stanley says: “The fall of Jerusalem was the fall of the Jewish world; it was a reason for the close of the apostolic age; a death-blow of the influence of Jewish nationality for a long time to come.”[204]

After the destruction of Jewish Jerusalem, Gentile Antioch appears to have become the seat of church authority.

John was probably the only apostle then living and he, it is thought, was in a distant country.

At Antioch and other places Gentile Christians evidently soon gained the ascendency and discouraged, even Jews from circumcision and other offensive Jewish customs, while water baptism and other usages not repulsive to Gentiles were generally continued and in time modified to
suit taste and convenience.

The early Christians were not united in making these changes; they caused continued discord and division among them as is manifest throughout the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers and Eusebius.

The Nazarenes, Ebonites and some others adhered to circumcision and the customs of Moses as the elders at Jerusalem had insisted that Paul should do and as in the “Hermit Church” of Abyssinia they still continue to do.[205][206]

We find these Nazarenes and Ebonites soon classified as heretics after the Gentiles preponderated.

Water baptism seems not to have been insisted upon at first but in the second century greater importance appears to have been attached to it.[207] Many, however, claimed that only baptism of the Holy Spirit and purity of the heart were necessary because none of the apostles but Paul were baptized with water, and Christ said: “John indeed baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit;”[208] and again, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Justin Martyr[209] said: “What is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and the body alone. Baptize the soul from wrath, envy, &c., and lo! the whole body is clean.” And again: “What need have I of that other baptism who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

While many such expressions occur in the writings of the “Fathers,” there are many more which support sacramentalism. Their testimonies are conflicting.

About the beginning of the third century we find water baptism first called a sacrament by Tertulian and about the same time he complains that many tried to destroy it. Plainly, as water baptism was exalted, opposition increased.[210]

The sect called Ascoondrutes rejected all symbols and sacraments on the principle that incorporeal things cannot be communicated by things corporeal nor divine mysteries by things visible.[211]

Schaff says[212]: Many Jews and Gentiles were baptized only with water; not with Holy Spirit and fire of the Gospel, and smuggled their old religious notions and practices into the church.

The Roman Emperor, Constantine, professedly became a Christian, while he virtually remained a heathen; A.D. 312.[213]

Christians were few in number before Constantine, but now pagans flocked to the church and sat in its councils.

“Constantine married the Christian church to the heathen world.” He virtually united church and state. He convened the council of Nice and they formed a creed A.D. 325.

Many protested against this council and its decisions but the mass supported the Emperor and the creed.

Among obscure dissenters whom the ruling church called heretics may we expect thereafter to find the nearest approach to Christianity as Jesus taught it upon the Mount and elsewhere.

Mosheim says: No sooner had Constantine abolished the superstition of his ancestors than magnificent churches were erected for the Christians, which were richly adorned with pictures and images and bore striking resemblances to the Pagan temples both within and without.[214]

The simplicity of the Gospel was clouded by the prodigious number of rites and ceremonies which the bishops invented to embellish it.[215]

They imagined the Pagans would receive Christianity with more facility when they saw the rites and ceremonies to which they were accustomed adopted in the church. So the religion of the Christians was made to conform very nearly to that of the Pagans in external appearance.[216]

The vice and insolent tyranny of many of the priesthood soon became notorious.[217]

Neander says: Such individuals of the laity as were distinguished by their piety from the great mass of nominal Christians and from the worldly minded of the clergy often suffered persecution from the
latter.[218]

The name of Andeus stand prominent among the many dissenters who protested against the corruptions of the ruling church at this time.[219]

Isolated companies of devout Christians under various names rejected the Sacraments. They were called Lampetians, Adelphians, Estatians, Marcionites, Euchites, Massalians and Enthusiasts.[220]

Mosheim says: Enthusiasts who discarded the Sacraments and were rather wrong headed than vicious lived among the Greeks and Assyrians for many ages. They were known by the general and invidious name of Massalians or Euchites. A foot-note says: This sect arose under the Emperor
Constantius about the year 361.[221]

We have numerous accounts of Christians who were prominent in the dominant church of the fourth century who deferred water baptism to middle life or old age and many were never so baptized altho’ born of Christian parents.[222]

About A.D. 660 another Constantine came forward as a reform preacher under inspiration said to have been received in reading the New Testament, particularly the writings of St. Paul.[223]

His followers were sometimes called Macedonians but were generally known as Paulicians altho’ they preferred to be called Christians.

It appears that these Paulicians existed centuries before under the other names given them by their enemies and that the drooping sect was revived by the powerful preaching of Constantine.

Neander says[224] the Paulicians wholy rejected the outward observance of the Sacraments and maintained that by multiplication of external rites and ceremonies in the dominant church the true life of religion had declined. That it was not Christ’s intention to institute water baptism as a perpetual ordinance and that by baptism he meant only baptism of the Holy Spirit and that he communicates himself by the living waters for the thorough cleansing of the whole human nature; that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ consists in coming into vital union with him.

In the ninth century one hundred thousand Paulicians were martyred at once in Armenia, accused of heresy and denying the Sacraments.[225]

For the same offence untold numbers were put to death during previous and subsequent centuries and in widely distant countries.[226]

Their enemies represent that these Paulicians were loving, spiritual and peaceful, and diligent in reading and circulating the Scriptures, but they were heretics and not worthy to live.

Were not these dissenting martyrs a remnant or seed of the living church and their baptized enemies the real heretics?

The history of these inhuman persecutions reveals a sad condition of the dominant church and its ruling clergy of the ninth century.

Some Ecclesiastics who presided over a flourishing theological institution at Orleans, claimed to have been awakened by the writings of
St. Augustine and St. Paul, particularly the later. Many of the nobility and others of eminent piety and benevolence became their adherents.[227]

They rejected external worship, rites and ceremonies and placed religion in the internal contemplation of God and the elevation of the soul.

They rejected water baptism and held to a baptism of the Spirit, also to a Spiritual Eucharist by which all who had received spiritual baptism would be refreshed and find their spiritual needs completely satisfied.

Thirteen leaders of this sect were burned A.D. 1022. When urged to recant they replied, “We have a higher law, one written by the Holy Spirit in the inner man.”

Mosheim says they soared above the comprehension of the age in which they lived.

A few years later a similar sect was discovered in the districts of Arras and Liege. They held individual holiness and practical piety to be necessary and that outward baptism and outward Sacrament were
nothing. This they affirmed was the doctrine of Christ and his apostles.[228]

About A.D. 1046 a sect was suppressed at Turin which was favored by the nobility and widely diffused among the clergy and laity. They claimed to have one priest without the tonsure. He daily visited their brethren scattered throughout the world and when God bestowed him on them they
received from him with great devotion forgiveness of sin. They acknowledged no other priest and no other sacrament but his absolution.[229]

Who–we ask–is this priest without the tonsure, who daily visits the world-wide brethern?

Is it not Jesus who was made a priest, “not after the law of a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life?”[230]

A sect called Bogomiles, who rejected outward baptism and acknowledged only spiritual communion, was discovered in Constantinople, many of them in the families connected with the court. Their leader was burned A.D. 1119, others were imprisoned, yet they spread secretly over the Greek empire.[231]

Mosheim says: The Eastern churches continued to be infested with such fanatics in the twelfth century, and the Latin sects were still more numerous than the Greeks.[232]

The Catherists were a numerous faction in Bulgaria and spread almost all over Europe under various names who all agreed in rejecting baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

“Brethern and sisters of the free Spirit” took their denomination from the words of St. Paul (Rom. 8, 2-14). They were called Begards, Beghines, Turpines, etc. They rejected baptism and the Supper as no
longer useful to them and held to inward and spiritual worship. They spread rapidly in Italy, France and Germany. They were mostly poor people and lived upon alms while upon their missionary Journeys. Great numbers of plain, pious people, rich and poor, embraced their teaching
and forsook the dominant church.[233]

The Inquisition checked their career with its usual record of cruelty and blood, yet they continued to feed the fires of persecution for more than two centuries, until near the time of the reformation.

In the south of France dissenters called Albigenses became more numerous than the dominant church. They were condemned by four councils, but still continued to increase until about A.D. 1215, when they were exterminated by a long and horrible war and the Inquisition.[234]

These Albigenses were distinguished generally by their strict and blameless lives, by their abhorrence of oaths, war and punishment by death, and for their hospitality and beneficence. They accepted baptism spiritually and rejected the sacraments.

Can we believe that the church which led to the extermination of these Albigenses, the Paulicians, and many others, was ever established by that loving Saviour who spent his life in doing good to the souls and bodies of men?

Does it not answer more nearly the description given of Mystery Babylon who was drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus? Who would not gladly forget a succession which claims to run back through such a church as this?[235]

In some parts of France dissenters similar to the Albigenses were called Bulgarians, in Italy they were called Paterens and in Germany were called Catherists, and in derision were called “Good Men.” How is it that these dissenters, by the testimony of their enemies, appear to have lived better and holier lives without the sacraments than their persecutors did with them?

What is the testimony of observation in our day?[236] Are those beatitudes which Jesus pronounced upon the Mount better observed by those who have seven sacraments than they are by Protestants who have only two? And, are they better observed under two sacraments than they are by the Quakers, and some other Christians who have none? If this is the case, it is strong support to the belief that Christ ordained the sacraments. But if the reverse is found to be the existing condition, then a suspicion may arise that these sacraments are not divine, but are human impositions and that they divert from the Divine. Therefore, may it be that some of our best Christians get along quite as well or
better without them.

Neither the word sacrament nor any synonym thereof occurs in the New Testament, nor in the writings of the “Fathers,” until the third century. There were no sacraments then as there are now, therefore no necessity for such a name.

Sacrament was a Pagan name for a military oath and was ruled into its present position by apostate Christians.

The apostles and first Christians evidently continued to eat the Passover Supper, because their fathers had done so for ages in memory of Israel passing over the Red Sea out of Egypt, and not from any command of Christ. Otherwise they would with still more persistence have continued to wash each other’s feet, which Jesus commanded with language and actions far more solemn, impressive and imperative.[237]

The Ante-Nicene Fathers and Eusebius inform us that water baptism was a prolific cause of bitter discord and division among the early Christians. It still sorrowfully distracts the loving children of our
one Father and impedes the spread of his kingdom in the earth.

These lamentable conditions must inevitably continue until such shadows are dissolved by divine brightness in that day which we rejoice to believe is now dawning.

FOOTNOTES:

http://www.archive.org/stream/waterbaptism17222gut/17222.txt

RELEVANT POST. Water salvation/baptismal regeneration r  The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity

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