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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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CONTENTS | 1 | 2(1) | 2(2) | 3 | 4 | 5(1) | 5(2) | 6




Part 1

The Church, The Bible And You -- The Founder of Christianity -- His Life and Teaching -- Primitive Christians and The Historians -- Immortal Soulism -- The Holy Trinity -- History of the Development of the Apostate Church To The Seventh Century

"The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine." -Paul.

East and West, black and white, heat and cold, good and evil, present no greater contrast than do early Christians with modern Christianity.

The object of this chapter is to demonstrate this truth, and, by it, separate once and for all the Bible from organised religion.

Organised Christianity is differently viewed by different persons. The Romanist, for instance, regards the Church as divinely sanctioned, guided, and established by God. The Protestant believes it to have been a good church gone wrong but put right again by the Protestant Reformation. The Rationalist considers it to be a lot of hocus-pocus, a religion admittedly founded on a pious Jew, but later used as an excuse to establish an autocratic system of fraud and violence, by means of which rulers have been able to impose their wills on the subservient masses with the active aid of a crafty priesthood.

We hope it won't shock you too much, but, with the exception of the very early days of the Christian movement, we believe the Rationalist to be nearest to the truth.

Whatever your particular attitude to the Church may be, it is an institution which cannot be ignored. It must be duly considered and taken into account by every thinking man.

Our aim is to account for it, in order that we may remove it from the path as an obstacle which is in the way of our inquiry after truth. For indeed we must remove it if we would gain the ear of the intelligent sceptic, and persuade him to give the Bible an unbiased hearing, which he will never do in his present frame of mind.

Orthodox believers may say they have no wish to see it removed, for there is no such need. That is just where the orthodox are wrong. For while they are misled into believing pagan fables they are effectively excluded from every Scriptural hope; in fact -- alienated from the life of God through ignorance.

The Bible can never be understood while it is in the suffocating embrace of an apostate church. The Bible and the Church are inseparably connected in the popular mind, so that the very mention of the Bible provokes powerful and immediate prejudice because of this inveterate association.


Dr. Blunt, Bishop of Bradford, recently complained that the only real argument against Christianity was the conduct of the Christians, and, says he, in judging Christians:

"The ordinary man . . . tends remorselessly to apply the criterion that a tree is known by its fruits."

How unkind of him! And this, says Dr. Blunt, is "the only really solid argument" he has. But are there not some things, my dear bishop, that only need one solid argument? If I pointed you to a field of healthy thistles and told you they were figs, you would doubtless reply: "Do men gather figs from thistles?" Your reply would be indisputably conclusive. The "ordinary man" is right, dear Bishop Blunt, for the "ordinary man's" judgement has
the authority of him whose servant you profess to be. He said:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing . . . YE SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit . . . WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM." (Matt. 7:15-20.)

But let us hasten to correct an error -- the bishop's error. The "ordinary man," while having an unanswerable argument against the Church, does not thereby discredit Christianity, because the Church is one thing, while Christianity is quite another. We hope the "ordinary man" will be interested in the evidence we shall advance to prove our point.


We hope to shew the "ordinary man" that far from the waywardness of the Church disproving the Christian religion, it is, on the contrary, an evidence of its truth; because in the official records of Christianity there are plain and unmistakable forecasts of this very state of affairs of which the "ordinary man" complains. In the development of this great apostate system we are provided with another opportunity to test Bible prophecy, a subject upon which we have already had something to say.

If there were no great system of corrupt Christianity in the world today; if Christians were united in their original primitive belief and practices; then many New Testament prophecies would be hopelessly and completely disproved. Then truly would the "ordinary man" have a powerful case not only against the Church but indeed against the Bible and Christianity itself. We cannot do better, before passing on, than to reproduce some of these warning apostolic expectations of which we speak.

The apostle Paul, on his way to Jerusalem, was at Miletus, and from there he sent for the elders of the Ephesian church. Having arrived, he addressed them as follows:

"I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more . . . Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers . . . For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS, TO DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM." (Acts 20:25-30.)

Such was Paul's divine foreknowledge of the apostacy which was to come. Then in his epistles addressed to Timothy, who was an elder at Ephesus, he writes on the same subject:

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that . . . SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH . . . Speaking lies in hypocrisy; . . . Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats ... refuse profane and old wives' fables." (1 Tim. 4:1-7.)

"In the last days . . . men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." (2 Tim. 3:1-4.)

It is evident that Paul was not speaking of the heathen world, by which they were surrounded, for these vices were commonplace with them and not, matters which would form the subject of prophetic warning. Paul was of course speaking of men who would profess Christianity. All doubt of this is removed by the words which follow in verse 5:

"Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof."

Then he adds a command for those who would preserve the truth in its purity:

"from such turn away." (2 Tim. 3:5.)

"Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." (2 Tim. 2:16.)

"EVIL MEN AND SEDUCERS SHALL WAX WORSE AND WORSE, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:13.)

"The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts (desires) shall they heap to themselves teachers . . . AND THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, AND SHALL BE TURNED UNTO FABLES." (2 Tim. 4:3-4.)

Then lastly we have Paul's letter to the Thessalonian church in which he clearly foretells the development of apostate practice which would end in the elevation of the Pope as the "man of sin":

"That day (the return of Christ to the earth) shall not come, except there come a falling away (Gk. apostasia: apostacy) 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 . . . Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with ALL POWER AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness . . . And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should BELIEVE A LIE." (2 Thess. 2:3-11)

The reader will learn something of the terrible significance of these terse words before our chapter concludes.


As a preliminary to our main enquiry we now turn to the official records of the Christian movement. From these we learn that the founder of Christianity was Jesus Christ. The detailed record of his life and teaching is contained in four biographies by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John respectively. The rest of the New Testament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles, furnishes us with similar details concerning the immediate disciples of Jesus Christ, and the early Christians.

From the New Testament we now propose to extract a digest of the nature and beginning of Christianity. In order to assist the reader's mind, by the clearness which comes from continuous narrative, uninterrupted by continual quotations, we are putting the narrative in the left-hand column, while sample proof-passages are added on the right. For the present the subjects will be merely touched upon, in order to present a comprehensive view, but later we propose to enlarge upon them.

Jesus Christ was a Jew, descended from Abraham, in a direct line through David. "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, THE SON OF DAVID, THE SON OF ABRAHAM." (Matt. 1:1.)
Jesus was the lawful heir to David's throne as king of the Jews. "The Lord God shall give unto him THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID." (Luke 1:32.)
Jesus himself claimed the distinction of being Israel's king.  "Art thou a king then?. . . I am a king, TO THIS END WAS I BORN." (John 18:37.)
This claim was believed by large numbers of Jews.

"Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to inake him a king." (John 6:15.)

Hosannah: Blessed is the king of Israel." (John 12:13.)

"Thou (Jesus) art THE KING OF ISRAEL." (John 1:49.)

By the intrigue of the "bishops" of his day, the Scribes and Pharisees, he was put to death on a charge of treason against Caesar.

"If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: WHOSOEVER MAKETH HIMSELF A KING SPEAKETH AGAINST CAESAR." (John 19:12.)

"Shall I (Pilate) crucify your king? The chief priests answered, WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR." (John 19:15.)

This great tragedy was not chance, however, but part of God's plan which required Jesus to be a sacrifice for sin at his first appearing.

"BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29.)

"CHRIST DIED for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES." (1 Cor. 15:3.)

Thus man's wickedness did not effect God's purpose. "(Jesus) being delivered by THE DETERMINATE COUNSEL AND FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD, ye have taken and by WICKED HANDS have crucified and slain." (Acts 2:23.)
After being raised from the dead, "(God) RAISED UP JESUS our Lord FROM THE DEAD." (Rom. 4:24.)
He ascended into heaven, from whence he is to return. "This same Jesus which is TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, SHALL SO COME in like manner as ye have seen him go." (Acts 1:11.)
Then he will raise his sleeping friends. "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves SHALL HEAR HIS VOICE AND SHALL COME FORTH." (John 5:28.)
And reward the faithful with a share in his throne.

"Ye which have followed me . . . when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, YE ALSO SHALL SIT ON TWELVE THRONES." (Matt. 19:28.)

"Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH." (Rev. 5:10.)

These things constituted the "Gospel of the kingdom of God" which Jesus preached. "(Jesus) went throughout every city and village preaching and shewing the GLAD TIDINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD." (Luke 8:1)
Belief of this gospel and baptism followed by a righteous life were required of all Christ's disciples.

"HE THAT BELIEVETH and is BAPTISED shall be saved." (Mark 16:16.)


Christ's personal character was sinless.

"(Jesus) DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth." (1 Pet. 2:22.)

"Which of you convinceth me (Jesus) of sin?" (John 8:46)

An ideal at which he required his followers to aim. 

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." (1 Pet. 2:21.)

"If ye know these things happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:17)

Jesus taught his disciples to preach and practise, in his absence, the virtues of love, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye HAVE LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER." (John 13:35.)
meekness, "Blessed are the MEEK." (Matt. 5:5)
non-retaliation to evil, "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you." (Matt. 5:44)
and to observe a strict equality among themselves.  "Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister; and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." (Mark 10:43-44.)

"One is your master, even Christ; and ALL YE ARE BRETHREN." (Matt. 23:8.)


The immediate followers of Jesus taught exactly the same things, that:
Jesus came as a sacrifice at his first appearing.
"At the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF." (Heb. 9:26 R.V.)
Jesus was the future king of Israel and eventually of the whole world. "(God) hath appointed a day in the which he will judge (rule) the world in righteousness by that man (Jesus) whom he hath ordained." (Acts 17:31)
They plainly taught his resurrection from the dead, "Him (Jesus) God raised up the third day and shewed him openly . . . even to us who did eat and drink with him after HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD." (Acts 10:40-41.)
His ascension, and return to this earth: "HE (God) SHALL SEND JESUS CHRIST, which before was preached unto you. Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution." (Acts 3:20-21)
That there would be a resurrection of his dead friends, "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." (Acts 24:15)
and association in his throne for the faithful. 

"If we suffer WE SHALL ALSO REIGN with him." (2 Tim. 2:12)

"The saints shall judge (rule) the world." (1 Cor. 6:2)

These immediate followers of Jesus were godly men, like their Master, who could invite others to follow their example, and who

"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as YE HAVE US FOR AN ENSAMPLE." (Phil. 3:17)

"BE YE FOLLOWERS OF ME, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)

would exclude all evildoers from their assemblies. "We command you, brethren . . . that ye WITHDRAW YOURSELVES from every brother that walketh disorderly." (2 Thess. 3:6)
They also inculcated a strict equality among believers. "All of you be SUBJECT ONE TO ANOTHER." (1 Pet. 5:5)

In their general descriptions of a Christian's life and duties, we find them making repeated use of such words as: "Love, gentleness, patience, kindness, forbearance, forgiveness, mercy, meekness, pure, just, good report, honesty, virtue, faith, temperance."


These beliefs and practices were in active operation among the early Christians. This is confirmed by outside testimony. Gibbon, the famous author of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," who, by the way, was an unbeliever, testifies to the blameless morals of the early believers. He also refers to what was to him their peculiar doctrine of non-retaliation to evil. He speaks of:

"The pure and austere morals of the Christians." Chapter 15.

"The Primitive Christians were dead to the business and pleasures of the world." Chapter 15.

Gibbon then comments on this puzzling doctrine of nonretaliation, which is no puzzle to the reader of Christ's commands:

"The defence of our persons and property they knew not how to reconcile with the patient doctrine which enjoined an UNLIMITED FORGIVENESS OF PAST INJURIES ... nor could their humane ignorance be convinced that it was lawful on any occasion to shed the blood of our fellow-creatures, either by the sword of justice or that of war." Chapter 15.

Of the strict equality of Christians in the government of their churches or assemblies (for the Greek word "ecclesia" rendered "church" in our Authorised Version is an assembly of called out persons, not a building) Gibbon declares:

"Independence and equality formed the basis of their internal constitution."
"The primitive bishops were considered only as the first of their equals, and the honourable servants of a free people." Chapter 15.

So much then for that end of our story: the beginning, the primitive, the pure.

Now what of this end, after a lapse of 2,000 years? If today the "ordinary man" asks to see the Christians, he is pointed to "The Church." Then, as Bishop Blunt complains, he insists on seeing "fruit"--meekness, love, nonretaliation. He expects to see Christians who are "dead to the world's pleasures," separate from the world's politics; instead of which he sees pride and love of pre-eminence; archbishops living in palaces, and complaining that they have a job to make ends meet on L15,000 a year; bishops sitting in the House of Lords, and helping to make the country's laws, accepting its honours, and encouraging its armies at war in their work of killing fellow "Christians." Seeing this and much more, Bishop Blunt says, the "ordinary man" is "puzzled"; and well he might be! The Bishop doubtless dislikes the publicity which the advance of independent democratic institutions has shed upon the Church's sordid history. But the day when the light of inquiry could be quenched has passed with the rack and the faggot.

We now propose enlightening the "ordinary man" still more by enquiring into the Church's pedigree. This may serve to "explain" the church as he sees it today, and so lessen his "mystification" even if it increases his contempt, which it doubtless will.


Owing to the graveness of our charge we must be careful in the selection of our witnesses. The chief one upon whom we shall rely is Dr. Mosheim, who has written an ecclesiastical history of world-wide repute. His work, as far as we are aware, has never seriously been called in question. What is more, Dr. Mosheim was a clergyman whose sympathies were with the church, and who denounces as "heretics" many dissenting bodies of the early centuries, who, we have good reason to believe, contained many primitive Christians. Be this as it may, the learned doctor does not write to please us, neither would we wish it; his testimony suits our purpose well as it stands, because he writes as an accredited historian. Century by century, beginning with the first, he unfolds the history and development of the Christian church. We cannot do better than follow him in this chronological sequence and learn how every Christian virtue was outraged, and every Christian doctrine corrupted, by the substitution of unblushing paganism.

You will recall the list of New Testament words descriptive of Christians and Christianity. It will be well to keep them in mind for the purpose of making a contrast, for you will find that Mosheim finds little or no occasion to make use of them. Rather in his description of his "Christians" and his "Christianity" does he have continual recourse to such ugly words as:

"Fraud, forgery, voluptuousness, profligacy, sensual, avaricious, corruption, vice, villainy, arrogance, domination, tyranny, ignorance, crime, dissoluteness, robbery, revelry, licentiousness, debauchery, depravity, force, cunning, enormities, hatred, cruelty, bribery, rancour, violence, craftiness, murder, monsters, abandoned, poisoning."

Such words of evil import, bad in their solitary setting, are certainly not improved when placed in their historical context. To that sordid task we now apply ourselves with the able help of Dr. Mosheim. It will then be seen that if the ingenuity of the reader can add any words to our degraded list they will all be comprehended in one word Rome!

Our pages will now be taken up largely by quotations from Mosheim. We trust that the reader will find them interesting and instructive.


In his description of First Century Christianity, Mosheim uses similar descriptions to Gibbon. By these he shews the early church to have been exactly what a careful reading of the New Testament would have led us to expect. Of the equality which prevailed among the early Christians Mosheim says:

"In those primitive times, each Christian church was composed of the people, the presiding officers, and the assistants or deacons . . . THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY WAS IN THE PEOPLE or the whole body of the Christians . . . THE ASSEMBLED PEOPLE, therefore, ELECTED THEIR OWN RULERS AND TEACHERS."

"THE PEOPLE DID EVERYTHING that is proper for those in whom THE SUPREME POWER OF THE COMMUNITY IS vested." (Century 1. Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

This equality extended to their churches; they too were equal in authority, and independent of any central jurisdiction.

"ALL THE CHURCHES in these primitive times WERE INDE PENDENT ... It is as clear as the noonday, that all Christian churches had EQUAL RIGHTS, and were in all respects ON A FOOTING OF EQUALITY." (Century 1, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)


The inspired apostle Paul knew that this condition of affairs would not last, for already, while he lived, he had to contend with various heresies of those "who concerning the truth had erred" in different ways. How much more then would this tendency to error increase when his restraining influence was removed. Thus his prophetic utterance to the elders of the Ephesian church:

"I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you . . . Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:29-30.)

It seems incredible that such things could happen, at least so soon. History, however, verifies the apostle's prediction, for, after Paul's departing, Mosheim says:

"Christian churches had scarely been gathered and organised, when here and there MEN ROSE up, who, not being contented with the simplicity and purity of that religion which the apostles taught, attempted innovations and FASHIONED RELIGION ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN LIKING ... So long as the greater part of the apostles were alive, to watch over the churches, these innovators were not very successful." (Century 1, Pt. 2, Ch. 5.)

These restraints being finally removed, when the last of the inspired apostles passed off the scene, error advanced with rapid strides. None, we believe, lived to see the beginning of the next century, and of this Second Century Mosheim says:

"The philosophers and learned men who came over to the Christians in this century, were no inconsiderable protection and ornament to this holy religion" (but) " . . . the NOBLE SIMPLICITY AND MAJESTIC DIGNITY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION WERE LOST . . . when these philosophers (brought) faith and piety under the dominion of human reason." (Century 2, Pt. 1, Ch. 1.)

The particular philosophy here referred to was the Platonic, which takes its name from Plato, a Grecian philosopher who flourished during the Fifth Century B.C., or six centuries earlier than the time of which Mosheim here speaks. Plato, together with his brother philosopher Socrates, is responsible, more than any other, for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul being introduced into the Christian church. This was done, of course, not by Plato and Socrates, who lived centuries earlier, but by their disciples who lived in Christian times.


This pagan doctrine--yes, pagan doctrine--of the immortality of the soul is the cardinal error of Christendom upon which their whole superstructure of lies is built. With out this for a foundation their carefully erected and cunningly devised system of heaven-going-at-death, hell-torments; and purgatory, collapses like a child's sand-castle before the incoming tide. It is the oldest lie in the world; its real author is the serpent in Eden, when, contrary to God's declared intention, he knowingly declared:

"Ye shall not surely die."

Plato and Socrates did but dress it up in learned philosophic garb; the lie is still essentially the same, poetically expressed by "Christian" poets:

"There is no death, what seemeth so is transition."

This belief in a disembodied existence somewhere after death has been almost universal among the nations of antiquity. The notable exception to this rule was the Jews. And it was the Jews, mark you, dear reader, who alone had a revelation from God in their Scriptures. This is a singular and significant fact. Even Gibbon stays to remark upon it; says he:

"The doctrine of the immortality of the Soul is OMITTED IN THE LAW OF MOSES." Chapter 15.

This, we unhesitatingly affirm, is also true of the New Testament. For as Jesus said when he summarised his mission and teaching, "I came not to destroy the law but to fulfil"; while Paul declared that he taught "None other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come." (Acts 26:22)


These truths have been strikingly confirmed by many modern scholars who have set themselves the task of finding evidence for the immortality of the soul in the Scriptures. They have all drawn a blank. One, an Archbishop, confessed:

"In the Word of God no such doctrine is found."

The truth is, the immortality of the soul is an old heathen fiction invented by benighted men to account for something they could not otherwise understand. A writer in Chambers's Encyclopedia comments as follows:

"IN THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION THE IDEA OF IMMORTALITY FIRST ASSUMES A DEFINITE SHAPE. There is a clear recognition of a dwelling place of the dead . . . With the progress of Hellenic thought, a higher idea of the future is found to characterise both the poetry and philosophy of Greece, till IN THE PLATONIC SOCRATES, THE CONCEPTION OF IMMORTALITY SHINES FORTH WITH IMPRESSIVE CLEARNESS AND PRECISION.

"In the Apology and the Phoedo Socrates discourses of the doctrine of the soul's immortality in language at once rich in faith and beauty: 'THE SOUL, THE IMMATERIAL PART, being of a nature so superior to the body, CAN IT,' he asks in the Phoedo, I as soon as it is separated from the body, BE DISPERSED INTO NOTHING AND PERISH?' . . .

"THE SOUL DEPARTS INTO THAT INVISIBLE REGION which is of its own nature, the region of the divine, the immortal, the wise, and then its lot is to be happy in a state in which it is freed from fears and wild desires, and the evils of humanity, AND SPENDS THE REST OF ITS EXISTENCE WITH THE GODS'."
Chambers's Ency. Vol. 6, page 88.


Surely a modern churchman could describe his beliefs no better nor any differently. The reason? Pagan philosopher and modern churchman are akin. And now here are the findings of another famous philosopher, Aristotle, whose teaching has profoundly influenced the theologians:

"Aristotle declares that all men have a conception of gods, and that all agree in placing their habitation in the most elevated region of the Universe. The Egyptian, the Scandinavian, the Assyrian, and ALL PRIMITIVE RELIGIONS MAINTAIN EXISTENCE OF A HEAVEN AS THE PLACE OF REWARD AFTER DEATH FOR VIRTUOUS LIVES LIVED ON EARTH; and indeed it may be taken as the universal corollary to the UNIVERSALLY HELD BELIEF IN THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL." Chambers's Ency. Vol. 5, page 612.

That is it. A "Universal corollary": the one implies and indeed demands the other. If a soul is immortal it must therefore always exist. When the body dies the immortal soul, ejected from its house of clay, is homeless; and as something must be somewhere, a place of new abode must be found for it. Hence heaven has become the "universal corollary," to the "universally held belief in the immortality of the soul." Here then is the origin, and here are the fathers of the gospel-nullifying error: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.

Summing the matter up, Mosheim declares:

"This (Platonic) philosophy was adopted by such of the learned at Alexandria as WISHED TO BE ACCOUNTED CHRISTIANS AND YET RETAIN THE NAME, THE GARB, AND THE RANK OF PHILOSOPHERS." (Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1.)


A faithful section of the Christians earnestly contended against this dangerous innovation. They knew to where it would lead, by the warnings they had received. Not being flattered by the learned condescension of heathen philosophers who would, at a price, pay court to Christianity, they strenuously opposed and denounced the growing apostacy. Thus began an unequal warfare which has continued to this very day.

What could be more telling, in illustration of the warnings of the apostles, than this extract from Mosheim?

"THIS CULTIVATION OF PHILOSOPHY by Christian teachers greatly DISPLEASED THOSE WHO WERE ATTACHED TO THE ANCIENT SIMPLE FAITH, as taught by Christ and his apostles, for they feared what afterwards actually happened, that the purity and excellence of divine truth would suffer by it. Hence the Christians were divided into TWO PARTIES, THE FRIENDS OF PHILOSOPHY and human learning, and THE OPPOSERS OF THEM." Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1 (footnote).

Then is added this significant sentence:

"The issue of the long contest between them was, that the advocates of PHILOSOPHY PREVAILED."

They "prevailed" not by the weight of Scripture testimony, for there was none, but by the decrees of councils; just as they did in the dispute about the nature of Christ, at the Council of Nicea. The Council proclaimed its judgment and henceforth all dissenters were hunted down as heretics. We have an illustration of this method in a declaration of a canon passed by the Council of Lateran:

"Some have dared to assert, concerning the nature of the reasonable soul, that IT IS MORTAL; we, with the approbation of the sacred Council, do condemn and reprobate all such, seeing ACCORDING TO THE CANON OF POPE CLEMENT THE FIFTH, THE SOUL IS IMMORTAL; and we strictly inhibit all from dogmatising otherwise; and we decree that all who adhere to the like erroneous assertions shall be shunned and punished as heretics." (Caranza, page 412, 1681)


Nothing is so calculated to open one's eyes to the true character of the church than an intelligent grasp of what happened in these early days of Christianity of which Mosheim treats. It makes one exclaim, "Ah, now I can see how it all happened, the Christianity of Christ and his apostles simply became overwhelmed by a flood of heathen philosophy." Mosheim further declares:

"THIS NEW SPECIES OF PHILOSOPHY, imprudently adopted by Origen and other Christians, DID IMMENSE HARM TO CHRISTIANITY. For it led the teachers of it to involve in philosophic obscurity many parts of our religion, which were in themselves plain and easy to be understood; and to ADD TO THE PRECEPTS OF THE SAVIOUR NOT A FEW THINGS OF WHICH NOT A WORD CAN BE FOUND IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES . . . It recommended to Christians various foolish and useless rites, suited only to nourish superstition, no small part of which we see religiously observed by many even to the present day . . . (it) produced a heterogeneous species of religion, consisting of Christian and platonic principles combined." (Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1.)

This is exactly the charge made by William Tyndale, the reformer and translator of the Bible. He says:

"In putting departed souls in heaven, hell, and purgatory, you destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection . . . The heathen philosophers denying (the resurrection) did put that souls did ever live. And the Pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ, and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together--things so contrary that they cannot agree . . . And because the Pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scriptures to establish it."

Where are the William Tyndales today? They have ceased to be found in the ranks of the clergy. Nevertheless they do still exist.

Mosheim. testifies that this and other foolish beliefs caused Christianity to be treated with contempt by the intelligent pagans of the time. He says:

"It alienated the minds of many, in the following centuries, from Christianity itself." (Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1.)


This revolt is still to be seen today, and is expressed in a reported remark of the Duke of Grafton:

"It is apparent to me that the Christian religion has been corrupted from very early times, and that these corruptions have been mistaken for essential parts of it, and have been the cause of rendering the whole religion incredible."

That sums up our quarrel with the Church today. They have brought true religion into disrepute by their own counterfeit which masquerades as Christianity. Our task is to expose them and so clear away one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the way of the "ordinary man's" acceptance of the Bible.

Mosheim next deals with the practice of calling councils, which began in the second century, and which resulted in so much evil. These councils were composed of representative delegates from the various churches. They met together and formed ecclesiastical laws, or canons. What they really accomplished is best described in his own words:

"These councils ... changed nearly the whole form of the Church. For in the first place, the ANCIENT RITES AND PRIVI LEGES OF THE PEOPLE were, by them, very much ABRIDGED; and on the other hand, the influence and AUTHORITY OF THE BISHOPS WERE NOT A LITTLE AUGMENTED." (Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

By the THIRD CENTURY, one great fundamental truth of Christianity, i.e., Christ's reign on earth, which we briefly demonstrated at the opening of our chapter, was discarded by many Christians. Mosheim's testimony is:

"That the Saviour is to reign a thousand years among men before the end of the world, had been believed by many in the preceding century . . . In this (third) century the Millennarian doctrine fell into disrepute, through the influence especially of Origen, who opposed it because it contravened some of his opinions." (Century 3, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)


Gibbon offers similar testimony concerning this primitive belief of Christ's reign on earth:

"THE ANCIENT AND POPULAR DOCTRINE OF THE MILLENNIUM was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ . . . Though it might not be universally received, it appears to have been THE REIGNING SENTIMENT OF THE ORTHODOX BELIEVERS. . . But, when the edifice of the church was almost completed, the temporary support was laid aside. The doctrine of Christ's reign upon earth was at first treated as a profound allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and was at length REJECTED AS THE ABSURD INVENTION OF HERESY AND FANATICISM." (Decline & Fall, chapter 15.)

With this renunciation of plain Scripture testimony came the adoption of unscriptural ceremonies and unheard-of doctrines. Of the ceremonies Mosheim says:

"All the monuments of this (third) century which have come down to us, shew that there was a great increase in ceremonies." (Century 3, Pt. 2, Ch. 4.)

While, as an illustration of the adoption of heathen doctrines, we have that of the "Holy Trinity", of which the historian writes:

"The controversies respecting the divine Trinity, which commenced in the preceding century, FROM THE TIME WHEN GRECIAN PHILOSOPHY GOT INTO THE CHURCH, had a wider spread in this century and produced various methods of explaining that doctrine." (Century 3, Pt. 2, Ch. 5.)

This foolish and self-contradictory doctrine persists to this day, and is defended by nearly every sect of non-conformity as well as by the church "by law established." It is defended but never explained, universally admitted to be "inexplicable" and "above reason," incapable of demonstration--a "holy mystery."

From now on the pace of declension accelerated. Of the FOURTH CENTURY Mosheim writes:

"THE BISHOPS . . . gradually subverted and changed the ancient principles of church government. For they first EXCLUDED THE PEOPLE ALTOGETHER FROM HAVING A VOICE IN ECCLESIASTICAL AFFAIRS . . . so that they now controlled every thing at their discretion." (Century 4, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)


Next we have the beginnings of shrine and relic worship in which the Roman Church still specialises. Says Mosheim:

"Next from Palestine ... portions of dust or earth were brought, as if they were the most powerful protection against the assaults of evil spirits: and these were bought and sold everywhere at great prices. Further, THE PUBLIC SUPPLICATIONS, BY WHICH THE PAGANS WERE ACCUSTOMED TO APPEASE THEIR GODS, WERE BORROWED FROM THEM AND WERE CELEBRATED IN MANY PLACES WITH GREAT POMP. To the temples, to water consecrated in due form, and to the images of holy men, THE SAME EFFICACY WAS ASCRIBED . . . as had been attributed to the pagan temples, statues and lustrations before the advent of Christ." (Century 4, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

Thus was Christianity becoming openly pagan. Indeed pagan practices were now encouraged to attract more readily the pagans, and so swell the numbers of the Christian ranks. Incredible -- but true. Listen again to Mosheim:

"The Christian bishops introduced into the Christian worship, those rites by which, formerly, the Greeks and Romans . . . had manifested their piety and reverence towards their imaginary deities; SUPPOSING THAT THE PEOPLE WOULD MORE READILY EMBRACE CHRISTIANITY . . . There was, of course, LITTLE DIFFERENCE in these times BETWEEN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHRISTIANS AND THAT OF THE (PAGANS) . . . IN BOTH there were splendid ROBES, MITRES, TIARAS, WAX TAPERS, CROSIERS, PROCESSIONS, LUSTRATIONS, IMAGES, GOLDEN AND SILVER VASES, and innumerable other things alike." (Century 4, Pt. 2, Ch. 4.)

Or, as Professor John William Draper declares, it was simply Grecian mythology revived, for the Greeks had,

"Statues of Minerva that could brandish spears, paintings that could blush, images that could sweat, and endless shrines and sanctuaries at which miracle cures could be performed . . . In short, almost the whole of paganism is converted and applied to popery." The Conflict between Religion & Science, page 39.

In the FOURTH CENTURY many began to press their trinitarian beliefs upon their resisting brethren. Such a ridiculous spectacle did they present in arguing how three could only be one, and one could truly be three, each and all co-equal and co-eternal, that comedians were presenting burlesques of the controversy on the stage at Alexandria in Egypt. Thus the whole foolery, of a son being the same age as his father, was held up to ridicule, and religion brought into contempt.

Those who denied this absurd doctrine were styled Arians by their opponents. And in illustration of the fanatical superstition into which men had at this time fallen, we have the Trinitarians bringing forward dead men's bones to help confound the Arians. Mosheim says:

"Ambrose, in controversy with the Arians, brings forward persons possessed with devils (insane) who are constrained when the relics of Gervasius and Protasius are produced, to cry out, that the doctrine of the (Trinity) is true and divine, and the doctrine of the Arians false and pernicious." (Century 4, Part 2, Ch. 3.)


This "Arian controversy," as it was called, reached such alarming proportions that the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, called a council to settle the matter. The outcome of this famous Council of Nicea, A.D. 325. was the Nicene Creed which was intended to define authoritatively the teaching of Scripture upon this abstruse subject of the Trinity. Here are one or two extracts from it:

"I believe in ... one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, Begotten not made, Being of one substance with the Father . . ."

All dissentients from this jargon were now treated as heretics. Later, about the fifth century, this creed was further elaborated by the production of the Athanasian Creed. Its folly will best be seen by reproducing the first half, which is relevant to our subject:

"Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith.

"Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

"And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

"Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.

"For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.

"But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

"Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost.

"The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost uncreate.

"The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

"The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost eternal.

"And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal.

"As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated: but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
"So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty: and the Holy Ghost Almighty.

"And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.

"So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.

"And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.

"So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord: and the Holy Ghost Lord.

"And yet not three Lords: but one Lord.

"For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

"So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion: to say, there be three Gods, or three Lords.

"The Father is made of none: neither created, nor begotten.

"The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created, but begotten.

"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

"So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

"And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater or less than another;

"But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together; and co-equal.

"So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

"He therefore that will be saved: must thus think of the Trinity."

It is interesting to read a Catholic apologist's, defence of the framing of this and similar metaphysical nonsense. The Rev. E. R. Hill, S.J., says:

"NEW DOCTRINES WERE PERIODICALLY ADDED TO THE CHURCH'S TEACHING. Certainly MORE DOCTRINES ARE TAUGHT AS FAITH TODAY THAN WERE TAUGHT AS OF FAITH BY THE APOSTLES. The question leads to the idea of the development of doctrine. Catholics believe that the Church never develops into a doctrine anything that was not originally a part of Christ's revelation. But a development can take place in clearness and definiteness of expression. Peter would have told us that our Lord was God and man but, he would hardly have been able to express his doctrine in the terms of the . . . Athanasian Creed because that kind of language was not in use in St. Peter's day." ("What the Catholic Church is and what she teaches," page 12.)


How thankful we are that "that kind of language was not in use in Peter's day"! Fancy a Bible written in the gibberish of the Athanasian Creed; a book of such a size would be absolutely unreadable. Then the sublime self-assurance of "Father" Hill! Peter, an inspired apostle and companion of Jesus, was unable to express himself with "clearness and definiteness of expression" although speaking by the power of the Spirit of God. So it is left to muddle-headed apostates of the fifth century to make his meaning clear to poor mankind!

Indeed men must believe it if they would be "saved," yet it is admittedly "incomprehensible." How a man can believe what he cannot understand, even if he were willing, we have yet to learn. But there, this is but one of the countless follies and inconsistencies of this nonsensical religion.

Thus men accept and defend man-made creeds which they confess their inability to understand, and yet will reject, out of hand, clearly defined Bible doctrines. Take the following extract, attributed to Bishop Beveridge, as an example of the blind unreasoning assent to childish dogma of the benighted church of earlier times. He says:

"I ever did and ever shall, look upon those apprehensions of God to be truest, whereby we apprehend Him to be the most incomprehensible ... I think myself the more obliged to believe: especially this mystery of mysteries, The Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity, which I am far from being able to comprehend . . . That the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, should be Three, and yet One; but One and yet Three! O Heart-amazing, thought-devouring inconceivable mystery! Who cannot believe it to be true?"

What logic, to be sure! The more unbelievable it is the more likely it is to be true. "Inconceivable," even "incomprehensible," yet it must be so--"who cannot believe it to be true?" Knowing what we do we feel more inclined to enquire in amazement--"who can?"

Passing along now to the FIFTH CENTURY we find the ambitious Church, not satisfied with converting individuals to "Christianity," now begins to make converts of tribes and nations by the conversion of the nation's leaders.
The first of these was Clovis, king of the Franks. In order to impress his barbaric followers with the divine character of this occasion, "lying wonders" were unblushingly employed:

"The miracles reported on this occasion (the baptism of Clovis) are unworthy of credit,"

says Mosheim, and continues:

"In particular the greatest of them, the descent of a dove from heaven with a phial full of oil . . . is either a fiction, or, as I think, more probable, a deception craftily contrived for the occasion. For such pious frauds were much resorted to in that age . . . to captivate more readily the minds of the barbarous nations." (Century 5, Pt. 1, Ch. 1.)

When we realise that the "Christian" clergy had descended to such depths of deceit, we are less surprised when we read the testimony of the historian concerning their low personal morals at this time:

"Of the vices of the whole clerical order, their luxury, their arrogance, their avarice, their voluptuous lives, we have as many witnesses as we have writers of integrity and gravity in this age whose works have come down to us." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

We have now travelled far from the "pure" and "austere" lives of early Christian leaders; and "like priest like people" is a saying well illustrated in this case, for, says Mosheim:

"These stains on the character of the clergy would have been deemed insufferable, had not most of the people been sunk in superstition and ignorance, and had not all estimated the rights and privileges of Christian ministers by those of the ancient priests." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)


The primitive simplicity of Christianity had now gone beyond recall. The people had "heaped to themselves teachers" who had turned them from truth to the most childish and ridiculous "fables."

Indeed, to be a primitive Christian now, in faith or practice, was to be condemned by the dominant party of Christians, that party which had prevailed owing to the evil work of the philosophers. So says Mosheim:

"That devout and VENERABLE SIMPLICITY OF THE FIRST AGES OF THE CHURCH,which taught men to believe when God speaks and to obey when God commands appeared to most of the doctors of this age to be UNPHILOSOPHICAL AND BECOMING ONLY IN THE VULGAR." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

Thus, as foretold, "evil men and seducers" had completely obscured the truth, and in its place substituted "fables." Mosheim says of them:

"They did not so much explain, as INVOLVE IN GREATER OBSCURITY and DARKEN WITH AMBIGUOUS TERMS AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE DIST'INCTIONS, the deep mysteries of revealed religion."

These men preferred mysteries. And what was plain and easy to be understood was soon turned into a mystery, for it was the mysteries which paid the big dividends. By a skilful handling of these with "feigned words they were able, true to the apostolic forecast, to make merchandize" of the people.

"Most of the interpreters . . . DESPISING THE GENUINE AND OBVIOUS MEANING of the Scriptures, SEARCH AFTER ABSTRUSE SENSES, or what the Latins of that age called mysteries, in the plainest passages and sentences of the Bible." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

Religious fanaticism now ran riot. Men sought notoriety and a reputation for peculiar sanctity by "behaving," as Mosheim says, "like madmen." Many became what are known as pillar saints. They spent their lives, like Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square, perched on the tops of specially erected columns. Mosheim tells us of one:

"Simeon of Sisan ... who was first a shepherd, and then a monk; who, in order to be nearer heaven, spent thirty-seven years in the most uncomfortable manner on the tops of five different pillars, of six, twelve, twenty-two, thirty-six, and forty cubits elevation; and in this way procured for himself immense fame and veneration." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

--a reward which no reasonable mind will begrudge him, we feel sure. As for getting him "nearer to heaven," we must demur. The extent to which men will ignore what God requires in order zealously to follow their own misguided dictates is truly wonderful.

Each surprise seems to prepare us for the next, although we sometimes feel that we are reading the diary of an asylum attendant instead of the sober narration of actual happenings. We are told that "Christianity conquered Paganism"; we wonder when we read the following:

"AS NO ONE IN THOSE TIMES OBJECTED TO CHRISTIANS RETAINING THE OPINIONS OF THEIR PAGAN ANCESTORS, respecting the souls, heroes, demons, temples, and the like, and then transferring them into their devotions; as NO ONE PROPOSED UTTERLY TO ABOLISH THE ANCIENT PAGAN INSTITUTIONS, BUT ONLY TO ALTER THEM SOMEWHAT, AND PURIFY THEM; it was unavoidable that the religion and worship of Christians should in this way become corrupted." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

Of course it was "unavoidable." As unavoidable as a barrel of bad apples turning a good one bad. For whoever yet heard of a good apple turning a barrel of bad ones good? This same error was manifest later during the period of the Reformation. Then the reformers did not seek to "abolish" Catholicism but only to "alter it somewhat", and "purify" it. To such an experiment we can add the comment of Mosheim, "It was unavoidable that the religion and worship of Christianity should in this way become corrupted."

Mosheim, now overwhelmed by the evidence of wholesale apostacy which he had collected of this fifth century, says:

"To recount all the regulations made in this century respecting the mode of worship and religious rites and institutions would require a volume of considerable size ... Public worship everywhere assumed a form more calculated for show ... The magnificence of the temples had no bounds. Splendid images were placed in them . . . the image of the Virgin Mary holding her infant in her arms, occupied the most conspicuous place." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 4.)

Thus began "mariolatry," practised to this day in the Catholic Church. Something more sinister also made its appearance at this time, a doctrine which has since caused untold mental misery to millions, a doctrine which could never have survived apart from the universal acceptance of the great lie -- the immortality of the soul. We refer to the doctrine of Hell torments and Purgatory.

Thus Mosheim, concludes his review of the fifth century with these words:

"This also will I add, that the doctrine of the purification of souls after death by means of some sort of fire ... obtained, in this age, a fuller development and greater influence." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)


The competition among the bishops for pre-eminence and priority, had by this time resolved itself into an unhallowed contest between the remaining two for supreme headship of the Church.

With the advent of the SIXTH CENTURY, circumstances favoured the elevation of the Bishop of Rome to the coveted position of headship at the expense of his only remaining rival, the Bishop of Constantinople. In this century the ambitions of the lesser clergy continued to grow upon what they were fed. Thus Mosheim declares:

"The clergy were previously in possession of high privileges and great wealth, and the superstition of this century added considerably to both. For it was supposed that sins might be expiated by munifence to churches and monks; and that the prayers of departed saints, which were most efficacious with God, might be purchased by presents offered to them, and by temples dedicated to their names. This increase in wealth and privileges was accompanied with an equal increase of the vices usually attendant on affluence, in the clergy of all ranks from the highest to the lowest." (Century 6, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

Then we have a reminder of the apostle's warning that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving" (the people) and themseleves "being deceived" (by God), for, as another prophecy foretold, in consequence of wilfully perverting God's truth, God would send them judicial blindness that "they should believe a lie." And so it is, as Mosheim testifies:

"THE BARRIERS OF ANCIENT SIMPLICITY AND TRUTH BEING ONCE VIOLATED, THE STATE OF THEOLOGY WAXED WORSE AND WORSE; and the amount of impure and superstitious additions to the religion of Christ is almost indescribable . . . Those who instructed the people at large, made it their SOLE CARE TO IMBUE THEM MORE AND MORE WITH IGNORANCE, SUPERSTITION, REVERENCE FOR CLERGY, AND ADMIRATION OF EMPTY CEREMONIES . . . Nor was this strange; for the blind -- that is, persons for the most part grossly ignorant and thoughtless -- were leaders of the blind." (Century 6, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

Then Mosheim, continuing his, or rather Christ's, telling analogy of "blind men," declares of this sixth century:


And these men, dear reader, are the august ancestors of the Catholic Church, through whom "infallible judgment" on divine revelation has been transmitted to the present occupant of "St Peter's Chair" in Rome! Mark it and consider it well, now, and in the more telling evidence to follow, and ask yourselves as men of sense and reason, Can it be so? Has God chosen such foul conveyers of his pure revelation? Can heavenly wisdom spring from such tainted sources of gross error and foolishness? Do men gather figs from thistles? Answer these questions by the help of Mosheim's testimony:

"To endure hunger and thirst without repining and go naked about the country like mad-men . . . this was accounted holy and glorious. The less anyone resembled a man of rational and sane mind, the more confidently might he hope to obtain an honoured place among the heroes and demi-gods of the Church." (Century 6, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

So closes the history of the Sixth Century.