This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).
The Church was commanded by Christ to be submissive to and to pray for state and local governments so that they would be able to live peacefully and secularly (1 Tim. 2:2). But the Roman Empire soon found displeasure with and persecuted Christians because they believed that the refusal of Christians to worship the Roman gods brought the wrath of their gods upon the empire. So when some misfortune fell upon the empire, the Romans blamed the Christians and persecuted them.
Another reason for secular hostility against the early Church was the message preached and the writings produced by the apostles and converts that denounced pagan religions and practices and also proclaimed Jesus as the only way of salvation and eternal life. This hostility has always existed and remains today and is also becoming more prominent and hostile.
The systematic persecution of Christians that began under the emperor Nero in A.D. 64 was instigated by the accusation that Christians were responsible for the Great Fire of Rome, while it was believed in some circles that Nero had started the fire himself to justify getting rid of the Christians.
This persecution continued, off and on, until the fourth century when the emperor Constantine allowed and accepted Christianity in the empire in A.D. 313. It was soon discovered that although the persecution had been severe it had also benefitted the Church because it had kept unscrupulous people from joining it, which now that it was accepted by the state were flooding into it. Christianity became the official state religion in 380 or 381 and was soon persecuting pagans as they had once been.
This corrupt union of Church and state produced among its leaders the false belief that Christianity would soon conquer and take over the world. This false belief and Constantine’s assumption as head of the Church set the stage for the popes who followed to assume authority over both Church and state, which they began to do when western Rome fell in 410. During the middle ages there was what is believed to be a forged document called The Donation of Constantine circulated which reportedly gave great power to the popes.
Dave Hunt sums it up for us in his book, "Whatever Happened To Heaven."
It was the Roman emperors who eventually put the final touch upon the organizational structure by establishing the bishop of Rome as the pope. Following the precedent already set by Constantine it became, under his successors, fully established "for the final decisions about church policy to be taken by the emperor." Emperors justified their exercise of control not only in the area of church policy, but with regard to its theology as well because doctrinal controversy could so easily lead to political crises. Those jockeying for key positions in the church hierarchy found it not only advantageous but necessary to cater to the imperial power. To that end Pope Leo I-ascribing to the secular authority an "infallibility" that would later be claimed for the pope-flattered a new emperor with the heretical and obsequious declaration:
By the Holy Spirit's inspiration the emperor needs no human instruction and is incapable of doctrinal error.
The emperors considered political unity to be a concomitant of religious unity, and their interest in the former led them to take an active part in the latter as well. . . .
Unity for unity's sake has become a major focus in the church today, particularly among charismatics. Correction of serious doctrinal error is often rejected under the claim that being united in love is more important than being biblically sound. Yet a major theme of all the epistles is correction of error and the teaching of sound doctrine. pp. 126, 128
By the fourteenth century the Roman Catholic Church had become so corrupt that anyone, commoner or clergy, who was concerned about uprightness had lost all respect for this institution. There were a growing number of would-be reformers within this system who were preparing to take action of one kind or another. John Wycliffe (1329-84) of England was the first to attempt to bring the church back under the authority of the Bible instead of the popes and also produced the first Bible written in English; John Huss (1369-1415) took up the call with him, and was condemned and thrown into the flames at the command of the pope.
It was Martin Luther that finally brought the conflict between the Roman Church and the reformers to a crisis, when in 1517 he nailed his 95 complaints against certain church practices on the door of the Wittenberg church. Rome responded by excommunicating Luther and brought him to trial and ordered him to retract. When he refused to do so they sought to kill him, but he was hidden by friends for about one year, and then returned to Wittenberg.
Although Luther desired to reform the Church, he still retained many of the false beliefs and practices of the Roman Church, such as baptismal regeneration, baptism of infants, and anti-Semitism. And it was not long before some of those who followed him became as morally corrupt as the Roman Church they had departed from.
Another well-meaning but disastrous failure to perfect the church and society was attempted by John Calvin in the city of Geneva in 1541-1564.
Church historian Philip Schaff wrote concerning Calvin’s Exercise of Discipline in Geneva:
The official acts of the Council from 1541 to 1559 exhibit a dark chapter of censures, fines, imprisonments, and executions. During the ravages of the pestilence in 1545 more than twenty men and women were burnt alive for witchcraft, and a wicked conspiracy to spread the horrible disease. From 1542 to 1546 fifty-eight judgments of death and seventy-six decrees of banishments were passed. During the years 1558 and 1559 the cases of various punishments for all sorts of offences amounted to four hundred and fourteen—a very large proportion for a population of 20,000.
The enemies of Calvin—Bolsec, Audin, Galiffe (father and son)—make the most of these facts, and, ignoring all the good he has done, condemn the great Reformer as a heartless and cruel tyrant.
It is impossible to deny that this kind of legislation savors more of the austerity of old heathen Rome and the Levitical code than of the gospel of Christ, and that the actual exercise of discipline was often petty, pedantic, and unnecessarily severe. Calvin was, as he himself confessed, not free from impatience, passion, and anger, which were increased by his physical infirmities; but he was influenced by an honest zeal for the purity of the Church, and not by personal malice. When he was threatened by Perrin and the Favre family with a second expulsion, he wrote to Perrin: "Such threats make no impression upon me. I did not return to Geneva to obtain leisure and profit, nor will it be to my sorrow if I should have to leave it again. It was the welfare and safety of the Church and State that induced me to return." He must be judged by the standard of his own, and not of our, age. The most cruel of those laws—against witchcraft, heresy, and blasphemy—were inherited from the Catholic Middle Ages, and continued in force in all countries of Europe, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic, down to the end of the seventeenth century. Tolerance is a modern virtue. We shall return to this subject again in the chapter on Servetus.
Today we have similar misguided attempts to Christianize, not merely a city, but the whole world which is the aim of the Reconstructionists, Dominionists and Kingdom Now people who are likewise doomed to failure because it is not God’s way to force religion upon anyone.
Dave Hunt writes in his book, "Whatever Happened To Heaven"
In spite of the many extremes and inconsistencies, much good was accomplished by the Reformation. There were thousands of people who never went along with the excesses of Luther or Calvin or condoned the unholy alliance between church and state. Many Christians also recognized and repudiated the elements of Romanism which much of Protestantism still retained. Eventually out of the independent groups they formed came the Baptists and various Brethren and "Free" churches, which in turn spawned the evangelical movement that dominates American Protestantism today. p. 181
Today there are numerous religions, cults, protestant denominations, movements and written agreements that are moving us back into the failed policies of the dark ages, some of which we have briefly discussed. Once again world leaders, secular and religious, are attempting to bring the Church into an allegiance with world government. Our freedom is being eroded, and God’s truth is being maligned and threatened with every step taken toward regional unity and globalism. It’s not that regional unity and globalism are bad in themselves, but that society in general has rejected God’s Biblical view of morality and law, and have replaced it with various ideas conceived by mere men – it has always been disastrous!
About forty years ago I found out how easy it was to be led astray; I was in the process of trying to reach a conclusion about some issue when I suddenly discovered that the thoughts and reasoning I was using were from a liberal viewpoint. I had always considered myself moderate and conservative, but I had been so influenced and conditioned by my surroundings that I was thinking and reasoning like a liberal. When we neglect God’s Word, the world will influence and change us. We expect people who are not Christians to reason from a humanistic point of view, but as more and more people who call themselves Christians neglect and/or depart from a Biblical point of view our world will become darker and darker as God’s light of truth is slowly drained and extinguished. "So Jesus said to them, You will have the Light only a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light [keep on living by it], so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes [he is drifting]. While you have the Light, believe in the Light [have faith in it, hold to it, rely on it], that you may become sons of the Light and be filled with Light. Jesus said these things, and then He went away and hid Himself from them [was lost to their view]" (John 12:35-36). "I have come as a Light into the world, so that whoever believes in Me [whoever cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] may not continue to live in darkness" (John 12:46).
But for those who have surrendered to the Lordship of Christ and learned to live, dwell and abide in Him (Jn. 15:1-10), the light of God’s truth will dispel the world’s darkness and deception and guide us unto eternal life in Christ. "Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life" (John 8:12).
JOHN 1:1-4.... In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ( Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. [Isa. 9:6.] He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.
JOHN 3:19-21.... The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil. [Isa. 5:20.] For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved. But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are--wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God's help, in dependence upon Him].