1. The First 4000 Years From Creation
  2. From AD 1 To 1300
  3. From 1300 To 1800
  4. From 1800 To The Present
  5. A New Heavens And A New Earth
  6. The Climax Of The Ages
  7. What Is Biblical Christianity?
  8. Do Not Be Deceived, Unless You Repent

Tour Of The Ages Section

Take the Tour of the Ages by following the menu above, page by page.

Read (1) The First 4000 Years From Creation and examine a brief history of the Old Testament time period.

Read (2), (3), and (4) to see some of the things that have shaped and affected Christendom (everything that claims to be Christian even though it may or may not be a part of true Christianity) during each respective time period.

Read (5) New Heavens And A New Earth to examine what God’s Word has to say about this reconstruction.

Read (6) The Climax Of The Ages to examine what God’s Word has to say about the end of the ages and the beginning of eternity.

Read (7) What Is Biblical Christianity so you will know what is true, and avoid that which is false.

Read (8) Do Not Be Deceived, Unless You Repent to see the importance God places on repentance.

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From 1300 To 1800

Humanism

While the spirit of the Renaissance ultimately took many forms, it was expressed earliest by the intellectual movement called Humanism. Humanism was initiated by secular men of letters rather than by the scholar clerics who had dominated medieval intellectual life and had developed the Scholastic philosophy. Humanism began and achieved fruition first in Italy. Its predecessors were men like Dante and Petrarch, and its chief protagonists included Gianozzo Manetti, Leonardo Bruni, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Lorenzo Valla, and Coluccio Salutati. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 provided Humanism with a major boost, for many eastern scholars fled to Italy, bringing with them important books and manuscripts and a tradition of Greek scholarship. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

The Renaissance

This movement was marked by a breaking away from much of the medieval Scholastic philosophy to a more humanistic philosophy, less emphasis upon a study of God and more upon the study of humanity. "The effect of Humanism was to help men break free from the mental strictures imposed by religious orthodoxy, to inspire free inquiry and criticism, and to inspire a new confidence in the possibilities of human thought and creations." (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Every movement or philosophy has its good and bad, or true and false aspects, and medieval orthodoxy and human philosophy are no exceptions. There was an immense amount of orthodox doctrine that was contrary to the Bible that needed to be refuted and men freed from. But as with most reform movements, humanism eventually went far beyond the limits that the Bible would impose upon it, and has caused as much harm as the wrong it intended to correct.

The Printing Press

The success of the early Church and the spread of the Gospel is contributed to the Holy Spirit energized evangelism of the apostles and their converts. There were very few handwritten copies of Scripture available to the common man. As the Church became involved with the Empire and interest turned more to politics than to piety, the Gospel message of these corrupted churches was perverted and then spread, many times forcefully, to the nations. The earth’s population now had two strikes against them ever coming under the influence of God’s truth: (1) No Bibles to read to instruct them in God’s ways, and (2) the distorted and sometimes false gospel that was forced upon them by religious leaders. The only hope for true knowledge lay with the churches that remained free from political control and preached the true Biblical message.

With the coming of the printing press, all this was to change. The first printing press in England was set up by William Caxton in 1476. Now more people could be reached with the printed page than was possible by handwritten letters or word of mouth. Books would be more prevalent and cheaper and available to the average person than ever before; the new revival of learning would be speedily spread around the world.

The Reformation

The Renaissance and the printing press undoubtedly aided the coming of the reformation, or the challenge to the authority and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and the pope. There had been others before Luther, John Wycliffe in England (1324-1384), John Huss in Bohemia (1369-1415), Savonarola in Italy (1452-1498); the pope tried to silence Wycliffe but was unable, Huss was burned alive at the stake, and Savonarola was hanged and burned.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther a German monk, attached on the church door in Wittenberg a challenged to discuss and debate, at the University, 95 issues mostly related to indulgences. Copies of Luther’s thesis were sent out all over Germany, and by 1520 he had become the most popular man in the land. The pope ordered Luther to retract his statements on the penalty of death, but Luther refused. Again in 1521 he was summoned by the Emperor and church leaders and ordered to retract, and he again refused. He was condemned to death, but escaped and was hid by a friend for about a year until he was able to return to his duties at Wittenberg. By 1540 all Northern Germany had become Lutheran, whereupon the pope declared a Crusade against them; the war lasted from 1546-1555, but at the end the Lutherans had won their independence from the church of Rome, and the world would no longer be the same.

The various protestant movements that resulted from this break with the Roman church can best be described as: (1) The conservative reform movements of the 1500’s the Lutheran; the Reformed, or Presbyterian; and the Anglican, or Episcopalian; (2) the radical reform movements of the 1500’s and 1600’s small religious sects such as the Anabaptists, the Quakers, the Separatists, and the Shakers that thought the conservative reformers had not proceeded far enough in bringing the church back to Biblical normalcy; (3) the free church movements of the 1500’s and 1600’s the Congregational and the Baptist movements developed from the Puritans and the Separatists from England; and (4) the Methodist movement of the 1700’s developed largely from European pietism. Methodism gave birth to the Holiness movement, including the Nazarenes, and in the early 1900’s, the Holiness movement, in turn, inspired a movement called Pentecostalism.

The Age of Rationalism, Reason, or Enlightenment

The Renaissance or revival of learning, the printing press, and the Reformation seem to be a clear path to the rise of Rationalism; making human reason more important or authoritive than Scripture, church or tradition. Not everyone made Scripture subservient to human reason, but some did. Many saw the value and connection of Rationalism with what had just taken place in the Reformation, but still gave the Bible its rightful place of ultimate authority Martin Luther seems to have been one of these people.

Extreme Rationalism rose as a protest and antagonist against Biblical supernaturalism, and in some cases real doctrinal excess. As the Church rose to the challenge, and began to develop a Biblically solid theology based upon a true exegesis the inroads of Rationality were checked and the Church enriched. There are times when appropriate protest and inquiry can produce good results.

The 1600’s was the beginning age of modern scientists and the philosophers, a time when everything was opened up to the scientific method of experimentation and observation. New discoveries were being made and theories purposed in every field: anatomy, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, physics, education, law, philosophy, and politics. Many began to speak out against the tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church, and others that had kept the people in ignorance and subjection to their inhumane authority. This attitude and philosophy undoubtedly sparked the American and French revolutions during the late 1700’s.

Romanticism

The 1700’s saw a romantic trend develop in the attitude and thinking of Western society that was very likely a reaction to all the scientific and philosophical investigation and speculation of the 1600’s. Romanticism emphasized thinking and responding with the heart or natural affections, instead of with the head; it was more a matter of appreciating than evaluating. We like variety with a good meal, we look forward and enjoy the meat and potatoes, but we also desire a tasty desert; both the mind and the heart require constant attention. We work hard during the week to provide for our necessities, but we look forward to the weekend when we can forget the daily labors to provide and can rest and enjoy our provisions. This then seems to have been the natural reaction to all the mental labor of the 1600’s.

This same transition or swing can be seen in the change that took place in traditional religious gatherings during the Great Awakenings; previously, preaching was aimed at instilling correct doctrine and thinking. The new revivalists aimed at stirring the heart and emotions of the people.

The Great Awakenings

Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1492 paved the way for Spanish settlements or territory on the west coast all the way to the Mississippi River, and the southeastern region of what is now Florida establishing there the first permanent European settlement at Augustine in 1565. The English first established a permanent settlement at Jamestown in 1607. The French settled mostly in what is now Canada, and the English established colonies all along the east coast from Maine down to Georgia.

Life in the New World was harsh and difficult, just getting there was a major achievement. During the 1600’s the various European nationalities and religious groups began to hack out a place for themselves in this vast, new wilderness; it’s almost impossible to imagine how difficult this must have been. They brought with them, not only implements to clear the ground but the new thoughts and ideas that were fermenting in Europe. It must have been exhilarating to step off the boat, walk a few hundred yards into the wilderness and experience a new sense of freedom never known before in their whole lifetime; unfortunately, not everyone could do that, some were slaves and indentured servants.

As the new society was being formed, new laws, rules and regulations would have to be settled upon as differences and resulting problems arose. The Reformation that had occurred in Europe gave these pilgrims an opportunity to work out and practice true religious freedom; fortunately for us, and the whole world, they were able to do it by God’s grace.

God began to stir up His servants, in this new land, to preach with fervor to these rough and tough pilgrims. Life was hard, and if one was going to survive, he would have to be as hard as the environment; many became very callous and course. God gave His servants just the right message to break this hardness, When Edwards spoke at Enfield, Connecticut, about ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,’ he was merciless. He described God holding men over the flames in the way that one held a loathsome spider over a candle. Others were sent with a similar message, and revival spread throughout the land from about 1720 to 1750. A second awakening occurred from about 1795 to 1835.

Many religious leaders opposed these revivals because: (1) Many were conducted in open fields instead of the established churches; (2) the preachers did not always have proper or approved training; (3) the new method of preaching seemed, to many people, to be designed to stir up and excite the feelings and enthusiasm of the people instead of instructing them in the ways of the Lord; and (4) the extreme reactions of the listeners that were sometimes allowed, that lead to outrageous fanaticism. Of course, not all meetings were conducted in this manner, nor had these extremes. Christians are still divided over the question of how much that occurred at these revivals was the work of the Lord, and how much was of man aided by the devil?

Perhaps more important than the revival itself was the renewal of religious independence and freedom that the Church had lost some 1451 years ago. Think of it, an alliance with the world at Nicea in 325 produced slavery for those who went along with it until God brought deliverance in 1776.

Modern Revivalism

According to Hank Hanegraaff "the peculiarities of wild enthusiasts spelled the demise of the Great Awakening"; this extremism has been a major problem with revivalism ever since. The Pentecostal Movement which began in 1900, the Charismatic Movement which began about 1960 and then declined about 1977, and the so called third wave movement of super Apostles and Prophets which began about 1989 have all had similar problems. The first wave, Pentecostalism, believed they could evangelize foreign countries by speaking in tongues instead of learning the native language. The second wave, Charismatics, thought they were a global restoration movement. The third wave, the apostles and prophets, think they are going to take over the world before Christ returns. These are just a few of the many extravagant beliefs and teachings that these groups have held that have proven to be false.

The Pentecostals believe speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Charismatics believe it is merely an evidence but not necessarily a required one. The third wave apostles and prophets believe that signs and wonders following the one preaching is evidence of moving in the power of God, thus distinguishing and proving their ministry. Unfortunately, most often their signs and wonders are only tricks and techniques used to hype up and manipulate undiscerning and expectant crowds of people. As can be seen by an overview of all revival movements, the more supernatural experiences are sought the greater the deception, and the worse their teachings and practices become.

In regards to the gifts given to the early Church by the Holy Spirit, we need to be aware that the Church has always been divided concerning the continued availability of these gifts after the Bible was completed and given to God’s people. The majority of people who call themselves Christians probably believe that these gifts have ceased to be available, and are called Cessationists; the remaining could be called, as many are today, Charismatics. The problem does not end there; for there are extreme Cessationists and there are extreme Charismatics, and it is usually the extremes that cause the most trouble. For example, there are Cessationists that believe that God no longer intervenes in a miraculous way in the affairs of men, and there are Cessationists that believe that God still preforms miracles of all kinds, but only according to His sovereign will and not in the same way or to the degree that He did with the early Church. There are Charismatics that believe that almost every thought that comes into their minds is a new revelation of God or something that God has revealed to them, and there are others that test and try their spiritual experiences by the Word of God to see if they are given by the Holy Spirit, their own excited spirit, or the demonic spirits of the enemy.

What we should glean from a review of these movements is that although the Holy Spirit was evident in some of them at the beginning, the works of the flesh fired up by the enemy grieved the Holy Spirit and caused Him to withdraw. What we have been left with is a large number of different groups practicing their peculiarities, but largely by and under the control of human and/or demonic ability. The muddy mixture involves the Holy Spirit, human enthusiasm and endeavor, and demonic energy. It is easy to see why the Holy Spirit would withdraw!

The Christian movements and denominations in the world today have, for the most part, either not come up to, or have gone beyond Biblical standards. The way back to restoration is by beginning, once again, to live by the plain truths of God’s Word.

Theology, Biblical and Historical Criticism

Theology is the study of God, religious faith, practice, and truth. In our enthusiastic search for truth there is always the possibility of overemphasizing one aspect and neglecting another, therefore we should take the following warning seriously.

There is the danger that doctrine will take precedence over the New Testament witness and turn living, personal faith into theological metaphysics. It seems apparent that the safest course is to let theological understanding and personal faith go hand in hand. Too much enthusiastic faith without a corresponding degree of theological understanding is almost certain to lead to error, perhaps to serious heresy. Too much doctrine unaccompanied by a living and growing faith is the recipe for dead orthodoxy. ("Heresy," -– Heresy And Orthodoxy In The History Of The Church, Harold O. J. Brown, page 154)

We don’t need theology to experience salvation, but we need theology to explain it, and to keep us in a true Biblical way or walk. A good theology, solidly based upon the whole of the divinely inspired Word of God, can systematize and explain the essential truths of Biblical Christianity. And a good philosophy, that is not contradictory to God’s word, can reasonably fill in additional details to give a well defined and satisfying view of life.

There are various types of Biblical criticism (textual, historical, etc.) and they all use a variety of scientific techniques to study the Bible. The same techniques are also used on other types of written documents. Biblical criticism has enabled the scholars to resolve some of the problems between differing manuscripts, which has had a beneficial effect upon our knowledge and understanding of God’s word; but it has also given opportunity to those who don’t believe the original manuscripts to be God’s inerrant revelation, to bring into question and cast doubts upon the reliability of the Bible by the excessive use and abuse of human reasoning. Liberal theology has been one result of the misuse and abuse of the scientific method and human reason.

False Religions and Cults

Hunters use decoys to lure their prey into a vulnerable position so that they can kill them, and that is exactly what the devil does to unsuspecting victims. One of his greatest and most successful decoys is to impersonate the true God. "For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ. And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; so it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). A decoy looks and appears to be the real thing, but it is not. Therefore, if we know God and the way that He does things, as He has revealed them in His Word; then, we will be better able to recognize the devil and his counterfeits and substitutes.



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Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible , an English version of the Bible which claims to Capture the Full Meaning Behind the Original Greek and Hebrew.