by J. M. Carroll
Dr. J. M. Carroll, the author of this book, was born in the state of Arkansas, January 8, 1858, and died in Texas, January 10, 1931. His father, a Baptist preacher, moved to Texas when Brother Carroll was six years old. There he was converted, baptized, and ordained to the Gospel ministry. Dr. Carroll not only became a leader among Texas Baptist, but an outstanding figure of Southern Baptists, and of the world.
Years ago he came to our church and brought the messages found in this book. It was then I became greatly interested in Brother Carroll's studies. I, too, had made a special research in Church History, as to which is the oldest Church and most like the churches of the New Testament.
Dr. J. W. Porter attended the lectures. He was so impressed he told Brother Carroll if he would write the messages he would publish them in a book. Dr. Carroll wrote the lectures and gave Dr. Porter the right to publish them along with the chart which illustrates the history so vividly.
However, Dr. Carroll died before the book came off the press, but Dr. Porter placed them before the public and the whole edition was soon sold. Now, by the grace of God, we are able to present this 66th edition of 20,000. I want to ask all who read and study these pages to join me in prayer and work that an ever-increasing number shall go forth.
"To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Christ Jesus; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in Heavenly places might be known by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God ... unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen." (Eph. 3:9-10, 21)
It was wonderful to hear Dr. Carroll tell how he became interested in the history of the different denominations--ESPECIALLY THEIR ORIGIN. He wrote the book after he was 70 years old, but he said, "I was converted unto God when I was just a boy. I saw the many denominations and wondered which was the church the Lord Jesus founded."
Even in his youth he felt that in the study of the Scriptures and history, he could find the church which was the oldest and most like the churches described in the New Testament.
This research for the truth led him into many places and enabled him to gather one of the greatest libraries on church history. This library was given at his death to the Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas.
He found much church history--most of it seemed to be about the Catholics and Protestants. The history of Baptists, he discovered, was written in blood. They were the hated people of the Dark Ages. Their preachers and people were put into prison and untold numbers were put to death. The world has never seen anything to compare with the suffering, the persecutions, heaped upon Baptists by the Catholic Hierarchy during the Dark Ages. The Pope was the world's dictator. This is why the Ana-Baptists, before the Reformation, called the Pope The Anti-Christ.
Their history is written in the legal documents and papers of those ages. It is through these records that the "TRAIL OF BLOOD" winds its way as you find such statements--
"At Zurich, after many disputations between Zuinglius and the Ana-Baptists, the Senate made an Act, that if any presume to re-baptize those who were baptized before (i.e. as infants) they should be drowned. At Vienna many Ana-Baptists were tied together in chains that one drew the other after him into the river, wherein they were all suffocated (drowned)." (Vida Supra, p. 61)
"In the year of our Lord 1539 two Ana-Baptists were burned beyond Southwark, and a little before them 5 Dutch Ana-Baptists were burned in Smithfield," (Fuller, Church History.)
"In 1160 a company of Paulicians (Baptists) entered Oxford. Henry II ordered them to be branded on the forehead with hot irons, publicly whipped them through the streets of the city, to have their garments cut short at the girdles, and be turned into the open country. The villages were not to afford them any shelter or food and they perished a lingering death from cold and hunger." (Moore, Earlier and Later Nonconformity in Oxford, p. 12.)
The old Chronicler Stowe, A.D. 1533, relates:
"The 25th of May--in St. Paul's Church, London--examined 19 men and 6 women. Fourteen of them were condemned; a man and a woman were burned at Smithfield, the other twelve of them were sent to towns there to be burned."
Froude, the English historian, says of these Ana-Baptist martyrs--
"The details are all gone, their names are gone. Scarcely the facts seem worth mentioning. For them no Europe was agitated, no court was ordered in mourning, no papal hearts trembled with indignation. At their death the world looked on complacent, indifferent or exulting. Yet here, out of 25 poor men and women were found 14, who by no terror of stake or torture could be tempted to say they believed what they did not believe. History has for them no word of praise, yet they, too, were not giving their blood in vain. Their lives might have been as useless as the lives of most of us. In their death they assisted to pay the purchase of English freedom."
Likewise, in writings of their enemies as well as friends, Dr. Carroll found, their history and that their trail through the ages was indeed bloody:
Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, 1524), President of the Council of Trent:
"Were it not that the baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers." (Hosius, Letters, Apud Opera, pp. 112, 113.)
The "twelve hundred years" were the years preceding the Reformation in which Rome persecuted Baptists with the most cruel persecution thinkable.
Sir Isaac Newton:
"The Baptists are the only body of known Christians that have never symbolized with Rome."
"Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay secreted in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of modern Dutch Baptists."
Edinburg Cyclopedia (Presbyterian):
"It must have already occurred to our readers that the Baptists are the same sect of Christians that were formerly described as Ana-Baptists. Indeed this seems to have been their leading principle from the time of Tertullian to the present time."
Tertullian was born just fifty years after the death of the Apostle John.
Baptists do not believe in Apostolic Succession. The Apostolic office ceased with the death of the Apostles. It is to His churches that He promised a continual existence from the time He organized the first one during His earthly ministry until He comes again. He promised--
"I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18)
Then, when He gave the great Commission, which tells what His churches are to do, He promised--
"I will be with you alway, even unto the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20)
This Commission--this work--was not given to the Apostles as individuals, but to them and the others present in their church capacity. The Apostles and the others who heard Him give this Commission were soon dead--BUT, His Church has lived on through the ages, making disciples (getting folks saved), baptizing them, and teaching the truth--the doctrines--He committed to the Jerusalem Church. These faithful churches have been blessed with His presence as they have traveled the TRAIL OF BLOOD.
This history shows how the Lord's promise to His churches has been fulfilled. Dr. Carroll shows that churches have been found in every age which have taught the doctrines He committed unto them. Dr. Carroll calls these doctrines the "marks" of New Testament Churches.
1. Its Head and Founder--CHRIST. He is the law-giver; the Church is only the executive. (Matt. 16:18; Col. 1:18)
2. Its only rule of faith and practice--THE BIBLE. (II Tim. 3:15-17)
3. Its name--"CHURCH," "CHURCHES." (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 22:16)
4. Its polity--CONGREGATIONAL--all members equal. (Matt. 20:24-28; Matt. 23:5-12)
5. Its members--only saved people. (Eph. 2:21; I Peter 2:5)
6. Its ordinances--BELIEVERS' BAPTISM, FOLLOWED BY THE LORD'S SUPPER. (Matt. 28:19-20)
7. Its officers--PASTORS AND DEACONS. (I Tim. 3:1-16)
8. Its work--getting folks saved, baptizing them (with a baptism that meets all the requirements of God's Word), teaching them ("to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you"). (Matt. 28:16-20)
9. Its financial plan--"Even so (TITHES and OFFERINGS) hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel," (I Cor. 9:14)
10. Its weapons of warfare--spiritual, not carnal. (II Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-20)
11. Its independence--separation of Church and State. (Matt. 22:21)
In any town there are many different churches--all claiming to be the true church. Dr. Carroll did as you can do now--take the marks, or teachings, of the different churches and find the ones which have these marks, or doctrines. The ones which have these marks, or doctrines, taught in God's Word, are the true churches.
This, Dr. Carroll has done, to the churches of all ages. He found many had departed from "these marks, or doctrines." Other churches, however, he found had been true to these marks" in every day and age since Jesus said,
"I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18)
"I will be with you alway, even unto the end of the age." (Matt. 28:21)
Or to express it differently, but still expressively--"A history of the Doctrines as taught by Christ, and His Apostles and those who have been loyal to them."
"Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations; Ask thy father and he will show thee. Thy elders and they will tell thee." (Deut. 32:7)
1. What we know today as "Christianity" or the Christian Religion, began with Christ, A.D. 25-30 in the days and within the bounds of the Roman Empire. One of the greatest empires the world has ever known in all its history.
2. This Empire at that period embraced nearly all of the then known inhabited world. Tiberius Caesar was its Emperor.
3. In its religion, the Roman Empire, at that time, was pagan. A religion of many gods. Some material and some imaginary. There were many devout believers and worshipers. It was a religion not simply of the people, but of the empire. It was an established religion. Established by law and supported by the government. (Mosheim, Vol. 1, Chap. 1.)
4. The Jewish people, at that period, no longer a separate nation, were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. They yet had their temple in Jerusalem, and the Jews yet went there to worship, and they were yet jealous of their religion. But it, like the pagan, had long since drifted into formalism and had lost its power. (Mosheim, Vol. 1, Chap. 2.)
5. The religion of Christ being a religion not of this world, its founder gave it no earthly head and no temporal power. It sought no establishment, no state or governmental support. It sought no dethronement of Caesar. Said its author, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." (Matt, 22:19-22; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:20). Being a spiritual religion it was a rival of no earthly government. Its adherents, however, were taught to respect all civil law and government. (Rom. 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-16)
6. I want now to call your attention to some of the landmarks, or ear-marks of this religion--the Christian Religion. If you and I are to trace it down through 20 long centuries, and especially down through 1,200 years of midnight darkness, darkened by rivers and seas of martyr blood, then we will need to know well these marks. They will be many times terribly disfigured. But there will always be some indelible mark. But let us carefully and prayerfully beware. We will encounter many shams and make-believes. If possible, the very elect will be betrayed and deceived. We want, if possible, to trace it down through credible history, but more especially through the unerring, infallible, words and marks of Divine truth.
Some Unerring, Infallible Marks
If in going down through the centuries we run upon a group or groups of people bearing not these distinguishing marks and teaching other things for fundamental doctrines, let us beware.
1. Christ, the author of this religion, organized His followers or disciples into a Church. And the disciples were to organize other churches as this religion spread and other disciples were "made." (Ray, Bapt, Succession, Revised Edition, 1st Chap.)
2. This organization or church, according to the Scriptures and according to the practice of the Apostles and early churches, was given two kinds of officers and only two -- pastors and deacons. The pastor was called "Bishop." Both pastor and deacons to be selected by the church and to be servants of the church.
3. The churches in their government and discipline to be entirely separate and independent of each other, Jerusalem to have no authority over Antioch -- nor Antioch over Ephesus; nor Ephesus over Corinth, and so forth. And their government to be congregational, democratic. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
4. To the church were given two ordinances and only two, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These to be perpetual and memorial.
5. Only the "saved" were to be received as members of the church (Acts 2:47). These saved ones to be saved by grace alone without any works of the law (Eph, 2:5, 8, 9). These saved ones and they only, to be immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). And only those thus received and baptized, to partake of the Lord's Supper, and the supper to be celebrated only by the church, in church capacity.
6. The inspired scriptures, and they only, in fact, the New Testament and that only, to be the rule and guide of faith and life, not only for the church as an organization, but for each individual member of that organization.
7. Christ Jesus, the founder of this organization and the savior of its members, to be their only priest and king, their only Lord and Lawgiver, and the only head of the churches. The churches to be executive only in carrying out their Lord's will and completed laws, never legislative, to amend or abrogate old laws or to make new ones.
8. This religion of Christ to be individual, personal, and purely voluntary or through persuasion. No physical or governmental compulsion. A matter of distinct individual and personal choice. "Choose you" is the scriptural injunction. It could be neither accepted nor rejected nor lived by proxy nor under compulsion.
9. Mark well! That neither Christ nor His apostles, ever gave to His followers, what is know today as a denominational name, such as "Catholic," "Lutheran," "Presbyterian," "Episcopal," and so forth -- unless the name given by Christ to John was intended for such, "The Baptist," "John the Baptist" (Matt. 11:11 and 10 or 12 other times.) Christ called the individual follower "disciple." Two or more were called "disciples." The organization of disciples, whether at Jerusalem or Antioch or elsewhere, was called Church. If more than one of these separate organizations were referred to, they were called Churches. The word church in the singular was never used when referring to more than one of these organizations. Nor even when referring to them all.
10. I venture to give one more distinguishing mark. We will call it -- Complete separation of Church and State. No combination, no mixture of this spiritual religion with a temporal power. "Religious Liberty," for everybody.
And now, before proceeding with the history itself, let me call your attention to the following chart
I believe, if you will study carefully this chart, you will better understand the history, and it will greatly aid your memory in retaining what you hear and see.
Remember this chart is supposed to cover a period of two thousand years of religious history.
Notice at both top and bottom of the chart some figures, the same figures at both top and bottom - 100, 200, 300, and so on to 2,000.
They represent the twenty centuries of time--the vertical lines separating the different centuries.
Now notice on the chart, near the bottom; other straight lines, this line running left to right, the long way of the chart.
The lines are about the same distance apart as the vertical lines. But you can't see them all the way. They are covered by a very dark spot, representing in history what is known as the "dark ages." It will be explained later. Between the two lowest lines are the names of countries . . . Italy, Wales, England, Spain, France, and so forth, ending with America. These are names of countries in which much history is made during the period covered by the names themselves. Of course not all the history, some history is made in some of the countries in every period. But some special history is made in these special countries, at these special periods.
Now notice again, near the bottom of the chart, other lines a little higher. They, too, covered in part by the "dark ages," they also are full of names, but not names of countries. They are all "nick-names." Names given to those people by their enemies. "Christians"--that is the first: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26). This occurred about A.D. 43. Either the pagans or Jews gave them that name in derision. All the other names in that column were given in the same manner -- Montanists, Novationists, Donatists, Paulicians, Albigenses, Waldenses, etc., and Ana-Baptists. All of these will again and again be referred to as the lectures progress.
But look again at the chart. See the red circles. They are scattered nearly all over the chart. They represent churches. Single individual churches in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, in mountains and valleys, and so forth. Their being blood red indicates martyr blood. Christ their founder died on the Cross. All the Apostles save two, John and Judas, suffered martyr deaths. Judas betrayed his Lord and died in a suicide. The Apostle John, according to history, was boiled in a great cauldron of oil.
You will note some circles that are solidly black. They represent churches also. But erring churches. Churches that had gone wrong in life or doctrine. There were numbers of these even before the death of Peter, Paul and John.
Having now about concluded with a general introduction and some very necessary and even vital preliminaries, I come to the regular history:-
FIRST PERIOD A.D. 30-500
1. Under the strange but wonderful impulse and leadership of John the Baptist, the eloquent man from the wilderness, and under the loving touch and miracle-working power of the Christ Himself, and the marvelous preaching of the 12 Apostles and their immediate successors, the Christian religion spread mightily during the first 500-year period. However, it left a terribly bloody trail behind it. Judaism and Paganism bitterly contested every forward movement. John the Baptist was the first of the great leaders to give up his life. His head was taken off. Soon after him went the Savior Himself, the founder of this Christian religion. He died on the Cross, the cruel death of the Cross.
2. Following their Savior in rapid succession fell many other martyred heroes: Stephen was stoned, Matthew was slain in Ethiopia, Mark dragged through the streets until dead, Luke hanged, Peter and Simeon were crucified, Andrew tied to a cross, James beheaded, Philip crucified and stoned, Bartholomew flayed alive, Thomas pierced with lances, James, the less, thrown from the temple and beaten to death, Jude shot to death with arrows, Matthias stoned to death and Paul beheaded.
3. More than one hundred years had gone by before all this had happened. This hard persecution by Judaism and Paganism continued for two more centuries. And yet mightily spread the Christian religion. It went into all the Roman Empire, Europe, Asia, Africa, England, Wales, and about everywhere else, where there was any civilization. The churches greatly multiplied and the disciples increased continuously. But some of the churches continued to go into error.
4. The first of these changes from New Testament teachings embraced both policy and doctrine. In the first two centuries the individual churches rapidly multiplied and some of the earlier ones, such as Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, etc., grew to be very large; Jerusalem, for instance, had many thousand members (Acts 2:41; 4:4, 5:14), possibly 25,000 or even 50,000 or more. A close student of the book of Acts and Epistles will see that Paul had a mighty task even in his day in keeping some of the churches straight. See Peter's and Paul's prophecies concerning the future (II Pet. 2:12; Acts 20:29-31. See also Rev., second and third chapters).
These great churches necessarily had many preachers or elders (Acts 20:17). Some of the bishops or pastors began to assume authority not given them in the New Testament. They began to claim authority over other and smaller churches. They, with their many elders, began to lord it over God's heritage (III John 9). Here was the beginning of an error which has grown and multiplied into many other seriously hurtful errors. Here was the beginning of different orders in the ministry running up finally to what is practiced now by others as well as Catholics. Here began what resulted in an entire change from the original democratic policy and government of the early churches. This irregularity began in a small way, even before the close of the second century. This was possibly the first serious departure from the New Testament church order.
5. Another vital change which seems from history to have had its beginning before the close of the second century was on the great doctrine of Salvation itself. The Jews as well as the Pagans, had for many generations, been trained to lay great stress on Ceremonials. They had come to look upon types as anti-types, shadows as real substances, and ceremonials as real saving agencies. How easy to come thus to look upon baptism. They reasoned thus: The Bible has much to say concerning baptism. Much stress is laid upon the ordinance and one's duty concerning it. Surely it must have something to do with one's salvation. So that it was in this period that the idea of "Baptismal Regeneration" began to get a fixed hold in some of the churches. (Shackelford, page 57; Camp p. 47; Benedict, p. 286; Mosheim, vol. 1, p. 134; Christian, p. 28.)
6. The next serious error to begin creeping in, and which seems from some historians (not all) to have begun in this same century and which may be said to have been an inevitable consequence of the "baptismal regeneration" idea, was a change in the subjects of baptism. Since baptism has been declared to be an agency or means to salvation by some erring churches, then the sooner baptism takes place the better. Hence arose "infant baptism." Prior to this "believers" and "believers" only, were regarded as proper subjects for baptism. "Sprinkling" and "pouring" are not now referred to. These came in much later. For several centuries, infants, like others, were immersed. The Greek Catholics (a very large branch of the Catholic church) up to this day, have never changed the original form of baptism. They practice infant baptism but have never done otherwise than immerse the children. (Note -- Some of the church historians put the beginning of infant baptism within this century, but I shall quote a short paragraph from Robinson's Ecclesiastical Researches.)
"During the first three centuries, congregations all over the East subsisted in separate independent bodies, unsupported by government and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were baptized churches, and though all the fathers of the first four ages, down to Jerome (A.D. 370), were of Greece, Syria and Africa, and though they give great numbers of histories of the baptism of adults, yet there is not one of the baptism of a child till the year 370." (Compendium of Baptist History, Shackelford, p. 43; Vedder, p. 50; Christian, p, 31; Orchard, p. 50, etc.)
7. Let it be remembered that changes like these here mentioned were not made in a day, nor even within a year. They came about slowly and never within all the churches. Some of the churches vigorously repudiated them. So much so that in A.D. 251, the loyal churches declared non-fellowship for those churches which accepted and practiced these errors. And thus came about the first real official separation among the churches.
8. Thus it will be noted that during the first three centuries three important and vital changes from the teachings of Christ and His Apostles had their beginnings. And one significant event took place, Note this summary and recapitulation:
- The change from the New Testament idea of bishop and church government. This change grew rapidly, more pronounced, and complete and hurtful.
- The change from the New Testament teachings as to Regeneration to "baptismal regeneration."
- The change from "believers' baptism" to "infant baptism." (This last, however, did not become general nor even very frequent for more than another century.)
9. "Baptismal regeneration" and "infant baptism." These two errors have, according to the testimony of well-established history, caused the shedding of more Christian blood, as the centuries have gone by, than all other errors combined, or than possibly have all wars, not connected with persecution, if you will leave out the recent "World War." Over 50,000,000 Christians died martyr deaths, mainly because of their rejection of these two errors during the period of the "dark ages" alone -- about twelve or thirteen centuries.
10. Three significant facts, for a large majority of the many churches, are clearly shown by history during these first three centuries.
- The separateness and independence of the Churches.
- The subordinate character of bishops or pastors.
- The baptism of believers only.
I quote now from Mosheim--the greatest of all Lutheran church historians. Vol., 1, pages 71 and 72: "But whoever supposes that the bishops of this golden age of the church correspond with the bishops of the following centuries must blend and confound characters that are very different, for in this century and the next, a bishop had charge of a single church, which might ordinarily be contained in a private house; nor was he its Lord, but was in reality its minister or servant. . . All the churches in those primitive times were independent bodies, or none of them subject to the jurisdiction of any other. For though the churches which were founded by the Apostles themselves frequently had the honor shown them to be consulted in doubtful cases, yet they had no judicial authority, no control, no power of giving laws. On the contrary, it is as clear as the noonday that all Christian churches had equal rights, and were in all respects on a footing of equality."
11. Up to this period, notwithstanding much and serious persecutions, Christianity has had a marvelous growth. It has covered and even gone beyond the great Roman Empire. Almost, if not all the inhabited world has heard the gospel. And, according to some of the church historians, many of the original churches organized by the Apostles are yet intact, and yet loyal to Apostolic teachings. However, as already shown, a number of very marked and hurtful errors have crept in and gotten a permanent hold among many of the churches. Some have become very irregular.
12. Persecutions have become increasingly bitter. Near the beginning of the fourth century comes possibly the first definite government edict of persecution. The wonderful growth of Christianity has alarmed the pagan leaders of the Roman Empire. Hence Galerius, the emperor, sent out a direct edict of more savage persecution. This occurred Feb. 24, 303 A.D. Up to this time Paganism seems to have persecuted without any definite laws to that effect.
13. But this edict failed so utterly in its purpose of stopping the growth of Christianity, that this same emperor, Galerius, just eight years thereafter (A.D. 311) passed another edict recalling the first and actually granting toleration -- permission to live the religion of Jesus Christ. This was probably its first favorable law.
14. By the beginning of the year A.D. 313, Christianity has won a mighty victory over paganism. A new emperor has come to the throne of the Roman Empire. He evidently recognized something of the mysterious power of this religion that continued to grow in spite of persecution. History says that this new emperor who was none other than Constantine had a wonderful realistic vision. He saw in the skies a fiery red cross and on that cross written in fiery letters these words--"By this thou shalt conquer." He interpreted it to mean that he should become a Christian. And that by giving up paganism and that by attaching the spiritual power of the Christian religion onto the temporal power of the Roman Empire the world could be easily conquered. Thus the Christian religion would in fact become a whole world religion, and the Roman Empire a whole world empire.
15. So under the leadership of Emperor Constantine there comes a truce, a courtship and a proposal of marriage. The Roman Empire through its emperor seeks a marriage with Christianity. Give us your spiritual power and we will give you of our temporal power.
16. To effectually bring about and consummate this unholy union, a council was called. In A. D. 313, a call was made for a coming together of the Christian churches or their representatives . Many but not all came. The alliance was consummated. A Hierarchy was formed. In the organization of the Hierarchy, Christ was dethroned as head of the churches and Emperor Constantine enthroned (only temporarily, however) as head of the church.
17. The Hierarchy was the definite beginning of a development which finally resulted into what is now known as the Catholic, or "universal" church. It might be said that its indefinite beginnings were near the close of the second and beginning of the third century, when the new ideas concerning bishops and preacher-church government began to take shape.
18. Let it be definitely remembered that when Constantine made his call for the council, there were very many of the Christians (Baptists) and of the churches, which declined to respond. They wanted no marriage with the state, and no centralized religious government, and no higher ecclesiastical government of any kind, than the individual church. These Christians (Baptists) nor the churches ever at that time or later, entered the hierarchy of the Catholic denomination.
19. When this hierarchy was created, Constantine, who was made its head, was not himself at that time a Christian. He had agreed to become one. But as the erring or irregular churches which had gone with him into this organization had come to adopt the error of Baptismal regeneration, a serious question arose in the mind of Constantine, "If I am saved from my sins by baptism, what is to become of my sins which I may commit after I am baptized?" He raised a question which has puzzled the world in all succeeding generations. Can baptism wash away yet uncommitted sins? Or, are the sins committed prior to baptism washed away by one method (that is, baptism), and the sins committed subsequent to baptism washed away by another method?
20. Not being able to settle satisfactorily the many questions thus arising, Constantine finally decided to unite with the Christians, but to postpone his baptism until just preceding his death, so that all his sins might thus be washed away at one time. This course he followed, and hence was not baptized until just preceding his death.
21. Constantine's action in repudiating for the whole Roman Empire, the pagan religion, and accepting Christianity incurred the hot displeasures of the Roman Senate. They repudiated, or, at least opposed his course. And their opposition finally resulted in the removal of the seat of empire from Rome to Byzantium, an old city rebuilt and then renamed Constantinople for Constantine. As a result there came to be two capital cities of the Roman Empire -- Rome and Constantinople. The two rival cities several centuries later became the ruling centers of the divided Catholic church -- Roman and Greek.
22. Up to the organization of the Hierarchy and the uniting of church and state, all the persecution of Christianity has been done either by Judaism or Paganism. Now comes a serious change. Christians (in name) begin to persecute Christians. Constantine, desiring to have all Christians join with him in his new idea of a state religion, and many conscientiously opposing this serious departure from New Testament teachings, he begins using the power of government to compel. Thus begin the days and years and even centuries of a hard and bitter persecution against all those Christians who were loyal to the original Christ and Apostolic teachings.
23. Remember that we are now noting the events occurring between the years A.D. 300 and 500. The Hierarchy organized under the leadership of Constantine, rapidly developed into what is now known as the Catholic church. This newly developing church joined to a temporal government, no longer simply an executive to carry out the completed laws of the New Testament, began to be legislative, amending or annulling old laws or enacting new ones utterly unknown to the New Testament.
24. One of the first of its legislative enactments, and one of the most subversive in its results, was the establishing by law of "infant baptism." By this new law, "Infant Baptism" becomes compulsory. This was done A.D. 416. Infants had been infrequently baptized for probably a century preceding this. Insofar as this newly enacted law became effective, two vital New Testament laws were abrogated -- "Believers Baptism" and "Voluntary personal obedience in Baptism."
25. As an inevitable consequence of this new doctrine and law, these erring churches were soon filled with unconverted members. In fact, it was not very many years until probably a majority of the membership was composed of unconverted material. So the great spiritual affairs of God's great spiritual kingdom were in the hands of an unregenerate temporal power. What may now be expected?
26. Loyal Christians and churches, of course, rejected this new law. "Believers baptism," of course, "New Testament baptism," was the only law for them. They not only refused to baptize their own children, but believing in the baptism of believers only, they refused to accept the baptizing done by and within the churches of this unscriptural organization. If any of the members from the churches of this new organization attempted to join any of the churches which had refused to join in with the new organization, a Christian experience and a rebaptism was demanded.
27. The course followed by the loyal churches soon, of course, incurred the hot displeasure of the state religionists, many, if not most of whom, were not genuine Christians. The name "Christian," however, was from now on denied those loyal churches who refused to accept these new errors. They were robbed of that, and called by many other names, sometimes by one and sometimes by another, "Montanist," Tertullianists," "Novationists," "Paterines," etc., and some at least because of their practice of rebaptizing those who were baptized in infancy, were referred to an "Ana -Baptists."
28. A.D. 426, just ten years after the legal establishment of infant baptism, the awful period known as the "Dark Ages" had its beginning. What a period! How awfully black and bloody! From now on for more than a decade of centuries, the trail of loyal Christianity is largely washed away in its own blood. Note on the chart some of the many different names borne by the persecuted. Sometimes these names are given because of some specially heroic leader and sometimes from other causes, and frequently names for the same people vary in different countries and even in different centuries.
29. It was early in the period of the "dark ages" when real Popery had its definite beginnings. This was by Leo II, A.D. 440 to 461. This, however, was not the first time the title was ever used. This title, similar to the Catholic church itself, was largely a development. The name appears, as first applied to the Bishop of Rome 296-304. It was formally adopted by Siricius, Bishop of Rome 384-398. Then officially adopted by Leo II, 440-461. Then claimed to be universal, 707. Then some centuries later declared by Gregory VII to be the exclusive right of the papacy.
30. Now to sum up the most significant events of this first five-century period:
- The gradual change from a democracy to a preacher-church government.
- The change from salvation by grace to Baptismal Salvation.
- The change from "believers' baptism" to "infant baptism."
- The Hierarchy organized. Marriage of church and state.
- Seat of empire changed to Constantinople.
- Infant baptism established by law and made compulsory.
- Christians begin to persecute Christians.
- The "Dark Ages" begin 426.
- The sword and torch rather than the gospel become the power of God (?) unto salvation.
- All semblance of "Religious liberty" dies and is buried and remains buried for many centuries.
- Loyal New Testament churches, by whatever name called, are hunted and hounded to the utmost limit of the new Cathnlic temporal power. Remnants scattered over the world are finding uncertain hiding places in forests and mountains, valleys, dens and caves of the earth.
1. We closed the first Lecture with the close of the fifth century. And yet a number of things had their beginnings back in those early centuries, which were not even mentioned in the first Lecture. We had just entered the awful period known in the world's history as "The Dark Ages." Dark and bloody and awful in the extreme they were. The persecutions by the established Roman Catholic Church are hard, cruel and perpetual. The war of intended extermination follows persistently and relentlessly into many lands, the fleeing Christians. A "Trail of Blood" is very nearly all that is left anywhere. Especially throughout England, Wales, Africa, Armenia, and Bulgaria. And anywhere else Christians could be found who were trying earnestly to remain strictly loyal to New Testament teaching.
2. We now call attention to these Councils called "Ecumenical," or Empire wide. It is well to remember that all these Councils were professedly based upon, or patterned after the Council held by the Apostles and others at Jerusalem (see Acts 15:1), but probably nothing bearing the same name could have been more unlike. We here and now call attention to only eight, and these were all called by different Emperors, none of them by the Popes. And all these held among the Eastern or Greek churches. Attended, however, somewhat by representatives from the Western Branch or Roman Churches.
3. The first of these Councils was held at Nice or Nicea, in A.D. 325. It was called by Constantine the Great, and was attended by 318 bishops.
The second met at Constantinople, A.D. 381, and was called by Theodosius the Great. There were present 150 bishops. (In the early centuries, bishops simply meant pastors of the individual churches.)
The third was called by Theodosius II, and by Valentian III. This had 250 bishops present. It met at Ephesus, A.D. 431.
The fourth met at Calcedon, A.D. 451, and was called by Emperor Marian; 500 or 600 bishops or Metropolitans (Metropolitans were City pastors or First Church pastors) were present. During this Council the doctrine of what is now known as Mariolatry was promulgated. This means the worship of Mary, the mother of Christ. This new doctrine at first created quite a stir, many seriously objecting. But it finally won out as a permanent doctrine of the Catholic Church.
The fifth of these eight councils was held at Constantinople (which was the second to be held there). This was called by Justinian, A.D. 553, and was attended by 165 bishops. This, seemingly, was called mainly to condemn certain writings.
In the year A.D. 680 the Sixth Council was called. This was also held at Constantinople and was called by Constantine Pegonator, to condemn heresy. During this meeting Pope Honorius by name was deposed and excommunicated. However, at this time infallibility had not yet been declared.
The Seventh Council was called to meet at Nicea A.D. 787. This was the second held at this place. The Empress Irene called this one. Here in this meeting seems to have been the definite starting place, of both "Image Worship" and "Saints Worship." You can thus see that these people were getting more markedly paganized than Christianized.
The last of what were called the "Eastern Councils," those, called by the Emperors, was held in Constantinople, in A.D. 869. This was called by Basilius Maredo. The Catholic Church had gotten into serious trouble. There had arisen a controversy of a very serious nature between the heads of the two branches of Catholicism--the Eastern and Western, Greek and Roman--Pontius the Greek at Constantinople and Nicholas the 1st at Rome. So serious was their trouble, that they had gone so far as to excommunicate each other. So for a short time Catholicism was entirely without a head. The council was called mainly to settle, if possible, this difficulty. This break in the ranks of Catholicism has never, even to this day, been satisfactorily settled. Since that far away day, all attempts at healing that breach have failed. The Lateran-power since then has been in the ascendancy. Not the Emperors, but the Roman Pontiffs calling all Councils. The later Councils will be referred to later in these lectures.
4. There is one new doctrine to which we have failed to call attention. There are doubtless others but one especially -- and that "Infant Communion." Infants were not only baptized, but received into the church, and being church members, they were supposed to be entitled to the Lord's Supper. How to administer it to them was a problem, but it was solved by soaking the bread in the wine. Thus it was practiced for years. And after awhile another new doctrine was added to this -- it was taught that this was another means of Salvation. As still another new doctrine was later added to these, we will again refer to this a little later in the lectures.
5. During the 5th Century, at the fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon, 451, another entirely new doctrine was added to the rapidly growing list -- the doctrine called "Mariolatry," or the worship of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. A new mediator seems to have been felt to be needed. The distance from God to man was too great for just one mediator, even though that was Christ, God's Son, the real God-Man. Mary was thought to be needed as another mediator, and prayers were to be made to Mary. She was to make them to Christ.
6. Two other new doctrines were added to the Catholic faith in the 8th Century. These were promulgated at the Second Council held at Nicea (Nice), the Second Council held there (787). The first of these was called "Image Worship, a direct violation of one of the commands of God.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," (Ex. 20:3, 4, 5). Another addition from Paganism. Then followed the "worship of Saints." This doctrine has no encouragement in the Bible. Only one instance of Saint worship is given in the Bible and that is given to show its utter folly -- the dead rich man praying to Abraham, (Luke 16:24-3l). These are some, not all of the many revolutionary changes from New Testament teachings, that came about during this period of Church history.
7. During the period that we are now passing through the persecuted were called by many and varied names. Among them were Donatists, Paterines, Cathari, Paulicians, and Ana Baptists; and a little later, Petro-Brussians, Arnoldists, Henricians, Albigenses, and Waldenses. Sometimes one group of these was the most prominent and sometimes another. But some of them were almost always prominent because of the persistency and terribleness of their persecution.
8. Let it not be thought that all these persecuted ones were always loyal in all respects to New Testament teachings. In the main they were. And some of them, considering their surroundings, were marvelously so. Remember that many of them at that far away, time, had only parts of the New Testament or the Old Testament as to that. The book was not printed. It was written in manuscript on parchment or skins or something of that kind, and was necessarily large and bulky. Few, if any, families or even simple churches had complete copies of the whole Bible. Before the formal close of the Canon (end of fourth century) there were probably very few simple manuscripts of the entire New Testament. Of the one thousand known manuscripts only about 30 copies included all the books.
9. Furthermore, during all the period of the "Dark Ages," and the period of the persecution, strenuous efforts were made to destroy even what Scripture manuscripts the persecuted did possess. Hence in many instances these people had only small parts of the Bible.
10. It is well to note also that in order to prevent the spread of any view of any sort, contrary to those of the Catholics very extreme plans and measures were adopted. First, all writings of any sort, other than those of the Catholics, were gathered and burned. Especially was this true of books. For several centuries these plans and measures were strictly and persistently followed. That is, according to history, the main reason why it is so difficult to secure accurate history. About all persistent writers and preachers also died martyr deaths. This was a desperately bloody period. All of the groups of persistent heretics (So-called) by whatever name distinguished, and wherever they had lived, were cruelly persecuted. The Donatists and Paulicians, were prominent among the earlier groups. The Catholics, strange as it may seem, accused all who refused to depart from the faith with them, believe with them--accused them of being heretics, and then condemned them as being heretics. Those called Catholics became more thoroughly paganized and Judaized than they were Christianized, and were swayed far more by civil power, than they were by religious power. They made far more new laws, than they observed old ones.
11. The following are a few of the many new variations that came about in New Testament teachings during these centuries. They are probably not always given in the order of their promulgation. In fact it would sometimes be next to impossible to get the exact date of the origin of some of these changes. They have been somewhat like the whole Catholic system. They are growths of development. In the earlier years especially, their doctrines or teachings were subject to constant change -- by addition or subtraction, or substitution or abrogation. The Catholic Church was now no longer, even if it had ever been, a real New Testament Church. It no longer was a purely executive body, to carry out the already made laws of God, but had become actively legislative, making new ones, changing or abrogating old ones at will.
12. One of their new doctrines or declarations about this time was "There is no salvation outside of the Church" -- the Catholic Church, of course, as they declared there was no other -- be a Catholic or be lost. There was no other alternative.
13. The doctrine of Indulgences and the Sale of Indulgences was another absolutely new and serious departure from New Testament teachings. But in order to make that new teaching really effective, still another new teaching was imperatively necessary: A very large Credit Account must somehow be established -- a credit account in heaven, but accessible to earth. So the merit of "good works" as a means of Salvation must be taught, and as a means of filling up, putting something in the credit account, from which something could be drawn. The first large sum to go into the account in heaven was of course the work of the Lord Jesus. As He did no evil, none of His good works were needed for Himself, so all His good works could and would of course, go into the credit account. And then in addition to that, all the surplus good works (in addition to what each might need for himself) by the Apostles, and by all good people living thereafter, would be added to that credit account, making it enormously large. And then all this immense sum placed to the credit of the church -- the only church(?)! and permission given to the church to use as needed for some poor sinning mortal, and charging for that credit as much as might be thought wise, for each one needed the heavenly credit. Hence came the Sale of Indulgences. Persons could buy for themselves or their friends, or even dead friends. The prices varied in proportion to the offense committed -- or to be committed. This was sometimes carried to a desperate extreme, as admitted by Catholics themselves. Some histories or Encyclopedias give a list of prices charged on different sins for which Indulgences were sold.
14. Yet another new doctrine was necessary, yea imperative, to make thoroughly effective the last two. That new doctrine is called Purgatory, a place of intermediate state between heaven and hell, at which all must stop to be cleansed from all sins less than damning sins. Even the "Saints" must go through purgatory and must remain there until cleansed by fire -- unless they can get help through that credit account, and that they can get only through the prayers or the paying for Indulgences, by those living. Hence the Sale of Indulgences. One departure from New Testament teachings lead inevitably to others.
15. It may be well just here to take time to show the differences between the Roman and Greek Catholics:
- In the Nationalities: The Greeks mainly are Slavs, embracing Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, etc., speaking Greek. The Romans are mainly Latins, embracing Italy, France, Spain, South and Central America, Mexico etc.
- The Greek Catholics reject sprinkling or pouring for baptism. The Romans use sprinkling entirely, claiming the right to change from the original Bible plan of immersion.
- The Greek Catholics continue the practice of Infant Communion. The Romans have abandoned it though once taught it as another means of Salvation.
- The Greeks in administering the Lord's Supper give the wine as well as the bread to the laity. The Romans give the bread only to the laity -- the priests drink the wine.
- The Greeks have their priests to marry. The Roman priests are forbidden to marry.
- The Greeks reject the doctrine of Papal "Infallibility," the Romans accept and insist upon that doctrine. The above are at least the main points on which they differ -- otherwise the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, it seems, would stand together.
16. In our lectures we have just about gotten through with the ninth century. We begin now with the tenth. Please note the chart. Just here where the separation has taken place between the Roman and Greek Catholics. You will soon see as the centuries advance, other new laws and doctrines -- and other desperately bitter persecution. (Schaff, Herzogg, En., Vol. 11, page 901.)
17. I again call your attention to those upon whom the hard hand of persecution fell. If fifty million died of persecution during the 1,200 years of what are called the "Dark Ages," as history seems positively to teach -- then they died faster than an average of four million every one hundred years. That seems almost beyond the limit of, human conception. As before mentioned, this iron hand, dripping with martyr blood, fell upon Paulicians, Arnoldists, Henricians, Petro Brussians, Albigenses, Waldenses and Ana-Baptists -- of course much harder upon some than others. But this horrid part of our story we will pass over hurriedly.
18. There came now another rather long period of Ecumenical Councils, of course not continuously or consecutively. There were all through the years many councils that were not Ecumenical, not "Empire Wide." These Councils were largely legislative bodies for the enactment or amendment of some civil or religious (?) laws, all of which, both the legislation and the laws, were directly contrary to the New Testament. Remember these were the acts of an established church -- a church married to a Pagan government. And this church has become far more nearly paganized than the government has become Christianized.
19. When any people discard the New Testament as embracing all necessary laws for a Christian life, whether for the individual Christian or the whole church, that people has launched upon a limitless ocean. Any erroneous law, (and any law added to the Bible is erroneous) will inevitably and soon demand another, and others will demand yet others, without ever an end. That is why Christ gave His churches and to preachers no legislative powers. And again, and more particularly, that is why the New Testament closes with these significant words,
"For I certify unto every man that heareth the words of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in the book." (Rev. 22:18, 19)
NOTE: We insert here this parenthetical clause, as a warning. Let Baptist Churches beware of even disciplinary and other varieties of resolutions, which they sometimes pass in their conferences, which resolutions might be construed as laws or rules of Church government, The New Testament has all necessary laws and rules.
20. The extreme limit of this little book precludes the possibility of saying much concerning these councils or law-making assemblies, but it is necessary to say some things.
21. The first of these Lateran or Western Councils, those called by the popes, was called by Calixtus II, A.D. 1123. There were present about 300 bishops. At this meeting it was decreed that Roman priests were never to marry. This was called the Celibacy of the priests. We of course do not attempt to give all things done at these meetings.
22. Years later, 1139 A.D., Pope Innocent II, called another of these Councils especially to condemn two groups of very devout Christians, known as Petro-Brussians and Arnoldists.
23. Alexander III called yet another, A.D. 1179, just forty years after the last. In that was condemned what they called the "Errors and Impieties" of the Waldenses and Albigenses.
24. Just 36 years after this last one, another was called by Pope Innocent III. This was held A.D. 1215, and seems to have been the most largely attended of possibly any of these great councils. According to the historical account of this meeting, "there were present 412 bishops, 800 Abbots and priors, Ambassadors from the Byzantine court, and a great number of Princes and Nobles." From the very make-up of this assembly you may know that spiritual matters were at least not alone to be considered.
At that time was promulgated the new doctrine of "Transubstantiation," the intended turning of the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper into the actual and real body and blood of Christ, after a prayer by the priest. This doctrine among others, had much to do with stirring up the leaders of the Reformation a few centuries later. This doctrine of course taught that all those who participated in the supper actually ate of the body and drank of the blood of Christ. Auricular confession -- confessing one's sins into the ear of a priest -- was another new doctrine seemingly having its beginning at this meeting. But probably the most cruel and bloody thing ever brought upon any people in all the world's history was what is known as the "Inquisition," and other similar courts, designed for trying what was called "heresy." The whole world is seemingly filled with books written in condemnation of that extreme cruelty, and yet it was originated and perpetuated by a people claiming to be led and directed by the Lord. For real barbarity there seems to be nothing, absolutely nothing in all history that will surpass it. I would not even attempt to describe it. I will simply refer my readers to some of the many books written on the "Inquisition" and let them read and study for themselves. And yet another thing was done at this same meeting, as if enough had not been done. It was expressly decreed to extirpate all "heresy." What a black page -- yea -- many black pages were written into the world's history by these terrible decrees.
25. In A.D. 1229, just 14 years after the last awful meeting, still another meeting was held. (This seems not to have been ecumenical.) It was called the council at Toulouse. Probably one of the most vital matters in all Catholic history was declared at this meeting. At this it was decreed, the Bible, God's book, should be denied to all laymen, all members of Catholic churches other than priests or higher officials. How strange a law in the face of the plain teaching of the Word, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39)
26. Yet another Council was called to meet at Lyons. This was called by Pope Innocent IV, in 1245 A.D. This seems to have been mainly for the purpose of excommunicating and deposing Emperor Frederick I of Germany. The Church, the adulterous bride at the marriage with the State in 313 in the days of CONSTANTINE THE Great, has now become the head of the house, and is now dictating politics of State government, and kings and queens are made or unmade at her pleasure.
27. In 1274 A.D. another Council was called to bring about the reuniting of the Roman and Greek branches of the great Catholic Church. This great assembly utterly failed to accomplish its purpose.
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Chairman: The Rev. Hugo Mayr, Australia ... UBS Executive Committee Chairman: The Rev. James R. Payne MBE, Australia Global and Interregional Personnel Interregional Translation Consultants: The Rev. Dr. Robert G. Bratcher, USA The Rev. Dr. Barclay M. Newman, USA Dr. William L. Wonderley, USA"
Bratchers resignation from the American Bible Society and the Society's supposed concern about his remarks was only politics, nothing has changed. The Bible Societies continue to support Bratcher and his damnable views of Christ and the Bible, they pay his salary, and employ him as a chief translations consultant in their work worldwide. The heretical Today's English Version continues to be promoted, printed, and reproduced through translations into the major languages of the globe.
Bratcher held a question and answer session Octobe