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The first Church Council in Jerusalem [about 49 A.D.] was to determine the important issue of allowing Gentiles access into the Jewish Christian Church (i.e. Genesis 12:3). The second Church Council the Councils of Antioch [in Turkey] where in regard to the important issue of letting Jesus have access back into His own Church (Revelation 3:20) [i.e. as the heritics, desert fathers (desert monasticism), etc. had attempted to remove Jesus from His Church -- Losing in the verdicts of the Councils at Antioch the heretics went out into the desert of Egypt and became the desert (monks) monastics]. The third Church Council Nicaea 325 A.D. was in regard to allowing the Roman Government access into and over the Christian Church (i.e. Romans 13:1). Constantine in a sense attempted to prevail for the Roman Government [in false doctrine] where the earlier heretic monks had failed to gain influence over the Christian Church at Antioch. Don't be misled the Arian heresy [Jesus as Son was not God] and the few other topics [The date of celebration of the Paschal (Passover)/Easter observation. The Meletian schism. The validity of baptism by heretics. The status of the lapse in the (Christian) persecution under co-Emperor Licinius. - Wiki.com] were not about a healthy Church and doctrine but were about setting a secular Roman Government up as arbitrator and mediator over the affairs of the Christian Church. When we study Church History much of the study is going to be in regards to the give and take between Church Authority (i.e. Bishop Ambrose 339-397 A.D.) and Government (State) Authority (i.e. King James I of England 1566-1625 A.D.) -- Note: the Nicaea Council is often considered the first Church Council because it was the first Church/State Council and because it was the biggest and most impacting of the time. [article link]

{Basic Christian: The 8 Kingdoms study} Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog - I have been downright encouraged to note the response that has appeared to the amazing statements of James McDonald of "Vertical Church" wherein he basically throws Nicene orthodoxy under the proverbial bus - Now I know that "emergent" folks have an odd relationship with history---they love to drag stuff out of history, without its attendant context, as if it is "new" but when it comes to accepting that [we] stand on the shoulders of giants and that there are things that have simply been settled in the past, they rebel and want to put everything "back on the table" -- {Note: The Jerusalem Creed [1st Church Council about 49 A.D. in Jerusalem] has 4 Cornerstones the fourth one being not to offend traditional Jews. The Church Creeds [Jerusalem, Nicene, etc.] are important and relevant to all of Christianity. Since one of the Cornerstones of the 1st Church Council is to support Jews and Traditional Judaism it is an original and longstanding tenant that true Christianity acknowledges its debt and emergence from (God ordained) Mosaic Judaism. "Acts 1:20-21 [The Jerusalem Creed - 1st Church Council about 49 A.D. in Jerusalem] But that we [Apostles] write unto them [Gentile Christians], (1.) that they abstain from [occult] pollutions of idols, (2.) and from [immorality] fornication, (3.) and from things [cruelty] strangled, (4.) and from [Levitical] blood. **For Moses of old time hath [traditional Jews] in every city them that preach him (Moses), being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day."}


But even more importantly than the tweaking of Modalism so that it gets a place at the table is the attitude McDonald has displayed toward the Nicene definition. He says he does not trace his beliefs to credal statements. Really? If by that he means creeds are always subject to the higher authority of Scripture, of course. But this is where you fall off the other side of the narrow path and rather than believing in sola scriptura, you end up with something much less, and in fact, much different. Nicea's authority comes from its fidelity to Scripture. It does not stand alone as a new revelation, and it survived simply because it is, despite all the arguments to the contrary, the consistent, harmonious testimony of divine writ. To throw its authority into the dustbin of history in the service of some kind of "emergent" attitude is not only to display an astoundingly arrogant hubris, it is to show deep disrespect to those who fought, and some who died, in defense of its truth. And for what? For some kind of post-modern feel-goodism that cannot even recognize modalism when it is standing right in front of you. A truly educational example of just how far the emergent movement is willing to go in pursuit of its ultimately destructive goals. -- Recently Jamin Hubner has raised issues relating to a simple question: is the modern secular state of Israel religiously and theologically significant? Is it "Israel" as in the Israel of Scripture, or Romans 11? And if it is not, is it open to criticism? He is concerned about the strength of the movement, mainly amongst American evangelicals, that has granted to Israel not only a theological position it does not actually hold, but which precludes even the slightest mention of criticism of a secular state. Now, I am not going to re-hash everything here, but he has even been accused of being a "shill for Hamas" due to sources he has cited and issues he has raised (which seems to me to provide strong evidence of the need to raise such issues and challenge the knee-jerk reactions of many in the Evangelical community as a whole). While he has sought fair and non-emotional responses to questions he has raised, his requests have, in the main, fallen upon deaf ears, for I see no evidence that his critics really want to have a give-and-take. [article link]

{Basic Christian: The 8 Kingdoms study} Note: Regarding the previous "Decoding the Apostles" blog series that was recently partially posted at BasicChristian.org - One of the more interesting aspects of looking at the lives of the Apostles is just how much each of their individual lives changed - The change among each individual Apostle seems to have been huge as it encompassed their personalities, individual behavior and individual outlook on life - Therefore the majority of the Biblical writings of the Apostles is directed at a certain amount of expected godly behavior modification ... in the lives of each new Christian convert - But by the time the Christian Church matured into the later Church Councils the majority of the entire Church Council was no longer about individual Christian behavior modification but instead became vested, almost exclusively, in individual Christian though, knowledge and doctrine - Though now Pastor Rick Warren and many others are dramatically shifting the current Christian Church away from thought, creeds and doctrines and are again shifting the Christian Church back into the realm of behavior modification but disastrously it is not a return to the original behavior modification and godly accountability the Church Apostles sought for each Christian convert - It is instead a behavior modification that is directing each individual away from Christianity and back into the abyss of the world -- In the following six posts are several examples all from the last week or two of current Christian events


One of the more interesting aspects of looking at the lives of the Apostles is just how much each of their individual lives changed and it changed primarily from their outlook from being socially [worldly, societally] aware to becoming Kingdom aware and eternally aware in Jesus Christ. The change among each individual Apostle seems to have been huge as it encompassed their personalities, individual behavior and individual outlook on life and in fact the very meaning of life itself for each of them. Therefore the majority of the Biblical writings of the Apostles is directed at a certain amount of expected godly behavior modification, in a good way i.e. removing doubt, uncertainty and fear, in the lives of each new Christian convert. The first Church Council in Jerusalem offered four behavior modification agendas to the new Christians. - But by the time the Christian Church matured into the later Church Councils (i.e. Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.) the majority of the entire Church Council was no longer about individual Christian behavior modification but instead became vested, almost exclusively, in individual Christian though, knowledge and doctrine. This later Christian Pastoral emphasis on individual Christian thought (i.e. think as I do) has continued on until the present modern Church day. Though now Pastor Rick Warren and many others are dramatically shifting the current Christian Church away from thought, creeds and doctrines and are again shifting the Christian Church back into the realm of behavior modification but disastrously it is not a return to the original behavior modification and godly accountability the Church Apostles sought for each Christian convert it is instead a behavior modification that is directing each individual away from Christianity and back into the abyss of the world specifically the very spiritually dangerous occult and pagan world. [article link]

Desert Fathers - The Desert Fathers were hermits, ascetics, monks, and nuns (Desert Mothers) who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt {in the area of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt - not the Mt. Sinai area of Saudi Arabia} beginning around the third century [200's] AD - The most well known was Anthony the Great, who moved to the desert in 270-271 A.D. and became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism - By the time Anthony died in 356 A.D., thousands of monks and nuns had been drawn to living in the desert following Anthony's example his biographer, Athanasius of Alexandria, wrote that "the desert had become a city" [the mostly heretical community of pseudo-christians were moving away from the cities where they were being exposed as heretics to the desert much as a result of the Church Councils of Antioch in 264-268 A.D.]


Development of monastic communities: The small communities forming around the Desert Fathers were the beginning of Christian monasticism. Initially Anthony and others lived as hermits, sometimes forming groups of two or three. Small informal communities began developing, until the monk Pachomius, seeing the need for a more formal structure, established a monastery with rules and organization. His regulations included discipline, obedience, manual labor, silence, fasting, and long periods of prayer - some historians view the rules as being inspired by Pachomius' experiences as a soldier. -- The first fully organized monastery under Pachomius included men and women living in separate quarters, up to three in a room. They supported themselves by weaving cloth and baskets, along with other tasks. Each new monk or nun had a three year probationary period, concluding with admittance in full standing to the monastery. All property was held communally, meals were eaten together and in silence, twice a week they fasted, and they wore simple peasant clothing with a hood. Several times a day they came together for prayer and readings, and each person was expected to spend time alone meditating on the scriptures. Programs were created for educating those who came to the monastery unable to read. -- Pachomius also formalized the establishment of an abba (father) or amma (mother) in charge of the spiritual welfare of their monks and nuns, with the implication that those joining the monastery were also joining a new family. Members also formed smaller groups, with different tasks in the community and the responsibility of looking after each other's welfare. The new approach grew to the point that there were tens of thousands of monks and nuns in these organized communities within decades of Pachomius' death. One of the early pilgrims to the desert was Basil of Caesarea, who took the Rule of Pachomius into the eastern church. Basil expanded the idea of community by integrating the monks and nuns into the wider public community, with the monks and nuns under the authority of a bishop and serving the poor and needy. -- As more pilgrims began visiting the monks in the desert, the early literature coming from the monastic communities began spreading. Latin versions of the original Greek stories and sayings of the Desert Fathers, along with the earliest monastic rules coming out of the desert, guided the early monastic development in the Byzantine world and eventually in the western Christian world. The Rule of Saint Benedict was strongly influenced by the Desert Fathers, with Saint Benedict urging his monks to read the writings of John Cassian on the Desert Fathers. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers was also widely read in the early Benedictine monasteries. -- Withdrawal from society: The legalization of Christianity by the Roman Empire in 313 A.D. actually gave Anthony a greater resolve to go out into the desert. Anthony, who was nostalgic for the tradition of martyrdom, saw withdrawal and asceticism as an alternative. **When members of the {desert monastic} Church began finding ways to work with the Roman state, {a few of} the Desert Fathers saw that as a compromise between "the things of God and the things of Caesar." **The monastic communities were essentially **an alternate [heretical] Christian society. The {few early} hermits doubted that religion and politics could ever produce a truly Christian society. For them, the only Christian society was spiritual and not mundane. -- {Note: Where the early (heretics) Desert Monks failed to influence the early Christian Church via their false doctrine the Roman Government via Constantine would succeed in exerting a secular influence over the Christian Church. Then with a Roman secular influence over the Christian Church [starting from about 313 A.D - 325 A.D. the Desert Heretics were then able to leave behind the desert and [under the guise of the 313 A.D. edict of religious tolerance] once again entered the cities to work as scholars, faculty, administrators, and priests for avenues to continue to influence the true Christian Church with their destructive and very unchristian heresies.} [article link]

{Basic Christian: The 8 Kingdoms study} Pietism Timeline - "Hebrews 10:18-25 Now where remission (forgiveness) of these (sins) is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, **boldness to enter into the Holiest [presence of God] by the blood of Jesus, By a new [the New Testament] and living way, which He (Jesus) hath consecrated for us, through the veil [closed partition], that is to say, His flesh [physical appearance]; And having [Jesus] an High Priest [in the order of Melchizedek] over the House of God; **Let us draw near with a true heart **in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water [credo-baptism]. Let us hold fast the profession of our [Christian] faith without wavering; for He (Jesus) is faithful that promised; And let us consider one another to provoke [encourage] unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day [2nd Coming] approaching."


Pietism Timeline: The Cross and Resurrection birth of Christianity (about 33 A.D.) - 1st Church Council [Acts 15:2] in Jerusalem (about 47 A.D.) regarding Gentile Christian piety [holiness] - *Until about 313 A.D. the N.T. Epistles (Scriptures) and the O.T of the Holy Bible were being translated from the Greek and Hebrew into the common languages of the day i.e. Syrian, Egyptian, Arabic, etc. - Following the 313 A.D. Edict of Milan by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great which proclaimed religious tolerance the Bible in any language other than Roman [Latin] was not tolerated and all other versions of the Bible were deemed illegal by Rome. Latin was the only Bible Translation until the era of the Protestant Reformation Bible translators [John Wycliffe 1328-1384, Desiderius Erasmus 1466-1536, William Tyndale 1492-1536, Martin Luther 1483-1546, etc.] resulting in 1611 with the English language King James Bible [KJV 1611]. With the English Bible in the possession of the common person in England and accompanying Bibles [i.e. German, Dutch, French, etc.] in the possession of other common European citizens the people began to read the Bible and understand that Salvation [eternal life] in Jesus Christ is a free gift from God and is not to be confused with the works, tithes, customs, statutes and traditions of ordinary men and women. Then in about the mid 1650's to the late 1880's as the common person reading the Bible began to realize the assured nature of their own individual Salvation in Jesus Christ the Piety movement began as an answer of how then do we with eternal Salvation live and conduct our life here on earth. {Note: The modern (intentionally confused - not by Roman Catholicism but by occultists) bible versions [i.e. NIV, NKJV, NET, NASB, Message, etc.] are in a sense a return to the Latin Bible where the only Bible translations of the time were in a version that could not be easily understood by the average citizen.} [article link]

Wikipedia.org: Saint Publius 33 A.D. - 125 A.D. (Acts 28:7) -- Saint Publius [a Church Apostolic Father] is venerated as the first Bishop of Malta - Publius' conversion led to Malta being the first Christian nation in the West, and one of the first in the world - He was martyred in 125 A.D., during the persecution of Emperor Hadrian


It was the same Publius who received the Apostle Paul during his shipwreck on the island as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul cured Publius' dysentery-afflicted father. -- Book: by Rev. Alban Butler (1711-1773 A.D.). Volume I: January. "The Lives of the Saints" last published 1866. - St. Publius, Bishop and Martyr [died January 21, 125 A.D. in Athens, Greece] HE succeeded St. Dionysius the Areopagite in the see of Athens, as we are assured by St. Dionysius of Corinth, quoted by Eusebius. 1 He went to God by martyrdom, and Saint Quadratus was chosen third bishop of that city. See Le Quien, Or. Christ. t. 2. p. 169. Note 1. Euseb. l. 4. c. 23. [article link]

Justin Martyr (100-167 A.D.), Philosopher, Apologist, and Martyr (1 June 167 A.D.) - Justin was born around 100 A.D. (both his birth and death dates are approximate) at Flavia Neapolis (ancient Shechem, modern Nablus) in Samaria (the middle portion of Israel, between Galilee and Judea) of pagan Greek parents - He was brought up with a good education in rhetoric, poetry, and history - He studied various schools of philosophy in Alexandria [Egypt] and Ephesus, joining himself first to Stoicism, then Pythagoreanism, then Platonism, looking for answers to his questions - While at Ephesus, he was impressed by the steadfastness of the Christian martyrs, and by the personality of an aged Christian man whom he met by chance while walking on the seashore - This man spoke to him about Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises made through the Jewish prophets - Justin was overwhelmed - "Straightway a flame was kindled in my soul" he writes, "and a love of the prophets and those who are friends of Christ possessed me" Justin became a Christian


Justin became a Christian, but he continued to wear the cloak that was the characteristic uniform of the professional teacher of philosophy. His position was that pagan philosophy, especially Platonism, is not simply wrong, but is a partial grasp of the truth, and serves as "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." He engaged in debates and disputations with non-Christians of all varieties, pagans, Jews, and heretics. He opened a school of Christian philosophy and accepted students, first at Ephesus and then later at Rome. There he engaged the Cynic philosopher Crescens in debate, and soon after was arrested on the charge of practicing an anauthorized religion. (It is suggested that Crescens lost the debate and denounced Justin to the authorities out of spite.) He was tried before the Roman prefect Rusticus, refused to renounce Christianity, and was put to death by beheading along with six of his students, one of them a woman. A record of the trial, probably authentic, is preserved, known as The Acts of Justin the Martyr. ... Justin's works are found in the multi-volumed set called The Ante-nicene Fathers [Church leaders before the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.], and in various other collections of early Christian writings. [article link]

Dionysius (about 120-200 A.D.) - Bishop of Corinth (about 165-195 A.D.) - Our father among the saints Dionysius of Corinth was the Bishop of Corinth during the last half of the second century - The dates of his tenure as Bishop of Corinth is not known, but part of it overlapped that of Soter of Rome (about 167 to 175 A.D.) - His feast day is April 8


Life: Little is known of the life of Dionysius, and what is known is from Eusebius Pamphilius and text fragments from his letters. It is clear Dionysius was held in high esteem as a writer of letters by the second century churches, not only from Eusebius’ statement, but also from the fact that heretics thought it worthwhile to circulate interpolated and mutilated copies of his letters. That he wrote epistles to churches so widely scattered shows that he possessed a widely held reputation. Most of these letter are no longer extant. -- Dionysius can be dated to the second half of the second century from the dating of his letters to noted Christians of the time, such as to the Bishop of Rome Soter who served from about 167 to 175, a period of service overlapping that of Dionysius. -- Eusebius knew of a collection of seven Catholic Epistles by Dionysius, a letter to him from Bishop Pinytus of Knossus, a private letter of spiritual advice to a lady named Chrysophora, who had written to him, and his letter to Bp. Soter. In his letter to Bp. Soter, Dionysius lauds the practice of the Church of Rome for its practice of sending alms and gifts for the needy to churches in many cities. In a letter to Nicomedia, Bp. Dionysius praises the Nicomedians for their standing fast in the truth and condemnation of the heresy of Maricion of Sinope that was active in his day. The date and cause of Dionysius' death is unknown. He reposed [retired] before the year 199 A.D. While traditionally Dionysius has been held by some in the Eastern Church to be a martyr, there is no historical foundation for his martyrdom. [article link]

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, France (120-203 A.D.) - As a boy he had, as he delighted to point out, listened to the sermons of the great bishop and martyr, Polycarp of Smyrna, who was regarded as a disciple of the Apostles [John and possibly Paul] themselves - Later he went as a missionary to southern Gaul [Europe], where he became a presbyter at Lyons, France - The era in which Irenaeus lived was a time of expansion and inner tensions in the church - In many cases Irenaeus acted as mediator between various contending factions - Irenaeus adopted a totally negative and unresponsive attitude, however, toward Marcion, a schismatic leader in Rome, and toward the Valentinians, a fashionable intellectual Gnostic movement in the rapidly expanding church that espoused dualism - Against such statements Irenaeus maintains that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles and none of them was a Gnostic


Relatively little is known of the life of Irenaeus. As a boy he had, as he delighted to point out, listened to the sermons of the great bishop and martyr, Polycarp of Smyrna, who was regarded as a disciple of the apostles themselves. Here he came to know, 'the genuine unadulterated gospel', to which he remained faithful throughout his life. Perhaps he also accompanied Polycarp on his journey to Rome in connection with the controversy over the date of celebrating Easter (154 CE). Later he went as a missionary to southern Gaul, where he became a presbyter at Lyons. A Catholic Encyclopedia article is online at St. Irenaeus. Irenaeus was absent from the city when the persecution there reached its zenith. It seems that he had been sent to Rome by the Gallican churches in order to confer with Pope Eleutherus, perhaps as a mediator in the Montanist disputes. Evidently Irenaeus stayed in Rome for just a short time, and soon after the end of the persecution we find him again in Lyons as the successor to Bishop Pothinus (178). When and how he died is unknown to us. Jerome and others state that he died as a martyr in the persecution under the Emperor Septimus Severus (202), but there is no certainty about this tradition. In short, we know Irenaeus almost solely from his writings, and these have not been preserved in their entirety. ... The era in which Irenaeus lived was a time of expansion and inner tensions in the church. In many cases Irenaeus acted as mediator between various contending factions. The churches of Asia Minor (where he was probably born) continued to celebrate Easter on the same date (the 14th of Nisan) as the Jews celebrated Passover, whereas the Roman Church maintained that Easter should always be celebrated on a Sunday (the day of the Resurrection). Mediating between the parties, Irenaeus stated that differences in external factors, such as dates of festivals, need not be so serious as to destroy church unity. Irenaeus adopted a totally negative and unresponsive attitude, however, toward Marcion, a schismatic leader in Rome, and toward the Valentinians, a fashionable intellectual Gnostic movement in the rapidly expanding church that espoused dualism. Because Gnosticism was overcome by the Orthodox Church, Gnostic writings were largely obliterated. In reconstructing Gnostic doctrines, therefore, modern scholars relied to a great extent on the writings of Irenaeus, who summarized the Gnostic views before attacking them. After the discovery of the Gnostic library near Nag Hammadi in Egypt in the 1940s (see Robinson), respect for Irenaeus increased. He was proved to have been extremely precise in his report of the doctrines he rejected. The oldest lists of bishops also were countermeasures against the Gnostics, who said that they possessed a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself. Against such statements Irenaeus maintains that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles - and none of them was a Gnostic - and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of the Scriptures. With these lists of bishops the later doctrine of "the apostolic succession" of the bishops could be linked. [article link]

Hippolytus of Rome (170-235 A.D.) - Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca (cod. 121) as a disciple of Irenaeus, who was said to be a disciple of Polycarp a disciple of the Apostle John

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