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THE STUDY OF CHURCH HISTORY 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class WHY STUDY CHURCH HISTORY? It is a Biblical discipline; Exodus 13:14-16, Joshua 5:19-24, Psalm 78:1-8. It enables us to trace the hand of God in the preservation of his people. It helps us to learn from the mistakes of a past generation. We are taught from past experience how to deal with our present problems. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE BEGINNING OF CHURCH HISTORY Immediately after the close of the Book of Acts. Paul is a prisoner in Rome, year is 64AD. What will now happen to the Christian Church? Unlike Biblical history we do have the benefit of an inspired account. Nevertheless using a combination of secular historians and Christian writers a picture of the development of the Kingdom of Christ on earth emerges. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class PART 1 The Death of Paul to the Emergence of the Papacy 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class FIRST ROMAN PERSECUTION Nero – AD 64. Rome was destroyed by fire. Nero was blamed. Christians were blamed to shield Nero (Tacitus). 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE CRUELTIES OF NERO Christians were crucified. Some were clad in hides of beasts and attacked by dogs for entertainment. Others were set on fire and used as human torches when daylight failed. Tacitus wrote that Christians were “destroyed, not for public good but to gratify the cruelty of an individual”. It is believed that this was the period when Paul was martyred. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM 70 AD. Pivotal event in New Testament prophecy; Matthew 24:15-28, Luke 19:41-44. Christ was quite adamant would be fulfilled in “this generation” (Matthew 24:34). 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE DETAILS The Christians fled because of Christ’s warnings. The Jews resisted stubbornly and bravely. The Roman general was called Titus. He used a Jewish defector called Josephus as his negotiator who recorded the details. 1,100,000 Jews died and 97,000 survivors were sold as slaves. Titus only left a piece of the western wall and three towers as a monument to the mighty city that he had razed to the ground. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE PURPOSE The Jewish people were judged for their blatant disregard of God. They were judged for their treatment of Christ. It was a sure sign that the Kingdom of God was now spiritual and not material with the abolition of the Jewish state. The temple which lay at the heart of ceremonial worship was no longer required after Christ’s sacrifice. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class Progress in Days of Persecution 70 AD – 311 AD 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class The Pliny Trajan Letters – 112 AD Pliny was the Roman Governor of Bithynia (Asia Minor or Turkey, Acts 16:7 and 1 Peter 1:1). Trajan was the Emperor who pursued a policy of persecuting believers. Pliny described Christian worship; they met at day break for singing unto Christ. They abstain from theft, adultery and other evils. Trajan instructed Pliny not to seek out Christians but to punish them if a complaint is received. This correspondence would indicate that Christianity's spread was a concern in the highest places in Rome. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class The Martyrdom of Ignatius He was Bishop of Antioch for 40 years He knew the apostles He was taken from Antioch to Rome as an old man. He was killed by lions before 45,000 spectators at the amphitheatre. Before he died he said, “I am God’s grain to be ground between the teeth of wild beasts, so that I can become a holy loaf for the Lord.” 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class JUSTIN MARTYR Born in 100 AD he was the first apologist for Christianity. Apologist comes from the Latin “apologia” which means to answer. He answered for the faith against Christ’s enemies. After searching for peace in pagan philosophies he was converted at 32 years of age after talking to a man by the seaside. His writings speak of Christian practices; worship on the Lord’s Day, scripture reading, the sermon, prayers, the Lord’s Supper and almsgiving. Justin was martyred in 165 AD. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE DEATH OF POLYCARP He was a disciple of John who became Bishop of Smyrna. When aged 86 arrested and refused to called the Emperor “Lord” or God 155 AD. As he did not fear the wild beasts he was burned to death. He was heard praying, “I thank thee that I have been deemed worthy to receive the crown of martyrdom, and that I may die for thee and for thy cause”. The watching crowds marvelled at his faith. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE LYONS MARTYRS In France it is recorded that a group of Christians were arrested and tortured. Such was their courage that many were converted to Christ. One, a young slave girl called Blandina was placed in a red hot chair, inserted into a net and tossed repeatedly into the hair by a bull. Afterwards her throat was cut. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class A CHURCH IN HIDING By the end of the first century the Christian Church was forced underground. The catacombs of Rome are tangible evidence of this. These are a network of underground passages beneath and about the city of Rome. Christian symbols such as the dove, the fish and the bread are painted on the walls and can be seen to the present day. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class TIMES OF PEACE From 211 AD to 249 AD the church was free from persecution. Alexander Severus had a mother who was favourable to Christians and he would even quote scripture. For the first time Christians built public buildings. In these years men like Cyprian detected a worldly carnal spirit creeping in among the people of God. He for one believed that the subsequent persecution were God’s way of both chastening his people and separating the wheat from the chaff. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class PIOUS CYPRIAN Cyprian was the bishop of the North African church in Carthage. He was born in 200 AD, converted late in life and elected as Bishop by the people while relatively young in the faith. He entered into a dispute with the Bishop of Rome indicating he knew nothing of Papal supremacy. He was a firm believer in taking truth simply from the scriptures. He asserted the priesthood of all believers. Persecution broke out again in 249 AD under the Decius and his successor Valerian. He was beheaded for his faith in 258 AD. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE TENTH PERSECUTION UNDER DIOCLETIAN 303 AD – 311 AD. It was chiefly instigated by Galerius and Maximin who were responsible for the Government of Asia. This was the final and most fearful Roman persecution. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE FOUR EDICTS 1. That Christians should lose their offices and property, that they be banned from worship and that the scriptures be burnt. 2. All ministers be imprisoned. 3. Ministers were to be refused release unless they offered sacrifices to heathen gods and were counted enemies of the state. 4. The magistrates were directed to use all means of torture to convert Christians to Paganism. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE WRATH OF GOD Pillars were raised and medals struck in honour of the Diocletian and Galerius for bringing about the end of Christianity. After 8 years Galerius was eaten of worms and called on Christians to pray for him. From his deathbed he not only apologised but admitted his failure to destroy Christianity and gave Christians liberty. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class MAXIMIN AND THE FAMINE Galerius’ successor pursued the same policy of persecution which continued throughout the empire. There was a fearful famine accompanied by terrible disease. Christians risked their own lives to help the suffering and bury the dead. The Romans blamed the persecutions for their calamities. Maximin gave Christians liberty and restored their confiscated properties. He turned his attention to the pagan priests who encouraged him to kill the Lord’s people. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class WHY DID THE ROMANS PERSECUTE THE CHURCH? 1. Roman Emperors hated gods which they did not recognise. 2. The Emperors regarded the Christian mandate to spread God’s Kingdom into the whole earth regardless of frontier to be very dangerous. 3. Christians refused to be part of public events which were dedicated to heathen gods. They were regarded as anti social and secretive and were therefore suspect. 4. Christians threaten the business interests of trades associated with paganism. 5. Christians were regarded as arousing the anger of Roman gods who send famines, earthquakes ect… S.M. Houghton, “Skecthes From Church History”. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE SLIDE FROM FREEDOM TO APOSTACY 312 AD – 800 AD 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class CONSTANTINE He was: A devout worshipper of the Sun. Won the Empire by war. Murdered Crispus his first son. Murdered his second in the bath. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE EDICT OF MILAN A treaty drawn up with his rival from the east, Lucinus. “We have long considered that freedom should not be denied” Christianity could now put its years of persecution behind. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class CONSTANTINE The Theory The Fact Saw a cross in the Was head of the pagan state religion until his sky before fighting death. his last battle for He recognised that the Rome. influence of Christianity could be a political tool to Converted to help him control the Christianity Empire. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE ADOPTED RELIGION Christianity became the official religion of the Empire. Sunday became the official day of rest and worship. Ministers received liberal salaries from the state. Buildings were erected by the Government. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE DANGER OF ACCEPTABLILITY The Christians were now in leadership in society. Pagans wanted to become Christian because it was fashionable. The Emperor demanded the right to rule the church and he called council meetings. Before long the Bishops became became very rich ruling over cities in a secular fashion. Over many years the Bishop of Rome slowly developed in power and influence. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE ARIAN CONTROVERSY Arius; a presbyter from Alexandria insisted that Christ was not God. Athanasius of Alexandria opposed him with a book, “On the Incarnation of the Word of God”. Constantine called a council meeting at Nicea, close to present day Istanbul in 325 AD. 300 bishops of the Church insisted that Christ was a member of the Trinity and Arianism became a heresy. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class Augustine of Hippo Of all the Church leaders in this period of decline Augustine is a shining light. He was born in North Africa in 354 AD and speaks highly of his mother. She prayed for her son as he went to Italy and lived an immoral life. In a garden in Milan he sought the Lord after reading Romans 13:13-14 and his ministry subsequently brought blessings to many. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class Augustine’s Contribution His Confessions is one of the greatest personal testimonies ever written. He opposed “Pelagius” a British monk who believed that man was not depraved and that man has the ability to come to God of his own free will. Augustine wrote powerfully on the inability of man in his natural state and of the necessity of God’s grace. He died after a prosperous ministry in the year 430 AD. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE ANCIENT CELTIC CHURCH Christianity had come to the British Isles before the Romans left in 410 AD. Patrick was a Scotsman who established a thriving Church in Pagan Ireland. He was born in 373 AD. Columba was from Donegal and settled in Iona establishing a monastery from which sent out missionaries carrying the gospel to Scotland, 583 AD. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class EVANGELISING THE PAGANS After the collapse of the empire Britain was invaded by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. The Celtic Church in Scotland and Northumbria met with great success in reaching out to these heathens. The Celtic Church was independent of the Roman Church. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class ROME ARRIVES IN BRITAIN 597 AD – Augustine is sent by Pope Gregory 1st to convert the English. The King of Kent was converted and Canterbury became the Church Headquarters. Other British Kings followed suit. In 664 AD at Whitby the Celtic Church in a conference decided to follow the customs of the Roman Church and became subservient to the Pope. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE VENERABLE BEDE Handed into the care of monastery at 7 years of age. Lived all his life in Northumbria. With a sharpened goose quill and acid he burned his writings into animal skin. He wrote 69 books including Bible commentaries, hymns and secular writings. England’s first historian. The first person to produce a calendar based upon the life of Christ (AD and BC). He died in 735AD at 62 surrounded by his pupils who were helping him produce a commentary on John’s Gospel. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class PAGANISM POLLUTES THE CHURCH Since Constantine’s time Pagan practices slowly became normal within the Church. These included such doctrines as Purgatory, praying for the dead, holy water and the worship of the mother with the child. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class PROPHECY FULFILLED IN ROME Paul wrote that the Antichrist would only be revealed until that which hindered his arrival would be taken out of the way, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. Constantine foreseeing the fall of Rome moved the Emperor’s seat to Constantinople. This gave the Bishop of Rome more power. In 476 AD Rome fell to the barbarians and the Bishop of Rome quickly stepped into the power vacuum and became a dominant secular force in the new political situation. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE MODERN PAPACY DEVELOPS Innocent 1 insists that no decision can be taken in the Church without his authority, 402 AD. Leo 1 strengthens the Pope’s hold on the Western Churches. The claim is made that the Pope has the authority of Peter as the first Bishop of Rome. Gregory the Great took the responsibility for defending Italy and he appointed Bishops to represent him in other places. In 800 AD Charlemagne King of the Franks was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Leo 3rd. Now the Papacy has a revived Roman Empire to control and usurp. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class The Pope Crowns Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class THE FUTURE Next time we will consider how the true church survived in the period of history which was now beginning known as the Dark Ages. 20 January 2008 Clogher Valley Bible Class
"CHURCH HISTORY PART 1"