Traditions of the Early Church Fathers and the Great Falling Away
(The Great Falling Away from the DOCTRINE of the APOSTLES) (Ac 2:38 & Ac 2:42)
OVERVIEW OF WATER BAPTISM HISTORY
Nicolas, one of the first seven church Deacons (Ac 6:5) develops and introduces the doctrine of the NICOLAITANES to the early Christian church world (Rev 2:6). In his doctrine based on Greek dualism, he and his followers declared that Christian are sinners saved by grace which meant Christians could look like the world, dress like the world, and live like the world in all types of sin and still remain saved. His teaching laid the foundation for the development of the doctrines of Eternal Security, once saved always saved and confession to a priest while living in sin. Since his teaching required no outward or inward change to be saved (No Repentance), he and his followers attracted large numbers of converts both from the many pagan religious systems of his day and the Apostolic Christian church world. His message to the Apostolic church world was why live in the legalism and bondage of holiness and sanctification teachings of the Apostles when you can be free in Jesus through his teachings?
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans violated Apostolic teaching on self-sanctification and holiness which was a part of their teaching on salvation. In Apostolic teaching a holiness lifestyle covered standards of dress, types of activities Christians took part in or did not take part in, and daily living codes of conduct. (Ro 6:1, 12:1, I Thl 4:3-7, I Ti 2:8-10, He 12:14, I Pe 1:15-16 + many more)
Of special note. When the Great Falling Away began it started with changing Apostolic teaching on repentance-holiness and sin, then water baptism and Spirit baptism and the application the blood, then to the godhead. All of these gospel of salvation doctrines were completely changed between 50 AD-325 AD by the Nicolaitanes and the Church Fathers. When the reformers entered late in church history they only added greater delusions and went farther away from the teaching of the Apostles in the trinity Christian world.
The development of Scholastic Theology as a system to interpret thescriptures begins to be used by Christian intellectuals. It is this developing system that results in the creation of the Trinity Christian world with a complete departure from the gospel of the Apostles and the plan of salvation given to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. With the development of the Trinity Christian religious world the gospel of the Apostles is labeled a heresy. In the following scriptures Paul, Peter, and Jude, address and warn of the coming of the Nicolaitans, Church Fathers, Reformers, and many other non-Apostolic groups with their false doctrines.
It is also very interesting to note with the slow development of SCHOLASTIC THEOLOGY the receiving of the baptism of the Holy ghost with the evidence of speaking in unknown tongues did not take place with those who were in leadership or those being taught via the NEW study system.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
2 Pe 2:1-2
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth (The Gospel of the Apostles) shall be evil spoken of.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the COMMON SALVATION (The Gospel of the Apostles), it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith, which was ONCE DELIVERED unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to his condemnation, ungodly men, turning thegrace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having SAVED the people out of the land of Egypt, AFTERWARDDESTROYED THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day.
And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Ye now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
Justin Martyr, makes the first change in Apostolic teaching on water baptism and the godhead. Since Justin did not believe that Jesus was God The Father manifested in the flesh as the Apostles taught, he baptized his converts as follows: “I baptize you in the name of God the Father and the Lord of all, and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost”. Justin believed and taught as the Jews, that the name of God was so holy and such a great mystery that man could never know it. This is why he believed God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ were two different persons. It was this unbelief in the name of Jesus Christ as being also the name of God the Father and the Holy Ghost that laid the foundation of the coming development of the different trinities in the Christian religious world.
I Tim 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
II Th 2:10-12
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause god shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth , but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Origen (philosopher) and Tertullian (lawyer) who became believers via the teachings of Justin Martyr change Justin Marty’s baptismal formula to just quoting Mt 28:19. In this second (Church Father) change on water baptism the teachings of the Apostles are also rejected and both Origen and Tertullian begin to express a difference between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as three different persons of the godhead. In 200 AD Tertullian adopts the Roman pagan word “Trinitas” as a description of the three persons of the Christian godhead. Both men at this time developed two different doctrines of the Christian trinity which in fact is not Christian but are modifications and adaptations from the pagan trinities.
OF NOTE: Origen developed what is called the Eastern trinity which formed the foundational teachings of the Greek Orthodox religious system and Tertullian developed the Western Latin trinity which became the foundational teaching of the Roman Catholic religious system. Of importance the word trinity was used for the first time in Christian theology in 200 AD and does not appear in the scriptures. The Trinitarians have always believed for one to be a saved Christian one must be trinity. If this were so then ALL those who follow the teachings of the Apostles including the Apostles were never saved because they never believed in any type of trinity.
Origen introduces the doctrine of infant baptism at his pre-baptismal school in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Arian heresy develops in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. In the teaching of Arius, the divinity of Jesus Christ is denied and God who was manifested in the flesh and body of Jesus Christ was declared to be nothing more than the adopted Son of God. If it were not for the intervention of Constantine in 325 AD this heresy would have completely taken over the Eastern Church world which later became the Greek Orthodox Church world.
Under the Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea, the Western trinity of Tertullian and the trinity formula of water baptism becomes the official doctrine for all Christina churches in the Roman Empire, by Imperial decree. All religious systems outside of the trinity were declared to be heresies including the teachings of the Apostles and the teachings of Arias along with many other groups. Under Constantine, the so-called trinity Christian religious world became the national religion of the Empire. At this time, the prophecy of the Apostle Peter in 2 Pe 2:1-2 was fulfilled.
2 Pe 2:1-2
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring you, upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth (The Gospel of the Apostles) shall be evil spoken of.
Following the Council of Nicaea the Apostolic church world within the boundaries of the Roman Empire was either driven underground and or scattered by persecution from the government and the new Roman Catholic Church and trinity believers.
Infant baptism by sprinkling becomes compulsory in the Western church world.
The worship of Mary, the mother of God instituted.
Boniface III, is the first trinity bishop to adopt the name Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. The bishop of Rome only makes this move after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Kissing the Pope’s foot begins.
Worship of images and relics develops.
Use of holy water begins.
Canonization of dead saints.
Fasting on Fridays and before Lent.
Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches split over their different trinities, papal authority, different modes of water baptism, and the veneration dead saints and images. It should be noted because of the language difference between Greek and Latin and the trinity difference between East and West the unofficial split took place around 500 AD but the official split did not take place until 1056 AD.
Celibacy of the priesthood instituted.
Prayer beads adopted from several pagan religious systems.
The Inquisition begins (26 – million Jews and Protestant believers will die at the hands of the Church of Rome before it ends).
The sale of indulgences instituted.
Transubstantiation of the wafer and wine.
Adoration of the wafer (host).
Bible forbidden to laymen.
Cup forbidden to layette.
Doctrine of Purgatory decreed.
Dogma of sacraments affirmed.
Ave Maria approved.
Tradition granted equal authority with the bible. (Council of Trent)
Apocryphal Books added to the Roman Catholic Bible.
Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Infallibility of the Pope declared.
Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven declared.
Mary proclaimed to be the Queen Mother of Heaven, God, Christ, and the Church.
Pope John Paul II declares that God will not forgive sins directly and that forgiveness of sins can only be obtained through a priest of the Roman Catholic Church.
Rev. John D. Sims firstname.lastname@example.org aurora1@OnlineToday.com
Part II, General overview of the history of water Baptism:
Day of Pentecost, 33 AD. The Apostle Peter introduces the New Covenant teaching on water baptism (Ac 2:38). In Apostolic teaching water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ was and is central to salvation. This is because the Apostles taught their converts that water baptism in Jesus Name is where the blood of Jesus Christ is first applied to a convert. It is the application of the blood in the water that applied all seven functions of the blood to the convert that resulted in the state of salvation for the convert.
Also in Apostolic teaching water baptism had to be done by submersion down into the water. Pouring on, sprinkling, and infant baptism was never taught by the Apostles.
In Mt 16:18-19 the Word of God tells us the Apostle Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven and how he expressed these keys was forever bound and loosed in heaven and earth. This indicates any change of any kind to the requirements of Repentance, Water Baptism by Submersion, and the exclusive use of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in water baptism will result in a change to the keys of Peter and will not be accepted as the one pathway to salvation and heaven.
150 AD Justin Martyr makes the first change in Apostolic teaching on water baptism. While he keeps Apostolic teaching on repentance, the blood, and submersion, he changes the words used in the ceremony and he lays the foundation for the development of the soon coming trinity formula of water baptism.
190 AD-200 AD Origen and Tertullian develop the first two trinity doctrines and then develop the trinity formula of water baptism. Like Justin Martyr, Origen and Tertullian keep Apostolic teaching on the repentance, the blood, and submersion, but they no longer use the name of Jesus Christ in the application of water baptism to the convert.
220 AD Origen begins teaching the doctrine of infant baptism because of the perceived doctrine of original sin at his pre-baptismal school in Alexandria Egypt.
325 AD Under Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea the holy trinity and the trinity formula of water baptism are declared official doctrine of the empire and the Roman Catholic Church.
416 AD Infant baptism becomes universal teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
During the dark ages and mediaeval times the Roman Catholic Church adopts to additional forms of water baptism. These are pouring water on and sprinkling. In their church writings they acknowledge these changes came via tradition and there is no Bible foundation for these changes. In the Greek Orthodox churches of the East these two new forms of water baptism are rejected as false doctrine.
With the coming of the reformation movement and Martin Luther, water baptism is declared to have no saving quality and is only an outward sign of an inward faith. This is due to the fact that the Reformers believed the blood was applied at confession and not in water baptism. In looking at the formula of water baptism Luther decided to use the Western trinity and formula of water baptism which the majority of Protestant churches still use today.
REFERENCE MATERIAL FOR THE GREAT FALLING AWAY:
The Bible, Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, The Catholic Church Story, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, Aspects of Pentecostal – Charismatic Origins, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Encyclopedia of World Religion, Encyclopedia Britannica (1947), The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Religions of the World, The History of the Roman Empire.
The writings of the Church Fathers: “The Faith of the Early Fathers”, Volume One; “Readings in Church History”, Volume One.
Rev. John D. Sims
Apostolic Bible Center