I found this on http://www.jimsearcy.com/ChurchHistory.htm. Because it is so long on a single page, my Google Adroid tablet PC did not have enough resources to load the text to speech program to read it to me. I decided to post it here and divide it up into sections in order to convert it to speech. I hope Mr. Searcy doesn’t mind. There was no copyright sign on the article.
The early Church understood apostolic doctrine to mean the written Word of the Apostles, as it was contained in the Scriptures, in accord with the Old Testament, and given final revelation by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the very I AM, who taught Moses. That is worth repeating, and is the basis for understanding True Church History.
From the very beginning, even from before all of the Apostles had been martyred, the writings of people like Polycarp, and Clement made clear and explicit, that ONLY the Scriptures, Old Testament, Gospels, and letters of the Apostles, and the Revelation given by John, was the authority for right and true teaching of doctrine. Only the Scriptures were to be the defense of the truth against heresy. The writings of the men who were direct disciples of the Apostles literally breathe with the Spirit of the Old and New Testaments. This may be seen in the writings of the disciples like Justin Martyr, and Athenagoras, in the second through fourth centuries.
There is no appeal in any of these writings to the authority of a verbal or extra-biblical tradition as a separate and independent body of revelation. The first writings ever to mention the concept of apostolic tradition were the writings of Irenaeus and Tertullian in the mid to late second century. The clear meaning of that word “tradition” as they used and intended the term, was the teaching of the Apostles, the oral communication of what had been written by the Apostles. Irenaeus and Tertullian state emphatically, that all the teachings of the bishops that were given orally, were rooted in Scripture, and could be proven from the written Scriptures. Both men give the actual doctrinal content of the apostolic teaching that was orally preached in the Churches. It is very explicit that ALL of their doctrine was derived from Scripture. There was no doctrine in what they refer to as apostolic “tradition” that is not found in Scripture. In other words, the apostolic tradition, defined by Irenaeus and Tertullian, is simply the teaching of Scripture. It was Irenaeus who stated that while the Apostles at first preached orally, their teaching was later committed to writing, and the Scriptures had since that day become the pillar and ground of the Church’s faith.
Even in the first century there was available to the believers a substantial part of the New Testament. The four Gospels were known and read in the Churches. The letters of the Apostles Paul, and Peter, were circulated and used, even while the Apostles lived.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND AND KNOW that these New Testament books did NOT become authoritative because they were being formally accepted as Scripture by any Church or group of Churches. These New Testament books were AUTHORITATIVE, because, the believers received them as inspired by the witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It was indeed by the witness of the Holy Spirit of Truth, BY WHICH the believers KNEW, and did positively recognize, as the very Word of God. From the early writings, it is clear that the believers, by the Holy Ghost, KNEW the life of Christ Jesus, and His role as the final and full revelation of God. That same accepted KNOWLEDGE by the Holy Spirit of Truth was, and remains to this day, the very same New Testament canon. It expressed the final prophetic Word of grace and truth, given just as the Apostle Paul had said, to open his epistle to Messianic Jewish Believers: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.
God’s people, in the first three centuries after Christ, universally accepted what we now know as the New Testament. Those who would say otherwise are unlearned, or deceived. The believers in the first three centuries, by the Holy Spirit of Truth, received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the very Word of God. Yes, there were some controversies over individual books. However, these did, by the working of the same Spirit of Truth, solidly confirm the New Testament Scriptures. In fact, the controversies ultimately helped establish the certainty that the BELIEVERS in the first three centuries, after the birth of Messiah, INDEED DID HAVE God’s final Written Word, which was ONCE delivered unto the saints.
The disciples of the Lord universally knew the contents of the canon of the New Testament well before the local Council of Hippo formally accepted it in 393A.D, and before the provincial Council of Carthage in 397A.D.
The Christian faith rapidly extended throughout the known world during the first three centuries. The main reason for such a rapid spreading of the Christian faith should be recognized as the sovereign will, and divine intervention, of God. However, we should also be aware that by the same Holy Spirit of God, there was, in the Preachers of the Doctrine of the Apostles, a Holy faithfulness and zeal. Common among the preachers of the Gospel in those first three centuries were the heroic deaths of the martyrs, and the translation of the Scriptures into the languages of the Roman world.
Under Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211) Christians suffered great persecution. However, the most severe persecution was under the Emperor Diocletian and his co-regent, Galerius, during the years 303-311. The historian Philip Schaff states that, “all copies of the Bible were to be burned; all Christians were to be deprived of public office and civil rights; and last, all, without exception, were to sacrifice to the gods upon pain of death.”
Though Lucifer and his advocates love to kill, and persecute Christians, as any history written outside of Vatican Roma’s control clearly will show, persecution, torture, and murder of real Christians, by no means could, or will ever, exterminate the True Christians, and the Gospel. Though today, as of July 10, 2007, Vatican Roma seems ready to again crank up her infamous inquisition, honest history will show that Vatican Roma’s persecution purified those who preached. The history of persecution by the Roman church, of the True Christian, and only True Faith, increased the ability of BELIEVERS to give the Gospel message.
The Vaudois is the name of the best French Bible. The history of the Vaudois people is the history of a people who withdrew from the areas in and around Rome to the valleys of the Cottian Alps during the persecutions of the early Church. These Bible believers always held to the Scriptures as their ONLY authority. This was evident in their faith, and practice for centuries, dating back to the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The testimony of their lives over the centuries shows that the Vaudois, and others, had chosen to follow the authority of the Bible as their Rule of Life.
One solid fact of True Church History is that “people of the book,” as Islam calls Jews and true Christians are persecuted. People of the book are vilified, and the persecution of them minimized if not even justified, in the history one finds under the influence, and control, of Vatican Roma.
Vatican Roma’s help, favor, and control of Islam, is obvious in paragraph #841 of the latest version of the Roman Catholic Catechism. That infamous paragraph #841 states – The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (Latest Catechism which includes the corrections by Pope John Paul II on 8 September 1997.)
In these last days of strong delusion it is good to know the history of how Vatican Roma put Muhammad in the religion business and controls Islam to this day. The popes of Rome have always wanted to possess the city of Jerusalem. Because of its religious history and its strategic location, the Holy City was considered a priceless treasure. A scheme had to be developed to make Jerusalem a Roman Catholic city. The great untapped source of manpower that could do this job was the children of Ishmael. The poor Arabs fell victim to one of the most clever plans ever devised by the powers of darkness.
Early Christians went everywhere with the gospel setting up small churches, but they met heavy opposition. Both the Jews and the pagan Roman government persecuted the believers in Christ to stop their spread. But the Jews rebelled against Rome, and in 70 AD, Roman armies under General Titus smashed Jerusalem and destroyed the great Jewish temple, which was the heart of Jewish worship. This quite literally fulfilled the prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ given in Matt 24:2.
Corruption, apathy, greed, cruelty, perversion, and rebellion were eating away at the Roman Empire, and it was ready to collapse. The persecution against Christians was useless as they continued to lay down their lives for the gospel of Christ. The only way Satan could stop the spread of the Gospel, and the establishment of true apostolic Biblical Churches, was to create a counterfeit so-called Christian religion.
Rome brought about this great counterfeit “Christian” religion with the first sovereign pontiff, the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine’s religion was the religion of Nimrod, Semiramis , and Tamuz. It was the religion with the sun god, the queen of heaven, and son of the queen of heaven, the religion of Babylon. The ancient Babylonian religion’s deities took on many names in many different cultures and countries. The favorite flavor of this Babylon religion of pagan Rome, at the time of the first supreme pontiff Constantine, was Mithraism. The religion of pagan Roma had come from Babylon and all it needed was a face-lift of applying Christian terms to that religion. This did not happen immediately, but began in the writings of the early so-called church fathers.
It was through their writings that a new religion would take shape. The statue of Jupiter in Rome was eventually called St. Peter, and the statue of Venus was called the Virgin Mary. The site chose for the headquarters of this new form of pagan Roman counterfeit Christianity was one of the seven hills of Rome called Vaticanus, the place of the diving serpent where the Satanic temple of Janus stood.
The great counterfeit religion, Roman Catholicism, called MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH – Rev 17:5. Satan, the god of all false religions, raised up this Roman counterfeit religion of Babylon with Christian terms to block the Gospel, slaughter the believers in Christ, establish new false religions, create wars, and make the nations drunk with the wine of her spiritual fornication.
Rev 17:1-6 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
The greatest of the daughter harlots of the MOTHER OF HARLOTS is ISLAM.