A History of the Christian Church
compiled by Denis Jenkins
Title A History of the Christian Church
Theme What Have we learned so far?
This is Part 18 in the series. Parts 1 to 17 can be found by referring to the index of articles via this link --> Index to Articles
Christ is the originator or author of the Christian Church. It was to be a body of believers who were raised up by God the father and son to stand as a monument recognising the gift that God gave to mankind in sending his son and recognising the leadership of Christ through the Holy Spirit. This gift was to save mankind from our own folly of having chosen the leadership of the fallen angel Lucifer at the Garden of Eden. Eve first and then Adam chose to follow the leader who promised the wisdom and knowledge of good and evil. Lucifer promised mankind that this knowledge would make us like God. This was a gross deception as Adam and Eve had the character of God implanted in them at creation and as they were they were most like God. Lucifer was then bound to this earth and we as human subjects became bound to the rulership of this fallen angel. Lucifer was given by God the title "the Prince of this World". As human beings, our human parents, sold out to Lucifer at the Garden of Eden. As a result, we are born into this sinful world and our natural tendencies and desires as humans is to war or fight against the principles of God. The human mind is centred on self as is Lucifer's. The Godly mind is centred on the good for all beings involved in the universe. The Godly mind is so centred outside of itself that God the son was prepared to change his bodily form from an omnipresent spirit, which allows him to be in all places at the one time, to taking on a body of flesh. This meant that Christ would from that time have to communicate with mankind through the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. Christ's reincarnation in human form and his sacrifice on the cross marked the time in mankind's fallen history when as human beings we were released from the rulership and power of the "Prince of this World" or Lucifer.
The scripture tells us that from the coming of Christ onwards is portrayed by scripture as the "Last Days". From this point of history on, the Bible tells us that the Devil or Lucifer would go about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Lucifer's character of self interest, force and treachery would in the last days be the mark and imprint of his character. Any body of people who act in this way is a sign that they are being led by the spirit of Lucifer. This contrasts with a body of believers in God who demonstrate the Character of love, gentleness and kindness. The character of Lucifer is self indulgence and that will reveal itself in the lifestyle of its followers. The lifestyle of God's followers is that they recognise their bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and look after their health and treat their bodies with respect. The true Christian is one who observes everyday living as much an act of worship as observing God's day of worship.
From the very beginning of the Christian Church, it was infiltrated with those who were still led by Lucifers spirit. Judas was such an example who even held a very important position in the organisation of the early fledgling church directly under Christ. The book of Acts in the New Testament bears out this fact that Lucifer has his people planted in God's Church. So the Christian Church forms a part of the battle ground of the war between good and evil internally. When the majority of the members of a body of believers act out the character of satan or Lucifer, the church is known as a counterfeit church. When the majority of a body of believers demonstrate the character of Christ that marks a church that is being led by Christ; the church is known as God's true followers. A church may give assent to a body of doctrines that are in line with the will of God but live the life that indicates the leadership of lucifer. This type of church is also a counterfiet church. This kind of church is more deceiving by nature than a church outwardly promoting error. This is the kind of church that has the form of Godliness but denies the very power that allows the church to be led into truth of God's will in the lives of its members. Intellectually and logically they will appear to be supporting that which is true, but, deny the reality and necessity of the Holy Spirit as the essential ingredient for the churches leadership and the living of its members.
Even at the point in history where it appeared, in the battle between good and evil, that the true character of God was being obliterated, God raised up his people who maintain the beacon of truth. Luther, was one such example who revealed by his public actions that there were many others in the counterfeit church who were being led by the Holy Spirit into the truth of God's word. These people formed congregations and church bodies who were also infiltrated by those who followed the form of Godliness but rejected the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. However, the majority at a certain point of history were empowered by the Holy Spirit but over time fell away into lukewarmness. The ongoing body of believers by and large are then another counterfeit Church misguiding those who are in it. This cycle occurs over and over again. But, within the ranks of that backsliding church there will be faithful followers of God led by the Holy Spirit.
This unpredictable cycle of human behaviour, of moving in and out of the leadership of Christ, gives one good reason not to put blind faith in the organisational structure of church denominations as Church denominational leaders wax and wane in their focus on Spirit directed leadership as they also are tempted as any other human being. Our only sure guide is our personal connection to the leadership of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide us into the understanding of which fellowships of the church have true or false doctrine. Which fellowships accept the leadership of the Holy Spirit in being led into the truth of sure doctrine? Which fellowships are no longer prepared to listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting? As Paul says that we must all study and pray to determine that the concepts we hear put forward in church gatherings is of God or not. By the same token, some are tempted because of this uncertainty of fellowship faithfulness to God to withdraw from meeting with the body of believers in Christ. This is a self centred act and is being directed by the wrong spirit. The leadership of God is outward looking and motivates those who are led by the Holy Spirit not to forsake the assembling of themselves with fellowships of like believers. In gathering together we are able to provoke one another to good works as the scripture tells us. As one believer wavers in the faith, others who are at that time strong in the Holy Spirits leadership are able to lift up those who are discouraged. Any fellowship or church denomination has the capacity to move in and out of the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Any Church can move from being lead by the leadership of truth to the leadership of error. The only Church groups capable of remaining true to the plan of Christ are those who believe in the progressive revelation of God's leadership through the direction of the Holy Spirit.
So many of the reformers themselves made the mistake that the revelation of truth given them was the completed and fully extended understanding of truth and nothing more could be revealed. This in itself is the pride and arrogance of man that continually stands in the way of God revealing his continuously unfolding truth to his people. This is the nature of man that continually attempts to return to self sufficiency instead of continually looking unto to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith and knowledge of God. Peter who learned directly from Jesus became hung up on the traditions of the past even though he had first hand revelations that took him beyond the unclear understandings of his Jewish faith. Peter needed the Holy Spirit to take him beyond his bigotry and to also humble him before the will of God. Unless we acknowledge the need for the Holy spirit to move us forward from our personal interpretations and bigotry and focus us from self to focusing us on Christ's leadership in the revelation of God's will and character, we will continue to ignore the counsel Jesus gave the disciples regarding the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He had much to tell them but he knew that they would not understand what He wanted to reveal to them. For this very reason Christ gave us the Holy Spirit so that we could be progressively moved into the unfolding of God's truth and will. This is the New Commandment that Jesus told the disciples about. It was not that God had changed the content of the commandments, as they are the transcript of his character, it ceased to be a commandment written on paper interpreted by man. It instead is a commandment written on our minds and interpreted by the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead our mind moment by moment and hour by hour and day by day to guide us practically and physically into the knowledge of God's will and character. Why the counterfeit church authorities throughout history of the Christian Church were scared of the ordinary people's relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit is that it would take away from their authority that they had hi jacked from God for their personal gain. This is what caused the Jewish Leaders to reject Christ. They were afraid of losing their power and influence. Their focus was in the pride of earthly leadership instead of magnifying and directing the peoples' minds to Godly leadership.
The concept of discovered and revealed truth being complete, and not able to be advanced, has led many Christian Churches to create creeds or fixed and unalterable tenents of belief. This then places a boundary against God revealing further progressive truth to the members of that denominational group. Anyone to whom God does reveal a spirit directed extension in the understanding of truth is then compelled to withdraw as membership within the group is dependent on accepting the fixed doctrinal view from that group. due to their conviction of being directed by God in being given a revelation through the Holy Spirit, the individual feels compelled to leave the fellowship in order to follow their conscience . This in itself has caused a proliferation of doctrinal views in many different fellowships over the decades. This has separated God's people from one another as all those accepting the concept of Christ are not all led by the Holy Spirit in the revelation of his word to the same extent. This reality of doctrinal separation, through an unwillingness to accept divine progressive revelation is another evidence how Lucifer has divided God's people through their humanity to dilute the power of the gospel. Instead of moving forward with new validated revelations of God's will that are Given to other fellowships, church fellowships prefer to stick to their traditional views. So Lucifer inhibits the progress of God' people in their understanding of God's revelations through their own sinful desires and pride to stay with their own views instead of accepting revealed extensions of spiritual understanding.
It is through the reformation, that man's knowledge has been increased as the Bible said it would in the last days. God wants all of mankind to understand the revelation of God through better thinking and education. Tyndale translating the scriptures refined the English language to the level of sophistication we enjoy today. The world scholars say it was Chaucer who is the father of modern English. But Tyndale was really the one who refined the language so that it could be accessed by the ordinary people. Tyndale's Bible translations were read by more people than those who read Chaucer. All major advances in our society have come through the advantages derived through reformation thought and change. God predicted that knowledge would be increased in the last days because he is the author of science and his leadership allowed mankind to tap into the wonders of God's creation. The reformation has had many side effects for the benefit of mankind. But by the same token, we must realise that all players in the reformation scene were all human beings suffering the side effects of a sinful nature. The movement forward is not a smooth one since the reformation was at the forefront of the battle between good and evil.
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