Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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May 2, 1997
Last Updated :
January 22, 2013
Man Worship And Divisive Denominationalism, Peter And Paul Disagree Strongly In Galatia, Doctrinal And Spiritual Unity, Roman Catholicism Becomes Legal Dominant Religion Of Roman Empire Under Emperor Theodosius I, Compromise With Paganism, Heresies And Misguided Practices Of Roman Catholic Church Who We Follow And Who Saves, Wear Christian Name With Honor We Belong To Christ And Are Bought With A Price, Jesus Alone Can Save Us, Predestinated And Chosen For Spiritual Adoption, Propagation Of The Name "Christian", Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Faith, Definition Of "Christian", Original Definition Of The Word "Catholic", God's True Universal Christian Church, Jesus Is The True Rock And Not The Apostle Peter, Jesus Christ Is The Rejected Cornerstone Of God's Universal Spiritual Church
As if legalistic false brethren and false doctrines didn't already create enough problems for the First Century Church, even before all the Apostles died, denominational divisions appeared as some Disciples began to succumb to personality cult worship, and started to coalesce around the teachings of one Apostle or another. Rather than keep their eyes on Christ, they put them on man instead. Recall the Jerusalem meeting that occurred in Acts chapter fifteen, which was convened in order to establish doctrinal standards within the Church. There was likewise the difference of opinion that occurred between Peter and Paul. Apparently, their disagreement was so strong, that Paul had to rebuke Peter over the Galatian issue. Consider the following verses:
"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
1 Corinthians 1:11-13, KJV
"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
1 Corinthians 3:3-7, KJV
"These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage."
Jude 1:16, KJV
"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"
Galatians 2:11-14, KJV
It is due to these same reasons that so many denominations exist in our own time. Each denomination views the doctrines of other denominations as heresies. Thus, the word "heresy" is purposely given a negative context by those people who oppose a certain point of view which does not agree with their own. How sad that the modern Christian Church no longer abides by verses such as the following which speak of the importance of doctrinal and spiritual unity:
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are . . . That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
John 17:11, 21-23, KJV
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
John 10:16, KJV
"That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:6, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11, KJV
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace . . . That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:1-3, 14-16, KJV
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;"
Philippians 1:27, KJV
"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
Philippians 2:2, KJV
Clearly, what a sad, tragic, divided mess the modern Church has become. That old serpent the Devil has used the past two thousand years to divide Christian against Christian over issues regarding doctrine. As a result of Roman Catholicism becoming the dominant and enforced religion of Rome under Emperor Theodosius I -- please refer to the series entitled "Pontifex Maximus: Pagan High Priest to Roman Catholic Pope" and "Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Trinity" for more details -- anything which disagreed with the misguided doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church was labeled a heresy. Thus, for many centuries, non-Catholics were persecuted and killed, due to their refusal to come under the umbrella of the popish religion of Rome.
As many of you will no doubt already know, the irony of this situation lies in the fact that it was actually the so-called "Holy Mother Church" herself which committed -- and continues to commit -- the heresies with her many false doctrines and misguided practices, which she had knowingly absorbed -- and so-called Christianized -- as she conquered the pagan masses which populated the vast Roman Empire. As I point out in the aforementioned articles, as well as in the series "Lies and Deceptions of the Roman Catholic Church", the corrupt state religion of the Roman Empire was so intent on expanding her sphere of power, wealth and influence, that she compromised our faith, and willingly adopted different pagan festivals and practices, renamed them, and sought to apply a Christian interpretation to them. Thus, today we have holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and All Souls Day and All Saints Day which immediately follow the pagan holiday known as Halloween.
Returning to the amazing events of the First Century and the early years of our Christian faith, regardless of how the name "Christian" first came to be applied to the Disciples in the city of Antioch, nevertheless, to this day it remains the name which is widely used to describe people who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Not only does this name tell the entire world in whom we believe, but it also tells them by whom they can be saved. It is a name which we should all bear with honor; because it designates who we are, who we belong to, and who we follow. There should be no doubt that we do indeed belong to Christ, because as God's Word clearly informs us, He knows them that are His, and He purchased us with His very own Blood, as we can easily determine by the following verses:
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:28, KJV
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Acts 20:28, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
"Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
1 Corinthians 7:23, KJV
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:13-14, KJV
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
1 Timothy 2:5-6, KJV
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
While we should bear the name "Christian" with honor, as I mention in the series "Christian Witnessing: Winning the Sheep and Waging the Warfare", it does not mean that we should do so in a proud, boastful or condescending manner, as if we are responsible for our Salvation, or are in some way better than everyone else. As the previous verses indicate, Jesus paid the full price for us. Jesus saved us when we could not save ourselves, because we are all born in sin, and we have no righteousness of our own, as I more amply explain in many of my articles which concern the issue of Salvation. I am reminded of the following verse that is found in the Epistle to the Hebrews:
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Hebrews 7:25, KJV
Not only do the Scriptures clearly inform us that Jesus alone can save us, but we are told that we were predestinated and chosen for adoption by the Father, through Christ, from the foundation of the world. Consider the following verses and marvel at our Heavenly Father's Divine Foresight:
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:44, KJV
"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Acts 13:48, KJV
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together . . . For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:15-17, 29, KJV
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love . . . Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
Ephesians 1:4-5, 11, KJV
"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"
2 Thessalonians 2:13, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
James 2:5, KJV
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:9, KJV
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
Revelation 17:14, KJV
As the previous verses clearly indicate, it is the Father who draws us. We are ordained to Eternal Life. God the Father in fact foreknew us. We were called, predestinated and chosen by Him to receive the Gift of Salvation and Eternal Life through Jesus Christ. It was by God's Design that we today are called Christians, just as our predecessors have been called by this name for the past almost two thousand years now. In addition to the previous verses which are found in the Book of Acts, we likewise find the word "Christian" mentioned in these two verses as well:
"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
Acts 26:28, KJV
"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."
1 Peter 4:16, KJV
What I find interesting regarding the previous verse that is found in the Book of Acts, is that it clearly reveals that the name of our faith -- that is, Christian, from the Greek word "Christianos" -- was likewise known to the political leadership of Israel; that is, to King Herod Agrippa I. If we consider the fact that the Herods were puppet leaders who were appointed by Rome, it seems probable that the name of our faith was likewise known in Rome by this time as well.
To reiterate, the name "Christian" is a name which we should all wear with honor, and not with shame. Many sacrifices have been made, and a great deal of blood has been spilled for the sake of preserving that precious name, and the faith which it represents. As we learned in part one, the Apostle Peter said "let him not be ashamed", and the Apostle Paul likewise wrote "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ". It is because of the work of brave men such as these, that we know about Jesus Christ today. Following are a few more verses which mention this same theme:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32-33, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
In referring to two secular sources -- that is, the American Heritage Desktop Dictionary and Apple's built-in "Dictionary" app -- we find the following definitions regarding the word "Christian":
----- Begin Quote -----
American Heritage Desktop Dictionary:
"A person who believes in Christ or follows the religion based on His teachings."
Apple's built-in "Dictionary" app:
"Adjective - of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings: the Christian Church."
"Noun - a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings."
----- End Quote -----
So both the Scriptures and these dictionaries make it very clear that anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ is a Christian. If you are interested in learning exactly what it means to be a follower and Disciple of Jesus Christ, I encourage you to read some of my other articles. My primary focus here has simply been to establish the correct meaning of the word "Christian", and to state the origin of the word. But what about the word "catholic"? It may surprise some of my readers to learn that in its original context, this word did not refer to what eventually became known as the Roman Catholic Church. In its first two definitions, the American Heritage Desktop Dictionary defines the word "catholic" in the following manner:
----- Begin Quote -----
"Of or belonging to the whole body of Christians or the universal Christian church. Of or belonging to the ancient undivided Christian church."
----- End Quote -----
Apple's built-in "Dictionary" app likewise notes that when it is used as an adjective, the primary meaning of the word "catholic" is actually "including a wide variety of things; all-embracing; of or including all Christians." It likewise informs us that the word "catholic" finds its origin in the Greek word "katholikos", which means "universal". It becomes clear then, that the true Catholic Church is by no means the worldly Roman Catholic Church which came into being during the Fourth Century. Rather, it is the Universal Church which was founded upon the Blood of Jesus Christ during the First Century. To reiterate, God's true Universal Church became the corrupt Roman Catholic Church during the Fourth Century when Rome took control of, and placed its stamp of approval upon, our Christian faith, and introduced all kinds of pagan ideas and practices, thus perverting it.
Based upon the original meaning of the word "catholic", we can conclude then that anyone who places their faith solely in the Sacrifice of Christ, and who follows His teachings, is both a Christian, and likewise a member of God's Universal Church. Such a person is a Catholic in the truest sense of the word. As I amply explain in some of the aforementioned articles, contrary to the misguided belief which is embraced by modern-day Roman Catholics, the Apostle Peter was not the first bishop of Rome, or the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. There is absolutely no Scriptural evidence to support this erroneous claim whatsoever. In fact, as I mention in the in-depth series entitled "Lies and Deceptions of the Roman Catholic Church", the belief that the Apostle Peter went to Rome is a Roman Catholic invention which finds its origin in a very questionable -- and in fact ridiculous -- apocryphal work called "Acts of Peter". I have read it, and it is utter nonsense.
As we have already seen, the corrupt Roman Catholic Church did not come into existence until the Fourth Century. In fact, it did not solidify its power until the last quarter of that same century during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I, as I explain in the series "Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Trinity". As you may know, this erroneous Roman Catholic doctrine regarding Peter being the first pope of Rome finds its origin in a perversion of Jesus' own words when He said the following to Peter in the Gospel of Matthew:
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Matthew 16:18-19, KJV
The previous two verses have been misquoted, misused, and misunderstood by Roman Catholics for many centuries now. As I point out in some of the aforementioned articles, while it is indeed true that Jesus appointed Peter as the spiritual head of the band of Apostles in those verses, personally, I remain firmly convinced by other Scriptures that He was not saying that Peter was the Rock. Yes, Peter's name, as well as the name he was given by Jesus -- Cephas -- do literally mean "a stone". Nevertheless, Peter was not the actual Rock.
Jesus was clearly referring to Himself as the Rock. I believe He was saying "upon this Rock, upon my own body which will be crucified for you, I will build my Church". In fact, I have come to suspect that perhaps even Peter himself realized that some of the First Century Disciples were misunderstanding the Lord's words. Thus, in his first Epistle, Peter writes the following in which he clarifies that Jesus is the Rock, and the Cornerstone which was rejected by his own unbelieving Jewish brethren:
"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner . . ."
1 Peter 2:4-7, KJV
It should be evident to you that Peter is clearly informing his readers that he is not the Chief Cornerstone. Jesus is the one and only Cornerstone of His true spiritual Church; that is, His Christian, Universal -- or catholic -- Church. In fact, in the Book of Acts, when the Apostles were brought before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas and the other elders of Israel, Peter stated the very same thing to them. Let me also inform you that in so doing, Peter was actually quoting from one of the Messianic Prophecies which is found in the Book of Psalms. Consider the following verses:
"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes."
Psalms 118:22-23, KJV
"And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner."
Acts 4:5-11, KJV
As I said, this belief that Jesus is the Rock and the Chief Cornerstone which was rejected by the unbelieving Jews is clearly supported by other verses which are found throughout the Bible, including in some of the Old Testament prophecies, such as the main one that is found in the Book of Psalms. As such, there is no way to misinterpret what Jesus was really saying to Peter in the Gospel of Matthew. Carefully consider the following Scriptural evidence, and be not deceived by the lies of the Roman Catholic Church which claim that Peter is the Rock upon which the Church is built:
"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? . . . And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them."
Matthew 21:42, 44-45, KJV
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 3:11, KJV
". . . for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4, KJV
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
Ephesians 2:19-22, KJV
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces . . . And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Daniel 2:34, 44, KJV
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Psalms 2:6-9, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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