Lessons From Church History

John Foxe, of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs fame, is an amazing source for authentic church history. I just have to share here some must-know history that you won’t learn in your typical Sunday School…

In 1583, on worldwide persecution, John Foxe writes,

…it was universally through all the churches in the world fierce and vehement, so in this realm of Britain also it was so sore, that, as all our English chronicles do testify and record, all Christianity almost in the whole land was destroyed, churches subverted, all books of the Scriptures burned, many of the faithful, both men and women, were slain.” The Acts and Monuments, Vol. 1, London: R.B. Seely and W. Burnide, 1836, p. 312

Can you imagine that kind of persecution, to almost wipe Christianity off the face of the earth? This was in the Roman Catholic Inquisition time period…estimates of 50-65 million Christians were tortured and martyred for not only their faith, but their refusal to forfeit their pure copies of the scriptures. You see, even back then, the early church fathers warned against corrupt Bibles, which were supposedly being “corrected” by the scholars or religious leaders of their time. Among these keepers of the faith were the Apostle John (2 John 1:7-11), the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:17), Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), Irenaeus (2nd century), Victor of Antioch (AD 425-440)…Eusebius (Eccleastical History)  here cites:

“The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within one hundred years (AD 90-190) after it was composed.”

Dean John Burgon in The Revision Revised on page 323 quotes Gaius (AD 175),

“The Divine Scriptures these heretics have audaciously corrupted (see 2 Corinthians 2:17)…laying violent hands upon them, under pretense of correcting them.”

Gaius speaks of the source of these corruptions that survived in the early papyri, P45, P46, P66, P75 and B (Vaticanus) and Aleph (Sinaiticus).

When our family visited the subject of textual criticism and modern Bible translations, and fell amazingly in love with the King James Version Bible, not surprisingly, many well-meaning friends wondered how today’s leading scholars and Bible seminaries could be so wrong in claiming that 1% of all extant manuscripts, mainly the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts (cited above by early fathers as corrupt), are the best out there upon which to base our modern English translations. Well, it’s a multi-faceted answer, at the root of which you’ll find the theories of Westcott and Hort in the late 1800’s (two men who dallied with demonic spirit-guides), but the easy answer is, modern scholars base everything on the assumption that these two manuscripts were the oldest. Oldest is not necessarily purest, especially in light John Foxe’s quote above, “all books of Scriptures burned”…and recent discoveries (1950’s-60’s) of 92 papryi have vindicated the KJV Bible believers, causing Nestle’s 26th edition to be changed in 500 places to go back to the KJV reading!

I also want to say, that many good men are deceived. Even Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:13, says, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” Peter was so spiritual that his shadow healed people, but in Galations 2:14 we see that “he walked not uprightly”–a good man, but deceived. Later, Jesus, talking to Peter in Matthew 16:23, said, “Get thee behind me Satan…” 

The KJV has long been the butt of jokes at churches and seminaries, sadly defiled as Jesus was defiled. Jesus uses lowly people, the lowly form of things, the opposite of what the world uses to attract. He will not be associated wtih the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or the pride of life. God has chosen to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Interestingly in this case, the KJV is the most majestic book ever written, in terms of poetry, rhythm, language and harmony. For 400 years now, it has born undeniable fruit for God’s kingdom.  Hardly surprising, when you consider that the providentially preserved texts underlying the KJV, would produce anything less than a masterpiece? Let us not forget who was the original Author.Yet modern text critics would have us believe that the least harmonious and most abbreviated manuscripts, one of which was discovered in the trash can at a Catholic monastery, are the best.  

Another thing to consider when it comes to bearing fruit…over the past 100 years, we have had over 200 English versions of the Bible spring up…where are the great evangelists, when was the last great revival to sweep the land? Have American Christians been drifting closer to God, or further away?

Also, we need to be careful what sinners think, as opposed to what God says. The word scholar is rarely, if ever, used in a positive connotation in the Bible.  A few examples for you:

  • Mark 12:38, and Luke 20:46, “Beware of the scribes…” Scribes (writers) have great power. Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”
  • Malachi 2:8 says the scholars “have corrupted the covenant…”, and 2:12.
  • Luke 16:15 says, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

This post is for those of you who always wondered why all Bibles are not equal. Perhaps, like us, when you read the Bible around as a family, using different versions, you wonder, “Why’d they change that?” Why, indeed.

Maybe the idea of corrupted Bibles startles you, as it did me. But why wouldn’t Satan want to attack God’s word, when it was the very first thing he did in the garden of Eden with Eve? He questioned God’s word, “Yea, hath God said?” He then misquoted God’s word, “Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” Then he flatly contradicted God’s word, “Ye shall not surely die!” On top of that, consider that the word of God is our sword of the spirit, the only offensive weapon against the evil one in the hands of the Christian as outlined in the armor of God passage. It would suit Satan’s plans perfectly to get a suitable counterfeit into the hands of every believer. Why else were pure scriptures in the hands of Christians such a threat in the Dark Ages, resulting in so many Christian’s deaths, in so many Bibles being burned? In those days, Satan’s attack was overt, and obvious. Christians knew who their enemy was. Today, he is more subtle. We must be looking for the wolves amongst the sheep.

And why is it, that only the King James Version Bible is the one being reviled, questioned, argued against, when the modern versions have a multitude of unbelievable ommissions, attacks on the key doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ, very minor manuscript evidence (1% as opposed to the KJV’s 99% manuscript evidence!). Have we blindly been led astray like sheep?

God promised in Psalm 12:6-7,

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

God promises to preserve His words perfectly, as silver burned to purity…forever. The question that burns to be answered…is where is this Bible?

And where are the corrupt ones we’re warned about in 2 Corinthians 2:17,

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:3,

 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

And lastly, Jeremiah 13:15, 17…

 “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken…But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.”

Don’t take my word for something this monumental. Pray about it, and research for yourself using God’s word as the light to your path. Church history is a great place to start. And if you are local to me, I have thousands of pages on the subject in my personal library that I would be honored to share to assist you in your journey.

This is a journey for which you must count the cost. At the very least, you could be misunderstood, criticized, laughed at behind your back, or called a church splitter. Yes, even in America. Even when there is no unity to compare to the unity of God’s people steeping themselves in His pure, holy, perfectly preserved words.

Rejoicing at having the privilege to share this here, as a sister in Christ,

Mary

One thought on “Lessons From Church History”

  1. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back down the road. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice day!
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