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Heydave
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Joined: 2008/4/12
Posts: 1306
Hampshire, UK

 Re: Nicolatians

Quote:
I share your passion about this, I believe the clergy/laity division is responsible for the stunted condition of large numbers of Chrsitians. But I am wondering if this is actually what Nicolaitan refers to.



I too had been told that this reference to the Nocolatians was to do with the clergy / laity devide, but have also heard that it probably refers to the group that followed the teachings of one Nicolas who was a Gnostic. Hence the error of the Nicolatians is Gnostism, which seems to tie in with Johns epistles dealing with this issue.


i. Irenaeus (writing in the late second century) described what he knew of the Nicolaitans: “The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrifice to idols.” (Against Heresies, book 1, chapter 26. From the Ante Nicean Fathers Volume 1, page 352)



ii. Hippolytus, a student of Irenaeus (writing in the early third century) associated the Nicolaitans with the Gnostics: “There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion . . . But Nicolaus has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. [He] departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food.” (Refutation of all Heresies, book 7, chapter 24; ANF volume 5, page 115)


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Dave

 2009/1/11 14:39Profile
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Joined: 2003/7/18
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 Re:

Quote:
The "bishoprick" that was designated to be his was given to another because Judas disqualified himself, and "by transgression fell" (Acts 1.25).


True, I was actually wanting to introduce the idea that the original apostles were give 'oversight'. If oversight is the function of an elder there is a sense in which the 12 were 'elders'. When they became more mobile and losses came through persecution others may have been added to the 'eldership' particularly resident in Jerusalem.


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Ron Bailey

 2009/1/12 5:19Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
I too had been told that this reference to the Nocolatians was to do with the clergy / laity devide, but have also heard that it probably refers to the group that followed the teachings of one Nicolas who was a Gnostic.


The idea that Nicolaitans has reference to the clergy /aity divide almost certainly comes from the early Brethren. They came to this conclusion by looking at the word's etymology.

niko (as in Nike) overcomer or conquerer
laos, people as in laity.

They concluded that we had the beginning of 'people conquerors' or clergy. I would take Irenaues with a 'pinch of salt' here. There is no evidence as to where he gathered his information. As far as I can see he is wrong when he concludes that the Revelation says they 'practise adultery and eat things sacrificed to idols.

[color=0033FF]Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Rev 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.[/color]

I think the natural reading of this passage is pointing to two groups,

1. those who held the doctrine of Balaam (the libertines)
2. those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans

So, in fact, we have no Biblical data to identify just what the Nicolaitans did (Rev 2:6) and taught (Rev 2:15)

These Nicolaitans seemed to have had both a distinctive behaviour and doctrine. We have no real evidence as to either.

Hippolytus is problably just quoting his teacher, Irenaeus.


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Ron Bailey

 2009/1/12 5:32Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

To combine a couple of issues, how can the word of His grace come forth in an environment where a heavy handed leadership is ruling the people? What advice would you give to those that are caught in a one church pastor system- but yet desire to hear the word of His grace in that church? In your experience can you tell of any examples where the one pastor system was [u]not[/u] a hindrance to hearing from God?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2009/1/12 7:38Profile
Heydave
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 Re: Nicolatians

I agree with you that we have no definitive biblical data to know what or who the Nicolatans were.:-) I am not being dogmatic, but just wanted to show there were alternative thoughts on this and the often accepted view of the clergy / laity may not be neccesarily correct.

As a point of interest, Irenaues was a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of John. I know that does not mean that we accept his opinion as fact, but it makes you wonder if this was passed down to him via Polycarp, via John?

The 'So' at the start of v15 could be read as a link with what was said in v14. so = thus = 'in the same way'.. etc...

Polycarp and Irenaues are quoted as being Bishops (of Smyrna and of Lyons), but I don't know if this is something that has been put on them by historians or if they were called this at the time. maybe you have some light on this.


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Dave

 2009/1/12 9:43Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Heydave on 2009/1/12 11:43:52
Polycarp and Irenaues are quoted as being Bishops (of Smyrna and of Lyons), but I don't know if this is something that has been put on them by historians or if they were called this at the time. maybe you have some light on this.


I am sure they WERE bishops/overseers but what kind of bishop. It some ways one of the most insidious threats is when people use the same word but have changed its content. eg born again.

Have you read any of Ignatious' letters? This is a man known to and respected by Polycarp and yet, reading between the lines, their letters show very different ways of looking at 'authority' in the church.

I have more confidence in Polycarp, Irenaues and Clement of Rome than I have in Ignatious. To my reading Ignatious has a clear agenda. The interesting thing is that Polycarp recommended Ignatious' letters and copied them for others. I wonder what we can learn from this. Does this show the respect that elders had in one place for those in another? Does this show the variety of patterns of authority even at the turn of the 1st century?

Quote:
The 'So' at the start of v15 could be read as a link with what was said in v14. so = thus = 'in the same way'.. etc...


In fact, the Greek word used here [url=http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3779&t=KJV]houtos[/url] would fully support your view. I had not noticed that. Perhaps we do have a bit of data about those Nicolaitans after all. :-D

The church in Ephesus [url=http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3404&t=KJV]hated[/url] the behaviour of this group. The church in Pergamos actually had members who 'held this teaching'. This is not just the behaviour but a studied commitment to this as a teaching.

...and we think we have problems in some of our local assemblies?


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Ron Bailey

 2009/1/12 10:38Profile
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Joined: 2007/2/3
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 Re:

Quote:

Heydave wrote:
...it probably refers to the group that followed the teachings of one Nicolas



Yes, I've heard that theory. But I don't know Greek grammar well enough to be able to conclude that a follower of Nicolas would be called a Nicolaitan. Is that a correct Greek grammatical construct?

It kind of seems not, to my very uneducated surmisal. It seems followers of Nicolas would be called Nicolases, or Nicolians, or some such thing. Where did the "laitan" part come in?

I've heard of the etymology Philologos says likely came from the early brethren.

I guess there's no reference to this in the early fathers along the same etymological line?

AD


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Allan Halton

 2009/1/12 10:46Profile









 Re: Nico laitan




If you remove all historical references or speculation, and view the word , as spoken by the Lord Jesus in Heaven, through John....you have "Lords over my people", or "Kings over my people"...."rulers over my people."


This was the spirit of the Pharisee's, who loved honor, prestige, and power. This is the crew, the Professional clergy, that Jesus hated most, and confronted most, exposing their hypocrisy. "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisee's!"


These are the people that also hated Jesus the most. The despised Him, and were chiefly responsible for his murder..[I can't get over their hatred of Lazarus...he just got resurrected!..] They were "of their father the devil." If this word wasn't compromised, to appear in it's current mystical form, we wouldn't be having this talk. Jesus hates those who would dominate and control His Bride for their own lusts and privilege.


Jesus's word is eternal. He did not single out one heretic...There was still an Apostolic remnant to do that. This was the seal on the Entire written testimony....the Bible. [ The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ..] He hates the dominators, the controllers, the elite ...those above the common....the Pastor class...the clergy. ...HE HATES THEIR DEEDS AND THEIR TEACHINGS! As He did then, so He does today.


The priest class today resists this truth, that we are all of one body, no hirelings allowed, as much today as then. The church has become their livelihood, and their EGO. We need loving and mature shepherds who will feed, oversee, and maintain spirit led Peace to each member, and to the least. They are NOT paid.


The LORDS of the gentiles are called BENEFACTORS, but it shall not so be named among you."


It is a brotherhood, and the service is born out of a Love, not "Filthy lucre." The "Pastor class will be purged out of the pure and spotless Bride, sooner or later. I believe it has already begun.



Saying that, without holy , anointed shepherds who will lay down their lives as a loving brother; THE CHURCH WILL PERISH...if it were possible.










 2009/1/12 11:06
ADisciple
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Joined: 2007/2/3
Posts: 835
Alberta, Canada

 Re:

Quote:

RobertW wrote:
To combine a couple of issues, how can the word of His grace come forth in an environment where a heavy handed leadership is ruling the people? What advice would you give to those that are caught in a one church pastor system- but yet desire to hear the word of His grace in that church? In your experience can you tell of any examples where the one pastor system was [u]not[/u] a hindrance to hearing from God?



Hi Robert. Your question reminds me of what you said a couple of days ago about our need for Wisdom in this hour. We so deeply need that "illumination" in the Candlestick.

Meanwhile, I recall reading a book called Titanic Warning by Casey Sabella a few years ago.
(You may remember when Titanic was discovered on the ocean floor not too many years ago, and produced a lot of renewed interest...)

Anyway, Sabella likens what he calls PCC's (pastor centred churches) to the Titanic. Very big. Very confident. Considered unsinkable.

And among iceflows.

Titanic had been warned of impending peril. The warnings were ignored.

But even when their own lookout spotted the massive iceberg looming right in front of them, how do you turn something that big? They tried at the last minute... but it was too late.

And this pastor-centred hierarcy kind of church system that the world more or less identifies as Christianity in our day... it is SO big.

So what advice would I give to someone caught in a "one church pastor system?"

Find a life jacket, and put it on.

I know, that wasn't your full question. "...And desire to hear the word of His grace in that church?"

"In that church." ...I understand the predicament. Where else do you go these days?

But maybe this can be done by getting into a "life-boat" with a few others who are desiring the same. Many PCC's have home cell groups that function vitally. And while this isn't ultimately the answer, it may be the thing that saves us in the impending disaster.

And when "mother ship" goes down, the life boats are still afloat. And we discover that God recognizes the little life boats as being true church in the first place. They don't need to be tied into a PCC to be valid. "For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst..."

So, by getting together with a few, and earnestly seeking to give room to the Spirit of the Lord to have His way, instead of just going through a canned Bible study program the church has prescribed for all the Wednesday evening cell groups... But waiting on Him, looking to Him, making room for Him and the word of His grace... giving room for one another to make mistakes, and grow in grace...

But there can be no substitute for earnestly seeking to draw close to God and develop that inner faculty of hearing, so we are hearing from God for ourselves.

So that, like the five wise virgins. They developed their own personal supply of Oil "in their vessels with their lamps."

Someone once told me that in Spanish, the 23rd psalm says something like, "Jehovah is my Pastor..." That must become a reality for all of us. Pastors included.

What are your own thoughts on this?

AD


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Allan Halton

 2009/1/12 11:51Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

If you remove all historical references or speculation, and view the word , as spoken by the Lord Jesus in Heaven, through John....you have "Lords over my people", or "Kings over my people"...."rulers over my people."


No, you don't. What you have is Nicolaitans. It is only a human speculation that the word is made up of nikE and laos. No more than if you found the word 'Bailey' and decided it meant a bay tree sheltered by the wind... bay and lee?


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Ron Bailey

 2009/1/12 13:42Profile





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