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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent (Tracing the pathway of the forgotten saints...)

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 38304
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent (Tracing the pathway of the forgotten saints...)


[b]The Pilgrim Church[/b]
[i]by E.H. Broadbent[/i]

Tracing the pathway of the forgotten saints from Pentecost to the Twentieth Century.

Order the book here:

Here is a brief excerpt from the book:

Summary THE New Testament suited to present conditions - The Old Testament and the New - The Church of Christ and the churches of God The Book of the Acts provides a pattern for present use - Plan of this account of later events - Pentecost and the formation of churches - Synagogues - Synagogues and churches - Jewish Diaspora spreads the knowledge of God - The earliest churches formed of Jews Jews reject Christ - Jewish religion, Greek philosophy and Roman power oppose the churches Close of the Holy Scriptures - Later writings - Clement to the Corinthians - Ignatius - Last links with New Testament times - Baptism and the Lord's Supper - Growth of a clerical caste - Origen - Cyprian - Novatian - Different kinds of churches - Montanists - Marcionites - Persistence of Primitive Churches - Cathars - Novatians - Donatists - Manichaeans - Epistle to Diognetus - The Roman Empire persecutes the Church - Constantine gives religious liberty - The Church overcomes the world.

THE NEW TESTAMENT is the worthy completion of tho Old. It is the only proper end to which the Law and the Prophets could have led. It does not do away with them but enriches, in fulfilling and replacing them. It has in itself the character of completeness, presenting, not the rudimentary beginning of a new era which requires Constant modification and addition to meet the needs of changing times, but a revelation suited to all men in all times - Jesus Christ cannot be made known to us better than He is in the four Gospels, nor can the consequences or doctrines, which flow from the facts of His death and resurrection be more truly taught than they are in the Epistles.

The Old Testament records the formation and history of Israel, the people through whom God revealed Himself in the world until Christ should come. The New Testament reveals the Church of Christ, consisting of all who are born again through faith in the Son of God and so made partakers of the Divine and Eternal Life (John 3. 16).

As this body, the whole Church of Christ, cannot be seen and cannot act in any one place, since many of its members are already with Christ and others scattered throughout the world, it is appointed to be actually known and to bear its testimony in the form of churches of God in various places and at different times. Each of these consists of those disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who, in the place where they live, gather together in His Name. To such the presence of the Lord in their midst is promised and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given in different ways through all the members (Matt. 18. 20; 1 Cor. 12.7).

Each of these churches stands in direct relationship to the Lord, draws its authority from Him and is responsible to Him (Rev. 2 and 3). There is no suggestion that one church should control another or that any organised union of churches should exist, but an intimate personal fellowship unites them (Acts 15.36).

The chief business of the churches is to make known throughout the world the Gospel or Glad Tidings of Salvation. This the Lord commanded before His ascension, promising to give the Holy Spirit as the power in which it should be accomplished (Acts 1. 8).

Events in the history of the churches in the time of the Apostles have been selected and recorded in the Book of the Acts in such a way as to provide a permanent pattern for the churches. Departure from this pattern has had disastrous consequences, and all revival and restoration have been due to some return to the pattern and principles contained in the Scriptures.

The following account of some later events, compiled from various writers, shows that there has been a continuous succession of churches composed of believers who have made it their aim to act upon the teaching of the New Testament. This succession is not necessarily to be found in any one place, often such churches have been dispersed or have degenerated, but similar ones have appeared in other places. The pattern is so clearly delineated in the Scriptures as to have made it possible for churches of this character to spring up in fresh places and among believers who did not know that disciples before them had taken the same path, or that there were some in their own time in other parts of the world. Points of contact with more general history are noted where the connection helps to an understanding of the churches described.

Some spiritual movements are referred to which, though they did not lead to the formation of churches on the New Testament pattern, nevertheless throw light on those which did result in the founding of such churches. From Pentecost there was a rapid spread of the Gospel. The many Jews who heard it at the feast at Jerusalem when it was first preached, carried the news to the various countries of their dispersion. Although it is only of the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul that the New Testament gives any detailed record, the other Apostles also travelled extensively, preaching and founding churches over wide areas. All who believed were witnesses for Christ, "they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8.4). The practice of founding churches where any, however few, believed, gave permanence to the work, and as each church was taught from the first its direct dependence on the Holy Spirit and responsibility to Christ, it became a centre for propagating the Word of Life.

To the newly-founded church of the Thessalonians it was said, "from you sounded out the word of the Lord" (1 Thess. 1. 8). Although each church was independent of any organization or association of churches, yet intimate connection with other churches was maintained, a connection continually refreshed by frequent visits of brethren ministering the Word (Acts 15: 36). The meetings being held in private houses, or in any rooms that could be obtained, or in the open air, no special buildings were required. * This drawing of all the members into the service, this mobility and unorganised unity, permitting variety which only emphasised the bond of a common life in Christ and indwelling of the same Holy Spirit, fitted the churches to survive persecution and to carry out their commission of bringing to the whole world the message of salvation. The first preaching of the Gospel was by Jews and to Jews, and in it frequent use was made of the synagogues. The synagogue system is the simple and effectual means by which the national sense and religious unity of the Jewish people have been preserved throughout the centuries of their dispersion among the nations.

The centre of the synagogue is the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and the power of Scripture and synagogue is shown in the fact that the Jewish Diaspora has neither been crushed by the nations nor absorbed into them. The chief objects of the synagogue were the reading of Scripture, the teaching of its precepts, and prayer; and its beginnings go back to ancient times. In the seventy-fourth Psalm is the complaint: "Thine enemies roar in the midst of Thy congregations . . . they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land" (Psa. 74.4, 8). On the return from the captivity it is said that Ezra further organised the synagogues, and the later dispersion of the Jews added to their importance. When the Temple, the Jewish centre, was destroyed by the Romans, the synagogues, widely distributed as they were, proved to be an indestructible bond, surviving all the persecutions that followed. In the centre of each synagogue is the ark in which the Scriptures are kept, and beside it is the desk from which they are read. An attempt under Barcochebas (A .D. 135.), which was one of many efforts made to deliver Judaea from the Roman yoke and seemed for a short time to promise some success, failed as did all others, and only brought terrible retribution on the Jews. But though force failed to free them, the gathering of the people round the Scriptures as their centre preserved them from extinction. The likeness and connection between the synagogues and the churches is apparent.

Jesus made Himself the centre of each of the churches dispersed throughout the world, saying, "where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18.20), and He gave the Scriptures for their unchanging guidance. For this reason it has proved impossible to extinguish the churches; when in one place they have been destroyed they have appeared again in others. The Jews of the Diaspora * developed great zeal in making the true God known among the heathen, and large numbers were converted to God through their testimony. In the third century B .C. the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek was accomplished in the Septuagint Version, and as Greek was, both at that time and long afterwards, the chief medium of intercommunication among the peoples of various languages, an invaluable means was supplied by which the Gentile nations could be made acquainted with the Old Testament Scripture.

Equipped with this, the Jews used both synagogue and business opportunities in the good work. James, the Lord's brother, said: "Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day" (Acts 15.21). Thither Greeks and others were brought in, burdened with the sins and oppressions of heathendom, confused and unsatisfied by its philosophies, and, listening to the Law and the Prophets, came to know the one true God. Business brought the Jews among all classes of people and they used this diligently to spread the knowledge of God. One Gentile seeker after truth writes that he had decided not to join any one of the leading philosophical systems since through a happy fortune a Jewish linen merchant who came to Rome had, in the simplest way, made known to him the one God.

There was liberty of ministry in the synagogues. Jesus habitually taught in them as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read" (Luke 4.16). When Barnabas and Paul, travelling, came to Antioch in Pisidia, they went to the synagogue and sat down. "After the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on" (Acts 13.15).

When Christ the Messiah came, the fulfilment of all Israel's hope and testimony, large numbers of Jews and religious proselytes believed in Him, and the first churches were founded among them; but the rulers of the people, envious of Him who is the promised seed of Abraham, the greatest of David's sons, and jealous of a gathering in and blessing of the Gentiles such as the Gospel proclaimed, rejected their King and Redeemer persecuted His disciples, and went on their way of sorrow without the Saviour who was, to them first, the very expression of the love and saving power of God toward man.

As the Church was first formed in Jewish circles the Jews were its first opponents, but it soon spread into wider surroundings and when Gentiles were converted to Christ it came into conflict with Greek ideas and with Roman power. Over the cross of Christ His accusation was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (John 19.20), and it was in the sphere of the spiritual and political power represented by these languages that the Church was to begin to suffer, and there also to gain her earliest trophies.

Jewish religion affected the Church, not only in the form of physical attack, but also, and more permanently, by bringing Christians under the Law, and we hear Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians crying out against such retrogression: "a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 2. 16). From the book of the Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians it is seen that the first serious danger that threatened the Christian Church was that of being confined within the limits of a Jewish sect and so losing its power and liberty to bring the knowledge of God's salvation in Christ to the whole world.

Greek philosophy, seeking some theory of God, some explanation of nature and guide to conduct, laid hold of all religions and speculations, whether of Greece or Rome, of Africa or Asia, and one gnosis or "knowledge", one system of philosophy after another arose, and became a subject of ardent discussion.

Most of the Gnostic systems borrowed from a variety of sources, combining Pagan and Jewish, and later Christian teachings and practices. They explored the "mysteries" which lay for the initiated behind the outward forms of heathen religions. Frequently they taught the existence of two gods or principles, the one Light, the other Darkness, the one Good, the other Evil. Matter and material things seemed to them to be products of the Power of Darkness and under his control; what was spiritual they attributed to the higher god. These speculations and philosophies formed the basis of many heresies which from the earliest times invaded the Church, and are already combated in the later New Testament writings, especially in those of Paul and John.

The means adopted to counter these attacks and to preserve unity of doctrine affected the Church even more than the heresies themselves, for it was largely due to them that the episcopal power and control - see glossary grew up along with the clerical system - see glossary which began so soon and so seriously to modify the character of the churches.

The Roman Empire was gradually drawn into an attack on the churches; an attack in which eventually its whole power and resources were put forth to crush and destroy them.

About the year 65 the Apostle Peter was put to death, and, some years later, the Apostle Paul. * The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (A.D. 70) emphasised the fact that to the churches no visible head or centre on earth is given. Later, the Apostle John brought the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to their close, a close worthy of all that had gone before, by writing his Gospel, his Epistles, and the Revelation.

There is a noticeable difference between the New Testament and the writings of the same period and later which are not included in the list or canon - see glossary of the inspired Scriptures. The inferiority of the latter is unmistakable even when the good in them is readily appreciated. While expounding the Scriptures, defending the truth, refuting errors, exhorting the disciples, they also manifest the increasing departure from the divine principles of the New Testament which had already begun in apostolic days and was rapidly accentuated afterwards.

Written in the lifetime of the Apostle John, the first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians gives a view of the churches at the close of the Apostolic period. %% Clement was an elder in the church at Rome. He had seen the Apostles Peter and Paul, to whose martyrdom he refers in this letter. It begins: "The church of Cod which sojourns at Rome to the church of God sojourning at Corinth". The persecutions they passed through are spoken of with a calm sense of victory: "women . . . " he writes, "being persecuted, after they had suffered unspeakable torments finished the course of their faith with steadfastness, and though weak in body received a noble reward." The tone is one of humility; the writer says : "we write unto you not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves." Frequent allusions are made to the Old Testament and its typical value and many quotations are given from the New Testament.

The hope of the Lord's return is kept before his readers; he reminds them too of the way of salvation, that it is not of wisdom or works of ours, but by faith; adding that justification by faith should never make us slothful in good works . Yet even here the beginning of a distinction between clergy and laity - see glossary is already evident, drawn from Old Testament ordinances.

In his last words to the elders of the church at Ephesus the Apostle Paul is described as sending for them and addressing them as those whom the Holy Spirit had made overseers (Acts 20). The word "elders" is the same as presbyters and the word "overseers" the same as bishops, and the whole passage shows that the two titles referred to the same men, and that there were several such in the one church. Ignatius ,* however, writing some years after Clement, though he also had known several of the Apostles, gives to the bishop a prominence and authority, not only unknown in the New Testament, but also beyond what was claimed by Clement. Commenting on Acts 20 ,$$ he says that Paul sent from Miletus to Ephesus and called the bishops and presbyters, thus making two titles out of one description, and says that they were from Ephesus and neighbouring cities, thus obscuring the fact that one church, Ephesus, had several overseers or bishops.

One of the last of those who had personally known any of the Apostles was Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was put to death in that city in the year 156. He had long been instructed by the Apostle John, and had been intimate with others who had seen the Lord. Irenaeus is another link in the chain of personal connection with the times of Christ. He was taught by Polycarp and was made bishop of Lyons in 177.

The practice of baptising believers%% on their confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as taught and exemplified in the New Testament, was continued in later times. The first clear reference to the baptism - see glossary of infants is in a writing of Tertullian in 197, in which he condemns the practice beginning to be introduced of baptising the dead and of baptising infants.

The way for this change, however, had been prepared by teaching concerning baptism, which was divergent from that in the New Testament; for early in the second century baptismal regeneration was already being taught. This, together with the equally striking change by which the remembrance of the Lord and His death (in the breaking of bread and drinking of wine among His disciples) was changed into an act miraculously performed, it was claimed, by a priest, intensified the growing distinction between clergy and laity. The growth of a clerical system under the domination of the bishops, who in turn were ruled by "Metropolitans" controlling extensive territories, substituted a human organisation and religious forms for the power and working of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Scriptures - see glossary in the separate churches.

This development was gradual, * and many were not carried away by it. At first there was no pretension that one church should control another, though a very small church might ask a larger one to send "chosen men" to help it in matters of importance. Local conferences of overseers were held at times, but until the end of the second century they appear to have been called only when some special occasion made it convenient that those interested should confer together. Tertullian wrote: "It is no part of religion to compel religion, which should be adopted freely, not by force."

Origen, one of the greatest teachers, %% as well as one of the most spiritually-minded of the fathers, bore a clear testimony to the spiritual character of the Church. Born (185) in Alexandria, of Christian parents, he was one of those who, in early childhood, experience the workings of the Holy Spirit. His happy relations with his wise and godly father, Leonidas, his first teacher in the Scriptures, were strikingly shown when, on the imprisonment of his father because of the faith, Origen, then seventeen years old, tried to join him in prison, and was only hindered from doing so by a stratagem of his mother, who hid his clothes.

He wrote to his father in prison, encouraging him to constancy. When Leonidas was put to death and his property confiscated, the young Origen was left the chief support of his mother and six younger brothers. His unusual ability as a teacher quickly brought him into prominence, and while he treated himself with extreme severity, he showed such kindness to the persecuted brethren as involved him in their sufferings. He took refuge for a time in Palestine, where his learning and his writings led bishops to listen as scholars to his expositions of the Scripture.

The bishop of Alexandria, Demetrius, indignant that Origen, a layman, should presume to instruct bishops, censured him and recalled him to Alexandria, and though Origen submitted, eventually excommunicated - see glossary him (231). The peculiar charm of his character and the depth and insight of his teaching devotedly attached to him men who continued his teaching after his death. This took place in 254, as a result of the torture to which he had been subjected five years before in Tyre during the Decian persecution.

Origen saw the Church as consisting of all those who have experienced in their lives the power of the eternal Gospel. These form the true spiritual Church, which does not always coincide with that which is called the Church by men. His eager, speculative mind carried him beyond what most apprehended, so that many hooked upon him as heretical in his teaching, but he distinguished between those things that must be stated clearly and dogmatically and those that must be put forward with caution, for consideration. Of the hatter he says: "how things will be, however, is known with certainty to God alone, and to those who are His friends through Christ and the Holy Spirit." His laborious life was devoted to the elucidation - see glossary of the Scriptures. A great work of his, the Hexapla, made possible a ready comparison of different versions.

Very different from Origen was Cyprian, * bishop of Carthage, born about 200. He freely uses the term "the Catholic Church" and sees no salvation outside of it, so that in his time the "Old Catholic Church" was already formed, that is, the Church which, before the time of Constantine, claimed the name "Catholic" and excluded all who did not conform to it.

Writing of Novatian and those who sympathised with him in their efforts to bring about greater purity in the churches, Cyprian denounces "the wickedness of an unlawful ordination made in opposition to the Catholic Church"; says that those who approved Novatian could not have communion with that Church because they endeavoured "to cut and tear the one body of the Catholic Church", having committed the impiety of forsaking their Mother, and must return to the Church, seeing that they have acted "contrary to Catholic unity". There are, he said, "tares in the wheat, yet we should not withdraw from the Church, but labour to be wheat in it' vessels of gold or silver in the great house." He commended the reading of his pamphlets as likely to help any in doubt, and referring to Novatian asserts, "He who is not in the Church of Christ is not a Christian . . . there is one Church . . . and also one episcopate - see glossary ."

As the churches increased, the first zeal flagged and conformity to the world and its ways increased also. This did not progress without protest. As the organisation of the Catholic group of churches developed there were formed within it circles which aimed at reform. Also, some churches separated from it; and others, holding to the original New Testament doctrines and practices in a greater or less degree, gradually found themselves separated from the churches which had largely abandoned them.

The fact that the Catholic Church system later became the dominant one puts us in possession of a great body of its literature, while the literature of those who differed from it has been suppressed, and they are chiefly known to us by what may be gleaned from the writings directed against them. It is thus easy to gain the erroneous impression that in the first three centuries there was one united Catholic Church and a variety of comparatively unimportant heretical bodies. On the contrary, however, there were then, as now, a number of divergent lines of testimony each marked by some special characteristic, and different groups of mutually-excluding churches.

The numerous circles that worked for reform in the Catholic churches while remaining in their communion, are often called Montanists.

The use of the name of some prominent man to describe an extensive spiritual movement is misleading, and although it must sometimes be accepted for the sake of convenience, it should always be with the reservation that, however important a man may be as a leader and exponent, a spiritual movement affecting multitudes of people is something larger and more significant.

In view of the increasing worldliness in the Church, and the way in which among the leaders learning was taking the place of spiritual power, many believers were deeply impressed with the desire for a fuller experience of the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit, and were looking for spiritual revival and return to apostolic teaching and practice. In Phrygia, Montanus* began to teach (156), he and those with him protesting against the prevailing laxity in the relations of the Church to the world. Some among them claimed to have special manifestations of the Spirit, in particular two women, Prisca and Maxmillia.

The persecution ordered by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (177) quickened the expectation of the Lord's coming and the spiritual aspirations of the believers. The Montanists hoped to raise up congregations that should return to primitive piety, live as those waiting for the Lord's return and, especially, give to the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the Church. Though there were exaggerations among them in the pretensions of some to spiritual revelations, yet they taught and practised needed reform. They accepted in a general way the organisation that had developed in the Catholic churches and tried to remain in their communion; but while the Catholic bishops wished to include in the Church as many adherents as possible, the Montanists constantly pressed for definite evidences of Christianity in the lives of applicants for fellowship.

The Catholic system obliged the bishops to take increasing control of the churches, while the Montanists resisted this, maintaining that the guidance of the churches was the prerogative of the Holy Spirit, and that room should be left for His workings. These differences soon led to the formation of separate churches in the East, but in the West the Montanists long remained as societies within the Catholic churches, and it was only after many years that they were excluded from, or left, them.

In Carthage, Perpetua und Felicitas, the touching record of whose martyrdom has preserved their memory, were still, though Montanists, members of the Catholic church at the time of their martyrdom (207), but early in the third century the great leader in the African churches, the eminent writer Tertullian, attaching himself to the Montanists, separated from the Catholic body. He wrote: "where but three are, and they of the laity also, yet there is a church."

A very different movement, which spread so widely as seriously to rival the Catholic system, was that of the Marcionites, * of which Tertullian, an opponent of it, wrote: "Marcion's heretical tradition has filled the whole world."

Born (85) at Sinope on the Black Sea, and brought up among the churches in the Province of Pontus, where the Apostle Peter had laboured (1 Peter 1.1), and of which Aquila (Acts 18. 2) was a native, Marcion gradually developed his teaching, but it was not until he was nearly sixty years of age that it was published and fully discussed in Rome.

end of excerpt.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/31 21:56Profile

Joined: 2005/8/9
Posts: 100
montana usa

 Re: The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent (Tracing the pathway of the forgotten saints

I think every christian should own a copy of this book. It will be a challenge to every heart seeking to know God and worship Him in spirit and truth.
Also, who knows how long we will be able to purchase or reprint such a book on the record of the true christian history, in light of "intolerance"

I want to make sure that my future heritage will be able to have such a record so I keep one in my library.

Thanks Greg for making this available. God Bless



 2008/5/21 11:06Profile

Joined: 2007/10/21
Posts: 13
Quaker City, Ohio

 Re: The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent (Tracing the pathway of the forgotten saints

Great book. This is perhaps my favorite book (for about 15 years now), besides the Bible. The Church has never been destroyed!
You can read a Spanish version of this book at:

Mike Atnip

 2008/10/23 23:00Profile


Can the English version be read online for free somewhere?

 2008/10/24 0:34

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent (Tracing the pathway of the forgotten saints

Another book from pretty much the same perspective is [url=]The Torch of the Testimony[/url]. I think both of these books come from a Brethren background but both are a real eye-opener to just how the real Church has survived through the centuries.

Ron Bailey

 2008/10/24 5:37Profile

Joined: 2005/8/9
Posts: 100
montana usa


Yes brother Ron, I was given a copy of torch of His Testimony about three years ago and it is very much like The Pilgrim Church. I am very grateful to have these books.

blessings, bonni


 2008/10/26 0:44Profile

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