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Joined: 2011/1/12
Posts: 1357
Lakeland FL

 church history and the existence of the bible

I just want to lay this out there.

I no very little about church history especially from the time of the disciples to the Reformation. This would include the church Fathers who tend to be seen as part of the Roman Catholic church. This is my impression, it doesn't matter if I am right or wrong it is my impression.

As a result I have gotten a couple of book relating to church history to educate me on it progression. I also want to see how God was moving during this time. Cults tend to say that the Gospel was lost and they had to restore it which often made me wonder if God was that small that He could preserve such a thing. So I decided to take it upon myself to understand this past so I could defend it.

Has anyone, on this board, ever done this? My time in the church I don't recall ever being educate on church history except in only the highlights of it.

Even in a previous post in reference to the infallibility of the bible I am understanding something that I didn't before and I talked to my wife about this. The Gospel often came through oral tradition because people were illiterate. Hence why we have so much from Paul and so few from the disciples. I have always wondered about this because if they were Apostles why would we not have letters from them instead of just Paul and Peter and John? But then again maybe that is how God wanted it?

I also learned that John 8:1-12 was not necessarily part of the scriptures but it was written in somewhere and because it parallels what the bible teaches it is given authority to be the Word of God whereas books from Judas and Mary Magadellan has writings that disagreed with what was known and therefore not considered inspired. The putting together of this is something else I did not understand.

As one poster also said, I need to understand what the definition of 'infallible' means vs. what meaning I give to it. Thus another reason why I am taking up this venture because I need the education.


 2016/2/11 9:46Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37510
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Re: church history and the existence of the bible


I have read many book on Church history from many persepectives. My end thinking is that either God has not allowed for extra biblical additions and traditions that men make in the Church. This in the end is the controlling of the work of God and not working according to the Spirit. Of course many brethren can be found in all different church structures, yet we should seek to be found desiring to be in what God is doing by the Spirit of God. The people of God are the Church, not buildings or organisations. Cults also try and control the people of God by making their organisation "the Church".

Toward the Bible, the early Assemblies (churches) which met in homes and were believers used and knew chiefly what scriptures were from the Holy Spirit, after 300 AD some established church leaders wanted to make this certain which was already being practiced, some spurious documents were accepted by very few assemblies so they wanted to codify the canon of Scripture.

Stephen the early brother in the Lord, full of the Holy Spirit declared this truth in his martyrdom.

Acts 7:44-60

44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern that he had seen; 45 which also our fathers, in their turn, brought in with Joshua when they entered into the possession of the nations, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers, to the days of David, 46 who found favor in the sight of God, and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built him a house. 48 However, the Most High doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says, 49 ‘heaven is my throne,
and the earth a footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build me?’ says the Lord;
‘or what is the place of my rest? 50 Didn’t my hand make all these things?’ [12]
51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do. 52 Which of the prophets didn’t your fathers persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers. 53 You received the law as it was ordained by angels, and didn’t keep it!”

The Stoning of Stephen

54 Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed at him with one accord. 58 They threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

One of the best small volumes on an overview of church history is the Pilgrim Church:

The Pilgrim Church: E. H. Broadbent

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2016/2/11 9:54Profile

 Re: church history and the existence of the bible

Big, big journey you are embarking on. Don't expect "everything you want to know about Church History" in one thread. Will take you years if you really get into it.

The first thing I would caution you on is not to think the "Church Fathers" are anything else but the 12 Apostles and writers of the NT. The RCC (Roman Catholic Church) has been successful in defining other people as the "church fathers" in order to elevate their writings even above the NT. Most non-Catholics have come to accept this without even thinking about it and they parrot the same line as the RCC. If you repeat something over and over and over again, people tend to believe it is true.

Psa 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Psa 12:7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

God has preserved His Word. You need to really believe this and the ones that the Holy Spirit chose to write the NT are exactly the ones He wanted. Not every Apostle has to have written something.

Most churches don't educate on Early Church History, maybe because they would have to close down or lose members once they learned about NT Church life. And, I just don't think Seminaries teach it. They are like factories/assembly lines that turn out people who know the business side of starting a religious organization and administrating it.

Some recommendations
History of the Reformation by Merle D'Aubigne
History of Romanism by Dowling - Important to understand history of Romanism from a non-Romish point of view.

The history of Romanism - from the earliest corruptions of Christianity to the present time; also by Dowling

Here are some illustrations

You can also pick up some really good information from Martyrs Mirror.

The Gospel was never lost and either was the Word of God. You will learn from studying Church history that the Lord has always had a faithful remnant and kept His promise that His Word would be preserved.

 2016/2/11 10:28

Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 801


There are some great Church history resources:

1) The History of the Christian Church by Phillip Schaff

2) The Story of Christianity (2 parts) by Justo Gonzalez

3) this gives a great springboard of things to dive into

4) Foxe's Book of Martyrs is a great resource and it really comes from a huge collection called "The Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church" which is hard to find in it's entirety in hardback (not to mention very expensive). Someday I'll be able to shell out $800 to have it, but that day isn't today! LOL!

5) There is a book called something like "A concise History of Christian Thought" which is an interesting read.

 2016/2/11 11:21Profile

Joined: 2011/1/12
Posts: 1357
Lakeland FL


The 2 books I have are these:

'The church in history ' by B.K.Kuiper (It was recommended to me by a guy in church so I got it from Amazon for very cheap.

'The evolution of Christianity: 12 crisis that shaped the church' by Marshall D. Johnson (My wife checked this out from the library from where she works'

I need an generalization in some areas and specifics in other areas. I want to be able to understand the progression of the history so I understand how Christianity came to be today and even be able to explain it to others in the future.


 2016/2/11 11:35Profile


Hi John, I have studied church history for years, its a fascinating huge study. I agree with Greg when he recommends the Pilgrim Church. It's short enough to read and study and not be overwhelming , but giving a great overview with many spirit filled quotes by authors unknown to most Christians of today.

One of the chapters of a book I wrote last year was on church history, specifically the Constantine period. I believe, to have a fuller understanding of why the church looks like it does today, studying this period of history is vital, it will be an eye-opener..............bro Frank

 2016/2/11 11:49

Joined: 2011/1/12
Posts: 1357
Lakeland FL


I put the Pilgrim Church on my USB.


 2016/2/11 12:58Profile


Another good one, deadn is "A Popular History of the Reformation and Modern Protestantism", by G.T. Bettany. It is hard to get, published in 1895. Mostly reprints can be found but I just found this one which is very reasonable and looks to be in good shape.

 2016/2/11 20:42

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