The 7 Churches of Rev


#1

Hello, this is my first post to a forum, so please be gentle. I am a Baptist pastor who is well on the way to Rome. There are some personal issues to deal with before I can convert, but my heart’s there now.
I recently had a theological discussion with my brother, also a Baptist pastor (but definitely not heading toward Rome) in which we bagan discussing Catholicism. It put me in the interesting position of being a protestant defending the Catholic church!
Anyway, he is of the opinion that the church went haywire very soon after the apostles died, and it was the reformation that restored truth to the church.
I stated that I found it illogical, and hard to believe that the church would fall so far, so fast. I believe I had read that in one of the Catholic apologetics books I have.
He then pointed out the 7 churches identified in Revelation, to show that yes, indeed, the church could, and did fall into theological corruption by 90 AD.
My question is, how do you reconcile the claims of the early church being Catholic, with the evidence of theological drift in Revelation? How does the RCC view the 7 churches of Rev.? How can I answer my brother on this one?
I hope this makes sense. I look forward to your replies.

  • David

#2

[quote=cloudy56day]Hello, this is my first post to a forum, so please be gentle. I am a Baptist pastor who is well on the way to Rome. There are some personal issues to deal with before I can convert, but my heart’s there now.
I recently had a theological discussion with my brother, also a Baptist pastor (but definitely not heading toward Rome) in which we bagan discussing Catholicism. It put me in the interesting position of being a protestant defending the Catholic church!
Anyway, he is of the opinion that the church went haywire very soon after the apostles died, and it was the reformation that restored truth to the church.
I stated that I found it illogical, and hard to believe that the church would fall so far, so fast. I believe I had read that in one of the Catholic apologetics books I have.
He then pointed out the 7 churches identified in Revelation, to show that yes, indeed, the church could, and did fall into theological corruption by 90 AD.
My question is, how do you reconcile the claims of the early church being Catholic, with the evidence of theological drift in Revelation? How does the RCC view the 7 churches of Rev.? How can I answer my brother on this one?
I hope this makes sense. I look forward to your replies.

  • David
    [/quote]

What you see in Revelation is theological correction, not theological drift.

It may help to think of the Church as an airplane on autopilot. The control surfaces move – that proves the autopilot is working, not that it is not working. Similarly, we see in the Epistles of Paul, in the Catholic letters, and in Revelation how the Church, through her Apostles, works to correct error. We see in Acts how a charlatan, Simon Magus, tried to buy the power of the Apostles and make money off it.

In the following generations, we see that again and again – remember that the Church was born into a world full of mystic religions and charlatans, many of whom tried to hijack the movement for gain or personal power.

Now, about 300 years after Revelation was written, the canon of the New Testament was proclaimed – by the Church (Pope Damasus I). And that very New Testament is the book your brother and others who criticize the Church use as their yardstick.

If it is true that the Church had fallen into theological corruption and had begun to drift away from the truth in the 90s – how is it that same Church selected the true, inspired books that make up the New Testament, and not some of the mass of false documents that the heretics generated?

In other words, if the Church went wrong in the 90s, how could it have possibly preserved the true books of the New Testament and declared them canonical some 300 years later?


#3

[quote=cloudy56day]Hello, this is my first post to a forum, so please be gentle. I am a Baptist pastor who is well on the way to Rome. There are some personal issues to deal with before I can convert, but my heart’s there now.
I recently had a theological discussion with my brother, also a Baptist pastor (but definitely not heading toward Rome) in which we bagan discussing Catholicism. It put me in the interesting position of being a protestant defending the Catholic church!
Anyway, he is of the opinion that the church went haywire very soon after the apostles died, and it was the reformation that restored truth to the church.
I stated that I found it illogical, and hard to believe that the church would fall so far, so fast. I believe I had read that in one of the Catholic apologetics books I have.
He then pointed out the 7 churches identified in Revelation, to show that yes, indeed, the church could, and did fall into theological corruption by 90 AD.
My question is, how do you reconcile the claims of the early church being Catholic, with the evidence of theological drift in Revelation? How does the RCC view the 7 churches of Rev.? How can I answer my brother on this one?
I hope this makes sense. I look forward to your replies.

  • David
    [/quote]

Boy, you sure have to read a lot into those passages in order to say that the entire church apostasized early on, contrary to Christ’s promise. I don’t see it. You’re seeing one of the pitfalls of Sola Scriptura-- twisting Scripture to fit preconceived ideas.

Here’s an article regarding the “Great Apostasy” theory, and why it doesn’t wash:

geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/staplesnogreatapostasy.html

Furthermore, you should demand hard evidence, not conjecture. If an apostasy occured, your brother should be able to pick a date. Then, look at the writings of the Church fathers and see if there’s some radical shift. You won’t find one.

Here are some verses you may wish to use:

Perpetual Church
Is 9:6-7 - of Christ’s government there will be no end
Dan 2:44 - God’s kingdom shall stand forever
Dan 7:14 - His kingdom shall not be destroyed
Lk 1:32, 33 - no end to Christ’s kingdom
Mt 7:24 - Jesus is like a wise man who built his house on a rock
Mt 13:24-30 - let wheat & weeds grow together until harvest
Mt 16:18 - gates of hell will never prevail against Christ’s church
Jn 14:16 - Holy Spirit will be with you always
Mt 28:19-20 - I am with you all days

source: geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/biblecheatsheet.html

By the way, welcome home! :slight_smile:


#4

You remember what the Spirit said to the Church of Smyrna:

"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer**. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. ** He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. ~Revelation 2:8-11

The Church of Smyrna (modern Izmir in Turkey) still exists. God is true to His word.

In 1922 a great persecution fell upon Smyrna as the Spirit foretold in Revelation. The Turks killed and martyred nearly all the Christians of Smyrna, burning them and drowning them.

It was shameful that there were American naval ships so close to the shore that they could smell the burning flesh and hear the screams, but they even refused to pick up the Christians who tried to escape in small boats. They did not want to offend the Turkish Government.

The Orthodox bishop of Smyrna, Bishop Chrysostom, was killed too…

On 9 September 1922 crowds were rushing into the cathedral for shelter when Chrysostomos, pale from fasting and lack of sleep, led his last prayer. The Divine Liturgy ended as Turkish police came to the church and led Chrysostomos away. The Turkish General Nouredin Pasha, known as the “butcher of Ionia”, first spat on the Metropolitan and informed him that a tribunal in Angora (now Ankara) had already condemned him to death. A mob fell upon Chrysostomos and tore out his eyes. Bleeding profusely, he was dragged through the streets by his beard. He was beaten and kicked and parts of his body were cut off. All the while Chrysostomos, his face covered with blood, prayed: “Holy Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Every now and then, when he had the strength, he would raise his hand and bless his persecutors; a Turk, realizing what the Metropolitan was doing, cut off his hand with a sword. Metropolitan Chrysostomos was then hacked to pieces by the angry mob.

The mind boggles at the awfulness of it all but 100,000 Orthodox Christians were killed in Smyrna in September 1922. And yet, glory to God, the Church of Smyrna still survives. The church of Saint Polycarp is still open and the Christians are still there worshipping God. God has been true to His word about Smyrna for 2000 years.


#5

[quote=DeFide]…You’re seeing one of the pitfalls of Sola Scriptura-- twisting Scripture to fit preconceived ideas.

Here’s an article regarding the “Great Apostasy” theory, and why it doesn’t wash:

geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/staplesnogreatapostasy.html

[/quote]

Exactly my thought, DeFide!

More Reading…

A small article about the Protestant claim for “Sola Scriptura”, a false belief that the Bible is the authority over all Christian faith. In this article it is shown that the Church is the authority, by scripture and history. In fact, the Church is the founder of the Bible as it cannonized the scriptures!

In The Lion’s Den
Sola Scriptura: It’s an open-and-shut case.

Scenario: You’ve been talking with Bob, a fellow worker at the office, for weeks about the faith. You can see you’ve made headway in presenting him your biblical case for Catholicism. So you decide to invite him to an apologetics Bible study you have at your parish.

He agrees to come on one condition: You must first come to a Bible study at his “non-denominational” assembly for four weeks. Then he will come to your meeting for four weeks.

Immediately, you jump at the chance. You’re fired up! The Lord has given you an open door for evangelism.

Upon arrival at Bob’s assembly, “Church of the Open Door,” Bob takes you to a room filled with about forty-five congenial people with Bibles in hand. After drinking punch, eating a few cookies, and talking small talk for a few moments, the leader of the group, Robert, asks everyone to find a seat so the Bible study can begin.

After a short prayer, Robert says the topic of study over the next four weeks will be salvation. But first, he says, “We must begin with the assumption that all present believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. And also that Sacred Scripture is the regula fidei or sole rule of faith for all believers. In other words, the doctrine of sola scriptura.”

You immediately raise your hand with a question. “Do you mind if I ask why you believe this seemingly foundational doctrine? I don’t believe sola scriptura to be true — in fact, I don’t believe that the Bible itself teaches a doctrine at all.”

Click here to continue…

Also Read: geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/solascriptura21.html


#6

First of all, the seven churches of Asia minor mentioned in the book of Revelations either fell into sin, or were there and failed to repent. It was not a question of theological corruption. It was far more a case of not practising what they preached.

Secondly, St. Ignatius of Antioch was the first to call the church of the apostles Catholic. (circa 105 AD) So you know that the church of the apostles, as well as those of the Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons they laid hands upon, is the Catholic church.

Thirdly, in John chapter 14:1 through chapter 16:16, Jesus speaks of the advocate, (Holy Spirit, comforter, paraclete, etc.) that will…

  1. Call to mind **all **that I have taught you.
  2. Teach you all things.
  3. Guide you into all truth.
  4. Be with you forever.

So when your brother says… >>Anyway, he is of the opinion that the church went haywire very soon after the apostles died…<< Then what he is actually saying is that either Jesus lied, or that Jesus and the Holy Spirit failed, or that Jesus and the Holy Spirit could not maintain His church without the aide of sinful men. (i.e. the apostles.)

Either your brother is wrong, or Jesus is a liar and a failure.

Which do you believe?

Thal59


#7

[quote=Thal59]First of all, the seven churches of Asia minor mentioned in the book of Revelations either fell into sin, or were there and failed to repent. It was not a question of theological corruption. It was far more a case of not practising what they preached.
[/quote]

This is true of FIVE of the 7 Churches of Revelation but TWO of them were praised: Smyrna for its strength even thouh very poor and for its faithfulness under persecution, and Philadelphia for its faithfulness and perseverance.


#8

[quote=Thal59]Secondly, St. Ignatius of Antioch was the first to call the church of the apostles Catholic. (circa 105 AD)
[/quote]

The phrase you are probably thinking of occurs in his letter To The Smyrneans (appropriately enough) and what he says is:

Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

Now he obviously was not referring to anything like the Roman Catholic Church. And he is obviously not telling the Church at Smyrna that they and they alone are the Catholic Church. :slight_smile:

So… what is he wanting to say?


#9

No Father, he’s not referring to the Roman Catholic Church, as you say…for even today, the Latin Church is only one (though by far the largest) of many churches comprising the Holy Catholic Church. We must not forget the Eastern Catholic Churches! (And also remember that the term “Roman Catholic Church”, as far as I know, is unique to English, of relative late origin, and never used in official documents of the Catholic Church).


#10

I’ve heard of this controversy about the seven churches. I don’t know enough about this matter, either.

As I read Revelation, I sort of focus on the problems in these churches, and I reflect on whether the problems are not similar to those we see in the Church today. Using either the stick approach or the carrot approach, St. John is telling the churches not to take anything for granted and to get back into line.

It’s interesting and, I daresay, relevent to note all the problems in the early Church, as documented in Acts, Romans, Corinthians, etc. We’re still here, in spite of these, but only by sound teaching and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


#11

[quote=Fr Ambrose]The phrase you are probably thinking of occurs in his letter To The Smyrneans (appropriately enough) and what he says is:

Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

Now he obviously was not referring to anything like the Roman Catholic Church. And he is obviously not telling the Church at Smyrna that they and they alone are the Catholic Church. :slight_smile:

So… what is he wanting to say?
[/quote]

What he is saying is that the church of the apostles, which is identified by the succession of the Bishops the apostles had laid hands upon, was the “Catholic” or true universal church of Christ. At the time St. Ignatius said this, however, it had already been established that the churches were under the sheparding of the Bishop of Rome. (See other threads about the Corinthians seeking guidance from St. Clement of Rome, 4th Bishop of Rome after St. Peter, St. Linus, and St. Anacletus.) Yet, when the Corinthians besought help from Rome, St. John was in Ephesus. Why would they apply to Rome when the apostle John was much closer at hand if the Bishop of Rome had no unique authority?

Yes, they did not call it the “Roman Catholic Church” at that time. But St. Ignatius clearly indicates that the “Bishops” are the lineage of the true apostolic church, and at that time, the Bishop of Rome, successor to the seat of Peter, was the leader.

Once again, Fr Ambrose, the context of history.

Thal59


#12

[quote=Fr Ambrose]This is true of FIVE of the 7 Churches of Revelation but TWO of them were praised: Smyrna for its strength even thouh very poor and for its faithfulness under persecution, and Philadelphia for its faithfulness and perseverance.
[/quote]

What you are overlooking is that eventually, these two churches did have their “Lampstands” removed by the Lord.

Again, you refuse to view the passing of events in their proper historical context.

Thal59


#13

[quote=Thal59]What you are overlooking is that eventually, these two churches did have their “Lampstands” removed by the Lord.
[/quote]

When?

Again, you refuse to view the passing of events in their proper historical context.

These words were addressed to our Churches in Asia and I view them as an Orthodox Christian. I have no other historical context in which to view them.


#14

[quote=Thal59]See other threads about the Corinthians seeking guidance from St. Clement of Rome… Why would they apply to Rome when the apostle John was much closer at hand if the Bishop of Rome had no unique authority?
[/quote]

Thal59, you’ve just been urging me to study the historical context, and so I am surprised that you don’t seem to have an historical knowledge of the special relationship between Rome and Corinth at this period :confused:

Corinth had been recently re-built as a Roman colony. It was re-founded by Rome by Julius Caesar in 44 BC. It was more Roman than Greek. It had a special judicial and civil dependence directly on the city of Rome and it enjoyed easy and unhindered communication with Rome.

There was strong church link between Rome and Corinth because both shared the same founder, Saint Paul. It is also highly likely that Clement had worked in Corinth with Saint Paul and was known and respected by the Corinthians. See Phillipians 4:2.

Corinth was also full of Jewish refugees from ROME expelled from Rome in 49 AD. Some of them were Christians. This is another obvious reason which made the Christians of Corinth look to Rome.

So all in all there were a number of strong connections and sensible reasons why the Corinthians asked the Church of Rome to help them with their problem.

"Corinth at the Time of Paul’s Arrival"
gbgm-umc.org/umw/corinthians/city.stm


Thus saith the Lord: “Stand at the crossroads, and see and ask for the ancient paths which is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls.” -Jeremiah 6:16


#15

[quote=Thal59]At the time St. Ignatius said this, however, it had already been established that the churches were under the sheparding of the Bishop of Rome.
[/quote]

Were they? The only way to try and prove that is by a selective reading of the historical evidence.

As one example to the contrary, here is Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out and not to intefere about the time when the Christians at Ephesus celebrate Easter… The Roman bishop has even threatened to break communion with Ephesus but Polycrates brushes it aside and points out that their tradition comes from the Apostle John and Rome should mind its own business…

Now, Polycrates was writing to Pope Victor in 190 AD - so it is plain that the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome was not known at that time - 160 years after our Lord’s death.

“We,” *writes the Ephesian bishop to the Roman Pope and his church… * "observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again in the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with the glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints: Phillip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters; his other daughter; also, who having lived with the influence of the Holy Spirit, now likewise rests in Ephesus; moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord, who was also a priest, and bore the sacerdotal plate, both a martyr and teacher; he is buried in Ephesus. Also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and Thraseas, both bishop and martyr of Eumenia, who sleeps in Smyrna. Why should I mention Sagaris, bishop and martyr who sleeps in Laodicea; moreover the blessed Papirius and Melito, the eunuch [celibate], who lived altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who now rests in Sardis, awaiting the
episcopate from heaven, in which he shall rise from the dead. All
these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith.

Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of you, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of who I have followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people of the Jews threw away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world and having studied the whole of the Sacred Scriptures, am not alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I have said `we ought to obey God rather than men’… I could also mention the bishops that were present, whom you requested me to summon, and whom I did call; whose names would present a great number, but who seeing my slender body consented to my epistle, well knowing that I did not wear my grey hairs for
nought, but that I did at all times regulate my life in the Lord
Jesus."

Phillip Schaff, Encyclopedia History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, “on the Quartodeciman disputes”


“Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.” ~Song of Solomon 4:6


#16

Please consider the following:

There is clear indication that from the moment the Church was founded (When Jesus proclaimed Peter to be the rock upon whom the church would be built) it had a tendency to go “haywire.” You don’t have to look ahead to 90 AD. Before the sun set that very day Jesus was calling Peter a Satan because he was trying to lead Jesus off his path.

I notice that Jesus did not choose a new cornerstone for his Church at that moment.

Read the chapter in Matthew (I think it is chapter 23) where Jesus severely criticizes the religious leaders he faces, but begins his criticisms with these instructions to his disciples: "Observe everything they tell you (except for their example) for they have inherited the Chair of Moses. I believe that he would say something similar about anyone who has inherited the Chair of Peter, regardless of how well that person has performed his duties.

To anyone who claims that Church leadership has been in error, I can only say “yes it has, from the very moment it was founded.” Anyone who believes they should start their own church should consider: How could their church survive if the one Jesus started could not.?

I believe the church Jesus started survives. Whether it thrives or not is open to debate. Anyone truly committed to carrying out the work Jesus gave to his disciples would work to help the church to thrive.

“That which seperates us as believers in Christ is far less than that which unites us” (Pope John XXlll and Pope John Paul ll)

peace

-Jim


#17

[quote=Fr Ambrose]When?

These words were addressed to our Churches in Asia and I view them as an Orthodox Christian. I have no other historical context in which to view them.
[/quote]

When? I do not say this in an attempt to be offensive, I say plainly that I have no desire to be a history teacher. If you are willing to do your homework, Fr Ambrose, you will find that the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna were eventually taken by the Turks and/or Mussellmen. Rome is the only city that once it became Christian, never became a city of non-Christians. (Removing the “lampstand” means that their protection from the Lord was removed, for a time, and they were allowed to be “taken” as a punishment for sin.)

As to your other point, of course you view the churches of Asia Minor as Orthodox, but again you simply refuse to understand that there was absolutely NO schism between any of the churches and Rome in the first centuries after the Lord’s death. There was, therefore, NO difference between Roman Catholic or Orthodox Catholic at that time. You are taking a post-schism point-of-view and applying it to a time when such a differentiation did not exist. (This is what I mean by historic context.) Though at times they disagreed on certain subjects, they virtually always deferred to the opinion of the Bishop of Rome.

Thal59


#18

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Thal59, you’ve just been urging me to study the historical context, and so I am surprised that you don’t seem to have an historical knowledge of the special relationship between Rome and Corinth at this period :confused:

Corinth had been recently re-built as a Roman colony. It was re-founded by Rome by Julius Caesar in 44 BC. It was more Roman than Greek. It had a special judicial and civil dependence directly on the city of Rome and it enjoyed easy and unhindered communication with Rome.

There was strong church link between Rome and Corinth because both shared the same founder, Saint Paul. It is also highly likely that Clement had worked in Corinth with Saint Paul and was known and respected by the Corinthians. See Phillipians 4:2.

Corinth was also full of Jewish refugees from ROME expelled from Rome in 49 AD. Some of them were Christians. This is another obvious reason which made the Christians of Corinth look to Rome.

So all in all there were a number of strong connections and sensible reasons why the Corinthians asked the Church of Rome to help them with their problem.

"Corinth at the Time of Paul’s Arrival"
gbgm-umc.org/umw/corinthians/city.stm


Thus saith the Lord: “Stand at the crossroads, and see and ask for the ancient paths which is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls.” -Jeremiah 6:16
[/quote]

Of course they had a good relationship with Rome and Clement. But this does not explain why they would pass over the opportunity to access St. John nearby in favor of the Bishop of Rome, unless they thought, above all levels of simple historic or personal cordiality, that the Bishop of Rome was the person to go to.

In other words, they recognized that the Bishop of Rome was the valid successor to Peter, and not even St. John a living apostle, could render any more a valid or qualified judgement in the matter as they must have believed that the Bishop of Rome was **equally **guided by the Holy Spirit as much as John was.

Thal59


#19

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Were they? The only way to try and prove that is by a selective reading of the historical evidence.

As one example to the contrary, here is Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out and not to intefere about the time when the Christians at Ephesus celebrate Easter… The Roman bishop has even threatened to break communion with Ephesus but Polycrates brushes it aside and points out that their tradition comes from the Apostle John and Rome should mind its own business…

Now, Polycrates was writing to Pope Victor in 190 AD - so it is plain that the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome was not known at that time - 160 years after our Lord’s death.

“We,” *writes the Ephesian bishop to the Roman Pope and his church… *"observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again in the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with the glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints: Phillip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters; his other daughter; also, who having lived with the influence of the Holy Spirit, now likewise rests in Ephesus; moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord, who was also a priest, and bore the sacerdotal plate, both a martyr and teacher; he is buried in Ephesus. Also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and Thraseas, both bishop and martyr of Eumenia, who sleeps in Smyrna. Why should I mention Sagaris, bishop and martyr who sleeps in Laodicea; moreover the blessed Papirius and Melito, the eunuch [celibate], who lived altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who now rests in Sardis, awaiting the

episcopate from heaven, in which he shall rise from the dead. All
these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith.

Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of you, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of who I have followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people of the Jews threw away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world and having studied the whole of the Sacred Scriptures, am not alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I have said `we ought to obey God rather than men’… I could also mention the bishops that were present, whom you requested me to summon, and whom I did call; whose names would present a great number, but who seeing my slender body consented to my epistle, well knowing that I did not wear my grey hairs for
nought, but that I did at all times regulate my life in the Lord
Jesus."

Phillip Schaff, Encyclopedia History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, “on the Quartodeciman disputes”


“Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.” ~Song of Solomon 4:6
[/quote]

As one example to the contrary, here is Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out and not to intefere about the time when the Christians at Ephesus celebrate Easter…<<

Telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out? Nonsense. You have simply demonstrated that there were some who did not agree with the Roman church’s decision on the quartodecimen debate. If the Bishop of Rome was not the head of the church, why would Bishop Polycrates even bother to debate with him?

The church in Rome had made the decision, the churches followed, with of course the exception of the proud and troublesome future Byzantines, and the quartodecimen debate was resolved; in favor of the Roman church’s decision.

The quartodecimens, of whom your Orthodox churches supported, lost the debate and Easter continued to be observed on Sunday whether or not it fell on the 14th of the month.

Now, Fr Ambrose, where should I give more credibilty to? To the Bishop whose decision stands, or to the Bishop whose decision failed?

Thal59


#20

[quote=Thal59]When? I do not say this in an attempt to be offensive, I say plainly that I have no desire to be a history teacher. If you are willing to do your homework, Fr Ambrose, you will find that the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna were eventually taken by the Turks and/or Mussellmen.
[/quote]

But this makes no sense at all.

At the time of the writing of Revelation the seven cities were by and large pagan cities and the Christians in them were a minority.

Later under the Byzantine Empire the cities become fully Christian.

Later again they were reduced under Muslim rule but the Muslims allowed the Christians to exist in peace provided they lived in peace and paid the special taxes on non-Muslims.

Apart from Smyrna the seven cities did eventually loose their Christian population.

But Smyrna stood proudly as an Orthodox Christian city until 1922 when the Turks gave it its "ethnic cleansing.’ The fact that in 1922 they were able to kill 100,000 Christians in Smyrna is sufficient proof of the size of the church there -and that its lampstand had NOT been removed.

As I mentioned, the church STILL exists at Smyrna. The lampstand still burns. There is still an Orthodox Greek Christian community with their churches still open and worshipping Christ.

Smyrna has an unbroken Christian lineage all the way from the times when Revelation was written by the holy Evangelist.


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