1st Cen. Christianity - One Organization

by StandFirm 144 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • botchtowersociety

    How ancient? Before or after about, say, 400 AD?

    There is a great deal of material, outside the New Testament, before that date. I would probably start with the Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians as well as the writings of St. Ignatius. Both are dated to the late 1st Century and Early 2nd. Iranaeus is another good early source, and his writings date to the late 2nd Century.


  • maksym


    the topic of this thread is 1st Cen. Christianity (not the Great Awakening that is a totally different topic). The Wikipedia definition for "early church" states:

    Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John.

    So, your posts are segwaying from the main purposes of this thread and that creates confusion since it takes away the focus of the opening post in which it was asserted that their was an organisation in the very first century and that it died out or apostasised.

    The Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic were one Church before 325AD ... infact, the first schism was after 325AD therefore we are dealing with ONE CHURCH during the first 4 centuries.

    So, if we can refer to this church as the "Apostolic Church" (for the sake of simplicity) would you say that God then simply abandoned the Church at 325 according to the assertion in the opening post? Remember, that is the question and purpose of this thread ...

    ProdigalSon - reincarnation? Seriously? That is just SO NOT on the topic (much like jgnat's posts)

  • maksym


    Thank you for your replies. I appreciate the time you took to respond. You are most kind to do so.The scriptural support is fine in your answers. I just have a few quick questions that are related.

    How do you know that the Jehovah's Witnesses are interpreting these scriptures correctly?

    Could there be other meanings?

    Why believe them?

    How do you personally know you, or they, are right?

    How do they know they are correct?

    That might be a bit off topic but since each person or church (organisation) has a unique way of interpreting scripture then which church that a person chooses is up for grabs, since the presuposition is that the orginal organisation (church) died off. You are welcome to send a personal message to my box here if you like. Thanks.

    Take care


  • jgnat

    Thank you, botchtowersociety.

    maksym, regarding my segue from first century church to Millerism and the Great Awakening. Let’s call my small diversion as a pre-emptive strike against the argument from evangelicals and Witnesses that they are closest to first century practice. Their origins come out of universal literacy and the industrial revolution (and from my reading yesterday, the colonization of a new world). New world, fresh thinking.

    According to the Witnesses, Christendom was plunged in darkness within 400 years of it's birth, save a few sparks of light. Restoration, according to them, did not come for another 1,400 years. That's a lot of darkness. And here we sit, presumably with Jesus' triumphant return behind us, and He still allows Satan free reign. I regularly admonish my husband not to invite Satan in to my home. Sometimes he talks more about Satan than about the god he supposedly serves!

    I don't think I can go along with an unbroken line of truth from Peter to today. The early fragmentary evidence shows us that practice and belief was highly varied and contentious. Which makes sense when we think about how people behave in budding institutions. Codificaton and standards come later. The modern belief in a harmonious, unified origin is wishful thinking. Like I say, such concepts out of the industrial age where we are used to uniformity and standards. Heck, English did not have a dictionary and standard spelling until the 1700's...which also just happens to coincide with the Great Awakenings.

    I would liken the growth and development of the (universal) church to be very human, with much contention, splits, merges, disputes, and reconciliations. It is silly for any one group to suggest that they alone have the truth.

  • ProdigalSon

    Why is the subject of reincarnation off topic? Should I start a new thread? Most people here won't touch my threads anyway. This is probably the most important thing that the Church had suppressed, and the point I'm making is that THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT ON THIS during the alleged time of "spiritual osmosis" between the Apostles and the Roman Church.

    Some Early Church Fathers on Reincarnation Both Pro and Con


    Reincarnation: Did the Church Suppress It?


    Reincarnation and the Church


    Destiny, Fate, Providence, Karma and Reincarnation: Origen's Teachings on Pre-Existence of Souls


  • botchtowersociety
    Thank you, botchtowersociety.

    I doubt I am mentioning something you don't already know about. You seem to be a very smart lady.

    I don't think I can go along with an unbroken line of truth from Peter to today.

    There is an unbroken line of episcopal lineage in the various Catholic and Orthodox churches, and some others, like the Assyrians. The teachings received from Jesus and the Apostles has been explained in different ways at different times and places by different individuals. When it became necessary to resolve disagreements, there were general councils to clear matters that became problematic, like the one at Acts 15. Early Christians didn't even have a canon. The church evolved, like a baby growing up, but the baby and the adult are the same person.

    Like you said:

    Which makes sense when we think about how people behave in budding institutions. Codificaton and standards come later.

    You also said:

    The early fragmentary evidence shows us that practice and belief was highly varied and contentious.

    This does not mean that there was not an institutional continuity or succession through an episcopal lineage. Historically, there was. Even in time of the earliest Christian writings, there was an episcopal ecclesiastical system in place, even if it was primitive. It was not a controversy.

    By the way, a major criticism of some of the more varied and contentious groups was that they were not vested with any sort of apostolic authority, that they were teaching something other than what was "handed down from the Apostles". Iranaeus uses this argument in the 2nd century in his work, "Against Heresies." Tertullian also uses the lack of episcopal lineage as an argument in his own writings in the 2nd C. This is well before AD 400.


    Authority was transferred by ordination. We see Paul mention this in the context of Timothy. We also see it when the Apostles ordained Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot.


    Even Paul went to the Apostles to have his position "ratified".


  • mrquik

    Interesting thread. A debate on whether Jehovah uses an earthly organization or whether individuals, on their own, can have an approved relationship with him. Bible history shows many individuals had just that. Job comes to mind. When it comes to organizations, the first criteria is proof that the organization in question has that same approval. Early followers had evidence through miracles or prophesy, things that would eventually die out with the apostles. Jesus said love would be the identifier of the approved organization or individual for that matter. Does the WBTS have that quality exclusively today. They would like you to believe that they do. In reality thousands of religions and millions of people have that quality. They help one another, give to the needy, encourage the downtrodden. In fact, the very desire to worship brings out that divine quality. Actually the GB does a better imitation of the Scribes & Pharisees leading by fear & intimidation. So before you answer that question those of you still in, keep looking over your shoulder. There is no proof at all that your organization is the one true religion, led by Jesus Christ and bestowed with Jehovah's holy spirit. You have larger issues to argue about.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    For me this thread shows a process that nonJWs follow. We could discuss it openly. People added info, others commented.

    When I was born-in, the Witnesses made more sense. My parents were god like authority figures. They told me there was this vicious god named Jehovah and we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We were the only people in the world who were correct and deserved to live when God who said his creation was good destroyed it for being bad. I knew no JW history or world history.

    It was inevitable, I learned to read. The death knell for the Witnesses. A schizophrenic hanging out in the corner of the Port Authority Bus Terminal announces that Jesus is presently speaking to him. People scoff, laugh and wonder why there isn't better treatment for mental illness. Ultimately, the Witnesses must prove that Jesus gave them control in 1800, 1914, 1975, whatever date. No proof exists.

    Besides reading, I met many fine, decent people attending school and playing in the neighborhood. Jesus would never annihilate these people with a vengeance. Never.

    I have utter contempt for Witness history, doctrine, whatever while I respect individuals.

    The Witnesses, despite a long time period, are a mere fraction of the earth's residents. A casual Bible reading proves them wrong. I see no difference between the schizophrenic and the Witnesses. None at all.

    The truth will set you free. It reminds me of the Bruce Willis film with that cute little boy where Willis' character is dead and does not realize it.

  • JustHuman14

    This is the line of Orthodox Bishops that served in Jerusalem starting with James (62A.D) who was the first Bishop of the Church in Jerusalem and he was presiding when the issue of circumcision occurred, according to the Book of Acts of the Apostles. For more you can look at http://www.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/en/welcome.htm

    Bishops of Jerusalem
    1. James the brother of God +62
    2. Symeon +106-107
    3. Justus 1st or Judas to 111
    4. Zacheos 111-134
    5. Tobias ""
    6. Benjamin 1st ""
    7. John 1st ""
    8. Matthias 1st ""
    9. Philip ""
    10. Seneca ""
    11. Justus 2nd ""
    12. Levi ""
    13. Ephraim ""
    14. Joseph 1st ""
    15. Judas ""
    16. Mark 134-185
    17. Kassian ""
    18. Publius ""
    19. Maximos 1st ""
    20. Julian ""
    21 Guius 1st ""
    22 Guius 2nd ""
    23 Symmachos ""
    24 Julian or Walis ""
    25 Kapion ""
    26 Maximos 2nd ""
    27 Anthony ""
    28 Walis ""
    29 Dolihianos ""
    30 Narcissos 1st 185-211
    31 Dios 213
    32 Germanion ""
    33 Gordios ""
    34 Alexander 213-251
    35 Mazavanis 251-260
    36 Hymeneos 260-298
    37 Zambdas 298-300
    38 Hermon 300-314
    39 Makarios 1st 314-333
    40 Maximos 333-348
    41 Kyrill 1st 350-386
    42 John 2nd 386-417
    43 Praylios 417-422

    Patriarchs of Jerusalem

    44 Juvenalios 422-458
    45 Anastasios 1st 458-478
    46 Martyrios 478-486
    47 Sallustios 486-493
    48 Elijah 1st 494-516
    49 John 3rd 516-523
    50 Peter 534-552
    51 Makarios 2nd 552, 564-575
    52 Eustohios 552-564
    53 John 4th 575-594
    54 Amos 594-601
    55 Isaacios 601-608
    56 Zacharias 609-632
    57 Modestos 632-634
    58 Sophronios 1st 634-638
    59 Anastasios 2nd ......-706
    60 John 5th 706-735
    61 Theodoros 745-770
    62 Elijah 5th 770-797
    63 George 797-807
    64 Thomas 1st 807-820
    65 Basilios 820-838
    66 John 6th 838-842
    67 Sergios 1st 842-844
    68 Solomon 855-860
    69 Theodosios 862-878
    70 Elijah 3rd 878-907
    71 Sergios 2nd 908-911
    72 Leontios 1st 912-929
    73 Athanasios 1st 929-937
    74 Christdoulos 2nd .....-937
    75 Agathon 950-964
    76 John 7th 964-966
    77 Christodoulos 2nd 966-969
    78 Thomas 2nd 969-978
    79 Joseph 2nd 980-983
    80 Orestis 983-1005
    81 Thephilos 1st 1012-1020
    82 Nicephoros 1st 1020- .......
    83 Joannicios 1020-1084
    84 Sophronios 2nd 1040-1059
    85 Euthymios 1st ? -1084
    86 Symeon 2nd 1084-1106
    87 Savvas 1106- ?
    88 John 8th 1106-1156
    89 Nicolaos ? -1156
    90 John 9th 1156-1166
    91 Nicephoros 2nd 1166-1170
    92 Leontios 2nd 1170-1190
    93 Dositheos 1st 1191
    94 Mark 2nd 1191-........
    95 Euthimios 2nd (before the year shown) 1223
    96 Athanasios 2nd 1224-1236
    97 Sophronios 3rd 1236- ?
    98 Gregorios 1st ? -1298
    99 Thaddeos 1298
    100 Athanasios 3rd (before the period shown) 1313-1334
    101 Gregorios 2nd (after the period shown) 1332
    102 Lazaros 1334-1368
    103 Arsenios 1344
    104 Dorotheos 1st 1376-1417
    105 Theophilos 2nd 1417-1424
    106 Theophanis 1st 1424-1431
    107 Joachim 1431-1450
    108 Theophnis 2nd 1450-1452
    109 Athanasios 4th 1452-1460
    110 James 2nd (around) 1460
    111 Abraham 1468
    112 Gregorios 3rd 1468-1493
    113 Markos 3rd 1503
    114 Dorotheos 2nd (after the period shown) 1506-1537
    115 Herman 1537-1579
    116 Sophronios 4th 1579-1608
    117 Thephanos 3rd 1608-1644
    118 Paisios 1645-1660
    119 Nectarios 1660-1669
    120 Dositheos 2nd 1669-1707
    121 Chrysanthos 1707-1731
    122 Meletios 1731-1737
    123 Parthenios 1737-1766
    124 Ephraim 2nd 1766-1771
    125 Sophronios 5th 1771-1775
    126 Abramios 1775-1787
    127 Procopios 1st 1787-1788
    128 Anthimos 1788-1808
    129 Polycarpos 1808-1827
    130 Athanasios 5th 1827-1845
    131 Kyrillos 2nd 1845-1872
    132 Procopios 2nd 1873-1875
    133 Hierotheos 1875-1882
    134 Nicodemos 1st 1883-1890
    135 Gerasimos 1st 1891-1896
    136 Damianos 1st 1897-1931
    137 Timotheos 1st 1935-1955
    138 Benedictos 1st 1957-1980
    139 Diodoros 1st 1981-2000
    140 Ireneus 1st 2001-2005
    141 Theophilos 3rd 2005-.......

  • JustHuman14

    @ 20571pnt428571, I will ask you a very simple question: The Bible that JW's claim that they are following can you tell us from were did they get it? Please answer to this SIMPLE question so we can continue, since it is very importand to tell us WHO GAVE YOU THE BIBLE...

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