An examination of the historical origins of the Roman Catholic Church.
by Douglas Lockhart
In his quite excellent book Binding the Devil, Roger Baker makes an observation pertinent to our study: “It has been recognised that in its need to establish itself the early Church wiped out most of what was valuable in paganism: critical thought, medical progress, the arts – those things that had reached a high stage of development in ancient Greece.” He adds for good measure: “The intellectual development of Europe was arrested for a thousand years.” (1) Here then is the opposite view from that held by the late Jesuit historian Malachi Martin. Martin believed that without Christianity no great European civilisation would have arisen; Baker suggests that because of Christianity’s early dealings with her pagan neighbours whole echelons of intellectual development already underway were either retarded or obliterated.
By 395 all pre-Christian religious forms had been banned and classified as criminal; by 600 the Church was seriously debating whether women should be considered human or not. Weren’t labour pains an obvious punishment from God for having indulged in sex? Shouldn’t baptism be considered an exorcism of the Devil from the newly born child? Didn’t unbaptised babies go straight to hell and suffer for all eternity? Weren’t pagans just devil-worshippers in disguise? This was quickly the state of affairs after Constantine’s death, and it was all down to a church which believed itself divinely appointed and guided by the Holy Spirit. How convenient. God, not man, was dictating policy, and he would dramatically escalate his restrictions on human behaviour and thought until the whole of Western society and culture came to the divine heel. Dark indeed this God, dark and resentful and heavy-handed; and to get even more heavy-handed as the centuries rolled in. Pagans and heretics would suffer alike the Church’s growing intolerance and confidence in itself, and as God’s appointed judge on earth, she would further tighten her systems of control through highly imaginative extensions to the Gospel message.
Back in 1968, Dr Hugh Schonfield admirably summed up the situation in Those Incredible Christians: “Christianity as we know it” he said, having spent most of a long life studying Christianity, “must not be imagined to be identical with what Jesus taught about himself and what his immediate Apostles proclaimed. Catholic Christianity is based on a radical deviation, which progressively by dubious ways and means was converted into an orthodoxy.” (2) So said the only Jewish scholar allowed to work on the Dead Sea Scrolls when they were first discovered; and there is a growing number of scholars today who are equally aware of the historical whitewash the Church has engaged in to ensure its survival.
To believe that the God Jesus spoke of was capable of inflicting such misery, such stupidity, such mindless nonsense on the whole of European civilisation is to be in the clutches of a neurosis. To unquestioningly accept that this God worked in such a manner, and not suspect that it was human beings and not God who was actually fabricating such policies, is to be in need of psychological help. And to argue that God had to work through the frailties and limitations of human beings is to overlook the fact that this God seemed capable, during New Testament times, of giving precise instructions in all matters through a discarnate Jesus. Visions of the risen Lord had been frequent, and information of an often exact nature was said to have crossed from heaven to earth without hindrance. Which is to say that a species of television channel complete with sound had been available to the Apostles (particularly Paul), a channel one would have expected to remain open to those of the so-called Roman Apostolic succession. Unless of course things had not been quite so clear cut way back then, the days and years and centuries that followed the death of the original Nazoraean-affiliated Apostles merely a dull repeat of earlier uncertainties, confusions and distortions. And so we return to the question of God’s existence, of his interest in, and his love for, this little world of ours. If so far off that the Church was quite beyond his control and guidance, what then the purpose of the whole affair? Or was there simply no God out there at all to regulate the Church’s growing pomposity and paranoia.
Robbing Paul to pay Peter
For the sake of clarity and focus we have to be reminded that Constantine murdered his son Crispus by his first wife, drowned his second in the bath, killed his nephew, and after an oath of safe-conduct killed his brother-in-law. Playing the political game to the hilt, the Roman Church in embryo ignored such lapses, willingly accepted his politically motivated sponsorship, and in the wink of an eye reversed his policy of religious tolerance (the policy which had allowed the Church to emerge from the catacombs in the first place) and turned her holy wrath on all in sundry. Once in control, she immediately denied religious freedom to others, continued to do so over the centuries, and by 1648 was blithely condemning the Peace of Westphalia for allowing citizens the right to hold religious views at variance with their sovereign. By 1870 the Vatican was no more than a police state complete with spies and inquisitors. Now many Churchmen will invoke the “human frailty clause” and argue that these good Christians only acted in such a manner because of the times in which they lived; but this kind of argument is not acceptable. Why would the Lord of Hosts set up a fiasco of such proportions? Why reveal yourself and talk clearly in one century, then for next twenty mumble darkly and incomprehensibly?
Of more immediate and rewarding interest are the unusual facts surrounding the appearance of the Nazoraean Christians at the court of Sylvester in 318; facts seldom talked about by Christian historians for reasons which are probably already self-evident. A moment of uncertainty for Sylvester as those Jewish Nazoraean Christians knocked the dust off their sandals and headed for home. And as he lay dying a moment of regret, perhaps, for his curt dismissal of these family members and their so, so foolish proposals.
But had he done the right thing in sending them away in such a manner? And what would have happened if they had somehow managed to settle their differences, if through frank discussion and adjustment and Christian humility they had properly explored those differences? What then? Would the combined strength of the two churches have been enough to temper the hypnotic notion of using the Roman Empire and its terrible strength and glamour to win the world for Christ? A shrug from the dying man, and a wistful smile. It was simply useless to dream such a dream. Carry the stamp of Jesus’ own countenance these Nazoraean s most probably did, but everything had moved too fast and gone too far by then for reconciliation to be possible: the Nazoraean Jesus was no longer the Jesus known and worshipped by the Christian community at Rome, that Jesus was now a stranger.
Hugh Schonfield lays out the puzzle of the Nazoraeans with some dexterity. He tells us that after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the nation’s infrastructure by the Romans in 70 CE, the churches which managed to regroup had been only too pleased to receive “….the propaganda of Roman Christianity.” (3) Helpful council in the form of communications from Apostles like Peter would not have been recognised as forgeries, and the fact that such communications were emanating from Rome itself would have been a wonder too great to contemplate. Did this not prove beyond doubt that God was still working on behalf of his people? How else could the new seat of Christian authority have ended up in Rome, in the lion’s den itself? And was not the Blessed Peter’s name to the fore, showing continuity with those who had known Jesus in person? And in light of Peter’s acceptance of Paul as a brother in the Lord, as a visionary acceptable to the whole Church, should not his extended theology be accepted as authentic?
The Catholic historian Peter de Rosa points out that Roman pontiffs “….claim to be successors not of Peter and Paul but of Peter alone. The New Testament speaks of Peter as the Apostle to the Jews”. (4) Interesting. So why an apostolic succession from Peter when it was obviously Paul’s teachings that the Roman church was founded on? And again, why Peter when by way of apostolic succession among the Nazoraeans Jesus’ brother James, and not Peter, was the heir from which any such succession ought to start? Was there perhaps a double game being played here, the game of continuity through Peter, an actual Apostle of Jesus’, and by such means a tapping by proxy into the Nazoraean church’s status without actually having to recognise the real succession? Succession was/is very important to Rome, and it is my contention that she built her own succession on an intentional blurring of the boundaries between those two factors. For it cannot be denied that the church at Rome was founded not on the teachings of Peter, who was an Apostle to the Jews as the New Testament clearly states, but on the teachings of Paul through whom a completely independent authority was set up. And an authority whose independence was striking because of its claim to be guided by Jesus from heaven through the auspices of the Holy Spirit. Who could argue with that? As Schonfield says, “In due course any doctrine which the Church found it desirable to proclaim as Catholic Truth could be attributed to this guidance, even when there was no warrant for it in the New Testament itself.” (5) This, one can only surmise, was the source from which such notions as women not being human beings came from.
As one would expect, given the above circumstances and complications, letters emanating from Rome not only reflected anti-Jewish sentiments, but by arguments circuitous implied that the original apostolic body had been superseded. Schonfield says that most of the Christian communities in receipt of such epistles saw no reason to throw out instructions received from the Apostles prior to the war with Rome; but he adds: “…a time of grave uncertainty….called for an agonising reappraisal; but it was not evident that the situation required a wholesale abandonment of former positions.” (6) Members of Jesus’ own family were still around; and there were many others still alive who had heard the original teachings. And yet here were letters with Peter’s name on them. So what to think? To whom should they turn? And so, as Schonfield skilfully shows, compromise between the Eastern and Western sources of information took place, a collapsing of often diametrically opposed religious ideas into a series of strange stories and equally strange doctrinal amalgamations resulting in the Gospels: Gospels which reveal “…..ideas which cannot be reconciled with the New Christianity.” (7)
One such strange amalgamation of ideas was that Jesus was the politically explosive Jewish Messiah descended from David, sent to rescue Israel from the Romans, yet at the same time the Divine Son of God come to save all humanity and not in the least political. Another was Paul’s apparent dismissal of Jesus’ genealogy as unimportant, and the Nazoraean insistence that his genealogy, like theirs, was the most important aspect of his life. And what to make of the idea that their mutual Lord had, on the one hand been born of a virgin by miraculous means, and on the other was the predestined king of the Jews because his legal father was Joseph? In spite of revision, the Book of Revelation described Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Root of David, claims anti-Roman by any definition, and a serious slip in the verses following the “Lion of Judah” claim revealed one of the most important doctrinal goofs of all time. The passage read: “The dominion of the world has become the dominion of our Lord and his Messiah, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (8) Our Lord and his Messiah? Quite obviously “Lord” stands not for Jesus, but for God, and Jesus is quite unequivocally separated from God as his Messiah. And in the Epistles everything was topsy-turfy with James and Jude attacking Paulinist doctrine and Peter, of all people, upholding it. And so the two Christianities battled it out and slowly melted into what eventually appeared to be epistemological harmony.
The problem was that the Nazoraean Mother Church, regarded as dangerous by Judaism and continually persecuted by the Romans, could do little to halt such a process. Attempts had been made by Hegesippus in the second century to collect earlier traditions of the Christian East and the Christian West, but the surviving records were fragmentary. The real problem was not just general Roman persecution and resentment against the Nazoraeans from the Jews for having helped incite, along with other sectaries, a Roman attack, but a policy of persecution by the Romans specifically directed against Jesus’ family members; for it was they, the Romans realised, who would undoubtedly fan the flame of insurrection back into life. This view seemed to be contradicted by the fact that the Nazoraeans refused to join Bar Cochba’s revolt against the Romans during Domitian’s reign, but this refusal was only because of their complete faithfulness to Jesus as Messiah – Bar Cochba was a fake Messiah as far as they were concerned. It was this kind of faith in Jesus as the returning Jewish Messiah (a worrying notion to the Romans) that earned the Nazoraeans recognition as a potentially dangerous family dynasty.
The facts suggest that by the end of the first century, and probably by as late as the first quarter of the second, that the Nazoraeans had little knowledge of what had taken place doctrinally among the Roman Christians. When the dust settled, it may well have come as a complete shock to them to discover that a whole new view of Jesus had evolved as a result of this group’s interpretation of Paul’s teachings – teachings which even early on had caused the Apostles to question his credentials and motives. And when it became evident that a challenge to such ideas should be mounted, they themselves had undergone belief modification and acquired what Schonfield refers to as “….eccentricities as a result of new teaching and relationships with remnants of Baptist, Essene, Samaritan and other sects of ‘Saints’ of the pre-war period.” (9) Here then is the historical mix, and from the many clues embedded in it we realise that the Nazoraeans considered Paul’s teachings, or to be more accurate, what the Roman Church had done with Paul’s teachings, to be an idolatrous off-shoot of Nazoraean beliefs: Jesus as the Jewish God in the flesh was, as far as they were concerned, an exercise in pure blasphemy.
This conflict between the Nazoraeans and the Roman Church lasted for centuries, and the fact that it did so shows the depth of feeling involved on both sides. But it is a conflict demoted in most historical writings as no more than a difference of opinion between the Roman Church and the “Jewish” (at one time Jerusalem-based) Church. Jewish. Not Nazoraean . The edge is taken off the situation by simply ignoring the Nazoraeans-cum-Ebionites and using the blanket term Jewish to describe a much more complex situation. The problem with this is that the Jews too were against the Nazoraeans, for it was the Nazoraeans in conjunction with what Schonfield calls the “Essean-Essene” (the Holy Ones of Israel) who had brought calamity on the nation with their severity and their apocalyptic hopes. The reason for this approach is probably due to the reaction of the Jews to what Paul early on began to teach, for as he admits, and as was certainly the case, his teaching was “heresy”, and regarded as such by orthodox Jews. Again there is a curious blurring of boundaries, but the result is the same as before: the Nazoraeans are made to evaporate. It is almost as if they had never existed, as if Jesus had never been known as Jesus the Nazoraean.
Or is there a deeper reason still, perhaps?
Schonfield notes that Irenaeus attacks the Nazoraeans as heretics, but calls them “Ebionites”. Meaning “the poor” in Hebrew, this was a term used by both the Essenes and the early Christian Church to describe their position before God: “poor” simply meant humble. That the Ebionites were a closely allied off-shoot of the Nazoraeans, but with even stricter habits, is recognised by all competent scholars. It is known, for instance, that they were fanatical vegetarians and opposed to all animal sacrifice. Schonfield is aware of such differences, and says “….it would be going too far on the available evidence to regard the Ebionites as a denomination wholly distinct from the Nazoreans.” (10) Irenaeus seems to agree, for when describing the Ebionites he exactly describes the Nazoraean rejection of Jesus being anything other than a normal man born by normal means. And if this is not enough, he also observes that the Ebionites used only the Gospel of Matthew, and that they rejected the Apostle Paul as an apostate from the Law, the latter being the principal factor in the Nazoraean case against Roman Christianity.
The point is this: The Nazoraeans rejected Paul’s highly imaginative theology concerning Jesus as the Christ and spent centuries combating those ideas. And the later Nazoraeans had documented proof to work from: the original Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew; the Hebrew or Aramaic Gospel according to the Hebrews (also reputed to be by Matthew); the Ebionite anti-Pauline Acts of the Apostles; and last but not least other forms of the Aramaic Gospel such as the Gospel of the Twelve or According to the Apostles. Schonfield speculates that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was probably a propaganda exercise specifically designed to “….counter the New Testament Gospels and undermine their effect on Jewish Christians by furnishing a document that was consistent with Nazorean teaching and tradition.” (11) Such a statement brings us ever closer to the historical reality, the reality within which another set of entirely different Gospels were in circulation. And not Nazoraean translations of the canonical Gospels, but original Nazoraean Gospels (Matthew, John and the Acts of the Apostles) which would later be parodied by the Jews. (12)
Dr Schonfield is explicit concerning Peter’s role in the early Jewish Nazoraean Church. He tells us that Peter was not the chief spokesman for that Church, and that he was never converted to Paulinism. James (Jesus’ full brother) was “chief representative of Jesus” in the early Christian (Nazoraean) community, and belief to the contrary is the result of centuries of propaganda initiated by the Roman Christian community. Denigration of the original Nazoraean authority “….invested in the Apostles of Jesus and members of his family” had been their aim, and they had successfully wrested that authority from Jesus’ family by adopting Peter and making him a convert to Paul’s new, heretical Gospel. Then we learn that the Nazoraean point of view refuting all of this is to be found in the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, and although late in origin (probably fourth century translations from Greek into Latin reflecting third century problems) that they carry information quite obviously written to counter Western propaganda concerning Peter. This is to say that although these sections of the Clementines said to have been written by Peter were known forgeries, the statements made by this pseudo-Peter nevertheless accurately reflected Nazoraean concerns at the time. On behalf of Nazoraean outrage at the Apostle Peter being borrowed by Rome and made into an advocate for Paul’s ideas about Jesus, Pseudo-Peter denounced the Western Church’s attempt to reverse what he himself had said and done, and although names were not actually used, his reference to the “….lawless and trifling preaching of the man who is my enemy”, and to men “telling their catehumans that this is my meaning, which indeed I never thought of”, were too obvious to be interpreted in any other way.
In the Recognitions, Pseudo-Peter condemned those who dared misrepresent him, and railed against those offering an authority other than that of the Nazoraean Council. This was direct and unmistakable. Teachers lacking Nazoraean credentials were not to be believed; only teachers from the “Jerusalem Church” carrying the testimony of “James” the Lord’s brother; or, interestingly, “….whosoever may come after him” were to be believed. All teachers had to be approved by the Jerusalem Council; there were no other Apostles apart from the original twelve. There then followed an argument between Peter and Simon Magus believed by some scholars to be an alias for Paul; for once again the subject was an extended revelation through “visions”, and Peter’s rebuke of this position was to say that those who trust in apparitions or visions or dreams were insecure.
To my way of thinking this reflects enormous commonsense, the kind of commonsense one would expect from someone with a real handle on reality. To Pseudo-Peter, talk of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church is not to be accepted; for it could easily be a deceiving spirit that was talking, and such a spirit could “….say of himself what he will”. Pseudo-Peter the writer may be called, but to my ear he sounds more like Sir Walter Scott lecturing a forebear of mine on the dangers of taking apparitions seriously. (13)
The Legend of Peter
Peter de Rosa writes that it is now a point of faith to believe that the popes are all direct successors of Peter as bishop of Rome. But, he tells us, Peter never had that title; it was given to him much later. This automatically disallows his supposed twenty-five year episcopate between 42 and 67 CE; although some historians do still allow him a period of three or four years in that great city on the basis of tradition alone. But there is no historical evidence to that effect, and certainly no evidence to suggest that he was ever in charge of that particular Christian community. Paul’s journey to Rome is recorded in great detail, but there is no New Testament evidence, nor any historical evidence that Peter ever went there. There is no allusion in Peter’s Epistle to Rome; and when the word Rome is mentioned in the New Testament, Peter’s name is never associated with it. All is legend. And if he was in fact Paul’s superior, then why does he receive so little attention after Paul’s arrival?
And how explain Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians at the height of Peter’s alleged episcopate in or around 58 CE? Paul addresses his letter not to Peter, which protocol would have demanded had he been leading the church since 42, but to the congregation in general. And what of the letter’s ethical content? Paul writes that he longs to see them, for he wants to impart to them some spiritual gift so that they might be established. Established? In what? Paul’s version of the Gospel? Now if Peter was in Rome at this time, then this letter is a calculated insult to this chief Apostle’s ministry; either that or he simply wasn’t there at all and Paul was free to write whatever he wished. And as in this letter he also states that he does not “build on another’s foundation”, it is hard to imagine that this can mean anything other than the fact that Peter was neither in charge of the Roman church, or even physically in Rome.
In his detailed study of Roman Catholicism, Dr Loraine Boettner points out that “….Paul was writing this letter because no apostle had been in Rome to clarify the Gospel to them and to establish them in the faith.” (14) Which means not only that Peter was not there, and up until that point had not been there, but that these Roman Christians were at that time of a different theological stamp from those established by Paul elsewhere. Now it is not too difficult to imagine what this means. It means without a doubt that in 58 CE the Christian church at Rome was still Jewish-Nazoraean. Not until the great fire of Rome in 64 CE, and the persecution of the Roman Church by Nero as a result of that fire would the predominantly Jewish-Nazoraean adherents of that church be put to flight.
Peter was married, and his wife accompanied him on some of his missionary journeyings. Catholic parlance has it that Peter’s wife was actually his sister, but like their problem with James being Jesus’ full brother, it should be noted that in Greek the word for sister is adelphe, whereas the Greek word used in the New Testament is gune, meaning “wife”. Paul says: “Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas” (I Cor. 9:5) Even as the rest of the apostles? And Jesus’ family heirs? And Peter? What now of his railing against marriage and the flesh and goodness knows what else? Could it be that the New Testament texts contain not two points of view, but three? That of the Jewish Nazoraean, that of Paul, and that of the Roman Church as it eventually came to be? For in the above statement Paul is certainly at variance with that church when it comes to “marriage”; and he is blatantly at odds with this church in as far as “spiritual gifts” were eventually outlawed by the Roman church as anarchic and undermining of the authority of the bishops. And he is also at loggerheads with the Jewish-Nazoraean church at Jerusalem. In fact he hardly agrees with anybody about anything! He is out of step most of the time, and his seeming conformity with later Roman opinion is only because he has been thoroughly edited and made to fit into that quite original theological scheme – a scheme developed almost wholly out of his theological notions, it has to be admitted, but a scheme at base not of his actual making. Eventually sandwiched between two heavily opposed theologies, what Paul actually believed would be crushed out of existence to allow a hybrid form of Christianity to grow and develop, indeed mushroom into the future backed by Rome’s secular arm.
Most historians would not even allow Peter three or four years in Rome, for, surprising as it may seem, his name does not appear on the earliest lists of bishops of Rome. According to Irenaeus, the first bishop of Rome was Linus, and he was appointed by Paul. Whereas the bishop after Linus, Clement, is said to have been chosen by Peter. De Rosa’s comment is simply to say the mystery deepens. Also, Eusebius, Constantine’s friend and apologist, does not mention Peter ever having been bishop of Rome; and that in spite of Jerome saying later that he did. In the seventeenth century King Charles II’s chaplain, William Cave, would correct Jerome by saying that he had probably reported on a notion of his time quite without substance, no such thing being found in the Greek copy of Eusebius. And in line with modern scholarship, De Rosa notes that in those early days of the Church the Apostles did not belong to any one church, but to the Church as a whole, the fact of Apostleship precluding them from being bishop of one place. “Peter, too,” he says, “whatever momentous decisions he made in Jerusalem, Antioch and elsewhere, remained an apostle of the entire community.” (15) Hence the reason why Paul, who really was in Rome, did not become its first bishop, but helped appoint someone else.
Basic to this question of whether Peter was ever in Rome, never mind the first pope of Rome, are the designated “missions” taken on by Peter and Paul. In his Galatian Epistle (2:7-8) Paul speaks of being intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, and of Peter’s mission being that of the gospel of the circumcision. Which is to say quite clearly that Peter’s mission was to the Jews, and that Paul’s was to non-Jews, or Gentiles. Boettner supplies the details here, and we learn that Peter’s area of mission was to the Jewish exiles in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia – in other words Asia Minor. But more importantly his journeyings also took him as far east as Babylon, and it is from Babylon that his first, and probably his second, epistle comes. Boettner points out that although there is no Scriptural evidence for Peter ever having been in Rome, there is certainly “….a plain statement of Scripture that he did go east to Babylon.” (16)
But alas Catholic exegetes play the same game with the word “Babylon” as they play with James’s relationship to Jesus, and with words like “wife” and “sister” in relation to Peter. In an introductory note to I Peter, the Catholic Confraternity edition tells us that “Babylon” is a “….cryptic designation of the city of Rome.” The reason for this curious rejection of what is actually written in I Peter is because in the Book of Revelation Rome is referred to as “Babylon”. But as Boettner is quick to point out, the Book of Revelation is apocalyptic; it is written in figurative and symbolic language. Peter’s first epistle, on the other hand, is a straightforward letter in a matter-of-fact style. So why pretend that Babylon means Rome?
The reasons are obvious, I think.
The historical facts are that Jews had been living in Babylon since the time of the exile; and Josephus confirms that great numbers of them had settled there by the time of Jesus. It was therefore just the kind of place Peter would have headed for. And it should be noted that in terms of New Testament chronology, Peter was part of the Jerusalem Council described in Acts 15, and that that council had specifically to do with the presentation of the Gospel to the Jewish and Gentile communities. It is at this council, held in 54 CE, that Peter and Paul are assigned their separate missions. Chronologically this fact alone shows that Peter was not in Rome at the time he was supposed to be, and as it is not long after this council that he is confronted by Paul over his conformity to Judaistic rituals (Gal. 2:11-21), it is highly unlikely that he went against his assigned mission and ended up at the very heart of the Gentile world.
Boettner asks the appropriate question: “….Would he (Peter) defy the decision reached by all the apostles and brethren from the various churches who met in the famous first Council in Jerusalem?” (17) I believe Boettner to be correct in his assumption that Peter would not have denied that council; and I think him equally correct when he says that Peter’s missionary work would have taken him in the opposite direction. Three factors clearly emerge from this: (1) the Nazoraean church at Jerusalem controlled by Jesus’ brother James was still running the show; (2) Paul was already straining at the theological leash and threatening to break away from the Jerusalem church altogether; and (3) the Church at Rome was still Nazoraean governed. Boettner later makes much the same point in relation to the Nazoraeans.“It is well known that during the time of the apostles and for generations later the Eastern cities and the Eastern church had the greatest influence, and that the Roman church was comparatively insignificant.” (18) The Nazoraean church of Rome was in the lion’s den and not able to grow like the other churches. Long before the reformation struck, Rome’s claim to be the only true church had been firmly rejected by the Eastern churches. The first councils had been held in Eastern cities and were composed mostly of Eastern bishops, and the principle patriarchates had been eastern – namely, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. Only centuries later after the break up of the Roman Empire would Rome gain the ascendancy.
1 Baker, Roger, Binding the Devil (1974), p. 57.
2 Schonfield, Hugh, Those Incredible Christians (1985), p. 160.
3 Ibid., p. 144.
4 Rosa, Peter de, Vicars of Christ (1988), p. 31.
5 Schonfield, Hugh, Those Incredible Christians (1985), p. 145.
8 Revelation 11: 15.
9 Schonfield, Hugh, Those Incredible Christians (1985), p. 150.
10 Ibid., p. 152.
11 Ibid., p. 163
12 Ibid., p. 155.
13 Scott, Sir Walter, Demonology and Witchcraft (1884).
14 Boettner, Loraine, Roman Catholicism (1964), p. 121.
15 Rosa, Peter de, Vicars of Christ (1988), p. 19
16 Ibid., p. 120.
17 Ibid., p. 123.
18 Ibid., p. 119.