Early Church Heresy

Montanus
Sometime in the 160’s on the borders of Mysia (western Turkey) a believer named Montanus broke onto the scene. He testified that he had experienced an ecstatic visitation of the Paraclete (the Holy Spirit) and, along with two women (Maximilla and Priscilla), had the ability to deliver prophetic messages from God.

The Montanist message, whether spoken or delivered in ecstatic utterance, consisted of: the promise (or warning) of the immanent return of Jesus and the apocalyptic end of the world, a new outpouring of the Spirit announcing this message, and an encouragement to embrace persecution and martrydom. The church had not discouraged these messages up to this point, and indeed, did not immediately disagree with Montanus. Unfortunately, other messages existed behind these to form a three-part subtext. First, two of the primary characters were women. There are some modern scholars who seize upon this as evidence for a patriarchical stronghold that would deny any leadership to women. There are good arguments against this position, but the early church was a male dominated movement and women certainly did not have equal access to leadership roles. Another subtext was the over-zealous approach to martrydom. We have already covered the problems with what can be called “the cult of the martyrs.” It is highly likely that Montanists were among the martyrs in the famous persecution scene of Lyons in the year 177. Probably the most problematic aspect of the Montanists was the view that their prophecies carried the authority of the gospels, and of apostolic teaching. Montanus and his two prophetesses did not see themselves in need of the authority of the church. The leading bishops did, however, prevail even after Tertullian defected from the church and joined the Montanists. Around 179 AD Maximilla complained of the treatment she had received, “I am driven as a wolf from the sheep. I am not a wolf. I am word, spirit and power.” (Eusebius, History V.16.17)

In the end, Montanism was rejected more for being fanatical than for being heretical. David Wright concludes his study on Montanism by saying, “The reaction against Montanism brought upon the church impoverishment more detrimental than the upset caused by the unbalanced excesses of the New Prophecy.” (Wright, David, “Why Were the Montanists Condemned?”, Themelios 2:1, pp.15-22

[From Early Church History 101]

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Justin Martyr’s Record of Church Service 150 A.D.

Chapter 67. Weekly worship of the Christians.

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things.

And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.

Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.

And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.

For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration._________________________________________________________

Excerpt from the “Acts of the Martyrdom of Saint Justin and his Companions” 

Easily Forgotten

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Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the LORD and the king’s house, and sent them to Ben-ha’dad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, “Let there be a league between me and you, as between my father and your father; behold, I am sending to you silver and gold; go, break your league with Ba’asha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.”

         And Ben-ha’dad hearkened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered I’jon, Dan, A’bel-ma’im, and all the store-cities of Naph’tali. And when Ba’asha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease. Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Ba’asha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.

         At that time Hana’ni the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars.” 

 [1 Chronicles 16: 2-9 Revised Standard Version]

I have to admit that I have seen many a desperate prayer answered for me when the times were rough, but when the dust settled and the easier times came, I forgot about how God delivered me and resorted to my own cleverness. I considered my resourcefulness a gift from Him and it was all good to fall back on it. But my abilities are tools to use, not something for me to trust, rely on or believe in. [KSB]

Reverence God

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.”

(Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 NIV)

Psalm 100 (NIV)

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A psalm. For giving thanks.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The Romans Road to Salvation

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For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 

(Romans 1:20-21; 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10: 9-10, 13; 11:36-NIV condensed for easy reading)

Followers of Folly be Warned; We Know Better!

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What you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouthful of sand.  (Proverbs 20: 17)

The wicked will disappear from the place where they used to live; and their children will make good what they stole from the poor. Their bodies used to be young and vigorous, but soon they will turn to dust. Evil tastes so good to them that they keep some in their mouths to enjoy its flavor. But in their stomachs the food turns bitter, as bitter as any poison could be. The wicked vomit up the wealth they stole; God takes it back, even out of their stomachs.  (Job 20: 9-15)

But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew them all. There was no need for anyone to tell him about them, because he himself knew what was in their hearts.  (John 2: 24-25)

As the scripture says, “Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give him advice?” We, however, have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2: 16)

[All scripture quotations are from the Good News Bible]

Popular? Hardly!

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I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect this site to do well enough or that I hope it would, but the truth is that a site of this nature will more than likely be unpopular. People want to be coddled and told their sin-life is fine with God. “He understands, and doesn’t expect much from me.” This was my mantra until recently when the Lord Jesus weighed upon my spirit that this wasn’t so, and then led me to a site with online teachings by David E Pratte and plenty of scripture to back it. One example:

John 14:15,21-24 – “If ye love me, you will keep my commands.” One who loves Jesus is one who keeps his commands (v21 & 23). One who doesn’t love, doesn’t keep His commands (v24). Conclusion: The person who says obedience is not essential, is saying (unintentionally) that you can please God and be saved without loving Him!  www.biblestudylessons.com 

If the Spirit of God is moving you, then you should check out the lessons for yourself. The churches in this country are becoming increasingly weak and useless to Christ. Worldliness = success; more butts in the pews and bucks in the plate. Disgusting! Christ will vomit you out:

“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
(Revelation 3: 16-17 NIV)
The Church needs to wake up, and that can only happen one Christian at a time, so get a Bible and take heed to Jesus’ instruction. Copy and paste the internet address above and check out the Bible Study site I mentioned.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless and guide you into His Truth.
Amen.