“In the fourth century Eusebius was asked by the Emperor Constantine to make 50 copies of the New Testament on fine vellum. None can be found today – most likely, they have been altered, mutilated, lost or destroyed. No manuscript from previous centuries has been found, as all extant manuscripts, the oldest dating from the fourth century, have been altered by scribes which deliberately inserted "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" in place of the original "in my name." ” (Appendix 1 to read about those fifty copies).
“During the persecution of the second century, a small group of Christian intellectuals, most prominent of whom were Aristides the philosopher and Justin Martyr, wrote dissertations to emperors and other notable persons to defend the gospel, to stop the persecution and to answer the charges against them. These dissertations, called “Apologies”, were, in fact, compromises between Christianity and paganism. Thus, from the apologetic period on, because of the impact the Apologies had, the concepts of the triune God, plus Mary as the mother of God [deceivingly canonized as “We confess that our Lady, St. Mary, is properly and truly the Mother of God, because she was the Mother after the flesh of One Person of the Holy Trinity, to wit, Christ our God, as the Council of Ephesus has already defined”, in The Second Council Of Nice. A.D. 787, previously seen in the spurious document “The Divine Liturgy Of James, The Holy Apostle And Brother Of The Lord” as “Thou who art the only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal; who didst submit for our salvation to become flesh of the holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary; who didst immutably become man and wast crucified, O Christ our God and didst by Thy death tread death under foot; who art one of the Holy Trinity glorified together with the Father and the Holy Spirit…”] and pagan symbolism, took root and began growing in discussion and in writing” (by the way, we don’t need to “apologize” to anybody because we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, it is God’s Word which says so, not my feeble pen!).
“The attempts at suppressing the early Church by the Roman government ended when Constantine, the Roman emperor, gained power after his victory at the Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D. After Constantine's conversion to Christianity he issued an edict at Milan, which granted Christians the same rights as the followers of other religions had, as well as restitution of the wrongs done to Christians (Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church, rev. ed., N.Y.: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959, p. 101). Constantine soon began to grant special favors to Christians, so many made conversion to Christianity as a ticket to political, military, and social promotion. Thousands of non-Christians began joining the Church for political favors. In return for granting special favors and acting with leniency, Constantine insisted that he have a strong voice in Church affairs.”
“It was at Constantine's peak of power, early in that fourth century, that the idea of Jesus Christ's being co-equal with God the Father began to gain a wide base of support. Yet trinitarianism at that point was not an established doctrine.”
The heathen idea of a triune God stirred (and still does) great controversy within the Church, as there were still many clergy and laymen who did not believe in that rare “position” of Christ as being God himself, “the great question that had generated the controversy over Jesus’ divinity remained – and remains yet –” (Richard E. Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, 1999, Harcourt, p. 231, see Appendix 4 for a Biblical evaluation of the conclusion of his book).
“The disagreement about the position of Christ reached its most noted level in the confrontation between Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, Egypt, and his presbyter Arius. Bishop Alexander taught that Jesus was equal to God, however Arius did not. So, at a synod held at Alexandria in 321, Arius was deposed and excommunicated (Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, 1999, Harcourt, Ch. 4, p. 84; Hase, A History of the Christian Church, p. 111). Arius, although now in institutional disfavor, still had much support outside of Egypt. Many of the important bishops such as the learned historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, and his powerful namesake, Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, theologically agreed with Arius, they saw by the scriptures that Jesus Christ is not God. Constantine, disturbed over the sustained controversy in his empire, sent his ecclesiastical adviser Ossius, Bishop of Cordova (Hosius of Cordova, president of the Council of Nicaea, Constantine’s earliest “christian” advisor), to Alexandria on a mission of reconciliation and inquiry. After visiting Alexandria, Ossius sided with Alexander against Arius. Ossius returned to Rome and there persuaded Constantine to embrace Alexander's position (Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968, p. 129.)”
“To legitimatize his position, Constantine invited all bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea (which is now in Asia Minor) in May 325 A.D. Thus, the Council of Nicaea began with its main goal being to settle the dispute over the relationship between God and His Son. The council consisted of approximately 220 bishops who were almost exclusively from the Occident. Constantine, who was in control of the proceedings, used his political power to bring pressure to bear on the bishops to accept his theological position. The creed they signed was clearly anti-Arian; in other words, the Nicene Creed embraced the Son as co-equal with God. Two hundred eighteen of the 220 bishops signed this creed, although it was truly the work of a minority (Henry Bettenson. ed., Documents of the Christian Church, 2nd ed., London: Oxford University Press, 1963, in p. 58 says: "Arius and his followers were forthwith banished to Illyria and his works were burned. The reverberations of this treatment of Arius had a profound effect on the Church, as well as on Constantine, for several decades. Just when Arius was to have been pardoned by Constantine, and to be reinstated in the Church, he died.")
Constantine himself actively guided the discussion, and personally proposed (no doubt on Ossius' prompting), the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by that council: "of one substance with the Father." Over-awed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them against their inclination. At that moment Constantine regarded the decision of Nicaea as divinely inspired. As long as he lived no one dared openly to challenge the Creed of Nicaea, but the expected concord did not follow (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, s.v. "Council of Nicaea.")
“Although the Nicene Creed had been accepted by the council of bishops, there still remained great dissension among many of the clergy about the deity of Jesus Christ. So, in the year 381 A.D. a second ecumenical council met in Constantinople (B.K. Kuiper, The Church in History, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1951, p. 128). This council reaffirmed the Nicene Creed stating that Jesus and God were co-equal and co-eternal, and also declared the deity of the Holy Spirit.”
The doctrine of the trinity was then fully established and thus became the cornerstone of the Catholic, wrongfully called also “the cornerstone of the “Christian faith” ” for the next fifteen centuries.
Bettenson says also, that at the Council of Nicaea: “Eusebius of Cesarea, the historian, suggested the adoption of the creed of his own church… But as it did not deal explicitly with the Arian position… It was taken only as a base (by Athanasius and by Hosius), and put forward by the council in its next “revised” form”:
The Creed of Nicaea (325 A.D.): "We believe in one God the Father All sovereign, maker of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on the earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and became man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens, is coming to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Spirit. And those that say ‘There was when he was not,’ and, ‘Before he was begotten he was not,’ or those that allege, that the son of God is ‘Of another substance or essence,’ or ‘created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable,’ these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes."
(The Council of Constantinople of 381 defined the Holy Spirit as consubstantial and coeternal with the Father and with the Son in “the divine trinity”).
Betterson then explains some of the anachronisms within the so called ‘Nicene’ Creed as follows: “[It was] found in Epiphanius' of Salamis, Ancoratus (374 A.D.), and extracted by scholars (as it was found also in Eusebius of Caesarea) almost word for word from the Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem (~315-387 A. D.), and then was read and approved at Chalcedon (451 A. D.), as the “original” creed of ‘(the 200 or 318? fathers who met at Nicaea and that of) the 150 who met at a later time’ (i.e. at Constantinople, 381 A.D.). Hence, often called the Constantinopolitan or Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan creed, and thought by many to be a revision of the creed of Jerusalem held by Cyril” (of the 178 words in the original of this second “Nicene Creed,” only 33 are positively taken from the creed of AD 325. This second creed is received as ecumenical by the Eastern and Roman communions and by the majority of the Reformed churches.):
The ‘Nicene’ Creed says (or its ‘version’ of 451 A.D., as is still recited inside Catholic churches, as a history’s ‘living witness’): "We believe in one God the Father all sovereign, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and cometh again with glory to judge living and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Life-giver, that proceedeth from the Father, who with Father and Son is worshipped together and glorified together, who spake through the prophets. In one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come."
("Filioque", a novel combination of Latin words meaning “and from the Son,” was added to the Nicene Creed by the Third Council of Toledo in 589, and refers to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as emanating from the Father and from the Son, an issue added to the great schism).
Nothing is said in this “creed” about our salvation by grace in Christ Jesus’ name, or of our new birth, neither nothing is said of the Mystery of Jews and Gentiles being made members of the same body of Christ and fellow-heirs, nor of the power of holy spirit within us with his nine manifestations and its fruit made by nine segments, etc...
[Nicene: Of or relating to Nicaea or Nice, an ancient city of Asia Minor in which a “confession of faith” was formulated and decreed by the First Council of Nicaea in A. D. 325 in opposition to Arianism and reaffirmed by the First Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381 or to one of the later forms of this confession (p. 1525, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, vol. II, 1981)]
“Historians of Church dogma and systematic theologians agree that the idea of a trinity was not a part of the Bible (see end of Appendix 3). “The twelve apostles never subscribed to it or received revelation about it. So, how then did a trinitarian doctrine come about? It gradually evolved and gained momentum in the late first, second, and third centuries, as pagans, who had converted to Christianity, brought to Christianity some of their pagan beliefs and practices. Trinitarianism then was confirmed at Nicaea in 325 by Church bishops out of political expediency. Its reaffirmation was thereafter needed and received at Constantinople in 381 A. D. Since that time the "God-in-three-persons" doctrine has been adhered to as though it were a divine revelation.” But, if we have eyes to see, we can see by the Biblical Texts themselves, and even by the records of history, a very different picture (V. P. Wierwille and Ronald G. Webster, in the book “Jesus Christ is Not God, 1981, pp. 11-27”).
“A handful of Western churchmen came to the Council of Nicaea. The eastern predominance can be attributed to the westerners’ lack of interest in the Arian controversy, which still seemed to most of them an obscure “Greek” matter. But it also reflected the great size, strength, and vitality of Eastern Christianity – one reason that Constantine had decided to locate his new capital in Asia Minor”.
“Constantine, who considered himself an acute judge of character, was often swayed by the apparent sincerity, intelligence, and depth of feelings of someone seeking his favor. If Arius, for example, seemed sincerely repentant and desirous of living at peace with his brother priests, Constantine might not worry that his views were somewhat at variance with the Nicene Creed. Arius had a genuine devotion to Christ and the Church, as was his desire to live at peace with other Christians, even if he and they differed in matters of doctrine”.
The council of Nicomedia (328 A.D.) readmitted solemnly Arius and Euzoius to communion. “Little more than two years after the Council of Nicaea ended, its most significant practical decisions were thus overturned. The apparent consensus reached at the Council Nicaea was, in large part, an illusion produced by the bishops’ desire to please the emperor and to restore the unity of the Church. A false consensus may be more productive of conflict than an honest disagreement. By other side, Athanasius, losing patience with the fifty assembled bishops which were conferring day and night in an effort to elect a new metropolitan bishop for Alexandria, convinced a few of them to go with him to the church of Dionysius and consecrate him bishop behind closed doors. (The Council of Nicaea had designated three bishops as the minimum number who could consecrate, provided that the candidate also received the written consent of the other bishops.) Using his considerable political influence, Athanasius obtained a decree of the Alexandria City council characterizing his election as the people’s choice, and sent it to Constantine with a letter alleging that he had received the consent of the Alexandrian bishops. Constantine accepted Athanasius’ claim without further investigation, and wrote the city officially approving his appointment. But the emperor was mistaken if he thought that this would bring peace to the city. Athanasius, the new bishop, younger than the legal 30 years old for the task, embarked on a tour of his domains, reorganizing the Egyptian clergy so as to put his own supporters in key positions”.
Arius was officially readmitted to communion, but Alexander, Athanasius and Macarius… rejected him. Constantine was to use his full authority in support of Arius…but Arius died just one day before the official ceremony of reacceptance to the church… Arius was an old man, “probably in his seventies; he would not have been the first person his age to die of an intestinal aliment, or, possibly, of a heart attack brought on by the combination of illness and the tension of awaiting one of the most important days in his life. Still, poison was the murder weapon of choice for many Roman intriguers, and from the point of view of Arius’ enemies, one could hardly imagine a more urgent or convenient time for murder than the eve of Arius’ triumph. A whisper of poison drifts about the event, captured by some of the literature on Arius’ death, although the only direct evidence for it is the timing and manner of his passing”. Few months later, Constantine himself died, and so, the Athanasian violence increased, being opposed later, only by Constantius, the faithful son of Constantine… Frend, W.H.C., The Rise of Christianity, 1984, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, p. 528, Rubenstein, R.E., When Jesus Became God, 1999, Harcourt, pp. 75, 102-106, 126-137, 169-191.
“In 312, on the eve of a battle against Maxentius, his rival in Italy, Constantine is reported to have dreamed that Christ appeared to him and told him to inscribe the first two letters of his name (XP in Greek) on the shields of his troops. The next day he is said to have seen a cross superimposed on the sun and the words “in this sign you will be the victor” (usually given in Latin, “in hoc signo vinces”). Constantine then defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, near Rome. The Senate hailed the victor as savior of the Roman people. Thus, Constantine, who had been a pagan solar worshiper, now looked upon Christ as a bringer of victory. Persecution of the Christians was ended, and Constantine's co-emperor, Licinius, joined him in issuing the Edict of Milan (313), which mandated toleration of Christians in the Roman Empire. As guardian of Constantine's favored religion, the church was then given legal rights and large financial donations. Constantine intervened in ecclesiastical affairs to achieve unity; he presided over the first ecumenical council of the church at Nicaea in 325. He also began the building of Constantinople in 326 on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium (present-day Istanbul, which remained the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire until 1453). The city was completed in 330 (later expanded). In addition, Constantine built churches in the Holy Land. The emperor was baptized shortly before his death, on May 22, 337.As the first emperor to rule in the name of Christ, he was a major figure in the foundation of medieval Christian Europe”. "Constantine the Great," 1994, Microsoft Encarta.
To go to the main text: http://www.oocities.com/fdocc3/in-my-name.htm
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