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If All Churches/Church History was Wiped out, how would the Gospel Message Continue?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Gxg (G²), Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    There are so many negative events happening in our world today - and it seems that many are fearful for the Church, as it concerns persecution and the potential for life as we know it to cease if the Church gets wiped out somehow.

    I was talking with one of my mentors (older brother and priest) and he brought the issue to my attention with the books he was collecting over the years - in light of the ways that it seemed books were being targeted more and more for editing out key information for the sake of controlling traffic of thought/how others saw themselves. For knowledge of the Bible is being lost - as well as knowledge of Church tradition when it comes to seeing how the Bible was composed and interpreted. For secular society openly rejects the Bible as being the Word of God, but Christians are becoming so caught up in other functions of the church that they are losing that hunger for scripture that used to drive them to study and absorb God’s Word.

    And as my mentor has noted, many have been of the same mindset that there's massive attacks happening on churches worldwide and it'd not take much for things to go crazy

    If all the history books in the world were burned up - and all documentation of the Church councils or the stories of the saints were wiped out, some have felt that the church itself would not be strong since scripture alone without understanding how it was interpreted and what the Church did is a big problem.

    In example - in our times, if you had a small parish that had a bishop with a little bit of scripture was teaching....how would those people in that one tiny parish, following that ONE faithful bishop, know that their bishop was the faithful one and all the others weren't if they were isolated in their knowledge? Obviously, they would look at Scripture and at the liturgical texts. They also would read the Fathers and the councils and compare all that to what was being taught by their bishop, and all the other bishops. Of course, belief in apostolic succession (and probably a much wider swath of material to sift through before deciding who is right) would make a significant difference in how they interpreted things - say in an Orthodox or Catholic parish - than a Baptist or Methodist one. But what's consistent is that they would have many resources to use and turn to.

    However, if you take these well-meaning people, whose circumstances are beyond their control, and place them within an area where there are no faithful bishops or where nobody sounds like he's in accord with the early fathers and Scripture, it would seem as if they had hit the end of the line with regard to faithful bishops and translation of information.

    And with each feeling they are a remnant due to know knowing what was up, you'd end up with an issue that asks "How would you go about deciding which bishop was faithful and which wasn't?"

    I wrestled over that for sometime - wondering how to go about addressing the issue - and on the subject, this is what I came up with in my estimation.

    Even without a history of the Bishops of the Church or Church tradition present (as has occurred in places where Christianity was eradicated), who's to say that the Lord couldn't speak to others in the same way he did with the Prophets and the Apostles so that they'd have insight in the same way that those with the traditions of the Church had?

    God isn't limited by what men lose....as He's able to translate ideas to others and it's more than possible (and has occurred ) that people may not have a memory of a tradition valued in the Church and yet they may still - by the leading of the Lord - live out the very thing that the early Church valued anyhow. And their actions, if there is a gap in memory of what happened before, would simply be taken as the beginning of a new cycle and memories that future generations of the Church would look back to.

    Middle Eastern/Near-Eastern culture is where the Israelites developed in - and of course, one could argue that it seems others today are not distinct in being recognized as other cultures connected with Middle-Eastern culture (as with Muslims) - but that even Muslim culture developed in architechture after stealing it from the Arabic Christians/Eastern Christians, reverse-engineering what they saw and then having all other preceeding generations assume that it was a "Muslim" innovation to have the buildings they turned into mosques be as they are. The architecture of the earliest minarets, which are square rather than round, unmistakably derive from the church towers of Byzantine Syria (and several other things that Muslims have a part of their culture already came from Eastern Christians/Jewish believers - as noted before.

    Professor Philip Jenkiins Philip Jenkins noted it in-depth in his work entitled "The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia — and How It Died". It was very brilliant in discussing the many experiences of believers who literally spread around the world with the Gospel of Messiah---and yet experienced many pains/difficulties despite the victories they had.

    As one review said best:

    But just as he restores this lost history of expansion, he also gives due consideration to the near extinction of Christianity in these lands by about 1300. This requires a nuanced discussion of the "ferocious organized violence" (pp. 101, 141) of Islam that conquered many of these Christian lands, and Jenkins takes care not to say too much or too little. Between the years 1200 and 1400 most all of these churches had vanished except for significant remnants like Coptic Christians in Egypt. By around the year 1900, writes Jenkins, "the whole Middle East accounted for just 0.9 percent of the world's Christians" (155) — a stunning reversal of fortunes for a once powerful presence. In his final pages Jenkins moves beyond the confines of secular history to a "theology of extinction" (249).

    He inquires what existential meaning for faith we might derive from this story of our Christian forbears. Even if some churches die, the Church lives on, and the possibility for resurrection rests in the recovery of historical memory.

    Some of the largest Christian denominations during the much of European Middle Ages were in the camps of those Churches - especially in the Church of the East, which was a far reaching web reaching as far as Tibet and China. Along with the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Asian and African members of now almost forgotten churches dominated the Middle East in the centuries before the Muslim conquest and then provided most of the architectural, administrative, and scholarly backbone for the Arabic Empire....but when the sect of Islam began to rise in geographical locations, they took over and claimed the buildings made for themselves.

    And yet, what they stood for found ways to arise again in different contexts even after many in Islam did everything possible to wipe them out - in some areas succeeding completely (just as it is happening unfortunately in Syria and as occurred in Iraq).

    There seems to be the dynamic of seasons clearly involved----where the church at times had great persecution (Acts 8) and at others there were long times/periods of peace (Acts 9), where God prospered his people to do well for the purpose of helping others. And then there are times when the Lord may allow it for the Church to be wiped out in certain places only for it to develop elsewhere in another area/take on a differing development. Often one will read books on Church Growth, but not many have ever read a book on the death or extinction of a church even when in history, church death is a very common phenomenon. Christianity has within it a very migratory dynamic where it WILL survive and Christ will never shut down-----no matter what form of government exists--since Christianity moves from one area to another.

    Though it may dies in areas where it has been strong, that is not something to be discouraged about....

    For reference:

    Yes, unfortunately, the history of those saints from the original Early Church would be lost if things started over again without the lessons from the past.....and it'd stink to not be able to remember them. Nonetheless, they are present within the Church Eternal and the Heavens with Christ - so the wisdom of God could continue on anew. Others would wrestle over issues just as the Early Church did all over again - and although new trajectories may occur (just as they did the first time and still are doing today), the same wisdom God gave the FIRST time would continue onward.

    And it'd be like a tree being chopped down - but still having seeds planted by the one who made it originally - and those seeds coming up all over again..


    On the issue, it may not be the best example - but I was challenged when remembering this scene from one of my favorite movies - called "Book of Eli" (with Denzel Washington) - where the future had it where all the Bibles/ties to the Church were destroyed after nuclear war nearly killed all of humanity and religion was blamed ...and where one man who was blind had enough vision to hide God's Word within Him so that it'd never be lost wherever you go. All the Bibles in the world were destroyed and memory of the Church lost - yet one man found a brail Bible to read that he was guided to....and even after losing that, he STILL was able to translate it.

    The Book of Eli - Eli Cites Genesis 1 - YouTube

    "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD" (Proverbs 21:30) - and so true that you can pulp a story but you cannot destroy an idea, for that's ancient knowledge and glad that even if every page of every Bible everywhere was destroyed, God will make sure it will find a way to reprint itself again.

    And even if men try to wage war against God with his own gifts (as every good thing we have is on loan from Him), God will find a way to take what men present and make it a present/gift to glorify Himself because that's who He is.

    Eli End - YouTube

    Does anyone else feel similar to what I've been noting? Do you feel that the Church could ever be rebooted so to speak or in danger of being wiped out - only for God to start over fresh with it? Or is that something that shouldn't even be a concern?

    And if the Bibles and Church history was erased/destroyed but somehow managed to survive, do you feel that what would emerge afterward would look radically different than what we see now with all the different camps that have arisen (i.e. Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, etc.) or would groups formulate again that'd be exactly the same to what happened before?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
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  2. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    If anyone has any good resources on the issue, I would love to investigate them sometime :)
  3. Archie the Preacher

    Archie the Preacher Apostle to the Intellectual Skeptics

    Since God is the power of the Church, I am not really concerned the Church will be destroyed. The church - as we know it - will end when Jesus returns and calls a halt to time - as we know it.

    My responsibility is to be at my appointed place of duty until then.
  4. from scratch

    from scratch Guest

    Interesting but not very likely or possible. It would have to be a supernatural event to succeed.
  5. TillICollapse

    TillICollapse Well-Known Member

    I don't think this is what you're wanting to hear ... but ... we have God Himself and the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us, etc.

    That isn't to say that we are not part of a larger family: i.e. each other. There is still confusion amongst the masses to contend with. So if all history is wiped out, or all knowledge gets replaced (or the current knowledge turns out to be a manipulated fraud, etc) ... we still have faith. Concerning each other, however ... will we have love for each other ? That is how the whole world will know who the disciples of Christ are, apparently: their love for one another.
  6. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    The Gospel will never be erased. God will preserve it.

    I believe He will preserve the church as well.

    Do we know for SURE what that would look like? Well, I'd have to guess it would look like the first century church, if something happened to reduce the church to a remnant. But that's up to God. He could decide to change things. If I had to speculate, I don't think He would though. I'm just not going to put Him in a locked box.

    But I don't worry about the Gospel not being preserved. God's Word will not fall.
  7. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    It has already happened, however - in significant points of history where the very memory of Christianity/the Bible and the history of the Church was eradicated in geographical eras for centuries (even though it flourished in other areas as others from those areas escaped while people left in the areas grew up not aware of history). On a MASSIVE/GLOBAL scale, that has not occurred...

    But there's nothing saying it isn't possible - for that all goes back to assuming that it couldn't occur if one assumes God can only spread things so long as the Church exists.
  8. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Not really about what I want to hear - I was asking for others to share thoughts, regardless of disagreements as I was interested on whether or not others have processed the thought and what their thoughts were on it.

    But indeed - of course we have the Holy Spirit and God to guide us. Nonetheless, as it concerns LEARNING on the Holy Spirit/who He is (which starts in the Bible and from the Church), I was wondering how that would occur if the Church was erased from history and the Bible was present. I believe the Holy Spirit would still be present since he is without boundaries - but that goes opposite of many saying that He could never do what he does without the existence of the Church which is His Body......even though the Church exists in the Heavens/Eternity as well as on Earth AND thus it technically shouldn't be an argument Christians should even have if assuming "There's no way the Church could be destroyed on Earth - if it was, God couldn't get the Gospel across!!!!".....

    Really, how much does God need us if He was the beginning of things?

    Nonetheless, if those who have faith are wiped out and the knowledge of who God (based on what the CHurch and scripture say) goes extinct in the Earth, there'd be none who'd have faith.....unless God chose to reveal Himself again in others just as He did with Abraham in Genesis 12 o Noah in Genesis 6 and guide all of humanity

    And of course, God has worked many times with others DESPITE where their level of awareness was perfect. Some of this has been shared before - as seen here:

    Hope that's understandable...
    Very true...
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  9. Mama Kidogo

    Mama Kidogo Τίποτα νέο μυθιστόρημα τίποτα

    Eastern Orthodox
    Revelation 14:6
    Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;
  10. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Indeed - what happens on the Earth cannot erase what happens in Heaven. So of course the message of the Gospel will always endure in the eternal sense - but that's not necessarily the same as saying that there could never be a time when all knowledge of what the Gospel is was wiped from the Earth physically......it's simply a matter of knowing that things are always preserved in the Eternal memory of God (with the Church continuing in His realm) even while it may be absent in the Earth.

    And how it'd play out with having to share it anew when knowledge of it was wiped from the Earth is something to consider if saying there ALWAYS has to be memory of it on the Earth at all times in order for God to be known as God or operate..

    Indeed - my mindset is that I can't put God in a box saying he HAS to do something a certain way. Even it meant the dynamic of a Remnant was simply those who God revealed Himself to (even when knowledge of the Church in its history and scripture was erased) and they weren't as knowledgeable as we are currently, it'd still be God working with people to show Himself - we often think Remnant means those with knowledge of God in the same way as we have it (as if they were holding out) when it could be those who still choose to say "YES" to God (regardless of the level of knowledge they have ) when the world wants to deny Him.

    People in the Dark Ages (even though they weren't 100% Dark since they were HIGHLY intelligent and many people in that era were far from experiencing a "Dark Age" - especially in many African kingdoms) were a part of the Remnant if they in their hearts were seeking God as best as they knew how - just as others in the Church of the East or Orthodox Church or the Baptist Church suffering persecution are a part of the Remnant ...or a church that was disconnected due to being isolated and yet seeking God as best as possible ((as it concerns Churches in Japan who were isolated during intense times of persecution ...and even outside of them, we can also examine cultures where others preached the Gospel to Indigenous People Groups/First Nations groups but missionaries were kept out and those within shared what they could understand even if it seemed less than what the origin cultures of the missionaries would approve of) - God would not be limited.

    We can see the same dynamic as it concerns the Barbarian culture or Folk Religions when the Gospel went out to them even as the areas it came from crumbled ...St. Patrick being a prime example of that principle played out in-depth with how he did things with the Irish and how they saved civilization . Having to do a research project on St. Patrick, I was recently amazed at the ways he went about handling it. For Christianity had a toe-hold in Ireland before Patrick, but the religion in Ireland before Patrick was animism IN ADDITION to belief in superstition, omens, soothsaying, magic, curses and the power of sacred places. The Irish also believed many unpredictable supernatural forces – including shape shifting hidden dangers. Patrick too believed in supernatural force but all coming from a good and loving God.

    But St. Patrick - based on what he knew of the Early Church - was able to combat that and change the entire face of the nation.

    And yet, what he did happened in isolation and things had to develop DIFFERENTLY when there was a lack of knowledge/connection with certain points of history......and how the Gospel was revealed in another area when there was no awareness of what happened in a different location may have looked different. The Message of the Gospel remained in God/Christ - yet how it was translated and what was developed afterward may have shifted based on a myriad of factors - that's part of what I'm getting at. For when people say the Church will remain forever, I agree - it's the Body of Christ and Christ remains for all time - yet it seems we end up making bad scenarios on that/developing based on those things when we end up assuming that the Church automatically will look the same due to what has developed in previous times and what others are aware of.

    In that frame of thought, it seems we base God's ability to share the Gospel based on our own knowledge/ability to comprehend that - and that doesn't really seem consistent with history. And when we say "The Church HAS to remain in the EARTH Physicaly - and has remained based on what already happened in the Early Church", it doesn't seem honest with the facts.....for the Church remains on the Earth because God chooses to reveal Himself to others - even when or if they don't have all the facts or if memory of the Church is lost to others. When we see that, it opens the door for us not to assume what the Church HAS to look like in order for the Gospel to be preached - I'm not saying "Anything goes!" or what St. Paul spoke against in I Corinthians 6 when it came to the "All things are permissible for me" ideology.

    There seems to be something odd with how we end up claiming "Those people haven't recieved the Gospel!! because their language/culture and means of articulation may end up varying from what we've witnessed in another era....and yet in times where the Church memory/Bibles were eradicated in an area and re-introduced, it naturally developed in a sense that was distinct from what may have occurred before - and it also ended up looking the same as what happened before.

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  11. TillICollapse

    TillICollapse Well-Known Member

    A very rare and fair way to approach a thread here on CF hahaha :) You mean, you weren't just posting to teachnpreach lol ? You actually cared about what others had to say ? ^_^

    And I think part of the bottom line is the bolded part. God revealing Himself to others (I left out the word *again*) as He did with Abraham.

    Abraham is arguably a man who lived by faith. Sooooooooo ...... those in his lineage will have a similar experience. God may reveal Himself the same way to them, with or without something else to point to:

    "This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’

    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.

    For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”
    By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear."

    It's one of my favorite verses, because I see it tying together the beginning to the end. One continuous string of faithfulness. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, because they will all know Him.

    Humans are the temples, etc and so forth. Faith is planted within us, and grows, etc. I mean ... my own life is an example. I experienced much of the Holy Spirit before I even knew words for things, or what was supposed to be possible or not. No reading of the Bible to tell me, no church to explain things. I had faith before I had a word for it, and I lived by it before I knew what the idea even was. In radical ways even. God loved His own :) Would it have been easier had someone given me proper words/terms/fellowship ? Perhaps. But those things aren't the Father. The Father still exists even if the children are disobedient, or they've gone off with their inheritance to spend it on wild living. So formalized institution on earth or not ... there is still the Father, the temples which can house the Holy Spirit, the Spirit being poured out on ALL flesh in the last days (righteous and unrighteous), so on and so forth. Even without books on gardening around, we still would have the seeds, water, Spirit to give things new life, etc. We just might not know what to call them any longer unless we were given the terminology by God lol.

    Although to criticize my own argument, and somewhat support the idea of "faith and knowledge of God extinction" ... Jesus did say, "I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" It's as though He is wondering if faith will still be on the earth ... or if it will be filled with faithlessness. Will it be extinct ? Or perhaps at least *one* surviving example ? Faith, hope, and love remain ... Interesting ...

    As far as a sort of formalized religious institution on earth, to preserve and pass down knowledge through the generations ... how do we know that what exists today isn't already a counterfeit version ? All it takes is one tweak here and one tweak there. In other words, how do we know that what appears to preserve traditions, knowledge, histories, etc ... isn't all a slightly different counterfeit already ? Why try and eradicate something when all you need to do is change it slightly and make it an irrelevant lie ? We already know that nations do this all the time to their own people. Why not the enemy with the knowledge of God ?

    The most relevant post I've ever seen you type out yet hahaha (although I've only paid attention to your posts in the "angels/Gen6" types of threads lol) ...
  12. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Not really rare, IMHO - sometimes, people tend to focus on the wrong things and end up missing where many good things occur/are normative - and no, I don't really concern myself with teaching to preach. I hope that's not your mindset either :cool: - if you were joking.
    "Again" wouldn't need to be left out if one were accurate - as it happening for a second time would indeed be just that.
    How one takes that verse makes a myriad of difference - obviously, believers teach one another and we're called to do so repeatedly by the Apostles since it wasn't just a "Me and Holy Spirit are all we need - so you can't TEACH ME anything - the Spirit will show me!!"

    For we're meant to be in community and that is repeated throughout the NT:

    ♦ Matthew 28:18-20—Disciple one another.
    ♦ Mark 9:50—Be at peace with one another.
    ♦ Luke 10:25-37—Love one another.
    ♦ John 13:14—Serve one another.
    ♦ John 13:34-35—Love one another.
    ♦ John 15:12-13, 17—Love one another.
    ♦ John 17:20-26—United with one another.
    ♦ Acts 2:42-47—Learn, share, and worship with one another.
    ♦ Acts 4:32-37—United in heart with one another.
    ♦ Acts 6:1-7—Care for one another.
    ♦ Acts 11:22-26—Encourage one another.
    ♦ Romans 1:11-12—Mutually encourage one another.
    ♦ Romans 12:3-8—Members one of another.
    ♦ Romans 12:10—Devoted to one another in brotherly love.
    ♦ Romans 12:10—Honor one another.
    ♦ Romans 12:15—Rejoice with one another.
    ♦ Romans 12:15—Weep with one another.
    ♦ Romans 12:16—Live in harmony with one another.
    ♦ Romans 13:8-10—Love one another.
    ♦ Romans 14:13—Stop passing judgment on one another.
    ♦ Romans 14:19—Edify one another.
    ♦ Romans 15:1—Bear with one another.
    ♦ Romans 15:2—Please one another.
    ♦ Romans 15:2—Build up one another.
    ♦ Romans 15:5—United with one another.
    ♦ Romans 15:7—Accept one another.
    ♦ Romans 15:14—Instruct one another.
    ♦ Romans 16:16—Greet one another with a holy kiss.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 1:10—Agree with one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 4:6—Do not take pride in one person over another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 10:24—Seek the good of one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 12:4-27—Members one of another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 12:25—Equal concern for one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 12:26—Suffer with one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 12:26—Rejoice with one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 13:1-8—Love one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 14:1-3—Strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another.
    ♦ 1 Corinthians 16:20—Greet one another with a holy kiss.
    ♦ 2 Corinthians 1:3-11—Comfort one another.
    2 Corinthians 2:7-11—Forgive one another and reaffirm your love for one another.
    ♦ 2 Corinthians 5:14-21—Live for one another.
    ♦ 2 Corinthians 13:12—Greet one another with a holy kiss.
    ♦ Galatians 5:13—Serve one another in love.
    ♦ Galatians 5:15—Stop biting and devouring one another.
    ♦ Galatians 5:26—Stop provoking and envying one another.
    ♦ Galatians 6:1-3—Restore one another.
    ♦ Galatians 6:1-3—Carry each other’s burdens.
    ♦ Ephesians 4:1-7—Bear with one another in love.
    ♦ Ephesians 4:11-16—Equip one another through speaking the truth in love.
    ♦ Ephesians 4:25—Speak truthfully to one another.
    ♦ Ephesians 4:29—Speak words that build up one another.
    ♦ Ephesians 4:32—Be kind and compassionate to one another.
    ♦ Ephesians 4:32—Forgive each other.
    ♦ Ephesians 5:19—Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
    ♦ Ephesians 5:21—Submit to one another.

    Philippians 2:1-5—Consider others better than self.
    ♦ Philippians 2:1-5—Look out for the interests of others.
    ♦ Philippians 4:2—Agree with each other in the Lord.
    ♦ Colossians 1:25-2:2—Admonish, and teach one another.
    ♦ Colossians 3:9—Do not lie to one another.
    ♦ Colossians 3:12-14—Bear with one another.
    ♦ Colossians 3:12-14—Forgive one another.
    ♦ Colossians 3:15-17—Teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 2:12—Encourage, comfort, and urge one another.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 3:12—Increase in overflowing love for one another.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 4:9—Love each other.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 4:18—Encourage each other.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 5:11—Encourage one another.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 5:11—Build up each other.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 5:13—Live in peace with one another.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 5:14—Urge, warn, encourage, help, and be patient with one another.
    ♦ 1 Thessalonians 5:15—Be kind to each other.
    ♦ 2 Thessalonians 1:3—Love one another.
    ♦ 2 Thessalonians 3:15—Warn one another as brothers.
    ♦ 1 Timothy 5:20—Rebuke one another.
    ♦ 2 Timothy 2:2—Disciple and teach one another.
    ♦ 2 Timothy 2:22-26—Gently instruct one another in kindness.
    ♦ 2 Timothy 3:16-17—Teach, rebuke, correct, and train one another.
    ♦ 2 Timothy 4:1-8—Preach, correct, rebuke, encourage, and carefully instruct one another.
    ♦ Titus 1:6-11—Encourage one another by sound doctrine.
    ♦ Titus 2:1-15—Mentor one another.

    And yet we have the Holy Spirit who teaches His Church. And like Abraham, the Lord can work with us individually ...
    More than understand where you're coming from - many have also experienced and noted this when it came to learning on what the early Church noted and went through...being amazed at thinking they were the only ones considering something when in fact they were tapping into an Eternal memory of what had already occurred and been present in the Church. But even if that record of what the Church experienced wasn't there, God is faithful and His Spirit can still work within us - even when the vernacular may not be there like it was for others, in the same way others may end up working with nature using a specific method to grow something even though what it was called before was different.

    Of course, some people may end up doing something RADICALLY different with something that was not meant to be used in a certain way :) For the sake of humor, I'm reminded of the scene from Little Mermaid when that occurred:

    The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition - Dinglehopper Clip - YouTube
    The little mermaid, at the palace - YouTube
    Interesting take on what Luke 18 noted when it came to praying/not giving up and yet noting that faith on the Earth is something that He wondered whether he'd find....

    THere's nothing saying that what he noted can only play out with the Church existing on the Earth and PLENTY of people having faith the way that He had in mind - as the faith he was noting may've been the dynamic of having faith in prayer the way he noted in his analogy with the Widow/judge .....but it could also be related to faith being either rare or something that wouldn't be found in the Earth.
    Things can be tweaked and sadly this has happened before as well - even went down in Communist Russia at one point when it came to the Church being controlled by the State and altered a lot....with those in the real church having to go underground.

    But on the same token, people can also tweak things in the reverse by assuming that everything tradition wise must be suspected as if it IS off - like those saying "Christianity was really based in Egyptology and the Pharaohs of old " or saying Jesus was a myth that cannot be verified in history and that one should trust no one due to all the suspicion of things being tampered with.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  13. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

    Christian Seeker
    Are you kidding me? Ironically, the Bible is the best source....

    Even if all Bibles are burned, all churches razed to the ground, Christian religion banned to death, The Gospel will be spread still:

    1 John 2:27
    As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    John 16:13
    But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

    Believe or not, the Spirit indeed taught me the Gospel even before I read it from the Bible, before I heard it preached in any Church or in TV.

    So I'm not worried at all should Christianity be suppressed to death... ...In fact, the test shall determine who the real Christians are from the pretenders.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  14. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Ah, I understand your focus a bit better now. I haven't had a chance to read all here, but if I can later I will come back. It actually used to be something of great interest to me, because while I had heard the basics of the Gospel, when I called out to God (I wasn't even sure if He existed) in my desperation, He came and made Himself very real to me. I knew many things before I ever picked up a Bible and started to read, and soon after I knew He wanted me in church as well, so I have followed that.

    However, I have read books (biographies) of people who were in non-Christian places (one was a Muslim woman, one I believe was in India) as well as a number of shorter pieces about people who recognize that there is a God, and He responds to them apart from the church.

    I certainly believe that He can accomplish all He needs, without evangelists, without the Church, without a Bible - if that is what He wants/needs to do.

    If He wants it done through people (and we have the honor of co-laboring with the Holy Spirit, imo - I think it is for OUR sake that the current system is a little "messy" - God could surely do a much better job on His own!) - but if He wants it done through people and the Church, He will keep the church. And if not, then He can still accomplish all He sets out to do quite well without us, imo.

    I think at least one reason for the Church is so that we can grow to be more like Him. He is love ... and how can we grow in love (towards one another) in total isolation? In those circumstances of helping one another, ministering to one another, loving one another, being challenged by one another (especially those that are hard to love!) - in all of these things, we get to "practice" and we learn and are made into His image as we cooperate with Him and love one another.

    There is also the old trick - have you known a schoolteacher who assigned one student to teach another who was just barely below their level? In teaching material, we tend to learn it better ourselves, and examine it more. I think it works even better for conscientious adults than for children. ;) But in teaching, preaching, studying together, and so on, we are able to sharpen our own skills and knowledge - iron sharpens iron.

    I think we benefit one another in ways like this, as well as having the honor of working alongside Him. I believe the way it is "set up" is really all for our own benefit.

    At least that's what I think. :)
  15. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    No - I am not kidding - nor should it be even considered an issue of kidding on anymore than someone saying "If anyone has any resources or articles on the issue of what Laws of Restitution were about in the Bible, I'd appreciate it :)" since it's obvious we already have the Bible as the primary source - yet the focus is DISCUSSING what the Bible says and commentary on a topic related to the Bible.

    It's obvious we have the Bible and the BIBLE was already discussed in the OP - logically, talking on the Bible being the best source would not be necessary when it came to follow-up questions and request for resources.

    So again, if you have anything, cool - but if not, one can note so.
    One, I have already noted that others are more than able to be taught the Gospel even before reading about in confirmation - but that is not the focus. The focus is how would it look like if all churches/Bibles in the world were eradicated and how would things progress in that context? If you didn't read the OP or the following posts, it is not a surprise that was missed...

    Two, having the Holy Spirit to teach us is acknowledged and was pointed out earlier as well - but how the information is transmitted is what was of focus. For when others have no references or record of how things were, it makes a difference when the Spirit teaches them and they don't know what how what they learned compared to before..

    Cool - although as said before, the focus isn't on being worried on Christianity being suppressed to death - wasn't even the point of the OP nor a mention in it it/other postings.
  16. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Glad to know you understand more of where I'm coming from - and of course, my other question as it concerns truly asking what it may look like if there was no Bible or Churches in the world when eradicated and how the Gospel would be translated again ....

    Would love to hear your thoughts sometime further ..
    There are so many others who have gone through the same exact thing when it came to others saying "No - you need to have the Church ALWAYS present in the world in order for others to seek the Lord/know Him!!!" and yet they grew up in areas where they didn't have a Church background or any connection to it but still had desire to follow God....not surprising in light of Romans 1:18-28 which notes how ALL mankind has God's law placed in them and are hard-wired to know that God exists (and Romans 2 notes that even those without the Law are a law to themselves/will be judged based on what they DO know) - Cornelius in Acts 10-11 didn't fully know who God was in Jesus, yet what he did know he was obediant to and the Lord gave more revelation.

    And yet even the revelation he did have was based on what he saw in Judaism - itself based in memory of who the Lord is and records which could be wiped out. But if it were, who's to say Cornelius wouldn't learn nonetheless in another manner even if it looked different?

    I've talked with others before who have pointed out the ways that God spoke to them and used them as they had little to work with and they grew in knowledge - and they understood the ways that God always looks to the heart and will get the job done....not all roads lead to God, but God will MEET You on any road :) And I think this needs to be understood because we so often place God in a box of how he HAS to present Himself/look based on what others knew and yet we forget that it wasn't always like that.

    Would love to read the biographies you noted - as they seem interesting. But I agree with what you noted...
    Exactly - no matter how much we see the importance of the Church or value it (as well as scripture), there's something off when we exalt those things as if God HAS to use them like he's bound by it...that can be idolatry in some ways since it places God secondary to something He made/gave as a gift rather than seeing it as something God has worked through.

    And as God can do as he wishes in the absence of things, we have to consider what we say today when it comes to judging others without the presence of the things we highly value (if thinking ourselves superior to them) since things could be different and we in that position they are in.......and if it was like that globally, we'd have to change our perspective to see how beyond limit God is.


    So true - God doesn't need us to do what He does....and in many ways, things look messy as they are because of us, yet He's not tripping on it. And if all knowledge was erased, starting over may be a different variation later with the mess that arises alongside development - but God would be present :)

    Very astute observation...

    And yet I'd also note that if God is the main audience love is done for, then was it the case that Adam in the Garden by himself was not able to grow in love when God made him and it was just he the Lord who walked with him? Yes, of course he made Eve later since he knew he needed a companion per Genesis 2.....but God made Adam alone. And Adam was called to love/grow in love where he was at.

    And even though Adam would need to multiply per the call for dominion, he still had a singular relationship.

    There are others as well who grew in love as well when in isolation...I'm reminded of Naaman the Syrian in what occurred with him (As well as the slave girl who helped to reach him...

    The same dynamic of knowing the Lord in being saved/following Him is also noted in the story of Naaman the Syrian (from the nation of Aram where Syria is at) - from 2 Kings 5 whom Christ referenced later on when it came to the people he chose to interact with and saying what it meant to follow the Lord:

    Luke 4:18

    Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

    16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
    18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
    Because He has anointed Me
    To preach the gospel to the poor;
    He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[j]
    To proclaim liberty to the captives
    And recovery of sight to the blind,
    To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
    19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[k]

    20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

    23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum,[l] do also here in Your country.’” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath,[m] in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

    Surprises and Disappointments-

    2 Kings 5:1-22
    15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

    16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

    17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”
    19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.
    Naaman - under the impression that Israel's God can only be worshipped in the land of Israel/sacred territory - asked for dirt since it was necessary to create a "miniature Israel" in Syria - and of course, the question of how God could be worshiped in a foreign land became a serious one for Israel during the exile (Psalm 137:4)....but the reality of the matter is that actions were done symbolically because of what they symbolized. Two mules' burden of earth— Dirt with which to make an altar (Ex 20:24) Someone could have easily claimed Naaman wanted to worship dirt - but that was not his intention. He simply knew where he was going back to and how he'd basically be alone - but still wanted some level of access...
    The Early Church also noted the same - so you're NOT alone in what you noted...
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  17. Willie T

    Willie T St. Petersburg Vineyard

    If All Churches/Church History was Wiped out, how would the Gospel Message Continue? The same way it did 2,000 years ago, before there was ANY "Churches/Church History".
  18. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    The Early Church also noted the same - so you're NOT alone in what you noted...

    And yet even with that said, it's amazing how much others process that differently when it comes to seeing how people interpret what it means to walk with others. For practical example, I think you'd be amazed if reading the article entitled For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

    True disconnection from the world. As said on the article (for brief excerpt):

    The old man's name was Karp Lykov, and he was an Old Believer—a member of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect, worshiping in a style unchanged since the 17th century. Old Believers had been persecuted since the days of Peter the Great, and Lykov talked about it as though it had happened only yesterday; for him, Peter was a personal enemy and "the anti-Christ in human form"—a point he insisted had been amply proved by Tsar's campaign to modernize Russia by forcibly "chopping off the beards of Christians." But these centuries-old hatreds were conflated with more recent grievances; Karp was prone to complain in the same breath about a merchant who had refused to make a gift of 26 poods [940 pounds] of potatoes to the Old Believers sometime around 1900. Things had only got worse for the Lykov family when the atheist Bolsheviks took power. Under the Soviets, isolated Old Believer communities that had fled to Siberia to escape persecution began to retreat ever further from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov's brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest.

    Seeing the history with the Lykovs, from how they lived in a hand-built log cabin to the ways they were unaware of what cities were, I wonder if it was a good thing or a bad thing for them to be where they were at. The history behind what occurred is rather amazing....and time to commune with the Lord may've been hard to handle when seeing how certain things changed in the world since they went into self-imposed exile.

    Makes you really consider the issue (for me, at least) on what it means to be a migrant or a refugee - as they had to flee into remote locations and make due with what they had...and thus, other generations disconnected from the experience didn't necessarily see what they went through as "lack" (like what happened when some of the girls/daughters never grew up seeing bread even though the patriarch/head of the home had previously). Sometimes you wish you didn't grow up with certain things so that you'd be able to appreciate life without it.

    Years ago, I was talking with another believer who grew up in the Syrian Orthodox Tradition and hearing his heart on how he came to trust in Christ - and yet (as an Indian) felt that others in the U.S were too quick to complain on much and yet not see what they had as migrants are quick to realize since they know what it's like to flee somewhere/have to make do with nothing.

    To live and never have any connection with major wars that shaped the nations like WW I-II is something that really hit home for me. For as that family came from those who were Old Believers, those major wars may've led to significant losses from others in the Church - but they would've been feeling the impact more so from unaddressed wrongs done to them in previous mini-wars. In regards to things such as inquisitions, it's tragic remembering the terrible persecutions under the Russian Orthodox Church of the Old Believers, such as the protopope Avvakum, finally burned alive after years of prison..... in light of the resistance he led against the the CHurch in opposition to many reforms that were made in 1652 by Nikon... as Patriarch of the Russian Church, initiated a wide range of reforms in Russian liturgy and theology...mostly intended to bring the Russian Church into line with the other Orthodox Churches of Eastern Europe and Middle East.


    Reading through the Smitshonian article and seeing the responses of the Lykovs seemed to give the impression that they still were in war mode/concerned with the previous persecutions done to their camp from other eras - and thus, it would not have phased them to see what had happened other major wars. They were truly out of time, IMHO....but feeling they were good because (in their mind) loving one another was a matter of loving the Church God preserved since they felt all other groups in their day were "lost" - so even though isolated, they didn't necessarily see it as a loss with where they were at. They practiced what they knew and felt they had community the way God intended it - even though the rest​
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  19. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Of course, HOW that happened (as you or others may understand it) was the question :) Someone may say "The same way it did before" but that doesn't mean people understand the way it happened before in the same way - or why they believe it'd occur like that. Some feel that there'd a rehash of new Church Councils that would develop - as well as others being spoken to by the Lord, but different variations occurring. Some feel that the Reboot (kind of like what occurred in the Matrix film trilogy :) )would lead to different alternatives starting since many decisions occurred due to the fact that circumstances/fortune made a world of difference....

    If believing that all of what happens in life---as it concerns evil or good---is a matter of choice/chance, something to consider is that much roles could've been reversed:

    Ecclesiastes 9:11
    I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.​

    A lot of decisions made in the Church many have felt weren't due out of God ordaining it - but rather because of the circumstances that allowed for one group to come into power/be stronger than another - those who won did so and we assume that it was always meant to be and the Church would always look like that (Some of this discussed before here ). But just as it was with the Reformation or other movements that changed the course of history being largely connected with social forces that allowed for them to spread whereas others didn't, it only takes so much to shift events in the favor of others - if things went differently, who's to say things wouldn't look different for a LONG time?

    And even if things came out differently, would it mean at any point that God has lost control of His Church - or would he still find a way to get the Gospel out?​
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  20. Willie T

    Willie T St. Petersburg Vineyard

    It would probably end up much the same way again. Humans haven't changed. And it never WAS supposed to be a clear, undeniable path. I think that has always been the whole point... will we trust what we think could be better done "OUR WAY"?​