Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Get Back to the First Century: Introduction & The Hard Questions

I am a Bible College graduate and yeah, we studied the Early Church and as far as I can recall, Nazarenes were not mentioned, and if they were it was in a passing obscure, one sentence blurb, as if they were a short lived anomaly. Like a rogue pimple that shows up on the pristine young face of Christendom and is there for half a century and disappears, barely worth mentioning. It is as if they were a well-intended, but misguided Jewish group who finally came to their senses, got with the program and finally assimilated into Gentile Christianity. Boy! What were those poor Jews thinking, mixing Old Testament Law with New Testament Grace!?

It seemed Early Church history went something like this:

After Jesus ascended, revival broke out at Pentecost; the Apostles tabled the Law (Torah) for the Gentiles coming into the faith. Paul converted and evangelized the Gentiles, condemning the Law in his letters as he did. The Apostles rose up their disciples and passed the torch to them. All the while some big bad Emperors rose to power in Rome and began brutally persecuting the Christian community until Constantine came along. He converted to Christianity, officially stopped the Christian persecution which gave the church fathers time to put their heads together and hammer out doctrines and creeds for all Christendom. And BOOM! Early Church History in a nutshell.

As you will discover, the Nazarenes were not a fly by night, confused and disorganized group that came like an early morning fog and burned off by 10am. The Nazarenes were the direct descendants of the Original Apostles with works and commentaries, up until the 4th century, where they were persecuted and driven underground and virtually all traces of them were confiscated and or wiped out by the Catholic Church.

Come, let’s discover what is barely mentioned in Bible College and Theological Seminaries, and if so in passing or in hushed tones behind closed doors.

The Hard Questions:

As a Christian, have you ever lived a certain way for so long, and then stopped for some reason and asked: Where am I, what am I doing here and why am I doing what I am doing? If not, that time will come. It did for me. Moreover, for you the time to ask yourself the hard questions may be now. For we all must be honest with ourselves, and find the answers truthfully and honestly without bias.

-        Am I practicing my Faith: “Because this is the way it has always been done.” And, “Well, because my pastor told me it was so.”
-        Is the Faith I practice today the same or close to the one of that of the followers of Yeshua (Jesus) after His death, burial, resurrection and ascension?
-        Can I trace my beliefs, doctrines, definitions and practices to the 1st Century after Yeshua’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension?
-        Down deep, do I know and want to know and keep the original faith of the 1st century Apostles?
-        If so, what was it?
-        Does it still exist today?
-        Can I be a part of it?
-        Has satan successfully hidden the true way of Faith as it was originally meant to be from the majority of the people for over 2000 years?
-        How much of what I believe and practice is custom, culture, tradition, doctrine of men, and how much is truly Scripture?
-        How old are the particular doctrines I know and follow? When and where are its origins?
-        Where do my religious holidays, traditions, customs, and practices come from?
-        Why do we do what we do in that regard?
-        Do they have their true and foundational origins in the Scripture?
-        Am I looking at my faith the way it was originally meant to be looked at, or do I interpret it through bias cultural lenses?
-        If I found out that something I believed or practiced was wrong, would I have the guts to change it no matter what anyone else says?
-        Or, would I go with the crowd, not rock the boat, and just fade once again into the background?

These are only a few of many questions we could ask. It is our religious duty and obligation to know what we believe and why.

I Peter 3:15 “But, sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”