I cried out to the Father, the Most High God, "Just Give Me The Truth!"
by Sherry Shriner
sounding the alarm on what was, is, and is to come
"They say they are Jews are not, but are the synagogue of Satan"
John, in his Revelation, scowls at Paul and his Gentile following, who "say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9). He denounces the doctrines of Nicolas, [2:6] one of the seven first deacons of the Church, as hateful; and he expresses his detestation of the Laodiceans (Rev. 2:16) by saying that the Almighty would spew them out of his mouth. Paul returns the compliment by "withstanding" Peter for his "dissimulation," (Gal. 2:11-13) and sneering at James and John (Gal. 2:9) as seeming to be pillars, the former of whom retorts that Paul is a "vain man" (James 2:20). Paul vehemently tells the Galatians: "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8). Even "the beloved disciple," in his second Epistle, manifests the same persecuting spirit:
"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John 10-11)
In the very first century Christianity was split into many petty sects, each denouncing the other as teaching false doctrine. The early Nazarenes, who adhered to the Jewish law, were called Ebionites, or contemptible people. The Ebionites denounced the Paulinists, and declared that Paul was an impostor who became a Christian because he was not allowed to marry a Jewish woman. In an epistle of Peter to James, prefixed to the Clementine Recognitions, and as genuine as any other portion of the writings ascribed to Peter, Paul is alluded to as "the enemy," and the author of lawless and foolish teachings. Of the Recognitions itself, a work ascribed to Clement, alluded to in Philippians 4:3 and undoubtedly belonging to the first era of Christian history, the author of Supernatural Religion says:
"There cannot be a doubt that the Apostle Paul is attacked in this religious romance as the great enemy of the true faith, under the hated name of Simon the Magician, whom Peter follows everywhere for the purpose of unmasking and confuting him. He is robbed of his title of "Apostle of the Gentiles," which, together with the honor of founding the Church of Antioch, of Laodicea, and of Rome, is ascribed to Peter. All that opposition to Paul which is implied in the Epistle to the Galatians and elsewhere (1 Cor. 1:11-12; 2 Cor. 11:13-20; Philip. 1:15,16) is here realised and exaggerated, and the personal difference with Peter to which Paul refers is widened into the most bitter animosity." (Vol II, p.34.)
Irenaeus, in the second century, in his work against Heretics, stigmatises them with the most abusive epithets, and accuses them of the most abominable crimes. He calls them "thieves and robbers," "slippery serpents," "miserable little foxes," and so forth, and declares that they practise lewdness in their assemblies.
Tertullian, in the third century, displays a full measure of bigotry, with an added sense of exultation over the sufferings in reserve for his pagan opponents.
"What a city in the new Jerusalem! For it will not be without its games; it will have the final and eternal day of judgment, which the Gentiles now treat with unbelief and scorn, when so vast a series of ages, with all their productions, will be hurled into one absorbing fire. How magnificent the scale of that game! With what admiration, what laughter, what glee, what triumph shall I perceive so many mighty monarchs, who had been given out as received into the skies, even Jove himself and his votaries, moaning in unfathomable gloom. The governors too, persecutors of the Christian name, cast into fiercer torments than they had devised against the faithful, and liquefying amid shooting spires of flame! And those sage philosophers, who had deprived the Deity of his offices, and questioned the existence of a soul, or denied its future union with the body, meeting again with their disciples only to blush before them in those ruddy fires! Not to forget the poets, trembling, not before the tribunal of Rhadamanthus or Minos, but at the unexpected bar of Christ! Then is the time to hear tragedians, doubly pathetic now that they bewail their own agonies; to observe the actors, released by the fierce elements from all restraint upon their gestures; to admire the charioteer, glowing all over on the car of torture; to watch the wrestlers, thrust into the struggles, not of the gymnasium, but of the flames." [4:6]