What Happened to the Church Jesus Built - Pt. 8

by Tommy Thornhill

In this series of articles we have been studying what happened to the church Jesus built. We have learned that in ca.6 centuries following its beginning, the church, from its human side (imperfect people) had become so corrupted that it ultimately digressed into the formation of the first apostate church, known as the Roman Catholic Church, which came into existence ca. 607 AD in Rome Italy, headed by Boniface III who was declared to be the universal ruler of all the churches on earth.

This was a far cry from the church of Christ started in Jerusalem ca. 33 AD.  This apostasy did not happen overnight. It took many changes over many years to bring about the apostate church. Let’s notice some of the changes that transpired to bring this about. 1. People became ignorant of the word of God as they no longer hungered for it Matt.5:6; 1.Pet.2:2. 2. The government of the church was slowly changed as the eldership (in which each man was equal), designed to lead and tend the local flock was corrupted by the exaltation of one man over the others.

3. The simplicity of the gospel plan of salvation and worship was replaced by the adoption of many worldly pagan customs, stressing rituals and outward forms, rather than inward spirituality. 4. Christianity became paganized as church membership was made compulsory, forcing into the membership many unconverted pagans. 5. The existing church became institutionalized, and people now looked to the church to determine matters of faith, doctrine and worship. 6. This, in turn, led the corrupted church to have church councils to determine these matters, resulting in the formulating of church creeds, beginning with the Nicean creed in 325 AD. 7. From these councils and creeds came many practices and customs that were adopted and used to govern churches, and made equal to the word of God, even though they were contrary to the NT writings of inspired apostles. 8. As the church became more secular, it was divided into 5 areas of influence, with one man in each area being dominant over all the churches in his area.

9. This ultimately led to the ascendency of one man out of these 5 areas to become the ruler over all the churches on earth, with the authority to speak for Christ on earth. 10. Finally, we have the establishment of the apostate Roman Catholic Church, 607 AD, Boniface III the first Pope.   The RCC was the great apostate church and its establishment set the pattern that all later denominations would follow in the centuries since. The RCC, as an apostate church in no way resembled the church revealed in the NT. There are many reasons why this RCC is not the NT church, but, at this time, I want to deal with one area, having to do with its foundation. As the Psalmist wrote, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” Ps.127:1.   One of the ways to determine if the church is the one approved of God is to ask three questions. Who built the church? Where did it begin? When did it begin? The RCC is wrong because of its builder (founder), and the fact it started at the wrong place and at the wrong time.  Jesus is the builder of His church. He promised it Matt.16:18. He paid for it Acts 20:28. He is the foundation 1.Cor.3:10-11, the tried, precious stone upon which it is built Isa. 28:16; 1.Pet.2:5. He is the head, ruling from heaven Eph.1:22-23; Jn.16:5-8; Heb.1:2-3. All those in the church belong to Him 1.Cor.6:19-20. He is the head Eph.1:22-23. He established His church in Jerusalem as prophesied Isa.2:2-3; Micah 4:2-3. It was built at the time prophesied Dan.2:44-45; Joel.2:28-32; Acts 2:16 f. Now let us look at the RCC. Who built it?

As we have seen, it began to be built by men who usurped authority that did not belong to them. History shows that over a period of time, this corrupted leadership evolved into 5 areas of religious influence, each area being ruled by a Patriarch. These 5 Patriarchs fought with each other, each one seeking to have prominence over the others. Mostly the contest was between Constantinople and Rome, neither one having enough power to dominate the others, Finally, Boniface III was able to dominate, and he officially became the first Pope, Rector Ecclesiae (Lord of the church), the supreme ruler of all the churches on earth Matt.23:6-10. To justify this, they use a false interpretation of Matt.16:18, as Peter being the rock, instead of Christ, on which the church was to be built.  Pope Boniface III was treated as God on earth, given authority to which no man had a right. No one can speak for God except Jesus Christ Heb.1:2-3; Matt.28:18; Eph.1:22-23. Even though I do not believe 2.Thes.2:2 f is a direct prophesy of the Pope, the idea of the Pope fits the image portrayed there. So, for all practical purposes, Boniface III was the founder of the RCC. So, to question 1, the RCC has the wrong builder (founder).  The second question, where was the church established? Remember, the true church was to be established in Jerusalem Isa.2:2-3; Acts 2: But the RCC church had its beginning in Rome where Boniface 3 was Patriarch. So, the RCC started in the wrong place to be the true church. The RCC was started at the wrong place. The NT church was to begin in Jerusalem, not Rome.  The third question, when was the church established?  Again, we noted that the church God had planned from eternity, according to prophesy, was to begin in “the last days” Isa.2:2-3, during the time of the Roman empire (the 4th kingdom of the image in Dan.2:44-45).  It was to begin with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit Joel.2L28-32. This was on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But the RCC started at the wrong time. 606-07 AD is not the right date. The “last days” had already started almost 600 years before the RCC began. Heb.1:2; Acts 3:24.  Every denomination that exists today can be proven wrong by answering these same three questions. Every denomination has been built or established (founded) by the wrong person(s), at the wrong place and at the wrong time.