1. Resources

    1. Our Church and Others, Beliefs and Practices of American Churches.
      By: Lewis W. Spitz, Ph.D.
      © CPH, 1960 (22nd printing 1993)

    2. The Religious Bodies of America
      By: F.E. Mayer
      Fourth Edition, 1961
      © CPH, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1961

    3. “What Other Churches Teach”
      By: Rev. Stephen Sohns
      Unpublished outline.

    4. Others, as identified during course, including:

      1. Lutheran Cyclopedia
        Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker
        Original edition © 1954 CPH
        Revised edition © 1975 CPH

      2. The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament
        Complied and edited by: Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D
        © 1992 Spiros Zodhiates and AMG International, Inc.
        D/B/A AMG Publishers

  2. Introduction

    1. Vantage point.

      1. Shall be from what Confessional Lutherans believe.

      2. Requires familiarity with our doctrines.

      3. Requires ability to recognize false doctrine.

    2. Good taste of this study?

      1. Must “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:14,15)

      2. Must address falsehood (Eph 4:25).

    3. Must remember

      1. The Holy Spirit is at work wherever the Gospel is preached.

      2. Where Gospel taught along with false doctrine, He still may be working saving faith in people.

        1. They put their whole trust in the Savior and His redeeming work.

        2. They are therefore children of God.

      3. But, we still can not enter into church (altar) fellowship with them (2Jn 9-11).

  3. Meaning of the Word “Church”

    1. Walafrid Strabo (ca AD 840)

      1. Derived “church” from Greek kyrios (means “Lord”).

      2. Adjective kyriakon (derived from kyrios) designates something belonging to the kyrios.

      3. Lutheran Cyclopedia derives “church” from kyriokos. (also adj. with same meaning)

      4. Luther seems to derive it from Greek kyria (“Mistress, lady”) (cf 2Jn 1,5)

    2. “Communion of saints”

      1. Explains the word “church”.

      2. Greek ekklesia

        1. From ekkalein, “call out” (Luth. Cyclo.)

        2. Assembly of called people, or those called out or assembled in the public affairs of a free state (Zodhiates)

      3. Old Testament

        1. edah and qahal: idea of assembly (Lev 4:13,14) (Luth. Cyclo.)

        2. sunagōgē: a gathering, congregation, assembly (Zodhiates)

      4. “Church”

        1. Should never be ascribed to unbelievers.

        2. Eph 1:22,23.

        3. The sum total of those:

          1. Called by Spirit through the Gospel.

          2. Who truly believe in Christ.

          3. Who have been sanctified by this faith and incorporated into Christ.

  4. Distinction between Invisible and Visible Church.

    1.  Invisible

      1. We can not see into another’s heart.

      2. The “congregation of pure saints”.

      3. The one, holy, universal and apostolic church.

      4. Outside which there is no salvation.

    2. Visible

      1. The whole number of those gathered about God’s Word.

      2.  Includes those not true believers. (synedoche)

      3. True visible church, marks of

        1. The pure preaching of God’s Word.

        2. The administration of the sacraments according to Christ’s institution.

        3. Walther, Church and Ministry, Thesis V, Concerning the Church.[1]

      4. We will be focused on the visible church and its various divisions.

  5. Early Church

    1. Five great centers of early Christianity.

      1. Jerusalem and Antioch (Asia)

      2.  Alexandria (Africa).

      3. Constantinople and Rome (Europe)

    2. Dangers faced by early church.

      1.  Predicted by Jesus (Jn 16:1,2)

      2. Persecutions.

        1. All disciples but John died martyr’s death.

        2. During first three centuries, ten major (plus many less bloody) persecutions.

        3. Later centuries saw erring churches persecuting those faithful to His Word.

      3. False teachers, e.g.:

        1. At beginning of 4th century, Arius denied the deity of Jesus.

        2. Century later, Nestorious:

          1. Denied the communion of natures in Christ’s person

          2. Insisted Mary could not be regarded as the mother of God.

        3. Opposing Nestorius, Eutyches taught that Christ’s human nature was absorbed by His divine nature.

        4.  In mid 4th century, Macedonius declared the Holy Spirit to be mere creature and inferior to the Son of God.

        5. Pelagius, early 5th century:

          1. Denied total depravity of human heart.

          2. Taught salvation by good works.

    3. Creeds

      1. Formulated out of the controversies.

      2.  The Apostle’s Creed.

        1. Antedates the controversies of 4th and 5th centuries.

        2. Occupies a secondary position in the Eastern Church.

        3. But has been the outstanding bond of union between all ages and sections of the church.

      3. The Nicene Creed.

        1. Grew out of controversies with Arius and Macedonius.

        2.  Defends the fundamental truths of the Scriptural doctrine of God.

      4. The Athanasian Creed

        1. Origin is obscure.

        2. Defends against Arius, Nestorius and Eutyches (and others).

    4. The Great Schism

      1. Creeds did not prevent.

      2. Divided the Eastern (or Greek) Church from the Western (or Latin) Church.

      3. Political reason.

        1. Can be traced to reforms of Emp. Diocletian (AD 284-305).

        2.  Divided Roman Empire into East and West.

        3. Each was under its own Imperator Caesar Augustus.

        4. Divided the Greek and Latin cultures.

      4. Mohammedan conquests of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch left patriarch of Constantinople and pope of Rome as chief political and ecclesiastical rivals in the church.

      5. Combination of personal rivalries, conflicting practices and doctrinal concerns, cultural differences lead to final division in 1054.

    5. After the Great Schism.

      1.  Papal power grew.

        1. Increasing weakness of Roman Empire.

        2. Active mission work by monks.

        3. Did not use to keep the church faithful to His Word.

        4. Errors grew in the church.

        5. Some tried to lead church back, e.g.:

          1. Peter Waldo (d. 1217)

          2. John Wiclif (d. 1384): in 1427, bones disinterred and burned to ashes. (aka John Wycliffe)

          3.  John Hus (d. 1415): burned at the stake.

      2. Reformation, e.g.

        1. M. Luther (95 Theses: October 31, 1517)

        2. Ulrich Zwingli (d. 1531): in Switzerland.

        3.  John Calvin (d. 1564): in Switzerland.

      3. Lutheran and Reformed (Protestants).

      4. Today, approximately 260 denominations large enough to be statistically significant (plus thousands of minor groups).

[1] Church and Ministry (Kirche und Amt), by C.F.W. Walther, trans. by J.T. Mueller, © 1987 The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

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