Journeying back to the first century AD 32 a momentous event occurred, Christ ascended to heaven Acts 1:9 and in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The doors of this new church were opened, Acts 2:38.
It was prophesied in Isaiah 2:2 the Lord’s House (the church) would be established in the last days, (KJV):
- 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
In Hebrews 1:2 (KJV)
- 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.
The early Church was started and grew with special gifs given by God to certain men, But these were to be temporary, because the New Testament hadn’t been put together yet. It took until the end of the first or beginning of the second century for the various books to be assembled, forming the New Testament.
In Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV) we note these special gifts:
- 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
- 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;
Gifts, Tongues, Wisdom Given, 1 Corinthians 12:1, 7-11 (NASB)
- 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts,brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
- 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
- 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
- 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
- 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
- 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
These gifts were taking away when the New Testament was put together, because the New Testament has all instructions needed for life on earth and eternal life.
The predictions of the removal of these special gifs, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (KJV)
- 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
- 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
- 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. But when that which is perfect is come, the New Testament, word of God then that which is in part shall be done away, gifts.
As the end of the second century approached city congregations began to take over outlying local churches which should of remained self ruling, as all Churches of Christ are self ruling, Autonomous.
Along too in this time, the second century, We begin to find congregations headed by a single bishop, one bishop assuming more influence took control over others of that church. But to note firmly a plurality of bishops was set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, each to guide the flock of that local church, each having equal rights as a churches bishops, no one bishop becoming the head bishop. Again as noted in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, a plurality of bishops is set forth for a congregation.
Matthew foretells of continued attacks in Matthew 7:15-16 (KJV).
- 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
- 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Paul predicted in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV)
- 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
- 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
As bishops of major Christian influence areas were elevated above other bishops they were given the title of, “Metropolitan.” Cities like Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, Jerusalem and Constantinople had bishops who came to hold leadership positions for the whole church. The bishop of Rome eventually claimed and was recognized as the universal father or pope of all churches.
As history has revealed the Early New Testament church evolved into the apostatized Roman Catholic church, with the Pope assuming the top leader position.