With the Roman Catholic church coming into power in and around the fifth century and the Pope assuming the top leader position special councils were held., policies were set and problems resolved within that council.
These special councils grew into general councils or ecumenical councils. Through the centuries 21 of these councils were organized.
They were attended by archbishops, bishops, abbots, eventually cardinals, and they regulated, defined, reformed, confirmed, abolished and issued numerous decrees over various problems in these councils.
Christianity was rendered completely ineffectual by the countless changes introduced in the governing and operation of the church to carry out the purposes intended by our Lord. By the conclusion of the fourth century, only no more than a mere shadow remained of the ancient government of the church of our Lord. The Catholic Church would rein completely, unopposed until Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg Saxony now Germany on October 31 1517, Martin Luther is credited with starting the Reformation Movement.
Certain skilled men for that time period attempted at reform the Roman church. in their attempts to bring about a change these men separated themselves from the Roman church forming their own type of groups each with its own form of government and system of doctrines.
Martin Luther, 1483 to 1546
He was excommunicated from the Catholic church by the Pope.
John Calvin, (1509 to 1564)
Formed his own large congregation influencing many with his own brand of doctrine.
John Knox, (1505 to 1572)
Started the Presbyterian church in 1560.
The Baptist church came out of this era. John Smyth is generally considered to be the founder of the Baptist Church in Holland around 1607 In America the first Baptist Church was founded by Roger Williams at Providence, Rhode Island in 1639 A.D.
This precedence started by the Catholic Church, you could give a church a name of your own choosing made way for the tens of thousands of Christian oriented churches in this present day.
From Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 thesis to the door of All Saints’ Church in 1517 until now some 510 years later, individual church names are overwhelming. Another false groups are cults, nonsense promoted beliefs in the hundreds.
Charismatic men able to lead individuals and groups astray can be accounted for this perpetual onslaught of the New Testament. Those seeking the true church are perplex as which one is the right one.
The Restoration came about around 1898 and brought back a following of what the New Testament actually teaches. This time period was the emergence/return of the New Testament Church.
As the eighteenth century closed and the nineteenth arrived, in the United States, an intense interest in, and a great revival of religion arose. Serious and good men in various parts of the country were disenchanted with religious division among the various church groups. They had the desire and put forth the effort to bring back the teachings of the New Testament.
- James O’Kelly (1757 to 1826)
- Elias Smith and Abner Jones
- Barton Warren Stone (1772 to 1844)
- Thomas Campbell (1763 to 1854)
- Alexander Campbell (1788 to 1866)
More in depth study is given in the article, The Restoration. An article is next on The Reformation.