Satan, the archenemy of man, is always in the details. Satan has been scheming and lying from the beginning, stealing as many souls from God as he can. Look at the world around us. Look at the evil being lived out every day.
Murders around the world, the multiple shootings of co-workers, ex co-workers, classmates, the murders of children by parents, parents murdered by children, and the murders of police officers are all examples of Satan's involvement. The abortions/murders of millions of unborn children around the world, and the terrorist murders in every land, are more of the details involving the enemy of man. Children, women, the elderly and infirm getting abused daily across this country and world, are more examples of the devil's handiwork. The incredible horrors of the Romans, the Roman Catholic Crusaders, the Nazis, the Communists, and Islamic hordes, gave the Devil hundreds of millions of murdered lives to celebrate over.
I want you to hear and understand that for as evil and demonic as all that listed above, there is an even more insidious evil being perpetuated throughout the world. That is in how easily the enemy of mankind seems to have captured the hearts and souls of billions who claim to believe in, love, and obey God. We know of the devil's lying from the beginning. The liar and "the father of lies" has been turning souls from God at an alarming rate ever since. Remember the Lords' Word as He said "on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Those words are still true to this day, although many proclaiming to be Gods' people, have walked unawares into the waiting room at the Gates of Hades. Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 13:50; 22:13 and Luke 13:28 all speak of the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" that will plague those who have been duped by the devil.
The Christian Church, established by the Apostles, was divided into five administrative districts, each with its own bishop: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Each district operated independently and democratically without infringing upon one another's internal affairs. As a result, the first eight centuries of Christianity, were united by the common decisions of regional councils, as well as seven "ecumenical" councils. There were various heresies spawned from the great deceiver and introduced into the early church, trying to turn the church from the path of truth. These were all met and disposed of by the Ecumenical Councils.
Two events occurred early in the life of Christianity, showing what real power Satan has over man. The first event took place within the early Christian church. For the first eight centuries of Christian history, the entire church, save for the heretics, embraced and defended the New Testament Apostolic faith. Nearly 300 years after the deaths of the Apostles, the bishop of Rome slowly began to assume to himself a role of superiority over the other four bishops. The problems between the Roman Popes and the rest of the church continued to grow, eventually leading to Pope Leo IX claiming the authority to decide who should be the bishop of Constantinople, in marked violation of historical precedent. No longer operating within the government of the New Testament Church, the Pope appeared to be seeking by political means to bring the whole church under his domination. In the most incredible scheme used, Pope Leo IX sent a Cardinal to slap a document on the altar of the Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople during the Sunday worship to excommunicate the Patriarch of Constantinople from the church. The ultimate consequence of the Popes actions was that the whole Roman Catholic Church divided itself from the New Testament faith of Orthodox Christianity. Reading Luke 14:11 we are warned "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
The other event took place in the seventh century, when a person named Mohammed appeared on the scene. He, through murder and terrorism, started his own religion which he called Islam. He spent three years in Mecca trying to convince others he was visited by an angel. When the peoples of Mecca opposed and wanted to put him to death, he moved to Medina, and started Islam by murdering all who did not agree with him. Under his direction a violent, murderous assault was commenced against the Christian Church, and his own peoples as well.
All that is listed above concerning the New Testament Apostolic Church, the Roman Catholic Church and Islam are historical facts that people can research for themselves. I seek to open peoples hearts and souls to truly receive God into their hearts, and no longer be fooled by Satan.
Eric R. Brant of Belpre is a member of St. James The Brother of the Lord. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.