By Walid Shoebat (Shoebat Exclusive)
Would having a bust of Obama constitute apostasy? No, so long you do not worship Obama.
When I speak of the Great Apostasy, most think that I am speaking of the “falling away” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2.
I am speaking of the claim that the Church went apostate right after the New Testament. That claim of “Great Apostasy” on the one side says that the Church veered extensively from the original doctrines and went into practicing water sprinkling instead of full emersion, Mary Worship, veneration of icons, and the veneration of saints and even praying to them and that the Eucharist is definitely adding pagan practices to what was clearly not in Scripture.
Rather than get into the details of each issue many present as “apostasy,” lets ask some serious questions, after all, these issues form the centerpiece of one of the most prevalent interpretive frameworks for understanding the history of the Church, that at some point in time, the Church before the reformers showed up, went apostate and is why we had to have Luther and Zwingli.
The dilemma in this proposition is that the restorationist movements, including the Churches of Christ and Seventh-Day Adventists, The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses which were sects that originated as part of the same movement, base their doctrines on similar claims, that since this is a fact, there is much in common between orthodox evangelicals and such rejected cults.
This view, regardless of what is presented from history, is convinced; despite that they could never find a historian who would agree with them, that from the inception of Christianity and throughout history there is no evidence either archeological or historic to support the claim that the Church evolved into what they deem pagan practice.
So the traditionalist, both Catholic and Orthodox argue that from the very earliest of the Church Fathers — stemming from the Didache (c. A.D. 70s), talk of Baptism by effusion (pouring) as a valid alternative to immersion. Clement of Rome (c. A.D. 70s) argues for authority by apostolic succession; or Ignatius of Antioch (c. A.D. 107), who clearly states his belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and unequivocally places local authority in the hands of a single, pastoral bishop.
But even then, proponents of the “Great Apostasy” theory still, argue that this alone demonstrates that the Church had already fallen away from “biblical truth,” even that the historic evidence that is presented is within the lifetimes and memories of the Apostles and within the era of New Testament authorship.
To combat that volume of evidence, the promoters of the “Great Apostasy” theory would then even reject such writings or re-interpret them, arguing that, since these doctrines does not fit the correct biblical interpretations, that they too prove that apostasy began as soon as the New Testament was complete or closely after when Constantine took his office.
The other side contends that such understanding, is such, because these contenders of this “Great Apostasy” theory use ‘private’ interpretation of Scripture, and that this has nothing to do with contradicting Scripture, and the cycle of debate still goes on issues from Peter being the Rock to Purgatory which was in the Book of Maccabees since they differ on the canon.
But the dilemma is that, what about Christians like us, who came out of Islam. It did not matter to us when we either spoke to Lutheran or Catholic regarding the doctrine of the Trinity, both presented the Bible to refute us.
But when we said that the Bible was corrupt, both asked: produce to us an original Bible that we may compare?
And since our minds were infused with this claim of “corruption” etched into our psyche, the Christian, both brands, Protestant and Catholic, presented us with primary sources or eyewitness testimony, of the early Christian to support the view that Christianity has always taught this since it was also practiced throughout Christian history.
One can never claim a practice of any faith if one cannot find a historic or an archeological reference to such faith. And if such faith was only practiced purely during the writ of its sacred text, it becomes an obscure cult that is void of the miraculous hand of God, who failed to see to it that it succeeds. Judaism succeeded and is why it’s from God. Christianity succeeded in the same way.
Yet we as Muslims still maintained that the “apostate” Catholic Church altered and corrupted documents and falsified all the historical evidence to support many false theologies, including but not limited to the Crucifixion and the Trinity.
And today, the proponents of this “Great Apostasy” theory practice the same technique as does the Muslim, he would say to the Catholic that the “apostate” Catholic Church altered and corrupted documents and falsified all the historical evidence to support sprinkling instead of full emersion, Mariology, icons, and the veneration of saints and even praying to them, and they added the practice of the Eucharist which is definitely adding pagan practices to what was clearly not in Scripture.
The Muslim view of the Great Apostasy vs. the anti-Catholic Protestant view of the Great Apostasy, while they differ in that Islam included much more in doctrinal issues, fully agrees with the Muslim, that Catholic history was corrupted.
While to the Muslim, the Bible itself got corrupted, to the Protestant, the correct interpretation was corrupted, and if the Muslim says the history was corrupted, many on the Protestant camp would agree, including but not limited to Christian militarism, the justification of Crusades and the authority of Rome.
But then we have another dilemma and a question that is not easily answered; Christianity is such a faith that follows the pinnacle of logic and evidence what I was first introduced to when I reviewed Christianity was what I term as MAHPS (Manuscript, Archeological, Historical, Prophetic and Scientific) evidence.
These five pillars is a concept that blew Islam out of the water and every cult that goes with it. So now that instead of the five pillars of Islam we argued with the Muslim, until of course, we showed no allegiance to certain denominations and many of us hated Martin Luther viewing him as a lunatic. Anyone who would study the historic Luther instead of the Church taught Luther would be abhorred to read The Jews and Their Lies or to see his table talk foulmouthed heresies.
And this sets a major dilemma to the x-Muslim in which we ask; have we fled from the pit of faith without historic evidence to enter a faith that is also void of historic evidence, lost, manipulated, corrupted and changed? That now we must believe that the true Church was lost to perhaps glean it from the Cathars and the Albiginsians who were historically knows for their heresy of Manichaeism?
Delusion stems from assertions and assertions are unfounded because they do not follow the most basic laws of evidence and authority. Such is the Muslim, the Pagan, the Mormon, the Seventh Day Adventist and the Jehovah’s Witness, and so it was with us, the Muslims, but should this also seep into the Orthodox Bible believing Christian? Unfortunately, it does.
So I ask the world, is there a response? When and how did this “Apostate Church” apostatize from “biblical truth”? Who conspired throughout the centuries to falsify all the historical evidence to support Rome, and why did Rome then not also alter the biblical texts to support such doctrines when we had Paul write an entire Epistle to the Romans when right in chapter 1 Paul addresses “to all that be in Rome beloved of God destined to be saints” (Romans 1:7)? It was Rome that was destined not Geneva. Was this verse added by Rome?
Better yet, as the Muslim argues, that Jesus was not the Son of God, why then did the Jews not alter the verses pertaining to the Son of God to shut the mouths of Christians?
Even the Quran itself and whomever was its luciferian author, knew that such logic accusing the Bible of corruption will not stand, it never once alluded to the Bible as textually corrupted, but interpretively corrupted, which is exactly what the proponent of this “Great Apostasy” theory promoters believe. “The Catholic” they say corrupted the message but not the text. At least this is what the more educated and seasoned Muslim debaters would argue, which is much of the same arguments of the Mormon and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
So the issue is an issue of interpretation and not corruption.
My detractors tell me day and night with comments like “stick with refuting Islam” and “stay away from this divisive talk”, and I ask; isn’t clearing error suppose to be unifying? Wasn’t Jesus focused on sin while everyone else were focused on defeating the Romans?
Yet we ask: Should we concentrate on the Romans [Muslims] and forget that slander is one of the gravest sins?
Such an admonition only comes from the “Great Apostasy” proponents.
By their own logic, which by the way the Muslim would also have to confront another major question that is not easily answered: Did the Holy Spirit, fail to preserve the Church whom the Holy Spirit Himself promised would guide His people into all truth (John 16:13), especially since that the Bible itself says that the Church will be “the pillar and foundation of truth” of 1 Timothy 3:15?
Is this why we are in such a mess in which everyone is a theologian and a bishop? And if we do not like something, we find ways to rebel and write it off. So we categorize everything we reject, as “this is Old Testament” accept of course, the pastor on the pulpit would insist that the 10% tithe traveled miraculously to the New. We say “this doesn’t count” and that is “only for a specific time” so then, lets keep trimming from the bread of life until there is hardly anything left but crumbs, so that the faith is all settled in the Four Spiritual Laws, a booklet, as the Muslim would do, who says “recite this formula,” and “repeat after me and live forever”.
And if some pastor makes grave sins and utters heresies, he is has a “sin problem”, he “fell” he “made a mistake”, but if the Pope makes a mistake, is because he is Antichrist.
I did not become a Christian from a Billy Graham Crusade. I was not one who answered an altar call, I followed “seek and you shall find” “knock and the door will be opened …”
I spent decades seeking, still yet even seeking more and I find, apiece here, the fountain Christ that He provided never ends and I am always quenched when I seek, and never thirst.
It was after all us, the Muslims who contended that there was an amalgamation of Christian truth that was mixed with elements of paganism like sun worship which started with Constantine who embraced Christianity merely as a political ploy to declare himself the head of the Roman Church and introduced worship of images — both icons and statues to substitute for pagan idolatry through Mariology and the Eucharist to replace sun disk worship. While these remained in me when I continued my faith attending the Baptist and the non-denominational, these remained, not because I was told by some loon on TV to believe this, but that this was an etched signature of a cult that is so demonic we called Islam.
I have much to repent from.
And then I challenged the best apologists to prove that the Catholic Church committed mass murder in Europe, wiping out as many as 50 million Christians. I presented my challenge to the best debaters they can offer, Mr. James White. He of course, retreated. Never have I seen such a debate take place. Why? Its because White knows its a false claim.
These would look like fools advocating that the Catholic Church massacred millions of Bible Believing Christians.
This is history’s greatest slander, ever.
Of course, there are the mad who lump the Manichaeans, Arians, Cathars, Priscillianists, Paulicians, Bogomiles, Waldensians, Albigensians, Lollards and Hussites as ‘Bible believing Christian’. Eliminate these and the “millions” figure is not supported by any serious historian.
The beauty of history is that while it goes through revisionism, it’s difficult to manipulate without notice and is why such authors resort to theologians proclaiming them as historians.
I had even tracked countless self-ordained historians and their publications who write historic fabrications to only find out they were theologians guised as historians. Its a free country and there are no watchdog who would execute you for lying. Peter De Rosa (aka Neil Boyd) was not a historian but an X-priest, novel writer and Professor of Metaphysics. John Wesley was not a historian but a theologian. Alexander Hislop was not a historian but a Pastor of East Free Church of Arbroath in Scotland and the core of information that accuses the church of paganism stems from this man who was totally refuted by one who followed him Ralph Woodrow. When Woodrow wrote his “Babylon Mystery Religion” so many consumed the fabrications and when he later repented and recanted these errors, he wrote “The Babylon Connection?” so few read it and many even gave it a low review.
Then you have Schmucker was not a historian but a Professor of Theology. William Craig Brownlee was not a historian but a reverend and an American clergyman and professor of languages. Joseph Martin McCabe was not a historian but an x-Catholic priest. Charles Buck was not a historian but a reverend and author of Theological Dictionary. Vergerius was not a historian but a religious ‘reformer’. Thomas Armitage was not a historian but a Protestant theologian. George Bourne was not a historian but a pastor. Cushing B. Hassell was not a historian but a writer.
Dr. M. Geddes was not a historian but a Chaplain. John B. Wilder was not a historian but a writer. Taylor Bunch was not a historian but a Prophecy author.
Nathaniel Crouch (pseud. Robert Burton) was not a historian but a writer. Henry Southwell was not a historian but a reverend. John Wylie was a not a historian but minister of the Free Church of Scotland. J. M. Carroll was not a historian but a Southern Baptist minister. Avro Manhattan was not a historian but a British writer.
Charles Chiniquy was not a historian, but a Canadian x-Catholic priest who was twice suspended from his priestly ministry (for moral turpitude). R. W. Thompson, was not a historian but a politician. John William Bowden was not a historian but theologian. Walter j. Veith is not a historian or a “world acclaimed international lecturer” but a zoologist. Frances L. Carroll, was not a historian but simply a Jehovah’s Witness and a housewife. All that funneled into a guy named David A. Plaisted who is not a historian but a professor in the Department of Computer Science.
Do any of these gain recognition from real historians? No.
The very ones who accused the Church of fabrication, provided the fabricated books to make a grand claim of “Great Apostasy”.
And here we are, instead of fighting Islam we fight over an icon, a two-dimensional image (portrait), or a three-dimensional image (statue) depicting Jesus, Mary, Saints and Angels. The “icon” comes from the Greek word “εἰκών”, which simply means “image”.
Whether one argues that these are worshipped or not is not the issue here. The Church throughout history has banned icons when they noticed it went too far and then brought them back. People go too far on everything and we have Holy Spirit madness with false healings and manifestations of the Holy Spirit on stages galore. I veer from all nonsense.
But as far as the icon issue, Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who was known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. Gives us a look into the Temple when it was desecrated by Antiochus:
“Antiochus therefore abhorring this, their contrariety to all other people, used his utmost endeavour to abrogate their laws. To that end he sacrificed a great swine at the image of Moses, and at the altar of God that stood in the outward court, and sprinkled them with the blood of the sacrifice.” (Diodorus Siculus. The Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books Volume 2, Page 544)
An icon, a statue of Moses on a donkey, you might ask?
The icon stems from the Hebrew version of Exodus 4:20 reads:
“And Moses took his wife and children, mounted them on an ass, and set out for Egypt with the staff of God in his hand”.
And isn’t our Messiah also known to have rode the donkey:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy king cometh unto thee, He is triumphant and victorious, lowly and riding upon an ass: even upon a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Would it be prohibited to have a statue of Jesus in a church if Moses riding on a donkey in the Temple was not? And should such prohibition include the brazen serpent on a pole and the angels on the Ark of the Covenant as idols?
So they say that those images are exemptions created by God’s order. Would God allow an exemption of an idol, indeed if an image always constitutes an idol?
Would Moses riding a donkey not constitute an idol and only a Mary statue does?
And why didn’t Jesus crack the whip over such images as Moses in the Temple or for the Pharisees having a tradition of the “seat of Moses” which by the way was God ordained and these were never even mentioned in the Old Testament Scripture?
These were not even written about in the Old Testament, yet Jesus spoke of it. Jesus also never condemned the Temple and yet they had icons of Moses when nowhere in the Bible does it discuss such icons. Jesus was busy whipping corruption and the ones who worshipped Caesar and not the icons; Jesus did not condemn the image of Cesar, He prohibited worshipping it.
Not everything needs to be in Scripture but that everything we do must agree with Scripture.
Prior to the 1930`s, most scholars were convinced that ancient Jewry were iconoclast and had produced no art. As a result, the discovery in 1932 of the biblical wall-paintings decorating the third century synagogue of Dura Europos, Syria stunned the academic world.
They had the Torah ark, Abraham standing firm before the altar, knife raised, his back to the viewer. The Early Church emerged from Israel, and we inherited the Israelite’s ancient love for icons. Like the early Jewish synagogues, the catacombs and the most ancient Christian Churches were filled with holy icons.
While the Messianic wants to reflect to the original Church, he worships in Hebrew, but then what does he do with Israelite icons?
Even three-dimensional icons can be traced all the way back to the Tabernacle and the Temple in ancient Israel, and their beauty continues to the present day within Orthodox Christianity.
In ancient Israel, during the time of Moses, God commanded His people to fill the Tabernacle with icons of angels, both 2D and 3D. The Ark of the Covenant was adorned with three-dimensional cherubim, while two-dimensional images of angels were woven into the tapestry.
Approximately 1000 years before the birth of Christ, the first Temple in Jerusalem was built by King Solomon. This holy construction project included some impressive golden statues:
“Inside the inner sanctuary, he made two cherubim standing majestically, each ten cubits high. One wing of the cherub was five cubits, and the other wing of the cherub, five cubits. It was ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. The other cherub was ten cubits; both cherubim were of the same size and shape. The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was the other cherub. Then he set both cherubim inside the inner room; and they stretched out the wings of the cherubim, so the wing of one touched one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall. Their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. He also overlaid the cherubim with gold.” (3 Kingdoms 6:22-27. The Orthodox Study Bible [p. 395]. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)
In the United States, images of Moses and the tablets of the Decalogue also claim biblical roots to U.S. law (as on the pediment of the Supreme Court building in Washington).
Yet only the Catholic and the Orthodox are idol worshippers when fact is, many make idols and even worship them, from money to lousy holywood icons to even lousy presidents, like the one we have. Its alright to have the bust of Mary, so long you do not worship her.