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The Persecuted Church


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Was a Rome the headquarters of the early church and was the Jerusalem council called by Rome or Peter?

In the beginning of the church (first ten years) all the believers were Jews. The church began and was established in Jerusalem where Jesus did a good portion of his preaching and was crucified and raised.

The gospel went out from Jerusalem  "you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" Acts 1:8

Luke 24:47-48 that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (see Acts 10:36-37)

It wasn’t until years later that the gospel went to the Gentiles Acts 8:1 “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

It was Saul who was given the commission who bought the gospel to the Gentile regions, even Rome., Paul tells his story to Agrippa Acts 26:19-20 "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea , and then to the Gentiles."

The "Jerusalem Council" in Acts 15 shows us a number of things- first, Rome was not headquarters of the Church; Jerusalem was the focus (not the head) because the Jewish leadership had to decide on how to act with the Gentiles being saved in great numbers A serious doctrinal disagreement had arisen with the Gentiles beginning to be saved. Paul was present because he was the main apostle sent out to the gentiles with Barnabas. Then the Apostles and Elders met to consider the matter (15:6). If Peter had any special authority above all the other apostles, he would have called the Council together, officiated at the meeting, and given his final judgment in these matters by himself, but he did not. There was no Pope over the church then. James, who was the pastor of the Jerusalem church stood up and became the central figure in this council, and his appeal was in agreement with the other elders, it was to the Word of God and the Spirit (Acts 15:13-21) not to the church itself.

It was not until the early 300’s the church stopped hiding underground from persecution and became a legal entity that the power was shifted to pagan Rome, specifically under Constantine the conqueror. The Pope became like the Caesars before him in Rome, only now with a Christian veneer. First there was little influence, but the doors slowly swung open to allow the pagans to enter the church through water baptism instead of a confession of faith. The church mixed other teachings not found in the Bible and polluted itself to becoming religious and giving meaning to the outward rituals not understanding their spiritual intent.

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