committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

CATECHISM

OF

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

 

Catholics

     Roman Catholics—This branch of the Catholic church grew out of the great apostacy which began in the early centuries and took shape about 250 A. D., with Cornelius, bishop of Rome, as leader. But it never reached the proportions of the papacy until 606-7 A. D., when Bonif ace the Third was declared universal bishop, with headquarters at Rome, and thus became the first pope.
     Greek Catholic—This body is sometimes called the Eastern Church and resulted from a division in the Roman Catholic church. The final action in this matter occurred in 1054, when Pope Leo IX. issued a formal sentence of ex-communication against the patriarch, Michael Cerularius. From this date they established headquarters at Constantinople. It is today divided into three branches, viz: Turkish, Russian and Greek.

 

Episcopal

     Protestant Episcopal—This body was born in England in the sixteenth century. It was brought about by Henry the VIII, king of England. He framed his first articles of belief, in 1537, which, properly speaking, might be denominated the beginning of this body. Reformed Episcopal—This is a branch of the Protestant Episcopal, and was led by the Rt. Rev. George David Cummins, of Kentucky, in opposing thc High-church tendency of that body. It bears date of November 10, 1873.

 

Methodist

     M. E. Church—This body was formed by John Wesley, an Episcopalian preacher. The development was gradual, but the beginning might be properly placed in England, in 1729 A.D.
     M. E. Church, South—This is a result of a division in the M. E. Church, over the slavery question in the United States, in 1844.
     Protestant Methodists—This body is the result of a division in the M. E. Church, in 1828. They hold to a parity in the ministry, and lay representation in their general bodies, which make up the main differences between them and the M. E. Church.
     Wesleyan Methodists—This body arose in this country in 1824, and is a branch of the M. F. Church. They split off because of the introduction of bishops into that body. They claim to stand with John Wesley, and quote his letter to Mr. Asbury as opposing bishops as follows:
     “One instance of this, your greatness, has given mc great concern. How can you, how dare you, suffer yourself to be called a Bishop? I shudder at the very thought. Men may call me a man, or a fool, or a rascal, or a scoundrel, and I am content; but they shall never, with my consent, call me a Bishop. For my sake, for God’s sake, for Christ’s sake, put a full end to this.”
     Calvinistic Methodists—It is known by all church historians that all Methodists who follow the teachings of Wesley, are Arminian in doctrine. Those following George Whitefield were Calvinists and are known as Calvinistic Methodists. The division occurred in England as far back as 1741 A. D.

 

Presbyterians

     The distinction of being founder of Presbyterianism has long been given to John Knox, of Edinburgh, Scotland. The rise of Presbyterianism was gradual, but it took shape about
1550 A. D.
     Old and New School Presbyterians—Both of these schools claim to be the real descendants of John Knox. About the only difference is that the Old School are more rigid, and might be styled “high church,” while the New School might be styled “low church,” and are more liberal.
     Associate Presbyterian Church — This branch of Presbyterianism had its origin in Scotland, in 1733 A. D. They also took the name of Seceders from the fact that it was a secession from the regular Presbyterian body, led by Rev. Ebenezer Erskine. A difference on the settlement of ministers seems to have been the cause of this movement. In 1746 A. D., a controversy arose in the new body in regard to the “Burgher’s Oath.” This brought about a division into “Burghers” and “Anti-Burghers.” In 1796 the Burghers split over the power of civil magistrates. One was known as “Old Light Burghers” and the other as “New Lights.” In 1806 a similar division took place in the ranks of the Anti-Burghers, forming the Old and New Lights Anti-Burghers. In 1751 the Anti-Burgher Synod arranged to send ministers to the United States. Gellatly and Arnot arrived here the next year and began work. The war of American Revolution left their numbers very much depleted. They rallied all their forces in 1782 and took the name of “Associate Reformed Presbyterian.” They still have a number of congregations in this
country. They sing Psalms altogether.
     Reformed Presbyterians or Covenanters—This body of people take their name from a church and state covenant to which they rigidly adhered. This document was first drawn up by an assembly of divines in 1643 and was put forth in the name of England, Ireland and Scotland, and was afterward ratified by the Parliaments of these countries.
     Cumberland Presbyterians — This body dates back to 1810. This movement grew out of the great revival of 1800. This body was constituted in a private house near the Cumberland River, in Middle Tennessee, by Revs. Finis Ewing, Samuel MeAdow and Samuel King. The organization took place in February, 1810, A. D.

 

Congregationalists

     This body of people is really an offspring of the Church of England or Dissenters from that body, and are sometimes called “Independents.” They arose in England in the latter part of the sixteenth century. They are Pedo-baptists, and hold to congregational church government. They are largely represented in this country.

 

Disciples or Campbellites

     This movement was begun by Thomas Campbell, a Seceder Presbyterian preacher, in 1808 A. D., and was consummated by his son, Alexander Campbell, in 1827 A. D.

 

Church of God

     This sect arose under the preaching of Rev. John Winebrenner, in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in the year-. 1829. They hold protracted meetings, camp meetings, experience meetings, anxious meetings, etc. They declare foot washing in church until the end of time and the Lord’s Supper to be taken sitting, and that after nightfall. They have Synods. Their slogan is: “There is but one true Christian church; that Christians ought not be to designated by any sectarian or human name; that they should have no creed or discipline but the Bible.”

 

Dutch Reformed Church

     This body of people was formed in Holland by William of Nassau, Prince of Orange. It became the state church of North Holland. They are Presbyterian in church government, and ultra-Calvinists in doctrine.

 

Christians or Christian Connection

     This body had its beginning in North Carolina, in 1793, in a secession from the M. E. Church. They claim no other code of doctrine, or rule of discipline except the New Testament. They are congregational in church government, but Unitarian in their views of the Deity.

 

Evangelical Association

     This body was constituted by Jacob Albright, in 1800 A. D. They are very much like the M. E. Church. They elect their bishops every four years.

 

Friends or Quakers

     This society was constituted in England by George Fox, about the middle of the seventeenth century. This people was early introduced into this country by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. They do not baptize, or take the Lord’s Supper, and hold that God, apart from His revealed word, communicates through the Spirit, a sufficient amount of knowledge for the salvation of all, as far as sin has made its inroads. They live largely in colonies and are very rigid in their morals. They oppose taking of oaths.

 

German Reformed Church

     This church claims as its founder, Ulrich Zwingli, the great Swiss reformer and contemporary of Luther. They were introduced into this country about 1720 A. D. They are Presbyterian in church government, and mild Calvinists in doctrine, and rather unstable in their tenets.

 

Shakers

This sect had its origin in Europe about the middle of the eighteenth century, and made its appearance in this country in 1774. Anne Lee is their great patron saint, whom they style as the “Elect Lady.” They claim the “first resurrection already past, and that they have power to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils.” In many things they are much like the Quakers, and have often been dubbed as “Shaking Quakers.”

 

Adventists

     There have been various advocates from time to time of the early advent of Christ. But properly speaking, this sect had its origin in the state of New York, in 1843, and is indebted to William Miller as its founder. At present they are known as “Seventh Day Adventists.” The three principal points of doctrine to which they hold are, the early coming of Christ, the second probation and annihilation of the wicked, and the seventh day Sabbath.

 

Universalists

This body of people is of recent date, having originated about one century ago. While this is true, it is also true that individuals have held to this doctrine from time to time for some centuries past. They deny the existence of a real literal devil or hell, and teach that all men will be saved. That Christ’s sufferings satisfied all demands, for the sinner.

 

United Brethren

     This sect originated in Moravia and is perhaps the oldest of modern Protestants. They trace their origin to John Huss, the Bohemian reformer. In a large measure they are orthodox.

 

United Brethren in Christ

     This sect arose among the Germans in Pennsylvania about 1760. They are Pedo-baptists, and Methodistic in their church government.

 

Other Religions

     Mormons—Like most institutions of this character, its rise was gradual. April, 1830, in the town of Manehester, New York, is most generally accepted as the time and place of its origin. They have a bible of their own, which is nothing but a fraud. It is a romance written by Solomon Spaulding, and secured by Joseph Smith, the founder of Mlormonism, and palmed off on his followers as a revelation from God. It purports to give a history of the lost tribes of Israel, identifying them with the North American Indians.

 

Swedenborgians

     This people was originated by Emanuel Swedberg (Swedenborg), in 1744. In doctrine, it is a conglomerate mess. The leading tenet is direct revelation, and no one can tell what will be claimed next as a direct revelation. This is doubtless the forerunner of the present day Spiritualism.

 

Mohammedans

     This church or religion was originated by Mohammed, who was born in Arabia, in the sixth century. Their bible is called the Koran. It contains a very good code of morals. This people is very extensive in many countries in the East, especially in the Holy Land.

 
 
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