Pristine Grace

The Travail of Christian History
by Bob Higby

The Travail of Christian History

     The history of formal Christian witness is rich with extreme sorrow and disappointment. The record of what we know as 'Christianity' is an entity that reminds us, more than anything else, of the truth expressed by the Psalmist that man's days are filled with trouble and sorrow (Ps. 90:10). After the great apostasy prophesied by Paul to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 came to fruition, mankind experienced (though not usually acknowledged!) a horrible event characterized by the greatest time of trouble mankind has known or will ever know (Dan. 12:1). This is the great tribulation, so unrecognized and passed over by ignorant humans. The incredible and 'foolish' gospel revealed to Paul, which was and is the ultimate revelation of truth by God in all history past, present, or future; was trampled underfoot by wicked and ungrateful men. How could members of the human race that 'accepted the word with joy' (Mk. 4:14) end up fighting against the gospel with all their might? This is the mystery of iniquity!

    The scholars of Christianity search for and covet an indisputable and documented succession of continuous witnesses to gospel truth in history. Reformed theologians are certainly no exception to this rule. Both confessional Reformed / Presbyterian teachers AND 'trail of blood' Baptist nonconformists have earnestly sought to find such a line of faithful testimonies. But there is no such documented line of witnesses! Men search in vain for such proof of man's loyalty to the gospel. Anyone who claims that such an unbroken succession of written truth exists is promoting historical revisionism. There is a great desire to bolster a notion of historical loyalty by a large number to the doctrine of free and sovereign Grace. This event never took place.

    We do not have the written testimony of many gospel believers throughout Christian history. The Papacy MAY possess some of their writings sealed in their vaults, although there is certainly no guarantee of this speculation. But if we examine the published writings of what are commonly known as the 'fathers' of Christianity after the apostles, we come up mostly empty on the gospel. Reformed and Lutheran scholars have taken mere snippets of gospel language in these writings and promoted them as evidence that the 'fathers' were loyal to the gospel itself! But this claim of loyalty is baseless. Unless the PRIMARY passion of an ordained teacher is the gospel of justification by grace through faith in Christ's person and work, in the context of Divine election, he is not speaking the truth. He is rather speaking awful lies and deception leading many persons to damnation.

     Justin Martyr had and wrote NO truth of the gospel whatsoever. He promoted the deceptive lies of free-will Platonism in his first Apology. No scholar of institutional Christianity will admit and confess this fact. If such an awful admission of the truth actually materialized, teachers would have to admit that their notion of the 'pure and absolute truth' of the confessions is false. The Protestant confessions contain eloquent defenses of gospel truth--but are at the same time contrary to the gospel in many elements of sacramental and nomian baggage that distort the glory of pure and exalted Grace.

     No published 'church father', especially from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, promoted the true and unadulterated gospel with holy passion! When will we finally admit this truth? Until we do, little progress can be made toward recovering the doctrine of the apostles.