Page 5 - History of UB Church by A. Funkhouser Ver 1
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The Apostolic Church was the Christian organization that existed from the days of the apostles
to the so-called conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine, a period of more than three
centuries. There is excellent reason for the belief that it was made up only of converted men and
women, and that its government and worship were very simple. There was no liturgy, neither were
there any stately formalities, or any high-sounding ecclesiastical titles. Whoever believed the
Gospel with the heart and made public confession was baptized and received into the church. He
was then one of the brethren, and this term was applied without any discrimination as to wealth or
rank. The worship consisted in reading from the Scriptures, in sermons and exhortations, in the
singing of spiritual songs, in the relations of Christian experience, and in a simple celebration of the
ordinances established by Christ.

During these three centuries the primitive Christian Church was a positive power and irresistible
force. It endured persistent and bloody persecution, and yet it made no compromise with evil. The
Christian religion was preached almost everywhere, and was rapidly advancing to a general
conquest of the world, although this was taking place without recourse to physical might.

In the fourth century of the Christian era, the Roman empire was still by far the most dominant
political power on earth. The emperor Constantine accepted Christianity as a state religion. This
alleged conversion is one of the greatest frauds in all human history. Political expediency was
undoubtedly the commanding motive of this monarch. The Christian Church now became popular

and soon was growing wealthy. So long as paganism was in control, the grandees sneered at the
Christians. They now created high positions in the Church for the gratification of their pride and
power. Preaching ceased, new and strange doctrines came into vogue, while a petrified ceremonial,
elaborate yet empty, took the place of the primitive worship. The Church, as it was now
constituted, was made superior to the Bible, and to the mass of the people the latter became an
unknown book. This church of the Middle Ages was a veneered paganism. It made itself a supreme
political power, and as such it was nothing less than the Roman empire in a new form. Yet even
with the help of popes and kings, this political church ceased to expand and began to retreat. For
some time it was in great danger of being overthrown by Mohammedanism.

This dark age in the history of the Christian Church lasted many centuries. Yet all this while,
there were bands of Christians, sometimes numerous, who maintained the doctrine, discipline, and
spirit of the Apostolic Church. Their Christianity was a living protest against the corruption of the
papal system, which was willing to tolerate no other type than its own. These apostolic Christians
consequently drew upon themselves the wrath of the papacy, which was even worse than that of

The best known of the early Protestants are the Waldensees of the southeast of France. They
have had a continuous history for fifteen centuries, and have congregations in America.

Peter Waldo, a merchant of France, translated the Gospels into French, this being the first
translation of any part of the Bible into a modern tongue. Until now, and indeed for several more
centuries, the papal church used only a Latin version, which could be understood only by scholars.
It resisted any effort to place the Bible in the hands of the people generally.

About the year 1400 it is believed there were no fewer than 800,000 of the Waldensees. They
were most numerous in the south of France and the north of Italy, but had large congregations in

what was until a year ago the Austrian Empire. Their consistency was such as to force these words
of praise from a papal officer: "They are orderly and modest in their behavior. They avoid all
appearance of pride in dress. They neither indulge in finery of attire, nor are they remarkable for
being mean and ragged. They get their living by manual industry. They are not anxious about
amassing riches, but content themselves with the necessaries of life. Even when they work they
either learn or teach."

Peter Waldo died in Bohemia in 1180. That country became a stronghold of the early
Protestants, and in 1350 it contained 200 of their churches. In the fourteenth century their
greatest religious teacher was John Hus, who by means of the basest treachery was burned at the
stake by a papal council. This deed of infamy led to civil war in Bohemia, but the Hussite
commander-in-chief defeated every army sent against him. After his death, however, the papal

5 Apostolic Christianity before Otterbein
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