The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)
(Edition 2.0 19960622-20000122)
It is conveniently assumed by the Sabbath-keeping churches of the last two centuries that the central theme and identifying mark of Christianity was the Sabbath and that the churches throughout history were persecuted for their adherence to the Sabbath. This position is at best only partly true and at worst hides the true fundamental aspects of the faith for which the Church of God was persecuted and those other aspects which form the signs of the elect. This paper shows that there are in fact a series of signs identifying the elect and which were used to isolate them and to extract them from society over the periods of persecution generally referred to as the Inquisitions.
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The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God
In the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122) it was demonstrated that there was a continuous chain of Sabbath-keeping churches throughout history that was in more or less continuous opposition to, and persecuted by, the mainstream church system. It is conveniently assumed by the Sabbath-keeping churches of the last two centuries that the central theme and identifying mark of this system was the Sabbath and that the churches were persecuted for their adherence to the Sabbath. This position is at best only partly true and at worst hides the true fundamental aspects of the faith for which the Church of God was persecuted and which aspects form the other signs of the elect. It will be seen from this paper that there are in fact a series of signs identifying the elect and which were used to isolate them and to extract them from society over the periods of persecution generally referred to as the Inquisitions. The mainstream orthodox system used many of the identifying marks of the faith to gather information and evidence against the elect in order to destroy them.
The twentieth century Churches of God made the fundamental error of assuming that what they understood was better or more complete than the understanding of the churches of previous eras. That, in fact, proved to be the undoing of the latter day churches and stemmed from their ignorance of the doctrines of the earlier churches and the application of the doctrine of their faith. It is in fact true that the latter eras displayed all of the characteristics of both the Sardis and the Laodicean systems (Rev. 3:1-6,14-22). Out of this ignorance there will emerge a true Philadelphian system (Rev. 3:7-13) which has little strength but which is faithful to the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
Exactly what does the Bible say are the signs of the elect and what role does the Sabbath play in that process of identification?
The Sabbath as one of the signs of the Church
The Sabbath is the fourth commandment. It is examined at length in the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256); see also The Sabbath (No. 31). It is found at Exodus 20:8,10,11; and Deuteronomy 5:12.
The Sabbath is listed as a sign of God’s people. It is a sign between us and God who makes us holy.
Exodus 31:12-14 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. (KJV)
It is often and incorrectly assumed that the Sabbaths referred to here are merely the plural of the singular weekly Sabbath. That is incorrect. The Sabbaths are extended to the entire range of worship over the Holy Days listed as God’s Sabbaths. Being put to death is spiritual.
The Sabbath is not exclusively a sign of the Church. It is also a sign of the covenant people not yet called into the Church. If it were the sign of the elect, then Judaism would be part of the first resurrection, which it is not.
The other signs of the elect
The second sign is the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Exodus 13:9-16 9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. 10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. 11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, 12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD'S. 13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem. 14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: 15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. 16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt. (KJV)
The Passover and Unleavened Bread are the second sign of the covenant people. This extension of the fourth commandment (as we saw above) is to mark the laws of God in our actions (hands) and in our minds (foreheads, between the eyes). It is the sign of the law of the Lord (Deut. 6:8) and of His redemption of Israel (Deut. 6:10). From the New Testament, this status extends to the Gentiles that are in Christ (Rom. 9:6; 11:25-26). The understanding of the Passover in the Churches of God in the twentieth century has been seriously in error. It is assumed quite incorrectly that the Jews had it wrong and that the Passover was on the night of the fourteenth of Nisan and the Night to Be Much Remembered was on the fifteenth and that this night was wrongly termed the Passover by the Jews. This has been examined in detail and the entire structure of false premises on which it rests is examined in the Annex to the paper The Passover (No. 98).
These signs of the law, the Sabbath, and the Passover are specifically designed to defend against idolatry (Deut. 11:6). These two signs are the seal on the hand and the forehead of the Lord’s elect. With the Holy Spirit they form the basis of the sealing in Revelation 7:3 of the last days. The sign of the elect is thus centred on the first commandment. Christ said You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you worship (or serve) (Mat. 4:10; Lk. 4:8). Service is worship in biblical terms.
Atonement is another sign of the covenant people. Failing to keep Atonement is punished by removal from one’s people; in other words, from the covenant body of Israel which is the church (Lev. 23:29).
The initial and primary sign of the covenant people was circumcision (Gen 17:14). This was removed to the state of baptism (see the paper Repentance and Baptism (No. 152)).
Baptism in the Holy Spirit, then, is the primary sign of the elect through the blood of Jesus Christ into the one body (Mat. 28:19; Acts 1:5; 11:16; Rom. 6:3; 1Cor. 12:13; Heb. 9:11-28).
The common doctrinal position of the Church
The common doctrine of the elect can be seen from the earliest times. The nearest we can get to the apostle John is through the writings of the disciples Polycarp and Irenaeus. The earliest view is that the Bible and the New Testament church had a distinctive view of the Godhead that has been consistent for some two thousand years.
The centrality of their faith was their doctrine of God. The Sabbath, the New Moons and the Feasts were distinctive aspects of the worship of that God. This was also accompanied by the adherence to the food laws on a fairly widespread or general basis (see also the paper The Food Laws (No. 15) ). Thus the Sabbath and all that flowed from it was a sign of worship of the one true God (Jn. 17:3). This God, Eloah, was exactly the same as that worshipped by Judah and revealed in the Old Testament. To the early church, the Bible was the Old Testament which was interpreted and explained by the New Testament (see the paper The Bible (No. 164)). The early church doctrines of God have been examined in the papers Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127) and also On Immortality (No. 165), The Deity of Christ (No. 147), The First Commandment: the Sin of Satan (No. 153) and also Consubstantial with the Father (No. 81).
Biblical basis of the common doctrine
The biblical basis of the common doctrine is centred on the first and great commandment (cf. the paper The First Great Commandment (No. 252). In this way we see that the fourth commandment is merely a fourth facet of a greater structure. The Sabbaths and Holy Days in turn are substructures of the fourth commandment and interrelate to the other commandments. This is examined in Statement of Beliefs of the Christian Faith (No. A1).
The Church is committed to the keeping of the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
The first commandment is:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.
God the Father is the one true God (Jn. 17:3) and there is no elohim that is before or equal with Him. It is impermissible to worship or to pray to any other entity including Jesus Christ.
The second commandment is:
You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to those who love me and keep my commandments.
It is thus impermissible to make figures or likenesses of any description for use in religious worship or symbolism. The crucifix is thus forbidden to the Church as a symbol. The commandments themselves form part of the identification of the religious system and are thus all entrenched.
The third commandment is:
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
The name of the Lord God confers authority and hence this law deals not only with simple profanity but extends to the misuse of the authority of the Church and all those who purport to act at the direction of God through Jesus Christ.
The fourth commandment is:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
The seventh day Sabbath is thus mandatory to the faith. No Christian can serve God and fail to honour the Sabbath, known in the current calendar as Saturday. The establishment of another day of worship other than the seventh day not only breaches this commandment it becomes itself a symbol of idolatry being external to the express will of God. It is an act of rebellion and hence the equivalent of witchcraft (1Sam. 15:23). Linked with the second commandment, which entrenches the fourth, it becomes idolatry. The establishment of a calendar, which adjusts the week on a rotational basis, has the same effect.
These first four commandments determine the relationship of man to God and are identified under the first and major head of the law, namely:
you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, (and with all your strength; Mark 12:30). This is the great and first commandment (Mat. 22:37-38).
The absolute identification with God stems from the faithful adherence to these commandments and the avoidance of any action, which would prejudice them.
The fourth commandment is thus one of a series of four, which are integral to the first great commandment. Thus, from the mouth of Jesus Christ, God the Father is central to, and the primary point and end object of, the faith (Mat. 22:37-38; Mk. 12:30; Rev. 1:8). The knowledge of the One True God and His son Jesus Christ, whom He sent, is central to the receipt of eternal life (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20). The fourth commandment is thus not an end in itself but merely a primary indicator of the elect and the fact of their obedience to God.
The fourth commandment, extends to embrace the entire system of biblical worship of the New Moons, Feasts and Holy Days and also of tithing (see the paper Tithing (No. 161)) which relates to the system of firstfruits and the Covenant Harvest (see also the paper The Covenant of God (No. 152)).
We have seen the effects of the New Moons on God’s calendar (see the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156) ). The New Moons and the Feasts combine to make up the structure of the Government of God. The Sanhedrin, in the same way as the physical Temple and its priesthood, were the reflection of the celestial system (Heb. 8:5). However, we have an altar from which those who serve the tent (or physical structure) have no right to eat (Heb. 13:10). Thus, we have no lasting physical city but seek the city, which is to come. In the same way that the sacrifices are burned outside the city, so too was Christ sacrificed outside of the city and so we go forth outside the camp to bear similar abuse to that which he endured (Heb. 13:12-13).
So then we look to the example of our brethren of the past to see what they endured and for what they were punished. The early church doctrines are seen to be reasonably consistent if we can isolate fact from the propaganda of the mainstream system.
Application of these distinctive elements in the doctrines of the early Churches
The early church was exclusively Unitarian. The Gnostics and Modalists are not considered to be part of the Church. There is no evidence whatsoever that Christ or the apostles or their disciples were ever Binitarian or Trinitarian. Indeed, there is clear evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity was developed from the derived Binitarianism of the fourth century so-called Christians. The Trinitarian position, and also its incoherent predecessor, Binitarianism, was never held by the Sabbath-keeping church up until that time or indeed up until the Reformation some eleven centuries later. Binitarianism, in fact, came from the Modalism which is the doctrine of the worshippers of the god Attis in Rome (see the paper The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)).
Evidence from the History and the Persecution of the Church
The early Church
We know from the writings of Irenaeus (and from his predecessor Polycarp) that he and the Church were centrally Unitarian and that they believed that Christ was appointed an elohim and that the elect were to become elohim as Christ was with God. They believed that only God existed eternally and that he had nothing coeval with Himself. This is derived from Zechariah 12:8 and is found in Against Heresies.
Irenaeus says of God (Against Heresies, III, viii, 3):
For He commanded, and they were created; He spake and they were made. Whom therefore did He command? The Word, no doubt, by whom, He says, the heavens were established and all their power by the breath of His mouth [Ps. 33:6].
Irenaeus held that:
it is clearly proved that neither the prophets nor the apostles did ever name another God, or call [him] Lord, except the true and only God....But the things established are distinct from Him who has established them, and what have been made from Him who made them. For He is Himself uncreated, both without beginning and end, and lacking nothing. He is Himself sufficient for Himself; and still further, He grants to all others this very thing, existence; but the things which have been made by Him (ibid.).
Irenaeus extended the capacity to become God (theos or elohim ) to the Logos here as distinct from the other things established (ibid.). He had already established the position of God and the Son and those of the adoption as theoi or elohim and all sons of God from Book III, Chapter vi.
Therefore neither would the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles, have ever named as God, definitely and absolutely, him who was not God, unless he were truly God; nor would they have named any one in his own person Lord, except God the Father ruling over all, and His Son who has received dominion from His Father over all creation, as this passage has it: The Lord says unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool [Ps. 110:1]. Here the [Scripture] represents the Father addressing the Son; He who gave Him the inheritance of the heathen, and subjected to Him all His enemies...
Irenaeus went on to state that the Holy Spirit termed both Father and Son here as Lord. He held that it was Christ who spoke with Abraham prior to the destruction of the Sodomites and had received power [from God] to judge the Sodomites for their wickedness. And this [text following]:
does declare the same truth: "‘Thy throne, O God’ is for ever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God hath anointed Thee" [Ps. 45:6] For the Spirit designates both [of them] by the name of God [theos or elohim] - both Him who is anointed as Son and Him who does anoint, that is the Father. And again: "God stood in the congregation of the gods, he judges among the gods" [Ps. 82:1]. He [here] refers to the Father and the Son and those who have received the adoption; but these are the Church for she is the synagogue of God, which God - that is the Son Himself - has gathered by Himself of whom He again speaks: "The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken, and hath called the earth." [Ps. 50:1]. Who is meant by God? He of whom He has said, "God shall come openly, our God, and shall not keep silence;" [Ps. 50:3] that is, the Son who came manifested to men, who said, "I have openly appeared to those who seek Me not" [Isa. 65:1]. But of what gods [does he speak]? [Of those] to whom He says, "I have said, Ye are gods, and all sons of the Most High" [Ps. 82:6]. To those, no doubt, who have received the grace of the "adoption, by which we cry Abba Father" [Rom. 8:15] (Against Heresies, Bk. III, Ch. vi, ANF, Vol. I, pp. 418-419).
There is no doubt that Irenaeus had a subordinationist view of the Godhead and extended the term God (as theoi or elohim ) to include the Son and those also of the adoption. This is probably derived at least from Zechariah 12:8. He seems to indicate here that Christ gathered the elect, whereas we know from Scripture that it is God who gives the elect to Christ in order that they be gathered (Jn. 17:11-12; Heb. 2:13; 9:15). The exclusive use of the term to the physical elect may be incorrect given Irenaeus’ application here. The loyal Host are also included in the council from the understanding in Revelation 4 & 5. Thus the loyal Host are also the Ecclesia of God.
These positions are examined in the papers Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127) and also On Immortality (No. 165). It is also important to understand that the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul was considered to be a Godless and a blasphemous doctrine. This view was held to the point, that even when Sunday worship began to intrude on the church, as it did as early as 150 CE, from the evidence of Justin Martyr, we could still see that the doctrines of the Godhead and the resurrection were central and undisturbed. Thus, the Sabbath was denied before the Godhead and the resurrection in the earliest stages. This was to be reversed to the later position of the Godhead being impeached before the positions of the Sabbath and the Soul Doctrine.
Anders Nygren (Agape and Eros, Tr. by Philip S Watson, Harper Torchbooks, New York, 1969) understood the concept of eternal life in the church when he said:
The ancient Church differs most of all from Hellenism in its belief in the Resurrection. Christian tradition affirmed the 'Resurrection of the flesh,' which the Apologists opposed to the Hellenistic doctrine of the 'Immortality of the soul.' The antithesis was conscious and intentional, for at no point so much as this was their opposition to the Hellenistic spirit felt by the early Christians. The Platonic, Hellenistic doctrine of the Immortality of the soul seemed to the Apologists a godless and blasphemous doctrine, which above all they must attack and destroy (Justin Dial. lxxx. 3-4)
Their motto in this regard might well be Tatian's word: 'Not Immortal, O Greeks, is the soul in itself, but mortal. Yet it is possible for it not to die.' (Tatian Oratio ad Graecos, xiii. 1).
The difference between Christian and non-Christian in this matter was so great that belief in the 'Resurrection of the flesh' could become a shibboleth. One who believes in the 'Immortality of the soul' shows thereby that he is not a Christian. As Justin says: 'If you have fallen in with some who are called Christians... and who say that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians.' (Dial. lxxx. 4) (ibid., pp. 280-281).
Thus the Church denied the Immortality of the Soul – they were absolutely Unitarian subordinationist. They not only would have rejected the Trinity had it been advanced then, they perhaps would have also excommunicated anyone espousing that doctrine or any Ditheism evident from Gnostic circles. The Church was very tolerant, however, being of the view that heresies were allowed in order to show who in the Church had the approval of God (1Cor. 11:19). This they did through study (2Tim. 2:15, see KJV; RSV says do your best).
They also held the Old Testament to be Scripture and the New Testament to be interpretative of that Scripture. They kept the New Moons and the Feasts and we see that the Passover came into dispute in the second century, when the Easter system was introduced and began to displace Passover in what became known as the Quarto-deciman controversy (see the papers The Passover (No. 98) and The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277)).
The Church began to be persecuted and it came to be largely outside of the Roman Empire. Hence, it was outside the reach of the Orthodox church until the progressive conversion of the Arians, which lasted up until the eighth century and also from the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire in 590. The persecutions of the faith lasted over a period of time which encompassed the power and rule of the Holy Roman Empire from 590 to 1850 (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
American Adventism and the Churches of God in the USA over the last two centuries misapplied the dates of the Holy Roman Empire and the prophecy of the time, times and half a time or the 1,260 days. This misconstruction was largely through ignorance of European history and self-fulfilling false prophecy. This serious error had a significant effect on the false prophecy of the 1842-44 advent movement. This then resulted in another false doctrine called The pre-Advent Judgment (see the paper The Pre-Advent Judgment (No. 176)).
We know from the evidence of the Inquisitions what the doctrines of the Church were at the various stages of its distribution.
We can tell with certainty that the church was called, by the Catholic system, by various names in its different locations to disguise the widespread and uniform structure of its doctrines. However, the Church of God organisations had differing opinions as to its government and its emphasis (e.g. Presbyterian and Episcopalian in the Western Waldenses). We know that it was called Cathar or Cathari and hence Puritan in the English. It was also called Bulgar, Khazzar, Vallenses, Albigensian, Waldensian, Sabbatharier, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, Passaginians, among others. The term Sabbatharier seems to be a construction meaning Arian Sabbath-keepers.
We know that the commonality of views was generally understood and reflected itself in the vernacular language. For example, the term poor bugger in English is a common expression to convey sympathy for an unfortunate person undergoing some trial or torment. This is often confusing to modern Americans and even to Australians, as bugger and buggery have specific legal meanings relating to sodomy. The term, however, has another meaning which shows the application to the elect during the Inquisitions. The Oxford Universal Dictionary holds the term to be derived in the Middle English from the French bougre and the Latin Bulgarus or Bulgarian, or a heretic (or also usurer). It was held to be in reference to heretics to be used especially of the Albigenses . This was its first meaning. The second and pejorative meaning in relation to sodomy was a later term from 1555 and seemingly to denigrate the sect who had been persecuted for some three centuries. The term pauvre bougre or poor bulgar as applied to the Albigensians came to be in the English poor booger. The use as bogle or boggle in North English around 1505 is of uncertain derivation but came to be associated with phantoms and thence a quasi-proper name for the devil (hence, bogieman etc.). Certainly the term poor bugger had its origin in the Albigensian Crusades. However, one may be forgiven for asking what did the Bulgars have to do with the Albigensians? The answer is simple. The Churches of God, from its branches in what is known as the Pergamum era (Rev. 2:12 ff) called the Paulicians, came into Europe from the relocations under Constantine Capronymous and John Tsimiskes (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122) ). These relocations in Thrace spread into the Bulgars, the Southern Slavs especially in Bosnia and also into Hungary and Romania. They spread west and, from the fifteenth century, linked up with the remnants of the Sabbatati in the west called Vallenses or Waldensians. We can tell with relative certainty the extent of their doctrines from the thirteenth century and with absolute certainty what the eastern branches, especially in Hungary and Romania, were from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
The Albigensian Crusades
The conduct of the Albigensian Crusades of the thirteenth century is outlined in the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122). The groups were without doubt Sabbath-keepers. The desire of the Roman Catholic Church to disguise this fact has led to some extraordinary claims regarding the linguistic derivation of the name Sabbatati. However, we also know that they were Unitarians. They are recorded as being extant before the year 934, when they were complained of by Atto bishop of Vireulli as had others before him.
They were first called Vallenses in 1179 in the condemnation of them by Raymond of Daventry. The elders, or barbes (uncles) , Bernard of Raymond and Raymond of Baimiac were condemned as heretics by Raymond of Daventry in 1179 before the Lateran Council, not for their Sabbath-keeping but for their Unitarianism. The treatise written against them in 1180 by Bernard of Fontcaude then took up the name Vallenses in the title which is Adversus Vallenses et Arianos. They were thus subordinationist non-Trinitarians. This work of 1180 seems to have disappeared this century, but the work Liber Contra Vallenses written in 1190 by Bernard of Fontcaude still exists. The Vallenses of that time appear to be Unitarians and seen as distinct from Arians. This is a correct view and one upon which the Church of God would insist. Arianism, which according to the Catholics allegedly sees the Holy Spirit as a creation of the son, is distinct from biblical Unitarianism. They are both viewed as the same, or similar heresy by the Catholics, who may also have invented the doctrine of the creation of the Spirit by the son, as there is no actual record of this view in the texts attributed to Arius (see also the papers Arianism and Semi-Arianism (No. 167) and Sociniansim, Arianism and Unitarianism (No. 185)).
The Albigensians were not simply a branch of the Vallenses. The Albigensians were in two divisions, the Vallenses or Waldensians and the local Cathari or Puritans. The Cathari held quite distinctive and heretical views of good and evil based on a form of Gnosticism and Manichean Dualism. The distinction, among others, is made by Ray Roennfeldt in his thesis (An Historical Study of Christian Cosmic Dualism, Andrews University) (cf. the paper Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183)). The faith was often attacked by this dualist tendency. Where the Church was established, many so-called converts among the monastic orders often developed bizarre views. The Bogomils are an example. In the Bogomils and among the Bosnians, monastic asceticism accompanied an heretical dualism and attempted to undermine the general body of the faith. Errors also appear in earlier branches of the Paulicians. One error was that of the Melchisedekians who created another structured order developed from the Unitarian view. Melchisedek was held to be the angelic mediator and Christ the human mediator, below him. The Catholic writings seize on these contemporary heretical groups and link them to the Church at the time. They attribute these erroneous views to the Church, thus obscuring the true doctrines.
The entire Albigensian crusade was levelled against both elements by Rome in the thirteenth century. The Albigensians had protection in the south of France under Raymond Count of Toulouse. The Vallenses or Sabbatati were the greater and more widespread, and extended into Spain. We can reconstruct the doctrines of the Vallenses from the Spanish branch of the Sabbatati because of the intense persecution they suffered.
The Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition was directed at ridding the country of the so-called Judaising Christians. These were termed Marranos (or pigs). From the terms of the Inquisition and the comments we know that they not only kept the Sabbath but that they denied the Trinity, kept the Holy Days including Atonement and also kept the food laws. The Edict of the Faith shows the means by which the heretics could be identified. Jews and Muslims were also caught up in this persecution but the persecution was not directed at them but at the Church of God which they also called Sabbatati, Insabbatati or Insabathi. The edict of Alphonse king of Aragon etc., expelling the Waldensians or Insabbatati from Spain is given at page 20 of the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122).
Cecil Roth in his work The Spanish Inquisition , Robert Hale Ltd, London, 1937, issued a warning in the Preface that history repeats itself and the book was not intended as a satire on what was then happening in Europe. The Jewish scholars sought to develop the Spanish Inquisition as a form of Jewish persecution. Perhaps the worst of these distortions, despite its complete thoroughness, is the recent work by B. Netanyahu (The Origins of the Spanish Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain , Random House, New York, 1995). Netanyahu attempts to persuade the reader that the object of the Inquisitions was the Jewish community when that is manifestly untrue and the scholars have publicly attacked his position. The Rabbis of the time stated unequivocally that they were not Jews but Christians. They were not Jews masquerading as Christians. They were in fact the Church of God.
The number of Tribunals of the Holy Office in Spain ultimately numbered fifteen. They existed with full complements of officials and equipment at Barcelona, Cordova, Cuenca, Granada, Llerana, Logrono, Madrid, Murcia, Santiago, Seville, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid and Sargossa. Another for the Balearic Islands was situated at Palma, Majorca.
The more horrific and active areas were Madrid, Seville and Toledo because of the larger numbers of New Christians (as Roth refers to them), with activity greatest in Old Castille and Andalusia, and diminished after the first frenzied outburst to least in Catalonia (Roth, ibid., Ch. The Unholy Office, p. 73). It was finally co-ordinated at the close of the fifteenth century under the authority of the central council El Consejo de la Suprema y General Inquisición referred to as La Suprema , which was initially confined to Castille. With the four great Councils of State under Ferdinand and Isabella, namely the Councils of State, of Finance, of Castille and of Aragon, the Council of the Inquisition took its place as the not most insignificant exercise of royal power (Roth, ibid., p. 74). In 1647 it was ordered that all the sentences of all tribunals be submitted to it for control. This appears to have been ultimately to curb the indescribable severity of the local persecutions. The severity stemmed from a basic error of understanding. Netanyahu refers to the error (The Origins of the Spanish Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain, pp. 440-459) where all errors of the mind were judged as heresy contrary to Augustine’s statement I can err but I am not a heretic (De Trinitate , c, 3, n. 5-6). Juan de Torquemada, the Inquisitor, attacked the Toledan trials because of their manifest irregularity and deliberate non-biblical anti-Semitism. He viewed the matter as being on the same level as that of Haman against Mordecai and the Jews (ibid., p. 449). He was then faced with the problem of the nature of God as viewed by the Vallenses. The Toledans had stated, as was evident elsewhere, as a matter of public knowledge (publica fama) (and also in Valencia as we shall see) that the heretics, practice circumcision, deny the true divinity of Christ, deny, in addition, the presence of his body in the Eucharist, etc. (ibid., p. 444). The Toledans had not shown, according to Torquemada, that the converts could not be shown either by his own voluntary confession or by statements of innocent witnesses, ever to have said, after receiving baptism, that he believed in anything except what is believed by the Mother Church herself (cf. Netanyahu, p. 444). Torquemada branded this accusation false mendacious and malicious and demonstrated by itself the nullity of the whole trial (ibid., p. 445). Why should this be so? We know beyond doubt that the Vallenses practised Unitarianism for centuries. The distinction lay in the subordinate divinity of Christ. Thus the divinity of Christ was not denied. But there was something more at stake here. Torquemada saw that the Toledan trials were simply anti-Semitic and that there was no biblical basis for this racism. He, thus, had to denounce this error in the strongest possible terms. The problem also lay in the fact that the suspicion and the interrogation extended to the fourth generation of the conversions. He attacked this premise from the point of view, of the conversions of the other elements of the anti-Trinitarians, from what he described as Manichean errors among the Bosnians. He was faced with the problem of the conversion of royalty within the Holy Roman Empire. Torquemada says:
In our own time there were converted from paganism to Christianity the illustrious king of Poland, the father of the present king, with a large number of nobles and a countless multitude [Wladislaw II, formerly Jagiello, Grand Duke of Lithuania, converted when made king in 1386. He was father of Casimir IV who ascended the throne in 1447]. Later, in the days of Pope Eugene IV, the king of Bosnia, his Queen, and many other nobles were converted to Christianity from the Manichean errors [king Stephanus Thomas was converted to Catholicism in 1445]. In addition, almost daily many of the Mahommedans are being convinced [of the Christian truth]. It would be a major scandal and intolerable sacrilege to say that all these people would have to be suspected, at least until the fourth generation, of idolatry and the errors which they and their fathers had upheld at some time (Tractatus, pp. 54-55; cf. Netanyahu, p. 452).
Torquemada had written a tract against Bosnian Bogomilism (Symbolum pro imformatione Manichaeorum , ed. N Lopez Martinez and V Proano Gil, 1958, p. 23, n. 68 and Netanyahu, n. 119). Here we see the effects of the intermix of the Manichean dualism where the Paulicians had established the Unitarian faith. The Church at this time was forced into Herzegovina and on into the north (see also the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)). The problem is obvious, but not to Netanyahu. By the fifteenth century the Vallenses had been driven so far underground that it was all but visibly exterminated by the persecution. The Toledans among others had become so excessive and tyrannical that they were using the Inquisition for systematic Semitic extermination. This would undermine the position of the activities of the church in consolidating the empire. Torquemada was faced with limiting those excesses so that some stable interaction within the empire could be effected, and conversion could be seen to be some benefit to those that were targeted for conversion. The racism and avarice of the Inquisition were placing this carrot and, hence, the expansion in jeopardy. Torquemada was shrewd enough to know what the judgment of history would be. He thus had to curb the Inquisition. In the event, the church allowed it to continue for another three centuries against the very processes and doctrines whose existence was being denied, ultimately destroying its own power (see Malachi Martin Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, Secker and Warburg, London, pp. 254 ff.).
The evidence from the Edicts
In the establishment of an area Inquisition, a procedure of Edicts was followed. After an Edict of Grace had been published encouraging the heretics to come forward and confess, usually covering some thirty or forty days (Roth, p. 75), the Inquisition would then purge the area. This set in chain a process of incrimination. The next phase was the periodic publication of an Edict of the Faith, which helped identify the types or indicators of the heresies, which had to be denounced. The Confessional system then enforced this evil.
The Edict of the Faith was issued at Valencia in 1519 by Andres de Palacio, Inquisitor to Valencia, and has been published by Roth. It can be seen from that Edict that there were a general series of facts and superstitions listed which identified three groups of people. The first was the Christians who held to the so-called Judaising tendencies. The second group was the Jews themselves and the third group were the Muslims. It is obvious from the Edict that the heresy had penetrated the church itself as the words spoken over the Eucharist were specifically identified as an indicator of the heresy in the Edict. Also the Cross, or the Sign of the Cross, was not used by the Sabbatati. From an examination of the Edict it seems that the group denied the Soul and the doctrines of Heaven and Hell. They observed the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday doing no labour on the Sabbath. They celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover with bitter herbs. They fasted on Atonement (Roth, pp. 77 ff.).
The general views and observance of the Jews were included in the list as shown in the Edict so that the systems were run together making it difficult to identify exactly the distinctions between them. They kept the food laws and also buried their dead according to the Jewish custom . Much of the Edict includes superstitions attributed to the sects (e.g. p. 78). They denied Mariolatry and this was grouped with the Judaic denial of the Messiah.
The doctrine of Transubstantiation was denied as was the Catholic form of the doctrine of Omnipresence, which was Platonic Animism (p. 78). The priests seemed to be involved and were identified from the consecration. The Christians seemed to dress as Jews adhering to the laws governing fabrics (p. 79). They met in house churches and read Bibles out of the vernacular. The property of the heretics was confiscated and this no doubt helped the zeal of the Inquisitors.
Roth records the opening of the Office in Lisbon before it was made into the Opera House. The accounts from eyewitnesses (printed in the Annual Register of 1821) show beyond doubt, that there were human remains found in the dungeons, which were in use (from an inscription on a dungeon wall) as late as 1809. These included monks whose garments were found among the human and other remains lying in the tiers of dungeons and among the evidence of murder both old and recent, committed there (Roth, pp. 84-85).
Intervals of three to four years between arrest and sentence were commonplace and in one recorded case fourteen years elapsed. Pregnant women were dragged to the stake and the abuse of prisoners, or perhaps interaction with them, prompted Cardinal Ximenes in 1512 to threaten with death any official found carrying on intrigues with their prisoners. The expense of the imprisonment was borne by the accused no matter how long. One example of expenses incurred in the four year incarceration of a nun in Sicily, acquitted and released in 1703, was still being paid off by her heirs as late as 1872 (Roth, p. 87). Normally, the assets were confiscated at the time of arrest.
Marranos or New Christians could not be accepted as witnesses in any proceedings. The withholding of the names of witnesses was introduced in the thirteenth century ostensibly to protect the weak against the powerful accused but this became the norm and none could find out the names of their accusers. (Roth correctly points out that even up to 1836 in England accused felons could not have counsel or see copies of the depositions made against them). The times themselves were barbaric and the Inquisition was the worst of the barbarism.
The European Inquisitions began in the south of France in the thirteenth century and ended in the Papal States in 1846. Between 1823 and 1846, 200,000 people in the Papal States alone were sentenced to death, life imprisonment, exile or the galleys, with another 1.5 million placed under surveillance (see Malachi Martin The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, p. 254 and the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122), p. 29 for quotes). Roth quotes the despair of the individuals from the outset in the thirteenth century in the south of France.
Hear me, my lords! I am no heretic: for I have a wife and cohabit with her and have children; and I eat flesh and lie and swear and am a faithful Christian (Roth, p. 90).
This denial of the elements of celibacy and vegetarian asceticism was necessary because the Manichaean dualists known as Cathari or Puritians, who sought purification by asceticism, were an heretical sect which eventually drew persecution on the Vallenses or Sabbatati. The Manichaean dualists were distinct from the Vallenses and this is the Cathar-Vallenses distinction acknowledged but incorrectly identified by Weber. The biblical laws were continually kept by the Sabbatati. Their worship was in secret and so it is difficult to identify with precision. However, we know they kept the Sabbath and the full extent of their worship is identified from the eastern branches of the Sabbatati.
The Eastern European Sabbatati
We know precisely what the doctrines of the Hungarian and Transylvanian churches were from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The record was preserved by Dr Samuel Kohn, Chief Rabbi of Budapest, Hungary in DIE SABBATHARIER IN SIEBENBURGEN Ihre Geschicte, Literatur, und Dogmatik, Budapest, Verlag von Singer & Wolfer, 1894, Leipzig, Verlag von Franz Wagner. These points are listed in the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122) at pp. 22 ff.). The entire structure is listed in the book The Sabbatarians in Transylvania, by Samuel Kohn, trs. T. McElwain and B. Rook, ed. W. Cox, CCG Publishing, USA 1998.
We know for certain that this branch of the Vallenses or Sabbatati were Unitarian for Frances David or Davidis died in prison in 1579. Kohn says they restored the original and true Christianity (Kohn, p. 8). The Unitarian church split into Sunday and Sabbath worshippers in 1579. The Sabbath branch under Eossi was the more faithful to the truth.
They practiced adult baptism.
They kept the Sabbaths and Holy Days, including Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day and, most importantly, the New Moons. Trumpets is not listed separately in the hymnal and appears to have been celebrated with the hymns of the New Moon.
Their doctrines encompassed the physical Millennium of 1,000 years at the beginning of which Christ will return and regather Judah and Israel.
They used God’s calendar based on the New Moons.
They taught two resurrections, one to eternal life at Christ’s coming and another to judgment at the end of the Millennium.
They taught salvation by grace but that the laws still needed to be kept.
They held that God calls people and that the world in general is blinded.
Their doctrine of Christ was absolutely subordinationist Unitarian.
(see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122), p. 22).
It can thus be seen that the early Sabbath Church was Unitarian, keeping the Old Testament laws. The Sabbath was simply a facet of their belief system, which pointed to the worship of the One True God. They were persecuted in East Europe for their Unitarianism more than their Sabbath-keeping (Francis Davidis chose to remain in prison, where he died, rather than compromise the Unitarian faith, even though Socinus, himself a Unitarian, tried to persuade him to modify his rigid Unitarianism to save his life). They were denied the status of a church when even the Jews were accorded that status. They were denied access to the printing press and thus made their sermons out by hand in chain letter style. The Inquisition was ruthless in its suppression of this system and, in the west, Sabbath-keeping alone was enough to have them executed.
The growth of Unitarianism
With the Reformation, Unitarianism began to grow and was not confined entirely to Sabbath-keepers. In other words, not all Unitarians were true members of the Churches of God just as not all Sabbath-keepers were true members.
The term Unitarianism is an English word which stems from the Latin unitarius and it was first used of a legalised religion in 1600 (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ERE), art. Unitarianism , Vol. 12, p. 519). It is specifically founded on the conception of the single personality of the Deity in contrast to the orthodox doctrine of His triune nature. The corresponding term Trinitarian was first used in the modern sense by Servetus in 1546 (ibid.). The adjective Unitarian has sometimes been employed beyond the limits of Christianity (e.g. Islam and Judaism are also Unitarian in their base).
The Greek text of the New Testament was published by Erasmus (1516).
His omission of the famous Trinitarian verse, [1Jn. 5:7], and his aversion to the scholastic type of disputations produced a marked affect on many minds (ERE, ibid.).
The production of the New Testament by Erasmus prompted people skilled in Greek to commence examining the premises upon which orthodox Trinitarianism had been established. More importantly, people in Europe were free to be more open and the Inquisition limited. Scholars started to see that the Bible was not Trinitarian and indeed supported Unitarianism. The first step in formal printed anti-Trinitarian works on the Continent (as opposed to the teachings of the churches prior to the Reformation and the printing press) was found in the works of Martin Cellarius (1499-1564), pupil of Reuchlin and first follower and friend of Luther (ERE, ibid., pp. 519-520). In his work de Operibus Dei he uses the term deus of Christ in the same sense in which Christians also might be called dei as ‘sons of the Highest’ (ibid.). Reference to the paper Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127) will show that this concept is derived directly from Irenaeus and the early disciples of the apostles and the apostles themselves. This caused quite a stir and the modern academic community engaged in the debate following Servitus’ work in 1531. In Naples, a Spaniard John Valdes started a religious group for the study of the Scriptures until his death in 1541 (ERE , ibid., p. 520). Note here the name Valdes. This man appears to have been a Spanish Waldensian from his name and theology (see also the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)). In 1539 Melancthon warned the Venetian Senate of widespread Servetianism in North Italy (ibid.). From this group Bernard Ochino (1487-1565) of Siena passed slowly through Switzerland to London and served as one of the Strangers Church (1550-1553) until it was broken up by Queen Mary in her attempted restoration of Catholicism. Ochino was forced out to Zurich and migrated to Poland joining the anti-Trinitarians there. Catherine Vogel, a jeweller’s wife, had been burned at the age of 80 in 1539 at Cracow for believing in ‘the existence of one God, creator of all the visible and the invisible world, who could not be conceived by the human intellect’ (ibid.). This movement is the work in Europe during the times we identify as the Thyatiran era. An anti-Trinitarian movement shows itself also at the second synod of the reformed Church in 1556 and, in 1558, the Piedmontese George Blandrata became its head. The Dutch Anabaptists were also Unitarians under David Joris of Delft (1501-1556). These Unitarians were also loosely called Protestants. The ERE says that:
Thousands of Protestants from Germany, Alsace and the Low Countries, migrated to England in the reign of Henry VIII, and the Strangers Church under Edward VI contained also Frenchmen, Walloons, Italians, and Spaniards (ERE, ibid., p. 520).
These people sought refuge in England with the help of the Unitarian Church there. This was the true Church of God. England had become more open to public expression from the fifteenth century through the publications of Richard Peacock, bishop of Chichester. The Lollards and the Anabaptists diverged at this time.
On 28 December 1548 a priest named John Assheton abjured before Cranmer the ‘damnable heresies’ that ‘the Holy Ghost is not God, but only a certain power of the Father,’ and that ‘Jesus Christ that was conceived of the Virgin Mary was a holy prophet ... but was not the true and living God’. In the following April a commission was appointed to search out all Anabaptists, heretics, or contemners of the Common Prayer. A number of London tradesmen were brought before this body in May (ERE, ibid.).
They were Unitarians. Neither Binitarianism nor Ditheism was in evidence during this phase of the Church and over its persecutions. It was not a doctrine. The surgeon George van Parris of Mainz was executed in 1551 for saying that God the Father was the only God and the Christ was not very God (ERE, op. cit.). The Unitarian movement in Poland when Blandrata reached there in 1558 had already entered the Protestant synod but were excluded seven years later. They refused to be called by any name other than Christian (ERE, ibid.). Faustus Socinus (1539-1604), nephew of Lelius Socinus (1525-1562) of Siena who was a friend of Calvin and Melancthon, visited England and travelled to Poland. He visited Blandrata in Transylvania in 1578 arguing against Francis David who rejected all forms of cultus addressed to Christ. He settled in Poland in 1579. The Socinians are termed from him. However, they long precede him there being part of the Church we understand as Waldensian. This aspect was covered in the paper Sociniansim, Arianism and Unitarianism (No. 185)).
The Polish Unitarian Church was persecuted into extinction by the Catholic Church (see ERE , op. cit.). Socinus admitted the application of the term God to Christ in an inferior sense. Indeed, this sense was that used by Irenaeus as we see in the paper Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127).
Francis David (or Davidis) of the Hungarian Churches in Transylvania was imprisoned in the castle of Deva for refusing prayer, or any cultus, to Christ. He died there in November 1579. We know from the well documented history of his successors, from Eossi on, that they were not only Unitarian but they kept the Sabbath, the New Moons and the Holy Days. The Feast of Trumpets was celebrated in the hymnal as a New Moon and the hymns for the New Moon prevailed rather than special hymns for Trumpets as a feast (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
The name Unitarius was first used as a word by Melius and first appeared on a document in the decree of the Synod of Lecsfalva in 1600. It was formally adopted by the Church in 1638. The Hungarian Churches were persecuted for two centuries after this and their property was confiscated. At the beginning of this century their descendants had 140 churches among the Szeklers of Transylvania with a few in Hungary. Their hymn book of 1865 made no provision for the worship of Christ (ERE, ibid.). The true and faithful remnant of the Church now left are the Transcarpathians who are still Unitarian Sabbath-keepers.
The growth of Unitarianism in England stemmed from the desire to restore the correct apostolic faith. It was obvious to the best English minds that the New Testament was not Trinitarian but Unitarian and those eminent men set about establishing the original teachings of the Church. The commencement was perhaps from Richard Hooker (1553-1600) and John Hales (1584-1656). The confinement of the definition of the mysteries of the Godhead to Scripture alone became a central issue. The works of William Chillingworth (1602-1644) are central to this issue. Chillingworth drew his influence from Lord Falkland, a premier Unitarian. The works of Grotius are silent about the triune nature and (according to Stephen Nye in his Brief History of the Unitarians also called Socinians, London, 1687) says he interpreted his works on Unitarian lines or according to the mind of the Socinians (ERE, p. 522).
Paul Best (1590-1657) was converted on his trip to Poland. Milton was also influenced by the Transylvanian Unitarians (see Aereopagitica, London, 1644 – noted from ERE , ibid.). The Convocations of Canterbury and York in June 1640 prohibited the importation of Unitarian (Socinian) books and Parliament made the denial of the Trinity a capital crime in 1648. However, John Biddle (1616-1662), often termed the father of English Unitarianism, published A Twofold Scripture Catechism in 1654. Unitarianism became very general in England in the seventeenth century. Prof Bronowski, in the TV series The Ascent of Man , goes so far as to say the Industrial Revolution was a product of Unitarian thinkers. In spite of imprisonment and exile in the Scilly Islands (1654-1658), Biddle gathered followers. Biddle’s death in 1662 and the Act of Uniformity checked the movement as an organisation for worship. However, the demands of the literal intent of the Scriptures led all of the great thinkers of the day to reject Trinitarianism. This included Milton. Thomas Firmin (1632-1697) a wealthy mercer promoted the literature from 1691-1705. Parliament tried to suppress it. However, the great philosophers entered the field in the form of John Locke (1632-1704). Sir Isaac Newton had also followed Milton into Unitarianism from an examination of the Scriptures. These great thinkers were followed by William Whiston (1672-1752) who succeeded Newton at Cambridge, as Lucasian professor in 1703 and was deprived of his chair in 1710 because of his Unitarianism. Samuel Clarke’s (1675-1729) treatise on The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity was also important in the exposure of this problem. The objection to the co-eternality of the son was made here for the first time, introducing a quasi-Binitarian position. When the Manchester Academy (later Manchester College Oxford) was opened in 1786, its first principal was Thomas Barnes who was a Unitarian.
The Presbyterian College at Carmarthen was the continuator of a series of academies, the first of which was founded by Samuel Jones sometime fellow of Jesus College Oxford and one of the 2,000 ejected ministers of 1662 (ERE, p. 523).
Other Unitarians were Joseph Priestly (1733-1804). Priestly’s friend Theophilus Lindsey (1723-1808) vicar of Catterick on the Tees resigned his position after the failure of a Parliamentary petition and he opened a Unitarian chapel in Essex Street, Strand in 1774. This was the first open chapel for many years – perhaps since the suppression of the Strangers Church.
It used the Anglican liturgy adapted to the worship of the Father only. The appointment of Thomas Belsham (1750-1829) in 1789 to a theological tutorship to a college in Hackney advanced the Unitarian cause by simply opening the Scriptures to study. This was done through The Unitarian Society for promoting Christian knowledge and the Practice of Virtue by the Distribution of Books . Lindsey, Priestly and Belsham were its leaders. In 1813 the repeal, through the efforts of William Smith (1756-1835) MP for Norwich and grandfather of Florence Nightingale, of the clauses of the Toleration Act which made the profession of Unitarianism illegal saw Unitarianism advance. The Unitarianism of these people also denied the Soul Doctrine (see ERE, p. 524). Thomas Southwood Smith (1788-1861) also impressed his Unitarian ideals on Byron, Moore, Wordsworth and Crabbe.
Smith’s views had already found expression from one of Cromwell’s chaplains earlier (ERE , ibid.). The legal battles of the eighteenth century saw changes in the place in law of the Church trusts which also had a profound impact on the way the Unitarian churches organised themselves.
Modern Unitarianism such as that advanced by James Martineau (1805-1900) and the modern school undermines the Messianic function of Jesus Christ and is not entirely based upon Scripture but also on the interpretation of Scripture by reason. His exposition of the Tübingen reconstruction of the origins of Christianity published in the Westminster Review and referred to in the ERE (p. 525) is important as is his philosophical vindication of the communion of the human spirit with the Divine. Radical Unitarianism wrongly seeks to deny the pre-incarnate existence of Christ.
John James Tayler (1797-1869) produced the first formal discussion of the Johannine question in England in his Attempt to ascertain the character of the Fourth Gospel (London, 1867). A long series of scholars had pleaded for the revision of the text and of the New Testament and George Vance Smith was invited to join the Bible Revisers (1870). The Unitarian scholar James Drummond (1835-1918) was a learned theologian who produced significant works on The Jewish Messiah (1877), Philo Judaeus (1888) and Inquiry into the Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel (1903). John Relly Beard (1800-1876) led the way to modern dictionaries of the Bible with his People’s Dictionary of the Bible . Other important Unitarians were Edgar Taylor, Samuel Sharpe, H A Bright, William Rathbone Greg, Francis William Newman, Frances Power Cobbe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker and Max Müller. The ERE also gives information on churches and distribution. Some of the greatest thinkers of modern times, when examining the Bible for its intent free of the Greek theology of the Alexandrian and Cappadocian schools, have embraced Unitarianism as the original Bible system.
The Seventh Day Baptist movement
Sabbatarian Unitarians became visible in England in the seventeenth century, although some would see historical continuity from much earlier times. Biblicist theology was at the foundation of the Traskite movement led by John Traske around 1616 in London. Hamlet Jackson brought the Sabbath to the group through Bible study. The literal interpretation of Scripture led this Puritan group to the Levitical food laws as well. It is thought that his followers formed the nucleus for the Mill Yard Sabbatarian Baptist church, while others would see its origins in earlier movements. The church became prominent in 1661 because of the Fifth Monarchy preaching of John James, who was executed for treason. The church had been influenced not only by the Jewish synagogue in Amsterdam, but by the popular messianic movement of Sabbetai Zwi. The church, like many general Baptists of the time was thoroughly Unitarian as shown by such writers as Edward Elwall in the early 1700s. The biblical calendar and celebration of Passover on 14 Nisan continue today, although with the death of Pastor Albourne Peat the Unitarian witness has begun to fade (from 1992).
Although historical evidence is lacking, it is likely that most if not all of the other early Seventh Day Baptist churches in England were Unitarian as well. The first clear exception was the Pinner’s Hall church founded by Frances Bampfield in 1676. This church was Calvinistic in outlook, and although Bampfield was not quite Trinitarian in his views, he was certainly not Unitarian. The amalgamation of the Particular and General Baptists has clouded the issue of the Unitarian origins of Sabbatarian Baptists. The Trinitarians have been more forward in producing statements of belief, so documents do not reflect the tenacity of the Unitarian position. The Unitarians have tended quietly to ignore statements of belief. Indeed, Mill Yard to this day accepts none but the ten commandments with the addition of a few supporting New Testament texts (Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, Vol. 1, American Sabbath Tract Society, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1910, pp. 25-113).
This is the major or fundamental error of the Seventh Day Baptist faith. By failing to produce detailed statements of belief, they could not adequately publish clear statements. Thus, detailed widespread statements were not possible. They failed to make the most of their religious freedom and develop a sound doctrinal teaching on the nature of God.
Unitarianism and Sabbath-keeping
Early Unitarianism had, almost without exception, been accompanied by Sabbath-keeping as both stemmed from biblical literalism. Trinitarianism was never accompanied by Sabbath-keeping up until the Reformation. After the Reformation it became a fact that some Sabbath-keepers were Trinitarian and that some Unitarians were Sunday-keepers although not as a rule. Modern Sunday-keeping Unitarianism is as aberrant as any other Sunday system.
The Sabbath experience in Asia was predominantly non-Trinitarian until the Jesuits began their missionary work. The Nestorians, and the African missionaries (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122) ) followed the early church into Persia, India and then into China. Unitarian Sabbath-keeping posed a serious threat to Buddhism and was outlawed by Buddhism. The Sabbath-keeping churches in Asia were also, as a rule, non-Trinitarian. They kept the food laws and also denied confession and purgatory. The divisions of these churches followed, in the main, from the Councils of Constantinople and Chalcedon.
The Chinese had long experienced the Christian system and, as elsewhere, the Sabbath was a sign of biblical literalism. In 781 it was already well established (see the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)). Sabbath-keeping was alive and well in China at the rise of the Taiping Rebellion of 1850 (ibid.).
The USA experience
The Sabbath-keeping Churches of God in the USA are well documented and will not be treated here. The Churches of God grew from the English church system, with European influence.
Seventh Day Adventism
The Seventh Day Adventist movement was predominantly and officially Unitarian until 1931 with the death of Uriah Smith. But the official adoption was some time in coming and stemmed from the ministry. The Adventist Unitarian thinkers were James White, R F Cottrell Snr and Jnr, D T Bordeau until his resignation, D M Canright, J N Andrews, Loughborough, John Matteson, A C Bordeau, A T Jones, W W Prescott and Uriah Smith.
Other Adventist movements were:
Evangelical Adventists; and
All misapprehended the nature of the resurrection and the judgment. These two were literalist Millennialist following the biblical texts whereas the SDA’s followed heavenly Millennialism.
Adventism was officially generally biblical Unitarian until 1931 when Uriah Smith’s influence ceased and the Trinitarians, long extant within it, started to seize control. Uriah Smith was labelled an Arian by his successors.
Ellen G White allegedly was among the first to introduce Trinitarianist concepts to Seventh Day Adventism in Desire of Ages (1898, p. 530), seemingly unedited and against the express view of the church (according to M L Andreasen The Spirit of Prophecy, address of 30 November 1948). There were other Adventist schools of thought.
M L Andreasen (ibid.) says that they suspected it to be an editing error but he travelled to speak to her and confirmed that it was so. This was not produced by him until 1948. In view of the opinions and the doctrines of the elders of the church until 1931, this text was suspected of being an editing forgery. The Christian Connection, from which James White came, was Unitarian. They eventually joined with others to become the United Church of Christ. The doctrines were more biblical than those of what has become the Unitarian Universalist Church. That church bears no real relationship to the Unitarian subordinationist doctrines of the Sabbath-keeping churches.
The Adventist Church was Unitarian, or as the Adventists now say, Arian, until 1931. However, Arianism as it is defined by Trinitarians proclaims the Spirit as a creation of the son. This doctrine may well be an invention of the early Trinitarians as what we have of Arius’ comments bear no record of this doctrine. However, as it is defined by Trinitarianism, Arianism is not biblical Unitarianism and not the doctrine held by Smith or by any of the church eras including the Church of God (Seventh Day) or by the subsequent churches.
It is important to note that the Seventh Day Adventist denomination did not officially become Trinitarian until after the publication of Questions on Doctrine in 1958. Andreasen wrote a series of letters in protest of this final adoption. So there was a transition period between 1931 and 1958. The French Adventist Statement of Beliefs was still Unitarian in 1938, according to a copy of the Church Manual for that year in the possession of Dr Thomas Mcelwain who studied in the Adventist seminary in France from 1968 to 1973. He observed in comments for this work that the seminary was Trinitarian, but the congregations at that time were still Unitarian.
The Adventist movement of the early 1800s (1842-1844) saw Trinitarians in rather large numbers drawn into the Sabbath system. Some never really abandoned the Trinitarian model and this was to prove fatal to the early pure Adventist system after Smith in 1931 when the Trinitarians in Adventism gained control, chiefly through the aspirations of the ministry. The desire to appeal to American Protestantism was a contributing factor to the problem. It was also to lead to Binitarianism in the Churches of God in the twentieth century and thus the multiple errors and divisions in the present systems.
Church of God (Seventh Day)
The Church of God (Seventh Day) was a biblical Unitarian Sabbath-keeping system that did not as a rule keep the Holy Days but has been known to do so in some areas (e.g. Chile).
It is now being subverted by Trinitarians among its ministry and will probably succumb although the voting power of its members, as opposed to the ministry, may save it from the swift capitulation seen in the Worldwide Church of God. In 1997, the Church of God (Seventh Day) announced it was Binitarian.
Worldwide Church of God (formerly Radio Church of God)
Herbert Armstrong commenced writing for the Church of God (Seventh Day) magazine Bible Advocate from 1927. He commenced his ministerial work from the early 1930s but was still on the payroll of Church of God (Seventh Day) until approximately 1940. This was after the declaration of Trinitarianism in the Adventist movement but not related to it.
The theology of the Worldwide Church of God was Ditheist and akin to, but not the same as, the heresy of Marathonius after the deposition and death of Macedonius after the Council of Constantinople in 381 CE. It differed in the nature of the Holy Spirit, but still held two Gods. It was very poorly defined and there were many Unitarians in the ranks of the Worldwide Church of God simply because of the ambiguity of the Bible Correspondence Course, which derived the structure of God from the singular Eloah.
With the break up of the Worldwide Church of God there is a series of church groups with poorly defined doctrines on the Godhead and most other areas. Many are technically Ditheist believing in two Gods ab orgine. Some have declared a Binitarian structure, but with very poor theological exposition. All groups keep the Holy Days. At least two groups keep the New Moons.
Christian Churches of God
The Christian Churches of God is a Sabbath-keeping church keeping all aspects of the early church systems, including the biblical Unitarian Godhead. It has branches in non-English-speaking nations under names translated from the English name.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Unitarian Church which does not keep or understand the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts. Therefore, they lack the critical signs of the elect mentioned in this paper.
The Sabbath is a sign of the Church of God. It is not the sign. The primary sign is the Godhead. This is the biblical Unitarian structure. Baptism is the second sign and the receipt of the Holy Spirit is the inner seal. The outward signs are the Sabbath, and the Lord’s Supper/Passover, which is the sign of the laws of God. This is followed by the New Moons and Holy Days. The Sabbaths are denied to humanity because of idolatry.
Ezekiel 20:16-20 16 Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. 18 But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: 19 I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; 20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. (KJV)
The pollution of the Sabbaths stems from idolatry. The Sabbaths include all of the days set aside for worship by God according to His Calendar based upon the correct observance of the New Moons. God punishes the nation for failing to honour Him and keep His laws.
Ezekiel 20:21-24 21 Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. 23 I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; 24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. (KJV)
The Sabbaths are inseparable from the first commandment and the law. The nation is punished for failing to keep all of the aspects of the laws of God. The elect have kept the faith in a consistent manner until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when the centrality of the worship of the One True God, and the understanding of the Godhead was impugned by Protestantism.
Table of Doctrines of the Churches of God
Go to http://www.logon.org/english/S/P170.html for this table
The Traditional Exposition of Early Anti-Trinitarians and Unitarianism
In section 150 of Volume II Schaff talks about the classes of anti-Trinitarians under which he labels as the first class the Alogi, Theodotus, Artemon and Paul of Samostata. He says on page 572 that:
these Anti-Trinitarians are commonly called Monarchians from (monarchia) or Unitarians on account of the stress they laid upon the numerical, personal unity of the Godhead.
But we must be careful to distinguish among them the two opposite classes: the rationalistic or dynamic Monarchians, who denied the divinity of Christ, or explained it as a mere "power" [dunamis ]; and the Patripassian or modalistic Monarchians, who identified the Son with the Father, and admitted at most only a modal trinity, that is a three fold mode of revelation, but not a tripersonality.
The first form of this heresy, involved in the abstract Jewish monotheism, deistically sundered the divine and the human, and rose little above Ebionism. After being defeated in the church this heresy arose outside of it on a grander scale, as a pretended revelation, and with marvellous success in Mohammedanism which may be called the pseudo-Jewish and pseudo-Christian Unitarianism of the East.
The second form proceeded from the highest conception of the deity of Christ, but in part also from pantheistic notions which approached the ground of Gnostic docetism.
The one prejudiced the dignity of the Son, the other the dignity of the Father; yet the latter was by far the more profound and Christian, and accordingly met with the greater acceptance.
It must be also remembered that Schaff is a Trinitarian and, as such, he is arguing against the views of the core theology that opposed him. His account is incomplete as we shall see. Schaff says (on p. 573) that all Monarchians of the first class saw in Christ a mere man, filled with the divine power; but conceived this divine power as operative in him, not from the baptism only, according to the Ebionite view, but from the beginning; and admitted his supernatural generation by the Holy Spirit. He then lists the classes of these sects, the Alogi, Theodotus. The younger Theodotus put Melchisedek as a mediator between God and the angels, above Christ, the mediator between God and men (Schaff, p. 574). His followers were also called Melchisedekians. Schaff goes on to list the Artemonites who denied the divinity of Christ and used Euclid and Aristotle to deny the mysteries and oppose the use of Platonism to expound the gospels.
Schaff also lists Paul of Samostata, bishop of Antioch from 260, as the most famous of the rationalistic Unitarians.
He denied the personality of the Logos and the Holy Spirit and considered them merely powers of God, like reason and mind in man; but granted that the Logos dwelt in Christ in larger measure than in any former messenger of God, and taught like the Socinians in later times a gradual elevation of Christ, determined by his own moral development to divine dignity. He admitted that Christ remained free from sin, conquered the sin of our forefathers, and then became the Saviour of the race (ibid.).
Schaff considers that these types of Christians were still present as Samostatians, Paulianists, and Sabellians. However, he makes the mistake here of confusing under the term Monarchians a variety of groups which the ERE (see art. Monarchianism) warns against as it confuses the issues in the matter.
In his second class of anti-Trinitarians, Schaff includes Praxeas, Noetus, Callistus and Beryllus. Here we appear to have a dispute between Hugh Pope and the compilers of the ERE on the one hand and Schaff on the other. Monarchianism in its classic sense is derived from the Patripassians through Noetus, and the Sabellians are their successors. Schaff does however list the Sabellians separately in section 152. It was to show the error of Monarchianism and the position of Hippolytus that his work was quoted in the paper Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127). They taught that the one supreme God by his own free will, and by an act of self limitation, became man so that the Son is the Father veiled in the flesh (Schaff, p. 576). Curiously enough, reference to the Monarchia is now found only in Trinitarianism where the doctrines of the Monarchia and the Circumincession determine the relations of the Godhead.
Sabellianism was traced by Athanasius to Stoic philosophy and often recurs. Sabellius argued for a distinction of the monad and the triad in the divine nature. Thus the revelation of the Father began not in the creation which preceded the Trinitarian revelation but in the giving of the law. The revelation of the Son began in the Incarnation and ended in the Ascension. The revelation of the Holy Spirit began in inspiration and goes on in regeneration and sanctification. He illustrates the trinitarian relation by comparing the Father to the disc of the sun, the Son to its enlightening power, the Spirit to its warming influence (see also the candle analogy in modern Trinitarianism). He denies the permanence of the manifestation of the Father and also the Son and Holy Spirit. He makes the three temporary phenomena which fulfil their mission and return to the abstract monad (see Schaff, op. cit., pp. 581-583 for the doctrine). This system will reappear in the New Age movement linked as Process Theology. It is the opposite to the Subordinationism taught by Christian Unitarians of the apostles and early church, by Reformation Unitarians and by ourselves.
Schaff has been less than honest in his dealing with the early non-Trinitarian doctrines. He uses the term anti-Trinitarian as though to imply that there was a Trinitarian doctrine when there was not. The Trinity was not formulated until the Council of Constantinople in 381 and not fixed until the Council of Chalcedon in 451 when a number of significant churches then severed communion with the Trinitarians. He does not mention these churches nor the theology of the Early Apologists which was subordinationist Unitarian. Irenaeus is important because he is the closest we can get to the original theology of John and Polycarp by exposition. Trinitarian histories, either Protestant or Catholic, rarely admit of the theology which refutes them. Schaff uses the term Unitarianism in its widest generalised sense, as adapted by Trinitarians, to obscure the real disputes between the two parties from the fifteenth century. Under the general set Unitarians , the Trinitarians attempt to place a generalised amalgam of Modalists or Monarchians and their predecessors the Patripassians together with the Adoptionists, the Melchisedekians, and also the Jews and the Muslims, together with the Christian Unitarians which gave rise to the term. This obscures the original intent of the term. It is more correct to view these as Monotheists and the Unitarians as a sub-set of Monotheism. However, this would obviously exclude the Trinitarians and so is not used.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369 Woden, ACT 2606 Australia
PO Box 45 Rockton Ontario LOR 1XO Canada
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HECHAS, Y FIRMA-
das entre la jurifdicion Real, y
el Santo Oficio de la
AGREEMENT CONCERNING THE FAMILIARS OF THE INQUISITION
Valencia, 1568 (collection of the Author).
EDICT OF FAITH
"We Doctor Andres de Palacio, Inquisitor against the heresy and apostolic perversity in the city and kingdom of Valencia, etc.
"To all faithful Christians, both men and women, chaplains, friars and priests of every condition, quality and degree; whose attention to this will result in salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, the true salvation; who are aware that, by means of other edicts and sentences of the Reverend inquisitors, our predecessors, they were warned to appear before them, within a given period, and declare and manifest the things which they had seen, known, and heard tell of any person or persons, either alive or dead, who had said or done anything against the Holy Catholic Faith; cultivated and observed the law of Moses or the Mohammedan sect, or the rites and ceremonies of the same; or perpetrated diverse crimes of heresy; observing Friday evenings and Saturdays; changing into clean personal linen on Saturdays and wearing better clothes than on other days; preparing on Fridays the food for Saturdays, in stewing pans on a small fire; who do not work on Friday evenings and Saturdays as on other days; who kindle lights in clean lamps with new wicks, on Friday evenings; place clean linen on the beds and clean napkins on the table; celebrate the festival of unleavened bread, eat unleavened bread and celery and bitter herbs; observe the fast of pardon (Day of Atonement) when they do not eat all day until the evening after star-rise, when they pardon one another and break their fast; and in the same manner observe the fasts of Queen Esther, of tissabav, and rosessena; who say prayers according to the law of Moses, standing up before the wall, swaying back and forth, and taking a few steps backwards; who give money for oil for the Jewish temple or other secret place of worship; who slaughter poultry according to the Judaic law, and refrain from eating sheep or any other animal which is trefa; who do not wish to eat salt pork, hares, rabbits, snails, or fish that have not scales; who bathe the bodies of their dead and bury them in virgin soil according to the Jewish custom; who, in the house of mourning do not eat meat but fish and hard-boiled eggs, seated at low tables; who separate a morsel of dough when baking and throw it on the fire; who become, or know of others who become circumcised; who invoke demons, and give to them the honour that is due to God; who say that the law of Moses is good and can bring about their salvation; who perform many other rites and ceremonies of the same; who say that our Lord Jesus Christ was not the true Messiah promised in Scripture, nor the true God nor son of God; who deny that he died to save the human race; deny the resurrection and his ascension so heaven; and say that our Lady the Virgin Mary was not the mother of God or a virgin before the nativity and after; who say and affirm many other heretical errors; who state that what they had confessed before the inquisitors was not the truth; who remove their penitential robes and neither remain in the prison nor observe she penance imposed upon them; who say scandalous things against our holy Catholic Faith and against the officials of the Inquisition; or who influence any infidel who might have been drawn towards Catholicism to refrain from converting; who assert that the Holy Sacrament of the altar is not the true body and blood of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and that God cannot be omnipresent; or any priest holding this damnable opinion, who recites and celebrates the mass, not saying the holy words of the consecration; saying and believing that the law of Mahomet and its rites and ceremonies are good and can bring about their salvation; who affirm that life is but birth and death, and that there is no paradise and no hell; and state that to practise usury is not a sin; if any man whose wife still lives, marries again, or any woman remarries in the lifetime of her first husband; if any know of those who keep Jewish customs, and name their children on the seventh night after their birth and with silver and gold upon a table, pleasurably observe the Jewish ceremony; and if any know that when somebody dies, they place a cup of water and a lighted candle and some napkins where the deceased died, and for some days, do not enter there; if any know of the effort of a Jew or convert, secretly to preach the law of Moses and convert others to this creed, teaching the ceremonies belonging to the same, giving information as to the dates of festivals and fasts, teaching Jewish prayers; if any know of anyone who attempts to become a Jew, or being Christian walks abroad in the costume of a Jew; if any know of anyone, converted or otherwise, who orders that his dress shall he made of canvas and not of linen, as the good Jews do; if any know of those who, when their children kiss their hands, place their hands on the children’s heads without making the Sign (of the Cross); or who, after dinner or supper, bless the wine and pass is to everyone at the table, which blessing is called the veraha; if any know that in any house, people congregate for the purpose of carrying on religious services, or read out of bibles of the vernacular or perform other Judaic ceremonies, and if any know that when someone is about to set out on a journey, certain words of the law of Moses are spoken to him, and a hand placed on his head without making the Sign (of the Cross). And if any know of anyone who has professed the Mosaic creed, or awaited the coming of the Messiah, saying that our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ was not come and that now Elijah was to come and take them to the promised land; and if any know that any person had pretended to go into a trance and wandered in heaven and that an angel had conducted him over green fields and told him that was the promised land which was being saved for all converts whom Elijah was to redeem from the captivity in which they lived; and if any know that any person or persons be children or grandchildren of the condemned, and being disqualified, should make use of public office, or bear arms or wear silk and fine cloth, or ornament their costumes with gold, silver, pearls or other precious stones or coral, or make use of any other thing which they are forbidden and disqualified to have; and if any know that any persons have or possessed any confiscated goods, furniture, money, gold, silver, or other jewels belonging to those condemned for heresy, which should be brought before the receiver of goods confiscated for the crime of heresy. —All these things, having been seen, heard or known, you, the above-mentioned faithful Christians, have, with obstinate hearts, refused to declare and manifest, greatly to the burden and prejudice of your souls; thinking that you were absolved by the bulls and indulgences issued by our holy father, and by promises and donations which you had made, for which you have incurred the sentence of excommunication and other grave penalties under statutory law; and thus you may be proceeded against as those who have suffered excommunication and as abettors of heretics, in various ways; but, wishing so act with benevolence, and in order that your souls may not be lost, since our Lord does not wish the death of the sinner but his reformation and life; by these presents, we remove and suspend the censure promulgated by the said former inquisitors against you, so long as you observe and comply with the terms of this our edict, by which we require, exhort and order you, in virtue of the holy obedience, and under penalty of complete excommunication, within nine days from the time that the present edict shall have been read to you, or made known to you in whatsoever manner, to state all that you know, have seen, heard, or heard tell in any manner whatsoever, of the things and ceremonies above-mentioned, and to appear before us personally to declare and manifest what you have seen, heard, or heard tell secretly, without having spoken previously with any other person, or borne false witness against anyone. Otherwise, the period having passed, the canonical admonitions having been repeated in accordance with the law, steps will be taken so give out and promulgate sentence of excommunication against you, in and by these documents; and through such excommunication, we order that you be publicly denounced; and if, after a further period of nine days, you should persist in your rebellion and excommunication, you shall be excommunicated, anathematised, cursed, segregated, and separated as an associate of the devil, from union with and inclusion in the holy Mother-Church, and the sacraments of the same. And we order the vicars, rectors, chaplains, and sacristans and any other religious or ecclesiastical persons to regard and treat the above-mentioned as excommunicated and accursed for having incurred the wrath and indignation of Almighty God, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother, and of the beatified apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and all the saints of the celestial Court; and upon such rebels and disobedient ones who would hide the truth regarding the above-mentioned things, be all the plagues and maledictions which befell and descended upon King Pharaoh and his host for not having obeyed the divine commandments; and the same sentence of divine excommunication encompass them as it encompassed the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who all perished in flames; and of Athan and Abiron who were swallowed up into the earth for the great delinquencies and sins which they committed in disobedience and rebellion against our Lord God; and may they be accursed in eating and drinking, in waking and sleeping, in coming and going. Accursed be they in living and dying, and may they ever be hardened so their sins, and the devil be as their right hand always; may their vocation be sinful, and their days be few and evil; may their substance be enjoyed by others, and their children be orphans, and their wives widows. May their children ever be in need, and may none help them; may they be turned out of their homes and their goods taken by usurers; and may they find nobody to have compassion on them; may their children be ruined and outcast, and their names also; and their wickedness be ever present in the divine memory. May their enemies vanquish them and despoil them of all they possess in the world; and may they wander from door to door without relief. May their prayers be turned to maledictions; and accursed be the bread and wine, the meat and fish, the fruit and other food that they eat; likewise the houses they inhabit and the raiment they wear, the beasts upon which they ride and the beds upon which they sleep, and the tables and napkins upon which they eat. Accursed be they to Satan and to Lucifer and to all the devils in hell, and these be their lords, and accompany them by night and by day. Amen. And if any persons incurring the said excommunications and maledictions, should persist therein for the space of a year, they should be regarded as heretics themselves, and shall be prosecuted by the same process as against heretics or suspects of the crime of heresy. Given on the _____ March, in the year of our Lord God, one thousand five hundred and twelve."
Nullus omoveat sub pena excommunicationis.
(Item: Of no avail is the confession made to the confessor for procuring absolution from the sentence of excommunication to which the heretic might be subject, from the time the crime is committed.)
(Item: All who know anything of the things mentioned in this present edict, or of other heresies, and do not coma forward to denounce and declare the same, are hereby excommunicated and may not be absolved by their confessors.)
El doctor De Mandato sue
Palacio, inquisidor. Reverende paternitatis,
Petrus Sorell, notarius.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369 Woden, ACT 2606 Australia
PO Box 45 Rockton Ontario LOR 1XO Canada
E-mail: CCG Secretary