Updates: December 30, 2017
The Primary Ages of the 7 Church Letters of Revelation from Jesus Christ
1. The Church at Ephesus — The teaching instructing Church – The Apostles and their disciples including Justin Martyr, etc.
2. The Church at Smyrna — The martyred persecuted Church – Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna, Perpetua and Felicity of Carthage, etc.
3. The Church at Pergamos — The worldly government Church – Constantine I, Ambrose, Monica, Augustine, etc.
4. The Church at Thyatira — The Roman Catholic Church – Pope Leo I, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius of Loyola, Queen Mary I of England, etc.
5. The Church at Sardis — The Protestant Church – Anselm of Canterbury, William Tyndale, King James I of England, Charles Spurgeon, etc.
6. The Church at Philadelphia — The friendship (Evangelical) Church – Queen Victoria, George Muller, Edward Backhouse, Oswald Chambers, etc.
7. The Church at Laodicea — The modern comfortable (Emergent) Church – King Henry VIII of England, Westcott and Hort, C. S. Lewis, etc.
Note: what was important to Justin Martyr was that he had known and was connected to someone who he presumed had known an Apostle. Justin Martyr was witnessed to by a very elderly man who instructed Justin Martyr to start in the faith not by reading the Christian New Testament but by reading the Jewish Old Testament.
Ambrose Bishop of Milan, Italy “A Father of the Modern (Governmental) Church System” consecrated on December 7, 374 A.D.
Saint Ambrose of Milan was a founder in the 3rd Church era the Church at Pergamos the legal governmental church era.
Saint Monica the mother of Saint Augustine (baptized by Ambrose) was actually a member of the 2nd Church era Church of Smyrna – The martyred persecuted Church before joining with Ambrose in Milan.
Also Note: Queen Mary I of England was an exceptional and gifted Catholic leader. The problem was not with her as a leader [as was so often the case especially at certain times during the ancient early Christian era Roman Empire] it was that the Church era [time in general] had shifted an moved on and the Protestant era had begun.
Recap: The 7 Church Letters of Revelation from Jesus Christ
1. The Church at Ephesus — The teaching instructing Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by a personal knowledge of Jesus
2. The Church at Smyrna — The martyred persecuted Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by total commitment even to death
3. The Church at Pergamos — The worldly government Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by current worldly status
4. The Church at Thyatira — The Roman Catholic Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by works i.e. Penance, Priests, Saint worship, Purgatory
5. The Church at Sardis — The Protestant Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by knowledge i.e. creeds, confessions, statements
6. The Church at Philadelphia — The friendship (Evangelical) Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by a personal relationship with Jesus
7. The Church at Laodicea — The modern comfortable (Emergent) Church – Faith in Jesus exhibited by self-acceptance [i.e I accept the way I am and the way I live my life so Jesus must accept me this way also]
A Major Evangelical Sect
The Religious Society of Friends: Doctrines and Practices …, Publication date 1870
by Edward Backhouse Online Book
Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, Publication date 1884
by Edward Backhouse Online Book
Biographical Preface of Edward Backhouse by Dr. Thomas Hodgkin
As the following work may come into the hands of some who were not personally acquainted with its Author, it is necessary to devote a few pages to a sketch of his life and character. Those who knew Edward Backhouse of Sunderland, will never forget either the man or that fresh and vigorous Christianity which was the keynote of his life. But for the sake of others an attempt must be made to give an outline, however imperfectly, of the manner in which he served his own generation by the will of God before he fell asleep and was “laid with his fathers.”
He was the son of Edward and Mary Backhouse, and was born at Darlington in 1808. A resident from early boyhood at Sunderland, of which place he became one of the foremost citizens, he was thoroughly identified in his interests with the busy, stirring life of the North of England. He was not himself, however, actively engaged in commerce. Although a partner in collieries [coal mining], and in the extensive banking business with which the name of his family has been so long connected, he took little, if any share in the practical management of these businesses, having desired from the time of his early manhood to keep his hands free for philanthropic and religious work.
He was an eager and diligent student of natural history, a frequent traveler, and a landscape painter of considerable merit. Though not cultivating the graces of a professed orator, he could always be relied on to make a plain, vigorous, straightforward speech, with a heartiness which never failed to win the ear of a popular assembly. He was a rather keen, but not bitter politician, on the Liberal side, but never sought a seat in Parliament, whither he could certainly have gone as representative of Sunderland if he had desired to do so.
His whole life was coloured by his enthusiastic adoption of the principles of that portion of the Christian Church to which his ancestors for many generations had belonged; the Society of Friends. During a considerable part of his life he occupied a conspicuous position as a minister among them. It is generally known that in their body there are no paid religious ministers, but the work of preaching and of pastoral visitation is discharged by such members of the society as may feel themselves commissioned by the Unseen Head of the Church to undertake it. After one of these volunteers has preached in the “meetings for worship” for a while, if his services meet with the approval of the congregation, it is the custom to “acknowledge” him. Ministers thus acknowledged acquire a certain official position, but still are in no sense a clergy distinct from the laity around them, but only members of the body, whose gift happens to be of a kind which brings them into somewhat greater prominence than their brethren.
Edward Backhouse used to refer his own conversion to the thirtieth year of his age. His life had been always pure and unblameable according to man’s judgment. After this time it became more conspicuously devoted to the service of Christ; yet it was not till fourteen years after this time that he commenced work as a minister. In the interval his religious labours were chiefly of the kind which Friends call “eldership,” and which consists in accompanying the ministers on their missionary journeys, advising them as to their spiritual course, and discriminating between the ministers whose gifts claim encouragement and eventual recognition, and those who seem to have mistaken their vocation. In 1852 he began to preach in the assemblies of Friends, and after two years’ probation was “recognized” as a minister, which position he occupied for the remaining twenty-five years of his life.
His preaching was very characteristic of the man, with no elaborate oratory, but a fine natural flow of language and a certain character of manly strength and earnestness in every discourse. His favourite topic of exhortation, especially in later years, was, “Press on, do not be satisfied with infancy or childhood in the Christian life. It is time now that you were full grown men and women in Christ Jesus, with all the power to overcome which this mature life should bring to you.” The happiness of the Christian believer was another favorite theme, both in his conversation and his sermons. In speaking of his life after his conversion he says, “The more closely I kept to my faithful Guide, the more I understood the beauty of holiness, the glory of the Lord’s delightsome land, the sweetness, the safety and the rest of abiding in Jesus.” Those words, “the Lord’s delightsome land,” are very characteristic both of his life and ministry, and in writing them one seems to hear again the fine tones of that strong and hearty voice impressing, them on his hearers.
… It is difficult to describe this part of his character without conveying the impression that his was a self-indulgent life; but this was far from being the case. The sorrows and the sins of great cities, and especially of the great seaport near to which he himself lived, claimed a very large share of his time and thought, and he spent not only money, but health and energy freely in the endeavor to alleviate and reform them. He erected a large mission hall in one of the poorest districts of Sunderland, which became the resort of a large congregation, and was the center of a great Christianizing and civilizing work in a district which had much need of such assistance. In the various operations connected with this place, both on Sundays and weekdays, he took a large personal share. … THOMAS HODGKIN
Updates: July 30, 2017
“You can have a personal relationship with God.” We like to pull this amazing declaration out of our evangelism toolboxes, to focus on the fact that a relationship with God is actually possible for human beings. This fact is at the …
However, another word from the above statement also deserves our attention: personal. More than just a modifier of “relationship,” “personal” points to the fact that God Himself must be personal in order to relate to us.
How does Almighty God pull off being personal? According to theologian Millard Erickson, “The Holy Spirit is the point at which the Trinity becomes personal to the believer.”
1. The Spirit is the actual presence of God, active and alive, within Christians. Another theologian wrote, “Though we speak of the Spirit as the third Person [of the Trinity], from the standpoint of experience Spirit is first, because it is the Spirit that enables us to experience God’s … drawing near.”
2. Think about all these ideas regarding God the Holy Spirit: personal, active, alive, experiential, and “drawing near.” As the very presence of God within us, the Holy Spirit does all sorts of things, among them producing [righteous] fruit, giving gifts, and making [us] holy [Christian Sanctification].
Another thought about [Holy] spiritual fruit is worth mentioning. These nine elements — multiple parts of a singular fruit, like a cluster of grapes — perfectly describe life in the [Holy] Spirit. W. T. Conner, long-time theologian at Southwestern Seminary, phrased it perfectly in saying that the Spirit-filled life is moral and ethical, not “an emotional orgy. … Paul was no wild enthusiast. His religion [traditional Christianity] always had at its center the element of rational and moral control. Christian character and conduct were the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit.”