By John Larkins
At the end of our last column, we noted that first churches of The Way, collectively called “The Seven Churches of Revelation,” had been established and Peter and Paul had been killed by the Romans about 67 A.D. As Peter was the first primary leader of The Way – which was still not being called by its modern name (after all, there was still not another Christian church) – Peter had to be replaced.
By this time, several bishops had been ordained for the growing group of churches, and the process was established. John was still alive and would preach his Revelation message, so a Church needed oversight and a person to coordinate uniform doctrine.
The 266th Pope, Francis, is in Rome today. We know the first pope was Peter and we now know the current leader, so, there must have been a second. His name was St. Linus, chosen by God through the bishops, in the year 67. Our records show he was born in Volterra and died on September 23 in the year 76. During Volterra’s time in office Saints Luke and Mark were martyred. So goes the saying, “The Church was watered by the blood of the martyrs!”
The informal center for The Way shifted from Jerusalem to Rome. Christ’s church continued to grow, but mostly in the Eastern Roman Empire. By 100 A.D. there were 41 Churches operating.
About this time, one of the bishops, who was writing to all the churches on his way to be killed, addressed a letter to them all as the Catholic Churches. About 200 years later, God gave a convincing sign to a Roman general that the sign of the cross, the sign of The Way and was a sacred entity. Unexpectedly, the soldier adopted the cross for his personal sign and made The Way the Roman religion. Thus ended that early period of the Church’s persecution, but Satan has returned to once more crucify Christians around the world.
Thinking back to God’s disappointment with Adam and Eve’s disobedience in The Garden of Paradise and His plan to give all his beloved children a way to show Him they really wanted to spend eternity with Him, we may see evidence of His plan.
In the probably 4,000 years since He spoke to Abraham, God caused the creation of a people to be the model for His Church, the development of written narratives and guidance for individually preparing to present ourselves to the final judgment. His Son died to repay the insult of our first parents. In God’s books, He showed The Way to accept the salvation offered by His son Jesus on the cross. The Church He founded on Peter was given the power, through Jesus, to dispense the saving grace to enter paradise. The priests of THE WAY forgive or retain sins of those baptized. Sadly, when the apostles asked Jesus if all would be saved, He said the way is narrow and that many will not find it.
So, this discourse has attempted to illuminate The Way. Jesus also said to His apostles, “Do not be surprised if they hate you, they hated me first.”
Jesus Christ’s Good News is that there most assuredly Is A Way for all people who chose!
Contact John Larkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.