The Rise and Fall of the Church!

by: Wayne Schatzle

       Edward Gibbon wrote a monumental book documenting the "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire". It took 12 years to research and finally published in 1776. It was, and still is the best, and most accurate treatise on the subject. The book showed how the greatest empire of the ancient world self destructed due to preoccupation with entertainment, strange lusts, partying, and utter disregard for human life with slavery and abortion. What Gibbon did not know was just how sexual deviant those of the Roman Empire were. Discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 1800s finally told the story of an empire without a conscience. There were no laws concerning morality. Brothels were in the center of the city and homes would be decorated with wall murals of couples engaged in sexual acts. Hundreds of phallic symbols were collected even wind chimes of "male" images. This archeology find was so bad that they eventually made the museum secret that contained them, even to this day kept from public gaze in a hidden repository in the British Museum. The word Pornography came into existence in 1864 to describe the licentious paintings of Pompeii.

       There was a study that gave a shocking overlay of how the decline of the Roman Empire based on Gibbon’s book parallels the path that the United States is on. The study pointed to sexual excesses, divorce, sports and entertainment, and apathy toward wholesome conduct and community involvement of the United States. The frightening part is that the shocking study I had read was written in the 1960s! What is our American character of today? Is it better or worse than 35 years ago? In no uncertain terms we have to declare that character no longer matters and society sees no problem in killing full term babies plus prayer and the ten commandments are somehow evil in the eyes of many.

The first century church had its work cut out for them. This was a tiny sect against the great Roman Empire which had no conscience. In Paul’s letter to the Roman church, he addressed the problems they were up against in the very first chapter. False gods, foolish philosophers, homosexuality, and a whole laundry list of sins were common. Paul warned against and urged the saints to rise above it and minister to people seeking the path of righteousness. Incredibly, this small band of Spirit led believers had an impact and instilled a conscience and morality in the empire, but it took 300 years to accomplished. The sad ending to the story of the church against Rome is, while they won the battle, compromise caused them to lose the war. When we see a long list of Roman rulers in bitter persecution of Christianity, Constantine [325ad] finally gives in and actually made Christianity the official religion. By this time we see a totally different church than the one Jesus Christ founded 300 years before. In order to attract the heathen into the fold, the church allowed pagan practices to remain, but just "christianized" the evil ways. H. H. Halley in his bible handbook says, " Christ had designed to conquer by purely Spiritual and moral means…but now the military spirit of Rome had entered the church… in reality Rome had conquered the church by making the church over into the image of the Roman empire……. The church had changed its nature and entered its apostasy……. Conversion of the barbarians filled the church with pagan practices. [page 760-761]

       As we enter a new millennium Christian churches are feeling further pressure to accept non-biblical lifestyles and evil practices. As churches become more ecumenical it will become increasingly difficult to find a church that resembles the True Church founded on Christ. Even established seminaries are degrading the bible and the position of Christ as its Leader. The words of Jude should be a wake up call for us all, "I found it necessary to write…… contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints…… evil men have crept in unnoticed…… turning the grace of God into licentiousness {license to sin}." [Jude 1] As always, this ministry urges everyone to study to show yourself approved unto God. History shows that you cannot depend on any organization for a ride into the Kingdom. It is your personal responsibility to seek the True path to life. Be aware that the bible warns more about deception than any other danger that may befall you. There are no shortcuts. We can assist you with quality bible studies, and as always, you, with guidance from God, must decide what road to travel: the wide highway that many are on, that leads to death, or the narrow difficult path, which FEW will find, that leads to LIFE! [Matt 7:14]

(Written by Wayne Schatzle,
director, Freedom Biblical Information Center
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)