The history of the Roman Catholic Church is something I want to write a series about. However, it is a daunting task. The history of the RCC is a history of evil and relentless persecution of true Christians. I find it telling that you never, ever hear about this in church pulpits anymore. I was raised on it. But, then, it requires courage to talk about it - a quality that is difficult to find these days - especially in church pulpits.
The RCC is the major player in Satan's global religion, which is being formed right now. That religion is not restricted to the RCC, but spreads it's tentacles across the globe to include and meld all the religions of earth, EXCEPT the true church, the bride of Christ ... born again Christians ... who are not identified by any particular organization or institution.
The RCC has fought to suppress God's Word, the Bible, since its beginning. Catholicism is pagan to the core. It began with the leaders of the pagan religious leaders who were afraid that Christianity would steal their pagan worshippers, and therefore they decided to put the cloak of Christianity on their pagan worship. The majority leadership today is as wicked as it was then.
The Roman Catholic Church got a real boost from Constantine, who declared Christianity the state religion. However, Constantine himself was a pagan priest, and continued as such in his new role as the head of the new state religion. He called himself the Vicar of Christ, Pontifus Maximus, names which we all recognize because they are still the titles of the Roman church. One can legitimately, therefore, question the reality of any real conversion as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Any true convert would immediately reject anything pagan.
This new 'universal faith' began immediately persecuting Christians! That is to say, true Christians who refused to identify with the state church. Many historians believe this was the true beginning of the Dark Ages. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12.
"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you." John 16:2-4
Since my interest here is the Bible, we won't go into the centuries which passed and brought about the Crusades. Suffice it to say that the Roman Catholic Church outlawed the translation, possession or reading of God's Word by anyone outside the church hierarchy, thus keeping the Bible out of the hands of ordinary people who would immediately have seen the truth of the gospel.
During these centuries Christians were murdered for their faith. They were hunted down and killed by the agents of the RCC. Careful estimates of the total death toll cite over 50 million people were murdered for refusal to become Catholics.
The real seeds of the Protestant Reformation began with John Wycliffe. The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in 1380's AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river. (Note: 44 is a revered occult number. Our current President is also #44.)
One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg.
Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. The invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.
In the 1490’s another Oxford professor, and the personal physician to King Henry the 7th and 8th, Thomas Linacre, decided to learn Greek. After reading the Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate, he wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.” The Latin had become so corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the Gospel… yet the Church still threatened to kill anyone who read the scripture in any language other than Latin… though Latin was not an original language of the scriptures.
In 1496, John Colet, another Oxford professor and the son of the Mayor of London, started reading the New Testament in Greek and translating it into English for his students at Oxford, and later for the public at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. The people were so hungry to hear the Word of God in a language they could understand, that within six months there were 20,000 people packed in the church and at least that many outside trying to get in. Fortunately for Colet, he was a powerful man with friends in high places, so he managed to avoid execution.
In considering the experiences of Linacre and Colet, the great scholar Erasmus was so moved to correct the corrupt Latin Vulgate, that in 1516, with the help of printer John Froben, he published a Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament. The Latin part was not the corrupt Vulgate, but his own fresh rendering of the text from the more accurate and reliable Greek, which he had managed to collate from a half-dozen partial old Greek New Testament manuscripts he had acquired. This was the first non-Latin Vulgate text of the scripture to be produced in 1000 years, and the first ever to come off a printing press. The 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus further focused attention on just how corrupt and inaccurate the Latin Vulgate had become, and how important it was to go back and use the original Greek (New Testament) and original Hebrew (Old Testament) languages to maintain accuracy.
Erasmus published the Latin Vulgate and the Greek version side by side so that people could see for themselves the difference. In fact, the Latin Vulgate was so corrupt that Erasmus had to re-translate it, and people were able to see the differences between the two Latin translations alone ... much less the difference between the Latin and the Greek translations. To give just one example, the Latin translated "penance" for "repentance," thus justifying the practice of penances and all the corruption that went with it. These works of Erasmus were an absolute bombshell.
William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the “Architect of the English Language”, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today. He also supported Henry VIII in his desire to rid England of the Pope and the Roman Church. Tyndale was hated and hunted by Rome. Caught up in the political and religious intrigue between the Pope and the King of England, Tyndale was finally strangled and burnt at the stake by an English cabal in the prison yard, Oct. 6, 1536. His last words were, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." This prayer was answered three years later, in the publication of King Henry VIII’s 1539 English “Great Bible,” which was delivered to the people.
Martin Luther declared his intolerance for the Roman Church’s corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther, who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worms Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him, would translate the New Testament into German for the first time from the 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus, and publish it in September of 1522. Luther also published a German Pentateuch in 1523, and another edition of the German New Testament in 1529. In the 1530’s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German.
End of Part 1.