” Lucian was really a learned man; his work on the text of the OldTestament, which he corrected from the original Hebrew,
CONSIDERATION having been given to the importance of Syria in
conserving the original bases of the true church, attention is now directed to Lucian (c.A.D. 250-312). Born among the hills of Syria, this devout scholar was destined to exercise a dominating influence on the thought of men through the ages. He was gifted with an unusual spirit of discernment, which theHoly Spirit used in enlarging and strengthening the foundations laid by the apostles. For many years destructive teachings more deadly to early Christianity than the poison of serpents had been gaining ground. Lucian was called upon to face these, and although he did not succeed in completely removing them, nevertheless he did build for all a safe retreat. Lucian might be likened to the founders of the American republic. As authors of the American Declaration of Independence and that part of the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights, they gave the nation written documents upon which to build the state. So Lucian, in an hour when documentary confusion was threatening chaos, defended, preserved, and passed on to other generations the true text of the Holy Scriptures. He also left a masterpiece of theology to evangelical believers. He stimulated and vivified correct church organization and method of evangelization. Although his opponents have seen to it that not much history about him has been preserved, yet they cannot rob him of his great works.41Lucian was born at Antioch, a center of Greek life and culture. In his day, Rome ruled supreme. There was no more powerful metropolis than Antioch. On the outskirts lay the glamorous grove of Daphne, celebrated above all other groves. In
HIS BOYHOOD AND YOUTH
Shapur (Sapro) I, the Persian monarch, waged successful warfare to the west, capturing the city of Antioch and taking captive the Roman emperor.2 Naturally he carried back from the region many captives, among them Syrian Christians who would labor to evangelize Persia. Antioch on the border line between Rome andPersia, the coveted prize of both empires, offered a commanding positionfrom which the work of Lucian could exercise its influence east and westthrough the coming centuries.Soon the government of the Roman world passed into the hands of an energetic soldier, the emperor Aurelian, who set about vigorously to repair the damage to the imperial system done by weak predecessors. At this time a certain Paul, born in Samosata, was bishop of Antioch and had brought down upon himself the wrath of the Roman and Alexandrian 42 churches because of his teachings. Paul was accused of believing a doctrineconcerning the divinity of Christ which in the eyes of the bishops of Romeand Alexandria was considered heresy. Now for the first
In the church struggle over Paul of Samosam, Lucian held aloof from bothparties. When it appeared as if neither side would win,
INSIDIOUS TEACHINGS MET BY LUCIAN
Manichaeism dethroned the first chapter of Genesis by rejecting creation and a miracle-working God, by demanding celibacy of its leaders, and by worshiping the sun as the supreme dwelling place of Deity.10 Imbued with the ancient Persian hatred of the Old Testament, it ridiculed the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and exalted Sunday.11 This fanatical darkness,44 with its own fabricated scriptures, came down upon Syria like a fog. Lucian weakened its attacks by his irresistible defense of the Scriptures and their teachings. He was next aroused to meet in the primitive church an invasion of subtle hero worship. Gnosticism was eating its way into those sections of the church which were compromising with paganism. The wrath of the papal party was brought down upon him because he refused to participate in a questionable movement to exalt on fraudulent grounds the primacy of the bishop of Rome. For more than a century previously there had appeared considerable deceptive literature giving an exalted place to Peter. In these crafty stories the impetuous apostle was brought to Rome, and with him was brought Simon the magician, whom he had rebuked. Supernatural powers were attributed to Simon. Peter, in these dishonest fables, was reputed to follow Simon, rapidly confuting his heresies and his superhuman feats, and finally destroying this pretended follower of the faith by a mighty miracle. These fabulous exploits of Peter were emblazoned abroad.
“The apocryphal accounts…of Peter’s deeds at Rome leaped at once beyond all bounds of sober credibility. They may have concealed a modicum of fact beneath the fiction, but the fiction so far exceeded and distorted the fact that it is hopeless now to try to disentangle one from the otherSee footnote 12
….None the less this literature cannot be overlooked by one who aims to comprehend the growth of papal prestige. Conceptions founded upon it and incidents borrowed from it were in timeaccepted by most of the influential writers of Roman Christendom, even by those who like Eusebius or Jerome fully realized that the literature as a whole was a web of falsehood. In particular, the figure of Simon Magus, once installed at Rome, could never be entirely exorcised, nor could Peter be deprived of the renown of being the first mighty victor over heresy as embodied in Simon’s person. In fact, it is difficult to name one of the Fathers after the third century who does not sometimeallude to that famous story. Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine andothers…could none of them rid themselves altogether of the impression it made upon them.
Lucian never accepted such doubtful tales. He protested against those who were championing fraudulent claims; but as they became more determined in countenancing these false stories, and so helped to make the bishop of Rome “the vicar of the Son of God,” the more hostile they grew toward Lucian.
LUCIAN’S GIFT OF THE GENUINE NEW TESTAMENT
The Protestant denominations conserving the upon that manuscript of the GreekNew Testament sometimes called the Textus Receptus, or Received Text. It is that Greek New Testament from which the writings of the apostles inGreek have been translated into English, German, Dutch, and other languages. During the Dark Ages, the Received Text was practically unknown outside the Greek Church. It was restored to Christendom by the labors of that great scholar, Erasmus. It is altogether too little known that the real editor of the received text was Lucian. None of Lucian’senemies fails to credit him with this work. Neither Lucian nor Erasmus, but rather the apostles, wrote the Greek New Testament. However, Lucian’s day was an age of apostasy when a flood of depravations was systematically attempting to devastate both the Bible manuscripts and Bible theology. Origen, of the Alexandrian college, made his editions and commentaries of the Bible a secure retreat for all errors, and deformed them with philosophical speculations introducing casuistry and lying.(13) Lucian’sunrivaled success in verifying, safeguarding, and transmitting those divine writings left a heritage for which all generations should be thankful. Mutilations of the Sacred Scriptures abounded
REJECTION OF THE SPURIOUS OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS
Not only did Lucian certify the genuine New Testament, but he spent years of arduous labor upon the Old Testament.17 As the Greek language46was the prevalent tongue in which leading works were published throughout the civilized world, he translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. He did this work so well that even Jerome, his bitter opponent, admitted that his Greek translation of the Old Testament held sway in the capital city of Constantinople and in most of the Near East.18Jerome also entered the same field and translated the Hebrew Bible, not only into Greek, but into Latin. When the two translations of the Hebrew Bible appeared, there was a marked difference between the edition of Lucian and that of Jerome. To Jerome’s Latin edition were added the seven spurious books called the Apocrypha, which the Protestant world has continuously rejected. The responsibility cannot all be laid upon Jerome, for he did not believe in these seven spurious books. Augustine, whose fame as a father of the papal church outshines Jerome’s, favored them.19Since, however, Jerome had been employed by the bishop of Rome to publish this translation and had received abundant money
from his employer for its accomplishment, the pope took the liberty of adding the seven spurious books in question to the Latin edition of Jerome’s Old Testament. Later the Papacy pronounced it to be the authoritative Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, in many
EXPOSURE OF THE ALLEGORIZING THEOLOGIANS
Clement (c. A.D. 194) and Origen (c. A.D. 230) of the metaphysical school of Alexandria, in the days immediately preceding Lucian, welded into an alluring and baffling system the method of allegorizing the Bible. in completely the supremacy of the bishop of Rome and declared that there conserving the salvation outside the church. Clement played to the applause of the populace by advocating the affinity of Christianity with paganism and of sun worship with the Sun of Righteousness. John Mosheim testifies to this as follows:
“He [Clement] himself expressly tells us in his Stromata, that he would not hand down Christian truth pure and unmixed, but“associated with, or rather veiled by, and shrouded under the precepts of philosophy”… the philosophy of the Greeks.”See footnote 20
While Clement, with Pantaenus, mixed Christianity with paganism at Alexandria, Lucian founded at Antioch a school of Syrian theology. The profound difference between his teaching and that of the north Africanallegorizing theologians, Dr. Williston Walker thus describes:
“With Antioch of this period is to be associated the foundation of a school of theology by Lucian, of whom little is known of biographical detail, save that he was a presbyter, held aloof from the party in Antioch which opposed and overcame Paul of Samosata, taught there from c. 275 to 303, and died a martyr’s death in 312See footnote 21
….Like Origen, he busied himself with textual and exegetical labors on the Scriptures,but had little liking for the allegorizing methods of the great Alexandrian. A simpler, more grammatical and historical method of treatment both of text and doctrine characterized his teaching.”
It was a critical hour in the history of the church in the days following the efforts of Clement, Origen, and Tertullian — the mystical teachers of
“If the foundations(Psalm 11:3.)
bedestroyed, what can the righteous do?”
It was at this time, according to a historian acceptable to the Roman Church, who lived in the same century with Lucian, that the martyr drew up a confession of faith.
DENOUNCING TRADITION ABOVE THE BIBLE
The apostle Paul had prophesied that after his departing men would arise from the ministry, speaking perverse things and entering like grievous wolves among the flock. (Acts 20:29, 30.) Paul said it would come; Lucianin his day could say truly that it had come. Within a hundred years after the death of
“See footnote 23
If,for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as the strengthener, and faith as their observer.
The Church in the Wilderness believed the Bible to be supreme. Its members believed that the Holy Spirit and the word agreed, and they remembered that Jesus met each test Satan put against Him in the hour of temptation with the words, “It is written.” To hold the Holy Scriptures as an infallible guide to salvation excludes the admission of any other authority upon as high a level. To exalt tradition and place it on the level with the Bible throws the door open to admit all kinds of writings as bearing the seal of divine authority. Moreover, it places an impossible burden upon believers to verify a wide range of literature. The Protestant and the Catholic worlds both teach that the Holy Scriptures are of God. There is a difference, however, for the Protestants admit the Bible and the Bible only, while the Papacy places the church traditions on an equality with the Scriptures. The Council of Trent, 1545, whose decisions are
The sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent,…following the examples of the orthodox fathers, receive sand venerates with equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, — seeing that one God is the author of both, and also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated,either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved by a continuous succession in the Catholic Church.See footnote 24
That this principle still prevails in the Roman Catholic Church is shown by the words of the celebrated Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, who was long the leading exponent of his church in the United States. Thus he writes:
A rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is
noteveryChristian obliged to sanctify Sunday, and to abstain on thatdayfrom unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of thislawamong the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of
Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.See footnote 25
Lucian was obliged to take his stand against the tide of error that was rising in his day. He was diametrically opposed to the school of theology at Alexandria, whose teachings exalted tradition. Tertullian took the same stand as did other early north African authors directly or indirectly favored by the Papacy. 26 Lucian encountered the contradictory teachings concerning the binding obligations of the Ten Commandments. The same inconsistency is manifest in papal doctrine today, for The Catholic Encyclopedia says:
“The Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’sDay. The Council of Trent
(Sess. 6, can. 14)
condemns those who deny that the Ten Commandments are binding on Christians.” 27 This directly contradicts the teachings of Thomas Aquinas regarding the fourth commandment.28 And it is to be remembered that the Roman Church ranks him first as an expositor of papal doctrine.
STANDING AGAINST “NO-LAW” THEORY
If any one part of the Ten Commandments is ceremonial, as Thomas Aquinas teaches, then the claim that they all are perfect, immutable, and eternal in their binding power upon all men
“Ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 2:14.)
The apostle Paul, therefore, is the author of the Judean pattern. How long did this pattern continue? The quotation
The school at Antioch, founded by Lucian, developed a system of theology, so real that though all the power of the Papacy was thrown against it, it finally prevailed. The Papacy also developed a great system of theology which was challenged both by the Church in the Wilderness and by the Reformation
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY
The Antioch system of theology which we have been studying was prominent; it extended from England to China and from Turkestan to Ethiopia.Papal theology was also prominent. It is not necessary to indicate the dominating course it has had throughout the earth. Yet numbers do not constitute the final proof of truth. As an example, more millions of people in the world follow Buddha than follow any other religion.
THE GENUINE BIBLE
Lucian and his school gathered and edited a definite and complete Bible. It was a collection of the books from Genesis to Revelation. Well-known writers like Jerome, Erasmus, and Luther, and, in the nineteenth century,John William Burgon and Fenton John Anthony Hort, whether friends or opponents, agree that Lucian was the editor who passed on to the world the Received Text — the New Testament text which was adopted at the birth of all the great churches of the Reformation. Not a single church born of the Reformation, such as Lutheran, Calvinistic, Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, or Adventist, adopted any other Bible than that whose New Testament text came down from Lucian. The Papacy passed on to the world an indefinite and incomplete Bible
MANUSCRIPTS TRUE AND FALSE
The text which Lucian gave to the world was to all intents pure andcorrect.47 Even his opponents declare that there are no Greek NewTestaments older than
RELATION TO THE LAW OF GOD
The theology of Antioch stood for the binding obligation of the TenCommandments.The theology of the Papacy claims
CHRIST OUR SUBSTITUTE AND SURETY
The theology of Antioch teaches salvation for sinful man through the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross.56The Papacy does not now teach and never has taught salvation for sinful man through the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “‘Vicarious satisfaction,’ a term now in vogue, is not found expressly in the church formularies, and is not an adequate expression of Christ’s mediation.”50
The majority of the churches of Syria and of the East continued to observe Saturday, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment from the days of
NO UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE
The church organization developed by the apostles and continued largely by Syrian theology was simple and evangelical. Fundamentally, it rejected the union of church and state. The church organization developed by the Papacy is hierarchal. Throughout its
- Duchesne, Early History of the Christian Church, vol. 1, p. 362.
- 2 Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern Worldvol.3, ch. 4, p. 283.
- 3 Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, p. 720.
- 4 Mosheim, Commentaries, cent. 2, vol. 1, p. 341.
- 5 See the author’s discussion in Chapter 9.
- 6 See later on this same chapter.
- 7 Ayer, A Source Book for Ancient Church History, p. 227.
- 8 Gibbon, Decline
andFall of the Roman Empire, ch. 47, par. 1.
- 9 Bull, Defence of the Nicene Faith, vol. 1, pp. 344-351.423
- 10 M’Clintock and Strong, Cyclopedia; also The New InternationalEncyclopedia, art. “Manichaeism”
- 11 Milman, The History of Christianity, vol. 2, p. 270. See also
M’ClintockandStrong, Cyclopedia, and The New International Encyclopedia, art.“Manichaeism”
- 12 Shotwell and Loomis, The See of Peter, p. 122.
- 13 Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, b. 1, cent. 3, pt. 2, ch. 3
- 14 Gilly, Vigilantius and His Times, p. 116.
- 15 Fisher, History of Christian Doctrines, p. 19.
- 16 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, b. 5, ch. 28, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, art. “Lucian.”
- Nolan, The Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, p. 72.
- Killen, The Old Catholic Church, p. 153; Jacobus, Roman Catholic
andProtestantBibles Compared, p. 4.
- Mosheim, Commentaries, cent. 2, vol. 1, p. 341.
- Walker, A History of the Christian Church, p. 106.
- Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, b. 3, ch. 5, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.
- Tertullian, The Chaplet or De Corona, chapter 4.
- Buckley, Canons
andDecrees of the Council of Trent, pp. 17, 18.
- Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 111, 112, 63d ed.; p. 86, 76th ed.
- Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, Second Period, par. 196
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, art. “Commandments of God.”
- Cox, The Literature of the Sabbath Question, vol. 1, pp. 370, 371.
- Ibid. vol. 1, pp. 128, 129.
- Newman, The Arians of the Fourth Century, pp. 10, 11, 14, 27.
- Cadman, The Three Religious Leaders of Oxford, pp. 479, 481.
- Jacobus, Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles Compared, p. 280.424
- Newman, The Arians of the Fourth Century, pp. 7-11.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, art. “Calendar.”
- Cox, The Literature of the Sabbath Question, vol. 1, p. 334.
- Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, b. 5, ch. 22, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.
- Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, b. 7, ch. 19, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.
- Council of Laodicea, Canon 29, Scribner’s Nicene and Post-
NiceneFathers, 2d Series, vol. 14, p. 148.
- See Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Asterius
,Gregoryof Caesarea, Origen, Cassian, etc.
- O’Leary, The Syriac Church
andFathers, p. 27.
- O’Leary, The Syriac Church
andFathers, p. 28.
- Ambrose, De Moribus, Brachmanorium Opera Omnia, found in Migne,Patrologia Latina, vol. 17, pp. 1131, 1132.
- O’Leary, The Syriac Church
andFathers, p. 44.
- Nolan, The Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, pp. 413-416.
- O’Leary, The Syriac Church and Fathers, p. 49
- Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers, p. 111, 63d ed.; p. 86, 76th ed.
- Nolan, The Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, pp. 125, 126.
- On the Revisers and the Greek Text, pp. 11, 12.
- Jacobus, Roman Catholic and Protestant Bibles Compared, p. 42.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, art. “Mediator.” J. E. Canavan, in the mystery of the Incarnation, p. 19, says: “The common Catholic theory is that Christ redeemed us, not by standing in our place, not by substituting Himself for us, but by offering to God a work which pleased Him far more than sin displeased Him.” See also
M’ClintockandStrong, Cyclopedia, art. “Christology.”
- Epistles of Gregory I, b. 13, epistle 1, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene fathers.
- Fitzpatrick, Ireland and the Foundations of Europe, p. 161; Draper, History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, p. 469.