A short while after the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Book of Acts chapter 2:1–12. On that day, 3000 people received the Holy Spirit of God…this began the Church of God. The Church is not a building or an organization of men! The faithful Christian reformer and Bible translator of the 1300s, John Wycliffe, said it best: ”You can not find the true Church of God in buildings or visible institutions, it is the people of God”, with Christ as the only Head.”
After this auspicious beginning in Jerusalem, the Jewish leaders were alarmed and began persecuting the Apostles and Christian believers… (Acts 8:1-3.) This began the scattering of God’s people; eventually, they found refuge in northern Syria, Church of Antioch, then into Asia, Ephesus (Acts 13 and 19). Later, the 6 other main Churches of Asia…Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea (Rev. Chapter 2).
CHURCHES IN EUROPE, AND THE ROMAN CHURCH THAT WAS STOLEN
On the Apostle Paul’s 3rd missionary journey, he established churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Berea, and other Greek/ Macedonian areas. Study Bibles estimate that Paul’s 3rd missionary trip was 53-57AD. Paul’s later trip to Rome is recorded in most study Bibles to be about 62AD. Later, Paul wrote Timothy from Rome and sent greetings from brethren in Rome (a house-Church); Paul includes a greeting from Linus. To learn more about the small Church in Rome that Paul mentioned, we can go to other historical accounts. (2 Timothy 4:21)
LINUS, FIRST LEADER (BISHOP) AT ROME
There are exactly written histories of the leaders of the First Church in Rome. Eusebius was a Church Bishop and eminent historian in the early 300s during the time of Emperor Constantine. Here is his list, beginning in 64 AD, of the first leaders of the Roman Church: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Euarestus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, Eleautherus, (History of the Christian Church/ Eusebius). The 3rd century Christian Bishop, Hippolytus, provides the same list in his history, which can be found on the internet…from his writings, NOTE…that the Apostle Peter is nowhere mentioned! Eusebius writes that “the Apostle Peter was not regarded as the founder of the Roman See (Church), or even associated with Rome,” BUT, THIS IS WHAT THE CATHOLICS FALSELY CLAIM TODAY: that Peter was the first Bishop and founder at Rome…and the Catholics claim they received their authority & office from him.
AFTER LINUS, HOW DID THE ROMAN CHURCH FALL AND BECOME THE FALSE,
UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF EMPEROR CONSTANTINE?
The Apostle Paul warned… “such are false Apostles, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Cor. 11:13). Eusebius writes:…” Simon Magus purported himself as the great power of God, he set-up disciples in Rome.” (THIS WAS EXACTLY AT THE SAME TIME(60-70AD), “Simon Magus had disciples who usurped the name Christian, they taught that they had mystical knowledge and had a catechism which stated their beliefs. They could only impart this knowledge. They forbade marriage and taught that the soul was immortal! Simon Magus, author of every false heresy. He pretended to accept the truth of Christ but was devoted to idolatrous superstitions”. BY EARLY 300s AD, EMPEROR CONSTANTINE TOOK OVER THIS FALSE CHURCH AT ROME AND EXPANDED IT THROUGHOUT HIS EMPIRE. THIS IS THE CHURCH THAT THE CATHOLICS RECEIVED AND WHICH WAS THEIR BEGINNING.