Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thesis 84: The End of Archists: The Pedagogues Judged by the Church

        It was the hope of the Early Church that Jesus would eventually put down all statists and all institutions[1] through Godly Families (#72; #75). The Early Church wrestled against demonic “powers.”[2]
        Christ's judgment of powers began in the Apostolic Church.[3]
        Christ’s power and the impotence of the “powers” is demonstrated through an obedient Church.[4]
        All the kingdoms of the world have now been definitively delivered to the Resurrected and Enthroned Christ[5] and shall be progressively delivered to Christ by His saints[6]

1. 1 Corinthians 15:24
2. Ephesians 6:12
3. 1 Corinthians 6:1-4; Ephesians 3:10; Hebrews 12:22; 1 Corinthians 11:10
4. Ephesians 3:10
5. Revelation 11:15; 12:10-11; Acts 26:17-18
6. Daniel 7:13-14,18,22; Romans 16:20; Psalm 149:4-9; Revelation 12:11; 19:14:15; cf. Matthew 28:18-20

Full Preterists may argue that all these prophecies were fulfilled during the years when the church battled Israel, c. A.D. 33-70. The result for us is the same: "archists" have no legitimate claim on our allegiance.

B.B. Warfield writes:

The prominence of exorcisms in the notices of marvellous occurrences in these Fathers belongs to the circumstances of the times, and would call for no special notice except for the use which has been made of it in recent discussions (cf. S. McComb in Religion and Medicine, by Elwood Worcester, Samuel McComb, and Isador H. Coriat, 1908, pp. 295-299). In point of fact, Christianity came into a world that was demon-ridden, and, as Harnack remarks (The Expansion of Christianity, E. T., 1904, vol. I, p. 158), “no flight of the imagination can form any idea of what would have come over the ancient world or the Roman Empire during the third century had it not been for the church.” In conflict with this gigantic evil which dominated the whole life of the people, it is not to be wondered at that the Christians of the second and subsequent centuries, who were men of their time, were not always able to hold the poise which Paul gave them in the great words: “We know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one.” Accordingly, as Harnack points out, “from Justin downwards, Christian literature is crowded with allusions to exorcisms, and every large church, at any rate, had exorcists” (p. 162). But this is no proof that miracles were wrought, except this great miracle, that, in its struggle against the deeply rooted and absolutely pervasive superstition — “the whole world and the circumambient atmosphere,” says Harnack (p. 161), “were filled with devils; not merely idolatry, but every phase and form of life was ruled by them: they sat on thrones; they hovered over cradles; the earth was literally a hell” — Christianity won, and expelled the demons not only from the tortured individuals whose imagination was held captive by them, but from the life of the people, and from the world.

"The Cessation of the Charismata" by Benjamin B. Warfield, note 21.

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