Time has come that we study a group of itinerant-door-to-door evangelist that have plagued the streets of the United States and other countries for about 150 years. Theirs is the youngest of the major denominational cults of our day having begun in the 1840’s. Their leader and founder was not even a nice guy (to those who knew him, we are told), but saw in the work of Alexander Campbell a way to “make more money than God”! His ideas were not new, in fact they came from the second century after the Lord started His Church, the Church of Christ. The doctrine he espoused in the plethora of writings he saddled the world with had been dormant for a long time and the reformation world did not see in it what the Church of Christ had fought and defeated in the third century.
Throughout the early history of the Church of Christ, but especially in the first four centuries, the growing body of Christian believers later to become the ‘visible church’ encountered both political and doctrinal opposition as they fought their way through the mazes of both Roman oppression and Greek mystical theology. None of these battles were more important to the future of the cause of Christ than was the “Arians of the fourth century”. These brethren, yes, believe it or not they were brethren, arrayed themselves against the original doctrine of Christ of the first century demanding an explanation to those things which could only be known by revelation. Politically and doctrinally, the Arian heresy challenged the cornerstone of all those teachings of the apostles two centuries before them. Denying the revelation of the apostles as “given from Heaven” the Arians denied with boldness the true Deity of Jesus Christ. Like their contemporaries of the Russellite movement they did not believe in the eternal Word, they came to believe He, Jesus Christ, was the first work of the creation of God.
The origin of the controversy between those who believed the writings of the apostles, who taught and believed Jesus Christ to be truly God who came and made His abode in a human body, and those called “Arians” who affirmed that He was merely the first and greatest of God’s creatures created in time and elevated to the rank of “a god”, began in the year 319 AD with Arius of Alexandria, a learned teacher and Elder of the Alexandrian Church of Christ in Egypt. The Church had deteriorated in doctrine and conviction because of its great size and importance. Nothing was like Her. Her size and wealth was only equaled by her political, financial, and social place in those societies.
Early in the second century history records major departures from the “faith, once delivered to the saints” on many subjects. Not willing to leave the doctrine of Christ pure, men had already practiced sprinkling of water on the sick and called that baptism, allowed un-married men to become elders in the local congregations, and begun a movement that eventually eradicated the evangelist from the make-up of the organizational structure of the Church. The “rationalists” began showing up in certain schools of instruction from Greece, teaching what their dead faiths had taught before Christ came. They began to infiltrate themselves into many doctrinal “councils” held in those days where new doctrines were voted on and approved by men with superior revelation!! These brethren had “mysteries and revelations which were never intended to be fully understood outside of the mind of God”!! John Chrysostom championed the cause of our Master and because of his respect for the Word and eloquence, silenced them. In his “homilies” (Latin for sermons) on “The Incomprehensible Nature of God”, John argued repeatedly that what was not revealed was never intended to be considered because it was beyond our ability to comprehend!! Isaiah 55:7-8