Saturday Homeschool Update: Free Worksheets and Exciting News

Hello, and happy Saturday, dear ones! I hope this post finds you all doing well. Below I’ve attached a small packet on Clement of Rome for any homeschooling families that want to go through the early church fathers in their lessons. I also included a link to Clement’s letter to Corinth if you’d like to pair these lessons with some amazing reading.

Clement of Rome

Clement’s First Epistle to Corinth

Now the exciting news! BiblicalBeginnings finally has a Facebook page. If you haven’t already found me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, I’ll include the links to those accounts as well. My hope is to utilize all the social media platforms to encourage and edify the bride of Christ, and to share the Gospel with the lost and dying world.

BiblicalBeginnings.png

BiblicalBeginnings Facebook Page

BiblicalBeginnings Pinterest Account

BiblicalBeginnings Instagram Account

I’ve also created a personal email for this blog, due to the insane amount of spam through my old email. I’m not sure how many important emails I miss on a daily basis between the thousands of adds and political articles that come through. So, if you’ve attempted to reach me in the past and were unsuccessful, please accept my heartfelt apology. Hopefully this year will be a more organized and productive year. This, as well as another announcement I can hopefully make by mid July, is in an attempt to redeemn the time! July is also going to be the month where Kayliegh’s science lessons become, well, explosive! So stay tuned for what will, prayerfully, be a safe and eventful month of learning. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Historical Church Series – Early Church Herestics: Arius of Alexandria

Today, dear ones, we’re going to discuss an early 4th-century heretic that held the greatest following of all the heresies we’ve reviewed thus far. His name was Arius, and he developed this idolatrous religion around 320 a.d. It’s now known as Arianism, and parts of it are very much alive and well today. Arius seems to have borrowed from a few of the previous heretics while adding some errant views of his own. Another important name we’re going to get to know today is Athanasius, the man who opposed Arius and his followers the most vocally and vehemently. I would also like to correct some misunderstandings regarding the counsel of Nicaea where Arius was voted a heretic and exiled to Illyria in 325 a.d. Lastly, as we’ve been doing, I want to connect Arianism to the cults we see very much active today.

First, let’s talk about what Arianism was. As I mentioned, Arius seemingly borrowed some a few others before him. Namely, the Gnostic view that God is good and thus could not have entered flesh. Spirit good, physical universe evil, which we covered here. This led Arius to teach that Christ was the first, greatest, creation of God the Father (denying the Hypostatic Union we addressed here). Thus, once created, Jesus would create the universe. Some of his followers would go on to teach that the Holy Spirit was the first, and greatest, creation of the Son. In this way, much like the Ebionites, we covered here, Arius essentially denies the doctrine of the Trinity. He also recycled a 2nd-century heresy called Adoptionism. This is the idea that the relationship between the Father and the Son is adoptive, rather than one of nature. Lastly, Arius denied the Biblical incarnation of Christ, suggesting that the divinity of the Son replaced His humanity and spirituality. This idea of shifting divinity led him to encourage his followers to worship the Son, although they believed Him to be a created being. Worship of anything else besides the eternal God is, of course, idolatry. You can see why there were only two dissenting voices when the Council of Nicaea voted.

One of the men at that very counsel would spend the rest of his life fighting this heresy, his name was Athanasius. Born at the end of the 3rd century, Athanasius would replace Alexander as Bishop over Alexandria. From there, he would be exiled, and restored, five times over a 45 year period. This was always as a result of his refusal to accept Arianism or to readmit Arius into the church. His first exile would be issued by Constantine, the very man who convened the Council of Nicaea that decidedly rebuked, and exiled Arius himself. Although the fight would continue on decades past his death in 373 a.d., he never wavered or compromised on his views on the Trinity, Christ’s eternality, or the need for redemption. To fully understand Athanasius, and his rocky life in and out of Alexandria, you need to understand the Council of Nicaea.

If you’ve spent any amount of time sharing your faith with the lost, you’ve probably had Nicaea used as an excuse not to believe the Bible. The cults, in particular, will often use this argument, although I’ve heard it from many atheists and agnostics as well. What the Council of Nicaea was not, was a council presided over by Constantine. Nor was it a discussion on the cannon of Scripture. The council did not gather to write any new doctrine or to add to God’s Word trinitarian language that had never before been discussed or addressed. The deity of Christ had always been orthodox, found in the writing of the earliest church fathers who sat at the feet of Apostles. What the Council of Nicaea was, was a group of Bishops, mostly from the east, but also some from the west, convened by Emperor Constantine to stop further disunity within his empire. Constantine was not in charge of the council, nor did he actually care about the outcome. That can be clearly seen in his willingness to later issue a decree for the readmittance of Arius, the refusal of which Athanasius was exiled for, the first time. The council was gathered to discuss the literal matter of Christ, was He similar to God, as God, or made of the same essence of God? There were three groups; Arius and his two supporters, Alexander and those opposed to Arius, and the middle who were equally opposed to Arius but concerned about the language being used. Their concern was derived from the conflict with modalism, their heartfelt desire being the rebuke of Arianism without aiding Sabellianism by suggesting the Father and the Son are the same people. It was an important balance to maintain, and when Athanasius was brought back to Alexandria for the last time, he would spend many years building unity between these two groups that both opposed Arius.

The JW’s will often use the Council of Nicaea to suggest trinitarianism was not Biblical truth, but a fabrication of Constantine. Mormons, and atheists alike, often claim the cannon was pulled together at the council, leaving some books out, which makes the Bible untrustworthy. Neither of these is true, as you’ve already read. Mormons likewise believe that Jesus Christ was the first, and greatest, creation of God. The JW’s, Christadelphians, Christian Science, Islam, The Way International, and Scientologists all will suggest that Jesus was created, or even merely a man. Adoptionism, modalism, and the denial of the eternality of Christ is far spread not only in the cults but in many mainstream liberal churches. I know this has been a long post, but I hope you can see the importance of the information we’re discussing here. I pray that this will be a blessing to you all, beloved, as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Rosaria Butterfield

Today, dear ones, I want to share the testimony of Rosaria Butterfield. She was once a tenured professor at the University of Syracruse, where she passionately spread feminism and was in a lesbian relationship. I first heard of Rosaria during an interview on my favorite podcast Sheologians. Homosexuality is a difficult subject for Christians to address, as we face a culture who views disagreement as hate, dialogue as confrontation, and evangelism as homophobia. Every generation has it’s battles with worldly opposition, no church in history has been left without one. These trials give born again believers an opportunity to shine the light of the Gospel into a lost and dying world. It is hard to do, and many of us would far rather pretend there’s no issues, but I thank God for the pastor who refused to hide his head in the sand.

The very one who sent Rosaria a letter, who invited her to his home for dinner, who refused to ignore the plight of her soul. I pray that God will bless you with these two links below, one is a shorter video of her testimony, and the other is a longer audio interview. I hope that both will embolden, edify, and encourage you all to love our lost neighbors, by refusing to compromise on the truth of Scriptures, and by refusing to let them go unprayed for, and unreached.

https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-today/a-train-wreck-conversion/

Saturday Homeschooling Update – Softball and Garden

Hello everyone! Today Kayliegh had her first softball game of the summer. It was a blast! I love these opportunities for her to learn team work and good sportsmanship. Also, the outfits are so adorable!

The garden is going good, we have several tomatoes growing now, so we had to reinforce the plants. I’d love for Kayliegh to learn how to harvest the seeds and plant them, hopefully we’ll be able to that. We got word, recently, that we’d be staying at this assignment for two contracts. This means we’ll be here until at least November. I’m not sure what plants are supposed to be grown that late in the season, but as soon as I research it I’ll update you all. We also added thyme, cilantro, and a mini pumpkin plant.

Other then that, not much has changed with her lessons. We are using a different YouTuber for art class now, so I’ll link to both the previous channel and the current channel below. I’m going to continue making worksheets to go along with church history and the essential doctrines. When they’re complete I’ll add them to this post. I hope these updates are encouraging to all the homeschooling families that follow my blog. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

https://m.youtube.com/user/ArtforKidsHub

https://m.youtube.com/user/filbertsplosh

Historical Church Series: Early Church Heretics – Montanus the Spiritual Drunkard

Hello, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well. If you missed Tuesday’s post regarding essential Biblical doctrine you can find it here, although today’s heretic did not deny the virgin birth. There is a connection that I want to make, however, and that is with the sufficiency of Scripture. When we talk about essential doctrines of the faith it necessitates the need for God’s Word to be inerrant and sufficient. Often times cults, and ancient heresies require one or the other, and sometimes both, to be ignored. It was sufficiency that Montanus was attacking, as he would suggest he spoke directly for God, or more specifically the Paraclete.

Montanus came onto the scene around 160 a.d. with two women that claimed to be prophetesses. While his own writings have been lost to time, others wrote about him, including Eusebius and Tertullian. Before claiming to be a Christian prophet, Montanus was a priest of an ecstatic Oriental cult that worshipped Cybele the goddess of fertility. It does not appear that Montanus gave up much of the behaviors he learned in that cult, but changed his language to reflect that of the Christians. He and the two women claimed to be the fulfillment of John 14, 15, and 16 which had, rightly, been understood to have been fulfilled by the disciples themselves. Montanus also claimed that they were being filled with the Holy Spirit, and anyone who didn’t agree was simply not spiritual. They behaved, by all those who recounted it, as if they were possessed. They would go into trances, act wild as if they had no control of their movements, and then make prophecies. The majority of those prophecies would not come true, including the one that stated once they died Christ would return, bring the New Jerusalem, and the apocalypse. They were often called spiritual drunkards. That’s right beloved, there is nothing new under the sun, the Bethel folks did not invent the idea of being drunk in the spirit, Montanus and his two prophetesses’ did.

The early church was most disturbed by Montanus’ insistence on speaking first person for God, and his claim that the prophecies given were authoritative. God would, through His providence, use this to lead the 2nd-century church into clarifying the cannon. By this point in church history the cannon is closed, no new revelation is coming. There is agreement, for the most part, about what is theopneustos, or God-breathed. It was heretics like Montanus that would bring greater clarity to what was considered Scripture, and what was not. In this way, all things are used for good to those that believe. What some meant for evil, God meant for good, and the church was, during times of great persecution, still able to hold fast to the truths handed down. Unfortunately, we see a resurgence of Montanism today that is, for the most part, going unchecked. Men like Francis Chan are wrapping their arms around it, and embracing it as readily as they embrace ecumenism. I’m, of course, referring the the NAR and the WoF movements. Those who do not know church history are repeating it today.

At this point, I want to discuss Tertullian, with a warning to you, my dear friends. Tertullian was born in the middle of the 2nd century in Carthage, and indulged in the paganism of the day. Before the end of the century he was converted to Christianity, having been quoted as saying “Christians are not born, they are made”. His life changed radically at that point, he would go on to be a giant against heresy and the persecution coming from Rome. Unfortunately, towards the end of his life, Tertullian had some disagreements with the introduction of Greek philosophy into church by Clement of Alexandria. This disagreement eventually led him to leave the church and join the Montanists, who were stricter in many ways, and avoided philosophy. This not only gave credence to the Montanists, but also marred Tertullian’s reputation, and bolstered this heretical movement into the 3rd, and 4th centuries. There are times when we will disagree, this is why I’m writing about the essential doctrines, these are the areas we must separate over. To separate from sound believers over philosophy, and connect yourself with those denying Scriptural sufficiency makes very little sense. We can see that looking back, however, at the time I’m sure it looked very different. Tertullian had spent his life refuting Gnostics that were using the very same philosophy that was brought into the church. He felt that was a greater danger than Montanus. Believers today can learn two things from this, the first is that man is fallible, and the second is that we need to guard our hearts and renew our minds. I hope this series is a blessing to you all. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review: Recommendations

Hello, dear friends, I hope this post finds you all doing well! I’m currently, nearly, halfway through Eusebius’ History of the Christian Church. I can not wait to review it for you all. Lord willing I’ll have finished it by next Thursday. Until then, I’ll listed three great book reviews below from others. I hope they’ll be a blessing to you all. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Pastor Jim over at VeritasDomain reviewed Matthew S. Vos book Sociology.

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/06/17/review-sociology/

Over at Blessed Are The Forgiven there are many great book reviews, including this review of Zack Erswine’s book Spurgeon’s Sorrows.

https://blessedaretheforgiven.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/spurgeons-sorrows-by-zack-erswine-book-review/

Melissa at MelsJourney reviewed Nancy Pearcey’s book Love Thy Body.

http://melsjourney.home.blog/2019/04/25/review-of-love-thy-body-by-nancy-pearcey/

Wednesday Testimony – Micah Wilder: AdamsRoadMinistry

This testimony, my friends, will answer any doubt as to the affect of giving a testimony. I’ve heard before an argument as to giving your testimony, opposed to sharing God’s Word. I find that a solid testimony told with Scripture is a tremendously beautiful thing. That is what you’ll see in this video, Micah Wilder sharing how God saved him by His grace while quoting verse after verse. Micah was a Mormon missionary, his father was a high priest in the Mormon church, his mother taught at BYU. When Micah attempts to convert a Baptist preacher, he’s given a simple challenge to read the Bible. That, that simple challenge, changed the lives of everyone in his family, and thousands of others who have heard his testimony since. That includes the very Mormon missionary that sat in front of a room full of soon to be missionaries, the very first time Micah talks about his faith. You will be blessed by this, dear friends, and emboldened to share the Gospel with the lost. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Here is his moms testimony…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SIj-bN_rMK0&t=35s