Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Navigation can be found at the bottom of the page.


Theocratic Aid To Kingdom Publishers

292

Lesson 74

THE BIRTH OF FUSION RELIGION

Satan in his designing of many religious organizations finally brought forth his masterpiece, that of fusion religion. During the fourth century after Christ he successfully grafted together two religious organizations: the heathen state religion of Pagan Rome and the young body of deflected, apostate "Christians". The resultant fusion became known as the "Catholic" religion, the universal church, the imperial state church of the Roman Empire, and from the fourth century forward has become known as "organized Christianity" or "Christendom". Despite its assumption of Christ's name, this colossal outgrowth of demon planting is doomed by Jesus' own words: "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." —Matt. 15:13.

Prom the days of the founding of Rome, in 753 B.C., its form of religion and priesthood has been that of Babylonish origin. As the Roman Empire grew with the centuries more peoples and nations were subjugated, together with their several sets of gods, rites, mysteries and priesthoods. For a time the Romans pursued a policy of religious tolerance, exacting from conquered peoples only submission to political control. Then they sought to strengthen their domination by advocating a world religion merged under the leadership of the Roman pagan pontiffs. At first persuasion was used, and then force, to bring about the incorporation of the many gods, doctrines and rites of Babylon, Greece, Egypt and elsewhere with that of Rome in the

293

century before Christ. The Jews stood apart from this enforced incorporation. Time and again Roman governors of Palestine tried to make inroads and force compromises, but to no avail.

Then came Christianity. It flourished and spread despite persecution. Never up to that time had such a threat persisted to the universal religious dominance of Satan and his demons. A policy of suppression and destruction of original Christianity was embarked upon. The pressure for the persecution of the early Christians came from the pagan religious hierarchy because Christian worship was unyielding to pagan compromise overtures and had nothing in common with devil religion. The true Christians had no sacrifices, no temples, no statues, no order of priests. The heathen peoples deemed those who were without these to be destitute of all religion; and, by the Roman laws, those who denied the national gods were regarded as unpatriotic pests. Furthermore, Christians refused to offer incense to the emperor, to do military service, or pay other obeisance to rulers and priests. Besides, the Roman worship afforded support to a countless hierarchy of priests, soothsayers, merchants, etc., all of whom were in danger of coming to want if Christianity should prevail; therefore with united strength they rose up against it.

After the apostles and their close colaborers, such as Timothy and Titus, died, the Theocratic organization of pure worship was lost sight of and a great majority of professing Christians gradually fell away to the subtleties of devil religion. The very apostasy Jesus and his apostles foretold rapidly came to the fore. Hierarchic rule began to set in. Pagan doctrines and fables began to be mixed with the pure doctrine of the truth. By A.D. 325 the 1,800 so-called "Christian" communities, 1,000 in the Greek provinces and 800 in the Latin provinces of the Roman Empire, were organized under the control of a loose government of bishops, presbyters and deacons. Further, by this time organized apostasy became sufficiently strong to warrant

294

the Roman government to consider its fusion with the existing Roman state cult.

By the beginning of the fourth century the Roman pagan state religion was becoming effete, dying, more licentious and immoral than ever. The pontiffs and priests were wholly debased and cruel. The state ceremonies and rites became revoltingly obscene, more so than in times past. The peoples began to turn away from religion, and year after year the Roman Empire was sinking deeper into immorality and decay. A cry arose for "more religion", a cry having a familiar ring to modern ears. From A.D. 302 to 305 the pagan Roman emperor, Diocletian, sought to arrest religion's decay by forcing the fairly large numbers of Christians at this time to merge with the state religion and conform to national religious orders. The greatest campaign of persecution to date was commenced to force this fusion. It failed. In 313 his successor and finally the sole ruler, Emperor Constantine, ordered the persecution to cease.

What Diocletian failed to accomplish by force, Constantine was now to bring about by compromise. The apparent strength of the young apostate "Christian" organization was sought to bolster up the dying structure of the pagan state cult. By agreement in 321 Constantine managed to get many "Christian" bishops to accept Sunday, Dies Solis in Latin, the official pagan day of worship, as the day to be set aside for "Christian" worship. Next, in A.D. 325 Emperor Constantine, as pontifex maximus of the Roman Empire or high priest of the Roman state religion, called the first ecumenical council, at Nicaea (Nice) in Asia Minor. Constantine presided over this council, and after stormy weeks a statement of doctrine ("Nicene Creed") was adopted which, among other things, officially incorporated into so-called "Christian religion" the heathen doctrine of the "trinity", traceable clear back to Babylon and Nimrod.

Emperor Constantine was recognized as the head of the church. As pontifex maximus he (and certainly not

295

the apostle Peter) became, actually, the first pope. Constantine decreed that the "trinity" doctrine should thenceforth be the faith of the religious community. He backed it up by the sword of the state. Constantine later submitted to baptism. The bars now having been let down, in the course of the next several decades other pagan doctrines were incorporated into the newly organized Catholic church. Mother-and-child worship, Christmas, Easter, use of the cross, the sacrifice of the mass, prayers for the dead, and finally "purgatory", which teachings had previously existed in a form under the former Roman pagan cult, all became merged into the new fusion religion.

Constantine did a thorough job in organizing fusion religion. By the end of the fourth century not a shadow of the original apostolic church organization existed, control of the congregations within the empire having passed into the hands of the emperors and their provincial governors. Multitudes of the people now became so-called "Christians" because it was the fashion and favor of the day. Of this great multitude of new fusion converts it is recorded:

"None objected to these Christians retaining the opinions of their pagan ancestors respecting the soul, heroes, demons, temples and the like, and their transferring them into their devotions; as no one proposed utterly to abolish the ancient pagan institutions but only to alter them somewhat and purify them, it was unavoidable that the religion and the worship of Christians should in this way become corrupted. This also I will add, that the doctrine of the purification of souls after death by means of some sort of fire, which afterwards became so great a source of wealth to the clergy, acquired in this age a fuller development and greater influence." —Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, page 191.


REVIEW: 1. What is described as "fusion religion"? 2. In what words of Jesus is it doomed? 3. What was the origin of Roman religion? 4. (a) As the Roman Empire grew, how did it strengthen its domination? (b) Who alone resisted successfully?
296
5. (a) With what policy did the empire meet Christianity? (b) Why? 6. What conditions developed by the fourth century relative to "Christianity" which opened the way to forming a fusion religion? 7. Why was it to Rome's advantage to do so at this time? 8. Who first attempted such a fusion, and with what success? 9. How did Emperor Constantine finally accomplish it? 10. What were some of the many Babylonish pagan doctrines brought into the new universal Catholic fusion church? 11. How did the multitudes accept this new fusion?



Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!