*48 Steps of the ‘Great Falling Away’ of the Church During the Thyatira Stage, 538-1798 A.D.
(*From the Great Controversy version published by Harvestime Books, Box 300, Altamont TN 37301
“Them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.” – “Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, ‘the mystery of iniquity’ [1 Thess. 2: 7, 3-12] carried forward the deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism [Smyrna stage, 100-323 A.D.]
But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine , in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.” – Great Controversy, Ellen G. White, 1911 ed. pp. 49-50.
About 300 A.D. – Prayers for the dead
— making sign of the cross
320 A.D. – Wax candles
375 A.D. – Veneration of angels and “dead saints”
— the use of images
394 A.D. – Introduction of Mass as daily celebration
431 A.D. – Beginning of exaltation of Mary. The term “Mother of God
first applied to her by the Council of Orleans
500 A.D. – Priests begin to dress differently than laymen
526 A.D. – Extreme unction introduced
593 A.D. – Doctrine of Purgatory established by Pope Gregory I
600 A.D. – Latin language used in prayer and worship commanded by
–Prayers directed to Mary, angels, and dead saints
607 A.D. – Title of Pope (“Bishop of the universe”) given to Boniface III
by emperor Phocas
709 A.D. – Kissing the pope’s feet begins with Pope Constantine
750 A.D. – Temporal power of the popes is conferred by Pepin, king of Franks
786 A.D. –Worship of the cross, images, and relics is now officially
850 A.D. – Holy water (mixed with pinch of salt & blessed by priest)
890 A.D. –The worship of St. Joseph
927 A.D. – College of Cardinals established
965 A.D. – Baptism of bells instituted by Pope John XIII
995 A.D. – Canonization of dead saints first done by Pope John XV
998 A.D. – Fasting on Fridays and during “Lent” begins
1050 A.D. – Mass has developed into a “Sacrifice;” attendance is now
1079 A.D. – Celibacy of priesthood required by Pope Gregory II
1090 A.D. – The rosary, a mechanical praying with beads, introduced by
Peter the Hermit
1184 A.D. – The Inquisition, in operation for centuries, now
made official by Council of Verona
1190 A.D. – The sale of Indulgences begins
1215 A.D. – Error of Transubstantiation is proclaimed by Innocent III
as the power of priest to bring down God out of heaven into
a cup and a wafer.
— Auricular confession of sins to a priest, instead of to God, is
instituted by Pope Innocent III in the Lateran Council.
1220 A.D. – The adoration of the wafer (‘host”) is decreed by
Pope Honorius III
1229 A.D. – Laymen are officially forbidden to have or read the Bible—it is
placed in the “Index of Forbidden Books” by the Council of
1251 A.D. – Protection by a piece of cloth, the scapular, invented by Simon
Stock, a British monk.
1414 A.D. – Laymen are forbidden to drink the cup at Communion, by
order of the Council of Constance.
1439 A.D. – Purgatory is proclaimed as a dogma by Council of Florence.
1508 A.D. – The first part of the “Ave Maria” saying is made official
1534 A.D. – The Jesuit Order is founded by Ignatius Loyola
1545 A.D. – Tradition (the sayings of popes and councils) is declared to be
equal in authority with the Bible by the Council of Trent.
1560 A.D. – The creed of Pope Pius IV imposed as the official creed of the
1593 A.D. – Last part of “Ave Maria” prepared and required of the faithful
by Pope Sixtus V.
1864 A.D. – The “Syllabus of Errors” is proclaimed by Pope Pius X, and
ratified by the First Vatican Council, as the truth of God. (It
condemns the freedom of religion, speech, press, all scientific
discoveries that have not been approved by the church.
–Temporal authority of the pope over all powers is officially
1870 A.D. – The absolute infallibility of the pope in all matters of faith and
morals is proclaimed by Vatican I.
1930 A.D. – Public schools are condemned by Pope Pius XI.
1950 A.D. – The assumption of Virgin Mary (bodily ascension into heaven
shortly after her death) is proclaimed by Pope Pius XII.
1954 A.D. – Mary is proclaimed to be “Mother of God,” “Holy Queen” by
Pope Pius XII.
We quote below vital facts from the book, Facts of Faith by Christian Edwardson, ch. “The Reformation,” pp. 159-172. The Philippines is mentioned in p. 161 of the book:
“THE ROMAN CHURCH was sadly in need of reformation. But she refused to surrender the elements that corrupted her [see above], and slew those who tried to save her. There were two papal ordinances which especially contributed toward the terrible and widespread depravity of her priesthood: (1) enforced celibacy (forbidding to marry), and (2) exemption of the clergy from the domain of civil law, so that government officials could not punish them for any crime. H.C. Lea says of the Roman Catholic clergymen:
‘No matter what crimes he might commit, secular justice could not take cognizance of them, and secular officials could not arrest him. He was amenable only to the tribunals of his own order, which were debarred from inflicting punishment involving the effusion of blood, and from whose decision an appeal to the supreme jurisdiction of distant Rome conferred too often virtual immunity.” –‘History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages,” Vol. I, p. 2. New York: 1888.
“This author [H.C. Lea] makes a further statement concerning a complaint lad before the pope by the imperial Diet held at Nurnberg early in 1522 . . . The Diet, in recounting the evils arising from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction which allowed clerical offenders to enjoy virtual immunity, adduced, among other grievances, the license afforded to those, who, debarred from the canons of marriage, abandoned themselves night and day to attempts of the virtue of the wives and daughters of the laity, sometimes gaining their ends by flattery and presents, and sometimes taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the confessional.
It was not uncommon, indeed, for women to be openly carried off by their priests, while their husbands and fathers were threatened with vengeance if they should attempt to recover them. As regards the sale to ecclesiastics of licenses to indulge in habitual lust, The Diet declared it to be a regular and settled matter, reduced to a form of an annual tax, which in most dioceses was exacted of all clergy without exception, so that when those who perchance lived chastely demurred at the payment, they were told that the bishop must have the money, and that after it was handed over they might take their choice whether to keep concubines or not.’– ‘An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church,’ pp. 431, 432, and Note I. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Riverside Press, 1884.
“Let the reader remember that those ‘complaints were made by the highest authority of the empire.’ – Ibid.
“Professor Philip Limborch records the same fact, and adds:
‘Erasmus says: ‘There is a certain German bishop, who declared publicly at a feast, that in one year he had brought to him 11,000 priests that openly kept women.’ : for they pay annually a certain sum to the bishop. This was one of the hundred grievances that the German nation proposed to the Pope’s nuncio at the convention at Nuremberg, in the years 1522 and 1523. Grievance 91.’ – ‘History of the Inquisition,’ p. 84.
“H.C. Lea says:
‘The extent to which the evil sometimes grew may be guessed from a case mentioned by Erasmus, in which a theologian of Louvian refused absolution to a pastor who confessed to having maintained illicit relations with no less than two hundred nuns confided to his spiritual charge.’–‘An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal celibacy,’ pp. 567, 568.
“While the pope had ample machinery in the Inquisition for correcting his sinning priests, yet he was very lenient with them, except for ‘heresy.’ In fact, heinous depravity seemed to have been worse where the Inquisition reigned supreme.
“H. C. Lea continues:
“It is rather curious that in Spain [currently in political upheaval with threat of Catalonia’s desire for independence], the only kingdom where heresy* was not allowed to get a foothold, the trouble seems to have been greatest and to have first called for special remedial measures.’ – Id., p. 568..
“Of the ‘remedial’ laws enacted in 1255, 1274, and 1302, Lea says:
‘However well-meant these efforts were, they proved as useless as all previous ones, for in 1322 the council of Valladolid, under the presidency of the papal legate, [enacted still more laws]. The acts of this council, moreover, are interesting as presenting the first authentic evidence of a custom which subsequently prevailed to some extent elsewhere, by which parishioners were wont to compel their priests to take a female consort for the purpose of protecting the virtue of their families from his assaults.’ – Id., p. 310. ‘The same state of affairs continued until the sixteenth century was well advanced.’ – Id., p. 312.
“We have already seen ecclesiastical authority for the assertion that in the Spanish Peninsula the children sprung from such illicit connections rivaled in numbers the offspring of the laity.’- id., p. 336. Such conditions seem almost unbelievable. But, when in 1900 W.H. Taft was sent to the Philippines to establish civil government with a public school system there, he reported finding in those islands conditions similar to those described above. See Senate Document No. 190, 56th Congress, 2nd Session; ‘Message from the President of the United States, 1901 A.D.’
“If Protestants [especially today’s emerging Evangelical-Nationalist Alliance ] had known the conditions of existing at the time of the Reformation they would not have judged Dr. Martin Luther so critically for his harsh statements. That the Reformation was the inevitable result of the fallen condition of the Catholic Church, was acknowledged by the speakers of the Council of Trent.”- Edwardson, “Facts of Faith,” pp. 159-161.
(To be continued next week)