The Hauge Movement in America
Authors – S.S Gjerde & P. Ljostveit
By the Hauge Inner Mission Federation
The Scriptural Foundation
Lay Activity in the Early Church
We begin with the miracle on Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and glorified Jesus and led the disciples into all the truth.
Pentecost is our spiritual birthday. Christ became the real and living One. His disciples received a new vision, a new power and a new message. The unconverted fell under a deep conviction of sin. They "had crucified the Lord of Glory" They cried to the brethren for help and to God for salvation, were saved and baptized - 3.000 in one day.
May the fire of Pentecost be kindled in our hearts! May we carry that fire of the Holy Spirit out to all who are dead in trespasses and sins! That has been the aim of all living and God-inspired lay activity in all ages. May sinners receive the sting of the Holy Spirit in their hearts! May we pray for a new experience of Pentecost!
I. The First Christian Church
In the first Christian church all were members of one family, the family of God's people. All attended the Gospel meetings. They could not get along without the prayer meeting, even every day. They lived in the blessed and sweet fellowship of brotherly love. Souls came to the Lord every day. Their Gospel meetings, love-feasts, communion, prayer meetings, worship, all was done joyfully and in holy simplicity, no special vestments, no chanting, no high church ceremonies. But the Spirit-filled prayers, simple songs of praise, and the testimony of God's people could be heard on every hand. Acts 2:42-47.
All Inner Mission and laymen's work is a returning to the old fountains. A return to the personal experience of conversion on Pentecost; A return to the love-life, Christian fellowship, the free prayer-meeting and testimony meeting and old-time simplicity of the first Christian Church. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the lord." But only the experience of new birth and personal faith in Christ led into God's Church. How is it now?
We are in danger of getting stiff, stale and petrified. We have divisions and misunderstandings among the brethren; some of us are leaning toward high-churchism, others are getting over-critical. Selfishness, love of honor with its chilling breeze, and love of the world are getting in among us. Let us come back to the fountains of the Holy Spirit in a true repentance. May our impure and selfish hearts be thawed up by the grace of God, the Christian family fellowship be renewed, and sinners be converted.
II. The First Christian Witnesses
Moses wished fervently that all God's people were prophets. Num. 11:29. All God's people belong to the royal priesthood. I Peter 2:9. One of the blessed rights of this priesthood of believers is to bear witness of Him who has "called us out of darkness into His marvelous light."
The first witnesses were unlearned lay people. Acts 4:13. But "They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus." Men felt the power of their holy lives. They felt the power of their testimony. How is it today? We need both the lip-testimony and the life-testimony.
Just before parting, Jesus told His own to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15.
And out the living witnesses went-men, women and even children, while the enemies tried in every way to stop them. Acts 4:17 But they must obey God more than man, and could not but be living witnesses for Christ of the things they had experienced. Acts 4:19, 20.
The persecution which the dead Jewish Church raised helped to scatter the living fire. God's people, except the apostles, left Jerusalem and went everywhere preaching the living Word. Acts 8:1, 4. "Their lives and lips ex- pressed the holy Gospel they professed
Some were especially gifted by God to do personal work with the individual, like Philip. Acts 4:26-40. He led the eunuch to Christ while they rode in the chariot. What a holy love for souls! How few of us have this living fire now!
God made use of an obscure Christian, Ananias, to lead the wise and learned Saul to the Gospel light. Acts 9:17.
Don't forget that God is still choosing the foolish instrument to confound the wise. God works through the lowly and despised to bring the great down to nothing-that no flesh shall glory before Him. 1 Cor. 1:27-29. All Inner Mission and layman's work has advanced along these lines. We need especially to stress it in these days, when education and theological learning are worshipped. God is still calling Ananias to go to Saul to set Him free! Why did not God send a theological professor?
But we had no preachers and professors with a degree of learning in those days. Had not Christ told them: "But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and you are all brethren. And call no man father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ"
How is Christ's Word followed in this age? The Roman Catholics have fathers-even holy fathers. Among others we have "reverend'' Rt. Reverend, Bishop, Doctor of Divinity and various kinds of "masters.''
We are thankful we do not have Dr. Matthew, Dr. Mark, Dr. Luke and Dr. John or Dr. Paul-though some are bound to say St. John, etc. But they never called themselves for special "saints''. We are all saints in Jesus.
John calls himself an elder. 2 John 1; 3 John 1. Peter says about himself: I am also an elder-! Peter 5:1 - no cardinal, no pope, just an elder among the other elders of the Church. Paul called himself "less than the least of all saints.'' Eph. 3:8. By such men the souls were won in the first century. Yes, the evangelist Philip had four daughters, who were along in the soul-winning work. Acts 21:9. Did Paul hinder them? On the contrary, Paul desired for them all to have spiritual gifts, especially that they might prophesy. For he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation and comfort. 1 Cor. 14:1, 3.
That is the prophesy we need today. The prophesy of Jonah to Nineveh: "except you all repent, you will likewise perish." And the testimony, which is prophesy for edification and comfort in these days of depression and discouragement.
III. The Spiritual Gifts in the Early Church
In Rom. 12:3-9 and I Cor., chapters 12-14 Paul speaks about these wonderful spiritual gifts which flow from the life abundant-they flow from the fullness of the spirit, from that heavenly "stuff" that had flowed into the hearts of God's people, when the Kingdom of God was not in word, but in power.
These gifts differ, as the members of the body differ- one body, many members. We shall enumerate some of these gifts which God's people received when they drank of the Holy
1. The gift of wisdom and knowledge I Cor. 12:7.
"Wisdom,'' the deep insight into the deep things of God revealed by the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor. 2:1. "Knowledge" the practical application of this heavenly wisdom. The difficulties of the early church were straightened out through this wonderful gift of the Spirit, as in Acts, chapter 15 and 1 Cor. 5. We are strongly exhorted to pray for this heavenly wisdom in James 1:5 - "and it shall be given him"
2. The gift of teaching. Rom. 12:7; l Cor. 12:28; Eph.4:11.
This was a power given by God's Spirit to interpret God's Word very clearly and apply it to the people. How wonderfully Peter did this through the Spirit on Pentecost day-he just interpreted Ps. 16 and Joel 3 and applied it to the hearers, till 3,000 called on the name of the Lord and were saved. How did not Paul have this gift of spiritual teaching in all his epistles?-and Stephen in Acts 7? How few messages from the pulpit or in Sunday school are filled with spiritual power! Lack of personal spiritual experience is one reason. Paul gave to the Corinthians what he had received. 1 Cor. 15:3. You cannot give to others what you have not first received from the Lord.
What has made the laymen's testimony so effective? They have preached through personal experience. That is the true gift of teaching.
3. The gift of prophecy. Rom. 12:6; I Cor. 12:28; I Cor. 14.
Justin Martyr (died in 177) writes: "With us you can see men and women who have this gift from the Spirit of God" To be sure, one part of this gift was to tell coming events, as in Acts 11:27, etc. But the real value of spiritual prophecy lies in the spiritual, personal testimony for exhortation, edification and comfort. 1 Cor. 14:3. This gift the apostle specially stresses to be encouraged and made use of. 1 Cor. 14:1. It is especially valuable to convict the unconverted. 14:25. How many have been awakened through a personal testimony, when ordinary preaching did not reach the heart! The Spirit has in a special sense given the lay people the trust to take care of this gift, to encourage it, to bring it to the front. When spiritual deadness gets the upper hand, this gift is the first one to suffer from it. 'The devil has always been very busy slandering this gift and bringing it into disrepute. It is connected up with spiritual life.
If you throw the gift of your personal testimony overboard, you throw spiritual life overboard.
4. The gift of discerning spirits.
This was a gift to discriminate between the true and the false prophet, the true and the false teaching, between divine inspiration and human enthusiasm, between the work of the Spirit and the work of the devil, when he comes in the shape of an angel of light.
This holy criticism is commanded in God's Word: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God'' (1 John 4:1). This know also, that in the last days grievous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves-lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God ; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof (II Tim. 3) .
We certainly need this gift-this holy criticism-in these last days of falling away, days of sects and parties, formalism, ritualism, imitation of Christianity and denial of the faith. Many Christians don't seem to know the difference between the formalistic spirit and mere human learning, and the true work of the Spirit.
But if I have this gift without having the real love of God in my heart, like the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, Rev. 2, I may develop into a harsh and sour, critical fault- finder. Fault-finding is easy, but dangerous to the soul, and it chills the spirit and brotherly love. But work faithfully and lovingly for the Lord first, then you are also commanded to exercise holy criticism.
5. The gift of tongues I Cor. 14.
This was an act of worship, as praying in sort of a spiritual trance, and in a peculiar language inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was for edification to the speaker himself; but Paul counted it as one of the least important of the gifts of grace. He "would rather speak five words clearly understood, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." It appeared first on Pentecost, also in the house of Cornelius and in Corinth. Paul says it must not be forbidden, but be done decently and in order. 1 Cor. 14:39-40.
How sad and un-Biblical when this gift is made a show of with screaming and rolling on the floor and such like. God grant it should not be an inspiration from Satan. Or when it is put above all other gifts in importance-yes, even made a sign of a real born-again believer. When Paul plainly makes it one of the less important of the gifts of grace and plainly says that we do not all speak in tongues.
1 Cor. 12:30.
How much imitation and spiritual humbug follows this so-called interpretation of tongues. God only knows. However, we must not forget that there really is such a gift as speaking in tongues and interpretation of them.
6. The gift of service and helps. 1 Cor. 12:28.
The Greek word for servant in God's Word is "diakonos," wherefrom we have our "deacon" and "deaconess.'' But all God's servants are "diakonia" (plural). We don't want a cheap, lazy religion; we want to spend our strength in God's service. But the real spirit of service is a wonderful gift of grace from God. To serve in God's Church, to serve God's people; especially to look after the sick and needy, both to soul and body. Jesus stresses this emphatically: "Verily I say unto you; inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me'' (Matt. 25:40).
The love of the early Christians always reached down to the sick, the needy, the forsaken and the prisoner. "Remember them which suffer adversity.'' Help them. Serve them. Thank God that your life will count for something in His service.
7. The gift of church government and the care of souls.
The so-called Pastoral Epistles, 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus-these in particular stress this most important work-"how to take care of the Church of God." Peter warns against the temptation to God's servants to put themselves up as over-lords, as so many church leaders have been guilty of, but to labor for the salvation of souls in love and humility.
Paul adds: Though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers (1 Cor. 4:15). Few real spiritual fathers. Only the Holy Ghost can make you a true pastor, a true church-leader. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood'' (Acts 20 : 28) . What a wonderful shepherd-heart Paul had, when he did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears.
Or when he writes: "Praying always for you. I do not cease to pray for you'' (Col. 1:3, 9). What a blessed gift from God to have a true pastor's heart, filled with heart-concern for the salvation of souls; and such you should esteem very highly in love for their work's sake.
Though every Christian is not a church-leader or official pastor, every Christian should have a pastor's heart. Often we find this gift of tender heart-concern for souls bestowed on humble believers, who never have been and never will be elected to any office in church or Inner Mission.
8. The gift of miracles.
God gave Stephen and the early church-workers this special power to heal the sick and to cast out devils. Peter even raised the dead. These gifts were outward seals and credentials of the divine mission to lead souls to the Lamb of God. Since the time of the apostles none that we know of have ever raised the physically dead to life again. The great men of God through the ages, as Augustine, Luther, Spener, Francke, Wesley, Bunyan, Hauge, have only in a very limited degree healed the sick, or cast out devils, if they have done any of it at all.
There are signs that indicate that in the last age this wonderful gift will be greatly revived.
9. The evangelistic gift (Eph. 4:11).
Paul admonishes Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Philip, the soul- winner, is called an evangelist (Acts 8 and 21:8). The evangelistic spirit is a special gift of grace and gift from God (Eph.4:11). "Ye must be born again," is the burden of the evangelist's message. When spiritual life declines in the Church, people and preachers turn away from the great heart-truth of conversion and new birth. They set sacraments and outward Churchianity in its stead. How we then need the strong and direct message of the evangelist: "Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, and the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord'' (Acts 3:19).
10. Finally the gift of love, as the most precious and most useful of them all (1 Cor. 13).
This heavenly love is created by the Spirit in your heart, when you are born again. It has been called the soul of all the other gifts of grace. What would deep insight into God's Word, eloquent preaching, giving to God's cause, even martyrdom, what would it all profit, if it lacked a soul-lacked the true love of God, Paul asks. It would profit nothing whatever. "The greatest of these is love."
Paul wept over the hardness of the enemies of the Cross. He was in great heaviness and continual sorrow over the unconverted Jews. It was said about the first Christians: "Behold how they love one another." Love was aglow in their hearts toward all the poor and needy. Stephen even prayed God on his knees to forgive his enemies. This love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit was the magnet that drew them to prayer meetings and drew the unconverted to the Gospel meetings and drew them to the Savior. The soul-winner, Paul, was constrained by the love of God. Love goes together with obedience: lf you love Me, keep My commandments, Jesus said. But there is nothing the devil is more after, than to disturb and destroy brotherly love and create suspicion, cold criticism and misunderstanding. Then his battle is won.
Stir up these ten gifts of God (11 Tim. 1:6). This is one of the main aims of all laymen's work.
IV. Why the Early Christians were Persecuted
The way of blood, the way of persecution, the way of the great tribulation for the early Christians is well-known- from Pentecost till the year 311, or 314, when the cross finally conquered. Why were God's people persecuted so terribly by Jews and Gentiles? We shall find the devil is the same, then as now, only now perhaps more like the snake in the grass; then more like a roaring lion. Here are some of the causes.
1. The strong, Biblical preaching of repentance and conversion. Acts 3:19.
The preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus: "Except ye all repent-except ye be born again- ye shall all likewise perish," John 3; Luke 13:5. This kind of preaching brings results, but it also brings persecution.
It brought down the wrath of the self-righteous people upon John, upon the early Christians, and upon all God's people of all ages, who have stood out- and-out on conversion and the new birth. They have always been accused by the devil, because that kind of preaching disturbs his kingdom. The lay people in all ages have always been among the foremost to unfurl the banner of the preaching of repentance and the new birth, which have made them so unpopular for the most part in the organized church.
2. The personal testimony of the individual Christian.
"Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 10:32. When an old infidel, Celsus, sneeringly remarks, "weavers, cobblers, and fullers and the most ignorant persons are preaching (giving their personal testimony) the unreasonable faith''-like Stephen and the early martyrs-it has always stirred up the devil. Stirred up the devil in their own homes, "three against two and two against three;'' stirred up the devil in the Jew and in the heathen and in the worldly organized church in all ages.
The very first persecution, Acts 4, started because the early witnesses would not keep salvation and the personal experience to themselves. And it has been kept up ever since. The more you stand up for Jesus, the less the world and the devil will like you. Not even the worldly relatives will stand this in you.
3. The living proof of a godly life.
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.''2 Tim. 3:12.
The early Christians forgot not to live the popular side of Christian life, which is to show the fruit of the Spirit- love, gentleness, meekness, goodness, etc. Gal. 5:22. This brought them faver from the people. Acts 2:47. So it will now. The world will like a meek, humble, gentle and kind person. This is to make Christianity attractive. We are commanded to do it.
But there is that side of godliness where you refuse to conform to the fashion of this world-refuse the godless ways of the world, refuse to recognize the religion of the worldly people-this last is often the worst. lf you then on top of all this reprove the godless, but perhaps religious world, you will in any age more or less be opposed, hated, slighted, misunderstood, ridiculed, or openly persecuted.
Those who are chosen to live apart from the world will be hated, Jesus says. John 15:19. And the pietists and lay- people of all ages certainly have had their share of it.
4. The Christians were persecuted for slighting the formalistic church - or social customs and for trying to change them. Acts 6:14.
This brought the wrath of the religious Jews down upon Stephen. Paul was called a trouble-maker for teaching, as they said, new customs. Acts 16:20, 21. He turned the world upside down. Acts 17:6. Then the Jews again accused him of forsaking Moses and slighting the sacrament of circumcision and the ritualistic customs. Acts 21:21.
When earnest Christian witnesses have attacked worldly or sinful social customs, and even religious customs which church people in their blindness build on, they have in all ages been hated and persecuted. These customs are the idols of the people. If you try to knock down their idols, they will turn fiercely against you at any time and any age.
5. The Christianity we're persecuted for stirring up the people and starting a new sect. Acts 24:5.
That is an old, but ever new accusation. Paul was called a ringleader of this new sect. As long as this "new sect'' did not make much progress, it was barely tolerated. But when revival came from heaven, and people were converted in great numbers, neither Jew nor heathen would stand for it. So in all ages. A real revival in a dead church, as well as in a heathen community, will always be a fearful trouble- maker.
6. The Christians were persecuted for not being willing to compromise.
Paul tried it once with regard to the Jewish customs. It was a good thing he did not succeed. See Acts 21:18-40. A complete break came, both over against the religious Jews and the religious heathen. These latter regarded the Christians both as godless and ungodly, for breaking completely away from heathen religious customs.
The dead church in all ages has done the same. And if you refuse entirely to compromise with the world, they will hate you.
7. The Christians were persecuted for being poor and disloyal citizens.
In the old Roman Empire the state was the god of the people. The emperor should be worshipped, which the Christians, of course, refused. Mussolini is reviving the old Roman Empire these days. Who is god? The state is. The main representative is the dictator himself.
The Hitler government seems to be still more so. The old heathen customs are revived. The state and its main representative are worshipped. Those who criticize, refuse to conform, or even are lukewarm will be suspected and persecuted, just as in the old Roman Empire. Persecution of Christians will come with a dictatorship-sooner or later. Material for a persecution is being piled up.
8. Confessing Christians were sometimes themselves the cause of persecution. 1 Peter 2:20.
Paul must have meant the same in 1 Cor. 12, when he says: Though I give my body to be burnt, and have not love, it profits nothing." These sad martyrs have been found in all ages. They imagine they are persecuted for Christ's sake, when they just suffer for their own sins and faults. They may be critical, hard, judging, dishonest, careless or in an unforgiving spirit, stiff and unyielding in personal affairs. Yet they profess Christianity. The world will hate them. They do an immense amount of harm to the Kingdom of God.
V. Some Reasons Why Spiritual Life Declined and Lay Activity
Died Out in the Early Centuries
The church historian, Philip Schaff, writes about the wonderful spiritual life in the early church: "Every congregation was a missionary society, and every Christian believer a missionary, inflamed by the love of Christ to convert his fellow-men. Every Christian told his neighbor, the servant told his master and mistress, the laborer told his fellow laborers, the slave told his fellow-slave, the story of his conversion, as a sailor tells the story of the rescue from shipwreck." What a wonderful, real, living, loving and powerful thing Christianity and salvation must have been to the early Christians. Why should it decline and decay so sadly after two or three centuries? Jesus told us before, and the Epistles to the Seven Churches are prophecies that spiritual life will go down and down and down. Here are some of the reasons gathered from the New Testament and Church History:
1. The Church Organization and the Church Offices
Some of this is necessary. Jesus had chosen first the 12 and then the 70. The church, which was a group of converted Christian people, then as now must have leaders. Paul had appointed elders, Ads 14:23, to have the over- sight of the Christian groups or churches. But these offices were to help along the gifts of grace, not to hinder them.
The universal priesthood according to 1 Peter 2:9 was greatly emphasized, as all the church historians agree. But they also agree how the growing church organization tended to stop and ruin lay activity and spiritual life, and these two cannot be separated.
Heggtveit writes: "At the time of the apostles, the congregations were led by the elders, but the gifts of grace had free exercise and the priesthood of believers prevailed to a great degree and without limitation. But when the priest and the bishop came, the free lay activity is more and more crowded out, and instead all activity as to the preaching of God's Word is laid in the hands of a special class-the priests, or pastors with the bishop at the head."
Another Norse church historian, Ivar Welle, writes: "After a while all activity of traveling evangelists stopped, and all preaching of the Word was taken over by pastors and bishops.
"Spiritual life was growing weaker, but the congregations were increasing. The spirit of the time demanded dictatorship in church and state. And about the year 150 A.D. the church organization took the form of a church dictatorship. The chairman of the Council of Elders became a real bishop and was chosen for life. The people were exhorted to obey him in all things, and he came to be called "holy father'' and to be a middle-man between God and the ordinary Christians."
Philip Schaff writes: "In the apostolic church preaching and teaching were not confined to a particular class, but every convert could pro- claim the Gospel to unbelievers, and every Christian who had the gift could pray and teach and exhort in the congregation. The apostles themselves never laid claim to a special priesthood with the exaltation of the clergy appeared another tendency. Yet the priesthood of believers continued for some time to exert itself.''
The sad story then as now, is only too well known. In- stead of encouraging the priesthood of believers and the gifts of grace, the pastors and church leaders crowded it more and more into a little corner, or tried to stop it all predation. The apostles themselves never laid claim to a sort of a program lay activity is developed, which is run according to form and rule. The spirit of the time now as in the second and third century is dictatorship in church and state. The testifying lay people need to stand together as never before, if the Christian testimony, the fellowship of the saints and the strong preaching of the need of a new birth shall not be choked and strangled by a growing church organization as it was in the early centuries.
2. The Danger from Sects and Parties
Even in the apostolic age, and much worse later, there were those like Simon Magus, Acts 8, who were baptized with water, but not with the Holy Spirit; they were not really born again, but bore the Christian name. So we got Ebionism, or the leading form of all those who wanted to take the Jewish customs and ceremonies with them into the Christian life ; and Gnosticism, the leading form of all the converted heathen, who dragged as much as possible of heathenism with them into the church and into Christian life and teachings.
These converted (?) but legalistic Jews we meet already in the year 52 A.D., in Acts 15. They wanted to be Christians, but to drag circumcision and the whole ceremonial law with them into the church. But Peter and Paul stood up for the simplicity of the Gospel-salvation. These Jews got in among the Galatian congregations, Colossae and Corinth, trying to draw the believers into the legalistic, formal and ceremonial Christianity. They were stopped for the time being, but especially after 300 A.D. a new wave of ceremonialism and legalism broke out again, until we got the Roman Catholic Church with the pope at the head.
In this twentieth century a new wave of the same old Jewish formalism and ceremonialism is sweeping several denominations. Now as in the early church, it has no use for lay activity, no use for the simple Gospel evangelism, or for preaching of the new birth - all this they have in their Ordinances, ceremonies and Sacraments. This movement now as always is the worst enemy of all true spiritual life and lay activity. It just makes the old carnal nature a little religious, and it appeals to the natural man. It is an easy religion.
The other leading form, Gnosticism, was brought into the church by converted (?) Gentiles. As many Jewish Christians were Jews at heart and had a Christian outside, so many so-called converted heathens were heathens at heart, with a coat of Christian paint on top. They are the fathers of our modern rationalists. They were especially strong at Ephesus, Crete, Corinth and other places. They wanted "wisdom" speculation and philosophy. So Paul made it a special point to know nothing among them save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2. But this preaching they despised. About the year 90 A.D. they had got so far in Ephesus that they denied Jesus having come in the flesh - the spirit of anti-Christ. I John 4:3.
So in these last days anti-Christ is openly confessed by leaders of many denominations and so-called Christian schools. This, what John calls the spirit of anti-Christ, has absolutely no use for the Christian testimony, or the preaching of the new birth - denying the Lord who bought them. These are doctrines of devils. I Tim. 4:1. These doctrines of devils are in the air and appeal to modern man-yet with a religious, moral outside. It pretends to be very broadminded and tolerant. It's the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man philosophy, with all its clubs, lodges, modern amusements and social activities - but at heart it is the worst enemy of all true Christians and the living truth itself.
Then after the year 150 A.D. or so, we have many of God's real children breaking up into various sects-the Novatianists, who stood for a very strict type of Christianity with strict church discipline; the Montanists, our Pentecostals, carrying on much in the same way with wild excitement in their meetings; and many other sects and parties. But these divisions and splits, then as now, weakened God's people. Instead of fighting together, they fought separately, and often against each other, is Augustine against the earnest Christian Donatists. The earnest Christian life in these sects died out. In the main church dead ceremonialism took the upper hand more and more until finally about the year 500 we find the dead Roman Catholic Church with the pope at its head. Yet a stream of living Christianity, like an undercurrent, has come flowing down to the Valdense revival, down to the Reformation, down to our own age-a 'holy remnant according to the election of grace." Rom. 11:5.