Deceived Christianity: Who Was the Ultimate Perpetrator?
Ancient Rome’s rendering of Christianity became far different from the faith taught in the Bible. Who is ultimately responsible for such a widespread and enduring deception?
In the Garden of Eden God’s adversary persuaded the first man and woman to sin while ridiculing the commands that God had given them.
“And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die”’” (Genesis 3:2-3).
Satan then contradicted God and lied to the woman: “You will not surely die” (verse 4; see “Do Humans Have an Immortal Soul?”).
Two of the many very clear scriptures that correct that lie are found in the New Testament:
- “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
So, beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan lied to the human race regarding what is right and wrong. By assuring the first man and woman that they would “not surely die,” Satan encouraged Adam and Eve to commit the sin of disobedience.
Adam and Eve bought into Satan’s deception, and from that moment on mankind has had the tendency to decide for himself how he should worship God. Man has decided on his own religions, has his own humanly devised gods, and now has thousands of different denominations to choose from.
A false Christianity
Since his success in the Garden of Eden, Satan has continued to deceive mankind time and time again.
Many of the New Testament writers warned that a great deception was coming that would corrupt the true Christianity instituted by Jesus and taught by the apostles.
The apostle Paul was savvy enough to see that this would happen: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
Many of the New Testament writers warned that a great deception was coming that would corrupt the true Christianity instituted by Jesus and taught by the apostles.Similarly, Jude warned, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once [and] for all [time] delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The trusting nature of many who have professed traditional Christianity over the centuries is such that they have allowed the ecclesiastical authorities to impose mass deception on them. Very few suspect that many of their traditional beliefs and doctrines stand in place of, and are at odds with, God’s Word.
Jesus Christ was once asked why His disciples did not go along with the tradition of the elders. “He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? … Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”’” (Matthew 15:3, 7-9).
The holidays of men
People have often included human ideas in their worship of God. For example, mainstream Christianity added things not taught in the Bible, such as Sunday worship and the popular holidays of Easter and Christmas.
The church at Rome replaced the God-given weekly Sabbath and annual festivals with “other days.” (You can learn about God’s commanded days in these two resources: “The Fourth Commandment” and “Biblical Festivals.”)
Notice this admission from a Catholic priest:
“It is now [a] commonly held [tradition] that God simply gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days, she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days, as holydays” (Vincent J. Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast Day Occupations, 1943, p. 2).
The stark admission here is that the Catholic Church disregarded God-ordained holy days in favor of humanly devised holidays (which can be traced back to pagan religions).
Because of Constantine’s decree, Christians who kept the God-commanded Sabbath day and annual holy days could no longer assemble in public. They were fleeced of their property, and it was turned over to the Catholic Church. Read more in our article “Church History: Constantine, an Emperor Who Defied God.”
Later, in A.D. 365, the Council of Laodicea formally prohibited the keeping of what it called the Jewish Sabbath. The Sunday deception was now firmly ingrained in Roman Christianity, and true Christians went into hiding. Those discovered were persecuted and even martyred for withstanding satanic deception.
But that is not the end of the story. Those true Christians who contended earnestly for the true faith will rise from their graves and meet Jesus Christ as He returns and sets up His Father’s Kingdom.