Church History Sources

Church History Sources

The only question that really matters is that here and now, in my time, am I counted faithful? Am I part of a local assembly of believers who are fiercely loyal to Jesus Christ? Do I love the Lord enough to get a clean literal preserved copy of the Bible and study it? Am I so moved by the edification I receive both from other believers, and the Word of God that I find a way to tell non-believers about salvation? Will I be intimidated by power of men? Will I allow myth or tradition to dissuade me? Will I submit to another authority other than the head of the church Jesus Christ?
This list of church sources is long and potentially boring. What makes it interesting is that this list of historical documents, whose veracity is universally accepted by scholars, proves that modern church history is a myth. Unabridged church history sources provide academic power. Their scholarship illuminates the truth.
Church history sources include correspondence, bible translations, bible copies, doctrinal statements, and even condemnations by the religion with governmental authority. Ironically, those seeking to destroy evidence the existence or continuity of other religious groups often provided evidence for those they seek to suppress in their own accounts of dealing with them.
The documents found on this list of church history sources fall into two divisions. First are the documents that establish the existence of believers who were organized into congregations. Second are the documents that establish the existence of believers who copied and translated the Bible. Both the independent congregations and Bibles were illegal. They were not supposed to exist according to the religious institutions in power. The historical evidence of the churches and bibles that were illegal from 325 A.D. until the Reformation period starting in 1525 A.D. completely destroy the church history myth.

The Four Gospels – First Century A.D.

These four documents provide the foundation for Christianity. Jesus clearly separates genuine spirituality from tradition and religion of men. This is the very motive for killing him by the established religious leaders of his day. Jesus repeatedly warns his followers about avoiding becoming religious themselves and how they would suffer at the hands of the religious just as He did. It comes as no surprise that unabridged church history proves Jesus to be correct.

Acts of the Apostles– First Century A.D.

The first Church History ever written. It begins with the church that Jesus started and tells the tale of missionary work throughout Palestine and the north-eastern corner of the Roman Empire. This history ends with Paul in prison at Rome around 62 A.D. It details the internal and external struggles to keep the gospel and the churches pure. The apostles are obsessed with spiritual purity and loyalty to the teachings of Jesus Christ as is evident in their actions and their writings to believers.

Greek New Testament

At first the Christian Church was largely made up of speakers of Greek. All the books of the New Testament were written originally in Greek. Although no originals have been found, more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts from the next few centuries still exist. Due to the geographical spread and large number we can absolutely be confident in their academic veracity.
*By comparison do you know how many manuscript copies of Plato’s writings exist? Seven. Stew on that for a while. Seven versus over five thousand. People took the scriptures with them. Before they moved, they made sure they had their own copies of the writings of the Apostles.

Early Translations of the Bible –Second Century

In addition to Greek there are also 8,000 manuscripts in Latin alone. There is an additional 8,000 or so manuscripts in other languages such as Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, Coptic, Gothic, Slavic, Sahidic and Georgian. There was even a translation called the ‘Gallic’ dated to 177 A.D. All these translations began to be made before the close of the second century. Oral tradition was not important to Christians then or now. The scriptures are the cherished Word of God. The surviving number of transcripts is a practical proof of this fact.
The group of translations into Latin that began in 120 A.D known as the Old Italia became the star of these translations. Though later outlawed and burned at every discovery by the state religion, these hand-written translations would survive in the homes of believers, be read in churches, and re-translated into the new languages of Europe during the Middle Ages. Their accuracy as translations would be put to the test during the Reformation period when fresh translations from Greek and Hebrew were done by men like Martin Luther.
Martin Luther would be the victim of prejudice and misunderstanding by critics of his work from all ecclesiastical viewpoints. Two factors create the kindling that keep the false accusations burning. First, he as a thorough linguist he most certainly consulted with a German translation from the Old Italia that was in use before his time. The second and more incredible factor is that when Luther had finished his fresh translation it was so close to the pre-existing German translation that he is accused of plagiarism. Some say he simply did a modern revision.
Giving this literary genius the benefit of the doubt due to his established prowess in linguistics, it is more likely that his fresh translation was a double proof of the quality of his work. On the one hand he proved his ability in the language with superior quality of translation work. On the other hand he proved the accuracy of the Old Italia as a literal translation of the Bible.
Lining up these three translations proves a powerful point. The Old Italia was in circulation before Constantine’s Church.

The Old Italia was still be used so much that in the Middle Ages it was used for a German translation which after many centuries was so often copied that one fell into Martin Luther’s hands in the 16th century. This continuity destroys the church history myth as told by Constantine’s church. This type of continuity is also found in the Czech, French, Spanish, English, Bulgarian, Armenian, and many other languages.

The Syrian influence

Moorman states.
“It seems likely that the Old Latin (Old Italia) was translated in the Syrian Antioch by missionaries going to the West. Existing manuscripts certainly show a strong Syrian and Aramaic tendency. This being the case, the Old Latin is associated with that city which is the missionary center of the Book of Acts, and had immediate concourse with those centers in Asia Minor which received the Epistles of Paul. History is so unanimous to Antioch being the fountainhead of the Traditional Text that it has been called the “Antiochan Text.”
Read more: http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ac66#ixzz3IlSC873u

Roman Emperor Constantine’s Decrees – 312 A.D. an onward

In A.D. 250 a debate about the purity of the local churches and the loyalty to Jesus Christ’s teachings came to a head. There was a major division throughout the Roman Empire between two groups of churches. One group was driven by the desire to preserve Christian unity and love at all costs. The other group was driven to separate from believers over the issues of personal and doctrinal purity.
The unity and love group touted the “common faith” of Titus 1:4 as their motto. In Latin the word for this phrase is ‘catholic faith’. While they were still using this word as an adjective in the third century, those who opposed them nicknamed these types of believers ‘the Lapsi’. Insinuating that they had lapsed in their faith.
The second group touted 1 Corinthians 5 as the way to deal with brothers who practiced idolatry. Those who gathered in the name of Jesus Christ, assembling as a church, were not to eat with those who claimed to be brothers in Christ but openly practiced idolatry. They rejected the Lapsi doctrines and practices as unbiblical and disloyal to Jesus Christ. They called them to repentance. They called them to reject paganism that had crept into their churches and come to the purity of Jesus Christ. Their rejection was so strong, that if a member of a Lapsi congregation wanted to join their church they had to be baptized. The Lapsi pastors called it re-baptism. The Cathari pastors stood on their convictions that Lapsi baptism was unbiblical and without the proper authority.
The Roman Queen Helena was an active member of a Lapsi congregation in the third century. Under the heavy influence of his mother Queen Helena, Roman Emperor Constantine embraced the paganized version of Christianity that she espoused. In a shrew political move he strengthened his control of the empire through the incorporation of the grass-roots movement of local churches into his government. He invited all assemblies to send leaders to him and submit to his authority as the head of a new church hierarchy. Those who obeyed received government salaries, new found freedom from persecution, and were granted state powers. Those who refused to usurp Jesus as head of their individual congregations continued to be persecuted. Only now the persecution would come from other Christians. The Lapsi congregations joined him. The seekers of purity stood apart. It is at this time the Lapsi’s nickname for them, ‘Anabaptist’, began to be used in government documents.

Nicean Creed of 325. A.D.

The Nicean Creed is the declaration by those representatives of local churches who submitted to Constantine. It spoke of their loyalty to him as the head of a new organization. These re-organized churches had become a religion. From this point forward they are a denomination in practice. They immediately set guidelines on how to incorporate believers who come to them from bible believing churches. In article 8 they refer to the pure by name. The Bible believing churches of the day used the word for purity to distinguish between their congregations and those with pagan tendencies. That word was “Cathari”, which means pure in Latin.
The hierarchy underneath the Emperor started with five newly appointed Patriarchs as department heads of regions of the Roman Empire. Rome was one of five. Only Rome used Latin primarily. The others continued to use Greek as their primary language. Until the eleventh century they would remain united in principal. In practice Rome tried to assert its dominance over the others and assume the place of the Emperor once the Roman Empire ceased to exist. The other patriarchs never submitted to Rome.

Latin Vulgate – 382. A.D.

The Latin translation of the Bible made by St. Jerome in 382 A.D is called the ‘Vulgate’. This was a further step in creating control over believers by the leaders of Constantine’s church. The motive for its creation was to create a standard Latin version of the Bible. This actions is a powerful proof that decimates the church history myth.
From Jerome’s contemporary, Augustine, we obtain a similar picture. “Translators from Hebrew into Greek,” he says (De Doctrina Christiana, ii.11), “can be numbered, but Latin translators by no means. For whenever, in the first ages of the faith, a Greek manuscript came into the hands of anyone who had also a little skill in both languages, he made bold to translate it forthwith.” In the same context he mentions “an innumerable variety of Latin translators,” “a crowd of translators.”

The Gothic Bible – Fourth Century (about the time of the Latin Vulgate)

There are two version of his life in history. The version taken from the primary sources. The second is the revisionist history which was the template to make all things Roman in origin. The same re-telling procedure would be applied to other famous Europeans like Patrick of Ireland, and King Arthur of Wales, Missionary Bendict, and Irish Missionary Brendan serving after the example of Patrick of Ireland.
The Gothic Bible or Wulfila Bible is the Christian Bible as translated by Wulfila in the fourth century into the Gothic language spoken by the Eastern Germanic (Gothic) tribes. The creed of Ulfilas, which concludes a letter praising him written by his foster-son and pupil Auxentius of Durostorum (modern Silistra) on the Danube, who became bishop of Milan, is a church history source steeped in controversy.
The southern Italian churches took issue with the independent congregations of the north. By willfully misinterpreting the writings of the northern churches those in power concocted an ‘Arian heresy’. This would be the template used in dealing with independent churches. They would be maligned and slandered in writing by the Church of Rome. The opposing viewpoint would be quashed through book burnings, imprisonment of leaders, executions, and organized terror.
In Ulfila’s confession he writes of his faith. Using this passage as proof of heresy is strange. Ulfila not only does not deny the Trinity in this passage, he enumerates it. He adopts the tone Jesus used in the gospel of John chapters 14 and 15. In that passage Jesus distinguishes between the roles the three parts of the Godhead in the interaction of the Lord with mankind. Ulfila confesses his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the passage highlighted below:

I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in one God the Father, the only unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten son, our Lord and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him (so that one alone among all beings is God the Father, who is also the God of our God); and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) and again “But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8); being neither God (the Father) nor our God (Christ), but the minister of Christ … subject and obedient in all things to the Son; and the Son, subject and obedient in all things to God who is his Father … (whom) he ordained in the Holy Spirit through his Christ.

Nothing in the passage above contradicts the letter to the Hebrews chapter 1. Maximinus, a 5th-century Arian theologian, copied Auxentius’ letter, among other works, into the margins of one copy of Ambrose’s De Fide.

Pershitta Bible – Circa 411 A.D.

The Syrian word which give the translation its name means ‘simple’. Scholarship fixes the translation from a Byzantine type Greek Text (Most Numerous, preserved, and best quality). Throughout the centuries there was an explosion of translations and copies of this type of translation throughout what became Eastern Europe. At times communities of bible believers grew so large that they fielded armies to defend various kingdoms.

The Armenian Bible – 436 A.D.

“Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac, with their assistants, finished and published the Armenian (ancient) version of the whole Bible in 436. La Croze is justified in styling it Queen of versions Unfortunately the Old Testament was rendered (as we have said) from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. But the Apocrypha was not translated

Mesrob’s version was soon widely circulated and became the one great national book. Lazarus Pharpetsi, a contemporary Armenian historian, says he is justified in describing the spiritual results by quoting Isaiah and saying that the whole land of Armenia was thereby “filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” But for it, both church and nation would have perished in the terrible persecutions which have now lasted, with intervals, for more than a millennium and a half.
http://armenianbible.org/

There are 1244 copies of this version still in existence. The Bible and its translation into a culture is a defining moment in societal consciousness. It is both a practical curse and blessing. It is a blessing in that so many accept it as the Word of God and base their lives upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is a curse because those who wish to subjugate them war against their faith. The Armenian believers were shielded then attacked at times by the same powers just at different periods in history.
Even so the power of faith of the Armenian people in church history cannot be overstated. They have been a great people of faith. Their missionaries have preached, established churches, and rejuvenated the gospel in communities when it was wiped out due to persecution in far-away Western Europe.

Patrick of Ireland’s Confession of Faith 450 A.D.

Those who are familiar with Patrick’s ‘Confessio’ take note that his theology is not Catholic. He talks about ordaining other leaders to carry on the ministry. He talks about baptizing adults. He never mentions anything about his life in Europe. Instead he mentions his home church which was at least three generations old because his grandfather was a priest (pastor) and his father was a deacon.
It is inspiring to read how he preached the gospel and baptized thousands of people. It is wonderful to read how he trained men to take authority and preach the word to the congregations he organized. This is a wonderful document that should warm the heart of everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Patrick’s writings are the only primary church history sources available for him. However, a huge church history myth was created about him in the 8th century. Not only was a completely unfounded narrative written about Patrick, but he was also given a literary makeover to make him Catholic. It is pure fiction.

Ecumenical Council declarations 325 to 1525 A.D.

While the Roman Empire’s secular arm of the government died, the religious department survived and was reborn as the Holy Roman Catholic Empire under the Roman Bishop Gregory at the very end of the sixth century. Roman bishop/pastor Gregory began a militarized missionary conquest of Europe. Any church that did not submit to his authority was persecuted. In London alone 1200 pastors and leaders were executed when they failed to submit to the Priest by the Roman church. Their houses of prayer were confiscated, and bible believers went into hiding. One group of Welsh assemblies survived until the 18th century when they publically announced themselves, and joined the Baptists of London.
In regard to the congregations that would not submit, the Ecumenical Councils continued to issue instructions on how to deal with these independent believers. Emperor Constantine’s successors continued to call them ‘Cathari’ because they recognized this brand of Christianity from the time of the Nicean Creed. Though in the declarations the Catholics refer to them as heretics, the very declarations themselves are another proof of the continued existence of these churches in the shadows of the Empire.

Byzantine Greek New Testament — Fourth Century

The Byzantine Text appears dominant from the 4th -5th Centuries on a wide geological scale. Byzantine is the name for Greece during the time of the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Text reads smoother is because it was transcribed by those who knew the Greek language. Consider that before 200 A.D. those areas that spoke Latin stopped using Greek, though Byzantium kept the language alive.
The copies that still exist prove their numerical and geographical superiority over any other copy of the Greek New Testament (the original language of the New Testament. God used the Eastern Orthodox Church to preserve the Greek Text. Crusades, Muslim Kingdoms, and persecution did not stop this preservation on a large scale. Sufficient manuscript and non-biblical writings of Christians exists from the mid-fourth century onward to establish this point.
In addition many other papyri and uncial fragments from the 4th through the 9th centuries testify to a widespread Byzantine presence, even in post-fourth century Egypt. The fifth and sixth century Byzantine uncials. beyond the fourth century rarely reflect any text resembling a predominantly non-Byzantine document.

In the ninth century there was a notable revival of learning in the Byzantine Empire. A natural result of this would be to cause Christian scholars to seek a better text of the Gospels by going back from current texts to more ancient MSS … An analogy may be found in the effect of the revival of learning under Charlemagne on the text of the Latin classics. MSS of the seventh and eighth centuries … are full of corruptions which do not occur in MSS of the subsequent period.
B. H. Streeter, “The Early Ancestry of the Textus Receptus of the Gospels,” JTS 38 (1937) 229.

Charlemagne’s Translation – 8th century

In the late 8th century Charlemagne commissions translation of parts of the Bible for the use of his missionaries in the drive to convert pagan Germans. Though he was Catholic himself, to the anger of the priests he espoused freedom of conscience. One of the keys to his greatness was the willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints. He believed in this theory so much that he appointed Cathari leaders as part of his adviser core. In the later years of his life, their influence upon him grew very strong. His vernacular translation of the Bible into Germanic of the 8th century was proof of this.

Cyrillic Translation/Slavic Translation – 9th century

In the 9th century the Greek brothers Cyril and Methodius, sent from Constantinople to Moravia at royal request, translate the Gospels and parts of the Old Testament into Slavonic. Inspired by the independent spirit of the large numbers of congregations in his kingdom the Moravian ruler, was inspired to become the head of his own church that would be independent of Rome. He rejected the path of Jesus taken by those Paulicians and brothers of Christ all over his kingdom. Instead he chose the path of Constantine from five centuries before and created his own hierarchy. The Bible was translated, and public worship was conducted in the language of the people

Papal Bulls

As the Roman Empire broke down into Kingdoms of Europe, a new game of assertion and reassertion of Catholic power would be played with each new ruler. There was no consistent enforcement of religious laws across the dead Roman Empire. As a result, in areas where the authorities did not enforce them the pure churches had a resurgence. When an area was left unpoliced by the priests over several generations, large pockets of these pure believers would grow.
This continued growth enraged the Popes who issued numerous “Papal Bulls” (decrees) against them. These Papal Bulls constitute another strong foundation for the existence of the independent churches throughout the middle ages. This foundation stone is especially crucial in establishing the historical link of these churches of Jesus Christ from the time of the Apostles through the Middle Ages into the Reformation period. While those who promote the church history myth are loath to admit it, their own documents contradict their Jesuit fairy tale at every turn.

Constantine’s church divides (The Great Schism) 1054 A.D.

Correspondence between the Patriarchs broke down because there was no longer a head to settle the matter. With no Emperor of the Roman Empire the Roman Bishop sought to fill this vacuum of leadership. Seeing Rome as an equal based upon the Nicean Creed of 325 A.D. the Easter Patriarchs began the process of completely with Rome.
In the Roman church histories from this period forward they claim that ‘Christianity’ did not come to places like Syria until they invaded it with their crusader armies. They had been writing from this Roman Centric view of the world since the days of Roman Bishop Gregory in 600 A.D. Their view of the world was and is that “If it is not Catholic, then it is heresy”. This is why the church history myth shows Catholicism as the origin of Orthodoxy.
This part of the church history myth is very easy to substantiate because the Orthodox Churches, as they came to be known, had political power and were able to preserve their history in spite of Rome’s crusades against them. Most people do not realize that the crusades at first were not against Muslims. They were aimed at Jews, Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Cathari (who by this time had dozens of aliases throughout the kingdoms of Europe).

The Noble Lesson – 1100 A.D.

J. A. Wylie, Presbyterian historian, in his History of Waldenses (1860), on p. 3 writes: “Their traditions invariably point to an unbroken descent from the earliest times, as regards their religious belief. The Nobla Leycon [Noble Lesson], which dates from the year 1100,”… “ though a poem, is in reality a confession of faith”

The name Waldenses in English is from the French Vaudois, Vallenses in Latin, and Valdisi in Italian, and these words mean “men of the valleys.” This was a medieval alias for the Cathari from the fourth century. The valleys of the Swiss Alps that stretch all across central Europe provided safe havens for families of believers who wanted to live by the Bible. The valleys protected them from persecution by the religious hierarchy that controlled Europe from 325 A.D..
This document is a hard proof of an independent movement of churches unassociated with Roman Emperor Constantine’s Church. On its own it destroys the church history myth. Coupled with the other documents on this list, it helps create a documented condemnation of the blatant propaganda being sold a history today.

The Romaunt Version – 1160 A.D.

Peter Waldo was wealthy merchant of Lyon. He lived on the Northern edge of Occitania. Occitania was the Southern province of France that was outside of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. It was part of a giant region where Jews, Muslims, and Bible-believing Christians enjoyed great freedom. During the Middle Ages this region enjoyed lighted streets (in some cities), less experience with the plague, economic prosperity, and a cultural boom. It stood in great contrast to the filth, Black Death, poverty, and superstition that reigned throughout many other parts of Europe at this time.
This man gives evidence of a genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Based upon the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch we know men are not just spontaneously saved. They must come under the preaching of God’s Word and conviction of the Holy Spirit. The people preaching the gospel illegally in Lyon were not priests. They were missionaries. At this moment in church history the Paulicians, Bogomils, Albigenses, and Valdese were nearing their peak of influence in Europe. These names of groups are synonyms for the Cathari of ancient Rome.
Peter’s conversion was so great that he forsook his fortune and started a group called the “Poor of Lyons”. He used his wealth to create a twelfth century French translation of the Bible. This encroachment into territory controlled by the Pope did not go unnoticed. Peter went to Rome to plead his case and receive permission from the government to preach the gospel freely in Catholic dominated areas of France. The reaction was so negative that Peter’s brazen preaching outside the Cathedrals and without the Popes permission was the spark that led to the Crusade against the Albigenses.
For a time he tried to continue evangelizing in the forbidden zones of France by teaching his people to pose as door to door salesmen. Eventually he was driven into hiding and out of Lyon altogether. The religious leaders could make no distinction between the large communities of believers in Spain, Southern France, and Northern Italy. They attempted to give each group separate names, and draw distinctions between them. Their common denominator was their vernacular translations of the Bible, independent churches, and missionary activity. When Peter sought refuge, he found it with those believers in Northern Italy.

Anti-Bible Papal Bulls (decrees) 11th – 15th century –

  • Third Council of the Lateran met in March 1179 as the eleventh ecumenical council. Council condemned the Waldensian and Cathar heresies
  • Pope Innocent III stated in 1199:
    … to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc. They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another. The mysteries of the faith are not to explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted (Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 770-771)
    Source: Bridging the Gap – Lectio Divina, Religious Education, and the Have-not’s by Father John Belmonte, S.J.
  • Fourth Council of the Lateran Rome’s Lateran Palace beginning November 11, 1215.  The Popes goal for this meeting was to organize the Fifth Crusade. It included specific measures against heretics. Canon 3 covers procedure and penalties against heretics and their protectors. The doctrine of the Poor of Lyons was again condemned by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 where they are mentioned by name for the first time. They were labeled heretics.
    The Roman Catholic Church began to persecute the Cathari of old under this new name Waldensians. Many were tried and sentenced to death in various European countries during the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. These Christians persisted by fleeing to the Alps and hiding there.
  • Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.):
    Canon 14 “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”
  • Ruling of the Council of Tarragona of 1234 C.E.:
    “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned…”

Wycliff’s English Bible Translation — 14th Century

In the late 14th century, John Wycliffe and perhaps Nicholas Hereford produced a complete English language Bible. Walter Lollard had been preaching in England to escape persecution in Germany. He converted many people to faith in Jesus Christ. These believers assembled separately from the State Church. The English scholar John Wycliffe was part of this group of people who responded to the gospel as preached by the old Cathari preacher Lollard.
Working in secret he created a fresh translation of the Bible into 14th century English. ‘s Bible was revised in the last years of the 14th century, resulting in two major editions, the second more numerous than the first, both circulating widely despite their official prohibition at the Oxford Synod. Those who were led by the Holy Spirit to do missionary work amongst their own people in England preached the gospel as given to them by Walter Lollard, and used the translation of the Bible as provide by John Wycliffe. This is how the error of calling Wycliffe the leader of the Lollard’s began. Those in power had no interest in facts, only in quashing any threat to their power.

Lollard books and writings (By English Law) – 1401 A.D.

The De heretico comburendo (“On the Burning of Heretics”), a law passed by the English Parliament under King Henry IV of England in 1401, was intended to stamp out “heresy” and in particular the Lollard movement, followers of John Wycliffe. The law stated that “…divers false and perverse people of a certain new sect …make and write books, [and] do wickedly instruct and inform people”. The law’s purpose was to “utterly destroy” all “preachings, doctrines, and opinions of this wicked sect”. Therefore, all persons in possession of “such books or writings of such wicked doctrine and opinions” were ordered to deliver all such books and writings to the diocesan authorities, within forty days of the law being enacted, so as to let them be burned and destroyed. Those failing to give up their heretical books would face the prospect of being arrested and having their bodies as well as their books burned.

Proclamations at the Ecumenical Council of Constance — 1415 A.D..:

Oxford professor, and theologian John Wycliffe used his position in the center of the academic institution of England to translate the New Testament into English around 1380 A.D. The stated goal was “…helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence.” . After his death by Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury, declared him a heretic. . By the Council’s decree “Wycliffe’s bones were exhumed and publicly burned and the ashes were thrown into the Swift River.” What a compliment to Wycliffe. His work for the Lord was so successful that it evoked the most absurd reaction I have ever read in church history.

Old Italia Bible is the foundation for most European Translations in all ages
“Historians like Allix, Leger, Gilley, Comba, and Nolan document this church’s continual use of the pure text of the bible. They were persecuted severely between the fourth and thirteenth centuries There was no single “Vetus Latina” Bible; there are, instead, a collection of Biblical manuscript texts that bear witness to Latin translations of Biblical passages that preceded Jerome’s.[1 W. E. Plater and H. J. White, A Grammar of the Vulgate, Oxford at the Clarendon Press: 1926, paragraph 4.

Way back in the 4th century, Jerome complained in writing that his new translation in Latin was disliked by Christians who were familiar with the phrasing of the Old Italia translations. His most famous critic was St. Augustine of North Africa. Augustine told people to use the Old Italia instead of the Latin Vulgate.
Over fifty Old Italia manuscripts still exist in spite of every attempt to burn them all by Constantine’s followers.
In North-eastern Italy around Milan the Gothic Bible Translation was influential. In the North-western region of Italy the Old Italia held sway. Over the centuries as language developed it became know as the Valdese language or Waldensian in Modern English. Research into the text and history of the Waldensian Bible has shown that it is a lineal descendent of the Old Latin Italia. The Romance languages evolved from Latin from the sixth to the ninth centuries.

Reformation Bibles copy and or confirm Old Italia wide use during Middle Ages– 1516 and onward

Erasmus’s First Edition Greek New Testament – 1516 A.D.

Erasmus, though he himself translates the New Testament only from Greek into Latin, expresses in his preface of 1516 the wish that the holy text should be in every language so that “even Scots and Irishmen” might read it.

William Tyndale in 1536 A.D.

William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. According to Tyndale, the Church forbid owning or reading the Bible to control and restrict the teachings and to enhance their own power and importance.
Read more: http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ac66#ixzz3IlSYURyg

The French Bible of Oliveton (AD 1535)

Pierre Robert Olivétan translated the Bible into the French language of the 16th century. Starting from the Hebrew and Greek texts. He was a cousin of John Calvin, who wrote a Latin preface for the translation often called the Olivetan Bible. Because he was an active pastor in North Italy he was labeled a Waldensian. This has become their nickname used by friend and foe alike. By default therefore, the Bible he translated was labeled a Waldensian Bible.
Its translation and use would spawn an English translation of the Bible in Geneva, Switzerland (just a few valleys away).

German Tepl Bible Translation

The German Tepl Bible represents a translation of the Waldensian Bible into German. The translation was so old that it had undergone thirteen revisions.
Altogether there are 13 medieval German translations before the Luther Bible.[25] Walther & Wolf, p. 242 “
Two copies are still preserved. One in a monastery at Tepl, Bohemia, the other in the library of the university at Freiburg in the Breisgau. Amongst scholars it is known as the Codex Teplensis, which has recently been printed and is accessible to all. This manuscript (MS). contains seven articles of faith that are evidently Waldensian.
The quality and availability of these translations is one reason some question if Luther really created a fresh translation from the Greek or if he plagiarized the Old Italia based version. Just as many modern English Bibles are the result of successive revisions, from the days of Wycliffe to our own, so that our text has a demonstrable historic continuity, so the German Bible is the product of revision.

Academic Contest – 17th century

Each culture that had developed since the fall of the Roman Empire over 1,200 years before had pride in itself. Each people group wanted to prove that they too were significant. One of the many tests used to establish their cultural heritage was a very accurate and literal translation of the Bible. Face it, without your own translation of the Bible in your mother tongue, you were a ‘nobody’ in Europe. So the race was on.
This race is another powerful evidence that shines the light of truth on the church history myth. In order to succeed they needed pure reliable texts to work with. Upon examination the Vatican texts were completely discarded because of their sloppy translations, greatest number of variations, and even additions and deletions of portions of scripture. During the golden age of European scholarship the Vatican Library was weighed in the balances and found wanting.

Literal Translations of the Bible from the 17th century Academic Contest:

  • Czech Bible 1602 A.D.
  • English Bible –King James Version 1611 A.D.
  • Italian Bible of Diodati 1649 A.D.  This Italian Bible from the reformation period was one in a line of Waldensian-type texts. The Diodati Version remains in circulation to this day. Due to the literalness of the translation some refer to it as the King James Version of Italy.
  • Polish Brest Bible (1563) Jan Seklucjan preacher at Königsberg, was commissioned to prepare a translation, and he published the New Testament 1551 and 1552. Polish and foreign theologians finished the translation of the Bible which was published at Brest- 1563. The translators state that for the Old Testament they consulted besides the Hebrew text the ancient versions and different modern Latin ones.Two years after the Brest Bible was completed the Calvinist and Radical wings of the Reformed church split in 1565, and the Brest Bible was suspect to both groups: who accused it of having an Arian flavor. This translation was finally replaced by a more ‘catholicized’ version. Every scholar agrees that the new translation varies greatly from the Brest Polish Translation.

Summary of Church History Sources

Compiled information by Elder: D B Loughran Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland.  http://www.angelfire.com/la2/prophet1/ancientversions.html

Josh McDowell writes on pages 16-17 of his book Answers to Tough Questions.
“…Translation of a document into another language was rare in the ancient world, so this is an added plus for the New Testament. The number of copies of the versions is in excess of 18,000, with possibly as many as 25,000. This is further evidence that helps us establish the New Testament text. Even if we did not possess the 5,500 Greek manuscripts or the 18,000 copies of the versions, the text of the New Testament could still be reproduced within 250 years from its composition. How? By the writing of the early Christians. In commentaries, letters, etc., these ancient writers quote biblical text, thus giving us another witness to the text of the New Testament.
John Burgon has cataloged more than 86,000 citations of the New Testament in the writings of the early church fathers who lived before A.D.325. Thus we observe that there is so much more evidence for the reliability of the New Testament text than any other comparable writings in the ancient world.” In his book Final Authority William P Grady quotes John Burgon on pages 33-34 concerning the reliability of a version over any single manuscript.
Quote: “I suppose it may be laid down that an ancient Version outweighs any single Codex, ancient or modern, which can be named: the reason being, that it is scarcely credible that a Version – the Peshitto , for example, an Egyptian or the Gothic – can have been executed from a single exemplar (copy).
A second reason for the value of ancient versions is in their ability to exhibit a text which antedates the oldest Greek manuscripts. Readings which are challenged in the Authorized Version for their non-existence in the ‘two most ancient authorities’ (Codex Sinaiticus or A; and Codex Vaticanus, or B, fourth century) are frequently discovered in the Syrian and Latin translations of the second century.”

Church History sources destroy the Church History Myth that the only church of the Middle Ages was Catholic and that the only Bible was the Latin Vulgate to be found in Cathedrals and handled by priests. It just is not true. First there are the over 20,000 ancient Bibles that destroy the church history myth. Second, there is the documented existence of the Cathari. They are found throughout many medieval kingdoms of Europe. They are found in every century. They exist under many different aliases, yet maintain one set of key doctrines that unite them.

The whole question that every believer in every century and every situation must ask is, am I loyal to Jesus first?