What was already at work in the church in Paul's day? " The mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2 Thessalonians 2:7.
What class of men did he warn were to soon arise in the church? "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Acts 20:29, 30.
What apostasy in the church was to develop before Christ would return the second time? "That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
How was this "falling away" from Bible truth shown? By the adoption of heathen rites and customs in the church.
What came to be the character and work of many of the religious leaders?
'Worldly-minded bishops, instead of caring for the salvation of their flocks, were often but too much inclined to travel about, and entangle themselves in worldly concerns. " Neander, General History of the Christian Religion and Church (Torrey's translation} , Vol. 2, p. 16.
What has been the special characteristic of the papacy? A union of church and state, or the religious power dominating the civil power to further its ends.
When was the union of church and state formed, from which the papacy gained its control over the civil powers? The foundation was laid for it during the reign of Constantine, A.D. 313-337, and it developed under his successors.
How was this governmental patronage of the church shown under Constantine and later rulers? Immunities, privileges, and certain judicial functions for the clergy, and gifts, endowments, and financial support for the church; first on a basis of equality with the priesthood and temples of paganism, then on a preferred basis, and finally to the exclusion of all except Catholic orthodoxy.
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