Reinventing the Truth – Introduction
INTRODUCTION. The purpose of this work is to openly examine the historical claims of Two-by-Two’ teaching and to provide a ready reference for those who come across these assertions. Various Two-by-Two doctrines and this group’s true history will be touched upon, but to exhaustively catalogue these is beyond the scope of this book.
The materials examined have had wide distribution, and continue to be represented as established historical facts. Though many persons will be quoted in the pages which follow, our intent is to weigh various claims against established historical evidence—and not to sit in judgement over any individual.
The reader will, hopefully, learn a bit about the early Church in these pages, and perhaps gain some insight as to how various unsubstantiated claims should be approached–whether in dealing with religions, political rhetoric, or any claim that relies on a reinvented history to support a dogmatic viewpoint.
A Warning: Sources for first-century Church history are almost non-existent outside the Bible itself. There are a few accounts dating from the second century, more from the third, and (with the advent of Roman Imperial sponsorship) a great number of writings from the fourth and subsequent centuries.
One must be very cautious when dealing with this scanty material. By the middle of the second century, several serious heresies had arisen and colored much of the thought of the time. In the mid-second century, the Gentile Christians split from the Jewish Christians. Jewish Christians were eventually rejected by the Rabbinic movement. The Gentile sect eventually became the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. Judeo-Christian churches are rarely mentioned in historical sources after the fifth century.
During these times, many false works were written and attributed to the authorship of the original Apostles and their contemporaries. Other works were altered to fit the doctrines of particular heretical sects. Some even produced entire Bibles from this sort of material, excising whatever Scriptures didn’t happen to fit their ideology. One should not treat these materials as holy writ, though they can provide historical documentation relevant to the persons or sects which produced them.
Finally, I would recommend that the reader exercise a healthy skepticism as to whatever they hear or read, including the material in this book. Even our cherished beliefs and preconceptions should be able to stand scrutiny. We each bear a responsibility to examine everything, whether it concerns religion, an account of history, or our own selves. An abundance of sources are available to any who will spend a little time to consult them. To blindly follow others risks enslavement—knowledge brings deliverance.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
I Thessalonians 5:21