Lucian was really a learned man; his work on the text of the Old Testament, which he corrected from the original Hebrew, soon became famous; he was a Hebrew scholar, and his version was adopted by the greater number of the churches of Syria and Asia Minor. He occupied himself also with the New Testament. His exegesis differs widely from that of Origen. In Antioch allegorical interpretation was not in fashion.1

CONSIDERATION having been given to the importance of Syria in conserving the original bases of the true church, attention is now directed to Lucian (c. A.D. 250-312). Born among the hills of Syria, this devout scholar was destined to exercise a dominating influence on the thought of men through the ages. He was gifted with an unusual spirit of discernment, which the Holy Spirit used in enlarging and strengthening the foundations laid by the apostles. For many years destructive teachings more deadly to early Christianity than the poison of serpents had been gaining ground. Lucian was called upon to face these, and although he did not succeed in completely removing them, nevertheless he did build for all a safe retreat.

Lucian might be likened to the founders of the American republic. As authors of the American Declaration of Independence and that part of the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights, they gave the nation written documents upon which to build the state. So Lucian, in an hour when documentary confusion was threatening chaos, defended, preserved, and passed on to other generations the true text of the Holy Scriptures. He also left a masterpiece of theology to evangelical believers. He stimulated and vivified correct church organization and method of evangelization. Although his opponents have seen to it that not much history about him has been preserved, yet they cannot rob him of his great works.

Lucian was born at Antioch, a center of Greek life and culture. In his day, Rome ruled supreme. There was no more powerful metropolis than Antioch. On the outskirts lay the glamorous grove of Daphne, celebrated above all other groves. In it the pleasure seeker could find many delights, ranging from the most luxurious and sensuous to the highest performances of classical art. Often, in his youth, Lucian looked upon these scenes of worldly folly; but his pious heart turned away from them in complete devotion to his Lord. He could wander eastward a few miles to those beautiful villages and cities, the remains of which have been described in a previous chapter. At that time they were the flourishing home of a learned, devoted Christianity, clinging closely to the early simplicity of the gospel, and refusing to adopt the unscriptural teachings and customs of heathenism which were gaining ground in some professed Christian bodies. The early years of Lucian were years of great contrast. He quickly discerned that there were two movements taking shape in Christendom, one loose in doctrine and affiliating itself with heathenism, the other based on the deep foundations of the Christian faith.

His Boyhood and Youth

In early boyhood an event occurred which opened his eyes to the frailty of empires. The Persians, led by the fanaticism of Mithraism, had made themselves masters of the Near Eastern world, bringing into existence an empire which would be the dreaded antagonist of Rome for five centuries. When Lucian was about ten years of age, Shapur (Sapro) I, the Persian monarch, waged successful warfare to the west, capturing the city of Antioch and taking captive the Roman emperor.2 Naturally he carried back from the region many captives, among them Syrian Christians who would labor to evangelize Persia. Antioch on the border line between Rome and Persia, the coveted prize of both empires, offered a commanding position from which the work of Lucian could exercise its influence east and west through the coming centuries.

Soon the government of the Roman world passed into the hands of an energetic soldier, the emperor Aurelian, who set about vigorously to repair the damage to the imperial system done by weak predecessors. At this time a certain Paul, born in Samosata, was bishop of Antioch and had brought down upon himself the wrath of the Roman and Alexandrian churches because of his teachings. Paul was accused of believing a doctrine concerning the divinity of Christ which in the eyes of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria was considered heresy. Now for the first time Lucian heard the thunders of that struggle concerning the Sonship of our Lord which would go on until and after the first and most famous general council of the church was held at Nicaea in 325.

How difficult and dangerous the situation of Lucian was may quickly be seen. The churches of Rome and Alexandria had entered into an alliance. Alexandria had, for more than two centuries before Christ, been the real capital of the Jews who were compromising with paganism. The church at Alexandria was in this atmosphere. The city of Rome had been for seven hundred years, and was still to be for some time, the world capital of paganism. This environment greatly influenced the church at Rome. Lucian grew up in the churches of Judea. Here was the divine pattern for further believers. Lucian founded a college at Antioch which strove to counteract the dangerous ecclesiastical alliance between Rome and Alexandria. How bitter the situation became and how it finally split the West and East will be clarified by the following four facts:

First, the original founders of the ecclesiastical college at Alexandria strove to exalt tradition. Justin Martyr, as early as 150, had stood for this.3 He was the spiritual father of Tatian, who in turn was, in all probability, a teacher of Clement. Second, Clement, most famous of the Alexandrian college faculty and a teacher of Origen, boasted that he would not teach Christianity unless it were mixed with pagan philosophy.4 Third, Victor I, bishop of Rome, entered into a compact with Clement, about 190, to carry on research around the Mediterranean basin to secure support to help make Sunday the prominent day of worship in the church.5 Sunday was already a day exalted among the heathen, being a day on which they worshiped the sun; yet Rome and Alexandria well knew that most of the churches throughout the world sanctified Saturday as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.6 Fourth, when Victor I, in lordly tones, pronounced excommunication on all the churches of the East who would not with him make Easter always come on Sunday, Alexandria supported this first exhibition of spiritual tyranny by the bishop of Rome. Lucian opposed Alexandria's policies and for this has been bitterly hated and his name kept in the background.

In the church struggle over Paul of Samosam, Lucian held aloof from both parties. When it appeared as if neither side would win, appeal was made to the pagan emperor Aurelian. The party led by the bishops of Rome and Alexandria could well bow its head with shame that the aid of a heathen emperor was invoked to settle a controversy over the divine Son of God. Most astonishing to relate, the emperor declined to judge the case and commanded (A.D. 270) that it should be submitted to the judgment of the bishops of Italy and Rome.7 In referring this issue to the bishop of the capital city and his associates, it was assumed that they were responsible for the whole Christian church. This came as a recognition from the pagan state to Pope Felix. It could easily be used to support the assumed primacy of Peter.

What must have stirred the mind of Lucian, however, who at this time was about twenty-five years of age, were the philosophical speculations offered to sustain the theological viewpoint held by the bishop of Rome concerning the Godhead. Concerning the Christians after the Council of Nicaea, where the influence of Rome was dominant, the historian Edward Gibbon wrote, "They were more solicitous to explore the nature, than to practice the laws, of their founder."8

As no record has been found that Lucian was a participant in this controversy, subsequent historians recognize their inability to accuse him of factionalism or instability. One must read the thorough defense of this holy man by George Bishop Bull to know the errors Lucian opposed and the excellent doctrines he taught.9 There is no record of any charge of heresy, officially or ecclesiastically, lodged against him by his contemporaries.

In his early youth, Lucian was called to resist the rise and spread of two perverted types of Christianity: Manichaeism and Gnosticism.

Insidious Teachings Met by Lucian

Manichaeism dethroned the first chapter of Genesis by rejecting creation and a miracle-working God, by demanding celibacy of its leaders, and by worshiping the sun as the supreme dwelling place of Deity.10 Imbued with the ancient Persian hatred of the Old Testament, it ridiculed the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and exalted Sunday.11 This fanatical darkness, with its own fabricated scriptures, came down upon Syria like a fog. Lucian weakened its attacks by his irresistible defense of the Scriptures and their teachings.

He was next aroused to meet in the primitive church an invasion of subtle hero worship. Gnosticism was eating its way into those sections of the church which were compromising with paganism. The wrath of the papal party was brought down upon him because he refused to participate in a questionable movement to exalt on fraudulent grounds the primacy of the bishop of Rome. For more than a century previously there had appeared considerable deceptive literature giving an exalted place to Peter. In these crafty stories the impetuous apostle was brought to Rome, and with him was brought Simon the magician, whom he had rebuked. Supernatural powers were attributed to Simon. Peter, in these dishonest fables, was reputed to follow Simon, rapidly confuting his heresies and his superhuman feats, and finally destroying this pretended follower of the faith by a mighty miracle. These fabulous exploits of Peter were emblazoned abroad.

The apocryphal accounts...of Peter's deeds at Rome leaped at once beyond all bounds of sober credibility. They may have concealed a modicum of fact beneath the fiction, but the fiction so far exceeded and distorted the fact that it is hopeless now to try to disentangle one from the other....None the less this literature cannot be overlooked by one who aims to comprehend the growth of papal prestige. Conceptions founded upon it and incidents borrowed from it were in time accepted by most of the influential writers of Roman Christendom, even by those who like Eusebius or Jerome fully realized that the literature as a whole was a web of falsehood. In particular, the figure of Simon Magus, once installed at Rome, could never be entirely exorcised, nor could Peter be deprived of the renown of being the first mighty victor over heresy as embodied in Simon's person. In fact, it is difficult to name one of the Fathers after the third century who does not sometime allude to that famous story. Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine and others...could none of them rid themselves altogether of the impression it made upon them.12

Lucian never accepted such doubtful tales. He protested against those who were championing fraudulent claims; but as they became more determined in countenancing these false stories, and so helped to make the bishop of Rome "the vicar of the Son of God," the more hostile they grew toward Lucian.

Lucian's Gift of the Genuine New Testament

The Protestant denominations are built upon that manuscript of the Greek New Testament sometimes called the Textus Receptus, or Received Text. It is that Greek New Testament from which the writings of the apostles in Greek have been translated into English, German, Dutch, and other languages. During the Dark Ages, the Received Text was practically unknown outside the Greek Church. It was restored to Christendom by the labors of that great scholar, Erasmus. It is altogether too little known that the real editor of the received text was Lucian. None of Lucian's enemies fails to credit him with this work. Neither Lucian nor Erasmus, but rather the apostles, wrote the Greek New Testament. However, Lucian's day was an age of apostasy when a flood of depravations was systematically attempting to devastate both the Bible manuscripts and Bible theology. Origen, of the Alexandrian college, made his editions and commentaries of the Bible a secure retreat for all errors, and deformed them with philosophical speculations introducing casuistry and lying.13 Lucian's unrivaled success in verifying, safeguarding, and transmitting those divine writings left a heritage for which all generations should be thankful.

Mutilations of the Sacred Scriptures abounded.14 There were at least eighty heretical sects all striving for supremacy.15 Each took unwarranted license in removing or adding pages to Bible manuscripts.16

Consider how masterly must have been Lucian's collection of the evidences which identified and protected the writings left to the church by the apostles. From that day to this the Received Text and the New Testaments translated from it are far in the lead of any other Bibles in use.

Rejection of the Spurious Old Testament Books

Not only did Lucian certify the genuine New Testament, but he spent years of arduous labor upon the Old Testament.17 As the Greek language was the prevalent tongue in which leading works were published throughout the civilized world, he translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. He did this work so well that even Jerome, his bitter opponent, admitted that his Greek translation of the Old Testament held sway in the capital city of Constantinople and in most of the Near East.18

Jerome also entered the same field and translated the Hebrew Bible, not only into Greek, but into Latin. When the two translations of the Hebrew Bible appeared, there was a marked difference between the edition of Lucian and that of Jerome. To Jerome's Latin edition were added the seven spurious books called the Apocrypha, which the Protestant world has continuously rejected. The responsibility cannot all be laid upon Jerome, for he did not believe in these seven spurious books. Augustine, whose fame as a father of the papal church outshines Jerome's, favored them.19 Since, however, Jerome had been employed by the bishop of Rome to publish this translation and had received abundant money from his employer for its accomplishment, the pope took the liberty of adding the seven spurious books in question to the Latin edition of Jerome's Old Testament. Later the Papacy pronounced it to be the authoritative Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.

Thus, in many ways Lucian became a blessing to those churches which in later years designated the Church of Rome "a newcomer," and felt themselves compelled to disagree with it, while they persevered in apostolic usages.

Exposure of the Allegorizing Theologians

Clement (c. A.D. 194) and Origen (c. A.D. 230) of the metaphysical school of Alexandria, in the days immediately preceding Lucian, welded into an alluring and baffling system the method of allegorizing the Bible. They taught the supremacy of the bishop of Rome and declared that there was no salvation outside the church. Clement played to the applause of the populace by advocating the affinity of Christianity with paganism and of sun worship with the Sun of Righteousness. John Mosheim testifies to this as follows:

He [Clement] himself expressly tells us in his Stromata, that he would not hand down Christian truth pure and unmixed, but "associated with, or rather veiled by, and shrouded under the precepts of philosophy"... the philosophy of the Greeks.20

While Clement, with Pantaenus, mixed Christianity with paganism at Alexandria, Lucian founded at Antioch a school of Syrian theology. The profound difference between his teaching and that of the north African allegorizing theologians, Dr. Williston Walker thus describes:

With Antioch of this period is to be associated the foundation of a school of theology by Lucian, of whom little is known of biographical detail, save that he was a presbyter, held aloof from the party in Antioch which opposed and overcame Paul of Samosata, taught there from c. 275 to 303, and died a martyr's death in 312.... Like Origen, he busied himself with textual and exegetical labors on the Scriptures, but had little liking for the allegorizing methods of the great Alexandrian. A simpler, more grammatical and historical method of treatment both of text and doctrine characterized his teaching.21

It was a critical hour in the history of the church in the days following the efforts of Clement, Origen, and Tertullian - the mystical teachers of north Africa - to substitute new foundations for Christianity. In that time God raised up a tireless champion of truth, Lucian. Speculation within the church was tearing to pieces the faith once delivered to the saints. The very foundation of the gospel itself was at stake. Because of the immense contributions made by Syrian Christianity in the following centuries, later generations are indebted to Lucian. At this time the words of the psalmist were appropriate: "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"(Psalm 11:3.) It was at this time, according to a historian acceptable to the Roman Church, who lived in the same century with Lucian, that the martyr drew up a confession of faith.22

Denouncing Tradition Above the Bible

The apostle Paul had prophesied that after his departing men would arise from the ministry, speaking perverse things and entering like grievous wolves among the flock.(Acts 20:29, 30.) Paul said it would come; Lucian in his day could say truly that it had come. Within a hundred years after the death of Paul there can be found in the writings of authors who now stand high in the Roman Catholic Church the exaltation of tradition to the level, if not above the level, of the Holy Scriptures. Tertullian (A.D. 150- 235), who lived in the same century as did Lucian, after explaining the oblations for the dead, the sign of the cross upon the forehead, and the dipping of candidates in the water three times for baptism, writes:

If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as the strengthener, and faith as their observer.23

The Church in the Wilderness believed the Bible to be supreme. Its members believed that the Holy Spirit and the word agreed, and they remembered that Jesus met each test Satan put against Him in the hour of temptation with the words, "It is written." To hold the Holy Scriptures as an infallible guide to salvation excludes the admission of any other authority upon as high a level. To exalt tradition and place it on the level with the Bible throws the door open to admit all kinds of writings as bearing the seal of divine authority. Moreover, it places an impossible burden upon believers to verify a wide range of literature.

The Protestant and the Catholic worlds both teach that the Holy Scriptures are of God. There is a difference, however, for the Protestants admit the Bible and the Bible only, while the Papacy places the church traditions on an equality with the Scriptures. The Council of Trent, 1545, whose decisions are supreme authority on doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church, speaks as follows on written and unwritten tradition:

The sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent,...following the examples of the orthodox fathers, receives and venerates with equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, - seeing that one God is the author of both, and also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved by a continuous succession in the Catholic Church.24

That this principle still prevails in the Roman Catholic Church is shown by the words of the celebrated Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, who was long the leading exponent of his church in the United States. Thus he writes:

A rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday, and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.25

Lucian was obliged to take his stand against the tide of error that was rising in his day. He was diametrically opposed to the school of theology at Alexandria, whose teachings exalted tradition. Tertullian took the same stand as did other early north African authors directly or indirectly favored by the Papacy.26

Lucian encountered the contradictory teachings concerning the binding obligations of the Ten Commandments. The same inconsistency is manifest in papal doctrine today, for The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "The Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord's Day. The Council of Trent (Sess. 6, can. 14) condemns those who deny that the Ten Commandments are binding on Christians."27 This directly contradicts the teachings of Thomas Aquinas regarding the fourth commandment.28 And it is to be remembered that the Roman Church ranks him first as an expositor of papal doctrine.

Standing Against "No-Law" Theory

If any one part of the Ten Commandments is ceremonial, as Thomas Aquinas teaches, then the claim that they all are perfect, immutable, and eternal in their binding power upon all men falls to the ground. The celebrated Reformer, Calvin, indignantly refuted the analysis of Thomas Aquinas.29 The charge made by Thomas Aquinas that the Sabbath commandment was ceremonial is not sustained by changing Saturday to Sunday, for, if definitely naming one particular day of the week is ceremonial, Sunday would be as ceremonial as is Saturday. Nor would the choice of any other succession of days, as one day in ten, or one day in twenty, escape this condemnation. Since the New Testament teaches that the ceremonial law was nailed to the cross, this attempt to make the fourth commandment partly ceremonial, placing it as a plaything in the hands of the church, clearly taught the abolition of the moral law. Herein can be seen how diametrically the above quotation from The Catholic Encyclopedia disagrees with Thomas Aquinas. The first says that the Decalogue is moral; the second claims it to be partially ceremonial. Cardinal Newman praised Alexandria, the seat of Gnosticism, which powerful movement rejected the Old Testament and with it the Ten Commandments. Lucian took his stand against such advocates of the "no-law" theory and taught the binding obligation of the Ten Commandments. Therefore he was called a "Judaizer" by John Henry Cardinal Newman.30

Excessive in his denunciations against Lucian, and master of the use of English, Newman, in founding the Oxford Movement, attempted to de-Protestantize the Western world. All must admit the great debating ability of the Oxford professor who left the Church of England to enter the Roman Catholic priesthood. He set out to defend the Alexandrian theologians.31 He sought diligently to find another way to circumvent the truth. Newman and the Oxford Movement as antagonists labored to brand the Authorized Version of the Bible as dishonest in doctrine.32 In order to secure a reason for writing his book entitled The Arians of the Fourth Century, which volume is practically atheism wearing a gospel mask, he was compelled to recognize the outstanding leadership of Lucian. So he said, "Now let us advance to the history of this Lucian, a man of learning, and at length a martyr." He neglected, however, to state that for centuries Lucian's orthodoxy has been defended by such great scholars as Caesar Cardinal Baronius, George Bishop Bull, and Henry Melville Gwatkin. So Newman resurrected against Lucian the old shibboleth of Judaizing. When a modernist is pressed for a weapon to attack defenders of the Ten Commandments, he brings out again the old bogey of Judaizing. What are the historical facts? Newman recognized that the Jews "became an influential political body in the neighborhood of their ancient home, especially in the Syrian provinces which were at that time the chief residence of the court.33

However, Newman failed to add the facts admitted by The Catholic Encyclopedia, that "for a long time Jews must have formed the vast majority of members in the infant Church."34 Since the majority of believers in the East were for a long time Jewish converts, it can easily be seen that the custom was general in the eastern church of observing Saturday as the Sabbath.35 It could hardly have been otherwise. The noble Christianity of converted Jews was second to none. Centuries of training under the prophets had endowed Jewish believers in Christ with ability to comprehend and to propagate the truths of the Scriptures. They felt, as the heathen world did not, the force of such terms as God, sin, righteousness, and atonement.

Lucian, though he was a Gentile, is belittled by Cardinal Newman as a Judaizer. Why? Those who sanctified Saturday by abstaining from labor were stigmatized as Judaizers. why should Lucian observe Saturday as sacred? It was the general custom. The church historian Socrates writes a century after Lucian: "For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this."36 Here we note the union between the church at Rome and at Alexandria, and their common antagonism to the seventh-day Sabbath.

Sozomen, a contemporary of this Socrates, and also a church historian, writes likewise, "The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria."37

At the Synod of Laodicea (c. A.D. 365) the Roman Catholics passed a decree that "Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.... But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ."38 Thus this church law not only forbade its followers to sanctify Saturday, but also stigmatized as Judaizers those who did.

A long list of early church writers could be given to show that for centuries the Christian churches generally observed Saturday for the Sabbath and rested from labor on that day. Many churches also celebrated the day of Christ's resurrection by having a religious meeting on Sunday, but they did not recognize that day as the holy day of the fourth commandment.39

The churches throughout the world were almost universally patterned after the church of Jerusalem in belief and practice. "It is true that the Antiochene liturgy describes Jerusalem 'as the mother of all churches.'"40 Paul wrote,

"Ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus."(1 Thessalonians 2:14.)

The apostle Paul, therefore, is the author of the Judean pattern. How long did this pattern continue? The quotation given above from The Catholic Encyclopedia, article, "Calendar," reveals that vast numbers, not a scattered few, of Christians were converts from the Jews, so that the Judean type of Christianity was almost universal, and it so continued for a long time.

Syria, the land of Lucian, possessed the Judean type of Christianity. "They [the books DeLacy O'Leary was describing] certainly do prove the continued and vigorous existence of a Judaistic Christianity within the province of Syria."41

Judean Christianity prevailed so widely that it reached far into Africa, even into Abyssinia. The church in Abyssinia was a great missionary church. Neither must we forget that the Abyssinian Church [which is distinctively of Judaic-Christian type] became popular in the fourth century. In the last half of that century St. Ambrose of Milan stated officially that the Abyssinian bishop, Museus, had "traveled almost everywhere in the country of the Seres" [China].42 For more than seventeen centuries the Abyssinian Church continued to sanctify Saturday as the holy day of the fourth commandment.

As early as the second century, Judean Christianity in Syria produced scholars famous in Bible manuscripts. "The work of Malchion is generally regarded as commencing the 'Early School' of Antioch. .. The actual leader in the critical work was Lucian who came from Edessa and was Malchion's pupil The result was an Antiochene revised Greek text of both Testaments."43 Lucian and his school, like Origen, worked in the field of textual criticism, but he used different manuscripts from those used by Origen. Erasmus rejected the manuscripts of Origen, as did Lucian.44

Lucian prevailed over Origen, especially in the East. "The Bibles produced by the Syrian scribes presented the Syrian text of the school of Antioch, and this text became the form which displaced all others in the Eastern churches and is, indeed, the Textus Receptus (Received Text) from which our Authorized Version is translated."45

Before his death Lucian was acknowledged throughout all Christendom as orthodox from the standpoint of the Bible, and a fundamentalist. It remained for Cardinal Newman to resurrect the calumny of Judaizing against him fifteen hundred years later.

A brief summary of the theological conditions which prevailed in the days of Lucian, and a review of his work and influence, is now presented.


The school at Antioch, founded by Lucian, developed a system of theology, so real that though all the power of the Papacy was thrown against it, it finally prevailed.

The Papacy also developed a great system of theology which was challenged both by the Church in the Wilderness and by the Reformation.


The Antioch system of theology which we have been studying was prominent; it extended from England to China and from Turkestan to Ethiopia.

Papal theology was also prominent. It is not necessary to indicate the dominating course it has had throughout the earth. Yet numbers do not constitute the final proof of truth. As an example, more millions of people in the world follow Buddha than follow any other religion.


Lucian and his school gathered and edited a definite and complete Bible. It was a collection of the books from Genesis to Revelation. Well-known writers like Jerome, Erasmus, and Luther, and, in the nineteenth century, John William Burgon and Fenton John Anthony Hort, whether friends or opponents, agree that Lucian was the editor who passed on to the world the Received Text - the New Testament text which was adopted at the birth of all the great churches of the Reformation. Not a single church born of the Reformation, such as Lutheran, Calvinistic, Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, or Adventist, adopted any other Bible than that whose New Testament text came down from Lucian.

The Papacy passed on to the world an indefinite and incomplete Bible. While it recognized to a certain extent the books from Genesis to Revelation, it added to them seven other books not considered canonical by the authorities quoted above. In the Latin Vulgate of the Papacy it adopted a New Testament text with passages radically different from the same in the Received Text. It also made the decrees of the councils and the bulls of the popes equal to the books of the Bible. In other words, with the Roman Catholic Church, the Scriptures are still in the making. The Papacy exalts the church above the Bible. Cardinal Gibbons says, "The Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe."46


The text which Lucian gave to the world was to all intents pure and correct.47 Even his opponents declare that there are no Greek New Testaments older than Lucian's, and that with it agree the great mass of Greek manuscripts.48

The Roman Catholic text of the regular books from Genesis to Revelation and the seven apocryphal books based upon the manuscripts of Origen - later edited by Jerome - abounded in errors. Thousands of these errors have been noted and presented to the world by eminent Catholic and non-Catholic writers. Catholics admit that Jerome was a polemic theologian and that he allowed his prejudices to warp his translation.49


The theology of Antioch stood for the binding obligation of the Ten Commandments.

The theology of the Papacy claims authority to change the Ten Commandments.


The theology of Antioch teaches salvation for sinful man through the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross.

The Papacy does not now teach and never has taught salvation for sinful man through the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, "'Vicarious satisfaction,' a term now in vogue, is not found expressly in the church formularies, and is not an adequate expression of Christ's mediation."50


The majority of the churches of Syria and of the East continued to observe Saturday, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment from the days of the apostles and throughout the centuries. Hence the attempt to stigmatize them as Judaizers.

The Papacy has always endeavored to substitute the observance of Sunday for the sanctification of Saturday, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Pope Gregory I, in 603, declared that when antichrist should come, he would keep Saturday as the Sabbath.51


The church organization developed by the apostles and continued largely by Syrian theology was simple and evangelical. Fundamentally, it rejected the union of church and state.

The church organization developed by the Papacy is hierarchal. Throughout its history it has believed in the union of church and state.

Lucian died before Constantine had consummated the union of the church with the state. Lucian's teaching, however, lived on to plague imperial Christianity. The heritage he left behind became embosomed in the Church in the Wilderness. As late as the fifteenth century the Catholic clergy displayed a bitter hatred to Greek learning.52 The knowledge of Greek, however, remained in the bosom of the Church in the Wilderness whether in Syria, northern Italy, among the Celts, or in Oriental lands. And wherever the true faith was held, the New Testament, verified and transmitted by Lucian, was venerated and followed.

Conditions continued thus until the dawn of the Reformation under Luther. The Papacy waxed more powerful and more autocratic. The churches remaining true to New Testament Christianity became more and more sure of their ground, following the leadership of Lucian. Finally, when the great Reformation began, almost the first thing they did was to reach out, seize, and place at the foundation of the Reformed Church the Greek New Testament of Lucian. On the other hand, the first four decisions of the Council of Trent - the first Catholic world council after the powerful beginnings of the Reformation - condemned Lucian's text and insisted on Jerome's Vulgate. It is true that the Reformation leaders did not part with all the teaching of the Papacy subsequently deemed by Protestant bodies as unscriptural, namely: the union of church and state, ceremonialism, hierarchal organization, etc. Protestantism should have gone forward in its reforms until it had returned to the purity of the Church in the Wilderness.

Lucian by his life and by his opposition to Alexandrian errors showed that he would never accept any doctrines of the Trinity which destroyed the moral obligation of the Ten Commandments; that he refused any teaching which exalted the inspiration of the church above the inspiration of the Bible, and that he did not countenance any authority which divided the Decalogue into moral and ceremonial, is proved by his writings.

Lucian is one of those world characters who needs no sculptor to erect a monument to his fame. The transmission of the Received Text with its unparalleled effects down through the centuries is monument enough. Another monument is the influence of Lucian in the great Church of the East, as reproduced in its evangelical thought and life. In its history will be seen the hand of God, building a sure foundation for the divine troths that shall live in the long wilderness period of the church.


Chapter 6