In the “Irony of the Church Fathers” series, I addressed the emergence of the wolves spoken of by Peter (2 Peter 3:15-17) and Paul (Acts 20:28-30) and provided ample evidence to support the conclusion that they were speaking of the church fathers.
In the “Unmasking the Python Spirit” series, I explained the relationship between the Oracle at Delphi, the Python spirit – or “Pythos” – and how it functioned as a major spiritual influence within Hellenism, as well as how it affected the culture during Yeshua’s day.
In the next few posts, I am going to show you how the paths of Pythos and the church fathers converged.
This unholy union would provide the framework within which Christianity (and by “Christianity,” I mean both Protestant and Catholic) would operate, from that time forward.
Python in Review
By the time of the 1st century apostolic church fathers (Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp), the python spirit – “Pythos” – had been exerting its influence through Hellenism for quite some time.
Centuries, in fact.
Do you remember the tell-tale characteristics of the python spirit? If not, please go back and take the time to read the series, otherwise, this post will not impact you as it should.
For your convenience, I’ll briefly list out some major points, but if you find any of the following hard to understand or believe, please go back and read the “Unmasking the Python Spirit” series.
- The Python spirit, the sun god (Apollo) and Hellenism all go hand-in-hand.
- Hellenism promotes a relative, abstract religious worldview.
- Because of this abstract and relative ideology, false prophecy and duality find it easy to operate and flourish.
- Hellenistic dogma is spread through militant tactics, whether through subversion or brute force.
There are obviously other pillars of belief and practice held by those who were worshipers of Pythos, but these three are the focus of this series.
Effects of Hellenism on a Monotheistic Culture
When you address the effects of Hellenism on a culture, you have to realize that not everything was bad. The Greek way of life contributed greatly in the areas of science, literature, the arts, philosophy and military science.
But in regards to faith and religion, Hellenism wreaked great havoc.
From the days of Alexander the Great until the time of Yeshua (and afterward), Hellenistic values and practices imprinted themselves onto the minds of a once monotheistic belief system, throwing the Hebrew religious framework into great turmoil.
- Instead of belief in (and obedience to) the One True Elohim, the Israelites were regularly exposed to the polytheistic faith of Hellenists.
- Instead of valuing absolute truth and “loving your neighbor as yourself,” Israel was permeated with a religious worldview that valued self and individuality.
- Instead of a concrete worldview where everything was black and white, Israel now had to contend with the abstract, Greek worldview, where everything was relative, and truth could take the form of whatever you wanted it to be.
This influence eventually found its way into the faith of the Jews, resulting in an abstract, compromised and distorted view of the Word of YHWH. As a result, a once unified faith became divided into different factions.
After the destruction of the Temple (70 AD), this dynamic would follow through with the church fathers – but on a much, MUCH greater scale.
But isn’t this always what happens when the serpent gets involved with the interpretation of Yah’s truth?
Pythos in the Garden
Hellenism brought the influence of the serpent/dragon (“Pythos”) and sun worship with it – it was the “unholy trifecta,” if you will.
Not-so-oddly enough, its ways and means resembled the serpent/dragon in the Garden of Eden.
Just as the serpent in the garden birthed doubt and unbelief in the Father’s loving instructions into Eve’s heart, so does the serpent that permeates Hellenism marginalize and trivialize those same instructions. This always results in a distortion and perversion of the Father’s intention.
And it all starts with “Did God really say . . . ?”
This was the situation in Jerusalem and the country of Israel in the first centuries before and after Yeshua. People whose faith was rooted in monotheism and absolutes were being greatly challenged and influenced by those who believed opposing philosophies and ways of viewing the universe and eternity.
The church fathers, however, didn’t have the luxury of having a heritage of singular faith. Most of them came from the surrounding regions – even the city of Rome itself.
And, while Israelites at least had a point of reference in their faith – with the focus on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and His commandments – the church fathers grew up in an atmosphere that was opposed (and often openly hostile to) the faith of the Jews.
Hellenism was a way of life for the church fathers.
The church fathers were not only influenced by Greco-Roman sun worship from birth, they were already predisposed to view monotheistic absolutism with disdain.
It was a completely foreign concept to them – something reserved for “those crazy Jews.”
Due to the heavy influence of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, the Greco-Roman preferred an abstract religion that was easily debated and nuanced by its devotees – a faith that was easily kept within the realm of thought and intent.
Couple this abstract idealism with the fact that the emergence of the church fathers coincided with the great division addressed earlier – the expulsion of the Gentiles from the synagogues – and you have all the ingredients needed for a corrupted faith, hostile to the God of Israel and His people.
Because these Gentiles had initially turned their backs on their former way of life in order to attend the Jewish synagogues and learn from the Torah and the Prophets, the expulsion from those synagogues left them feeling betrayed and bitterly offended towards the Jews.
Once this offense took root, it was all too easy for the Gentile believers to view themselves as separate and superior to those whom YHWH had chosen. The destruction of the Temple in 70 AD seemed to confirm their view.
When the Romans destroyed the second Temple in 70 CE, about 40 to 45 years after Jesus’s death, some Christians saw the destruction as a sign from God. In their view, it confirmed their belief that as Christians, they were now the “true Israel.” They believed that God had allowed the Temple to be destroyed in order to punish Jews for rejecting Jesus. 
This offense, arrogance and false sense of identity extended into the formation of the Christian faith, starting with the writings of a small group of offended, Greek-influenced men – namely the “apostolic” church fathers – Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp.
Hellenism and Offense in the Writings of the Church Fathers
In his only extant letter to the Corinthians, Clement of Rome doesn’t hesitate to associate the resurrection of the dead with the mythological phoenix rising from its own ashes.
Chapter XII. v1-6
LET us consider that wonderful type of the resurrection which is seen in the Eastern countries; that is to say, in Arabia.
There is a certain bird called a Phœnix; of this there is never but one at a time: and that lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near, that it must die, it makes itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices into which when its time is fulfilled it enters and dies.
But its flesh putrefying, breeds a certain worm, which being nourished with the juice of the dead bird brings forth feathers; and when it is grown to a perfect state, it takes up the nest in which the bones of its parents lie, and carries it from Arabia into Egypt, to a city called Heliopolis:
And flying in open day in the sight of all men, lays it upon the altar of the sun, and so returns from whence it came.
The priests then search into the records of the time; and find that it returned precisely at the end of five hundred years.
And shall we then think it to be any very great and strange thing for the Lord of all to raise up those that religiously him in the assurance of good faith, when even by a bird he shews us the greatness of his power to fulfil his promise? 
Polycarp, whom we have discussed before, was a double-minded church father – he appeared in one instance to be in favor of celebrating YHWH’s Passover, yet he was very close to Ignatius of Antioch, who was the most vocal of the apostolic church fathers in his disdain of the Jews and anything resembling the original commands set forth by the Father.
Nevertheless, Polycarp’s endorsers betray the bias of the church in his day. In the “Martyrdom of Polycarp,” such phrases can be found:
“The church was hated in the Roman Empire, especially by the Jews and pagan Romans.”
“The condemnation was proclaimed; the mob rushed from the seats to gather sticks and faggots, with the Jews gleefully helping along.” 
And, of course, we have the chief influencer and inventor of the label “Christianity,” St. Ignatius of Antioch. His footprint on the religion of Christianity cannot be overstated. This guy did not hesitate to blast anything near and dear to the Father.
“But if anyone shall preach the Jewish law unto you, hearken not unto him . . .” 
“Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity. For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in Him, lest any one among you should be corrupted, since by your savour ye shall be convicted. It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God.” 
These are the men who would start the creation of the framework from which the Catholic church (and by extension, the Protestant church) would draw inspiration.
These are the men who got the ball rolling.
Now, I understand that for the extreme skeptic, it may appear that I could be grasping for an association, at this point. But there is plenty more condemning evidence, so please keep reading.
But before we move forward in this study, I need to address the controversial topic of “spiritual warfare.”
Spiritual Warfare 101
Over the years, I’ve observed that there are numerous opinions and methodologies when it comes to the topic of “spiritual warfare.”
I’ve observed that every time you broach this topic with Christians, everyone thinks that they have the right answer and everyone else is either blind or misinformed.
This is especially true if the spiritual warrior has experienced something spiritual occurring in a certain way; then, instead of just being an experience, it’s firmly established in his or her mind as a spiritual law, and that’s the end of the argument, as far as they are concerned.
Here’s what I’ve learned about spiritual warfare after 30+ years of Charismania and witnessing the extreme (and often ridiculous) methods of deliverance ministries in the prophetic movement.
Get ready, because this is going to be a “heavy-revvy” for many of you.
I’ve learned that I don’t know much.
No, seriously, it never fails.
Every time I try to fit “spiritual warfare” into a mold or a formula, I am quickly reminded (sometimes painfully) that I don’t quite have it all figured out.
Despite these humiliations, I think that I have grasped one concept that I believe we should all agree on.
“You don’t challenge a spiritual stronghold if you are embracing that stronghold in your life.”
Can we all agree on this concept? It really should be common sense.
- If you were a porn addict (I know there are at least a few hundred reading this), would you think it was a good idea to try and witness in an adult shop or a porn expo?
- If you had issues with drugs, would it be a good idea to go witnessing in a crackhouse?
I think that the answer is a resounding “No!” Right?
Sure, maybe once you gained the victory over these sins, the Father MIGHT use you, but until that time, it would be spiritual suicide for you to attempt to exert any kind of influence or authority in these areas.
Remember this concept as you read through “When Python Jumped.”
This is an area where the church fathers – the forefathers of the Christian church and the framers of its doctrine – failed miserably.
The Church Fathers were Already Covenanted to Sun Worship
At the risk of sounding repetitive, let us not forget that the church fathers were raised in an atmosphere that embraced Hellenism as THE way of life.
We can find a parallel with our society’s relationship to Facebook.
In the United States (and now, unfortunately, most of the world), we constantly see Facebook, read Facebook, interact with Facebook and basically LIVE Facebook. Most of us don’t even give it a second thought.
For better or worse, Facebook has now become our way of life – especially the younger generation. Most youth cannot comprehend a life without it.
If they tried to make sense of the life of someone without Facebook or WiFi, they simply could not embrace it.
It would make no sense to them.
In their minds, they are thinking, “Why would anyone want to live without Facebook? It is an inferior and less informed way to live!”
In the same way, most the church fathers (especially the first church fathers) were saturated with Hellenism from birth.
They lived Greek (Hellenism), saw Greek, heard Greek, thought Greek and mostly talked Greek and didn’t even give it a second thought. Hellenistic values permeated their every thought and reason.
It was just their way of life.
And, when they tried to make sense of a monotheistic, absolute faith void of any Hellenism, they simply could not comprehend this “ignorant, inferior” way to serve YHWH.
So, starting with Ignatius and the rest of the apostolic fathers, they incorporated Hellenism’s influence into Christianity to try to bridge that gap in their perception.
Because they had such a deep respect for and familiarity with Greco-Roman lifestyle, the apostolic church fathers (beginning with St. Ignatius of Antioch) compromised the original faith by adopting sun worship practices into the faith and passed it down to the next-gen “church fathers” who knew no better.
And the next-gen “church fathers” taught it to their pupils who accepted the teaching without giving it a second thought and they passed it to their spiritual offspring, etc., etc.
This pack of lies was eventually handed to us and, because Pastor So-and-so said it was absolute truth, we swallowed it, because we’ve been trained to esteem someone with a cemetery (seminary) degree.
These cursed adoptions were justified in the minds of the original, “apostolic” church fathers because they willingly, and in many cases vehemently, forsook the commands of the Father not to adopt the practices of the Gentiles and clung to select verses out of the New Testament that (out of context) supported their Hellenistic worldview.
Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.”
As you read through this series, you will find that the very practices that YHWH warned His children about – those of the Canaanites, Babylonians, and Egyptians – were the very practices that the church fathers incorporated into the faith later on.
And this was the goal of the serpent (Python) all along – to have all the nations worship him and adopt his ways over the Father’s ways – all by implanting a little question in their minds.
“Did Yah really say . . . ??”
The church fathers swallowed it . . . and so did most of you. I sure did!
All because we were following our human nature.
The Definition of Sin Does Not Change
But, for all of our training . . . all of our blind following, there are some things that absolutely will not change.
Like it or not, the birth/death/resurrection of Yeshua did not all-of-a-sudden make these Canaanite practices “sanctified” in the eyes of the Father.
“Sin” before Yeshua is the exact same “sin” after Yeshua. The failure to recognize this concept would prove to be disastrous for the Christian faith and would be a “snare” to the church from that time forward.
 Goldstein, P. and Evans, H. (2012). A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism. Brookline, MA: Facing History & Ourselves, p.25.
 Sacred-texts.com. (2018). The Lost Books of the Bible: The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. [online] Available at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/lbob/lbob15.htm.
 Prca.org. (2018). Polycarp. [online] Available at: http://www.prca.org/books/portraits/polycarp.htm.
 Earlychristianwritings.com. (2018). St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians (Lightfoot translation). [online] Available at: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-philadelphians-lightfoot.html.
 Earlychristianwritings.com. (2018). St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians (Roberts-Donaldson translation). [online] Available at: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-magnesians-longer.html.