Recently someone posted this comment:
[T]he church has existed somewhere in the world continously [sic] since it's founding, and has kept the sabbath and holy days (among the other doctrines) the whole time.
Oh really? Says who?
This was the position of Dugger and Dodd (and later Herman Hoeh), taking a leaf from Ellen G. White's writings. It's a dogma maintained by any number of splinter sects today. For want of a better term, we could call it "remnant" history (as opposed to "restoration" history promoted by Mormons and some others.)
If you buy into the restoration package, you'll be convinced that the "true church" actually died out, swallowed up by Orthodoxy and Catholicism. The Reformation amounted to little more than shuffling deck chairs. Poor old God had no choice but to perform a complete "reboot" using Joseph Smith, or someone else.
More familiar to us is the remnant package, standard issue in Adventist churches. It maintains that the true church went underground, but survived despite persecution, eventually resurfacing in whichever sect you happen to belong to. Keen believers then go back to dredge the history books to see who might have been the genuine article in past ages, resulting in many a fanciful romp. Dugger and Dodd were convinced, for example, that "Saint Patrick" was a Sabbath-keeper!
Following on from this same remnant fiction the United Church of God proudly proclaims on its website: "We trace our origins to the Church that Jesus founded in the early first century. We follow the same teachings, doctrines and practices established then."
Actually, we can have a pretty good idea about what did happen to the earliest Christian faith; the movement that was "headquartered" in Jerusalem, looked to James for leadership, and indeed did keep the sabbaths. In a follow-up post I'll make a radical suggestion - but one which is widely accepted by competent historians. But for the present, consider this.
The Churches of God without exception use the 66-book Protestant canon of scripture. Why? The ancient Jerusalem-based church certainly didn't. This distinguishing mark, if nothing else, should alert us to the fact that our heritage is lot more recent than the inflated age it claims; any resemblance is superficial and misleading. The Churches of God have absolutely no linear relationship to so-called "apostolic christianity."
We were'nt buying a Rolex, just a Mumbai sweat-shop rip-off.
So where did the "original" church end up? Remember how Hoeh and his imitators talked about the flight to Pella just before the destruction of Jerusalem? That's a good starting point, but what happened then? More on this in a later posting.