Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XXX

 Was Patrick a Roman Catholic Saint?  

 First, we conclude last week’s focus on the ecumenical bandwagon picking up speed and “passengers” with the Papacy behind the wheel and the once-Protestant churches being the car, with this: only one Protestant denomination, considered the fastest-growing church in America, as of 2011, has been conspicuously absent in the official listing of the World Council of Church’s membership and all the flurry of the reunification activities since the Vatican II—the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. They are on an observer-status, not a voting member of the WCC. See Official Statements/Documents of the SDA Church on the Ecumenical Movement.

According to G. Jeffrey MacDonald : “Adventists’ back-to-basics faith is fastest growing U.S. church.’ He wrote: “Newly released data shows Seventh-day Adventism growing by 2.5% in North America, a rapid clip for this part of the world, where Southern Baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups are declining. Adventists are even growing 75% faster than Mormons (1.4 percent), who prioritize numeric growth.”- Religion News Service of U.S.A. Today, updated 3/17/2011.

 This silent but steady growth of Adventism became more publicly prominent, albeit through the political medium during this current raucous presidential cycle with the sudden emergence of retired neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson, surging early in the polls as potential candidate for the GOP—a first in the history of Adventism. However, Carson dropped out of his unlikely and unusual campaign, saying he saw “no political path forward.”

He got there not by wanting to be president but by being pushed into the race after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. He endorsed Donald Trump as he bowed out of the race. This should make more than just interesting discussion among Adventists in the light of specific statements made by Ellen G. White 130 years ago:  “Now we seem to be unnoticed, but this will not always be. Movements are at work to bring us to the front, and if our theories of truth can be picked to pieces by historians or the world’s greatest men, it will be done.”- Letter 6, 1886/Evangelism, p. 69.

Who was Patrick and how did he become a Saint? The chapter “Celtic Sabbath-Keepers,” Facts of Faith by Christian Edwardson, (Revised), Southern Publishing Asso., Nashville, TN,. 1943, pp. 134-146 records the following which should straighten the record and sweep away the cobwebs of misconceptions surrounding Patrick: (Compare with Wikipedia article on Saint Patrick). Patrick was never canonized as a Catholic saint!

    “We know from several sources that Christianity entered the British Isles in apostolic times. (see Colossians 1: 23.) Rev. Richard Hart, B.A., Vicar of Catton, says: ‘That the light of Christianity dawned upon these islands in the course of the first century [the Ephesus stage of the church, Rev. 2: 1-11], is a matter of ecclesiastical certainty .’–‘Ecclesiastical Records,’ p. vii. Cambridge: 1846.

Tertullian, about 200 A.D. [C.E.], included the Britons among the many nations which believed in Christ, and he speaks of places among ‘the Britons—inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ.’—‘Answer to the Hews,’ chp. vii. Dr. Ephraim Pagit, in his ‘Christianography,’ printed in London, 1640, gives and interesting account of the early Christians in these islands.  Before the church in the British Isles was forced under the papal yoke, it was noted for its institutions of learning. The Rev. Mr. hart says:

     ‘That learning and piety flourished in these islands during the period of their independence is capable of the most satisfactory proof, and Ireland in particular was so universally celebrated, that students flocked thither from all parts of the world.’–‘Ecclesiastical Records,’ p. viii.

”THE COMING OF PATRICK. Patrick, a son of a Christian family in Southern Scotland, was carried off to Ireland by pirates about 376 A.D. Here, in slavery, he gave his heart to God and, after six years of servitude, escaped, returning to his home in Scotland. But he could not forget the spiritual need of these poor heathen, and after ten years he returned to Ireland as a missionary of the Celtic Church. ‘He had now reached his thirteenth year [390 A.D.]–‘The Ancient British and Irish Churches,’ William Cathcart, D.D., p. 70.

     “Dr. E. Pagit says that ‘Saint Patricke had in his day founded 365 churches.’–‘Christianography,’ Part 2, p. 10.

     “Dr. August Neander says of Patrick: ‘The place of his birth was Bonnaven, which lay between the Scottish towns in Dumbarton and Glasgow, and was then reckoned to the province of Britain. This village, in memory of Patricius, received the name of Kil-Patrick or Kirk-Patrick. His father, a deacon in the village church, gave him a careful education.’ –‘General History of the Christian Religion and Church,’ Vol. II, p. 122. Boston: 1855.

     “Patrick himself writes in his ‘Confession’: ‘I, Patrick, . . .  had Calpornius for my father, a deacon, a son of the late Potius, the presbyter . . . I was captured. I was almost sixteen years of age . . . and taken to Ireland in captivity with many thousand men.’ –‘The Ancient British and Irish Churches,’ William Cathcart, D.D., p. 127.

     “PATRICK NOT A CATHOLIC. – To those who have heard of Patrick only as a Catholic saint, it may be a surprise to learn that he was not a Roman Catholic at all, but he was a member of the original Celtic church. There is no more historic evidence for Patrick’s being a Roman Catholic saint, than for Peter’s being the first pope.

Catholics claim that Pope Celestine commissioned Patrick as a Roman Catholic missionary to Ireland; but William Cathcart, D.D., says:  ‘There is strong evidence that Patrick had no Roman commission in Ireland.’  ‘As Patrick’s churches in Ireland, like their brethren in Britain, repudiated the supremacy of the popes, all knowledge of the conversion of Ireland through his ministry must be suppressed [by Rome, at all cost.].’—Id., p. 85.

     “The popes who live contemporary with Patrick never mentioned him. ‘There is not a written word from one of them rejoicing over Patrick’s additions to their church, showing clearly that he was not a Roman missionary . . . .So completely buried was Patrick and his work by popes and other Roman Catholics, that in their epistles and larger publications, his name does not once occur in one of them until A.D. 634.’ – Id., p. 83.

     “Prosper does not notice Patrick . . . . He says nothing of the greatest success ever given to a missionary of Christ, apparently because he was not a Romanist.’ – Id., p. 84.

     “Bede never speaks of St. Patrick in his celebrated ‘Ecclesiastical History.’—Id., p. 85.

     “But, writing of the year 431, Bede says of a Catholic missionary: ‘Palladius was sent by Celestinus, the Roman pontiff, to the Scots [Irish] that believed in Christ.’–‘Ecclesiastical History,’ p. 22. London: 1894.

     “But this papal emissary was not received any more favorably by the church in Ireland, than was Augustine later received by the Celtic church in Scotland, for ‘he left because he did not receive respect in Ireland.’ – ‘The Ancient British and Irish Churches,’ William Cathcart, D.D., p. 72.

     “No Roman catholic church would have dared to ignore a bishop sent to them by the pope. This proves that the churches in the British Isles did not recognize the pope.

     “Dr. Todd says: ‘The ‘Confession’ of St. Patrick contains not a word of a mission from Pope Celestine. One object of the writer was to defend himself from the charge ofpresumption in having undertaken such a work as the conversion of the Irish, rude and unlearned as he was. Had he received a regular commission from the see of Rome, that fact alone would be an unanswerable reply. But he makes no mention of Pope Celestine, and rests his defense altogether on the divine call which he believed himself to have received for his work.’ – Id., pp. 81, 82.

   “Muirchu wrote more than two hundred years after Patrick’s death. His declaration is positive that he did not go to Rome.’ – Id., p. 88.


     “(1) Early Catholic historians and popes avoided mentioning Patrick or his work; until later legendary histories represented him as a Catholic saint (‘These legendary histories of St. Patrick, written during the Dark Ages, are so full of childish superstitions and fabricated miracles, that they have to be rejected as actual history.’ In the original as an asterisked footnote).

     “(2) When papal missionaries arrived in Britain, 596 A.D., the leaders of the original Celtic church refused to accept their doctrines, or to acknowledge the papal authority, and would not dine with them (Compare 1 Corinthians 5: 11; 2 John 8-11.) They ‘acted towards the Roman party exactly ‘as if they had been pagans.’ ‘”—‘Ecclesiastical Records,’ by Richard Hart, pp. viii, xiv.

     “(3) The doctrines of the Celtic church of Patrick’s day differed so widely from those of the Roman church, that the latter could not have accepted it as ‘Catholic.’ Patrick must have been a Sabbath-keeper, because the churches he established in Ireland, as well as the mother church in Scotland and England, followed the apostolic practice of keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, and of working on Sunday, as we soon shall see. But this was considered a deadly heresy by the Papacy.

“COLUMBA. – Another leader in the Celtic church deserves to be mentioned: Columba, who was born in Ireland, A.D. 521. Animated by the zeal and missionary spirit he found in the schools established by Patrick, Columba continued the work of his predecessor, and selecting twelve fellow workers, he established a missionary center on the island of  Iona. This early Celtic church sent its missionaries not only among the heathen Picts of their own country, but also into the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy.

This Sabbath-keeping church (as did their Waldensian brethren) kept the torch of truth burning during the long, dark night of papal supremacy, till finally they were conquered by Rome in the twelfth century. Professor Andrew Lang says of them: ‘They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner.’ – ‘A History of Scotland from the Roman Occupation,’ Vol. I, p. 96. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1900.

     “Dr. A. Butler says of Columba: ‘Having continued his labors in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June, said to his disciple Diermit: ‘This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the rest day, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labors.’ ‘— ‘Butler’s Lives of the Saints,’ Vol. I, A.D., 597, art. ‘St. Columba,’ p. 762. New York: P. F. Collier.

   “In a footnote to Blair’s translation of the Catholic historian, Bellesheim, we read: ‘We seem to see here an allusion to the custom, observed in the early monastic Church of Ireland, of keeping the day of rest on Saturday, or the Sabbath.’ – ‘History of the Catholic Church in Scotland,’ Vol. I, p. 86.

     “Professor James C. Moffat, D.D., Professor of Church History at Princeton, says: ‘It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week.’ – ‘The Church in Scotland,’ p. 140. Philadelphia: 1882.

     “But the church of Rome could never allow the light of pure apostolic Christianity to shine anywhere, for that would reveal her own religion to be apostasy. Pope Gregory I, in 596, sent the imperious monk Augustine, with forty other monks, to Britain. Dr. A. Ebrard says of this ‘mission”: ‘Gregory well knew that there existed in the British Isles, yes, in a part of the Roman dominion, a Christian church, and that his Roman messengers would come in contact with them.

By sending these messengers, he was not only intent upon the conversion of the heathen, but from the very beginning he was also bent upon bringing this Irish-Scotch church, which had hitherto been free from Rome, in subjection to the papal chair.’ – ‘Bonifacius,’ p. 16. Guetersloh, 1882. (Quoted in Andrews’ ‘History of the Sabbath,’ fourth edition, revised and enlarged, p. 532).

     “Through political influence, and with magnificent display, the Saxon king, Ethelbert of Kent, consented to receive the pope’s missionaries, and ‘Augustine baptized ten thousand pagans in one day’ by driving them in mass into the water. The, relying on the support of the pope and the sword of the Saxons, Augustine summoned the leaders of the ancient Celtic church, and demanded of them: ‘Acknowledge the authority of the Bishop of Rome.’ These are the first words of the Papacy to the ancient Christians of Britain.’  They meekly replied: ‘’’The only submission we can render him is that which we owe to every Christian.’”—‘History of the Reformation,’ D’Aubigne, Book XVII, chap. 2.

(To be continued next week)