The British Church - From Rome or Jerusalem?

Closely related to the controversy over the Petrine claims of Rome, is the equally spurious notion that Britain received the Christian Faith directly from the Pope, by the sending of the monk Augustine to convert King Ethelbert and the people of Kent. Every British school child has without doubt heard the story of how Gregory, as a young priest, saw some fair-haired, blue-eyed Saxons being sold in the Roman slave-market, and on asking their nationality was told they were Angles. "Not angles but angels," replied the future Pope, and on becoming Bishop of Rome, he promptly sent Augustine to evangelise the heathen people of our island home.

Whilst there may be some truth to the story, the fact is that the British Isles had been reached with the pure Apostolic Gospel within a decade of Calvary; and there was a thriving Culdee or Celtic Church in full operation, sending missionaries to continental Europe, but not acknowledging the authority of the Pope, the supposed successor of Peter. Augustine did not come to a pagan, unevangelised land but was met by an existing British Church who told him:-

"As for any obedience, we know of none that he whom you term Pope or Bishop of Bishops can demand."

It was not until the fatal Synod of Whitby in 664 A.D. that King Oswy of Northumbria decided in favour of the Church of Rome, and the existing British Church was compelled to submit to the Pope. Even then remnants of the Culdee, Celtic Church existed in parts of Scotland and it was on account of such a continued existence that the Pope gave Ireland into the overlordship of the English King Henry II, in order that he might bring its ancient Church and people into subjection to the Papacy. Evidence of the fact that the early British Church was of Apostolic origin, having its roots in Jerusalem, not Rome, is submitted as follows:

1) TERTULLIAN (155-222 A.D.) wrote:

"The extremities of Spain, the various parts of Gaul, the regions of Britain which have never been penetrated by Roman arms have received the religion of Christ." (Tertullian Def. Fidei, page 179)

2) EUSEBIUS (260-340 A.D.) - the great Church historian wrote:

"The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the Isles called the Britannic Isles." (De Demonstratione Evangelii)

3) DOROTHEUS BISHOP OF TYRE writes in 303 A.D.:

"Aristobulus whom Paul saluted, writing to the Romans (Romans 16:10), was Bishop of Britain." (Synopsis De Apostol)

Furthermore he claims:

"Simon Zealotes preached Christ through all Mauretania, and Afric the Less. At length he was crucified at Britannia, slain and buried." (Synopsis De Apostol)


"Though thou shouldest go to the ocean to the British Isles, there thou shouldest hear all men everywhere discoursing matters out of the Scriptures with another voice but not another faith." (Chrysostom Orat O Theos Xristos).

5) GILDAS (425-512 A.D.) an early British historian wrote:

"Christ the True Sun, afforded His light, the knowledge of His precepts to our island in the last year as we know of Tiberius Caesar (37 A.D.)." (De Excidio Britanniae, Sect. 8, p.25)

6) WILLIAM OF MALMESBURY (1080-1143 A.D.) - maintained in his De Antiquitate Glastonie, that Joseph of Arimathea brought the pure Apostolic Gospel to Glastonbury not long after the Resurrection of our Lord.

7) POLYDORE VIRGIL (1470-1555 A.D.), a learned Italian historian records:

"Britain partly through Joseph of Arimathea... was of all kingdoms the first that received the Gospel."

8) ARCHBISHOP USSHER (1581-1656 A.D.) states that:

"The mother church of the British Isles is the Church in Insula Avalonia called by the Saxons Glaston."

Even our enemies have had to publicly admit the truth so much so that the Roman Church Councils of Pisa (1409 A.D.), Constance (1417 A.D.), Sienna (1424 A.D.) and Basle (1434 A.D.) all admitted that:

"The Churches of France and Spain must yield in points of antiquity and precedence to that of Britain, as the latter Church was founded by Joseph of Arimathea immediately after the passion of Christ."

In fact, even a Jesuit priest, Robert Parsons, states in his book 'Three Conversions of Britain':

"Christian religion began in Britain within fifty years of Christ's Ascension."

This self-same British Church provided martyrs like Alban and missionaries like Patrick, Aidan and Columba. It knew nothing of Romish dogma and superstition, neither did it acknowledge the pretended Primacy of Peter in the person of the Pope. With the coming of the glorious Reformation the return back to primitive New Testament Christianity began, and Article XXXVII of the 39 Articles of the National Church of England, Protestant and Reformed, by law established rightly, declare that:-

"The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm."

Or, as the average Protestant might more basically state it:


Source: "Wake Up!" magazine