The amount of damage done to Christian teaching by the pagan emperors of Rome is hard to imagine, but the reformation gives an idea of how bad. Christianity has become so fragmented with various amounts of original teachings and dogma in each of the sects which emerged from the reformation. Obviously, they all cannot be correct, so the reformation must continue with the help of the Teachers promised by Jesus. The story of its fragmentation is in my trilogy Torn Between Two Worlds.
A study of Origen will quickly show you how modern Christianity has become so confused, because people fail to recognize the three layers of meaning in scripture. Specifically, the spiritual meaning is lost in a material world and sometimes the moral meaning too. Let’s look at some examples of this difficulty. Jesus spent three days in Cana at the wedding where He performed His first miracle. After this, John says He went down to Capernaum, but Capernaum’s elevation is much higher than that of Cana. In addition, John says he did not stay long. Compare this to the time when He must go to Samaria and does not even enter the city. He stays by the well and talks to those who come out of the city.
Origen taught about the deeper spiritual meaning in John’s work. Whenever Jesus spent more time with people meant that He was closer to them spiritually. The people in Cana were family and they understood the deeper meaning of His teachings, it was complete, thus three days. Three comes up several times in John and it is a number defining completeness. Shorter periods of time thus signify further from Jesus. Samaria was a pagan city, so His teaching did not penetrate the city. People had to escape the city to receive Jesus. Altitude has a different meaning for John than purely material one. In going down to Capernaum, Jesus had to step down to them spiritually and they could not comprehend His teaching. The same problem still exits.