Holdeman begins to veer off into a great deal of unprofitable rambling as he tries to prove his lineage. It is very important to his purposes, in fact necessary, for him to prove some sort of unbroken succession. Rather than trying to dispute his version of this unbroken lineage, let us rather look at the futility of trying to prove a lineage. First of all, in trying to prove a lineage, one can only guess, at best. When we consider the fact of thousands of years and billions of people, for one obsessed man to prove a thread of unbroken lineage in order to support his claims of being right is a rather ludicrous venture.
There is no way to prove or validate the information that exists at to the true nature of the groups that he claims as his spiritual forefathers. Much of the information which exists about them was written by their enemies, and the remainder was written by them. Very little unbiased historical information exists today from which we can realistically draw conclusions. However, the Albigenses are often mentioned as having been in the lineage. They were also part of the sect known as the Cathars.
The Cathars flourished in France in medieval times and were very strange indeed. There were many points in which they opposed the Catholic Church, which brought severe persecution upon them during the time of the Inquisition. Menno asserts that, as there must be one unbroken chain of lineage, all of these different sects, whose attributes he wants to claim, were mingled in with the Albigenses. It is a fact that just because a sect opposed the Catholic Church in some, or many, points, that does not mean they were pure in all points. Sometimes it seems that Holdeman used as his only criteria the fact that a sect opposed the Catholic Church. The Cathars, for example, opposed much about the Church of Rome, but they also had many other strange practices. As a convert moved into more intimate contact with them, it was revealed that they were against marriage, and they required some sort of deathbed ritual at which a highly advanced member of the sect must officiate. They were extremely oppressive and controlling. The Paulicians, the Bogomils, the Novations, were all tied together in various ways and all of them were seriously flawed in their doctrine and practice.
If Holdeman wants to add these names in any way to his lineage then he must accept that heretical views and practices are also part of the picture. However, as egotistical and deluded sect leaders are prone to do, he will grasp at any straw to make himself seem important. If one reads his work carefully, it cannot be denied that he sees himself as the highest spiritual authority on earth, spearheading a movement which he truly believes is the only surviving remnant of truth on the planet. This brings us once again to the important point that trying to prove a lineage is pure folly. Either it has to be pure and undefiled, and completely traceable and document-able, or it is futile. Once he establishes the necessity and the importance of the lineage, then he has also established that it must be perfect and unbroken in order to be valid. This simply cannot be done. Therefore, the entire business of claiming a lineage is ridiculous. Unless it can be proven in its perfection beyond a shadow of a doubt, then the entire idea must be discarded. Furthermore, the Bible teaches no such necessity, in fact, it teaches the opposite. We will examine the scriptures that tell us what a true church is in the next post.