A biblical church is led by qualified elders. Matthew 16. c. When 1,019 chapters have been read, the word “church” has not been established. The action of the verse is building the church and the one that performs the action of building is Jesus Christ. He taught them and gave them priesthood authority to teach in His name and to perform sacred ordinances, such as baptism. It was taken for granted. The Gnostic organization of schools and mysteries was not able to contend with the episcopal organization of the Churches”. We have described it in these pages. The main point we have to discuss, then, is not whether the Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Anglican or, Roman Catholic Church is the one Christ founded, but whether he did, in fact, found any organized church. If Protestants do not believe that Jesus Christ founded one of the denominations, what do they believe? In each place bishops and priests were necessary. That it was a society bound together by authority is absolutely clear from all the records of the Church from those times. The notion that all religions are equally good, be they pagan or Christian, is quite wrong, for, seeing that some of them were being practiced already, why did God become man, establish a new religion and tell his apostles to convert all men to it? It is no answer to say that each denomination stresses different.aspects of that religion. . A society is a number of people who work together under the same authority using the same means towards the same objective. In a nutshell, the final answer is what you say to the question, Where on earth is Peter. (20-22) In these verses there is a sudden change from a political to a physical metaphor, possibly suggested by the word "household." Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Thus Dioscorus was denied a vote at Chalcedon. The church that I am under-shepherd of is not my church, the church is not the elder’s church or even the members of the congregation, but this is Jesus Christ’schurch. Similarly, all should respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, just as they respect the bishop as representing the Father and the priests as the council of God and the college of the apostles. Here is what the highest authority in the Catholic Church has written: “Those who are hampered by invincible ignorance about our holy religion, and live honorably and uprightly, keeping the natural law with its commands (which are written in every human heart by God), being ready to obey God, can attain eternal life with the help of the power of divine light and grace. The churches of Christ salute you. 2b. The Catholic Church -33 AD.Founded by God in the person of Jesus Christ. Much information about the organization of the Church in the early centuries is to be gleaned from contemporary writings. The word church first appears in Matthew 16 when Jesus tells Peter, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (verse 18). After His death and Resurrection, He continued to guide the Apostles through revelation. Roman Catholicism The simple answer is that Jesus Christ founded the church which began at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and continued in the lives of those who truly belonged to Him and put their faith in Him, no matter what their relationship was to any particular leaders in the visible church structure. It is expressed in sayings such as: “I am not qualified to settle the differences between the churches or to judge the claims of any one of them”; “There may be something in it but I prefer to stay as I am”; “I am afraid I might be converted and so have to change my life” or “I am too busy to bother about religion.” God alone knows and can judge the consciences of those who subscribe to statements like these; but they seem to express an attitude to God’s revelation which is highly suspect. The authority was the apostles’ under the leadership of Peter, and their successors. Peter responds by declaring, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Anathema to him who believes otherwise! Others may say they have no time for organized religion and that it is how you live that counts. only fulfilled this direction and pronounced the canonical and apostolic condemnation of Nestorius.”, The acclamations of the bishops assembled at Chalcedon are well known. Anyone, therefore, who fails to assemble with the others has already displayed his pride and separated himself…Let us be careful not to oppose the bishop so that we may obey God.”, To the latter he wrote, “Shun schisms as the source of troubles. John 14:3. At the first session of the Council the papal legate, Paschasinus, declared, “We have a commission from the most holy and most apostolic Bishop of Rome, who is head of all Churches, to see that Dioscorus shall have no seat in the Council, and if he shall venture upon this, that he be expelled.” Dioscorus was the Bishop of Alexandria to whom the Pope objected because he tried to hold a general council “without the consent of the Apostolic See, which had never been done before, and was never to be done.” No bishop questioned the fact that the Pope was the head of all the churches. That same authority is in the world today vested in the Catholic bishops who are the successors of Peter. The Bible records many ways in which He continued to direct His Church (see Acts 10; Revelation 1:1). He then instructed His disciples. One can be a perfectly good citizen without belonging to the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Rotarians, or the Buffaloes. This same Church must also have a leader of this apostolic body in the person of the successor of St. Peter, bed-rock on which Jesus has built His Church” (ibid., p. 52). The denominations themselves are not the Holy Catholic Church of the Creed; they are to that church what clubs are to a city. Ignatius wrote his letters about a century earlier. According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:16; 1 … In his History of Dogma, Harnack, a Protestant, writes: “There can be no doubt that the Gnostic propaganda [of the second century] was seriously injured by that inability to organize and govern churches which is characteristic of all philosophical systems of religion. And I tell you, you are Peter (v.18a) The Twelve Apostles (). He told them what they were to aim at and how they were to do it, with his help. The “rock” here is the statement Peter had made, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 16). Jesus taught His followers that revelation from God was the rock on which He would build His Church. Non-Catholics usually contend that all Christians belong to Christ’s holy Catholic Church, whether they are members of a denomination or not. Now I can provide you with verses that tell us that Jesus founded a Church (Mt 16:18). Therefore, the Church came first, then Bibles. The general Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 excommunicated the followers of Arius. Possibly it has been quoted more than any other work of the period as evidence of belief in the supremacy of the pope. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you (v.17a) Here is a quotation from what he wrote to the Trallians: “You must continue to do nothing apart from the bishop. The first mention of the word church in the entire Bible is in Matthew 16. He does not believe that his denomination is the Holy Catholic Church. In fact, we can tell you the names of those who were appointed bishops in the [various] churches by the apostles and trace their successors to our own times…And because the apostles were committing the government of the Church into their hands, they wanted these men, who were to take their places, to be perfect and blameless in every way.”, Elsewhere he wrote, “One should obey the presbyters who are the successors of the apostles….We should follow those who preserve the doctrine of the apostles and who are qualified, with the order of the priesthood, to instruct and correct others privately and publicly.”. The metaphor itself, of the Church as "a building of God"--frequently used in the New Testament--reaches its full perfection in this passage. The canons of the councils prove that the bishops had supreme authority in their own cities. Nor is it true that all Christian religions are as good as one another. Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. . I can provide you with verses that show that Jesus delegated Peter as the Prime Minister among Ministers (Is 22:19-24, Mt 16:18-19). The short cut to the true following of Christ is to find out what kind of Church his is. The Church Jesus established was known by its most common title, "the Catholic Church," at least as early as the year 107, when Ignatius of Antioch used that title to describe the one Church Jesus founded. : “No denomination claims that Christ is the head of its denomination! He said in his Sermon on the Mount, “He that shall break one of these least commandments and shall so teach men shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. The title apparently was old in Ignatius’s time, which means it probably went all the way back to the time of the apostles. There are simpler definitions, but in my opinion, they either are not comprehensive enough or they miss the mark in other ways. Apart from these there in nothing that can be called a church.”, The same lesson is repeated to the Ephesians and to the Smyrnaeans. Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life. We all believe thus, the orthodox believe thus! It hardly needs to be pointed out that in the year 107 this great martyr took it for granted that the Catholic Church existed as an organized society in all the towns through which he passed. Isaiah 28:16. The purpose of any Christian religion must be to teach the full, unaltered religion of Jesus Christ. There seems to be little point in giving here a list of quotations from the Fathers, emphasizing the point that it was essentially and by Christ’s will a visible organized society, because the fact is so very evident. b. We have seen it at every stage of the Church’s history–in the councils, in the Fathers, in the Acts and the epistles, in the Gospels, where it was conferred by Christ himself. Our Lord named Peter the future leader of His Church, when He said to him "Thou art Peter (Rock), and upon this rock I will build MY Church. Its supreme ruler was known to be the pope. In proof of this we quote from the declaration of the Archbishop of Caesarea, Firmus, one of the leading bishops at the Council: “The former letter of the Apostolic See [the Pope] to Cyril [Archbishop of Alexandria] had already contained the sentence and direction respecting the Nestorian question, and they [the assembled bishops] had . It may claim that it has ‘the truth,’ that it is ‘the New Testament Church,’ that its creed is the true statement of the Christian faith, and that its practices and mode of organization conform strictly to the ‘pattern’ of the primitive church; but no denomination, or only a negligible few, has ever pretended that Christ is the head of its denomination. Once the pope approved those decisions they were binding on Catholics everywhere. An even clearer instance of proof that the bishops were present at a general council merely to confirm the decisions of the pope is the instruction of Pope Celestine to the Council of Ephesus: “The legates [of the Pope] are to be present at the transactions of the synod and will give effect to what the Pope has decided long ago about Nestorius, for he has no doubt that the assembled bishops will agree with this.” No bishop questioned the pope’s right to direct the Council. They think of his church as a number of souls–how many God alone knows–who believe in Christ’s Kingdom and his message but do not necessarily belong to an organized body of his followers. The pope was the supreme authority. The vital thing is to live in the city; it may or may not be useful to join a club. One of the canons of the Council of Ephesus, for example, reads like this: “Similarly concerning all those who shall attempt to undo in any way any decision of this holy council of Ephesus, the holy council decides that if they be bishops or clerics, they are to be expelled from their ranks [deposed]; if laity, excommunicated.” All such decrees prove beyond doubt that the early Church was a well-organized society, strongly knit together by obedience to one authority. When Jesus established His Church, He received instructions from Heavenly Father. The Church founded by Jesus must have the apostolic group of Bishops who are the successors of the Apostles themselves. Reverence the deacons as you would God’s command. Ignorance is only blameworthy when it is culpable. I can provide you with verses that say it was built on the apostles with Jesus as the cornerstone (Eph 2:20). That Christ established a visible organized Church is a truth clearly set forth in the New Testament, completely vindicated by the Church’s history and absolutely reasonable. The founders of Protestantism, Martin Luther and John Calvin, taught that Christ’s Church consists of all those whom God has predestined to heaven. Our present purpose is simply to show what a highly organized society the Catholic Church was at the end of the second century. In this passage, Jesus brings His disciples outside Jerusalem and asks them who they think He is (v. 15). Under him were bishops, abbots, and priests. Obey priests as apostles of Jesus Christ. When, therefore, a Protestant says in the Apostles’ Creed that he believes in the Holy Catholic Church, he may mean that he believes in following Christ in the great unorganized body of Christians, in acquiring Christ’s outlook and living up to his moral teaching in a way his private judgment dictates. You see, when I was growing up, in my little town whenever it rained for any length of time the city flooded. This authority is called the priesthood. What shall we say of those who, through culpable ignorance, intellectual indolence, or moral cowardice, reject the Church God came to earth to found? The bishops themselves, of course, had to obey the rulings of the Church. Members of the universal church should seek fellowship and edification in a local church. The records of these and other Councils are facts of history which prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the Church of those days was regarded by all as a visible, organized society, a group of men, with the same objective, using the same means to attain it under the direction of an authority they all recognized. Wherever the bishop appears, there should the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”. Any church founded by someone other than Christ is not … Years passed and that simple society grew; its organization became more complex, but we can trace its history through the centuries. Unless there are clear indications to the contrary, Catholics regard their separated brethren as being sincere people in good faith. Nine out of ten of the people who reject the Catholic Church do so not because they believe that Christ established some other church, but because they believe he established no organized church at all. A person had to obey his bishop if he wished to remain in the Church; disobedience meant expulsion. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that … The Christian church in Jerusalem was the center of the Christian faith. Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona (v.15) It was there that the apostles were first located. In Titus 1:5–9, Paul said to Titus: “This is why I left you in … We cannot be true followers of Christ unless we accept his Church. The former had been a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of John the apostle. The church was founded upon th… They told us that we were in danger. The church had elders with James, Jesus’ brother, being the lead elder of the church (Acts 15:3-23). It certainly did not change overnight. We see in this passage that God has an eternal plan. 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