To-day only the Catholic Church claims, and is able to prove her claim, to be that society. The bishops themselves, of course, had to obey the rulings of the Church. After the reading of the Nicene Creeds they proclaimed: “That is the orthodox faith, that we all believe; into that we were baptized; into that we also baptize; thus Cyril taught; thus Pope Leo believes.”, Similarly, when another of Pope Leo’s letters was read the bishops declared: “That is the faith of the Fathers, that is the faith of the apostles! . The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “Jesus Christ Established His Church,” The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2005), “Jesus Christ Established His Church,” The Restoration. He gave them His authority to teach and baptize. Peter responds by declaring, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). In the world today only one Church, the Catholic Church, with its center in Rome, fills the bill. In summary, the church is not a building or a denomination. Back to Matt 16:18, Scripture says that Jesus Christ established one Church. God’s Church is human as well as divine; Christ told us in advance that scandals would come. Its supreme ruler was known to be the pope. To the former Ignatius wrote, “If the prayer of one or two men is so powerful, how much more so is that of the bishop and that of the whole Church. Some churches are ruled out of court immediately because the contradictions are to be found within themselves. The denominations themselves are not the Holy Catholic Church of the Creed; they are to that church what clubs are to a city. Follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father and the priests as you would the apostles. Acts 18:22 | View whole chapter | See verse in context And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. We have described it in these pages. Such a claim would sound either ridiculous or blasphemous in the ear of any Protestant. Those who have faith in Him, repent, and keep His commandments receive forgiveness of sins and are filled with peace and joy. Romans 16:16 - Salute one another with an holy kiss. Acts 19:37 | View whole chapter | See verse in context The general Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 excommunicated the followers of Arius. 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. 3. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.." (Matthew 16:19). Furthermore, The Church told us which are the inspired books of the Bible (all 73 of them) at the Roman Council in 382 A.D. Christ, being God, could not teach contradictories as true. Apart from these there in nothing that can be called a church.”, The same lesson is repeated to the Ephesians and to the Smyrnaeans. From the beginning Christ’s Church was a highly organized society. The means to that were belief in Christ, reception of the sacraments he instituted and obedience to the authority he established. . 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? THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH (Matthew 16:18) The emphasis in verse 18 is not on Peter or even upon the rock, but upon the builder of the church. Jesus tells Peter that he received this revelation from God. 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. Bishops from all over the world attended them. . It is hard to answer those questions simply because Protestants differ so much in what they believe, especially about the Church. 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. It is through that Church that he lives on in the world today. Obey priests as apostles of Jesus Christ. We did not have our house right o… 5:19). Six hundred and thirty bishops were present at Chalcedon, most of them from the Eastern Empire. That same authority is in the world today vested in the Catholic bishops who are the successors of Peter. We cannot be true followers of Christ unless we accept his Church. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried … 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 fact remains that they do contradict one another in essentials. Its objective was to make all men holy and save their souls. 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.”. When Jesus established His Church, He received instructions from Heavenly Father. Isaiah 28:16. Nor is it true that all Christian religions are as good as one another. Possibly it has been quoted more than any other work of the period as evidence of belief in the supremacy of the pope. 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. A person had to obey his bishop if he wished to remain in the Church; disobedience meant expulsion. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you (v.17a) Ignatius wrote his letters about a century earlier. Under him were bishops, abbots, and priests. . 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 … The Catholic Church -33 AD.Founded by God in the person of Jesus Christ. (20-22) In these verses there is a sudden change from a political to a physical metaphor, possibly suggested by the word "household." The Christian church in Jerusalem was the center of the Christian faith. After His death and Resurrection, He continued to guide the Apostles through revelation. He chose Peter, who had denied him, to be the first pope in preference to John, the beloved, to emphasize that we must always distinguish between the man and the office or, in other words, between the constitution of the Church and the men who make up the Church. 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). So, even using just a few verses we can eliminate the Protestants. 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. The Bible records many ways in which He continued to direct His Church (see Acts 10; Revelation 1:1). The phrase “through the church” in vs. 10 shows that the church is to be God’s instrument in accomplishing His plan. 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. John 14:3. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said to Simon Peter, "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." 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 . Jesus Christ Established His Church. To the Christian communities of the places through which he passed he wrote seven letters. And the gates of hades... 3. And on this rock I will build my Church (v.18b) High Churchmen, Episcopalians, and the separated Eastern Churches admit that Christ set up a visible organized society, but the common Protestant view has been stated by Charles G. Morrison in a book called Can Protestantism Win America? d. That takes place in the 1020 th chapter . He established His Church, taught His gospel, and performed many miracles. Thus the Church of Jesus Christ was led by God and not by men. They contradict one another in three main and essential points—on what they believe, on how they worship, and on the authority they obey. Others may say they have no time for organized religion and that it is how you live that counts. There was no government of the Church without them. 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. You may hear some of them saying that one religion is as good as another, that they all stress different aspects of Christ’s teaching and that it is for each individual to choose the Church which suits him. Concerning the VERSES of the Bible . If Protestants do not believe that Jesus Christ founded one of the denominations, what do they believe? Protestants confess that Christ and his church transcend their sectarian contentions and the sectarian ‘churches’ that are maintained upon them. It will be of interest to mention just two of the Fathers of the Church, Irenaeus and Ignatius. He is the Head of the Church and the church is called the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 4:12, Ephesians 5:23). They ruled as representatives of our Lord. You see, when I was growing up, in my little town whenever it rained for any length of time the city flooded. THE CHURCH – “The Establishment of the Church 2 a. The plain, simple truth is that Jesus Christ founded on earth directly and personally an organized religious society which he called his Church. Once the pope approved those decisions they were binding on Catholics everywhere. 1. More recently Adolf Harnack, a leading member of the so-called critical school of Protestants, maintained that the important thing was the spirit of Christ, the spirit of love for God and men. “In every church, all who wish to know the truth may study the traditions of the apostles that is known all over the world. We cannot be true followers of Christ unless we accept his Church. They had me get up and along with my brothers we got dressed. The short cut to the true following of Christ is to find out what kind of Church his is. Wherever the bishop appears, there should the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”. The Lutheran church –1517 AD. The sheep of other sectarian folds belong to him no less than those of their own sectarian fold.”. As He had promised, Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth over 2,000 years ago. Too much time is spent in bandying texts and arguing about scandals in history. 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. Apart from the bishop nobody must perform any of the functions that belong to the Church. It was there that the apostles were first located. The Church founded by Jesus must have the apostolic group of Bishops who are the successors of the Apostles themselves. 1b. Anathema to him who believes otherwise! 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. The metaphor itself, of the Church as "a building of God"--frequently used in the New Testament--reaches its full perfection in this passage. Acts 2. It lies at the very heart of his revelation to men. Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona (v.15) Before the sixteenth century the Church was always regarded as a highly organized institution. A biblical church is led by qualified elders. In this passage, Jesus brings His disciples outside Jerusalem and asks them who they think He is (v. 15). What a contrast with, say, the Lambeth Conferences or the meetings of the World Council of the Churches, where representatives sit together under a chairman who has no jurisdiction over them. In a nutshell, the final answer is what you say to the question, Where on earth is Peter. Those who feel in their hearts what he felt make up his Kingdom or his Church. He had known them. Here is a quotation from what he wrote to the Trallians: “You must continue to do nothing apart from the bishop. Years passed and that simple society grew; its organization became more complex, but we can trace its history through the centuries. As He had promised, Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth over 2,000 years ago. The first mention of the word church in the entire Bible is in Matthew 16. The purpose of any Christian religion must be to teach the full, unaltered religion of Jesus Christ. Certainly few Protestants would believe that any church has God’s authority to teach men what they must believe or how they must live. Any church founded by someone other than Christ is not … The organization of its earliest years was preserved and developed. The title apparently was old in Ignatius’s time, which means it probably went all the way back to the time of the apostles. So it may well be that one church is as good as another. Peter has spoken by Leo.” Later, Paschasinus, the Pope’s legate, spoke of Leo as the archbishop of all the churches, whose letter showed “quite clearly what is the true faith.”. Through His suffering, death, and Resurrection, the Savior made it possible for us to be forgiven. Not only was it unheard of, it was definitely contrary to the belief and practice of all the leaders and members of the Church. 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. The former had been a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of John the apostle. When 944 chapters have been read, the word “church” has not been mentioned. 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. It is no answer to say that each denomination stresses different.aspects of that religion. Jesus founded a church, only one church, which operated without Bibles for 1500 years. only fulfilled this direction and pronounced the canonical and apostolic condemnation of Nestorius.”, The acclamations of the bishops assembled at Chalcedon are well known. Under the New Covenant, we are given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8–9). In each place bishops and priests were necessary. Many of them have a deep, personal love of Christ and regulate their lives according to the highest ideals. Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. : “No denomination claims that Christ is the head of its denomination! God clearly sees, searches out and knows the minds, hearts, thoughts and dispositions of everyone; in his great goodness and mercy he will on no account permit a man to be punished with eternal torments, who is not guilty of voluntary sin.” (Pope Pius XI). And I tell you, you are Peter (v.18a) History shows that all the Churches sprang from the Church which is frequently described as the Mother Church. 2a. We see in this passage that God has an eternal plan. Non-Catholics usually contend that all Christians belong to Christ’s holy Catholic Church, whether they are members of a denomination or not. THE CHURCH'S FOUNDER. He chose twelve men to be His Apostles, including Peter, James, and John. A man may never come into contact with the Catholic faith, or if he does it may be in such a way that it makes no real impact on him. Jesus Christ said that He would build His church and that the gates of hell, or death, would not prevail against it and so we know the church can not be stopped from existing (Matthew 16:18). The members were those who believed and were baptized. He taught them and gave them priesthood authority to teach in His name and to perform sacred ordinances, such as baptism. 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. Such a thing would have been impossible if all that was necessary to be a member of the Church was belief in Christ and willingness to follow him. Now I can provide you with verses that tell us that Jesus founded a Church (Mt 16:18). He was martyred at Lyons in the year 202. He was on his way from Antioch, where he was bishop, to Rome where he was to be martyred in the year 107. Acts 20:28 - Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost … 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. 2b. The canons of the councils prove that the bishops had supreme authority in their own cities. Our present purpose is simply to show what a highly organized society the Catholic Church was at the end of the second century. 1a. The churches of Christ salute you. Of the others, if one of, let us say, 250 Christian denominations is teaching just what Christ taught, worshiping in his way and recognizing the authority he established, all the others must be wrong, for all of them disagree in at least one of these three vital matters. The Protestants make a liar out of Jesus Christ. The “rock” here is the statement Peter had made, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 16). Ignatius was the immediate successor of the apostles. The idea that the denominations are to Christ’s Church as the clubs are to a city was unheard of for the first sixteen hundred years of the Church’s life. Colossians 1:18 - And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence. He does not believe that his denomination is the Holy Catholic Church. The towns completely flooded. It is the constitution of the Church that matters. From the time of the Creation, the children of God looked forward to the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ. They told us that we were in danger. Ignorance is only blameworthy when it is culpable. The Eucharist must be considered valid when it is offered by the bishop or by one to whom the bishop has given this charge. 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. Nothing impels him to study the Church’s claims or if he does study them sincerely according to his ability they do not convince him–such a man remains in good faith. One can be a perfectly good citizen without belonging to the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Rotarians, or the Buffaloes. 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