A genuine question for my non-Catholic friends, with absolutely zero flippancy intended: Can anyone (like myself for example) - start a church, just as so many have done for the last 500 years, and call his or her new church the church founded by Jesus Christ?
It’s done all the time.
Historically showing apostolic succession would be a problem, but it doesn’t necessarily deter anyone.
Romans 10:14-15 (King James Version)
14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
How they know they are being sent? By what/who’s authority? How do they know they are not false prophets? and not end up like another Branch Davidian, or another cult? How would they to know it is actually the HS guiding them?
They may do it…but do they ever ask the question, who is sending them?
Sure. People can claim anything. Doesn’t have to be true. Some even claim to be angles sent by God.
Angles? Some of my family were Angles ( English ) , but no ANGELS! LOL
By what/who’s authority…? I have been asking that question forever. No one ever responds…For example, I know that I was not entrusted with the authority to teach and settle disputes when they arise. Jesus entrust just one church to do that via the perpetual guidance of the holy spirit.
**You have just asked a brilliantly-worded question! I LOVE it! And, I might add, the SILENCE from the protestant factions is DEAFENING!!! **:rolleyes:
OK I’ll bite.
Yes. The Bible does not mame any Christian denomination or Chruch as a “Remnant Church” or “true Chruch.” All denominations and Independent chruches are all founded by men or women. If asked, “what is the Chruch,” the answer would be, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist and so on.
Now how does the Bible define “The Church?” Taken from Storng’s Greek, 1577, :“ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah); from a comp. of G1537 and a der. of G2564; a calling out, ie. (concr.) a popular meeting, espec. a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue or Christian community of members on earth or saint’s in heaven or both):–assemble, church.”
Therefore the Christian Church is a group of people that assembles sfor a religious meeting. The Bible never defines the Christian Church as a denomination. The Churches mentioned in the Bible are all called “The Church” that met in one place in the city or in several places in the city. The combined Churches in the world were “The Universal Chruch.” Keep in mind when the word “Church” (ekklesia) is mentioned in the Bible, its a group of Christians meeting together.
All the Churches of the Bible were a “United Church.” There were not denominations. All of the Apostolic Churches were united under their leader, Jesus Christ. The Apostolic Christian church after a time had fragmented into denominations and groups, with some claiming to be the “True Church”
The head of the “Universal Church” is Jesus Christ, not a Pope, Bishop, President, Church Board, or a Prophet or whatever name you use. Christ is the head of the Church not any Church leader.
So my answer is yes.
Here in 1 Corinthians 2:10-15 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (Jesus Christ is the foundation of all Christian denominations) If anyone builds on this foundation (Jeus Christ)…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss…”
Some non-Catholic Churches are built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and they are still here, Baptists, Methodist, just to name a couple, and there are some that were not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ such as Jim Jones who’s congragation committed suicide because they were told to by him or the branch dividian (Waco) who’s leader, David Karish, claimed to be Jesus himself . They did not survive because their foundation was not Jesus Christ their foundation was one of man. The one’s founded on the foundation of Jesus Christ are still here.
Disclaimer: I am not officially Catholic (waiting on a priest to contact me about catechesis), but have ceased protesting
To the OP: one thing Catholics must keep in mind is that, in the Protestant mindset, there’s generally no authority or “permission” if you will needed for the founding of a new denomination or a new independent “community church”.
This has not always been the case, and still may not be for some. For example, many people were scandalized by Wesley’s action of ordaining other men in his day (he was an Anglican priest, and lacked the authority to ordain in the C of E as he was not a bishop).
For a current example, I saw a debate between a Catholic layman and a Protestant minister who started his own independent, non-denominational church. In a Q&A session in the debate, someone asked who gave him the authority to found his own church. His reply was that he didn’t, Jesus founded the church and called him to pastor this congregation.
This sort of detachment seems to be common, at least among people who say Jesus wanted to build a church. They acknowledge that, but usually quickly follow with “but He sure didn’t just found one true church” or something to the effect that He really intended to split up his followers, contrary to what He said.
Then you have some churches that are adamantly (and ironically) anti-church. An example is Calvary Chapel. As a group, they tend to be so anti-ecclesial that they talk about how any structure is a necessary evil and should be as limited as possible. They also tend to deny the value of ritual, tradition; etc. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water…
(Note: I was part of a CC congregation for a number of years, including being ordained as a youth pastor, before coming to the point I’m at now. I am grateful for what God has taught me in CC. They’re big on submission to authority, even though they preach against ecclesial authority )
2 things in reply (and I mean no offense or flippancy by them):
What about the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)? they claim to be Christian, but are viewed by the rest of Christianity as a pseudo-Christian cult. Yet, founded before the Branch Davidians and before Jim Jones, they are still around.
Also, remember, the Catholic Church is headed by Christ, and founded on Peter (the first pope) as the earthly authority.
Protestant churches also have an earthly head, whether they call it pastor, president, or presbytery.
Yes you are correct they are still around and look at how many problem they are going through. Now they claim to be Christian but are they really? And there are many other that are still around, remember God does his thing in his own time. It may not be as fast as we want it to be.
All real Christian Churches aer headed by Christ.
They are the head of the congragation not of the Church, Christ is the head of the Church.
Kevin, if anyone can start a church and correctly call their church the church founded by God, then yes, they truly are Christians for the simple fact that no one has the authority to challenge their beliefs. Their church and their church’s interpretation of the bible, as opposed to any other church, is their final authority just as the bible is your final authority, which means that you, me or any other church, for that matter, have no right or authority to tell them that their beliefs are heterodox - agreed???
I think we need to keep in mind our Catholic belief that our Protestant brothers and sisters have at least parts of it right. So as long as their teaching and preaching beliefs that are in sync with what the Catholic Church believes, they have it partly right.
Imperfectly, perhaps, but they’re reaching sinners who need reaching.
I am inspired by Robert Duvall’s character in the movie “The Apostle”, who is on the other side of this debate. He’s an evangelical preacher who starts up his “own” church…I’ll leave the details out, it’s an excellent movie…and anyway, sees from a distance the local priest blessing the shrimping boats from a bridge as they’re going out to the ocean.
He watches for a while, then remarks out loud to himself, “You do it your way and I do it mine; either way we get the job done”.
Something we should perhaps keep in mind.
That’s because there was only one visible and hierarchical universal Church in apostolic time.
And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
Ephesians 1, 22-23
So we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.
Romans 5, 5
The infant church was regarded as visible as any physical and animated body: the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25). At the time there did not exist a number of independent churches with their differing bodies of doctrine and which nonetheless could be described as belonging as members of one (invisible) spirit. The idea of an invisible church sprang in Protestantism. So when Paul and the other apostles wrote their letters, they could never have imagined the notion of remnant and true churches. There was only one visible Church unified in faith existing at the time, yet vulnerable to the many heresies that had begun to arise and had to be challenged head on by the early Church Fathers who validly succeeded the apostles as guardians of the ecclesiastic traditions and the one true faith.
“Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church call in question the knowledge of the holy presbyters (elders or priests). It behooves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and to take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord’s Scriptures.”
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5:20 (A.D. 180)
In apostolic time the one universal Church was a visible body, not an invisible entity, that had a single hierarchical structure. There were no independent churches with hierarchical structures of their own, whose leaders hadn’t been ordained by the apostles themselves and their appointed successors in the episcopacy and had held conflicting doctrines of their own in contravention of the apostolic traditions ( Eph 4:11-14;Titus 1:7-9).
The Bible never defines the Christian Church as a denomination. The Churches mentioned in the Bible are all called “The Church”… The combined Churches in the world were “The Universal Chruch.” Keep in mind when the word “Church” (ekklesia) is mentioned in the Bible, it’s a group of Christians meeting together.
Ekklesia is feminine, referring to the Church as the bride of Christ. A bride has only one undivided body to unite with her spouse. The members of Christ’s body, which is the Church, gathered in their different communities united in one unadulterated faith. So naturally there weren’t any denominations existing at the time that would distinguish the one universal Church as one denomination from among others with its own peculiar sets of doctrines. Denominations are the result of schisms and so-called reformations.
“We are of one body, one Spirit, one faith, and one baptism.”
Ephesians, 4, 3-5
“There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering.”
St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to all his People (A.D. 251)
All of the Apostolic Churches were united under their leader, Jesus Christ.
We agree that all the Christian communities in apostolic time, and for hundreds of centuries for that matter, formed a united Church, there were no such corporate bodies as denominations. But they were not united as a form of invisible entity. One soul did not inhabit a countless number of physical bodies distinguished by varying physical characteristics in their public confessions of faith. Nor did they submit to different offices of ecclesiastical authority, having invented or borrowed any of their own. On the contrary, they honoured and obeyed their appointed bishops (episkopai) and priests (presbyteroi) who were actually appointed and commissioned by Christ himself and invested with the authority He received from the Father to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments (1 Tim 3:1; 5:17).
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.
2 Corinthians 5, 20
By “we” Paul means the apostles and those qualified men (not women) whom they had appointed and who in turn would appoint to participate in Christ’s mission to preach the good news and purvey the sacraments until the end of time (Mt 16:19, 28:20). For centuries all Christians had submitted to the same apostolic teaching authority of the one universal Church founded on the Apostles, derived through them by valid succession with the laying on of hands.
“He who hears you hears me.”
Luke 16, 10
“For what is the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority, so far as it is possible for a man to possess it, who according to his ability has been made an imitator of the Christ of God?”
St. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Trallians, 7 (A.D. 110)
How is any one called? By the Holy Spirit.
It is Christ’s Church, yes **IF **the called person is preaching the Word of GOD, the Gospel as we know it with nothing extra added.
There are Christians secretly meeting in homes without trained clergy in many places- Saudi Arabia is one that immediately comes to mind.
In China that used to be the case- I think they are a little bit more open. My cousin was a missionary- her qualifications she spoke mandarin but other then that she was not ordained nor did she attend semminary.
During the communist rule of the Soviet Union- Christians were meeting secretly in homes with no specifc leader.
It is a mistake to think that the unviversal Church that Jesus built exists only in the Catholic Church.
Someone asked:***How they know they are being sent? By what/who’s authority? How do they know they are not false prophets? and not end up like another Branch Davidian, or another cult? How would they to know it is actually the HS guiding them?
They may do it…but do they ever ask the question, who is sending them?***
Christians have been given the authority to test the prophets, we know how to check for the fruits of the Spirit, but there are always some people that will follow blindly.
Are they lazy? Lack the education? Why do people follow cults?
Even within the heirarchy of any church denomination-Catholic Church included there are clergy that SHOULD NOT be preaching. The “authority” in any given denomination does not neccesarily stop a jerk from preaching.
So if I start “my own Christian church” tomorrow, the only way we will know if it is "a real " Christian church or not is if it dies away at some point in the future? And so before it dies away, it is a real Christian church, but after it dies away, then it isn’t? Am I understanding you correctly? So right now, the Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist, etc. churches we know they are "real Christian, but they could possibly go away sometime in the future, so they aren’t really Christian?
“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.”
John 17, 18
By “them” Jesus means his twelve apostles save Judas. His general followers and disciples are not granted this divine mandate. The laity are distinguished from those who have been called to the ministerial priesthood. But Jesus prays for them as well so that they will be united in their faith by accepting what the appointed shepherds teach them through their divine office.
*“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me, and I in you.” *
John 17, 20
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualifications come from God, who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit brings life.
2 Corinthians 3, 5-6
By “us” Paul intends to say the apostles and those select men who were appointed and ordained by them to preach the Gospel and purvey the Sacraments. He is not referring to anybody who has read one of his letters and has decided to preach the good news on his own initiative and meanwhile baptize people.
It is Christ’s Church, yes **IF **the called person is preaching the Word of GOD, the Gospel as we know it with nothing extra added… My cousin was a missionary- her qualifications she spoke mandarin but other then that she was not ordained nor did she attend semminary.
Her missionary activity doesn’t necessarily make her a member of the visible one universal Church, although I am sure she has done much good in our Lord’s name, just as much as my evangelical endeavours in the world doesn’t automatically make me an ordained minister of the Church. I am a layperson, a member of the common priesthood of believers. Neither your cousin nor I are followers of Jesus as either members of the one Church he had founded on the apostles or in the same sense as the ordained clergy of the Church are.
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Mark 9, 38-40
It is a mistake to think that the unviversal Church that Jesus built exists only in the Catholic Church.
“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery (ordained ministerial priesthood) as ye would the apostles…Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered by a bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
St.Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8:2 (c.A.D. 110)
At the time Ignatius wrote his letter there was only the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church - and there still is. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her!
No it was not a real Christian church to begin with. Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist churches IMO are real Christian churches along with the CC.
I’m talking about the extreme churches like the Branch Dividan, not a real Christian church.