Early Church ... not Catholic Article

I’m looking for some effective ways to challenge this article that was used to prove the that the Early Church was not the Catholic Church.

As always, thanks and God Bless.

cogwriter.com/earlychristianity.htm

Just a quick glance over the article and all that it entails, tells me that it’s another one of those articles layed out to justify protestantism, and put down Catholicism. It’s so sad that the people responsible for this type of article can spend so much time simply attempting to destroy Catholicism. It’s seems it’s more of a focus on their lives than what it should be, and wouldn’t their lives be better spent with the true focus? God? We’re all Christians after all.

I found an inescapable error in their first paragraph where they say that “the Bible is the only source of doctrine”. The Bible says that the Church is the pillar and mainstay of truth(the magisterium); it also says to hold fast to what we have recieved from the apostles either by word of mouth (sacred tradition) or by epistle (sacred scripture). The bible itself says nothing about the bible being the “only source of doctrine”. It doesn’t even define what books are really part of the bible. [The Church did that in the fourth century]

No words will ever convince a closed mind. Prayer to the Holy Spirit, Who alone accomplishes all conversions, is quite another matter.

If someone says that the ‘Bible is the only source of doctrine’. ask the person where the Bible says so. :slight_smile:

Post 1 of 2

check out this site catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/ and Jimmy Akin’s book the “Fathers Know Best”

Also, here is the “The Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles” from between 60 - 69 AD

catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=1877

Here is just one subsection which I find interesting because it sounds pretty Catholic to me:

THE CREED.

***The Priest draws near to celebrate, and thrice bows before the altar, the middle of which he kisses, then the right and the left horn of the altar; and bows to the Gospel side, and says: Bless, O Lord, etc. ***

***Pray for me, my fathers, brethren, and masters, that God may grant unto me the capability and power to perform this service to which I have drawn near, and that this oblation may be accepted from the hands of my weakness, for myself, for you, and for the whole body of the Holy Catholic Church, through His grace and mercies for ever. Amen. ***

And they respond: May Christ listen to thy prayers, and be pleased with thy sacrifice, receive thy oblation, and honour thy priesthood, and grant unto us, through thy mediation, the pardon of our offences, and the forgiveness of our sins, through His grace and mercies for ever.

Presently he bows at the other side, uttering the same words; and they respond in the same manner: then he bows to the altar, and says: God, Lord of all, be with us through His grace and mercies for ever. Amen.

And bowing towards the Deacon, who is on the left(Epistle side), he says: ***God, the Lord of all, confirm thy words, and secure to thee peace, and accept this oblation from my hands for me, for thee, for the whole body of the Holy Catholic Church, and for the entire world, through His grace and mercies for ever. ***

He kneels at the altar, and says in secret: O our Lord and God, look not on the multitude of our sins, and let not Thy dignity be turned away on account of the heinousness of our iniquities; but through Thine unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Thine, and grant through it power and capability, so that Thou mayest forget our many sins, and be merciful when Thou shalt appear at the end of time, in the man whom Thou hast assumed from among us, and we may find before Thee grace and mercy, and be rendered worthy to praise Thee with spiritual assemblies.

He rises, and says this prayer in secret: We thank Thee, O our Lord and God, for the abundant riches of Thy grace to us:

And he proceeds: Us who were sinful and degraded, on account of the multitude of Thy clemency, Thou hast made worthy to celebrate the holy mysteries of the body and blood of Thy Christ. We beg aid from Thee for the strengthening of our souls, that in perfect love and true faith we may administer Thy gift to us.

***Canon: And we shall ascribe to Thee praise, glory, thanksgiving, and adoration, now, always, and for ever and ever. ***

***He signs himself with the sign of the cross, and they respond: Amen.

And he proceeds: Peace be with you:

They respond: With thee and with thy spirit.

And they give the (kiss of) peace to each other, and say: For all: ***
The Deacon says: Let us thank, entreat, and beseech.

The Priest says this prayer in secret: O Lord, mighty God, help my weakness through Thy clemency and the aid of Thy grace; and make me worthy of offering before Thee this oblation, as for the common aid of all, **and to the praise of Thy Trinity, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. **

Another prayer: O our Lord and God, restrain our thoughts, that they wander not amid the vanities of this world. O Lord our God, grant that I may be united to the affection of Thy love, unworthy though I be. Glory be to Thee, O Christ.

Ascend into the chamber of Thy renowned light, O Lord; sow in me the good seed of humility; and under the wings of Thy grace hide me through Thy mercy. If Thou wert to mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? Because there is mercy with Thee.

The Priest says the following prayer in secret: ***O mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, beseech for me the only-begotten Son, who was born of thee, to forgive me my offences and my sins, and to accept from my feeble and sinful hands this sacrifice which my weakness offers upon this altar, through thy intercession for me, O holy mother. ***

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Also, from the “The Divine Liturgy of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark,” (same time period)

Be kind to him, O Lord, for the sake of Thy Holy and Apostolic Church, and all Thy Christ-loving people, that we too in his peaceful reign may live a calm and tranquil life, in all reverence and godliness.

O Lord our God, give peace to the souls of our fathers and brethren who have fallen asleep in Jesus, remembering our forefathers of old, our fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, bishops, and the souls of all the holy and just men who have died in the Lord.

Especially remember those whose memory we this day celebrate, and our holy father Mark, the apostle and evangelist, who has shown us the way of salvation.

Hail! thou art highly favoured; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, because thou hast brought forth the Saviour of our souls.

Aloud: Especially remember our all-holy, pure, and blessed Lady, Mary the Virgin Mother of God.

this is also from “The Divine Liturgy of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark”:

The Priest: O Sovereign and Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray and beseech Thee to fill our hearts with the peace of heaven, and to bestow moreover the peace of this life. Preserve for us through many years our most holy and blessed Papas D, and our most pious Bishop D, while they, according to Thy holy and blessed will, peacefully fulfil the holy priesthood committed to their care, and dispense aright the word of truth, with all the orthodox bishops, elders, deacons, sub-deacons, readers, singers, with the entire body of the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Bless our meetings, O Lord. Grant that we may hold them without let or hindrance, according to Thy holy will. Be pleased to give to us, and Thy servants after us for ever, houses of praise and prayer. Rise, O Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered. Let all who hate Thy holy name be put to flight. Bless Thy faithful and orthodox people. Multiply them by thousands and tens of thousands.

Let no deadly sin prevail against them, or against Thy holy people, through the grace, mercy, and love of Thine only-begotten Son.

(Aloud): Through whom and with whom be glory and power to Thee, with Thy all- holy, good, and life-giving Spirit.

This is all pretty Catholic to me :smiley:

Good luck and God Bless.

None are worse than ex-Catholics like the ex-Catholic who wrote this blog. Poorly educated in the Faith. :frowning:

It is a Church of God evangelical and they don’t believe in the Trinity (three persons in 1 God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

I reviewed some of the information on the site. The website is supposed to be promoting the doctrines of “The Church of God,” or “COG”. There are several points that have to be dealt with. The author cites several things that he says proves the early Christians were COG and not Catholic.

The most important is, “A Binitarian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.” The author contrasts “binitarianism” with “Trinitarianism” and argues that there are only two real Persons in the Godhead. A bunch of other points are listed that are standard Protestant objections, like Baptism not being for infants and images not being used in the early Church.

After seeing this list of disputed points about the early Church, my immediate idea was to go to some Catholic Answers tracts about the early Church and show that the early Church falls on the Catholic side on all these points and not on the COG side. But the first few paragraphs of the article make that a little more complicated, because the author claims that most of the Church apostatized quickly after the Apostles’ deaths, the only true faithful being left in Asia Minor. Thus, you have to be careful how you use most of the early Church Fathers with these guys, because if you quote them as an authority they will just brush them off and say they were mostly apostates.

A better way to use the early Church Fathers would be, first, rely largely on the ones from Asia Minor and show from them that the Church in Asia Minor was Catholic, and not COG, and second, use the other Church Fathers to show that at least the Christians outside of Asia Minor were Catholics, and ask why the Asia Minor Christians didn’t speak up about it. You’d think if there were these two big factions, the “Church of God in Asia Minor” would have spoken out against all the Catholic Heretics…but we have no record of them whatsoever.

This point needs to be elaborated on. The Protestant churches and other “restorationist” Christians have a big problem when it comes to Church History. If they believe the promises of Christ, then the true Christian Church has existed in every age and has been visible for all to see. Most restorationist churches think that, instead, the true faith was lost for a thousand or more years until their founder “rediscovered” it. That’s contrary to Jesus’ promises. Now, some other restorationist churches, like the Trail of Blood Baptists, see this problem and so they say that there was a remnant of true believers in hiding throughout the Middle Ages. That’s what this COG guy does.

In his booklet on Church History, he says, “Because of persecution, the faithful had to flee into the wilderness for over a millennium. …for the next 1,260 years locating true Christians [is] much more difficult.” You bet it is! But if we believe the Bible, locating the true Christians throughout history won’t be difficult at all. First, Jesus said His Church would be a city set on a hill, whose light would shine out for all. Second, Jesus told His Church to preach the Gospel to all nations. Now if all these “hidden Christians” were keeping quiet for over 1000 years, then they weren’t true Christians because they weren’t obeying Jesus.

The true Church sends out missionaries. It will be known. If these “hidden Christians” didn’t, then they aren’t true Christians, and if they did send out missionaries, then they would show up in the historical record. We would find Catholic authors writing against them, and evidence of their doctrines. We do not find any evidence of these supposed COG believers in the Middle Ages; therefore, they either didn’t exist, or, if we have no evidence of them because they were keeping quiet, then they aren’t the true Church.

The worst historical errors in this guy’s article on Church History are his attempts to identify examples of COG believers throughout history. In the early Church he identifies several groups as early COGers: St. Polycarp and his disciples, Melito of Sardis and his disciples, Theophilus of Antioch and his disciples, Polycrates and his disciples, Apollinaris of Hierapolis and his disciples, and some names I don’t even recognize (Thraseas, Sagaris, Papirius, and Camerius). He also cites evidence of early COGers in small groups of heretics opposed by a few Church Fathers: some Church Fathers mention that some heretics kept the Sabbath instead of worshipping on Sunday, and this guy concludes they were COGers.

In the Middle Ages the author identifies “Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars, Patarenes, and towards the end, some of the Albigensians” as COGers, but qualifies that by saying that a lot of these people had unbiblical doctrines and thus only SOME of them were true COGers. He has to do that because there is absolutely no evidence that any of them believed in anything like COGism. The Cathars and the Albigensians are the worst examples of this – they believed marriage was a sin and that suicide was part of being a Christian.

Like I said earlier, in answer to these claims we need to stress that the true Church sends out missionaries in obedience to Jesus. There is no evidence of these “hidden Christians” believing in COG doctrines, and if they had sent out missionaries, we would have that evidence, because Catholic writers would have cataloged it like they did other heresies. Because of this, these groups either didn’t contain COGers, or, if they did but those ones kept quiet, then they aren’t the true Church. End of story.

This historical data is intriguing. I was aware of the Liturgies of Sts. James, Basil, and John Chrysostom, but somehow those of the Apostles and of St. Mark escaped my attention.

One objection I could foresee: interpolations were made to the original texts over the centuries, as “aberrant” doctrines like asking the Virgin Mary and other saints for their intercession became widespread. Cf. what happened to the passage in a work by the historian Josephus which refers to Christ.

Here’s a few thoughts and links to look over

Antioch is the first place disciples were called “christian” [Acts 11] but see what also is true in Acts 9:31 that follows :wink:

Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch from ~69 to ~107. Which according to some datings of books, means Ignatius was Bishop before the book of Acts is written. Ignatius writes 6 letters. Ignatius refers to Christian ch 2 & the Catholic Church ch 8 in his letter to the Smyrneans. Both terms then, Catholic Church, and Christian, are not only used during apostolic times, they are synonymous. Ignatius was ordained by apostles and was a direct disciple of John.

As an observation,
[LIST]
*]reading Ignatius, Ignatius isn’t going to call himself a Catholic belonging to the Catholic Church, and John not do the same. iow, Ignatius is Catholic belonging to the Catholic Church because that’s what John is.
*]Acts 9:31 the church throughout all ἐκκλησία,καθ’,ὅλης ,τῆς] Judea and Galilee and Sama’ria…" iow the Church is the Kataholos Church = Catholic Church The English word catholic is a transliteration of the Greek katholikos which is a compound word from kata, which means according to, and holos, which means whole
*]catholic.com/tracts/what-catholic-means
[/LIST]Then we look at primary documents to see actual writing from the time.
[LIST]
*]St IgnatiusBp of Antioch, ~69 a.d. - ~107 a.d., ordained by apostles, disciple of St John the apostle, called the Church the Catholic Church Epistle to the Smyrnæans of which schismatics won’t be going to heaven Epistle to the Philadelphians
*]St Polycarp, Bp Smyrna, disciple of St John called the Church the “Catholic Church” The Martyrdom of Polycarp
*]Muratorian canon earlychristianwritings.com/text/muratorian.html
*]Irenaeus ~180 a.d. wrote “Against Heresies” called the Church the “Catholic Church” Adversus haereses [Bk 1 Ch 10 v 3], and also Irenaeus who was taught by Polycarp, teaches all must agree with Rome [Bk 3, Ch 3, v 2-3]Chapter 3
*]Cyprian~250 a.d. Epistle 54
*]The Nicene Creed, 325 a.d., it’s a matter of faith to believe in the “One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church”
*]Augustine ~395 There are many other things that most justly keep me in her * bosom. . . . The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental (ch 5 v6)
*]etc etc etc
[/LIST]The same Church Pope Francis is over today, 266th successor to St Peter.

then we need to consider

There is no such thing as seperate but equal. Jesus started one Church. That’s what makes the Catholic Church Holy. Not because of the membership but because who founded the Catholic Church and sustains it and gives all His promises to it.

Mere mortals serving their own appetites founded all Protestant sects. For 2000 years that kind of division from the Catholic Church has been condemned starting with the written word itself, the scriptures .Romans 16:17-19 There’s no sugar coating this.
[LIST]
*]Paul condemned division Galatians 5:19-21
*]Ignatius condemned division Epistle to the Philadelphians
]Irenaeus condemned division [FONT=Calibri]Bk 3 Chapter 2 vs 2-3 & [/FONT]Bk 3,Chapter 3[/FONT][FONT=Calibri] vs 2-3[/FONT]
[/LIST]that describes division from the Catholic Church. The only Church Jesus said “I will build my Church”. That’s the Catholic Church He established.

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