Question to Protestants: What happened to Christ's Church?


#1

I have a question for my Protestant brothers and sisters. What happened to Christ’s church between the ascension of Christ and the 95 Theses? The only churches that have historical continuity with the Apostolic Age are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. This is a fact accepted by repectable historians and is very well documented. Protestant churches, on the other hand, cannot go further than 1500. And if the Protestant Reformation was the restoration of the true Gospel, then why aren’t all Protestants Lutherans or Calvinists?

Thank You and God Bless,
Michael


#2

It muddled along much as it did after the 95 Theses–it was just relatively more unified before the Reformation (and, on the other side, lacked some of the positive doctrinal developments that came out of the Reformation, but I’d give all of those back in return for more unity).

The only churches that have historical continuity with the Apostolic Age are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

I think it’s fairer to say that they have more direct continuity. Protestant churches do have continuity with the Apostolic Age to some degree or another–we are heirs of the pre-Reformation Church as you are, but admittedly you have a clearer claim.

Protestant churches, on the other hand, cannot go further than 1500.

Well, the Moravians go back to the 15th century and the Italian Waldenses to about 1200, but by and large you’re right (and furthermore both churches have been significantly transformed by contact with the Reformation traditions–the Waldenses are basically Presbyterians today and the Moravians are Pietists).

And if the Protestant Reformation was the restoration of the true Gospel, then why aren’t all Protestants Lutherans or Calvinists?

First of all, that’s a complete non-sequitur. The Reformation might be a restoration of the true Gospel even if only some Protestants got it right. Or there might be a common core of Protestant teaching that was a restoration of the Gospel (though that’s a more dubious argument). Anyway, I don’t believe either of those things–I don’t think for a minute that the true Gospel was lost, and I don’t think the schism was justified–on either side:D

Edwin


#3

… Question to Protestants: What happened to Christ’s Church? …

I asked this very same question on another discussion board. It went round and round for over 200+ with no solid answer offered. I’m curious if it goes any differently over here.

PS: If anyone is interested in seeing THAT discussion, I’d be more than happy to PM the link to them. My understand is that the rules forbid the link to be posted on the open forum.


#4

If the Gospel had to be “restored”, that means that it was lost. If that be the case, then Christ lied about His church being around for all generations because if it had to be restored, then there was a time when it wasn’t available. And if Christ was wrong about that point, how can we be sure that His others teachings might also not be wrong?

For that reason, the above answer needs to be rejected.


#5

So why ignore my answer, which is the simplest and most obvious one–nothing happened to it at all! This is what most Protestants I know believe (admittedly I mostly hang out with fairly moderate, ecumenical Protestants these days). Apostasy theories are held by extreme fundamentalists and a few ultra-conservative traditional Protestants (well, and Mormons and other outright heretics!).

By the way, I agree with your argument against the “restoration of the Gospel” in your post to me. I was responding to a very specific, flawed argument (that if the Reformation was the restoration of the Gospel then all Protestants would agree). I made it clear (I thought) that I do not myself agree with the “restoration of the Gospel” thesis.

But I repeat–it’s interesting that you zeroed in on that part of my post and ignored my own views. Catholics on this forum don’t know what to deal with Protestants who think the medieval Church was a true manifestation of the Church, even though this is clearly what the majority of Protestants today believe. You are much more comfortable knocking down fundamentalist straw men. Sure, there are fundamentalists out there–theyare noisy and obnoxious and they need to be refuted, and I’m happy to help you do it. But then can we please sit down and have a civil conversation about the really interesting issues that actually divide thoughtful, moderate people on both sides of the Protestant/Catholic divide?

Edwin


#6

I think your answer is the general understand of what happen to Christ’s Church in the Protestant prospective.


#7

Correct. If the Reformist Church was the one true church, then the following had to be true:

  1. the Reformist Church was a secret society with secret teachings for 1400 years and therefore the one true church was a church of gnosticism (ie a heretical church); or

  2. there was no one true church for 1400 years.

In either of these two cases, Jesus’s promise not to leave us comfortless was either never made or made falsely.

Any argument for the Reformist Church being the one true church cannot be supported either historically or logically.

Obviously the arguments for the Reformist Church being the one true church are not about historical accuracy or logic. So what are they about? Thoughts?


#8

[quote=Ani]Obviously the arguments for the Reformist Church being the one true church are not about historical accuracy or logic. So what are they about? Thoughts?
[/quote]

Wishful thinking?


#9

What about elitism? Specialness? Thoughts?


#10

I was evangelical Protestant for over 40 years, and I was a member of a church that has produced some of the most respected evangelical teachers in the world, e.g., Evelyn Christenson, Gary Smalley, John Ortberg.

Here is exactly what I was taught as I was growing up.

**I was taught that after the Apostles died, Jesus’s Church still existed, but in a loose form, with no formal organization (because of the persecutions). Groups of Christians hid in the catacombs and kept the Gospel going. There were no appointed leaders, but there were men and women who were called by God to preach the Gospel and sometimes be martyred. Many of their teachings were lost or twisted by non-Christians, therefore, many of their writings cannot be trusted. Only their writings that agree with the Bible (Protestant version) can be trusted, the rest are all apocryphal.

I was taught that the Bible was the sole authority for these teachers, and that the New Testament was done in 90 AD and in use among Christians. (I was never taught that there were other books written than the canonical New Testament books.)

I was taught that the Church gradually became more and more corrupt as the teachings and traditions of man crept in. Many of these teachings were borrowed from pagan religions, e.g., the worship of Mary was borrowed from the Babylonian mystery religions, and the eating and drinking of body and blood were some of the most evil of the pagan teachings, totally in conflict with true Biblical teachings that forbids cannabilism.

But even during the 1000 years or so of corruption in the Church, there were still remnants of true Christians, mainly in small house churches, who taught people from the BIBLE about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is faith alone in Jesus Christ saves us. Many of these good Christians were martyred by the false church.

Sometime in the 4th Century, a group of men set up the Catholic Church and used Christianity to become a world power in and of themselves. There was very little “Gospel” in the Catholic Church, and it existed mainly for political reasons, so that power-hungry families could control peoples and nations. These people were ruthless in martying true Christians, e.g., Tyndale.

In 1500, the corruption in the Catholic Church came to a head, and a monk named Martin Luther challenged and brought it down. After that, the Catholic Church declined and has continued to decline, while the Protestant churches have flourished and grown, indicating that they are obviously teaching the true Christian Gospel.

At this point, many individual Catholics, including Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta, are true Christians because they have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. Many Catholics are Christians without knowing it because they believe in Christ, which is all that is required to be a Christian. Although many of these Catholic Christians leave the Catholic Church and return to the true Christian churches, there are some Catholic Christians who choose to remain in the Catholic Church so that they can bring the true Gospel to the Catholics and bring them out of the church of man and myth into true Christian fellowship with Bible believing churches. For this reason, we should be friendly with Catholics, in order to be witnesses to them.**

This is what I was taught, and in spite of what some on this thread are saying, this is what many evangelicals have been taught. I think I am correct to say that many evangelicals today believe this version of history.

Why didn’t I question it? Because I respected and trusted the leaders and pastors in my evangelical church.

Why did I begin to question it? I began to question it when my family was kicked out of our Evangelical Free church and shunned, even though we had done nothing wrong. The pastors of that church believed a LIE about us, and treated us cruelly, using the Bible to justify their evil deed.

When I realized–and it was a shock–that evangelical pastors and teachers could be devils in disguise, I started questioning EVERYTHING I had ever been taught by evangelicals.

Much of it I still believe, because it is the truth, e.g., the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, the virgin birth, the incarnation of God in Jesus, the death and resurrection of Jesus, salvation by the grace of Jesus, heaven and hell, etc.

But the nonsense that I was taught about church history is a LIE. Any cursory examination of the Bible, especially the book of Acts, and other ancient history proves in an instant that the evangelical version is a lie. I had always had my doubts, but I was willing to squelch my doubts because of my trust in my teachers.

My life verse is John 2: 24 & 25–But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.


#11

[quote=Cat]Only their writings that agree with the Bible (Protestant version) can be trusted, the rest are all apocryphal.
[/quote]

Thanks for this, Cat. This pushes me in the direction of believing that the Protestant explanation of what happened to the Church for 1400 years is elitist.

99% of the Church was illiterate. The Protestant explanation addresses only those who can read and who could afford hand-written Bibles. So obviously the Gospel was not for the poor, not for the illiterate, not for those who had no leisure time, not for most of the laity.

The Gospel therefore was not for all humanity but only for a ‘special’ few.

To believe this explanation we would have to disbelieve what Jesus Himself told us about salvation being for all humanity.

[quote=Cat]I was taught that the Bible was the sole authority for these teachers, and that the New Testament was done in 90 AD and in use among Christians.
[/quote]

What happened between the death of Christ and 90 AD?

How is a council called by a group of people to discredit the growing influence of Christians thought to be more credible than several councils called by a group of people to examine conflicting claims for truth regarding various versions of the Gospel?


#12

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