Recreating, restoring, renewing the New Testament Church...?


#1

On another thread this was posted:

So, the early church was Anabaptist?

How exaclty can one restore the New Testament Church?

I read this and think, “your worldview is different than 1st century society, your not Jewish, or Roman, you don’t believe in a flat earth, seven tiered heaven, the Apostles are 20 centuries away from you and did and thought more than what was written down…etc”

How can you recreate something that you are so far removed from?

Its like me recreated Babylon using the Code of Hammurabi. I could never do it, for I lack the cultural and sociological understanding of the time. I would be reading my own 21st century understanding into the Code, and created anything but what Babylonian culture really was.

This is exactly what the Anabaptist did in the 16th and 17th centuries. They read their own 16th and 17th century cultural presuppositions into the New Testament text.

What they recreated was anything but the New Testament Church. What they created was a true historical anachronism.

Peace


#2

The Anabaptists aren’t alone. Isn’t this exactly what ALL Protestant churches and denominations have said since the Reformation? After all, they all think they have the “true” Gospel. If we want to see what the New Testament Church looked like and believed, we need to ask those who were there. The Catholic Church was there from the beginning. She alone can answer those questions for us.

In Christ,
JU


#3

[quote=jusher7281]The Anabaptists aren’t alone. Isn’t this exactly what ALL Protestant churches and denominations have said since the Reformation? After all, they all think they have the “true” Gospel. If we want to see what the New Testament Church looked like and believed, we need to ask those who were there. The Catholic Church was there from the beginning. She alone can answer those questions for us.

In Christ,
JU
[/quote]

Agreed.

And the documents are there to be read, as well.

All anyone has to do it pick them up.

Peace


#4

[quote=jusher7281]The Anabaptists aren’t alone. Isn’t this exactly what ALL Protestant churches and denominations have said since the Reformation? After all, they all think they have the “true” Gospel. If we want to see what the New Testament Church looked like and believed, we need to ask those who were there. The Catholic Church was there from the beginning. She alone can answer those questions for us.

In Christ,
JU
[/quote]

The Church is like other societies in that it will change over time, yet retain its “constitution”.


#5

Geez, and you wonder why I think you are out to get me…


#6

[quote=Shlemele]Geez, and you wonder why I think you are out to get me…
[/quote]

No, I am not out to get you. Its just that this is a HUGE statement:

“The Protestant Reformation had not gone far enough. The early Anabaptists, while diverse and far from perfect, committed themselves to nothing less than the restoration of the New Testament church. We, their heirs, have the privilege of reemphasizing these twelve principles, in word and deed, here and now.”

And I wanted to debate it seperately as to not hijax the other thread.

Peace


#7

[quote=dennisknapp]No, I am not out to get you. Its just that this is a HUGE statement:

And I wanted to debate it separately as to not hijacks the other thread.

Peace
[/quote]

I’m fine with debating but think about it it’s the second time in as many days you’ve started a thread on something I have posted, it’s tough enough being on these boards as an Anabaptist. I’ll go with it for now but your making me a bit nervous about posting.

Yes it is the goal of the Mennonites to get to a way of worship closer to the early church. We believe in peace above all else to this end and that it is the will of God for us to compartmentalize our lives (I am the same Christian in my daily life as I am in church so there is no distinction between civil and private life). We believe the best way to find out how the early church was is to look at the texts and culture of the day. Interestingly enough I was laughed at here when I introduced some culturally relevant ideas about the sermon on the mount in this forum. My church takes the “turn the other cheek” literally. We were killed by protestant and Catholic alike during the post-reformation years but we hold to our beliefs that Gods way is for peace and peace must start with us. To be honest I really am not a theologian and I don’t profess to know all about my church so go to USMB.org . This site will answer more questions than I can on my own. I’ll try to find some more but I’ll reiterate I’m not a theologian or all that great at debate. In the man time I’ll try to answer question to the best of my knowledge. I’m not anti-catholic as I think I have proven in my time on the site and I’m not asking anyone to convert. I would ask that you not dismiss me offhand because I’m Anabaptist.


#8

[quote=Shlemele]I’m fine with debating but think about it it’s the second time in as many days you’ve started a thread on something I have posted, it’s tough enough being on these boards as an Anabaptist. I’ll go with it for now but your making me a bit nervous about posting.

Yes it is the goal of the Mennonites to get to a way of worship closer to the early church. We believe in peace above all else to this end and that it is the will of God for us to compartmentalize our lives (I am the same Christian in my daily life as I am in church so there is no distinction between civil and private life). We believe the best way to find out how the early church was is to look at the texts and culture of the day. Interestingly enough I was laughed at here when I introduced some culturally relevant ideas about the sermon on the mount in this forum. My church takes the “turn the other cheek” literally. We were killed by protestant and Catholic alike during the post-reformation years but we hold to our beliefs that Gods way is for peace and peace must start with us. To be honest I really am not a theologian and I don’t profess to know all about my church so go to USMB.org . This site will answer more questions than I can on my own. I’ll try to find some more but I’ll reiterate I’m not a theologian or all that great at debate. In the man time I’ll try to answer question to the best of my knowledge. I’m not anti-catholic as I think I have proven in my time on the site and I’m not asking anyone to convert. I would ask that you not dismiss me offhand because I’m Anabaptist.
[/quote]

I have never dismissed you offhand because you are an Anabaptist.

I admire you for coming to a Catholic board and engaging in dialog.

That takes courage, and I hope your experience here has been somewhat enjoyable.

We are all theologian, for we all have an opinion about God. The only diffence is that there are bad, as well, good theologians. Through the use of the dialetic I hope to become a good one, and I hope you do too.

Did you read my response to how one could actually restore the New Testament Church? Did what I wrote make any sense?

Peace


#9

Went back to your first post. In the origional quote the author admits that the early anababtists fell short. In my church quite often the cultural aspect of the time of the early church is explained to add context to scripture. The thing is that we know we are not exactly like the early church, that doesn’t mean though that we should stop tyring to gain understanding and just give up on understanding our common christian roots.


#10

[quote=Shlemele]Went back to your first post. In the origional quote the author admits that the early anababtists fell short. In my church quite often the cultural aspect of the time of the early church is explained to add context to scripture. The thing is that we know we are not exactly like the early church, that doesn’t mean though that we should stop tyring to gain understanding and just give up on understanding our common christian roots.
[/quote]

What do you think your church mean by “restore” the New Testament Church?

Was the original lost and corrupted?

What of the early writings that seem to uphold Catholic beliefs, while at the same time contradicting your own?

If mistakes were made in the early Church regarding these beliefs, than the mistakes were very early.

I would even say that we could never know what the early Church was like if such mistakes were made, for the damage to the original would be too great.

Peace


#11

The only way would be to go to the origional texts, letters from the Apostles. Hence the importance of the scriptures. The origional church was lost when it became a state religion.


#12

[quote=Shlemele]The only way would be to go to the origional texts, letters from the Apostles. Hence the importance of the scriptures. The origional church was lost when it became a state religion.
[/quote]

When would you say it became a state religion? 300, 500, 800 AD?

We have documents that are way before that which are in line with Catholic doctrine. What of them? They were written before the Church became a state religion, can we trust them?

Also, how do you know you are reading the scriptures correctly? The bible is not a catechism, but a collection stories and letter (New Testament).

What if what is written in Scipture is only 50% of what the Apostles actually taught? What then? How much are you missing out on?

Read the early Fathers and gain insight into what the early Church believed, taught, and practiced. You will never be the same.

Peace


#13

[quote=Shlemele]The only way would be to go to the origional texts, letters from the Apostles. Hence the importance of the scriptures. The origional church was lost when it became a state religion.
[/quote]

Can the Anabaptists claim for their own the works of Cyprian of Carthage, Ignatius of Antioch, Ireneaus of Lyons, Polycarp of Smyrnaea, Justin Martyr, and others, all who wrote before the Church became a “state religion”?


#14

[quote=dennisknapp]When would you say it became a state religion? 300, 500, 800 AD?
[/quote]

Between 391 A.D. when Christianity was made the state religion of the Roman Empire and 476 when the Roman empire fell.

In reality the actions of Constantine were really the death blow for the early church. This is not because he opened up the Roman Empire for Christians but rather because he turned the state from an anti-Christen to anti-anyone-but-Christian. Those who did not worship Christ were in turn persecuted for their beliefs. It is this type of mindset that we Mennonites see as the real danger of state religion. Belief in Christ must be a decision of free will and not one of government mandate, so although 391 A.D. was when the Christian religion was the official religion you could say that the time of the early church died about 50 years before that. Add to that the fact that Constantine was baptized on his deathbed rather than before he started his Christian Empire and you have to wonder how much of the church during and after Constantine was a political instrument.


#15

[quote=dennisknapp]What if what is written in Scripture is only 50% of what the Apostles actually taught? What then? How much are you missing out on?
[/quote]

I have gone over this before but by 50% I’m guessing that you are speaking about the oral tradition of the church. I don’t believe that oral tradition is a strong basis for theology. Written scripture holds much more value because it preserves the intent of passages that can be lost in translation and it can be verified more directly than something that was not written for decades after it had been written.


#16

[quote=Shlemele]Add to that the fact that Constantine was baptized on his deathbed rather than before he started his Christian Empire and you have to wonder how much of the church during and after Constantine was a political instrument.
[/quote]

And so…? Does Bush thumping on Christianity as his fallback on his actions make Christianity false? Does making it a state religion make it necessarily false? You seem to forget, as often repeated here, that there was so much writing done before Constantine came. And add that the Bible wasn’t compiled into the final canon we know now long after Constantine–why is it Protestantism by and large accept this canon then (I speak primarily of the New Testament in this case), and not, say, Marcion’s, which was done in the first century?


#17

[quote=Shlemele] Between 391 A.D. when Christianity was made the state religion of the Roman Empire and 476 when the Roman empire fell.
[/quote]

So, if I can provide early Christian beliefs before 391 and 476 AD that agree with Catholic doctrine would you consider them as valid?

Here are some early writers on the subject of Apostolic Succession taken from the parent website catholic.com. catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Succession.asp

Pope Clement I

"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (*Letter to the Corinthians *42:4–5, 44:1–3 A.D. 80]).

Hegesippus

“When I had come to Rome, I [visited] Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus [died], Soter succeeded, and after him Eleutherus. In each succession and in each city there is a continuance of that which is proclaimed by the law, the prophets, and the Lord” (Memoirs, cited in Eusebius, *Ecclesiastical History *4:22 A.D. 180]).

Irenaeus

“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about” (*Against Heresies *3:3:1 A.D. 189]).

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3:3:2).

"Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (ibid., 3:3:4).

"Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. . . . For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant conversation, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?" (ibid., 3:4:1).

"t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown,** possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father.** But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth" (ibid., 4:26:2).

"The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere" (ibid., 4:33:8).

More to come.

Peace


#18

Here is some more early Christians before 391 AD on the subject of Apostolic Tradition, or Oral Tradition.

This is also from the parent website:
catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Tradition.asp

Papias

"Papias [A.D. 120], who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he, moreover, asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John. Accordingly, he mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their traditions [concerning Jesus]. . . . There are] other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition" (fragment in Eusebius, *Church History *3:39 A.D. 312]).

Eusebius of Caesarea

“At that time A.D. 150] there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom we know from what has gone before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete, and besides these, Philip, and Apollinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and, finally, Irenaeus.** From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and orthodox faith received from tradition”** (*Church History *4:21).

Irenaeus

"As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same" (*Against Heresies *1:10:2 A.D. 189]).

"That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth. . . . What if the apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the churches?" (ibid., 3:4:1).

"It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about.

Clement of Alexandria

“**Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. **And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from loss the blessed tradition” (*Miscellanies *1:1 A.D. 208]).

Origen

"Although there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the apostles and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition" (*The Fundamental Doctrines *1:2 A.D. 225]).

As you can see the teachings of the Church have not changed since the beginning, and as Milliardo has pointed out, making Christianity a state religion did not make it false.

Peace


#19

Looking over some of the texts. Give me a bit since this is new material to me and I just got a migrane headache (first one in over a year but that still doesn’t keep me from wanting to knock myself unconcious). Trying to read with one eye shut and the monitor turned to 1/2 as bright as normal isn’t getting me too far so I may just see if I can drug myself and try to get some sleep. :banghead:

As far as state religion making that religion false I don’t think that compairing Bush and Constantine is a really good analogy since Bush isn’t opressing Muslems directly and making school prayer mandatory while pumping tax dollars into churches. I never said that anyone making it a state religion made christianity false, it does however make the line between church and state much less visable and as christians I beleive we are called to be independant of our governments (I don’t even vote, but I have other reasons beyond just religious ones for this). More to come later when I don’t feel like I have a moose standing on my head.


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.