Research on Church History

My friend started a blog on the history of the “church”. He is not necessarily referring to Catholicism, but he would like a few Catholic voices to respond as to why the Catholic church is the one True church (he is a Protestant). If a few of you could read his posts and voice in it would be appreciated. Here’s the link:

It’s not possible to look into Church history without referring to Catholicism! ALL Church history leads back to Catholicism.

It’s rather like purporting to write a history of Greece while ignoring Athens.

He isnt ignoring Athens, just smoke to get Athenians to show up on his blog. Cant sell ad space w/out traffic.

As a blogger, I can assure you there’s no real money in it outside of a few huge blogs.

Given OP’s other posts, I think he’s quite sincere.

As a former Catholic I’ve never been able to understand the Catholic Church’s teaching that it is the church begun by Christ. Christians were first mentioned in the Book of Acts 11:26. This passage is explained as: “The believers were called Christians because they worshipped Christ, the Messiah. Tacitus, the Roman historian, referred to them as ‘Christians, a name derived from Christ’. Originally, the church called themselves The Way. But later they began to refer to themselves as Christians, despite the fact that the name most likely was used to ridicule the believers”. The word Christians is used in each of my Bible versions, including my Douay version. Catholic means Universal and the Catholic Church is certainly a universal church. All believers in Christ are Christians, whether they are Catholics or Baptists or belong to any other Christian denomination. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yes, all those names were used by the Church, including the name ekklesia catholica–the universal Church. Most often throughout history, the Catholic Church was simply referred to as “The Church,” as there was only one Christian entity that was (and is) universal and had its origins from the apostles.

The dictionary definition of “catholic” might help.

The Mystical Body, which is the Church, took its rise from the death of Christ on Calvary. By his death on the Cross he made void the Law with its decrees and fastened the handwriting of the Old Testament to the Cross, establishing the New Testament in his blood which he shed for the whole human race. “So centuries before it had been foretold; so in fact it was fulfilled.” (Hebrews 8:8 ff.) By the Incarnation itself our Lord had become Head of the whole family; but it is in virtue of his saving death that he exercises in all its fullness his Headship of the Church. It was by the victory of the Cross that he merited power and dominion over all nations. All the graces which through the centuries were to be poured out upon the Mystical Body were won for it by this supreme act of atonement. At that moment the Church, like a second Eve, a new “mother of all the living,” (Genesis 3:20) was born from the Savior’s side.

The Church began being called Catholic with a capital “C” around the late 3rd or early 4th century. The name Catholic Christian was used to distinguish the orthodox Christian Church from the Arians, and the Donatist, who both called themselves Christian.

Pigtown (love the handle!) is correct about the history of the term “Christian”. “The Way” was an original descriptor as was “Followers of Christ” (my personal favorite). I find it interesting “Catholic” was first capitalized around 3rd/4th century…seems to coincide with Constantine…? Could this have something to do with Constantine’s version of Christianity becoming law…similar to how we capitalize our political parties today? I have been researching Constantine, Mithraism, and the like but let me tell you it is extremely difficult to find non-biased information on this! Does anyone here have some unbiased info or know where to get some? I don’t believe Church history can be discussed without addressing this…

Historians, like all people, are products of their own culture and biases, so it’s nearly impossible for even good history to be entirely without bias. We generally read history from a 21st century bias–“those earlier generations were so backward!”

Still, it’s possible to find reasonably unbiased history. You probably wouldn’t trust H.W. Crocker II, a Catholic but good historian. And you can always go to primary sources such as the early church fathers.

You will have to pardon my non-Catholic ignorance…where would I find these “primary sources” from “early church fathers”?

Your “21st century” comment is so true! I read Ulansey’s writings that claim Cumont’s research was bogus…we live in a world that believes we are always right–this moment–and that “yesteryear” we were just a bunch of fools.

Try this source:Catholic First: Church Fathers

I’m sure other people here may have some good book suggestions, but a good start can be made by going to and typing the word “Eusebius” in the search box. Also try the search term “early church fathers”

Another book which comes to mind is “Four Witnesses” by Rod Bennet–a book about the early church fathers with large quotes from them. Bennet might not be strictly neutral, since he is a convert to Catholicism; however, the book does a good job of presenting a doctrinal history of the first few centuries of the Church.

Hi, JimRyan :slight_smile: Tell your friend that there is much burden on his part if he digs up history books and it is time consuming. Let him browse on internet the meaning of Daniel 2: 31-45. Though there are many different interpretations of this prophecy, the following bible guide could lead him to finding the claim of the Catholics to be one and true church.
(A little guide to Daniel 2: 31-33)

Babylonian Empire - Jer. 52: 12-30
Medo-Persian Empire - 2 Chron.36: 22-23
Greek Empire - 1 Maccabees 1: 1- 9
Roman Empire - 1 Maccabees 8: 1- 16
( A little guide to Daniel 2: 34-35 )

Luke 2: 1, Luke 3: 1 , John 1: 11 , Mat. 23: 37 - 39 , Mat. 21: 43 , Acts 23: 11 , Rom. 1: 8

You are correct that all Baptized persons are Christians.
However the Community or Church was referred to in 105AD as the Catholic Church. The usage indicated that the title “Catholic Church” was already well known.

In case you weren’t aware, Constantine wasn’t emperor in the 3rd century. If you’d learn a little history, you’d know why the orthodox Church had do distinguish itself from Arianism, and you’d also know that Constantine didn’t establish any religion by law. The Arian’s did exactly what the Protestants today do. They interpreted scripture according to their own personal interpertation. That’s how they decided that Jesus wasn’t God. Arius himself could quote scriptue to defend his position. The Council of Nicea was called specifically to deal with the issue of Arianism. By the time of the Council 325 Constantine was emperor, and since he agreed with the Catholic position, that Jesus was actually God, it’s a good thing that the version he followed was defined as the orthodox position.

Thanks, for the sources…Amazon, here I come!

Yes, I know when Constantine was in power (I was replying to the claim that Catholic was first capitalized in the 3rd OR 4th century). I HAVE “learned a little about history”, but I must assume you mean Catholic history. As far as your comparison b/w Arianism and Protestantism, the NT states very clearly that there will be false teachers/teachings. Combating this has been an ongoing process from the beginning (Paul was very good at pointing this out). Thanks to Luther (or not), this came to a head at a very bad time in Catholic history and this huge line was drawn in the sand, but “reformers” were always present…always seeking the gospel (as Paul talked about sooooo many times).

Back to the history of the Church…let’s settle one thing. The Catholic Church was NOT the first church as is claimed by many. Judaism was the first church, period.

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