The early Christians or, 'Catholics' got it wrong!

This concept of “born again” has only existed for about 200 years… before that, this would have been scoffed at. They’d probably put you on a log with rocks, to see if you floated…

I like this! :slight_smile: Thanks.

Thanks everyone, I wanted to note that each time I tell him about something we understand differently he says bluntly, “see theres another point where we disagree. We interpret scripture differently” and when I talk about teachings being passed down through apostolic succession, “It comes to the point where tradition becomes bad when the meaning of it all is lost. People don’t even know why they do it”. :shrug: As someone mentioned previously, it seems hard for me to get a clear answer to any objections.

He also claims that it was wrong of the Church to hold the bible to itself in its early days. I mentioned how it was to restrict heretical teachings, interpretations and copies. Nevertheless he uses this to point out how the reformation changed everything, as people started to understand God’s will and the teachings of Jesus through intense study of scripture. John Calvin and his followers found the Truth!!! :o

I will raise this point. However, he mentions that although he doesn’t know all the history, he knows that even the Jews themselves agree on the reformed version of the bible i.e. when the 7 books are removed.


I think this member (sorry, I really do not have anything personal against you) sounds almost exactly like the Presbyterian friend I am currently talking through things with. Hopefully I will find out the ‘real reason’ why he left. So far it seems like it is because of doctrine, as it seems like he knew very little about Catholicism when he was Catholic. Because if you do know your stuff, you wouldn’t have it any other way right? :stuck_out_tongue:

The 2000 years is related to the accuracy of their testimony about what Jesus said, and what the Apostles taught. Who do you think understand and accurately teach what the Apostles taught and meant? Those who learned directly from them, or someone 2000 years later who disagrees with them. In your example, if we were discussing the terrorists motives for their evil actions, should we listen to the testimony of their friends and family, or the contrary opinion of someone sitting on his hovercraft in the year 4000?

About trusting the Church and Bible, they both testify to each other, along with Tradition. Consider this, the men who wrote the NT were personal witnesses to their claims that Jesus rose from the dead. If they were lying, they would know. They didn’t rely on the testimony of others, they claimed to personally witness the Resurrection. And they willingly went to their deaths instead of recanting their testimony. You may find one person who is willing to die for something he personally knows is a lie, but you won’t find such a large group.

I would approach it this way…

A. The church fathers were taught by the apostles, or the first students of the apostles. If they were confused, they could ask for clarification. 1500 years later, Calvin didn’t have such to make sure he was interpreting the Bible correctly. Look at the writings of those who could ask for first hand clarification… they indicate Catholic interpretations, not protestant ones. The early fathers are not inspired writings, but they give great insight. Into how the scriptures were interpreted by the first Christians.

B. Your friend may be closer to the tipping point than you realize. By his claims that the church fathers got it wrong, hes admitting the earliest Christians were Catholic. He has to claim they got it wrong because thats the only place he can go. If they were right, the original teachings of Christ were Catholic, but he doesnt seem to want to accept that.

C. Ask him where the doctrines of Calvin are found in the earliest historical record. When he can’t, ask him if it really makes sense that just about every uniquely Catholic teaching is found in the early Christian writings, but uniquely Calvinist teachings are absent. Does it make sense that Calvin somehow got it right and all the earliest Christians (who could question an apostle back and forth to make sure they understood) didn’t?

I agree with the other posters who said there was something emotional keeping him away. Find that, and show him how the faith is bigger than one person, and perhaps his whole house of cards will fall.

I probably am thinking like him (dont worry i wouldnt think you had anything against me! :D), the only difference I can see is that I have never been catholic.

The only thing I would say, is be careful not to stereotype and say “he obviously doesn’t know his stuff”, he may very well and just see it in a different way, come to a different conclusion. As an ex mormon, I get the “well she obviously didn’t understand the teachings of the church” from the LDS church quite a bit. I think its easy for those who see it “as truth” to fall into this trap. The same way a lot of atheists seem to think us believers cant use logic and don’t have rational thought. While some may leave the church for wrong reasons…ie falling out with another parishioner or something a priest said, this isn’t always the case and its worth bearing in mind that just because he has come to a different conclusion, doesn’t mean he isn’t knowledgeable in the churches teachings. Knowledge and accepting something are two different things. I could probably argue from the catholic perspective on a number of topics now, I know quite a bit about how you guys view things, how the church views things, what it teaches etc. I have the knowledge, but I still don’t accept the church and therefore generally wouldn’t argue from the churches perspective? does that make sense?

Well of course the Church, Bible and tradition testify to each other…the apostles wrote the letters that were in the Bible and are the source of tradition. The catholic church compiled the Bible. Something which is connected by the same people is hardly going to contradict each other are they? My point is that they may have got things wrong still…I don’t know if this is deliberately or accidentally but my point is that we have no way of knowing, since the “proof” ie the bible, church and tradition, all have their source in the apostles. Your last point I agree with, which is why I accept Jesus is the son of God and existed. I’m not saying they made everything up, I’m not even saying they got everything wrong. I’m just saying they are imperfect people who could have quite easily taught some things wrong and we have no real way of knowing that. Its the specifics I’m talking about. It would take an idiot to die for a made up person, but it doesn’t take an idiot to mistakenly teach something which was never meant to be taught.

If the early Christians “got it wrong,” how can we POSSIBY get it right; if down through the generations wrong teachings were being passed on???

Although my friend didn’t say this. I begin to scratch my head when I think of possible responses. One could be something like “the bible was inspired by God, not the teachings of the early Christians or Catholics. They are wrong and since the reformation we have been able to properly understand the Word of God”.

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