The first religion/church?


#1

My question: How do we know and where can we find out what faith was the original one? Being raised Catholic I was obviously taught that the Catholic faith is the one true church. How do we know and where can we prove that? And if that’s true, where do so many other Christian denominations get the history to back up their belief that their church is the "one true church?"
Thank you :slight_smile:


#2

[quote=beachieca]My question: How do we know and where can we find out what faith was the original one? Being raised Catholic I was obviously taught that the Catholic faith is the one true church. How do we know and where can we prove that? And if that’s true, where do so many other Christian denominations get the history to back up their belief that their church is the "one true church?"
Thank you :slight_smile:
[/quote]

One way is to look at the writings of the early Church, see what they believed, and see which modern church believes the same thing. The Catholic Church fits the bill. (People will be able to take isolated quotes to try to say that the opposite is true, but when the entire mass of early writings are read in context, this is not true).


#3

Writings of the early church…which ones and where can I read these writings? I’m very curious to know. I recently talked to a Pastor and questioned him about where certain beliefs of the Catholic faith came from. (yes, I asked a Priest first and he said that most of them came with History and weren’t originally set to be that way. Which only confused me more…) Anyway, the Pastor said that beliefs such as the importance of the Blessed Mother in the Catholic Church came from the mystery religions of Babylon. That those teachings of these Mystery religions were wrong and not at all the teachings of Christ. Instead of banishing those religions the church said that they would incorporate their beliefs somehow so as to appease them. (This Pastor used to be Catholic…I didn’t know that until after the fact). So was he correct? Or…I don’t know. Any help??


#4

You have to look for writings of the church fathers and you have to remember Mt 16,18


#5

[quote=beachieca]Writings of the early church…which ones and where can I read these writings? I’m very curious to know. I recently talked to a Pastor and questioned him about where certain beliefs of the Catholic faith came from. (yes, I asked a Priest first and he said that most of them came with History and weren’t originally set to be that way. Which only confused me more…) Anyway, the Pastor said that beliefs such as the importance of the Blessed Mother in the Catholic Church came from the mystery religions of Babylon. That those teachings of these Mystery religions were wrong and not at all the teachings of Christ. Instead of banishing those religions the church said that they would incorporate their beliefs somehow so as to appease them. (This Pastor used to be Catholic…I didn’t know that until after the fact). So was he correct? Or…I don’t know. Any help??
[/quote]

No, he is completely mistaken. A really good source to address a lot of these points would be the book Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. It is very good in terms of these sorts of accusations.

The general problem with this sort of arguement is that it is a logical fallacy. The techincal term is post hoc ad hoc ergo hoc. This means that it assumes that just because one thing is similar to something that came before it, that the new thing is based on or comes from the old thing. This is simply untrue. In fact, this same arguement can be applied to general Christianity as well as Catholic Christianity. For instance, the concept of the Trinity is similar to some egyptian gods. The very same arguement your Pastor friend is using is used by atheists all the time to say that the Trinity is simply a Christian adaptation of Egyptian paganism.

If you want to read more, I suggest:

Tracking the First Pagans

Bogus Babylon

Did The Catholic Church Have Its Origins in Paganism?

For Mary, I suggest you read any of these


#6

Writings of the Early Fathers…

newadvent.com/fathers

You can also buy a 3 volume set. It’s called
Faith of the Early Fathers by William Jurgens.

An excellent book that explains scriptural and historical support for the papacy is
Upon This Rock by Stephen K. Ray

I don’t know how anyone can read Upon This Rock and not be convinced that the Catholic Church is the only Church directly founded by Christ.


#7

Lazerlike42–

Thank you for those links.

"from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings. "
That quote is off of the page containing info.about Mary. When I asked the Priest this question, he said that when it was put in the Catholic Doctrine the Pope said that Mary could have been born sinless, but we didn’t know one way or the other. Now if a Catholic Priest is teaching that, why does it say here that she in fact was born sinless and in a state of sanctifying grace?


#8

[quote=beachieca]Writings of the early church…which ones and where can I read these writings?
[/quote]

**EXCERPTS FROM THE EPISTLES OF ST IGNATIUS OF ****ANTIOCH. ****BORN 50AD. MARTYRED IN ROME BETWEEN 98-117AD. ****DISCIPLE OF THE APOSTLE ST JOHN. ****APPOINTED AS BISHOP OF ANTIOCH BY ST PETER. **LED TO ROME IN CHAINS AND DEVOURED BY WILD BEASTS.

[font=Arial][/font]
**[font=Arial]IGNATIUS TO THE SMYRNAEANS

From Eucharist and prayer they hold aloof, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His loving-kindness raised from the dead. And so, those who question the gift of God perish in their contentiousness. It would be better for them to have love, so as to share in the resurrection. It is proper, therefore, to avoid associating with such people and not to speak about them either in private or in public, but to study the Prophets attentively and, especially, the Gospel, in which the Passion is revealed to us and the Resurrection shown in its fulfillment. Shun division as the beginning of evil.

You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God’s commandment. Let no one do
anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus everything you do will be proof against danger, and valid.

It is consonant with reason, therefore, that we should come to our senses, while we still have time to change our ways and turn to God. It is well to revere God and bishop. He who honors a bishop is honored by God. He who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop worships the devil. May all things, then, be yours in abundance through grace, for you deserve it. You have brought relief to me in every respect, and may Jesus Christ do so to you! Whether I was absent or present, you have shown me love. Your reward is God, to whom you will come if you endure all things for His sake.

[left][/font]**[/left]


#9

[quote=beachieca]Lazerlike42–

Thank you for those links.

"from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings. "
That quote is off of the page containing info.about Mary. When I asked the Priest this question, he said that when it was put in the Catholic Doctrine the Pope said that Mary could have been born sinless, but we didn’t know one way or the other. Now if a Catholic Priest is teaching that, why does it say here that she in fact was born sinless and in a state of sanctifying grace?
[/quote]

Because the priest is a heterodox individual who thinks he knows better than the Church (or is simply ignorant of the facts, but this is such a basic fact it would be extremely difficult for him to be that unedcuated). You will, unfortunately, find that there are many priests who teach their own beliefs as opposed to those of the Church. This problem is decreasing as more and more young priests are coming out of the seminaries, which tend to be better these days.


#10

If you wish to understand the Immaculate conception more, then I can provide that information. One important fact is that the early Christians believed in the Immaculate Conception before they had really even cleared up the doctrine of the Trinity (in other words, before they really stated much about the Trinity. The Trinity was always a belief, obviously).


#11

[quote=beachieca]My question: How do we know and where can we find out what faith was the original one? Being raised Catholic I was obviously taught that the Catholic faith is the one true church. How do we know and where can we prove that? And if that’s true, where do so many other Christian denominations get the history to back up their belief that their church is the "one true church?"
Thank you :slight_smile:
[/quote]

There is really no answer to your question–it’s kind of like asking “which of the people living today is the original human being.”

Catholicism and Orthodoxy can both trace direct descent from the early Church. As I see it, neither of these churches has any grounds for claiming to be more “original” than the other. (There are other Eastern churches that can also make a similar claim and call themselves “Orthodox,” but I’ll try to keep things simple.)

The various forms of Protestantism all arose from some kind of “reform”–some attempt to reverse more recent developments and return to what the “reformers” (rightly or wrongly) thought was the original form of Christianity. In that sense, Protestants have less of a claim to be the “original” church than Catholicism and Orthodoxy do. However, we see ourselves as descended from the pre-Reformation Church (though some radical Protestants–who usually don’t like being called Protestants–claim to have no connection with the Catholic Church and to be either a revival of a true Christianity long vanished or a continuation of medieval dissenting groups). We hold to the faith of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. We think we are also part of the one Catholic Church descended from the Apostles. (Catholicism doesn’t entirely disagree–it says that we are in “imperfect communion” and retain some, but not all, aspects of the Church.)

Most Protestant denominations and local churches would not claim to be the “one true Church.” We claim to be part of that Church, not the whole.

The pastor you talked to is spouting typical fundamentalist bunk. Of course Catholic beliefs and piety are influenced by paganism–why is that bad? (Secularists can make a good case that the whole idea of a virgin birth and a dying/rising god is a pagan idea. We’re all in that particular boat together, though Catholics and Orthodox have more “pagan” elements than Protestants–which I think is mostly a good thing.) The specific arguments about “Babylonian mystery religions,” though, are totally ridiculous. They spring out of fundamentalist exegesis of the Book of Revelation, not out of sound historical scholarship.

The Virgin Mary is unquestionably a Christian replacement for pagan mother goddesses. But again, I don’t think this is bad unless it detracts from the saving role of Christ. People would not hunger so deeply for a mother goddess figure unless there were some truth and reality there. The difference, of course, is that the Virgin Mary was created by her own Son. She is purely human, not divine, but she is (in Catholic theology) transfigured by grace. She fulfills the truth that lay behind the mother-goddess myths and she prefigures what we will all become.

Much of the Protestant hostility to Mary comes from a disbelief in the idea that human beings can be really, truly transformed and divinized by grace. This belief is at the heart of orthodox Christianity, but many Protestants think it is some sort of pagan heresy.

In my opinion, the legitimate Protestant objections to Mary come from the concern that she is sometimes seen as being closer to us or more sympathetic than Jesus. That is a serious error. Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine. No one, not even Mary, can sympathize with our weakness as much as He can. As long as that truth is maintained, I don’t have a problem with Marian piety, although as a Protestant I find much of it alien and only practice it in very restrained ways.

In Christ,

Edwin


#12

[quote=beachieca]My question: How do we know and where can we find out what faith was the original one? Being raised Catholic I was obviously taught that the Catholic faith is the one true church. How do we know and where can we prove that? And if that’s true, where do so many other Christian denominations get the history to back up their
[/quote]

belief that their church is the "one true church?"
Thank you :)One place that you can look, (as you’ve already been advise to do) is in the writings of the ECF. One of the most definitive is this Letter of Ignatius of Antioch to the Church at Smyrna and look him up on New Advent to see just who he was. Also, I recommend the Didache since it dates to the time of the New Testament.

Where do non-Catholic churches get their assertion that they have roots in the early church? That’s pretty simple really. They tend to say that because they can support their teachings with New Testament scripture that they are connected, but when you begin to look into the ECF you find that they are wrong and that the early church was very very much Catholic in it’s teachings.

Some will try to pull statements from the ECF out of context and say that they support them, but if you look at the context it always proves not to be the case.
Pax tecum,


#13

[quote=Lazerlike42]If you wish to understand the Immaculate conception more, then I can provide that information. One important fact is that the early Christians believed in the Immaculate Conception before they had really even cleared up the doctrine of the Trinity (in other words, before they really stated much about the Trinity. The Trinity was always a belief, obviously).
[/quote]

That’s not a fact at all. The first statement I know of that could possibly be taken as an endorsement of the Immaculate Conception is by Augustine–though Augustine also said things that seem incompatible with the IC. The IC as an explicit doctrine is impossible without the doctrine of original sin, which was not fully developed before Augustine’s time.

References to Mary as “spotless/immaculate” do not constitute an endorsement of the immaculate conception, any more than references to Jesus as in some way divine constitute a developed doctrine of the Trinity (in fact much less so, I’d claim). Your statement is completely false–you are comparing very undeveloped doctrines that can be seen as prefiguring the IC with the fully developed doctrine of the Trinity. That’s a completely unfair comparison.

Edwin


#14

[quote=Contarini]That’s not a fact at all. The first statement I know of that could possibly be taken as an endorsement of the Immaculate Conception is by Augustine–though Augustine also said things that seem incompatible with the IC. The IC as an explicit doctrine is impossible without the doctrine of original sin, which was not fully developed before Augustine’s time.

References to Mary as “spotless/immaculate” do not constitute an endorsement of the immaculate conception, any more than references to Jesus as in some way divine constitute a developed doctrine of the Trinity (in fact much less so, I’d claim). Your statement is completely false–you are comparing very undeveloped doctrines that can be seen as prefiguring the IC with the fully developed doctrine of the Trinity. That’s a completely unfair comparison.

Edwin
[/quote]

I am taking the same standard for each. The first explicit reference to the idea of the Immaculate Conception precedes the first explicit reference to the idea of the Trinity. By explicit I do not mean using the term “Trinity” or “Immaculate Conception.” I forget exactly where I got this from, but I know it was legitimate. If someone could help out I would be appreicative.


#15

The roots of the teaching can be found in scripture as we can see by the greeting Gabriel used in addressing Mary…

bringyou.to/apologetics/a116.htm


#16

Hippolytus

He [Jesus] was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle [Mary] was exempt from defilement and corruption (*Orat. In Illud, Dominus pascit me, in Gallandi, Bibl. Patrum, II, 496 *ante A.D. 235]).


#17

[quote=beachieca]My question: How do we know and where can we find out what faith was the original one? Thank you :slight_smile:
[/quote]

The Acts of the Apostles as well as the 4 Gospels. From the event of Jesus calling of the first disciples to Saint Paul preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching about our Lord Jesus Christin Rome. The foundations of truth of the faith of our church of Jesus Christ can be found there. Time has passed on since these events, but the word of God is eternal.


#18

[quote=beachieca]My question: How do we know and where can we find out what faith was the original one? Being raised Catholic I was obviously taught that the Catholic faith is the one true church. How do we know and where can we prove that? And if that’s true, where do so many other Christian denominations get the history to back up their belief that their church is the "one true church?"
Thank you :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Simple!

The CC was the True Church Christ established and would’ve been the ONLY Christian church if only Martin Luther got a clue!:wink:


#19

[quote=1Christ1Church]The Acts of the Apostles as well as the 4 Gospels. From the event of Jesus calling of the first disciples to Saint Paul preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching about our Lord Jesus Christin Rome. The foundations of truth of the faith of our church of Jesus Christ can be found there. Time has passed on since these events, but the word of God is eternal.
[/quote]

True…except that there is some 2,000 years of Christian writings that show us pretty specificaly what the church taught. Some 1500 of that is consistent with Catholic teaching. Only after “the reformation” was there any persistent and grave departure from those teachings, and the Catholic Church has long since answered the errors that resulted from that time, and we continue to do so today.

It’s not the scriptures that are in error, but the the interpretations that came from those “reformers”.
Pax tecum,


#20

[quote=Lazerlike42]I am taking the same standard for each. The first explicit reference to the idea of the Immaculate Conception precedes the first explicit reference to the idea of the Trinity. By explicit I do not mean using the term “Trinity” or “Immaculate Conception.” I forget exactly where I got this from, but I know it was legitimate. If someone could help out I would be appreicative.
[/quote]

Well, I await a specific example. I’m extremely skeptical about this claim.

Edwin


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