The true history of the Catholic Church


I came across a pastor of “non-denominational” denomination church. He told me how 95% of his church are ex-Catholics. He told me this “fairy tale” about how the Catholic Church began (which he has probably said to many other of his ex-Catholics members). He said prior to Constantine, the church was mostly people of the “written word”. The biggest “fairy tale” was how Constantine wanted to attract the pagans into the Christian Church. Since the pagans had different Gods and Goddesses (i.e., the Goddess of the Ocean, etc.), that the Constantine had the Catholic church start the worshipping to Mary and the Saints in order to attract pagans.

I’m looking for some good books on the history of the Catholic Church (from around the time of Constantine). So please let me know of any recommendations.

God Bless,


Ask him to substantiate his claims with evidence. He will probably quote a book by some person with an ax to grind. Investigate the sources and that will cause his argument to crumble.


An excellent source is from the Early Church Fathers themselves. The pre-Nicene Fathers clearly demonstrate a Catholic Church via their writings. You can find them online at New Advent. But, they are in no particular order nor are they indexed for doctrinal themes.

So, a good book that has the Father’s writings plus an index is Wililam Jurgen’s Faith of the Early Fathers. Volume 1 would be a great start.

For history of the early Church, Warren Carroll’s The Founding Of Christendom is excellent.

Another good book is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: The Early Church Was The Catholic Church by Whitehead


A few books I would recommend are:

A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson - Oxford historian. Good sweeping book of history.

*The Churches the Apostles Left Behind * by Raymond E. Brown
He was a Catholic priest who taught at a Protestant seminary.

*In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000 *by Michelle Brown
Great book about how the bible was put together and translated and used for the first 1000 years.

Constantine’s Bible: Politics And the Making of the New Testament
by David L. Dungan I have just started this but it is suppose to look at the development of the bible and the politics around it.


The seven letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, written c. A.D. 107

Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words, by Rob Bennett, Ignatius Press


Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church by H.W. Crocker III was pretty good, and had a sense of humor.


Or Warren Carroll’s massive work on the History of Christendom


Don: that’s a pretty funny and unusual view that pastor’s developed.

I’d read Thomas Boekenketter’s history of the Catholic Church; Doubleday’s imprint Anchor, I think it is, put this out in the 60s or 70s. Very approachable, fun to read, nice overall look at the developlment of Christianity and the CAtholic Church as subsequent schisms.

The Paul Johnson history I’ve just recently picked up and abandoned about 200 pages in; it’s point of view is too episcopalian, and he tries to present the view that the papacy is a much later development; that bishops and councils really ran the church through much of history; very anecdotal history, he picks up and puts down whatever he wants to. Bright guy, though, but jars a bit with standard historical views.

Good luck: there’s a lot of nutty stuff on Constantine to weed through.

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