Were Catholics the First Christians or the first organized Chuch? I stated that Catholics were the 1st Christians and someone said that I was incorrect that the 1st Christians were not Catholic. Now I am not sure… should I restate what I said and state that the Catholic Church was the 1st Christian Church?
Yes, the Catholic Church was the only show in town. Someone who disagrees can’t just throw out denials. They need to show a better alternative. I have yet to see this–most of the time it is special pleading, arguing from silence and lots of wishful thinking like the baptist successionist absurdity.
Protestants who say the first Christians were not Catholic (in doctrine) are either not be honest in reflecting on the Post Apostloic writings or they simply have not read them and yet state opinoins. One cannot read Clement of Rome’s order to the Corinthian Church, which was 600 miles away (john was still alive and 200 miles away in Ephuses) and outside his diocese, to reinstate their leaders and say that he was not acting as a Pope. He is listed by early writers such as Irenaus (150 AD) and Eusebeus (250) as the third successor of Peter. You cannot read the many very explicit statements by the likes of Ignatius (110 AD), Irenaus, and the Didache (100 AD) and say the Church was not Cathlic. Confession of sins, baptismal regeneration, primacy of Rome and many other very CAtholic doctrines are contianed in these witings, including many reflections about Mary.
The Term CAtholic was not used for the Church as far as we can tell until about 110 AD by Ignatius of Antioch, though it may have been used. It became widespread because the term Christian got so watered down as it is today. Everyone from oneness pentecostals to mormons and JW’s claims the term.
You can also check on the story of some of the Protestants who came to the Church. One pentecostal guy, Alex Jones, of off hand went to these writings to give his Church a more early Church look and feel. He started reading and came to a realizatoin they were not pentecostal. They were not baptist. They were Catholic. In the end he had to convert and brought half his congragation with him. Another who I am having trouble remembering the name, but have his tapes somewhere began reading the ECF and after several months he said to his wife “honey I’ve been reading the Early Church Fathers for months and their a’int a baptist among them”. He was an Independant Baptist Pastor. He came to the conclusion that they were Catholic and so entered the Church himself.
If you want to read the ECF for yourself they are available online newadvent.org/fathers/. Start out with the Didach, Clements letter to the Cornithians, Irganitus, Justin Martyr and Irenaus. That should pretty well settle the question for you. Then never doudt the Catholic Church again. Peace.
I thought all along that the very first Christians were Jews and maybe a couple of Greeks. Even went to temple till they were asked to leave for causing disruption.<<
The first converts to Christianity were Jewish and gentile. They identified themselves with the sign of a cross, or a symbol of a fish. They had no churches then, so they gathered either in secret to avoid persecution, or they met in the Temple or synagogues. (Synagogues back then were more like classrooms for what we would call today bible-study.)
When the Jerusalem Christians refused to fight against the Romans and fled to Antioch leaving the Jews in Jerusalem to fend for themselves, the Jews decided they would no longer tolerate Christians in the synagogues. (This is what the Jews called the Hurban; the destruction of the Temple, city of Jerusalem, and the dissolving of the rabbinate circa 70-72 AD.)
This is why in 90 AD, at the council of Jammnia, the Jews excluded any NT writings, as well as what is called the apocrypha from their scriptures. (The apocrypha was accepted in the Greek septuagint, and, as one can understand, the Jews didn’t feel very accomodating towards Greek writings at that time.)
After Ignatius of Antioch, “Catholic” became the term that separated those Christians who held to the teaching of the Apostles and their successors via the laying on of the hands from the heretics. (Heretic is the antiquated word for Protestant.)
So… a first century Christian, and a second century Catholic are the same as they follow the teachings of the Apostles and their “authorized” successors.
Ignatius of Antioch was the first to record the use of the name “Catholic Church” in 107 A.D. That’s only 73 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. I don’t know the life expectancy from that time, but it is not unimagineable that some people living at the time that Ignatius’ recorded the name “Catholic Church” would have been alive when Jesus walked the earth. Historians believe that the use of the name was in use for some time before Ignatius recorded it- possibly from the beginning.
“The Church Jesus established was known by its most common title, “the Catholic Church,” at least as early as the year 107, when Ignatius of Antioch used that title to describe the one Church Jesus founded. The title apparently was old in Ignatius’s time, which means it probably went all the way back to the time of the apostles.” - From "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" catholic.com/library/pillar.asp
The Ignatian letters are wonderful proof for those who challenge the fact that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ:
(from New Advent)
Contents of the letters It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the importance of the testimony which the Ignatian letters offer to the dogmatic character of Apostolic Christianity. The martyred Bishop of Antioch constitutes a most important link between the Apostles and the Fathers of the early Church. **Receiving from the Apostles themselves, whose auditor he was, not only the substance of revelation, but also their own inspired interpretation of it; dwelling, as it were, at the very fountain-head of Gospel truth, his testimony must necessarily carry with it the greatest weight and demand the most serious consideration. **Cardinal Newman did not exaggerate the matter when he said (“The Theology of the Seven Epistles of St. Ignatius”, in “Historical Sketches”, I, London, 1890) that “the whole system of Catholic doctrine may be discovered, at least in outline, not to say in parts filled up, in the course of his seven epistles”. Among the many Catholic doctrines to be found in the letters are the following: the Church was Divinely established as a visible society, the salvation of souls is its end, and those who separate themselves from it cut themselves off from God (Philad., c. iii); the hierarchy of the Church was instituted by Christ (lntrod. to Philad.; Ephes., c. vi); the threefold character of the hierarchy (Magn., c. vi); the order of the episcopacy superior by Divine authority to that of the priesthood (Magn., c. vi, c. xiii; Smyrn., c. viii;. Trall., .c. iii);the unity of the Church (Trall., c. vi;Philad., c. iii; Magn., c. xiii);the holiness of the Church (Smyrn., Ephes., Magn., Trall., and Rom.); the catholicity of the Church (Smyrn., c. viii); the infallibility of the Church (Philad., c. iii; Ephes., cc. xvi, xvii); the doctrine of the Eucharist (Smyrn., c. viii), which word we find for the first time applied to the Blessed Sacrament, just as in Smyrn., viii, we meet for the first time the phrase “Catholic Church”, used to designate all Christians; the Incarnation (Ephes., c. xviii); the supernatural virtue of virginity, already much esteemed and made the subject of a vow (Polyc., c. v); the religious character of matrimony (Polyc., c. v); the value of united prayer (Ephes., c. xiii); the primacy of the See of Rome (Rom., introd.). He, moreover, denounces in principle the Protestant doctrine of private judgment in matters’ of religion (Philad. c. iii), The heresy against which he chiefly inveighs is Docetism. Neither do the Judaizing heresies escape his vigorous condemnation.
***PROVIDE EVIDENCE SHOWING THAT JESUS FOUNDED CATHOLICISM. ***
Jesus founded Catholicism on the first pope: Peter (Matt 16:18 ). There exists abundant evidence proving that the Early Christian Church was Catholic in faith, worship and government (see the pages entitled: THE EARLY CHURCH WAS CATHOLIC). The date of foundation of every non-Catholic Christian group can be given, and in no case is it 30 AD, and their founder is not Jesus. Only the Catholic Church goes back in every respect to her foundation by Christ Himself. Christ, who is God, founded a Church. He promised it would last to the end of time. Therefore, His Church exists in the world at the present day. Christ imprinted certain marks on His Church so that people could always identify it. No church, therefore, can be His Church, unless it possesses ALL those marks. The Catholic Church alone possesses them. Only the Catholic Church is **one, holy, catholic and apostolic **. (See also Nicene Creed, 325 AD.)
Catholicism/Orthodoxy can trace their roots to the first century. Yes, early Christianity was varied with atleast three main groups: Jewish Christians, Gnostics, and Pauline Christians. This variation was the central reason why Constantine convened the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. He wanted to know what true Christianity was. The Nicean Creed was formulated and Gnosticism was rejected. Contrary to Protestant belief, Constantine did not “found” the Catholic Church or make himself Pope and the Bible as we know it was not compiled yet. The texts existed, but the canon was not formulated. That took place in 397 A.D.