Were the Early Christians Roman Catholic

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  1. Chad

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    Were the Early Christians Roman Catholics?
    (part 1)

    Part 2: read here

    Mary Ann Collins
    (A Former Catholic Nun)
    www.CatholicConcerns.com

    The Roman Catholic Church claims that the early Christians were all Roman Catholics, and that (aside from the Orthodox Church) all Christians were Roman Catholics until the Protestant Reformation. It claims that the Apostle Peter was the first Pope, ruling from Rome. It also claims that it gave us the Bible.

    But do these claims stand up to the test of history? Or are they false credentials?

    There is historical evidence that the Roman Catholic Church began with Emperor Constantine. Many Protestants believe that throughout Church history, there have been many true Christians who were not Catholics, and these Christians were often killed by the Catholic Church. They also believe that Peter was just one of the apostles, and that the Catholic Church only copied and preserved the Bible, which God had already given to us.

    EMPEROR CONSTANTINE

    On October 28, 312 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine met with Bishop Miltiades. (Catholics would later refer to him as Pope Miltiades. But at the time he was known as the Bishop of Rome.) Miltiades was assisted by Silvester, a Roman who spoke educated Latin, and acted as interpreter. The previous day, Constantine had seen a sign in the heavens: a cross in front of the sun. He heard a voice say, "In this sign you will conquer." He painted crosses on the shields of his soldiers. He won an important battle, and was convinced that it was because of the power of the sign that he had seen. He asked for two of the nails that were used to crucify Jesus. One nail was made into a bit for his horse. Another nail was made a part of his crown, signifying that Constantine ruled the Roman Empire in the name of Jesus. He allowed Miltiades to keep the third nail. [Note 1]

    The fact that Constantine saw the cross and the sun together may explain why he worshiped the Roman sun god while at the same time professing to be a Christian. After his "conversion," Constantine built a triumphal arch featuring the Roman sun god (the "unconquered sun"). His coins featured the sun. Constantine made a statue of the sun god, with his own face on it, for his new city of Constantinople. He made Sunday (the day of the sun god) into a day of rest when work was forbidden. [Note 2]

    Constantine declared that a mosaic of the Roman sun god (riding in a chariot) was a representation of Jesus. During Constantine's reign, many Christians incorporated worship of the Roman sun god into their religion. They prayed kneeling towards the east (where the sun rises). They said that Jesus Christ drives his chariot across the sky (like the Roman sun god). They had their worship services on Sunday, which honored the Roman sun god. (Days of the week were named to honor pagan gods. For example, Saturday is "Saturn's day," named for the Roman god Saturn.) They celebrated the birth of Jesus on December 25, the day when sun worshipers celebrated the birthday of the sun following the winter solstice. [Note 3]

    Historians disagree as to whether or not Constantine actually became a Christian. His character certainly did not reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ. Constantine was vain, violent, and superstitious. His combination of worshiping the Christian God and the old Roman sun god may have been an attempt to cover all the bases. (A similar spirit can be seen in Americans who financially support both opposing candidates during an election. No matter who wins, they expect to have the favor of the person in power.)

    Constantine had little if any respect for human life. He was known for wholesale slaughter during his military campaigns. He forced prisoners of war to fight for their lives against wild beasts. He had several family members (including his second wife) executed for doubtful reasons. Constantine waited until he was dying before he asked to be baptized. Historians disagree as to whether or not he actually was baptized. [Note 4]

    Constantine wanted to have a state Church, with Christian clergy acting as civil servants. He called himself a Bishop. He said that he was the interpreter of the Word of God, and the voice which declares what is true and godly. According to historian Paul Johnson, Constantine saw himself as being an important agent of salvation, on a par with the apostles. Bishop Eusebius (Constantine's eulogist) relates that Constantine built the Church of the Apostles with the intention of having his body be kept there along with the bodies of the apostles. Constantine's coffin was to be in the center (the place of honor), with six apostles on each side of him. He expected that devotions honoring the apostles would be performed in the church, and he expected to share the title and honor of the apostles. [Note 5]

    Constantine told Bishop Miltiades that he wanted to build two Christian basilicas, one dedicated to the Apostle Peter and one dedicated to the Apostle Paul. He offered a large, magnificent palace for the use of Miltiades and his successors. Miltiades refused. He could not accept the idea of having Christianity be promoted by the Roman Empire. [Note 6]

    Constantine rode off to war. By the time that he returned in 314 A.D., Miltiades had died. Bishop Silvester was Miltiades' successor. Silvester was eager to have the Church be spread using Roman roads, Roman wealth, Roman law, Roman power, and Roman military might. Constantine officially approved of Silvester as the successor of Miltiades. Then he had a coronation ceremony for Silvester and crowned him like a worldly prince. No bishop had ever been crowned before. [Note 7] Constantine's actions give the impression that he believed that he had authority over the Church.

    Before Constantine's "conversion," Christians were persecuted. Now, instead of facing persecution, Bishop Silvester lived in the lap of luxury. He had a beautiful palace, with the finest furniture and art. He wore silk brocade robes. He had servants to wait on him. Near his palace was a basilica which was to serve as his cathedral. This luxurious building had seven altars made of gold, a canopy of solid silver above the main altar, and 50 chandeliers. The imperial mail system and transportation system were placed at Silvester's disposal. It was now possible to have worldwide church councils. [Note 8]

    Read the Book of Acts and the Epistles and compare the Church shown there to the Church of Bishop Silvester. Here is how the Apostle Paul described the kinds of things that he had to endure, as a leader in the early Church.

    [quoteit] "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)[/quoteit]

    After Constantine's "conversion," the Church was radically changed. Suddenly, being Christian resulted in power, prestige, and promotion (whereas previously it had resulted in persecution). Suddenly, by the Emperor's decree, Christianity became "politically correct". So ambitious people joined the Church for worldly reasons. The Bishop of Rome was supported by the military might, political power, and wealth of the Roman Emperor. Worldwide church councils were convened.

    This was the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. It was created in the year 314 A.D. by Emperor Constantine and Bishop Silvester.

    A TALE OF TWO BISHOPS

    The degree of change which Constantine caused in the Church can be illustrated by looking at the lives of two Bishops of Rome. So let's go back in history for about 100 years before Christianity became "politically correct," to look at the life of Bishop Pontian. Then we will compare Pontian's life with the life of Bishop Silvester, who lived during the time of Emperor Constantine.

    (The following information about Bishops Pontian and Silvester comes from Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," pages 19-38.)

    Pontian became the Bishop of Rome in the year 230 A.D. He was made bishop suddenly and unexpectedly when his predecessor was arrested and killed by Roman authorities.

    On September 27, 235 A.D., Emperor Maximinus decreed that all Christian leaders were to be arrested. Christian buildings were burned, Christian cemeteries were closed, and the personal wealth of Christians was confiscated.

    Bishop Pontian was arrested the same day. He was put in the Mamertine Prison, where he was tortured for ten days. Then he was sent to work in the lead mines of Sardinia.

    The prisoners worked in the mines for 20 hours a day, with four one-hour breaks for sleep. They had one meal of bread and water per day. Most prisoners died within six to fourteen months from exhaustion, malnutrition, disease, beatings, infection, or violence.

    Pontian only lasted four months. In January, 236 A.D., Pontian was killed and his body was thrown into the cesspool.

    What happened to Pontian was not unusual. Many Christians were sent to the Sardinian lead mines, or persecuted in other ways. If a man accepted the position of being a Christian leader, he knew that his life from that time on was likely to be short and painful. There were 14 Bishops of Rome in the 79 years between the arrest of Pontian and the coronation of Silvester.

    In 314 A.D., Emperor Constantine crowned Silvester as Bishop of Rome. Silvester lived in luxury, with servants waiting on him. Constantine confessed his sins to Silvester and asked for his advice. Silvester presided over worldwide Church councils. He had a splendid palace and a sumptuous cathedral. He had power, prestige, wealth, pomp, and the favor of the Emperor.

    Churchmen wore purple robes, reflecting the purple of Constantine's court. That was an external change. The most important change was an internal one. The Church took on the mentality of Rome. Under Silvester, the internal structure of the Church took on the form and practice and pomp of Rome.

    Silvester died in December, 336 A.D. He died peacefully, in a clean, comfortable bed, in the Roman Lateran Palace. He died surrounded by well dressed bishops and priests, and attended by Roman guards. His body was dressed in ceremonial robes, put in an elegant casket, and carried through the streets of Rome in a solemn procession. He was buried with honor and ceremony, attended by the cream of Roman society and by the Roman people.

    It is understandable that many Christians would have preferred an officially approved status for the Church. But what was the result?

    Before Constantine, the church was a band of heroic men and women who were so committed to serve the Lord Jesus Christ that they would endure any hardship. After 314 A.D., the Church became infiltrated by opportunists who were seeking power and political advancement. Church leaders were no longer in danger of persecution. Rather, they enjoyed all the trappings of power and luxury.

    Historian Paul Johnson asks, "Did the empire surrender to Christianity, or did Christianity prostitute itself to the empire?" [Note 9]

    The temptation for an ungodly alliance with Rome was very great. But at what cost?

    STATE RELIGION

    In 380 A.D., Emperor Theodosius published an edict requiring that all Roman subjects profess the faith of the Bishop of Rome. Those who refused were considered to be "heretics". Jews, pagans, and "heretics" were subject to harsh punishments. In 390 A.D., Bishop Ambrose excommunicated Emperor Theodosius and required him to do penance for eight months in order to be restored to the Church. Theodosius complied. [Note 10]

    It is amazing how much power the Roman Catholic Church gained in less than a century. Constantine had promoted the Church by giving it special benefits. But Theodosius forced people to become Catholics by imposing harsh punishments on anybody who disagreed with the Bishop of Rome. Constantine had asked for advice from Bishop Silvester. But Theodosius obeyed orders given by Bishop Ambrose.

    Roman Catholicism was now the state religion of the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Church, which was born under Emperor Constantine, had now become so powerful that a bishop could give orders to the Roman Emperor.

    FROM MARTYRS TO "HERETIC" HUNTERS

    Eighteen years after Bishop Silvester died, Augustine was born. He became a bishop and a "doctor of the Church". He lived from 354 to 430 A.D.

    Augustine had a vision of an ideal society, with the Roman Catholic Church at its center, governing all aspects of human life. His ideal society required conformity in belief and practice. Augustine taught that it was right and necessary for the Catholic Church to make this happen, even if it meant coercing people to comply. This laid the theological foundation for persecuting "heretics" and for the Inquisition. [Note 11]

    The Roman Catholic Church went through an amazing transformation. Instead of being martyrs, Catholics became "heretic" hunters. They killed people who disagreed with them.

    For over a thousand years, the Roman Catholic Church hunted down "heretics" and killed them. Some of these "heretics" were people with strange beliefs. However, many of them were Bible-believing Christians.

    One well known group of Christian "heretics" were the Waldensians. They were persecuted from 1211 until the time of the Protestant Reformation. There are some Waldensian churches today. (See Appendix A.)

    Jesus predicted that true Christians would be persecuted and killed. He told His disciples,

    [quoteit]"Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:2)[/quoteit]

    For the Roman Catholic Church, "heresy" means to "obstinately" doubt or deny any official Catholic doctrine. [Note 12] Doctrines which have often been disputed include the authority of the Pope, purgatory, indulgences, the veneration of Mary and the saints, and transubstantiation (the doctrine that the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ are fully present in every fragment of consecrated bread).

    Some Catholic doctrines seem to conflict with the plain meaning of Scripture. As a result, people who read the Bible for themselves are likely to doubt or dispute those doctrines. One way of solving that problem is to prevent laymen from reading the Bible. The Catholic Church took that approach for hundreds of years.

    Starting about 1080, there were many incidents where scholars wanted to translate the Bible into the language of the common people, but it was forbidden by the Pope, Church councils, or individual bishops. [Note 13] William Tyndale was burned as a "heretic" because he translated the Bible into English. [Note 14] People were burned as "heretics" for owning or reading his translation. [Note 15]

    For centuries, Christians were forbidden to possess the Scriptures in any language, including Latin. Reading the Bible was considered to be proof that someone was a heretic. Men and women were burned at the stake for reading the Bible in Latin. [Note 16]

    With the Protestant Reformation, the Bible was translated into English, German, and other languages. With the invention of the printing press, Bibles became so plentiful that they could no longer be suppressed. That is why people like us, who are not Latin scholars, are able to read the Bible today.

    Acts 5:17-40 tells how the high priest and the Jewish leaders imprisoned the apostles and wanted to kill them because they were telling people about Jesus. Gamaliel, a respected rabbi, urged them not to persecute the Christians. He said,

    [quoteit] "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (Acts 5:38-39)[/quoteit]

    Jim Jones demonstrated that Gamaliel was right. He and his followers self destructed. The men who translated the Bible into the language of the common people also demonstrated that Gamaliel was right. The Catholic Church was unable to suppress the translation of the Bible.

    How does the persecution of "heretics" compare with the picture of Jesus that we see in the Gospels? Did Jesus try to force people to conform to His teachings?

    With amazing patience, Jesus kept on teaching the crowds of people, healing the sick and demonstrating the love and the power of God. When His disciples didn't understand His teachings, He explained them. (Luke 8:5-15) When the rich young man turned away from Jesus, He didn't rebuke him or threaten him. He let him go. (Matthew 19:16-22)

    In John 6:48-68, Jesus gave a teaching that was difficult for people to accept. Many of His disciples left him and no longer followed Him. He asked the Twelve, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67) He didn't threaten them or rebuke them. He didn't try to force them to believe what He taught them. He left them free to believe or not believe, to stay or to leave.

    THE BIBLE

    The Old Testament was written by God's inspired prophets, patriarchs, psalmists, judges, and kings. It was faithfully copied and preserved by Jewish scribes. Modern Protestant Bibles have the same content as the Hebrew Bible.

    The New Testament was written by Christian apostles. None of them were Catholics, because there was no Roman Catholic Church at the time. This was over two centuries before Constantine's "conversion".
    The early Church did not have the New Testament as we know it. Rather, individuals and local congregations had portions of it. They would have one or more of the Gospels, some of the letters which Apostles had written, and perhaps the Book of Acts or the Book of Revelation.

    Why weren't all of these books collected in one place? Look at what the books themselves say. Individual apostles wrote them for specific audiences. For example, the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were written for Theophilus. (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1) Most of the Epistles were written to specific churches or to specific individuals. (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:1; 3 John 1:1)

    The early Christians expected that Jesus would return for His Church at any moment. As a result, they didn't see the need for long-term planning for future generations. Furthermore, Christians were persecuted by the Romans. When your life is in constant danger, it is difficult to collect writings which are scattered all over the Roman Empire. So it took time to collect all of these writings, decide which ones were authoritative Scripture, and make complete sets of them.

    By the time of Origen (185-254 A.D.), there was general agreement about most of the New Testament. However, there was disagreement as to whether the following six epistles should be part of the New Testament canon: Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. This was sixty years before Constantine's "conversion" and the formation of the Roman Catholic Church in 314 A.D. By 367 A.D., all of the books of the New Testament were acknowledged as being authoritative Scripture. [Note 17]

    The canon of the New Testament was not formed by the decision of any Church council. Rather, the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.) listed as canonical "only those books that were generally regarded by the consensus of use as properly a canon". [Note 18] In other words, it didn't create the canon. Rather, it formally identified the canon that already existed.

    So the Catholic Church did not give us the Bible. However, it did help confirm the authenticity of six New Testament epistles. Also, Catholic monks faithfully preserved the Bible by copying it.
    The Catholic Church changed the Bible. In 1548, at the Council of Trent, it added the Apocrypha to the Bible. The apocryphal books contain passages which are used to justify some Catholic doctrines, such as praying for the dead. The Apocrypha are discussed in Appendix B.

    WAS PETER A POPE?

    Peter does not describe himself as being a high and mighty Pope, with authority over the entire Church. Rather, Peter calls himself "a servant". (2 Peter 1:1) He refers to himself as a fellow "elder". (1 Peter 5:1) Rather than claiming special authority for himself, Peter says that all believers are a "royal priesthood". (1 Peter 2:9) He tells Christian leaders that they are not to lord it over other Christians and they are not to covet riches ("filthy lucre"). (1 Peter 5:2-3)
    "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:1-3)

    [quoteit] "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9)[/quoteit]

    In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John confirms Peter's statement that all true believers are priests. (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10; 20:6) (Catholic Bibles refer to the Book of Revelation as "The Apocalypse".)

    How does Peter, as portrayed in the Bible, compare with the Pope, who sits on a throne, and is carried on the shoulders of men, seated on a litter like an oriental king? As head of the Catholic Church, the Pope controls immense wealth, with widespread investments around the world. The wealth of the Vatican is amazing. [Note 19]

    Catholic theologians claim that Jesus built the Christian Church on the Apostle Peter. They base this on Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter, "And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." A huge doctrine with immense historical consequences has been built upon one short verse. The question is, does the rock on which the church is built represent Peter or does it represent Jesus?

    Peter himself answers this question when he says that Jesus is a living stone. (1 Peter 2:4) (This is a Messianic prophecy which Peter quotes from Isaiah 28:16.) The Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ is our spiritual Rock. (1 Corinthians 10:4) In Romans 9:31-33, Paul says that Jesus was a rock of offense for the Israelites who were trying to be saved by works of the law instead of by faith.

    In the New Testament there are three words for "stone". "Lithos" means a stone like a mill stone or a stumbling stone. The other two words are "petra" and "petros". "Vine's Expository Dictionary" says that "petra" means "a mass of rock". It defines "petros" as "'a detached stone or boulder,' or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved."

    In Matthew 16:18, the word for Peter is "petros," a detached stone that can easily be moved. The word for the rock on which the church is built is "petra," a mass of rock. Other examples of the use of "petra" show what a huge mass of rock is meant by the word. They include the man who built his house on rock, as opposed to sand (Matthew 7:24-27) and the tomb where Jesus' body was put, which was carved out of a rock (Matthew 27:60).

    Did Peter act like he was in charge of the early Church? In the Book of Acts, Paul describes a controversy over whether or not gentile converts to Christianity should be required to be circumcised and follow the Jewish dietary laws. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles about it. (Acts 15:2-4) Peter and other people spoke. (Acts 15:7-13) Following a period of silence, James (not Peter) made the final decision in the matter. He called it a "sentence". According to "Strong's Concordance" the word means a judicial sentence, a decree, or a judgment.

    [quoteit] "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: ... Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." (Acts 15:13, 19-20)[/quoteit]

    The Book of Acts is the history of the early Church up until a few years before Peter's death. It says nothing about Peter being in authority over the whole Church. It shows no connection between Peter and Rome.

    Acts 28:14-15 tells how Paul met with the "brethren" in Rome, but it makes no mention of Peter. As we shall see, when Paul met with Peter in Jerusalem, Peter was identified by name.

    Acts 2:14 and Acts 8:14 say that Peter was in Jerusalem. Acts 9:36-43 says that Peter went to Joppa, which is near Jerusalem. In chapter 10 of the Book of Acts, Peter is still in Joppa. Acts 11:2 says that Peter returned to Jerusalem.

    Joppa is about thirty miles from Jerusalem. If the Book of Acts records this much detail about Peter's visit to a nearby town, wouldn't it tell us if Peter went all the way to Rome? Particularly since it does tell us that Paul went to Rome.

    Acts 15:1-20 tells how Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with Peter, James, and the other apostles. Galatians 1:18-19 says that Paul went to Jerusalem to visit Peter and James.

    The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul "to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints". (Romans 1:7) In Romans 16:1-15, Paul greets 26 people by name. He never mentions Peter. If Peter was the leader of the Church in Rome, then why didn't Paul mention him?

    Paul wrote five letters from a Roman prison (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon). He never mentions Peter. The man who stuck with Paul to help him and encourage him in Rome was Luke -- not Peter. (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11)

    Paul only mentions Peter in one of his epistles. In Galatians 1:18-19 he says that he went to Jerusalem to see Peter and James. In Galatians 2:8 Paul says that he preached to the gentiles and Peter preached to the Jews (the "circumcision"). In Galatians 2:11-21, Paul recounts how he publicly corrected and rebuked Peter because Peter became so intimidated by the Judaizers that he "walked not uprightly".

    Evidently Paul's public rebuke of Peter did not cause a problem between them. Peter loved and respected Paul as a brother, and exhorted the Church to heed Paul's wisdom.

    [quoteit] "Account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you" (2 Peter 3:15)[/quoteit]

    LEGENDS AND TRADITIONS

    When I was in school, I was taught that, as a boy, George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and confessed his transgression to his father saying, "I cannot tell a lie".

    Parson Weems' biography of George Washington is the source of that story. According to modern historians, the cherry tree event never happened. I was quite surprised to hear that because I had never questioned the story.

    Articles on the Internet say that Parson Weems deliberately created the cherry tree legend some time between 1800 and 1809. But perhaps Parson Weems wasn't deliberately deceiving people. Perhaps he was simply passing on a story that he believed to be true. Either way, modern biographers of George Washington say that the cherry tree episode never really happened. [Note 20]

    If we hear a story repeated often enough, then we tend to believe it. The idea of questioning it becomes almost unthinkable because the story is so familiar and so widely accepted. (See Appendix C.)

    I believe that something similar has happened with the Catholic Church's stories about Peter. These traditions have been repeated so often that many people never question them.

    THE "EARLY FATHERS"

    Catholic apologists often quote the "Early Fathers" in support of Catholic doctrines, the papacy, and other Catholic claims. Who were these people?

    There were many early Christian leaders, including priests, bishops, and scholars. There were a lot of these men, and they had a wide variety of opinions on religious matters. Their theological differences were as widely varied as those of theologians from different denominations are today. [Note 21]

    So one person finds some "Early Fathers" to support one position, and another person finds other "Early Fathers" to support the opposite position.

    But it's not a level playing field. Among all of those early Christian leaders, who decided which ones qualified to be called "Early Fathers"? The Catholic Church. Who decided which works should be copied and passed on to posterity? Copying was a slow, tedious job before the invention of the printing press. Who decided which writings were important enough to copy? The Catholic Church.

    CONCLUSION

    The Roman Catholic Church was created by Emperor Constantine and Bishop Silvester in the year 314 A.D.

    The Catholic Church did not give us the Bible, but it did help preserve it. The Bible was copied by monks during the Middle Ages..
    Peter did not act like a Pope and he did not describe himself as having any special authority. In the Church meeting that is described in chapter 15 of the Book of Acts, James appears to be the person in authority. He makes the final decision. The Bible shows Peter as being in Jerusalem, not in Rome.
     
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  2. Coconut

    Coconut Moderator
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    This is a well researched study, and a very worthwhile read!


    I think for any honest student of the Testament of Jesus Christ, the answer to that should be blatantly obvious, without even studying the History of the Church in other books. Much of the what is toted as Christianity even today has more of the appearance of Popery and Idolatry than of Christ.


    2Co 11:2 I am jealous for you, just as God is; you are like a pure virgin whom I have promised in marriage to one man only, Christ himself.
    2Co 11:3 I am afraid that your minds will be corrupted and that you will abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ---in the same way that Eve was deceived by the snake's clever lies.
    2Co 11:4 For you gladly tolerate anyone who comes to you and preaches a different Jesus, not the one we preached; and you accept a spirit and a gospel completely different from the Spirit and the gospel you received from us!
    2Co 11:5 I do not think that I am the least bit inferior to those very special so-called "apostles" of yours!
     
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  3. Gracealone

    Gracealone New Member

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    As history shows the Apostles were not Catholic, and it was about 312 that ,that word, was first coined for "universal."
    Peter was not the first Pope, as he had been married, unless they want to change their story about no marriage.

    I do feel there are many true believers in the Catholic Church ,however, as I knew at least one couple.

    Possibly they stay because that is all they have known, and feel they need to be a witness to those they love. God knows.

    I have shared already that our Pastor was raised Catholic, his Mother being Italian, but Jesus called him for Salvation while in Guam, and into ministry in the Calvary Church.....

    PS: Chad, we just got in from a 6 hr. trip and will read the rest of your post later......I am exhausted right now, need to rest first. Looks like a very interesting post, making easier reading than the Book, "Church History." Bless you.
     
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  4. Coconut

    Coconut Moderator
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    "The devil hates goose quills" - Luther

    "Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho." Joshua 6:26

    "Since he was cursed who rebuilt Jericho, much more the man who labours to restore Popery among us. In our fathers' days the gigantic walls of Popery fell by the power of their faith, the perseverance of their efforts, and the blast of their gospel trumpets; and now there are some who would rebuild that accursed system upon its old foundations. O Lord, be please to thwart their unrighteous endeavours, and pull down every stone which they build. It should be a serious business with us to be thoroughly purged of every error which may have a tendency to foster the spirit of Popery, and when we have made a clean sweep at home we should seek in every way to oppose its all too rapid spread abroad in the church and in the world. This last can be done in secret by fervent prayer, and in public by decided testimony.

    We must warn with judicious boldness those who are inclined towards the errors of Rome; we must instruct the young in gospel truth, and tell them of the black doings of Popery in the olden times. We must aid in spreading the light more thoroughly through the land, for priests, like owls, hate daylight. Are we doing all we can for Jesus and the gospel? If not, our negligence plays into the hands of priestcraft. What are we doing to spread the Bible, which is the Pope's bane and poison? Are we casting abroad good, sound gospel writings? Luther once said, 'The devil hates goose quills,' and doubtless, he has good reason, for ready writers, by the Holy Spirit's blessing, have done his kingdom much damage. If the thousands who will read this short word this night will do all they can to hinder the rebuilding of his accursed Jericho, the Lord's glory shall speed among the sons of men. Reader, what can you do? What will you do?"


    From "Evening By Evening" by Charles Spurgeon
     
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  5. ShepherdsHorn

    ShepherdsHorn New Member

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    please learn

    Catholics do not worship the Pope, worship Mary of bow to idols.
    I think this post conveys many false stereotypes about people who deeply love Our Lord.

    Please learn about what Catholics REALLY believe before attacking them for what you THINK they believe!

    Thank you.
     
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  6. Chad

    Chad Administrator
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    Its no coincidence that your responded to various threads of mine about Catholics, with nothing but refuting arguments that hold no water.

    These threads are well researched. In your position you claim to be a catholic so like most catholics that I've personally encountered (including family members), you'll respond arrogantly with little or not respect for actual Truth.

    Your profile does say you were became a believer in 2008. I'm very happy for you and feel the need to give you some advice: do not go around correcting those that have been studying the Bible many years than you have, especially since you just started your walk with Christ. Don't think for a second you can over shadow people's years of study in the very short time that you started reading the Word. Its not respectful. Especially accusing someone of not doing their research, meanwhile you just started your walk in 2008.

    I went to Catholic school for 13 years, have literally over 200+ Catholic family members as well. I know the ins and outs of the whole "rome" system. And, to set the record straight - I will not stop preaching against what they teach. I do as the Holy Spirit guides me to do. If you don't like that or assume I'm a liar, then this site is not for you.

    I'm confident if you stood before Jesus face to face, you'd do a lot more research on His word before going around refuting others' research.

    Quite amazing that you're telling others to do their research, meanwhile the OP is a testimony and actual experience of an ex-nun, just as it clearly states.

    Proverbs 30:5-7

    <sup id="en-ESV-17257" class="versenum" value="5">5</sup> Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
    <sup id="en-ESV-17258" class="versenum" value="6">6</sup> Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
    <sup id="en-ESV-17259" class="versenum" value="7">7</sup>Two things I ask of you;
    deny them not to me before I die:

    2 Timothy 4

    Preach the Word

    <sup id="en-ESV-29855" class="versenum" value="1">1</sup> I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: <sup id="en-ESV-29856" class="versenum" value="2">2</sup>preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. <sup id="en-ESV-29857" class="versenum" value="3">3</sup> For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
     
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  7. Boanerges

    Boanerges Active Member

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    SadlyI have personally seen thousands of them fall to their knees and kiss statues (idols?) of Mary and/or saints. The groveling, crying, bowing, kissing thing seems like worship to me.


    Exo 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
    Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
     
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  8. Chad

    Chad Administrator
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    #8
  9. Gracealone

    Gracealone New Member

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    I was about to say the same as you , not from personal experience Chad ,but from our Pastors.
    He too , was raised Catholic, and at one point he thought he might become a priest.....
    Then God drew him, and he met Jesus, face to face.
    He ran from his calling for three years, but has been a Pastor, and teacher for over 26 years, he accepted Christ as Savior in 1973.

    He is an anointed teacher, Pastor, and we as a congregation have been blessed abundantly. :love::thumbs_up
     
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  10. Coconut

    Coconut Moderator
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    Very very well said.

    The Catholic Church has been recognized as an apostate church since before the Reformation. The reformers were also born and bred, and very well versed in the Roman system. Taking the Word of God in hand, some tried to reform the religion from the inside out, others denounced the beliefs of Roman Catholicism altogether, and many paid for it with their lives.

    Will we now call the reformers fools? Were they men of such uneducated ignorance , that they misunderstood chapter and verse, the very Word of God they had the mind to study and translate?
    Could it be they were so lacking in personal knowledge and understanding of the teachings of Catholicism, they could not see the error in not being loyal to a system so corrupt its leaders were willing to murder the men and women and children that would not bow at its alters, and that in the name of Christ?

    Catholicism is not founded on the Christ of scriptures, nor His teaching, and remains today as far removed from Christ, as is recorded by history, that it was in the beginning. It is merely another religion that calls Him Lord, and yet refuses to do what He says. That amounts to nothing more than honoring Him with the mouth, and having a heart that is far from Him.

    There is only one head of the church, that is Jesus Christ. There is only one Church, the Church that Jesus Christ is building. No mortal man, or human institution has ever been ordained by God to fill that position. If the Scripture is, as it claims, "God-breathed and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work" then the Catholic doctrines, not having been founded on scripture, nor built on it, are wrong. God breathed - or Pope breathed, which one is it? It has to be one or the other, because they do not speak the same thing, and the Pope is not God.
     
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  11. rhutch1981

    rhutch1981 New Member

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    What is this Catholic bashing? If I were here bashing protestants and saying they were not true, The Establishment would have me kicked out of here. :coocoo:.

    I am catholic and I love Christ!!!
     
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  12. Gracealone

    Gracealone New Member

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    Praise God!

    No one is bashing other Christians, no matter what church they attend, but we are here to weigh out truth.
    That goes for protestants, and any other brand name of religion.

    As you must have noticed many come in with false teachings, protestant and catholic alike, it is truth that is being questioned. And the standard is the word of God, not what church, but the message......Like the Berean's who searched the scripture to see if these things were true, so do we.

    There are many false teachings in the Catholic church, and many in many of the protestant churches as well.

    All teachings need to be weighed out by the truth of Gods word, that is our standard for truth.
     
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  13. Chad

    Chad Administrator
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    If you love Christ so much, there is no reason to be a catholic in the first place. What's its purpose there when you already have Jesus? Ever think of that before being so infatuated with a man made institution?

    I'll bash false teaching all day long and no one's mouth will stop mine. I'll tell you what kind of bashing is indeed wrong: those who bash people like us who preach the truth without barred holds. That's hypocritical after making claims you love Jesus so much.

    If you love Jesus, follow Him. Not some man made sect.

    The Word tells us to teach, rebuke, correct. We do that. Its not our fault you assume we're "bashing", but its more likely your pride gets in the way of you receiving the truth.
     
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  14. jiggyfly

    jiggyfly New Member

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    I was watching a show in which a catholic priest at the vatican in Rome said that they had conducted a survey. They asked the people around Rome, which saint they pray to in a time of crisis. He said the results showed that Jesus was #6 on the list.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  15. Coconut

    Coconut Moderator
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    Joh 7:16 Jesus replied to them, "My teaching is not mine but comes from the one who sent me.
    Joh 7:17 If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether this teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.
    Joh 7:18 The one who speaks on his own seeks his own praise. But the one who seeks the praise of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.

    Joh 14:23 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him, and we will go to him and make our home within him.
    Joh 14:24 The one who does not love me does not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine, but comes from the Father who sent me.

    1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and refuses to agree with the healthy words of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly teaching, he is a conceited person and does not understand anything.
     
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  16. Daniel Schultz

    Daniel Schultz New Member

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    Hi, The Christians between 33 A.D. and the conversion of Contantine were Catholics. They believed in the Mystery, in Apostolic Succession, salvation through water and the Spirit.

    For example, here is St. Irenaeus of Lyons writing against the Gnostics in about 190 A.D.:


    "But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies, 3:3:2).

    Cf. Mt 28:18-20, 2 Tim 2:2, 2 Tim 1:6.

    In Him, Dan Schultz
     
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  17. Boanerges

    Boanerges Active Member

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    Everyone does not agree. what a shocker! LOL!
    The Catholic church was not formed until Constantine and the early churches did not share the same cannon let alone a denomination that had yet to be formed.

    One issue was Peter's failure as the Apostle to the Gentiles. Peter preached and ministered primarily to the Jewish folks and that mantel passed to Paul.
    Peter was a nice guy. He and I share the tendency to talk with our foot in our mouth, LOL! But in truth scripture plainly identifies Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles. While I certainly do not believe in Apostolic succession if I did I would think the Roman Catholics are succeeding the wrong Apostle.


    Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles.


    The Apostles (like the prophets of old) were merely men though used of God greatly they still had weakness and human frailty.


    The Apostles fail at naming a replacement Apostle. They uses lots (chance) but God chooses Paul.

    Act 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

    Matthias is selected by falling lots but Saul hears the call and becomes Paul
    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

    1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,



    The Catholic folk (and some others) use the following verse to claim Peter as Apostle to the Gentiles:
    Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
    This began on the day of Pentecost but Peter choose to live amongst the Jewish folk and the mantel passed to Paul:


    Although Peter was the first Apostle to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles scripture plainly declares that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles

    Gal 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
    Gal 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)


    Rom 11:13 For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

    * I added Paul's name in parentheses to show who was speaking


    Peter like all of us was subject to human mistakes and needs public correction from Paul:
    Gal 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
    Gal 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
    Gal 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
    Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
    Gal 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
    Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
     
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  18. Daniel Schultz

    Daniel Schultz New Member

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    Greetings in Jesus and the Spirit,

    I want to be interpreting the Scriptures in unity with the Light of the World and Foundation of Truth. Cf. Mt 5:14, 1 Tim 3:15.

    Now, the Catholic Church historically is not a denomination but the name used regarding the one Church in Scripture and in Christian history in the 100s and 200s. Cf. Mk 11:17.

    It is true that the Pillar of Truth was still discerning the N.T. canon in the 100s, 200s, and into the 300s. This shows how they didn't rest on Scripture alone but on the New Covenant which is passed on in two ways. Cf. 2 Thes 2:15.

    In fact Peter did have authority over Paul, though we don't see this excercised much in Scripture since Paul was a faithful Apostle. Cf. Gal 1:18, Acts 15:7-12, 1 Cor 9:5 and 15:5.

    We know that Peter had superior authority to the other Apostles because:

    Peter particularly is promised the Keys to the House of David in Mt 16:17-19. Cf. Is 22:19-22.

    Peter is always named first in the list of the Twelve. Cf. Mt 10:2.

    Peter normally speaks for the Apostles. Cf. Jn 6:69.

    Peter's role at the first Council was pivotal. Cf. Acts 15:7etc.

    Simon was given the new name "Rock" by Christ himself. Cf. Jn 1:42.

    The doctrines of Apostolic succession and the role of Tradition also are also attested in Scripture and the Church fathers before and after Constantine.

    To see these things, go to the Catholic Answers Library of Faith Tracts, particularly "Fathers know best." Cf. 1 Cor 4:15.

    John, Ignatius, Irenaeus and Justin were Catholic. I don't know of any Church fathers before Constantine who reflect a Protestant or non-Catholic system of faith.

    In Jesus's Name, Dan Schultz
     
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  19. HisFollower

    HisFollower Member

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    They were under the influence and direction of those who exclusively had the scriptures, and were subject to trust these overseers. Unfortunately, many of these early overseers had worldly ambition, and sought to be recognized, and pressed to gain the status of rulers over God´s heritage. For this cause did they strick a deal with Constantine, that if he would accept Christianity as an official religion, then would he have a great abundance of additional taxation. As for the overseers, their aim was to be placed in an official capacity; and thus began Christianity to be compromised by allowing secularism into its very bosom. The title that the so-called official church gave itself is irrelevant, but what only mattered, and still does to this day, is that, many were, and are still following blind leader´s. (Acts 28:24)
     
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  20. Daniel Schultz

    Daniel Schultz New Member

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    Hi HisFollower, I don't see where the N.T. has the Overseers relying on the Scriptures alone. Cf. 2 Tim 1:13, 3:10,14,16,

    Would you produce the ancient documents showing that Constantine was bribed and which of the Church fathers betrayed the Church?

    Here is an example from Ignatius Bishop of Antioch in 110 A.D. It shows that the Church's Hierarchy came long before Constantine:

    "Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God, and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles, and with the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and is at last made manifest" (Letter to the Magnesians, 6:1).

    "Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God…and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]). "You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force" (ibid., 3:1). "Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you. They were apostles, and I am a convict" (ibid. 4:3 [A.D. 110]).

    Cf. 1 Tim 5:17-22, Acts 15:6-16:4, 2 Tim 2:2.
     
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