Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are Catholics, Christians ?

This is one of the most ridiculous question asked about Christianity. This is similar to asking: are Caucasians, Americans ? or Are Mercedes Benz, cars ?

The people who commonly assert that Catholics are not Christians are basically from "new Christians denominations" particularly the Evangelical Christians.

Read what David MacDonald of Catholic Bridge wrote about this issue:


Evangelicals who assert that Catholics are not Christian will have a hard time standing on that, because they accept the authority of the Catholic Church every time they pick up the Bible. The history of the Bible is here.

Any time spent studying the Church Fathers will make it abundantly clear that early Christian beliefs were Catholic. Their complete unity over the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is only one example.

Why call yourselves Catholic, and not simply Christian ?

I could ask the same question, "why do Baptists, Pentecostals, United, Methodist, or even nondenominational communities use those words and not simply say Christian?" The word Catholic was used by the year 110 A.D. to distinguish the Church of the Apostles from heretical teachings. St. Ignatius of Antioch, was a disciple of St. John, along with St.Polycarp. The Church historian Theodoret says Ignatius was consecrated bishop by St.Peter,the apostle, who was the first bishop of Antioch before returning to Rome.

Ignatius was martyred in Rome under Emperor Trajan's rule. It was during the journey to Rome that he wrote his famous letters that contain invaluable information about the early Church. He was the first to document the term "Catholic" in it's current form to describe the Church. It means universal. Ignatius' use of the word shows it was in common use. His is the earliest extant writing which has "ekklesia katholicos" where Catholic is an adjective modifying "Church" in the nominative. In Acts 5:11 and 15:22 we find "holen ten ekklesian." It is derivative of the same root as katholicos and is in the nominative and is translated as "The Whole Church" and then in Acts 9:21 we find εκκλησια καθ'ολης (ekklesia kathholes) and here Catholic is also an adjective, but it does not modify "Church" because it is in the wrong case but rather modifies the words following. Best translated as "the Church throughout the whole of..."

Catholic, referring to the Whole Church was a term in common use at the time but Ignatius' writing is simply the oldest still existing text which contains a specific form of the phrase we still use today as a proper name. That of "ekklesia katholicos," which means "Universal Church". The terms "holen ten ekklesian" which means "The Whole Church" and "ekklesia kathholes"which means "The Church throughout the whole of" were also in use, and by the Apostles no less.

The Catholic Church defined the "Trinity" and fought the heresy of "Arianism"

In 325 A.D., the Catholic Church discerned the Holy Spirit's voice for the doctrine of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three person's in one). Yup, "Trinity" is a Catholic doctrine that predates the Evangelical community by 1200 years. That word isn't even in the Bible. The Catholic Church protected Christianity from the Arian heresy that almost gutted Christianity in the 4th century when many began to believe Jesus wasn't "fully God" and "fully human."

The Catholic Church protected the Bible

The Catholic Church protected the Bible across the ages until the Gutenberg press was invented. Century after century, Monks in Monasteries faithfully copied Scripture. It would take each monk ten years to copy one Bible and thousands of faithful Catholics dedicated their lives to this work. Catholics protected the Bible over the centuries of wars, famines, plaques, the fall of Rome,
fires, and threats from all sides. This was long before any other denomination existed.

The Catholic Church chose which books to include in the Bible

In the Synod's of Hippo (393 AD) and confirmed it at Carthage (397 AD).
The non-Catholic Bible scholar Peter Flint, who won "best popular book" from the Biblical Archeology Society for his translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, tells us that there was no Bible until 397's when the Catholic Church decided on what books belong there. Before that there were hundreds of letters and the Septuagint.

"Without the Catholic Church you have no Bible!"
(Peter Flint - Protestant translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls)

The history of the decisions for books to include in the Bible is here.

Even the word Bible is not in the Bible. It was coined by Catholics. It means books from the Greek word βυβλος-byblos meaning "papyrus", from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus, the "paper" of the day. We love the Bible. Honest !

Do Evangelicals have a direct connection to the early Church independent of Catholicism ?

The modern Evangelical movement is a result of numerous splits that occured after the Reformation, in the 1500's. The only other Church not to be in union with Rome before that was the Orthodox Church which split off in 1054 A.D. There were also various heresies that came and went, such as Arianism that said Jesus was not fully human AND fully God.

Some Evangelicals claim they have a direct connection to the early Church of the first centuries that bypasses Catholicism. If that is so, I would think the beliefs of modern Evangelicals would reflect the beliefs of the early Church. However, any time spent studying the Church Fathers will make it abundantly clear that early Christian beliefs were Catholic. The Church Fathers believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, honoured Mary, had elaborate ceremonies, prayed for the dead, respected the Church hierarchy, baptized babies, appointed bishops, recognized Peter as the Rock, built the Church upon him with successors and followed a rich tradition of Christianity. That was the Christianity of the early days, and is the Catholic Church of today. A timeline of the Catholic Church from 1-500 A.D. is here. Beginning with the apostles, century after century, Catholics died so that Christ's message would reach the nations. Yes, we are Christians, the originals.

Whether or not someone agrees with Catholic doctrine is their prerogative. But all who look at history will admit that Catholics are clearly Christian. "No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3)

Jesus has called Christians to unity "that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I am in you." (Jn 17:21) I hope we can love one another as He has loved us. (Jn 13:34).

Jesus Christ is Lord of all. If you have never made a personal decision for Christ, I beg you to do so now. It was the best thing I ever did. Here is an article that shows you how to do that. more here.

Also watch these videos: Why The Catholic Church Is The True Church Of Jesus Christ

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