Skip to comments.Beginning Catholic: The Catholic Church's Origin [Ecumenical]
Posted on 06/21/2008 10:02:33 AM PDT by Salvation
The question of the Catholic Church's origin is not just academic.
Understanding the historical origin of the Catholic Church is not just an interesting question about history. It's an essential issue for your faith!
...if it was the will of Christ to found a Church to teach, sanctify, and govern in his name, doesn't that demand something from each of us?
Pope Benedict XVI (when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger) teaches us that Jesus's creation of the Twelve was first clear sign of the Catholic Church's origin. St. Mark writes in his Gospel, "And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons" (Mk 3:14-15). The Pope comments:
The symbolic value of the Twelve is... of decisive significance: ...the number of Jacob's sons, the ...twelve tribes of Israel.... [In doing this,] Jesus presents himself as the patriarch of a new Israel and institutes these twelve men as its origin and foundation. There could be no clearer way of expressing the beginning of a new people, which is no longer formed by physical descent but by 'being with Jesus'....
(Called to Communion, p.24-25)
After this, we see the first explicit testimony of the Catholic Church's origin when Jesus chooses Peter to be the rock of the Church's foundation. Here, Jesus plainly says that he is founding a new Church:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
This is important!
Based on this Scripture passage, our faith should account for three things:
Catholics take this passage seriously. We trace the Catholic Church's origin to this point! We believe that Jesus clearly expresses his will here, and that will is to "build my church", invest it with his own authority, and give Peter a special role as the head of that Church.
But why did Jesus want to do this?
Well, let's look at Scripture some more...
After the Resurrection, Jesus commissions his Apostles:
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
In this passage, Jesus tells us the reason behind the Catholic Church's origin: he's creating his new Church to teach, sanctify, and govern.
Pope John Paul II put it more simply: "In order to make this 'encounter' with Christ possible, God willed his Church." (Veritatis Splendor ["The Splendor of Truth"], 7) The Pope said the Church "wishes to serve this single end: that each person may be able to find Christ, in order that Christ may walk with each person the path of life" (Redemptor Hominis ["The Redeemer of Man"], 13).
In the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles testifies to the fact that the Apostles clearly understood the mission Jesus gave them.
On Pentecost, we see the external "birth" of the Church through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the definitive creation of the Church in all its fullness, the historical date of the Catholic Church's origin.
On Pentecost, Peter and the other Apostles boldly proclaim the Gospel of salvation:
Peter... lifted up his voice and addressed them: "...Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him."
And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
(Acts, 2:14; 36-42)
This passage is a beautiful example of the Church carrying out her purpose: proclaiming Christ, and bringing others to Christ through Baptism, "the apostles' teaching and fellowship," and "the breaking of bread and the prayers."
This Church still exists!
It's called the Catholic Church, and we still keep to that very same mission.
That means we each have a choice...
From these passages, we've seen how the Catholic Church's origin is firmly rooted in Scripture and history.
The existence of the Catholic Church presents each of us with an invitation: Do you want to come to Christ? Will you use the means Jesus himself gave us his Church and his Sacraments or will you try to go your own way?
I know; it's a challenging question!
I struggled with it for years before realizing that, just like those who listened to Peter on Pentecost, I wanted to be one of "those who received his word".
Since the Catholic Church's origin, it's been the place where people "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."
Other good sources are the Catechism's section on the Catholic Church's origin.
Especially for those considering the Catholic Church or new to the Catholic Church.
This will be a continuing series.
Have Catholic questions?
When you're a beginning Catholic, questions arise. Frequently. Too often, the answers aren't easy to find.
Before I decided to join the Catholic Church, I had many questions about Catholicism. It turns out that many of them were fairly common Catholic questions. But even so, I had to do a lot of digging to find many of the answers.
Most sources for questions & answers about Catholicism refer you to the Catechism or other Church documents for sources. This can be a problem for those becoming Catholic: before accepting the authority of the Catholic Church, one doesn't see those sources as being authoritative!
To ease your entry into the Catholic Church, here are some of the more common questions about the Catholic Church.
I use Scriptural sources to provide answers for these Catholic questions, where possible. This approach is more neutral for many who have questions about Catholicism.
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Well Salvation I commend your effort.
I hope you have your fire retardant suit ready.
These threads draw more fire than Mormonism, Gnosticism, Paganism, Atheism and devil worship combined.
Hard to have a discussion about the founding of the Catholic Church without talking about Constantine.
Why do you say that? An Ecumenical thread is open to posting of different views as long as they are not antagonistic toward any one profession of faith.
Just don’t follow your thinking, but maybe I’m a little dense today.
You can talk about Constantine.
The rules for an Ecumenical thread state “no antagonism.” So feel free to present your facts in a non - antagonistic manner.
This was all the idea of a couple of FReepers and the Religion Moderator.
However, I would point out to you that the body of the original post cites Scripture not Constantine.
I am at a different computer, adn may not have the up-to-date ping list. If I missed you, I apologize.
On Salvation Outside the Catholic Church
The Great Heresies
SALVATION PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC TEACHING
Hermits and Solitaries [Ecumenical]
THE PRIESTHOOD DEBATE
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND MERIT
A Well-Rounded Pope [Ecumenical]
A Monastery to Last 1,000 Years [Ecumenical]
Explaining Purgatory from a New Testament Perspective [Ecumenical]
In the Crosshairs of the Canon [How We Got The Bible] [Ecumenical]
'An Ordinance Forever' - The Biblical Origins of the Mass [Ecumenical]
You haven't studied it sufficiently or you wouldn't identify it as a religion of which you are not a member!
“Ekklesia” means assembly, a called out assembly, an assembly called out for a specific purpose. Christs “ekklesia”? is an assembly called out for a specific purpose, namely, to fulfill His will, to keep and teach His ordinances and commandments.
Jesus begin His “ekklesia” the day He called out the very first persons who became the first members of the “ekklesia.” ( John 1:35-43)
35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples: And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, what seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where dwellest thou?He saith unto them, Come and see. They come and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two which heard John, speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peters brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him. We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.”
This was the beginning of Christs calling out His assembly. Those called out had been baptized by John the Baptist and were thus “prepared” for composing the Lords “ekklesia.” The church did not begin on the occasion mentioned in Mark 3:13-19; that was when the twelve disciples were “set” in the church as apostles. Neither does Matthew 16:18 indicate the time of the churchs beginning. The Greek word for “build” means “build up” and does not refer to the initial beginning of the church.
Before Mark 3 and Matthew 16 Christ had an assembly of baptized disciples. He was their Head and they were following Him and serving Him. What else is necessary before a group is an “ekklesia”? It is true that He was not through with the church in teaching it and commissioning it; but He had an “ekklesia,” and had had one from the day He called those first disciples and they began to follow Him. John had “prepared” them, the Master assembled them as His “ekklesia”. God wanted it that way, John wanted it that way, Christ wanted it that way, the disciples wanted it that way, and that is the way it was. God said, “Hear ye Him;” John said, “Behold the Lamb of God:” Christ said, “Follow me:” the disciples “followed Him”. That is how and when the assembly of Jesus Christ had its beginning. In Matthew 18 Jesus gives instructions on disciplining within the ekklesia and in verse 20 explains it is not numbers or leaders that constitute the ekklesia but the gathering (of two or three) in His name.
The day of Pentecost marks the beginning of the definite, organic life of the followers of Christ. The descent of the Holy Spirit, according to the promise of the Lord, was the preparation for the great missionary advance, of which the conversion of three thousand on that one day was the first fruits. Not only did this multitude hear the word and believe, but on the same day they were “added to the church,” which had been in existence since the first two disciples of John the Baptist were called to follow Jesus.
Thanks for coming on board. There will be more posts with the heading: Beginning Catholic:
**Christ had an assembly of baptized disciples.**
The Sunday readings last week were on this subject.
Again, this Sunday, Christ will still be talking to his disciples.
I’ll link the two threads.
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I don’t see any false doctrine in the post. It’s all Scripture.
This is an ecumenic thread - not appropriate for flames.
I think there is a lot of prayer and study going on in the Vatican. It is a small country, recognized in the world. So I have always thought that it was just for them to speak out on matters of the world.
Perhaps my definition of justice and your definition of justice are at odds with one another.
OK noted. I will reply privately.