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When Did Christians First Call Themselves “Catholic”?
hope it is ^ | September 8, 2008 | | Bob Lozano

Posted on 01/15/2012 2:36:04 PM PST by narses

Ignatius.jpgOne of the real joys of spending time reading and studying the writings of the earliest Christians (aka the Early Church Fathers) is gaining a bit of insight into what life was like those who professed to be Christian.

One of the real surprises (at least to me) was how early the term “Catholic” came to be used to refer to all Christians.

How early? How about the year 107 … maybe even earlier!

From the Letter to the Smyrnaeans by St. Ignatius of Antioch:

Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid.

Note that St. Ignatius is a real hero of the early Church – both a bishop and a martyr at the hands of the Romans, he left an awesome written legacy of letters to local churches … primarily encouragement as he marched to his martyrdom.

The current wiki article presents a good overview of the life of St. Ignatius of Antioch. From that article comes this paragraph:

It is from the word katholikos that the word “catholic” comes. When Ignatius wrote the Letter to the Smyrnaeans in about the year 107 and used the word “catholic”, he used it as if it were a word already in use to describe the Church. This has led many scholars to conclude that the appellation “Catholic Church” with its ecclesial connotation may have been in use as early as the last quarter of the first century.

While this may seem like a small point, I think it’s rather significant – the sense of universality, of all Christians belonging to the church that they themselves called katholikos … this gives us some real insight into what Christians thought important.

An Opposing View
Notice it is in direct contrast to the probably well-intentioned, but definitely historically inaccurate perspective of those who oppose the reality of the one Church founded by Jesus Christ. Typical of this perspective is a recent post by Thomas H., who writes from a Baptist perspective:

The application of the word “catholic” was not used in reference to all supposed Christians until the Council of Trent. This word was used by catholics to beat over the heads of non catholics in the sence of saying you do not belong to the true church. This resulted in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Christians who were not Roman Catholics by the emissaries of Rome.

I think you get the idea … the only real problem with all that is it doesn’t square with the historical record on any level, starting with the word catholic.

The Historical Reality
I can empathize with folks like Thomas – when you have spent your whole life being told bits and pieces of what happened, along with stuff that’s simply not true by folks who spent their lives in the same circumstances, it must be hard to be open to the reality that contradicts what you believe.

Yet, the historical record is clear, and provides an eloquent testimony to the truth … from its earliest days the Church understood that unity and universality were basic marks of the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

It began calling itself katholikos around the end of the first century, at most a few years after the death of the last apostle (John). It did not begin with the Council of Trent (late 16th century – nearly 1500 years later) or any other time. In fact, by the time the canon of Scripture – what we call the Bible – was settled Christians had been calling themselves Catholics for almost 300 years … longer than the United States has even been a country!

That Church remains Catholic to this day, and will remain so until the end of time (Matthew 16:18+).

An Invitation
If this does not seem right to you, please investigate on your own. Look into the historical record – pagan, Jewish, or Christian – and see what evidence supports each side. What you’ll find is exactly what the Church has always understood … it is katholikos, and has been so from the beginning.

The writings of the Early Church Fathers are widely available, with treatments ranging from the easily-accessible to the more in-depth, scholarly works. A good place to start for most folks is Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett – a very readable account, well-grounded in current scholarship,


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History
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To: WILLIALAL

and under the Ottomans!


101 posted on 01/15/2012 6:04:51 PM PST by Reily
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To: toothfairy86

Toothfairy. How perfect a name in light of this comment:

“People need to quit confusing “Catholic”, which means universal, with “Roman Catholic”.”

No, people need to stop using the term “Roman Catholic”. I’m Catholic. “Roman Catholic” was originally a Protestant term.


102 posted on 01/15/2012 6:06:11 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: DesertRhino

DesertRhino:

and you can tell us what Christ wanted and created. that is the problem with American Fundies, No understanding of the Incarnation. As Pope Benedict stated in Spirit of the Liturgy, Incarnational Theology means we don’t do as we please. On the contrary, it binds us to the history of a particular time. Outwardly, that history may seem fortuitous, but is the form of history willed by God.

The history that God willed is for Christ to become incarnate in the context of Roman-Greek culture, not American yahoo Protestant culture. The history of Christianity and Doctrine is expressed in the Church Fathers, both Latin-West and Greek-East, and that is Catholic and can also be claimed by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

tsk, tsk


103 posted on 01/15/2012 6:07:11 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: WILLIALAL

The problem with Eastern Orthodoxy is its decentralized nature has led to frequent schisms that have more to do with nationalism than Christ.

Take Ukraine. There are 3 churches that each claim to be the authentic Orthodox Church in the Ukraine. In Greece, you have the myriad of schisms between the New Calendar state Church and the dozens of Old (Julian) Calendar factions.

That’s why I’m an Eastern Catholic and not an Eastern Orthodox.

The main differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy reminds me of the old Abbott and Costello skit “Who’s on first.”


104 posted on 01/15/2012 6:07:49 PM PST by rzman21
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To: CynicalBear

I’m not sure of your exact argument, but it seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, you are trying to equate early worship of statues and trinkets dedicated to Diana on the same scale as Christians decorating their churches with icons and statues of Christ or Saints.

There is a large gulf of difference here. we as humans use our gifts as artists and sculptures in a reverent and humble way to show respect as best we can. We have built magnificent churches in honor of God. The one true god we believe in. Again this is not an exercise in idolatry but an expression of love and respect rendered and expressed by human hands.


105 posted on 01/15/2012 6:08:28 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: CTrent1564

“I was stating it was Catholic and looked nothing like the yahoo American Protestant rural culture.”

Oh, but you don’t understand,,you see, American protestant architecture and other things that you call “yahoo” are extensials and can change over time, and only reflect that times have evolved, thus mechanisms to deal wth modern culture have changed.
LOL


106 posted on 01/15/2012 6:08:53 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office)
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To: DesertRhino; CTrent1564; rzman21

funny, when i went to Mass today to receive the Eucharist as Christians have done for 2,000 years, i didn’t see any castles, swiss guards, lawyers, diplomats, etc.

the Church is Universal, it was here in 95ad, 295ad, 646ad, 908ad and 2012ad.

desertrhino, do you agree with Joseph Smith that the Church went apostate in the late 1st century?


107 posted on 01/15/2012 6:08:53 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: Mach9

“A rather odd pronouncement considering that ALL protestant branches of Christianity believe in less rather than more Catholic Christian teaching, incuding the incarnation, the virgin birth, the immaculate conception, the Trinity, the dual nature of Christ, the primacy and infallibility of the pope, the assumption, the sacraments and means of redemption (good works), celibate priesthood, and the list could go on and on. Those churches that disagree with the Roman church, then, can’t rightly be called catholic because their divergence makes them less than universal.”

Mach9, I understand your point. It is a different point than my own.

All Christians believe in one universal church, if they believe the words of Scripture - the body and bride of Christ - made up of all who have trusted in Christ’s sacrifice, resurrection and ascension on their behalf. Universal is the meaning of catholic, and they would agree with that revelation.

Many Christians would disagree on quite a few of the items you listed that are taught by the Roman church. Many of those things were not taught during the first 100 years of the Church. That is a different proposition than whether they believe there is one universal church, founded by Christ.


108 posted on 01/15/2012 6:10:52 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (You know, 99.99999965% of the lawyers give all of them a bad name)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

“you can only be considered Catholic if you hold the Catholic FAITH.”

Again, the initial premise was about the term Catholic, not the Roman Catholic church. There is a different meaning and history.


109 posted on 01/15/2012 6:12:09 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: smvoice

Faith


110 posted on 01/15/2012 6:13:52 PM PST by Raider Sam (They're on our left, right, front, and back. They aint gettin away this time!)
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To: Reily

“and under the Ottomans!”

Yes I forgot, they have had a hard history throughout time.


111 posted on 01/15/2012 6:14:39 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: WILLIALAL

The term Roman Catholic was invented by Anglican controversialists as an insult to those Catholics who remained loyal to Rome.


112 posted on 01/15/2012 6:17:47 PM PST by rzman21
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To: WILLIALAL

“roman” Catholic is a term never used before the Great Schism in 1054ad.

what you call “roman” Catholic is the same Catholic Church that has been here for 2,000 years.

if you don’t believe this, please tell me who founded the “roman” Catholic Church?


113 posted on 01/15/2012 6:18:55 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: vladimir998

“No, people need to stop using the term “Roman Catholic”. I’m Catholic. “Roman Catholic” was originally a Protestant term.”

I think the meaning of the term Roman Catholic, goes back much further than the Protestants. It is a reflection of the divergent early church between the Latin church centered in Rome and the Eastern Orthodox (Greek)church centered in Constantinople. This divergence resulted in the Great Schism in 1054.


114 posted on 01/15/2012 6:19:00 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: CTrent1564

Follow your bureaucracy,, follow your pope, knock yourself out. We pray for our separated bretheren who have fallen into error. It’s not that we generally doubt your salvation (which we are warned by the bible not to do). It’s that we think you are incorrect about some things, and are wasting time kissing the ring of some guy on earth.


115 posted on 01/15/2012 6:20:19 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office)
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To: Raider Sam

“Faith” is a beautiful word. But what kind of Faith? Faith in WHAT?


116 posted on 01/15/2012 6:20:56 PM PST by smvoice (Better Buck up, Buttercup. The wailing and gnashing is for an eternity..)
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To: WILLIALAL

Watch this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=54KWI2uTE7c#!


117 posted on 01/15/2012 6:21:38 PM PST by rzman21
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To: CTrent1564

“The history that God willed is for Christ to become incarnate in the context of Roman-Greek culture”

I think I read somewhere that Christ was born as a Jew. I think they also had a culture...


118 posted on 01/15/2012 6:21:45 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (You know, 99.99999965% of the lawyers give all of them a bad name)
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To: WILLIALAL
Exactly!
That's why you see “Stockholm Syndrome” behavior in eastern Christians trapped behind the koran curtain. During the bad old days of European colonialism there. The European powers (Back when Europe had balls!) often would take up their cause and force Ottoman officials to treat these “Ottoman subjects” with a little more fairness then what was normally done. Of course in times of turmoil like the end of WWI the European powers would lose the ability to intervene effectively and you have the Ottomans reverting back to their normal behavior, ergo the Armenian massacre and others. It's all coming back again. Remember their are more Coptic Christians in Chicago & Detroit then in Egypt.
119 posted on 01/15/2012 6:23:39 PM PST by Reily
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To: CynicalBear

Then you believe the Ark of the Covenant was idolatrous.

But why should I care what heretics think?


120 posted on 01/15/2012 6:25:23 PM PST by rzman21
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To: Reily

Remember their are more Coptic Christians in Chicago & Detroit then in Egypt.

>>Wrong. There are about 15 million Coptic Christians in Egypt and maybe 100,000 Copts in the U.S.


121 posted on 01/15/2012 6:27:05 PM PST by rzman21
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

“roman” Catholic is a term never used before the Great Schism in 1054ad.

I never said the term Roman Catholic was not used before 1054. I was talking about the divergence of the early church into the Latin Roman church and the Greek Orthodox church which was a long drawn out process culminating in the Great Schism.


122 posted on 01/15/2012 6:27:32 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

amorePerfectUnion;

Where did I deny that Chris was a Jew? Good grief, can you read? I stated that CHrist became Incarnate in the context of Roman-Greek Culture and yes Jewish but ultimately Christianity developed, theologically, Liturgically, etc, in the context of Roman-Greco world.

Thus, Jewish Motheism, Roman Law and Order and Greek Philosophy and synthesis of these 3 are what Christianity devleoped in. that is the realility.


123 posted on 01/15/2012 6:27:45 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

amorePerfectUnion;

Where did I deny that Chris was a Jew? Good grief, can you read? I stated that CHrist became Incarnate in the context of Roman-Greek Culture and yes Jewish but ultimately Christianity developed, theologically, Liturgically, etc, in the context of Roman-Greco world.

Thus, Jewish Motheism, Roman Law and Order and Greek Philosophy and synthesis of these 3 are what Christianity devleoped in. that is the realility.


124 posted on 01/15/2012 6:27:55 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

amorePerfectUnion;

Where did I deny that Chris was a Jew? Good grief, can you read? I stated that CHrist became Incarnate in the context of Roman-Greek Culture and yes Jewish but ultimately Christianity developed, theologically, Liturgically, etc, in the context of Roman-Greco world.

Thus, Jewish Motheism, Roman Law and Order and Greek Philosophy and synthesis of these 3 are what Christianity devleoped in. that is the realility.


125 posted on 01/15/2012 6:28:01 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

“do you agree with Joseph Smith that the Church went apostate in the late 1st century”

Nope, first of all he was wrong. The Roman catholic church as supposed head of all things Christian didn’t exist yet. Second he was a nutty cult leader who claimed Jesus came and spent some time in the Amnericas with the indians.
Thats just plain nutty,,, why, that’d be as silly as seeing Jesus in piece of toast,,or like claiming Mary popped down in a cave in Mexico City and told Jaun Diego that all Mexicans should be catholic. (a GREAT scam,, but please,, tricking the natives is dirty pool.)


126 posted on 01/15/2012 6:29:21 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office)
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To: WILLIALAL
>>you are trying to equate early worship of statues and trinkets dedicated to Diana on the same scale as Christians decorating their churches with icons and statues of Christ or Saints.<<

That’s exactly what I am saying.

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

If Catholics would not destroy those objects for fear of reprisal or lack of protection they are indeed idols and have replaced Gods protection.

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Any of those “icons and statues” supposed to represent God that are in “an image made like to the corruptible man”?

And you think that God commanded the brazen serpent which was a “graven image” but let’s see what happened to that.

2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Would Catholics crush the statues of Mary or any of the Saints into dust or have they become idols?

>>We have built magnificent churches in honor of God.<<

Where in scripture was anything like that advised? Or is that a “doctrine of man”?

127 posted on 01/15/2012 6:31:07 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: rzman21
ok but I got that number from an Orthodox priest.
I didn't bother to check to see if he was giving me bad information. Hey I figured he would be definitive.
128 posted on 01/15/2012 6:31:36 PM PST by Reily
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To: DesertRhino

“The Roman catholic church as supposed head of all things Christian didn’t exist “

when in your estimation did the Roman Catholic Church begin and who started it?

when it did start, what was the reaction by the “true” Christians?


129 posted on 01/15/2012 6:32:31 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: DesertRhino

Just stating the facts. It’s so wrong as to be comical to assert that the Roman church resembles ANYTHING Christ ever hinted that he wanted to create.

>>So you had a personal conversation with Jesus mano y mano?

What’s comical is that Evangelicals think their American Evangelicalism is akin to the early Christians.

Any study of early Christian culture, belief, and practice will show that white American Protestism has virtually nothing in common with them.

Perhaps the liturgies might be different from what the early Christians believed, but they would recognize far more in Catholic teaching than they would in Evangelicalism.


130 posted on 01/15/2012 6:32:31 PM PST by rzman21
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To: CTrent1564

CT,
Since you posted to me three times, I will take that as meaning you really, really, really include Christ
being a Jew as important.
Carry on, but watch that bandwidth!
ampu


131 posted on 01/15/2012 6:35:44 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (You know, 99.99999965% of the lawyers give all of them a bad name)
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To: CynicalBear

I’ll take those graven images in your bank account. LOL
http://yhvh.name/?w=1527


132 posted on 01/15/2012 6:36:01 PM PST by rzman21
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To: narses

There are two types of Christians in the world. Those who are Catholic and those who want to be Catholic. Stop denying yourself. Become Catholic and begin your walk with God!


133 posted on 01/15/2012 6:36:43 PM PST by elvis-lives
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To: rzman21

“...white American Protestism”

Jeremiah Wright? Is that you?


134 posted on 01/15/2012 6:37:04 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (You know, 99.99999965% of the lawyers give all of them a bad name)
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To: CynicalBear

>you are trying to equate early worship of statues and trinkets dedicated to Diana on the same scale as Christians decorating their churches with icons and statues of Christ or Saints.<<

That’s exactly what I am saying.

Well if this is the mainstay of your argument, no amount of typed words will bridge that gulf.


135 posted on 01/15/2012 6:37:55 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: smvoice

Christ.

Not organizations or bylaws or official statements or hierarchies (and that is for both Protestant and Catholic).


136 posted on 01/15/2012 6:38:33 PM PST by Raider Sam (They're on our left, right, front, and back. They aint gettin away this time!)
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To: rzman21

Hoy cow! You are nasty!!!!

The Ark is where the ACTUAL Spirit of the Living God resided on earth while he was amoung His people.

Show some respect.


137 posted on 01/15/2012 6:39:45 PM PST by Anti-Hillary (No Jesus, No Peace! Know Jesus, Know Peace!)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

that was an accident.


138 posted on 01/15/2012 6:41:21 PM PST by CTrent1564
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

when in your estimation did the Roman Catholic Church begin and who started it?

It was a concept that developed when the early Bishops of Rome, felt they should be the final arbiter of church disputes and therefore the leaders of the church, claiming the heritage of Peter and Paul.


139 posted on 01/15/2012 6:42:03 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: Reily

Yes there is a lot of history that is under reported and not understood about the whole Eastern church, both Orthodox and Catholic. I hope they can get back together some time. It will be an advantage to Christianity.


140 posted on 01/15/2012 6:45:06 PM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: WILLIALAL

you mean like Clement writing an Epistle to the Corinthian Church in the late 1st century ( while St John was still alive ) correcting them and the Corinthians read the Epistle in Church as Scripture for 100 years?


141 posted on 01/15/2012 6:49:59 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: Anti-Hillary

The Ark is where the ACTUAL Spirit of the Living God resided on earth while he was amoung His people.

>>That’s not the point. It was adorned with cherubim, and the Temple was similarly adorned showing that the prohibition against images was not absolute.

The Muslims and radical Anabaptists like the Amish reject depicting any living form.


142 posted on 01/15/2012 6:51:01 PM PST by rzman21
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To: Raider Sam
Faith in Christ. There are all kinds of "faith" in Christ. There is faith that He HAS SAVED US, faith that He WILL SAVE US, faith that He gave us commandments to follow in order to be saved, faith that we are saved purely on the finished work of Christ and our trust in that, faith that He has done everything necessary for our salvation, faith that He has put us on a path of salvation. etc. But all of these faiths in Christ do not unite us into one Body. As a matter of fact, they divide us. One faith in Christ rests in His death for our sins. The other faith in Christ says He shows us the way of salvation, that we may attain it one day.

Which faith in Christ are you talking about?

143 posted on 01/15/2012 6:51:01 PM PST by smvoice (Better Buck up, Buttercup. The wailing and gnashing is for an eternity..)
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To: rzman21
>>I’ll take those graven images in your bank account. LOL<<

I don’t venerate or even think highly of them. I’ve been flat broke and still now that God supplies. When hurricane Ike came through and sunk both our yacht and the fishing boat not once did I worry about what was coming.

144 posted on 01/15/2012 6:52:30 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

Some local churches considered 1 Clement to be scripture as late as the 5th century.
http://www.bible-researcher.com/apostolic.html


145 posted on 01/15/2012 6:53:25 PM PST by rzman21
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To: rzman21
>>Then you believe the Ark of the Covenant was idolatrous.<<

No I don’t. That was specifically commanded by God as His “seat” in the Temple. Nor was it something that “represented” God.

146 posted on 01/15/2012 7:03:33 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: rwilson99
Who are these ‘dead Christians?’

If you have a bible... turn to John 3:16 and tell me what Christians are dead?

Let's start with these:

From James the 6th:
Hebrews 9:27
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

You might want to include:
1)those that are currently decomposing after assuming room temperature.
2)thoses that have been cremated without generating murder charges
3)Any baptised resident of the University of Tennessee body farm Remember, Jesus said "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven." Never a mention about praying to Saint Whatzhizname.

147 posted on 01/15/2012 7:03:51 PM PST by tbpiper
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To: rwilson99
Who are these ‘dead Christians?’

If you have a bible... turn to John 3:16 and tell me what Christians are dead?

Let's start with these:

From James the 6th:
Hebrews 9:27
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

You might want to include:
1)those that are currently decomposing after assuming room temperature.
2)thoses that have been cremated without generating murder charges
3)Any baptised resident of the University of Tennessee body farm Remember, Jesus said "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven." Never a mention about praying to Saint Whatzhizname.

148 posted on 01/15/2012 7:04:10 PM PST by tbpiper
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To: WILLIALAL

Prior to the Great Schism, there were 5 Apostolic Patriarchates...Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Each Patriarch/Pope was considered equal. But the Pope of Rome wanted to be the “first amongst equals”. The other 4 Patriarchs were not pleased with that arrangement. The churches split into the Roman/Western Catholic Church, while the other 4 patriarchates became what is considered the Eastern (Orthodox) Church.


149 posted on 01/15/2012 7:05:09 PM PST by toothfairy86
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To: rzman21

The Jews were given VERY a specific “blueprint” as to what the Ark should look like straight from God Himself. Please show me where GOD, and not a pope or other church father, instructed man to kiss rings, medals, and pray to statues? I really am not trying to be disrespectful. Honest, but I just want you to show me in scripture where those things were authorized?


150 posted on 01/15/2012 7:06:00 PM PST by Anti-Hillary (No Jesus, No Peace! Know Jesus, Know Peace!)
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