Saturday, January 07, 2006

What was the first church?

My brother is baptist but he has asked me what the first church was after Jesus and the apostles. Of course, I know it is the Catholic church but where can I find some books or info that say that in a simple form. I don't want to give him anything to heavy to read just something that shows that Catholism is the first church. After we get that foundation laid I can build on it but he needs to get this first. Help!!

St. Ignatius (AD 50-110) was a pupil of St. John the Apostle, the inspired author of the Gospel According to St. John, St. John's Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. St. Ignatius became the Bishop of Antioch approx. AD 70, the place where they were first called "Christian." He remained Bishop there until being brought in chains to Rome to be eaten by lions around AD 110. On his way to his martyrdom, he wrote letters to the other Churches. In the letters of St. Ignatius, which Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant scholars believe are authentic, he wrote about his Church, which he explicitly called the "Catholic Church." He described some doctrines of the Catholic Church in his letters:
  1. the primacy of the Church of Rome (Rom., introd.).
  2. the Church was Divinely established as a visible society, the salvation of souls is its end, and those who separate themselves from it cut themselves off from God (Philad., c. iii)
  3. the hierarchy of the Church was instituted by Christ (lntrod. to Philad.; Ephes., c. vi)
  4. the threefold character of the Church hierarchy (Magn., c. vi)
  5. the order of the episcopacy superior by Divine authority to that of the priesthood (Magn., c. vi, c. xiii; Smyrn., c. viii; Trall., c. iii)
  6. the unity of the Church (Trall., c. vi; Philad., c. iii; Magn., c. xiii);
  7. the holiness of the Church (Smyrn., Ephes., Magn., Trall., and Rom.);
  8. the catholicity of the Church (Smyrn., c. viii);
  9. the infallibility of the Church (Philad., c. iii; Ephes., cc. xvi, xvii);
  10. the doctrine of the Eucharist (Smyrn., c. viii), which word we find for the first time applied to the Blessed Sacrament
  11. in Smyrn., viii, we meet for the first time the phrase "Catholic Church", used to designate all Christians;
  12. Incarnation (Ephes., c. xviii);
  13. the supernatural virtue of virginity, already much esteemed and made the subject of a vow (Polyc., c. v);
  14. the religious character of matrimony (Polyc., c. v);
  15. the value of united prayer (Ephes., c. xiii);
  16. He denounces in principle the doctrine of private judgment in matters of religion (Philad. c. iii)

Kenneth Whitehead's book, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic The Early Church Was The Catholic Church, is a good resource for further reading.

God bless,


"Lord, in my zeal for the love of truth, let me not forget the truth about love"
-- St. Thomas Aquinas