“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” With this answer, Jesus established the Catholic Church with Simon Peter designated the first Pope. Copyright 2021 The Church of God International. How were the disciples to take this statement? But what did He mean when He said “church”? Now when Calvin speaks of preaching of the gospel, he means the written gospel. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation…” (verse 15). Catholic theologians may retort by saying that the Word of God consists not of Scripture alone, but of Scripture and “Tradition,” or “oral teaching.” The Bible, they say, reflects the church’s teaching, but is not the complete rule of faith. It applies strictly to either the place of worship, the congregation of worshipers, or to a specific sect or denomination. Speaking to the Gentiles of the church of Ephesus, Paul said: “That at that time [before conversion] ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ….Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:12,13,19). Gerizim [ancient location of the Samaritans’ temple] referred to in John 4” (Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament, Wm. But wait! The term does not mean legends or mythological accounts, nor does it mean transitory customs or practices that come and go as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Pay close attention not only to what is said, but to what is not said. “And the apostles and elders came together for to consider this matter, 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 [Acts 10], and believe. 9:5). His teaching persuaded them that “this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (verse 42). Obviously, the earliest Christians, being Jewish, associated the important events of Christ’s resurrection appearances and the arrival of the Holy Spirit with the festivals they were familiar with, not with the first day of the week. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick [office, or charge] let another take. The Roman Catholic Church essentially believes that Christ was saying this:“And I also say to you that you are Peter (the rock), and on you, Peter, I will build My one Holy Catholic Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This interpretation forms the basis of the doctrine of the primacy of Peter, the idea that Christ founded the church on Peter. The Church that Jesus clearly founded in the Bible with Peter and the apostles in charge, somehow became so terribly unhinged from Christ’s original plan. The Catholic Church Was Founded By Jesus Christ Our Lord. Clearly, the apostles could not at this point have envisioned a line of successors—a strong indication that Christ had not taught them such a concept. Anciently, the word had no particular religious connotations. Does this account in any way suggest that the apostolic office was to continue beyond the first century? So who’s church is it? Even if we assume “apostolic succession” to be the key to finding the true church, we are still faced with a huge problem: The Roman Catholic Church is not the only church that claims apostolic succession! Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But do the various references to “apostles” other than the twelve offer any evidence that Christ intended to perpetuate the apostolic office through an endless succession of popes and bishops? In the days that followed, “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (verse 47). He wrote on the ground with His finger, and to this day, we do not even know what He wrote. What does the word church mean? Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to those who were his own (the church) to preserve us in fidelity until he comes again. How appropriate that the “harvest” of lives for the Kingdom of God should begin on this day. The Christian church in Jerusalem was the center of the Christian faith. God revealed to Peter that he should go with them because He had sent them (verses 17-20). So it’s easy for modern English-speaking readers to read a meaning into a passage that was not intended by the original writer. These God-fearers were in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The magistrates at Philippi apologized to Paul and Silas for beating and imprisoning them illegally (Acts 16:22-40). The answer that a well-known ad campaign—Catholics Comes Home—gives is that Jesus founded the Church. Strange as it may seem, the apostles had no idea that Jesus Christ would not return to this earth during their lifetimes. Far from giving special meaning to the first day of the week, Christ’s resurrection appearances and the arrival of the Holy Spirit gave new meaning to the spring festival and the Day of Pentecost, thus giving the early church all the more reason to continue keeping these feasts. The Greek word rendered “church” in English translations of the New Testament is ekklesia. or. Proof of this is found in several scriptural references. He welcomes tips, suggestions, and any other feedback at bealenews at gmail dot com. “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews…” (verse 22). He founded a Teaching Church. | R. Jared Staudt, PhD, The Lost Riches of Catholic Catechisms with Aaron Seng of Tradivox. Surprise is the typical response when I reveal that Jesus mentions the church, the ekklēsia, only twice. Notice what happened after Paul finished his speech: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. James, the “Lord’s brother,” who had served as presiding elder in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13-21), encouraged his readers to obey the Ten Commandments in all its points (James 2:10,11); and spoke of “your assembly [Greek: sunagoge, meaning “synagogue”]” (2:2), which suggests that Sabbathkeeping was still common at the time James wrote (probably in the early 60s, A.D.). A person becomes a member of the church simply by … Did they envision a generation in the distant future? 13:8) and does not change (Mal. On the other hand, it may mean that, besides Peter, Paul saw none of the other apostles, though he did see James, the only other person he visited while there. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. Clearly, the Christian movement was not considered an illegal religion during the first decades of the apostolic period. The seed and beginning of the Kingdom was the little flock whom Jesus shepherded as his family. This vision of the Church also happens to be precisely the Catholic one. This group of believers or "the body of Christ" began in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost through the work of the Holy Spirit and will continue to be formed until the day of the rapture of the church. A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history. By New Testament times, the Samaritans were claiming to be the descendants of Jacob. Notice an analogy Paul used: “For if the casting away of them [the majority of Israelites] be the reconciling of the world [the non-Israelite peoples, or Gentiles], what shall the receiving [conversion] of them be, but life from the dead? “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day” (verse 20). This animosity predated the time of Christ and the apostles by several centuries. The Eastern Orthodox Church makes the same claim, and, interestingly, each of the two churches accepts the claim of the other, while each claims to be “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.”. It didn’t have an infallible board of prelates, impressive cathedrals, great political influence, or wealth. What really happened at the Jerusalem conference? Thus began the New Testament church. God did not leave us here without hope or a plan. Peter clearly did not take the vision to mean it was now permissible to eat unclean animals. In modern societies, “church” is a “religious” word completely devoid of any secular meaning. They knew that God had promised to make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31), and saw themselves as the recipients of God’s covenantal promise to “put [His] law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (verse 33). 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