Universal Churchgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
The term "Catholic" means "universal." Yet in the world today there exist a number of different Christian denominations (i.e., Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) and a number of different religions (i.e., Islam, Hinduism, etc.). Given all this variation, how is it that the Church can still claim to be "universal"?
My understanding of this is that the Catholic Curch is governed by the papacy and he has jurisdiction over the universal Church wich claims to govern the Church. I am unsure
-- sam (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 09, 2003
The Catholic Church is universal because it is the one and only Church founded by God Himself as the channel of salvation for all men, in all times and places. That would be true if men had not taken it upon themselves to found churches of their own, teaching doctrine contradictory to the true doctrine of His own Church. However, the fact that they did so does not make His own Church any less true, or any less universal, just as the setting up of false gods does not make the true God any less true or any less universal.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), November 09, 2003.
I understand you are unsure. Unsure of what a universal church ought to be; and why you would consider that the true Church.
Well, many millions have been unsure of the same things. This is a result of men and their sins. Men, to start with, sin in their resistance to truth and holiness. Men then act in the world around them as false prophets, leading more men into false ''churches''.
The only Church Christ left us was the apostolic Church, which in the beginning started small. From twelve apostles it grew, first to 72 more, then thousands, then spread into many nations, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. It was preached by thousands more members, all in one Church.
These were the Church's original missionaries. They carried the truth from Christ, to all the nations of their known world. But always that was the work of one Church. It covered everywhere men went; in other words their own states, their own familiar territories, and into unknown countries. To everybody alive in the nations.
That's why, at a point in time, it began to be called the universal Church. It had no rival; there was just one. Where ever the missions took her, this was the same, first, Christian Church. It branched out. But it was rooted in one faith, the faith of the holy apostles.
Becoming unsure, or, insecurity, is not because the truth wasn't always there for us to see. It was. It's a result of sin. Certainly the truth can't result from sin. The truth is a result of God's guidance of men. We know the most important truths in essence from God. We call them revelations, and they aren't open to argument.
If today she is called Roman Catholic, what matters is still what mattered then. Her faith and all her teachings, protected and secure in the Holy Spirit haven't changed. Faithful souls stay faithful always to the apostles' teachings. Other men branched off and left her. But they lost that apostles' contact and then the Holy Spirit. They became renegade churches. All opposed the universal Church. But she survives, greater than ever before. They all envy her great mission. They challenge, but can't pick her doctrines apart; they have no spiritual basis to support them. They lost the true faith and today they dispute all authority. The Catholic Church would be just like all the others if she had nothing they don't have. They come without any apostolic authority. She DOES. They aren't universal; She IS, the meaning of Catholic IS Universal! And no matter how large they become, or where they spread, or how rich they are; they aren't universal.
They are sectarian; choosing from a variety of false doctrines left behind by false prophets. They number in the scores of thousands of sects, never united or precise in their apostolic truths, what they've managed to keep intact. They can barely call each other Christian denominations. Not ONE CHurch. They are always unsure; and even the individual members, instead of arriving at some point when they're SURE, are really only FANATICAL. Fanaticism is also a result of sin. Catholics don't have to be fanatics. God has kept them in the truth. --Any who choose to fall away just reject His truth. No one is forced; God will not force us to believe, we have faith or we simply don't. The faith remains the same forever, Universal.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), November 09, 2003.
Actually neither one of the already suggested answers is totally correct. The Catholic church wishes they could trace their roots back to the Apostles but the truth is they cannot. The catholic church was started in around 382ad by the then government of Rome, hence it's name the Roman Catholic Church. The catholic church started the idea of a "Universal Church" to at first give themselves validity and credibility. I mean they had been for over 300 years killing anyone they could find that called themself a Christian. When they saw that even despite all that killing the Christian church thrived and grew they realized the best thing to do would be to join or even take control of this movement if possible.
The real truth is, there is no "Universal Church", and the ONLY true church is a LOCAL New Tesament church that follows ALL of Jesus Christs teachings, such as baptism by immersion, the Bible being the true and unerrant Word of the Living God, all believers should go soul-winning, seperation from the world, etc etc etc.
The Bible never mentions a Universal Church. The only time it even suggests such a thing is after the Rapture when Jesus calls out all those that have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, something a baby or infant cannot do but they are covered by God's grace none-the-less. They are covered because God's Word teaches that you must be of age and mental maturity (knowing what it is exactly you are doing) to be held accountable. Remember, Jesus did not go partially into the grave, Jesus was not "sprinkled" into the grave, He was fully immersed into the grave and that is the picture that baptism represents.
The word Church in the Bible means - a called out assembly. We have not been called out yet. We will be called out on the day of the Rapture. THEN we will be the Church of the Firstborn. Please do not fall for this satanic universal curch idea. It is not scriptural! It is not right! It is not true! And yes, catholic does mean universal, quite a coincidence don't ya think.
-- Ric Worstell (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 2003.
Let's never despair because some adamant Catholic basher has no faith in Christ's holy word. God just hasn't opened the poor soul's eyes yet. He's in darkness.
We have ample proof in scripture to the Church's origin, early roots and continuing mission, all which started in Pentecost 33 A.D., with the descent of the Holy Spirit on His people; the Church.
Free lance Christians like Ric Worstell are well-meaning but ignorant. They challenge, but can't pick our doctrines apart; they have no spiritual leader. They lost the true faith and today they dispute all authority. Ric's own blessed ancestors were all Catholics. They understood and had faith, because they were Catholics in God's Holy Church come down from the apostles.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), November 17, 2003.
"The Catholic church wishes they could trace their roots back to the Apostles but the truth is they cannot. The catholic church was started in around 382ad by the then government of Rome, hence it's name the Roman Catholic Church"
A: What ignorance! The earliest writings referring to the Catholic Church by that name are those of Ignatius, a disciple of the Apostle John, in 107 A.D. he referred to the Church Christ had founded - the ONLY Christian Church which existed at that time, or would exist for the next 1,000 years - as "The Holy Catholic Church". It is apparent from his usage that he expected his readers to be familiar with the term, indicating that the name was already in common use. The name of Christ's Church is NOT "the Roman Catholic Church". That name was coined by anti-Papal Protestants in the 16th century. "Around 382" the Holy Catholic Church, which had already been preaching the fullness of the truth of Jesus Christ for 349 years, was LEGALIZED, not "started", by Constantine, the first Christian (=Catholic) emperor of the Roman Empire.
"The catholic church started the idea of a "Universal Church" to at first give themselves validity and credibility. I mean they had been for over 300 years killing anyone they could find that called themself a Christian"
A: What ignorance! Catholics called THEMSELVES Christians, and still do. They first called themselves "Christians" at Antioch. They first called themselves "Catholics" before the end of the First Century, and have continued to do so ever since. This is HISTORY, easily discoverable by any person of average intelligence who values the truth and wants to take the time to learn it. NO-ONE but Catholics called themselves "Christian" during the time period under discussion, for there was NO other Christian church but the Catholic Church founded for all men by Jesus Christ.
"The real truth is, there is no "Universal Church", and the ONLY true church is a LOCAL New Tesament church that follows ALL of Jesus Christs teachings, such as baptism by immersion, the Bible being the true and unerrant Word of the Living God, all believers should go soul-winning, seperation from the world, etc etc etc."
A: The real truth is, Jesus told the leaders of HIS Church to make disciples of ALL PEOPLE. Do you know the meaning of "universal"? If Christ intended ALL PEOPLE to belong to the ONE Church He personally founded, that is exactly equivalent to saying He intended His Church to be UNIVERSAL - which of course is exectlty why His Church soon started calling itself CATHOLIC, which means "universal".
"you must be of age and mental maturity (knowing what it is exactly you are doing) to be held accountable"
A: Well of course! Who suggested otherwise?
"Jesus did not go partially into the grave, Jesus was not "sprinkled" into the grave, He was fully immersed into the grave and that is the picture that baptism represents"
A: Right! I know that, and you know that, because the Holy Catholic Church has taught that for 2,000 years. Every Christian truth you know came to you from the Catholic Church, which was the sole repository of Christian truth for 1,000 years after Christ, and still is the sole repository of the fullness of Christian truth. However, there is NO scriptural evidence for the method of baptism used then, nor is there ANY scriptural evidence that the early Church withheld baptism from its most innocent and undefiled members. In fact, on the latter question there is considerable scriptural evidence to the contrary.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), November 17, 2003.
First of all;
GO PAUL M!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to clear up ignorance with a holy vengeance! There is nothing I pity more than a Protestant who has no clue what happened in history, because a) he never learned about it at all, b)heard a shaded history from a parent or pastor or anyone who hates the Catholic Church, or c) is just plain stupid.
The thing I always tell ingorant Bible Christians (and I have to deal with tons of them... I'm a Sophomore at the U of MN, and most go to the Calvanist Bethlehem Baptist led by John Piper)is to never take anything we say for granted. I tell them if they think I am wrong about Church History, ESPECIALLY the first crucial years, go to the sources and prove me wrong. Out of fear or stubbornness, they never get to second base....most likely cause they know the Catholic Church is right and don't want their cozy beliefs shattered.
In going to the source, I recommend Eusebius' History of the Church, as it is the only surviving account of the 300 year period that gives the BEST layout of Church History period. Anybody who writes a book about this time period gets the sources from Eusebius indefinately. I also recommend a book by Dionysus on the "Jewish Wars", which provides important historical facts about the Jews during and immediately after Christ. Also, the Church Fathers is the best way to go too. Ignatius of Antioch is key, but also Clement of Alexandria, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Iraneus, and hosts of others that fostered the universal Church.
Another thing I wish to comment on the Rapture fool; where did your beliefs originate? Your Protestant heritage stretches only to Luther, as well as ALL the beliefs (especially the Rapture trap) you hold so true in your heart. If they are true and Scriptural, then why were these beliefs NEVER mentioned in the writings of those who heard the Apostles, were ordained Bishops (i.e. Ignatius) and leaders by the Apostles, and who wrote about all of this stuff???? If Rapture was true, if Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide were true, and all the Evangelical Bible Christian stuff as well, then why is it never mentioned until after Luther??? It would have, if it was true, been taught orally by the Apostles as well as written, but you never find ANY of these absurd doctrines until a millenium and a half! In fact, some of these doctrines appeared briefly in early Christian history as HERESIES, and were condemned by the established Catholic Church as HERESIES. I always wonder how it makes Protestants feel when they discover that their beliefs were surfaced in the early years, but condemned as absolute heresies. What Church, then, do you find then upon reading post-Apostolic times? I'll leave that to you.
Another thing- Where did you get your Scriptures?? Certainly not from any Wheaton grad, or any Protestant. No, the Holy Catholic Church, under a Church Council of Bishops headed by the Bishop of Rome, canonized and ratified the Scriptures in 393 and 397 AD at Synods of Hippo and Carthage. Yes, my friend, your worst fear is unfolding- the Church you despise is the one the canonized and brought you your Bible! It was not always thought of as inspired as well... When you read Eusebius' History, you will see at the time of his writing (c. 300-330 AD), he lists definate inspired books of the NT as well as those STILL UNDER DISPUTE; especially the Revelation of John. It was still hot in discussion about inspiration until at least 385 AD, which is precisely why the Church Councils were summoned. The NT as you know it was canonized as you know it, and you ONLY accept it as inerrant and infallible because the Holy Catholic Church Councils of Bishops decreed it so! The canon was never completely assembled until these Councils laid the foundation. (this also shows that Sola Scriptura could never have been true; there was NO COMPLETE SCRIPTURE until this time.... And if Christians, as foolish Protestants claim, only adhere to the Bible, then there would be NO CHRISTIAN until 397 AD! Which is completely absurd, because the Holy Catholic Church was thriving for well over 300 years when the Bible was canonized. If Scripture wasn't the sole rule of faith, then what was?? Stop being ignorant, read the post- Apostolic writings, and find out. ) In addition, the OT canon of 393 and 397 was DEUTEROCANONICAL. All the books of the Holy Catholic Scriptures, were canonized as infallible. What does this mean?? That Luther, when taking out NT books (such as James, whose letter he called an "epistle of straw"), and OT books, violated what Revelation 22-18 condemns (in both adding and taking out; he added the word "alone" after a Paul epistle to prove his sola fide doctrine). And do you know why he took out the NT books and the OT canon? Because they contradicted his contradictory new beliefs! The OT was altered because it showed Purgatory and praying for the dead (i.e. 1 and 2 Macabees), James in the NT because "faith and works is dead", and many other alterations because they completely went against his beliefs. And look at the results of this Universal ignorance; there has been one Holy Catholic Church for 2000 years, and over 40,000 Protestant religions all claiming to interpret Scriptures the right way. The statistics show everything.
In dealing with these kind of ignorant Bible Christians, we have to pity them for their lack of knowledge, not of faith. They are completely misguided, though they mean right. And to any Bible Christian that reads this; know History! The most powerful thing you can tell a Protestant is this: You know a certain so-and-so who founded your particular sect, and Luther and Calvin who founded Protestantism and Protestant beliefs- every Protestant Church has had a human founder....I challenge any Protestant to look through early history and find a mere human founder of the Holy Catholic Church! That is to say, other than the Apostles and Jesus Christ himself. It is an unanswerable question, because there is no other founder than Christ, and spread by the Apostles.
Paul M., Amen for your courage and Truth! I wish there were more Catholics who can defend and explain the faith as you. I need more Catholics like you here at the University of Minnesota: the Protestantism here is so overwhelming and I am attacked daily by anti-Catholicism. Pray for my perserverence in this fight! God bless
-- Andrew Staupe (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2004.