31 Comments

  1. Great post Matt! I thoroughly enjoyed it! And I second your recommendation of Jimmy Akin’s book, The Fathers Know Best, for those who want to dive deeper!

    February 2, 2016
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  2. Anne said:

    Wonderful article. I pinned it to my Catholic board on pinterest. I get many comments from Protestants on there, some are nasty and some are questions. I am glad to have the option to “pin” it. I especially like your articles because they are full of info, easy to read, and it is like you are talking to me! Thank you.

    February 2, 2016
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  3. I’d also recommend “When the Church was Young” by Marcelino D’Ambrosio as an excellent introductory book to the Fathers. I love Mike Aquilina’s stuff, but Dr. D’Ambrosio’s book is just stellar.

    February 2, 2016
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    • Matt Nelson said:

      Right on, thanks! Dr. D’Ambrosio is great – solid recommendation.

      February 2, 2016
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  4. Paul Ackerman said:

    along with all of these excellent references, the best example of the Catholic Faith is the life of a Baptized Christ-ian who lives what he/she professes.
    “Preach the Good News daily; if necessary, use words”!

    February 2, 2016
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  5. Jen said:

    Dear Matt,
    I believe that most modern day Protestants are genuinely ignorant about the Truths of Catholicism. But there is one, [James White] which I believe has staked his career so deeply against the teachings of the Catholic Church that even he himself is too prideful to admit it. If there aren’t people who are intellectually dishonest then there wouldn’t be such a thing as heretics. Which I firmly believe can only be a person who clearly understands the full Truth and walk away from it. Which is why most modern day Protestants would not qualify as heretics these days. But despite certain efforts to reveal truth, which I have personally done calmly and logically to many who oppose the Faith, I have found with certainty that the Holy Spirit must be the one who touches their hearts, opens their eyes etc. I could lay everything out clear as day with a genuine Protestant who will turn around, lose their charitable smile and condemn me to Hell. This side of apologetics has drained me, because it has happened so many times. It seems like they may be blind when things are clearly obvious but really, it has to be a call to your heart from God, then the pieces fall into place.

    February 2, 2016
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    • Matt Nelson said:

      Hi Allison – that’s fantastic! Thank you for reading – and stay in touch. (and I’ll be sure to check out your conversion story soon!)

      February 2, 2016
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  6. Craig A. White said:

    I have been fair to the Catholic Church and to Catholics for years, but feel no attraction to her.

    February 2, 2016
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  7. Chris said:

    Hello Matt, I appreciate the graceful manner in which you treat us Protestants (Though I have some trouble with that term, I still use it), and your concern for us. But with all due respect, Matt, I can refute every line of argumentation in this article and they have been contested by scholars and historians of Protestants even in the 1800’s and 1500’s like William Whitaker and William Goode. I am a Reformed-Baptists by strong conviction and I have studied Patristics and Biblical exegesis on a scholarly level. I would be interested in interacting with you.

    February 2, 2016
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    • Matt Nelson said:

      Sure, Chris. Fire me an email via the “Contact” option above and I’ll do my best to respond. Thanks for reading!

      February 2, 2016
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    • Truth and love said:

      Hi Chris

      I would like to know what refutations to the article exist. I am Protestant who was born Catholic. I still believe there are sincere Catholics but I believe the “Catholic” system has tended to harmfulness. I believe the Church has authority only when she is under submission to the head who is Christ. I am happy to receive correction should I be mistaken.

      December 19, 2016
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  8. Scott said:

    People choose not to worry over the fact. That although the Catholic Church had it’s hand in the early Period of Christianity,it has a cookie cutter approach to it’s methods. I can attest to a lot of rude brethren at a mass. leaving you feeling you have regressed as a person. Hollow,hungry and unworthy. To draw from Catholicism without Protesting it,You see the transparencies Fairly. Why complicate Christ with a menagerie of dictum? Education can enlighten but not save. To introvert the Crucifixion and the blood stone of the Catholic Church can be a spiritual freedom gained away from the hegemony of the Catholic foundation. feeling it’s vindicated spirit is enough to deter any believer.

    February 2, 2016
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    • Jack Brinker said:

      Can you please explain everything you wrote. It makes no sense to me and I have a graduate degree with 75 years of living.

      February 4, 2016
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  9. Gayle Schrank said:

    Very well written! Thank you, and God bless you!

    February 3, 2016
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  10. Nonito Eddie A. Napigkit said:

    …well presented…I am very proud of my Catholic faith… God bless us all…

    February 3, 2016
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  11. Rev. Fr. Joel said:

    Great job Matt. I’m proud to be a Catholic and a Catholic Priest.
    I had to publish this article on my Catholic blog (www.joelokojie.org) to spread it among my readers. Thanks.

    February 5, 2016
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  12. Jon said:

    I earnestly admire you passion for your understanding of the Church and Church History. If only it were as simple as you present it.

    The early Church Fathers used the term ‘catholic’ in its true and literal meaning–universal, world-wide. They write about the ‘Catholic Church’ (capitalization added in translation, I might add).Yes, the Church has always been catholic in that sense…has always been open to all people of all races and nations…and, indeed, spans the globe. Yet, you’re a bit ingenuous in suggesting that when they refer to the ‘Catholic Church’ that they were in fact referring to the Roman Catholic Church. The very presence of the adjective ‘Roman’ nullifies the following adjective ‘Catholic’. The Church cannot be both universal, world-wide and merely Roman. I believe ‘oxymoron’ is the phrase that applies best here.

    Jesus founded the Church when he walked the earth in 1st Century Judea…among a group of Jews. That was the beginning of the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church. I hope I’d not need to walk you through the next 500 years of Church History to show exactly how the various bishoprics grew, gained strength, etc. Rome’s bishopric gained the eye of the emperor…and the Roman Church came to the fore…spatted with other bishoprics…and the East/West (Great) Schism happened around AD500 resulting in what we know today as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

    Even so , the Church remains Catholic–one Body, many members–and God’s Spirit obviously continues to work through all the members. So, my response is not to condemn Roman Catholics–I know my RC brothers and sisters are every much a part of the one Church as are my Anglican, Orthodox and Pentecostal brothers and sisters. The RCC has MUCH to offer. But to insist she is the one and only is like insisting that the Jerusalem Church in the New Testament is superior to the Church at Galatia or Corinth or Ephesus.

    Even so, I–a ‘Protestant’–continue to read your pieces with great interest. Keep ’em coming, my brother.

    February 5, 2016
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    • Craig A. White said:

      Hear, hear.

      February 6, 2016
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    • Matt Nelson said:

      Hi Jon. I always enjoy reading your comments – and I am especially thankful for your ongoing support here at ReasonableCatholic.com.

      I am curious: where in the article do I say that by “Catholic Church” I mean Roman Catholic Church? This post was not a defense of Roman Catholicism – it was a defense of Catholicism. I am a member of the Roman church – that is, the Roman rite – of the greater Catholic Church. But I don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is any more Catholic than, say, the Maronite Catholic Church.

      With that understood, where is your objection? I would not dispute that various bishoprics grew in strength through the centuries, etc. Neither would I dispute that Rome’s presence in the Church became gradual but – as the First Letter of Clement of Rome or the Shepherd of Hermas suggest, for example – the Roman bishopric always had universal jurisdiction (not to say that other bishops failed at times to turn to Rome to resolve issues when they should have).

      This article was meant to show that the Catholic interpretation of Scripture is consistent with the early Church Fathers understanding of Christian doctrine. I think it makes a good case – and I’d love to see a Protestant version doing the same thing proving distinctly “Protestant” doctrines while disproving Catholic doctrines from the early Church. I don’t think it can be done.

      February 8, 2016
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  13. sarah said:

    Great article.

    as a protestant, i didn’t realise that transubstantiation was believed as early as your quotes show.

    I would say there are a few things that may or may not be part of catholic teaching that restrict me from joining the local catholic church.
    1. praying to mary and the saints. I regard jesus as the ONE mediator between god and man, and can’t see a biblical precedent for praying to anyone other than the father, or jesus himself.
    2. the idea that mary was sinless. she obviously was righteous as God chose her to be the vessel of christ.
    3.i can’t see biblical evidence for purgatory

    would loved to be challenged by biblical evidence for these things 🙂 thanks

    February 13, 2016
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    • Matt Nelson said:

      Hi Sarah, so glad you left this comment! Let me first say that if you’d like to discuss these questions in private you are welcome to email me at my personal email – just go through the ‘Contact’ page above.

      1. In regards to praying to Mary and the Saints, we recognize that praying for one another is an act of love. God allows us to do it in this life – why wouldn’t he allow us to pray for others while perfected in love in heaven? Why not go straight to Jesus? We often do – and should. When your friends ask you to pray for them why don’t you tell them to go straight to Jesus instead? It’s because you know Christ has made it possible for us to participate in his mediation (Heb 7:25). Remember James 5:16 – the prayer of a righteous man is great in its effects and those in heaven are perfected in righteousness (Heb 12:23). So we ask the angels and saints to pray for us as we are all of one body in Christ (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12) and cannot be separated even by death (Rom 8). For explicit biblical evidence of the saints and angels praying for Christians on earth see Rev 5:8 and Rev 8:3-4.

      2. That Mary was sinless is evident though not explicit in Gabriel’s address to her as “full of grace”. “Highly favored one” is not as direct of a translation from Luke’s original Greek. Also, recall that the Ark of the Covenant in the old Testament was made of the purest gold and incorruptible acacia wood. The early Church Fathers called Mary the New Ark of the Covenant because she to was a pure vessel that carried the Word of God – read Luke 1:39-45 alongside 2 Samuel 6:1-15. It is clear that Luke is drawing a comparison between Mary and the ark (see this article for more (http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/mary-the-ark-of-the-new-covenant)

      3. Purgatory is not a Catholic invention like many imagine. The Jews believed in it first. It is the final process of cleansing after death; because “nothing impure shall enter” heaven (see Rev 21:27). Why shouldn’t Jesus do this? It’s just one more act of mercy and grace. It might be instantaneous or it might be over a duration of time. Purgatory changes nothing about the Gospel for it occurs after a person’s judgement and anyone who experiences purgatory has already been saved and will definitely enter heaven. For scriptural allusions to Purgatory see 1 Cor 3:15 (and prior verses), Matthew 5:25 (and prior verses) and Matt 12:32.

      Like I said, email me if you have more question, objections or need any clarifications! Happy to help.

      February 17, 2016
      Reply
  14. Chad said:

    Recently, I was skimming a Catholic evangelism article online that popped up on Facebook titled, What every Protestant Can’t Not Know by Matt Nelson. While well written and supported extensively, unfortunately Matt, you lost me at, “…Protestant”. Isn’t calling fellow ‘brothers and sisters’ in Christ “Protestant” like calling a Native-American an “Indian” or Native-Alaskan an “Eskimo” these days? I am confused by the Catholic branded term but not in the way that you think. To me, Protestantism is not a term that defines a group of misguided believers in Jesus but rather an oblique, adumbrate of a Catholic defined Christian Church. I don’t know of any Catholic described “Protestants” who view themselves as in “protest” of anything religious or Catholic. It’s a Catholic worldview, not a non-Catholic world view. What I am is a “Believer in Christ” with the mission to, “…glorify God by helping all people—of all ages, all the time—advance in their journey with Christ.” My allegiance is solely to Christ Jesus, the Son of God, and not to the head of any religious system built around the Early Church and buttressed by an ancient Roman Empire in His name or any other.

    In the 1990’s, I began to challenge the strength of my learned religious Faith to determine what I truly believed on my own, questioning and researching everything I had learned in my youth with a veracious fervor. My goal was to smelt, purify and galvanize my beliefs for the rest of my life where ever they may take me. I openly considered what other faith traditions had to offer, their doctrine, theology, history and influences. I spent a considerable amount of time learning about Catholicism and found some very interesting things that gave me a considerable amount of pause as a believer in Christ. For the sake of brevity, I will highlight the areas that fortified my non-Catholic, Christian views, NOT anti-Catholic to be very clear, brother.

    The “Universal” Church with Religious Orders and Rites vs. Evangelical Denominations – While Catholicism touts the universal nature of the church in its singular interpretation of the scriptures, there are several Catholic divisions, Orders and Rites, that allow autonomy in some way set apart in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder’s religious practice. This practice is similar in nature to Evangelical Denominations. The primary difference being whether a single provincial jurisdiction approves of the division or not. How universal is “universal”, honestly?

    The Whole Community or Universal origin – The people of Israel in the Old Testament called themselves collectively (depending on your English translation) “the whole community” [Exodus 12:3, 12:47, 16:2, 16:9, Lev 4:13, etc. in addition to many other verses] when referred to as a collective group of God’s people. The Early Church as you mention was also referred to as, “according to the whole [community]” or also translated as “universal”. Both Jewish and Christian references show a continuity of common meaning in the meaning of Universal that transcended from a Jewish to Christian tradition simply meaning “God’s people”. In other words, the Catholics did not coin the phrase “Universal” which Catholics use to claim an exclusive license to the entire, exclusively Catholic, Christian church. Catholics are part OF the “whole [church] community”, not THE entire church community if we all believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, regardless of our traditional expressions.
    Apostolic Succession – Catholics claim the Catholic church was started by Peter’s Apostolic Succession, centralizing Catholic authority from Peter to each of his Papal successors in Rome. However, the canons of the Early Church Councils point to an equal provincial authority split between bishops in Jerusalem and Antioch in the East and Rome in the West as of 343 A.D. with no centralized bishop documented controlling ALL of the early church. During the Council of Nicea there was no Pope to mediate which is why the Roman Emperor Constantine mediated to successfully negotiate canons between the Eastern and Western Bishop Councils, who rarely agreed on matters. One example of a Papal power vacuum was a dubiouse change in the Nicene Canon V at the Council of Serdica during an Eastern Bishop Council boycott. The Western Bishop Council controlled by Rome voted in their absence to change the appeals process for excommunicated bishops from an equal provincial jurisdiction between Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome into one controlled solely by the bishop of Rome. This not only reflected the struggle over the balance of power between eastern and western Christian provinces but demonstrated that there was no central authoritative figure like a Pope to override or preside over any fully represented council. The truth is control over the church incrementally centralized in Rome starting approximately 300 years after Christ. If the Catholic Pope had full authority as claimed, where was he in Nice and Serdica for example?

    Nicene Canon V, “…we decree that in every province councils shall be held twice a year, so that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, all such questions may be thoroughly examined by them. In this way, everyone can see how those who have confessedly offended their bishop have been justly excommunicated, unless it shall seem fit to the general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them.”

    Serdica- Nicene Canon V, “…And if any one require that his case be
    heard yet again, and at his request it seem good to move the bishop of Rome to
    send presbyters a latere, let it be in the power of that bishop, according as
    he judges it to be good and decides it to be right…”

    Why did the Catholic Pope not already have such powers as claimed by Catholics from Peter at the beginning through the first 300 years, despite being ‘underground’? The list of Catholic Popes claimed to be sovereign through Apostolic Succession is in fact the list of bishops of Rome (much like the list of bishops of Jerusalem and bishops of Antioch while they lasted) in some form or another after Peter but the list itself does not prove the level of authority each had after Peter, considering the canons from multiple early church councils suggest otherwise.

    The Rome-centric Church – Why is it so important that Rome is the only location the successor to Peter is physically located, considering there were many more places where bishops lived, not to mention, relatively safer places at least for the first 300-400 years?

    Pope Linus who? – The second Pope in the list of Roman Popes is St. Linus. The New Testament was canonized after St. Linus was bishop of Rome, according to Catholics, so he should have shared in as many Biblical references as Peter if his authority was going to be equally sovereign as Catholics claim. The only reference to Linus found anywhere in the Bible is 2 Timothy 4:21 “21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.” Linus doesn’t sound like a Pope or high priest here or even a very important ‘apostle-to be’ in his only reference in the Bible while working with Peter. Why wasn’t one of the more popular or often mentioned apostles in the Bible the next Pope after Peter such as Paul? That is more logical. Well intentioned Catholics like Matt often refer to Bible reference sequence or quantity for Peter to justify him as the first Pope rather than authoritative references like one for parents such as, “…children, obey your Father and Mother…” or when talking about the Eucharist. But when it comes to the second Pope Linus, why is the same Bible reference standards not applied to Linus as to Peter since they were likely together spreading the Gospel before the New Testament was written?

    The Eucharist – Catholics claim that John 6:51-56 refers to a literal meaning by Jesus to ‘eat his flesh and drink is blood’ as later fulfilled in principle during the Last Supper. In Genesis 9:4-5, God says, 4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.” Jesus also said in John 2:19-22, 19 “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. 20 They replied, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” Now, go back to John 6:60 and read further. Jesus sees that he has made everyone very angry (they don’t understand what He was actually saying yet) so after everyone else leaves, he talked to His disciples. 60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?'” All Jews knew this statement appeared to be blasphemy due to Genesis 9. 61 “Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you?'” This is the cool part. Jesus lets them off the hook. He explains that he was speaking figuratively about things in the spirit realm, not the physical realm. 62 “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” It becomes clear that he didn’t really mean literally “physical” ‘flesh and blood’ because that IS blasphemy. Jesus explains what he meant, “the flesh counts for nothing, the words I have spoken to you are spirit.” He is clearly describing that His spiritual flesh and blood are real, which represents our belief in His resurrection (yet to come at that time) where the true power lies and the actual miracle resides.

    Mary, mother of Jesus – Catholics claim that Mary is the ‘Queen of Heaven’ because she gave birth to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Per Wikipedia, “Queen of Heaven was a title given to a number of ancient sky goddesses in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, in particular Anat, Isis, Innana, Astarte, Hera and possibly Asherah (by the prophet Jeremiah).” All of these goddesses were derivatives of Semiramis, Nimrod’s wife. Nimrod was the great-grandson of Noah and associated with the Tower of Babel and had a reputation as a king who was rebellious against God. After the death of Nimrod, Semiramis had a child that she claimed was Nimrod reborn as the ‘sun god’ called Ba’al, which became the template for paganism that spread into all known civilizations throughout world history. Jeremiah 44 spends the entire chapter describing in no uncertain terms the disaster beholden to the Jews due to Idolatry, namely, to the “Queen of Heaven”. 24 “Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah in Egypt. 25 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have done what you said you would do when you promised, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’“Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! 26 But hear the word of the Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt: ‘I swear by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” 27 For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28 Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand—mine or theirs.” Catholics claim Mary is the REAL Queen of Heaven while ancient references that were pagan by the same name are completely unrelated. How convenient.

    I have already read many Catholic counter-arguments to every point previously mentioned so there is no need to replay them here; however, I challenge you or whoever reads this to simply unhinge worship of religion and instead worship our Lord, regardless of Catholic, Orthodox or Evangelical traditions.

    Peace brothers and sisters.

    May 27, 2016
    Reply
    • Matt Nelson said:

      Thank you for the thoughtful commentary, Chad. Keep searching, brother. God bless.

      May 28, 2016
      Reply
  15. Patrick said:

    The problem with the references to the church fathers is that that with respect to their (supposed) writings there is disagreement among experts concerning their date or for some even concerning their authenticity. As far as I can see the only writing of a church father about which there is a general agreement that it was written before 150 AD is First Clement. As for this writing nowhere does the name Clement appear, and the author does not call himself a bishop, let alone a bishop appointed by the apostle Peter. Peter is mentioned in the writing, but not as a bishop of Rome. From the fact that neither in Acts nor in Romans Peter is mentioned as staying in Rome one can draw the conclusion that he never was there. As for 1 Peter 5:13 the “Babylon” mentioned there is often interpreted as a code name for Rome, but it could just as well refer to Jerusalem as to Rome. As for this view a number of arguments can be put forward. First, according to 1 Peter 2:13-14 the apostle Peter acknowledged the Roman government authorities. Therefore, it seems questionable to me that in the same letter he would refer to the capital Rome as to “Babylon”, thereby regarding the Roman Empire as being ripe for God’s judgement. Second, according to Galatians 2:7-9 Peter was regarded as “an apostle to the Jews” (NIV), who, at least around 50 AD, lived in Jerusalem. Third, if Jerusalem could be called “Sodom” (Isaiah 1:10, Revelation 11:8), “Gomorrha” (Isaiah 1:10), and “Egypt” (Revelation 11:8) it is certainly not unreasonable to assume that it could also be called “Babylon”. Moreover, Justin Martyr, writing around the middle of the second century, points to the stay of Simon mentioned in Acts 8:9-24 in Rome, but seems to know nothing of a stay of Simon’s contemporary Peter in that city.

    As for your quotes concerning Mary it is interesting that they all date from the 4th century. Obviously one cannot find references written down before that century.

    Coming back to the disagreement among experts concerning the date or even the authenticity of writings attributed to church fathers the following quote concerning the Ignatian letters is very informative:

    “Some years ago a debate exploded between these scholars who accepted the traditional view that Ignatius should be dated at the time of the emperor Trajan, and those who argued that the letters were in fact pseudonymous and should be dated to the 160s or the 170s. Reinhard M. Hübner has argued that the epistles were written in the name of Ignatius by a follower of Noetus of Smyrna around the years 165-175 C. E. in order to combat the growing threat of Gnosticism. In a similar vein Thomas Lechner has claimed that the Ignatian corpus was written in this period as a direct response to the heretical notions of Valentinus.”

    David C. Sim, “Reconstructing the Social and Religious Milieu of Matthew: Methods, Sources, and Possible Results”, in: Huub van de Sandt and Jürgen K. Zangenberg (eds.), Matthew, James, and Didache: Three related documents in their Jewish and Christian settings, Atlanta 2008, p. 17.

    July 4, 2016
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  16. Patrick said:

    Did Irenaeus teach that the church in Rome is the leading church and that all other churches have to follow it and its bishop? According to the Classical philologist Otto Zwierlein this is not the case. On p. 145 of his book “Petrus in Rom: Die literarischen Zeugnisse” (Berlin and New York 2009) he translates the respective passage from Irenaeus’s work Against Heresies (3:3:2) as follows:

    “For with this church, on account of its superior authority [or antiquity], it is [legally or practically] necessary for the whole church [or every church] to agree [or come together], that is those on every place who are of the faith; it is in this [i.e. either the Roman church, or the whole church] that the tradition which comes from the Apostles is preserved by those who are on every place.”

    On pp. 145-146 Zwierlein paraphrases the passage as follows: “As the church in Rome was founded by Peter and Paul it is compared to the other churches of a superior origin (“potentior principalitas”). Consequently, it cannot but be that the Apostolic tradition concerning faith and doctrine that has been preserved by the faithful in the whole world is in agreement with the tradition concerning faith and doctrine in the church in Rome whose orthodoxy is warranted by its being founded by these apostles and by the succession of bishops down to the present day. Therefore it suffices to measure the teaching of the heretics against the Apostolic tradition in the church of Rome.”

    As Zwierlein points out on p. 146 according to Irenaeus this tradition can also be found in the churches of Smyrna and of Ephesus (Against Heresies 3:3:4), as these churches, according to Irenaeus, also were founded by apostles, the former by John, the latter by Paul. So, the idea is that every church that was founded by an apostle is a church whose orthodoxy is warranted by its being founded by an apostle and by the succession of bishops down to the present day and not just Rome.

    Zwierlein’s book mentioned above can be read in the following link:

    https://de.scribd.com/doc/219580350/Otto-Zwierlein-Petrus-in-Rom-Die-Literarischen-Zeugnisse-Mit-Einer-Kritischen-Edition-Der-Martyrien-Des-Petrus-Und-Paulus-Auf-Neuer-Handschriftlicher

    On p. 141 Zwierlein takes the view that Irenaeus got the idea that the church in Rome was founded by the the apostles Peter and Paul from a text written by Dionysius of Corinth around 170 AD. On pp. 156-162 Zwierlein deals with the list of bishops of Rome Irenaeus presents in Against Heresies. With respect to the nine men following Peter as bishops, namely Linus, Anencletus, Clemens, Evaristus, Alexander, Xystus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, and Pius, Zwierlein casts doubt on the historical reliability of the list. As for Peter, Zwierlein argues that he was never in Rome. An overview of his respective arguments can be read in the following link:

    https://www.philologie.uni-bonn.de/philologie/personal/zwierlein/st_peter_in_rome.pdf

    As for the status of bishops in early Christianity and in this connection the status of the bishop of Rome in particular and what Irenaeus’s point of view concerning it was Zwierlein describes it in the link mentioned before as follows:

    “The early church was not organized centralistically. It was the community of the faithful, in which presbyters, deacons, and episkopoi served various functions. The monoepiscopacy developed in the late 2nd c. in the fight directed primarily against the gnostic movements. All the bishops of the Christian communities comprising the entire oikumene saw themselves as successors to the apostles on whom the Holy Spirit had been poured out indiscriminately at the feast of Pentecost (cf. Zw. 2009/10, 142. 146 fn. 43). The primacy of the bishop of Rome is due to historical reasons, it took time to develop and took on the form of an absolutistic monarchy, which it still has today, by adopting the Roman imperial law in the High Middle Ages. In sharp contrast to this, Polycarp of Smyrna, e.g., negotiated with ‘bishop’ Anicetus about the date of Easter in Rome around 154 AD as a representative of the Asian rite of equal rank. Both presbyters invoked their respective traditions. Although they could not agree on a unanimous solution, they celebrated the Eucharist in the same church and parted in peace. Still in the last decade of the 2nd c., bishop Victor of Rome, presiding over a synod in Rome, was unsuccessful when, in a public letter, he arrogantly tried to declare all the congregations of Asia Minor outside the community of the Church since they insisted on their date of Easter. The bishops of Asia Minor were not impressed by his threats, invoking their own apostolic tradition, and bishop Irenaeus sided with them in the name of the church of Gallia. Fundamental points of dispute such as this were not decided by authoritarian decree in Rome, but cooperatively by mutual agreement of the various regional episcopal synods (in Palestine, Asia Minor, Pontus, Gallia, Osrhoene [Mesopotamia], Rome) and in direct contact with other individual bishops. Despite the regional differences – as Irenaeus looking back tells us – the various congregations lived in peace with each other. For example, as for the question of fasting before Easter they followed the principle that the differences in fasting lay the foundations for the unity in faith.”

    July 9, 2016
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  17. Chad Horton said:

    I concur. To further ‘the idea that every church that was founded by an apostle is a church whose orthodoxy is warranted by its being founded by an apostle and by the succession of bishops down to the present day and not just Rome’…The Coptic Church predates all Christian churches still in existence today, including the Catholic Church. Mark clearly founded the Church of Alexandria in Egypt circa. 42 A.D., which is known today as the Christian Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt. It is not certain when exactly Peter visited Rome, if he visited Rome at all. It is certainly not clear when Peter started the church in Rome even though it was just as likely started by Paul. However, if any date can be generously asserted, it would be at the end of Peter’s life, circa 60 A.D. when Paul was certainly there – approximately 4 years before they were martyred.

    July 11, 2016
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    • I would remove a comment just to prevent judgement based on a hypothesis. but to me it seems as the state has created a mold perhaps not originally intentioned. Had the big bang theory been a possibility.and people formed. what lessons are taught can be pasteurized to the point of human belief. To be an organized contributor to a blossoming world. The human condition is miraculous and fragile. A redemption could have manifest. It the views from scriptures are timepieces. Ones own viewpoints can be contained within or in public view. We are all accountable to our human activity. Living by any set of codes designed to enrich or honor human conduct can always be important. I was rebaptized to something exotic,and consider this a political designation. Human agreement will bring forth guidelines. transparencies of faith, but trust in you keeper. My Guardian Angel. She is the messenger of truth. As Baptism will have it’s place. Scott “working for god” . living for God.

      July 15, 2016
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  18. Aidan said:

    Becoming ‘catholic’ is indeed the fulfilment of my formerly protestant faith and so I agree with so much of what you said. However, I found the reformed V2 mass is quite a disappointment (and I’m not Latin traditionalist) and quite a mismatch with the RC claim to be ancient and traditional. So I accept the majority of your argument but found its fullness in Orthodoxy which has better preserved her liturgical traditions imho. Orthodox Christianity is truly Catholic and Apostolic with a liturgy that is both deeply worshipful and truly traditional.

    August 2, 2017
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