These have been handed down and entrusted to the Church (which means to its official teachers, the bishops in union with the Pope)” (ibid., p. 137). A devout and just man, who fears God and prays to Him daily, and who has a good reputation among the Jews: Does that sound like someone who knows little of the God of the Hebrews or of the so-called “Old Testament Law”? A “daughter” church had now been established in Samaria. Many seem to think that Cornelius was a Gentile who disregarded the “Jewish” laws and commandments, such as the clean/unclean laws, the Sabbath, and the Ten Commandments. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:10-12). And tradition is not something that one individual hands off to individual to another but rather is something passed on within a community. But wait! In Romans 16:7, Andronicus and Junias are said to be “of note among the apostles.” This could mean that Andronicus and Junias were apostles, or it could mean that their good work was acknowledged by the apostles. | R. Jared Staudt, PhD, The Lost Riches of Catholic Catechisms with Aaron Seng of Tradivox. The necessity of this change of attitude was shown to Peter in a vision. Peter clearly did not take the vision to mean it was now permissible to eat unclean animals. And there is no reason to believe that they deserted the Sabbath after becoming members of the New Testament church. The sacrifices and ceremonies were not essential to Christian worship (Hebrews 9:9,10), but the point is that James would not have pointed out the Jewish Christians’ zeal for the Law had they abandoned Sabbath-observance. First, the apostles were not appointing new apostles to continue their ministry after them. so that the one who reads it may run (verse 2). Jesus said little about the church. The gathering there is a mix of the invested, the curious and the skeptical. The gospel he preached was taught to him by Christ, not Peter or anyone else. Which, if any, is the church that Jesus built? But then—as it should be now—the Scriptures were not the source and summit of the life of the early Church. Of course, Scripture—then just the Old Testament—does play a role in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. From there the truth about Jesus spread and God caused the Christian church to grow. Again, this is a significant observation—because elsewhere in the Old Testament we have clear-cut examples of God actually commanding His words to be written down. It is a mistake to limit Christ’s word to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing” (Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians,” Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988, p. 136). Did Jesus Found the Church? Biblical scholars recognize that these four rules regarding idols, sexual misconduct, things strangled, and blood are a summation of the sins described in Leviticus 17 and 18, where God says that such things are forbidden both to Israelites and “any stranger [non- Israelite] that sojourneth among you.”. The converted Gentiles were no longer “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”; they were now true citizens of the Israel of God—Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. But what about the Gentiles who were converted to Christianity during the apostolic period? He explicitly quotes from Joel and the Psalms and also makes allusions to Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, and Isaiah. But many believe that the church underwent a radical change after the apostles and elders convened at Jerusalem (Acts 15) to address the question of whether Gentiles should be circumcised. The example Eck himself gives is of Moses writing down the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. According to Catholic theology, “There must be always an apostolic office of teaching and ruling through which alone men can become true disciples of Jesus” (Daniel W. Martin, C.M., S.T.L., S.S.L., The Kingdom of Jesus, Confraternity Home Study Service, St. Louis, MI, p. 49). How Families Can Prepare for Spiritual Warfare | Kathleen Beckman, How Can Beauty & Culture Save the World? He wrote on the ground with His finger, and to this day, we do not even know what He wrote. 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. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. The time had now come for the gospel to spread throughout Judaea and into Samaria. He knew that the Gentile converts were already fully familiar with the Ten Commandments and other laws, for Moses was read in the synagogues every Sabbath—and he knew that most of the Gentiles who had embraced Christianity were “God-fearers” who were accustomed to entering the synagogues on the Sabbath to hear the reading of the Law of Moses. The church is said to be a spiritual house made up of lively or living stones. When grafted into the “Israel tree,” they became Israelites (in a spiritual sense). Vine, the word “…was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens gathered to discuss the affairs of State….In the Sept. And if God is calling you, He’ll see to it that you find the true church—the one that Jesus built. If indeed apostolic succession is the key to identifying the true church, then which is the church Jesus built: Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox? There is no question that the apostles ordained or authorized the ordination of elders in the early church, but is there any biblical evidence that they ordained men as successors to the apostolic office? Paul was an apostle in the same sense. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:15-19). (For example, one of the earliest Fathers, Irenaeus, writing in the late 100s, quotes from most of the New Testament books, but not Philemon, 2 Peter, 3 John, or Jude.). Or has God provided another means whereby one may find the true church? "Jesus did not mean to found a new religion. Notice how he is described: “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feareth God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway” (Acts 10:1,2). According to Smith, the Samaritans in New Testament times “had abandoned their polytheism for a sort of ultra Mosaicism” (William Smith, L.L.D., A Dictionary of the Bible, Thomas Nelson, Nashville; Camden; New York, 1962, p. 585). He defended his apostleship on the basis that he had seen Christ (and was therefore a witness of the resurrection) and that his ministry had produced the fruits of the apostolic office (1 Corinthians 9:1). Fare ye well” (verses 28,29). But what is the biblical definition of “church”? And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. Some think of “the church” as the body of believers collectively, regardless of denominational boundaries, while others think of “the church” as a specific institution governed by ecclesiastical heads, or leaders. 37 … In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, "And I say to you [Simon], you are Peter [Petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming” (verses 42-45). This suggests that “apostolic succession” was an “oral teaching” Jesus gave His apostles, who in turn taught it to their successors. In fact, the Old and now the New Testaments are incredibly important. In Acts 19, the word is used of a riotous mob (verses 32,41), showing that the ancient usage of ekklesia was quite different from the modern usage of “church.” We would never call a riotous crowd a “church.” Nor would we use the word in reference to a rock concert, a political rally, or a Ku Klux Klan convention. Did their entry into the church introduce new customs to Christianity? Years after the church’s foundation, the writer of this epistle expounded the redemptive and eschatological meaning of the Sabbath rest, and said, “There remaineth therefore a rest [a keeping of the Sabbath] for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). This is what the writer of the book of Hebrews had in view when he said: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22,23). Was He speaking of an organized entity run by bishops, archbishops, and other prelates? Second, Judas’ replacement had to be a witness of Christ’s resurrection. Of course, this does not mean that the written word, the Old Testament, was unimportant. On the contrary, scriptural evidence indicates the whole apostolic church—both Jews and Gentiles—continued their familiar practice of observing God’s festivals and Sabbaths. Traditionally, Roman Catholicism has understood the church to be instituted by Christ. Here’s how it often goes. He said: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Many “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. And, as we have noted, Luke pointed out that the New Testament church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Did the early Jewish converts abandon their Jewishness and take on new uniquely “Christian” customs? These detached branches are no longer part of the tree—no longer part of Israel, except in a physical, fleshly sense. The Catholic church teaches that Peter was the first Pope and the earthly head of the church, but the Bible never says this once. 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? “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (verse 1). As Catholic apologist Karl Keating says, “This oral teaching must be accepted by Christians as they accepted the written teaching that at length came to them…. Tradition means the teaching and teaching authority of Jesus and, derivatively, the apostles. Apparently, the belief has found its way into several non-traditional sects. In the Institutes he declares: “Let this be a firm principle: No other word is to be held as the Word of God and given place as such in the Church than what is contained first in the Law and the Prophets, then in the writings of the apostles; and the only authorized way of teaching in the church is by the prescription and standard of his Word.”, An evangelical organization put this telling interpretation on the above quotation: “Calvin makes it clear that Christ limited the mission of the apostles ‘when he ordered them to go and teach not what they had thoughtlessly fabricated, but all that he had commanded them.’ Without the Bible we have no revelation from God which is able to save us from sin and death.”. But the office of apostle (as it pertained to the Twelve and Paul) was unique. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism. 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. Like ekklesia (“church”), it carried no special “religious” meaning. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day” (verses 19-21). Download Full PDF Package. “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews…” (verse 22). Furthermore as it was intended by Jesus that they to … For this reason, witness of the resurrection was one of the qualifications of the apostolic office. Both Scripture and history reveal that great animosity existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. How were the disciples to take this statement? Some have cited the example of Matthias’ replacement of Judas as evidence of apostolic succession. Catholic Exchange is a project of Sophia Institute Press. With these qualifications in view, can any man today rightfully claim the office of apostle, with teaching authority identical to that of the twelve Jesus chose as foundational pillars of His church? Lydia, a “seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God [Greek: sebomene ton theon: “a worshiper of God,” or “God-fearer”],” was a Sabbathkeeper who was converted through Paul’s teaching (Acts 16:13,14). “The Synaxis of … What really happened at the Jerusalem conference? If you are looking for the true church, don’t look for an unbroken chain of bishops, or for men calling themselves “apostles.” Don’t look outward; look upward! When Jesus said, “I will build my church,” and promised that His church would not be destroyed (Matthew 16:18), was He thinking of an ecclesiastical institution, such as the Roman Catholic Church? But Paul insisted that his apostleship was not of men! Did they regard the weekly and annual sabbaths as “Jewish” customs that had no relevance for non-Jewish believers? So who’s church is it? They saw themselves as the “remnant of Israel” (see Romans 11:5-7), and never thought that the law God had given to their forefathers no longer pertained to them. These God-fearers were in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He is a former news editor at GoLocalProv.com and was a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he covered the 2008 presidential primary. Should we expect the Samaritan church to have practices and customs different from those of the Jerusalem church? There are yet other churches whose bishops claim legitimacy through apostolic succession: the Old Catholic and Anglican churches, for instance. In fact, Christ said, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (verse 34). In several passages the word (ekklesia) is used in reference to local assemblies. 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