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The Apostasy That Wasn’t

Two persons of another faith came to my door and they told me that my church, the Catholic Church, had fallen into apostasy (teaching error) after the last Apostle died and the true church had died after that.  Their claim surely was a surprise to me because I knew the truth.  I asked them how they knew that and they said it was historical.  (This sounded like fake news to me.)  I said, “Well, I have a list of 266 popes in succession in the house.  Would you like to see it?  They suddenly declined.  I continued to tell them how the Catholic Church had continued unbroken since 33 A.D. and Jesus said, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”  Matt 16:18.  Jesus is saying the church will not fall into apostasy because it will be protected from error.  Now this poses a problem, if Jesus is telling the truth, then the Church did not fall into apostasy but if Jesus lied then it would’ve fallen into apostasy.  Are they calling Jesus a liar?

According to Matthew 18: 15-18, Jesus gave us a command stating, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you . . . If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  He wouldn’t have said this to the apostles if He wanted the Church to bind heresy on earth.

Christ was directing the faithful to obey the Church that he established and that we can be confident about doing so because the true Church to which Jesus was leading us would never steer us away from God or into error. The question is: To what Church is he referring?

Well, what if we lived in the year 1900 AD?  Which church would He be directing us to?  At that time, the United Methodist Church would not exist.  If we lived in the year 1800, the Mormon Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Salvation Army would not exist.  If we lived in the year 1600, the Baptist Church would not exist.  If we lived in the year 1400, the Lutheran Church, Anglican, Calvinist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and many other Protestant churches would not exist.  Let’s go back even further to the year 33 AD.  Which church would Jesus be directing us to?  The only church that existed for the full 2000 years of Christian history is the Catholic Church.  If Jesus directed us to a church that didn’t exist, he would have led us to error.

If the true church did not exist on this earth for 2000 years, then Jesus misguided millions into obeying churches with errors, with thousands of different interpretations of His Word, with no apostolic authority and churches that He didn’t even start.  Jesus wouldn’t have led us astray or lied to us.  He put into place the truth through the Early Church Fathers, a history of 2000 years, but most importantly, the Catholic Church WITHOUT apostasy.  This is how we know what is true because Jesus tells us and wouldn’t lead us astray and all we have to do is look at the ACTUAL history.

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Early Church Fathers

“Faith of our Fathers” is such an old song but it holds such irrefutable truth of the history of our Early Church Fathers and that they DO KNOW BEST.  They were martyred for believing, and some had gruesome deaths just because they followed what Jesus taught and the church Jesus founded.  If we go back in time and investigate the faith that the Early Church Fathers had, we would find,  that was before Martin Luther, Calvin, King George VIII and the Reformation. If we go back even further to right after Jesus Ascended into heaven, we would see that the fathers of the church were Catholic.  They believed in the Eucharist,  Confession to a priest,  and baptizing the whole family,  even the infants.

I saw a protestant church with a sign that said “Faith of Our Fathers for the last 125 years.”  Which “fathers” are they referring to?  I thought, the Catholic Church has the “Faith of Our Fathers since 33 A.D. and Jesus himself, not just for the last 125 years.  That would only bring us back to 1893!  What about the previous 1,860 years before that?  How are they connected to the Apostles then?

If you are searching  for  the  true church  of Jesus, you need  to  start  with  the  Early Church Fathers and what they believed.  This is what I did when I was searching for the truth.  Look into the history of your current  church or faith and find out when  it started  and who started  it. Find out why your church was started.  This is so important!  Was it started because someone didn’t agree with the teachings of another church?  Can you trace your church’s authority back to St. Peter and Jesus in an unbroken line through the laying on of hands? (Click here for list of popes all the way back to St. Peter.) Is your  church universal , the same in it’s doctrine and practices  no matter  where  you  go in the world?  Do the  doctrines  remain  the same  or do they change  with society pressure? Look into the history of your church’s doctrines and have they changed?  Does your  church have a tabernacle  with  the  true Jesus in the  Eucharist  in it or just a symbolic  wafer or no tabernacle at all?  Look at the authority of your church.  Where does it come from?  Jesus and the Apostles? Does it come directly from the Apostles passed down from the year 33 AD?  Look below for a quick reference as to where, when and by whom different churches were started.

Church Year Founder Location
Lutheran 1517 Martin Luther Germany
Anglican 1534 King Henry VIII England
Presbyterian 1560 John Knox Scotland
Episcopalians 1789 Samuel Seabury American Colonies
Baptist 1609 John Smyth Amsterdam
Methodist Episcopal 1739 John & Charles Wesley England
Mormons 1830 Joseph Smith New York
Jehovah Witness 1874 Charles Taze Russell Pennsylvania
Seventh-day Adventist 1863 William Miller Battle Creek, MI
Lakewood Church (Baptist) 1959 John Osteen (Joel’s father) Houston, TX
Catholic Church 33 AD Jesus Christ Jerusalem

Check out these Early Church Fathers and see what they said.

Regarding Apostolic Tradition: 

Origen of Alexandria

“There are many who think they hold the opinions of Christ, and yet some of these think differently from their predecessors, yet, as the teaching of the Church, transmitted in orderly succession from the apostles, and remaining in the churches to the present day, is still preserved, that alone is to be accepted as truth that differs in no respect from ecclesiastical and apostolic Tradition.” [Fundamental Doctrines Preface 2 (c. A.D. 225)]  (Remember, there are no denominational churches at this time because it is before the Reformation, so “churches” refers to the Catholic Church.)

St. Epiphanius of Salamis

“It is needful also to make use of Tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture.  The holy apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition.” [Panacea Against All Heresies 61:6(c. A.D. 375)]  (So following Sola Scriptura [Bible Alone] doesn’t give us everything the Apostles handed down.)

Regarding the Catholic Church:

St. Augustine of Hippo

For in the Catholic Church, not so speak of the purest wisdom, the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in the is life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith)–not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things that most justly keep me in her bosom.  The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age.  The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his Resurrection, gave it in charge to feed his sheep, down to the present episcopate.  And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.  Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name that keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself.  But with you, where there are none of these things to a attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play.  Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith that binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion.”  [Against the letter of Mani called “The Foundation” 4:5 (A.D. 398)]

St. Augustine of Hippo

“If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, “I do not believe”?  Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.” [Against the letter of Mani called “The Foundation” 5:6 (A.D. 398)]

These are only a sample of the Early Church Fathers.  They tell it like it is and are very truthful because they witnessed it themselves.

The true church that Jesus started is one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  It has to be all of them not just one.  If your church is not all of them, you need to begin your search for Jesus’ one and only church that is still on earth today.  I beg of you to dig deeper  into  the history  of  your  church and the history of the Catholic Church and answer these  questions  for  yourself .  Follow the Early Church Fathers and they will lead you home.

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Source: The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin

Please check out these other books:

Faith Of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will by Mike Aquilina

Faith of the Early Fathers, Volumes 1,2 and 3 by William A. Jurgens

The Shocking Truth About the Pope and the Church Fathers by Tim Staples

Apostolic Fathers: Handing On The Faith by Steve Ray

 

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The Apostle’s Creed Points the Way

The Apostle’s Creed’s history comes from the Apostles 2000 years ago.  These were some of our Early Church Fathers giving us a road map to help us find the way to what Jesus taught us.  It’s a faithful summary of the Apostle’s faith.

It starts out with the words, “I believe…”.  This is a profession of faith.  We profess our belief in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body and Life Everlasting.

  • I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
    • (God is one, loving, living, merciful, gracious, truth, love, the first person of the Trinity, Almighty, and created everything for His glory and it is ordered and ruled by His laws.)
    • (The Trinity is one God but three separate persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Trinity is NOT three Gods.)
  • and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
    • (Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.  Jesus, in Hebrew, means “God saves”.  The word “Christ” comes from the Hebrew “Messiah” which means “anointed”.  “He descended into Hell” means that Jesus descended “into the depths of death so that the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those that who hear will live”.  Remember that Heaven was not open at this time and Satan had the power over death and evil.  All those who had died were waiting for the Messiah to open Heaven because of the Fall of man.  The Hell we think of where Satan is, is not the same place Jesus went.  Jesus ascended into Heaven 40 days later after His Resurrection.)
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
    • (The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, is a who and not a what, is symbolized by water, anointing, fire, dove, cloud and light, the seal, and the finger of God.)
    • (The Holy Catholic Church is the church that Jesus founded through the apostles 2000 years ago.  It is a visible church.  It possesses the four marks of the true church: one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic.  No other church on earth possesses all of these four marks.)
    • (Communion of Saints, means a communion of faith, sacraments, charisms, charity in the faithful to form one body with Christ as the Head of the Church.)
    • (Forgiveness of Sins, means the power given by Jesus in John 20:22-23 for the Apostles to forgive or retain sins.  This power is only for the apostles and their successors.  This is the Sacrament of Confession)
    • (In 1 Cor 15:12-14 it states that “…if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  Those alive in Christ will raise again body and soul and have life everlasting in Christ.)
    • Amen means “I believe”.
    • Many non-Catholic churches say the Apostle’s Creed but might hold a different meaning than what the apostles or Jesus meant.  Do your research and find out if your church truly believes what the apostles believed in the Early Church.

The Four Marks of the True Church are as follows (CCC 866-870):

  1. The Church is one: acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (Eph 4:3-5) at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome.
  2. The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life.  Since she still includes sinners, she is “the sinless one made up of sinners”.  Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.
  3. The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith.  She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation.  She is sent out to all peoples.  She speaks to all men.  She encompasses all times.  She is “missionary of her very nature.”
  4. The Church is apostolic.  She is built on a lasting foundation: “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14).  She is indestructible (Mt 16:18).  She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.
  5. The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic,…subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.  Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines.  (This means that many, not all, elements of truth are found outside of the Catholic Church but the fullness of faith is found within the Catholic Church.)

CCC stands for Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Please see the Catechism paragraph numbers 194-1065 for reference.

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Please Don’t Let This Happen to You!

Thousands have gone to their death rejecting the authority of the Pope, whom Jesus gave the authority to in Matt 16:18-19 (Jesus builds His Church upon Peter and gives him the keys to the kingdom) and John 21:17 (Peter is given Christ’s flock as chief shepherd).

Thousands have gone to their death rejecting the deep sacrificial love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist explained in John 6:35-71 (Bread of Life Discourse), Matt 26:26 (Eucharist is instituted), and 1Cor 11:23-29 (receiving unworthily is guilty of His Body and Blood {This would not be true if it were just a symbol or Jesus was speaking figuratively.}).

Thousands have gone to their death rejecting the sanctifying grace that Jesus has offered and wants to give in the Sacrament of Confession instituted in Matt 18:18 (whatever you bind and loose on earth, so it is in heaven) and John 20:23 (whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins you retain are retained).

Thousands have gone to their death rejecting the only Church Jesus founded, simply because they didn’t understand it (See Matt 28:18-20 Jesus delegates all power to Apostles.  Also see Luke 10:16 Jesus gives the power to the Apostles to speak with Christ’s voice. {Apostolic Succession through the Pope}).

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One of the Early Church Fathers said:

“The Catholic Church is the work of Divine Providence, achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the Incarnation and the teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the suffering, the crosses, the blood and the death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives of the saints…  When then, we see so much help on God’s part, so much progress and so much fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of that Church?  For starting from the apostolic chair (Pope) down through succession of bishops, even unto the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the crown of teaching authority.”   —The Advantage of Believing 35, St. Augustine (A.D. 392)

You can’t change your mind after you die and meet Jesus in judgment.  Now is the time to see how beautiful the Church is that Jesus founded and the many sacrificial gifts He gave you for your salvation.  Follow the Early Church Fathers, they won’t steer you wrong.  And by the way they were all Catholic and so is Jesus!

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Who Started Your Church?

Below I would like to be able to show little snippets of when many denominations of Christian churches were started.  This might give you a good idea of how to find the one, true, church.

Church                          Date started   Who started it                Where started  

Lutheran                       1517                 Martin Luther                    Germany    (Martin Luther was an ex-monk of the Catholic Church and rejected the authority of the Church)

Anglican                        1534                 King Henry VIII                  England      (King Henry started this church because he wanted a divorce and the Catholic Church would not grant him one)

Calvinist                         1555                John Calvin                          Switzerland

Presbyterian                 1560                 John Knox                            Scotland

Protestant Episcopalian 1789            Samuel Seabury               American Colonies  (branch of the Church of England)

Congregationalist       1582                  Robert Brown                      Holland

Methodist                     1739                  John and Charles Wesley  England

Unitarian                      1774                  Theophilus Lindley            London

Mormon Latter Day Saints  1830        Joseph Smith                       New York

Baptist                           1609                  John Smyth                          Amsterdam

Dutch Reformed          1628                  Michaelis Jones                   New York

Salvation Army            1865                  William Booth                     London

Christian Scientist       1879                 Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy        Boston

Seventh Day Adventists 1863              James White                        Michigan

Jehovah’s Witnesses    1874               Joseph “Judge” Rutherford & Charles Taze Russell     United States

Church of the Nazarene, Pentecostal Gospel, Holiness Church, Pilgrim Holiness Church were all started in last century.

Catholic                           33 AD               Jesus Christ                   Jerusalem                                 (It’s the still the same church)

I ask you the question…Do you want to belong to a church that a human person started because they splintered off from another church or wanted to change doctrine, or do you want to belong to the only church that Jesus founded?  When someone says that it doesn’t matter which church you go to, I would say that history makes all the difference.  I would want to be in the church that started with Jesus.

For more information, do your own research into the Early Church Fathers.  They were all Catholic.  You can find more here.

Also, check here for more information on discerning the true Church.

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