This new series of posts on Protestantism I’m sure will upset some Protestants; however, it is not a critique on Protestants but on Protestantism – big difference. In these posts, I will highlight some points I focused on while studying religion during my transition from atheism to theism.
The True Church of Christ
All denominations claim to be the “one true” Church of Jesus Christ. How can we know for sure? Well, history answers this question. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church headed by Pope Francis now is the original Christian Church that can be traced to Jesus Christ Himself. There is no doubt that the apostles themselves were part of this Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch who was ordained by St. Peter had this to say of the true Church of Christ:
Chapter VIII.-Let Nothing Be Done Without the Bishop.
See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-longer.html)
Notice that he does not say “Protestant Church,” “Lutheran Church,” “Pentecostal Church,” “Baptist Church,” “Adventist Church,” “Eastern Orthodox Church;” he says CATHOLIC CHURCH. St. Ignatius lived in the 1st century. There were no other Churches around, only the Catholic Church.
Some Protestants claim that they are part of the Catholic Church or that the Catholic Church somehow lost its way or became apostate. This is just dishonest. Historians all agree that the Catholic Church that existed in the first century is the same Catholic Church of today headed by Pope Francis. All academics agree that St. Peter was the first Pope and that there has been an uninterrupted apostolic succession of Popes from AD 33 to now 2013 with Pope Francis. The list of Popes is confirmed by 11th century scholar Hermann of Reichenau and scholars thereafter.
The Church cannot become apostate because Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her. (Matthew 16:18) Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church in truth. (John 14:26) To say that the Church went haywire in the early centuries is to basically call Christ a liar.
There is no doubt that the original Christian Church is the one headed by the Pope and centered in Rome. Pope Clement I who is third Pope after St. Peter had this to say:
Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobeys the things which have been said by him [Jesus] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no small danger. We, however, shall be innocent of this sin and will pray with entreaty and supplication that the Creator of all may keep unharmed the number of his elect (Letter to the Corinthians 58:2, 59:1[A.D. 95]).
As Pope and head of the Universal Church, he speaks with authority over the entire Church by stating that one must not disobey what is said by Jesus through “Us” or the Church of Rome. This shows that the Rome diocese/Church has a specific primal role as head of the entire universal Church.
Again, take note that there is no mention of Protestantism or Eastern Orthodox Churches. At this time, there was only ONE Christian Church and it was the Catholic Church headed by Pope Clement I. Any claims that Protestants or other non-Catholic Christians make in regards to being the one true Church is completely false.
How Old Is Your Church?
- If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex- monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.
- If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
- If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.
- If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
- If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
- If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
- If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774.
- If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829.
- If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605.
- If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.
- If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.
- If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.
- If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as ‘Church of the Nazarene,” “Pentecostal Gospel.” “Holiness Church,” “Pilgrim Holiness Church,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past century.
- If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church. –http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/churb4.htm
“To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.”
(An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine – part 5)
Only the Catholic Church has the historical evidence that shows it was founded by Jesus Christ Himself on Peter the Rock. Any denomination that calls itself Christian but is not united to Rome was founded by a man in America during colonial times or Europe during the Reformation. These denominations are not the true Church of Christ, but are parodies of it.