1. HISTORICITY OF CHURCH AND HER RELATION WITH JESUS
When discussing about the history of the Catholic Church, Protestants may be reluctant and skeptic in accepting the details be presented to them if these are coming from Catholic sources. However, can they still refuse the fact if they are cited from non-Catholic and/or public sources?
“ROMAN CATHOLICISM. The largest of the Christian denominations is the Roman Catholic church. As an institution it has existed since the 1st century AD…The name of the church is derived from its base in Rome and from a Greek term meaning “universal.” The word Catholic refers to the wholeness of the church, and for many centuries the Roman church claimed to be the only true Christian denomination.” (Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia © 1996)
“ROMAN CATHOLICISM: Christian church characterized by its uniform, highly developed doctoral and organizational structure that traces its history to the apostles of Jesus Christ in the 1st century C.E.” (Marriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions © 1999, page 938 )
“The history of the Roman Church, therefore, in relation to the ancient oriental churches, is in fact, the history of this claim to supremacy. The claim of supremacy on the part of the bishop of Rome rests on the belief that Christ conferred on the apostle Peter a ‘primacy of jurisdiction;’ that Peter fixed his see and died at Rome and thus, that the bishops of Rome, as successors of the apostle Peter, have succeeded to his preorgatives of supremacy. In this light, historians read the facts of the early history of the church—and they trace to this acknoledgment of the superiority of that see, the numerous references to Rome on matters of doctrine or discipline; the appeals from other churhces, even those of Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople; the depositions or nominations of bishops, examination and condemnation of heresies—of which the first five centuries, especially the 4th and 5th, present examples. . . In all the controversies on the Incarnation—the Arian, the Nestorian, the Eutychian, the Monothelite—not only was the orthodoxy of Rome never impeached, but she even supplied at every crisis a rallying point for the orthodox of every church.” (Imperial Encyclopedia and Dictionary, Volume 32 © 1903)
“The Church of Rome is the earliest of Christian organization; after three centuries of persecution, it was given freedom by the edict of Constantine and Licinius and acquired increased influence. Bishoprics were established in various parts of the empire, but the one at Rome remained supreme, and in time the title of Pope, or father originally borne by all the bishops indiscriminately, began to be restricted to the bishop of Rome.” (The World Book Encyclopedia © 1940, Page 6166, Volume 14)
“The office of Pope was founded on the words of Christ: ‘And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [which means a rock], and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew xvi, 18). The attention of every historian has been attracted by the endurance of the Papacy through centuries that have seen the downfall of every other European institution that existed when the Papacy arose, and of a number of others that have originated and fallen, while it continued t flourish. The Roman Catholic offers these facts as evidence that the Church is not merely a human institution, but that it is built upon a rock.’” (The World Book Encyclopedia © 1940, Page 5730 Volume13)
“Historical Notes. The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church recognizes the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on this earth, and as the Head of the Church. It traces its origin from the naming of the Apostles Peter by Jesus as the chief of the Apostles . The authority of Peter as head of the Church is exercised by his successors as the Bishops of Rome. The doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church come from the faith given by Christ to his Apostles.” (World Religions, By Benson Y. Landis, © 1957 Page 110)
“At first the Christians were terribly persecuted, but gradually they spread the Christ’s radian spirit and teachings until they united many races, classes, and religious beliefs into a brotherhood which extended from Persia to the Atlantic Ocean. Later, this brotherhood spread to American, and Christianity became the prevailing religion of the Western Hemisphere. It has now ben taught in all countries.For nearly a thousand years the Christians remained practically one great community. Then the Greek Catholics broke away from the Roman Catholics.” (The World Book Encyclopedia ©1940, Page 1413 Volume 3)
“(The Catholic) Church… traces an unbroken line of popes from St. Peter in the 1st century AD to the present occupant of the papal throne. During this nearly 2,000-year period there were more than 30 false popes, most notably during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. These men were merely claimants to the position. There have rarely been periods when a genuine pope was not ruling the church. In 1978 John Paul II became the 264th true pope.” (Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia © 1996)
“By A. D. 100…Christianity had become an institution headed by a three-rank hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons, who understood themselves to be the guardians of the only true faith. The majority of churches, among which the church of Rome took a leading role, rejected all other viewpoints as heresy. Deploring the diversity of the earlier movement, Bishop Irenaeus and his followers insisted that there could be only one church, and outside of that church, he declared, there is no salvation. Members of this church alone are orthodox (literally, straight-thinking) Christians. And, he claimed, this church must be catholic– that is, universal.”(The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels. Published by Vintage Books. 1994)
“The belief in the Primacy of St. Peter and in the Founding by him of the Church at Rome.—The Catholic Church teaches that the apostle Peter was given by the Master primacy among his fellow apostles and, furthermore, that Christ intrusted that disciple with the keys of the kingdom of heaven and invested him with superlative authority as teacher and interpreter of the Word by the commission ‘Feed my sheep’; . . .’feed my lambs,’ thus giving into his charge the entire flock of the Church. It also teaches that the apostle Peter himself founded the church at Rome. Without doubt he preached at Rome and suffered martyrdom there under the Emperor Nero…The Pastor as Protector of Rome.—With the advent of the barbarians there came another occasion for the Roman bishops to widen their influence and enhance their authority. Rome’s extremity was their opportunity. Thus it will be recalled how mainly through the intercession of the pious Pope Leo the Great the fierce Attila was persuaded to turn back and spare the imperial city; and how the same bishop, in the year A.D. 455, also appeased in a measure the wrath of the Vandal Geiseric and shielded the inhabitants from the worst passions of a barbarian soldiery…Thus when the emperors, the natural defenders of the capital, were unable to protect it, the unarmed Pastor was able, through the awe and reverence inspired by his holy office, to render services that could not but result in bringing increased honor and dignity to the Roman see.” (Mediaeval and Modern History, By Myers, Pg 26-27 Ginn and Company New York, 1905 )
“Peter: d AD 64? Apostle, pope, and saint. According to the Bible Peter, a fisherman of Galilee was originally known as Simon. He was chosen by Jesus to be the first leader (pope) of his disciples. During Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter denied knowing him, an act that Jesus had predicted and that Peter bitterly repented of. After word of Jesus’ ascension to heaven, Peter actively sought converts, and is believed to have been crucified, head downward, in Rome by Nero. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is considered to be the first Pope.”(Excerpted from the Macmillan Concise Dictionary of World History, compiled by Bruce Watterau. © 1986 Macmillan Publishing Company, a division of Macmillan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
“If you are a Roman Catholic, Jesus Christ began your religion in the year 33.” (Ann Landers (Jewish), syndicated columnist in the Daily Record of Morris County, N.J. (from which we take this piece) for Monday, November 11,1996 reads)
“The Roman Catholic church … the only legitimate inheritor, by an unbroken episcopal succession descending from Saint Peter to the present time, of the commission and powers conferred by Jesus Christ…Until the break with the Eastern church in 1054 and the break with the Protestant churches in the 1500s, it is impossible to separate the history of the Roman Catholic church from the history of Christianity.”(The Encarta Encyclopedia © 1997)
“33-40 A.D.The Roman Catholic Church is founded by Jesus Christ.” (The Timetables of History © 1975)
“The Catholic Church…Saint Peter and the Popes who have descended in unbroken succession from him have never ceased to feed, with the life-giving Sacraments and doctrines of the Catholic Church, the sheep whom Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.” (History Of The Popes © 1965)
“Jesus Christ has founded one only Church, the Catholic hierarchical Church, whose chief pastors are the Pope and the Bishops in union with the Pope.” (The Early Church © 1945)
“ROMAN CATHOLICISM The largest of the Christian denominations is the Roman Catholic church. As an institution it has existed since the 1st century AD, …the Roman church owes its existence to the life of Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD” (Comptons Encyclopedia ©1995)
“Roman Catholic authority rests upon a mandate that is traced to the action of Jesus Christ himself, when he invested Peter and, through Peter, his successors with the power of the keys in the church. Christ is the invisible head of his church, and by his authority the pope is the visible head.”(Encyclopedia Britannica ©1999)
“Roman Catholicism Christian church characterized by its uniform, highly developed doctrinal and organizational structure that traces its history to the Apostles of Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD.” (Encyclopedia Britannica ©1999)
“ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, the largest single Christian body, composed of those Christians who acknowledge the supreme authority of the bishop of Rome, the pope, in matters of faith. The word catholic (Gr. katholikos) means ‘universal’ and has been used to designate the church since its earliest period, when it was the only Christian church. The Roman Catholic church regards itself as the only legitimate inheritor, by an unbroken episcopal succession descending from St. Peter to the present time, of the commission and powers conferred by Jesus Christ on the 12 apostles. The church has had a profound influence on the development of European culture and on the introduction of European values into other civilizations. Its total membership as the 1990s began was about 995.8 million (about 18.8 percent of the world population).” [Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia ©1998-2000]
“The doctrine of apostolic succession, that is, the continuous transmission of ministry from the time of Jesus until today. The doctrine is found as early as the Epistle to the Corinthians (c. 96), traditionally attributed to Pope Clement I…It is expressly affirmed in Roman Catholicism. It is identified with the succession of bishops in office and interpreted as the source of the bishops’ authority and leadership role. The most specific instance of these claims is that the pope is the successor of St. Peter, who was chosen by Jesus as head of his church (see Matthew 16:16–18).” [Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia ©1998-2000]
TRULY, as what an Anglican priest convert, Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman, said: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
May those who are still outside the one true fold find their way back to her under the Theotokos’ maternal mantle. Amen.
The word Catholic [derived from the Late Latin Catholicus and from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos) meaning “universal”] comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning “on the whole”, “according to the whole”, “throughout all” or “in general”, and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning “about” and ὅλος meaning “whole”. In Latin, the word Catholic is also translated as “Universa”, which can be read in the Holy Bible:
“Et factus est timor magnus in UNIVERSA ECCLESIA et in omnes qui audierpunt haec” (Acts 5:11 Latin Translation)
Note that in the given verse, the word Universa literally means “for/of all nations”. But why is the church described and named as Universal? It is simply because our Lord Jesus Christ Himself wanted the church to be called as such, as He said:
“Is it not written, My house shall be called OF ALL NATIONS the house of prayer?” (Mark 11:17 KJV)
What does the House of God mean in the New Testament? This is what St. Paul the Apostle said:
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the HOUSE OF GOD, which is the CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV)
Therefore, the House of God is the indeed the Church of the living God, and yet our Lord Jesus Christ wanted it to be called OF ALL NATIONS. Thus, the Church is the Church of all nations, the Universal Church, the Catholic Church. (Note that Catholic means Universal, and Universal also means Of All Nations.)
Furthermore, the Church, being Universal, can be found not just in Jerusalem but also in different localities. However, the Church’s universality does not mean plurality. The Church remains ONE and unified wherever she may be. That is why the Church is Throughout All. As the Holy Bible testified:
“So the CHURCH THROUGHOUT ALL Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” (Acts 9:31 ESV)
In the original Greek version of the Holy Bible, this is what it said:
Acts 9:31 (Greek Bible), “ai men oun EKKLESIA KATH OLES tēs ioudaias kai galilaias kai samareias eichon eirēnēn oikodomoumenai kai poreuomenai tō phobō tou kuriou kai tē paraklēsei tou agiou pneumatos eplēthunonto.”
Notice that the verse in the original Biblical language used the term EKKLESIA KATH OLES (Church Throughout all), a Church present not just in Judea but also in Galilee and Samaria. It is the same term where the word Catholic was derived from. The Church, founded by our Lord, was indeed described and called KATH OLES (Catholic).
Why in Greek?
It is because Greek was the original language used by the holy authors to compose the Sacred Books of the New Testament. It is therefore unjust to use Malayalam or English to justify the claims of the non-Catholics and unbelievers that the Holy Catholic Church is unbiblical. Even the word Catholic was also from Greek, so it is very much proper to use the language where it was taken from.
Finally, as Prophet Isaiah prophesied:
“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an HOUSE of prayer FOR ALL PEOPLE.” (Isaiah 56:7)
KNOW VARIOUS CHURCHES
The Holy Catholic Church – AD 33
Founded by God in the person of Jesus Christ. Our Lord named Simon Bar-Jona the future leader of His Church, when He said to him “Thou art Peter (Rock), and upon this rock I will build MY Church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven..” (Matthew 16:19).
The Lutheran church – AD 1517
Founded by a man, Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the holy Catholic Church, who violated his sacred vows of both obedience and celibacy. Luther created a brand new protestant bible by throwing out 7 books of the bible he personally didn’t agree with, and added the word “alone” after the word “faith”, in Romans 3:28, in order to make the verse agree with his view of what it should have said (faith alone). This alteration of sacred scripture directly contradicts James 2:24. Luther also called the Catholic Church “the whore of Babylon”, and he said that the Pope was the antichrist (someone who denies that Jesus is God).
The Anabaptist church – AD 1520
Founded by a man, Nicholas Storch, and Thomas Münzer, former Lutherans. The Anabaptists rejected infant baptism and were denounced by Martin Luther. This “reformation of the reformation” is proof positive that the doctrine of “scripture alone” is false. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been more than one interpretation of scripture and no need for an anabaptist church that totally ignores Luke 18:15-17.
The Mennonite church – AD 1525
Founded by men, Grebel, Mantz, and Blaurock, in Switzerland, as an offshoot of the Anabaptists. It derived its name from Menno Simons, a former Catholic priest.
The Baptist church – AD 1606
Founded by a man, John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam, as an offshoot of the Mennonites. Baptists reject infant baptism as contrary to the Scriptures, and accept immersion as the sole valid mode of baptism.
The Amish church – AD 1693
Founded by a man, Jacob Amman, a Swiss Bishop. Also a breakaway from the Mennonite church. His followers were called the “Amish.” While similar to the Mennonites, they differ in language, dress, and interpretation of the Bible.
The Anglican Church – AD 1534
Founded by a man, King Henry VIII, as a direct result of the Pope not granting him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Many Catholic priests were tortured and killed as a result of the very aroused Henry trying to find another young maiden for his pleasure. Queen Elizabeth II is the current head of the Anglican Church.
The Presbyterian church – AD 1560
Founded by a man, John Knox, in Scotland. Based on the personal beliefs of a man, John Calvin, which include predestination, no free will in humans, & total depravity in mankind
The Congregationalist church (The Puritans) – AD 1583
Founded by a man, Robert Brown, in Holland. Broke away from the Church of England. Brown rejected, among other things, the authority of bishops. One Puritan, named Oliver Cromwell, got involved in the English Civil War, and overthrew Charles I in 1646. Cromwell and the British government were also responsible for the subjugation and killing of hundreds of thousands of Irish Catholics, who were also forbidden to say Mass, wear green, and sing patriotic songs.
The Unitarian church – AD 1568
Started in Poland, but died out. It was soon replaced by a man, John Biddle, in 1645 AD. The Unitarians do not believe in the mystery of Trinity.
The Quakers – AD 1647
Founded by a man, George Fox, in England. Also called The Society of Friends, although they originally called themselves “Children of Light”. They acknowledge absolutely no authority higher than what Fox called the “inner light” of personal revelation.
The Episcopalian church – AD 1784
Founded by a man, Samuel Seabury in the American Colonies & is an offshoot of the Church of England. They believe in women priests and bishops, artificial birth control, and they accept homosexuality as being normal and good in spite of Romans 1:26-27. The Episcopalian Church is currently undergoing a 21rst Century reformation of itself, with individual congregations breaking away from their own hierarchy over the question of scriptural inerrancy concerning homosexuality. Another proof that the doctrine of “scripture alone” without an infallible Magesterium to interpret it based on sacred Tradition is false. It seems that the Episcopal Church is more concerned with going along with the current trend of society than it is in being true to what scripture actually says about homosexuality.
The Evangelical Movement – ca. AD 1730
It gained great momentum with the emergence of the Great Awakenings, led by Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John Wesley, in the British Isles and North America. The evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, believe in the authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to humanity and have a strong commitment to evangelism or sharing the Christian message.
The Methodist church – AD 1739
Founded by men, John and Charles Wesley, in England. The Wesley brothers were originally Anglican ministers who started a revival movement that eventually became Methodism. Yet another reformation of the reformation.
The National church – ca. AD 19th century
The idea was notably discussed, but not necessarily founded by one single man, during the emergence of modern nationalism following the principle of the Levitical Church in the Hebrew Constitution. Example of this group is the Aglipayan church or Iglesia Filipina Independiente founded in 1902 in the Philippines by the members of the Unión Obrera Democrática Filipina led by Isabelo de los Reyes who suggested that former Catholic priest Gregorio Aglipay be the head of the church.
The Evangelical church – AD 1803
Founded by a man, Jacob Albright, originally a Methodist, who broke away and founded his own church.
The Mormon church – AD 1829
Also call themselves “Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter-Day Saints”, was founded by a man, Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York. They are polythesists who someday hope to become a god of their own planet. after death. They believe that God the Father was a good mormon on another planet and was so great that he became the god of our planet. They also believe that Jesus and lucifer were brothers on that former planet.
The Seventh Day Adventists’ church – AD 1831
Founded by a man, William Miller in New York. Based on his study of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, Miller calculated that Jesus would return to earth sometime between 1843 and 1844. This prediction is in spite of the fact that the bible says that no one will be able to predict when the Second Coming of Jesus will be (Matthew 24:36).
The Salvation Army – AD 1865
Founded in London by one-time Methodist circuit-preacher William Booth. The army was originally known as the East London Christian Mission. Its theology is derived from that of Methodism although it is distinctive in institution and practice.
The Old Catholic church – AD 1870
Started at a public meeting held in Nuremberg under the leadership of Ignaz von Döllinger, following the First Vatican Council. This group of churches separated from the Catholic Church over certain doctrines, primarily concerned with papal authority.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses – AD 1872
Founded by a man, Charles Taze Russell, as the “Millennial Dawnists.” In 1931, Judge Rutherford, his successor, decided that henceforth they would be called, Witnesses of Jehovah, or Jehovah’s Witness. The JW’s deny the divinity of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and refuse to take blood transfusions.
The Christian Scientists – AD 1879
Founded by a woman, Mary Baker Eddy in Massachusetts. They also refuse blood transfusions and medical care, in spite of the fact that the gospel writer Luke was a physician.
The Pentecostal church – AD 1900
Emerged in the early 20th century among radical adherents of the Holiness movement who were energized by revivalism and expectation for the imminent Second Coming of Christ. It started by Charles Parham, an American evangelist and faith healer in Topeka, Kansas, who began teaching that speaking in tongues was the Bible evidence of Spirit baptism.
The Assemblies of God – AD 1901
Founded by a man, Charles Parham, in Topeka Kansas. They believe in the Baptism of the Spirit, miracle healings, and speaking in tongues.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) — AD 1914
Founded by a man, Felix M. Ysagun, in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila, Philippines. INC believes itself to be the one true church and says that it is the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus and that all other Christian churches, including the holy Catholic Church, are apostates. It rejects the Christian belief of the trinity of God and considers Jesus as only a man but insists that the founder Felix is God’s last messenger.
The Liberal Catholic church – AD 1916
It started through an Old Catholic bishop in London, bishop Matthew, who consecrated bishop James Wedgwood to the Episcopacy. This stream has in its relatively short existence known many splits, which operate worldwide under several names.
The Charismatic Movement – AD 1960
This began when Dennis Bennett, rector of St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California, recounted his Pentecostal experience to his parish. The movement believes that the gifts of the Holy Spirit as described in the New Testament are available to contemporary Christians through the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit, with-or-without the laying on of hands, that are being manifest in the form of signs, miracles, and wonders, including, but not limited to, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, healing, and discernment of spirits.
The Member Church of God International – AD 1977
Started with Eliseo Soriano as its founder and presiding minister. It is colloquially known in the Philippines as Ang Dating Daan which is the name of its flagship television program. The church was originally named as “Mga Kaanib Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas” but changed to its present name in 2005. It rejects the doctrine of Trinity but believes that Jesus Christ is an inferior God to the Father.
Pentecostal Missionaries Church of Christ 4th Watch – AD 1972
Founded by Arsenio T. Ferriol in the Philippines, a mere man. He claimed that God appeared to him and called him to be the “Last Apostle”.
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name – AD 1985
Founded in Davao City by a mere man, Apollo Carreón Quiboloy, who claimed that he is the “Appointed Son of God”.
The Apostolic Catholic Church – AD 1992
Founded in 1992 by a man John Florentine L. Teruel who claims 24 lines of apostolic succession but has no historical proof whatsoever.
THERE are other thousands of non-Catholic groups who call themselves “Christian churches” which were never and will never be founded by God but by just mere men. The rise of denominations within the Christian faith can be traced back only to the Protestant Reformation, the movement to “reform” the holy Catholic Church, the true Church of Christ, during the 16th century. Yet, denominations are only based on disagreements over the interpretation of Scripture, which are taken personally and become points of contention leading to a state of self-destruction.
IF YOU ARE A CATHOLIC, YOU ARE IN THE TRUE CHURCH. KEEP YOUR FAITH.
Remember, the Holy Father Peter, first bishop of Rome, reminded the true Christians in his second letter (2:1):
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
Therefore, he added: “Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
The non-Catholics contested that the Church must be named Church of Christ because it was Christ who founded it or Church of God because it was God who founded it through Christ. These sects even use biblical verses to support their claims. However, the question is: Did Christ really name His Church?
In the Gospel according to St. Matthew (16:18), it says:“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”Notice that in the passage, Christ never mentioned that the Church that He is going to build would be named Church of Christ or Church of God. The truth is: Christ never gave an official name to His Church. But, should Christ name His Church, in the first place? Of course not.
When our Lord established the Church, there was no need for Him to name it because there was only one Church that was founded. Naming the Church would make it denominational. But, how about the church of Christ and church of God?
Those terms are not proper names. They are common names used by the early Christians referring to the Church. The use of the clauses of Christ and of God is not an indication of a proper name. Those are only possessive terms describing the character of the church or its purposes or relationships. Remember that thechurch is a called-out body or assembly of people. Thus, it is the people who are called by the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14) out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9 ) into the fellowship with Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:9) to receive eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10).
If the terms church of Christ or church of God are names, then they are both unscriptural and ungrammatical not to capitalize the letter C in the word Church. Hence, not capitalizing C in Church is as wrong as not capitalizing Cin Christian. It should follow then that just as the nameChristian is capitalized, the name church of Christ/Godshould be capitalized (if they are indeed proper names). Then, why did God never name the church?
Logically and practically, there is no need to name anything if there is only one of it. If there were two or more, each would require a distinct name so as to distinguish one from the other. So, if there was only one Church at that time, Christ would absolutely never name it. If God did name the church, then it is a Church with many names since the New Testament Church has been known in different names ranging from church of God tolittle flock.
Moreover, if the church has an official name, so it must only be the same name to be used in all documents to indicate its official identity. Evidently, the church in the Bible was called not just in one term but many terms. How can there be an official name if there were many terms used?! It won’t make any sense.
Nevertheless, despite the existence of different terms used to refer to the one true Church, there were no hundreds of different denomination each with their own doctrine during the time of the apostles, but there was undoubtedly one unified church, that is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In a letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul said: “He … gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body” (1:22-23).
Below are the common names used to refer the Church in the Bible:
THE CHURCH AS THE BODY OF CHRIST — the church is referred to by this term several times in various ways:one body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:12-13, 20; Ephesians 2:16; 4:4; Colossians 3:15), the body (1 Corinthians 12:14-16, 18, 19; 22-25; Ephesians 4:16; 5:23), “the whole body” (1 Corinthians 12:17; Ephesians 4:16), “his body” (Ephesians 1:23; 5:30), “same body” (Ephesians 3:6), “the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18), “his body’s sake, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24), and “all the body” (Colossians 2:19). The body of Christ is called “the church of God” (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:22; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 3:15) and the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15). It is so-called because it belongs to God. Even as Christ belongs to God, so His church would also be God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; 11:3). The body of Christ is called “the church” in many passages (Matthew 18:17; Acts 2:47; 5:11; 8:1-5; 12:1-5; Ephesians 1:22; 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18, 24). The body of Christ is also called “the church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23), because it belongs to Christ, Who is “the firstborn of every creature . . . the first-begotten of the dead . . . the firstborn among many brethren” (Colossians 1:1518; Romans 8:29; Revelations 1:5). It is also called “the general assembly” (Hebrews 12:23). This term refers to the redeemed of all ages who will inhabit the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelations 21:9-10).
THE CHURCH AS THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD AMONG MEN — it speaks of the church as follows: “the house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15), “the house” (Matthew 10:25; 2 Timothy 2:20-24; Hebrews 3:6) “an habitation of God” (Ephesians 2:22), “an holy temple” (Ephesians 2:21), “a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5), “the building” (Ephesians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 3:9), “God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9), “lively stones” (1 Peter 2:5), “the temple of God” (1 Corinthians 3:16), “the temple of the Loving God” (2 Corinthians 6:16), and the “house” of Christ (Hebrews 3:6).
THE CHURCH AS THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD — it speaks of the church as “the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19), “the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10), “children of God” (Matthew 5:9), “the children of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38), “firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18), “sons of God” and part of “the whole family” of God (Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1; Ephesians 3:15), “the elect of God” (Romans 8:33; Titus 1:1), “the called of God” (Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:9, 24-26; Ephesians 4:1-4; Colossians 3:15), “a chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9), “the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2-3), “the flock” (Matthew 26:31; Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28-29), “one fold” (John 10:16), “the sheep” (Matthew 26:31; John 10:1-18; 26-27; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25), and “my lambs” (John 21:15).
THE CHURCH AFTER ITS LOCATION — Local churches are referred to as “the church” in a certain locality (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1; 14:27; James 5:14). Many local churches are mentioned in Scripture: “the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2), “the church of the Thessalonians” (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1), “the church that is at Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13) “the church of Ephesus” (Revelations 2:1), “the church in Smyrna” (Revelations 2:8), “the church in Pergamos” (Revelations 2:12), “the church in Thyatira” (Revelations 2:18), “the church in Sardis” (Revelations 3:1), “the church in Philadelphia” (Revelations 3:7), and “the church of the Laodiceans” (Colossians 4:16; Revelations 3:14). Universal terms are used of all local churches such as “the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4), “the churches of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:16), “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), “the churches” (Acts 9:31; 15:41; 16:5; 19:37; 1 Corinthians 14:34; 2 Corinthians 9:19-24; Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13,22; 22:16), “all churches” (1 Corinthians 7:17; 2 Corinthians 8:18; 11:28), and “all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Sectional churches are referred to such as “the churches of Galatia” (1 Corinthians 16:1; Galatians 1:2), “the churches of Asia” (1 Corinthians 16:19), “the churches of Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 8:1), “other churches” (2 Corinthians 11:8; 12:13), “the churches of Judea” (Galatians 1:22), and “the seven churches which are in Asia” (Revelations 1:4, 11, 20).
IF THE CHURCH never got an official name; but, how about the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church was never referred to be the official name of the Church. It was a term used to describe the very character of the church as universal (Mark 11:17), a fulfillment of the prophecy of old: “These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)
St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, wrote: “Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”(Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 107]). Note that in this letter, he referred the church as Catholic, but not as an official name. The term catholic was used to describe the unique characteristic of the church, a church which is present not just in Palestine but throughout the world. From then on, it became customary for the Christians to attach the term catholic when referring to the Church.
The Church gradually became known to its present title as Catholic and Apostolic when heretics and apostates started to build their own churches. To distinguish the true Church from false churches, St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, testified:
“We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard” (The True Religion 7:12 [A.D. 390]).
“And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house” (Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 4:5 [A.D. 397]).
BY THE WAY, it is proper to call the Church as theCatholic Church rather than Roman Catholic Church for the latter is used only to refer to the church of Rome and all Latin-Rite particular churches (in fairness to the Eastern Catholic churches) and was originated only in AD 1595-1605 as an insult created by Anglicans who wished to refer to themselves as Catholic. They thus coined the term Roman Catholic to distinguish those in union with the Church of Rome from themselves and to create a sense in which they could refer to themselves as Catholics (by attempting to deprive actual Catholics to the right to the term).
On the other hand, in a more agressive move, the anti-Catholics like the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) would also argue that it was only in AD 1870 that the Holy Catholic Church, through the First Vatican Council, got her official name, that is The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, indicating that it was never known in early Christianity. Below is the referrence they used for this allegation:
Yet, as a response, below are the citations from renowned secular historians:
NOTE that the historians affirmed that the Council Fathers only unanimously approved to change the order of the words and never unanimously decided upon the official name. The Holy Church got that name (One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church) since the earliest days of Christian faith. In fact, in the articles of faith outlined in the Nicene Creed (AD 324), it is professed: “I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church . . .” In addition to this, it is nowhere to be found in any of the Vatican I dogmatic documents that the Church’s official name was ever promulgated.
Therefore, it is certain that the eternal Church founded by Christ is none other than the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Indeed, those who claim that their church is the true church because its name is written in the Bible are advocates of falsehood and lies. Remember that borrowing names from the Sacred Scripture won’t make them authentic and original. The true Church is the one who produced the Holy Bible. The truth is: