Thursday, February 14, 2013

Connecting the Dots Between the Early Church and Catholicism, Part II

Physical Dots:
I used Wikipedia because it is non-partisan. But there are many other sources. 


33 – 64/67

64/67(?) – 76/79(?)

76/79(?) – 88 /92

88/92 – 97

97/99 – 105/107

105/107 – 115

115/116 – 125

125 – 136/138

136/138 – 140/142
140/142 – 155


c.166 – 174/175

174/175 – 189

189 – 198/199

c.217 – 222/223

222/223 – 230

230- 235

235– 236
(44 days)

236- 250


253- 254

257- 258

259- 268


275- 283
283- 296



c.309 – c.310




Authority Dots:

Was the Early Church organized with a central authority?

While many Evangelicals mimic what they believe the early church looked like-- casual, homey with no rituals, meeting in homes for independent Bible study, praise time and prayers and ending with a potluck, this is a false understanding. 

In the Acts of the Apostles and early Church Father’s documents and archaeological discoveries, we find a highly ritualized, formal church. Men stood on one side, the ladies on the other. Though churches were in homes, the homes were usually renovated to look very formal with liturgical designs and altars, candles, and an eight-sided baptismal font.

Jerusalem was the place of authority and the first general council of the Christian church, recorded in Acts 15, it unilaterally decided that circumcision was no longer needed. After the AD 70 destruction of the Temple, Rome slowly became the new central authority of the church.

As early as AD 92, Clement the bishop at Rome, wrote a letter using his authority to the church members of Corinth. In AD 108 martyr and bishop of Antioch, Ignatius, called the church at Rome “superior” among the churches. There is no record of any church considering itself independent from the others at this time and church affairs were decided by the local bishops, not in democratic vote from everyone reading the Bible. The traveling Apostles united the churches. 

Doctrinal Dots: 

Below is a list of doctrines I have compiled so far that were known at least by the date the bishops were addressing the doctrine. Most likely they were known well before the time they were written about. I have them grouped by half-century. This is not a complete list by any means, just some of the more debated doctrines between Catholics and Protestants. Each doctrine will be sourced below this section more fully with quotes and authors of early church fathers and other witnesses. This is more for those needing a quick scan.

AD 50-100

  • Authority
Linus, then Clement leaders of Rome (possibly referred to in II Tim .4: 21 and Phil. 4: 3).  The authoritative letter of Clement so broadly used that Ethiopian NT included it until the 16th century. Heresy dealt with by bishops, proving their authority.
  • Verbal Confession
  • Sunday, The Lord’s Day, gathering for Communion.
  • Reports that Mary gave birth without pain, evidence of her lack of original sin.
  • Use of OT Septuagint (Catholic Bible) as scriptures in Didache, Letter of Barnabas, Epistle of Clement
  • Unified church, unified symbols, rites, liturgy
  • Heavenly entities intercede for humans with prayers.


  • Authority
Ignatius letters state that to follow Christ, you must follow bishops.
  • Use of OT Septuagint (Catholic Bible) as scriptures by Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp
  • Penance
  • Eucharist, Real Presence
  • Tradition as well as scripture authoritative.
  • Mary, ever virgin


  • Eucharist, Real Presence
  • Mary, full of grace
  • Veneration of relics
  • Purgatory
  • Bishops deal with heresy
  • Bishop of Rome being called “pope”and known universally as last word on church matters.
  • Widespread knowledge that Peter and Paul set up Roman church and the bishop of Rome is leader. 
  • Apostolic succession
  • Verbal public confession
  • Oral tradition still as authoritative as written tradition
  • Old Testament Septuagint Canon cited as scripture
  • Infant baptism
  • Local church councils, but they recognize ultimate authority at Rome


  • Rome clearly the authority over all church, acknowledged by bishops
  • Infant Baptism
  • Confession to priest/ Penance/ Priests have authority to forgive sins
  • Old Testament Septuagint (Catholic Bible) quoted as scripture
  • Oral as well as written Tradition considered authoritative
  • Intercession of Saints
  • Bishops deal with heretics
  • Eucharist
  • Mary Immaculate, ever virgin and full of grace, her role in salvation
  • Church Councils deal with heresy and church government. The local councils of Carthage and the general councils at Rome. 


  • Intercession of Saints
  • nuns and priestly celibacy dealt with in councils as if they were long around.
  • Veneration of Relics

1 comment:

Eric Richter said...

The list you have provided starts with an inexact affirmation:
Peter never was bishop of Rome, I gave you evidence of it in the others post of your blog. There are not biblical records or Peter as the Bishop or Rome. None of the writers and historians of the first three hundred years of Christianity believed that Peter was a bishop of Rome. All of them recorded Linus as the first roman bishop:
“The tradition of a twenty-five years’ episcopate in Rome (preceded by a seven years’ episcopate in Antioch) cannot be traced beyond the fourth century” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1, p. 164)

By the way, I’d like to see those alleged “early Church Father’s documents and archaeological discoveries” where we can found traces of a formal religion where the homes-churches had “altars, candles, and an eight-sided baptismal font.”.

You’re right when you say that Rome had a gradual increase of power. At the beginning, the church un Jerusalem was the Head of the Christianity. When roman soldiers destroyed Jerusalem, others churches (among them, Rome) started to increase their own power and influence.
The Epistle of Clement is not authoritative. This letter shows a bishop who kindly call to the divided corinthian church to the unity.
Ignatius do nr show some especial treat to the roman church, on the contrary, he dared to do no mention the roman bishop in his letter at all.

Well, I have answered your arguments and quotes in the others post of your blog.
I have noted that you used a lot of spurious, pseudo-epigraphical and apocryphal book for your quotes. My question is: Why do you use books based in a lie (a forged authorship)? Most of these were rejected by early Christians. If they rejected them, was because they did not believe the doctrines contained in those books. Why should we believe in those doctrines then?
There are a lot of quotes that come from interpolations and texts out of context. But it is true that many quotes are right and comes from the indicated date. Undoubtedly some catholic doctrines come from “early” Christianity (I meant third and fourth centuries). But these dogmas are not found in the Bible anyway.