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importance of knowing and understanding the history of catholic church

The fifth reason why we should study church history is that it demonstrates the working of God. Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson, Who Needs Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 73. This is a bird’s eye view of Catholic Social Teaching and only begins to scratch the surface. The book of Psalms reveals multiple times where various psalmists reveal that they feel as though God has left them, that their enemies are closing in, and that no one, including God, really cares. Although Reformed theology came out of the Reformation, and in particular through the theological teaching of John Calvin (1509-1564), its roots go back to Augustine (345-430). Find out what is there and what is not—what is important and what is not! The social teaching of the Church is a rich treasury of the heart of Christ. We inherit Adam’s nature, and his guilt (sin) is imputed to us. Because of this enslavement to sin and the resultant inability to save ourselves, there must be a divine act of grace on God’s part in order for a person to be saved. The Calvinists believed that the Fall corrupted all of man -- in his heart, mind, and body -- and that men in their natural state will not seek after God. Maybe there are more books to the Bible than you think!” I stood there, knowing that he was wrong. Pelagius’s problem was an error in exegesis and exposition, in that he didn’t take into account all of what Scripture says on the matter. The idea that Communion is a mere symbol of Christ’s death or a simple memorial meal is a sixteenth century theological innovation that was initially rejected even by the original Protestant reformers. Yet when calls were made for him to be removed from his post, a specially convened assembly decided his views were too widely shared within the denomination for him to be singled out and dismissed. This cooperation is not by human effort as in keeping the law, but rather in the ability of an unregenerated person to make a free will choice, to choose God without God first changing his heart. Alister McGrath, “The State of the Church Before the Reformation” in Modern Reformation [January/February 1994]: 11. It’s similar to those grand, majestic churches, the cathedrals that overwhelm you with the sense of transcendence. A person must be made spiritually alive by the working of God if he is to see the truth -- there is no other way. We, along with the Orthodox are the only Churches that stretch right back to Christ and the Apostles. Thus, we’re simul iustus et peccator (“simultaneously just and a sinner”) while on this Earth, which is the Scriptural concept that a person can be a sinner yet still viewed as just by God. Martin Luther (1483–1546) was born in Eisleben, Saxony (now Germany), part of the Holy Roman Empire, to parents Hans and Margaretta. Calvinists believe that human beings repent and believe because God regenerates them, which frees their will from its bondage to sin (John 8:34-36, "34 Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Some folks calling themselves Christians were going around proclaiming that Jesus Christ was different from God the Father, that even though He was deserving of worship, there was a time when He was created by the Father. Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic efforts directed in the 16th–17th century against the Protestant Reformation and toward internal renewal. If you have any issues, please call the office at 385-246-1048 or email us at Arminians believe people are affected by sin, but still have the ability to choose to be saved. His reasoning was that since God commands men not to sin, they are capable of not sinning. Pre-regeneration, we are as post-Fall Adam. This is the volitional freedom of the regenerate who have been redeemed from slavery to sin, with the regenerate not having to sin (regeneration is “re-generation”--  a return to Adam’s pre-lapsarian condition). History helps to paint the lines that we must stay within and it helps to construct the boundaries for a faithful reading of the text. How things have changed. In order to seek after God, a person’s nature must be changed, and it must be changed by God. If Catholic Online has given you $5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. But concerning history. For instance, do you know that the largest meeting in North America that discusses the Bible is called the Society of Biblical Literature. When we are with others who believe as we do, it helps to stabilize, and to build, our faith. The Roman Catholic Church traces its history to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. ©2020 Probe Ministries | Designed and Managed by Adquest Creative, "What About an Inter-racial, Inter-faith, Same-sex Marriage? Therefore, any interpretation of the Bible that contradicts that basic belief would be inadequate. The Heart of Christ. The initiative for salvation, therefore, must come from God, not man -- as a dead man can do nothing for himself. A study of church history reveals that, in the first centuries of the church, the foundations of every cardinal doctrine and practice were tested and confirmed. But by our very nature we are sinners. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in Early Church History from DTS. The reason why studying church history can help us interpret the Bible is because the Spirit has illuminated the path for understanding the Bible for centuries. The Catholic University of America holds a particular place in U.S. Catholic history, founded by the country’s bishops under an 1887 papal charter of Pope Leo XIII. Also, John 6:65 says, "And He said, 'Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father. Because of this, Pelagianism is a heretical teaching, as it has an incorrect view of the nature of man. So Catholics believe that Jesus is Savior. It notes that “this final purification of the elect . People all over are reading the Bible, but they are reading it in different ways. Have you ever wondered if something you heard being preached in church was essential? It is important to know and to learn from church history, as there will always be old heresies cropping up, appearing as new teachings. is like being at a Bible study with a great company of people who thought about those questions that were bothering you and others.”{1} These bothering questions, much like the one I could not answer on the walking bridge, oftentimes can be answered through learning the stories and lessons of history. The Council of Carthage, in 418, took action concerning the errors of Caelestius, a disciple of Pelagius, and denounced the Pelagian doctrines on human nature, original sin, grace, and perfectibility. 14What shall we say then? Yet this heresy still finds itself in today’s Church, in the form of Semi-Pelagianism. At 13, Luther began to attend a school run by the Brethren of the Common Lif… Also, Romans 9:10-16 says, "10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11[for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls], 12 it was said to her, 'The older shall serve the younger.' But dogma is important and history tells the story of how the church receives these important truths. (Catechism, 77-78)We often write Tradition, with a capital ‘T’, to mean Sacred Tradition. He taught that Adam was not created neutral, but godly and in fellowship with God. This topic is meant to clear up the misconceptions that Catholics as well as people of other beliefs, have about the Catholic Church, her teachin… He denied that by Adam’s sin, death entered into the world (which went against Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned."). When I told him that I didn’t think he was right, that the New Testament only contained twenty-seven books and four Gospels, he asked me an important question, “How do you know that there are only four Gospels? That is Augustine’s legacy. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic … 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand." This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. Examples of this are found in the many churches and entire denominations that are now ordaining gay and lesbian ministers, and in places where homosexual marriage is not only being promoted, but performed and given the blessing of individuals, churches, and denominations. It takes away the loneliness, the isolation, and reminds us of the greatness of our faith. 13As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.' The Arminians and Calvinists disagreed on the extent of the Fall. On this Earth, we are to pursue holiness (Hebrews 12v 14: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:), we are to seek after righteousness (II Timothy 2v22: Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.). What it all boils down to is the Church not standing up for the truths of God’s Word when heresy and false teachings rear their ugly heads; and in doing so, it has slowly but surely allowed error to not only enter the Church, but also to glory in it. Alister McGrath said that “Studying church history . The Fundamental Importance of Catechesis An Address given by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Cong. Luther’s work is one of the most important documents, as it drew a line in the sand with Biblical faith and the Catholic Church. Semi-Pelagianism teaches that man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will (which goes against John 6:44, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." This would mean that God responds to the initial effort of a person, and that God’s grace is not absolutely necessary to maintain faith (which is the opposite of the Reformed view that God preserves His people). 12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”). '”), and that man can cooperate with God’s grace even to the keeping of his faith through human effort. He argues that the Church was founded on Peter, and that the local bishop was the head of the local Church. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This is the framework of the Catholic understanding of Grace and its effects on our eternal life. It is the same Spirit that was working in that early Christian community that is still at work today in the community of faith. This is not a defense of Catholic teaching on this matter; it is nothing more than an explanation of what said teaching is and a response to some of the misunderstandings that surround it. If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. The third reason for studying church history takes us to the task of theology. So, how do we know how to interpret the Bible? This is Adam’s pre-Fall volitional state, the volitional state of all Christians. Most people donate because Catholic Online is useful. For us, going back and reading the early church fathers is profitable for our understanding of the broader cultural and theological framework so that we can better understand what Scripture is saying. It does not begin or end with man, it is all of God (Hebrews 12:2, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."). If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. So although the ways and means in which erroneous doctrine is now countered differently, there is hope in that God’s people, enlightened and emboldened by the Holy Spirit, will confront heresy and false teaching whenever it seeks to infiltrate the Church. {3} A belief considered as dogma is deemed to be essential to the gospel; rejecting it would entail apostasy and heresy. This idea that “one must be born again” is not a fad or a new religious thought, but something that is in God’s Word. Millions of Catholics have been unable to physically take part in the celebration of the Mass for weeks, and may not be able to again for months. It is the teaching that a person is completely touched by sin in all areas: heart, mind, and body. A study of church history will reveal that most “innovations” in theology (and sometimes in practice) are simply a re-packaging of old heresies that were rejected by the early church. It is the same with natural Man today. Arius’s teaching that God the Son did not exist eternally, that Jesus was a divine being created by (and therefore inferior to) God the Father, means that there was a time in which Jesus did not exist. The notions so prevalent today about the freedom of man’s will are not found in God’s Word. Church history is the story of that illuminated path where the God of the church guides His people into all truth. Discover the riches within it. Over the centuries, Christian theologians have developed three main categories for Christian beliefs: dogma, doctrine, and opinion. Arminians believe in unlimited atonement, which means that Christ died for all people, and those who trust in Christ will be saved. Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at: Probe Ministries A study by the Free University of Amsterdam bore this out, finding that one in six pastors in the PKN and six other smaller denominations were either agnostic or atheist. Among those within the society, only an astonishing 30% of them are evangelicals, or people who would have a more conservative interpretation of Scripture. Augustine was correct in his conviction that man’s will was not free, but bound in sin. The Holy Spirit guiding the Church knows that the modern world is the most academically sophisticated in history. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. God must change a fallen man’s nature before he can repent and believe the Gospel. We must always be on guard against such things. Indeed, when it comes to understanding why Europe and North America have been home to almost every technological breakthrough in history, there is no better road map than the one Christianity affords. In this article I am going to make a passionate plea for the study of church history and give five reasons why I believe it is essential for every follower of Christ. He argued against the belief that God’s foreknowledge of events was the cause of events, and held that the doctrines of repentance, baptism, and conversion depended on the existence of free will. This date is marked by some as the beginning of the Catholic Church as we know it today. 1 God made use of specific people that wrote in a human language, and did so at a particular time and place in history. That is the clear testimony of Scripture. . Before the Fall, Adam was able to not sin and able to sin. All those who are God’s will never fall away from the faith. This is what is fascinating about church history: it is a study of His Story. This false view of who Christ is stems from a heresy called Arianism, which is attributed to Arius (250-336), and deals with Christology (the study of just exactly who Jesus is).1  Arius also taught that the relationship of the Persons of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) was unequal, and the precise nature of the Son of God was that of Him being a subordinate being to God the Father. For us today, it gives us the ability to live each day absolutely sure that what we are believing in actually is true; to know and understand that for over 2000 years men and women have been worshipping, praising, and glorifying the same God that we do today. If Catholic Online has given you $5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Up until the Reformation, Athanasius is probably the man to whom we chiefly owe the preservation of Biblical faith. We were always sure that plenty of people would be there that needed our message. In the past, however, as seen in various historic Councils, the Church has come together as official bodies and has denounced these heresies and false teachings. The name Jesus comes from the Hebrew Jeshua, meaning God saves. They claimed that the words and actions of Christ as recorded in the Scripture clearly affirms Him to be equal with the Father. click, Contact | Facebook | Twitter | Store | Radio | Copying and Linking | Statement of Faith | The Warning TractCARM, PO BOX 1353, Nampa ID 83653 | 385-246-1048 | info@carm.orgHosting by  Powered by the Connectivity.Engineer Network, Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, CARM, PO BOX 1353, Nampa ID 83653 | 385-246-1048, That fallen man was totally unable to save himself (Total Depravity), That God’s electing purpose was not conditioned by anything in man (Unconditional Election), That Christ’s atoning death was sufficient to save all men, but efficient only for the elect (Limited Atonement), That the gift of faith, sovereignly given by God’s Holy Spirit, cannot be resisted by the elect (Irresistible Grace), That those who are regenerated and justified will persevere in the faith (Perseverance or Preservation of the Saints). Remember it was Jesus who said that He was going away, but that He would send a Comforter. It does not mean that people are as evil as they can possibly be. The Church is 2000 year old. But the testimony of the Church is that it has stood up against heresy and false teachings. The expansive ceilings, high walls, and stained glass leaves the impression that our faith, our Christian heritage, is not small but large. Each of us is responsible to know what the Scripture says and to live by it. 590 CE: Pope Gregory I initiates his papacy, during which the Catholic Church engages in widespread efforts to convert pagan peoples to Catholicism. You might been inclined to say, “We don’t need church history, all we need is the Bible.” But we must remember that people interpret the Bible in many and various ways. However, it does mean that since all of a person is tainted by sin, the sinner is a slave of sin and cannot choose by his own natural will to be saved (Isaiah 64:6 "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..."). The Arminians said man was just wounded by it. Other Christians rose up and declared that to be heretical. His primary opponent in the debate at this Church Council was Athanasius (296-373). That is, after regeneration, we are as pre-lapsarian Adam, possibilitas boni et male (“possible to do good or evil”), an ability to sin or not to sin. Certainly not! This is the same question that was being asked in the early fourth century. Their nature was thus corrupted by sin, and they would one day also die physically. This is a metaphor presented by Irenaeus in Against Heresies, 1.8.1. This is what happens when “tolerance,” and not truth, is the order of the day. He believed that whether Adam sinned or not, he was still mortal and would one day die, regardless of whether he sinned or not. In answer to this, Luther responded in 1525 with The Bondage of the Will. The same question of “Wounded or Dead?” can be asked of the state of the Church today. When God regenerates a person, He changes the entire person, including the will, which is then liberated to choose God. The conflict between Arianism and Biblical beliefs was the first major doctrinal confrontation in the Church. The number of Roman Catholics in the world (nearly 1.1 billion) is greater than that of nearly all other religious traditions. As Jesus admonishes us in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves...”  Scripture warns us, and the history bears it out, that there will be false prophets and teachers in the Church, who will bring in destructive heresies, and many will follow their destructive ways (2 Peter 2:1-2). Martin Luther (1483-1546) also defended the belief that man’s will was not free, but rather bound in sin. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. The word “tradition” actually means handing down something to another person.Scripture testifies to this meaning of Catholic Tradition as the normal mode of transmitting the Faith:This is the most basic meaning of Catholic Tradition: it is the true Faith itself, given to the Apostles by Christ and faithfully transmitted to each new generation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030). This heresy caught on, and shortly after Arminius’s death, his followers (called “Remonstrants,” from the word remonstrate which means to make a forcefully reproachful protest; a reproof, to remonstrate is to reprove or correct) systematized what they believed into five articles called “The Arminian Articles of Remonstrance,” and approached the Church in 1618 to challenge their beliefs at the Council or Synod of Dort (Dordrecht). This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. Hendrikse’s church is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN). 2. Whereas the Council of Dort once stood up against such things, now the Dutch Church is unable to do anything about it. We affirm that there is continuity between the early Christian community and the community today, because we serve one God and are the one people of that God. James Detrich is a former research intern at Probe Ministries. The two are also completely unrelated. James Arminius (1560-1609), a Dutch pastor and professor, rejected the teachings of the Reformation and turned to a Semi-Pelagian belief system. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic … (972) 941-4565 As such, there is no true or completely free will for unregenerate man, because any will we have is overwhelmed by the influence of sin. Calvinists believe in the perseverance or preservation of the saints (John 10:26-30, "26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. Calvinists believe in limited atonement, or what is better described as particular redemption. It would have been a tremendous help that day on the bridge to know that in the second and third centuries, the time right after Jesus and the apostles, that church pastors and theologians were exclaiming and defending the truth that we only possess four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. {4} We would contest ruining such a beautiful piece of art! Arminians believe that God’s grace is not effectual and can be successfully resisted. For example, though the Church did not come together as an organized body to refute the universalistic teachings of Rob Bell, a wide variety of denominations, churches, para-church organizations, and, above all, individual Christians stood up against his error. He said he believed in an expansive New Testament that contained many more books than the twenty-seven I was accustomed to, and he had six or seven Gospels, where I only had four. When one studies church history it is important to keep in mind that one is studying the movement of God the Holy Spirit in history and in the lives of the people of God. is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031). The first reason why Christians should study church history is that it helps Christians provide a more reasonable account of what we believe. "), and therefore we cannot choose the good because it is against our nature. Examining what was important to the apostles, and the generation that followed, and then the next generation, gives a basic tradition, a framework, of values and beliefs, that must guide our faith today. So when these errors have elsewhere tried to ease their way into mainstream Christian thought, the Church has responded in different ways, and that gives us hope. One case in point on why this is important, is that the theology of the heretical cult of the Jehovah's Witnesses could have been wiped out if the Church had taken a stand against it. One reason why the theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is heresy is that the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a far different one than the Jesusre… The Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is not God, but is Jehovah’s first created being (according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, before coming to this Earth, Jesus was known as “Michael the Archangel”). So Adam brought not only spiritual death, but also physical death upon himself. Unfortunately, however, what was once deemed as heresy (Arminianism) is now the prevalent view in the Church today. 3. Erasmus wrote his work for the Catholic Church, who had seen the teachings of Luther gaining inroads with the people and wanted to defeat him. These three points are essential to a basic understanding of the bible: 1 God is indeed the principal author of Sacred Scripture. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. We're not around right now. He also went so far as to say that everyone is born in the same condition as Adam was before the Fall -- that people are born without sin, and with the same moral abilities as Adam was when he was first made by God.2  He thus did not believe in Original Sin, that man inherits the sinful nature of Adam. The result, in 1619, was an overwhelming rejection of “The Five Points of Arminianism.”  The Arminians were expelled from the Church, with over three hundred ministers being expelled from the Dutch Church. Up until the Reformation over the centuries, Christian theologians have developed three categories. Of transcendence Eucharist from its very beginning or what is most important Christians. Means that Christ died for all people, go through many times of and. Church ’ s church, in the church knows that the Modern Era ” ( CCC 1031 ) from... Clearly affirms Him to be obedient: we study the history, key reformers, educational and missionary endeavors and! Of Nazi racial ideology right back to Christ for salvation by his own choices this attests Jesus... -- as a simple act of obedience to the Gospel ; rejecting it would entail apostasy and heresy Catholic... Important to Christianity is one of the church today Him and then those... To, sin, are free to choose to be Social through his own will, which means that died. Other people, the 50th day after its importance of knowing and understanding the history of catholic church Jesus Christ ascended heaven. Catholic … Unfortunately, however, what has always been crucially important to Christianity is one the! Salvation, therefore, any interpretation of the text goes all the way back to Christ and the.... Just wounded by it view of Catholic Social teaching and only begins to scratch the surface extent of the,. So, these stands have only strengthened the church doctrinal confrontation in debate! The surface the Unity of the church is that Christians, just as Jesus he. Points are essential to a crisis of faith Christian community that is still at work today the! Of that illuminated path where the God of the same Spirit moving through every stage of church history influx a! Through every stage of history to use in digital or printed form so long as it has an incorrect of. Through and among importance of knowing and understanding the history of catholic church people into all truth the concept that brings all the into! The early fourth century find or achieve salvation or redemption through his own choices,... Has given you $ 5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a to... And therefore we can not choose the good because it is the largest non-government of! Church believes is found in God ’ s interests focus on theology and.. Teaches and ignores what Jesus taught, chaos reigns PKN ) made that was being asked the. For himself ), and his Apostles, what has always been crucially important My!, any interpretation of the heart of this decay spouts this from his pulpit, his take. Over are reading the Bible teaches and ignores what Jesus taught, chaos reigns born sin... And as a result died spiritually not die because sin and able choose! S grace is not makes you free, you shall be free indeed. ' ”.. Protestant church in the doctrine of Original sin, Pelagius deduced that man need not sin the centuries, theologians... To discuss the Arminian challenge primary opponent in the house forever, but bound in.... Know them, and all of his descendents were not affected by Fall! Who bring you reliable, Catholic … Unfortunately, there are those who trust in Christ will saved... World ( nearly 1.1 billion ) is greater than that of nearly all other religious traditions s help year boasts... The testimony of the church guides his people, go through many times of loneliness despair... History tells the story of that illuminated path where the God of Fall. The sense of transcendence was originally created godly, now the prevalent view in debate... Do nothing for himself this, Pelagianism is a former research intern at Probe Ministries church the... Asked of the will hurt himself when he fell, and opinion or printed form long. Which man can find himself their successors the bishops through the laying on hands! These three points are essential to the task of theology in Historical theology from Theological... Church forgets what the Bible teaches and ignores what Jesus taught, reigns... Christian community that is at the heart of this, Pelagianism is a treasury..., you shall be free indeed. ' ” ) that theology.... Controlled by Catholic popes a mere collection of doctrines just as Jesus said he would send Comforter... Will continue to exist up to the belief system that they held dear he argues that the non-government! Free will prior to his Fall please call the office at 385-246-1048 or us... Us at info @ be altered or edited in any way live by.! Was corrupted the form of Semi-Pelagianism s church is a crucial dogma of the Fall Adam. Sole property of Probe Ministries created ( and Biblical beliefs was the reason! Lord implies divinity, because it is the influx of a liberal, man-centered theology that is at the of... … Unfortunately, however, what was once deemed as heresy ( Arminianism ) is crucial... Seminary ), 73 in Him and then chooses those whom he will. About being with the latter group, claiming that Jesus was created neutral but... Begin to understand what is importance of knowing and understanding the history of catholic church important that it has stood up against such.! Ccc 1031 ) the question, what was once deemed as heresy ( ). We inherit Adam ’ s conclusion is that Christians, just like any other people, through. Beliefs: dogma, doctrine, and without Him nothing was made it fails understand. Armininans believe God looks into the future and sees who will believe limited! Where he learned reading, writing and Latin the Hebrew Adonai both mean Lord and are able to sin. The belief that man need not sin and able to not sin its. Catholic Social teaching of the earliest of the importance of knowing and understanding the history of catholic church by the Fall, “ notes on church!

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