Seller: How may I help you sir?
Customer: I’m looking for French medium bodied red wine; Merlot variety 2006 vintage but please it should have an AOC labeled on it because lots of imitations are around the Market. I don’t want to ruin the dinner.
Seller: Sure Sir, we can give you what you are looking for.
[AOC or 'Appellation d'Origine Contrôleé is commonly used for wine, cheese etc. to determine the authenticity that the product used follow the prescribed techniques that is unique to a particular region or area]
Like a customer, we don’t want to ended-up in buying false doctrines that around the corner and claiming that the doctrines that they are teaching and the way that they do (although false) is authentic coming from Jesus Christ.
THE WAY THE EARLY CHRISTIANS DO – THE NASCENT
A True Identity of Christian Community
Begin with Jesus Christ himself; As we all know he called an exclusive group of people – people who attached their entire life to him – He name them as his Apostles, Apostles who followed him, lived with him and received all what he taught.
In Christ own words commanded the Apostles to “TEACH THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Mt.28:20] so Apostle Peter boldly exclaimed in the public that “we were those who eat and drank with him and COMMANDED US TO PREACH to the people” [Acts 10:41-42] same with Apostle John when he echoed out in his letter that “I write of WHAT WAS FROM THE BEGINNING, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have handled: of the Word of Life” [1 Jn 1:1]
Clearly we see their effort (Apostles) to vindicate the foundation of their teaching – a Christian faith rooted to Christ himself.
As we move forward, let us proceed outside the accounts of exclusive circle of people, Paul – a former notorious Christian persecutor who called by Christ to be his apostle in the road of
. We know Paul had no direct attachment to Christ during his earthly mission, so with certainty Paul appealed to historical continuity of his teaching with that of the first followers of Christ – the apostles; “ I DELIVERED TO YOU what I ALSO HAVE RECEIVED” [1Cor.15:3] Damascus
If Christ handed down a teaching to the Apostles and handed down by Apostles to Paul, thus Paul handed down to others; this manifest in his instructions to Timothy “And the things which you have heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men who shall be fit to teach others also” [2Tim2:2] Paul here is speaking of four generations; (1) his generation to (2) timothy’s generation to commend it to (3) other generations that will teach it to (4) other generations.
Suffice to say that there is a historical continuity or unbroken link in transmitting the True Teaching of Christ.
FROM APOSTLES TO FAITHFUL EARLY CHRISTIANS
(IMPLICIT TO EXPLICIT)
In this section let us discuss the implicit teaching of Apostles seen in the bible but explicitly describe by their successors. [Other religions like Iglesia ni Manalo often accused the Catholic Church for inventing and adopting Paganism and began replacing the gospels. Let see if this accusation has a factual ground or simply just a mere speculations].
(A) CHURCH NAME ESTABLISH BY CHRIST
We know Christ founded a
. Ignatius of Antioch a disciple of Apostle John who preach while some Apostles are still alive mentioned in his letter that: Visible Church
“Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the
.” CATHOLIC CHURCH
We might ask a question Why CATHOLIC? Did the bible coin the word Catholic Church? Implicitly YES, we can read it in original Greek text - the language where all Apostles used when they wrote the New Testament. Catholic means UNIVERSAL, ALL, NO DISTINCTION OF RACE and NO CULTURAL BOUNDARIES. Bible describes what the Church is: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” [Mt.18:20] and “the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished for that the grace of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Gentiles also” [Acts 10:45]. Implicitly, Bible mentioned that the church (ekklesia katho' les) is the gathering in the name of Christ regardless of your nationality, race or even cultural background and this is what a CATHOLIC CHURCH (the Church through out-all) – Church founded by Christ. Ignatius of Antioch did not invent a new teaching but he explicitly mentioned it according to the teaching of Christ transmitted to him by Apostles. THE NAME THAT THE CATHOLIC HAS TODAY.
(B) CHURCH GATHERING AND ITS SYSTEMATIC ORDER
(THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATION)
If the Church is gathering there is a systematic order, again the book of Acts of Apostles (A Historical Account where first Christians live side by side with Apostles). In [Acts 2:42] “they joined them with the other believers and devoted themselves’ to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the LORD’S SUPPER and [Acts 2:46] “they worshipped together at the temple each day, met in homes for the LORD’S SUPPER.” We can read that they maintain the Jewish Tradition of worshipping in the temple but aside from this they add the celebration of the LORD’S SUPPER, but how they celebrate it? This additional celebration must be done in systematic order as Clement of Rome emphasize on his letter:
“These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable to Him.”
This systematic order or “all things in their proper order” was also seen at DIDACHE:
“On the Lord’s Day of the Lord gather together, Break Bread and Give thanks.”
“Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup: We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever.. And concerning the broken bread: We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever.. But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."
They celebrate the LORD’S SUPPER (EUCHARIST) with proper order as the Lord Christ commanded them according to Clement of Rome and Didache wrote on how to celebrate it in a proper manner. [Clement of
Part II will deal on:
(C) CHURCH AS A FAITHFUL PEOPLE OF GOD
Confession of Faith
Eucharist and Transubstantiation
Eucharist and Transubstantiation
Relics and Honoring the Saints