Monday, May 21, 2012

Catholic Church Councils

By c.pio

"In case I am delayed, so that you may know how to behave in God's household,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." [1Tim. 3:15]

Catholic Church Councils

ProudtobeanINC: Christ’s divinity was invented at the Council of Nicea (325), the Trinity was only invented at the Council of Constantinople (381), Theotokos – Mother of God from Council of Ephesus (431)  Transubstantiation – Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist at the Council of Trent (1563), Papal Infallibility came from Vatican I Council (1870)  etc. What will be the next invention?

Although this charge was not original from Iglesia ni Cristo -1914, anti-Catholics seem to think that this means that the Catholic Church suddenly invented this belief at that point or that is, these did not exist before then and were wholly new and radical ideas within Christianity, without any precedent.

Wrong. This doctrine was not a new one by which is an alien to early Christians’ community. Contrary to what they accuse, the doctrines are ones that have been and always been present in the deposit of faith by which the Church thru Councils, help only to clarify a teaching when confusion seems to be harming the belief of the faithful.

Example, before the Council of Nicea, from Apostles to Ignatius of Antioch (disciple of Apostle John) who lived also during the Apostolic time, on 14 occasions calls Jesus God, and on 8 of these actually refers to him as ho theos (the God) but 200 years later, one Bishop named Arius introduced a new teaching challenging this, he insisted that Christ is a created being not the eternal God in human flesh; so to clarify the issue, the Church convene a Council in Nicea - Bithynia(present-day Iznik in Turkey). The Nicene Council defined and confirmed which the Church has always taught in a formal language which leaves no room for doubt or confusion; Christ is God and separate Christians from Arians.

Council of Constantinople on the doctrine of Trinity defined the Consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, thereby condemning the heresy of Macedonius.

Council of Ephesus on the Theotokos defined that Christ has two natures - Divine and human, declaring the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God.

Again, Council of Trent defined the teaching on Transubstantiation or the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist which once mentioned by Ignatius of Antioch in his letters:

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]). 

They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]). 

The fact that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus Christ was well-known and clearly understood from the earliest times, but the precise nature of how this happened was a matter of debate until the doctrine was formally defined in the Council of Trent (1563).

Papal Infallibility was mentioned by Augustine of Hippo (400) on the issues of faith and morals the famous phrase: “Rome has spoken; it is settled”. Challenged by Protestant movement knowing that Christ gave only to Peter the Keys that will bind and loose.

Clearly, the dates mentioned refer to the date the doctrine was solemnly defined – not the date the doctrine was invented.

Biblical Model

Long before the Council of Jerusalem convened, there was already an Uncircumcised Gentile Christians who belong to the community but it was challenged, thus the Church responded.

Council of Jerusalem

Acts 15: 1-28

Error / Challenge in teaching

1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.

Dissension and controversy

2a This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.

Appeal to the apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem

2b So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

Apostles and presbyters convened

The apostles and elders met to consider this question.
The Discussion
verses 7-21
Problem is resolved
Verse 22
Decree is promulgated
Verse 22-23
The authority of the Holy Spirit is appealed
Verse 28

Rather answering their question What will be the next invention? It is rightly to ask them: What will be their next Heresy that will Challenge the true teaching of Christ?

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