Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Primitive Church

       (Primitive cave painting from 20,000 years ago)  
The primitive church was often talked about when I was a new born-again believer. We learned that the early disciples prayed and worshiped in each other's houses and shared scripture, sang hymns just as we were doing in my friend's parents living room on Saturday nights. This was what we believed  was the way in which the early Christians worshiped. We figured, the closer we return to New Testament times, the more  likely the worship would be unadulterated and just the way God intended.

      But, then I read the writings of the Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Irenaeus etc. Just as cave paintings give us a unique snapshot of the life of primitive man, the writings of the Early Church Fathers proide a unique snapshot of what the worship life and times were for the early primitive church. These early Christians were writing extensively about the Church before the end of the 2nd century.  Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple of  Saint John and possibly Saint Peter! Turns out that the primitive Church worship was centered around a thing now known as the mass. (What? What about bible studies and prayer meetings?) These early Christians believed and wrote extensively that the Lord’s table was actually partaking in the true body and blood of Christ, not just a memorial meal. The belief in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist has been a part of Christian theology since the time of the apostles. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the reformers decided that Jesus was speaking symbolically when he said “Take and eat, this is my body.”
    When I discovered this truth, I had to make my way back to the true “primitive church.” In the Eucharist, celebrated daily in Catholic Churches throughout the world, one cannot get any closer to the breath of God than eating his real body and drinking his real blood. If Christians of good will want to be as close to the breath of God as possible, they will find that intimacy with Jesus in the Catholic Church.
       “Take care, then who belong to God and to Jesus Christ – they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church – they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons.” Ignatius of Antioch 110 AD


Anonymous Renée said...

In the 1970s, my pastor at Our Heritage Wesleyan Methodist Church in Scottsdale decided to lead his church back to the "primitive church." He gave the church building back to the denomination, and church members began meeting in home groups. Within a few months, his once-thriving church had disappeared off the face of the earth. His ministry was ruined. And he couldn't figure out where he had gone wrong - he had followed the "biblical" model.

So sad....

October 20, 2013 7:04 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

I suspect he cherry the parts of the NT he liked, avoided the parts like Corinthians, when Paul exhorts the church because some are not rightly discerning the body and blood of The Lord, and dying because of it!!

October 20, 2013 7:30 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

"Cherry picks" sorry

October 20, 2013 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Christie said...

This seems really cool!

October 27, 2013 5:05 PM  

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