How do we determine which is the Church founded by Christ?
The Church founded by Christ must go back in history to the time of Christ; its doctrines must be the same as those of the Apostolic Church; and its leaders must be able to trace their authority back to the Apostles (see page 15). Thus, historical continuity, doctrinal continuity and continuity of Apostolic authority are the sure guidelines for determining which Church Jesus founded. Only the Catholic Church meets these requirements.
Any objective history book will show that only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Christ (41). No Protestant denomination found today existed before 1517.
The early Church Fathers are our indispensable link to Apostolic Christianity. Their writings tell us what the first Christians believed. A careful study of the early Church Fathers shows they all taught distinctively Catholic doctrines.
Continuity of Apostolic Authority
The Bible and Sacred Tradition are very clear that Christ left a Church that would be governed by a hierarchy of bishops, presbyters and deacons with the successor of St. Peter as head. Only the Catholic Church has such a governing hierarchy that can trace its authority - in an unbroken succession - back to the Apostolic authority established by Christ Himself.
(41) - The word "Catholic" first appears in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch (AD 110) to distinguish Christ's Church from heretical groups (Jurgens, #65). Interestingly, the word "Christian" also originated in Antioch (Acts 11:26). St. Ignatius' letter indicates that, by AD 110, the original Christian Church was already well known as the "Catholic Church."
Included in this booklet:
* A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO APOLOGETICS
* PRACTICAL POINTS ON BIBLE READING
* THE EUCHARIST
Appendix 1: The Early church Fathers' View of the Eucharist
* THE CANON OF THE BIBLE
* THE BIBLE ALONE?
* APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY: PETER AND THE PAPACY
* LIST OF POPES
* MARIAN DOCTRINES
Appendix 2: The Protestant Reformers' View of Mary
* QUESTIONS ABOUT MARY
* SCANDALS IN THE CHURCH
* PRAYER TO THE SAINTS
* MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS
1. "Call no man father"?
2. Statue Worship?
3. Constantine and Paganism?
4. Mass a Sacrifice?
5. Baptism: Merely Symbolic?
6. Why Infant Baptism?
7. Saved by Faith Alone?
8. Insufficiency of Redemption?
9. Assurance of Salvation?
10. Tradition Condemned?
11. Changing Doctrines?
12. Why are Priests Celibate?
13. Does Denomination Matter?
14. Which Church Did Jesus Found? (Included Above)
Father Frank Chacon, and Jim Burnham. Beginning Apologetics 1: How to Explain & Defend the Catholic Faith. Farmington, NM: San Juan Catholic Seminars, 2000-2015. Print.
To order one or more of the Beginning Apologetics books by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, see San Juan Catholic Seminars' website.
NEXT PAGE - BEGINNING APOLOGETICS 2