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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jewish, Gentile or Catholic Christians?

Mrs.T writes: "Why do you (Catholics) say that you were around in the bible? The Jewish Believers were born Jewish, and they REMAINED Jewish. There were no Catholics back then, you came around hundreds of years later. All those early believers were Jews."

My response: Jesus came first to the Jews, then sent out his disciples to the Gentiles. Once a believer, whether Jew or Gentile became believers and followers of Christ, they were called Christians. We see this in scripture and other early writings.

Acts 11:26 (in part) "The disciples were first called CHRISTIANS at Antioch."

How about Acts 26:28? (in part) "...can you persuade me to be a CHRISTIAN?"

How about what it says in 1 Peter 4:16; "However, if you suffer as a CHRISTIAN, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."
Now about the Catholic faith. The Church was founded by Jesus Christ in the Gospel. You can see it clearly in Matt. 16:17-19 "Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
There was only one Church created by Christ. That church IS the Holy Catholic Church. Anyone who believed in Christ as the Savior and become a Christian were Catholic Christians. They may have started out in life as Jews or Gentiles but by becoming believers and followers of Christ then left the old behind and became Christians. The only Christians at that time (1,500+ years before the Reformation) were the Catholics because it was and is the only Church Jesus Christ founded on earth.

Ignatius of Antioch
"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

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