Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 6 years ago

Does Catholicism match up with early Christianity?

I've noticed a lot of Protestants on here like to link to this site: which claims to be a list of heresies that have been added to Catholicism over the years.

But I disagree and have found this article that answers most of these points: Given this, do you think Catholic beliefs match up with the beliefs of early Christians?

Claim: "Making the sign of the cross . . . [A.D.] 300." The theologian Tertullian, writing in A.D. 211, says making the sign of the cross was already a long established Christian practice.

Claim: "Priests began to dress differently from laymen . . . [A.D.] 500." In the sixth century, while fashions changed around them, priests kept the same clothing they had used for liturgical purposes for some time.

Claim: "Extreme Unction . . . [A.D.] 526." the origin is found in the New Testament itself - James 5:14-15

Claim: "Worship of the cross, images, and relics authorized in . . . [A.D.] 786." Artistic representations had been allowed since the 1st century. It was in the 8th century that an iconoclastic heresy arose that said all statues and paintings must be destroyed. In 787, at the Second Council of Nicaea, this heresy was defeated.

Claim: "Celibacy of the priesthood, decreed by pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand) . . . [A.D.] 1079."


After saying he wished those to whom he was writing were, like he, unmarried (1 Cor. 7:7–9), Paul said he thought celibacy was the more perfect state (1 Cor 7:28-33).

Claim: "Auricular confession of sins to a priest instead of to God, instituted by Pope Innocent III, in [the] Lateran Council . . . [A.D.] 1215." In fact, it dates back to the time of Jesus, for Christ commissioned the apostles this way - John 20:23

Update 2:

Claim: "Apocryphal books added to the Bible by the Council of Trent . . . [A.D.] 1546." These books were affirmed part of the Bible at the councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage (A.D. 382, 393, 397, respectively). The Council of Trent merely denied the new Protestant heresy that these books did not belong in the Bible.

Update 3:


Claim: "Prayers for the dead, began about....300 AD." The first Scriptural mention of prayers for the dead occurs in the Deuterocanonical book of 2 Maccabees 12:39-46, written around 124 BC.

Claim: "Wax candles, about....320" The extent Roman record of the execution of St. Cyprian (d. 258 AD) says candles were used as part of his funeral.

Update 4:

Claim: "Veneration of angels and saints, and use of images....375" The veneration (or respect) paid to angels can be found in the First Apology of Justin Martyr (148 AD).

Claim: "The Mass, as a daily celebration....394." The Mass, in the earliest years of the Church, appears to have been celebrated on Sunday only, but it was gradually extended to a daily celebration

Claim: "Beginning of the exaltation of Mary, the term "Mother of God" first applied to her by the Council of Ephesus....431."

Update 5:

Ignatius of Antioch states in his Epistle to the Ephesians (110 AD): "For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God's plan"

Claim: "The doctrine of Purgatory, established by Gregory I....593." The concept of sins being remitted after death is found in the Deuterocanonical book of 2 Maccabees, 12:38-46.

Claim: "Latin language, used in prayer and worship, imposed by Gregory I....600."

9 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    What's wrong out there folks???

    Early Christianity WAS the Catholic Church circa 4th Century.

    But everyone knows that, you had to know that!

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  • John S
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    <<I've noticed a lot of Protestants on here like to link to this site: which claims to be a list of heresies that have been added to Catholicism over the years. >>

    It is basic Protestant rhetoric that Catholicism was invented by Constantine OR that it some how became the dominant Christian group but was not representative of "true Christianity"

    So your Historical points typically don't really affect their view. They have bought into a sorta 'alternative timeline'

    Typically they will point out half truths that seem to fit their viewpoint such as "the Catholic church labeled any Christian that held differing views as 'heretics' and stamped out any dissident groups."

    TRUE.. but the question is.. are any of these 'heretical groups' representative of mainstream Protestantism, today. In other words, would even most Protestants today, AGREE with these heretical groups? OR, would even Protestants agree that these groups were off-base?

    If they don't think these heretical groups were the "true Christians" the 'original Christians' -- then they can hardly use this as an example of how Catholicism took over and original Christianity was forced underground.

    Example: Marcion believed that the God of the Old Testament (Jewish god) was a different God then that of Christianity. He couldn't reconcile the OT and NT - so he believed they were 2 different gods.

    --- Well Protestants don't believe this, so Marcionism can hardly be representative of "true Christianity" that the Catholic Church supposedly 'hushed up' or 'forced out'

    Same goes for other heretical groups such as the Aryians, the Gnostics, the Nestorians, the Kathars, etc.


    <<Does Catholicism match up with early Christianity?>>

    I see most posters simply not addressing your question head on. Some are just asserting the same tired theory that Constantine created Catholicism.

    Therefore my answer would be this, based on History.........

    Often times the Catholic church only defined or officially stated something WHEN it was being questioned. If a certain Sacred Tradition, Belief, Doctrine, or Practice was not being called into question... they didn't define it or defend it.

    So sometimes we don't see something official coming out of the Catholic church until centuries, even a millennia after it was followed or believed by the faithful.

    This opens the door for non-Catholics, centuries later to claim that a certain belief or practice didn't BEGIN until much later.

    For example: The inclusion of the Greek version of the OT, aka the Septuagint, including the Duetercanonical books was not put into question until the Protestant Reformation. So it wasn't until the Council of Trent that we see the Catholic church dogmatical state that the Dueterocanon is to be included, essentially closing off the canon of the Bible from further debate.

    Protestants can then claim that the Catholic church ADDED the Dueterocanonical books to the bible in the 16th century.

    See how it works? Make sense?

    Most of the events on those lists are TRUE - but they did not establish the belief or practice because the roots or tradition actually goes further back. In some cases back to Judaism (confession)

    In the end, if we trace back the beliefs... what we find is that Catholicism seems to be connected to the ROOT or origin of the Christian faith.

    And when I say "Cathoilcism" I include our Orthodox brethren who are also "kathilokos"

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  • 6 years ago

    The Catholic Church is among the oldest body of Christians in the world, having been formed in the 4th century under the auspices of Constantine who decided that Christianity would be the official religion of the Roman Empire. It attempted to unify all of the disparate beliefs and practices of Christians; and even in the New Testament it's evident that the Church (or the Way) already had varying factions and beliefs.

    The Universal, or Catholic, Church didn't succeed in uniting all Christians in what became orthodox beliefs. There were still those who wouldn't give up their own ideas, and were labelled Heretics by the Catholic Church. But it became the largest body of Christians; and it still is, even after the Great Schism when the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Catholic (Western Orthodox?) Church split, and when the Protestants and others separated.

    • John S
      Lv 7
      6 years agoReport

      Soooo...what you are saying is that you completely disregard the points or question that the asker was making....right?
      'Cause you just seem to repeat basic Protestant revisionist history

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  • 6 years ago

    Let's see some things again...

    In the beginning we all crossed ourselves in this way: from right to left. Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) changed that one.

    The Roman Catholics also changed liturgical clothing. Only the Orthodox keep the original liturgical vestments which came from Judaism.

    The early christians used to confess their sins in front of many people! Now it's only with the priest. But the roman catholics don;t even face the priest anymore...

    The Roman Catholics have also rejected some books in the bible... The Orthodox are the ones who play with a full deck.

    There is no Purgatory... It's an addition from Rome such as Filioque which was accepted by the popes only in 1014. The early church never believed in Purgatory! This is nowhere to be found in Maccabees.

    Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch(Orthodox patriarchate). The first bishop of Antioch was the Apostle Peter.

    From all the patriarchates(Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Rome, Constantinople) only the patriarchate of Rome left at the Great Schism and went its own way.... All the others stayed in the Orthodox Church( ).

    Source(s): greek Orthodox christian
    • John S
      Lv 7
      6 years agoReport

      Most of what you mention are more or less nuances between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but DOESN'T actually address what the asker is inquiring about.

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  • 6 years ago

    Modern Catholicism doesn't, but that's where modern Catholicism comes from.

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  • carl
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    It makes you think when the claims of anti-Catholics don't match up to the the facts of history.

    If you want more debunking of anti-Catholic claims read Karl Keating's "Catholicism and Fundamentalism".

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  • 6 years ago

    Yes, it developed organically from 1st cent Apostolic Christianity

    Catholic orthodox Trinitarian apostolic Christianity has been there from the beginning and is founded by Christ

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  • 6 years ago

    In a way sites like those help some people people find the Church... When they attempt to "authenticate" such informations.

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    In a lot of ways it does not. Honest answer.

    • John S
      Lv 7
      6 years agoReport

      Such As..........
      Can you address the inconsistencies the asker mentions. Can you comment on any of those?

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