How Old is your Church?

by Steve Ray on September 20, 2013

How Old Is Your Church?

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex- monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.

If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774.

If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829.

If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605.

If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as ‘Church of the Nazarene,” “Pentecostal Gospel.” “Holiness Church,” “Pilgrim Holiness Church,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past century.

If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom LaGesse June 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

STEVE RAY HERE COMMENTING ON TOM’S COMMENT. THIS IS THE SAME OLD ASSUMPTION PRESENTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN. NO DATA TO PROVE IT OF COURSE, BUT A LOT OF ASSUMPTIONS AND WISHES IT WERE SO. YES, “CATHOLIC CHURCH” WAS USED BY A FIRST CENTURY BISHOP AND A DISCIPLE OF THE APOSTLES. IT IS EVEN RUMORED THAT HE WAS THE CHILD SET IN JESUS’ LAP. HIS USE OF THE WORD SO CASUALLY AND NOT AS AN INNOVATION WOULD LEAD US TO THINK IT WAS ALREADY IN COMMON USAGE AT THE TIME.

IF YOU SAY THAT THE WORD “CATHOLIC’ WOULD HAVE BEEN PEPPERED THOUGHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT, THEN I WOULD ASK “WHAT ABOUT THE TRINITY AND THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE”? IF THEY ARE TRUTH THAT YOU HOLD THEN WHY ARE THEY NOT SPILLING OUT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AS WELL.

I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SEEING THE DOCUMENTS OR HISTORICAL PROOF THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS CONSTITUTIONALLY INAUGURATED IN 313, AND WHAT DATE WAS IT? THERE IS NO SUCH THING, JUST WISHFUL THINKING. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS THE CHURCH JESUS BUILT, GIVING PETER THE KEYS, MAKING HIM A FOUNDATIONAL ROCK, BUILDING UPON THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS (EPH 2:20) AND IT WAS ONE VISIBLE CHURCH WITH VISIBLE RECOGNIZABLE LEADERSHIP.

THE WHOLE IDEA OF AN DIVIDED INVISIBLE CHURCH IN SPIRITUAL UNITY WAS A CONCESSION OF THE DISPUTING REFORMERS.

TOM WRITES: Actually, the Catholic church was founded as an organized religion, calling itself the Catholic Church around 313 AD under Roman emperor Constantine. If it were true that Jesus founded the Catholic church, then references to it would have been peppered throughout the Gospel as well as Paul’s epistles. To be fair, though, the term “Catholic” was first used by St. Ignatious of Antioch, believed to be a disciple of the Apostle John when writing a letter and referring to the Christian church of the day.

Tom LaGesse June 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

I mean to also add the year was 107 when the first useage of “Catholic” appeared in writings by St. Igantius. Sorry for the earlier misspelling, too.

Martha February 17, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I came across this document with the addition of the AME, African Methodist Episcopal Church. , Unfortunately, entry was the only one to omit the name of the founder. It reads:
‘If you ARE an A.M.E., your church was started around 1800 by an African America. ”
As a Black Catholic, I was not happy to see the African American unnamed so I set out to find the article on line. The hard copy I have is this one verbatim except that AME is omitted here altogether.
For everyone’s information, it is Reverend Richard Allen. He founded the AME in 1816 out of necessity. For more informatiohttp://www.essortment.com/reverend-richard-allen–african-american-religious-leader-63915.htmln .

Robin Boswell September 20, 2013 at 7:23 AM

I’m puzzled that your list doesn’t include the Orthodox Church. which was indeed founded by Christ Himself. A better estimate for the date of the formation of the Roman Catholic Church would be around 1054.

STEVE RAY HERE:
Robin, you must be a bit confused. I did a search for the first thousand years and found no church called the Orthodox Church. After a thousand years we find Orthodox churches, plural, but no Orthodox church singular. However we do find a Catholic Church that is from the first century and it seems that the Orthodox decided to break away and start their own thing and choose a new name a thousand years later. And it certainly isn’t “catholic” since each is very parochial and ethic. You may want to retread your history.

Marcelino September 20, 2013 at 8:07 AM

The “Apostolic Fathers” Teach that the Church of Smyrna, Not Rome, was the Original Catholic Church. Is teaching the truth anti-Catholic?

STEVE RAY HERE IN CAPS. YOU COULDN’T BE MORE INCORRECT MARCELLINO. FROM THE 1ST CENTURY ROME WAS THE HEAD CHURCH.

While many people would say that the Church of Rome was the original “catholic church,” that actually is not accurate. And Catholic scholars and Catholic-approved writings, such as the so-called “Apostolic Fathers,” understand the truth about this matter.

I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU GET TOU INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS. READ MY BOOK “UPON THIS ROCK”.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia and other early sources, it was the Church of God in Smyrna that was first referred to as the “catholic church.”

Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia itself teaches:

The combination “the Catholic Church” (he katholike ekklesia) is found for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about the year 110. The words run: “Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church.” However, in view of the context, some difference of opinion prevails as to the precise connotation of the italicized word…by the beginning of the fourth century it seems to have almost entirely supplanted the primitive and more general meaning…The reference (c. 155) to “the bishop of the catholic church in Smyrna” (Letter on the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, xvi), a phrase which necessarily presupposes a more technical use of the word, is due, some critics think, to interpolation…(Thurston H. Catholic. Transcribed by Gordon A. Jenness. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

THIS DOES NOT SUGGEST SMYRNA WAS THE MOTHER CHURCH AND YOU CAREFULLY SELECT THE PORTIONS THAT PUT YOUR SLANT ON IT. I SUGGEST PEOPLE READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE AND NOT JUST YOUR EXCISED SELECTIONS.

Thus, Catholic scholars teach that the first two times the term “catholic church” seems to be used in the old literature it is in reference to the Church of God in Smyrna that was led by Polycarp.

WRONG.

Here is the first time the term “catholic church” is used and is from a letter written by Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans around 110 AD:

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father, and of the beloved Jesus Christ, which has through mercy obtained every kind of gift, which is filled with faith and love, and is deficient in no gift, most worthy of God, and adorned with holiness: the Church which is at Smyrna, in Asia, wishes abundance of happiness, through the immaculate Spirit and word of God…

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles…

Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church…(Ignatius. Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 0.0., 8.1, 8.2).

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS NOT JUST ROME BUT THE LOCAL CHURCHES IN UNION WITH ROME. THUS, SMYRNA WAS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN OBEDIENCE AND UNION WITH THEIR BISHOP AND ROME. THIS ORGANIC BODY OF LOCAL CHURCHES WITH THEIR BISHOPS MADE UP THE UNIVERSAL CATHOLIC CHURCH.

The “bishop” he was referring to was Polycarp, for, as was reported earlier, Polycarp was appointed the “bishop of the Church in Smyrna.” Thus, the first time that the term “catholic church” is used, it is in a letter to those in Smyrna.

CORRECT, IF UNDERSTOOD PROPERLY AS I EXPLAINED ABOVE. ONE MUST THEN UNDERSTAND THE ORGANIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH CALLED CATHOLIC. THE ORTHODOX HAVE THE DILEMMA OF FINDING A CHURCH IN THE FIRST THOUSAND YEARS NAMED “THE ORTHODOX CHURCH.”

Jason Almeida September 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Who is the founder of Catholic Charismatics? And when?

STEVE RAY HERE: It was St. Peter who gave the first Holy Ghost gospel message on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down. You should have known that. It is in the Bible!

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