Faith/Spirituality Forum: General
General QUESTION from Nan August 22, 2001 Please explain why each church (Catholic, Protestant, LDS) says an individual has to call themselve by that name (i.e.; I am a Catholic, I am a Protestant, I am a Morman) to be a true believer in our Lord God, his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit? Thank you.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 29, 2001 Dear Miss Nan:
Originally one did not have to use a modifier. All Christians belonged to ONE church. That Church is what we call today the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was the original Church. How is that? Well the original Church was the the Church body founded upon and in union with Peter and the Chair of Peter. That Christian fellowship which is in union with the Chair of Peter is the ONE TRUE CHURCH.
In those ancient days, since there was only one Church, one could easily call themselves Christian and it would mean all the same thing -- a person who is a true believer in Jesus Christ and His Church (and all the tenets of the Apostles Creed).
But in a sinful episode on everyone's part the Church was split in 1054. Now we have two separate entities -- The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. This is when the term Catholic became more important (though the Church was called Catholic as early as 107 AD).
But even with this split there was not much need for modifiers. It was not until the Protestant Arrogance of the 16th that modifiers became REALLY needed.
It was the Anglicans who first used the term Roman Catholic. It was a term of insult at that time, and still is today in some quarters. The Anglicans wanted to pretend they were still Catholic, but they did not want to BE Catholic (that is be in union with Rome), so they invented the characterization of Roman Catholic to differentiate the Catholic Church, headed in Rome, from themselves as Anglican Catholics. There is no such thing as Anglican Catholics of course.
During that time, with the man-made religions popping up like weeds, such as the Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc. etc., the use of a modifier was necessary to bring order to the chaos of who is who.
Modifiers are needed because all these various denominations DO NOT have the same beliefs.
For example, when I say I am a Christian, I do NOT want people thinking that I believe in the nonsense known as once saved always saved. Fundamentalist Baptist believe that heresy, I don't. Thus to say I am a Catholic Christian makes it more clear of what set of beliefs I hold.
I wish this was not needed. Christ founded ONE CHURCH, and ONE FAITH, and to have differences in belief to the point that we must have modifiers to distinguish ourselves from others is a scandal. But that is the way it is. That is reality.
Hopefully, someday, we will all do as God has requested, come under ONE CHURCH and ONE FAITH which in common language today is known as the Catholic Church. P.S. Mormons are NOT believers in the Trinity or in Jesus Christ. They are not Christian at all. They are a non-Christian cult.
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