How Quickly Catholic Heresy Took Over the Church (Immediately)Nov 9th, 2011 | By Sean Patrick | Category: Blog Posts
When I started taking a closer look at the early church while still a Presbyterian I remember encountering what I considered a lot of ‘Catholic stuff.’ It happened innocently enough. For example, I would be reading the “Confessions” of St. Augustine and would encounter a scene where Augustine describes the relics of martyrs being venerated thorughout the city by Christians and I would stop and think, “Did I really just read that? I thought Augustine was a Reformed father!?” Before long, I realized that much of that ‘Catholic stuff’ was found in the early church well before my ‘Presbyterian stuff.’
Brantly has given a chronological outline which identifies the year when a particular ‘extra biblical’ witness relating to Christian doctrine was first recorded.
(A.D. 33 – death and resurrection of Christ)
A.D. 90 – the Lord’s Supper as a sacrifice
(A.D. 95 – death of the last apostle, John)
A.D. 95 – apostolic succession
A.D. 110 – real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
A.D. 110 – the necessity of bishops to the Church, and the necessity of submitting to bishops
A.D. 150 – baptismal regeneration and the necessity of baptism for salvation
A.D. 150 – basic structure of the Mass as Christian worship
A.D. 155 – veneration of saints and their relics
A.D. 160 – Mary as the New Eve
A.D. 170 – use of the word ‘Trinity’
A.D. 180 – primacy of the bishop of Rome
A.D. 200 – ‘Trinity’, ‘Person’, ‘Substance’ formula
A.D. 367 – today’s 27 book New Testament canon
A.D. 1500s – Protestant Reformation
The bold doctrines are those held by Protestants and Catholics alike. The non-bold are examples of doctrines that most Protestants argue that Catholics got wrong. Those in (…) reflect historical events where there is no dispute.
Brantly discusses each point further in his post, which I recommend visiting.
When I was discovering the early church, what made an impression upon me was that “if all of those beliefs which most evangelicals tend to view as sure markers of the obviously perverted corruption of the Catholic Church were already there, then the same Church that settled the New Testament canon and fought the Trinitarian and Christological fights of the early Church was already well immersed in corruption, superstition, and heresy.”