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  #21  
Old 2nd August 2018, 03:26 PM
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God is our Father (the One source of all fatherhood) and Head, he guides and takes care of us by His Providence in the Spirit, but He wishes for us to have a visible Father for us on earth, just as the case with St. Joseph and the Holy Family of Nazareth. As St. Joseph was the visible head of the Holy Family, so is the Pope the visible head of the Universal Church.

As shown above, when Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and says “And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.” this echoes Isaiah 22:22 “And I will place the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. And when he opens, no one will close. And when he closes, no one will open.” where Eliakim is being appointed as the successor of Shebna (22:15), so we see that this Fatherly position (22:21) has succession.

So, if positions as the one that Moses had, then Judges, Kings and even “prime-ministers” had succession among God’s chosen people in their earthy kingdom, how can God’s principal representative of His on earth in the Kingdom of Heaven would not? As a matter of fact, the Apostolic position had succession as we can see when Matthias was appointed as the replacement of Judas Iscariot:

[Acts]
{1:24} And praying, they said: “May you, O Lord, who knows the heart of everyone, reveal which one of these two you have chosen,
{1:25} to take a place in this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas prevaricated, so that he might go to his own place.”

Therefore, Peter knowing that he would die, even more so, as they were being persecuted in the Roman Empire, just as Moses had appointed his successor by the imposition of his hands to Joshua by God’s will, Peter too had appointed his successor, Linus (as we’ll see later), and from then on to this very day the current valid Pope is the legitimate successor of Peter the Apostle.

We also know that each of the twelve Apostles had to have successors because Jesus told them “behold, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the age.” (Matt 28:20). All of the Apostles died and how is that Jesus was going to be WITH THEM until the consummation of the age? – it is because each and every one of them had to have successors until the end of this world. Some may say “Yeah, but ‘consummation of the age’ really means’ consummation of their time on earth, or just a determined time, not until the end of this world”. Are they suggesting that Jesus was going to leave us as “sheep without shepherd”, the very thing that distressed Him (Matt 9:36) ? NO. “Until the consummation of the age” or “end of age” means end of this world:

[Matthew]
{13:49} So shall it be at the consummation of the age. The Angels shall go forth and separate the bad from the midst of the just.

Jesus is talking regarding Judgement Day here, at the end of this world when the Angels separates the bad from the good.

St. Paul says to the elders of the Church:

[Acts]
{20:27} For I have not turned aside in the least from announcing every counsel of God to you.
{20:28} Take care of yourselves and of the entire flock, over which the Holy Spirit has stationed you as Bishops to rule the Church of God, which he has purchased by his own blood.
{20:29} I know that after my departure ravenous wolves will enter among you, not sparing the flock.
{20:30} And from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things in order to entice disciples after them.
{20:31} Because of this, be vigilant, retaining in memory that throughout three years I did not cease, night and day, with tears, to admonish each and every one of you.

So Jesus has not left his Church abandoned spiritually, but not also physically for He has appointed some to be Bishops (“Overseers”) of His flock, to take care of them, to feed them announcing them the Good News so they do not fall pray of the wolfs, and none of them by “appointed by themselves”, but through Apostolic succession. The expression “Apostolic Succession” means that the Apostles knowing that they would not be living always, designated other people called by God to be their successors (Acts 1:15-26) (Acts 6:2-6).

Here we see how the ordained priestly ministry was transmitted to others:

“Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” (Acts 14:23).

“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders *laid their hands on you*.” (1 Timothy 4:14).

It is by the imposition of hands on the man that he becomes an ordained priest.

“Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22).

St. Paul tells Timothy not to be hasty in laying on hands for this particular ministry is not for everyone, he has to be careful and prayerfully discern to whom he transmits this authority.

“The reason I left you in Crete was that *you might put in order* what was left unfinished *and appoint elders* in every town, as I directed you.” (Titus 1:5).

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

Authority transmitted by the imposition of hands 2 Tim 1:6
1 Tim 5:22
Titus 1:5
1 Tim 4:14
Acts 6:6 . 13:3

We'll get into a more detailed explanation about Apostolic Succession later.

Jesus who is God reveals truths to whom He chooses (Matt 11:28 ) but that choosing is made manifest visible by the unbroken chain of the imposition of the hands (Apostolic Succession), as shown above, so that everyone knows to whom real authority has been passed on to and who does not have it.

God becomes visible to mankind (John 1:14) and so He also makes His Church visible (Matt 5:15) (Matt 16:18 ) (John 17:21) for us to reach salvation through Her.
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  #22  
Old 21st August 2018, 04:03 PM
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It is clear for us Catholics that Jesus Christ founded this Church. Now, among Protestant denominations, they do not agree on when the Catholic Church started. Some believe, “after the dead of the last Apostle”, others believe, “during the reign of Emperor Constantine”. They of course, have to believe that their particular denomination is the true Church which Jesus Christ founded (for He indeed founded only One Church (Matt 16:-18-19)), not two, or there, or more. Jesus also prayed “that all be One” (John 17:21), not a splintering of many. So only One must be the true Church that Jesus founded. Among the Protestant denominations, we can historically find who, when and where those Churches started.

See this website is dedicated to show the different Protestant denominations with explanations and also shows a chart:

http://protestantism.co.uk/denominations

Wikipedia article as of 08/21/18:

Quote:
“Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians.[1][2][a] It originated with the Reformation,[b] a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church.[4] Ever since, Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.[5] They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone (sola fide) rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone (rather than with sacred tradition) in faith and morals (sola scriptura).[6] The "Five solae" summarize basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.[7]”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism

We Catholics believe in our Three Pillars of truth: Sacred Tradition (capital “T”, not small t of tradition), Sacred Scripture (which infallibly writes from Tradition), and Magisterium (which authoritatively interprets from the Deposit of Faith (Tradition and Scriptures) and is her servant, not the master).

Emperor Constantine did not start the Catholic Church, he only granted religious liberty for everyone in the Roman Empire with the Edict of Milan. So no more persecution for the early Christians, and then he eventually converted to Catholicism. There were already 32 Popes by the time the Edict of Milan was made effective in 313 AD. St. Irenaeus (130-202 AD) writes a lists of the successors of Peter up to his time. We also find St. Stephen I (23rd Pope) mentioned as the successor of Peter in a letter of St. Firmilian (died c. 269 A.D).

Constantine's mother St. Helena was Catholic previous to her son’s conversion (she actually prayed for his conversion to Catholicism and brought religious articles and relics from Jerusalem to Rome) so this is another indication that Constantine did not “start” the Catholic Church.

How do we know that Jesus’ Church is Catholic? – Well, Jesus is Catholic, that is, Universal. From the very beginning Jesus says to the Apostles: “Therefore, go forth and teach all nations” (Matt 28:19). “Go forth to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15).

Jesus doesn’t say, go and preach to the Jews only, or to the Gentiles only, or to the Greeks, but “to the whole world” so Jesus is Universal. Catholic is not just a name, but is what His Church actually is, Universal.

Now, where is the term “Catholic” in the Bible? - The word “Catholic” comes from the Greek “καθολικός” transliterated “katholikós”, which comes from phrase “καθόλου” transliterated “katholou”, meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", which means “universal” or “of the whole”. In (Acts 9:31) we see how this word started to develop from the inception of Christianity for we read it as “the Church throughout”.

St. Luke was St. Paul’s disciple and he wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts in Greek. Luke wrote for Theophilus, a leader in Greece, and for the Christians who had influenced him to convert to Christianity (for more information and detailed explanation read the book “The Writing of the Gospels and Biblical Inerrancy” by Ron Conte).

Now let’s see how Acts 9:31 reads in Greek:

Ἡ μὲν οὖν ἐκκλησία καθ' ὅλης τῆς Ἰουδαίας καὶ Γαλιλαίας καὶ Σαμαρείας εἶχεν εἰρήνην, οἰκοδομουμένη καὶ πορευομένη τῷ φόβῳ τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ τῇ παρακλήσει τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐπληθύνετο.

Transliteration:

I mén oún ekklisía kath' ólis tís Ioudaías kaí Galilaías kaí Samareías eíchen eirínin, oikodomouméni kaí porevoméni tó fóvo toú kyríou, kaí tí paraklísei toú agíou pnévmatos eplithýneto.

http://www.greekbible.com/index.php

“ἐκκλησία καθ' ὅλης” transliterated as “ekklisía kath' ólis” and translated into English as “the Church for all” or “the Church throughout”. The word “throughout” translating into the Greek is “καθόλη τη διάρκεια” transliterated as “kathóli ti diárkeia”. For this reason, it is hard to catch for English readers (or other languages) because the word “kath' ólis” is not translated similarly from Greek translations (which is where the word “Catholic” comes from) to other languages. But the meaning and the sense from where the term “Catholic” comes from is there. So here we see the Biblical roots of how Jesus’ Church started to be called because the followers of Jesus went “everywhere”, “throughout all” different places, as Jesus commanded and, by then, by the authority of the Apostles started to be sent.

Our Catholic Church is not just a “name” but is actually what She ‘IS’, Universal.

“Christians” refers to followers of Christ, “Catholic” is the Church that Jesus founded; therefore, a Catholic is a Christian because he is a follower of Christ who is in that organized and structured Church (as we see in Acts 15) that He Himself founded. A faithful Catholic follows Jesus completely.

It was at Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Interestingly, we have the earliest documentation to this date of the words “Catholic Church” recorded in a letter coming from a Bishop from this very same place, Antioch. It was St. Ignatius (who lived around the years 35 – 107 A.D.), who in his way to martyrdom at the Roman Circus Maximus, he wrote:

“See that you all follow the Bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being in the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the Bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the Bishop, or by one to whom he was entrusted it. 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” – St. Ignatius of Antioch, (Epistle to the Smyrneans 8 in ANF 1:89-90).

Notice that he writes expecting his readers to already understand what “Catholic Church” means, for nowhere in his letters he explains why he calls Jesus’ Church “Catholic”. He doesn’t say something like: “…and by the way, I’m calling the Church Catholic because …”. No, he expects his audience to already know what he means by calling Jesus’ Church “Catholic” and what the Catholic Church is. This indicates that this expression or “name” was most likely already in use by the first Christians in order to refer to Jesus’ Church, the Church that He founded on Peter (Matt 16:16-19) by the time St. Ignatius wrote this letter.

Who was St. Ignatius of Antioch? He and St. Polycarp were disciples of St. John the Apostle and then Ignatius was appointed to be Bishop of Antioch. Antioch, by the way, was the capital of the Roman province of Syria and was the third largest city in the Empire with a half a million people. St. John Chrysostom, also from Antioch, wrote that Ignatius was ordained by the Saints themselves when “the hands of the blessed Apostles touched his sacred head”. Historian Eusebius writes that St. Ignatius succeeded Evodius.
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  #23  
Old 31st August 2018, 04:28 PM
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So we see how Jesus’ Church started to be called “Catholic” by the early Christians and She traces back to the Apostles who in turn walked with the Master and Head of the Church Himself. But the Church was actually Catholic (Universal) since Her birth when the Apostles (who were reunited with the Virgin Mary) received the Holy Spirit and started to speak in different languages, languages that they did not know, but were the languages of the people who represented all nations under Heaven (Acts 2:4-6).

The Catholic Church was visible since Her start (Acts 15 – Council of Jerusalem) Christians were no dispersed wandering around like sheep without shepherd after Jesus ascension or after the death of the last Apostle. Recall that Jesus was “moved with compassion” when He saw His followers “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). So He could not have left His flock helpless or forsaken wandering around in the wilderness of this world which is the very thing that He disliked. Also His prayer “that all may be One so that they [the world] may believe” (John 17:21). So our Lord talks and prays about the unity of His Church. The Church is only one Body for there is only One Head who is Christ, not “two or more Christs”.

St. Paul teaches:

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Cor 1 10).

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6).

Among Protestants brothers we may have one Lord, but there is no one Faith, they believe in different doctrines and do not agree with each other on those doctrines. For example Lutherans have images in their Churches and also reverence our Mother Mary, but others Protestant do not. Some Protestant Churches recognize Lutherans as Evangelicals but do not agree on such doctrines. Some Protestants believe in the Trinity, others do not. Some Protestant Churches perform baptism of babies and little children, others reject that, etc. So this division among Christians is not what God wants and separation into different “bodies” is not from God.

Now some may argue what about those teachings from Jesus such as:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34). Or:

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division……They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Luke 12: 51 . 53).

This separation that Jesus is talking about is actually for us to stand firm in His teachings and His teaching through His one true Church. The separation is caused by those who freely refuse to accept Jesus’ teachings because God has made us free. The “peace” that Jesus did not come to bring is the worldly “peace”, as a peace where anyone can do what he pleases and not be corrected, or a “peace” where one conquers another by force, or a “peace” of relativism where there is no objective truth, among other worldly types of “peace”. That’s why our Lord, after His resurrection said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27). So our Lord DOES come to bring us Peace, but the Peace that Jesus comes to bring is based of true love of God and neighbor as self (John 13:34). Sacred Scripture needs to be interpreted in light of ALL Sacred Scripture, not by picking some verses here and there. Notice that He doesn’t say that He came to bring “war”, No. He says “the Sword”, and by the “Sword” He means the Word of God (Eph 6:17) (Hebrews 4:12) (In case of a legitimate defense or defensive help, a war can be just. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil Ephesians 6:12).

Notice also that because of His Word, many of those who were following Him, departed and left Him (John 6:60-68 ). So that division is the result of those who reject or cannot accept His doctrine and Jesus does not force them to come back, but lets them go freely. But Jesus’ purpose is not for His Body to be separated. He does not want that. It is not His wish for there to be may “bodies”. Division is the result of the rebellion against Him or not acceptance of His Truth.

What about the situation when Jesus let some people drive out demons even though they were not part of the group following Him?

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” (Mark 9:38-41).

This does not mean to be separated into different Churches with different doctrines. Jesus is only letting people to cooperate with grace. So, even though some people were not part of the group following Jesus, they must have heard of Him and a particular person was following His teachings, and Jesus told St. John not to impede him for he was cooperating with God’s grace. As St. Paul also teaches “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thes 5:19). But another totally different thing is not following His teachings and instead following a different doctrine, traditions of men. St. Paul teaches: “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!” (Gal 1:9).

Notice that Jesus is saying that: “for whoever is not against us is for us”, so there is a problem with the separated brothers who have doctrines that against or contrary to ours, they are against us, such as the Eucharist, against due veneration to our blessed Mother, against Peter’s primacy or the Pope, against the Sacrament of Confession, and so forth. What this means is that if different groups within our Catholic Church which are NOT against Her, different apostolate groups such as charismatics, charities, etc., then we should not prohibit them. Jesus says: "Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me." (Luke 10:16). But the separated brothers are against our Church, they do not listen to the successor of the Apostles, so it is not the same.

So Jesus wants unity of His Church, with different parts, different gifts, charisms, yes, but not separated from His One Body. Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). There is only One Vine, and different branches. Not different “vines”. Sadly some branches have been separated or cut off themselves from that One Vine which is His Body, the Church.
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  #24  
Old 24th September 2018, 07:59 PM
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The people of Israel prefigures Jesus’ Church, the roots from our Catholic Church came from (for Jesus was Jewish and practiced the Law as appointed to Moses also) had one worship (God), had one original leader (Moses), and a hierarchy in order to help Moses (Exodus 18:13-27) (Numbers 11:16-30), they were established in unity, no in division.

The multitude of the sons of Israel are the people chosen by God to be "gathered" in order to leave Egypt. This people is called "the Church of God" or "Assembly of God" (Num 20:4) (Deut 23:3) (Neh 13:1) thus foreshadowing the Catholic/Universal Church of Jesus. A Church is a congregation or assembly of people. So here we see how God is keeping His promise to Abraham>Isaac>Jacob>Moses>Israelite People>Jesus New Covenant>Catholic Church.

Now, who can believe an invisible Church? An invisible Church could not have martyrs the way She had, for with “invisibility” no one would be able to see them, or very hardly able to see them. Jesus teaches “Now no one, lighting a candle, covers it with a container, or sets it under a bed. Instead, he places it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16). The Catholic Church has been visible and showed a social structure as a sign of Her unity in Christ since Her birth at Pentecost (Acts 2) (15). God becomes visible to mankind (John 1:14) and so He also makes His Church visible (Matt 5:15) (Matt 16:18 ) (John 17:21) for us to reach salvation through Her.

Jesus’ Church is not “invisible” as some say, but physically as well. God's Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh (visible) (John 1:1) (1:14) and the Church is His Body (Acts 9:4) (Romans 12:5). There is diversity in Her members, yes, for a body is composed of many different parts but all connected to One Body. There is a difference between diversity of parts within one body than different separate bodies (1 Corinthians 12:12–27) (Ephesians 3:6). As in marriage, the two become one flesh (Mark 10:8 ) but there is order in that one body, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” (Ephesians 5:23) (Col 1:24). So, our Lord is the Head of this visible Body.

Scriptures also teaches us: “There is one Body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4). This means that the Spirit is invisible, but the “Body” is visible in One (not two, three or more, but One) Holy Church which is Catholic.

The gates of Hell cannot prevent against Jesus’ Church (Matt 16:18-19) and Jesus also said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:51). Therefore, all the Churches which broke apart from the Catholic Church are no longer formal members of Christ’s only Church. Even those so called “Original Catholic Church” or “Traditional Catholic Church” for they have broken communion with Peter as Prince of the Apostles and the Apostles in communion with Peter and their respective successors; though some of those Eastern Rite Churches preserve the Apostolic Succession.
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  #25  
Old 4th October 2018, 06:00 PM
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Now, since it is clear that Jesus founded only One Church (Matt 16:18 ), how is that the book of Acts or St. Paul refers to the “churches” (Acts 15:41) (16:5) (1 Cor 16:19) (7:17) (Rom 16:4-5) or even “churches of Christ” (Rom 16:16), or “churches of God” (1 Cor 11:16) ? and also the book of Revelation refers to the “7 churches” (Rev 1:4) (1:11) (1:20). Is there a contradiction? No. As explained at the beginning of this thread, the word “church” means “assembly” or “gathering”. When the One Universal Church of Jesus began to be spread through the world, the Apostles began to appoint each of their successors (who now we call Bishops) in charge of his own congregation (church) at that determinate town or place (this is what we now call diocese or district). But all these districts (or churches – with lower “c” which may have their own rite) shepherded by their respective Bishops who, in turn, are assisted by priests, are part of the One and only multi-cultural Catholic Church (capital “C”) lead by the successor of Peter. The particular church is bound to represent the Universal Church as perfectly as possible. St. Paul teaches that we are members of the Body of Christ (one Body, not many Christs), but with different members (1 Corinthians 12:12–14) (12:21-27) (Ephesians 4:4-6).

The Catholic Church is a Body and, as such, it grows.

When Jesus refers to the “Kingdom of Heaven”, He not only refers to the final resting place of Heaven, but of His Church here on earth as well because there are no “weeds” or “bad people” in Heaven (Rev 21:3-4). So when He says that there are “weeds” (or bad people) in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:24-30), He is referring to the Militant Church, His Church here on earth. That being said, Jesus also compares His Kingdom of Heaven as a mustard seed which grows (Matthew 13:31-32), or like 'leaven' which makes bread grow or (expand) (Matt 13:33).

So we cannot expect that the early Church would look exactly as it looks now. If we take a photograph of a baby, we cannot expect that person to look the same five years later, then ten years later, and so on. Similarly, we cannot expect the early Church mentioned in Acts of the Apostles to look with the same infrastructure She had years later, then hundred of years later or how it looks now. As any “body”, She grows, gets organized better, develops along with humanity, but the same “ADN” remains. The Body of Christ grows until the fullness of time.

St. Paul teaches:

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph 4:14-16).

So, how Jesus’ Church can be identified today? By Her “ADN”. It is by the ADN of a person how we can identify who a person is regardless of how that person looks now. We cannot identify a person by the name only because anybody can have the same name. For example, if someone comes to my door and says that he is “Chuck Norris”, that doesn’t automatically mean that he is the famous actor, he needs to be identified. Similarly, just because a denomination has the same name as it is written in the Bible as the early Christians, that doesn’t mean that they are from the same Church. We need to identify that Church by their history, by their practices, structure, etc. Now, let’s look at the “ADN” of the early Church:
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