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The four marks of the church essay

Four Marks of the Church by Kenneth D. Whitehead We can show how the Church of the apostles resembles in all essentials the Church of today by showing how the early Church already bore the marks, or "notes," of the true Church of Christ which are still professed today in the Nicene Creed. Thus, the Church of the apostles was definitely one: Paul linked this primitive unity to the Church's common Eucharistic bread: Jesus had promised at the outset that "there would be one flock, one shepherd" John 10: Similarly, the Church of the apostles was holy.

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When we say that, we mean among other things that it had the all-holy God himself as author. We do not mean that all of its members have ceased to be sinners and have themselves become all-holy. On the contrary, the Church from the beginning, on her human side, has been composed of sinners: The Church was founded for no other reason than to continue Christ's redemptive and sanctifying work with them in the world.

  1. Within a few years of the foundation of the Church, Paul was writing that "the word of truth. He is a good illustration of Apostolic.
  2. Jesus gave him the key to heaven, and personally appointed him to serve as the pope.
  3. I feel that is when we genuinely have integrity among us. The last grade of the church is apostolic.
  4. They tend to apply this disunity to the Catholic Church.
  5. In my sentiment Peter is the perfect illustration of sanctum. That being said, Christ alone can transform His Church into what it should be.

One of the things implicit in the appellation "holy" as applied to the Church, then, is that the Church from the beginning has been endowed with the sacramental means to help make holy the sinners who are found in her ranks. The Church has been given the sacraments along with the word precisely in order to be able to help make sinners holy. It was in this sense that Paul was able to write, "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" Eph.

  • They feel that the Catholic Church is simply another faction;
  • Of course, the relevance of the Gospel message remains along with the urgency of spreading it throughout the world;
  • Indeed there are already references in the New Testament itself to the appointment of bishops by the apostles, as well as to the appointment of further bishops by them Titus 1;
  • Whenever we have all school masses, I feel that is when we truly have unity among us;
  • While over the course of time, the Magisterium has had to address current issues, such as nuclear war, euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, the same truth principles exercised under the guidance of the Holy Spirit prevail;
  • Peter was besides was the lone Apostle who walked on H2O.

The holiness of the Church, of which the creed properly speaks, has always had reference to her divine Founder and to what the Church was founded by him with the power and authority to do, not with the condition of her members. The third great historic mark or note of the one true Church was that this Church was Catholic. At the very beginning, of course, it was no doubt difficult to see how the "little flock" Luke 12: It is not without significance that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Church at Pentecost at a time when "there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven" Acts 2: It was to them that the Holy Spirit temporarily enabled the apostles to speak in the languages of all these various nations--a powerful sign that the Church was destined for all men everywhere, represented at that first Pentecost in Jerusalem by those of many nations who had come there from afar.

Many accepted the faith then and there and presumably began forthwith carrying "the Catholic Church" back to the four corners of the earth.

the four marks of the church essay

Marks of the Church

The Catholicity of the Church in any case resides as much in the fact that the Church is for everybody at all times as it does in the fact that it was indeed destined to spread everywhere throughout the whole world. Within a few years of the foundation of the Church, Paul was writing that "the word of truth. Finally, the Church that issued from the commission of Christ to the apostles was necessarily apostolic. Christ founded the Church upon the apostles and in no other way: The apostles of all people understood perfectly well that they did not set themselves up in their own little community, as we sometimes today see "gospel churches" set up in store fronts or in the suburbs.

The New Testament teaches, "One does not take the honor upon himself" Heb. Nothing is clearer, then, that the Church started out as "apostolic.

The Four Marks Of The Church Essay

We have already seen that they very definitely did have this power and authority; the New Testament evidence is clear about that. The subsequent historical evidence is equally clear that they did pass it on to successors the bishops.

Indeed there are already references in the New Testament itself to the appointment of bishops by the apostles, as well as to the appointment of further bishops by them Titus 1: When we ask where, if anywhere, is to be found the same Church which the New Testament tells us Christ founded, we have to reformulate the question to ask: What Church, if any, descends in an unbroken line from the apostles of Jesus Christ and also, not incidentally, possesses the other essential notes of the true Church of which the creed speaks?

  1. The Church is a missionary church and its message is universal. As Catholics, we are united in our Creed and our other teachings, the celebration of the sacraments, and the hierarchical structure based on the apostolic succession preserved and handed on through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
  2. Pentecost is like this.
  3. Despite any amount of disunity in the Church on the surface, it remains one because of its source.
  4. Paul besides wrote seven epistles that are in the New Testament. The Church has persevered in its supernatural unity throughout the ages.

Further, to introduce a point we have not dwelt upon at all up to now, What Church, if any, is headed by a single recognized designated leader, just as the apostles of Jesus plainly functioned, on the evidence of the New Testament, under the headship of Peter? To ask these questions is to answer them: Any entity or body claiming to be the Church of Christ would have to be able to demonstrate its apostolicity by demonstrating an organic link with the original apostles on whom Christ manifestly established his Church.

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Nothing less than this could qualify as the "apostolic" Church which Jesus founded. As much for our instruction as for the assurance he intended to give to the apostles to whom he was actually speaking, Jesus said, "He who hears you, hears me" Luke 10: Do we take these words seriously today?

Do we listen to the teachings of the successors of the apostles of Jesus, the bishops, in union with and under the successor of the apostle Peter, the pope, as if these teachings were the words of Christ himself?

  • Rather, they are the beginning and a beginning that is dependent on many other factors for a healthy and proper ecclesiology;
  • An event that relates to this grade of is Pentecost;
  • The Church has always fallen short of these fours marks in its manifestation;
  • The last marker, apostolic, calls the Church to seek to live in continuity with the original faith of the Apostles.

If we do, we are properly members of the Church which Jesus Christ founded on the apostles and which has come down to us from them. If we do not, how can we pretend that we take anything seriously that Christ said and taught?

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He said nothing more solemnly and categorically than these words, in which he declared that the apostles and their successors would speak for him in the serious business of gathering in and sanctifying his people and leading them toward the salvation he offers. Jesus intended that the fullness of his grace should come to his people in a Church that, from the beginning, was what the creed still calls it today: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Whitehead is a Catholic writer and translator living in Falls Church, Virginia.