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How to find Jesus' True Church

'The Gumshoe's "Time Machine" to Early Christianity Episode IV



A 'gumshoe' is, by definition a detective. No detective could possibly solve the 'mystery' of finding Jesus' True Church without going back in time, almost 2,000 years. How can you do that? Tag along, gumshoe, to find out!



History is like a time machine, it can be interesting or dull, depending on your motivation and the quality of the work. For investigating ancient facts, reading early Christian writings is invaluable and eye-opening. Such writing often gives us a clear idea of the belief of the early Christians.



Jesus falls a third time - 9th Station.         Column marks 9th Station. Ancient art & devotions can also be 'time machines.'


As an unbiased detective, your job is to see if the early Christian writings support a church's teachings, or deny their claims. Logically, if the early Christians generally believed something different than a preacher, writer or church does today, the new idea would be "...another gospel..." that's "accursed!" (Gal 1:6-9). If those early writings support the teachings and mirror the worship of a church today, it would be strong evidence in finding Jesus' True Church. Let's use a topical approach. Each topic should be considered as starting with the question: "Did the early Christians believe in...?



10th Station-Jesus is stripped of His clothes - Mk. 15:24; Psalm 22:18-19





Angels and Devils:



"Let no one be deceived:..heavenly beings and the angels in their glory and rulers visible and invisible - even for these there will be judgement, if they do not believe in the blood of Christ." (Ignatius of Antioch: Letter to Smyrnians 6:1) 110 A.D.



Church of the Holy Sepulchre - site of Golgotha and Christ's Tomb.



"The devil, however, since he is an apostate angel, is able, as he was in the beginning, to lead astray and to deceive the mind of man for the transgressions of God's commands. Little by little he can darken the hearts of those who would try to serve Him, to the point that, forgetting the True God, they adore him as if he were God." (Iranaeus: Against Heresies 5:24:3) circa 190 A.D.



Bascilica-Holy Sepulchre's yard-site of Christ's death, burial & Resurrection.





Apostolic Succession:


(That the first Apostles handed on their offices and teaching to other bishops - down through the ages).



"It is possible... for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own time, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about...Surely they wished all those and their successors, to whom they handed on their authority, to be perfect and without reproach." (Iranaeus: 'Against Heresies' 3:3:1) circa 180 A.D.



Map of the Bascilica Church of the Holy Sepulchre.



"Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ through whose efforts it is that we are Christians." (Jerome: 'Epistle to Heliodorus' 14:8) circa 374-379 A.D.





Baptism:



"After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living (i.e.: running) water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." ('the Didache' ['the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles;' was written while some of Jesus' Apostles were still living]: 7:1) circa 70 A.D.



"The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism, even to infants." (Origen: 'Commentary on Romans' 5:9) in 250 A.D.



"How then do some say that though a Gentile be baptized...in the name of Jesus Christ, the remission of sins can follow - when Christ himself commands the nations to be baptized in the full and united Trinity?" (Cyprian: 'Letter to Jubianus' 73:18) in 255 A.D.



Jesus nailed to the Cross-11th Station-Mt. 27:35, Ps. 22:17-18.

The altar of the nailing of Jesus - see #5 on map above.




Christ,
as God the Son,
Second Person of the Holy Trinity



"The Son, though, always co-existing with the Father, of old and from the beginning, always reveals the Father to the angels...and to all whom God wishes to give revelation." (Iranaeus: 'Against Heresies', 2:30:9). circa 180 A.D.



Crucifixion Altar - see #7 on map above.

Jesus taken from the Cross, Jn. 19:33; Ez. 37:12-14.


"But the Son, being not a creature but proper to the substance of the Father, always is. Since the Father always is, what is proper to his substance must always be, and this is his Word and wisdom." (Athanasius: 'Discourses Against the Arians', 1:29) 358 A.D.

"We confess, therefore, that our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, and in times most recent, made man of the Holy Spirit and the Ever-Virgin Mary, was born God..." Leporius: 'Document of Amendment', [3]) cir. 426 A.D. Church: "Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (Ignatius: 'Letter to the Smyrneans' 8:2) in 107 A.D.



14th Station - Jesus is laid in the tomb.  Mt. 27:59-60; Ps. 16:9-11.

The most sacred site in Christendom - Jesus' tomb today.


"I believe in God Almighty, and in His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and in the resurrection of the body, [and] the holy Catholic Church." (Egyptian Creed: Der-Balyzeh papyrus) in 250 A.D.



View of Jesus' tomb - see #11 on map above.

The Holy Sepulchre of Jesus Christ, Son of God, who died for our sins.

Jesus' tomb - consider Psalm 22:19, Psalm 30:2-6, Mt. 27:62-66




The Church



The Church..."is called Catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world...and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men...and because it universally treats and heals every class of sins..." (Cyril of Jerusalem: 'Cathechetical Lectures', 18:23) in 350 A.D.



Praise God! = 'Alleluia!'  He is Risen!  Rev. 1:5-6; Mk. 16:6-7.



"...we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways: first, by the authority of divine law, and then by the Tradition of the Catholic Church. But some one perhaps will ask, 'Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything,...what needs is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation?' For this reason: Because owing to the depth of the Holy Scriptures, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another, so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are men...Therefore, it is very necessary on account of...such various errors, that the rule of right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation." (Vincent of Lerins: 'Notebooks' 2:1-2) in 434 A.D.





Eucharist
(a.k.a.: Communion or Lord's Supper)



"When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over the sacrifice praying...can you think you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven?" (John Chrysostom: 'the Priesthood', 3:4:177) circa 386 A.D.



"Open your eyes at last...and see, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the sacrifice of Christians is offered (cf. Mal. 1:10-11), not in one place only, but everywhere. ..Not according to the order of Aaron, but according to the order of Melchizedek.' (cf. Gen. 14:8; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 9:23-24)" (Augustine: 'Sermons', 9:13) circa 425 A.D.

"So was Christ offered once...by Himself...Do we not offer daily? Yes...this remembrance is one, not many. How is it one, and not many? Because this sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies...Thus there is one sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one body. And just as he is one body and not many, though offered everywhere, so too is there one sacrifice." (John Chrysostom: ' Homilies on 'Hebrews': 17:2,(4) and 17:3(6)) circa 403 A.D.





The Reality of Hell



"In hell the soul of a...man is put to grief, is punished in flames, and suffers excruciating thirst...(cf. Lk. 16:22)... shut up in Hades? Do you admit it? Whether you do or not, it is a fact." (Tertullian: 'the Soul': 7:1;58:1) circa 210 A.D..



"Do not err, my brethren: the corrupters of families will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10). And ...how much more if a man corrupt by evil teaching the faith of God, for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into everlasting unquenchable fire; and so also anyone who listens to him." (Ignatius: 'to the Ephesians':16:1,2) in 110 A.D..



"If you are inclined to draw back from confession, consider in your heart the hell which confession extinguishes for you, and imagine first the magnitude of the penalty, so that you will not hesitate about making use of the remedy." (Tertullian: 'Repentance', 12:1) circa 203 A.D.



Jesus saves us from hell.  Christ's Church teaches us His Way - Lk. 10:16.



Yeshua is Jesus in Hebrew - it means 'Yahweh (God) Saves!'





Old Testament 'Canon'


(accepted Scriptural books in the Christian Bible)



"that besides the canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deutronomy, Joshua (the son of Nun), Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books {today known as 1 & 2 Samuel; 1 & 2 Kings}, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon {Proverbs, Ecclaisastes, Wisdom, Song of Songs, Sirach} the twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books" (from the records of the early Church Council of Hippo: canon # 36) in 393 A.D.





Peter's Primacy


(leadership of the Church)



"(Quoting Jn. 6:66-69)...There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built (cf. Mt. 16:18), teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church." (Cyprian: 'Letter to F. Pupianus', 66:(69):8) in 254 A.D.



Papal coat of arms - featuring the Keys given Peter by Jesus (Mt. 16:18).



"Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings...I have given you the keys of my kingdom." (cf. Mt. 16:18-19). (Ephraim: 'Homilies' 4:1) cir. 338 A.D.





Trinity



"Thus there are Father and Son and Holy Spirit, and each of these individually is God, and at the same time all are one God; and each of these individually are the full substance of God..." (Augustine: 'Christian Instruction', 1,5,5) circa 400 A.D.



God the Father...   Jesus - God the Son   God the Holy Spirit





The evidence is in. Early Christian writers even name the Church Jesus established, and the teachings and worship are consistent too. Gumshoe, there are 100's of pages of more such evidence possible, but don't put the jury to sleep, ok? You've already proven your case! Now, let us remember that, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29). Obey God! Join Jesus' assembly! (cf.Heb. 10:25). So be it!



God the Father beckoning you to come into His Church!




You can click here to see more quotes about the early Christian beliefs regarding the Lord's Supper.

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