The Body of Christ: The Spiritual Revealed Through the Natural
Matthew For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.
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- THE ORAL TRADITION OF THE APOSTLES.
Acts of the Apostles How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? Do this in remembrance of me. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians In order to fulfill Christ's commission to make disciples of all nations, some Apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to the written Word. It is believed that the first Christian Letters were composed by St. Paul in the mid-first century AD. Apostolic writings were considered Scripture in the early Church.
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Second Peter refers to Paul's writings as Scripture. Since no original manuscript by the author of a biblical book has yet been discovered, we cannot truly say when Apostolic writings were actually composed. An important observation is that not one Christian writer recorded the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Matthew , Mark , and Luke recount the prediction of the destruction of the Temple. It is noted that Acts ended abruptly with St. Paul under house arrest around 62 AD, with no mention of his trial or his subsequent activities. Furthermore, Luke did not mention the Roman persecution of Christians or the martyrdom of Peter and Paul in the mids, the leading figures in Acts. Mention of Apostolic writings began to appear with the approach of the second century. The Apostolic Fathers were the next generation of Church leaders who received the Faith directly from the Apostles. Ignatius of Antioch wrote seven Letters circa AD on the road to martyrdom in Rome and was one of the first to distinguish between the writings of the prophets and the Gospel; he often referred to the sayings of Matthew.
A disciple of the Apostle John, St. Justin Martyr placed the memoirs of the Apostles on equal footing with the writings of the Prophets in AD. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. Gospel of John So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life - for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us - what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete. First Letter of John Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God. The heart of Christian tradition and the Christian way of life is Jesus Christ. But it was the powerful witness of Christian martyrdom that led to continued expansion of the faith.
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The fish became a symbol of the Christian faith, adorning the catacombs and early Christian Churches. In a time when professing the Christian faith was an invitation to death, the fish became a secret code to introduce one Christian to another. One Christian would draw a curve representing half of the symbol, and the other one would complete the cryptic symbol by drawing the second curve see image. Who Christ is, the Son of God, and His mission, Savior, are both expressed by the ancient symbol of the fish. Ignatius of Antioch, Syria circa AD described the transmission of the Christian faith through the bishop, priest presbyter , and deacon, who received their authority through Apostolic succession.
The possession of sacred texts in times of persecution could mean discovery, imprisonment, and death. Also, it was common for people of that time to be illiterate. In addition, production of written Scripture was a monumental task in itself, as each page of any text had to be hand-written on papyrus scrolls Luke and later parchment codices Second Timothy ! Written Scripture was in the hands of only a few.
Thus the oral Traditions of the Church were vitally important to teach and guide the early Christian community. Persecution of Christianity under Roman rulers lasted nearly years, until the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in AD, which mandated complete toleration of Christianity in the Roman Empire.
The traditions of the early Church were passed on to the faithful followers of Jesus Christ at Sunday service from the very beginning of the Church at Pentecost. Thus the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery of Christ by which He accomplished the work of our salvation. The community would gather on Sunday in divine worship.
Justin Martyr described the Memorial of the Last Supper on Sunday, one that would be called the Divine Liturgy in the East and the Mass in the West, an event which has remained essentially the same for nearly years. The Church assembly would first have the Liturgy of the Word with readings and then a homily or sermon. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word The assembly then received Communion , as described in his First Apology written in AD: On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place.
The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren.
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He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks in Greek: eucharistian that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded 'Amen', those whom we call deacons give to those present the 'eucharisted' bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.
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Jesus teaches us to pray - "All that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours" Mark The Sacrament of Baptism followed the instruction of Jesus to his disciples to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In accordance with this, the person about to be baptized was asked three questions: "Do you believe in God the Father Almighty? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his Son our Lord? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church?
On the way to martyrdom to Rome, St. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water. The Didache noted: "And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in living water. The word "Creed" comes from the Latin word Credo , which means "I believe.
They are also known as symbols of faith. The Creed, or rule of faith , was also an important guide to presbyters as well in interpretation of Scripture. The three-part profession of faith resembling our present form of the Apostles' Creed was recorded by early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyons, Cyprian of Carthage, and Tertullian of Carthage, and was evident by the third century AD. The Apostles' Creed is presented here in 12 lines, representing 12 Articles of Faith for the Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. The Church Fathers were important to the early Church, for they were the ones who had an important role in the process of the formation of the canon of the New Testament, as well as the interpretation of Scripture. Their objective was to choose those written books which were truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and best reflected the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, as understood within the Tradition of the Church.
The canon of the New Testament is exactly the same for all of Christianity! They proclaimed this revelation found its fulfillment in the life and teaching, and above all, in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, source of forgiveness and of everlasting life. They frequently drew upon the Old Testament writings, primarily to confirm Jesus Christ as the Messiah, or to serve as a source for moral instruction, or for the interpretation of events.
Typology in Biblical studies finds an Old Testament story serving as a prefigurement or symbol for an event in the New Testament. Referring to Christ, Paul called Adam "a type of the one who is to come" Romans In Hebrews the blood of Abel speaks to the "blood of Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant.
He is the Comforter John As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whisperings of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of our life, and comfort us when we grieve. In this capacity, He confirms that the priesthood ordinances we have received and the covenants we have made are acceptable to God. This approval depends on our continued faithfulness.
All honest seekers of the truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, leading them to Jesus Christ and His gospel. However, the fulness of the blessings given through the Holy Ghost are available only to those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy. As part of this ordinance, called confirmation, the person is given the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the influence of the Holy Ghost. Before baptism, a person can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time and through that influence can receive a testimony of the truth. After receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, a person has the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead if he or she keeps the commandments. Laying On of Hands. Spiritual Gifts. John Acts Acts — Acts —6. Doctrine and Covenants —3.
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