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  1. Christian Church
  2. What is the Anglican Communion?
  3. Ever Ancient, Ever New : Structures of Communion in the Church
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For most Christians, the holiday of Pentecost an event that occurred after Jesus' ascension to Heaven represents the birthday of the Church, [8] [9] [10] signified by the descent of the Holy Spirit on gathered disciples. Springing out of Second Temple Judaism , from Christianity's earliest days, Christians accepted non- Jews Gentiles without requiring full adoption of Jewish customs such as circumcision.

Some think that conflict with Jewish religious authorities quickly led to the expulsion of Christians from the synagogues in Jerusalem [13] see also Council of Jamnia and List of events in early Christianity. The Church gradually spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond , gaining major establishments in cities such as Jerusalem , Antioch , and Edessa. It was condemned by the Jewish authorities as a heresy see also Rejection of Jesus. The Roman authorities persecuted it because, like Judaism, its monotheistic teachings were fundamentally foreign to the polytheistic traditions of the ancient world and a challenge to the imperial cult.

Already in the 2nd century, Christians denounced teachings that they saw as heresies , especially Gnosticism but also Montanism. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of that century and Irenaeus at the end saw union with the bishops as the test of correct Christian faith. After legalization of the Church in the 4th century, the debate between Arianism and Trinitarianism , with the emperors favouring now one side now the other, was a major controversy. The term is used much more frequently in other parts of the New Testament, designating, as in the Gospel of Matthew, either an individual local community or all of them collectively.

Christian Church

The New Testament never uses the adjectives "catholic" or "universal" with reference to the church, but does indicate that the local communities are one church, that Christians must always seek to be in concord, that the Gospel must extend to the ends of the earth and to all nations, that the church is open to all peoples and must not be divided, etc. The first recorded application of "catholic" or "universal" to the church is by Ignatius of Antioch in about in his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, chapter VIII.

Church Fathers like Ignatius of Antioch , Irenaeus , Tertullian and Cyprian held to the view that the Christian Church was a visible entity , not an invisible body of believers. On February 27, , the Roman Empire officially adopted the Trinitarian version of Christianity as its state religion.

What is the Anglican Communion?

On this date, Theodosius I decreed that only the followers of Trinitarian Christianity were entitled to be referred to as Catholic Christians , while all others were to be considered to be heretics, which was considered illegal. The Church within the Roman Empire was organized under metropolitan sees , with five rising to particular prominence and forming the basis for the Pentarchy proposed by Justinian I. Even after the split of the Roman Empire the Church remained a relatively united institution apart from Oriental Orthodoxy and some other groups which separated from the rest of the Church earlier.

The Church came to be a central and defining institution of the Empire, especially in the East or Byzantine Empire , where Constantinople came to be seen as the center of the Christian world, owing in great part to its economic and political power. Once the Western Empire fell to Germanic incursions in the 5th century , the Roman Church became for centuries the primary link to Roman civilization for medieval Western Europe and an important channel of influence in the West for the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine , emperors.

While, in the West, the so-called orthodox Church competed against the Arian Christian and pagan faiths of the Germanic rulers and spread outside what had been the Empire to Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia, and the western Slavs , in the East Christianity spread to the Slavs in what is now Russia , south-central and eastern Europe.


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Starting in the 7th century , the Islamic Caliphates rose and gradually began to conquer larger and larger areas of the Christian world. Although there had long been frictions between the Bishop of Rome e. The political and theological divisions would grow until Rome and the East excommunicated each other in the 11th century , ultimately leading to the division of the Church into the Western Catholic and Eastern Eastern Orthodox Churches. As a result of the redevelopment of Western Europe , and the gradual fall of the Eastern Roman Empire to the Arabs and Turks helped by warfare against Eastern Christians , the final Fall of Constantinople in resulted in Eastern scholars fleeing the Muslim hordes bringing ancient manuscripts to the West, which was a factor in the beginning of the period of the Western Renaissance there.

Rome was seen by the Western Church as Christianity's heartland. The changes brought on by the Renaissance eventually led to the Protestant Reformation during which the Protestant Lutheran and the Reformed followers of Calvin, Hus, Zwingli, Melancthon, Knox, and others split from the Catholic Church.

At this time, a series of non-theological disputes also led to the English Reformation which led to the independence of the Church of England.

The Catholic Church teaches in its doctrine that it is the original church founded by Christ on the Apostles in the 1st century AD. The papal encyclical Mystici corporis Pope Pius XII, , expresses the dogmatic ecclesiology of the Catholic Church thus: "If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ—which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church—we shall find no expression more noble, more sublime, or more divine, than the phrase which calls it 'the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ'.

There is only one See founded on Peter by the word of the Lord Outside of the Church, no one can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control. A declaration [47] of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarified that, in this passage, "'subsistence' means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth", and acknowledged that grace can be operative within religious communities separated from the Catholic Church due to some "elements of sanctification and truth" within them, but also added "Nevertheless, the word 'subsists' can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith I believe The Catholic Church teaches that only corporate bodies of Christians led by bishops with valid holy orders can be recognized as "churches" in the proper sense.

In Catholic documents, communities without such bishops are formally called ecclesial communities.

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The term orthodox is generally used to distinguish the faith or beliefs of the "true Church" from other doctrines which disagree, traditionally referred to as heresy. The Eastern Orthodox Church bases its claim primarily on its assertion that it holds to traditions and beliefs of the original Christian Church. It also states that four out of the five sees of the Pentarchy excluding Rome are still a part of it.

They never adopted the theory of the Nature of God, which was formulated later than the break that followed the Council of Chalcedon. This concept of "orthodoxy" began to take on particular significance during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine I , the first to actively promote Christianity. Constantine convened the first Ecumenical Council , the Council of Nicea , which attempted to provide the first universal creed of the Christian faith. The major issue of this and other councils during the 4th century was the christological debate between Arianism and Trinitarianism.

Trinitarianism is the official doctrine of the Catholic Church and is strongly associated with the term "orthodoxy", although some modern non-trinitarian churches dispute this usage. The Lutheran Churches traditionally hold that their tradition represents the true visible Church. Nevertheless, the Lutheran Churches teach that "there are indeed true Christians in other Churches" as "other denominations also preach the Word of God, though mixed with error"; since the proclamation of the Word of God bears fruit, Lutheran theology accepts the appellation "Church" for other Christian denominations.

Anglicans generally understand their tradition as a branch of the historical "Catholic Church" and as a via media "middle way" between traditions, often Lutheranism and Reformed Christianity, or Roman Catholicism and Reformed Christianity. Reformed theology defines the Church as being invisible and visible —the former includes the entire communion of saints and the latter is the "institution that God provides as an agency for God's saving, justifying, and sustaining activity", which John Calvin referred to as "our mother".

Methodists affirm belief in "the one true Church, Apostolic and Universal", viewing their Churches as constituting a "privileged branch of this true church". As such it would be preserved by God so long as history remained. The term " orthodoxy " or "orthodox faith", with a lower-case O and thus distinguished from the term Orthodox Church , have been used to distinguish the "true church" from supposedly heretical groups. The term became especially prominent in referring to the doctrine of the Nicene Creed and, in historical contexts, is often still used to distinguish this first "official" doctrine from others.

The " Body of Christ " cf. Rev ; Eph These terms are used to refer to the whole community of Christians seen as interdependent in a single entity headed by Jesus Christ. The terms " Churches Militant, Penitent, and Triumphant " Latin : Ecclesia Militans and Ecclesia Triumphans , taken together, are used to express the concept of a united Church that extends beyond the earthly realm into Heaven. Related is the "Church Suffering" or "Church Expectant", a Catholic concept encompassing those Christians in Purgatory , no longer part of the Church Militant and not yet part of the Church Triumphant.

Why Non-Catholics Can't Receive Communion

The communion of saints Latin: communio sanctorum is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, living and the dead. It is a union in faith and prayer that binds all Christians regardless of geographical distance or separation by death. Other Protestants see the authority given to the apostles as unique, proper to the apostles alone, to the extent that they generally reject the idea of a succession of bishops to the apostles in governing the Church. Their view of ecclesiastical authority is accordingly different.

It is also thought of as implying that the Church is endowed with all the means of salvation for its members. In this sense the Church is taken by Christian theology to refer to the single, universal community of faithful. Baptism and communion signifies membership of the Church. Excommunication is expulsion from the visible community of the Church, and is a remedial denial of the sacraments to a baptized Christian that does not invalidate that Christian's baptism. This can be traced back to the New Testament and to Jesus himself: Matthew , Matthew , Acts , Galatians , 2 Thessalonians , 1 Corinthians 5 , 2 Corinthians , 1 Timothy , Titus , 3 John , Jude , John , 1 Corinthians Saint Ignatius of Antioch , the earliest known writer to use the phrase "the catholic church", excluded from the Church heterodox groups whose teaching and practice conflicted with those of the bishops of the Church, and considered that they were not really Christians.

In keeping with this idea, many churches and communions consider that those whom they judge to be in a state of heresy or schism from their church or communion are not part of the catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Catholic Church each regard themselves as the one true and unique church of Christ, and claim to be not just a Christian church but the original church founded by Christ, preserving unbroken the original teaching and sacraments.

The Catholic Church teaches that "the one Church of Christ, as a society constituted and organized in the world, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him. Only through this Church can one obtain the fullness of the means of salvation since the Lord has entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone whose head is Peter.

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Ever Ancient, Ever New : Structures of Communion in the Church

It is organically and historically the same Church that came fully into being at Pentecost. Item specifics Condition: Good : A book that has been read but is in good condition. Very minimal damage to the cover including scuff marks, but no holes or tears. The dust jacket for hard covers may not be included.

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