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Christian Church

Christian Church
Christian Church and the word church are used to denote both a Christian association of people and a place of worship. The word church is usually, but not exclusively, associated with Christianity. The term means something quite different for each religious institution that sees itself as belonging to the Christian traditions. In the phenomenological sense there are many such associations of people. But some, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, claim to be identical with the original Church founded by Christ. they mean "that which is actually in God’s presence, into which no persons are received but those who are children of God by grace of adoption and true members of Christ by sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Then, indeed, the church includes not only the saints presently living on earth, but all the elect from the beginning of the world."[2] By the visible Church they mean all Christians taken jointly. In this sense "the name ’church’ designates the whole multitude of men spread over the earth who profess to worship one God and Christ. By baptism we are initiated into faith in him; by partaking in the Lord’s Supper we attest our unity in true doctrine and love; in the Word of the Lord we have agreement, and for the preaching of the Word the ministry instituted by Christ is preserved. In this church are mingled many hypocrites who have nothing of Christ but the name and outward appearance. There are very many ambitious, greedy, envious persons, evil speakers, and some of quite unclean life. Such are tolerated for a time either because they cannot be convicted by a competent tribunal or because a vigorous discipline does not always flourish as it ought. Just as we must believe, therefore, that the former church, invisible to us, is visible to the eyes of God alone, so we are commanded to revere and keep communion with the latter, which is called ’church’ in respect to men."[2] The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church reject this separation of a visible from an invisible Church. A theologian of the latter Church has described as a Nestorian ecclesiology "the error of those who would divide the Church into two distinct beings: on the one hand the heavenly and invisible Church, alone true and absolute; on the other, the earthly Church (or rather ’the churches’) imperfect and relative".[3] Roman Catholic theology, reacting against the Protestant concept of a purely invisible Church, emphasized the visible aspect of the Church founded by Christ, but in the twentieth century placed more stress on the interior life of the Church as a supernatural organism, identifying the Church, as in the

"... one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered." – Augsburg Confession[1] By "Christian Church" is also understood the single entity that Christians refer to when they use the singular in the Apostles’ Creed to speak of "the holy catholic Church", and when they speak in the Nicene Creed of "one holy catholic and apostolic Church". Protestants in general make a clear distinction between an invisible and a visible Christian Church, considering neither of which to be identical with any one of the phenomenological associations of people that are known as churches. By the invisible Church


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encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi of Pope Pius XII, with the Mystical Body of Christ.[4] This encyclical rejected two extreme views of the Church:[5] (1) A rationalistic or purely sociological understanding of the Church, according to which she is merely a human organization with structures and activities. The visible Church and its structures do exist but the Church is more, she is guided by the Holy Spirit: "Although the juridical principles, on which the Church rests and is established, derive from the divine constitution given to it by Christ and contribute to the attaining of its supernatural end, nevertheless that which lifts the Society of Christians far above the whole natural order is the Spirit of our Redeemer who penetrates and fills every part of the Church".[6] (2) An exclusively mystical understanding of the Church is mistaken as well, because a mystical "Christ in us" union would deify its members and mean that the acts of Christians are simultaneously the acts of Christ. The theological concept una mystica persona (one mystical person) refers not to an individual relation but to the unity of Christ with the Church and the unity of its members with him in her.[7]

Christian Church

Icon depicting the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed. The Greek word ekklesia (ἐκκλησία) or literally "assembly, congregation, council", is the traditional Roman Catholic/Orthodox term referring to the Christian Church. Most Romance languages use derivations of this word. The Latin form ecclesia is used in English to denote either a particular local group, or the whole body of the faithful. The phrase One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church appears in the Nicene Creed (μίαν, ἁγίαν, καθολικὴν καὶ ἀποστολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν) and, in part, in the Apostles’ Creed ("the holy catholic church", ἁγίαν καθολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν).[10][11] The phrase is intended to set forth the four marks, or identifying signs, of the Christian Church — unity, holiness, universality, and apostolicity — and is based on the premise that all true Christians form a single united group founded by the apostles.[12] The word catholic in the phrase is a synonym for "universal" and is not a reference to the Roman Catholic Church. The terms orthodox Church and orthodox faith (not to be confused with the modern term "Eastern Orthodox" with a capital ’O’) have been used to distinguish what is considered the true Church from groups

Etymology of church
The English language word "church" is from the Old English word cirice, derived from West Germanic *kirika, which in turn comes from the Greek kuriakē, meaning "of the Lord" (possessive form of kurios "ruler, lord"). Kuriakē in the sense of "church" is most likely a shortening of kuriakē oikia ("house of the Lord") or ekklēsia kuriakē ("congregation of the Lord").[8] The Greek word kuriakon (adjective meaning "of the lord") was used for houses of Christian worship since about 300, though it was less common in this sense than ekklēsia or basilikē.[9] The word is one of many direct Greek-toGermanic loans of Christian terminology, via the Goths. The Slavic terms for "church" (Old Church Slavonic црькъі, Russian церковь) are via the Old High German cognate chirihha.

Throughout history there have been various terms that have been used to express the concept of a united Christian Church. This section discusses some of these.


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considered heretical. 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.[13] The term Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:27), also known as the Bride of Christ, is used to refer to the total community of Christians seen as interdependent in a single entity headed by Jesus Christ.[14] The phrase Church Militant and Church Triumphant (Ecclesia Militans, Ecclesia Triumphans) is used to express the concept of a united Church that extends beyond the earthly realm into Heaven.[15] The term Church Militant comprises all living Christians while Church Triumphant comprises those in Heaven. The Church Suffering, or Church Expectant, is a Roman Catholic concept encompassing those Christians in Purgatory. These Christians are not considered part of the Church Militant and Church Triumphant. The term Communion of Saints expresses the idea of a shared faith which, through prayer, binds all Christians regardless of the physical separation or separation by death. In Roman Catholic theology this would be differentiated from the Church Militant and Church Triumphant alone because the Communion of Saints also includes the Church Suffering.[16] The term domestic church is sometimes used to refer to the Christian family, the most basic unit of church life.[17] In Catholic theology, The Church may be used to designate those who exercise the office of teaching and ruling the faithful, the Ecclesia Docens, or (more rarely) the governed as distinguished from their pastors, the Ecclesia Discens.

Christian Church

The Sermon on the Mount, a painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch. The New Testament describes Jesus’ regularly preaching to his disciples and large crowds.

Jacopo Bassano’s the Last Supper. Judaism (see proselyte and Noahide Laws), they accepted non-Jews (Gentiles) without requiring them to fully adopt Jewish customs (e.g. circumcision)[18][19] Some think that conflict with Jewish religious authorities quickly led to the expulsion of the Christians from the synagogues in Jerusalem,[20] see also Council of Jamnia and List of events in early Christianity. The Church gradually spread through the Roman Empire and outside it gaining major establishments in cities such as Jerusalem, Antioch, and Edessa.[21][22][23] Christianity became a widely persecuted religion, hated by the Jewish authorities as a heresy, and by the Roman authorities because, like Judaism, its monotheistic teachings were fundamentally foreign to the traditions of the ancient

The Christian Church originated in Roman Judea in the first century AD, founded on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth believed by all Christians to be the Son of God, and the Messiah, or deliverer king, of the Jewish people. The precise start of the Church is considered to be at Pentecost, but it is usually thought of as originating with Jesus’ Apostles. According to scripture Jesus commanded the Apostles to spread his teachings to all the world. Although springing out of the first century Jewish faith, from its earliest days, as did


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world, as well as a challenge to the imperial cult.[24] Other teachings of Christianity, such as the call to chastity and the prohibition on homosexual practise, also made it unpopular. Despite this the Church grew rapidly until finally legalized and then promoted by Emperors Galerius and Constantine in the fourth century. A major controversy as the Church was being formalized was the Arianism vs. Trinitarianism debate which occupied the Church during the fourth century.[25][26][13] After various Church councils (Nicaea, Tyre, Rimini, Seleucia, Constantinople, etc.), the matter was effectively settled by the Trinitarian Emperor Theodosius I who made Christianity the state religion (some Germanic tribes, though, remained Arian well into the Middle Ages).[27] This period would begin the long-term persecution of pagans and "heretical" Christians in the Empire and the kingdoms that followed.[28] See also Christendom.

Christian Church
Once the Western Empire fell to Germanic incursions in the 5th century, the (Roman) Church for centuries became the primary link to Roman civilization for Medieval Western Europe[32] and an important channel of influence in the West for the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, emperors. While, in the West, Christianity struggled as the so-called orthodox (i.e. Roman) Church competed against the Arian Christian and pagan faiths of the Germanic rulers, the Eastern Romans spread Christianity to the pagan Slavs establishing the Church in what is now Russia, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.[33] The reign of Charlemagne in Western Europe is particularly noted for bringing the last major Western tribes outside of the Church into communion with Rome, in part through conquest and forced conversion. Starting in the 7th century the Islamic Caliphates rose and gradually began to conquer larger and larger areas of the Christian world.[33] Excepting southern Spain and a few smaller areas, Northern and western Europe for centuries escaped largely unscathed by Islamic expansion in great part because Constantinople and its empire acted as a magnet for the onslaught.[34] The challenge presented by the Muslims would help to solidify the religious identity of eastern Christians even as it gradually weakened the Eastern Empire.[35] Even in the Muslim World, the Church survived (e.g. the modern Copts, Maronites, and others) albeit at times with great difficulty.[36][37] Although there had long been frictions between the Bishop of Rome (i.e. the Western Pope) and the other patriarchs, Rome’s changing allegiance from Constantinople to the Frankish king Charlemagne set the Church on a course towards separation. The political and theological divisions would grow until Rome excommunicated the East in the 11th century, ultimately leading to the division of the Church into the Western (Roman Catholic) and Eastern (Eastern Orthodox) Churches.[33] 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 1453 AD resulted in Eastern scholars fleeing the Moslem hordes bringing ancient manuscripts to the West, which was a factor

The Hagia Sophia of Constantinople, once the greatest cathedral in all of Christendom. The Church of the Roman Empire was divided into Patriarchal Sees with five holding particular prominence, one in the West (Rome), and the rest in the East (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria). The bishops of these five would become the Patriarchs of the Church.[29] Even after the split of the Roman Empire the Church remained a relatively united institution (excluding 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. In particular, Constantinople would come to be seen as the center of the Christian world, owing in great part to its economic and political power.[30][31]


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in the beginning of the period of the Western Renaissance there. Rome came to be seen by the Western Church as Christianity’s heartland.[38] Some Eastern churches even broke with Eastern Orthodoxy and entered into communion with Rome. 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 Roman Catholic Church. At this time, a series of nontheological disputes also led to the English Reformation which led to the independence of the Anglican Communion. Then during the Age of Exploration and the Age of Imperialism, Western Europe spread the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant and Reformed Churches around the world, especially in the Americas.[39][40] These developments in turn have led to Christianity’s being the largest religion in the world today.[41]

Christian Church

Universal church

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in Rome, the largest church building in the world today.[43] The term "catholic" is derived from the Greek adjective καθολικός pronounced katholikos, which means "general" or "universal".[44] 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 the expulsion from it. The notion goes back to Early Christianity. The pronunciation that outside of the Church, there is no salvation (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus) goes back to Cyprian (d. 258), and is maintained by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches to the present day. The doctrine of the universal Church was made explicit in the Apostles’ Creed. The emphasis on the unity of the Church Universal is made in the Unam sanctam bull of 1302, an extreme statement of Papal supremacy. The less common notion of the universal, invisible church refers to the "invisible" body of the elect who are known only to God, and contrasts with the "visible church" — that is, the institutional body on earth which preaches the gospel and administers the sacraments. Every member of the invisible church is saved, while the visible church contains some individuals who are saved and others who are unsaved. (Compare Matthew 7:21-24.) This concept has been attributed to St Augustine of Hippo as part of his refutation of the Donatist sect,[45] but others question whether Augustine really held to some form of an "invisible true Church" [46] concept. "Catholic" appears in both the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed, statements of

The Greek term ekklesia (ἐκκλησία), which literally means a "gathering, selection, or assembly", was a governmental and political term used to denote a national assembly in ancient Athens. In the Koine Greek translation of the Old Testament, the word ekklesia is employed 96 times to denote the congregation convoked by God, the Children of Israel. (Isaiah 41:8-9; Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 14:2; Exodus 12:6; Numbers 14:5; 16:3; 1 Kings 8:14.22.55-56; 1 Chronicles 28:8; Psalms 22:23-26 etc.). The first Christians consciously applied that term to themselves, mostly to emphasize that the Church is the community of those convoked by God and the elected ones. The word "church" is used as the translation for the 114 occurrences of the term ekklesia in the New Testament.[42] In the New Testament, ekklesia is used to refer either to disciples of a single locality ("To the ekklesia of God in Corinth...", 1 Corinthians 1:2), or to the entire body of believers in Christ ("And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it", Matthew 16:18).

Related concepts

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faith adhered to by almost all modern denominations. When the word "catholic" or "universal" is applied to the Church, it is generally intended to indicate that the institution is the uniquely legitimate Christian church intended for all of humanity. In Christian theology the term is often used to imply a calling to spread the faith throughout the whole world and to all ages. It is also thought of as implying that the Church is endowed with all the means of salvation for its members. Saint Ignatius of Antioch, the earliest known writer to use the phrase "the Catholic church", excluded from it heterodox groups whose teaching and practice conflicted with those of the bishops of the Roman Catholic church. In keeping with this idea, many churches and communions see groups that it judges to be in a state of heresy or schism with their church or communion as not part of the catholic Church. E.g. the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches follow this doctrine.

Christian Church
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 and Oriental Orthodoxy each claim to be the original Christian Church. 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 4 out of the 5 sees of the Pentarchy (excluding Rome) are still a part of it. The Oriental Orthodox Churches’ claims are similar to those of the Eastern Orthodox Church, excluding the claim to 4 of the 5 sees of the Pentarchy. The importance of identity of tradition and belief with the original Christian Church can be seen as originating with the biblical proscriptions against false prophets. "Orthodoxy" means both "true glory" and "correct teaching", and this theological term is explicitly used by Orthodox Christians as a shorthand way to refer to themselves as "the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, Orthodox and Orthoprax, Church of Jesus Christ and His saints." In the same manner, the Roman Catholic Church describes itself as orthodox, meaning having possession of the whole faith. Other Christian denominations, who do not accept the claims of this Church to be the sole orthodox Church refer to her as the Eastern Orthodox Church. 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 fourth 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. Churches that subscribe to the Nicene Creed, the first official Trinitarian creed, are sometimes referred to as "orthodox"

Orthodox tradition

St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt.


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Christian Church
church" identifies the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church" exclusively with the Church Triumphant - i.e. the church that exists "in heaven" or in eternity as opposed to the Church Militant which is the communion of the faithful here on Earth. They view this understanding of "catholic" as necessarily distinct from any concrete expression in an institutional Church. In this last sense, "catholic" tends to be written with a lower-case "c". Anglicans generally understand their tradition as a branch of the historic Catholic Church and as a via media (middle way) between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Roman Catholic tradition
On June 29 2007 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the presidency of William Cardinal Levada signed an official document called "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church". It was published July 10 2007.[47] Benedict XVI, at an audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication. For the Roman Catholic Church, this document closes the argument about the identification of the Catholic Church with the Church of Christ. The Vatican was asked specifically: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church? The Vatican responded that Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community". The Roman Catholic Church from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic…"[47]

Apostolic succession

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, depicting Jesus with his twelve Apostles. The doctrine of "apostolic succession" asserts that the bishops of the true Church enjoy the favor, or grace, of God as a result of legitimate and unbroken sacramental succession from Jesus’ apostles.[50] Modern bishops, therefore, must be viewed as an unbroken line of leadership from the original apostles. Note that this doctrine is distinct from that of Papal supremacy, which grants the Roman Catholic bishop of Rome special powers in the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Anglican Communion and others interpret "apostolic" as referring not only to the Church’s origin from Christ’s Apostles and their teachings, but also to the Church’s structure around bishops who have succeeded the apostles by unbroken succession transmitted by episcopal consecration (laying on of hands), which is traceable to the Apostles themselves.

Protestant and Anglican traditions
Others have, since the Protestant Reformation, used the word "catholic" to designate instead adherence to the doctrines and essential practices of the historical institutional Churches, in contrast to those propounded by the Reformers. In this sense indicated in this paragraph, "Catholic" tends to be written with an upper-case "C". The Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches all see themselves as fully "catholic" in all the foregoing senses. Most Protestant denominations interpret "catholic", especially in its creedal context, as referring to the concept of the eternal church of Christ and the Elect, referenced in the Bible in phrases such as "body of Christ"[48] and "great cloud of witnesses".[49] Expressed in the language of traditional Roman Catholicism this Protestant interpretation of the words "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic


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Christian Church
be described as the visible and invisible church. The Church invisible consists of all those from every time and place who are vitally united to Christ through regeneration and salvation and who will be eternally united to Jesus Christ in eternal life. The Church visible consists of all those who visibly join themselves to a profession of faith and gathering together to know and serve the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. The visible church exists globally in all who identify themselves as Christians and locally in particular places where believers gather for the worship of God. The visible church may also refer to an association of particular churches from multiple locations who unite themselves under a common charter and set of governmental principles. The church in the visible sense is often governed by office-bearers carrying titles such as minister, pastor, teacher, elder, and deacon. Some say that no reference to the church is ever made in the Bible that is not referring to a local visible body, such as the church in someone’s house or the church as Ephesus. They believe that the term is sometimes used in an institutional sense in which the term refers to all of a certain type, meaning all of the local visible churches.

Spiritual authority
It is a widely held belief among Christians that the Christian church is guided by the Holy Spirit and given spiritual authority by Christ.

Times Square Church NYC According to Christian tradition the "authority" of Jesus Christ to preach, to teach, and to do all the things that He had done while on Earth came from God. Before Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven He had given His apostles and disciples the authority to preach (that may include teaching, exhorting, rebuking, correcting) and to baptize. This "authority" was passed on by the apostles to the disciples, and was to be passed from one generation of disciples to the next until His second coming. The passing on of this authority had been conducted solely by the church. This passing on of authority was sometimes called the anointing or appointing of pastors or leaders of a church. (Membership in the Christian church has traditionally been defined by baptism. The church administers Christianity’s sacred acts: baptism, the Lord’s supper, worship, etc.)

Church government
Major forms of church government include hierarchical (Anglican, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic), presbyterian (rule by elders), and independent (Baptist, charismatic, other forms of in dependency). Before the Protestant Reformation clergy were understood to gain their authority through apostolic succession, as still affirmed by the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches.

Christian scriptures use a wide range of metaphors to describe the Church. These include: • Family of God the Father (Ephesians 3:14-15,2 Corinthians 6:18) • Brothers and sisters with each other in God’s family (Matthew 12:49-50) • Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:31-32) • Branches on a vine (John 15:5) • Olive tree (Romans 11:17-24)

The visible and the invisible church
Many believe that the Church, as described in the Bible, has a twofold character that can


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• • • • • • • • Field of crops (1 Corinthians 3:6-9) Building (1 Corinthians 3:9) Harvest (Matthew 13:1-30,John 4:35) New temple and new priesthood with a new cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-8) God’s house (Hebrews 3:3-6) Pillar and foundation the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) Temple of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Christian Church
gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation". Other Christian communities have "defects."[52] In 2007, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith repeated the teachings of Dominus Jesus, explaining why the Roman Catholic Church insists on its interpretation, that there is only one Christian Church, which is the Roman Catholic Church.[31] Many other Christian groups take the view that all denominations are part of a symbolic and global Christian church which is a body bound by a common faith if not a common administration or tradition. Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and some others have always referred to themselves as the Catholic church.[53] Oriental Orthodoxy shares this view, seeing the Churches of the Oriental Orthodox communion as constituting the one true Church. In the West the term Catholic has come to be most commonly associated with the Roman Catholic Church because of its size and influence in the West (although in formal contexts most other churches still reject this naming). Christian Denominations
in English-speaking countries

Divisions and controversies
Today the churches that consider themselves to be Christian are numerous with a variety of different doctrines and traditions. There are many controversies between the denominations which persist today.

Existence of the notion of single Christian church

A simplified chart of historical branches within the Christian belief systems. The different width of the lines is without objective significance. Protestantism in general, and not just Restorationism, claims a direct connection with Early Christianity. One significant controversy is simply the definition of the notion Christian church or Catholic church. To some degree this controversy is related to the Nicene Creed, to which virtually all modern denominations subscribe albeit in somewhat different forms, which specifically references a catholic, or universal, church. Both the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church each traditionally regard themselves as the one true and unique church of Christ, hence the names. The formulation of this principle by the Roman Catholic Church in the document Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council appeared to some as ambiguous.[51] Pope John Paul II responded in Dominus Jesus that people outside of Roman Catholic Church are "in a

These Churches believe that the term one in the Nicene Creed describes and prescribes a visible institutional unity, not only geographically, throughout the world, but also historically, throughout history. They see unity as one of the four marks that the Creed attributes to the genuine Church, and the essence of a mark is that it be visible. A Church whose identity and belief varied from country to country and from age to age would not be "one". In the New Testament, the word "Church" or "assembly" - (translations for ekklesia) normally refers to believers on earth, and they conclude that the Creed’s description "one" must be applicable to the Church on earth and must not be reserved for some eschatological reality. The only exception to the normal New Testament use of the word "ἐκκλησία" is the mention of the "ἐκκλησία of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven" in Hebrews 12:23; and even there the Christians to whom the letter is addressed are associated with that heavenly Church ("you have come to..."). In line with this passage, the ancient Churches mentioned see the saints too - that is, the holy dead - as part of


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the one Church and not as ex-members, so that Christians both in the present life and the afterlife form a single Church. Many Baptist and Congregationalist theologians accept the local sense as the only valid application of the term church, in so doing rejecting wholesale the notion of a universal (catholic) church. These people argue that all uses of the Greek word ekklesia in the New Testament are speaking of either a particular local group, or of the notion of "church" in the abstract, and never of a single, worldwide church.[54][55] Many Anglicans, Lutherans, Old Catholics, and Independent Catholics view unity as a mark of catholicity, but see the institutional unity of the Catholic Church as manifested in the shared Apostolic Succession of their episcopacies, rather than a shared episcopal hierarchy or rites. Reformed Christians hold that every person justified by faith in the Gospel committed to the Apostles is a member of "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church". From this perspective, the real unity and holiness of the whole church established through the Apostles is yet to be revealed; and meanwhile, the extent and peace of the church on earth is imperfectly realized in a visible way.

Christian Church
but the Bishop of Rome claims these other denominations are "deficient" without him. Outside of the Roman Catholic Church, most Christians have argued that Scripture (or tradition) in no way designates Saint Peter as having unique authority over the Church. When Paul and Peter met in Antioch, Paul needed to correct Peter because Peter was not acting in line with the Gospel. There is no evidence that Paul was in any way submissive to Peter as "pope". (Galatians 2)

Other debates
Other debates include the following: • is a pejorative term used to describe practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions the Christian Church (Ecclesia) than on the teachings of Jesus. It can also be used to describe churches where the central focus has moved from Christ to the church. Hence the replacement of Christ with church in the word churchianity. The opposing position taken by the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church is that the Church is very much essential (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus), based on the close union between Christ and the Church as described in Biblical passages such as Epistle to the Ephesians (see Bride of Christ). Orthodox theology, on the other hand, sees Protestant worship and piety as being too man centered, especially when centered on a celebrity pastor and on factions rather than on Christ, which they claim becomes the center in traditional piety. • There are many opinions as to the ultimate fate of the souls of individuals who are not part of a particular institutional church, i.e. members of a particular church may or may not believe that the souls of those outside their church organization can or will be saved. • There have always been differing opinions as to the divinity of God, the Son and or his unity with God, the Father. Although historically the most significant debate in this arena was the Arianism and trinitarianism debate in the Roman Empire, debates in this realm have occurred throughout Christian history.

First church
The right to be considered the first or oldest Christian Church is claimed by the Greek Orthodox Church (the New Testament was written in Greek), the Roman Catholic Church (Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome), the Armenian Apostolic Church (the first Christian church to be recognized by a state) and many others. Christianity, of course, began with the birth of Jesus Christ in Roman Judea and gradually spread westward into Asia Minor, Egypt, Illyria, Rome and eventually the entire Empire. Many churches claim to maintain Apostolic succession. Apostolic succession means that the bishops of a given denomination form part of an unbroken chain going back to the original 12 apostles. Orthodox Churches, Eastern non-Orthodox Churches (e.g. Nestorians, Monophysites), the Roman Catholic Church, Anglicans, and even some Lutherans (e.g. Sweden) claim to maintain apostolic succession. Most Christian denominations recognize the pope as the true Bishop of Rome


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• It has been debated whether or not the Christian Church is in fact a unified heavenly institution with the earthly institutions relegated to secondary status.

Christian Church
"Lord’s (house)," from kyrios "ruler, lord." " [9] Harper, Douglas (2001). "church". Online Etymology Dictionary. index.php?term=church. Retrieved on 2008-01-18. "Gk. kyriakon (adj.) "of the Lord" was used of houses of Christian worship since c.300, especially in the East, though it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike." [10] Nicene Creed, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Christian Classics Ethereal Library[1] [11] Apostle’s Creed, Christian Classics Ethereal Library[2] [12] Kenneth D. Whitehead, Four Marks of the Church, EWTN Global Catholic Network[3] [13] ^ Michael Hines, Constantine and the Christian State, Church History for the Masses[4] [14] Saint Paul, the Apostle: The body of Christ, Encyclopedia Britannica[5] [15] Karl Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism, Eternal Word Television Network, retrieved May 24, 2007[6] [16] "communion of saints", Encyclopedia Britannica. [17] Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, Chapter 2, No.11, Vatican II Council. [18] Bible, Acts 10-15 [19] Church as an Institution, Dictionary of the History of Ideas, University of Virginia Library[7] [20] An Overview of Christian History, Catholic Resources for Bible, Liturgy, and More[8] [21] Acts of the Apostles, New Advent[9] [22] Donald H. Frew, Harran: Last Refuge of Classical Paganism Colorado State University Pueblo[10] [23] From Jesus to Christ: Maps, Archaeology, and Sources: Chronology, PBS, retrieved May 19, 2007[11] [24] Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, Christianity and the Roman Empire: Reasons for persecution, Ancient History: Romans, BBC Home, retrieved May 10, 2007[12] [25] Arianism summary,, retrieved May 18, 2007[13] [26] Michael DiMaio, Jr., Robert Frakes, Constantius II (337-361 A.D.), De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families[14]

See also
Jesus Christ Christendom Christianity History of Christianity List of Christian denominations Church militant and church triumphant Christian ecumenism Germanic Christianity Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral Kingdom of God Priesthood of all believers Body of Christ Bride of Christ Churching of women High Church, such as Anglicanism Low Church, such as Evangelicalism Church architecture Stone-Campbell Movement • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Instrumental) • Churches of Christ, (A Cappella) • Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (Independent) • Evangelical Catholic • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

[1] See Augsburg Confession, Article 7, Of the Church [2] ^ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia, 1960), Book IV, Chapter 1 [3] Vladimir Lossky, The mystical theology of the Eastern Church (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976 ISBN 0913836311) p. 186 [4] John Hardon, Definition of the Catholic Church [5] Heribert Mühlen, Una Mystica Persona, München, 1967, p. 51 [6] Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, 63 [7] S Tromp, Caput influit sensum et motum, Gregorianum, 1958, pp. 353-366 [8] Harper, Douglas (2001). "church". Online Etymology Dictionary. index.php?term=church. Retrieved on 2008-01-18. "O.E. cirice "church," from W.Gmc. *kirika, from Gk. kyriake (oikia)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[27] Christianity Missions and monasticism, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online[15] [28] Ramsay MacMullen, Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries, Yale University Press, September 23, 1997 [29] Deno Geanakoplos, A short history of the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarch, retrieved May 20, 2007[16] [30] MSN Encarta: Orthodox Church, retrieved May 12, 2007[17] [31] Arias of Study: Western Art, Department of Art History, University of Wisconsin, retrieved May 17, 2007[18] [32] What were the Dark Ages?,, retrieved May 20, 2007[19] [33] ^ CHRISTIANITY IN HISTORY, Dictionary of the History of Ideas, University of Virginia Library[20] [34] The Byzantine Empire,[21] [35] BYZANTINE ICONOCLASM AND POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE OF ARAB CONQUESTS – AN EMOTIONAL ‘GUST’, This Century’s Review, retrieved May 24, 2007[22] [36] The History of the Copts, California Academy of Sciences[23], retrieved May 24, 2007 [37] History of the Maronite Patriarchate, Opus Libani, retrieved May 24, 2007[24] [38] Aristeides Papadakis, John Meyendorff , The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy: The Church 1071-1453 A.D., St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, August 1994, ISBN 0881410578, ISBN 978-0881410570 [39] Christianity and world religions, Encyclopedia Britannica[25] [40] South America: Religion, Encyclopedia Britannica[26] [41] Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents,[27] [42] Strong’s Concordance 1577, Bauer’s, Thayer’s, and Moulton’s [43] UNESCO World Heritage: Vatican City[28] [44] Tufts University: Perseus Digital Library: A Greek-English Lexicon[29] [45] Justo L. Gonzalez (1970-1975). A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2 (From

Christian Church
Augustine to the eve of the Reformation). Abingdon Press. [46] Patrick Barnes, The Non-Orthodox: The Orthodox Teaching on Christians Outside of the Church [47] ^ Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church [48] 1 Cor 12:27 [49] Heb 12:1 [50] Apostolic Succession, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.[30] [51] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 870 [52] Dominus Jesus [53] Robert G. Stephanopoulos. "The Greek (Eastern) Orthodox Church in America". Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Retrieved on 2007-08-01. [54] 1689 London Baptist Confession [55] Savoy Declaration

• University of Virginia: Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Christianity in History, retrieved May 10, 2007[32] • University of Virginia: Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Church as an Institution, retrieved May 10, 2007[33] • Christianity and the Roman Empire, Ancient History Romans, BBC Home, retrieved May 10, 2007[34] • Orthodox Church, MSN Encarta, retrieved May 10, 2007[35] • Catechism of the Catholic Church[36] • Robert G. Stephanopoulos. The Greek (Eastern) Orthodox Church in America. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Retrieved on 2007-08-01. [37] • Mark Gstohl, Theological Perspectives of the Reformation, The Magisterial Reformation, retrieved May 10, 2007[38] • J. Faber, The Catholicity of the Belgic Confession, Spindle Works, The Canadian Reformed Magazine 18 (Sept. 20-27, Oct. 4-11, 18, Nov. 1, 8, 1969) - [39] • Boise State University: History of the Crusades: The Fourth Crusade[40] • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: ARTICLE 9 "I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH": 830-831[41]: Provides Roman Catholic interpretations of the term catholic


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Kenneth D. Whitehead, Four Marks of the Church, EWTN Global Catholic Network[42] • Unity (as a Mark of the Church), New Advent[43] • Apostolic Succession, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.[44] • Gerd Ludemann, Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity, Westminster John Knox Press, 1st American ed edition (August 1996), ISBN 0664220851, ISBN 978-0664220853 • From Jesus to Christ: Maps, Archaeology, and Sources: Chronology, PBS, retrieved May 19, 2007[45] • Bannerman, James, The Church of Christ: A treatise on the nature, powers, ordinances, discipline and government of the Christian Church’, Still Waters Revival

Christian Church
Books, Edmonton, Reprint Edition May 1991, First Edition 1869. • Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, InterVarsity Press, Leicester, England, 1994. • Kuiper, R.B., The Glorious Body of Christ, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1967 • Mannion, Gerard and Mudge, Lewis (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church, 2007

External links
• Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium • Reflections on the Church by Reid Monaghan • Christianity vs. Churchianity • Sojourners Magazine

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