Originally Posted by Quahom1
I'd be happy to discuss the Catholic way with you Shepard.
First the Age of Catholic Christianity, (or birth of) commenced between 70 and 312 AD (or ACE). During this time Chirstianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and eastward.
Christianity from its inception, on or about 33 AD was completely Jewish. On or about 34-35AD Christianity reached out to the Gentile world with its being introduced by mainly one individual, the apostle Paul. The Jewish world was evangelized by the majority of Christ's twelve disciples. One but needs to compare the effectiveness of both Paul's and the twelve disciples' ministry of evangelization. In one speech Peter won over more than three thousands of Jews to Christianity; while in all of Paul's three or more years of his mission to the Gentile world; his total converts numbered no more than 1500.
Therefore to suggest a "spread of Christianity"; one must put in perspective that such a spread must be taken to mean; that though unpopular in Judaism as well as in paganism, Christianity still was effective in gaining converts not only in Judea but also in the "uttermost parts of the earth".
This was a rapidly expanding movement which Christians called "catholic", suggesting that it was universaL.
In the Roman empire Between 34-64AD Christianity became more and more associated with the unpopularity that the Jews and their religion of Judaism enjoyed....culminating in the expulsion of the Jews from Rome during the reign of the emperor Claudius....Acts 18:2.
As the unpopularity of Christianity[being of Jewish origin; and being considered by the Roman world, as a cult of the main religion of Judaism]..so as the unpopularity of Christianity grew alongside the Jews...Nero in 62-64AD killed the leaders of Christianity including Peter and Paul...he tried killing the apostle John but was unable; hence he banished the apostle John to live in solitude on the isle of Patmos. Nero also mounted his persecution of the Christians in the Gentile world killing many and reputedly started a conflagration in Rome which he blamed on the Christians...for this accusation, the Christians paid dearly with their lives.
After Nero came Titus in AD 70 who destroyed the country of Judea and the Jewish Temple and mercilessly killed hundreds of thousands of Jews, putting to rest the constant rebellion of the Jews against their Roman occupyers.
It must be bourne in mind that the Romans made no distinction between Christianity and Judaism; to them both Christianity and Judaism was one and the same..and so Titus destroyed all and every Jew who withstood him; except, ofcourse. if the Christian Jew heeded the admonition of Jesus to flee Jerusalem and Judea when "the abomination that made desolate stood in the holy place"..if he so heeded Jesus' admonition, no Christian Jew would have been included in the slaughter carried out by the Roman army of legions.
Christianity was in the main still run by Jewish leadership till 130AD. and its headquarters was in Jerusalem; but in 130AD Hadrian the Roman emperor had had enough of the continuing Jewish rebellions and he expelled all the Jews from Judea and repopulated the kingdom of Judea with Gentiles. ...."and thus when the city had been emptied of the Jewish nation and had suffered the total destruction of its ancient inhabitants, it was colonized by a different race, aand the Roman city which subsequently arose changed its name and was called Aelia......."He even renamed Jerusalem;giving Jerusalem the pagan name Aelia, " in honor of the emperor Aelius Adrian."
And as the church there was now composed of Gentiles, the first one to assume the government of it after the "bishops of the circumcision"[the Christian Jewish leadership] was "Marcus".
[Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. 1.]
It was at this time that the minority Gentile Christians took up the void left with the expulsion of the Christian Jewish leadership from Jerusalem; and thus began the gradual move to transplant Christianity as practiced by the Christian Jews of Judaism with Christianity as practiced by Gentile Christianity.
Gentile Christianity, now, in order to win the favors of the Roman empire, began distancing itself from the hated Jews of Judaism, and gradually became more pagan in its appearance, adopting pagan practices and Christianizing these practices, by practicing eg the ritual of "passover" which occurred at the same time as Easter; and which they called "easter" while practicing it as "passover".
The "tainted" Christian church had now, in the main, replaced the "True" Christian church; and this the tainted Christian church was adopted by the Roman empire, who eventually replaced its own pagan church with the tainted Christian church.
This, the tainted Christian church became the religion of the Roman empire under the rule of the emperor Constantine, who forced nations at the point of the sword to convert to Christianity.
Eastern and Western Europe had as its imposed state religion, Christianity, with all Christianity, including the middle east following the dictates of the emperor Constantine, including his calling the church councils eg the council of Nicea, though himself still a "Pagan"...and as a "Pagan" presiding over the council of Nicea, in which he made decisions for Christianity for his "Christian stooges"; who bowed and followed their "Pagan" emperor.
It's in this regard and this regard only that Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire between AD130-AD322
These were also trying times with the ridicule of the "pagans" and Roman persecution. To face these challenges, Christians turned more and more to their bishops for spiritual leadership. Catholic Christianity, therefore was identified by a universal vision, by orthodox beliefs, and by episcopal church government.
With the gradual decline of the Roman empire around AD400-AD450..and beyond...the empire became to be ruled by different forms of rulership under different emperors, who sometimes ruled from Constantinople and sometimes from Rome and sometimes ruled under two rivaling emperors from both Constantinople and Rome.
Under the emperor Diocletian, for example; "Dioceses" were used to rule the orchestrated divided empire...This name as well as practice was eventually adopted by the tainted Christian church and continues to be used to this day.
The term "bishop" was first introduced by Paul to the fledging Gentile Christian Church during the inception of Gentile Christianity. This term was comparable to the term "ruler of the synagogue" as used for the same job description by the Jews. The Jews used this terminolgy to describe the person in charge of the day to day running of their synagogues. This person had no ecclesiastical function; and in only as so far as to present to the next speaker on sabbath the scriptures that were to be read; as welll as to choose whom that speaker was to be.
The "bishop", the Christian Gentile counterpart to the "ruler of the synagogue" was to "oversee" the "house churches" as in ["synagoguies"]...His qualifications, like that of the ruler of the synagogue had to be that he must be "blameless as a Steward of God, Not selfwilled, Not soon angry, Not given to wine[a drunkard]No striker[doesn't beat his wife] Not given to filthy lucre[not a bribe taker].
Such was the dsecription of a bishop and his responsibility to keep alive and functioning the "house churches" as begun by Paul in his Christian missionary incursions in the Gentile world of Eastern and Western Europe. 1 Timothy chapter 3 describes well the responsibility of the bishop in that he must be able to rule his own household, if he planned to "oversee'/"take care of the church of God"...Hardly the description of today's "bishop"! Which is but Another change the tainted Christian church made to the clear directions as given by the apostle Paul re the function and responsibilities of a bishop.
Again; these bishops had no ecclesiastical function as can be seen in Paul's hierachal ecclesiastical exclusion of bishops from the hiearchy of "first "apostles" then 'prophets", then "teachers" etc in the spiritual feeding of the Christian church.
The "turning of the faithful to their bishops" was another departure from the directives of Paul...and which in turn gave ecclesiastical leadership to "bishops" in the tainted Christian church..rather than to the "apostles" "prophets" and "teachers" etc. as commanded by Paul.
This "turning to the bishops" and each with his adopted Roman empire "Diocese" became the kingdom of tainted Christianity; with the bishop of Rome proclaiming himself top bishop by the then bishop of Rome, Victor in the AD190s. The Eastern bishops refused to recognize the Roman bishop Victor as top bishop and the schism continues to this day.
In the mid-third century Bishop Stephen of Rome of Rome "asserted that all should observe the tradition of Peter and Paul"...Or the tradition of succession of rulership of the "tainted christian church" to the bishop of Rome...This was the first in a series of similar declarations that the bishop of Rome invoked to "justify his primatial jurisdiction". It was not until Innocent the 3rd on or about AD1216 that the "successor of Peter" became the "vicar of Christ"....[the Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity]
Peter as Pontifex Maximu:
During the first Vatican Council (1870), Jesus Christ (it was declared), established the papacy with the apostle Peter: and the Bishop of Rome as Peter's successor bears supreme primacy over the whole church. Both Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches deny both of these claims however.
And not only has the Roman Catholic church assumed the position of "top bishop'; but they have also assumed supreme rulership over the entirety of Christendom, including "the separated brethren" who can still worship in their own Christian denominations and churches as long as they recognize the Roman Catholic pope as head and "top bishop" over all of Christendom. This broadbased recognition has now expanded to include all Abrahamic religions such as Islam and Judaism. In other words the Roman Catholic "top bishop" by his claim as "vicar of Christ'[Innocent 3rd] is now made the "overseer' of God's church which in his theology include Islam and Judaism and Christianity... [according to the theology of the recently deseased pope John Pall 2]
Though the Cahtholic Church lists 43 "Popes" before Leo I (440-461 AD), Leo is a major figure in the Papal process because he provided for the first time, biblical and theological bases of the papal claim (consider the story of successful negotiations between Leo I and Attila the Hun for peace).
This period of "(440-461AD)" to which you allude is the period when the Roman empire was ruled by "emperors ruling over carved out portions" of the Roman empire; an empire now in serious decline. Attila, the Hun and other barbarians such as the Vandals wreaked havoc by sacking Rome with impunity. The people of Rome then looked to the "bishop" who ruled ecclesiastically over the entire city of Rome--"his Diocese"-their not being recognizeable governing officials as important as the ecclesiastical bishop... and so on several occasions it was the "bishop of Rome" that led the army of Rome against the marauding barbarians.
This assumption of political leadership by the ecclesiastical bishop eventually made him depose and crown different kings in Europe who sought his favor in order to rule the predominant Roman Catholic devotees of Western Europe,..his church-the church he led as "top bishop".
How's that for a debate starter?
How is it? A good start! I might add.