If the Church went bad,
it happened after 400 A.D.

The church could not have gone bad before the essential doctrines of Christianity were developed. These doctrines include:

Therefore, the earliest the church could have gone bad is right after this. This is the late 300's.

But the church was developing other doctrines besides the essential Protestant doctrines. They were also developing many of the core Catholic doctrines.

The only conclusion is that the true church (if the church went bad sometime in history) is more like the Catholic church than the Protestant church.

   The New Testament Church


The Trinity ...

The doctrine of the Trinity was not determined until 381 A.D.

QuotesMy comments

I believe in God the Father . . . And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord. . . . I believe in the Holy Ghost.

Apostles Creed, 150 A.D. The Apostles creed does not clearly define the doctrine of the Trinity, so if the church went bad, it must have done so after this.

I believe in one God . . . And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. . . . And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; . . . who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified

Nicene Creed,381 A.D. The Nicene Creed is Trinitarian, so if the church went bad, it could have done so after this.



The Canon of Scripture ...

The canon of scripture was not determined until 382 A.D.

QuotesMy comments

Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John.

Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chapter XXV, Para. 3, Eusebius

300 A.D. If the church went bad, it must have done so after this since the canon of scripture had not yet been determined.

It was in 382 that Bishop Damascus had Jerome work on a Latin text to standardize the Scripture. The resulting Vulgate was used throughout the Christian world. The Synods of Carthage in 397 and 418 both confirmed our current twenty-seven books of the NT.

The Christian Canon

The first official canon was agreed upon. It the church went bad, it must have done so after this.



Other Doctrines Established by the late 300's ...

A list of some of the teachings of the church before the doctrine of the Trinity and the Canon of Scripture were finalized:

The significance of this ...


The various quotes:

The Eucharist (Mass)

Send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He [the Holy Spirit] may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ; for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed.

Lecture 23, Para. 7

The bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Papacy (Pope)

I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter [Pope Damascus, the recipient of this letter]. . . . As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this . . . is the rock on which the church is built! . . . If you think fit enact a decree; and then I shall not hesitate to speak of [the particular heresy he was writing to the Pope about]. . . .

Letter 15, to Pope Damasus, Para. 1, 2 & 4; 376 or 377 A.D.

A few points about what Jerome believed about the Pope and his authority:

The Eucharist (Mass)

For when the apostle clearly teaches that presbyters are the same as bishops, must not a mere server of tables and of widows be insane to set himself up arrogantly over men through whose prayers the body and blood of Christ are produced?

Letter to Evangelus, Para. 1

In the Eucharist, the priests produce the body and blood of Christ through their liturgical prayer. Communion is not merely symbolic.

[The title:] The Ordinances of the Apostles, that There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office. Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate.

The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Chap. 44

He has been using the Old Testament priesthood as a model in his discussion. Now he clearly applies the model to the New Testament church.

The Eucharist (Mass)

Those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

First Apology, Chap. 65

Why would they take a portion to people who were absent if they thought communion was merely a symbol? I have never heard of Protestants doing this.

The Papacy (Pope)

Tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre-eminent authority. . . . The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. . . . To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric.

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chap. 3, Para. 2 & 3, 180 A.D.

This passage is referring to the succession of leaders of the church in Rome who would later be called Popes. Notice that this bishopric of Rome was the one to which the apostles passed-on the authority of the church and the one which was pre-eminent in authority over all the other sees. However, neither Peter nor Paul founded the Roman Church — it was already in existence when Paul wrote the letter to the Romans.

The Eucharist (Mass)

How can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life?

Against Heresies, Book 4, Chap. 17, Para. 5, 180 A.D.

Our physical body is spiritually nourished by the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ. Communion is not merely symbolic.

Sacraments

All waters, therefore. . . do, after invocation of God, attain the sacramental power of sanctification; for the Spirit immediately supervenes from the heavens, and rests over the waters, sanctifying them from Himself; and being thus sanctified, they imbibe at the same time the power of sanctifying.

On Baptism, Chap. 4, 200 A.D.

In the Sacraments, the Holy Spirit imparts grace to us through visible signs.

The Papacy (Pope)

The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, [he quotes from Matthew 16:18,19 ("thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church"), John 21:16 ("feed my sheep"), and John 20:21-23]. . . . Yet, that He [Jesus] might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.

Treatise I. On the Unity of the Church, Chap. 4

Cyprian makes several important points:

Clearly Peter is singled out in a unique way as head of the apostles. This is the basis for the Papacy.

Sacraments

We bless the water of baptism and the oil of the chrism, and besides this the catechumen who is being baptized. On what written authority do we do this? Is not our authority silent and mystical tradition? Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil itself taught?

On the Holy Spirit, Chap. 27, Para. 66, 375 A.D.

This passages refers to the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Mary

St. Hippolytus of Rome

Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236.

On the End of the World

immaculate and virgin Mary

all-holy Virgin


St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE FIRST HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Meekly, then, did grace make election of the pure Mary alone out of all generations. For she proved herself prudent truly in all things; neither has any woman been born like her in all generations.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE THIRD HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

how can Mary sustain the fire of the divinity? Thy throne blazes with the illumination of its splendour, and can the virgin receive Thee without being consumed?"

Hail, thou stainless mother of the Bridegroom of a world bereft!


Julius Africanus, c. 160 — c. 240

Thy glory is great; for thou art exalted above all women of renown, and thou art shown to be more queenly than all queens.


St. Gregory of Neocaesarea

Born at Neocaesarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275.

FOUR HOMILIES. THE FIRST HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Meekly, then, did grace make election of the pure Mary alone out of all generations. For she proved herself prudent truly in all things; neither has any woman been born like her in all generations.

that makes glad the souls of those who honour thee?

FOUR HOMILIES. THE SECOND HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God,

FOUR HOMILIES. THE THIRD HOMILY. ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY.

Hail, thou stainless mother of the Bridegroom of a world bereft!


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

they came to the church of the most blessed mother of God, and Ever-Virgin Mary,


The Divine Liturgy of James, The Holy Apostle and Brother of the Lord

Somewhere in the 3rd and 4th century

holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary;

all-holy, pure, most glorious, blessed Lady, the God-Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary,


St. Basil the Great

Born probably 329; died 1 January, 379

Letter 360. Of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the invocation of Saints, and their Images.

I confess to the economy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.


St. Hippolytus of Rome

Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236.

all-holy Mary, ever-virgin


Origen

Born in 185, died 254

COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN: BOOK I

6. THE FOURFOLD GOSPEL. JOHN'S THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE FOUR. QUALIFICATIONS NECESSARY FOR INTERPRETING IT.

no other son but Jesus


St. Peter of Alexandria

Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311.

FRAGMENTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF PETER

born according to the flesh of our holy and glorious lady, Mother of God, and Ever-Virgin, and, of a truth, of Mary the Mother of God;


THE DIVINE LITURGY OF JAMES, THE HOLY APOSTLE AND BROTHER OF THE LORD

Somewhere in the 3rd and 4th century

holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary;

all-holy, pure, most glorious, blessed Lady, the God-Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary,


St. Hippolytus of Rome

Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236.

HIPPOLYTUS ON THE TWELVE APOSTLES

On the usage of the term “Mother of God."

Leo of Rome, called "the Great," seems to have coined the less orthodox expression, relying on Holy Scripture, indeed, in the salutation of Elisabeth (Luke i. 43). This term has been sadly abused for Mariolatry.


St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389.

SELECT LETTERS OF SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DIVISION I

TO CLEDONIUS THE PRIEST AGAINST APOLLINARIUS. (EP. CI.)

If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead.