Complete Table of Contents and Summary

So That The World May Believe 

A Call to Christian Unity 

Jesus Prayed Christians “Be Brought to Complete Unity So That the World May Believe 

Teaching Christians How to Restore the Lost Unity in Diversity of the Undivided Early Church Through Lovingly Seeking to Truly Understand Each Other’s Differences While Celebrating Our Vast Common Saving Christian Faith and Learning from Our Different Strengths, “So That the World May Believe” 

by Peter William John Baptiste, SFO

 

Complete 3-Volume Table of Contents

(And Summary at 1/10th the Length) 

This Complete Table of Contents lists all sub-headings and some other summative statements in order to read like a comparatively brief summary of the entire 3-Volume work at 1/10 the length 

This has been added to the website for the convenience of people who are intrigued and desire to read So That the World May Believe, but have not the time.  I have merely imported from a print edition, and have not yet removed all the page numbers which are useless for the Internet Edition. However, I have put in links to the full webpages of the Internet Edition, which are the major divisons of this 3-Volume work (Volumes, Chapters, Appendices and the like).  If  readers wish to see more of the context or want to see the full details of one of the headings or summative statements, but then return to this Summary at 1/10th the Length, they can click on the link to the webpage they want within this summary, and afterwards use the “BACK” button on their web browswer to return to this summary.  

For a different kind of summary of some of the major themes within So That The World May Believe, Go to The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church : An Overview of the Family Theology that Revolutionizes Bible Reading and its Implications Towards the Eventual Re-Establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity

Table of Contents and Summary

Introduction to the Three Volumes of So That The World May Believe:  A Call to Christian Unity 

Most Christians are unaware of the precise nature and structure of the Undivided Early Church of the First Millennium which developed naturally out of the primitive structure of the New Testament Church (and fulfilled God’s plan for His Covenant Family since Adam and Noah), a nature and structure which of course holds the key to Christian reunification, since any successful re-unification must of course be based on the model of what the Christian Church was like when it was one unified Church for a thousand years – a particular kind of unity in diversity (never uniformity) which will be discussed in detail in Volumes I and III

The Common Creed of Christianity:
The Great Common Faith of Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christianity (and “Messianic Judaism”) Which is the Basis for Christian Unity

The “Doctrinally Liberal” Streams of the Protestant “Mainline” Denominations Which Do Not (Or Do Not with Certainty) Hold All of the above “Common Creed” Still Have Basis for Dialogue but Lack the Extremely Profound Basis of Unity of the above Churches………………..

After affirming and clarifying our vast common faith (above) which leaves us no excuse to ever fail to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and love each other accordingly even despite our current misunderstandings, disagreements and divisions, this book models real affectionate ecumenical dialogue about our differences presented from the Catholic perspective…………………………………..

The Eastern Orthodox and (Western) Roman Catholic Churches together successfully formed one Christian Church transforming the pagan world with Jesus’ love for a Millennium (before there were any [Western] Protestant Christians), and the minority Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church which I belong to, among all of today’s Christian Churches, best preserve the ancient understanding of that Undivided Early Church’s unity in diversity, which gives me particular insight to share towards re-establishing Christian unity……………………………………… vii

all of the major branches of today’s divided Christianity best preserve different aspects of the character and life of the Undivided Early Church, which is why we in fact must learn from each other in order for all of us to become all we were meant to be as Christ’s Body still on Earth reaching out with His Love, the Church.  No one major branch of today’s divided Christianity can say we do not need what the others have best preserved from the Undivided Early Church in order to be the most whole……………………………. vii

The (Eastern and Western) Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches today also best preserve other Undivided Early Church doctrines and practices misunderstood or abused in the 16th Century (Western) Roman Rite which, instead of being corrected according to Saint Augustine’s principle that “the abuse does not take a away the [proper] use,” were rejected entirely by the (Western) Protestant Reformation, doctrines and practices which (it turns out) in the long-term best preserve the traditional essential fundamentals of Christianity from doubt and denial, which is why the Catholic and Orthodox Churches do not have the problem Protestantism does of large numbers of Christians (even whole congregations and denominations, including the one I was raised in) going “doctrinally liberal,” questioning, doubting, or even denying fundamental aspects of traditional, orthodox Christianity such as the Divinity of God Incarnate in Jesus, “fully God and fully man.”  Yet those “doctrinally conservative” Protestant churches (including most Evangelicals and Pentecostals, among whom I have many wonderful old Christian friends and family) have best preserved the Undivided Early Church’s passionate love for Scripture, and Bible reading, as well as its spontaneity in prayer and its evangelical zeal for transforming the greater culture for Jesus …………
 

It is clear that Protestantism today better preserves that Early Church spontaneity while Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy better preserve that Early Church accountability.  This accountability is why Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have far, far  less of a problem with “doctrinal liberalism” and doubt even to the point of unorthodoxy/heresy than Protestantism does, yet the still-orthodox portions of Protestant Christianity, with their vibrant spontaneity that ensures immediately accessible relevancy in today’s fast-changing cultures, has a much less pronounced problem with “nominalism” (having many “nominal” or “in name only” members) than Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy do.  So all of us are lacking something of God’s ideal for us and all of us have tremendous reason to listen to and learn from each other and be enriched by each other as members of Jesus Christ’s Body the Church seeking to recapture it’s early success at “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) with the life-changing, soul-saving Truth God has revealed in Jesus Christ whose Body on Earth we are …………

Recognizing this will be the focus of Volume I.  In Volume II and III I will discuss, in the character of loving ecumenical dialogue over our differences, what I believe are the two biggest areas of unnecessary discomfort, confusion and dispute between Catholic and non-Catholic Christians, and I will show how, once we take the time (in brotherly love) to really understand each other about them, they are not things we should allow ourselves to uncharitably judge each other for even if we continue to disagree over them  ………….   

I was surprised to discover that those most precious traditional fundamental Christian truths which were most important to me as an Evangelical Protestant Christian were the most effectively defended from many heretical attacks against them in the Early Church precisely by those Catholic and Orthodox beliefs I did not really understand and was “sure” were wrong – and that today the Catholic and Orthodox Churches still had no significant problem with their active members doubting or denying fundamental Christian orthodoxy because of these secondary beliefs (while in contrast, even the large once-orthodox Protestant denomination I was raised in  lost its grip on the fundamentals of orthodox Christian faith in my lifetime, an all-too-common occurrence among whole active congregations of the oldest and largest Protestant “mainline” denominations……………………………………………………………….. ix

the Undivided Early Church was not the Roman Catholic Church which Protestants dramatically left centuries ago but was a Catholic (Universal) Christian Communion which included the Roman Catholic Church and which had certain characteristics best preserved in today’s Catholic Church Communion (which still includes the Roman Catholic Church as currently its largest ‘Sister Church’), characteristics lost in the Protestant Reformation (resulting in Protestantism’s problem with often losing basic Christian orthodoxy, a problem Catholicism does not have), although Protestantism has also best preserved other aspects of the character and spiritual life of the Undivided Early Church which it should share with today’s Catholic Church.  Today’s Catholic Communion is slowly but actively in the process of re-discovering itself as a communion of “fully equal Sister Churches” since its 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II).  In fact, today’s Catholic Communion since Vatican Council II has by far the most sophisticated official position on its own substantial participation with the One Church of Jesus Christ and of that continued very significant participation of the non-Catholic Christian Churches which are no longer part of the Undivided Early Church’s Universal (Catholic) Communion, a sophisticated position which any Christian who values the Christian unity Jesus values cannot afford to ignore but must learn and seriously consider, a position which recognizes how both Catholic and non-Catholic Churches today still genuinely participate (in different ways) in the saving mission of the One Church and Body of Christ, a position that is dealt with in detail in Volume III.  However, the “average Catholic” as yet is little more aware than non-Catholics of the wonderful Catholic teaching since Vatican II which officially recaptures the understanding of the lived reality of the Undivided Early Catholic Communion’s unity in diversity and just how much non-Catholic Churches despite their formal divisions still have a definite, if imperfect, communion with today’s ongoing Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches unbroken since ancient times.  Thus this book is intended to teach Catholic Christians the amazing things the Catholic Church has officially done to pave the way for restoring the Early Church’s unity in diversity as much as it is intended to teach this to non-Catholic Christians.  Today’s non-Catholic Churches (which all once belonged to the Catholic Communion in history) should be working together with the Catholic Church’s Sister Churches on the basis of our vast common faith so that all of us can pool together those things which each branch of divided Christianity has best preserved from the Undivided Early Church, for the enrichment of all, for all of us to become all we were meant to be as Christ’s Body the Church on Earth, and most importantly for the sake of the world which needs Jesus Christ, the world which Jesus indicated would believe if we were united as we once were, with phenomenal missionary success, in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church ………….     

this three-volume book shares, I think compellingly, my convictions that:
                                                                                                           
1)         in the short term currently divided Christians can establish truly fruitful ecumenical Christian worship and ecumenical dialogue about our differences “so that the world may believe” in Jesus our Head when it sees us His Body acting lovingly towards each other even while our formal divisions remain; and

 2)         in the long term real, full, structural Christian reunification is also actually possible (in the loving power of the Holy Spirit by whom all of us were adopted into God’s Family the Church), through all of us starting to think about Christian unity like the Undivided Early Church lived it – never a uniformity of Christian worship and theology (Roman or otherwise) but always a unity of faith expressed and celebrated in a mutually enriching diversity of ways (Eastern and Western) which we are now already much closer to than we usually realize, as I will demonstrate in this book…………………….. xi

I believe I make a good case in the three volumes for how our (long-term) Christian reunification in fulfilment of Jesus’ prayer for our unity is really possible, how it is definitely within our reach with the Holy Spirit’s aid and looking to the model of the Undivided First Millennium Church’s Unity in Diversity.  But this book is meant to begin the serious dialogue about just how we may one day be reunified, not to end it.  This book is my way of saying, “this is how I think we can really be reunified as one Christian Church like Jesus intended and as we once were unified, in the long term.  What do you think?  Let’s talk about this.”  So, I invite all Christians to read this book and then let the serious (and loving) dialogue begin, “so that the world may believe.”……………………………. xi

 Volume I Introduction (For Understanding Our Great Common Faith)

 

Rediscovering the Early Church’s Unity in Diversity

 

Today’s Divided Christians Who Share the Traditional Fundamental Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity Are Already Much Closer to the Undivided First Millennium Church’s Unity in Diversity than We Usually Realize

 

Chapter 1:  Promoting Christian Unity in Diversity Through Seeking to Truly Understand Our Differences While Celebrating Our Vast Common Faith

The 20th Century’s Most Prominent Evangelical Protestant Christian and Most Prominent Catholic Christian considered each other Brothers in Christ Jesus

Jesus’ Prayer for Christian Unity Obligates All Christians to Seek Unity in Love with Each Other “So That the World May Believe” in Jesus When it Sees Our Love for “One Another”

The Common Creed of Christianity:
The Great Common Faith of Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christianity (and “Messianic Judaism”) Which is the Basis for Christian Unity

The “Doctrinally Liberal” Streams of the Protestant “Mainline” Denominations Which Do Not (Or Do Not with Certainty) Hold All of the above “Common Creed” Still Have Basis for Dialogue but Lack the Extremely Profound Basis of Unity of the above Churches………………………. V.I p.5

Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christians Understand Their Different Secondary Doctrines in the Light of these Vast Common Fundamental Beliefs of Traditional Christian Orthodoxy……………………. V.I p.5

Since the Hebrew word for accuser is in fact satan, and the Greek word for accuser is in fact diabolos (devil in English), this means that when Christians accuse each other of being wrong for being different we are doing the Devil’s work, and we Christians are showing the world Satan, the Accuser, instead of showing the world Jesus………….. V.I p.6

This Book Intends to Aid Christian Unity by Helping All Christians to Truly Understand Each Other’s Different Perspectives on Mary and the Papacy, in Terms of the Common Christian Fundamentals………………………………….. V.I p.7

Chapter 2:  Guidelines for Fruitful Dialogue Which Builds upon Ecumenical Milestones the Holy Spirit Has Already Accomplished Towards Uniting us

This Book Is a Catholic Contribution to the Ongoing Ecumenical Dialogue between Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant/Evangelical Christians, Presented with the Sincere “Respect and Affection” for Non-Catholic Christians Which Since Vatican II is the Official Attitude of the Catholic Church Towards its “Separated Brothers” in Christ………………….. V.I p.11

the best beginning point in mutual Christian dialogue: “I will take seriously and will address (in detail) your concerns about my secondary beliefs before I share (in detail) my concerns about your secondary beliefs.” …………………………… V.I p.13

In Brotherly Dialogue We Really Can Learn from Each Other So That All Sides Can Become Better at Being Orthodox Christians Reaching out Effectively in Love to the World……………………………. V.I p.13

This Book Builds on Important Joint Ecumenical Work of Protestant/Evangelical, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians Which the Holy Spirit of Unity Has Already Accomplished Towards Unifying Us…………… V.I p.14

the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church ……………………….. V.I p.14

Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium

The Common Declarations of the Catholic Pope and the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch ………………. V.I p.14

For the World’s Sake Ecumenical Activity Should Become a Routine Part of the Christian Life of All the Currently Separated Churches, If We Are to Be True to Our Calling as the Body of Christ, since Christ Is Not Divided………………………… V.I p.15

Learning from Each Other: We All Need to Be Both “People of the Table” and “People of the Book” Exercising Our Gifts from the Holy Spirit If We Are to Recapture the Success of the Undivided Early Church …………………….. V.I p.15

many (Western) Protestant Christians are coming to see that the (Eastern and Western) Catholic and Eastern Orthodox focus on the Eucharistic (Thanksgiving) bread and wine at the Lord’s Table reflect the Early Church’s passion for such Holy Communion with Jesus through what was always understood as “not common bread” but mysteriously the Real Presence of Jesus by which the Church was nourished and by which the Church became truly the Body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 10:16-17)…………………….. V.I p.16

many Catholic Christians are coming to see that the Protestant focus on the Bible reflects the Early Church’s passion for Bible reading, and the Catholic Church hierarchy itself has officially recognized the  primacy of the Bible (which is only served by the Sacred Tradition and Magisterium which guarantee the Bible’s proper fundamental interpretation throughout all ages of history with their ever-new challenges to traditional Christian faith) and the Catholic Magisterium has strongly encouraged Catholic Christians to read the Bible more and more and to participate in Bible studies……………………………. V.I p.16

Chapter 3:  The Testimony of the Bible Concerning the Ideal of Christian Unity in Diversity

Christians Have Always Differed: Some Biblical Principles Regarding How Christians Should Accept Each Other as Brothers Despite Their Differing Rituals and Customs and Practices, Despite Their Different Expressions of Their Above Common Saving Faith ………… V.I p.17

The Biblical Roots of the Undivided Early Church’s Catholic (Greek for Universal) Communion of Different Eastern and Western Particular or “Sister” Churches Which Enriched Each Other with Their Differences and Together Clearly Articulated the Common Fundamentals of Christian Faith Against Many Heretics……………… V.I p.18

The Old Testament Specifically Led up to the Formation of the Christian Church as it Actually Existed in the Undivided Early Church:  a Universal (Catholic) Communion of Different Nations (Civilizations, Cultures) Descended from Faithful Noah Renewed in Jesus Christ the Messiah (As Distinct Cultural “Rites” or “Sister Churches”)…. V.I p.19

all the original Christians were Jews fulfilling the purpose for which God had called the Jews………………. V.I p.19

This is why the Bible says in John 11:51-52 that “Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one”.  All human beings are adopted children of God through the Covenants with Adam and Noah, but they were scattered through their unbelief and sin, except for the faithful line of the adopted Covenant Family, that line of faithful Sethites, Semites, Hebrews and Israelites known as the Jewish nation, and those Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah (Christ in Greek) would be restored to the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God which Adam “the son of God” (Luke 3:38) lost, and this Jewish nation renewed in Jesus “the New Adam” would minister the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit to all the scattered children of God from the Adamic and Noahic Covenants – to all human beings who will come –  and those ministering Jews and the Gentiles who accepted Jesus through their ministry would be brought together and made one in Jesus Christ.  One human family renewed in Jesus, one Body of Christ, the Christian Church.  This was the loving family reality of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church, one worldwide Church made up of many different nations (civilizations, cultures) restored in Christ, the restored portions of those nations becoming the different Rites or “Sister Churches” which together made up the early Undivided Universal or Catholic Church of Jesus Christ

Two Different Distinct but Legitimate Culturally-Based Rites or Sister Churches of the New Testament Christian Church Are Clearly  Seen in Acts 15:1-16:5 and 21:17-26 – Jewish Rite Christianity and Gentile Rite Christianity (Which Would Later Become Distinct Syrian, Egyptian, Roman and Greek Gentile Rites of Christianity)………………… V.I p.21

At the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council the Original Jewish Rite Christians Determined with the Holy Spirit’s Guidance That Gentiles Did Not Need to Become Culturally Jewish as All the Original Christians Were in Order to Become Christian, but Only Needed to Adjust Their Cultural Practices to Conform to the Norms of the Christian Gospel, as the Jewish Christians Had Already Done (They Continued to Be Jewish Rite Christians after the Council but Did Not Require Gentiles to Adopt Their Jewish Cultural Expression of Christianity) – the Universal New Covenant Gave Freedom in Christ for All People to Become the Best Jews, Greeks, Romans, Syrians or Egyptians They Could Possibly be………………….. V.I p.22

The Universal Human Family Descended from Adam and Faithful Noah Is Restored in the Universal (Catholic) Church of Jesus the New Adam – Within it the Original Jewish Rite of the Church Is the Faithful  Descendants of Faithful Noah’s Covenant Family (The Jews) Restored to the Supernatural Adoption of the Indwelling Holy Spirit (Which Adam Had Lost), Gathered Together with the Gentile Rites of the Church Which Are Fallen-away Descendants of the Noahic Covenant Family (The Gentiles) Brought Back to God Through the Original Jewish Rite Christians’ Gospel Ministry…………………. V.I p.22

Since Commanding Adam and Noah’s Descendants to “Fill the Earth” and Making Sure They Did So by Scattering Them at Babel, God Intended the Mutually-Enriching Universal (Catholic) Communion of Different Culturally-based Christian Rites or Sister Churches, Jewish and Gentile, Eastern and Western, Which Was the Reality of the Undivided Early Church, Because Only by Pooling Their Different Insights into Divine Revelation Coming from Their Different Cultural Perspectives at the Ecumenical (Worldwide) Councils Could the Infinite Truth of God Revealed in Jesus Christ Be Most Clearly Articulated in the Concise Fundamental Doctrines or Dogmas of Christianity…….. V.I p.23

The Two Distinct Legitimate Cultural Forms of Christianity in the New Testament Church Are Extremely Clear in Acts 21:17-26  –  There Never Was a Uniformity of Christian Worship Practices and Customs but Always a Unity of Faith in a Great Diversity of Faith Expressions Rooted in Culture ……………………. V.I p.24

Galatians 3:28 Says “There Is Neither Jew Nor Greek…Male Nor Female, for You Are All One in Christ Jesus” Even Though the Human Distinctions of Gender and Culture Obviously Remain, Not Because We Are Not Supposed to Be Distinct as Men and Women or Jews and Greeks, but Because All Humanity, with All its Wonderful Diversity in Gender and Culture, Is Meant to Belong in the One Universal (Catholic) Church of Jesus Christ, the One Body of Christ, Sharing a Mutually Enriching Unity in Diversity……………………………………………………………. V.I p.25

The Original Jewish Rite of the Church Heavily Influenced its First Four Gentile “Daughter” Rites (The Syrian, Egyptian, Roman, and Greek Cultures as Renewed in Jesus), Giving a Common Baseline to Christian Worship, and These Four Gentile Rites Heavily Influenced Their Own Later “Daughter” Rites Which Worshiped God with Their Own Distinct Cultural Flavor Which Still Resembled the Worship of Their “Mother Rite” Which Brought the Gospel of Jesus to Them………………… V.I p.26

The Foundational Jewish Rite of Christianity Did Not Survive the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Scattering of the Jews, but Scattered Minority Jewish Rite Christians Were Gradually Absorbed into the Mass Ranks of Gentile Rite Christians; God Possibly Allowed this So That by Today the Descendants of the Majority of Jews Who Rejected Jesus Could Enter the Church the Exact Same Way the Gentiles Did: as Descendants of Faithful Noah’s Universal Covenant Once Fallen Away but Restored in Jesus Christ, with a Distinct Cultural Contribution to the Universal Church Which Was Not Meant to Dominate the Whole Church (As Foundational Jewish Rite Christianity Might Have Had it Survived, since the Gentile Rites Were Not Yet Fully Established)… V.I p.27

perhaps God allowed the Jews to go to the place where the Gentiles were – they switched places, so that both could permanently enter the Universal New Covenant Christian Family on equal terms.  Now every culture has fallen away from God’s one ongoing Covenant Family throughout history – and every culture has been invited back.  The Gentiles fell away from the ongoing Covenant Family since Adam at various times after Noah – the Jews fell away after Christ.  But both can be and are meant to be equal members of the Universal Christian Communion, with their distinctive strengths to enrich the whole Christian Church……………….. V.I p.30

The Now-Established Gentile Churches must Accept the Jews Now Coming into the Christian Church in Larger Numbers than Ever the Same Way the Original Jewish Christians Originally Accepted the Gentiles Who Wanted to Be Christian: “We Should Not Make it Difficult for the [Jews] Who Are Turning to God [And His Messiah Jesus]” (Cf Acts 15:19): the Protestant Christian Movement of “Messianic Judaism” and the Catholic Christian “Association of Hebrew Catholics” Which May Become a Formal Hebrew or Jewish Rite of the Catholic Church Give Modern Jews a Place to Be Jewish and Christian as the Original Jewish Rite Christians Allowed Gentiles to Be Gentile and Christian… V.I p.30

The above Biblical Analysis of the New Testament Church’s Jewish and Gentile Rites and How They Pertain to the Later Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity Is in Accord with  the Post-Vatican II Catholic Church Document Guidelines on Religious Relations with the Jews Which Notes That When the Church “Ponders Her Own Mystery … She Encounters the Mystery of Israel” and That “The Very Return of Christians to the Sources and Origins of Their Faith, Grafted on to the Earlier Covenant, Helps the Search for Unity in Christ, the Cornerstone”……………………………………………………………………. V.I p.32

In Addition to Cultural Differences, the Different Apostles Left Different Personal Examples of Just How to Celebrate the Christian Faith Which Affected the Different Later Rites, and 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 Gives the Useful Principle of Unity (practiced by the Early Universal/Catholic Christian Communion) That All of These Different Ways of Expressing the One Christian Faith Belong to All Christians in the One Body of Christ the Church That Should Have “No Divisions” over Such Things………………………………………………………… V.I p.33

different individual Apostolic examples of Christian worship – as well as different local cultural responses to the gospel truths – likely shaped the different Rites.  But Paul makes clear that the only vital thing is the Deposit of Faith which each of the Apostles the quarrelers follow handed on to them, not whatever distinct practices and customs they also passed on by their personal example.  The individual Apostles with their particular ways are “only servants, through whom you came to believe” (1 Corinthians 3:5), and there is no place for criticism of other Christians who follow different ways and worship customs.  All those who follow any of the Apostles, with their different ways, are God’s one Church, “God’s building” (v.3:9).  The only rule that ultimately matters is the Rule of Faith.  This lays down the gospel principle to be followed regarding the various Rites which grew up around the preaching of the same Faith by different Apostles in different places: we are one Universal (Catholic) Church, and we cannot say “I follow Peter’s Roman Rite” or “I follow the Byzantine Rite” with any criticism of those who follow another way but keep the Rule of Faith which is the essence of Universal Christian (Catholic) Communion

Even despite the current formal divisions between Catholic, Orthodox, and (doctrinally conservative or orthodox) Protestant Christians, theological scholars from each of these groups frequently borrow good ideas and insights from each other already because we all know the same Jesus Christ whose nature and person is clearly expressed in our (above) vast common Christian faith…………………… V.I p.35

The Old Testament Prophecy of Messiah Ruling the Nations from Sea to Sea in a New Covenant Wherein Messiah’s People (From All Nations) Are like Beautiful Jewels in a Crown – as the Eastern and Western Catholic Rites (The Nations Renewed in Jesus) Are like Different Jewels in Jesus’ Crown, Which Is All the More Beautiful Because of Their Variety………………… V.I p.35

Today’s Divided Christian Churches Which Are United Already in the above Vast Common Christian Faith Celebrated Through a Great Diversity of Rituals and Practices Are Already Much Closer to the Undivided Early Church’s Lived Ideal of Unity in Diversity than We Usually Realize; What Remains Is to Lovingly Seek to Truly Understand Each Other’s Different Perspectives on Our Few Substantial Current Disagreements, Towards Eventually Finding Mutually Agreed-On Solutions………………… V.I p.35

Chapter 4:  Family Theology:  The Family History Recorded in the Bible of God the Father of Love’s Ongoing Adopted Covenant Family since Adam (Gradually Raised Towards Maturity in Love Through a Series of Covenants) Leads up Deliberately and Specifically to the New Covenant Christian Church as it Actually Existed in the Undivided First Millennium Universal (Catholic) Christian Church’s Catholic (Universal) Family Communion of Orthodox Christian ‘Sister Churches’

God:  The Trinitarian Family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit………………………. V.I p.37

Covenants make Families………….. V.I p.38

The One Ongoing Covenant Family of God Gradually Raised to Its Maturity in Love Through a Complete Series of 7 Covenants………. V.I p.38

The Weekly “Sabbath” Day of Rest – Marking either the Original Creation and Covenant on the “7th Day” (Saturday) or Marking the Beginning of the New Creation in the Resurrected Body of Jesus on the “8th Day” (Sunday) and His New Covenant  – Is a Common Feature of All of the Individual Covenants Which Together Make up God’s One Ongoing Covenant Family………………. V.I p.39

The Created Universe or Cosmos – the ‘Cosmic Temple’ and Family Home God the Father of Love Originally Made to Live with His Adopted Human Family…………. V.I p.39

*************** 

the next several pages are a supporting digression (much of it rough but full of fascinating ideas), which consider the reliability of the Biblical accounts of the human family and how to best consider them in relation to the secular sciences of history and archeology and especially the sciences of natural history and anthropology, which deal in their distinct way with the origins of humanity.  As will be shown, I actually find it quite easy to reconcile these two distinct accounts of human origins even in their little details, but the ease only comes with consideration of considerable background information………………….. V.I p.41

The First Eleven Chapters of Genesis Are Pre-historical and Are Certainly an Extremely Condensed and Symbolic Inspired Literary Account Intending to Reveal the Religious Truth about Human Origins Which Orthodox Christians Need Not Take as a Strict Historical Record; Nevertheless the Divine Revelation of These Chapters must Not Be Simply Discounted as Unhistorical or We Will Miss Some of the Important Truths They Contain, and it Is in Fact Unreasonable to Discount Them as a Source of Historical Truth since Secular History’s Identified Distribution Pattern of Human Civilization (And Other Evidence) Matches the Bible’s Account of Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel (There Is Even a Good Historical Candidate for Tower Itself)………….. V.I p.41

At Babel God Ensured That Different Groups of People Living in Different Geographical and Climatic Locations and Speaking Different Languages Would Develop into Different Nations, in the Ancient Sense of That Word: Different Civilizations, Different Cultures ……………….. V.I p.42

Aside: the Bible’s Credibility Is Also Demonstrated in the Fact Science Is Actually Rooted in the Bible: Exposure to the Old Testament Gave the Ancient Greeks the Philosophical Foundation for All Logic and Science …. V.I p.44

It Is Easy to Reconcile the Current Dominating Scientific Theory of Human Origins with the Bible’s Inspired Account of Human Origins (V.I p.52)

To add more Biblical and theological depth to this first draft’s above discussion about human animals versus human beings in the reconciliation of the Bible and science, I here insert an excerpt dealing with just what a human being is, according to the Bible………. V.I p.58

The Individual Image and Likeness of God: The Spiritual Soul and The Indwelling Holy Spirit

How the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Adam Differs from the Indwelling in Christians……………………. V.I p.61

[End of Digression]**************

The Faithful People of God of the 7th Day Adamic Covenant: the Sethites or “Sons of God”…………………………… V.I p.64

Salvation Is a Work of the Whole Trinity of Love:  God the Father of Love Sent Jesus the Son of Love Incarnate to Restore to Humanity the Indwelling Holy Spirit of Love Which Makes Us Supernaturally Adopted Children of God………………… V.I p.64

Remembering that God is humanity’s loving Father, we can see that if God is a lawmaker and a judge, His laws are the Family Rules governing His Family household for the children’s protection and His courtroom for judgement is the Family Living Room.  If God expresses wrath or anger, He expresses it as a loving father whose anger is provoked most by His children disregarding His rules which were lovingly made for their own protection from harm to body, soul, or spirit. …………… V.I p.65

God Prepared for the Universal (Catholic) Christian Church at the Tower of Babel

God had intended humanity to spread out and gradually form different cultures so that, when He revealed Himself fully to humanity in Jesus Christ, the human family could look at Him in His infinite beauty from their different cultural perspectives and share their different views and insights, so that they could together come to understand Him better – as happened in the Early Ecumenical (worldwide) Councils in which the different cultures renewed in Jesus as different Christian Rites or Sister Churches in the Universal (Catholic) Christian Communion pooled their different insights so as to together clearly articulate the common fundamentals of traditional Christianity…………………………………V.I p.67

All the Saved Are Saved by Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, Regardless of Which of God’s Covenants They Were Adopted by God Through……… V.I p.72

A Final Note on the Series of Covenants God Used to Bring His Covenant Child Humanity (Hebrew Adam) to its Maturity in Love – Christians Are Still Maturing in Love and We Still Look Forward to the 7th and Final Covenant, the Eternal Covenant of the Fulfilment of God’s Kingdom in the New Heaven and the New Earth after Christ’s Return……………………. V.I p.75

Family Theology Explains Both Biblical History and Christian History as the Story of God’s One Ongoing Covenant Family Being Patiently Raised to Maturity in Love……………………. V.I p.75

Family Theology not only explains the entire Covenant Family history in the Bible from Adam to the New Covenant Christian Church of Jesus Christ the New Adam, it also explains New Covenant Family (Christian) history since the Christian Church was established and the Biblical Revelation ended, including the failures of Christians – most notably our failure to keep the family unity in love – as a continuation of God the Father very patiently raising His one ongoing Covenant Family from Adam to the Church today towards living by ever higher standards of love which will culminate ultimately in the Eternal Covenant Family of the Kingdom of Heaven fulfilled in “the New Heavens and the New Earth” after Christ’s return…………………… V.I p.76

we can take heart from the lessons of the Bible, revealed through Family Theology, that it is because we as the New Covenant Christian Church are the continuation of God’s ongoing Covenant Family since Adam that we continue to strive to live by the ever higher standard of love that God has called us to live by and often struggle and sometimes fail, as the one ongoing Covenant Family of God always has………………………. V.I p.76

We should be encouraged by the fact that we are children to God, and we are children raised by a wise and loving and patient Father, such that the one Covenant Family has always made progress in love, however slowly, and however many setbacks it has – although it took many centuries, Israel did in fact gradually mature from as a  nation regularly going back and forth from worshiping God to worshiping idols, to as a nation being zealous for God and willing to die rather than deny Him (the backwards steps in the cycle became not near so far backwards).  So we know that however long it takes, we as the latest expression of that one ongoing “Olive Tree” Covenant Family can gradually become more and more mature in love as well – including healing our current Christian divisions with love……………………. V.I p.76

How Old Covenant Israel Eventually Matured So as to Recapture its Early Success in its Mission after Failing for Centuries, Showing that the New Covenant Israel of the Church Can Likewise Mature and Recapture What We Have Lost from the Undivided Early Church after Centuries of Divisions………………… V.I p.76

Just like idolatry had been too deeply ingrained in the hearts of Old Covenant Israel to let go of easily after they became nation-sized over 400 years in idolatrous Egypt, and they fell back into it easily after having some early success as the United Kingdom of Israel witnessing the Lord to the nations, so the typical human failing of dividing human beings into “us” and “them” was too deeply ingrained in the hearts of Christians to let go of easily and New Covenant Israel fell back into divisive cultural prejudices easily after having great initial success as the loving Universal/Catholic Communion of Sister Churches, Jew and Gentile, Eastern and Western, one adopted Family of God and one Body of Christ sharing a loving unity in diversity.  The “us” and “them” way of looking at different groups of human beings with different ways which still causes  wars between countries and political strife or “ethnic cleansing” genocides in countries like Yugoslavia or Rwanda which have more than one nation/culture, was and is still ingrained in Christians despite the universal celebratory love for all mankind Jesus came to establish in us, just like idolatry was still ingrained in the Israelites despite what God intended them to become.  Old Covenant Israel lost its early witness to the nations because it was too immature in love to remain consistently faithful to the Lord, and the New Covenant Israel of the Church lost its witness of God’s Universal love for mankind who could be united as one in Jesus because it was too immature in love to fight the ingrained “us” and “them” ways of thinking which eventually tore the one Church of Jesus Christ apart

Christians from the different Sister Churches gradually started thinking that their own ways of intellectually understanding and practically celebrating their common faith was the only proper or best way, and started wondering if other churches’ faith was different since they expressed it differently – losing sight of the fact the Sister Churches together pooling their different insights into the Triune God they all loved were more than the sum of their parts, losing sight of the fact that together the one Catholic/Universal Church of Jesus Christ was superior to any of its united Sister Churches alone……………….. V.I p.80

the world which needs to know Jesus today looks upon the Christians who maintain the orthodox faith of the Undivided Early Church as a divided and squabbling bunch of Roman Catholics (whose continued truly Catholic/Universal union with minority portions of all the Eastern Churches is largely unknown), various Eastern Orthodox Churches who have only a very loose and increasingly strained union with each other (there are now even three separate denominations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church!), and 35,000 smaller Protestant churches who often fight with or criticize each other and  Catholic and Orthodox Christians – which completely hides any sense of the Christian Church being the answer to the world’s problems because it unifies human beings in love!…………………….. V.I p.80

However, like Old Covenant Israel did in fact eventually mature in love and eventually became consistently zealous for God, so we the New Covenant Israel also can and must mature in love to the point that we consistently overcome the things which have divided us and which thus have greatly marred our collective Christian witness to the world which needs to see the Universal Love of Jesus in us for each other.  As Christians with a mission from God to witness His Love to the world of nations we cannot afford any longer to act like the divided Northern Kingdom of Israel and Southern Kingdom of Judah, making war on each other until God scatters us for our sins against love.  Like Old Covenant Israel, we are meant to grow up and mature in love and we too can recapture our early success in our mission, but in a more consistent way, as Old Covenant Israel did.  When Old Covenant Israel, after the Exile, finally regained its lost status as a nation which truly witnessed the Lord to the nations, it did so much better and more consistently than it had before, because of how it had matured in love.  It never lost its zeal for God again because of its greater maturity in love.  This is our challenge as the New Covenant Israel of the Church: we also must reestablish our lost unity in diversity, “so that the world will believe,” rebuilding our unity in a more mature fashion which ensures it will not be so easily lost again, showing our Covenant Father that we have matured as He requires of us and that we will take our responsibility to live the mission he gave us, to witness to His Universal Love in the world which overcomes all barriers between human beings and unites them in His Love, more seriously than we have in the past.  Family Theology shows us we are the same ongoing Covenant Family since Adam that Old Covenant Israel was, and we know that if they could regain the early success in their mission that they had lost but do it better and more consistently, so can we.       

Israel Only Gradually Matured in Faith until it Was Ready for God to Send Jesus the Messiah…………… V.I p.81

The New Israel of the Church Is Only Gradually Maturing until it Is Ready for God to Send Jesus the Second Time…………………. V.I p.82

It will be most helpful for restoring Christian unity for all Christians to stop thinking as if the Christian Church established at the end of the Bible’s account of God’s Family is the end of God’s plan for humanity until Jesus decides to return, instead of understanding the initial establishment of the Christian Church as the beginning of the latest stage in the process of God’s growth plan for His Covenant child humanity descended from Adam.  This first kind of thinking leads to some groups of Christians judging other groups of Christians as “less the true church” than they are if they display any kind of imperfection or failure, becoming full of pride as they remain blind to (or more tolerant of) their own imperfections and failures. It is a grave mistake to have the attitude “I belong to the truest or best Church, these other Christians belong to an untrue or inferior expression of the Church, and they should become members of my church to be better” – completely failing to understand the pilgrim nature of the entire New Covenant Church, given a task from the Covenant Father to grow up into the latest (and highest) standard He set for us (the perfection of love), which in humility we all need to keep striving towards (knowing we will often fail), empowered to make gradual progress in love by God’s Grace.

It should be easier for us as divided Christians today to forgive each other for the things which separated us in the past, once we understand that God our Covenant Father expected us to be very immature at first when He gave us the New Covenant Law in the Sermon on the Mount – which obligates us to strive for the perfection of love!  God our Father expected us His adopted children to be immature, and we are, He expected us to fail at first and we did, but He also expects us to keep striving to mature in love so we can be more like Him.  Today is our opportunity to show our Father that we are maturing in love, by starting at last to truly heal our current divisions and recapture our early success in the period of the Undivided Early Church, but more consciously and more effectively so that this time our unity in love will last……. V.I p.84

Introduction to The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church………………… V.I p.84

The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church
 (The Formation of the Different but United Culturally-based Rites of the Universal (Greek Katholikos, or Catholic) Church, the Different ‘Sister Churches’ in the Universal (Catholic) Communion of Sister Churches Known Collectively in the First Millennium as the Catholic Church

Part 1: The Old Testament History Leading up to the New Covenant Christian Church………………. V.I p.85

Part 2: The New Testament Spread of the Gospel From Christian (“Messianic”) Jews to the Gentiles………….. V.I p.86

Part 3: The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Formation of the Original Pentarchy of Five Patriarchates (Church Provinces) of Different Culturally-Based Sister Churches or Rites Which Together Clearly Articulated and Established the Traditional Essential Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy (Against Many Early Christian Heretical Interpretations of the Bible) at the First Millennium Ecumenical (Worldwide) Councils of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church…………………… V.I p.88

Some Undivided Early Church First Millennium Highlights of the Pentarchy of the First Five Christian Patriarchates and their Contributions to the Universal Church of Christ…………….. V.I p.89

THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM…………… V.I p.89

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ANTIOCH……………….. V.I p.90

the School of Antioch (V.I p.90)

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA…………. V.I p.91

the School of Alexandria (V.I p.91);

the single greatest contribution of the ancient Alexandrian Patriarchate to the whole Universal (Catholic) Christian Church was the Canon of the New Testament in the 4th Century after Christ (V.I p.91);

the Arian heresy of the 4th Century  (V.I p.92)

THE PATRIARCHATE OF BYZANTIUM/CONSTANTINOPLE…. V.I p.94

the 5th Century Eastern Sister Churches still in the Catholic Church Communion started calling themselves “Eastern Orthodox Churches” to clarify that they were Eastern Churches who belonged to the Catholic Communion of Western and Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches and were not Eastern heretical Churches (V.I p.94);

The Muslim conquerors of Constantinople in 1453 later, in 1472, forced the separation of the Eastern Christians under their dominion from the Catholic Church Communion of West and East which had recently been joyfully reaffirmed at the 1439 17th Ecumenical Council (V.I p.94)

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ROME…….. V.I p.95

The “Daughter Churches” of the Original “Pentarchy” of Christian Sister Churches and Patriarchates, Including Those Which Broke Away from the Universal (Catholic) Christian Communion in the 2nd Millennium 

The “Daughter Churches” of the Original “Pentarchy” of Christian Sister Churches and Patriarchates, Including Those “Estranged Daughters” Which Broke Away from the Universal (Catholic) Christian Communion in the 2nd Millennium but Which Remained “Catholic at Heart,” Still Committed to  the Traditional Essential Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy Which Were Clearly Articulated and Established (Against Many Early Christian Heretical Interpretations of the Bible) by the Original Pentarchy of Five Patriarchates (Church Provinces) of Different Culturally-based Sister Churches or Rites at the First Millennium Ecumenical (Worldwide) Councils of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church, the Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches.

  

Part I:  The Structure of the Undivided Early Church………………….. V.I p.99

1)   the ancient Jerusalem (initially Jewish) Rite or Sister Church……… V.I p.99

2)  the ancient Antiochene (Syrian), Alexandrian (Egyptian), Roman (currently by far the largest but this was not always so), and Byzantine (Greek) Gentile (non-Jewish) Rites or Sister Churches……………………… V.I p.99

3) the many missionary “daughter” Rites or Churches of the above ancient Gentile Sister Churches …………………… V.I p.99

Part II:  the Patriarchates of the Undivided Early Church’s “Pentarchy” Together with Their “Daughter Rites,” Those Currently in or out of the Ancient Catholic (Universal) Christian Communion (This Leads to What a Christian Church Reunified According to the Undivided Early Church Model of Unity in Diversity Would Look Like) ……………………. V.I p.100

Ecumenical Conclusion

the ancient Living Body of Christ the (Catholic) Christian Church in its 1st Ecumenical Council at Nicea (325 AD) dogmatically and irrevocably clarified, against the Arian Christian heretics with their sophisticated and thorough but not Traditional interpretation of “the Bible Alone,” the vital Christian belief that Jesus is God, “one in being with the Father.”  The 2nd Ecumenical Council of 381 AD (which Pope Saint Damasus declared to be of Ecumenical (worldwide) authority although no Western overseer/bishops were present), first authoritatively articulated and clarified the Divinity of the Holy Spirit as well and thus the primary Christian doctrine of the Trinity, ending all the previous disputes among Christians about the Trinity.  The 4th Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon (451 AD) under the direction of Pope Saint Leo the Great similarly precisely clarified in the Holy Spirit, against the Monophysite Christian heretics, the central Christian belief in the Incarnation, that Jesus is in fact “fully God and fully man.”  Vatican Council II (1962-5) was the 21st Ecumenical Council of the same Catholic Church, and it likewise precisely articulated something that had always been part of the Christian faith at least implicitly but had never been explicitly clarified, which had likewise resulted in some Christians coming up with incorrect notions that caused many problems (and divisions).  Vatican II was the very first Ecumenical Council of the Living Body of Christ the Church to dogmatically clarify the nature and structure of the Christian Church, precisely articulating the instinctively lived reality of the Undivided Early Church of the First Millennium (a reality continued in the Catholic Church today but much harder to see since unlike in the First Millennium, the great majority of Catholics today are Roman Rite Catholics).  This has tremendous implications for the eventual reunification of Jesus’ Body the Church which became divided in the Second Millennium, in fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for Christian unity.  As all Christians, including majority Roman Rite Catholic Christians who often have a more particularly Roman and less truly Catholic (Universal) understanding of their Church, come to fully understand and appreciate the nature and structure of the Undivided Early Church, it will become easier for today’s different Christian churches already united  in the above vast common saving Christian faith to better reflect the Undivided Early Church’s loving and mutually enriching unity in diversity, “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21) in Jesus when it sees the love of Christians for “one another” (John 13:35) – even for as long as our current formal divisions remain        

A Few Suggestions Towards the Practical Re-Establishment of the First Millennium Church’s Unity in Diversity………………… V.I p.104

Chapter 5:  Most of the Many Differences Between Today’s Divided (Eastern and Western) Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and (Western) Protestant Christians (And “Messianic Jews”) Who Are Already United in Vast Common Faith Are the Same Kinds of Differences Between the Ancient Jewish, Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Syrian “Sister Churches” Which Were No Cause for Division in the Undivided Early Church

Theology and Doctrine Are Not Faith and Should Not Divide Christians, as they Did Not in the Undivided Early Church……………… V.I p.109

Trying out different theological ideas and doctrines based on them, to find out which ultimately lead closer to or farther away from the Christian fundamentals and the heart of God the Holy Trinity who is Love, is part of the Life of the Living Body of Christ, the Church, slowly growing up into an only gradually more mature intellectual understanding of the Transcendant Mysteries of Christian faith revealed in Jesus the Living Word of God who lives in our hearts as well as the Written Word of God in the Scriptures……………. V.I p.110

In Jesus Christ the God-man the infinite fullness of God Himself is revealed to humankind who can come to intimately know and love Him, and so be drawn into the Mystery of the Trinity of Love of which He is the Second Person.  We must expect that the living, loving, personal experience of God’s Divine Revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ the Living Word of God, and in the Written Word of God the Bible which testifies to this infinite Living Word, is necessarily beyond full human intellectual comprehension, and we will only slowly over many centuries come to intellectually unpack the infinite richness of God’s Revelation of Himself without ever exhausting it.  Theology is the attempt of the Body of Christ the Church to unpack the Revealed Christian Mystery and define it in human words ever more clearly to help us better live by it as much as possible, while recognizing the Triune God we love will always be above our intellectual capacities……………………….. V.I p.110

We must not judge each other harshly for our different (frequently complementary and sometimes incompatible) intellectual understandings of God and His ways when intellectually we all must bow in humility before this Infinite, Ineffable Transcendent Mystery of God Himself revealed in Jesus Christ, which we all accept in common faith but which we can never comprehend as a whole (if we could, the Infinite God who created our minds would be able to fit inside our finite minds, which is impossible).  But we can love God as a whole, person to person…………… V.I p.111

It is our personal loving relationship to God the Father as His adopted children through the reconciling work of God the Son Jesus Christ which restored the indwelling Holy Spirit of adoption to us which makes us Christians, God’s New Covenant Family, not our (always developing) precise intellectual theological understanding of our Father and His ways – which is why small children and the mentally handicapped can be Christians, and not just intellectuals and theologians…………………. V.I p.111

All fundamentally orthodox Christians – whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant – share Ephesians 4:4-5’s one orthodox Faith in the one Lord and are united both to God and each other already as Family through the one Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by which we have been adopted by the one God and Father of all, indwelt by the one Spirit of adoption which makes us all the one Body of Christ already……………. V.I p.111

Dogma (Fundamental Doctrines, such as those in the above Common Creed) Articulates Faith in Clear and Concise Manner and Should Unite Christians, as it Did in the Undivided Early Church………………… V.I p.112

the Church has learned through its lived experience that these dogmas articulate in clear and concise manner something which is absolutely vital to maintaining the traditional and supernaturally empowering Christian faith of the original Apostolic Christian community. The above Common Creed of all orthodox Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant – including “Messianic Jews” with their Protestant roots) represents the bulk of the dogma of the Early Undivided Universal (Catholic) Christian Church and the bulk of the dogma of the ongoing Catholic Communion of Sister Churches (the Catholic Church) today ………………… V.I p.113

COMMON faith articulated in common (irreformable) dogma but expressed in DIFFERENT (reformable) theologies and doctrines and worship and devotional practices is a major basis of the Christian unity in diversity in the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church and the Catholic Church today – and the understanding of this is vital for Christians to eventually heal the current divisions within the Christian Church as Jesus’ prayer for our unity “so that the world may believe” obligates us to work towards.  Realizing this shows us we are already much closer to Early Church-type unity than we usually think.. V.I p.113

Chapter 6:  All Divided Christians Have Contributed to the Scandalous Disunity of the Body of Christ the Church (Which Called itself the Catholic Church in the Undivided First Millennium) – Both Today’s Catholic and Non-Catholic Christians must Avoid the Two Ways to Abuse this Book:
 Catholic Triumphalism among Catholic Christians and Anti-Catholic Bigotry That Attempts to Maintain the Protest Against the Catholic Church at All Costs (Even Basic Christian Orthodoxy) among Non-Catholic Christians

Catholic Readers must Not Abuse this Book by Misusing its Strong Presentation of Catholic Positions in its Contribution to Ecumenical Dialogue to Bolster Inappropriate Attitudes of “Catholic Triumphalism” Which Were Rejected by the Second Vatican Council – the Church on Earth Is a “Pilgrim Church” Not Yet Perfect but Still Working Towards God’s Ideal for Us, and Neither the Catholic Church Nor the Non-Catholic Churches Are What We Are Meant to Be as Long as We Are Separated from Each Other………………………… V.I p.114

If this book presents a powerful case for the Catholic position in areas Christians disagree, its power is largely due to my reflected presentation of  the Catholic Church’s sophisticated recent official and dogmatic self-understanding promulgated at the 21st Ecumenical Council of Vatican II, which for the first time clearly articulated the nature and structure of the Undivided Early Church which transformed the ancient world with God’s love.  Thus the power of these Catholic arguments cannot reasonably be used to bolster the inaccurate and inappropriate pre-Vatican II notions of many Roman Catholics that the Roman Catholic Church was simply the “true church” and  all other churches simply needed to join her.  Roman Catholics are already in full communion with over 20 other non-Roman but completely Catholic Sister Churches in one truly Catholic (Universal) Communion as they were in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Catholic Church (when unlike today only one quarter of all Catholics were Roman Catholics).  So one does not need to be Roman at all to be entirely Catholic, as indeed, at least half of the great Saints of the First Millennium Catholic Church were not Roman but Eastern Catholic Christians.  And moreover, even outside of the Catholic Communion, both Catholic and non-Catholic Christians are already imperfectly united together within the one Body of Christ the Church and both sides are effectively used already by the Holy Spirit for the salvation of their members………………….. V.I p.116

Non-Catholic Readers must Not Abuse this Book By, Motivated by Deep-Seated Unreasoning Anti-Catholic Prejudice and Bigotry, Trying to Unlovingly Attack its Strong Ecumenically-Minded Presentation of Catholic Positions Instead of Rationally and Prayerfully Considering Them in Christian Love and with a Will to Dialogue……………… V.I p.116

Catholic Christians consider the traditional New Testament Canon and the traditional fundamentals of Christian faith as absolutely certain truths because they trust that the Catholic Sacred Tradition of how to interpret the Bible and the Catholic Magisterium (teaching office) of overseer/bishops  (including the chief overseer/bishop, the pope) which settled the early Christian controversies in First Millennium Christian history are functions of the “profound mystery” (Ephesians 5:22-32) revealed in the Bible that the Church is the Body of Christ Himself, led by the Holy Spirit into “all the truth” (John 16:13) such that the Body of Christ the Church is indeed, as the Bible itself proclaims, “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).  Luther’s foundational Protestant doctrine that “the Bible alone is authoritative and binding on a Christian’s faith,” which  deliberately excluded any authority belonging to the Catholic Sacred Tradition and Magisterium of the Church, logically excludes any certainty being given to the judgements of the Early Church Councils in settlement of the early controversies as to just what constituted basic Christian orthodoxy and even the New Testament Canon (list of Sacred Books) itself, which is precisely why the character of “Liberal” Protestantism is to not be certain about just which parts of the Bible are truly inspired Scripture and to not be certain even that Jesus is God – my personal discovery as an orthodox Protestant was that orthodox Protestants do not really follow Luther but are unconsciously “Catholic at heart” by their insistence that the New Testament must be the traditional (Catholic) New Testament and it must be interpreted according to the Catholic Sacred Tradition clarified concisely in the traditional (Catholic) fundamental Christian doctrines by the early Catholic Magisterium in the Early (Catholic) Church Councils          V.I p.117

I discovered that the main difference between “doctrinally conservative,” orthodox Protestants (like I was) and “doctrinally liberal,” unorthodox (or uncertain) Protestants is that orthodox Protestants do not strictly practice Protestant “Bible Alone” doctrine but in fact give priority to their denomination’s orthodox Creed or “Statement of Faith” (which passes on the Catholic Sacred Tradition of how the Bible must be interpreted, as clarified by the First Millennium Catholic Magisterium in a very Catholic process Protestants were never involved in – they simply borrowed the end results from the Catholic Church they left), whereas unorthodox Protestants give priority to Protestant “Bible Alone” doctrine over the traditional Creeds of Christianity (which are not from the Bible but interpret it) and because of this over centuries of Protestantism they have gradually lost confidence in the fundamentals of traditional Christianity and in the traditional New Testament Canon itself.  Orthodox Protestants unknowingly stand upon Catholic Sacred Tradition and are essentially “Catholic at heart,” whereas unorthodox/heretical Protestants stand strictly upon Protestant “Bible Alone” doctrine and are essentially “Protestant at heart,” their Protestantism itself, as it matured, being what gradually and logically led their denominations to lose confidence in the traditional Bible Canon and traditional Christian fundamentals  V.I p.118

Small Hearts and Small Minds on Either Side Will Keep Christ’s Church Scandalously Divided:
We must Pray for Big Hearts to Love Our Fellow Christians from Different Churches as Family and Pray for Open Minds to Patiently Unpack the Subtleties of Each Other’s Different Perspectives until We See How They Are Related to Our Common Fundamentals of Saving Christian Faith (After this We Can Lovingly and Patiently Work Towards Mutually Agreed Solutions to Current Disputes – Mindful to Maintain Bonds of Unity in Love on the Basis of Our Vast Common Faith “So That the World May Believe” Even While We Remain Formally Divided)…………… V.I p.118

The Importance of Currently Divided Christians Listening to Each Other Respectfully for Our Mutual Advantage and for the Eventual Healing of Our Divisions to Fulfill Jesus’ Prayer for Christian Unity…………………. V.I p.118

The Very Few (And Comparatively Unimportant) Actually Substantial Differences Between Us Are Not Insurmountable When Seen in Light of Our Vast Common Faith and They Certainly in No Way Justify Our Failures to Love Each Other as Christian Brothers and Sisters on the Basis of Our Great Common Faith for the Sake of the Christian Mission to the World Which Is Greatly Hampered When Christians Are Not Loving to Each Other……………………. V.I p.118

these comparatively few and comparatively unimportant substantial differences are the areas we need to practice our Christian love for one another on (John 13:35) , really listening (in love and respect) to each other’s different understandings on these points, and how they relate to our vast common fundamentals, so that we can eventually come to some common understandings even on these currently disputed points, and hopefully (with the Holy Spirit of unity’s aid) eventually heal our current divisions, so Jesus’ prayer for our unity may be granted, “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21-23) in Jesus Christ when they see the wonderful love of Christians for each other (John 13:35)… V.I p.119

as a general rule you should approach other Christians recognizing that “the other side” has developed their different doctrines you do not share with the common essential fundamentals of Christianity very much in mind and they have been careful to understand these different doctrines in ways which do not compromise the fundamentals.  So if your understanding of their different doctrines seems to compromise or deny the Christian fundamentals, your understanding is probably wrong or incomplete, and this is why Christians must respectfully listen to each other in love in order to come to really understand each other, instead of accusing each other of heresies!  History shows that such real, loving dialogue between Christian brothers is likely to result in newer and better formulations or explanations of the disputed doctrines which address the concerns of both sides and makes the doctrine’s connection to the common fundamentals more clear to all…………………….. V.I p.119

A Historical Example of Genuine Loving Dialogue Towards the Healing of Divisions:
at the 1439 17th Ecumenical Council the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Leaders Met and Determined That Once Both Sides Had Defined Very Precisely What They Meant by Their Different Theological Language (Including a Latin Versus Greek “Language Barrier”), That They Were All “Aiming at the Same Meaning in Different Words” and Thus They All Shared the Identical Ancient Universal (Catholic) Christian Faith, and That Their Different Customs for Practically Expressing this Common Faith Were Valid (The Council Expressed its Exuberant Joy over this Healing of Christian Division)………………….. V.I p.119

The most deep and precise explanation of the primary Christian Mystery of the Trinity came out of this Ecumenical (worldwide) Council of all the Eastern and Western Christian Sister Churches, enriching all . V.I p.120

Catholic Christians Have Learned Much and Have Greatly Benefitted from Really Listening to the Concerns of Protestant Christians (And Borrowing Great Worship Music and Other Good Things from Protestants)……………….. V.I p.120

Protestant Christians Can Learn Much and Benefit Greatly from Really Listening to the Concerns of Catholic Christians (As They Have Already Benefitted Greatly from Borrowing the Orthodox New Testament and the Orthodox Christian Fundamental Interpretations of the Bible from the Catholic Church They Left)……………………. V.I p.122

The Protestant ‘Doctrinal Liberalism’ Which Has Ravaged the Traditional Orthodoxy of the Oldest and Largest Protestant “Mainline” Denominations Affects Only the Fringes of the Catholic Church, and Only Through Liberal Catholic Theologians (With No Authority to Compromise Catholic Dogma) Who Were Trained in Methods of Biblical Study Developed by Protestant Christians Working from Protestant Assumptions – Fundamentally Orthodox Protestant/Evangelical Christians Should Be Motivated to Dialogue with Catholic Christians to Learn Just What Catholic (And Orthodox) Churches Retain from the Undivided Early Church (Which Protestants Do Not) Which Makes Catholic and Orthodox Christian Churches Immune to the Worst Effects of the Protestant Doctrinal Liberalism Which Doubts or Denies Essentials of Christian Faith and Morality (Catholic Christians Should Also Be Motivated to Continue to Dialogue with Protestant Christians to Be Even More Enriched than They Have Already Been by the Protestant/Evangelical Churches Which Have less of a Problem with Nominalism than the Catholic Church Does – in Dialogue We Can Help Each Other) V.I p.123

Protestant Christians who really seek brotherly dialogue with knowledgeable Catholics will be surprised to learn, as I did as a Protestant, that the two areas of Catholic belief they object to most, once properly understood, actually do the most to protect the Catholic Church from Protestant ‘Doctrinal Liberalism’ and unorthodoxy, as I will demonstrate in Volumes II and III (V.I p.124); I have written this Three-Volume book as part of this process of respectful and loving dialogue between Catholic and non-Catholic Christians, but I would like to stress that in this dialogue I not only want to help my Protestant/Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters in Christ to never suffer the gradual loss of traditional Christian orthodoxy my own former Protestant denomination suffered, but I want them to share their great Christian strengths with my fellow Catholic Christians.  Though I am convinced Catholics can help Protestants with the particularly Protestant problem of doctrinal liberalism and unorthodoxy, I am also convinced that Protestants, especially those of Evangelical and Pentecostal flavor, can help the Catholic Church with its problem of nominalism which is not uniquely a Catholic problem but which is more noticeable in the Catholic Church than in other Christian denominations (V.I p.124)

The Historical Fact That All of the Christian Churches Which Still Hold to the above Essential Fundamentals of Christian Faith Either Still Belong to the Ancient but Ongoing Catholic Communion of Sister Churches, Eastern and Western (The Catholic Church in its 26 Already-Unified Eastern and Western Rites) or Once Did (The Eastern Orthodox and [Western] Conservative Protestant Churches), Means That a Reunification must Be Possible, as the Holy Spirit of God Continues to Fill Our Hearts with Love for All Our Christian Brothers and Sisters United in this above Faith and We Seek Forgiveness and Reconciliation for Our past Sins Against Each Other Due to Our Failures in Love (And as the Catholic Church Gradually Implements its Own Recent Reforms in Vatican II to Make Today’s Catholic Church Consciously and Visibly Much less Roman and More Truly Catholic (Universal) like the Undivided Early Catholic Church, Despite the Current Numerical Dominance of the Roman Church among the 26 Unified Sister Churches Which Together Make up Today’s Catholic Church)……………………… V.I p.125

once we truly seek to understand each other in Christian love, together we can surely come up with better, more precise, less easily misunderstood and more complementary expressions of the different  insights we have had while reflecting upon our common Christian faith within our different divided churches.  Indeed, this was the very process of the Ecumenical Councils of all the different Christian Sister Churches who were lovingly united in the same above faith that we are still united in, wherein disputes among Christians were settled with the aid of the Holy Spirit……………….. V.I p.126

We are meant to be One Body of Jesus Christ the only natural Son of God, one Family adopted by God His Father and indwelt by His Holy Spirit.  In what kind of family are all the siblings the same?  While differences among the Sister Churches have been used as excuses for divisions when the Eternal Love who binds the Family together was forgotten, we must recognize that in our different expressions of the above common faith is our strength and beauty.  The Sister Churches are like jewels in Jesus’ crown which is all the more magnificent because of their variety.  The many different orthodox Eastern and Western Christian spiritualities represented in different Rites and religious orders (and Protestant denominations) are like different flowers which together make a stunning bouquet……………………. V.I p.126

It will help us to work towards the goal of Jesus’ prayer for our unity when we see how Family Theology uses the entire text of the Bible to show how God in creating humanity specifically intended to bring about the Christian Church as it actually existed in early Christian history – as the New Covenant Catholic (Universal) Communion of Sister Churches, Jew and Gentile, Eastern and Western (collectively known as the Catholic Church) sharing a unity of Christian faith in a mutually enriching diversity of faith expressions (in theology and practice) which together more deeply illuminate the mysteries of God revealed in Jesus Christ far better than any one “Sister Church” could do alone…………………… V.I p.126

the early 20th Century Protestant Fundamentalist and Evangelical movements themselves (orthodox reactions to the huge doctrinally liberal/unorthodox trend in the Protestant “mainline” denominations) were subconscious and instinctive movements (led by the Holy Spirit) away from Protestantism and back towards that Catholic Church which in ancient times established the above essential fundamental orthodox Christian doctrines against a constant stream of heretical Bible interpretations such as those which have been newly considered or embraced by the oldest and largest Protestant “mainline” churches precisely because they are Protestant and not Catholic and therefore cannot be certain the early Catholic Church with its Councils of bishops and popes correctly identified the New Testament Canon and the fundamentals of traditional Christian faith…………………….. V.I p.127

All Christians who hold the above common Christian faith and who are absolutely sure that the Bible must be interpreted so as to yield these fundamentals are holding the Catholic faith and they belong in the Catholic Church as it was in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church – but the ongoing Catholic Church of today, while maintaining all of that Early Catholic Church’s essential qualities, has itself been wounded by many sins and failures of its human members in the Second Millennium including divisions and attitudes which hide its truly Catholic (Universal) nature, as discussed in Volume III.  All fundamentally orthodox Christians who are still divided from each other have historically and presently contributed to the unacceptable divisions in the Body of Christ the Church, we have all sinned against the unity of the Church which Jesus wanted from us. ………………………. V.I p.128

Those of us who remain in the ancient Catholic Communion of Sister Churches collectively known as the Catholic Church (the Catholic Church in its Eastern and Western Rites or Sister Churches), as well as those who left it at particular points in its history while maintaining its essential orthodox Catholic Christian faith (the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the conservative and Evangelical and Pentecostal Protestant churches), ALL bear responsibility for our divisions against the clearly expressed will of God, and ALL will have to make some changes to our current attitudes towards each other and our current ways of doing things and organizing ourselves if we are to heal our divisions for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the world who can only see Him clearly when we His Body are one as He prayed for (yet none of us will have to give up anything essential to our faith)………………… V.I p.128

When enough Catholic Christians, who are obligated to form their Christian understanding according to the Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, have the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II)’s teaching fully take root in their attitudes and the Catholic Church of today consciously restructures itself in accordance with the Council’s Holy-Spirit-led proclamations (which clearly defined the nature and structure of the Undivided Early Catholic Church), many of the barriers currently preventing orthodox but non-Catholic Christians from rejoining the ancient Catholic (Universal) Christian unity will disappear.  All this will be discussed in detail at the end of Volume III……………. V.I p.128

the Early Church Catholic Communion of Sister Churches who met in the Early Ecumenical Councils to formally establish the fundamentals of Christian orthodoxy shared a unity of Christian faith in a great diversity of faith expressions (in theology and practice) which allowed them to greatly enrich each other with their different insights – meaning all fundamentally orthodox Christians today are already much closer to Early Church-type Catholic unity than we usually realize, and we can already likewise enrich each other if we listen to each other in love. V.I p.128

We Should Be Trying to Consciously Re-Establish (Permanently) the Kind of Christian Unity the Undivided Early Church Lived Instinctively for Centuries Which it Lost Because it Never Consciously Defined the Nature of its Unity the Way the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II, 1962-5) Finally Did…………. V.I p.128

Chapter 7:  How the Unity in Diversity of the Undivided Early Church Was Lost in History, and How the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II) Laid the Groundwork for its Eventual Restoration

The Catholic Church’s Official Understanding of the Nature and Structure of the Church as the Mystery of the Body of Christ (see Ephesians 5:22-32) organized in the World as a Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Eastern and Western Christian Rites or Particular (Sister) Churches Pastorally Guided by the (Universal) Pope and the (Particular) Patriarchs, in the Words of Vatican II (the 21st Ecumenical Council)……………. V.I p.135

On The Nature of the Church………………. V.I p.135

On The Structure of the Church……………. V.I p.137

This Undivided Early Church model makes only a very few of the many differences between churches actual contradictions which are worthy of being separate over for now, and these few contradictions, on their own, can much more easily be worked out with time and patient Christian love……………………….. V.I p.138

I would like to note that all of the suggestions in this book towards Christian reunification are intended to help Christians come to think about unity like the Undivided Early Church lived it, in order to prepare us for our future reunification in the Holy Spirit’s love and timing.  For right now, Roman Catholic Christians, the current great majority of Catholic Christians (and by far the largest group of all Christians), will have to get used to these ideas as much as Protestant Christians will before reunification can happen, since the Catholic Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council, which laid the groundwork for real Christian reunification as in the Undivided Early Catholic Christian Church, is so recent, and its teaching has not yet filtered down thoroughly into the minds and hearts of the “average Roman Catholic.”………………………………… V.I p.139

One Body One Spirit:  God Already Treats Us as One Body Despite Our Current Divisions – the Holy Spirit Fell in Power at the Protestant Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas on New Year’s Eve, 1900, Beginning the Protestant Pentecostal Movement (Which Was Later Mainstreamed in Protestant and Catholic Churches as the Charismatic Movement) – on Exactly the Same Evening Pope Leo XIII Was at Mass in Rome Formally Dedicating the 20th Century to the Holy Spirit, after Leading Catholic Christians for Years to Pray for Exactly Such an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church (God Sent the Holy Spirit Initially on Protestant Christians in Response to Catholic Christian Prayer Because Despite Our Divisions We Are One Body of the Redeemed in Christ)………………………………………………………………….. V.I p.139

Unity in Visible Love for Each Other on the Basis of Our Vast Common Faith (In the Light of Which Each Church Understands its Different Secondary Doctrines) Even While Our Formal Divisions Remain  for the Sake of the Christian Mission to the World must Be Our First Goal; but Long-term Structural Christian Reunification Is Also Truly Possible Through Our Gradually Consciously Restructuring Ourselves According to the Model of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity in the Loving Power of the Holy Spirit………………… V.I p.139

What I Am Advocating Is a Church That Is Both Truly Catholic and Truly Reformed – a Catholic Church Genuinely Reformed According to the Undivided Early Catholic Church Model – Meaning (Though it Will Take Much Time to Work out the Details) Both Catholics and Orthodox Non-Catholics including Reformers/Protestants Should Be Comfortable in it – and the Reform I Propose Is Already Called and Prepared for by the Catholic Church’s Highest Authority in its 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II)………………………….. V.I p.139

As Protestant Pastor Turned Catholic Scholar Scott Hahn Wrote, “In the Writings of the Early [Christian Church] Fathers … I Ran Smack up Against a Church I Could Only Recognize as Catholic.  It Was Liturgical, Hierarchical, Sacramental.  It Was Catholic, and Yet it Held All That I Loved about the Reformation Tradition Too: a Deep Devotion to Jesus, a Spontaneous Life of Prayer, a Zeal to Transform the Culture, And, of Course, a Burning Love for Scripture” – So it must Be Possible to Genuinely Reform the Catholic Church According to the Undivided Early Catholic Church Model for Reformers and Catholics to Once Again Belong to One Church …………. V.I p.140

The Catholic Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II, 1962-5) Already Laid the Groundwork for the True Re-Formation of the Undivided First Millennium Catholic Church’s Instinctively-lived Loving Unity in Diversity, but the Council’s Teaching Has Not Yet Settled Deeply into the Minds and Hearts of Most Catholic Christians, Which it must Before this Ecumenical Council Can Bear the Fruit of Christian Reunification.    This Book (Especially Volume III) Is Meant to Help Catholic Readers Come to Fully Understand, Accept and Appreciate the Council’s Holy Spirit-led Teaching as They Are Already Obligated to Do as Good Catholics.  This Book Is Also Meant to Help Non-Catholic Christians Understand the Wonderful Official Teaching of Vatican II Towards Christian Reunification So They Can Hold Catholic Christians Accountable to it and Thus Participate in the True Re-Formation of the Catholic Church as in its First Millennium of Undivided Christian Unity …………………… V.I p.140

The Undivided Early Church Called Itself the Catholic Church and it Had All the Essential Features of Today’s Catholic Church Including Those Which Have Been Hidden by the Long Numerical Dominance of the Roman Rite Within the Catholic Church, Elements Which Need to Be Made More Prominent as the Catholic Church Reforms Itself According to its Own Vatican Council II.  Eastern Orthodox and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christians Show Themselves to Be “Catholic at Heart,” Belonging in Heart Already to the Ancient Catholic Christian Communion of Sister Churches, Because They Act like Catholics Where it Matters Most – They Unquestioningly Accept the Traditional Fundamentals of Orthodox Christianity Which Are the Official Catholic Interpretation of the Traditional New Testament Which Is the Official Catholic List of the New Testament Books.  Doctrinally Liberal Protestant Christians Act like Real Protestants and Are Thus Uncertain of Which Portions of the New Testament Are Actually Scriptural and Authoritative over Them and Are Uncertain of the Traditional Fundamentals of Christianity Because Both of These Were Early Matters of Major Christian Disputes Which Were Officially Settled for All Time by the Catholic Church.  The Creedal “Statements of Faith” of Conservative/Evangelical/Pentecostal Protestant Churches in Fact Represent NOT “The Bible Alone” but Also Conserve and Pass on the Catholic Sacred Tradition as Officially Clarified by the Early Catholic Magisterium of Just What the New Testament Is and Just How it must Be Fundamentally Interpreted, Whereas Doctrinally Liberal or Unorthodox Protestant Christians Are Unsure of or Reject the Traditional Bible Canon or the Traditional Christian Fundamentals Because They Are “Protestant at Heart” and They Naturally and Logically Protest Against Anything Settled by the Catholic Church’s Authority as the Living Body of Christ and “Pillar and Foundation of the Truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), an Authority Which the Protestant Reformation Rejected         V.I p.140

The Protestant Reformers Reformed but in Protest and Succeeded in Further Deforming the Ancient (Catholic) Christian Church by Shattering its Ancient Unity and Losing Firm Grip on its Ancient Orthodoxy; I Ask Fundamentally Orthodox (Therefore “Catholic at Heart”) Protestant Christians Now to Help Us Catholic Christians to Truly Reform the Catholic Church According to the Model of the Undivided Early Catholic Church Communion of All Orthodox Christians, as Our Own Catholic 21st Ecumenical Council Has Called Us to do……….. V.I p.141

Introduction to Volumes II and III
Volume II Explains Catholic Mariology as the Logical Result of Long and Sustained Christian Reflection upon the Fundamental Christian Belief in the Incarnation of God the Eternal Son in Jesus Christ, “Fully God and Fully Man,” though Mary’s Virgin Birth, Which Protected the Incarnation from the Heretics in the First Millennium; Volume III Discusses in Detail How Looking Closely at the Undivided Early Church’s History it Is Undisputable That the Pope Had an Integral Role in the Undivided Early Church Which Cannot Be Denigrated or Ignored Without Putting the Essential Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy Themselves in Jeopardy; My Conviction Is That Once Orthodox Protestants Truly Understand the Catholic Church’s Mary and Papacy Beliefs and How They Are Not Only Compatible with the Common Christian Fundamentals but Actually Support and Protect Them, and Are in Fact the Very Reason Catholic Christianity Does Not Have the Major Problem Protestant Christianity Does of “Doctrinal Liberalism” and Unorthodoxy, Orthodox Protestants Will No Longer Find These Catholic Beliefs Offensive and Will Be Willing to Truly Dialogue with Catholic Christians about Them So That Together We Can Come to Mutually Agreed-on Resolutions to Our Current Disputes
………………. V.I p.141

The Catholic Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II) Which Recently and for the First Time in an Ecumenical Council of the Church Clearly Defined the Nature and Structure of the Ancient Undivided Early Church (Which Has Tremendous Implications for the Eventual Re-establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity), Officially Recognizes the Holy Spirit as the Source of the Church’s Unity and “Places its Hope [For Reunification] Entirely in the Prayer of Christ for the Church, in the Love of the Father for Us, and in the Power of the Holy Spirit”……………….. V.I p.141

 Volume II (For Understanding Our Differences Concerning Mary)

Who is Mary in the Church ?

 

Understanding Highly Developed Catholic Mariology and the Mediatrix of All Graces Doctrine:
Linking Christ the Head to His Body the Church Through Mary, First Believer in Jesus and First Member of the Body

 

Forward:  This Book Intends to Aid Christian Unity by Helping All Christians to Truly Understand Each Other’s Different Perspectives on Mary, in Terms of the Common Christian Fundamentals

 

The Common Creed of Christianity:  The Great Common Faith of Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christianity (and “Messianic Judaism”) Which is the Basis for Christian Unity

  

Understanding the Protestant Perspective on Mary…………….. V.II p.3

Mother Teresa’s Simple but Powerful Explanation of Mary’s Importance to Christianity Which Justifies the Catholic and Orthodox Churches’ Theological Preoccupation with Mary: “No Mary; No Jesus
(God the Eternal Son, Second Person of the Eternal Holy Trinity, Is Not Incarnate [Enfleshed] in a Truly Human Nature for Human Salvation Without Mary His Human Mother)…………………….. V.II p.4

Understanding the Eastern Orthodox Perspective on Mary…………………. V.II p.4

The 1854 and 1950 Papal Catholic Dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary Were Simply Formal Dogmatic Clarifications of Undivided Early Church Doctrines Held by the Same Early Orthodox Christians of East and West Who Helped Define the Common Christian Fundamentals Against Early Heretics in the Early Ecumenical Councils …………………………. V.II p.7

Understanding the Catholic Perspective on Mary:
This Book Explains the Highly Developed Marian Doctrine of the Catholic Church in Terms Which Address the Concerns of Non-Catholic Christians
.. V.II p.8

To Protestant readers…………………. V.II p.8

To Eastern Orthodox readers………….. V.II p.9

To Catholic readers……………………….V.II p.10

Vatican Council II Required All Catholic Christians to Participate in the Restoration of Christian Unity and Gave Guidelines Towards this Goal Concerning Mary Which this Book Will Help Catholic Christians to Live By………………………… V.II p.10

Confirmation That this Book Accurately Presents the Catholic Church’s Understanding of Mary

Introduction

Chapter 1:  Marian Doctrine in General Flows from Christian Reflection upon the Incarnation (Enfleshment) of God the Son in Jesus Christ Through Mary’s Virgin Birth

1 Timothy 2:1-8 – Christ Is the “One Mediator” Who Mediates Through the Prayers of His Body the Church (Including Mary)…………… V.II p.16

Mariology Is Simply an Appendix to Christology Which Supports the Essential Christian Doctrines about Christ……….. V.II p.17

How and Why the Protestant Rejection of Catholic Mariology Which Supports Christology Has Contributed to Protestant “Doctrinal Liberalism” (Which Doubts or Rejects the Fundamentals about Christ) in the Oldest and Largest Protestant “Mainline” Churches, and Has Contributed to a Generally Shallow Protestant Grasp of the Incarnation Compared to That of the Undivided Early Church……………………….. V.II p.17

The Bible Portrays Mary as the First Believer in Jesus and a Model of Christian Discipleship ………………. V.II p.24

Jesus Never Denigrated His Natural Mother and First Spiritual Disciple but Always Included Other Christian Disciples with Her in His Spiritual Family Whenever People Called Attention to His Natural Mother, as in Luke 11:28…………… V.II p.24

The Extent of Jesus’ Natural Family: the Universal Early Church Tradition of Mary as “Ever-Virgin,” Retained by the Major Protestant Reformers in Accordance with the Original Greek New Testament…………… V.II p.25

In Catholic Mariology Mary the First Christian Simply Goes Before Us to Every Place All Christians Go…………….. V.II p.26

The Immaculate Conception Means Mary is the First Christian Saved and Purified by Jesus……………. V.II p.27

The Assumption (or Dormition) means Mary is the First Christian Glorified Body and Soul in Heaven by Jesus……………… V.II p.30

The Assumption is Logically Necessitated by the Immaculate Conception…………………. V.II p.30

The Immaculate Conception is Logically Necessitated by the Incarnation…….. V.II p.30

Kecharitomene (Κεχαριτωμενη), the Remarkable Greek Title with Which the Angel Addresses Mary, Implies the Immaculate Conception……………………… V.II p.34

The Early Christians Who Defended the True Faith Against the Arian Heretics Believed in the Immaculate Conception ……………………… V.II p.34

The Greatest Theologians of the Undivided Early Church, Including Saint Augustine,  Believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary…………………………….. V.II p.35

The Early Church Adopted the Term Theokotos or “Mother of God” for Mary (In Close Paraphrase of Luke 1:43) Specifically to Defend the True Divinity of Christ Her Son Against the Heretics…………. V.II p.36

Conclusion: Catholic Marian Doctrine Indeed Flows Directly from the Church’s Reflection upon the Incarnation of God the Son in Jesus Christ…………. V.II p.36

Chapter 2:  The Mystical Body of Christ – The Extension of the Incarnation in Us, the Church

The “Profound Mystery” (Ephesians 5:32) of the Church as Christ’s Very Body…… V.II p.38

Colossians 1:24 – the True Body of Christ the Church Even “Completes What Is Lacking in the Afflictions  of Christ”…………………… V.II p.42

We are God’s “Co-Workers”  (1 Corinthians 3:9) as the Body of His Son……. V.II p.42

Colossians 1:24 Is Necessary to a Truly Biblical Theology of the Church… V.II p.44

Saint Augustine Said that Christ the Head and His Body the Church Together Make up “The Whole Christ,” and that Mary Is Mother of Both…………………….. V.II p.45

It Is Because the Church Is the Body of Christ Himself That the Bible Calls the Church “The Pillar and Foundation of the Truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) and Only Therefore Can the Fundamentals of Christianity Declared by the Church at the Early Ecumenical Councils Be Trusted…… V.II p.45

Most of the Objections Protestant Christians Have to Catholic and Orthodox Belief and Practice Disappear as Soon as Protestants Really Grasp the Mystery Revealed in the Bible That the Church Really Is the Body of Christ Through Which Christ the Head Still Physically and Visibly Interacts with Humanity (Meaning the Church His Body Cannot Get “In Between” Christ and People as Protestants Fear but Is Christ Ministering to People Through His Body) …………………………… V.II p.47

Chapter 3:  Mary’s Role in the Church Is That of First Member and Model of the Body of Christ (the Church) – The Member Who Goes before Us Every Place We Go

 

Mary Is Simply the First Christian Saved, Purified, Glorified, and Crowned by Christ (As All Christians Will Be) and the First Christian Co-redeemer and Co-mediator with Christ as a Member of His Body……………….. V.II p.49

The Only Differences Between Mary the First Member and All the Other Members of the Body of Christ the Church Are Related to Mary’s Unique Relationship with Christ as His True Mother and Source of His Human Nature in the Mystery of the Incarnation………………. V.II p.49

General Rule: All That Is True of Christ Is True (By Participation) of His Body the Church, and Uniquely True of Mary the First Member of the Church Because of Her Unique Relationship with Christ as His Mother……………………….. V.II p.51

Chapter 4:  One Consequence of Mary’s Position in the Body of Christ the Church Is Being Channel or Mediatrix of All Graces Which Flow from Christ the Head into the Body

The Ongoing Mediation of Mary (And All Members of the Body of Christ the Church)………………. V.II p.53

Mary, the Only Christian as Yet Glorified Both Body and Soul in Heaven Due to Her Assumption (Which Is Necessitated by Her Immaculate Conception Which Is Necessitated by Her Role in the Incarnation), Lives Most Fully the Life of the Holy Spirit Which Indwells All Christians………………. V.II p.55

Even this Most Exalted Title Catholic Christians Attribute to Mary Is Merely a Function of the Church as the Body of Christ, a Function Shared by All Christians………………. V.II p.56

The Flow of Grace to and Through the Body of Christ……………………………….. V.II p.58

Chapter 5:  Mary in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation 

Mary as the Mediating “Queen of Heaven” in the Bible:
The Earthly Davidic Kingdom of Israel Prefigures the Heavenly Kingdom of the New Israel Ruled by the Messianic Son of David, Jesus Christ – and the Davidic Queens Were Always the Mother of the Reigning King, Who Shared His Reign Through Mediating for His People ………………. V.II p.60

The Angel Gabriel Specifically Announces the Fulfillment of the Promised Messianic Davidic Kingdom in Jesus the King, Son of Mary, Which Makes Mary the Queen ……………… V.II p.64

Several Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament Are about Both Jesus and Mary, the King and Queen of the Promised Messianic Davidic Kingdom……. V.II p.64

Elizabeth in Luke 1:43 Greeted Mary with a Greek Term Equivalent to the Hebrew Title of the Davidic Queens…………… V.II p.65

The Mother of the Messiah (Mary!) Crowned Queen Appears in the Bible in Revelation 12 ……………. V.II p.66

The Apostle John’s Rich Testimony of His Mother in Christ, Mary (John 19:27)….. V.II p.67

The Repeating Biblical Image of “The Woman” Who Is Always the Mother of the Messiah, Which John Uses Explicitly of Mary the Mother of Jesus, Shows Mary Is in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation ………………. V.II p.68

Mary “The Ark of the New Covenant” in the Bible, Bearing the Presence of God…. V.II p.69

Both Luke and John in the Bible Parallel Mary with the Ark of the Covenant… V.II p.70

Mary’s Ark-like Role as Theokotos (God-bearer or Mother of God) Was Declared in the 3rd Ecumenical Council of the Undivided Early Christian Church in Support of the Divinity of Jesus Against the Heretics…………………. V.II p.70

The next Chapter Applies What We Have Learned about the Body of Christ the Church Through Considering the Scriptures and Through Considering Mary the Mother of Christ and First Member of His Body to the Actual Early History of That Body of Christ the Church …………….. V.II p.71

Chapter 6:  The History of the Early Ecumenical Councils and Their Pronouncements of the Fundamental Christian Truths about Jesus Against Many Heretical Christians Is the History of the Living Body of Christ the Church Living its Life on Earth in Communion with Christ the Head and Animated by His Holy Spirit in Order to Indeed Be “The Pillar and Foundation of the Truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), Such That Traditional, Orthodox Christianity Is Inseparable from Church Authority

 

Currently Divided Catholic And Orthodox and Protestant/Evangelical Christians Can Also Discuss Their Different Views on Church Authority in Brotherly Love on the Basis of Their Vast Commonly-Held Christian Faith………………….. V.II p.72

The Catholic View of Church Authority:
The Stable “Tripod of Truth” of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium ……………….. V.II p.73

The Protestant View of Church Authority:
The Bible Alone is Authoritative ………………… V.II p.74

Loving Ecumenical Dialogue Between Divided Christians United in Common Fundamentals Includes Sharing Our Concerns about Other Christians’ Secondary Doctrines and Practices We Do Not Share in Non-Accusatory Ways (Towards Eventually Finding Common Solutions to Current Disputes) V.II p.74

Any Future Reunion of the Currently Divided Fundamentally Orthodox Christian Churches (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) to Fulfill Jesus’ Prayer for Our Unity Should Be Based on the Early Church’s Unity in Diversity So That Nothing Good That Each Church Has Is Lost……………………….. V.II p.75

As Protestant Christians Have Several Concerns about the Catholic Marian Doctrines and Practices Which this Book Addresses Without Taking Offense at Them, So Catholic Christians Have Concerns That Protestant Sola Scriptura (“Bible Alone”) Doctrine Is the Very Root of the Widespread Protestant Doctrinal Liberalism and Unorthodoxy in the Oldest and Largest Protestant “Mainline” Denominations Which Is Not a Catholic Problem…………………………… V.II p.76

Through the Holy Spirit’s Nudging and Through Listening to Each Other Protestant and Catholic Christians Are Already Much Closer to Each Other’s Perspectives than They Were in the 16th Century When They Parted, Including a Common Recognition of the Primacy of the Bible to Christian Faith Despite Different Views on the Extent of Church Authority…………. V.II p.79

As an Evangelical Protestant I Discovered That since I Was Absolutely Certain of the Traditional Bible Interpretations Declared to Be the Basic Fundamental Tenets of Christian Faith at the Early Ecumenical Councils of the Early Catholic (Universal) Church’s Magisterium, I Was “Catholic at Heart” Already………………….. V.II p.80

The Very Catholic History of the Early Councils of the Living Body of Christ the Church Which First Clearly Articulated the Common Fundamentals of Christianity and the Canon of the Bible Itself …………………. V.II p.83

The Living Body of Christ the Church Lived its Life for Centuries and Authoritatively Defined its Faith in the Divinity of Jesus and the Trinity (Against Heretics) Before the Canon of the Bible (“Alone”) Was Finalized by the Same (Catholic) Church
……………… V.II p.83

The Series of Ecumenical Councils of Catholic Bishops and Popes of the Undivided Early Church Which Were Necessary to Permanently Establish the True Incarnation of Jesus Christ, “Fully God and Fully Man,” Against Heretical Bible Interpretations
………….. V.II p.85

Luther and the Protestant Reformers Inherited the Clearly Articulated Fundamentals of Christian Faith from the Catholic Church They Left Without Having Taken Part in the Very Catholic Process by Which They Were Articulated………… V.II p.88

Luther and the Protestant Reformers Had No Realistic Concept of the Early Church Controversies over Bible Interpretation Which Meant the Fundamentals of Christianity Are Not “Obvious from the Scripture Alone” Such That the Church’s Authority (As the Living Body of Christ) Can Be Dispensed With …………… V.II p.89

Luther and the Protestant Reformers (All Raised Catholic) Were Unconscious of the “Lens in Their Eye” of Catholic Sacred Tradition Which Made the Traditional Christian Fundamentals Only Seem “Obvious from Scripture Alone”……………………………………………………………………………………… V.II p.90

Later Protestant Christians Who Were Raised Protestant and Not Raised Catholic like Luther and the Original Reformers Gradually Lost Their Grip on Fundamental Christian Orthodoxy, Becoming “Doctrinally Liberal,” as the Logical Ultimate Result of Luther’s “Bible Alone” Doctrine Which Rejects the Church as the Living Body of Christ with Authority to Settle Christian Disputes over Bible Canon and Bible Interpretation……….. V.II p.90

The Church as the Living Body of Christ like Any Living Body Has Had to “Grow Up” as God’s Child and Learn How to Be the Church and “Pillar and Foundation of the Truth”  – the Undivided Early Church Learned That Sacred Tradition and Magisterium Were Necessary for the Long-Term Maintenance of Life-Changing Basic Christian Orthodoxy and the Church Is Still Learning How to Be Most True to Itself Today…………….. V.II p.92

Chapter 6 Conclusion

I Express My Catholic Concerns about Protestant “Bible Alone” Doctrine Leading Logically and Naturally to Protestant “Doctrinal Liberalism” and Unorthodoxy in the Hopes That it Will Help Orthodox (Therefore Already “Catholic at Heart”) Protestant Christians to Seek Christian Reunion with the Catholic Church as the Only Way to Guarantee Long-term Fundamental Orthodoxy – yet Not by Simply Rejoining the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church They Left but Rather in Their Own New Reunified “Sister Churches” in the Ancient Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches (See Volume I), since the Gifts Which God Has Placed in Every Fundamentally Orthodox Christian Church Which He Uses as His Instruments of Salvation in the World (Whether Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic) Should Properly Enrich the Entire Universal (Catholic) Church…………….. V.II p.93

Chapter 7:  Final Considerations of the Development of the Mediatrix of All Graces Doctrine and the Development of Christian Doctrine and Dogma Generally

The Development of the Later Catholic Doctrines and Dogmas Are a Continuation of the Same Living Process of the Living Body of Christ the Church Growing Deeper in its Understanding of Divine Revelation by Which the Fundamental Doctrines or Dogmas of Christianity Were Developed……………………. V.II p.96

The Very Same Ancient Catholic Church Authority Which Identified, Clarified and Dogmatized the Common Fundamental Doctrines of Christianity Has Identified, Clarified and Dogmatized Certain Catholic Marian and Papal Doctrines, and this Is Why Protestant Christians So Often Reject Both the Later Catholic Dogmas and the Earlier Christian Fundamentals…………. V.II p.98

Currently Conservative and Fundamentally Orthodox Protestant Churches Attempt to Hold onto the Ancient Catholic and Christian Fundamental Dogmas While Rejecting the Newer Catholic Dogmas,  but Cannot Logically Justify this on the Basis of “The Bible Alone” and So They Remain Vulnerable in the Long Term to the Doctrinal Liberalism and Unorthodoxy Which Has Already Claimed Other Formerly Orthodox Protestant Churches………… V.II p.99

As a Former Evangelical Protestant Christian I was already “Catholic at Heart” and So I Lost Nothing Essential to My Vibrant Conservative Evangelicalism but My Fundamental Evangelical Faith Was Enhanced and Fulfilled by My Becoming Catholic
…………….. V.II p.100

In the Mystery of the Incarnation the Holy Spirit-Animated Body of Christ the Church Shares in the Both Merely Human and Yet Also Divine Mystery of Jesus Christ its Head …………. V.II p.101

Understanding the Tradition and Magisterium of the Living Bride and Body of Jesus Christ, the Church, Which Together Guarantee the Orthodox Interpretation of the Bible…………….. V.II p.101

Understanding the Catholic Dogma of Papal Infallibility, Which Helps Guarantee the Maintenance of Traditional Christian Orthodoxy Through All Eras of History…………………. V.II p.102

The Development of Doctrine and Dogma………..V.II p.104

The Early Christian Church’s Basic Christology and the Papacy Developed at the Same Time and Are Closely Linked………….. V.II p.104

In Christian History Many Theological Ideas Take Centuries of Christian Reflection and Practice to Develop into Their Mature Form Where Their Full Logical Implications Are Clearly Seen, So as to Be Recognized as Leading Closer to the Core of Christian Faith (And Possibly Worthy of Dogmatization as an Essential Part of Christian Faith) or Recognized as Leading Farther Away from the Core of Christian Faith (And Possibly Worthy of Condemnation as a Heresy)…………. V.II p.106

The Catholic Marian Doctrines Lead Closer to the Core of Christian Faith Because They Are the Development of the Original Idea of the Incarnation of God the Son in Jesus Christ Through Mary’s Virgin Birth, and They Lead Christians Deeper into the Mystery of Jesus the God-Man……………. V.II p.106

Protestant “Bible Alone” Doctrine Leads Farther Away from the Core of Christian Faith Because it Is an Idea First Proposed in the Early Church by the Arian Heretics and as with Them it Logically Leads Protestants to “Liberal” Uncertainty about the Traditional Fundamental Tenets of Christianity Which Are Not from the Bible Alone but from the Bible as Interpreted by the Living Sacred Tradition of the Living Church and as Clarified by the Magisterium of Overseer/Bishops, Patriarchs and Popes at the Early Ecumenical Councils of the Living Body of Christ the Church……………. V.II p.107

Conclusion: Understanding Mary, the First Believer in Jesus and the First Member of the Body of Christ the Church, Is Key for Believers in Jesus to Fully Understand Their Own Role as Christians, and Their Own Great Dignity as Members of That Body of Which Christ Jesus Is the Head……………… V.II p.109

Author’s Note:   On the Ecumenically Fruitful Re-Framing of the Mediatrix of All Graces Doctrine as a Special Function of the Roles Shared by All Christians as Part of the Body of Christ the Church

Volume II Appendix I:  Deciphering the “Language Barrier” Which Causes Unnecessary Misunderstandings Between Protestant and Catholic Christians Concerning the Marian Doctrines and “The Communion of Saints” (And Purgatory, Which Evangelicals Believe in but Call by Another Name)

Overcoming the “Language Barrier” by Listening in Love:
 Many of Our Perceived Differences Are Actually Common Faith Expressed Differently
A Case Study: Evangelicals Believe in Purgatory but Call it by Another Name …………………….. V.II p.113

Many of Our Actual Differences Are of a Nature Which Was Not Cause for Division in the Undivided Early Church: Differences in Theology Are Not Differences in Faith, and Are Often Mutually Enriching.. V.II p.116

The Language Barrier – Many of Our Perceived Differences Come from Catholic and Protestant Christians Meaning Different Things by the Same Words, since the Catholic Church Is Older than All Modern Languages and Often Uses the Older Meanings or Latin and Greek Root Word Meanings of Words………… V.II p.125

The “Great Cloud of Witnesses” Who “Surround” Us (Hebrews 12:1) or the “Communion of Saints” from the Ancient Apostles’ Creed…………….. V.II p.127

Since “Death Has No Sting” for Christians, the Christians Who Make up the One Body of Christ the Church Pray for One Another Whether They Are Still on Earth or Already in Heaven………………… V.II p.127

The Canonized Saints Are Our Older Brothers and Sisters in Christ Who Achieved Great Maturity in God’s Love and Serve as Good Role Models for Us Younger Christians Who Want to Do the Same V.II p.130

How the English Language Has Changed Over the Centuries Causing a “Language Barrier” Which Greatly Exaggerates the Appearance of Differences Between Protestant and Catholic Christians……………. V.II p.131

On the Use of Images or Icons by Christians – “Family Pictures” of Our Adopted Family the Church ………………….. V.II p.134

The Use of Icons In Religious Worship is in the Bible and is Clearly Distinct from Idolatry ………………… V.II p.138

In the Bible God Commanded That Images/Icons Be Made and Used in Israelite Worship Without Violating the Ten Commandments…………… V.II p.139

The Needless Confusion and Disunity Caused by the Two Different Traditional Ways Jews & Christians Have Arranged Exodus 20:2-17 into Ten Commandments………………………….. V.II p.141

The fact that this whole confusion is innocently caused by there simply being two different traditional ways to separate the many clauses of Exodus 20:2-17 into only Ten Commandments is an example of how pure and simple ignorance without any brotherly Christian love to motivate one to overcome one’s ignorance is behind so many of the accusations between Protestant and Catholic Christians which keeps the Church of Jesus Christ divided (V.II p.145)

The Hebrew Word Satan Means Accuser, So When Christians Accuse Each Other of Being Wrong for Being Different Instead of Seeking (In Brotherly Love) to Understand How Our Differences Are Related to Our Vast Common Faith, We Show the World Satan Instead of Showing the World Jesus ……………………. V.II p.145

Jesus’ prayer for Christian unity “so that the world may believe” when it sees our “love for one another” will never be granted (for the world’s great benefit!) until we as members of the Body of Christ the Church cultivate an attitude of loving and patient listening to our various separated brothers and sisters in Christ, giving them the benefit of the doubt whenever we have a hard time understanding their different perspective (V.II p.145)

The Honor and Use of Relics – a Biblical and Early Church Practice Continued in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches …………. V.II p.147

Instrumentality:  the Saints Are God’s Instruments and God Is Not Afraid (As Protestants Often Are) That Honor Paid to the Saints for Holiness or Miracles Will Take Anything Away from the Glory Due to God Who Empowered Them to Live Holy Lives or Who Worked the Miracle Through His Human Instruments: Rather God Is Confident That Those Who See Their Good Works (Including Miracles) Will Glorify Their Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16)……………………. V.II p.147

Relics Were Very Important to Christians since the Heroic Age of the Early Persecuted Church…………………………………………………………. V.II p.148

Relics Are a Tangible and Vivid Reminder of That the Church Is the Body of Christ and the Spiritual Family of Christ…………………………. V.II p.149

Volume II Appendix II:  Sharing Catholic Concerns About Protestant Beliefs:  Luther’s Precedents for Today’s Protestant Christians Who Question the Canon of the Bible

 

As a Full Expression of Ecumenism, this Book Both: 1. Takes Seriously the Concerns of Protestant Christians and Explains the Catholic Beliefs Protestant Christians Are Most Concerned about in Terms of Our Common Christian Fundamentals;  and 2. Shares the Concerns Catholic Christians Have about Protestant Beliefs in the Hopes That They Will Likewise Seriously Consider and Explore These Concerns of Fellow Christians Already United in Vast Common Faith; This Is the Only Way We Can Together Eventually Work out Common Resolutions to Our Current Disputes, Towards the Christian Unity Jesus Prayed for. V.II p.151

My Disturbing Discovery That the 35,000 Different Protestant/Evangelical Denominations of Today Come from Individual Protestants Following Luther’s  Precedent Which Effectively Boils down to “My Interpretation of Scripture Is My Only Authority” ………………. V.II p.152

The Contradiction at the Heart of Protestantism: Luther Refused to Make His Doctrine According to His Own Principle of “The Bible Alone” but Declared the Bible’s Book of James to Be Inferior and Ultimately Not Binding on His Christian Faith Because it Directly Contradicted His Doctrine of “Justification by Faith Alone” – and like Luther Different Protestant Churches Typically Seek Different “Proof-texts” for Their Different Contradictory Doctrines Instead of Seriously Seeking a Doctrine That Incorporates Everything the Bible Testifies So as to Truly Respect the Whole Bible as the Inspired Word of God (This Is Why Protestants Who Become Catholic Often Say ‘The Bible Made Me Do It’)………………….. V.II p.152

The Much More Scriptural Catholic Formulation for Justification:   We Are Justified by God’s Grace Alone, Through “Faith Working in Love” (Galatians 5:6).. V.II p.154

The Principles Regarding Authority and Scripture Which Consciously or Unconsciously Underlie All Protestantism as a Basic Foundation Cannot Be Drawn from Scripture Alone ………………….. V.II p.155

The Canon of Scripture Itself Cannot Be Drawn from Scripture Alone, but Is a Product of  the Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Living Body of Christ the Church………………. V.II p.157

The Formation of the New Testament Canon (Fixed 367-405 AD by the Catholic Magisterium of Overseer/Bishops, Patriarchs and Pope in Apostolic Succession as a Function of the “Profound Mystery” [Ephesians 5:32] of the Church as the Very Body of Christ and “Pillar and Foundation of the Truth” [1 Timothy 3:15])……………………. V.II p.157

Saint Athanasius, the Greatest Defender of the Divinity of Jesus Against the Arian Heretics, and the Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria Who in 367 AD First Collected Together the 27 Books All Christians Today Know as The New Testament, Did Not Believe in the Bible Alone but Also in the Tradition and Magisterium of the Catholic Church ………….. V.II p.160

The Formation of the Old Testament Canon (Fixed in the Palestinian Form Protestants Use by the Anti-Christian Jews of 90 AD; the Septuagint Form Catholics Use Was Consistently Used by the Early Christian Church and Endorsed When the New Testament Canon Was Fixed). V.II p.161

 

Volume II Appendix III:  Baptiste’s Version of Saint Louis De Montfort’s ‘Consecration to Jesus Through Mary’The “Crown” of the Catholic Church’s Marian Devotion in a Theologically Precise and Ecumenically Sensitive Format Which Should Be Unoffensive to Protestant Christians and Which May Draw Them (and Catholic Christians) Deeper into the Holy Mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Body of Christ the Church

Volume III (For Understanding Our Differences Concerning the Papacy)

 

The Papacy and Christian Unity in Diversity

 

The Pope Was the Historic Guarantor of Christian Unity and Orthodoxy in the First Christian Millennium of the Undivided Early Church:

 

The Ancient Eastern Orthodox Tradition from the Beginning Recognized the Papacy and Was Through it Part of the Undivided Early Church’s Universal (Catholic) Communion of Different Orthodox Eastern and Western Christian Sister Churches Collectively Known as the Catholic Church, Celebrating Christianity Differently while Unified in Orthodox Christian Faith Against Many Early Christian Heretics

 

Introduction 

 

Sharing the Catholic Understanding of the Papacy as Part of the Mutual Loving Dialogue Between Currently Divided Christian Churches Together Seeking the Unity Jesus Prayed for …………. V.III p.2

Introduction to Volume III’s Chapters 4 and 5 Which Share in Ecumenical Spirit What I Have Come to Learn and Understand about the Undivided Early Church’s Papacy and about its Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Eastern and Western “Sister” Churches Which Gather Around the Pope as Their Head Pastor, Which I Share for the Benefit of the Non-Catholic Christian Churches Which May Find in the Papacy Understood this Way the Solution to Their Substantial Problems with Unity and Orthodoxy Which the Catholic Christian Communion Does Not Have …………. V.III p.4

Introduction to the Later Volume III Chapters Which Discuss the Historical Reasons Behind the Second Millennium “Over-Romanization” of the Catholic or Universal (Not Just Roman) Church and How this Problem (Which Has Made the Early Church Unity in Diversity Which Continues in Today’s Catholic Church Harder to See) Has Been Solved in Principle by Vatican Council II’s Dogmatic Teaching on the Church Which Is Still in the Process of Being Implemented in the Minds and Hearts of Today’s Majority Roman Rite Catholics (These Chapters also Discuss How the Future Full Implementation of Vatican II in the Huge Roman Rite of the Catholic Church Will Bode Well for the Eventual Reestablishment of the Lost Unity in Diversity of the Undivided Early Church)…………. V.III p.5

Chapter 1: The Unity in Diversity of the Undivided Early Church

The Great Common Faith of Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christianity Which is the Basis for Restored Christian Unity in Diversity ………… V.III p.8

The Undivided Early Church Called Itself the Catholic Church Because it Was a Catholic (Greek for Universal) Communion of Orthodox Christian “Sister Churches” United Against the Unorthodox Heretics in Common Saving Christian Faith ………… V.III p.9

Chapter 2: The Papacy was an Integral Part of the Undivided Early Church of East and West and of its Establishment of Fundamental Christian Orthodoxy

Sharing the Catholic Understanding of the Papacy as Part of the Mutual Loving Dialogue Between Currently Divided Christian Churches Together Seeking the Unity Jesus Prayed for ………………. V.III p.15

Catholic Christians Understand the Papacy as the Holy-Spirit-Given Office of Unity and Orthodoxy in the Christian Church, and That the Protestant and Eastern (Orthodox or “Lesser”) Churches Have Serious Problems with Either Their Unity or with Their Basic Orthodoxy (Which the Catholic Church Does Not Have) Specifically Because They Did Not Maintain Belief in the Papacy… V.III p.16

Chapter 3: The Catholic Church in its 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II) Has Officially Become a Leader in Ecumenism and Formally Recognizes Non-Catholic Christians “With Respect and Affection as Brothers” Even Though They Are Outside the Catholic Church’s Ancient and Vast Christian Communion

Major Ecumenical Milestones of the Holy Spirit Slowly and Patiently Leading the Divided Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic Churches Back Together in Fulfilment of Jesus’ Prayer for Unity in His Body the Church………….. V.III p.23

The 1994 document Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium ………….. V.III p.23

The 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church ……….. V.III p.24

The 1965 and 2006 Common Declarations of Catholic Popes and Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchs ……….. V.III p.25

Ecumenical Activity Should Become a Routine Part of the Christian Life of All the Currently Separated Churches, If We Are to Be True to Our Calling as the Body of Christ, since Christ Is Not Divided (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13) …. V.III p.26

The Catholic Church must Share its Understanding of the Papacy, the Office of Visible Unity Despite Many Differences Within its Own Catholic Christian Communion of over Half of All Christians in over 20 united “Sister Churches,” as Part of the Loving Ecumenical Dialogue among Christians Towards the Unity We All Know Jesus Desires for Us ……………. V.III p.27

Introduction to Volume III’s Chapters 4 and 5 Which Share in Ecumenical Spirit What I Have Come to Learn and Understand about the Undivided Early Church’s Papacy and about its Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Eastern and Western “Sister” Churches Which Gather Around the Pope as Their Head Pastor, Which I Share for the Benefit of the Non-Catholic Christian Churches Which May Find in the Papacy Understood this Way the Solution to Their Substantial Problems with Unity and Orthodoxy Which the Catholic Christian Communion Does Not Have ………………….. V.III p.29

Chapter 4: The Papacy’s Solid Foundation in the Bible

Biblical Principle: Apostolic Magisterial (Teaching) Authority Is Guided by the Holy Spirit into All Truth (John 16:13) ……………… V.III p.32

Biblical Principle: Apostolic Authority Is Passed on to the Overseer/Bishop/Eparchs in an Apostolic Succession Which Is Guided by the Holy Spirit………. V.III p.33

Biblical Principle: There is a Pinnacle of Apostolic Authority in Peter, the Chief Apostle …………. V.III p.34

The Scriptures Clearly Testify Peter was the Chief Apostle……………. V.III p.34

The Scriptures Testify the Chief Apostle Is Given Authority Greater than That of the Other Apostles …………. V.III p.34

Peter, Cephas, Kepha (Rock) – The Office of the Rock on Which Jesus’ Church is Built ………….. V.III p.35

The Biblical Significance of the Keys Which Jesus (The Promised Everlasting Messianic Davidic King) Gave to Peter:
In the Old Testament the King in Line from David Gave the Keys to the Royal Minister Given Authority to Function as the “Prime Minister,” Managing the Daily Affairs of the Kingdom on Behalf of the Davidic King …………… V.III p.37

Understandable Protestant Concerns about the Magisterial Church Offices (Especially the Petrine Office of the Papacy) and Why They Are Unfounded …………….. V.III p.41

The Secondary Doctrines (Especially Marian Doctrines) the Papacy Has Supported Do Not Compromise the Common Christian Fundamentals as Protestants Fear ……………… V.III p.42

“Papal Infallibility” Does Not Mean What Protestants Fear it Means: the Pope Instead Is Accountable to Uphold and Defend the Traditional Christian Scriptures and Fundamentals Against All Challenges Throughout History and Infallibility Helps Him Do This ……………….. V.III p.43

Once Understanding the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility, it Is Clear That Galatians 2:11-14 in No Way Contradicts It, as Some Protestants Have Claimed (V.III p.44);

Even the Cases of Bad Popes in History Supply Evidence That the Papacy Is Specially Graced by God with Infallibility, since Even Morally Bad Popes in History Were Prevented from Ever Using their Papal Office to Teach Heresy (V.III p.45);

The Papacy Has Already Passed the Hardest Tests History Could Throw at It: If it Was Possible the Holy Spirit Could Allow Popes to Dogmatically Teach Heresy and Mislead the Catholic Church Away from Fundamental Christian Orthodoxy (like “Mainline” Protestant Churches), it Would Already Have Happened (V.III p.46)

Chapter 5: The Papacy’s Solid Foundation in Undivided Early Church History Since Apostolic Times:

 

The Papacy’s Long and Wide Acceptance in the East Before the 2nd Millennium Schism of the Largest Portions of the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches from the Catholic (Universal) Christian Communion of Orthodox Eastern and Western Catholic Sister Churches Collectively known as the Catholic Church

Apostolic Era – Pope Saint Clement I and Saint Ignatius of Antioch:
Papal Authority Instinctively Used and Recognized by the Christians Who Knew the Apostles …………… V.III p.48

Saint Irenaeus and Other 2nd Century Theologians:
The 1st Century Instinctive Christian Recognition of the Papacy Continues and Is Articulated Clearly by Century’s End…………. V.III p.49

The Council of Sardica – 343 AD:
The Church Emerging from Roman Persecution Formalizes the Pope’s Final Jurisdiction in Cases of Local Church Leadership Disputes (Which Popes like Clement Had Exercised since the Apostolic Era)……………………… V.III p.52

The 4th Century Consensus about the Petrine Office of the Pope as the Head of the Christian Church among the Eastern and Western Saints and Doctors of the Early Christian Church …………………… V.III p.52

The 3rd Ecumenical Council, at Ephesus, Against the Nestorian Heresy – 431 AD:
Peter and His Successors the Popes Are Declared the Foundation of the Church (cf. Matthew 16:18) in the Acts of the Council, Not in its Dogmatic Canons Because Noone Disputed this Fact …………….. V.III p.53

The 4th Ecumenical Council, at Chalcedon, Against the Monophysite Heresy – 451 AD: Pope Saint Leo the Great Who Directed the Council is Universally Recognized as Peter’s Successor ………………. V.III p.54

The Eastern Catholic Churches Began Calling Themselves Eastern Orthodox Churches Around this Time to Clarify That They Held the Orthodox Christian Faith of the Catholic Church and Were Not Eastern Heretics (Nestorians and Monophysites) ………………….. V.III p.55

The Libellus Professionis Fidei of Pope Saint Hormisdas, 517 AD:
The Christian East and West Use a Formal Profession of Faith Which Recognizes the Papacy ……………. V.III p.56

The 6th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III), Against the Monothelite Heretics – 680 AD:
The Council Calls Pope Saint Agatho “The Head of the Church”…….. V.III p.57

The 7th Ecumenical Council (Nicea II) – 787 AD:
Council Secretary Patriarch Saint Nicephorus of Constantinople Confirmed that the Council was only Ecumenical at all because of the Pope’s Approval… V.III p.57

The Papacy Formally Recognized as a Dogmatic Part of the Christian Faith of the Undivided Early Church of East and West at the 8th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople IV) – in 869 AD, the Year the Eastern Saint Cyril, Apostle to the Slavic Peoples of the East, Died in Rome While Getting Papal Approval for His Missionary Work in the East ……………… V.III p.59

The Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Saints Cyril and Methodius……… V.III p.62

The Irrelevance of the 9th Century “False Decretals” to Nine Centuries of Previous Consistent Eastern and Western Recognition of the Papacy………………. V.III p.63

The Development of Doctrine …………. V.III p.64

The Second Millennium of Christian Divisions:
The Continuing (Though Strained and Inconsistent) Catholic (Universal) Christian Unity of East and West under the Pope Between 1054 and 1472.. V.III p.67

There Were No Eastern Orthodox Churches Completely Separate from the Catholic Communion of Sister Churches Pastorally Guided by the Pope Before 1472 …………………. V.III p.69

The East-West Confusion and Dispute over the Filioque (“And the Son”) Clause Was Officially and Intelligently Settled by the 14th Ecumenical Council of 1274 by Affirming the Western Phrase Understood According to the Eastern Meaning ………………. V.III p.70

The 17th Ecumenical Council of 1439 Expressed Exuberant Joy at the Achievement of Full Formal East-West Reunification on the Basis of Both Sides Clearly Determining That in All Their Differences They Were Merely “Aiming at the Same Meaning in Different Words”…. V.III p.70

The Catholic (Universal) Communion of Christian East and West under the Pastoral Guidance of the Pope Finally Destroyed Completely by the Muslim Conquerors of the East in 1472 ……….. V.III p.71

The Real Reason for the Ultimate Failure of the Reunion Councils and the Continued East-West Schism Today Is in the Cultural Ignorance or Prejudice of the Average Christian on Both Sides Who Gradually Lost Sight of the First Millennium Christian Unity in Diversity and Started to Judge Other Christians’ Differences as Inferior or Wrong Instead of Mutually Enriching …………. V.III p.71

The 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic (Universal) Church (Vatican Council II, 1962-5), in Which the Eastern Catholic Bishops Were Appropriately Influential Though a Minority, Officially Corrects the Root of East-West Christian Ignorance, Prejudice, and Division, by Formally and Irrevocably Recognizing the “Fully Equal Dignity” of Each of the Different Eastern and Western Cultural Expressions of the Common Universal (Catholic) Christian Faith Which Are Organized into Different Eastern and Western “Sister Churches” (Each Pastored by a Patriarch) Which Each Recognize Peter’s Successor in Rome as the Head Pastor of the Entire Universal (Catholic) Communion of Such Sister Churches, as Did the Undivided Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Sister Churches of the First Millennium …………. V.III p.73

I Posit For Ecumenical Discussion that The Catholic Church Is the Only Christian Church Communion Which Can Look All the Facts of the Documents and History of the Undivided Early Church Squarely in the Face and Say, “I Recognize this Early Church as the Church I Belong to Today” – Eastern Orthodox and Especially Protestant/Evangelical Christians must Ignore or Cultivate Ignorance of Much of Early Church History in Order to Convince Themselves Their Church Today Is like the Undivided Early Church.. V.III p.74

The Healing of the Great East/West Schism Will Involve Eastern Orthodox Christians Simply Recognizing the Undisputable Historical Fact (Demonstrated Above) That the Eastern Half of the Undivided Early Church Recognized the Pope in Rome as Head Pastor of the Entire Christian Church, and it Will Involve Roman Catholic Christians Simply Recognizing the Undisputable Historical Fact That the Undivided Early Church Was Not the Roman Catholic Church but Included the Roman Catholic Church Within the Catholic (Universal) Christian Communion of Different Valid Particular Eastern and Western Orthodox Churches Headed by Patriarchs  ……….. V.III p.75

 

Chapter 6: The Full Implementation of Vatican Council II, the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, Will Make Roman Catholic Christians Generally Much More Truly Catholic (Universal) and less Roman in Their Understanding of Their Church, Which Will Aid the Restoration of the First Millennium Christian Unity in Diversity in One Undivided Catholic (Universal) Church

Vatican II Formally Corrects Overly-Roman Misconceptions of the Nature of the Catholic Church Which Came about from Eastern Catholics Being a Small Minority of Catholics since the Muslim Conquests of the Catholic East…… V.III p.76

The Catholic Church’s Official Understanding of the Nature and Structure of the Church as the Mystery of the Body of Christ (see Ephesians 5:22-32) organized in the World as a Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Eastern and Western Christian Rites or Particular (Sister) Churches Pastorally Guided by the (Universal) Pope and the (Particular) Patriarchs, in the Words of Vatican II (the 21st Ecumenical Council) ………….. V.III p.76

What Vatican II Clarifies about Eastern Patriarchs and Other Heads of Rites Applies Also to Western Patriarchs and Head of Rites Including the Pope in His Secondary Office as Roman Patriarch, and including the Heads of Any Future Roman “Daughter Rites” ………….. V.III p.78

Why the West Historically Tended to Form Fewer Distinct Patriarchates/Sister Churches/Rites than the East and Why this Will Not Remain the Case, Making it Particularly Important for Western Christians to Properly Understand the Ancient Patriarchal Structure of the Church….. V.III p.80

Early on the Overseers/bishops/eparchs of the Christian “Pentarchy” Cities Were All Known as Both Popes and Patriarchs, Both Words Derived from “Father”: as it Is Very Useful to Have One Simple Word “Pope” Limited to the Universal Overseer of the Entire Catholic Communion, it Is Very Useful to Have One Word (I Suggest “patriarch” in the Lower Case) to Refer Generically to Heads of Rites, Whether or Not Their Rite or Sister Church Has (yet) Been Formally Recognized as a Patriarchate Headed by an (Upper-Case) Patriarch………….. V.III p.82

Four Discussions to Help Roman Catholic Christians to Fully Adopt the Catholic Church’s Self-understanding Irrevocably Decreed at its 21st Ecumenical Council of Vatican II (And to Help Non-Catholic Christians Fully Understand the Official Catholic Understanding of the Structure of Christ’s Church)….. V.III p.83

Discussion 1:
The Old Testament Prophecy of Messiah Ruling the Nations from Sea to Sea in a New Covenant Wherein Messiah’s People (From All Nations) Are like Beautiful Jewels in a Crown – as the Ancient and Newer Eastern and Western Catholic Rites (The Nations Renewed in Jesus) Are like Different Jewels in Jesus’ Crown, Which Is All the More Beautiful Because of Their Variety …………… V.III p.84

Discussion 2:
At Least Half of the Martyrs, Saints, and Doctors of the Undivided First Millennium Catholic Church (And over 20 Popes) Were Not Roman Catholic, but Eastern Catholic, as Are Tens of Millions of Catholics (including Cardinals) Today ……………………….. V.III p.86

Discussion 3:
As One Can Be Truly Catholic Without Being at All Roman, it Is Also Possible to Be Truly Roman Without Being at All Truly Catholic, as the Small Numbers of What I Call “Roman Orthodox” Schismatics Who Broke Away from or Were Excommunicated from the Catholic Communion …………… V.III p.87

Liturgy Means “Work of the People” – It Is the Work We Human Beings on Earth Offer to God in Love, and it Has Always Been Offered in Different Ways in Different Places and Times, Accepted by God on the Basis of its Love and Not its Particular Forms Which Vary with Rite, Era, and Order/Spirituality ……………….. V.III p.88

Most of the Tiny Groups of “Roman Orthodox” Schismatics Are Fixated upon the Post-Protestant Reformation 16th Century Tridentine Form of the Roman Rite Mass in Latin as “Proper Christian Worship,” Without Recognizing That Latin Was Never the Liturgical Language of the Entire Catholic Church and it Was Not Even the Original Language of Roman Catholic Worship and it Only Became the Roman Rite (Only)’s Liturgical Language in the 4th Century Because it Had Become the “Vulgar Vernacular” Language Which Most Roman Rite Christians Spoke Daily ……………….. V.III p.91

Ecclesiastical (“Church”) Latin Is Now the Official Language of Catholic Church Documents Because it Is a Dead, Unchanging Language and the Church Guards its Meaning, but it Is Not and Never Was the Official Liturgical Language of the Living Worship of the Entire Catholic (Universal) Church ………………. V.III p.92

In a Protective Response to the Western Liturgical Chaos Following the Protestant Reformation, the Council of Trent Called for an Unnaturally Uniform, Fixed and Unchanging Form of the Western, Roman Rite Mass in Latin as a Temporary Measure Officially Ended by Vatican Council II 400 Years Later; This, Together with the Severe Reduction of the Eastern Catholic Rites Which Roman Rite Catholics Had Very Little Contact With, Helps Explain but Not Excuse the Roman Schismatics’ Literally Anti-Catholic Misconception That There Is Only One Proper Form of Catholic (Universal) Christian Worship….. V.III p.93

Nothing Could Be More Anti-Catholic (Anti-Universal) than to Think, as the Roman Schismatics Do (Often With Rampant Self-Righteous Pharisaism), That There Is Only One Proper or Best Way to Worship God ……………… V.III p.95

The Roman Schismatics Usually Confuse Catholic Sacred Tradition with Mere Roman Catholic traditions and Mistakenly Apply the Necessary Preservation of Catholic Dogma Contained in Sacred Tradition to Mere traditional practices Which Are Based in Culture and Era and Appropriately Change with Them …………………….. V.III p.97

The Roman Schismatics Have No Good Sense That the Church Is the Living Body of Christ Himself, Which, like Any Living Body, Preserves its Basic Nature but Still Changes and Grows with Time and Experience; Today’s Roman Schismatics Who Rejected Either Vatican Council I or Vatican Council II Do Not Realize That after Every Single Ecumenical Council a Tiny Minority of Catholics Were Unwilling to Change and Grow with the Living Body of Christ the Church and Became Schismatics Just like Them …………….. V.III p.99

“Roman Orthodox” Schismatics must Not Be Confused with the “Latin Mass” Roman Catholics Whose Love of the 16th Century Tridentine Latin Roman Mass Is Entirely Appropriate as Long as They Do Not Share the Same Misunderstandings the Roman Schismatics Do ……………….. V.III p.100

The Minuscule Groups of Anti-Vatican I and Anti-Vatican II Roman Schismatics Are Each Fixated upon Different Older Forms of Roman Rite Catholicism but Neither Are Catholic While Both Remain Distinctly Roman …………….. V.III p.105

If the Relative Sizes of the Eastern and Western Catholic and Schismatic Groups Were Reversed So That There Were Many More Eastern Catholics than Roman Catholics Instead of the Other Way Round, the Catholic Church Would Still Be the Universal (Catholic) Communion of Those Eastern and Western Sister Churches in Communion with the Pope in Rome as Their Head Pastor …………… V.III p.105

Discussion 4:
Vatican II Affirms the Primacy of Peter’s Successors in Rome as the Universal Overseers/Bishops of the Universal (Catholic) Church, Not the Superiority of the Cultural Expression of Christianity of Rome (Where Peter Happened to Die) over the Other Ancient Christian Patriarchates ……………….. V.III p.106

The Traditional Papal “Triple-Crowned Bishop’s Mitre” Which Appears on the Vatican Flag: This Symbol Proclaims the Universal and Not Merely Roman Nature and Structure of the Catholic Church ………………….. V.III p.107

The Three Crowns Symbolize the Pope’s Three Distinct Offices of Overseership as the Local Bishop of the City of Rome; the Patriarch of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church; and the Successor of Peter and Holder of the Keys Jesus Gave to Peter, Universal Overseer/Bishop (Head Pastor) of the Entire Catholic Communion of Sister Churches Collectively Known as the Catholic Church (V.III p.107)

To Fully Implement Vatican II, Catholic Christians Will Have to Gradually Change Their Habits of Speech to Reflect the Now More Complete and More Mature Catholic Understanding of the Church Dogmatically Proclaimed in Vatican II……… V.III p.110

One Example of Properly Distinguishing Particular Patriarchal Elements of Catholic Expression from Truly Universal or Catholic Elements of Catholicism: it Has Never Been True to Say That “Catholic Priests must Be Celibate” since Only the One Roman Rite of the Catholic Church Has Ever Required this Particular Clerical Discipline, and Only since 1123
(V.III p.112)

Vatican II in Principle Officially Corrects the Past Un-Catholic “Romanization” of the Eastern Catholic Rites Which Fuels the Eastern Orthodox Schism from Catholic (Universal) Communion ……………… V.III p.114

When Either the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox Churches Try to Be the “Whole” Church of Jesus Christ on Their Own, Both Are Diminished, Both Are less than God Meant Them to Be, Because Together They Are Meant to Enrich Each Other as They Did in the Undivided Early Universal (Catholic) Church of West and East ………………. V.III p.120

As God’s New Covenant Children Christians Are Still Striving and Often Failing to Grow up in God’s Love So as to Live up to God Our Father’s Mature Ideal for Us, Just as God’s Covenant People Always Have – We must Forgive Each Other for Our past Failures in Christ’s Love and Continue to Strive Together to Be the Unified Church Jesus Wants Us to Be “So That the World May Believe” ………… V.III p.120

After a First Christian Millennium of Instinctively Lived Unity in Diversity and a Tumultuous Second Millennium of Christian Divisions, the Third Christian Millennium Is the New Covenant Christian Church’s Opportunity to Show God the Covenant Father That after Centuries of Divisions Due to Failures in Love We Are Ready to Grow up Now and Display Mature Christian Love for Each Other “So That the World May Believe”…… V.III p.121

The Huge Roman Catholic Church or Rite Is “Of Equal Rank” and “Fully Equal Dignity” with All the Other Eastern and Western Catholic Sister Churches or Rites That Together Make up the Catholic (Universal) Church – this Recent Official and Irrevocable Self-Understanding of the Catholic Church Which Already Possesses Both a Worldwide Unity and Unshakeable Orthodoxy Which Is Completely Unparalleled in Protestant or Eastern Orthodox Christianity Has Tremendous Implications for the Eventual Reunification of the Church of Jesus Christ According to Jesus’ Prayer for Our Unity ………….. V.III p.122

Chapter 7: The Catholic Church Since the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) Has by Far the Most Well-Thought-Out and Sophisticated Position on its Own Participation in the One Body of Christ the Church and That of its “Separated Brothers” in the Non-Catholic Christian Churches, a Strong Position That No Christian Who Values the Christian Unity Jesus Values Can Afford to Ignore but must Seriously Consider

The First Step to the “Complete Unity” (John 17:23) Jesus Desires for His Church Is in Fundamentally Orthodox Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant) Seeking and Mastering Unity in Visible Love for Each Other on the Basis of Their Vast Common Faith Even While the Formal Divisions over Unresolved Lesser Issues Remain …………… V.III p.123

The Great Majority of Our Differences Are Differences in Theological or Practical or Customary Expressions of Our Common Christian Faith Which Did Not Divide but Mutually Enriched the Undivided Early Church’s Different but United Sister Churches …………………. V.III p.124

Catholic, Orthodox, and (Conservative/Evangelical) Protestant Christians Are Already Much Closer to the Early Church’s Unity in Diversity than We Usually Realize, and We Already Borrow Good Things from Each Other and So Enrich Each Other as Did the Early Church’s Different But United Sister Churches V.III p.125

Even When We Appropriately Recognize Each Other Lovingly as True Brothers and Sisters in Christ Despite Our Differences, Presumably All Christians Still Believe Their Own Church or Communion of Churches Has Something Significant Other Church Communions Lack Which Makes it Closer to God’s Ideal for His Church: We Can and Should Discuss and Share These Differences as Loving Brothers Seeking Eventual Resolution to Our Current Disputes and the Eventual Restoration of the “Complete Unity” (John 17:23) We All Know Jesus Desires for Us

The Catholic Church Has by Far the Most Well-Thought-Out and Sophisticated Position on its Own Participation in the One Body of Christ the Church and That of its “Separated Brothers” in the Non-Catholic Christian Churches, a Strong Position That No Christian Who Values the Christian Unity Jesus Values Can Afford to Ignore but must Seriously Consider …………. V.III p.128

The Catholic Church’s Official Position on its Own Substantial Identification with the One Church of Christ and the Substantial (but Lesser) True Participation of the Non-Catholic Christian Churches Which Do Not Enjoy the Same Christian Unity the Catholic Communion of Eastern and Western Sister Churches Does, in the Words of Vatican II ………………… V.III p.129

Defining Terms to Avoid Needless Confusion and Offense Between Catholics and Protestants: Understanding the Formal Definitions the Catholic Church Uses for (Catholic and Orthodox) “Churches” and (Protestant) “Ecclesial Communities,” Which I Refer to in Writing as “Churches” and “churches” – the Term “Ecclesial (Or Church) Community” Recognizes the Genuine Saving Participation of Protestant Communities in the One Body of Christ the Church Even Though They Usually Are Not Constituted as Particular Churches the Way the Undivided Early Church’s Different “Sister Churches” Were…….. V.III p.135

Protestant Christians Should Understand That the Catholic Church’s Affirmation of its Unique Identity with Christ’s One Church Which Other Churches Only Share in or Borrow from Protects the Fundamentals of Saving, Orthodox Christianity More than Anything in Protestantism Does or Can ………… V.III p.136

The Solidly Biblically Grounded Teaching of the Catholic Church about Christ’s Church in the Year 2000 Declaration “Dominus Iesus” [Latin for “Lord Jesus”]on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church ………. V.III p.138

The Church and the Kingdom: The Earthly and the Heavenly Perspective on the One Mysterious Reality of the Body of Christ……. V.III p.140

Those (Western) Protestant “Eccesial Communities” or “churches” Which Are Most Consciously and Directly Led by the Holy Spirit (Or “Charismatic”) Are Being Led by the Holy Spirit to Restructure Themselves into a Form Which Will Eventually Put Them on More Equal Footing with the Full Proper Eastern and Western “Churches” or “Sister Churches” Which Continue Today from the First Millennium’s Universal Christian Church – Which Means the Holy Spirit Is Preparing Them for Eventual Reunification as Proper “Sister Churches” Within a Restored Universal (Catholic) Communion of Sister Churches……. V.III p.142

there are major movements in (Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic) Protestant Christianity today to restore the Biblical Apostolic office or “five-fold church ministry” including Apostles (Ephesians 4:11-13) – but this office was only ever lost in Protestantism, since the Early Christian Church continued it in the Apostolic Succession of overseer/bishop/eparchs ordained in line from the Apostles. V.III p.145

Differences Between Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians Today Are Not near as Big as They Were at the Time of the Protestant Reformation, Because Both Sides Have since Been Moving Towards Appreciating the Insights of the Other (Being Enriched by Each Other, as the Different but United Sister Churches of the Early Undivided Church) …………………… V.III p.145

All Christians, Whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, Have Been Wrong in Ways That Contributed to or Still Contribute to the Current Scandalous Division Within the One Body of Christ the Church, and All Christians, Whether Catholic, Orthodox, or (Conservative) Protestant, Have Been Right about the Saving Basic Essentials of Christianity on Which We Are Already Agreed and Which Make All of Us Genuinely Members of the Body of Christ the Church and Instruments of God’s Salvation in the World…………………………. V.III p.148

Nevertheless, in the Spirit of Ecumenical Dialogue Catholics Posit That the Catholic Church “Owns” and Can Explain and Justify its Belief in the Traditional Fundamentals of Orthodox Christianity, in Terms of the Uniquely Catholic “Secondary Doctrines”; and That in Contrast the Eastern Orthodox and Conservative Protestant Churches Only “Borrow” the Life-Saving Fundamentals of Christian Faith from the Catholic Church They Left and They Cannot Justify Why They Believe the Bible must Be Interpreted in the Traditionally Orthodox Way of Those Early Catholic Church Councils Led or Ratified by Early Catholic Popes, in Terms of Their Contradictory Commitment to Reject the Papal Primacy or in Terms of Their Contradictory Commitment to Recognize the Authority of the Bible “Alone”……….. V.III p.149

Christian Unity Is Catholic Unity: Those Non-Catholic Christian Churches Which Retain the Basic Fundamentals of Orthodox Christianity Only Do So by Being What I Call “Catholic at Heart,” Unconsciously Acting as If the First Millennium Popes Genuinely Had Papal Authority as the Catholic Church Understands it – and the Catholic Church in Vatican II Officially Recognizes this Catholic Connection Which Makes Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christians True Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Though Separated………….. V.III p.150

I posit (as a topic of Ecumenical Discussion to be carried out lovingly and without accusations in either direction) that only the Catholic Church can say, with full certainty, explanation, and justification that the traditional New Testament Canon is absolutely correct, and the fundamental interpretations of the Bible in traditional Christian orthodoxy are absolutely correct, because the Catholic Church, with its Catholic Sacred Tradition and Catholic Magisterium of overseers (bishops and patriarchs) in Apostolic Succession in union with the pope as chief overseer, successor of Peter the Chief Apostle, which in history made the official and binding declarations on the Canon and fundamental orthodoxy, IS the Living Body of Christ Himself, mysteriously united to Christ as a Body to its Head, animated and kept from error by the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised would lead the Apostles (and their successors) into all the truth (John 16:13) such that this Catholic Church throughout history is indeed “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), in the “profound mystery” (Ephesians 5:32) of the Body of Christ, despite the to-be-expected human failings of Catholic Christians in history which liberal Protestants use to justify their rejection of both the Catholic Church and its traditional Christian orthodoxy ……………… V.III p.152

“Catholic at Heart” – What Fundamentally Orthodox Protestant/Evangelical/Pentecostal Christians and Eastern Orthodox Christians and Catholic Christians Are Already United in Is Precisely the Catholic Faith of the Undivided Early Catholic Church ……………….. V.III p.153

More Evidence That Conservative/Evangelicals Are Already Catholic at Heart: The Da Vinci Code Is a Specifically Anti-Catholic Fictional Book Which Tells Lies about the Early (And Current) Catholic Church – Yet Evangelical Protestant Christians Have Found Themselves Having to Defend Their Christian Faith from this Attack on the Catholic Church ……………………. V.III p.155

Suggestion: Catholic Christianity Has Indeed Contracted Some Nasty Rashes from Time to Time over the Millennia, but Young Protestantism Was Born with a Terminal Congenital Birth Defect by Which Protestant Churches Die Spiritually in Doctrinal Liberalism and Unorthodoxy as They Mature in Their Fully Logical Adherence to the Protestant “Pillar Principle” of the Bible Alone ………… V.III p.155

In Reunion We Can Help Each Other: Catholicism Can Help Protestant Churches with Their Vulnerability to Doctrinal Liberalism and Unorthodoxy; Evangelical Protestants with Their Typically Vibrant Faith Can Help the Massive Catholic Church with its Noticeable Problem of Many Nominal Members ……….. V.III p.156

Chapter 8 Conclusion

The Goal of this Book: To Help Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, And Catholic Christians All Come to Think about Christian Unity as the Undivided Early Church Instinctively and Actually Lived It, in Preparation for Our Future Reunification in the Holy Spirit’s Timing and Through His Power and Love Working in Us

The Currently Divided Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Churches Which Are Already United in Vast Common Fundamental Christian Faith Will Each Have to Give Something Up in Order to Be Reunified in One Christian Church Modeled after the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity – Yet No Church Will Have to Give Up Anything of What Is Most Important to It, but Only Things Which Prevent it from Being All God Means it to Be …………………. V.III p.159

None Will Lose this Vast Common Faith of Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christianity Which Is the Basis for the Eventual Restored Christian Unity in Diversity in One Christian Church as Jesus Prayed for – Nor Will They Lose Any of Their Many Distinct Worship and Devotional Customs Which Are Based on this Common Faith …………. V.III p.159

Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christians Will Only Have to Give up Things like Sola Scriptura – the Doctrine Which Is the Ultimate Source of the Protestant Liberalism and Unorthodoxy They Detest…. V.III p.160

Eastern Orthodox Christians Will Only Have to Give Up Their Eastern Exclusiveness and Sometimes Prejudice Against the Non-Eastern Which Clearly Shows Eastern Orthodoxy Is Not the Early Church, Which Was a Universal or Catholic Communion of Eastern And Western Churches as Today’s Catholic Church Still Is; and Give up Their Rejection of the Papacy Which Makes Them Not Conform to the Records of the Early Eastern Churches ………… V.III p.161

Roman Catholic Christians Will Only Have to Give up Overly-Roman and Not Universal/Catholic Enough Conceptions of Their Catholic Church Which Vatican Council II Obligated Them to Give up Anyway …………………… V.III p.161

The Acts 15 Church Council Provides a Biblical Principle, Already Followed by the Catholic Church and its Popes in History, for the Reunification of “Separated Christian Brothers” with the Ancient Catholic Communion They Left V.III p.162

“No More Burden than Is Necessary” (Cf. Acts 15:28) Should Be Required of Non-Catholic Churches Coming Back into the Catholic Communion, since “The Point Is to Make Them Catholics, Not Romans” (Pope Benedict XIV) …………… V.III p.163

If All Christians start thinking about Christian unity the way the Undivided Early Church lived it, it would be easy to reincorporate the Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Churches into the Ancient Catholic Communion as the distinct Rites or Sister Churches they were before they left, and severely divided Protestantism could also be reunified in a way that allows it to gain the benefits of Catholic Communion including permanent invulnerability to Protestant doctrinal liberalism/unorthodoxy but also to give its particular strengths to the Catholic Church’s mutually enriching unity in diversity…….. V.III p.167

All Three Major Branches of Christianity Have to Give up Any Remaining Conceptions That There Is Only One Proper or Best Way to Express and Celebrate the Common Christian Faith, Which Is Totally Against the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity ………………… V.III p.168

The One Half of All Christians Who Are Roman Catholic must Take Ecumenical Leadership in this by Actively Seeking to Conform Their Minds to the Mind of the Catholic Church Expressed in the Holy Spirit-Guided 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) Which at Last Clearly Expresses the Proper Nature and Structure of the Catholic Church as it Was Lived in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church  ……………… V.III p.168

A Proposal for the Reunification of Today’s Divided Christians According to the Model of the Undivided Early (Catholic) Church’s Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches, for the Great Benefit of Both Today’s Catholic and Non-Catholic Churches and Towards the Belief of the World Which Jesus’ Prayer Linked to Our Christian Unity…………………. V.III p.170

At the outset I wish to explicitly express again, as I did in the Introduction, the fact that both the Catholic and (orthodox) non-Catholic Christian Churches (Protestant and Eastern) have best preserved different aspects of the Undivided Early Church’s character and spiritual life along with their common fundamentals of orthodox Christian faith, which means we need to learn from each other for all of us to be all that we are meant to be as the Body of Christ on Earth.  For example, the Catholic Church of today has best preserved the Undivided Early Church’s Universal/Catholic Communion of Orthodox Sister Churches based on Scripture as interpreted by a Sacred Tradition and Magisterium (functions of the Church as the Living Body of Christ) which guarantees traditional Christian orthodoxy in the long term (and with the Orthodox Churches it has best preserved some other doctrines and practices very important to the Early Church).  But those “doctrinally conservative” Protestant/Evangelical churches which (unlike “doctrinally liberal” Protestant churches) maintain fundamentally orthodox Christian faith have best preserved the Undivided Early Church’s passionate love for Scripture and Bible reading and its Evangelical zeal to transform the greater culture for Jesus Christ.  I personally quite literally received “the best of both worlds” by having been raised Evangelical Protestant but later becoming Catholic, I have personally experienced the best of what each tradition has best preserved from the Undivided Early Church and so, although I am a thoroughly committed Catholic Christian, I do not simply wish to promote Protestants becoming Catholic but rather I wish to promote their doing so by bringing with them their special gifts to greatly enrich the Catholic Communion to help make it all it was meant to be, as it was in the Undivided Early Catholic Church.  And I wish to promote Catholics getting ready to receive such Protestants returning to the Catholic Communion (in large numbers in their own new Sister Churches, “daughter” Rites of the ancient Roman Patriarchate) with open and loving arms, enriching their returning brothers with those vast treasures of Early Undivided Christianity which Catholics have never lost at the same time as being enriched by the evangelical zeal and great love for God’s Word in the Bible of their returning brothers and sisters.  As my professor, Protestant pastor turned Catholic scholar Scott Hahn wrote, “in the writings of the early [Christian Church] fathers … I ran smack up against a Church I could only recognize as Catholic.  It was liturgical, hierarchical, sacramental.  It was Catholic, and yet it held all that I loved about the Reformation tradition too: a deep devotion to Jesus, a spontaneous life of prayer, a zeal to transform the culture, and, of course, a burning love for scripture” – so it must be possible to genuinely reform the Catholic Church according to the Undivided Early Catholic Church model for reformers and Catholics to once again belong to one Church.

The Church is the “profound mystery” of the Bride and Body of Jesus Christ Himself (see Ephesians 5:22-32).  Jesus Christ the “Head” of the Body directs the Church His Body through His Holy Spirit who indwells individual Christians and who animates the Body of Christ the Church as a whole and guides its leadership offices into “all the truth” (John 16:13) as Jesus promised His Apostles and their successors the overseers/bishops, including the chief overseer/bishop, the pope.  The Non-Catholic Christian Churches which left the ancient Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches collectively known as the Catholic Church in the Second Millennium can indeed be fundamentally orthodox and share in the above common saving Christian faith, and can indeed be used of God as instruments of His salvation in the world, but only by being “Catholic at heart,” and acting as if the First Millennium Ecumenical and other major Councils of the Catholic Church, directed or ratified by Catholic popes, had genuine Holy Spirit-guaranteed authority to settle for all time the disputes among early Christians over just which books should be in the New Testament and just how the Bible should be fundamentally interpreted.

Catholic Christians consider the traditional New Testament Canon and the traditional fundamentals of Christian faith as absolutely certain truths because they trust that the Catholic Sacred Tradition of how to interpret the Bible and the Catholic Magisterium (teaching office) of overseer/bishops  (including the chief overseer/bishop, the pope) which settled the early Christian controversies in First Millennium Christian history are functions of the “profound mystery” (Ephesians 5:22-32) revealed in the Bible that the Church is the Body of Christ Himself, led by the Holy Spirit into “all the truth” (John 16:13) such that the Body of Christ the Church is indeed, as the Bible itself proclaims, “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).  Luther’s foundational Protestant doctrine that “the Bible alone is authoritative and binding on a Christian’s faith,” which  deliberately excluded any authority belonging to the Catholic Sacred Tradition and Magisterium of the Church, logically excludes any certainty being given to the judgements of the Early Church Councils in settlement of the early controversies as to just what constituted basic Christian orthodoxy and even the New Testament Canon (list of Sacred Books) itself, which is precisely why the character of “Liberal” Protestantism is to not be certain about just which parts of the Bible are truly inspired Scripture and to not be certain even that Jesus is God – orthodox Protestants do not really follow Luther1 but are unconsciously “Catholic at heart” by their insistence that the New Testament must be the traditional (Catholic) New Testament and it must be interpreted according to the Catholic Sacred Tradition clarified concisely in the traditional (Catholic) fundamental Christian doctrines by the early Catholic Magisterium in the Early (Catholic) Church Councils (this Catholic Sacred Tradition is usually preserved in fundamentally orthodox Protestant creedal “Statements of Faith” which include words and phrases not from the Bible Alone such as Trinity, Incarnation, “Jesus is one in being with the Father” and “Jesus is fully God and fully man”).

The early 20th Century Protestant Fundamentalist and Evangelical movements were (unconscious) movements away from Protestantism and back towards Catholicism, wherein orthodox or “Catholic at heart” Protestants clung to the Catholic Sacred Tradition preserved in their traditional creeds instead of clinging to Protestant “Bible Alone” doctrine the way Protestant at heart” liberal Protestants do.  In response to the huge 19th and 20th Century trend of “doctrinal liberalism” and unorthodoxy within the oldest and largest Protestant “mainline” churches, which was simply the result of Protestant churches maturing in their Protestantism and thus naturally and logically becoming uncertain of the traditional Catholic New Testament Canon and fundamentals, those Protestant Christians whose traditional orthodoxy was vitally important to them reacted with the early 20th Century Fundamentalist and Evangelical movements.  These movements stressed the traditional fundamental Bible interpretations of Catholic Sacred Tradition (not realizing the fundamentals were simply the official Catholic interpretation of the official Catholic New Testament Scriptures), and thus “Evangelical” and “Fundamentalist” Protestants no longer strictly followed the “Bible Alone” doctrine which leads logically to doctrinal liberalism and unorthodoxy (even though Evangelicals still pay “lip service” to “Bible Alone” doctrine, they do not truly practice it as liberal Protestants did, and which led the liberal Protestant churches over centuries to gradually lose their grip on even the basic Christian fundamentals).  Conservative, Evangelical, orthodox and therefore “Catholic at heart” Protestants cannot win arguments based on the Bible Alone with their fellow Protestants who are “doctrinally liberal,” because on the basis of the Bible Alone they cannot justify why the Bible must be interpreted according to Catholic Sacred Tradition and why the New Testament must be the traditional collection of 27 books that the Early Catholic Church said it was in the late 4th Century.  The only way the “Bible Alone” can be used to win arguments against knowledgeable “doctrinally liberal” and unorthodox Protestant Christians is to recognize that the “Bible Alone” testifies that it is not meant to be taken alone but in concert with an authoritative Tradition and Magisterium as functions of the Mystery revealed in the Bible that the Church is the Living Body of Christ Himself.  (For much more on this, see my book Sola Scriptura?  What Scripture Alone Testifies Concerning the Church as the Body of Christ Expressing Himself in Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium:  The Biblical Basis for the Early Church’s Formal Repudiation of Heretics, Which Is the Biblical Basis for Refuting Modern Doctrinally Liberal Christianity Which Likewise Rejects or Doubts Traditional Christian Faith and Morality).

Having said this, it should be noted here again that it is not only the Protestant Churches which can benefit from Christian reunification.  Although orthodox Protestant/Evangelical churches, in a future formal restoration as new “Sister Churches” within the ancient Catholic Communion of orthodox Sister Churches which they already belong to in heart, would gain the solid foundation for their “Catholic at heart” traditional orthodoxy which they currently lack (which leads many once-orthodox Protestant denominations, including the one I was raised in, to eventually lose their grip on even basic Christian orthodoxy),  the Catholic Communion itself would also greatly benefit from their formal return to the Catholic Communion NOT by rejoining the Roman Rite they left but within their own unique Rites or Sister Churches.  The Catholic Church is not as truly Catholic (Universal) as it should be as long as there are orthodox Christians outside of its ancient and vast Christian communion, and the huge Catholic Church has a not unique but more noticeable problem of nominalism (having many more or less nominal or “in name only” members) than Evangelical Protestantism does, meaning in reunification Catholics can help Protestants with their “tendency towards doctrinal liberalism and unorthodoxy” problem and these returning Protestants can help Catholics with their nominalism problem.  In reunion we can help each other with our different strengths, as well as being a much better witness of Jesus Christ to the world, as God intended when Jesus prayed that we would be one “so that the world may believe.”

It is also worth noting that there is important precedent for the return of the Protestant churches to the ancient Catholic Christian Communion of the Undivided Early Church not by being absorbed into the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church they left but by being constituted as their own new Sister Churches within the Catholic Communion, “daughter” Rites of the ancient Roman Patriarchate.  Even some former Nestorian heretics, who had been separated from Catholic Communion since they rejected the 3rd Ecumenical Council of 431AD which dogmatically defined Jesus as one person with two natures, Divine and human, and condemned Nestorius (who had been Archbishop of Constantinople) for his position against this orthodox view, were received back into the Catholic Church in the mid-16th Century as the new Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church, which is one of the over 20 Rites within the ancient Catholic Christian Communion today.  The Chaldeans recanted of their formerly-held Christological heresy, and, according to the Biblical principle from Acts 15 that “no more burden than is necessary” should be asked of people coming into the Catholic Church, because “the point is to make them Catholics, not Romans” (as Pope Benedict XIV in the 1700s said of returning Eastern Orthodox Christians), after accepting all necessities of Catholic faith the Chaldeans were allowed to keep all of their worship customs and practices which they had developed in over 1000 years of separation from the Catholic Church, which were based on their majority of common Christian faith and not based on their one heresy (their worship and devotional customs in any case were similar to that their original “Mother Rite” before they left the Catholic Church in the 5th Century, the Antiochene Patriarchate of the Catholic Church).

So, formerly Antiochene Catholic Christians who left the Catholic Church when they embraced a gross heresy against the true nature of Jesus Christ (in the 5th Century) were received back into the Catholic Communion (in the 16th Century) after recanting their Nestorian heresy, but still kept the bulk of their particular distinctive worship and devotional practices which were in no way contrary to the traditional Christian, Catholic faith even if they were different than the practices of the other Eastern and Western Catholic Rites.  In this case, surely those formerly Roman Catholic Christians who left the Catholic Church when they embraced Protestantism almost 500 years ago (in over-reaction to Roman Rite Catholic abuses in practice which had not yet been corrected) can also be received back into the Catholic Communion after recanting their errors which are not near so serious as the Nestorian heresy, and still keep the bulk of their particular distinctive worship and devotional practices which are in no way contrary to the Catholic faith even if they are different than the practices of the Roman and the other Catholic Rites.  Sola Scriptura (“Bible Alone”) doctrine is a Protestant error that when followed strictly leads ultimately to uncertainty about Christian essentials and even to heresies in a natural progression, as it has done in the doctrinally liberal Protestant churches, but it is not a gross heresy itself.  So the precedent of even Nestorian gross heretics who became Chaldean Rite Catholics while maintaining their church buildings and (repentant) leadership and most of their Christian rituals, traditions, and customs which were not tainted by their former heresy surely proves that at least conservative Protestant/Evangelical Christians who are ready to recant their errors which have made so many other Protestants prone to unorthodoxy in much more serious matters can be effectively reincorporated into the Catholic Church in new Rites – without losing many of their distinctives which for the most part can or already do enrich the Catholic Communion which already borrows many good things from them.  Only the very few Protestant ideas or practices which are directly tied to their errors would need to be altered or abandoned for reunification.  Indeed, some Protestant Christians today in the classic Protestant denominations like the Lutherans and Anglicans/Episcopalians, which did not stray so far from 16th Century Roman Catholic norms as later Protestants did, still have more solemn and “traditionally Roman Catholic” worship habits and styles than those of many more modernized Roman Catholic parishes do today!  The older and the newer forms of Christian worship and devotion, like the Eastern and the Western forms of Christian worship and devotion, are all valid expressions of Christianity as long as they do not contradict the above common Rule of Faith!

In all this, the Biblical principle “no more burden than is necessary” and the papal principle “the point is to make them Catholics, not Romans” are the key principles for the Catholic Church, following the groundwork laid in Vatican II, to eventually invite back into the Catholic Communion whole non-Catholic denominations and  congregations which are ready, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the Catholic Church which is much more clearly seen as truly the Universal Church of Jesus Christ the less other Christians are outside of its ancient and vast Universal (Catholic) Christian Communion ………………………………….

The Catholic Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II) Which Recently and for the First Time in an Ecumenical Council of the Church Clearly Defined the Nature and Structure of the Ancient Undivided Early Church (Which Has Tremendous Implications for the Eventual Re-establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity), Officially Recognizes the Holy Spirit as the Source of the Church’s Unity and “Places its Hope [For Reunification] Entirely in the Prayer of Christ for the Church, in the Love of the Father for Us, and in the Power of the Holy Spirit”……………… V.III p.174

Final Word: Since the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) in the 1960s, “Average Catholics” Have Not Yet Had the Council’s Dogmatic Teaching on the Nature and Structure of the Church, Which Clearly Articulated the Lived Reality of the Unity in Diversity of the Undivided Early Church, Sink Deeply into Their Minds and Hearts. When this Happens and the World’s 1 Billion Roman Rite Catholic Christians Start Thinking about and Working Towards Christian Unity like the Undivided First Millennium Catholic Church Lived It, the Non-Catholic Christian Churches Will Seriously Examine Vatican II’s Ecclesiology and See How its Holy Spirit-Guided Teaching Brilliantly Paves the Way for the Third Millennium Re-Establishment of the First Millennium Christian Unity in Diversity Lost in the Second Millennium. There Is Real Hope for the Third Millennium Fulfillment of Jesus’ Prayer to His Father “That All [Christians] May Be One. . . So That the World May Believe That You Have Sent Me. . . May [Christians] Be Brought to Complete Unity to Let the World Know That You Sent Me and Have Loved Them Even as You Have Loved Me” (John 17:21, 23) ………………. V.III p.175

The Genesis of This Book / Works Consulted

The Genesis of this Book ……….. V.III p.176

The Church in England’s Scholarly Gift to the Whole Church to Which I Am Indebted……… V.III p.177

Scholarly Resources in Electronic Editions …….. V.III p.178

It is this current easy access to material from ancient to modern history and from all Christian perspectives that has allowed me to see the “golden threads” stretching from Biblical history since Adam through to the Undivided Early First Millennium Christian Church’s history through to modern times and to come up with (I am certain through the Holy Spirit of Unity’s aid, as well as that of my professor Scott Hahn who put so much of it together with his Covenant Theology) my “Family Theology” interpretation of Covenant Family history since Adam which incorporates the traditional Christian orthodoxy so important to each of today’s divided fundamentally orthodox Christian churches, the texts of both Testaments, Undivided Early Church history, and the history of the divided Christian Churches since: an interpretation which respects the genuine Christian character and dignity of all the divided Churches, an interpretation which does not hide Christian failures but understands the history of many failures in Christian love and faithfulness on all sides as part of the New Covenant Family going through a process of maturation in love which all the Covenant Families since Adam had to go through (therefore we should not be surprised and should not hold grudges which keep us immature in love and divided), an interpretation of the Bible and of history since the Canon of the Bible was closed which should allow us to gradually recapture the \pard softlineearly Christian success at being one Undivided Christian Church and Body of Christ Jesus Himself which was lost because of Christian immaturity in the New Covenant standards of love Jesus gave us to strive towards which He did not expect us to master right away, as none of the other previous Covenant Families had.

Works Consulted ……… V.III p.179

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is 

For brothers to dwell together in unity! 

Psalm 133:1 

 

© 2005, 2009 Peter William John Baptiste SFO


1That is, they do not follow Luther’s “Bible Alone” doctrine strictly and to its logical conclusions, as unorthodox Protestants do.  They do follow Luther’s personal example of remaining unconsciously “Catholic at heart” despite his protest.  Luther insisted the Bible must be interpreted according to the traditional fundamentals of orthodox Christianity, mistakenly believing that these truths were “obvious from Scripture alone,” not realizing that they were only “obvious” to him because he was a Catholic priest who had been steeped since birth in the Catholic Sacred Tradition of how to properly interpret the Bible.  Many of those Protestants since then who were not raised in the Catholic Sacred Tradition but strictly followed Luther’s “Bible Alone” doctrine eventually ended up coming up with many of the same linguistically valid possible Bible interpretations as did those Early Christians who did not take the Church’s Tradition and Magisterium seriously – such as the Arian heresy which denied the Divinity of Jesus!  A great many “doctrinally liberal” Protestants today are modern-day Arian heretics after centuries of following “the Bible Alone,” while “doctrinally conservative,” orthodox Protestants strictly follow not “the Bible Alone” but also the Catholic Sacred Tradition of how to properly interpret the Bible which is preserved in their orthodox (“Catholic at heart”) Creeds or Statements of Faith.