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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

How do we really know Jesus Christ founded a specific Church?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 04, 2019 | In Video Lectures

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In the second video in the How do we really know? series, I examine the evidence for Christ’s specific foundation of the Catholic Church, exploring the expectations of the Jews, the connections in Our Lord’s teachings with the idea of a church, the evidence for the actual foundation of the Church, and for the Divine character of the Church in history.

As usual, additional print resources which provide further information are listed below. In addition to these, I highly recommend that anyone in doubt about Christ’s foundation of the Catholic Church read two major works by Blessed (soon to be canonized) John Henry Newman, his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (the book he was working on as an Anglican which brought him to his conversion to Catholicism) and his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (in which he explains his life and conversion). This issue was at the heart of Newman’s concerns, and he made immeasurable contributions to understanding it through his exemplary scholarship, impeccable logic, and wonderful prose.

One minor clarification: In the video I refer to Arianism as the idea that God somehow adopted a son who was not Divine. This could lead viewers to confuse Arianism with Adoptionism, which held that God adopted a particular human person as His son. Arians believed that the Father created a special being to be His son. Both heresies, therefore, denied the Divinity of Christ.

LINKS:

  1. The Foundation and Identity of the Church (Jeff Mirus)
  2. The Prescription Against Heretics (Tertullian, ca. 200 AD)
  3. The Divine Character of the Church in History (Warren H. Carroll)
  4. Catholic Apologetics Today: Answers to Modern Critics (Fr. William G. Most)
  5. Against Heresies, Book IV (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, late 2nd century)
  6. The Rock of the New Testament (P. Milward, SJ, 1963)

Previous in series: How do we really know Jesus Christ rose from the dead?
Next in series: How do we really know that the pope has Christ’s authority in the Church?

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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