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January 16, 2003

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  • The -word- "catholic"

The -word- "catholic"?

READER QUESTION:
In my "church", after "communion" (Presbyterian style) we all stand up and utter the Apollo's creed. It sounds good until we get to the part of the "Holy Catholic Church". Now at that point I was feeling that I was involved in a chant of the demons. I mentioned this to a fellow believer and they said they felt the same way, til they found out that the word Catholic means something other than "the r.c. church". So I dig out my Oxford "concise dictionary of the Christian Church" and find it is a word that means "general or universal Church". Is this a word that was drafted by Rome, and used since then? Or is it one that was used simply as a way of describing the "Church" and subsequently perverted by Rome to mean them only?

VW ANSWER:
First of all, I think you meant the so-called, "-Apostle's- Creed"? Right? -smile-

Second of all, I have yet to find anywhere in Scripture the text of that so-called "creed". I know a lot of variants of protestantism feel the need to recite 'repetitiously' these words. Jesus exhorted against "vain repetitions" regarding prayer. (Mt6:7) He said -don't-, and both protestants and catholics, alike, "repeat" the 'pattern' He gave, while in the very same context telling us NOT TO "REPEAT" vainly...like the heathen do...but those claiming to be His followers 'disobey' His command to -NOT- do so...by -DOING- so. I've never understood that. That which they continually repeat is scarcely a verse or two away from Jesus' command to -NOT- repeat it. And I fear these so-called 'creeds' are just like that so-called 'prayer'.

As for the word "catholic", you are correct. It comes from the Greek, and means, "universal". Now, I don't have all these fancy 'church history' books (somebody sent me a couple of books over the past month, anonymously, one of them a 'history' book...if you are a subscriber... Thank You!) like many do; and if there is anything lacking in my schooling because I didn't go to semitary (spelling pun intended), it is in the area of 'history'. But find that quite often something as mundane as an encyclopaedia gives a lot of useful information in simplified format.

In the very strictest sense of the word, "catholic" might seem to fit nicely into a passage like Ephesians ch5, where it speaks of the "church". Where all that many baptists can see is their own little -local- church, where they expect their members to appear every time the doors are open; Eph ch5 is speaking of the "catholic" (universal) global church of Believers.

But as I was reading just now in the 2002 Britannica, the -definition- of the word is the only association a True Believer in Jesus Christ can hold to the word. By definition "catholic" applies to the Believer just as "church" does. But that is where any affinity for true Salvation ends. By -application-, the word has been used by those of Rome. And by -their- definition, any of us who truly believe in Jesus Christ and adhere to His Word strictly, literally, are called "heretics" from -their- concept of "catholicism". Everything about the coining of the term and its use seems to have its beginning around 348 AD, and is first defined by St. Cyril in his work "Catecheses". If you recognize, that's right around the same time (give or take a few years) the Roman Empire took on the "christian" label, applying the label "christian" to all their various pagan beliefs, rituals and politics.

In practice, the term "catholic" is actually one of the first "ecumenical" terms. While the Roman Empire was establishing what has evolved into what we now know as the Catholic Church, its doctrines are derived from many sources, as its application says, "..its adaptation to the needs of men of every kind.." If you look at the meaning of those words carefully, you see that catholicism -adapts- itself -to- man, not man-to-God. When "the church" was "christianizing" the New World, they "adapted" and incorporated Central American rituals into their doctrines. In other places, they incorporated VooDoo. Today they embrace Islam, Shinto, Native American, Hindu, etc....the Pope welcomes them all to worship together under his canopy. That is because "catholic" doctrine is based on the notion that, "What all men have at all times and everywhere believed must be regarded as true.." That is "catholic", and "orthodox". It is "universal" (to all beliefs).

It really does seem that the church of Rome claims ownership to the term, as they may condescend to consider how Eastern Orthodox, Protestantism, etc may also try to lay claim to the term, by definition. BUT...any little "cults" here and there, like us who don't believe in these universal doctrines, but believe -strictly- in the Scriptures...we are not "catholic"...we are "heretics"... to those of the Religion of Rome/Babylon.

However, in the very purest sense of the word (by definition), all those who have come to God in repentance, and received Jesus Christ by faith for salvation are 'universally' (globally - catholic-lly) members of Christ's Church.

And therein is satan's great deception. His global counterfeit (anti-christ) organization is catholic (adjective), and they call themselves "the church"...the same terms that truly describe True Believers in Jesus Christ. That's what Paul said, they appear as "ministers of righteousness". (2Cor11:13-15) They have their "apostolic succession", but Paul says they are "false apostles". They have what they pretend is "holy" (holy fathers, holy communion, holy matrimony, etc) ...but it is only a mock facade over their true demonic core.

The difference between the two, however, is that Rome/Babylon over the centuries has "adapted" to man. Their Queen of Heaven has had various names: Isis, Ashtaroth, Aphrodite, Artemis, Mary...as they "adapted" to the times and cultures. While they make a pretense of having the "Bible", they -actually- rely on Tradition, councils and papal encyclicals, etc.

True Believers, on the other hand, realize that God's Word "stands firm in the Heavens" (Ps119:89), and that God "[changes] NOT". (Mal3:6) That His Word was "once for all delivered to the saints" (Ju1:3); NOT -many- global faith[s] that are universally accepted It is not God who changes to adapt to man, but man must "repent" ...(definitionally) "adapting" -to- God. One of the definitions of "sin" has to do with how man does not "measure up" to God's holy standards...thus, provisions (Christ's death/resurrection) must be made to make man conform to God's holiness. Man must -change-...not the other way around. By the application of the word "catholic", the way it has been practiced over the centuries is that God 'changes' to conform to man...because it is based on -man's- (universal/catholic) beliefs....not the Commands and holy standards of the Most High, received (universally) by man.

I'm sure a lot more could be said...but I suspect this is enough for now?

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