LCG: Catholics Come Home?

Agora of Ancient Smyrna

Ancient Smyrna (photo by Joyce Thiel)


The Living Church of God reported:

Catholics come home.

For some time, Catholics Come Home advertisements have aired in select media markets around the U.S. An ad campaign in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008 resulted in more than 3,000 people returning to the Catholic church, according to a spokesperson from the Diocese of Phoenix. Now, the church is poised to blanket the U.S. with 400 ads in more than 10,000 cities across the country, between December 16 and January 8. The hope is that the $3 million campaign will motivate about a million Catholics to return to the church.

According to a spokesperson, “People are looking for hope.” Some of those who have returned said they did so “because we were invited” (National Catholic Register, November 9, 2011). As time goes on, prophecy reveals that the Roman church will gain both popularity and power (Revelation 17:1-6, 18), in part from people who are “looking for hope” and waiting to be asked.

Although this “church of men” will not be able to fulfill the hope of billions, there is One who will–the coming Messiah–Jesus Christ. His return as King of kings and Lord of lords will reshape the world, bring freedom to the captives, and give hope to the hopeless. And His return is eminent!

For more details about indicators of Christ’s return, see our booklet, Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.

There are some other pieces of information that Catholics might find of interest.  Such as, for example, realizing that the first two times the term “catholic church” were used in the literature (which was in the second century), it was in reference to the Church of God in Smyrna and not the Church of Rome.

While most people would say that the Church of Rome was the original “catholic church”, that is actually not accurate.  According to The Catholic Encyclopedia and other early sources, it was the Church of God in Smyrna that was first referred to as the “catholic church.”  Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia itself teaches:

The combination “the Catholic Church” (he katholike ekklesia) is found for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about the year 110. The words run: “Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church.” However, in view of the context, some difference of opinion prevails as to the precise connotation of the italicized word…by the beginning of the fourth century it seems to have almost entirely supplanted the primitive and more general meaning…The reference (c. 155) to “the bishop of the catholic church in Smyrna” (Letter on the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, xvi), a phrase which necessarily presupposes a more technical use of the word, is due, some critics think, to interpolation…(Thurston H. Catholic. Transcribed by Gordon A. Jenness. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Rome and its Greek affiliates later adopted the term “Catholic” and in 381 a Roman emperor declared that the expression “catholic church” could only be used to refer to the Greco-Roman groups that no longer had the same beliefs as the Church of God in Smyrna.

So, if Catholics really want to come home to the first and original church that was called the “catholic church,” which by the way, it claims was faithful to the teaching of the apostles and was founded by the apostles and their immediate successors, they should look beyond Rome.

Early church history is different than what the Catholics (including the Eastern Orthodox) and Protestants normally think it was.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.  Was the Church of God in Smyrna the original “catholic church” according to early writings?  Check out the writings for yourself.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?

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