NCR: Would Jesus Recognize Roman Worship?

Pope Benedict XVI with Eucharist Host during Mass (Fabio Pozzebom/ABr)


The National Catholic Register reported the following:

Would Jesus Recognize Catholic Worship?

“It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments.” (CCC 1139)

You’ve seen pictures of splendid traditional Catholic worship. The clergy and servers are robed, the incense is billowing, the church building is magnificent. Would Jesus recognize such worship? …

They used set prayers and established readings as Catholics do with their liturgy and tables of readings. Furthermore, the worship of the “domestic church” for Jews was structured around seasons and feasts. Throughout the year, as Catholics do, they celebrated certain feast days and fast days. …

So would Jesus recognize the Catholic worship that goes on in the great cathedrals and Catholic churches? There are clearly differences between Catholic and Jewish worship, but think of the things Jesus would recognize … what we can glean from the Bible about Jewish worship — both in the Old Testament and from the Book of Revelation (where the worship of heaven is pictured) — all looks far more like a traditional Catholic Mass than the bare preaching rooms and long Bible lectures of the Protestants. 11/15/18

The above has several points that I would like to address–but the short answer to the headline question, from a Christian church perspective, is that Jesus would not recognize what the Church of Rome now does as something He wanted established.

Firstly, consider that the Church of Rome does NOT have an eternal liturgy. Their own scholars admit that they changed it from the original (as well as the day of the week, which originally was Saturday).

Notice some comments from a Roman Catholic writer:

If you could travel in time and attend a Christian worship service in the first century, what would it be like? Would a Presbyterian feel at home? How about a Catholic? The following is a re-recording of a lecture I gave to a group in Charlotte, NC last year on the subject of “liturgy in the first century.” With the current lead article on Holy Orders and the nature of the priesthood, it is relevant to explore the subject of early Christian worship. To determine what sort of leaders the early Christians had, it helps to understand what sort of action the early Christians understood as right worship. The historical evidence bears witness that the early Christian liturgy was not compatible with Protestant theology …

The primary points of contact for our knowledge of the first century liturgy lie on one end with the Jewish liturgies, and the little data which can be gleaned from the New Testament, and the far later, but well documented, fourth century liturgies. We do have a few texts, reliable but vague, from the second and third century that help us piece together the puzzle. But ultimately our study lies in drawing on what we know from these ends, and reconstructing the development in-between. …

The Judeo-Centricity of Early Christianity

  1. For about the first 10 years of Christianity, it was almost exclusively composed of Jewish converts.
  2. The early Christians were in the habit of attending temple ..
  3. The early Christians continued celebrating in the Synagogues alongside the Jews on the Sabbath for several years in some places.
  4. Up to nineteen years after Christ’s resurrection, new converts to Christianity, generally speaking, had to convert to Judaism before becoming Christian. Namely, they were to be circumcised, to eat Kosher, and to follow the Mosaic Law…

Synaxis‘ is the Greek word meaning “meeting” and is the organic continuity of the Saturday Synagogue worship. When the Christians were no longer allowed in the synagogues, they continued celebrating approximately the same rite with added Christian developments and themes. The original liturgies would have been held, like the synagogue service, in Hebrew, and some of the words, like “amen” and “hallelujah,” survive to this day. In the early part of the first century, it is unlikely that the Synaxis would have be recognizably different from the Synagogue service except for the setting. …

Basic Structure

  1. Greeting and Response (The Lord be with you – or Peace be unto you)
  2. Lections & Psalmody (The Jews read in order of descending importance, starting with the Pentateuch. The early Christian kept the original order of the Synagogue, but as Christian Scripture became available, it was tacked on at the end. Thus the order of importance became reversed for Christians. They read in ascending order of importance)
    i. Old Testament Reading
    ii. Pslamody (or chanted Psalm)
    iii. New Testament Reading (sometimes included non-canonical books like 1 Clement)
    iv. Psalmody
    v. Gospel Reading
  3. Homily (Bishop delivers while seated)
  4. Dismissal of Catechumens by Deacon
  5. Intercessory Prayers of the Faithful
  6. Dismissal of the Faithful

Occasionally a collection would be taken for the poor at the end. …

By the end of the first century, the standard Christian liturgical observations would be as follows. On Saturday, you would attend the Synaxis. (Troutman TA. Christian Worship in the First Century. June 17, 2010. © 2017 Called to Communion. accessed 01/01/17)

Secondly, it should also be emphasized that the Holy Days and festival seasons that early Christians observed did NOT include Easter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, ‘Mary’ days, ‘saints’ days, etc. They observed biblical holy days like the Jews did, but with a Christian understanding of how Jesus fulfilled Passover and the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost and how God’s plan would fulfill the others. For some details, check out the free online booklet: Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Thirdly, what is done for Roman Catholic liturgy was not part of the original faith according to the The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Its elements are leitos (from leos = laos, people) meaning public, and ergo (obsolete in the present stem, used in future erxo, etc.), to do. From this we have leitourgos, “a man who performs a public duty”, “a public servant”, often used as equivalent to the Roman lictor; then leitourgeo, “to do such a duty”, leitourgema, its performance, and leitourgia, the public duty itself.

it must be said that an Apostolic Liturgy in the sense of an arrangement of prayers and ceremonies, like our present ritual of the Mass, did not exist. …

But we find much more than this essential nucleus in use in every Church from the first century… first a synagogue service Christianized, in which the holy books were read, psalms were sung, prayers said by the bishop in the name of all (the people answering “Amen” in Hebrew, as had their Jewish forefathers), and homilies, explanations of what had been read, were made by the bishop or priests, just as they had been made in the synagogues by the learned men and elders (e.g., Luke 4:16-27). …

For the first period we have of course no complete description. ,,,

From about the fourth century our knowledge of the Liturgy increases enormously. We are no longer dependent on casual references to it: we have definite rites fully developed. …

Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch are the old patriarchal cities. As the other bishops accepted the jurisdiction of these three patriarchs, so did they imitate their services. The Liturgy, as it crystallized in these centres, became the type for the other Churches of their patriarchates. Only Gaul and northwest Europe generally, though part of the Roman Patriarchate, kept its own rite till the seventh and eighth centuries.

Alexandria and Antioch are the starting-points of the two original Eastern rites. The earliest form of the Antiochene Rite is that of the “Apostolic Constitutions” written down in the early fifth century. ,,,

In any case the old Roman Rite is not exactly that now used. Our Roman Missal has received considerable additions from Gallican sources. The original rite was simpler, more austere, had practically no ritual beyond the most necessary actions (see Bishop, “The Genius of the Roman Rite” in “Essays on Ceremonial”, edited by Vernon Staley, London, 1904, pp. 283-307). …


  1. The original Roman Rite, not now used.

(Fortescue, Adrian. “Liturgy.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910)

So, it is clearly taught that what the Church of Rome now practices as liturgy was NOT the original as it is admitted that “our present ritual of the Mass, did not exist.” Essentially, compromises with semi-Gnostics, apostates like Justin Martyr and Marcus, and the adoption of various practices that were associated with Mithraism ended up with the type of liturgies that many are now familiar with.

Fourthly, when you go into a Roman Catholic church or cathedral, it is filled with statues and icons. That was not something that early Christians tolerated, nor was this allowed in synagogues that Jesus would have visited (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?).

Fifthly, while the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1139) has claimed the liturgy is eternal, it has been reported that the Vatican again was pushing certain liturgical changes:

Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy changes ‘irreversible’

ROME – Addressing a group of liturgical experts on Thursday, Pope Francis said that after the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and a long path of experience, “We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

The declaration came in a speech on Thursday to Italy’s “Center of Liturgical Action,” which sponsors an annual National Liturgical Week.

By “liturgical reform,” Pope Francis meant the changes in Catholic rituals and modes of worship which followed from Vatican II, the most immediately visible elements of which included Mass facing the congregation …

Battles over liturgical practice have been a chronic feature of Catholic life since Vatican II.

A desire to maintain the older Latin Mass, for instance, was a primary force prompting French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to lead a group of traditionalist Catholics into a break with Rome.

And of course, the current mass and the “old Latin Mass” are not original Christian practices. Early Christian church services were in Greek or Aramaic/Hebrew, not Latin. Jesus would not have attended a synagogue where services were in Latin. Tertullian, the so-called “father of Latin theology” did not begin to write until around 190 A.D.–Latin was a change.

Sixthly, in Catholic ‘mass’ Jesus is supposedly sacrificed every time it is held. Yet, the Bible is clear that Jesus only needed to be sacrificed once:

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

Although Jesus wanted His followers to have an annual memorial of His death (called Passover), Jesus does not need to be ‘re-sacrificed’ weekly or daily (Catholic priests are expected to do this through the Mass ritual each and every day).

Furthermore, as far as the use of a round host goes, early Christians did not use one. A careful comparison of what is taught in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church along with eucharistic practices should make this clear to any truly interested in the truth (see also Early Christianity and the Eucharist?).

Article 3, under the Seven Sacraments of the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the eucharist. Section II asks and answers the question, What is this Sacrament Called? Several names are listed, including “The Breaking of Bread” (#1329).

It also states the following:

1339 Jesus choose the time of the Passover … And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them … (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 373)

Now the above is scriptural. Here are some related scriptures from Catholic translations of the Bible:

19 And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the pasch.

26 And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. (Matthew 26:19,26 Douay-Rheims)

22 And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. (Mark 14:22, Douay-Rheims)

19 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke 22:19, Douay-Rheims)

Notice, it is very clear that Jesus BROKE the bread on Passover (Pasch means Passover).

The Apostle Paul confirmed that it was the practice of the early Christians to break bread:

16 The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? (1 Corinthians 10:16, Douay-Rheims).

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.

24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, Douay-Rheims)

The Apostle Paul followed Jesus’ practice and broke bread. Furthermore, notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches in its article “Host”:

…the first Christians…simply used the bread that served as food. It seems that the form differed but little from what it is in our day. The loaves discovered in an oven of a bakery at Pompeii weighed about a pound each. One of these, being perfectly preserved, measured about seven inches in diameter and was creased with seven ridges which facilitated the breaking of the loaf without the aid of a knife. (Leclercq, Henri. “Host.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Feb. 2011 <>)

Notice that the article in The Catholic Encyclopedia basically says that the practice of the first Christians, which is consistent with the Bible, was to use normal loaves of bread that resemble what is still in use today. And that it was broken. (The article never says where the round host actually came from, other than it was first mentioned in writing in the fourth century by Epiphanius and that earlier paintings in catacombs and bas-reliefs showed something like that. But I should state that the oldest early painting in a catacomb I am aware of has a woman, Priscilla, presiding over the ceremony, so the Church of Rome may wish to be careful about relying on that as they do not allow women to do that. Hence, the earliest picture of the eucharist host did not come from what is practiced in today’s Roman Catholicism–so the question from whence the Catholics adopted it remains.)

Thus, to have a Passover/eucharistic ceremony where the bread is not broken is certainly not imitating Jesus, the Apostle Paul, nor the early Christians. It is a change that the Church of Rome must have gotten outside of the Bible.

Yet, in the eucharistic ceremonies in the Catholic Church, the bread is not broken. Instead, it is a round host that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says can/should be worshipped and adored (CCC #1378, p. 385). Yet, there is no indication that the early Christians or the apostles did anything like that.

They basically taught that it was to be eaten.

Worshipers of sun-gods worshiped round symbols. Early Christians did not.

Many practices associated with sun-god worship, specifically Mithraism were adopted by the Church of Rome. Notice the following report from the Catholic scholar F. Cumont (bolding mine):

The priest was the intermediary between God and man. His functions evidently included the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the services. The inscriptions tell us that in addition he presided at the formal dedications, or at least represented the faithful one on such an occasion along with the Fathers; but this was the least portion only of the duties he had to perform; the religious service which fell to his lot appears to have been very exacting. He doubtless was compelled to see that a perpetual fire burned upon the altars. Three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, he addressed a prayer to the Sun, turning in the morning toward the East, at noon toward the South, at evening toward the West. The daily liturgy frequently embraced special sacrifices.

the orthodox and heretical liturgies of Christianity, which gradually sprang up during the first centuries of our era, could find abundant inspiration in the Mithraic Mysteries… it appears certain that the commemoration of the Nativity was set for the 25th of December, because it was at the winter solstice that the rebirth of the invincible god,* the Natalis invicti, was celebrated. In adopting this date, which was universally distinguished by sacred festivities, the ecclesiastical authority purified in some measure the profane usages which it could not suppress. The only domain in which we can ascertain in detail the extent to which Christianity imitated Mithraism is that of art. The Mithraic sculpture, which had been first developed, furnished the ancient Christian marble-cutters with a large number of models, which they adopted or adapted…(Cumont, pp. 166, 193,196-197).

Many of the doctrines and practices mentioned above were NOT held by the original Christians. For articles related to them, please see Do You Practice Mithraism?, Sunday and Christianity, What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?, Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?, and What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

Cannot those who claim to be Catholic traditionalists see this? There are also ties with Egyptian pagan gods, etc. with the round host. For some details, check out Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist?

Seventhly, yes, there are problems with Protestant liturgy. Some because they are too close to the liturgies of the Church of Rome, others because they added other non-biblical practices, and all as they fail to teach the full truth of the Bible, God’s plan of salvation, and the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

As far as church liturgy goes, according to Roman Catholic writers, the Church of Rome does not follow the practices of the early Christians–nor do the Protestants. For details, check out the article What was the Liturgy of the Early Church?

Actually, it is groups like the Continuing Church of God who have church services, also known as liturgical practices, that are most consistent with those of the early Christians (watch What were early Christian church services like?).

The Church of Rome has implemented changes which were not part of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Speaking of changes, a little while back Roman Catholic bishops declared a new ‘sin.’ Notice the following:

Reading a letter on behalf of the bishops to congregants after a church service at St. James Catholic church in Emerald Hill, Harare on Aug. 20, Father Rungano Muchineripi said it is a sin not to vote, reported

“Men and women of God are getting tired of praying for issues to do with politics and the suffering of people due to bad governance, so it is high time Christians put their efforts together in registering to vote, choosing a people oriented government which is not evil.

“It is your responsibility to choose a government of your choice that gives you rights. People have a constitutional right to vote and it is a sin not to vote,” Rungano said.

A staunch critic of the ruling Zanu-PF party, which ruled uninterrupted since independence in 1980, Rungano said that parents should make sure that children who are 17 years old and will be 18 next year are registered too as voters. 08/24/17

As one who grew up in a Roman Catholic household, let me state that I was never taught that not voting was a sin. This is another political, not biblical, decision that is coming from a Roman Catholic bishop. The Bible warns of a religious system, based on the city of seven hills, that is too involved in politics of this world in Revelation 17. The Bible gives it the title of “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5).

We in the Continuing Church of God do not endorse political involvement like voting (see Should a Christian Vote?).

Anyway, there are more liturgical issues that the Church of Rome has (see What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? and/or watch What were early Christian church services like?).

As far as other doctrinal changes and which church holds to the original faith, check out the documented frr online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did IHS and the host come from?
Early Christianity and the Eucharist? What does ‘eucharist’ mean? Did early Christians tie it in with Passover? Should it be a rounded host?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did the early Church use icons? What was the position of Christians about such things? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president/prime minister? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand. A video of related interest is available titled: Should Christians Vote?
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.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing 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.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
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?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing 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.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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