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All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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In his war on Nicolaitism, Gregory was sustained by ancient laws of the Roman Church, but not by the genuine spirit of Christianity. Enforced clerical celibacy has no foundation in the Bible, and is apt to defeat the sacerdotal ideal which it was intended to promote. The real power and usefulness of the clergy depend upon its moral purity, which is protected and promoted by lawful matrimony, the oldest institution of God, dating from the paradise of innocence. 

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In addition to the fact that great significance was attached to the significance of baptism during the second period of the Church in the new dispensation which period we are now discussing, we may also observe that the baptism of infants was generally in vogue during this time. The following quotation from Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church is of interest: “Augustine brought the operation of baptism into connection with his more complete doctrine of original sin.

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In Spain, which was as much isolated from the Continent by the Pyrenees as England by the sea, clerical celibacy was never enforced before this period: The Saracenic invasion and subsequent struggles of the Christians were unfavorable to discipline. A canon of Compostella, afterwards bishop of Mondonego, describes the contemporary ecclesiastics at the close of the eleventh century as reckless and violent men, ready for any crime, prompt to quarrel, and occasionally indulging in mutual slaughter.

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We now continue with the quotation on the views of the Eucharist by Raclbertus by the New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia: “This is done by miracle (i. 2), a creative act performed by the word of the Creator; more particularly, through the medium of Christ’s words on institution since he is himself the substantial and eternal Word. The body of Christ is not perceptible by the senses, because that would be superfluous (visibility of the presence of the body) and would not increase the reality, and to eat the flesh in its sensible appearance would clash with human custom (xi.

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And, in the second place, we may also state that, although the term, “sacrifice,” was used in connection with the celebration of this sacrament, it was used in an altogether different sense than its present use in the Roman Catholic Church. According to this early view of the Church, not Christ was offered but the Church offered itself, its prayers and thanksgiving, etc.

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The episcopate, notwithstanding the unity of the office and its rights, admitted the different grades of country bishop, ordinary city bishop, metropolitan, and patriarch. Such a distinction had already established itself on the basis of free religious sentiment in the church; so that the incumbents of the apostolic sees, like Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome, stood at the head of the hierarchy. But this gradation now assumed a political character, and became both modified and confirmed by attachment to the municipal division of the Roman empire. 

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