What is the church? It is common for people to use the term “church” to refer to the building; the infrastructure where they attend to meet with God, but the truth is that this definition is not correct.
We can affirm without embarrassment that the church is a community of faithful who profess their belief in Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
Those who first defined themselves as “Christians” in Antioch, shortly after the conversion of St. Paul. The Church was born to continue the mission of salvation of Jesus, who before ascending to heaven entrusted to his disciples, the twelve apostles, the task of being his witnesses “to the ends of the earth” and of announcing the “good news.” , the Gospel, to all peoples.
The Church, born in a Jewish environment, has also spread among the pagans; After lively discussions, the apostles decided to no longer force Christians to observe many of the rules established by the law of Moses (such as circumcision and animal sacrifices). At first, the apostles prayed together with the Jews in the temple in Jerusalem; then, after strong contrasts with the Jewish community, they began to celebrate separate liturgies and prayers in the homes of Christians who could host them.
The origin of the word Church comes from the Greek word “Ekklesia”, which means “assembly” or “convocation”, “to summon”.
The expression is taken up in the most recent parts of the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Bible) as a counterpart to the Hebrew terms qāhāl and ‛ēdāh, with the meaning of” gathering “of the Jewish people, religious and political gathering at the same time . Therefore, it is in the Septuagint that the term ἐκκλησία begins to acquire a specifically “cultural and legal” meaning in Greek.
The New Testament writers did not derive this term from its use in Greece, but precisely from the Septuagint.
Following the canonical order, the first mention of the term ἐκκλησία in the Greek Bible is found in Deuteronomy, 4.10, where curiously the Seventy write tei hemérai tés ekklesías (“the day of the assembly”), without a precise confirmation in the Masoretic canon, perhaps to this induced by the use of the imperative haqhēl, “gathers” (from the same root as qāhāl).
Other Deuteronomy passages that use the expression ἐκκλησία are 9.10 and 18.16, but see also the First Book of Kings, 8.65. When followed by the genitive “of the Lord”, ἐκκλησίαν κυρίου (“assembly of the Lord”), he translates the Hebrew term קהל יהוה (Deuteronomy, 23.2ff; Micah 2.5). It is interesting, however, that the original Greek of Acts calls ἐκκλησία the gathering of the citizens of Ephesus in the theater of the city: “Meanwhile, who was shouting one thing, who another; in fact, the assembly was confused; and the majority did not know why they had gotten together ”, in this case not in a religious but purely civil key (19,32).
The Septuagint also uses a second term to translate the Hebrew concept of “people of God”, συναγωγή (sunagōgē), “gathering”, “assembly”, hence “synagogue”, which is almost never used in the New Testament to refer to Christians, because it already indicated the Jewish community and its place of worship.
As stated by EW Bullinger, this word was used for any type of assembly, but especially for assemblies of citizens, or of a part of them, “citizens”.
In the New Testament it is used 115 times, of which only 3 is translated as “assembly”, while 112 as “church”. Just take a look at the three times it is translated “assembly” to understand that it is not used exclusively for Christian assemblies.
In fact, in Acts 19, about a demonstration against Paul that took place in Ephesus, it is written:
Acts 19:32, 35, 39, 41
“Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, others another, so much so that the meeting [in Greek“ ekklesia ”] was confusing and most did not know why they had gathered. … After calming the crowd, the Chancellor said [to the assembly]: «… If you then have any other request to make, it will be resolved in the ordinary assembly [Greek“ ekklesia ”]. … And having said these things, he dissolved the meeting [Greek “ekklesia”] “.
It follows from this passage that the word “ekklesia” was used for non-Christians and, as in this case, also for anti-Christian assemblies.
It is evident that the general meaning of the word “ekklesia” is “assembly” also because of the use made of it in the LXX, where it is used 71 times, all as a translation of the Hebrew word “qahal”, which means “to summon an assembly, an act; an assembly, a congregation, a convocation; an assembly in the broad sense, or of many men, of many troops, of many nations, of many wicked men, of many pious men, etc. ”.
To conclude, therefore, the general meaning of the word “ekklesia” is “assembly”. This word was not used exclusively for Christian assemblies, nor for the buildings that housed these assemblies. On the contrary, it was a general term used for any type of assembly.
After seeing the general meaning of the word “ekklesia”, it is time to see what it means in the Word of God and especially in the passages of the Word that refer to the age of grace (that is, in Acts and Epistles 5 ) in which we live.
Although this word also means assembly here, this time it is a specific assembly, which has as members ALL those who have been born again, that is, all those who have confessed with their mouths to the Lord Jesus, and have believed in your heart. God raised him from the dead (Romans 10: 9).
Another term the Bible uses to define all those in the world who believe in Christ is “body” or “the body of Christ.” By reading various passages of the Word of God, we can realize that “the church” and “body” or “the body of Christ” are synonyms that are used to define the totality of believers in Christ. So, starting at 1 Corinthians 12:27, Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1: 22-23 we read:
It is all believers together that make up the so-called body of Christ.
The Bible does not say that in this place there is a body and in that place another. Nor does it say that this religious confession is a body and that this confession is another body. The Bible makes no distinctions based on religion, color, class, where you live, or for any other reason.
Taking this meaning into account, the definition of Church would correspond to the Christian community that comes from the same confession; a group of people who attend the temple to pray and fulfill certain rituals such as mass. However, the scriptures do not make a distinction between the plural and the singular, so “Church” could refer to several congregations.
The Catholic Church is the Christian community established by Christ; entrusted to Peter and the other apostles to direct and spread the teachings of Jesus Christ. Based on that premise, this church considers itself the only authentic Christian congregation.
After Peter was appointed by Jesus as head of the church, he ministered at the See of Rome until the end of the 1st century. Since then the bishop of Rome, the Pope, has been considered the direct successor of the apostle Peter; a Christian entity that has the authority to rule over the Catholic Church from the Holy See.
The Christian church or Christianity encompasses all believers in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; It is the largest religious stream in the world, with more than 2.5 billion followers. From it, various branches emerged that interpreted and expressed the elements of the holy book (Bible) differently.
Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism are the main strands of Christianity; of which the first is the most numerous. One of the most relevant aspects that differentiates these confessions is their position with respect to the Pope; Since the Radical Reformation in the 16th century, Protestants do not recognize the authority of the Pope, while Catholics still maintain it.
Since the beginning of Christianity, families have formed an important part of this religion; Since the home is where the teaching of the Christian faith begins, with parents being the first ones in charge of imparting this knowledge to their children.
Therefore, the domestic church is considered to be the Christian faith that is present in all families, communities and parishes that live according to the word of God. Families that pray together, attend Mass regularly, and avoid bad thoughts can be considered a domestic church.
Episcopal is the name given to the National Church of the United States, which derives from the Anglican communion. Before the War of Independence this Church had to accept the supremacy of the British monarch; After the British defeat and the signing of the peace treaty, the United States finally obtained its independence not only political but also religious.
It should be noted that this process was long and complicated, because the English did not accept the consecration of Anglican bishops who did not swear allegiance to the British crown. However, the Scottish Episcopal College did agree to consecrate the first American bishop; since then the apostolic succession in the United States comes from the Bishops of Scotland.
The Methodist Church or Methodism was a Christian movement that emerged during the 18th century in the United Kingdom; headed by John Wesley, his brother Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. The original idea of these young people was to renew some principles of the Anglican church, after a deep study of the sacred scriptures and the analysis of their impact on daily life.
Weekly these characters, together with other students, met in spaces at the University of Oxford to debate about the Christian life; who also visited the poor and sick. However, John Wesley did not expect his idea to evolve into a new Christian denomination, which would be preached in the open air by the early Methodists.
This term has been used erroneously to name all the Protestant churches that arose in the 16th century, from the radical reform. But the truth is that this name should be attributed exclusively to the Christian churches that were headed by John Calvin.
Based on this, we can say that Calvinism was the movement responsible for the creation of the Reformed Church; a theological system initiated in Sweden that characterized the second phase of Protestantism, after the expulsion of Martin Luther from the Catholic confession.
The doctrine of this church is based on the superimposition of the Bible on any other affirmation, the faith in Christ and its role as the only authority before the church; therefore, this religious current does not believe in people or groups who have received the power of authority through direct revelation.
The ideas of William Miller, mainly his prediction of the second coming of Jesus Christ, allowed the beginning of the Millerite movement. This movement led by Miller ended after the Great Disappointment and the vast majority of his followers, including Ellen Gould White, abandoned it.
After this historical event, Ellen G. White claimed to have important revelations thanks to her gift of prophecy, becoming the foundations of the Adventist movement. Representatives of Adventism concluded that Miller had not correctly interpreted the events in the book of Daniel, and they established that the coming of Jesus Christ is imminent.
The early church comprises the period between the apostolic age and the First Council of Nicaea; dates when Christianity had not yet been established as the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Before Christianity people worshiped the gods or emperors of the city, tribe or town they belonged to; basically humanity was divided according to race or social class. With the arrival of Christianity, people had the freedom to belong or not to this religion, regardless of their race or social status.
During the first three centuries, Christians were persecuted, threatened, and punished for their beliefs; however, they knew how to forgive their opponents and never retaliated against them. Furthermore, this religion was also characterized by indiscriminate hospitality to the sick and self-control of sexual desires.
See also: What is the Presbyterian Church?
The Baptist church is an evangelical movement, therefore, we must start with an understanding of that concept. Evangelism is a movement that grew out of the radical Anabaptist Reformation in the 16th century; At that time, the believers of this religious current were called Anabaptists.
Years later, specifically in 1609 during the Modern age, the Englishman John Smyth started the Baptist movement; the founding of the first Baptist church and the baptism of 36 believers was considered the beginning of this new Christian doctrine.
By then, those belonging to this religion had already stopped calling themselves “Anabaptists”, since it was a term assigned to it by their opponents.
The Byzantine Church or also known as the Eastern Church, was the Christian congregation that was formed during the Byzantine Empire. The expansion of this Empire allowed Christianity to spread throughout Europe. However, the official religion at the time was paganism and its representatives felt threatened by the new ideology.
In AD 313, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, a law establishing freedom of worship and ending the persecution of Christians. In turn, over Byzantium he built the city that would become the Western Empire, which he christened Constantinople in his honor.
Years later, Emperor Theodosius divided the Empire into that of the West and that of the East, whose capital was the city of Constantinople. As for religion, during this government Theodosius promulgated the Edict of Thessalonica; a document that declared Christianity as the official religion of this Empire and prohibited paganism.
The dogmatic differences and the political interests on the part of the Roman Church, were triggers of the Eastern Schism; it constituted a treaty that officially divided Christianity into the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, which depended on the authority of the Pope, and the Eastern Orthodox Church, which was faithful to the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The influence of Christianity in the Arabic-speaking countries allowed the formation of the Coptic Church or The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria; one of the oldest Christian congregations founded in Egypt. The origin of this Church dates back to the times of Mark the Evangelist, considered by the Copts as the first pope of Alexandria.
Due to theological and dogmatic disputes, the Coptic Church separated from other Christian denominations during the Council of Chalcedon and to this day, this congregation does not commune with European Orthodox churches nor does it recognize the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The visions of the Canadian Aimee Semple McPherson, allowed him to find another interpretation to the biblical account of Ezequiel. In this fragment Ezekiel spoke about four living beings, which were understood by McPherson as four main aspects of the life and work of God; Hence the term “Foursquare” that was assigned to this church.
The four aspects incorporated by this doctrine speak of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation; Christ’s ability to baptize his believers through the Holy Spirit; Jesus Christ as healer of all our diseases and sins; and the return of Jesus as King of kings.
This evangelist woman generated much controversy, which started the Foursquare movement in 1921 and the inauguration of her first church in 1923 in the city of Los Angeles, California.
The Church of Scientology was inaugurated in 1954 by science fiction and fantasy writer Ron Hubbard. Initially the project was about a system of psychotherapy called dianetics, based on some principles of Sigmund Freud; which failed and was transformed into a religious affair by Hubbard.
Scientology has some similarities to the Dharma, stating that humans are spiritual beings who have forgotten our nature and purposes in life; To meet again we must go through a method called auditing, which is a kind of regression that allows us to remember traumatic events from our past life in order to free ourselves from their burdens.
Evangelical churches are characterized by maintaining the doctrines of early Christianity and the Bible as the highest authority of their faith. Furthermore, they reject certain principles of Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism.
One aspect that differentiates this Christian denomination from others is the process of evangelization, which consists of preaching or spreading the word of God with the purpose of finding salvation.
Evangelism has derived in many other currents or branches, being the Evangelical Pentecostal Churches part of them. This branch emphasizes the earthly manifestation of the Holy Spirit; the presence of God in a body can allow the understanding of other languages, the revelation of prophecies, the healing of diseases and the success in everyday aspects of life.
This characteristic of Pentecostalism is recorded during the 20th century, when some members of the Wesleyan movement began to speak other languages, which they associated with biblical evidence that they had been baptized by the Holy Spirit. The believers affirmed that this gift that had been given to them would allow them to live as apostles and participate in ministries.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church is part of the Protestant Catholic denominations, which is identified with the theology of Martin Luther. The union of three Lutheran churches in the United States, gave rise in 1988 to this extensive congregation; which should not be confused as a sect or new denomination, but as a current adaptation of the old Christian church.
The Lutheran church affirms and teaches its believers that the word of God or the Bible is the only absolute truth on Earth and its study allows salvation. Furthermore, this church believes that God is represented in three ways: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; an aspect that is rejected by other denominations such as the Orthodox.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church also preaches about the sin of man; affirms that we are all sinners from birth and is the reason for the evil that exists in the world. Similarly, Lutherans teach that God’s Law requires perfect thoughts and actions, which cannot be fulfilled by man and are therefore condemned.
The origin of the New Apostolic Church dates back to 1830 in Great Britain, during a reform movement seeking a new sense of the holy spirit. However, its foundation was not official until the schism that occurred in Hamburg in 1863; after certain disagreements in terms of definitions that had been made of the Sacred scriptures.
The doctrines of this Church coincide with some beliefs of other evangelical congregations; such as the death of Jesus Christ as compensatory of our sins, the second coming of Jesus to Earth, the rebirth of man through baptism and the fulfillment of the commandments.
In the middle Ages
Of all the stages that have marked history, the Middle Ages was the period where the Church played a major role. During the eleventh century Christianity was established in Europe, due to the fact that most of the population was Christian; therefore, the Medieval Church was immersed in many political and social aspects, even when other creeds existed.
But despite the success of the Christian community at this time, it was affected by the Eastern Schism. This document that was promulgated established that the Christian community of the West, which still remained loyal to the authority of the Pope, would be divided from the Christian congregation of the East, which would only recognize the authority of its patriarch.
After the Eastern Schism, Christianity was divided; The East was under the communion of the Eastern Orthodox Church, while the West remained faithful to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Beyond the theology that differentiated these two congregations, the feudal power that the Western Church gained marked a milestone in the Middle Ages.
This religious institution in the West was closely linked with feudalism; he owned large tracts of land and received a tenth of people’s crops as a tithe. Similarly, nobles had the right to belong to the clergy; name that the group of representatives of the catholic church had received.
Another fact that characterized the Catholic Church during feudalism was its power over the king; the authority of this institution could not be questioned, rejected or displaced.
Gnostic derives from the word “gnosis”, which means “knowing” or “knowledge” and is the basis of Gnosticism. This doctrine arose from Jewish and Christian ideas during the 1st and 4th centuries; the groups that practiced it placed great emphasis on knowledge beyond the beliefs and traditions established at that time, which had a great impact on the Christian church.
The Gnostics associated the good with the spirit and the hidden things; while the existence of matter was seen as the beginning of evil. This concept was applied to God, a supreme and hidden being, but who was also a malevolent deity as he was responsible for the creation of the Universe.
The Gnostics had the conviction that salvation was not obtained through faith in Christ, they defended that only the human being could save himself through absolute knowledge of the divine.
The Greek Orthodox Church is part of the official religion of Greece, currently made up of more than 9 million believers. This church was under the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople; but at the end of the war against the Turks, this ecclesiastical institution was separated from this jurisdiction in the year 1833, which was not approved until 1850.
During the Second World War this church was greatly affected, mainly by the large number of deaths of priests. Fortunately, the collaboration of the State, the media, apostolic foundations and charitable works have allowed its recovery.
Romanticism is replaced by Gothic art after its arrival in the middle of the 12th century; which generated great impact on the architecture of the cathedrals of Paris and the rest of Western Europe until the end of the 15th century, when the Renaissance made its appearance.
The Gothic movement was born as a result of a religious reform, which rejected the decorative excesses that had been used during Romanticism in the construction of churches.
This new artistic style was intended to reduce the moral degradation of the church, restore its purity and avoid the use of elements that could distract the monk during his prayer. However, these objectives were not met, as time showed that the works of Gothic art were just as ostentatious as those criticized by their representatives.
As for the characteristics of the cathedrals built during this period, let us replace horizontality with verticality; a quality that was intended to give an ascending sense to the structure, as if it was heading towards the sky. In addition, the use of carved stones and stained glass was the main resource for these constructions.
Feudalism was a time characterized by a strict distribution of social strata. The feudal lords had power over the resources of the poorest and progressively were involved in other social aspects such as the church.
The church during feudalism had a deep crisis; she was immersed in corruption, due to the desire to obtain the temporal (material) goods of the Earth. Some of the vices that arose in the church during this period were simony, Nicolaitans, and lay investiture.
In later years, Pope Nicholas II established some measures so that these vices in the church were diminished; he managed to organize the conclave, a new way of electing the Pope.
Finally in the year 1075 Pope Gregory VII, promulgated the ideals of the Gregorian Reformation in the “Dictatus Papae”. This document detailed the authority of the Pope over nobles and kings, only he would have the power to assign positions; the obligatory character of apostolic celibacy and the division of ecclesiastical and state affairs.
Finally in the year 1075 Pope Gregory VII, promulgated the ideals of the Gregorian Reformation in the “Dictatus Papae”. This document detailed the authority of the Pope over nobles and kings, only he would have the power to assign positions; the obligatory character of apostolic celibacy and the division of ecclesiastical and state affairs.
The Imperial Church spanned the period from the Edict of Milan in AD 313 to AD 476; which was ruled by Constantine I from his victory in 306 AD until his death in 337 AD.
During this period the church reached a very privileged place, since Constantine was the emperor responsible for declaring this religion official, and forbidding the persecution of its followers through the Edict of Milan. Christians who had been humiliated had their homes returned and their temples rebuilt.
Another important fact that marked this historical period was the abolition of the crucifixion as a death penalty, since the cross was adopted as a symbol to identify Christianity. In addition, infanticide was eradicated and gladiator fights as an attraction were banned.
Despite the positive influence that the establishment of Christianity had on the State, unfortunately the empire ended like many of the principles of this religion. Good and bad people looked for positions in the church to gain social and political influence, positions that were very easy to obtain; soon the imperial church was awash with worldlings and hypocrites.
To enter into context it is convenient to ask ourselves the following question: What does the church mean is both visible and spiritual? Starting from this point, we can say that the visible church is all the elements of Christianity that we can observe; such as the temple, the group of people who are part of a local church, the mass or those who profess the faith of Christ.
Therefore, every time someone asks what is the church as a temple? We can explain to you that it is the visible Church or infrastructure where all religious cults occur.
On the other hand, when we speak of the invisible or spiritual church, we refer to all believers who maintain a vital and heavenly bond with God; Whether they attend visible church or not, their faith in God is so powerful that they have a genuine relationship with him.
And the inquisition
The Inquisition or Holy Inquisition was a court established by the Catholic Church in collaboration with the civil authority; Its foundation was in the year 1184 in France and its objective was to investigate, monitor and condemn the heresy related to the Church that persisted at that time.
All people who went against Catholic beliefs, refused to belong to this religion, practiced witchcraft or belonged to another cult were accused of being heretics; the punishment in most cases was the death penalty or torture.
Jesuits is the name given to the members of the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order that was founded in 1534 by Ignacio de Loyola and other students of Philosophy from Paris. Loyola, who fought in the troops of Carlos I, was determined to serve souls and to achieve his purpose he began deep theological and philosophical studies.
Along the way, Loyola met more people who agreed with his idea of developing a modern spirituality, who became his classmates. In turn, this religious group was characterized by absolute obedience to the hierarchy of the Roman Church; which allowed them to obtain the recognition of Pope Paul III.
However, the church had its own intentions regarding that permission it had granted to the Society of Jesus. At that time Christianity presented a deep instability, the reform movement that Martin Luther had unleashed put the Roman Church at risk, which led to the birth of other religious denominations.
But in view of the fidelity that the Jesuits had shown, the Pope saw the opportunity to initiate a counter-reform using the Society of Jesus as the main resource; It was then that this institution participated in the Council of Trent and its members became the militiamen of the Roman Church to overcome the limitations imposed by the other orders.
The Maradoniana church is a religious parody that was created by fans of soccer player Diego Maradona. This church arose from a joke, which consisted of celebrating the birthday of the prestigious soccer player.
However, other admirers including Alejandro Verón and Federico Canepa gave greater importance to this idea; until finally on October 30, 1998 they manage to found this new religious movement.
The followers of this church consider Diego Maradona a God, both in football and in his religion. In addition, they affirm that the objective of this congregation is to maintain the legacy of this former soccer player and preserve his feats in the history of soccer.
The militant church can also be recognized by the name “pilgrim”. This church together with the triumphant and purgative constitutes the states that make up the Catholic Church, according to the doctrine set forth by Vatican Council II by Pope John XXIII.
In general lines, this militant church refers to the congregation of faithful Christians who are in the earthly world and avoid its temptations; they travel a path that will lead them to the Triumphant Church to enjoy eternal life.
“Mormon Church” is the informal name for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its story begins with a young American named Joseph Smith, who was confused by the diversity of religious opinions that existed in the 19th century.
Smith begins to study the Bible in an effort to find the correct guidelines of the Christian religion; but later on he decides to go directly to God to receive concrete answers. The Lord appears to Joseph in response to his request, assigning him the task of restoring the church that had originally been established.
In the year 1823 through a heavenly messenger, God sent Joseph the location of some writings that were buried; these documents contained the history of Christianity in North America. Thanks to the power of God, Joseph is able to translate these scriptures, which belonged to a prophet of God named “Mormon.”
Joseph received the authority to perform various religious ordinances and, following the Lord’s instructions, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830; the same year that he published the Book of Mormon.
The Novohispana church refers to the religious movement that was present during the Viceroyalty of New Spain, between the 16th and 19th centuries. In this period, the church had a lot of prominence thanks to the Royal Patronage, a permit that the Pope granted to the kings so that they could administer the ecclesiastical affairs of his empire.
The establishment of the Spanish in North America, also had a great influence on the customs and beliefs of the people who inhabited those lands; Through compulsory education, the colonizers instilled the Catholic religion in the indigenous people, who until then only believed in other gods and rituals.
An event that marked the Viceroyalty of New Spain was the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico; This event occurred in 1531, during the religious tension that arose in these lands due to the destruction and imbalance caused by the Spanish colonization.
Since then, this Virgin became an important symbol of Mexican culture and the evangelization of the Viceroyalty.
The word Maranatha has Aramaic origin and means “The Lord Comes”, therefore this church is the representation of a call or summons to the Holy Spirit. The work of this institution began in 1972, during small religious meetings in Chicago; then in 1992 the first Maranatha Church in the United States was founded.
This community gradually spread to other countries, currently having more than 700 churches around the world. The headquarters in the United States, Venezuela and Brazil are the ones with the largest number of members.
The Bible is composed of a first part called the Old Testament, which brings together all the historical events that occurred before the arrival of Jesus Christ, from the creation of the world to God’s relationship with Israel and the life of the prophets.
The New Testament is the name given to the second part of the Bible; a compilation of scriptures based on the life, work and death of Jesus Christ, which also includes some events from the first decades of Christianity. The Church that obeys and preaches the doctrine established in this Testament is called “New Testament”.
This church only uses the New Testament because it is where the will of Jesus Christ to create a Church appears, before these scriptures there was no record of this Christian congregation.
According to Pope Francis
On various occasions Pope Francis has preached that the Church must always remain open; This sign symbolizes the Church’s willingness to receive all its believers, even those who have not had contact with it but want to join.
In addition, Pope Francis emphasizes the courage that preachers had to evangelize during apostolic times; a period of many adversities, mainly due to the rejection and persecution suffered by Christians. The Pope uses this reflection to indicate to the followers of God that they should not be afraid to preach and believe.
The Movement of Priests for the Third World (MSTM) was a reformist current that sought to renew the Church’s liturgy and its position regarding the economic and social situation of third world countries; an ecclesiastical project that had already been established by Pope John XXIII at the Second Vatican Council, but which could not be completed due to his death in 1963.
Pope John XXIII was succeeded by Paul VI, who was willing to carry on the legacy of his predecessor. In 1967, Paul VI promulgated a document called “Populorum Progressio”, in which the consequences of the capitalist system in the poorest countries were criticized; such as regions of Latin America, Asia and Africa.
In August of that same year, a group of 18 bishops led by the Brazilian Bishop Helder Cámara, drafted a document that supported the ideas established by Paul VI in the Populorum Progressio; later it was translated and distributed, being considered the text that started the Movement of Priests for the Third World (MSTM).
Despite the great support that this movement got, it also had dire consequences for its representatives; They considered it just and necessary that the people use violence to defend themselves from their oppressors. As a result of this many representatives of the church were persecuted and killed, others had to go into exile. The movement officially ends in 1973.
The Trinitarian Order or Order of the Holy Trinity and of the Captives, was a religious congregation founded by Juan de Mata in collaboration with Félix de Valois; approved in the year 1198 by Pope Innocent III.
The objective of this order was to free and redeem the captives who were under the power of the Muslims, through methods that did not involve weapons; At that time (the end of the 12th century) the rise of the Crusades was present, a violent system that tried to maintain order in Christianity.
However, the representatives of the Trinitarian Order established a new peaceful alternative for redemption through the gospel. This plan consisted of begging throughout Europe; economic resources that would be destined to the purchase of prisoners in Muslim lands. Then these captives were taken to holy lands to free them and initiate them into Christianity.
The success and extension of this Order throughout Europe was impressive; However, at the end of the 15th century and the 16th century, many aspects of this order were neglected and deteriorated, which is why it is necessary to enact a reform.
The Spanish reform of Juan Bautista de la Concepción was applied and the order is divided into two branches: barefoot and footwear. The barefoot Trinitarians would correspond to all those religious who followed the reform of this Trinitarian Order.
Today the Barefoot Order still exists, but its purpose is different; Instead of releasing the prisoners of the Muslims, those who are about to lose faith in God, due to the religious persecution that exists in some countries, go.
The Tridentine Mass is the official name for the Roman rite practiced in Catholic churches. The Council of Trent was the agreement that finally established this rite and approved its extension to the Latin church; from this ecumenical council also derives the term “Tridentine”.
From the year 1570, Pope Pius V was in charge of publishing the first typical editions of this Catholic rite, according to the guidelines established by the approved Council.
Then until 1962 various Popes introduced some modifications to the texts of Pius V; being allowed in the Latin churches the use of the Roman Missal of Juan XXIII; according to the declarations of the apostolic letter of Benedict XVI.
The Church of Thyatira was one of the 7 churches of the Apocalypse; to each of them the Lord sent a message, according to the significant element that characterized them. In the case of Thyatira, his church was rebuked for tolerating the sins of its false prophesy Jezebel.
Thyatira was a small city located in a valley, it was not a cultural or religious center but its commercial activity was important. Due to trade, various guilds were formed, which generally do not represent a threat, but in those times the members of these groups idolized other gods.
The people who joined these guilds, had to participate in banquets that had reason to offer to their idols; in addition, they had to be part of rites that included immoral acts such as fornication. Those who resisted complying had no right to trade.
However, these were not the sins that provoked the wrath of God, in reality it was the wicked woman who led the Church of Thyatira; Jezebel, a false prophesy that encouraged the people to commit pagan acts with the justification that everyone was already forgiven.
The mistake that this church had made was the tolerance it showed towards the woman who led all the people to sin; she was not simply a person who tried to corrupt others, she was someone with authority in the church who had the power to prophesy.
The Thessalonica population during the 1st century belonged to different cults and worshiped various gods; The confluence of so many deities represented a problem for the evangelical proclamation, mainly because these religions were accepted and practiced by the State, even the authorities had to belong to them as a sign of their loyalty.
This made Paul’s task difficult on his journey to Thessalonica; He was only able to preach for three weeks to Jews and Gentiles, but then flee to Berea because of the persecution that had been unleashed against him.
This situation continued until Christianity was called as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the Edict of Thessalonica. Later an archbishopric was established in the city of Thessalonica and the church of Santa Sofia was established as its cathedral.
Universal kingdom of God
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, abbreviated as IURD, was founded in Brazil in 1977 under the doctrine of the evangelical charismatic Christian church. The founder and leader of this religious organization is Edir Macedo Bezerra.
Macedo is a Brazilian bishop who has managed to establish temples on every continent, sell more than 10 million books, and own the multi-million dollar television company RecordTV. At the same time, he has been involved in political affairs such as electoral campaigns, and on other occasions there has been speculation about his involvement in illegal affairs.
At first, this church did not have the resources to rent a suitable place for its ceremonies; Pastor Edir Macedo had no choice but to preach in the street, specifically in Meier’s garden in Rio de Janeiro. However, these small gatherings were joined by more and more people.
Over time it was necessary to rent larger premises, with a capacity of 2,000 people; In part, this popularity was being achieved by the work of the “laborers” name that the aspiring pastors of this church received. Later, Edir began to use the media and was able to rapidly increase his number of followers.
Thus, in less than 30 years, the IURD already had approximately 9,000 faithful in Brazil alone and had managed to establish temples in other nations such as Africa and the United States; temples that according to the statements of the representatives of this church, have been possible thanks to the voluntary and disinterested collaborations of their believers.
The Vetero-Catholic Church has its roots in the First Vatican Council held between 1869 and 1870. At this meeting the Catholic Church agreed and established papal infallibility; a doctrine that was not accepted by many Catholics in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Poland.
These disagreeing countries respected the authority of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, but did not concern that a single person had the ability to define religious matters.
It was then that this dispute triggered the separation of various Catholic churches from the authority of the Pope, with the support of Elias C. Lubvman; a historian of early Christianity who played an important role in the development of this Christian denomination.
The members of this church were called Old Catholics or Vetero-Catholics and since its foundation, they have remained under the organization of the Union of Utrecht.
As for the old-Catholic doctrine, it presents certain customs that are completely alien to the doctrinal position of the Catholic Church; for example clerical celibacy is not compulsory for veteran Catholics, they accept equal marriage, allow female figures in priestly ordination and do not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.
The Wesleyan Church is based on the foundations of the Wesleyan or Methodist movement, led by John Wesley in the 18th century. Regarding the antecedents that explain the emergence of the Wesleyan Church that we know today; we have the organization of the first Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1784.
In 1843 a convention was held for the creation of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America, a renewed slavery-free and episcopate church. Years later under this denomination the Wesleyans promulgated the principle of “Sanctification”.
The revival that sanctification had forced the representatives of the Connection to create an institution that was more formal, a real church. It was then that the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America emerged in 1947, supervised by the leader of the denomination and the board of directors.
Shortly thereafter, The Pilgrim Holiness Church was formed, under the same principle of Sanctification that had participated in the birth of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection.
Finally, with the objective of promoting the union and cooperation of people of holiness; in June of the year 1968 the Church of Holiness of the Pilgrims and The Wesleyan Methodist Church joined giving rise to the Wesleyan Church.
The Mennonite church is a branch of Christianity linked to Anabaptism, a religious trend that emerged during Protestantism or the radical Reformation carried out in Europe during the 16th century, as a result of the corruption that existed in the Roman Catholic Church.
The people who were part of this communion did not agree to the baptism of babies, therefore they were called at first “Anabaptists”; when spiritual leadership passed to Menno Simons, followers of this doctrine began to call themselves “Mennonites.”
Today few faithful Mennonites persist; most place greater emphasis on culture and rules than on faith in Christ; meanwhile others have disobeyed God’s commandments.
The Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church is a Christian community that was born in 1054, after some existing churches were divided from Roman jurisdiction. The word “Orthodox” refers to the strict compliance with the principles established by a doctrine, therefore this Church maintains the original creed unaltered.
The Orthodox Church opposes conjectures that the Roman Church has established, such as the existence of a purgatory; According to the sacred scriptures after death the souls await a Final Judgment, but they do not attend a purgatory where they will be cleansed of their sins.
The Anglican Church is what the official Church of England is called. It arises in the year 1534 after King Enrique VIII issued an Act of Supremacy, which gave him the authority and his successors to act as supreme head of the Church; it was then that he separated England from Roman jurisdiction. Today this church has more than 90 million members and is under the communion of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
This Church maintains the doctrine established by Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles, and only recognizes the Councils prior to the Eastern Schism of 1054. Regarding its differences with Catholicism, it highlights the non-existence of priestly celibacy, the female priesthood and the recognition of two of the seven sacraments: the eucharist and baptism.
Read also:What is Mormonism?
External resource: Wikipedia