Thread: The Twelve-Church
April 8th 2008, 06:11 PM #1
Over on Jezz's Circular Argument for the Orthodox Church thread, no one responded to my come-back that the earliest church could as well be called the "Twelve Church" as the "Apostolic Church". Then we would follow geographically and historically what has descended from the Twelve Apostles. I'll make a new thread of it here. Here's the gist of my post there:
The Apostles were also called, "The Twelve". So by your reasoning, the apostles were the Twelve-Church at the first. Only the "Twelve-Church" can say who is of the Twelve-Church?
Where are these twelve today? One of them would presumably be the Pope, the successor to Peter. Thomas wound up in India. Here again his successor today would not today be EO. There are Orthodox in Egypt, but their founder Mark was not of the twelve apostles. None of the Twelve traveled to Moscow, yet almost the chief Orthodox Patriarch is situated there. Not even Constantinople has a clear claim on apostolic descent.
Farthest flung would be the Nestorians, necessarily included by tracing them back to Thomas and/or Mar Thaddeus. The Monophysites are the Christians in most of the lands where Christianity started up. The EO are a little farther off, but at least the Greeks stem from early Christian churches (if only from Paul). RC trace themselves to St. Peter in Rome, and the old Protestant denials of this have been overcome. There are traditions that Joseph of Arimathea evangelized Britain, and he may have been a successor to one of the Twelve before he went there. That brings in the Anglican Church.
It's hardest to bring in the Lutherans, where I'm now worshipping. Christianity had a hard time penetrating the barbarians, and when it did, it was in the Arian form. Last of all to be reached was Scandinavia, where my ELCA stems from. But the Scandinavian bishops trace right back to Roman Catholicism without a break (unlike the German Lutherans), so it's only the Missouri Synod that might have a problem--and the Russian Orthodox.
My purpose in this thread, however, is to emphasize how far-flung Christianity was even in the first generation, not to exclude those whose geography is outside those boundaries.
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