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Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan


The Early Church Was The Catholic Church
The Catholic Witness Of The Fathers In Christianity's First Two Centuries
by Joe Heschmeyer
Catholic Answers Press

Joe Heschmeyer is a staff apologist for Catholic Answers. Like Trent Horn and others, he is a brilliant speaker as well as a good writer and much of this is available on-line. Their work reminds us that there is much good happening in the Church.

In this superb book, he asks if the early Church was Protestant or Catholic? Was it Mormon or was it the one dreamt up by Dan Brown? He puts forward a clear case for the early Church being Catholic.

He looks at four topics: baptism, Eucharist, the structure of the early Church and the Gospels. The chapter on Church structure is entitled "Do nothing without the Bishop." The early Church was not some kind of Protestant free for all. Doctrine was clearly taught. Heresy was condemned.
The chapter on the Eucharist very clearly reminds us that the early Church taught the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. When St Ignatius of Antioch condemned a Gnostic sect that believed matter to be evil, he condemned them for their rejection of the Real Presence. For the early Christians, the Church flows from the Eucharist. Ignatius also taught that those who receive the Eucharist are participating in the Resurrection. By receiving the Eucharist, we are preserved from death and corruption. To put it another way, the Mass is heaven on earth.

The author also shows that it was the early Church that decided which books belong to scripture and which ones do not. The Protestant doctrine of scripture alone does not make sense. Any work that did not teach what was handed down from the apostles was rejected. This book focusses on the first two centuries. The author has given us enough material for us to conclude that the early Church was the Catholic Church.




            
Copyright ; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2022

Version: 21st February 2022



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