The imprimatur Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the New Testament was collected under the oversight of the Apostles in the 1st century. Quotes will be presented below. The true Church is reflected in these Apostolic Scriptures. Only the honest readers of the Christian Scriptures can identify the true Church, They will see the Church’s reliance on Christ in Apostolic teaching. Therefore, the Church of Christ is recognized by the headship of Christ, local autonomous church government, believer’s baptism by burial, veneration of only Deity, and true worship in spirit and truth.

About the infallibility of the New Testament writings in the 1st century, the Roman Catholic Church states,

“They are sacred and canonical ‘because, having been written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that have God for their author, and as such have been handed down to the Church’. The inerrancy of the Bible follows as a consequence of this Divine authorship. Wherever the sacred writer makes a statement as his own, that statement is the word of God and infallibly true, whatever be the subject-matter of the statement’ It will be seen, therefore, that though the inspiration of any writer and the sacred character of his work be antecedent to its recognition by the Church yet we are dependent upon the Church for our knowledge of the existence of this inspiration. She is the appointed witness and guardian of revelation. From her alone we know what books belong to the Bible” (Gigot, F. (1907). The Bible. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 15, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02543a.htm).

Regarding the authoritative oversight of the Apostles, the Roman Catholic hierarchy teaches,

The authority of the Apostles proceeds from the office imposed upon them by Our Lord and is based on the very explicit sayings of Christ Himself. He will be with them all days to the end of ages (Matthew 28:20), give a sanction to their preaching (Mark 16:16), send them the ‘promise of the Father’, ‘virtue from above’ (Luke 24:49). The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the New Testament show us the exercise of this authority. The Apostle makes laws (Acts 15:29; 1 Corinthians 7:12 sq.), teaches (Acts 2:37 and following), claims for his teaching that it should be received as the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13), punishes (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5), administers the sacred rites (Acts 6:1 sq.; 16:33; 20:11), provides successors (2 Timothy 1:6; Acts 14:22)” (Coppieters, H. (1907). Apostles. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 11, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01626c.htm).

About 1st c. scripture being collected under the Apostles’ oversight, the Catholic church confirms,

“At times, the contents of Scripture are indicated more accurately as comprising the Law and the Prophets (Romans 3:21; Acts 28:23), or the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). The Apostle St. Peter extends the designation Scripture also to tas loipas graphas (2 Peter 3:16), denoting the Pauline Epistles; St. Paul (1 Timothy 5:18) seems to refer by the same expression to both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7. […]
Again, II Pet., iii, 15-16, ranks all the Epistles of St. Paul with the ‘other scriptures’, and 1 Timothy 5:18, seems to quote Luke 10:7, and to place it on a level with Deuteronomy 25:4” (Maas, Anthony. “Scripture.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 15 Feb. 2012cathen/13635b.htm>).

Also regarding the New Testament scriptures being accepted as scripture in the 1st c., the Roman Catholic Church states,

II Peter, iii, 15, 16, supposes its readers to be acquainted with some of St. Paul’s Epistles; St. John’s Gospel implicitly presupposes the existence of the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). […] Nearly all the New Testament writings were evoked by particular occasions, or addressed to particular destinations. But we may well presume that each of the leading Churches–Antioch, Thessalonica, Alexandria, Corinth, Rome–sought by exchanging with other Christian communities to add to its special treasure, and have publicly read in its religious assemblies all Apostolic writings which came under its knowledge. It was doubtless in this way that the collections grew, and reached completeness within certain limits, but a considerable number of years must have elapsed (and that counting from the composition of the latest book) before all the widely separated Churches of early Christendom possessed the new sacred literature in full. […] But evidence will presently be given that from days touching on those of the last Apostles there were two well defined bodies of sacred writings of the New Testament, which constituted the firm, irreducible, universal minimum, and the nucleus of its complete Canon: these were the Four Gospels, as the Church now has them, and thirteen Epistles of St. Paul–the Evangelium and the Apostolicum” (Reid, George. “Canon of the New Testament.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 15 Feb. 2012cathen/03274a.htm>).

About the Gospels being collected in the 1st c., the Roman Catholic hierarchy profess,

“It is indeed impossible, at the present day, to describe the precise manner in which out of the numerous works ascribed to some Apostle, or simply bearing the name of gospel, only four, two of which are not ascribed to Apostles, came to be considered as sacred and canonical. It remains true, however, that all the early testimony which has a distinct bearing on the number of the canonical Gospels recognizes four such Gospels and none besides. […] The saintly Bishop of Lyons, Irenæus (died 202), who had known Polycarp in Asia Minor, not only admits and quotes our four Gospels, but argues that they must be just four, no more and no less. […] About the time when St. Irenæus gave this explicit testimony to our four Gospels, the Canon of Muratori bore likewise witness to them, as did also the Peshito and other early Syriac translations, and the various Coptic versions of the New Testament. The same thing must be said with regard to the Syriac harmony of the canonical Gospels, which was framed by St. Justin’s disciple, Tatian, and which is usually referred to under its Greek name of Diatessaron (To dia tessaron Euaggelion). The recent discovery of this work has allowed Harnack to infer, from some of its particulars, that it was based on a still earlier harmony, that made by St. Hippolytus of Antioch, of our four Gospels. It has also set at rest the vexed question as to St. Justin’s use of the canonical Gospels. […] Indeed, even before the discovery of Tatian’s ‘Diatessaron’, an unbiased study of Justin’s authentic writings had made it clear that the holy doctor used exclusively our canonical Gospels under the name of Memoirs of the Apostles”.

Of these testimonies of the second century two are particularly worthy of notice, viz, those of St. Justin and St. Irenæus. As the former writer belongs to the first part of that century, and speaks of the canonical Gospels as a well-known and fully authentic collection, it is only natural to think that at his time of writing (about A.D. 145) the same Gospels, and they only, had been recognized as sacred records of Christ’s life, and that they had been regarded as such at least as early as the beginning of the second century of our era. […]

In the writings of the Apostolic Fathers one does not, indeed, meet with unquestionable evidence in favour of only four canonical Gospels.But this is only what one might expect from the works of men who lived in the very century in which these inspired records were composed, and in which the word Gospel was yet applied to the glad tidings of salvation, and not to the written accounts thereof. […]

The name gospel, as designating a written account of Christ’s words and deeds, has been, and is still, applied to a large number of narratives connected with Christ’s life, which circulated both before and after the composition of our Third Gospel (cf. Luke 1:1-4)” (Gigot, Francis. “Gospel and Gospels.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 27 Jun. 2012).

Regarding Paul’s late writings, the Roman Catholic teaches,

“In judging of the early evidence it should be borne in mind that all three Epistles claim to be by St. Paul. So when an early writer shows his familiarity with them, quotes them as authoritative and as evidently well known to his readers, it may be taken as a proof not only of the existence and widespread knowledge of the Epistles, but that the writer took them for what they claim to be, genuine Epistles of St. Paul; and if the writer lived in the time of Apostles, of Apostolic men, of disciples of Apostles, and of Timothy and Titus (as did Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement) we may be sure that he was correct in doing so. The evidence of these writers is, however, very unceremoniously brushed aside” (Aherne, Cornelius. “Epistles to Timothy and Titus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 11 Jul. 2012).

Concerning circulating letters of John, Peter, James, and Jude, the Catholic Encyclopedia professes,

The name given to the Epistle of St. James, to that of St. Jude, to two Epistles of St. Peter and the first three of St. John, because, unlike the Epistles of St. Paul, they were addressed not to any particular person or church, but to the faithful generally after the manner of an Encyclical letter. Though addressed to particular persons the other two Epistles of St. John are also styled Catholic, because they have always been grouped with the epistles bearing that name” (“Catholic Epistle.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 11 Jul. 2012cathen/03453a.htm>).

About the Book of Revelation, the Catholic Church says,

In Asia, Melito, Bishop of Sardis, one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, acknowledged the Revelation of John and wrote a commentary on it (Eusebius, Church History IV.26). In Gaul, Irenaeus firmly believes in its Divine and Apostolic authority (Against Heresies 5.30). […] In Italy, Bishop Hippolytus assigns it to the Apostle St. John, and the Muratorian Fragment (a document about the beginning of the third century) enumerates it along with the other canonical writings, adding, it is true […]

Approaching more closely the apostolic age we have the testimony of St. Justin Martyr, about the middle of the second century. From Eusebius (Church History IV.18.8), as well as from his dialogue with the Jew, Tryphon (c. 81), held in Ephesus, the residence of the apostle, we know that he admitted the authenticity of the Apocalypse. Another witness of about the same time is Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, a place not far from Ephesus. If he himself had not been a hearer of St. John, he certainly was personally acquainted with several of his disciples (Eusebius, Church History III.39). His evidence however is but indirect. Andreas, Bishop of Caesarea, in the prologue to his commentary on the Apocalypse, informs us that Papias admitted its inspired character. From the Apocalypse undoubtedly Papias derived his ideas of the millennium, on which account Eusebius decries his authority, declaring him to have been a man of limited understanding” (Van den Biesen, Christian. “Apocalypse.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Jul. 2012).

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Patrick Vandapool