Catholicism VS Christianity  I was told that from the beginning there was one real church, which was the Roman Catholic Church. But later on because of conflicts within the church, a man named Luther left the Catholic Church and formed another church which is today’s Christian church.  How much truth is in this?


What you heard is about 20% true and 80% false. In the beginning of Christianity there was just one church, founded by the apostles. This church rejected a number of false teachings over the first three or four centuries, but gradually the church itself evolved away from some of the basic qualities of the primitive church. Many traditions were added, such as a priesthood, sacraments, veneration of saints and much more. By the fifth century, what had been a single united church began to split apart over fairly subtle theological points, but also over language, culture and various traditions. By the seventh century there were at least four distinct churches, which were the Orthodox Church (which included Rome and Constantinople), the Nestorian Church, the Jacobite Church and the Coptic Church. As time passed, the Orthodox Church split in the eleventh century into the Western version, which is now known as Roman Catholicism and the Eastern version which is known as Orthodox Christianity. So, there are five distinct churches which can honestly claim to be traced back to the original primitive church. One of them, of course, is the Roman Catholic Church. Technically, all other Christian groups were begun by someone other than the apostles. This would include the Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Quakers, Pentecostal and many other Christian groups.

Whether the modern Roman Catholic Church is closer to the original kind of Christianity than the Methodist Church of the Church of Christ is something to be established by reading the Bible and perhaps by studying very early church history. The fact that the Lutheran or the Dutch Reformed Church broke away from Catholicism does not in and of itself establish who is closer to being “right.” It is by comparison to the scriptures that we can best judge who is most closely following the teachings of the Bible. So, what your friend said is partially true in that the very early church did evolve into the Roman Catholic Church, but the fact is that there are several other groups which can make the same statement, which makes the statement of your friend not completely true.

If you want to know more about this, I strongly suggest you get a copy of my book, “The Christian Story” It covers all the history of the evolution of these churches in the first five centuries. It is available at

John Oakes

Comments are closed.