ONE HOLY CATHOLIC & APOSTOLIC CHURCH

The Church is One.

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This refer’s to being United in the life of God. Jesus spoke of himself as a vine: “I am the vine you are the branches. Who ever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty, for cut off from me you can doing nothing”

The Spirit of God who unites us is like the sap in the vine normally we can not see it but yet it gives life. And the proof that we are alive is that we bear fruit which refreshers and nourishes the world in which we live.

The Church is Holy.

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Jesus the Son of God, shared his life with us wholly, and he promised that he would continue to do so. “If anyone loves me”, he says “ he will keep my word and my Father will love him”, and we shall come to him and make our home with him” Jesus is “at home” with us. Our lives can and so often do, bring others to God.

The Church is Catholic.

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This refers to the church because it embraces all people in every age. The final command of Jesus was “go and make disciples of all nations and baptise them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The Church then is not an exclusive club / association for those we happen to regard as suitable. It is for everyone.

The Church is Apostolic.

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It is God who calls us together as a Church, But we remain human beings. The church is formed by God as an organisation built upon human beings and in particular, on the apostles and each and every one of their successors, that is the bishops, “You are Peter, Jesus said to his chief apostle and on this rock I will build my Church,

“The Bishop of Rome remains the successor of St Peter”.

Like Peter, they are not always a solid rock yet it is so often in human weakness that the power of God becomes evident.

Also see CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH “Dominus Iesus", Paragraph 17, August 2000 ”IV. UNICITY AND UNITY OF THE CHURCH

The Church is people

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There was a great deal of weakness that Jesus had to deal with from his own close followers. One of the apostles, Philip, said to Jesus on the night before he died, “Lord let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied”, It was with some exasperation that Jesus replied, “ To have seen me is to have seen the Father.” A few years later St Paul said the same thing using different words. He described Jesus as “the Image of the unseen God” Col. 1:15. and “the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages”. Rom 16:25.

These words “Secret” and “Mystery” have very similar meaning and they give us the word “Sacrament”. The word sacrament comes from the Latin word “Sacramentum” which, in turn comes from the Greek word for “mystery”.

Both Jesus and Paul were emphasising the same truth, if we want to see what God is like, then look at Jesus himself and hear what he says and see what he does .

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The present day, now that Jesus has returned to his Father, if we want to see what Jesus is like we are to look at his Church and hear what the Church says and see what it does, At times we refer to Jesus as the sacrament of God, and we refer to the church as the sacrament of Jesus Christ,

From the side of Christ, the Church tells us, come forth the wondrous Sacrament of the whole Church. It is absolutely impossible to over emphasises the closeness between Jesus Christ and the Church, The very first act of Jesus after his resurrection was to breathe on the apostles whom was all gathered in a small room, they had gathered together for comfort and give them his Holy Spirit. But Jesus looked beyond that room till the end of time and prayed to his father that all people would come together for one another and forgive each Other, so that they may live and be as one.

Each time we assemble we gather in the warmth of Gods love.

Four Marks of the Church

Four Marks of the Church.

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The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives — "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic" — of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church (both Latin and Eastern Rites), the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Anglican Communion, the Reformed Churches, and other Christian denominations.

While specific doctrines, based on both tradition and different interpretations of the Bible, distinguish one denomination from another, largely explaining why there are so many different ones, the Four Marks, when defined the same way, represent a summary of what many clerical authorities have historically considered to be the most important affirmations of the Christian faith.

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The ideas behind the Four Marks have been in the Christian Church since early Christianity. Allusions to them can be found in the writings of 2nd century early Church Father and bishop, Ignatius of Antioch. They were not established in doctrine until the First Council of Constantinople in 381 as an antidote to certain heresies that had crept into the Church in its early history. There the Council elaborated on the Nicene Creed, established by the First Council of Nicea 56 years before by adding to the end a section that included the affirmation: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." The phrase has remained in versions of the Nicene Creed to this day.

In some languages, for example, German, the Latin "catholica" was substituted by "Christian" before the Reformation, though this was an anomaly and continues in use by some Protestant churches today. Hence, "holy catholic" becomes "holy Christian." Roman Catholics believe the description "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" to be applicable only to the Roman Catholic Church. They hold that "Christ established here on earth only one Church" and they believe in "the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church". While "there are numerous elements of sanctification and of truth which are found outside her structure", these, "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity". The eastern Churches not in full communion with the Catholic Church thereby "lack something in their condition as particular Churches". The communities born out of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation "do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constituent element of the Church."

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The Eastern Orthodox Church, in disagreement with the Roman Catholic, regards itself as the historical and organic continuation of the original Church founded by Christ and his apostles. The Oriental Orthodox Church disagrees with both and claims to be the historical and organic continuation of the original Church founded by Christ and his apostles, the "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic" Church of the ancient Christian creeds and the only Church that has always kept the true Christology and faith declared by the first three councils, Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus affirmed by the Church Fathers and the Holy Tradition.

The Augsburg Confession found within the Book of Concord, a compendium of belief of the Lutheran Churches, teaches that "the faith as confessed by Luther and his followers is nothing new, but the true catholic faith, and that their churches represent the true catholic or universal church". When the Lutherans presented the Augsburg Confession to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1530, they believe to have "showed that each article of faith and practice was true first of all to Holy Scripture, and then also to the teaching of the church fathers and the councils". As such, the Lutheran Churches traditionally hold that theirs represents the true visible Church.