Saturday, January 07, 2006
This is a first for this blog, a book recommendation for my readers. While on vacation I was able to get my hands on the book One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic by Kenneth D. Whitehead. I found it to be quite interesting as it delved into the history of the Church from about 100 AD- 500 AD. So we're talking the early Church from the first/second generation of Christians being used as a starting point. It delves into the heresies of the times and how the early Church dealt with them.
What struck me as most interesting was the concept of the apostolic Church and what was meant by that idea when the Nicene Creed was adopted during the Ecumencical Council at Constantinople. It also shows how the concept of an apostolic Church was accepted by Christians and all members of the early Church and was really not questioned as a model for the Church until the Reformation after which point many denominations which separated their communion from the Bishop of Rome adopted an understanding of apostolic as meaning apostle-like, while still clinging to the Nicene Creed in their churches. The one question the text raises in my mind, is why do denominations who do not claim apostolic succession in the intent that the writers of the Nicene Creed intended still cling to it when they do not believe it? It is a very dangerous game to playing by doing so I would think.
The book also shows how the Bishop of Rome, from the early days of the Church did hold a special place in the church. It explains the Catholic argument for the importance of the Holy See from a very historical perspective. It is very interesting to see how the Bishop of Rome was held in high regard, even a higher regard than the Bishops of Antioch and Alexandria, both holding claim to being established by the Apostle Peter.
It's a very good read that roots itself in a very historical approach. I'm sure some readers will disagree with the thesis of the text and others will be in agreement with it, but it is still a very good read, deep and rich with lot's to learn about no matter what perspective you read it from. So if you have a chance and want some good reading, pick it and up and enjoy.