5. THE QUESTION WAS ..According to St. Irenaeus, why should everybody agree with the Church in Rome?
ANSWER ..A .it preserves the tradition of the apostles, which came from Christ
In the late 2nd century, St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote:
With this Church [of Rome] it is necessary that each church agree, on account of its superior origin . . . in which has been preserved the tradition which is from the apostles . . . it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man depositing his money in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account we are bound to avoid them [the heretics], but to love the things pertaining to the Church with the utmost care, and to lay hold of truth's tradition. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how would it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary in that case to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the churches?" (Against Heresies, 3:3-4, A.D.180).
Sola Scriptura, which conflicted with Early Church teaching, would not be the theme of any religion until the 16th century.
From the beginning of Christianity, the way one could tell if ones church had true Christian teaching, was if it was under a bishop who was a direct successor of one of the 12 Apostles, and if the head bishop was a direct successor of St. Peter.
Today, there is only one Church that meets both criteria The Catholic Church. All its bishops around the world are direct successors of one of the Apostles. Its head bishop (Pope John Paul II) is a direct successor of St. Peter.
Another large chunk of Christianity, the Orthodox Church, meets one of these conditions: its bishops are direct successors of the Apostles. Unfortunately, when it broke off the Catholic Church in the 11th century, it also lost its earthly head (the direct successor of St. Peter, who is the Vicar of Christ. Jesus said hed build his church on Peter the Rock. Hopefully, the Orthodox Church will again be joined to the unity of Peter.
How reliable is St. Irenaeus, anyway?
This Church Father was mentored by a disciple of the Apostle John!!!
(the disciple of John being Polycarp)
http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/1.6-2.1/faithoffathers.html (The Bishop of Rome)
http://www.catholic.com/library/Peter_Successors.asp (Peters successors)
http://www.catholic.com/library/Peter_Primacy.asp (Peters primacy)
http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Succession.asp (Apostolic Succession)
http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/PETPOPE.HTM (Peter - the First Pope)
http://www.canapologetics.net/html/origin_of_the_church.html (Origin of the Church)
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13529a.htm (Why is Schism Wrong?)
http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/IRENAEUS.htm (St. Irenaeus, Church Father)
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