Is The Catholic Church the Oldest Church in the World?
By: Garland M. Robinson
The Catholic Church is not the oldest church in the world. Jesus built His church on the first Pentecost after his resurrection in 33 A.D. (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2). This was centuries before the Catholic Church began.
The Catholic Church came into being as a result of the gradual change in church government along with additions and subtractions from the Bible. The first universal pope was not recognized until 606 A.D. The Catholic Church looks to the pope and tradition as its source of authority; whereas, the church Christ built uses only the Bible as its sole source of authority.
The Catholic Church changed Gods arrangement of elders (bishops) over each congregation (Acts 14:23) and put several churches under one Bishop. By the close of the second century, these bishops began having gatherings (synods, councils) to decide what the church would and would not do. No man or group of men has the right to make laws for the church. God has already given His laws (in the Bible) to govern the church (II Timothy 3:16-17; Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19; II Peter 1:3).
Constantine, emperor of Rome in the 4th century, set out to organize the church as the Roman Empire. The Roman government had an Emperor, and under him Advisors, and under them Governors, and Lieutenant Governors. So the Catholic Church came to have in its organization the Pope, and under him Cardinals, and under them Archbishops and Bishops. There is no such arrangement authorized in the Bible.
Human creeds and dogmas replaced Bible authority and practice. The use of holy water began in A.D. 120, Latin mass in 394, extreme unction in 588, purgatory in 593, transubstantiation in 1000, celibacy in 1015, sprinkling instead of immersion (baptism) in 1311. These things are completely foreign to the Bible. We can safely say the Roman Catholic Church is the oldest denomination in the world but not the oldest church. The church of Christ (Romans 16:16) is the oldest church in the world.