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One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: The Early Church Was the Catholic Church Paperback – October 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898708028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898708028
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 4.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #926,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 90 people found the following review helpful By NYJ on November 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book's focus is on the Early Catholic Church and covers five primary areas in five huge chapters (the book itself is a soft covered book of over 300 pages). The topics covered are 1. The Church of the Apostles, 2. The Church of the Early Church Fathers, 3. The Church of the First Four Great Councils, 4. The Primacy of Rome in the Early Church and 5. The Early Church Was the Catholic Church.
This book is an excellent read, some of it being in story form which makes it an easier and more interesting read than some other apologetic material. It is strongly rooted in history, presenting historical facts to prove that the Catholic Church of today is a direct descendent of the Early Church of the time of the Apostles.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is involved in Catholic Apologetics, or who would like to learn more about the Early Church. It draws upon a huge source of early Church literature, it develops a very interesting picture of the Early Church and ties them all together to give us the Catholic Church we have today.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven K. Szmutko VINE VOICE on December 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
The central premise of Kenneth Whitehead's 300+ page work is that, despite the protestations of "reformers," the early church was indeed the Catholic Church. The author carefully takes the reader through the early centuries of the Church, exploring the development of the institution and hierarchy from the time of the apostles and the early church fathers through the four great councils, establishing the primacy of Rome from the earliest of times.

The author's arguments are carefully laid out and full developed in a flowing narrative3, offering the reader a systematic exploration of doctrinal developments as well as evidence of papal primacy. One weakness, particularly for those of a more critical bent or for those with a greater intellectual curiosity, is the lack of footnotes to accompany the extensive bibliography. However, given the intended audience, this is a minor criticism, detracting only slightly from what is well-crafted prose. The combination of scriptural, doctrinal and traditional exposition provides a good overview of the Catholic Church's apostolic roots.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By badebop on November 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had purchased this book when it first came out, but just now got around to reading it. I thought it was going to be a rehash of Catholic apologetics that I pretty much have a handle on. This book would more appropriately be placed in the history section of your library. I already had a rudimentary knowledge of Church Councils and the various heresies, but after reading this book I am now more knowledgeable of how and why the Councils came about and why the heresies were so dangerous. Whitehead goes into quite a bit of detail on the Arian heresy and just how close Christianity came in denying Christ's divinity.

Only if your mind is closed or you have axes to grind with the Catholic Church will you NOT come away reading this with a better understanding of what the early Christian Church was and give you a better appreciation of what the Church is now.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew K. Minerd on July 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whitehead aspires to write for the common believer who wishes to have an introduction into the validity of the Church's claim to be "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic" according to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The text is a good introduction into this material, its development and history in Church thought.

The number of names and heresies is nearly head-spinning if one does not have a great grasp on early Church history. Because of this, I think that an extra index should exist with the names of the individuals written about along with a brief explanation of their stance (with textual cross references). Such cross-references would be nicely added to the already existing heresy index. This is mostly a nice addition, as an index does exist for the text.

I must also agree with the complaints of other reviewers about the lack of footnotes. However, this is a minor issue, as the text is not meant to be technical but to be an apologetic help.

I think the text is good for all who want to have a better view of the early Church and do not have a thorough knowledge thereof. It is an easy read, although a bit factually overwhelming for the non-historians, even if you are somewhat-experienced in theology. The author can be a bit pedantic, reminding the reader that what he is writing supports his thesis and also is a bit heavy on the proof for the primacy of Rome in the early Church, while neglecting other topics related to the creedal formula. Nonetheless, I suggest this book highly, as stated above!
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sem. Mario Sujanto on December 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
this book strength lies in its broad scope and in the blending of institutional history whith theological development and historical fact. Unlike many books of this kind, this one devotes considerable attention to the development of early Christianity. msujanto10@hotmail.com
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris Serger on July 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is fascinating! The more I learn about the ancient history of Catholicism the more I am convinced that is really is the church willed by Christ and built on Peter. As the title indicates, this book goes into depth about the four pillars of Catholicism as professed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed better known as just the Nicene Creed.

Using scripture and the ancient writings that have come down to us from the early Church fathers such as St. Ignatius of Antioch (who first used the term "Catholic Church" in 110AD) Whitehead convincingly defends the theology, tradition, and authority professed by the Roman Catholic Church. This is not a polemic. While the implication is that non-Catholic Christian churches have some explaining as to why they claim to want to "get back to the early church" (as long as it's not Rome), Whitehead simply lays out the facts based on very thorough research.

A full third of the book is devoted to the apostolic succession of the popes from Peter. Council after council, century after century, there was rivalry, but not breach, between the great sees of Christianity (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome and, later, Constantinople). Whitehead ably demonstrates that, even while politics drove a wedge between East and West, the ultimate schism need not have happened as the orthodox theological giants of the day were in agreement that Jesus was very clear when he said, "You are Peter." As Richard John Neuhaus wrote in First Things, 1000 years is a long time to us mortals. But in God's time it's nothing. We should all pray that this schism will someday heal.

The Appendices are excellent, especially the one that lists and explains the major heresies that plagued the early Church.
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