Without the Roman Catholic Church there would be no Christianity. The Catholic Church has been criticized for about 2000 years. This probably began when Jesus chose to expose himself to a woman. Perhaps I should rephrase that statement. When bodily resurrected after death, Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene before revealing himself to the good old boys. The hype began. But the end result is that there would be no Protestants, no Mormons, no Jehovah’s Witnesses, no Adventists – no Christianity if the Catholic Church had not preserved the theology.
After the death of that man, Jesus, there were a number of folks who wrote accounts of his visit to our planet. After 300 years there was almost as much confusion about what was valid faith as there exists today. In an effort to clear the theological air the Catholic Church took the initiative in canonizing the Bible. They sifted through all of the written material and made their choices – some say with divine inspiration. The result is the Bible as we know it today.
When the Roman Empire faded away the civilization of man entered a period affectionately referred to as the Dark Ages. Without centralized authority and organization mankind sort of drifted along – no great achievements came from this era. But the Catholic Church persisted. Monks in isolated monasteries kept the theology alive by meticulously copying the canonized texts. Church and government were inter-married – creating the havoc of unbridled power and the insanity of faith (superstition) based laws.
As civilization emerged from the Dark Ages the preserved theology of Jesus Christ as a savior took center stage in Europe. There was conflict. The ancient Hebrew and Greek texts had been interpreted into Latin by a fellow named Jerome – about 400 C.E. The Jerome Bible contained seriously flawed interpretations – but it was the standard bearer of Church Doctrine. Scholars of the Middle Ages, including Martin Luther and Cardinal Sadoleto, were aware of the flawed theology and worked to restore the truth. In 1521 C.E. Luther was excommunicated and the Protestant Reformation began. The Catholic Church held their Vatican Council in 1555 and corrected the errors of Jerome – but the Protestant movement was already in full bloom.
Then King James in England got into a big toot with the Catholic Pope. King James called about 75 scholars together to interpret the canonized texts into plain old English. The ancient Hebrew and Greek texts were provided to the King James Scholars by the Catholic Church. Where else were they available?
The King James scholars were talented men. Gifted with intellect and appreciative of literary arts they crafted one of the finest texts ever produced. The King James Bible has taken on a life of it’s own – inspiring generations for over four hundred years. Only Shakespeare compares in popular longevity.
Modern scholars have interpreted the ancient texts into all languages, including modern English. For this we are all grateful. I like the Oxford Study Bible as a companion to the King James Bible. The Oxford Study Bible is more accurately interpreted, but less of a pleasure to read.
There are those who criticize the Roman Catholic Church. Often with just cause. But the fact remains that there would be no modern Christianity without the tedious persevering efforts of that one church.