THE STRUGGLES OF THE CHURCH

APOSTOLIC INSIGHT ~ What can the Apostles and Church Fathers tell us about our times? What advice do they have for our problems? Here are some of their thoughts—

St. Ambrose of Milan

In 1968 at least 50% of the public were in a church every Sunday. Today that number has fallen to less that 30%. At the same time, serious questions are being raised about public morality and the lack of truthfulness in politics. The Roman Catholic Church is fighting for its life around the world in the midst of sexual abuse scandals. Once called Protestant mainline denominations have now become sidelined. Congregations continue to struggle and many are disconnected from historic denominations.

How can contemporary Christians view this situation? We need help from the first Church Fathers to keep the struggle in perspective. Here are some of the comments they made when the ancient church was first beginning.

St. Hilary
The Church is like a ship, outside of which it is impossible to understand the Word of God.

St. Cyprian
Do not think that you maintain the true Gospel of Christ, if you separate yourself from the flock of Christ.

II Peter 1:21
Know this first: No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit may speak from God.

St. Cyprian
He who does not have the Church as his mother cannot have God for his Father.

St. Jerome
If the soul is not clothed with the teachings of the Church, it cannot have Jesus enthroned inside it.

St. John of Damascus
Even though the “gates of hell” will rise up against the church … the mouth of heretics, the tools of the demons, they will not conquer the Church, even though they will arm themselves, they will not defeat her.

St. Ambrose of Milan
“The Kingdom of the Church will abide unto the ages,” since God founded the Church and has foreordained to extend her existence unto the ages.

St. Hippolytus
Even though the Church will be exposed to cruel persecution, she will not cease to exist.

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