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Most Protestants believe that there s a great contrast between modern Catholicism and first-centuries Christianity. But in this exploration of history and early theological writings, Papandrea (a former Protestant minister) shows that there s actually a stunning similarity. In Handed Down: The Catholic Faith of the Early Christians, James L. Papandrea (Seven Revolutions) examines that most crucial era in the transmission of Christian truth: the time of the early Church. During those few centuries following the apostolic age, the brilliant and holy pastors, teachers, and writers known as the Church Fathers took the gospel they received and developed the doctrines and practices that defined the Christian religion. And that religion of the Fathers continues today faithfully kept, vibrant and alive in the Catholic Church. The essence of Christianity is this: we hold fast to what we were given by those who came before us. From Jesus and the apostles to believers throughout history, God s saving revelation has been proclaimed, preserved, and passed on, each generation not inventing the Faith for itself but staying true to the tradition it received. Papandrea demonstrates that the early Christians were decisively Catholic in how they acted and what they believed in, including: -The authority of the Church and Sacred Tradition in addition to Scripture -The sacraments, including the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist -An ecclesial hierarchy with priests, bishops, and a pope -A theology of salvation that included the importance of works and free will -Prayers and devotions to the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary More than a compilation of Patristic prooftexts (important though these are), Handed Down offers a fascinating window into the life of the early Church and the lessons it holds for us today. It s perfect for history-conscious Protestants looking for a friendly defense of Catholic belief, as well as for Catholics who want to deepen their connection with our forefathers in the Faith.
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