The Catholic church is not the oldest church in the world.  Jesus Christ said he was going to build His church (Matt. 16:18).  Jesus did build His church on the first Pentecost after His resurrection (Acts 2:1-47).  This was many years before the Catholic church started.

The Catholic church came as the result of the gradual change in church government, as well as some additions to and subtractions from the Word of God.  The Catholic church did not have a universal pope until 606 A.D.

God’s plan for church government in local congregations was and is elders to rule the congregation with deacons, preachers, teachers, and members to serve under them.  Please notice that each congregation had a plurality of elders over one congregation (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1; I Pet. 5:1-4; Heb. 13:17).  The Catholic church changed this.  They put a number of churches under one “Bishop.”  These “Bishops” in the Catholic church got to thinking that they were the successors to the apostles.  Of course, they assumed this position.  But by the middle of the second century they held almost complete authority over the government of the church.  One could not find this arrangement in the Bible to save his life.

These so-called “Bishops” or “chief elders” began having their gatherings to decide what the church would or would not do.  These gatherings were called synods and councils.  No man nor group of men has the right to make laws for the church.  God has already given us what we need to know about the work of the church in the Bible (Matt. 16:19; II Tim. 3:16-17; Rev. 22:18-19; Gal. 1:6-9).  Thus, this is only one of many points the Catholics are wrong about.

In 325 A.D. there were 318 of the “Bishops” or “chief elders” that met at Nice and wrote the Nicene Creed.  This was the first human creed to be written after the establishment of the church of Christ in 33 A.D.  This kind of activity is strictly forbidden by the Bible (Rev. 22:18-19; II John 9-11; Matt. 16:19).

As time went along the Catholic church in its formation started making a difference in church members and those who held church positions.  This distinction came to be known as the “clergy” and the “laity.”  The Bible knows no such distinction.  After this took place there was the move by the “clergy” to use such presumptuous titles as “Father” or “Reverend” to those who held certain positions in the Catholic church.

In the fourth century, Constantine became the ruler of the Roman Empire.  He set forth to organize the Catholic church as was the Roman Empire.  The Roman government had an Emperor, and under him Advisors, and under them Governors, and under them Lieutenant Governors.  So the Catholic church came to have in its organization the Pope, and under him Cardinals, and under them Archbishops, and under them Bishops.  The Bible knows no such organization as this, nor does it authorize such.

So the Catholics changed the Bible arrangement of church government, and started human creeds.  They started the use of holy water in 120 A.D., Latin mass in 394 A.D., extreme unction in 588 A.D., purgatory in 593 A.D., transubstantiation in 1000 A.D., celibacy in 1015 A.D., and sprinkling for immersion or baptism in 1311 A.D.  Of course, all of these things are foreign to the Bible.  They started a number of other non-Biblical things that space will not permit me to mention.

The Roman Catholic church is the oldest denomination in the world.  From it, basically, came all the other denominations.  The church Jesus built is the oldest church in the world.  If anyone denies this, then we shall be glad to talk with them.

—Malcolm L. Hill January 12, 1934- June 26, 2012