The movement which resulted in the Catholic Church owes its right to a place in the history of Christianity to the victory over Gnosticism and to the preservation of an important part of early Christian tradition. If Gnosticism in all its phases was the violent attempt to drag Christianity down to the level of the Greek world, and to rob it of its dearest possession, belief in the Almighty God of creation and redemption, then Catholicism, inasmuch as it secured this belief for the Greeks, preserved the Old Testament, and supplemented it with early Christian writings, thereby saving -- as far as documents, at least, were concerned -- and proclaiming the authority of an important part of primitive Christianity, must in one respect be acknowledged as a conservative force born from the vigour of Christianity. If we put aside abstract considerations and merely look at the facts of the given situation, we cannot but admire a creation which first broke up the various outside forces assailing Christianity, and in which the highest blessings of this faith have always continued to be accessible. If the founder of the Christian religion had deemed belief in the Gospel and a life in accordance with it to be compatible with membership of the Synagogue and observance of the Jewish law, there could at least be no impossibility of adhering to the Gospel within the Catholic Church.
|Publisher:||New Century Books|
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