Tag Archives: Nestorian Church

One, Holy, Invisible Universal Church

Have you ever wondered why some churches included the phrase “we believe in the one, holy, invisible universal church” in their statement of faith or confession?

Well, I’m glad you asked. 🙂

The reason is that for a few hundred – no, make that a thousand or so – years a lot of believes believed that there was one, universal visible “church.” Like a lot of things, this visible church started out united, but became fragmented over the years leading to the development of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church, the Nestorian Church and, eventually, the Protestant Church (or, should I say, churches).

Unfortunately, this fragmentation did little to change the view that there was one ‘visible church’. Instead, folks simply assumed that THEIR church was the ONE, and everyone else was not. (sigh)

Sometime during the 1500’s this view (thankfully) began to change – as noted in the Westminster Confession of 1646 which states:

The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all. (Ch. XXV)

However, this was not to be the end of the debate (double sigh).

Continue reading One, Holy, Invisible Universal Church

A History of Nestorian Christianity In China by Yang Sen-Fu

Nestorian ChinaI was browsing the shelves of my local library when I came across Yan Sen-Fu’s book about Nestorian Christianity in China. Talk about a find!  It was awesome. 🙂

Nestorianism is a fairly unknown branch of Christianity – at least in the West. They broke off from mainline Christianity in 431 A.D. when the First Council of Ephesus declared the teachings of Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople, about the nature of Jesus to be heretical (ie. did Jesus have one or two natures?). As a result, the followers of Nestorius turned eastward to Persia, India and China.

Before I go on, I think it is worth noting that I don’t think the teachings of Nestorius where really “heretical”. I think it was mostly a political move by the other bishops to gain control over the church as the Coptic Church was “kicked” out in a similar move in 451 AD. But, that is just my view. 😉

Back to Yang Sen-Fu’s book – It was originally written in Chinese and was translated into English by Dr. Herbert Hatcher in 2007. As a result, the book was a tad hard to understand as the wording didn’t always work out… but the essence of the book translated well. Continue reading A History of Nestorian Christianity In China by Yang Sen-Fu