Why Rome? That’s the question Dr. Taylor Marshall focuses on in his newest book, titled The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity (Saint John Press, 2012.)
Even to someone reading the New Testament for the first time, it’s evident that most major events take place in Jerusalem. The city was home to the great Temple, the hub of Jewish life and worship. Jerusalem was also where Jesus died and rose from the dead, making it the holiest site for Christians.
So then why did Rome, not Jerusalem, quickly emerge as the center of Christianity? Was it simply a coincidence or is there some deeper significance? Did Christ intentionally choose Rome as the home-base for his Church?
Taylor recently sat down with me to discuss these questions and more, including whether Paul was a Catholic, why the Church fathers remain relevant, and his favorite books on the origins of Catholicism.
Watch or download our interview below:
Download the interview here (17 minutes)
1:16 – How is Judaism key to understanding Catholicism?
2:33 – What signs point you to St. Paul’s Catholic identity?
4:57 – What clues show that St. Paul was a Catholic priest?
6:11 – Why is the city of Rome so important to Catholicism?
9:46 – What draws you to blog about the Church Fathers?
11:58 – What books would you recommend on the origins of Catholicism?
Q: What signs point you to St. Paul’s Catholic identity?
I remember the first time I read the Canons of the Council of Trent [and saw] how often Paul was cited. I thought, it’s so strange that the Protestants, Luther and Calvin, all claimed Paul as their own. And then here in the Council of Trent, the Fathers of the Council quote Paul back to them.
As a Protestant I studied a lot [of material] from a theologian named N.T. Wright and he was making arguments that the Protestant consensus was not exactly airtight when it comes to the Bible. He was showing passages where the righteousness of Christ wasn’t just imputed, it was infused. Of course this sounds a lot like the Council of Trent and raised a lot of questions.
So I went on a quest where I went through almost every major Catholic topic and looked at what Paul says, not only [about] salvation, but the sacraments, the Eucharist, matrimony, holy orders, priestly celibacy, monasticism, and even sexual issues such as homosexuality, divorce, contraception, and abortion. And I showed that on every single point St. Paul agrees with the Catholic Church.
Taylor’s Recommended Books
Here are the three books Taylor recommends at the end of our interview:
- The Apostolic Fathers (Baker Academic, 2007)
- Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett
- The Russian Church And The Papacy by Vladimir Soloviev (only $2 at Catholic.com!!)
Be sure to follow Taylor’s blog, Canterbury Tales and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. And pick up a copy of Taylor’s newest book, Dr. Taylor Marshall focuses on in his newest book, titled The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity:
What are your favorite books on Church history?