måndag 11 april 2016

Defense of Christ's institution of Hierarchy and Petrine Office, and of St Peter's successors being in Rome

Defending first three Roman claims (on the list) against Francis Turretin and his guest poster Keith Mathison:

  • 1. Rome claims that the Roman ecclesiastical hierarchy was instituted by Christ.
  • 2. Rome claims that Christ appointed Peter to be the visible head of the whole Church and gave him jurisdictional primacy.
  • 3. Rome claims that the bishops of Rome are the successors of Peter.

[There are more, and I hope to make more posts defending the Roman claims]/

In the following I will be making several quotes from his post, which I link to here:

Solo Scriptura, Sola Scriptura, and Apostolic Succession: A Response to Bryan Cross and Neal Judisch
(by Keith Mathison) [Guest post on the blog Thoughts of Francis Turretin]

"1. Did Christ institute the Roman Ecclesiastical Hierarchy?

No. If the claim that Christ instituted the Roman ecclesiastical hierarchy were true, we might actually expect to read of Christ instituting the Roman ecclesiastical hierarchy in the documents of the New Testament written by the Apostles. There is certainly precedent for this expectation in the Old Testament. There we see Moses setting forth the details of the old covenant priesthood and the priestly succession."

He did. You are missing it.

He chose seventy. He chose twelve over the seventy. He chose one among and over the twelve.

He also promised to them power of teaching in his name, power of forgiving sins on behalf of heaven, and to be with them every day, that is indefectibly, which only makes sense if they have successors. This we gather from Gospel. In epistles we see HOW they set about for getting successors (Titus and Timothy) and in Acts at least twice how this worked out (election of successors in Acts 1, cheirotonia for previously not consecrated a bit later).

"God did not leave all of this to chance and hope the Israelites would figure it out on their own."


"Nor did this Old Testament hierarchy emerge out of a process of 'development.'"

Definitely correct.

"Furthermore, Moses did not hand down the instructions through any kind of proto-gnostic secret tradition. The priestly hierarchy was an institution of such importance that it was given publicly."

What I have referred to above WAS given publicly.

Tradition as in oral tradition, about details of the arrangement not found verbatim in NT texts (there were no doubt such about Aaronite priesthood as well, since Samarian priesthood would have been and was deficient, not just in being schismatic but also in relying on Torah alone, rather than accepting an offered introduction to the tradition of the Kohanim, and also because parts of Christ's teachings seem to allude to a practise of punishing sleepy priests).

"As important as the new covenant ecclesiastical hierarchy is supposed to be according to Rome, we might expect to see Jesus set forth similar instructions were the claim true. Do we see any evidence of this in the New Testament?"


"No. What we see is Jesus choosing twelve apostles and sending them out to proclaim the gospel to the Jews and then later to the Samaritans and Gentiles (Acts 1:8). We don’t see him placing each of his Apostles, or anyone else for that matter, as a residential bishop over one local church (or diocese)."

He arranged for Jerusalem to be the first diocese and at first run by all twelve together.

Also, we do not see him arranging for Matthias replacing Judas, we see only that it was arranged - and that the Apostles had no doubt that they were doing Christ's will. I e, we see traces of an arrangement given publically between Christ and Apostles, but not mentioned in canonic Gospels.

This is miles from "gnostic tradition", since gnostics claim to have traditions that have been kept secret. Oral tradition backing up, in public, the written word, that is not gnostic.

And the Catholic tradition is quite public today. If it were gnostic, it would either still be a secret, or have been "revealed" at a certain date in the past, like 1717 when freemasons "revealed" to have had as secret tradition of not caring very much for the confession ("up to then" => confessional obligation = confession of each country, from then => confessional obligation = only natural religion, other confessions being optional).

BUT there is no date whatsoever in which Catholic Church can be said to have in any way "revealed" from secret to open the now open supplementary parts of what Catholic hierarchy means, those Keith Mathison is claiming not to find in NT.

A situation which is very explicable if the present tradition about Catholic priesthood is simply the early tradition continued, but less so if one were to misinterpret the Catholic claim as being a claim of "proto-gnostic" tradition.

"For some time after the ascension, all of the Apostles remain in Jerusalem, building up the church."

As he had told them. "First in Jerusalem, then in Judaea ..."

"There was a plurality of apostolic leadership in the Jerusalem church."

There were twelve apostles exercising a joint leadership, if "leadership" is an appropriate word. Or rather rule. And first of them was St Peter.

As we see on Pentecost day, in dealings with Temple authorities, in dealings with Ananias and Sapphira, in St Peter not being absent either from Samaria (Acts 8), nor from Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).

"When some of the Apostles finally begin moving outward from Jerusalem, they act more as church planters and travelling missionaries."

That is exactly how local bishops start out in Catholic tradition today.

A Catholic see usually starts as an "Apostolic vicariate".

"They do not each settle down in one city as a residential bishop."

No, but whenever they leave a city, they leave a residential bishop in it.

"James, who remained in Jerusalem, is the closest thing to a residential bishop at this point"

James was indeed residential bishop of Jerusalem as soon as St Peter left for Antioch (later Rome).

"but even he is still accompanied there by most of the other Apostles (e.g., Acts 9:27)."

But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and told them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to him; and how in Damascus he had dealt confidently in the name of Jesus.

  • 1) this can have been before Apostles broke up (I speak under correction, but I think the council at Jerusalem which was clearly after breakup was a later chapter : in chapter 8, apostles are still in Jerusalem and Samaria gets the Church through them planting a bishop and conferring themselves first sacrament of confirmation);
  • 2) supposing this were not so, Apostles can have been visiting;
  • 3) supposing this is so, Peter may or may not have been absent for a visit voyage, but later in the chapter 9 he is doing such a voyage.

"Among those who eventually travel outward, Peter and Paul are the most significant in the Book of Acts. Paul’s missionary journeys are well known, but Peter travelled as well. Of the places we know Peter visited on his missionary journeys, we can list Antioch (Gal. 2:11), Samaria (Acts 8:14), Lydda (Acts 9:32), Joppa (Acts 9:36–39), and Caesarea (Acts 10)."

Galatians mentions St Peter when he has taken residence in Antioch. After Jerusalem.

Acts 8 mentions how he came to give a confirmation and presumably also a bishop to Samaria, after which he returned to Jerusalem.

Acts 9 and 10, I am not sure.

"If the Roman claim were true, we would also expect to find abundant evidence of the Roman ecclesiastical hierarchy in the years immediately following the ascension"

We do. Jerusalem has:

  • St Peter
  • other of the Twelve
  • the seventy under them (not mentioned in Acts, up to St James the lesser)
  • the deacons (seven originally, St Stephen dies proto-martyr)
  • ordinary laymen under them who were encouraged but not obliged to community of property.

This is Roman ecclesiastical hierarchy in a nutshell, it differs only in geography from later one. Rome has in later years a hierarchy of cardinals precisely calqued on that of Jerusalem:

  • the Pope after St Peter
  • bishop cardinals after the twelve (or the eleven other than Peter)
  • priest cardinals after the seventy
  • deacon cardinals after the deacons.

"and in the first decades of the post-apostolic church."


"If Christ instituted it and if the Apostles were obedient to Christ we would expect to find some evidence of it."

Indeed. We do.

"We would expect to find evidence that each local church had a bishop, and that this bishop was assisted by subordinate presbyters and deacons."

If you can find anything in NT that contradicts it, you simply cannot read.

Except this: the title of the local bishop was not necessarily bishop. Apostle, Evangelist, Angel, perhaps even Presbyter, we are not told the title of Timothy and Titus.

"However, when we examine the evidence we do not find this."

You mean you don't find it.

We do.

"What we find is summed up in Titus 1:5, where Paul instructs Titus to 'appoint elders (plural) in every town.'"

Titus was the unitary bishop and had plural presbyters (the word you retranslate as "elders") under him. Corresponds perfectly to the RC hierarchic model. Nothing in the text contradicts it.

"We see this in Paul’s first missionary journey, when he and Barnabas 'appointed elders for them in every church' (Acts 14:23). The evidence, biblical and non-biblical, points consistently to a plurality of leaders in each of the first churches."

So, they appointed both the unitary bishop and the presbyters under him and the bishop was in that passage counted as a presbyter - because, like presbyters, he was a sacerdos. It is also possible in some places only a presbyter was appointed, leaving it to providence and later decisions when and if there should be a bishop. Byzantion as a village got only a presbyter from St Andrew, and bishops did not come to reside there until later, in the time of Constantine, when the village was expanded to Constantinople.

Again, no qualms to a RC.

"The transition from a collegial form of church government toward the monepiscopal form of church government occurred at different rates in different geographical locations."

You have no dates to offer for such a supposed transition. You are taking it from thin air.

"The historical evidence indicates"

Meaning you arbitrarily first presume a transition without evidence, and then take each clear show of monoepiscopacy (or each show of it which is clear to you) as evidence it had occurred.

"that monepiscopacy developed most rapidly in Asia Minor and more slowly in European cities such as Corinth and Rome."

Most rapidly in Asia Minor.

You are right that Apocalypse has St John writing to monoepiscopal authority of seven Churches. From God. (That is, by the way, where a first century counterpart of "episcopus ordinarius" is mentioned as "angel").

You are wrong in saying this reflect a development had taken place.

As for Rome, obviously the both Imperial and at last also Papal city would gather more bishops than those residing over Her. St Paul came to assist St Peter.

"The numerous house churches scattered throughout Rome, for example, were led by presbyters until the latter half of the second century."

House Churches argue that Luther was wrong to attack the institution of chaplains having smaller chapels outside the parish Church. These presbyters being of course very early examples of chaplains.

"The ecclesiastical hierarchy as it exists today in the Roman Catholic Church evolved over time."

Minor parts or aspects of it. Cardinals, as mentioned, were a reflection of how Church looked in Jerusalem. Chaplains, as mentioned, were presbyters residing over house Churches.

But one particular Cardinal being the Cardinal of St Sabina, and one particular see changing local residence from Geneva to Annecy (the last bishop locally tied to Geneva, residing mostly in Annecy, in exile from his city, being the patron of this blog), those merely local and temporal applications of it, yes, that did evolve over time.

So did the habit of calling certain mere presbyters Monsignore, as if they were bishops or abbots.

So did in a way the institution of abbot. But St Peter was kind of abbot in Jerusalem, since community of property made Jerusalem a kind of monastery. A bit like later Iona, also a monastery with lay members who were married.

"There is nothing that lends any credence to the claim that it was directly instituted by Christ or the Apostles in the first century."

There is, but you miss it as you would miss a barn at one yard's shooting range. And that goes for ALL Protestants, not just for yourself.

"2. Did Christ appoint Peter to be the visible head of the whole Church and give him jurisdictional primacy?

No. The only Person spoken of in Scripture as the Head of the Church is Jesus (Eph. 1:22; 5:23; Col. 1:18). Peter is never spoken of as the head of the Church, either before or after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. The Church is the body of Christ. It is not the body of Peter; it is not the body of the Pope; and it is not the body of the Pope and Christ. The Church is not polycephalous. It does not have more than one head. Christ, as the one Head of the Church, continues to exercise His headship even after His ascension."

And this Jesus also speaks of himself as "the good shepherd" and tells Peter to "feed my sheep".

He also speaks of himself as holding the keys of David (Apocalypse) and as promising them to Peter (et TIBI dabo claves regni coelorum - not vobis, but tibi, Matthew 16:19).

He also calls both Himself or His Words a rock (Matthew 7:24) and of Peter as rock (Matthew 16:18).

In other words in more than one way he speaks of St Peter as of Himself.

"Christ appointed twelve Apostles, one of whom was Peter (Matt. 10:1–2)."

Yes, and later in Matthew 16 raises one of them above the rest.

"The apostles as a group were given the highest office in the Church (1 Cor. 12:28)."

Not disputed, Scriptural reference if given.

"No one apostle is singled out as having a higher office than the rest."

Disputed, and no Scriptural reference is offered. Unless you mean in that verse, which is not obliged to mention everything. We give one reference or more for opposite view.

"They were all sent (John 20:21); they were all commanded to preach and baptize (Matt. 28:29); and they were all promised an equal standing at the judgment: “you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). Peter’s throne is not distinguished from the rest."

One of the thrones would be the throne of Judah. Right, Judah is one of the twelve tribes?

And Christ Himself is ALSO sitting "on the throne of Judah". So, whoever is the Apostle who sits on the throne of Judah is over the other ones.

It is not mentioned there, but elsewhere that St Peter was distinguished from other Apostles, so we must presume if one throne is sat in by an Apostle and judges the tribe of Judah, it is the Apostle Peter.

(Unless one would argue it is "tribe of Joseph"?)

"After Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon all equally, Peter is sent by the other Apostles to the Samaritans (Acts 8:14) in the same way that Barnabas (Acts 11:22) and then Silas and Judas (Acts 15:22) are later said to be sent."

One can take tasks even if they are prompted by inferiors. And St John was himself just a member of, thus inferior to, the Apostolic college as a whole. A kind of zeugma may be there.

Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.


  • 1) Peter leaves decision to college;
  • 2) college decides its head cannot be lacking and Peter accepts;
  • 3) college also sends John (who is thus just sent and not sending);
  • 4) Peter and John arrive in Samaria.


  • 5) Confirming Samarian neophytes, they ordain and consecrate Philip before he goes of to the Candace, and also St Lazarus, who became first local bishop of Samaria, even if he did not stay there (Marseilles and Larnaka dispute where he died).

"There is no hint that he alone is in charge of things in some unique sense."

Should be modified to:

There is more than just a hint that if he is uniquely above the rest, then he is not always insisting on that and leaving nothing to others.

"Further evidence that this claim of Rome is false is found in an examination of the first church council. The very first major problem in the church is not resolved by an appeal to Peter as we would expect had Christ given Peter jurisdictional primacy (recall the very definition of “jurisdiction”). It is resolved instead by a council in Jerusalem. In other words, a council, not Peter, is assumed to have jurisdiction. In the council itself, James, rather than Peter, exercises the necessary leadership (Acts 15). It is James who declares the definitive judgment, saying: “Therefore my judgment is…” (v. 19). The final decision of the council is described as a consensus of the apostles and elders (v. 22). In the entire account of the Jerusalem Council, neither Peter nor anyone else present shows any awareness of Petrine jurisdictional primacy."

[Replacing my own original words with a quote from Catholic Encyclopedia to answer this:]

"Peter returned occasionally to the original Christian Church of Jerusalem, the guidance of which was entrusted to St. James, the relative of Jesus, after the departure of the Prince of the Apostles (A.D. 42-44). The last mention of St. Peter in the Acts (15:1-29; cf. Galatians 2:1-10) occurs in the report of the Council of the Apostles on the occasion of such a passing visit. In consequence of the trouble caused by extreme Jewish Christians to Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, the Church of this city sent these two Apostles with other envoys to Jerusalem to secure a definitive decision concerning the obligations of the converted pagans (see JUDAIZERS). In addition to James, Peter and John were then (about A.D. 50-51) in Jerusalem. In the discussion and decision of this important question, Peter naturally exercised a decisive influence. When a great divergence of views had manifested itself in the assembly, Peter spoke the deciding word. Long before, in accordance with God's testimony, he had announced the Gospels to the heathen (conversion of Cornelius and his household); why, therefore, attempt to place the Jewish yoke on the necks of converted pagans? After Paul and Barnabas had related how God had wrought among the Gentiles by them, James, the chief representative of the Jewish Christians, adopted Peter's view and in agreement therewith made proposals which were expressed in an encyclical to the converted pagans."

So : no leader as such is presented by text, St Peter gives decisive suggestion, St James agrees (after presumably having disagreed before hearing St Peter was for it), then an encyclical is redacted (we are not told by whom).

"Paul’s description of Peter’s ministry gives no indication that he was aware that Peter had been appointed head of the entire Church. Peter’s ministry, according to Paul, is to the Jews, while his own is to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:7–8)."

A temporary arrangement and one indicating that Peter was above Paul, since Jew was prior to Gentile in the Faith (Jew as by now Christian Jew, no longer those having rejected Christ in the meantime).

"Paul also feels no qualms about publicly rebuking Peter to his face when his conduct is hypocritical (Gal. 2:11)."

Which means that Papacy is not pharaonic. A Pope is not above criticism from inferiors.

"Even Peter himself shows no recognition of universal headship or jurisdictional primacy. He recognizes that he is on the same level with the other elders (1 Pet. 5:1)."

The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come:

For one thing, a Pope is a bishop and a bishop is like the simple presbyter a sacerdos. In Bible, like in Germanic languages and French (the word priest!), presbyter is used for sacerdos.

For another, he adds to "consenior" (presumably "sympresbyteros" in Greek?), namely:

  • and a witness to the sufferings of Christ;
  • and a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.

He was in Gethsemane and on the Mount Tabor.

"Today, Rome appeals to Matthew 16:18 and a few other passages to back up her claim,"

Notice how this non-Catholic author too omits Matthew 16:19. Even if it is only the next verse.

"but it is worth noting that appeals to Matthew 16 in support of Petrine supremacy first appear in the middle of the third century in the disputes between Cyprian and Stephen."

If you mean appeals in the full sense as appeals in controversy that is possible.

But this line of argument does two things:

  • appeals to Tradition OVER Scripture (an implication from Scripture is accepted only if Tradition uses it so);
  • appeals to absence of Tradition being noted EARLIER on a point against PRESENCE of it being noted later on same point.

A most hypocritical line of reasoning, a Pilpul worthy of those whom Christ called vipers.

"Appeals to this text did not begin earlier because the idea of Petrine supremacy itself was a late development."

Pure guesswork. And the kind of guesswork which has been used to attack Gospels, the Apostolic authorship, the canonicity of certain books and so on. A slippery slope that I will NOT volunteer to walk.

This is unfortunately what passes for "sound theology" in Lund, presumaly elsewhere too in Protestant Universities. Guess why I avoided studying Theology in Lund?

"It is only when Rome begins her attempts to assert universal jurisdiction that Scripture is mined for potential proof texts such as Matthew 16."

Ah, mining Scripture for proof texts is a bad thing, suddenly. When it is done in support of what later at least claims to be Tradition, it is grasping at straws. ONLY when it is used in attack against what clearly ALREADY is Tradition, only then is it bold scholarship.

I am very much reminded of Belloc's attitude to heretics here. Seeing such a thing from Keith Mathison, I may have some residual charity, but it is not really perturbing me. Caritas non perturbat me, as Belloc put it in a fine poem.

A young Protestant not fully aware of this may still save his soul, especially if later converting, but Keith Mathison seems to have taken a turn towards perdition.

"3. Are the bishops of Rome the successors of Peter?

No. Had the idea of Petrine Roman succession originated with Christ and not with the church of a much later generation, one would have expected to see an unbroken line of succession from Peter in Rome forward through a series of bishops. Instead, the historical evidence clearly indicates that the monepiscopacy did not develop in Rome until the second half of the second century. If Peter had appointed a successor, the papacy would not have had to await the latter half of the second century before gradually beginning to come into existence."

Every circumstance apparently counts as historic evidence through measly eyes of scepticism ... against the one circumstance which is glaring, the tradition they are arguing against. Caritas non perturbat me (Belloc's version of "ye vipers").

It is PURE guesswork in the teeth of evidence to say monoepiscopacy developed only later.

And it is not even that, but sheer denialism of evidence offered, namely that there was an unbroken line of bishops.

If anything, St Peter might have hesitated whether St Linus or St Clemens was to be his successor, and that hesitation was obviously resolved by them taking turns.

"The claim of Roman bishops to be successors of Peter ignores the well-established historical fact that there was no single monarchical bishop in Rome for well over 100 years after the death of Peter."

Well established by what?

By the Bible? No. By Tradition? No. By modern scholarship reconstructing what really happened in flat denial of narrative evidence offered!

"The house churches in Rome were originally led by a plurality of presbyter/bishops."

That there were house churches is indeed part of the Roman case : for both cardinals (as clergy other than Peter/Pope in Rome) and chaplains (as priests tied to a private house rather than to a public parish).

"The papacy gradually evolved out of the need for a single person to act as a go-between for the churches of Rome and churches outside of the city."

What do you mean, "evolved"? On your view, in year 66 there was no Pope, in year 166 there was (I suppose, and Pope meaning here in relation "urbi" ratgher than "orbi", as I know you consider papacy properly speaking an even later development), does "evolved" mean you can fix no date for transition? Well, how do you prove it? I am not just saying "no date" as in "no exact year", but even "no date" as in "no exact circumstance whatsoever". You are not offering to split hairs on whether "transition" was (taking references from our chronology, which I know you consider wrong, but nevertheless at some point it starts being right):

  • between Peter and Linus
  • under Linus
  • between Linus and Anacletus
  • under Anacletus
  • between Anacletus and Clement
  • under Clement
  • later than Clement, namely .... (insert name for transition where elected came out or Pope on Papal list during whose carreer you consider a man came to be monoepiscopal ecclesiastical ruler of Rome ... sorry, seems to be a date like 164, from another passage in your paper).

And no precise reconstruction of how around 164 AD the transition was made, only an assumption it was made. Due to an assumption the thing purportedly "transited to" did not exist prior to then?

"There was no consciousness that this individual was in succession from Peter. The lists that were later compiled, first by Hegesippus and then by Irenaeus, were based on later memories of those men who had been tasked with external affairs. Irenaeus read the monepiscopacy that existed in his day back into the earlier history of Rome where it did not exist."

If that is so, why stop at this?

Why not think Papias read a tradition of the book starting "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" as being by the Apostle Matthew which had "evolved" in his day back into a past in which the authorship of "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" was not yet Matthean or indeed any other fixed authorship? Perhaps originally functioning as an ill-redacted wiki (note, certain books probably did partly function as a kind of wikis until final redaction, but as very well redacted ones : Genesis 4, Genesis 5, Judges, Four books of Kings (or "book of Samuel" and "book of Kings"), Two books of Chronicles (or one book). But these wikis were adding new events as they happened, under a management which would not have allowed spurious events or sayings to crreep in, we are here dealing with a very great obscurity about what the Gospels started out as, if we consider they started as wikis to which anyone (sufficiently influential) could add real or supposed or forged memories about sayings or miracles of the Lord, but no one was there to get rid of what was spurious. By throwing out the tradition about papacy as "a later author read back into what existed earlier what only existed later in his own time", you are helping Modernists and Jews and Moslems and Atheists to throw out the tradition about authorships of Gospels as "a later author read back into earlier times what only existed later in his own".

Conveniently, for both theories, the Presbyterian as well as the Antichristian one, we have no authors earlier than Papias listing Gospels or (possibly even) than Hegesippus and Irenaeus listing Papal Succession after Peter and Paul.

But equally convenient for us Catholics, against that (and if you are Presbyterian, I suppose you are with Catholics about Gospels), neither are there authors earlier than Papias saying "'The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham' was" [redacted as a wiki where any one was free to add, but the deletion of spurious material was insufficient]. And we do not have earlier authors saying in so many words "Linus was just one presbyter among the others, even after Peter died". These positions are per se thinkable BUT substantiated by nothing in the positive earlier narrative evidence and contradicted by a lot in the somewhat later one.

Note, if you are ready to accept such easy development of disfigured tradition as this, how do you account for oral tradition between Adam and Moses or between Adam and Abraham about earliest parts of Genesis? The generations between Fall and Flood would seem to correspond with the kind of overlap and non-overlap between Gospels and Papias, martyrdom of Sts Peter and Paul and Hegesippus and Irenaeus telling us what happened next. On your view, the early tradition would have needed to be a written one to function.

"Even later, when there were monarchical bishops in Rome attempting to establish the primacy of the church at Rome, the basis for such notions initially rested not on claims of succession from Peter, but on the claim that Rome had the relics of Peter and Paul. But even if this claim concerning the relics were true, why should that claim elevate the Church of Rome above any other churches? If any earthly city has a right to claims of primacy, it would be Jerusalem. While Rome claims the honor of being the city where Peter and Paul were martyred and buried, Jerusalem is the location of the Last Supper, the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the first preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles, the first church council, and the home base of Peter, James, and John (the “pillars” of the church). Jerusalem was the center from which the Gospel of Christ spread (Acts 1:8)."

You are pitting one wording of a claim against other versions of it.

And you are being deliberately non-imaginative about what the version you use actually meant.

If early Popes (not sure if you mean like Clement or like two centuries later, but either way) were saying "our episcopacy rules the others, beccause we have the relics of Sts Peter and Paul", this obviously could NOT have meant "because we have the holiest relics", since as pointed out, Jerusalem has holier ones. It obviously does mean "we have the successors of Sts Peter and Paul, since it is here they died, since all of you others also admit we have their relics, since it is here you make pilgrimages when making pilgrimages to their relics". Only, the version "our episcopacy rules the others, beccause we have the relics of Sts Peter and Paul" is a shorter way of stating it.

As for supremacy of Jerusalem, for one thing, its chief Apostle Peter WAS later going, first to Antioch, then to Rome : second, Jerusalem has a less unbroken continuity, since during Jewish war the Church of Jerusalem went to Pella and only came back after the war, and also since Church of Jerusalem, between about then and the time of St Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine, had no access to the chief relics, namely Calvary and Empty Tomb, since these were covered by the Venus Temple which blasphemers had put there.

"Why Rome, why not Jerusalem" in Church is like asking "why Rome, not Troy, in Roman Empire" ... well, Aeneas had to leave Troy, you know. And Peter had left Jerusalem before successors of St James the Lesser had to do so too.

But if you have no narrative evidence for the absense of monarchic episcopacy in Rome between 64 and 164 and its slow development between then and 200, I am not sure you are not even guilty of circulus vitiosus in probando.

Look at this passage:

"Textual and archaeological evidence indicates that in the first two centuries of Christianity’s existence in Rome, there were a good number of house churches spread throughout the city, primarily in Trastavere and along the Via Appia, and the number of these churches increased as the number of Christians grew. Christians represented the lower and poorer strata in Roman society and had small houses, which could only accommodate so many - thus the need for a good number of dispersed house churches. There was no single centralized location, no central cathedral, where all Roman Christians met for worship under the oversight of a single bishop. Individual presbyter/bishops presided over these various house churches."

Here it seems, you are arguing from evidence of house Churches, via absence of archaeological evidence (and thus in a well excavated city archaeoilogical presumable evidence of absence) of a central Cathedral, and from absence of Cathedral to absence of monarchic bishop.

But now look at this sentence:

"The absence of a monarchical bishop in Rome for over 100 years after the death of Peter and its slow gradual development in the latter half of the second century indicates that the early house churches of Rome had no consciousness that such a succession ever existed or was ever intended."

Here you are arguing from your thesis of "absence of a monarchical bishop" to your interpretation of the evidence on house Churches.

Which way is it? Where do you "break the circle"?

Just a minor point (on this discussion, major perhaps elsewhere) before ending my part I of this rebuttal. If from absence of Cathedral you argue absence of unified leadership, and hence of a unitary bishop in AD 100, I can comprehend why Protestant Creationists argue that Cro Magnon and Neanderthals had to be post-Babel. From small settlements is argued the obedience was scattered to very small scale units, which agrees with situation of humanity after Babel and agrees with what Protestant scholars presume about Roman situation in a "pre-episcopal" Babel. For my part, I cannot see any valid reason why Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon could not have been parts of a much larger political unit, comprising all humanity before Babel (if Neanderthals were pre-Flood, as mitochondria seem to suggest, their "stone age" condition might be remnants of some pre-Flood Gulag), and precisely so, I cannot see that archaeological presence of House Churches but lack of Cathedral in Rome 100 AD argue a lack of bishop.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Pope St Leo I, "the Great"

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