fredag 30 mars 2018

Dealing with "Trail of Blood" Claims

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Trail of Blood, wikimedia upload

My photoshopped combination in vertical is here:

[edit : click for a larger view, so you can read it.]

So, the essential claims are, in chronological order:

  • Baptist Churches in 251 excommunicated ("disfellowshipped") the "irregular" Churches (term sounds like taking from lodges, right?) who practise pedobaptism, that is, baptism of infants;
  • Constantine at Nicaea gets bishops only from irregular non-Baptist Churches
  • Emperor remains head of the Catholic Church until Pope Leo II takes over
  • Baptist Churches continue all the time (visible on full chart, as is next)
  • Donatists continue from 3:rd into 8:th C (!) and therefore overlap with Paulicians starting in 7:th C, both being Baptists.

So, James Milton Carroll very correctly realised the implications of Matthew 28:20. An on-and-off Church, which ceases to exist with Constantine and comes back to existence with Reformation is a huge no no.

He therefore wrote The Trail of Blood -: Following the Christians Down through the Centuries - or, The History of Baptist Churches from the Time of Christ, Their Founder, to the Present Day to prove his point.

Now, language like "regular" and "irregular" Churches, which is part of what he used but an external is not too fortunate. To someone steeped in Masonic culture as many Anglo-Saxon Protestant countries were, that may not sound too bad, but if you start with Anti-Masonry, as Catholicism did from start, In eminenti apostolatus specula, Papal Bull from April 28th 1738, and as Jack Chick is catching up with as per lately (as also Ulf Ekman who converted, unfortunately only to Vatican II Catholicism), it doesn't sound quite right. But that is an external.

What is worse is the claim Donatism survived into the times of Paulicians, and this is a dualist, a manichaean sect, which most Baptists, especially those embracing Young Earth Creationism, would rightly detest. This is a dual claim, and here is the discussion of each on its merits.

Does secular history agree that Donatism is continuing up to 8th C?

No, more like fith and sixth.

Donatism (Latin: Donatismus, Greek: Δονατισμός Donatismós) was a schism in the Church of Carthage from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman Africa province (now Algeria and Tunisia) in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.[1]

The Roman governor of North Africa, lenient to the large Christian minority under his rule throughout the persecutions, was satisfied when Christians handed over their scriptures as a token repudiation of faith. When the persecution ended, Christians who did so were called traditors—"those who handed (the holy things) over"—by their critics (who were mainly from the poorer classes).[2]

Like third-century Novatianism,[3] the Donatists were rigorists; the church must be a church of "saints" (not "sinners"), and sacraments administered by traditors were invalid. In 311 Caecilian (a new bishop of Carthage) was consecrated by Felix of Aptungi, an alleged traditor. His opponents consecrated Majorinus, a short-lived rival who was succeeded by Donatus.

Two years later, a commission appointed by Pope Miltiades condemned the Donatists. They persisted, seeing themselves as the true Church with valid sacraments. Because of their association with the Circumcellions, the Donatists were repressed by Roman authorities. Although they had local support, their opponents were supported by Rome. The Donatists were still a force during the lifetime of Augustine of Hippo, and disappeared only after the seventh- and eighth-century Muslim conquest.

This last information is from:

Cross, FL, ed. (2005), "Donatism", The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church, New York: Oxford University Press.

However, if we look at their succession of bishops, that is meagre:

  • Majorinus (311–13)
  • Donatus Magnus (313–55; exiled 347)
  • Parmenian (355–91)
  • Primian of Carthage (391–93)
  • Maximianus (393–94)
  • Primian of Carthage (394–c. 400)

Now, I suppose some may have suspected me of Donatism. Therefore of ultimately sympathising with Donatists and their succession. So, am I a Donatist, this is a little aside?

I am not. Suppose Pope Michael is at present involved in some atrocious crimes against me to block my writings from being read, to keep me poor, to keep me under the sway of some shrinks.

Would that invalidate his papacy? In itself no, not unless he did so with good conscience while knowing the real facts.

Precisely as the kind of favour of the doubt I was giving Ratzinger on similar accusation points, probability of fact, but possibility there is still orthodoxy.

Supposing it invalidated his papacy, because it involved pro-psychiatric heresies - and he was validly ordained priest and consecrated bishop in 2011, would it invalidate the sacraments he makes, like saying Mass, like ordaining priests?

Still, no.

It can invalidate his state of grace, it can invalidate his orthodoxy and therefore his papacy and jurisdiction, but it does not invalidate his sacraments.

Similarily, a priest validly ordained before the new rite, even if celebrating Novus Ordo, certainly would be celebrating a valid Mass if he said the normal Mass, the Mass of St Pius V.

I think he could probably even be saying a valid Mass if he used Novus Ordo - but this is disputed. Or, he could have until I discovered that first mention of "fruits of the earth" in the Bible is with Cain's sacrifice, which was unpleasing to God, so, probably Cain had no cultivated wheat to sacrifice, so, the words would in their first use have involved a matter which is now invalid matter for the sacraments (unless he sacrificed spelt, which is older than cultivated wheat, and which the rubrics allow only on condition that real wheat flour is unavailable).

So, I do not have a Donatist view of the validity of sacraments.

Neither does the SSPX (both I and Pope Michael are former faithful of the SSPX).

Here is the article on Donatism on that subject:

In the Catholic Church, the Society of Saint Pius X has been accused of Donatist beliefs.

Obviously SSPX, Pope Michael, Sedevacantists and so on totally reject that accusation. When Anders Piltz decades ago warned me against SSPX, he accused them of being Donatist. Perhaps, once I had joined them, he or someone of similar prejudice against them stamped me as having become a Donatist, which is false.

Montini may have been a heretic, he may have committed sacrilege even when he said valid Mass after the older rite (which is still the rite of the Catholic Church, unlike Novus Ordo sect), but his masses were still valid, at least presumed to be such, at least as long as he didn't change the rite.

The accusation against Novus Ordo for being an invalid rite is not a Donatist accusation, it is the accusation which Pope Leo XIII confirmed about Anglican sacraments, on the ground that rites had been changed to incorporate a new theology.

Now, the confusion about Donatists leading up to modern Baptists may come from the fact that Wycliffe and the Lollards really did revive the errors of Donatism, the rigorism which says "mortal sin means no more office and no valid sacraments". Lollards also applied this on secular rulers. If the policeman is a sinner, cheated on his wife or whatever, the man in the street on that view has no obligation to obey him as a policeman. Well, how shall we know if the policeman is a sinner? We can't.

I resisted a policeman once twenty years ago, not because he was a sinner, but because he was doing a sin which could not be a valid act of policing, a crime of psychiatric slave hunt. I thought so then, I think so now.

If he hadn't, if he had next day told me to come to the police office for interrogation on this or that subject where I was a suspect, well, interrogating suspects is not a sin, per se, it is not a crime, it is a valid act of policing. I would have obeyed and in fact did obey such acts of valid policing, even if I thought the police were arguably jerks and even heretics about the conditions for marriage (I was a suspect for courting a 14 year old whom I hoped to marry, and in Sweden age of consent is 15 and age of marriage was then normally and now universally 18 : but as to an unjust suspicion of sexual harrassment, I considered myself obliged to obey the police on some accounts as in their doing valid acts of policing. However much jerks and however much heretics they may have been.

So, I do not have a Lollard view of authority, nor do most Baptists who refer to Wycliffe and Lollards, after Waldensians, as the true Church.

Nor do I have even a Donatist view of validity of sacraments.

But, the Baptists do or did have a Donatist view of the validity of ministerial acts.

You find out the pastor who baptised you was cheating on his wife, on that Baptist view, you need to get rebaptised. That is wrong.

That is the impossible Christian life, which Pope Miltiades rightly condemned.

It is impossible, because when it comes to your neighbour's state of grace, freedom of sin, some people are obvious and most are greyzones. And your ecclesial pastors are among those neighbours.

But "The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church" in 2005 incorporated a statement that Donatism " disappeared only after the seventh- and eighth-century Muslim conquest."

I don't believe that.

"Early kharijites, a strict sect of Islam the same Berber region" are cited as Later Influence - I obviously do not believe that either.

The Khawarij, Kharijites, or the ash-Shurah ("the Exchangers") are members of a group that appeared in the first century of Islam during the First Fitna, the crisis of leadership after the death of Muhammad.[1] It broke into revolt against the authority of the Caliph Ali after he agreed to arbitration with his rival, Muawiyah I, to decide the succession to the Caliphate following the Battle of Siffin (657).[2] A Khariji later assassinated Ali, and for hundreds of years, the Khawarij were a source of insurrection against the Caliphate.
(leaving out IPA and Arabic alphabet, it's pronounced Khawaridge or Kharidge)

Sounds like the kind of chaos Donatism breeds, but I don't think Donatism is relevant. Why?

The origin of Kharijism lies in the First Fitna, the struggle for political supremacy over the Muslim community in the years following the death of Muhammad. After the death of the third Rashidun Caliph, Uthman, a struggle for succession ensued between Ali and Muawiyah I, the governor of Syria and cousin of Uthman, in league with a variety of other opponents. In 657, Ali's forces met Muawiyah's at the Battle of Siffin. Initially, the battle went against Muawiyah but on the brink of defeat, Muawiyah directed his army to hoist Qurans on their lances.[11] Mu'awiya proposed to Ali to settle their dispute through arbitration, with each side appointing referees who would pronounce judgment according to the Quran.[12] While most of Ali's army accepted the proposal, one group, mostly from the tribe of Tamim, vehemently objected to the arbitration and left the ranks of Ali's army.[12]

So, this began "after the death of Mohammed". It's in the East, not in Western North Africa or Maghreb, where a Donatist influence would be possible.

So, one cannot cite, as I suspect Cross did, Kharijites as proof Donatism lingered on to Muslim Conquest.

No where near Tunisia, where Donatists might be expected to be, right?

In 659 Ali's forces finally moved against the Kharijites and they finally met in the Battle of Nahrawan. Although Ali won the battle, the constant conflict had begun to affect his standing.[47] Tom Holland writes "Ali won a victory over them as crushing as it was to prove pyrrhic: for all he had done, in effect was to fertilise the soil of Mesopotamia with the blood of their martyrs. Three years later, and there came the inevitable blowback: a Kharijite assassin."[52]

While dealing with the Iraqis, Ali found it hard to build a disciplined army and effective state institutions to exert control over his areas and as a result later spent a lot of time fighting the Kharijites. As a result, on the Eastern front, Ali found it hard to expand the state.[53]

Ali was assassinated by Kharijites in 661. On the 19th of Ramadan, while Praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, Ali was attacked by the Kharijite Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam. He was wounded by ibn Muljam's poison-coated sword while prostrating in the Fajr prayer.[54] When Alī was assassinated, Muawiyah had the largest and the most organized and disciplined force in the Muslim Empire.

Obviously, Nahrawan in Iraq is far from where the Donatists had been.

Look at the years, this is from article on Muslim Conquest of Maghreb, while involving non-Maghreb conquests too in the text as now accessed:

The first invasion of North Africa, ordered by Abdallah ibn Sa'd, commenced in 647. 20,000 Arabs marched from Medina in the Arabian Peninsula, another 20,000 joined them in Memphis, Egypt, and Abdallah ibn Sa'd led them into the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. The army took Tripolitania (in present-day Libya). Count Gregory, the local Byzantine governor,[2] had declared his independence from the Byzantine Empire in North Africa. He gathered his allies, confronted the invading Islamic Arab forces and suffered defeat (647) at the Battle of Sufetula, a city 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of Carthage. With the death of Gregory his successor, probably Gennadius, secured the Arab withdrawal in exchange for tribute. The campaign lasted fifteen months and Abdallah's force returned to Egypt in 648.

All further Muslim conquests were soon interrupted, however, by a civil war between rival Arab factions that resulted in the murder of Caliph Uthman in 656. He was replaced by Ali, who in turn was assassinated in 661. The Umayyad Caliphate of largely secular and hereditary Arab caliphs, then established itself at Damascus and Caliph Muawiyah I began consolidating the empire from the Aral Sea to the western border of Egypt. He put a governor in place in Egypt at al-Fustat, creating a subordinate seat of power that would continue for the next two centuries. He then continued the invasion of non-Muslim neighboring states, attacking Sicily and Anatolia (in Asia Minor) in 663. In 664 Kabul, Afghanistan, fell to the invading Muslim armies.

The years 665 to 689 saw a new Arab invasion of North Africa.

The Second Invasion

It began, according to Will Durant, to protect Egypt "from flank attack by Byzantine Cyrene". So "an army of more than 40,000 Muslims advanced through the desert to Barca, took it, and marched to the neighborhood of Carthage", defeating a defending Byzantine army of 20,000 in the process.

OK, so, the territory where remaining Donatists were supposed to have influenced early Kharidgites was, while Kharidgism started, not at all Muslim territory, but either Byzantine or in Vandal hands.

In other words, Kharidgites are no proof Donatists survived past Primian of Carthage.

But how about Paulicians? Trail of Blood claims Paulicians continued where Donatists left off.

Paulicians (Old Armenian: Pawłikeanner; Greek: Παυλικιανοί;[1] Arab sources: Baylakānī, al Bayālika)[2] were a Christian sect, accused by medieval sources of being Adoptionist, Gnostic, and quasi-Manichaean. They flourished between 650 and 872 in Armenia and the eastern themata of the Byzantine Empire. According to medieval Byzantine sources, the group's name was derived from the 3rd century Bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata.

The sources show that most Paulician leaders were Armenians.[5] The founder of the sect is said to have been an Armenian by the name of Constantine,[6] who hailed from Mananalis, a community near Samosata. He studied the Gospels and Epistles, combined dualistic and Christian doctrines and, upon the basis of the former, vigorously opposed the formalism of the church.

Regarding himself as having been called to restore the pure Christianity of Paul (of Tarsus), he adopted the name Silvanus (one of Paul's disciples), and about 660, he founded his first congregation at Kibossa, Armenia. Twenty-seven years later, he was arrested by the Imperial authorities, tried for heresy and stoned to death.[7] Simeon, the court official who executed the order, was himself converted and adopting the name Titus became Constantine’s successor. He was burned to death (the punishment pronounced upon the Manichaeans) in 690.[7]

Oh, the Armenian Apostolic Church stoned Constantine Silvanus to death for heresy ... like I said King David would have done if an Albigensian had arrived in his court by a time loop. However, the stoning was not the official punishment, it seems Simeon Titus was ordering someone or was ordered to stone, so it would seem Constantine Silvanus had been killed by his own men. But was burning, reminiscent of later heresy punishments, really the death of Manichaeans or of Symeon Titus?

So, how about a source for this, outside wikipedia? Here:

Constantine-Silvanus, also called Constantine Of Mananali, (died c. 684), probable founder of the Middle Eastern sect of Paulicians, a group of Christian dualists.

Constantine-Silvanus is said to have come from Mananali (Mananalis), near Samosata, Syria. In assuming the additional name of Silvanus, he intended to honour a companion of St. Paul; this duality of names was imitated by subsequent Paulician leaders. Becoming a noted teacher, he founded, during the reign (641–668) of the Byzantine emperor Constans II, a Paulician community at Kibossa, near Colonia, Armenia, and directed it until his death. He died by stoning after his arrest by soldiers sent by the emperor Constantine IV (reigned 668–685) to suppress heresy. The leader of this force, Symeon-Titus, became a convert to Paulicianism and was himself martyred (690).

Insisting that the New Testament (as he interpreted it) should be the only written source of religious guidance, Constantine-Silvanus left no known writings.

In other words, Constantine Silvanus was a reformer, not a continuer, as far as anyone can accurately tell, and also, he refused the Old Testament, and also, he was killed, not by Papacy, but by Byzantine Empire. Also, this seems at least to omit Symeon Titus was burned at a stake.

It also omits the sources from which we are supposed to know this.

In the absence of own writings, or such of immediate or at least early successors, who really claimed any opposite of what history represents Paulicianism as, we must take the verdict of those martyring them, if "martyring" is the right word. They rejected the Old Testament. They did not believe Creation was Very Good. In other words, like the Manichaeans before them and Albigensians after them, they were not Christians.

And this is where the trail of blood shows some impure blood.

The essential continuity claim outside Catholic Church is broken.

What about the claims about 251 "disfellowshipping" and Constantine getting only "irregular" Churches?

Partly correct, but only as far as exterior events are concerned, that was Novatian's opposition to election of Pope Cornelius:

Novatian's strict views existed before him and may be found in The Shepherd of Hermas.[3] After his death, the Novatianist sect spread rapidly and could be found in every province, and were very numerous in some places.[1] Those who allied themselves with the doctrines of Novatian were called Novatianists. However, they called themselves καθαροι ("katharoi") or "Purists" (not to be confused with the later Cathars) reflecting their desire not to be identified with what they considered the lax practices of a corrupted and what was hitherto a universal Church.

While Novatian had refused absolution to the "lapsi" (those who had renounced their Christianity under persecution but later wanted to return to the church), his followers extended this doctrine to include all "mortal sins" (idolatry, murder, and adultery, or fornication). Most of them forbade second marriage. They always had a successor of Novatian at Rome, and everywhere they were governed by bishops.

Because Novatianists (including Novatian) did not submit to the bishop of Rome, they were labeled by Rome as schismatics. Additionally, Rome also labeled Novatianists heretics for denying that the Church had the power to grant absolution in certain cases (such as to the lapsi). Beyond that, their practices were the same as that of the universal Church, including monasticism in the fourth century.

In the 4th and 5th centuries, the Donatist sect in Africa Proconsulare maintained a similar belief about Christians who had lapsed under the pressures of persecution. They too were declared heretics.

Novatian Baptists? No. Donatist Baptists? Partly, but not really. Donatists liked to postpone Baptism to the deathbed, like Constantine is said to have done. They did not consider pedobatism invalid, just imprudent.

Or, remaining claim, Pope Leo II taking over after Emperors had headed the Church?

Background and early activity in the Church

He was a Sicilian by birth (the son of a man named Paulus). He may have ended up being among the many Sicilian clergy in Rome, at that time, due to the Islamic Caliphate battles against Sicily in the mid-7th century.[3] Though elected pope a few days after the death of Pope St. Agatho on January 10, 681, he was not consecrated till after the lapse of a year and seven months (17 August 682).[2] Leo was known as an eloquent preacher who was interested in music, and noted for his charity to the poor. [4]

Reign as Bishop of Rome

Elected shortly after the death of Agatho, Leo was not consecrated for over a year and a half. The reason may have been due to negotiations regarding imperial control of papal elections.

These negotiations were undertaken by Leo's predecessor Agatho between the Holy See and Emperor Constantine IV. They concerned the relations of the Byzantine Court to papal elections. Constantine IV had already promised Agatho to abolish or reduce the tax that the popes had been paying to the imperial treasury at the time of their consecration, an imperial policy that had been in force for about a century.[2]

Leo's short-lived pontificate did not allow him to accomplish much, but there was one achievement of major importance: he confirmed the acts of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680–681). This council had been held in Constantinople against the Monothelite controversy, and had been presided over by the legates of Pope Agatho. After Leo had notified the Emperor that the decrees of the council had been confirmed, he made them known to the nations of the West. In letters written to the king, the bishops, and the nobles of Spain, he explained what the council had effected, and he called upon the bishops to subscribe to its decrees.[2]

During this council, Pope Honorius I was anathematized for his views in the Monothelite controversy as tolerant of heresy. Leo took great pains to make it clear that in condemning Honorius, he did so not because Honorius taught heresy, but because he was not active enough in opposing it.[5] In accordance with the papal mandate, a synod was held at Toledo (684) in which the Third Council of Constantinople was accepted.

Regarding the decision of the council, Leo wrote once and again in approbation of the decision of the council and in condemnation of Honorius, whom he regarded as one who profana proditione immaculatem fidem subvertare conatus est (roughly, "one who by betrayal has tried to overthrow the immaculate faith"). In the Greek text of the letter to the Emperor in which the phrase occurs, the milder expression subverti permisit ("allowed to be overthrown...") is used for subvertare conatus est.

At this time, Leo put an end to the attempts of the Ravenna archbishops to get away from the control of the Bishop of Rome, but also abolished the tax it had been customary for them to pay when they received the pallium.[6]

Also, in apparent response to Lombard raids, Leo transferred the relics of a number of martyrs from the catacombs to churches inside the walls of the city. He dedicated two churches, St. Paul's and Sts. Sebastian and George.[6] Leo also reformed the Gregorian chant and composed several sacred hymns for the divine office.


Leo was originally buried in his own monument; however, some years after his death, his remains were put into a tomb that contained the first four of his papal namesakes.[7]

No trace of all previous Popes (from Cornelius or Sylvester on) taking orders from Emperors, nor of all subsequent Popes being very brave against all imperial intrusions in the ecclesial office or "Church Ministry". Best even trace I can dig out for James Milton Carroll's claim is, he confirmed a Church Council. But all previous ecumenic councils had also been confirmed by Popes, either personally or through legates.

In other words, James Milton Carroll very well knew that for Baptism to be the true Church or Church type, according to Matthew 28:20 he needed Baptist Continuity. What he didn't knew so well (let's charitably presume he was at least subjectively honest) was the actual history on which he based the Baptist Continuity thesis.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Good Friday

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