Profiting from a False “False Prophets” Meme

In my Facebook feed, I recently came across someone sharing this picture in a vain attempt to disprove Catholicism:

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What I love about this image is that one of these things is not like the other. Five of the images refer to the founders of various false sects:

  1. Joseph Smith founded Mormonism in the 1820s, during an American Protestant religious movement called the Second Great Awakening;
  2. Charles Taze Russell founded the Bible Student movement in the 1870s, which later became the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was an offshoot of a Protestant group called the Millerites, who believed that Christ’s return would be in 1843 (spoiler alert: they were wrong);
  3. Mary Baker Eddy founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, better known as Christian Science, in 1879. The movement is an outgrowth a wave of “New Thought” religious movements (a strange blend of liberal Protestantism and spiritualism). Eddy was a patient of the hypnotist Phineas Quimby, one of the founders of the New Thought movement;
  4. Ellen Gould White founded Seventh Day Adventism in 1863. Like Russell, White was a disillusioned Millerite;
  5. Muhammad founded Islam in 622. A critical influence on Muhammad’s theology was Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a heretical (either Ebionite or Nestorian) priest who was first cousin to Muhammad’s first wife.

We can say who all of these religious founders were, when they founded their groups, and even where they got their ideas. None of them arose in a vacuum. It’s not a coincidence that Islam was founded on the fringe (both theologically and geographically) of Christendom, while the other four sects all arose in 19th century Protestant America in areas heavily impacted by the Second Great Awakening and subsequent Protestant revivals. As St. Jerome once pointed out, to trace a heresy to its origins is to have refuted it. If you can show that a belief doesn’t date back to Christ in some form, but is a later introduction, then we can know that it isn’t an authentic Christian teaching.

But when it comes to Catholicism, the chart looks very different. Instead of knocking our founder, they just write “the papacy.” Why? Because if you were going to put the founder of the Catholic Church, you would have to say Jesus Christ, who founded Catholicism in c. 32. As the Scriptural quote at the bottom of the image suggests, the person who assembled this hit job actually doesn’t believe that He is a false prophet. They want to believe in Him, even while they reject the Church He founded as heretical.

St. Jerome, writing c. 379, applied this simple test to determine the true Church from false religion:

I might spend the day in speaking to the same effect, and dry up all the streams of argument with the single Sun of the Church. But as we have already had a long discussion and the protracted controversy has wearied out the attention of our audience, I will tell you my opinion briefly and without reserve. We ought to remain in that Church which was founded by the Apostles and continues to this day. If ever you hear of any that are called Christians taking their name not from the Lord Jesus Christ, but from some other, for instance, Marcionites, Valentinians, Men of the mountain or the plain, you may be sure that you have there not the Church of Christ, but the synagogue of Antichrist. For the fact that they took their rise after the foundation of the Church is proof that they are those whose coming the Apostle foretold. And let them not flatter themselves if they think they have Scripture authority for their assertions, since the devil himself quoted Scripture, and the essence of the Scriptures is not the letter, but the meaning. Otherwise, if we follow the letter, we too can concoct a new dogma and assert that such persons as wear shoes and have two coats must not be received into the Church.

The Luciferians Jerome was writing against are long gone, as are the Marcionites, Valentinians, and the others Jerome mentioned. In their place have arisen sundry heresies, but Jerome’s test remains as valid as ever in showing their falsehood. If you can name the founder of your church or denomination, and your founder’s name doesn’t end in “of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” then you’re not in the right Church.

160 Comments

  1. Well the Pope(s) never claimed to be prophets 😀

    It’s funny how instead of a particular person they put “The Papacy”… haha 😀
    I am surprised they did not put the Jedi Council in there as well 😀

  2. That meme is missing Luther and Calvin, among others. But maybe the point wasn’t completeness… seeing as Pastor Joe – who founded the church down the street 3 months ago – couldn’t be included, either.

    1. Need a laugh? Someone recently asked Colton Burpo, the young man who as a child, purportedly visited Heaven in an NDE (“Heaven is for Real”) if he wanted to be a pastor like his father (Dad is pastor of an evangelical Protestant church somewhere in Nebraska). He answered, “no, too many denominations out there and there’s something wrong with that…”

      1. I’ve heard in an interview that he also saw Mary as Mother and Queen of Heaven, but was told to leave that part out of the book because it was too Catholic.

        1. That particular part of Colton’s experience was in the book, but was left out of the movie.

          Interesting, the kid was brought up around devout fundamentalist Protestants (Dad is a church pastor), one might expect the only place or time he would have seen Mary discussed or depicted would have been around a Nativity scene, and not something on his mind in a hallucination. But Mary was in his visions, devoutly at her Son’s side. Go figure……to me, it is a point of validation…..

  3. “As St. Jerome once pointed out, to trace a heresy to its origins is to have refuted it. If you can show that a belief doesn’t date back to Christ in some form, but is a later introduction, then we can know that it isn’t an authentic Christian teaching.”

    I don’t want to be a debbie downer, but I have an honest question. I have heard Catholics speak more than once about the development of doctrine, and that once the Church formulates a doctrine and universally agrees upon it, it becomes binding. Wouldn’t this in effect show that the origins of the doctrine are not Apostolic? It would seem that the basis of the doctrine’s authority is on the presumption that the Church in of itself has authority and doctrines would not need to originate with the Apostles, but rather could arise at later times.

    So, never having seen the meme, I am not sure it would be accurate to call any Pope “a prophet” in the sense of the word the heretics in the picture appropriated the term, but what Catholicism would have in common is that there exists an authority past the time of the Apostles. And if that is the case, I am not sure how functionally different it is.

    1. I’ve understood the development of doctrine to be something similar to the development of an acorn into an oak tree. All that is in the oak tree was potentially there in the acorn (its DNA, Genetic make up, etc). It starts in this tiny potential form. It has all its genetic material, the blueprint for how it will develop, but at the moment, it is just the small potential acorn. As time goes on, it develops according to the genetic blueprint. Over the years, the tree also responds to the environment around it (ex: it bends/grows toward a place where the sun’s light can hit its leaves). Parts of it may develop sickness (a branch may get infected, or it may develop some sort of tree cancer–in which case the Person Who planted the tree may have to prune it, cut off the part which developed the sickness, or graft branches on which had been cut off). You come back to the tree in 40 years. It is a fully grown oak tree. It may look nothing like the original acorn, but it is the actualization of what was always potentially in the acorn–everything in the tree came from the acorn, it is just the way it moved from potentiality to actuality: growing naturally, responding to the world around it.

      In the same way the Church today is the Oak which developed from the Apostolic Acorn. Looking at the ancient Church, it can be seen that the beginnings of Catholic doctrine (the Divinity of Christ, the beginnings of the Doctrine of the Trinity, Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, the importance of the Bishop of Rome, devotion to Mary and the other saints, prayer for the dead, et cetera) were all present in seed form. If you went back in time to ask St. Peter about the Hypostatic Union, you would probably get a blank stare. But the roots of these doctrines are still there, still present. When the Church naturally developed over the years, it had to respond to different internal and external stimuli–when heretics denied the Divinity of Christ, the Church called a council; when a dispute between bishops needed to be settled, the bishop of Rome served as a judge/arbitrator, et cetera. When these things happened, they did not generally see it as a rupture, as something foreign to Apostolic Christianity, but as something that naturally happened, something that grew up naturally from the Apostolic Seed.

      1. It appears to me that there are a couple presuppositions.

        There is the presupposition that we know what the seed (i.e. acorn) is, which would be Apostolic teaching as reflected in the Scriptures (the only documents we have penned by them). We agree on this presupposition.

        Then there is the additional presupposition that the tree one is looking at actually belongs to the seed. I understand that there are reasons which justify the presupposition, but at its core, the tree has certain characteristics that one cannot find in the seed, so in a real sense one has to presuppose that these differences are the result of natural, legitimate growth.

        Part of this growth is the idea that the tree continually progresses and essentially gets better along the way, perhaps after hitting a few speed bumps. Catholicism sounds to me to be a triumphant history of progress, coinciding with growth. Hence, while Catholics would have no problem saying there were a few down points here and there (a corrupt Pope over here, a couple centuries of bad policy concerning heretics over there) as a whole, the Church continues to rise above these things and continually elaborate, if not improve doctrine.

        So, to accept Catholicism in many respects is to accept this view of triumphant progress which is by no means irrational, being that the Bride of Christ has His Holy Spirit, she’s got divine help on her side.

        The reason I would consider this view a presupposition of sorts, because if one were to speculate that the Church as a whole made a few long-term “mistakes,” it undoes the sense of long-term progress which appears so necessary. So, while a Pope here or there teaching the wrong thing or doing a wrong thing for a temporary period of time is no big deal, the idea that the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like is unthinkable to the Catholic, as it would seemingly cut the tree at its roots. Now what is the difference between the former and latter views? Simply, the length of time.

        So, at its core, there appears to be something functionally similar to the meme, that there is a true persistent authority which cannot possibly make really important mistakes that can last for more than several centuries. Lesser mistakes, such as burning heretics and such (I am not trying to be anti-catholic here, Protestants did this to) can persist for some time, but are apparently not serious enough to undo the persistent authority and its coinciding triumphant progress until the day Christ returns.

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Craig Truglia says:
          December 29, 2015 at 4:16 pm
          It appears to me that there are a couple presuppositions.

          There is the presupposition that we know what the seed (i.e. acorn) is, which would be Apostolic teaching as reflected in the Scriptures (the only documents we have penned by them). We agree on this presupposition….

          Your presupposition is that the Word of God can only subsist in writing. Whereas, even Scripture TEACHES that the Word of God subsists in man:

          Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

          If someone were to set fire to all the Scriptures in the world at this moment. Protestants would be at a loss what to do.

          The Catholic Church wouldn’t skip a beat.

          Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

          God didn’t send His Word into a book. He sent it into the souls of His elect.

          http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/065/003/Darth-Vader-I-FIND-YOUR-LACK-OF-FAITH-DISTURBING.jpg

          1. Correction, He sent His word into all men. His elect did not reject it, but accepted it and turned to Him that they might live:

            Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

        2. Craig – why is time such a factor to you? God’s time is not ours, just as His mind is not fathomable by humanity. How long did the nations of Israel engage in the sin-to-silence cycle before they were fit to midwife the Messiah? I call your assertion of the importance of timing (ling-term, as you say) a presupposition that puts limits on the purpose and plan of God. Bottom line, Apostolic succession, et el., establish the authority of the Church, and neither self-inflicted wounds caused by the sometimes-imperfect judgments of the ‘earthen vessels’ of Church authority nor outside impositions – all manifestations of the Gates of Hell – will prevail…all in God’s time.

          1. AK

            I am surprised you view it that way. I am not concerned about time. To me, there is no contradiction if the Church got a lot of things wrong as soon as the mid 2nd century, because the same thing happened to Israel a few times. However, usually it is the Catholics who say “if they screwed everything up that quickly, then how can we be sure of anything?!?”

            To me, the time is irrelevant and I was passing comment that the Catholic view of time actually requires there being a triumphant progress of sorts. The idea the Church could have possible devolved the last 1900 years is unsettling to many.

            Personally, I think that it probably the case, instead of the opposite.

            It might help if you read my comments here as a passing observation instead of a serious polemic.

            God bless,
            Craig

          2. Craig – Time may be irrelevant, but you brought it up, and in a most lengthy, erudite manner that belies the descriptive “passing.” However….where are the Catholics “who say “if they screwed everything up that quickly, then how can we be sure of anything?!?” No one I know…and I know a lot of Catholics….most of us feel that time and progress both are working in our Churches favor. “They” you reference are the earthen vessels of 2 Corinthians, and devout Catholics know the Church easily survives their flaws.

            Devolved? Not hardly….

            God Bless you too my friend.

          3. Craig Truglia says:
            December 29, 2015 at 11:06 pm
            AK

            ….It might help if you read my comments here as a passing observation instead of a serious polemic.

            Lol! Its very hard to tell the difference. Your observations are generally anti-Catholic and conform to all the Protestant anti-Catholic rhetoric that we are used to hearing. It is Protestants who claim the Church, “devolved”. It is Protestants who deny Apostolic Succession, Sacred Tradition, and Papal infallibility. And you are trying to say that we should ignore these?

            To what end?

          4. AK,

            “Craig – Time may be irrelevant, but you brought it up, and in a most lengthy, erudite manner that belies the descriptive “passing.” ”

            I think you misunderstood my comment, which essentially was “time does not matter to God, the Church peaks and valleys, and can be in a valley for a long time.”

            Your response was “time is nothing to God!”

            I replied “Yes, that was my point, but time DOES matter to Catholics, which is why none of them believe their faith is in the valley. Rather, it is triumphant and progressing.

            You respond, “I know a lot of Catholics….most of us feel that time and progress both are working in our Churches favor…Devolved? Not hardly….”

            You proved my point! I hope you see a specific presupposition of yours is that progress must occur in Catholicism. Hence, as time passes our worldview demands evolution, not devolution.

            I hope all of this shows that I have been paying attention 🙂

            God bless,
            Craig

          5. Craig – I sense we’re going in circles. At the end of each circle, each one of says “I win!” Color me shocked…..

            OK…I quote:

            “…the idea that the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like is unthinkable to the Catholic, as it would seemingly cut the tree at its roots.”

            My point was, the examples you noted are not unthinkable, and don’t understand why you would say thus. I go back to my ad infinitum, ad nauseam point about 2 Cor. and “earthen vessels,” and the errors of the OT Chosen. Did the Chosen People stop being the Chosen People because some of their number fell away? Did the One True Church stop being just that because some Popes had mistresses, or some misguided folks fell away in 1517 (and still continue to do so in every strip mall in Colorado Springs)? Not hardly. The branches may take a beating…but the roots always stay firm and strong.

            And I guess some of this is dependent on how one defines a monarchical episcopate. Is your point is to jab at the legitimacy of the Papacy, which it seems some of these multitudinous threads are trying to do? A separate discussion, I would think.

            As for the original discussion of ‘presupposition”…..the definition of same….’a thing tacitly assumed or taken for granted.. at the beginning of a line of argument….’ If Catholics believe that their Church is ‘progressing’ and ‘triumphal’ it is NOT a presupposition as defined above, but a belief rooted in sound Scriptural understanding. Christ gave Peter the Keys, then pronounced the Churches invulnerability to the Gates of Hell, and finally, directed the Apostles to ‘go, teach all nations.’

            Do all those taken together sound like a plan for anything but upward progress and eventual triumph, leavened by the ‘speed bumps,’ which humble the devout and bring out the saints who put their Church back on track? And belief in same *anything but* a baseless presupposition, from the tone of your post?

            Let the games continue…..

          6. I wasn’t aware one of us was trying to win :)”

            Says the Master of Disingenuity (that’s a word…cause I said so 😉

          7. AK says:
            December 30, 2015 at 11:18 pm

            …As for the original discussion of ‘presupposition”…..the definition of same….’a thing tacitly assumed or taken for granted.. at the beginning of a line of argument….’ If Catholics believe that their Church is ‘progressing’ and ‘triumphal’ it is NOT a presupposition as defined above, but a belief rooted in sound Scriptural understanding. Christ gave Peter the Keys, then pronounced the Churches invulnerability to the Gates of Hell, and finally, directed the Apostles to ‘go, teach all nations.’

            Do all those taken together sound like a plan for anything but upward progress and eventual triumph,….

            Awesome! Great rebuttal.

            You would think that Protestants would share this belief with Catholics, since they claim to believe in Scripture. Crazy, isn’t it?

        3. “Wouldn’t this in effect show that the origins of the doctrine are not Apostolic? It would seem that the basis of the doctrine’s authority is on the presumption that the Church in of itself has authority and doctrines would not need to originate with the Apostles, but rather could arise at later times.”

          If 1) The Church has authority; 2) This authority does originate with the Apostles; 3) This Church was founded by Jesus Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit; ergo: The Church (and its doctrines) are apostolic. (After all, it’s a Catholic _and_ apostolic church).

          If I get it right, the church has its authority because of Christ, because of the apostles, and this authority continues and our traditions get deeper in time. Would you expect that we keep repeating canonical texts (under whose authority?) and that all important questions and answers that arise in the course of time remain unanswered or answered with a caveat like “oh, that’s just my opinion, I don’t have any authority, and you may think/do as you see fit”?

          “what Catholicism would have in common is that there exists an authority past the time of the Apostles. And if that is the case, I am not sure how functionally different it is.”
          The “functional” difference is the same difference between an institutionally legitimate authority and an illegitimate authority. If you don’t believe there should be any authority at all past the time of the apostles, you’d be stuck in a maze of competing visions none of us are even familiar with anymore (never known of a gnostic church down the street).

          “the Church as a whole made a few long-term “mistakes,””
          Catholics believe that there have been no such “mistakes” related to doctrine (ever seen an heretical pope?).

          “while a Pope here or there teaching the wrong thing or doing a wrong thing for a temporary period of time is no big deal, the idea that the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like is unthinkable to the Catholic, as it would seemingly cut the tree at its roots. Now what is the difference between the former and latter views? Simply, the length of time.”

          I see you expect too much perfection from the church. The church may not possess landed estate, its hierarchy and institutional organization must be filled with pure souls who do not engage in politicking (I don’t even know what you mean by “sacralism”), and then you *assume* that “something” is unthinkable to “the Catholic” (“something” meaning either the supposed “mistake” or the facts you mention), and then you assume (again!) that “perhaps” these unthinkable “things” would cut down the tree (either the church or the faith in it). Supposedly, the idea that a monarchical Episcopate (I don’t know where you got this expression from, I’m a Latin/Eastern Catholic and I’ve never seen this in my whole life) is inherently “evil” or a deturpation of something you haven’t explicitly mentioned, so you’re the one assuming from the outset that there is no such thing as a Christian pope (or its concept).

          In the end, you’re twisting the metaphor to anti-biological terms: “there is the additional presupposition that the tree one is looking at actually belongs to the seed.” Apart from the inappropriate language (does a tree “belong” to its seed?), no serious biologist would doubt that a sycamore tree originated from a sycamore seed, and that this tree came from that seed.

          “tree has certain characteristics that one cannot find in the seed” — of course, in the seed there are no branches, no leaves, no roots and so on. Every sane person knows that. You’re pushing the metaphor and implying that this tree is really genetically corrupted, or that there has been a graft, perhaps of another species. However, these are just your presuppositions. If you talk to a biologist and repeat that phrase, he’ll laugh at your face.

        4. Craig,

          You claim that “the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like.” Let’s use Jerome’s test to evaluate this claim.

          Who was the inventor of the monarchical episcopate? In what context did it arise? Was this idea opposed? Can you point to any first or second century church that was governed by a presbytery? Who were some of the co-presbyters of this church?

          I can answer equivalent questions for claims like “Protestantism in a sixteenth century invention” or “sola fide is a doctrinal novelty,” so I’m not holding you to an unreasonable standard: just the standard you claim to be evaluating. It’s very easy to assume that the monarchical episcopacy was a second century development, but there’s virtually no evidence for this claim.

          Michael C. McGuckian, S.J. has a fairly devastating assessment of your argument:

          “A first problem with this scenario is its lack of historical plausibility. The process of canonization of the Scriptures is documented. Different list of books were circulating during the fourth century, and a definitive list was drawn up in the African councils at the end of that century and by Pope Innocent I in 405. This list was in peaceful possession in the Western Church until the Reformation, and it was necessary to reaffirm it at the Council of Trent (DS 1502–03) and at Vatican I (DS 3029). The fact that the Church had a decision to make in regard to the Scriptures is documented and clear. Of the corresponding process of canonization of the episcopate, there is, on other hand, no trace whatever. The notion of a church choosing its church order is unheard of in Christian tradition until the sixteenth century with the Reformation in Switzerland, and the choice between presbyteral and episcopal government is church-dividing to this day. Is it plausible to suggest that it would not have been equally divisive in the first decades of the Church’s life, and could have taken place without leaving any trace whatever?”

          I.X.,

          Joe

          1. Joe,

            Craig,

            “You claim that “the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like.” Let’s use Jerome’s test to evaluate this claim.”

            Let’s do it 🙂

            “Who was the inventor of the monarchical episcopate?”

            Personally I believe it existed as early as Apostolic times. Titus appointed elders (PLURAL) in every city (Tit 1:5), but as soon as Ignatius more than a few of these cities has certain elders viewed as a singular Bishop. So, I am sure more than a few by sheer force of personality and ability rose to the top.

            However…

            Polycarp writes his letter on behalf of himself and the elders (plural) with him.

            Clement writes his letter on behalf of “we,” and speaks of multiple elders in Corinth.

            In Ignatius’ Epistle to the Magnesians he writes: “It is right, then, not only to be called Christians but also to be Christians; just as some certainly use the title ‘bishop’ but do everything apart from him.”

            So, this shows there were people who called themselves Christians and used the the title Bishop, but did not adhere to the monarchical Episcopacy. Now, you automatically presume they were heretics, but that’s because you accept a Catholic presupposition and view Ignatius as right in this matter, but Clement and Polycarp wrong.

            “In what context did it arise? ”

            In ancient Rome where religions tend to have landed estates and needed top-down organization. This led to sin, as Cyprian observes in On the Lapsed.

            “Was this idea opposed?”

            Yes. Ignatius writes to more than a few churches that did.

            “Can you point to any first or second century church that was governed by a presbytery?”

            Yes. Polycarp’s church, Corinth, and Rome.

            “Who were some of the co-presbyters of this church?”

            We do not have names, though we have reason to believe that some of the earlier Popes perhaps served alongside one another whose names we do have. Many Catholic historians, trying to avoid this conclusion, make claims such as Clement was appointed by Peter, but then waited to actually take the position until the first two other Popes died. It is a lot less convoluted to understand that when Clement wrote “we” he meant “we.”

            “I can answer equivalent questions for claims like “Protestantism in a sixteenth century invention…””

            Not exactly, as the Protestants did not invent any of their ideas, all of them have and mention in the Scripture and early interpreters of the Scripture.

            “I’m not holding you to an unreasonable standard: just the standard you claim to be evaluating.”

            And, using your standard, it would appear that the monarchical Episcopacy was not the majority practice in Biblical times or shortly after. The evidence is in the Bible, Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius’ letter to the magnetians.

            “It’s very easy to assume that the monarchical episcopacy was a second century development, but there’s virtually no evidence for this claim.”

            Joe, even if you interpret the evidence differently, I hope you see it is with a central presupposition that what the Apostolic Fathers is saying is literally not true and must be re-evaluated in light of your present beliefs. I think I have shown that in my game of Suduku my contention works.

            God bless,
            Craig

          2. Craig,

            I’m travelling, so I’m not keeping up with the discussion. Please forgive my delays — I’m responding here to your first reply to me. I appreciate you taking up my challenge regarding the monarchical episcopacy, and I think it’s going to be enlightening for both of us. Let me respond to your arguments one by one.

            On the question “Who was the inventor of the monarchical episcopate?” you offer seven arguments:

            1) “Personally I believe it [the monarchical episcopacy] existed as early as Apostolic times.

            That’s a remarkable admission. If you’re right, and the Apostles didn’t oppose it, that certainly sounds like they consented to it… especially because we see it most visibly in the writings of St. Ignatius, a student of the Apostle John. So even if you assume that the first century had varying leadership structures (which I deny, at least within orthodox Christianity), you’d have to also admit that the closer you get to the Apostles, the closer you get to a monarchical episcopal governance structure. That alone is enough to show that we’re not looking at a post-Apostolic innovation or corruption.

            2) “Titus appointed elders (PLURAL) in every city (Tit 1:5)…

            Yes, this proves that the norm was for there to be multiple presbyters in every city. On this point, you and we absolutely agree.
            Catholic claim: the early churches were governed by a single bishop and several elders (a.k.a. presbyters or priests) in communion with him.
            Protestant claim: the early churches were governed by a body of presbyters/elders, and only later did a single bishop arise. (Prior to this point, all of the presbyters were considered bishops).

            Showing that a city had multiple bishops would be a strong argument in your favor. But showing that a city had several elders doesn’t prove your case at all, since that’s the element we both agree on. You commit this logical fallacy several times, so to avoid excessive repetition, I’m just going to call it the “Elders Fallacy” from now on, okay?

            3) “….but as soon as Ignatius more than a few of these cities has certain elders viewed as a singular Bishop. So, I am sure more than a few by sheer force of personality and ability rose to the top.

            You’re assuming your conclusion (that the bishop was just one of the elders), and then concluding your conclusion from your assumption. Ignatius pretty explicitly denies that a bishop is just an elder, so your circular reasoning is pretty directly contradicted by the evidence.

            Given this, you can’t jump to the reasons you assume why a single presbyter-bishop arose amongst many presbyter-bishops, because you haven’t even shown that it’s happened. All of the evidence you’ve presented is either silent on the question, or contradicts your claim.

            4) “Polycarp writes his letter on behalf of himself and the elders (plural) with him.

            This is the Elders Fallacy again, and the most egregious example. We know from Ignatius’ letter to Polycarp that Polycarp was the single bishop of Smyrna, joined by several presbyters. For example, he opens that letter:

            “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnæans, or rather, who has, as his own bishop, God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: [wishes] abundance of happiness.”

            In the sixth chapter, he offers these instructions for the faithful of Polycarp’s church:

            “Give heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. My soul be for theirs that are submissive to the bishop, to the presbyters, and to the deacons, and may my portion be along with them in God! Labour together with one another; strive in company together; run together; suffer together; sleep together; and awake together, as the stewards, and associates, and servants of God. ”

            He does the same thing in his letter to the church of Smyrna several times (see chapters 8 and 9). In chapter 12 of that letter, he tells the church, “I salute your most worthy bishop, and your very venerable presbytery, and your deacons, my fellow-servants, and all of you individually.”

            So he’s acknowledging (repeatedly) that there’s one bishop, Polycarp, and several presbyters. The fact that Polycarp writes on behalf of himself and the several presbyters supports this, it doesn’t contradict it!

            The idea that Polycarp wasn’t the sole bishop of the city at this time strikes me as obviously false. Ignatius was intimately familiar with both the bishop Polycarp and the Smyrnaean church. The fact that your theory leads to misunderstanding Polycarp so dramatically (and so clearly) indicts the theory itself.

            5) “Clement writes his letter on behalf of “we,” and speaks of multiple elders in Corinth.

            This is the Elders Fallacy again. Polycarp speaks on behalf of himself and his clergy. Clement does the same. Nothing in this suggests that a monarchical episcopacy isn’t true. In fact, there are generally two reasons we would see someone writing on behalf of a whole church: (1) that person represents the whole church (e.g., a pastor in his parish, a bishop in his diocese, or a pope in the universal church) or (2) it’s some sort of committee or conciliar document. While either (1) or (2) are possible, theory (1) works better for 1 Clement.

            So Clement’s letter is evidence in favor of the monarchical episcopacy. Remember that the Corinthians wrote first, seeking adjudication from Rome. That means that they either wanted this matter settled by (1) the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, or (2) a local group of Roman presbyters.

            We see examples of (1) throughout the entire history of the Church, including several examples within the earliest centuries. I know of no example of (2), nor any good reason to dream up such a scenario. If the person or persons that they’re writing to don’t have any special authority, why seek their intervention in an internal church dispute?

            6a) “In Ignatius’ Epistle to the Magnesians he writes: “It is right, then, not only to be called Christians but also to be Christians; just as some certainly use the title ‘bishop’ but do everything apart from him.

            A clearer translation would be “It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality: as some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. ”

            Both translations say the same thing, but the one on New Advent is easier to parse. (This isn’t really an argument, but is helpful for the rest of 6 to make sense).

            6b) “So, this shows there were people who called themselves Christians and used the the title Bishop, but did not adhere to the monarchical Episcopacy.”

            You’re misreading an admittedly confusing translation. Your mistake should be obvious with the clearer translation that I offered. Ignatius is talking about those who acknowledge, e.g., that Polycarp is bishop, but then ignore his authority. That’s why he says (in your translation) that they “do everything apart from him.” The “him” is the bishop, and that pronoun only makes sense if he’s just mentioned the bishop.

            If (as you initially misread things), the “bishop” that they acknowledge is themselves, how could they possibly do anything apart from that “bishop”? How can a man act apart from himself?

            7) “Now, you automatically presume they were heretics, but that’s because you accept a Catholic presupposition and view Ignatius as right in this matter, but Clement and Polycarp wrong.

            Your conclusions here rely upon 2-6 being correct. I don’t “automatically presume” that the people Ignatius refers to were heretics – just that they acted without their rightful bishops (like he says). And I don’t think Clement or Polycarp were wrong at all. I agree with them completely, as would any Catholic. Your entire argument marshalling them into your corner was fallacious (the Elders Fallacy), and good evidence exists that they were monoepiscopal bishops of their local churches.

            I.X.,

            Joe

          3. Craig,

            On to the question “In what context did it arise? ”, you make the following claims:

            8) “In ancient Rome where religions tend to have landed estates and needed top-down organization. This led to sin, as Cyprian observes in On the Lapsed.

            Do you mean the city of Rome, or the Roman Empire? And don’t we see this top-down organization throughout the entire Old Testament? Don’t we also see it throughout the entire New Testament? Off-hand, you’ve got the Old Testament (i) Patriarchs, (ii) prophets, (iii) judges [in the Jethro/Mosaic sense], (iv) judges [in the Book of Judges sense], (v) kings, (vi) priests, and (vii) royal officials. None of these were chosen by the people – all were chosen from the top-down, many of them were anointed or had authority otherwise imparted to them. In the New Testament, you’ve got (i) Apostles, (ii) prophets, (iii) bishops, (iv) presbyters, and (v) deacons. The first four weren’t chosen by the people, ever, but chosen top-down, and were anointed or had authority otherwise imparted to them. In one instance, by Apostolic indult, deacons were chosen by the people (Acts 6:1-6), but this confirmation still needed approval by the Apostles (Acts 6:7). You’ve also got perennial examples like political authority and parental authority, in which those subjected to the authority tend not to have any say over the matter. So the Bible isn’t exactly ringing in its endorsement of democracy or some other form of “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” Top-down authority is assumed in every, or nearly every, instance that I can think of.

            On the question “Was this idea opposed?”, you write:

            9) “Yes. Ignatius writes to more than a few churches that did.

            Citation needed!

            On the question, “Can you point to any first or second century church that was governed by a presbytery?” you write,

            10) “Yes. Polycarp’s church, Corinth, and Rome.

            All of these are examples of you drawing sweeping conclusions from the Elders Fallacy. Also, claiming Rome seems to contradict your argument in (8).

            To “Who were some of the co-presbyters of this church?”, you write:

            11) We do not have names, though we have reason to believe that some of the earlier Popes perhaps served alongside one another whose names we do have. Many Catholic historians, trying to avoid this conclusion, make claims such as Clement was appointed by Peter, but then waited to actually take the position until the first two other Popes died. It is a lot less convoluted to understand that when Clement wrote “we” he meant “we.”

            It’s really easy to explain the confusion over the order of the first three post-Petrine popes. The correct order is Linus, Cletus, Clement. But one of the Fathers refers to Clement as having been “ordained” by Peter. He was, but to the presbyterate. Certain later Fathers, misunderstanding this to mean that Peter ordained Clement as his successor bishop of Rome, give the list as Clement, Linus, Cletus. See? Simple mistake, easily rectified. There’s no real mystery about the right order.

            12) “using your standard, it would appear that the monarchical Episcopacy was not the majority practice in Biblical times or shortly after. The evidence is in the Bible, Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius’ letter to the magnetians.

            This is mostly just a repeat of your earlier arguments, but… not the majority practice? Really? You can’t name a single co-episcopal or non-episcopal see without relying on the Elders Fallacy, and you admit that the Apostle John’s most famous disciple held to the monarchical episcopacy (and your claim that his other famous disciple, Polycarp, didn’t, is flatly contradicted by the evidence).

            13) “Joe, even if you interpret the evidence differently, I hope you see it is with a central presupposition that what the Apostolic Fathers is saying is literally not true and must be re-evaluated in light of your present beliefs. I think I have shown that in my game of Suduku my contention works.

            In light of what I’ve written, do you still hold to this? Because I think I’ve shown pretty simply how every bit of patristic evidence lines up with the monoepiscopal view, and huge chunks of it (like Ignatius’ entire corpus) contradict your view.

            I.X.,

            Joe

          4. Craig says,

            “Not exactly, as the Protestants did not invent any of their ideas, all of them have and mention in the Scripture and early interpreters of the Scripture.”

            Total falsehood. Examples….sola fide, sola scriptura, baptism being unnecessary, Eucharist being symbolic. I assume you’re familiar with where the bible shreds these ideas so I won’t list them. Furthermore the protesters remove books from the bible, and some add a word to Romans, later removed of course.

            Craig for your idea of Christianity to work you either accept the canon of scripture because you want to believe and you have no other choice or you rely on apostolic succession up to a point then throw it away when your done with it.

            For your view of Christianity to work either

            1. Christ established multiple churches…wrong. Matt 16:18

            2. Christ established one invisible church in which all true believers belong regardless of denomination AND in that church either one of the following MUST be true. Either doctrine doesn’t matter AT ALL or it is acceptable for there to be contradictory and conflicting doctrine. This 2nd option is wrong also. The church must be visible….Matt 18:17, and doctrine matters 1 Tim 4:1. There are more verses in proper context which show this but I hope you get the point.

            Option 3a.

            Christ established one visible church where doctrine matters and there cannot be conflicting doctrine and I would guess they would at least CLAIM to be founded by Jesus Christ. And they can trace apostolic succession.

            Option 4

            Some kind of a blend of option 2 and 3 but Craig (or any individual) is head of the church. Which really puts this back to option 2. (Please don’t take that as a dig. I just wanted to show where all roads lead if there is no foundational authoritative church. I truly value your input).

            Craig I understand that you want Christ and you and your devotion inspire me. However, we come to Christ on His terms, not ours.

          5. Trogos,

            I would be a lot more thoughtful in my response, but I do not think there is a lot of meat here, so please excuse me if my response is brief.

            “Examples….sola fide…”

            Several Church Fathers used the term, so it is not an innovation.

            “…sola scriptura…”

            Again, several Church Fathers said that they can only be convinced by Scripture and only Scripture alone is without error.

            “…baptism being unnecessary…”

            You do not know Protestantism, the vast majority practice baptism, several believe in baptismal regeneration.

            “…Eucharist being symbolic.”

            Same as above, it appears you think everyone is an independent baptist.

            “I assume you’re familiar with where the bible shreds these ideas so I won’t list them. ”

            Being that the Bible does not shred sola fide or scriptura, and the latter two points of yours aren’t even true, I am not very concerned about the point you are making here.

            “Craig for your idea of Christianity to work you either accept the canon of scripture because you want to believe and you have no other choice or you rely on apostolic succession up to a point then throw it away when your done with it.”

            So, now I’m my own pope again, and so are all the other protestants. This is essentially an ad hominem. I know you are not insulting me, but you are saying “this is your mindset, so it follows everything else is wrong.” That is a logical fallacy, it does not prove a point.

            “1. Christ established multiple churches…wrong. Matt 16:18”

            Actually, there are multiple churches that make up one Church. Mark 9:40.

            “The church must be visible….Matt 18:17…”

            Visible as in physically existing, but institutionally monolithic? Matt 18:17 does not say that.

            “, and doctrine matters 1 Tim 4:1.”

            Definitely! We want to avoid those “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” What are some of those doctrines? ” forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods…” Hmm, I do not know Protestantism doing that. In fact, if I was in an online argument just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, it would almost seem that a certain other religion teaches this, but I against my better judgment will not make this case.

            “Christ established one visible church where doctrine matters and there cannot be conflicting doctrine and I would guess they would at least CLAIM to be founded by Jesus Christ. ”

            Now we added the whole claim part on top of the rotten edifice you just built.

            “And they can trace apostolic succession.”

            WHich is in matters of doctrine, but according to you, I have no ability to even test those claims because there I would be acting as my own Pope. Sounds like circular reasoning.

            “Please don’t take that as a dig. I just wanted to show where all roads lead if there is no foundational authoritative church. I truly value your input).”

            Thank you for the kind words. I hope you don’t think I am being mean, I just don’t think logic and the evidence you are citing prove your point. In fact, it appears you refuted yourself.

            “However, we come to Christ on His terms, not ours.”

            Amen!

            God bless,
            Craig

          6. Thanks for the reply Craig. I must admit I was overly simplistic in my approach to Protestantism. My apologies. It seems that when you claim that all of the reformers broke from the church that they all got it right according to scripture. That is why I was unrightfully broad brushing. With what I think I know about your beliefs I would bet you don’t even agree with what you posited originally. However I stand by what I said about sola fide and sola scriptura. I was making a comment on how Luther understood sola fide and I know there are multiple understandings of it. Several ECFs may use the term but not necessarily as Luther understood. As far as sola scriptura, scripture teaches against that idea in several places, but here’s one. 2 thess 2:15.

            “The latter two points aren’t true”

            Well unless Luther lied in his own writings about adding the word alone to Romans then I’d have to disagree with you. And if I removed the gospel of Mark for example and placed it in an appendix outside of the New Testament then I think it’s pretty clear I am saying those aren’t part of the New Testament. This is what Luther did with the deuterocanon as I understand history. Once again I understand that not all Protestants went along with this. I further understand that the word alone in Romans never took. So I am not sure why you’re not concerned with a movement that began in this manner.

            As far as the Eucharist is concerned there were several difficult opinions on what it was. I restate that I was too wide brushed. I also know where you stand on the teaching and amen brother.

            Yes there are other churches but only one Church and as I said doctrine must be uniform in that Church.

            “So, now I’m my own pope again, and so are all the other protestants. This is essentially an ad hominem. I know you are not insulting me, but you are saying “this is your mindset, so it follows everything else is wrong.” That is a logical fallacy, it does not prove a point.”

            Craig you don’t seem to be getting my point. I am not writing off everything you say. This is not an ad hominem. And I am not saying you mindset is wrong therefore everything you say is wrong. I am try to show that Christ desires us to be one just as He and the Father are one. John 17:21. So yeah it would HAVE to be institutionally monotholithic on doctrine. Otherwise John 17:21 makes no sense.


            Definitely! We want to avoid those “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” What are some of those doctrines? ” forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods…” Hmm, I do not know Protestantism doing that. In fact, if I was in an online argument just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, it would almost seem that a certain other religion teaches this, but I against my better judgment will not make this case.”

            Craig you’re still missing my point I am not claiming that you or Protestants are devious and are friendly with demons or something. My whole point was to show that doctrine matters. Which it certainly seem to agree with. Now here’s where it seems you’re getting nasty although I know it’s hard to tell in writing. I know how smart you are I assume you know the audience Paul was writing to. I also have heard you laude the Catholic Church for teaching celibacy so you’re either being intellectually dishonest or you just being argumentative. Furthermore in your better judgement you did do that to a degree.

            “Now we added the whole claim part on top of the rotten edifice you just built.”

            Once again I know how charitable you usually are and you don’t seem interested in that today.

            “WHich is in matters of doctrine, but according to you, I have no ability to even test those claims because there I would be acting as my own Pope. Sounds like circular reasoning.”

            I have only said that I appreciate your input so I am not sure how you belief I don’t think you can test doctrine. The only circular reasoning I see is your foundation for belief in the inspiration of and canon is scripture.

            I also firmly believe that logic and reason are on my side. You didn’t even attempt to refute my the main point of my post which talked about the condition of the Church and doctrine if your idea of Christianity was correct.

            Good talking with you as always. God bless.

          7. Trogos, I appreciate the charitable response.

            I think we are talking past each other. To sum up your point, to me it appears you are saying to have monolithic doctrine one needs a monolithic church. You also made reference to those who try to discern doctrine, without the guide of the monolithic church, are unable. So, this to me reads like circular reason. You must accept A, and if you don’t you are guilty to B, return to A and start again.

            Concerning 1 TIm 4, my apologies if you think I was being less than charitable. I agree, I was being a tad snarky but I was trying to show that your interpretation of 1 TIm 4:1 against Protestantism (when it does not really address that specific issue) can be flipped against you by a standard, tactless Protestant apologist. As you well know I am not opposed to celibacy, but I wanted to caution you against taking a Scripture and applying it in that sense, because I can tactlessly apply it back at you.

            I said I won’t, against my better judgment, do that because I do not think celibacy for example would be one of those matters.

            It is hard to convey certain things in writing verses discussion. Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

            God bless,
            Craig

          8. Joe:

            This reply might get lost in the shuffle here, but we will try.

            “1) “Personally I believe it [the monarchical episcopacy] existed as early as Apostolic times.”

            That’s a remarkable admission. If you’re right, and the Apostles didn’t oppose it, that certainly sounds like they consented to it…”

            I have no reason that they would not consent. That does not mean they viewed it as a preference, but they might have viewed the plurality of elders as preferential and several elders and one leading with a strong personality as fine and acceptable.

            I am not saying that the early church was a Republic of elders. That would be an anachronism. However, a monarchical Episcopacy is different in the sense that several elders are not appointing an elder, but AN Overseer (i.e. Bishop) appoints the subsequent Bishop, and that by necessity other elders are of some sort of de jure inferior class.

            My admission is that there may be have de facto monarchical Episcopacies. For example, in my Church there are two elders, but the Pastor essentially calls the shots and when it is time to replace him, he will essentially decide who takes the reins even though all the elders have to agree to it. There is a difference between de facto and de jure.

            “…you’d have to also admit that the closer you get to the Apostles, the closer you get to a monarchical episcopal governance structure.”

            From the apostolic fathers, it rather seems the opposite. Polycarp, Clement, and the Didache all show a plurality of elders without there being any sense of pushback. Ignatius is the red herring. Then, as we go on in Church history, it becomes the opposite. Ignatius is the norm. Jerome did write, however, that the plurality of elders was the Biblical model. He wrote:

            Before parties sprung up in the Christian administration; before such expressions as these were uttered amongst the faithful, I belong to Paul, I to Apollo, I to Cephas; the churches were governed by a common council of their presbyters [elders]. But, when it came to pass, that each individual (presbyter) looked on those whom he had baptized, to be an acquisition for himself, not for Christ; every where it was decided, that one presbyter should be chosen, and placed over the others , and that to him the care of the church at large should appertain, thereby to remove every principle of schism. ***These instances I have brought, to show that presbyters and bishops were, for those of old, one of the same; *** but that by degrees, the government was restricted to one, in order to do away the possibility of dissentions in future. As therefore, presbyters should know, that, in virtue of the church usage, they are submitted to their prelate, whosoever he may be; so ***let bishops understand, that they themselves are greater than presbyters, more from a usage than from the primary ordinance from the Redeemer,*** and it is their duty to govern their churches by joint deliberation.

            https://books.google.com/books?id=qKYCAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA341&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U3atGalQKpe8EJl2-Jv8GRfODe0Lw&ci=102,232,781,1156&edge=0

            “That alone is enough to show that we’re not looking at a post-Apostolic innovation or corruption.”

            I said it led to corruption and that it is not the Biblical model. It is not by necessity bad.

            “Catholic claim: the early churches were governed by a single bishop and several elders (a.k.a. presbyters or priests) in communion with him.

            Protestant claim: the early churches were governed by a body of presbyters/elders, and only later did a single bishop arise. (Prior to this point, all of the presbyters were considered bishops).”

            I am ironically claiming what Jerome is, and we have no sense in Clement, Polycarp, or the Didache (where the congregation elects their elders instead of a Bishop appointing them) that the Protestant claim is ahistorical. Rather, it plainly and self-evidently is.

            “Showing that a city had multiple bishops would be a strong argument in your favor. But showing that a city had severalelders doesn’t prove your case at all…”

            I know you knew this was coming, but I thought you would simply accept that Bishops are Elders and Elders are Bishops. Clement uses the term interchangably in Chapter 42, but I’ll just go straight to Acts 20–

            Verse 17: “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.”

            We know it is one church, in Ephesus. When addressing the elders Paul says in verse 28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you BISHOPS, to shepherd the church of God which He [r]purchased [s]with His own blood.”

            So, he calls all the elders BISHOPS. Clearly, Ephesus had several BISHOPS.

            Philippians 1:1 says the exact same thing when writing to Philippi (a singular church, there were not several at this time)

            “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the [a]saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, [b]including the BISHOPS and deacons…”

            So, I do not suffer from an “Elder falacy,” but rather you suffer from an “Bishops are Exclusive to Elders” fallacy. That takes too long to write, so I am not sure if I am going to keep bringing that up. I just trust that you understand my point.

            “You’re assuming your conclusion (that the bishop was just one of the elders), and then concluding your conclusion from your assumption.”

            I am assuming what Catholics already know to be true. All Bishops are Elders. I am not presuming what Catholics Presume: Not all Elders are Bishops. Hence, because I am free from such presumptions, I am able to actually interface with the historical data and admit that the majority practice was a plurality of elders, but it is LIKELY that the Ignatius model de facto existed in the beginning. I certainly could not prove that, and ironically what I cannot prove is your presumption.

            “Ignatius pretty explicitly denies that a bishop is just an elder, so your circular reasoning is pretty directly contradicted by the evidence.”

            I think you are misspeaking. A Bishop IS an Elder. However, Ignatius does not believe all elders are bishops. And yes, Ignatius would favor the Monarchical model, so I am not performing circular reasoning, I already agree with that point.

            “Given this, you can’t jump to the reasons you assume why a single presbyter-bishop arose amongst many presbyter-bishops, because you haven’t even shown that it’s happened.”

            Well, I did. Philippi had BISHOPS when Paul wrote. When Ignatius wrote, Chapter 13 shows there was just one Bishop. Why? I don’t know. I speculate by sheer force of personality and ability, one rose to the top.

            What you have not shown is why the Scripture and Clement conflate the two offices. You simply ignore it because it does not fit your paradigm.

            “All of the evidence you’ve presented is either silent on the question, or contradicts your claim.”

            It certainly does not contradict my claim, and some pieces are silent on certain matters and some are not. The first piece of written evidence to contradict my viewpoint is Ignatius. The first piece of evidence to contradict yours is Philippians. I win 😉

            “This is the Elders Fallacy again…”

            Only a fallacy if you by necessity accept you presupposition. But let me tell you why I adhere to the Elders=Bishops paradigm. It is the only thing that DOES NOT CONTRADICT Phil 1:1, Acts 20, and the traditional evidence in Clement, the Didache, and Polycarp. Now your too long to be written out fallacy contradicts Scripture and Clement, can be made to work with the Didache and Polycarp, and works well with Ignatius.

            I take my fallacy over yours. It works with more of the evidence than yours does.

            “We know from Ignatius’ letter to Polycarp that Polycarp was the single bishop of Smyrna, joined by several presbyters. For example, he opens that letter…”

            That opening does not say he is an exclusive Bishop, it says God is His Bishop, which obviously is true. Further chapter 6 does not say that the elders were not Bishops in Smyrna’s eyes either. It would be like if my Pastor read a letter written by a Bishop in the Lutheran Church. They would consider one another brothers in Christ, but the Lutheran Bishop may address the governance in my church much differently than how we would view ourselves.

            What you are essentially doing is making Ignatius infallible and setting him as the standard to compare all the other evidence, isntead of taking the Scripture first (the earliest record we have) and using that to evaluate the rest of the historical evidence. You went to law school, so perhaps you were a history major back in the day. So, was I. I am well aware that working with the earlier source material and adding weight to it in my analysis is a completely legitimate historical practice.

            “The idea that Polycarp wasn’t the sole bishop of the city at this time strikes me as obviously false. ”

            If Ignatius was the measure that everything else is set against, of course that makes sense. However, if Phil 1 and Acts 20 is the measure, it puts everything in a whole new light.

            “The fact that your theory leads to misunderstanding Polycarp so dramatically (and so clearly) indicts the theory itself.”

            I see why you think this, but I think you oversstate your case because of your own fallacy.

            “5) “Clement writes his letter on behalf of “we,” and speaks of multiple elders in Corinth.”

            This is the Elders Fallacy again….”

            Again, it is your fallacy at work again–the Ignatius-is-the-Measure Fallacy. Change the measure, and it changes how you view everything.

            Just so you know, that’s how I originally started. I read the Apostolic Fathers years ago and was in the Lutheran Church. The Catholic CHurch government made sense. The clear Biblical teaching forced me to re-evaluate Ignatius, and once I realize that Clement speaks of Bishops in chapter 42 and conflates them with Corinth’s elders in Chapter 43 and 44, it all made sense:

            42: “They appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishopsand deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.

            44 “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed ***those [ministers] already mentioned***, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long timebpossessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. **For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those ****presbyters**** who, having finished their course before now…**”

            “THose already mentioned” are both the Bishops in Chapter 42, the Priests in 43, and the Elders in 44. He lumps them all together as fulfilling the same role.

            “Polycarp speaks on behalf of himself and his clergy. Clement does the same.”

            Of course, the Ignatius-as-the-Measure Fallacy requires this.

            “Nothing in this suggests that a monarchical episcopacy isn’t true.”

            Actually, 1 Clem 42-44 disallows it.

            “So Clement’s letter is evidence in favor of the monarchical episcopacy.”

            No, 1 Clem 42-44 directly contradict this idea.

            “A clearer translation would be “It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality: as some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. ”

            I am not a language expert so unless you are I will simply strike it from the record. If you have access to the original Greek, post it and I will have my wife try translating it (time permitting).

            “Your entire argument marshalling them into your corner was fallacious (the Elders Fallacy), and good evidence exists that they were monoepiscopal bishops of their local churches.”

            I think I have shown conclusively the following:

            1. The Scripture says there is a plurality of bishops in Phil 1:1 and Acts 20.

            2. I’m not crazy because Jerome read the same evidence and came to the same conclusion.

            3. 1 Clem 42-44 Bishops and elders are one of the same.

            4. The Didache makes no mention of a Bishop appointing several elders, but the congregation electing a plurality of elders.

            5. I read Polycarp in light of the preceding evidence which would elad me to believe that he was not placing himself over the priests he was writing with.

            6. Therefore, because of 1-4, and 5 being completely legitimate because of 1-4, I read Ignatius as an aberration, or a well-meaning pioneer of sorts. Because all of the preceding evidence is more ancient than Ignatius, I read Ignatius in light of the preceding. I do not commit the chronological fallacy of reading the preceding in light of Ignatius.

            You are going to seminary, so I hope all of this was a fun study for you 🙂 I love this topic.

            God bless,

            Craig

          9. “8) “In ancient Rome where religions tend to have landed estates and needed top-down organization. This led to sin, as Cyprian observes in On the Lapsed.”

            Do you mean the city of Rome, or the Roman Empire?”

            The Empire.

            “And don’t we see this top-down organization throughout the entire Old Testament?”

            We do, I am not saying it is by necessity evil. I am saying that it jived with Latin and Greek social norms, and religions enjoyed patronage from the Empire. Even Christianity, once it owned estates, relied upon Roman courts and such pre-Constantine. I think this growth in secular wealth and power was something that isn’t necessarily bad, but can lead to sin which Cyprian observed. He blamed the persecutions on God’s judgment against these things.

            “9) “Yes. Ignatius writes to more than a few churches that did.”

            Citation needed!”

            I don’t think I need to cite this. He writes to 7 churches essentially saying, “Listen to your Bishop…PLEASE! Pretty please! You better listen to your Bishop!”

            Sounds to me the problem was they weren’t listening to their Bishop.

            “10) “Yes. Polycarp’s church, Corinth, and Rome.”

            All of these are examples of you drawing sweeping conclusions from the Elders Fallacy.”

            I disagree, it is the logical conclusion of avoiding the Ignatius-is-the-Measure Fallacy.

            “It’s really easy to explain the confusion over the order of the first three post-Petrine popes. The correct order is Linus, Cletus, Clement. But one of the Fathers refers to Clement as having been “ordained” by Peter. He was, but to the presbyterate. Certain later Fathers, misunderstanding this to mean that Peter ordained Clement as his successor bishop of Rome, give the list as Clement, Linus, Cletus. See? Simple mistake, easily rectified. There’s no real mystery about the right order.”

            Mistake simply explained away, but not rectified. I rectified the mistake by explaining it away my way too.

            “In light of what I’ve written, do you still hold to this? Because I think I’ve shown pretty simply how every bit of patristic evidence lines up with the monoepiscopal view, and huge chunks of it (like Ignatius’ entire corpus) contradict your view.”

            In light of everything I have written, do you take Jerome’s position as I quoted, or do you prefer to approach the evidence chronologically backwards in a way no honest historian would, because the authority of Catholic Church demands it?

            I have made my case in a historically correct, logical, and internally consistent way. I am willing to recant if the evidence is so convincing, but all you have done is made Ignatius the measure. You have not confronted the Scripture or Clement, who explicitly contradict your views and precede Ignatius.

            God bless,

            Craig

          10. “In light of everything I have written, do you take Jerome’s position as I quoted, or do you prefer to approach the evidence chronologically backwards in a way no honest historian would, because the authority of Catholic Church demands it?”

            Isn’t that what Protestant theology did? Begin with Sola fide and work backwards to redefine grace, original sin; start with sola scriptura and abolish the authority of the church and the sacraments.

          11. Jeff, these are separate issues. Joe and I gave a very long, and detailed, historical defenses of two different ecclesiological views. I apologize that I will not comment on that question, because I think Joe and I invested so much time in framing a debate on a specific topic, that I do not want to distract it. If you have something to add specifically on the topic of the Monarchical Episcopate, if I see it I will comment on it.

            God bless,
            Craig

          12. Craig,

            You’ve never overcome Joe’s rebuttals of

            Joe Heschmeyer says:
            .comment-author
            December 30, 2015 at 8:43 pm

            and

            Joe Heschmeyer says:
            .comment-author
            December 30, 2015 at 9:04 pm

            You just keep repeating the same “Elders fallacy” and claiming triumph. Read those again. Maybe it will begin to sink in that Overseers, Episcopos, are not necessarily Bishops as we understand the title today.

          1. Craig….have you ever seen the movie “Patton?” Second half of the movie…Lt Gen Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, has called a staff meeting of senior Allied army commanders, asking for help responding to the German “Bulge” offensive. When questioned by the senior Brit about his offer to commit 3 divisions in 48 hours, without falling back to regroup, Patton’s character responds “No, Freddie…I don’t like to fight over the same ground twice……”

            Or three times…..other than that, I find these exchanges stimulating, if so-far unconvincing, of naught but my…..presuppositions….. 😉

    2. Craig,

      Great question, and actually the reason that I say “if you can show that a belief doesn’t date back to Christ in some form, but is a later introduction, then we can know that it isn’t an authentic Christian teaching.” Most theological concepts today – the Trinity, the Assumption of Mary, original sin, etc. – are more fully and explicitly developed than they were in the first century. But there’s an organic process of growth, quite different from creating a new Church or denomination or teaching.

      Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, in Development of Christian Doctrine, distinguishes authentic from false (or corrupt) doctrinal development. In doing so, he dispels the Protestant fear that “doctrinal development” is just a cover for inventing new doctrines with ad hoc doctrinal “histories.” I’d highly recommend that you read the whole book. If you’d prefer a blog post from an inferior author, there’s always this guy.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      1. 7 notes from The Development of Christian Doctrine
        1: A genuine development: Not changing into what you oppose.
        2: Continuity of Principle: better test of heresy than doctrine.
        3: Power of Assimilation: “like Arons rod it devoured the other snakes” ex. roman festivals, Guadalupe
        4: Logical Sequence: “Each argument is brought for an immediate purpose, minds develop step by step, without looking behind them or anticipating their goal, and without either intention or promise of forming a system”
        5: Anticipation of its Future: “it is in no wise strange that here and there definite specimens of advanced teaching should occur, which in the historical course are not found till a later date.”
        6:Conservative action on its past: “the Catholic Creed is for the most part the combination of desperate truths, which heretics have divided among themselves, and err in dividing- Hallam”
        7: Chronic Vigor: corruption cannot be long standing. “This whole corruption is distinguished from decay by its energetic action, it is distinguished from a development by its transitory character”

        1. Jeff – excellent. had not heard of this before, but I’ve now bookmarked Cardinal Newman’s work….

          I would guess that #6, the word ‘desperate’ should actually be ‘disparate.’

          1. It was notes in my iPhone. Poor grammar too. Note 7 applies to the conversation. How could a corruption from the second century not have destroyed the Catholic Church. It would have vanished like Fr. Joe suggested.

          2. Note 6: Conservative Action on its Past: “True religion is the summit and perfection of false religions; it combines in one whatever there is of good and true separately remaining in each. And in like manner the Catholic Creed is for the most part the combination of separate truths, which heretics have divided among themselves, and err in dividing. So that, in matter of fact, if a religious mind were educated in and sincerely attached to some form of heathenism or heresy, and then were brought under the light of truth, it would be drawn off from error into the truth, not by losing what it had, but by gaining what it had not, not by being unclothed, but by being ‘clothed upon,’ ‘that mortality may be swallowed up of life.’ That same principle of faith which attaches it at first to the wrong doctrine would attach it to the truth; and that portion of its original doctrine, which was to be cast off as absolutely false, would not be directly rejected, but indirectly, in the reception of the truth which is its opposite. True conversion is ever of a positive, not a negative character.”[201:1]”

            Excerpt From: John Henry Cardinal Newman. “An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.” iBooks

          3. I argued earlier with Craig on the relevance of ‘long-standing.’ He felt if a perceived corruption was (seemingly) institutionalized over time that it should shake the faith of Catholics into understanding that the monarchical Church is a human development, an error deviant from the various sola’s only set right by the gentle ministrations of Luther, et al, to today’s multiplicity of sects.

            My rebuttal was, the Church is God’s own institution, with Scriptural provenance, and God exists out of time. What matter if it takes a year or five hundred to correct something that (arguably) may or may not be just God’s plan or an error – error especially as defined by someone outside the Faith? What matters is the correction, and that pesky old triumphal progress thingy….

          4. So the corrupt church endures, and the true church vanished like the flowers in the grass of Saint James?

          5. AK,

            I want to address a point you made here, because Rico made a similar point on my blog.

            “[Craig argues]…the monarchical Church is a human development, an error….

            My rebuttal was, the Church is God’s own institution, with Scriptural provenance, and God exists out of time.”

            There is a problem here in my mind. My intent to worship the religion the Apostles worshiped. In the disagreement here, I have shown that historically the Monarchical Episcopate was not part of Apostolic Ecclesiology.

            You have essentially responded that the true Apostolic religion taught that the Catholic Church is God’s institution on Earth according to the Scripture, and can essentially make the rules as it goes because God can do the same.

            Such an argument merely shields you from scrutiny, as you just defined the Catholic Church as something that can never be wrong, even if it could be demonstrated that the Catholic Church today actually does not practice, in facts teach against, what the Catholic Church taught in 70AD.

            If I accept such a position, it essentially turns truth into something meaningless. It can logically change every day if the Church wills it. This appears to me to be intellectually bankrupt, but let me concede this. Faith is intellectually bankrupt. I cannot demonstrate to anyone here that Jesus really rose from the dead.

            So the question is what we place our faith in. I want to place my faith in the teachings of Christ as the apostles understood them. You are essentially saying that the Apostles desired that what they have taught to be changed and approved upon through a specific institution, and that we are to the trust that this institution is really what the Apostles intended.

            So, both are faith. Neither are provable propositions. However, what I do not see is what in the writing of the Apostles can be clearly construed to mean that if they taught that Bishops are Elders, and Elers are Bishops, and each church should have several, they can just be ignored. Where does the Scripture give anyone authority for this?

            This is what I referred to in my initial comments on this thread. The Pope is not like any the false prophets in the meme, but for all practical intents and purposes, what he represents is very similar. They can make the rules as they go.

            God bless,
            Craig

          6. Craig:

            I appreciate your (in my observation) overarching musing on faith, because in the end, it is what we have. There are several ways I could respond to your post in its entirety, but I would be redundant to several points I had made before, and I devolve to my “Patton” quote about fighting over the same ground twice, or more.

            One thing I will address, is this:

            “I want to place my faith in the teachings of Christ as the apostles understood them.’

            What you essential have said it, that the Catholic Church, for it’s own purposes of organizational unity or whatever, has ‘evolved’ and in so doing, has deviated from Scripture. And what you have said by your quote above, is that Protestant churches – your Baptist church, is correct because it doesn’t/hasn’t evolved it’s beliefs and practices in any way beyond Scripture. OK..if that’s the case, then talk to me about wine.

            Every Baptist I know believes that sect’s proscription on the drinking of fermented drink, including wine, is wholly Scriptural. So do Assemblies of God, United Methodists, and Mormons. Interestingly, many of the abstinent faiths have their abstinence roots in the US temperance movement, which really gained steam in the 19th century (along with abolition) concurrent with the American “2nd Great Awakening.” And this was understandable. Alcoholism among the working classes was something confronted by John Wesley in his ministry days both in England and the US. And in the US, it was rampant. Farmers who grew corn had no better way to turn their product into profit than to ferment it into corn whiskey. And in those primitive early days, whiskey was virtually the only medicine or balm for the drudging laborer. Understandable, when the yearly per capita consumption per man, woman, and child was measured in dozens of gallons, the magnitude of the social problem can only be guessed at, and the Awakened Protestant churches took on temperance as a cause. Then, they started claiming it was a Scriptural injunction, and do so to this day. It is not hard to prove, that the the term “wine” in both Greek and Hebrew, had a remarkably consistent usage as an intoxicating drink, not, as later claimed, grape juice, which is told to me with a straight face all the time, by the same folks who tell me Catholics either don’t read the Bible, or reinterpret Scripture as they wish for their own purposes, by the way. We can also talk about context in the Wedding at Cana, where the steward noted that the good wine was served last, rather than first, ostensibly so the tipsy imbibers would not notice the bad stuff they were being served later on during the festivities. There’s so much more, but you get the idea.

            To recap:

            – Lutheran Protestants – the first ones – enjoy their beer, and never set any doctrine against alcohol; they were the originators of ‘sola Scriptura.’
            – Some American Protestants have evolved a doctrine, differing from the earlier Protestant founders, that use of alcohol is sinful and clearly proscribed by Scripture
            – This doctrine appeared about the same time as both the temperance movement was arising in response to a great social ill, also concurrent with the Second Great Awakening that gave American Protestant fundamentalism it’s character we know today. Timing is everything.
            – Those who adhere to this doctrine believe, again, it’s Scriptural….the founders of Protestantism, who again originated (or rediscovered, depending your belief) sola scriptura, apparently did not then and today do not believe so.

            So…given all the above, using the obscure ‘elders vs bishops’ debate, please tell me again how the Catholic Church invents or evolves doctrine and practice for it’s own purpose, in response to human nature or societal conditions, apart from Apostolic ‘original intent’ (a mantle you claim in your quote above), and Protestants, in contravention to the spirit of pure Scriptural continuity for the use of wine, do not do the same thing …..? And if some Protestants are more wrong than others, and others are right, how does one know which one is the stairway to Heaven? +30,000 is a lot of church shopping.

            BTW…temperance amongst American Protestants was a good way to snipe at and distinguish from the Catholic church, which has no such proscription, only a Cathechismal abjuration against excess. Should I assume this had nothing to do with the development of this doctrine almost exclusively in the US…concurrent with the immigration of millions of liquor-friendly Catholics from Eastern Europe and Ireland?

            Thanks and God bless you for a happy New Year.

          7. Craig Truglia says:
            January 5, 2016 at 11:42 pm

            There is a problem here in my mind. My intent to worship the religion the Apostles worshiped. In the disagreement here, I have shown that historically the Monarchical Episcopate was not part of Apostolic Ecclesiology.

            You’ve shown nothing of the sort. All you’ve done is made an empty claim.

            You have essentially responded that the true Apostolic religion taught that the Catholic Church is God’s institution on Earth according to the Scripture,

            Correct.

            and can essentially make the rules as it goes because God can do the same.

            That is the typical Protestant strawman. You’ve been proven wrong so you twist our words and put your words into our mouth.

            Such an argument merely shields you from scrutiny,

            We never made such an argument. You are using your usual tactics to confound the true arguments.

            as you just defined the Catholic Church as something that can never be wrong, even if it could be demonstrated that the Catholic Church today actually does not practice, in facts teach against, what the Catholic Church taught in 70AD.

            On the contrary, the Catholic Church Teaches all which was taught in 70ad, but with more understanding of the subject matter. As the Spirit of God has led the Church deeper into the Truth of Christ/

            If I accept such a position, it essentially turns truth into something meaningless. It can logically change every day if the Church wills it. This appears to me to be intellectually bankrupt, but let me concede this. Faith is intellectually bankrupt. I cannot demonstrate to anyone here that Jesus really rose from the dead.

            Luckily or should I say, by the grace of God, we are not limited to your understanding. Nor do we have to understand something in order to believe it. All we have to understand and believe, is these words:

            Ephesians 3:
            10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

            And, as St. Augustine was wont to say, “Believe and you shall understand.”

            You keep your faith in your intellect.

            We will keep our faith in God.

            So the question is what we place our faith in. I want to place my faith in the teachings of Christ as the apostles understood them.

            But in reality, you have placed your faith in the Protestants and they way they have twisted the Word of God.

            You are essentially saying that the Apostles desired that what they have taught to be changed and approved upon through a specific institution, and that we are to the trust that this institution is really what the Apostles intended.

            Your twist on the matter is null and void.

            We are essentially saying that God instituted the Catholic Church. God speaks through His Church. God intended for you to submit to and obey His Church, whether you understand her Teachings or not. Because they are not Her Teachings, they are God’s.

            So, both are faith. Neither are provable propositions.

            We think we’ve proven our positions quite well. You simply don’t accept anything which contradicts your opinions. For example. St. Irenaeus proved, from Scripture, that Jesus died at the age of 33. But you, against all evidence, declare that he claimed that Jesus was over 50 when He died.

            You twist everyone’s words and all evidence in order to justify your position. But the truth is the truth no matter how you twist it.

            However, what I do not see is what in the writing of the Apostles can be clearly construed to mean that if they taught that Bishops are Elders, and Elers are Bishops, and each church should have several, they can just be ignored. Where does the Scripture give anyone authority for this?

            First, you are making too many assumptions. Where did the Apostles teach that only the Bishops are elders? Provide Chapter and verse.

            Where did the Apostles teach that there couldn’t be several? Provide Chapter and verse.

            The only ones ignoring the Bishops and the Apostles, are you and the Protestants. So you need to provide the proof that they could be ignored. Please provide Chapter and verse.

            This is what I referred to in my initial comments on this thread.

            Your initial comments were debunked ages ago. Let it go man. ; )

            The Pope is not like any the false prophets in the meme,

            Yeah. Get a clue. He’s not like the false prophets because he’s not a false prophet.

            but for all practical intents and purposes, what he represents is very similar. They can make the rules as they go.

            That’s the same anti-Catholic song and dance that we can find in any anti-Catholic website. You take every opportunity to repeat those false hoods.

            The Catholic Church is actually the only Church which keeps God’s rules. We can see it in contraception, which the Protestants readily adopted. Divorce and remarriage, which Christ calls the sin of adultery. And many other such things which Christ condemned, Protestants are now permitting by the authority of their pastors.

            God bless,
            Craig

            You too.

          8. AK have you ever read any of Lord Acton’s letters?
            What do you think of this quote?
            “We owe the greatest veneration and most entire obedience to the Pontiff under whom we live. But, with respect to the past, it is very different. The historian has a judicial office to fulfil; and if Catholics were bound to approve or excuse the Popes have done, they would be obliged to do violence to their reason and conscience. Such a nessecity would be an insurmountable obstacle to the conversion of those who are out of the Church.”
            Letter to the Editor, Weekly Register (9 June 1855)

          9. AK

            “What you essential have said it, that the Catholic Church, for it’s own purposes of organizational unity or whatever, has ‘evolved’ and in so doing, has deviated from Scripture.”

            Let me refine what you said. The debate on this thread is not about Sola Scriptura, it is about Apostolic teachings. I am leaving it open for the sake of discussion that the Apostles taught Viva Voce and that this has been preserved in some sense.

            My point was to show that we can demonstrate historically a clear break between Apostolic practice and teaching, and present Catholic teaching on the Monarchical Episcopate.

            So, if you go ahead and invoke examples of Protestants doing the same, that does not really debunk my point. It rather begs the question–how do we discern truth from error?

            We know it cannot be Catholic tradition, simply because Catholic tradition deviates with actual Apostolic teaching.

            We know it cannot be Protestant tradition, simply because it also deviates with actual Apostolic teaching.

            This is why I observed many replies ago, that apart from discerning Apostolic teaching from the Scripture, we historically do not have any guarantee that the teaching we are talking about did in fact originate with the Apostles.

            So, concerning your wine question, I would look to any Apostolic documents we have to answer the question. Ironically, you do the same as you cite the wedding at Cana.

            “OK..if that’s the case, then talk to me about wine.”

            Obviously, the Lord’s Supper should be real wine and bread. The Scripture specifies that wine comes from grapes and that it is alcoholic on some level, but concerning bread it does not specify which grain is used (barley, rye, wheat, spelt, etcetera.) Obviously, we should use what we would normally consider bread and wine. If wine is considered too alcholic, simply water it down, which was standard practice with wine.

          10. I have shown that there is deep division amongst Protestants about the meaning of Scriptura in something as simple and basic as wine. You say:

            “Obviously, the Lord’s Supper should be real wine and bread. The Scripture specifies that wine comes from grapes and that it is alcoholic on some level…’

            A devout Southern Baptist would look at you, scream “heretic,” and consign you to roast eternally like a broiler chicken. I have been told this to my face, for drinking an alcoholic drink. So which of you is right? The Southern Baptist would say he’s Scripturally correct, and argue the point as vigorously as you debate with us. (I happen to agree with your post on wine, BTW). Is your particular church, that you talk about attending in your blog, the only one that’s teaches Scripture correctly – wine good, monarchical episcopates bad – in the history of God’s interaction with humanity for the purpose of salvation? In that case, lucky you….

            Also..ironically, you bring up grains.

            “Obviously, we should use what we would normally consider bread and wine….but concerning bread it does not specify which grain is used.”

            The Catholic Church offers gluten-free Communion Hosts, which I am sure, bear no resemblance to the stone-ground primitive grains you enumerated. I am sure your church’s Lord’s Supper does the same. Even if both *may* be non-Scriptural. Another deviation for…. convenience? Modern conditions? And we both do it? So….

            Why is the fortuitous, possibly non-Scriptural substitution of grains – or grape juice – different from changing an organizational structure to meet the needs of human nature (monarchichal episcopate as opposed to a division/heresy-prone distributed structure), as long as it is not deviation from the clear basics of Christic teaching in Scripture, such as, for example, recognizing civil divorce, which the Catholic Church does not, and the necessity of good works as emphatically taught by Christ in Matthew 25?

            Answer…it’s not.

            “This is why I observed many replies ago, that apart from discerning Apostolic teaching from the Scripture, we historically do not have any guarantee that the teaching we are talking about did in fact originate with the Apostles.”

            Craig, thank you for that…my point exactly, having pointed out, in this post, the Scriptural “deviations” (which depending on one’s POV and agenda, may or may not be deviations). So, if we have no guarantee, how can you be so sure your faith is ‘right’ and Catholicism is ‘wrong’ as to say this (and I repeat my quoting):

            “I suppose because I prefer doctrinal purity over developing newer ideas simply because they work better.”

            And:

            “So the question is what we place our faith in. I want to place my faith in the teachings of Christ as the apostles understood them.” “The Pope is not like any the false prophets in the meme, but for all practical intents and purposes, what he represents is very similar. They can make the rules as they go.”

            And:

            “My point was to show that we can demonstrate historically a clear break between Apostolic practice and teaching, and present Catholic teaching on the Monarchical Episcopate.”

            So it ‘discerning Apostolic teaching from Scripture” and not, as you say in your post, neither Catholic nor Protestant tradition, which brings truth…so this debate, when taken to it’s lowest Occam-slice, *is* about Sola Scriptura, or not…..

            So…..we deviate, or we don’t deviate, so we’re correct or incorrect. But when we deviate, we redefine deviation (or reinterpret Scripture), so we’re OK. You’re not. We teach Sola Scriptura, but it’s not about Sola Scriptura. It’s about Apostolic teaching, which we derive from Scripture or from Viva Voce, which sounds suspiciously like “tradition,’ both of which are open to historical interpretation. We are sure your religion is incorrect because you have a monarchical episcopate, but mine is OK even though we have within Protestantism differing interpretations of what wine is and the sinful (or not) nature of it’s use (not to mention other doctrinal/interpretive differences between Protestant sects that get pretty rancorous). But the sect I found is Right, and yours is not.

            Craig, my friend, as you said, in the end it’s about faith…..

          11. Craig Truglia says:

            Let me refine what you said. The debate on this thread is not about Sola Scriptura, it is about Apostolic teachings.

            Its both.

            You are arguing that there is no such thing as Apostolic Teaching, or as we call it, Sacred Tradition. Whereas we are arguing that Sacred Tradition is directly from Apostolic Teaching. And that it continues to this day.

            I am leaving it open for the sake of discussion that the Apostles taught Viva Voce

            Good. Because that means, in your usual self contradicting manner, that the Apostles were teaching by word of mouth, and thus that the Apostles did not Teach by Scripture alone and therefore, Apostolic Teaching was passed down by Sacred Tradition.

            Discussion over.

            and that this has been preserved in some sense.

            That has been preserved in exactly the sense taught by the Catholic Church.

            My point was to show that we can demonstrate historically a clear break between Apostolic practice and teaching,

            You have tried and failed again. We have proven that the Catholic Church continues to teach by Tradition and Scripture, as taught by the Apostles, to this day.

            and present Catholic teaching on the Monarchical Episcopate.

            And we have proven that the Monarchical Episcopate stands to this day, the way that Jesus Christ established it.

            So, if you go ahead and invoke examples of Protestants doing the same, that does not really debunk my point. It rather begs the question–how do we discern truth from error?

            We’ve already told you how to discern the Truth from error. Listen to the Catholic Church. Whether you believe it or not. Submit to the Wisdom of God, whether you believe it or not. Obey God, whether you want to or not.

            We know it cannot be Catholic tradition, simply because Catholic tradition deviates with actual Apostolic teaching.

            Protestant traditions deviates from Apostolic Teaching. But Catholic Tradition is Apostolic Teaching in action. There is no difference between Catholic Tradition and Apostolic Teaching except that 2000 years have intervened and there is more precise language to describe the Sacred Truths which they taught.

            We know it cannot be Protestant tradition, simply because it also deviates with actual Apostolic teaching.

            Thank you! This simply shows that you have no faith at all in Christ’s promises. As far as you’re concerned, no one knows what Jesus Christ actually taught.

            This is why I observed many replies ago, that apart from discerning Apostolic teaching from the Scripture, we historically do not have any guarantee that the teaching we are talking about did in fact originate with the Apostles.

            You have no guarantees because you have no faith. We have Christ’s guarantee. We believe in Christ.

            Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

            We have God’s guarantee, we believe in God:

            Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

            What better guarantee is there than the Word of God?

          12. AK,

            “So which of you is right?”

            Let’s go back to what the Apostles taught and find out.

            “Is your particular church, that you talk about attending in your blog, the only one that’s teaches Scripture correctly – wine good, monarchical episcopates bad – in the history of God’s interaction with humanity for the purpose of salvation?”

            No, nor would I say they teach everything right. Nor do I, though not for lack of trying. Any church with a man teaching is prone to err sometimes.

            “The Catholic Church offers gluten-free Communion Hosts, which I am sure, bear no resemblance to the stone-ground primitive grains you enumerated. I am sure your church’s Lord’s Supper does the same. Even if both *may* be non-Scriptural. Another deviation for…. convenience? Modern conditions? And we both do it?”

            My church does not have the gluten-free grains (which i am gluten free, but that’s a different matter), but being that the Scripture simply says “bread,” it would be fair to say that as long as its bread it is good. So, I do not see gluten-free bread as non-Scriptural. I would see oreos and spiked punch as not passable, because they are not considered by anyone bread and wine.

            “Why is the fortuitous, possibly non-Scriptural substitution of grains – or grape juice – different from changing an organizational structure…”

            This is a false equivalency. In one, we just know to use bread and wine. So, as long as we are still using bread and wine in some form (i.e. tapioca bread and Tattingiers Champagne), we do well. However, the other is to do something explcitly different than what the Bible describes. How do we stay true to appointing Elders in every city, and having all of these Elders being Bishops, but then ignore this and have just one Bishop?

            The comparison does not work.

            “Craig, thank you for that…my point exactly, having pointed out, in this post, the Scriptural “deviations” (which depending on one’s POV and agenda, may or may not be deviations). So, if we have no guarantee, how can you be so sure your faith is ‘right’ and Catholicism is ‘wrong’ as to say this… (and I repeat my quoting):

            “I suppose because I prefer doctrinal purity over developing newer ideas simply because they work better.”

            And:

            “So the question is what we place our faith in. I want to place my faith in the teachings of Christ as the apostles understood them.” “The Pope is not like any the false prophets in the meme, but for all practical intents and purposes, what he represents is very similar. They can make the rules as they go.””

            Again, you are going to need to go with a better example than with gluten-free bread. Gluten free bread is still bread. A bowl of rice isn’t. Reisling is still wine. Grape Soda isn’t.

            “So it ‘discerning Apostolic teaching from Scripture” and not, as you say in your post…”

            Well, let’s put Sola Scriptura aside for a moment. All I am asking is that we base true religion upon what we can convincingly demonstrate was actually taught by the Apostles. If Sola Scriptura is the only viable means of this, then so be it. But I prefer to stick with merely using the term “Apostolic,” as it avoids the loaded language people take issue with.

            “We are sure your religion is incorrect because you have a monarchical episcopate, but mine is OK even though we have within Protestantism differing interpretations of what wine is and the sinful (or not) nature of it’s use (not to mention other doctrinal/interpretive differences between Protestant sects that get pretty rancorous). But the sect I found is Right, and yours is not.”

            I am not here to champion a sect. If the Holy Spirit convinces me through whatever means, even your righting, that Catholicism constitutes the true Apostolic faith and no other, I will become a Catholic that instant. I don’t want to go to hell, I have a lot of sins that I am guilty of and I hunger for an eternity without sin to enjoy looking upon my Creator.

            However, if whatever we believe does not stand to the most basic logical and historical scrutiny, then we have to move the goal posts to where our faith really begins. I want to move those goal posts all the way back to the Apostles. I will trust, blindly, what I know they taught. If you want to move the goal posts beyond there, I suppose that is fine because it is still faith, but then there is no guarantee it is Apostolic then.

            God bless,
            Craig

          13. Craig…..as Ronald reagan used to say…”…here we go again…”

            We’ve gone over this ground more times than the Central Powers and the Allies at the 1916 Somme, and unlike that storied battle, there is no clear path to victory, being defined as “you” or “us” saying “yup, I see and agree”….. so I won’t at this point rehash earlier excellent rebuttals and posts in defense of the Catholic episcopate as is is and was, from such as Youssef, De Maria, etc., not to mention my own humble contributions, nor will I address your assertion of false equivalency when I believe – and have shown – it stands on its own as doggedly as you believe it does not and I have not. I will broadly address the following statement:

            “However, if whatever we believe does not stand to the most basic logical and historical scrutiny…

            Again, other posters have shown another view of history, with which you do not agree. Fair enough. A little personal history…while a staff officer at HQ Strategic Air Command, Omaha, in the mid 1980’s, I was made aware of a need for instructors of Asian History at the US Air Force Academy. Thinking this an interesting Air Force career path, and already having a BA in Hisory from VMI, I started an MA in that subject at Creighton University. A higher priority assignment ended that dream halfway through the degree…but not before I had some excellent instruction to include a course in American historiography. I am sure you know about historiography, but for those who may not, it is:

            “the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods.”

            This course method was to examine selected events (e.g., Reconstruction), institutions (e.g., slavery), and paradigm changes (e.g., the Jacksonian era) in US history from differing viewpoints, usually left, conservative, and consensus. I learned that using the same sources, these historians can and usually did, by viewing through their particular cultural lenses, come to completely differing conclusions about the how, why, and effect of the selected subjects. It was obvious that Russell Kirk and Daniel Boorstin were probably never going to agree with Eugene Genovese, William Appleman Williams, or Charles Beard, even when quoting from the same references.

            So….here we are, in an emotionally charged subject, with a plethora of interpretations of both Scripture and the writings of the fathers of the early Church. And because of that, we both have our own interpretations of “historical and logical scrutiny” in which we both passionately believe. By undermining the Monarchical Episcopate, you feel you can extrapolate a defensible attack on the Papacy, and thus, demonstrate the correctness of 33,000 Protestant sects. De Maria and Youssef feel their defenses using Church fathers expose a Protestant lens-driven view that is in fact, baseless. I feel by using a paradigm as simple as Protestant differences on the use of wine, I have shown the evolution of Protestant doctrine that is Scripturally indefensible and therefore, calls into question the entire Protestant paradigm of self-revelation. (not to mention all those Scriptural calls for unity). That’s why I ended my last post as you had ended yours…..it’s all about faith.

            And that’s about all I have to say on this thread…there’s just nowhere else to go. But it was fun and I learned a lot. Meantime…I am headed over to the “Gay Marriage Opponents” thread where we can find some of that elusive consensus…….

            Have a blessed night!

          14. Craig said,

            ….How do we stay true to appointing Elders in every city, and having all of these Elders being Bishops, but then ignore this and have just one Bishop?

            First, you need to prove that all those Elders are Bishops. This is simply an anti-Catholic Protestant argument based upon nothing but speculation. I have asked you to provide the proof of this. Joe has called it your “Elders fallacy”.

            You said:
            2) “Titus appointed elders (PLURAL) in every city (Tit 1:5)…

            Joe responded:
            Yes, this proves that the norm was for there to be multiple presbyters in every city. On this point, you and we absolutely agree.

            Catholic claim: the early churches were governed by a single bishop and several elders (a.k.a. presbyters or priests) in communion with him.

            Protestant claim: the early churches were governed by a body of presbyters/elders, and only later did a single bishop arise. (Prior to this point, all of the presbyters were considered bishops).

            Showing that a city had multiple bishops would be a strong argument in your favor. But showing that a city had several elders doesn’t prove your case at all, since that’s the element we both agree on. You commit this logical fallacy several times, so to avoid excessive repetition, I’m just going to call it the “Elders Fallacy” from now on, okay?

            And everyone has pointed out that you are functioning on mere Protestant presupposition without any Biblical support. But, you just keep insisting that we accept your speculative claim as fact.

            Prove your claim, Craig. Prove that Elder means Bishop and only Bishop, as we know the title today.

    3. EXCELLENT question, Craig.

      My take on St. Jerome’s comment was he was referring to new teachings that contradicted those of the Apostles, not those that deepened our understanding of them (such as the Holy Trinity, Mary’s perpetual virginity, the procession of the Holy Spirit, etc.). The examples I just listed are in perfect concord with the Church Fathers, whereas stuff like Arianism are totally contrary.

      1. I don’t disagree Bob, it just that the Fathers don’t give us the same level of certainty on some of these matters. At some point, being that the Fathers are not unaminous on many issues which are considered settled today, there is some acceptance in Catholicism of authoritative doctrinal development. I will read Joe’s article that he linked to hopefully soon, but probably won’t reply to it because I’d have no one to interface me about it.

        1. I read Joe’s article and it makes sense with what Protestants believe, but it would not explain the development of the monarchical episcopacy or different doctrines that don’t explictly have Biblical warrant. It appears Joe’s Suduku example works with doctrnes with a Biblical basis, but becomes a free for all of sorts when it comes to extra-biblical supposed Apostolic traditions.

          1. Craig,

            When you asserted that “the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like”, how exactly is this a mistake? You have yet to demonstrate that this is so. This presupposes that you can actually judge the matter competently. Well, can you?

            Take a look at the sad 500 years of Protestant history. You have all these conflicting Protestant sects who eventually ended up with landed estates, who engage in politicking, and who invent their own sacraments. Do you consider these as mistakes too?

          2. I beg your pardon, but your alleged “free for all” extra-biblical “supposed” Apostolic traditions would include 16th-century personal interpretation of scripture? Would it include the canon itself? There is some kind of demeaning language you use (“free for all”), which would put the Church on a par with a lot of heresies back then. And you seem to assume that the Bible is the ultimate “warrant” for everything — I don’t need to come back to the basic fact that the Bible is not a warrant even for itself, let alone for things like faith alone, Bible alone &c.

          3. Guys, to be fair, I do not think you are actually interacting with what I am saying and rather responding with “who are you to know this, well, you wouldn’t even know what’s in Bible!”

            That’s really is not a response to my point, which to reinterate, is that Joe’s Suduku example does not work when we don’t have a basis (ie some sort of agreed upon written record.) Oral tradition is a historical free for all if it finds not support in written history.

            That’s just the nature of history. I responded to Joe’s point about history here, and above concerning the monarchical episcopacy.

            Arbitrary comments about how stupid and incapable I am of understanding true religion may be in the end true, but stating it as a fact without actually interacting with any of the ideas does not prove a point.

            God bless,
            Craig

          4. Craig said,

            ….but stating it as a fact without actually interacting with any of the ideas does not prove a point.

            Your claiming that we don’t interact with your ideas is merely your way of worming out of the argument. Its your strawman. Everytime you are proven wrong, you drum up this old canard.

          5. De Maria,

            Actually, the whole canard is that I am not the CHurch, and I cannot interpret anything, so my interpretation is irrelevant, no matter what the substance of it is.

            If you drop that I will drop the “you are not interacting with what I am saying” deal. Because, if you and others did indeed drop it, I would never have to say it 🙂

          6. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 8:21 pm
            De Maria,

            If you drop that I will drop the “you are not interacting with what I am saying” deal. Because, if you and others did indeed drop it, I would never have to say it 🙂

            First of all, I appreciate your liberal use of the smilies. That tells me you want to be friends and all that. That’s fine. But understand this. It doesn’t matter if we are friends or not. You’re asking us to be hypocrites.

            The answer is, “no.” Plain and simple. 🙂 No insult intended.

            Actually, the whole canard is that I am not the CHurch, and I cannot interpret anything, so my interpretation is irrelevant, no matter what the substance of it is.

            It’s not a canard. It’s the truth.
            a. You are not the Catholic Church. Therefore, you have no authority to spread your theology. Especially, not to us.
            b. You can interpret anything you want. But if you interpret Scripture in opposition to Catholic Teaching, you can keep it to yourself or teach it to your disciples. We follow Christ through His Church.
            c. If your interpretation of Scripture or Tradition contradicts the Teaching of the Catholic Church, there is no substance in your interpretation.

            If you don’t want to hear these things, either submit to Catholic Doctrine or go teach your errors where people agree with them.

            But if you insist on spreading your teachings in opposition to the Catholic Church, we insist that we will continue to point out your errors. 🙂

            I’m not being sarcastic. Just telling you the truth and offering the same techie olive branch you are offering.

          7. Craig,

            When you assert that “X is a mistake” without showing proof of it, you invite a question. In this case, your competence is in question for failing to substantiate your assertion.

            Claiming that something is a mistake presupposes you know exactly what is correct and erroneous. That means you have an objective criteria that your hearers can agree with. In this case, the odds are against you as a Protestant. We Catholics think you don’t know the truth because you look at it through Protestant-tinted glasses. So you have to rephrase your assertions.

    4. Is the canon of the Bible not Apostolic? It clearly developed.

      Doctrine develops because people work out the implications of things and realize that if THIS is true, THAT must be false, and vice versa. Usually because someone’s interpretation is so bone-headed that people hop up and say, That MUST be wrong.

          1. Canon is a rule. So, there was a time where the rule was not agreed upon, and in the 4th century and finally in the 16th century, the Old and New Testaments were formulated. So, a rule can be formulated though the books themselves were authoritative by virtue of their Author the moment they were penned.

          2. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 1:48 pm
            Canon is a rule. So, there was a time where the rule was not agreed upon, and in the 4th century and finally in the 16th century, the Old and New Testaments were formulated. So, a rule can be formulated though the books themselves were authoritative by virtue of their Author the moment they were penned.

            Says who? The books were authoritative the moment they were penned? Yet many, like the Epistle of St. James and Revelations, were considered straw. Some are still, to this day, by Protestants.

            In fact, those two books were not authoritative until the Church said that they were. And the same is true of all the New Testament.

          3. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 8:23 pm
            De Maria,

            James was an apostle. THe moment he wrote it, it was binding upon the consciences of Christians. Do you say otherwise?

            Yes, I do. Scripture says otherwise:

            Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

            St. James did not write this down in front of an audience. No one knew what he wrote until that letter was made public, probably in the context of the Liturgy of the Word in the Mass. It was at that point, that it became binding. When it was spoken by the Church:

            Luke 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

            Those Scriptures existed for centuries. But they were not binding, until Jesus Christ explained them.

            Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
            2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
            3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; ….

            You have yet to understand St. Augustine, who has said, “unless the Church had approved the Gospels, I would not believe them.” It is by the authority of the Church that the Scriptures were approved and authorized. Yes, even the Old Testament. There remain many Old Testament books which the Catholic Church did not include in her canon.

    5. Ah Craig and so you show what you truly believe.

      Unfortunately you believe in the same thing but on your terms. Furthermore, as we have and I am convinced will continue to discuss, you believe in the bible as an authority but refute the giver of the bible. This is a problem for you. And I feel bad, but you have no way out. You base your entire belief system on an authority past the apostles…the bible. And you reject the authority which gave you the bible. And that makes you a hypocrite.

  4. Craig:

    Don’t see you as a downer…you ask good questions and keep the rest of us thinking. I trust you have the same experience.

    “….universally agrees upon it, it becomes binding. Wouldn’t this in effect show that the origins of the doctrine are not Apostolic?”

    Church doctrines as a valid continuation of Apostolic teaching and example, are based on several factors:

    – Sound interpretation of Scripture with the guidance of the Holy Spirit
    – Apostolic authority per Matt 16:19
    – Consideration of Church tradition given bullet #2 above

    If I wasn’t at work right now I’d dig up some detailed examples. One or two that come to mind: Irenaeus of Lyon’s “Rule of Faith,” or Athanasius criticism of Arianism, for one, for it’s devolution away from Church tradition. Perhaps some of our other contributors can elaborate or find other examples??

    1. Concerning rule of faith, are you think of Against Heresies Book 3, Chapters 3 and 4? This is something I would like to interface with someone about, as it is so central to a correct understanding of Apostolic Succession as first formulated by Hegesippus and Irenaeus as it pertains to the preservation of doctrine (obviously, Clement was the first guy to actually talk about the topic.)

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Craig Truglia said:

        Interestingly enough, the heretics he wrote against when “confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority” (Book 3, Chapter 2, Paragraph 1). And so, they claimed that “the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce” (Book 3, Chapter 2, Paragraph 1). Hmmm, what “churches” argue that the Scripture is insufficient and argue that doctrines surrounding prayers to the dead and the assumption of Mary, though absent in the historical record for hundreds of years, were taught viva voce?

        Again committing the error of reading into Catholic documents, Protestant doctrines.

        When St. Irenaeus says, “And so, they claimed that “the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce”, he does not thereby imply that the Scriptures were delivered by Scripture alone. But by Scripture also. That is why he is defending the Sacred Traditions passed down by the Apostles. All you have to do is read one more paragraph.

        2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

        1. The only error here is a non-sequitur 🙂

          Concerning Hegesippus and Irenaeus, their discussion of Apostolic Succession is in reference to the antiquity of orthodox doctrines. Being that Joe is referring to how Catholics know of correct doctrine, I thought the thoughts if Irenaeus in this section were relevant.

          You appear to be responding to a different issue in which I passed comment on, regarding the same section.

          God bless,
          Craig

          1. Many things have been said. But I’m addressing this presupposition of yours. Which I also addressed earlier.

            Craig Truglia says:
            December 29, 2015 at 4:16 pm
            It appears to me that there are a couple presuppositions.

            There is the presupposition that we know what the seed (i.e. acorn) is, which would be Apostolic teaching as reflected in the Scriptures (the only documents we have penned by them). We agree on this presupposition….

            St. Irenaeus, categorically, debunks that idea:
            2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser ….

            He concludes with the same thing which Catholics say about Protestants, today:

            …therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

          2. De Maria,

            You really have not shown that by traditions Irenaeus means anything different than the Christian Scriptures and obvious interpretations deriving from them sans demiurges. I am sure you don’t mean a whole monolithic oral tradition, which Irenaeus himself thought included that Jesus was over 50 years old, something that the dating in the Gospels does not allow.

          3. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 3:35 am
            De Maria,

            You really have not shown that by traditions Irenaeus means anything different than the Christian Scriptures and obvious interpretations deriving from them sans demiurges.

            Hm?

            He addressed the Scriptures and invalid interpretations which the heretics derived from them, in the paragraph you produced. That’s why he says they were “confuted from the Scriptures”.

            He confutes them from tradition in the next paragraph and ends with an explicit statement delineating the two.

            Up to this point, I assumed you had read the entire treatise. But, apparently, you are merely using the Protestant apologetic which normally clings to these words and ascribes to them Sola Scriptura.

            So, you didn’t know that the heretics were twisting the Scriptures to their own destruction? You might want to read the first two books.

            Here’s an excerpt:
            Book 1, Chapter 8:
            How the Valentinians pervert the Scriptures to support their own pious opinions.
            1. Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked are in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions.

            I am sure you don’t mean a whole monolithic oral tradition,

            Yes. An entire monolithic Tradition, as is attested in the Scriptures:

            1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

            2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

            which Irenaeus himself thought included that Jesus was over 50 years old, something that the dating in the Gospels does not allow.

            Whatever you think Irenaeus included in the Sacred Traditions of the Church is besides the point being discussed.

            The point we are discussing is whether he believed in the Word of God passed down by Scripture alone or by Sacred Tradition and Scripture, together.

            It is obvious, that he adheres to the Catholic Teaching. Not by Scripture alone.

          4. “Whatever you think Irenaeus included in the Sacred Traditions of the Church is besides the point being discussed.”

            Not really, as it shows that once we go into oral tradition we find a bunch of things that we lack agreement about, which casts doubt on their being ANY accurate tradition that exists alongside the written, Biblical one.

          5. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm

            Not really, as it shows that once we go into oral tradition we find a bunch of things that we lack agreement about, which casts doubt on their being ANY accurate tradition that exists alongside the written, Biblical one.

            No, Craig. It just shows that YOU like to read anti-Catholic propaganda. It just shows that YOU like to cast doubt upon Sacred Tradition. Because YOU like all Protestants, lack faith in the Word of God and only have faith in the meanderings of your mind.

            Whenever you’re ready, we can examine the Irenaeian statement in question so that you can again, eat your words.

          6. I think you were trying to make a point there, but could not avoid the fact that the example of Irenaeus shows how tenuous a grasp on actual APostolic Tradition really existed in the late second century outside the Scripture.

        2. At least you know when you’re trumped.

          To those reading the discussion, Craig said:
          I am sure you don’t mean a whole monolithic oral tradition, which Irenaeus himself thought included that Jesus was over 50 years old,

          This proves two things.
          1. Craig never read the actual document.
          2. Craig is relying upon anti-Catholic propaganda which passes on this fable.

          This is why Craig has brought this discussion to an abrupt end. Since, to continue, he had to look up St. Irenaeus’ actual words and discovered that he is passing on another anti-Catholic lie. So, rather than admit that he is wrong, he tried to end the discussion in a triumphalist manner which he thought would preclude me from posting the truth.

          Before I post that which St. Irenaeus actually said, let me give you a little background.

          St. Irenaeus was arguing against a group of Gnostics who claimed that the Scriptures teach that Jesus died when He was thirty (30) years old. According to Protestant anti-
          Catholic propaganda, he argued by claiming that the Apostles taught that Jesus died when he was 50 or older. Then, they take one little snippet, not even an entire sentence out of St. Irenaeus’ argument. They claim it is a direct quote. But in reality, he never says that, they simply take liberties with his words assuming that most people have little or not time to confirm their claim.

          Here’s what St. Irenaeus actually said:
          Book II Chapter 22, Paragraph 1

          I have shown that the number thirty fails them in every respect; too few Æons, as they represent them, being at one time found within the Pleroma, ….

          He goes on like that debunking the idea that Scripture says that Jesus died when He was thirty years old.

          Then, in paragraph 3, he turns to Scripture. That’s right. Not to Apostolic Tradition, as is claimed by the anti-Catholics. The Apostolic Tradition which he mentions has to do with the idea of “fulfillment”. Not with Jesus’ age. I’ll explain later. Here’s what he says when he turns to Scripture to prove Christ is more than thirty years old:

          But it is greatly to be wondered at, how it has come to pass that, while affirming that they have found out the mysteries of God, they have not examined the Gospels to ascertain how often after His baptism the Lord went up, at the time of the passover, to Jerusalem, in accordance with what was the practice of the Jews from every land, and every year, that they should assemble at this period in Jerusalem, and there celebrate the feast of the passover. First of all, after He had made the water wine at Cana of Galilee,….Afterwards He went up, the second time, to observe the festival day of the passover in Jerusalem; on which occasion He cured the paralytic man, who had lain beside the pool thirty-eight years, …. Then, when He had raised Lazarus from the dead, and plots were formed against Him by the Pharisees, He withdrew to a city called Ephraim; and from that place, as it is written He came to Bethany six days before the passover, John 11:54, John 12:1 and going up from Bethany to Jerusalem, He there ate the passover, and suffered on the day following. Now, that these three occasions of the passover are not included within one year, ….

          Note that he proved, from Scripture, that Jesus was 33 when He died. Not 30. Whatever he says next, if he says that Jesus was over 50 when He died, as Craig alleges, it is either:

          1. in contradiction to that which he says here or,
          2. he is teaching something else.

          I say he’s teaching something else. That something else is called “fulfillment” doctrine. The idea that Jesus Christ fulfilled everything in Himself. From the beginning of time to the end of days. From the conception of each human being to the oldest of human beings. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the Ancient of Days.

          Finally, I want to emphasize that this proves that Craig never read one word of St. Irenaeus’ treatise. As he has proven to me many times in our frequent exchanges, he merely goes to anti-Catholic websites and passes on their errors. He pretends that he is examining Catholic Doctrine, but that is merely to get a foot in the door. Craig is here to proselytize.

          1. De Maria, you’re wrong. I have read several books from the ECFs in full and commentated at length on them. As for Against Heresies, I remember when I first started reading it. I was on a flight to Las Vegas to go to the AAPEX conference. I could not believe how boring all of these heresies were. I skipped past Book II and went to Book III.

            You are correct about this. I never read the part about Jesus being 50. I was just going by what I have picked up by osmosis.

            However, turning to Against Heresies Book 2, Chapter 22, paragraphs 4 to 6, I am not surprised to find that osmosis treated me right (and as usual De Maria is simply just nasty, inaccurate, and not wielding the best reading comprehension.)

            In paragraph 4 Irenaeus writes:

            “He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect Master for all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth…”

            He then opposes heretics in paragraph 5 who say, “that He preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. [In speaking thus,] they are forgetful to their own disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honourable than any other; that more advanced age…”

            According to Irenaeus, Jesus had to be older than 30 to be a “master.” “For how could He have had disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master?…On completing His thirtieth year He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age.”

            Immediately, Irenaeus gives a chronology which he believes the Scripture supports, and then adds oral tradition allegedly originating with the Apostle John to bolster his argument:

            “Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onwards to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and ***fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher***, even as ***the Gospel and all the elders testify***; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information.”

            Irenaeus then bolsters his opinion with the claim that even more Apostles attest to the same information:

            “Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear testimony as to the [validity of] the statement. Whom then should we rather believe? Whether such men as these, or Ptolemæus, who never saw the apostles, and who never even in his dreams attained to the slightest trace of an apostle?”

            Irenaeus then goes to the Gospel of John, and because of his preconceptions concerning Christ’s chronology interprets what the Jews said to Christ literally:

            “But, besides this, those very Jews who then disputed with the Lord Jesus Christ have most clearly indicated the same thing. For when the Lord said to them, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad, they answered Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? John 8:56-57 Now, such language is fittingly applied to one who has already passed the age of forty, without having as yet reached his fiftieth year, yet is not far from this latter period. But to one who is only thirty years old it would unquestionably be said, You are not yet forty years old…it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of Abraham.” (Par 6).

            Don’t take my word for it, go read the original thing: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103222.htm

            I hope this is instructive for everyone here, including De Maria. It has been for me 🙂

          2. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 8:43 pm
            De Maria, you’re wrong. I have read several books from the ECFs in full and commentated at length on them. As for Against Heresies, I remember when I first started reading it. I was on a flight to Las Vegas to go to the AAPEX conference. I could not believe how boring all of these heresies were. I skipped past Book II and went to Book III.

            So, where am I wrong? You just admitted that you skipped the book which I said you had not read.

            You are correct about this. I never read the part about Jesus being 50. I was just going by what I have picked up by osmosis.

            By osmosis? You mean from an anti-Catholic website. That’s the only places I see that accusation being leveled. It certainly wasn’t from any Catholic in good standing.

            However, turning to Against Heresies Book 2, Chapter 22, paragraphs 4 to 6, I am not surprised to find that osmosis treated me right (and as usual De Maria is simply just nasty, inaccurate, and not wielding the best reading comprehension.)

            In paragraph 4 Irenaeus writes:

            “He therefore passed through every age,….

            You’re muddying the waters. This is not what you accused him of saying. Your claim is that he claimed tradition taught that Jesus was over 50 and I quote:

            which Irenaeus himself thought included that Jesus was over 50 years old, …

            So, you’re simply muddying the waters. I already showed that he proved Jesus was 33, from Scripture.

            According to Irenaeus, Jesus had to be older than 30 to be a “master.”

            But not over 50. And Jesus was over 30. He was 33. Or do you adhere to the Gnostic belief that he was not over 30.

            “For how could He have had disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master?…

            I already addressed all that. What you need to do is show where St. Iranaeus said that Jesus was over 50.

            Don’t take my word for it, go read the original thing: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103222.htm

            I hope this is instructive for everyone here, including De Maria. It has been for me 🙂

            But, apparently, you’ve learned nothing at all. All you did is read St. Irenaeus according to your Protestant sentiments.

            I notice that you disregarded everything I said in my message. But I haven’t disregarded anything in yours. I have debunked all your statements, point blank.

          3. Dear De Maria,

            I want to put it nicely, but you’re backtracking from your statements. I do not mean to be disrespectful, but pardon me for answering truthfully and briefly, because I really think you are benefiting from this conversation.

            “So, where am I wrong? You just admitted that you skipped the book which I said you had not read.”

            You said I never read the fathers and I just read apologetic websites. This is false, not only by the weight of my own statement but by a plethora of written evidence. I have commentaries on whole books of the ECFs on my website that i have written. I can take a picture of my book shelf too in you want, not that it is impressive (it is very small and packed with books), I can show you my printed-out copies of the Apostolic Fathers, I really beat it up, you might get a kick out of it.

            “By osmosis? You mean from an anti-Catholic website.”

            I think from listening a James White debate, but he wasn’t contradicted by his opposition.

            “That’s the only places I see that accusation being leveled. It certainly wasn’t from any Catholic in good standing.”

            UNless you consider Irenaeus a good Catholic…

            “You’re muddying the waters. This is not what you accused him of saying. Your claim is that he claimed tradition taught that Jesus was over 50…”

            I am not going to play a bunch of mental mind games. Irenaeus clearly says: “it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of Abraham.” He is clearly saying that Jesus had to be at least 20 years OLDER than 30. That is the clear meaning of his statement. I link to the evidence, anyone can read the whole passage in context and skip OUR interpretations. I think to anyone who sits there and reads it, they will see what I said is true.

            “All you did is read St. Irenaeus according to your Protestant sentiments.”

            We just talked about this. I will stop saying you are refusing to interface with the facts when you stop saying that I can’t udnerstand things because I am a Protestant.

            “I notice that you disregarded everything I said in my message.”

            Because they don’t make sense. I welcome everyone to read Irenaeus. He was abundantly clear. It takes incredible mental gymnastics tos ay Irenaeus war arguing Jesus was 33 years old. he said it was impossible that Jesus can be confused for someone 20 years younger than he was.

            God bless,
            Craig

          4. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 10:00 pm
            Dear De Maria,

            I want to put it nicely, but you’re backtracking from your statements…..

            Whatever. Let’s get to the meat of it. You say:

            I am not going to play a bunch of mental mind games. Irenaeus clearly says: “it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of Abraham.” He is clearly saying that Jesus had to be at least 20 years OLDER than 30. That is the clear meaning of his statement. I link to the evidence, anyone can read the whole passage in context and skip OUR interpretations. I think to anyone who sits there and reads it, they will see what I said is true.

            So, you expect us to believe that after he proved, from the Gospels, no less, that Jesus died when He was 33 years old:

            Pertinent quotes:

            But it is greatly to be wondered at, how it has come to pass that, while affirming that they have found out the mysteries of God, they have not examined the Gospels to ascertain how often after His baptism

            at thirty (30) years of age.

            the Lord went up, at the time of the passover, to Jerusalem, in accordance with what was the practice of the Jews from every land, and every year, that they should assemble at this period in Jerusalem, and there celebrate the feast of the passover…..

            ….He there ate the passover, and suffered on the day following.

            Note that this is the third passover which he illustrated and says, explicitly, that our Lord suffered the following day. A clear reference to the Crucifixion. Unless we are to believe that he means that Jesus suffered for 20 years.

            Now, that these three occasions of the passover….

            So that he, using Scripture, proved that Jesus was thirty when He was baptized and added three passovers, or three years and was crucified the next DAY.

            Anyone can verify this here.
            Book II Chapter 22, Paragraph 1-3

            But you would have us believe, that having confuted the heretics by the use of Scripture, he then confuted himself by the use of Sacred Tradition?

            Huh?! Well, you’re way too smart for any Catholic. Go on believing your fables. We’ll stick with Catholic Teaching.

          5. Correction: St. Irenaeus did not say “at 30 years of age. ” That was my commentary because St. Irenaeus admitted that Jesus was baptized at thirty years of age according to Scripture in paragraph 4.

            The pertinent quote:
            4. Being thirty years old when He came to be baptized, and then possessing the full age of a Master, He came to Jerusalem, so that He might be properly acknowledged by all as a Master.

          6. I am sincerely thankful that you have made more clear to us the age in which in Irenaeus thinking one became a master in your reply above. However, I still think you are ignoring the rest of what Irenaeus said because you want to go ahead and make your point, truth be darned. I give you the last word and commend everyone to the link to the given chapter of Against Heresies.

          7. Craig Truglia says:
            December 30, 2015 at 11:47 pm
            I am sincerely thankful that you have made more clear to us the age in which in Irenaeus thinking one became a master in your reply above.

            That simply shows that you don’t understand what you are reading. I’ve shown you that St. Irenaeus proved, from Scripture, that Jesus was 33 years old.

            However, I still think you are ignoring the rest of what Irenaeus said

            I didn’t ignore the rest of what he said, I put it in Catholic perspective.

            because you want to go ahead and make your point, truth be darned.

            On the contrary, as can be seen by your silence to the questions posed, you are the one ignoring his Scriptural proof that Jesus is 33 years old and then imposing your anti-Catholic presuppositions on the rest of his treatise.

            In essence, you want us to believe that:

            1. St. Irenaeus contradicted himself.
            2. and that he taught that Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition opposed each other.

            In order to advance your anti-Catholic idea that Sacred Tradition is not trustworthy.

            I give you the last word

            Thank you. I’ll take it.

            and commend everyone to the link to the given chapter of Against Heresies.

            Here it is again:
            Book II Chapter 22, Paragraph 1-3

    2. Dear All

      The following articles (with links) may also be helpful as sources regarding the Development of Doctrine, in addition to those already mentioned by Joe, AK and Rico:

      – An address at the Church Teaches Forum, in 1998 by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Diocese of Lincoln) https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7757

      – Featured article at ‘Called to Communion’, by Bryan Cross http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/05/the-commonitory-of-st-vincent-of-lerins/

      – The COMMONITORY OF Vincent of Lérins: For the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith Against the Profane Novelties of all Heresies http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm

  5. In an interestingly titled article (“The End of Protestantism”), Protestant Peter Leithart concludes:

    “Protestantism has had a good run. It remade Europe and made America. It inspired global missions, soup kitchens, church plants, and colleges in the four corners of the earth. But the world and the Church have changed, and Protestantism isn’t what the Church, including Protestants themselves, needs today. It’s time to turn the protest against Protestantism and to envision a new way of being heirs of the Reformation, a new way that happens to conform to the original Catholic vision of the Reformers.”

    http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2013/11/the-end-of-protestantism

    The world doesn’t need Protestantism, just as it doesn’t need the “isms” of Marcion, Valentinian, Nestorius, Arius, Pelagius, etc. We know how all heresies end. There’s enough dry bones and corpses to examine in the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year struggle against them. Why would it be any different this time?

  6. Craig says: “the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like…” (Dec 28, 4:16pm)

    Me says: “how exactly is this a mistake?” (Dec 30, 4:56am)
    Joe says: “Who was the inventor of the monarchical episcopate?” (Dec 30, 7:04am)

    Craig: “Personally I believe it existed as early as Apostolic times…” (Dec 30, 1:38pm)

    Joe: “That’s a remarkable admission. If you’re right, and the Apostles didn’t oppose it, that certainly sounds like they consented to it…” (Dec 30, 8:43pm)

    CONCLUSION: There is no mistake. It was all just Craig’s imagination.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR…!!!

    1. That is an inaccurate synopsis of a very long exchange. Please read it in its entirety and intelligently pass comment or simply keep silence.

      Happy New Years from both myself and the Bishops of Philippi in heaven!

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Craig,

        Men are normally blind to their self-contradictions. They can hold on to two totally opposite ideas in their heads and still remain at peace with themselves. I hope you are not trying to convince us that you’re an exception.

        First, you accuse me of not interacting with your ideas. Then you accuse me of not reading your statements in their entirety. What will you accuse me of next?

        You initially asserted that “the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like…”. But you also “believe it existed as early as Apostolic times…”

        Do you not see why those two statements cannot be both true? If you don’t, then that inability is itself “remarkable”. Don’t think for a second that by adding another thousand words to your long-winded explanations that you will succeed at bridging the gap between the two assertions.

        Before we go any further, let me show your options:

        1. You can stick with your contradictory assertions and dig a deeper hole.
        2. You can rephrase them so we can have a more fruitful discussuon.
        3. Or, you can accuse me of something else.

        Take your pick…:-)

        1. I’d love to know the origin of the term “monarchical episcopate’? Sounds like a vaguely pejorative AKA for the Papacy, something I pointed out in an earlier post and got no response.

          If that’s the case (Papal pejorative)…then I would opt we devolve to Matt 16:19, something else I recommended, and start the discussion fresh, rather than continuing the current thousand-word, hair-splitting, cherry-picking soliloquies on the writings of a plenitude of early Church fathers’………

          1. A little research…seems this is a term for a single bishop being appointed over a given area. And what Craig seems to be arguing is, a ‘confraternity’ of sorts, of ‘elders and bishops’ (lay persons and clergy?) was the organizational form of *at least some* the early Church as described by Clement (c.90?). So….the early Church fathers, seeing this loosely-federated structure was not working as well to protect the Church and spread the Word (pre-Edict of Milan) as the areas where the ‘episcopate’ was ‘monarchical’ (which Craig said he felt was as early as Apostolic times)…Church fathers like Ignatius, guided by the Holy Spirit, through their leadership and writings, worked to ensure unity of bishopric over set areas, a structure we see today. Which jives with the Scripturally-consonant principle of a Church that is evolving positively and triumphally…..and I might add, works a lot better than the 33,000 denomination-and-counting spectacle that is the state of Protestantism. The early Catholic Fathers were indeed wise and blessed….

          2. AK, here’s what I’ve found in a preliminary search (sorry, sometimes other languages really help):

            3e. L’épiscopat unitaire. — Au IVe siècle, tout le monde l’accorde, il n’y a pas trace d’épiscopat multiple simultané et l’on ne soupçonne même pas l’existence d’un état antérieur où plusieurs évêques auraient gouverné ensemble une même Église. Les commentateurs de cette époque savent que les mots presbyteroi et episkopoi pouvaient à l’origine désigner soit les évêques soit les prêtres, mais quand ils expliquent la suscription de l’Épître aux Philippiens (I, 1: syn episkopois kai diakonois), ils déclarent sans hésiter que le pluriel episkopoi doit se prendre ici au sens de “prêtres”, parce qu’il est inouï qu’il y ait jamais eu plus d’une évêque dans une seule et même Église. Ainsi saint Jean Chrysostome: “Y avait-il donc plusieurs évêques dans la même ville? Certainement non. Mais Paul appelle ainsi les prêtres” (P. G. t. LXII, col. 183). Saint Jérôme: “Philippi urbs est Macedoniae et certe in una civitate plures episcopi esse non poterant. Sed qua eosdem episcopos illo tempore quos et presbyteros appellabant, propterea indifferenter de episcopis quasi de presbyteris est locutus” (Comment. in Tit., I, 5, P.L., t. XXVI, col. 563). […] (Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, p. 1685.)
            https://archive.org/stream/dictionnairedethv5pt2vaca#page/189/mode/1up

            So, it’s again up to anyone who disagrees to show that words cannot change meaning with time, and to show “from the historical record” that there was no difference between bishops and presbyters (why would there be two names then, anyway?).

          3. AK,

            Thank you for paying attention! It looks like you understand what Joe and I were arguing about.

            “A little research…seems this is a term for a single bishop being appointed over a given area.”

            Correct.

            ” And what Craig seems to be arguing is, a ‘confraternity’ of sorts, of ‘elders and bishops’ (lay persons and clergy?) was the organizational form of *at least some* the early Church as described by Clement (c.90?).”

            Correct, though I would like to add it was the only form of church government actually described in the Scripture. We can only speculate that **perhaps** monoarchical episcopates coincided with the plurality of elders in differing churches.

            ” So….the early Church fathers, seeing this loosely-federated structure was not working as well to protect the Church and spread the Word (pre-Edict of Milan) as the areas where the ‘episcopate’ was ‘monarchical’ (which Craig said he felt was as early as Apostolic times)”

            Correct, I do believe that the monoarchical view was clearly the more viable one. It worked better for Roman society and with what we know about human nature, hence the expression, “Too many chiefs.”

            “…Church fathers like Ignatius, guided by the Holy Spirit, through their leadership and writings, worked to ensure unity of bishopric over set areas, a structure we see today. Which jives with the Scripturally-consonant principle of a Church that is evolving positively and triumphally…..and I might add, works a lot better than the 33,000 denomination-and-counting spectacle that is the state of Protestantism. The early Catholic Fathers were indeed wise and blessed….”

            They were wise, but worldly success is not necessarily the best measure of things. I suppose because I prefer doctrinal purity over developing newer ideas simply because they work better.

            I appreciate your careful consideration.

            God bless,
            Craig

          4. “I prefer doctrinal purity…”

            And therein, my friend, is the rub. Upon which part of doctrinal purity does one focus? The (to me, at least) relatively obscure readings and interpretations of elders vs bishops vs monarchical rule vs plurality, meant to justify (or not) 33,000 denominations or the validity (or not) of Catholic apostolic succession? Or the multiplicity of Scriptural references to Church unity, and the idea that maybe, just maybe, the Holy Spirit guides His Church to a More Perfect Union in accordance with that pesky principle of triumphal progress, even if that progress doesn’t fit with a Protestant’s test or definition of apostolic succession?

            You believe that the megachurch and the storefront, both believing different things about the teachings of Jesus Christ, with ofttimes vastly different interpretations of fide and scriptura, is sufficient unity to satisfy the meaning and messages of Scripture; there are a lot of those mega’s and storefronts, so God must have a plan, but in the humble opinion of this old Catholic, it’s a heckuva way to “go, teach all nations….”

            Where one stands depends on where one sits.

            Catholics, needless to say, believe differently, and have done so for 2,000 years. I suppose one might believe that that level of sustained (if bumpy) success might be a sign of something; Craig, you mentioned earlier about how some sacrilistic or other practices, prolonged over time, might shake the faith of Catholics….the answer is no, not when one looks at the bigger picture.

          5. AK, just to clarify, I am arguing that Bishops and Elders were the same thing, just as to this day all Bishops ARE Elders in the Catholic Church. However, my argument was that they were not intended to be mutually exclusive.

          6. Craig Truglia says:
            January 4, 2016 at 2:39 am

            ” And what Craig seems to be arguing is, a ‘confraternity’ of sorts, of ‘elders and bishops’ (lay persons and clergy?) was the organizational form of *at least some* the early Church as described by Clement (c.90?).”

            Correct, though I would like to add it was the only form of church government actually described in the Scripture.

            On the contrary, there is no such government described in Scripture. All that you do is read the words, “with the Bishops” and jump to the conclusion that this is the form of government described. You admit it yourself:

            Well, I did. Philippi had BISHOPS when Paul wrote. When Ignatius wrote, Chapter 13 shows there was just one Bishop. Why? I don’t know. I speculate by sheer force of personality and ability, one rose to the top.

            Key words there, you “don’t know”. And you think that your speculation carries weight. But it doesn’t.

            Now, if you wanted to know what probably happened there, all you had to do is look at the Catholic structure. Almost every Diocese has more than one Bishop. The main Bishop and what we now call, co-adjutor Bishops.

            This is not a “rule by committee” structure. The co-adjutors are there to assist the main Bishop. And to take over lest anything might happen.

            That’s the more probable reason for the existence of a group of Bishops in Philippi. Another reason may have been of a meeting of Bishops of which St. Paul may have been aware.

            Either reason is completely in line with Catholic Tradition and carries much more weight than your non-Biblical, anti-Traditional, speculation.

            That is not intended as an insult. It seems an accurate description of your speculation on the topic.

            Craig Truglia says:
            January 4, 2016 at 2:59 am
            AK, just to clarify, I am arguing that Bishops and Elders were the same thing, just as to this day all Bishops ARE Elders in the Catholic Church. However, my argument was that they were not intended to be mutually exclusive.

            What? Monarchical Episcopate and rule by Committee? Even King Arthur had a Round Table. Why would they be mutually exclusive? Every King has a Cabinet. Read the Old Testament. King David had advisors and people whom he put in charge of various cities, locations and tasks.

  7. Trying to prove that Irinaeus subscribed to sola scriptura, Craig cites Book 3, Chapter 2, Paragraph 1. But in the next paragraph: “when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition” (sounds familiar?) and “these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.”

    But then still:

    Craig Truglia says: December 30, 2015 at 3:35 am

    De Maria,
    You really have not shown that by traditions Irenaeus means anything different than the Christian Scriptures and obvious interpretations deriving from them sans demiurges. I am sure you don’t mean a whole monolithic oral tradition, which Irenaeus himself thought included that Jesus was over 50 years old, something that the dating in the Gospels does not allow.

    And then Craig Truglia says: December 30, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    “the example of Irenaeus shows how tenuous a grasp on actual APostolic Tradition really existed in the late second century outside the Scripture.”

    Can’t believe it. Irinaeus says he argues from tradition but that the heretics reject tradition. How could he argue from tradition if there existed only a “tenuous grasp” in the late 2nd c.?

    This whole idea that the tradition is “tenuous” already in the 2nd century is based on what? On a single, wrong supposition about one wrong fact: “Irenaeus himself thought [tradition] included that Jesus was over 50 years old”. That is plain wrong. Maybe from the mere title, which is in fact confusing in the cited English translation (my version doesn’t even include titles like that, just 22,1: “against the number 30”).

    That 50-years-old imagined “false tradition” is the only straw whereupon he built his entire argument that tradition was unreliable!

    But then Craig affirms that he didn’t actually read anything: “You are correct about this. I never read the part about Jesus being 50. I was just going by what I have picked up by osmosis.”

    I must begin to say that this translation from newadvent is confusing, to say the least. From my translation: “Everyone agrees that 30 years is the age of a man who is still young; this age extends to 40 years old; from 40 to 50 he declines toward old age. It was in this age [ie. from 30 to 40] that our Lord taught, as attests the Gospel and all presbyters in Asia gathered around John, the Lord’s disciple, who remained with them until the times of Trajan, affirm that John conveyed to them this tradition”.

    Time to go on and pick up a different translation! Want a Spanish one, for instance? ” Porque, como todo mundo sabe, la edad adulta empieza apenas a los treinta, cuando el hombre todavía es joven, y se extiende hasta los cuarenta años. [785] Luego, de los cuarenta a los cincuenta, va declinando hacia la vejez. Esta edad tenía el Señor cuando enseñaba, como dicen el Evangelio y todos los presbíteros de Asia que, viviendo en torno a Juan, de él lo escucharon[191], puesto que éste vivió con ellos hasta el tiempo de Trajano. Algunos de ellos vieron no sólo a Juan, sino también a otros Apóstoles, a quienes han escuchado decir lo mismo. ¿A quién tenemos que creer? ¿A estos testigos, o a Ptolomeo, que nunca conoció a los Apóstoles, y que ni en sueños siguió sus huellas?” http://www.mercaba.org/TESORO/IRENEO/05-3.htm

    So the mystery vanishes when we know, thanks to Craig’s sincerity, that his “osmosis” was really the process of “listening [to] a James White debate”. And he took White’s words as true prima facie because… just because the debater didn’t refute it!

    1. James White is one of the most unethical debaters. Why would one who is looking for honest dialogue go to him for answers? There are so many better and charitable Protestants.

    2. Youssef, Irenaeus explains himself unequivocally in chapter 6. Interestingly enough, everyone here ignores this because it refutes their point because they just want to jump on top of me. Read chapter six.

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Craig, chapter six from which book? Some editions don’t even have chapters in them, just the paragraphs from the books.

          1. So, you must be thinking of http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103222.htm, §6. This doesn’t show (let alone prove) that the oral tradition taught that Jesus was 50; but that the Jews supposed he was not yet 50! (And Ireneus only mentions it because the gnostics thought that Jesus had preached for only one year.) And in §5, he mentions oral traditions to the effect that Jesus lived between 30 and 40. (again, a better translation in http://www.mercaba.org/TESORO/IRENEO/05-3.htm, § 22,6), and before that, Gospel arguments to the effect that those years between 30 and 40 were 3 (22,3).

            I sincerely don’t know how this refutes anyone’s points here, but yours.

            Besides, I can assure you that nobody here, as far as I know, has ignored any of your Patristic citations — on the contrary, as I have shown, none of the issues that I or the others here have raised were answered. You were trying to show from the beginning that 1) the monarchical episcopate was a 2nd century invention; 2) it was “mistaken” (aka “bad”, “evil”); 3) therefore, the meme presented in the beginning has a grain of truth. You haven’t shown 1 or 2, and even conceded that 1 is not entirely correct, for you said: “Personally I believe it existed as early as Apostolic times.” And 2) doesn’t follow from 1); 3) doesn’t follow from 2) and 1).
            You contradict yourself in 1), and you have made no effort at all to bring up evidence of 2).
            As others have mentioned below, can you tell us what is your final point here? You haven’t admitted that you are mistaken to think that oral tradition thought that Jesus was 50 (your faulty Irenaeus interpretation via some James White debate), you haven’t admitted that either you have apostolic monarchical episcopate tradition (1st century, as you yourself said you believe) or a 2nd century “invention” (which you didn’t say you’re convinced of), and you haven’t made any effort at all to show that all that was “mistaken”, and what “mistaken” means (according to AK above AK says: January 2, 2016 at 4:35 am, it worked out pretty nicely, and all Catholics would agree).

          2. Youssef Cherem says:
            January 3, 2016 at 2:44 am

            To Craig:

            As others have mentioned below, can you tell us what is your final point here? You haven’t admitted that you are mistaken to think that oral tradition thought that Jesus was 50 (your faulty Irenaeus interpretation via some James White debate),….

            That’s why, I for one, believe that he is here to proselytize. It is obvious to me that he is not here for honest dialogue.

            How difficult it is it to realize that Irenaeus proved Christ’s age was 33 when He died. And He derived the proof from Scripture.

            But Craig will do his best to obfuscate and bury that fact in order to put forth his agenda. In order to pass on anti-Catholic, James White, propaganda.

  8. Craig Truglia says:
    December 30, 2015 at 1:46 pm
    Guys, to be fair, I do not think you are actually interacting with what I am saying and rather responding with “who are you to know this, well, you wouldn’t even know what’s in Bible!”

    That’s really is not a response to my point, which to reinterate, is that Joe’s Suduku example does not work when we don’t have a basis (ie some sort of agreed upon written record.)

    You mean that YOU don’t agree with our written record. It is Protestants who rebelled and removed 7 books.

    Protestants have also rejected the Catholic record in Church Councils.

    Catholics have an agreed upon written record. Protestants reject it and then you come along and call that a problem. But, as can be seen, the problem is all yours. Not ours.

    Oral tradition is a historical free for all if it finds not support in written history.

    We disagree with you on that point, as well. You have no faith in the Word of God which God has placed in His faithful. We do.

    Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

    That’s just the nature of history. I responded to Joe’s point about history here, and above concerning the monarchical episcopacy.

    Arbitrary comments about how stupid and incapable I am of understanding true religion may be in the end true, but stating it as a fact without actually interacting with any of the ideas does not prove a point.

    We have interacted with every point which you made. The fact that you don’t understand or agree with our input does not mean that we didn’t interact with you. It means that you rejected our interaction and tried to impose your Protestant views over and above Catholic Teaching.

    God bless,
    Craig

    And you, as well.

    1. Craig said – Oral tradition is a historical free for all if it finds not support in written history.

      Me – there is written support, you just choose not to accept it. Kind of like Luther and the inconvenient 7 books. Do you have a rule of thumb on the timeline between the existence of an oral tradition and when it’s written to be acceptable as written history?

    2. “Awesome! Great rebuttal. You would think that Protestants would share this belief with Catholics, since they claim to believe in Scripture. Crazy, isn’t it?”

      DeMaria – thank you for the compliment! You know, how can you not like Craig? He is smart, moral, well-read, obviously a dedicated Christian. Craig, in his gentle (if persistent), scholarly way, is attempting to “beard the Catholic lion” in his own den. Fair enough. God has a plan for why Craig is here amongst us, for us, and perhaps for him. If you look at the vitriol spewed by both sides against each other on some other forums, I’ll take this one anytime.

      My observation is, in this thread in particular, that Craig sets up a strawman such as Jesus’ age (30/33/50), the semantics of ‘bishops vs elders,’ or the definition of presupposition, digs deep into the historical details to prove…what? The illegitimacy of the Papacy? The faulty foundations of Catholic thinking and doctrine? Hoping for one soul here to ‘see the Lutherian light?’ Or just a fun debate? even if the latter, I noted that continuing to dig into the details with Craig rarely gets beyond an endless nit-picking ‘he/she said’ melange of personal interpretations, punctuated by the trap of leading questions. The young man is a master debater, no doubt. But….when a simple point such as I raised about upward progression being magnificently Scriptural, the one you (thanks again) praised, it gets ignored because there’s no historical or theological rabbit hole in which to lose the bubble, so to speak. Jesus teachings were remarkably simple, and my personal study of both Scripture and Catholic dogma reaffirms my faith in the Scriptural foundation of the Catechism and the correctness of Church tradition, in light of those simple teachings, all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

      Happy and Blessed New Year to all of us!

      1. One problem with ‘sola scriptura’ is that, if it were true, it would limit the Holy Spirit’s role in resolving grave moral problems that nothing in scripture describes, discusses or forsees. scum problems might include human cloning, birth control pills, use of hydrogen bombs during warfare, extreme genetic altering of animal, plant and human biology, etc… These are items that necessitate actual wisdom and the gift of the Holy Spirit to resolve.

        And moreover, we cannot even contemplate what the state of technology might be in another century or two, which is a short time considering the last last two millennia of Christianity.

        This is to say, the world needs a real Church, with real sacraments and deep wisdom, to resolve the moral dilemma’s of the future. This is the Church that Jesus left to His friends and disciples. It’s was not a set of written instructions inked on papyrus or parchment. The world needs scripture for sure. But it needs an actual, living, Church filled with holy souls,even more….the same physical Church built upon the foundation of Peter, and which has been promised by Christ the help, sustenance and protection of God until the end of the world. This is to say, God knows how to take good care of His beloved people!

        Happy New Year Everybody! …and especially to our friend and colleague Craig!

        1. I guess when one takes Occams Razor to the threads, it’s in the end, an attempted apologia for sola fide and sola scriptura, by undermining Catholic belief and practice.

          Keeps us on our toes, and I certainly learned something, along with new aspects of my own Church history to research.

          Something good comes out of everything….

          1. And that’s probably God’s point in allowing all the heresies from the beginning of the Church onwards. Without them, there would be less intellectual and spiritual vigor on the part of all parties involved. Jesus said “This is eternal life, to know the one true God and he whom He sent, Jesus Christ”. And so, what ever teaches us about the one true God and Jesus Christ provides us with a means of acquiring eternal life. So, even though heresies are erroneous doctrines, and some much more erroneous than others, great profit can be made by studying them. This is how evil impels God’s saints to draw closer to Him, and to come to know Him better. So in this sense, heresies and other evils are actually beneficial for souls that truly seek God.

  9. Youssef thank you for your references and well-reasoned apologetics.

    In you post above, you said this about Craig’s line of reasoning:

    “You were trying to show from the beginning that 1) the monarchical episcopate was a 2nd century invention; 2) it was “mistaken” (aka “bad”, “evil”); 3) therefore, the meme presented in the beginning has a grain of truth. You haven’t shown 1 or 2..”

    What he accused the monarchical episcopate of fomenting was: sacrilism (a presumably malevolent confluence of church and state); politicking; and landed estates. And that these practices, (Craig says) because they extended over a long period, undermine the traditionally Catholic belief in upward, triumphal progress. No need to repeat my rebuttal – I did it several times already and never got a direct response from Craig. Point I wanted to make here is, in looking for specks in the eye of Catholicism with which to undermine, does Craig not think that similar, even more egregious ‘eye-beams’ of a-Scriptural behavior cannot be gleaned from both history and the writings of the Protestant ‘fathers?’

    It’s really a case of, one should be careful for what one asks….

    In any case, I hark back to my original observation about little Colton Burpo and his ‘too many denominations’ observation. Luke 10:21 applies.

    1. AK,

      I have been waiting for Joe’s comments and have not been looking closely at the other ones, especially when there tone becomes decidely disrespectful. Call me a wimp if you want, I am not looking to get into a namecalling contest with anyone. FYI:

      “That he accused the monarchical episcopate of fomenting was: sacrilism (a presumably malevolent confluence of church and state); politicking; and landed estates. And that these practices, (Craig says) because they extended over a long period, undermine the traditionally Catholic belief in upward, triumphal progress.”

      I do not think you addressed the issue of long-term corruption that becomes an issue once politics and large amounts of money get involved. This is where we get the Catholic Church playing kingmaker, the inquisitions, and such. Most Catholics do not defend these things as good, and I am not necessarily bashing them, I am saying they are the logical consequence of the political and economic arrangements that arose from Roman times.

      “Point I wanted to make here is, in looking for specks in the eye of Catholicism with which to undermine, does Craig not think that similar, even more egregious ‘eye-beams’ of a-Scriptural behavior cannot be gleaned from both history and the writings of the Protestant ‘fathers?’”

      Where did I say this is not the case? There are state churches throughout Europe that show that the Protestants are no different than the Catholics in this regard. I would say the crucial, intellectual difference is that Protestantism does not view itself as requiring a history of triumphant progress in order to feel the tenets of its belief system are true. In Catholicism, this sense of progress is needed to justify its belief system.

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Craig Truglia says:
        January 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm
        AK,

        I have been waiting for Joe’s comments

        I don’t know why. Joe responded to you and debunked your errors. All you did was repeat the statements he had previously debunked and added a triumphalist tone and then claim that you were awaiting his response.

        and have not been looking closely at the other ones, especially when there tone becomes decidely disrespectful.

        That’s what you say when you’ve been proven wrong. You merely didn’t respond because you couldn’t. Your errors have been identified, highlighted and corrected.

        Call me a wimp if you want, I am not looking to get into a namecalling contest with anyone.

        Nor are we. Your errors have been debunked as politely as possible.

        FYI:

        “That he accused the monarchical episcopate of fomenting was: sacrilism (a presumably malevolent confluence of church and state); politicking; and landed estates. And that these practices, (Craig says) because they extended over a long period, undermine the traditionally Catholic belief in upward, triumphal progress.”

        I do not think you addressed the issue of long-term corruption that becomes an issue once politics and large amounts of money get involved.

        Was that part of the discussion? Or is that another rabbit trail that you have added in order to confuse the issues?

        I say the latter. You are very good at confusing issues. However, this proves another salient point. You don’t actually believe Scripture. Scripture says that Christ’s Church would not fall to the gates of hell. If, in fact, you believe that the Church became corrupt and that all Churches have done so, then you don’t believe the Word of God.

        We do. We believe that the Church has remained infallible because she was instituted by Christ.

        Go ahead, ridicule us for believing the Word of God.

        This is where we get the Catholic Church playing kingmaker, the inquisitions, and such. Most Catholics do not defend these things as good,

        Most? Which?

        King maker? The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God which speaks for God. Thus, all governments should bow before God who speaks through His Church.

        Inquisitions? Jews and Muslims were infiltrating Catholic Kingdoms by pretending to be Catholic. Why shouldn’t they be identified? You don’t believe this was happening then? Do you believe it is happening today? Have you heard of sleeper cells. Have you noticed that Americans are using inquisitions to discover where Muslims are hiding within our culture?

        And such? That is simply the anti-Catholic propaganda which twists every good thing that the Catholic Church did, into a sin. What, are you going to accuse the Catholic Church of burning bibles? That’s true. She burned error filled bibles. Are you going to accuse the Catholic Church of tying up Bibles? That’s true. Every university used to tie up their books in order that they be available to a majority. Books were rare and expensive.

        What other as suches do you have? All I have to do is look at the anti-Catholic blogs and I can find them. You’re easy to predict.

        “ and I am not necessarily bashing them, I am saying they are the logical consequence of the political and economic arrangements that arose from Roman times.

        They are the logical consequence of your lack of faith in Christ’s promise. But we don’t share that weakness. We have complete faith in the Word of God.

        Point I wanted to make here is, in looking for specks in the eye of Catholicism with which to undermine, does Craig not think that similar, even more egregious ‘eye-beams’ of a-Scriptural behavior cannot be gleaned from both history and the writings of the Protestant ‘fathers?’”

        Where did I say this is not the case? There are state churches throughout Europe that show that the Protestants are no different than the Catholics in this regard. I would say the crucial, intellectual difference is that Protestantism does not view itself as requiring a history of triumphant progress in order to feel the tenets of its belief system are true.

        Why are you even Christian? Oh, that’s right, you’re not. You believe in Craig.

        Well, Craig, we don’t believe in you. We believe in Christ and Christ said:

        Matthew 16:18King James Version (KJV)

        18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

        In Catholicism, this sense of progress is needed to justify its belief system.

        Well, let’s see. AK put it very well when he said:

        If Catholics believe that their Church is ‘progressing’ and ‘triumphal’ it is NOT a presupposition as defined above, but a belief rooted in sound Scriptural understanding. Christ gave Peter the Keys, then pronounced the Churches invulnerability to the Gates of Hell, and finally, directed the Apostles to ‘go, teach all nations.’

        The question is, if you claim to believe in Christ and in Scripture, why don’t you hold this same belief?

        The only answer to that question is, because you would rather believe the anti-Catholics than to believe Christ or Scripture.

        God bless,
        Craig

        You too.

      2. “….especially when there tone becomes decidedly disrespectful. Call me a wimp if you want, I am not looking to get into a namecalling contest with anyone….”

        Not my cup of tea, either. Gets no one anywhere…

        “….is that Protestantism does not view itself as requiring a history of triumphant progress in order to feel the tenets of its belief system are true.”

        I guess we differ on the definition of “triumphant progress.” Triumphant progress to me is, cleansing of error and sin, on both personal and Church levels, and thus progressing towards eternal salvation. I’d think, as Youssef pointed out earlier, that Protestants and Catholics can agree on that. It’s how to get to salvation, is where Catholics and Protestants disagree.

        “In Catholicism, this sense of progress is needed to justify its belief system.”

        Craig, I’d call that a ‘presupposition,’ especially if you have a set definition in mind of “progress,” that differs from what Catholics believe. If you agree with the simple definition I stated above, then we agree. “Simple” is always my default position.

        If not, I guess we’ll keep talking….

        1. “I do not think you addressed the issue of long-term corruption that becomes an issue once politics and large amounts of money get involved. This is where we get the Catholic Church playing kingmaker, the inquisitions, and such. Most Catholics do not defend these things as good, and I am not necessarily bashing them, I am saying they are the logical consequence of the political and economic arrangements that arose from Roman times.”

          “Where did I say this is not the case? There are state churches throughout Europe that show that the Protestants are no different than the Catholics in this regard. ”

          Of course I addressed it, multiple times, with my reference to 2 Cor 4:7 and ‘earthen vessels.” Corruption does not just happen with large organization and amounts of money. Little Baptist church near me, almost fell apart when both fiscal mismanagement and ongoing, covered-up multiple sexual improprieties were discovered between teachers and teen-age students. Been going on awhile, proportionately, in the life of that church.

          As for Roman continuity, do you think it’s beyond God to co-opt institutions and structures that were once used for evil, and convert them to good purposes? God has sublime senses both of humor and irony.

          If I were Satan, and wanted to corrupt the earth, I would go for the institutions that if co-opted, would do the most harm to the most people. That says to me the Catholic Church has the biggest Satanic bulls-eye painted on it (Hollywood as well, another story entirely). Fruitless effort….he’ll cause pain and misery, but his Gates will not, in the end, prevail. Saints will always rise to cleanse their Church and put it back on track.

          That, to me, is progress…..

      3. Craig – I would say the crucial, intellectual difference is that Protestantism does not view itself as requiring a history of triumphant progress in order to feel the tenets of its belief system are true. In Catholicism, this sense of progress is needed to justify its belief system.

        Me – it doesn’t view it because it piggybacks on Catholicism. It takes what it likes, discards and condemns what it doesn’t. Very convenient.

  10. This is where we get the Catholic Church playing kingmaker..”

    Craig, you’re the historian. What other unifying or politically defining force was there in Europe in those pre-1648 Peace of Westphalia days? The Church stepped in as the sole unifying force after the fall of the Roman Empire…and in part, fell prey to human weakness; human power and authority is a tool God uses to implement His will and also, which the Father of Lies and Chaos uses to corrupt. We are a fallen race, and as you aptly said in another thread on this site, nothing in this life seems clear unless viewed through the lens of God’s grace.

    OT precedent…see 1 Samuel 8: 6-9. God Himself offered the Israelites a chance to have Him as their direct King, with wise governance being dispensed through His prophets. The rejected the offer, and asked for an earthly king. Didn’t for the most part, work out so well….and we could have a nice long current events discussion on where our noble experiment in secular self-government is leading us……. but not here…..

    1. AK,

      I am not a historian, though I have studied history and I am published once in the field. To answer the question, yes I agree, the Church stepped in as a centralizing cultural influence in western history. Propaganda aside, the history of western thought since Christianity is that of immense progress which is why the West left the world behind, and why soon the West will be eclipsed, as the West has abandoned the intellectual influences that has made it the West.

      AK, please don’t take the following to the bank (and I am sure you won’t), but the main issue with Sacralism is ultimately not the effects on inquisitions and who gets to be king, but how these things effect theology. For a second, put on your Protestant cap and consider the following. The Roman Empire until Constantine used force to compel people to be Pagans. Paganism had rites in which people partook in to show their “sincerity.” Up to that point, paganism was a mixed bag and was more of a matter of patriotism than serious religious belief. No one minded if there were insincere pagans.

      Christianity up to that point was made up of believers, which is telling considering the fact that most people delayed their baptisms until marriage, near death, or before consecration in religious orders because they took baptismal regeneration so seriously.

      Now after Constantine things start changing and the issue is you have all of these people, compelled by law, to now suddenly be Christians. So, the way baptism is applied now changes. It becomes a tie of passage for everyone upon birth, a mark of citizenship of sorts. Penances become much more formalized and regimented compared to what Cyprian recommend for the lapsed (essentially fasting and prayer), because how do you differentiate between the sincere and insincere? How do you make someone sincere?

      So, I think sacralism is what gave rise to the modern Catholic application certain doctrines, and I think the application has not been good.

      Of course, this is much more than I can demonstrate point by point, and still something I am trying to verify or debunk and abandon. This is why when I make a point here, I try to stick with what I know and prove, and be honest with what I do not know and cannot prove.

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Don’t have time to address everything you said, but I’d be interested to know to what you’re referring in the bit about ‘after Constantine?’ Are you saying the Edict of Milan made Christianity mandatory?

        I read a lot of stuff on Protestant-based sites “about Constantine.” My goodness, the things that are attributed to him. And when I dig a bit I find a lot of leads to the seriously-discredited work of ‘pseudo-historian’ Alexander Hislop. I sure hope you’re not depending on Mr. Hislop to bolster your discussion.

        Oh, and….:

        “….do you take Jerome’s position as I quoted, or do you prefer to approach the evidence chronologically backwards in a way no honest historian would, because the authority of Catholic Church demands it?”

        There are many ways to name call. Some are direct. Others are more backhanded, such as inferring that, in a venue of disagreement, that the other party, to bolster their ideology, is being dishonest.

        In that light, going back through my posts, I apologize for my accusation, earlier, of disingenuousness on your part (or as I said, “disingenuity).

        1. AK:

          “I’d be interested to know to what you’re referring in the bit about ‘after Constantine?’”

          A series of laws and policies that gave Roman patronage and protection to specific churches, and the illegalization of pagan religions and practices. And no, Constantine did not do all these things, it was a progression of policies after Julian the Apostate spanning for about 150 years to Justinian.

          I do not know who you are quoting there, but yes I have read one very bad Protestant screed on the subject and denounced it on my website. I also read one very good Anglican book on the subject of Donatism which quoted from Augustine extensively, and gave a pretty good feel for how church and politics worked during that era.

          “There are many ways to name call.”

          Please keep in mind it was in response to what Joe said:

          “In light of what I’ve written, do you still hold to this? Because I think I’ve shown pretty simply how every bit of patristic evidence lines up with the monoepiscopal view, and huge chunks of it (like Ignatius’ entire corpus) contradict your view.”

          My argument was that he was making Ignatius the measure, and then reinterpreting all the evidence to make it fit Ignatius rather than starting with the Scripture, which in Acts 20 and Phil 1 speaks of two different cities having more than one Bishop, and reading the later evidence in light of this.

          This is standard historical practice, and we would distrust the historian that works chronologically backwards. Joe has a background in history. I trust he did not take my comment as an insult.

          If Joe thinks otherwise, let him say so.

          God bless,
          Craig

      2. “the crucial, intellectual difference is that Protestantism does not view itself as requiring a history of triumphant progress in order to feel the tenets of its belief system are true. In Catholicism, this sense of progress is needed to justify its belief system.”

        Now you admit that the same problems you accused the Catholic Church of having also exist in Protestant churches. Yet you supposed that those problems (sacralism, politicking, landed estates) came to exist *because of the monarchical episcopate*! (“the development of the monarchical Episcopate is a second century mistake which resulted in churches with landed estate, politicking, sacralism, and the like…” (Dec 28, 4:16pm)) But in Protestantism (in general) there seems to be no monarchical episcopate, and the same “problems” remain. How can that be? You skip this awkward inadequacy by arguing that those supposed mistakes are structural in the Catholic Church, whereas they would be contingent in Protestant churches. You argue that Protestants have a different philosophy of history and its relation with doctrine and belief. I disagree.

        Every Protestant denomination tells its own history in teleological terms. Do you want evidence? Just open the webpage of a certain denomination. And many even read world history as a demonstration of their own success of sorts — social, political, and religious triumph. Every human group or institution does that to a degree. It is even “truer” in the case of new movements. It all boils down to “why did he/she/we found a church”. There has to be a reason. This reason also explains why this church must perpetuate in time. In all systems, the Catholic one or Protestant ones (and of course those of other religions), history is interpreted “theologically” so as to justify/fit a belief system.

        All along your discourse, you seem to presuppose that your interpretation is “less biased” than the Catholic one. However, even your discourse on the meaning of history and historical evidence shows that your grasp of historical method is no better than any of ours. You must admit that you’re speaking from a given point of view, although it feels you’re hiding your Protestant [put your specific church here] identity behind your arguments — the longer I read, the more I feel that you speak from an American, post-19th-century point of view. Please, for the sake of argument, admit you are interpreting history from your Protestant point of view. All the points you raise make that pretty clear.

        Also please clarify what you believe in. You said you believed the monarchical episcopate is apostolic. Do you really believe that? Or was that a mistake on your part? Because everything you say afterwards is against that. “The notion of a church choosing its church order is unheard of in Christian tradition until the sixteenth century with the Reformation in Switzerland” (McGuckian, 2005). That is your church, I suppose. You then try to read back your beliefs into history.

        You make wide-ranging assumptions about Catholic faith, which taken at face value mean very little apart from trifle polemics — or else, it is your deep desire, shared by all of us here, to understand the truth. We could take, then, the simple but apt definition of “progress” by AK here: “Triumphant progress to me is, cleansing of error and sin, on both personal and Church levels, and thus progressing towards eternal salvation.” Catholic doctrine holds that there is no progress of doctrine. If there were progress, we could be sure we are much better Christians than 2nd century Christians, and no Catholic (or Orthodox, for that matter) has ever claimed that. Therefore:

        “The appointment of successors by the
        Apostles is not simply an historical issue, but an issue of faith for
        the Catholic Church. It has been handed down in the apostolic
        tradition and is believed by faith, and Pope St. Clement is honoured
        as the earliest witness to this faith.” (McGuckian, 2005, p. 84)

        And:

        “For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient documents faithfully and wisely; if they really are of ancient origin and if the faith of the Fathers has transmitted them, she strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grown only within their own genus — that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning.” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854).

        It is up to you to believe it or not. You can believe that it’s all a lie, we all know you do. You surely believe, as all Protestants do, that something at some point in time was “invented”, “borrowed from paganism”, or whatever, or that some unspecified “thing” got corrupted, and that “therefore” it is not true Christianity. That’s what you suppose about baptism, as you explain below. But that belief is not historical, not patristic, and not biblical. That is your theological belief. You’ll get nowhere trying to convince people here that your theological beliefs are more historically sound than ours. And for the record, yes, I firmly believe that Catholic doctrine matches with the historical data much better than any “Protestant church history”.

        Take “sacralism”, for instance. Guess why I’ve never heard it before? Because I am not a Protestant, and I’m not Anglo-Saxon either. It seems to come from a certain Verduin. It is certainly a Protestant polemical concept. Here is what Wikipedia has to offer (since you mentioned Constantine and up to now hasn’t bothered to offer your own definition): “Sacralism is the confluence of church and state wherein one is called upon to change the other.” [Wikipedia also wrongly assumes that this fits the definition of “cuius regio, eius religio”, but the latter concept only came into being in the 16th century.] Wait a second… every one of the original reformers, as far as I know, took it [confluence of church and state] for granted. The opposite of sacralism is, per this definition, “laïcité” (yes, the French definition), the non interference of church in state affairs, and of the state in church affairs. As far as I know, this started with the American revolution. It has never been a tenet of Christian faith or doctrine per se. And worse, if you admit that official state compulsory religions are bad per se, all the forced conversions of European populations by their rulers after the Reformation were bad — England, Holland, German princedoms, parts of Switzerland, Danemark, Sweden, Finland… How do you compare that with the inquisition? Do you want to compare the numbers of the dead?

        Is the confluence of Church and State evil by itself? People thought not, for around 1700 years. You said: “I think sacralism is what gave rise to the modern Catholic application [of] certain doctrines, and I think the application [application of what?] has not been good.” Of course, and I could cite sacralism (or its absence!) as supposed “cause” of a bunch of Protestant heresies, too.

        You only mention infant baptism, and “insincere” baptism (by the way, “insincere” baptism, that is, baptism performed with the intention of worldly gain, is not a doctrine of the church). If it is shown that infant baptism was practiced before Constantine, would it bother you? (Plenty of evidence available.) What other doctrines you believe were the result of that? “Certain” doctrines is just too vague, and sounds like cherry-picking. If you hold on to your theological account of history, then you’d just have to ditch Nicea, Constantinople and so on. Remember who convened Nicea?

        Lastly, is the papacy the sign of a bad thing, that is, deep relations between the religious and the civil powers? You’re too naïve to think that the church could have survived by making no assertion in the political arena. No, the Catholic believer doesn’t believe in what you suppose are “mistakes” that reveal/create doctrinal errors.

        1. Youssef,

          “Now you admit that the same problems you accused the Catholic Church of having also exist in Protestant churches…But in Protestantism (in general) there seems to be no monarchical episcopate, and the same “problems” remain. ”

          There’s know “now,” I never denied it. And, Lutheranism and Anglicanism had Monoarchical Episcopates and they did burn heretics and had issues with corruption. So, you are only bolstering my point.

          Now, obviously any church that has human beings in it is going to have problems, so I apologize I cannot address every point you’re making here because it is not addressing the argumentation I actually made on this specific topic.

          God bless,
          Craig

          1. Craig, you may have never denied it, but your first arguments made it sound it’s all a Catholic problem created by Catholic doctrines. And no, the problem is not just monarchical episcopates, the Dutch &c. committed as much atrocities as Lutherans and Anglicans. Do you think John Knox is any better, and that he separated church and state? My main argument was that the problems you impute to “monarchical episcopate” also exist where there is no monarchical episcopate. If any church with human beings has problems, why do you single out the Catholic Church? Because you say its doctrine has problems, but these problems also occur where these doctrines are explicitly denied! And now you come with the lame excuse affirming that I am not addressing your argumentation. You haven’t responded to any claim I (and others) have made so far. You haven’t admitted you’re plain wrong in your 50-year-old-Jesus-oral-tradition bogus James White invention (the only “evidence” you tried to put forth to your argument that “oral tradition doesn’t hold in the 2nd century”). You haven’t admitted from the start that that neologism “sacralism” (which you refused even to define) was created for Calvinist apologetic purposes. You haven’t admitted that all the problems you cite, conceding that they’re problems at all, also occur when there is no monarchical episcopate (or no episcopate at all). You haven’t admitted that you said you believed that the monarchical episcopate is apostolic, but then you claim it to be a 2nd century mistake. I have just made a point above affirming that even Protestants have a progressive view of their own history to support their beliefs, and that it is necessarily so. “Protestantism does not view itself as requiring a history of triumphant progress in order to feel the tenets of its belief system are true.” No, it does, every little church down the street does. You didn’t answer that either. And finally, you haven’t admitted you’re speaking from a Protestant, American, Calvinist point of view, and making a theological reading of history. There is no shame in that. Where did you learn what you profess? And what do you profess? We’re all Catholics here (I suppose) making theological readings of history. And you haven’t, again, stated what your final goal here is. “Can you tell us what is your final point here?” You haven’t clarified your position. Otherwise, I’ll just assume what others have said: “As he has proven to me many times in our frequent exchanges, he merely goes to anti-Catholic websites and passes on their errors. He pretends that he is examining Catholic Doctrine, but that is merely to get a foot in the door. Craig is here to proselytize.” What was supposed to be a light, short, even funny end-of-the-year post about a Facebook meme has turned into a thread with more than 100 comments. You say the meme has some truth in it. We say it doesn’t. I wish you had made simple, short arguments in your favor. Long arguments forces us to answer in long arguments. I’ll go for simple answers all the time. You tell us to read some texts. We do. Then you accuse us of interpreting them through Catholic doctrine. But you’re interpreting them through Calvinist (Craig’s) doctrine, aren’t you? The only way out is to hire some atheist arbiter/interpreter, right? You’ll never accept our interpretations because they’re Catholic; we’ll never accept yours because they don’t fit in with evidence and apostolic tradition. It’s not all your fault, and surely everyone here has learned something, but for all your kindness and politeness, you haven’t receded one inch in your previous affirmations. You never concede you’re (or may be) wrong, instead you dodge our responses. So for the sake of brevity, I’ll just stick to what the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique has to say about all this stuff here (see quote above); it answers all your questions and many others. I’ll wait for the time when you write an article refuting that old-fashioned “dictionary”.

      3. “…why the West left the world behind, and why soon the West will be eclipsed, as the West has abandoned the intellectual influences that has made it the West.”

        Missed this…the decline of the West, and it’s baleful consequences, is something upon which we can all agree. And find common ground…..

        Agreed on the point by point,….just one example of many, infant baptism as a mark of citizenship rather than as a saving grace could be debated, but at this point, think I’ll hold off and see if Joe chimes in after his travels are through.

        Blessings on you and yours my friend.

  11. Craig said – I do not think you addressed the issue of long-term corruption that becomes an issue once politics and large amounts of money get involved. This is where we get the Catholic Church playing kingmaker, the inquisitions, and such.

    Me – didn’t Judaism the religion Jesus followed/lived and came to fulfill have these same characteristics due to human weakness? This didn’t mean Judaism was false. As a matter of fact, Jesus tells the people to obey the teachers but don’t follow their example. He followed both written and oral traditions. Jesus had issues with those that where hypocritical not Judaism.

    Long term corruption may not have been addressed but what about the points that have been? The answers given require quite a few less assumptions than yours yet you won’t consider it because you are trying to fit a square peg (your pre conceived answer) into a square hole (actual evidence).

  12. AK,

    “…rehash earlier excellent rebuttals and posts in defense of the Catholic episcopate as is is and was, from such as Youssef, De Maria…”

    Excellent might be an overstatement, especially because one replies resort to personal attacks it discounts the supposed “value” of the information therein. Maybe it is there, but I am very busy I am trying not to dialogue with anyone who resorts to conversation such as that.

    However, what I have seen between you, Joe, and Rico on my blog are three very different answers that would pit all three of you in disagreement in different areas. It really strikes me as grasping at straws, just throwing whatever at the wall and seeing what sticks. What I honestly do not see is a response that consistently takes into the account the obvious preponderance of evidence that there were indeed churches governed by multiple Bishops, and that this is the only explicit Biblical model. Rico has at least conceded these points, which would be necessary as the truth demands it.

    “…nor will I address your assertion of false equivalency when I believe – and have shown – it stands on its own…”

    Your gluten free bread example? I suppose if that is the best you have you will have to stick with it, but Joe Pesci would tear that argument to shreds in court 😉

    “A little personal history…while a staff officer at HQ Strategic Air Command, Omaha, in the mid 1980’s, I was made aware of a need for instructors of Asian History at the US Air Force Academy…”

    So, you should have a good understanding of how history is properly studied. We place special weight on earlier sources, especially when we view the writers as credible. We evaluate later evidence in light of the earlier evidence. What I do not see here is a historically legitimate attempt to do this and defend the Catholic position (whichever that is as I keep seeing different ones.)

    I made a six piece summary of my position:

    1. The Scripture says there is a plurality of bishops in Phil 1:1 and Acts 20.

    2. I’m not crazy because Jerome read the same evidence and came to the same conclusion.

    3. 1 Clem 42-44 Bishops and elders are one of the same.

    4. The Didache (Chapter 15) makes no mention of a Bishop appointing several elders, but the congregation electing a plurality of BISHOPS.

    5. I read Polycarp in light of the preceding evidence which would lead me to believe that he was not placing himself over the priests he was writing with.

    6. Therefore, because of 1-4, and 5 being completely legitimate because of 1-4, I read Ignatius as an aberration, or a well-meaning pioneer of sorts. Because all of the preceding evidence is more ancient than Ignatius, I read Ignatius in light of the preceding. I do not commit the chronological fallacy of reading the preceding in light of Ignatius.

    I have seen no real historical attempt to address this evidence. You have studied history, so I would expect that you would address the actual historical evidence here.

    “…with Eugene Genovese…”

    Him and his wife converted from atheism to Catholicism 🙂

    “….we both have our own interpretations of “historical and logical scrutiny” in which we both passionately believe.”

    Not exactly. Historical scrutiny pertains to method. I have reiterated that here. Logical pertains to, in this subject, some basic reading comprehension. If the Didache says that the congregation “elected Bishops,” well what can that mean?

    This is why I have found Rico’s defense the most compelling, as he concedes the obvious. There were indeed Plural Bishoprics. He argues that it is legitimate that the Church developed away from these as a defense against schism. However, to argue that Plural Bishoprics did not exist among orthodox Christians, a position that Joe has, is to essentially ignore the very words of the historical documents, which to me is irrational.

    “By undermining the Monarchical Episcopate, you feel you can extrapolate a defensible attack on the Papacy, and thus, demonstrate the correctness of 33,000 Protestant sects…”

    This is an ad hominem (not an insult, though). You are discounting a historical argument not based upon the evidence I cite, but my supposed motivations.

    If you studied history as extensively as you have, you know this contention of yours does not hold up to scrutiny.

    I wish you the best.

    God bless,

    Craig

    1. Craig, this has been going on for more time than it should. About “personal attacks”, it’s just that you show you’re not working academically here: your much-praised “historical method” doesn’t allow for philological or semiotic changes. It behooves anyone writing about history to disclose his personal views and affiliations. You’re writing about something your whole ecclesiastical organization is founded on (Presbyterian doctrine), and we should expect you to be impartial? No, but one would ask you to disclose your bias. Yet you shroud it in mystery and proclaim your religious affiliation does not affect at all your conclusions!

      Your “preponderance of evidence” does not hold up to scrutiny.

      1. You have to show that the “bishops” of Phil. 1:1 have the same function as what was later called “bishop”; that is, that the meaning of the word did not evolve between the time Phil. was written and later times. Of course my earlier quotations did not serve you well, so what if I throw an English one, it can do no harm: “In the New Testament the word ἐπίσκοπος is synonymous with πρεσβύτερος (comp. Acts 20:17; 1 Peter 5:1, 2; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Titus 1:5-7).” http://biblehub.com/philippians/1-1.htm Now you can cry: “So, you see, they’re all and the same thing!” But here’s the catch: who oversees the overseers? Again from an easy-to-find English-language site: “The elders of the Church; viz. of Ephesus. These are manifestly the same as are called ἐπισκόπους in ver. 28, “overseers,” or bishops. The distinctive names and functions of Church officers were not yet fixed; and **the apostles themselves**, aided by degrees by such as Timothy and Titus, **were what we now call bishops**, exercising oversight over the elders themselves as well as over the whole flock (see 1 Timothy 3:1). The diocesan episcopate came in gradually as the apostles died off, and the necessity for a regular episcopate arose (see Acts 6:1-6; Acts 14:23, etc.).” (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/acts/20-17.htm). So obviously those bishops didn’t have the same function later attributed to the same title. So who took the Apostles’ charge of “overseeing the overseers”? Obviously the bishops, or do you have any historical data to show it was just a bunch of “equals”?

      2. Everyone comes to the same conclusion that the word is episkopous in Greek, though only a handful of people come to the conclusion that the meaning of that word has to be the original one, always. Otherwise, let’s just translate to “overseer” every time this word arises, and to “elder” every time “presbyter” arises, and assume they were forever meant to mean what they meant in the NT, and that all hiearchical church organization goes against the apostles and not even the direct disciples of the apostles cared! Let’s assume the direct disciples of the apostles got it all wrong, that the apostles couldn’t even teach them some basic church organization. Because there is no trace of multiple bishops in one location having the same authority vis-à-vis one another, you couldn’t name from history not even one example of a city with two or more “elected” (as you claim they were) bishops (not talking about co-adjuvant bishops). And you raise St. Jerome? Here is his commentary on Phil. 1:1: “Philippi urbs est Macedoniae et certe in una civitate plures episcopi esse non poterant [certainly there could’nt be more than one bishop in one city]” (Comment. in Tit., I, 5, P.L., t. XXVI, col. 563). Now you say Jerome agrees with you?

      3. “3. 1 Clem 42-44 Bishops and elders are one of the same.” No, if you read, nowhere does it claim that. Yes, I have just read it, again. The Apostles appointed bishops and deacons, in 43 the example of Moses is cited perhaps in an attempt to convince his readers that they should not question appointments; in 44 he urges the Corinthians not to dismiss bishops (and perhaps deacons) from their appointments. So Clement is speaking *for* hierarchy; *for* humility; for love and unity: “There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony.” Yes, he accuses those who were trying to overthrow the bishop(s) and deacons of conceit! And more: he urges to respect, revere and preserve the hierarchy! “For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen. Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him.” What do you think Clement is trying to make a parallel to? What do you think “going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him” means? It means, if you have one function (presbyter/priest, deacon) do not go beyond your attributions, you do not boast in a conceited arrogant manner that “all are the same, therefore I am a bishop too and he has no power over me”, and you do not try to overthrow the authority that has ben legitimately appointed over you. How could Clement show that bishops and elders are the same, is beyond my comprehension.

      4. “4. The Didache (Chapter 15) makes no mention of a Bishop appointing several elders, but the congregation electing a plurality of BISHOPS.” Empty claim again. This is basic “text interpretation”, it is clear as water: “Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord”. Is this addressed to a congregation? Or to all the Christians? Does it say that in Rome or Alexandria or any given city there shall be several bishops and that they shall have the same attributions of authority? No. In fact, Churches all around have been “appointing bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord” since the 1st century. It doesn’t say anywhere that “the congregation will appoint several bishops in all cities”, that’s just your fancy imagination extrapolating from the text. Repeat: the Didache doesn’t say the congregation elected bishops. It doesn’t even say “elect”, it doesn’t say “congregation”. [It feels like trying to explain that Catholics don’t worship status or saints. It just doesn’t get into a Protestant mindset. We keep repeating, and you’ll never believe us.]

      5. Does not stand, in view of 1-4.

      6. I haven’t even considered Ignatius in the equation. In fact, I just interpreted the texts.

      “I have seen no real historical attempt to address this evidence.”
      No need to; I just furnished a viable, credible, alternative interpretation only based on good sense.

      ==

      In the end, one gets tired. Everything we say is not “historically legitimate”, you tell us to study history, you call us irrational because you think we ignore mere “words”, you call an argument “ad hominem” when it doesn’t suit you personally or confronts your presuppositions. If you wanted a better, serious discussion, I’m sure you’d have written an academic article or even a thesis in history, philosophy or whatever and would defend it in front of agnostic professionals.

      1. Catholics have shown Craig the Catholic argument.

        Craig has produced his argument. Which amounts to:

        Why? I don’t know. I speculate by sheer force of personality and ability, one rose to the top.

        It seems that he thinks that by his own sheer force of personality, he can persuade us to abandon the Teaching of the Catholic Church and accept his authority.

        1. “Him and his wife converted from atheism to Catholicism :)”

          You really don’t think I failed to note that momentous conversion, years ago? Especially after I spent time livid at having to detail-analyze Dr. G’s earlier cultural Marxist, secular screeds?

          Divine Justice….. 😉

          1. Shout-out appreciated. Yes…very inspirational. Love it when an old Communist sees his and/or her error.

            Given that context…I am Ready for Hillary…. 😉

      2. Youseff,

        If an argument hinges upon “you are Protestant so you have a bias,” that is an ad hominem. You are addressing the arguer and not the argument. I have not argued here, “You are a Catholic, therefore you are wrong.” And you are well aware to give a thesis in front of “agnostic professionals,” which I suppose are college professors, requires a standing within academia. I am sure you are aware it is exceedingly rare for someone to submit a thesis and have it peer reviewed without an academic affiliation. I am really lucky and I got it done once (not on the issue of Christianity, it pertains to Islam and Neo-Platonism). Google my name, you’ll find it.

        Concerning your points, I will address them because you put the time into making them and kept your irrational digs for the end (and so actually gave you the benefit of the doubt up to that point.) It’s not like it is some privilege to talk to me so I suppose you can continue to argue via veiled insults and irrational standards (“if you’re so good, then go present your thesis to agnostic academia then!”) However, I honestly want to disengage from these discussions because it serves as graffiti on Joe’s website and it is not fitting for the intellectual, or the Christian.

        1. “You have to show that the “bishops” of Phil. 1:1 have the same function as what was later called “bishop””

        -Actually, I would not have to. All I would have to demonstrate is that Bishops fulfilled the role of elders in Biblical times to prove my point. If people go redefine what a word means, or a job position, after the fact, all it means is that people changed their minds later. So, I suppose you think you are making a point here but it really doesn’t even begin making sense.

        “But here’s the catch: who oversees the overseers?”

        Obviously, Apostles. And Clement said that the Apostles appointed Bishops to follow after them. Yet, these Bishops did not explicitly exercise the role of ruling over distant churches, and his own writing shows that they still existed as a plurality local to Corinth.

        2. “And you raise St. Jerome? Here is his commentary on Phil. 1:1: “Philippi urbs est Macedoniae et certe in una civitate plures episcopi esse non poterant [certainly there could’nt be more than one bishop in one city]” (Comment. in Tit., I, 5, P.L., t. XXVI, col. 563). Now you say Jerome agrees with you?”

        In one writing of his he does. As for this other comment, being that I do not have the whole context I cannot comment. Jerome can always be contradicting himself after all, which is not uncommon when we look at a corpus of someone’s works. The ideas of men develop over time. In my own writing, I two years ago defended the Monarchical Episcopate. The weight of evidence has forced me to change my position, but there was a time you could have quoted me against myself. You look at anyone’s writing enough, you can find this all the time.

        3. “he urges the Corinthians not to dismiss bishops (and perhaps deacons) from their appointment…”

        Well, if the Corinthians need to be warned not to dismiss several bishops at once, it stands to reason that they have several bishops. Ironically, what you just wrote is more unequivocal than what Clement actually said. Clement wrote:

        “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry…For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour” (1 Clement 44).

        Clearly, Clement has the Episcopate in mind. He warns the Corinthians not to eject those who have blamelessly fulfilled its duties. Then he says, “Blessed are those presbyters…” equating the two. It is pretty obvious what Clement is saying. However, so far in your response, you have devised an illogical burden of proof as it pertains to Phil 1, played a game of “well Jerome said something different here” but did not offer any context for his quotation, and disproved yourself in your own analysis of 1 Clem by saying that the Corinthians were trying to dismiss Bishops. So, your analysis so far has proved to be a little shaky at best, but let’s continue on.

        4. ““Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord”. Is this addressed to a congregation? Or to all the Christians?”

        It sounds like a congregation. It gives all sorts of practical advice as to how to run things and what to do in different situations. It has a lot of second person commands. For example, Chapter 12 says, “But let every one that comes in the name of the Lord be received, and afterward you shall prove and know him; for you shall have understanding right and left.”

        This bears itself out in the last sentence of Chapter 14 and the first of Chapter 15:
        “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations. Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord.”

        So, the text clearly says in “every place” a “pure sacrifice” (i.e. the Eucharist) is offered because God is a great King. Therefore, in light of God being a great King, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons.” So where do we appoint “Bishops?” Well, in every place. They must be worthy of the Lord, for God is a great King.

        So, while you conjecture is reasonable, I think the actual command in context, without the artificial chapter division, makes it clear that appointing Bishops was supposed to be true of every congregation.

        5 and 6 do not really make new points, so I think my response here is sufficient to defend the historical case I have made.

        If you want the last word, simply make another ad hominem in your reply. Hopefully, we can avoid this.

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Craig Truglia says:
          January 13, 2016 at 12:19 am
          Youseff,

          If an argument hinges upon “you are Protestant so you have a bias,” that is an ad hominem. You are addressing the arguer and not the argument.

          Not when the bias is clearly identified and explained. In every case, we have shown you your error. But you insist upon your speculations, you even brag about them, as when you said, “ and have admitted that they are born of Protestant anti-Catholic propaganda which you “absorbed”.

          “Why? I don’t know. I speculate….”

          Really? You speculate and you expect us to accept this as a valid argument?

          I have not argued here, “You are a Catholic, therefore you are wrong.”

          But you have claimed that you have superior knowledge of Catholicism and of Christianity than do we. What? Did you forget that this isn’t your first discussion on this forum? I haven’t.

          In addition, you either don’t understand our arguments or you simply ignore them. Because you certainly don’t address them.

          Your only purpose here seems to be your insistence on your arguments, in total disregard of the truth or any semblance of reasonable argument.

        2. >Then he says, “Blessed are those presbyters…” equating the two.”

          I see no equation there. Perhaps just in your mind. Did he say they were equal, anywhere? No.

          >Well, if the Corinthians need to be warned not to dismiss several bishops at once.

          Did Clement say there were several **at once**, **at the same time**? No.

          >It sounds like a congregation.

          Letters were given to specific churches or people. It doesn’t “sound”, because you cannot say for sure whether it was. Just because there is a second person pronoun doesn’t mean it was addressed to one congregation — as opposed to all churches everywhere.

          >In one writing of his he does.

          So does the Dictionnaire I quoted make the same explanation, and so does the other quotation. He’s not contradicting himself. If there is one thing Jerome sees as necessary, that’s hierarchy, so as to avoid schisms that are visible even in the NT. If you say it’s not necessary, it’s up to you; but nowhere did Jerome say “the rule of the apostles is that there must be more than one bishop in every city” or “the apostles said bishops and presbyters are the same”. All they said is that in the NT the two words may be synonymous (or may take a meaning that is a plain and literal one).

          You’re saying that the later concept (bishop) didn’t exist because in the first times the word (symbol) didn’t refer to it.

          >All I would have to demonstrate is that Bishops fulfilled the role of elders in Biblical times to prove my point.
          Nowhere have you shown that. Instead, you say that bishops were appointed by the apostles (see below).

          >”who oversees the overseers?” Obviously, Apostles. And Clement said that the Apostles appointed Bishops to follow after them.

          So why all this discussion? “Bishops” took the meaning of successors firstly directly appointed by the apostles, as Catholic doctrine and history shows. You say that bishops are successors of the Apostles, but you say they’re equal to presbyters and the laity? It does not make sense. You had said before that 1) like here, the monarchical bishopric is apostolic; 2) then you said it rose in the 2nd c.; 3) bishops were elected; 4) bishops rose to the title because of “personality”. Now you say they weren’t elected, but that the Apostles appointed them. Yes, we agree on that. The next step for you to accept Catholic doctrine is to admit that the bishops appointed by the apostles were given “apostolic authority” as legitimate successors. Now answer me: why on Earth would the Apostles appoint bishops without any authority; bishops that were no better than simple priests (presbyter/elder)? If they really did that, God forgive, then they were one of the most stupid and incompetent leaders on record. If bishops, priests (you could add “laity”) are all and the same, so it’s a free-for-all of individualistic faiths that end up in… (you know the end).

          If you wanted to make sense with your (Craig’s) theology, you had to assume that bishops are not successors of the apostles and do not have an authority that is derived from the Apostles’. Now you say that already in the 1st c. Apostles appointed bishops to do what they did after they were gone, I could as well end the discussion right here.

          >Yet, these Bishops did not explicitly exercise the role of ruling over distant churches, and his own writing shows that they still existed as a plurality local to Corinth.

          Who has ever brought up the subject of “ruling distant churches”? We’re not even talking about that (though Clement ruling over Corinth is pretty “distant” for me). And as I said, his writing doesn’t show what you want to see. (See above. Do I need to repeat?)

          “but did not offer any context for his [Jerome’s] quotation”. Did you ever offer any context for your quotes? I guess not. I just cited page and book!

          >disproved yourself in your own analysis of 1 Clem by saying that the Corinthians were trying to dismiss Bishops.

          You’re very clever. You cannot accept generalizations, and then you say what I didn’t mean to. Did I say there was more than one legitimate and acting bishop at a given moment? No. So stop making unfounded suppositions.

          > So where do we appoint “Bishops?” Well, in every place.

          Sure it’s everywhere. Does it mean you can jump to conclusions and say it’s OK to have several, or dozens, in every city? Oh, come on. You’re extrapolating again.

          >So, while you conjecture is reasonable, I think the actual command in context, without the artificial chapter division…

          Again, you see what you want to see. Thank you for the “your conjecture is reasonable”. By the way, don’t come up with that “in context” argument, you know I read from translations without chapter titles.

          Nowhere in your patristic quotes do I see: “bishop = elder” or “multiple bishops [concept, not word “bishop”, lest you start it over] in one city”. So stop bringing up more quotes, you’ll just waste our time.

          1. “I see no equation there. Perhaps just in your mind. Did he say they were equal, anywhere? No.”

            Clement flat out said, “For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties.”

            Why would he even say this if the Corinthian were ejecting priests, but doing nothing at all to their bishop? Why would he say this and in the very next sentence say blessed are those presbyters that have finished their course?

            Clement is unequivocal. It takes a very odd reading of his statements (i.e. he is making one point here and a totally different point there in the next sentence) to come to another conclusion.

            “Did Clement say there were several **at once**, **at the same time**? No.”

            In chapter 47 he says that the Corinthians are engaging in sedition against their presbyters. Obviously, he has several people in mind. It takes a very eisegetical reading to come to the conclusion that Clement did not mean several Bishops at once, and those presbyters blessed to finish their course are different than those bishops who have holily fulfilled their duties.

            “Just because there is a second person pronoun doesn’t mean it was addressed to one congregation — as opposed to all churches everywhere.>In one writing of his he does.”

            Yet, you ignore the last sentence in chapter 14 and the first sentence of chapter 15, which were meant to be read one after another, which shows that the Didache had in mind electing Bishops in every place.

            ” All they said is that in the NT the two words may be synonymous (or may take a meaning that is a plain and literal one).”

            Jerome said that Bishops stopped the practice because it became a cause of contention. Can you point out specifically where Jerome said that there was a sort of thing as a Bishop in Biblical times and a different kind of Bishop in later times?

            “Nowhere have you shown that.”

            I disagree. Paul called the elders of Ephesus Bishops. It requires contriving a false paradigm that there once was an office called “Bishop” but it is different than the later office of “Bishop.” Your defense doesn’t make sense.

            “So why all this discussion? “Bishops” took the meaning of successors firstly directly appointed by the apostles…”

            Ok, no disagreement so far.

            “You say that bishops are successors of the Apostles, but you say they’re equal to presbyters and the laity?”

            Bishops are successor of the Apostles AND they ARE Presbyters. There is not a single Biblical mention that says Presbyters AREN’t Bishops. We do have the passage in Acts 20 that says Presbyters ARE Bishops.

            “You had said before that 1) like here, the monarchical bishopric is apostolic…”

            Never said that. I said that Plural Bishoprics were in practice LIKELY Monarchical in the sense that one of the Bishops called most of the shots.

            “; 2) then you said it rose in the 2nd …”

            Which it did, as evidenced in Ignatius’ letters, the first actual historical source to talk about it.

            “c.; 3) bishops were elected;”

            This is only what the Didache said. In the Bible, they are appointed.

            ” 4) bishops rose to the title because of “personality”.”

            And ability. And, this is merely speculation.

            “The next step for you to accept Catholic doctrine is to admit that the bishops appointed by the apostles were given “apostolic authority” as legitimate successors.”

            What is you earliest citation that says “Apostolic authority”? The earliest one I can think of that is similar is that Ignatius writes that we should submit to the Bishop as to Christ. And, Ignatius teaches ME. However, I am arguing that the earlier standard does not bear out Ignatius’ views.

            “why on Earth would the Apostles appoint bishops without any authority”

            Bishops have authority, but they do not have prophetic powers nor write anything on the par of Scripture. So, to say a Bishop is completely identical to an APostle essentially gives every Bishop the ability to write inerrantly. Obviously, history does not bear this out. So, you would be wrong to say a Bishop is equal to an apostle. You likely will respond conceding that the Apostles appointed Bishops with less authority, lacking the authority of an Apostle. And once you admit that, it is only a matter of degrees.

            “; bishops that were no better than simple priests (presbyter/elder)?”

            Where does the Bible, or Clement, or the Didache call presbyters “simple priests?”

            “Who has ever brought up the subject of “ruling distant churches”?”

            But the Apostles did! So, if Bishops have the authority of Apostles, wouldn’t this be a logical conclusion of your thought? Yet, the historical records do not bear it out in the 1st century.

            ” We’re not even talking about that (though Clement ruling over Corinth is pretty “distant” for me).”

            Where does it say he ruled over Corinth?

            “Sure it’s everywhere. Does it mean you can jump to conclusions and say it’s OK to have several, or dozens, in every city?”

            That would be up to the Elders to decide, being that Elders appoint elders.

            “you know I read from translations without chapter titles.”

            Honestly, I don’t know enough about you to know where you read anything from.

            “Nowhere in your patristic quotes do I see: “bishop = elder” or “multiple bishops [concept, not word “bishop”, lest you start it over] in one city”. So stop bringing up more quotes, you’ll just waste our time.”

            I have patristic texts that show a plurality of Bishops. We have a Biblical quote that clearly mentions several Bishops from one church and one area. You might not like me quoting things that actually correspond with the Biblical text because you don’t have anything to quote from that supports your idea until the second century.

            God bless,

            Craig

          2. Craig said,

            Clement is unequivocal. It takes a very odd reading of his statements (i.e. he is making one point here and a totally different point there in the next sentence) to come to another conclusion.

            On the contrary, it takes a very Protestant reading to conclude what you conclude. Joe said it best in this discussion. And you have completely turned a blind eye to that which he said, because you know that it destroys your argument.

            Catholic claim: the early churches were governed by a single bishop and several elders (a.k.a. presbyters or priests) in communion with him.

            But you insist on putting your Protestant twist on everything you read and claiming that it has to be the way everything must be understood.

            Again, you have to prove that “elder” must always be “bishop” only. And you can’t. All you can do is speculate, as you admitted yourself.

  13. You consider it a personal attack anytime someone points out your errors, your self-contradictions, your Protestant presuppositins and false assumptions. You consider it an attack anytime someone holds you to a standard of honest discourse.

    1. Got here from Joe’s post on FB, and was surprised to see the extent of this thread. I couldn’t help myself.

      In the end, it’s all explained. I remembered I had read this: http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/a80.htm, so I won’t bother answering Craig here, who supposedly, even in his vocabulary, takes inspiration from things such as this: http://vintage.aomin.org/Presbyters.html

      Yes, one gets tired. Look at the “arguments”: “very eisegetical reading” [no, that’s not an “ad hominem” for him… we couldn’t say that to him, could we?] ; “very odd reading”; “false paradigm”; “doesn’t make sense”; “aberration”; “irrational”; “contriving”… that’s his argument.

      And of course our assumptions about his motives were to the point: I had a déjà-vu when I read this: “this isn’t some cold and academic disagreement about Church history; but an extremely important part of Mr. White’s theology, without which one of the founding principals of the Protestant heresy is called into question. In other words, before the sixteenth-century Protestant rebellion against legitimate Church authority, no one of any importance seriously questioned the Apostolic nature of the episcopal teaching office. However, for the Reformation to succeed as a “valid” Christian movement, episcopal authority had to be discredited, because no bishop in the Church subscribed to Protestant corruption.” http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/a80.htm

      He can babble his osmosis-learned preaching to someone else.

      1. KO:

        Been away from my computer for a few days. Nice job wrapping this up.

        Yeah, I had several of those ‘arguments’ directed at me; example, after describing a little of my past academic and professional history I got some of “you’ve been paying attention,” (how pedantic), ‘well, if you studied history as you said you had’ and the condescending Cousin Vinnie bit you see below, while deflecting legitimate analogies to his theses; the clear insinuations being, if you could understand and interpret as clearly as I, then you’d see the truth,” and not seeing his own screeds are shot through with historical, theological, (dare I say, exegetical) cherry-picking and assumptions, just as he says of us.

        Was amusing for awhile, but have too much of importance to do to re-engage in future fora should things once again, head in a similar downward spiral.

  14. “Your gluten free bread example? I suppose if that is the best you have you will have to stick with it, but Joe Pesci would tear that argument to shreds in court 😉”

    Right, Craig…. and you really “blend…” 😉

          1. At the risk of adding more graffiti to this site:

            Marisa Tomei, when Joe P buys a circus suit from the pawnbroker.

            “Oh Vinnie….you blend….”

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