Pope Benedict XVI to Resign

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has announced that he will step down on February 28th due to his failing health:

“Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

“Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”

This will make him the fifth pope in history to resign the papacy. I am sure that there is much more that shall be said about this news in the days and weeks to come.

262 Comments

    1. Can you say anything about Cardinal Ravasi’s statement “He was not raised; he arose.” I haven’t seen anything beyond that mere statement and the comment that it created a controversy. I’m assuming there is a wider context which would show it to be orthodox; are you familiar with it?

    2. Any takers…

      My thinking now is that he was playing with the tense of the verb. Saying that the Resurrection is present tense still. Not sure though. Does seem to contradict the Biblical record if not given a charitable reading (Acts 13:30, e.g.)

    3. Scripture and the Catechism confirm that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father (Romans 6:4, Ephesians 1: 20; CCC 648, 730); and that Jesus rose from the dead (John 10:17; 1 Thes. 4:14; CCC 649).

      I’ve never seen any more than that one line from Cardinal Ravasi’s statement, so I can’t say for sure what he was trying to say.

  1. I have supreme confidence that all things are as they should be. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing and what is needed for the future of the Church. We must be not afraid. We are in the ‘best hands’… on earth and in heaven. God bless the Catholic Church.

  2. This might be in opportunity for the current Pope to make a positive recommendation and possibly influence the process for making a selection. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Orthordox were part of the process in the interest of reunification?

  3. This would be a good time to dismantle the papacy given that there is no such office in the church that was laid out in the NT and that the papacy did not come about centuries after Christ.

    1. Jesus Christ established the Papacy and it is confirmed in plain language, in Scripture:
      Matthew 16:18-19
      King 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. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

      John 21:15-17
      King James Version (KJV)
      15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

  4. “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, c. 170 A.D.

    1. “We must conclude that the New Testament provides no basis for the notion that before the apostles died, they ordained one man for each of the churches they founded…”Was there a Bishop of Rome in the First Century?”…the available evidence indicates that the church in Rome was led by a college of presbyters, rather than by a single bishop, for at least several decades of the second century (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 80,221-222).

    2. Meyu,

      Your answer looks like a fallacious appeal to authority (the “authority,” in this case, being a liberal Jesuit). The quotation you provide doesn’t even give any warrants. Are we just supposed to take anything Sullivan says as true?

      Specifically, how could we possibly believe that the church in Rome wasn’t led by a single bishop “for at least several decades of the second century,” when we have evidence directly refuting that from 170 A.D.?

      Are we to believe that Irenaeus is just making this up? He’s writing at a time when people from the early 100s were still alive, and he’s naming specific popes from the time of Peter to his day and age. If he were making it up, wouldn’t that be immediately obvious to all of his contemporaries?

      I.X.,

      Joe

  5. Joe,
    I’m not appealing to an authority per se but to the facts of history. Sullivan is not the only one who says that there was no papacy in the early years of the church. Consider this also from another RC source: “..there is no evidence that before his death Peter actually served the church of Rome as its first bishop, even though the “fact” is regularly taken for granted by a wide spectrum of Catholics and others (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., pp. 25,29).

    Here is the way to test if there was a papacy immediately after Peter died: are there any historical records in the first century where we see other churches claiming that a bishop at Rome is the supreme head of the entire church at the time?

    Peter dies in the mid 60’s. The apostle John is still alive until probably the 90’s. Would a bishop in Rome or anywhere else be a higher authority at the time than the apostle John since Peter is dead?

    1. Meyu,

      That’s just another appeal to authority. You’re still not giving warrants for either McBrien’s or Sullivan’s argument.

      I’ve written a post in response to one of McBrien’s other books on the early papacy, but I’ll let you in on the open secret. McBrien, Sullivan, and other are dissenting Catholics who reject the Church’s teaching on several issues. It’s self-serving for them to “discover” that the papacy (whose authority they reject) wasn’t actually founded by Christ. Claiming them as “RC” sources is inaccurate or disingenuous. It would be like appealing to Luther as a “Catholic monk” whose conclusions therefore disprove the Church.

      Basically, you’ve got anti-papal sources finding anti-papal conclusions that contradict actual second-century documents. It’s not “the facts of history,” if actual historical documents directly contradict it.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. Joe,
      What counter facts do you have that shows these RC scholars are lying? Are there any historical records in the first century where we see other churches claiming that a bishop at Rome is the supreme head of the entire church at the time?

      Secondly, how could a bishop be greater in authority while other apostles were alive after Peter such as the apostle John?

    3. Why did the Corinthians appeal to Rome rather than to St. John to solve their scuffle at the end of the First Century?

      “…Dearest brethren, because of the recent and many disastrous events which have happened
      to us, we feel we have been somewhat tardy in shifting our attention to the points regarding
      which you consulted us…” – 1 Clement 1:1

    4. During debates, James White often criticizes his Muslim opponents for quoting liberal Christian scholars in an attempt to disprove the Resurrection, the Trinity, the reliability of the Bible etc. There appears to me to be a strong parallel with quoting liberal Catholic sources in an attempt to disprove Catholicism. Simply quoting someone’s opinion proves little. Instead, evidence must be presented and a case must be made.

      Joe has asked several questions which have, so far, gone unanswered:

      1. Are we just supposed to take anything Sullivan says as true? If not, then what evidence does he have to back up his assertion?

      2. Why should we believe there wasn’t a single bishop of Rome in the 1st Century when we have evidence to that effect in the 2nd Century?

      3. Did Irenaeus just made it up? Why? How did he manage to get away with this deception?

    5. Churches helping out other churches does not make a papacy. I remember reading somewhere that this happened at times between churches.

      There are a number of ways to see if what Sullivan says is true or most likely true. What do other scholars say? McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: seems to concur with what Sullivan wrote.

      A stronger case needs to be made for the papacy in the 1st century. Was the bishop at Rome looked upon as the supreme leader of the church by other churches? Was any bishop? Its also fair to ask if a supreme bishop of the entire church existed in the 1st century then what did he do that showed he had authority over the entire church?

    6. I can’t help but notice that you didn’t actually attempt to answer any of Joe’s three questions, nor did you offer any answer to my question as to why the Corinthians asked Rome to resolve their dispute.

      > “Churches helping out other churches does not make a papacy”

      Nobody is claiming that this single epistle proves everything that the Catholic Church claims about the papacy. It is, however, another piece of evidence which suggests that the See of Rome is no ordinary See.

      Whatever you think about Clement’s letter, it still begs the question: why ask Rome for help when you could get the authority of a living, breathing Apostle who walked with Jesus?!

      Out of interest, have you read Clement’s letter in its entirety?

      > “I remember reading somewhere that this happened at times between churches.”

      I think you’ll have to be a bit more specific in order to so easily dismiss the testimony of Clement’s epistle.

      > There are a number of ways to see if what Sullivan says is true or most likely true. What do other scholars say?

      You say that there are a “number of ways”, but then only offer one – consult other people who share Sullivan’s opinion! As Joe said above, this is just appealing to another authority and, as I wrote, this proves little. Evidence must be presented and a case made, not merely asserted.

      > A stronger case needs to be made for the papacy in the 1st century.

      Why do you say this? Is it simply because you don’t want it to be true? Is it because the case for the Papacy in the Second Century is too strong to easily deny?

      You ask a lot of questions in your final paragraph but we only have limited data with which to answer them. Personally speaking, there are *many* other questions *I’d* like answered concerning the First Century Christian Church, but these questions will have to go unanswered. This is for two reasons:

      1. The number of surviving First Century documents is limited.
      2. Christians of that era weren’t writing documents for *me* to answer *my questions*. Rather, they were writing to solve the issues their day.

      We can, however, look at later documents and try and piece things together.

      We have the same issue with the New Testament. The question of abortion, for example, isn’t *directly* answered in the New Testament, but it is *explicitly* condemned in the Didache. Isn’t it reasonable to assume that this reflects Sacred Tradition and that Christians have considered abortion evil since the beginning? I could assert that, no, this was an aberration introduced with the composition of the Didache…but I would need to present some pretty solid evidence to back up this claim.

      > “what did [the Bishop of Rome] do that showed he had authority over the entire church?”

      Such as? Interfere in the matters of another city’s clergy? In Corinth perhaps? 😉

      But seriously, can you give me an example of what you’d accept? What could a First Century bishop do which would satisfy you of his universal authority, given that it was an era of limited communications and that his congregation was under serious persecution?

      Also, would you agree that someone can *have* authority and not need to *use* it for quite some time? For example, if my boss never disciplined me, would I conclude that he doesn’t have the authority to do so? There are many aspects of Papal authority which Pope Benedict has not used during his eight years as Pontiff. Should we conclude that, since he has neither called an Ecumenical Council nor made an infallible declaration, that the Catholic Church believes he does not have the authority to do so?

    7. Meyu,

      Since you seem committed to these appeals to authority, let me go into a bit more depth on why it’s a failing argument:

      1) “What do other scholars say?” is literally an appeal to authority. I’m not sure why you would deny this: if this isn’t an appeal to authority, what is?

      2) The appeal to this particular authority (majority opinion of scholars) could just as easily be used to “disprove” Christianity at various points in recent history, with liberal, agnostic, atheistic, and other non-Christian scholars dominant within the universities.  We could certainly reject Evangelicalism using this argument, since most scholars would reject Evangelicalism.

      3) Since the state of scholarship is in constant flux, all of our beliefs would similarly be in constant flux. If a majority of scholars tomorrow sided with the papacy, would we conclude that the papacy was now true?

      4) It seems to me that you would reject just about everything else that Sullivan, McBrien, et al, had to say about Christianity: particularly about the historicity of the Bible, say. On what basis do you accept their authority when you want to, and reject it when you don’t?

      5) As has been shown to you already, Sullivan and McBrien’s argument is flatly false. We know what the second-century Church looked like, because we have records from second-century Christians. Accepting 20th-century revisionist’s claims about the second-century Church over and against contemporary accounts is bad history and bad scholarship, almost without regard to the subject.

      6) It’s completely implausible to suppose that Irenaeus would make up this account, since it would have been obviously-false to his contemporaries, including his readers. (This is the exact same line of argumentation that Catholics and Protestants agree on for the authenticity of the Gospels, precisely because it’s true: acceptance by contemporaries points to the credibility of the account).

      7) You’ve appealed to McBrien’s authority before, and I showed you back in December why that’s unsupportable. As far as I know, neither of us would find his “scholarship” credible on the historicity of either the Virgin Birth or the saying of Christ . Yet after I raised this issue, you ignored me, only to regurgitate the exact same quotation that you used last time. Your argument has not improved with age.

      On that same theme, I note that you’re ignoring all of the substantial questions you’re being asked. Are you concerned with discovering the truth on this issue, or just trying to win an argument? Because if you’re willing to embark on an intellectually serious, spiritually open discussion on the papacy, I would be more than happy to oblige. It’s one of my favorite subjects, and I think that the Catholic case on the papacy is positively overwhelming. But that requires something deeper than the a one-dimensional analysis.

      Finally, you seem to suggest that if the papacy didn’t look in the 1st century like it looks in the 21st, it didn’t exist. Do you think that this standard makes sense? Would you expect Microsoft in 1989 to look like Microsoft in 1999, or 2013? After all, as Restless Pilgrim mentioned, you could use that argument to “disprove” the papacy at any point in history, since the papacy today looks quite different than it looked one hundred years ago.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    8. Clement’s epistle does not prove the papacy in the least. No I have not read I Clement. Does he refer to himself as the supreme leader of the entire church?
      There were at least 3 centers for Christianity in the first century. 1st was Jerusalem, the Antioch and Rome. There could also be others. Note also the first council was in Jerusalem and where James was the head and who made the final decision.
      If McBrien and Sullivan are scholars in this field they should be listened to and not dismissed outright because they don’t agree with Rome on something. I saw no counter evidence against them. That’s why I Clement can be a great help in helping to see if there is a supreme bishop for the entire by what Clement says about himself. Does he refer to himself as the supreme bishop of the entire church?

      The first bishop to claim primacy (in writing, anyway) was Stephen I (254-257).
      Pope Damasus I (366-384) was first to claim that Rome’s primacy rested solely on Peter

      If you are going to claim there was a pope like figure in the first century you would need to demonstrate:
      1) Some kind of document from this person who claims to be the supreme bishop of the entire church.
      2) Does this person claim to speak for the entire church and do other churches acknowledge his supreme authority to do so?
      These would be necessary conditions to meet to claim there was some kind of supreme bishop in the first century.

      There is no dispute about what the current pope can do. The problem you have is showing this kind of leader in the 1st century church.

      The claims of the papacy that it goes back to Peter just cannot be supported historically.

  6. Joe,
    You are also appealing to authority i.e. your church. You have not refuted those scholars with any counter facts that shows they are lying. You did not answer my questions:
    Are there any historical records in the first century where we see other churches claiming that a bishop at Rome is the supreme head of the entire church at the time?

    Peter dies in the mid 60’s. The apostle John is still alive until probably the 90’s. Would a bishop in Rome or anywhere else be a higher authority at the time than the apostle John since Peter is dead?

    Here are some requirements to think about in regards to supreme leader of the church being the bishop of Rome that I asked:
    If you are going to claim there was a pope like figure in the first century you would need to demonstrate:
    1) Some kind of document from this person who claims to be the supreme bishop of the entire church.
    2) Does this person claim to speak for the entire church and do other churches acknowledge his supreme authority to do so?
    These would be necessary conditions to meet to claim there was some kind of supreme bishop in the first century. If anyone is going to claim the papacy then these requirements at minimum must be met. We already know that later popes did meed these minimum requirements.

    1. Meyu,

      Where did I appeal to the authority of the Church anywhere?

      Regarding the authority of Pope Clement and the Apostle John, Restless Pilgrim already answered that. Clement was who the Corinthians appealed to… while St. John was alive. We have the document to prove it (regardless of whether you read it).

      Apostolic authority is unique, but it doesn’t serve as some kind of super-papacy. They served distinct roles within the Church.

      As for the rest, I answered all of that in my last paragraph. You’re offering a fundamentally silly standard. You could just as easily “disprove” the Trinity, the Hypostatic Union, or virtually any other doctrine, by arguing that it’s not fleshed out comprehensively in an explicit way in a first or second century document. No Christian takes that standard for their faith.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. You’re still ignoring my questions.

    2. Joe,
      I asked if Clement refers to himself as the supreme leader-bishop of the entire church in his letter? You did not answer.
      My standards are not silly but completely reasonable. The fact is there was no one in the first century that claimed to be the supreme leader of the entire church or any other churches believed such a person existed.
      Just because one church helps another does not mean it has authority over the entire church. John as an apostle would carry more authority than any bishop.

      You do indeed appeal to your church as your authority. All faithful RC must. I accept Sullivan and McBrien as authorities because they have the credentials to back up what they say.
      “Richard Peter McBrien (born 1936) is the Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford and the author of several books and articles discussing Catholicism. He is most well known for his authorship of Catholicism. He also served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America from 1974–1975. In 1976 he was the awarded the John Courtney Murray Award for outstanding and distinguished accomplishments in theology…”

      Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., is professor emeritus of the faculty of theology at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he also earned an S.T.D. degree. He now teaches ecclesiology at Boston College.”

      Check their bios at amazon.com

      They do carry weight.

    3. Meyu,

      I’ll ask again: where did I appeal to the authority of the Church to prove my case? Simply claiming that I must have, since I’m a Catholic, is silly and wrong. You’re just repeating anti-Catholic tropes, in the face of contrary evidence.

      I suspect that I’m far more familiar with McBrien than you are. When Bishop Finn was made bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (while I was living there), one of his first actions was pulling McBrien’s column from the diocesan newspaper. As I said (and you continually ignore), you don’t actually believe in McBrien or Sullivan’s scholarship. You haven’t answered any of my arguments, so I won’t bother repeating them.

      My standards are not silly but completely reasonable. The fact is there was no one in the first century that claimed to be the supreme leader of the entire church or any other churches believed such a person existed.” Four points:

      1) You could just as easily use this argument against the Trinity (since it’s not spelled out, as such, in the first century). I raised this point before, but you’ve ignored it, just to repeat your point. So yes, this is a silly standard.

      2) This is a silly standard for the additional reason cited by my Microsoft example, above. Of course the Church (including the papacy) looked differently in the 1st, 8th, 18th, and 21st century.

      3) You’re seemingly uninterested in learning what the first and second century documents actually say, since it contradicts your talking points. Case in point, you said: “Clement’s epistle does not prove the papacy in the least. No I have not read I Clement.” Why bother reading Clement’s epistle, when you can just guess what it says?

      4) I did a six-part series on the papacy (on the sidebar) showing that St. Peter occupied such a position of leadership within the early Church.

      At this point, this dialogue is unproductive. You’ve repeatedly avoided answering any of the questions that I raised, and have just repeated your discredited talking points.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    4. Who is claiming that there is a papacy since NT times? Rome. You are appealing to Rome as an authority for this claim because it is Rome that makes it.
      Just because a bishop pulls “McBrien’s column from the diocesan newspaper” does not mean what McBrien wrote that”..there is no evidence that before his death Peter actually served the church of Rome as its first bishop, even though the “fact” is regularly taken for granted by a wide spectrum of Catholics and others” is false. Pulling a column from a newspaper means nothing in discussion. Its irrelevant.
      I certainly believe what these 2 RC scholars wrote. You did not give any counter facts to show they were lying.

      Again, there was no papacy in the first century. Clement makes no such claim for himself in I Clement that he is the supreme leader of the entire church. You can read his letter here:http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-lightfoot.html

    5. Meyu,

      I did give evidence that their positions are flatly false. You ignored it entirely. You didn’t even answer it. Now you’re claiming it doesn’t exist.

      And do I need to point out the absurdity of this claim: “You are appealing to Rome as an authority for this claim because it is Rome that makes it”?

      Let’s try it this way. “Who is claiming that Jesus rose from the dead? Rome. You are appealing to Rome as an authority for this claim because it is Rome that makes it.” Would you accept this as a valid description of the basis of your beliefs?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    6. What evidence? Is this the evidence you are referring to: “We know what the second-century Church looked like, because we have records from second-century Christians.” There are no facts here. Secondly, the papacy needs to be established in the 1st century if you are going to claim its apostolic i.e. directly from Peter. As for Irenaeus I didn’t see any quotes from him.

      I believe in the resurrection not because of what Rome says but what the gospel writers wrote. If I knew of this only from Rome then Rome would be my authority on this issue.

    7. ### Clement of Rome ###

      Thank you for having the humility to admit that you haven’t actually read Clement’s epistle. Given the way you spoke about it, I had a suspicion that you hadn’t, but I would strongly suggest that you do.

      I’m guessing you also haven’t read Ignatius of Antioch’s epistle to the Romans either. I would suggest that would also be worth reading and comparing it to the other epistles he wrote, such as the one to the Smyrnaeans.

      However, returning to Clement, you still haven’t attempted to provide an explanation as to ***why the Corinthians reached out to Rome rather than to the Apostle John or a nearby congregation to settle the matter***.

      ### The Question of Authority ###

      I don’t think I managed to successfully communicate my intent in talking about the activities of the most recent pontiff. You said “There is no dispute about what the current pope can do”. I agree, but what I was trying to do was to emphasize the difference between the existence of authority and its use.

      There is no historical record of Pope Benedict either calling an Ecumenical Council or making an infallible declaration. However, this does not mean that he lacks the authority to do so. Similarly, just because we don’t have a record of a powerful use of Papal authority in the First Century doesn’t mean that the authority didn’t exist.

      Speaking of Church Councils, your comments concerning the Council of Jerusalem are unfortunately not relevant. The Apostles were in Jerusalem at the time (including Peter) and the issue was caused by people from the surrounding area of Judea causing problems in the (relatively) nearby city of Antioch. There’s no reason why one would expect Rome to figure in the situation at all. Also, if you re-read Acts 15, you’ll see that it was Peter who first declared that the Gentiles didn’t have to be circumcised and that James concurred and then offered some pastoral guidelines for this ruling.

      ### First Century history, Second Century conspiracies ###

      You didn’t respond at all to my comments about the issue caused by the paucity of First Century data. We have a limited number of documents available to us from that era. Why would you expect (and, indeed, insist upon finding) a document asserting Papal authority?

      You also didn’t respond at all to my comments about abortion in the New Testament and the Didache. Did you find fault with my logic?

      You say “A stronger case needs to be made for the papacy in the 1st century”, but again, why? Why begin with the conspiracy theory that it was made up in the Second Century?

    8. ### The James White Objection ###

      In my first post I mentioned Dr. James white and how he criticizes his Muslim debate opponents when they quote liberal Christian scholars in an attempt to disprove the Resurrection etc. I said that there’s a strong parallel with quoting liberal Catholic sources in an attempt to disprove Catholicism. It’s rather like asking Nancy Pelosi to explain the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion!

      I am reminded of something else he often encounters in his Islamic debates. The Muslim apologist asks “Where in the Gospels does Jesus say ‘I am God, worship me’?”. I found your demand for a First Century document where the Bishop of Rome declares himself to be “the supreme head of the entire church” very similar in this regard. What makes this the standard for judgement?

      ### Development of Doctrine ###

      Finally, I would like to draw your attention to an extremely strong argument of Joe’s which I also don’t think you’ve addressed at all. By the logic you are presenting, one could “disprove the Trinity, Hypostatic Union, or virtually any other doctrine, by arguing that it’s not fleshed out comprehensively in an explicit way in a first or second century document”. ***Please explain how this statement is incorrect.***

      God bless,

      David.

    9. Hi Restless,
      I have read I Clement. I looked it up and read it for our discussion. You asked –“why the Corinthians reached out to Rome rather than to the Apostle John or a nearby congregation to settle the matter?” How do you know they did not seek help from other churches and got some? After all, we don’t have exhaustive records during this period in history. It’s possible that they could have gotten advice from other churches. Either way, it does not support the claim for a papacy.
      In regards to the power of a pope we do know that if such a position-person existed in the first century he would have to at a minimum meet the 2 characteristics I laid out. Remember: it is the Roman Catholic church that is claiming there has been a pope since the beginning and such an individual could not be hidden if he existed. There must be some evidence that this person was known by the churches as being the supreme leader of the church and that he speaks in the place of the apostles. Agreed?
      Peter did indeed speak at the first council but it was James who decided. See Acts 15:19
      The papacy is a major doctrine and position in the Roman Catholic church. If it existed in the first century then we should expect to see solid evidence for it. The fact that we don’t and that it is not a position that is ever mentioned as part of the structure of church in the New Testament should make you think that it did not exist until the later centuries when the church at Rome became wealthier and more political.
      I’m not depending on any “conspiracy theories” but on the lack of positive evidence for the papacy in the first century. Even Clement does not refer to himself as the supreme leader of the church in I Clement.
      As for abortion, it is wrong because the early Christians would have understood it to be murder. Abortion in the early church is a different issue than the papacy. The papacy needs to stand on its own and if it cannot then it should admitted that it’s not apostolic but a creation of men.

    10. When a Muslim asks “”Where in the Gospels does Jesus say ‘I am God, worship me’?” the Christian should be able to answer that via what the gospels and the rest of the New Testament say. The Muslim has a right to demand a clear answer to this question since Christians are making the claim that Jesus is God in the flesh. It is foundational to our beliefs.
      The claims of the papacy are of a similar nature and demand clear evidence for it in the first century. It is a reasonable request since belief in the papacy for the Roman Catholic is of paramount importance. Agreed?
      I know this will get Joe madder at me but his questions are irrelevant to the issue of the papacy. Each doctrine must stand on its own or it falls. Were not talking about the Trinity, Hypostatic Union, or virtually any other doctrine.

    11. In the interests of keeping this short, I’m going to focused on the key issues here…

      > “How do you know they did not seek help from other churches and got some? After all, we don’t have exhaustive records during this period in history.”

      If they got help from other churches then it’s clear that it didn’t work if they needed to go all the way to Rome! Why did the opinion of Clement matter enough to resolve the situation in distant Corinth when others did not? And again, if John was around, why couldn’t he resolve the situation?

      However, your perspective here is interesting. Here you admit the possibility that something could have happened in history (the Corinthians writing to other congregations) without leaving any documentary evidence….yet this is an allowance that you won’t allow for the Papal authority. Why?

      >In regards to the power of a pope we do know that if such a position-person existed in the first century he would have to at a minimum meet the 2 characteristics I laid out….

      Why? Why would this obviously be true?

      >There must be some evidence that this person was known by the churches as being the supreme leader of the church and that he speaks in the place of the apostles. Agreed?

      err…no…why must there be? I think this assumption you’re making is the root of our issues here.

      > I’m not depending on any “conspiracy theories” but on the lack of positive evidence for the papacy in the first century.

      I’m afraid you are. Irenaeus speaks plainly about the Bishop of Rome in the 2nd Century and we have nothing to suggest that this was a new a new concept to his readers or that anyone caused any kind of fuss…yet you do. Why? You’re objecting because we don’t have a prior extant document from the bishop of Rome declaring himself to have universal power.

      You assume that if this was believed then such a document must have existed and come down to us today…but why? Again, I’d just ask you to try and imagine a situation in which such a document would have been written. A situation would have needed to arise to prompt such a document to be written and we’ve got roughly a 20-30 year window for this to happen, all the while the Roman Church is under serious persecution. This document would then have had to been repeated copied during several more centuries of persecution and then preserved for 2,000 years for us to read today.

    12. >When a Muslim asks “”Where in the Gospels does Jesus say ‘I am God, worship me’?” the Christian should be able to answer that via what the gospels and the rest of the New Testament say.

      So you have that exact quotation?! I don’t think so. Jesus never said those explicit words, and unless you can show he said those exact words you fail the unfair test.

      The other mistake you make is that you talk about “the rest of the New Testament” but this violates the restrictions of the question since the apologist has limited what resources you may call upon.

      Hopefully you can see why I compared this test to your own.

      >I know this will get Joe madder at me but his questions are irrelevant to the issue of the papacy. Each doctrine must stand on its own or it falls. Were not talking about the Trinity, Hypostatic Union, or virtually any other doctrine.

      I disagree. You are using one set of standards for the Papacy and another for all those other doctrines. You are demanding that a fully developed doctrine concerning the Papacy be easily visible in the First Century, when you would not make the same demands on any of the others. It’s a question of consistency.

    13. Meyu,

      One of the things that I’m trying to establish is that you can’t hold two contradictory standards. Let’s go over a few of the double-standards that you’re using.

      The First Double-Standard: First Century Evidence

      A) For the papacy, you claim that you can disprove the papacy by arguing that there’s a lack of first-century evidence. In fact, your standard is that, for us to claim that the papacy existed in the first century, we must provide two very specific kinds of first-century evidence: an explicit claim from the pope that he is “the supreme bishop of the entire church,” and evidence that other churches accepted his supreme authority. You say that “these would be necessary conditions to meet to claim there was some kind of supreme bishop in the first century”

      B) On the other hand, you claim that there couldn’t be a pope while the Apostle John was still alive. Yet when faced with the fact that the only first century evidence shows the Corinthians turning to Pope Clement to settle their dispute, rather than the Apostle John, your argument is now that a lack of first-century evidence means nothing, because “we don’t have exhaustive records during this period in history”:

      How do you know they did not seek help from other churches and got some? After all, we don’t have exhaustive records during this period in history. It’s possible that they could have gotten advice from other churches. Either way, it does not support the claim for a papacy.

      The Second Double-Standard: Is Explicit Evidence Required?
      A) As referenced above, you require evidence that not only is from the first century, but is incredibly explicit:

      If you are going to claim there was a pope like figure in the first century you would need to demonstrate:
      1) Some kind of document from this person who claims to be the supreme bishop of the entire church.
      2) Does this person claim to speak for the entire church and do other churches acknowledge his supreme authority to do so?
      These would be necessary conditions to meet to claim there was some kind of supreme bishop in the first century.

      B) As Restless Pilgrim mentioned, this is the exact same argument that Muslims use against Christ: that His claims to Divinity aren’t explicit enough. And as I’ve already mentioned, you wouldn’t be able to prove “the Trinity, Hypostatic Union, or virtually any other doctrine” using this standard of proof. Your response is: “Each doctrine must stand on its own or it falls. Were not talking about the Trinity, Hypostatic Union, or virtually any other doctrine.”

      What we’re talking about is something more fundamental: the standard of proof. You can’t coherently claim that doctrines you want to believe in require one standard of proof, and doctrines you don’t want to believe in require another (ridiculous high) standard of proof. Why should anyone respect a standard that you’re just going to manipulate at will?

    14. The Third Double-Standard: Appeals to Academic Authority

      A) On the papacy, you claim “I accept Sullivan and McBrien as authorities because they have the credentials to back up what they say.” In fact, you don’t actually provide any warrants to Sullivan or McBrien’s argument: you’re content that they say it, so it must be true. As you put it, “What the credentials of Sullivan and McBrien tell us is that they are qualified to write in these areas that we are discussing.” The argument appears to be that since they’re professional theologians, they therefore must be good historians.

      B) McBrien, as I just mentioned, is a theologian, not an historian. Let’s look at just one aspect of his theology: his claim (on #11-12, p. 565 of Catholicism) that Jesus wasn’t omniscient, and actually made mistakes. In fact, he says that the earliest parts of the New Testament affirm this, while the later parts of the New Testament deny it:

      “The question of Jesus’ knowledge of consciousness, is important, first, because unless we can admit to ignorance and even error in Jesus, certain problems of New Testament interpretation cannot be solved. Second, a Jesus who knows all things, and everything about all things, is not apparently the same human Jesus who the Council of Chalcedon confessed is like us in all things except sin.

      On the basis of the New Testament evidence alone, one finds arguments on both sides of the question. Some texts, reflecting a later, higher Christology, attribute unlimited knowledge to Jesus, while many other texts, reflecting an earlier, lower Christology, reveal both ignorance and error in Jesus.”

      Do you therefore deny Christ’s omniscience, and believe in contradictory New Testament Scriptures, on the grounds that, “I accept Sullivan and McBrien as authorities because they have the credentials to back up what they say”? Or do you now abandon this standard when it’s inconvenient?

      And if McBrien’s credentials as a theologian aren’t strong enough to make you accept him as a theologian, on what basis do his credentials as a theologian make you conclude he’s a reputable historian?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. There are substantial points that you’ve raised that I would like to address: for example, you’re wrong about first century evidence, and I think you’ll be surprised when you hear what Irenaeus’ credentials actually are. But before we proceed, I think you need to un-stack the deck.

  7. Well, I get to my computer this morning, fresh ashes on my forehead, and I see that you fellas have gone back and forth a few times in my absence! I’m going to pull a few of these threads together, try and get to the heart of the issue and highlight the important questions which need to be answered (*** identified like this***)…

    ### The Three Questions ###

    Speaking of questions Meyu, I can’t help but notice that we still haven’t got very far concerning the initial three questions I highlighted at the beginning.

    With regards to the first question, you’ve spoken a lot about Sullivan’s opinions but, as far as I can see, you haven’t actually presented any of the arguments or proof he puts forward. You’ve only said that (a) he has evidence and (b) that other educated people agree with him.

    You say “I accept Sullivan and McBrien as authorities because they have the credentials to back up what they say”. This seems a little odd to me. You believe them because they have degrees?! It’s not because their logic is so compelling?

    Does Sullivan’s argument just boil down to the objection that you’ve mentioned: since we don’t find anyone claiming to be the “supreme head of the Church” in the First Century, the papacy is a sham?

    ***I think this conversation would be much more profitable if you could present the crux of Sullivan’s argument and some of the evidence he uses to substantiate his claims.***

    As far as I can see, you haven’t offered any answer for the other questions: ***Why should we believe that there wasn’t a single bishop of Rome in the First Century when someone a few years later said that there was? Why do you think Irenaeus lied? How did he get away with the deception? ***

    You said that “If McBrien and Sullivan are scholars in this field they should be listened to and not dismissed outright because they don’t agree with Rome on something”. I agree, but shouldn’t the same courtesy be given to St. Irenaeus? Should he be ignored just because he’s inconvenient to the hypothesis?

    You said you didn’t see any quotations from Irenaeus. He was quoted at the top of this discussion by Michael. Here is the text again:

    “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, …assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” – Irenaeus, Against Heresies, c. 170 A.D.

    When Michael posted this quotation you did, in fact, write a response quoting an opinion Sullivan but, again, with no evidence to back up his claims.

    1. What the credentials of Sullivan and McBrien tell us is that they are qualified to write in these areas that we are discussing. I have no reason to think they are lying. Until counter facts show otherwise then i’m justified in believing they are speaking the truth.
      I don’t think Irenaeus is lying. He could be misinformed. Was he some kind of historian that did research while he was alive?
      I do think he is wrong about Peter and Paul founding the church at Rome which was over 1000 miles from where they were. Both of them were ministering in the early years close to Antioch and Jerusalem. Its most likely that people who heard the gospel in Acts 1-2 brought the message to Rome and established various house churches. There is no solid evidence for this but I think it makes much more sense given what we know about the early church via Acts.
      I think that Sullivan and McBrien are right because I have yet to see any facts of a papacy in the first century. We do know that the church of the first century was experiencing a lot of turbulence and growth which would have made it difficult for one man to have jurisdiction over the entire church.

    2. >What the credentials of Sullivan and McBrien tell us is that they are qualified to write in these areas that we are discussing.

      I can produce Catholics and Protestant scholars who are qualified to write on subject but who reach differing conclusions. Qualifications prove nothing I’m afraid.

      >Until counter facts show otherwise then i’m justified in believing they are speaking the truth.

      Meyu, please may I point out that you still have yet to present any evidence to back up their assertions. Is the sum total of their argumentation really: we don’t have extant evidence from the First Century so we assume it was made up in the Second Century? If so, that’s a really weak argument…

      >I don’t think Irenaeus is lying. He could be misinformed. Was he some kind of historian that did research while he was alive?

      I’m pleased that you’ve finally started to address Irenaeus. Yet, is this it? You, by default, think he’s misinformed? Where were the “real” Christians saying “Hey Irenaeus! This thing you’re saying about the Bishop of Rome is nonsense!”

      >I do think he is wrong about Peter and Paul founding the church at Rome…it makes much more sense given what we know about the early church via Acts.

      I’m afraid this betrays your lack of familiarity with the works of Irenaeus. May I assume that you hadn’t read “Against Heresies” before today? He doesn’t mean that Peter and Paul were the first Christians in Rome. I do hope that this isn’t the sum total of your reasons to distrust Irenaeus.

    3. It is you who is making the positive claim of a papacy in the first century. So far you have not given me one fact to support this. I Clement nor any other letter in the first century supports the idea of a supreme leader of the entire church. Ball is in your court to prove it. Without proof there is no reason to think that their was some kind of papacy.

      How many people in the 2nd century could have challenged Irenaeus’ claim? Just because he claims it does not mean its true.
      Irenaeus claimed that Peter and Paul founded the church in Rome. There is no evidence for this claim.

    4. Meyu,

      When you say things like “There is no evidence for this claim” and “you have not given me one fact to support this,” I’m curious as to what you imagine historical evidence looks like. Because having studiend ancient history, I can attest that when someone writing in the second century talks about what life was like in the first century, that is evidence. When a near-contemporary describes an event, that’s precisely the sort of way that we know most of what we know. To not only reject this evidence, but to deny that it even is evidence, is bad history.

      If you claim that this isn’t evidence, on what basis do you claim that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the four Gospels? Each Gospel is internally anonymous, and we know their authorship precisely because of the written accounts of near-contemporaries.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    5. > If you claim that this isn’t evidence, on what basis do you claim that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the four Gospels? Each Gospel is internally anonymous, and we know their authorship precisely because of the written accounts of near-contemporaries.

      And isn’t Irenaeus one of those early witnesses to the Gospels?

  8. The gospels are the best attested bio-histories in the ancient world. Luke for example in 1:1-4 tells us how he went about investigating everything carefully by interviewing the eyewitnesses. You don’t have this kind of thing with claims to a papacy in the first century. If you have studied ancient history then you would also know that not everything that we have is true about history. People can get things wrong. We know this to be the case with some of the OT Apocrypha. We reject the Apocrypha gospels in part because they were not written by eyewitnesses.
    We believe that the names on the gospels are the ones that wrote them for a number of reasons. One is that those names have always been associated with them. Secondly, Papias also tells us who the authors were. We are on good grounds to believe that we know the authors of the gospels.

    Now if you had such evidence for the papacy in the first century then you might have a leg to stand on.

    1. Meyu,

      You’re proving my point. You just said that we know the authorship of the Gospels because of Papias, a second century source. Do you not see how that completely contradicts your earlier argument that we should disregard Irenaeus because he’s a second-century source?

      If you have studied ancient history then you would also know that not everything that we have is true about history.

      I did study ancient history. My B.A. is in history, and my final project was on ancient Indus Valley civilizations (Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro). I fully grasp the limitations of our knowledge of ancient history, which is why I’m not the one demanding first century documents containing explicit support for every Christian doctrine. I recognize that would be an unreasonable burden of proof.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  9. I didn’t say that we should disregard Irenaeus. I think he is wrong about Peter and Paul founding the church at Rome. I gave reasons why.

    Do you think that non RC profs on ancient history during this period would be persuaded there was a papacy in the first century based on the available evidence?

    1. I didn’t say that we should disregard Irenaeus.

      I’m referring specifically to your denial that Irenaeus constitutes evidence of the existence of a first century papacy. That’s a complete disregard of his testimony as evidence.

      And I think that someone who accepts the evidence for the existence of the papacy in the early Church wouldn’t stay “non-RC” very long. As a matter of fact, the Patristic evidence (that is, the writings of the earliest Christians) has been influential in numerous scholarly conversions to Catholicism. To take just one example, Frank Beckwith, head of the Evangelical Theological Society (credentials!) converted to Catholicism after studying the Early Church Fathers. And this happens with some frequency.

      If you would, would you please address the three double-standards that I listed above? I think that it’s helpful in these sort of conversations to have a few basic ground rules, like:
      (1) Is first-century silence on x proof that x isn’t true?
      (2) Should all Christian doctrines be traceable to explicit statements found in the first century?
      (3) Do you or don’t you accept Sullivan and McBrien, merely on the basis of their academic credentials?

      I.X.,

      Joe

  10. What church father mentions the papacy in the first century?

    1) Silence is not evidence for anything.
    2) All doctrines that are binding on Christians should be clearly grounded in Scripture.
    3) I accept Sullivan and McBrien work because there are no counter facts against them and there are no positive statements of a papacy in the first century.

    1. Meyu,

      1) Thank you for clarifying your position here.

      2) “All doctrines that are binding on Christians should be clearly grounded in Scripture.” Where is this doctrine clearly grounded in Scripture? And how can we even know which Books are and are not Scripture, without turning to the testimony of the Church Fathers?

      3) “I accept Sullivan and McBrien work because there are no counter facts against them and there are no positive statements of a papacy in the first century.

      By now, you should see that this claim is false. We’ve already established:

      (a) that Sullivan and McBrien are theologians, not historians [so even as appeals to authority, they’re weak;
      (b) that you don’t actually accept Sullivan and McBrien’s theology [so you don’t even believe in the authority to which you’re appealing];
      (c) that you haven’t provided a single argument from anything Sullivan or McBrien wrote to support their conclusions [if you don’t believe me, review your prior comments, and show me where you quoted an argument either of them made, rather than simply stating their conclusions or assertions];
      (d) that their claim that there wasn’t even a Bishop of Rome “for at least several decades of the second century,” is demonstrably false, and is directly refuted by second century evidence;
      (e) that Irenaeus’ near-contemporary account of the first century papacy is exactly a “counter fact against” Sullivan and McBrien’s conclusion; and
      (f) that the first century papacy acted very much like a papacy, involving itself in the affairs of the church of Corinth, even while the Apostle John was still alive.

      In response to this wall of argumentation and evidence, you’ve repeatedly just dismissed the arguments, as if they didn’t exist. But as much as you may claim that Sullivan and McBrien have good arguments, you haven’t presented them. And as much as you may deny that early attestations for the papacy exist, we’ve already seen that they do.

      All that leaves you with is the argument that “there are no positive statements of a papacy in the first century.” But “Silence is not evidence for anything,” as you just said.

      So you have basically no arguments against the papacy, by your own analysis. Granted, that doesn’t automatically prove the papacy, but it should at least temper your boldness in making obviously-false claims like, “the papacy did not come about [for] centuries after Christ.”

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. All doctrines should be grounded in Scripture for the mere fact that the Scriptures are inspired-inerrant. It is the nature of Scripture to be inspired-inerrant. Nothing else is.
      God used various ways to help the church discover what the canon should be. The church does not make Scripture inspired or inerrant.
      Let’s say Sullivan and Mcbrien are wrong. You still have not demonstrated in the least that the papacy existed in the first century. Not even Irenaeus has done that. Also, just because a person in history lives closer in time to an event does not mean they know more than those who come later. In fact, we know more about the ancient past than anyone who lived a hundred years after an event or person. We have more ways to check than Irenaeus could. This is why you should take Irenaeus with a grain of salt since he gives no evidence for his claim that Peter and Paul founded the church at Rome. There is no evidence for this claim. Is there any eyewitness testimony that Peter and Paul founded the church in Rome? Do you know of any?
      Not only is there no evidence for a papacy in the first century but its not even mentioned in the NT as a position in the church. These are 2 powerful arguments against a papacy in the NT and the first century. These are the arguments you are going to need to overcome if you want to prove the papacy in the first century.

    3. Honestly, with your Sola Scriptura point-of-view (which you haven’t actually justified from Scripture, but merely, again, asserted), I honestly don’t know why you’d care whether or not there was an extrabiblical witness to the Papacy in the First Century.

      Your logic to me still seems perverse and inconsistent. You place historical demands on the Papacy which you wouldn’t place on any other doctrine of Christianity. You assert that, if the Papacy existed in the First Century, that there would have certainly been some historical record left to us…but you haven’t even attempted to explain to us why you think this to be the case. You still haven’t attempted to explain why Corinth appealed to Rome and you also haven’t engaged with several of Joe’s most recent critiques of the logic of your position.

      Finally, and most importantly, despite all the back-and-forth, you haven’t yet presented any arguments from Sullivan or any evidence to back it up. I can only conclude that the sum total of the argument really just is: we don’t have an explicit record of the Papacy in the First Century so it must have been made up in the Second Century. If that really is the some total of the argument, then that’s an incredibly weak case.

      Pax.

    4. Were having a discussion on the papacy and its a worthwhile discussion to have is it not? Each doctrine has to stand on its own. Agreed?

      I would think you would be deeply troubled that there is no real solid evidence for the papacy in Scripture or the first century. I know I would be.

      What kind of evidence would there be needed to prove Sullivan’s point? If there is no evidence for a papacy i.e. supreme leader of the church then how would we go about proving that? Seems to me that without any evidence that there was a supreme leader of the church in the first century that was recognized by other churches or wrote something that was binding on all churches that there was a papacy. The papacy needs to be proven on these grounds.

    5. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 12:05 AM
      All doctrines should be grounded in Scripture

      You neglect one fact. Jesus Christ did not write any Scripture. The fact is that NT Scripture is grounded in Sacred Tradition. Scripture tells us this is so:
      2 Peter 1:19-21
      King James Version (KJV)
      19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

      for the mere fact that the Scriptures are inspired-inerrant. It is the nature of Scripture to be inspired-inerrant. Nothing else is.

      What good does it do the Scripture to be inspired and inerrant, without an infallible authority to interpret its Word infallibly?

      Let me give an example. Some Protestants says that God is a Blessed Trinity, they claim they get that from Scripture. Some Protestants claim that there is no Blessed Trinity. They claim they get that from Scripture.

      All the heretics of the previous centuries who denied the Blessed Trinity, did it with a sole appeal to their interpretation of Scripture and by denying the Sacred Tradition which they found being practiced, alive and well, all around them.

      The Catholic Church accepts Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture as the Word of God.

      God used various ways to help the church discover what the canon should be.

      True. How does that help your cause?

      The church does not make Scripture inspired or inerrant.

      But the New Testament is an example of Sacred Tradition being written down by the inspiration of God through the Church.

      All those who wrote the New Testament were members of the Catholic Church. No one who wrote Scripture was a member of any other Church nor did they write the Scripture independently of the Church.

      Let’s say Sullivan and Mcbrien are wrong. You still have not demonstrated in the least that the papacy existed in the first century.

      It has been demonstrated. You simply don’t believe it. You rejected the evidence provided when you said:

      I don’t think Irenaeus is lying. He could be misinformed…..

      Not even Irenaeus has done that.

      You won’t accept Irenaeus? Whom will you accept? There are thousands, if not millions of Catholic authors, ancient and modern, who have written about the Papacy being in existence in the first century. Why have you latched on to the minority which claim the opposite?

      Steve Ray, Upon this Rock

      Scott Hahn

      The Faith of the Early Fathers: A source-book of theological and historical passages from the Christian writings of the pre-Nicene and Nicene eras- Jurgens

      One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic; The Early Church Was the Catholic Church By Kenneth D. Whitehead

    6. Meyu,


      Also, just because a person in history lives closer in time to an event does not mean they know more than those who come later.

      These people don’t come closer in time to the events than Irenaeus. They come about the same time or later than Sullivan which you quoted. Yet they hold the same views as Irenaeus. So that argument of yours is now nullified.

      And I can produce authors from this age through the middle ages all the way to the Scriptures.

      In fact, we know more about the ancient past than anyone who lived a hundred years after an event or person.

      It isn’t possible. That is merely an argument from age:

      Argument From Age (Wisdom of the Ancients):
      snobbery that very old (or very young) arguments are superior. This is a variation of the Genetic Fallacy, but has the psychological appeal of seniority and tradition (or innovation).

      Products labelled “New ! Improved !” are appealing to a belief that innovation is of value for such products. It’s sometimes true. And then there’s cans of “Old Fashioned Baked Beans”.

      Do you think that anyone here can know more about yourself than you? If so, then you can know more about the ancients than they themselves. But if not, then you understand that the ancients are authorities, without peers in this age, about the facts of their own lives.

      We have more ways to check than Irenaeus could.

      To check what? Do you know that St. Irenaeus was influenced by St. Polycarp and served under St. Pothinus. The title Saint probably has little import for you. But for us it means that this individual, a Saint himself, was taught by people who have proven by their personal sanctity to be friends of God.

      For us, his testimony is very compelling.

      This is why you should take Irenaeus with a grain of salt since he gives no evidence for his claim that Peter and Paul founded the church at Rome.

      You have changed venues in midstream. Are you objecting to the establishment of the Papacy? Or to the existence of the Church in Rome?

      They are two different things.

      1. The establishment of the office of the Papacy is traced to the Scriptures and throughout the history of Christendom.

      2. The existence of St. Peter in Rome is besides that fact. It is a separate argument since the Office of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven were given to St. Peter where ever he may be.

      3. Unless you can prove that Jesus said, “You must go to Rome to exercise the authority that I have given you which is symbolized by these keys.”

      4. But He didn’t. Therefore, you must prove why the verses in Scripture which I have provided are not enough to prove the existence of the office of Vicar-Shepherd over the Church of Jesus Christ.

    7. Meyu,

      There is no evidence for this claim. Is there any eyewitness testimony that Peter and Paul founded the church in Rome? Do you know of any?

      Yes. But I think you are referring to eyewitness testimonial evidence.

      In other words, you want someone sworn-in before a court with a judge and jury saying, “Yes, I saw Peter and Paul in Rome.”

      We don’t have that.

      From Scripture, we know that St. Paul was sent by the Holy Spirit to Rome:
      Acts 19:21
      After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

      We know that when he arrived in Rome, there was a thriving Christian community already there:

      Romans 1:6-8
      King James Version (KJV)
      6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

      So, St. Paul went to Rome but did not found the community there. Someone else did. And the witness of history says it was St. Peter:

      St. Irenaeus

      “The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus” (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).

      Tertullian

      “[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 32:2 [A.D. 200]).

      That evidence is overwhelming. But again, you are confusing two different facts.

      St. Peter was appointed Chief Apostle by Christ. Thus was the Papacy established.

      St. Peter went to Rome. Thus was the Papacy transferred to Rome where it is today. It was not always there as it was also in France for a period.

      Not only is there no evidence for a papacy in the first century but its not even mentioned in the NT as a position in the church.

      The evidence is overwhelming. It is from the Word of God. Matt 16:18-19 and John 21:17-19 are not the only two verses, but they are compelling all by themselves. Why do you not consider them enough?

      After all, there is nothing in Scripture about the so-called doctrine of Scripture alone. Yet you believe it.

      These are 2 powerful arguments against a papacy in the NT and the first century. These are the arguments you are going to need to overcome if you want to prove the papacy in the first century.

      I’m afraid you have confused your arguments. The Papacy is proved by the Scriptures. The existence of Peter and Paul in Rome by the Scriptures and by history.

      They are two separate facts. Not one. And both are true.

    8. Acts 19:21 does not prove Paul or Peter founded Rome. They did eventually go to Rome. Matthew 16 and John 21 does not establish the papacy. Those passages do not mean papacy. If the papacy was to be part of the structure of the church it would have been listed as such where the structure of the church is discussed in Ephesians 2:20-22;4:11 and 1Timothy 3:1-10. It’s never mentioned.

      Maybe you can demonstrate from 1st century documents that there was a supreme leader of the entire church that was recognized by the churches to be the supreme leader. So far that has not been done.

    9. Meyu,

      Were having a discussion on the papacy and its a worthwhile discussion to have is it not?

      It is worthwhile only if both sides are actually open to learning something. You can’t just double down on intellectually-bankrupt arguments out of a refusal to admit error. That’s not a discussion worth having, regardless of the topic.

      Each doctrine has to stand on its own. Agreed?

      What does this mean?
      1- Do you mean that there should be evidence supporting each and every doctrine? If so, yes.
      2- Or do you mean that we should require different standards of evidence for each and every doctrine? If so, no.

      Right now, you seem to be going for both. You want us to prove the papacy by different-and-dramatically-higher standards of evidence then what is used for virtually any other Christian doctrine.*

      I would think you would be deeply troubled that there is no real solid evidence for the papacy in Scripture or the first century. I know I would be.

      I would be troubled, too. As it is, the more I study the papacy, the more impressed I am by the weight of the evidence, and the more saddened I am by the general Christian ignorance of Patristics. The study of the Early Church Fathers causes a number of conversions to Catholicism, and I’ve yet to hear of a conversion away from Catholicism for this reason. That should tell you something.

      What kind of evidence would there be needed to prove Sullivan’s point?

      Great question. We know that, in the second century, there were people like Irenaeus pointing to the papacy as something that had existed from the first century. If this wasn’t true, and was in fact contrary to Christianity and the structure of the Church, what do you expect we would have seen? A whole lot written against the notion of the papacy as a heretical innovation, denunciations of Irenaeus for making up this history, etc. I’m thinking of something similar to this two-part post I did on Eucharistic theology in the early Church: (part I, part II)

      That’s just one example of the kind of evidence that you could use to prove that the papacy was founded after this.  Another example would be documents related to the founding of a mono-episcopate at Rome.  For example, I can tell you when any of the Protestant denominations were founded, because their foundings were well-documented.  We can even say when most Catholic churches were founded (including some very old ones), because local churches tend to preserve this history.  So if there was some history that said somebody other than Peter or Paul founded the Church at Rome, that would be counter-evidence.

      So I’m not saying “we don’t have evidence against the first-century papacy, so therefore, it must have existed.” Instead, I’m saying, “we have a lot of evidence that the first-century papacy existed, and no strong arguments against.”

      I.X.,

      Joe

      * The evidence you repeatedly call for, an explicit first century document declaring Peter or his successor to be “the supreme leader,” is absurd. As I’ve already shown, you can’t prove most Christian doctrines this way.

      I’m curious about this, and genuinely not sure of the results. If you were to confine yourself to Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals and exhortations, can you find anywhere in which he declares himself “the supreme leader of the entire church” in the terms that you’re looking for?

    10. Meyu,

      I forgot to add this earlier. Just to clarify, there are two levels to this discussion:

      # 1: What evidence is required to prove Christian doctrines, and where are we allowed to look for this evidence? What sort of evidence is convincing, and what sort of evidence is unconvincing?

      # 2: What evidence exists for the papacy?

      As far as I’m concerned, it’s unproductive to move on to # 2 without clarifying # 1. How can we discuss the evidence for the papacy, if we can’t even agree on what is “evidence”?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    11. I looked at the quote by Irenaeous and I didn’t see anything about him saying there was a supreme leader in the first century. He does mention 2 apostles founding the church at Rome but never a papacy. Mentioning the apostles does not make a papacy.

    12. Meyu,

      meyu
      Acts 19:21 does not prove Paul or Peter founded Rome.

      Not alone. But we then have the evidence of History which no contemporary denies. Denials don’t start appearing until very late in history.

      They did eventually go to Rome. Matthew 16 and John 21 does not establish the papacy. Those passages do not mean papacy.

      To you. But I didn’t ask you for an out of hand denial. I asked for a reason why these verses are not enough.

      Matt 16:18-19 shows Jesus singling out Simon Bar Jonah and giving Him his own name. Prior to Simon, only God is called the Rock in Scripture.

      John 21:17-19 shows Jesus assigning Simon the job of looking after His sheepfold. In other words, appointing Simon as the Shepherd over His flock.

      Why are these not enough to establish the Papacy?

      If the papacy was to be part of the structure of the church it would have been listed as such where the structure of the church is discussed in Ephesians 2:20-22;4:11 and 1Timothy 3:1-10. It’s never mentioned.

      Neither of those denies that Christ gave St. Peter the keys nor that He appointed him the Shepherd of the flock. Where do you read a denial into these verses? Where do these verses take away the keys? Where do these verses deny that St. Peter has been appointed the Shepherd of the flock?

      Maybe you can demonstrate from 1st century documents that there was a supreme leader of the entire church that was recognized by the churches to be the supreme leader. So far that has not been done.

      1. If you don’t believe the Bible, why would you believe any other document?
      2. Upon what grounds do you reject these documents which have already been presented to you?

      Clement of Rome

      Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobeys the things which have been said by him [Jesus] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no small danger. We, however, shall be innocent of this sin and will pray with entreaty and supplication that the Creator of all may keep unharmed the number of his elect (Letter to the Corinthians 58:2, 59:1[A.D. 95]).

      Ignatius of Antioch

      You [the See of Rome] have envied no one, but others have you taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force (Epistle to the Romans 3:1 [A.D. 110]).

      Irenaeus

      But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles. Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [inter A.D. 180-190]).

    13. Just because Peter Jesus commends Peter for a special role does not mean he is the supreme leader of the church. One of the problems you have is not only demonstrating that Peter is the supreme leader in the NT where none of the other apostles call his as such but also that Peter passed on his authority to someone else in the first century who was also recognized by the churches as the supreme head. Peter was given authority and so were the others. Matt 18:18.

      If you can’t establish a papacy in the NT then there is no apostolic grounds for it. So far the passages you have used do not support a papacy in the NT.

      Your quotes of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus does not prove the papacy in the first century. Its going to take a few more centuries before we see the papacy.

    14. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM
      Just because Peter Jesus commends Peter for a special role does not mean he is the supreme leader of the church.

      Jesus’ word is not enough?

      One of the problems you have is not only demonstrating that Peter is the supreme leader in the NT where none of the other apostles call his as such but also that Peter passed on his authority to someone else in the first century who was also recognized by the churches as the supreme head. Peter was given authority and so were the others. Matt 18:18.

      1. The letters from the first century show that the Early Church Fathers recognized that St. Peter passed on the Papacy to others.

      2. Matt 18:18 shows that Jesus gave the rest of the Apostles authority. But Jesus only gave the keys to St. Peter.

      If you can’t establish a papacy in the NT then there is no apostolic grounds for it. So far the passages you have used do not support a papacy in the NT.

      They do in my opinion and in the opinion of millions of Catholics through the centuries. Are you saying that your unsupported opinion trumps us all?

      On what grounds do you consider your interpretation of Scripture superior to ours?

      Your quotes of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus does not prove the papacy in the first century. Its going to take a few more centuries before we see the papacy.

      Before you see the Papacy. I see the Papacy established by Jesus Christ in Matt 16:18-19. And I see the Papacy exercised by St. Peter throughout the New Testament.

      Acts 1:15
      And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)….

      Acts 5:3
      King James Version (KJV)
      3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

      Acts 15:7
      And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

      And his leadership is recognized by the Church from earliest times.
      St. Irenaeus
      “The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus” (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).
      Tertullian

      “[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 32:2 [A.D. 200]).

      The Little Labyrinth

      “Victor . . . was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter” (The Little Labyrinth [A.D. 211], in Eusebius, Church History 5:28:3).

      Cyprian of Carthage

      “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . . If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition [A.D. 251]).

      Not one Protestant doctrine which you believe in rejection of Catholic doctrine has this much support from any quarter. Any doctrine which you believe in denial of Catholic doctrine also denies the Scriptures.

  11. Meyu’s argument is like saying that I went to the forest and saw a bunch of trees, but that the seeds must not have existed because there’s no documentation that any were planted, only later reports of seedlings.

    1. That’s true. I can’t pinpoint it. I think it is a matter of confusion on the meaning of “faith”.

      And I think that confusion is increased by their belief in “Sola Scriptura”.

      Sola Scriptura is the great misdirection. Those who believe in it claim that we should only believe that which we read in Scripture. But then they insist that we must believe that which they claim is in Scripture. In other words, they point to Scripture with one hand and to themselves with the other.

      Therefore, their faith is not in Scripture but in themselves.

      And this leads them to deny anything taught by anyone else. The strange thing to me is this.

      Jesus established the Church. Jesus commanded the Church to pass down His Sacred Tradition.

      The Church then wrote the New Testament based upon Jesus’ Sacred Traditions.

      But Protestants reject the Church which Jesus established and the Sacred Traditions which He taught. And claim to accept only that which the Church wrote.

      They claim to have faith in Christ but have no faith in anything which He did.

    2. The church that Jesus established is not the Roman Catholic church. The church we see in the New Testament did not have a celibate leadership, a pope, the Marian dogmas, or a purgatory to name a few things that separate the New Testament church and the Roman Catholic church. They are not the same things.

    3. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 5:33 PM
      The church that Jesus established is not the Roman Catholic church.

      Yes it is.

      The church we see in the New Testament did not have a celibate leadership

      There are thee false assumptions here.

      1. That the Catholic Church does not have a married clergy.
      2. That the Catholic Church had to have a celibate clergy in Apostolic times.
      3. That the leadership of the Church must be married.

      1st. The Catholic Church continues to permit a married clergy in the Eastern rites.

      2nd. The Roman Rite established a celibate clergy based primarily on this Scriptural principal:

      1 Corinthians 7:31-33
      King James Version (KJV)
      31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. 32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

      3rd. Jesus is our model and He wasn’t married. St. Paul is also our model and he wasn’t married either. St. John the Apostle also was not married and that didn’t nullify his authority in the Church.

      As for the Church’s authority to make a rule about a celibate clergy, the Scripture says,

      Matt 16:19
      Matthew 16:19
      King James Version (KJV)
      19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

      , a pope,

      Jesus Christ appointed a shepherd over His flock in His stead. That is enough for me.

      John 21:15-17
      King James Version (KJV)
      15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

      the Marian dogmas,

      Mary’s Assumption and Queenship: Rev 12:1

      Revelation 12:1
      King James Version (KJV)
      12 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

      Mary Mother of God:
      Luke 1: 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

      These things are directly taught in Scripture. And there are more.

      or a purgatory

      1 Corinthians 3:15
      King James Version (KJV)
      15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

      Revelation 2:10
      Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

      to name a few things that separate the New Testament church and the Roman Catholic church. They are not the same things.

      Here’s what you won’t find in Scripture at all. Sola Scriptura. In fact, Sola Scriptura contradicts Scripture.

      And Sola Fide. The only place you’ll find those two words together in Scripture, the idea they represent is denied:

      James 2:24
      King James Version (KJV)
      24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

  12. Let’s focus on the Roman Catholic celibate leadership. It is quite clear from 1Timothy 3 that the bishop for example is to be married with children. What Rome has done is to disqualify a married Roman Catholic man because he is married.
    Jesus never used His martial status as a requirement for leadership. We know for example that Peter was married. Paul also never bases church leadership on being single. This is why we go to 1 Timothy 3 to determine what the qualifications are for church leadership. What Rome has done is to nullify the scripture for the sake of its traditions.

    1. The most important claim you’ve made is that “The church that Jesus established is not the Roman Catholic church.” What happened to the Church that Jesus established, then? Where did it go?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. I think the most productive question is still the one that I asked above: “What evidence is required to prove Christian doctrines, and where are we allowed to look for this evidence? What sort of evidence is convincing, and what sort of evidence is unconvincing?”

    2. The church has always been here. If doctrines are going to be considered Christian then they must be grounded on the teachings of the apostles which are found only in the scripture and nowhere else. If a teaching is not grounded in the scripture then they are not Christian-apostolic. These would be only the teachings of men

    3. I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying. We both agree that Christ established a Chuch, I assume (it’s hard to read Matthew 16:17-19 any other way), and you just denied that the Catholic Church was that Church. So what is that Church, and where was it before the Reformation?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    4. Meyu,

      If I may, how do you know that the Scriptures contain the Word of God if not by the witness of the Catholic Church?

      All those men which you disdain as witnesses of the Papacy, are also witnesses that the Word of God is contained in Scripture. It is not by the Scriptures that anyone knows the Scriptures contain the Word of God. It is by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

      “I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not influence me to do so.”
      Augustine, Against the letter of Mani, 5,6, 397 A.D.

      The Quran also claims to be the word of God. Do you believe that? I don’t.

      I believe the Church which wrote the New Testament and compiled the Old in the Bible. The same Church which Jesus Christ established. The same Church which Teaches the Sacred Traditions of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church.

    5. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 10:16 PM
      The church has always been here.

      Correct. Jesus Christ established the Church and that Church is still here. The Catholic Church.

      If doctrines are going to be considered Christian then they must be grounded on the teachings of the apostles

      Exactly! The New Testament Scriptures were written by the Church based upon the Teaching of the Apostles.

      which are found only in the scripture and nowhere else.

      This is what you believe. But it goes against the Teaching of Scripture:

      Matthew 28:19-20
      King James Version (KJV)
      19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

      2 Timothy 2:2
      King James Version (KJV)
      2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

      Eph 3:10
      Ephesians 3:10
      King James Version (KJV)
      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,

      Hebrews 13:7
      King James Version (KJV)
      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 a teaching is not grounded in the scripture then they are not Christian-apostolic.

      I’ll give you a hint. The doctrine that you are teaching right now in your message, is not Christian-apostolic. It is not in Scripture. It contradicts Scripture.

      These would be only the teachings of men

      Psst! I’ll let you in on a secret. The teaching you are articulating right now can not be found in Scripture. It is a teaching of men. It is not of God and contradicts the Word of God.

    6. Do you know how the early church determined which books belonged in the New Testament canon? God did not assign the church to write the Scripture but rather “appointed” a group of men to do so at different times and locations. We don’t know much how this was done or why they wrote in the way they did. Nevertheless the early church did have a number of tests that was used to determine what the New Testament canon would be. There was no needing the approval of the bishop of Rome as the arbitrator of what the canon would be. Keep in mind that Catholic and Roman Catholic are not the same things.
      Just because the early church got the canon of the New Testament right does not mean it gets everything else right. I don’t think even Roman Catholics think their church does everything right. In fact I know a few that do disagree with the church on a number of issues.

    7. De Maria,
      If you agree that doctrines that are going to be considered Christian then they must be grounded on the teachings of the apostles then why do you believe in the Marian dogmas, indulgences, the papacy, etc since the apostles never taught these doctrines? For example, there is not one prayer to Mary in the Scripture. There is not one reference to the treasury of Merit. Sorry, but Matt 19:21 in no way is about indulgences or treasury of merit. Here is what the NAB footnote on this verse-” If you wish to be perfect: to be perfect is demanded of all Christians; see ⇒ Matthew 5:48. In the case of this man, it involves selling his possessions and giving to the poor; only so can he follow Jesus.”
      I’m sure you notice there is no mention of some kind of indulgence or treasury of merit. Agreed?

    8. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM
      De Maria,
      If you agree that doctrines that are going to be considered Christian then they must be grounded on the teachings of the apostles

      Yes.

      then why do you believe in the Marian dogmas, indulgences, the papacy, etc since the apostles never taught these doctrines?

      They did. They simply didn’t use that terminology.

      Do you believe in the Trinity? That terminology is also not in Scripture.
      Do you believe in the hypostasis? That terminology is also not in Scripture.
      Do you believe that Jesus is consubstantial with the Father? That terminology is also not in Scripture.

      For example, there is not one prayer to Mary in the Scripture.

      Luke 1:28
      Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
      28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

      Luke 1:42
      Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
      42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

      There is not one reference to the treasury of Merit. Sorry, but Matt 19:21 in no way is about indulgences or treasury of merit. Here is what the NAB footnote on this verse-” If you wish to be perfect: to be perfect is demanded of all Christians; see ⇒ Matthew 5:48. In the case of this man, it involves selling his possessions and giving to the poor; only so can he follow Jesus.”
      I’m sure you notice there is no mention of some kind of indulgence or treasury of merit. Agreed?

      If you were to ask the author of that footnote directly, I’m certain he would say, “Yes!”

      Let me show you the treasury of merit:
      Matthew 6:20
      King James Version
      But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

      What sort of treasure is that, do you think? Is Jesus advising them to make a deposit of money in the Heavenly bank account?

      If it is not merits which are there being stored, what are they?

    9. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM
      De Maria,
      If you agree that doctrines that are going to be considered Christian then they must be grounded on the teachings of the apostles

      Yes.

      then why do you believe in the Marian dogmas, indulgences, the papacy, etc since the apostles never taught these doctrines?

      They did teach those things. They simply didn’t use the same terminology.

      Do you believe in the Trinity? That terminology is not in Scripture.
      Do you believe in the hypostasis? That terminology is not in Scripture.
      Do you believe that Jesus is consubstantial with the Father? That terminology is not in Scripture.

      In the same way, the doctrines you refer to will not be found in Scripture under their formal titles but they are described in Scripture. Some explicitly, some implied.

      For example, there is not one prayer to Mary in the Scripture. There is not one reference to the treasury of Merit. Sorry, but Matt 19:21 in no way is about indulgences or treasury of merit. Here is what the NAB footnote on this verse-” If you wish to be perfect: to be perfect is demanded of all Christians; see ⇒ Matthew 5:48. In the case of this man, it involves selling his possessions and giving to the poor; only so can he follow Jesus.”
      I’m sure you notice there is no mention of some kind of indulgence or treasury of merit. Agreed?

      What do you think is being stored in heaven then? Real money?
      Matthew 6:20
      King James Version
      But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

      What is Jesus recommending us to lay up in heaven?

    10. Oops. I entered one response and couldn’t find it. So I re-entered it and they both came up? Sorry for the duplicate. I would delete one but I’m afraid in doing so I might delete both.

  13. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 7:54 PM
    Let’s focus on the Roman Catholic celibate leadership. It is quite clear from 1Timothy 3 that the bishop for example is to be married with children. What Rome has done is to disqualify a married Roman Catholic man because he is married.

    The rules in 1 Tim 3 are written by the same author who said this about celibate men:
    1 Corinthians 7:32
    But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

    And this about the married man:
    33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

    This is also the same man who was himself celibate and said:
    1 Corinthians 11:1
    Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

    Now, please explain to me why you would rather the Church be led by men who do not focus their undivided attention on God?

    Jesus never used His martial status as a requirement for leadership.

    Jesus wanted our undivided attention. It is He who said:
    Matthew 10:37
    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Matthew 19:26-28
    King James Version (KJV)
    26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    We know for example that Peter was married. Paul also never bases church leadership on being single.

    Nor on being married. Because Sts. Timothy and Titus were unmarried men.

    This is why we go to 1 Timothy 3 to determine what the qualifications are for church leadership.

    What remains unspoken is that St. Timothy was appointed Bishop by St. Paul and yet St. Timothy was unmarried. As was St. Titus, also appointed Bishop by St. Paul and also unmarried.

    What Rome has done is to nullify the scripture for the sake of its traditions.

    On the contrary, what the Catholic Church has done is uphold the Tradition of a married clergy and fulfill the most excellent proverb of the Word of God, that a man who is not married will give his undivided attention to God.

    This is why the Catholic Church is described in Scripture as the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the Teacher of God’s Wisdom (Eph 3:10).

    1. If one wants to know what the qualifications are for church leadership then we go to those passages that directly address the issue. I Timothy 3 is that passage. It is in the context of church leadership while the passages you are using is not about church leadership.
      Peter was married. Do you think he gave undivided attention on God?
      Where does it say in Scripture that Timothy and Titus were unmarried? Book, chapter and verse please.
      The Roman Catholic church has circumvented the Scripture by denying married Roman Catholic men from being bishops.

    2. meyuFebruary 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM
      If one wants to know what the qualifications are for church leadership then we go to those passages that directly address the issue. I Timothy 3 is that passage. It is in the context of church leadership while the passages you are using is not about church leadership.

      The passage you are using must be understood in the context of the entire NT. The Church leader who wrote that passage was himself an unmarried follower of an unmarried leader who was appointing unmarried men to leadership positions in the Church.

      Peter was married. Do you think he gave undivided attention on God?

      ISince I am married, I know that I can’t give my undivided attention to God. That I know. Whether St. Peter could give undivided attention to God is a matter of speculation for me.

      Since he is powerfully led by the Holy Spirit, his level of attention is certainly much higher than anything I can give.

      Where does it say in Scripture that Timothy and Titus were unmarried? Book, chapter and verse please.

      Scripture does not mention that they are married but calls them young men and even children.

      The Roman Catholic church has circumvented the Scripture by denying married Roman Catholic men from being bishops.

      You can’t make us believe a lie by simply repeating it. Are you on some propaganda tour?

      As I said earlier, the Catholic Church has done is uphold the Tradition of a married clergy and fulfill the most excellent proverb of the Word of God, that a man who is not married will give his undivided attention to God.

      This is why the Catholic Church is described in Scripture as the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the Teacher of God’s Wisdom (Eph 3:10).

  14. If we want to know what the church should look like and what doctrines should be taught we look to the NT. That’s why Scripture is the primary way we answer these questions since the Scripture is the only thing handed down from the apostles to us that we have.

    1. The question I asked wasn’t what you thought the Church should look like.

      You claimed, “The church that Jesus established is not the Roman Catholic church.” I asked “What happened to the Church that Jesus established, then? Where did it go?” Your response didn’t seem to answer this question in any clear way. You simply said, “The church has always been here,” without specifying what that meant. So I asked a follow-up:

      “I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying. We both agree that Christ established a Chuch, I assume (it’s hard to read Matthew 16:17-19 any other way), and you just denied that the Catholic Church was that Church. So what is that Church, and where was it before the Reformation?”

      If this comment is supposed to be an answer to that question, it’s non-responsive. Saying you wish the Church looked differently or taught different doctrines is vastly different from your original claim, that the Catholic Church wasn’t the Church Jesus founded.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. If we want to know what the church that Christ established then we must go by what the NT teaches about this issue. Since the NT is the only template we have of the teachings and structure of the church then any church that is modeled after this would be the church Christ established.
      The Catholic church is not the same thing as the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church’ structure, doctrines and practices are not the same as we see in the NT.

      There is no doubt that the church had been corrupted up to the Reformation. Many RC’s admit that the church before the Reformation was corrupted. Many wanted a reformation of sorts. It was the reformers who refused to jeopardize the gospel for the sake of unity. Rome during the period of Luther was in no mood to reform. Rather those in power did not want to lose that power. There is no doubt that the Lord Christ is the One who orchestrated the Reformation.

    3. The church has always been there. The issue is that we can’t always recognize it when it is severely corrupted. We certainly see this corruption in the middle ages.

    4. Meyu,

      You’re being incredibly vague, aren’t you? You’re claiming that (1) Christ established a Church, (2) this Church never went away, and (3) the Catholic Church isn’t that Church. My question is where the “true Church” was, if it isn’t the Catholic Church, prior to the Reformation? Are you saying that there was some other Church besides the Catholic Church during this period?

      I.X.,

      Joe

  15. This is a complex issue. I said the Roman Catholic church is not the same as the Catholic church. I have given you reasons why. What is the church and when does a church cease being the true church? I’m saying that the RCC before the Reformation was not a true church because it was so corrupted in its leadership and some of its doctrines.

    1. It sounds like you’re seeing the problem. You’re proposing something that’s literally impossible: that Jesus Christ established a Church, intervened to protect it from harm (for example, by stopping Saul on the road to Damascus), and then let it get wiped out.

      As far as I can tell, this leaves only two possibilities: (1) the Catholic Church is the true Church; (2) some other church is the true Church. I’m asking whether (1) or (2) was true during the pre-Reformation period, and you seem to be hemming and hawing rather than answering.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  16. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 12:07 AM
    Ok. What are the characteristics of the true church? Then we can see where it existed.

    The Church is one:

    Jesus Christ only established one Church:
    Matthew 16:18
    King 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.

    The Church is Apostolic:

    Jesus Christ built the Church upon the Apostles:
    Ephesians 2:20
    King James Version
    And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

    The Church is Catholic:

    Jesus Christ gave the Church the Great Commission to evangelize the whole world. The Catholic Church is the only Church which has accomplished this mission.
    Matthew 28:19-20
    King James Version (KJV)
    19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    The Church is Holy:
    The Church was established by Jesus Christ and passes on the Teachings of Jesus Christ which lead us to holiness:
    thew 5:48
    King James Version
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    Luke 1:74-75
    King James Version (KJV)
    74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

    75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

    And the Church also gives us the sanctifying grace of Jesus Christ in the Sacraments which Jesus Christ established for our sanctification:

    Mark 16:16
    King James Version (KJV)
    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    See also Matt 28:19-20 above.

    Visible Shepherd:

    The Catholic Church is united under one visible shepherd appointed by Christ:
    John 21:15-17
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
    17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    The Church feeds us the bread of life:
    1 Corinthians 10:16
    King James Version
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

    The Church reconciles us to God in the ministry of reconciliation:
    2 Corinthians 5:18
    King James Version
    And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

    The Church has an altar from which no one else may eat:
    Hebrews 13:10
    King James Version
    We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

    The Church has leaders which teach the Word of God:
    Hebrews 13:7
    King James Version (KJV)
    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.

    The Church is infallible:
    1 Timothy 3:15
    King James Version (KJV)
    15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    1. Lot of assumptions here and no exegesis of the passages. You assume that these passages are meaning what you claim they are. Take John 21:15-17. How do you get from Jesus restoring Peter for his betrayal and then telling commanding him to feed His sheep to “The Catholic Church is united under one visible shepherd appointed by Christ”? This is a massive leap without any foundation. It not only does not prove in the least that Peter is the head of the entire church but it also does not prove papal succession.

      Just throwing out any verses and claiming that they support your church doctrines like you do is to abuse the Scriptures. The cults do this kind of thing also. This is why they have false doctrines. They don’t exegete the Scripture correctly. This forces them to draw the wrong conclusions which results in false doctrines. This is exactly what you are doing here.

    2. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 10:14 AM
      Lot of assumptions here and no exegesis of the passages.

      I’ve given more exegesis than you. Your arguments amount to denials based upon your unfounded opinions.

      You assume that these passages are meaning what you claim they are. Take John 21:15-17. How do you get from Jesus restoring Peter for his betrayal and then telling commanding him to feed His sheep to “The Catholic Church is united under one visible shepherd appointed by Christ”? This is a massive leap without any foundation. It not only does not prove in the least that Peter is the head of the entire church

      When Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.” What sheep is He referring to?

      but it also does not prove papal succession.

      As I read the Gospel, when Jesus established the Church, He established an ongoing concern. The offices He established were to continue forever. In essence, Jesus established His corporation. From the Latin for “Body”. He appointed a CEO, Peter and a board of directors, the rest of the Apostles.

      Did Jesus give any appointments which were to end with the Apostles? Show me from Scripture.

      Just throwing out any verses and claiming that they support your church doctrines like you do is to abuse the Scriptures.

      On the contrary. Let’s look at John 21:15-17. True, Jesus is here “restoring” St. Peter. He is restoring him to the position which He had appointed him, the Shepherd over His Flock. If it is not the Church which He speaks of as His sheep, then who is it?

      And all the other Apostles also deserted Him. He did not restore any of them. But the Scripture applies which He spoke to St. Peter before it happened:
      Luke 22:31-32
      King James Version (KJV)
      31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

      Jesus has restored Simon. Now it is Simon’s duty to restore the rest.

      The cults do this kind of thing also.

      The cults do what you are doing. They deny all truth and replace it with their piebald opinion.

      This is why they have false doctrines.

      That is true. They and you have false doctrines because you replace the Word of God with your own word.

      They don’t exegete the Scripture correctly.

      You don’t exegete at all. If you did, you wouldn’t claim that Scripture alone or Faith alone are taught in Scripture.

      This forces them to draw the wrong conclusions which results in false doctrines. This is exactly what you are doing here.

      No. It is what you are doing. And even in sight of the truth, you continue to fight to hold on to your traditions of men.

    3. When Jesus commanded Peter to feed His sheep this was not the entire church that he would be responsible for. This is why Jesus appointed 11 others to help in this task. Peter was the apostle to the Jews while Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul in Gal 2:8 says-“For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” Nowhere does Paul or any of the other apostles claim Peter is the supreme leader of the entire church. This also shows the focus of each apostle where they were ministering.

      The Roman church is modeled more like the Roman govt was than on biblical standards that Paul laid out in Eph and I Tim 3. Just as Rome had the emperor so the RCC has its popes. This is not the model we see in the NT.

      What do you mean–“Did Jesus give any appointments which were to end with the Apostles? Show me from Scripture.”?

      What are the essential principles of exegesis? Can you name 3-4 principles?

    4. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 10:59 AM
      When Jesus commanded Peter to feed His sheep this was not the entire church that he would be responsible for. This is why Jesus appointed 11 others to help in this task. Peter was the apostle to the Jews while Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul in Gal 2:8 says-“For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” Nowhere does Paul or any of the other apostles claim Peter is the supreme leader of the entire church. This also shows the focus of each apostle where they were ministering.

      This is simply shows that you don’t know the Scriptures. First of all, Jesus did not say to St. Peter, “Feed some of my sheep.” He put no limit on which sheep St. Peter was to feed.

      Yes Jesus appointed the other Apostles. But He instructed Peter to strengthen his brethren as well. No one else.

      Second, the first to whom the duty was given to evangelize the Gentiles was Peter:
      Acts 15:7
      And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

      Third, St. Peter is shown throughout the New Testament as the leader of the Apostles. Always taking the leadership position. And none of the Apostles object.

      Yes, it shows the focus of each Apostle. And it shows that St. Peter’s focus is the entire Church. Being minister over the circumcized and uncircumcized both.

      The Roman church is modeled more like the Roman govt was than on biblical standards that Paul laid out in Eph and I Tim 3. Just as Rome had the emperor so the RCC has its popes. This is not the model we see in the NT.

      All you give is denials. I have provided the Scriptures which show that the Church described in Scripture is the Catholic Church. You have provided nothing from Scripture or any other source to support your denials.

      What do you mean–“Did Jesus give any appointments which were to end with the Apostles? Show me from Scripture.”?

      Did Jesus say? “Church authority will end when the Scriptures are written,” Did Jesus say? “Church authority will end when the Apostles die.” Did Jesus say? “You will not follow or preach my Traditions after the Apostles die or after the Scriptures are written. The Great Commission is thereby terminated.”

      Show me anything like that from Scripture.

      What are the essential principles of exegesis? Can you name 3-4 principles?

      First tell me why you consider yourself qualified to teach me anything about exegesis?

      Then tell me why I should listen to you when I have a Church which is fully capable of teaching me how to exegete the Scriptures?

      And finally, how can you claim to know how to exegete the Scriptures when you follow doctrines that are not in Scripture?

  17. What do you mean by “Jesus Christ gave the Church the Great Commission to evangelize the whole world. The Catholic Church is the only Church which has accomplished this mission.
    Matthew 28:19-20″?

    Are you saying that all nations and people have heard the gospel?

  18. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM
    What do you mean by “Jesus Christ gave the Church the Great Commission to evangelize the whole world. The Catholic Church is the only Church which has accomplished this mission.
    Matthew 28:19-20″?

    Are you saying that all nations and people have heard the gospel?

    I don’t know if all people have heard the Gospel preached by the Catholic Church, but all nations have. The Catholic Church has preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every nation of the world. Something which NONE of the Protestant sects have done.

    The Catholic Church also has a presence in more countries today than any Protestant sect.

    1. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 10:39 AM
      What is the gospel that the RCC preaches?

      The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      What must a person do-believe to be saved?

      Hebrews 5:9
      And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      Obey Christ. And Christ commands that we:
      John 14:21-23
      King James Version (KJV)
      21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
      23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

      Because he that does not keep the Commandments does not know God:
      1 John 2:4
      He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

      Scripture further says:
      Revelation 22:13-15
      King James Version (KJV)
      13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

      The importance of the Commandments for our salvation can not be over emphasized. God only saves the righteous. Unrepentant sinners have received their own reward. And it is not in heaven.

      For example, must they become RC?

      Becoming Catholic is the best thing anyone can do to be saved. We have the help of the Sacraments wherein we receive the sanctifying grace which washes us of sin in this life.

      Titus 3:5
      King James Version (KJV)
      5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

    2. In short, yes. The how, when and where the saved become Catholic are different for everyone. For many, it may not be until facing their judgment day. Do you suppose there’s anyone in Heaven still sinning or somehow on a different page from God? If the Catholic Church is Jesus’s (God’s) instrument of Truth and Grace, then the saints in Heaven must all effectively be Catholic. To deny it would be a lie and contradictory to the nature of a saint and contrary to God’s desire to bring others to Him through His Church. If you were to believe you were God’s designated instrument of truth and grace, it would be hypocritical to take a different position relative to your own beliefs.

  19. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 3:35 PM
    So if one is to be saved he must keep the commands of Christ? Would that be correct?

    That is what Scripture says:
    Revelation 22:13-15
    King James Version (KJV)
    13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

    Mark 10:17-19
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

    1 Corinthians 7:19
    Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

    Romans 2:7
    King James Version (KJV)
    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

  20. Meyu, let’s zoom out a little here.

    What Scripture means is more true than what the face of the text says some of the time. True or false?

    Scripture interpreted in the sense than it was written is going to be more true than the face of the text alone. True or false?

    Paul had the authority to interpret Scripture. True or false?

    Paul had the authority to teach the true doctrine. True or false?

    Paul charges Timothy with carrying on the mission of overseeing a church which would include holding fast to Paul’s sound doctrine. True or false?

    1. There is only one meaning to the the texts of Scripture. We apply the same principles to other writings to determine what they are saying and mean. This why we must understand the context, the type of genre and the meaning of words as they are used in a given passage. (There are also other principles to use) When we don’t apply these principles correctly, we fall into error.

      Paul had authority to interpret Scripture and taught true doctrine because he was an apostle of Christ. You don’t need authority to teach the truth. You need to understand it.

      Paul charged Timothy to pay close attention to his teaching. (I Timothy 4:16) and to oversee the church he was at.

    2. Can literary context, subtext, linguistic studies, and historical and cultural context that clarifies and exposes scriptures truest meaning be taught and passed down outside of scripture?

  21. Meyu,

    May I make an observation? Your objections to Catholic doctrine amount to that which you claim Scripture does not say.

    For instance, your objection to the papacy is, “Scripture does not say papacy….”

    Your objection to Purgatory is “Scripture does not say Purgatory….”

    Your objection to the treasury of merit is, “Scripture does not say merit….”

    Yet that only seems to apply when you argue against Catholic Doctrine.

    Because we could also say, “Scripture doesn’t say Scripture alone…”
    And we could say, “Scripture doesn’t say justified by faith alone…”

    Yet those objections seem to fall on deaf ears with you.

    As I see it, your arguments against Catholic Doctrine are from silence.

    Whereas, we can show you where Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide contradict the Word of God. And we can show you where Catholic Doctrine is implied or explicit in Scripture.

    1. I don’t need to see the word purgatory or papacy to know that Scripture does not teach such doctrines. The concepts are not there.

      Scripture does teach faith alone in Christ alone for salvation. Rom 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9

    2. Re: faith alone can you agree with the following paragraph?

      With Christ, the God of Israel, the one true God, became the God of all peoples. The wall as he says in his Letter to the Ephesians between Israel and the Gentiles, was no longer necessary: it is Christ who protects us from polytheism and all of its deviations; it is Christ who unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity within the diversity of cultures. The wall is no longer necessary; our common identity within the diversity of cultures is Christ, and it is he who makes us just. Being just simply means being with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Further observances are no longer necessary. For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5: 14).

  22. Come to think of it, even your history objections are arguments from silence. “History doesn’t say this….” “History doesn’t say that…”

    Those don’t seem to be legitimate arguments to me.

    1. Remember: you bear the burden of proof to show the papacy existed in the first century. So far there has been none and yet you and Joe insist it existed then. Your belief about it being in the first century is from silence.

    2. No. If there was some kind of supreme leader of the entire church in the first century we would need to see:
      1) Other churches acknowledging this individual as having authority over the entire church.
      2) Some kind of “encyclical” document that other churches accept as binding on them and all churches.

      These are just a couple of things that would be necessary to prove the papacy existed in the first century.

    3. No. If there was some kind of supreme leader of the entire church in the first century we would need to see:
      1) Other churches acknowledging this individual as having authority over the entire church.
      2) Some kind of “encyclical” document would be necessary to prove the papacy existed in the first century.

      Ok.

      1) a) The Apostles exercised authority over the whole church. b) Peter is singled out as a leader of the apostles. He gets the keys to the kingdom first. He alone is prayed for by Jesus that his faith not fail. He alone is given the charge to feed Christ’s sheep. And he is listed apart from the others and always first: “Peter and they” “Peter and Andrew” “Peter and John”

      2) Peter wrote an encyclical that was binding over the entire church. Two in fact.

      3) Meets the first century requirement.

      Breathless protest of the above in…3…2…1…

  23. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 7:41 PM
    Remember: you bear the burden of proof to show the papacy existed in the first century.

    You’re mistaken Meyu. The Papacy has been accepted in every century until today and only by a few who object to it. It is your burden to disprove.

    Merely saying that you don’t see the word in Scripture or history is proof of nothing.

    So far there has been none

    There has been plenty more proof for the Papacy and for every Catholic Doctrine than you can produce for Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide.

    and yet you and Joe insist it existed then.

    Not just Joe and I. The annals of history attest to its existence. It is you who object by simply saying, “I don’t see the word, papacy.”

    Your belief about it being in the first century is from silence.

    My belief is substantiated by Tradition, Scripture and history. Your denial is an argument from silence.

  24. Just because something may be accepted does not mean its true. People accepted in earlier centuries that the earth was the center of the universe. Once the evidence was shown not to be the case people stopped believing that.

    You do bear the burden of proof to show that the papacy existed in the 1st century. I’m not even looking for the word papacy but the concept and evidence for a supreme leader of the entire church. You need to produce some positive evidence of the papacy in the 1st century before are justified in believing it. Agreed?

  25. meyuFebruary 15, 2013 at 8:37 PM
    Just because something may be accepted does not mean its true.

    That knife cuts both ways. Just because you reject something doesn’t mean that you are right.

    People accepted in earlier centuries that the earth was the center of the universe. Once the evidence was shown not to be the case people stopped believing that.

    But you are not in that situation. You are simply making denials of the evidence without producing any evidence of your own to substantiate your claim.

    You do bear the burden of proof to show that the papacy existed in the 1st century.

    You don’t understand the rules of evidence. You simply heard someone say something and repeated it.

    If a fact has been established for centuries, it is not disproved simply because you decide that you don’t like it. Your denial is not evidence. It is simply your opinion.

    If we go back to the earth as center of the universe. That was the accepted fact. It was not rejected until those who disagreed could prove that it is not the center of the universe.

    You have not produced any proof.

    The Papacy is an accepted fact. There he sits in Rome. We also accept as fact that the Papacy has stood from the time of Jesus Christ. We accept this based upon the Tradition passed down by the Apostles, the Scriptures written based upon these Traditions and the history of the Church through the ages.

    Now, you come along and claim that, “it ain’t so.” The burden of proof is squarely upon you.

    When I show you the verse that shows Jesus appointing Simon as shepherd over His flock, you simply say, “No, that isn’t true.” That’s not evidence. That is just opinion.

    I’m not even looking for the word papacy but the concept and evidence for a supreme leader of the entire church.

    It has all been provided. You simply reject it.

    You need to produce some positive evidence of the papacy in the 1st century before are justified in believing it. Agreed?

    It has all been provided, you simply reject it. The Papacy is an accepted fact. It is you who need to provide evidence that it did not exist at a certain point in history rather than simply saying, “I don’t believe it, prove it to me.”

    If you want us to believe that the Papacy did not exist in the 1st century, you need to prove it to us.

    1. Again, what facts from the first century have you or the others given for a papacy? Sullivan`s point has not been refuted with any counter facts in this discussion.

      You are the one making the claim for a papacy in the first century. You bear the burden of proof. I don`t.
      There are a number of scholars who also agree with Sullivan.

      The reason you believe in the papacy in the first century is not because of the facts for it but because you assumed it to be true based on what your church has taught. Your inability to present any facts as I have asked you to shows this to the case.

    2. For my Church to teach it presumes there is and has always been a Church. For most of it’s history, the Papacy was not disputed because it has been a continuous presence in the Church. It is only latecomers like you that grasp at straws and make unreasonable demands of evidence in a vain attempt to deny it. Throughout all the years that the Papacy was not a disputed fact, where was your alternate version of the church?

    3. meyu
      Again, what facts from the first century have you or the others given for a papacy?

      Scripture and statements from the Early Church Fathers which you rejected.

      Sullivan`s point has not been refuted with any counter facts in this discussion.

      I believe it has been refuted by everyone. Your simple, out of hand denials are not evidence of anything.

      You are the one making the claim for a papacy in the first century. You bear the burden of proof. I don`t.

      No. It is proven to us. We have learned and studied the evidence for years. We have provided you the evidence and you don’t accept. It is you making the claim that the Papacy did not exist back then. It is you who bears the burden to prove it to us.

      Your denials carry no weight. Provide the evidence that the Papacy did not exist.

      There are a number of scholars who also agree with Sullivan.

      I guarantee that there are more scholars who disagree than there are who agree. I provided you a short bibliography. Your reliance on Sullivan has been nullified many times over.

      The reason you believe in the papacy in the first century is not because of the facts for it but because you assumed it to be true based on what your church has taught.

      1. That knife cuts both ways. The reason you don’t believe in the Papacy is because your denomination denies it exists and denies any facts concerning the Papacy.

      2. I was atheist many years. And I learned from history, without regard to any Christian denomination. According to those history books, the Pope has led the Church since the time of Christ.

      Your inability to present any facts as I have asked you to shows this to the case.

      Your denial of the facts provided carries no weight. Your denials are not facts.

      We’ve posted facts over and over and you just deny them:

      Clement of Rome

      Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobeys the things which have been said by him [Jesus] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no small danger. We, however, shall be innocent of this sin and will pray with entreaty and supplication that the Creator of all may keep unharmed the number of his elect (Letter to the Corinthians 58:2, 59:1[A.D. 95]).

      Ignatius of Antioch

      You [the See of Rome] have envied no one, but others have you taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force (Epistle to the Romans 3:1 [A.D. 110]).

      Irenaeus

      But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles. Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [inter A.D. 180-190]).

  26. Daniel,
    You asked who was the first pope. Consider this:
    The first bishop to claim primacy (in writing, anyway) was Stephen I (254-257).
    Damasus I (366-384) was first to claim that Rome’s primacy rested solely on Peter.

    1. Suppose you were born in some remote village where there was no such thing as birth records. Your parents raised you well and at no time was it questioned that they were your mother and father…until you turned 40. At that time you demand that they produce a birth certificate, otherwise you’d deny they were your parents. You dismiss letters from friends and other later evidence as insufficient. For you, nothing is convincing and you find yourself alone as a self-made orphan in your mind only. That’s the kind of argument you are making.

  27. I’m personally not opposed to meyu’s very narrow and strict evidential requirement from the historical record. I am curious what strict and narrow historical evidence he can present for his church in the…I’ll open it up to the 10th century.

    1. I’m only opposed to the assumption that his denials are somehow evidence of anything except his opinion.

      He pits his opinions against the weight of historical documents. The only thing he uses to augment his opinion is the opinion of someone named Sullivan. Yet there are many more who write that the Papacy is here from the time of Christ.

    2. For Meyu’s contention to be true, sometime well after the time of the Apostles, all the many local churches somehow mysteriously came together and acknowledged the Bishop of Rome as the head of the Church on Earth for it would be hard to deny that this eventually the case. It is incredibly improbably for this to have happened on its own. One can imagine that it was somehow imposed by Constantine or someone else in power, but without not a whisper of dissension or documentary evidence of its implementation?? Wouldn’t Constantine have set it up in Constantinople where he could keep it under his thumb?? Theories like this are far less reasonable and supported by far less evidence that what has been provided in evidence for a Papacy from the beginning.

    3. Sullivan is not the only one claiming this. There are other scholars who say the same kind of thing in regards to a papacy in the first century. We do know there were at least 3 centers of Christianity in the early church. Those centers were Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.

      The reason no one has produced any facts for the idea of one supreme leader in the 1st century is that it did not exist.

      If Rome is serious about unity with other churches it will have to dismantle the papacy. It was not established by Christ. If it was established by Him then it would be a position in the church where the structure of the church is described as in 1 Timothy 3.

  28. meyuFebruary 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM
    Sullivan is not the only one claiming this. There are other scholars who say the same kind of thing in regards to a papacy in the first century.

    Are they infallible?

    The matter comes back to this. You believe in Sola Scriptura. But you keep bringing to us the witness of fallible men who can all be refuted by the witness of other historians and theologians.

    However, Scripture says that Jesus Christ appointed St. Peter as Shepherd over His Flock and there is nothing in Scripture which withdraws or removes the Office established by Jesus Christ.

    But you don’t believe the Word of God.

    We do know there were at least 3 centers of Christianity in the early church. Those centers were Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.

    And the all reported to Rome. Antioch was St. Peter’s first Bishoprick. Then he moved to Rome but he had appointed the Bishop in Antioch.

    Jerusalem was destroyed in 77 ad. When it was again restored in the Third Century, it was under the auspices of the Bishop of Rome.

    The Church of Antioch is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul, who are its patron saints. In terms of hierarchical order of precedence, it currently ranks third among the world’s Orthodox churches, behind Constantinople and Alexandria.Church of Antioch

    The reason no one has produced any facts for the idea of one supreme leader in the 1st century is that it did not exist.

    The facts have been produced, you simply reject them.

    If Rome is serious about unity with other churches it will have to dismantle the papacy. It was not established by Christ. If it was established by Him then it would be a position in the church where the structure of the church is described as in 1 Timothy 3.

    The Papacy was established by Christ. It is in Scripture. You simply deny it without support for your opinion.

    1. Meyu,

      You keep making the same basic assertions:

      1) Appeals to Authority – You continue to appeal to Sullivan and McBrien, over and over. Yet you have yet to produce an actual argument from either of them, or any other source. I highly doubt that you’ve actually read either book, or anything beyond the passages that you repeatedly quote. If you did read their works, I think you’d be disappointed in what you discovered.

      A bad argument doesn’t become good simply because someone with a degree makes it. Otherwise, we’d have to accept atheism, on the authority of the numerous atheistic scholars. Scholarly claims, like all claims, are only as good as their supporting arguments. And as I demonstrated above (and you apparently disregarded), the merits of Sullivan and McBrien’s arguments are lousy. Despite your earlier claims, only one person is blindly appealing to authority here, and it’s you.  You’ve long since lost this particular argument. What are you gaining out of refusing to move on?

      2) Related to that last point, you seem to have a very shallow grasp on this topic, but speak with an unwarranted authority. For example, you began this whole debate by telling us what the Church Fathers do (and don’t) say about the papacy.In the intervening dialogue, it’s become abundantly clear that you haven’t actually read the writings of the Church Fathers (unlike several of the people you’re “teaching”). You now seem to just be quoting random things on the papacy that you’re finding on the Internet, without providing any warrants for the claims. For example, you said this twice:

      The first bishop to claim primacy (in writing, anyway) was Stephen I (254-257).
      Damasus I (366-384) was first to claim that Rome’s primacy rested solely on Peter.

      What are your warrants for this claim? What documents are you referring to? Or do you know?

      Unfortunately, most Christians (Catholics and Protestants alike), are nearly completely ignorant of the writings of the early Church Fathers. They might have heard the term, but they know little more, and haven’t actually read the writings for themselves. If this is the category that you’re in, just be honest about that. You’re not making any converts by making claims that you can’t support and refusing to admit when you’re proven wrong. If you are ignorant, just admit it, and maybe we can have a constructive dialogue in which you learn a thing or two.  But there really does have to be an accompanying humility for this to flourish as it ought.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. You say: “We do know there were at least 3 centers of Christianity in the early church. Those centers were Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.” True, and each of those Sees were founded by St. Peter. This argument doesn’t disprove the papacy. If anything, it reaffirms the Petrine Office that is the foundation of the papacy.  No Catholic that I know of claims that Rome was (or is) the only center of Christianity.

    2. I’m not making an argument from authority but from the lack of evidence for a papacy in the First century.

      Here is some back on the claim that “The first bishop to claim primacy (in writing, anyway) was Stephen I (254-257).
      Damasus I (366-384) was first to claim that Rome’s primacy rested solely on Peter.”

      http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/westciv/papacy/04.shtml

      Have not read the church fathers. Have you?

      Where is your proof that “Those centers were Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.” True, and each of those Sees were founded by St. Peter”?

    3. I think it was Victor who before Stephen I was a twinkle in his mommy’s eye decided to impose a universal date for the Easter liturgy and excommunicated any Bishop who refused which was pretty much all of Asia Minor.

      He reversed the excommunication later on, discretion being the better part of valor.

    4. Have not read the church fathers. Have you?

      I have. I still have a lot more to read from (and about) them, but I read the writings of the Church Fathers on a near-daily basis. The “ECFs” tag on the bottom of this page will link you to posts that I’ve written discussing the Fathers.

      Where is your proof that “Those centers were Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.” True, and each of those Sees were founded by St. Peter”?

      Glad you asked.

      Jerusalem: That Peter founded the See of Jerusalem on Pentecost is clear from Acts 2. Note how Scripture refers to the Twelve Apostles: “Peter, standing with the Eleven” (Acts 2:14). He’s treated as not simply one of the Twelve, but as distinct.

      Antioch: From Scripture, we know that Peter was in Antioch (Galatians 2:11), but we’re not told whether or not he headed the church there. The Church at Antioch has always traced its lineage to Peter, a fact recognized by both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. So for example, St. John Chrysostom (one of the Church Fathers, and a later Patriarch of Constantinople), said this, while Bishop of Antioch:

      “It is a prerogative of the dignity of our city [Antioch] that, from the beginning, it received as master the prince of the apostles. In fact, it was a just thing that this city – which was glorified by the name of “Christians” before the rest of the earth – should receive as shepherd the prince of the apostles. When we received him as master, however, we did not keep him forever but rather yielded him to the royal city of Rome. Therefore, we do not hold the body of Peter, but we hold the faith of Peter as we would Peter himself. As a matter of fact, as long as we hold the faith of Peter, we have Peter himself.”

      The above quotation, by the way, is also strong proof that Peter went from Antioch to Rome, since St. John Chrysostom would have no reason to make that up. In fact, it seems like it would be better for him to say that Peter didn’t go to Rome, but died as Bishop of Antioch. But that’s not what he says.

    5. Rome: Besides the quotation I just mentioned (at the end of the last comment), we have several ways of knowing that Peter founded the Church at Rome. Peter alludes to it himself in 1 Peter 5:13, when he sends greetings on behalf of “She who is at Babylon.” “Babylon” was an early Christian reference to Rome.

      St. Ignatius of Antioch, the third bishop of Antioch (after St. Peter and Evodius) was bishop of Antioch from c. 68-107 A.D. On his way to martyrdom, he wrote a series of seven letters to various churches. In his letter to Rome, he acknowledges it as the Church that “presides in love,” and said: “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant.”

      Eusebius, writing in about the 320s, tells of how Peter and Paul were killed under Nero and buried in Rome. He says that this “account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day.” But even better, he quotes a priest named Caius, writing in the early part of the 100s, who says, “I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.” So Peter and Paul were not only buried in Rome, but their relics (“trophies”) were preserved, just as in life (see Acts 19:11-12 for the healing power of Paul’s relics). And indeed, St. Peter’s body is buried in St. Peter’s in Rome, just as St. Paul’s body was discovered in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.

      In about 170, Bishop Dionysus of Corinth wrote to the Romans: “You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time.” (This fragment also comes to us through Eusebius).

      In 190, Irenaeus wrote in Against Heresies about the origins of the Gospels, saying, “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.” The “depature” in question is the martyrdom of the two, as Dionysus’ account confirms.

      So prior to 200 A.D., we already see Peter, Ignatius, Caius, Dionysus, and Irenaeus each confirm that Peter was martyred in Rome after, in Irenaeus’ words, “laying the foundations of the Church.” This is substantially more evidence then we have for a lot of things that both Protestants and Catholics accept as true.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    6. Acts 2 does not support the idea that Peter founded the church at Jerusalem. Peter never makes that claim for himself nor do the other apostles who were there that day. We also know that it was James who headed the church there as Acts 15 tells us.

      No problem with Peter being involved at Antioch but no evidence he founded it. Same with Rome. Just because he wrote to Rome does not mean He founded it. There is also reason to think others founded it given that there would have been much work to in Jerusalem to do after the events of Pentecost. We know he stayed in Jerusalem because of the persecutions in Acts 8:1 where the apostles stayed.
      T

    7. Restless,
      Thanks for the offer but I will have to pass. They are bit to dense for me. It takes a better man than me to read all the 38 volumes. That is quite an undertaking in one lifetime.

    8. I’m not suggesting you read all of them! Ignatius is amazingly readable (you can read/listen to all of them here). There are some books available which will give you a very gentle introduction to the Apostolic Fathers.

      If you still don’t want any books, I’d like to recommend a series of introductory lectures on the Fathers by Dr. Lawrence Feingold (actually my own introduction to the Fathers). Additionally, there is a great lectured series on the earliest Fathers over at the Institute of Catholic Culture (here and here).

    9. Restless Pilgrim,

      Very Christian of you! By the way, spent last night at Dr. Feingold’s, along with Bryan Cross (of Called to Communion fame), and a couple dozen other people. It was a good mix of seminarians and laity, and the discussion was on the natural desire to see God (what that desire looks like, whether it is intrinsic or elicited, etc.).

      It may sound like a dull subject, but it’s very important for a proper understanding of everything from grace to Limbo. Turns out, Dr. Feingold’s thesis was on the subject, and he shows where Lonergan, De Lubac, etc. go seriously wrong on this point. You might appreciate it: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Desire-According-Thomas-Interpreters/dp/1932589546

    10. Meyu,

      “Acts 2 does not support the idea that Peter founded the church at Jerusalem.”

      I don’t understand the basis of this claim that you’re making. Do we agree that:

      (a) Acts 2 takes place on Pentecost?
      (b) That Pentecost is the day that the Church was made manifest to the world?
      (c) That it was Peter who stood up and addressed the crowd of pilgrims in Jerusalem?
      (d) That Peter proclaimed the Gospel on behalf of the entire Church?
      (e) That in response to this, 3,000 of those listening to Peter were baptized (Acts 2:41)?

      If that’s not founding the church at Jerusalem, I’m not sure what would be?

      You claim:
      Peter never makes that claim for himself nor do the other apostles who were there that day.
      Scripture shows (a)-(e) above: in other words, it describes him as founding the church at Jerusalem.

      We also know that it was James who headed the church there as Acts 15 tells us.
      James never makes that claim for himself, nor do the other Apostles who were there that day. See how that standard of proof cuts both ways? Acts 15 doesn’t outright say that James is Bishop of Jerusalem.

      That said, he was Bishop of Jerusalem, just as Peter was the one who laid the foundation of that Church, in Acts 2. (For example, it’s implicit in Galatians 2 that Peter is at Antioch, receiving James’ companions from Jerusalem.) The problem here isn’t with the Church, or with Scripture, but with the arbitrary and capricious standards of proof that you’re using.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. In Galatians 2:8, Paul describes Peter as “the Apostle to the Jews.” Now, there are several Apostles ministering to the Jews (all of them, in fact), but Paul is saying that Peter occupies a foremost place in this ministry. If James is the head of the early Church, he would be “the Apostle to the Jews,” particularly since he’s governing an almost entirely Jewish laity out of Jerusalem.

      Also, Acts 15 doesn’t suggest, as you claimed earlier, that James has a priority over Peter. First, it’s a Church Council; second, every Apostle carries authority (the Church doesn’t claim that the other Eleven could only act when Peter gave them instructions); third, Peter’s speech is what settles the debate at the Council; fourth, James’ closing speech relies on Scripture and Peter’s testimony as its sole support.

      Let me put it this way: if Acts 15 had James and Peter’s names reversed, you would use the last two points that I just mentioned to “disprove” the papacy.

    11. It is true that Peter was there in Jerusalem in Acts 2 at Pentecost. However, you make it sound like its Peter alone who founded the church when as I have said others were there that day when Christ sent the Holy Spirit to not just Peter but to all the apostles. Is there an official interpretation of this chapter by your church? I’d like to see how they understand it.

      Better to say the Holy Spirit founded the church in Jerusalem than to say any man did.

      If James is not the head of the Jerusalem then who would be considering that it was James who makes the final decision in Acts 15:19? Here is what the NAB (a RC translation) says in its footnotes-” Some scholars think that this apostolic decree suggested by James, the immediate leader of the Jerusalem community, derives from another historical occasion than the meeting in question…”

      The problem is not with my so called “arbitrary and capricious standards of proof” since these are reasonable demands. It’s that your church makes claims that need to be supported historically and biblically if we are to justified in believing them. So far the claim that there was a papacy in the first century is not supported historically.

      I did not say James is the head of the early church. He was one of the leaders in the church just as Peter and John were. There was no one head except the Lord Christ. The early church in terms of its leadership functioned as a plurality of leaders rather than on a one supreme leader model. We see this when Paul after his conversion went to Jerusalem to confer with not just Peter but James and John who were “pillars”. See Gal 2:9

      Acts 15 has nothing to do with a papacy. That council did not defer to Peter to make the final decision which is what we would expect to see if others thought the Peter was the supreme leader of the church. Its going to take more than reversing names or having Peter’s name first on a list to make the papacy. What you need is for the Scripture to make clear statements that Peter alone is the supreme leader of the church and that this function is to be passed down to one specific individual through time. You also would need to show in Scripture that there is such a position as a supreme leader in the church as we see for the bishops in I Tim 3. Note also in Eph 4:11-12 where the structure of the church is described–“And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,”
      Notice here there is no mention of a supreme leader i.e. pope. If there was, then we would expect to see it mentioned here since in RC theology the papacy plays an essential role in your church.

  29. Thanks Joe for permitting us to have this debate. And thanks everyone for participating.

    As for me, its time for me to exit. I’d like to simply summarize the points I was trying to make.

    1. Jesus established the Papacy and it is clear in Scripture (Matt 16:18-19; John 21:15-17).

    2. The fact that the Papacy ended up in Rome is a separate fact from that of the establishment of the Papacy.

    3. However, the fact that Sts. Peter and Paul were in Rome and established the Church of Rome are proven facts with much evidence to support them.

    4. There is no evidence to be found to show that Sts. Peter and Paul were anywhere else or that they were martyred anywhere else.

    5. Meyu has produced only denials of that which we believe and that which we can prove.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me participate. God willing and I’ll participate in more of these discussion on the catholic defense blog.

    1. meyu,
      Don’t set your expectations of documentary evidence based on the current age. Even now with paper plentiful, electronic writing everywhere and photographs taken of just about everything consider how quickly it still all gets tossed, lost, misplaced, forgotten or just plain yellows and rots away. I lose whole segments of family history in photo albums and letters that get purged to make room. Much of it I couldn’t tell you who the people are anyway. Instead of being critical of what little is available from 2000 years ago, remember that reading and writing was far from universal and was at a premium. Survival of the writings of the Church Fathers is a testament to the importance the Church placed on them even through times of persecution. It’s not like they just ran to the nearest Zerox and spit out a hundred copies. The Fathers are a far truer witness of the early Church than a bunch “academics” 2000 years later with a particular axe they’d like to grind.

      Also, remember that people don’t waste effort writing/talking about what everyone takes as common knowledge. It’s when heresies start to crop up that effort is put into defending the Faith. What gets written is a product of the challenges to the Church at the time. Silence does mean it doesn’t exist, rather that it’s not the hot topic of discussion. The fact that the Papacy is indisputably visible in the historic record, begs the question of when it started. What evidence is available and reason both point to its continuous existence back to Jesus Himself handing the Keys to Peter.

    2. John,
      If it was common knowledge in the first century then we should see a lot of references to it. The issue isn’t was there a papacy but was it in existence in the first century. Common things are discussed a lot and recorded. The papacy of today is common knowledge and there is a lot written about it. Agreed?

    3. Meyu,

      I think that your assumption here is false. There’s a quotation ascribed (mistakenly, perhaps) to Marshall McLuhan that goes something like, “I don’t know who the first person to discover water was, but it wasn’t a fish.” The idea is that we frequently don’t analyze something which we all accept to be reality. So when the Church isn’t under attack, when nobody is trying to separate the Bridegroom from the Bride, you don’t necessarily see defenses of Catholic ecclesiology.

      Let’s take an obvious example: St. Thomas Aquinas lived during the thirteenth century, when the papacy was unquestionably at the heart of the Church. And he was a prolific writer. He wrote perhaps the greatest work of theology in all of human history, outside of Sacred Scripture: the Summa Theologiae. It is intended to be a comprehensive work that could set forth all of “sacred doctrine,” and to do so “as briefly and clearly as the matter itself may allow.” It’s five volumes, and a few thousand pages long. And it’s well organized.

      See if you can find what he says about the papacy in there, if anything.

      And if you can find nothing, over thousands of pages, does that mean that he didn’t believe in the papacy? Not at all. In fact, we know he did. In the 1260s, he worked directly for Pope Urban IV. Later, he was papal theologian to Pope Clement IV. And he died on his way to the Second Council of Lyons, at the request of Pope Gregory X.

      If someone working directly for three different popes can fail to spell out the papacy in the explicit terms that you’re wanting, over the span of 3000+ pages, why would you expect to find this explicit affirmation in the writings of the first century Fathers, which are miniscule by comparison?

      So I think we’re left with a couple options:
      1) We could come to the obviously-absurd conclusion that St. Thomas, one of the greatest defenders of the Church in Catholic history, didn’t believe in or know about the papacy, despite working for three popes.

      2) We could conclude that your (arbitrary and made-up) standard is wrong, and is built on the faulty assumption that anything a person denies anything that they don’t mention explicitly in writing (a position that would presumably render us all heretics, since nobody explicitly affirms every possible doctrine).

      I.X.,

      Joe

    4. Joe,
      The issue is not the evidence for the existence of the papacy in the later centuries but where is the evidence for it in the first? There is no dispute of its existence in 13th century or the 8th. It’s existence in the 1st century that is problematic. There should be some good evidence for it in various writings considering how important it is for the RCC. If there is no evidence for it in the 1st century then we have good reason to believe it developed much later and did not exist in the first.

      What would it mean to you if there was no papacy in the 1st century? How would it affect the RCC?

    5. Meyu,
      If you concede that the papacy existed in later centuries and posit that it developed it’s way into existence, where is your evidence of this development? Order does not develop out of chaos on its own. Imposed order would have created an outcry resulting in plenty documentary evidence, yet nothing!

      On the other hand sola scriptura sounds like a wonderfully unifying principle, but its history right from the outset demonstrates quite the opposite. Even the object of the principle itself was subject to division in that Luther tossed out seven books of the Bible that just so happened to contradict his novel teachings.

      To follow up on Joe’s comments, consider that most Church Councils were to convened to address heresies. If everyone had stayed on the same page, there would have been no need of Councils and you would see no documentation detailing their results including the Nicene Creed.

    6. Hey Meyu,

      I’ve been thinking about the way you’re approaching this issue of the papacy and I would like to check something, so please humour me by answering a seemingly odd question….

      Do you believe in Real Presence of the Eucharist? By this I mean do you believe that the Eucharist is the flesh of Christ, which suffered for our sins and rose from the dead?

      I’m not looking for a long answer here, a simply yes/no will do. Thanks.

      God bless,

      Restless Pilgrim.

    7. John,
      That is a good question and one that can be answered by a study of early church history.

      As for sola scriptura being a unifying principle depends on if it is applied correctly. As for Luther tossing out 7 books that is not the case at all. Rather it was Trent that elevated those books from a second Canon position to a full canonical position as the rest of the 66 books.

      Not sure what you mean by your last comments on councils.

    8. >> Do you believe in Real Presence of the Eucharist? By this I mean do you believe that the Eucharist is the flesh of Christ, which suffered for our sins and rose from the dead?
      > “No. Can’t get any shorter than that”

      Okay, that’s what I suspected. I would now like to draw your attention to a this quotation:

      “[The heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, in His loving-kindness, raised from the dead. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, perish in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again”

      This quotation is from a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch (Born AD 35 or 50 and who died between AD 98 and AD 117). As you can see, I basically quoted his words concerning the Eucharist in my question above. I can also provide quotations from the Didache and Clement of Rome, both First Century sources, which clearly speak of the Eucharist as a sacrifice.

      You’ve rejected the papacy on the grounds that we don’t possess documentation from the First Century containing an explicit witness to the Bishop of Rome’s authority over the entire Church. Well, here we have an explicit witness from the First Century (several in fact) which documents to the Early Church’s belief that the Eucharist is a sacrifice and that Jesus is truly present there. The “Real Presence” passes the criteria you’ve been using concerning proof of the papacy.

      So…the question I’d like to ask is: why don’t you believe in the Real Presence?

    9. Before I answer I want to be sure I understand what exactly is the real presence. Are you claiming the bread at the supper is literally the flesh and body of Christ?

    10. It means that the body, blood, soul, and divinity are truly present.

      That the substance of the bread is turned into the substance of the body so that the bread no longer remains -only the image and taste and texture called accidents remain is the doctrine of transubstantiation.

      The terms are related but not synonomous.

    11. So what in reality what you saying nothing has changed. Right? If something truly changed in the bread it would be seen. This is unlike the miracles of Christ. When He performed a miracle there was proof of a miracle for all to see. In the real presence doctrine you are asked to believe something that has changed but in reality nothing has changed. This is one of the reasons I don’t believe it and you have no good reason to believe it either.

    12. No, there has been a change, just not one which can be perceived by the senses. We walk by faith, not by sight. We take Jesus at his word when he said “This IS my body” and “My flesh is REAL food and my blood is REAL drink”. I believe Him even though these are “hard saying(s)”.

      When Jesus said “Your sins are forgiven” was there any scientifically discernable change in the person to whom he was speaking? Does that mean that nothing, in fact, happened? The same could be asked of someone after he is born again (however you think that happens).

      However, this is besides the point I wanted to make…

      The doctrine of the Real Presence passes the historical criteria which you claim the papacy fails…so why do you disbelieve something which passes your own test?

      (I’m pretty sure I could find other doctrines in the First Century which you would deny too, such as Baptismal Regeneration)

      So why disbelieve? Is it because you don’t actually care about the historical record? Would it, in fact, make any difference at all to you if we could produce a First Century document detailing explicitly the authority of the Pope? Given your response to the Real Presence, I can’t help but conclude that, unfortunately, it would not.

      If I am correct in this, why have you been arguing about evidence which, even if it were produced in the exact form you desire, you’d still disregard it?

      Gods bless,

      Restless Pilgrim

    13. If God created a perfect identical twin, so that every molecule was identical, and Twin A put on Twin B’s clothes, is Twin A now Twin B?

      I would argue no: Twin A is A. Twin B is B.

      Even though, they look identical, they sound identical, they have identical DNA, our human reason can separate the observational data about a thing, from the identity of the thing itself.

      Geeky, and off the cuff, but did it convey the point?

    14. Restless,
      Sorry, but the real presence does not pass not only the evidential test but it also does not pass the exegetical tests either. Since your church claims something has changed in the bread then we should be able to see the change. It’s not like when sins are forgiven where no physical change is predicted. Secondly, we know the disciples did not take Christ’s words literally because they did not protest because if they understood Him literally that would mean cannibalism. This is why it’s best to understand this metaphorically.

      It would help your case if there were documents from the first century for a papacy. I get the sense that it does not matter to Roman Catholics if there is no historical evidence for the papacy in the first century. They believe it only because Rome tells them to. This is what you get when a church claims infallibility for itself. No amount of counter evidence could ever prove them wrong.

    15. “Secondly, we know the disciples did not take Christ’s words literally because they did not protest because if they understood Him literally that would mean cannibalism.”

      Have you even read John 6?

      Christ’s passion happens at the Feast of Passover. The Feast of Passover is a feast where the literal flesh of a literal lamb is literally slain and literally consumed. This literal slaying and eating of the lamb is done in remembrance of the slaying of the lambs and marking the doorposts so that the children of God would have salvation from the Egyptian persecutors.

      A literal sacrifice and literal consumption to commemorate a one time act.

      Communion, if it followed the parallel, would be a literal sacrifice of the literal thing sacrificed and literally consumed to commemorate the one time act on the cross.

      Does the parallel hold? What do the Scriptures say?Some parts of the Bible are clear. Others are less clear. How do we figure out what Christ means?

      Jesus for example is the true vine, and Jesus is the door. (“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. John 10” And “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. John 15”

      Figurative statements given by Christ in Scripture either are metaphors accompanied by explanation, or a designation that it’s a parable, or similes.
      John 15:6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth *** AS A BRANCH***, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned. In Greek, we have “hos” which indicates a simile (using like or as, which the word hos is when used as an adverb, see Thayer’s Lexicon at the link: http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G5613 )

      John 10:6 “This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.” Greek paroimia
      When Jesus’s sincere followers don’t understand him, he explains what he means. Mark 4:34

      Enter John 6:

      “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. “

      The Jews don’t object to “the Bread is He”. They ask for the bread.

      “Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. “

      Notice the “Lord”–Jesus has a friendly audience of Jews, not hostile Pharisees and or what have you.

      Jesus responds: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst….For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me…”

      The Jews: “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? “

      They’re more puzzled why he said he came down from heaven when they know his mom and dad, than the fact he said he was the bread of heaven.

    16. Jesus: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. “

      Eat here is Greek “phago” which is eat or consume. Flesh is Greek “sarx” Thayer’s lexicon says it’s the meat that can be stripped off the bone.

      The Jews get very confused and think he is literally saying to eat him: “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”

      Jesus doesn’t say “You don’t understand the metaphor.” Or “This is the parable of which I speak”

      He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”

      In Greek, Jesus transitions to the verb “trago” meaning to literally gnaw or vigorously chew. “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

      ****************************************
      Indeed here is Greek “alethos.” Thayer’s Lexicon lists only one definition: 1) truly, of a truth, in reality, most certainly.
      It is here that Truth Himself contradicts those who say it is a symbol only or a metaphor only. (Alethos is used in John 15:1 but the Greek is ή άμπελος ή α̉ληθινὴ, ‘the vine the true’. The Aramaic is, I am that vine of truth. That is not the same as ‘I am truly the vine…’ )
      ***************************************

    17. The disciples take him literally: “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? “

      If Jesus *is* using a metaphor when he says “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.” Then he means “Whoso ‘acts cruelly to me’ hath eternal life.” In the Hebrew Lexicon we see that to eat the flesh of someone is an idiom to be cruel to them. link: http://tinyurl.com/cose3vd
      Remember Mark 4:34 where Jesus explains Himself privately?
      Jesus brings up eating his flesh privately with his disciples later. He doesn’t say it was a parable. He doesn’t use a simile. But He does it in the context of something like a seder meal, where they were told told to eat His Body, during a time of year when the passover lamb is sacrificed and literally consumed.
      Later Paul asks, The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
      I answer yes it is. Others deny it, and say it is no actual communion of the Body, but only a visible symbol of it.
      If this cup is only a figure of the blood, as some think, then we have not more, but less, in the Eucharist than the Jews had in the manna and the water miraculously provided for their drink. The apostle, too, should have said that we eat the spiritual body and drink the spiritual blood of Christ, that is that which represents them, just as he said that the Jews ate the spiritual meat—the manna, and drank the spiritual drink—the water from the rock. But as a fact he contrasts the blood and the flesh of Christ in the Eucharist, as the reality and the thing signified, with the manna and water, as the figure and spiritual type, signifying the flesh and blood of Christ. Moreover, he calls the manna spiritual meat, i.e., typical, and the water, spiritual drink; but he calls the body of Christ in the Eucharist the body, and the blood the blood. Who, then, can doubt that, as the manna was truly a type and shadow, so in the Eucharist there is really the blood, flesh, and body of Christ?

      Paul says, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

      Of this Justin Martyr said 50 years after the death of the last Apostle: We Christians take the Eucharist not as common food, but we believe that, as by the Word of God the Son of God was made man, so by the words of consecration are the body and blood of Christ made to be present in the Eucharist.”

      It’s no more a miracle to believe that bread becomes Christ than God became man.

    18. Let’s test your understanding of John 6. What is the context where Jesus is talking about eating and drinking His flesh and blood? Why did He say these things to the Jews in John 6?

    19. Meyu,

      Let me explain my thought process here…

      You made the statement that, in order for the papacy to be true, we would have to show First Century, explicit documentary evidence of the Bishop of Rome’s authority over the whole Church. Regardless as to what we’ve said, you’ve repeated the mantra-like assertion that if there isn’t explicit documentary evidence of the papacy in the First Century then it didn’t exist.

      Suspicious, I wanted to see how you would respond if we did present you with a document which did just that. So, I picked a different doctrine: the Real Presence. I then presented to you First Century, explicit documentary evidence that Christians believed the Eucharist to be a sacrifice and that Jesus was truly present there.

      I then asked the question, why do you disbelieve the doctrine of the Real Presence when it passes your own stringent test?

      In your response you didn’t refer to your previously-stated test for authenticity of Christian doctrine, you just said that if the bread really changed we should be able to see it and that to eat Jesus’ flesh would make people cannibals (interestingly, a common charge made by Pagans in the early centuries).

      You said “It would help your case if there were documents from the first century for a papacy”, but I seriously wonder if it would make the the slightest difference to you. The evidence of the Christian belief in the Real Presence is extremely early (possibly even pre-dating the New Testament), found throughout the world and went consistently uncontested for over a millennium…yet you appear willing to brush aside this universally accepted Christian doctrine based on your own personal, fallible and (as Daniel has shown, rather problematic) interpretation of Scripture.

      Also, just consider for a moment what you are saying. You are saying that already by the First Century, Christians are waaaaaaaaaaaay off base, believing that the Eucharist is a sacrifice, that Jesus is really present there, that Baptism actually does something…and within a century you’re going to have them believing in the papacy too! Were the Apostles such terrible teachers?! Where were the “real” Christians complaining about this heresy?! It’s “the dog that never barked”…

      You said “I get the sense that it does not matter to Roman Catholics if there is no historical evidence for the papacy in the first century”. Well, I get the sense that it wouldn’t matter how much historical evidence was presented to you for the papacy, the example of the Real Presence has shown that you still wouldn’t believe. It appears that your (historically novel) interpretation of Scripture can overturn the entire Tradition of the Church, no matter how early and voluminous. Ironically, that’s power that even the Pope does not possess…

      God bless,

      David.

    20. The problem with your argumentation is that you are trying to justify one belief with another. That won’t work for the mere fact each doctrine must stand on its own. In regards to the meaning of the Lord’s supper there have been and continue to be different interpretations of it through the centuries. You are assuming everyone believed as you do when history shows otherwise. You are also assuming that even if it was believed to be as you say after the apostles died it must be true. Its true because its been believed for so long. That to will not work since men are capable of error in every age. The real presence does not hold up under biblical exegesis even if people believed in it in 75 ad. That’s why we must go to Scripture and test the doctrine of the real presence by it.
      False teachings and teachers have been the bane of the church since the time of the apostles. Just look at the gnostics that Paul and John are dealing with while they were alive. So when you ask–“by the First Century, Christians are waaaaaaaaaaaay off base, …” we must look carefully on what were the doctrines they believed in. In some things they had the truth and in others they may not have. The danger of false teachers was just as potent as it is today.

      Getting back to the papacy in the first century there is nothing for us to believe that it existed then. All you can do is to assume it did.

    21. >The problem with your argumentation is that you are trying to justify one belief with another.

      Dude, I’m really not, I’m just looking for consistency. I’m trying to discern if you have a consistent standard for discerning truth. When James White debates Muslims he never tires of saying that inconsistency is a sign of a faulty argument… (who knew Dr. White would be so helpful in this discussion?!)

      >In regards to the meaning of the Lord’s supper there have been and continue to be different interpretations of it through the centuries. You are assuming everyone believed as you do when history shows otherwise.

      With all due respect meyu, throughout this exchange I’m afraid you have shown yourself to be woefully ill-informed of early Christian history and even rather reticent about improving your familiarity with it. If you have evidence to substantiate your statement, then please present it.

      Contrary to what you say, the explosion of differing belief concerning the Eucharist began at the Reformation. We can thank Sola Scriptura for that…

      > You are also assuming that even if it was believed to be as you say after the apostles died it must be true. Its true because its been believed for so long. That to will not work since men are capable of error in every age.

      This is the statement I’ve been waiting for you to say for some time. You finally admit that you don’t care about history…

      > That’s why we must go to Scripture and test the doctrine of the real presence by it.

      …making all the talk of “evidence” and “history” absolutely meaningless, unnecessary and a big waste of everyone’s time.

      I would hereby like to submit this conversation to Keith Mathison as proof positive that there is no objective difference between Sola and Solo Scriptura.

      >False teachings and teachers have been the bane of the church since the time of the apostles.

      I still don’t think you realize what you’re suggesting. We’re talking about everyone. We’re not talking about a few sects or a few oddball teachers, we’re talking about every…single…Christian. There is no proto-Protestant voice in the First Century, or the Second, or the third…

      Maybe there was a big cover up? A Conspiracy! The problem with that assertion is that we know all about the various disputes which took place in the early centuries of Christianity: Docetism, Gnosticism, Arianism, Monothelitism, Montanism etc. These were all attacks on or attempts to pervert the Catholic Faith. They’re no secret! We have records of the Catholic apologists of the time refuting their heresy.

      So why do we find nobody arguing that the Eucharist is only a symbol. NOBODY… Where were the “real” Christians? Why weren’t they fighting this lie?! The Devil had won! Christianity was effectively wiped off the face of the Earth for 1,500 years…although somehow the Church would manage to discern the canon of the New Testament and accurately defend the nature of Christ, define the Trinity etc…

      >Getting back to the papacy in the first century there is nothing for us to believe that it existed then. All you can do is to assume it did.

      Getting back to the papacy, I’m afraid you have shown that there is absolutely nothing that we could possibly present to convince you. Your opinion of Scripture trumps any historical evidence we could ever present. It’s a fruitless quest.

      I’m out.

      God bless,

      David.

      PS – The offer still stands for the Patristics books.

    22. De Maria and Restless Pilgrim bow out? Then it will be Danielis contra mundum! Lol.

      Meyu, a few points (some have been repeated before but not addressed or addressed sufficiently).

      1) A) Your rules of evidence are already nonsensical because from a philosophical point of view you can legitimately possess authority without exercising it. For example, the Capitol Police have the authority to arrest the President for first degree murder if, God forbid, we ever elected a murderer. They have never exercised that authority, and historical evidence from 1789 until 1889 is pretty lacking that such an authority existed.

      B) The historical record that we do have shows a very strong episcopate, with Rome having authority over the Greek church at Corinth. We see this in Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians. Authority Rome has from the historical record is already stronger than what you have conceded.

      2) A) Putting the Eucharist under a microscope to disprove the real presence is nonsensical. If you put a skin cell from Christ under a microscope, you would not discover his consubstantial union with the Godhead. If you swabbed his saliva, or pulled his hair, or pulled his finger, you still wouldn’t discover the presence of the Godhead.

      B) There were times when Jesus made himself invisible (John 8:59). There were times when angels make themselves invisible. While invisible, is there any observable distinction between them? No. Does a distinction exist? Yes! One is the Supreme God of the Universe and the other is a mere creature.

      to be continued…

    23. C) So if Christ can be i) present and ii) unobservable then his unobservableness CANNOT be the sole factor of whether he is present or absent in the Eucharist.

      3) To eat one’s flesh as a figure of speech in Semitic thought. It means ‘to act cruelly towards’ I’m not making that up: that’s from Compendious and Complete Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament by Benjamin Davies page 35 link: http://tinyurl.com/cose3vd

      If you can find any other Lexicon or similar apparatus that says what the figure of speech ‘eating one’s flesh’ meant to Jews in Bible times, I’m very very open to read it.

      So we know: Christ could have meant it literally…

      or: He meant “He ‘who acts cruelly to me’ shall have eternal life.”

      or: You have a Lexicon that says it is a figure of speech that means something else that you will share with us

      4) Do you have a reference in a Lexicon that the word ‘Alethos’ can be translated as ‘methaphorically?’

  30. Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250104.htm

    Chapter 5. The Bishops of Jerusalem from the Age of our Saviour to the Period under Consideration

    1. The chronology of the bishops of Jerusalem I have nowhere found preserved in writing; for tradition says that they were all short lived.2. But I have learned this much from writings, that until the siege of the Jews, which took place under Adrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession there, all of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate. For their whole church consisted then of believing Hebrewswho continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles.3. But since the bishops of the circumcision ceased at this time, it is proper to give here a list of their names from the beginning. The first, then, was James, the so-called brother of the Lord; the second, Symeon; the third, Justus;the fourth, Zacchæus; the fifth, Tobias; the sixth, Benjamin; the seventh, John; the eighth, Matthias; the ninth, Philip; the tenth, Seneca; the eleventh, Justus; the twelfth, Levi; the thirteenth, Ephres; the fourteenth, Joseph; and finally, the fifteenth, Judas.4. These are the bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the time referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision.5. In the twelfth year of the reign of Adrian, Xystus, having completed the tenth year of his episcopate, wassucceeded by Telesphorus, the seventh in succession from the apostles. In the meantime, after the lapse of a year and some months, Eumenes, the sixth in order, succeeded to the leadership of the Alexandrian church, his predecessor having held office eleven years.

  31. meyu,
    I you believe it can be shown from history when the entire Church violated the law of entropy and somehow emerged unified in acceptance of the Papacy, then please do so and don’t just arm wave it.

    I expected your response in regard to the canon of the Bible. In conceding the dispute, you illustrate my point. How can the Bible be the sole rule of faith when it takes an authority outside the Bible to even know what the Bible consists of? I know you’d like to believe the Catholic Church “added” books, but an examination of the real history will show that the Protestant canon has far less support over the centuries than the Catholic. I believe Joe has addressed that before. It’s not a matter of agreeing on the lowest common denominator, but having the right answer. If you are missing authentic portions of the Bible, don’t be surprised to be getting the wrong answer. 1+2+3+4+5 does not give you same result as 1+2+3+4.

    With regard to the discussion of the nature of the Eucharist, it takes a lot to ignore both Scripture and history. This is another case that begs the question of how the entire Church would teach same thing up until the time of the Reformation and be so wrong. This is a hard teaching and an immense challenge to faith. St. John with his 20/20 hindsight sheds light on what was taught everywhere in the early Church and captured in the three other Gospels by showing in his Chapter 6 how Jesus led his apostles into what He was going to do at the Last Supper, give them His Body and Blood to nourish both body and soul. Many disciples walked away in disbelief as you have. This is such a hard teaching that if it were not what Jesus and the Apostles taught, it would have never have gained a foothold, much less be acknowledged by the entire Church for 15 centuries and still taught/practiced by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches today. Even Luther believed in the Real Presence albeit with a different twist.

    1. John,
      I have studied the formation of the Scripture and how the church chose which books would belong in the NT canon. What I said about the other 7 OT books in your Bible is true. There were reasons that for centuries that the OT apocrypha was not accepted as inspired-inerrant Scripture before Trent. It has historical errors in some of them for example. That alone is enough to disqualify them as inspired-inerrant Scripture.

      What is the context of John 6? Why don’t any of the supper accounts mention that eating in the bread and drinking the wine leads to eternal life? John 6:54-58 speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood that gains eternal life by doing so. No mention of the Lord’s supper that would not take place later.

    2. Not accepted by whom? The fact is that there were many opinions as to the canon of Scripture. This certainly doesn’t bolster a case for ‘sola (solo) scriptura’, but it’s not a problem for Catholics that have authoritative Church. Over the centuries there have been much more support for the Catholic canon than the Protestant one. Can you show anytime that the 66 book Protestant canon was the universally accepted canon?

      The Gospels when compared to each other have discrepancies in the historical account. Does that alone disqualify them as inspired-inerrant Scripture??

      The Gospels were not written to be self-contained and exhaustive exposes of Christian doctrine. The norm for passing the faith was verbal teaching. Writing was by far the exception. Jesus didn’t write books nor did He command His apostles to write, but he did mandate that His apostles teach all nations. The entire Gospel message was initially transmitted verbally and it has mostly been taught verbally down through the centuries. St Paul names the Church as the bullwark or truth and endorses scripture as a useful tool for teaching. Paul didn’t define Scripture other than it could only have been the Old Testament at the time. You ask why some accounts mention things and others don’t. That’s because they were supplementing what was already taught and understood. It was not necessary. They were written by different people at different times and places for different audiences. Having multiple accounts sheds light from multiple directions that we might see it all the better. John 6 and 1 Cor 11 shed light on the accounts of the Last Supper and confirm what was taught, written and practiced with regard to the nature of the Eucharist. As I said before, the ‘real presence’ is such a hard teaching that it would have died almost immediately if it were not what was being taught directly from the Apostles.

    3. John,
      The 66 books of the Canon has been accepted since around the 4th century. The 7 books called the apocrypha that you have were not considered inspired-inerrant until Trent.
      It is true the church during the time of the apostles they had their oral teachings. We don’t and so we must depend on the written word that they left. The written word does not support the real presence doctrine for a number of reasons.

    4. > The written word does not support the real presence doctrine for a number of reasons.

      Your personal, fallible interpretation of Scripture…which is in opposition to 1,500 years of universal Christian witness.

      But wait a minute here… You believe that history cannot be trusted at all regarding the Eucharist. Why then do you call upon history in attempts to confirm your smaller canon? Consistency… :-/

      I’m sure someone else will comment on your other rather questionable statements, but I would invite you to go and read this article concerning the canon in the early centuries and this article concerning the Jewish canon in the time of Jesus…

      Don’t just assume, read the Fathers! Ad Fontes!

    5. Who has the infallible interpretation of Scripture? I know its not the rcc because there is no such thing.

      Can you tell me which fathers provide an exegesis of any Scripture?

    6. >Who has the infallible interpretation of Scripture? I know its not the rcc because there is no such thing.

      I know you don’t believe in it, but that’s not the point I was making.

      You’re asserting that your interpretation of Scripture is the interpretation of Scripture. It’s as though you’re saying that there’s no possibility you’re wrong, despite the fact that you are alone in your interpretation until about 16th Century

      You also didn’t answer my question: Why do you appeal to history when it comes to the canon, yet completely disregard it when it comes to the Eucharist?

      >Can you tell me which fathers provide an exegesis of any Scripture?

      Meyu, please read the Fathers. It is very hard to take your declarations about history seriously when you ask questions like this.

      The Fathers exegete Scripture implicitly in all their writings about the Faith, but if you’d like to see more formal commentaries, then a good place to start is <a href=”http://www.josephkenny.joyeurs.com/CDtexts/CAJohn.htm>The Catena Aurea</a>.

    7. The canon issue is also a historical issue. The real presence doctrine is primarily a doctrine. We go to Scripture first to see if it is taught in Scripture. You are assuming that the Lord’s supper was believed the same throughout history and that is not true. As I have said before, just because something has been believed for a long time does not mean its true.

      How well do you know the fathers? Have you read all 38 volumes? Do you know them well enough to explain them?

      Isn’t there a more recent commentary than The Catena Aurea?

    8. 1. So is an apostate church, which is deep in heresy, in a fit state to discern the canon? Y/N?

      2. As I’ve said before, please provide evidence of these differing historical eucharistic beliefs, don’t just simply assert it.

      3. The Real Presence wasn’t just believed for a long time…it was believed from the very beginning. This begs the question: How could Jesus allow His Church, the pillar and foundation of the truth, to go off the rails so early, for so long, and without any protest from “real” Christians?

      * Nope, I haven’t read all the writings of the Fathers (Augustine’s writings alone are encyclopedic). I’ve read a sizable chunk of the Apostolic Fathers, and a scattering of the rest, primarily through the Catena, the Office of Readings and Patriatic books.

      If you want a modern compilation of the Fathers’ Scripture commentary, try Logos software.

    9. 1) What is an apostate church? Part of the definition would be a church that does not teach what the apostles taught. Agreed?

      2) As for various beliefs about the Lord’s supper you can start here-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist

      3) The apostles never use the term real presence and as I have said they do not teach the idea that Jesus is literally bread. There is no exegesis of any passages on the supper that support this.

      Claiming what some father said really does not help you since you don’t know them well enough. Secondly, who says what they wrote is what the entire church at the time believed anyway?

    10. 1) One that has fallen away from the Apostolic Faith. So, would an apostate church which believed all kinds of heretical, ridiculous things about Eucharist, Baptism etc really be in a fit state to discern the canon? Y/N?

      2) Meyu, this is just plain lazy. The link you provided describes differing views of denominations founded after the Reformation…1,500 years after the Apostles. Please find differing views a little earlier in history than the 16th Century!

      3) The apostles never use the term “Trinity” either…what does that prove? Absolutely nothing.

      Your comments regarding to the Fathers are absolutely breathtaking! I “don’t know them well enough”…really? Really?! Words fail me!

      So in order to comment upon what the Fathers of the First Century believed about the Eucharist I have to have read all the works of the Fathers up until 8th Century?! That’s just ridiculous.

      (Can I impose my own own ridiculous standard on you? Since you haven’t read any of the Fathers, you are not allowed to comment on anything in Church history at all. Period. Secondly, since you are not fluent in Koine Greek you may not even attempt to exegete the New Testament.)

      Lastly, do you see how inconsistent you are with your use of history? You said “who says what they wrote is what the entire church at the time believed anyway?”. You didn’t use this standard when talking about the papacy! You used the standard that if it is was not written it was not believed!

      Also, as I’ve explained several times, we know what heresies the Church fought against throughout the centuries because we have the works of the Catholic apologists of the time (Irenaeus, Justin, etc.). We find no such works against the Real Presence or Baptismal Regeneration. There’s absolutely silence. Please tell me, where were the “real” Christians?

    11. The 66 books of the Canon has been accepted since around the 4th century. The 7 books called the apocrypha that you have were not considered inspired-inerrant until Trent.

      I don’t have time to respond to every one of your claims on the canon, but almost everything that you’ve said here is false. You keep throwing out these claims, with either 0 support, or through more appeals to authority. So let’s look at the actual evidence, and see if you’re right.

      1) Here is what the fourth-century Council of Carthage said:

      “It was also determined that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the Church under the title of divine Scriptures. The Canonical Scriptures are these: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings [that is, First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings], two books of Paraleipomena [that is, First and Second Chronicles], Job, the Psalter, five books of Solomon, [that is, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus] the books of the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras [that is, Ezra and Nehemiah], two books of the Maccabees. Of the New Testament: four books of the Gospels, one book of the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of the Apostle Paul, one epistle of the same [writer] to the Hebrews, two Epistles of the Apostle Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, one book of the Apocalypse of John. Let this be made known also to our brother and fellow-priest Boniface, or to other bishops of those parts, for the purpose of confirming that Canon. because we have received from our fathers that those books must be read in the Church. Let it also be allowed that the Passions of Martyrs be read when their festivals are kept.”

      Note that all of the Books are described as Canonical Scripture, and all of them are described as Divine Scripture. Note that the early Christians didn’t separately come up with an “Old Testament canon” and a “New Testament canon” like most Protestant histories (falsely) claim. This is the canon. So when you say that these Books weren’t considered inspired-inerrant until the 16th century Council of Trent, it’s just embarrassingly wrong, as anyone with an Internet connection or a library card can see.

      [Note also that this canon is submitted to Pope Boniface, who is described by the Petrine title “fellow-priest” (a reference to 1 Peter 5:1), and that the Church has festivals for the Saints in Heaven, etc.]

      2) Find me a Protestant Bible in use prior to the Reformation. Not someone arguing that this should be the canon, but someone who actually uses this as the canon. Secondary sources from Protestant blogs claiming that these existed don’t count, either. I want some sort of actual evidence (archeological, Patristic, you name it) that there was a 66-Book Protestant Bible in use somewhere (anywhere!) before the 16th century. If it’s true that the “66 books of the Canon has been accepted since around the 4th century,” you should have no trouble.

    12. 3) There is, of course, an irony here that would be amusing if it weren’t so serious. You’re boldly claiming that the Protestant canon was around from the 4th century, while the Catholic canon wasn’t around from the 16th. The exact reverse is true: we can find the evidence of the Catholic Bible in use from the 4th century, and the Protestant Bible didn’t exist until the 16th (after the Reformation). So the very standard you use to try to disprove the Catholic canon (not around until the 16th century) disproves your own; and the very standard you use to prove the Protestant Bible (around from the 4th century onwards) proves the Catholic canon.

      4) I should remind you that you’re a Christian.* You have an obligation to the truth. When you go around making obviously false claims like this, it undermines the Gospel… even if you’re not intentionally lying. If the problem is simply that you’re too busy to do basic fact-checking, then you shouldn’t make fact-claims on issues that you know little about.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      *I presume that you are an Evangelical Protestant, based on your arguments and the websites that you find reputable. But I still know next to nothing about you. In order to put a human face on this dialogue, would you care to tell me anything about who you are? For example, I’m a 27 year-old Roman Catholic seminarian (I turn 28 in a week), with a background in history and law. You?

    13. Joe,
      Wasn’t the the Third Council of Carthage not a general council but a regional council of African bishops? That is, it did not speak for the entire church at the time?

      Why were the OT apocrypha books considered deuterocanonical?
      Here is an interesting quote from Wiki–“Deuterocanonical is a term coined in 1566 by the theologian Sixtus of Siena, who had converted to Catholicism from Judaism, to describe scriptural texts of the Old Testament considered canonical by the Catholic Church, but which are not present in the Hebrew Bible, and which had been omitted by some early canon lists, especially in the East.[1][2][3]

      Their acceptance among early Christians was widespread, though not universal, and the Bible of the early Church always included, with varying degrees of recognition, books now called deuterocanonical.[4] Some say that their canonicity seems not to have been doubted in the Church until it was challenged by Jews after AD 100,[5] sometimes postulating a hypothetical Council of Jamnia. Regional councils in the West published official canons that included these books as early as the 4th and 5th centuries.[2][6]

      There was doubt about these books for centuries. It was not until Trent that “elevated” these books to the status of Scripture.

      The 66 books of the Scripture were all accepted as Scripture by the 4th century. The other 7 called apochrya were in dispute in the RCC until Trent proclaimed them Scripture.

    14. 1) The claim that “the 66 books of the Scripture were all accepted as Scripture by the 4th century” is wildly misleading, if not dishonest. That claim makes it sound like there was some Christian community that had a 66-Book Protestant Bible. But that’s not true. Of course, every Catholic Bible also contains the 66 Books that the Reformers kept, a fortiori.

      2) You claimed that: “It was not until Trent that “elevated” these books to the status of Scripture.

      This is false.Trent was not convoked until 1545. As I showed earlier, these Books were called “divine Scriptures” and “Canonical Scriptures” in the 300s, at the Council of Carthage. Nor was this the earliest reference to them as Scripture, by the way. You protested that was “not a general council but a regional council of African bishops.” True, but so what? It still undermines your claim that these Books weren’t considered Scripture until Trent. And Carthage’s decrees were submitted to the pope, as I mentioned before. He then commissioned the creation of the Latin Vulgate, which included all of these Books as Scripture.
      Still if you insist, for whatever reason, on an Ecumenical Council’s decrees on the subject, I can still provide you one from over a century prior to Trent.  The Seventeenth Ecumenical Council, in the Bull of Union with the Copts, declared on February 4, 1442, the beliefs of “the holy Roman church,” including that:

      “It professes that one and the same God is the author of the old and the new Testament — that is, the law and the prophets, and the gospel — since the saints of both testaments spoke under the inspiration of the same Spirit. It accepts and venerates their books, whose titles are as follows.

      Five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, Esdras, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; two books of the Maccabees; the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; fourteen letters of Paul, to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, to the Colossians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two letters of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude; Acts of the Apostles; Apocalypse of John.”

      In 1442, Martin Luther hadn’t even been born yet, so the stock Protestant claim that the Church “elevated” these Books in response to the Reformation is false.  And Florence species the canon simply for the purpose of ensuring that there was common ground with the Copts, not because there was serious question within the Church on the canon.

      Meyu, you’ve been proven wrong on several points now, about the history of the papacy, the belief of the early Christians on the Real Presence, and now on the early Church’s canon of Scripture. At no point have you actually conceded error on anything, though: you just move on to the next issue, making more bold claims that you can’t support. I urge you: care more about truth and honesty than about seeming right or protecting your pride.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  32. And the Church existed before any of the New Testament anyway. Then members of the Church wrote the gospels and epistles that were received by the Church, preached by the Church, and preserved by the Church.

    So you can have the Church without the Bible, but you can’t have the Bible without the Church.

    1. The church has always had the written scripture called the old testament. For a time it had the oral teachings of the apostles with some writings of the apostles who wrote to various churches and individuals. After the apostles died we have only their writings that have survived.

    2. What did the apostles leave behind?…the graces to live the Christian life distributed via the Sacraments and the authoritative teaching given to their trained leadership appointed through the laying on of hands and united under the successor of Peter and with the guidance/protection of the Holy Spirit. The continued physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is an unparalleled gift that is totally in character with His humility, His over the top love for us and His promise to be with us all days. Passing down the training received from Jesus Himself and confirming its understanding including the meaning of Scripture in each new generation of clergy is absolutely critical to maintaining the integrity of the Gospel message as it is brought to the entire world.

  33. Perhaps an analogy will help. I took karate

    from an instructor named Shihan Ron Baker.

    He taught me individual techniques, their application (bunkai) and kata.

    His instruction was from Soke Shogo Kuniba. He learned from Kenwa Mabuni and Kosei Kokuba.

    Mabuni learned from Itosu who learned from Sokon who learned from Annan who invented Chinto kata.

    My Chinto kata has apostolic lineage to its founding.

    To apply this to the Church, look at the Apostle John’s disciple Polycarp.

  34. Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith,loving the brotherhood, 1 Peter 2:17 and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because alms delivers from death. Tobit 4:10, Tobit 12:9 Be all of you subject one to another 1 Peter 5:5 having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles, 1 Peter 2:12 that you may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed!Isaiah 52:5 Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.

  35. Meyu,
    If the Protestant exclusively 66 book canon was the universally accepted canon from around the 4th century to Trent, provide your evidence. Why do the Orthodox who weren’t at Trent not have the Protestant 66 book canon?

    You note that the Old Testament existed before any New Testament texts were written, but you could not gleen anything uniquely Christian from that alone. If the apostles taught exclusively from that, we would all be Jews knowing nothing of Christ. The Good News of Christ was orally transmitted and if you can’t trust oral transmission, you might as well throw out the everything written by the Church including the New Testament. When the apostles died, they left their teaching primarily in what they taught orally particularly through their chosen successors for whom they ordained by the laying on off hands, e.g. Timothy. The scriptures are a very useful tool, but the authoritative oral explanation are just as important. Daniel used an analogy of karate. I like to think of it as going into to battle in the front lines having been self taught by reading the Marine field manual. Such a person is going to get killed in short order vs those who have gone through boot camp, trained by experienced drill instructors and fighting with their similarly trained, equipped and led Marines. What kind of fool would say they read the manual and know better and that the training and leadership offer nothing of critical value beyond that??

    1. I’d be willing to say that Marines could train soldiers just about as well with or without a manual. They know their business and faithfully pass on to each generation what they’ve been taught and learned. Which would you trust more, the manual alone or the expert training with or without a manual?

    2. John,
      The dispute is not over the 66 books of the canon that we accept as inspired-inerrant Scripture but its the 7 books of the Old Testament apocrypha that is in dispute as inspired-inerrant Scripture. Those 7 books were considered Deuterocanonical i.e. second canon until Trent. These books were in dispute for centuries in the church and were not considered inspired-inerrant until Trent.

    3. Since you’re a fan of Wikipedia:

      “Deuterocanonical books is a term used since the 16th century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term is used in contrast to the protocanonical books, which are contained in the Hebrew Bible”

  36. “If someone working directly for three different popes can fail to spell out the papacy in the explicit terms that you’re wanting, over the span of 3000+ pages, why would you expect to find this explicit affirmation in the writings of the first century Fathers, which are miniscule by comparison?

    So I think we’re left with a couple options:
    1) We could come to the obviously-absurd conclusion that St. Thomas, one of the greatest defenders of the Church in Catholic history, didn’t believe in or know about the papacy, despite working for three popes.

    2) We could conclude that your (arbitrary and made-up) standard is wrong, and is built on the faulty assumption that anything a person denies anything that they don’t mention explicitly in writing (a position that would presumably render us all heretics, since nobody explicitly affirms every possible doctrine).”

    Off topic, somewhat, but funny enough this is where we run into a lot of problems with our current state of affairs in how we view the United States Constitution and was one of James Madison’s fears with the Bill of Rights. If one has to list human rights that are endowed by our creator at life, Madison feared that the attitude that, whatever is not listed, will be considered not a right… which isn’t the voice I think the Anti-federalists were trying to make, correct me if I am wrong on my history here. I believe this was in the Federalist Papers, Joe? I always thought that a fascinating argument. And now I think it rings somewhat true in this discussion, despite the long string of comments and argumentation here, I’ve learned a lot just by reading the dialogue you guys have had back and forth, just in good argumentation and analysing historical evidence.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

  37. Here is some more research on the early papacy by RC scholars:
    “9) the Roman Catholic writer Klaus Schatz, in his work “Papal Primacy, From its Origins to the Present”, (the Order of St. Benedict, Inc, Collegeville, MN: A Michael Glazier Book published by The Liturgical Press, 1996), makes the following statement:
    It is clear that the Roman primacy was not a given from the outset; it underwent a long process of development whose initial phases extended well into the fifth century (pg 36).

    As Eamon Duffy says, in his work, “Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes,” (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997, 2001), though tradition is fairly certain that both Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome during the reign of Nero, nothing else is known, and remaining details, often supplied in the second and third centuries, were “pious romance” – works of fiction that were created to fill in some missing details:
    These stories were to be accepted as sober history by some of the greatest minds of the early Church — Origen, Ambrose, Augustine. But they are pious romance, not history, and the fact is that we have no reliable accounts either of Peter’s later life or the manner or place of his death. Neither Peter nor Paul founded the Church at Rome, for there were Christians in the city before either of the Apostles set foot there. Nor can we assume, as Irenaeus did, that the Apostles established there a succession of bishops to carry on their work in the city, for all the indications are that there was no single bishop at Rome for almost a century after the deaths of the Apostles. In fact, wherever we turn, the solid outlines of the Petrine succession at Rome seem to blur and dissolve. (Duffy, pg 2.)

  38. Do the 7 books you are disputing appear in Bibles used in the 16th century? Yes. c.f. Trent
    Do the 7 books you are disputing appear in Bibles used in the 13th century? Yes. c.f. Thomas Aquinas
    Do the 7 books you are disputing appear in Bibles used in the 8th century? Yes. c.f. John of Damascus
    Do the 7 books you are disputing appear in Bibles used in the 4th century? Yes. c.f. Council of Carthage; Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus…etc.
    Do the 7 books you are disputing appear in Bibles used in the 1st century? Yes. c.f. Polycarp and Clement of Rome.

    When the NT quotes the OT, does it do so with a preference for the Hebrew or the Greek OT (i.e. Septuagint or LXX)? A researcher has concluded,”…the agreement in sense between the New Testament and the Septuagint is 93%. This compares favorably with the rate of agreement between the New Testament quotations and the Hebrew Old Testament, 68%” link: http://mysite.verizon.net/rgjones3/Septuagint/spexecsum.htm

    Fragments of Sirach, Baruch, and Tobit appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Hastings Dictionary of the New Testament lists Matthew 24:15 as quoting from the LXX not from the Masoretic text.

    You’ll notice two things when you look at that verse.

    1) That’s JESUS quoting the LXX.
    2) Jesus refers to Daniel as a prophet. Pharisees place the book of Daniel in the Ketuvim ( the Writings or Hagiographa) and not the Neviim ( Prophets).

    Why is the Septuagint good enough for Jesus but not good enough for you, meyu?

    1. We don’t have any copies of the Septuagint from the 1st century. Here is a quote on this from Geisler-“Books in the Greek Manuscripts. None of the great Greek manuscripts (Aleph, A, and B) contain all of the apocryphal books. Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, and Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) are found in all of them, and the oldest manuscripts (B or Vaticanus) totally exclude the Books of Maccabees. Yet Catholics appeal to this manuscript in support of their view. What is more, no Greek manuscript has the same list of apocryphal books accepted by the Council of Trent (1545–63; Beckwith, 194, 382–83).
      Geisler, N. L. (1999). Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Baker reference library (30). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.”

    2. I’ll take this point by point.

      “We don’t have any copies of the Septuagint from the 1st century.”

      What’s your point? It existed in 200 BC. It existed in 200 AD. The 7 books weren’t 4th century Catholic forgeries, they were Jewish books used by Diaspora Jews in the time of the Diaspora. The fact that they are preserved only by Christians speaks strongly for Christians to use them today, not scrap them.

      “None of the great Greek manuscripts (Aleph, A, and B) contain all of the apocryphal books.”

      Geisler is either mistaken or is lying, and he’s a pretty smart guy if you catch my drift.

      Manuscript A (Alexandrinus) indeed has Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 Macc, and 2 Macc. This chart even has their names as given in Manuscript A. http://www.symeon-anthony.info/BibleCanon/Alexandrinus/CodexAlexandrinus.html

      And regardless, it doesn’t stand to reason at all to say that “Most of the books were used almost all of the time in the Early Church and therefore we are going to use none of those books at any time today.”

    3. It is true the Septuagint in 200 BC but we don’t have any copies of it. We don’t know whether it contained the apocrypha. The earliest copy we have is is only from the 4th century.
      No apocryphal book claims to be written by a prophet and some of these books have historical errors in them. The Jews also rejected the apocrypha as Scripture.
      The issue is not use of a book in the early church but was it considered inspired-inerrant Scripture. Lots of books were used in the early church but they were not considered Scripture. So it is with the 7 books of the OT apocrypha. They were in dispute by many in the early church.

    4. “It is true the Septuagint in 200 BC but we don’t have any copies of it. We don’t know whether it contained the apocrypha…”

      The Diaspora Jews used a canon beyond the canon of the Pharisees. Source: Sunberg, Albert C., “The Septuagint: The Bible of Hellenistic Judaism,” The Canon Debate. McDonald, Lee Martin and James A. Sanders, eds. (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 202), 82.

      Fragments of the ‘apocrypha’ are found at Qumran. Sorry, but they would have had to have existed at least around 70AD-ish at minimum. Also, that they are being preserved by an Essene cult kind of refutes your claim, “The Jews also rejected the apocrypha as Scripture.”

      And while we’re at it, that brings me to the fact that the Talmud quotes Sirach as Scripture:

      “Raba [again] said to Rabbah b. Mari: whence can be derived the popular saying, ‘A bad palm will usually make its way to a grove of barren trees’? – He replied: This matter was written in the Pentateuch, repeated in the Prophets, mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, and also learnt in a Mishnah and taught in a baraitha: It is stated in the Pentateuch as written, So Esau went unto Ishmael [Genesis 28:9], repeated in the prophets, as written, And there gathered themselves to Jephthah idle men and they went out with him [Judges 11:3], mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, as written: Every fowl dwells near its kind and man near his equal [Sirach 13:15].” (b. B. Qam. 92b; Soncino ed.).

      Some Jews still friggin use the apocrypha to this day like Beta Israel in Ethiopia. They have translated the LXX into Ge’ez, and it includes even more books than the Catholics.

      Sure, lots of Jews rejected it as Scripture. But then again, the Sadducees and the Samaritans rejected all but Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

      Why should I follow the Pharisee canon over the Sadducee canon or the Diaspora canon? Personally, I opt for the canon used by the Early Church (incidentally that’s at minimum the Diaspora Jew canon plus the NT).

      It’s kind of silly relying on the Jews to figure out the Old Testament anyway when they couldn’t figure it out when God Himself was explaining it to them face to face. Just saying.

      “So it is with the 7 books of the OT apocrypha. They were in dispute by many in the early church.”

      By that logic, you would have to exclude lots of the NT books we agree on. Which, for the record, is a problem with your logic and not your NT canon.

      “No apocryphal book claims to be written by a prophet…”

      Also, by this logic you would have to throw out a lot of books we both agree on. That doesn’t mean the books we agree on are wrong, but that again, your criteria for canonicity is nonsense.

      “…and some of these books have historical errors in them…”

      If that’s true (I would love an example) I’m not convinced that it would exclude them from being canonical, because the narrative genre isn’t particularly concerned with strict historical accuracy. Or at least that’s what I’m getting out of Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth which is required reading at Liberty University, where I’m a student.

    5. We need more than fragments from the 1st century to determine if the Septuagint contained the apocrypha. We should follow the OT Jews because “they were entrusted with the oracles of God”. Rom 3:2

      The books of the NT were either written by an apostle or one associated with an apostle. We don’t have anything like this that I’m aware of for apocrypha i.e. associated with a prophet.

    6. “We should follow the OT Jews because ‘they were entrusted with the oracles of God'”

      And when do we stop following them? Pilates’s doorstep? Calvary?

      Jesus Himself couldn’t teach them what the OT was, why would I trust them now?

  39. Restless PilgrimFebruary 24, 2013 at 1:21 PM asked:
    “1) One that has fallen away from the Apostolic Faith. So, would an apostate church which believed all kinds of heretical, ridiculous things about Eucharist, Baptism etc really be in a fit state to discern the canon? Y/N?”

    Yes. Christ can use fallen sinful men to accomplish His purposes in discerning the canon.

    1. >Yes. Christ can use fallen sinful men to accomplish His purposes in discerning the canon.

      Okay, so…

      1. What makes you think that Christ did this?

      2. Why did Jesus lead these men to the truth concerning the canon, but then utterly fail when it came to the universally accepted doctrines of the Real Presence and Baptismal Regeneration?

      3. Do we have any guarantee that the Church included and excluded the right books? If not, have you personally confirmed that all the books included are the right ones and that no potential candidates were incorrectly excluded? If you haven’t done this, why not?

      Also, you’ve made an assertion a couple of times and my rebuttal has gone unrefuted both times:

      We know what heresies the Church fought against throughout the centuries because we have the works of the Catholic apologists of the time (Irenaeus, Justin, etc.). We find no such works against the Real Presence or Baptismal Regeneration. There’s absolutely silence. Please tell me, where were the “real” Christians?

    2. 1) Christ said He would build His church and Scripture is an essential ingredient of the church. Its from the Scripture alone that we can find apostolic teaching.
      2) If the canon was not right then all kinds of false doctrines would have developed. Since Christ did not promise the church protection against error we must be on guard against false teachings. The only way to do that is to compare teachings with Scripture. If the teaching does not square with Scripture then its not apostolic. In some churches false teachings have been embraced. Even if a teaching has been accepted for a long time does not mean its true. The true test for a teaching can only be tested by Scripture. The real presence fails this test. Water baptism does not save anyone. Only faith in Christ can. Water baptism is an expression of that faith in identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection.
      3) I think the church of the 4th century got the NT canon right. I have not seen any counter evidence against it. Until that evidence is presented and examined I stand convinced the church got it right.

      After the Protestant Reformation there was disagreements with the real presence. In the earlier centuries there could have been some disputes or the theological tenor during these centuries was not that strong. Another possibility could have been is that no one questioned the church on this. After all the church carried a powerful weapon with the inquisitions that began in the 1200’s. Who would dare question the church on such a doctrine while the inquisitors were around?

      “Real Christians” can embrace some false doctrines.

    3. I think the church of the 4th century got the NT canon right.

      By specifying that you agree with the early Church’s NT canon, are you admitting that the 4th century Church didn’t (as you earlier claimed) establish the 66 Book Protestant Bible?

      In any case, the early Church didn’t separately establish a New and Old Testament canon. It established a Biblical canon. If you think (for the reasons that you outlined above) that Jesus guided this process to preserve it from error, then you should accept the Catholic Bible. If you think (for the other reasons you outlined above) that the early Church was wrong about this canon, then you’ve left yourself no reason to trust any Bible.

    4. Once the NT canon was finalized in the 4th century coupled with the 39 books of the OT (for which I’m not aware of any debate about these books being Scripture in the 4th century) we have the protestant bible of 66 books.
      A biblical canon encompasses the 39 OT and 27 NT books.

      Why did Trent proclaim the 7 apocrypha books to be considered Scripture? Remember: they were considered deuterocanonical up to this time.

      I would accept the 7 apocrypha books as Scripture if they known to be written by a prophet, if the OT Jews accepted them as Scripture and if they did not contain errors.

      My ultimate trust is not in any church but in Christ. Men can and do err but Christ doesn’t.

    5. Why did Trent proclaim the 7 apocrypha books to be considered Scripture? Remember: they were considered deuterocanonical up to this time.

      “Deuterocanonical” doesn’t mean what you think it means. We still call those Books Deuterocanonical, and it means about the same thing as Antilegomena. It doesn’t suggest that they’re of any less Divine authority.

      As for the idea that Trent somehow raised them from being non-canonical to canonical, I already showed you above that this is false.

      By the way, what prophet is known to have written Hebrews? Or Job? Or Esther? Did the O.T. Jews universally accept Esther? Or Ecclesiastes? Or any of the Books outside of the Torah?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    6. Those 7 books were not considered inspired-inerrant Scripture before Trent. They were in dispute for centuries. Not all accepted them as Scripture.

      Again–“was Council of Carthage” a universal council that had authority over the entire church?

      Here is another tidbit from Wiki on this issue: “In the Catholic Church, “the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon”[13] was that defined by the Council of Trent.[14] Among the minority, in Trent, that showed opposition to these books’ inclusion were Cardinals Seripando and Cajetan, the latter an opponent of Luther at Augsburg.[15][16][17] However, Trent confirmed the statements of earlier and less authoritative regional councils which included also the deuterocanonical books, such as the Synod of Hippo (393), and the Councils of Carthage of 397. Much later (15th century), the Council of Florence taught the divine inspiration of these books, but “did not formally pass on their canonicity. “[

      This shows there was dispute for these books. Only Trent could do this while those other councils were not claimed to be infallible.

    7. We don’t know the author of Hebrews. Most likely it was written by either an apostle or someone associated with one.
      The 39 OT canon that we accept and the Jews has its own history. To complicated to go into here.

    8. If Trent truly declared the 7 books to be Scripture, how do you explain their use in the Eastern Orthodox Church, in schism from Catholics (I’ll throw in a ‘or vice versa’ to avoid that rabbit-hole) since 500 years before Trent?

    9. >1) Christ said He would build His church…

      Yes, He did, he made many wonderful promises about His Church.

      > …and Scripture is an essential ingredient of the church.

      …erm….okay….Jesus didn’t mention the Scripture that His disciples and their friends would write (He sent them to teach, rather than just write)…but okay, sure, Scripture is important…

      …however, it still doesn’t really explain why Jesus would allow His Church to fall into deep, deep heresy…yet give her the wisdom to assemble the canon correctly…a canon which, according to you, would point out all the obvious faults in her theology straight away (which it apparently didn’t).

      > Its from the Scripture alone that we can find apostolic teaching.

      This is what we call an unsupported, unhistorical assertion.

      > 2) If the canon was not right then all kinds of false doctrines would have developed

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it your position is that all kinds of false doctrines did develop?! Both before, during and for many years after the canon was assembled.

      For example, if we take the doctrine of the Real Presence, it’s extremely easy to prove that the Church universally believed in the Real Presence prior to and during the formation of the canon. However, we can also show that this belief was held long afterwards. I’m guessing your theology is similar to that of Zwingli. Zwingli didn’t present his (newfangled) understanding of the Eucharist until 1529, about fifteen hundred after the Ascension! And when Zwingli presented his idea he was arguing against Luther who, from Scripture Alone, was denouncing his teaching as heresy!

      Even after the Reformation, Scripture didn’t do a very good job of stopping Christians from believing in the Real Presence! Statistically speaking, the majority of Christians today believe in the Real Presence, in some form or another. I just picked the example of the Real Presence, but it could be demonstrated for many other doctrines.

      No, if I was Jesus, I wouldn’t just work on getting the canon right, that would be a pretty lousy way of keeping my Church united and out of error. I think founding an authoritative Church would have been a far smarter move…

      The only way to do that is to compare teachings with Scripture…

      Another assertion, and rather tricky when we’re talking about discerning the canon of Scripture, if consulting Scripture is “The only way to [be protected from error]”.

      > If the teaching does not square with Scripture then its not apostolic

      But who’s interpretation of Scripture though? Luther’s? Zwingli’s? Calvin’s? Yours? The Reformation proved, beyond any doubt, two things:

      1. The “obvious” meaning of Scripture isn’t that obvious.
      2. If there is no Pope, then everyone is Pope.

      > Even if a teaching has been accepted for a long time does not mean its true

      I don’t know why, but you seem to keep missing the point that the Real Presence and Baptismal Regeneration were not just believed for a long time, they were believed from the very beginning….and with no opposition whatsoever (we’ll get on to your attempts at trying to explain this in a moment).

      >The true test for a teaching can only be tested by Scripture. The real presence fails this test.

      No, it doesn’t. It fails using your personal, faulty and extremely modern interpretation, an interpretation which stands in direct contradiction to the historical teaching of the Church and that of theological giants such as Jerome, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

      >Water baptism does not save anyone. Water baptism is an expression of that faith in identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection

      These are more unsupported assertions.

    10. >3) I think the church of the 4th century got the NT canon right. I have not seen any counter evidence against it. Until that evidence is presented and examined I stand convinced the church got it right.

      Given the various statements you’ve made thus far about history, I have to admit I’m rather interested in what books you have consumed on the subject and, in particular, what primary sources you’ve read.

      But anyway, I notice here that you didn’t answer my question as to whether or not you have personally confirmed the included and excluded books…so I’m going to assume that your answer is “No”, you haven’t. So are you accepting the canon on faith? Who are you trusting?

      You also seem to admit that there’s no guarantee that the Church got it right. Does that mean there’s a possibility that your Bible contains books which aren’t Scripture and doesn’t contain some books which are Scripture? For example, how would you demonstrate to me that the Epistle of James should remain in the canon? After all, Luther tried to throw it out…

      >After the Protestant Reformation there was disagreements with the real presence.

      We weren’t talking about the 16th Century, we were talking about the 1st Century and the fifteen centuries which followed it…

      In the earlier centuries there could have been some disputes…

      Whatever happened to the historical standard you used for the Papacy? There you said that if the Papacy existed there would have to be documentation.

      Your above statement is a guess, a speculation based on….what exactly? It’s based on nothing, I’m afraid, except for the fact that the historical record is extremely inconvenient to your theology.

      …or the theological tenor during these centuries was not that strong.

      Now, this is an utterly mindboggling statement.

      How could anyone read a few of the Church Fathers or a book or two on Church History and be able to make such a statement?! The Christians in the early centuries were EXTREMELY concerned about doctrine and accurate expression of the faith.

      Even while under persecution, heresy was battled by the Church’s best theologians. Here’s a sample of some of the heresies fought in the early centuries: Apollinarism, Aquari, Arianism, Docetism, Donatism, Ebionitism, Gnosticism, Manicheanism, Marcionism, Modalism, Monarchianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Montansim, Nestorianism, Novatianism, Pelagianism, Pneumatomachianism, Semi-Arianism, Semi-Pelaganism, Subordinationism…

      We have the responses from Catholic apologists to all these different kinds of heretical groups. Does this sound like a Church whose “theological tenor…was not that strong”?! For goodness sake, you’re talking about the era in which the doctrine of the Trinity was articulated, as well as the nature of Christ!

      Please, please, please read the Fathers and some good history books!

      Another possibility could have been is that no one questioned the church on this.

      Yet more unsubstantiated guesswork…but even then this begs the question: why?! Surely those who were converted by the Apostles knew the truth about the Eucharist and Baptism! Why did they just sit idly by? Why did the “Real Christians” seem so laissez-faire about this novel teaching, this vicious heresy, despite all the warnings of Jesus, Paul and John about the “wolves”?

      “Real Christians” can embrace some false doctrines.

      But we’re not talking about some Christians, we’re talking about all of them!

      Concerning the Real Presence and Baptismal Regeneration there is not a peep, not a single objection for over a millennium! I’m afraid I have yet to hear an explanation from you which could logically explains this.

    11. You wrote in regards to the church going into heresy:
      “…however, it still doesn’t really explain why Jesus would allow His Church to fall into deep, deep heresy…yet give her the wisdom to assemble the canon correctly…a canon which, according to you, would point out all the obvious faults in her theology straight away (which it apparently didn’t).”

      This is something you need to address given the claim by your church to being led by the Holy Spirit. There were many in the RCC before and during the Protestant Reformation that wanted reform. The mere fact that reform was wanted shows that something was wrong. How could that be with a church that claims to be led by the Holy Spirit? How could a church that is supposedly led by the Holy Spirit create the inquisitions that tortured and murdered people for centuries with the approval of popes? How could a church that is supposedly led by the Holy Spirit before the Reformation approve of the way the pope financed the building of the cathedral in Rome by the false pretenses of Tetzel in the selling of indulgences?

      How could Jesus allow this evil and more?

    12. I am not accepting the canon by faith but on the reasons given for it such as Christ guiding the church in regards to what the canon was to be, the tests for a book to be considered Scripture are just some of the reasons I accept the canon. Its not on blind faith.

      BTW– who spoke out against the inquisitions? I’m not aware of anyone. Are you?

    13. You are misunderstanding what Catholics believe about the role of the Holy Spirit in keeping the integrity of the Church.

      The Catholic position is that the Holy Spirit only protects the Church in an infallible way when the Church is acting in Its official capacity as teacher (magisterium). That can be in the college of Bishops (ordinary magisterium) or in rare and extraordinary circumstances, in the Bishop of Rome alone (extraordinary magisterium). For it to be in their official capacity, it must be a teaching to be enforced on the whole church (not merely an opinion), the topic is limited to faith or morals, and it must be approved by the the Bishop of Rome.

      So what happened leading up to the reformation was severe corruption, that was addressed by the ordinary Magisterium at the Council of Trent. Trent only condemned about a 1/3 of Luther’s 95 Theses, and adopted some of his reforms.

      Now, regarding the Inquisition–I understood your point to be “How can the Church be Holy (as in One, Holy, Apostolic, and Catholic) if the Church is engaged in evil?”

      There’s two problems there, and they’re related.

      The first is a misunderstanding of what the Church is. The Church is the Lord’s Body. It’s every Christian with varying degree of filial communion. So not only does the Church have to answer for the Inquisition for charges of being unholy, but also for Calvin’s outrageous sin when he put Servetus to the stake. And Ted Haggard’s sin when he went on a gay meth-head bender. And meyu’s sin. And my sin–which is too numerous to address in detail here.

      But that brings me to your misunderstanding of what we mean when we say the Church is Holy. The Church is Holy because if you follow the precepts of the Church then you will be holy.

      If you are in an ecclesial community like the PCUSA or the Lutherans or the Southern Baptists that say masturbation isn’t a sin (for example), if you follow that precept you will not be holy. That’s because masturbation is objectively sinful (you can’t really do it without lusting, and lusting is a sin on par with adultery said somebody from Nazareth in some book I read once).

      And the Church isn’t Holy because of the degree that we follow the precepts, but rather because of what the precepts are.

      And Scripture by itself can’t help you all the time either. First, Scripture alone doesn’t tell us which one is true: i) We are allowed to do anything not prohibited in Scripture or 2) We are only allowed to do what is authorized in Scripture. There’s no verse that explicitly answers that question.

      The next problem is that some circumstances aren’t addressed in Scripture at all. Is human cloning sinful or not? There are other examples.

    14. You didn’t respond to any of my rebuttal concerning your speculations as to why there are no objections to the Real Presence and Baptismal Regeneration in the first millennium of Christian history, so I’ll just focus on your reasons for accepting your canon.

      By my count, you give just two reasons:

      1. Jesus will guide the Church to discern the canon correctly
      Unfortunately, you still don’t substantiate why you believe this. I think I demonstrated above the flaws in your statement that “If the canon was not right then all kinds of false doctrines would have developed”.

      There’s also another problem I don’t think you’ve considered. How would you know when Jesus has finally guided the Church to the correct canon? How would you objectively know when there was no further refinement needed?

      1st Century: Not yet…
      2nd Century: Not yet…
      3rd Century: Not yet…
      4th Century: Got it! This is the right canon!
      5th Century: Going wrong again…
      6th Century: Going wrong again…
      7th Century: Going wrong again…

      Put simply, who’s to say Luther was wrong in taking James out? Who’s to say it wasn’t a further piece of needed refinement?

      2. The entries pass the tests for a book to be considered Scripture
      Do these tests happen to confirm the canon as you believe it should be? It reminds me of a Peanuts cartoon where an arrow was shot into the side of a barn door and then the target painted around it.

      Where in the Bible does it list these tests? Or, if they’re not in the Bible how did you arrive at these tests? How do you know they’re the right tests?

      Can these rules be disputed? If so, on what basis? Let’s say that I think the Bible should only contain the writings of the Apostles. Luke’s writings would therefore could not be considered Scripture. Why am I wrong? Let’s say that I think we should only include books in the Bible if we are absolutely certain of their authorship. The book of Hebrews should therefore be removed. Why am I wrong?

      Since you didn’t dispute my claim above, I think it’s fair to assume that you have not personally confirmed all the books in the canon and you haven’t personally confirmed all the books which were excluded. It sounds like you’re taking somebody’s word for it that the right books are in there…

    15. I haven’t studied the development of the real presence and Baptismal Regeneration in the first millennium of Christian history. I can only speculate.
      How deeply have you studied all the documents on it? How many church fathers mention it? Who is to say that some church father speaks for the entire church at the time that he lived? After all, the fathers are not apostles nor are their writings considered inspired-inerrant. In fact I don’t know of any father’s writings to be considered binding on the entire church. Do you?

      How does one know when Jesus is guiding the church and when He is not? What are the characteristics?

      Luther was not infallible nor is any man. Luther was wrong to want to reject James. Didn’t he accept it later?

      Some of the tests for canonicity are inferred from Scripture itself. Being an apostle carried weight and authority and so any of his writings would carry authority. Peter in 2 Peter 3:16 puts Paul’s writings on the same level as Scripture. Good article on this can be found here: http://www.pinpointevangelism.com/The-Canonicity-of-the-Bible.pdf
      This article will answer a lot of your questions.

      How would I go about confirming all the books of the Bible? I know some of the writings that were rejected and I can see why they were. All of them have no apostolic support.

      It is true that I have to accept what other authorities have said. Is it not true that your authority cannot err?

    16. Daniel,
      Where did Christ promise “the Holy Spirit only protects the Church in an infallible way when the Church is acting in Its official capacity as teacher (magisterium).”?

      How could such a thing be in light of the warnings of Scripture that false teachers will come into the church and deceive many?

      What precepts of your church were the popes following that justified the inquisitions that went on for centuries?

    17. >I haven’t studied the development of the real presence and Baptismal Regeneration in the first millennium of Christian history. I can only speculate.

      Might it not be a better idea to become informed before making unfounded speculations?

      >How deeply have you studied all the documents on it?

      Oh dear, are we doing this again? I’ve told you about my knowledge of the Fathers before. If you’re allowed to speculate on history you haven’t actually studied, I think it’s only fair that I should be allowed to comment on the primary sources I’ve sat down and read.

      >How many church fathers mention it?

      Joe has links in the sidebar which will give you a rough survey of the patristic material (1st/2nd, 3rd, 4th).

      >Who is to say that some church father speaks for the entire church at the time that he lived? … In fact I don’t know of any father’s writings to be considered binding on the entire church. Do you?

      Nobody says that. There is no assertion that an individual Father’s writings are inspired or binding on the entire Church. Instead we speak of consensus patrum. I would suggest you read a patristics book or listen to those lectures I sent you in order to understand how the Catholic Church views the Fathers.

      >How does one know when Jesus is guiding the church and when He is not? What are the characteristics?

      This is question dodging. You said Jesus guided the Church to the right canon. I asked (1) why you believe this and (2) how you would know when the job of refinement is done.

      >Luther was not infallible nor is any man. Luther was wrong to want to reject James…

      This is question dodging again. I don’t doubt Luther was fallible and misguided, but what I asked you was why he was wrong to reject James. What principled reason can you offer?

      > This article will answer a lot of your questions.

      I’m not ignorant of those arguments, there was a time when I bought into them myself. By asking you questions I’m trying to get you to think through the foundations and implications of your position and thereby show you the faults in the logic.

      >How would I go about confirming all the books of the Bible?

      This is the very question we’re examining! On what basis are you trusting that the canon is correct?

      > I know some of the writings that were rejected and I can see why they were. All of them have no apostolic support.

      …and you made this judgment how? If it is so obvious to you, why were there so many debates in the early centuries? Would I be correct in assuming you haven’t read any of them?

      >It is true that I have to accept what other authorities have said.

      That authority Meyu, is the Catholic Church.

      I think I’m going to bow out of this conversation again now. I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated, particularly with your declarations about history which are either ill-informed or just baseless speculations. If you would like to engage in more meaningful dialogue concerning Church history I would suggest…you’ve guessed it….read the Fathers.

    18. “I haven’t studied the development of the real presence and Baptismal Regeneration in the first millennium of Christian history…How deeply have you studied all the documents on it?”

      In debate, that isn’t how it works. You don’t get by with a cheapshot, by not reading the Fathers and then try to disparage people like me and RP who do read them for not knowing what they say. If you think I’m mischaracterizing the Fathers, that’s good and well. Read a few and get back to me with evidence.

      “How does one know when Jesus is guiding the church and when He is not?”

      A question I’m more than happy to answer. You first please.

      “Being an apostle carried weight and authority and so any of his writings would carry authority.”

      And if an Apostle made a successor, would the successor have apostolic authority?

      I’ve already demonstrated that Geisler is notoriously unreliable–why would you cite him again?

      Geisler lays out the mostly ridiculous criteria as follows:

      1) Was it written by a prophet?
      2) Was the writer confirmed by miracles?
      3) Does the message tell the truth about God?
      4) Did it come with the power of God: to edify and equip believers?

      and this one I’ll separate from the others:

      5) Was it accepted by the people of God?

      The problem with 1) is that a lot of books are written by an unknown author. We don’t know if they were a prophet or not. Job doesn’t contain prophecy, and the author is unknown so we can’t say it meets Criteria 1.

      The problem with 2) is that we have no record of miracles for many Bible authors. Herman, Agur, etc.

      3) is probably the most annoying of them all. If you want to make the case that you have to have the Bible to determine the truth, go ahead. If you want to make the case that you have to have the truth to determine the Bible, go ahead. But if you are going to make the case for both, you need to spend some time in remedial logic.

      4) You found Mr. Geisler’s essay edifying and thought it equipped you with good arguments. Doesn’t make it Scripture. I am embarrassed to even have to explain this one.

      The most interesting is 5). That’s all I’ll say on it for now.

      “Where did Christ promise “the Holy Spirit only protects the Church in an infallible way when the Church is acting in Its official capacity as teacher (magisterium).”? “

      Christ didn’t say how it would work, only that it would. We know that the Gates of Hell can’t prevail against the Church. If the Church taught heresy then Hell prevails. We know from experience that the College of Bishops has failed (when not endorsed by the Bishop of Rome). That happened at the Robber Council at Ephesus. We know that the pope isn’t protected from heresy in his personal opinions c.f. Honorius.

      Surely you can find an example in the New Testament of the Holy Spirit working in someone to speak the truth even when the person was opposed to truth, and the Spirit did so because of the office he held?

      “How could such a thing be in light of the warnings of Scripture that false teachers will come into the church and deceive many?”

      Right, and when that happens (see Acts 15) they didn’t appeal to Scripture, they exercised their authority as unit to pronounce a definition of faith.

      “What precepts of your church were the popes following that justified the inquisitions that went on for centuries?”

      The Church is responsible for identifying and admonishing heretics. The RCC did nothing wrong there. The abuse was that upon finding heresy, they would turn the person over to agents of the government for torture or worse. Torture is opposed by the precepts of the Church, and when torture happened it was in opposition to those precepts.

      “If the Eastern Orthodox Church accepted the 7 books as Scripture 500 years before Trent who gave them the authority do so?”

      Their Author.

    19. You want to use the church fathers then be my guest. Lots of RC’s quote the fathers but I have yet to meet a RC who has read their works and knows them well. No one here seems to know them well.

      One way to know if a church is being led by the Spirit is if there doctrines are based firmly on Scripture. If not, then there is no reason to think they are. That’s why when we compare some of the doctrines and practices of the RCC we find teachings and practices not in harmony with Scripture.

      What apostle passed on his apostolic authority to another man after the apostles died? I know of none. Do you? If so, who and what is the evidence for it? I have already demonstrated that there is no office of pope in the NT nor any evidence in the 1st century.

      Since you reject the criteria that Geisler lays out then tell me how the church of the 4th determined which books belonged in the NT canon?

      The apostles certainly did appeal to Scripture in Acts 15 for Jame’s decision in verses 16-18.

      I have no reason to think your church did not approve of the tortures and murders that went on in the Inquisitions. They are just as culpable as the agents of govt were.

      If the “Author” of the Eastern Orthodox Church is Christ then that means they are right in rejecting the papacy. Right?

  40. When was the Christian Church formed? Acts 8:1 tells us there was a Christian Church being persecuted by Saul. Which is kinda before he became Paul and wrote over half of the New Testament.

    So point of fact, the Church can exist without the New Testament, but the New Testament can’t exist without the Church (since members of the Church wrote it, read it, preached it, and protected it from persecution, and made copies to hand on to their successors in the faith).

    That apostolic teaching is found in Scripture alone is contradicted by Scripture.

    “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions (paradosis) which ye have been taught (didaskō), whether by word (logos NOT graphe!), or our epistle.”

    1. We know it because there is no evidence for it. If there is something else in existence that you know with certainty was from an apostle such as a letter etc then show it.

    2. Before the NT was written, how would you know if the doctrine that you were being taught was apostolic in nature?

      I answer that if that person is in communion with the apostolic church, then it’s good. Because the apostolic church kicks out heretics it can’t correct.

      “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;” Titus 3:10 KJV

      But that’s my answer. What’s yours?

    3. I don’t think your church kicks out all heretics.
      How does being “communion with the apostolic church” protect you from error? Remember: Jesus never promised to protect the church from error.
      Before the NT was written a person could know if what was being taught was apostolic by examining a teachers teaching with the OT Scripture as the Bereans did with Paul’s teachings in Acts 17:11. If they had heard the apostle teach the could learn from that also. We know Paul spent a lot of time teaching disciples such Timothy who in turn taught them what Paul taught him.

    4. But were that subset of heretics that weren’t kicked out “in communion?”

      “Jesus never promised to protect the church from error.”

      The Church is either the pillar and bulwark of truth or it’s not.

      If I am under oath and I tell 99% truth and 1% lie, did I give a truthful testimony? No. Truth mixed with falsehood equals falsehood. Or as a wise man once said, “A little leaven leavens the whole loaf.”

      So does or does not Scripture say “if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” 1 Tim 3:15 RSV

      Berea by the way is in the Diaspora so they would be using the LXX.

    5. Meyu, at some point I’m sure you’ll wear out on this thread. If you do, my email is steve.barber1121 at gmail.com

      Anyway, I forgot to ask this: If you found a letter by Timothy when he was the Bishop of Ephesus, would you read it to look at the traditions that he passes on? Even if it’s not on par with Scripture, I mean.

    6. Daniel,
      You wrote “So point of fact, the Church can exist without the New Testament, but the New Testament can’t exist without the Church..” is not entirely true. The church has always had the teachings of Christ either in oral form or written. The NT, at least parts of it, was in oral form while Jesus taught. Agreed?

    7. The Church has always had the teachings of Christ in oral form and later some also captured in written form. The New Testament as a written tangible piece of paper did not exist while Jesus taught. Without faithful and authoritative oral transmission, the written could not be trusted. The oral tradition continued to be the primary means of transmission and it’s authoritative light is crucial in understanding the written. Evangelization isn’t about sending someone a Bible in the mail. It’s about first approaching them by word and example, often later with a Bible in hand.

  41. If the NT is the oral teaching and the oral teaching is the NT, then their pre-NT oral teaching is infallible. *crickets chirp*

    The faith was delivered once and for all. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all been worked out in Scripture (oral or written), in the Apostolic era, and it isn’t worked out today.

    1. We know the Church existed when Saul was persecuting the Church.
    2. We know the faith was delivered once for all. Jude 1:3
    3. We know the Church didn’t have an articulated, undisputed position on Jewish/Gentile relations in Acts 15. “5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up…
    4. We know after Peter and James speak, the Church then had articulated undisputed dogma on Jew/Gentile relations.

    For greater detail on how that works, see here: http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2012/10/su-doku-and-development-of-doctrine.html

  42. Meyu, we need to have a heart to heart.

    I love you buddy. I can tell you love the Lord and you are passionate to do His will. That’s good. It’s uplifting for me.

    But let’s talk about your motives.

    If you came here to learn about Catholicism: Fine. Fire away.

    If you came to work out obstacles to your own conversion: Great. No question is off limits.

    If you came here to try to convert us: I can’t speak to Joe, but for me, that’s also fine. BUT so far you have been outmatched in history, and found equal knowledge of Scripture. Unless you respond in detail to our arguments (not even all of them, feel free to pick the weakest), or share with us something from the historical record that we don’t know, or a Scripture we haven’t seen (unlikely), then you should humbly go off to learn more and then come back.

    Take the Inquisition. If that’s an obstacle to conversion, like I said I will devote more time writing that you’ll ever devote to reading about it.

    But if that’s to try to convert us–I mean come on. Do you think Catholic apologists have never been taken to task for the Inquisition before? Do you really think we aren’t prepared to answer that charge?

    1. I don’t convert anyone nor expect to. You have not outmatched me in history. Take the papacy in the 1st century. You nor the others have offered none while I have given you a number of quotes from RC scholars that show it did not exist then. That evidence has never been countered.

      I think a lot of RC apologists don’t want to own up to the inquisitions because it is one of the signs that your church is not led by Christ. How could it be when this evil went on for centuries?

    2. The papacy in the 1st century didn’t look like the papacy of today. Nobody denies it. The American presidency in the 18th century also doesn’t look like the presidency of today. That doesn’t mean the presidency didn’t exist.

      We’ve shown the papacy did exist (in the sense that there were apostles, there was a leader of the apostles, and Rome had jurisdiction that exceeded Italy i.e. Corinth).

      If that doesn’t meet your requirement to believe in the papacy of today… Fine. Be Eastern Orthodox.

      So which Church is Christ’s Church? Is it the Calvinists? Geneva mobs committed slaughter that would make the Inquisition blush. Ditto Lutherans. Southern Baptists? They were pro-abortion as late as 1971. UMC? Gay ordinations. United Pentecostal Church? They deny the Trinity.

    3. The presidency of the USA since the beginning was well known what a president is and what he can do. We know this historically via documents. His powers since day one have been spelled out very clearly since the 1st president. We know many of the things he did as president. We don’t have anything like this in the 1st century. Not even close.

      One of the characteristics of Christ’s church is apostolic doctrine. Are the doctrines of that church based on these doctrines that are found only in the Scripture? If not, then it cannot claim to be the church of Christ if it denies essential doctrines i.e. apostolic.
      A church that denies the Trinity for example would not be Christ’s church. A church can be mistaken on secondary doctrines and still be a church of Christ in diminished way. A good way to understand how important doctrine and practice is to read Rev 2-3. Here we see how the Lord Christ laying out what is important for a church.

  43. And which way is going to better preserve apostolic doctrine? Everybody figures out the Bible on their own? Or an Apostle choses and instructs a Bishop loyal to the faith who in turn instructs and consecrates a Bishop loyal to the faith?

    Sure our way gets some bad apples–and the college of Bishops tells them to check themselves before they wreck themselves.

    When you deny that true fidelity to the apostles isn’t possible, (denying infallibility) then you are speaking of your own personal experience, and for that you won’t get any argument from me.

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