Where is the Papacy in the Bible?

To celebrate the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis, here is a copy of a talk that I gave at lunch today on the Scriptural origins of the papacy:

““Where is THAT in the Bible: The Pope”

Sharing the Catholic faith with non-Catholics, even non-Catholic Christians, can seem overwhelming at times. There are just so many doctrines that non-Catholics want answers about: justification, the Eucharist, the Marian doctrines, intercession of the Saints, Purgatory, the priesthood, etc. It’s easy to get bogged down by a series of rapid-fire questions about a variety of unrelated topics. But fortunately, there’s an easy doctrinal debate to turn to that resolves the others, at least for non-Catholic Christians: the papacy.

Put simply, if the Catholic Church is right about the papacy, everyone should be Catholic. And if the Catholic Church is wrong about the papacy, no one should be Catholic.

So it’s vitally important that we Catholics are able to explain why we believe in the papacy. And if we’re ever going to be able to convince non-Catholic listeners on this topic, we should be able to make our case from Sacred Scripture. This is all the more important now: the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, and the papal election, have made the papacy a topic of everyday conversation for non-Catholics in a way that rarely happens. Fortunately, as we shall see, the Scriptural case for the papacy is very strong.

Three Errors Obscuring the Question of the Papacy

If the Scriptural case for the papacy is so strong, how do other Christians miss it? I would suggest that there are three reasons.

First, they tend to misunderstand what Scripture means by “the Church.” Martin Luther described the Protestant view of the Church in this way: “Thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.” John Calvin adopted a similar view, suggesting that while “the Church” sometimes refers to the visible body containing “a very large mixture of hypocrites, who have nothing of Christ but the name and outward appearance,” it other times refers to “the Church as it really is before God,” an Invisible Church “into which none are admitted but those who by the gift of adoption are sons of God, and by the sanctification of the Spirit true members of Christ.” The visible Church can drift nearer or further from the true, invisible Church, but the two are essentially distinct.

Second, they tend to misunderstand what Catholics believe about the papacy. More specifically, the view of the papacy is often one of an ecclesial dictator in Rome who calls every shot. This straw-man view of the papacy eliminates any roles for Church Councils, Patriarchs, the college of bishops, and essentially any ecclesial structure other than the Holy See. For example, Fr. Viktor Potapov, an Eastern Orthodox priest, has argued that “The history of the Apostolic Council (Acts, Chapter 15) speaks especially clearly against the supremacy of the Apostle Peter. The Antiochian Christians appeal not to the Apostle Peter for the resolution of their perplexity, as should have occurred if we are to believe the Catholic dogma, but to all the apostles and presbyters.” By this logic, the First Vatican Council “speaks especially clearly” against the papacy, because the question of papal infallibility is answered by a Council, rather than by Pope Pius IX.

Finally, most Christians (Protestants, Orthodox, and even Catholics) are simply unaware of the strongest evidence for papal primacy from Scripture. The silver lining here is that this creates a perfect opportunity for Catholic apologetics.

How should we respond to these three errors? To the extent we’re dealing with someone who misunderstands what the Church is, we need to lay out some basic ecclesiology. To the extent we’re dealing with someone who misunderstands what we mean by the papacy, we need to clarify, and not overstate the pope’s role in the life of the Church. There can be a tendency on the part of Catholics to speak as if no issue would ever be resolved without direct papal intervention, and that characterization only feeds a misunderstanding of the papacy. Finally, to the extent we’re dealing with someone who is ignorant of the Scriptural evidence, we should present “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Catholic Ecclesiology

To understand the papacy, it is necessary to understand at least the basics about the Church. Here are some of the passages that you should familiarize yourself with:

  1. Matthew 16:18. We can get so caught up in the debates about who the “Rock” of Matthew 16:18 is that we can overlook five critical words of Christ: “I will build My Church.”

  2. Matthew 13. This whole chapter is dedicated to Christ’s explanation of the nature of the Church as Kingdom. For example, in Mt. 13:47-50, Christ describes the Kingdom of Heaven as a net containing both good and bad fish, representing “the righteous” and “the evil.” This shows that the Church isn’t simply an invisible collection of the saved.

  3. The Judas passages. Each of the four Gospels points out that Christ’s betrayer was “one of the Twelve” (Matthew 26:14; Mark 14:10; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:3; Luke 22:47; John 6:71). Judas possessed a share of the Apostolic “ministry and apostleship” (Acts 1:25), and Matthew 10:1-4 describes how Christ gave “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity” to all of the Twelve, including Judas. As Jesus said, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70). This issue of Judas creates an insurmountable problem for Protestant ecclesiology, since the Apostles possessed the highest office possible within the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27-28).

  4. Ephesians 5:25-32. St. Paul’s beautiful description of the Church as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ.

  5. Acts 9:1-6 and Luke 10:16. Saul was “violently persecuting the church of God” (Galatians 1:13; cf. Acts 9:1) until he is stopped on the road to Damascus by Christ, who says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” and reveals Himself by saying: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” This shows that to attack the Church is to attack Christ. Likewise, Jesus sends out the seventy, saying, “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10:16). In this way, the Church is a continuation of the Incarnation of Christ.

  6. John 17:20-23. In His Highly Priestly prayer, Jesus specifically prays for future Christians (to my knowledge, the only time that He does this), and His prayer is “that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn. 17:21).

These passages provide a foundation to discuss the papacy: they show that (1) Christ established a Church, (2-3) this Church is a visible institution comprising both the saved and some of the damned, (4) this Church is the Body and Bride of Christ, (5) this Church is a continuation of the Incarnation of Christ, and (6) this Church is called to be One, even in the post-Apostolic era.

Pope Peter, from Scripture

What is the role of St. Peter in the Church founded by Christ? I think that the answer to this can be seen through a series of Scriptural passages:

  1. Luke 22:24-32. This is one of the strongest overlooked passages for Petrine primacy. The Apostles argue over who is greatest. Christ says that “the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (v. 26). He then confers authority of the Church to the Twelve (v. 29-30), before saying to Peter specifically (v. 31-32): “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

  2. The “Great Catches of Fish” passages. Remember that Christ compares the Church to a net filled with fish (Mt. 13:47-50). In the first great catch of fish (Luke 5:1-11), Jesus comes upon Peter, Andrew, James, and John. After the first miraculous catch, He singles Peter out of these four, and says to him, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men” (Lk. 5:10). The second miraculous catch of fish is after the Resurrection (John 21:1-14). This time, the Apostles’ net is so full that “they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish” (John 21:6). But at Jesus’ command, Peter is able to single-handedly haul the net in, without tearing it (Jn. 21:10-11). Immediately after this, Jesus commissions Peter as shepherd (John 21:15-19).

  3. John 10:1-21 and John 21:15-19. In John 10, Jesus gives two different shepherding images to describe His relationship with the Church. The second of these (Jn. 10:11-21) is quite famous, in which Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd. But often overlooked is the description He gives in John 1:1-10, in which He describes Himself as the gate letting in His Shepherd. This gatekeeping function points to His Old Testament promise in Jeremiah 3:15, to give us shepherds after His own heart. And we see Him fulfill this in John 21:15-19, when He commissions Peter to be His shepherd.

  4. Matthew 16:13-19. This is the most famous “papacy passage,” and one of the best. Be prepared to go through the passage slowly: show how Jesus contrasts the three styles of governance (democratic, aristocratic, monarchical) in v. 13-16. Go through the blessing of v. 17-19 slowly, and compare it to the Old Testament: specifically, Genesis 17:3-8 and Isaiah 22:20-24. Many Protestants will claim that the “Rock” is Peter’s faith, so show the numerous personal references Christ has to Peter. And compare it with the other confessions of faith we see. For example, in John 1:49, it’s Nathanael who first confesses Jesus as the Christ, but it’s Simon that Jesus promises to rename Peter (John 1:42). Likewise, Martha’s confession of faith (John 11:27) is almost identical with Peter’s, yet Jesus never promises to build the Church upon her (or her faith).

    Finally, some Protestants will argue that Jesus is calling Peter a “little rock” (Petros) in contrast with the “big rock” (petra) that He will build the Church upon. This distinction doesn’t exist in the Aramaic that Jesus gave the blessing in. Again, see John 1:42: Jesus names Simon “Cephas,” not “Petros” – Petros is a translation (and is translated as “Petros” rather than “Petra,” because “Petra” is feminine). Paul refers to Peter as Cephas several times (1 Cor. 15:5, Gal. 1:18, Gal. 2:11, etc.).

  5. Matthew 17:24-27. The only time that Jesus ever uses first-personal plural to refer to Himself and another human is with Peter. And He does so in a way that intentionally limits this “We” to Peter alone.

  6. The Apostolic Lists. Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16, and Acts 1:13 each provide lists of the Twelve. The Synoptic lists each end with Judas (by Acts 1:13, Judas is dead). Judas’ position at the bottom is a place of dishonor. In contrast, all four lists put Peter at the top. These are the only two constants: the ordering of the Ten between Peter and Judas varies by list.

  7. The “Peter and the others” Passages. There are several of these passages, in which the Twelve Apostles are listed as, for example, “Peter and the others” (Acts 5:29) and “the other Apostles and the Lord’s Brothers and Cephas” (1 Cor. 9:5). Acts 2:14 says that Peter stood up “with the Eleven.” This is significant, because there are Twelve Apostles at this point (Acts 1:26), so Luke appears to be distinguishing Peter even from the other Eleven. On Easter morning, the angel at the empty Tomb did the same thing, sending the women to proclaim Jesus’ Resurrection to “His Disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:6-7). And when Peter and John arrive at the Tomb, John waits for Peter to arrive, before entering (John 20:4-6). Finally, the first half of the Book of Acts (prior to Luke departing to accompany Paul, in Acts 16:10) clearly establishes Peter’s leadership in the Church.

Does the Papacy Survive Peter?

Occasionally, non-Catholics will concede that Peter was the leader of the Apostles, but claim that this doesn’t prove the papacy. For example, the Protestant apologist Keith Mathison has argued:

[Catholic apologist Stephen] Ray also observes that Peter was the leader of the twelve. However, since this is not disputed no response is necessary. What neither Ray nor any Roman Catholic has demonstrated is that this text which involves a specific prayer for one specific man in one specific historical circumstance has anything to do with the modern Roman Catholic papacy.

Mathison’s response strains credulity. If the original structure of the Church was one man (besides Christ) leading and supporting the Twelve, who lead and support the rest of the Church, that looks very much like the modern papacy.

To go from the first pope, to the second, to the 266th, we need to see the connection between the papacy and Rome. Two things are helpful here. First, Peter describes himself as in Rome (“Babylon”) in 1 Peter 5:13. Second, the early Church Fathers are explicit about this connection. (Here, we necessarily have to go outside of Scripture, since we’re looking for historical evidence of the post-Apostolic period.)

For example, Pope Clement I, intervened in a dispute within the Corinthian church. Bear in mind that St. Clement is the fourth pope, and that this epistle dates to about the year 96. Clement begins the letter by making it clear that the Corinthians turned to him to resolve their dispute: “Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us…”

A few years later, St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John, describes the Roman Church as “presiding in love.” He pens these words on the way to his martyrdom sometime before 110.

The Apostle John’s other famous student is St. Polycarp. Polycarp’s own student was St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who proclaimed Roman and Petrine supremacy, in no uncertain terms, in his Against Heresies, written about 180 A.D.:

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 apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

Throughout the first few centuries, we hear various other references to the pope as the successor of Peter, and head of the Church. To take just one more example, St. Optatus of Milevis was a fourth century Church Father from North Africa who was influential on St. Augustine. In Optatus’ book Against the Donatists, he writes:

So we have proved that the Catholic Church is the Church which is spread throughout the world. […] You cannot then deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the City of Rome was bestowed the Episcopal Cathedra, on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), that, in this one Cathedra, unity should be preserved by all, lest the other Apostles might claim—-each for himself—-separate Cathedras, so that he who should set up a second Cathedra against the unique Cathedra would already be a schismatic and a sinner.
Both Irenaeus and Optatus provide evidence for their claims by listing every pope from Peter to the present day. In this way, we can see clearly from history that Peter is the first pope, and we can see the unbroken lineage from Peter down to the modern papacy.

Conclusion

If the Catholic case for the papacy stands, several truths follow. First, we should interpret other disputed doctrines (Mary, Purgatory, the filioque, etc.) through the lens of Magisterial teaching. Second, we have a moral obligation to be a part of the Catholic Church. St. Paul appeals to the Corinthians “that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). If the papacy is the visible head of the true Church, founded by Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to strive for unity with this head. Finally, we are forbidden from schism, from breaking away from the pope. In Galatians 5:20-21, St. Paul lists “selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy” amongst sins of the flesh and warns that “those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

144 Comments

  1. Great incite,Joe. I’ll print a copy of this blog entry and have it ready in the days/weeks to come when the subject of the papacy comes up. Thanks for taking the time to put this together in such a coherent fashion. God Bless Pope Francis and The Church!

  2. I got this from John Martignoni (BibleChristianSociety.com):
    The word Pope DOES appear in the Bible in Isaiah 22:

    20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and HE SHALL BE A FATHER to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

    The word Pope means Papa, Father, so Isaiah prophecies that Eliakim will be a Pope for the people!

  3. Good post, Joe! I have one lingering question about Peter’s role as leader. Peter is not seen as the leader of the early church in Acts. The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) is driven by the leadership of James and not Peter. Peter helps make the case for Paul, but Peter is not the leader. How could the first Bishop of Rome ever let the decision be made by anyone else if he is to be the leader of the church?

    On a different topic, did you hear about the Vatican possibly creating a Lutheran “Ordinariate” like the Anglican Ordinariate? Lutheran leaders have warned that the creation of a structure to welcome conservative Lutherans would harm the ongoing dialogue between our two church bodies.

    1. Rev. Dark HansMarch 14, 2013 at 9:38 AM
      Good post, Joe! I have one lingering question about Peter’s role as leader. Peter is not seen as the leader of the early church in Acts. The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) is driven by the leadership of James and not Peter. Peter helps make the case for Paul, but Peter is not the leader. How could the first Bishop of Rome ever let the decision be made by anyone else if he is to be the leader of the church?

      I see it driven by St. Peter:
      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.….12 Then all the multitude kept silence,

      Much later, St. James chimed in, affirming St. Peter:
      13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

      14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

      15 And to this agree the words of the prophets;

      Then he uses the term, “my sentence”. But his sentence is really a summary of that which St. Peter already set into motion.

      19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

      So, St. Peter’s precedence is proven. Not only that, but there is more here:
      25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,….28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

      And so St. Peter’s precedence as first among equals is confirmed, again. And again. And again.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

    2. De Maria,

      You make a good point, and your point is the same as the article that unknown linked below. I am “chewing the cud” on this passage. I love when people bring up ideas that challenge my reading of a text and my presuppositions. Thank you!

    3. Dear Rev,
      From the Jewish Encyclopedia on the sanhedrin (which was likely the model for the Apostolic Council).

      “When a question was raised and a member of the college declared that he was in possession of a tradition according to which the question might be decided, such tradition was decisive. When no member knew of any tradition relating to the question at issue, discussion followed and a ballot was taken (Tosef., Sanh. vii. 1). “

      I see Peter giving us that decisive tradition in Acts.

    4. I love Jewish Encyclopedia apologetics!

      The practise of praying for the intercession of the dead is of early origin. Caleb on reaching Hebron visited the cave of Machpelah, and prayed to the patriarch to be saved from cooperating in the conspiracy of the scouts sent by Moses to make a report of the conditions existing in the Holy Land (Soṭah 34b). The Talmud mentions the custom of visiting the cemetery to request the dead to pray for the living (Ta’an. 16a; compare ib. 23b).

    5. Rev. Hans,

      It’s great to hear from you, and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it. I think that the links provided above answered your question about Acts 15, but I’d just make these three points:

      1) James gives the last recorded speech, but the speech itself is fascinating. His argument based upon (a) Peter’s testimony (Acts 15:14), and (b) the fact that “the words of the prophets agree” with Peter’s testimony (Acts 15:15). The Petrine nature of James’ speech is all the more striking when you realize that St. Paul and St. Barnabas had just finished speaking (Acts 15:12-13).

      2) Re-read Acts 15:1-21, and mentally switch out the names “Peter” and “James.” I suggest this because I think that, even if their roles had been reversed, Protestants would still raise the passage against the papacy. That suggests that the problem here may be an anti-papal lens, rather than anything that either James or Peter is saying.

      3) Remember that the Council of Jerusalem is a Church Council. The nature of those proceedings are necessarily going to look different than the nature of an Apostle, pope, or bishop writing on his own authority. You could just as easily look to the proceedings of, say, Vatican II to see the authority of the college of bishops. But that doesn’t disprove the papacy.

      The Code of Canon Law does a good job of describing the relationship between the pope and the college of bishops:

      Can. 330 Just as, by the decree of the Lord, Saint Peter and the rest of the Apostles form one College, so for a like reason the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are united together in one.”

      Can. 331 The office uniquely committed by the Lord to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, abides in the Bishop of the Church of Rome. He is the head of the College of Bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the Pastor of the universal Church here on earth. Consequently, by virtue of his office, he has supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, and he can always freely exercise this power.”

      Can. 336 The head of the College of Bishops is the Supreme Pontiff, and its members are the Bishops by virtue of their sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members. This College of Bishops, in which the apostolic body abides in an unbroken manner, is, in union with its head and never without this head, also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church.

      I would suspect that many Protestants would view the notion that the College of Bishop is “also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church” as a repudiation of the papacy. But it’s only a repudiation of a misunderstanding of the papacy.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. I’ve heard something about a Lutheran Ordinariate, but nothing concrete. It’s a shame that it would be viewed as contrary to ecumenical dialogue. Shouldn’t the point of both the Ordinariate and the dialogue be the unification of all Christians within the visible Church?

  4. When I heard Papa Francisco say “the church of Rome, which ‘presides in charity’ [over] all the churches.”, I immediately thought of St. Ignatius’ words to the Romans 🙂

    To the Church which resides in the place of the region of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of obtaining her every desire, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love. – Letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Romans

    1. Hello Unknown, thank you so much for the link to this article! It was a great lunch break read. I will always be struggling with the text, but I appreciate how thoroughly this author researched and thought out the positions. I see that the early church was not solidified in structure or leadership before the fall of Jerusalem inn 70 AD. The passages where Jesus speaks about Peter and the church carry great weight, and Acts cannot negate those words. This writer does a great job of arguing for Peter being the leader of the Council of Jerusalem, which I never thought that I would say. I appreciate that the article presented several possibilities from the book, Peter in the New Testament. In a surprising way, this actually connects my two comments above. Thank you again, Unknown, for the link!

  5. I used to think: “THere is no salvation outside the catholic church,…but God has not revealed to us where the boundary is”. But with what you have written i can no longer think that….

    1. Teomatteo,

      I’m not sure what I said that changed your mind, but your former way of thinking was correct. The Church has always held out hope of salvation for those outside Her visible bounds (even while affirming Her own indispensability to salvation). We this in the case of the Orthodox at the Fourth Lateran Council, when She acknowledged the validity of their Sacraments. If they have valid baptisms (which serve as the doorway to the one and only Church) and can forgive sins incurred after baptism, the Orthodox can certainly be saved. Likewise with Protestants, they have valid baptisms (even though they lack sacramental confession). As for non-Christians, we can hold out hope for an implicit baptism of desire.

      In all things, we’re governed by the idea that man is culpable only for what he knows or should know. It’s the reason that the Old Testament faithful aren’t culpable for not believing in the Trinity: it would be unjust to require them to hold to a teaching that hadn’t yet been revealed to them. Likewise, those who aren’t exposed to the Gospel today will be judged based upon what they know or should know. St. Paul says as much in Romans, several times: for example, in Romans 1:18-32 (about how the Gentiles are accountable for rejecting God, because He revealed Himself through the created world), and more clearly in Romans 2:12-16.

      A few posts that might be helpful on this topic:
      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2010/08/salvation-outside-of-church.html
      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-about-those-whove-never-heard.html

      I.X.,

      Joe

  6. And while I’m addressing preemptively anti-Petrine-prime arguments, I’ll call your Galations 2:11 and raise you Eusebius 1.12.2

    “This is the account of Clement in the fifth book of his Hypotyposes, in which he also says that Cephas was one of the seventy disciples, a man who bore the same name as the apostle Peter, and the one concerning whom Paul says, When Cephas came to Antioch I withstood him to his face. Galatians 2:11″

    That’s a good hundred years before Nicea.

  7. Joe:

    You attempt to justify a Roman Catholic monopoly by using qualities that actually apply to genuine spiritual believers (regardless of denomination); but simultaneously seek to justify Catholicism being full of unsaved tares by an appeal to the notion of it being merely a visible church that contains its bad-fish and Judases.

    This inconsistency is fatal to your entire argument. Justifying your “church” on the example of Judas Iscariot (who was Simon’s son, by the way. John 12:4 AV) ought to tell you something of the nature of your delusion (Deuteronomy 32:31 AV).

    All the visible churches (plural, Rev. 1:20 AV) do have some tares in them – but there are no tares in the true spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 5:27 AV). The “monopoly” only belongs to the spiritual body over which Christ is the head (Colossians 1:18 AV).

    As an institutional church, Romanism, even if Peter founded it, is but one of many churches founded by various apostles and still existing throughout the world. So even as an institution only, Romanism’s claim to supremacy and dominion over all such primitive churches is arrogant, unseemly, and unscriptural.

    But nevertheless the claim that Peter was ever in Rome, or founded the church there, or much less that his apostolic authority was given to successors and still resides there with the “pope” are all unfounded and ridiculous.

    Like all other cults, you cherry-pick just verses confirm your own bias – but you won’t deal with contradictory verses. Yes, the Lord told Peter to feed sheep, but in the same passage he told him to mind his own business (“what is that to thee?” John 21:22 AV). And Peter may have been in charge in Acts chapter 1, but Mary was present and they ignored her completely. You won’t get the Bible right until you get all of it right – not just proof-texts taken out of context.

    And you are incorrect about Jesus using 1st person plural only one time with Peter, he said “let us” to all the apostles several times. Mark 1:38 AV; Mark 4:35 AV; Mark 14:42 AV; John 11:7 AV; John 14:31 AV. etc.

    And he used “we” to include himself with the Jewish people: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 AV.

    And that ruins your theory also because Rome isn’t a Jewish city.

    – Mack.

    1. mackquigleyMarch 15, 2013 at 7:38 AM
      Joe:

      You attempt to justify a Roman Catholic monopoly

      1. Justify? No. Explain.
      2. Monopoly? The Copts also have a Pope.

      by using qualities that actually apply to genuine spiritual believers (regardless of denomination);

      Popes are genuine spiritual believers.

      but simultaneously seek to justify Catholicism being full of unsaved tares by an appeal to the notion of it being merely a visible church that contains its bad-fish and Judases.

      Are you insinuating the Protestant denominations don’t have sinners?

      This inconsistency is fatal to your entire argument.

      No inconsistency there. Straightforward Christian doctrine.

      Justifying your “church” on the example of Judas Iscariot (who was Simon’s son, by the way. John 12:4 AV) ought to tell you something of the nature of your delusion (Deuteronomy 32:31 AV).

      Which Simon? Which Simon was Judas Iscariot’s dad?

      All the visible churches (plural, Rev. 1:20 AV) do have some tares in them – but there are no tares in the true spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 5:27 AV). The “monopoly” only belongs to the spiritual body over which Christ is the head (Colossians 1:18 AV).

      And you are aware of who is in this spiritual body? Are you some sort of divine person?

      As an institutional church, Romanism, even if Peter founded it, is but one of many churches founded by various apostles and still existing throughout the world. So even as an institution only, Romanism’s claim to supremacy and dominion over all such primitive churches is arrogant, unseemly, and unscriptural.

      Jesus only established one Church and appointed St. Peter the Pastor of the 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.

      But nevertheless the claim that Peter was ever in Rome, or founded the church there, or much less that his apostolic authority was given to successors and still resides there with the “pope” are all unfounded and ridiculous.

      They are well founded and demonstrate the Wisdom of God in establishing such an office.

      Like all other cults,

      Yours is the cult.

      you cherry-pick just verses confirm your own bias – but you won’t deal with contradictory verses.

      Easily. Bring ’em on.

      Yes, the Lord told Peter to feed sheep,

      Correct.

      but in the same passage he told him to mind his own business (“what is that to thee?” John 21:22 AV).

      But He didn’t rescind the first appointment. He simply told Him that St. John was not appointed shepherd over the flock.

      And Peter may have been in charge in Acts chapter 1, but Mary was present and they ignored her completely.

      If that is true, then how do you know that she was there? Obviously, they did not ignore her completely or she would not have been mentioned.

      You won’t get the Bible right until you get all of it right – not just proof-texts taken out of context.

      Something you will have to learn.

      And you are incorrect about Jesus using 1st person plural only one time with Peter, he said “let us” to all the apostles several times. Mark 1:38 AV; Mark 4:35 AV; Mark 14:42 AV; John 11:7 AV; John 14:31 AV. etc.

      Hm? Peter is listed first and mentioned first 155 times.

      And he used “we” to include himself with the Jewish people: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 AV.

      Non sequitur. This has nothing to do with the Papacy. It certainly does not rescind Christ’s command.

      And that ruins your theory also because Rome isn’t a Jewish city.

      Who said it was? Rome was once the capital of the Gentiles. That is why God sent St. Peter and St. Paul to Rome. In order to convert the Gentile world and graft them into the Jewish root.

      De Maria

    2. De:

      Christ said, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 KJV.

      Your cult calls itself “Roman” and claims that within it is exclusively found salvation – yet Christ never said salvation was of the “Romans” – he said it was of his own people (“we”) – the Jews. Nothing in Romans chapter 11 establishes a rival religion based in Rome.

      A cult is simply a religious organization that supplants scripture with its own traditions and leadership. In the Romanist cult no one is allowed to read and obey the Bible for themselves contrary to the traditions and authority of the cult leadership.

      The Roman Catholic cult has the god-like cult leader, the lavish cult compound, extremely wealthy cult leadership while cult members are in slums; cult leadership sexually exploits the cult’s women and children; cult leadership acts like it is above the law / immune from prosecution.

      And, of course, cult members are brainwashed to feel guilty if they leave the cult because allegedly “God wants them to remain exploited” by the cult leaders.

      I would suggest you leave the cult, get saved, and become an independent Bible-believing Christian. You’ll be glad you did.

      Mack

    3. Mack,

      What is your argument, exactly? Is it just that since we’re called the Roman Catholic Church, instead of the Jewish Catholic Church, we’re therefore not the true Church, since salvation is from the Jews? Or is there more substance then that?

      I’ve long since learned to stop trying to answer you point-by-point, because a lot of what you throw up, you don’t really care about the truth of. For example, you earlier said:

      “Justifying your “church” on the example of Judas Iscariot (who was Simon’s son, by the way. John 12:4 AV) ought to tell you something of the nature of your delusion (Deuteronomy 32:31 AV).”

      The suggestion that Simon Peter had fathered Judas Iscariot was ridiculous, and you were rightly called on it. Then you acted as if you didn’t really care about the truth of your claims, since it was just to rile “Peter-worshippers”:

      “The Bible says Judas was Simon’s son: See John 6:71 KJV; John 12:4 KJV; John 13:2 KJV; John 13:26 KJV. It never says the name was “Simon Peter”, although certain Peter-worshippers must have found that an unnerving possibility and tried to erase it away in their zeal.”

      If you don’t care about the truth of your arguments, why should anyone else bother with them? A bare minimum code of conduct for a Christian engaging in a debate is to be honest (and humble). If you’re not going to live up to that, why should anyone engage you?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    4. Joe:

      You don’t find “substance” in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in John 4:22 KJV ??

      Now of the points that I “threw up” there happened to be 1 major point: that you blatantly mixed the attributes of the spiritual church with the visible — i.e., yes there is only one body of truly saved believers; and yet that doesn’t mean there is only one visible church. The fact that you did this hypocritically is demonstrated because you REVERSE the application when it comes to tares in the Roman Catholic church.

      And I challenged you to make the Bible your starting point rather than traditions that you simply ad hoc justify by cherry-picking verses.

      Now that’s the crux of what I wrote – and if you would like to reply to that, go right ahead.

      But instead of a reply to the substance of what I wrote, it is a parenthetical curiosity that I mentioned in passing that has spooked, angered, and unnerved everybody.

      You wouldn’t rashly call what scripture implies as “ridiculous” had you studied the MANY interesting similarities between Judas Iscariot and Roman Catholic religion. But without the full context of all those items it would be useless for me to belabour a single point; hence the parenthetical only.

      But your article was an attack against every saved Bible believing Christian who refuses to join Romanism and recognize the Pope as his religious overlord. You seem completely unaware of the offensive religious jingoism of your article.

      And you personally attack me as dishonest and unethical. That’s really rather slanderous and outrageous, isn’t it?

      And regarding the King James Bible – it was attacked by the comment that alleged certain items got inserted into the texts following the original, and that God somehow lost the plot by letting the inspired Bible become corrupt and lost to history. I reject that. God gave the church interpretation of lounges for the purpose of divinely setting forth the Bible even in new tongues – such as English. That point is hardly a “tangential rant”.

      – Mack

    5. Mack,

      To avoid long, rambling tirades, I propose that we focus on your “1 major point: that [I] blatantly mixed the attributes of the spiritual church with the visible — i.e., yes there is only one body of truly saved believers; and yet that doesn’t mean there is only one visible church.”

      This seems to be based upon the unbiblical notion that Jesus founded two Churches: a visible and an invisible one. But maybe I’m misreading you. So let me just ask you directly:

      1) How many Churches did Jesus found? One, or more than One?
      2) Where does Scripture say that the “visible Church” is not the “invisible Church”?
      3) Is Ephesians 5:27 written in the present or future tense?
      4) Is Ephesians 5:27 referring to the Church on Earth, or the Church “in Splendor”?
      5) Where in Ephesians 5:27 (or anywhere else in Scripture) do you find reference to their being no unsaved members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ?
      6) Do you think that the Kingdom of Heaven is something other than the true Church?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    6. Joe:

      Roman Catholics like Klaus Barbie, Brendan Smyth, Torquemada, Athanase Seromb, and Ante Pavelic – are they genuine Christians?!?

      “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:15-17 KJV.

      Paul says they are merely “called” brothers:

      “if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous [etc] … put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 KJV.

      Paul doesn’t assume they are brothers just because they are part of the local church assembly.

      The entire church is built by getting people saved one by one, and they are built up: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5 KJV.

      Mistakenly you imagine an empty building was put up in Matthew 16 and that Peter was made the doorkeeper. With that fantasy in mind you imagine Catholic priests selling entrance tickets to the people standing in line to get in. And if a few diabolic monsters happen to get inside, oh well, at least the building itself looks pretty.

      But Christ isn’t filling an empty building in Rome – you’ve got entirely the wrong idea.

      He is saving men’s souls one by one from all around the world and those men are themselves the “lively stones” that make up the eventual building.

      Ephesians 5:27 KJV reads, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

      That’s a statement on the eventual finished church which will be comprised only of glorified saints (Revelation 5:10 KJV). But right now is the time to serve, we reign later with Christ when he returns: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” 2 Timothy 2:12 KJV (cf. 2 Kings 5:26 KJV).

      The passage is obviously future as no Christian currently has an immortal body and a wedding is not complete until the wife and husband are one flesh. (1 Cor. 15:52 KJV; Ephesians 5:32 KJV). We are only spiritually one with Christ now (1 Cor. 6:17 KJV), but not yet physically (1 John 3:2 KJV).

      So there is a spiritual church that does not at the present time match the currently visible one.

      And “there are certain men crept in unawares,” Jude 4 KJV; and “after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Acts 20:29 KJV; and “because of false brethren unawares brought in” Gal. 2:4 KJV; and “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” Philippians 3:2 KJV. “They went out from us, but they were not of us” 1 John 2:19 KJV.

      And of course Matthew 13:25-40 KJV is instructive.

      God created heaven, he isn’t heaven – that’s called pantheism. Thus kingdom of God is invisible – it is within (Luke 17:21 KJV) – and kingdom of heaven is visible (1 Chronicles 29:11 KJV) – it will fill the universe (Isaiah 51:16 KJV). Both of them show up together with the Lord Jesus Christ – but they still are very different things.

      – Mack

    7. Mack,

      I asked you a series of direct questions, and you haven’t directly answered any of them. So I’ll ask them again:

      1) How many Churches did Jesus found? One, or more than One?
      2) Where does Scripture say that the “visible Church” is not the “invisible Church”?
      3) Is Ephesians 5:27 written in the present or future tense?
      4) Is Ephesians 5:27 referring to the Church on Earth, or the Church “in Splendor”?
      5) Where in Ephesians 5:27 (or anywhere else in Scripture) do you find reference to their being no unsaved members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ?
      6) Do you think that the Kingdom of Heaven is something other than the true Church?

      I’m more than willing to answer your proof-texts in due time, but let’s start with my questions first: you can’t run from defending your views by presenting new views, or shifting to new arguments.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    8. BTW, I’m aware that you might be answering the questions that I’m asking. It might be as simple as just giving some indication of what your arguments are responding to. That is, the problem I’m having may be based on your format, rather than substance.

    9. #1 http://www.bible.ca/maps/maps-ancient-churches-bible-70AD.jpg
      #2 http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=%22invisible+church%22+%22visible+church%22&t=KJV
      #3 http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/might “might is used for talking about future possibilities”
      #4 http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=%22Splendor%22&t=KJV
      #5 http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=Church+founded+by+Jesus+Christ&t=KJV&sf=5
      #6 Scripture says “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Cor. 15:50. Things that are different are not the same: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_equivalence

      My point is well made that you tried to make “church” elastic enough to include with it mafia and concentration camp commanders – yet not elastic enough to include saved Bible believers who love Jesus Christ and knowingly and intentionally reject the pope. Your definition is patently ridiculous – hence trying to ask me silly questions to evade the issue.

    10. Mack,

      As far as I can tell, you’re still not actually answering my direct questions. I asked, “How many Churches did Jesus found? One, or more than One?” You responded with a link to a map that showed local churches that existed in 70 A.D., according to the (unreputable) site Bible.ca.

      Are you claiming that Jesus founded each of these local churches? And are you claiming that He founded them each as a separate Church? You’re not actually saying anything.

      I’m not asking “silly questions to evade the issue.” You and I fundamentally disagree on the definition of the Church. I’m asking you questions directly on point, and you’re kicking up smoke, evading direct answers, and repeatedly misrepresenting my own views (like claiming, without evidence, that I “tried to make “church” elastic enough to include with it mafia and concentration camp commanders – yet not elastic enough to include saved Bible believers who love Jesus Christ and knowingly and intentionally reject the pope”).

      I genuinely don’t get it. If you’re so convinced that Scripture proves your ecclesiology right, and I’m giving you the opportunity to answer questions on it, why resort to evasion and mudslinging?

      Happy Good Friday,

      Joe

  8. That “son of Simon” mess is a gloss that worked its way into the Textus Receptus.

    Look at the trouble the author of the gloss had in John 13:2 inserting it there.

    “The most obvious proof that the passage does not belong to the original text is presented by verse 2, which contains an altogether impossible statement. Our translators, of course, conceal this fact by adding “Jesus” to the text and by rendering the Greek nominative “Judas Iscariot Simon’s son” as if it were a genitive which modified the noun “heart,” from which it is separated by the way by the subordinate conjunction and’the verb of the dependant clause. “Judas IscariotSimon’s son” may be a secondary gloss…”

    And even then Tatian’s Diatesseron 1000 years before Textus Receptus (only a small embellishment) says it was Simon Iscarius.

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/100220.htm

    1. Dan:

      The King James Bible always has it 100% right.

      If God was impressed with Greek he sure blew it – as the originals are all gone. Fortunately God speaks English quite well and gave the church the King James Bible, the Holy Scriptures preserved in the world language of these end times (Psalm 12:6-7 KJV). God has moved on from dead languages and thus ends endless speculation over what was or was not in the missing “original texts” – so you’d do well to drop the flippant attitude and move on also. You are to respect the Bible, not be a destructive critic of it.

      The Bible says Judas was Simon’s son: See John 6:71 KJV; John 12:4 KJV; John 13:2 KJV; John 13:26 KJV. It never says the name was “Simon Peter”, although certain Peter-worshippers must have found that an unnerving possibility and tried to erase it away in their zeal.

      Judas’ father might have been “Simon the Canaanite” Matthew 10:4 KJV; but most likely it was only mentioned to further distinguish him from Judas AKA “Jude,” brother of Christ and James (Luke 6:16 KJV; Galatians 1:19 KJV).

      I have no idea what this “first person pronoun” speculation is suppose to imply that is different from the examples I gave – or is Joe trying to elevate Peter to the Trinity??

      If a case was to be made that one disciple was special above the rest, it would be John who was beloved and loyal (John 20:2 KJV; John 13:24-25 KJV) rather than Peter who betrayed Christ (John 18:25 KJV) – in fact Peter wasn’t a disciple after that (“… tell his disciples and Peter…” Mark 16:7 KJV) but got restored after his three affirmations (John 21:17 KJV).

      But this Catholic hobby of ranking disciples is unscriptural (Mark 9:34 KJV; 1 Cor. 1:12-13 KJV).

      – Mack

    2. Mack,

      Are you suggesting that the Greek originals of the New Testament weren’t inspired, because God “blew it”?

      You’ve buried your thoughts under so many layers of vituperative bile that I can’t tell what you’re trying to say. Why not just raise an argument without ridiculous editorializing? Do you think that it persuades anyone when you go on tangential rants? Or do you even care?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    3. The King James Version of 1611 that had the deuterocanon? It’s pretty good. Not perfect.

      And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am].

      ….

      Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.

      While I don’t think any extant manuscript is perfect, or any translation is perfect, as a rule I try not to claim that God infallibly spoke through an infallible translation named after a gay Anglican monarch.

    4. To continue my point, take Rev 17:8:

      “The final words in the verse, “and yet is,” should actually read “and shall come”—“the beast that was, and is not, and shall come.” No Greek manuscript reads “and yet is”; all have “and shall come.” This error, and
      a few others, derive from the circumstances surrounding the production of Eramsus’ Greek NT (1516). For the book of Revelation, Erasmus had access to only one manuscript. However, this was not really a separate manuscript of the text of Revelation but was actually embedded in a commentary on Revelation by Andreas of Caesarea. As such it was difficult for the printer to read the text itself, so Erasmus had a fresh copy of
      the text made. The copyist himself misread the original at places, and thus a number of errors were introduced into Erasmus’ printed text. In Rev 17:8 the copyist mistakenly wrote kaiper estin (“and yet is”) instead of kai parestai (“and shall come”).

      Erasamus’s copyist’s mistake is retained by the KJV for no reason.

    5. In a unical manuscript remember, it would look like “KAIPERESTIN” and “KAIPARESTAI” which look very similar in both the English and the Greek alphabets.

    6. Daniel:

      Your attitude is summed up with your confession that “I don’t think any extant manuscript is perfect, or any translation is perfect” – by which you put YOURSELF in the position to drone on about what YOU think such and such a verse should really say.

      So you take the typical Roman Catholic position – the bible is unknown therefore God’s will is unknown, but we must rely upon certain earthly authorities to give us the correct/approved message instead.

      However you differ from the Catholic position in that you blithely assume that you can exercise that authority for yourself based on the authority of “Greek studies,” but it’s a power the “magisterium” claims is their exclusive prerogative.

      So you are in the lovely little spot aren’t you? Your Catholic Church’s teachings, the Holy Bible, and all your Greek studies sit at your feet and you extend the sceptre to the one that pleases you best in any situation.

      The Bible says: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:10 KJV.

      But don’t heed those words. Instead, find the words that bother you in that list and first go to a “Greek Dictionary” and see if you can re-define any of them. If that doesn’t work, go to the critical apparatus(es) and see if you can’t re-write the underlying words completely. Try alternative spellings – things you can blame on that troublesome “copyest” who is always making “mistakes”. If that isn’t satisfying enough, go through the volumes of patristic writings, various commentaries, and even write your own – brainstorm. The objective is to just never stop until you’ve figured out a way to make the words in the King James Bible disappear from your conscience.

      Good luck.

      – Mack.

      (PS. The words for tested are “proved” and “tried” in the Authorized Version. God doesn’t need your help writing the Bible – you need his help understanding it. And that badly.)

  9. Mack, Joe means the Greek circumlocution “emou kai sou”

    Even in English there is a difference between saying “You and I” and saying “we.”

    “You and I are screwed” compared to “We’re screwed” for example.

    1. And while I’m not sure your average native English speaker would find a difference, or even your average English teacher–I’m confident that a poet could tell the difference.

      And furthermore, it’s possible that Joe meant a “first person plural PRONOUN” not just a a first person plural verb conjugation…

      If so, Mark 1:38 4:35 14:42 don’t say the pronoun “us” in Greek, but is implied from the verb conjugation. Same thing in John 11:7 and 14:31.

      But Mack, you are right that it is used in John 4:22 (“hēmeis” personal pronoun-nominative 1st person plural).

  10. Joe,

    There’s an interesting parallel discussion going on on the blog of an Orthodox priest http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/03/14/two-chairs-of-peter-reform-orthodoxy-and-the-papacy/

    In evaluating your argument, I’d say that it supports a “first among equals” primacy that the Orthodox (for example) would accept, but it’s a long way from Vatican I. The ancient authorities (scriptural and patristic) don’t support the supremacy and infallibility ascribed to the Bishop of Rome by current Catholic ecclesiology.

    1. As a Catholic, I am fully willing to concede that an appeal to the Bible and ECF’s alone leaves enough nuance and ambiguity that neither side (Orthodox and Catholic) can prove its case. This is why it is essential also to appeal to other historical factors (Old Testament, fruits of the traditions, etc.) , philosophy, theology, etc. to determine whether East or West is right about the Pope of Rome.

  11. To put another way Seraphim, ” While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West, there are differences of understanding with regard to the manner in which it is to be exercised…”–Ravenna Statement 2007

    I think that universal and supreme jurisdiction is a no brainer given Canon 5 of Sardica, in that ANY bishop can appeal to the Pope, and once the Pope chooses who he considers to be orthodox to render the decision, there is no further appeal to be made:

    Decreed, that if any bishop is accused, and the bishops of the same region assemble and depose him from his office, and he appealing, so to speak, takes refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church, and he be willing to give him a hearing, and think it right to renew the examination of his case, let him be pleased to write to those fellow bishops who are nearest the province that they may examine the particulars with care and accuracy and give their votes on the matter in accordance with the word of truth. And if any one require that his case be heard yet again, and at his request it seem good to move the bishop of Rome to send presbyters a latere, let it be in the power of that bishop, according as he judges it to be good and decides it to be right— that some be sent to be judges with the bishops and invested with his authority by whom they were sent. And be this also ordained. But if he think that the bishops are sufficient for the examination and decision of the matter let him do what shall seem good in his most prudent judgment.
    The bishops answered: What has been said is approved.

    As far as whether that jurisdiction is ordinary and immediate, we must define ordinary and immediate.

    “It is ordinary, in the sense that it is proper to the Roman Pontiff by virtue of the office belonging to him and not by delegation from the bishops; it is immediate, because he can exercise it directly without the bishops’ permission or mediation.”

    Is that definition acceptable in the East? Christian unity hinges on that answer.

  12. It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. Luke 19:46

    One clear lesson of scriptures is that being chosen of God(in this life) is not absolute.

    It is curious to me that Catholics use scripture when they believe it supports their authority, but ignore it in MANY other cases.

    The fact you have to go to such lengths to infer an Apostolic succession from Peter, shows the weakness of your case.

    1. The lengths to which one must go to prove an argument is necessarily a sign of weakness? Wouldn’t it me more reasonable to assume that such complex arguments are necessary because of complicating factors such as bias, historical ambiguity, etc?

    2. Truth Hunter, you said:

      “It is curious to me that Catholics use scripture when they believe it supports their authority, but ignore it in MANY other cases.”

      I confess that I’ve never come across an area where Catholics ignore Scripture. It is true that we don’t believe that we’re bound by “Scripture alone” (sola Scriptura), but that’s because sola Scriptura is an unbiblical tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15). So even in our rejection of “Scripture alone,” we’re being faithful to Scripture.

      As for the case for the papacy, if it seems complicated, it’s probably just bad writing on my part. In the section on Peter as the first pope, I gave several different avenues to arrive at the same conclusion:

      1) Christ entrusted Peter with the task of caring for the Apostles, a task that paralleled the Apostles own authority-of-service over the lay faithful (Lk. 22:24-32).

      2) Christ entrusted Peter as a fisher of men in a singular way (Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-14), with Peter’s nets representing the Church (Mt. 13:47-50; Lk. 5:10).

      3) Christ entrusted Peter as shepherd of His flock in a singular way (John 21:15-17; John 10:1-10).

      4) Christ built the Church on Peter (Mt. 16:17-19)

      5) Christ creates the “Papal ‘We’” in Matthew 17:24-27.

      6) Every Apostolic list puts Peter in the place of highest honor, while Judas (if present) is place in the lowest place. No other Apostle appears in the same place consistently.

      7) Peter is frequently distinguished from the other Apostles, as if of a distinct rank or authority: Acts 5:29, 1 Cor. 9:5, Acts 2:14, Mark 16:6-7, etc. And we see this also reflected in St. John defer to Petrine authority in John 20:4-6.

      You don’t have to accept (or even understand) each of those seven to arrive at the conclusion that Jesus entrusted the Church to Peter in a unique way. Several of them are strong enough to prove Peter’s supremacy on their own. I just provided several in order to give a glimpse at the absolute wealth of Scriptural authority on this point.

      So if your idea of a strong case from Scripture is a simple one (and I think you’re wrong to assume that, btw), then just look at the passage from Luke 22, and we can go from there.

      God bless,

      Joe

  13. 1 Corinthians 7:8 “I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.”

    Since we know that Paul ordained Timothy as a bishop, and a bishop is someone who can ordain bishops and elders, and we know that he is the author of the scripture you say the RCC violates, and we know that Paul was unmarried when he was doing the ordaining and the scripture writing, it would seem that we can draw one of two conclusions:

    A) Paul didn’t mean to say that bishops MUST be married to one wife, but that IF they are married it must be to only one wife.

    or

    B) Paul is the first Roman Catholic violating that scriptural mandate.

    I think A is a good answer. Which do you choose?

    1. Is Paul talking about church leadership in 1 Corinthians 7:8? The answer is no.

      We don’t with certainty that Paul was single. Even if he was, he never mandates that church leadership is for the unmarried.

      I Tim 3 tells us that being married is a qualification for church leadership.

  14. Here is what I Cor 9:5 says–“Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?”

    It would not make sense if Paul was not married to write this.

    1. Meyu,

      It’s funny that you should use that verse, because that’s one of the best passages for showing that St. Paul was celibate.

      Two things to point out about this verse:

      1) It’s ambiguous. The translation that you give is wrong: it doesn’t say “a believing wife.” It says either “a sister, a wife” (1 Cor 9:5 KJV) or “a woman, a sister” (1 Cor 9:5 Douay-Reihms).

      Here’s what’s going on. In Greek, the word for “woman” and “wife” were the same. This same word, gynē, is translated as “woman” or “women” 129 times in the KJV, and as “wife” 92 times. It’s not clear whether St. Paul is talking about bringing along a woman who is also a “sister” (that is, a Christian), or whether he’s talking about bringing about a “sister” who is also a wife. Both interpretations are plausible.

      So Paul is either saying that, as an Apostle, he has the right to bring along a female assistant (possibly for things like female baptisms), or that he has the right to bring along a Christian wife.

      2) Even if we assume that he’s talking about his right to take a wife, that would only prove that he was unmarried. Because who has the right to take a wife: married men, or unmarried men? In lay English, assuming we’re talking about a wife, not a female assistant, 1 Cor. 9:5-6 would read something like “Don’t I have the right to marry a Christian woman, as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to do this?”

      This passage only makes sense if Paul isn’t married. Even anti-Catholic Bible commentaries, like Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/9-5.htm), concede that “The objection here seems to have been, that Paul and Barnabas were unmarried, or at least that they traveled without wives.” If Paul and Barnabas are already married, then they don’t have the power to get married.

      This conclusion is made all the more obvious by the fact that, two chapters earlier in the same Epistle, Paul describes himself as unmarried. After permitting the Corinthians to marry (to avoid fornication and lust), he says (1 Cor. 7:6-8):

      “But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment. For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I.

      So unless he got married between writing chapters 7 and 9 of First Corinthians, I think you’ll have to concede that your initial reading of 1 Cor. 9:5 was backwards.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. And you could follow Joe’s meticulous analysis or just cheat and skip down to vs 15 where Paul says he has forgone all of those rights that he just listed. Lol

    1. Meyu,

      Thank you! Sometimes, humility says more than a barrage of apologetic arguments.

      Getting back to the original point at hand, this side-discussion about celibacy began when TruthHunter said, “It is curious to me that Catholics use scripture when they believe it supports their authority, but ignore it in MANY other cases.”

      I challenged this assertion, and I think that what we’ve seen is that there are times when the Church might appear to ignore or violate Scripture, but that what might really be going on is that we’re wrong in our reading of Scripture.

      I would suggest that going through any area in which the Church seems to ignore or violate Scripture, we could eventually arrive at the same place we arrived at with celibacy: that it turns out that the Church was right (and we were wrong) about what Scripture actually says.

      At the very least, I think that we would find that, in all of Her teachings, the Church is mindful of the Gospel in a way She might not seem to be from our initial reaction, especially if we learn of Catholic teachings through ignorant and/or anti-Catholic sources.

      So even if you ultimately disagree with how She’s interpreting Scripture, it’s undeniable that She’s interpreting Scripture, not ignoring or rejecting it, as She’s often characterized. This is such a simple point, but it raises a fundamental issue: if our interpretation of Scripture disagrees with the Church’s, whose interpretation should win out?

      I.X.,

      Joe

  15. I have had to eat crow many times on this blog lol

    You are very smart, and capable of humility and avoiding cheap shots.

    “As iron sharpens iron,    so one person sharpens another.”

    1. There is always something to dispute with Joe :). If Peter was the supreme leader of the church as you assert then why don’t we see the other apostles defer to him as such? Secondly, and one of the most powerful arguments for a papacy i.e. supreme leader of the church is that there is no mention of it in any of the writings of the apostles. Not even Paul mentions a position of pope in his descriptions of the leadership structure of the church in the NT.

      BTW- the letter of Clement does not refer to a papacy. Clement does not claim to be the supreme leader of the church in this letter. That claim would not come until centuries later.

    2. Meyu, why do you continue to talk about Clement? Your denial of the Real Presence, despite its clear, explicit and unanimous witness from the First Century shows that you believe history can be safely ignored if it disagrees with your personal interpretation of Scripture. If that’s the case, why should history ever need to be mentioned at all?

    3. Additionally, as I’ve pointed out before, Muslim apologists play the same game with the divinity of Christ:

      “If He really was God he would have said it very clearly – ‘I am God. Worship Me‘ – Unless you can show me in the Bible where He says those specific words I won’t believe it’s true”

      If we switch out a few words, we end up with your argument:

      “If He really was Pope he would have said it very clearly – ‘I am Pope. I have universal authority over the entire Church‘ – Unless you can show me in the Bible where He says those specific words I won’t believe it’s true”

    4. Restless,
      Clement is used by some RC’s as evidence for the papacy. I’m pointing out that it really is not given that Clement never makes such a claim for himself personally. Using Clement to support a papacy just won’t cut it.

    5. Meyu, it’s not that he says anything about the papacy, but that a Roman bishop was making demands of Corinthian laiety and clergy outside of the jurisdiction of Rome.

    6. But why dispute it at all? When Catholics present evidence from history for various Catholic beliefs, why don’t you just say “History is irrelevant. If it conflicts with my interpretation of Scripture then I reject it”?

    7. meyuMarch 21, 2013 at 7:41 PM
      There is always something to dispute with Joe :). If Peter was the supreme leader of the church as you assert then why don’t we see the other apostles defer to him as such? Secondly, and one of the most powerful arguments for a papacy i.e. supreme leader of the church is that there is no mention of it in any of the writings of the apostles. Not even Paul mentions a position of pope in his descriptions of the leadership structure of the church in the NT.

      It is so obvious, that you can’t see it. Jesus Christ appointed Simon leader of the Church. To signify this truth, He renamed Him, Peter, Cephas or Rock. This name signifies that Simon represents Jesus Christ, our Rock, before men. And throughout Scripture, Simon is referred to as Peter. Thus showing that the Apostles recognized the position to which Jesus appointed him.

      BTW- the letter of Clement does not refer to a papacy. Clement does not claim to be the supreme leader of the church in this letter. That claim would not come until centuries later.

      Actually, he does. You are reading into that letter, your presuppositions. Just as you are doing with Scripture.

    8. Ok. Correct me with some facts from the letter. Where does Clement refer to a papacy? Where in the letter does he claim to be the supreme leader of the church? Where does Clement use his name in the letter?

    9. > But why dispute it at all? When Catholics present evidence from history for various Catholic beliefs, why don’t you just say “History is irrelevant. If it conflicts with my interpretation of Scripture then I reject it”?

      This isn’t just a rhetorical question, by the way. I’d genuinely like to know why you don’t do this.

    10. History is relevant. If you are going to make a claim that the papacy existed then we should look at history to see if this is the case. Good place to start is in the 1st century and see if its there. The letter of Clement is claimed by RC’s to support a papacy. I asked where does it make this claim.

    11. > History is relevant. If you are going to make a claim that the papacy existed then we should look at history to see if this is the case. Good place to start is in the 1st century and see if its there.

      But what’s the point if you can simply ignore the witness of history when it’s inconvenient because it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?

      With regards to the Real Presence, you couldn’t possibly ask for earlier, clearer, explicit historical belief…but because it conflicts with your interpretation of Scripture you seem comfortable with just brushing aside over a millennium of Christian history.

    12. Meyu,

      1) I fully agree with this comment you made a couple days ago:

      Clement is used by some RC’s as evidence for the papacy. I’m pointing out that it really is not given that Clement never makes such a claim for himself personally. Using Clement to support a papacy just won’t cut it.

      All of this is true: We Catholics do point to Clement as evidence. But you’re right: he doesn’t explicitly call himself pope, and you’re right that it wouldn’t “cut it” to base the entire argument for the papacy based upon Clement. But we’re not trying to base the papacy off of a single author.

      But that gets to the crux of the matter. You seem to think that we’re trying to use Clement’s writings as a single piece of incontrovertible evidence upon which to defend the doctrine of the papacy. But that’s not what we’re doing. Rather, in the original post, I showed a lot of Scriptural support for the papacy, along with the testimonies of Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Optatus. You’ve focused on a single piece of evidence (Clement), and suggested that you can disprove the entire basis of the papacy because Clement… doesn’t explicitly declare himself pope in the letter he writes to the Corinthians.

      2) The broader problem here is that you’re making unreasonable and hypocritical demands of the first century evidence. Let me explain each part. You’ve never explained your standard, but it seems to be that “if a man believes himself to be the pope, he will explicitly ‘claim to be the supreme leader’ in all of his communications.”

      Let’s test that claim. Read Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi (his first greeting), and his first Angelus blessing, and his first homily as pope, and today’s Palm Sunday homily. Within any of these four documents, can you find an instance of Pope Francis declaring himself “supreme leader” of the Church?

      If not, there seem to be only two possibilities:
      a) Your standard is right, and Pope Francis doesn’t realize that he’s pope.
      b) Your standard is wrong, because plenty of popes have considered themselves pope without having to continually assert it explicitly.

      So if you’re going to continue to us this standard (and so far, it’s what you keep coming back to), show me that it works as a standard. And if it doesn’t, get a better standard.

      3) The last point explained why I think your standard is unreasonable. I think it’s hypocritical, because you’re holding one (absurdly high) standard for the beliefs of Catholics and another (absurdly low) standard for your own beliefs.

      For example, when you say that history is relevant, does that apply to Protestant doctrines, or just Catholic ones? Just what are the standards that we ought to be looking for?

      Stake out a position: will you cast your lot with the early Christians? Do you view it as necessary that a doctrine be supported by Patristic evidence? And if not, how exactly does history “matter”?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    13. Joe,
      My point with Clement is that it does nothing to help the case for a papacy because Clement never refers to himself as the supreme leader of the church. I’m also not claiming RC’s are “trying to use Clement’s writings as a single piece of incontrovertible evidence upon which to defend the doctrine of the papacy.” Its just that this letter does not even address this issue. Its irrelevant to it.

      Both Polycarp and Ignatius speak of the importance of Rome but never claim that the bishop there is the recognized supreme leader of the entire church. It is one thing to speak of the importance of a church and another to show that the bishop of a particular church is the head of the entire church. For example, where do they claim that the bishop of Rome is the supreme leader of the entire church?

      Your argument that Peter is mentioned first on lists of the apostles is not enough to make him the supreme leader of the church. No doubt Peter was a leader among the disciples but notice that Peter never claims to be the supreme leader of the church. That is something none of the apostles ever claimed for themselves for the mere fact they knew only the Lord Jesus was and to make such a claim would usurp His authority. We also know throughout Pete’s writings he never makes such a claim for himself either.

      It is not unreasonable to demand evidence that a bishop of Rome or anywhere else was looked upon as the supreme leader of the entire church in the first couple of centuries. For such a claim to be true it must have evidence in documents from such a bishop and acknowledgement by the churches. If there is no evidence for a papacy in the first couple of centuries then it cannot be said that the early Christians believed in such a thing.

      I have no doubt that Pope Francis is the supreme head of the RCC. You would not find many claiming outside the RCC that he is the supreme head of the entire church in the world today.

      Can you clarify what you mean by “when you say that history is relevant, does that apply to Protestant doctrines, or just Catholic ones? Just what are the standards that we ought to be looking for?”

    14. Meyu, you’re not interacting with Joe’s argumentation and you haven’t answered my question.

      To recap, my question was What’s the value of history if you can simply ignore it when it’s inconvenient because it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?. The example of the Real Presence shows that even if we could produce for you a First Century document that could satisfy your high requirements it wouldn’t make any difference to your opinion since your personal interpretation of Scripture can apparently override any historical witness presented.

      With regards to your response to Joe, you seem to assert that Clement’s letter has nothing to do with the case for the papacy. Really? You have the Bishop of Rome writing to the faraway Church in Corinth to sort out a revolt against their clergy. If you believe in the Papacy, this makes perfect sense – it’s what we’d expect. If you don’t believe in the Papacy, then you have to explain why Rome is interfering, why they should listen to Clement, especially considering that the Apostle John is still alive. At the bare minimum, Clement’s letter shows the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the First Century. It’s not the whole papacy, but it’s another piece of the puzzle.

      (I’m not really sure what you mean when you say “Polycarp…speak[s] of the importance of Rome”. I think you’re confusing Polycarp with his student Irenaeus)

      You didn’t interact with with Joe’s argumentation concerning Pope Francis. Maybe you didn’t understand it. He wasn’t asking you if Francis is Pope, of course he is. Rather, Joe was asking you to apply your absurdly high requirements for papacy documentary proof to Francis’ first four public speeches. From this dataset, does he declare himself “supreme ruler” over the Church? If not, then you might need to rethink your standards…

      You also seem confused by his third section, so let me try to explain. You’ve been critiquing history in an attempt to disprove Catholic doctrines, but do you do the same for your own doctrines? Are you consistent in applying your own standards? For example, do you have proof that the Early Church thought that the Eucharist was only a symbol? Do you have proof that the Early Church thought that Baptism was just a public declaration of faith and didn’t actually do anything? After all, “It is not unreasonable to demand evidence…in the first couple of centuries”

    15. I’m anxious to see Meyu’s answer to those points. Meyu, is there a question that you have asked us that you felt was skipped or not answered sufficiently? That will give us something to do while you slowly, carefully, and prayerfully respond to RP.

    16. Restless,
      Its possible to misunderstand anyone’s argument in this kind of forum. Keep in mind we are not discussing the real presence or Protestant doctrines. Were discussing the origin of the papacy right now. I’m not making a case for my beliefs at this point. If Joe wants to write a blog on this we can discuss it.

      It is true that just because 1st Clement is advising another church does not mean its the papacy. I remember reading somewhere that there are cases of other churches helping other churches. If this is true then we would not claim that is a papacy. It does not necessarily follow that one church helping another implies a papacy.

      BTW- 1st Clement does not refer to one bishop of Rome. Rather it uses the the term “we”. “1 Clem. 1:1 By reason of the sudden and repeated calamities and reverses which are befalling us, brethren, we consider that we have been somewhat tardy in giving heed to the matters of dispute that have arisen among you,..”

      If there was someone in the first couple of centuries did what Pope Francis did then there would be no doubt there was a papacy back then. The problem is that there is nothing like this back then. Not even close. Agreed?

    17. If Catholics are pretty happy with Clement as evidence of the papacy, and non-Catholics aren’t impressed, maybe you and others have a misconception about what the papacy is according to us?

      Let me ask: Did the apostles have authority over the whole church? Was Peter a leader of the apostles?

    18. Misunderstandings are somewhat inevitable. I just don’t want us to talk past each other.

      I’ll write a proper response tomorrow when I’m not on my phone, but I would be grateful if you could:

      (a) Answer my original question (“What is the value of history if you can just ignore it when it’s inconvenient because it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?”)

      (b) Please be specific about what Francis said in those four speeches which fulfills your criteria for proof.

      Thanks,

      Restless Pilgrim.

    19. Restless,
      What makes you think I ignore history? Do you believe that something is true just because its been believed for a long time?

      In regards to the pope of today, I have no doubt he is the supreme leader of the RCC. He is not accepted as the supreme leader of the entire outside of the RCC.

    20. Daniel,
      I understand what the papacy means. All the apostles had a derived authority over the church. Peter was one of the leaders of the apostles along with John, James and Paul. Peter never asserts he is the leader of the apostles nor do the apostles claim that he is. We never see in the writings of John and James for example of any appeal to Peter. In Acts 15 we don’t see the decision being made by Peter but by James. If Peter was the head of the apostles we would expect to see it manifested here in Peter making the final decision. Where we do see Peter’ leadership displayed is in Acts 1-2.

    21. While I wait your your answers to (a) and (b), I think it might be helpful to you to reiterate why we’ve been asking the questions we’ve been asking. I get the impression that you’re confused by our seemingly tangential or unrelated questions to the papacy.

      In a word….consistency. If your position is the correct one, there should be consistency throughout your approach.

      Speaking for myself, I find your position terribly inconsistent since it relies heavily on special pleading. You apply one standard for Catholic doctrines, another standard for you own. Lip-service is paid to history when you think it is convenient to your cause, but you seem feel perfectly comfortable with disregarding solid evidence when it’s inconvenient.

      This is why we’ve asked questions about the Trinity, the Real Presence, Baptismal Regeneration and Francis’ papacy. We’re taking the standard you’ve been using and seeing if you apply it consistently. If you don’t, then there is a problem with your standard. By demonstrating the lack of uniformity we’re hoping to cause you to reassess your approach.

      Hopefully that makes better sense of our questions.

    22. I’ve just seen you’ve responded.

      >What makes you think I ignore history?

      The example I’ve given is of the Real Presence. This fulfills the ridiculously high standard of evidence that you set for the papacy. We have plenty of explicit evidence from the First Century that the Church believed the Eucharist was a sacrifice and that Jesus is truly present…yet you seem happy to simply disregard this evidence because it conflicts with your interpretation of Scripture. This returns me to my question:

      What is the value of history if you can just ignore it when it’s inconvenient because it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?

      >Do you believe that something is true just because its been believed for a long time?

      No, but if it has been been believed always and everywhere for over a millennium with no opposition then you’ve got some explaining to do. You can’t just dismiss it out of hand.

      >In regards to the pope of today, I have no doubt he is the supreme leader of the RCC. He is not accepted as the supreme leader of the entire outside of the RCC.

      Despite my long explanation, I still don’t think you understand why we’re asking about Francis. I don’t know how better to explain it (apart from inviting you to re-read my explanation), so please just humour me and answer the question which Joe asked:

      Within any of these four documents, can you find an instance of Pope Francis declaring himself “supreme leader” of the Church?

    23. Restless,
      Even if those documents by Pope Francis says nothing about him being the supreme leader of the church we do have other documents in your church that clearly show that he is the supreme leader of the RCC today. We don’t have this kind of thing in the first few centuries for any bishop.

    24. > Even if those documents by Pope Francis says nothing about him being the supreme leader of the church…

      Okay, now we’re getting somewhere!

      It has been your assertion throughout this exchange that, if the Bishop of Rome were the supreme head of the Church, he would automatically and immediately articulate it in an explicit form and this would be preserved in documentary evidence for posterity.

      (This series of assumptions has yet to be really justified, but let’s leave that for the time being)

      After applying this test to Pope Francis it appears, based on your standard, that Francis doesn’t think he’s Pope! But this is obviously untrue. Ergo, something is clearly wrong with your standard.

      It’s also worth mentioning that this test is even loaded in your favour. We have two letters of Peter and one letter of Clement, yet in our test we’ve used a dataset of four documents for Francis. Even with the scales weighed in your favour, it still fails your own test.

      And unless I’ve missed something, the first question still goes unanswered:

      What is the value of history if you can just ignore it when it’s inconvenient because it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?

    25. There is nothing wrong with my standard. The problem is that there are no records of anyone claiming and demonstrating that a bishop was the supreme leader of the entire church in the first few centuries. In the letters of Peter and Clement there is no such claim to be the supreme leader of the entire church.
      There is no dispute that Pope Francis is the head of the RCC. I know there are documents that support the papacy for the last few centuries. What we don’t have are any documents in the first-second centuries of the bishop of Rome being acknowledged by all the churches as being the supreme leader of the entire church.

      Actually you are ignoring the value of history to support your contention of a papacy in the first-second century.

    26. Meyu, why didn’t you say earlier that 2nd century evidence would suffice. Pope victor I threatened to excommunicate all of the Eastern bishops for not celebrating Easter on Sunday.

    27. Daniel,
      Here is what I found on Victor 1–” According to Rome, He was the first Pope from Africa. However, he never held knew the title of [Pope], himself. In fact “Liber Pontificalis” “The Oxford Dictionary of Popes” and “The Original Catholic Encyclopedia” list him as being native to Africa. There seems to be no original work written that list him as a Roman Citizen or native/descendant of Rome. The dates assigned to Victor’s episcopate by the ancient authorities vary greatly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Victor_I.

      Here is what the Catholic Encycl- says “This severe procedure did not please all the bishops. Irenaeus of Lyons and others wrote to Pope Victor; they blamed his severity, urged him to maintain peace and unity with the bishops of Asia, and to entertain affectionate feelings toward them. Irenaeus reminded him that his predecessors had indeed always maintained the Sunday observance of Easter, as was right, but had not broken off friendly relations and communion with bishops because they followed another custom (Eusebius, Church History V.23-25). We have no information concerning the further course of the matter under Victor I so far as it regards the bishops of Asia.”

      It seems that the bishop of Rome did have a lot of influence but I don’t see anything like the pope speaking and the matter is settled.

    28. Because others begged that he shouldn’t commit to that course of action and he relented?

      Even God Himself doesn’t meet your high standard now! Exodus 32

    29. >There is nothing wrong with my standard. The problem is that there are no records of anyone claiming…[insert usual content here]

      Meyu, please at least interact with the argument! Your standard has been shown to be faulty because also “proves” that Pope Francis doesn’t think he’s Pope, and this was in a test that was stacked in your favour!

      Rather than simply repeating your special pleading, please explain how my argumentation is incorrect.

      This question continues goes unanswered: What is the value of history if you can just ignore it when it’s inconvenient because it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?. Continued avoidance of this question casts serious doubt over the logical consistency of your position.

      >Actually you are ignoring the value of history to support your contention of a papacy in the first-second century

      Not at all. As I said before, if you believe in the Papacy, Clement’s letter makes perfect sense. Rome interfering in the internal matters of a congregation nearly a thousand kilometers away when John or a closer congregation would have sufficed? Clement’s actions are what we’d expect. It’s consistent with the Papacy and it’s consistent with the rest of history.

      It’s only if you deny the Papacy that you’ve got to answer a load of tricky questions (and I don’t find very compelling the statement that you read somewhere that someone said that sometimes churches would help other churches).

      In contrast, when it comes to a host of other doctrines, your position demands that you outright discard centuries of Christian history. The Didache – flawed. Ignatius – heretic. Justin – fool. Polycarp – unfaithful teacher. Irenaeus – liar…

      >In the letter… Clement there is no such claim to be the supreme leader of the entire church.

      Clement doesn’t go on a power trip in the letter. So what? When a father deals with his son does he begin with commands of obedience and talk of authority? No, he tries to gently but firmly guide his son to the right course of action. This is exactly what we find in 1 Clement.

      A father (or even boss) tends only to resort to authority and “pull rank” when these gentler methods have failed.

    30. Again, my standard for proof of a papacy in the 1st-2nd century is not faulty. If it existed then at a minimum we should see some evidence of it. The fact is there is none. For a papacy to exist there must be someone who claims clearly that he is the supreme leader of the church and has the support of the churches who concur with that claim. There just is no evidence for this in the 1st-2nd century. The papacy really doesn’t come into being until Leo. “He was the first Pope to be given the title of Pontifex Maximus, a title previously reserved for the Roman Emperors. He had his Tome engraved with the teaching that he was the successor of the Apostle Peter. The council of Chalcedon read this before the council, and they all agreed that Peter was speaking through Pope Leo I. Leo I believed in absolute authority of the papacy. He became the first pope to order the deaths of his enemies.” http://www.archelaos.com/popes/details.aspx?id=50

      Did Clement claim to be the supreme leader of the church in the letter of Clement? Yes or no?

    31. Meyu, I’ve done my best to live by the code that there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people (which you aren’t).

      But dang it, if you didn’t just ask one of the most ridiculous questions conceivable.

      We have already been over this a hundred times.

      No, Clement did not CLAIM to be the supreme leader of the church.

      But guess what? As we have already said, neither has Pope Francis who you already accept as pope. And guess what else?> Not only did he not claim to be the supreme leader of the church, NEITHER DID FRIGGIN JESUS in Matthew Mark Luke or John.

      In fact, Jesus only spoke of the church directly twice: once about kicking out heretics, and again about what or who He is building the church on.

      That’s the second time that you are invoking a standard to prove authority over the church that even a Person of the Trinity can’t meet.

      And the first time you did so, I called you on it and got silence in reply.

      And all of the above aside, Clement acted as though he had authority over the Corinthian church, and the Corinthian church accepted his authority. Rome’s jurisdiction extended over to Corinth? It extends over the whole world! How else could Victor entertain the idea of excommunicating the entire Christian East?

      Your argument by analogy is like saying Joe doesn’t own a gun because he hasn’t shot anyone.

      This should be self-evident, but you can possess authority without using it.

      With the gun analogy, we see Joe’s holster sticking out from his shirt (Matt 16), we see him reaching for his holster in Clement’s letter, we see him threatening to shoot the entire Christian East for not observing Easter…

      And yet…and yet…you’ll sit here all day long and just reply, “No he doesn’t have a gun! He never shot anybody. If he had a gun, people would obviously be shot.”

    32. Dear Meyu,

      I’m not really sure how to reply to that last response, except to copy and paste my previous one!

      I requested that you stop simply repeating your assertions and instead interact with the argument placed before you. You didn’t. In fact, you didn’t even mention it. You simply ignored it.

      Speaking of being ignored, my question concerning the jettisoning of inconvenient history continues to go unanswered. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve posted it now.

      By now, we’re well aware of your standard for the Papacy. However, we’ve proved it’s a faulty, made-up standard. We’ve also pointed out that it’s not a standard to which you hold your own doctrines. Additionally, we’ve shown that, even if we could present to you the evidence you wanted, you would still dismiss it out of hand, rendering your protestations concerning the Papacy in the early Centuries completely moot.

      For dialogue to be fruitful both sides have to interact with the other’s argumentation and they have to answer each other’s questions. In a debate, if one party refused to engage the other party’s logic and continually avoided answering often-repeated questions, what would you conclude about the security of that person’s position?

      In the absence of answering these questions, I’d invite you to proceed as Joe has suggested.

      God bless,

      David.

    33. Daniel,
      Since Clement did not claim to be the supreme head of the church then it cannot be used for support for the papacy. Trying to compare how we know that Francis is the pope of the RCC and a pope in the 1st-2nd century is like comparing apples and oranges. There is tons of support for Francis being head of the RCC. There is none for anyone being the supreme head of the entire church in the 1st-2nd century. Did Victor claim to be the head of the entire church at the time? Did the bishops he tried excommunicating acknowledge this?

      The problem is that RC’s read into early church history to support such claims as the papacy etc and believe it has always existed. The facts just don’t support this.

    34. I’m not being unfair. This is not difficult discussion. Neither one of you has produced any specific documents from the first-2nd century to shows a papacy. Its been tried with Clement and we found no mention of a papacy. Remember: the burden of proof is on the RCC to support its claim that there was a papacy since the beginning. It needs documentation from the 1st century and there is none.

  16. Meyu, a few points here and I might add this will probably be a dissent from what others will say. I don’t think anyone will agree with me lol.

    “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.”

    That’s not talking about obeying secular rulers because secular rulers made it illegal to be a Christian from 64 AD until 313 AD.

    That’s a high responsibility for the clergy.

    Now let’s analyze 1 Pet 2:25

    “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

    In verse 24, look at the pronoun…”that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:…”

    In v 25 he could have said the more accurate “Bishop of OUR souls” but didn’t. I think the reason is because he is employing a double entendre. That both Jesus and Peter are shepherds and bishops of their flock’s souls. Peter is associated with shepherding because in Greek Jesus’s last words to Peter were to ‘shepherd my sheep-herd’ or ‘poimainō my probaton’

  17. Daniel,
    I Peter 2:25 is a reference to Christ and not Peter. Here is what the NAB (RC translation) note says on this verse: ” The shepherd and guardian of your souls: the familiar shepherd and flock figures express the care, vigilance, and love of God for his people in the Old Testament (Psalm 23; ⇒ Isaiah 40:11; ⇒ Jeremiah 23:4-5; ⇒ Ezekiel 34:11-16) and of Jesus for all humanity in the New Testament (⇒ Matthew 18:10-14; ⇒ Luke 15:4-7; ⇒ John 10:1-16; ⇒ Hebrews 13:20).”

    Your first quote about obeying your leaders comes from Heb 13:17. This is a reference to those in the church such as pastors and bishops who serve the church on behalf of Christ. We should obey them when their instructions and teachings are in line with Scripture.

  18. This blog must be having an effect if you instinctively attack it on the grounds of theological novelty.

    The NAB commentary is very very bad. That it has an imprimatur at all is amazing. But! Your point stands. My assertion isn’t entertained by LaPide or Haydock.

    But consider this. If Peter can command supreme obedience to secular authority (and the church can presumably revoke it re: outlawing Christianity), then he must have an even more supreme authority to command that obedience, even if that authority is rooted in the Lord’s relm more than Caesar’s.

    1. You’re turning it all around. He didn’t command secular authority to do anything. He commanded the Church to ” Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors….Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.”

      Peter has to have supreme authority to command obedience to a supreme authority.

    1. My interpretation that peter is making a double entendre. You made the point that it disagrees with a common catholic commentary and therefore is a new idea not found in tradition.

  19. mackquigleyMarch 16, 2013 at 3:51 AM
    De:

    Christ said, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 KJV.

    True.

    Your cult calls itself “Roman” and claims that within it is exclusively found salvation

    The Old Testament has been fulfilled by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the New Israel:
    Romans 2:29
    King James Version (KJV)
    29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    Salvation is now by Baptism. Therefore it is by the Catholic Church, because it is the Church which offers Baptism in accordance with the Will of Our Lord:
    Matthew 28:19
    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    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.

    Whereas your cult denies the clear Teaching of our Lord in Scripture.

    – yet Christ never said salvation was of the “Romans” – he said it was of his own people (“we”) – the Jews. Nothing in Romans chapter 11 establishes a rival religion based in Rome.

    The Old Covenant has gone away:
    Hebrews 8:13
    King James Version (KJV)
    13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

    A cult is simply a religious organization that supplants scripture with its own traditions and leadership.

    That would be the Protestants then. The Catholic Church fulfilled the Old Testament and wrote the New.

    In the Romanist cult no one is allowed to read and obey the Bible for themselves contrary to the traditions and authority of the cult leadership.

    In the Catholic Church, we are taught how to understand the Bible correctly (CCC#101-141).

    The Roman Catholic cult has the god-like cult leader,

    Appointed by Jesus Christ. There is precedent for this:
    Exodus 7:1
    And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

    Scripture details that God gave Moses god like power over Pharaoh. Read more.

    the lavish cult compound, extremely wealthy cult leadership while cult members are in slums; cult leadership sexually exploits the cult’s women and children; cult leadership acts like it is above the law / immune from prosecution.

    Protestant cult leaders are the ones who have approved of and done this. Anyone, Catholic or not, who abused any person, Catholic or not, is doing it against the clear Teaching of the Catholic Church.

    And, of course, cult members are brainwashed to feel guilty if they leave the cult because allegedly “God wants them to remain exploited” by the cult leaders.

    Protestants continuously show this aspect. Whether they leave the faith or not. You, for instance, are here trying to shame people into joining your cult.

    I would suggest you leave the cult, get saved, and become an independent Bible-believing Christian. You’ll be glad you did.

    Yours is the cult. We suggest you leave behind your cult and your false beliefs and come to the Truth which is only taught by the Catholic Church, the Church which Jesus Christ built (Matt 16:18-19).

    De Maria

  20. Meyu,

    I have a proposal. Let’s establish some basic parameters, and a few rules for both sides to abide by. Based on your argument, here’s what I propose:

    1) First to Second Century timeframe: in your prior comment, you claimed,

    “Again, my standard for proof of a papacy in the 1st-2nd century is not faulty. If it existed then at a minimum we should see some evidence of it. The fact is there is none.”

    How many Church Fathers from the 1st-2nd century would we Catholics need to provide for you to admit that you’re wrong? Just give me a number.

    2) A Clear idea of what “evidence” is: you’ve referred several times to “evidence.” What do you understand that term to mean? For example, is circumstantial evidence “evidence,” or are you only to accept a smoking gun, so to speak?

    3) No moving the goalposts: Can we agree that you (and we) can’t just change the rules whenever is convenient?

    4) Coherence: can we agree that I you’re going to lay out a standard, that you should have to be able to meet that standard, and be able to prove that it works?

    For example, if you’re going to claim (without evidence), “For a papacy to exist there must be someone who claims clearly that he is the supreme leader of the church and has the support of the churches who concur with that claim,” that you should be able to provide evidence that Pope Francis is “someone who claims clearly that he is the supreme leader of the church and has the support of the churches who concur with that claim”?

    I.X.,

    Joe

    P.S. I think I asked you this before, but who are you? Where are you from, what denomination are you affiliated with, how old are you, what’s your experience in Patristics, apologetics, etc.? This is partially curiosity, but some biographical info. can be helpful in responding to you in an appropriate and helpful manner.

    1. And to be fair to Meyu, I’ll go first with my info:

      I’m Daniel, I’m from Virginia, I grew up as a 7 point Calvinist PCUSA, left over gay ordinations and calling the Trinity “Mother, Womb, Child”, drifted between John Hagee and the Southern Baptist Convention for a few years, and I will be confirmed as a Roman Catholic on Saturday between 5 and 7 pm EST. I’m 28, married with 3 kids, and have read a smorgasbord of the Fathers (working on the Philokalia now, cause I’m on an Eastern kick). I enjoy cigars and single malt scotch, and my confirmation saint will be St. Paul because we both persecuted the Church before we joined (did I mention I was a 7 point Calvinist?)…

    2. Joe or anyone else,
      Let’s start with your 1st proposal: “How many Church Fathers from the 1st-2nd century would we Catholics need to provide for you to admit that you’re wrong? Just give me a number.”
      How many church fathers are there in the 1st century?
      What qualifies them to speak for the entire church? How do we know if a church father is always speaking the truth about a matter?
      What statements have they made that specifically show a supreme leader of the entire church? Who do they mention by name and what do they claim he did that would make us think this individual is the supreme leader of the church?

    3. Thank you for asking. One problem I have with Calvin is he replaces the papacy of the Church with secular government composed of Christian magistrates.

      “As regards the office of magistrate: our Lord has not only declared that it is acceptable to him and approved by him, but (what is more) has particularly commended its dignity to us, by adorning it with titles of the highest honour. To cite only a few examples: all those who hold the office of magistrate are called gods (Ex 22:8; Ps 82:1 and 6). This title is not to be reckoned as having little importance, for it shows that they have a commission from God, that they are endowed with divine authority, and that they in fact represent his person, acting in a certain sense in his place. This is not some sophism of mine; rather, it is the interpretation of Christ himself when he says: ‘If Scripture has called gods those to whom the Word of God is addressed…’ (John 10:35). What else can this mean but that they have received a charge and commission from God to serve him in their office? And, as Moses and Jehoshaphat said to the judges they set over every city in Judah (Deut 1:16; 2 Chron 19:): they were to execute justice not in the name of men but of God.”

      That makes secular government more than the papacy ever dreamed of being.

    4. > Not read the fathers. Have studied church history.

      I really do find this odd.
      Why limit yourself to other people’s opinions when you have the primary sources available to you?
      (You wouldn’t do that with Scripture)

      How many church fathers are there in the 1st century? What qualifies them to speak for the entire church? How do we know …

      I do find it troubling to see a barrage of questions of this nature, especially after having expressed strongly held opinions about history (and also since you’ve continually ignored my two question).

      On the other blog post, after you declined to read Patristic books, I posted a link to some audio presentations on the Early Church Fathers. Those presentations would have provided you with the basic answers to these questions.

    5. Restless,
      Since I don’t study the church fathers this will give you an opportunity to show what you know about them. If I make some statements about what they wrote that you think is incorrect then you have an opportunity to straighten me out. Do you know the fathers writings that well?

    6. Meyu,

      1) In the above post, I laid out a case for the papacy from Scripture, mentioning that the writings of the early Church Fathers supports this reading of Scripture.

      2) You objected, primarily on the basis of 1Clement, arguing that Clement’s writings aren’t explicit enough about the papacy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that you’ve ignored all of the specific Scriptural passages I cited in the post, as well as all of the other Church Fathers.

      3) Your argument, which you’ve carried over from a prior post, is that if the papacy is true, we should see immediate and explicit claims from every pope that he is the supreme head of the Church, and we should we deferential writings from all of the other churches acknowledging this.

      4) We’ve challenged this argument, that is lays out an impossible standard: that your standard just as easily “proves” that Pope Francis isn’t pope as it does Pope Clement. The fact that your standard produces results we both agree are false should be enough to discredit it, but you continue to say that there’s nothing wrong with your standard.

      5) To try to create a more productive discussion, and in the hopes of getting you to correspond more directly with our arguments, I suggested ground rules. Since your objection (see # 3) is based on the authority of the Church Fathers, rather than Scripture, I asked, “How many Church Fathers from the 1st-2nd century would we Catholics need to provide for you to admit that you’re wrong? Just give me a number.”

      6) Your response suggests that you don’t acknowledge the Church Fathers as having any authority. You seem to preemptively undermine their authority in your response:
      How many church fathers are there in the 1st century?
      What qualifies them to speak for the entire church? How do we know if a church father is always speaking the truth about a matter?
      What statements have they made that specifically show a supreme leader of the entire church? Who do they mention by name and what do they claim he did that would make us think this individual is the supreme leader of the church?

      7) Meyu, am I right in concluding that even if we show you that the 1st-2nd century Church Fathers supported the papacy, you would respond to this by rejecting the Fathers rather than your anti-papal views?

      8) If so, getting back to the question Restless Pilgrim keeps asking you, why do you care what the Church Fathers say? If you only accept their authority when it agrees with your own interpretation, why don’t we just acknowledge that you’re the final authority in your version of Christendom?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    7. Joe,
      Lots of claims are being made about the papacy and the church fathers. My standards are not unreasonable and could be applied to other historical claims. Each claim must stand on its own. Take the current pope.
      There is no doubt that Francis is the pope not based on what he says primarily but on what your church has taught for centuries. We both know that there is no such support from the church that Francis has for being pope as there is supposedly for a pope in the first few centuries. Part of the reason is that the church in the early centuries was not structured with a papacy. I’m not the only one saying this either but RC scholars are saying the same things.

      I want to know from you why any church father speaks for the entire church. Did they claim to speak for the entire church at the time or are they just expressing their personal opinions?

      It is you and Restless that claims some kind of authority for a church father to speak for the entire church. I want to know who gave them this authority. Is that to much to ask?

    8. Meyu,

      Is it fair to describe your standard as: “if a man is pope, he will explicitly announce that he is supreme leader of the entire Church in his writings”?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. Your comment doesn’t appear to respond to anything that I said in mine. What’s your answer to 7) and 8)?

    9. >Since I don’t study the church fathers this will give you an opportunity to show what you know about them.

      It just confuses me that you say you’ve studied Church History, but not the Fathers. Church History is the story of the Fathers! I don’t know how one can talk about persecution of the early centuries without encountering Ignatius and Polycarp. How can I talk about early Christian apologetics against Paganism and Gnosticism without reading Justin and Irenaeus? How can you talk about the growing movement of Christian asceticism without encountering Anthony and Benedict? Can I really look at the development of the canon without looking at Jerome and Augustine? I really don’t know how it’s possible to understand the Arian controversy apart from Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers.

      And, as I said above, it seems odd to me that you would rely solely upon what other people say about history, rather than consulting the sources yourself. Ad fontes!

      >If I make some statements about what they wrote that you think is incorrect then you have an opportunity to straighten me out.

      We can and will, but it would save an awful lot of time if you did some preparatory work.

      >Do you know the fathers writings that well?

      The third time might be a charm, but we’re not going through that again.

  21. Joe,
    Go to a non-denominational church. Calvinistic. Have studied Christian apologetic for years. Was Rc at one time. Over 50.

    Not read the fathers. Have studied church history.

    1. Meyu,

      Great question! I am a Catholic because:
      1) I believe in Jesus Christ;
      2) I believe that He established a Church upon Peter and the Apostles, with Himself as the Cornerstone;
      3) I believe that Jesus promised not to leave this Church an orphan, and promised to impart His Holy Spirit to the Church to be with Her always, and lead Her into all truth.
      4) In fact, I believe that this Church is the Body and Bride of Christ, and the visible Christ in the world (the way that Jesus presents the Church in Acts 9 in confronting Saul).
      5) I believe that this Church is a visible Church containing Saints and sinners, wheat and weeds, good fish and bad (as He describes repeatedly in Matthew 13), Peter and Judas.
      6) I believe that this visible Church can speak infallibly on behalf of Jesus Christ, as She did in Acts 15:28.
      7) I believe that this visible Church can be traced through history to the Roman Catholic Church, and that the Petrine Office can be easily traced to the papacy.
      8) I don’t believe that Jesus Christ gave any of us the authority to start our own Churches, since to do so would be to stand in the place of Christ Himself, which is a mark of the Antichrist, not the Christian. I believe that to do so is schism, a damnable sin (as Galatians 5 says it is) that tears at the Body of Christ, and is directly counter to the unity that He prays for in John 17:20-23.

      In other words, I accept the Bride of Christ because I accept Christ. I accept the Kingdom because I accept the King of Kings. I accept the flock because I accept the Shepherd.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. I don’t know what it means to “accept” all that the Church has done. Judas was an Apostle. To be a Catholic, are you suggesting that I need to treat his betrayal of Christ as good?

    2. Do you believe all that your church affirms such as the brown scapular and that a man is not saved by faith alone, by grace alone in Christ alone?

    3. We believe in Christ alone and grace alone.

      Faith alone depends on what you mean. Literally alone, apart from love or repentance or feeding our neighbor, so that it’s only intellectual assent or mere belief?

      That doesn’t save you.

    4. Meyu,

      I do know some of the causes of the Protestant Reformation. And I do have some thoughts on justification, but I think it would be wise if we could put off having a side conversation until we can make at least a little headway on the question of the papacy.

      After all, as I said above, “if the Catholic Church is right about the papacy, everyone should be Catholic. And if the Catholic Church is wrong about the papacy, no one should be Catholic.” Do you agree?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    5. I do agree. If the papacy cannot be shown in Scripture and papal succession in Scripture and in the first 2 centuries then one should not be a Roman Catholic.

  22. Joe or anyone else,
    Let’s start with your 1st proposal: “How many Church Fathers from the 1st-2nd century would we Catholics need to provide for you to admit that you’re wrong? Just give me a number.”
    How many church fathers are there in the 1st century?

    Here at this blog, we try to use manners. That means taking turns. Give Joe his number, and then I’ll answer your question about 1st century church fathers.

    1. Are you saying you need testimony from four Church Fathers to change your mind on the papacy, or are you just stating how many there were in the 1st century?

  23. Meyu, I have 3 kids 3 and under. Of everyone here, I have the most experience nailing jello to a wall. The secret? You hammar away.

    Sorry pal. You don’t to see the evidence and then decide what standard you get to use as to whether you’ll accept it or not.

    We want to know what the burden of proof is for you to believe it before we even start.

    If your position is that only 1% of the fathers have to explicitly spell out the papacy fine. If it’s 100% fine. If it’s 75% have to imply the papacy, that’s fine too.

    But!

    You need to set the standard before we start, and whatever your standard is, you need to be able to followit yourself for your doctrine.

    So if you need 4 explicit quotes from 4 of the 1st century fathers on the papacy, we would require you to meet your own standard and provide 4 explicit quotes on from the 1st century fathers that support YOUR view on church government.

    Savvy?

    And we all know why you are evading setting a standard. We have read the fathers and you haven’t, so you are in a precarious situation. Set the standard too high for us, and suddenly you have to ditch your presuppositions. Set the standard too low, and there might be more evidence of substance for our position than yours.

    But maybe not. Set a standard and lets get started.

    1. Meyu (and Daniel),

      Are the two of you familiar with the idea of a a kangaroo court? Essentially, we’re talking about a court that’s predetermined its conclusion, and engineers the trial to produce this result. Needless to say, the whole notion of a kangaroo court is dishonest and unjust: it goes against the whole purpose of a court. My concern (and Meyu, if this is unfair, please let me know), is that we’re encountering something similar here.

      Meyu, for some reason, you sit in judgment over Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers. You’ve already come to the conclusion, as you’ve told us, that the early Church Fathers didn’t believe in the papacy. In the comment that set off this protracted debate, you announced this conclusion: “the papacy did not come about centuries after Christ.”

      Since then, you’ve admitted that you haven’t actually read the Church Fathers. In other words, you haven’t looked at the evidence, but you’re going to tell us what that evidence says. As you memorably put it in a related context: “Clement’s epistle does not prove the papacy in the least. No I have not read I Clement.” Why bother finding out what Clement has to say, when you can just tell us what you figure he said?

      That’s what I mean by a kangaroo court. You’ve announced your conclusion (no papacy in the early Church), and you appear to be trying to manipulate the standards of proof to achieve this result. I’m troubled by the very idea that you would want to set the standard in such a way as to engineer the conclusion you already believe. Doesn’t that feel … dishonest? Shouldn’t the Christian be more interested in determining the truth than convincing himself that he’s right?

      I laid out very basic ground rules above, and you’re refusing to agree to them until you can see the evidence first. Is the answer here simply that you’ll never agree to the papacy? That even if we show you that the 1st-2nd century Church Fathers supported the papacy, you would respond to this by rejecting the Fathers rather than your anti-papal views?

      Have a blessed Good Friday,

      Joe

      P.S. In your great defense, you were open to correction on the issue of Paul’s celibacy: you listened to the Scriptural evidence, and realized that Paul was a celibate who praises celibacy as higher than marriage. My concern is that (for obvious reasons) you’re too afraid to open yourself up in the same way to the truth about the papacy, and it’s causing you to avoid seriously engaging the evidence.

    2. Joe,
      I’m trying to have a discussion with you and the others and you all refuse to answer some simple questions. I do not think you and the others know the church fathers that well to answer the questions I have asked in regards to a first century papacy. These are straight forward questions that you and the others have refused to answer. That can only be due to you don’t know or you do know that no church father in the first century every spoke of a supreme leader of the church in this period.
      I have admitted I have not read the church fathers yet you and the others imply that you know them well. All you need to do is to produce specific quotes in context that demonstrate a papacy in the first century. If there are none to be had then admit it. If there are then produce them.
      If there is no papacy in the first century, no papal succession, then you have a very serious issue to deal with and that would be outright deception by your church. Are you afraid to open yourself to this possibility?

    3. Meyu, if you were going to buy my car and asked how much it’s worth, and I said to start putting money on the table until I was satisified with the amount, you would think I was a damn fool.

      You negotiate terms before you pull out the wallet.

      In this case, we want to know what burden of proof we have to meet before we start.

      And since you are not saying what the burden of proof is, let me just ask it this way:

      Is asking for a standard in itself unreasonable? Is asking that whatever standard you set for us be consistantly applied to your other beliefs unreasonable?

    4. Daniel,
      If I were to buy you car I would first look under the hood, check your service records and take it to a mechanic. None of these things would be unreasonable. If I found that the service records were not well documented I would not buy your car. So it is with the history of the papacy in the 1st few centuries.

      Right now we are not discussing my beliefs but specifically the papacy. It is the papacy that we are scrutinizing.

    5. Meyu,

      We’re trying to find out what your standard of proof is for this scrutiny, so you can’t just arbitrarily set the bar after we’ve presented the evidence. Is that a reasonable request? Hearing you lay out an objective standard also lets us determine if your standard is reasonable, and if you apply the same standard for your own beliefs as you do for Catholic teachings. We’re looking for intellectual honesty and consistency, in other words.

      Why do you demand we present the evidence before you’ll tell us your standard?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    6. Joe,
      If someone were to make the claim that a particular person was president of the US in 1743 what kind of evidence would you need to determine if this claim were true or not?

    7. Meyu,

      That’s a good question, and I think that it exposes where our thinking about the papacy diverges somewhat.

      A: The First Approach
      For that sort of historical trivia, my first inclination would be to rely upon existing histories. But if there was a dispute over whomever (if anyone) was president in 1743, I’d want to look to contemporary and near-contemporary sources, as well as to legal documents. Secondary sources (i.e., colonial histories) would be helpful, but primarily because they would point to the relevant primary source documents.

      I’d be interested in evidence supporting, and evidence refuting, the claim. In the specific case that you raise, I would be able to determine the answer from looking at the opposing documentation:

      1. The document creating the office of presidency was written in 1776.
      2. The first president, George Washington, didn’t become president until 1789.

      So, because I can say who the first president was, I can say with certainty that there wasn’t a president before him… at least in the sense that we’re using the term “president.” (Likewise, if you could show me when the papacy was created, and who the first pope was, we’d be able to reject any prior claimants to the papacy).

      Here’s what I wouldn’t do:
      1. I wouldn’t say, “since I’m unaware of any evidence supporting someone the president in this year, there must not have been a president.” This would be (at best) an argument from silence, and (at worst) an argument from my own ignorance. I might just as well say, “Since I can’t remember who was president in 1823, there wasn’t one.”
      2. I wouldn’t demand that the president made egregious public announcements explicitly announcing his supreme headship over all of the United States of America.
      3. I wouldn’t require evidence from every state showing that the president’s headship over all of the USA was recognized.

      B: The Second Approach
      There is another way of approaching this issue. We’re ultimately less concerned with the historical trivia (who was pope in a given year), and more concerned with the historical and doctrinal question of whether Christ established the papacy. We don’t care about whether Clement became pope in 88 or 92, but about what his reign means for the Apostolic origin of the papacy.

      And the standard that I think is best for testing doctrines is this one: is the historical evidence consistent or inconsistent with the doctrine? It’s a simple test. I wouldn’t go in demanding specific things from the evidence, but seeing whether the evidence was in agreement or disagreement with the thesis. And I would suggest using this test whether we’re dealing with the papacy, the Trinity, or any other doctrine. Did the earliest Christians believe things consistent or inconsistent with this doctrine?

      I.X.,

      Joe

  24. Joe,
    Thanks for your response. I would use the first approach or something like it to determine if there was a president in 1743. You said it well when you wrote -” I’d want to look to contemporary and near-contemporary sources, as well as to legal documents. Secondary sources (i.e., colonial histories) would be helpful, but primarily because they would point to the relevant primary source documents.” This is a sound principle to use for checking out historical claims of many kinds. These principles would help us to determine if there was a papacy in the first few centuries.

    I also think your test “is the historical evidence consistent or inconsistent with the doctrine?” would also help us to determine the answer to whether there was a papacy in the first few centuries. This is where we can look at the writings of the fathers in the first century to give us an idea if the papacy was there or not.

    We also have to be clear what the office of the papacy entails (just as we need to understand what the office of the presidency means) to determine if it did exist in the early centuries. I don’t know how we could say there was a presidency in 1743 if there was no statements from this person that he was or that there was some recognition of his authority by a large number of states. There are just some pieces of evidence that cannot be ignored.

    Back to the papacy. What do you think would be essential to have to prove there was a papacy in the 1st century? Can you give me 2-3 pieces of evidence that are essential to proving the papacy in the 1st century (after Peter)?

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