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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Apostolic Succession

Before we begin on the issue of apostolic succession, we first must discuss the nature of the priesthood. Some Christian churches do not believe in any sort of ordination. They feel that because of the priesthood of all believers, any member of the church may preach and lead their assembly. Others do practice a laying on of hands for ordination, seeing it as a symbolic act, similar to baptism.

For Catholics, ordination is a sacrament. Through ordination, a man becomes a priest, his priesthood indelibly imprinted on his soul, forever. Although many Christians feel that the priesthood ended with Christ, Catholics see the Levitical priesthood as a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant. As the Catholic Catechism explains:

1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek"; "holy, blameless, unstained," "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

1545 The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. The same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ's priesthood: "Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers."

This is important to note in the face of the accusation that Catholic priests are usurping the place Christ, who is our only true priest.

The Catholic Church does recognize the priesthood of all believers, or baptismal priesthood. The role of the ordained priesthood is to serve the rest of us, through dispensing the sacraments.

1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood. The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person. The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.

But how does the ordained priesthood have the authority to marry people, to forgive sins, etc? They were given this authority by Jesus, as it was passed down through the apostles.


And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. Num 16:28

God gives Moses the authority to perform works on his behalf.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30

In the same way, Jesus, as a man, acts under the authority of the Father.

And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me Luke 22:29
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

Jesus gives this authority to his disciples.

And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." John 20:22

God imparted life to Adam through breathing on him. Therefore, this breathing was not just a symbol, but a sacrament. An outward sign of an inward grace which they received. This is something which they knew would be passed on to those who would come after them.

Acts 1:20-26 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

As this article from This Rock explains, "Peter considers Judas’s betrayal as a fulfillment of Old Testament prediction. And he also quotes from the Greek Septuagint translation of Psalm 109:8 (Psalm 108:8 in the Septuagint numbering) to show that filling the office was foreseen in Scripture. Verse 20 reads, "His office let another take." The word translated "office" is episkope, which in New Testament language means "episcopal office" (see 1 Tim. 3:1)."

Acts 9:7 shows that even Paul was ordained before he begins his ministry. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Paul sees this ministry being passed down through the generations, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2).

So, the apostles received this authority from Jesus, which they passed down to their successors, which they passed down through the generations, and which we still recognize today, as do a few other churches. The Catechism explains it in this way:

1562 "Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through his apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry." "The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ."

1563 "Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head."

1564 "Whilst not having the supreme degree of the pontifical office, and notwithstanding the fact that they depend on the bishops in the exercise of their own proper power, the priests are for all that associated with them by reason of their sacerdotal dignity; and in virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, they are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament."

1565 Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles. The spiritual gift they have received in ordination prepares them, not for a limited and restricted mission, "but for the fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation 'to the end of the earth," "prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere."

1566 "It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father." From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength.

1567 "The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is, true to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them." priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.

1568 "All priests, who are constituted in the order of priesthood by the sacrament of Order, are bound together by an intimate sacramental brotherhood, but in a special way they form one priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their own bishop. . . ." The unity of the presbyterium finds liturgical expression in the custom of the presbyters' imposing hands, after the bishop, during the rite of ordination.


Our records of the early church attest to their belief in apostolic succession.

"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier.... Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." (Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians 42:4-5, 44:1-3 [A.D. 80]).

"Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3:3:4). A.D. 189]

"[I]t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4:26:2).

"But if there be any [heresies] which are bold enough to plant [their origin] in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter" (Tertullian Demurrer Against the Heretics 32 [A.D. 200].


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130 comments:

Kelly said...

I'm not sure this is my best effort, but I'm happy to edit it as comments show me areas where clarification is needed.

Paul, I'm curious to see what EFC quotes you'll have for me, but try not to overdo it. You did a great job in the last thread. Enough to make a point, but not so much that I was too overwhelmed to read them.

This thread is for the discussion of ordination, the nature or existence of the priesthood, and apostolic succession.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Very interesting post Kelly, but I see nowhere in scripture where God ordained priests, as a special called-out group from among the believers, to serve under the New Covenant.

Ephesians 4:11-12:

11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Peace.

Kelly said...

Well, I don't really have anything to add to the Biblical argument which I already put forth. I don't see that what I have written is contradicted by Ephesians 4:11-12. Certainly, there are many roles within the church.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
I need to go back and read the entire post carefully, but I want to make a comment about this:
Jesus gives this authority to his disciples.

And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." John 20:22

God imparted life to Adam through breathing on him. Therefore, this breathing was not just a symbol, but a sacrament. An outward sign of an inward grace which they received. This is something which they knew would be passed on to those who would come after them.


I just want to observe that when the scripture refers to 'disciples' it means all the believers together. When it refers to 'Apostles' or 'the twelve' then it is referring of course only to the Apostles. So Jesus in the passage where He breathes on the disciples and says 'receive the Holy Spirit' and 'If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained' is speaking to all the assembled believers, not just the Apostles.

Jennie said...

I should add that when the scriptures do refer to the 12 as disciples, the term is always clarified by saying something like 'the twelve disciples' or by making it clear otherwise that it is only referring to the 12. At the end of John where Jesus breathes on the disciples it is clear that by then there were many disciples gathered, not just the twelve.

Jennie said...

Nope. I'm wrong. But this has led me into an interesting study on who was there when Jesus was saying certain things, and even at the Last Supper; was it just the 12 that were there the whole time?
I should change what I said before to say that it is very possible that Jesus was talking to all the disciples and not just the 12 in John 20. I'm going to read some more about this.

Barbara C. said...

Amazing job, Kelly!!

It tied in with something I was just reading where they were talking about how there's really no such thing as an "ex-priest". OOAO: Once Ordained, Always Ordained. ;-)

Now a priest may be banned from acting out his office or choose to no longer do so, but his ordination is irrevocable. And his ordination is not the same thing as any vows he takes or promises he makes.

Paul said...

"Paul, I'm curious to see what EFC quotes you'll have for me, but try not to overdo it. You did a great job in the last thread. Enough to make a point, but not so much that I was too overwhelmed to read them."
------------
Thanks Kelly,
I'll see what I can put together.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly said:

"I don't see that what I have written is contradicted by Ephesians 4:11-12."
----------------------------------

The office of priest is not listed as one of the ordained offices of the church in the New Testament. Rather, the priesthood refers to the full body of believers, and not a special ordained office.

Peace.

Paul said...

As this article from This Rock explains, "Peter considers Judas’s betrayal as a fulfillment of Old Testament prediction. And he also quotes from the Greek Septuagint translation of Psalm 109:8 (Psalm 108:8 in the Septuagint numbering) to show that filling the office was foreseen in Scripture. Verse 20 reads, "His office let another take." The word translated "office" is episkope, which in New Testament language means "episcopal office" (see 1 Tim. 3:1)."
--------------

Jerome: "In both epistles commandment is given that only monogamists should, be chosen for the clerical office whether as bishops or as presbyters. Indeed with the ancients these names were synonymous, one alluding to the office, the other to the age of the clergy." NPNF2: Vol. VI, The Letters of St. Jerome, Letter 69 - To Oceanus, 3.

There was not a 3 office Episcopate in the early church nor in the Scriptures.

The word priest in English is derived from the Greek word "iereis". I highly recommend the White/Pacwa Priesthood debate for a lengthy discussion on this.

Paul said...

Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders

Acts 20:17-36

17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them: "You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,
19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,
21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,
23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.
26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you,
27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.
34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.
35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.


Please read the entire passage. Notice that Paul addresses the men he gathers in v. 17 as "Elders" "Presbuteros".

Then in v.28 he describes "them" by what they do "Overseers" "Episcopos".

NASB/NA26Grk

Kelly said...

DOW, I read the Ephesians verses, when you expand to the full context, that Jesus established a Church on earth, with different offices (i.e., a hierarchy) in order to build up the body of Christ.

I don't understand it to mean that unless the role is specifically mentioned in that verse, it could not exist. In the Catholic Church, the priest plays the role of pastor. I believe that pastor-teacher, as the specific word used in the Greek, is only used in that specific verse, which makes it interesting.

Paul, bishops (overseers) and priests (presbyter/elder) are both mentioned in the Bible. While the requirements for these offices are discussed, the exact nature of the office is not really spelled out, which would certainly have been a benefit to us today.

Paul said...

Kelly,
Here is a brief portion of the White/Pacwa Debate Audio.

White/Pacwa

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"In the Catholic Church, the priest plays the role of pastor."
----------------------------------

So why not call him a pastor? Surely the priests carry out more expanded roles than just that of a pastor. You mention that priests forgive sins. Not a role of pastors. You mention that priests practice transubstantiation, where the elements of the Eucharist are changed into a flesh and blood offering. Not a role of a pastor either. Neither did any of the Old Testament priests practice these things.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

To close off for the night, let me just say that the people you mentioned in your post, such as Paul, Judas, Matthias, Moses, and Polycarp, were not priests.

Paul - apostle to the Gentiles, had the gift of prophecy and healing/miracles.

Judas- discredited disciple

Matthias - apostle

Moses - Levite (not the same as a priest); prophet; judge, legislator-lawgiver; overseer

Polycarp - bishop and martyr

The office of priest was definitely not a feature of the early church. This office was created later.

Peace.

Elena said...

Etymology: Middle English preist, from Old English prēost, ultimately from Late Latin presbyter, from Greek presbyteros, comparative of presbys old man, elder; akin to Greek pro before and Greek bainein


Also, the apostles were clearly the first NT priests and the priests today share the same role. From my seat as a Catholic I see it clearly, from your seat as a protestant DOW, I guess you can't or won't

Paul said...

In the New Testament the two major human offices which are mentioned for the ongoing oversight of the Church are distinctly different from the priesthood which had gone before. These offices are those of ‘elder’ and ‘deacon’. The ‘elder’ or ‘overseer’ is designated as the one who is called by God to teach and rule, and the ‘deacon’ is called to minister in a practical serving capacity. There are two terms used for ‘overseer’ in the New Testament — presbuteros and episkopos: although these are translated ‘elder’ and ‘bishop’ respectively, they are used interchangeably in the New Testament.3 Paul and Peter, for example, both use the terms elder and bishop to describe the same office. The word presbuteros or ‘elder’ describes the position, while episkopos describes the function of the elder as one who rules or oversees. And the New Testament exhorts believers to be submissive and obedient to the elders God has placed in authority over them (cf. 1 Pet. 5:5; Heb. 13:17). The New Testament does not use the term priest — hiereus — to refer to a separate office of Christian ministry.

Paul said...

All of N.T uses of "Hiereus" are found in the link below:

Hiereus

Paul said...

(The above and following quotes are all found in William Webster's: Church of Rome at the Bar of History.)

Similarly, in the early writings of the Church no mention is made of priests in Christian ministry. There is a parallel sometimes drawn between the offices of the New Testament and the ministerial functions of the priesthood in the old dispensation — as found in the writings of Clement and Ignatius, for example — but they do not teach that New Testament ministry and ministers are the same as in the Old Testament. Clement in 1 Clement 40-41 uses the Old Testament priesthood as an illustration of a principle of divine calling and orderliness. At that time, God specifically called and appointed certain men to perform a specified ministry which was to be done in a particular way. He then applies that principle to his readers under the New Testament dispensation, to warn them that God still calls and appoints men to fulfil the role of pastor, elder and deacon, and that believers must be careful to submit to the authorities that God has established in the Church.

Clement never uses the term ‘priest’ to describe a Christian minister. This is true of all the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement and The Didache all use the terms ‘bishop’ or ‘presbyter’ and ‘deacon’ when referring to those responsible for Christian ministry. These are the terms employed by the New Testament itself. When these and other writers do use the Greek term for ‘priest’ (hiereus), it is always in reference to the Old Testament or to the person of Christ. The first use of the word to refer to Christian ministers is from the writings of Origen the third century Greek Father. Clement of Alexandria, writing in the latter part of the second century, uses the word to describe all Christians in general.

Paul said...

It is with the fourth century Greek Fathers that we find the word hiereus universally applied to describe a Christian minister.4 And it is with Tertullian in the West that the beginnings of a sacerdotal function in the Christian ministry began to become evident, for he uses the Latin term sacerdotium (priesthood) to describe a Christian minister. It is clear that by the beginning of the third century Christian ministers were beginning to be viewed as priests similar to those of the Old Testament. The Greek term presbuteros had apparently shifted in meaning from its original usage and become identified with a priestly ministry — though not entirely one characterized by what later developed into the Roman Catholic system.

Paul said...

After sifting the evidence of the early development of the priesthood, Richard McBrien concluded that:

So long as Christians understood themselves as the renewed, not the new, Israel, they had no idea of replacing the Jewish priesthood with one of their own . . . Not until the early Christians concluded that they were indeed part of a radically new movement distinct from Judaism was there a basis for the development of a separate Christian priesthood. Other events accentuated this process: the increasing numbers of Gentile converts, the shift of leadership away from the Jerusalem church and to the churches of Rome, Antioch, Ephesus, and Alexandria, the destruction of the Temple, and, finally, Judaism’s own sectarian tendencies in the post-destruction period. Concomitantly, there was a growing recognition of the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, which called for a priesthood of sacrifice distinct from the Jewish priesthood.5

# 5 Richard McBrien, Catholicism, vol. III (Minneapolis: Winston, 1980), p. 802.

Paul said...

By the time of Tertullian there was a clear differentiation between laymen and what McBrien calls ‘the priesthood’. Having a separate order of men set apart for ministry is not contradictory to the biblical pattern, as we have seen, but what is contradictory is the application to this order of a sacerdotal function. It was Cyprian who crystalized this application by drawing a direct parallel between Judaism and the New Testament ministry. He directly applied the position and functions of the Old Testament priesthood to the officers of the Christian Church, and in doing so, forged the ‘sacerdotal conception of the Christian ministry as one of a mediating agency between God and the people.’6

#6 Richard McBrien, Catholicism, vol. II, pp. 12—127.

Paul said...

In the Roman Catholic view, ordination to the priesthood confers upon the individual the ability and the authority to administer the sacraments and to teach and govern the Church. It is a solemn sacrament apart from which the individual would not be able to fulfill his role as priest, for this sacrament supposedly places an indelible mark upon the individual which he can never lose. This teaching was first enunciated by Augustine, but for many years ordination was not even considered to be a sacrament. This view of ordination and the sacerdotal ministry evolved as the whole concept of salvation and sacramental grace was developed in the Church, so that eventually only an authorized priest, set apart by God as in the Old Testament, could administer the sacraments of baptism, the eucharist, confession and penance, and thereby deliver salvation to people.

It is clear from the New Testament that there is a concept of ordination for Christian ministers — the public recognition and setting aside of an individual specifically called by God to assume the role of a pastor or elder. Ordination is the public recognition by the Church of a gift sovereignly given by God and independent of any work of man. But such a role has nothing to do with an exclusive priesthood, for, as mentioned above, the New Testament teaches that all Christians have been set apart as spiritual priests in the kingdom of God.
Christ could not have instituted a new priesthood along Old Testament lines, for that function of mediation has been abrogated now that he has made a perfect sacrifice for sin.

Kelly said...

Paul, I appreciate you trying to give the Catholic perspective by using McBrien, but he's a priest with an anti-hierarchy ax to grind. You might as well stick with Webster.

You mention that priests forgive sins. Not a role of pastors. You mention that priests practice transubstantiation, where the elements of the Eucharist are changed into a flesh and blood offering. Not a role of a pastor either.

We see this in the New Testament. The apostles are given the authority to forgive sins in John 20:21, and the Eucharist is instituted at the Last Supper. Paul references transubstantiation when he says in 1 Cor. 11:27-29 that "anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself." Judgment and profaning are strong words for a mere symbol.

Paul, I think I might have misread some of your comments. You say that all of these are from William Webster, who quotes from McBrien? I just want to keep it straight.

Kelly

Paul said...

Webster quotes from Fr.McBrien in his book "Church of Rome at the Bar of History".

Paul said...

"Paul, I appreciate you trying to give the Catholic perspective by using McBrien, but he's a priest with an anti-hierarchy ax to grind. You might as well stick with Webster."
---------------------
Kelly,
I was aware of the controversy regarding Fr. McBrien. I believe that Wm. Webster was referencing him as an Historian not as a representative of the R.C.C.
I believe that McBrien has not been removed from his teaching position at Notre Dame nor disciplined as a priest. This kind of gives the claim of "unity" within the RCC a shot in the arm.
A similar example of an RCC priest and Historian who dared to speak the truth regarding church history was Fr. Von Dollinger.

The Pope and the Council (1869)

Paul said...

From Philip Schaff:
"On the other hand it is equally clear that there was in the apostolic church a ministerial office, instituted by Christ, for the very purpose of raising the mass of believers from infancy and pupilage to independent and immediate intercourse with God, to that prophetic, priestly, and kingly position, which in principle and destination belongs to them all.125 This work is the gradual process of church history itself, and will not be fully accomplished till the kingdom of glory shall come. But these ministers are nowhere represented as priests in any other sense than Christians generally are priests, with the privilege of a direct access to the throne of grace in the name of their one and eternal high-priest in heaven. Even in the Pastoral Epistles which present the most advanced stage of ecclesiastical organization in the apostolic period, while the teaching, ruling, and pastoral functions of the presbyter-bishops are fully discussed, nothing is said about a sacerdotal function. The Apocalypse, which was written still later, emphatically teaches the universal priesthood and kingship of believers. The apostles themselves never claim or exercise a special priesthood. The sacrifice which all Christians are exhorted to offer is the sacrifice of their person and property to the Lord, and the spiritual sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise.126 In one passage a Christian "altar" is spoken of, in distinction from the Jewish altar of literal and daily sacrifices, but this altar is the cross on which Christ offered himself once and forever for the sins of the world.127

§ 42. Clergy and Laity.

Kelly said...

I believe that McBrien has not been removed from his teaching position at Notre Dame nor disciplined as a priest.

If you'd ever spent a lot of time at Notre Dame, you'd understand why.

Elena said...

I believe that McBrien has not been removed from his teaching position at Notre Dame nor disciplined as a priest. This kind of gives the claim of "unity" within the RCC a shot in the arm.


As if... Most orthodox American Catholics don't exactly consider NM to be Catholic any more - particularly after last spring's fiasco.

Jennie said...

I'm enjoying this conversation, though I haven't been able to participate much, as I was gone all day yesterday, and busy most of today.
What Paul posted about the Greek word for 'priest' and the link showing all the occurences of it in the NT is important. I looked at all the occurrences and none refers to the office of bishop or elder in the church. They all refer either to Jesus as high priest, to the Israelite priesthood, or to all the believers as priests. It is very telling that the Greek word for priest is NOT used for the elders of the church, but IS used for all believers and for Christ Himself. Believers are united with Christ by faith in the office of priesthood. There is no separate priesthood anymore within God's congregation. The believers, with Christ as High Priest, are now priests to the whole world. Ministers are appointed to help believers grow up into their priesthood.
I also appreciate Paul's quote and link from Phillip Schaff about the clergy and laity, which I had also quoted on one of Kelly's earlier posts about Peter, I think.

Jennie said...

The difference between a priest and an elder or bishop is very important. The priests were responsible for administering the sacrificial duties of the Temple of God. The High Priest had special duties involving sacrifices for atonement and was the only one who could enter the Holy of Holies. Jesus Christ and His church have fulfilled those offices. Jesus has atoned for our sins and no more sacrifice for sin is needed, as Hebrews says. All believers now can offer sacrifices: praise, thanksgiving, our own bodies as living sacrifices for good works, etc. We don't need a separate priesthood to offer sacrifices for sins, or to mediate between us and God. The veil was torn when Jesus died, and no one is between believers and God anymore.

Paul said...

Jennie,
Very well said.

Jennie said...

Going back to the issue of John 20, whether it is the beginning of a priesthood or not; if you look at a passage in Mark that also takes place after Jesus arose and then appears to the disciples, a similar idea is expressed. In Mark, Jesus says 'He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.' This is a similar contrasting statement to the one in John and may be a parallel passage; it contrasts believing and not believing, and being saved with being condemned, just as the John 20 passage contrasts forgiving and being forgiven with the opposite of it. The scripture is clear that only God can forgive sin and make people right with Him. It is clear in scripture that we can go directly before God's throne in prayer, in Jesus' name, and pray and be forgiven. It is never seen in scripture that people must go through a priest to confess their sins, even in the Old Testament.
I think the John 20 passage is speaking of accepting or rejecting the gospel and so being forgiven or not.

John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Mark 16:14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Kelly said...

Jesus has atoned for our sins and no more sacrifice for sin is needed, as Hebrews says. All believers now can offer sacrifices: praise, thanksgiving, our own bodies as living sacrifices for good works, etc. We don't need a separate priesthood to offer sacrifices for sins, or to mediate between us and God. The veil was torn when Jesus died, and no one is between believers and God anymore.

But this just shows your fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Catholic priesthood. What sort of priesthood does Jesus claim? The priesthood of Melchizedek, who offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. Jesus' sacrifice of His body and blood, His sacrifice on the cross, is offered perpetually on the altar in Heaven.

Catholic priests on earth stand in the place of Christ, offering this same perpetual sacrifice in union with the perpetual sacrifice in Heaven. You are right that there is no veil. How absolutely blessed we are to be able to take part in this Heavenly sacrifice, here on earth, when we take part in the Mass.

The priest offers this sacrifice on our behalf, but all of us believers assist in the offering, taking part through our attendance and sacrifice.

Jennie said...

Jennie,
Very well said.


Thanks, Paul.

Kelly said...

The scripture is clear that only God can forgive sin and make people right with Him.

That's certainly what the Pharisees say to Jesus. It is true that God forgives sins, through the priest.

I think the clearest reading of the verses which you gave is that Jesus really did give his apostles the authority to forgive sins, and that baptism really is necessary for salvation.

Kelly said...

Okay, I'm reading through the thread again, trying to get a handle on your argument, Paul. So, the early church had only bishops and deacons, no priesthood. The bishops and deacons had authority to preach and teach, but only a symbolic ordination.

I guess I'm not seeing the logic in having an office if it doesn't really do anything.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"Catholic priests on earth stand in the place of Christ, offering this same perpetual sacrifice in union with the perpetual sacrifice in Heaven."

-----------------------------------
No one stands "in the place of Christ." Jesus sent the Holy Spirit for that purpose.


John 16:13-14:

"13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

As for Christ sacrifice being perpetual, the Bible says that Christ sacrifice was "once for all." It was a one-time deal.

Hebrews 9:24-26, NIV

"24For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself."


Hebrews 10:10-14, NLT:

"10For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy."

BTW, there is no altar in heaven where blood sacrifices are made. The altar in heaven is symbolic of Christ's sacrifice.


Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

The bishops and deacons were ordained to preach by the laying of hands. The laying of hands was the means by which they received the anointing of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel and to perform their ministry. The filling of the Holy Spirit became the sign by which they knew that the person ordained was anointed for service. No Holy Spirit, no anointment for service.

Which brings me to another point. Ordination as it is practiced today is just a formality to launch ministers into service. Unfortunately, it is possible for people to be ordained without being filled with the Spirit.

Peace.

Kelly said...

"25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself."

Perpetual: continuing or endurinforever; everlasting.

12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time.

Perpetual: lasting an indefinitely long time.

14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy."

Perpetual: continuing or continued without intermission or interruption

Again, I read Hebrews and marvel at how well it reinforces Catholic teaching.

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"Okay, I'm reading through the thread again, trying to get a handle on your argument, Paul. So, the early church had only bishops and deacons, no priesthood. The bishops and deacons had authority to preach and teach, but only a symbolic ordination.

I guess I'm not seeing the logic in having an office if it doesn't really do anything."
-----------
Kelly,
Only the "elders/overseers" had authority to rule and teach. The "deacons" were set apart for general service to the body of believers.

Regarding "ordination", here is what the communion I belong to practice regarding "ordination".

ORDINATION AND INSTALLATION

Paul said...

D.O.W wrote:
"No one stands "in the place of Christ." Jesus sent the Holy Spirit for that purpose."
---------------

Great point D.O.W.
The Bishop Of Rome is not "The Vicar (vicarious) Of Christ.

And the Hebrews passages are dead on. I have learned that the Epistle To The Hebrews was largely overlooked/marginalized by the western churches in the first centuries of church history. This provides an explanation as to how the development of a "sacerdotal priesthood" could develop and yet be contradicted by the Book of Hebrews.

Eusebius of Caesarea:
"Paul’s fourteen epistles are well known and undisputed. It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul. But what has been said concerning this epistle by those who lived before our time I shall quote in the proper place. In regard to the so-called Acts of Paul, I have not found them among the undisputed writings.”
Eusebius, Church History, Philip Schaff, ed. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series, vol. 1. The Ages Digital Library Collections [CD-ROM] (Albany: Ages Software, 1997) Book III, chapter 3, P. 212.

Jerome:
“This must be said to our people, that the epistle which is entitled ‘To the Hebrews’ is accepted as the apostle Paul’s not only by the churches of the east but by all church writers in the Greek language of earlier times, although many judge it to be by Barnabas or by Clement. It is of no great moment who the author is, since it is the work of a churchman and receives recognition day by bay in the churches’ public reading. If the custom of the Latins does not receive it among the canonical scriptures, neither, by the same liberty, do the churches of the Greeks accept John’s Apocalypse. Yet we accept them both, not following the custom of the present time but the precedent of early writers, who generally make free use of testimonies from both works. And this they do, … treating them as canonical ecclesiastical works.”
F.F. Bruce, 226-229

Jennie said...

Kelly,
What sort of priesthood does Jesus claim? The priesthood of Melchizedek, who offered a sacrifice of bread and wine.
First of all, what Melchizedek did in Genesis is not called a sacrifice. Certainly it is a foreshadowing of Christ as our High Priest, and the bread and wine are a foreshadow of the Lord's Supper by which we remember Christ's sacrifice. The bread and wine are also symbolic of Jesus, the Word that gives us life, because the bread symbolizes the Word of God and the wine symbolizes blood which both give life.

In other words, the bread and wine in Genesis are the same as the bread and wine now, except one is looking forward to Christ and one is looking back in remembrance. They are signs, not sacrifices. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is the only actual sacrifice for sin.
The passage about Melchizedek in Genesis 14 is followed in chapter 15 by an actual sacrifice in which God makes Abraham go to sleep and then makes a covenant by passing through the halves of the animals. In such covenants it was usual for both parties to pass through the halves, but God Himself passed through, in the form of a torch and an oven, showing that He Himself accomplishes the covenant on Abraham's behalf, just as Christ accomplishes our salvation by Himself. This Passage is a foreshadow of Christ's sacrifice just as the chapter before is a foreshadow of the Lord's Supper. So we have the Supper which Jesus instituted as a sign of remembrance and then the actual sacrifice occurs.

See Psalm 110 for another explanation of the Genesis 14 passage. It describes the slaughter of the kings and Christ as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Both Abraham and Melchizedek in Genesis 14 are foreshadows of Christ. Abraham slaughters the kings and Melchizedek is the High Priest. Abraham had just defeated his enemies and rescued his captive brother Lot (as the passage calls him) and Lot's family. This is a picture of Christ rescuing the captives to sin.

Jennie said...

Jesus' sacrifice of His body and blood, His sacrifice on the cross, is offered perpetually on the altar in Heaven.

Scripture never says that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is offered perpetually on the altar in heaven.
It says the opposite. It says Jesus offered Himself once for all on the cross. This was a historical event that happened and was finished, as Jesus Himself said on the cross. Jesus offered Himself; He is not offered by anyone else. He died once for all, and sits at the right hand of the Father mediating for us ON THE BASIS OF HIS FINISHED SACRIFICE. It is a denial of scripture and of the efficacy of His finished work which WAS ACCOMPLISHED, as it says in Hebrews, to say that the sacrifice is offered by priests perpetually. Hebrews was written expressly to deny that priests are necessary to make any offerings anymore.

Jennie said...

Catholic priests on earth stand in the place of Christ, offering this same perpetual sacrifice in union with the perpetual sacrifice in Heaven. You are right that there is no veil.

You just contradicted yourself. Anything in place of Christ PUTS BACK THE VEIL between God and man that Christ died to take away. No one stands in place of Christ. He IS the priest for us; He accomplished our salvation already. We go directly to God through His torn flesh and shed blood. He was the veil that was torn. Don't put anything back in the way of what He did for us.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
That's certainly what the Pharisees say to Jesus. It is true that God forgives sins, through the priest.

Israelites prayed directly to God and confessed their sins directly to Him. Why should Christians have a barrier that the Israelites did not have? We are at least as free as they to go before God. Scripture NEVER says we are forgiven through a priest or pastor.

I think the clearest reading of the verses which you gave is that Jesus really did give his apostles the authority to forgive sins, and that baptism really is necessary for salvation.
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Water baptism is necessary for obedience as a sign. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. Faith in Him saves us and the Holy Spirit baptizes (regenerates) us. Then we are baptized as an outward sign of faith.

Jennie said...

Hebrews explicitly states that Jesus died 'once for all' and then sat down at the right hand of the Majesty, and mediates for us. It does not say He is a perpetual victim upon a heavenly altar. He was and is victorious and sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father. It says 'once for all' over and over to make it clear that it is finished.

Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

This passage makes it clear that when a sacrifice is effective it does not need to be repeated by priests continually. Jesus' sacrifice IS able to make those who approach Him perfect and has ceased to be offered.

Hebres 10:11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

How much clearer can it be? One sacrifice for sins which is effective forever, NOT PERPETUALLY SACRIFICED, BUT PERPETUALLY EFFECTIVE. There is no need of priests. We are perfected forever by His finished work.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Great point D.O.W.
The Bishop Of Rome is not "The Vicar (vicarious) Of Christ.

And the Hebrews passages are dead on.

----------------------------------

Thanks Paul :-)



Kelly, the word perpetual does not mean that Christ continuously offers Himself as a sacrifice for sins repeatedly. It means that what He did at the cross is good for all time and need not be repeated time and time again and continuously in a blood sacrifice, such as the Eucharist, or as in Old Testament times, in animal sacrifices. That is why we do not practice animal sacrifice anymore, because animal sacrifices needed to be repeated continously, but Christ's sacrifice was a one-time deal. That's the correct premise of the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews DOES NOT support the view of a repeated blood sacrifice perpetually, nor does it support Catholic teachings.


Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie wrote:

"Israelites prayed directly to God and confessed their sins directly to Him. Why should Christians have a barrier that the Israelites did not have? We are at least as free as they to go before God. Scripture NEVER says we are forgiven through a priest."
----------------------------------

You know, Jennie is correct here. The Israelites never confessed their sins to a priest, but went directly to God. The priest's job was to offer the morning and evening sacrifice on behalf of the sins of the people in general, and to make other sacrifices and offerings to God on behalf of individuals. These sacrifices were offered daily and perpetually, until the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

It should be noted that in Judaism, the practice of perpetual animal sacrifices has been abolished. I have a lot of Jewish neighbors and none of them practice animal sacrifices (at least not in their congregations). So we see, even for the Jews, Christ abolished blood sacrifices.

We can now go directly to the Father without the offering a blood sacrifice through a earthly priest being done first. Christ, our once for all sacrifice, and our High Priest, removed that requirement, and His one sacrifice at the cross now allows us access to the Father.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly,

Thanks for quoting some of the same passages I quoted. Those passages show that Christ's sacrifice was a one-time deal that was good for all time, and need not be repeated again and again.

It is just like marriage. Your marriage to your husband was good for all time, and need not be repeated year after year to maintain. BTW how is he?

Peace.

Elena said...

From Apologist Dave Armstrong:
The priesthood as we know it today is not a strong motif in the New Testament. But this can be explained in terms of development of doctrine: some things were understood only in very basic or skeletal terms in the early days of Christianity. This is even true of doctrines accepted by all, such as the Holy Trinity or original sin. The canon of the biblical books was slow to formulate (four centuries). Also, it has been argued that priesthood was a subdued feature of primitive Christianity because it had not yet finally separated from Judaism; therefore, the authority of Jewish priests was still accepted. Acts 2:46 describes the Jerusalem Christians as "day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes". The Apostle Paul was presenting offerings in the temple around the year 58 (Acts 21:26), acknowledged the authority of the Jewish high priest, described himself as a Pharisee (Acts 23:5-6), and observed Jewish feasts (Acts 20:6).
continued

Elena said...

But one can indeed find evidence in the Bible of a Christian priesthood. Jesus entrusts to His disciples a remembrance of the central aspect of the liturgy or Mass (consecration of the bread and wine) at the Last Supper (Lk. 22:19: "Do this in remembrance of me"; Paul may also have presided over a Eucharist – Acts 20:11). These same disciples were (like priests) models of a life wholly devoted to God, as a matter of lifelong calling. Jesus had chosen and "appointed" them, and they had become His "friends" (Jn. 15:15-16). He was their sole master (Mt. 6:24). There was no turning back in their ministry (Lk. 9:62), and they were called to a radical commitment involving even leaving possessions and their entire families (Mt. 4:22, 19:27; Lk. 14:26). The priest-disciple must accept hardships and privations and embrace self-denial (Mt. 8:19-20, 10:38, 16:24, etc.), and (if so called) celibacy, for the sake of undistracted devotion to the Lord (Mt. 19:12; 1 Cor. 7:7-9). They served the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 3:5, 9:19; 2 Cor. 4:5), and dispensed sacraments (1 Cor. 4:1; Jas. 5:14), including baptism (Mt. 28:19; Acts 2:38,41). A universal priesthood of "offering" (sacrifice) extending to "every place" in New Testament times is prophesied in Isaiah 66:18,21 and Malachi 1:11.

Elena said...

Protestants sometimes cite 1 Peter 2:5,9 (cf. Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6) to the effect that all Christians are priests. But Peter was citing Exodus 19:6: "you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." The problem with this is that the older passage couldn't possibly have meant that there was no priesthood among the ancient Hebrews, since they clearly had a separate class of priests (Leviticus: chapters 4-7, 13-14). This is even seen in the same chapter, since Ex. 19:21-24 (cf. Josh. 3:6, 4:9) twice contrasts the "priests" with the "people." Thus, it makes much more sense to interpret 1 Pet. 2:5 as meaning a people "specially holy" – like priests; a separate, holy, "chosen" people, as is fairly clear in context, in both parallel passages. The notion of "spiritual sacrifices" (faith, praise, giving to others) applies to all Christians (Phil. 2:17; Heb. 13:15-16).


St. Augustine (354-430)

'But they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him for a thousand years' [Rev. 20:6]. This clearly does not mean only the bishops and presbyters, who are now called by the distinctive name of 'priests' in the Church; but just as we call all Christians 'Christs' in virtue of their sacramental anointing (chrisma) so we call them all 'priests' because they are members of the one Priest. And the apostle Peter says of them that they are 'a holy people, a royal priesthood' [1 Pet. 2:9].

(The City of God, translated by Henry Bettenson, Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1972, XX, 10; p. 919)

Elena said...

From the writers at the Shameless Popery blog:

So the logical response to that from a Lutheran perspective would be: "Now that's all well and good, but that's under the Old Covenant. Today, we don't have those sort of ordained priests: Christ fulfills all of that in the New Covenant, and abolishes the old system... right?" So the next part that I showed them was from Isaiah 66:18-20. It's an incredible New Testament prophesy:

I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.


In other words, God will come and create a truly global Church made up of every race and people. At the time, this claim seems bizarre: the Jews tended to view God as distinctly (and only) their God: a sort of national protector. Never mind that God continually explained that He chose them as a sign to the other nations, to draw them towards Him as well.

In any case, it's obviously a prediction of the New Covenant. So that's what makes the next verse, Isaiah 66:21 so incredible:

Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

So even in the New Israel, there will be some, not all, of these believers who are set aside as "priests and Levites."

Continued

Elena said...

This fact was not lost on the Early Church Fathers, who acknowledged a new and enduring priesthood, sometimes called presbytery, that functioned as a special God-ordained office. St. John Chrysostom even wrote a 6 book series on the priesthood called, appropriately enough, "On the Priesthood." Perhaps the most incredible passage from that writing comes in Book III, 4, where he writes:

For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks among heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers. Fearful, indeed, and of most awful import, were the things which were used before the dispensation of grace, as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breastplate and on the ephod, the girdle, the mitre, the long robe, the plate of gold, the holy of holies,* the deep silence within. But if any one should examine the things which belong to the dispensation of grace, he will find that, small as they are, yet are they fearful and full of awe, and that what was spoken concerning the law is true in this case also, that "what has been made glorious has no glory in this respect by reason of the glory which excels." [2 Corinthians 3:10] For when you see the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, can you then think that you are still among men, and standing upon the earth? Are you not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, do you not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven? Oh! what a marvel! what love of God to man! He who sits on high with the Father is at that hour held in the hands of all, and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through the eyes of faith! Do these things seem to you fit to be despised, or such as to make it possible for any one to be uplifted against them?

Can there be any question of how seriously the early Church took this notion of a New Covenantal priesthood?

Barbara C. said...

"It is just like marriage. Your marriage to your husband was good for all time, and need not be repeated year after year to maintain."

This kind of struck me, because according to Catholicism the marital act is indeed a renewal of the marriage vows that should be done perpetually. ;-) This is one reason that the Church has very strict guidelines about marital relations, so that the renewal of the covenant does not get sullied, just as it has strict guidelines about the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Jennie said...

Elena,
Protestants sometimes cite 1 Peter 2:5,9 (cf. Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6) to the effect that all Christians are priests. But Peter was citing Exodus 19:6: "you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." The problem with this is that the older passage couldn't possibly have meant that there was no priesthood among the ancient Hebrews, since they clearly had a separate class of priests (Leviticus: chapters 4-7, 13-14). This is even seen in the same chapter, since Ex. 19:21-24 (cf. Josh. 3:6, 4:9) twice contrasts the "priests" with the "people."

At the time of the Exodus 19 passage, there WAS no Levitical priesthood established yet, only Aaron and his 4 sons were priests. The Levites were not separated out as priests until well after the Israelites disobeyed God by worshipping the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Law. The Exodus 19 passage takes place in the third month after the Israelites left Egypt. The Levites were separated out in the beginning of the second year after leaving Egypt. See Numbers 1 and 3.
If the things that happened to Israel are a foreshadow of the things that happen in the church, then it is likely that the separate priesthood is a result of disobedience and idolatry. The people were afraid and disobedient and did not want to know God directly, so they remained as children and had to have a separate priesthood to do the work they should have been able to do themselves.

Jennie said...

Elena,
In other words, God will come and create a truly global Church made up of every race and people. At the time, this claim seems bizarre: the Jews tended to view God as distinctly (and only) their God: a sort of national protector. Never mind that God continually explained that He chose them as a sign to the other nations, to draw them towards Him as well.

In any case, it's obviously a prediction of the New Covenant. So that's what makes the next verse, Isaiah 66:21 so incredible:

Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.


The Isaiah 66 passage is not talking about a global church; it is prophesying about the end of the age when Israelites will return to their land and Christ will return and judge the wicked and then establish His earthly kingdom; all nations will come to worship Him and the people will look on the ones who are being tormented in judgment because they wickedly rebelled against Him. The 'priests and Levites' are most likely the remnant of Israel that believes in the Messiah in those end times.

Isaiah 66:20 Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the LORD.
22 “ For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the LORD,

“ So shall your descendants and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.
24 “ And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Elena said...

I don't think the exact chronology is what is important here Jennie. The important thing is that He established a separate priesthood with the very people spoken to in Exodus.

Elena said...

The Isaiah verse has several layers to it jennie and not just end times.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I don't think the exact chronology is what is important here Jennie. The important thing is that He established a separate priesthood with the very people spoken to in Exodus.

Of course the chronology is important. Everything in scripture has significance on many levels.

The Isaiah verse has several layers to it jennie and not just end times.
It may have several layers, but do you understand what they are, and how to understand them according to the rest of scripture? This has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic priesthood, which denies scripture as the final authority and adds to God's word. It has everything to do with those who 'tremble at His word' (as the Isaiah 66 passage says) and are set apart by Him to teach others to fear His name and His word.

Elena said...

Of course the chronology is important. Everything in scripture has significance on many levels.

Yea, but not everything has the same significance and importance every time at all levels. This is one of those times when chronology isn't the most important thing.

Elena said...

It may have several layers, but do you understand what they are, and how to understand them according to the rest of scripture?

Yea, probably better than you. Is this is a spitting contest?

Jennie said...

Elena,
Yea, but not everything has the same significance and importance every time at all levels. This is one of those times when chronology isn't the most important thing.

What basis do you have for saying this?

Jennie said...

Yea, probably better than you. Is this is a spitting contest?

PtOOeeh!))))

(Your turn)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

That Isaiah 66 is a Messianic prophecy is correct!

Paul said...

(Original Post)
Our records of the early church attest to their belief in apostolic succession.

"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier.... Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." (Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians 42:4-5, 44:1-3 [A.D. 80]).
--------------------
I will break this section up.
42:4-5
The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, "I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."

O.K, I placed 4-5 in context of all of Ch. 42.
Chapter 42. The Order of Ministers in the Church.

What really stands out is this:
"to be bishops and deacons "
"I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."
So I ask,
"where are the Priests?"
The other thing is that "Clement's First Letter" is alledgedly written by "Pope" Clement, Bishop of Rome.
And yet the letter nowhere mentions Clement. And is in fact sent from the church at Rome to the church at Corinth.

Elena said...

It's curious but I'm not sure it means anything Paul. And as the EFCs individually aren't infallible I don't give it isn't exactly compelling evidence is it.

Paul said...

From Original Post:
Chapter 44. The Ordinances of the Apostles, that There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office.

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.
---------------
"that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry."

A slight problem if Linus was allegedly ordained (as Bishop of Rome) by Peter and Paul while they were not yet asleep.

"We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church"

Why does the "consent of the whole church" not figure into the current choosing of the Bishop of Rome?

"and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all"

Why is it that this description as well as the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 were ignored when many of the rouges and perverts were installed as "Popes" throughout history?

"For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world];"

Again we see the direct interchange between episcopate (office) with presbyters (persons). No "priest" (hiereus).

Elena said...

here is a discussion on Catholic Answers that explains that the NT priest does not come from "hiereus" but from "presbytr."

I had an earlier comment in this thread on that as well.

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"It's curious but I'm not sure it means anything Paul. And as the EFCs individually aren't infallible I don't give it isn't exactly compelling evidence is it."
------------------
Elena,
I am responding to this from Kelly:
"Paul, I'm curious to see what EFC quotes you'll have for me, but try not to overdo it. You did a great job in the last thread. Enough to make a point, but not so much that I was too overwhelmed to read them.

This thread is for the discussion of ordination, the nature or existence of the priesthood, and apostolic succession."
-----------------
Elena,
The quotes Kelly provided are from "This Rock" magazine.
I am just getting started on responding to the ones posted in the O.Post.

Elena said...

OK, well I'll back off and let her tackle them, although per her facebook this afternoon she has a lot of laundry to do!

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"here is a discussion on Catholic Answers that explains that the NT priest does not come from "hiereus" but from "presbytr."

I had an earlier comment in this thread on that as well."
--------------
Elena, I was able to discuss that post with Bryan Cross when I was allowed to post on Envoy's discussion.
Fr. Pacwa used a similar argument in his debate with James White.
There are several problems with that argument.
1) Paul uses "ierourgounta"
serving like priest in Romans 15:16. He does not seem to be too concerned about the Roman readers of his epistle getting confused.
ierourgounta

2) Dave Armstrong's example from 1 Peter 2 indicates that Peter was not reluctant to use priest and priesthood and Dave attempts to support a N.T priesthood from that.
ierateuma

3) Hebrews is loaded with various forms of "priest". There is no attempt to compare/contrast the former priesthood with an ongoing "sacerdotal" priesthood of men in the church.

Kelly said...

I'm on my husband's laptop, and I'm not very proficient at it, but the replies are piling up here, so I need to at least take a stab at it.

I'll start at the bottom and work up.

Paul, the Clement quote certainly does not deny apostolic succession, but affirms it. As for the nature of choosing the Pope, that, like whether or not married men may be ordained priests, is a church discipline which may be changed. There have been changes in the election procedure even within the past two years, I believe.

I find your information on the priesthood very interesting, but I'm afraid I am not educated enough on the topic to really discuss it. I really can't claim to be more than an amateur apologist, and this blog was really intended to handle the more basic "we don't worship Mary" sort of issues.

Like Elena, I was under the impression that "priest" was a form of "presbyter." (Oh, the scrolling! I need a mouse, it's driving me crazy!)

As I wrote earlier in the thread, I do see the priesthood in the New Testament because we do see the disciples forgiving sins and, as the Eucharist is referred to, presumably taking part in the Mass.

Supposing that the exact nature of the priesthood was not nailed down until the 3rd century, I still don't see that it would make a difference because the same thing can be said for the nature of the Trinity and for the New Testament canon. I believe Revelation was still being debated for inclusion in the early 4th century.

Elena said...

To build on what Kelly said, I wonder what difference it makes anyway. Priests are an extension of the bishop literally and figuratively.

Kelly said...

Scripture never says that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is offered perpetually on the altar in heaven.

In Revelation, Jesus appears in Heaven as the Lamb standing as if slain.

It should be noted that in Judaism, the practice of perpetual animal sacrifices has been abolished. I have a lot of Jewish neighbors and none of them practice animal sacrifices (at least not in their congregations). So we see, even for the Jews, Christ abolished blood sacrifices.

Actually, the Orthodox Jews only refrain from animal sacrifice because there is no more Temple. I believe some in Jerusalem do still sacrifice on Yom Kippur.

If we are appealing to modern Judaism to prove our theology, can I point out that Judaism practices prayer for the dead? ;)

(First quote from Jennie, second from Hilary.)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly, that Jews do not practice animal sacrifice because of no temple is correct! The temple was destroyed, but the practice was never revived. Jewish doctrine does not teach animal sacrifice anymore. Some Jews might privately practice this, but it has been outlawed.

Some Christians saw the destruction of the temple as a sign from God that all animal sacrifices and priestly services were totally finished! So even after Christ death some Christians might have still acknowledged animal sacrifices, especially the Eubonites, they had no choice but to desist once the temple was destroyed.

Peace.

Elena said...

If we are appealing to modern Judaism to prove our theology, can I point out that Judaism practices prayer for the dead? ;)


Touche!

Kelly said...

Water baptism is necessary for obedience as a sign. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. Faith in Him saves us and the Holy Spirit baptizes (regenerates) us. Then we are baptized as an outward sign of faith.

John says that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, but Jesus says that we must be born again in water and in spirit in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven. 1 Peter 3:21 says that baptism saves us.

But we can all pass our favorite proof texts back and forth all night, the way that we often have.

I started the post on apostolic succession by discussing the nature of the priesthood. You (ya'll) do not believe that apostolic succession is Biblical. But really, at the root of it, you don't believe that there is a priesthood either. If there is no priesthood, then there is nothing to be passed on to the next generation.

I'm not sure I have much left to add here. I have spelled out the Catholic interpretation as much as I am able to do.

Elena said...

Might be time to cap it?

Paul said...

Kelly said:
"I started the post on apostolic succession by discussing the nature of the priesthood. You (ya'll) do not believe that apostolic succession is Biblical."
--------------
Kelly,
I do believe that "apostolic succession" is Biblical. However I don't agree with the Roman Catholic concept of it.

"But really, at the root of it, you don't believe that there is a priesthood either."
----------------
Actually, we do believe there is a "priesthood". Jennie and D.O.W have been presenting what that is from Scripture.

"If there is no priesthood, then there is nothing to be passed on to the next generation."
------------------------
Actually, there are wonderful things to be passed on. For example:
Jude 1:3 (ESV) Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Kelly said...

I'll wait until tomorrow to close comments, because Jennie, Paul, and DOW haven't been on to reply since I wrote.

Elena said...

...yea, that's sort of the beauty of closing it now.

My bad. ;-)

Paul said...

Might be time to cap it?
-----------------
No, please. I am still working on the context of the ECF's that Kelly cited above. This is a very important discussion. The "Priesthood" and "Succession" is at the very heart of the two most important themes that separate us.
"Salvation" and "Authority".

Paul said...

Original Post:
"Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3:3:4). A.D. 189]
---------------------------
Since Irenaeus is a very important ECF, I highly recommend reading/re-reading his work "Against Heresies".
If you go back at least to the beginning of Book 3 Chapter 3 you will understand the "context" of this portion of his book.
It is crucial to understand how Irenaeus views "tradition" since that is what he describes being "handed down" through "apostolic succession"
A refutation of the heretics, from the fact that, in the various Churches, a perpetual succession of bishops was kept up.

Kelly said...

Actually, we do believe there is a "priesthood". Jennie and D.O.W have been presenting what that is from Scripture.

Now, come on, I told you I was having computer troubles. Please accept my shorthand for what you know it to be.

I would love to read Against Heresies again. I'll have to see how long it is, so thanks for pointing me to the best starting point chapter. Give me a day or two, you know the drill.

What is your definition of apostolic succession? Or did I miss it earlier?

Oh, and Hilary, thank you for asking about my husband. He is about two weeks out from surgery now, and is mostly back to normal. Still a little sore at night, that sort of thing.

This Friday is my 6 year old son's turn. He had a large mole on his scalp, and he will be having his 3rd and final surgery to have it removed. The scalp doesn't stretch much, so they can only take a little at a time. We've had nothing but trouble from the surgeon's scheduling department, and once again, they have given us all of a day and a half's worth of notice. I had to run him out to the hospital at 4:30pm today, in order to get his bloodwork done on time.

I'm having trouble at the moment thinking of the scheduling secretary with Christian charity. :P

Paul said...

To understand the appeal of Irenaeus to tradition, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the circumstances which prompted it. He wrote Against Heresies to counter the heretical teachings of the Gnostics. Generally, the Gnostics did not dispute the authority of the books of Scripture (excepting Marcion). They accepted the entire canon as authoritative, but Irenaeus states that they fell into error on two counts. Firstly, they completely misinterpreted the text by imposing upon it an arbitrary allegorical method of interpretation. And secondly, they supplemented the authority of Scripture with another authority, The Gnostics claimed to have an oral tradition, independent of Scripture, handed down by the apostles which they alone possessed. They sought to blunt the ultimate and final authority of Scripture by claiming that not everything the apostles taught was in Scripture.
Irenaeus assesses the Gnostic position in these words:
(continued)

Paul said...

"1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce..."
The heretics follow neither Scripture nor tradition.

"For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to "the perfect" apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves."
A refutation of the heretics, from the fact that, in the various Churches, a perpetual succession of bishops was kept up.
William Webster Vol. II Holy Scripture The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith pp.31-32.

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"I would love to read Against Heresies again. I'll have to see how long it is, so thanks for pointing me to the best starting point chapter. Give me a day or two, you know the drill.

What is your definition of apostolic succession? Or did I miss it earlier?"
-----------------
Kelly, please take your time with Irenaeus.
I would like to post at least two more interactions with Irenaeus regarding your original post. And then at least one addressing Tertullian's comment above. I will attempt to show you my definition of "apostolic succession" using Tertullian's own words.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
In Revelation, Jesus appears in Heaven as the Lamb standing as if slain.
Here's the passage:

Rev. 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:


“ You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”


It says 'as though it had been slain' and 'for You were slain'. It doesn't seem to imply that He is perpetually in a state of being offered. It is past tense. It goes on 'and have redeemed us to God by Your blood' which shows the redemption is accomplished by the blood He shed on the cross.

Paul said...

(Original Post):
"[I]t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4:26:2).
-----------------------
Again, it is very important to read Irenaeus in his own context:
The treasure hid in the Scriptures is Christ; the true exposition of the Scriptures is to be found in the Church alone.
In this chapter he is refuting not only the Gnostics who had boasted of an unwritten oral tradition "viva voce" but also :
"who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds in secret, saying, "No man sees us," shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance (secundum gloriam), nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart;"
Here he is contrasting immoral leaders with that of the apostles.
As Philip Schaff points notes in section 5 of this chapter:
"[Note the limitation; not the succession only, but with it (1) pure morality and holiness and (2) unadulterated testimony. No catholicity apart from these.]"

Notice what is of necessity in "succession" from Irenaeus:
"From all such persons, therefore, it behooves us to keep aloof, but to adhere to those who, as I have already observed, do hold the doctrine of the apostles, and who, together with the order of priesthood (presbyterii ordine), display sound speech and blameless conduct for the confirmation and correction of others.
In this chapter and elsewhere Irenaeus directly contradicts Barbara C's claim:
"It tied in with something I was just reading where they were talking about how there's really no such thing as an "ex-priest". OOAO: Once Ordained, Always Ordained. ;-)"
(continued)

Paul said...

continued:
In section one of this chapter, look at the focus of what Irenaeus describes as "treasure", and how we know this "treasure".:
"For Christ is the treasure which was hid in the field, Matthew 13:44 that is, in this world (for "the field is the world" Matthew 13:38); but the treasure hid in the Scriptures is Christ, since He was pointed out by means of types and parables.
You will not find Irenaeus referring to "tradition" (paradosis) as a separate oral tradition handed down as revelation in addition to Holy Scripture.
(continued)

Paul said...

Actually, according to Irenaeus:

" which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith."

He's saying what........"they did at one time proclaim in public" (preaching and teaching).

Was....."at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures"

The phrase "handed down" is the verb form of the word 'tradition.' What he is saying, then, is that the transmission of apostolic teaching is traditioned by means of Scripture. He writes further that the apostles committed to the Church the fullness of God's revelation, and therefore, all things pertaining to the truth:

"1. Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life."
The truth is to be found nowhere else but in the Catholic Church, the sole depository of apostolic doctrine. Heresies are of recent formation, and cannot trace their origin up to the apostles.
It is clear that Irenaeus taught that Scripture is the pillar and foundation of the faith. His reference to the apostles lodging the fullness of truth in the hands of the Church is primarily a reference to Scripture. He does assert that the Church possesses the truth which anyone can ascertain by listening to her preaching, and emphasizing that to embrace the teaching of the Church is to embrace the tradition of the truth:
"Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?"
truth
cont.

Paul said...

"Irenaeus proposes here (see above post) a hypothetical situation. The Churches have received the tradition of the truth from the apostles. What, he asks, if they had not left us any writings? Then it would be necessary to follow the teaching, the tradition, of those Churches which have had direct contact with the apostles. The operative phrase here is, 'WHAT IF THE APOSTLES HAD NOT LEFT US THEIR WRITINGS'. But in point of fact they (have) left us their writings. And the point he makes is that while the Church does preach and teach orally, the doctrinal content of that preaching and teaching is directly verifiable from the written Scriptures. Irenaeus is not affirming the existence of oral tradition. He is simply presenting a hypothetical situation as a way of combating the Gnostic heretics.

The Bible is the means by which the traditio (tradition), or teaching of the apostles is transmitted from generation to generation and by which true apostolic teaching can be verified and error refuted. Irenaeus actually uses a form of the word 'tradition' to convey this idea.

"For Irenaeus, the church doctrine is certainly never purely traditional; on the contrary, the thought that there could be some truth, transmitted exclusively viva voce (orally), is a Gnostic line of thought...If Irenaeus wants to prove the truth of a doctrine materially, he turns to scripture, because therein the teaching of the apostles is objectively accessible. Proof from tradition and scripture serve one and the same end: to identify the teaching of the church as the original apostolic teaching. The first establishes that the teaching of the church is this apostolic teaching, and the second, what this apostolic teaching is" (Ellen Flessman-van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church (Van Gorcum, 1953, pp. 184, 133, 144)."
Sola Scriptura and the Early Church
By William Webster

Paul said...

(Original Post)
"But if there be any [heresies] which are bold enough to plant [their origin] in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter" (Tertullian Demurrer Against the Heretics 32 [A.D. 200]. "
--------------------
"Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith."
Chapter 32. None of the Heretics Claim Succession from the Apostles. New Churches Still Apostolic, Because Their Faith is that Which the Apostles Taught and Handed Down. The Heretics Challenged to Show Any Apostolic Credentials.

Paul said...

"Tertullian recognized that churches were being founded in his day that were not planted by 'apostles or apostolic men'. Yet the ultimate test of their apostolic nature depended, not upon their lineage but on doctrine. And this, he maintained, must be shown from the Scriptures. For it is from 'the law and the prophets' which 'she [i.e the Church] unites in one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she drinks in her faith.'"
Tertullian Ch. 36
David T. King Holy Scripture The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Vol. I p. 136

Jennie said...

Paul,
So, in a nutshell, Irenaeus says that the Gnostic heretics taught that there was a separate oral tradition apart from written scripture, and that the teachings of heretics can always be shown to originate at a later time than the teachings of the Apostles; these later teachings are then claimed to be a separate oral tradition that supposedly came down from the Apostles. That should sound some warning bells.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Paul wrote:

"In this chapter and elsewhere Irenaeus directly contradicts Barbara C's claim:
'It tied in with something I was just reading where they were talking about how there's really no such thing as an "ex-priest". OOAO: Once Ordained, Always Ordained. ;-)'"
_----------------------------------

I agree with Paul that this is a fallacy. Father Cutie, a Catholic priest here in Miami, was ousted from the Catholic church when he was found to be in a relationship with a woman. This happened sometime in May this year.

Kelly said...

Actually, Father Cutie decided to become an Episcopalian. He is still a validly ordained priest, according to the Catholic Church. He is just not permitted to perform the sacraments.

Elena said...

OK so Kelly is either unable to get online or busy. So can you quickly summarize all of this Paul? Make your point.

Jennie said...

Paul,
If you've got alot more, you're welcome to post it on my blog on the link to this post.

Kelly said...

You gotta at least give me until after bedtime for the kids!

Kelly said...

Okay Paul, I've read through your points and the links that you were kind enough to leave, but I'm still scratching my head. I don't see how their writings do anything but justify the Catholic position.

First, the Catholic Church does teach the perspicuity of Scripture.

Second, Tradition is used to interpret Scripture. What Irenaeus and Tertullian are saying, is that they look to the tradition passed down by the apostles as to how to correctly interpret Scripture. When people come up with novel doctrines then you know that they are departing from Tradition.

The Gnostics claimed that some people were able to receive "special knowledge." It was not the same as an oral tradition. It was more like Scientology, where there were various levels of holiness gained, and the higher you were, the more special knowledge you gained.

Everything you referred me to stresses that there is on Church, and that you should be able to trace a line of succession to the original apostles. Someone such as Conrad Grebel, who introduced believer's baptism against centuries of tradition of infant baptism, would be rejected under this criteria.

I also found it interesting that one chapter (I'm sorry, I flipped through so many that I can't easily find it again) actually refers to the letter of Clement as authoritative apostolic succession, when you felt it was not trustworthy either. (I do agree that the authorship is shaky. But Hebrews doesn't have "Paul to the Hebrews" written on it, either!)

So, I guess I'll have to second Elena. What was your point in sharing this? It only seems to confirm the Catholic position to me.

Kelly said...

Jennie, I'm afraid this got a bit lost in Paul's comments:

It doesn't seem to imply that He is perpetually in a state of being offered. It is past tense. It goes on 'and have redeemed us to God by Your blood' which shows the redemption is accomplished by the blood He shed on the cross.

1 Cor 1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

The idea of the perpetual sacrifice is one mostly based on logic. As in the beginning the Word was with God, we know that God stands outside of time. Therefore, the redemptive sacrifice of Christ is, in a sense, still taking place in Heaven with God. God is not constrained by time and space the way that we are.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
1 Cor 1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

The idea of the perpetual sacrifice is one mostly based on logic. As in the beginning the Word was with God, we know that God stands outside of time. Therefore, the redemptive sacrifice of Christ is, in a sense, still taking place in Heaven with God. God is not constrained by time and space the way that we are.


'Being saved' as an ongoing thing doesn't equate to the redemptive sacrifice of Christ still taking place in heaven. Being saved means that, while we ARE saved, we are also being saved by sanctification, and will be saved when the redemptive plan of God is complete in time. Jesus' sacrifice is finished. The only ongoing thing about it is that He is now at the right hand of God mediating for us.
Jesus' death on the cross did not take place outside of time, but was a one time historical event. It is EFFECTIVE forever. It does not take place perpetually. We don't base things on logic, which isn't actually logic but just a nice sounding idea which doesn't square up with scripture. Hebrews, as we've said any times, says that the sacrifice took place 'once for all.'

Hebrews 5 says:
7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

It says 'in the days of His flesh' 'He suffered....And having been perfected, He became the author of salvation to all who obey Him'
It happened in time on earth when Jesus was in the flesh. He accomplished our salvation. It is finished. We are now waiting for all those who will believe in His finished work to come to Him. Then He will return IN TIME and reign on earth for 1,000 years.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
Second, Tradition is used to interpret Scripture. What Irenaeus and Tertullian are saying, is that they look to the tradition passed down by the apostles as to how to correctly interpret Scripture. When people come up with novel doctrines then you know that they are departing from Tradition.

Paul posted earlier:
Actually, according to Irenaeus:

" which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith."

He's saying what........"they did at one time proclaim in public" (preaching and teaching).

Was....."at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures"

The phrase "handed down" is the verb form of the word 'tradition.' What he is saying, then, is that the transmission of apostolic teaching is traditioned by means of Scripture. He writes further that the apostles committed to the Church the fullness of God's revelation, and therefore, all things pertaining to the truth


Irenaeus said the Apostles proclaimed the truth in public (orally) and then passed down the same truth in scripture 'to be the ground and pillar of our faith.' Irenaeus seems to believe that scripture is the same as the oral preaching and is the foundation of our faith. ("which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures...")

Paul said...

"Okay Paul, I've read through your points and the links that you were kind enough to leave, but I'm still scratching my head. I don't see how their writings do anything but justify the Catholic position."
---------------
I think that I/We have presented plenty of Scriptural evidence that the early church did not have a "sacerdotal priesthood". That they had two offices:
Episcopos occupied by Presbyters and diakonous.
This is presented throughout the N.T.
Philippians 1:1 (ESV) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
From the ECFs that were in your original post I have provided context that demonstrates that Clement held to a two office system with no use of the term "hiereus" as an office nor a description of the sacerdotal function that developed later.

I demonstrated that according to Tertullian, there were churches that were not planted by apostles that were truly apostolic because they held to the doctrine of the apostles.
From Irenaeus we learn:
"And the point he makes is that while the Church does preach and teach orally, the doctrinal content of that preaching and teaching is directly verifiable from the written Scriptures. Irenaeus is not affirming the existence of oral tradition."
This is directly contradicted by Trent in it's "partim partim" description of revelation.

Paul said...

"First, the Catholic Church does teach the perspicuity of Scripture."
-------------
"It is
perfectly true, therefore, that the Church puts into
the hands of its people books of devotion which
represent the whole order and completeness of revelation,
and not the partial and unordered aspect of
Scripture."
The temporal mission of the Holy Ghost: or, Reason and revelation
By Henry Edward Manning


"Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise therefrom more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed them over to the ordinary. Bookdealers who sell or in any other way supply Bibles written in the vernacular to anyone who has not this permission, shall lose the price of the books, which is to be applied by the bishop to pious purposes, and in keeping with the nature of the crime they shall be subject to other penalties which are left to the judgment of the same bishop. Regulars who have not the permission of their superiors may not read or purchase them."
Ten Rules Concerning Prohibited Books Drawn Up By The Fathers Chosen By The Council Of Trent And Approved By Pope Pius[1]

From the Complete Catechism of Christian Doctrine rev. ed.
Roderick MacEachen:

Q. Has the Church ever forbidden the reading of the Bible to the faithful?

A. The Church has never forbidden the reading of the Bible to the faithful; in the middle ages the Bible was found in many Churches fastened by a chain so that all might read it.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"The idea of the perpetual sacrifice is one mostly based on logic."
----------------------------------

Whose logic?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Here is the exact quote from 1 Corinthians 1:18, which Kelly cited.

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (KJV).


Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

A note about 'special oral tradition.'

The Gnostics claimed this but they never wrote down their claims or special revelations. Why? Fear of their words being tested to see if what they taught was truth or not. Also, so they can conveniently change their doctrines to suit their circumstances, without anyone suspecting, because it was not written down.

Peace.

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"Second, Tradition is used to interpret Scripture. What Irenaeus and Tertullian are saying, is that they look to the tradition passed down by the apostles as to how to correctly interpret Scripture. When people come up with novel doctrines then you know that they are departing from Tradition."
---------------
Kelly,
I agree that this is "one" of the meanings for "tradition" presented by the early church. But it is not the meaning used by Trent.

Actually , Irenaeus and Tertullian have described "tradition" in a way that is different than The Council of Trent. The term "tradition" came to include three major categories historically:

1) The apostolic teaching or doctrine handed down from the apostles to the Church--called the apostolic tradition.

2) Ecclesiastical customs and practices.

3) A patristic consensus of the interpretation of Scripture.

Elena said...

I don't know where Manning was coming from but I think he might have been referring to the Missals?

The second point about the vernacular - one only has to look at the many divisions in Protestantism to see they hit that one on the head.

And groan - bibles chained down? Really? Are we going to do that dead horse again?

Bring it back to Apostolic Succession folks. First warning.

Elena said...

But it is not the meaning used by Trent.

Let's play a drinking game! Everyone take a swig of a favorite alcoholic beverage every time Paul mentions Trent! It could make these thread a lot more interesting!

Paul said...

"Bring it back to Apostolic Succession folks. First warning."
----------------
Elena,
I am trying to respond to Kelly, point by point. When she makes an assertion (perspecuity), and I respond to it, is that something I should avoid?

Succession is a multi-faceted principle involving "authority claims" as well as "history".

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"The Gnostics claimed that some people were able to receive "special knowledge." It was not the same as an oral tradition. It was more like Scientology, where there were various levels of holiness gained, and the higher you were, the more special knowledge you gained."
------------------------
Kelly,
Gnosticism was/is not a monolithic movement. The form of Gnosticism Irenaeus encountered is described by Irenaeus:

"1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce..."
(viva voce is translated as living tradition by Rome)

"But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine. How can we know what antiquity was except through the Church?…I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. . . . The only Divine evidence to us of what was primitive is the witness and voice of the Church at this hour (emphasis mine)."
Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation (New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865, reprinted with no date), pp. 227-228.

Living Tradition (Viva Voce - Whatever We Say)

Paul said...

"Let's play a drinking game! Everyone take a swig of a favorite alcoholic beverage every time Paul mentions Trent! It could make these thread a lot more interesting!"
-----------------
That's cute.
:o)

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"Everything you referred me to stresses that there is on Church, and that you should be able to trace a line of succession to the original apostles. Someone such as Conrad Grebel, who introduced believer's baptism against centuries of tradition of infant baptism, would be rejected under this criteria.
-------------------
O.K
Back to succession
Kelly,
I agree that we can trace a line of succession in the manner in which Tertullian and Irenaeus proposed it.
Traced through churches that held to "apostolic doctrine".
"Tertullian recognized that churches were being founded in his day that were not planted by 'apostles or apostolic men'. Yet the ultimate test of their apostolic nature depended, not upon their lineage but on doctrine. And this, he maintained, must be shown from the Scriptures. For it is from 'the law and the prophets' which 'she [i.e the Church] unites in one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she drinks in her faith.'"

Gregory of Nazianzus: 380a.d
"Thus, and for these reasons, by the vote of the whole people, not in the evil fashion which has since prevailed, nor by means of bloodshed and oppression, but in an apostolic and spiritual manner, he is led up to the throne of Saint Mark, to succeed him in piety, no less than in office; in the latter indeed at a great distance from him, in the former, which is the genuine right of succession, following him closely. For unity in doctrine deserves unity in office; and a rival teacher sets up a rival throne; the one is a successor in reality, the other but in name. For it is not the intruder, but he whose rights are intruded upon, who is the successor, not the lawbreaker, but the lawfully appointed, not the man of contrary opinions, but the man of the same faith; if this is not what we mean by successor, he succeeds in the same sense as disease to health, darkness to light, storm to calm, and frenzy to sound sense."
Gregory on Succession

Jennie said...

Here's Young's Literal Translation:

1 Corinthians 1:18 for the word of the cross to those indeed perishing is foolishness, and to us -- those being saved -- it is the power of God

Could this be talking about 'those being saved' as a group rather than as individuals, as in 'there are many being saved every day'? All are not saved at the same time.

Paul said...

Kelly wrote:
"Someone such as Conrad Grebel, who introduced believer's baptism against centuries of tradition of infant baptism, would be rejected under this criteria."
---------------------
The church has always held to some form of "believers baptism" known as credo-baptism.
Even before Trinitarian Baptism John was Baptisming with a baptism of repentence. The R.C church does not practice infant-only baptism.
Cyril of Jerusalem produced an entire preparation for catechumens prior to baptism.

Jennie said...

Here's something I found in my file of 'Catholic but not Roman Catholic' by Jason Angwer. It has quotes from the Fathers and commentary by Jason.

In contrast to what Roman Catholicism teaches, Cyprian tells us that church leaders are to be appointed by laymen:

"a bishop is appointed into the place of one deceased, when he is chosen in time of peace by the suffrage of an entire people, when he is protected by the help of God in persecution, faithfully linked with all his colleagues, approved to his people by now four years' experience in his episcopate" (Letter 54:6)

"On which account a people obedient to the Lord's precepts, and fearing God, ought to separate themselves from a sinful prelate, and not to associate themselves with the sacrifices of a sacrilegious priest, especially since they themselves have the power either of choosing worthy priests, or of rejecting unworthy ones....For which reason you must diligently observe and keep the practice delivered from divine tradition and apostolic observance, which is also maintained among us, and almost throughout all the provinces; that for the proper celebration of ordinations all the neighbouring bishops of the same province should assemble with that people for which a prelate is ordained. And the bishop should be chosen in the presence of the people, who have most fully known the life of each one, and have looked into the doings of each one as respects his habitual conduct. And this also, we see, was done by you in the ordination of our colleague Sabinus; so that, by the suffrage of the whole brotherhood, and by the sentence of the bishops who had assembled in their presence, and who had written letters to you concerning him, the episcopate was conferred upon him, and hands were imposed on him in the place of Basilides." (67:3, 67:5)

The second citation above, from Letter 67, was written in the context of Cyprian opposing the Roman bishop Stephen in a dispute over church government. He criticizes Stephen for supporting the reappointment of a bishop who had been deposed by the people of the church:

"Neither can it rescind an ordination rightly perfected, that Basilides, after the detection of his crimes, and the baring of his conscience even by his own confession, went to Rome and deceived Stephen our colleague, placed at a distance, and ignorant of what had been done, and of the truth, to canvass that he might be replaced unjustly in the episcopate from which he had been righteously deposed." (67:5)

Jennie said...

So, not only does Cyprian think that the approval of laymen is necessary for the appointing of a church leader, and not only does he think that the approval of the bishop of Rome isn't necessary, but he even thinks that laymen can appoint a bishop *in opposition to* the bishop of Rome. Compare Cyprian's comments to the teachings of the RCC:

"'One is constituted a member of the episcopal body in virtue of the sacramental consecration and by the hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college.' The character and collegial nature of the episcopal order are evidenced among other ways by the Church's ancient practice which calls for several bishops to participate in the consecration of a new bishop. In our day, the lawful ordination of a bishop requires a special intervention of the Bishop of Rome, because he is the supreme visible bond of the communion of the particular Churches in the one Church and the guarantor of their freedom....Since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the apostles to hand on the 'gift of the Spirit,' the 'apostolic line.' Validly ordained bishops, i.e., those who are in the line of apostolic succession, validly confer the three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1559, 1576)

"Furthermore, the sacred and holy Synod teaches, that, in the ordination of bishops, priests, and of the other orders, neither the consent, nor vocation, nor authority, whether of the people, or of any civil power or magistrate whatsoever, is required in such wise as that, without this, the ordination is invalid: yea rather doth It decree, that all those who, being only called and instituted by the people, or by the civil power and magistrate, ascend to the exercise of these ministrations, and those who of their own rashness assume them to themselves, are not ministers of the church, but are to be looked upon as thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door." (Council of Trent, session 23, chapter 4, "On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, and on Ordination")

Paul said...

Jennie wrote:
"Here's Young's Literal Translation:

1 Corinthians 1:18 for the word of the cross to those indeed perishing is foolishness, and to us -- those being saved -- it is the power of God

Could this be talking about 'those being saved' as a group rather than as individuals, as in 'there are many being saved every day'? All are not saved at the same time."
-------------------
Jennie,
Pastor Tony addressed this in his most recent lecture. Here is the outline:
"Drowning in the Tiber (Part 12)"
Responding to Francis Beckwith's Return to Rome:
Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic"


Also James White addresses Tim Staples argument for this on yesterdays webcast:
James reviews a recent radio exchange between Tim Staples and Mike Gendron.

Jennie said...

Thanks Paul,
I listened to Pastor Tony's message yesterday; I remember that passage but can't recall the specific point he made about it. I'll have to listen again.

I only caught about a half hour of Jame's White's discussion, so I didn't hear that part of it. (Watching 'The A-Team' on dvd while we ate pizza won out over listening to James White; I don't know why :))

Jennie said...

More from 'Catholic but not Roman Catholic':
Just as the Bible says that teaching sound doctrine is a requirement for being a bishop (Titus 1:9), The Didache explains that teachers are to be followed only as far as they're faithful to sound doctrine. They aren't to be followed just because they hold a church office:

"My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord....Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord....Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers." (4, 11, 15)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

"'One is constituted a member of the episcopal body in virtue of the sacramental consecration and by the hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college.' The character and collegial nature of the episcopal order are evidenced among other ways by the Church's ancient practice which calls for several bishops to participate in the consecration of a new bishop. In our day, the lawful ordination of a bishop requires a special intervention of the Bishop of Rome, because he is the supreme visible bond of the communion of the particular Churches in the one Church and the guarantor of their freedom....Since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the apostles to hand on the 'gift of the Spirit,' the 'apostolic line.' Validly ordained bishops, i.e., those who are in the line of apostolic succession, validly confer the three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders." (1559, 1576)

The Council of Trent condemns those who say that church leaders can be appointed by laymen:

"Furthermore, the sacred and holy Synod teaches, that, in the ordination of bishops, priests, and of the other orders, neither the consent, nor vocation, nor authority, whether of the people, or of any civil power or magistrate whatsoever, is required in such wise as that, without this, the ordination is invalid: yea rather doth It decree, that all those who, being only called and instituted by the people, or by the civil power and magistrate, ascend to the exercise of these ministrations, and those who of their own rashness assume them to themselves, are not ministers of the church, but are to be looked upon as thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door." (session 23, chapter 4, "On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, and on Ordination")

But The Didache tells laymen to appoint church leaders, without any reference to the approval of the bishop of Rome:

"Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers." (15)

Jennie said...

I found the section of Part 12: Drowning in the Tiber that talks about 1 Corinthians 1:18. Beckwith used that to show ongoing justification. Pastor Tony said that the word used for 'being saved' is not the word for justification and that the verse is not talking about justification. Justification is one part of salvation, and Tony says Beckwith is confusing two different aspects of salvation: justification and sanctification.

Elena said...

Justification and sanctification are not the topics of this thread.

Second warning.

Kelly said...

I need to wrap up this thread because today has been unexpectedly busy and I'm not going to be able to participate more until at least after the weekend.

I'm sorry that I have let the conversation drift on the issue of perpetual sacrifice. I assume that as we're now debating whether or not perpetual sacrifice is Biblical, you concede that the Catholic Church does not teach a "re-sacrifice" of Christ.

Regarding the election of bishops, I have already stated that it is a matter of church disciple which can be changed, not a matter of Tradition.

I find it ironic that you are appealing to the Didache, when if I did so, you would say that it isn't Scripture and so doesn't matter. Furthermore, how can the Didache specify that bishops much be chosen by "laymen" as opposed to an ordained priesthood if you have said that there was no sacerdotal priesthood until two hundred years after it was written?

The church has always held to some form of "believers baptism" known as credo-baptism.

Paul, I thought you would understand that I mean a rejection of infant baptism by this. I start spelling things out a bit more explicitly in the future, if you need me to.

Regarding the Catholic Church banning the reading of the Bible in the vernacular, I covered that in a different post. There were many vernacular translations available prior to Luther's. The Catholic Church only sought to suppress unapproved translations, which translated Scripture in such a way as to put forth a particular theology, such as the Puritain-leaning notes included in the Geneva.

Okay, I'm really out of time now. I'll come by and close the comments when I get back this evening.

Jennie said...

I assume that as we're now debating whether or not perpetual sacrifice is Biblical, you concede that the Catholic Church does not teach a "re-sacrifice" of Christ.

I'm not sure that it really matters; either one is unbiblical. Whatever you call it, if the eucharist is considered a sacrifice, and it's really Christ, and it's repeated over and over daily, then it is a repeated sacrifice of Christ.

I find it ironic that you are appealing to the Didache, when if I did so, you would say that it isn't Scripture and so doesn't matter. Furthermore, how can the Didache specify that bishops much be chosen by "laymen" as opposed to an ordained priesthood if you have said that there was no sacerdotal priesthood until two hundred years after it was written?
The Didache just shows, as many of the Church Fathers' writings do, that the early church didn't believe the way the RCC does.
Bishops are not necessarily priests in the earlier times, and 'laymen' only means those who are not ministers.

Elena said...

The Didache just shows, as many of the Church Fathers' writings do, that the early church didn't believe the way the RCC does.

I just need to sneak one little thing in here. What all of the references to the EFC and the Didache has done is to show that some writings can be pulled out of context and misused against Catholics. I read quite a bit of David T. White's stuff this afternoon and it seems as though he has made it a mission to prove that the early church was Protestant. Even the reformers didnt' claim that!

I guess I would as Jennie, Paul DOW what are you trying to prove here? Who has the most anti-Catholic references on their bookshelves? Who has the most free time to post that stuff? And I'm sure you'd all write the "if they only had eyes to see" ad hominem again.

But the truth is we're not willing to take secondary sources third hand and out of context as proof.

It's not compelling or persuasive but most importantly it's not convincing.

Unbiased sources might work better for you if you're striving for that.