Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Challenging Your Rome-Colored Glasses - Set Aside Your Anachronism

Suppose you are reading through the writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and you hear him say that either the apostle Peter or the bishop of Rome is "entrusted with the chief rule over the people, in other words, the charge of the whole world." Would you think that he was affirming the universal jurisdiction and primacy of the Roman see? I think a lot of folks who have joined the Roman communion would think that way.

Likewise, if you are reading through Athanasius and see him talking about the bishop of Rome in these terms, "he is the pride of the Church, fighting for the truth, and instructing those who have need, they should not resist such an one, but rather accept his good conscience," many of my readers of the Roman communion would draw a similar inference that Athanasius is affirming Roman primacy.

Moreover, imagine you are reading through Basil's works and you come across him describing Rome this way, "No one knows better than you do, that, like all wise physicians, you ought to begin your treatment in the most vital parts, and what part is more vital to the Churches throughout the world than [her]? Only let [her] be restored to harmony, and nothing will stand in the way of her supplying, as a healthy head, soundness to all the body." I am sure that my friends and relatives in the Roman communion will tell me that this means that Basil viewed Rome as the head of the whole church.

The more suspicious of you will be asking, Why did he use "[her]" there? What did it actually say?

Well, that's the rub: none of these quotations is about Rome or the bishop of Rome. The last is about Antioch (that's the "her"). The middle is about Basil. The first is about Athanasius.

We all know that Gregory of Nazianzus didn't think that Athansius was the pope (in a Roman sense) of the church. We all know that Athanasius didn't think that about Basil. And we all know (well most of us do) that Basil didn't think that the bishop of Antioch had universal jurisdiction and primacy.

We know that because the same Gregory wrote this about another bishop: "After that he is a pastor; indeed, the greatest and most respected of pastors. He does not preside merely over the church [of his city or of the city and surrounding area] which, thanks to him and his efforts, is famous to this day, but also over the entire western region and in effect even over the east itself, and the south, and the north, everywhere that he came to be admired." And no that's not about the Roman bishop, but about the bishop of Carthage, Cyprian (the full quotation is below).

Yet if those statements had been made about the Roman bishop, you can bet they would be plastered as seemingly irrefutable proof of their belief in the papacy. And if we suggested that they were just hyperbolic, we'd be told we were twisting the words of the fathers and so forth.

The real culprit here, however, is the informal fallacy of anachronism. The fallacy is simply assuming the papacy back into the early church. Positive comments in passing that support the person's preconceived ideas are taken as confirming it, despite the fact that a reasonably alternative interpretation is present.

My dear Roman-communion readers: challenge your Rome colored glasses. Set aside your anachronistic reading of the fathers, and discover that while they were not Reformed Baptists or Presbyterians in their ecclesiology, they were also not papal in their ecclesiology. Rome's historical claims, therefore, are false. The papacy was unknown to the early church fathers.

We're not suggesting that the fathers were right, nor that they should be made the standard. Like they did, we are saying that the Scriptures are the rule. Yet we are saying that Rome's historical claims - her claims that the fathers confirm her authority - are false.

More importantly, when you have seen that Rome's historical claims are false, turn to the Scriptures and read them without imposing your church's theology upon them. When you do so, you'll see that there is no papal ecclesiology, the distinctive doctrines of Rome are not taught, and there is almost no emphasis on Mary. You'll see the Word of God in a whole new light.

- TurretinFan



As promised, here are the full quotations:

Gregory of Nazianzus (329/330-389): Thus brought up and trained, as even now those should be who are to preside over the people, and take the direction of the mighty body of Christ, according to the will and foreknowledge of God, which lays long before the foundations of great deeds, he was invested with this important ministry, and made one of those who draw near to the God Who draws near to us, and deemed worthy of the holy office and rank, and, after passing through the entire series of orders, he was (to make my story short) entrusted with the chief rule over the people, in other words, the charge of the whole world (τὴν τοῦ λαοῦ προεδρίαν πιστεύεται, ταυτὸν δὲ εἰπεῖν, τῆς οἰκουμένης πάσης ἐπιστασίαν, PG 35:1088): nor can I say whether he received the priesthood as the reward of virtue, or to be the fountain and life of the Church. For she, like Ishmael, fainting from her thirst for the truth, needed to be given to drink, or, like Elijah, to be refreshed from the brook, when the land was parched by drought; and, when but faintly breathing, to be restored to life and left as a seed to Israel, that we might not become like Sodom and Gomorrah, whose destruction by the rain of fire and brimstone is only more notorious than their wickedness. Therefore, when we were cast down, a horn of salvation was raised up for us, and a chief corner stone, knitting us to itself and to one another, was laid in due season, or a fire to purify our base and evil matter, or a farmer's fan to winnow the light from the weighty in doctrine, or a sword to cut out the roots of wickedness; and so the Word finds him as his own ally, and the Spirit takes possession of one who will breathe on His behalf.

NPNF2: Vol. VII, Oration 21, On the Great Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, §7.

Athanasius (297-373) to the presbyter (πρεσβυτέρῳ) Palladius: As you have told me about the monks at Caesarea, which I also learnt from our beloved Dianius, that they were grieving and resisting our beloved Basil the Bishop, I thank you for the information: but I have pointed out the fitting course to them, to be obedient, as children to their father, and not to resist what he approves. For, if he were suspected of not holding the truth, they would do well to resist him: but if they feel confident, as we all feel, that he is the pride of the Church, fighting for the truth, and instructing those who have need, they should not resist such an one, but rather accept his good conscience. For, from what the beloved Dianius told me, they seem grieved without reason. For he himself, as I am sure, becomes weak to the weak that he may gain the weak; but let our friends, looking at the end his truth has in view, and the discretion he uses, glorify the Lord, who has given to Cappadocia such a Bishop as every country wishes to have.

Translation from Thomas William Allies, The Church of England Cleared from the Charge of Schism (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1848), pp. 32-33.

Basil of Caesarea (Ad 329-379) to Athanasius: No one, I feel sure, is more distressed at the present condition, or, rather to speak more truly, ill condition of the Churches than your excellency; for you compare the present with the past, and take into account how great a change has come about. You are well aware that if no check is put to the swift deterioration which we are witnessing, there will soon be nothing to prevent the complete transformation of the Churches. And if the decay of the Churches seems so pitiful to me, what must--so I have often in my lonely musings reflected--be the feelings of one who has known, by experience, the old tranquillity of the Churches of the Lord, and their one mind about the faith? But as your excellency feels most deeply this distress, it seems to me only becoming that your wisdom should be more strongly moved to interest itself in the Church's behalf. I for my part have long been aware, so far as my moderate intelligence has been able to judge of current events, that the one way of safety for the Churches of the East lies in their having the sympathy of the bishops of the West. For if only those bishops liked to show the same energy on behalf of the Christians sojourning in our part of the world which they have shewn in the case of one or two of the men convicted of breaches of orthodoxy in the West, our common interests would probably reap no small benefit, our sovereigns treating the authority of the people with respect, and the laity in all quarters unhesitatingly following them. But, to carry out these objects, who has more capacity than yourself, with your intelligence and prudence? Who is keener to see the needful course to be taken? Who has more practical experience in working a profitable policy? Who feels more deeply the troubles of the brethren? What through all the West is more honoured than your venerable gray hairs? O most honoured father, leave behind you some memorial worthy of your life and character. By this one act crown your innumerable efforts on behalf of true religion. Despatch from the holy Church placed under your care men of ability in sound doctrine to the bishops in the West. Recount to them the troubles whereby we are beset. Suggest some mode of relief. Be a Samuel to the Churches. Share the grief of the beleaguered people. Offer prayers for peace. Ask favour from the Lord, that He will send some memorial of peace to the Churches. I know how weak letters are to move men in matters of such importance; but you yourself no more need exhortation from others than the noblest athletes need the children's cheers. It is not as though I were instructing one in ignorance; I am only giving a new impulse to one whose energies are already roused. For the rest of the affairs of the East perhaps you may need the aid of more, and we must wait for the Westerns. But plainly the discipline of the Church of Antioch depends upon your reverence's being able to control some, to reduce others to silence, and to restore strength to the Church by concord. No one knows better than you do, that, like all wise physicians, you ought to begin your treatment in the most vital parts, and what part is more vital to the Churches throughout the world than Antioch? Only let Antioch be restored to harmony, and nothing will stand in the way of her supplying, as a healthy head, soundness to all the body. Truly the diseases of that city, which has not only been cut asunder by heretics, but is torn in pieces by men who say that they are of one mind with one another, stand in need of your wisdom and evangelic sympathy. To unite the sundered parts again, and bring about the harmony of one body, belongs to Him alone Who by His ineffable power grants even to the dry bones to come back again to sinews and flesh. But the Lord always works His mighty works by means of them that are worthy of Him. Once again, in this case too, we trust that the ministry of matters so important may beseem your excellency, with the result that you will lay the tempest of the people, do away with the party superiorities, and subject all to one another in love, and give back to the Church her ancient strength.
NPNF2: Vol. VIII, Letters, Letter 66 – To Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, §1.

Gregory of Nazianzus (329/330-389): For a long time his change of heart is considered suspect, and he is turned away because it seemed a thing in the realm of the odd and incredible that Cyprian of all people should ever be counted a Christian. Yet transfer it he does and the proof of his conversion is clear to see: he takes his books of magic and exposes them to public display; he stands triumphantly over his evil and pathetic store; he preaches against the foolishness they contain, he makes a flame leap up brightly from them, he destroys in the fire their vast deceit that had been powerless to support a single spark of carnal desire; he parts company with the demons, he assimilates himself to God. How mighty is the power of grace that it can reveal God through a base passion and spirit! He becomes a holy sheep in a holy flock and even, as I have heard, a church menial, much given to prayer that he might rid himself of his former brazenness and school himself to humility. After that he is a pastor; indeed, the greatest and most respected of pastors. He does not preside merely over the church of the Carthaginians and of Africa which, thanks to him and his efforts, is famous to this day, but also over the entire western region and in effect even over the east itself, and the south, and the north, everywhere that he came to be admired. So does Cyprian become ours.

Fathers of the Church, Vol. 107, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Select Orations, Oration 24.12 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2003), p. 149-150.

54 comments:

natamllc said...

Another excellent work of His Grace, TF!

thanks

I would say this about this work of His Grace that is evident here. God has manifested a humility in your ministry similar to that that Peter writes about, here:

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"My dear Roman-communion readers: challenge your Rome colored glasses. Set aside your anachronistic reading of the fathers, and discover that while they were not Reformed Baptists or Presbyterians in their ecclesiology, they were also not papal in their ecclesiology. Rome's historical claims, therefore, are false."

David Meyer, the Called to Communion guys, and anyone else...

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!!!

Kim said...

Excellent!

CathApol said...

Do you have reference of those of "Roman communion" using such references? Why invent arguments like this? There are plenty of ECF references to the papacy, there is a sampling here: http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/docs/ecfpapacy.htm

Scott<<<

CathApol said...

For an even longer list, check here: http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2010/08/ecfs-on-papacy.html

Scott<<<

Turretinfan said...

Scott:

a) Read the article more carefully. I didn't say that they use the references I identified. I said they would, if it happened to reference Peter, the bishop of Rome, or the church of Rome, instead of the bishops and churches mentioned.

b) You've illustrated exactly what I'm talking about. You've provided a couple of the typical lists we see of fathers' statements that are viewed anachronistically, as though they showed support for the papacy when - in fact - they do no such thing.

In fact, you would make a stronger case for an Alexandrian papacy, or Caesarian papacy, or an Antiochian papacy, or a Cathaginian papacy from the quotations I've provided above than for a Roman papacy from the quotations in the lists you've given.

- TurretinFan

Kim said...

So, in other words, many bishops were held in the highest regard, not just the one in Rome.

Turretinfan said...

Yes, and the bishop of Rome was not always held in such high regard - though perhaps it would be easier to illustrate that with another set of quotations.

Constantine said...

T'fan's charge of Romish anachronism supported by modern RC scholars:

“The papacy did not come into existence at the same time as the church. In the words of John Henry Newman, “While Apostles were on earth, there was the display neither of Bishop nor Pope.” Peter was not a bishop in Rome. There were no bishops in Rome for at least a hundred years after the death of Christ. The very term “pope” (papa, daddy) was not reserved for the bishop of Rome until the fifth century – before then it was used of any bishop (S. 89). ….”
Wills, Garry. Why I am a Catholic. Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 2002. p. 54

“A judicial superiority of one church over another, or certainly anything like papal primacy of jurisdiction, was completely foreign to Ignatius or Irenaeus [in the second century], or even Augustine [in the fourth]…In particular, all kinds of thinking in categories of hierarchical subordination or superiority will lead us astray”. Karl Schatz, SJ,

““The Eastern patriarchs and metropolitans certainly still (in the sixth century) regarded the pope as bishop of the old imperial capital and sole patriarch of the West. But as such he was first among equals. And this was not, say, because of a special biblical promise or a legal authority, but as always, because of the tombs of the two chief apostles, Peter and Paul….” P. 60 Hans Kueng, The Catholic Church: A Short History. Trans. John Bowden. United States: Modern Library - Random House Publishing Group, 2003.

“The study of the history of the Roman primacy has shown that Catholics must resign themselves to the fact that the New Testament does not support claims for Peter’s position of primacy, nor for succession to that position, nor for papal infallibility.” Ohlig, Karl-Heinz, Ph.D. Why We Need the Pope: The Necessity and Limitations of Papal Primacy. Trans. Dr. Robert C. Ware. St. Meinrad, Indiana, USA. Abbey Press, 1975. Trans. of Braucht die Kirche einen Papst?. Germany, 1973. P. 91

“Consequently, no historical foundation exists in the New Testament to justify the papal primacy. The concept of this primacy is, rather, a theological justification of a factual situation which had come about earlier and for other reasons.” Ohlig, P. 92

Peace.

natamllc said...

Constantine,

excellent stuff!

Scott,

I am waiting for your response.

What is so difficult with this article?

The irony here is just as TF has pointed out.

I would hope your intellectual honesty gets the better part of your day than taking the entrenched position that just goes to continually establish the error at work in the world today?

I would only point to a portion of Scripture from the Book of Acts to underscore why I believe the wheels came off the movement, the RCC, that has done so much in leaving her mark on and in world history even to these days:

Act 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Act 14:24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia.
Act 14:25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia,
Act 14:26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.
Act 14:27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
Act 14:28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.

...


Act 15:27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.
Act 15:28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:
Act 15:29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."

...

Act 16:5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
Act 16:6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Act 16:7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Act 16:8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.


Hopefully this sequence of verses from the book of Acts serves to underscore the "nature" of the work of the Holy Spirit and just how the spreading of the Gospel to every nation comes about?

It is in this time and generation that the True Church is faced with the same dilemma as in the days of the Acts of the Apostles. Clearly the examples TurretinFan supplies us in the article, from those patristics, shows us they too were operating under the same power of the Holy Spirit.

We can resolve our differences only by the Word and ever present Work the Holy Spirit speaks and does.

It is His witness to our deepest soul that rings the bell of Truth within us and not in the bells of dogma or dissertation.

What say you, Scott, to these things? What can you say to TurretinFan's reply to your comments?

CathApol said...

> a) Read the article more
> carefully. I didn't say that
> they use the references I
> identified. I said they would,
> if it happened to reference
> Peter, the bishop of Rome, or
> the church of Rome, instead of
> the bishops and churches
> mentioned.

I read the article quite carefully, I merely draw attention to the meaninglessness of the quotes you used. The "if it happened..." is a pretty big "IF" and I was just curious if you had some Catholic apologists in mind who may have used the quotes as you depicted them. I take it by your response that you did not. Thank you.

> b) You've illustrated exactly
> what I'm talking about. You've
> provided a couple of the typical
> lists we see of fathers'
> statements that are viewed
> anachronistically, as though
> they showed support for the
> papacy when - in fact - they do
> no such thing.

You've demonstrated NO anachronism in what I presented AND each of the quotes I referenced DO deal directly with Peter and/or the Bishop of Rome directly. I realize you do not WANT to see support of the papacy there, but for those who have eyes to see, it is clearly there.

> In fact, you would make a
> stronger case for an Alexandrian
> papacy, or Caesarian papacy, or
> an Antiochian papacy, or a
> Cathaginian papacy from the
> quotations I've provided above
> than for a Roman papacy from the
> quotations in the lists you've
> given.

I disagree, but you are surely entitled to your opinion.

Scott<<<

CathApol said...

nat said:
> I am waiting for your response.

I posted it.

> What is so difficult with this
> article?

I have no difficulty with the article... it's silliness, that's all. Certainly IF the quotes TF provided were dealing with the Bishop of Rome, THEN there may be some added support - but they do not and no Catholic I know has used them as such support.

> The irony here is just as TF has
> pointed out.

The only irony I see is in why TF felt the need to invent the "if" environment to begin with - when there are plenty of other good quotes available.

> I would hope your intellectual
> honesty gets the better part of
> your day than taking the
> entrenched position that just
> goes to continually establish
> the error at work in the world
> today?

1) Nice backhanded compliment.
2) Being "honest" here would be to not invent the "if" scenario to begin with.
3) You do not present "the error at work in the world today" so that can be taken any number of ways. The rise of Islam? Hindu or Buddhism? Mormonism? You get the point - or are you so "entrenched" that you only see Catholicism as an error?

Turretinfan said...

Scott:

a) There's nothing in the original article that suggests that Roman apologists use these quotations. I was hoping the problem was that you didn't read the article carefully. If you did read it carefully, I'm not sure what to attribute your question to.

b) You are welcome to disagree, but most of the quotations at the links you provided don't even come close to being as strong statements in favor of Rome or Rome's bishop as the statements in favor of Alexandria's bishop, or Caesarea's bishop, or Carthage's bishop, or Antioch.

Let me take the first quotation from your first list:

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

Look at it! Even if we leave aside the fact that the hacked up quotation has to use brackets to put in the most important words, and even if we ignore the fact that Irenaeus is absolutely guaranteed to be wrong (Scripture proves that Paul didn't found the church in Rome), still what does he say except that Linus was made a bishop there by them?

Nothing about universal jurisdiction, primacy, or succession of investiture of replacement of Peter by Linus after Peter's death (what are we supposed to believe that there were two popes for a while?).

It's lame. It doesn't come close to establishing a papacy in the early church. It takes oodles of wishful thinking and Rome-colored glasses to anachronistically impose the papacy on that quotation.

The first of my quotations says Athanasius had the "charge of the whole world" which is a lot closer in its sound to a statement of universal jurisdiction than Linus simply being made a bishop.

Yes, I'm free to have a contrary opinion to yours, and there's a good reason I do.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Scott:

"1) Nice backhanded compliment.
2) Being "honest" here would be to not invent the "if" scenario to begin with.
3) You do not present "the error at work in the world today" so that can be taken any number of ways. The rise of Islam? Hindu or Buddhism? Mormonism? You get the point - or are you so "entrenched" that you only see Catholicism as an error?
"

1) I was not being nice or backhanded or complimentary.

2) The "if" scenario actually was an honest attempt at putting eye drops on eyes blinded by a position that is an invention of men that has to reinforce its position with things other than the teachings of the Holy Spirit. To the Church at Laodicea the Lord spoke: "... salve to anoint your eyes,..."Rev. 3:18.

3) Scott, you realize your current Pope has most recently absolved the Jews of any complicity with the death of Jesus?

To destroy that fact of Truth is to destroy the power of the Gospel to Jews all around the world because the Jewish leaders were complicit in the death of Our Savior; the Savior Whom He was their King sent.

It would be a healthy thing for the Jews of today to actually accept the facts about their forefathers deeds and uphold the Truth of the Word of God which prophesied of His coming to His own first. The whole drama that was played out in the First Century still is being played out in this century and the current Pope does nothing to "heal" the reality of that complicity Jerusalem had with Rome that faithful Easter Sunday.

Scott, so you wish to side with Pope Benedict the 16th even when these words of Scripture betray his politics and whim with the Jews of today?

Joh 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him.
Joh 19:2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe.
Joh 19:3 They came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands.
Joh 19:4 Pilate went out again and said to them, "See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him."
Joh 19:5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!"
Joh 19:6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him."
Joh 19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God."
Joh 19:8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
Joh 19:9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.
Joh 19:10 So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?"
Joh 19:11 Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin."
Joh 19:12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar."
Joh 19:13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.


I quite agree that those other religions you mentioned are on equal footing with the Roman See.

Christ and Him crucified stands alone in this debate! Christ and His followers alone shall stand in the Way, the Truth and the Life of Our Risen Lord!

Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

CathApol said...

nat said:
> 1) I was not being nice or
> backhanded or complimentary.

Well, do yourself a favor... look up what a "backhanded compliment" is. I know you were not being nice or complimentary - THAT IS WHAT A BACKHANDED COMPLIMENT IS!

The rest of what you have to say is just blathering and off-topic from what TF said and I responded to. I believe we're through now unless you have more on-topic comments to make.

Scott<<<

Turretinfan said...

Scott:

That doesn't seem like a very nice response to NatAmLLC. I've got some new commenting guidelines, if you haven't noticed. I assume NatAmLLC will not complain, in which I'll just drop the matter.

-TurretinFan

CathApol said...

I have posted a response to my blog which is much easier to read, but since I realize some of you, for whatever reason, do not visit there, I am posting here in pieces. If you want an easier read, go here:
http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2011/03/rome-colored-glasses.html

TF responds:
> a) There's nothing in the
> original article that suggests
> that Roman apologists use these
> quotations.

The inference is there when you said, “many of my readers of the Roman communion would draw a similar inference that Athanasius is affirming Roman primacy.” You have clarified that you did not have any Catholic apologists in mind, I have thanked you for this clarification - and I thank you again.

> I was hoping the problem was
> that you didn't read the article
> carefully. If you did read it
> carefully, I'm not sure what to
> attribute your question to.

Again, I had no “problem” with the article, per se, other than the invented “what if” scenario seemed deliberately misleading. Again, you have clarified your position. I have thanked you, and I thank you again.

(breaking here...)

natamllc said...

Well, Scott, so you are standing squarely with your Pope on his recent ruling?

Is that ruling ex cathedra?

CathApol said...

(continuing...)
> b) You are welcome to disagree,
> but most of the quotations at
> the links you provided don't
> even come close to being as
> strong statements in favor of
> Rome or Rome's bishop as the
> statements in favor of
> Alexandria's bishop, or
> Caesarea's bishop, or Carthage's
> bishop, or Antioch.
>
> Let me take the first quotation
> from your first list:
>> "The blessed apostles [Peter
>> and Paul], having founded and
>> built up the church [of Rome].
>> . . . handed over the office of
>> the episcopate to Linus"
>> (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D.
>> 189]).
>
> Look at it! Even if we leave
> aside the fact that the hacked
> up quotation has to use brackets
> to put in the most important
> words, and even if we ignore the
> fact that Irenaeus is absolutely
> guaranteed to be wrong Scripture
> proves that Paul didn't found
> the church in Rome), still what
> does he say except that Linus was
> made a bishop there by them?
> Nothing about universal
> jurisdiction, primacy, or
> succession of investiture of
> replacement of Peter by Linus
> after Peter's death (what are we
> supposed to believe that there
> were two popes for a while?).

Let us take your objections here in order:
1) The “hacked up quotation” which makes use of brackets does so to insert the CONTEXT of St. Irenaeus’ work! Just look at 3:2:
by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those who exist everywhere. (emphasis mine)
Yes, the context speaks volumes - and I would encourage any objective readers here to look at the context: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm
2) I am not here to argue your disagreement with St. Irenaeus.
3) Saying St. Linus was made a bishop by them, alone, does not prove succession - but it does, when combined with OTHER ECF testimonies, provide further evidence for succession.
4) THEN when we look at the paragraph just prior to the one cited in the list, which you refer to, we DO see things in a much more “Catholic” light.
5) Two popes? I’m not asking you to believe that - while I would not oppose the concept of a dual governing by Sts. Peter and Paul - St. Peter still has a primacy of office which St. Paul does not have.

(breaking here)

CathApol said...

(continuing...)
> It's lame. It doesn't come close
> to establishing a papacy in the
> early church.

Well, again, when we look at the context, which again I hope you and both your and my readers do, such an establishment is not hard to see at all.

> It takes oodles of wishful
> thinking and Rome-colored
> glasses to anachronistically
> impose the papacy on that
> quotation.

Again, there is no anachronism here. I feel the need to use a quote from The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” (Inigo Montoya)

> The first of my quotations says
> Athanasius had the "charge of
> the whole world" which is a lot
> closer in its sound to a
> statement of universal
> jurisdiction than Linus simply
> being made a bishop.

Well again, read a bit more context from St. Ireneaus, but be that as it may - the words of praise for St. Athanasius came near the end of his life. You may recall, it was St. Athanasius, almost alone, who stood firm on behalf of the entire Church in the face of Arianism. I whole-heartedly uphold the praises lofted upon him in his waining years.

> Yes, I'm free to have a contrary
> opinion to yours, and there's a
> good reason I do.

Well, while I have empathy for your opinions, I once thought much as you do - I cannot agree that your reasons are good - and I’m certain that where you are now you do not believe my stance is “good” either.

Godspeed to you, TF.

Scott<<<

CathApol said...

> Scott:
> That doesn't seem like a very nice
> response to NatAmLLC. I've got
> some new commenting guidelines, if
> you haven't noticed. I assume
> NatAmLLC will not complain, in
> which I'll just drop the matter.
> -TurretinFan

TF, it was NAT who OPENLY STATED he/she was "not being nice... or complimentary." I believe you took my attempt to educate him/her wrong and that your chiding is better pointed in the other direction.

Scott<<<

CathApol said...

nat said: Well, Scott, so you are standing squarely with your Pope on his recent ruling?

Is that ruling ex cathedra?


Why do you insist upon changing the topic? You do realize that in doing so that you're in violation of TF's rules, don't you?

8. Stay on topic.

Scott<<<

natamllc said...

Scott,

are you serious?

I was being polite responding to what I find as silliness on your part.

If what I commented was other than a polite response, well, I am open for what your response would now be?

Apparently you took exception to my use of the word "honesty" in my comment?

I wrote:

I would hope your intellectual honesty gets the better part of your day than taking the entrenched position that just goes to continually establish the error at work in the world today?

You responded:

> I would hope your intellectual
> honesty gets the better part of
> your day than taking the
> entrenched position that just
> goes to continually establish
> the error at work in the world
> today?

1) Nice backhanded compliment.
2) Being "honest" here would be to not invent the "if" scenario to begin with.
3) You do not present "the error at work in the world today" so that can be taken any number of ways. The rise of Islam? Hindu or Buddhism? Mormonism? You get the point - or are you so "entrenched" that you only see Catholicism as an error?

CathApol said...

nat wrote:
Scott,
are you serious?


Yes, I was being serious. I rarely kid around.

I was being polite responding to what I find as silliness on your part.

Then accept my apologies.

If what I commented was other than a polite response, well, I am open for what your response would now be?

Apparently you took exception to my use of the word "honesty" in my comment?


No, actually I thought you were being less than polite in the "entrenched" comment. The "honesty" comment was not directed toward you. I apologize for the confusion if any of it was due to me. However, the REAL point in this article/combox has little to do with what you're diverting to.

Scott<<<

natamllc said...

Scott,

if I am not mistaken, and I could be, these words at the end of the article are words addressing the validity of the Scriptures I cited from John's Gospel being as relevant here and now, today, as when the Holy Spirit first inspired them to be written and included in the final completed Christian version of the Bible; the 66 books.

TurretinFan wrote:

We're not suggesting that the fathers were right, nor that they should be made the standard. Like they did, we are saying that the Scriptures are the rule. Yet we are saying that Rome's historical claims - her claims that the fathers confirm her authority - are false.

More importantly, when you have seen that Rome's historical claims are false, turn to the Scriptures and read them without imposing your church's theology upon them. When you do so, you'll see that there is no papal ecclesiology, the distinctive doctrines of Rome are not taught, and there is almost no emphasis on Mary. You'll see the Word of God in a whole new light.


What you have now, today, is a case in point that the present Pope is making ex cathedra rulings about the complicity of the Jews because he can as one of a succession of Popes that goes way back in time, making a ruling that is contrary to the ECF's writings expressing their own concepts and ideas. The whole idea of this article is to point out the obvious "power" Popes weld when making rulings, as the current Pope did recently as his predecessors have done when ruling as he has just ruled, contradicting the Scriptural record of what truly happened by "who" on the first Easter Sunday. It seems quite relevant to me to be on topic what this current Pope's ruling does. It underscores the very well reasoned cause for this article and the reality of the papacy it brings forth when we are faced with papal ex cathedra rulings being portrayed as valid for the True Church, people who are following Christ as the Head of His Body. When the current Pope does such a thing, under his assumed power as Pope, like other Popes have done historically ruling ex cathedra contrary to Scripture, it brings confusion.

God and the Word of His Grace bring focus into one's being of one accord and one mind. When a Pope makes a ruling as Benedict the 16th has just made, clearly contradicting the Scripture, he just underscores the validity of TurretinFan's article and it makes for more clarity on topic to the cause for publishing it on his blog.

Of course, now the irony becomes more clear with your responses hereon and at your own blog.

Now, those with intellectual honesty can begin to understand the necessity for Catholics to take off their Rome colored glasses and see the point of this article more clearly. And, hopefully, those wavering between two opinions will be strengthened to respond to the Holy Spirit as He guides them into His Word, such as these Words from Psalm 143:

Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psa 143:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

CathApol said...

nat,
I'm not going down that rabbit hole with you here. TF's commentary was on historic statements made by Early Church Fathers and a "what if" scenario "if" the Fathers he selected had been talking about the papacy. What TF wrote had nothing to do with the agenda you are apparently "entrenched" in. My response to him was to clarify that there were no Catholic apologists actually using the arguments TF made, especially not using those sources. He has confirmed that. My work is done here.

Now, if he were to objectively consider some REAL sources instead of the invented ones, then we might have something to go on. He did bring up ONE citation in the two lists I provided - and clearly did not look at the context before spouting off about what was contained in the quote. Perhaps he'd like to try another of the quotes to make up for that failure?

Regardless, your attempts to divert the discussion to one on Pope Benedict XVI are not going to work here, not with me anyway - and again, such is against rule #8 (already quoted). So unless TF presents a post on the topic you wish to discuss - you're in violation of his rules. You could email it to him and ask him to make a post on that topic.

Scott<<<

Kim said...

TF's commentary was on historic statements made by Early Church Fathers and a "what if" scenario "if" the Fathers he selected had been talking about the papacy.

He was pointing out how the same language ascribed to the bishop of Rome was also ascribed to other bishops. It was not unique to him.

They all seemed to engage in a lot of hyperbolic flattery back then.

Catholic apologists seem to like to pick out the quotes that suite their belief system and overlook the ones that don't. I wanted to be Catholic at one time, so I know of what I speak. I had plenty of dealings with some of the guys at CtC and was at times persuaded by their arguments until I saw a bigger picture of church history and not just what they wanted me to see.

Turretinfan said...

Scott,

I'm glad to see that your most recent post seems to recognize that the inference you originally drew was wrong -- that the article did not allege that Roman apologists use these quotations.

But you still seem to be missing the point of the article. The point of the article was not to examine a series of quotations from the ECFs. The point was to examine the fallacy of anachronism and confirmation bias in the selection and consideration of quotations.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Scott:

a) As far as your response to my analysis of the quotation goes, you abandon the quotation itself for a questionable translation of another item in the context;

b) But even with that, you are forced to admit "Saying St. Linus was made a bishop by them, alone, does not prove succession";

c) So you make a vague general appeal to all the ECFs writings and claim "THEN when we look at the paragraph just prior to the one cited in the list, which you refer to, we DO see things in a much more “Catholic” light."

But of course the problem is that the same methodology is applied to all the quotations. None of them prove the papacy, and it is only by selecting those quotations and viewing them anachronistically that we can conclude that they have anything to do with the papacy (a doctrine unknown in that time).

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Yes, Kim, exactly.

CathApol said...

I'm glad to see that your most recent post seems to recognize that the inference you originally drew was wrong -- that the article did not allege that Roman apologists use these quotations.

You seem focused on my question which only sought clarity for your invented "what if" scenario. I was not "wrong" in what I "asked" and I, right from the beginning, acknowledged this. You're trying to turn this into a pissing match of who's "right" or "wrong" here. If you recall, I THANKED you for your answer, numerous times.

But you still seem to be missing the point of the article. The point of the article was not to examine a series of quotations from the ECFs. The point was to examine the fallacy of anachronism and confirmation bias in the selection and consideration of quotations.

And AGAIN you have not demonstrated ANY anachronism! "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." If it did, you would explicitly demonstrate exactly how Catholic apologists have used something "out of the time" in which it was written.

Scott<<<

CathApol said...

a) As far as your response to my analysis of the quotation goes, you abandon the quotation itself for a questionable translation of another item in the context;

I presented two alternative lists, YOU picked the quote to which I demonstrated YOUR understanding of which was out of context.

b) But even with that, you are forced to admit "Saying St. Linus was made a bishop by them, alone, does not prove succession";

The word "alone" there should have been bolded to draw attention to the FACT that such a statement ALONE does not equate to "proof" - but taken in conjunction with OTHER statements, it ADDS TO the evidence of the teaching.

c) So you make a vague general appeal to all the ECFs writings and claim "THEN when we look at the paragraph just prior to the one cited in the list, which you refer to, we DO see things in a much more “Catholic” light."

Not ALL the ECFs, but two specific lists of quotes I presented you, and those lists are NOT exhaustive, there ARE other quotes to substantiate the teaching - for those who have eyes to see.

Scott<<<

dtking said...

They all seemed to engage in a lot of hyperbolic flattery back then.

Kim, excellent observation. It is characteristic of the early church fathers to employ that kind of language, and one even finds such flattery on the lips of the orthodox when addressing heretics. Now granted, not to the same degree, but it's there.

Turretinfan said...

Scott:

I'm trying to see the point to allowing your continued presence in the comment box.

You don't seem to be adding any value, bur rather repeating yourself more vehemently.

If you have nothing new to say that's on topic, please leave off commenting.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

It's seems to be no biggie, but, Scott posted on his blog that he got you cornered!

Hmmmm, cornered were you?

It would be nice if he could come back over here and enlighten us as to just how he did that cause I have been wanting to corner you for a long time now! :)

If not here, then at least over there on his blog!

Turretinfan said...

I feel comfortable that he demonstrated my point by showing how Roman Catholics read the papacy back into the fathers.

Nick said...

Turretin Fan said in the original article:
"My dear Roman-communion readers: challenge your Rome colored glasses. Set aside your anachronistic reading of the fathers, and discover that while they were not Reformed Baptists or Presbyterians in their ecclesiology, they were also not papal in their ecclesiology. Rome's historical claims, therefore, are false. The papacy was unknown to the early church fathers."

I think your post - at most - showed we should take care not to latch onto any statement without examining it in context. That said, your post didn't prove anything at all in terms of the Church Fathers not believing in the Papacy.

Canon 6 of the Council of Nicaea proves the Papacy, and this is buttressed by Canon 3 of the Second Ecumenical Council. And here is what was said at the Third Ecumenical Council:

"Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [ie Rome] said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Cœlestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time, etc."
(Council of Ephesus, Session III)

There is plenty more where that came from.

I also really want to challenge your claim the ECFs were not Protestant in their ecclesiology. What you don't realize here is that the WHOLE PICTURE must be examined. On the WHOLE does the ECF ecclesiology look more Protestant or Catholic? Any unbiased reader wont hesitate to affirm they sounded far more Catholic than Protestant on ecclesiology as well as soteriology.

It's easy to grab a quote here and there and say "see, this father wasn't Catholic at all!" But that's a distortion of how such research is to be done. Compare this with frank admissions by folks like Luther who said in his "Tower Experience" that he couldn't find any ECF who understood the core teaching of the Gospel, namely imputation, and that even the mighty Augustine didn't "get it".

When you say the ECFs were not Protestant in their ecclesiology, that's a concession on your part and 'strike' against you, not the Catholic.

The point of appealing to Church Fathers is because you are to see them as friends to your cause - not like the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons who hold them in total contempt but can (attempt to) score a few points by quoting them.

Turretinfan said...

Nick:

Actually, Canon 6 of the Council of Nicaea proves exactly the opposite. It demonstrates a perceived parity between Rome and Alexandria, whereas the papacy exalts Rome.

As for Philip's claims for Rome (none of which speak of Rome having universal jurisdiction or supreme authority), they likewise serve to demonstrate something interesting but inconvenient for Rome's position. They demonstrate that the Roman church of that age recognized that the Emperor, not the Roman bishop, called the council.

Your glasses with respect to Philip's comments are understandable, but with respect to Nicaea's canon 6, they are truly astounding. The argument of canon 6 (which amounts to "because the bishop of Rome has X authority, the bishop of Alexandria should have the same") is completely the opposite of any argument someone would use today.

(to be continued)

Turretinfan said...

Nick:

You also wrote: "I also really want to challenge your claim the ECFs were not Protestant in their ecclesiology."

Uh, really? You think I'm wrong? You think they were "Protestant" in their ecclesiology? Well, some of them were a little like Calvary Chapel, I guess. But by the 4th century they weren't so close to the form of government held by Reformed Baptists or Presbyterians.

They also didn't hold to the papacy. Perhaps that's what you intended to challenge, I'm not sure.

You wrote: "What you don't realize here is that the WHOLE PICTURE must be examined."

Is that right? You think I don't realize the importance of looking at the whole picture? This post is dedicated to trying to get you to open your eyes to the bigger picture -- getting you to see that nice things were said about lots of bishops and churches, not just about Rome and her bishops. And those nice things about Rome and her bishops don't mean that the fathers were persuaded of the papacy, any more than the quotations I identified mean that thought that Athanasius or Basil were the earthly head of the church or that Antioch was its capital city.

You wrote: "On the WHOLE does the ECF ecclesiology look more Protestant or Catholic?"

I don't think you get it, Nick. Even if their ecclesiology looks more like your ecclesiology than like ours, it doesn't do you any good. Our point is not that we should pick the church with the ecclesiology that is closest to that of the fathers. Our point is that Rome's claims of authority are lies. There was no papacy at the time of Nicaea or before. Rome's claims of universal jurisdiction are claims that usurp Christ's rightful claim.

You wrote: "Any unbiased reader wont hesitate to affirm they sounded far more Catholic than Protestant on ecclesiology as well as soteriology."

Soteriology is another and an interesting question, but not one for this post.

(to be continued)

Turretinfan said...

Nick you wrote: It's easy to grab a quote here and there and say "see, this father wasn't Catholic at all!"

They were not Roman Catholic. That's why it is so easy. They didn't hold to Rome's distinctive dogmas like the bodily assumption and papal infallibility.

You wrote: "But that's a distortion of how such research is to be done."

When folks try to claim the fathers, it's proper to investigate those claims. If they say, "The fathers were Catholic (meaning Roman Catholic)," it's perfectly fine to reply, "No they weren't," and to provide evidence to support that point.

The fact that you would prefer to change the goalposts and say "they were more like Roman Catholics than they were like Protestants" doesn't make that the standard.

As I noted above, Rome's historical claims are false. They are lies, and a lot of people are misled by them. Trying to defend Rome on grounds that contradict Rome's own claims (like the ground that they are closer to the fathers than we are) just shows that your zeal has not been matched by a careful consideration of what's at stake here.

You wrote: "Compare this with frank admissions by folks like Luther who said in his "Tower Experience" that he couldn't find any ECF who understood the core teaching of the Gospel, namely imputation, and that even the mighty Augustine didn't "get it"."

I really couldn't care less what Luther thought. Maybe this sort of comment distracts Lutherans who might be afraid to contradict Luther (although I really doubt they think that way, either) but I have, I suppose, better access to Augustine's works than Luther did. I don't need to rely either on his "frank admissions" or his offhanded statements.

(to be continued)

Turretinfan said...

Nick, you wrote: "When you say the ECFs were not Protestant in their ecclesiology, that's a concession on your part and 'strike' against you, not the Catholic."

How could it possibly be a strike against the Roman position? It's simply acknowledging the reality of the situation.

You see, we have nothing to lose by admitting the truth of history. Rome does, because Rome tries to overcome the authority of the Bible by claiming superior authority grounded in history. But Rome's historical claims are lies.

You wrote: "The point of appealing to Church Fathers is because you are to see them as friends to your cause - not like the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons who hold them in total contempt but can (attempt to) score a few points by quoting them."

Heh - yes and no. I value the writings of many of the fathers. Some of their exegetical works contain many profound insights. Sometimes I quote them for that purpose.

That's not what I'm doing here, though. Here I'm demonstrating an historical point. It's the same as when I demonstrated from the Koran that Mohammad didn't share the current Muslim view that the Old Testament was essentially lost. When I do that, I'm not claiming Mohammad as my friend - I'm just considering what he wrote.

Likewise, here, I'm not claiming that these ECFs were presbyterians, just pointing out that they were not papal in their ecclesiology.

I'm answering an historical question, here, not invoking their authority or wisdom. I'm not looking for allies in a theological battle, I'm pointing out that Rome's historical claims are false.

-TurretinFan

Constantine said...

Nicely done, T'Fan.

I appreciate your scholarship and winsome, pastoral approach.

Blessings,

Turretinfan said...

Thanks, Constantine!

Dozie said...

"winsome, pastoral approach"

Winsome and pastoral? Did you use these for lack for better words?

natamllc said...

Not knowing whether this will be allowed to stand as my response to Scott's invitation for me to make comments there at Scott's blog I add this to my comments above, here:

At Scott's blog I posted this:

Well Scott, here I am, commenting.

You wrote hereon to me:

... "You are free to comment here, as is TF. So long as you do not resort to profanity, etc. (which I have no reason to suspect you will) then you will not be silenced, nor would he. ...".

You mean profanity like this? My emphasis in bold :::>

At TF's blog, Scott writes:

You seem focused on my question which only sought clarity for your invented "what if" scenario. I was not "wrong" in what I "asked" and I, right from the beginning, acknowledged this. You're trying to turn this into a pissing match of who's "right" or "wrong" here.

Now, to show how you twist another's own words directed towards you I publish these words of TF directed towards you after the exchanges between the two of you:

TF: Scott:

I'm trying to see the point to allowing your continued presence in the comment box.

You don't seem to be adding any value, bur rather repeating yourself more vehemently.

If you have nothing new to say that's on topic, please leave off commenting.

-TurretinFan


Now, let your readers honestly and intellectually judge what TF wrote and you twist reproduced here from your comments above:

Scott: "Well, "TurretinFan" was cornered, caught in an error - and as I have been "emphatic" in not changing what I have said - I have been asked not to comment anymore on that thread. Check it out, if you're interested, but if you wish to see further comments from me, post here because I will honor TF's request.

Is this here not the very point of TurretinFan's article that attempts to assist those wearing Rome-colored glasses in receiving pure eye-salve so that they might see more clearly how colored and twisted one becomes when looking with colored glasses and not with clear sight?

natamllc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

TurrentinFan,

I deny Canon 6 proves the opposite, and I say this after examining the details behind the issue. You're interpreting Canon 6 in terms of a parity between Rome and Alexandria, but that's not how the grammar of text reads nor the logic of the claim.

Here is a parallel example of how you're reading it:
"Let the Bishop of Los Angeles rule over California, Arizona, and Nevada, since it's customary for the Bishop of London to rule over England, Scotland, and Wales."
This is a logical fallacy (i.e. non-sequitor).

Or another similar spin:
"Let the Bishop of Los Angeles rule over California, Arizona, and Nevada, since it's customary for the Bishop of London to be a Patriarch."
Again, logical fallacy (non-sequitor), and also begging the question (assuming Rome is a Patriarch).

This is the only interpretation that renders a coherent meaning, connecting the first and second clause:
"Let the Bishop of Los Angeles rule over California, Arizona, and Nevada, since the Bishop of London's custom is to grant LA that jurisdiction."
Carrying this over to Canon 6 itself, what the Council decreed was that the Pope's custom of delegating those territories to Alexandria is sufficient to settle the jurisdiction dispute caused by Melitius.

There is more that can be said to buttress this claim.

Since this comment box is already getting long, I suggest you create a new post devoted to addressing this claim, since I believe it's too often swept under the rug.


Next was the issue of the Papal claims at Ephesus. You simply deny the claims speak of Rome's universal jurisdiction and supreme authority, but this isn't interacting with the text of the claims itself. As for who called the Council, it's not a given the Emperor called it, since many Catholics argue the Pope prompted him to do so in the first place. The Emperor was never a standard of orthodoxy, but he did have the political and financial means to arrange such a massive event.

(continued 1 of 3)

Nick said...

(2 of 3)

You said: "You think they were "Protestant" in their ecclesiology?"

LoL, that was a typo on my part. I was trying to say the ECFs were never Protestant in their ecclesiology, not that they were.

You said: "by the 4th century they weren't so close to the form of government held by Reformed Baptists or Presbyterians"

This is a pretty serious admission, since you're effectively saying the plain Biblical model of ecclesiology was essentially lost and wiped out from 300AD onward.

You said: "Is that right? You think I don't realize the importance of looking at the whole picture? This post is dedicated to trying to get you to open your eyes to the bigger picture"

You were appealing to examples that didn't directly apply though. Just because some ECF speaks highly of another bishop doesn't automatically entail any references to Rome cannot entail Papal authority. What you were doing is invalidating a strong testimony to Rome's authority by appealing to a few quotes that speak highly of other bishops, but speaking highly of other bishops doesn't entail Rome has no true superior authority. It would be like someone in the NT age speaking highly of St Timothy without entailing he was an equal to St Paul.

You said: "Even if their ecclesiology looks more like your ecclesiology than like ours, it doesn't do you any good. Our point is not that we should pick the church with the ecclesiology that is closest to that of the fathers. Our point is that Rome's claims of authority are lies."

If their ecclesiology looks more like Rome's, then how can you say it does no good? On the contrary, if it looks (far) more like Rome's, then Rome's claims cannot be "lies." You cannot have it both ways. The ECF ecclesiology cannot look more Catholic while the Catholic claims also be lies.

And how can you say we shouldn't seek to align our ecclesiology with the overall testimony of the Fathers? This means the Fathers are no good to you as Christian witness. (As for their soteriological claims, though that's for another post, I think that's another decisive strike against Protestantism.)

You said: "They were not Roman Catholic. That's why it is so easy. They didn't hold to Rome's distinctive dogmas like the bodily assumption and papal infallibility."

This is a perfect example of the problematic approach you're taking. You're not looking at the Father(s) as a whole, and rather you're zeroing in on one or two issues as single litmus tests for being Catholic.

Let's say a given father didn't speak clearly on or even denied the assumption or infallibility but otherwise looked far far more Catholic than Protestant in his ecclesiology and soteriology. Does the student of history grant a more favorable look towards Catholics or Protestants? Surely towards Catholics. A person like Newman wasn't ever claiming the early Church looked absolutely identical in every way, shape, and form to the 19th century Church, but he recognized that the overall picture looked very Catholic and not very Protestant.

Nick said...

(3 of 3)

The rest of the comments were essentially focused upon whether the ECFs perfectly aligned with Catholicism or were closer (overall). I don't think any serious Catholic ever claimed the ECFs were to be perfect replicas of later Catholics simply because things develop and change over time, but that in no way entails essential concepts were lost.

You said: "You see, we have nothing to lose by admitting the truth of history. Rome does, because Rome tries to overcome the authority of the Bible by claiming superior authority grounded in history."

Rome never tries to overcome the authority of the Bible - that's a Protestant claim used to justify the Reformation simply because Protestantism thinks Catholicism has botched Scripture's teachings so severely that Catholicism must turn to history as a Plan-B for credibility. But the reality is - in my personal research - there is not a single major Protestant claim that conforms to either Scripture or History - and my favorite example is the Logizomai issue.

You said: "I value the writings of many of the fathers. Some of their exegetical works contain many profound insights."

But this is only "valuing" them in so far as they are exegetical commentaries on Scripture - just like any other commentary like Matthew Henry's Commentary - not because they're preserving and promoting orthodoxy. For example, if the fathers interpret John 3:5 "born of water and the Holy Spirit" as Baptism, most Protestants would simply say "that's nice but it's untrue". The Mormons and JWs look to Biblical commentaries all the time to gain Biblical insight, but it's all for the sake of formulating and supporting their *own* theological positions.

You said: “I'm not claiming that these ECFs were presbyterians, just pointing out that they were not papal in their ecclesiology.”

Here's the catch though, either history is important to your own position or it isn't. If history is important to your own claims, then for just the sake of intellectual integrity you should appeal to a post-Apostolic historical testimony for your claims. If history is not important, then you must willingly admit history is unimportant for your position and that an ahistorical theology is just fine. One of the hallmarks of most intellectual Protestant-to-Catholic conversions is the Protestant was uncomfortable taking such a radically ahistorical outlook to theology.

If you or any other wants to concede the ECFs were not Presbyterian, then that automatically takes Presbyterianism out of contention for the historically inclined person seeking out which denomination is the true one.

This leaves the Catholic still in contention for the title of One True Church, which is where we can proceed to evaluate the historical claims. The question then is, is the historical testimony really as bleak as Protestants claim? Based on my personal research, I see clear and strong historical testimony for Rome's Primacy. No other See or succession has such extravagant things said about it as Rome does. For example, when is a See ever spoken about the way Philip did at Ephesus? And even you admit you can see how someone reading that can interpret Papal Supremacy in it.

Nick said...

Either my blog was hacked or Google is changing something, because my blog has disappeared. This is not good.

Constantine said...

You're interpreting Canon 6 in terms of a parity between Rome and Alexandria, but that's not how the grammar of text reads nor the logic of the claim.

But that is how the Church has applied it, historically speaking.

In 419, Augustine and 217 bishops with him in Council received three papal legates from Rome. The instructions the legates carried looked suspicious so the bishops, not taking the authority of Rome for granted, they sent to Alexandria and Constantinople for verification. So the first point is that Augustine and all the North African bishops looked to the episcopate as a whole as a source of authority – and not just to Rome.

Secondly, in a letter to Pope Boniface they asked him to write to his peers in Alexandria and Constantinople to help them with their verification of the errors of Zosimus. Which is another indication that the bishops did not revere the “chair of Peter” as the ultimate authority.

Thirdly, the bishops' letter to Boniface “told him” that they would proceed under the assumption that Zosimus was correct until it could be proven otherwise at which time they expected him to communicate Zosimus' error and its correction to the churches under the pope's care.

And just to gild the lily a little, the pope's legate Faustinus objected to the whole procedure and suggested that the bishops merely inquire to Rome for clarification. Which, under Nick's interpretation would have been the proper thing to do! However, the bishops ignored the request of the papal legate!

If we are to believe Nick's analysis of Canon 6, it is impossible to explain: a.) why 217 bishops would subject the pope of Rome to their authority, b.) dictate to him under what circumstances they would change their minds pending authoritative information from two other apostolic sees and c.) request information from two other apostolic sees and d.) require that the bishop of Rome follow their findings once the matter was concluded.

Apparently, on Nick's view, 217 North African bishops didn't understand the grammar or logic of Nicaea either.

Peace.

natamllc said...

FAIR WARNING:Bold assertion about NICK follows.

NICK:

As for who called the Council, it's not a given the Emperor called it, since many Catholics argue the Pope prompted him to do so in the first place. The Emperor was never a standard of orthodoxy, but he did have the political and financial means to arrange such a massive event.

...

What you were doing is invalidating a strong testimony to Rome's authority by appealing to a few quotes that speak highly of other bishops, but speaking highly of other bishops doesn't entail Rome has no true superior authority. It would be like someone in the NT age speaking highly of St Timothy without entailing he was an equal to St Paul.

...

Let's say a given father didn't speak clearly on or even denied the assumption or infallibility but otherwise looked far far more Catholic than Protestant in his ecclesiology and soteriology. Does the student of history grant a more favorable look towards Catholics or Protestants?

...

I don't think any serious Catholic ever claimed the ECFs were to be perfect replicas of later Catholics simply because things develop and change over time, but that in no way entails essential concepts were lost.

...

But the reality is - in my personal research - there is not a single major Protestant claim that conforms to either Scripture or History - and my favorite example is the Logizomai issue.

...

One of the hallmarks of most intellectual Protestant-to-Catholic conversions is the Protestant was uncomfortable taking such a radically ahistorical outlook to theology.

...

Based on my personal research, I see clear and strong historical testimony for Rome's Primacy.


Apostle Paul:

1Co 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1Co 1:19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."
1Co 1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1Co 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1Co 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
1Co 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

natamllc said...

Natamllc:

When I contemplate the writings of NICK and the Apostle Paul, and based on reason and the Spirit of Grace that is imparted, I conclude NICK is of the spirit of this age and this world system and the Apostle Paul is of the Spirit of God and Grace and Truth completely divorced from "her" having been chosen to be a part of "Her".

After all, the Apostle wrote to his true son, Timothy, this:

2Ti 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,
2Ti 1:9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
2Ti 1:10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
2Ti 1:11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,
2Ti 1:12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.


And why was the Apostle so emboldened to write with such clarity as he did, with his own hand and by the hands of others?

A clue can be ascertained by the very Words of Jesus as the Apostle demonstrates them orally and apologetically before King Agrippa, here:

Act 26:14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
Act 26:15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
Act 26:16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
Act 26:17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--to whom I am sending you
Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
Act 26:19 "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
Act 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Act 26:21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
Act 26:22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
Act 26:23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."


Big words from such a small fry like Paul.

Nick, question? Can you cite any elegance and profundity from the first Pope Peter as the Apostle Paul?

I do recall the first Pope Peter, as you claim him as, not me, did write this about Paul:

2Pe 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
2Pe 3:16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

whiskey decanter set said...

It's quite impressive.