Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Makes one Catholic..err catholic?

This is a Facebook discussion I had earlier with a Roman Catholic who is a contributor to the blog Called to Communion. For the sake of forthrightness, my wife is Roman Catholic. As you'll see, I think Christians can disagree on doctrinal points and not be separated.

This is the post that generated the discussion.


Bryan Cross: I have explained why making a predicate apply to everyone (such as claiming that all Christians are catholics) evacuates the term of all meaning here in comment #40:
http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/07/commentaries-not-included/comment-page-1/#comment-1831

Me: But that's how the early fathers used the word, Bryan.

Bryan Cross: They didn't use the word 'catholic' of schismatics.
If you want to read what I have written about apostolic succession in the Church Fathers, see here: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/11/sola-scriptura-a-dialogue-between-michael-horton-and-bryan-cross/#ApostolicSuccession

Me: Of course not, because schismatics then weren't viewed as Christians. Heretics, it's pretty clear, were non-Christians. The Arians had stepped beyond the veil of essentials, to put it in modern Protestant vernacular.

I consider modern Roman Catholics as properly catholic, as I do Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, and Eastern Orthodox because they don't hold to heretical views, ie views that would take them outside of Christianity. Ergo, they are all catholic, but not all Roman Catholic.

Course the middle of my web of doctrine, the essentials, is pretty small. FYI, the official Roman Catholic stance on the issue is that Protestants are "separated brethren". Their semantics are different than mine and Michael's, but the idea is the same.

Bryan Cross: Do you agree with St. Optatus on schism?http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/06/st-optatus-on-schism-and-the-bishop-of-rome/

Separated brethren are still in schism. http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2089.htm

Me: Again, using different semantics, Bryan. Anyone who proclaims Christ as Lord and has the Holy Spirit are in communion in my mind. Ergo RCs and Protestants are in spiritual communion. The man made idea of communion, belonging to a specific institution, is a different issue. I think the fathers would agree, and that's why they set boundaries in the councils.

Bryan Cross: That's because you believe Christ founded only an invisible Church, while for Catholics, (and the Church Fathers, e.g. St. Cyprian, St. Optatus, St. Augustine) Christ founded a visible Church.

Me: No I don't, but thanks for putting words in my mouth. The church is visible in the One we proclaim, and in the works that we do. Upon that rock Christ founded the church. ;-)

Bryan Cross: If there were no visible Church, but only visible Christians, what would be different?

Me: The Church is the Christians.

Bryan Cross: I have explained why Protestantism has no visible catholic Church here: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/09/why-protestantism-has-no-visible-catholic-church/

Me: I'll try to read that at some point, but it seems to me you're just begging the question with regard to what the church is. Why can't I say that the RC institution is just Rites, priests, bishops, and Popes, and not a true visible Church? The logic seems the same.

Bryan Cross: Because an organizational unity is something different from a mere conceptual unity [e.g. the set of all Christians]. Tom Brown and I have explained why the Church cannot be merely the set of all Christians, in our article "Christ Founded a Visible Church."
http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/06/christ-founded-a-visible-church/

Me: Is it Bryan? What makes the Catholic unity organizational and not just conceptual. Looks like a distinction without difference to me. Because at base, organization is pretty dependent on how we're conceiving of something, which again would make your assertion question begging.. [I realize he's trying to get at the Philosophical concept of what is a proper entity with regard to its constituent parts. The problem he has is that he's begging the question for his view, saying that the protestants aren't composed in the proper manner. My point is trying to get him to see that his "proper composition" of Popes, rites, bishops, etc is no less arbitrary a standard to consider a composed church than is individual believers who have the Holy Spirit. That's why we have to rely on divine revelation to tell us what the church is (1 Corinthians 12:13)]

[The protestant view seems to be supported] by the stress of the Greek word translated into church. Literally, "an assembly" or "called-out ones."

Bryan Cross: Here's an example. A set of atoms scattered around is not a genuine unity, but is rather plurality conceived as a unity (i.e. a set), whereas the set of atoms that composes your body comprise an actual unity, i.e. you.

Me: I agree. Now, why shouldn't one conceive of the body of believers as that unity of atoms?

Bryan, I can't go read through all of your blog posts regarding the issue and get back to you with prompt replies. It makes the discussion too cumbersome. Can you give me your summarized versions of your arguments?

Bryan Cross: I don't need prompt replies, and I don't have time to summarize them in FB chatboxes. I need to get back to work. This issue isn't capable of being worked out in a 30 minute chat session - it takes a long time to read then think about all this. Thanks for talking.

Me: In the meantime, my Biblical argument would start with 1 Cor 12:13.

So no response to my last post? Why should we consider individual men which constitute an institution known as the Roman Catholic Magesterium as properly "THE CHURCH ®" and not consider individual men (and women) who believe in Christ as "the Church"?

I don't see how your argument has any footing.

BTW, I read your post, and it's just relying on your question begging assumption. It's how you're conceiving of what the Church is. It's a semantic and definitional difference, and I don't see it supported in the idea of what the church is set forth by the apostles.

30 comments:

Jc_Freak: said...

Wow. That felt pompous. I mean him, not you.

Seth said...

You did very well Brennon. Saying all Christians are catholic drives some Roman Catholics nuts. I guess they just don't understand it? Anyway, I hope you guys continue the discussion sometime. If you do, you're going to post it right? ;)

Ana said...

- Jesus himself instituted the Papal office, he built his Church upon Peter.

Jesus gave Simon another name: Peter.

And he did this at the beginning of his ministry (not just simply after Peter confessed that he was the Christ, which came later.)

(In Scripture, when someone is given a new name, it's important. There's a purpose behind it. Think how Abram was given the new name Abraham).

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter) "

Cephas/Kephas is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic "kepha" which means rock. Aramaic was the language of the Jews in Palestine at this time.

The Greek word for "Peter" is "Petros", and Petros means rock.

Kepha -> ("Cephas") -> Petros

In Matt 16:18 Jesus calls Simon by his new name Peter, Petros.

Hence Matt 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

=

"And I tell you that you are rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

( Did Peter need to be "informed" that he was Peter? Do you Brennon, need me to inform you that you are Brennon? Clearly, there was a purpose behind Jesus preceding his statement about the church by the words " And I tell you that you are Peter ". )

Matt 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."


Jesus also gives the rest of the apostles the authority to bind and to loose on earth (Matt 18:18), But only to Peter, does he give a unique authority
represented by the keys.

(One more thing about Cephas, ... Paul refers to Peter as "Cephas" several times. One such example is in 1 Cor 15:3-5

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was
raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.
" )

Apart from Matt 16:18 there is another instance in which Peter, the rock, is singled out by Jesus Chist.

John 21:15-17 " So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.


The significance of this passage is two fold. It is a morally positive parallel to the morally negative incident of Peter denying the Lord three times.

The other significance, relevant to the papacy, is evident when looking at the Greek. The Greek word for "shepherd" (or "tend" or "take care") used
the second time by Jesus, in verse 16, is "poimaino" which means to to "rule" or "govern".

Peter is given the authority, by Jesus himself, to govern his sheep. There are three layers in this passage, the shepherd, the sheep, the lambs. Peter, the priesthood, the laity.

Ana said...

(cont.)

This idea of a visible authority guiding the people of God is definitely biblical. Here's more food for thought ...

Matthew 23:2-3 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you.
But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.


Jesus confirms the authority of the Pharisees, by appealing to the fact that the Pharisees are successors to Moses, and because of that,
their teachings were to be followed. Though the Pharisees themselves were personally corrupt -- hypocrites -- hence Jesus' warning to not
follow their behavior.

- "Me: The Church is the Christians. "

To define or portray the Church as the invisible set of all true believers, comes with it's problems.
The Church is a visible entity, tangible, something readily apparent to the world.

Matt 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

"Me: Is it Bryan? What makes the Catholic unity organizational and not just conceptual. Looks like a distinction without difference to me."

Well, for one we have the Eucharist. This is central to our unity. And to have the Eucharist, we need valid Holy Orders, priests, successors to the apostles, to consecrate the bread and wine, which the faithful receive.
Right there, we have an inherent hierarchy.

"I consider modern Roman Catholics as properly catholic, as I do Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, and Eastern Orthodox
because they don't hold to heretical views, ie views that would take them outside of Christianity."


They are Christian. But the other groups deliberately refuse to be in communion with the Holy See of Peter, to be under the authority of its bishops, to be under the universal jurisdiction of the Pope.
So for them to be given the label "catholic" is misleading and novel because it's not the historical usage of the term.

Also, Brennon, what has the authority to declare which doctrines or beliefs are heretical, and to define what the Christian faith is, especially when Christians disagree amongst themselves?
Are Calvinists I've engaged in right when they portray the belief in regenerative water baptism, as being heretical, and that believing
such a thing makes one a non-Christian? As I'm sure you're aware, the Catholic Church judged Sola Fide, of Martin Luther, heretical. Yet, it doesn't maintain
that the fact Protestants ascribe to Sola Fide makes them non-Christians.

Whereas, you're statement, it's slightly ambiguous. Are you suggesting that being a Christian and ascribing to a heretical view are necessarily mutually exclusive?

bossmanham said...

Ana,

I really wasn't intending this to be a debate point, but only mentioned it somewhat tongue in cheek since I know how Catholics take that verse.

A couple things, whether or not Christ is referring to Peter himself as the rock that He will build His church on, it in no way proves anything with regard to the Roman Catholic institution of the Papacy. I'm not sure which the correct interpretation should be, as the language in question is fairly ambiguous, but I could happily think that Peter is in fact the rock (see the book of Acts) and not think that there's any sort of permanent church office being established. That has to be read into the verse. The same can be said for Peter's restoration by Christ.

To define or portray the Church as the invisible set of all true believers, comes with it's problems.

I've no where argued that this is invisible at all. Who said believers in Christ who work for him are invisible? No where in the Bible is the church looked at as simply the institution of bishops, but rather the community of those who believe. The church can be referred to in one house (Romans 16:5). Where those who believe are, that is where the church is.

The Church is a visible entity, tangible, something readily apparent to the world.

I agree. The debate is whether that visible tangible entity is the Roman Catholic institution. The scripture never says as much, and seems to paint a completely different picture.

Well, for one we have the Eucharist. This is central to our unity. And to have the Eucharist, we need valid Holy Orders, priests, successors to the apostles, to consecrate the bread and wine, which the faithful receive. Right there, we have an inherent hierarchy.

But this is just begging the question, Ana. All denominations hold to some sort of sacramental worship. The Eucharist is not the church, and I don't think you'd want to argue that. Yes, Catholics claim that the correct view of the Eucharist is necessary for one to be in the Catholic church, but that's what is up for debate.

the other groups deliberately refuse to be in communion with the Holy See of Peter, to be under the authority of its bishops, to be under the universal jurisdiction of the Pope.

Asserting what the RC church says does little to convince one who has seen no reason to think it bears that authority. The historical use of the word "catholic" is not "Roman Catholic." The catholic church is the "real" church. Those who are really under Christ's salvation.

bossmanham said...

Also, Brennon, what has the authority to declare which doctrines or beliefs are heretical, and to define what the Christian faith is, especially when Christians disagree amongst themselves?

As Michael Patton says in the post I linked to, "Though the Scripture is the final authority, individual interpretation is not the final authority. We interpret the Bible in and with the church. When doctrine is established, it is not established with an individual, his Bible, and the Holy Spirit, but with an individual, his Bible, and the Holy Spirit who is at work both through the individual and the historic body of Christ..."
Traditional protestants have not taught that individuals have authority in themselves to do theology. The church, the community of believers, is the "the pillar and support of the truth." This article is informative in differentiating solo scriptura, an aberrant teaching, from the traditional protestant sola scriptura.

So the church, as they did in the first several councils, has that authority. Following scripture, they clarified what God had already taught, and that was what is heresy and what is not.

As I'm sure you're aware, the Catholic Church judged Sola Fide, of Martin Luther, heretical. Yet, it doesn't maintain
that the fact Protestants ascribe to Sola Fide makes them non-Christians.


And I don't take that declaration to be authoritative in the least. They declared anathemas at Trent, which historically have meant being excluded from the church, literally cursed. I'm pretty sure that's what the counter reformers had in mind. Of course the RC church has changed their tune and we're now "separated brethren." The pope has gone so far as to say Luther was right (obviously said within some context).

Whereas, you're statement, it's slightly ambiguous. Are you suggesting that being a Christian and ascribing to a heretical view are necessarily mutually exclusive?

When properly understanding what a heresy is, yes I think so. Some people rattle off the word today while referring to things that aren't actually heretical, so certainly some semantic clarification is needed.

Ana said...

"Who said believers in Christ who work for him are invisible?"

"Works" aren't invisible, but the body of all true believers that Protestants speak of is, because we do not "see" this set, and since looking inside a church's walls and seeing who is inside isn't going to tell a Protestant who in there is actually saved and who isn't.

And without knowing who the saved are, then when you seek to interpret the Bible amongst "the community of believers", what's your criteria for determining
the given community is indeed comprised of saved people? Will you go to the Bible to determine that? Oh but Michael says "We interpret the Bible in and with the church". So which comes first, going to the community of the saved or the interpretation of the Bible? This takes us circles.

"When properly understanding what a heresy is, yes I think so."

mmm, that would take us further down the road of disagreement. I assume you would do not agree with the Catholic view of heresy...

"A person must be baptized to commit heresy. This means that movements that have split off from or been influenced by Christianity, but that do not practice baptism
(or do not practice valid baptism), are not heresies, but separate religions. Examples
include Muslims, who do not practice baptism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who do not practice
valid baptism.

Finally, the doubt or denial involved in heresy must concern a matter that has been revealed
by God and solemnly defined by the Church (for example, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacrifice of the Mass, the pope’s infallibility, or the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary)."

"but I could happily think that Peter is in fact the rock (see the book of Acts) and not think that
there's any sort of permanent church office being established. That has to be read into the verse"


No; one just need look at the 266 popes of the Catholic Church. To say it has to be read into the verse doesn't account for why there was Pope Linus.

Whereas, if there had been some centuries of gap between St. Peter the Pope, and a second Pope, then
the idea that the papal office died with the apostles (or something along those lines) and
papal succession was a later invention of the Church, would have far more credibility.

A quote (below) was brought to my attention, that I then looked into
( under sections II. He proves from the Cathedra Petri that the Cathedra which is the first endowment of the Church belongs to
Catholics, not to Donatists.
and III. The Succession of Bishops of Rome) and it's relevant to this issue:

"You cannot then deny that you know that upon Peter first in the city of Rome was bestowed the
episcopal cathedra, on which he sat, the head of all the apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), that, in this one cathedra, unity should be preserved by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on
their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. . . . Recall, then, the origins of your chair, those of you
who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church"
(Schism of the Donatists 2:2 (c. A.D. 367) -ST. OPTATUS OF MILEVIS)

bossmanham said...

"Works" aren't invisible, but the body of all true believers that Protestants speak of is, because we do not "see" this set, and since looking inside a church's walls and seeing who is inside isn't going to tell a Protestant who in there is actually saved and who isn't.

How is that any different than the Catholic church? As Catholics admit that some popes are in hell, how can just looking at popes and bishops tell us what the church is?

Further, what do you mean you don't see Christians? You're simply assuming here that the definition you've set up is correct, that the institution of popes and bishops is "The Church." How do we decipher them? Well they obviously have to do something to see who is the pope, bishop etc. They have to work. In fact, I don't see any other way to see the church than if they work. Jesus appealed to what He did to get people to recognize Him (John 5:36; 10:38). Jesus also says that the way to recognize who is a false prophet and who is a Christian is by what they do (Matthew 7:15-20). Our works are what glorify God and is what attracts people to Him (Matthew 5:16).

Now that idea is certainly evident in scripture. Nowhere do I see the apostles focusing on church offices as what the church is. I still haven't seen any support for that position.

As to how it works out practically in interpreting scripture within the church, I think some of the early councils are good examples. Modern scholarship debating things in theological journals is another example. An example of theology being done outside the church is what Harold Camping did, claiming he had some special insight and ignoring other believers who called him out. If you're looking for a rigid rulebook on how it's done, I don't know that you'll find it, and I certainly don't think that a limited number of men in Rome is the answer, since they're interpreting scripture and tradition, and then we have to interpret what they say.

Yes, we will probably disagree on which doctrinal disagreements constitute heresy, because we disagree on the definitions of some of those doctrines and who has the authority to define them. The historical heresies don't include half of your list. Those heresies include: Sabellianism, Docetism, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, Apollinarianism, Arianism, etc. Though on second look at those heresies, I'm not sure that all of those misunderstandings are damnable.

No; one just need look at the 266 popes of the Catholic Church. To say it has to be read into the verse doesn't account for why there was Pope Linus.

Of course the bishop of Rome hasn't always been viewed as he is now in Church history, and simply listing the bishops of Rome doesn't really prove anything. Plus, there's little to no evidence that Peter was in fact a bishop of Rome.

We could list the succession of other bishops in other areas too, and it wouldn't prove anything about them either. Further, while many fathers did espouse the primacy of the Roman bishop, they didn't seem to espouse the supremacy or ultimate authority of him. I have no issue with the historic church of Rome having political and historic importance in early Christianity, it doesn't mean it's somehow infallible. Also, since several fathers directly criticize popes (ie Tertullian and Hippolytus), it seems that at least they didn't think they were infallible, but this is kind of getting off topic.

Ana said...

"How is that any different than the Catholic church?How is that any different than the Catholic church? As Catholics admit that some popes are in hell, how can just looking at popes and bishops tell us what the church is?"

Apostolic succession (again, Holy Orders)by the laying on of hands, infants (and adults) baptized in the Church -- (something concrete). That some Catholics may be in hell, doesn't compromise what the Church is visibly because our understanding of the Church does not make "Catholic" and "a person who dies and goes to hell" mutually exclusive (unlike the Protestant understanding of Church, in which the Church is by definition the set of only and all the saved).

To put it broadly, Catholic and Protestant understanding of salvation is different, so that weighs into the issue of the difference in the understanding of what the Church is.

As far as I'm aware, the Magisterium has never formally declared specific people to be in hell, hence individual Catholics can speculate on this issue of who might be in hell, whereas, we know it has declared a number of people as being in heaven.

"Also, since several fathers directly criticize popes (ie Tertullian and Hippolytus), it seems that at least they didn't think they were infallible, but this is kind of getting off topic."

Individual Catholics criticizing a pope is not incompatible with nor contradicts the the doctrine of papal infallibility, which is a qualified one, it does not teach that the pope is infallible in absolutely anything he says (unfortunately a misconception in society, that and the confusion of infallibility with impeccability).

bossmanham said...

Ana,

Apostolic succession (again, Holy Orders)by the laying on of hands, infants (and adults) baptized in the Church -- (something concrete).

All of these are something they do, and protestants do the same things. Protestants have alter calls and going forward at the end of the service etc. Neither the Catholic nor the Protestant performing these tasks proves that their heart is right with God, and if their heart isn't right with God, they "were not really of us" (1 John 2:19). In fact, I think that passage is a knock down argument for the view you're espousing. These people seemingly were taking part in Church activities and appeared to be part of it, but John says they actually weren't part of the Church.

To put it broadly, Catholic and Protestant understanding of salvation is different, so that weighs into the issue of the difference in the understanding of what the Church is.

Not really that different when taken to brass tacks, actually. But it's not relevant to the convo.

As far as I'm aware, the Magisterium has never formally declared specific people to be in hell, hence individual Catholics can speculate on this issue of who might be in hell, whereas, we know it has declared a number of people as being in heaven.

I wasn't saying they had. Rather I've read Catholics say that, however.

Individual Catholics criticizing a pope is not incompatible with nor contradicts the the doctrine of papal infallibility, which is a qualified one, it does not teach that the pope is infallible in absolutely anything he says

I understand that, but I believe Tertullian was criticizing him for claiming to be some sort of special bishop, which would be doctrinal teaching.

Ana said...

"In fact, I think that passage is aknock down argument for the view you're
espousing."


No. That interpretation does not make
much sense in light of other passages
speaking of members of the Church who
are to be cut off, (Scriptural consistency
with excommunication); the purpose of
excommunication is to make a person aware
of their wrongdoing
, thereby causing the
person to reflect, and as a result, come
to repentance, and be reconciled to the
Church.

Consider the following (especially the part I italicize) :

1 Cor 5: 1-13

"It is actually reported that there is
sexual immorality among you, and of a
kind that is not tolerated even among
pagans, for a man has his father's wife.
And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather
to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed
from among you
. For though absent in body,
I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have
already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a
thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord
Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our
Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for
the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may
be saved in the day of the Lord
. But now I am writing
to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother
if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an
idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler --not even to eat
with such a one. For what have I to do with judging
outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom
you are to judge
? God judges those outside. "Purge
the evil person from among you.
" "

I Tim 2:18-20

"This charge I entrust to you, Timothy,
my child, in accordance with the prophecies
previously made about you, that by them you
may wage the good warfare, holding faith
and a good conscience. By rejecting this,
some have made shipwreck of their faith,
among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander,
whom I have handed over to Satan that they
may learn not to blaspheme
. "

And the words of Our Lord himself:

Matt 18: 15-18

"If your brother sins against you, go
and tell him his fault, between you and
him alone. If he listens to you, you have
gained your brother. But if he does not
listen, take one or two others along with
you, that every charge may be established
by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it
to the church. And if he refuses to listen
even to the church, let him be to you as
a Gentile and a tax collector
. Truly, I
say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall
be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
earth shall be loosed in heaven.


1 John 2: 19-20

"They went out from us, but they were not of
us; for if they had been of us, they would
have continued with us. But they went out,
that it might become plain that they all
are not of us."

This seems to be talking about people within
the Church who out of their own initiative,
left the Church. This rather brings to my
mind schismatics, and also people who
entirely abandon the faith, "deconverts".

Back to the issue of Church visibility
and the bishop holding the papal office,
as being that which secures unity in the
Church.

I alread cited the passage relevant to Peter being
the rock upon which the Church is built, so no
need to reiterate that.

Now for something more subtle, and at the same time,
very revealing -- puzzle pieces coming together...

Ana said...

Matt 7:21 -27

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and
do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' Build Your House on the Rock "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been *founded on the rock*. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do
them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

What is a synonym for the Church? The House of God.

1 Tim 3:15 "if I delay, you may know
how one ought to behave in the household of God,
which is the church of the living God, a pillar and
foundation of the truth."

I understand that, but I believe Tertullian was criticizing
him for claiming to be some sort of special bishop, which would
be doctrinal teaching.


Here is
an article
that addresses that,

(particularly, the bottom portion:

"Now Tertullian is obviously being sarcastic in calling Pope Callistus by such names as "bishop
of bishops" and "Pontifex Maximus" -- both of these
titles, as I said, being imperial pagan ones at this time (c. 220 AD). However, the mere fact that Tertullian (a heretic) is referring to the Pope this way, shows that Pope Callistus wielded authority outside of his own bishopric and throughout the universal Church."

(emphasis original)

bossmanham said...

Ana,

I don't see how those passages do anything to discount what I said about the passage in 1 John. Believers being separated from other believers for a time, false believers being removed from the community, etc do nothing to answer how someone can look like they're a part of the church in taking part in the sacraments and being in the visible institution, and for John to say they weren't actually a part of it.

Re 1 Cor 5:13, that doesn't prove your interpretation of what the church is, rather you're assuming your view in critiquing it. I could easily say that those in the church are believers, and those that appear to be believers are to be purged if they are evil. This also applies to Matt 18.

Re 1 Tim 3 and the house of God, I think you're forgetting that Paul, on Mars hill, clearly said that God doesn't dwell in temples made by hand (Acts 17:24), but rather that PEOPLE are the temple of God. In them is where He dwells (1 Cor 3:16). I think it becomes clear that the house of God is clearly the hearts of people. And so I think it's clear that Paul's statement to Timothy means that His people are His household, and it is that which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. So when we do theology with and in the church, we do it with other believers and with believers of the past relying on God's revelation to us, which is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17), ie in the catholic church , as Michael Patton said.

Re the article you linked to, that was the very one I read, lol. I don't see how his aberrant teaching in one area is relevant to the fact that there were early church fathers who clearly didn't see the Roman Bishop as some sort of supreme bishop. Being that it was quite early, it seems to discount the claim that the papacy was something that was universally accepted by the major theologians at the time.

Constantine said...

Ana wrote,

- Jesus himself instituted the Papal office, he built his Church upon Peter.

There is only need of a papal office if you disbelieve the power of the Son to command the Spirit to do God's will (see John 14:26). Secondly, if Peter is the “rock” then Jesus is schizophrenic, for Christ affirmed every “jot and tittle” of the Law and the Prophets which clearly state that God – alone – is the Rock (2 Samuel 22:32; Psalm 18:31; Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 44:8, etc.). Thirdly – and perhaps most interestingly – Roman Catholics are precluded from using Matthew 16:18 in support of the papacy because it violates the Creed of Pius IV. This passage fails the test of unanimity of the Fathers required for Catholic dogma. (This point was made and published by Archbishop Kenrick during Vatican I.)

Peace.

Constantine said...

Ana wrote,

In Matt 16:18 Jesus calls Simon by his new name Peter, Petros.

And in Matthew 16:23, Jesus calls Simon by another new name – Satan!

Constantine said...

Ana further writes,

Peter is given the authority, by Jesus himself, to govern his sheep. There are three layers in this passage, the shepherd, the sheep, the lambs. Peter, the priesthood, the laity.

As compared to a true Petrine scholar (and friend to three popes!) Dr. Oscar Cullmann:

...as far as it concerns the rock on which the structure is to be built, is directed to an apostle, not to a bishop....According to the united witness of the New Testament, however, the apostolic office, particularly that of the Twelve, is a unique office not to be repeated.” (Cullmann, Oscar. Peter: Disciple-Apostle-Martyr: A Historical and Theological Study; Westminster Press, 1953. p. 215)

So, IF, the promise was made to Peter it was made to him as an apostle, not as a bishop and certainly not to any successor bishops.

But there is a more serious problem. That is, Peter never knew he was the “rock” (see Acts 10:26) and neither did the early Roman church. Professor Cullmann, once more:

Moreover, until the beginning of the third century it never occurred to a single Bishop of Rome to refer to the saying in Matthew 16:17 ff. To himself in the sense of the leadership of the entire Church...This appeal that the Roman Bishops made to Matthew 16:17 ff., moreover, fell far short of general acceptance even in the third century, and only much later does the exclusive reference to Rome become a self-evident axiom. (Cullmann, op. Cit., p. 234)

So, we have seen that there is NO theological basis for Ana's claim; there is NO historical basis for her claim and that her claim violates the “tradition” of the Roman Catholic church.

“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…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.”

Dr. Karl Heinz-Ohlig. Professor of Religious Studies and the History of Christianity at the University of Saarland, Germany.


Peace.

bossmanham said...

Constantine,

I agree with you, obviously, and appreciate the quotes you gave. In the interest of fairness though, I have to point out where I disagree.

1) It doesn't follow that just because one believes in the Papal office, they don't believe in the power of the Spirit, because they would argue the Spirit has a role in continuing the office.

2) I can't see how the Papacy would make God schizophrenic if it were truly instituted by him. That doesn't follow either.

Constantine said...

Hi bossmanham,

Thanks for the interaction.

To your first point, yes, you are right, that would be the argument. It seems to me though, that that contradicts Christ again in John 3. Therein he says that while we may feel the effects of the Spirit, we do not know whence He comes or to where He departs. If the Spirit is operative, as RC's maintain, in one man in one city, then I think there is a conflict.

Your second point is equally well made and I apologize for the confusion. What I meant to do was deal specifically with the "rock" passage (Matt 16:18). Ana claims that Christ made Peter the "rock" and I observe that God the Father proclaimed His identity as "Rock" in the OT. So, if Ana is correct, God the Son contradicts God the Father.

Now one might add that this is, after all, the "New" Testament so that may be proper. My further question then is what did Christ mean when He affirmed everything the Father said in the OT (Matt. 5:17)

I hope that is clearer and thanks for your comment.

Peace.

Ana said...

Hello Constantine,

You said: "And in Matthew 16:23, Jesus calls Simon by another new name – Satan!

Yes, Jesus rebukes Peter. This proves what, Constantine? That Peter lacked an understanding of what the mission of the Messiah was? Sure.

How does this in any way undermine what I have argued concerning Peter, that Jesus built his Church on the person of Peter? Did Jesus (as a result of Peter's words in Matt 16:22) revoke the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" he had given to Peter? Nope.

"So, IF, the promise was made to Peter it was made to him as an apostle".

I presume, you are skeptical that Jesus built his Church on Peter. I submit though, that Christians who are skeptical of this, will have to come up with how to make sense of:

- Why Jesus renamed Simon
Sub-question: Why he renamed him as Cephas.
- Why Jesus says to Peter " And I tell you that you are Peter " in Matt 16:18 ?(it's not as if a person needs to be informed of what his own name is)
- What are the "keys of the kingdom of heaven"?
Sub-question: why did he give them exclusively to Peter?

Rhology said...

Ana,

Did Jesus (as a result of Peter's words in Matt 16:22) revoke the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" he had given to Peter? Nope.

It's difficult to revoke that which has not been given.
Matt 16:18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19“I *****will***** give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven..."



- Why Jesus renamed Simon
Sub-question: Why he renamed him as Cephas.


To signify that he would stand firm through trial, for the sake of Jesus.


- Why Jesus says to Peter " And I tell you that you are Peter " in Matt 16:18 ?(it's not as if a person needs to be informed of what his own name is)

B/c his name was Simon before.



- What are the "keys of the kingdom of heaven"?

In the context, they seem to have to do with churchly authority. And Peter did have a goodly amount of churchly authority.
Peter is, however, dead today. Arguing from "Peter had authority" to "Pope Benedict 16 is infallible when speaking ex cathedra and is the Vicar of Christ" requires just a tiny bit of disjointed, historically ignorant, and question-begging reasoning.



why did he give them exclusively to Peter?

He didn't.
Matthew 18:15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Here the explication of the keys (binding and loosing) is distributed to the entire church.

Constantine said...

Hi Ana,

You wrote, “Yes, Jesus rebukes Peter. This proves what, Constantine?”

Well, it proves that Christ called him by other names, for one. So why do you pick and choose instead of looking at the whole picture? If it is valid for you to base your claim about Peter’s name from Matt. 16:18 why can’t we apply your standard to Matt. 16:23?

Ana wrote, once more: “I presume, you are skeptical that Jesus built his Church on Peter.”

No, I’m not at all skeptical. Christ most definitely did not build His church on a man.

One of the things that has fascinated me in recent years is the discovery that the RC church has nearly completely censored the OT from its worship. According to Fr. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D., the Lectionary used at the Mass from 1570 until 1970 left out 99.2% of the Old Testament (with the exceptions of the Psalms which are read responsively between readings). What that means is that Roman Catholics have a distorted anthropology. When they attribute headship to Peter they assume some innate good in him to be able to consummate that role. But the OT specifically denies any good in any man (Gen. 6:5; 8:21). So if God the Father is true in his assessment of His creation in Genesis, He could not establish His church on a totally depraved human being.


Secondly, and as I have tried to explain earlier, the Rock of Matthew 16 has to be Christ. The logic is as follows: Christ is one with the Father (John 10:30), the Father proclaimed that He alone is the “Rock” (the OT verses are too numerous to cite completely, but look at these: Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:31; 2 Samuel 22:32; Psalm 18:31; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 62:7; Psalm 95:1, etc.) Therefore, if Christ proclaims anyone other than Himself as the “Rock” He denies His own words (Matthew 5:17) and He denies the Father. I your misunderstanding happens because of the first point, above, that is RC’s are not familiar with the OT.


Thirdly, the New Testament knows nothing of the role you attribute to Peter. While it is true, that Peter was more vocal and exercised some leadership of the group during Christ’s earthly life, he quickly shed that role thereafter. James became the “bishop” of Jerusalem and Peter was sent on a mission (Acts 8). When Cornelius fell on his face in front of Peter, Peter’s response was, “I’m just a man!” (Acts 10:26). And Peter returned from the mission field to attend the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15, which was hosted by Christ’s brother, James.

So, I’m not the least bit skeptical. We have God’s Word on it…Peter is definitely not the “Rock”.


As to the sub-questions you asked – what Rhology said.

Keep searching, Ana. I encourage you and pray that God will open eyes of your heart.

Peace.

Constantine said...

Ana,


I have a couple of other observations for you in regard to your use of Matthew 16 and I am curious as to your response.


First, the Catechism says explicitly, “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” (paragraph 85)

Do you have an universally accepted, infallible interpretation of Matthew 16 which has come down from the Magisterium?

Secondly, Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick, who was a seminary professor before being named archbishop of St. Louis and a Father at Vatican I, has written that Roman Catholics may not use Matthew 16 to support the idea of the papacy because to do so would violate the Creed of Pope St. Pius IV. I’m curious, by what authority do you violate the teachings of the Magisterium and this infallible creed of your church?


Thanks for your upcoming response.

Peace.

Ana said...

Hello there Rhology,

You said: "It's difficult to revoke that which has not been given. Matt 16:18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19“I *****will***** give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven..."

(bold emphasis mine)

Interesting. The above suggests that Jesus didn't do what He said He would do. Is verse 19 therefore, an untrue statement?

Constantine,

"Well, it proves that Christ called him by other names, for one. So why do you pick and choose instead of looking at the whole picture?"

It's not 'picking and choosing', Constantine. I'm simply pointing out, that indeed, Jesus rebuked Peter, but He did NOT revoke the name He granted him (Cephas; John 1:42) and did not revoke the keys He gave to him. So that Jesus called him Satan, doesn't change that Petros means rock, and that Cephas transliterates from "kepha", which also means rock. And neither does it change that in John 21, (which is post- Jesus-rebukes-Peter), Jesus tells Peter, to shepherd (verb) His flock!

"Do you have an universally accepted, infallible interpretation of Matthew 16 which has come down from the Magisterium?" (emphasis mine)

Binding on the universal church, infallible and from the Magisterium -- in the decrees of Vatican I.

"Secondly, Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick, who was a seminary professor before being named archbishop of St. Louis and a Father at Vatican I, has written that Roman Catholics may not use Matthew 16 to support the idea of the papacy because to do so would violate the Creed of Pope St. Pius IV. I’m curious, by what authority do you violate the teachings of the Magisterium and this infallible creed of your church."

-It would have been relevant for you to include what specifically in it he claims it violates.
- When will you stop beating your wife? That's what your second question is to me -- it assumes I'm actually committing a violation by assuming that Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick's view, is binding on me.

One last thing I'll say. In regards to the issue of primacy you brought up.

If your point is that specifically papal primacy (not primacy of the Church in Rome ) is not something explicitly evidenced in the earliest writings of the early Church, this isn't problematic. I assume you've heard of development of doctrine? With time, the Church gains a more nuanced understanding of the deposit of faith, and
the doctrines contained in it in elementary form become more thoroughly articulated and more
precisely defined ( particularly relevant when heresies arise).

If you're going to reject papal primacy because of doctrinal development then you place yourself in slippery-slope territory (though I know you will not want to slide down).
Just consider the doctrine of the Trinity and its development in the early Church, the stages of its formulation throughout the ecumenical councils.

Peace to you too.

Ana

Rhology said...

The above suggests that Jesus didn't do what He said He would do. Is verse 19 therefore, an untrue statement?

I'm saying that Jesus said He WILL give. No indication of when, so you don't know if Peter had the keys yet. So this point of yours cannot be substantiated.


Just consider the doctrine of the Trinity and its development in the early Church, the stages of its formulation throughout the ecumenical councils.

Did you really just compare the completely biblical teaching of the Trinity with the tabula rasa formulation of papal doctrine?
I love how Rome leads otherwise decent people into blasphemy.

bossmanham said...

Constantine,

Ana claims that Christ made Peter the "rock" and I observe that God the Father proclaimed His identity as "Rock" in the OT.

Okay, but I don't think you can use this line of reasoning in your polemic, because this seems to be equivocating. Yahweh call Himself The Rock in a completely different sense than Jesus called Peter the Rock, and Catholics don't equate the two. I mean Jesus DID in fact say that Peter was the rock (or his confession). That doesn't mean God is saying Peter is now equal with Him, and the Catholic would affirm that.

Rho,

I'm not sure she's trying to equate the doctrine of the Trinity and the Papacy, but trying to point out that there is doctrinal development. That may be an issue for Catholics, but I can't see how trying to say it may be a doctrinal development is blasphemous...

My question for Ana is how the RC church can accept doctrinal development at all, since all of its teachings are said to be infallible. That seems to entail no change.

Rhology said...

The point is that there's tons of Scriptural reason to believe the Trinity, and none to believe the Papacy.

Constantine said...

Hi Ana,

Let me address several of your points:

1. You’ve become very adept at the standard RC epologist quotes, all of which have been refuted on this blog and elsewhere. “Petros” may mean “rock” but that has nothing to do with what Jesus intent was in Matthew 16.

2. You cite the decrees of Vatican I as the “universally accepted, infallible interpretation of Matthew 16. But the fact is, as I’ve mentioned earlier, Archbishop Kenrick, himself a member of the Magisterium stated otherwise. In more modern times, Yves Cardinal Congar, another member of the Magisterium dissents from the Vatican I view. So who is right?


3. You would like a cite to which Archbishop Kenrick refers – fair enough. This is from Trent:


a. “I also admit the Holy Scripture according to that sense which our holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, to whom it belongeth to judge of the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.” Creed of Pope Pius IV, One of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church.


You see, Ana, according to the Council of Trent, you may not interpret Scripture – Matthew 16 included – in any manner that is not in accord with the “unanimous consent of the Fathers”. Kenrick’s point at Vatican I is that there are at least five varying interpretations of Matthew 16:17ff. Therefore, as a Roman Catholic, you are prohibited from providing the analysis that you do!


Now, my question to you is very simple. I have provided you with one of only four “authoritative creeds” of the Roman church, promulgated by an infallible Council (Trent) with the approval of the pope which directly contradicts another “infallible Council (Vatican I) whose decrees were approved by a pope. Since the former contradicts the latter, by what authority do you choose? You simply can’t without resorting to your own ‘private interpretation’.


4. You wrote, “…-- it assumes I'm actually committing a violation by assuming that Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick's view, is binding on me.”

Actually, it’s not Kenrick’s view. He was writing as an historian. What he espoused was the historic position of the Roman Catholic Church as upheld by Trent! The irony for you is that Vatican I threw Trent out the window on this issue.


5. Lastly, in regards to your comments on the development of doctrine. The doctrine of the Trinity can be shown to go back far into the Old Testament so what has developed there was our understanding of a doctrine whose presence is documented. As I mentioned to your earlier, neither Peter, nor the Apostles, nor Christ Himself had any idea of a papacy and a doctrine cannot “develop” from a vacuum.


Peace.

Constantine said...

Hi Bossmanham,

BMH wrote, “but I don't think you can use this line of reasoning in your polemic, because this seems to be equivocating. Yahweh call Himself The Rock in a completely different sense than Jesus called Peter the Rock, and Catholics don't equate the two.


Really? Vatican I said specifically that Peter was given a “primacy of jurisdiction”, yet these OT passages talk only of God’s jurisdiction. I think you may be overly protective of your position, BMH.

BMH wrote, ” I mean Jesus DID in fact say that Peter was the rock (or his confession). That doesn't mean God is saying Peter is now equal with Him, and the Catholic would affirm that.


Please consider this…this passage makes perfect sense if Christ did not call Peter the “Rock” but rather referred to Himself. It’s not at all hard to imagine that Christ said “You are Peter”, and then, pointing to Himself said, “and upon this Rock I will build my church.” If one allows even that that is a possibility, the contradictions with the OT go away. If you don’t allow for that as an option, you are left jumping through all sorts of hoops.

Peace.

bossmanham said...

Constantine,

My point is that the way "The Rock" is being used in Matthew is clearly in a different sense than it is in the OT passages referring to God Himself. I've never seen anyone interpret Jesus' saying as referring to Himself. I don't see how you can get that out of the text except to force a protestant polemic into the text, which is eisegesis. I don't think the Catholic interpretation is correct, but I also think the text should speak for itself, and I can't see any straight objective reading of this coming away with your proffered interpretation.

Constantine said...

Hi BMH,

Thanks for the note.

I'd be curious to have your explanation of the different senses so that I can understand your meaning.

As to interpreting the "Rock" of Matt. 16:17ff as Christ, it was one of the recognized interpretation by the ECF's. Augustine, for example, was one who interpreted the passage in that manner.

Please have a happy 4th!

Peace.