Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bad boy Luther

I have been thinking on what a friend of mine said... about Luther

I meant that they[Luther and the Reformers] should have stopped after being warned in Exsurge Domine to cease their publications and public preaching.

That's what I meant about my being pragmatic. It seems like a surrender, to back down from the threat of excommunication, but the Church had had its bleak periods before, the biggest one I can think of being the Arian heresy, which overtook most of the Church, and most of her leadership. It was the Lord's hand that saved the Church. So if it is a surrender, it is a surrender to God's reliable providence and pastoring. And no better healing can have ever been had.

Tragically, Luther did feel that it would take the Lord's hand to resolve the corruption he saw, but he just couldn't stand by and wait.
I wonder if in the Arian controversy, Jeff would be willing to have adopted the same attitude - just be quiet - let God sort it out. When false teaching is happening in the body of Christ, controversy and debate should never stop. In my thinking this is part and parcel of God putting us in line.

Jeff speaks of surrender, so surrender to false teaching then? So Luther is a bad boy, he should have recanted on some of his assertions like...

25. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.
28. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.
37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon[church laws?].
Point 25 is very evident that the Councils like that in Carthage 419 and on wards did not consider the Bishop of Rome as he Vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world. The EO never believed it and so did the early Christians. Point 28 is obvious because all men are sinners and therefore may err. Simple logic will dictate that if we believe the Pope is a human being too. Well for point 33, as a Christian - you think for yourself , you figure it out- should we burn those who disagree with us? Did the early Christians burn the Arians or the Donatists? I wonder. Point 35 is again just stating what the Bible says - 1 John 1:7-8. Point 37 was never believed by the early Christians either.

To do what the Exsurge says is to accept erroneous teaching (at least from Luther's eyes), in otherwords, to comply meant a recantation. Thus he would have to agree that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ for all churches, he would have to agree that the Pope never errs etc etc.

So Luther was the bad boy for not complying, but what about the Papacy for teaching the sale of indulgences, this was not bad?


I wonder, are we not calling good evil and evil good here? I am just thinking...

17 comments:

Jeff Tan said...

Hi Lito,

In an earlier comment on the same comment box, I said this, too:

"We can take some affirmative action, clamor to reform some bad leaders, raise the ante and seek to impeach them if they resist, but it is not up to us to divide up the flock, as if the Lord was asleep on the job."

So why did you say this:

"Jeff speaks of surrender, so surrender to false teaching then?"

when what I said was this:

"So if it is a surrender, it is a surrender to God's reliable providence and pastoring."

During the time of Israel's captivities, did not the prophets clarify that it would be the Lord's salvation that would save them? The zealots in the time of Christ were trying to take matters into their own hands too, but that was not how the Lord worked. Even the invaders like Darius were pawns of the Lord's will. The clue was in the keys of the kingdom. Jewish scholarship would know that the keys of David, the keys of the kingdom, were outward signs of authority for the vizier who was over the king's household. In Isaiah they would know that the Lord may set aside the unfit vizier (Shebna) and pass the keys to a new vizier (Eliakim). He set aside kings, too, e.g., Saul. In Matthew the Lord gives Peter the keys, and clarifies a unique authority given to him with those keys. As with Shebna, when our leaders become unfit, the Lord himself with set them aside and raise up a new one.

As for the theses of Luther, I did not say recant them. He may continue the dialog, pursuing his arguments, but rather in private, without the publications and public preaching. Consider the civil unrest and confusion among the faithful that ensued from the spectacular publications and sermons of Luther.

As for the primacy of Peter, you may wish to read Vatican I which develops the doctrine. While the doctrine was not developed until later, the primacy of Rome among the apostolic sees was uncontested. The Eastern Orthodox today contest only that his primacy is one of honor only, not that he does not have any primacy. St. Athanasius calls Rome the Apostolic throne. St. Macarius of Egypt maintains that Peter succeeded Moses, and to Peter was committed the new Church of Christ. Christ himself told Peter to feed his sheep, and that flock remains today, but where is Peter to look after us? St. Cyril of Alexandria maintains that the Lord set Peter as shepherd of his Church. A special charism was laid upon Peter by the Lord, says St. Cyril, with words like "I have prayed for thee that thy faith not fail" and "do though, when once thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren"

The doctrine of infallibility did not develop until sometime later. This is not especially suspect given that other grave matters of doctrine did not develop for some time either, e.g., the Trinity, hypostatic union of Christ's human and divine nature, the canon of Scripture, etc. I invite you to read John Henry Newman's "Essay on the development of Christian doctrine".

"Point 28 is obvious because all men are sinners and therefore may err. Simple logic will dictate that if we believe the Pope is a human being too."

Does this include the New Testament writers in the light of their humanity? It is not that simple.

Point 35 is at least an ambiguous assertion. Is an infant sinning as it slumbers? I am not pertaining to its fallen nature, but to "sinning", an activity.

Exsurge Domine declared Luther's "theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds". I want you to consider the last bit: seductive to simple minds. And consider the Peasant's revolt, the overall confusion in the Church, the civil unrest, the heterodoxies of Luther's opponents among the other reformers. Can we not say that the papal bull was right on the money, that the theses, insufficiently nuanced and explained, yet widely publicized, caused the seduction of simple minds?

"So Luther was the bad boy for not complying, but what about the Papacy for teaching the sale of indulgences, this was not bad?"

Please point me to the papal doctrine that teaches the selling of indulgences.

Abuses with indulgences was condemned by St. Cyprian (the libelli), the Council of Clovesho (8th century), the fourth Lateran Council (13th century) , etc. John XXII had imprisoned some who were, it seems, selling indulgences while claiming that they forgive sins or cancel penalties (they do not). We spoke in another thread about our sinfulness and those of our leaders. These abuses on indulgences and dreamt up (or made up) authorities to remit sins popped up through the centuries.

"I wonder, are we not calling good evil and evil good here? I am just thinking..."

Hmm..

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

You accused Luther of dividing the church where as I attribute the division of the church due to false doctrine sanctioned by the Pope and His Majesterium.

I do not think you accusation of Luther is correct, it is false doctrine that divides the church just look at the epistles like Gal 1 & 2 where Paul rebuked Peter because Peter's behaviour signified an endorsement of bad doctrine.

I have actual experience that introduction of unbibilcal doctrine creates division in the church. The pastor I was in did that, we protested and called the pastor to comeback to mainstream teaching, he did not and so the church was divided. From your perspective, the disciples who protested split the church right? So as far as you are concern, and in following your tack, you would consider those disciples the schismatics ones right? Would you be interested in knowing what the teaching was ? Sounds to me following your tack and by analogy, it does not matter, would it?

Jeff, you said this As for the theses of Luther, I did not say recant them.
I find this comment of yourx interesting because if you read the Exsurge that is exactly what that document Luther is to do - to recant. Are you sure you disagree with the Exsurge on this one and therefore in your opinion Pope Leo X was wrong?

Following your analogy you would consider Rizal our national hero a rebel for publishing Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo? Would you?

I find your complain about Luther a case of special pleading - you fault him for the way he acted, yet you do not fault the Pope for issuing Exsurge Domine. Should it not be the Pope who is a "father" be the one to issue restraint and keep on the dialogue? The issue you should consider is this, he should have not hardened his stance by issuing a threat, that was not "nice".

As to the sale of indulgences of the Pope Leon X, I can not give you an actual pronouncement of his but I can give you only historically given fact that Pope Leo X authorized or sunctioned the "sale" or the "exchange" of indulgences for "alms".

See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence#Controversy
Since this is a wikipedia, if this is wrong do correct them and let me know of the correction.


You want me to consider the "simple mind" bits of Exsurge Domine, but you do not consider what is supposed to be recanted, for example if Luther recanted then he would believe and by that also participate in the "burning of heretics" is this what you want Luther to do.

I think I have sufficiently proven that your position on that a.) on the one hand Luther should not recant and conduct dialog ie follow his consciece and b.) be silent are both incompatible to someone who wants to follow the courage of his conviction. On the one hand you say the Exsurge was right on the other you are not saying Luther should not recant - I think this is inconsitent and playing politics with the situation and one's integrity of conscience .


I consider your position a fallacy (and you have the right to disagree) of special pleading on behalf of the Pope.


More on infallibility later...

L P Cruz said...

Oh Jeff,

If I was the Pope Leo X at the time of Luther, do you know what I should have done? Very simple, I would have shown to Luther that he was wrong from the Scriptures. That was a simple request.

Or something like this - keep Tetzel from collecting alms for indulgences, just change the "alms" bit to something else after all that is what the Roman Church used to do like - grant indulgences for fasting or visiting a church or something like that. He should have conceded to his points.

I know that would be hard to do if you believe you are the heir of St. Peter and infallible.

Look at Romans 1:1-14, see the humility of Paul in saying that he longs also to be strengthened in his faith by the faith of the disciples there. He who has been appointed Apostle by Christ did not presume he was above reproach and can not be taught by the simple believer.

Lito

Kelly Klages said...

Paul had persecuted the church for years before becoming an apostle of Christ. Yet he has the audacity to call Peter on the carpet for bad doctrine and misleading believers. Who is he to mess with the holiest apostolic see, when everything should be left to God to sort it out? I mean, just think of all the confusion of those simple minds in Jerusalem to see the two teachers of Christ against each other, and publically! Answer: God did sort it out. *He used Paul and his Word to do so.* Peter was, presumably, humble enough to submit to the correction of God's Word. It's a little harder to do that when you're a power-loving pontiff who's been crowned king of the world. It's easier to blame the little monks who would challenge your agenda as being the troublemakers. It's easier to kick them out and pretend that *they've* just divided the church, not you.

L P Cruz said...

Absolutely, these Bishops of Rome act so contrary to Peter. These Popes can never recant themselves! Yet Peter humbly acknowledge even the writings of Paul, and what about Paul, he coveted prayers and did not presume that they were untouchably infallible.

Yes indeed we believe in infallibility, but this is infallibility of the Scriptures, yet after the inscripturation, the writers remained human and subjected to the old man until they died, they did not become divinized. For this reason if something crop up that is purported to have been written by James or even Peter, the church is not obliged to include them in their list of inspired text. Why? Because only at the time of inscripturation where they carried along by the HS.

But the Papal claim to infallibility is really Pentecostalism of some sort, because as far as the RCC is concerned, God can still give new revelations through the Pope, like the bodily Assumption of Mary - case in point declared in 1950 in Munificentissimus Deus.

Roman Catholics are not really catholics at all, for the early catholics never had such a doctrine. So they added through - the Pope.

Some academic critics say that RCC can not stand the evidence of history, it is just against it in terms of its doctrines and not to say its additions contra Scripture, that is why today even RC scholars do not use history to prove their point but they use - philosophy (not the Bible either). I have a feeling that such critics may be correct.

Venerable Aussie said...

Lito, do you understand the definition of papal infallibility?

(hint, it has nothing to do with prudent or imprudent behaviour a la Gal 2:11-14).

(I spent 2 hours yesterday discussing the Catholic faith with an ex-Catholic now Seventh Day Adventist. She - like many ex-Catholics - clearly left a Church she knew little about.)

You say you believe in the infallibility of Scriptures. If, say, we are now in the year 150AD, what would this concept mean to you in practice?

L P Cruz said...

Dear Venerable,

Before I answer, please let me explain first the intent of the series of posts.

Firstly what prompted my topic at this stage is the publicity given to ex-Prot to RC conversions and in my mind, the river flows both directions. It is almost like getting star witnesses for one's church etc and the issues are greater than that because Prots can give star witnesses and conversions too.

I have been researching a character in church history by the name of Fr. Luigi Desanctis and he would be one of them, but you will find that what he glorifies is not the Waldensian group, but he glorifies his conversion to Christ.

As to papal infallibility - absolutelye, it has nothing to do with morals of the Pope. It has something to do with him declaring a teaching ex-cathedra - ie out of the seat of Peter (either out of Authority or out of the chair, take your pick because the RC equivocates on the meaning of chair here).

In fact, the Pope (so as claimed by RC) may be wrong in fact but he is never wrong in doctrine when he speaks OFFICIALLY, this the RCC asserts.

Common sense says - if one is a sinner, how can he be infallible in doctrine specially when he speaks something un provable from Scripture?

You ask: what does infallibility of Scripture mean to a Christian in 150AD? I can not answer for any Christian, but I can answer from scripture. In fact I can even answer that what that meant for some Christians is the same thing it means for Prots.

My case in point are the Bereans Acst 17:11, these people checked their OT to find out if what Paul said was true to Scripture. The Bereans's final appeal was not Paul but the Scripture too, ie Paul had to show from Scripture that his Gospel was found from Scripture - this shows that Jews who were the first Christians relied on Scripture.

Now, may I ask you this : what does the doctrine of Papal Infallibility or the infallability of the Bishop of Rome meant for Paul, or the Bereans, or for the Galatians mean? Did they believe this?

Paul said we can only stand with the Truth.

Jeff Tan said...

"You accused Luther of dividing the church"

That was my impression, yes. Did he not make direct calls to do so?

"it is false doctrine that divides the church "

That is correct, but the approach is problematic: if every individual makes his own judgment the final arbiter of what makes a doctrine true or false, then you have a rule of subjectivism, i.e., chaos.

"From your perspective, the disciples who protested split the church right?"

A protest in itself is normal. We have had protests left and right from the beginning of the Church 2000 years ago, and that is fine. But I find Luther's tactics to have been particularly divisive. The Church sent him legates to debate his concerns. You would expect that the debate would settle the matter, but Luther was also publishing his arguments to the general public while the matter was undecided.

"Jeff, you said this As for the theses of Luther, I did not say recant them.
I find this comment of yourx interesting because if you read the Exsurge that is exactly what that document Luther is to do - to recant."

My apologies for the wrong choice of the word "recant". I meant from to withdraw them from the public while he may continue his dialog/debates within the Church. Note the context of what I said:

As for the theses of Luther, I did not say recant them. He may continue the dialog, pursuing his arguments, but rather in private, without the publications and public preaching. Consider the civil unrest and confusion among the faithful that ensued from the spectacular publications and sermons of Luther.

Again, my apologies for using the wrong word.

"Following your analogy you would consider Rizal our national hero a rebel for publishing Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo?"

You are aware, of course, that Rizal, in public and in those books, called for peaceful means, rather than sedition?

"you do not fault the Pope for issuing Exsurge Domine"

On the contrary, I fault the pope and the hierarchy in general for the corruption that had set in that had prompted the Protestant movement in the first place. I cannot fault, however, that the pope had finally had to use that prerogative for the sake of the rest of the Church. It was a very difficult situation: here was Luther pleading civility in his letters to the pope, receiving legates and discussing the matter with them, while at the same time publishing explosive attacks on Church authority while the matter, to Rome, was still under debate. It reminded me of a recent situation in the middle east where one country was being scathed by calls to stop firing at the other country, who fired first, and had no intention of stopping its rocket attacks, and was not receiving the same calls to cease firing. Note that Rome gave the matter 3 years before using the bull to stem the civil unrest brewing in a growing portion of Europe.

And if you could kindly compare the tone of Exsurge Domine to the tone of Luther's tracts, can you spot which one had a trace of charity and civility?

"Should it not be the Pope who is a "father" be the one to issue restraint and keep on the dialogue?"

Like I said.. it was 3 years since the theses were posted in public. Quite a few legates and correspondence, too. And consider that the pope was father to a very large family. Should he abandon the 90% of his children to miserable confusion -- given that they are not as literate as one might consider the whole world to be in this age -- for the sake of the 10% who has been given a few years to discuss this matter?

"I can give you only historically given fact that Pope Leo X authorized or sanctioned the "sale" or the "exchange" of indulgences for "alms"."

I already posted earlier: Abuses with indulgences was condemned by St. Cyprian (the libelli), the Council of Clovesho (8th century), the fourth Lateran Council (13th century) , etc. John XXII had imprisoned some who were, it seems, selling indulgences while claiming that they forgive sins or cancel penalties (they do not). Pope Leo X probably knew about the sale, which goes against Church teaching. Abuses of indulgences go back to the Councils of Clovesho (8th century) and Magdeburg (15th century).

Yes, our popes are sinners too. You will call this equivocation but I must explain. Yes, popes are not impeccable and may sin in all things. But the charism of infallibility prevents them from teaching error in faith and morals. The same charism is granted to the Church Magisterium applied to councils. Compare that to the charism granted to Peter, Paul and the other evangelists, who are sinners but whose writings in the New Testament are inerrant and inspired. Compare that, too, to Christ teaching that the Pharisees and scribes sit on Moses' seat and so their teachings have authority, but they remain culpable of hypocrisy and sinfulness.

"You want me to consider the "simple mind" bits of Exsurge Domine, but you do not consider what is supposed to be recanted, for example if Luther recanted then he would believe and by that also participate in the "burning of heretics""

I have to confess that I have two answers to that: First, Exsurge Domine is not considered an infallible pronouncement because it does not pronounce any doctrine to the universal Church. It pronounces a "cease and desist" order to Luther. And yet it does have authority and credibility because of who pronounced it, so even so, I would give it weight. Second, and perhaps just as important, as I quoted to you before, there is reason to be alarmed at the repercussions of the theses, without nuance as they were. For example the burning of heretics. A simple believer might then turn around and say "but what of all the genocides perpetrated by Israel against entire cities/kingdoms in the Old Testament, upon the Lord's own command to do so?" Is there thus a contradiction between God, who is love and mercy, and the God who commanded the slaughter of men, women and children who just happened to stand in the way of Israel's destiny? Not so simple, is it?

"On the one hand you say the Exsurge was right on the other you are not saying Luther should not recant - I think this is inconsitent and playing politics with the situation and one's integrity of conscience ."

I said this:
As for the theses of Luther, I did not say recant them. He may continue the dialog, pursuing his arguments, but rather in private, without the publications and public preaching.

In other words, stop the publications (those tracts) but continue the debates (with papal legates). I don't see the contradiction. You might as well tell the Lord that he is contradictory here:

"The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the seat of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do; since they do not practice what they preach." (Matt 23:1-12)

Jeff Tan said...

"If I was the Pope Leo X at the time of Luther,.. I would have shown to Luther that he was wrong from the Scriptures."

That was the purpose of the pope's legates. Obviously, Luther was unconvinced. That does not mean, however, that the papal legates and various folks who tried to convince him had no Scriptural basis. Recall how Luther was unable to sway Calvin or Zwingli on many things despite the Scriptural evidence.

"Or something like this - keep Tetzel from collecting alms for indulgences,"

I agree, but perhaps he was. Tetzel was censured severely by January 1519, by Karl von Miltitz, papal nuncio, who blamed him for the whole affair, which caused the former to retire to the monastery (he died that same year).

"He should have conceded to his points."

It was perhaps the procedure to simply call the agitator to a hearing where they can discuss things. By the time Exsurge Domine was written, 3 years of increasing acrimony had passed. Leading up to 1520, his attacks on Rome had become decisively antagonistic. By then the pope was not willing to listen to counsels of patience, so he wrote that bull. I note that the bull condemned 41 propositions in the 95 theses. For example, the bull did not condemn this thesis:

"21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;"

Because this thesis is true, after all. There may be other concessions, but the bull was not written as a list of concessions but a bull of excommunication, so that was perhaps too late. On the other hand, the bull was written after 3 years, after several "papists" had already debated or exchanged theses with Luther (Tetzel, Cajetan, Eck).

"I know that would be hard to do if you believe you are the heir of St. Peter and infallible."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing Pope Leo X of his wrongdoings. I do not remember bringing up Luther to begin with, and my interest in him (and Pope Leo X) are not as important as my interest in Lutherans/Protestants and Catholics here and now. I think it started when I made my "pragmatist" comment.

"He who has been appointed Apostle by Christ did not presume he was above reproach and can not be taught by the simple believer."

But that humility works both ways. It may have been in the mind of the pope that he should also expect some humility from Luther. But while humility is necessary from both sides, I do think Pope Leo X should have exercised more restraint, but I confess that I do not know how things weighed against restraint and more towards a quick fix. After all, trouble was already brewing in the countryside who were affected by Luther's stirring tracts, particularly when he was very good with graphic metaphors.

Jeff Tan said...

"It's easier to kick them out and pretend that *they've* just divided the church, not you."

That's a very good point. Let me make it clear that my first objection was to the actual division. I lay blame to both Pope Leo X and the hierarchy before him and everywhere of whom many (but I don't know how many; I would not presume to say most of them, either, but I could be wrong) were corrupt. As for Luther and the others, I guess my objections are mostly against what they taught (sola scriptura; sola fide) rather than against them, personally.

Jeff Tan said...

"These Popes can never recant themselves!"

Really? All popes?

"as far as the RCC is concerned, God can still give new revelations through the Pope"

No, revelations closed with the Apostolic age. Infallibility is only a charism that makes errors in teaching faith and morals impossible by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the same charism that is given to Church councils. They cannot pronounce new revelations.

"for the early catholics never had such a doctrine"

This may still be best explained as development of doctrine, something that you also mentioned before with knowledge becoming clearer as time goes by. John Henry Newman's "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine" may truly be a good read for you.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

I will cut to the chase, you blame Luther for publishing his objections publicly therefore dividing the Roman Church.

You have to read a bit about Luther and stand on his shoes. Your position and comments do not strike me as you have studied him.

1. Firstly, when the 95 Theses was posted it was not he who printed and published them , they were the Christians in his area who read them and printed them.

2. The purpose of the theses was to debate publicly. Truth does not need to be hidden in the corner, he has the right to express his conscience and be publicly corrected by Bishops above him. He asked for a debate - which was normal for academics to do. Even today when one gives a public lecture - that is what it means, anyone may come and put the theses to the test. He wanted to be corrected from Scripture - what was wrong with that? The RCC did not debate him at the start - all they did was to threaten him. That was not nice.


3. Your argument should also blame Rizal for the revolution. Rizal wrote and though he may not have written publicly for sedition, yet it was his books that inspired it.
So, why not blame Rizal? The point I am making is that you should blame Rizal for writing, you seem to apply double standards here. Also I add that once again - your point is again a case of special pleading.

Did Luther take up arms? Did he lead armies to topple down the Pope?When he protested - he knew what was at stake a.) his physical life, b.) his eternal soul.

4. The truth of the matter is that the hardening of Luther came after the threatenings of the Pope and His Magisterium - in fact he was so naive and he was so stupid to think that when he got out the theses he believed the Pope was not behind the "alms" for "indulgence" fiasco. Boy did he get a shock when he was not to be debated but right away brought down - threatened by excommunication!

You know what they did? - they wanted to "sober the drunken monk" by threatening him to be consigned to hell - excommunication.


You say that RCC Majesterium can not pronounce new revelation - yes, if you believe that words do not mean what they are meant to mean. Why? Because they not describe their pronouncements -- for example the Assumption of Mary (which is not found in the Bible nor taught by the ancient Christians) they call it as "clarification" of the past doctrines. This to me is honestly double talk.

If you examine the accusations of the Reformers, they have accused the Magisterium of "sophistry". Think about this and why they used that word against the Magisterium?


You said this I lay blame to both Pope Leo X and the hierarchy before him and everywhere of whom many (but I don't know how many; I would not presume to say most of them, either, but I could be wrong) were corrupt. As for Luther and the others, I guess my objections are mostly against what they taught (sola scriptura; sola fide) rather than against them, personally.

You can not have it both ways, at least you reconized they are both wrong. It seems like your position would be like that of Erasmus on the Reformation unfortunately for the case of Luther - the cat is now out of the bag. Besides history we know is under the control of Almighty God and the rest they say is history, ie God did not allow the quenching of Luther and his followers - at least you can say that. Historians attribute the progress of the world today through that event in world history - the Reformation so called.

But that is not the crucial question for our soul. I think the crucial question is this -
What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What is this good news that Christians of long ago have described their message to be? Is the teaching of the RCC, the teaching of the Gospel of Christ? In otherwords, ask yourself a question - how is a man made right in front of a holy God? Is it by belonging and being comforted by the fact that one is a member of the RCC? Is it being comforted by the practice of the 7 sacraments?
What should be man's hope?

L P Cruz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

By the way you often point to Cardinal Newman's work. Only read briefly the Introduction of that work. My intitial impression is that since Newman is justifying the development of doctrine in the RCC, the same arguement can be made for Protestantism - for after all why can not one say that Protestantism is just another development of doctrine withing catholicism? I hope I am making myself clear, my point is that history is far more encompassing than Church history and History is God's Story too. Hence, Protestantism is part of Church history even the heretics that opposed orthodoxy. History is data or fact too.


If Newman sees Protestantism as a body as a one unit like RCC, then his critique of Protestantism misses the mark because which Protestant is he critiquing?

I note that Newman was one might call a Puseyite which Fr. Desanctis discusses. The Oxford Movement from which Newman belonged in Anglicanism believed in Apostolic Succession. This starting point is not Biblical as pointed out by Fr. Desanctis, so it is not going to be surprizing that Cardinal Newman became an RC. If you admit Apostolic Succession then by default no one can claim it more than the RCC as to their pedigree!



The Apostles can not ordain others and make those they ordain also Apostles. Apostolicity is in terms of teaching and Scripture, so Fr. Desanctis argues. Apostles were chosen by Christ only no man can make another Christ's Apostle.

I hope you are open, I will be continuing the post on Fr. Desanctis' work in which he tries to show that the Puseyite assumption ie the assumption that there is such a thing as Apostolic Succession is wrong.

I think Newman underestimates the fact that the First Protestants where Catholic Priest and Scholars who were aware of history of the Catholic Church and were conversant with the Fathers works too.
12:34 PM

Jeff Tan said...

"The Apostles can not ordain others and make those they ordain also Apostles. Apostolicity is in terms of teaching and Scripture, so Fr. Desanctis argues. Apostles were chosen by Christ only no man can make another Christ's Apostle."

Hmm.. that seems to contradict the succession of anointed leaders in the history of Israel, e.g., Abraham to Isaac, Isaac to Jacob.

Besides, the New Testament also bears out the succession as with the office (episkope) of Judas, which was given to Matthias with the laying on of hands in Acts. Likewise, St. Paul mentions the same for Timothy, whom he warns in turn to be cautious whom he lays on with his hands. There is also the fact that when bishops in the 1st century started talking about the bishopric in clear terms of responsibilities and authority, we have no record of opposition, and it was laid out matter of factly, rather than as a radical new teaching. St. Ignatius mentions it, for example, on his epistle to the Magnesians. Even more ancient is the epistle of St. Clement to the Corinthians, mentioning that the Apostles made provisions for successors to the episcopate. However, Desanctis is probably contending that this does not confer Apostolic authority to the successors, only the responsibility. This seems problematic, however, given that God does not call without also providing the charisms. There is also the prime example in Acts about such a succession, of Matthias to the episcopate of Judas, after which Matthias was considered an Apostle or one of the Twelve.

And the Roman Catholics are not the only ones with the same tradition of Apostolic succession via the bishops. The Eastern Orthodox have the same exact tradition, and if I'm not mistaken, there is the same practice among the other ancient churches that persist until today, e.g., the Coptics, Chaldean, etc. It's not a Roman Catholic invention.

L P Cruz said...

Only Christ appoints Apostles - see Gal 1:1. Apostleship is never by human authorities, that is why you do not hear of Matthias again. Paul if you will replaced, Judas.

Your example of Abraham to Isaac, is not apostolic succession, they were not treated as apostles by Bible.

The Christian Church is founded on the Apostles (the 12). You can not show from Scripture that Peter appointed Apostles.

Timothy was an Elder but he was not an Apostle. Prots too practice the laying of hands when ordaining pastors. Pastors and Bishops are Elders (Presbyters/Episcopate) but they are not Apostles. The church ordains Elders not Apostles.

Please wait for my relaying of Desanctis - his view is classic Reformation interpretation of Apostolic Succession.

The laying of hands does not guarantee that the person ordained through such laying of hands will be faithful to the teaching of the Apostles - case in point - Paul mentioned the possibility of Elders (Priest/Bishop) splitting the flock by false doctrine - Acts 20:26-31.

Nevertheless, if you have time do give me references made by Clement so we can study the sources.

Jeff Tan said...

"Apostleship is never by human authorities, that is why you do not hear of Matthias again. Paul if you will replaced, Judas."

This seems to contradict Scriptures in Acts 1:15-26, particularly with the direct quote of "And his bishopric let another take." Bishopric is, of course, the English translation used by the King James (and other translations), but it means an office of overseer. What was the office? The office of Judas Iscariot, that of an Apostle.

But you are correct, only Christ appoints Apostles, just as it was God alone who appointed Moses. But succession involves the involvement of the one being succeeded, who passes on the succession, e.g., Moses and Joshua. Given that Moses was authorized to make the succession, and the authority comes from God, then it is not a case of Moses making this appointment by his own authority apart from God's. Neither are the Apostles making such appointments apart from Christ's authority. For their authority comes only from Christ.

And here is the link to Clement's first epistle to the Corinthians.

BTW I found this site which concentrates on the early Church fathers. There is a helpful table which traces evidence of early belief to various doctrines or traditions, including Apostolic succession.