candid thoughts on the issues of the day.

In the fallout of Fr. Michael Pfleger’s recent "sermon" at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Senator Barack Obama resigned his membership there. This was the culmination of several months of political trauma for the Obama campaign, beginning with revelations in the national media that Obama's pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, has made many politically contentious statements. My intention here is not to judge Senator Obama, Father Pfleger, or Jeremiah Wright, but I do want to assess the choice made by Senator Obama to leave his church of 20 years at the moment when it became a political liability to his campaign.

First, let me point out that I am a Roman Catholic. Thus, I am a member of the same universal Church in which Father Pfleger is an ordained priest. I am a proud Catholic, despite the fact that the Church has had some embarrassing and disgraceful moments in recent history, namely the sexual abuse scandals in the United States. Sadly, many people left the Church in the fallout of these scandals.

The question at hand is the following: Should someone leave their church because of the statements or abuses of some of their church's ministers?

Before I state my opinion, let me first say that every human should feel free to choose their place of worship for whatever reason they desire. This freedom, however, does not mean that others cannot criticize another person's choice of place of worship, or question their motivations for choosing one place of worship over another, particularly when the person in question is running for President of the United States.

In my opinion, the most important factor in choosing a church should be the tenets of faith that the church embraces. For the Catholic Church, these tenets are summarized in the Nicene Creed (“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen…”). Certainly, the qualities of the pastor or the faith community that you worship with might be secondary factors in one’s choice, but if one believes their church is ordained and protected by God, then the church should transcend the individuals who make up its membership or even its leadership.

I am reminded here of a story about St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. In this story, it is said that one of St. Francis’s brothers asked him what he would do if he knew that a priest celebrating Mass had three concubines on the side. St. Francis’s response was, “When it came time for Holy Communion, I would go to receive the sacred Body of my Lord from the priest's anointed hands.” The point is that ministers are ordained and “endorsed” by God, not by humans.

If I were a member of Father Pfleger’s St. Sabina parish in the south side of Church, I would take example from St. Francis and faithfully receive Holy Communion from Father Pfleger’s anointed hands. I would not leave his parish. If he was preaching heretical or inappropriate teachings, I might consider reporting this to the Bishop, but I wouldn’t publicly criticize Father Pfleger because to me he is a man of God and to criticize him would be unfaithful to Church teachings.

Senator Obama has instead completely abandoned his church for seemingly political reasons. He has not even said that he will remain a member of the United Church of Christ and simply seek another UCC congregation in which to worship. He just renounced his church at the moment that his church became a liability to his presidential aims.

Let me end by saying I respect Senator Obama’s right to leave his church for whatever reason he wants. And honestly, I hope he joins the Roman Catholic Church because I think it’s the greatest church in the universe. But the fact that he was so quick to leave his church when it was under a political firestorm, to me speaks volumes about whether he exemplifies some of the qualities I would like to see in the President of the United States: Loyalty, commitment, worthy ambition, and a strong, resilient faith.


Comments (Page 2)
on Jun 02, 2008

DRGUY POSTS:

I would leave Pfleggler's building.

Me too. I'd be out of there checking out any number of Catholic churches in the surrounding area in which to celebrate  the Holy Mass and receive the Sacraments.  

He is just a man with human weaknesses - ones he has shown all to glaringly recently. I do not have to honor the man if the man is wrong. And ordained or not, he is wrong. But not for the reasons the press is making out either.

 The Catholic Church imposes serious obligations upon her priests and by these latest actions, Fr. Pfleger has shown himself to be faithless to his priestly obligations.  But this proves nothing against Christ or His Church.

 

 

 

 

on Jun 02, 2008
A moderately prosperous household back then would be able to hold about 30 people, 50 if they were wealthy and the people were squashed in, but historians really don't see it as any larger than that.


The early Christians were first persecuted by the Jews and then the Romans to the point that that they were forced to worship in the catacombs. This persecution continued until 312 when the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which decreed that all religious groups, including Christians, in the Roman Empire were free to worship as they pleased.

In Acts Paul does indeed appoint elders in the church, however the greek word used here, 'episkopos', was never really used to refer to a specific function or a significant one. Hence, these elders would not have held positions of power that you see in churches today.

In Paul's letters, he never uses the word for priest, hiereis.


Christ commanded that His Apostles teach all nations until the end of the world. Obviously, the Apostles would not live until the end of the world and so they in turn appointed their successors which we now call bishops, priests and deacons. Christ established a separate ministerial priesthood with exclusinve powers for the work of the ministry Eph. 4:12. Throughout the Book of Acts we read the Apostles ordained other men by the imposition or "laying of hands", now called the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Priests are "ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that (they) may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins." Hebrews 5:1. Timothy was told not to neglect the grace of GOd "which is in thee by the impostion of hands." 1Tim.4:4. Rightly ordained priests alone have the right to teach the Gospel authoritatively and carry on its sacred ministry.

The translation of the Protestant King James Version changed the Greek word "presbyter" meaning "priest" into an "elder" which is misleading. Under "elder" in the dictionary we find the rendering of the Greek title given to a certain order or class of office bearers in the early Christian Chruch. The Greek word was adopted in Latin as "presbyter" and its historical representation in English is "priest".

To be called to the separate, sacrificing priesthood of the New Covenant pledged to sacred service on the altar on behalf of the rest of us. This priesthood is an ongoing reality as can be seen by the tense of the verbs in the texts of St.Paul in Hebrews 5:1-4 and Rom. 1:1.

The Hebrew word for priest is kohen or cohen would have confused the first Christians converts from Biblical Judaism and so was rejected by the Apostles in favor of Presbyter because they wished to make a distinction between the Church and a Jewish sect.
on Jun 02, 2008
People in the church were encouraged to participate in the church whereever their spiritual gift was (greek word charisma), and this did indeed include talents of administration and organisation. I believe it is likely to conclude, though, that these people did not have any overriding power or leadership over the others in the church.


St.Paul wrote to the Hebrews 13:17 and said, "Obey your prelates, and be subject to them."
on Jun 02, 2008

Well, I had nearly finished a long reply to timothy_sfker’s comment, but I lost it…that will teach me not to type long entries directly into the JU window. Let me do my best to reproduce my reply.

 

First let me say that, while we are getting a bit off topic from my original post, I’ve found this discussion very interesting, and I appreciate everyone’s comments. I agree to some extent with almost everyone’s comments, but on some items I have some very serious issues. Of course, that doesn’t take away from how much I appreciate you and your feedback to my post!

 

Sorry I didn't really state it well. What I mean is that Jesus said that God's forgiveness for sins depends entirely on your actions within the world, if you read the verses Jesus says that if you love much you'll be forgiven much, if you forgive others God WILL forgive you, and the parable of the sheep/goats where you are judged by God depending on how you treated the poor among you.

 

No problem. That’s what I thought you might be getting at. I won’t argue with you here. Certainly our redemption is not dependent on our actions before or after our life on Earth (or in space, if you’re an astronaut or cosmonaut).

 

What I'm trying to get at here is that church is not a necessary part of Christianity.

 

On this point, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Lulapilgrim already provided ample evidence from Scriptures that this is not the case. What Paul said regarding the Church and Lulapilgrim alluded to, is that using anatomy as a metaphor Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the body (Colossians 1:18, 24; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 3:6, 5:23; and most famously in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The Church cannot exist without the head or without the body. And Jesus is forever married to the Church, which is one of His great gifts to us on Earth.

 

I respect the fact that there are many people who support Jesus’s ethical teachings, such as “love your neighbor”, but do not wish to be associated with an institutionalized religion. I sympathize with you because I have been in that very same place during my personal faith journey. But if you really delve into Scripture and the historical record of the years immediately following Jesus’s death, I believe you can only form one conclusion regarding what Jesus desired for the role of the Church in the lives of his followers—that is, that Jesus intended the Church to play a central, pivotal role in every Christian’s life.

 

If after careful study, you do not see this in Jesus’s teaching, I ask you to answer one simple question: Do you really think that Jesus—that is, God—who knows humanity far better than any human—would send his only Son to the world and leave us with *only* written word for us to interpret and understand His most important teachings on how He desires us to live our lives?

 

This is not met in any way to disrespect the great value that Scripture has, which I believe is the inspired Word of God. Anything we suppose to be the will of God must be firmly backed by the whole of this great gift we have in the Bible. But God knows how we humans are and how our minds work. God knows how we can manipulate any set of words and interpret them to mean just about anything we want. That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit! That’s why He gave us the Church! That’s why He gave us the lives of the saints! Because we humans are so prone to selfishness and manipulation of God’s gifts for our own purposes, in His infinite wisdom, He gave us an unbroken line of His followers, set aflame with passion by the Holy Spirit, all the way back to Jesus and His Apostles. That is the Church!!!

 

I can understand when some people look at religion, they see a great deal of shame. It is easy to find if you look for it, and the devil is working very hard to tear down the Church, so there are many examples where people have fallen to his temptations and brought shame upon the Church. But if you look at the whole of the 2000 year history of the Church, there are literally tens of thousands of examples of Holy men and women who have brought great glory to the Church. There are countless examples of the Church encountering some challenge to its authority or some scandal or heresy, only to arise from it with even greater glory.

 

If you do not agree with me about how wonderful the Church is and you do not see the great works it has done in the world, I invite you to study the lives of the saints. St. Francis of Assisi, whom I quoted in my article, is a good person with whom to start. He lived in a time of great scandal in the Church, and he worked very hard to change the Church for the better, even though other Christians even threatened his life for it. And ultimately he prevailed. Still, despite the Church’s flaws, he NEVER condemned the Church or left its side. He continued throughout to praise its glory and majesty because he saw God’s work in the Church.

 

I'm not saying it's wrong, or that it can't be beneficial, just that you shouldn't judge a Christian (like Obama) based on whether he goes to church or not.

 

Of course, you shouldn’t judge any man or woman, and I really and truly am trying not to judge Senator Obama. My goal has been to look at the action of leaving one’s church because one disagrees with one of its leaders or invited speakers. In particular, I wanted to investigate what it may signify to leave one’s church, resign after 20 years of membership, at the very moment when one’s membership became politically unpopular. While I try not to criticize Senator Obama personally, we cannot escape our God-given duty to carefully judge his candidacy for President—such a powerful position for so many issues important to Christians, and we can only make these judgments based on what we know about his past and most current choices. Based on this, I reaffirm what I originally stated: If someone leaves his or her church of 20 years at the moment when that church became politically unpopular, then it is a good sign the faith he claims to have found in that very church is firmly engrained in his every bone.

 

If he truly loved his faith and his faith community, then why not remain in the church and try to rid it of any bigotry or hatred that he sees there? How much more powerful would it have been if he took some time out from his busy presidential campaign, went to Trinity church, and made a speech there denouncing hatred and divisiveness? How much more fruit could he bear, by using the relationship he’s established with the pastor and the church’s members, to ask them not to tolerate hate within the Church’s walls? Instead he chose to cut himself from the vine at the very moment that the clouds began to cover the skies.

 

[quote]I sympathise with you here, as I also believe that Jesus Christ wanted communities of Christians to be established. To me, this is what he meant by the coming kingdom of God and the ethics of these communities of people were spelled out in the sermon on the mount. However, no such community exists today. I have no faith in any of the institutionalised church systems, and so it is very easy for me to not place much emphasis on church attendance.[\quote]

 

I invite you to come to my home parish (St. Paul the Apostle Church) in Houston, Texas. I wish you could see how vibrant and loving this church community is. We are literally bursting the walls with attendance. Every night of the week that I show up to the church, the parking lot is literally full of cars. Someone is there 24-hours a day / 7 days a week, worshipping the Lord (in Perpetual Adoration). We are not perfect, nor are any of our members perfect, but I truly see God every time I interact with someone from my parish.

 

And we are not the only parish like this. Sure, some parishes are more active than others. Some communities are more committed to Jesus’s teachings than others. (This was true in the early Christian communities as well, by the way). But I believe within every parish, you can find the hand of God. Again, Jesus said “where there are two or three gathered in my name, I am there.”

 

Lastly, let me say this regarding church communities that are not in communion with the universal Church. As sad as I am about the fragmentation that has existed among Christians (from the very earliest of times), and as much as I love the Catholic Church and believe that it is possesses the unbroken authority of Jesus, handed down from Him to Peter and his successors…all of this is not to say that the Catholic Church has a monopoly on God. God is present in many places, in many churches, and in many places outside of Church (in fact, all places). Jesus’s message is alive and well in many Christian denominations throughout the world, and in some places, Protestants or Orthodox Christians can outdo their neighbor Catholics a hundred fold in their fervor for Christ. But look at the history of every church that has broken off from the Apostolic Church. Do any of them equal in size, unity, or majesty the Church founded upon Peter by Jesus? Why has every church that broke off from the Catholic Church continued to fraction into more and more denominations? There are literally hundreds of thousands of churches, based on different interpretations of the Bible, so many that you wonder if there is a church for every possible permutation interpretations of the Bible possible (but God knows we’re capable of many more…)

 

For those feel they can know God without any church, you are absolutely correct. You can even know God without Jesus. God has given us prayer. God has given us nature. God has given us many fascinating faith and expressions of spirituality. One can know God from a variety of different sources at a variety of different levels.

 

Yet, God has also given us Jesus, and Jesus has given us the Church. Most importantly, Jesus has given us his very Body and Blood for us to experience His Divinity. One cannot possibly know God more fully than by consuming Him and sharing in His Divinity. I admit it must sound strange to those who haven’t experienced God’s Sacraments! But Christians have been doing this very act since the very beginning, based on Jesus’ words to the very first Christians: “This is my Body. This is my Blood.” And *that* is what the Church offers each one of us today!

on Jun 02, 2008
where Jesus sent the disciples out to establish faith communities throughout the world. Lastly, Jesus said "where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:20)


You have misquoted this scripture as is quite common actually when it comes to Matt 18.

Jesus didn't mean it the way you're explaining it here. If you look at the context (18:15-20) you'd see that he was speaking about Church discipline. He was saying if someone is not doing what is Godly then you must meet and tell him so. If they don't listen you need to take two or three witnesses with you. If he still won't listen take it to the church and if he doesn't listen to the church then he needs to be put out of fellowship.

So basically Christ is saying "I know this is hard to do but where you gather in my name together I will be there with you."

Because otherwise you're saying Christ is not with us when we are alone by ourselves and he made it perfectly clear when we pray we should go alone, shut the door and pray and be with him and he will hear us (Matt 6).

The supremacy of the seat of Peter (i.e. the Bishop of Rome) was firmly established by the First Council of Nicaea in 325.


can you show me where Peter was the Bishop of Rome? There is no historical evidence I know of where he held that position. In fact, the Romans hung him for his faith. Peter died well before 325. In fact he died before 70 AD.

Scripture is quite clear the Peter was the Apostle of the Jews and Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles. Paul speaking to the Galatians said:

"On the contrary when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles) and when James and Peter and John who seemed to be pillars perceived the grace that was given to me they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 2:7-10
on Jun 02, 2008

You have misquoted this scripture as is quite common actually when it comes to Matt 18. Jesus didn't mean it the way you're explaining it here. If you look at the context (18:15-20) you'd see that he was speaking about Church discipline. He was saying if someone is not doing what is Godly then you must meet and tell him so. If they don't listen you need to take two or three witnesses with you. If he still won't listen take it to the church and if he doesn't listen to the church then he needs to be put out of fellowship. So basically Christ is saying "I know this is hard to do but where you gather in my name together I will be there with you."

How did I misquote the Scripture? You are right to point to the context around that verse, but the difficulty of using Scripture quotes to back up a claim is that sometimes you have to understand the context of the entire Bible to understand a single verse or chapter. And one cannot prudently rely on one's own interpretation alone, but rather one should seek the counsel of the many great Biblical scholars that came before us.

Matthew 18 is interweaving many important messages about the authority of the Church and the presence of Christ among the ministry of the Church. That's what's so amazing about the Bible, but also what makes it so challenging to interpret on our own! Matthew 18:18 contains an almost word-for-word not-so-subtle reference to Matthew 16:19...the very same verse that where Jesus gives the authority of the Church to Peter!

Paraphrasing in modern language he is saying, first to Peter and now to all twelve disciples, "whatever is done by you on Earth will also be done in heaven, and vice versa!" That is another example of why the Apostles--the first Bishops--play such an important role in the Church! ...but again, we have to be very careful about the context of what Jesus is speaking about...specifically he is talking about what has become in Church tradition excommunication, which can only be done by Bishops, i.e. the successors of the Apostles.

The process of using two or three witnesses, described in Matthew 18:15-17, is first a reference to the Old Testament, specifically Deuteronomy 19:15. St. Matthew uses the word "church" in Matthew 18:17, which is actually only one of two places that the word church is used in all of the Gospels....guess what the other instance is? That's right, Matthew 16:18, where Jesus founds his church upon Peter, the rock.

What's absolutely amazing to me (I believe, God's work) is that Jesus is laying out the exact process that I tried to express that Senator Obama should do with respect to things he doesn't agree with in his church. That is, first tell his brother or brothers privately what he doesn't agree with. If that doesn't work, "tell the church". But who has the sole authority to cast members out of the church? The successors of the Apostles, that is, the Bishops. And Jesus said these decisions by the Apostles and their successors will be ratified by God in heaven.

But that's not my personal interpretation of this passage...it's nearly 2000 years of Church tradition!

 

on Jun 02, 2008
How did I misquote the Scripture? You are right to point to the context around that verse, but the difficulty of using Scripture quotes to back up a claim is that sometimes you have to understand the context of the entire Bible to understand a single verse or chapter


It's really not that difficult. You look at the context sometimes it's involving just a paragraph and sometimes it's a whole chapter or a string of a couple of chapters but you first must look at context.

The reason I said you didn't use it correctly is that instead of looking at it from a discipline angle you saw it and used it as a meeting together or fellowshiping angle. Many do that but it's not the right context or interpretation.

I mean, of course you can say if two or three are gathered in Christ's name he'll be there. True. But many use it as we need to meet two or three in order for Christ to be there and that's false. That's saying Christ won't be with just one?

Every scripture has only one interpretation but has many applications. The bible always interprets itself. So while you can say he's with us in a group, it's not what that particular scriptue is telling us.

I'm an ex-Catholic so I don't beieve in the authority of the CC and when Christ talked about the church he wasn't talking denomination or institution. He was speaking of people....."ecclesia." His church is his people. You rightly said above "my kingdom is not part of this world."

He never meant to set up a religion for his name but a people for his name. That's why he bypassed the religious institution during his day and went to the simple people instead.
on Jun 02, 2008

can you show me where Peter was the Bishop of Rome? There is no historical evidence I know of where he held that position. In fact, the Romans hung him for his faith. Peter died well before 325. In fact he died before 70 AD.

Certainly, though the Church did not yet use the word "bishop" during his time. There is significant evidence both in Scripture and in early Christian texts and artifacts that (1) Peter was the leader among the Apostles, and (2) that he spent the latter part (25 years) of his ministry in Rome.

First, regarding Scripture, I have already mentioned several times Matthew 16:19, but consider also that Peter was the first of the Apostles that Jesus called to follow Him, and in many places where the Apostles are listed in the Gospels, Peter is named first (e.g.John 21:1;). Also, refer to John 21: 15-17, when Jesus pressed Peter three times to "Feed my sheep." (as a shepherd cares for his flock).

Second, the first Epistle of Peter is believed to have been written from Rome because at the closing, he says "The church in Bablyon...salutes you; and so does my son Mark" (1 Peter 5:14), which scholars tell us was a reference to Rome (the original Babylon was destroyed over a hundred years before Christ), as in other early Christian literature (Revelations, for example).

St. Papias, who was born in the late first century and said to have heard St. John speak, and St. Clement of Alexandria, who lived in the late second century and early third century, both recorded in their writings that St. Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome, so taken together with 1 Peter 5:14, it is pretty clear that Peter was in Rome.

The fact that St. Peter was martyred is well-established, as is the fact that this martyrdom took place in Rome.

Consider, for example, Pope Clement I, who became the fourth Pope after Peter and undoubtedly served the Church of Rome. He wrote in his letter to the Corinthians in about the year 70 A.D.:

“Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him.”

Clement is believed to have been ordained by Peter, according to Tertullian, who recorded this Church tradition in about 199 A.D.

Bishop Dionysius wrote in about 170 A.D:

"You have therefore by your urgent exhortation bound close together the sowing of Peter and Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both planted the seed of the Gospel also in Corinth, and together instructed us, just as they likewise taught in the same place in Italy and at the same time suffered martyrdom."

St. Irenaeus described the Church of Rome, in sometime around 177 A.D., as:

"the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul"

Caius, who lived in Rome at the end of the second century, wrote:

"But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. If you care to go to the Vatican or to the road to Ostia, thou shalt find the trophies of those who have founded this Church".

Modern scholars believe “trophies” referred to the places where Sts. Peter and Paul were executed. The Vatican, of course, is where St. Peter’s Basilica was built and is thus believed to be built on the site of St. Peter’s execution. St. Peter’s bones are stored underneath the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Peter, in fact, was not hung, he was crucified, as was common among the Romans at the time. This is supported in early Christian documents as early as the late 2nd century.

It is not known the exact year that this occurred, but the most widely excepted date is 67 A.D., which was supported by the early "doctor" (a special title for reserved for the four most widely respected scholars in Church history) of the Church, St. Jerome and Eusebius, who is considered the "Father of Church History." The range of dates that have been proposed and defended by various scholars range from 55 A.D. to 68 A.D., and the Church holds that it occurred sometime between July of 64 A.D. and early in 68 A.D.

For more online info on Church history, I recommend the website New Advent (http://www.newadvent.org). For a great book on Church history, I recommend A Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter.

on Jun 02, 2008
Certainly, though the Church did not yet use the word "bishop" during his time. There is significant evidence both in Scripture and in early Christian texts and artifacts that (1) Peter was the leader among the Apostles, and (2) that he spent the latter part (25 years) of his ministry in Rome.


No there is no evidence in scriptue of this at all. In fact Paul wrote most of the NT and I showed you above where he was the Apostle the Gentiles.

In fact Peter wrote two books of the NT while Paul wrote 13. More is mentioned of Paul than Peter after the resrrection.

James was actually the head of the church to begin with and we see he was the leader of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) not Peter.

The rock mentioned in Chap 16 of Matthew is Christ not Peter. The church would be built on Christ, who was the bedrock not Peter which literally means a stone. "Upon this rock" is Christ, not PEter. It was a play on words and the CC has taken it as their proof text.

If you do a word search on rock you'd see it always refers to Christ and using it this once to build a whole denomination is not a good thing. Check out the whole book of Psalms for instance and read about Christ being the rock.

Consider, for example, Pope Clement I, who became the fourth Pope after Peter and undoubtedly served the Church of Rome. He wrote in his letter to the Corinthians in about the year 70 A.D.:


there were no popes until after the CC was firmly established after Constantine in 323 A.D.

The RCC really first started with the Edict of Milan during this time. They cannot prove their history before this time no matter what they tell you.

Peter was never a pope nor would he be wishing to be put in that position. Have you read his 1 and 2 Peter's?

And if you look at the book of Romans which Paul penned early in his career you'd see a list of those who founded the church in Rome. Notice who he's speaking to? Do you see Peter mentioned?



on Jun 02, 2008
The supremacy of the seat of Peter (i.e. the Bishop of Rome) was firmly established by the First Council of Nicaea in 325.


can you show me where Peter was the Bishop of Rome? There is no historical evidence I know of where he held that position.


Scripture tells us that when Simon Peter professed the Divinity of Christ he was promised by Christ the headship or the primacy of jurisdiction over the kingdom of Heaven on earth. The early Church and the early Chruch Fathers clearly recognized this.

St.Peter exercised his jurisdiction as Bishop for he spoke for the Apostles, was the first to preach Christ, first to receive the Gentiles, he presided over the election of St. Mathias, he was judge in the case of Ananias and Saphira and he settled the dispute at the first general council of the Church of Jerusalem.

Ignatius of ANtioch, Irenaeus, Dionysius of Corinth, Gaius, etc. are just some of the dozens of authorities to substantiate the fact that St.Peter was the authority in Rome. Pope Clement, the fourth Bishop of Rome, who reigned there during 88-97 AD gave written testimony to the COrinthians, a document still in existence,of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The list of eleven Popes from St.Peter to Anicetus that was drawn up by St.Hegissipus, a convert from Judaism, less than a century after St.Peter's martyrdom traces them as Bishops of Rome.

St.Peter himself gives evidence in his first Epistle 5:13. "The Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you." So here St.Peter was writing from Babylon but it wasn't the ancient city for that was totally destroyed in 275BC. It was Rome to which he referred when he informed the "strnagers" in Pontus, Galatia, and elsewhere to whom he wrote of the immoral, the Babylonish place in which he was making progress. Some say that since they were being persecuted that he was writing in code.

Anyway, when a search is made there is plenty of evidence of secular history of the first Christian centuries regardiang the 52 Caesers who reigned from Nero to Constantine as well as the historic data regarding the 32 Bishops of Rome from St. Peter to Mechiades, the Popes of the very same period.


on Jun 02, 2008
St.Peter himself gives evidence in his first Epistle 5:13. "The Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you." So here St.Peter was writing from Babylon but it wasn't the ancient city for that was totally destroyed in 275BC. It was Rome to which he referred when he informed the "strnagers" in Pontus, Galatia, and elsewhere to whom he wrote of the immoral, the Babylonish place in which he was making progress. Some say that since they were being persecuted that he was writing in code.


Gave evidence to his being a pope from that verse? Really? All Peter gave was evidence that was he was writing from Rome. Paul did the same and used the same sort of lauguage.

so how is this proof of his headship? Just because he wrote from Rome? No denying that. He died in Rome. Would you like me to use that same critera but from Paul writing from his cities as well?

Anyway, when a search is made there is plenty of evidence of secular history of the first Christian centuries regardiang the 52 Caesers who reigned from Nero to Constantine as well as the historic data regarding the 32 Bishops of Rome from St. Peter to Mechiades, the Popes of the very same period.


Nero to Constantine yes. Agree

There is no such history making Peter as first pope outside the CC saying so. There were no popes before Constantine and that was a far cry from when the Apostles walked the earth.....something like over 300 years later. Not in his writings nor any of the Apostles. In fact, Paul condemned or rebuked Peter to his face for denying 5 major doctrines. Some pope! Gal 2:11

on Jun 02, 2008

 

Certainly, though the Church did not yet use the word "bishop" during his time. There is significant evidence both in Scripture and in early Christian texts and artifacts that (1) Peter was the leader among the Apostles, and (2) that he spent the latter part (25 years) of his ministry in Rome.

No there is no evidence in scriptue of this at all

I just cited 1St.Peter 5:13. Oagan Rome was called Babylon by the early Christians and St.Peter was writing from that city. Also St.Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans in 58AD. In it he says that he does not want to preach the Gospel where Christ is already known because he would not build on "another man's foundation."

Yet in Romans 1:8, he writes to a Church already founded "whose faith was spoken of throughout the whole world."  later on he declares that he himself had not yet visited Rome, but he had hoped to do so when he had later set out ot visit Spain.

Therefore, Rome in short, was another man's foundation....The Romans knew well enough whom he meant...who then was the other man? The evidence from the writings of the Chruch Fathers and even some later Protestant historians tell that there had been a founder of this Chruch in Rome whom St.Paul was well acquainted and all Tradition says it's St. Peter.

If St.Peter was not in Rome isn't it strange that there is not a prominent writer of all the days before the 15th century who can be quoted to substantiate this false claim made by Wycliff, Luther and Calvin?  You got to get with the program KFC, even modern Protestant scholarship has refuted their false claims about St.Peter not being in Rome.

One was a German theologian, Adolph von Harnack, who wrote, "The martyrdom of peter in Rome was contested for controversial purposes, first by Protestant afterwards by higher critical prejudice...but that the position must be erroneous must be clear to any investigator who does not shut his eyes to the truth. The entire array of critical arguments with which Bauer combated the old tradition is today considered worthless.

on Jun 02, 2008

The rock mentioned in Chap 16 of Matthew is Christ not Peter. The church would be built on Christ, who was the bedrock not Peter which literally means a stone. "Upon this rock" is Christ, not PEter. It was a play on words and the CC has taken it as their proof text. If you do a word search on rock you'd see it always refers to Christ and using it this once to build a whole denomination is not a good thing. Check out the whole book of Psalms for instance and read about Christ being the rock.

No, not a play on words...

Catholics hold that rock of St.Matthew 16 to be St.Peter. Catholics don't believe one Rock excludes the other rock as you seem to. The Church holds Christ to be the Eternal Rock, the inward and invisible foundation, the Cornerstone of His Church and that this passage tells that He selected St. Peter as the secondary rock  upon which He built His visible Church. Just as Christ is the Good Shepherd, yet He selected St.Peter to be the shepherd of His flock, "Feed My Lambs, feed My sheep." St.John 21:16-17.

 

 

on Jun 02, 2008

In fact, Paul condemned or rebuked Peter to his face for denying 5 major doctrines. Some pope! Gal 2:11

It is well understood that in the early Church there was controversy over whether Gentiles who accepted Christ should be required to live according to Jewish law. This was a sensitive issue. Paul, in this instance, simply "rebuked" or "checked" Peter for pulling back from the table.

Just because someone is the leader doesn't mean they are always right. And when they are wrong, it is the proper role for subordinates to "keep them honest." There are many instances of dissent and debate in the early church. To understand the early Church, we have to remember that the Apostles, though guided by the Holy Spirit, were still human and capable of mistakes. But this instance, in my opinion, is a very minor mistake, where Peter, struggling with the delicate, sensitive balance among Jewish and Gentile Christians, hesitated to share a meal with the Gentiles, which was forbidden by Jewish law. 

In fact, I'm very glad you pointed out the "Incident at Antioch" because it naturally follows to mention the "Council of Jerusalem" that likely happened soon after that event, where the issue of whether Gentiles should be circumcized was discussed among the Apostles. Here it is clearly seen that Paul sought the decision of the Church leadership on this question:

"Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question." (Acts 15:2).

In the description of the  "Council of Jerusalem" that folows, it is quite clear that Peter presided over the Council, just as the Pope has presided over Ecumenical Councils for nearly 2000 years:

" The apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, 'My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. Why, then, are you now putting God to the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.' "

"The whole assembly fell silent, and they listened while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them." (Acts 15:6-12) 

By the way, there are several hints even in Galatians to Paul seeing Peter as a leader in the Church. First, in Galatians 1:17, Paul mentions that he went to Jerusalem to "confer with" Peter. This doesn't necessarily mean that Paul saw Peter as a superior, but it hints at it. Second, in Galatians 2:8, Paul points out that Jesus entrusted the Apostleship of the circumcision (the Jews) to Peter. All of the Apostles and early Christians were Jews, including Paul! Therefore, according to Paul himself, Peter held the Apostleship over Paul.

By the way, what "5 major doctrines" do you refer to?

on Jun 02, 2008
What you mean by existential for existentialism is at variance with Christ's teachings?


Timothy_Sfker posts:
In fact, the first existentialists were Christians. Look at Soren Kierkegaard (a brilliant writer and philosopher), Paul Tillich, Gabriel Marcel, among others. The word "existential" here essentially means relating to existence within the world. I can't do justice of Christian existentialism (or existential Christianity, which can mean different things) here, so if you still think it's absurd maybe check it out.


To be honest, Christian existentialism is a new term to me...I always understood it as either atheistic or theistic existentialism.

I wrote that Existentialism is at variance with Christ's teachings because subjective truth is central to Existentialism while objective truth is central to Christ's teachings.

Pondering the reality of life is most useful provided that objective principles are kept in the analysis. Pope John Paul II, of happy memory, defined love as being a disposition toward goodness, thus truth and love are inseperable realities. Man can only fully realize himself by seeking to conform to God's absolute principles. In this way a person becomes truly free to love his fellow man.


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