Friday, April 25, 2014

Reply to Ken Temple's Extensive (Anti-Catholic) "Review" of Rod Bennett's Book, Four Witnesses: Part I: The Amazon Review


By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong

Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words, by Rod Bennett, was published by Ignatius Press (San Francisco) in 2002. It's an introduction to four early Church fathers: St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Irenaeus of Lyons.

Ken Temple is a Baptist pastor and missionary to Muslims, who used to be more ecumenical, and in recent years, unfortunately, decided to become anti-Catholic (meaning that he thinks the Catholic system of theology is at bottom, sub-Christian and that one can't be saved, who believes all of it).  He used to be close friends with Rod Bennett, who is a convert to the Catholic Church. This should be known, as it may perhaps account for some of the zeal, vehemence, and vitriol of his review. I was thankfully spared such critical treatment from my Protestant friends after I converted (in my case it's almost always total strangers who are the most unreasonable and insulting). But it must be a very unpleasant thing.

I consider Rod a good friend (full disclosure), and part of my motivation is to see that he is defended from ludicrous and groundless charges, and that the Catholic Church is also vindicated against such patent, relentless absurdities as we find in Ken's three-part treatment. That's plenty enough motivation for me to suspend temporarily my policy of not debating anti-Catholics (in place since 2007). This is only the third or fourth time that I have made an exception to my rule, and it is on behalf of a friend, for whom I have a great deal of personal and professional respect.

Ken's initial review appeared on Amazon (1-20-14). He then expanded his treatment with a lengthy tome (1-22-14) on the anti-Catholic Boors All website, where he is an active contributor.  This was followed by a Part II (2-1-14), making it three parts altogether.  I shall reply to it, point-by-point (excepting a few instances where Ken agrees with the book), as is my usual custom in debate. My opponents in debate may (and often do) choose to ignore many things; I ignore nothing in dispute, don't shy away from anything. I may also reply to some of the comments in the discussions underneath the two papers at Boors All. Ken's words will be in blue throughout.

* * * * *

because of the negative aspects that lead people astray from Biblical truth, I give it a "2 star".

I hope to show, of course, that this is wrong, and that it is Ken who is straying from biblical truth, not Catholics.

The book is a Roman Catholic apologetic and biased popular introduction to these four men in early church (adding others in also to expand the RC idea that the whole early church agreed with Roman Catholic centuries later doctrines and dogmas).

I can assure everyone, from years of personal experience observing and debating with Protestants concerning the Church fathers, that there is plenty of bias to go around. I've seen Ken argue about these things, too, and he -- along with the secondary anti-Catholic sources he cites -- certainly has a strong bias, that (I will contend) stretches the "patristic facts" (as far as we can ascertain them) beyond the breaking point.

he also leaves out some key parts of Clement (page 87, see below), and especially Irenaeus that actually go against his stated purpose. (to let the early church speak for itself)

Well, that remains to be seen. Anti-Catholic patristic analysis is nothing if not super-selective prooftexting, with other relevant or contradictory (to their purpose) passages being utterly ignored, as if they didn't exist. This is its leading trait, that I've observed every time I refute it. It's become the usual modus operandi, a given, when anti-Catholics try to futilely mold early history into an argument for their side. The results are always humorous and pathetic, once readers learn the relevant facts that had been ignored (provided by the Catholic debater). Stay tuned! It's gonna happen again here; I guarantee it.

He skewed Cyprian of Carthage (died, being beheaded, around 258 AD) by leaving out important aspects of his life and writings, that pertain to the whole Roman Catholic vs. Protestantism debate.

Again, we'll see what Ken comes up with and if it is any evidence against Catholicism.

However his real purpose seems to be - to show that Protestantism is not historical, which is subtle. His main purpose seems to be to show that Sola Scriptura and Protestantism is wrong, especially when we read the afterward and the appendix of all the Roman Catholic distinctive doctrines that are the main issues that Protestants have against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

I'm sure that's central to the book (or at least its premises), which is historical argumentation. Protestants and Catholics both claim the fathers for themselves, so it's a battle as to who can more accurately claim them. This is established by the abundance of historical facts / writings that can be brought to bear.

The intro is skewed in a few places toward the RC side of things, as is the Afterward and the Appendix; - the last 2 sections of the book, Afterward, and on "Catholic Teaching in the Early Church" and "Catholic Teaching Today" are very skewed, in that they are trying to show that the doctrines and dogmas of the RCC that Protestants dis-agree with were there from the beginning of church history. They were not.

Well, yes they were, but in more primitive form. All doctrines develop. The classic one that we all agree on is the Trinity, which developed in all its aspects for over 600 years.

The biggest problem is that he leaves out key elements of the quotes from Clement, which would show that Clement treated presbyterois (elders) and episcopais (overseers/bishops) as one church office/same person - as in Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy chapter 3.

Here's the first actual argument, rather than merely bald assertion. It is true that in the early Church and the New Testament, the offices were much more "fluent" and overlapping than they are now (I noted this in my first book, completed in 1996; mentioning three of the passages Ken brings up above). We see this clearly in the essentially synonymous use of the different terms in Titus 1:5-7. What is not true, however, is that the Bible teaches no distinctions in these offices at all. It certainly does.

St. Peter himself functions as a "super elder" or "super bishop". He casually assumes this overarching authority in, e.g., his first Epistle. He is exhorting the elders, as if he is higher in authority than they are: "Tend the flock of God that is your charge . . ." (1 Pet 5:2; RSV, as throughout). The letter reads as if it were an early sort of papal encyclical letter. It's not written to one church, but to people from all over the place. His second Epistle is the same: ". . . To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours . . ." (2 Pet 1:1). I wrote in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (Sophia Institute Press, 2003, p. 252):


St. Paul often referred to himself as a deacon or minister (1 Corinthians 3:5; 4:1; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; 11:23; Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23-25), yet no one would assert that he was merely a deacon, and nothing else. Likewise, St. Peter calls himself a fellow elder (1 Peter 5:1), whereas Jesus calls him the rock upon which He would build His Church, and gave him alone the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:18-19). These examples are usually indicative of a healthy humility, according to Christ's injunctions of servanthood (Matthew 23:11-12; Mark 10:43-44).


Upon closer observation, clear distinctions of office appear, and the hierarchical nature of Church government in the New Testament emerges. Bishops are always referred to in the singular, while elders are usually mentioned plurally.

Later in the same Appendix, I noted functions of bishops that were different from (going beyond) those of the elders / presbyters (or what we would call priests):

Bishops (episkopos) possess all the powers, duties, and jurisdiction of priests, with the following important additional responsibilities:

1) Jurisdiction over priests and local churches, and the power to ordain priests: Acts 14:22; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5. 

2) Special responsibility to defend the Faith: Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:9-10; 2 Peter 3:15-16.

3) Power to rebuke false doctrine and to excommunicate: Acts 8:14-24; 1 Corinthians 16:22; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:10-11.

4) Power to bestow Confirmation (the receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit): Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6.

5) Management of Church finances: 1 Timothy 3:3-4; 1 Peter 5:2.

In the Septuagint, episkopos is used for "overseer" in various senses, for example: officers (Judges 9:28; Isaiah 60:17), supervisors of funds (2 Chronicles 34:12, 17), overseers of priests and Levites (Nehemiah 11:9; 2 Kings 11:18), and of temple and tabernacle functions (Numbers 4:16). God is called episkopos at Job 20:29, referring to His role as Judge, and Christ is an episkopos in 1 Peter 2:25 (RSV: "Shepherd and Guardian of your souls").

The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-29) bears witness to a definite hierarchical, episcopal structure of government in the early Church. St. Peter, the chief elder (the office of pope) of the entire Church (1 Peter 5:1; cf. John 21:15-17), presided and issued the authoritative pronouncement (15:7-11). Then James, bishop of Jerusalem (kind of like the host-mayor of a conference) gives a concurring (Acts 15:14), concluding statement (15:13-29). That James was the sole, "monarchical" bishop of Jerusalem is fairly apparent from Scripture (Acts 12:17; 15:13, 19; 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:12). This fact is also attested by the first Christian historian, Eusebius (History of the Church, 7:19). (pp. 254-255).

Since Clement, along with the Didache are the earliest writings outside of the NT and they are compatible with a two office local church government (elders/overseers who do the work of shepherd/pastors and deacons); and all scholars of church history agree, and Rod agreed with me when I pointed this out, that it was not until Ignatius around 107-117 AD, who exalted one of the presbyters out from the college of presbyters and made him the mono-episcopate (one bishop over the college of elders. When I pointed this out, Rod eventually agreed with me that he will need to add information in a subsequent edition on that issue. The way Clement is left, he has made it appear that the early church from the beginning had a three office structure, rather than just two.

Ken neglects to see something important here. Clement himself (a bishop of Rome), writes very authoritatively in his letter, to other churches.  So he states, for example:

If, however, any shall disobey the words spoken by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and serious danger; . . . (Letter to the Corinthians / 1 Clement, 59)

Max Lackmann, a Lutheran, comments on this letter of St. Clement:


Clement, as the spokesman of the whole People of God . . . admonishes the Church of Corinth in serious, authoritative and brotherly tones to correct the internal abuses of their ecclesiastical community. He censures, exhorts, cautions, entreats . . . The use of the expression send back in the statement: Send back speedily unto us our messengers (1 Clement 65,1), is not merely a special kind of biblical phrase but also a form of Roman imperial command. The Roman judge in a province of the empire sent back a messenger or a packet of documents to the imperial capital or to the court of the emperor (Acts 25:21). Clement of Rome doubtless also knew this administrative terminology of the imperial government and used it effectively.

(In Hans Asmussen, et al, The Unfinished Reformation, translated by Robert J. Olsen, Notre Dame, Indiana: Fides Publishers Association, 1961, 84-85)

Thus, according to this Lutheran (not Catholic) commentator, Clement is already acting very much like a presiding bishop, and even in writing to a completely different city; thus, he acts like the pope that we claim that he indeed was. He's telling folks in Corinth what to do, from Rome. Therefore, Ignatius was not the first one to do that at all; Clement  the bishop of Rome was.

But there are many things that he leaves out, that, if they had been included, would weaken his case against Protestantism.

Well, I hate to say it, but hey, I just showed several things -- didn't I? --  that Ken conveniently omitted in order to put forth his Protestant case . . . 

He is a former Protestant, a Southern Baptist, and evangelical, and by leaving out certain parts of Irenaeus and Clement, at the exact places that balance these men and their writings a little more toward Protestantism, his purpose seems clear.

I'll deal with those as ken proceeds. But again, I guarantee that Ken will do exactly that which he condemns. I will demonstrate it, as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being selective, and no one can include everything in his or her research,

Of course one can't do everything. But it is dishonest to omit crucial evidence that can be brought to bear, when discussing a Church father. Protestants habitually do this, in direct proportion to how anti-Catholic and agenda-driven or polemically motivated they are. In doing so, they are not presenting the "whole truth" (as they say in court cases in the swearing in). A half-truth is as good as a lie. This will be (as I'll prove) Ken's downfall as he tries to make his case.

And certainly, I realize that I would be accused of the same thing, if I wrote an apologetic for Protestantism and the early church and I leave out some parts of Irenaeus and Tertullian that seem to teach Mary as the New Eve (that, according to R. Catholic claims, provide seeds of the later ideas of the intercession of Mary, prayers to Mary, that she is an advocate for us, a co-mediatrix ideas of Mary); or if I leave out other passages of other early church fathers/writers that seem to teach some kind of baptismal regeneration or apostolic succession.

Yes he would!

Some ancient passages are anachronistically interpreted to be something about the Roman Catholic church, the Pope, etc.; but they do not really teach that at the time of the early church, in the Roman Catholic Papal sense that took centuries to develop.

Likewise, the Protestant polemicist of a certain sort (ahem, Ken's sort) will often project or "superimpose" back onto the early Church later Protestant doctrines that would have been completely foreign and utterly unknown to the minds of that period (being inventions of the 16th century).

. . . someone else also the right to come along and show how certain things have been left out, and at just the precise place, so as to seemingly, although innocently, skew the evidence.

Yes! That's what I'll be doing here; already have done so. It's always droningly the same in these discussions of the fathers with anti-Catholic Protestants.

Clement of Rome

In his section on Clement, on page 87, Rod Bennett stops the quote short of confirming that episcopais (overseer or bishop) and presbuteras (elder) are used interchangeabl[y] and teach that they are the same office in the local church. (see I Clement 43:6 - 44:1-4) In 44:3-6, if the quote is allowed to continue, shows that the earliest churches, closest to the written Scriptures, still held to the teaching that elders and overseers were one and the same office in the church, charged with the responsibility of teaching, pastoring, and guarding the flock from false teaching. (Acts 20:17-30, Titus 1:5-7, I Timothy 3, I Peter 5:1-5) All of these passages show that elders and bishops are the same, and that their job is to pastor/ feed/ shepherd the flock, and do the work of "overseeing" (leading).


I've already granted that this is sometimes, even often the case, in the New Testament and in the earliest fathers, but I deny that it is always the case, as already shown from both. A very clear case of "super bishops" occurs in the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-29), comprised of "apostles" and "elders" (15:2, 4, 6, 22-23). Now, when this council finished its business and made its decrees, we see St. Paul  and St. Timothy proclaiming it as binding. In order for this to be the case, there had to be an authority overarching the local churches. Thus, the Bible states:

Acts 16:4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.

That isn't just ordinary elders. It's elders who clearly have authority over elders in many other regions. And that is Catholic ecclesiology, not Protestant. The decisions were not optionally received. They were delivered in no uncertain terms "for observance." If someone tries to argue, "well those were apostles, so it was a special case," there are two responses:

1) why would God provide an example of a council in Church governance in Scripture, only to be ignored altogether later, as if it has no modeling significance?

2) It is said of Judas that "His office [episkopos] let another take" (Acts 1:20). That was passed on to Matthias. Thus, an apostle was called a bishop and succeeded by another man, which is apostolic succession: another very Catholic (and alas, biblical) doctrine.

Paul himself has authority over many churches. The counter-argument would be, again, that he was an apostle, so that it is a special, temporary case. Yet, even being an apostle, he is subject to the authority of Peter when he went to visit him early in his ministry, and also the the Jerusalem council, that confirmed or ratified Paul's practice of not circumcising Gentile converts to Christianity and then sent him out to proclaim what the council had decreed. Therefore, Paul was under authority, and we once again see multi-level hierarchy in the Church, right in the New Testament. I fail to see what could be clearer than that. Ken's conclusions are incomplete, ignore large relevant portions of Scripture, and half-truths. I have presented the whole truth of the matter, granting some of what he claims, but introducing equally important themes that he ignored.

Clement agrees with this, with the Scriptures, that elders and bishops are the same,

No he doesn't, because he himself commands elders in other regions and says that if they disobey it is a sin. In Scripture, Paul, Peter, and the Jerusalem council act similarly.

so this is hardly an early church document in which teaches a papacy or Roman Catholicism.

It's precisely such (as is Peter's predominance at the Jerusalem council and precedence in many ways: that I have documented).

Also, in the Irenaeus section, he cuts the quotes and re-arranges them out of order in such a way as to give a false impression.

This appears to be a charge of deliberate deception.

Irenaeus believed in the rule of faith, but how does Irenaeus define the rule of faith?

I'm delighted that Ken asked. Here is how St. Irenaeus defined the rule of faith, according to the prominent Protestant church historian Philip Schaff:


Besides appealing to the Scriptures, the fathers, particularly Irenaeus and Tertullian, refer with equal confidence to the "rule of faith;" that is, the common faith of the church, as orally handed down in the unbroken succession of bishops from Christ and his apostles to their day, and above all as still living in the original apostolic churches, like those of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome. Tradition is thus intimately connected with the primitive episcopate. The latter was the vehicle of the former, and both were looked upon as bulwarks against heresy.

Irenaeus confronts the secret tradition of the Gnostics with the open and unadulterated tradition of the catholic church, and points to all churches, but particularly to Rome, as the visible centre of the unity of doctrine. All who would know the truth, says he, can see in the whole church the tradition of the apostles; and we can count the bishops ordained by the apostles, and their successors down to our time, who neither taught nor knew any such heresies. Then, by way of example, he cites the first twelve bishops of the Roman church from Linus to Eleutherus, as witnesses of the pure apostolic doctrine. He might conceive of a Christianity without scripture, but he could not imagine a Christianity without living tradition; and for this opinion he refers to barbarian tribes, who have the gospel, "sine charta et atramento," written in their hearts.

(History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, Chapter XII, section 139, "Catholic Tradition")
 

Ken goes on to argue:

Irenaeus
On page 246, he leaves out part of the quote that shows that Irenaeus is using Scriptural proofs for his arguments against the Gnostics.

On page 247, Rod claims that the Gnostics always appealed to Scripture for their views:

"To what did they appeal when they offered their various insights? To Scripture always . . . though always to Scripture properly understood of course."

Where is the proof of this? I have not found this anywhere in Irenaeus. Rod is making it seem like Protestantism is like Gnosticism. Actually, Irenaeus says just the opposite!
He says that the Gnostics:
a. gather their knowledge from other sources other than the Scriptures. (Against Heresies, 1:8:1)
b. claim that the Jesus gave the apostles a secret, oral tradition. (3:2:1)
c. accuse the Scriptures of being unclear and ambiguous. (3:2:1)


Thus, according to Schaff, Ken has fundamentally distorted Irenaeus' views. He tried to make out that Irenaeus was opposing any extrabiblical tradition, or oral tradition, and by extension, apostolic succession. In fact, according to Schaff's reading, Irenaeus opposed the Gnostics' false heretical traditions not with Scripture only, but with true, apostolic, oral Catholic tradition, pointing to Rome as the orthodox center and guarantor of true Christian doctrine. It's all (true) tradition and church authority.

Schaff even goes so far as to say (shockingly to Protestant ears!): "He might conceive of a Christianity without scripture, but he could not imagine a Christianity without living tradition". That is hardly sola Scriptura, by any stretch of the wildest imagination. So how could Ken get it so wrong? Well, it's that bias we've both been talking about. He saw what he wanted to see in Irenaeus and ignored the rest, and his it from his readers; whereas Schaff, as an honest (still thoroughly Protestant) historian, presents the whole picture and doesn't try to hide things.

Ken pretends that Irenaeus would deny authoritative apostolic tradition (his take of Against Heresies, 1:8:1). This is a joke. And we can show that it is by looking at he next passage he trots out (3:2:1), which Ken tries to summarize as an "anti-tradition" sentiment. It clearly is not. In 3:2:1 Irenaeus refers to the Gnostics being "confuted from the Scriptures" but then in 3:2:2 he positively endorses Christian / Catholic tradition (my bolding and italics):


2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. . . . It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

Once again, then, we see that it is not a "Bible [Protestantism] vs. [evil Catholic] Tradition" scenario. It is, rather, a "bad, false tradition vs. true apostolic tradition scenario": with the Bible (rightly interpreted in light of the passed-down tradition) being the trump card for the Catholic position. It turns out that Ken has engaged in thoroughly distorted interpretation of fundamental aspects of Irenaeus, making him out to be some sort of primitive or proto-Protestant, when he is not at all. His teaching bears little or no resemblance at all to the Protestant rule of faith, sola Scriptura. He's not nearly as concerned with prooftexts from Scripture here as he is with apostolic succession and true tradition.

But these 3 things are what the Roman Catholic church actually does do.

Yes we do; so does (very clearly) Irenaeus.

They have other sources of authority that the Scriptures. Secret oral tradition, historical development of interpretation throughout history, the other councils after the first four ecumenical councils, creeds, and interpretations that grew centuries later, writings of the Popes, and the Apocrapha [sic] books, which are called "Deutero-canonicals", meaning, "secondarily received into the canon as God-breathed."

Yes we do. And the fathers and the Bible agree with us all down the line.

Jerome and Athanasius and Melito of Sardis have enough evidence to show the Apocrapha [sic] books were not inspired or part of the canon in the way that Roman Catholic apologists try to make them out to be.

Is that so? Ken misrepresents (we will assume out of ignorance) St. Athanasius, who accepts several deuterocanonical books as canonical. St. Athanasius is one of the favorites of Protestants (probably second to St. Augustine in that regard). It's true that he did seem to lower the status of the deuterocanonical books somewhat, but not to a sub-biblical level, as noted by my good friend Gary Michuta, in his excellent book, Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger (Port Huron, Michigan: Grotto Press, 2007, 110-112; footnote numbering my own):
Athanasius quotes both Baruch and Susanna right along passages from Isaiah, Psalms, Romans, and Hebrews; he makes no distinction or qualification between them [1]. Wisdom also is used as an authentic portion of sacred Scripture . . .:
But of these and such like inventions of idolatrous madness, Scripture taught us beforehand long ago, when it said, 'The devising of idols, as the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them, the corruption of life . . .' [Ws 14:12] [2]
And later in the same work:
For since they were endeavouring to invest with what Scripture calls the incommunicable name . . . [3]
This reference to the "incommunicable name" comes from Wisdom 14:21 . . .

Athanasius quotes another passage from Wisdom as constituting the teachings of Christ, the Word of God. He undoubtedly uses it to confirm doctrine. [4] In another argument against Arians, he calls both the Protocanonical Proverbs and the Deuterocanonical Wisdom "holy Scripture" . . . [5] . . .

Athanasius also quotes the book of Sirach without distinction or qualification, in the midst of several other scriptural quotations. [6] . . . Athanasius calls the Book of Judith Scripture. [7] Tobit is cited right along with several Protocanonical quotations [8] , and even introduced with the solemn formula "it is written." [9]

[1]
Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 1.12.
[2] Against the Heathen, 11.1. Emphasis added.
[3] Against the Heathen, 1, 17.3.
[4] On the Incarnate Word, 4.6; 5.2.
[5] Defense Against Arius, 1, 3.
[6] Life of Anthony, 28 and Apology Against the Arians, 66.
[7] Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 2.35 . . .
[8] Defense of Constantius, 17. Tobit is cited after Matthew and Isaiah.
[9] Defense Against Arius, Part 1, 11.
The great Protestant Bible scholar F. F. Bruce confirms Michuta's analysis (my bracketed comments):

As Athanasius includes Baruch and the 'Letter of Jeremiah' in one book with Jeremiah and Lamentations [in his list of the OT canon], so he probably includes the Greek additions to Daniel in the canonical book of that name, and the additions to Esther in the book of that name which he recommends for reading in church [but doesn't list as a canonical book] . . .

In practice Athanasius appears to have paid little attention to the formal distinction between those books which he listed in the canon and those which were suitable for instruction of new Christians. He was familiar with the text of all, and quoted from them freely, often with the same introductory formula -- 'as it is written', 'as the scripture says', etc.

(The Canon of Scripture, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988, 79-80; my bracketed comments, based on the larger context of Bruce's analysis)

St. Jerome submitted to the Church with regard to the canon. That's something a guy like, say, Luther, would never do. He would go his own way. But because St. Jerome believed in Church authority (not sola Scriptura), he submitted. Nor was St. Jerome consistent. His view (already isolated and against that of unbroken tradition) had several anomalies (or changes of mind or vacillations?), of such a nature that the would shock many a Protestant who rely on him as a "champion" in opposing the Deuterocanon. Gary Michuta enumerates several of these curious inconsistencies:
He . . . flatly denies that Tobit is part of the canon, [1] although elsewhere he cites it without qualification! [2] . . . Jerome adopts the popular convention in his Letter to Oceanus by quoting Baruch as a voice made by "the trumpets of the prophets." [3] Sirach is both rejected and quoted as Scripture, [4] although it is formally quoted [5] and occasionally used without qualification. [6] Wisdom is also occasionally formally quoted. [7] Jerome even attributes the passages from Wisdom to the Holy Spirit. [8] Maccabees is used without distinction. [9] Jerome at times alludes to the Deuterocanonical sections of Daniel in his letters. [10] Deuterocanonical passages from Esther are likewise quoted. [11] . . . he lists Judith as one of the virtuous women of sacred Scripture . . . [12].

[1] Prologue to John.
[2] Commentary in Eccles. 8.
[3] Letter 77:4.
[4] Commentary on Isaiah, Book 2, 3:12; Letters 77:6: 108:22; 118:1; 148:2,16,18.
[5] Commentary on Jeremiah, Book 4, 21:14; Commentary on Ezekiel, Book 6, 18:6; and Letter 64:5.
[6] Commentary on Isaiah, Book 8, 24:4; Commentary on Ezekiel, Book 6, 18:6; Letter 57.1 To Pammachius; and Letter 125.19, To Rusticus.
[7] Commentary on Isaiah, Book 1, 1:24; Commentary on Zechariah, Book 3, 14:9; and Commentary on Malachi, 3:7 ff.
[8] Commentary on Galatians, Book 1, 3:2 . . . and Breviarium in Psalmos, Ps 9.
[9] Against Pelagians, Book 2:30; Letter 7, To Chromatius, Jovinus and Eusebius.
[10] Letter 3, 1 To Rufinus the Monk; Letter 22,9-10, To Eustochium; Letter 1, 9 to Innocent.
[11] Letter 48, To Pammachius, 14.
[12] Letter 65,1.

(Michuta, ibid., 149-150; again, my own footnote numbering)
Certainly these guys do not offer "slam dunk data" in favor of a "Protestant" interpretation. Ken brings up Melito of Sardis also. But his canon list omits Lamentations and Esther, and includes the book of Wisdom. There is a good reason that Ken doesn't bring up someone like St. Augustine, in reference to the canon issue. He knows that that great father and dozens of others do not agree with him, so he trots out three, and even with those it is by no means all in the Protestant's favor. Pick and choose, and selectively even with the ones chosen: conveniently omitting all anomalous facts.

Roman Catholics say the Scriptures are unclear, whereas Protestantism says that the Scriptures are clear to those who are born again by God's Spirit and are willing to honestly look at them and do proper exegesis. ("My sheep hear My voice . . . " John 10:27-30)

We don't say that the Bible is unclear per se or as a general trait, but we say that it is complex, nuanced, and that one needs to study it carefully in order to understand, in conjunction with the tradition that was passed-down from the beginning. The heretic disregards that tradition (just as Ken did with the deuterocanon, citing three ambiguous "witnesses" for his side and ignoring all the others). The heretic, as a result, eisegetes and reads into Scripture what he wants to see and not what is really there.

There are plenty of biblical indications that Scripture is not crystal-clear at all times, provided one is open to it. In my 2012 book. 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura (Catholic Answers), I had  14 distinct arguments from Scripture against perspicuity (clearness). Here is just one of the 14:


51. The Bible Asserts that Its Teachings Have to Be “Opened”

In Luke 24:32, two disciples on the road to Emmaus marveled how Jesus “opened to us the scriptures.” The Greek word for “opened” is dianoigo (Strong’s word #1272). According to Joseph Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, it means “to open by dividing or drawing asunder, to open thoroughly (what had been closed).” This meaning can be seen in other passages where dianoigo appears (Mk 7:34-35, Lk 2:23, 24:31, 45, Acts 16:14, 17:3). 

Here then, Scripture itself appears to be informing us that some parts of it were “closed” and “not plain” until the infallible teaching authority and interpretation of our Lord Jesus opened it up and made it plain. This runs utterly contrary to the Protestant notion of perspicuity of Scripture and its more or less ubiquitous self-interpreting nature.

This is not to say that all things are equally clear; (granted some secondary and minor things are unclear), but only to say that the main things necessary for salvation are clear. This is called the Protestant doctrine of the "perspicuity of Scripture", which the Roman Catholic denies.

Yes we do, because it is inherent. Baptism is very important in Christianity, and to salvation, according to the Bible. Yet Protestants cannot agree on it at all, and have five distinct major camps on this score.  Ken himself, being a Baptist, would have been drowned (capital punishment) as an insufferably heretical seditionist by both Luther and Calvin, whereas I would have been allowed to practice my Catholicism (banished at worst). And that is his fellow Protestants. That happened because Protestants couldn't (still can't) figure out the truth of baptism by the supposedly always "clear" Scripture alone.

But with the help of history and tradition (that Luther himself followed and even appealed to), it's quite clear: baptism regenerates, and is to be given to infants. Tradition provides the authoritative answer as to what Scripture teaches. Without it, we get five different views and Protestants drowning each other as rank heretics. Ken, in the early Protestant setting that he so champions and loves, would have been drowned, ending up as food for the fish in Lake Geneva or the Elbe River, as a result of this Protestant chaos and inability to arrive at unified doctrinal truth.

Knowledgeable Evangelical Protestants do not hate the word, "tradition", nor "Eucharist", nor "catholic". Properly understood, there is no problem with these words as originally meant. When reading the early church fathers, those words come up a lot; but that does not mean that the early church was Roman Catholic.

Naw; it just so happens that we are finding at every turn, with every example, that it indeed was quite strikingly Catholic. After seeing dozens, scores of such examples, it is difficult to resist the obvious conclusion, and many Protestants, such as Rod and myself, must conclude that they had been given a bill of goods, and that Catholicism really was there from the beginning (with development of doctrine); hence, is worthy of any Christian's allegiance today, as the fullness of apostolic Christianity.

What is "the tradition"?
The tradition that Irenaeus is talking about, is the right Biblical tradition, he defines it, in context (belief in One God, who created all things, Jesus as Son of God, the same God in OT as NT, against Gnosticism, etc.) (See, Against Heresies, 1:10:1 and 1:10:2; 3:4:2)


Okay, if Ken insists, we'll play this game some more with him. It won't end up as a net gain for his side, as in all the other examples above. One has to virtually enter the theater of the absurd (as with St. Augustine) to even have to deal seriously with a claim that Irenaeus held to sola Scriptura. Many dozens of passages can easily be found countering such a claim. Here are some of the clearest and most indisputable:

It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 1; ANF, Vol. I)

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 2; ANF, Vol. I)

In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth. (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 3; ANF, Vol. I)

Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? (Against Heresies, 3, 4, 1; ANF, Vol. I)

. . . carefully preserving the ancient tradition . . . by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established. (Against Heresies, 3, 4, 2; ANF, Vol. I)

[W]e refute them out of these Scriptures, and shut them up to a belief in the advent of the Son of God. But our faith is stedfast, unfeigned, and the only true one, having clear proof from these Scriptures, which were interpreted in the way I have related; and the preaching of the Church is without interpolation. For the apostles, since they are of more ancient date than all these [heretics], agree with this aforesaid translation; and the translation harmonizes with the tradition of the apostles. (Against Heresies, 3, 21, 3; ANF, Vol. I)

For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. (Against Heresies, 3, 24, 1; ANF, Vol. I) 
True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; . . . (Against Heresies, 4, 33, 8; ANF, Vol. I.)

The proofs here are endless, and Protestant patristic scholars like J. N. D. Kelly go on at great length about how this is not sola Scriptura, but a very different rule of faith (Catholic). I won;t even bother to cite Kelly. We've seen more than enough to establish the point.

On page 250, leaves out a key part of Irenaeus that defines what the "faith", the preaching, the tradition is. He quotes 1:10:2 and makes it seem like what Irenaeus is saying is that tradition that the church protects is some thing different from the basic doctrines of the apostles creed, and the Nicean Creed.

Basically, Irenaeus is presenting an Apostles' Creed-sort of basic outline of tradition (since he is pretty early in Church history), but he does allude to very unProtestant things in his writing like the Real Bodily Presence in the Eucharist, Mary as the Second Eve and indirect participant in human redemption, and the elements of tradition and the rule of faith that we have already seen; also strong suggestions of the papacy and primacy of Rome. And of course, he believed in baptismal regeneration, as all the fathers did.

The way he treated Cyprian (bishop of Carthage, lived around 200-258 AD) was very problematic (pages 272-273, as part of Irenaeus), leaving out key aspects and historical information. While Cyprian operated on the mono-espiscopate principle, which started with Ignatius; he did not agree with any kind of "universal bishop over all other bishops", that Rod skews it toward. The chair of Peter, the faith of Peter, only meant the doctrinal content of Matthew 16, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. It did not mean any kind of "ex cathedra Papal sense" of the 1870 dogma. Cyprian, Firmillian and 85 other bishops from all over the Christian empire in the 7th Council of Carthage wrote; "no one has the right to claim he is bishop over all the other bishops" - the claim that Stephen, bishop of Rome, made. This was an arrogant claim, and those 86 bishops rightly rebuked Stephen. There is no such office as "Pope" in the early centuries of Christianity. Even Gregory, bishop of Rome in 601 AD argued against the concept in his disagreement with John of Constantinople.

I agree that St. Cyprian had some "anti-papal" elements in his thinking (as do many fathers in the east). I strongly disagree that there was no pope at all in the earliest centuries of Christianity. Thats a much more ambitious (and absurd) claim and is a gigantic discussion in itself. Fortunately, I have a paper that has a huge section on the papacy as taught in the fathers and in the early Church (final section). Nor does Pope St. Gregory the Great disagree with the papacy, as Ken ridiculously claims, as I have documented. Pope St. Leo the Great also very strongly asserted papal supremacy 150 years earlier. Many more historical evidences can be found in various paper on my Papacy website.

In summary,  it remains the case that Ken cannot show us even one Church father who would qualify as a teacher in his own Baptist congregation. They would all fail the "admission / qualifications" test. They would flunk the courses in a Baptist seminary. He can't find a single straight up "evangelical Protestant" in the whole lot -- who "gets" what he thinks is so utterly obvious in theology and in the Bible -- , none who don't present any  "embarrassing" or "Catholic-sounding" passages in their works. Surely this is most telling against his position. 

Anti-Catholic polemicists like Ken always point to "evangelical-sounding" passages in what were in reality thoroughgoing  Catholic writers and thinkers, but when push comes to shove they cannot produce one completely "sound" teacher (according to their Protestant perspective) in the whole bunch of Church fathers.  They desperately search the brilliant writings of these men (or, more often, utilize the same old passages that they inherit from polemical works of the past) in order to find something -- anything -- that appears on the surface to sound "Protestant" and can be used as a prooftext in the usual half-truth, hyper-selective manner that has become the anti-Catholic polemicist's stock-in-trade.




* * * * *



69 comments:

Mark Alan said...

Great work Dave!

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanx! Workin' on Part II presently.

Adomnan said...

Dave,

When you finish, you might consider appending a summary of your arguments as a comment to Mr. Temple's Amazon review. That will clear up the misinformation he is attempting to spread via the Amazon site.

Mr. Temple might reply to you there, but you can probably let that go without further comment. His rejoinders are generally so illogical, question-begging and fraught with special pleading that they are self-refuting. He shoots all his bullets in the first round.

By the way, I'm happy to see how well-received Mr. Bennett's book was by almost all readers (and the few who didn't like it, Ken aside, appear not to have read it).

Adomnan said...

From the great Greek scholar, Ken Temple:

"The biggest problem is that he leaves out key elements of the quotes from Clement, which would show that Clement treated presbyterois (elders) and episcopais (overseers/bishops) as one church office/same person..."

"In his section on Clement, on page 87, Rod Bennett stops the quote short of confirming that episcopais (overseer or bishop) and presbuteras (elder) are used interchangeably ..."

I know from past interactions with him that Mr. Temple has been studying Greek for years, and he prides himself on his supposed familiarity with the original Greek texts. However, the nominative singular of the two words under discussion is "presbuteros" and "episcopos," and the nominative plural (the regular citation form) of each is "prebuteroi" and "episcopoi." Where in the world do these "-as," "ais," "ois" endings come from?

As his butchering of the Greek shows, Ken is a really slow study. He's sort of a nice guy, but I believe his fundamental problem is that he's just not too bright. (There. I said it.) I've had discussions with him, but they've always been frustrating, because Mr. Temple never "gets it." If he chooses to respond, you'll see a lot of doubling down, repetition, simple contradiction, mere assertion and the like, but you'll see precious little real engagement with your arguments.

Dave Armstrong said...

I did make it through the three parts, by the grace of God alone.

Someone else can summarize them at amazon. I'm moving on now, with my sanity, some small semblance of patience, and wits still intact. :-)

Mark Alan said...

Adomnam

I find many protestants (and JWs) who study ancient Greek, treat it like they do the Scriptures: alter a word just a smidge so that no one really notices and then claim "this is what it means". The ones with false intentions know that the average person doesn't have the slightest clue about Greek, thus it makes them look "really intelligent" when the demonstrate a "little" knowledge and therefore they attract the "they must know what they are doing!" crowd.

Adomnan said...

I'd like to comment on the substance of Mr. Temple's argument that the Catholic Church maintains the apostolic hierarchy was/is "three-tiered," while some, like him, think it was originally "two-tiered."

First, this "three-tier" versus "two-tier" debate is largely a matter of indifference to Catholics. It's more of an Episcopalian-Presbyterian disagreement. Catholics see an essential difference between "presbyters" (priests, elders) and deacons. A bishop is merely a kind of presbyter or priest, a presiding presbyter with certain powers reserved to himself, but not necessarily a different "tier" of the hierarchy. In this approach, the Catholic system could be describe as two-tiered (priest/deacon).

However, if you want to stress the special prerogatives of the presiding presbyter, you can call it "three-tiered."

It's just a matter of semantics.

Clement does sometimes appear to use the words "episcopos" (bishop) and "presbyteros" interchangeably (although I'm not at all sure that he does in fact so use them -- I just don't want to get into that right now). At the same time, he recognizes that one of these bishop-presbyters was, in fact, in charge -- by comparing him to the High Priest.

Take a look at this passage, where Clement uses an Old Testment model to describe the structure of the church in Corinth (1 Clement 40:4-5 to 41:1): "Those who offer their sacrifices at the appointed times are acceptable and blessed, for they follow the laws of the Master and do no sin. For to the high priest, his proper ministrations are allotted, and to the priests the proper place has been appointed, and on Levites their proper services have been imposed. The layman is bound by the ordinances of the laity. Let each one of us, brethren, be well pleasing to God in his own rank, and have a good conscience, not transgressing the appointed rules of his ministration, with all reverence."

So, we see that Clement has four "ranks," one is the laity and the other three are clergy. The Levites are the deacons; the priests are the presbyters. And that leaves the high priest as the chief presbyter, a position for which Ignatius reserved the word "bishop." That certainly sounds like a three-tiered clerical hierarchy to me.

But, as I said, three-tiered/two-tiered: It's a matter of semantics, a dispute with no implications for church order whatever side of it you might come down on.

Adomnan said...

You know, Mark Alan, the average person hasn't the slightest clue about Greek, but these "Greek experts" in the fundamentalist protestant/JW communities in a sense know less, because they think they know something, when they don't. At least the ordinary guy, like Socrates, knows he "knows nothing."

Usually, what they do is that they keep a Greek lexicon at hand; they read through some second-rate "evangelical" Greek grammar, and then they try mechanically to apply the rules of a language they really don't grasp. There are many examples of this. That other great Greek scholar, James White, taught for quite a while that justification could only happen once because an aorist participle was used to describe it in Romans and "when something is in the aorist, that means it only happens one time" (paraphrase, not a quote). Well, someone finally got through to him that that was flapdoodle, and he quietly rescinded the argument. And so we're supposed to trust the rest of his "Greek" exegesis?

One of the biggest sources of confusion with these people is the use of verb tenses and aspects, which they interpret in all sorts of bizarre ways. As you suggest, they can erect whole theological castles in the sky based on the misapplication of some misunderstood grammar rule. I do read ancient Greek, by the way. It's a complex, precise and beautiful language, and one cannot develop a feel for it with a lexicon in one hand and a tendentious, superficial grammar in the other.

I don't want to get off the topic at hand, which I guess I have, but I thought I should second your observation.

Adomnan said...

In my critique of Ken's Greek, I wrote "prebuteroi" as the plural of "presbuteros," My omitting the "s" was a typo. The plural is, of course, "presbuteroi."

Mark Alan said...

Adomnan

You are absolutely correct about their use of a Greek lexicon. One of the favorite things JWs like to do is utilize a Greek lexicon that has been written (or altered) by a fellow Christadelphian or Unitarian. When I did research on the authors and pointed this out to them, their claim is always:"Well, they are Greek scholars."....Huh?

I've had protestants do the same thing to me as well, when it comes to them attempting to look intelligent using Greek. You're right! They don't know how to use them.

I haven't the slightest idea about Greek but I do know Latin and have studied Latin for many years, and it too can be a bit complex, especially when declining the verbs. But Greek seems much more complex and articulate.

With the age of the internet and computer software, its easy to get a degree or create a diploma without even going to school. Instant intelligence, just click 'here".

Adomnan said...

Mark Alan,

I don't have to tell you, but when some sectarian assures you that a verse means such and such because of a verb tense or the arcane meaning of a "root," you can be confident it's twaddle.

On the other hand, I have found that knowing Greek -- I also know Latin and twelve other languages -- can be quite helpful in exegeting scripture, but you need to know it well enough to have a feel for it.

One example is a sermon I read by Richard Hooker, the famous 16th-century theologian who is considered one of the founders of the English Church. This eminent scholar delivered a sermon in which he attempted to prove "the imputation of Christ's righteousness" -- a heretical Protestant doctrine -- from a single verse in Philippians.

This was interesting to me primarily because he ignored the usual Protestant "proof" of this doctrine (from Romans), apparently realizing that it didn't wash.

Well, it turns out that Hooker's prooftext could only be made to yield the Protestant doctrine in the English version (and that debatably). When you consulted the original Greek, it was evident that the English version that Hooker used was either wrong or ambiguous. Hooker's meaning could not be gotten out of the original Greek.

I thought that it was strange that such an eminent scholar either failed to consult the Greek or had a faulty grasp of Greek grammar. But that was how it was. The Jerusalem Bible, by the way, gets the verse in question right in terms of import, although it is not a literal translation (which would be somewhat awkward in English).

Anyway, the point of this story is that real knowledge of Greek can be helpful in reading the Scriptures. I always privilege the Greek original of the New Testament, of course. I don't want to cast aspersions on the utility of Greek, as I'm sure you don't either, but only the on ability of all those arrogant half-baked "Greek scholars" out there; and I include James White and friends in that company.

Poor Ken Temple also tries to play the Greek card from time to time, but he's so inept at it that it doesn't count.

Dave Armstrong said...

Great comments! Thanks so much, guys.

Guady Serrano said...

Hi there Dave,

Just read on Zenit about a deacon in England whose blog Protect the POPe (set up when POpe Benedict went to England in 2010) being shut down due to personal attacks at the bishops and causing dissent). I find a link on this blog related to so called 'gay catholics' and an awful website about "Queering the Church'. I'm wondering if you could comment on it because it speaks blasphemy and is very offensive. Since you are more skilled at this, I could use your insights to understand this...I realized they are a fringe group not obedient to the Church but there are enough dissidents to cause issues...I think some of your articles deal with this but are you other sources (not even Catholic necessarily) to help in responding to these dissidents..I really appreciate all the work you do on your blog....and know God is using you to evangelize the Lord and his Beloved Church.

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks for your kind words. I usually avoid dealing with junk like that, though, because I think it is its own refutation. I have to stick mostly to writing books and magazine articles so I can feed my family. It's tough in the Obama economy. I have to survive three more years till he's out of there.

Ken said...

Adoman,

"However, the nominative singular of the two words under discussion is "presbuteros" and "episcopos," and the nominative plural (the regular citation form) of each is "prebuteroi" and "episcopoi." Where in the world do these "-as," "ais," "ois" endings come from?"

You are right; it is πρεσβυτεροι and επισκοποι are the plural nominatives. I was just going by (bad) memory; and I was sloppy. I don't claim to be a scholar of Greek, but I can read it and use the Grammars and Lexicon. Granted I need refreshers on exact endings. I had to memorize them in seminary, but I admit I forgot the endings.

Still, nothing you, nor Dave wrote refutes the fact that the NT texts and 1 Clement only know of two local church offices - elders/overseers and deacons; and elders and overseers are the same office, describing different work that they do. All the elders of Ephesus are called in Acts 20:17 and they are to do the work of overseeing (". . . the Holy Spirit has made you overseers") and shepherding (pastoring) (Acts 20:28) as also 1 Peter 5:1-5 teaches. "shepherd the flock of God, excercising oversight . . . "

I just saw these 3 posts today (May 7, 2014); so, maybe later, Lord willing; I may comment someday later.

Ken said...

Dave wrote:
"St. Peter himself functions as a "super elder" or "super bishop". He casually assumes this overarching authority in, e.g., his first Epistle. He is exhorting the elders, as if he is higher in authority than they are: "Tend the flock of God that is your charge . . ." (1 Pet 5:2; RSV, as throughout)."

Peter is an apostle, that is why he has authority, and why his authority is over the other elders. But he calls himself, "fellow-elder" (sumpresbuteros - συμπρεσβυτερος ) in 1 Peter 5:1, a verse you left out. He is not a Pope or "bishop over all the other bishops". It is significant that the NT texts don't go over and explain anything about a 'bishop over all bishops" or "Pope".

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Ken,

Hope you are well, my brother in Christ and His Church.

I informed you of my articles at Boors All, but as usual over there, my comment was deleted.

Unlike most of my critics online who love to write about me behind my back, without ever informing me, I actually think it is rudimentary courtesy to tell someone that you have replied to their arguments.

I thought at least that your buddy at Boors All who deleted my comment would let you know of my papers. But no such luck.

Dave Armstrong said...

You're blocked from my Facebook, for violation of my policies, but not here. I allow more leeway and freedom of speech on my blog, so you're safe here unless you launch into wholesale personal attacks (which you almost always refrain from doing, to your credit).

I may respond to some of your replies, but no promises. My experience with you is that you don't interact with opponents; you merely assert or repeat (you've done that again here, already: par for the course), and I have no interest in that. If you make an actual counter-argument to my stuff, we'll see.

Likely, Adomnan will interact with you far more than I will. :-)

Ken said...

Hi Dave,
On your Facebook, it seemed to me that you deleted the whole thread of my interaction with Art Sippo, at a point that was not violating any rules; or so I thought. You seemed to delete it all of a sudden; after we had already cleared up the personal stuff and we were arguing issues - then all of a sudden, you deleted the whole thing.

Granted we got a little personal and you gave warning, and we stopped. So I was honestly surprised. But I thought you just didn't want it to go on and on, as we both like to keep responding.



Dave Armstrong said...

I make moderating judgments as to what is sufficiently edifying, educational, and charitable on my Facebook page. I deemed that not to be, on several grounds (and Art was not perfect in argument, either), so I got rid of it. It's as simple as that.

But I virtually never delete like that here on my blog unless severe insults are taking place.

So make your arguments or preach or whatever you usually do. It's all been refuted in the paper. :-)

You are allowed freedom of speech on this blog. I am not on the blog that you regularly contribute to.

I rather relish the humor and irony of that double standard.

Ken said...

Thanks for that clarification.

Ken said...

This should be known, as it may perhaps account for some of the zeal, vehemence, and vitriol of his review.

"zeal" is an ok description, but "vehemence, and vitriol" ?

Where is "vehemence and vitriol" ?

Ken said...

Upon closer observation, clear distinctions of office appear, and the hierarchical nature of Church government in the New Testament emerges. Bishops are always referred to in the singular, while elders are usually mentioned plurally.


"Bishops are always referred to in the singular,"

Not true - see Philippians 1:1

overseers/bishops/episkopoi (επισκοποι - episkopoi - but here it is in the dative plural, it takes the dative form with the word "with" (sun - συν επισκοποις ) and deacons

(now I see why I was mixing up endings, regarding Adoman's comment on my Greek.)

Another proof for only a two office local church government, as bishops / overseers are the same as presbyters (presbuteroi - πρεσβυτεροι )

So, Paul doesn't mention the word "presbyters" (presbyters/elders) here, because as Acts 20:17, 28, Titus 1:5-7, 1 Peter 5:1-5, and 1 Clement 44 show, elder/presbyter and overseer/bishop are the same office.

And they are never called "priests" in the NT.

All Christians are called priests - 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 1:6; 5:10

Jesus is the high priest in the book of Hebrews.

So, your argument is weak.

James, the half-brother of Jesus and writer of the epistle of James, is an apostle (Galatians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 15:7, as is Peter, so their authority in Acts 15 is based on their apostolic authority and James quoting of Scripture. Acts 15 does not seem to establish any kind of mono-episcopacy of a local church.

Also, in your list (appendix of your book) of what bishops can do, I think you mean Acts 14:23 rather than Acts 14:22. But even there, it is the apostles appointing elders for every church. it is not bishops appointing elders; it does mean some kind of mono-episcocapacy that was later developed. It is anachronistic to read that back into Acts 14:23. It is the missionary apostles who appointed elders (plural; a college of elders who are equal to each other and keep each other accountable) for every church.


Bishops (episkopos) possess all the powers, duties, and jurisdiction of priests,

Again, there is no such thing as NT priests as a local church office. All Christians are priests; see 1 Peter 2:4-10; Rev. 1:6; 5:10

with the following important additional responsibilities:

1) Jurisdiction over priests and local churches, and the power to ordain priests: Acts 14:22; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5.


Acts 14:23 and 2 Timothy 1:6 were apostolic authority to appoint elders/overseers/pastors

I Timothy 5:22 is the authority of the local church under Timothy, as an apostle-missionary and part of Paul's missionary team, to appoint new elders/overseers.

Titus 1:5-7 is instruction to Titus, to do as Paul instructed Timothy, to appoint elders/overseers for each church in each city, similar to Acts 14:23.

So, your argument is weak for a local church 3 office church government, in the NT.

Ken said...

sorry; typo

it is not bishops appointing elders; it does NOT mean some kind of mono-episcocapacy that was later developed. It is anachronistic to read that back into Acts 14:23.

Ken said...

You left out this part - in my Amazon review -

"Giving Rod the benefit of the doubt, I wish to say that leaving these things out may be just an oversight that, as he said to me when I pointed this out, did not occur to him at the time. But he later agreed with me on that."

Rod and I talked about the places where he stopped the quotes and eventually he went back over the material and he agreed with me that a knowlegable Protestant, or someone who went back and studied things carefully, could conclude that it could be taken as cutting the quotes in the exact place so as to skew the facts. He even thanked me for that, and said that he would work on updating that aspect of the 1 Clement section in a future edition.

So, to be fair, you should have included that section.

I don't see any vehemence or vitriol on my part, Dave.

As I recall, he agreed with me on the places that the quotes are cut in 1 Clement; but Rod did not agree with me on Irenaeus. He said he didn't need to include the rest of the passages on the content of the rule of faith, because we already agree with each other on those issues. (letting the quotes continue to show the content of the rule of faith was a doctrinal statement very similar to the apostles creed or the Nicene creed, which all Protestants agree with. )

That point was made here (below) - my main argument is that Irenaeus in Against Heresies 1:10:1- 1:10:2 and 3:4:2 show the basic Biblical doctrines that are the "rule of faith", and they are Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed (all points in the Bible) type of doctrinal statements, and Tertullian, and Origen and Athanasius say the same things when they explicate the "rule of faith" or "the tradition of the apostles" or "the faith" or "the preaching". And though Irenaeus mentions Mary as the New Eve and advocate, and other things that we disagree with, in other places, Irenaeus does NOT mention those things in the actual immediate context of when he defines what the rule of faith is; and neither does Tertullian, Origen, or Athanasius either.

Irenaeus and Tertullian's comments on Mary as the New Eve and advocate and "cause of salvation", are just side comments, opinions that they held, that she was used by God as a humble maid servant to bring the Messiah, the Son of God into the world. It was a mistake for the subsequent generations to take that as make her into a mediatrix and advocate as someone one could pray to, etc. That is a clear contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:5. There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

What is "the tradition"?
The tradition that Irenaeus is talking about, is the right Biblical tradition, he defines it, in context (belief in One God, who created all things, Jesus as Son of God, the same God in OT as NT, against Gnosticism, etc.) (See, Against Heresies, 1:10:1 and 1:10:2; 3:4:2)

Ken said...

Dave wrote:
2) It is said of Judas that "His office [episkopos] let another take" (Acts 1:20). That was passed on to Matthias. Thus, an apostle was called a bishop and succeeded by another man, which is apostolic succession: another very Catholic (and alas, biblical) doctrine.

The word used in Acts 1:20 is related to episkopos, but is not exactly the same word as what is usually translated as "overseer" or "bishop" (episkopos -επισκοπος )

The word in Acts 1:20 is επισκοπη, which is translated as "visitation", "inspection" in other passages - Luke 19:44; I Peter 2:12 (and other passages in the LXX and Apocrypha books). It is translated as "the office of overseer/bishop" in 1 Timothy 3:1. It is related to leadership, oversight, which the apostles also had. So, Matthias, as an apostle, would have an office of authority. We don't know much about him though. Many think that the real choice by the Lord, to replace Judas is the apostle Paul in Acts 9, 22, 26, but one cannot be dogmatic about that.

Ken said...

Dave wrote:
“Ken pretends that Irenaeus would deny authoritative apostolic tradition (his take of Against Heresies, 1:8:1). “

No, not when properly understood as to what Irenaeus means by apostolic tradition, which he properly defines it in 1:10:1-2 and 3:4:2. Again, there is nothing in the lists of the rule of faith/ “the tradition”/ “the preaching”/ “the faith” of either Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, nor Athanasius (in the lists of the rule of faith that D. L. Williams points out in his books on the early church and tradition - I will dig those out later, as time allows) that contradicts the Scriptures or what Protestants hold to. These doctrines, clearly laid out in Against Heresies 1:10:1-2 and 3:4:2, we can agree with, and are the same general idea behind what Paul and other NT writers refer to as “tradition”, the teachings/doctrines passed down and committed / delivered to the churches - 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (see context in 2:13); 2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 15:1-9; Jude 3 (“the faith once for all delivered to the saints”)

This is a joke.

Now, I have demonstrated that my point is not a joke.

And we can show that it is by looking at he next passage he trots out (3:2:1), which Ken tries to summarize as an "anti-tradition" sentiment.

Not at all; it is only an “anti-Roman Catholic anachronistic way of understanding tradition, reading the statements on perpetual virginity of Mary, purgatory, and dogmas of Popes and Councils of 1215, 1302, 1545-1563, 1854, 1870, 1950, back into the word and concept of “tradition” of the early church and the Scriptures.

It clearly is not.

It is clear that you have not demonstrated anything against my argument here.

Ken said...

I hope to get to your other pertinent arguments later, in more detail, as the Lord allows.

As for James Swan deleting your comments, yeah, he doesn't want to deal you anymore and that is his personal decision.

In the future, I may created another blog of my own where you can come and debate me; but I don't know because of the amount of time it takes. You are tenacious and very skilled at putting out large amounts of text. (smile)

And you have a lot of your information already stored in archived form from your years of written blog debating, that may make it easy for you to just cut and paste and overwhelm me. I don't want to be overwhelmed, so it may be a while before I am ready with that. But I will let you know when I am ready with another blog. (smile)

I appreciate the positive things you wrote in your second post on this.

Just in general, I have not been able to have time to look up all the references that Athanasius made to various apocrypha / deter-canonical passages, (that Gary Mitchuta mentions) but I am hoping to get to that also all in good time. If they are hard to track down or not in the ccel or new advent series, then I have no way to find them.

Regarding Athanasius, what I was referring to is his Festal Letter 39, where he names at least some of the Deutero-canonicals as not canon, but profitable for reading. It is true that he left out Esther in his OT list, and seems to have included Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah as canonical.

If he treated other passages as Scripture in other contexts, maybe he wrote them before he wrote his Festal Letter 39, (? I don't know), for he definitely leaves them out as canonical in Festal Letter 39: (along with some NT books that are not canonical - Didache and Shepherd of Hermans. He put Esther in that group.)

7. "But for the sake of greater exactness I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded." (Festal Letter 39, paragraph 7)

He and Jerome are just inconsistent, if Mitchuta is correct, or they changed their minds later in subsequent writings.

I think it is clear that Jerome did not accept the Deutero-canonicals. I will get the relevant references later. Both Gregory 1, bishop of Rome, (604 AD) and Cardinal Cajetan (in 1518 he disputed with Luther), agreed with Jerome's view. I will dig out those quotes later, Lord willing.

Yes, obviously I know Augustine accepted the Deutero-canonicals. The problem is his lack of studying Hebrew and the historical background of the Jews and the principle of Romans 3:2, for they did not accept those books as inspired Scripture.

Bottom line, is that Irenaeus, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome were great men, great Christian leaders, but human and fallible, and made some mistakes. We can take their good things and reject their mistakes, as canonical Scripture is the key principle by which we must test all historical tradition and interpretations and writings of the fathers and councils, etc.

So, overall, you did not refute me.

Ken said...

In 3:2:1 Irenaeus refers to the Gnostics being "confuted from the Scriptures" but then in 3:2:2 he positively endorses Christian / Catholic tradition (my bolding and italics):

“catholic” little “c”, yes, Roman Catholic reading other extra-Biblical traditions into it, no.


2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. . . . It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

There is nothing there in Irenaeus that contradicts what I am saying, once one agrees that the content of the “rule of faith” and “tradition” is the basic doctrines of 1:10:1-2 and 3:4:2, and similar to the Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed, and that those doctrines were protected by the early churches, by the presbyters/overseers of the early churches up to Irenaeus’ time.

Once again, then, we see that it is not a "Bible [Protestantism] vs. [evil Catholic] Tradition" scenario.

But there is a “Scripture and true tradition [Protestantism] vs. [un-Scriptural Roman Catholic anachronistic understanding of] Tradition; yes indeed.

It is, rather, a "bad, false tradition vs. true apostolic tradition scenario": with the Bible (rightly interpreted in light of the passed-down tradition) being the trump card for the Catholic position.

According to what I have already written and argued here, there is a good sense of tradition, along with the Scriptures; and they are summary doctrinal statements, based on the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19, and developed and expanded properly into the lists of doctrines that Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Athanasius wrote [D. L. Williams talks about this in his books on the early church and tradition; I am hoping to cull it all together soon, as time allows] and in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed, and Chalcedon and the Athanasian Creed.

It turns out that Ken has engaged in thoroughly distorted interpretation of fundamental aspects of Irenaeus, . . .

No; as I have demonstrated.

Dave Armstrong said...

I'm not interested in debating anti-Catholics. This was a very rare exception to my rule, in place since 2007.

I'm not gonna go round and round with you on this, either (most likely), because it's the same old tactics. You don't truly interact with opponents.

Adomnan will probably be glad to wrangle with you, once he finds out you are now here.

Ken said...

. . . making him out to be some sort of primitive or proto-Protestant, when he is not at all.

In a certain sense; ok; but I will grant that Irenaeus makes other mistakes and statements elsewhere; but he is only human, not infallible. I don’t argue that the early church was “Protestant”. The early church was the early church; we can let them be the early church. They were neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic.

But on this issue, so far, the evidence is stacked against Roman Catholic understanding, and more towards a Protestant understanding of how the early church understood “the rule of faith” and “the tradition of the apostles”.

His teaching bears little or no resemblance at all to the Protestant rule of faith, sola Scriptura. He's not nearly as concerned with prooftexts from Scripture here as he is with apostolic succession and true tradition.

There is a proper way to understand apostolic succession and a false way - the Roman Catholic way is false, as it assumes that future elders/presbyters/overseers/bishops are going to be infallible, and able to add things to the Scriptures, and then centuries later claim that the apostles taught such things, inserting Roman Catholic doctrines back into 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and Irenaeus.

When the subsequent generations of elders and overseers/bishops passed on the basic doctrines taught to them, in the outline of the Trinitarian formula of Matthew 28:19, then that was a good thing, and that is what Irenaeus was talking about, when he refers to barbarian tribes who don’t have the written Scriptures. The missionaries were teaching them basic doctrines, based on the Trinitarian formula, similar to the “rule of faith” that Irenaeus (and Tertullian) write about, and those were valid and served to strengthen their faith until the Scriptures could be translated into their respective languages.

Dave, quoting Irenaeus:
It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 1; ANF, Vol. I)


Again, if you understand how Irenaeus defines “the tradition of the apostles” in 1:10:1-2 and 3:4:2, there is still nothing that contradicts what I am saying or what historical Protestanism says about Irenaeus and the early church.

Ken said...

Irenaeus, Against Heresies - 3:4:1 and 3:4:2 -
1. Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?
To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendor, shall come in glory, the Savior of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent.

[My emphasis in bolding - everything in that “tradition” is all Biblical, and basically a simple form of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed. ]

Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established.

Nothing here contradicts Biblical, Evangelical Protestant faith.

Ken said...

In the next section of Irenaeus, is where Protestants would have pause and disagree with some of what Irenaeus says, especially if he means what Roman Catholics claim he means:

“Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 2; ANF, Vol. I)

Three big questions have been debated for centuries over this passage in Irenaeus:
What Irenaeus means by “laying the foundations of the church in Rome”. How can Paul “lay the foundations” when he hasn’t been there yet, when he wrote his letter to the Romans, in 57-58 AD?

What the Latin phrase "potieorem principalitatem", or “powerful principle” means.
What the Latin phrase “convenire ad” means - “to resort to”, or “to agree with”?

Most of the controversy of this passage is the Latin phrase “convenire ad”.

Ken said...

An Eastern Orthodox writer, rightly asserts, “To summarize, convenire ad should probably be translated “resort to.” This is also what I have found in my research and the footnote on this passage at the ccel.org web- site.

The footnote says: “The Latin text of this difficult but important clause is, “Ad hanc enim ecclesiam propter potiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam.” Both the text and meaning have here given rise to much discussion. It is impossible to say with certainty of what words in the Greek original “potiorem principalitatem” may be the translation. We are far from sure that the rendering given above is correct, but we have been unable to think of anything better. [A most extraordinary confession. It would be hard to find a worse; but take the following from a candid Roman Catholic, which is better and more literal: “For to this Church, on account of more potent principality, it is necessary that every Church (that is, those who are on every side faithful) resort; in which Church ever, by those who are on every side, has been preserved that tradition which is from the apostles.” (Berington and Kirk, vol. i. p. 252.) Here it is obvious that the faith was kept at Rome, by those who resort there from all quarters. She was a mirror of the Catholic World, owing here orthodoxy to them; not the Sun, dispensing her own light to others, but the glass bringing their rays into a focus. See note at end of book iii.] A discussion of the subject may be seen in chap. xii. of Dr. Wordsworth’s St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome."

Continued

Ken said...

In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth. (Against Heresies, 3, 3, 3; ANF, Vol. I)

If we understand the tradition properly, as those basic Biblical doctrines that Irenaeus writes in 1:10:1-2 and 3:4:2, then this is not really that big of a deal. The church at Rome was not started by Paul. It may have been started by Peter or may not have. I think Peter did go there, but he was in and out as a missionary-evangelist-apostle; and I accept the tradition that he was martyred there by Nero, around 65-67 AD.

The church of Rome already existed when Paul wrote to them around 57-58 AD. Paul eventually did go there, and Peter probably visited there also; but there is not much evidence that they actually started the church in Rome. If Peter was the bishop or Pope, as Roman Catholics claim, why does Paul not mention this important principle in the letter to the Romans? I have no problem believing that Peter went there at some time as an apostle and was traveling in and out in missionary endeavors, but there simply is no conclusive historical evidence that Peter was the first mono-episcopate type bishop. Peter may have help start the church in Rome, and does seem to write 1 Peter from Rome, calling the city of Rome, “babylon” in 1 Peter 5:13.

For a long and very thorough refutation of all the Roman Catholic arguments on the basis for the Papacy and mono-episcopacy, see the very well written paper by Brandon Addison, published at the Called to Communion web-site. He also refutes the idea that Clement of Rome was a mono-episcopate type bishop. (google or go to the Called to Communion web-site, as if I put the url up, it may go into your moderation function.)

Other scholars have written about Irenaeus means by “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

If Irenaeus means what Roman Catholic say he means, then we would have to respectfully disagree with Irenaeus here; but the “pre-eminent authority” could mean simply “powerful principle” and refer to the book of Romans, which is the most powerful and complete theological explanation of the gospel in all of the Scriptures. The phrase “necessary to agree with this Church” is not teaching some kind of Papal or infallible authority; Irenaeus is just saying that the apostolic tradition (sound doctrine that we have already stated as in a basic Apostles Creed type of teaching, based on outline of the Trinitarian formula of Matthew 28:19), which is preserved up to his day in Rome (book of Romans and the right understanding of the tradition), and that Christians from all over the Empire go to the city of Rome , and resort to it, because it reflects the faith that is being taught everywhere all over the empire at that time.

Jason Engwer responded to your take on Irenaeus and Rome and they are correct it seems to me; and bear repeating here: (you can find that at Triablogue; I won't put the url in cause it might be rejected.)

In Apostolic Succession (part 6): Irenaeus and Rome

Ken said...

Sorry Dave, but I do and have sincerely interacted with what you have written.

You are just asserting that I don't interact and "its the same old tactics", etc.

You also repeat your principles, doctrines, arguments and they are in that sense, "the same old tactics".

But of course, you are free to ignore the issues, just as James Swan and James White don't want to deal with you anymore. You have that freedom, yes.

Ken said...

Maybe your viewpoint of not wanting to deal with me or go round and round with me, is the same parallel frustration that James Swan and James White felt toward you; they just didn't want to spend time dealing with you anymore.

Dave Armstrong said...

Of course that is how THEY see it. Everyone on both sides thinks the other guy doesn't wanna talk because they are unable; then we say that when WE don't wanna talk, it's cuz the other guy ain't worth the time.

White thinks I'm an absolute idiot and Swan thinks I am a psychotic. Obviously, no one would want to debate guys like that! LOL

But White also challenged me to his famous oral debates three times. So ask him sometime: if I'm such a dumbbell, why did he ask me to do an oral debate? Does he want the very worst opponents he can find?

I don;t do oral debates because I think they are sophistical circuses. That's always been my position. I used to do written debates, but he always split from those after one round, or else went to insults only, at which time I left.

I don't think White and Swan are idiots or psychotics or "of evil character" (as Steve Hays thinks of me). They're simply wrong, and unable to defend their positions against scrutiny.

I challenged them both to a live chat in 2007 on the definition of Christian, which is fundamental. They refused, along with five other anti-Catholics, so I gave up on trying to debate you guys anymore.

But the papers are still up, and I have a whole book of White being refuted again and again, that he completely ignores. Let him. People still read it, and it still convinces people of the utterly unbiblical, illogical, and ahistorical bankruptcy of the anti-Catholic position.

So if he wants to ignore it, that's fine and dandy with me. It goes out unopposed and convinces people. Nothing could be a better scenario than that.

But it does mean (in my mind) that he is an intellectual coward. I've known that since 1995 when he fled for the hills in our first debate through the US mail.

Ken said...

My main argument concerning Ireneaus on the rule of faith, is that Irenaeus in Against Heresies 1:10:1- 1:10:2 and 3:4:2 shows the basic Biblical doctrines that are the "rule of faith", and they are basically the same thing as the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed (all points in the Bible) type of doctrinal statements, and Tertullian, and Origen and Athanasius say the same things when they explicate the "rule of faith" or "the tradition of the apostles" or "the faith" or "the preaching". And though Irenaeus mentions Mary as the New Eve and advocate, and other things that we disagree with, in other places, Irenaeus does NOT mention those things in the actual immediate context of when he defines what the rule of faith is; and neither does Tertullian, Origen, or Athanasius either.

Ken said...

Tertullian wrote the same basic rule of faith - all outline of essential Biblical doctrines, that later became Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed.

Tertullian, Prescription Against Heresies, chapter 13

"Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics."

Ken said...

In an earlier comment, I mentioned a D. L. Williams - that was a typo - it is D. H. Williams, who has written at least 3 books on Tradition, Scripture, and early church issues.

Adomnan said...

Ken, replying to my observation that he can't get the simplest Greek grammatical endings right: "You are right; it is πρεσβυτεροι and επισκοποι are the plural nominatives. I was just going by (bad) memory; and I was sloppy."

Adomnan: Bad memory and sloppy? Remind us again why we should pay any attention to your "scholarship."

Ken: "I don't claim to be a scholar of Greek, but I can read it and use the Grammars and Lexicon."

Adomnan: Yes, that's exactly what I wrote above about Fundamentalist Greek exegetes like you: "Usually, what they do is that they keep a Greek lexicon at hand; they read through some second-rate 'evangelical' Greek grammar, and then they try mechanically to apply the rules of a language they really don't grasp."

Ken: "Granted I need refreshers on exact endings. I had to memorize them in seminary, but I admit I forgot the endings."

Adomnan: Oh, come on, Ken. You hardly know Greek at all. Stop pretending. You're not impressing anyone. "Exact endings" are one of the main aspects of the grammar. And it's not as if you flubbed the future perfect passive third person plural optative of some irregular verb. You messed up the simple "-os, -oi" noun endings, one of the two most common in Greek.

Ken: "Still, nothing you, nor Dave wrote refutes the fact that the NT texts and 1 Clement only know of two local church offices - elders/overseers and deacons; and elders and overseers are the same office, describing different work that they do."

Adomnan: Obviously, then, you didn't read anything I wrote. Or, if you did, it didn't register in that space behind your eyes.

Here, let me quote myself back to you, substituting the word "office" for my original "tier":

"This 'three-office' versus 'two-office' debate is largely a matter of indifference to Catholics. It's more of an Episcopalian-Presbyterian disagreement. Catholics see an essential difference between 'presbyters' (priests, elders) and deacons. A bishop is merely a kind of presbyter or priest, a presiding presbyter with certain powers reserved to himself, but not necessarily a different 'office' of the hierarchy. In this approach, the Catholic system could be describe as two-office (priest/deacon).

"However, if you want to stress the special prerogatives of the presiding presbyter, you can call it 'three-office.'

"It's just a matter of semantics."

Adomnan said...

And here's more of what I already wrote, again substituting "office" for "tier":

"Clement does sometimes appear to use the words 'episcopos' (bishop) and 'presbyteros' interchangeably (although I'm not at all sure that he does in fact so use them -- I just don't want to get into that right now). At the same time, he recognizes that one of these bishop-presbyters was, in fact, in charge -- by comparing him to the High Priest.

"Take a look at this passage, where Clement uses an Old Testament model to describe the structure of the church in Corinth (1 Clement 40:4-5 to 41:1): 'Those who offer their sacrifices at the appointed times are acceptable and blessed, for they follow the laws of the Master and do no sin. For to the high priest, his proper ministrations are allotted, and to the priests the proper place has been appointed, and on Levites their proper services have been imposed. The layman is bound by the ordinances of the laity. Let each one of us, brethren, be well pleasing to God in his own rank, and have a good conscience, not transgressing the appointed rules of his ministration, with all reverence.'

"So, we see that Clement has four 'ranks,' one is the laity and the other three are clergy. The Levites are the deacons; the priests are the presbyters. And that leaves the high priest as the chief presbyter, a position for which Ignatius reserved the word 'bishop.' That certainly sounds like a three-office clerical hierarchy to me.

"But, as I said, three-office/two-office: It's a matter of semantics, a dispute with no implications for church order whatever side of it you might come down on."

Or, to put it another way, Ken, Clement recognizes a presiding presbyter, even if he uses the words "presbyter" and "episcopos" interchangeably. And there is no difference that I can detect between a presiding presbyter and a single bishop, other than the designation. After all, there is only one of each. Ignatius differs from Clement only in using "episcopos" exclusively of the presiding presbyter. Otherwise, who would correspond to the "high priest" of Clement 40?

Also note that Clement uses the same word (hiereus) of both the high priest and the priests, just as he uses the same word (presbyter) of both the presiding presbyter and the subordinate presbyters. A different word is used of the third office (Levite, deacon).

Dave Armstrong said...

As usual, we have to repeat what we already wrote, either because it wasn't read or understood.

Adomnan said...

Dave, I don't think that Ken has even figured out that most of the quotations he provides above about the rule of faith, primacy of Rome and whatnot don't contradict what you wrote in any way, shape or form.

Dave Armstrong said...

Likely not. Anti-Catholicism is shot-through with basic fallacies.

Ken said...

Adoman wrote:
"So, we see that Clement has four 'ranks,' one is the laity and the other three are clergy. The Levites are the deacons; the priests are the presbyters. And that leaves the high priest as the chief presbyter, a position for which Ignatius reserved the word 'bishop.' That certainly sounds like a three-office clerical hierarchy to me.

The high priest in the New Testament is Christ - the book of Hebrews, so your argument breaks down. Clement never actually makes that parallel that you are making from the OT to the NT of a four tier heirarchy. He is establishing rules and order and is describing OT temple service - the passage goes on in Chapter 41 even using the present verb to describe the temple services in Jerusalem.

Chapter XLI.—Continuation of the same subject.
Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. Ye see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed."

The point that Clement makes is that there are orderly rules both in OT and NT; therefore the younger men who have deposed the faithful elders are wrong and they sinned against them and God.

It almost seems like Clement is writing before 70 AD. But most put it at 96 AD. I have often wondered about this; but I have not found scholarly sources/ articles that discuss this issue.

Then in chapter 42-44, he describes the current situation and the jealousy over the office of bishop-presbyter, and points out only 2 offices, bishops and deacons. He speaks of God appointing Jesus and Jesus appointing the apostles; then the apostles appointing bishops/elders and deacons. (2 offices) The point is that the youngsters in Corinth who have taken over and deposed the presbyters/bishops are sinning against the order and commands and will of God (also shown in Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17 (called the elders of the church at Ephesus) and Acts 20:28 - he tells those same elders that God has made them overseers/bishops to do the work of shepherding / pastoring the flock of God. Same in 1 Peter 5:1-5.

Clement's point is to obey the rules and appointments, not that there is a four tier hierarchy in OT, and somehow also supposedly that it corresponds the same in NT. He is not making that application.

Ken said...

Adomnan: Oh, come on, Ken. You hardly know Greek at all. Stop pretending. You're not impressing anyone.

Well, I admitted my mistake; I cannot do anything beyond that; except to be more careful and keep reviewing.

I wonder if Dave caught his errors on Acts 14:22-23 and Acts 1:20. At least I go back and look and admit my mistake.

Dave's mistake here: 2) It is said of Judas that "His office [episkopos] let another take" (Acts 1:20). That was passed on to Matthias. Thus, an apostle was called a bishop and succeeded by another man, which is apostolic succession: another very Catholic (and alas, biblical) doctrine.

(see my other comments in earlier com box.)

Ken said...

Dave, I don't think that Ken has even figured out that most of the quotations he provides above about the rule of faith, primacy of Rome and whatnot don't contradict what you wrote in any way, shape or form.

Yes they do. I have to repeat what I wrote again, because it didn't go into the space between your ears. (smile)

That point was made here (below) - my main argument is that Irenaeus in Against Heresies 1:10:1- 1:10:2 and 3:4:2 [ and 1:22:1] show the basic Biblical doctrines that are the "rule of faith", and they are basically the same as the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed (all the points are in the Scriptures) type of doctrinal statements, and Tertullian [Against Praxeas, 2:1-2; Prescription against Heresies, 13], and Origen [On First Principles, Preface, 2-8) and Athanasius [To Serapion, 1:28-30] say the same things when they explicate the "rule of faith" or "the tradition of the apostles" or "the faith" or "the preaching". And though Irenaeus [and Tertullian] mentions Mary as the New Eve and advocate, and other things that we disagree with, in other places and contexts, Irenaeus does NOT mention those things in the actual immediate context of when he defines what the rule of faith is; and neither does Tertullian, Origen, or Athanasius either, in the specific immediate contexts when they explicate what the faith/the tradition/ the preaching/the rule of faith is.

Adomnan said...

Knock, knock. Anyone home, Ken?

Ken: "Yes they do. I have to repeat what I wrote again, because it didn't go into the space between your ears. (smile)"

Adomnan: What I said was that most of your QUOTATIONS don't contradict Dave's points. What you go on to repeat isn't quoted, but your own opinions. Even so, they don't contradict Dave either (although I suppose you intend to), because we Catholics freely admit that the rule of the faith is essentially the creed.

The tradition of the apostles includes the rule of faith, but it also includes other things, such as rites like the canon of the Mass -- today's hardly differs from that described by Justin Martyr -- and proper administration of all the sacraments. Christianity doesn't just consist of teachings, you know: It is sacramental. In fact, I would say that the liturgy is the principal channel by which the tradition of the apostles was passed down. Even the canon of scripture was defined solely for the liturgy; that is, the canon of scripture is the list of books that can be read during the liturgy, and that's all it is (as a canon).

The essential point is that this tradition of the apostles was transmitted not in writing (apart from the scriptures, of course) but from person to person, orally and in practice. Naturally, the elements of this tradition, including the rule of faith, are consistent with the scriptures -- in so far as the scriptures allude to them -- but they are not drawn from the scriptures. They were handed down from the apostles to their successors through direct contact, which is what "tradition" means: passing down, handing on.

The idea of Mary as the New Eve is evidently part of this tradition. How else would it be mentioned in Greek by Justin Martyr of Judaea in Rome, in Latin by Tertullian in North Africa, and in Greek by Irenaeus of Galatia in Lyons? Justin, the earliest to write about Mary as Eve, did not say he invented the parallel. Evidently these three separate witnesses got the idea, to which they attached great significance, from an earlier common source. And who would that be if not the Apostles? We all know that Paul called Christ the New Adam. If there's a New Adam, there's bound to be a New Eve. After all, the first Eve played every bit as important a role in the Fall as did Adam.

It doesn't matter whether the Mary as New Eve concept was part of the "rule of faith" or not. It was apostolic nonetheless.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "The high priest in the New Testament is Christ - the book of Hebrews, so your argument breaks down."

Adomnan: Hardly. Every time the High Priest is mentioned, it does not follow that the allusion is to Christ. In fact, Clement himself calls Christ "our High Priest" elsewhere in his letter.

Despite this, it's clear that in chapter 40, Clement mentions the High Priest not as a reference to Christ, but as a rank in the church. After all, he writes, "For to the High Priest his proper ministrations are allotted" and then adds a couple of lines later that no one should "transgress the appointed rules of his ministration." Clement would not suggest Christ could transgress the rules of His ministration. Therefore, "High Priest" in this context cannot refer to Christ.

However, if you were to insist, contrary to the evident import of the passage, on applying "High Priest" to Christ, you would undermine your Protestant case in another way: If the High Priest here were Christ, then Clement would be saying that the presbyters were priests (hiereis) -- like Christ!

Ken: "Clement never actually makes that parallel that you are making from the OT to the NT of a four tier hierarchy."

Adomnan: Of course he does! Clement is only adducing these four ranks from the OT to apply them to the Corinthian situation.

Ken: "He is establishing rules and order and is describing OT temple service"

Adomnan: The parallel is very tight, not loose and general as you suppose. The word lay (laikos) was never used to describe non-priests in the OT. This is strictly a Christian usage, and so refers to Christian laymen. As Anglican Henry Bettenson wrote in his "The Early Christian Fathers," while commenting on this word in Clement: "'Layman' (laikos) is first found here, marking the clear distinction of ministers and people."

Even more strikingly, "Levites" in the passage under discussion evidently refers to Christian deacons because Clement writes "on Levites their proper services (diakoniai!) -- 'diaconates,' if you will -- have been imposed."

Therefore, given the close parallel of the lower two ranks in Clement's example to the Christian church in Corinth, it stands to reason that the higher two ranks, the priests and the high priest, refer to the presbyters and the presiding presbyter there.

Ken: "- the passage goes on in Chapter 41 even using the present verb to describe the temple services in Jerusalem."

Adomnan: Yes, and this description of the temple service is also a precise allusion to the situation in Corinth. As Bettenson explains, commenting on Clement's observation about the limitation of sacrifices to the temple in Jerusalem: "Therefore there must be one assembly and one place of worship in Corinth."

That this is the case is made certain by the fact that Clement refers to bishops as "those who have blamelessly and holily offered the sacrifices." (Clement 44:4)

Adomnan said...

Ken: "It almost seems like Clement is writing before 70 AD. But most put it at 96 AD. I have often wondered about this; but I have not found scholarly sources/ articles that discuss this issue."

Adomnan: I agree with you here. Clement always writes as if the Temple service were still extant, which would make this letter very early indeed

Ken: "Then in chapter 42-44, he describes the current situation and the jealousy over the office of bishop-presbyter, and points out only 2 offices, bishops and deacons. He speaks of God appointing Jesus and Jesus appointing the apostles; then the apostles appointing bishops/elders and deacons. (2 offices)"

Adomnan: Yes, we got that. I've said it myself. Clement appears to use "bishops" and "presbyters/elders" interchangeably, which is natural because they are both "priests" (a word that comes from "presbyters"). However, as I pointed out, Clement posits a presiding presbyter over the other presbyters.

It strikes me as exceedingly strange when Protestants advance the notion that some early churches were run by a committee of elders, all of whom had equal authority with no one in charge. Just about every other "committee" in the history of the world has had a president or chairman, and yet these Protestants suggest that the early church was run by headless committees! How did they ever make a decision (for example, if such and such a teaching were a heresy or not or if so and so should be excommunicated)? Majority vote? Where's the evidence of that? And wouldn't that mean that these presbyter committees would always have had an odd number of members? Where is that rule stipulated?

The whole notion is bizarre. I don't think the anti-episcopalians think it out.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "The point is that the youngsters in Corinth who have taken over and deposed the presbyters/bishops are sinning against the order and commands and will of God..."

Adomnan: Ken, there's no evidence that the rebels who deposed the rightful -- that is, apostolically appointed -- church authorities in Corinth were "youngsters." Surely, you know that the title of elder (presbyteros) does not refer to age, but to honor.

Ken: "I wonder if Dave caught his errors on Acts 14:22-23 and Acts 1:20. At least I go back and look and admit my mistake.

"Dave's mistake here: 2) It is said of Judas that 'His office [episkopos] let another take' (Acts 1:20). That was passed on to Matthias. Thus, an apostle was called a bishop and succeeded by another man, which is apostolic succession: another very Catholic (and alas, biblical) doctrine."

Adomnan: By "error," I guess you mean that Dave wrote "episkopos" (bishop) instead of "episkope" (office of bishop). Well, that's not much of an "error." Obviously the person who has an episkope is an episkopos.

You're grasping at straws here, Ken. Lighten up.

Ken said...

It strikes me as exceedingly strange when Protestants advance the notion that some early churches were run by a committee of elders, all of whom had equal authority with no one in charge. Just about every other "committee" in the history of the world has had a president or chairman, and yet these Protestants suggest that the early church was run by headless committees! How did they ever make a decision (for example, if such and such a teaching were a heresy or not or if so and so should be excommunicated)? Majority vote? Where's the evidence of that? And wouldn't that mean that these presbyter committees would always have had an odd number of members? Where is that rule stipulated?

Yes, I can see that is why the more gifted presbyter in leadership skills and preaching developed into the mono-espiscopacy - it was a practical outworking, but not Scriptural or dogmatic. There is some evidence of this kind of distinction between "teaching elder" and "leading elder" in 1 Timothy 5:17-18. Jerome later even says this, that is was by custom and practice, not by Scriptural principle. The problem is, when the "one bishop" was not accountable and started to claim that he was "bishop over all bishops", as Stephen did in Rome around 256-258 AD, and Cyprian and 86 other Bishops all over the empire rightly rebuked him.

The problems are made worse by the Roman Catholic claims of the Papacy. That does not come out fully and clearly until after 600 AD. The Eastern Orthodox know that is wrong and they are right on that issue.

Ken said...

It is not clear that Clement is making the parallel completely as four tiers from OT to the NT church government, as you are trying to say. If he is, he was wrong on that issue. The present tense and the use of Jerusalem is vivid. But transfering every detail of OT sacrificial system into NT church was a mistake that the early church made - like calling the eucharist "a sacrifice". That was also wrong, as was calling presbyters "priests" - that becomes more clear in Cyprian. The influence of Latin and its impact on subsequent theology is apparent.

But, Clement was right, writing for "the church of God which sojourns at Rome" as a whole, to rebuke the Corinthians for allowing the rebellious ones to depose the presbyters.

"The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied." 1 Clement 1:1

There is no papal type authority here. It is brotherly exhortation from one church to another church.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "It is not clear that Clement is making the parallel completely as four tiers from OT to the NT church government, as you are trying to say. If he is, he was wrong on that issue."

Adomnan: Great! You just conceded that it is possible, even though "not clear," that Clement paralleled four OT ranks (one of the laity and three of the Levites/priests) to four NT ranks (laymen, deacons, priests/presbyters, presiding presbyter). Since you now agree that my interpretation of Clement is possible -- I, of course, see it as highly likely -- then, if you are an honest man, you must give up your claim that Clement fails to acknowledge that one man was in charge of every local church. The most you can say at this point is that it is "possible" that he did not witness to a four-tier structure of the Church, but it is also possible that he did.

You need to amend your Amazon review and write to your friend Rod Bennett advising him of your new-found knowledge and withdrawing at least some of your objection to his use of Clement, which you now see was reasonable and legitimate.

Ken: "There is no papal type authority here. It is brotherly exhortation from one church to another church."

Adomnan: On the contrary, it is much more than mere exhortation among equals. Clement sends representatives who are to report back to him that the Corinthians have heeded his instructions: "We sent faithful and prudent men, who have lived among us without blame from youth to old age, and they shall be witnesses between you and us. We have done this so that you may know that our whole care has been and is directed to your speedy attainment of peace." (1 Clement 63:3-4)

And in 65:1 Clement names his representatives and says he expects a report of prompt compliance from them: "Send back quickly to us our messengers ("apestalmenous," i.e., emissaries, those sent on a mission like the Apostles) Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Vito and Fortunatus, in peace and gladness, in order that they may report the sooner the peace and concord which we pray for and desire, that we also may the more speedily rejoice in your good order."

Sure, Clement is being diplomatic in his wording, but the very act of sending emissaries who are to verify compliance and report back to Rome show that more than mere exhortation is in view.

Clement also says that he writes the Corinthians under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that he expects obedience to his instructions: "For you will give us joy and gladness, if you are obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, and root out the wicked passion of your jealousy according to the entreaty for peace and concord which we have made in this letter." (1 Clement 63:2)

Written through the Holy Spirit? That's pretty authoritative! Papal, even.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "Yes, I can see that is why the more gifted presbyter in leadership skills and preaching developed into the mono-espiscopacy - it was a practical outworking, but not Scriptural or dogmatic."

Adomnan: You admit that committee rule with no one in charge is unworkable, and yet you refuse to acknowledge that the Apostles would have foreseen this and put one man in charge of every "college of presbyters."

Moreover, the "more gifted presbyter" would seldom rise to the top, because all, or almost all, the presbyters would have regarded themselves as gifted and vied to be in charge -- if the Apostles had not prevented these rivalries by appointing presiding presbyters. In 1 Clement, the authority of the bishop-presbyters does not depend on some subjective perception (by whom?) of their "giftedness" (or ambition?), but on their appointment by the Apostles.

Ken: "There is some evidence of this kind of distinction between 'teaching elder' and 'leading elder' in 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Adomnan: Some scholars believe that the Jewish churches had elders like synagogues and Paul's Gentile churches had bishops/deacons and that the bishop/presbyter/deacon set-up was a blending of the three ranks, as seen in the Pastoral Epistles and 1 Clement. In this blending, presbyter would refer to any higher office, including bishop, while a bishop would have had the charisma, at least originally, of "leading," but not necessarily of "teaching," which may account for the distinction you see in Titus.

However, when I read this passage in Titus, it seems to me that the teaching presbyters are here a subset of the leading presbyters. In any event, I am more interested in demonstrating that one man was always in charge of a local church, regardless of the details of how the clergy was organized internally, which may be undiscoverable at this remove.

Ken: "Jerome later even says this, that is was by custom and practice, not by Scriptural principle."

Adomnan: Jerome thought it would be great if all priests could be equal and just agree with each other about everything. However, he knew that was impossible, and so he admitted that, even in the Apostles' time, one man had always been appointed to preside over the rest.

Jerome had a flawed personality. He was always going on about humility and consensus and yet he was one of the most arrogant and contentious men of his time.

His biblical scholarship is excellent, though.

Ken: The problem is, when the "one bishop" was not accountable and started to claim that he was "bishop over all bishops", as Stephen did in Rome around 256-258 AD, and Cyprian and 86 other Bishops all over the empire rightly rebuked him.

Adomnan: Then you go on to say the papacy wasn't established until after 600. So, which is it? Was Stephen claiming papal authority in the mid-third century or not?

For us Catholics, it is of little consequence that Cyprian, who was wrong about the rebaptism issue that was the source of his dispute with Stephen, questioned Stephen's authority. The only important datum for us is that Stephen claimed this authority; that is, a bishop of Rome was loudly claiming universal primacy and demanding obedience based on Matthew 16:18 in the middle third century. Some bishops dissented; others assented to his authority as successor of Peter. In the end, all agreed with Stephen's view on rebaptism. Cyprian and Stephen reconciled before they were martyred.

You also may know that there are two versions of a letter in which Cyprian discusses the authority of the bishop of Rome. The earlier one recognized Rome's supreme authority. The later one, written once the controversy started, relativized it.

A doctrine is never defined until it is questioned.

Ken said...

Adomnan: Then you go on to say the papacy wasn't established until after 600. So, which is it? Was Stephen claiming papal authority in the mid-third century or not?

An early claim is a lot different than something else that came centuries later. The early claim of Stephen was correctly and rightly shot down by 87 other bishops. (258 AD, 7th Council of Carthage, under Cyprian's leadership) The churches in the east never accepted the bishop of Rome's claim to jurisdictional authority of "bishop over all other bishops". Even Leo 1 of 440 AD and and Gregory 1 of 601 AD did not make those sweeping claims.

Ken said...

And an early claim shot down (258 AD) is a lot different that something else that came centuries later and not only came much later, but was established much later.

The early claim was not an establishment of that claim.

The establishment of the Papacy is not until at least after 1054 - the east vs. west split and then that developed all the way until 1870.

Ken said...

Adoman,
You are reading too much of centuries later developed RCC stuff back into 1 Clement 40-41. I don't accept your argumentation of seeing the high priest of OT temple, as bishop or presiding elder for the NT; since the high priest is Jesus, and He offered Hismself once for all. nor 4 tier level heirarchy as if the NT has to have that also, nor sacerdotal language applied to NT service/offices. And Clement does not make the exact parallel in every way of those offices in the OT to be brought into the NT church. He is just saying there are rules and order in the OT, and there are rules and order in the NT; and the Corinthians rebellious group violated the rules, therefore they need to repent and re-instate the elders, since they had done nothing wrong.

Ken said...

Himself

Sorry for typo

You took "not clear" way too far and overboard to try to make it into "possible", etc.

So, no; I don't agree that I should change my critique of Rod's section on Clement, especially after he admitted to me that I was right on that issue, after he went back and looked it over. He knows (I think, pretty well) the issue and the debates over the presbyterian/college of elder vs. mono-episcopate and agreed with me that he should have not cut the quote where he did.

Ken said...

Yes, Jerome's scholarship was excellent on the issue of the Apocrpha books:

In his commentary on Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus, Jerome states:

"As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it also read these two Volumes (Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus) for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church."

Adomnan said...

Ken: "An early claim is a lot different than something else that came centuries later."

Adomnan: No, it's not. Stephen was claiming the exact same authority in the third century that popes claimed after 600. It was not in the least bit different.

Ken: "The early claim of Stephen was correctly and rightly shot down by 87 other bishops. (258 AD, 7th Council of Carthage, under Cyprian's leadership)."

Adomnan: Cyprian and the North African bishops who agreed with him were wrong on the issue in dispute (rebaptism of heretics) and wrong to resist papal authority. The North African church later corrected itself.

The mere fact that papal authority was sometimes resisted means nothing. The only important datum from this third-century incident is that Pope Stephen claimed universal authority and based his claim on Matthew 16:18, showing that third-century popes made precisely the same claims as twenty-first century popes.

Ken: "The churches in the east never accepted the bishop of Rome's claim to jurisdictional authority of 'bishop over all other bishops'."

Adomnan: I believe that your "bishop over all other bishops" is how Cyprian characterized Stephen's position. It is not how Stephen characterized it. It is absurd to speak of a title as being rejected by Eastern bishops or by anyone when no pope ever used it in the first place -- and typical of your sophistry.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "And an early claim shot down (258 AD) is a lot different that something else that came centuries later and not only came much later, but was established much later."

Adomnan: Obviously the claim was established IN ROME in 258 AD. What's this "something else" that supposedly came "centuries later?" There was a claim of universal appellate jurisdiction, same claim in the third century as centuries later. That's it. There's not "something else" in view here.

Ken: "The early claim was not an establishment of that claim."

Adomnan: Stephen "established" the claim by citing Matthew 16.

Ken: "The establishment of the Papacy is not until at least after 1054 - the east vs. west split and then that developed all the way until 1870."

Adomnan: Jesus Christ established the papacy when he gave Simon the name "Rock" and said that he was establishing His church on this rock.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "You are reading too much of centuries later developed RCC stuff back into 1 Clement 40-41."

Adomnan: Not by any means. I'm interpreting Clement in his own context. It was infrequent in later centuries to use the Old Testament hierarchy as a model for the New Testament ministry, but this is typical of Clement's approach. He is steeped in the Old Testament and clearly sees the Church as the New Israel, with OT institutions and rites as types of the institutions and rites of the Church. For him, these correspondences are quite precise.

Thus, for Clement, the existence of a threefold ministry in the OT was a foreshadowing or type of the existence of a threefold ministry in the NT, an exact correspondence. That's why, immediately after listing his four ranks, he tells his Christian audience that each should please God in his own rank and not transgress the duties of those ranks. And what ranks was he referring to? Obviously the ones he just listed.

This is corroborated by the fact that "layman" wasn't a term employed in the OT. "Laikos" is never used to describe a rank in the Septuagint or in contemporary Jewish writings. It is a Christian term, first encountered here, that Clement has projected back into the OT, because he sees, as I said, the OT and NT ranks as equivalent. Even more strikingly, he calls the Levites' ministries "diaconates," which proves that he equates them with Christian deacons. In the same way, the top two ranks are equated with Christian ranks: The "priests" are the bishop-presbyters and the "High Priest" is the presiding bishop-presbyter. Thus, three ministerial ranks.

In short, Clement derives his church order from the Old Testament. That's evident, and it's not a projection from subsequent development. In fact, as I said, the explicit reliance on the OT for models of church polity was later pretty much dropped once church order was firmly established and Christians could look to their own history rather than to the OT for norms and precedents. So there was in fact no subsequent "development" of Clement's OT-based ecclesiology.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "I don't accept your argumentation of seeing the high priest of OT temple, as bishop or presiding elder for the NT;"

Adomnan: Once again, you didn't bother to read what I wrote or you ignored it. The High Priest in 1 Clement 40 cannot be Jesus Christ -- even though He is called the High Priest elsewhere -- because Clement speaks of a high-priestly ministry that can be abused or transgressed in this passage. Jesus Christ cannot transgress the limits of His ministry.

Ken "since the high priest is Jesus, and He offered Himself once for all."

Adomnan: The word "ephapax" in the Epistle to the Hebrews, translated "once for all" does not mean "one time." It is the Greek way of saying "definitively." For example, I could say to you: "Ken, once and for all I ask you to please stop dumping prooftexts." That doesn't mean I can't repeat the same request the next time you prooftext.

Ken: "nor 4 tier level heirarchy as if the NT has to have that also, nor sacerdotal language applied to NT service/offices."

Adomnan: Are you now claiming that Clement doesn't apply sacerdotal language to NT offices? He most certainly does!:

1 Clement 44:4: "For our sin is not small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily offered its sacrifices."

Now, I cited this verse earlier, and you just whistled past it. You are reverting to type. As Dave noted, and I did too, you don't engage what others write but merely restate over and over what you have said and we have refuted.

Adomnan said...

Ken: You took "not clear" way too far and overboard to try to make it into "possible", etc.

Adomnan: Obviously, "not clear" implies "possible." If my interpretation were impossible, then it would be clearly impossible.

Besides, it's not so much your "not clear" that demonstrated you saw the plausibility of my interpretation, but rather this statement: "If he is (paralleling the OT and NT offices), he was wrong on that issue."

You're conceding here that Clement might indeed have made the parallel. You're admitting in effect that you are unclear as to whether he did or not.

Ken: So, no; I don't agree that I should change my critique of Rod's section on Clement, especially after he admitted to me that I was right on that issue,

Adomnan: I don't trust your version of what Mr. Bennett admitted to. You've shown repeatedly that you don't "register" other people's statements accurately. Besides, even if he did agree that you were right, that was only because you misled him by failing to mention the possibility that Clement did indeed refer to a threefold ministry.

Ken: after he went back and looked it over. He knows (I think, pretty well) the issue and the debates over the presbyterian/college of elder vs. mono-episcopate and agreed with me that he should have not cut the quote where he did.

Adomnan: Well, as long as he doesn't mistakenly believe that Clement certainly witnesses to a twofold ministry, there is no problem. However, if you left Mr. Bennett with a wrong impression, based on your former ignorance of 1 Clement 40-41, then you are duty-bound to set the record straight with him.

Adomnan said...

Ken: In his commentary on Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus, Jerome states:

"As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it also read these two Volumes (Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus) for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church."

Adomnan: Jerome had an idiosyncratic understanding of "canon." The biblical canon is just the books that can be read in church as part of the liturgy. No more; no less. It doesn't matter whether the purpose of reading them publicly is "edification" or "doctrine." And can't teaching (doctrine) be edifying, and edification a kind of teaching?

Besides, if canonicity depends on books "giving authority to the doctrines of the church," then how are books like Esther or Jonah or Ruth canonical? What "doctrine" does Esther give authority to? They're edifying, but not "doctrinal."

Adomnan said...

I wrote earlier on this thread:
"In short, Clement derives his church order from the Old Testament. That's evident, and it's not a projection from subsequent development. In fact, as I said, the explicit reliance on the OT for models of church polity was later pretty much dropped once church order was firmly established and Christians could look to their own history rather than to the OT for norms and precedents. So there was in fact no subsequent 'development' of Clement's OT-based ecclesiology."

Although there was no extensive "development" of the parallels between the OT and NT ministries, it turns out that it's an exaggeration to say that the comparison was "pretty much dropped." Subsequent research has revealed that Clement's parallels were in fact taken up by the later church, and even today are reflected in ordination ceremonies, a fact that certainly lends credence to what seems to me obvious; that is, that Clement saw the Christian ministry as threefold.

Here is St. Jerome, Epistle 146:
"Bishops, presbyters and deacons occupy in the church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple."

And this is from "The Apostolic Constitutions," a 4th-century compilation that included much material from earlier times:

"2.25. These [bishops] are your high priests, as the presbyters are your priests, and your present deacons are in the place of the Levites."

Most interestingly, the OT model of the threefold ministry is echoed even in ordination ceremonies today. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

1541 "The liturgy of the Church, however, sees in the priesthood of Aaron and the services of the Levites, as in the institution of the seventy elders (Num 11:24-25), a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant...."

1542 "At the ordination of priests, the Church prays:
Lord, holy Father,
when you had appointed high priests to rule your people,
you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity to be with them and to help them in their task...
you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men...
You shared among the sons of Aaron the fullness of their father's power."

1543 "In the consecratory prayer for ordination of deacons, the Church confesses:
....
You established a threefold ministry of worship and service, for the glory of your name.
As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance."

Thus, to this very day, the Church sees a threefold parallel between the high priest, priests and Levites of the OT and the bishop, priests/presbyters and deacons of the NT, the same prefiguration that Pope Clement I discerned in the first century. (I abbreviated the citations from the CCC somewhat to focus on the parts most relevant to this discussion.)