See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Results 1 to 6 of 6

Cults & World Religions discuss Succession of Popes in the Apologetics Forum forums; Having thought that it has been fairly demonstrated that Popery was an invention of later centuries following the life of Christ (for the sake of ...

  1. #1
    D. Paul's Avatar
    D. Paul is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    864

    Succession of Popes

    Having thought that it has been fairly demonstrated that Popery was an invention of later centuries following the life of Christ (for the sake of the argument, Leo the Great being the first 440ad) how is it that the Roman Church is able to identify almost 50 popes prior to Leo as stated in the Catholic Encylopedia?

    Where does their argument for succession break down since they are able to provide the list of names?

  2. #2
    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    23,794
    Blog Entries
    7
    Well, there are several threads that one can pursue to show that the Roman claim of papal succession is only a self-justifying doctrine.

    For starters, Peter was not a Pope.

    The first pope so titled was Gregory I. This is a post of mine from a previous thread:

    When did the Papacy begin? That's a good question. Pope Gregory I is referred to by most as "Pope" but it is my understanding that although he was first to claim the title "Pontifex Maximus," he made a point of rejecting the title "universal bishop."

    The words he used to reproach John of Constantinople who sought the "universal bishop" title are highly significant:

    "It is very difficult to bear patiently that one who is our brother and fellow bishop should alone be called bishop, while all others are despised. But in this pride of his, what else is intimated but that the days of Antichrist are already near? For he is imitating him, who, despising the company of angels, attempted to ascend the pinnacle of greatness," (Lib. 4 Ep. 76.) He elsewhere says to Eulogies of Alexandria and Anastasius of Antioch: "None of my predecessors ever desired to use this profane term: for if one patriarch is called universal, it is derogatory to the name of patriarch in others. But far be it from any Christian mind to wish to arrogate to itself that which would in any degree, however slight, impair the honour of his brethren," (Lib. 4 Ep. 80.) "To consent to that impious term is nothing else than to lose the faith," (Lib. 4 Ep. 83.) "What we owe to the preservation of the unity of the faith is one thing, what we owe to the suppression of pride is another. I speak with confidence, for every one that calls himself, or desires to be called universal priest, is by his pride a forerunner of Antichrist, because he acts proudly in preferring himself to others," (Lib. 7 Ep. 154.) -- quoted from Calvin's Institutes, Book IV, Chap. 7, Sec. 4
    Gregory the Great did not assume the title "Vicar of Christ" either; from my reading it appears that this title was first used in the eighth century, although the title "vicar of Peter" had been used before.

    The increasing reach for power shows a tyrannical spirit at work, even in the time of Gregory. Whether Gregory was a true believer or not is not for me to say. J.A. Wylie says this:

    The sagacious measures of pope Gregory the Great contributed at this juncture material assistance to the rising Papacy. -- History of the Papacy, Book I, Chap. 3
    As for the so-called chain of succession, Loraine Boettner notes:

    The papal system has been in process of development over a long period of time. Romanists claim an unbroken line of succession from the alleged first pope, Peter, to the present pope, who is said to be the 262nd member in that line. But the list is in many instances quite doubtful. The list has been revised several times, with a considerable number who for*merly were listed as popes now listed as anti-popes. It simply is not true that they can name with certainty all the bishops of Rome from Peter to the present one. A glance at the notices of each of the early ‘popes’ in the Catholic Encyclopedia will show that they really know little or nothing about the first ten ‘popes.’ And of the next ten only one is a clearly defined figure in history. The fact of the matter is that the historical record is so incomplete that the existence of an unbroken succession from the apostles to the present can neither be proved nor disproved.
    And J.A. Wylie says:

    So far is the line of succession from being continuous, that we find it broken, at short intervals, by wide gaps, through which, if there be any truth in Romanist principles, the mystic virtues must have lapsed, leaving the Church in a most deplorable state, her popes without pontifical authority, her priests without true consecration, and her sacraments without regenerating efficacy.
    The RCC list of popes begs the question in numerous ways. What about the competing claims to primacy of popes and anti-popes? What about the immoral character of many popes?

    The Protestant doctrine of apostolic succession emphasizes the doctrine of Christ put forth by his heralds. It is not tied to the supremacy of a Roman bishop, irregardless of his character and the unChristian spirit of tyranny and power-grabbing that the Papacy has manifested. As Wylie says:

    Peter's primacy was not so much as whispered in the world till Rome had bred a race of infallible bishops. Nevertheless, we have so much of the spirit of apostolical succession in us as to prefer being in error with the apostles to being in the right with the popes.
    Andrew

  3. #3
    LadyFlynt is offline. Inactive User
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    8,831
    Andrew, in the most basic of laymen's terms, I've been told that there was always a "head bishop" and the term pope came later. That regardless of their accuracy (of the list) due to information lost/found/etc, they believe this to be true. Is there a basic response that can be given to this when in conversation?
    JC - PCA - PA...homesick for SC
    A we n' de Ya, ho; I mak sikker; Deus juvat

    Indicabo tibi o homo quid sit bonum, et quid Dominus requirat a te: Utique facere iudicium, et diligere, misericordiam, et sollicitum ambulare cum Deo tuo. Michaeas 6:8

    "Who says you can't go back, been all around the world and as a matter of fact. There's only one place left I want to go, who says you can't go home" Bon Jovi

  4. #4
    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    23,794
    Blog Entries
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by LadyFlynt View Post
    Andrew, in the most basic of laymen's terms, I've been told that there was always a "head bishop" and the term pope came later. That regardless of their accuracy (of the list) due to information lost/found/etc, they believe this to be true. Is there a basic response that can be given to this when in conversation?
    Colleen -- Acts 15 is a good place to start when discussing this issue. If there was a head bishop in the early church, this would be the place that Scripture would make it plain. But rather we see a plurality of apostles and elders coming together to decide the theological questions under consideration. And it was James, not Peter, who ended up delivering the synodical decree.

    Boettner quotes Dr. Harris as follows:

    ‘The fact is that the early church had no head on earth. Christ was their head and they all were brothers. They did have an organization, however, and Presbyterians point to Acts 15 as a splendid example of how it operated. There was a doctrinal question at Antioch. What should the church of Antioch do to settle it? Should they write a letter to Peter asking his deci*sion? This would be the Romanist position. But they did not. Should they write a letter to the “college of Apostles”? This is the episcopal position that the bishops by apostolic succession have the whole authority in the church. But Antioch did not do that. Should they call a congregational meeting of the church at Antioch and have the matter decided by the vote of the con*gregation? That would be the independent theory of church government. But they did not do this either. Rather they sent representatives to a synod meeting held at Jerusalem where the apostles and elders came together to consider the matter. They considered it carefully with prayer and Scripture study. Finally the apostles and elders decided on a policy and gave out decrees to which all the churches were expected to submit (Acts 16: 4). There was no primacy of Peter or of anyone else. There was instead a democratic meeting of the ordained leaders of the churches judging matters according to God’s Word. This is the Scriptural answer to Roman Catholic pretensions on Peter’ (The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, Jan. 1959).
    Biblically speaking, 'bishop' is synonomous with 'presbyter'. The early church consisted of government by a plurality of presbyters. But human nature being what it is, 'bishop' became an assertion of primacy by one presbyter over others. Then diocesan bishops began to assert their authority over small groups of churches. The Roman bishop was given the term pope as a term of honor, but not (initially) as a term denoting primacy of jurisdiction. It was Bonafice III who first assumed the title of 'universal bishop'.

    Boettner again:

    The word ‘pope,’ by which the head of the Roman Church is known, and the word ‘papacy,’ by which is meant the system of ecclesiastical government in which the pope is recognized as the supreme head, are not found in the Bible. The word ‘pope’ comes from the Latin papa, meaning ‘father.’ But Jesus forbade his followers to call any man ‘father’ in a spiritual sense: ‘And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven’ (Matt. 23: 9). For centuries this term was applied to all priests, and even to the present day it is so used in the Eastern Church.

    In Italy the term ‘pope’ came to be applied to all bishops as a title of honour, and then to the bishop of Rome exclusively as the universal bishop. It was first given to Gregory I by the wicked emperor Phocas, in the year 604. This he did to spite the bishop of Constantinople, who had justly excommunicated him for having caused the assassination of his (Phocas’) pre*decessor, the emperor Mauritius. Gregory, however, refused the title, but his second successor, Boniface III (607) assumed the title, and it has been the designation of the bishops of Rome ever since.

    Likewise, the title ‘pontiff’ (as also the term ‘pontificate,’ meaning ‘to speak in a pompous manner’), which literally means ‘bridge builder’ (pons, bridge, and facio, make), comes not from the Bible but from pagan Rome, where the emperor, as the high priest of the heathen religion, and in that sense professing to be the bridge or connecting link between this life and the next, was called ‘Pontifex Maximus.’ The title was therefore lifted from paganism and applied to the head of the Roman Catholic Church. As the high priest of the Old Testa*ment was the mediator between God and men, so the pope also claims to be the mediator between God and men, with power over the souls in purgatory so that he can release them from further suffering and admit them to heaven, or prolong their suffering indefinitely.

    But Christ alone is the mediator between God and men: ‘For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2: 5). And He alone is the true Head of the church. It was He who founded the church and redeemed it with His own blood. He promised to be with His church always, even unto the end of the world. He alone has the perfect attributes needed to fill that high office, for ‘in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’ (Col. 2: 9). ‘He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body’ (Eph. 1: 22–23). ‘And he is the head of the body, the church’ (Col. 1: 18). For the pope or any other man to claim to be the head of the church and the mediator between God and men is arrogant and sinful.

    The papal system has been in process of development over a long period of time. Romanists claim an unbroken line of succession from the alleged first pope, Peter, to the present pope, who is said to be the 262nd member in that line. But the list is in many instances quite doubtful. The list has been revised several times, with a considerable number who for*merly were listed as popes now listed as anti-popes. It simply is not true that they can name with certainty all the bishops of Rome from Peter to the present one. A glance at the notices of each of the early ‘popes’ in the Catholic Encyclopedia will show that they really know little or nothing about the first ten ‘popes.’ And of the next ten only one is a clearly defined figure in history. The fact of the matter is that the historical record is so incomplete that the existence of an unbroken succession from the apostles to the present can neither be proved nor disproved.

    For a period of six centuries after the time of Christ none of the regional churches attempted to exercise authority over any of the other regional churches. The early ecumenical councils were composed of delegates from the various churches who met as equals. There is not a scholar anywhere who pretends to show any decree, canon, or resolution by any of the ecumenical councils which attempts to give pre-eminence to any one church. The first six hundred years of the Christian era know nothing of any spiritual supremacy on the part of the bishops of Rome. The papacy really began in the year 590 with Gregory I, known as Gregory the Great, who consoli*dated the power of the bishopric in Rome and started that church on a new course.
    I hope this helps.
    Andrew
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    D
    D is offline. Puritanboard Junior
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,342
    Quote Originally Posted by D. Paul View Post
    Having thought that it has been fairly demonstrated that Popery was an invention of later centuries following the life of Christ (for the sake of the argument, Leo the Great being the first 440ad) how is it that the Roman Church is able to identify almost 50 popes prior to Leo as stated in the Catholic Encylopedia?
    To give you an answer to your first question (the second question you asked is a bit more involved and complicated), they go back to certain lists of Roman bishops as given by Early Church Fathers like Irenaeus...

    Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 200): 2. 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.
    3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another God beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. 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. ANF: Vol. I, Against Heresies, Book 3:3:2-3.
    There are a number of Early Church fathers who provide such lists. Romanists assert and assume without warrant that these early bishops of Rome exercised universal jurisdiction over the Church.

    If you are interested in research that pertains to your second question, I recommend the recent scholarship of Peter Lampe's, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries, trans. Michael Steinhauser (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), who argues very thoroughly that there is no proof for the rise of a monarchical episcopacy in Rome before the 2nd half of the 2nd century. Below is an excerpt from his work...

    Peter Lampe: Thesis: The fractionation in Rome favored a collegial presbyterial system of governance and prevented for a long time, until the second half of the second century, the development of a monarchical episcopacy in the city. Victor (c. 189-99) was the first who, after faint-hearted attempts by Eleutherus (c. 175-89), Soter (c. 166-75), and Anicetus (c. 155-66), energetically stepped forward as monarchical bishop and (at times, only because he was incited from the outside) attempted to place the different groups in the city under his supervision or, where that was not possible, to draw a line by means of excommunication. Before the second half of the second century there was in Rome no monarchical episcopacy for the circles mutually bound in fellowship. Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries, trans. Michael Steinhauser (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003) p. 397.
    The Early Church Father, Jerome, is an ancient witness for the presbyterian form of church government in the apostolic church, and states that the monarchical episcopacy was a later development as he testifies in his commentary on Titus...
    Jerome (347-420): A presbyter, therefore, is the same as a bishop, and before dissensions were introduced into religion by the instigation of the devil, and it was said among the peoples, ‘I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, and I of Cephas,’ Churches were governed by a common council of presbyters; afterwards, when everyone thought that those whom he had baptised were his own, and not Christ’s, it was decreed in the whole world that one chosen out of the presbyters should be placed over the rest, and to whom all care of the Church should belong, that the seeds of schisms might be plucked up. Whosoever thinks that there is no proof from Scripture, but that this is my opinion, that a presbyter and bishop are the same, and that one is a title of age, the other of office, let him read the words of the apostle to the Philippians, saying, ‘Paul and Timotheus, servants of Christ to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons.’ John Harrison, Whose Are the Fathers? (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1867), p.488. See also Karl Von Hase, Handbook to the Controversy with Rome, trans. A. W. Streane, Vol. 1, 2nd ed. rev. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1909), p. 164. Cited also by Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, ed. John T. McNeill and trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, reprinted 1977), IV.4.2, pp. 1069-1070.
    Latin text: Idem est ergo presbyter qui et episcopus, et antequam diaboli instinctu, studia in religione fierent, et diceretur in populis: Ego sum Pauli, ego Apollo, ego autem Cephae, communi presbyterorum consilio, Ecclesiae gubernabantur. Postquam vero unusquisque eos quos baptizaverat suos putabat esse, non Christi, in toto orbe decretum est, ut unus de presbyteris electus superponeretur caeteris, ad quem omnis Ecclesiae cura pertineret, et schismatum semina tollerentur. Putet aliquis non Scripturarum, sed nostram esse sententiam, episcopum et presbyterum unum esse, et aliud aetatis, aliud esse nomen officii: relegat Apostoli ad Philippenses verba dicentis: Paulus et Timothaeus servi Jesu Christi, omnibus sanctis in Christo Jesu, qui sunt Philippis, cum episcopis et diaconis, gratia vobis et pax, et reliqua. Commentariorum In Epistolam Ad Titum, PL 26:562-563.

    Jerome (347-420): Therefore, as we have shown, among the ancients presbyters were the same as bishops; but by degrees, that the plants of dissension might be rooted up, all responsibility was transferred to one person.
    Therefore, as the presbyters know that it is by the custom of the Church that they are to be subject to him who is placed over them so let the bishops know that they are above presbyters rather by custom than by Divine appointment, and ought to rule the Church in common, following the example of Moses, who, when he alone had power to preside over the people Israel, chose seventy, with the assistance of whom he might judge the people. We see therefore what kind of presbyter or bishop should be ordained. John Harrison, Whose Are the Fathers? (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1867), p.488. See also Karl Von Hase, Handbook to the Controversy with Rome, trans. A. W. Streane, Vol. 1, 2nd ed. rev. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1909), p. 164.
    Latin text: Haec propterea, ut ostenderemus apud veteres eosdem fuisse presbyteros quos et episcopos: paulatim vero ut dissensionum plantaria evellerentur, ad unum omnem sollicitudinem esse delatam. Sicut ergo presbyteri sciunt se ex Ecclesiae consuetudine ei qui sibi praepositus fuerit, esse subjectos: ita episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine, quam dispositionis Dominicae veritate, presbyteris esse majores, et in commune debere Ecclesiam regere, imitantes Moysen, qui cum haberet in potestate solum praeesse populo Israel, septuaginta elegit, cum quibus populum judicaret. Videamus igitur qualis presbyter, sive episcopus ordinandus sit. Commentariorum In Epistolam Ad Titum, PL 26:563.
    DTK

  6. #6
    D. Paul's Avatar
    D. Paul is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    864

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72