Succession of Popes

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by D. Paul, Nov 22, 2007.

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  1. D. Paul

    D. Paul Puritan Board Sophomore

    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. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    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:

    As for the so-called chain of succession, Loraine Boettner notes:

    And J.A. Wylie says:

    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, regardless of his character and the unChristian spirit of tyranny and power-grabbing that the Papacy has manifested. As Wylie says:

  3. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    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?
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    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:

    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:

    I hope this helps.
  5. D

    D Puritan Board Junior

    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...

    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...

    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...
  6. D. Paul

    D. Paul Puritan Board Sophomore

    Excellent and most useful helps provided. Thank you all!
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