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Apostolic Succession

Discussion in 'Christianity DIR' started by Polaris, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    I said I can't prove an apostasy occurred, though there is evidence that one occurred. Just because you have evidence or a legimimate explanation doesn't necessarily mean you can prove something. I can justifiably say I have evidence for it, yet I can't prove it.
     
  2. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Polaris, I think this would serve you well.
    http://www.carlton.srsd119.ca/chemical/Proof/default.htm

    Peace be with you,
    ~Victor
     
  3. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    Interesting article. The author establishes a perfectly valid definition for the verb "to prove" - convincing of others that evidence and reason supports one's claim.

    That however, isn't necessarily the definition I infer in my posts. This is my inferred definition of the verb "to prove" - to establish the truth or validity of by presentation of argument or evidence (dictionary.com).
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    If there's evidence, it's very, very likely circumstantial...not admissible in a court of law. "Where there's smoke, there's fire" is not conclusive enough.
     
  5. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    My evidence is scriptural -- obviously based in part on interpretation, which I agree is not absolutely conclusive. That exactly why I said I can't prove it. Though I believe that reasonable interpretation of scripture strongly supports the reality of an apostasy.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Again, it depends on one's definition of what is reasonable. Personally, I find nothing reasonable about an interpretation that includes the tradition, as we know it, having become apostate in the way you understand it. Herein lies the danger of an individual or a group claiming "reasonable evidence" and then asserting that the evidence "proves" that everyone else's basis for belief and praxis is wrong. The Jews didn't find it reasonable, so they kicked the early followers of Jesus out of the synagogues, forming a rift that should never have been there.

    If you don't want to believe in the apostolic succession of bishops, that's your prerogative. But you have to remember that both the traditional apostolic succession of bishops and the LDS viewpoint are evidenciary by revelation, not by empirical proof -- and revelation cannot be forced upon someone else.
     
  7. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  8. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    I'm sorry, that's just a weak argument. So ALL occurances of "episkope" MUST be interpreted as "office of Bishop". Wow that really makes it tough for the NT authors to ever infer "office" or "overseer" in any general sense. You simply can't prove that "episkope" is so restricted.

    On another side, if you're so convinced that Apostle = Bishop, why did Paul never refer to himself as Bishop -- he always introduced himself as Apostle. Then when he describes the qualifications of Bishop why did he not refer to it as the qualifications of Apostle? Sounds like two different offices to me. I also find it interesting that in 1 Timothy 3, its the offices of Bishop and Deacon that are described together -- 2 local, non-Apostolic offices of authority.
     
  9. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  10. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    Actually you're the one making the assertive claim that the verse proves Apostles were Bishops. The burden of proof is yours. You simply can't prove that Peter wasn't inferring "office" in the general sense.

    So you admit that in the first century Apostle was higher than Bishop. Why then are you claiming "episkope" must mean office of Bishop when Matthias was joining the ranks of the Apostles? Apostleship would be the highest and most active title.

    Sure there's overlap concerning qualifications -- serving in church leadership requires righteousness. That doesn't mean there is overlap in authority. Based on your argument one could claim Deacons overlap with Apostles too -- does that mean they received Apostolic authority?

    Where do we learn that Bishops were raised to take over the authority of the Church following the Apostles?
     
  11. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  12. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    That's not proof. AjpovstoloB, the Greek word for Apostle, has 3 occurances in which its generic meaning is inferred (one sent out, or messenger). Why should we not assume that the same could be done with "episkope"?

    You took my "coincidence" statement completely out of context. It was in reference to the Greek language. What other language do you know of that "office" and "office of Bishop" are the expressed with the exact same word?

    Yeah but you specifically said that they refer to themselves by their highest and most active title. Why not in this case?

    Actually my point was that Paul always referred to himself as Apostle, and that when he directed remarks specifically to Bishops they were directed to Bishops and not Apostles -- even though the moral qualifications may overlap. They were clearly seen as two different offices of authority.

    What evidence have you given me before the death of John that explains how or why Apostolic succession occurred through the Bishopric (I'm honestly interested which quote you are referring to)?

    I'm also honestly interested to hear answers to these questions:
    1. Who authorized the passing of "head of the church" from Peter to Linus, and how was it done?
    2. How do we know that Linus didn't just assume the leadership position because he was the highest church authority in Rome at the time?
    3. Why was the head of church leadership given to Linus and not to one of the Apostles who were still alive and who were actually called by Christ himself?
     
  13. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  14. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    I think he does (Although he doesn't seem to want to pin point a date gap). All history that agrees with what he already holds is perfectly valid. That's leaves close to nothing.

    Polaris, I pray you delve into the early church writings on your own. Read who these men were and what they believed. How anyone can conclude otherwise is out right dishonesty on the part of those who object to the Catholicity of history.

    Peace be with you,
    ~Victor
     
  15. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    We've probably beat upon this topic about as much as we possibly can without rehashing the same arguments over and over. So unless you have further questions or new points to discuss, I'll post this as my last response and respectfully give you both the last word. You both have made this a very interesting discussion and have made the debate quite challenging and fun.

    I'm more concerned about the authority and reliability of the source than it's date -- those steeply entrenched in years of Catholic tradition, in general, are naturally going to appear to me as less reliable. I believe that these were good honest men who were trying to do what's right, but just because I don't believe that they were correct in their assumption of Apostolic succession through bishops doesn't make me dishonest. That's what I honestly believe.

    So what if it's a different word -- the exact same principle is involved. Both are words that have special official meanings (office of Bishop and office of Apostle) and both have generic meanings (office and one sent out). AjpovstoloB shows that clearly just because it carries a special official meaning doesn't mean that it always has to be used as such. Episkope is no different. It is simply your opinion that it references "office of Bishop" in Acts 1.

    As I responded before... this quote is concerning the succession of Bishops -- it says nothing about them receiving Apostolic authority.

    Again, this quote does nothing to provide substance to your argument. Just like Clement's statement, it discusses a succession of Bishops and says nothing about them receiving Apostolic authority. You're missing the key issue. My biggest concern is the jump in Apostolic authority from Apostle to Bishop and neither of the quotes you've provided address that.

    Another point of interest is that this quote implies that Linus was made Bishop of Rome while Peter was still alive -- "having founded and built up the church, they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus." According to your belief that "Bishop of Rome" = "Head of the Church", does this not imply that Linus assumed leadership over the whole church while Peter was yet alive?

    It seems clear to me from this statement that Peter was not "Bishop of Rome", but was the Apostle who established the church at Rome, and simply called Linus to be Bishop once the church had been built up, exactly as had been done in Antioch and many other places.

    "I assume he declared" ... there's the key point. You assume. If Peter actually declared publicly you'd think that would have been considerably well-documented and Irenaeus and others would no doubt have used that as firepower for their claims to Apostolic successsion. Interestingly no such public (or even private) claims are ever referenced.

    All the historical information states that he was appointed as Bishop by Peter. Nothing that I've seen from around that time period states that Peter passed Apostolic authority on to Linus. After Peter's death, Linus was their (Rome's) highest church official. They likely assumed that he had rights to leadership, and even if they didn't who were they going to appeal to? The other Aposltes were out establishing the church in distant regions. I firmly believe that they (both leadership and and membership) were simply doing what made sense to them (whether official Apostolic authority was involved or not).

    I do believe that others of the remaining Apostles would have stood and rightfully assumed authority had they been around -- they were off establishing the church in different regions. There is no mention, in any historical record, of any other Apostles being near Rome when the "succession" occurred. Otherwise I do believe that they would have interceded. There is also no scriptural reference or even early historical reference that declares that "Bishop of Rome" = "Head of the Church". That was something that was established later on (late 2nd or 3rd century).

    The bottom line is that there is no conclusive evidence that Linus was ever given true Apostolic authority. The very fact that we have no recorded statement by Peter or by Linus concerning the matter is evidence that no official succession actually occurred -- otherwise Ignatius, Irenaeus, or any of the others most definitely would have used such statements to back and strengthen their claims. I believe that Linus and the church as a whole simply did what made sense to them, without any official Apostolic ordination. Linus assumed his position as head of the church and all were left to assume that Apostolic authority came with it. As a result the ECFs may very well have believed that Apostolic succession did indeed occur -- though none ever authoratively declared how.

    Paul (and likely all the Apostles) clearly understood that an Apostasy would occur. He declared that the second coming of Christ would not occur "except there come a falling away first". Not just small heretical defections -- those were already happening, but a large-scale falling away or apostasy.
     
  16. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    I was applying that to those who believe there was anything but Catholic Tradition. Not necessarily you. But this information could have been of much use early on in the discussion. I would have declined from quoting any early history (regardless of the year) due to the inevitable fact that most all were catholic. If this plays absolutely no weight in your eyes based on one erroneous interpretation of scripture (Great Apostasy), then I don't know what I can tell you. You are basically a 1st century Sola Scripturist turned progressive revelationists. Which makes absolutely no sense to me.
     
  17. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    How can Church leaders who have learned their theology directly from the Apostles themselves possibly be "steeped in years of Catholic tradition"?...unless, of course, the early Church was CATHOLIC! ;) The problem with your argument is that it assumes too drastic a change in too little of a time. Something as totally radical as a complete change in Church authority against Apostolic teaching, and also the general emergence and prevalence of doctrine and teaching which you claim the Apostles never taught, could simply not have occurred in one or two generations. We are talking about the people who either knew the Apostles or knew those who were taught directly by the Apostles. That is an EXTREMELY small space of time for such an immense "Universal Apostasy" to have taken place which you seem to claim turned the Church completely on its head.
    Again, your argument is theoretical and denotative, while I am simply looking at word usage in context. In the New Testament, the term is only referenced to the office of Bishop. You claim that it is simply a generic "office" because you must do so to maintain your belief that Apostolic succession was not maintained, in the face of context and word usage that you simply can't argue against.

    Yes, it is concerning the succession of Bishops...Bishops which were established by the Apostles and which the Apostles insisted maintain constant succession. If the Apostles knew that other Apostles had to be directly ordained, and that authority could not be maintained in the succession of Bishops, then why in the world did they make such a big deal about establishing bishops and maintaining their succession, and said nothing about establishing more Church leaders called Apostles? Does the Mormon church know how succession should be maintained better than the Apostles did? I think not. They knew exactly what they were doing, and they intended for succession to be passed through the Bishops, with the Bishop of Rome as the head.

    Again, why did the Apostles make such a big deal out of succession of Bishops and not more Apostles? If they knew that succession had to be maintained with more Apostles, they would have ordained more. But they didn't. Unless you're claiming the Apostles themselves got it wrong, your argument has no legs to stand on.

    He established the church in Rome, spent a great deal of time there, taught, etc etc, and died there. He seems to have written at least one of his canonical epistles from there (1 Peter 5:13); He was clearly the leader of the Church there. What is the name of a Church leader who presides over a whole city? A Bishop. Peter was the Bishop of Rome.

    I say "I assume" in terms of how he did it...both to Linus directly, and publicly, is how I assume it would have been done. Based on all the historical evidence we have, there is no reason to doubt that Peter ordained Linus as the next Bishop of Rome, since every documentation we have of Linus' bishopric in Rome states that he was ordained to the position by Peter. Not one document of anywhere near the time period contradicts that, and it wasn't until the 14th century that anyone even questioned it. Again, you can either choose to believe history or not.


    Again, why would the Bishop of Rome be able to claim authority over the whole Church, including over Bishops of all other cities, unless Rome was the center of jurisdiction and authority in the Church? If it was the center of authority in the Church, it didn't just happen overnight, that would have been something established by the Apostles, which Linus inherited. Oh, and the fact that the other Apostles were not in Rome is not an excuse for why no one ever opposed the Roman Church's authority under Linus. The Apostles wrote and sent messages authoritatively to places all over, regardless of where they happened to be (think of all the different churches Paul wrote to, from wherever he happened to be at the time, even in prison). If an Apostle ever got word that Linus was taking undue authority over the whole Church which was not given to him by Peter through succession, they would have stood up against it immediately, undoubtedly sending messages to Rome and informing all Christians they came in contact with not to submit to Linus. But again, they didn't. They knew that Linus had inherited Peter's primacy and authority as head of the Church, whose center was at Rome.

    I've already addressed the issue of Apostles not in Rome...that would have been irrelevant, they would have sent messages from where they were and probably would have traveled directly to Rome or another major city in order to address the problem directly if Linus did not renounce his authority. But once again, they did none of this.
    As for Scriptural references, we both agree that something doesn't have to be explicit in Scripture to be a doctrine. I have given you numerous historical citations showing that Rome was the authoritative center of the Church, and that the Bishop of Rome had authority over the whole Church.
    Note what Ignatius of Antioch had to say in 110 AD (recall that this is only about 10 years after the death of the last Apostle; Ignatius knew the Apostles and learned directly from them; the only way this guy could have been "steeped in years of Catholic tradition" would be if the early Church was Catholic): "Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

    "You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force" (ibid., 3:1).

    Clearly the Church at Rome was the center and authoritative head of Christianity in the early Church. Again, what is the Church leader called that has authority over a whole city? A Bishop. So if Rome was the authoritative center of Christianity, and the Bishop of a city has jurisdiction and authority over it, then what would that make the Bishop of Rome?....the Head of the Church!



    Again, why would it "make sense" to Linus to claim authority that was completely unheard-of under the Apostles' teaching? If he and the rest of Christianity had learned their theology directly from the Apostles, then they must have gotten such an idea from the Apostles themselves. For Linus to have simply taken up undue authority without a word of warning or forethought by the Apostles who ordained him doesn't make any sense. It would never have been accepted by the rest of Christianity unless authority from Rome, i.e. from the Church at Rome headed by the Bishop there, was something they already accepted and were familiar with under the Apostles' teaching.

    The second coming of Christ still hasn't occurred 2,000 years later, so why are you assuming that the "falling away" took place so early on? This falling away is marked by the coming of the Anti-Christ...who or what is the Anti-Christ, in the Mormon view? Notice that when Paul predicts this future event, he says in the meantime, "stand fast and hold the traditions you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." (2 Thess. 2:15) This is exactly what the Catholic Church has done. Simply take a look at early Church history and the teachings to which the early Church ascribed...the very men who were taught directly by the Apostles, taught and believed in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, Purgatory, infant baptism...the list goes on. Only the Catholic Church has maintained the Apostolic Tradition for 2,000 years, as the Church was predicted to do continually, without the Gates of Hades ever prevailing against it. One simply cannot argue against the plain historicity of the Catholic Church. It is truly God's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
    It has been wonderful chatting with you, Polaris, and I respectfully understand if you do not respond any longer and wish to bow out of the thread. You are an honest, intelligent person who I do respect. God bless.

    FerventGodSeeker
     
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  18. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    By no means do I wish to bow out of this thread -- I just thought that the discussion was on the verge of becoming stale and filled with redundant arguments. But you have brought up some valid points that deserve a response, and you have sparked questions that I have for you.

    The only people that you have quoted who have learned their theology directly from the Apostles are Clement and Ignatius. Those aren't who I was referring to as "steeped in years of Catholic tradition". That statement was targeted more to the likes of Eusibius and to a lesser extent Iranaeus. I have actully found nothing that I disagree with concerning Clement's and Ignatius's quotes. They both have discussed the succession of Bishops without specific reference to Apostolic authority -- which in itself I find quite interesting.

    I understand your concern -- I haven't been very clear on this issue, let me clarify my position on this. I believe that the Apostasy wasn't something that just occured overnight. It merely began with the death of the Apostles. The Apostles were the ones called and ordained to lead the church through the guidance of the Holy Ghost (i.e. by revelation). They and their inspired leadership were the foundation of the church. When they were taken so was their authorative revelation. Those who remained did the best they could without such guidance. The Bishops, though not ordained with Apostolic authority, were not wrong in assuming leadership over their respective cities -- they were the highest church officials. The problem however, with the death of the Apostles, was that there was no longer the vital guidance through revelation. The church changed from one that was once guided by revelation to the ordained Apostles to one that was guided by the best efforts of various local Bishops. This eventually allowed erroneous doctrines and practices to creep into the church. Tradition, instead of revelation, carried the church and was effective in preserving many important truths, however, at various times error crept in and became part of tradition. Certain doctrines were altered and even became contrary to that established by Christ and the Apostles (eg. baptism of infants, indulgences, required celibacy, paid clergy, etc). I don't believe that the church was ever completely turned on its head -- Catholic tradition still holds many important truths secure, but the ultimate governing authority was taken with the death of the Apostles, and some of the precious truths were altered over the years.

    True, Apostles ordained the Bishops, and historical records illustrate the emphasis placed on their succession. But that doesn't mean that they were ever given Apostolic authority. The Apostles knew their authority would not be preserved indefinitely -- they knew an Apostasy was on the horizon. So, they focused their efforts in attempting to preserve as much as they could through the establishment of Bishops and instructed them concerning their own succession. Ideally the Apostles would have ordained more Apostles just like that done in Acts 1. But distance, persecution, and martyrdome, was inevitably going to keep that from happening. The Apostles didn't get anything wrong -- the apostasy was prophesied and fullfilled as a result of the wickedness of the general population. Had the people as a whole been more receptive to God's servants He may have preserved the Apostleship even to this day -- but that's not how things happened. God will not force his truths on mankind.

    I believe that Peter ordained Linus as Bishop. I just don't believe that Linus received Apostolic authority -- no document near that time periods indicates that.

    At what point can you confirm that Bishop of Rome was the leader over the whole Church? From everything I've read concerning the Council of Nicea and other councils there was no clear leader of the entire church.

    Do you even know how many and which of the Apostles were actually alive at the time? Do you know where they were and what they were doing? They were likely dealing with there own serious set of problems. The only one that we have reliable evidence for is John, and according to tradition he was banished to the Isle of Patmos, and may not have been very accessible either. The fact that we have so few of their writings indicates that they may not have been very accessible even by letter.

    I find it hard to believe that you insist that Linus surpassed John in authority. So if John had ever returned to Rome he would have been subject to Linus' authority? John was called by Jesus Christ himself and was among the three most intimately acquainted with Him and His ministry. I don't even think Clement, Ignatius, or Irenaeus would agree with you that Linus was above John in authority. It makes sense that Linus assumed leadership in Rome since he was Bishop there, but to assume that he surpassed John in church-wide authority makes no sense.


    As I mentioned above the "falling away" comprised of many events that happened over many years. How does a "falling away" imply the emergence of an anti-Christ? "Falling away" implies that whatever it was that fell away was once on the right path. Are you implying that the anti-Christ will be an excommunicated member of the Catholic church? I take this to mean that the church members as a whole will "fall away" into erroneous teachings and practices, because of the lack of inspired Apostolic revelation and guidance.

    Sorry, you're going to have to show me how you believe that infant baptism was taught by the Apostles, because it goes against every principle concerning the ordinance of baptism as taught by Christ and the Apostles in the NT.
     
  19. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    You shouldn't find it that interesting...pointing out the obvious isn't something that such Church leaders had to be concerned with. As you've pointed out, the Church did what "made sense to them" in giving authority, which they assumed to be Apostolic, to the Bishops who succeeded the Apostles. If it "made sense to them", then obviously it was a concept already ingrained in their thought process in terms of succession. They knew that when they referred to the succession of Bishops appointed by the Apostles they were referring to the authority passed on from the Apostles.



    The issue here is that you seem to believe that there needs to be constant new revelation from God. I'm not sure why you need constant new revelation for the Church in every generation. The Church is and always was guided by revelation, but that revelation ended with the death of the Apostles and subsequently the canonization of Scripture. Now, we are to hold fast to the traditions that we have been taught, not seek new revelation:

    "Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you." 1 Cor. 11:2

    "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." 2 Thess. 2:15


    First of all, you should understand that clergy celibacy is not 100% required. If, for example, someone was married, but then converted to Catholicism and became clergy, he would certainly not be forbidden to remain married or have sex with his wife. Clergical celibacy is recommended because that is the state which the Apostles recommended that clergymen be in:
    "But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world--how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world-how she may please her husband. And I say this for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, that you may serve the Lord without distraction." 1 Cor. 7:32-35

    As far as I know, paying clergy has become a necesity in some parts of the world due to the fact that some clergy in today's world would not be able to live without financial support. This was not the case in earlier time periods, thus the change. This is not a doctrinal change but simply a change in particular practice in today's world.

    As for indulgences and baptism of infants, I invite your explanation and historical evidence as to how these doctrines have been, as I assume you believe, basically fabricated by the Church. In doing this, you will have to provide proof that the Church at one time taught against such practices or taught the opposite, and then show how at some point the doctrine changed.


    So they basically gave up hope because they knew that an Apostasy was inevitable? In that case, why even mandate the succession of Bishops? If they knew all would go to heck in a matter of decades anyways, why be so insistent that the Bishops constantly maintain succession and that the Church obey them in their teachings?
    They seemed to have no problem ordaining Bishops with all these obstacles...again, why not Apostles?
    "The wickedness of the general population"...do you mean the world in general, including non-Christians? How would the wickedness of non-believers affect the authority of the Christian Church? There's plenty of wickedness in today's world, but you seem pretty confident that the Mormon church remains authoritative.

    Did I not just explain this with historical citation? Rome was the authoritative center of the Church. The Bishop of a city is the leader of that city's church. Thus, the Bishop of the authoritative center of the Church is the leader over the whole Church. If you investigate the Councils, you will notice that they all were required to be confirmed by the Bishop of Rome. I believe the Bishop of Rome even called a few of the Councils directly himself.

    FerventGodSeeker
     
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  20. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    Paul explicitly says in the books of Ephesians and Colossians that he was in chains when writing them...Exactly how serious of a problem are you suggesting that would detract from the Apostles addressing what you're suggesting was the end of Apostolic succession and authority? Don't you think that the take-over of the Church by some Bishop without that authority would probably come to the forefront of their to-do lists?

    That's because the Apostles, as you noted, often traveled. They didn't always need to write because they opted to speak face-to-face with their disciples. Peter died in 67-68, if I'm not mistaken. I believe John wasn't banished to Patmos till the 90s. That's a 20+ year window for him to get around to addressing the undue take-over of the Church by a random Bishop who had no authority from Peter to do so.;) I'm just not buying the picture you're painting of how this whole scene played out.

    If Linus had Apostolic authority from Peter, that is the equivalent of being called by Christ, is it not? This point to me seems pretty moot since I don't recall Linus and John ever opposing one another where one had to declare authority over another. However, if Peter was the leader of the Apostles, and Linus inherited his authority, then John's age or seniority don't really matter, Linus inherited rightful authority regardless.

    Just the context of the "Falling away" verse you quoted, that's all;) :
    "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2 Thess. 2:3-4
    Not at all, when did I say that?
    When Peter preached in Acts 2, he said,
    "Peter (said) to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call." (verses 38-39)
    We can both agree (I hope) that this verse refers to the Biblical command to be baptized for the remission of sins. But what you may not realize is what Peter said in verse 39, "the promise is made to you and to your children". Salvation through Baptism is a promise made to both adults and children. In baptizing believers in the early Church, the Apostles made this promise available to both groups:
    "After she and her household had been baptized..." Acts 16:15
    "He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once." Acts 16:33
    Unless babies aren't a part of families, then early Christian baptism included the baptism of infants.
    As for the Early Church Fathers, they clearly considered infant baptism acceptable:
    Irenaeus: "He [Jesus] came to save all through himself; all, I say, who through him are reborn in God: infants, and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age . . . [so that] he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, perfect also in respect to relative age" (Against Heresies 2:22:4 [A.D. 189]).
    "‘And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan’ [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]" (Fragment 34 [A.D. 190]).

    Hippolytus: "Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them" (The Apostolic Tradition 21:16 [A.D. 215]).
    Oh, I know, these guys were just "steeped in Catholic tradition", having been separated from Christ by only 2 generations.:rolleyes:

    If these guys believed in it, but the Apostles didn't, then when did it come about as a teaching, exactly?


    FerventGodSeeker
     
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