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Roots of Modern Christianity

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by KnightRider, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    On what basis are you suggesting that?

    I can't see any basis for that at all in the scriptures. Do you have any evidence for it?

    It didn't. The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Nestorians (Church of the East), Anglicans, and even some Lutherans can claim an unbroken succession of bishops from the time of the apostles. And yet they profess very different doctrines. (That being said, I do think the continuity of the Orthodox is much more impressive than that of the others.)

    You're assuming that there is an earthly organization that is equal to the True Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. To suggest that there is, is little short of idolatry.
     
  2. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Actually, not acording to Orthodox Ecclesiology (and this is true of the west prior to the Schism also). You cannot have Apostolic Succession without the catholic faith. Anyone who espouses doctrines contrary to those held by the entire Church cannot claim Apostolic Succession. This means that the only Church (from our point of view) with Apostolic Succession is the Orthodox Church and, possibly, the Oriental Orthodox Church (I say this, somewhat controversially, because it is my personal opinion that the OOs use different language to describe what is essentially the same doctrine as we hold. In other words I consider them to be schismatic only). Anglicans and Roman Catholics can claim the form of Apostolic Succession but this would not be a reality so long as they held to condemned doctrines. Lutherans, to the best of my knowledge, (and I once was one) can't even claim Apostolic Succession in the legalistic sense as no bishops joined Luther's schism. I just thought that I'd better clatrify that the idea of Apostolic Succession in the Orthodox Church is not simply the legal form that it appears to be in some other churches.

    James
     
  3. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    That's precisely why I used the phrase "unbroken succession of bishops." :)
     
  4. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    The biggest problem with the assertion is that it is based on hypothesis without any direct statements, and this is especially strong when we have statements to the contrary. Take I Clement:

    Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those ministers already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure from this world; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.

    Here is a contradicting (and Orthodox) perspective on Apostolic Succession. Clement would be in the know. He knew the Twelve (Paul mentions him by name), was a bishop, and according to Tradition, was one of the Seventy Christ sent out. There are no mentions of such a council of twelve, but we do have a contradictory perspective that supports the Orthodox view.

    The conflict may be narrowed down further. Restorationist movements can never restore the spirit of a religion: that is something that encompasses more than orginization and writings: it embodies behavior, ceremonies (which we all have), and unwritten stories. If a religion is lost, it is lost forever, and all attempts at "restoration" are actually making something look like it which is not the same thing. Any restoration at this point will always be quite modern in spirit and never ancient.
     
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  5. KnightRider

    KnightRider Member

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    In several scriptures Paul is referred to as an Apostle. Like I said however it is debatable if that refers to the leading council of 12 Apostles or not.
    The first time Paul is mentioned as an Apostle occurs after the reported beheading of James (Acts 12:2).
    Thanks you make my point quite nicely. You refer to a succession of Bishops, I suggest that there needed to be a succession of 12 leading Apostles. Since there wasn't such a succession, we see the modification (corruption) of doctrines.
    I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say True Church. To me it represents the organization that Christ established on earth that holds the authority (to preach, baptise, etc.) and preserves the true doctrines of salvation.
     
  6. KnightRider

    KnightRider Member

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    OK first of all the council of Twelve was a term I used to distinguish the leading 12 Apostles. Second, how is this statement contradictory? I don't see Clement claiming that there should be no succession of 12 apostles. If you insist that he was indeed claiming that, maybe he (and the apostles that were concerned) were forseeing the fall of the organizational structure of the church and were trying to salvage as much as they could.
    I agree if the restoration is conducted by a man. But if there is divine involvement the "spirit of a religion" can most definitely be restored. If a religion is lost I believe that God has the power to restore it and whatever ceremonies, etc that are necessary.
     
  7. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    So you think the RCC had apostolic succession but lost it?
    What I bolded above I find interesting and would like to discuss it further in another thread in a latter time.
    I don't really want to make this a EO vs. RC thing because I think both James and No*s can make their case without me disagreeing. Just wanted to get clarification on this and I will fall back. My contribution to this thread will only bore some people and complicate issues somemore.
     
  8. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    There's no evidence that there was such a council of Twelve. Note that Peter's idea to replace Judas with another Apostle, filling out the number 12, came before Pentecost. After the Spirit had descended on the community, other Apostles began to appear. There's no indication that the number was restricted to Twelve, that vacancies were filled when Apostles died, or that the Twelve formed a ruling council. On the contrary, the evidence is, as I've already said, that the apostles deferred to James the Lord's brother.


    There is, on the other hand, evidence that Paul never formed part of any such council as you're imagining. Paul stresses that both his gospel and his apostleship came directly from God, and not from men.
    But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Note that Acts (which is, above all a piece of Pauline propaganda) presents a much smoother relationship between Paul and the other apostles than Paul himself recounts in his epistles. After Paul begins preaching, when the disciples at Jerusalem are still apprehensive and unconvinced that he's a sincere convert,
    Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

    This is plainly at odds with Paul's own account:
    But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

    Acts, in other words, attempts to draw Paul into the circle of the Jesus community at Jerusalem, but Paul's own words make it clear that this picture isn't accurate. In any case, he can hardly have formed a member of any ruling council when he never even met most of the Twelve.

    Note also that the apostles (apostoloi, those who are sent) were headquartered at Jerusalem, but except for James the Lord's brother, they often traveled to plant new churches and build up existing ones; Christian tradition has them scattered throughout the Old World, with Thomas in India, Andrew in Asia Minor and Scythia, and Matthew in Ethiopia. In Romans, Paul says he's planning a trip to Spain. Considering the slowness of travel and communication in the first century, there's simply no way such a widely scattered, largely itinerant group could have formed any sort of ruling council.


    The conclusion doesn't follow from the evidence. I'm convinced that there was, indeed, a radical modification of the teachings of Jesus (actually, what amounts to an abandonment of the teachings of Jesus), and that Paul bears the responsibility for much of that. But there's no evidence for any such council as you propose, so there can be no need to perpetuate something that's never existed in the first place. Nor is there any logical reason to think that such a Council of Twelve, if it had ever existed, would have necessarily preserved a teaching free of modifications, or that the absence of such a Council must necessarily have resulted in a modification of doctrines.

    You're putting too much faith in organizations. Jesus never established an organization, or a religion.
     
  9. KnightRider

    KnightRider Member

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    Did Jesus not call (organize, establish, etc) a group (quarom, council, etc) of 12 men to be Apostles? The N.T. provides ample evidence that such a group (quarom, council, etc) existed. And is that not some form of organization? Then when Matthias was called to fill the vacancy left by the death of Judas, does that not resemble some form of organized structure?

    Your last point is a good one. Just the existance of 12 apostles in itelf doesn't necessarily imply preservation of pure doctrine. But the lack of 12 apostles serves as a strong indication that the pure doctrine was not preserved because the authoritative organization was not preserved.
     
  10. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    The Apostles were not appointed in any sense in the Gospels. They became followers. There is even record of the rich man who ALMOST became a follower but could not leave his riches behind. This is not the structure of a council in any sense. Jesus preached and taught as HE saw fit, He did not ask council or advice, and indeed quite blatantly disregarded council and advice.


    Regards,Scott
     
  11. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Wousers....so not only was there no Church established but apparently they were not appointed in any sense. Hefty topic......
     
  12. KnightRider

    KnightRider Member

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    I'm not suggesting that Jesus called a council to seek their advice. He called apostles, 12 of them, to preach the gospel and help meet the spiritual needs of the rest of the disciples. OK so don't call it a council, the point is that he organized 12 Apostles to teach his gospel.

    Luke 6:13 - And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.

    Mark 3:14 - And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.

    Mark 6:30 - And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
     
  13. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    Let's compare it to the succession and authority established by Moses in the Torah. Joshua was appointed by God, heralded by Moses as was the priesthood under Aaron and their authority and boundaries were well established. It was so successful that throughout the days of Joshua the people of Israel were impeccable in following God's law and will.

    3,26 But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and hearkened not unto me; and the LORD said unto me: 'Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto Me of this matter. 3,27 Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold with thine eyes; for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3,28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.' 3,29 So we abode in the valley over against Beth-peor. {P} (Torah (Law), Devarim (Deuteronomy))

    "{S} 31,7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel: 'Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt go with this people into the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 31,8 And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed.' 31,9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel." (Torah (Law), Devarim (Deuteronomy))

    "27,16 'Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 27,17 who may go out before them, and who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.' 27,18 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is spirit, and lay thy hand upon him; 27,19 and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 27,20 And thou shalt put of thy honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may hearken." (Torah (Law), Bamidbar (Numbers))

    And to Muhammad, one must note, that His deathbed designation of Ali, His son-in-law to succeed to Muhammad's authority over Islam, the other companions met in conclave while Ali was attending to Muhammad's deathbed and usurped the designation of Muhammad to create the first Caliph.

    Regards,

    Scott
     
  14. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    So all this means what in a short paragraph? :)
     
  15. Squirt

    Squirt Well-Known Member

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    I disagree, Scott. Christ clearly appointed twelve from among the many who chose to follow Him. They were not merely followers, but were followers whom He specifically set apart to fulfill a role. In addition to the passages Knight Rider has mentioned (two of which I was going to mention myself -- until he beat me to the punch!), Luke 9:1 also says:

    "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases."

    He chose them, ordained them and gave them power and authority that not all of His followers had. I am aware of at least thirty references to this particular group of men, referred to throughout the gospels as "the twelve."

    That's probably an accurate statement. Jesus, being the head of His own Church, did not require the council of these men. But, knowing that He would not always be physically present to preside over His Church, He obviously appointed them for some other purpose than for the pleasure of their company! Clearly, they held positions of authority. Why justification do we have for presuming that this structure or organization was intended to be temporary in nature?
     
  16. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    God and Moses took it upon Themselves to create a mechanism for the transfer of authority AFTER the Prophet would not longer be with His people. It worked admirably - apparently

    Yet God and Jesus did not choose to do so, as best we can tell

    Muhammad attempted to establish an authority for His people, but His wishes were thwarted. I hesitate to say God's wishes were thwarted, because I do not think that can happen in reality.

    What I think it means is that the covenant of Moses came to an end with Jesus. And the covenant of Jesus came to an end with Muhammad. The covenant of Muhammad also came to an end. Or perhaps I should say it is "renewed" instead of ended and that it was never intended by God to establish a succession of authority with the death of Jesus and Muhammad, and to try to invent one is doomed.

    As a Baha`i I know that the intention of God was to create a succession of authority that would last like the succession of Moses because it was a fulfillment of God's will.

    Regards,

    Scott

    PS: I am getting tired of having to type in HTML code for every paragraph break.
     
  17. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    So there is no legitimate transfering of authority because the same mechanism was not passed by Christ? That right?

    And what mechanism is this exactly? Please be clear.
     
  18. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    It was not the will of God, for whatever reason, that an authoritative body or person was not established. I say this because in the covenant of Moses such an authoirtative mechanism WAS passed along.

    In my own faith, I know, this mechanism was passed along and the medium by which it could be maintained was ordained by the will of God, or it would not have been established thus far.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  19. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    I'm sorry but those synonyms just don't fly. There are significant differences when you talk about calling a group as opposed to organizing a council or establishing a quorum.

    Just read the Gospels. It's not even clear exactly who the Twelve were, and Jesus never appointed them as a Ruling Council. He trained them to go out two by two as itinerant preachers. The very meaning of the word apostle, and every tradition recorded about the apostles, confirms that that's pretty much what they did with their lives, too.

    Why? The evidence we have indicates that the apostles appointed bishops. I don't believe there ever was an "authoritative organization," but supposing there had been, why should it have to take the form you think it should have? Don't you think an authoritative organization established by Jesus would be competent to perpetuate itself in the best way possible?

    It seems to me that you're straining mightily to justify the Restorationist position, but you haven't come up with anything concrete, or really any evidence at all to back your claims, other than a subjective opinion that another form of organization would have been preferable. That makes for bad history and bad theology.
     
  20. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    I don't there's much ground for reading Deuteronomy as literal history.

    I was about to object very firmly to this, but then you wrote:

    And from that I think we're close to being on the same page. Not exactly on the same page, but close. :)
     
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