Thursday, February 14, 2013

Connecting the Dots Between the Early Church and Catholicism, Part IV



AD 189
Irenaeus, Bishop of Smyrna:
Authority of Rome
Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. (Against Heresies, 3, 1:1). 
But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the succession of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church [of Rome], because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition. (ibid., 3, 3, 2). 
The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the letter to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21]. To him succeeded Anacletus, and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the apostles and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. ... To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded . . . and now, in the twelfth place after the apostles, the lot of the episcopate [of Rome] has fallen to Eleutherius. In this order, and by the teaching of the apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us.  (ibid., 3, 3, 3). 
Those who wish to see the truth can observe in every church the tradition of the Apostles made manifest in the whole world . . . therefore we refute those who hold unauthorized assemblies . . . by pointing to the greatest and oldest church, a church known to all men, which was founded and established at Rome by the most renowned apostles Peter and Paul . . . for this Church has the position of leadership and authority, and therefore every church, that is, the faithful everywhere must needs agree with the church at Rome for in her the apostolic tradition has ever been preserved by the faithful from all parts of the world. (Against Heresies, 3:3)
It is our duty to obey those presbyters who are in the Church who have their succession from the apostles. . . the others who stand apart from the primitive succession and assemble in any place whatever we ought to regard with suspicion either as heretics and unsound in doctrine or as schismatics . . . all have fallen away from the truth. (Against Heresies, 4:26)

Confession
[The Gnostic disciples of Marcus] have deluded many women. . . . Their consciences have been branded as with a hot iron. Some of these women make a public confession, but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing from themselves the hope of the life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between the two courses" (Against Heresies 1:22). 
Tradition
As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same. (Against Heresies 1:10:2). 
That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth. . . . What if the apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the churches? (ibid., 3:4:1). 
It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. 
But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. 
With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3:3:1–2). 

Eucharist
If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32). 
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (ibid., 5:2). 

Mary, Full of Grace
Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient, and, when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband—for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children, and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply—having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith" (Against Heresies 3:22:24). 
The Lord then was manifestly coming to his own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation that is supported by himself. He was making a recapitulation of that disobedience that had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience that was upon a tree [i.e., the cross]. Furthermore, the original deception was to be done away with—the deception by which that virgin Eve (who was already espoused to a man) was unhappily misled. That this was to be overturned was happily announced through means of the truth by the angel to the Virgin Mary (who was also [espoused] to a man). . . . So if Eve disobeyed God, yet Mary was persuaded to be obedient to God. In this way, the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin. Virginal disobedience has been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience. For in the same way, the sin of the first created man received amendment by the correction of the First-Begotten" (ibid., 5:19:1). 
Old Testament Canon includes Deuterocanonical books 
Those . . . who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts and do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt toward others and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat [Matt. 23:6] and work evil deeds in secret, saying ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance, nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O you seed of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust perverted your heart’ [Dan. 13:56]. You that have grown old in wicked days, now your sins which you have committed before have come to light, for you have pronounced false judgments and have been accustomed to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, although the Lord says, ‘You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous’ [Dan. 13:52, citing Ex. 23:7]" (Against Heresies 4:26:3; Daniel 13 is not in the Protestant Bible). 

Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left on the earth, should both be under the rule of the saints and to minister to this [new] Jerusalem and that [his] kingdom shall be in it, saying, ‘Look around Jerusalem toward the east and behold the joy which comes to you from God himself. Behold, your sons whom you have sent forth shall come: They shall come in a band from the east to the west. . . . God shall go before with you in the light of his splendor, with the mercy and righteousness which proceed from him’ [Baruch. 4:36—5:9]" (ibid., 5:35:1; Baruch was often considered part of Jeremiah, as it is here). 

AD 190 
Heresy and authority

Pope Victor I excommunicated Eastern churches that continued to observe Easter on Nisan 14 "Quartodeciman",

Infant Baptism

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. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 2:22:4). 

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). 

Purgatory 

The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste Shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed: Truly, I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius. (Epitaph of Abercius). 

191
Eucharist
“Eat my flesh,” [Jesus] says, “and drink my blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children. (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3). 

AD 198 

Authority of Rome

It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and Peter, likewise, was crucified, during the reign [of the Emperor Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. ...I can point out the trophies of the apostles. For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church’" (Gaius, Disputation with Proclus in Eusebius, Church History 2:25:5). 

Heresy and authority of church

First council of Carthage seventy bishops, presided over by the Bishop of Carthage, Agrippinus, were present. According to Cyprian the question of the validity of baptism conferred by heretics came up for discussion and was decided in the negative. After this date more than twenty councils were held in Carthage, the most important of which were: (1) those under St. Cyprian relative to the lapsi, Novatianism, and the rebaptism of heretics; and (2) the synods of 412, 416, and 418 which condemned the doctrines of Pelagius.

200

Tertullian, Christian Apologist from Carthage

Authority of Rome

But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [the Baptist, by being beheaded]" (Tertullian, Demurrer Against the Heretics 36). 

Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; against what standard the Galatians were measured for correction; what the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians read; what even the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the gospel and even sealed it with their blood. (Against Marcion 4, 5:). 

Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22). 

[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Modesty 21:9–10). 

202
Prayer for those in Purgatory
[T]hat very night, this was shown to me in a vision: I [Perpetua] saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid color, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease. . . . For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other . . . and [I] knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then . . . I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me: I saw that the place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. . . . [And] he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment" (The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity 2:3–4). 


203
Confession

Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness" (Tertullian, Repentance 10:1). 

204

Septuagint as scripture

What is narrated here [in the story of Susannah] happened at a later time, although it is placed at the front of the book [of Daniel], for it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings. . . . [W]e ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest anyone be overtaken in any transgression and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the judge of all and the Word himself is the eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah" (Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel; the story of Susannah [Dan. 13] is not in the Protestant Bible). 

208 

Tradition

Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from loss the blessed tradition" (Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1:1). 

Intercession of Saints

In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]" (Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 7:12). 


210 

Eucharist

[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God. (Tertullian, The Resurrection of the Dead 8). 

Mary, Full of Grace

And again, lest I depart from my argumentation on the name of Adam: Why is Christ called Adam by the apostle [Paul], if as man he was not of that earthly origin? But even reason defends this conclusion, that God recovered his image and likeness by a procedure similar to that in which he had been robbed of it by the devil. It was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise through a virgin the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life. Thus what had been laid waste in ruin by this sex was by the same sex reestablished in salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. That which the one destroyed by believing, the other, by believing, set straight" (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ 17:4. 


215

Confession, Authority

[The bishop conducting the ordination of the new bishop shall pray:] God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Pour forth now that power which comes from you, from your royal Spirit, which you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and which he bestowed upon his holy apostles . . . and grant this your servant, whom you have chosen for the episcopate, [the power] to feed your holy flock and to serve without blame as your high priest, ministering night and day to propitiate unceasingly before your face and to offer to you the gifts of your holy Church, and by the Spirit of the high priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins, in accord with your command" (Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition 3). 

Infant Baptism

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" (Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 21:16). 



11 comments:

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
AD 189
Irenaeus, Bishop of Smyrna:
Authority of Rome
Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. (Against Heresies, 3, 1:1).

A historical fact. Nobody doubts that Peter and Paul were in Rome. But there’s no evidence of Peter roman episcopate in the first three hundred years of christian history. Irenaeus himself (who was bishop of Lyon, not Smyrna) gives us a list of roman bishops in which the name of Peter is not included. Irenaeus wrote that the first bishop of Rome was Linus, not Peter.


You wrote:
But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the succession of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church [of Rome], because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition. (ibid., 3, 3, 2).
My answer:
Off course the roman church had a privileged position in the early Christianity, along with others churches like Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, etc. It’s not a coincident that the papacy arose from Rome, and not from another city. But the meaning of this polemical passage has been twisted for catholic apologists many times. This translation of the text made by catholic scholars is quite closer to its original meaning, at least according my own opinion:
“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. 1. p. 252.)
Irenaeus cannot say that everyone must obey the roman church in faith matters, because he himself was in conflict against the pope sometimes. When the pope Victor wanted to impose the celebration of Easter in the next Sunday after Passover (meanwhile east church was celebration the Easter according the jew custom), Irenaeus denied that the bishop of Rome to can or to must impose his opinion over the other churches.
What Irenaeus meant was that Rome, the capital or Roman Empire, was a place where people from everywhere used to go. Whereas the gnostic sects was founded in the witness of just one apostle (that’s why they claimed, it does not mean that they were right) and had the support of one church o region, the church in Rome had the support of the unanimity of Christianity, because christian from everywhere used to go there.
The passage does not mean that Roman Church was the ultimate faith authority over others churches because it has inherited the apostolic traditions, but the Roman church had the orthodox doctrine because was one of the most important churches and christian from everywhere assured that the right faith could stand there.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the letter to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21]. To him succeeded Anacletus, and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the apostles and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. ... To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded . . . and now, in the twelfth place after the apostles, the lot of the episcopate [of Rome] has fallen to Eleutherius. In this order, and by the teaching of the apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us. (ibid., 3, 3, 3).

My answer:
This is one of the most ancient lists of bishop of Rome that church history has provided us. This list does not contain the name of Peter in it. Irenaeus, along with Heggesipus and Eusebius, did not believe that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, but Linus instead. This historical fact has been acknowledged even by catholic scholars. The catholic theologian and priest Peter C. Phan wrote:
"The Catholic Church considers Peter the first pope, but the first succession lists, prepared by Irenaeus (d. ca. 200), and the historian Hegesippus (d. ca. 180) and later attestedd to by Eusebius of Casarea (d. ca. 339), identified Linus, not Peter., as the first pope" (The Gift of the Church, p. 318)


You wrote:
It is our duty to obey those presbyters who are in the Church who have their succession from the apostles. . . the others who stand apart from the primitive succession and assemble in any place whatever we ought to regard with suspicion either as heretics and unsound in doctrine or as schismatics . . . all have fallen away from the truth. (Against Heresies, 4:26)
My answer:
The context of this passage is the controversy between orthodox Christians and the Gnostics. A very usual argument against the gnotics was that they boasted to have been the receptor of especial apostolic teachings, but the bishops appointed in their places by the apostles themselves did not hold those alleged “apostolic teachings”. So the churches that had bishops appointed by the apostles (like Rome) had the real apostolic Truth instead the Gnostics.



You wrote:
Confession
[The Gnostic disciples of Marcus] have deluded many women. . . . Their consciences have been branded as with a hot iron. Some of these women make a public confession, but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing from themselves the hope of the life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between the two courses" (Against Heresies 1:22).
.
My answer:
The public confession consisted in confess the own sins before the whole church(“public”), not to tell them only before the priest.
This passage is a proof against the current confession of sins practiced by the modern catholics.

Eric Richter said...

Tradition
As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same. (Against Heresies 1:10:2).

My answer:
As I have said before, Irenaeus wrote his book “Against Heresies” in order to refute the gnostic doctrines. The gnostic sects stated that they have received a secret teaching from the apostles that others churches have not received. Many christian apologists appealed to the argument that the apostles had appointed many bishops in several churches and not even one of this apostles’ successors hold the gnostic doctrine. If those who knew the apostles did not know nor accept the Gnostics teachings, it’s quite obvious that the apostles never gave some instruction to the Gnostics.
Irenaeus called the oral instruction of the apostles as “tradition”. The presbyters who had been the disciples and followers of the apostles kept this “tradition” in their churches.
Church history proves that this “apostolic tradition” was speedily lost. In the course of time more and more churches stated to have been founded by the apostles and, therefore, be a sure fount of doctrine and tradition. But this alleged “apostolic tradition” was different in each church, proving that the true apostolic “tradition” did not survive many time.



You wrote:
Eucharist
If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32).
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist,the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (ibid., 5:2).

The doctrine of transubstantiation was promulgated as a dogma in the middle age. There’s no evidence of this dogma in early christian writings. The quotes used to prove this dogma are ambiguous.
But I personally think that this doctrine could be refuted by the reason only. I mean, the bread is supposed to be the body of Christ, but it smalls, seems, and tastes like bread. If really is the flesh of Christ is should to small, seem, and taste like flesh. Is it? The same thing happens with the wine.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
Mary, Full of Grace
Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient, and, when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband—for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children, and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply—having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith" The Lord then was manifestly coming to his own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation that is supported by himself. He was making a recapitulation of that disobedience that had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience that was upon a tree [i.e., the cross]. Furthermore, the original deception was to be done away with—the deception by which that virgin Eve (who was already espoused to a man) was unhappily misled. That this was to be overturned was happily announced through means of the truth by the angel to the Virgin Mary (who was also [espoused] to a man). . . . So if Eve disobeyed God, yet Mary was persuaded to be obedient to God. In this way, the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin. Virginal disobedience has been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience. For in the same way, the sin of the first created man received amendment by the correction of the First-Begotten" (ibid., 5:19:1). (Against Heresies 3:22:24).

My answer:
Well, I agree with almost all what Irenaeus is saying. I don’t really see why these passages could support some catholic doctrine on Mary.

You wrote:
Old Testament Canon includes Deuterocanonical books
Those . . . who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts and do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt toward others and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat [Matt. 23:6] and work evil deeds in secret, saying ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance, nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O you seed of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust perverted your heart’ [Dan. 13:56]. You that have grown old in wicked days, now your sins which you have committed before have come to light, for you have pronounced false judgments and have been accustomed to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, although the Lord says, ‘You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous’ [Dan. 13:52, citing Ex. 23:7]" (Against Heresies 4:26:3; Daniel 13 is not in the Protestant Bible).

Well, as I have said before (and you agreed with me) the Fathers of the Church did not have the same believes. It was a great diversity of doctrines and opinions. The canon of scriptures was one of those topics in which the Early Fathers did not agree. I admit that many early writers accepted deuterocanonical books, but they also accepted as canonical some books that are currently rejected by the Catholic Church.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
AD 190
Heresy and authority
Pope Victor I excommunicated Eastern churches that continued to observe Easter on Nisan 14 "Quartodeciman",

My Answer:
This is an interesting story. Victor tried to impose his custom on the asian bishop, but he failed. The asian bishops met in a council where the quartodecimanism was reaffirmed. When Victor notice that, he threaded with excommunication, but the bishop of Lyon, Irenaeus, wrote a letter to him (and to others western bishops), disapproving his behavior.
Our available sources are not clear. It’s not certain if Victor really excommunicated the asian bishops or only threaded to do so. Whatever the case, asian bishops maintained their custom.
The history does not support the papal primacy in early Christianity at all.


You wrote:
Infant Baptism
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. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 2:22:4).

Well, I see no reference to infant baptism.
Off course Jesus Christ came to save us all, but this fact does not force us to believe or practice the baptism of infants.


You wrote:
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).
I’m not seen any reference to infant baptism. Jesus himself said that the baptism is like born again, but does not mean that we must to baptize children. Actually, it’s the opposite. How can a newborn baby born again? That has no sense.


You wrote:
Purgatory
The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste Shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed: Truly, I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius. (Epitaph of Abercius).

I do not know if I can trust in this inscriptions when is not certain if it’s christian or pagan.


You wrote:
191
Eucharist
“Eat my flesh,” [Jesus] says, “and drink my blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children. (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3).

I’ve already presented my arguments on this topic.


AD 198
Authority of Rome
It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and Peter, likewise, was crucified, during the reign [of the Emperor Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. ...I can point out the trophies of the apostles. For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church’" (Gaius, Disputation with Proclus in Eusebius, Church History 2:25:5).

As I have said before, the presence of Peter in Rome is an indisputable historical fact, but his episcopate in Rome is not more than a myth.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
Heresy and authority of church
First council of Carthage seventy bishops, presided over by the Bishop of Carthage,Agrippinus, were present. According to Cyprian the question of the validity of baptismconferred by heretics came up for discussion and was decided in the negative. After this date more than twenty councils were held in Carthage, the most important of which were: (1) those under St. Cyprian relative to the lapsi, Novatianism, and the rebaptism ofheretics; and (2) the synods of 412, 416, and 418 which condemned the doctrines ofPelagius.

The First Council of Carthage (just like the Second) did not agree with the decision of the Bishop of Rome concerning the same topic. Whereas the pope rejected the rebaptism of regretful heretics, the bishop of the African Church decided to “rebaptize” the heretics.
This Council gives us historical evidence against the papal primacy in early Christianity.


You wrote:
200
Tertullian, Christian Apologist from Carthage
Authority of Rome
But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [the Baptist, by being beheaded]" (Tertullian, Demurrer Against the Heretics 36).
Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; against what standard the Galatians were measured for correction; what the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians read; what even the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the gospel and even sealed it with their blood. (Against Marcion 4, 5:)

Doubtless, the Roman church was important and preeminent. But there’s not any historical evidence for papal primacy in early Christianity, and these texts aren’t a proof of it.


You wrote
202
Prayer for those in Purgatory
[T]hat very night, this was shown to me in a vision: I [Perpetua] saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid color, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease. . . . For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other . . . and [I] knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then . . . I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me: I saw that the place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. . . . [And] he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment" (The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity 2:3–4).

The martyrdom’s date is 202 (or 203), that’s true.
I haven’t found information about this book, its author, editor and date of composition. I’m sorry, but I can’t accept as evidence something that I can’t check out.

You wrote:
203
Confession
Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness" (Tertullian, Repentance 10:1).

This quote is not a evidence of the modern confession of sins. Early Christians used to confess their sins before the church, not before the priest.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:

Intercession of Saints
In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]" (Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 7:12).

This text has been taken away from his context. Clement considered the “saints” as the living christians in earth, the christian themselves, not dead christian in heaven. There is ane of example of the use of “choir of the saints” in Clement (the same chapter where you took that quote):
“he (the true christian) continues free of sin, and becomes continent, and lives in spirit with those who are like him, among the choirs of the saints, though still detained on earth.”
As you can see, there’s nothing here about the intercession of saints.

You wrote:
Mary, Full of Grace
And again, lest I depart from my argumentation on the name of Adam: Why is Christ called Adam by the apostle [Paul], if as man he was not of that earthly origin? But even reason defends this conclusion, that God recovered his image and likeness by a procedure similar to that in which he had been robbed of it by the devil. It was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise through a virgin the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life. Thus what had been laid waste in ruin by this sex was by the same sex reestablished in salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. That which the one destroyed by believing, the other, by believing, set straight" (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ 17:4.

I don’t see how this could be a proof of any of the catholic dogmas about Mary. Personally I agree with almost everything that Tertullian has said here.


You wrote:
215
Confession, Authority
[The bishop conducting the ordination of the new bishop shall pray:] God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Pour forth now that power which comes from you, from your royal Spirit, which you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and which he bestowed upon his holy apostles . . . and grant this your servant, whom you have chosen for the episcopate, [the power] to feed your holy flock and to serve without blame as your high priest, ministering night and day to propitiate unceasingly before your face and to offer to you the gifts of your holy Church, and by the Spirit of the high priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins, in accord with your command" (Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition 3).
Infant Baptism
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" (Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 21:16).

The Apostolic Tradition has been falsely ascribed to Hippolytus, but recent investigations have determined that the real author of this writings remains unknown. Also the date of this book has been reconsidered. Now the fourth century is proclaimed as the most probable date.

Teresa Beem said...

Eric Richter said...
Nobody doubts that Peter and Paul were in Rome. But there’s no evidence of Peter roman episcopate in the first three hundred years of christian history. 

My reply:
I suggest you read the ante-Nicene Fathers. You will find references all over the place to identify Peter as a leader of Rome. 

Here are several from my earlier post:


AD 189
Irenaeus, Bishop of Smyrna:
Authority of Rome
...while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. (Against Heresies, 3, 1:1). 

...by pointing out here the succession of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church [of Rome], because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition. (ibid., 3, 3, 2). 

The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. ...In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. ...   (ibid., 3, 3, 3). 

..the greatest and oldest church, a church known to all men, which was founded and established at Rome by the most renowned apostles Peter and Paul . . . for this Church has the position of leadership and authority, and therefore every church, that is, the faithful everywhere must needs agree with the church at Rome for in her the apostolic tradition has ever been preserved by the faithful from all parts of the world. (Against Heresies, 3:3)

Since you seem interested in the study of Catholicism, I will suggest for further study: 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/authority-of-the-first-popes

Upon this Rock by Steve Ray, give a good account of the biblical and historical Catholic foundation of Peter being the “rock.”

There are three scholarly books that are unbeatable for Catholic Apologetics that you might find interesting: (All by Robert Sungenis) Not by Bread Alone. Not by Faith Alone. Not By Scripture Alone. 

Patrick Madrid’s, Pope Fiction has some very interesting rebuttals to Protestant myths too.

Teresa Beem said...


Eric:

Irenaeus cannot say that everyone must obey the roman church in faith matters, because he himself was in conflict against the pope sometimes. When the pope Victor wanted to impose the celebration of Easter in the next Sunday after Passover (meanwhile east church was celebration the Easter according the jew custom), Irenaeus denied that the bishop of Rome to can or to must impose his opinion over the other churches. 

My response: 

The Church Fathers fought about many subjects. But in the end, the almost always obeyed Rome. Eventually Rome would win out. This is the crux of all your objections. If Rome did not have God’s authority, she is a powerful and corrupt tyrant. If she does have God’s authority, she is then to be obeyed even if we personally disagree. That is the struggle you are seeing. We each have a struggle of obedience to God as people individually and in the history of the church. 

Eric asserts: 
Irenaeus, along with Heggesipus and Eusebius, did not believe that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, but Linus instead. This historical fact has been acknowledged even by catholic scholars. The catholic theologian and priest Peter C. Phan wrote:
"The Catholic Church considers Peter the first pope, but the first succession lists, prepared by Irenaeus (d. ca. 200), and the historian Hegesippus (d. ca. 180) and later attestedd to by Eusebius of Casarea (d. ca. 339), identified Linus, not Peter., as the first pope" (The Gift of the Church, p. 318)

My response: 
Whether Peter was considered the formal first pope or not, all early documents say that Peter did lead the church at Rome and there was the founding of the organized church. What they called him isn’t important to us. Pope is an honorary title.


Eric wrote:
The public confession consisted in confess the own sins before the whole church(“public”), not to tell them only before the priest.
This passage is a proof against the current confession of sins practiced by the modern catholics.


My response: 
It shows that the early church practiced confession. The Catholic practice developed from it. There is no counterpart with most Protestants they have merely jettisoned the whole biblical practice. Even Israel practiced public confessions. 

Again, this is all about whether you believe God gave His church the right to bind and loose. Catholics do. We took the practice of public and made it private.

Teresa Beem said...


Eric wrote: 

Church history proves that this “apostolic tradition” was speedily lost. In the course of time more and more churches stated to have been founded by the apostles and, therefore, be a sure fount of doctrine and tradition. But this alleged “apostolic tradition” was different in each church, proving that the true apostolic “tradition” did not survive many time. 

My response: 
Anticipating this problem Christ appointed a head of the Apostles, Peter, and gave him alone the keys to the kingdom. If in doubt look to the see of Peter. God always sets up an authoritative hierarchy to preserve His truth. If this isn’t true then we cannot trust any church not the scripture.



Eric wrote: 
The doctrine of transubstantiation was promulgated as a dogma in the middle age. 


My response: 
The idea that Christ was present in the Eucharist goes back to scripture and the very beginning. Zwingli was the first to make popular the idea that it was only symbolic--to the horror of both Calvin and Luther. That is why Luther said that Zwinglians were worse than all other heretics and worthy of death! The actual doctrine of “transubstantiation” originated with Augustine however, it was more and more developed. Again, transubstantiation is much closer to the early church beliefs than symbolism. 

Most Protestants do not fully understand the real presence. I would suggest reading The Hidden Manna and Brad Pitre’s, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. These are excellent reads about the biblical and historical roots of the real presence. Pitre’s book will make you a Catholic despite yourself!

I think you might also like The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina.


Teresa Beem said...



Most of your responses are based in not seeing the “complete” doctrine Catholics have in the first few centuries. The posts were to show the development of them since the first three centuries were rather about martyrdom than recording doctrines or development of doctrines. This would come later. What you are objecting to is the development of doctrines. All Protestant churches have done the same. 

The doctrine of the Trinity developed over time and no Christian would dispute it. The nature of Christ was debated until the fifth century and again today, very few Christians do not believe in the full humanity and full divinity of Christ. The Bible itself was a gradual development. God said clearly that His kingdom would start out as a mustard seed and grow. This is both by numbers and understanding. Christ promised to his Apostles and their successors that He would give them the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth. That is a type of development. 

In the end, which church looks most like the early church with its rites, liturgy, traditions and doctrines? Early Christians would have no idea what Protestants were doing or thinking. Most Protestant churches would seem utterly alien to them. 

They would also be surprised at Catholicism, however the basic seeds of doctrines would be correct. They would understand the sacrifice of the mass, the priests, the incense, the candles, the baptismal font, many of the prayers, the readings (at least if they went to a Latin mass!), the liturgy, the honor of Mary and the saints, the prayers for the dead. They would relate on all levels more to Catholics and Orthodox because we are her children. 

It all comes down to the question of who God gave His authority to.




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