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Originally posted by mardi gras skin

Irenaeus was correct. With Paul and Peter's influence, Rome was a rich depository of apostolic teaching. Add Irenaeus' own authority as the student of John through Polycarp and he was the perfect man to confront these heresies. He was right to flash those credentials when countering heresy. The heretics appealed to hidden knowledge (Gnosticism) or hidden Spirit (Montanism). Irenaeus countered by appealing to the clearest succession of apostolic teaching.

Brilliant.

Now, was Irenaeus saying that all churches must agree with Rome for all time, or that the teachings of the Church of Rome carried the most weight at THAT time and in response to those heresies? That's open for debate. That's open for debate. We do know that the great churches of Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria didn't adhere to the authority of Rome and did not agree with Rome on all issues.

Another example of Protestants practicing the tradition of the early church. :)

Good question. This was actually one of the things that drew me closer to Catholicism; that is the question of authority. In the protestant faith, while there is plenty of agreement on core belief, there is also a growing and varied amount of disagreement as well. Everyone thinks that they are right (as do we :)) but on some issues only one viewpoint can be correct. Therefore who is the true keeper of the Faith? When I was moved to become Catholic, the fact that some protestant faiths were "rolling over" on issues such a homosexuality and abortion (in an official capacity) and the Catholic Church was standing firm really drove the point home to me. Anyway, here is the path I took to accept that the leadership of Rome was correct, needed and part of Apostolic tradition:

In scripture, we have the account of Apostolic succession (Matthias). Therefore we know that precedent was set for such an act and allowed for successors to the other Apostles. Therefore whomever succeeds Peter in Rome also takes lead. (Primacy of Peter and his Chair being another issue I suppose.) And having a spiritual leader on earth makes sense based upon the modus operandi of the Lord to date. We had Abraham, Moses, Solomon, David, etc. Jesus also comforted us that the "gates of hell" would not prevail against His Church and He would be with us always. Through the involvement of the Holy Spirit, I believe he has fulfilled these statements by acting through the Chair of Saint Peter.

Yes the early Bishops had disagreements, but that in my mind would be expected as Christianity grew. It's only through strong and divinely inspired leadership that they all (for the most part) came together. Even now though the various Bishops don't always agree on certain issues, but on Faith and Morals they all submit to the Pope. For example, that is why you see married Priests in the Eastern Rites (those in communion with Rome). It's simply not part of their discipline and Rome does not feel the need to interfere with that. But you will not find such disagreements Faith and Moral issues.

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Originally posted by Stu

In scripture, we have the account of Apostolic succession (Matthias). Therefore we know that precedent was set for such an act and allowed for successors to the other Apostles. Therefore whomever succeeds Peter in Rome also takes lead. (Primacy of Peter and his Chair being another issue I suppose.) And having a spiritual leader on earth makes sense based upon the modus operandi of the Lord to date. We had Abraham, Moses, Solomon, David, etc. Jesus also comforted us that the "gates of hell" would not prevail against His Church and He would be with us always. Through the involvement of the Holy Spirit, I believe he has fulfilled these statements by acting through the Chair of Saint Peter.

First I heard of the the Matthias connection. Wouldn't this mean that each of the 12 apostles have a succession?

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Originally posted by mardi gras skin

First I heard of the the Matthias connection. Wouldn't this mean that each of the 12 apostles have a succession?

Yes and that is the point. Not only did the Apostles each have a successor, the precedent has been expanded to appoint more "Apostles" (I am using that term loosely.) in what we now call Bishops. (This for geographical reasons. i.e., big world). Bishops then ordain priests (presbyters from the Bible) and deacons (also from the Bible the first being Stephen) to help with their respective flock. In fact, many Bishops and accordingly priests can trace their ordination back to the earliest of Church fathers (a geneaology if you will) and I suppose to some of the Apostles themselves which I think is neat.
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Originally posted by mardi gras skin

You excommunicated each other, Stu! :laugh:

True (and deserving of a laugh. Kinda like Bugs and Daffy arguing over duck or rabbit season.), but only one can be right. I trust (have faith) that the Holy Spirit made the correct choice.

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In your comments reguarding churches rolling over on moral issues I would have to agree that this is a error on thier part and commend the Catholic church on it's stand.However [isn't there always a however:D ] I have to take issue with the primacy of any apostle.As I am sure you know there are churches that contend that they were never part of the Catholic church{of course the capitol C] and take thier authority directly from Jesus's ministry and his apostles.IMO the true test of a church is how close are it's teachings to Christ's,not Which apostle it descended from.While I do appreciate tradition it to me does not overule Christ's teachings.:2cents:

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Originally posted by Stu

Yes and that is the point. Not only did the Apostles each have a successor, the precedent has been expanded to appoint more "Apostles" (I am using that term loosely.) in what we now call Bishops. (This for geographical reasons. i.e., big world).

New information for me. Thanks Stu, good stuff.

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I have some questions for Stu and the other Catholics in this thread.

1. How does the RCC define "Gospel"? (Especially in light of 1 Cor. 1:17, and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.)

2. What evidence is there that Peter was ever in Rome? (Especially in light of Galatians 2:7 where Paul clearly says that Peter was the Apostle to the circumcision--the Jews. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, and we know he was in Rome.)

3. History has documented the acts of many of the Popes, and some of those acts were absolutley wicked and evil. How can the RCC maintain that a particular Pope was the successor to Peter in an "unbroken" line when he was a known adulterer or murderer, etc.?

4. When tradition and Scripture conflict which one is to be obeyed?

5. Why aren't the Popes (or priests) allowed to marry if Peter, the supposed first pope, was married? (Matt. 8:14)

I am not Roman Catholic, so I don't know the "official" answers to these questions. Perhaps someone that is a RC can answer them "officially." Thanks!

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Originally posted by skinsfan51 I have some questions for Stu and the other Catholics in this thread.

Thanks for the opportunity. These are similar to questions I once had (as well as many others).

1. How does the RCC define "Gospel"?

I assume you mean in 50 words or less or something like that. Here is that attempt but I know I will go over my word limit. I will start with a method I haved used in teaching youth but it helps to encapsulate the thought.

From John 3:16 (of course you are familiar).

God so loved the word that he gave his

Only begotten

Son that whomever believes in him shall not

Perish but have

Everlasting

Life.

Where Catholics and Protestants differ is on application and expectations and can sometimes be dicing hairs. Here is the Catholic explanation:

-The gift of salvation is freely given through God's grace bought and paid for through the blood of Christ. This is the redemption but not necessarily being saved. We have all been redeemed but we must take the next step.

-We must acknowledge that gift (redemption) and through faith in Christ (to include "Works" of Faith as you must walk the talk) we are then "saved". Being "saved" though is a work in progress or a race to won as Paul calls it and requires continued effort vice simple verbal acknowledgment. Orthodox Catholics will not call themselves "saved" which causes some consternation among the Evangelicals. Instead we have hope and faith that through our belief in Christ's sacrifice and devotion to His ways that we may be "saved" in the end. Do I have some reasonable assurances that I am on the right path? Of course but I will not definitively speak for God. In other words, like Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)

-Additionally, Catholics believe that no one enters Heaven except through Christ. However, Christ is not limited in how he accomplishes that. While I believe that the Gospel is the correct path and will assert that view to all non-believers, I would never say that God doesn't have something else up his sleeve. Therefore who goes to Heaven and who doesn't is not my call. But I am confident He will be fair. In fact, those who go to Hell will choose it on their own in my opinion.

2. What evidence is there that Peter was ever in Rome? (Especially in light of Galatians 2:7 where Paul clearly says that Peter was the Apostle to the circumcision--the Jews. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, and we know he was in Rome.) Yes that's true and things can change as they often do and did. Peter certainly did travel and did not remain in Jerusalem. The assertion of Peter's visit and subsequent martyrdom in Rome has both archaeological and historical evidence to support it. Having once been on the other side of the fence on this issue, I am quite aware that there are plenty of disputes in those arenas and definitive proof will probably never be found (as will be the case for many things in the Bible). This is yet again where I turn to the early Church fathers. There are plenty of such statements by those "closer to the problem" than you and I who accepted this assertion as fact. I will once again offer Saint Irenaeus' words:

"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.D. 189]).

"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).

3. History has documented the acts of many of the Popes, and some of those acts were absolutley wicked and evil. How can the RCC maintain that a particular Pope was the successor to Peter in an "unbroken" line when he was a known adulterer or murderer, etc.? This question has always puzzled me. I read it as "Because the Popes have all been sinners, why are they part of the unbroken line?" or words to that effect. Peter was also a documented sinner. I would say no chain is stronger than its weakest link.

4. When tradition and Scripture conflict which one is to be obeyed? I have yet to see that happen and would say since they are the fruit of the same vine then that would not be possible. I'm sure it is a matter of interpretation. In response, how do different protestant faith reconcile their different intrepretations in scripture? Who is right? That is why I feel Christ left us His Church here on earth to settle those disputes. Therefore is an apparent contradiction between tradition and scripture arises, I trust that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in making the right interpretation.

5. Why aren't the Popes (or priests) allowed to marry if Peter, the supposed first pope, was married? (Matt. 8:14)

This is a matter of Church discipline vice dogma. Its biblical basis is from Paul's encouragement that well remain celibate as did he. It is believed that celibacy allows a Priest to focus on serving God and his parish. The Pope could change this tomorrow if he wanted but I don't see that happening. Incidentally, the eastern rites of the Catholic faith do have married priests. It is only the western rites that don't have it. Building upon that, the term Roman Catholicism as applied to the entire Church is actually incorrect. The Roman Catholic rite is but a smaller segment of the Catholic Church.

I am not not implying any hate here, but I think this quote sums up Catholic beliefs very well:

"There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church."

- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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I am afraid you have still not adressed the issue of primacy of the apostles other than to state your St Irenaeus.I refer you again to Pauls writings in 1st Corinthians where says plainly not to put importance in which church or who baptised you but to follow Christ only.IMO the first Church as such was the followers of John the baptist,a church being a local group of baptised believers gathering to worship Christ.Yet even he never claimed primacy.

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Originally posted by twa

I am afraid you have still not adressed the issue of primacy of the apostles other than to state your St Irenaeus.I refer you again to Pauls writings in 1st Corinthians where says plainly not to put importance in which church or who baptised you but to follow Christ only.IMO the first Church as such was the followers of John the baptist,a church being a local group of baptised believers gathering to worship Christ.Yet even he never claimed primacy.

I don't necessarily think of Saint Irenaeus as "mine" (more like God's) and brought him up only because he was referred to as a "protestant" earlier. I find it useful when confronted with challenges regarding my faith to go back to these early Church fathers, the ones sometime taught by the Apostles themselves, to see how they view things. Very akin to looking at letters from the Founders when talking about the Constitution.

Paul's warnings speak to letting such things get in the way of the whole truth which is the Gospel. I don't quite see how a few Christians discussing their faith, as is happening here, has gotten into an argument of who is better and such and ultimately clouded the view of the Gospel. Has that happened in the past? Of course and I would submit some elements remaining in debate today are a result of trivial manners? (Not surprising since men are involved). But that is not what is happening here. This to me is strictly a Q & A period albeit mostly questions for me since I used to live on the other side of the fence.

Of course, I believe the Catholic faith is the complete faith. Does that mean I think others lesser than me? Well I would hardly be a Christian if I did harbor such thoughts. So in short, no. Do I think they don't profess a Chritian belief? For the most part no though I have seen some questionable "Christian" beliefs before. But in my journey from being a protestant to becoming a Catholic I have explored many of these issues and believe I have found the full truth. I would be neglectful if I didn't share (not force) these views with others in charitable and polite manner. Honestly what are we to do? I guess you could say lets all agree on the core belief? Okay, I return to what are they? And then the problems all start. That was the idea with the Nicene Creed and even that has caused debate.

On the issue of the "primacy" of Peter, I believe it is sound doctrine based upon both scripture and tradition. Doesn't mean he was better or more important rather he was burdened with being left in charge. And I absolute meant to use the term burdened. That was Christ's message to leaders of all types when he washed the feet of the Apostles. If you want to debate this issue, I leave the following to start the discussion taken from Mr. Dave Armstrong:

50 New Testament verses which show the 'primacy' of St. Peter....

* Matthew 16:18: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The "rock" (Greek, "petra") referred to here is St. Peter himself, not his faith or Jesus Christ. Christ appears here not as the foundation, but as the architect who "builds." The Church is built, not on confessions, but on confessors - living men (see 1 Pt 2:5). Today, the overwhelming consensus of the great majority of all biblical scholars and commentators is in favor of the traditional Catholic understanding. Here St. Peter is spoken of as the foundation-stone of the Church, making him head and superior of the family of God - that is, the seed of the doctrine of the papacy. Moreover, "Rock" embodies a metaphor applied to him by Christ in a sense analogous to the suffering and despised Messiah (see 1 Pt 2:4-8; Mt 21:42). Without a solid foundation a house falls. St. Peter is the foundation, but not founder of the Church; administrator, but not Lord of the Church. The Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11) gives us other shepherds as well (Eph 4:11).

* Matthew 16:19: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." The "power" of the keys has to do with ecclesiastical discipline and administrative authority with regard to the requirements of the faith, as in Isaiah 22:22 (see Is 9:6; Job 12:14; Rev 3:7). From this power flows the use of censures, excommunication, absolution, baptismal discipline, the imposition of penances and legislative powers. In the Old Testament, a steward, or prime minister, is a man who is "over a house" (Gen 41:40; Gen 43:19;44:4; 1 King 4:6;16:9;18:3; 2 King 10:5;15:5;18:18; Isa 22:15,

Isa 20-21).

* Matthew 16:19: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." "Binding" and "loosing" were technical rabbinical terms, which meant to "forbid" and "permit" with reference to the interpretation of the law and, secondarily, to "condemn," "place under the ban" or "acquit." Thus St. Peter and the popes are given the authority to determine the rules for doctrine and life by virtue of revelation and the Spirit's leading (see Jn 16:13), as well as to demand obedience from the Church. "Binding and loosing" represent the legislative and judicial powers of the papacy and the bishops (Mt 18:17-18; Jn 20:23). St. Peter, however, is the only apostle who receives these powers by name and in the singular, making him pre-eminent.

* Peter's name occurs first in all lists of apostles (see Mt 10:2; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13). Matthew even calls him "the first" (10:2). (Judas Iscariot is invariably mentioned last.)

* Peter is almost without exception named first whenever he appears with anyone else. In one example to the contrary, Galatians 2:9, where he is listed after James and before John, he is clearly preeminent in the entire context (see, for example, Gal 1:18-19; 2:7-8). Taken in context, Paul is in Jerusalem (2:1), the See of James. Protocol, even to this day is for the Bishop of the diocese to be mentioned first before any visitor is mentioned, even for the Pope. Saint Paul is merely following proper protocol in vs 2:9.

* Peter alone among the apostles receives a new name, "Rock," solemnly conferred (Jn 1:42;

Mt 16:18).

* Peter is asked three times by Christ to feed His lambs, is regarded by Jesus as the chief shepherd after himself (Jn 21:15-17), singularly by name, and over the universal Church, even though others have a similar but subordinate role (Acts 20:28; 1 Pt 5:2).

* Peter alone among the apostles is mentioned by name as having been prayed for by Jesus Christ in order that his "faith fail not" (Lk 22:32).

* Peter alone among the apostles is exhorted by Jesus to "strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:32).

* Peter first confesses Christ's divinity (Mt 16:16).

* Peter alone is told that he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation (Mt 16:17).

* Peter is regarded by the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) as the leader and spokesman of Christianity.

* Peter is regarded by the common people in the same way (Act 2:37-41;5:15).

* Jesus Christ uniquely associates himself and Peter in the miracle of the tribute money

(Mt 17:24-27).

* Christ teaches from Peter's boat, and the miraculous catch of fish follows (Lk 5:1-11) perhaps a metaphor for the pope as a "fisher of men" (Mt 4:19).

* Peter was the first apostle to set out for, and enter, the empty tomb (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:6).

* Peter is specified by an angel as the leader and representative of the apostles (Mk 16:7).

* Peter leads the apostles in fishing (Jn 21:2-3,11). The "bark" (boat) of Peter has been regarded by Catholics as a figure of the Church, with Peter at the helm.

* Peter alone casts himself into the sea to come to Jesus (Jn 21:7).

* Peter's words are the first recorded and most important in the Upper Room before Pentecost

(Acts 1:15-22).

* Peter takes the lead in calling for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:22).

* Peter is the first person to speak (and only one recorded) after Pentecost, so he was the first Christian to "preach the Gospel" in the Church era (Acts 2:14-36).

* Peter works the first miracle of the Church Age, healing a lame man (Acts 3:6-12).

* Peter utters the first anathema (Ananias and Sapphira) emphatically affirmed by God

(Acts 5:2-11).

* Peter's shadow works miracles (Acts 5:15).

* Peter is the first person after Christ to raise the dead (Acts 9:40).

* Cornelius is told by an angel to seek out Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1- 6).

* Peter is the first to receive the Gentiles, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48).

* Peter instructs the other apostles on the catholicity (universality) of the Church (Acts 11:5-17).

* Peter is the object of the first divine interposition on behalf of an individual in the Church Age

(an angel delivers him from prison - Acts 12:1-17).

* The whole Church (strongly implied) prays for Peter "without ceasing" when he is imprisoned (Acts 12:5).

* Peter presides over and opens the first council of Christianity, and lays down principles afterward accepted by it (Acts 15:7-11).

* Paul distinguishes the Lord's post-resurrection appearances to Peter from those to other apostles

(1 Cor 15:4-5).

* Peter is often spoken of as distinct among apostles (Mk 1:36; Lk 9:28,32; Acts 2:37; 5:29;

1 Cor 9:5).

* Peter is often spokesman for the other apostles, especially at climactic moments

(Mk 8:29; Mt 18:21; Lk 9:5; 12:41; Jn 6:67).

* Peter's name is always the first listed of the "inner circle" of the disciples

(Peter, James and John - Mt 17:1; 26:37,40; Mk 5:37; 14:37).

* Peter is often the central figure relating to Jesus in dramatic Gospel scenes such as walking on the water (Mt 14:28-32; Lk 5:1, Mk 10:28; Mt 17:24).

* Peter is the first to recognize and refute heresy, in Simon Magus (Acts 8:14-24).

* Peter's name is mentioned more often than all the other disciples put together: 191 times

(162 as Peter or Simon Peter, 23 as Simon and 6 as Cephas).

John is next in frequency with only 48 appearances, and Peter is present 50 percent of the time we find John in the Bible. Archbishop Fulton Sheen reckoned that all the other disciples combined were mentioned 130 times. If this is correct, Peter is named a remarkable 60 percent of the time any disciple is referred to.

* Peter's proclamation at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) contains a fully authoritative interpretation of Scripture, a doctrinal decision and a disciplinary decree concerning members of the "House of Israel" - an example of "binding and loosing."

* Peter was the first "charismatic," having judged authoritatively the first instance of the gift of tongues as genuine (Acts 2:14-21).

* Peter is the first to preach Christian repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38).

* Peter (presumably) takes the lead in the first recorded mass baptism (Acts 2:41).

* Peter commanded the first Gentile Christians to be baptized (Act 10:44-48).

* Peter was the first traveling missionary, and first exercised what would now be called "visitation of the churches" (Acts 9:32-38,43). Paul preached at Damascus immediately after his conversion (Acts 9:20), but had not traveled there for that purpose (God changed his plans). His missionary journeys begin in Acts 13:2.

* Paul went to Jerusalem specifically to see Peter for 15 days at the beginning of his ministry (Gal 1:18), and was commissioned by Peter, James and John (Gal 2:9) to preach to the Gentiles.

* Peter acts, by strong implication, as the chief bishop/shepherd of the Church (1 Pet 5:1), since he exhorts all the other bishops, or "elders."

* Peter interprets prophecy (2 Pet 1:16-21).

* Peter corrects those who misuse Paul's writings (2 Pt 3:15-16).

* Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome, as its bishop, and as the universal bishop (pope) of the early Church, according to most scholars. "Babylon" (1 Pet 5:13) is regarded as code for Rome.

This section of the 50 New Testament Verses was written by:

Dave Armstrong - a convert to Catholicism from Evangelicalism.

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Originally posted by Stu

I guess you could say lets all agree on the core belief? Okay, I return to what are they? And then the problems all start. That was the idea with the Nicene Creed and even that has caused debate.

I think the debate caused by the Nicene Creed had only to do with clearing up the meaning of certain parts of it. Baptism and "catholic" being the only two parts I can remember. "Catholic" was easily addressed and baptism handled well I thought.

Are there any Christians reading this thread that would say the "core beliefs" of Christianity are any more or any less than what is stated in the Nicene Creed?

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Originally posted by Stu

I don't necessarily think of Saint Irenaeus as "mine" (more like God's) and brought him up only because he was referred to as a "protestant" earlier.

I called him a protestant tounge in cheek but it was for a purpose. He is fundamentally a part of the tradition of all Christians, including protestants. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Greek Orthodox, and the Roman Catholic churches all affirmed the role of Irenaeus in defending and promoting the gospel. It is as ridiculous for a Protestants to neglect what he has to say as would be for a Roman Catholic think Irenaeus was a Roman Catholic.

In the apologetic brought up earlier, Irenaeus said that the scripture was all sufficient. When challenged by heretics denying the validity of the scripture, he appealed to a clear apostolic succession as the basis for determining the true faith. Point, set, match.

Now, I think the intent of Irenaeus' defense of the gospel has been misconstrued to say that all every bishop of Rome for all time holds the Apostolic tradition. I believe that was diffused to the entire Christian community with the acceptance of the cannon. Stu disagrees with me. And that's fine, we see this differently. The churches in the East, both Persian and Greek Orthodox, affirmed a view of Irenaeus' apologetic that is similar to mine and the church in the West would obviously agree with Stu.

Stu, would you say that affirmation of the Bishop of Rome as the head of the church on earth is an essential of the faith?

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Originally posted by mardi gras skin

I called him a protestant tounge in cheek but it was for a purpose. He is fundamentally a part of the tradition of all Christians, including protestants. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Greek Orthodox, and the Roman Catholic churches all affirmed the role of Irenaeus in defending and promoting the gospel. It is as ridiculous for a Protestants to neglect what he has to say as would be for a Roman Catholic think Irenaeus was a Roman Catholic.

In the apologetic brought up earlier, Irenaeus said that the scripture was all sufficient. When challenged by heretics denying the validity of the scripture, he appealed to a clear apostolic succession as the basis for determining the true faith. Point, set, match.

Now, I think the intent of Irenaeus' defense of the gospel has been misconstrued to say that all every bishop of Rome for all time holds the Apostolic tradition. I believe that was diffused to the entire Christian community with the acceptance of the cannon. Stu disagrees with me. And that's fine, we see this differently. The churches in the East affirmed a few of Irenaeus' apologetic that is similar to mine and the church in the West would obviously agree with Stu.

Stu, would you say that affirmation of the Bishop of Rome as the head of the church on earth is an essential of the faith?

I understood your point in brining Saint Irenaeus into the debate but since you said his name I couldn't resist bringing his name up. I would call him Catholic (or catholic for that matter) as he was a part of the early Church with the understanding that ALL of our roots are from the there.

On to your question. While I believe it is "essential" to YOUR faith, it isn't an essential of faith. In short, no. Mostly all Christians have the essentials of faith, I just believe Catholics have the complete repository of faith. In looking back at my time as a protestant, to me it was like being in the 100/200 level classes in college. I had the basic framework from which to build my knowledge. Catholicism has taken my understanding of faith to the Masters level. But to sum up the essentials of faith I go back to the Creed. But as we have seen, even amonst protestants there are differences in opinion on the Creed. So if the Apostolic authority has been diffused then who in the protestant world is correct?

Great discussion MG.:)

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Originally posted by Stu

So if the Apostolic authority has been diffused then who in the protestant world is correct?

Why would any one person be correct? Weren't those early Creeds the result of the agreement of leaders from all across the Church? Church leaders from across the Roman and Persian empires came together and agreed about the essentials of the faith. Collectively, they were correct. These are leaders who agreed with the apostolic tradition...they say so right in the creed. Even then, authority--correctness--was diffused.

There has always been, from the beginning of the church, beautiful diversity. And there has always been a core set of beliefs. Those beliefs were firmed up as the Church ran in to opposition from heretical teachings within the church and from attacks from outside of the church. I can not find a heresy that the Nicene Creed does not address.

Those essentials were decided by the church, not any one person. The cannon was affirmed by the church, not any one person. We still determine what is "correct" as a church.

When we call ourselves brothers, we are affirming a core set of beliefs. For any divergent branch of Christianity to accept another as a brother, we are, by definition, accepting a large body of tradition to be non-essential. That is true of Baptist and Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Lutheran, you name it. If we disagree on an ESSENTIAL point of the Christian faith, we are saying that the other person is not a follower of Christ. A heretic.

People shy away from that, but I think we need to call a spade a spade. We (not you and I, we're nothing special...I'm speaking of all Christians) either agree about what is essential to be a follower of Christ or we do not. This isn't something new. The only reason Marcion and Arius are known as heretics is that they affirmed something other than the essentials of the faith.

Let me tell you where I am. I can say, without any hesitancy, that I believe us to be in full fellowship. I believe we can take communion with each other. We have both affirmed what I understand to be the essentials of the faith. In conversations with my Catholic friend, it is clear that he feels we are not in full communion. There seem to be a greater list of essentials from the Catholic perspective.

Originally posted by Stu

Great discussion MG.

I agree. I'm sure everyone else is bored to tears by now. :laugh:

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Not quite everyone:) I have enjoyed reading everyones opinions. To get back to the primacy of one apostle over another and why I feel this is not correct i will try to show some examples .[bear with the typing skills or lack thereof] Paul corrected Peter Gal2:11,Peter calls himself a fellow elder 1Peter 5:1,What is the Rock on which the church was built 1 Cor3:11,What is the institution which Jesus ordained to be the foundation ofthe truth ! Tim3:15Is peter infailible,back to Gal 2:11,Was Peter of any more authority than others !Peter 5:11...What does God forbid Matt20:25,26. You used Matt 16:18 to say Jesus would build his church upon Peter,But if you read the verse preceeding that :16,Jesus takes Peters answer to his question and uses that to show that it is CHRIST The son of the Living God that is the foundation of the Church.....When I have more time I will be glad to add more if you wish :cheers:

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Originally posted by mardi gras skin

I think the debate caused by the Nicene Creed had only to do with clearing up the meaning of certain parts of it. Baptism and "catholic" being the only two parts I can remember. "Catholic" was easily addressed and baptism handled well I thought.

Are there any Christians reading this thread that would say the "core beliefs" of Christianity are any more or any less than what is stated in the Nicene Creed?

I have to admit that I haven't followed every post in this thread, so please forgive me if what I say has already been mentioned.

I read in one post the "scriptural" evidence for water baptism. It was the story of Naaman the leper in 2 Kings 5, and it was said that as Naaman was washed of his leprosy in water, so is the Christian washed of his sins in water. This is a very dangerous interpretation, in light of other scriptures that tell us that sins are not washed way by water baptism.

The story of Naaman is what is often referred to as a "type." But types break down, so it is very dangerous to build a doctrine upon them. Especially, the <i>main</i> scriptural "proof" of a major doctrine like baptism. Types are ok if you have a bunch of other clear verses to back up a doctrine, but to put it solely on the type does not constitute strong scriptural proof of anything.

First of all, the story of Naaman is in the Old Testament. That makes it even more difficult to establish a New Testament doctrine upon. Furthermore, who's to say that it represents baptismal regeneration, but not the <i>mode</i> of baptism? In other words, why is it "proof" that sins are washed away in water, but not "proof" that the person being baptized must be baptized in the same manner as Naaman dipped into the Jordan river? Naaman was told by Elisha to wash in Jordan seven times. So, if you are going to follow the type completely shouldn't true baptism be:

1. Washing and not sprinkling?

2. Washing seven times and not just once?

3. Traveling to the Jordan River to be baptized?

See the problems with this type? Who can take the act, but not the means? By what authority? It's a very, very weak "scriptural proof" for baptismal regeneration.

What does the New Testament say?

1Co 1:17 "<u>For Christ sent me <b>not</b> to baptize</u>, but to preach the gospel." -Paul the Apostle

From that verse we can conclude a couple of things. One, Paul did not consider baptism the most important ingredient for curing men's' souls. He was NOT sent to baptize people. Two, baptism is not the same as the Gospel, which does cure men's souls. (See verse below.)

"Repent ye, and believe the gospel." -Jesus Christ, Mark 1:15 (note: nothing about baptism from our Lord)

1 Peter 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." -Peter

Now this is a favorite verse for those who believe that water baptism can wash away sins, but the verse clearly says the opposite: "<b>not</b> the putting away of the filth of the flesh..." What is its purpose? It's an act of obedience to Christ, and thus brings a clear conscience to the believer. <u>Baptism is ONLY A PICTURE OF WHAT HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE IN A PERSON'S HEART.</u>

Here is an obvious question if water baptism DOES save. <b>Why did Christ have to die?</b> If my sins are washed away with simple water, why on earth would the Father allow His Son to suffer so much agony? Naaman didn't need any such Savior. He just dipped and was clean. So why do we if water will clean us?

How is a man <i>scripturally</i> saved? Paul lays it out very clearly in Romans chapter 10:9-10.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

No good works to earn it, no baptism to secure it, just <i>believing on what Jesus has done for us on the cross in paying our deserved penalty for sins</i>. That's it. Not even a submission to a church body or organization. Salvation is between the believer and God and dose not require in any the intervention of pope. priest, pastor, Bible teacher, and the like.

Furthermore, salvation is <i>instantaneous,</i> and not something that takes place over time. The thief on the cross didn't have a lifetime to do good works to be saved. He just believed. Jesus said in John 5:24: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, <b><u>hath</b></u> everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but <u><b>is</u></b> passed from death unto life."

If you believe with all your heart, you HAVE everlasting life (right now) and you ARE passed from death unto life (right now).

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he <u><b>is</u></b> a new creature: old things <b><u>are</u></b> passed away; behold, all things <b><u>are</u></b>become new."

See that? All present tense once a person believes. Not some future <i>hope</i>. You can KNOW you are saved NOW. Here is the clincher from John (1 John 5:13).

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY <U>KNOW</U> THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

I have eternal life NOW because I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. What a wonderful truth!! The same can be true for anyone reading this post. Just believe what He did for you and you will be washed clean of your sins for all eternity. He's done it for millions of others and He'll do it for you, too.

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Originally posted by skinsfan51 By what authority?

Great question and in that we find our differences. I can find protestants and of course Catholic/Orthodox doctrine, while not disagreeing with the core of your text, would find problems with the specifics. Once again, by what authority do you teach this? Scripture? Okay, then by what authority do you interpret it definitively. When your interpretation is different from the God- fearing gentleman down the street who has started a church who is correct? Each party is adamant in their views so much so that they in effect become their own "popes".

We can trade Bible verses all day to bolster our points (and I know you are aware I have plenty that bolster my point of view as well) but in the end it comes down to taking the Bible as a whole (free from a la carte verse jousting) and how that message is interpreted. Not only do I believe God foresaw this potential problem amongst His followers, I also believe He left a mechanism in place that was guided by the Holy Spirit to steward his faithful in the right direction; the Church. And with all my heart, I believe the early Church was and still is the Catholic church "warts and all". The same Church that codified our faith and fought off heresies with the Creed and continued with the compilation of the Bible.

It is the beliefs of this Church that coincide with the beliefs of the early Church fathers, the men who either learned from the Apostles or once removed. These men taught Christianity before the canon of scripture was brought together and therefore provide an excellent source to understand how scripture and tradition of that time were interpreted (Thus the use of Irenaeus.) As they carried the faith during that period, you can't get to Christianity today without going through them. I just can't believe that the Church fell into apostasy right after the Pentacost only to be brought back on track right after the Reformation. Much happened in between. Furthermore, it is from the writings of these gentlemen that we can also see that the beliefs of the early Church were the same beliefs of the Catholic church today (Baptism, Real Presence, Praying for the Dead, Confession, etc). Incidentally, many of these views Martin Luther kept which would make him somewhat of a "heretic" to many of today's protestants.

In the end, I am grateful that we agree on the basic message of the Gospel; Christ, the son of God, died for our sins. I just am not comfortable proclaiming that I or anyone else is "saved" as I don't speak for God.

"Are you saved?" asks the Fundamentalist. The Catholic replies: "As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)." Amen.

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Originally posted by Stu

We can trade Bible verses all day to bolster our points (and I know you are aware I have plenty that bolster my point of view as well) but in the end it comes down to taking the Bible as a whole (free from a la carte verse jousting) and how that message is interpreted.

But are we to believe that if there is no scriptural basis for a church doctrine, let's say baptismal regeneration or purgatory, that tradition is good enough? That can't be because tradition is not inspired; Scripture is. There are no verses in the Bible that indicate that baptism washes away sins (and I quoted several that prove that). But yet millions still believe it just because the "church" says so. The church is not higher than Scripture. It can't be. It's the foundation of all Christian truth. A building is only as strong as its foundation.

"Thy word is truth." -Jesus

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Originally posted by Stu

And with all my heart, I believe the early Church was and still is the Catholic church "warts and all". The same Church that codified our faith and fought off heresies with the Creed and continued with the compilation of the Bible.

Did you intent to use a capitol "C" as in Roman Catholic?

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Originally posted by skinsfan51 But are we to believe that if there is no scriptural basis for a church doctrine, let's say baptismal regeneration or purgatory, that tradition is good enough? That can't be because tradition is not inspired; Scripture is. There are no verses in the Bible that indicate that baptism washes away sins (and I quoted several that prove that). But yet millions still believe it just because the "church" says so. The church is not higher than Scripture. It can't be. It's the foundation of all Christian truth. A building is only as strong as its foundation.

"Thy word is truth." -Jesus

And that foundation, as scripture tells me, is the Church as built upon Peter.

With that belief and all others which I profess I believe there is a scriptural basis. We can trade verses back and forth all day to no avail as we simply disagree on interpretation. As I see it you (and many others) rely on your own interpretation while I rely on that of the early Church Fathers and their Church which I believe is the Catholic Church. (Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 Peter 1:20)

As scripture says: 15: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

Peace in knowing we share the belief in the risen Lord, our Saviour.

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Originally posted by mardi gras skin

Did you intent to use a capitol "C" as in Roman Catholic?

I did. But I believe we were all, for the most part, one group of believers at that time and part of the big "C" . I could use a similar justification in using a small "c" as well so I see your point. But I believe the early church was the Catholic Church.

To return the favor? By Roman Catholic do you mean the "Roman rite" of the Catholic Church? While the Roman rite is the largest rite, the Catholic Church has many rites within it and is more appropriately referred to as the Catholic Church. :)

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Originally posted by Stu

And that foundation, as scripture tells me, is the Church as built upon Peter.

Well...a very controversial and debatable interpretation of Matt. 16:18. Too bad Jesus didn't just come right out and say, "Hey, Peter, you're the man we are going to build the church on." It's very interesting that he would choose a man that was soon to deny Him and who he called Satan only a few verses later (v. 23: "But he turned, <u>and said unto Peter</u>, Get thee behind me, Satan.").

"The word translated "rock," is not the same word as Peter, but is of a similar meaning. Nothing can be more wrong than to suppose that Christ meant the person of Peter was the rock. Without doubt Christ himself is the Rock, the tried foundation of the church; and woe to him that attempts to lay any other!" -Matthew Henry

"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: <u>and that Rock was Christ</u>." -Paul, 1 Cor. 10:4

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Intersting discussion. I find the period immediately after the death of Jesus to be one of the most interesting religious topics around. That is, how did Christianity change from a sect of Judaisim to a freestanding gentile institution ?

No offense Stu, but I don't think it's quite as cut and dried as you would seem to believe. There was a great deal of spirited and well thought out debate on both sides of the Arian controversy. The Nicene creed was for the most part the end of all that however, I don't know that the "right" side won out. Much of the Nicene creed was decided based on politics and what was best for the Roman Empire...with the results etched in stone by the power and brutality of the empire.

Much of what is called "Christianity" was crafted and thought out by Paul not Jesus himself. Therefore, it is difficult to say what Jesus himself would say about the church Paul created.

There is an excellent, excellent book that deals with the Arian controversy by Richard E. Rubenstein called When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome. Whether you buy the arguments he makes or not it is a very very well written and documented book. I'd highly recommend it.

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