Monday, August 13, 2012

The Roman Catholic reliance on anachronism

Andrew Preslar said:

You did not address Sobrino’s main criticism of Brown, Sullivan, Duffy, et al, which is their anachronistic definition of the term “bishop,” which confuses that which is accidental to the office with that which is essential, so to conclude that there were no bishops in the first century church.

Your use of the word "anachronism" would be funny if I didn't know how seriously you take all this. I certainly did address it, in the grammatical-historical way.

Aside from that, how in the world do you know what was "essential" to the office of bishop in the first century? I sincerely want to hear it from you. Because you can't know this except for two things: 1. a study of the history and linguistics, or 2. a ride in Bryan's magic phone booth. I'm convinced that for you, it's the latter.

And of course, you are here in all seriousness, reporting your fiction as if it were 100% historical fact.

This is a cautionary warning for any Reformed folks who may not be aware of this type of anachronistic usage among Andrew and his friends. Roman Catholics generally, but CTC folks particularly, are guilty of using contemporary concepts [for example, "that which is essential" to the bishop's office], and simply assuming that today's meaning of the word in Roman dogma was "in essence" the same as it was in the first century.

And here is the secret to their success: gullible people believe them.

It could have been that Peter was known to be away from Rome at the time that Paul wrote the Epistle. George Edmundson argues to that effect in The Church in Rome in the First Century, where he also argues that Peter was the first bishop of Rome.

Edmundson wrote in 1913; imagine going to a medical doctor who's most recent training was in 1913. He may get a few things right, but he's not going to be able to give you an x-ray or do a modern lab test. He has no antibiotics to prescribe.

It is remarkable that you would call Ignatius to witness while arguing against the Catholic understanding of the episcopacy.

I can do this because Ignatius doesn't mean the same thing by the word that you do; I am able to study this and know this and as a result, I do not have to be afraid of a single moment of history in the church. I do not need to look for reasons why contractictions may be "apparent" instead of "actual". I don't need to obediently submit my intellect to nonsensical, non-historical, non-Biblical dogmas like the Assumption of Mary.

I may embrace all of church history as my own.

Given Ignatius’ ecclesiology as expressed in these statements, he could not plausibly have written to a “church” in Rome that did not have episcopal leadership.

Given the unsettled leadership in Rome during those years, (evidence provided from Clement and Hermas, above, which you ignored), it doesn't surprise me at all that Ignatius didn't know who to write to over there.

Tim Troutman goes into more detail on the distinction between Orders in his article, “Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood.”

I go into more detail on the distinction between various orders in my article, Roman Bait-And-Switch on Orders.

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