“There was … no individual, committee or council of leaders within the Christian movement that could pronounce on which beliefs and practices were acceptable and which were not. This was particularly true of Rome with its numerous small groups of believers. Different Christian teachers and organizers of house-churches offered a variety of interpretations of the faith and attracted particular followings, rather in the way that modern denominations provide choice for worshipers looking for practices that particularly appeal to them on emotional, intellectual, aesthetic or other grounds (15-16).
This is not an esoteric or a “liberal” interpretation of history. This is a mainstream historical position.
That is why, for the first time, the Vatican changed its story from “permanent” and “immediately given” to “we are conscious of development of the papacy” in 1996. They are trying to salvage the sinking “barque of Peter.” The papacy is built on a foundation of quicksand — of less than that — its foundation is nonexistent. It will go down; and thanks to the speed of the Internet, it may go down faster than anyone expects.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
“The Nonexistent Early Papacy”
Here is a brief overview that I've written in the past on historical literature on the earliest papacy: