Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Pauline Papacy In Ephesus

Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote a list of 51 proofs of a Pauline papacy and Ephesian primacy. The reasoning Catholics use to argue for a Petrine papacy and Roman primacy can also be used to argue for similarly ridiculous conclusions about Paul and Ephesus. I didn't include any material on 1 Timothy 3:15 in my list, but in light of my recent post discussing the relationship between that passage and Ephesus, my list could have included that passage. Other material could be added as well, like some of Ignatius' comments in his letter to the Ephesians.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Pillars Of Roman Catholicism

An easy way to remember some of the problems with Catholic ecclesiolgy is to think of how scripture uses the metaphor of a pillar in a couple of passages.

I recently discussed 1 Timothy 3:15, where the church (whatever concept of the church you think is in view there) is referred to as a pillar and support of the truth. As I mentioned, we normally think of a structure being supported by multiple pillars, not just one, which suggests that the church isn't the only pillar. F.J.A. Hort referred to the absurdity of "a building, standing in the air supported on a single column" (cited in William Mounce, Pastoral Epistles [Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000], 223).

Another relevant passage that uses the pillar metaphor is Galatians 2:9. It's doubtful that people would have been grouping Peter with other apostles as pillars of the church and naming him second, after James, if he was thought of as a Pope. Remember, Catholics are the ones who place so much emphasis on the alleged significance of Peter's being a foundation of the church in Matthew 16, which is similar to the pillar concept in Galatians 2:9. It's highly unlikely that the early Christians believed that Peter was such a unique foundation of the church, the infallible ruler of all Christians, including the other apostles, yet perceived him as described in Galatians 2:9.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

What To Make Of 1 Timothy 3:15 And Catholic Claims About It

Roman Catholics often cite 1 Timothy 3:15 in support of their view of their denomination. But:

- The context makes it more likely that Paul is referring to the local church than that he's referring to a worldwide denomination, like the Roman Catholic Church. He's writing to Timothy about the latter's work in Ephesus (1:3).

- What we read about the Ephesian church elsewhere, such as in Acts 20:17-38 and Revelation 2:1-7, suggests that there was no assurance that the Ephesian church would remain faithful, have an unbroken succession from the apostles in perpetuity, or any other such thing. In Acts 20, Paul expects wolves to come in among the Ephesian leadership and calls on them to remember the teaching they'd received from Jesus and Paul. He says nothing of an assurance that they'll maintain the faith or how they can look to the infallible church teachings of their day, in addition to remembering the teaching of the past. Even an apostolic church as prominent as Ephesus, one that had the principles of 1 Timothy 3:15 applied so directly to it, could also be addressed in the terms of Acts 20 and Revelation 2.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

The Justification Of The Reformation

Reformation Day is coming up later this month. Here's a collection of resources addressing many topics relevant to the Reformation. Some links have been added to it since last year (a third post on sola scriptura; a post on prooftexts for Catholic Mariology; see the comments section of the thread on the papacy for a couple of links that were added there; a post on ecclesiology; a fourth post on development of doctrine; a third post on the assumption of Mary).