12 January 2009

From Lectio Divina

Just a note in passing from yesterday's Ezekiel reading:

"And the people of the land take a man from among them and make him their watchman..." 33:2

"So you, son of man, I have made a watchman..." 33:7

No contradiction between the two. The Office of the Ministry may well arise from the choosing of the people and yet be God's doing and thus it is to fulfill His bidding - speaking to the people the warnings and the promises.

Cf. Didache 15:1-2

Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, 1 Timothy 3:4 and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. 2 Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers.

46 comments:

Andrew said...

Pr Weedon,

Are you assuming that anything different here is occurring than what occurred in Acts 6 with the appointment or election of the 'seven men of good reputation' by the local community? Notice that in Acts 6 the implicit assumption is that the community does not have the authority to ordain: 'These [the seven] they set before the apostles; and they praying, imposed hands upon them.' If the local community did have the authority to ordain, it seems superfluous to me to have the imposition of hands on these reputable men by the apostles.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

I was thinking more along the lines of how ordination is described in the Tractatus as the way the call of the people is comprobated.

Past Elder said...

You sure the Didache doesn't say "Have the bishop of Rome appoint for you bishops who will assign parish priests and deacons for yourselves"?

Andrew said...

Past Elder,

While I certainly find your wit quite charming (I am a lurker and infrequent commenter on the good Pr Weedon's blog), I think you misunderstand where I'm coming from. I do not find the scriptural and subapostolic testimony for the papacy compelling, but neither do I think the scriptural and subapostolic testimony favors a congregational or presbyterian church governance.

Pr Weedon,

I don't what the Tractatus is. Neither have I ever heard the word comprobate.

Also, now that the Christmas season is over, do you think you could get around to answering my email regarding the scriptural evidence for the trifold ministry?

William Weedon said...

Tractatus = shorthand for The Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope. The sentence I had in mind: "Formerly, the people elected pastors and bishops. Then came a bishop, either of that church or a neighboring one, who confirmed the one elected by the laying on of hands. Ordination was nothing else than such a ratification (comprobatio)." par. 70

Picking up on our former discussion, yes. But a favor to ask: can you pick up point by point and only post here one point at a time for us to discuss. As I remember it was rather a paper and discussing a full length job on the internet is a bit difficult. Just post here your first salient point. We'll discuss then move on to the next. Does that sound like a workable plan for you?

William Weedon said...

Terry,

LOL. Don't tell David!

Andrew said...

Okay, but I think the argument flows better if taken as a whole. For this reason I will post it all, but we can discuss it point by point if you'd prefer.

Andrew said...

In the past you've brought up four key passages in the New Testament that you believe support your case: Phil 1:1, Acts 20:17-28, Titus 1:5-7, and 1 Tim 4:14. You've noted in these passages several things: that there are several bishops in one city, that bishops and presbyters are used interchangeably, and presbyteral ordination.

Phil 1:1

I've been told by a certain philosopher friend of mine (I am no philosopher!) that it is important to distinguish words from concepts. Thus, in this passage one ought to ask whether the words used mean what one thinks they mean. It seems that in 'normative catholic order' (from here on shortened to NCO), the terminology really doesn't matter that much; what really matters is that the concepts are the same. The claim of NCO is not that the terminology must be the same, but that the trifold ministry is actually present. The issue in this passage -- and in all the others given -- is whether both the bifold local ministry and the trifold general ministry is apparent. Does 'bishop' in this passage mean what catholics (whether Anglican, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox) mean by the word today; that is, the highest, the first tier? It this is the case, then the concept of the catholic view is not being taught here, and you have struck a blow against NCO. Or is the concept actually present, just under different terminology?

Yes, it is, or at least there's no evidence to the contrary. This passage provides an example of a bifold local ministry, with an implicit argument for a third tier, i.e. that St Paul is the one writing the letter bearing apostolic authority over these two tiers and some sort of jurisdiction over a wide area. I'll grant that the second tier is not called 'presbyters', nor is the third tier called 'bishops'. But this passage alone cannot be used as an argument against NCO. Also implicit is the notion that bishops and deacons have a limited jurisdiction, a local one.

Acts 20:17-28, Titus 1:5-7

While presbyters and bishops are equated here, for this passage to actually teach anything other than NCO one must assume that 'presbyters' means the second tier, and 'bishops' means the first tier. This being said, there are actually good reasons to think that 'presbyter' means 'minister' in a kind of general way, you know, like 'church minister' or something like that. Notice that St John -- an apostle! -- is called 'the presbyter' in his third epistle, and St Peter -- also an apostle -- calls himself a 'fellow presbyter' in 1 Peter 5:1. Surely apostles do not occupy the same ministerial tier as Presbyters (as non-catholics understand them); the apostles bore a unique, divine authority that local churches submitted to. Thus if 'presbyter' can designate either one from the apostolate or one from the local ruling tier, then it has to be assumed to have a kind of general meaning.

Consider this one as well: while the word 'presbyter' shows up sometimes, and 'bishops and deacons' are used in conjunction as two words in a phrase, 'presbyters and deacons' is never a phrase used, nor is 'presbyters and bishops' a phrase used. The only time that 'presbyters' is used in distinction from something else is in Acts 15, where 'the apostles and presbyters' are mentioned. It seems to me that the best explanation for the usage of 'presbyters' in these passages is by saying that it can refer to any of the three tiers (or at least the top two tiers, with the evidence for it being used to designate deacons is limited). It makes sense that in Acts 15 'the apostles' would be distinguished from the 'the presbyters who aren't apostles', but given that elsewhere apostles can be called presbyters, we need to say that the use of the term expands across all tiers of the ministry -- or at least the top two tiers. Thus, it seems like 'presbyter' just means minister.

You can see now that it is entirely compatible with the catholic view to include 'bishops' (that is, our modern understanding of priests/presbyters) as a sub-category of 'presbyter' (that is, minister). This explains the applicability of 'presbyter' to apostles, and the fact that presbyter is not an order contrasted with 'deacon' or 'bishop'. No other view for the word 'presbyter' provides as much explanatory power given the data as a whole.
The non-catholic view can't explain why the apostles are called presbyters, otherwise it would either raise the presbytery to the apostolate or reduce the apostolate to the presbytery.

There exists post-apostolic data that favor this view, but we can save that for another time.

1 Timothy 4:14

Given the groundwork that has already been laid, why assume that 'presbyter' means a member of the second tier? Remember that presbyters are never contrasted with deacons, and can include apostles, so this seems like an unnecessary assumption. St Paul laid hands on St Timothy as well (2 Timothy 1:6-7), so whoever this council of presbyters is, it included Paul. Paul is member of the first tier, so the council of presbyters can't just be people of the 2nd tier; thus your argument is undercut. If we take the meaning proposed above of 'presbyter' as 'minister', we have another case of an unspecified tier of the ministry doing the ordination. This passage doesn't show that the second tier can ordain.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

Your first point is granted by all: that the terms as they CAME to be used are not what they were in the NT times.

The argument you put forth for a three-tiered ministry based on the Apostolate appears to me to ignore the NT conviction that the Apostolate was unique in all of history and in the strict sense has no succession. That was the whole point of rejecting Montanism and the idea of a revelation that would go beyond that vouchsafed the Apostles.

You say that surely the Apostles do not occupy the same office as Presbyters. I ask why are you sure of this? They DO occupy that office and THAT is what they have passed on. The office of presbyter/bishop is precisely what an Apostle CAN give away; the office of Apostle he cannot give away. There is in the strictest sense of the word no succession to that Office. You acknowledge that the third tier is "implicit." I'd simply say that the third tier, if you mean Apostle, continues to this day in their proper office as they continue to instruct and nurture the Church through their words that witness to the Word Enfleshed. The Apostle's tier is never occupied by anyone other than an Apostle!

You say that the non-Catholic (I'd call it the Anti-Jerome) view cannot explain how the Apostles could be distinguished from Presbyters. But I don't see that at all. There is no confusing the fact that a man is an Apostle as living witness to the Risen Christ and he is at the same time a presbyter by the commission of Christ to proclaim this Gospel and administer the holy sacraments of this Crucified and Risen Lord. The first, the Apostle retains and can never be handed over to anyone; the second, the Apostle is indeed commanded to hand on that others might come to share the office of presbyter/episcopus with him.

I'll stop there and ask for any thoughts?

Past Elder said...

Hey Andrew -- no worries mate, what I said wasn't aimed at you at all! I'm currently engaged over on the blog of the "David" Pastor referred to, and the comment was aimed at Pastor while I enjoy a moment behind my own lines, so to speak.

As to where you're coming from, I do get that, but Pastor is a hell of a lot better suited to address them, and address them he is, plus, he says hell and stuff like that a lot less in his posts than I do.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

One more thing to think about: where do you think Jerome learned the notion that "As the presbyters know that they subject to the one who has been placed over them by ecclesiastical custom, so the bishops should know that they are greater than presbyters more through custom than through the verity of an ordinance of the Lord"? Why was this teaching of his not vigorously opposed and rejected by his many enemies?

Andrew said...

Pr Weedon,

The argument you put forth for a three-tiered ministry based on the Apostolate appears to me to ignore the NT conviction that the Apostolate was unique in all of history and in the strict sense has no succession.

The problem with your view (i.e. that the apostolate has no succession) is that it is not the NT conviction at all. There are several scriptural examples that testify to the extension of the apostolate:

1) St James, 'the brother of the Lord', is called an apostle in Gal. 1:19; 'But other of the apostles I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord.' I suppose you could argue that this is actually James the son of Alphaeus, and thus one of the original twelve, but most biblical scholars (and all conservative ones, I think) believe James 'the brother of the Lord' and James the son of Alphaeus are two different men.

2) St Barnabas is called an apostle twice. First, by implication, in 1 Cor. 9:5-6: 'Have we not power to carry about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to do this?' And in Acts 14:13: 'Which, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul had heard, etc.' Barnabas was not one of the original twelve.

3) 1 Thess. is signed by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, and 1 Thess. 2:6,7 reads: 'Nor sought we glory of men, neither of you, nor of others. Whereas we might have been burdensome to you, as the apostles of Christ'. The implication is that more than one of the authors is an apostle, and the natural reading implies that all three -- Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy -- are indeed apostles.

Thus, in the NT, we have St Timothy, St Silvanus, St James, and St Barnabas called apostles. Also, in 2 Cor, 11:5 Paul compares himself to the 'great apostles'. But these other 'great apostles' probably weren't St James, St John, St Peter, etc., precisely because of the types of things they were saying. Thus this passage is another implicit argument for the extension of the apostolate. Even if you do not grant this last passage, the other examples are sufficient to show that there is an extension of the apostolate in the NT.

The question then is this: how did these men come to bear the apostolic office? As a Lutheran (I think), you would no doubt agree that ordination to an office is via the imposition of hands, so I do not need to argue my case there. With this in mind, notice what is said in Gal. 1:1 by St Paul: 'Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead'. The implication is that there are apostles who are made so 'by man', or, as some translations have it, 'through men', and there are apostles made so immediately via Christ Himself (e.g. St Paul on the Damascus Road). Given this, and given that I have already shown that St Timothy is called an apostle, it seems obvious that St Paul ordained St Timothy to the apostolate (see 2 Tim. 1:6). Also of importance is the fact that St Timothy was not a personal disciple of Christ at all.

Thus, Pr Weedon, you are incorrect when you say, There is in the strictest sense of the word no succession to that Office.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

That's why I said "in the strictest sense." There was obviously a wider use of the term for some (but apparently not all) of their associates. The Sacred Scriptures teach us that the Risen Christ specifically appeared to St. James (1 Cor. 15:7), and to a number of others, thus allowing the definition to still be used in its strictest sense: "a witness to his resurrection." (Acts 1:22). I think it's clear from the NT that that was absolutely requisite for being an apostle, though as Acts 1 shows, not all who had the experience were in fact called to BE apostles. But apart from the encounter with the Risen Christ, there simply was no apostle.

P.S. This will be my last post today and I'll likely not get back to the conversation before tomorrow afternoon, so be patient!

William Weedon said...

Oops. One more thought: "apostolic" then means a fundamental fidelity to that witness to the resurrection of Christ which IS the great good news of which all incumbents of the Holy Ministry are servants. Thus, I think, Irenaeus talks about the apostolic succession of presbyters.

Andrew said...

Pr Weedon,

But apart from the encounter with the Risen Christ, there simply was no apostle.

You are assuming what needs to be proven. Where do the scriptures say that an apostle must have had an encounter with the risen Christ? I will grant that that is indeed one way in which men were appointed to the office (I never said otherwise), but that is certainly not the only way. Otherwise how could St Timothy be called an apostle? St Barnabas? St Silvanus? If you say that they must have had a direct encounter with Christ not recorded in the scriptures, you are arguing from silence, which significantly undercuts your argument.

Also, your understanding of an apostle does not fit well with Gal. 1:1, as shown above. This passage implies that one can be an apostle through the agency of men. Otherwise it seems unnecessary and quite strange for Paul to even mention that.

Furthermore, most if not all of the original twelve apostles would have gone to their martyric deaths by the time St John had written the Apocalypse. Why then does he warn in 2:2 against those who lie about their apostleship? That seems unnecessary if there is no such thing as an extension of the apostolate.

If you argue that there are some called apostles who are in fact not apostles in the sense that the twelve are, what exactly are these men? What kind of authority do they bear? How is it different than the authority of the twelve?

William Weedon said...

ACK!!! I don't have time to write this out now. I've got other stuff that has to get done. But the temptation is too great. Now this IS my last comment for the evening, honest injun!

The Apostles are chosen either mediately or directly by Christ (Acts 1:2) and are those “to whom He presented Himself alive” (Acts 1:3).

We see a mediate choosing (Acts 1:24-26) of an Apostle in the choosing of St. Matthias, but St. Peter was clear that it had to be a man who could “become with us a witness to His resurrection.” (Acts 1:22).

St. Paul in Galatians 1 is clear that his apostleship is NOT via mediate but immediate call. Our Blessed Lord Himself names him an apostle and appoints him in a special revelation. That is, he is not made an Apostle like Matthias who was mediately chosen.

When St. Paul is discussing what He proclaimed as delivered to him from the Lord, he stresses the appearance of the Risen Christ to Peter, to James, to the 12, and to *others* [500 of them!] and lastly to himself, as one unworthy to be called an Apostle. (1 Cor. 15:3-11)

Additionally, the Apostle has specific “signs” that mark his ministry: “signs, wonders, mighty works” which show that he is a “true Apostle.” (2 Cor. 12:12)

Hence from the NT we have apostles who are witnesses to the Risen Christ and who can do the miracles that mark them as true and not false.

How does your bishop, Andrew, whom you believe to be on the same level as the Lord’s Apostles fare when we look for these qualifications in him?

Yeah, I didn't think so. I say that not trying to be combative, but to show that the NT Apostle is simply NOT the Bishop of your current jurisdiction today, though I would gladly and willingly confess that the Office of the Ministry which he holds (together with his brother bishops and presbyters) is wholly from the Apostles.

Past Elder said...

Well, since Pastor is asleep but I'm up hosting Rant All Night, here's a few things I suggest for the conversation.

One can open an unintended can of worms on the whole Apostle thing.

Jesus himself is called an apostle in Scripture.

It has been argued that Paul was not, strictly speaking, an Apostle, and was largely rejected by those who were and who had known Jesus personally, resulting in a "Fine, you're an Apostle but somewhere else, not here", in turn resulting in an authentic church and faith which died out in Palestine, and a separate faith fashioned by Paul which caught on with the Gentiles and is now called Christianity but is really Paulininity.

This is not the call of liberal Christians only; many Jews will say Jesus they have no problem with, it's Paul, who did not know Jesus but in Greek mystery cult fashion as a Hellenised Jew claimed a private revelation.

We ourselves use "apostle" in different senses. We speak of someone's "apostolate", and in no sense mean which of the Apostles they are replacing. We speak of, for example, St Boniface as the Apostle to the Germans, but in no way does that esteem him an Apostle as in the Twelve. The Arians spoke similarly, calling Ulfilas The Apostle to the Goths.

The Eastern Orthodox go one better with isapostolos, Equal To the Apostles, conferring that title on, guess who, their boy Constantine (who called an Arian bishop to baptise him btw) and a good many other Eastern Roman Emperors, whereas the church of the Western Empire doesn't even call him a saint, let alone an Equal to the Apostles.

Even at less than Roman Emperors, those who believe in "apostolic succession" do not believe the same things about what it is, how it works, or who has it. While the Roman Church recognises the validity of the Eastern Churches on the basis of valid ordinations to the episcopacy, the Eastern Church does not uniformly so recognise the West -- Russian Orthodox saying yes, others no, others yet, maybe most, saying We can't say for sure, and in no case hinging entirely on the Roman concept of valid ordinations but on a consensus of faith. In fact, it was the addition of filioque to the creed by the Pope that is seen as obliterting any apostolic succession by altering the apostolic faith which lead to the further division of the Western Reformation, a distincly Western response to a distinctly Western problem.

And speaking of consensus, all of the churches boasting an apostolic succession to the Apostles guaranteeing the right stuff do not agree on the right stuff -- not just filioque, but purgatory, original sin, the immaculate conception of mary, the papacy, when to confirm/chrismate, what's in the Bible, the list goes on!

Not to mention episcopal seats being bought and sold for centuries like a barrel of oil.

Oy. And if you don't like that, you can have apostolic succession by direct restoration through Joseph Smith and be a Mormon. Or, if you think the Mormons got it wrong but not Joseph Smith, the Community of Christ.

Nor has the Catholic Church ever said that the bishop/priest/deacon thing is explicit in the NT as we know it historically. Rather, it is the legitimacy of the church to define that explicitness that is claimed. Which may also be understood as apostolic succession verified by, well, apostolic succession.

Finally, if you think your bishop is on the same level as the Apostles, after you ask him to produce miraculous confirmations as attended the Apostles, ask him to call out Benedict as Paul called out Peter and see what happens!

Now back to our regular daytime programming.

Andrew said...

Pr Weedon,

I'm afraid that insisting that the apostolic office is utterly unique and therefore not extended won't cut it. The scriptural text seems to say otherwise. For your case to stand you need to explain what kind of authority and ministry those called apostles who were not of the twelve had exactly, especially their authority/ministry in relation to the twelve.

But right off the bat, your understanding of apostle doesn't sit well with St Barnabas. Both in Acts and in 2 Cor. his is listed alongside St Paul, and nowhere does the text imply that St Barnabas holds less authority, or bears a different office, than St Paul. St Paul seems to equate his own apostolic 'rights', if you will, with the 'rights' of St Barnabas.

A similar case could be made for the passage mentioned above in 1 Thess. Nowhere in the passage does St Paul distinguish himself from either St Silvanus or St Timothy; the letter seems to imply that all three bear the same apostolic office, in that they are all called 'apostles of Christ'.

Also, arguing that the apostolic office is utterly unique because of the miraculous works of the twelve falls short because many of the apostles/bishops who succeeded them also worked miracles. Countless examples could be given from history. For a modern example of one such wonderworking bishop, look up St John of Shanghai and San Fransisco.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

You've not explained why Peter's criterion is set aside. I cannot believe that I am having an Orthodox Christian argue with me that the witness to the Risen Christ is not integral to the office of Apostle! As to Barnabas, does not the Kontakion of Barnabas confess "you were the first of the Seventy Disciples"? Do you deny then that he was among the 70 and so among the 120 and may well have been in the 500? Does not the Kontakion of Silas confess the same for him?

Further, when Peter speaks of replacing Judas he lists TWO things: this ministry AND apostleship. I think that's not hendiadys but two distinct things that meet in the Apostles - they are both the first ministers but they are also Apostles precisely because they are witnesses to the Resurrection.

MG said...

Pr Weedon—

Granting that Timothy obviously isn’t an Apostle in the strict sense that you are talking about, what’s the significance of Timothy’s ability to make demands as an Apostle of Christ? What is the difference between Timothy and a monarchical bishop?

Even granting that tradition teaches that Barnabas and Silvanus were members of the 70, why should someone who believes in Sola Scriptura accept this? I understand that you consider tradition to be somewhat authoritative; but on what basis do you accept, say, tradition about Barnabas and Silvanus, and not, say Ignatius’ “without bishops and presbyters and deacons there is no Church”? (which he obviously meant in a different sense than the sense of that phrase that you might be able to accept)

The question then arises: if Protestants don’t have any overriding reason to think that Silvanus and Barnabas saw Jesus, why not think they were made Apostles through the imposition of hands? Why is their direct commission by Christ not spoken of in the NT? And if you say “they were in the 500, and Christ directly commissioned them there”, I would ask: do you think there were 500+ Apostles? I suspect you don’t, but I would like to hear your response.

Also, what do you think Jerome means by “ecclesiastical custom” in your quote?

I noticed that Piepkorn’s arguments for the identification of presbyters and bishops seem to be repeats of a lot of Lightfoot’s Essay on the Christian Ministry. Have you read Charles Gore’s responses in The Church and the Ministry to the patristic arguments of Lightfoot?

William Weedon said...

MG,

What "demands" did St. Timothy make that you are referring to that would not hold for the "demands" that any incumbent of the office of the ministry could make?

You obviously do NOT understand the way that Lutherans approach the Tradition and employ Sola Scriptura - something taught from within the Tradition! We accept in the Tradition, as witnessed throughout our Symbols, that in the Tradition which is taught in Scriptures or which harmonizes with them (as does the apostleship of Barnabas and Silas being of those who fit the definition St. Peter employs for Apostle) and reject as alien to true Tradition only that which CANNOT be made to harmonize with the Scriptures and thus contradicts them. Fr. Fenton described this "the catholic principle" of Lutheranism, and I quite agreed with him.

I said earlier that Apostles were either mediate or immediate in appointment - either by our Lord directly or through the Church (as St. Matthias), but someone who had the qualifications to be an apostle did not automatically make one an apostle.

St. Jerome's meaning can be understood by asking what he opposes to ecclesiastical custom and that is divine mandate.

I've not yet had the chance to read the books you refer to; but I've seen NOTHING in what "evidence" has been adduced thus far to in any way demonstrate that Dr. Piepkorn's points do not hold. I know that it is true that one always is tempted to "see what one wants to see" and I acknowledge that this holds for me as for anyone else. Do you believe that it holds for you too?

Oh, and on St. Ignatius, the very point that Andrew made up above needs to be considered. It is quite a leap to assert that what St. Ignatius means by "bishop" and "presbyter" equate to what these offices have become today in either Rome or in the East. St. Ignatius' bishop was the celebrant of the local Eucharist.

Andrew said...

Pr Weedon,

We accept... that in the Tradition which is taught in Scriptures or which harmonizes with them

Interesting. So if the Tradition bears witness to the universality of the trifold ministry and episcopal succession you would accept it? Is that your position?

And you think, due to Piepkorn's scholarship -- which is just a reiteration of Lightfoot's -- that the Tradition does not bear witness to the trifold ministry and episcopal succession?

Am I reading you right?

Andrew said...

And just out of curiosity, what do you do with practices such as paedobaptism, which was not the universal practice of the early church? No one -- and I have read several Lutherans on this topic -- would argue that the practice is explicitly taught in the NT; rather, its scriptural arguments are implicit.

How are you justified then in believing in paedobaptism, given your view of the relationship between scripture and tradition?

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

Tradition, of course, teaches the Three-fold office, and I gladly accept it - it is a wonderful arrangement for the Church's ministry and I wish with all my heart that Lutherans had not abandoned it in most places in the 16th century, but such were the circumstances. But what cannot be asserted is that there is a dominical mandate for the distinction between presbyters and bishops, for this WOULD contradict the Scripture.

Regarding the Baptism of children, you are perhaps not familiar with Dr. Luther's own words regarding this?

(vol. 40: Church and Ministry II, p. 254)

“I did not invent it [infant baptism]. It came to me by tradition and I was persuaded by no word of Scripture that it was wrong.”

“Baptism did not originate with us, but with the apostles and we should not discard or alter what cannot be discarded or altered on clear scriptural authority.”

“Were child baptism now wrong God would certainly not have permitted it to continue so long, nor let it become so universally and thoroughly established in all of Christendom, but it would sometime have gone down in disgrace….. He has not so upheld the papcy, which also in an innovation and has never been accepted by all Christians of the world as has child Baptism, the Bible, faith, or the Lord’s Prayer…”

“You say, this does not prove that child baptism is certain. For there is no passage in Scripture for it. My answer: that is true. From Scripture we cannot clearly conclude that you should establish child baptism as a practice among the first Christians after the apostles. But you can well conclude that in our day no one may reject or neglect the practice of child baptism, which has so long a tradition, since God actually not only has permitted it, but from the beginning so ordered, that it has not yet disappeared. For where we see the work of God we should yield and believe in the same way as when we hear his Word, unless the plain Scripture tell us otherwise.”

Applying this to the question of the ministry, we can recognize that the Three-fold Office per se is in no way contrary to the Scriptures and could well have been retained. What could not be retained was the insistence that what made for "good order" was of dominical, divine weight. Thus, if I had my druthers, I'd gladly live under the polity of the Lutheran Church in Latvia, where the three-fold order is in full use, but which remains in fellowship with the LCMS because it believes that what is bene esse cannot be made esse when the Scriptures make no such demand.

MG said...

Pr Weedon--

You wrote:

"What "demands" did St. Timothy make that you are referring to that would not hold for the "demands" that any incumbent of the office of the ministry could make?"

The demands Timothy could have made (notice the hypothetical) that are different from those of other ministers are whatever demands are proper to "Apostles of Christ" (whatever is meant by that here). Notice that "office" in a more generic sense is not appealed to in making the demands, and that these are the same kinds of demands that Paul could make in virtue of his Apostleship.

Again, I'm curious, how would you describe the difference between Timothy and a Monarchical Bishop? (sorry if that sounded like taunting—its not intended as such)

you wrote:

"You obviously do NOT understand the way that Lutherans approach the Tradition and employ Sola Scriptura - something taught from within the Tradition! We accept in the Tradition, as witnessed throughout our Symbols, that in the Tradition which is taught in Scriptures or which harmonizes with them (as does the apostleship of Barnabas and Silas being of those who fit the definition St. Peter employs for Apostle) and reject as alien to true Tradition only that which CANNOT be made to harmonize with the Scriptures and thus contradicts them. Fr. Fenton described this "the catholic principle" of Lutheranism, and I quite agreed with him."

Are you making the claim that Sola Scriptura is taught within the Tradition? If so, I would be interested in where you see patristic teaching that an individual's private judgment in religious matters can circumvent the authority of Church tradition in matters of biblical interpretation.

If I have misconstrued the Lutheran employment of the Catholic Principle, then I apologize for my ignorance. What I'm still curious about, given what you've said, is whether you think that the Ignatian (assuming he had the same view as Rome and the East nowadays) view of the ministry is compatible with Scripture—at least conceptually, if not terminologically. Do you think it is consistent with Scripture to say that the three-fold office is of, as you put it, “dominical, divine weight”?

You wrote:

“I said earlier that Apostles were either mediate or immediate in appointment - either by our Lord directly or through the Church (as St. Matthias), but someone who had the qualifications to be an apostle did not automatically make one an apostle.”

Okay, that makes sense. Thanks for reiterating.

You wrote:

“St. Jerome's meaning can be understood by asking what he opposes to ecclesiastical custom and that is divine mandate.”

Do you think that Jerome could have considered some ecclesiastical customs to be universally dogmatically binding and irrevocable, depending on who made them?

You wrote:

“I've not yet had the chance to read the books you refer to; but I've seen NOTHING in what "evidence" has been adduced thus far to in any way demonstrate that Dr. Piepkorn's points do not hold. I know that it is true that one always is tempted to "see what one wants to see" and I acknowledge that this holds for me as for anyone else. Do you believe that it holds for you too?”

I understand that what you've seen so far has not impressed you. I will try to be more forward in presenting the case made by Cirlot and Gore, including giving their treatment of the Fathers appealed to by Lightfoot and Piepkorn and others.

I understand from experience my extraordinary capacity for self-deception. It has led me to become more and more cautious in holding my beliefs and in trying to persuade others of them. I suspect that you are a much more intellectually-honest and fair-minded person than I am. If our discussion leads me to believe that my case for the Orthodox view of Succession and the Ministry is unsupported or invalid in the form of argument, I will try my hardest to accept the consequences of this realization; and I would ask your help in holding me to this. And if you come to conclude that the Orthodox view of Succession and the Ministry is correct, it is my hope that you would do whatever is good and right in that circumstance.

It seems helpful every once in awhile to reflect on the possibility of error and to examine my motives, and I think I will make a renewed effort to do this as a result of your question.

You wrote:

“Oh, and on St. Ignatius, the very point that Andrew made up above needs to be considered. It is quite a leap to assert that what St. Ignatius means by "bishop" and "presbyter" equate to what these offices have become today in either Rome or in the East. St. Ignatius' bishop was the celebrant of the local Eucharist.”

I'm aware of the ways that non-Roman/Orthodox/Anglo-Catholic scholars (Piepkorn, Lightfoot, Chadwick, and others) treat Ignatius' view of the ministry. I happen to disagree with their case based on comparing it with my reading of Gore, Zizoulas, and Cirlot. In response to your points above, I would offer the following replies:

(1) Surely an Orthodox Christian would accept that the Bishop is a celebrant of the local Eucharist. Were you trying to say that this is *all* that Ignatius takes the Bishop to be? If so, I would disagree (and I can try to argue otherwise).

(2) Is jurisdiction a matter of the undelegated authority had by a minister qua office, or the delegated authority had by a minister qua agreement among peers? I would think it belongs to the latter category (even if office includes certain restrictions on what can be delegated). If so, the fact that a bishop *can* serve merely at one Church does not imply that he could not oversee several.

(3) Might St. James be an example of a narrowing of the jurisdiction of an Apostle to the single local Church in Jerusalem? And surely this didn't imply he couldn't have had a different and wider jurisdiction.

(4) If Timothy is indeed a monarchical bishop, then shouldn't we say that he in some sense presided over both Ephesus and Thessalonica? This would set a precedent for the possibility of a bishop having a wider jurisdiction than just a single Eucharistic gathering.

William Weedon said...

GM,

You wrote:

The demands Timothy could have made (notice the hypothetical) that are different from those of other ministers are whatever demands are proper to "Apostles of Christ" (whatever is meant by that here). Notice that "office" in a more generic sense is not appealed to in making the demands, and that these are the same kinds of demands that Paul could make in virtue of his Apostleship.

Me:

Please refer to Hebrews 13:17. The writer appeals for obedience to their leaders, who are "keeping watch over your souls."

You write:

Again, I'm curious, how would you describe the difference between Timothy and a Monarchical Bishop? (sorry if that sounded like taunting—its not intended as such)

I reply:

I think St. Timothy as an associate of the apostles continued to travel to superintend the Churches and thus, in contrast to the bishop as described by Ignatius would not be the ordinary head of a local Eucharistic assembly.

You write:

Are you making the claim that Sola Scriptura is taught within the Tradition? If so, I would be interested in where you see patristic teaching that an individual's private judgment in religious matters can circumvent the authority of Church tradition in matters of biblical interpretation.

I reply:

The meaning of Sola Scriptura as Lutherans use the term is that only the Word of God can establish dogmas in the Church of God. Nevertheless, if you are not familiar with the way in which the Fathers speak of the Scriptures, I'd invite you to consider the following, especially the quote from St. Cyril (addressed to Catechumens!!!):


“Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.” St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church, p. 118, vol. 96 TFOTC)

"Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words." St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Holy Trinity, NPNF, p. 327).

"We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings." St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection NPNF II, V:439)

“What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.” Basil the Great (The Morals, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC).

“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, IV:17, in NPNF, Volume VII, p. 23.)

"It is impossible either to say or fully to understand anything about God beyond what has been divinely proclaimed to us, whether told or revealed, by the sacred declarations of the Old and New Testaments." St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith, Book I, Chapter 2

"Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): "Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning."--St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Part 1, Question 1, Article 8

You write:

Do you think that Jerome could have considered some ecclesiastical customs to be universally dogmatically binding and irrevocable, depending on who made them?

I respond:

Yes.

You write:


(1) Surely an Orthodox Christian would accept that the Bishop is a celebrant of the local Eucharist. Were you trying to say that this is *all* that Ignatius takes the Bishop to be? If so, I would disagree (and I can try to argue otherwise).

(2) Is jurisdiction a matter of the undelegated authority had by a minister qua office, or the delegated authority had by a minister qua agreement among peers? I would think it belongs to the latter category (even if office includes certain restrictions on what can be delegated). If so, the fact that a bishop *can* serve merely at one Church does not imply that he could not oversee several.

(3) Might St. James be an example of a narrowing of the jurisdiction of an Apostle to the single local Church in Jerusalem? And surely this didn't imply he couldn't have had a different and wider jurisdiction.

(4) If Timothy is indeed a monarchical bishop, then shouldn't we say that he in some sense presided over both Ephesus and Thessalonica? This would set a precedent for the possibility of a bishop having a wider jurisdiction than just a single Eucharistic gathering.

I respond:

(1) No, not all that a bishop is to do and be, nevertheless you do NOT have actual bishops as heads of local eucharistic assemblies in Orthodoxy; you have a symbol (antimension) of what used to be.

(2) Jurisdiction over other bishops/presbyters is a matter of human arrangement in the Church; that's Jerome's point. That does not make such a human arrangement a bad idea; in fact Lutherans for quite a well maintained a form of supervision and we've gotten into all kinds of messes in my own Synod by the effective loss of such supervision.

(3) Possibly.

(4) Possibly. But theology is not built upon possibilities but upon the certain Words of God in the Sacred Scriptures.

Pax Christi!

Andrew said...

Pr Weedon,

Adding to MG's comment, what is the difference between a dominical mandate and an apostolic mandate? Is an apostolic mandate less authoritative than a dominical mandate?

The reason I ask is because if you strictly hold to this 'dominical mandate' principle you circumvent apostolic authority. If you insist on a 'dominical mandate' for the Church's ministry, you deny any perpetual ministry in the Church; for, as you agree, the apostolate writ large (which obviously is of dominical mandate) is not extended. The continuation of any office of the ministry is not of dominical mandate; rather, it is of apostolic mandate.

Thus it seems like setting up an opposition between dominical mandates and apostolic mandates is problematic.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

We recognize the Apostle's mandates AS dominical - from the Lord. But this is something which belongs to Apostles alone. St. Paul can proscribe women from holding the Office of the Ministry and do so with divine authority to which the Church is forever bound. But successors to the Apostles in Office cannot do the same.

Andrew said...

I see. So 'dominical mandate' was shorthand for 'in the scriptures'.

William Weedon said...

Andrew,

Not entirely. Dominical means, obviously, from the Lord. We recognize things as from the Lord both from the recording of His own words by the Evangelists and by the recording of His Apostles' words in the Epistles. But occasionally an Apostle will make it plain that what he is handing on at the given moment is not dominical - thus St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7.

MG said...

Pr Weedon--

I have made a post (maybe more like a paper...) on my blog about Jerome's view of the tri-fold ministry and succession. I would appreciate if you took a look, eventually. Don't worry about time, I know the post is disproportionately long. Even if you aren't interested in responding on my blog, I would appreciate if we could discuss the contents of the post here on your blog, at least.

http://wellofquestions.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/jerome-on-the-tri-fold-ministry/

Fraser Pearce said...

This discussion should be on the main page!

Andrew said...

For some reason the link to Michael's post on St Jerome and the trifold ministry isn't working.

It can be found here:

http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2009/01/jerome-on-tri-fold-ministry-of-bishops.html

William Weedon said...

Okay, admonished by Andrew to lay aside other blogging and read the paper, I have done so. I will say, having read from start to finish, no, I'm still not convinced; and I am not convinced we don't have some special pleading going on. Questions to ponder:

Why would Jerome ADVOCATE presbyteral ordination when he saw its origin - though not divine - as a remedy to schism? I would not expect him to!

How does one explain the role of Ancyra 13 (aside from saying it can't mean what it says!)?

How does one explain a number of popes granting dispensation to Abbots in presbyteral orders to ordain?

How does one explain the ordinations performed under Sts. Willehad and Luidiger prior to their elevation to the episcopal honor (during the time of the undivided church)?

How does one explain how medieval canonists could take the position that the presbyter was competent to ordain if the pope so empowered him?

How does one explain Rome's statement in canon 951 of the 1917 Code of Canon law that the bishop is the ORDINARY minister of ordination?

St. Jerome's words are set in a context of the Church at times using presbyters to ordain, but not do so regularly. He by no means wished to overturn the traditional, ecclesiastical polity, but he DID wish to remind bishops that what is theirs that is not in common with presbyters is by ecclesiastic custom.

If you'd like to read a rather fascinating piece on the whole topic, I'd suggest Powell's book on Apostolic Succession available on Google Books. I've not finished the whole yet, but what I've read is quite good.

MG said...

Pr Weedon--

A quick question before I respond:

You wrote:

"Why would Jerome ADVOCATE presbyteral ordination when he saw its origin - though not divine - as a remedy to schism? I would not expect him to!"

By "its" do you mean the episcopacy's? And would you mean "why would Jerome ADVOCATE *episcopal* ordination...?"

William Weedon said...

MG,

I meant that St. Jerome saw the humanly arranged episcopacy as a remedy against schism; he would not then be a likely advocate for presbyteral ordination itself. He saw that the episcopacy as elevated over the presbyterate arose for good and salutary reasons, even if it is not by divine mandate.

Are you aware of any patristic author, though, who took exception with St. Jerome's words on the topic? I ask because in the Western Church he is regarded as one of the four Latin doctors, and the only one NOT in episcopal orders.

MG said...

Pr Weedon--

You wrote:

"I meant that St. Jerome saw the humanly arranged episcopacy as a remedy against schism; he would not then be a likely advocate for presbyteral ordination itself. He saw that the episcopacy as elevated over the presbyterate arose for good and salutary reasons, even if it is not by divine mandate."

Okay, I think I see what you mean. You are arguing that Jerome probably wouldn't have advocated presbyterian ordination if he thought that the rule of colleges of presbyters without monarchical bishops had led to schism; so even if he believed it was possible, he wouldn't have encouraged it. So even if he held the second theory of the trifold ministry (the one you held) he probably wouldn't have encouraged presbyterian ordination. Am I getting your drift?

"Are you aware of any patristic author, though, who took exception with St. Jerome's words on the topic? I ask because in the Western Church he is regarded as one of the four Latin doctors, and the only one NOT in episcopal orders."

No. And I think that the reason no one did is precisely *because* he taught the same view of the ministry that all the others taught--the view held still to this day by Anglican, Roman, and Orthodox Catholics. If my arguments are good, then they would explain why Jerome's theory of the ministry went unchallenged, while there are early examples of denials of the validity of presbyterian ordination. Its because he wasn't saying anything that was controversial or went against the consensus of the Church, because he thought only bishops could ordain, that there were no examples of Presbyterian ordination, and the three offices were from the Apostles (even if not directly from Christ).

MG said...

Before I try to answer your arguments from Ancyra, Popes, and Saints (which Cirlot and Gore *are* aware of) I would like some clarification on something. When you throw out your questions to ponder, what is their relevance to St. Jerome's teachings? Given the immense historical gaps between *almost all* of the sources you appeal to and Jerome, surely they can't be thought of as providing an exegetical background to what Jerome is saying? Although some of them *may possibly* have been influenced by a misunderstanding of Jerome, I am at a loss for why they should be brought up when we are trying to understand St. Jerome himself. How are they related to trying to determine what St. Jerome *said*?

William Weedon said...

First, a very helpful summary that my friend Pr. Webber posted on another forum that summarizes the Lutheran understanding of Apostolate by the great theologian Charles P. Krauth:

Theses on the Ministry:

IX. THE APOSTOLATE. 1. Our Lord before His ascension instituted the office of the APOSTOLATE, 2. having within it all the powers of the future ministry. 3. The Apostolate had extraordinary and incommunicable powers and functions. 4. It also had ordinary and communicable powers and functions, 5. which were to be transmitted and perpetuated in and through the ordinary ministry to the end of the world. (Mark iii. 13, 14; Matt. x. 2; Luke vi. 13; Acts i. 2-25; Rom. i. 5; 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29; Eph. ii. 20; 2 Pet. iii. 2; Rev. xxi. 14; 1 Tim. ii. 7; 2 Tim. i. 11; 2 Pet. i. 1; 1 Tim. i. 18; 2 Tim. i. 13; 2 Tim. ii. 2; Matt. xxviii. 20; 2 Cor. v. 19.)

X. THE EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF THE APOSTOLATE. 1. To the extraordinary and incommunicable powers and functions, which were to be confined to the Apostles themselves, were these in conjunction which follow: 2. Their vocation was immediate, in no sense derived from men nor through men. 3. Their commission was unlimited as to locality. To an Apostle the field was the world. 4. They were endowed with an extraordinary measure of miraculous gifts and of Divine Inspiration. 5. They could bear official testimony as eye-witnesses to what was necessary to authenticate the Divine mission of our Lord. 6. They were under Christ the supreme authorities in the rule of the Church, and represented it in its totality, both in the powers received, and in the power exercised for it. 7. These were their exclusive powers and functions, in which none shared with them while they lived, and to which none were their successors when they died. (Matt. x. 2; Luke vi. 13; Gal. i. 1; Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 15; Luke xxiv. 47, 48; Acts i. 8; Matt. x. 1; Luke ix. 1; Mark vi. 7; Matt. x. 20; Luke xii. 12; Mark iii. 15; Acts ii. 4; Matt. xix. 28; Rev. xxi. 14; Acts i. 8, 22, x. 41, xxii. 15; 1 Pet. v. 1; 1 Cor. ix. 1.)

XI. THE ORDINARY POWERS OF THE APOSTOLATE. 1. In addition to the special powers and functions, the Apostles had the ordinary ones common to the whole ministry, to wit: the preaching of the Gospel, conferring the sacraments, administering discipline and ordaining others to the ministry. 2. In each and all of these they were but fellow-presbyters, ministers, pastors, and bishops with other ministers. (Acts i. 20, v. 42, xx. 24; Rom. i. 15; Eph. iii. 8, vi. 19; 1 Cor. iv. 1; Matt. xxviii. 19; 1 Pet. v. 1; 1 Cor. iii. 5; 2 Cor. xi. 23; Col. i. 7, 23-25; John xxi. 16.)

XII. APOSTOLIC AND MINISTERIAL SUCCESSION. 1. In their extraordinary powers and functions the Apostles had no successors. 2. In their ordinary ones all true ministers of Christ are their successors. 3. There is a ministerial succession unbroken in the Church; but, there is no personal succession in a particular line of transmission. The ministry that is, ordains the ministry that comes. The ministry of successive generations has always been inducted into the office by the ministry preceding; but, the so-called Apostolical succession or canonical succession does not exist, would be incapable of demonstration if it did exist, and would be of no essential value even if it could be demonstrated. (1 Tim. i. 18, iv. 14, v. 22; Acts xiv. 23; 2 Tim. ii. 2; Titus i. 5.)

Now, MG, to your questions: I bring up these instances from the centuries following Jerome (aside from the Ancyra) in order to show that there is through the West's long history a tradition that under certain circumstances the extraordinary minister of ordination may be a presbyter, and to ask whether or not that shows that your understanding of Jerome was in fact correct. Because if it is, then these presbyters who in fact ordained foisted material idolatry upon the people who adored the hosts that they consecrated, no?

MG said...

Pr Weedon—

As helpful as that summary may be, I wonder where he has given clear biblical examples of someone who is clearly *not* in the third tier of ministry ordaining. From what I can tell, the closest you can come to an obvious example of someone other than an Apostle (in some sense) doing an act of ordination is 1 Timothy 4:14, and this text is unclear at best, and arguably favors our view of the minister of ordination. I will gladly argue this controversial claim out at great length if need be. So where is the idea that presbyter-bishops (as you understand them) can ordain?

I would argue (1) the understanding that only the monarchical bishop can ordain, and that presbyterian ordinations are invalid was around before and during the time of Jerome and widely-circulated (again, I will gladly argue for this) in East and West, including in foundational texts about Church governance; and consequently (2) if Jerome had taught something contrary to this early position, he would have probably been called out on it. Thus, even if later Christians in the West may have misinterpreted him (which I don't think they did, because I think all the relevant alleged approvals and examples of presbyterian ordination you bring up are not what you take them to be at all) and thought he was teaching something else, that doesn't necessarily imply they were reading him correctly. His contemporaries would have called him out probably if he had been in any way validating presbyterian ordinations. I suppose you could challenge my claim (1) above, though; but it is well-evidenced, as we may see shortly.

Do you know if Piepkorn deals with anything like what I'm describing in (1)? Does he treat any alleged denials of the validity of presbyterian ordinations?

Furthermore, you have not, as of yet, engaged with my treatment of Jerome himself. Where have my exegetical arguments about Jerome's text gone wrong? I gave clear arguments, but you have challenged neither the premises nor the inferences I draw from them, with the exception of the premise “we would expect Jerome to advocate presbyterian ordination if he thought it was possible” to which I have produced an alternative argument above. What about the rest of the post? Did Jerome think the trifold ministry was an apostolic institution? Did he think that presbyters could ordain? It seems like these are important questions, and your view of Jerome has to find some way to deal with the texts I brought up to argue for these two points.

Now, to deal with one of your alleged patristic examples of presbyterian ordination, consider first the council of Ancyra.

You wrote:

“How does one explain the role of Ancyra 13 (aside from saying it can't mean what it says!)?”

I think the Catholic can explain it quite well. Its not that it can't mean what it says; its that it doesn't say what you want it to.

The way that Lightfoot and Piepkorn read the text leads to an absurdity. Think about the phrase “That it be not allowed to country bishops (chorepiscopoi) to ordain presbyters or deacons, nor even to city presbyters, except permission be given in each parish by the bishop in writing”. This statement is clearly absurd, if it is in fact what the council says. For it implies that the validity of city presbyters' ordinations were more plausibly valid than the ordinations of country bishops . Notice the phrase “not even”, which correctly captures the emphasis implicit in the untranslated words in many of the versions, including the version favored by Lightfoot—the Latin. The natural conclusion to draw is that there is a corruption in the text, something that Turner realized; instead, it should perhaps be reconstructed “country-bishops may not ordain presbyters and deacons, nay, not even city-bishops may do it, without the written authorization in every case of the diocesan bishop.” After he realized that this is the proper way to amend the text, he came across the Syriac version of the canons, (probably more trustworthy than a Latin translation of a text from Asia Minor regardless!) one translation of which reads “To chorepiscopi it is not allowed that they should make priests or deacons in the country, but also not in the city, without permission of the bishop, which permission is to be in each place in writing.” which is in the spirit of Turner's conclusions. (see pages 327-332 of Gore and Turner's “The Church and the Ministry”) So the council of Ancyra does not attest to presbyterian ordination at all.

William Weedon said...

A corruption of the text, because it doesn't say what you want it to say and that's why it is absurd? Hmm... So you agree that the text says what it does say.

William Weedon said...

P.S. Will get back to the prior point later, as God permits. Off to Men's Bible Study - why, oh, why does it have to be at 6 a.m.???

William Weedon said...

By the bye - one more question: what do you make of Distinction 24, Chapter 12, Book IV of Lombard's Sentences where he argues that "only two orders should be called sacred, namely the diaconate and presbyterate, because we read that the primitive church had only these, and we have the Apostle's command concerning these alone."

There, centuries before the Reformation, someone seems to be reading the evidence the same way as Jerome, congruently with him. The Lutheran approach wasn't a novelty, but drew forth the consequence of this assessment. Now, off to do shutins!

MG said...

Pr Weedon--

You wrote:

“A corruption of the text, because it doesn't say what you want it to say and that's why it is absurd? Hmm... So you agree that the text says what it does say.”

Nope. If you look at my argument, I am not saying that it is absurd because it doesn't say what I want it to say. I'm saying its absurd because if you take it to accurately attest to presbyterian ordination it leads to a conclusion that both of us should consider ridiculous, regardless of whether we believe in presbyterian ordination. And notice that the Syriac version doesn't say anything about presbyterian ordinations at all. And its more likely to be accurate. I think the burden of proof is on you to show that the Latin version is better than the Syriac version. The burden of proof is also on you to show that its not really ridiculous to say that city presbyters are a more normal minister of ordination than the country bishops, when its obvious that a city presbyter is a more questionable minister of ordination even if they are an extraordinary minister of ordination. So the text can't say what you think it does because this would lead to something we both consider absurd; and the text probably doesn't say what you think it does because a more reliable version lacks what your version says.

You wrote:

“P.S. Will get back to the prior point later, as God permits. Off to Men's Bible Study - why, oh, why does it have to be at 6 a.m.???”

Wow, you must truly love your parish to be able to wake up that early. I couldn't possibly do that; then again I'm a college student.

You wrote:

“By the bye - one more question: what do you make of Distinction 24, Chapter 12, Book IV of Lombard's Sentences where he argues that "only two orders should be called sacred, namely the diaconate and presbyterate, because we read that the primitive church had only these, and we have the Apostle's command concerning these alone."

There, centuries before the Reformation, someone seems to be reading the evidence the same way as Jerome, congruently with him. The Lutheran approach wasn't a novelty, but drew forth the consequence of this assessment. Now, off to do shutins!”

Whether Jerome thought that presbyters could ordain is still a question up in the air. Instead of appealing to Lombard as an “additional” witness and assuming Jerome is one, lets deal with Jerome. Where does he teach your view (or something analogous to it in an important way)?

Perhaps the Lutheran approach wasn't a novelty by the standards of medieval Roman Catholicism. But that's like saying “James Bond's approach to his missions isn't violent by the standards of Hitler”. The medieval Romans were so messed up as it is, and were such horrible innovators on so many levels—they're hardly safe ground to stand on when claiming patristic precedent. They are also extremely late by comparison. Lombard is hardly a reliable candidate for a witness to Apostolic teaching, or early patristic teaching given the gap of a millennium (!) between him and the apostles. Why not look at early (including Western) patristic denials of the validity of presbyterian ordination? Wouldn't it be preferable to give these more weight?

Now if earlier sources indeed confirm presbyterian ordinations, then that's a whole other story. So I will continue over the next couple of days to answer your alleged cases, all of which are aptly dealt with by Gore and Turner and Cirlot.

William Weedon said...

Might also be of interest to the readers of this thread:

http://www.usccb.org/seia/lu3.pdf

William Weedon said...

Reading a bit further in the documents from the Lutheran/RC Dialog on Eucharist and Ministry, I found it quite interesting that the RC participants appear to disagree with GM's reading of Jerome:

"When the episcopate and the presbyterate had become a general pattern in the church, the historical picture still presents uncertainties that affect judgment on the Minister of the eucharist. For instance, is the difference between a priest and a bishop of divine ordination? St. Jerome maintained that it was not; and the Council of Trent, wishing to respect Jerome's opinion, did not undertake to define that the preeminence of the bishop over presbyters was by divine law. If the difference is not of divine ordination, the reservation to the bishop of the power of ordaining Ministers of the eucharist would be a church decision. In fact, in the history of the church there are instances of priests (i.e., presbyters) ordaining other priests, and there is evidence that the church accepted and recognized the Ministry of the priests so ordained." p. 25