23 November 2009

Commemoration of Clement of Rome

From the Treasury and our Synod's website:

Clement (ca. A.D. 35–100) is remembered for having established the pattern of apostolic authority that governed the Christian Church during the first and second centuries. He also insisted on keeping Christ at the center of the Church's worship and outreach. In a letter to the Christians at Corinth, he emphasized the centrality of Jesus' death and resurrection: “Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ, realizing how precious it is to His Father, since it was poured out for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to the whole world” (1 Clement 6:31). Prior to suffering a martyr's death by drowning, he displayed a steadfast, Christ-like love for God's redeemed people, serving as an inspiration to future generations to continue to build the Church on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, with Christ as the one and only cornerstone.

We pray today:

Almighty God, Your servant Clement of Rome called the Church in Corinth to repentance and faith to unite them in Christian love. Grant that Your Church may be anchored in Your truth by the presence of the Holy Spirit and kept blameless in Your service until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ... (Treasury, p. 944)

My all-time favorite quote from St. Clement is this:

"Similarly we also, who by His will have been called in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, or our own wisdom or understanding or godliness, nor by such deeds as we have done in holiness of heart, but by that faith through which Almighty God has justified all men since the beginning of time. Glory be to Him, forever and ever, Amen." - (Letter to the Corinthians, par. 32) [Fitting that in the Roman Church in those days, the TEACHING of the Epistle to the Romans was still at work!]

10 comments:

Scott Larkins said...

Did he not occupy the office of anti-christ? If not, which Roman bishop was the first?

William Weedon said...

Scott,

The Office of Antichrist is not associated with the Bishop of Rome in early centuries. It was only as the papal pretensions grew to incredible proportions in the middle ages (as evidenced in Boniface VIII's bull Unam Sanctam and the designation "Vicar of Christ on earth"), that the Church began to fear the worst: that the see of Peter had been infected with the very spirit of Antichrist. Luther was not the first or the last to recognize the sad fact.

Scott Larkins said...

Agreed. Unam Sanctam is atrocious. I do understand that Luther was not the first. Many had made the claim before him. I can understand why. Just not sure we have the Scripture to back it up.

William Weedon said...

Scott,

I'd invite a serious rereading of the Tractatus in its entirety. The Scripture is there. In spades. And forget not the shed blood of martyrs such as Heinrich Voes and Johann Esch.

Scott Larkins said...

I'll examine it again.

Chris said...

Why is St. Clement not referred to as Pope of Rome by the Synod? Even we Orthodox call him that without any hesitation.

Scott Larkins said...

Clement of Rome on Issues

http://issuesetc.org/?page_id=83

Tim said...

"The Office of Antichrist is not associated with the Bishop of Rome in early centuries. It was only as the papal pretensions grew to incredible proportions in the middle ages (as evidenced in Boniface VIII's bull Unam Sanctam and the designation "Vicar of Christ on earth"), that the Church began to fear the worst: that the see of Peter had been infected with the very spirit of Antichrist. Luther was not the first or the last to recognize the sad fact."

Could you please tell me whom called out the Pope as antichrist before Luther? To my knowledge, he was the first one. And I admit, even I struggle with calling Pope antichrist.

William Weedon said...

Sasse's writes (We Confess: The Church, p. 116):

When the 12th century gave way to the 13th in the apocalypically minded Middle Ages, there were voices to be heard, at first hesitatingly and softly, but then with mounting strength up to the days just before the Reformation, asking "whether the pope is the Antichrist."

In the fifth of the Lutheran-RC Dialogs, it was noted:

In calling the pope the "antichrist," the early Lutherans stood in a tradition that reached back into the eleventh century. Not only dissidents and heretics but even saints had called the bishop of Rome the "antichrist" when they wished to castigate his abuse of power.

Past Elder said...

I think more correctly it is the office of the papacy, rather than any of its various occupants, which bears the marks of Antichrist.

And I have no struggle whatsoever with saying the Papacy bears the marks of Antichrist.