12 September 2012

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

There is of course a true apostolic succession, but it has little to do with external connections (Mark 9:38–40!) to privileged places, persons, or hands. Instead it has everything to do with the faithful transmission of evangelical, sacramental substance—and only with that.—Prof. Kurt Marquart, The Church, p. 28.

11 comments:

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

Marquart's citation (Mark 9:38f) is not a sedes doctrinae for apostolic succession at all. St. Paul's words to Timothy, cited above, is. Obviously St. Paul is concerned to have a transmission of substance; he speaks of "the things you have heard from me" and elsewhere speaks of "the form of sound words." But to speak of a transmission of substance while minimizing the role of "faithful men" is to move from apostolic authority towards gnostic enlightenment.

Indeed, with due respect to the departed man, try a thought experiment. Could you imagine such words coming from Iraenaeus or Ignatius ("Do nothing without the bishop"), or rather from Marcion?

I don't want to get into an extended debate here, Rev. Weedon, but can we have a little ecumenical dialogue about the meaning of apostolic succession? It's your blog, and you should feel free to delete this post if you wish.

Cordially,

Fr. Gregory

William Weedon said...

Actually, I just read a very fine essay on the topic from Ware in *Bishops: But What Kind?* that I'd commend. I don't have the book with me here. It's one that Dr. Tighe passed my way some years ago and I read that essay the other night and thought it had much to commend it in the avoidance of dogma overcoming historical fact. He deals with the changing shapes and duties of bishops and invites some rethinking toward the topic.

William Weedon said...

Here's the reference:

“Patterns of Episcopacy in the Early Church and Today: An Orthodox View,” in Peter Moore (ed.), Bishops: But What Kind? (London: SPCK, 1982), 1-24.

Unknown said...

Fr. Gregory: you write, “Marquart's citation (Mark 9:38f) is not a sedes doctrinae for apostolic succession at all.” Am I making the obvious clear when I propose that he did not intend it to be? He intended it to be against Apostolic Succession, at least the way it is defined by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican Churches.

Having said that, I realize that the brief passage cited here is not all there is to say on the subject. So it isn’t as if I have won a point for our side; it’s just a matter of clarifying what the sides believe.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Hi, George.

(1) Are you any relation to KM?

(2) Lutheran practice historically called for a teaching to be supported from a sedes doctrinae--a passage from which the main lineaments of the teaching may be drawn. Marquart grants that there is a "true apostolic succession," so presumably it's a teaching of some sort. But the passage he cites, Mark 9, is not speaking to the teaching he's addressing.

Could his "faithful transmission" be done by a computer? If not--if it requires faithful men--then it won't do to dismiss "places, persons, or hands."

In other words, as a now-outside observer, it seems to me that the Lutheran teaching on this issue is unsustainable as such. There can be no succession of teachings without a succession of teachers to carry it out. Once that is recognized, the question of which succession of teachers you're in, is no longer irrelevant. Succession of teaching, and succession of teachers are, of themselves, each necessary but neither is sufficient alone. One needs a proper succession both of teachings and of teachers.

Best,

Fr. Gregory

Unknown said...

Dear Fr. Gregory:

1. He is my brother.
2. But it is. The man casting out demons had not been ordained either by our Lord, or by any of the Apostles.
3. But the “chain of custody”, so to speak, does not guarantee truth. That is why it was necessary to have a Reformation. Lutherans believe that the only way to know that a “proper succession of teaching” has taken place is to compare what we have with the original teaching. We know that errors have been added by the “succession of teachers”, and we include Luther among them. He taught that we should not accept something to be true on his authority, but on the basis of Scripture. Lutherans certainly do not believe everything Luther ever taught, even though we have immense respect for him as a teacher of the pure Gospel.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Fr. Weedon -

I wrote you back when you were determining matters regarding your call.  I have since done/gone through the same, and am happily back in the saddle. I am glad for me, and also, glad that you are running the show at the IC Chapel!

Blogspot is horribly uncooperative with its passwrods . . . I am in the process of setting up Our Redeemer's first site, but I am going WordPress all the way.  Anyway . . .

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am going to dip my toe in these cold waters (re: Fr. Hogg's sedes doctrinae contrary position) out of pure respect for the now Sainted Kurt Marquart.

Having sat at his feet for three classroom years ('82-84; '85-86) allows me that privilege, I would think.

To Father Hogg - while it seems Marquart may have been employing Mark 9:38ff. as sedes doctrinae for apostolic succession as commonly understood . . . I would motion that he is using that text, in a way, as sedes doctrinae for a purely Gospel-oriented understanding of "apostolic succession" - quite a different matter.

I fail to see the two assertions he made:

1) That Marquart was minimizing the role of "faithful men" . . . he most certainly was not, and anyone the least bit familiar with his lectures on the sanctity of the Holy Ministry knows that he was saying no such thing.

2) The faithful men" are treasured in Father Kurt's understanding of it all.  He was in no disagreement with any Church Father, but he understood that the Gospel is premier.  It CANNOT be otherwise, can it?

The distinction he draws, as I see it (and feel free to contest it), is that the "succession of the Gospel of Jesus" matters most of all, and without that clear understanding, which Mark 9:38ff. clearly does teach, it does not matter who is called what or what garments are worn.

Even the LCMS has not been able to minimalize the ranks of the pastoral office, despite different terminology.  We have the three-fold office, just identified by different terms.  So any concern of "minimalization" is not really germane.

But Marquart's piercing genius, often missed by others, was his laser-like focus upon the transmission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That - is the essence of the One Holy Faith, and in the end, all that truly matters.

Is it not?

Just my 2 cents worth . . .

Pastor Jeff Baxter
Palacios, TX

P.S. If you want to print the above to the comments, feel free.

P.P.S.  A week from tomorrow Fr. Harrison will be preaching at St. Paul's in Edna, TX for their centennial. I guess he and Paul Kaiser are buds.  I could only manage DP Hennings for our centennial back in February.  He did a great hob, BTW.   While I could be wrong, I suspect the circuit boys will gang up on me as the "newbie" and select me tomorrow afternoon as the Rep to the Synodical Convention.  If so, I will search you out when there.  I hate politics, though . . . Arrgh!

Yours in the Xpistos . . .  jb

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear George,

There is no question that the chain of succession, by itself, does not guarantee truth. Hence my claim that both the succession of teachings and of teachers is necessary and sufficient to preserve the church.

Indeed, Rome fell from that succession of truth hundreds of years before the Reformation. On that we are agreed.

Best,

Fr. Gregory

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Pastor Baxter,

Yours is the first claim I've ever seen that Missouri preserves the three-fold office. All Missouri stuff I've ever seen is that iure divino, the pastoral office is the one office in the church.

Best,

Fr. Gregory

Unknown said...

Dear Fr. Gregory: First, please understand that I am not a pastor, professor, or theologian. Certainly I have not received anything I know from anyone who can claim Apostolic succession, of the kind by which physical contact can be traced to an Apostle. But when you add this little bit, “is necessary and sufficient to preserve the church,” to the argument, then you write a great number of people out of the Church, who consider themselves to be members of the Kingdom of God, including me. Because most of us are convinced that, “extra ecclesiam nulla salus”, and many of us are separated by centuries from those who have Apostolic succession. “Necessary and sufficient”; therefore we cannot be Church.

If you are right, then your teaching has come to us from faithful teachers who can trace their spiritual origins to the hands of an Apostle. When you write, “Rome fell from that succession of truth hundreds of years before the Reformation” I have to ask, “Are their claims to Apostolic succession illegitimate?” I think you will agree that they are legitimate, but you are able to know that they fell from the truth. So there has to be a way to distinguish those teachers who have Apostolic succession and teach the truth from those who have it and do not teach the truth.

“Of course,” you say, “Holy Tradition!” But without taking up more space than this blog allows, is Holy Tradition not “teaching”?

Space does not permit a full discussion of the only two passages in Scripture that even remotely support your cause: 1Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6. Instead, may I suggest that the matter of what is truth and how it has come down to us, is a matter of faith. Faith in the fact that the Lord of the Church, Who holds the seven lampstands in His hands (Rev. 1:20), will see to it that the pure Gospel will be preached to His Elect, Whom He will bring into His Kingdom. Faith in the knowledge that He will give us the “spiritual discernment” St. Paul writes about in 1 Cor. 2:6ff, which concludes with, “But we have the mind of Christ.” This is part of the promise God made to us through the Prophet Jeremiah, 31:33. “I will put my Torah within them, and I will write it on their hearts.”

The Law wants proofs, which faith cannot give. Apostolic succession is definitely “Law”, and for that reason alone, it has no place in the Kingdom of God.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Dear George,

I guess it depends on how the term "apostolic succession" is understood. If one understands it as *both* a succession of teachings and of teachers, then having one without the other is not having apostolic succession.

Apostolic succession is most certainly not law. It is a gracious gift of God, meant to sustain and preserve the Church.

Cordially,

Fr. Gregory