Friday, October 30, 2009

David [AnglicanApologist72] Responds

Without getting into a long introduction, please see my original post here.

In response to my article David posted his rebuttle here.

Now, on to the issue at hand!

First, David says,

"There was something he said in a "by the way" demeanor and here’s the exact quote in response to my acceptance of the seven ecumenical councils,

'No Protestant can declare that and still be a Protestant, since these Holy Councils condemn his heretical teachings.'

"Now, I want to know, DeiVerbum777, or Carmenn, where in any of the seven ecumenical councils a belief of mine is repudiated and stated as a heresy. I doubt that you can find that repudiation."

Anglicans are not labeled under the category of "Protestant." In fact no Protestant holds to all the Ecumenical Councils, but Anglicans do; hence my previous statement. In my first post I distinguished clearly between Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox. So the above comment was not directed to any Anglican anywhere.

After quoting me on the Old Testament concerning a type of earthly structure for the Papacy, specifically,

"God called upon Judges to be the supreme heads of Israel, and when Israel protested desiring a king, God raised up Kings to be the visible Authorities of the Invisible Authority, Yahweh the True King."

David responds with,

"There is something here that Carmenn forgot to mention. God does not do things the same way twice in some situations. God changed many things that were done in the Old Testament era. It is not required anymore to abstain from unclean foods as evident from Acts. It is not required as of today to abstain from all work on the Sabbath. And I can go on and on, wasting time explaining simple truths. Just because God did something one way once does not mean he will do so the same way again."

But we have a number of problems here. First, David doesn't offer any examples of how God does not do thing the same way twice. If he implies that at one point in time God raised up a Prophet to lead Israel, then next time raised up a Judge, then the next time a King, then the next time a Prophet and Judge, etc., then this still hasn't proven anything. Visibly the situations are different, but essentially what is happening in each and every senerio? God is raising up a visible Head to set Israel straight. Gideon's story differs from Samson's; King David's story is different from Jerobam's, and so on.

Indeed God changed some things that were done in the Old Testament. But what is the important detail David left out here? Correct. In each and every instance where God changed something, He always specifically mentioned it through Divine Revelation. David uses the example of the unclean foods. I ask you, dear readers, to whom did God reveal this divine Truth? St. Peter. Is this significant? I think so. The Jews totally abstained from all unclean foods, and since this new Revelation would be a shocking curve thrown at the Jewish Church [even St. Peter had trouble swallowing it, pardon the pun], who better to reveal this Truth to the Church than the visible Leader?

As for the Sabbath, nothing but the exact day has changed. The Sabbath was a type of Sunday, on which day all Christians abstain from labor. The Scriptures tell us the Church came together to hold Eucharist on Sunday, not Saturday, this being a highly significant text showing the reader that the Sabbath is done away with now, for now the Church meets on a higher Sabbath.

David continues to quote these words of mine,

"At the same time, the Church did not elect Christ as their Head, and so this is a type of the election of the Bishop, specifically the Roman Bishop. In both cases, God chose Christ to be Head of the Church, and Christ choses who will be the Pope, the steward-Head of the Church. Not two Heads like a monster, as Pope Boniface 8th wrote in Unam Sanctum, but One Head: Christ and the Pope being in Union together. Since Christ is the Icon of the Invisible God, the Visible Head of the Invisible Father, it follows from logic and reason that Christ Himself would need a Visible Head in like manner to Him as He is to the Father, since the Earth is deprived of Christ's body."

He then asks the reader,

"Has it ever occurred to you that Christ appointed all of the apostles equally to be the earthly representatives of Christ’s authority? Why must there be only one person who is the head of the church on earth and not a group of authoritative leaders which make up the earthly leaders who decide things by council? Carmenn might try to cite Hosea 1:11 in response to this, which he did cite in his article. Hosea 1:11 says, "And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head." Now remember, God doesn’t necessarily have to do things exactly the same every time. Change is an important concept."

What David has missed here is an important fact which I expounded on in my original post, namely,

"Because Christ, the divine Word [or Memra, to the Jewish students of the Targums] is one, visible, Head of a community which He has established according to the typological Israel of the Old Testament [a theme found strongly in St. Matthew's Gospel], it follows that Christ would equip His inner circle to lead the community in the same way He did. For that to be executed to its fullest, a visible Head - not the Founder, but a mere steward, a servant - would be needed to fill Christ's role while He, being the Master and King, was away. When He declared to His Apostles and disciples, "As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you," He was saying that He would send them in the same manner which the Father sent Him into the world. The kings, judges, and prophets of the OT, all of which ruled from a sole chair, [i.e. Moses had helpers to shepherd Israel, but he was the Supreme Head of Israel, the Steward of God the Founder of Israel] represented God not seen by human eyes; the Apostles now came representing Christ in a much fuller way, viz. by Christ living within them, this same Christ now no longer seen by human eyes. The cosistency is the same from the Old Testament through to the New. By the simple fact that the Church is described as a spiritual house by St. Peter leads one to conclude there must be a Head. The Church is obviously a Family of the highest form, and every Family has a Supreme Head figure, the Father. When he is absent the eldest Son becomes Head, and when he is absent either the second-born son becomes Head, or a Servant is appointed Head. Since we are all servants of Christ, yet children by adoption, St. Peter being both servant and [adopted] son remains Head of the Family by royal right, since he must fulfill the continuous typology of a visible representation of God, as well as fulfull the Jewish role as a steward guarding the House till the Master return."

After citing the example of Eliakim in Isaiah 22:20-24, I go on to say,

"Clearly Eliakim is a type of Christ the Servant, the Steward of God the Father. Notice Eliakim has one key, singular, and consequently so has Christ in Revelation. But St. Peter has keys, plural. It seems that Christ, being the Father's Chief Steward has the Master Key, and St. Peter being Christ's Chief Steward has a number of keys, because his keys are not the One Supreme Key which Christ alone possesses. His lone key represents Power, Authority, Supremacy, Jurisdiction, Binding and Loosing, all things deserving of Deity. His lone key binds and looses first in Heaven what St. Peter's keys, which belong to the Pope and the Church, will in repeated fashion bind and loose on Earth. Because Eliakim represents Christ, he must also represent St. Peter - the Matthew 16:18-19 passage parralleling Isaiah 22 being unmistakable - because St. Peter also represents Christ. If we choose to remain consistent with in Israeli thought stemming from the types of the Old Testament, we must conclude that St. Peter held some sort of primacy among the Apostles, clearly seen in Matt. 16:18-19."

David must deal with this type of pattern found throughout the OT into the NT. Even though the senerios change, the pattern remains unchanged. Why can't all the Twelve Apostles be Christ's representatives equally? Because this does not flow from the consistent working of God, despite the change [which we have noted doesn't actually change the pattern at all].

David continues,

"And he is correct, no doubt. But what I don’t understand is why Christ can’t be the chief head of the church and there still be a number of earthly representatives who decide matters by council. So far, Carmenn has shown nothing to prove this."

Christ is the Chief Head, but the fact is He is the Master gone away from the House for a while...yet He still remains. While the Master is away the Head-Butler has charge over all the House, and that includes making descisions which need making when the time arises. If Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament Kings, Prophets, and Judges, then it follows that St. Peter would be the fulfillment of the Old Testament servants who took charge when the King left. Even the Prophets had their stewards: Moses had Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, etc. It is fitting that Christ have His steward. When He returns bodily the Papal Office will fade, and there will be no need for Popes because the Master has returned.

David says,

"Now, Carmenn proceeds to doing something he has not done yet, that is, appeal to something in the Bible which might be able to support his claims concerning the papacy, instead of appealing to irrelevant facts."

I would hardly call the Old Testament types "irrelevant facts", since this was the common way the early Christians showed the Jews the Truth of the Christian Faith. We cannot ignore the types that point to an earthly visible Head when the Supreme Divine Head is unseen. This is significant.

David says concerning the keys,

"Now when you consider what obtaining the keys actually means, then you’ll conclude that all of the apostles had them. They do signify a sort of authority and supremacy, but authority to do and supremacy over what? There’s nothing to suggest the keys indicate an authority over all the other apostles whatsoever. So it’s an appeal to ambiguity when one argues from the keys Peter obtained to show that Peter has supremacy over the other apostles. Absolutely nothing suggests the keys of the kingdom of heaven imply a supremacy over the other apostles. The keys signify that Peter has authority to pastor the church. Don’t all of the apostles have this authority though? Of course. So it’s reasonable to conclude that all of the apostles were given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, even though it is not explicitly stated in scripture."

What David misses is that St. Peter alone was given the keys first, then the other Apostles. Why not give the keys to all the Apostles at the same time? To execute this the way Christ did is to show a superiority within St. Peter. But to show also that the other Apostles are not powerless, gives to them the keys also. As the recent Catechism reiterates,

881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

As the Chief Steward, St. Peter may exercise the keys alone, or in the fellowship of the Apostles, that is, in a General Council. The royal Family, the Church, needs a Head-Butler, in fact logic demands it. The Scriptures certainly imply a primacy of power in Peter above the other Apostles.

Moving on David says,

"While Peter does represent unity in the church by his primacy, he does not represent alone, the supreme head of the church in that the apostles don’t. If one says that Peter is supreme over the other apostles, he is putting forth a proposition that is a disgrace to the fact that the church was built just as equally on the prophets and the other apostles, as Ephesians 2:20 says. To this point in Carmenn’s response, Carmenn has not put forth a valid case for the supremacy of Peter. It’s about time he does."

On the contrary, upon ignoring the OT types of stewardship which follows the OT types of Kings and Prophets and Judges, David does not see the argument as valid. Concerning the Church being built on all the Apostles equally, he ignores what I previously said in my first post,

"Yet at the same time in Revelation, when the Thrones of the Apostles are mentioned, we do not see a special chair for Peter alone, who apparantly was the first Pope. Neither do we see a special pillar for Peter among the Pillars of the Apostles, which is strange if he is supposed to be the visible Head. But this is the problem we run into when we look at leadership in the Bible strictly as a heirarchy. Leadership on God's terms has no rank, but all are on the same level - i.e, we have countless pastors in the world who tend to us the sheep, yet at the very core of it all pastors are sheep as well in God's eyes... Seeing that heirachy is needed, how are we to understand in what sense God's views it? One need only listen to Christ's words, "The greatest among you shall be the least...The servant is not greater than his master..." - but above all, His own example, when He said "I did not come to be served, but I came to serve." For this reason, the Pope is called Servant of the Servants of God. His role is the greatest among all; not in the sense as a king is greater than his subject, but in the sense where Christ said, "My Father is greater than I." - J. 10:29...The Pope is greater than any man in this sense: as the Father is no more and no less than the Son, so the Pope is no more and no less than his flock. Christ looked to the Father; we look the Pope as the Church's Pastor, the Leuitenant-General of Christ."

Essentially the example of Jesus Christ Himself leads us to this conclusion. The consistency flows smoothly. God will not distinguish between Peter and the other Apostles in Eph. 2:20 because that is simply not His way. Even in Matt.16 & 18 we see Peter indistinguishable from the Apostles in their authority, but at the same time when we realize what the Church is, we also realize the need for the Papacy. Being a visible Family, the Church needs a visible Head.

David continues,

"Next, Carmenn puts forth quotations from Haydock in support of his interpretation of what the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" means as a phrase. Haydock simply states his position, without argumentation. He assumes as many do that keys necessarily mean a supreme grant of authority to Peter when he obtained them. This is simply unsupported. It’s interpretation of ambiguity and nothing more."

Besides Haydock, I also quoted the Roman Catechism of Trent,

"Moreover to this Church, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time; all of whom are founded and raised upon the one corner-stone, Christ, who made both one, and announced peace to them that are near and to them that are far."

I would hardly call this citation ambiguous.

Concerning the cited Ecumenical Councils, David says,

"Of Peter the Apostle and the Church of Rome, all this letter affirms is that the Peter, his successors and the church of Rome had never erred from the tradition of the apostles. That of course doesn’t mean that they can’t err does it? Of course it doesn’t. There is a reference to the authority of Peter no doubt. Yes, Peter does have an authority and he is the prince of the apostles, the first to be honored, the first to be mentioned, the most significant of all of them. But where in that letter does it say that Peter had an authority over the other apostles? Where in that letter does it say that the apostles are authoritatively submissive to Peter and his successors? It doesn’t, whatsoever. Therefore, the letter of Pope Agatho at the third council of Constantinople does not prove papal supremacy."

Let's take a look at those Councils' words again.

"There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down to this day and forever lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic Faith.

“Arcadius the legate of the Apostolic See said: “Nestorius hath brought us great sorrow…Celestine, most holy pope of the Apostolic See hath condescended to send us as his executors of this business, and also following the decrees of the holy synod we give this as our conclusion: Let Nestorius know that he is deprived of all Episcopal dignity, and is alien from the whole church and from the communion of all its priests.” Session III, Ephesus (NPNF: The Seven Ecumenical Councils, pg. 223)

What David avoids to do, this Council Session does, viz. distinguishing between Peter and the other Apostles, i.e. "...blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down to this day and forever lives and judges in his successors." Why this distinction? Because St. Peter held the primacy, and not merely one of honor.

Of Agatho's Letter, one can only read it in light of our discoveries and find it difficult to conclude this Bishop held merely a Primacy of Honor. But certainly this issue will not be settled here, but I know that you, dear reader, will take it upon yourself to go beyond this little discussion and search out this matter in-depth.

After all, the worst that could happen to us Roman Catholics is that we convert to Greek Orthodoxy. Note the [intentionally] humerous sarcasm. For now, I think the Roman position stands well enough.

David thanks for the excellent response! I'm positive it got people thinking just as it got me thinking. The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.

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