Sunday, November 1, 2009

David's [AnglicanApologist72] Final Response, and My Final Answers

Before we begin, I'd like to first thank David very much for a wonderful, intelligent, respectful dialogue concerning the Papacy. I encourage all my readers to read David's words carefully: Neither of our works are scholarly by any means, not by any means at all, but I assure you after reading both our arguments and documentation you will want to know more from the real theologians. I encourage you to take that step, be you Roman or Anglican, step outside the bubble and see the other side. Prepare to be shaken, or secured.

David's final response may be found here. Please read it first before reviewing my article.

After introductions, David says,

He claims in response to my statement, "Just because God did something one way once does not mean he will do so the same way again", with,

"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."

An example I gave of God changing a custom of the Old Testament was that "It is not required anymore to abstain from unclean foods as evident from Acts". I believe Carmenn attempted to answer this by making the last statement I cited above, "In each and every instance where God changed something, He always specifically mentioned it through Divine Revelation"; as if God had not done so in the case of a single, supreme, earthly head of his people. The problem here, of course, is the assumption that God didn't make it known that he put to rest the custom of a single, supreme, earthly head of his people. I believe God abolished this when he commissioned ALL of his apostles to teach the nations, to bind and loose, etc. There is no evidence Peter was given a higher authority than the other commissioned apostles, which is what Carmenn wishes to claim.

Concerning the abstination of unclean foods, I also said besides what David already cited,

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?

Indeed, I think this is quite significant in portraying the supreme authority St. Peter was given. God could have revealed this Revelation to any one of the Apostles, but since Peter was appointed to be the Preacher to both Jew and Gentile, it seemed fitting that he would be the one to reveal this Truth. With the honor he bore, and the position he held in the Church, his mouth would seem the only logical instrument out of all the Apostles to promulgate this new Revelation to the Church. But let the reader judge.

Returning to what David said,

"The problem here, of course, is the assumption that God didn't make it known that he put to rest the custom of a single, supreme, earthly head of his people. I believe God abolished this when he commissioned ALL of his apostles to teach the nations, to bind and loose, etc. There is no evidence Peter was given a higher authority than the other commissioned apostles, which is what Carmenn wishes to claim."

Certainly this remains very ambiguous in the Scriptures, and so a careful reading is called for before a final conclusion may be reached. My belief is that Christ did not abolish the custon of a single, supreme, earthly head, but rather fulfilled it within Himself [obviously, as David will happily agree], but in fulfilling it within Himself, He also fulfilled it within a Steward who would be needed to fill the empty visible office when He would visibly depart into Heaven. The Papacy is sacramental, not a Sacrament mind you, but sacramental in nature, just as the Church is, because of who Christ is. Anglicans understand the Sacraments as well as Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox, so I don't think an exhaustive explaination will be needed. It is the Roman reasoning that since Christ is the visible Icon of the invisible God, then the Church being His mystical Body is also visible and a teaching authority which will never fall into error, and if the Church is this, then it follows that her visible Head [not Christ, but the Steward], hold the same teaching power. We know St. Peter holds a primacy of honor, is a symbol of unity in the Church, but the question is does this remain here or does it extend to actual universal jurisdiction? If he holds such a supremacy, why does the Church send St. Peter on a mission in Acts 8? I don't think this prove very much in opposition, since the Church today may send Pope Benedict 16th to any part of the world with the Gospel, by the advisory of his cardinals and bishops. If that be a suffice answer, then why doesn't St. Peter practice his alledged supremacy in the New Testament Church more often so that we may be sure he held a papal office? Because there was no need for it. Peter was not alone: he had 11 infallible Apostles who expounded on matters of faith and morals.

The Apostles were each endowed with what you may loosely term, Papal Powers, St. Peter being the Supreme Pope. The Bishops today, save for the Pope, do not individually speak ex cathedra. Not only St. Peter, but St. Paul also, and all the Apostles when they expounded on doctrine spoke ex cathedra. St. Paul's epistles are the perfect examples of this. But St. Peter alone was given the Supremacy over St. Paul, and all the Apostles. Granted, he didn't seem to exercise his Jurisdiction too often in the New Testament, but there seemed no need to do so since all the Apostles were endowed with a type of Infallibility as we have just noted. Today the Apostolic Bishops do not and cannot exercise that kind of authority. They are Apostolic, but not Apostles. St. Peter spoke ex cathedra, and it became Scripture. Not even the Pope's ex cathedra statement can rightly be declared Scripture. This gift is not given to the Pope since it was given once only to the Apostles. In the same way, the infallibility of the other Apostles are not given to their Successors, since this gift was given once only to the Apostles. St. Ignatius in his own way affirms this when he says of Sts. Peter and Paul, "Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you. They were Apostles, and I am a convict" (Letter to the Romans 4:3) Yet he himself was a Bishop, a son of Peter who founded the See in Antioch, and he declares that their Apostolic power is not given to him in the full sense that it was exercised by the Apostles themselves. Hence why the Apostles and Prophets are the foundation; their era is long past, and all that they could do, such as write Scripture, is not all endowed to their Successors. Being the foundation of the Church the Apostles had every right to admonish any Church they saw fit. They oversaw the growth of many Churches, and founded the Holy Catholic Church as One. But when the era of the Apostles ended, it became neccessary for Peter's Successors to recognize and exercise in full the supremacy which they recieved from the Papal Office. For the Roman Catholic, St. Peter was no less Pope simply because he did not exercise his papal authority in the same manner the Popes after him did. Pope John Paul I, following in this same logic, is not considered by Roman Catholics any less a Pope simply because he did not exercise said authority. Both Peter and John Paul I, for the Roman Catholic, are true Popes who held all the authority belonging to the Papal Office, even though neither of them may have exercised that authority as the Popes in history did.

Moving on, David brings up a striking point which should not be so easily dismissable,

Examine closely here, that Carmenn is comparing the church and the authorities in and of itself to a family, which is by all means a correct analogy. It is a known fact that God the Father appointed Christ to be the true head of the whole church. I believe Carmenn would agree with this. But Carmenn claims Christ is gone from earth and has appointed a man, Peter to take his place, as the father in a family appoints his eldest son to take his place. This is not quite analogous with the facts concerning Christ's presence and the apostles. "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" were Jesus' last words recorded by Matthew the Apostle, before Christ ascended. Jesus has not left us. So there is no need for him to appoint one man to rule, as a father would appoint his eldest son to rule in his stead. While a father is present, his sons have a near equal authority, do they not? Christ is present. His apostles were given an equal power by Christ. One was given a primacy to represent unity, but this primacy was not of authority. It was of honor. The eldest son of a family is respected the most, but while the father is present, he does not rule over his younger brothers as the father does. In sum, Christ is present. He is not gone. Therefore, Carmenn's analogy fails to prove his propositions.

Indeed Christ had not left us. But visibly He is not here. Mystically He is with us always, and even this includes His physical ressurected Flesh and Blood at every Mass and Divine Liturgy. Christ also tells His Apostles that He will truly go away, but in His divine stead He will send the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit stands in the divine stead of Christ in the Church, yet Christ is still truly and really present at the same time. For the Roman Catholic, the Pope, being a son of St. Peter, stands in the human stead of Christ in the Church as the visible Head, yet Christ is still truly and really present as the unseen Head at the same time. One of my favorite songs happens to be Joe Zambon's "Brother Lead", in which this verse is sung,

"I believe You when You said You would never leave till You return."

This baffling paradox amazes us every time we hear Christ's words proclaimed from the Scriptures. How is it that He is gone yet still remains? The Roman, the Greek, the Russian, and all the Apostolic Christians know the answer, but they cannot explain how this Mystery works, else we would be God. Yes, Christ still remains as our holy, immaculate Head, and yet He is departed from us so that in His stead are the bishops and priests to offer as Christ offered. And in His stead, there is the Pope also.

Continuing, David says,

By granting the keys to all of the apostles, Christ showed that they all have the same authority. But by giving Peter the keys first, Christ showed that Peter is the first among equals.

To this I would respond by reiterating that this passage declares Peter to hold a supremacy, but the other Apostles hold a very similar authority, and with Peter exercise the keys in an Ecumenical Council.

In closing, David sufficiently and quite nicely offers a rebuttle to my assertion that the sessions from the quoted Ecumenical Councils support papal supremacy. Specifically, David says,

"Prince and head of the apostles" does not necessarily mean in authority. Yes it does prove primacy. No, it does not prove that Peter was "prince and head of the apostles" in authority. I can place the words "in honor" to the end of the statement and it would make just as much sense. "Pillar and foundation of the Catholic Church" correctly describes Peter, but it would also correctly describe the other apostles, the prophets and especially Christ. Peter is the first among equals, that's why he is specifically mentioned here. The keys and the authority of "loosing and binding sins" was given to all of the apostles and once again, Peter is specifically mentioned because he holds a primacy of honor.

I will simply say that I disagree, and once again reiterate my previous assertion, based on the evidence from the New Testament that St. Peter held the Papal Office according to the demands of the Jewish pattern which flows from the Old Testament into the New.

And finally, David ends by kindly saying,

Carmenn, I respect you highly, since you and I can disagree, without nashing our teeth at each other, cursing each others' particular branches of Christianity and appealing to stupidity and insults. Your arguments are very, very well articulated. They reflect your wisdom. They show your strength in rationality. However, I do not think they properly reflect the very truth of the issues we discussed. If you wish to respond to this, you may of course, however, I will not respond, since it is fair for you to have the last word, since I had the first. If you don't respond, I will by NO means consider you irrational, a coward or anything of the sort. I won't even be convinced that I "won" this exchange, if there would even be such a thing possible in this discussion on either side of the table. May the Lord bless you and keep you, forever and ever. Amen.

The same kindly [but most undeserving] regards you pay to me, David, I return back to you ten times over. Your participation in this dialogue has been very much appreciated. Your arguments are very intelligent, respectful, and they make good, solid points which I believe cannot go ignored. By no means are my rebuttles to you anything to settle the matter by, but I think we've accomplished in getting our reading audience to investigate the matter further using deeper theological sources, historical sources, and of course, Scriptural sources. We haven't solved the matter, but we've brought our own perspectives to the table, and by doing this maybe someone somewhere will decide to get serious about what he believes and why regarding this subject. Many thanks once again. The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.

No comments:

Post a Comment