Apostolic Tradition and the History of the Church in Rome


#1

I have begun this thread based on some claims of another poster,John 17 3, in another thread. Here are his claims. I would like some discussion on this.

I agree with your following comment:
You are right–the CHURCH accepted what was and what wasn’t a part of the canon pretty early on.
The problem is that “The Church” is not the Roman Catholic Church! The word “church” is from the Greek word ekklesia, and means “the called out.” Thus, the church is that body of people who have been called out of the world by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), by obedience thereto (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Christ rules as the singular head of the church (Colossians 1:18), and the Spirit dwells within her (Ephesians 2:22, 23).

The church is singular in number. There is one fold (John 10:16). The church is that fold (Acts 20:28). There is one body (Ephesians 4:4); that body is the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23). The Lord taught the monogamy of marriage (Romans 7:1-4) and the church is his bride (Ephesians 5:22-33).
The church of Christ is that one, true New Testament church which existed in the first century.

The history of the events leading to the universal acceptance of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as inspired Scripture spans several centuries. However, it should be noted that the role that church councils played in the process is often overstated by Roman Catholics.
The first councils to have addressed the question as to which books were inspired and were rightfully part of the Bible appear to have been the North African Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The list of books accepted by the Council of Hippo no longer exists. The Council of Carthage, however, is believed to have repeated the same list and its decree on the matter is extant.

Both councils were regional synods. They were not universal or ecumenical councils. About 50 bishops from the provinces of Africa attended each. These councils did not have authority to speak for the whole fourth-century church.

It is also important to note that by the time these councils addressed the matter at the close of the fourth century, the canon or list of books recognized as forming the New Testament was well established. F. F. Bruce comments:

**What is particularly important to notice is that the New Testament canon was not demarcated by the arbitrary decree of any Church Council. When at last a Church Council, the Synod of Carthage in A.D. 397, listed the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, it did not confer upon them any authority which they did not already possess, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity. **

Furthermore, the decision reached by these councils has never been universally accepted. The controversy centers around writings referred to by Roman Catholic scholars as the deuterocanonicals and by Protestant scholars as the Apocrypha. In that non-Catholics have never accepted the decision of the councils to accept the Apocrypha as part of the Bible, it can hardly be argued that were it not for the Roman Catholic Church no one would know with certainty which books belong in the Bible.

I hope this helps. :slight_smile:

The Roman Catholic Church is not the Universal Church! It did not exist in the first century!

Hmm- Roman/Universal???:hmmm:

Now let’s please get back to the topic before I get accused of trying to highjack this thread!

Ready…set…debate.


#2

The Roman Catholic Church is not the Universal Church! It did not exist in the first century!

Hmm- Roman/Universal???:hmmm:

Now let’s please get back to the topic before I get accused of trying to highjack this thread!

I would like to discuss this outrageous claim. Lets examine the history.

Irenaeus in 170 AD

  1. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say, ] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority,6

that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

  1. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Sorer having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.

continued


#3

Ignatius to the Romans in 100AD

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High God the Father, and of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is sanctified and enlightened by the will of God, who formed all things that are according to the faith and love of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour; the Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit,2* worthy of being deemed holy,3 and which presides over love, is named from Christ, and from the Father, and is possessed of the Spirit, which I also salute in the name of Almighty God, and of Jesus Christ His Son: to those who are united, both according to the flesh and spirit, to every one of His commandments, who are filled inseparably with all the grace of God, and are purified from every strange taint, * abundance of happiness unblameably, in God, even the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.**

I could also offer you a link to quotes from Clement of Rome.


#4

Am I the only one who finds these claims of John 17 3 interesting? I expected some answers to this thread by now.


#5

The word “church” is from the Greek word ekklesia, and means “the called out.” Thus, the church is that body of people who have been called out of the world by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), by obedience thereto (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Christ rules as the singular head of the church (Colossians 1:18), and the Spirit dwells within her (Ephesians 2:22, 23).

The church is singular in number. There is one fold (John 10:16). The church is that fold (Acts 20:28). There is one body (Ephesians 4:4); that body is the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23). The Lord taught the monogamy of marriage (Romans 7:1-4) and the church is his bride (Ephesians 5:22-33). The church of Christ is that one, true New Testament church which existed in the first century.

What’s there to debate. No one denies this. The thing is, though, it leaves stuff out. Like the New Testament Church was a Church under authority (the apostles), not loosely consisting of a bunch of people with bibles. The Church was the body united to its shepherds, the apostles. The apostles, in turn, appointed leaders in communities that were planted by them, such as Timothy and Titus. We then see Titus being told to appoint other leaders. This is the beginning of apostolic succession. Emerging from the first century, we have Clement testifying that it was the apostles’ will that bishops should succeed to them. Then we seen St. Ignatius behaving like that is exactly what he was told, behaving like a monarch in his diocese. And then we have St. Irenaeus tracing the line from Peter to the current bishop of Rome. This Church that emerged from the 1st century was already called Catholic.

**What is particularly important to notice is that the New Testament canon was not demarcated by the arbitrary decree of any Church Council. When at last a Church Council, the Synod of Carthage in A.D. 397, listed the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, it did not confer upon them any authority which they did not already possess, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity. **

This is both true and false. The decision was certainly not arbitrary. And its technically true that it didn’t confer on them any authority they didn’t already possess. But it did authoritatively draw the line between the books currently regarded as canonical and a whole slew of non-canonical books, which many did regard as canonical. The council essentially separated the wheat from the chaff. And that is important. Without that, the canon is still unknown. The canon rests on tradition and councils.

Was this council ecumenical? No. But its decisions were nevertheless subsequently ratified by the universal Church. And infallibly declared at Trent.

A real history of the NT canon is here:
newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm


#6

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