James bishop of Jerusalem


#1

I was talking to a guy and he kept insisting that if anyone was in authority it was James. He said that if anything is a miracle it is that James came out of nowhere and was made a leader. He insists on passages like Gal2:9 where it mentiones James first. As well as saying that James sent people to Peter and Paul indicating authority from a distance. He insists on saying that if anyone was the clear leader of the Church it was James.

I gave him the usual, Jesus chose Peter, and all that is said about Peter, but as usual he downplays it. So how do I explain that James was simply a local ruler leading the Jerusalem region?

He continually uses these:
1James was mentioned first in Gal2:9 (I tell him Peter is the most mentioned and usually is mentioned first)

2)James had the last word at the council, indicating authority over Peter (I told him it was Peter who silenced the crowd and was the first one to speak, and James was just agreeing)

3)Peter doesnt show authority when Paul gets in his face at the table, Paul actually denounces Peter (I tell him that he wasnt denouncing Peter, but that Peter got scared and did a dumb thing, it had nothing to do with authority, he doesnt buy it)

4)When Peter got out of Jail he told the guys to report to James, as if James was in authority (I told him that Peter was just getting out the good news and regrouping, thats all I could think of)

5)He says that James sent messengers as if he was in athority from a distance (I told him the two big men were on the scene building up a Christian community and that those guys were just there to help and report the progress.)

This is probably a lost cause with this guy, but does anyone have any thing to add that could help me defend these attacks better.


#2

he sounds pretty stubborn to me.

has he mentioned where it is in the Bible that Jesus gave authority to James?

we’ll be praying for you.


#3

John Chrysostom said, “If anyone should say ‘Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?’ I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that See but of the world.”[Homily 136 on Gospel of John]


#4

James, “the brother of the Lord” (i.e. one of Jesus’ cousins) was appointed to fill the office of the Bishop of Jerusalem. James, the cousin of Jesus, is not one of the original twelve apostles, i.e. he is neither James, the son of Zebedee, nor James, the son of Alphaeus.

James, “the brother of the Lord” is a bishop who traces his apostolic sucession to one of the original apostles, and as such, he is a like Mathais, Titus, and Timothy.


#5

One of the greatest of the Catholic Fathers, Saint John Chrysostom, who wrote his extensive biblical commentaries in the 4th century, gives his interpretation of what happened at the Council of Jerusalem in his commentary on Acts 15.

“Then all the multitude kept silence,” etc. (v. 12.) There was no arrogance in the Church. After Peter Paul speaks, and none silences him: James waits patiently, not starts up (for the next word). Great the orderliness (of the proceedings). No word speaks John here, no word the other Apostles, but held their peace, for James was invested with the chief rule, and think it no hardship. So clean was their soul from love of glory. “And after that they had held their peace, James answered,” etc. (v. 13.) (b) **Peter indeed spoke more strongly, but James here more mildly: for thus it behooves one in high authority, to leave what is unpleasant for others to say, while he himself appears in the milder part. **

ccel.org/fathers/NPNF1-1…Acts-Hom33.html

Saint John Chrysostom gives the primacy to James the Brother of the Lord and bishop of Jerusalem. This makes perfect sense. Rome was not yet a Christian centre of any sort and Jerusalem and its bishop, James, not Peter, held the first place in the Christian Church. Peter at this time was presiding in the Church at Antioch.

In his History of the Church, Eusebius, writing in the early 4th century says:

“This James, whom the early Chrisians surnamed the Righteous because of his outstanding virtue, was the first, as the records tell us, to be elected to the episcopal throne of the Jerusalem church.”

Clement, in Outlines Book VI, puts it in this way:

“Peter, James and John, after the Ascension of the Saviour, did not claim pre-eminence because the Saviour had specially honoured them, but chose James the Righteous as Bishop of Jerusalem.”


#6

Fr. Ambrose,

I already answered this last time you quoted it. The quote you took out of context is speaking aboutt he local church of Jerusalem. Hence, John Chrysostom says “He was invested with chief rule,” he is speaking about being the chief ruler in Jerusalem. I invited everyone to read the context.


#7

Ambrose:

I think you confuse “high authority” with “primacy.” James the brother of the Lord and Bishop of Jerusalem was entrusted with local authority while the Apostles executed Our Savior’s command to “go…and make disciples of all nations.” This “Jewish-Christian” community was this James’ flock. The dispute was about a Jewish practice. If the believers in Jerusalem could accept the gentile converts without requiring their adherence to a “Mosaic practice,” why would Jewish Christians anywhere dissent. Jerusalem was the right forum for the discussion, and this James was the local leader.

An honest reading of the gospels, and the first half of Acts in particular, provide ample evidence to support the primacy of Peter. To paraphrase a quote from John Chrysostom earlier in this thread, Peter was more than the leader of a local church, but of the entire Church. You read Chrysostom out of context, and attribute to his statement something he did not say (that the Bishop of Jerusalem had primacy over the entire Church). Further, this misreading of Chrysostom would clearly contradict what he clearly did say elsewhere.
jb


#8

[quote=Apolonio]Fr. Ambrose,

I already answered this last time you quoted it. The quote you took out of context is speaking aboutt he local church of Jerusalem. Hence, John Chrysostom says “He was invested with chief rule,” he is speaking about being the chief ruler in Jerusalem. I invited everyone to read the context.
[/quote]

It makes no difference. If Peter were the chief of the Apostles, was he somehow excluded from that position whenever he was in Jerusalem, downgraded to a position inferior to James?

At this time Rome meant nothing to the Christian Church. Jerusalem was the centre of Christianity and its chief bishop was James.


#9

[quote=jordan]Ambrose:

I think you confuse “high authority” with “primacy.” James the brother of the Lord and Bishop of Jerusalem was entrusted with local authority while the Apostles executed Our Savior’s command to “go…and make disciples of all nations.” This “Jewish-Christian” community was this James’ flock. The dispute was about a Jewish practice. If the believers in Jerusalem could accept the gentile converts without requiring their adherence to a “Mosaic practice,” why would Jewish Christians anywhere dissent. Jerusalem was the right forum for the discussion, and this James was the local leader.
[/quote]

Dear Father Jordan,

Please see my previous reply to Apolonio.

An honest reading of the gospels, and the first half of Acts in particular, provide ample evidence to support the primacy of Peter.

Peter begins the council at Jerusalem and he suggests a way to work with Paul and not to “put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear.” After Peter speaks both Barnabas and Paul relate their own experience in the missionary field. Then it is James who delivers the decision.

Peter has to defer to James as regards the decision in Jerusalem. And after this Council in the Book of Acts it is Paul and Barnabas who become the centre of attention. There is no further mention at all of Saint Peter for the entire second half of the Book of Acts. He just disappears…


#10

[quote=Fr Ambrose] There is no further mention at all of Saint Peter for the entire second half of the Book of Acts. He just disappears…
[/quote]

The last half of the book of Acts concerns Paul and is taken from first hand accounts of Luke. If Luke was with Paul he can not have been a witness to Peter’s ministry. If being mentioned is the best criteria of determing primacy, then let us count the number of times Peter is mentioned in the Bible as opposed to the number of times James is mentioned.


#11

[quote=pnewton]The last half of the book of Acts concerns Paul and is taken from first hand accounts of Luke. If Luke was with Paul he can not have been a witness to Peter’s ministry. If being mentioned is the best criteria of determing primacy, then let us count the number of times Peter is mentioned in the Bible as opposed to the number of times James is mentioned.
[/quote]

Or the number of times Jerusalem is mentioned as opposed to Rome.


#12

Ambrose:

I have seen your reply to Apolonio and find it without merit. I do not find that he was somehow excluded from the “primacy” in Jerusalem. “High authority” as per your quote does not mean higher, or highest.

Does Peter have to defer to James. I think not. Does James pronounce a judgment before the Jewish Christian community of Jerusalem…his own community. Yes. James’ judgment concurs with what Peter has already put forth. If he had disagreed we might have a dispute about primacy.

As I said before, an honest reading of the Gospels and Acts provides ample evidence to support the primacy of Peter. And yes, the second half of Acts is primarily about Paul’s missionary work amongst the gentiles, and is, therefore, not particularly relevant to the discussion.

I don’t believe you can say that Peter “had to defer” to James at Jerusalem, although he says nothing further when James announces his judgment/concurrence, which is natural. And as we all know, Peter did not “just disappear.”

God bless,
jb


#13

[quote=jordan]As I said before, an honest reading of the Gospels and Acts provides ample evidence to support the primacy of Peter
[/quote]

Surely you would agree that the Greeks who possess the Gospels and Acts in their own native language are able to make an honest reading?
:confused:


#14

It makes no difference. If Peter were the chief of the Apostles, was he somehow excluded from that position whenever he was in Jerusalem, downgraded to a position inferior to James?

At this time Rome meant nothing to the Christian Church. Jerusalem was the centre of Christianity and its chief bishop was James.

Response:
First, Peter was not in Rome, so yeah, it “meant nothing” in the sense that there was no bishop at that time. Second, John Chrysostom said, “Jesus putteth into his hands the chief authority among the brethren” (Homily LXXXVIII on the Gospel of John, 1). He also spoke of Peter as the “chief of the apostles, first in the Church” (De Eleemos III.4) and “the coryphaeus of the choir of apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the foundation of the faith, the base of the confession, the fisherman of the world” (Hom. de decem mille talentis 3). This is not to say that Chrysostom did not speak of any headship of James (or even John), but it needs to be read in context. Chrysostom’s theology is clear: Peter is the chief, the head of the universal Church while others have headship in their local church. In fact, in the very commentary you cited, in Homily 3 of Acts, he said of Peter: “he had the same power to ordain as they all collectively.”

Now, if we want to talk about Peter in the Bible (the “historical Peter”), you know as well as I do that Eastern Orthodox theologians believe Peter had primacy of honor. But to have “primacy of honor” without some kind of jurisdiction is ridiculous in a first century mindset. Honor was given to kings, priests, and prophets. “Primacy of honor” was given to kings, stewards, and high priests. And they had jurisdiction. The kings in the middle east all had primacy of honor. In Rome, they even had to worship him. Egypt was similar. So if you’re going to say Peter only had primacy of honor and not jurisdiction, you are reconstructing history in such a way that is inconceivable in ancient times. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox theologian Eastern Orthodox scholar Nicholas Afanassieff admits this, “One cannot even say that the primacy was one of honor, for in ancient times the ideas of honor and power were closely associated” (The Primacy of Peter, Meyendorff, 113).


#15

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Surely you would agree that the Greeks who possess the Gospels and Acts in their own native language are able to make an honest reading?
:confused:
[/quote]

Some Greeks yes, but not all. Surely the Jewish people were best equipped to understand the Christ Jesus. They spoke the same language and shared the same scriptures. How is it they were not all able to make an “honest reading.” I pray for ears to hear and eyes to see.

Also, you used a bit of sarcasm in addressing me as “Father.” I have not received the sacrament of Holy Orders. Perhaps you have, but I find it a bit deceptive to refer to yourself as Fr Ambrose on this website. I believe most would expect that you are a Catholic Priest, and you clearly are not. I mean no disrespect by dropping that title, but for one who spends much time and energy attempting to undermine the Catholic faith, you are no “Father” to me. Perhaps one day you or I might see things in a different light, perhaps the Light. Is that not why we are here?

jb


#16

James was not given the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
James was not thrice commissioned by Jesus to “Feed my lambs… feed my lambs… feed my sheep.” (John)

James was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, Peter was the first Bishop of Rome. Both were martyred in their respective cities.

Jerusalem was eventually destroyed, Rome was eventually converted. (If you were Jesus, where would you put the seat of authority; the city that is doomed, or the city that will be converted and become the hub of Christianity.)

The seat of St. Peter was succeeded by St. Linus, St. Anacletus, St. Clement, St. Evaristus, St. Alexander I, St. Sixtus I, St. Telesphorus, St. Hyginus, St. Pius I, St. Anicetus, St. Soter, St. Eleutherius, St. Victor I, St. Zephyrinus, St. Callistus I, … etc.

I have given the names of the first 15 men (all saints) that have inherited the seat of the man who, according to some, is not the head of the church. The succession above dates to St. Callistus I 217-222 AD. Saints held the seat of the bishop of rome until 352 AD.

If you believe that James was the head of the church please give me the names of his first 15 successors. (Shouldn’t be hard to do. If Jesus intended James to be the head of the church, surely there would be as well defined a successorship from his seat as their are from the number 2 “big boy” Peter.)

Thal59


#17

Father Ambrose

Come on, Chrysostom is very clear that Peter was the cheif of the apostles and had the cheif authrority. Are Orthodox as selective with the Church Fathers as the protesentants?


#18

It’s also kinda funny how the “See of Peter” has always been referred to, not the “see of James” or “see of Andrew”. The See of Peter has always been emphasized.


#19

First of all those quotes by St. John. Chrysostom were great.

So does anyone know what to say about Gal2:9 when James is mentioned first out of the few times Paul mentions Peter? And what does it mean when Paul says they ‘seemed’ to be pillars?

And another thing I always hear is that Paul hardly mentions Peter in his Letters, I tell people it was understood who Peter was. Also I told that guy that the local churches that Paul wrote to were already established and they already knew about Peter, and if they were having problems relating to authority then there was a bigger problem then what Paul could fix by a simple Letter. Is there anything else I can say to people who ask this?


#20

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Surely you would agree that the Greeks who possess the Gospels and Acts in their own native language are able to make an honest reading?
:confused:
[/quote]

Well maybe the Greeks cannot read Hebrew?

Turn to Isaiah Chapter 22:22 in your bible… Or I post it:
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]“And I will place on his (Eli’akim) shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” In the passage, God appoints Eli’akim to be the Steward of the Kingdom. [/size]

Now turn to Matthew Chapter 16:18-29:
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]“I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” In the passage, God appoints Peter to be the Steward of the Kingdom.
[/size][size=2][size=2][/size][/size]
[size=2][size=2]Jesus said He was a King. Christ’s Kingdom was and remains the Kingdom of Heaven. Since He was leaving earth to ascend into heaven, He appointed a Steward to lead the flock in His absence. Just as in [size=2]ancient Israel, when the king would leave for whatever reason, the steward would be the acting ruler and would have authority in governing the kingdom. [/size][/size][/size]

The duty of a Steward is NOT to stand in front of the gates of a city and hold a piece of paper letting some people in and keeping some people out. That is duty for guards. For both Peter and Eli’akim, the key(s) represented the authority to govern/rule in the place of the King.

James was not appointed Steward by Jesus, Peter was!


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