Plurality of elders


#1

vs. one monarchial bishop in the early church? I’ve read all the apologetics of Peter being the rock, both for and against. Church history seems to be leading me towards the idea of a plurality of elders. I’ve also been told that the list of popes wasn’t started until later, to fight against the Gnostics, and that there are differences in the lists.

If the papacy is something that developed, where was that in God’s plan? Didn’t the early church meet in homes and have agape meals with no vestments or incense (considered pagan)?

Also, some later Catholic teachings were fought against and not believed by all theologians in the church. Weren’t doctrines supposed to be believed by all in all times in order to become “must-believe” doctrine? :confused:

confession, for one, was originally just people standing up in church and confessing. When did it become the norm that only the priest could absolve you, and then make you do penance?

oneseeker


#2

Church history seems to be leading me towards the idea of a plurality of elders.

Plurality of elders (presbyteroi) do not preclude a monarchical bishop.


#3

I don’t understand that.

oneseeker


#4

I don’t understand this? I’ve always been taught it was one or the other? Also, what about the pope lists, and simple meetings at homes with no vestments?

oneseeker


#5

Put it this way, on the very sensible advice of his father-in-law Jethro, Moses appointed judges over Israel to help him in those tasks which were becoming a burden to him. If I remember correctly they were organised in hierarchies, some administering small groups, while others administered larger ones (presumably overseeing those who looked after the smaller).

Did this delegation mean there was no longer one supreme (monarchical if you like) representative of God in Israel? Not a bit of it.

Or the US Federal legislature today - every district has its representatives in Congress and Senate, and they mos frequently make laws by consultation and majority consensus. And yet one man, the President, still has the veto over all of them, no? Does the list of Presidents of the US mean that no-one else in the country has any sort of power or authority? Of course they do, but his is supreme.

As for people meeting in their homes with no vestments - well of course they did! The Church was being persecuted and was small and scattered - priests were few and far between.

People in remote communities even today will hold religious services in the absence of a priest or pastor when one cannot visit, doesn’t mean that they deny the authority of those priests and pastors, does it?


#6

The Papacy goes back to the very beginning,
and the early bishops were successors of the apostles.
The term translated “elder” (presbyter) were those who were ordained with priestly powers as helpers of the bishops.
Peter, in Rome, was the chief Bishop of that city and
appointed Linus, Cletus, and Clement to be the first three successors after him, which is precisely what took place.
Some historians rendered Cletus as “Anacletus” and that might be where the confusion in the papal lists originated.
The history of the papacy really is splendidly documented.

As for meeting in private homes and not wearing vestments,
that means nothing at all. The church was ILLEGAL in those days and COULD NOT meet in churches and basilicas.
When the Church was legalized and came “above-ground” so to speak, then the most glorious Eucharist began to be surrounded by the splendid incense, music, and vestments befitting the dignity of such an august sacrifice and sacrament.

Jaypeeto4
+JMJ+


#7

Yes, confession was at one time public-- in front of the assembly. But, the priest absolved the penitent and gave them penance to do. I’m not sure where you got the idea that public confession precludes absolution by a priest.

You can read about this in the early church writings including specific penances for particular offenses.


#8

Although the New Testament is not so clear on this point, by the time Ignatius of Antioch wrote his letters to various local Churches, about A.D. 110, a dozen years after the death of the last Apostle, the practice of having a single bishop over each local Church, with a number of priests (presbyters/elders) and deacons under him seems to have been the norm. Ignatius’ letters come so close to the time of the Apostles that this practice was probably of apostolic origin.


#9

Incense considered pagan are you kidding me?

The Jews used it (and probably still do) and it is used by the angels in Revelation. As long as it could be afforded it was probably alwatys used

As for vestments they were normal clothes in Roman times so yes they were worn


#10

(plurality of elders) [size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]vs. one monarchial bishop in the early church? I’ve read all the apologetics of Peter being the rock, both for and against. Church history seems to be leading me towards the idea of a plurality of elders. I’ve also been told that the list of popes wasn’t started until later, to fight against the Gnostics, and that there are differences in the lists.

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There was plurality of elders. The bishop of Rome had the same jurisdiction as any bishop, just as the Pope has local jurisdiction for the diocese of Rome. Bishop Tonnos has local jurisdiction for the diocese of Hamilton, ON. The difference is that whoever was the bishop of Rome was a direct successor of Peter. That is why Clement I was the recognized universally accepted Pope when the Apostle John was still alive. John, even though he was of the original 12, did not have the chair of Peter, so John could not be Pope.

If the papacy is something that developed, where was that in God’s plan? Didn’t the early church meet in homes and have agape meals with no vestments or incense (considered pagan)?

Incense is something that developed after the severe persecutions stopped, and is found in both Testaments . Vestments come from the Jews, so I think it’s safe to conclude that the early JEWISH Christians used vestments. There is strong traditional proof of the papacy, which is protected from error by God the same as scripture (scripture comes from tradition, they are very much intertwined and inseparable), but there is little documented evidence of the development of the papacy for several reasons:

  1. they had no phones or fax machines
  2. the Church was under severe persecution for 300 years, and the first 30 popes were martyred.
  3. Therefore it’s safe to conclude that any post-biblical correspondence was hidden from and destroyed by the Roman government
  4. They did not use terms like pope, papacy, infallibility, universal jurisdiction, and so on. But they existed in rudimentary form.

[size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Also, some later Catholic teachings were fought against and not believed by all theologians in the church. Weren’t doctrines supposed to be believed by all in all times in order to become “must-believe” doctrine?

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There is not one Early Church Father who, after a dispute was settled, rebelled against the Church. Not one. I say this with absolute certainty, because if an ECF did rebel, they could be called an ECF. It is true that some ECF’s had opposing opinions, but none of them rebelled after a decision was made. The Church is a teaching Church, not a learning Church, and not subject to opinions. Universal acceptance of books of the Bible was one criteria for canonization, not for “must-believe” doctrines, and the only “must-believe” doctrines are listed in the Apostles Creed.


#11

confession, for one, was originally just people standing up in church and confessing. When did it become the norm that only the priest could absolve you, and then make you do penance?

It first became the norm in Num. 5:7 This shows the historical practice of publicly confessing sins, and making public restitution. In the NT, confession became the norm after the Apostles were given the power to forgive sins. Public confession of sins was never the norm. Public penance, yes, for a time.

“As regards the method of confessing secretly to the priest alone, though Christ did not forbid that any one, in punishment of his crimes and for his own humiliation as also to give others an example and to edify the Church, should confess his sins publicly, still, this has not been commanded by Divine precept nor would it be prudent to decree by any human law that sins, especially secret sins, should be publicly confessed. Since, then, secret sacramental confession, which from the beginning has been and even now is the usage of the Church, was always commended with great and unanimous consent by the holiest and most ancient Fathers; thereby is plainly refuted the foolish calumny of those who make bold to teach that it (secret confession) is something foreign to the Divine command, a human invention devised by the Fathers assembled in the Lateran Council” (Council of Trent, Sess. XIV, c. 5). It is therefore Catholic doctrine, first, that Christ did not prescribe public confession, salutary as it might be, nor did He forbid it; second, that secret confession, sacramental in character, has been the practice of the Church from the earliest days.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm


#12

But it’s significant that Ignatius never names a bishop of Rome. The lists of bishops come from later in the second century and don’t quite agree with each other. It’s reasonable to suppose that in fact there were several leaders of the Roman church at this point, and that this is why the later lists are rather confusing–they are describing as successors to each other people who may have shared a position of leadership at the same time.

However, a monarchical episcopate had clearly emerged by the early second century in Antioch.

Edwin


#13

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