(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.
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:
- they had no phones or fax machines
- the Church was under severe persecution for 300 years, and the first 30 popes were martyred.
- Therefore it’s safe to conclude that any post-biblical correspondence was hidden from and destroyed by the Roman government
- 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?
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.