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Preach my gospel - The Great Apostasy


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6 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

Missionary work never ceased in the early church AFAIK, and the Catholic Church has an active program today. 

The Apostasy argument is a difficult one to make. Only in light of modern revelation is it convincing.  

Every picture, statue, portrait or other depiction of the Apostle Peter shows him holding keys. The LDS are not the only people who talk about this (keys). The Catholic view is that Peter passed those keys on to his successors, the bishops of Rome. 

Catholics don’t just talk about keys but hang their hats on it. 
 

Their problem is the history is murky. Peter didn’t ordain the first two popes, Linus or Cletus. That was Paul. And Peter didn’t establish the Roman church. Although he ordained Clement, Clement resigned. So why Roman primacy?  The only thing Catholics can say is because that’s where Peter died. But does the Pope drop his keys wherever he dies?

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On 11/10/2019 at 8:22 PM, InCognitus said:

I had multiple questions in my comment, so I'm confused on which one you are answering here.  Are you saying that Clement resigned as bishop, and wrote his epistle to the Corinthians with the authoritative opening statement, "The church of God which sojourns at Rome" while not holding the office of bishop?

It is true that the term of office of a bishop is only for a period of time (and not for life), but historically bishops served in the church for a much longer period of time than they do these days.  (I remember my grandfather serving as bishop for quite a long period of time, but of course I was measuring those in kid years, not adult years). The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states that "The average length of service for all nineteenth-century Utah bishops was eleven years, but 15 percent served for more than twenty years."  It's a recent change to limit the time of service for a bishop to five to seven years. 

I’m saying that the “authoritative opening” is not nearly as clear as you’re making it out to be and that the description that comes after is not particularly clear as to the authoritative succession of bishops. So unless we can date it, we really can’t say that it was authoritatively said prior to Clement’s resignation. 

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On 11/12/2019 at 12:25 AM, mrmarklin said:

The Apostasy argument is a difficult one to make. Only in light of modern revelation is it convincing.  

It's not that difficult, but it depends perhaps on what you mean by apostasy.  It has already been demonstrated (in previous posts here) that the earliest Christians documented a fulfillment of Paul’s prophecy in that there was strife over the office of bishop in the church after the death of the apostles and replacement of bishops by people aspiring to that office.  And it’s not that difficult to document changes (and disagreements) in key doctrines between the time of the earliest Christians and those three to four hundred years later.  I could say such documentation would support the idea that the apostasy resulted in a “loss of truth” from the earth, but in order to make such an argument one would need to have an idea of what the truth was to begin with in order to recognize that something was “lost”.   This is a hard thing to measure since everyone is using a different ruler to measure with.

But one can definitely detect a change in some key doctrines, such as the pre-Nicene teaching that Jesus Christ is the “Second God”[1]  or that he is “another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things”[2],  and that kind of teaching would not go over very well in post-Nicene times.   And it’s quite well known that the earlier Christians clearly taught that men become gods, something that isn’t taught to any great degree these days outside of Mormonism except perhaps by the Eastern Orthodox.   Other obvious doctrines that have changed or where there were different or evolving teachings include procedures regarding baptism, whether or not God has a body, and teachings on creation (i.e. did God create all things out of nothing [ex-nihilo] or did God “create all things out of unformed matter”[3]).

Another notable change has to do with teachings about marriage and celibacy.  It seems that marriage is always under attack by one group or another.  The earliest statements on the chastity of the unmarried were to acknowledge their devotion to God and encourage them in their virtues given their current situations in life.  But it wasn’t long before various heresies rose up preaching against marriage, even to the point of saying “that marriage was nothing else than a corruption and fornication”[4].  The Christians defended marriage for the most part.  And even though some of the early Christians noted that Paul the apostle was a married man [5], some later Christians were beginning to reinterpret Paul to be teaching that it is better to be celibate than married [6], and that view soon became the preferred status, even the “better state” [7].   

It is all very interesting.

Footnotes to the above:

  1. Origen, Contra Celsus, book V chapter 39 (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04165.htm). Lactantius, Divine Institutes - Book IV, Chap. 6 (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/07014.htm)
  2. Justin Martyr, Dialog of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, ch 56 (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01285.htm),
  3. Justin Martyr, First Apology of Justin, Chap. 10 and 59:  (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm).
  4. Irenaeus:  Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 28:1   (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103128.htm).
  5. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to Philadelphians, ch. 4   (see:  https://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/fathers/ignatius.html), Clement of Alexandria: The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VI, 52-53 (see: http://gnosis.org/library/strom3.htm), and Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 30 (see: https://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010099.htm).
  6. Tertullian,  To His Wife Book 1 Ch. 3:  (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0404.htm).
  7. Tertullian , Against Marcion Book 1 Ch. 29, paragraph 1:  (see: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/03121.htm ).   

 

Edited by InCognitus
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On 11/12/2019 at 6:55 AM, PacMan said:

I’m saying that the “authoritative opening” is not nearly as clear as you’re making it out to be and that the description that comes after is not particularly clear as to the authoritative succession of bishops. So unless we can date it, we really can’t say that it was authoritatively said prior to Clement’s resignation. 

The dating is only important if you think Clement was trying to advocate that new bishops be called in the approved manner, and he was definitely not doing that.  He only says that the bishops that were appointed by the apostles (through the approved method of appointing them) should not be replaced by those who were trying to obtain that office by their own means.  So because the letter doesn't really say what some people think it says, it makes no difference when it was dated relative to his departure from the office.  

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On 11/16/2019 at 4:12 PM, InCognitus said:

The dating is only important if you think Clement was trying to advocate that new bishops be called in the approved manner, and he was definitely not doing that.  He only says that the bishops that were appointed by the apostles (through the approved method of appointing them) should not be replaced by those who were trying to obtain that office by their own means.  So because the letter doesn't really say what some people think it says, it makes no difference when it was dated relative to his departure from the office.  

The approved method for apostles to appoint bishops was for the apostles to lay their hands on the man's head, the man they chose to ordain as a bishop, and appoint him to that office. After all the apostles were killed, except for John who they could not find, there were no apostles left to appoint any more bishops.

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On 11/16/2019 at 3:56 PM, InCognitus said:

It's not that difficult, but it depends perhaps on what you mean by apostasy.  It has already been demonstrated (in previous posts here) that the earliest Christians documented a fulfillment of Paul’s prophecy in that there was strife over the office of bishop in the church after the death of the apostles and replacement of bishops by people aspiring to that office.  And it’s not that difficult to document changes (and disagreements) in key doctrines between the time of the earliest Christians and those three to four hundred years later.  I could say such documentation would support the idea that the apostasy resulted in a “loss of truth” from the earth, but in order to make such an argument one would need to have an idea of what the truth was to begin with in order to recognize that something was “lost”.   This is a hard thing to measure since everyone is using a different ruler to measure with.

But one can definitely detect a change in some key doctrines, such as the pre-Nicene teaching that Jesus Christ is the “Second God”[1]  or that he is “another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things”[2],  and that kind of teaching would not go over very well in post-Nicene times.   And it’s quite well known that the earlier Christians clearly taught that men become gods, something that isn’t taught to any great degree these days outside of Mormonism except perhaps by the Eastern Orthodox.   Other obvious doctrines that have changed or where there were different or evolving teachings include procedures regarding baptism, whether or not God has a body, and teachings on creation (i.e. did God create all things out of nothing [ex-nihilo] or did God “create all things out of unformed matter”[3]).

Another notable change has to do with teachings about marriage and celibacy.  It seems that marriage is always under attack by one group or another.  The earliest statements on the chastity of the unmarried were to acknowledge their devotion to God and encourage them in their virtues given their current situations in life.  But it wasn’t long before various heresies rose up preaching against marriage, even to the point of saying “that marriage was nothing else than a corruption and fornication”[4].  The Christians defended marriage for the most part.  And even though some of the early Christians noted that Paul the apostle was a married man [5], some later Christians were beginning to reinterpret Paul to be teaching that it is better to be celibate than married [6], and that view soon became the preferred status, even the “better state” [7].   

It is all very interesting.

Footnotes to the above:

  1. Origen, Contra Celsus, book V chapter 39 (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04165.htm). Lactantius, Divine Institutes - Book IV, Chap. 6 (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/07014.htm)
  2. Justin Martyr, Dialog of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, ch 56 (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01285.htm),
  3. Justin Martyr, First Apology of Justin, Chap. 10 and 59:  (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm).
  4. Irenaeus:  Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 28:1   (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103128.htm).
  5. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to Philadelphians, ch. 4   (see:  https://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/fathers/ignatius.html), Clement of Alexandria: The Stromata, or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VI, 52-53 (see: http://gnosis.org/library/strom3.htm), and Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 30 (see: https://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010099.htm).
  6. Tertullian,  To His Wife Book 1 Ch. 3:  (see:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0404.htm).
  7. Tertullian , Against Marcion Book 1 Ch. 29, paragraph 1:  (see: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/03121.htm ).   

 

Thanks.

And all in New Advent!

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13 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Thanks.

And all in New Advent!

Not all, unfortunately.   Clement of Alexandria's The Stromata, Book III, is not translated into English on the New Advent site.  The New Advent text of that chapter is in Latin ( http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02103.htm).  But that chapter is also untranslated (in Latin) in the Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 Volume Set) that was first published in 1885.  I think the New Advent site is using the same source.  A footnote to that chapter in the books (I couldn't find this on the New Advent site) explains the reason it wasn't translated into English as follows:

Quote

After much consideration, the Editors have deemed it best to give the whole of this book in Latin. [In the former Book, Clement has shown, not without a decided leaning to chaste celibacy, that marriage is a holy estate, and consistent with the perfect man in Christ. He now enters upon the refutation of the false-Gnostics and their licentious tenets. Professing a stricter rule to begin with, and despising the ordinances of the Creator, their result was the grossest immorality in practice. The melancholy consequences of an enforced celibacy are, here, all foreseen and foreshown; and this Book, though necessarily offensive to our Christian tastes, is most useful as a commentary upon the history of monasticism, and the celibacy of priests, in the Western churches. The resolution of the Edinburgh editors to give this Book to scholars only, in the Latin, is probably wise. I subjoin a succinct analysis, in the elucidations.]

If I was an advocate of conspiracy theories I would say that refusing to translate this chapter qualifies :).   But fortunately there are English translations online elsewhere (like the link I provided).  It's a useful historical text attesting to the ongoing attacks on marriage.

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16 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Not all, unfortunately.   Clement of Alexandria's The Stromata, Book III, is not translated into English on the New Advent site.  The New Advent text of that chapter is in Latin ( http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02103.htm).  But that chapter is also untranslated (in Latin) in the Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 Volume Set) that was first published in 1885.  I think the New Advent site is using the same source.  A footnote to that chapter in the books (I couldn't find this on the New Advent site) explains the reason it wasn't translated into English as follows:

If I was an advocate of conspiracy theories I would say that refusing to translate this chapter qualifies :).   But fortunately there are English translations online elsewhere (like the link I provided).  It's a useful historical text attesting to the ongoing attacks on marriage.

I know this will not change anyone's opinion about the Great Apostasy, but I still want to point out to anyone else reading this thread in the future that the English text discussed above was translated by Anglicans, with footnotes, summaries, and analyses by Anglican editors. Any advocate of conspiracy theories would need to be accusing the Church of England for obscuring information, by failing to translate some passages. It seems to me like what is said above could be susceptible to misunderstanding on this point.

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55 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

I know this will not change anyone's opinion about the Great Apostasy, but I still want to point out to anyone else reading this thread in the future that the English text discussed above was translated by Anglicans, with footnotes, summaries, and analyses by Anglican editors. Any advocate of conspiracy theories would need to be accusing the Church of England for obscuring information, by failing to translate some passages. It seems to me like what is said above could be susceptible to misunderstanding on this point.

Thank you for pointing that out.  I didn't mean to imply it was a Catholic choice to not translate it, although it might have been nice if a different source for that chapter was used on the New Advent website.  The ANF series has been around for a long time, and that's obviously why most of the digital libraries use it since it is in the public domain.  Before the internet was available I was annoyed that I didn't have access to that chapter in English and I was glad to find it on the internet later on.  I also found out later that a woman in my ward can read Latin, but by the time she moved in it was after I had already found English translations to all the things I was missing. 

I'm not big on conspiracy theories, and I hope I am reasonable enough to recognize that there may be other reasons for why a particular choice was made.  It just seems kind of lame for the Edinburgh "scholars" to leave this chapter to the scholars alone, since that isn't a very scholarly choice by today's standards.

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