Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Roman Primacy

I can't help but read some Catholic polemics ("Journey Home" anyone?). It's like a train wreck - you can't look away...

The Ignatius Insight blog had an interesting link (the link has died, a search for "ravenna" at HPR can bring it back, or check the Google cache) on the "historical fact" of the Roman Primacy.

Of course, it is a fact, in terms of "something that actually happened".

An interesting quote:
"our Lord Jesus Christ gave the ministerial leadership of his Church to Peter and intended this office (like the Church itself) to continue permanently"
Peter had the office and gift of apostle. This is effectively a form of continuationism (the opposite of cessationism).

The Internet Monk recently commented on "The Coming Evangelical Collapse". In part 2, he sees a strong movement toward Charismatic-Pentecostal theology. This theology is also strongly continualist (I recently attended a church headed by an "Apostle").

Interesting times...


TheDen said...


That quote is a reference to Matthew 16:19. Jesus Christ gives him the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

That's an office as referenced in Isaiah 22: 15-22.

You can see the parallel in the two verses.

TheDen said...


One other item. In Acts 1:20, Peter quotes Scripture and says, "May another take his office." At which point they draw lots and choose Matthias to succeed Judas.

If they replaced Judas (and refer to his Apostolate as an "office") why is it such a stretch that they replaced Peter?

So, when Peter died, he was replaced. His replacement wasn't an Apostle as Matthias wasn't an Apostle; however, his office continued.

The modern day Catholic (and Orthodox) bishops are directly descended from the Apostles.

And the "office" of the Pope is directly descended from Peter.

nedbrek said...


Thanks for your comment, it is really making me think!

Was Matthias a "real" Apostle? I'm not so sure.

Back in my post "Thirteen", I said that Matthias and Paul were replacements for Judas (Drawing a parallel to the two half-tribes descended from Joseph).

Now I have argued myself into believing he probably was...

But as to continuing... the requirements for the office are given in Acts 1:20-22 "Of the men therefore that have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us, of these must one become a witness with us of his resurrection."

So the office ended when the last of the eye witnesses died.

TheDen said...


I understand how you interpret that. Historically, we have evidence of the Apostolic Succession; so, the early Christians disagree with your interpretation.

Of course, if there were eyewitnesses, they would be the ones who would replace the Apostles. However, as time went on and the witnesses died off, they needed to choose others.

We have evidence of the office of Peter (Bishop of Rome/Pope) and the office of James (Bishop/Patriarch of Jerusalem), the office of Andrew (Bishop/Patriarch of Constantinople i.e. Direct successors from the time of Christ to today.

Your interpretation isn't the historical understanding and doesn't address the "keys to the kingdom of heaven" which again refers to an office.