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Switch to Forum Live View The Apostolic Churches and the One Catholic Church
6 years ago  ::  Feb 17, 2011 - 4:23PM #1
Cjbanning
Posts: 282
"The one Church of Jesus Christ--'one, holy, catholic, and apostolic' (Nicene Creed)--subsists in the apostolic churches governed by the historic episcopate." True or false? Certainly the many elements of truth and sanctification which are found outside those structures are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ which impel towards catholic unity under apostolic authority (cf. Vatican II, LG no. 8).

I've been thinking about this for the past few days, and I'm tempted to dismiss it as a distinction without a difference. After all, "subsist" isn't really a word in my speaking or writing vocabularies. I know I would want to affirm the following two truths:
  1. Non-apostolic churches, like the Southern Baptist Convention, are part of the Body of Christ.
  2. The apostolic churches play a central role in the functioning of the one holy Catholic Church; there is a sense in which the apostolic churches are more reflexive of the Catholic Church because they preserve its fundamental structure (apostolic sucession).

#2 is true in part because of what Fr. Dan Dunlap calls the apostolic churches' "unique and peculiar calling within the kingdom of God to preserve and guard what can be termed the 'Great Story' or 'True Myth' (in Lewis' sense)." The other part has to do with the Church's role as the source of the sacraments which are, of course, the means of grace--but I can't quite make clear to myself what the link between the sacraments and apostolic authority is and/or should be. (There are plenty of people who believe that a valid sacrament does not require someone who was ordained by a bishop--indeed, this is the Anglican position on the sacrament of reconciliation--and there doesn't seem anything incoherent about that position.)

Saying that the one Church subsists in the apostolic churches is one way of emphasizing #2, but possibly in the course of doing so manages to deny #1. Possibly; I'm not convinced one way or the other.  
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"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best." -- "St. Paul's" [deutero-Pauline] Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 17, 2011 - 9:06PM #2
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

If you mean that churches which do not accept "apostolic succession" as not "apostolic" is questionable.


Southern Baptists hold that the Scriptures alone are the sole repository of apostolic authority. The Bible itself is our authority and is the only one that is needful.

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 9:31AM #3
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144

Feb 17, 2011 -- 4:23PM, Cjbanning wrote:

"The one Church of Jesus Christ--'one, holy, catholic, and apostolic' (Nicene Creed)--subsists in the apostolic churches governed by the historic episcopate." True or false? Certainly the many elements of truth and sanctification which are found outside those structures are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ which impel towards catholic unity under apostolic authority (cf. Vatican II, LG no. 8).


Certain pronouncements set off red lights and warning bells:
-  the check's in the mail.
-  this used car is as good as new.
-  trust me, this horse ain't lame.
-  the Vatican has decreed.


I've been thinking about this for the past few days, and I'm tempted to dismiss it as a distinction without a difference. After all, "subsist" isn't really a word in my speaking or writing vocabularies.


CJ, this is all "Vatican-Speak", and it's all about authority, domination and control.  Just check out the history of RCism.  The Vatican has arrogated unto itself the supreme authority to pronounce on all issues, evaluated other expressions of Christianity, and has even enunciated unscriptural dogmas and invested some of its dogmas with infallibility.  Does that comport with the compassionate and humble discipleship evidenced by Jesus of Nazareth ?


 I know I would want to affirm the following two truths:


  1. Non-apostolic churches, like the Southern Baptist Convention, are part of the Body of Christ.
  2. The apostolic churches play a central role in the functioning of the one holy Catholic Church; there is a sense in which the apostolic churches are more reflexive of the Catholic Church because they preserve its fundamental structure (apostolic sucession).
  3. All baptized Christians imvho are part of the Body of Christ; that is intrinsic to our baptismal formula.
  4. Apostolic Sucession is transmitted through baptism and the  preaching of the Gospel Message of Love and Salvation through Christ Jesus.  What we have with bishop-to-bishop transmission is tactual sucession.


#2 is true in part because of what Fr. Dan Dunlap calls the apostolic churches' "unique and peculiar calling within the kingdom of God to preserve and guard what can be termed the 'Great Story' or 'True Myth' (in Lewis' sense)." The other part has to do with the Church's role as the source of the sacraments which are, of course, the means of grace--but I can't quite make clear to myself what the link between the sacraments and apostolic authority is and/or should be. (There are plenty of people who believe that a valid sacrament does not require someone who was ordained by a bishop--indeed, this is the Anglican position on the sacrament of reconciliation--and there doesn't seem anything incoherent about that position.)


If we agree that a sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ or the Church acting in Christ's authority & commission, as a means of showing forth God's love/grace, then the entirety of God's Creation is The Great Primal Sacrament.  I would not deem it anything less majestic and sacred.  The two domenical and five ecclesial sacraments are drawn from the Primal Sacrament as means of grace throughout the various stages of one's  life.  The same holds true for that indeterminate number of "sacramentals". 


I can even envision the Cha No Yu ceremony being "sacramentalized" for Japanese Christians.  This would hold true for other indigenous rites, insofar as they may convey but not conflict with the Gospel.  Why not?
Saying that the one Church subsists in the apostolic churches is one way of emphasizing #2, but possibly in the course of doing so manages to deny #1. Possibly; I'm not convinced one way or the other.  



Face it --- this is a self-aggrendizing institutional pronouncement; designed to "subsist" degrees of validity right out of non-RC churches; that's its only practical function.  In the Great Commission, Jesus tasked his Disciples to make Disciples of all nations.  The Vatican has subverted this with making obedient RCs of all nations.  Many evils have historically followed from this distortion.

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 9:58AM #4
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144

Feb 17, 2011 -- 9:06PM, Roodog wrote:


If you mean that churches which do not accept "apostolic succession" as not "apostolic" is questionable.


Don't Baptist Churches accept apostolic succession through baptism per immersion and the Trinitarian formula?


Southern Baptists hold that the Scriptures alone are the sole repository of apostolic authority. The Bible itself is our authority and is the only one that is needful.


Inasmuch as the Church antedated and producted the scriptures, determined the canonical vs. non-canonical status of various books, one must logically conclude that the
Church is the needful element.  OBTW --- where does the bible itself state that it is to be the sole and singularly needful source of religious authority?


Please don't bother dragging-out 2Tim.3:16.  That is a statement of utility; not singularity.





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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 11:16AM #5
Cjbanning
Posts: 282

Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

Certain pronouncements set off red lights and warning bells:


[. . .]


-  the Vatican has decreed.


The "cf." was more of a "contrast" than a "compare." The key thing I find interesting about the way I used the Vatican's language is the way I swapped apostolic authority (the entire historic episcopate) for Petrine authority. And since in the Episcopal Church bishops are elected, we actually have a bottom-up ecclesiology.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

CJ, this is all "Vatican-Speak", and it's all about authority, domination and control.  Just check out the history of RCism.  The Vatican has arrogated unto itself the supreme authority to pronounce on all issues, evaluated other expressions of Christianity, and has even enunciated unscriptural dogmas and invested some of its dogmas with infallibility.  Does that comport with the compassionate and humble discipleship evidenced by Jesus of Nazareth ?


That the Bishop of Rome has usurped the authority which properly belongs to the Church as a whole as governed by the historic episcopate, I do not question. I'm no more a friend of the Vatican as you are.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

All baptized Christians imvho are part of the Body of Christ; that is intrinsic to our baptismal formula.


Yes! Amen! That's absolutely part of what I want to affirm.  


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

 Apostolic Sucession is transmitted through baptism and the  preaching of the Gospel Message of Love and Salvation through Christ Jesus.  What we have with bishop-to-bishop transmission is tactual sucession.


I don't think this is the understanding of apostolic succession called for by the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral in its requirement of "[t]he Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of [God's] Church." The 1886 House of Bishops saw that as an inherent part of "the substantial deposit of Christian Faith and Order committed by Christ and [Christ's] Apostles to the Church unto the end of the world, and therefore incapable of compromise or surrender by those who have been ordained to be its stewards and trustees for the common and equal benefit of all [human persons]" that was "essential to the restoration of unity among the divided branches of Christendom" and affirmed "that the Christian unity...can be restored only by the return of all Christian communions to the principles of unity exemplified by the undivided Catholic Church during the first ages of its existence" with the historic episcopate being one of those principles.


The Episcopal Church went to great lengths to get its bishops validly consecrated in the wake of the break from the Church of England. They didn't do it because they didn't think it was important. And this understanding continues to be normative: as part of TEC's full communion agreement with the ELCA, new Lutheran bishops are consecrated into the historic episcopate by the presence of an Episcopal bishop.


The consecration of bishops isn't something I'm going to give up on.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

If we agree that a sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ or the Church acting in Christ's authority & commission, as a means of showing forth God's love/grace, then the entirety of God's Creation is The Great Primal Sacrament.  I would not deem it anything less majestic and sacred.  The two domenical and five ecclesial sacraments are drawn from the Primal Sacrament as means of grace throughout the various stages of one's  life.  The same holds true for that indeterminate number of "sacramentals".


I don't see anything to disagree with here in and of itself.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

I can even envision the Cha No Yu ceremony being "sacramentalized" for Japanese Christians.  This would hold true for other indigenous rites, insofar as they may convey but not conflict with the Gospel.  Why not? 


Well, we can't add to the official list of sacraments any more than we can add books to the Bible, and for the same reason: the Tradition of the catholic Church is fairly well established on that point. But just as the Spirit can speak through texts other than Scripture, so can God move at any moment in any place. I'd hope that would be non-controversial. 


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

Face it --- this is a self-aggrendizing institutional pronouncement; designed to "subsist" degrees of validity right out of non-RC churches; that's its only practical function.


No, that's the purpose of the Vatican II statement which used Petrine authority where I used apostolic authority. The purpose of my statement is to assert that churches that don't keep apostolic succession are missing out on something crucial, which I don't think is a particularly radical statement for an Anglican to make.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

In the Great Commission, Jesus tasked his Disciples to make Disciples of all nations.  The Vatican has subverted this with making obedient RCs of all nations.  Many evils have historically followed from this distortion.


Episcopal polity requires obedience to the episcopate--not slavish submission or uncritical abandonment of one's faculties, but a basic (and not particularly onerous) obedience to the diocesan shepherd. I wouldn't be Episcopalian if I were uncomfortable with it; it's right there in the title. The Episcopal Church is a church governed by bishops.

http://cjbanning.dreamwidth.org

"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best." -- "St. Paul's" [deutero-Pauline] Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

"Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD." -- First Isaiah 1:18
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 12:32PM #6
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144

Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

 Apostolic Sucession is transmitted through baptism and the  preaching of the Gospel Message of Love and Salvation through Christ Jesus.  What we have with bishop-to-bishop transmission is tactual sucession.[


/quote] I don't think this is the understanding of apostolic succession called for by the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral in its requirement of "[t]he Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of [God's] Church." The 1886 House of Bishops saw that as an inherent part of "the substantial deposit of Christian Faith and Order committed by Christ and [Christ's] Apostles to the Church unto the end of the world, and therefore incapable of compromise or surrender by those who have been ordained to be its stewards and trustees for the common and equal benefit of all [human persons]" that was "essential to the restoration of unity among the divided branches of Christendom" and affirmed "that the Christian unity...can be restored only by the return of all Christian communions to the principles of unity exemplified by the undivided Catholic Church during the first ages of its existence" with the historic episcopate being one of those principles.


Tactual succession and consecration are important foundations of Anglicanism and are important to me personally.  I affirm them.  My point is that, while Normative and Customary, they are not the sole mode of transmission of apostolic authority and validity.  After all, scripture declares  all baptized Christians "a royal priesthood".  Whether that is understood singularly or collectively, that priesthood is transmitted per baptism; not per the hands of an ecclesiastic.  There are no "laity" in the Church; all baptized believers are "royal priests".


Episcopal tactual succession, as the normative and customary mode, is the practical measure insuring that the person so designated is properly vetted, trained, and authorized to conduct in the name of the institutional church.  It helps reduce centrifugal forces which splinter the church and de-authorizes jackleg clergy.  It is our way; not of necessity every church's way.


 


The consecration of bishops isn't something I'm going to give up on.


Nor would I.  It is central to our Anglican heritage.


 Well, we can't add to the official list of sacraments any more than we can add books to the Bible, and for the same reason: the Tradition of the catholic Church is fairly well established on that point.


The church has indeed added to the list of sacraments.  Holy Matrimony wasn't deemed a sacrament until the third or fourth centuries.  The medieval theologian Peter Lombard enumerated approx. 30 sacraments --- I forget his exact number.  The "7" wasn't firmed-up until centuries after the church moved into the Diaspora.  In any case, the tea ceremony and similar indigenous rites (I don't advocate making them sacraments; that would create difficulties) may easily be designated "sacramentals", of which there are no finalized number.


 But just as the Spirit can speak through texts other than Scripture, so can God move at any moment in any place. I'd hope that would be non-controversial. 


Well, God did prophesy through Balaam's donkey.  So, why not?


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

Face it --- this is a self-aggrendizing institutional pronouncement; designed to "subsist" degrees of validity right out of non-RC churches; that's its only practical function.


No, that's the purpose of the Vatican II statement which used Petrine authority where I used apostolic authority. The purpose of my statement is to assert that churches that don't keep apostolic succession are missing out on something crucial, which I don't think is a particularly radical statement for an Anglican to make.


No, it certainly isn't.  I'm glad you distinguish between Petrine and Apostolic authority.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 9:31AM, Dutch777 wrote:

In the Great Commission, Jesus tasked his Disciples to make Disciples of all nations.  The Vatican has subverted this with making obedient RCs of all nations.  Many evils have historically followed from this distortion.


Episcopal polity requires obedience to the episcopate--not slavish submission or uncritical abandonment of one's faculties, but a basic (and not particularly onerous) obedience to the diocesan shepherd. I wouldn't be Episcopalian if I were uncomfortable with it; it's right there in the title. The Episcopal Church is a church governed by bishops.




A decent comportment with rightfully established authority is intelligent ordliness as opposed to pig-headed anarchy.

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 1:38PM #7
Cjbanning
Posts: 282

Feb 18, 2011 -- 12:32PM, Dutch777 wrote:

 After all, scripture declares  all baptized Christians "a royal priesthood".  Whether that is understood singularly or collectively, that priesthood is transmitted per baptism; not per the hands of an ecclesiastic.  There are no "laity" in the Church; all baptized believers are "royal priests". 


While "An Outline of Our Faith" does use the term "laity," I agree with this in spirit.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 12:32PM, Dutch777 wrote:

Tactual succession and consecration are important foundations of Anglicanism and are important to me personally.  I affirm them.  My point is that, while Normative and Customary, they are not the sole mode of transmission of apostolic authority and validity. 


[. . .]


Episcopal tactual succession, as the normative and customary mode, is the practical measure insuring that the person so designated is properly vetted, trained, and authorized to conduct in the name of the institutional church.  It helps reduce centrifugal forces which splinter the church and de-authorizes jackleg clergy.  It is our way; not of necessity every church's way.


While the bishops' 1886 document doesn't specify the ways in which the historic episcopate is populated, I think it is clear that when it speaks of the "historic episcopate" it is not talking about the entire collective of baptized persons, royal priesthood though they may be. And so while we can argue over the semantics of "apostolic," I think it is clear that the Quadrilateral asserts that episcopal sucession is normative to the entire Church of Christ.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 12:32PM, Dutch777 wrote:

The church has indeed added to the list of sacraments.  Holy Matrimony wasn't deemed a sacrament until the third or fourth centuries.  The medieval theologian Peter Lombard enumerated approx. 30 sacraments --- I forget his exact number.  The "7" wasn't firmed-up until centuries after the church moved into the Diaspora.


Third/fourth century isn't particularly late compared to the formalization of the scriptural canon or the clarification of the doctrine of the Trinity. "Firming up" sounds like a reasonable affirmation of traditional practice already in place.


Feb 18, 2011 -- 12:32PM, Dutch777 wrote:

 In any case, the tea ceremony and similar indigenous rites (I don't advocate making them sacraments; that would create difficulties) may easily be designated "sacramentals", of which there are no finalized number.


Total agreement. (Although there is a distinction between the sacraments and sacramentals beyond simply whether or not they're on the list of seven. It's between that which provides grace in itself, operating ex opere operato, and that which merely operates ex opere operantis Ecclesiae.)

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"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best." -- "St. Paul's" [deutero-Pauline] Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

"Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD." -- First Isaiah 1:18
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 1:42PM #8
journeying
Posts: 2,317

Episcopal polity requires obedience to the episcopate--not slavish submission or uncritical abandonment of one's faculties, but a basic (and not particularly onerous) obedience to the diocesan shepherd. I wouldn't be Episcopalian if I were uncomfortable with it; it's right there in the title. The Episcopal Church is a church governed by bishops.




Hmmm.  I don't recall ever agreeing to do anything of the sort but I'm not clergy.  I'm willing to allow him (in our case) to make certain decisions with which I may agree or disagree but I'm unwilling to bend a knee to or for him. 


(another hmmm.  They don't work for me either Dutch.)

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 1:55PM #9
holst
Posts: 245

I am a big boxing fan, always have been. 


In the heavyweight division, there has always been a fair bit of importance placed on "linear" titles.  Actually, this is true lower weight classes, but perhaps a bit less so.  To be the real champ, you have to be able to say that you're "the man who beat the man who beat the man"  Mike Tyson came along in the mid 1980s and was extremely dominant.  He quickly won championship belts that had been vacant, and he beat the best fighters available to him.  But at the time, The Ring Magazine (the Bible of Boxing) would not call him the Heavyweight Champion Of The World until he faced Michael Spinks.  Mr. Spinks had not fought in over a year, had no "official" championship belt to wear, but he was undefeated and was the last man to win the linear title in a boxing ring.


I liken the above situation to the whole concept of apostolic succession.  If one stands for certain beliefs, adheres to certain practices and standards, and has the same mission in the world, then why do they need to be able to trace their roots to an earlier organization?  Why do they need to follow an unbroken chain of laying on of hands all the way back to St. Peter?  What's the difference?  Tyson was the best in 1988 prior to his meeting with Michael Spinks (who he kayoed in 91 seconds when they finally fought that year).  Tyson already claimed his belts, beat the best, displayed great powers, and was willing to fight anyone.  But still he needed to fight Spinks in order to appease those who questioned his status as champion.


"Apostolic succession" is a cool and attractive term, but it only serves to enforce the view that one must have physical and political links with an historical organization in order to be bonafide. 


Now, I don't want to digress any further, but in today's heavyweight division its a bit different, with two brothers ruling as champs, and who of course shall never fight in the ring.  And neither is the linear claimant to the Heavyweight Championship.  But let's not go there.

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2011 - 3:06PM #10
Dutch777
Posts: 9,144

CJB:


Yes, of course tactual apostolic succession is normative to the church; it is also customary and useful in a practical sense. It is our Anglican way.  It is not, however, the exclusive mode of transmission of the gospel, the Christian sacraments, and discipleship.  These derive from God's grace, freely given.  God is not bound by humanly contrived theologies or ecclesiologies. 


No rite, ritual, sacrament or sacramental operates by itself or in any autonomous manner.  It is a means of God's grace only insofar as God channels His grace through them.  God, not form and matter,  priest or bishop,  is the author and dispensor of that grace.


As for the number "7" of the sacraments, this was arrived at only during the medieval period.  St. Otto of Bamberg definitively enumerates the sacraments at 7 in the year 1139, although speculatively Peter Lombard may have eventually arrived at that number.  He was indeterminate about the precise number; he at one time conceived of about 30 sacraments.  The seven sacraments were made the official count during the Council of Trent, so the precise enumeration of the sacraments is a rather late determination.

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