Was The Papacy Established By Christ? (Part 2)
By Jason Engwer andA Response by Scott Windsor
Because neither the apostolic nor the earliest post-apostolic Christians refer to a jurisdictional primacy of the bishop of Rome, Catholics often cite references to any type of primacy of the Roman church. But a non-jurisdictional primacy of the Roman church doesn't prove a jurisdictional primacy of the Roman bishop.
Well here we have Mr. Engwer conceding to at least some form of primacy which is held by the “Roman church.” The Church at Rome is where the successor of St. Peter is seated, which is why it is called the “See of Peter.” St. Peter was clearly given some added responsibility, not only in primacy - but in exclusivity as well. For example in Matthew 16:18-19 Peter, and Peter alone is promised by Jesus Christ, God Himself, the “keys to the kingdom of Heaven.” These keys are promised to no one else, and there is no further mention of these keys - not even when the rest of the Bishops/Apostles are granted (as a group) the infallible authority to bind and loose (Matthew 18:18) which Peter received in primacy and alone in Matthew 16:18-19. (These verses have been quoted in my “Part 1” response and are also “common knowledge” to anyone who has engaged Catholics in apologetics).
Even Peter himself isn't referred to as having papal authority among the early post-apostolic sources. Terence Smith explains:
"there is an astonishing lack of reference to Peter among ecclesiastical authors of the first half of the second century. He is barely mentioned in the Apostolic Fathers, nor by Justin and the other Apologists" (cited in Robert Eno, The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 15)
Again we see Mr. Engwer engaging in an argument from silence, however the Early Church Fathers, (ECFs) are not wholly silent on this matter. And before I continue, Smith’s statement is relatively meaningless, as there are few extant writings prior to the first half of the second century! Certainly there are some (as you will see below) but until the beginning of the fourth century the Church was under the persecution of pagan Rome and we don’t have a lot of volumes prior to that. Again, we have some. Let us look at one of the writings of our third pope, Pope Clement I:
"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).Pope Clement clearly speaks to the need of successors to the office of the bishop, and he himself is named by other ECFs as the third in succession from St. Peter as the Bishop of Rome, Epiphanius writes in the latter half of the fourth century:
"At Rome. the first Apostles and bishops were Peter and Paul; then Linus, then Cletus, then Clement, the contemporary of Peter and Paul, whom Paul remembers in his Epistle to the Romans .... The succession of the bishops of Rome is as follows: Peter and Paul, Linus and Cletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telephorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, whom I have already mentioned above in my enumerating of the bishops. (The Panacea against All Heresies 27,6)And we have St. Ignatius, who was a disciple of (learning directly from) St. John the Apostle, opening his letter to the Church of Rome with:
To the Church that has found mercy in the transcendent Majesty of the Most High Father and of Jesus Christ, His only Son; the church by the will of Him who willed all things that exist, beloved and illuminated through the faith and love of Jesus Christ our God; which also presides in the chief place of the Roman territory; a church worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and presiding in love, maintaining the law of Christ, and bearer of the Father's name: her do I therefore salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. Heartiest good wishes for unimpaired joy in Jesus Christ our God, to those who are united in flesh and spirit by every commandment of His; who imperturbably enjoy the full measure of God's grace and have every foreign stain filtered out of them. (Ignatius to the Romans, circa 100ad).And St. Irenaeus in the latter part of the second century:
"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies, 3:3:2).Tertullian writes about 200ad:
"But if there be any [heresies] which are bold enough to plant [their origin] in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter" (Demurrer Against the Heretics, 32).There are more, but skipping to St. Augustine (whose mentioning in another blog article is what has led to this response) we see him lauding the Church and especially the papacy in:
"[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).
Concepts of Petrine supremacy (as well as a primacy of Paul or James in some places, for example) did develop over time. Cyprian, for example, a bishop who lived in the third century, believed in a primacy of Peter, but it was a non-jurisdictional primacy (On the Unity of the Church, 4), and Cyprian repeatedly denied, in multiple contexts, that the bishop of Rome or any other bishop has universal jurisdiction (Letter 51:21, Letter 54:14, Letter 67:5, Letter 71:3, Letter 72:26).
And the Catholic can AGREE with this statement, in context that is. It seems far too often, as apparently in the case of Mr. Engwer too, that the concepts of “jurisidiction,” “primacy,” and “authority” are confused. It seems they want to concede primacy (perhaps because to study the Fathers, they must come to the conclusion that “primacy” cannot be denied), but when it comes to “authority” and “jurisdiction” - they seem to confuse these with primacy. First off, primacy simply means “first” - as St. Peter was the first Apostle given infallible authority. With this primacy comes responsibility too though. There’s a responsibility of unity among the Christian faithful. Whereas each bishop has virtually unilateral authority over his respective jurisdiction (diocese) there is a unifying authority in the See of Peter. We can also agree, to a point, that there has been some development in the office of the papacy throughout history, but it fundamentally remains as St. Peter’s See, and has always been a source of unity for the Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic scholar Robert Eno wrote:
"it is clear that he [Cyprian] did not see the bishop of Rome as his superior, except by way of honor...it is clear that in Cyprian's mind, one theological conclusion he does not draw is that the bishop of Rome has authority which is superior to that of the African bishops" (The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], pp. 59-60)
Eno is not denying the Catholic concept of a papacy here! I realize that many Protestant apologists wish to latch on to every professing Catholic who SEEMS to support their non-contextual arguments, but to what end? I am not fully versed in Eno’s works, but I do know that some do not consider him to be “conservative enough.”
Roman Catholic scholar William La Due:
"In the context of his life and his convictions reflected in his actions and his writings, Cyprian's position can be paraphrased as follows: Peter received the power of the keys, the power to bind and loose, before the other apostles received the same powers. This priority - in time - symbolizes the unity of episcopal power which is held by all in the same way. The only difference is that Peter was granted the power a short time before the others. It must be said that the impact of Cyprian's symbolism is not entirely clear. He was not a speculative theologian but a preacher, trained more as a lawyer than as a rhetorician. His meaning, from the context of his conduct as a bishop, seems quite unambiguous. And those who see in The Unity of the Catholic Church, in the light of his entire episcopal life, an articulation of the Roman primacy - as we have come to know it, or even as it has evolved especially from the latter fourth century on - are reading a meaning into Cyprian which is not there." (The Chair of Saint Peter [Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999], p. 39)
Mr. La Due, with all due respect, is offering his opinions on the matter. I would disagree with him (and others I’m sure Mr. Engwer would like to trot out) in the statement that the “power of the keys” is “the power to bind and loose.” The “keys” are given ONLY to Peter. Keys are a symbol of authority, and the keys are given to ONE. The “power” to bind and loose is another issue, and even here - Peter is given this authority alone (Matt. 16:18-19) whereas the rest of the bishops are given this authority as a group (Matt. 18:18). And again we must emphasize that in Matt. 18 there is no mention of “keys” when this distinct authority is given to the college of bishops (the Apostles assembled as a group).
Catholic scholar Klaus Schatz:
"He [Cyprian] does not rely on any specific responsibility of Stephen [bishop of Rome] as primate....Cyprian regarded every bishop as the successor of Peter, holder of the keys to the kingdom of heaven and possessor of the power to bind and loose. For him, Peter embodied the original unity of the Church and the episcopal office, but in principle these were also present in every bishop. For Cyprian, responsibility for the whole Church and the solidarity of all bishops could also, if necessary, be turned against Rome." (Papal Primacy [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1996], p. 20)
Even the conservative Roman Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott acknowledged:
"St. Cyprian of Carthage attests the pre-eminence of the Roman Church...However, his attitude in the controversy regarding the re-baptism of heretics shows that he had not yet achieved a clear conception of the scope of the Primacy." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma [Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1974], p. 284)
Eastern Orthodox scholar Veselin Kesich:
"In his controversy with Bishop Stephen (254-257), Cyprian expressed the view that any bishop, whether in Rome or elsewhere, was included in Jesus' message to Peter. Like Tertullian, Cyprian is unwilling to accept the claim of exclusive authority for the Bishop of Rome on the basis of Mt 16:18-19....Peter is not superior in power to the other apostles, for according to Cyprian all of them are equal." (The Primacy of Peter, John Meyendorff, editor [Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992], p. 63)
Anglican scholar J.N.D. Kelly:
"Cyprian made plain, that each bishop is entitled to hold his own views and to administer his own diocese accordingly...[In Cyprian's view] There is no suggestion that he [Peter] possessed any superiority to, much less jurisdiction over, the other apostles...While he [Cyprian] is prepared, in a well-known passage, to speak of Rome as 'the leading church', the primacy he has in mind seems to be one of honour." (Early Christian Doctrines [San Francisco, California: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978], pp. 205-206)
In Cyprian we see an example of a father who thinks highly of Peter and the bishops of Rome without believing in a papacy. In fact, he contradicted the concept. With Cyprian in mind as an example of how Catholics often misrepresent the fathers to make them appear to have supported the papacy when they actually didn’t,
All these commentaries, but let us look at what St. Cyprian HIMSELF said!
"[After quoting Matthew 16:18f; John 21:15ff]...On him [Peter] He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigned a like power to all the Apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (Cyprian, The Unity of the Catholic Church 4, c. AD 251)
“Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: “I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19) Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers. Since this, then, is founded on the divine law, I marvel that some, with daring temerity, have chosen to write to me as if they wrote in the name of the Church; when the Church is established in the bishop and the clergy, and all who stand fast in the faith.” (Cyprian, Letter 33 (27), 1 To the Lapsed, c. AD 250)
They are now offering peace who have not peace themselves. They are promising to bring back and recall the lapsed into the Church, who themselves have departed from the Church. There is one God, and Christ is one, and there is one Church, and one chair founded upon the rock (Peter) by the word of the Lord. Another altar cannot be constituted nor a new priesthood be made, except the one altar and the one priesthood. Whosoever gathers elsewhere, scatters. (Letter 39.5 AD 251)
"With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal Church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source; nor did they take thought that these are Romans, whose faith was praised by the preaching Apostle, and among whom it is not possible for perfidy to have entrance." (Cyprian, Letter 59 (55), 14 to Cornelius of Rome, c. AD 252)
"There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is One and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another." (Cyprian, Letter 66 (69), 8 to Florentius Pupianus, c. AD 254)So, when we look at what St. Cyprian himself actually says, and avoid the anti-Catholic (and some modernist/liberal/revisionist Catholic) commentaries - it becomes quite clear what his position on the papacy is, and it is wholly in line with modern thinking on the papacy.
[L]et’s consider the earliest evidence cited by Catholic apologists. Clement of Rome, the earliest church father and a Roman bishop, sent a letter to the Corinthian church to counsel them about a dispute involving the leadership of their church. Such letters were common in early Christianity (Ignatius' letter to Polycarp, Polycarp's letter to the Philippian church, etc.), and no jurisdictional superiority, much less papal authority, is implied by the sending of such a letter. To the contrary, the letter is written in the name of the church of Rome, not the bishop of Rome, and the letter makes many appeals to various authorities (scripture, Jesus, the apostles, the Holy Spirit, etc.), but never to any papal authority.
Now this is just a silly and perhaps desperate comment to attempt to differentiate between the “Church of Rome” and the “Bishop of Rome!” The Bishop of Rome speaks as the Church of Rome, especially in this context!
Thomas Halton comments:
"Some scholars anachronistically saw in the epistle an assertion of Roman primacy, but nowadays a hermeneutic of collegiality is more widely accepted." (Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Everett Ferguson, editor [New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1999], p. 253)
Other early sources, such as Ignatius and Dionysius of Corinth, commend the Roman church for virtues such as love and generosity, but say nothing of any jurisdictional primacy of the Roman bishop. Irenaeus speaks highly of the Roman church, but gives non-papal reasons for doing so.
Roman Catholic scholar William La Due comments:
"It is indeed understandable how this passage [in Irenaeus] has baffled scholars for centuries! Those who were wont to find in it a verification of the Roman primacy were able to interpret it in that fashion. However, there is so much ambiguity here that one has to be careful of over-reading the evidence....Karl Baus' interpretation [that Irenaeus was not referring to a papacy] seems to be the one that is more faithful to the text and does not presume to read into it a meaning which might not be there. Hence, it neither overstates nor understates Irenaeus' position. For him [Irenaeus], it is those churches of apostolic foundation that have the greater claim to authentic teaching and doctrine. Among those, Rome, with its two apostolic founders, certainly holds an important place. However, all of the apostolic churches enjoy what he terms 'preeminent authority' in doctrinal matters." (The Chair of Saint Peter [Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999], p. 28)
I’m really not going to spend anymore time on these commentaries. They do not speak for the Catholic Church.
Similarly, Tertullian gives non-papal reasons for the importance of the Roman church (The Prescription Against Heretics, 36).
Actually, in Chapter 32 of that same document, we find Tertullian saying, “as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter.” And what is said in Chapter 36 is not quite as innocuous as Mr. Engwer, “you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! Where Peter endures a passion like his Lord's!” It may not be the strongest testimony for the papacy, but it certainly does not negate the papacy and does speak highly of the Church at Rome and the authority of the Apostles (Peter and Paul) which remains there.
Regarding Origen, the Catholic scholar Robert Eno explains that "a plain recognition of Roman primacy or of a connection between Peter and the contemporary bishop of Rome seems remote from Origen’s thoughts" (The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 43).
Again, this “Catholic” scholar, Robert Eno seems to be quite revisionist in his thoughts, IF this is a contextually accurate quote from The Rise of the Papacy. Let’s look at a few quotes from Origen, shall we?
"See what the Lord said to Peter, that great foundation of the Church, and most solid Rock, upon which Christ founded the Church ..." (Origen, In Exodus. Hom. v. . 4 tom. ii).
"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? 'Oh you of little faith,' he says, 'why do you doubt?'" [Matt. 14:31] (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).
"Upon him (Peter), as on the earth, the Church was founded." (Origen, Ep. ad. Rom. lib. v.c. 10, tom iv.)
"Peter, upon whom is built Christ's Church, against which the gates of hell will not prevail." (Origen, T. iv. In Joan. Tom. v.)So, to say that a connection between the contemporary Bishop of Rome and Peter is “remote from Origen’s thoughts” seems to be quite an irresponsible statement.
The first reference to a papacy or something similar to it is found in the Roman bishop Stephen, acting in his own interests, around the middle of the third century. Peter had been dead for nearly two centuries before the doctrine first appears.
As we’ve already demonstrated, this statement of Engwer’s is wholly FALSE!
When Stephen asserted it, he was opposed by bishops in the West and East, such as Cyprian and Firmilian.
We must question whether Mr. Engwer has actually READ the letter of Firmilian to Pope Stephen! Firmilian does not deny the papacy! His is bothered by Pope Stephen’s “introducing of many other rocks” because of a controversy over baptism. In paragraph 6 he expresses his disappointment in how Pope Stephen was defaming the Apostles Peter and Paul who established the See of Rome. In paragraph 17 he says:
And in this respect I am justly indignant at this so open and manifest folly of Stephen, that he who so boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid, should introduce many other rocks and establish new buildings of many churches; maintaining that there is baptism in them by his authority.So again, this letter of Firmilian to Pope Stephen is NOT a denial of the papacy, as Mr. Engwer falsely asserts, it expresses his frustration in Pope Stephen’s “folly” and “defaming” of the papacy.
Thus, the papacy was absent, including in contexts where we would expect it to be mentioned, for about the first two centuries of church history, then arose in Rome and gradually became more widely accepted in the West and sometimes to some extent in the East. But even in the West, the papacy was accepted only gradually and inconsistently. Some of the earliest ecumenical councils would either imply or explicitly state a rejection of the doctrine.
Again, Mr. Engwer argues from silence, but we’ve shown the Fathers really weren’t as silent as he is convinced they were. One must remember, for the “first two centuries” - actually, it was the first three centuries, the Catholic Church was essentially in hiding much of the time from the pagan Roman Empire. There were some times of peace in those first 300 years, but overall, the Church was persecuted by Rome more than it was tolerated. The first 15 popes were all martyred (into the 3rd century) and several others after that too.
The Catholic scholar Klaus Schatz summarizes:
"Rome did not succeed in maintaining its position against the contrary opinion and praxis of a significant portion of the Church. The two most important controversies of this type were the disputes over the feast of Easter [in the second century] and heretical baptism [in the third century]. Each marks a stage in Rome's sense of authority and at the same time reveals the initial resistance of other churches to the Roman claim." (Papal Primacy [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1996], p. 11)
These controversies are not a denial of papal primacy. We’ve already discussed the “heretical baptism” issue (Firmilian’s letter) and a dispute over the date of Easter is not a doctrinal issue, but more of discipline or practice issue. So once more Mr. Engwer’s choice of a “Catholic scholar” is one of convenience, and not reality or truth. We’ve already seen the testimony of many of the Early Church Fathers - so this 20th century commentary must be rejected.
It’s important to recognize that the early sources had many opportunities to mention a papacy if they believed in such a concept. When men like Clement of Rome and Tertullian comment on issues of authority and the status of the Roman church without mentioning a papacy, the absence of the concept is significant. When men like Ignatius and Irenaeus write at length on issues of authority and Christian unity, without even once mentioning a papacy, that absence is significant. They explicitly and frequently mention offices such as bishop and deacon. They explicitly and frequently make appeals to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, prominent churches, and other authorities. They explicitly and frequently discuss the Messiahship of Jesus, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the unique authority of the apostles, and other basic Christian doctrines, so it can’t be argued that they didn’t mention a papacy only because it was already known to and assumed by everybody. The fact that other concepts were known and assumed didn’t keep the early sources from explicitly and frequently mentioning those concepts. Why didn’t they mention a papacy?
What is truly important to recognize is that we’ve already shown Mr. Engwer’s assertion here to be utterly false. Even if it were true, he’s again trying to make an argument from silence, and silence lends consent to an argument, not negation. Thus, both because Engwer doesn’t make a valid argument and because what he is asserting has been proven false - we must reject his claims (again).
They did sometimes mention a prominence of the Roman church. And, thus, Catholic apologists have attempted to transform the prominence of the Roman church into a jurisdictional primacy of the Roman bishop. But if the papacy is an oak tree, the prominence of the early Roman church is more like an apple seed than an acorn. It has to be manipulated if we want to transform it into an oak tree. If the seed is being manipulated so as to arrive at a desired unnatural conclusion, then it’s not comparable to an acorn naturally growing into an oak.
Interesting analogy - but wholly inapplicable to the Catholic Church and the papacy.
The early prominence of the Roman church doesn’t logically lead to a papacy. The churches in Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, and other cities have been prominent at different times in church history for different reasons, and none of them can claim an apostolic jurisdictional primacy for their bishop as a result. It would be sort of like arguing that since the city of Philadelphia was prominent during the time of the founders of America, then the founders must have intended whatever authority claims the mayor of Philadelphia makes hundreds of years after the founders have died.
The matter of the papacy is not a popularity contest! The matter was decided by Jesus Christ when He select Peter to be His first vicar. If there was any merit to Engwer’s analogy above, then we’d be arguing for the Church of Jerusalem to be the apostolic see with primacy, however there are no such arguments for Jerusalem. It may be another creative analogy, but it is not applicable.
If Ignatius thinks highly of the virtues of the Roman church or Tertullian commends the Roman church because some of the apostles labored and suffered in Rome, it doesn’t logically follow that these church fathers would agree with a later claim of universal jurisdiction by the bishop of Rome.
What doesn’t follow (non sequitur) is Mr. Engwer’s argument that St. Ignatius’ and Tertulian’s commendation of the Church at Rome, and the fact that Sts. Peter and Paul professed Church doctrine and spilled their blood in martyrdom at Rome are NOT supportive of the Catholic Faith! No, what we’ve seen from Mr. Engwer is literally nothing but invalid and/or out of context statements regarding the papacy. Where there are definitive statements in support of the papacy he has either overlooked them completely or attempted to minimize them down to a level of insignificance. In short, he’s not presented an honest appraisal of the Catholic position on the papacy. When we look to even just what St. Augustine said (posted previously) we see very strong support in the exact same language we use to this day! And then there is another posting made last month here with literally DOZENS of ECF references (4 dozen to be precise) some with several citations each and many PRIOR to St. Augustine. Well, there is one more “part” of this “three part essay” (which again, does not seem like it was originally intended to be part of this series and is really “part 6” from some other series), so I’ll save my final concluding thoughts for after that one. I just wanted to somewhat conclude here because in these first two parts, which do appear to be intended to be together, there is no honest attempt to present the Catholic position, much less refute it - and I have provided tons of reference material which refutes and utterly destroys Mr. Engwer’s thesis... thus far. Again, one more “part” to go, so I’ll stop here for now.