Sunday, May 22, 2011

Called By Name

Last Sunday (May 15) in the Ordinary Rite it was "Good Shepherd Sunday," (it was the Sunday before last in the Extra-Ordinary Rite) and the Gospel reading was as follows:
Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
John 10:1-10
And that name is "Catholic!"  Jesus didn't build many churches, He built One Church (Matthew 16:18-19).  Jesus desires that we BE one, just as He and the Father are One (John 17:11).  That One Church, very early on got to be known as the Catholic Church - in fact the first use of the name "Catholic Church" was used by a disciple of St. John the Apostle, St. Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrneans writes:
Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape; but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God.
The Apostle's Creed states:
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
St. Augustine in his Fundamental Letter Against Manicheaus writes:
The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.
Those who have ventured off, leaving the seat of St. Peter behind, are not fully part of (if at all) THE Church which Jesus Christ built.  Those who have further ventured off and even attack and condemn the Catholic Church have removed themselves in equal and just measure from the One, True Church which Jesus Christ Himself built.

His Church is built upon the BISHOPS - the first 12 of whom were the Apostles (Judas being succeeded by Matthias in Acts 1).  THE True Church is traced in valid apostolic succession to one of The Twelve.  Outside of this succession all you have is an imposter church, a fraudulent church promoting lies and deception "to fool even the elect."  These imposter churches DO possess a modicum of truth - which is why they are able to deceive so many - even claiming to be "Bible Believing," yet if this were completely so, they would be following a valid successor to one of the original Apostles - and their name would be "Catholic."   

9 comments:

  1. The radical, Catholic hating Protestants alway put down the Church by claiming we have false doctrines and that the word catholic simply means all the believers, irregardless of what "bible-believing" church they belong to. Yet, all the Protestants disagree with each other in their doctrine, and even a honest, light reading of the ECF's will show their most treasured beliefs, such as the three solas, didn't exist until after 1517. How any well informed buy into Protestantism when it's historical claims are bogus?

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  2. Mr. Windsor,

    I don't know if you know this, but there are plenty of denominations that CAN trace their ordinations back to one of the 12, or at least back to a RC bishop. Maybe we don't mention it because a succession of offices is a silly basis of belief, but for instance John Wesley was an Anglican priest who was ordained by someone who was ordained by someone etc. who was ordained by someone as far back as anyone can reliably trace. Such a succession isn't mentioned anywhere in Scripture as a test of doctrine and isn't any more sensible than saying that Obama teaches the same politics as George Washington because he was sworn to the same office.

    But really what I wanted to point out is that you condition your statement to valid succession, which just becomes circular. You say it's invalid because of the doctrine of the people proclaiming it, but I can just as easily say that all RC ordinations are invalid because of RC doctrine, and hence only United Methodists have a valid succession from the Apostles.

    Now, I think it's a silly argument so I'd never actually say that, but it is to show that asserting the succession of bishops is really just a round-about assertion that your doctrine is correct and ours isn't.

    In Christ
    JL

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  3. Hello Mr. Lollard,
    Yes, I am fully aware of the invalid claims of SOME Protestant denominations... and I stand by the valid v. invalid argument. To use your example, John Wesley was an Anglican priest (already one step separated from Catholicism at this point), and then he split himself from the Anglican communion! Wesley has no valid claim to succession, and I don't think he even argues for valid succession (I could be wrong there, I'm not an expert on Wesley). THE POINT is that in order to VALIDLY SUCCEED WITHIN THE ONE CHURCH which Jesus Christ Himself built - then one must still be WITHIN THAT CHURCH!

    This isn't about "doctrine," per se, it is about authority to TEACH doctrine. Those outside this valid line of authority cannot validly preach with any authority - doctrinally or otherwise.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  4. Again, look at how circular your argument is. Wesley's succession is invalid because it isn't in the RCC. What makes the RCC the standard of validity? The succession!

    We know Rome is the one true church because Rome alone has the valid succession of bishops, and we know Rome alone has the valid succession of bishops because all bishops who are not in communion with Rome are invalid.

    It's just a fancy way of saying that you're right because your doctrine is right.

    Methodists do trace the succession of ordination, but you don't hear about it because of what a singularly poor argument it is. Who cares who smeared oil on who? The true test of apostolicity is what is in the Bible. I only bring it up to point out what a silly argument this is, and for me to claim that no no, it's the Roman succession that's invalid because it wasn't done within the One True Church (UMC) and in fact excommunicated itself from this true line of succession - how amazed are you by my reasoning? You're selling the exact same line.

    If you want to argue why my beliefs are wrong (and hence our succession invalid) that'd be a welcome discussion, and probably much more fruitful than this common circular approach.

    In Christ,
    JL

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  5. John wrote: Again, look at how circular your argument is. Wesley's succession is invalid because it isn't in the RCC. What makes the RCC the standard of validity? The succession!

    Your argument over-simplifies the truth. Yes, "the standard" is "the succession" - because THAT IS THE SUCCESSION FROM CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES! That is something Wesley and Co. LEFT BEHIND when they formed NEW CHURCHES! The "succession" of Wesley BEGINS WITH WESLEY! Wesley HIMSELF would not claim to be continuing the succession of the Catholic Church! Thus HIS succession is a NEW SUCCESSION which BEGINS WITH HIM!

    We know Rome is the one true church because Rome alone has the valid succession of bishops, and we know Rome alone has the valid succession of bishops because all bishops who are not in communion with Rome are invalid.

    It's just a fancy way of saying that you're right because your doctrine is right.


    The validity of succession is based in continual succession, period. When schismatics separate themselves from that succession then they no longer have a valid claim to THAT succession.

    Methodists do trace the succession of ordination, but you don't hear about it because of what a singularly poor argument it is. Who cares who smeared oil on who? The true test of apostolicity is what is in the Bible.

    I don't doubt "they" trace succession of ordination - but a separated succession is not a "valid" one - THAT is my point.

    I only bring it up to point out what a silly argument this is, and for me to claim that no no, it's the Roman succession that's invalid because it wasn't done within the One True Church (UMC) and in fact excommunicated itself from this true line of succession - how amazed are you by my reasoning? You're selling the exact same line.

    But how could the UMC claim to be "the One, True Church?" Does the UMC state that? Does the UMC state that FMC is not part of that "One, True Church?" How about Lutherans, Episcopalians, etc.? That being said, in "excommunicating itself" you've essentially conceded my point. You really don't claim valid succession, do you now?

    If you want to argue why my beliefs are wrong (and hence our succession invalid) that'd be a welcome discussion, and probably much more fruitful than this common circular approach.

    Again, my approach is not circular in the least! It is a valid tracing of succession which goes all the way back to the Apostles and Jesus Christ Himself! Wesley, as you've already conceded, "excommunicated himself" from that succession. Also, the discussion of succession is NOT a discussion of doctrine! The Eastern Orthodox have "valid succession" - but they lack in "orthodoxy" of doctrine when they abandoned St. Peter's see. Methodism goes far beyond merely abandoning St. Peter's see - thus Orthodoxy is much closer to communion with the One, True Church. But again, the discussion of succession is NOT one about doctrine - rather one of validly passing down AUTHORITY.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  6. Just to be clear too... the all caps above is not "yelling" - it was just for emphasis (we're a little limited in the combox for emphasis options, esp. when I used bolding already to separate your words from mine).

    Scott<<<

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  7. Wesley did not leave behind the succession or start a bew one. The lines of ordination go right from Christ to him and from him to my pastor today. Wesley himself would claim to be in the succession and continuing the succession and Methodists today do actually claim to have this succession. We don't ever mention it because, as I said, it is a singularly poor argument. We do have a succession of bishops and ministers that goes back to Christ, but that is of secondary importance compared to teaching the same doctrine as Christ.

    How do you define someone leaving the succession except by your denomination? I'm free to do the same - denominations only have valid succession to the extent that they follow my denomination.

    I never said Wesley excommunicated himself. I said Rome excommunicated herself by not following the One True Church (UMC). Rome's is a separated succession and hence invalid. I said that not because I think it's a good argument but to hopefully show you what a ridiculous argument Rome's claim to validity based on who smears oil on who. My pastor had oil smeared on him by a guy who had oil smeard on him by a guy... etc... who had oil smeared on him by an Apostle.

    The only pretense you have to dismissing this succession is that it isn't in conformity to your denomination and happened outside of your denomlmination, but you ground the validity of your denomination in the succession of your bishops. So again, what makes the RCC the standard of succession? The validity of the succession! That's one of the most tightly circular arguments I've ever heard.

    Your doctrine is right because your succession is right because your doctrine is right because your succession js right because...

    Please give me some sort of actual reason for why my list of oil smearings going back to Christ isn't as good as yours, besides the obvious reason that mine isn't yours.

    In Christ,
    JL

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  8. John said: Wesley did not leave behind the succession or start a (new) one. The lines of ordination go right from Christ to him and from him to my pastor today.

    Exactly! By saying Wesley's "succession" comes "right from Christ," you're AGREEING with me that this is a NEW, or at best DIFFERENT succession! And your pastor today gets his succession from Wesley - NOT from the Catholic Church.

    We do have a succession of bishops and ministers that goes back to Christ, but that is of secondary importance compared to teaching the same doctrine as Christ.

    You *claim* to have a succession of bishops which goes all the way back to Christ - my point is that succession is not a valid one. Anglicanism broke from Catholicism in the 16th century and Wesley broke from THEM in the 18th century!

    My pastor had oil smeared on him by a guy who had oil smeard on him by a guy... etc... who had oil smeared on him by an Apostle.

    The oil is an important part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, but it is not the ONLY part! In order for a sacrament to be VALID it must have the proper MATTER, FORM and INTENT - AND - be administered by a VALID minister so empowered to pass on that sacrament. While you might have valid matter, and may have valid intent - you do not have a valid form if your form has changed one iota from the form which was in place prior to the 16th century schism - OR - is precisely the approved form today in that same Church which was schismed from. Anglicanism and much less Methodism, has NO AUTHORITY to change the form, thus any change in form invalidates the sacrament.

    Your doctrine is right because your succession is right because your doctrine is right because your succession (is) right because...

    I fully understand WHY non-Catholic apologists WANT to make the Catholic position a circular one - then then can easily dismiss and not deal with the facts which get in their way all the time. The fact HERE is, we're not discussing doctrine! We're discussing succession - alone (sola successione, if you will). Succession is a matter of AUTHORITY and NOT DOCTRINE. Wesley had NO AUTHORITY to declare he has succession (if he ever did so - I am not aware of such a declaration). Wesley had no more authority than Joseph Smith or Charles Taze Russell to declare a valid succession - again, if either of these other two have so declared. Again, while the oil is important - WHO RUBS the oil is more important. If the one rubbing the oil is a schismatic then there is no validity or authority to continue the succession down that line. If the one rubbing is a schismatic from an organization which is already schismatic from the One, True Church, then any claim to "succession" is just inconceivable.

    Please give me some sort of actual reason for why my list of oil smearings going back to Christ isn't as good as yours.

    I believe I just have. It's not the "smearings" but WHO DOES the "smearings" and whether or not they had been granted valid AUTHORITY to "smear oil" in the rite of succession - not to mention using a VALID RITE of succession (matter, FORM and intent are all critical to have a valid sacrament).

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  9. Scott, again, this is circular.

    If your bishop can trace his succession to Christ, then so can mine, especially considering that excepting the last five hundred years or so it is the exact same succession. Continuing to twist my words to make it sound like I'm saying Wesley started a new succession isn't winning you any points - at least not with me. Wesley was an Anglican priest. The guy who ordained him was an Anglican bishop who was ordained by a bishop who was ordained by a bishop who was ordained by a bishop... etc. etc. etc. who was ordained by one of the Apostles who was ordained by Christ. I claim the succession currently in the UMC goes in each and every generation of Christians from right now to Jesus Christ, that it is not a new succession but one that has always existed since the Church has existed, and I can even back it up historically to the extent that you yourself are able to back you similar claims.

    I claim that it is a valid succession, yes, and you claim that it is an invalid succession, and the only "argument" you have yet to give me for why my claims are invalid is that they aren't your claims or we didn't follow the arbitrary ceremony or some such thing. Obviously I disagree about the importance of pomp and ceremony, and the only thing you have backing why your ceremony is an arbiter of a valid succession is...

    ...wait for it...

    your denomination claiming so on the weight of their succession!

    My succession isn't valid because your succession says it isn't. Brilliant!

    But what if my succession says it IS valid? What if my succession says the form of the ceremony don't matter? And after all, my succession can trace itself back to the original Church Christ founded, so why should I listen to you and your silly invalid line of succession?

    After all, all your bishops are schismatics who broke away from the True Church with their declaration of the Council of Trent. That is when your line of succession to the Apostles ceased being valid and since that time your Holy Orders don't count.

    Really Scott. You're smarter than this, man. You have to see that this is a circular argument. You believe your denomination is the one true Church because you have the valid succession and you believe your succession is valid because the "one true Church" tells you that it is... and of course you can trust them on what makes a succession valid because - if you remember from earlier in this sentence - they have a valid succession back to the Apostles.

    So nevermind for a moment the already poor and arbitrary argument that a list of valid oil smearings is the best way to determine the soundness of doctrine - how do you rationally justify dismissing nearly every other denomination with such a list?

    In Christ,
    JL

    ReplyDelete

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