Episcopacy and the Church

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by The Hackney Hub, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    lol true enough. I have to agree with you. Since there's no specific mandate I think there can be flexibility in how churches are organised. I will even go so far as saying episcopacy has it's advantages ;)

    Apostolic succession as a necessity I am passionately against though :p
     
  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I found something interesting in the canons of 1604:

    http://www.anglican.net/doctrines/1604-canon-law/


    Not only does it affirm that episcopacy is agreeable to the Word of God, but that those who deny it shall be excommunicated.
     
  3. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Plus we don't live based only on the canons. We know the Divines regularly harkened to the Church Fathers for most of their opinions.

    The Fathers are famously pro-episcopacy, and none of them (except maybe Jerome) approved or even mentioned "presbytery"-churches. Regardless of what some say, Ignatius of Antioch had already separated the three ministers into well-defined orders, and Irenaeus in "Against Heresies" only counts bishops when recounting the succession of laying-of-hands. Where is the presbytery-only model for centuries upon centuries before Luther, Knox, and Calvin? I just find it difficult to believe that a whole valid ideal of Christian government basically disappeared from A.D. 110~150 until 1538.
     
  4. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    The Fathers are well and good but they are not authoritative nor infallible and are only useful insofar as they agree with Holy Scripture. This is the manner in which they are used in Anglican Divinity (see "The Right Use of the Fathers").
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I just dont have enough solid facts either way about that time period.

    Even if we prove your case to the outmost, it does not alter your and I agreement, that that did reordinations take place from 1662 to today (with documentary evidence from the 1620s on), where it still stands as canon law. Doesn't that tell us what THE policy of the Anglican church is? Or are we trying so hard to be ecumenical and enslave our Church to evangelical Protestantism?

    This functionally dissolves the Fathers into irrelevance. It's rather different from John Jewel's challenge at Paul's Cross that if the Papists could prove their views out of scripture, OR the first 6 centuries of the church, he'd convert to the Roman church.
     
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  6. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    No, this is not my view at all, do not put words in my mouth.
     
  7. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent!!
     
  8. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, he had not; he separated the presbyter order in to a "senior presbyter" and "presbyters. The monarchical bishopric as a third order of ministry had not developed yet. And it's still an undeniable fact that there were only two orders in the NT. It is not possible that so soon after the writing of the last NT book that the monarchical bishopric arose that quickly; it was a gradual development that took another 75-85 years. For churches wanting to go strictly by the NT, they should only have two orders of ministry. However, I do not deny the legitimacy or the desirability of the historic episcopate because I do not deny the legitimacy of historical development as long as it is not repugnant to the scriptures. Thus, I can accept the Anglican view of the episcopate as being for the benefit of the church although not of the essence of same.
     
  9. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    When you are confronted with the fact that Anglicanism makes scripture the final authority and not the fathers, the councils, the "Church", tradition, etc., you don't like that.
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Why no, Scripture is absolutely the authority on what it speaks.
     
  11. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you're saying. Where the problem comes in is if secondary authorities contradict or are repugnant to scripture; that is when they must not be accepted as authoritative. That is the Anglican position, as I read it in the Articles.
     
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  12. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Jewel's sermon if accurately represented, would make the first 6 centuries of church writings equal to scripture. Of course I think Jewel knew neither would support the papal position and therefore he was laying out a double blow to transubstantiation. If he tried that argument on say another topic like invocation of saints then the first 6 centuries would exhibit support for such a doctrine

    One thing I would like to know though. Why should the early church fathers views be held to be more authoritative than other theologians and Christian writers? We all owe the early church fathers an enormous debt of gratitude for their protecting Christianity against various heresies, for formulating the creeds and basic doctrinal standards we hold today and for being the first to wrestle with Christian truth within their cultures. This much is undoubted.

    However surely their points of view should be judged on the merits of their arguments rather than because many of the church fathers said it. I've heard it claimed, if the early church fathers all have the same views on a given subject this shows that they have inherited this idea through a common teaching from the apostles that had been passed down. I see a flaw in this argument. It's one explanation, but another one could be that they came by their ideas through a common influence by their culture. I think it would be true to say that the church fathers were all brought up in a pagan Greco roman culture. We're all affected by our cultural surroundings and assumptions. That is why C S Lewis in his introduction to Athanasiu's incarnation advised we should read old books as well as new since we might share the same cultural blind spots of todays authors

    Even if we take only the apostolic fathers, the fact they were the immediate next generation from the apostles, it doesn't prove their views are the same as the apostles. Just look at Beza and Calvin, or Saul and Gamaliel.

    What would be great is to see the arguments that the early church fathers posit for apostolic succession and lets examine them and see if they stand up
     
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  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yeah. If the church fathers contradict scripture, then scripture obtains, always.

    I would love to speak on the church fathers and scripture interpretation with you guys, but I don't want to incur the ire of the mods again. :)
     
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  14. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    If you'd like we can discuss it on a private chat, away from the public forum :)
     
  15. Dave

    Dave Active Member

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    Why not start a new thread -- so we don't get off topic here?
     
  16. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe we have found an area of agreement. Maybe the Second Coming is closer than we realize. :)
     
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  17. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    One would expect that anyone writing after about 200 AD would support the doctrine because the monarchical episcopate was fully in place and the general rule everywhere by this time. Also, this along with the canon of scripture was seen as a way to combat heresy which was an increasing concern, especially with Gnosticism.

    Tertullian has always been an interesting case to me; it is interesting to compare his "Catholic" views to his Montanist ones.
     
  18. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Well, if it existed in the new testament and early on then surely it must have been valid then? And if it was valid then, why is it wrong to resurrect it?

    Btw Calvin also made three divisions in the church order:

    We have stated that Scripture sets before us three kinds of ministers. Similarly, whatever ministers the ancient church had it divided into three orders. For from the order of presbyters (1) part were chosen pastors and teachers; (2) the remaining part were charged with the censure and correction of morals; (3) the care of the poor and the distribution of alms were committed to the deacons. (Institutes 4:4)

    So can we see a plurality of presbyters in new testament churches?
    yes: Acts 14:23; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:5

    Can we see the leaders chosen by the congregation?
    yes: Acts 1:21-26; Acts 6:1-5

    Can we see presbyters ordained by a council of presbyters?
    Yes: 1 Tim 4:14
     
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  19. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's not entirely fair to quote against episcopacy, since a plurality of presbyters is exactly what we have in the parish system of the English Communion: rectors, vicars, ministry teams, etc. :)

    Two problems here:

    1. It says the leaders were elected or chosen by the whole congregation, not that they were ordained. This continued with the bishops of the Patristic era - Ambrose of Milan was chosen by popular vote, but consecrated a bishop by other bishops. Important!

    2a. This election story of Matthias is not the whole story. Acts 1 is the Upper Room. The Apostles were around during this time. Everyone may have acclaimed bishops & clergy by election, but the text does not say who consecrated them.
    2b. Acts 6 refers to the choosing of the deacons. It says that the Twelve alone retired to prayer & consideration. The language does not specify whether the whole congregation chose them, or just the Twelve. Verse 6 of Acts 6 says that the Apostles laid their hands upon the deacons, and no one else.

    That is a very interesting one. I'll look into it. :)
     
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  20. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    You make some good points :) I'll work on a reply to all your points, but I just want to quickly mention I'm not trying to argue against episcopacy. I respect this is an Anglican forum so I'm not pushing Presbyterianism here, merely trying to show episcopal government is not necessary to make a church valid
     
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