Monday, June 17

This will probably provoke some amount of discussion, but I need a place to note a growing list of things that require further research.

Note: Updated 1.22.2003

  • Why was it necessary for a Pope, when none existed for 600 years after the church was established, and when there appeared to be no centralized authority structure, at least until Constantine.
  • Why is the Oral history of the Catholic church given so much weight, when previous examples of oral history were rebuked by Christ because it contradicted the written word.
  • The Catholic church claims to be the pillar and foundation of the truth, yet history bears out the fact that the Catholic church instigated crimes against those who professed Christ as bad as the Roman Emperor’s who ruled up to the time of Constantine. If we are to know our brethren by their love one for another, then such practice can hardly evidence the truth of Catholicism. There are many practices in Catholicism that can not be supported based on scripture alone, some even that seem to contradict it. If such is true, then has the Catholic church really suported and upheld the truth?
  • Why do Catholic priests honor themselves with the title ‘father’ when such practice is condemned in Mathew 23?
  • Why should I not be skeptical when I was warned by scripture in 1 Tim 4 that there would come in latter times those who would depart from the faith, and that those who did would be hypocritical and forbid people to marry, such as the Catholic church has done with it’s priesthood?
  • It does not seem odd to me that such a thing as the Catholic church is possible, if it is indeed false, as we are warned in multiple places in scripture that heresies would come, and that many would fall prey to them.
  • The Catholic teaching that the Eucharist becomes the physical body and blood of Christ during communion is the logical equivalent of cannabalsim, and something the early Christians found deplorable. Indeed, such practices were taught in most of the philosophies and pagan religions at the time. Ref: Book 3 of Theophilus’ writings.
  • Irenaeus indicates that the authority inside the church was decentralized. Indeed, several years before the reign of Constantine and the council of Nice, the bishops of Rome were rebuked and exhorted to put away heresies that had crept in from the Gnostics. Ref: here

This is not a complete list, but I did want to record them now before I forgot them amidst the daily life that constantly clamours for my affection.



  1. My comments, in the same order…

    • Of course the Pope existed for the first 600 years of the church; “pope” is simply another name for the Bishop of Rome. As to whether or not the Pope displayed all of the rights and privileges he does now, I would say that he did not. That does not, however, mean that he unjustly accumulated all of his claims over the centuries. The collective bishops always recognized the need for a centralized head of the church, which is why the eastern bishops eventually latched on to the Roman Emperor as their Head.
    • Oral history (or do you mean “tradition”?) has always been an important part of the lives of God’s covenant people. Jesus did not condemn all oral traditions, just those that were frivolous and contrary to God’s revelation. Paul also speaks of the importance of oral teachings in 2 Thess. 2:15.
    • There are a number of different objections raised here, but I’ll just stick with the first: the Catholic Church persecuted certain groups who professed to believing in Christ. However, it should be noted that there were many heretical groups who claimed to be Christian, even though they denied certain fundamental aspects of Christianity. These groups were a political as well as a theological threat, and as such the Empire dealt with them as enemies of the state.
    • Why did Paul say, “Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15)?
    • How is the priesthood forbidding people to marry? Nobody is forced into becoming a priest, and a priest is generally free to leave his post at any time. Besides, there are eastern rites in Catholicism which allow for married priests.
    • This isn’t really an argument so much as an observation, so I don’t have anything to say in response.
    • Many early disciples left Jesus because He told them to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6). They thought that eating another man’s flesh was despicable, and Jesus did not correct their interpretation of His words, even privately to His apostles. There is plenty of evidence that the early church held the same “Catholic” view of the Lord’s Supper (source), not to mention Paul’s warning about “sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27).
    • I’d have to look this up again, but I believe that Nicea’s exhortations against Rome were met with some pretty swift retaliation from the Pope. I’ll look this up when I get home.
  2. I’m afraid I misread your last point. I thought you meant to say that the Council at Nicaea rebuked and exhorted Rome about heresies, when you were actually saying that this happened years beforehand. However, I see nothing in your reference link that makes any note of this. I realize that the translation of that particular passage by Irenaeus is disputed, but I don’t see what it has to do with rebukes against Rome. Could you clarify this?

  3. Ahh… i apologize for the vagueness of my reference. I had at the time been reading several documents, another which states the exhortations to correct fallacies in Rome by the church fathers. The ref i did point to does however point out that the first council established doctrine by group assent, not by papal decree. later on, such council’s were conducted differently, being the source of papal instruction not group assent.

  4. The only council I see mentioned in that article is Vatican I. Maybe I’m just missing something… that large paragraph makes it hard to concentrate on reading.

  5. Jason, it is interesting you note the objection of “cannibalism” through transsubstantion. Although I’m not RCC, nor hold to this view, I find your note interesting. It turns out that this was a common objection thrown at the early church.

    For what it’s worth.