Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Defending Apostolic Succession, Part I

I have started watching this one:

Apostolic Succession Debunked - Catholic Doctrine Refuted
VerseByVerseBT | 28.XII.2010

A § IV will by itself be part II and at least beginning of part III. I'll have to continue it later, since the guy goes on and on. But perhaps this is an extremely detailed "refutation of apostolic succession" and going through it, I may earn peace from going through some others. As usual when refuting a video, I depend some on the reader being able to guess what I answer from context of my answer or to look up video, when I am not quoting.

At 1:38 the power to be hagiographers certainly did not need passing down, nor could it be passed down.

However, neither the 12 nor the 70 are equal to the hagiographers of the NT.

These are eight.

Six are apostles and two are just disciples of apostles and one of the apostles is not even one of the twelve, St Paul.

This means, of the twelve apostles, only five wrote NT books, so, if this had been the power given to apostles, what about the other seven?

Therefore, the power given to the apostles was not or was not only the power to be hagiographers, there is sth to the apostles which need other passing down than the copying of NT books.

Also, your view is certainly not the only non-Catholic view, since Orthodox (or Greco-Slavs or Orienbtals), Copts, Armenians and Assyrians share the Catholic view, which is to some degree true also of Lutherans and Anglicans who consider it as if preeminence of bishops was de jure humano, but good for practical reasons, or Calvinists and Arminians who consider preeminence of bishops as an abuse, but there would be on their view a succession of presbyters.

It seems the view you present as the "main" non-Catholic one is simply not such.

Obviously, when it comes to the 70, considering the task as one of 8 hagiographers is an even more inadequate description of the task Christ gave them, even if some say both St Mark and St Luke belonged to them.

4:01 Actually, the Bible itself must be proven by Hebrew and for NT Apostolic tradition.

No, Apostolic succession is not the only reason why we believe Apostolic tradition.

Theoretically, one could imagine there had been an Apostolic tradition which gave all believers equal priesthood. An apostolic tradition which said there was no apostolic succession.

If that had been the case, one would not have had Reformers 500 years ago pointing it out as then and there realistically accused of novelty.

If that had been the case, one would instead have had named men as inventing the "fake dogma" of Apostolic Succession. The unnamed Pope in Jack Chick's The Death Cookie would have had a name, precisely as Martin Luther has a name in Catholic polemics against the Reformers, and so have Zwingli and Oecolampadius, so have Bucer, Cranmer, Calvin and Knox, and on the Lutheran side so have Melanchthon, Petri brothers, Tausen, Agricola.

In fact, without Apostolic tradition we have neither any reason to believe Apostolic succession nor the Bible.

The first Christians did not believe the OT books independently of Hebrew-Judaic tradition (passed on chiefly by kohanim).

This can be proven in more than one way.

Our Lord celebrated Hanukah. But Hanukah is not mentioned as a feast in the Torah, so, Our Lord accepted the tradition from the Maccabee times (this is even more important to you if you don't accept as a fact he accepted the books about the event).

Our Lord told the woman at Sychar Jews are right and Samarians wrong. But the text traditions existed for both Jewish and Samarian Torah versions (leaving aside for now whether His Jewish Torah had a mainly LXX or a mainly Masoretic text), so His choice between them was by Tradition.

Our Lord accepted there was in Sheol a bosom of Abraham. I just checked "sinus Abrahae", "sinum Abrahae" and "sinu Abrahae" for OT on Vulgate. Zilch. The phrase "sinum Abrahae" was a hapax for Luke 16:22. Therefore, beside the OT actual books, Our Lord accepted tradition. In this case arguably one which had become driven out from kohanim (if they were all Sadducees) or from mainstream kohanim (it seems most were Sadducees) and was preserved mainly by rabbis.

AND St Paul accepted the Jewish tradition about Jannes and Mambres (or Jannes and Jambres). Whether the tradition is purely oral or from a book not part of the canon is immaterial : it is tradition outside canonic books.

Therefore, apart from above common sense reason to accept Apostolic Tradition as decisive, there is also a Biblical one, independent of the Biblical case for Apostolic succession.

So, your case or position goes against common sense in Apologetics, against the Bible, and .... as I will now show, against common sense about the thing itself.

If someone picks up a book by Shakespear without knowing English and tries to reconstruct the pronunciation from German cognates, he will not get the verse right. He will pronounce too many syllables, since the final e's were already silent and treated as non-syllables in Shakespear's time.

If someone picks up a book on chemistry and refuses to consider the tradition (omitted in that particular book) that elements come as atoms much smaller in size than anything we see, he will not get much comprehension from a formula like "water is H2O". Or "alcohol is C2H5OH".

If someone picks up a book like Silmarillion and mistakes it for a history book rather than novelistic art ... but this one obviously is related to the Apologetics point.

In other words, we can't reasonably accept the Bible as the word of God and as history rather than novels, unless for Apostolic (incorporating earlier Jewish) tradition, and if we accept Apostolic tradition, we have from it - as it historically stands - a fairly water tight case for Apostolic Succession as well.

III on Acts 1
6:40 "so this is supposed to prove that the office of apostle was supposed to be passed down through the generations"

A clarification.

Immediately, it proves that the "office of Apostle" was not restricted to those immediately chosen by Christ, and that it could be passed on.

Note, in this case we do speak of the "office of Apostle" since one requirement was he was to be an eyewitness to the resurrection, a potential hagiographer.

THIS part of his office cannot be passed down to the subsequent generations, as I expect you to point out. Monsignor Laun, whether his episcopal consecration was valid or apostolic succession was interrupted by new rites of "Paul VI", Pope Michael, whether he was ordained and consecrated by two Catholic bishops having non-Novus Ordo succession and in communion with him on Gaudete weekend of 2011 or not certainly were not present at the Sea of Galilee when Christ appeared and gave them 153 fish.

However, since as already said this was not all of their ministry, we may look at the Latin and Greek words on how it is described.

Acta Apostolorum 1:[20] Scriptum est enim in libro Psalmorum : Fiat commoratio eorum deserta, et non sit qui inhabitet in ea : et episcopatum ejus accipiat alter.

ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΩΝ 1:20 γέγραπται γὰρ ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν· γενηθήτω ἡ ἔπαυλις* αὐτοῦ ἔρημος* καὶ μὴ ἔστω ὁ κατοικῶν ἐν αὐτῇ,* καί· τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν αὐτοῦ λαβέτω ἕτερος.*

So, not only Latin has "episcopatum", but Greek has "τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν".

There was a theory, I find it even plausible, in NT generally, "episcopus" means simple priest or priest in general, either priest or bishop, while "presbyteros" among other terms means either bishop or priest in general (with diverse terms for bishops, one being apostles as these were the original 12).

When if so a reversal of terminology was decided, next generation, this verse would have been operative in chosing "bishop" as term for that part of the Apostle's office which can and was meant to be passed on.

"They say that replacing Judas when he dies shows that all of the Apostles should be replaced when they died"

For one thing : if so, when they died or went somewhere else.

St Peter and the other ten left Jerusalem (St James was already martyred in what is now Compostela) and they were replaced by St James the lesser.

St Peter left Antioch to St Evodius, at whose death St Ignatius was successor.

St Peter before martyrdom in Rome left the Papacy as well as local episcopacy to St Linus.

So, your version of the argument is lopsided, there are not just 12 sees over the world, you know.

This might be an excellent point to bring up Haydock.

Actually, the point is not brought up here very much, mostly in verse 2:

Ver. 2. Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. As the Scripture was written without distinction of verses, and without any stops, or commas, which were added afterwards) the construction, and joining of the words in this verse, is ambiguous. The question is, with what part of the verse these words, by the Holy Ghost, are to be joined. The sense might be, 1. that he was taken up by the Holy Ghost: but this is generally rejected. 2. That he gave his commandments by the Holy Ghost to his apostles; that is, says St. Chrysostom, that he gave them spiritual commands, that came from the Holy Ghost, or from his holy Spirit. 3. The most probable exposition seems to be, that he gave his special commandments to his apostles, or to those whom he chose to be his apostles, by the Holy Ghost, or by his holy and divine spirit. (Witham)

The power to preach, to baptize, to remit sins, and generally the whole commission and charge of the government of his Church after him in his name, and with his authority; which government was given them, together with the Holy Ghost, to assist them therein for ever. (Bristow)

There is also verse 3 for ... Apostolic tradition:

Ver. 3. Appearing, &c. Why did he not appear to all, but only to his disciples? Because to many of them, who did not know the mystery, he would have seemed a phantom. For if the disciples themselves were diffident, and terrified, and required to touch him with their hands, how would others have been affected? But we know from their miracles, the truth of the resurrection, which is made evident to all succeeding generations. Perhaps the apostles did not perform miracles. How then was the world converted? This is a fact which cannot be denied, and that it should have been brought about by twelve poor illiterate fishermen, without miracles, would be the greatest of all miracles, far beyond the reach of all human means. (St. Chrysostom, hom. i. chap. 1. on Acts.)

"And speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God," as we read in the Greek, and in the Protestant version, that is, pertaining to the Church, which is the kingdom of God, ta peri tes basileias tou theou, which plainly makes for unwritten tradition. (Estius)

7:03 "The Scripture had to be fulfilled."

Shall I take your position as being that, had there been no psalm quote like this one, there would have been no need for replacing Judas?

That "his office" - in your translation, we say "bishoprick" or "episcopate" - had no significance in and of itself, that the psalm existed "ad hoc" to the equally "ad hoc" chapter 1 of Acts event?

A prophecy and a fulfilment in no wider context than just those two?

I would say, there is a reason why there is an office, before there are office bearers. And, again, the office in question was NOT limited to being hagiographers of NT canonic books, these being from 8 authors only.

Which gives back some credibility to the Catholic understanding of what happens here.

8:12 The prophecy of his bishoprick going to another is specific to Judas.

But the point is, his office as such was not specific to him, it was shared by originally eleven other men.

Also, the fact he is replaced would not be important if the apostolic office was just about the 12 (which even St Paul says it is not). He could equally have been not replaced.

The specific terms of the prophecy are indeed such that they are specifically about Judas, but just as words for material possession (fulfilled about Akeldama lacking its prorietor) imply other people have material possession which are not laid desolate, so the words about his office imply other apostles had an office which was not taken from them, but which they could pass on to others.

Judas couldn't himself pass on his office, but even so got a successor.

If none of the others had been meant to have any kind of successors, why would Judas have one?

If his office was "taken" by another - not passed on by him - this means it was a thing which could survive him.

Certainly, it could be imagined that it only survived him to when the twelve were together in Jerusalem - but this can be refuted from the fact that when St Peter leaves for Antioch he is still an Apostle and equally so when he writes from "Babylon" - whether it be a city on Euphrates as some imagine or, as we rightly say, the city on the Tiber which had taken its place. This means, the Apostolic office was not just there up to when Jerusalem ceased to be ruled by the twelve in common.

Even here, it could be imagined with more probability that if one Apostle died, someone else took his place in some manner. Now, St James the Greater, son of Zebedee, did die before the other Apostles. It could very well be St James the Lesser (whose biography I have not read) was replacing him in Jerusalem like St Matthias replaced the traitor.

It would be very hard to imagine an office which was on the one hand not meant to survive at all, but on the other hand meant to survive a bad possessor in just one instance, passing on to a good one. It is not the kind of constitution which strikes as functional.

9:17 "at this point they did not have any power to pass on to Mathias"

They were already ordained to consecrate the Eucharist (do this in remembrance of me). They were also already authorised to forgive sins on God's behalf (John 20:21-3).

But perhaps they could not yet transmit it to anyone. If so, St Matthias received ordination to confect the Eucharist and to forgive sins on the day when he was also made bishop in the full Catholic sense on Pentecost day.

"If the apostles are foundations of the Church, then they logically should not have successors"

Granted. If you mean "as foundations". No Catholic disputes that. No Catholic says a bishop with full apostolic succession or even a Pope with full apostolic authority is their equal in being foundations of the Church.

10:20 "a foundation is a non-successive structure"

Yes, but one succeeded by the stones above it.

10:29 "a foundation does not have successors"

It definitely does that, since there are stones built on it.

10:31 "nor does it develop over time"

But the house does while being built. Also, spatial relation of foundation to house is like temporal one of apostles to later bishops.

10:46 You forget that there is a physical and not just a notional relation between foundation and house.

In the case of the house, the relation is gravitational. A stone above it is potentially falling to the centre of the earth, since a heavy object.

But it is not actually doing so, since it is placed above the foundation. Take the stone just above the foundation. It is directly weighing down on its part of the foundation. Take the stone above that. It is weighing down on the foundation too, but one stone is between, so it is weighing down on the foundation because it is weighing down on the stone above the foundation. And usually it is weighing down on two stones which both are directly on the foundation. In the third layer above the foundation, each stone is weighing down on two stones in the second layer each of which is weighing down on one in the first layer which is weighing down on the foundation.

And so on all the way up.

What does this correspond to? Temporally, it corresponds extremely well to Apostolic succession.

Each bishop receives consecration from two or three bishops each of whom receives it from two or three other ones, who also have received it from other ones (not pretending to be any Second Pentecost, please!) all the way back to the Apostles who were the first bishops.

How do we know the spatial relations of foundation to house correspond to sth temporal in the thing that the metaphor is about?

Well, the foundation mentions in chronological order backward apostles and prophets. But Sts Peter and Paul are not contemporaries to Elijah and Elisha. Also, there was a succession of the gift of prophecy.

This in turn indicates that in some sense there would be a succession of apostles too.

I wonder whether you will be taking up my main verse later on ...

10:53 "who had been through the exact same training as they had"

The exact training qualifications for the original apostles cannot be transferred to Timothy and Titus. But the notion of there being a training is very clear from these epistles.

"witness of the resurrection"

Fine ... the thing is, the resurrection needs witnesses to this day, if only people who can guarantee that the NT texts are genuine history and not fable.

Without such, if some guys come to the Bible, centuries after it was written, excluding themselves from contact with those who had previously transmitted it and are going on transmitting it, how can they know the Bible is not a story book?

If they can take that on apostolic tradition, they can take apostolic tradition in the rest of it too.

If they can't, because the Church they are looking at could have misunderstood contents, because it had fabricated some and could therefore fabricate any tradition, how can they guarantee that the Bible being factual history is not part of the misunderstandings?

They can't, except by being inconsistent.

A tradition differs from a rumour, that is from a telephone game, by the fact that someone has for a job taking it in first during his training and reproducing it as faithfully as humanly possible during his ministry.

When centuries after Homer Peisistratus of Athens wanted Homer in writing, the aoidoi who had carried the tradition on from Homer were what he relied on.

Now, an aoidos is not simply one hearing a hit and trying to sing it, as you might hear a new hit by Mariah Carey (or whoseever hits you try to reproduce) and then try to reprpoduce it when the mood falls on.

It is someone whose job it is to know the whole lyrics of the performance by heart.

And, that the aoidoi did centuries after Homer made the first performances of Menin aeide or of Andra moi ennepe (both opening verses unfortunately adressed to the demons or witches who had appeared to Hesiod, but that is unimportant for understanding what tradition is).

The fact the successor of Judas had to be a witness implies there was going to be a tradition.

There will perhaps come another verse even clearer on that one?

11:26 The twelve tribes of Israel were the prototype.

Saying they were the ultimate reason why there had to be twelve apostles is like saying Isaac carrying the firewood is the ultimate reason why Christ had to carry the Cross.

That is getting it backwards.

The thing which happened to Isaac happened in view of God foreseeing His carrying of the Cross. Abraham, the male human parent, consenting the sacrifice, happened in view of God the Father, the male divine parent, and the Blessed Virgin, the female human parent, consenting the sacrifice of Calvary.

And the twelve patriarchs were there as foreshadowing the twelve apostles.

And the physical succession in Israelitude was foreshadowing the spiritual succession of Apostles to Bishops, one which is also physical since sacramental, and from believers around apostles to believers around bishops, not necessarily so, except through the bishops.

Nagasaki may have had Catholics all the time from the martyr era to the new Hierarchy after WW-II. But the Catholics in Nagasaki now would still be succeeding those from then, by having (previous to Vatican II changes) bishops in the succession of the old ones.

You are reasoning as if chance events during the Old Testament had been the reasons binding God to this or that measure in the New one.

Read up on Bible code for Genesis 1, the lamb really was slain "from the beginning". What came before Christ really was a preparation.

11:47 "the requirement for them" - the Apostles, not those successors of them we also see in NT - "was that they had to be called directly and personally by Jesus Christ"

No Catholic is denying that. That is how the Apostles differ from other bishops. Just as a foundation differs from the stones above it by being directly on the rock.

Or dug into the ground, more often, but when foundations are in the soil, this has to be pressed and beaten down so as to become somewhat more rocklike in consistency.

You meantioned Apocalypse 21:[14] And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Now, if a wall has "twelve foundations" it would stand to reason these are more prominent ones than simply the lowermost stones anywhere along the wall.

This means, they support some structure which is also more prominent, like towers or gate porches.

This means, the Apostles as foundations are directly so mostly of the most prominent structure of the Church through time : bishops.

Now, I mentioned we also see successors of them in the NT.

St Paul was an Apostle, and he is adressing sts Timothy and Titus as successors and even instructing them on how to fulfil the most eminent episcopal function, the ordination of priests. Even if these are here named "bishops".

So, along with the twelve and St Paul being apostles, we also have Timothy and Titus being bishops.

We also have two Evangelists who were not from the twelve.

It is possible the word was used of others too.

We also have "angels" of seven Churches. The etymology of the word is about a synonym to "apostle" : both means messengers sent by someone to bring a message. These seven men were also bishops.

13:18 "but this is a passage describing something totally different"

No, the replacement of a sedisvacancy which occurs by treason and one which occurs by martyrdom or natural death are still replacements of a sedisvacancy.

As to the old testament calling for it, it still only makes sense in a structure where there is an office which can be passed on in other instances too.

14:14 "foundations do not get succeeded"

Except by the layers of stone above them.

"or replaced"

Except that one damaged foundation stone which needed another one being laid instead.

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