Monday, June 30, 2014

Called to Communion's response to Brandon Addison


June is always a very busy month for me; it is the month of my birthday, anniversary, the beginning of extra guests visiting the beach, and an increase in outdoors chores. This year, there was the addition of taking the grandkids down to Disneyland/California Adventure (which was a blast !!!). Anyway, I have pretty much ignored the internet for the entire month until today. While browsing some of my favorite websites, I discovered that the folk at Called to Communion have finally put up their promised response to Brandon Addison's guest post:


[Brandon's contribution was discussed here at AF in THIS THREAD.]

The  CTC response was posted on June 8th, and is available at the following link:


A downloadable PDF version (130 pages) of the reply can be accessed at:


I have downloaded the PDF document and skimmed through it. It looks quite thorough, and includes a number of the arguments I have presented in the past. I probably will not be able to read through the entire response until tomorrow afternoon; but, once I have finished it, I hope to add a few of own musings. Sincerely hope others will take the time to look into this lengthy reply, and share their thoughts here...


Grace and peace,

David

2 comments:

David Waltz said...

Yesterday, I finished reading, "The Bishops of History and the Catholic Faith: A Reply To Brandon Addison" (BHCF). I found the contribution to be one of the best defenses of the teaching that the three-fold ministry has apostolic authority behind it, and is not merely a post-apostolic development. This monograph, combined with Cirlot's, Apostolic Succession: is it True?: An Historical and Theological Inquiry and Williams', Bishops Lists, should give those who hold who embrace a contrary position/s considerable warrant for rethinking their stance.

One of the best sections BHCF (IMO) is it's critique of the 'argument from silence' motif that permeates the corpus of literature which takes issue with the teaching that the three-fold ministry has apostolic authority behind it. I found the following to be an excellent component of that critique:

>>As for Brandon’s claim about St. Ignatius’s silence regarding the bishop of Rome, to begin with, in his letter to the Church at Rome St. Ignatius does mention the office of bishop and the monarchical nature of the office in Syria. As Joe Heschmeyer has pointed out, St. Ignatius presents himself in his epistle To the Romans as “the bishop of Syria,” without any further explanation (Rom., 2:2).56 St. Ignatius expects the Christians of Rome to understand what ton episkopos Syrias (τον επισκοπον Συριας) is, which would not be the case if St. Ignatius believed that the episcopacy was a novelty. Later, St. Ignatius asks the Church in Rome to pray for the Church in Syria, which now “has God for its shepherd in my place [αντι εμου]. Jesus Christ alone will be its bishop [επισκοπησει]–as will your [the Roman Church's] love.”57 Therefore, St. Ignatius does mention the office of bishop when writing to the Church at Rome.

Nevertheless, after observing that St. Ignatius does not mention the existence of the office of bishop in Rome when writing to the Church there, Brandon concludes that “the silence from Ignatius in his letter to the Romans speaks loudly about the church structure of the Roman church being led by one bishop as Ignatius elsewhere writes.” That is, Brandon holds that the silence of St. Ignatius regarding any bishop in Rome indicates that there was no monarchical bishop in Rome. Brandon claims that “Ignatius’s silence is actually a legitimate argument against the existence of an episcopate.”58>>

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

>>However, as others have already noted (including Paul Owen, David Albert Jones, OP, and Francis A. Sullivan, SJ), one might as well argue that the silence of St. Ignatius on the subject of Roman presbyters and deacons shows that there were no presbyters or deacons in Rome. Or one might likewise argue that because in 1 Peter 5 St. Peter does not mention the existence of presbyters in the Church in Rome, that therefore the Church in Rome had no presbyters.59 But Brandon would not accept those conclusions, and this indicates his selective use of silence, i.e., treating silence as “a legitimate argument” when that argument supports one’s own position, but ignoring silence when it opposes one’s own position.

Recall especially the fourth of the four conditions necessary for textual silence to carry evidential weight, discussed above, and how the context of the letter is relevant to those four conditions. Where exactly is St. Ignatius being taken? To Rome. Why? Because St. Ignatius, refusing to obey the Emperor Trajan’s command that the Christians should either sacrifice to idols or die, came forward on behalf of the Church of the Antiochians, and was thereby condemned by Trajan to be taken to Rome and fed to the wild beasts for the entertainment of the Roman people.60 So then, do we have good reason to believe that in writing to the Roman Christians, while bound to ten Roman soldiers,61 the author has no overriding reason for concealing the identity of Pope St. Alexander as the bishop of the Church at Rome? Obviously not. It would have been foolish, dangerous, and perhaps even immoral for St. Ignatius to identify openly Pope St. Alexander as the bishop of the Church at Rome. It would practically sentence Pope St. Alexander to death as well, for the very same reason St. Ignatius was being executed. Recall, for example, the discovery of Pope Sixtus II (AD 257-258) celebrating the Eucharist with four deacons and a crowd of laity on August 6, 258, in the catacomb of Praetextatus. While seated on his chair, addressing the flock, he was apprehended by a band of soldiers who beheaded him and the four deacons that same day.62 So this silence in St. Ignatius’s letter to the Romans concerning the existence and identity of the bishop (and presbyters) of Rome is not evidence that at this time the Church at Rome had no bishop, because the silence does not meet all four conditions necessary for silence to carry evidential weight.

The letters of St. Ignatius show both the presence of the monarchical episcopacy in Antioch and also that St. Ignatius expected the Roman Christians to understand what he meant in referring to himself as “the bishop of Syria.” And as we show below, the lists of St. Hegesippus and St. Irenaeus provide explicit evidence for the episcopal succession in Rome. These are “sounds” that break St. Ignatius’s silence when writing to the Church at Rome. Moreover, St. Ignatius’s humble approach to the Church of Rome would make no sense in conjunction with his addressing them as the bishop of Syria and with his explicit teaching concerning the superiority of the bishop over the mere presbyter, if he believed that the leadership of the Church at Rome was composed only of mere presbyters. The very act of referring to himself as the bishop of Syria, in view of his other statements about the authority of bishops in relation to mere presbyters, and his humble approach to the Church at Rome, implies that he believed that the Church in Rome had a bishop. (Pages 18, 19 - PDF version.)>>

Looking forward to the thoughts/reflections of those who have taken the time to read BHCF...


Grace and peace,

David