The Instigator
matthewleebrown14
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
joze14rock
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The Bishop of rome (pope) was not the sole authority or "final say" of the church.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,261 times Debate No: 4314
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (8)

 

matthewleebrown14

Pro

the Bishop of Rome who is now days called the Pope was not the supreme vicar of Christ. He indeed was among equals to the other biships such as the bishop of constantinople, alexandria and antioch. I will use scripture and early church father teachings to support my opinion. I am in no way criticizing other faiths, this is just an interesting topic to me. I am approaching this debate from an eastern orthodox view.

This is my first formal debates other then verbal debates with friends. This should be a good experience for win or lose....

I would like to debate a catholic in particular since this debate is very popular between roman catholic and eastern orthodox christians, but if one is knowledgeable of the catholic faith, they may accept the challenge
joze14rock

Con

Splendid. I guess I'll outline why the "Bishop of Rome" i.e. the Pope, is supreme vicar of Christ.

As Aristotle so wisely preached, it is important to define terms:
What is "Supreme Vicar of Christ"? It simply means the chief pastor of the entire Christian Church, including those denominations as Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Protestant Splinter Sects; the Pope "acts and speaks for Christ on earth" ("The Many Faces of Faith" by Richard R. Losch) What right does Rome have in saying that their Bishop is in charge of all the other Bishops?
Well, let me state my criterion for this entire debate-
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16

The key words I want to emphasize is "reproof" & "correction." I am full aware that the writer of 2 Timothy (pressumably Paul) was most likely talking about the Old Testament (The Jewish texts). But since Christian Orthodoxy claims that both Old and New Testament are on equal footing, for each depends on each other, we can wisely apply this quote to the New Testament as well.
But what is meant by "reproof" and "correction"? Well I believe those two terms speak for themselves.

Unlike Protestants, who depend completely on "Sola Scriptura" in attaining doctrine, it is important to note that Catholics (Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics) rely on tradition, Scripture, and reason equally ("The Many Faces of Faith). So if my opponent hopes to prove his stance solely on Scripture, he will be deemed a heretic by his own and, well, will lose this round also.

We must also understand that at The Council of Trent (1546-63), Roman Catholics affirmed that tradition and Scripture bear equal authority. Eastern Orthodoxy and Aglicanism agree on such concept, but disagree on the traditions of Roman Catholocism.
Thus we must focus on these supposed "traditions" that Catholics proclaim while other Christians denounce

Let us move to the part of the Bible in which Roman Catholics heavily depend on to show their direct lineage to St. Peter:

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

The word for Peter and for rock in the original Aramaic is one and the same; this renders it evident that the various attempts to explain the term "rock" as having reference not to Peter himself but to something else are misinterpretations. It is Peter who is the rock of the Church. (Catholic Encyclopedia).
But besides the literal translation of Peter to rock, we have much evidence in Paul's epistles to infer that even Paul called Peter "Cephas" (which means Rock). Look at 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5, and Galatians 2:9. And by Gospels account, by inference and explicitness, we can agree that Peter was made the head of the Christian Church once Jesus was gone.

It is important to note that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian Church who has ever claimed direct lineage to Peter, in whom Christ said He would build his Church on. This claim has scriptural validity. In Acts, we are told that all Jews were expelled from Rome by Claudius. Why were they expelled? Most likely because these Jews were a fanatical sect within Judaism, later known as Christians. It makes sense to assume that the Jews were expelled beause Christianity was being spread throughout the Imperial City, in which posed much of a great danger to the Roman Elite. With the idea that Rome was being infiltrated by Christians, we can possibly assume that it was Peter who was in charge of it, since Peter was in charge of the Christian Community (according to Matthew) and Rome was in charge of the world.

I think we can also infer another important fact from Acts: In Acts 15:6-28, Barnabas and Paul approach the "elders" of the Christian community, whose headquarters was still located in Jerusalem. This event is also known as the "Jerusalem Decree." Paul and Barnabas were trying to convince the Apostles and other elders that the Christian faith should be extended to Gentiles, and not be strictly a Jewish faith. If we analyze the whole chapter, we notice not once is Peter mentioned as the decision is made by the elders. Why is that? We can most reasonably assume that Peter was abroad converting. And it can be wisely pressumed that Peter was in Rome spreading the Word. Why? Because although Paul and Barnabas were still trying to convince the other Apostles of converting Gentiles, Peter was ALREADY doing so. In Acts 10:34-48, Peter is preaching to Cornelius, a ROMAN Centurian.

I think the most straightforward implicit evidence that we have to show that Peter was predominantely in Rome is in 1 Peter 5:13: "She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son." Assuming that Peter wrote this epistle, it is most obvious that Peter must have been in Rome, for the ancient Biblical Code for "Babylon" meant Rome. "Babylon is a code-word for Rome. It is used that way multiple times in works like the Sibylline Oracles (5:159f), the Apocalypse of Baruch (2:1), and 4 Esdras (3:1). Eusebius Pamphilius, in The Chronicle, composed about A.D. 303, noted that It is said that Peter's first epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon." Catholic Encyclopedia.

As you have might have noticed, I have not relied on any "myth" accounts of Peter being in Rome (e.g. Peter being crucified upside down in Rome). But I think another important source of evidence that shows that Peter lived most of his Christian life in Rome is by inferring the Christian Apogryphal accounts, especialy the Acts of Peter. For it says in the Apocryphal account that Peter was challenged by a Heretical magician, in the City of Rome, in a power dual. Of course Peter wins the battle, but then eventually gets killed by the Emperor Nero. Whether the story is true or not is not the point, but the fact that the author writes a story of Peter in Rome is crucial in outlining and hypothosizing what Peter's life entailed, since it is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Biblical Account.

Why is it so crucial to show that Peter was in Rome? Simple: Because if Peter is the head of the Christian Church (which I have showed evidence through reason and scripture) then he has ultimate hearsay of what is said to happen. And since Rome was the superpower of the ancient world, it makes alot of sense to pressume that if Peter wanted to extend the Christian faith across the entire Roman Empire, he had to do so from the brain of the empire: Rome.
It was inevetible that the Christian Church would be politicized, as we can see from the Conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Once Christianity was fused with the Roman Empire, it only made sense that the Church of Rome would hold supreme control over all the other Churches.
And since the political power of the Church grew before the Great Schism between East and West, we understand that the East (i.e. Eastern Orthodoxy) fully acknowledged the political power of the Church. It was only until the Roman Catholic Church interpreted "traditions" differently, did the East become enraged.

But as I said at the outset of this debate, in 2 Timothy 3:16,
Reproof and Correction are completely acceptable in proclaiming Christian doctrine, belief, interpretation, and TRADITION.

Have Fun!
Debate Round No. 1
matthewleebrown14

Pro

Thank you for taking the debate! This should be a great experience for me. How can i be strong in my faith unless i'm tested?

I assure you i will not only use scriptural evidance in this debate, i also believe in holy tradition.

First, lets examine the role peter was given by our Lord and how it related to the other disciples.

The power given to Peter was not that of authority, but of honor and responsibility. Truly Peter was the first among the disciples, the orthodox church in no way denies that. What authority did this power give peter? In no scripture or other ancient writings will you ever hear of Peter practicing authority over the other disciples. In Matthew 16:18 the rock in both aramaic and greek (petros/petra)does not refer to peter per se, but to "the faith of his confession"- (st. john chr). The true rock is Christ himself (1 cor. 10:4) and the church is built on the faithful confesssion of Christ. When christ said "thou art peter, he called him PETROS, which means "small stone." But when he sais "upon this rock i will build my church" the greek for rock is not PETROS but PETRAS which means "bedrock." this bedrock which the church was built upon was always understood by the greek fathers and many WESTERN fathers to mean either Christ himself or the profession of faith in Christ's divinity.

Second, although peter was given the prominent role as the first of the apostles, he was always equal to the other apostles. Christ told the apostles that they would sit on twelve thrones. (Matt. 19:28) A special throne was not set up for Peter. The "keys" were given to all the apostles. (Matt. 18:18) The other apostles were also the foundation upon which the church was built. (Eph. 2:20) If you believe as the catholics do, it is interesting to see that when the disciples disputed among themselves as to who would be the greatest, (Luke 22:24-27)they seemed unaware that Christ had already picked peter.

I will attempt to make the rounds shorter because i understand that time is of the essence for you!

St. Augustine, one of the "doctors" of the ROMAN church, considered peter and paul equal. He puts these words in Pauls mouth "i am in nothing inferior to Peter, for we are ordained by the same God for the same ministry. St. Augustine also referred to Peter's primacy, but he does not understand this to mean power over the church. He quoted, "He had not the primacy over the disciples, but among the disciples. His primacy among the disciples was the same as that of Stephen among the deacons"

I have more quotes and evidance to share but to ensure that this debate drags on for four rounds, i will discuss them in the next round. I'm also aware of the limited time that my opponent has and will give him a chance to express all of his views in his limited time.

I could of went on! It was extremly hard to stop...

Once again thanks for taking the debate and i am thankful that you are about to serve our country. I admire your integrity!
joze14rock

Con

Thanks very much for all your comments.

Let me begin by addressing the most important point in this debate: The Role of Peter the Apostle.
By reading both of ours responses, I believe voters and debaters clearly see the stance that we hold: My opponent believes that Peter received a role of honor and responsibility, while I argue that Peter received a role of authority.

Let me begin by refuting the Biblical interpretation that Jesus' prefrence of Peter is merely that of honor and responsibility.

To think that Jesus had a personal preference is rather too human in my opinion. In claiming that Jesus chose Peter as an authority figure makes more sense as the Son of God who supposedly loves all equally. For while having a preference of "honor" and "responsibility" have overly human tendencies.

I agree with my opponent in saying that Peter was no greater individually than any other of the Apostles. Just as how no Jew is considered better than any other individual, in Christian doctrine, even though they are the "Chosen People." That is why St. Augustine saw Peter and Paul as equal. But keep in mind, St. Augustine was a devout ROMAN Catholic, and deeply believed in infallibility of the Pope. Becarful with your sources.

So rather than Jesus' choosing of Peter being of a moral nature, we must assume that it was that of authority. Jesus preference of Peter for responsibility, lies under the notion that Jesus felt that Peter was best suited as leader of the Christian faithful once He was gone.

Let us go back to the Gospel accounts: Once Jesus got arrested on that fateful Final Supper, the Apostles scattered about out of confusion that their spiritual leaders had just been apprehended. They were utterly confused and dazed at what had happened. It makes sense that Jesus understood that without an authority figure or leader in place, the Christian faith would not last. So He, before hand, appointed Peter as the leader of the future faith. But that did't make him moraly or ethically superior to the other Apostles.

The proof that Christ constituted St. Peter head of His Church is found in the two famous Petrine texts, Matthew 16:17-19, and John 21:15-17.

"Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." -Matthew 16:17-19

Referring to Matthew: In the following verse (Matthew 16:19) He promises to bestow on Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The words refer evidently to Isaiah 22:22, where God declares that Eliacim, the son of Helcias, shall be invested with office in place of the worthless Sobna: And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open.

In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ's words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

&

"So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me more than these?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Feed My lambs."
He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah,[b] do you love Me?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?"
And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You."
Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep." -John 21:15-17

I think St. Chrysostom says it best:
"He saith to him, "Feed my sheep". Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren. . . . If anyone should say "Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?", I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world.
["Hom. 88 (87) in Joan.", 1. Cf. Origen, "In Ep. ad Rom.", 5:10; Ephraem Syrus "Hymn. in B. Petr." in "Bibl. Orient. Assemani", 1:95; Leo I, "Serm. iv de natal.", 2]."

(Catholic Encyclopedia)

It seems that my opponent concedes to the fact that Peter spent most of his ministry in the city of Rome. If not, I do hope to see him counter in the following rounds.

Now let me focus on some of his points:

My opponent doesn't clearly explain why the Matthew quote is not referring to St. Peter.
Furthermore, it is clearly shown in St. Pauls epistles that Peter was known as "the Rock."
"Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos' or 'I am of Cephas' or 'I am of Christ'"- 1 Corinthians 1:12
Who is Cephas? Cephas translates from the original Greek as "rock." But it is obviously clear in this passage and other passages in 1 Corinthians about Cephas, that Cephas was a person. Scholars agree that Paul is referring to Peter (as shown by Acts) when he talks about Cephas. Cephas was a nickname that Paul labeled for Peter.

My opponent is utterly wrong in his Greek translation of rock as "Petros" or "Petras". (I'm not sure of the Aramaic). I challenge my opponent to show me evidence to the contrary.
The true translation from the original Greek is "Cephas" as shown by St. Paul in his letters.

What I merely did in this round was defend my stance, quite effectively if I do say so myself. I have faith my opponent will bring new evidence to light to show how St. Peter was not given authoritative power, which I hope to refute.

For it seems that this debate of whether the Pope is trully the sole authority of the Church will be based off whoever can prove or disprove St. Peter was given leadership-type authority over the Christian Church upon Christ ascension.
Debate Round No. 2
matthewleebrown14

Pro

I will state again that the orthodox church does recognize a role that was given to better, but what authority does role give him?

The patristic is that no Father of the Church has seen, in the primacy of peter, any title of jurisdiction or absolute authority in church government. The LATIN church father St. Ambrose taught that peter and paul were equal. He quotes: " Is it proper that Paul should go to see Peter? Why? Was peter superior to him and the other apostles? No, but because, of all the apostles, he was the first to be entrusted by the Lord with the care of the churches. Had he need to be taught, or to receive a commission from Peter? No, but that peter might know the paul has received the power which had also been given to himself"

St. Ambrose also taught that peter's primacy was not one of honor or rank, but of faith and confession.He quoted: "As soon as peter heard these words 'whom say ye that i am?' remembering his place, he exercised this primacy, a primacy of confession, not of honor, a primacy of faith, not of rank"

Another problem with the Latin premise is with the claim that an exclusive transference of power occurred from the apostle peter to the bishop of rome, and from the church in Jerusalem to the church of Rome. The orthodox church will point out that all bishops are successors of the apostles and that the bishop of rome, the pope, does not therefore have exclusive rights to peter. Since peter died before the apostle John, this would mean, according to papal doctrine, that the beloved apostle peter would have been under the universal role of the bishop of rome(at that time) thus reversing the intended order of rank.

Third, Peter ordained several bishops in rome. (Irenaeus and Eusebius write that he ordained Linus, and Tertullian states that he ordained clement.) How could they be the successors and have universal rule over peter if he was still alive??

Fourth, Jerusalme had a unique authority in the church. It was the mother of all Churches but it never attempted to lord over the other churches as its supposed successor did.

Fifth, (i'm getting to the main point soon! Stick with me!) If we admit a succession from apostle to bishop and from Jerusalem to rome, then there would be a decrease in authority, due to the unique place of the apostle and of jerusalem. Rome, however, claimed more authority then peter or jerusalem ever claimed!

Sixth, another problem is the roman catholic assumption that papal primacy has existed and been practiced since ancient times. To refute this assumption, i will quote the ancient witness Pope Gregory, (540-604 a.d.) one of the greatest of all the ROMAN popes! Pope Gregory was deeply concerned that the Patriarch of Constantinople, St. John the Faster, had accepted that title of Ecumenical (or universal) Patriarch. He immediately condemned any such title with the following quote: "I say it without the least hisitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is by his pride the precursor of the anti-Christ because he thus attempts to raise himself above the others. The error into which he falls springs from pride equal to that of the anti-Christ. For as that wicked one wished to be regarded as exalted above other men, like a god, so likewise whosoever would call himself sole bishop exalteth himself above others"

Pope Gregory also demonstrated that such a title would be harmful to the church. He quotes: "It cannot be denied that if any one bishop be called universal, all the church crumbles if that universal one fall"

Pope gregory didn't stop there! ( hang in there folks, i know this is alot of reading!) Pope Gregory refused the title for himself because he believed that he was equal to the other patriarchs. He wrote to the bishop of Alexandria these words: " Your Holiness has been at pains to tell us that in addressing certain persons you no longer give them certain tiles that have no better origin than pride, using this phrase regarding me 'as you have commanded me.' I pray you let me never again here this word command; for i know who i am and who you are, by your position you are my brethren; by your virtue you are my fathers. I have, therefore, not commanded; I have only been careful to point out things which seemed to me useful. Still i do not find that your Holiness has perfectly remembered what i particularly wished to empress on your memory; FOR I SAID THAT YOU SHOULD NO MORE GIVE THAT TITLE TO ME THAN TO OTHERS; and lo! in the superscription of your letter, you gave to me, who have proscribed them, the VAINGLORIOUS TITLES OF UNIVERSAL AND POPE. May your sweet Holiness do so no more in the future. I beseech you; FOR YOU TAKE FROM YOURSELF WHAT YOU GIVE EXCESS TO ANOTHER. I do not esteem that an honor which caused my brethren to lose their own dignity. My honor is that of the whole Church. My honor is the unshakable firmness of my brethren. I consider myself truly honored when no one is denied the honor due to them. IF YOUR HOLINESS CALLS ME UNIVERSAL POPE, YOU DENY THAT YOU ARE YOURSELF WHAT I SHOULD BE ALTOGETHER. GOD FORBID! FAR FROM US BE WORDS THAT PUFF UP VANITY AND WOUND CHARITY."

These words came straight through the mouth of one of the greatest roman popes to ever live. How much more evidance do you need then those quotes above?!? He clearly demonstrated that he had no more power then the other patriarchs. Was pope gregory unaware that peter had universal authority over the whole church? NO, because that view never existed or else pope greogry wouldn't of made the comments he did and just accepted himself as the universal authority of the church.

Even catholic theologians admit that the papacy as it exists now is of late origin. Catholic theologian W. Devries admits, " throughout the first ten centries, Rome never claimed to have been granted its preferred position of jurisdiction as an explicit privilage."

Avery Dulles considers the papacy to be a historical accident! He quotes: "The strong centralization in modern catholicism is due to historical accident. It has been shaped in part by the homogeneous culture of medieval Europe and by the dominance of ROME with it's rich heritage of classical culture and legal orginization"

Still not convinced? It's ok, i have more quotes from the early fathers that i will post in the next round, but let me refute a point that my opponent made.

My opponent made the following demonstration of peter's authority:

"So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me more than these?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Feed My lambs."
He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah,[b] do you love Me?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?"
And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You."
Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep." -John 21:15-17

This is an extremly flawed demonstration of peter's authority on my opponent's part. Was this responsibility for peter not required for all the other disciples? Absolutely not! Any one with an authoritive position has this moral responsibility that Jesus demonstrated to Peter.

My opponent pointed out some valid points in the earlier round, but he still failed to demonstrate that peter actually practiced this authority. No where in scripture or apostolic teaching will you ever hear of peter exorcising his supposed authority over the whole church! You won't hear or read it because it does not exist!

I have more to say but will do so in the next round...i am slowly running out of room! Sorry for such a long post! I can only hope that you can stick with me and read it all!
joze14rock

Con

Splendid.

My opponent seems to ensue on a "Church Fathers" War, which I would rather not take. So to avoid it, I will detract myself from employing anymore of the Church Fathers.
It is a fact that the Church Fathers disputed amongst each other on countless issues, not just Peter's authoritative role.
The St. Ambrose quote and the many others from the other Church fathers that my opponent has utilized, I ask he cite so I can further study them.
Their is a reason why I would like to study them: Misinterpretation or other interpretation can occur. Let us take St. Augustine as an example. My opponent used him. Quote:

"St. Augustine, one of the "doctors" of the ROMAN church, considered peter and paul equal. He puts these words in Pauls mouth "i am in nothing inferior to Peter, for we are ordained by the same God for the same ministry. St. Augustine also referred to Peter's primacy, but he does not understand this to mean power over the church. He quoted, "He had not the primacy over the disciples, but among the disciples. His primacy among the disciples was the same as that of Stephen among the deacons""

But this interpretation by St. Augustine can be taken another direction:
St. Augustine in several places tells us that Peter received the keys as representing the Church -- e.g. "In Joan.", tr. 1:12: "Si hoc Petro tantum dictum est, non facit hoc Ecclesia . . .; si hoc ergo in Ecclesia fit, Petrus quando claves accepit, Ecclesiam sanctam significavit'(If this was said to Peter alone, the Church cannot exercise this power; if this power is exercised in the Church, then when Peter received the keys, he signified the Holy Church); cf. tr. 124:5; Serm. 295. It is argued that, according to Augustine, the power denoted by the keys resides primarily not in Peter, but in the whole Church. Christ's gift to His people was merely bestowed on Peter as representing the whole body of the faithful. The right to forgive sins, to exclude from communion, to exercise any other acts of authority, is really the prerogative of the whole Christian congregation. If the minister performs these acts he does so as delegate of the people. The argument, which was formerly employed by Gallican controversialists, however, rests on a misunderstanding of the passages. Augustine is controverting the Novatian heretics, who affirmed that the power to remit sins was a purely personal gift to Peter alone, and had disappeared with him. He therefore asserts that Peter received it that it might remain for ever in the Church and be used for its benefit. It is in that sense alone that he says that Peter represented the Church. There is no foundation whatever for saying that he desired to affirm that the Church was the true recipient of the power conferred. Such a view would be contrary to the whole patristic tradition, and is expressly reprobated in the Vatican Decree, cap. 1. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

It is utterly futile to use the Church Father's as a supreme authority in this debate because they can be interpreted in many ways, as I have shown above.

Not only did Christ constitute St. Peter head of the Church, but in the words, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in heaven," He indicated the scope of this headship.

The expressions binding and loosing here employed are derived from the current terminology of the Rabbinic schools. A doctor who declared a thing to be prohibited by the law was said to bind, for thereby he imposed an obligation on the conscience. He who declared it to be lawful was said to loose). In this way the terms had come respectively to signify official commands and permissions in general. The words of Christ, therefore, as understood by His hearers, conveyed the promise to St. Peter of legislative authority within the kingdom over which He had just set him, and legislative authority carries with it as its necessary accompaniment judicial authority.

Moreover, the powers conferred in these regards are plenary. This is plainly indicated by the generality of the terms employed: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind . . . Whatsoever thou shalt loose"; nothing is withheld. Further, Peter's authority is subordinated to no earthly superior. The sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven. They do not need the antecedent approval of any other tribunal. He is independent of all save the Master who appointed him. The words as to the power of binding and loosing are, therefore, elucidatory of the promise of the keys which immediately precedes. They explain in what sense Peter is governor and head of Christ's kingdom, the Church, by promising him legislative and judicial authority in the fullest sense. In other words, Peter and his successors have power to impose laws both preceptive and prohibitive, power likewise to grant dispensation from these laws, and, when needful, to annul them. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Let us move on to my opponents argument that their was a transference of power from the Apostle Peter to the Bishop of Rome, and from the Church in Jerusalem to Church of Rome.
Although Christ established the perpetual office of supreme head (assuming Peter), Scripture does not tell us that He fixed the law according to which the headship should descend. Granting that He left this to Peter to determine, it is plain that the Apostle need not have attached the primacy to his own see: he might have attached it to another. Some have thought that the law establishing the succession in the Roman episcopate became known to the Apostolic Church as an historic fact. In this case the dogma that the Roman pontiff is at all times the Church's chief pastor would be the conclusion from two premises -- the revealed truth that the Church must ever have a supreme head, and the historic fact that St. Peter attached that office to the Roman See. This conclusion, while necessarily connected with revelation, is not part of revelation, and is accepted fide infallibili. According to other theologians the proposition in question is part of the deposit of faith itself. In this case the Apostles must have known the law determining the succession to the Bishop of Rome, not merely on human testimony, but also by Divine revelation, and they must have taught it as a revealed truth to their disciples. It is this view which is commonly adopted. The definition of the Vatican to the effect that the successor of St. Peter is ever to be found in the Roman pontiff is almost universally held to be a truth revealed by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and by them transmitted to the Church.

Now the transference of power between Jerusalem and Rome was inevatible. Unfortunately, very early on in the history of the Christian Church, the faith was politicized. Meaning the Roman State would be intertwined with the Christian Church. And since Rome was the Capital of the world at that time, the Roman Church would take supreme authority of the other Churches within the empire. As history serves us, the Jewish Revolt in Jerusalem in the middle of the 1st century, devastated the power of the early Jerusalem Church. It was the conversion of the Gentiles throughout the empire, especially in Rome, that truly strengthened the Faith. Constantinople was't established until half a century later. Point: Any Church matter was political. And since the Roman State was the World Power of the time, the Roman Church had supreme authority nonetheless. Brush aside the theology and scripture; it was historical fact that Roman Church became the supreme power of the Roman Empire.

My opponent assumes that he knows when Peter died. Their is no scriptural or empirical evidence that shows definitely when St. Peter died. All that can be inferred is that Peter spent most of his Christian life in Rome.

I've run out of characters. I shall wait for my opponent!
Debate Round No. 3
matthewleebrown14

Pro

I agree with my oppenent that there can be different interpretations of church father quotes. However, i attempted to not be bias, thats why most if not all of my quotes were from that of the roman fathers.

I can see there being different interpretations on all of the quotes i used except for the quotes from St. Gregory, the bishop of rome. Few things in life are "black and white" so to say, but the quotes i used from St. Gregory are not! I don't see how these quotes can be interpreted any other way! He was very clear. He was concerned that the bishop of constantinople, St. John, was taking on the title of universal bishop, a title that neitehr St. Gregory or St. John held. St. Gregory's quotes were bold and straight forward, leaving no room for interpretation. I will also say that i'm dissapointed that my opponent did not have a response for these quotes. They were direct quotes from the bishop of Rome!

"I say it without the least hisitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is by his pride, the precursor of the anit-christ, because he thus attemts to raise himself above the others. The error inot which he falls springs from pride equal to that of the anti-christ, for as that wicked one wish to be regarded as exalted above other men, like a god, so likewise WHOEVER WOULD CALL HIMSELF SOLE BISHOP EXALTETH HIMSELF ABOVE OTHERS."

Ok, how can this be interpreted any other way? Can you see the vast interpretations that arise from this quote? No, it was straight forward. I hate to repeat my previous quotes but i feel i must do so to emphasize my point.

"It cannot be denied that if any one bishop be called universal, all the church crumbles if that universal one fall."

I'm still not seeing the many ways you can interpret this quote. Seems pretty straight forward to me!

Finally, the big quote. (hang in there folks)

" Your Holiness has been at pains to tell us that in addressing certain persons you no longer give them certain tiles that have no better origin than pride, using this phrase regarding me 'as you have commanded me.' I pray you let me never again here this word command; for i know who i am and who you are, by your position you are my brethren; by your virtue you are my fathers. I have, therefore, not commanded; I have only been careful to point out things which seemed to me useful. Still i do not find that your Holiness has perfectly remembered what i particularly wished to empress on your memory; FOR I SAID THAT YOU SHOULD NO MORE GIVE THAT TITLE TO ME THAN TO OTHERS; and lo! in the superscription of your letter, you gave to me, who have proscribed them, the VAINGLORIOUS TITLES OF UNIVERSAL AND POPE. May your sweet Holiness do so no more in the future. I beseech you; FOR YOU TAKE FROM YOURSELF WHAT YOU GIVE EXCESS TO ANOTHER. I do not esteem that an honor which caused my brethren to lose their own dignity. My honor is that of the whole Church. My honor is the unshakable firmness of my brethren. I consider myself truly honored when no one is denied the honor due to them. IF YOUR HOLINESS CALLS ME UNIVERSAL POPE, YOU DENY THAT YOU ARE YOURSELF WHAT I SHOULD BE ALTOGETHER. GOD FORBID! FAR FROM US BE WORDS THAT PUFF UP VANITY AND WOUND CHARITY."

This in my opinion is his strongest quote. I can't emphasize any more that this quote came directly from the bishop of rome, the one who roman catholics claim is the sole and universal head of the church. If Pope gregory was the universal head of the church, then he diffinitely was unaware of it, which seems unlikely unless,infact, that the claim that the bishop of rome was the universal head of the church was nonexistent. Once again, i still can't see the many ways you can interpret this quote. It's too straight forward to have many interpretations!

When speaking of the church fathers, another question arises.

If the roman catholic theory concerning the bishop of rome was established by Christ and "set in stone" so to say, then why was there so many questions among the church fathers? Why did some agree and disagree? If this was established by Christ then why was there room for doubt? Why was this theory not universaly accepted among the church fathers?

Analogy time. haha. Anyone who is familiar with the NFL will agree that the ESTABLISHED colors of the pittsburgh steelers are black and gold. Why then, would someone argue that the steeler's colors are blue and green? I understand that this is an extremely cheesy analogy (the first one that came to my mind) but a similar analogy nevertheless. haha

I understand that my opponent would rather not use church fathers in this debate but here are a few more STRAIGHT FORWARD quotes that would be hard to interpret differently

The Counsil of NIcea (325 a.d.)
In Canon 6, this council declared that each center was to be ruled by its own bishop and not by one head over all bishops. (Ante Nicene Father, 7:502, "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles")

St. Cyprian(200-258 a.d.):
"For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another" (Ante-Nicene Fathers, 5:565, "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian")

Is there any other interpretations to this quote? If so, i'm currious to hear them. This quote seems very straight forward to me.

St. Jerome (342-420 a.d.)
"Wherever a bishop may be whether at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegium, at Alexandria or at Thanis, he is of the same worth...for all of them are the successors of the apostles."

Sure you can interpret many church father quotes but make sure their quotes actually call upon interpretation!

A few more points to make:

1. My opponent once again failed to demonstrate peter actually practicing his supposed authority over others.

2.My opponent also failed to respond to the straight forward quotes of Pope Gregory, (the bishop of rome)

3. MY oppenent also failed to respond to the confessions (as i would like to call them) of the catholic theologians that i mentioned in the last round.

As i conclude i would would like to make it known that i am in no way criticizing the roman catholic faith. I am not one to believe that only a certain "type" of christian will make it into heaven. Alot of my close friends are catholic and protestant, infact, i don't have any eastern orthodox friends!
The Roman catholic and eastern orthodox church shares most of the same tradtions, we agree on more subjects then we disagree on! I love roman catholics and protestants as my brothers and sisters in christ and i wish jozen the best luck in all he does.

Be safe, God bless, and take care Joze
joze14rock

Con

I must admit that I ran out of characters to refute the citation and interpretation of my opponent on St. Gregory.
Let me provide (as I did with St. Augustine and how I said earlier) a different interpretation and view of St. Gregory's personal view of Papal control.

St. Gregory was Pope for the Roman Catholic Church. By the time he became Pope, the Papacy had solidified their decrees and doctrines on the power of the Pope. St. Gregory already knew what it entailed to be Pope- Vicar of Christ. If St. Gregory believed as what my opponent is claiming, we must rewrite the history books and take the "Saint" out of his name for he would have lived a double standard; he would have been a hypocrite to his own beliefs. If St. Gregory truly believed that the Bishop of Rome had the same extension of authority as other Bishops, why would he accept the position of Pope when he very well knew what that entitled?
I think this calls for a new interpretation:

The following quotation, all the more valuable as coming from a Protestant authority, indicates very clearly St. Gregory's strong belief in Papal Jurisdiction:

"In his dealings with the Churches of the West, Gregory acted invariably on the assumption that all were subject to the jurisdiction of the Roman See. Of the rights claimed or exercised by his predecessors he would not abate one tittle; on the contrary, he did everything in his power to maintain, strengthen, and extend what he regarded as the just prerogatives of the papacy. It is true that he respected the privileges of the Western metropolitans, and disapproved of unnecessary interference within the sphere of their jurisdiction canonically exercised. . . . But of his general principle there can be no doubt whatever" (Dudden, I, 475).

In view of later developments Gregory's dealings with the Oriental Churches, and with Constantinople in particular, have a special importance. There cannot be the smallest doubt that Gregory claimed for the Apostolic See, and for himself as pope, a primacy not of honor, but of supreme authority over the Church Universal. In Epp., XIII, l, he speaks of "the Apostolic See, which is the head of all Churches", and in Epp., V, cliv, he says: "I, albeit unworthy, have been set up in command of the Church." As successor of St. Peter, the pope had received from God a primacy over all Churches (Epp., II, xlvi; III, xxx; V, xxxvii; VII, xxxvii). His approval it was which gave force to the decrees of councils or synods (Epp., IX, clvi), and his authority could annul them (Epp., V, xxxix, xli, xliv). To him appeals might be made even against other patriarchs, and by him bishops were judged and corrected if need were (Epp., II, l; III, lii, lxiii; IX, xxvi, xxvii).

This position naturally made it impossible for him to permit the use of the title Ecumenical Bishop assumed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, John the Faster, at a synod held in 588. Gregory protested, and a long controversy followed, the question still at issue when the pope died. A discussion of this controversy is needless here, but it is important as showing how completely Gregory regarded the Eastern patriarchs as being subject to himself; "As regards the Church of Constantinople," he writes in Epp., IX, xxvi, "who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See? Why, both our most religious lord the emperor, and our brother the Bishop of Constantinople continually acknowledge it."

At the same time the pope was most careful not to interfere with the canonical rights of the other patriarchs and bishops. With the other Oriental patriarchs his relations were most cordial, as appears from his letters to the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria.

And thus I have interpreted it another way. Let me move on to my opponents next point

"If the roman catholic theory concerning the bishop of rome was established by Christ and "set in stone" so to say, then why was there so many questions among the church fathers?..."

My opponent has a valid point. But as I did in the very outset of this debate, I set my criterion to be 2 Timothy 3:16- "All scripture... is profitable for DOCTRINE, REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS"
The reason their was so much dispute amongst the Church Fathers was because their is no explicit "CONSTITUTION" established by Christ to lay out how the future Christian Church would be run; for God's sake, the Man-God Jesus spoke in freakin parables?!!? I don't believe Jesus wantes to be explicit with everything, except that he was the Son of God.
As 2 Timothy states, doctrine can be created and revised whenever.

Which leads to my next point. The Council of Nicea was invalidated partially, by later doctrine that was "CORRECTED" by the Second Council of Nicea in 787, which solidified Papal control.

My opponent uses St. Jerome and St. Cyprian, authorities of the early Church, but as I have shown by reinterpreting the most important quote from St. Gregory (which would carry much weight on the voter on whichever interpretation they take), we can interpret the Church Fathers and future theologians in different ways.

And so I carry this argument from my round 2 in refuting my opponents quotes of St. Jerome, St. Cyprian, and others he may have in mind:
I agree with my opponent in saying that Peter was no greater individually than any other of the Apostles. Just as how no Jew is considered better than any other individual, in Christian doctrine, even though they are the "Chosen People." So rather than Jesus' choosing of Peter being of a moral nature, we must assume that it was that of authority. Jesus preference of Peter for responsibility, lies under the notion that Jesus felt that Peter was best suited as leader of the Christian faithful once He was gone. But again, let me emphasize, Peter was not morally or individually superior than the other Apostles, which I believe the Church Fathers were arguing for. Yet, as I have shown in this debate by evidence, it is clear through scripture and reason that Peter was ordained by Christ to be leader of the future Church.
It is like this, we know President Bush is our president and we must respect that to keep order in our nation. But we also know that he is not "morally" better than me or anyone else.
My opponent's supposed "confessions" from the Catholic theologians are not in fact "confessions," but interpreting Peter's authoritative superiority, and not moral superiority, over the other Apostles.

And finally let me address my opponents objection that their is no evidence that Peter practiced superiority over others:
The reason why Peter never practiced his superiority over any of the Apostles or other Christian elders was because, by inference in his Epistles and Acts, he was already out preaching the Word (and as I had proved in earlier round) mainly in Rome.
The first couple of Chapters of Acts give the best evidece to this point. Let's go to Acts 1:15-16
"And in those days PETER stood up in the midst of the disciples [after the ascension of Christ back into heaven] (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, "Men and Brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus...""
As we can see Peter, immediately upon Christ's departure, is taking authority. And the best way to establish this authority is by interpretation of Scripture, which he does in relation of David's prophecy to Judas.
Then, if we go to Acts 2:14-39, we see Peter and no other Apostle, give a Sermon. Soon after, as shown by Acts, Peter goes off spreading the word of Christ in Italy. It is assumed that shortly threafter, he is crucified or killed as a Martyr. And thus that is why no evidence shows his excercise of power.

Peter was granted supreme authority which the Roman Church acknowledged.

Good luck to my opponent!
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by joshandr30 8 years ago
joshandr30
Can I debate on this next, I am Roman Catholic.
Posted by matthewleebrown14 8 years ago
matthewleebrown14
oops i was just informed by a friend that i probably shouldn't of posted that last comment since the comment section isn't the debate....lol my apologies, i just wanted to explain to my oppenent one more thing about the second council of nicea not for the sake of winning the debate just for his information.....
Posted by matthewleebrown14 8 years ago
matthewleebrown14
jose,

keep in mind that the idea of a suprime pontiff wasn't developed until later in church history....which makes if obvious why the east went into schism with west

The history of the Papacy's temporal role can be divided into three major time periods. Early Christianity, the Pope had no temporal power and served only as the spiritual head of the Christian church in Rome. Even in that spiritual role, it was contested whether the patriarchs of the other churches were subordinate to the bishop of Rome.

The second major time period runs roughly from the 4th Century until Rome and Latium were annexed by the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. During this time period, the Pope exerted varying amounts of temporal and spiritual power until the Papal states were slowly taken away from the Papacy in the 19th century. During this same period, the role of the Pope as spiritual leader of the Christian church was successfully challenged by the East-West Schism and the Protestant Reformation.
Posted by joze14rock 8 years ago
joze14rock
Lol!! That's funny. You don't know how often that happens to me.

And yes those counter quotes can be left for interpretation I suppose.
Posted by matthewleebrown14 8 years ago
matthewleebrown14
i guess you can also say that those counter quotes can be left for interpretation...
Posted by matthewleebrown14 8 years ago
matthewleebrown14
i soo just did the joze thing at the end of my last argument, lol....wow right after reading your earlier comment....jeeeeez
Posted by joze14rock 8 years ago
joze14rock
lol, nah it's cool. Alot of people, when talkin on AIM or something, get confused and call me "Joze".
Cracks me up.

Okay, I'll look up those quotes as you said. But I did look up that St. Augustine quote you put up, and I get complete counter quotes. See, i'm not Catholic, so I have to do alot of my research online or in books. But when I do so, because i'm somewhat neutral on the subject, I get interpretations from both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox

I suspect i'll find different interpreatations with the Church Fathers lol.

Take Care
Posted by matthewleebrown14 8 years ago
matthewleebrown14
I got the quotes from a hand out that was given to me at a church discussion. I'm sure you can read them if you search their names on google or go the hundreds of catholic apologetics webisites....shouldn't be very hard...
Posted by matthewleebrown14 8 years ago
matthewleebrown14
ohh yes, i see now...To bad i wasn't bright enough to get it in the first place, hahah
Posted by joze14rock 8 years ago
joze14rock
lol, it's pretty simple
Replace the "z" with an "s"

and you get....
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