By Hugh Nibley
Much might be discovered from the recent testomony and different early Christian resources in regards to the powers, tasks, and wanted attributes of these who initially held the places of work of apostle and bishop. Catholics declare that Peter was once the 1st bishop of Rome, and japanese Orthodox Christians assert that he used to be the 1st bishop of Antioch. yet does both place replicate the apostolic or episcopal workplaces thoroughly or appropriately? What, fairly used to be the function of bishops, and what was once their dating with apostles within the early Christian church? it's tough to visualize a person greater than Hugh Nibley to make clear this demanding and fascinating topic.
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Extra resources for The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 15: Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity
Roman Catholics have long claimed Peter as the source of their authority and have supported this claim by quoting certain words of the Lord to Peter indicating his future presidency in the church. Of course, Roman Catholic scholars acknowledge that the issue lies not in Peter’s relation to the Lord but in Peter’s relation to Clement and to the church at Rome. At issue are the details of that fateful moment of transmission, not from Christ to Peter, but from Peter to his successor. Missing is evidence indicating whether Peter ever was bishop of Rome and, if so, whether Clement immediately succeeded Peter in that office.
Those involved in the great controversy granted that there was a church, but disagreed over whether that posited an organization. The church by its very nature is an organization. The phenomena of primitive Christianity cannot be explained on any but a corporational basis: there are motions passed, elections, etc. This is the “spirit” controversy: the charisma as a free, formless principle versus the idea that the Spirit can and does bring about order, law, and discipline. Today the tendency is no longer to regard the church as a late emergence but to seek its origin even in the time of Jesus.
19 Opposing the Consensus, Sohm said that Gemeindebeschlüsse [local community decisions] were merely local Anerkennungshandlungen [confirmatory procedures], accepting central decrees. ), but it is now recognized that this is not the early Christian view, which always traces the authority to a gift from God and insists that it rests on God’s approval. ”21 “The local branch is a reproduction of the heavenly ekklesia. ”22 This is the present state of things. 23 Hans Lietzmann notes that the earliest records speak of the process by which one joins the church, an Aufnahmeritus that meets us fully developed in the Acts and in the Epistles and that without a definite and even strict organization would be impossible.