First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by ReformedBaptist, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. ReformedBaptist

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    Got no respones yet from the other thread, so I thought I would post here.


    I was very surprised by reading this letter that so many Roman Catholics and Orthordox, especially Roman Catholic, make so much of the apostolic fathers. This was startling to me given Clement's statements concerning the presbyters, his LONG exhortation regarding Old Covenant worship being prescribed of God which is a great outline of the Regulative Principle of Worship, his discussion of the elect of God and they are referred to and how their salvation is spoken of: by the WILL of GOD, not man.

    I think Clement did a good job in the epistle, if it is read properly, as one who teaches the doctrine of the Scriptures well.

    RB
     
  2. BRIANH

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    It is a wonderful letter you are correct. Catholic Apologists like to point to it as an example of the Papacy...except it never mentions it of course...
     
  3. Agnus_Dei

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    I agree, unless they're hung-up on Clement being a Bishop of Rome as that somehow being proof of the papacy...

    In XC
    -
     
  4. Thinkingstuff

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    Yes Clements letter to the Corinthians is a worth while read. Interesting to note his knowledge and quotes from book in the apocrypha. And of cour Brianh your right. It doesn't speak specifically to the papacy but this is how they derive the concept.:

    A favorite word he uses is Harmonoia (harmony, unity). He uses it often in this letter. The catholics for papal claims will reference this comment:

    He is condeming the laity ousting their presbytrs and wants the laity to humbly follow the authority set over them. Also this was in the comentary I read:
    This is what got me thinking however on early christian practices (liturgy?)

     
  5. Matt Black

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    Certainly evidence of Apostolic Succession and clerical presidency in worship there.
     
  6. BRIANH

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    Paul mentions him and one can speculate that he is connected with him. Just like Paul wrote Corinth.
    Early church and liturgy is an entirely different topic but quite interesting. One has to take into account Paul's writings in his letter to the Corinthians. The earliest description of a worship service has the following elements as given by Justyn Martyr
    The read scripture as long as time permitted
    The President (pastor) of the congregation said prayers to the best of his ability; ie not a scripted liturgical response
    He spoke.
    The took the Lord's Supper.
    Pretty plain.
     
  7. BRIANH

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    Not in any sense that we now think of that. I am not sure what you mean by clerical presidency. The Apostles appointed people; no one denies that because we know Paul did. We also know that AFTER that, it was up to the individual church and congregation to decide:
    Those therefore who were appointed by them, or afterward by other men of repute with the consent of the whole Church
     
  8. Doubting Thomas

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    I'm not Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic, but as one (an Anglican) who has read First Clement through a couple of times (as well as the other Apostolic Fathers), I figured I'd chime in...


    I agree

    Indeed.

    He must have.

    True, but of course 'election' is not the exclusive doctrine or domain of the Calvinists and their "TULIP" theology.

    I imagine they'd say that it shows evidence of the Roman bishop giving instructions to a church in another city. However, this proves nothing as Ignatius' (bishop of Antioch) letters were likewise written to other churches (which had their own bishops) encouraging them in the faith and to follow their ordained leaders. (Likewise, Polycarp of Smyrna wrote an epistle of encouragement to the church at Philippi)

    Odd, but illustrative.

    Really? We must have read a different letter. One of Clements main points to the Corinthians is to follow those bishops duly appointed by the Apostles, as he states that the Apostles themselves knew after they departed there would be strife over the office of bishop. That's why the Apostles left successors.

    In what way? I don't think the epistle has much to do with the "papacy" either way--whether rebuking it or establishing it.

    Good, me too.

    Yeah, basically.
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    The emphasis on the appointment by the Apostles is not succession, but an exhortation to the Corinthians that the men were of good and holy conduct, and that it was by envy they wanted them removed. Also, the elders (presbyters) and deacons had agreement "of the whole church" mean THAT church. These were men approved, meaning they met the qualifications.

    It doesn't teach apostoloic succession or an imposed elder or deacon without the consent of the whole church. A far cry from apostolic succession as it is today, or worse, the papacy who is the epitome of a usurper.

    In Clement's exhortation on humility he makes the statement (going from memory) how the presbyter is not to lord over the flock. Very similiar to the Apostle's exhortation in the Scriptures. I can't think of a great anti-christian usurper on Christian history than the popes of Rome.
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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    EXACTLY! :thumbs:
     
  11. Doubting Thomas

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    Having the consent "of the whole church" doesn't mitigate against the idea of Apostolic succession. Certainly the churches (including the laity) have been involved in episcopal (and presbyterial) appointments through out history, and even today in many churches with episcopal goverment. However, there has also been the importance of recognition (if not consecration) by one's fellow bishops, and at the beginning the leaders were indeed appointed by the Apostles and some of their immediate successors like Timothy and Titus (historically themselves the first 'bishops' of Ephesus and Crete respectively)



    I think, sadly, that many bishops (particularly of the more powerful sees like Rome, Antioch, Constantinople, and Alexandria) have fallen into the temptation to "lord it over" their flocks. However, this has also been the case among leadership of non-episcopal denominations as well.
     
  12. BRIANH

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    There is a distinction being made here as well see in Clement. They were appointed by the Apostles in some cases. After that, men of repute with the consent of the church. It says nothing about those men of repute having to be a bishop appointed by a bishop. Monarchial bishops are not part of the equation in the text itself of Clement. If we stick to the text itself, it says nothing about them having to be bishops.

    Those therefore who were appointed by them, or afterward by other men of repute with the consent of the whole Church

     
  13. ReformedBaptist

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    Again, Amen. :thumbs:
     
  14. Thinkingstuff

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    What about the Didache? There is some discussion that this may have been written as early as 50 AD. Taken with Clements letter it gives something to think about. Another thing that strikes me about Clements letter is:

    What is this "Rule of our Tradition"?
     
  15. Doubting Thomas

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    But it doesn't say these "other men of repute" were not other already appointed bishops/presbyters, either. (After all, the qualifications in the Scriptures for one to be a bishop/presbyter can be summed up in the necessity for a man to be of good repute.) We know that from other sources historically that other bishops were involved in ordaining new bishops/presybters, along with the consent of the congregations. At any rate, one cannot prove from First Clement alone that the approval of other previously appointed bishops (in one's one church or in neighboring communities) was generally unnecessary for the appointment of new bishops/presbyters. A counter example is Titus, not himself an Apostle, given the authority by Paul appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5) (likewise with Timothy)
     
  16. Matt Black

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    Clerical presidency:


    Apostolic Succession:

     
  17. ReformedBaptist

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    The Rule of our Tradition is the Scripture.
     
  18. BRIANH

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    What other early sources do we know that other bishops had to ordain? Curious...
    I feel like you overstated your case and if you say the men of repute COULD BE presbyters already we agree of course. It does not prove Apostolic Succession; if anything it asserts elder rule and congregationalism.
     
  19. BRIANH

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    Matt Clement in no way, shape, or form is saying we have a high priest in the NT in the form of a clerical presidency. It is always leadership in the plural form for the NT offices in Clement. He is comparing and drawing support from the OT offices but not contending they are exact.
     
  20. BRIANH

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    As a Protestant I love the Didache. Baptism by immersion unless there is no water present to do it in; certainly not the case now.
    The Lord's supper has nothing about it to remind anyone of Catholic or Orthodox views on a Real Presence. In fact, it suggests it was a meal which I contend the Church conflated the Agape Meal (described by Paul I believe and the Didache) into a short ceremony called the Eucharist but still maintained its use of the Agape Meal into the 4th century..but I digress

    I would give this quote as well which supports Clement

    Appoint for yourselves therefore bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord,
     

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