I got into Reddit this month. It is kind of amazing.
It seems to play into a lot of the way I am wired. I like online discussions. I have been looking for a place to discuss theology online for several years (ever since I left the UCC forums) … and now I seem to have struck the motherlode of heady and exasperating discussion forums.
Part of the reason I find it so difficult to blog is that I don’t know if people read blogs. But I know that people read on reddit, because that is the whole point. People post things to reddit and then other people read and comment and then can say they “Read-it”
So anyways, I am really excited about the prospect of engaging people theologically online.
If you do not recall, I spent almost nine months writing sermon summaries and trying to get my bible study members to make online comments before deciding to “hit the streets” and find people online who shared my vision
* Here is my original post from January 2014 asking my Bible Study why nobody wanted to comment. https://page473.wordpress.com/2014-streets/
* Here is the post I made Late Spring 2014 when I wanted to articulate why I feel so compelled to create an online Christian community for young adults. https://page473.wordpress.com/2014-streets/internets/
* here is a really wordy post I made today (March 2015) on reddit!
I perused this thread first before answering, and I thought of one thing we have not addressed yet.
OP SAID: “Nowhere in the Bible do I find evidence of priests as they appear in Catholicism. Nowhere do I find a Biblical argument for the Pope.“
MY ANSWER: BISHOPS AND CHURCH POLITY ARE DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE
- Peter had special authority from Jesus. I had a Catholic roommate in college who told me that Peter (Jesus’ most enthusiastic disciple!) was the first Pope. When I called him on it, he recounted to me the conversation where Jesus said ““Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:16-20)
- Peter had special authority within the various churches after Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was Peter who stood up in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and spoke with authority about the meaning of the miracles there and the Church grew in number. Peter was the overseer at the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15).
- The Apostles planted churches and established scripture & tradition for appointing leaders. After the Stoning of Stephen the apostles (formerly the disciples) went out from Jerusalem to start churches across the middle east. This was known as the Apostolic Age … The Apostles appointed Bishops/Episcopos to be the Overseers and caretakers of local church assemblies. The Apostle Paul’s First Letter to Timothy lays out the instructions for choosing a regional overseer. HERE IS A GREAT LIST OF OVERSEER POSITIONS CREATED BY THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES …Later on, the council of Nicea brought together the Bishops from all of the regions and concluded that if there were any differences, the bishop of Rome (the Bishop seat where Peter sat as the first Pope) would have authority over the other bishops. According to some Christian traditions, the Bishop of Rome is the “first among equals” (this principle may be a human construct versus a Biblical mandate)
- Priestly functions exist within most churches. Most churches (Catholic or not) have a professional minister (priest) that is the only person authorized to perform sacraments. Within protestantism, the only sacraments are baptism and communion. (Source: Wikipedia article on Sacrament). Ordination of these priests/ministers takes place by bringing in bishops and ordained people from other churches. The main issue in ecumenical dialoguesnowadays is whether different denominations of the church will recognize the ordinations, baptisms, and communion practices of other Christian traditions/denominations.
Even today, many US denominations (Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians) have a regional governing body with ( Episcopal Polity or Presbyterian polity) with some sort of elders/bishops based on their reading of the Bible. The Catholics may or may not recognize these bishops because unless they can trace their ordinations back to the original Apostles, they aren’t considered REAL bishops. This claim about Bishop authority coming from the original apostles is called apostolic secession
I hope this is informative to people. Not sure I got everything exactly right but I tried to link to bible sources and wikipedia.