Seven Churchesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
In revelations we see Christ speaking of seven different churches. Which one would be the Roman Catholic?
-- Michael(non-catholic) (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 01, 1999
I like this question for I have read somewhere the " explanation " which alludes me at this time. Great to hear input from others. Excellent question. - Jean B.
-- jean bouchardRay, (email@example.com), July 01, 1999.
I do not think that your premise is correct. I too have heard a commentary on that, but it will take me a while to dig it up. For anyone else out there that may have the same resource, it was discussed by Steve Wood (former protestant pastor turned Catholic Apologist) of St. Joseph Covenant Keepers in a taped study series titled (I think) "Patristics - The Early Church Fathers". Perhaps David has it (or would purchase it - free plug for SJCK).
I'll try to find it and get back.
-- ubi (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 02, 1999.
I had not heard this question before and agree that it does lend quite a task defending the concept of the papacy. Revelations afterall was written after the death of Peter. So if Rome was the undisputed seat of the primate of the entire church, and if all local churches were required to submit to that seat, indeed there is no such indication in the book of Revelations eh? Instead, it offers a picture of what I have always contended to be the more accurate model for the church, unified in faith and love for it's Savior and head Jesus, but not unified in terms of political structure and accountabilities. Indeed, Revelations doesn't even recognize Rome as one of the churches it addresses. Look for some fancy dancing on this one. But there is no way to look at this without realizing that the picture painted isn't very supportive of the Roman model.
-- David Bowerman (email@example.com), July 02, 1999.
It is quite accurate to say that none of these churches refers to Rome. This is a good thing since they are all instructed to "repent" of their errors. Revelations does not list all the existing Christian communities (Corinthians, Galations, Philippians, Colossians, etc.) so this in no way invalidates their existence. The Catholic Church is spoken of by its individual congregations as in Revelation 2:1-3:22 and in general as the bride (Rev 22:17).
-- Jorge (JTrujillo7203@hotmail.com), July 05, 1999.
David B. exactly my point!
Jorge, i disagree. If how the RCC claims " the gates of hell shall not prevail" and it cannot teach wrong ,why then would you need to repent?
I'll answer for you "the gates of hell shall not prevail" is speaking of the truth, the true word of God not the RCC. And if this be true then it helps to defeat the Peterine doctrine also! The Rock is the truth which hell will not prevail! All organized religions are succeptible to false teaching and doctrine. The truth is between the lies and will be noticed by it's fruit and Babylon is that which teaches man to transgress the laws of God.
-- Michael(non-catholic) (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 05, 1999.
Well, David, I don't have my dancing shoes on ;-D but here goes.
First, you have not established that the book was written prior to St. Peter's death. The scholarly pendulum has swung and the book or Revelation is more and more frequently dated prior to A.D. 70 -- correctly I think. We can get into a detailed discussion about the evidence for that if you'd like, but it seems to me that one of your basic assumptions (a late dating of the book) is being stated as fact, but has not been established.
Second, why should Rome be addressed in the letters to the seven churches at all? What gives you the idea that this is in some way "necessary"?
Third, what in the genre or structure or context of the letters give you any hint that they would or should contain an ecclesiological treatise on the proper structure of the Church? To say that these letters MUST display all sorts of "Roman primacy" language, even though they are addressed to other churches about totally unrelated problems, is a little strange. We have a potentially interesting parallel in the Epistles of Ignatius. He wrote letters to a lot of local churches throughout Asia Minor on his way to Rome. In none of them does he exhort them to "submit to Rome"; rather, he exhorts them to submit to their local bishops (quite rightly from a "Roman" standpoint, BTW). Now, is this a "big score" for you? Not really because when he DOES write to Rome itself he uses such language and phraseology as to make it quite certain that he well understood Rome's primacy and universal oversight. So I don't think your presupposition that the letters to the seven churches "should" contain something about Roman primacy is founded on anything but your wishes to find more evidence against Rome.
Fourth, projecting (perhaps incorrectly, perhaps not depending on the dating of the book) a fully-formed Catholic ecclesiology back onto the letters of Revelation what we basically have is a breakdown of discipline in certain local churches which their bishop apparently was not able to deal with (this raises the interesting question about whether the "angels" of the churches are their bishops, but that's for another discussion). So we have their "metropolitan" (the Apostle John, who was living in Asia Minor and who was responsible for the ordination of the bishops of that area, ala St. Clement of Alexandria's "What Rich Man Is Saved?") stepping in to correct the situation. Since this "metropolitan" is also an Apostle, no action from Rome would be necessary; the situation was handled quite appropriately. So there's just no reason to suppose that any "Roman" language would be needed or expected in these letters.
Ultimately you are putting forward an argument from silence -- the weakest form of argument -- and trumpeting it as a real coup d'etat. That dog won't hunt.
-- David Palm (email@example.com), July 06, 1999.
Hi David. I figured you'd provide a reasoned response and you didn't disappoint. :-)
First, I'd like to clarify that I am in no way in search of a "big score" or evidence against Rome. I just thought Michael made an interesting point. I may have a personal opinion as to the intended structure of the church, but that doesn't mean I'm trying to convince anyone of that position or expect agreement here. I probably shouldn't have said anything and will try to resist in the future.
As to using silence as an argument, it actually has significant strength in a number of issues if the topic is one that should have been addressed somewhere in the entire body of canonized scripture. As an illustration, if Mary was considered to be the mother of the church, our sinless, ever-virgin, co-redeemer, mediatrix, surely, that would have been mentioned in one of the letters or gospels somewhere . . . anywhere. It is just too important to be left out of the doctrinal statements made throughout the NT. By it's conspicuous absence coupled with the fact that some Marian doctrines actually contradict a number of apostolic statements regarding our Redeemer and Mediator, it is clear that the apostles never intended for Mary to be treated in such a way. That doesn't mean I want to stir that debate up again. Just trying to illustrate my point.
Also, I was not aware that the dating of Revelations was under debate. I would appreciate any references for my personal edification. If it was written prior to Peter's death, then indeed my expectation of reference to the Roman primacy are unfounded.
-- David Bowerman (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 06, 1999.
As an aside, I need to apologize for the way I've posted the past few days. This is indeed your forum and I have not intended to put you in a position of having to defend yourselves. My purpose here is not to stir up trouble. That would be a waste of my time and yours. I may continue to express other viewpoints and even some disagreements, but will try to be more careful to phrase them so as not to criticize your church or undermine the discussion. If I can't contribute, I'll just remain quiet. Again, sorry.
-- David Bowerman (email@example.com), July 06, 1999.
<< As an aside, I need to apologize for the way I've posted the past few days. This is indeed your forum and I have not intended to put you in a position of having to defend yourselves. . . . If I can't contribute, I'll just remain quiet. Again, sorry.>>
No, no, no. David, your contributions here are great. I don't mind you "pushing" hard because you always do it respectfully. I push back hard too, no? I don't mind being challenged to defend some point of Catholic doctrine. But after I've done so, be sure that I will ask you to defend some point of your doctrine (have you noticed that? ;-D). Please keep posting.
<< I was not aware that the dating of Revelations was under debate. I would appreciate any references for my personal edification. If it was written prior to Peter's death, then indeed my expectation of reference to the Roman primacy are unfounded. >>
The most complete source is Kenneth Gentry's Before Jerusalem Fell. Also excellent and untainted by reconstructionist presuppositions is F. J. A. Hort's (unfinished) commentary on Revelation. If I ever get around to typing it into a word processor I have a paper on the topic on which I got an 'A' in seminary. Basically, the only positive evidence for the later (c. A.D. 96) dating is an ambiguous statement in St. Irenaeus in which he states that "he/it was seen in the reign of Trajan." The ambiguity comes when we ask whether he means that the Vision was seen in the reign of Trajan or whether it was the Apostle John himself who was seen then. If the latter, then this patristic testimony is worthless to establish the dating of the book. But there is some external evidence for an earlier (c. A.D. 66-8) dating and IMO the internal evidence strongly suggests that earlier dating. If you wish to pursue it further, kick a thread into the New Answers and we can all discuss it together.
<< As to using silence as an argument, it actually has significant strength in a number of issues if the topic is one that should have been addressed somewhere in the entire body of canonized scripture. >>
But David, you believe in dogma that is established completely on the basis of oral tradition, namely, the canon of the New Testament. Obviously that's not a big deal to us, but it would seem to me that a "Bible only" Christian has some trouble here. If the Bible is supposed to hold the place that you insist then why didn't the last living Apostle (St. John, probably) leave a definitive and inspired list of the New Testament contents? Why leave this whole process to the vagarities of the transmission, sifting, and weighing of Apostolic Tradition? It seems like you have a bit of a double standard here.
<< As an illustration, if Mary was considered to be the mother of the church, our sinless, ever-virgin, co-redeemer, mediatrix, surely, that would have been mentioned in one of the letters or gospels somewhere . . . anywhere. It is just too important to be left out of the doctrinal statements made throughout the NT. By it's conspicuous absence coupled with the fact that some Marian doctrines actually contradict a number of apostolic statements regarding our Redeemer and Mediator, it is clear that the apostles never intended for Mary to be treated in such a way. >>
Two quick points here (and we can discuss any facet of this in more detail as you wish):
First, these statements have me absolutely convinced that you do not understand what the Catholic Church means when she speaks of Mary in these terms. I would love to at least get you to the point where you understand our position, even if you don't agree. For the most part, everything the Church says about Mary either 1) should have been true of you and me were it not for the Fall (conceived without sin and living without sin) or 2) are true of us (coredeemers and co- mediators with Christ). If we were all to be immaculately conceived, if we were all to have lived without sin, if we are all to be co- redeemers of the creation and co-mediators with Christ then it follows that ascribing these things to Mary cannot be said to make her a deity. The Church simply says, based on the testimony of Scripture and Tradition, that Mary is the quintessential disciple and (not to be flippant here) "anything you can do, Mary can do better." She does, after all, hold a special place in the heavenly realms, being the Queen Mother of the King of Kings!
As for ever-virgin, well, I'll happily give you a Biblical run for your money ;-D -- the unanimous Tradition for Mary's perpetual virginity is just icing on the cake.
Second, lots of other dogmas that (I presume) you hold are defined largely on the testimony of Scripture illuminated by Tradition and not by an individual reading of Scripture alone; I speak specifically of the Trinitarian and Christological dogmas which, while fully Scriptural, are cast in specific terms not found explicitly in Scripture. We often don't realize just how much we infer from implicit passages. There is a lot more implicit information about Mary in the New Testament than you might think. Once that is illuminated by Tradition the Catholic case becomes quite powerful. This was true of my own thought and faith journey anyway.
My friend David Armstrong has a really, really good Web site called Biblical Catholicism with lots of original essays on the Biblical support for these and myriad other Catholic doctrines at:
See the section on Mary at:
See also Steven Kellmeyer's Scriptural Catholicism site at:
-- David Palm (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 06, 1999.
Very fine development in this area and I thank you all for teaching and stimulating new and old concepts. If I may as to Our Holy Mother I have most - not all - Protestants find the concept of Mary being a cut above the rest us difficult. What came to mind when reading the comments and views was ther following.
St. Bernadette of Lourdes was having a most difficlut time with her priest and Bishop regarding the appearance of " The Lady " Asked to bring back " concret " proof she returned with the following. " The Lady told who she is - She said " I am The Immaculate Conception "
The priest was dumfounded for a a young illiterate girl to come out with this statement. He was convinced. The Bishop was given a sing of which he direclty asked for being the blooming of his rose bush during winter. It happened and he was convinced.
Our Holy Mother is not diety for diety to me speaks of a man made entity so that does not wash with me. Secondly She is not the Mother of the Church rather to me is The Mother over the Church. The church being Christ's bride. =Peace= Jean B.
-- jean bouchardRC, (email@example.com), July 06, 1999.