Monday, September 21, 2009

How far from supreme dominion Rome was

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 7 - History of the Papacy: From origin to current oppressive state
1-10 - Early limited authority
1. Not until the Nicean Council was anything said about Rome's primacy, and there their delegates were not given first position when seated, nor did they demand it.
2. When Rome does first preside, at Chalcedon, its bishop points out this is extraordinary, due to the failings of other bishops. After Chalcedon, other cities' bishops presided.
3. Proud titles like "primate," or "supreme pontiff" were unknown or disapproved in the early church. Jerome said the greatness of the city, wealth or poverty don't make a greater bishop.
4. Gregory resisted the title "universal bishop," since if he fell, the whole church would. It was full of self-exaltation, in his mind.
5. When Athanasius was expelled by the Arians, he appealed to Rome for help. This was a good cause, but set a bad precedent, and bad men continued appealing to Rome when they were justly disciplined. Rome too eagerly took this role.
6. Church authority beyond the local congregation is fourfold: 1. ordaining bishops, 2. calling councils, 3. hearing appeals, 4. censure. On ordination, Rome at first sent delegates to the ordination of other big-city bishops, only out "of fellowship, not of lordship." Rome didn't preside.
7. On censure, bishops gave and received admonition mutually. Rome was no exception.
8. On calling councils, each bishop could call a regional council, but no bishop could call a universal council - only the emperor could do that.
9. On hearing appeals, Rome did hear some brought forward by others. But when Rome over-reached its authority Gaul and Africa especially resisted. Rome even forged council documents, trying to extend its authority!
10. Appeals went to the emperor, not the Roman bishop. The emperor would give it to several bishops in committee, and when Rome had sole appeal once, the emperor had another bishop review Rome's decision.

No comments:

Post a Comment