Sunday, September 13, 2009

Idle Bellies

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 5 - Papal Corruption of Church Government
1-3 - Unqualified installed without vote of people
1. Let's consider the state of Rome now in these things. Bishops have little sacred learning today - more legal. The ancient church would have decreed most of these morally unfit. Boys as young as 10 are appointed!
2. Rome no longer presents bishops to the church for approval: "to be adored, not to be examined." They appeal to canon (church) law, but the Word of God should prevail.
3. When the people let the presbyters take over bishops' elections they wrote it inot canon law. Then princes began to intervene, as a power grab, which worked because it only went against church laws, not against the people.

4-7 - Financial Abuses with appointments to clerical office
4. Bishops now say only they can appoint presbyters, and they make "not presbyters to lead and feed the people, but preists to perform sacrifices." Ordination always brings pastoral responsibility, whether elder or deacon, said the Chalcedon Council. But Rom elooks only to the financial support of the priest.
5. Priests are ordained but assigned no people or place to pastor - only to perform sacrifices. They can't translate a single verse, but are approved "proveded they bear some commendation of money or favor."
6. Offices are almost always given through simony, by someone's "indirect commendation," "not to benefit the churches but those men who receive them."
7. Often one man (or boy) holds 5 or 6 offices (church positions). The only care they have for the office is "to receive their revenues." They do this, flouting the Word and common sense.

8-10 - Negligence and idleness of monks, and other clerics
8. They say monks are presbyters, when Gregory and Jerome both denied and resisted this. They don't let monks administer sacraments, and they don't mix with the people, yet they give the the title (and money).
9. Priests are either receiving a livin by simony or hire themselves out to the people, "in the hawking of masses." But "no place is given them for teaching; they have no people to govern."
10. Other offices sing and perform rituals, nothing to do with shepherding people - so we can't call them pastors.

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