Saturday, September 13, 2014

NT scholar's secret life as Vatican propagandist?

In the spirit of NZ's current Dirty Politics saga, that is, revelation of secrets such as who is secretly working for otherwise undeclared "whom", ADU can exclusively reveal that Richard Bauckham may be secretly working on behalf of the Vatican.

The evidence is here in an excellent book review of Jesus and the Eye-Witnesses:

"the portrait he paints of the Church of the first generation looks suspiciously like what Catholics say it should/did: with an apostolic college (the Twelve) having authority over the Traditions and over the people, and this apostolic college being headed by a Jesus-appointed chief apostle, Peter."

Now various pundits will have a field day with this evidence since, in the spirit of Prof. Bauckham's own meticulous scholarship, they will necessarily be considering the possibilities that:

- inadvertently the Prof has paralleled precisely the case the Vatican would itself like to make for the primacy of Peter;
- since all Protestants are just lost children of Mother Church (and Anglicans are confused, lost children), the Prof unknown to himself was channelling his inner catholic longing to return home as he wrote this book;
- with a slight concession being made to Calvin, who spotted that just as truth is predestined to win over falsehood so genuine seekers after truth are predestined to theological conclusions which conform to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Prof has simply arrived at the central truth of church history by a circuitous route which God shepherded him along.

However this pundit thinks that maybe the Prof cannot and should not be corralled in the way the reviewer does in the service of Petrine propaganda. The citation above begs the question whether (a) the 'apostolic college' consisted of just the Twelve (James the brother of Jesus was a pillar of the Jerusalem church); (b) Peter was appointed 'chief apostle' by Jesus (cf. the striking role brother James plays in the early church, the lack of clarity through (say) 1 Corinthians that Peter was chief among the apostles; (c) indeed, whether any one person was 'head' of the apostolic college; (d) what we are to make of the fallibility of Peter as one of the chief apostles?

It is striking, is it not, that Paul (if we are consistently anachronistic here) the leading Protestant of his day, should have cause to challenge Peter!


The Way of Dodo said...

Papal leadership and infallibility is much misunderstood by Anglicans. The Pope does not have to be the wisest theologian or the most saintly Bishop and he doesn't always know the answers on his own. That's not how the Holy Spirit works when it comes to determining dogmatic Truth.

Just because Peter was challenged successfully by Paul does not mean his role as first among the Apostles was nullified. He agreed with Paul - that's the point and the early Church leaders, that is the Apostles, led by Peter, agreed a settled Truth. If Peter had disagreed Christianity would probably have remained a small Jewish cult.

And Paul a Protestant?! Tsk, tsk ... a very strange observation. So he had a different view. That's how doctrine and dogma are determined.

Disagreement amongst Bishops does not a protester or a schism make. Schism and heresy occur when one person or a group of people decide to up and leave to set up another competing church. Of course, they invariably disagree and there are then more breakaway groups and so it continues.

Peter Carrell said...

Your last paragraph is precisely right, Peter D. That's why Paul was so concerned about Peter's behaviour in Galatia! And Luther about Petrine teaching-cum-practice re indulgences in the 16th century!

Happy Jack said...

Paul stayed the course - that's the point - and Peter led the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It's called trust in the Mystical Body of Christ. To me, Acts of the Apostles demonstrates the Holy Spirit fulfilling Jesus' words in Matthew 16:18.

Reform was most certainly needed in Luther's time - who could disagree? However, Luther went much further than attacking indulgences, as you know. Indeed, one could argue he wanted to establish a church with himself as pope! Then we had Calvin et al, and then Puritans. The Catholic Church may move slowly but invariably gets there in the end.

Peter Carrell said...

(From Ron Smith, a comment submitted to Praying our Way to the Polls, but I assume it is intended to be posted to this thread)

This is a real comment.

Surely, just about everyone knows that the Apostle, Peter, made mistakes in his actual lifetime - some of which were corrected by the 13th Apostle, Paul, whom the resurrected Jesus called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. The subsequent Roman Catholic claim to infallibility for Peter and his R.C. successors, therefore, seems doubtful from the beginning of the apostolic age of Christendom.

Peter may indeed have been the 'rock' that Jesus spoke of as founder of the apostolic Church. However, it is a known fact that a rock cannot replicate itself. Peter may have been the first of the Apostles, but he was not the only one. Without, for instance the genius and God-given wisdom of Saint Paul, the Church may not have reached the Gentile population. It may have been limited to ethnic Jews.

To my mind at least, the myth of papal infallibility is one of the main drawbacks for the re-unification of the Church as the visible "Body of Christ'.

Encouraging as is the present outreach of Pope Francis to the rest of us Christians; anything more authoritative than the title 'Primus inter pares' for modern day Bishops of Rome would be looked upon with some healthy scepticism by the rest of us who belong to Christ by our Baptism in the Name of the Trinity.

Bryden Black said...

Being married to a member of the RCC myself, while remaining (for the moment re ACANZ&P) an Anglican by conviction, I have to ask: where "in the end" is?!

Peter Carrell said...


Jean said...

Your response gets my vote Ron. After all the apostles did all minister and become leaders in their own right, right? (Thomas in India etc). That leaders keep each other accountable is also also biblical, as iron sharpen's iron.

Also Paul's reprimand to his followers one boasts they were baptised by Apollos, one by Peter etc... yet there is only one baptism that of Jesus Christ. One could apply this today - are we baptised into the Catholic communion, the Anglican Communion, the Baptist Fellowship etc... or are we actually ALL baptised into Jesus Christ?

Peter the rock on which Jesus said He would build His church, Jesus the cornerstone, the architect and builder God. Perhaps Peter was the rock because he both recognised who christ was and he had learnt the hard lessons of faith not least of all the more one is forgiven (denying christ at his crucifiction), the more one loves. Paul also knew this well.

Is the faith/salvation of Peter, rather than the man, a faith based on the grace given through christ, what Jesus was building His church upon. Is it this acceptance of salvation that gives the keys to heaven? After all the disciples were rebuked rather harshly when they all argued about who would get to sit at Jesus's right hand. It does not appear Jesus explicitly sought to elevate one above another.

I shall leave the critiquing of my musings to more mature theologians.

Father Ron Smith said...

indeed, Jean. Christians are baptised into Christ - not Peter. So the question re: Who is Head of The Church?, has only answer: Jesus.

Yes, thanks, Peter (Carrell not bar-Jonah). My original comment was meant for this thread. Am now operating away from God-zone, so am subject to I-Paditis.

For readers of this blog who did not know it; both PC and BB (Anglicans) are married to Roman Catholics. Now; if a man marries a woman they become one flesh. Does this mean that both couples represent the fuller Body of Christ?