Written on January 13th, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
HI373 Lecture 10: Notes on Canon, Creeds, and Bishops: In order to meet threats to its existence, both external (persecutions) and internal (heretical teachings, divisions, and schisms): 1. The Church, led by the Holy Spirit, developed an authoritative Book of faith and practice (the Canon of the New Testament). 2. The Church developed an authoritative statement of faith or fundamental truths and creeds. 3. A prominent bishop which would defer to the bishop of Rome became a rallying point as a way of fostering unity.
By A.D. 170 the Church referred to itself as Catholic (gr. “universal” [first used by Ignatius in his Epistle to Smyrna]).
The Monarchial Bishop & Apostolic Succession
The transmission of apostolic authority and power to each successive generation of bishops beginning from the apostles. This includes the pre-eminent position of the Bishop of Rome.
Reasons for the rise in prominence of the Bishop of Rome: 1. Special status of Peter among the apostles. 2. Cyprian and Jerome. 3. Rome’s prestige. 4. Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom in Rome. 5. Nero’s persecution in 64 AD. 6. Longest of Paul’s letters. 7. Largest and wealthiest Churches in the empire. 8. The capital of the empire. 9. Reputation of uncompromising orthodoxy in the combating heresy. 10. Decline of other important bishops and Christian centers.
The Church becomes More Structured: 1. Priestly class. 2. The depository of truth. 3. The sole dispenser God’s grace through the sacraments. 4. The Lord’s supper and Baptism administered by an official member of the clergy. 5. The Lord’s supper - a sacrifice. 6. Clergy vs. Laity.
Catechumen: a person receiving instruction in the fundamentals of the Christian faith.