Skip to comments.Peter & Succession (Understanding the Church Today)
Posted on 10/21/2006 4:52:03 AM PDT by NYer
From Called To Communion: Understanding the Church Today
Editor's note: This is the second half of a chapter titled "The Primacy of Peter and Unity of the Church." The first half examines the status of Peter in the New Testament and the commission logion contained in Matthew 16:17-19.
The principle of succession in general
That the primacy of Peter is recognizable in all the major strands of the New Testament is incontestable.
The real difficulty arises when we come to the second question: Can the idea of a Petrine succession be justified? Even more difficult is the third question that is bound up with it: Can the Petrine succession of Rome be credibly substantiated?
Concerning the first question, we must first of all note that there is no explicit statement regarding the Petrine succession in the New Testament. This is not surprising, since neither the Gospels nor the chief Pauline epistles address the problem of a postapostolic Churchwhich, by the way, must be mentioned as a sign of the Gospels' fidelity to tradition. Indirectly, however, this problem can be detected in the Gospels once we admit the principle of form critical method according to which only what was considered in the respective spheres of tradition as somehow meaningful for the present was preserved in writing as such. This would mean, for example, that toward the end of the first century, when Peter was long dead, John regarded the former's primacy, not as a thing of the past, but as a present reality for the Church.
For many even believethough perhaps with a little too much imaginationthat they have good grounds for interpreting the "competition" between Peter and the beloved disciple as an echo of the tensions between Rome's claim to primacy and the sense of dignity possessed by the Churches of Asia Minor. This would certainly be a very early and, in addition, inner-biblical proof that Rome was seen as continuing the Petrine line; but we should in no case rely on such uncertain hypotheses. The fundamental idea, however, does seem to me correct, namely, that the traditions of the New Testament never reflect an interest of purely historical curiosity but are bearers of present reality and in that sense constantly rescue things from the mere past, without blurring the special status of the origin.
Moreover, even scholars who deny the principle itself have propounded hypotheses of succession. 0. Cullmann, for example, objects in a very clear-cut fashion to the idea of succession, yet he believes that he can Show that Peter was replaced by James and that this latter assumed the primacy of the erstwhile first apostle. Bultmann believes that he is correct in concluding from the mention of the three pillars in Galatians 2:9 that the course of development led away from a personal to a collegial leadership and that a college entered upon the succession of Peter. 
We have no need to discuss these hypotheses and others like them; their foundation is weak enough. Nevertheless, they do show that it is impossible to avoid the idea of succession once the word transmitted in Scripture is considered to be a sphere open to the future. In those writings of the New Testament that stand on the cusp of the second generation or else already belong to it-especially in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Pastoral Lettersthe principle of succession does in fact take on concrete shape.
The Protestant notion that the "succession" consists solely in the word as such, but not in any "structures", is proved to be anachronistic in light of what in actual fact is the form of tradition in the New Testament. The word is tied to the witness, who guarantees it an unambiguous sense, which it does not possess as a mere word floating in isolation. But the witness is not an individual who stands independently on his own. He is no more a wit ness by virtue of himself and of his own powers of memory than Peter can be the rock by his own strength. He is not a witness as "flesh and blood" but as one who is linked to the Pneuma, the Paraclete who authenticates the truth and opens up the memory and, in his turn, binds the witness to Christ. For the Paraclete does not speak of himself, but he takes from "what is his" (that is, from what is Christ's: Jn 16: 13).
This binding of the witness to the Pneuma and to his mode of being-"not of himself, but what he hears" -is called "sacrament" in the language of the Church. Sacrament designates a threefold knot-word, witness, Holy Spirit and Christ-which describes the essential structure of succession in the New Testament. We can infer with certainty from the testimony of the Pastoral Letters and of the Acts of the Apostles that the apostolic generation already gave to this interconnection of person and word in the believed presence of the Spirit and of Christ the form of the laying on of hands.
The Petrine succession in Rome
In opposition to the New Testament pattern of succession described above, which withdraws the word from human manipulation precisely by binding witnesses into its service, there arose very early on an intellectual and anti-institutional model known historically by the name of Gnosis, which made the free interpretation and speculative development of the word its principle. Before long the appeal to individual witnesses no longer sufficed to counter the intellectual claim advanced by this tendency. It became necessary to have fixed points by which to orient the testimony itself, and these were found in the so-called apostolic sees, that is, in those where the apostles had been active. The apostolic sees became the reference point of true communio. But among these sees there was in turnquite clearly in Irenaeus of Lyonsa decisive criterion that recapitulated all others: the Church of Rome, where Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom. It was with this Church that every community had to agree; Rome was the standard of the authentic apostolic tradition as a whole.
Moreover, Eusebius of Caesarea organized the first version of his ecclesiastical history in accord with the same principle. It was to be a written record of the continuity of apostolic succession, which was concentrated in the three Petrine sees Rome, Antioch and Alexandria-among which Rome, as the site of Peter's martyrdom, was in turn preeminent and truly normative. 
This leads us to a very fundamental observation.  The Roman primacy, or, rather, the acknowledgement of Rome as the criterion of the right apostolic faith, is older than the canon of the New Testament, than "Scripture".
We must be on our guard here against an almost inevitable illusion. "Scripture" is more recent than "the scriptures" of which it is composed. It was still a long time before the existence of the individual writings resulted in the "New Testament" as Scripture, as the Bible. The assembling of the writings into a single Scripture is more properly speaking the work of tradition, a work that began in the second century but came to a kind of conclusion only in the fourth or fifth century. Harnack, a witness who cannot be suspected of pro-Roman bias, has remarked in this regard that it was only at the end of the second century, in Rome, that a canon of the "books of the New Testament" won recognition by the criterion of apostolicity-catholicity, a criterion to which the other Churches also gradually subscribed "for the sake of its intrinsic value and on the strength of the authority of the Roman Church".
We can therefore say that Scripture became Scripture through the tradition, which precisely in this process included the potentior principalitasthe preeminent original authorityof the Roman see as a constitutive element.
Two points emerge clearly from what has just been First, the principle of tradition in its sacramental form-apostolic successionplayed a constitutive role in the existence and continuance of the Church. Without this principle, it is impossible to conceive of a New Testament at all, so that we are caught in a contradiction when we affirm the one while wanting to deny the other. Furthermore, we have seen that in Rome the traditional series of bishops was from the very beginning recorded as a line of successors.
We can add that Rome and Antioch were conscious of succeeding to the mission of Peter and that early on Alexandria was admitted into the circle of Petrine sees as the city where Peter's disciple Mark had been active. Having said all that, the site of Peter's martyrdom nonetheless appears clearly as the chief bearer of his supreme authority and plays a preeminent role in the formation of tradition which is constitutive of the Church-and thus in the genesis of the New Testament as Bible; Rome is one of the indispensable internal and external- conditions of its possibility. It would be exciting to trace the influence on this process of the idea that the mission of Jerusalem had passed over to Rome, which explains why at first Jerusalem was not only not a "patriarchal see" but not even a metropolis: Jerusalem was now located in Rome, and since Peter's departure from that city, its primacy had been transferred to the capital of the pagan world. 
But to consider this in detail would lead us too far afield for the moment. The essential point, in my opinion, has already become plain: the martyrdom of Peter in Rome fixes the place where his function continues. The awareness of this fact can be detected as early as the first century in the Letter of Clement, even though it developed but slowly in all its particulars.
We shall break off at this point, for the chief goal of our considerations has been attained. We have seen that the New Testament as a whole strikingly demonstrates the primacy of Peter; we have seen that the formative development of tradition and of the Church supposed the continuation of Peter's authority in Rome as an intrinsic condition. The Roman primacy is not an invention of the popes, but an essential element of ecclesial unity that goes back to the Lord and was developed faithfully in the nascent Church.
But the New Testament shows us more than the formal aspect of a structure; it also reveals to us the inward nature of this structure. It does not merely furnish proof texts, it is a permanent criterion and task. It depicts the tension between skandalon and rock; in the very disproportion between man's capacity and God's sovereign disposition, it reveals God to be the one who truly acts and is present.
If in the course of history the attribution of such authority to men could repeatedly engender the not entirely unfounded suspicion of human arrogation of power, not only the promise of the New Testament but also the trajectory of that history itself prove the opposite. The men in question are so glaringly, so blatantly unequal to this function that the very empowerment of man to be the rock makes evident how little it is they who sustain the Church but God alone who does so, who does so more in spite of men than through them.
The mystery of the Cross is perhaps nowhere so palpably present as in the primacy as a reality of Church history. That its center is forgiveness is both its intrinsic condition and the sign of the distinctive character of God's power. Every single biblical logion about the primacy thus remains from generation to generation a signpost and a norm, to which we must ceaselessly resubmit ourselves. When the Church adheres to these words in faith, she is not being triumphalistic but humbly recognizing in wonder and thanksgiving the victory of God over and through human weakness. Whoever deprives these words of their force for fear of triumphalism or of human usurpation of authority does not proclaim that God is greater but diminishes him, since God demonstrates the power of his love, and thus remains faithful to the law of the history of salvation, precisely in the paradox of human impotence.
For with the same realism with which we declare today the sins of the popes and their disproportion to the magnitude of their commission, we must also acknowledge that Peter has repeatedly stood as the rock against ideologies, against the dissolution of the word into the plausibilities of a given time, against subjection to the powers of this world.
When we see this in the facts of history, we are not celebrating men but praising the Lord, who does not abandon the Church and who desired to manifest that he is the rock through Peter, the little stumbling stone: "flesh and blood" do not save, but the Lord saves through those who are of flesh and blood. To deny this truth is not a plus of faith, not a plus of humility, but is to shrink from the humility that recognizes God as he is. Therefore the Petrine promise and its historical embodiment in Rome remain at the deepest level an ever-renewed motive for joy: the powers of hell will not prevail against it . . .
 Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition, 2d ed. (198 1), 147- 51; cf. Gnilka, 56.
 For an exhaustive account of this point, see V. Twomey, Apostolikos Thronos (Münster, 1982).
 It is my hope that in the not-too-distant future I will have the opportunity to develop and substantiate in greater detail the view of the succession that I attempt to indicate in an extremely condensed form in what follows. I owe important suggestions to several works by 0. Karrer, especially: Um die Einheit der Christen. Die Petrusfrage (Frankfurt am Mainz, 1953); "Apostolische Nachfolge und Primat", in: Feiner, Trütsch and Böckle, Fragen in der Theologie heute (Freiburg im.Breisgau, 1957), 175-206; "Das Petrusamt in der Frühkirche", in Festgabe J. Lortz (Baden-Baden, 1958), 507-25; "Die biblische und altkirchliche Grundlage des Papsttums", in: Lebendiges Zeugnis (1958), 3-24. Also of importance are some of the papers in the festschrift for 0. Karrer: Begegnung der Christen, ed. by Roesle-Cullmann (Frankfurt am Mainz, 1959); in particular, K. Hofstetter, "Das Petrusamt in der Kirche des I. und 2. Jahrhunderts", 361-72.
 Cf. Hofstetter.
Wow. That's quite a sentence, but then I haven't yet had even a sip of my tea. I had to read it twice. :)
Very interesting. This article is really a gem, a wealth of information.
"That the primacy of Peter is recognizable in all the major strands of the New Testament is incontestable."
----- incontestable by whom? certainly not in my strand of the New Testament.
One compelling biblical fact that points clearly to Simon Peters primacy among the 12 Apostles and his importance and centrality to the drama of Christs earthly ministry, is that he is mentioned by name (e.g. Simon, Peter, Cephas, Kephas, etc.) 195 times in the course of the New Testament. The next most often-mentioned Apostle is St. John, who is mentioned a mere 29 times. After John, in descending order, the frequency of the other Apostles being mentioned by name trails off rapidly.
When the names of all the Apostles are listed, Peter is always first. Judas Iscariot, the Lords traitor, is always listed last (cf. Matt. 10:2-5; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-17; and Acts 1:13). Sometimes Scripture speaks simply of Simon Peter and the rest of the Apostles or Peter and his companions (cf. Luke 9:32; Mark 16:7; Acts 2:37), showing that he had a special role that represented the entire apostolic college. Often, Scripture shows Simon Peter as spokesman for the entire apostolic college, as if he were the voice of the Church (cf. Mat. 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 8:45; Luke 12:41; John 6:68-69).
The Primacy of Peter - from Where's That In The Bible, by Patrick Madrid.
Fascinating stuff. It takes more than one sip of tea to transcent Ratzinger's flow of thought. On the other hand, it grows even more challenging after one sip of wine :-).
That Peter was first among the Apostles and the primary spokesman of the Apostles is without a doubt --- but only until Paul came on the scene and the Gospel began to go to the Gentiles. Peter was the Apostle to the Jews and first leader of the Jewish Church in Jerusalem. His ministry was to the Jews, not the Gentiles.
When Paul came on the scene and the Gospel began to be presented to the Gentiles, he overshadowed Peter and he became the primary Apostle. Aren't the Pauline Epistles, particularly Paul's Letter to the Romans, the heart of the Gospel to the Gentiles? Wasn't the Roman Church a Gentile Church? That Paul spent years in Rome and died there is a fact of history and attested to in the New Testament. Where Peter died is a matter of speculation and legend without New Testament attestation.
I'll bet. :)
Since Sep 30, 2006
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Welcome to Free Republic. What is your religious affiliation?
Thank You. Biblical Christianity ---- and yours?
**certainly not in my strand of the New Testament.**
Your New Testament was changed by Luther and does not have all the books. That really is too bad for you guys and gals.
Catholic, of course. :)
Mine has all the books. Do any of those extra books that yours has name Peter as the first Pope of Rome?
Exactly what Bible are your working from? Are you saying you have a Catholic Bible rather than a KJV?
No, yours does not have the "Wisdom" books. (If you are working from a KJV.)
Thus they speak to the Wisdom and truth of God's Word, the entire Bible. You have no idea what you are missing!
You are correct. But who was the founding apostle for the Gentile Church in the New Testament: Peter or Paul? Who had primacy when it came to doctrine? Peter or Paul?
Welcome to Free Republic!
That Peter died and was buried in Rome is a matter of historical record.
The archeological proof of the existence of St. Peters tomb under St. Peters basilica in Rome.
"Nero...publicly announcing himself as the first among God's chief enemies, he was led on to the slaughter of the apostles. It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day. It is confirmed likewise by Caius, a member of the Church, who arose under Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome [about 200 AD.]. He, in a published disputation with Proclus, the leader of the Phrygian heresy, speaks as follows concerning the places where the sacred corpses of the aforesaid apostles are laid: "But I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church." And that they both suffered martyrdom at the same time is stated by Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his epistle to the Romans, in the following words: "You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth." [Eusebius, [A.D. 303] (Church History 2:25:5-8)]
Peter had authority in Jerusalem to the Jews, but Paul had authority regarding the Gospel to the Gentiles. Did not Paul rebuke Peter at one point on this issue and Peter backed down? Who had more authority in that case: Peter or Paul? Who did the Gentile Churches consider their authority in the NT? Peter or Paul?
Would you put the writings of Eusebius in the 4th century on the same level as the Scriptures of the 1st century? Was Eusebius ever wrong? What are his 1st century sources for his statements or is a lot of it hearsay and myth?
Show me the part of your Bible [that I am missing] that lists Peter as the first Pope of Rome?
Read Galatians Chapter 2, Verses 7 thru 9: Paul says that from their council in Jerusalem [about 50 AD] forward he and Barnabas concentrated on the uncircumcision [Gentiles], while Peter [Cephas], James, and John [the 3 pillars of the Jewish Church] decided to concentrate on the circumcision [the Jews].
And by that time there were very few Jews left in Rome as Emperor Claudius [41-54AD] had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome as recorded in Acts 18:2. The Roman Church was Paul's ministry not Peter's. Paul was the authority for the Roman Church, not Peter.
Very interesting. This article is really a gem, a wealth of information.
I don't know that I'd call it information...More like propaganda...
'Jerusalem has never been in Rome nor will it ever be...
When Jesus shows up again, he will show up in Jerusalem - Israel, not Rome...
"But this passage is more about division of labor rather than the legitimacy of preaching to the Gentiles."
------ Wouldn't one labor where one's calling and authority was? Wasn't Paul specifically chosen by the Resurrected Jesus to take the Gospel to the Gentiles? He had a mission specifically given to him by the Resurrected Jesus to go to the Gentiles. Peter did not. He labored where his authority was --- among the Jews.
Who said that He will appear in Rome?
Don't apologize for us...Luther's bible was created from the 'Majority Texts', something your church avoided...
Luther took the 'lock' off the scriptures and made them available to the world...Without Luther, you wouldn't have a bible to read in a language you could understand...
Yes! The Bible that you and I both cherish, was compiled by the Catholic Church. First off, is the Bible the "pillar of truth" in the Christian religion? No. According to the Bible Itself, the Church is the "pillar of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15), not the Bible.
Is the Bible the sole "teaching from God?" No. The Bible Itself states that their are "oral" teachings and traditions that are to be carried on to the present-day (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Timothy 2:2; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:24-25). These teachings are what the Catholic Church considers "Sacred Apostolic Tradition." This type of "Tradition" never changes because it was passed down by the Apostles themselves. It is not the same as the man-made traditions condemned in Scripture. The man-made traditions condemned in Scripture were those of the Jewish Pharisees. In fact, as Christians, we are supposed to disassociate ourselves from persons who do not follow Apostolic Tradition (2 Thessalonians 3:6). If oral tradition is not to be followed, why did St. Paul state Christ said something that is not recorded in the Gospels (Acts 20:35)? St. Paul must have "heard" this saying, not read it from any Gospel or "Scripture," thereby, proving that some things Christ said were not recorded in the Gospels (John 21:25) and were passed on orally among His disciples instead, but were just as valid as anything written since St. Paul himself used one of these oral passages in one of his own epistles.
Did the early Christians have the Bible as we know it? No. The Bible as a whole was not compiled until the late 4th century and then it was compiled by a Catholic saint (St. Jerome) at the request of a Catholic pope (St. Damasus I). So how were the early Christians saved if they did not possess the entire written "Word of God" to follow His teachings? Well, naturally, they were the Body of Christ and were taught through "oral" teachings by the Church, not by writings.
Is the Bible to be taken literally - "word for word?" No. The Bible doesn't state anywhere that It should be taken literally. The Bible was written by different authors with different literary styles at different times in history and in different languages. Therefore, the writings should be interpreted with these circumstances in mind. The Bible is a religious book, not a scientific or a history "textbook."
So, yes, the historical record for Peter in Rome comes from extra canonical sources.
"The Roman Church was Paul's ministry not Peter's. Paul was the authority for the Roman Church, not Peter."
Welcome to Free Republic! Wonderful informative posts.
During this period isn't it misleading to assume a "chief" leader, or "super" Apostle. Individual churches were not set up on a hierarchal command authority. They were much more congregational in structure. In part this explains why Paul had to correct so many problems, such as the Agape Feast and Communion being abused by the wealthier members in the Corinthian Church and in the Thessalonian Church dealing with the "Christ hustlers" who were taking advantage of the generosity of the church.
The better question is: Which books of the Old Testament did the Apostles accept as Scripture? Did they accept the 46 books as in the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible or the 39 books as in the King James version?
The Septuagint was accepted among the Hellenistic sect of Judaism (of which St. Paul was a member) and this canon did indeed include the same Old Testament books as the present-day Catholic Bible. In addition, the entire New Testament was written in Greek (Hellenist) with the exception of the Gospel of St. Matthew, which was written in Aramaic (the language spoken by Christ). Over 85% of the quotes from the Old Testament that are used in the New Testament are from the Septuagint.
The Palestinian Old Testament canon was not compiled until between 70-90 A.D. and then, it was done so by the non-Christian Jews in violent reaction to early Judeo-Christianity. The Palestinian canon was the one chosen by Martin Luther based on the acceptance of it by the 16th century German-Jewish community of Luther's time. This canon excludes the seven books that were accepted by the Apostles as Scripture. Why was the canon of the Protestant Old Testament decided by Jews and not Christians? In addition, why did Luther attempt to eliminate the Book of St. James and the Book of Revelation? Is it because the first contradicted his dogma of "faith alone" as opposed to grace, faith and works "combined?" And the second book proving the Catholic Church's stance on nothing "impure" entering into Heaven therefore "necessitating" purgation ?
(On a personal note, I have to run some errands but will be back to this thread later)
I will assume from the above that you're not Catholic. Please explain why you believe it is good manners to visit the thread of another religion and insult it. Is that what your religion teaches you?
It's hard to get you people to admit this but every now and again, one of you do...
If you can't take the bible as word for word truth, what do you have??? You have nothing more than a novel...
If it's not ALL right, then probably none of it is right...But yet you guys and your church constantly quote scripture like you believe it...
So some time ago, some people invented a church...And they take bits and pieces from the bible to justify it...And they fill in the gaps with their own creation and call it tradition...
Enough of the whining and insults.
"The Bible that you and I both cherish, was compiled by the Catholic Church."
----- wasn't Diocletian burning Bibles during his reign? Wasn't Diocletian before the founding of Catholic Church?
Didn't Ignatius and Ireneas have Bibles? The Scriptures are quoted throughout the writings of the patriarchs from the 2nd century. They clearly had them.
The Scriptures were in the hands of the true Church from its beginning, starting with those Jesus read in the Temple, and then adding the Gospels and Epistles as they were written and circulated --- you know that.
This is a public forum...This is not a 'caucus' thread...
And secondly, I don't care about any religion...We're talking about influencing the souls of sinners and I believe your church's teaching will lead folks to Hell...
Sorry to be so blunt...I have nothing at all against Catholics personally...
I see the connection between the Catholic church, the muzlim religion and some of the other Eastern religions as well as pre-Christian pagan worship...This connection is Mary, the Queen of Heaven...It is leading to an ecumenical, one-world religious movement...We can see the recent Popes moving in this directions as well...
With your church relying on 'tradition', as the major factor in it's existance, that makes your pope a modern day prophet...I believe the pope, whether this one or the next, is the 'false phrophet' the bible talks about...
"If you can't take the bible as word for word truth, what do you have??? You have nothing more than a novel..."
Paul is, by far, the most prolific writer in the New Testament. Does that make him the most important?
There is no doubt Peter is pre-eminent among the Apostles but he was not their undisputed leader. The Apostles acted collegiately and at times directed Peter on his mission. They could not have done that if he was the one supreme leader.
23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab'bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi'as.
24 And they prayed and said, "Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen
25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place."
26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi'as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.
Now, of course, the Holy Spirit was working within the Apostles but it was they who cast lots and selected Matthias. The Pope chooses his Cardinals. The Apostles chose their replacement. They, not Peter. Peter was simply one of them, an equal one.
"... Often, Scripture shows Simon Peter as spokesman for the entire apostolic college, as if he were the voice of the Church (cf. Mat. 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 8:45; Luke 12:41; John 6:68-69)."
Often, but not always. That is a critical difference.
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama'ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,
Peter was subordinate to the group.
Acts 15:19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,
James made the binding judgment because it was in his territory. In this instance Peter was acting as one of the Apostles, was a member of the audience, and was definitely not in charge.
And secondly, I don't care about any religion...
And thirdly, you add nothing to the discussion but whining and criticizing. If you're so happy with your point of view, why visit us to muck up the conversation?
There may be some unsuspecting sinner hunting for some truth reading these threads...My concern is for that person't soul...I don't want him/her wandering off into Hell while equipped with only good intentions...
why visit us to muck up the conversation?
Sorry to rain on your parade...You wanna talk about how you fry pork chops or who will win the super bowl, you won't hear from me...But when you talk about religious matters in a public forum, I'll be there to help out...
You won't get any dispute from me on that one...But the part you missed is 'a sinner, saved by Grace'...
I think you're searching for something on these threads, and it's not another "sinner". I hope you find it.
"They had copies of the writings, but were they put in a fixed order and established as complete Scripture?"
Good question. I'm sure the fixed order is not that critical since they were probably smart enough to put the epistles together, the gospels together, the Hebrew scriptures together in some logical order. But as to whether all or any of the patriarchs had all the scriptures, I don't know. Perhaps a study of their extant writings would indicate what they had, but would also not rule out what they had but just did not quote from.
and undefeated champion
That wasn't about Doctrine. It was about Collegiality. The Pope ain't a tsar.