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Regarding Jerome and the Tri-fold Ministry

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  • Christopher Orr
    Jerome on the Tri-fold Ministry *From The Well of Questions* In this post I
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 26, 2009
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      Jerome on the Tri-fold
      Ministry<http://wellofquestions.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/jerome-on-the-tri-fold-ministry/>

      *From The Well of Questions*

      In this post I will attempt to address texts in St. Jerome which are alleged
      to challenge the view of the tri-fold ministry's origin, structure, and
      necessity held by Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican Cathlics. I will argue that
      Jerome agrees with their view of the ministry.

      Charles Gore's *The Church in the Ministry* is an excellent piece of
      apologetic for the tri-fold ministry. Though his biblical arguments are
      helpful, they are not as great as those of Cirlot's *Apostolic Succession:
      is it True?*. Where Gore really shines is his treatment of the patristic
      texts that are used against the view of the tri-fold ministry held by
      Orthodox, Roman, and some Anglican Catholics. On our view, the tri-fold
      ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon is three distinct offices. These
      offices are Apostolic institutions, and intended to be permanently distinct.
      Only bishops can actually confer the gift of ministry through the laying-on
      of hands in ordination. Call this the first view of the tri-fold ministry.

      There is a second view of the tri-fold ministry that claims to have
      patristic precedent and Apostolic institution. According to this view,
      there are only two essentially distinct offices passed on through the
      succession of the laying-on of hands. Deacons are the lower tier, and
      bishop and presbyter are both names for the second tier. The New Testament
      teaches the identity of presbyters and bishops, and there is no transferable
      tri-fold ministry in Scripture that has Apostolic sanction. Members of the
      second tier of ministry can ordain. However, the Church can and should have
      a tri-fold ministry. It is advantageous to Church order to do this, even if
      it is not necessary for the existence of the Church. There can be a
      distinction between two levels of the second tier of ministry, and we can
      use the title bishop for the top level, and presbyter for the bottom, so
      long as we understand that we aren't endorsing an essential,
      Apostolicly-instituted distinction between the two.

      In support of this second view is usually offered the equivalence of
      presbyter and bishop in the New Testament, and the fact that there are
      strands of patristic tradition that support the equation of bishops and
      presbyters, including the ability of presbyters to ordain. My purpose here
      is not to dispute the equation of bishop and presbyter in Scripture (I deny
      it, but I don't have time to explain why or in what sense). I will consider
      one standard patristic argument for this claim, namely various texts in St.
      Jerome that imply that bishops and presbyters are actually the same office,
      and that the distinction between them is one that is just necessary for
      Church order. These texts are taken by proponents of the second view to
      imply that according to Jerome, the distinction between the bishops and
      presbyters is not a binding, unrevisable, authoritative institution about
      what is necessary for the Church to exist.

      Joseph Lightfoot's Commentary *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians* and
      *Essay on the Christian Ministry* make use of several of Jerome's citations
      to support the second view of the tri-fold ministry stated above. One
      example of a text where Jerome seems to imply that presbyters and bishops
      are the same in all but name is the following:

      This has been said to show that with the ancients presbyters were the same
      as bishops: but gradually all the responsibility was deferred to a single
      person, that the thickets of heresies might be rooted out. Therefore, as
      presbyters know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him who
      shall have been set over them, so let bishops also be aware that they are
      superior to presbyters more owing to custom than to any actual ordinance of
      the Lord.

      *Commentary on Titus* (1:5)

      It seems clear that Jerome is supporting the second view of the tri-fold
      ministry articulated above. Specifically, he is denying that there is
      anything more to the difference between presbyter and bishop than a decision
      by the church to have some people in the second tier of ministry in
      submission to other people in the second tier of ministry. Other aspects of
      Jerome's view on the ministry include the following in Lightfoot's excursus
      on "The synonymns 'bishop' and 'presbyter'":

      But in the fourth century, when the fathers of the Church began to examine
      the apostolic records with a more critical eye, they at once detected the
      fact [that bishop and presbyter are the same office]. No one states it more
      clearly than Jerome. 'Among the ancients,' he says, 'bishops and presbyters
      are the same, for the one is a term of dignity, the other of age.'
      [*Epist.*lxix (I.p.414sq., ed. Vallarsi).] 'The Apostle plainly
      shows,' he writes
      in another place, 'that presbyters are the same as bishops� It is proved
      most clearly that bishops and presbyters are the same.' [*Epist.* cxlvi (I.
      p.1081) Again in a third passage he says 'If any one thinks the opinion
      that the bishops and presbyters are the same, to be not the view of the
      Scriptures but my own, let him study the words of the Apostle to the
      Phillipians,' and in support of his view he alleges the scriptural proofs at
      great length [*Ad Tit.* i.5 (VII. p. 695).]

      *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians,* p. 98-99

      Lightfoot's conclusion is very natural to draw: Jerome held to a view of
      Church government according to which presbyter and bishop are two levels of
      function within the same office, distinguished by the Church as a way of
      keeping order in response to circumstances. It would also be very intuitive
      to expect that, first, Jerome would say that both levels have the same
      powers; second, that the trifold ministry is not a necessity produced by
      Apostolic institution; and third to cite examples of presbyterian ordination
      throughout Church history (for it would be counterintuitive to make a claim
      about Church order that has no precedent in Church history).

      The problem is that Jerome explicitly denies the first and second points
      above, and implicitly denies the third point.

      Speaking of the views of the ministry held by the so-called Ambrosiaster,
      and a commentator who was once thought to be St. Augustine, and St. Jerome,
      Gore points out:

      �neither of these writers disputes the present authority of the threefold
      ministry or the limitation to bishops of the power of ordination. They do
      not maintain that, even in the extremest circumstances, a presbyter�a
      presbyter of the existing Church�could validly ordain� 'What does a bishop
      do,' says St. Jerome, even when he is minimizing the episcopate, 'that a
      presbyter does not do, except ordination?' The bishop and the presbyter are
      to one another as the high priest and priest of the old covenant.

      Once more, they do not regard the present three-fold arrangement of the
      ministry as an innovation of the post-apostolic Church, so that it should
      lack the authority of the Apostles. The present constitution represents
      their ordering�

      Jerome� seems to hold that, while Christ instituted only one priestly
      office, it was the exigencies of church life which led to its being
      sub-divided under apostolic sanction into the presbyterate and the
      episcopate. At any rate, whether the distinction was 'ordained by Christ
      Himself' or of apostolic authority, these writers were agreed that (as the
      names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' are used in the New Testament of the same
      officers) the presbyters originally were also bishops, and it was because of
      the dangers of rivalry and division which threatened this arrangement from
      the first that it was determined that in future only one power should have
      the authority and name of the episcopate, the rest receiving only the
      commission of presbyters. How much truth there is in this view is not now in
      question. They thought also that this original identity of the presbyterate
      and episcopate had left its mark on the subsequent constitution of the
      Church in such sense that presbyters and bishops still share a common
      priesthood, and that (waiving the question of confirmation) there is nothing
      which is reserved to a bishop except the function of ordination. Jerome used
      this view with powerful effect to exalt the priesthood of the presbyter, as
      against the arrogance of Roman deacons on the one hand, and on the other
      against the overweening self-assertion of bishops. It was a bad custom, he
      thought, which prevailed in some churches, that presbyters should not be
      allowed to preach in the presence of bishops. The bishops' exalted dignity
      is a thorn in Jerome's side; 'as if they were placed in some lofty
      watch-tower, they scarcely deign to look at us mortals or to speak to their
      fellow-servants.' [*in Gal.* iv.13] A priest should indeed by subject to his
      bishop (pontifiex) as to his spiritual father, but 'bishops should know that
      they are priests, not lords, and they must give their clergy the honor of
      clergy, if they wish their clergy to pay them the honor of bishops.'
      [*Ep.*lii. 7.]

      Now when we have clearly considered this view, we shall see surely that it
      is not what it is sometimes represented as being. It is not a 'presbyterian'
      view. It does indeed carry with it the conception of the great Church order
      being the priesthood; it emphasizes the distinction of presbyter and bishop
      is nothing compared to the distinction of deacon and priest. Moreover, it
      involves a certain tentativeness in the process by which the Apostles are
      held to have established the church ministry; it admits a survival of an
      older constitution into the later life of the Church. But it does not carry
      wit it the idea that the presbyter, pure and simple, the presbyter of the
      settled church constitution, has the power under any circumstances to assume
      episcopal functions. It teaches something quite different, viz. that the
      earliest presbyters were ordained with episcopal functions�were, in fact,
      bishops as well as presbyters�till the subsequent ordination of presbyters
      without Episcopal functions put an end to the old arrangement and brought
      about�not episcopacy�but what we have called monepiscopacy.

      p.157-161

      In the appended note F "The Theory of the Ministry Held by Ambrosiaster,
      Jerome, etc." Gore gives additional citations:

      (b) His recognition of the apostolic authority of the [monarchical]
      episcopate. [trans:'�the Church, consisting of many grades, ends in deacons,
      presbyters, and bishops.'] (*adv. Lucifer.* 22) ; [trans: 'For what
      function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not also
      belong to a presbyter?� All (bishops) alike are successors of the Apostles']
      (*Ep.* cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*). The present monoepiscopal constitution is
      attributed to (apostolic) decree (*in Tit.* i. 5): [trans: "All within this
      sphere is of Apostolic decree."]* The apostles are represented as ordaining
      bishops and priests: [trans: "those who have been made apostles, have
      ordained the singular offices of the presbyterate and the episcopate."]* (*in
      Matt. *xxv. 26).

      (c) His theory of the original identity of bishops and presbyters. This he (
      *Ep. *cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*) proves from the language of Scripture, and
      continues: [trans.: 'When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside
      over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual
      from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself.'] Then follows
      the passage about Alexandria,** and the conclusion just quoted, [trans:
      "'For what function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not
      also belong to a presbyter?"] So to the same effect *in Tit.* i. 5:
      "'Likewise, any presbyter is a bishop."* At first [trans: "the presbyterate
      in synod governed the Church."]* then factions arose, 'I am of Paul,' etc.
      On this account [trans: "'all within this sphere is of Apostolic decree so
      that one elected presbyter is placed in charge over the rest of the
      presbyterate."]* He would therefore have the bishops in his own day
      recognize that [trans: "they are superior to presbyters more owing to custom
      than to any actual ordinance of the Lord."] Of course this is strong
      language. St. Jerome does not measure words when his temper is up, as it is
      with the bishops. But even so I do not think it can be fairly taken to mean
      that Jerome ever held a presbyter of his own day to be the same as a bishop,
      even in an extreme case. The conclusion he draws in the text is only that
      bishops should govern the Church 'in commune,' i.e. with the co-operation of
      the presbyters, 'in imitation of Moses, who, when he had it in his power to
      rule the people alone, chose seventy elders to judge the people with him.'
      Still earlier he had said, in the *adv. Lucifer.* 9: [trans.: 'the
      well-being of a Church depends upon the dignity of its chief-priest, and
      unless some extraordinary and unique functions be assigned to him, we shall
      have as many schisms in the Churches as there are priests.'] The distinctive
      powers of the bishop had their origin, according to Jerome, in moral
      necessities, but those necessities were paramount, and the result of the
      change involved in the limitation of the episcopate was one that could not
      be reversed.

      p. 337-338

      (Translations above are borrowed from Schaff and Wace's Vol 6 *Nicene and
      Post-Nicene Fathers* unless otherwise noted in the asterisks.)

      Though Gore does not quote it to my knowledge, there is a translated
      statement by Jerome in the Schaff and Wade series which pertains to the
      monarchical episcopate as an Apostolic institution. Jerome is trying to
      criticize the beliefs of a person who is proposing that deacons are equal to
      presbyters. In his *letter* CXLVI *to Evangelu*s, Jerome states:

      Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank. In
      writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination of
      the bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of
      presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters also.
      Again when a man is promoted it is from a lower place to a higher. Either
      then a presbyter should be ordained a deacon, from the lesser office, that
      is, to the more important, to prove that a presbyter is inferior to a
      deacon; or if on the other hand it is the deacon that is ordained presbyter,
      this latter should recognize that, although he may be less highly paid than
      a deacon, he is superior to him in virtue of his priesthood. In fact as if
      to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by
      them from the old testament, bishops, presbyters, and deacons occupy in the
      church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons,
      and the Levites in the temple.

      At first it might seem that Jerome is saying that presbyters and bishops are
      simply the same thing. And it is true that initially the bishops and
      presbyters were identical according to Jerome. But as he stated earlier in
      the letter, Jerome thinks that "subsequently one presbyter was chosen to
      preside over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
      individual from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself." Why,
      then, does Jerome keep emphasizing the equivalence of presbyters and bishops
      in the Apostolic age? The answer is obvious when we consider the context of
      the letter. By exalting the presbyterate into identification with the
      episcopate, he can undercut the assumption that deacons could be equal to
      presbyters. The argument, then, is something like this:

      1. Deacons can't be equal to bishops

      2. Anything that could be equal to a bishop is greater than a deacon

      3. Therefore if presbyters can be equal to bishops, then presbyters are
      greater than deacons

      4. Presbyters were once bishops (and thus they can be equal to bishops)

      Conclusion: therefore, presbyters are greater than deacons.

      Clearly Jerome thinks that in the present age, a bishop and a presbyter are
      not identical. The question that then needs to be addressed is "when and by
      whom did this change come about?" Apparently, Jerome identifies the source
      of the change with the Apostles. For he thinks that the present, fixed
      character of the tri-fold ministry (where bishops have a power that
      presbyters don't�ordination, as he stated earlier in the letter) is "handed
      down by the Apostles". The quote above also emphasizes the distinctness of
      their ministries by comparing presbyter with Aaron's sons and bishop with
      Aaron himself. The difference is one between priests and high priest
      (something which hearkens back to *The Didache* and St. Hippolytus' *On the
      Apostolic Tradition*). Although this isn't as great a difference as that
      between Aaron's sons and the Levites, high priesthood is clearly different
      from and inherently above preisthood simpliciter; and this isn't merely a
      matter of function, but of office.

      We have addressed issues 1 and 2 that we would expect Jerome to agree with.
      First, it has been shown that he thinks that the bishop alone can ordain; he
      denies this power to the presbyter. Subsequent argument about the
      Episcopate in Alexandria will make this even clearer than already. Second,
      it has been established that the three distinct offices are Apostolic
      institutions. The explanation, therefore, for why Jerome says that bishops
      are superior to presbyters "more owing to custom than to any actual
      ordinance of the Lord" is that the common priesthood of the bishop and
      presbyter is an ordinance of the Lord; Christ, of course, directly
      instituted the priesthood. This is being contrasted with the way that
      presbyter and bishop became distinct. It wasn't Christ speaking directly,
      but an Apostolic decision, that divided the directly divinely-ordained
      priesthood into two levels. This fits perfectly with Jerome's attempts to
      emphasize the similarity between presbyter and bishop; the bishop is not
      superior because Christ made his office superior directly, but because the
      Apostles did, which is not as big of a deal.

      Next we must examine a portion of Jerome's *Letter to Evangelus* where he
      tries to support the similarity between presbyter and bishop by means of,
      first, an explanation of how the two offices became distinct, and then an
      example from Church history of how closely-related the two offices are.
      Jerome writes:

      When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside over the rest, this
      was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual from rending the
      church of Christ by drawing it to himself. For even at Alexandria from the
      time of Mark the Evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and Dionysius
      the presbyters always named as bishop one of their own number chosen by
      themselves and set in a more exalted position, just as an army elects a
      general, or as deacons appoint one of themselves whom they know to be
      diligent and call him archdeacon. For what function, excepting ordination,
      belongs to a bishop that does not also belong to a presbyter?

      As stated above, the fact that presbyter and bishop were subsequently
      distinguished by means of an Apostolic decision and not directly by Christ
      helps to emphasize how similar they are. The example Jerome gives also
      shows presbyters having functions like those of bishops, further closing the
      gap between the two offices. At this point, many presbyterians have arued
      that Jerome is giving an example of presbyterian ordination: he is saying
      that Alexandrian presbyters ordained the bishop in Alexandria. If this is
      what Jerome is saying, and he approves of this as valid ordination, then he
      agrees with the second theory of the tri-fold ministry or else is a
      presbyterian. And if this is an accurate report of Church practice, it
      would be a counterexample to the claim that only occupants of the third tier
      of ministry (bishops and Apostles) can ordain.

      But is this what Jerome is saying? Here, I will simply quote Cirlot's
      excellent and thorough treatment of this issue. Concerning Alexandrian
      ordinations, Cirlot writes:

      St. Jerome compares what happened at Alexandria, according to his
      information, to an army making their general, and to deacons choosing one of
      themselves whom they knew to be industrious, and calling him archdeacons.

      Neither of [these illustrations] chosen by St. Jerome supports the idea of
      the presbyters ordaining their own Bishop�

      [Jerome would have a strong argument] if he had been able to argue that even
      in his day the only thing that a Bishop could do which a presbyter could not
      do was to ordain, and that in Alexandria as recently as the second quarter
      of the preceding century the presbyters had still enjoyed even that
      privilege.

      I am aware, of course, that this is exactly what some take St. Jerome to
      mean by what he has written. But if it is what he meant, he has certainly
      not made the strongest possible statement of his case. He has, on that
      hypothesis, passed lightly over the strongest single point in his argument,
      trusting the tense of the verb to do unaided what could have been done much
      better by some such adverbial phrase as "even today" added to the verb facit
      when he adds, "Quid enim facit excepta ordinatione episcopus, quod presbyter
      non faciat?" Nor has he used one of the words commonly used to express
      ordination, or even appointment, but rather the Latin words "unum ex se
      electum" and "in excelsiori gradu collocatum episcopum nominabant." � the
      words electum, collacatum, and nominibant are not the usual words used for
      this purpose, and that the words commonly employed are conspicuous by their
      absence from St. Jerome's vocabulary in the crucial sentence, through he
      shows his knowledge of their proper use by saying excepta ordinatione in the
      sentence immediately following. On the whole, then, it seems not unfair to
      say that the very thing St. Jerome has failed to say, even though it would
      have strengthened his case to say it clearly and explicitly, and even though
      it would have been perfectly easy to say in a vocabulary already well
      established, is that the Alexandrian presbyters not only chose their own
      Bishop out of their number, but ordained him. Certainly neither of the
      examples he has chosen gives any countenance to that conception.

      Y. But perhaps it will be objected, "If he did not mean that, then what did
      he mean?" I think he could have meant at least two other things, both quite
      different from the interpretation we have rejected just above. One of these
      is that the new Bishop-elect did not receive any additional ordination,
      because the situation St. Jerome believed to be primitive and original
      everywhere had survived at Alexandria down to the Episcopates of Heraclas
      and Dionysius, and consequently it was fully understood by all that when a
      presbyter was ordained at Alexandria it was intended that he would afterward
      need only election and installation but no additional Ordination to succeed
      to the Episcopate.

      *Apostolic Succession: is it True?* p.373-374

      Cirlot concludes that this second view is more plausible than the first. But
      he gives several arguments (which I will summarize) that these first two
      interpretations are both implausible. If we assume that one of the first two
      interpretations is correct, then we run into these problems:

      1. St. Epiphanius, a contemporary of Jerome disputed with an Alexandrian
      presbyter named Aerius over the validity of Presbyterian ordinations. But if
      Jerome's idea was historically serious, then Aerius would have used it. But
      Epiphanius doesn't have to deal with it as an objection.

      2. No indication is given in St. Clement of Alexandria or Origen (both
      contemporaries of the phenomena described) that there was any difference in
      ordination at Alexandria.

      3. St. Clement thinks that the Apostle John had to go to surrounding
      Churches to ordain after his return from exile. This action is distinguished
      from i. Establishing bishops and ii. Organizing churches. This implies that
      in St. Clement's day, presbyters could not ordain. Otherwise, why would he
      represent the aged John going on these far journeys?

      4. Origen shows no trace of interacting with any change in the amount of
      authority that the Bishop at Alexandria was considered to hold. We have
      reason to think he would have spoken out if this had been the case.

      5. How could St. Hippolytus in the early 200s have said what he did about
      ordination of presbyters if some of his contemporaries rejected his view and
      practiced otherwise? He would have been well-informed probably, even if he
      wasn't an Alexandrian, so he probably would have known if something was
      going on in Alexandria that he would disagree with so strongly. Hippolytus
      seems to assume that there are no ordinations by presbyters of any office
      ever in his *On the Apostolic Tradition*.

      6. The so-called Ambrosiaster had the same axe to grind as Jerome about the
      problems with bishops being jerks. But he never uses the story about
      Alexandria. So this means it probably wasn't widely-circulated.

      7. In the story of Abbot Poemen, certain heretics visited him and tried to
      disparage the Archbishop of Alexandria by saying that he had been ordained
      by mere presbyters. If this was talking about the Archbishop who was alive
      at the time, St. Athanasius, then it is obviously false. But it would have
      been an ineffective accusation, unless it would be a fatal defect if it were
      true. Also, if there had been ordinations by presbyters as recently as 80
      years prior to Athanasius, then the way they accused him of being ordained
      would have been considered normal, and not a problem.

      8. Cirlot also lists several plausible ways in which Jerome could have
      misinterpreted a fairly innocent phrase like "the presbyters at Alexandria
      got their bishop ordained" and confused it with "the presbyters at
      Alexandria ordained their bishop. I will not list these here, however. These
      are not arguments, but explanations for what could have resulted in Jerome
      acquiring misinformation, if indeed it is misinformation.

      Having argued against the first two interpretations, Cirlot proposes what he
      considers to be a better interpretation that fits with considerations 1-8:

      For all these reasons, I am inclined to think that we ought to put on the
      narrative of St. Jerome a third possible interpretation which avoids all or
      nearly all of the difficulties listed above, and which in addition seems to
      me to satisfy the language he uses at least as well as the other
      interpretations. That is, that the Alexandrian presbyters had two
      prerogatives peculiar to them as contrasted with presbyters elsewhere. One
      of these was that they alone had exclusively in their hands the election of
      their Bishop [note: Jerome uses the word electum]. The other was that no one
      was eligible except one of the presbyters [note: Jerome says ex se]. The
      fact that St. Jerome does not say "ordained" but nominibant was due, I would
      suggest, to the fact that he was not in a position to say the former, the
      word that would have greatly strengthened his argument if the facts as he
      knew them had allowed him so to speak. The Bishop, I suppose, was always
      ordained by the other Bishops of neighboring cities in Egypt. That was known
      to St. Jerome and to all, and he could not use this fact to support his
      argument. But he can minimize it, so to speak, by pointing out that it is
      the only thing a presbyter cannot do. If he had been able to minimize it
      still further by emphasizing that even this was formerly a prerogative of
      the Alexandrian presbyters, and had only recently ceased to be so, we may, I
      think, be reasonably sure he would not have failed to do so. Nor would he
      have rested content with using the present tense of a verb when the words
      "even today" or some other words would have made his point so much clearer
      and stronger. Nor would he have chosen such bad examples, had he meant that
      for almost two centuries in Alexandria the presbyters had been conceded the
      power to ordain.

      Pg. 379

      When we take into account Cirlot's arguments, it seems he is correct: Jerome
      was not arguing that at Alexandria, presbyters ordained their bishop. And
      if he had been able to make this argument, he would have. The absence of
      examples of presbyterian ordination in Jerome's account implies that he
      thinks it has not happened, and this makes it unlikely that he would agree
      that it could (or should) happen. So in addition to this not being an
      example of presbyterian ordination in Church history, it shows that Jerome
      probably thought it wasn't possible (as if the statement immediately
      following about bishops differeing from presbyters in power of ordination
      was not clear enough).

      Conclusion:

      In conclusion, Jerome seems to deny the three things we would expect if he
      held to the second view of the tri-fold ministry. First, he thinks that
      bishops have the power of ordination that presbyters lack; second, that the
      trifold ministry is a necessity of the Church produced by Apostolic
      institution; and third, he implicitly denies that presbyterian ordination
      is, has been, or could be Christian practice. We can describe Jerome's view
      as follows: bishop, presbyter, and deacon are three distinct offices. These
      offices are Apostolic institutions, and intended to be permanently distinct.
      Only bishops can actually confer the gift of ministry through the laying-on
      of hands in ordination. This is the definition of the first view of the
      ministry and succession, the one held by Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican
      Catholics. Despite the fact that he initially seems to support the second
      view of the tri-fold ministry, he in fact supports the first, and is not a
      counter-example to the claim that the Catholic Church throughout history has
      held the first view.

      ** Thanks to David Kaufmann for help with translation of these Latin
      phrases. Thanks also to Zakk Price for assistance with Latin.*

      *** See further down in this post for Gore's and Cirlot's treatment of the
      text. It turns out that it supports the first monoepiscopate view, not the
      second.*


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • BPeter Brandt-Sorheim
      Have you encountered the view that there is a single ministry...the bishop, from whom all ministry is apportioned out as needed by the church s circumstances?
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 26, 2009
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        Have you encountered the view that there is a single ministry...the bishop, from whom all ministry is apportioned out as needed by the church's circumstances?

        Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote: Jerome on the Tri-fold
        Ministry

        *From The Well of Questions*

        In this post I will attempt to address texts in St. Jerome which are alleged
        to challenge the view of the tri-fold ministry's origin, structure, and
        necessity held by Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican Cathlics. I will argue that
        Jerome agrees with their view of the ministry.

        Charles Gore's *The Church in the Ministry* is an excellent piece of
        apologetic for the tri-fold ministry. Though his biblical arguments are
        helpful, they are not as great as those of Cirlot's *Apostolic Succession:
        is it True?*. Where Gore really shines is his treatment of the patristic
        texts that are used against the view of the tri-fold ministry held by
        Orthodox, Roman, and some Anglican Catholics. On our view, the tri-fold
        ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon is three distinct offices. These
        offices are Apostolic institutions, and intended to be permanently distinct.
        Only bishops can actually confer the gift of ministry through the laying-on
        of hands in ordination. Call this the first view of the tri-fold ministry.

        There is a second view of the tri-fold ministry that claims to have
        patristic precedent and Apostolic institution. According to this view,
        there are only two essentially distinct offices passed on through the
        succession of the laying-on of hands. Deacons are the lower tier, and
        bishop and presbyter are both names for the second tier. The New Testament
        teaches the identity of presbyters and bishops, and there is no transferable
        tri-fold ministry in Scripture that has Apostolic sanction. Members of the
        second tier of ministry can ordain. However, the Church can and should have
        a tri-fold ministry. It is advantageous to Church order to do this, even if
        it is not necessary for the existence of the Church. There can be a
        distinction between two levels of the second tier of ministry, and we can
        use the title bishop for the top level, and presbyter for the bottom, so
        long as we understand that we aren't endorsing an essential,
        Apostolicly-instituted distinction between the two.

        In support of this second view is usually offered the equivalence of
        presbyter and bishop in the New Testament, and the fact that there are
        strands of patristic tradition that support the equation of bishops and
        presbyters, including the ability of presbyters to ordain. My purpose here
        is not to dispute the equation of bishop and presbyter in Scripture (I deny
        it, but I don't have time to explain why or in what sense). I will consider
        one standard patristic argument for this claim, namely various texts in St.
        Jerome that imply that bishops and presbyters are actually the same office,
        and that the distinction between them is one that is just necessary for
        Church order. These texts are taken by proponents of the second view to
        imply that according to Jerome, the distinction between the bishops and
        presbyters is not a binding, unrevisable, authoritative institution about
        what is necessary for the Church to exist.

        Joseph Lightfoot's Commentary *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians* and
        *Essay on the Christian Ministry* make use of several of Jerome's citations
        to support the second view of the tri-fold ministry stated above. One
        example of a text where Jerome seems to imply that presbyters and bishops
        are the same in all but name is the following:

        This has been said to show that with the ancients presbyters were the same
        as bishops: but gradually all the responsibility was deferred to a single
        person, that the thickets of heresies might be rooted out. Therefore, as
        presbyters know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him who
        shall have been set over them, so let bishops also be aware that they are
        superior to presbyters more owing to custom than to any actual ordinance of
        the Lord.

        *Commentary on Titus* (1:5)

        It seems clear that Jerome is supporting the second view of the tri-fold
        ministry articulated above. Specifically, he is denying that there is
        anything more to the difference between presbyter and bishop than a decision
        by the church to have some people in the second tier of ministry in
        submission to other people in the second tier of ministry. Other aspects of
        Jerome's view on the ministry include the following in Lightfoot's excursus
        on "The synonymns 'bishop' and 'presbyter'":

        But in the fourth century, when the fathers of the Church began to examine
        the apostolic records with a more critical eye, they at once detected the
        fact [that bishop and presbyter are the same office]. No one states it more
        clearly than Jerome. 'Among the ancients,' he says, 'bishops and presbyters
        are the same, for the one is a term of dignity, the other of age.'
        [*Epist.*lxix (I.p.414sq., ed. Vallarsi).] 'The Apostle plainly
        shows,' he writes
        in another place, 'that presbyters are the same as bishops… It is proved
        most clearly that bishops and presbyters are the same.' [*Epist.* cxlvi (I.
        p.1081) Again in a third passage he says 'If any one thinks the opinion
        that the bishops and presbyters are the same, to be not the view of the
        Scriptures but my own, let him study the words of the Apostle to the
        Phillipians,' and in support of his view he alleges the scriptural proofs at
        great length [*Ad Tit.* i.5 (VII. p. 695).]

        *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians,* p. 98-99

        Lightfoot's conclusion is very natural to draw: Jerome held to a view of
        Church government according to which presbyter and bishop are two levels of
        function within the same office, distinguished by the Church as a way of
        keeping order in response to circumstances. It would also be very intuitive
        to expect that, first, Jerome would say that both levels have the same
        powers; second, that the trifold ministry is not a necessity produced by
        Apostolic institution; and third to cite examples of presbyterian ordination
        throughout Church history (for it would be counterintuitive to make a claim
        about Church order that has no precedent in Church history).

        The problem is that Jerome explicitly denies the first and second points
        above, and implicitly denies the third point.

        Speaking of the views of the ministry held by the so-called Ambrosiaster,
        and a commentator who was once thought to be St. Augustine, and St. Jerome,
        Gore points out:

        …neither of these writers disputes the present authority of the threefold
        ministry or the limitation to bishops of the power of ordination. They do
        not maintain that, even in the extremest circumstances, a presbyter—a
        presbyter of the existing Church—could validly ordain… 'What does a bishop
        do,' says St. Jerome, even when he is minimizing the episcopate, 'that a
        presbyter does not do, except ordination?' The bishop and the presbyter are
        to one another as the high priest and priest of the old covenant.

        Once more, they do not regard the present three-fold arrangement of the
        ministry as an innovation of the post-apostolic Church, so that it should
        lack the authority of the Apostles. The present constitution represents
        their ordering…

        Jerome… seems to hold that, while Christ instituted only one priestly
        office, it was the exigencies of church life which led to its being
        sub-divided under apostolic sanction into the presbyterate and the
        episcopate. At any rate, whether the distinction was 'ordained by Christ
        Himself' or of apostolic authority, these writers were agreed that (as the
        names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' are used in the New Testament of the same
        officers) the presbyters originally were also bishops, and it was because of
        the dangers of rivalry and division which threatened this arrangement from
        the first that it was determined that in future only one power should have
        the authority and name of the episcopate, the rest receiving only the
        commission of presbyters. How much truth there is in this view is not now in
        question. They thought also that this original identity of the presbyterate
        and episcopate had left its mark on the subsequent constitution of the
        Church in such sense that presbyters and bishops still share a common
        priesthood, and that (waiving the question of confirmation) there is nothing
        which is reserved to a bishop except the function of ordination. Jerome used
        this view with powerful effect to exalt the priesthood of the presbyter, as
        against the arrogance of Roman deacons on the one hand, and on the other
        against the overweening self-assertion of bishops. It was a bad custom, he
        thought, which prevailed in some churches, that presbyters should not be
        allowed to preach in the presence of bishops. The bishops' exalted dignity
        is a thorn in Jerome's side; 'as if they were placed in some lofty
        watch-tower, they scarcely deign to look at us mortals or to speak to their
        fellow-servants.' [*in Gal.* iv.13] A priest should indeed by subject to his
        bishop (pontifiex) as to his spiritual father, but 'bishops should know that
        they are priests, not lords, and they must give their clergy the honor of
        clergy, if they wish their clergy to pay them the honor of bishops.'
        [*Ep.*lii. 7.]

        Now when we have clearly considered this view, we shall see surely that it
        is not what it is sometimes represented as being. It is not a 'presbyterian'
        view. It does indeed carry with it the conception of the great Church order
        being the priesthood; it emphasizes the distinction of presbyter and bishop
        is nothing compared to the distinction of deacon and priest. Moreover, it
        involves a certain tentativeness in the process by which the Apostles are
        held to have established the church ministry; it admits a survival of an
        older constitution into the later life of the Church. But it does not carry
        wit it the idea that the presbyter, pure and simple, the presbyter of the
        settled church constitution, has the power under any circumstances to assume
        episcopal functions. It teaches something quite different, viz. that the
        earliest presbyters were ordained with episcopal functions—were, in fact,
        bishops as well as presbyters—till the subsequent ordination of presbyters
        without Episcopal functions put an end to the old arrangement and brought
        about—not episcopacy—but what we have called monepiscopacy.

        p.157-161

        In the appended note F "The Theory of the Ministry Held by Ambrosiaster,
        Jerome, etc." Gore gives additional citations:

        (b) His recognition of the apostolic authority of the [monarchical]
        episcopate. [trans:'…the Church, consisting of many grades, ends in deacons,
        presbyters, and bishops.'] (*adv. Lucifer.* 22) ; [trans: 'For what
        function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not also
        belong to a presbyter?… All (bishops) alike are successors of the Apostles']
        (*Ep.* cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*). The present monoepiscopal constitution is
        attributed to (apostolic) decree (*in Tit.* i. 5): [trans: "All within this
        sphere is of Apostolic decree."]* The apostles are represented as ordaining
        bishops and priests: [trans: "those who have been made apostles, have
        ordained the singular offices of the presbyterate and the episcopate."]* (*in
        Matt. *xxv. 26).

        (c) His theory of the original identity of bishops and presbyters. This he (
        *Ep. *cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*) proves from the language of Scripture, and
        continues: [trans.: 'When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside
        over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual
        from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself.'] Then follows
        the passage about Alexandria,** and the conclusion just quoted, [trans:
        "'For what function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not
        also belong to a presbyter?"] So to the same effect *in Tit.* i. 5:
        "'Likewise, any presbyter is a bishop."* At first [trans: "the presbyterate
        in synod governed the Church."]* then factions arose, 'I am of Paul,' etc.
        On this account [trans: "'all within this sphere is of Apostolic decree so
        that one elected presbyter is placed in charge over the rest of the
        presbyterate."]* He would therefore have the bishops in his own day
        recognize that [trans: "they are superior to presbyters more owing to custom
        than to any actual ordinance of the Lord."] Of course this is strong
        language. St. Jerome does not measure words when his temper is up, as it is
        with the bishops. But even so I do not think it can be fairly taken to mean
        that Jerome ever held a presbyter of his own day to be the same as a bishop,
        even in an extreme case. The conclusion he draws in the text is only that
        bishops should govern the Church 'in commune,' i.e. with the co-operation of
        the presbyters, 'in imitation of Moses, who, when he had it in his power to
        rule the people alone, chose seventy elders to judge the people with him.'
        Still earlier he had said, in the *adv. Lucifer.* 9: [trans.: 'the
        well-being of a Church depends upon the dignity of its chief-priest, and
        unless some extraordinary and unique functions be assigned to him, we shall
        have as many schisms in the Churches as there are priests.'] The distinctive
        powers of the bishop had their origin, according to Jerome, in moral
        necessities, but those necessities were paramount, and the result of the
        change involved in the limitation of the episcopate was one that could not
        be reversed.

        p. 337-338

        (Translations above are borrowed from Schaff and Wace's Vol 6 *Nicene and
        Post-Nicene Fathers* unless otherwise noted in the asterisks.)

        Though Gore does not quote it to my knowledge, there is a translated
        statement by Jerome in the Schaff and Wade series which pertains to the
        monarchical episcopate as an Apostolic institution. Jerome is trying to
        criticize the beliefs of a person who is proposing that deacons are equal to
        presbyters. In his *letter* CXLVI *to Evangelu*s, Jerome states:

        Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank. In
        writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination of
        the bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of
        presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters also.
        Again when a man is promoted it is from a lower place to a higher. Either
        then a presbyter should be ordained a deacon, from the lesser office, that
        is, to the more important, to prove that a presbyter is inferior to a
        deacon; or if on the other hand it is the deacon that is ordained presbyter,
        this latter should recognize that, although he may be less highly paid than
        a deacon, he is superior to him in virtue of his priesthood. In fact as if
        to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by
        them from the old testament, bishops, presbyters, and deacons occupy in the
        church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons,
        and the Levites in the temple.

        At first it might seem that Jerome is saying that presbyters and bishops are
        simply the same thing. And it is true that initially the bishops and
        presbyters were identical according to Jerome. But as he stated earlier in
        the letter, Jerome thinks that "subsequently one presbyter was chosen to
        preside over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
        individual from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself." Why,
        then, does Jerome keep emphasizing the equivalence of presbyters and bishops
        in the Apostolic age? The answer is obvious when we consider the context of
        the letter. By exalting the presbyterate into identification with the
        episcopate, he can undercut the assumption that deacons could be equal to
        presbyters. The argument, then, is something like this:

        1. Deacons can't be equal to bishops

        2. Anything that could be equal to a bishop is greater than a deacon

        3. Therefore if presbyters can be equal to bishops, then presbyters are
        greater than deacons

        4. Presbyters were once bishops (and thus they can be equal to bishops)

        Conclusion: therefore, presbyters are greater than deacons.

        Clearly Jerome thinks that in the present age, a bishop and a presbyter are
        not identical. The question that then needs to be addressed is "when and by
        whom did this change come about?" Apparently, Jerome identifies the source
        of the change with the Apostles. For he thinks that the present, fixed
        character of the tri-fold ministry (where bishops have a power that
        presbyters don't–ordination, as he stated earlier in the letter) is "handed
        down by the Apostles". The quote above also emphasizes the distinctness of
        their ministries by comparing presbyter with Aaron's sons and bishop with
        Aaron himself. The difference is one between priests and high priest
        (something which hearkens back to *The Didache* and St. Hippolytus' *On the
        Apostolic Tradition*). Although this isn't as great a difference as that
        between Aaron's sons and the Levites, high priesthood is clearly different
        from and inherently above preisthood simpliciter; and this isn't merely a
        matter of function, but of office.

        We have addressed issues 1 and 2 that we would expect Jerome to agree with.
        First, it has been shown that he thinks that the bishop alone can ordain; he
        denies this power to the presbyter. Subsequent argument about the
        Episcopate in Alexandria will make this even clearer than already. Second,
        it has been established that the three distinct offices are Apostolic
        institutions. The explanation, therefore, for why Jerome says that bishops
        are superior to presbyters "more owing to custom than to any actual
        ordinance of the Lord" is that the common priesthood of the bishop and
        presbyter is an ordinance of the Lord; Christ, of course, directly
        instituted the priesthood. This is being contrasted with the way that
        presbyter and bishop became distinct. It wasn't Christ speaking directly,
        but an Apostolic decision, that divided the directly divinely-ordained
        priesthood into two levels. This fits perfectly with Jerome's attempts to
        emphasize the similarity between presbyter and bishop; the bishop is not
        superior because Christ made his office superior directly, but because the
        Apostles did, which is not as big of a deal.

        Next we must examine a portion of Jerome's *Letter to Evangelus* where he
        tries to support the similarity between presbyter and bishop by means of,
        first, an explanation of how the two offices became distinct, and then an
        example from Church history of how closely-related the two offices are.
        Jerome writes:

        When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside over the rest, this
        was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual from rending the
        church of Christ by drawing it to himself. For even at Alexandria from the
        time of Mark the Evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and Dionysius
        the presbyters always named as bishop one of their own number chosen by
        themselves and set in a more exalted position, just as an army elects a
        general, or as deacons appoint one of themselves whom they know to be
        diligent and call him archdeacon. For what function, excepting ordination,
        belongs to a bishop that does not also belong to a presbyter?

        As stated above, the fact that presbyter and bishop were subsequently
        distinguished by means of an Apostolic decision and not directly by Christ
        helps to emphasize how similar they are. The example Jerome gives also
        shows presbyters having functions like those of bishops, further closing the
        gap between the two offices. At this point, many presbyterians have arued
        that Jerome is giving an example of presbyterian ordination: he is saying
        that Alexandrian presbyters ordained the bishop in Alexandria. If this is
        what Jerome is saying, and he approves of this as valid ordination, then he
        agrees with the second theory of the tri-fold ministry or else is a
        presbyterian. And if this is an accurate report of Church practice, it
        would be a counterexample to the claim that only occupants of the third tier
        of ministry (bishops and Apostles) can ordain.

        But is this what Jerome is saying? Here, I will simply quote Cirlot's
        excellent and thorough treatment of this issue. Concerning Alexandrian
        ordinations, Cirlot writes:

        St. Jerome compares what happened at Alexandria, according to his
        information, to an army making their general, and to deacons choosing one of

        === message truncated ===



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Christopher Orr
        Yes, I have heard this often. Jerome s at least seeming identification of bishop and presbyter is often pointed to - by those with a patristic bent - along
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 27, 2009
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          Yes, I have heard this often. Jerome's at least seeming identification of
          bishop and presbyter is often pointed to - by those with a patristic bent -
          along with their synonymous use in the NT as 'proof' that the leader of a
          parish is the 'bishop', or the only truly mandated office of 'authority' in
          the Church. Deacons are also acknowledged, but simply as 'servers' or
          'helpers' to the 'bishop/presbyter', whatever he may be called.

          I always find it odd that people want to point back to some arbitrary point
          in history as exemplifying the 'real' Church and her 'real' teachings, etc.
          These teachings and witnesses can't be divorced from their surroundings
          without doing damage to their trustworthiness. That is, if you are going to
          cite Jerome as a source for this, you have to listen to Jerome on just about
          everything else he said, taught and did - including his monasticism. Same
          goes for any of the Fathers. If you are going to cite the Cappadocians on
          the Trinity and the divinity of the Holy Spirit, you can't simply ignore
          their views on the invocation of the saints and the episcopacy.

          In reality, Protestants use the Fathers as window dressing to make their
          teachings seem more authoritative than they are. Or, that has been my
          experience of Protestant arguments that involve the Fathers. They don't
          actually value their witness or opinion, they simply use it as one would use
          a quotation from Bartlett's in a speech.

          Now, Orthodox don't take everything that each Father said as 'Gospel',
          either, but the consensus of the Fathers and the broad witness through time
          and across cultures of the Church is held to as being Providentially guided
          - the Holy Spirit is still active and didn't just publish a book and leave
          us to our own devices. It was difficult for me, as a Lutheran, to ignore
          the fact that the Church knew her mind on all these topic over the course of
          centuries! While there may be some question in the surviving texts about
          this or that office, doctrine, etc. the Church came to a resolution pretty
          quickly and early. Unless one wants to fall into a sort of 'DaVinci Code'
          conspiracy theory whereby the entire Church and her bishops - including
          those outside of the boundaries of the Roman Empire - simply sold out to
          Constantine, it is hard to understand how the entire Church just accepted
          all these things they were willing to die for just years before. This is
          especially true when you look at the Oriental Orthodox that had no love for
          the Empire but agree with the Orthodox on any number of doctrines and
          practices that the Protestant hermeneutic assumes was the result of the
          Church selling out to the Imperium.

          Screed for the day complete.

          Christopher



          On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 12:30 AM, BPeter Brandt-Sorheim <
          donpedrogordo@...> wrote:

          > Have you encountered the view that there is a single ministry...the
          > bishop, from whom all ministry is apportioned out as needed by the church's
          > circumstances?
          >
          > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>> wrote: Jerome on
          > the Tri-fold
          >
          > Ministry
          >
          > *From The Well of Questions*
          >
          > In this post I will attempt to address texts in St. Jerome which are
          > alleged
          > to challenge the view of the tri-fold ministry's origin, structure, and
          > necessity held by Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican Cathlics. I will argue that
          > Jerome agrees with their view of the ministry.
          >
          > Charles Gore's *The Church in the Ministry* is an excellent piece of
          > apologetic for the tri-fold ministry. Though his biblical arguments are
          > helpful, they are not as great as those of Cirlot's *Apostolic Succession:
          > is it True?*. Where Gore really shines is his treatment of the patristic
          > texts that are used against the view of the tri-fold ministry held by
          > Orthodox, Roman, and some Anglican Catholics. On our view, the tri-fold
          > ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon is three distinct offices. These
          > offices are Apostolic institutions, and intended to be permanently
          > distinct.
          > Only bishops can actually confer the gift of ministry through the laying-on
          > of hands in ordination. Call this the first view of the tri-fold ministry.
          >
          > There is a second view of the tri-fold ministry that claims to have
          > patristic precedent and Apostolic institution. According to this view,
          > there are only two essentially distinct offices passed on through the
          > succession of the laying-on of hands. Deacons are the lower tier, and
          > bishop and presbyter are both names for the second tier. The New Testament
          > teaches the identity of presbyters and bishops, and there is no
          > transferable
          > tri-fold ministry in Scripture that has Apostolic sanction. Members of the
          > second tier of ministry can ordain. However, the Church can and should have
          > a tri-fold ministry. It is advantageous to Church order to do this, even if
          > it is not necessary for the existence of the Church. There can be a
          > distinction between two levels of the second tier of ministry, and we can
          > use the title bishop for the top level, and presbyter for the bottom, so
          > long as we understand that we aren't endorsing an essential,
          > Apostolicly-instituted distinction between the two.
          >
          > In support of this second view is usually offered the equivalence of
          > presbyter and bishop in the New Testament, and the fact that there are
          > strands of patristic tradition that support the equation of bishops and
          > presbyters, including the ability of presbyters to ordain. My purpose here
          > is not to dispute the equation of bishop and presbyter in Scripture (I deny
          > it, but I don't have time to explain why or in what sense). I will consider
          > one standard patristic argument for this claim, namely various texts in St.
          > Jerome that imply that bishops and presbyters are actually the same office,
          > and that the distinction between them is one that is just necessary for
          > Church order. These texts are taken by proponents of the second view to
          > imply that according to Jerome, the distinction between the bishops and
          > presbyters is not a binding, unrevisable, authoritative institution about
          > what is necessary for the Church to exist.
          >
          > Joseph Lightfoot's Commentary *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians* and
          > *Essay on the Christian Ministry* make use of several of Jerome's citations
          > to support the second view of the tri-fold ministry stated above. One
          > example of a text where Jerome seems to imply that presbyters and bishops
          > are the same in all but name is the following:
          >
          > This has been said to show that with the ancients presbyters were the same
          > as bishops: but gradually all the responsibility was deferred to a single
          > person, that the thickets of heresies might be rooted out. Therefore, as
          > presbyters know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him
          > who
          > shall have been set over them, so let bishops also be aware that they are
          > superior to presbyters more owing to custom than to any actual ordinance of
          > the Lord.
          >
          > *Commentary on Titus* (1:5)
          >
          > It seems clear that Jerome is supporting the second view of the tri-fold
          > ministry articulated above. Specifically, he is denying that there is
          > anything more to the difference between presbyter and bishop than a
          > decision
          > by the church to have some people in the second tier of ministry in
          > submission to other people in the second tier of ministry. Other aspects of
          > Jerome's view on the ministry include the following in Lightfoot's excursus
          > on "The synonymns 'bishop' and 'presbyter'":
          >
          > But in the fourth century, when the fathers of the Church began to examine
          > the apostolic records with a more critical eye, they at once detected the
          > fact [that bishop and presbyter are the same office]. No one states it more
          > clearly than Jerome. 'Among the ancients,' he says, 'bishops and presbyters
          > are the same, for the one is a term of dignity, the other of age.'
          > [*Epist.*lxix (I.p.414sq., ed. Vallarsi).] 'The Apostle plainly
          > shows,' he writes
          > in another place, 'that presbyters are the same as bishops� It is proved
          > most clearly that bishops and presbyters are the same.' [*Epist.* cxlvi (I.
          > p.1081) Again in a third passage he says 'If any one thinks the opinion
          > that the bishops and presbyters are the same, to be not the view of the
          > Scriptures but my own, let him study the words of the Apostle to the
          > Phillipians,' and in support of his view he alleges the scriptural proofs
          > at
          > great length [*Ad Tit.* i.5 (VII. p. 695).]
          >
          > *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians,* p. 98-99
          >
          > Lightfoot's conclusion is very natural to draw: Jerome held to a view of
          > Church government according to which presbyter and bishop are two levels of
          > function within the same office, distinguished by the Church as a way of
          > keeping order in response to circumstances. It would also be very intuitive
          > to expect that, first, Jerome would say that both levels have the same
          > powers; second, that the trifold ministry is not a necessity produced by
          > Apostolic institution; and third to cite examples of presbyterian
          > ordination
          > throughout Church history (for it would be counterintuitive to make a claim
          > about Church order that has no precedent in Church history).
          >
          > The problem is that Jerome explicitly denies the first and second points
          > above, and implicitly denies the third point.
          >
          > Speaking of the views of the ministry held by the so-called Ambrosiaster,
          > and a commentator who was once thought to be St. Augustine, and St. Jerome,
          > Gore points out:
          >
          > �neither of these writers disputes the present authority of the threefold
          > ministry or the limitation to bishops of the power of ordination. They do
          > not maintain that, even in the extremest circumstances, a presbyter�a
          > presbyter of the existing Church�could validly ordain� 'What does a bishop
          > do,' says St. Jerome, even when he is minimizing the episcopate, 'that a
          > presbyter does not do, except ordination?' The bishop and the presbyter are
          > to one another as the high priest and priest of the old covenant.
          >
          > Once more, they do not regard the present three-fold arrangement of the
          > ministry as an innovation of the post-apostolic Church, so that it should
          > lack the authority of the Apostles. The present constitution represents
          > their ordering�
          >
          > Jerome� seems to hold that, while Christ instituted only one priestly
          > office, it was the exigencies of church life which led to its being
          > sub-divided under apostolic sanction into the presbyterate and the
          > episcopate. At any rate, whether the distinction was 'ordained by Christ
          > Himself' or of apostolic authority, these writers were agreed that (as the
          > names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' are used in the New Testament of the same
          > officers) the presbyters originally were also bishops, and it was because
          > of
          > the dangers of rivalry and division which threatened this arrangement from
          > the first that it was determined that in future only one power should have
          > the authority and name of the episcopate, the rest receiving only the
          > commission of presbyters. How much truth there is in this view is not now
          > in
          > question. They thought also that this original identity of the presbyterate
          > and episcopate had left its mark on the subsequent constitution of the
          > Church in such sense that presbyters and bishops still share a common
          > priesthood, and that (waiving the question of confirmation) there is
          > nothing
          > which is reserved to a bishop except the function of ordination. Jerome
          > used
          > this view with powerful effect to exalt the priesthood of the presbyter, as
          > against the arrogance of Roman deacons on the one hand, and on the other
          > against the overweening self-assertion of bishops. It was a bad custom, he
          > thought, which prevailed in some churches, that presbyters should not be
          > allowed to preach in the presence of bishops. The bishops' exalted dignity
          > is a thorn in Jerome's side; 'as if they were placed in some lofty
          > watch-tower, they scarcely deign to look at us mortals or to speak to their
          > fellow-servants.' [*in Gal.* iv.13] A priest should indeed by subject to
          > his
          > bishop (pontifiex) as to his spiritual father, but 'bishops should know
          > that
          > they are priests, not lords, and they must give their clergy the honor of
          > clergy, if they wish their clergy to pay them the honor of bishops.'
          > [*Ep.*lii. 7.]
          >
          > Now when we have clearly considered this view, we shall see surely that it
          > is not what it is sometimes represented as being. It is not a
          > 'presbyterian'
          > view. It does indeed carry with it the conception of the great Church order
          > being the priesthood; it emphasizes the distinction of presbyter and bishop
          > is nothing compared to the distinction of deacon and priest. Moreover, it
          > involves a certain tentativeness in the process by which the Apostles are
          > held to have established the church ministry; it admits a survival of an
          > older constitution into the later life of the Church. But it does not carry
          > wit it the idea that the presbyter, pure and simple, the presbyter of the
          > settled church constitution, has the power under any circumstances to
          > assume
          > episcopal functions. It teaches something quite different, viz. that the
          > earliest presbyters were ordained with episcopal functions�were, in fact,
          > bishops as well as presbyters�till the subsequent ordination of presbyters
          > without Episcopal functions put an end to the old arrangement and brought
          > about�not episcopacy�but what we have called monepiscopacy.
          >
          > p.157-161
          >
          > In the appended note F "The Theory of the Ministry Held by Ambrosiaster,
          > Jerome, etc." Gore gives additional citations:
          >
          > (b) His recognition of the apostolic authority of the [monarchical]
          > episcopate. [trans:'�the Church, consisting of many grades, ends in
          > deacons,
          > presbyters, and bishops.'] (*adv. Lucifer.* 22) ; [trans: 'For what
          > function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not also
          > belong to a presbyter?� All (bishops) alike are successors of the
          > Apostles']
          > (*Ep.* cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*). The present monoepiscopal constitution is
          > attributed to (apostolic) decree (*in Tit.* i. 5): [trans: "All within this
          > sphere is of Apostolic decree."]* The apostles are represented as ordaining
          > bishops and priests: [trans: "those who have been made apostles, have
          > ordained the singular offices of the presbyterate and the episcopate."]*
          > (*in
          > Matt. *xxv. 26).
          >
          > (c) His theory of the original identity of bishops and presbyters. This he
          > (
          > *Ep. *cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*) proves from the language of Scripture, and
          > continues: [trans.: 'When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside
          > over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
          > individual
          > from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself.'] Then follows
          > the passage about Alexandria,** and the conclusion just quoted, [trans:
          > "'For what function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does
          > not
          > also belong to a presbyter?"] So to the same effect *in Tit.* i. 5:
          > "'Likewise, any presbyter is a bishop."* At first [trans: "the presbyterate
          > in synod governed the Church."]* then factions arose, 'I am of Paul,' etc.
          > On this account [trans: "'all within this sphere is of Apostolic decree so
          > that one elected presbyter is placed in charge over the rest of the
          > presbyterate."]* He would therefore have the bishops in his own day
          > recognize that [trans: "they are superior to presbyters more owing to
          > custom
          > than to any actual ordinance of the Lord."] Of course this is strong
          > language. St. Jerome does not measure words when his temper is up, as it is
          > with the bishops. But even so I do not think it can be fairly taken to mean
          > that Jerome ever held a presbyter of his own day to be the same as a
          > bishop,
          > even in an extreme case. The conclusion he draws in the text is only that
          > bishops should govern the Church 'in commune,' i.e. with the co-operation
          > of
          > the presbyters, 'in imitation of Moses, who, when he had it in his power to
          > rule the people alone, chose seventy elders to judge the people with him.'
          > Still earlier he had said, in the *adv. Lucifer.* 9: [trans.: 'the
          > well-being of a Church depends upon the dignity of its chief-priest, and
          > unless some extraordinary and unique functions be assigned to him, we shall
          > have as many schisms in the Churches as there are priests.'] The
          > distinctive
          > powers of the bishop had their origin, according to Jerome, in moral
          > necessities, but those necessities were paramount, and the result of the
          > change involved in the limitation of the episcopate was one that could not
          > be reversed.
          >
          > p. 337-338
          >
          > (Translations above are borrowed from Schaff and Wace's Vol 6 *Nicene and
          > Post-Nicene Fathers* unless otherwise noted in the asterisks.)
          >
          > Though Gore does not quote it to my knowledge, there is a translated
          > statement by Jerome in the Schaff and Wade series which pertains to the
          > monarchical episcopate as an Apostolic institution. Jerome is trying to
          > criticize the beliefs of a person who is proposing that deacons are equal
          > to
          > presbyters. In his *letter* CXLVI *to Evangelu*s, Jerome states:
          >
          >
          > Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank.
          > In
          > writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination
          > of
          > the bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of
          > presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters also.
          > Again when a man is promoted it is from a lower place to a higher. Either
          > then a presbyter should be ordained a deacon, from the lesser office, that
          > is, to the more important, to prove that a presbyter is inferior to a
          > deacon; or if on the other hand it is the deacon that is ordained
          > presbyter,
          > this latter should recognize that, although he may be less highly paid than
          > a deacon, he is superior to him in virtue of his priesthood. In fact as if
          > to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by
          > them from the old testament, bishops, presbyters, and deacons occupy in the
          > church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons,
          > and the Levites in the temple.
          >
          > At first it might seem that Jerome is saying that presbyters and bishops
          > are
          > simply the same thing. And it is true that initially the bishops and
          > presbyters were identical according to Jerome. But as he stated earlier in
          > the letter, Jerome thinks that "subsequently one presbyter was chosen to
          > preside over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
          > individual from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself."
          > Why,
          > then, does Jerome keep emphasizing the equivalence of presbyters and
          > bishops
          > in the Apostolic age? The answer is obvious when we consider the context of
          > the letter. By exalting the presbyterate into identification with the
          > episcopate, he can undercut the assumption that deacons could be equal to
          > presbyters. The argument, then, is something like this:
          >
          > 1. Deacons can't be equal to bishops
          >
          > 2. Anything that could be equal to a bishop is greater than a deacon
          >
          > 3. Therefore if presbyters can be equal to bishops, then presbyters are
          > greater than deacons
          >
          > 4. Presbyters were once bishops (and thus they can be equal to bishops)
          >
          > Conclusion: therefore, presbyters are greater than deacons.
          >
          > Clearly Jerome thinks that in the present age, a bishop and a presbyter are
          > not identical. The question that then needs to be addressed is "when and by
          > whom did this change come about?" Apparently, Jerome identifies the source
          > of the change with the Apostles. For he thinks that the present, fixed
          > character of the tri-fold ministry (where bishops have a power that
          > presbyters don't�ordination, as he stated earlier in the letter) is "handed
          > down by the Apostles". The quote above also emphasizes the distinctness of
          > their ministries by comparing presbyter with Aaron's sons and bishop with
          > Aaron himself. The difference is one between priests and high priest
          > (something which hearkens back to *The Didache* and St. Hippolytus' *On the
          > Apostolic Tradition*). Although this isn't as great a difference as that
          > between Aaron's sons and the Levites, high priesthood is clearly different
          > from and inherently above preisthood simpliciter; and this isn't merely a
          > matter of function, but of office.
          >
          > We have addressed issues 1 and 2 that we would expect Jerome to agree with.
          > First, it has been shown that he thinks that the bishop alone can ordain;
          > he
          > denies this power to the presbyter. Subsequent argument about the
          > Episcopate in Alexandria will make this even clearer than already. Second,
          > it has been established that the three distinct offices are Apostolic
          > institutions. The explanation, therefore, for why Jerome says that bishops
          > are superior to presbyters "more owing to custom than to any actual
          > ordinance of the Lord" is that the common priesthood of the bishop and
          > presbyter is an ordinance of the Lord; Christ, of course, directly
          > instituted the priesthood. This is being contrasted with the way that
          > presbyter and bishop became distinct. It wasn't Christ speaking directly,
          > but an Apostolic decision, that divided the directly divinely-ordained
          > priesthood into two levels. This fits perfectly with Jerome's attempts to
          > emphasize the similarity between presbyter and bishop; the bishop is not
          > superior because Christ made his office superior directly, but because the
          > Apostles did, which is not as big of a deal.
          >
          > Next we must examine a portion of Jerome's *Letter to Evangelus* where he
          > tries to support the similarity between presbyter and bishop by means of,
          > first, an explanation of how the two offices became distinct, and then an
          > example from Church history of how closely-related the two offices are.
          > Jerome writes:
          >
          > When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside over the rest, this
          > was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual from rending the
          > church of Christ by drawing it to himself. For even at Alexandria from the
          > time of Mark the Evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and Dionysius
          > the presbyters always named as bishop one of their own number chosen by
          > themselves and set in a more exalted position, just as an army elects a
          > general, or as deacons appoint one of themselves whom they know to be
          > diligent and call him archdeacon. For what function, excepting ordination,
          > belongs to a bishop that does not also belong to a presbyter?
          >
          > As stated above, the fact that presbyter and bishop were subsequently
          > distinguished by means of an Apostolic decision and not directly by Christ
          > helps to emphasize how similar they are. The example Jerome gives also
          > shows presbyters having functions like those of bishops, further closing
          > the
          > gap between the two offices. At this point, many presbyterians have arued
          > that Jerome is giving an example of presbyterian ordination: he is saying
          > that Alexandrian presbyters ordained the bishop in Alexandria. If this is
          > what Jerome is saying, and he approves of this as valid ordination, then he
          > agrees with the second theory of the tri-fold ministry or else is a
          > presbyterian. And if this is an accurate report of Church practice, it
          > would be a counterexample to the claim that only occupants of the third
          > tier
          > of ministry (bishops and Apostles) can ordain.
          >
          > But is this what Jerome is saying? Here, I will simply quote Cirlot's
          > excellent and thorough treatment of this issue. Concerning Alexandrian
          > ordinations, Cirlot writes:
          >
          > St. Jerome compares what happened at Alexandria, according to his
          > information, to an army making their general, and to deacons choosing one
          > of
          >
          > === message truncated ===
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Rebecca Wilson
          Christopher,   You should screed more often.  Well put!   Rebecca ... From: Christopher Orr Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast]
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 27, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Christopher,

            You should "screed" more often.� Well put!

            Rebecca

            --- On Tue, 1/27/09, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:

            From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...>
            Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Regarding Jerome and the Tri-fold Ministry
            To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 10:28 AM

            Yes, I have heard this often. Jerome's at least seeming identification of
            bishop and presbyter is often pointed to - by those with a patristic bent -
            along with their synonymous use in the NT as 'proof' that the leader of
            a
            parish is the 'bishop', or the only truly mandated office of
            'authority' in
            the Church. Deacons are also acknowledged, but simply as 'servers' or
            'helpers' to the 'bishop/presbyter', whatever he may be called.

            I always find it odd that people want to point back to some arbitrary point
            in history as exemplifying the 'real' Church and her 'real'
            teachings, etc.
            These teachings and witnesses can't be divorced from their surroundings
            without doing damage to their trustworthiness. That is, if you are going to
            cite Jerome as a source for this, you have to listen to Jerome on just about
            everything else he said, taught and did - including his monasticism. Same
            goes for any of the Fathers. If you are going to cite the Cappadocians on
            the Trinity and the divinity of the Holy Spirit, you can't simply ignore
            their views on the invocation of the saints and the episcopacy.

            In reality, Protestants use the Fathers as window dressing to make their
            teachings seem more authoritative than they are. Or, that has been my
            experience of Protestant arguments that involve the Fathers. They don't
            actually value their witness or opinion, they simply use it as one would use
            a quotation from Bartlett's in a speech.

            Now, Orthodox don't take everything that each Father said as
            'Gospel',
            either, but the consensus of the Fathers and the broad witness through time
            and across cultures of the Church is held to as being Providentially guided
            - the Holy Spirit is still active and didn't just publish a book and leave
            us to our own devices. It was difficult for me, as a Lutheran, to ignore
            the fact that the Church knew her mind on all these topic over the course of
            centuries! While there may be some question in the surviving texts about
            this or that office, doctrine, etc. the Church came to a resolution pretty
            quickly and early. Unless one wants to fall into a sort of 'DaVinci
            Code'
            conspiracy theory whereby the entire Church and her bishops - including
            those outside of the boundaries of the Roman Empire - simply sold out to
            Constantine, it is hard to understand how the entire Church just accepted
            all these things they were willing to die for just years before. This is
            especially true when you look at the Oriental Orthodox that had no love for
            the Empire but agree with the Orthodox on any number of doctrines and
            practices that the Protestant hermeneutic assumes was the result of the
            Church selling out to the Imperium.

            Screed for the day complete.

            Christopher



            On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 12:30 AM, BPeter Brandt-Sorheim <
            donpedrogordo@...> wrote:

            > Have you encountered the view that there is a single ministry...the
            > bishop, from whom all ministry is apportioned out as needed by the
            church's
            > circumstances?
            >
            > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>> wrote:
            Jerome on
            > the Tri-fold
            >
            > Ministry
            >
            > *From The Well of Questions*
            >
            > In this post I will attempt to address texts in St. Jerome which are
            > alleged
            > to challenge the view of the tri-fold ministry's origin, structure,
            and
            > necessity held by Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican Cathlics. I will argue
            that
            > Jerome agrees with their view of the ministry.
            >
            > Charles Gore's *The Church in the Ministry* is an excellent piece of
            > apologetic for the tri-fold ministry. Though his biblical arguments are
            > helpful, they are not as great as those of Cirlot's *Apostolic
            Succession:
            > is it True?*. Where Gore really shines is his treatment of the patristic
            > texts that are used against the view of the tri-fold ministry held by
            > Orthodox, Roman, and some Anglican Catholics. On our view, the tri-fold
            > ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon is three distinct offices. These
            > offices are Apostolic institutions, and intended to be permanently
            > distinct.
            > Only bishops can actually confer the gift of ministry through the
            laying-on
            > of hands in ordination. Call this the first view of the tri-fold ministry.
            >
            > There is a second view of the tri-fold ministry that claims to have
            > patristic precedent and Apostolic institution. According to this view,
            > there are only two essentially distinct offices passed on through the
            > succession of the laying-on of hands. Deacons are the lower tier, and
            > bishop and presbyter are both names for the second tier. The New Testament
            > teaches the identity of presbyters and bishops, and there is no
            > transferable
            > tri-fold ministry in Scripture that has Apostolic sanction. Members of the
            > second tier of ministry can ordain. However, the Church can and should
            have
            > a tri-fold ministry. It is advantageous to Church order to do this, even
            if
            > it is not necessary for the existence of the Church. There can be a
            > distinction between two levels of the second tier of ministry, and we can
            > use the title bishop for the top level, and presbyter for the bottom, so
            > long as we understand that we aren't endorsing an essential,
            > Apostolicly-instituted distinction between the two.
            >
            > In support of this second view is usually offered the equivalence of
            > presbyter and bishop in the New Testament, and the fact that there are
            > strands of patristic tradition that support the equation of bishops and
            > presbyters, including the ability of presbyters to ordain. My purpose here
            > is not to dispute the equation of bishop and presbyter in Scripture (I
            deny
            > it, but I don't have time to explain why or in what sense). I will
            consider
            > one standard patristic argument for this claim, namely various texts in
            St.
            > Jerome that imply that bishops and presbyters are actually the same
            office,
            > and that the distinction between them is one that is just necessary for
            > Church order. These texts are taken by proponents of the second view to
            > imply that according to Jerome, the distinction between the bishops and
            > presbyters is not a binding, unrevisable, authoritative institution about
            > what is necessary for the Church to exist.
            >
            > Joseph Lightfoot's Commentary *Saint Paul's Epistle to the
            Philippians* and
            > *Essay on the Christian Ministry* make use of several of Jerome's
            citations
            > to support the second view of the tri-fold ministry stated above. One
            > example of a text where Jerome seems to imply that presbyters and bishops
            > are the same in all but name is the following:
            >
            > This has been said to show that with the ancients presbyters were the same
            > as bishops: but gradually all the responsibility was deferred to a single
            > person, that the thickets of heresies might be rooted out. Therefore, as
            > presbyters know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him
            > who
            > shall have been set over them, so let bishops also be aware that they are
            > superior to presbyters more owing to custom than to any actual ordinance
            of
            > the Lord.
            >
            > *Commentary on Titus* (1:5)
            >
            > It seems clear that Jerome is supporting the second view of the tri-fold
            > ministry articulated above. Specifically, he is denying that there is
            > anything more to the difference between presbyter and bishop than a
            > decision
            > by the church to have some people in the second tier of ministry in
            > submission to other people in the second tier of ministry. Other aspects
            of
            > Jerome's view on the ministry include the following in Lightfoot's
            excursus
            > on "The synonymns 'bishop' and 'presbyter'":
            >
            > But in the fourth century, when the fathers of the Church began to examine
            > the apostolic records with a more critical eye, they at once detected the
            > fact [that bishop and presbyter are the same office]. No one states it
            more
            > clearly than Jerome. 'Among the ancients,' he says, 'bishops
            and presbyters
            > are the same, for the one is a term of dignity, the other of age.'
            > [*Epist.*lxix (I.p.414sq., ed. Vallarsi).] 'The Apostle plainly
            > shows,' he writes
            > in another place, 'that presbyters are the same as bishops� It is
            proved
            > most clearly that bishops and presbyters are the same.' [*Epist.*
            cxlvi (I.
            > p.1081) Again in a third passage he says 'If any one thinks the
            opinion
            > that the bishops and presbyters are the same, to be not the view of the
            > Scriptures but my own, let him study the words of the Apostle to the
            > Phillipians,' and in support of his view he alleges the scriptural
            proofs
            > at
            > great length [*Ad Tit.* i.5 (VII. p. 695).]
            >
            > *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians,* p. 98-99
            >
            > Lightfoot's conclusion is very natural to draw: Jerome held to a view
            of
            > Church government according to which presbyter and bishop are two levels
            of
            > function within the same office, distinguished by the Church as a way of
            > keeping order in response to circumstances. It would also be very
            intuitive
            > to expect that, first, Jerome would say that both levels have the same
            > powers; second, that the trifold ministry is not a necessity produced by
            > Apostolic institution; and third to cite examples of presbyterian
            > ordination
            > throughout Church history (for it would be counterintuitive to make a
            claim
            > about Church order that has no precedent in Church history).
            >
            > The problem is that Jerome explicitly denies the first and second points
            > above, and implicitly denies the third point.
            >
            > Speaking of the views of the ministry held by the so-called Ambrosiaster,
            > and a commentator who was once thought to be St. Augustine, and St.
            Jerome,
            > Gore points out:
            >
            > �neither of these writers disputes the present authority of the
            threefold
            > ministry or the limitation to bishops of the power of ordination. They do
            > not maintain that, even in the extremest circumstances, a presbyter�a
            > presbyter of the existing Church�could validly ordain� 'What does
            a bishop
            > do,' says St. Jerome, even when he is minimizing the episcopate,
            'that a
            > presbyter does not do, except ordination?' The bishop and the
            presbyter are
            > to one another as the high priest and priest of the old covenant.
            >
            > Once more, they do not regard the present three-fold arrangement of the
            > ministry as an innovation of the post-apostolic Church, so that it should
            > lack the authority of the Apostles. The present constitution represents
            > their ordering�
            >
            > Jerome� seems to hold that, while Christ instituted only one priestly
            > office, it was the exigencies of church life which led to its being
            > sub-divided under apostolic sanction into the presbyterate and the
            > episcopate. At any rate, whether the distinction was 'ordained by
            Christ
            > Himself' or of apostolic authority, these writers were agreed that (as
            the
            > names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' are used in the New
            Testament of the same
            > officers) the presbyters originally were also bishops, and it was because
            > of
            > the dangers of rivalry and division which threatened this arrangement from
            > the first that it was determined that in future only one power should have
            > the authority and name of the episcopate, the rest receiving only the
            > commission of presbyters. How much truth there is in this view is not now
            > in
            > question. They thought also that this original identity of the
            presbyterate
            > and episcopate had left its mark on the subsequent constitution of the
            > Church in such sense that presbyters and bishops still share a common
            > priesthood, and that (waiving the question of confirmation) there is
            > nothing
            > which is reserved to a bishop except the function of ordination. Jerome
            > used
            > this view with powerful effect to exalt the priesthood of the presbyter,
            as
            > against the arrogance of Roman deacons on the one hand, and on the other
            > against the overweening self-assertion of bishops. It was a bad custom, he
            > thought, which prevailed in some churches, that presbyters should not be
            > allowed to preach in the presence of bishops. The bishops' exalted
            dignity
            > is a thorn in Jerome's side; 'as if they were placed in some lofty
            > watch-tower, they scarcely deign to look at us mortals or to speak to
            their
            > fellow-servants.' [*in Gal.* iv.13] A priest should indeed by subject
            to
            > his
            > bishop (pontifiex) as to his spiritual father, but 'bishops should
            know
            > that
            > they are priests, not lords, and they must give their clergy the honor of
            > clergy, if they wish their clergy to pay them the honor of bishops.'
            > [*Ep.*lii. 7.]
            >
            > Now when we have clearly considered this view, we shall see surely that it
            > is not what it is sometimes represented as being. It is not a
            > 'presbyterian'
            > view. It does indeed carry with it the conception of the great Church
            order
            > being the priesthood; it emphasizes the distinction of presbyter and
            bishop
            > is nothing compared to the distinction of deacon and priest. Moreover, it
            > involves a certain tentativeness in the process by which the Apostles are
            > held to have established the church ministry; it admits a survival of an
            > older constitution into the later life of the Church. But it does not
            carry
            > wit it the idea that the presbyter, pure and simple, the presbyter of the
            > settled church constitution, has the power under any circumstances to
            > assume
            > episcopal functions. It teaches something quite different, viz. that the
            > earliest presbyters were ordained with episcopal functions�were, in
            fact,
            > bishops as well as presbyters�till the subsequent ordination of
            presbyters
            > without Episcopal functions put an end to the old arrangement and brought
            > about�not episcopacy�but what we have called monepiscopacy.
            >
            > p.157-161
            >
            > In the appended note F "The Theory of the Ministry Held by
            Ambrosiaster,
            > Jerome, etc." Gore gives additional citations:
            >
            > (b) His recognition of the apostolic authority of the [monarchical]
            > episcopate. [trans:'�the Church, consisting of many grades, ends in
            > deacons,
            > presbyters, and bishops.'] (*adv. Lucifer.* 22) ; [trans: 'For
            what
            > function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not also
            > belong to a presbyter?� All (bishops) alike are successors of the
            > Apostles']
            > (*Ep.* cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*). The present monoepiscopal constitution is
            > attributed to (apostolic) decree (*in Tit.* i. 5): [trans: "All
            within this
            > sphere is of Apostolic decree."]* The apostles are represented as
            ordaining
            > bishops and priests: [trans: "those who have been made apostles, have
            > ordained the singular offices of the presbyterate and the
            episcopate."]*
            > (*in
            > Matt. *xxv. 26).
            >
            > (c) His theory of the original identity of bishops and presbyters. This he
            > (
            > *Ep. *cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*) proves from the language of Scripture, and
            > continues: [trans.: 'When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to
            preside
            > over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
            > individual
            > from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself.'] Then
            follows
            > the passage about Alexandria,** and the conclusion just quoted, [trans:
            > "'For what function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop
            that does
            > not
            > also belong to a presbyter?"] So to the same effect *in Tit.* i. 5:
            > "'Likewise, any presbyter is a bishop."* At first [trans:
            "the presbyterate
            > in synod governed the Church."]* then factions arose, 'I am of
            Paul,' etc.
            > On this account [trans: "'all within this sphere is of Apostolic
            decree so
            > that one elected presbyter is placed in charge over the rest of the
            > presbyterate."]* He would therefore have the bishops in his own day
            > recognize that [trans: "they are superior to presbyters more owing to
            > custom
            > than to any actual ordinance of the Lord."] Of course this is strong
            > language. St. Jerome does not measure words when his temper is up, as it
            is
            > with the bishops. But even so I do not think it can be fairly taken to
            mean
            > that Jerome ever held a presbyter of his own day to be the same as a
            > bishop,
            > even in an extreme case. The conclusion he draws in the text is only that
            > bishops should govern the Church 'in commune,' i.e. with the
            co-operation
            > of
            > the presbyters, 'in imitation of Moses, who, when he had it in his
            power to
            > rule the people alone, chose seventy elders to judge the people with
            him.'
            > Still earlier he had said, in the *adv. Lucifer.* 9: [trans.: 'the
            > well-being of a Church depends upon the dignity of its chief-priest, and
            > unless some extraordinary and unique functions be assigned to him, we
            shall
            > have as many schisms in the Churches as there are priests.'] The
            > distinctive
            > powers of the bishop had their origin, according to Jerome, in moral
            > necessities, but those necessities were paramount, and the result of the
            > change involved in the limitation of the episcopate was one that could not
            > be reversed.
            >
            > p. 337-338
            >
            > (Translations above are borrowed from Schaff and Wace's Vol 6 *Nicene
            and
            > Post-Nicene Fathers* unless otherwise noted in the asterisks.)
            >
            > Though Gore does not quote it to my knowledge, there is a translated
            > statement by Jerome in the Schaff and Wade series which pertains to the
            > monarchical episcopate as an Apostolic institution. Jerome is trying to
            > criticize the beliefs of a person who is proposing that deacons are equal
            > to
            > presbyters. In his *letter* CXLVI *to Evangelu*s, Jerome states:
            >
            >
            > Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank.
            > In
            > writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination
            > of
            > the bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of
            > presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters
            also.
            > Again when a man is promoted it is from a lower place to a higher. Either
            > then a presbyter should be ordained a deacon, from the lesser office, that
            > is, to the more important, to prove that a presbyter is inferior to a
            > deacon; or if on the other hand it is the deacon that is ordained
            > presbyter,
            > this latter should recognize that, although he may be less highly paid
            than
            > a deacon, he is superior to him in virtue of his priesthood. In fact as if
            > to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by
            > them from the old testament, bishops, presbyters, and deacons occupy in
            the
            > church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons,
            > and the Levites in the temple.
            >
            > At first it might seem that Jerome is saying that presbyters and bishops
            > are
            > simply the same thing. And it is true that initially the bishops and
            > presbyters were identical according to Jerome. But as he stated earlier in
            > the letter, Jerome thinks that "subsequently one presbyter was chosen
            to
            > preside over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
            > individual from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to
            himself."
            > Why,
            > then, does Jerome keep emphasizing the equivalence of presbyters and
            > bishops
            > in the Apostolic age? The answer is obvious when we consider the context
            of
            > the letter. By exalting the presbyterate into identification with the
            > episcopate, he can undercut the assumption that deacons could be equal to
            > presbyters. The argument, then, is something like this:
            >
            > 1. Deacons can't be equal to bishops
            >
            > 2. Anything that could be equal to a bishop is greater than a deacon
            >
            > 3. Therefore if presbyters can be equal to bishops, then presbyters are
            > greater than deacons
            >
            > 4. Presbyters were once bishops (and thus they can be equal to bishops)
            >
            > Conclusion: therefore, presbyters are greater than deacons.
            >
            > Clearly Jerome thinks that in the present age, a bishop and a presbyter
            are
            > not identical. The question that then needs to be addressed is "when
            and by
            > whom did this change come about?" Apparently, Jerome identifies the
            source
            > of the change with the Apostles. For he thinks that the present, fixed
            > character of the tri-fold ministry (where bishops have a power that
            > presbyters don't�ordination, as he stated earlier in the letter) is
            "handed
            > down by the Apostles". The quote above also emphasizes the
            distinctness of
            > their ministries by comparing presbyter with Aaron's sons and bishop
            with
            > Aaron himself. The difference is one between priests and high priest
            > (something which hearkens back to *The Didache* and St. Hippolytus'
            *On the
            > Apostolic Tradition*). Although this isn't as great a difference as
            that
            > between Aaron's sons and the Levites, high priesthood is clearly
            different
            > from and inherently above preisthood simpliciter; and this isn't
            merely a
            > matter of function, but of office.
            >
            > We have addressed issues 1 and 2 that we would expect Jerome to agree
            with.
            > First, it has been shown that he thinks that the bishop alone can ordain;
            > he
            > denies this power to the presbyter. Subsequent argument about the
            > Episcopate in Alexandria will make this even clearer than already. Second,
            > it has been established that the three distinct offices are Apostolic
            > institutions. The explanation, therefore, for why Jerome says that bishops
            > are superior to presbyters "more owing to custom than to any actual
            > ordinance of the Lord" is that the common priesthood of the bishop
            and
            > presbyter is an ordinance of the Lord; Christ, of course, directly
            > instituted the priesthood. This is being contrasted with the way that
            > presbyter and bishop became distinct. It wasn't Christ speaking
            directly,
            > but an Apostolic decision, that divided the directly divinely-ordained
            > priesthood into two levels. This fits perfectly with Jerome's attempts
            to
            > emphasize the similarity between presbyter and bishop; the bishop is not
            > superior because Christ made his office superior directly, but because the
            > Apostles did, which is not as big of a deal.
            >
            > Next we must examine a portion of Jerome's *Letter to Evangelus* where
            he
            > tries to support the similarity between presbyter and bishop by means of,
            > first, an explanation of how the two offices became distinct, and then an
            > example from Church history of how closely-related the two offices are.
            > Jerome writes:
            >
            > When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside over the rest, this
            > was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual from rending the
            > church of Christ by drawing it to himself. For even at Alexandria from the
            > time of Mark the Evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and
            Dionysius
            > the presbyters always named as bishop one of their own number chosen by
            > themselves and set in a more exalted position, just as an army elects a
            > general, or as deacons appoint one of themselves whom they know to be
            > diligent and call him archdeacon. For what function, excepting ordination,
            > belongs to a bishop that does not also belong to a presbyter?
            >
            > As stated above, the fact that presbyter and bishop were subsequently
            > distinguished by means of an Apostolic decision and not directly by Christ
            > helps to emphasize how similar they are. The example Jerome gives also
            > shows presbyters having functions like those of bishops, further closing
            > the
            > gap between the two offices. At this point, many presbyterians have arued
            > that Jerome is giving an example of presbyterian ordination: he is saying
            > that Alexandrian presbyters ordained the bishop in Alexandria. If this is
            > what Jerome is saying, and he approves of this as valid ordination, then
            he
            > agrees with the second theory of the tri-fold ministry or else is a
            > presbyterian. And if this is an accurate report of Church practice, it
            > would be a counterexample to the claim that only occupants of the third
            > tier
            > of ministry (bishops and Apostles) can ordain.
            >
            > But is this what Jerome is saying? Here, I will simply quote Cirlot's
            > excellent and thorough treatment of this issue. Concerning Alexandrian
            > ordinations, Cirlot writes:
            >
            > St. Jerome compares what happened at Alexandria, according to his
            > information, to an army making their general, and to deacons choosing one
            > of
            >
            > === message truncated ===
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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          • Christopher Orr
            The wife is trying to get me to cut back to only one screed a week. We ll see. Glad you thought it useful. I just rehashed part of my piece on The Authority
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 27, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              The wife is trying to get me to cut back to only one screed a week. We'll
              see.

              Glad you thought it useful. I just rehashed part of my piece on 'The
              Authority of Scripture in the Orthodox Church, for Lutherans".

              I just get a little flummoxed by otherwise intellectually honest men and
              women who loudly defend their 'cafeteria patristics' when they are so often
              heard railing against 'cafeteria Christianity'.

              Christopher



              On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM, Rebecca Wilson <emmy88heaven@...>wrote:

              > Christopher,
              >
              > You should "screed" more often. Well put!
              >
              > Rebecca
              >
              > --- On Tue, 1/27/09, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:
              >
              > From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...>
              > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Regarding Jerome and the Tri-fold
              > Ministry
              > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
              > Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 10:28 AM
              >
              > Yes, I have heard this often. Jerome's at least seeming identification of
              > bishop and presbyter is often pointed to - by those with a patristic bent -
              > along with their synonymous use in the NT as 'proof' that the leader of
              > a
              > parish is the 'bishop', or the only truly mandated office of
              > 'authority' in
              > the Church. Deacons are also acknowledged, but simply as 'servers' or
              > 'helpers' to the 'bishop/presbyter', whatever he may be called.
              >
              > I always find it odd that people want to point back to some arbitrary point
              > in history as exemplifying the 'real' Church and her 'real'
              > teachings, etc.
              > These teachings and witnesses can't be divorced from their surroundings
              > without doing damage to their trustworthiness. That is, if you are going
              > to
              > cite Jerome as a source for this, you have to listen to Jerome on just
              > about
              > everything else he said, taught and did - including his monasticism. Same
              > goes for any of the Fathers. If you are going to cite the Cappadocians on
              > the Trinity and the divinity of the Holy Spirit, you can't simply ignore
              > their views on the invocation of the saints and the episcopacy.
              >
              > In reality, Protestants use the Fathers as window dressing to make their
              > teachings seem more authoritative than they are. Or, that has been my
              > experience of Protestant arguments that involve the Fathers. They don't
              > actually value their witness or opinion, they simply use it as one would
              > use
              > a quotation from Bartlett's in a speech.
              >
              > Now, Orthodox don't take everything that each Father said as
              > 'Gospel',
              > either, but the consensus of the Fathers and the broad witness through time
              > and across cultures of the Church is held to as being Providentially guided
              > - the Holy Spirit is still active and didn't just publish a book and leave
              > us to our own devices. It was difficult for me, as a Lutheran, to ignore
              > the fact that the Church knew her mind on all these topic over the course
              > of
              > centuries! While there may be some question in the surviving texts about
              > this or that office, doctrine, etc. the Church came to a resolution pretty
              > quickly and early. Unless one wants to fall into a sort of 'DaVinci
              > Code'
              > conspiracy theory whereby the entire Church and her bishops - including
              > those outside of the boundaries of the Roman Empire - simply sold out to
              > Constantine, it is hard to understand how the entire Church just accepted
              > all these things they were willing to die for just years before. This is
              > especially true when you look at the Oriental Orthodox that had no love for
              > the Empire but agree with the Orthodox on any number of doctrines and
              > practices that the Protestant hermeneutic assumes was the result of the
              > Church selling out to the Imperium.
              >
              > Screed for the day complete.
              >
              > Christopher
              >
              >
              >
              > On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 12:30 AM, BPeter Brandt-Sorheim <
              > donpedrogordo@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Have you encountered the view that there is a single ministry...the
              > > bishop, from whom all ministry is apportioned out as needed by the
              > church's
              > > circumstances?
              > >
              > > Christopher Orr <xcjorr@... <xcjorr%40gmail.com>> wrote:
              > Jerome on
              > > the Tri-fold
              > >
              > > Ministry
              > >
              > > *From The Well of Questions*
              > >
              > > In this post I will attempt to address texts in St. Jerome which are
              > > alleged
              > > to challenge the view of the tri-fold ministry's origin, structure,
              > and
              > > necessity held by Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican Cathlics. I will argue
              > that
              > > Jerome agrees with their view of the ministry.
              > >
              > > Charles Gore's *The Church in the Ministry* is an excellent piece of
              > > apologetic for the tri-fold ministry. Though his biblical arguments are
              > > helpful, they are not as great as those of Cirlot's *Apostolic
              > Succession:
              > > is it True?*. Where Gore really shines is his treatment of the patristic
              > > texts that are used against the view of the tri-fold ministry held by
              > > Orthodox, Roman, and some Anglican Catholics. On our view, the tri-fold
              > > ministry of bishop, presbyter, and deacon is three distinct offices.
              > These
              > > offices are Apostolic institutions, and intended to be permanently
              > > distinct.
              > > Only bishops can actually confer the gift of ministry through the
              > laying-on
              > > of hands in ordination. Call this the first view of the tri-fold
              > ministry.
              > >
              > > There is a second view of the tri-fold ministry that claims to have
              > > patristic precedent and Apostolic institution. According to this view,
              > > there are only two essentially distinct offices passed on through the
              > > succession of the laying-on of hands. Deacons are the lower tier, and
              > > bishop and presbyter are both names for the second tier. The New
              > Testament
              > > teaches the identity of presbyters and bishops, and there is no
              > > transferable
              > > tri-fold ministry in Scripture that has Apostolic sanction. Members of
              > the
              > > second tier of ministry can ordain. However, the Church can and should
              > have
              > > a tri-fold ministry. It is advantageous to Church order to do this, even
              > if
              > > it is not necessary for the existence of the Church. There can be a
              > > distinction between two levels of the second tier of ministry, and we can
              > > use the title bishop for the top level, and presbyter for the bottom, so
              > > long as we understand that we aren't endorsing an essential,
              > > Apostolicly-instituted distinction between the two.
              > >
              > > In support of this second view is usually offered the equivalence of
              > > presbyter and bishop in the New Testament, and the fact that there are
              > > strands of patristic tradition that support the equation of bishops and
              > > presbyters, including the ability of presbyters to ordain. My purpose
              > here
              > > is not to dispute the equation of bishop and presbyter in Scripture (I
              > deny
              > > it, but I don't have time to explain why or in what sense). I will
              > consider
              > > one standard patristic argument for this claim, namely various texts in
              > St.
              > > Jerome that imply that bishops and presbyters are actually the same
              > office,
              > > and that the distinction between them is one that is just necessary for
              > > Church order. These texts are taken by proponents of the second view to
              > > imply that according to Jerome, the distinction between the bishops and
              > > presbyters is not a binding, unrevisable, authoritative institution about
              > > what is necessary for the Church to exist.
              > >
              > > Joseph Lightfoot's Commentary *Saint Paul's Epistle to the
              > Philippians* and
              > > *Essay on the Christian Ministry* make use of several of Jerome's
              > citations
              > > to support the second view of the tri-fold ministry stated above. One
              > > example of a text where Jerome seems to imply that presbyters and bishops
              > > are the same in all but name is the following:
              > >
              > > This has been said to show that with the ancients presbyters were the
              > same
              > > as bishops: but gradually all the responsibility was deferred to a single
              > > person, that the thickets of heresies might be rooted out. Therefore, as
              > > presbyters know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him
              > > who
              > > shall have been set over them, so let bishops also be aware that they are
              > > superior to presbyters more owing to custom than to any actual ordinance
              > of
              > > the Lord.
              > >
              > > *Commentary on Titus* (1:5)
              > >
              > > It seems clear that Jerome is supporting the second view of the tri-fold
              > > ministry articulated above. Specifically, he is denying that there is
              > > anything more to the difference between presbyter and bishop than a
              > > decision
              > > by the church to have some people in the second tier of ministry in
              > > submission to other people in the second tier of ministry. Other aspects
              > of
              > > Jerome's view on the ministry include the following in Lightfoot's
              > excursus
              > > on "The synonymns 'bishop' and 'presbyter'":
              > >
              > > But in the fourth century, when the fathers of the Church began to
              > examine
              > > the apostolic records with a more critical eye, they at once detected the
              > > fact [that bishop and presbyter are the same office]. No one states it
              > more
              > > clearly than Jerome. 'Among the ancients,' he says, 'bishops
              > and presbyters
              > > are the same, for the one is a term of dignity, the other of age.'
              > > [*Epist.*lxix (I.p.414sq., ed. Vallarsi).] 'The Apostle plainly
              > > shows,' he writes
              > > in another place, 'that presbyters are the same as bishops� It is
              > proved
              > > most clearly that bishops and presbyters are the same.' [*Epist.*
              > cxlvi (I.
              > > p.1081) Again in a third passage he says 'If any one thinks the
              > opinion
              > > that the bishops and presbyters are the same, to be not the view of the
              > > Scriptures but my own, let him study the words of the Apostle to the
              > > Phillipians,' and in support of his view he alleges the scriptural
              > proofs
              > > at
              > > great length [*Ad Tit.* i.5 (VII. p. 695).]
              > >
              > > *Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians,* p. 98-99
              > >
              > > Lightfoot's conclusion is very natural to draw: Jerome held to a view
              > of
              > > Church government according to which presbyter and bishop are two levels
              > of
              > > function within the same office, distinguished by the Church as a way of
              > > keeping order in response to circumstances. It would also be very
              > intuitive
              > > to expect that, first, Jerome would say that both levels have the same
              > > powers; second, that the trifold ministry is not a necessity produced by
              > > Apostolic institution; and third to cite examples of presbyterian
              > > ordination
              > > throughout Church history (for it would be counterintuitive to make a
              > claim
              > > about Church order that has no precedent in Church history).
              > >
              > > The problem is that Jerome explicitly denies the first and second points
              > > above, and implicitly denies the third point.
              > >
              > > Speaking of the views of the ministry held by the so-called Ambrosiaster,
              > > and a commentator who was once thought to be St. Augustine, and St.
              > Jerome,
              > > Gore points out:
              > >
              > > �neither of these writers disputes the present authority of the
              > threefold
              > > ministry or the limitation to bishops of the power of ordination. They do
              > > not maintain that, even in the extremest circumstances, a presbyter�a
              > > presbyter of the existing Church�could validly ordain� 'What does
              > a bishop
              > > do,' says St. Jerome, even when he is minimizing the episcopate,
              > 'that a
              > > presbyter does not do, except ordination?' The bishop and the
              > presbyter are
              > > to one another as the high priest and priest of the old covenant.
              > >
              > > Once more, they do not regard the present three-fold arrangement of the
              > > ministry as an innovation of the post-apostolic Church, so that it should
              > > lack the authority of the Apostles. The present constitution represents
              > > their ordering�
              > >
              > > Jerome� seems to hold that, while Christ instituted only one priestly
              > > office, it was the exigencies of church life which led to its being
              > > sub-divided under apostolic sanction into the presbyterate and the
              > > episcopate. At any rate, whether the distinction was 'ordained by
              > Christ
              > > Himself' or of apostolic authority, these writers were agreed that (as
              > the
              > > names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' are used in the New
              > Testament of the same
              > > officers) the presbyters originally were also bishops, and it was because
              > > of
              > > the dangers of rivalry and division which threatened this arrangement
              > from
              > > the first that it was determined that in future only one power should
              > have
              > > the authority and name of the episcopate, the rest receiving only the
              > > commission of presbyters. How much truth there is in this view is not now
              > > in
              > > question. They thought also that this original identity of the
              > presbyterate
              > > and episcopate had left its mark on the subsequent constitution of the
              > > Church in such sense that presbyters and bishops still share a common
              > > priesthood, and that (waiving the question of confirmation) there is
              > > nothing
              > > which is reserved to a bishop except the function of ordination. Jerome
              > > used
              > > this view with powerful effect to exalt the priesthood of the presbyter,
              > as
              > > against the arrogance of Roman deacons on the one hand, and on the other
              > > against the overweening self-assertion of bishops. It was a bad custom,
              > he
              > > thought, which prevailed in some churches, that presbyters should not be
              > > allowed to preach in the presence of bishops. The bishops' exalted
              > dignity
              > > is a thorn in Jerome's side; 'as if they were placed in some lofty
              > > watch-tower, they scarcely deign to look at us mortals or to speak to
              > their
              > > fellow-servants.' [*in Gal.* iv.13] A priest should indeed by subject
              > to
              > > his
              > > bishop (pontifiex) as to his spiritual father, but 'bishops should
              > know
              > > that
              > > they are priests, not lords, and they must give their clergy the honor of
              > > clergy, if they wish their clergy to pay them the honor of bishops.'
              > > [*Ep.*lii. 7.]
              > >
              > > Now when we have clearly considered this view, we shall see surely that
              > it
              > > is not what it is sometimes represented as being. It is not a
              > > 'presbyterian'
              > > view. It does indeed carry with it the conception of the great Church
              > order
              > > being the priesthood; it emphasizes the distinction of presbyter and
              > bishop
              > > is nothing compared to the distinction of deacon and priest. Moreover, it
              > > involves a certain tentativeness in the process by which the Apostles are
              > > held to have established the church ministry; it admits a survival of an
              > > older constitution into the later life of the Church. But it does not
              > carry
              > > wit it the idea that the presbyter, pure and simple, the presbyter of the
              > > settled church constitution, has the power under any circumstances to
              > > assume
              > > episcopal functions. It teaches something quite different, viz. that the
              > > earliest presbyters were ordained with episcopal functions�were, in
              > fact,
              > > bishops as well as presbyters�till the subsequent ordination of
              > presbyters
              > > without Episcopal functions put an end to the old arrangement and brought
              > > about�not episcopacy�but what we have called monepiscopacy.
              > >
              > > p.157-161
              > >
              > > In the appended note F "The Theory of the Ministry Held by
              > Ambrosiaster,
              > > Jerome, etc." Gore gives additional citations:
              > >
              > > (b) His recognition of the apostolic authority of the [monarchical]
              > > episcopate. [trans:'�the Church, consisting of many grades, ends in
              > > deacons,
              > > presbyters, and bishops.'] (*adv. Lucifer.* 22) ; [trans: 'For
              > what
              > > function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop that does not also
              > > belong to a presbyter?� All (bishops) alike are successors of the
              > > Apostles']
              > > (*Ep.* cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*). The present monoepiscopal constitution is
              > > attributed to (apostolic) decree (*in Tit.* i. 5): [trans: "All
              > within this
              > > sphere is of Apostolic decree."]* The apostles are represented as
              > ordaining
              > > bishops and priests: [trans: "those who have been made apostles, have
              > > ordained the singular offices of the presbyterate and the
              > episcopate."]*
              > > (*in
              > > Matt. *xxv. 26).
              > >
              > > (c) His theory of the original identity of bishops and presbyters. This
              > he
              > > (
              > > *Ep. *cxlvi.* ad Evangelum*) proves from the language of Scripture, and
              > > continues: [trans.: 'When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to
              > preside
              > > over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
              > > individual
              > > from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to himself.'] Then
              > follows
              > > the passage about Alexandria,** and the conclusion just quoted, [trans:
              > > "'For what function, excepting ordination, belongs to a bishop
              > that does
              > > not
              > > also belong to a presbyter?"] So to the same effect *in Tit.* i. 5:
              > > "'Likewise, any presbyter is a bishop."* At first [trans:
              > "the presbyterate
              > > in synod governed the Church."]* then factions arose, 'I am of
              > Paul,' etc.
              > > On this account [trans: "'all within this sphere is of Apostolic
              > decree so
              > > that one elected presbyter is placed in charge over the rest of the
              > > presbyterate."]* He would therefore have the bishops in his own day
              > > recognize that [trans: "they are superior to presbyters more owing to
              > > custom
              > > than to any actual ordinance of the Lord."] Of course this is strong
              > > language. St. Jerome does not measure words when his temper is up, as it
              > is
              > > with the bishops. But even so I do not think it can be fairly taken to
              > mean
              > > that Jerome ever held a presbyter of his own day to be the same as a
              > > bishop,
              > > even in an extreme case. The conclusion he draws in the text is only that
              > > bishops should govern the Church 'in commune,' i.e. with the
              > co-operation
              > > of
              > > the presbyters, 'in imitation of Moses, who, when he had it in his
              > power to
              > > rule the people alone, chose seventy elders to judge the people with
              > him.'
              > > Still earlier he had said, in the *adv. Lucifer.* 9: [trans.: 'the
              > > well-being of a Church depends upon the dignity of its chief-priest, and
              > > unless some extraordinary and unique functions be assigned to him, we
              > shall
              > > have as many schisms in the Churches as there are priests.'] The
              > > distinctive
              > > powers of the bishop had their origin, according to Jerome, in moral
              > > necessities, but those necessities were paramount, and the result of the
              > > change involved in the limitation of the episcopate was one that could
              > not
              > > be reversed.
              > >
              > > p. 337-338
              > >
              > > (Translations above are borrowed from Schaff and Wace's Vol 6 *Nicene
              > and
              > > Post-Nicene Fathers* unless otherwise noted in the asterisks.)
              > >
              > > Though Gore does not quote it to my knowledge, there is a translated
              > > statement by Jerome in the Schaff and Wade series which pertains to the
              > > monarchical episcopate as an Apostolic institution. Jerome is trying to
              > > criticize the beliefs of a person who is proposing that deacons are equal
              > > to
              > > presbyters. In his *letter* CXLVI *to Evangelu*s, Jerome states:
              > >
              > >
              > > Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank.
              > > In
              > > writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination
              > > of
              > > the bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of
              > > presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters
              > also.
              > > Again when a man is promoted it is from a lower place to a higher. Either
              > > then a presbyter should be ordained a deacon, from the lesser office,
              > that
              > > is, to the more important, to prove that a presbyter is inferior to a
              > > deacon; or if on the other hand it is the deacon that is ordained
              > > presbyter,
              > > this latter should recognize that, although he may be less highly paid
              > than
              > > a deacon, he is superior to him in virtue of his priesthood. In fact as
              > if
              > > to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by
              > > them from the old testament, bishops, presbyters, and deacons occupy in
              > the
              > > church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his
              > sons,
              > > and the Levites in the temple.
              > >
              > > At first it might seem that Jerome is saying that presbyters and bishops
              > > are
              > > simply the same thing. And it is true that initially the bishops and
              > > presbyters were identical according to Jerome. But as he stated earlier
              > in
              > > the letter, Jerome thinks that "subsequently one presbyter was chosen
              > to
              > > preside over the rest, this was done to remedy schism and to prevent each
              > > individual from rending the church of Christ by drawing it to
              > himself."
              > > Why,
              > > then, does Jerome keep emphasizing the equivalence of presbyters and
              > > bishops
              > > in the Apostolic age? The answer is obvious when we consider the context
              > of
              > > the letter. By exalting the presbyterate into identification with the
              > > episcopate, he can undercut the assumption that deacons could be equal to
              > > presbyters. The argument, then, is something like this:
              > >
              > > 1. Deacons can't be equal to bishops
              > >
              > > 2. Anything that could be equal to a bishop is greater than a deacon
              > >
              > > 3. Therefore if presbyters can be equal to bishops, then presbyters are
              > > greater than deacons
              > >
              > > 4. Presbyters were once bishops (and thus they can be equal to bishops)
              > >
              > > Conclusion: therefore, presbyters are greater than deacons.
              > >
              > > Clearly Jerome thinks that in the present age, a bishop and a presbyter
              > are
              > > not identical. The question that then needs to be addressed is "when
              > and by
              > > whom did this change come about?" Apparently, Jerome identifies the
              > source
              > > of the change with the Apostles. For he thinks that the present, fixed
              > > character of the tri-fold ministry (where bishops have a power that
              > > presbyters don't�ordination, as he stated earlier in the letter) is
              > "handed
              > > down by the Apostles". The quote above also emphasizes the
              > distinctness of
              > > their ministries by comparing presbyter with Aaron's sons and bishop
              > with
              > > Aaron himself. The difference is one between priests and high priest
              > > (something which hearkens back to *The Didache* and St. Hippolytus'
              > *On the
              > > Apostolic Tradition*). Although this isn't as great a difference as
              > that
              > > between Aaron's sons and the Levites, high priesthood is clearly
              > different
              > > from and inherently above preisthood simpliciter; and this isn't
              > merely a
              > > matter of function, but of office.
              > >
              > > We have addressed issues 1 and 2 that we would expect Jerome to agree
              > with.
              > > First, it has been shown that he thinks that the bishop alone can ordain;
              > > he
              > > denies this power to the presbyter. Subsequent argument about the
              > > Episcopate in Alexandria will make this even clearer than already.
              > Second,
              > > it has been established that the three distinct offices are Apostolic
              > > institutions. The explanation, therefore, for why Jerome says that
              > bishops
              > > are superior to presbyters "more owing to custom than to any actual
              > > ordinance of the Lord" is that the common priesthood of the bishop
              > and
              > > presbyter is an ordinance of the Lord; Christ, of course, directly
              > > instituted the priesthood. This is being contrasted with the way that
              > > presbyter and bishop became distinct. It wasn't Christ speaking
              > directly,
              > > but an Apostolic decision, that divided the directly divinely-ordained
              > > priesthood into two levels. This fits perfectly with Jerome's attempts
              > to
              > > emphasize the similarity between presbyter and bishop; the bishop is not
              > > superior because Christ made his office superior directly, but because
              > the
              > > Apostles did, which is not as big of a deal.
              > >
              > > Next we must examine a portion of Jerome's *Letter to Evangelus* where
              > he
              > > tries to support the similarity between presbyter and bishop by means of,
              > > first, an explanation of how the two offices became distinct, and then an
              > > example from Church history of how closely-related the two offices are.
              > > Jerome writes:
              > >
              > > When subsequently one presbyter was chosen to preside over the rest, this
              > > was done to remedy schism and to prevent each individual from rending the
              > > church of Christ by drawing it to himself. For even at Alexandria from
              > the
              > > time of Mark the Evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and
              > Dionysius
              > > the presbyters always named as bishop one of their own number chosen by
              > > themselves and set in a more exalted position, just as an army elects a
              > > general, or as deacons appoint one of themselves whom they know to be
              > > diligent and call him archdeacon. For what function, excepting
              > ordination,
              > > belongs to a bishop that does not also belong to a presbyter?
              > >
              > > As stated above, the fact that presbyter and bishop were subsequently
              > > distinguished by means of an Apostolic decision and not directly by
              > Christ
              > > helps to emphasize how similar they are. The example Jerome gives also
              > > shows presbyters having functions like those of bishops, further closing
              > > the
              > > gap between the two offices. At this point, many presbyterians have arued
              > > that Jerome is giving an example of presbyterian ordination: he is saying
              > > that Alexandrian presbyters ordained the bishop in Alexandria. If this is
              > > what Jerome is saying, and he approves of this as valid ordination, then
              > he
              > > agrees with the second theory of the tri-fold ministry or else is a
              > > presbyterian. And if this is an accurate report of Church practice, it
              > > would be a counterexample to the claim that only occupants of the third
              > > tier
              > > of ministry (bishops and Apostles) can ordain.
              > >
              > > But is this what Jerome is saying? Here, I will simply quote Cirlot's
              > > excellent and thorough treatment of this issue. Concerning Alexandrian
              > > ordinations, Cirlot writes:
              > >
              > > St. Jerome compares what happened at Alexandria, according to his
              > > information, to an army making their general, and to deacons choosing one
              > > of
              > >
              > > === message truncated ===
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
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