Sunday, 20 March 2016

St. Clement I (4th Pope, 92-100 AD, 8/10)

St. Clement's writings are important for affirming the early authority of Paul's epistles, the canonical Gospels, and the integrated application of Hebrew scripture to Christian thought. But Clement's writings are also beautifully written on their own merit and affirm Orthodox belief.

"Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit."

-The First Epistle of Clement

Integrity: 4.5/5

Grace: 3.5/5 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Saint Anacletus (3rd Pope, 76-92 AD, rating 7.5/10)

Very little is known about Saint Anacletus. He ordained 25 priests, and might have organized sections of Rome for each one. This might suggest to us that he was okay with certain elements of a having a church bureaucracy.

Speculative history suggests he might have been from a lower social order, and died a martyr.

Integrity 4/5

Grace 3.5/5

Total: 7.5/10

Friday, 18 March 2016

Saint Linus (The 2nd Pope, 64-76 AD, rating 7/10)

Saint Linus

While very little is known about Saint Linus, he appears to have been beloved by the Christian community. My modern bias makes me uncomfortable with him taking Saint Paul out of his own context and enforcing the edict that women cover their heads in church (1 Corinthians 11). Linus also furthered the institutional hierarchy of the church by appointing several bishops during his time. Linus was committed to God as martyr in 76 AD.

Integrity 4/5

Grace 3/5

Total Score: 7/10


Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Popes! (The 1st Pope, Saint Peter, rating 4/10)

As a fun way of examining the history of the church, I have decided to go through all the Popes of the Roman church and give them a rating as well as a brief explanation for the score given. I will start with Saint Peter and work my way up through Christian history until all 266 Popes have been covered. The rating system will be out of 10 with two subcategories accounting for five points each. The two subcategories will be generally called Integrity and Grace. While there is certainly overlap between the two categories, Integrity will be based on the individual's willingness to hold to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible (in whatever compilation it may be at the time of that Pope's reign.) Grace will be based on that individual's desire to show compassion and forgiveness. I will try to pump out a new Pope rating ever 1-7 days.

Saint Peter (1st Pope)

Integrity 2/5

Grace 2/5

Total Score: 4/10

While Peter appears to have a brief moment of revelation in declaring that Jesus is "The Messiah, the Son of the Living God" in Matthew 16, he shows a rather hot and violent temper in cutting off a soldier's ear (Matthew 26). While I would be willing to chalk that up to simply having a love for Jesus, he than betrays Jesus by denying him three times only a few chapters later.

Now, one of the joys of the Gospel is that in being given grace we are often more willing to show grace. That doesn't seem to happen with Peter. Whether they deserve it or not Peter has no sense of grace for Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, and is on the wrong side of the Gospel when he chooses to favour legalism over grace in his debate with Paul over the role of Circumcision (Acts 15).

One shouldn't mistake my critique of Peter for believing that Jesus was wrong to choose him however. I think Jesus chose Peter to be a leader of his church because the central point of Christianity is that we are fallen and need God's grace.