Project Canterbury

Dr. Streeter and the Primitive Church

By the Right Reverend Charles Gore, D.D.
Sometime Bishop of Oxford

London: A.R. Mowbray, 1930.
Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing Co., 1930.


[The Primitive Church, by Canon B. H. Streeter. New York and London: The Macmillan Co. In Bishop Gore's frequent references to passages in this book, the pagination of the American edition has been followed, but in references to other books, the references are to the original English editions.]

THIS is a book which has had a very wide circulation and a very good press. It appeals to the spirit, very prevalent today, which abhors "institutional" Christianity, as it is called--that is, the idea of an authoritative society with a settled creed and order, claiming acceptance in the name of Christ Himself. That this revolt is largely due to the Church's own faults and failures is lamentably true. It constitutes a great call to the Church universal to reform herself in this and that direction. But with that aspect of the matter I am not today concerned. Although it is true that revolts against established institutions are generally due to the crimes or weaknesses of those institutions, yet history teaches us that the revolts are almost sure to be unregulated and excessive. I think it has been so with the revolts against institutional religion. However, Dr: Streeter has, in this book, humored those who are in revolt against an authoritative Church and ministry because he is light-hearted, adventurous, and speculative. I am going to criticize his book seriously. But before I begin this task, I should like to make three remarks about the book, taking it as it stands.

I.

IN HIS Introduction we have a joke which has been widely quoted. He thinks that "the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, and the Independent can each discover the prototype of the system to which he himself adheres," at the end of the first century. Thus, "in the classic words of Alice in Wonderland, everyone has won and all shall have prizes." A good joke is never out of place. But this joke seems to indicate at starting that he does not intend to recognize what the contention of the Catholic Church has been or is. Its contention has been, and is, that Jesus Christ founded (or refounded) the Church, or so far organized it as to constitute therein an authoritative ministry in the persons of His Apostles, which was intended to be permanent, and which did in fact, propagate itself in various grades of ministry, so that the threefold ministry of Church history is in fact, by succession, the only representative of the original apostolate, and all who desire to adhere to "the Body of Christ" must adhere to this (episcopal) ministry. Human nature as it stands has an inherent tendency to schism. The protection against this [4/5] tendency was provided in the obligation to adhere to the one authorized ministry.

Whether this claim is legitimate is another question. But, admittedly, it stands in sole possession from the latter part of the second century down to the sixteenth century, and is still in possession of by far the greater part of Christendom. If, then, one is to enter upon a serious discussion about the ministry, the nature of this claim demands recognition in a more serious vein than is suggested by Dr. Streeter's jibe, that "he presumes that there will be but few of those unfortunates to whom it is no satisfaction to be right, unless they can thereby put others in the wrong." The "unfortunates" whom he describes as "presumably few" are the whole Catholic Church of history and the great majority of existing Christians; and the exclusive claim, which he describes so invidiously, is a claim which must be made by anyone who holds any matter of truth, morals, or order, to have about it a Divine authority. In fact, no worthy society can hold together on a basis of unlimited toleration or indifference; and you cannot hold anything whatever--for instance, the laws Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery--to have Divine authority without proclaiming those who reject it to be in the wrong.

II.

ACCEPTING, for the moment, Dr. Streeter's conclusions as they stand, I want to call attention to his recognition that in the Canon of the New Testament the claim of episcopacy has conspicuous witness. So he says of the Pastoral Epistles, which he thinks must have been written in Asia, "Mon-episcopacy antedates them." The author "takes the monarchical episcopate for granted." "Timothy and Titus are character sketches of the ideal bishop." The Epistles might be entitled, "Advices to those who are, or who aspire to become, bishops" (pp. 114-121). So (again in Asia) in the Johannine Epistles the monarchical episcopate appears as already established, Diotrephes is a bishop "in the full monarchical sense of the term"; and John the Elder (the presumed author of the Epistles) would be already rightly described as an "Archbishop" (pp. 91-92). And of the author of the first Epistle of Peter (taken to be probably Aristion), Dr. Streeter says, "Whether he enjoyed the title `Bishop' in any exclusive sense would matter little (p. 141). In actual fact he would occupy the position of a Bishop," able therefore "to speak to the presbyters of the district in a tone of paternal admonition bordering on rebuke" (p. 139). And the mon-episcopal type of ministry found its prototype from the beginning in the position of James at Jerusalem (p. 77). Now whether you do or do not think, as I think, that the traditional ascription of the documents [6/7] just mentioned to the Apostles Paul and John and Peter can be reasonably maintained, at any rate, even though, as Dr. Streeter thinks, they were in fact sub-Apostolic or not Apostolic, yet they were accepted by the Church of the second century as Apostolic, and as such were finally included in the Canon; and thus the development of the ministry, whatever its intermediate vicissitudes, appears as having resulted in the threefold ministry within the period covered by the Canon of the New Testament.

I do not, as I shall say, think that Dr. Streeter makes out any case for Presbyterianism within the Canon of the New Testament. And the witness to Congregationalism he finds in the Didache, which was excluded from the Canon. Thus I think it is not too much to say that, on Dr. Streeter's showing, judging from the New Testament documents, you find nothing but a very speedy development into Episcopalianism under an authority accepted as being that of St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. John; and to find sanction for any other type of ministry, you have to set up the Didache into a position of equivalence in authority to the writings within the Canon. Now I cannot claim critical infallibility for the Church. It made, I think, one mistake when it accepted II Peter as the work of the Apostle. But I think we must acknowledge, with Dr. Sanday, that the Church exhibited great sureness of judgments, or was rightly guided by the Spirit of Wisdom, when it selected the books it did select, and none others, as deserving the title of Apostolic, and stamped [7/8] them as having Apostolic authority. It is something, then, worthy of note that within the limit of the Canon of Apostolic writings you find only one goal of development already reached by the ministry, and that is the threefold ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.

III.

LET us by all means grant to Dr. Streeter that "the traditional picture of the Twelve Apostles sitting at Jerusalem, like a College of Cardinals, systematizing the doctrine, superintending the organization, of the Primitive Church," must be "eliminated from our minds," if indeed it ever held possession there. Speaking for myself, it never held possession of mine and therefore never needed to be dispossessed. When I was a boy at school I read in Lightfoot's Essay on the Christian Ministry an account of a theory of a second Apostolic Council held after the destruction of Jerusalem which formulated or established the episcopal regime. The theory was maintained by the German Presbyterian Rothe, and depended on some ambiguous phrases of early writers. But Dr. Lightfoot rejected it without hesitation, and it never was "traditional" in England. Indeed, in my lifetime I never came across anyone who held it. So that Dr. Streeter's ridicule (p. 42) of the theory is rather otiose.

The development of the ministry was apparently determined by circumstances as they arose, and certainly exhibited variety. But it [8/9] tended to a uniform pattern. I therefore do not intend to quarrel with Dr. Streeter's two statements (though I should alter his suggested dates): "It is not disputed that by A. D. zoo a system of Church organization, in its main structure uniform, had come into existence throughout the Christian world. But . . . the hypothesis that this uniformity of system displaced an earlier diversity is, I submit, one that has a valid claim to serious consideration" (pp. 56, 57). "In that age [the first centuries] some measure of standardization was a condition of survival. In the process the most important event was the delimitation of the Four Gospel Canon, the principal instrument was the monarchical episcopate. By the year A. D. 180 we find both of these accepted throughout the Catholic Church" (p. 68).

There was then a period in the life of the Church prior to final standardization which looks precarious. As Dr. Streeter makes evident, it affects equally Order, Theology, and the Canon. As regards Order the period was the shortest. Standardization had taken place by A. D. 180. As regards the Canon of the Apostolic books, the final determination did not take place till the fourth century. The same is true of the Creed. The very odd theology of Hermas or of Justin Martyr was let pass in the second century. The Church became more critical in the third century. It reached decisiveness in the fourth. In all three regions the process was similar. It might have been avoided, we may say, [9/10] if our Lord had chosen, before He departed, to give the Church written books, to formulate a Creed, to give direction about the form of the ministry. He did none of these things. He left the Church to find its own way under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He gave to it, or to its leaders the Apostles (as is described in the Gospels), authority, legislative and disciplinary, with a heavenly sanction attached; and we find them in the Acts and in St. Paul's Epistles acting in the full consciousness of this authority, which appears to be unquestioned. This is sufficient evidence that it was really given them; but they reach their decisions incidentally, as occasion arose--at first expecting the immediate return of Christ and making no provision for a long future.

We can find in the word and actions of Apostles the just grounds for the claim later made (1) on behalf of the Nicene Creed, (2) on behalf of the unique and final authority assigned to the original Apostolic teaching (which is the basis on which the Canon rests), and (3) on behalf of the episcopate; but the "standardization" did not take place till from one hundred to three hundred years after Pentecost. All the three standardizations are deliberate, and are intended to be final. All have equal authority. This is the point which was ably made and argued by Professor E. C. Moore, of Harvard University, in The New Testament in the Christian Church. Writing for the Protestant world in 1904 he says in effect--you can take your choice. You can accept the finality of Canon, Creed, or episcopate, or you [10/11] can reject it in favor of fluidity both of Faith and Order.

For himself he accepts fluidity all round. But you cannot reasonably accept one and reject another--you cannot accept the Canon of Scripture or Creed as having authority and reject the episcopate. I feel sure that is a true logic. I believe the formulated Creed does not do more than put into form under the pressure of adverse opinion the substance of Apostolic teaching. I see no sign of its being antiquated by any subsequent acquisition of knowledge or reflection.

Again, subject to the recognition of at least one critical mistake as to genuineness, I see no reason to doubt that the Canon contains all the literature that can, with any show of reason, be called Apostolic, and nothing that cannot. Once more I see no reason to doubt that the threefold ministry was arrived at under Apostolic direction and (freed from abuses) is as suitable for the future as for the past. These are conclusions of reasoning. I will not inquire whether Dr. Streeter would reject the finality equally of all three standardizations or no. But if I accepted all his interpretations of the history of Christianity from A. D. 30 to A. D. (say) 400, I should myself conclude (r) that there was development, reaching what was intended to be finality, in all three departments of standardization, (2) that the authority of the whole Church in the fullest sense lies behind each of the three, so that (3) to reject one and accept the others is unreasonable, and to reject them all is to leave a Christianity [11/12] without definite meaning, content, or structure. For myself it is on the same ground of a belief in the threefold authority of reason, of history, and of the Church as guided by the Spirit of Christ, that I accept the finality of Canon, of Creed, or of the episcopate all alike. By all means let criticism be free, but I feel a reasonable confidence that it will not be effective in claiming alteration of any of these three decisions. At any rate they stand or fall together.

IV.

SO FAR I have been provisionally accepting Dr. Streeter's statement of the facts; but now I must criticize it: first, in that he finds Presbyterianism--"The system of two Orders only," established in the Gentile Churches--under St. Paul's regime. (See pp. 8o If, and 225-227.) I quite accept Streeter's description of how, at the first, the "spiritual gifts," such as prophecy, speaking with tongues, miracles, etc., overshadowed the "regular" local ministry, and how, under the pressure of experience, the local ministry of presbyter-bishops and deacons rose into almost exclusive prominence in St. Paul's estimation, as we see it, for example, in Acts 20. Assuredly, however, the local ministries, as they appear in St. Paul's Epistles and the Acts, appear as being under authority (I am inclined to use a vulgarism, and say) "with a vengeance." However they were elected, and this was often probably by the nomination of local prophets, the Apostles, Paul and [12/13] Barnabas, appointed them. In view of the evidence of Acts 6 and the Pastoral Epistles, I think, with Harnack, that we cannot reasonably doubt that the appointment was by prayer with the laying-on of hands, and ranked as "Sacramental." [1] And when they were appointed during St. Paul's life, they were certainly controlled from above.

It is difficult to exaggerate St. Paul's conception of his authority as an Apostle, a Divine authority which he certainly regarded as not individual but as belonging to the Apostolate as such. [2] When one thinks of St. Paul's authoritative directions, not only as to the celebration of the Eucharist ("The rest will I set in order when I come"), but as to such details as women's head-dresses in the Christian assembly, and his limitation of prophetic and ecstatic utterances, and the sharp dogmas he occasionally utters, one sees how conspicuous in St. Paul's mind was the authority of the Apostolate, as such, over the local churches. There is here no model for independency or Presbyterianism.

To go a stage further, the Pastoral Epistles give us, as they stand, a picture of St. Paul's latest policy: he is represented (as Dr. Streeter recognizes) as appointing Apostolic-legates, who are, in effect, "bishops" (in the later mon-episcopal sense), though not attached to any particular see. I think myself that the Pastoral Epistles must have been written in fact under St. Paul's superintendence, though not in the main by his hand; but, waiving this question, certainly the sub-Apostolic Church accepted them as St. Paul's; and [13/14] I think the testimony of Clement's Epistle at the end of the century falls in with the conclusion that the Pastoral Epistles truly represent St. Paul's later policy. Clement insists, as Dr. Streeter recognizes, on the principle of the Apostolic Succession. But Streeter thinks that the succession is there represented as continued through the whole college of presbyter-bishops.

I shall return to this hypothesis, which I do not find unacceptable, but which I do not think to be true. As I read the language of Clement, he declares that after the Apostles had appointed the first presbyter-bishops in the churches, they made provision by an "additional injunction" for a continued succession of such presbyter-bishops, in view of the future death of the first ordained; in accordance with this later injunction, Clement says that certain "distinguished men had in fact appointed their successors. These "distinguished men" are, it seems to me, different from the "approved men" whom they had appointed.

I am inclined, then, to think that the evidence points on the whole, in the Western Church, to a brief period when in succession to the Apostles such men as Timothy and Titus exercised Apostolic authority in wide regions and ordained the local ministries of presbyter-bishops until a local superior was appointed in all churches, and the title of bishop (superintendent) was confined to this one person--a period sufficiently brief to have been forgotten by the end of the second century. But I do not the least object on principle to the more common view that in the West, if not at [14/15] Rome, yet at Corinth and Philippi, and no doubt elsewhere, though the principle of Apostolic Succession was held, yet the authority to appoint their successors belonged to the college of presbyter-bishops, all being substantially equal, and that they all together ordained their successors. That would be Presbyterianism of a sort--the episcopate being in commission amongst them all. But it would not violate the principle of succession--viz., that in every generation there have existed those who not only held the office of ministry from those who went before them, but also held the authority to ordain their successors. But in fact, I do not think the sort of "poly-episcopacy" is what Clement's language suggests. I think also that if it had ever existed, the transition to a state of "mon-episcopacy" must have left some traces in the tradition, and also must have generated conflict. I have dealt with all this matter at length elsewhere, and shall not repeat the detailed argument. [3]

But it must be observed that this supposed stage in the development of the ministry, when all the presbyters were also bishops with a recognized authority (all together) to ordain their successors, does not cover the action of sixteenth-century Presbyterianism, when the presbyters of the new churches, if they ordained successors, certainly did what for fourteen centuries it had been recognized that the presbyters had not the authority to do--that authority having been since the latter part of the second century confined to the "monarchical bishops."

[16] Certainly then, there is nothing that can be called Presbyterianism to be discovered in the Canon of the New Testament; and in what Dr. Salmon called the period when Church history (owing to lack of evidence) goes through a tunnel, illuminated by only a few shafts of light, if there did exist in the West Churches where there was no church officer over the local presbyterbishops, and they appointed and ordained their own successors, they had due authority to do so; they were in fact (in later parlance) all bishopsthere was poly-episcopacy, not mon-episcopacy; and what was temporarily lacking in those Churches was the presbyteral office pure and simple, such as we read of in the New Testament, and in later history, which had not these powers. [4]

I am leaving the West. You will find that Dr. Streeter's examination of the development of episcopacy at Rome leads to some rather surprising conclusions. His idea of the influence there of Ignatius of Antioch is perhaps more romantic than convincing. But I am going to touch on only one incidental point. He thinks, surely rightly, that the Epistle to the Hebrews was a religious classic at Rome at the end of the first century (p. 196 ff.). He concludes that they must have known the authorship of the Epistle well, and that the author was not St. Paul. So he accounts for the unwillingness of Rome (or the West) to receive the Epistle into the Canon. I see no evidence that Rome knew the name of the author; and if they had known it, I do not believe they would have concealed it. I think the unwillingness of Rome [16/17] and the West to accept Hebrews into the Canon was due to a twofold cause: partly that the authorship was unknown, partly (what was probably more influential) that it contained a text (6: 1-8) which was the stronghold of Tertullian and the later disciplinary rigorists who denied the power of the Church to absolve for apostacy and other grievous sins. With these disciplinary Puritans the Roman Church (and the West generally) was continuously in conflict, and it is hardly too much to say that when Hebrews was admitted into the Canon, it was on the understanding that it was not to be interpreted in the sense which it appears to intend, but in accordance with the general sense of the New Testament. [5]

For this conclusion we have the analogy of the unwillingness of the East to admit the Apocalypse into the Canon, because it apparently proclaimed a coming millennium before the Last Day, which the Orthodox Church had come to reject as a "Jewish dotage." They finally admitted the Apocalypse with the understanding that the literal interpretation was not the true one.

V.

WE NOW come to consider Dr. Streeter's interpretation of the Didache. Like all recent writers against the principle of the Apostolic Succession, he finds his strongest argument in this document. [6] I have made a study of this strange document in The Church and the Ministry, which I still think is worth reading. The document seems [17/18] to me plainly to lie outside the development of the Church which is represented in the New Testament. The doctrinal instruction is of the most inadequate kind. There is no trace of the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Atonement as presented by St. Paul and St. John. The Eucharist is represented in the most Judaic fashion. Every one who will read a translation of the document itself (as in Dr. Bigg and Dr. Maclean's edition, S. P. C. K.) will feel this. The local ministry is that of bishops and deacons, but the figures of chief importance are the wandering prophets or "apostles," who are spoken of as men to be viewed with suspicion, as very likely to be out for what they could get, but who, if they appear to be genuine, are to be treated as "high priests" of the community.

We most naturally conclude that we have here a document, of a Jewish Christian character, representing communities in some outlying district, probably of Syria, who had fallen out of the main-stream of Church development, as it went forward under St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. John, both in respect of doctrine and of organization. There must have been such communities. The Epistle to the Hebrews is written to a Jewish Christian community of this sort, seeking to lift it up into a more adequate conception of Christ, but with an obvious fear that it will in fact not advance but go backward. It seems to me evident that in the Didache we have an example of an out-of-the-way group of Churches possessing a Christianity of so inadequate a type that it counted [18/19] for nothing in the development of the Church, and very probably lapsed into Ebionism.

Dr. Streeter's estimate of the book seems to me wrong or improbable in many points.

(I) He pleads that if its theology is meager, it is the same as St. Luke's, who also does not recognize the atoning value of the death of Christ (Modern Churchman, July 30, p. 210). I think he has forgotten Acts 20: 28. This representation of St. Paul's speech is obviously given by St. Luke with affectionate enthusiasm. And in the last chapter of his Gospel (24: 26, 44-47), he makes it quite evident that our Lord identified Himself with the suffering servant of Isaiah S3, whose death is the atonement for the sins of the people. St. Luke was not a theologian, but that he differed from St. Paul or would have acquiesced in any idea of the Eucharist other than his, seems to me most improbable. [7]

(2) He thinks that (Prim. Ch., cap. v.) the writer of the Didache was probably trying to persuade those whom he was addressing to elect bishops and deacons for the first time. I wonder that anyone reading chapter fifteen can think this (see §2). They had these local officers, but held them in little esteem. The writer wishes them to be more careful to elect men of good character.

(3) He thinks that there are no signs that the local bishops or deacons were ordained; but the document is for the use of the local church exclusively, and their function was to choose fit men, not to ordain them; and if the ambulatory prophets were their "high priests," they would [19/20] probably have laid their hands in ordination upon the local officers and in Confirmation upon the ordinary members of the Church.

(4) Streeter thinks that this document represents the official action of the leading men of the Church of Antioch (about A. D. 95). Now Antioch had been very closely associated with St. Paul's apostolate, and this document entirely ignores St. Paul, not only his doctrine, but his apostolate. It knows only "the Twelve, and therefore it is unlikely it came from Antioch.

(5) The argument from the silence of Acts 13, that there were no presbyters (or bishops) and deacons at Antioch at the time seems to me very precarious. The passage is purely concerned with a special mission to the Gentiles' world, not at all with the internal life of the Church at Antioch.

(6) Dr. Streeter greatly exaggerates the estimate of the Didache in the Church of the second and third centuries. The ethical teaching of the Two Ways, with which the document begins (which probably was not more than a recasting of an earlier Jewish document), was indeed highly esteemed as a useful book for inquirers. But whatever attention was paid to its liturgical directions must have been of a very critical kind. Where they are reproduced, they are so altered as to be barely recognizable, as Dr. Streeter himself shows. They are certainly not treated as if they were in any sense inspired.

The first thing for any inquirer to do is to make himself acquainted, not with books about the [20/21] Didache, but with the Didache itself. If he does this, he will, I fancy, feel himself in contact with a group of Christian communities by no means of an attractive character, and very far below the New Testament level. The Christianity here presented seems to be half-way between Judaism and the Christianity of the New Testament. This inadequate Christianity had no influence, and died out, and the liturgical authority of prophets is suggested nowhere else.

VI.

IN CONCLUSION, let me say that the account given us in the New Testament of the first years of Christianity is certainly fragmentary. [8] There are great omissions. The two most noticeable, perhaps, are the absence of any account of the proceedings of the great majority of the Twelve, even of Peter after he "went to another place," and this vast omission is supplied very inadequately in tradition worthy of the name. The other is the vagueness of the position assigned to the Prophets. St. Paul tells us that the Church was "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets," and that "God set some in the Church, first apostles, secondly prophets." They were then highly important persons, but we hear very little about them, and what we do hear does not suggest that they were more important than the other Christians who were regarded as possessed of "miraculous gifts"--speaking with tongues, healing, etc. Especially in connection [21/22] with the ministry we should like to know whether they ranked with Apostles, as having authority to ordain and lay on hands, or to celebrate the Eucharist.

In the New Testament the only evidence of this is in Acts 13: 1-3; and this evidence is ambiguous; for some of those called "prophets and teachers" were, we know, more than that--they ranked as Apostles, and certainly St. Paul would have repudiated the idea that he needed, or could receive, any further ordination than he had already received from Christ Himself. But we cannot regard it as improbable that the Church of the first days, with the profound respect they entertained for miraculous "spiritual gifts," should have shrunk from the idea of ordaining those who had shown such preeminent evidence of possession by the Spirit; so that they, like the Apostles, may have fulfilled liturgical functions without any ordination "by men or through men." Plainly, in the Didache, these ambulatory prophets were regarded as (if not deceivers, then) inspired men, capable of celebrating the Eucharist and probably of ordaining the local clergy. But it is also apparent in the Didache that this reliance upon inspired prophets was breaking down, and elsewhere we hear nothing of it at all. The prophets we hear of, such as Clement or Ignatius or Polycarp, are (mostly) also bishops. If, like Hermas, they are not bishops, they have nothing to do with liturgical functions.

Certainly it seems to me that the evidence of the New Testament, taken by itself, will not [22/23] suffice to uphold, though it supports, the theory of Apostolic Succession; but, I say again, that there is nothing more evident in the New Testament than that Christ Himself formed, or re-formed, the Church, and gave it a power of decision controlled by the Holy Spirit. Within the New Testament you find only one development, and that into mon-episcopacy (as Dr. Streeter admits), and if this development is not supported by the Didache, that fact must be taken in connection with the whole character of that remarkable document, which lies outside the general development which we associate with the names of Paul and Peter and John and James. In our estimate of the value of the Apostolic Succession, the really decisive point is whether we believe that our Lord gave the Church authority to decide such a question of Order.


[1] Harnack, Constit. and Law of the Church, p. 26: "That the layingon of hands was regarded as conferring the charisma necessary for the Office is obvious from the passages in Timothy, and it is improbable that these express only a later idea. The laying-on of hands was thus certainly sacramental."

[2] See Reconstruction of Belief (pt. iii. ch. ii.), pp. 688 and 667 ff 3, p. 156.

[3] I have argued the matter at length in The Church and the Ministry (Longmans, Green & Co.), written more than forty years ago, but revised and brought up-to-date since the war by Professor Cuthbert Turner. As I am alluding to him, I must deplore the grievous loss which not only his friends, but the whole Church has sustained in his sudden death. I put the argument in a briefer form in Orders and Unity (Murray), and again in The Reconstruction of Belief, Part III: "The Holy Spirit and the Church" (chap. i., ii., iv.).

[4] It should be noted that Dr. Streeter, speaking of the supposed constitution of the Church at Alexandria, writes: "When the see was vacant, we are told, the twelve presbyters chose one of themselves, and the remaining eleven, laying their hands on his head, blessed him, and created him patriarch." This is the story as given by a tenth-century Arab patriarch. But Jerome, in the fourth century, implies that they elected their patriarch without any ordination by laying-on of hands. (He needed no fresh ordination. All Alexandrian presbyters were bishops in posse.) See The Church and the Ministry, pp. 177 ff and app. note B, p. 315.

[5] See Westcott, Hebrews, p. 165, on patristic interpretations of this passage.

[6] I criticized his argument in a lecture at King's College, which was briefly reported in The Church Times; and in the Modern Churchman, Dr. Streeter criticizes my criticism as so reported. I wish, instead of this brief report, he had read my estimate of the Didache in The Church and the Ministry, p. 247 and app. note L, recently revised by Prof. Cuthbert Turner. That he has not done so, I judge, because he speaks (Primitive Church, pp. 156, 157) of the suggestion that the wandering prophet, who "settled" in any local church, would have become ipso facto its bishop, as something which "has escaped the notice of scholars," whereas, in fact, I made it in The Church and the Ministry, p. 250, and sought to call special attention to it. Also, in the same book, I sought (in vain) to popularize the word "mon-episcopacy," which Dr. Streeter seems to claim as his own (p. 77).

[7] On the text of Luke 22: 19, 20, The Institution of the Eucharist, I believe Dr. Bate's solution is probably the true one, viz., that the original text omitted these verses altogether (see New Commentary, pt. p. 235, Macmillan), perhaps because for the circle of His Excellency Theophilus, it was thought undesirable to give the mysterious language of our Lord in instituting the Eucharist. But, though this particular suggestion had not been made when Can We Then Believe (appended note to) was written, this note will stand, with the exception of a few words.

[8] Considerations of space have led me not to enter upon the discussion of the Johannine question. Dr. Streeter says: "As everyone knows, there are grave difficulties in the supposition that the Apostle John lived in Asia Minor, and wrote the Gospel and Epistles that are called by his name." There are difficulties but they always, on consideration, seem to me to be less than the difficulties of any other theory. Dr. Streeter is conscious of some of them (The Prim. Ch., pp. 89-100).


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