548: POPES, WHAT POPES?

“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, the polemical Christian/atheist blog which reviews the latest theology books and tries to ‘bring it all together.’ It’s March 2016 as I write,  and since Zingcreed started about 3 years ago it has had over 19000 ‘hits’. Why? I find it interesting but why does anyone else? If you’re a regular reader, why not drop me a line and tell me what you like (and dislike) about it. I suspect it’s like the English traffic survey which revealed that 50% of British motorists who were stopped in the street and asked didn’t know where they were! In other words some Zingcreed visitors don’t realise it’s a religious blog at all.  Perhaps some think it’s a porn site? That’s OK, you probably need us more than most!

In solidarity,

Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.”

When I was 17 I won a free trip to the ‘Holy Land’ (Jordan and Israel) and in my pre-trip reading I learned that Jesus sent his disciples to all points of the compass. St Mark for instance went to Egypt where he is said to have founded the Coptic church, who were very evident in Jerusalem when I was there; St Thomas went to India and founded the Mar Thoma church, now known as the CSI (Church of South India), still going strong when I was last  in Kerala. You don’t hear much about these groups in the West, so, as Don Cupitt maintains:

“People are easily persuaded that the early church was ruled from Rome by a line of successors of St Peter. We forget that according to the New Testament itself several other churches, such as the one in Syria, are older than the Roman church, and we forget that from the Eastern Christian point of view the Western Patriarch, he of Rome, was only one of five or more great Patriarchs.
When the Roman  emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople, which the modest fellow named after himself, the Eastern Patriarch of Constantinople became a bigger figure than the Western Patriarch (pope) who only ruled the relatively poor and remote end of the Mediterranean world. The serious money was in ‘the gorgeous East.’

There were no popes in those days. When the Constantinian church found itself troubled with an acute doctrinal disagreement and urgently needed a major conference to reach and enforce unity, the leading bishops called upon the emperor, and not the bishop of Rome, to convoke it. Which he did.
Thus the first great council of the undivided church, that of Nicea, was called by the emperor and not by the pope, who did not turn up in person as the standard doctrine of the divinity of Christ was defined in the imperial interest.”

Source:
Cupitt, Don “Creative faith” Polebridge (2015)

Related Zingcreed Posts:
How the Emperor Constantine corrupted Christianity

 

 

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