2004 Conference - The Early ChurchDeep in HistoryHistoryThe Early Church

Papal Authority and the Early Church – Fr. Ray Ryland

Fr. Ray Ryland | February 3, 2015 2 Comments

Fr. Ray Ryland demonstrates that God’s Revelation necessitates authoritative interpretation. He investigates, through Scripture and Early Church documents, the continuous acceptance of the authority of the pope.

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Study Questions:

-Why does Revelation necessitate authority of interpretation, according to Fr. Ryland? Do you agree?

-What historical and biblical response does Fr. Ryland give to the following arguments?

  • The authority given to Peter in Matthew 6:16-18 was a type of “generic” authority given to all the disciples of Christ. (Isaiah 22:22)
  • When Jesus made the statement in Matthew 6:16-18, he did not mean the Church as a whole, but rather the church in
    Jerusalem.
  • If Jesus had truly meant Peter was the head of the Church, He would have stated it, so as to save the Church from future disagreement.

-What evidence in the early Church supports that Christians recognized the authority of the Bishop of Rome? How much later did other forms of authority (councils, majority rule, etc.) arise?

-What does “papal authority” mean, according to Fr. Ryland’s description? What part of the history of papal authority that Fr. Ryland recounts surprised you? Why?

-What point does Fr. Ryland make about the early Church councils and the pope’s authority?