Charismatic v institutional - what happened next?

OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
As far as I understand it, in the immediate post-NT period 'charismatic-style' ministries (prophets, etc) existed alongside 'institutional'-style' patterns (bishops, presbyters(?), deacons etc). I get the impression that the relationships were sometimes uneasy, and I remember reading somewhere that Tertullian (for all his faults) managed to hold these two patterns together for a while. How did he do it?

The institutional pattern won the race early on, but when and where did the charismatic pattern become extinct? Did it veer off into one of the heretical groups, or what? I know the conspiracy theories(!), but I'd love to know more history, and maybe be pointed to some in-depth reading on the subject. Thank you!
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Comments

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Two thoughts.
    Firstly it was discovered early on that charismatic leaders tend to have a hold over followers that is often unhealthy. And there is something about power without responsibility that is dangerous.
    Secondly charismatic people have continued inside the "institution" but have generally been as unwelcome. Thinking of founders of religious orders, founders of splinter groups/sects/churches. Francis of Assisi and John Wesley come to mind, and Brother Roger of Taize.
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited February 20
    @Offeiriad Hello neighbour :)

    I've been thinking recently about this very subject for several reasons.

    For the history, places to start might be this Wikipedia article on Proto-Protestantism and this talk by Roger Forster on radical church history.

    Somewhere I have a much longer 10-cassette version of the latter, I'm not sure if Ichthus still produce it on any other media or not.

    Roger - and the Wikipedia article - make the point that when 'heretics' were burned, their books were burned with them, and all that's left is the institutional record, which is not necessarily very balanced. Roger argues that evidence of "radical church", including the charismata and believers' baptism, can be traced practically in an unbroken line back to NT times, and that one of the reasons this was suppressed in the Middle Ages was that such radical churches represented a threat not only to the institutional church but to the political order as well.

    Central to my understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit are Jesus' words that "the wind bloweth where it listeth". I think that's always represented a challenge to institutions, which have often sought either to contain or to marginalise that work.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited February 20
    Somewhere I came across the view that there are three models of authority:
    1. Charismatic - the leader has authority by sheer force of personality;
    2. Traditional - the leader is in charge because that's how it's always been (e.g. hereditary monarchy)
    3. Rational - succession to the leadership isn't automatic, but follows some defined process (e.g. democracy, but also those Communist states where succession follows some specific Party machinations)

    Charismatic authority is inherently unstable, because once the leader dies or becomes incapacitated, if they have a succession plan then the model of authority becomes (2) or (3), and if they don't then the community they lead falls apart.

    IOW, by its very nature charismatic authority will always either dissipate or degenerate into a more institutional model.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Roger - and the Wikipedia article - make the point that when 'heretics' were burned, their books were burned with them, and all that's left is the institutional record, which is not necessarily very balanced.
    Just to be pedantic, they didn't burn heretics until well after the Patristic period. When they did start burning heretics, often those heretics had like Wycliffe successfully disseminated copies of their works before the authorities got around to condemning and burning them. So to be pedantic there are fewer heretics than you might think where both they and every copy of their books were burnt.

    Less pedantically: for many heretics we can reconstruct the basic outline of their views from the arguments against them. And the early church didn't have a uniform orthodoxy: there are many fathers who held views that by later standards would turn out dubious.

    I think there should be more evidence for an unbroken tradition of believer's baptism than you are allowing.
  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    Hello all, especially my neighbour! Excuse my responses being a bit slow - the sun is shining! Thank you for these first reflections, which are deeply interesting. In no particular order....
    • Heresy is of course in the eye of the beholder, and those who condemn them rarely take time to give the heretic or his ideas a sympathetic hearing! cf Rowan Williams being doubtful whether Arius was an Arian. Origen - heretic, or genius?
    • I take the point about the risks of charismatic leadership - fire is risky but necessary. You can put it out, or you can put it in a grate and let everybody share the warmth!
    • I see the point also about how charismatic leadership will tend to default to another model after one generation. I've never thought what I was talking about might be proto-protestantism!
    • I didn't actually use the term 'leadership' but 'ministry'. In my mind I was thinking about the continuing of a leadership reflecting diversity of gifts and ministries a la St Paul. Maybe I'm peering into a transition in history where in terms of the local church there came to be 'some individual in charge'.
    • It's human - but is it necessary - for an institutional leader to feel threatened by charismatic ministries?
    • I think my special interest is around whether God still calls prophets. I believe He does, but as a Church Leader what does one make of them?
    • I've had moments when I have felt compelled to speak with a prophetic voice even as an institutional leader- and I've been thumped/marginalised/made to feel I'm 'not playing the game' by other institutional leaders as a result!

    So those are my first thoughts. Thank you again for responding - this is really interesting...
  • Thank you, @Ricardus. That’s interesting. I hadn’t seen that threefold classification before. The papacy is a type 3, I suppose, where the conclave = “party machinations”. But while he’s still alive, a pope needs to be charismatic, at least up to a point. He needs to inspire people to join (or stay in) the Church. When B16 announced his abdication in February 2013, I wondered at the time whether he was genuinely concerned that he wasn’t charismatic enough. He had the World Youth Day in Brazil coming up in July. Was he afraid it would be a flop? In the event, an estimated 3 million people crammed the full length of Rio’s long seafront to see and hear the newly elected Pope Francis, who definitely has what it takes to keep himself in the prime time news, even if only by giving interviews to aged journalists who don’t take notes, so that the Vatican press office has to issue a “clarification” later. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as somebody once said.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Roger argues that evidence of "radical church", including the charismata and believers' baptism, can be traced practically in an unbroken line back to NT times, and that one of the reasons this was suppressed in the Middle Ages was that such radical churches represented a threat not only to the institutional church but to the political order as well.

    I've listened to the same series and am less convinced by it for many of the reasons Dafyd mentions. There are certainly radical offshoots of the faith throughout Christianity (some of which were occasionally heretical) but they don't form the kind of continuity he describes even if there are some superficial similarities (which largely come down to the form of the church they were seeking to separate from).
    Central to my understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit are Jesus' words that "the wind bloweth where it listeth". I think that's always represented a challenge to institutions, which have often sought either to contain or to marginalise that work.

    I think that's true, but there's no 'Trail of Blood' out there. Similarly the Church is Christ's at the end of the day, so it would be strange if every move of the Spirit was contained or marginalised.
  • Offeiriad wrote: »
    I think my special interest is around whether God still calls prophets. I believe He does, but as a Church Leader what does one make of them?

    As someone who isn't a leader, what should I make of them? How do I distinguish between someone who has received a prophetic message and someone who's had an interesting idea? ISTM that if I have a set of criteria that is more objective than 'Does it feel right?', then I have already (to an extent) institutionalised prophecy as an act.
  • I know Roger reasonably well, and he cheerfully admits much of his teaching is idiosyncratic and often invites people to qualify what he says. Nevertheless, he makes a good counterpoint to those, even among evangelicals, who dismiss the Anabaptists as a load of heretics at Münster (a comment I got from my tutor at London Bible College during a correspondence course, which discouraged me to the point of giving up right there). Even if there isn't continuity, the same kind of tendency crops up through the ages. The Pietists would call it ecclesiola in ecclesia, I believe, the desire to have a "bounded centre" which expresses more commitment. Historically, such groups often end up getting thrown out - like the Methodists.

    (One of the reasons I'm mugging this up right now is that I've been invited to speak to a Catholic renewal group about "the outpouring of the Spirit". After some preliminary discussion I think that for them this might mean little more than extempore prayer, but we shall see... @Offeiriad you could probably sign up to the session! :mrgreen:)

    I think the Church as an institution is like Christians, simul iustus et peccator. Institutions can provide safeguards but they can also consolidate power and stifle needed renewal and reform. The old wineskins spring to mind.

    The same is true of the charismatic 'ministries'. Not all self-styled prophets are by any means prophets or prophetic. Prophecy is less about "trees and waterfalls" (to quote a charismatic church leader I knew many years ago) and more about speaking truth to power, and hoping the power has the good sense and discernment to listen.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Eutychus wrote: »
    <snip>Nevertheless, he makes a good counterpoint to those, even among evangelicals, who dismiss the Anabaptists as a load of heretics at Münster (a comment I got from my tutor at London Bible College during a correspondence course, which discouraged me to the point of giving up right there). <snip>

    [tangent]Interesting! When I was there, many moons ago, Baptists (both BUGB and other) were well represented on the faculty and amongst the student body.

    I can imagine some having a humorous dig at the ‘we're the pure New Testament church’ kind of Baptist, as would be equally likely with Anglicans who felt the Church of England embodied the perfect balance between reform and tradition. But I can’t imagine that being a general attitude amongst faculty at that time.[/tangent]
  • I think this thread has already got a confusion going between "charismatic" in the Adolf Hitler/Donald Trump sense, and "charismatic" in the "speaking in tongues, etc." sense. Might want to be careful.
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    Hello all, especially my neighbour! Excuse my responses being a bit slow - the sun is shining! Thank you for these first reflections, which are deeply interesting. In no particular order....
    • I think my special interest is around whether God still calls prophets. I believe He does, but as a Church Leader what does one make of them?
    • I've had moments when I have felt compelled to speak with a prophetic voice even as an institutional leader- and I've been thumped/marginalised/made to feel I'm 'not playing the game' by other institutional leaders as a result!

    Well, being thumped by leaders is basically a normal prophet's lot, so you can't be surprised there.

    From the leader's perspective, well...

    They should be open to the possibility of God speaking through someone else, whether identified as a prophet or not. Unfortunately they often aren't. But this is where discernment should come in. For example, if the person Y who's telling me "I think God wants us to do X" has a history of over-the-top enthusiasms for things that don't pan out later, I'm going to have my doubts about this latest thing. Similarly if I see that X benefits Y in some manner (and does not involve Y actually sacrificing or suffering to bring it about, but rather other people have to do all the hard work), well, again, I'd have my doubts. And if Y says something that on the face of it seems possible as a word-from-God, I'm going to look for confirmation elsewhere--to the Scriptures, if they have anything to say about it; to other Christians, because I'd expect the Holy Spirit to speak through more than a single person in the church more often than not (us being a body, you see); and to my own prayer and listening.

    It's not an easy thing.

  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    Thank you all, and Lamb Chopped in particular. Yes - I think the 'charismatic' term could flop either way in terms of meaning in my original context. I think I mean more John the Baptist than Hitler! I think your comments on discernment of prophecy are very measured.
  • We've been on both ends of that pointy stick...
  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    If anybody is interested in Tertullian, by the way, there is a fascinating page on him if you pick your way through this clunky antique website to the resource pages section: http://www.vetuslatina.org/
  • I think this thread has already got a confusion going between "charismatic" in the Adolf Hitler/Donald Trump sense, and "charismatic" in the "speaking in tongues, etc." sense. Might want to be careful.

    That's probably down to me, but I think, for someone who doesn't have access to the prophet's inner life, the two are in practice quite closely linked (at least when the charism is prophecy).

    There is a difference between a.) 'I think we should do xyz' and b.) 'I feel God saying we should do xyz'. The first is only asking for xyz to be judged on its own merits; the second really gets my hackles up, because it's claiming an extra authority behind xyz that goes beyond the inherit merits of the idea - it's suggesting that you've got to be careful opposing xyz, because you could be defying the will of God himself.

    If someone is claiming that they are a prophet, then this compounds the problem - they are implying that whatever ideas come out of their mouth should be treated with greater weight because it could have come from the mouth of God.

    The question is then how the church community evaluates xyz, and the prophet's claim to be a prophet. If in practice the church community would evaluate both (a) and (b) in exactly the same way, then the prophetic charism becomes just a fancy way of saying 'the gift of having good ideas', and my critique doesn't apply. But if a prophecy isn't something that could just be discerned through ordinary logic and reason, but at the same time the mere fact of declaring something to be prophecy isn't enough to make it so, then the only other thing that the community can judge by is the person of the prophet themself.

    Or to put it another way: the authority of the prophet doesn't rest on the intrinsic merits of the prophet's ideas (because if it did, there would be no need to cast them as prophetic). It doesn't rest on the prophet's position within the hierarchy, because the prophet stands outside the hierarchy. So it can only rest on the prophet themself - hence 'charismatic authority'. Now this isn't necessarily charismatic in the demagogue mode, but it still amounts to, on some level, finding the prophet attractive as a character.
  • Well, I go by the old rule that says that a prophet's got to be 100% accurate or goodbye. Which is probably the first thing I'd pull out of my pocket if faced with someobe claiming to be a Prophet with a capital P, As in, "You sure about that? Like, staking your life on it?" At which point we'll either get some quick backpedaling or I'll be watching them even more carefully, as the stakes are so much higher. Rather like putting someone under oath, because now a screwup won't be error, but blasphemy.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    I know Roger reasonably well, and he cheerfully admits much of his teaching is idiosyncratic and often invites people to qualify what he says.

    I'm glad you posted this, as I was about to make the same point. It's been a looong time since I heard or read anything by Roger Forster. Always interesting but always needed to be read with a certain pinch of salt. In my experience, not quite as barmy as the likes of Gerald Coates.
  • In my experience, not quite as barmy as the likes of Gerald Coates.
    He was quite tickled by Andrew Walker describing him in Restoring the Kingdom as "one of the finest minds in British evangelicalism that I have ever met". I'll see how he takes your comparison next time we talk...

  • Any roles of influence can attract the wrong sort of individuals and some of the consequences can be appalling. The largest and most recent have involved leaders in traditional denominations and institutional coverups.

    A couple of years ago my church had the round of prophecies about the great wave. Pity none of us thought of a pandemic 🙄

    Less Palm Sunday, more Facepalm Sunday.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    ...The same is true of the charismatic 'ministries'. Not all self-styled prophets are by any means prophets or prophetic. Prophecy is less about "trees and waterfalls" (to quote a charismatic church leader I knew many years ago) and more about speaking truth to power, and hoping the power has the good sense and discernment to listen.
    Sorry to disagree and that, @Eutychus but I don't think prophecy or 'being prophetic' has got much to do with either "trees and waterfalls" or speaking truth to power. To my way of thinking, prophecy is about imparting the message of God to the current situation and has to have a supernatural element, some element of seeing and imparting the counsel of God in a way the rest of us haven't got access to. As such, prophecy is rare and a responsibility most of us aren't up to.

    Something is not made prophetic by being declaimed in a loud voice, nor by being declaimed in the pseudo tones of the Authorised Version nor by the inclusion of phrases like 'Thus says the Lord'. Nor, however true and wise, is something prophetic if the person saying it could or has been able to work it out with their brain.

    I am also very dubious as to where the proposition comes from that it has to be addressed to 'power'. That is the case with much of the prophecy that made the Old Testament, but 'power' was unlikely to be present, listening, or even interested in what a Christian congregation in Corinth on a Sunday morning or the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9) might have been saying.

    There is nothing prophetic about telling a vaguely politically liberal church audience that the government should care for the poor more. First of all, that's something anyone can work out without divine guidance. Second, you're not proclaiming this message to the people who can themselves act on it, rather than think other people should do something about it.

  • The OP's question is about a specific period:
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    As far as I undersand it, in the immediate post-NT period 'charismatic-style' ministries (prophets, etc) existed alongside 'institutional'-style' patterns (bishops, presbyters(?), deacons etc).

    What, exactly, was a "prophet" in the NT sense, e.g. in 1 Cor 14:32? Someone who spoke in tongues, or someone who prophesied future events, or just someone who was an engaging and compelling speaker?

    And what may or may not be a separate question: What would someone have to have done, in first-century Antioch or Jerusalem or Ephesus, to be described as "charismatic"?
  • Bill_Noble wrote: »
    Any roles of influence can attract the wrong sort of individuals and some of the consequences can be appalling. The largest and most recent have involved leaders in traditional denominations and institutional coverups.

    A couple of years ago my church had the round of prophecies about the great wave. Pity none of us thought of a pandemic 🙄

    Less Palm Sunday, more Facepalm Sunday.

    Ooh, nice expression. I shall be stealing that.
  • In its strictest sense, a prophet is someone who is forth-telling, not so much about future events but about how the Word of God applies to the current situation. Currently, I think the most vocal prophets in our world today are climate scientists. Yes, I can see God using them to forewarn about global warming. Many people want to discount them, but it seems their predictions are generally on the mark.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Just to be pedantic, they didn't burn heretics until well after the Patristic period. When they did start burning heretics, often those heretics had like Wycliffe successfully disseminated copies of their works before the authorities got around to condemning and burning them.
    While we're being pedantic, the authorities didn't get around to burning Wycliffe until after he had died of natural causes.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    In its strictest sense, a prophet is someone who is forth-telling, not so much about future events but about how the Word of God applies to the current situation.
    Well, if we’re going to be strict, a prophet in the strictest sense is one who acts as a spokesperson for God, based on direct revelation from God. That is the Hebrew understanding that reflected in the OT.

  • TelfordTelford Suspended
    When I consider what some of the medieval Popes got up to, it needed people like Luther to come forward and challenge the Catholic church.

  • Offeiriad wrote: »
    As far as I understand it, in the immediate post-NT period 'charismatic-style' ministries (prophets, etc) existed alongside 'institutional'-style' patterns (bishops, presbyters(?), deacons etc). I get the impression that the relationships were sometimes uneasy, and I remember reading somewhere that Tertullian (for all his faults) managed to hold these two patterns together for a while. How did he do it?

    The institutional pattern won the race early on, but when and where did the charismatic pattern become extinct? Did it veer off into one of the heretical groups, or what? I know the conspiracy theories(!), but I'd love to know more history, and maybe be pointed to some in-depth reading on the subject. Thank you!

    There's Owen Chadwick's book The History of the Early Church. I read that about 10 years ago, and remember it as being a pretty good overview. It was revised in 1993, I noticed when I searched it.

    It is a fascinating area, and I am resisting the temptation to go and find the book and read it again. I have too many books on my list already!!

  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    OK, I'll see your Chadwick (the earlier edition, my age you know) and raise you this https://books.google.fr/books/about/From_Apostles_to_Bishops.html?id=rn4PIZYLCskC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false with fascinating detail about the early shifts in ministry patterns.

    This, though thin, is also thought-provoking https://books.google.fr/books?id=kV_yswEACAAJ&dq=elders+in+every+city+beckwith&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjfhpCjyfruAhWmyIUKHZKIAGwQ6AEwAHoECAAQAg Sorry, I don't know how to tidy those links!
  • Telford wrote: »
    When I consider what some of the medieval Popes got up to, it needed people like Luther to come forward and challenge the Catholic church.

    Oh yes, I think there was certainly a prophetic aspect to Luther's work. A cantankerous arsehole aspect as well though.
  • You can write text, highlight it, then stick the link in the dropdown menu and it will just appear as the red text.

    I see that I misjudged your familiarity with the topic! Sorry about that. I was wondering what you meant by charismatic. Did you mean an intense focus on experiencing the works of the Holy Spirit referred to in the New Testament, which is how I would read the word as applied to Christians today, or are there other elements, like a focus on the impending return of Christ said to be in the very earliest communities.

    Also, do you consider apocalyptic beliefs to be part of the Charismatic movement. I have only had the chance to have deep conversations with one elderly couple who were involved in the Charismatic movement from about the 1970's, so I'm a bit at sea when talking about beliefs and practices.
  • Telford wrote: »
    When I consider what some of the medieval Popes got up to, it needed people like Luther to come forward and challenge the Catholic church.

    Oh yes, I think there was certainly a prophetic aspect to Luther's work. A cantankerous arsehole aspect as well though.

    You gotta love a bloke who reads the Bible on the dunny.
  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    You can write text, highlight it, then stick the link in the dropdown menu and it will just appear as the red text.

    I see that I misjudged your familiarity with the topic! Sorry about that. I was wondering what you meant by charismatic. Did you mean an intense focus on experiencing the works of the Holy Spirit referred to in the New Testament, which is how I would read the word as applied to Christians today, or are there other elements, like a focus on the impending return of Christ said to be in the very earliest communities.

    Also, do you consider apocalyptic beliefs to be part of the Charismatic movement. I have only had the chance to have deep conversations with one elderly couple who were involved in the Charismatic movement from about the 1970's, so I'm a bit at sea when talking about beliefs and practices.

    Thank you for the technical advice. I didn't stay long enough after the site changeover to discover how the new site worked.

    OK, in my original question I carefully wrote 'charismatic-style' ministries because I was asking about the 2nd-3rd century AD, and didn't intend to get caught up in anachronicity about the more recent Charismatic Movement. I see that in responding I did allow myself to get drawn into what some regard as the theological territory of that modern-day movement.

    Bearing in mind the lower case, the inverted commas and the addition of -style after the word charismatic, what exactly did I mean by the term? I think I was using the term to refer to peripatetic 'prophets-preachers-teachers' who did not see their authority as derived through the emerging institutional structures of Bishops and settled local churches, but rather by direct Call/Commission from God. I guess there is an interesting loop in the question - the larger one of how did 'wandering apostles' turn into 'settled bishops'?
  • ahhhh,a much more interesting question than I thought :)
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Somewhere I came across the view that there are three models of authority:
    1. Charismatic - the leader has authority by sheer force of personality;
    2. Traditional - the leader is in charge because that's how it's always been (e.g. hereditary monarchy)
    3. Rational - succession to the leadership isn't automatic, but follows some defined process (e.g. democracy, but also those Communist states where succession follows some specific Party machinations).
    This comes from the sociologist Max Weber (he of the "Protestant Work Ethic"). See: https://tinyurl.com/2zywvezt (I've only skimmed this very quickly but I think it's correct).
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited February 21
    @Baptist Trainfan - thanks, I hadn't realised it came from such a heavyweight source!
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    Bearing in mind the lower case, the inverted commas and the addition of -style after the word charismatic, what exactly did I mean by the term? I think I was using the term to refer to peripatetic 'prophets-preachers-teachers' who did not see their authority as derived through the emerging institutional structures of Bishops and settled local churches, but rather by direct Call/Commission from God. I guess there is an interesting loop in the question - the larger one of how did 'wandering apostles' turn into 'settled bishops'?

    I guess, if you had lots of prophets wandering round saying mutually exclusive things, after a certain point you would end up with the established church having to act as a sort of arbiter between them. Or alternatively: as long as the established church had credibility, the prophet could boost his/her own credibility against any rivals by claiming the backing of the established church. So you would end up with the prophets coming de facto under the authority of the church.

    I suppose there is something of this in Galatians 1-2: Paul claims to have received his gospel entirely by private revelation, but eventually (after fourteen years!) he got it signed off (so to speak) by James, Peter and John.
  • Offeiriad wrote: »
    I guess there is an interesting loop in the question - the larger one of how did 'wandering apostles' turn into 'settled bishops'?

    Wandering apostles? Who were they? Like Paul himself, do you mean? Would you classify him as a wandering apostle?
  • One of best contemporary sources of information is the Didache. Chapter 11 has this:

    Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited February 22
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    I guess there is an interesting loop in the question - the larger one of how did 'wandering apostles' turn into 'settled bishops'?

    Wandering apostles? Who were they? Like Paul himself, do you mean? Would you classify him as a wandering apostle?

    I'd say that Timothy clearly was not a wanderer, at least not at the point when Paul posted him. Was he not an apostle?
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited February 22
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    When I consider what some of the medieval Popes got up to, it needed people like Luther to come forward and challenge the Catholic church.

    Oh yes, I think there was certainly a prophetic aspect to Luther's work. A cantankerous arsehole aspect as well though.

    You gotta love a bloke who reads the Bible on the dunny.

    Well, saves on tissue paper.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate

    Following on from the references to Max Weber and his identification of different types of authority: Traditional, Legal-Rational (bureaucratic), and Charismatic, the link between them (especially the latter two) is a process known as "the routinisation of charisma" in which the teachings and practices of a charismatic phase, which comes when existing routine structures break down having lost their capacity to deal with a variety of critical issues, are formalised. An example would be when the personalised charismatic rule of De Gaulle at the collapse of the IV th Republic was routinised in the constitution of the Vth Republic.

    I'm pretty certain that Weber came to adopt the notion of charismatic rule from the example of Jesus on whom the Holy Spirit came at his baptism and who "spoke as one having authority not as the scribes". The church structures which came later, with the pope as the vicar of Christ, can be seen as the routinisation of charisma. Charismatic phases did not cease, as, for example, in times of religious revival led by reforming individuals, of which the reformation was a major example, or the emergence of a Methodist Church out of the evangelical preaching of John Wesley. Thus, following on from the original post, it isn't that the 'institutional pattern' has won out, but that charismatic phases appear periodically as existing structures loose their efficacy and require various degrees of reformation that amend or break established patterns.

  • I'm sure you're right about the "routinisation of charisma". What's interesting is what happens when a new form of charismatic leadership emerges within an institution. Either it can lead to that institution being reformed; or else it can be "kicked out". I suspect that the latter is more likely (vide Wesley and Methodism); however one might see the Vatican reforms of Pope John XXIII as an institution itself being radically changed.
  • I'm sure you're right about the "routinisation of charisma". What's interesting is what happens when a new form of charismatic leadership emerges within an institution. Either it can lead to that institution being reformed; or else it can be "kicked out". I suspect that the latter is more likely (vide Wesley and Methodism); however one might see the Vatican reforms of Pope John XXIII as an institution itself being radically changed.

    Interestingly I think it is both. Anglicanism certainly owes a debt to the Wesleyan tradition, and Vatican II accepts many, though not all, of the reformers' criticisms.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I'm sure you're right about the "routinisation of charisma". What's interesting is what happens when a new form of charismatic leadership emerges within an institution. Either it can lead to that institution being reformed; or else it can be "kicked out". I suspect that the latter is more likely (vide Wesley and Methodism); however one might see the Vatican reforms of Pope John XXIII as an institution itself being radically changed.

    It only works for John XXIII and Francis because they hold the top job and can say "make it so." Nobody else would stand a chance of effecting change.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Baptist Trainfan What's interesting is what happens when a new form of charismatic leadership emerges within an institution. Either it can lead to that institution being reformed; or else it can be "kicked out".

    I suppose another solution is institutional flexibility, as in the creation of new religious orders to accommodate new movements and their leaders- St Francis and founders of monastic orders, for example, not to mention Ignatius Loyola .
  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    St Benedict in his Rule rails against 'gyrovagues' in his emphasis on stability. Are they the rogues he paints them as? Or a relic of some kind of itinerant ministry of which he disapproved?

    In more recent times, Wesley seems to treate itinerancy as not just a necessity but a legitimate (and traditional?) (Wesley was no radical!) expression of Christian ministry. Was he simply picking up on how he saw the role of apostle in New Testament times, or was he aware of some historical continuation of that pattern?

    To the earlier comment up the thread - yes, certainly Paul. (He felt guided/impelled by the Holy Spirit in terms of 'where he went next'). Even if one believes in the traditional idea that the apostles went to specific territories to plant the Faith (eg Mark to Egypt?) I simply can't believe that they simply set up shop in one location there and expected everyone to come to them.

    In British Christian history, the Celtic saints seem to have been inveterate wanderers - my five churches in Cornwall had one Welsh founder/patron, one Breton founder/patron, one possibly Cornish, one possibly Cornish but overlaid at some point with an early French saint, and one 'Johnnie come lately' Norman Bishop building a church on his estate. That suggests quite a lot of wandering ministry to me!
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    St Benedict in his Rule rails against 'gyrovagues' in his emphasis on stability. Are they the rogues he paints them as? Or a relic of some kind of itinerant ministry of which he disapproved?

    In more recent times, Wesley seems to treate itinerancy as not just a necessity but a legitimate (and traditional?) (Wesley was no radical!) expression of Christian ministry. Was he simply picking up on how he saw the role of apostle in New Testament times, or was he aware of some historical continuation of that pattern?

    To the earlier comment up the thread - yes, certainly Paul. (He felt guided/impelled by the Holy Spirit in terms of 'where he went next'). Even if one believes in the traditional idea that the apostles went to specific territories to plant the Faith (eg Mark to Egypt?) I simply can't believe that they simply set up shop in one location there and expected everyone to come to them.

    In British Christian history, the Celtic saints seem to have been inveterate wanderers - my five churches in Cornwall had one Welsh founder/patron, one Breton founder/patron, one possibly Cornish, one possibly Cornish but overlaid at some point with an early French saint, and one 'Johnnie come lately' Norman Bishop building a church on his estate. That suggests quite a lot of wandering ministry to me!

    They may have been "encouraged to wander." Benedict's views on geographical stability of monks doesn't prevent modern-day abbots from clearing awkward beggars off to parishes across the land.
  • OffeiriadOffeiriad Shipmate Posts: 46
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    St Benedict in his Rule rails against 'gyrovagues' in his emphasis on stability. Are they the rogues he paints them as? Or a relic of some kind of itinerant ministry of which he disapproved?



    They may have been "encouraged to wander." Benedict's views on geographical stability of monks doesn't prevent modern-day abbots from clearing awkward beggars off to parishes across the land.

    Ha! I can't imagine what you mean.....
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    I guess there is an interesting loop in the question - the larger one of how did 'wandering apostles' turn into 'settled bishops'?

    Wandering apostles? Who were they? Like Paul himself, do you mean? Would you classify him as a wandering apostle?

    I'd say that Timothy clearly was not a wanderer, at least not at the point when Paul posted him. Was he not an apostle?

    I think the "wanderer" or "stable" thing comes down to what you're called to do, and the landscape around you. If you are called to pastor a local congregation, you're likely to be stable. If you are called to missionary service and everyone around you is pretty much churched already, you're going to have to go elsewhere--and whether you settle in one place or "wander" over a large area is going to depend partly on what resources you have--are there local leaders you can leave in charge while you go off somewhere else? Do you have to stay in one spot and train people for a year or so? Are you under the necessity of earning a living in some fixed spot, or do you have funding that will let you travel?

    Wandering can be a bad thing if the so-called church leader is really just sofa surfing (with freeloading) or if he/she is starting fights with local leadership. That might explain Benedict's concern.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Offeiriad wrote: »
    I guess there is an interesting loop in the question - the larger one of how did 'wandering apostles' turn into 'settled bishops'?

    Wandering apostles? Who were they? Like Paul himself, do you mean? Would you classify him as a wandering apostle?

    I'd say that Timothy clearly was not a wanderer, at least not at the point when Paul posted him. Was he not an apostle?

    I think the "wanderer" or "stable" thing comes down to what you're called to do, and the landscape around you. If you are called to pastor a local congregation, you're likely to be stable. If you are called to missionary service and everyone around you is pretty much churched already, you're going to have to go elsewhere--and whether you settle in one place or "wander" over a large area is going to depend partly on what resources you have--are there local leaders you can leave in charge while you go off somewhere else? Do you have to stay in one spot and train people for a year or so? Are you under the necessity of earning a living in some fixed spot, or do you have funding that will let you travel?

    Wandering can be a bad thing if the so-called church leader is really just sofa surfing (with freeloading) or if he/she is starting fights with local leadership. That might explain Benedict's concern.

    I was taking the issue to be whether or not apostles could be stationary. Maybe I misunderstood.
  • More likely I did.
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