As I pointed out in Apostolic Succession : Clement's Letter II, if Clement's letter is read fully, it will be seen that the Catholic Encyclopaedia deliberately distorts its intent by misquoting and interpolation.
A closer look at Clement's letter will reveal that the true situation was more like this:
- Clement put his name to a letter, "From the congregation of God at Rome to the congregation of God at Corinth."
- We know NOTHING of Clement except what is told in the letter.
- He is NOT named as head of the church in Rome.
- Clement makes his appeal to the Corinthians on the values of self-abasement, humility and love, as did Jesus in his sermons.
- The churches are a figure of derision by all and sundry because of the widely known dissension in Corinth.
- The letter refers to both Peter and Paul twice and to Apollos once.
- It differentiates between the ministries of Peter and Paul in a way that precludes Peter was ever in Rome, in a similar way that Paul's letters do.
- Nowhere does Clement assert the primacy of Rome over other churches.
- Many times it refers to "Jesus Christ the High Priest by whom our gifts are offered," and nowhere is Jesus considered to be divine, virgin-born, or part of any "Trinity."
- Jesus is always presented as a man of God.
The use made of Clement's letter is every bit as devious as the claims made of Peter's letters. The shifting claims of the Roman Catholic authorities should leave an indelible impression of suspicion.
Stay tuned for Clement's Letter Part IV...