Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tertullian on the Vicar of Christ

“Grant, then, that all have erred; that the apostle was mistaken in giving his testimony; that the Holy Ghost had no such respect to any one (church) as to lead it into truth, although sent with this view by Christ, (John 14:26) and for this asked of the Father that He might be the teacher of truth; (John 15:26) grant, also, that He, the Steward of God, the Vicar of Christ, neglected His office, permitting the churches for a time to understand differently, (and) to believe differently, what He Himself was preaching by the apostles,—is it likely that so many churches, and they so great, should have gone astray into one and the same faith?”

-Tertullian, The Prescription against Heretics, XXVIII


Anonymous said...

"Our appeal, therefore, must not be made to the Scriptures; nor must controversy be admitted on points in which victory will either be impossible, or uncertain, or not certain enough. But even if a discussion from the Scriptures should not turn out in such a way as to place both sides on a par, (yet) the natural order of things would require that this point should be first proposed, which is now the only one which we must discuss:"With whom lies that very faith to which the Scriptures belong. From what and through whom, and when, and to whom, has been handed down that rule, by which men become Christians?" For wherever it shall be manifest that the true Christian rule and faith shall be, there will likewise be the true Scriptures and expositions thereof, and all the Christian traditions."
The Prescription against heretics, Ch. 19

"Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savours of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the tradition of the apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood. We hold communion with the apostolic churches because our doctrine is in no respect different from theirs. This is our witness of truth.The Prescription against heretics, Ch. 21

Anonymous said...

OOOOOOOOooookay. What does this have to do with the Advocate sent by Christ (the Holy Spirit not Mary) being Christ's vicar? Are you suggesting that some strand of "Tradition" teaches differently?

L P Cruz said...

Good point Kepha,

I think the quote by Anonymous suggests that in the quote posted from Tertullian, there are other statements of Tertullian that can be made to contradict the former.

In which case, we can only conclude that either, Tertullian is being taken out of context, or is being inconsistent.

The Fathers often contradict each other and even contradict themselves. That is why sola scriptura in this regard makes sense for even though they wrangle at each other, they invariably affirm the primacy of Scripture.