Saturday, February 14, 2009

An Ancient Voice For The Day #26

Justin Martyr (wrote after 151):

"Moreover, I would wish that all, making a resolution similar to my own, do not keep themselves away from the words of the Savior. For they possess a terrible power in themselves, and are sufficient to inspire those who turn aside from the path of rectitude with awe; while the sweetest rest is afforded those who make a diligent practice of them."


Source:ANF: Vol. I, Dialogue of Justin, Chapter 8 .

For an excellent compilation of quotes of the Church fathers teaching on the primacy, sufficiency and ultimate authority of Scripture, get a copy of Holy Scripture:The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Vol III- The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura.

46 comments:

Stacey said...

James,

As you know, I've picked up the Holy Scripture trilogy at your suggestion. I received volume III in the mail first and so have looked through this one the most and I've posted my initial reaction on my blog. I'm not sure why it is, but when I read these quotes, I don't see the same support for sola scriptura that either you or the authors do. Here are a couple examples:

A lot of quotes are taken from the Dialogue of Justin, which is a record of Justin Martyr's proofs from the Old Testament to Trypho, a Jew, that Jesus Christ is the messiah. Since Trypho is a Jew, they repeatedly make mention that he needs proofs from Scripture. These circumstancial quotes are taken out of context to try to represent an entire theological system.

Also, many quotes are taken from Irenaeus's Against Heresies. They are taken only from his third book refuting the heresies of his times, which is the Scriptural basis for his argument. Again, of course he'll be basing everything on Scripture here. But also, some quotes like the one from which the title of the book is derived are stopped just short, where in the very next chapter he says something like this, making it clear that while he affirms Scripture he does not diminish tradition:

"But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition." [Irenaeus Against Heresies, 3.2.2]

There are also quotes that, while Scripture affirming, have little to do with the point they intend to make. For instance, the following quote was put forth to support the perspicuity of Scripture:

"Against this apostle, therefore, whose words are divine thunder, your reason is not full of lightning, but of smoke." [Augustine WSA, Answer to the Pelagians III, Unfinished Work in Answer to Julian, Book I:137, Part 1, Vol. 25]

Also, those quotes like the following do say that Scripture is clear, they are usually referring to very specific passages, and do not say that the entirety of Scripture is perfectly clear to everyone who reads it:

"The Lord refers to these in a parable, though his meaning is perfectly clear, when he says, (Then Augustine quotes Mt 21:33-43 & Ps 118:22-23 and asks) What could be plainer, clearer, or more evident than this? [Augustine WSA, Arianism and Other Heresies, Answer to an Enemy of the Law and the Prophets, Book II.16, Part 1, Vol. 18]

The Church Fathers loved Scripture and this book shows that, but I don't see that it proves the points the authors state in the introduction, namely:

1) Scripture is the sole source of doctrine for the faith of the Church.
2) All doctrines necessary for salvation and moral living for the Christian are contained in Scripture.
3) All doctrines must be proven from Scripture.
4) What the Apostles taught orally has been handed down in Scripture.
5) Scripture is the ultimate judge in all controversies.
6) Scripture is the ultimate and supreme authority for the Church.
7) If Scripture is silent on an issue it cannot be known.
8) All teachers and councils are subject to the authority of Scripture.
9) Any bishop or teacher who teaches doctrines that are not contained in Scripture or are contradictory to Scripture is to be rejected.
10) Scripture reveals clearly and plainly all truths necessary for salvation and moral living.
11) Scripture interprets Scripture.
12) The Holy Spirit reveals truth and gives understanding of Scripture directly to those who pray and walk in obedience.

Kepha said...

Mrs. Stacey,

No doubt you are receiving quite a bit of feedback, and no doubt there is a tug-of-war match between those trying to sway you. I do not want to join this. I have already commented one comment on your blog. This wll be my last to you. I encourage you look into the issue of Apostolic Tradition. How did the early Church understand Apostolic Tradition? How did Medieval Catholicism understand it? What was the unanimous understanding of Apostolic Tradition of Tridentine and post-Tridentine Catholicism? Lastly, and most importantly, how has the understanding of Apostolic Tradition changed?

Lvka said...

As I've already said before several times, and am fond of repeating: the Protestant arguments for SOLA Scriptura liken to a considerable extent the Catholic arguments for mandatory clerical celibacy. (the first gather all sorts of patristic comments saying some nice things about Scripture, while the later do the same for virginity). And both fail miserably at proving or addressing their distinctive claims: namely SOLA Scriptura and MANDATORY clerical celibacy.

David Waltz said...

Hello Stacey,

Nice post. Concerning use (and thoughts) of the Church Fathers on the issue of Sacred Scripture, I have found none more concise and cogent than John Henry Newman’s response to an old friend, E.B. Pusey:

“You have made a collection of passages from the Fathers, as witnesses in behalf of your doctrine that the whole Christian faith is contained in Scripture, as if, in your sense of the words, Catholics contradicted you here. And you refer to my Notes on St. Athanasius as contributing passages to your list; But, after all, neither you, nor I in my Notes, affirm any doctrine which Rome denies. Those Notes also make frequent reference to a traditional teaching, which (be the faith ever so contained in Scripture), still is necessary as a Regula Fidei, for showing us that it is contained there; vid. Pp. 283-431; and this tradition, I know, you uphold as fully as I do in the Notes in question. In consequence, you allow that there is a two-fold rule, Scripture and Tradition; and this is all that Catholics say. How, then do Anglicans differ from Rome here? I believe the difference is merely one of words…” (John Henry Newman, Certain Difficulties Felt By Anglicans In Catholic Teaching Considered, vol. 2, pp. 11, 12.)


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

I don't see the same support for sola scriptura that either you or the authors do.

so, you see all the ECF's quoted in that book believing God has spoken infallbily elsewhere?

Stacey, produce the OTHER infallible voice of God. The Council of Trent states:

"It also clearly perceives that these truths and rules are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were, from hand to hand."

Simply produce the "other" word of God, and prove those ECF's thought there were other infallbile rules of faith.

Stacey said...

James,

The point is that the quotes don't prove what the book says they do. It's irrelevant whatever else anyone may think the Church Fathers are, whether that be Catholic or something else. The book says they support sola scriptura in very specific ways, and it does not succeed in demonstrating that.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Good post Stacey. As usual we see the early Fathers being taken out of context. The fallacy of selective emphasis once again rears it ugly head.

James Swan said...

Stacey,

The ECF's had the Bible, the very words of God. If they had the very words of God in another source, where is it, and what were they?

Over and over, those quotes in volume III show the ECF's looked to the Bible for all the doctrines necessary for salvation.

If the ECF's looked to another infallbile source, what is it, and where is it? If you think you've found the very voice of God somewhere else, wouldn't it be a helpful thing to tell the rest of us about it?

For instance, Basil of Caesarea stated:

"If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore, let God-inspired Scripture decide between us, and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the Word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth."

If Basil had another infallible source other than the Bible, why didn't he say, "let's use all the infallible sources of God's word to decide between us"?

EBW said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Swan said...

EBW's post was deleted, not for content, but because when one checks EBW's profile, his blog is called, "Beggars All."

L P said...

Stacey,

It is not enough to say the book (of King/Webster) does not prove what it claims from the Fathers that it does.

You need to provide the counter example, because by the counter example you can prove that the King/Webster's book totally misses it.

It is like this, X does not prove Y. In fact Z disproves Y.

X may well fail to prove Y, but there could be another book (not written by King/Webster) that proves Y(SOLA SCRIPTURA). X failing to prove Y does not mean that Y is false.

Your case is stronger and compelling if on the other hand you produce Z.

So James Swan's point should be well taken. He is asking you to produce Z.

That is fair.

LP

James Swan said...

Stacey,It is not enough to say the book (of King/Webster) does not prove what it claims from the Fathers that it does.

It appears to me Stacey doesn't have a coherent framework by which to understand the ECF's. She has an incorrect understanding of sola scriptura which she's using to evaluate the citations. I don't mean this in any mean spirited way- I do appreciate the fact she purchased the volumes.

Here's what I mean: book II has a lengthy look at the concept of "tradition." Book II even as a few pages on what Irenaeus means by "tradition."

So when Stacey states,

"Also, many quotes are taken from Irenaeus's Against Heresies. They are taken only from his third book refuting the heresies of his times, which is the Scriptural basis for his argument... But also, some quotes like the one from which the title of the book is derived are stopped just short, where in the very next chapter he says something like this, making it clear that while he affirms Scripture he does not diminish tradition"

....it shows me she hasn't yet done the work needed to understand what King / Webster have put forth. Simply saying... "Look, Irenaeus uses the word "tradition" is not a meaningful response.

Isn't it odd, that with all the pages of text Roman Catholic apologists write every day, none of them has put forth a detailed response to the King / Webster set?

L P said...

Isn't it odd, that with all the pages of text Roman Catholic apologists write every day, none of them has put forth a detailed response to the King / Webster set?

Exactly. In fact, it is more important for Stacey to get that Z that disproves Y(sola scriptura), than for X to prove Y.


I will also recommend Martin Chemnitz' Vol 1 - An Examination of the Council of Trent - also known as the Examen. He treats Scripture and "Tradition" there as I recall.

LP

Stacey said...

LP,

I was only saying X does not prove Y. I am not saying that sola scriptura is completely invalid because the Church Fathers didn't prove it. I am saying the book says it proves these things and does not.

James,

I respect you, as you are congenial when others are vicious and you are sincere when others have knee jerk apologetic responses. I don't want to just attack the things you hold dear, but I would do you no favor if I just gave lip service to something that I thought was lacking. I also don't think it should be necessary to have to read the second volume first, where I would be coached as to how to understand the Church Fathers, instead of just taking their words for themselves. I will, however, try to read that section later today, children allowing.

In fact, as of late, I've just been reading the entire works of the Fathers (particularly Irenaeus's Against Heresies and Tertullian's The Prescription Against Heretics on New Advent instead of suggestive quote compilations, and it's beautiful stuff. These guys rant with biting sarcasm and marvelous lucidity. They clearly define what "tradition" they are talking about, how they feel about it, how we should treat it, and of what use it is. Z will be forthcoming. I'm not a Catholic apologist, James, but I will try to give you the response you'd like to see.

Also, you may be interested to know that the Basil quote you gave was taken out of context, and here are the preceding lines:

"Their complaint is that their custom does not accept this, and that Scripture does not agree. What is my reply? I do not consider it fair that the custom which obtains among them should be regarded as a law and rule of orthodoxy.”

He is saying they do not accept orthodox customs, and if you read the whole letter, it appears he would like to pull the custom "trump card", but cannot. Basil also says this about tradition:

"But the object of attack is faith. The one aim of the whole band of opponents and enemies of sound doctrine is to shake down the foundation of the faith of Christ by leveling apostolic tradition with the ground, and utterly destroying it."
[De Spiritu Sancto, Ch 10]

Rhology said...

Did someone say "selective emphasis"?

Wintrowski said...

L P,

"It is not enough to say the book (of King/Webster) does not prove what it claims from the Fathers that it does.

You need to provide the counter example, because by the counter example you can prove that the King/Webster's book totally misses it.
"

All that would be necessary, then, is the production of a handful of counter-quotes for each Father quoted by King/Webster, showing that meaning attributed by King/Webster to each quote is not consistent with something said by the same Father elsewhere in the same document, but merely an artifact of selective emphasis. Also, the provision of surrounding historical context could acceptably demonstrate why a particular Father was speaking in the manner King/Webster decided to quote (e.g., Justin Martyr's debate with Trypho, a Jew ), thereby casting dount on King/Webster's imputed meaning for the quote.

"It is like this, X does not prove Y. In fact Z disproves Y.

X may well fail to prove Y, but there could be another book (not written by King/Webster) that proves Y(SOLA SCRIPTURA). X failing to prove Y does not mean that Y is false.
"

Stacey is not questioning the truth of Y. She is saying that X does not convincingly prove Y. X is the matter in question, not Y.

"Your case is stronger and compelling if on the other hand you produce Z."

The existence or production of Z is not necessary for the truth of the proposition "X does not prove Y" to be demonstrated.

"So James Swan's point should be well taken. He is asking you to produce Z.

That is fair.
"

Indeed it is not fair, it is a fallacy. James Swan simply does not want to deal with the fact that King & Webster's book does not prove in a convincing manner that which they say it proves. Instead, he throws up a smoke screen by shifting the logical emphasis and asking for the production of Z to disprove Y, when, in fact, Z is wholly irrelevant because the truth of Y is not in question.

I suggest you and James Swan start dealing with Stacey's original assertion, that King & Webster Vol. III does not convincingly demonstrate what they say it demonstrates.

Wintrowski said...

James,

"It appears to me Stacey doesn't have a coherent framework by which to understand the ECF's. She has an incorrect understanding of sola scriptura which she's using to evaluate the citations. I don't mean this in any mean spirited way- I do appreciate the fact she purchased the volumes."

So, then why don't you deal with her original assertion instead of resorting to ad hominem statements in an attempt to discredit the validity of her assertion?

"Here's what I mean: book II has a lengthy look at the concept of "tradition." Book II even as a few pages on what Irenaeus means by "tradition.""

So, you're saying that Stacey must first imbibe herself with what King/Webster think "tradition" means in order to more fully appreciate the series of quotes given in Vol. III? Why is that necessary, if only to ensure that Stacey reads the quotes in the way that King/Webster desire? Shouldn't the quotes, and the entire texts from which they were taken, clearly support sola Scriptura without requiring first some sola Scriptura mind-warp?


"So when Stacey states,

"Also, many quotes are taken from Irenaeus's Against Heresies. They are taken only from his third book refuting the heresies of his times, which is the Scriptural basis for his argument... But also, some quotes like the one from which the title of the book is derived are stopped just short, where in the very next chapter he says something like this, making it clear that while he affirms Scripture he does not diminish tradition"

....it shows me she hasn't yet done the work needed to understand what King / Webster have put forth. Simply saying... "Look, Irenaeus uses the word "tradition" is not a meaningful response.
"


The very fact that Irenaeus consistently refers to an authoritative thing called "tradition" casts doubt on the assertion that he believed Scripture alone. Furthermore, it is utter nonsense, and intellectually dishonest, to twist Irenaeus's meaning of the word "tradition" so that it's more favourable to the Reformed sola Scriptura position. To show the stupidity of such a thing, I have included a series of quotes at the end of this comment from Against Heresies where Irenaeus talks about this "tradition". Perhaps you will find it more meaningful to read what Irenaeus himself has to say, rather than reading what Webster/King think he is saying.


"Isn't it odd, that with all the pages of text Roman Catholic apologists write every day, none of them has put forth a detailed response to the King / Webster set?"

Actually, that was done about 1800 years ago already.

Here are the quotes from Against Heresies:

2. As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.

[ Against Heresies, 1.10.2 ]



2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

[ Against Heresies, 3.2.2 ]



1. It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to "the perfect" apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity.

2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spoke with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.

4. But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time,— a man who was of much greater weight, and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles—that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Do you know me?" "I do know you, the first-born of Satan." Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, "A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself." Titus 3:10 There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles.

[ Against Heresies, 3.3.1-4 ]


1. Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. Revelation 22:17 For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?

2. To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendour, shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established.

[ Against Heresies, 3.4.1-2 ]


1. Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, John 14:6 and that no lie is in Him. [...]

[ Against Heresies, 3.5.1 ]

Stacey said...

This is the best Z that a woman can do who is chasing after babies attempting to climb on top of the television and begging for more Elmo and milk.

David Waltz said...

Hello James,

You wrote:

>> It appears to me Stacey doesn't have a coherent framework by which to understand the ECF's. She has an incorrect understanding of sola scriptura which she's using to evaluate the citations. I don't mean this in any mean spirited way- I do appreciate the fact she purchased the volumes.>>

Me: Perhaps I have missed it, but why don’t you tell Stacey (and everyone else) what the correct “understanding of sola scriptura” is. And please, I beg you, do not just refer us to King/Webster on this—we need to know if YOU have a “correct understanding.”

>>Here's what I mean: book II has a lengthy look at the concept of "tradition." Book II even as a few pages on what Irenaeus means by "tradition.">>

Me: If actual Patristic scholars (those who have spent a lifetime teaching and writing on the CFs) have not come to a consensus on the nature and content of tradition/s, why should we accept the views of two, self-published, amateurs? Just doesn’t add up James…


Grace and peace,

David

Stacey said...

Rhology,

I have responded to that post more completely over in that comment string.

EBW said...

Beggars All Blog,
Please accept my apology for recently creating a blog w/this name. I'm very new to blog exchange. In fact, I have yet to visit and post at other blogs. I thought I created a profile for exchange and had to include which blogs to visit. In no way did I ever intend to replicate this blog.
Mr. Swan,
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'm choosing to keep the blog w/ a different name.
Truth via Love.

In Christ's Peace
EBW

L P said...

Stacey,

I had a look at your attempt at Z.

May I give an example to illustrate for discussion..

But [it has, on the other hand, been shown], that the preaching of the Church is everywhere consistent, and continues in an even course, and receives testimony from the prophets, the apostles, and all the disciples— as I have proved— through [those in] the beginning, the middle, and the end, and through the entire dispensation of God, and that well-grounded system which tends to man's salvation, namely, our faith; which, having been received from the Church, we do preserve, and which always, by the Spirit of God, renewing its youth, as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent vessel, causes the vessel itself containing it to renew its youth also.
[Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 3, Ch. 24]


Now, please tell me, how in the world can one conclude from that quote-- ah there, here is an example of a CF that denies Sola Scriptura?

No offense, but one has to possess a rather imaginative mind to be able to conclude that this is an example of Z.

Here is another one...
Therefore it is the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship. This is the fountain of truth, this is the abode of faith, this is the temple of God; into which if anyone shall not enter, or from which if any shall go out, he is estranged from the hope of life and eternal salvation.
[Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book 4, Ch. 30]


There is a hidden assumption that since this CF is old he must have been a Roman Catholic, specially if he mentions the word 'Catholic' in his writings.

The ancient church were all "catholics", small c. All Christians called their faith catholic because it is inclusive of all the nations, they were not bound by borders. There is a difference between being catholic and being Roman Catholic.

My experience (as an ex-RC) is that RC defenders do a play of equivocation on the term 'catholic'. Because they have dubbed themselves with the label Catholic, that proves that they have never deviated from the faith of the church catholic. It does not follow.

Protestants that come from the classic Lutheran/Reformed traditions,since they confess the ecumenical creeds are catholic, they are just not Roman.

LP

L P said...

Wintrowski,

You said...

in fact, Z is wholly irrelevant because the truth of Y is not in question.

If there is no question about Y, which I believe is the whole point of the matter, then there is no need for discussion.

If one is already convinced of Y, then what does it matter if X does not prove it?

We will simply have to quibble which one is proving Y.

Our discussion would now be - which one better proves Y, it could be a W which is out there.

But as I read it, Stacey is skeptical about Y, in fact she had a go at showing Z already.

BTW, since RCs do not believe in the principle of sola scriptura i.e in its primacy of authority, and since they deny this, then it would be hypocritical of them to use Scripture to correct Protestants who affirm it.

LP

Wintrowski said...

LP,

"If there is no question about Y, which I believe is the whole point of the matter, then there is no need for discussion."

The question is whether "X does not prove Y" is, in fact, true. If you believe Y is the whole point of the matter, then I suppose it is irrelevant to you whether X does or does not prove Y. However, the truth of Y is not what I believe Stacey's original assertion was about.

"If one is already convinced of Y, then what does it matter if X does not prove it?"

The point is that the King/Webster books are being highly recommended to establish the notion of sola Scriptura. Vol. III of their series claims to show that the Church Fathers believed in sola Scriptura. If Vol. III can be said to be unconvincing at showing this, then the King/Webster trilogy takes a rather large hit in terms of its credibility.

"BTW, since RCs do not believe in the principle of sola scriptura i.e in its primacy of authority, and since they deny this, then it would be hypocritical of them to use Scripture to correct Protestants who affirm it."

Absolute rubbish. If Scripture itself does not affirm sola Scriptura, then it is hypocritical of no one who cares to point that out -- especially not the Catholic Church, whose sons wrote the New Testament, and preserved the Old from the hands of anti-Christian Jews.

Carrie said...

The very fact that Irenaeus consistently refers to an authoritative thing called "tradition" casts doubt on the assertion that he believed Scripture alone.

Oh good, it looks like we have some support for partim-partim again.

Wintrowski said...

Carrie,

"Oh good, it looks like we have some support for partim-partim again."

LOL.

Actually, my quotes from Irenaeus more support the totum in Scriptura, totum in Traditione (one source, two modes) viewpoint, I think.

L P said...

If Scripture itself does not affirm sola Scriptura, then it is hypocritical of no one who cares to point that out -- especially not the Catholic Church, whose sons wrote the New Testament, and preserved the Old from the hands of anti-Christian Jews.

This illustrates my point of name dropping "Catholic Church" as if to imply Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were Roman Catholics, etc.

Either way, you shoot yourself in the foot when you say ... Scripture itself does not affirm sola Scriptura,

Once again, the use of Scripture by the one who does not believe in its primacy authority to convince those who do that Scripture does not teach its own primary authority is absurd and childish.

Why should I take you seriously to point my error from Scripture when in fact, you do not believe in its primary authority? My point is that if you hold the truth that there are other things than Scripture that speaks of truth in the sphere I am in, then you should stop using it, and instead use the the one you hold as the true primary authority on Christian faith and practice. Why? Because that is where the truth is found which you hold, which is primary authority, which is not Scripture Alone.

This is like me telling a Mormon, that he should be a good Mormon and obey his Book of Mormon when in fact I consider his Book of Mormon fairy tale.

If this analogy is not clear, I am lost for words.

LP

Wintrowski said...

L P,

"This illustrates my point of name dropping "Catholic Church" as if to imply Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were Roman Catholics, etc."

No, they weren't "Roman" Catholics, they were Catholics of middle-eastern descent. So, what's your point?

"Once again, the use of Scripture by the one who does not believe in its primacy authority to convince those who do that Scripture does not teach its own primary authority is absurd and childish."

Sure, you can say that. But it should fill any right-thinking person with a certain degree of concern if the authority to which they submit themselves doesn't, in fact, say that it is, itself, the only authority.

"Why should I take you seriously to point my error from Scripture when in fact, you do not believe in its primary authority?"

But I do believe that Scripture is a primary authority, just not the only primary authority.

"My point is that if you hold the truth that there are other things than Scripture that speaks of truth in the sphere I am in, then you should stop using it, and instead use the the one you hold as the true primary authority on Christian faith and practice. Why? Because that is where the truth is found which you hold, which is primary authority, which is not Scripture Alone."

I accept the authority of Scripture and the authority of the Tradition of the Catholic Church, just like the Church Fathers, as has been demonstrated even in this comment thread.

To the contrary, then, it would seem that you are the aberration who ought to refrain from misquoting Scripture to support a position which is, at the same time, un-Scriptural, and contrary to the witness of the history of the Church.

Now, hopefully you're done with petulant irrelevancies, and can actually start dealing with some of the issues that Stacey and I have raised here. Or would you rather just prefer to ignore all that, as you have been doing?

David Waltz said...

Hi Wintroski,

You wrote:

>>Actually, my quotes from Irenaeus more support the totum in Scriptura, totum in Traditione (one source, two modes) viewpoint, I think.>>

Me: Precisely. And for THE RECORD, Trent rejected partim…partim

Grace and peace,

David

Stacey said...

James,

What section on tradition in Volume II are you referring to? The whole of Part I is dedicated to tradition.

Carrie said...

Precisely. And for THE RECORD, Trent rejected partim…partim…


David,

If Trent had rejected partim-partim, then it wouldn't be acceptable to hold that viewpoint (as you admitted it was in the other thread). And Bellarmine, a contemporaneous theologian and Doctor of your church, would have been corrected for his promotion of a "rejected" doctrine.

I think it would be more accurate to say that Trent punted when it came to clearly defining the relationship b/w scripture and tradition.

Carrie said...

Actually, my quotes from Irenaeus more support the totum in Scriptura, totum in Traditione (one source, two modes) viewpoint, I think.

So tradition is superfluous then.

Wintrowski said...

Carrie

"So tradition is superfluous then."

Of course not, dear. I know it's difficult to get out of the sola Scriptura mind-warp, but don't you remember the whole organic link between Scripture and Tradition that the Catholic Church teaches? No? Ok, well, here it is again for you:

I. The Apostolic Tradition

75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."

In the apostolic preaching. . .

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".

. . . continued in apostolic succession

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."

II. The Relationship Between Tradition and Sacred Scripture

One common source. . .

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."

"and [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. the first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.


[ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1.1.2.2, I-II ]

kaycee said...

That's certainly a very interesting theory, Wintrowski.

Wintrowski said...

Kaycee,

"That's certainly a very interesting theory, Wintrowski.

Is that the best you could muster? Having a slow day, perhaps?

David Waltz said...

Hi Carrie,

Do not wish to dwell on this issue, but it is a historical fact that the original draft of decree concerning the canonical scriptures (the fourth session of Trent) read, “partly (partim) in written books and partly (partim) in unwritten traditions.” This draft was rejected, the partimpartim was eliminated, so that the final decree read, “in written books and in unwritten traditions”.


Grace and peace,

David

L P said...

Wintrowski,

No, they weren't "Roman" Catholics, they were Catholics of middle-eastern descent. So, what's your point?

Stop claiming them as if they were your own. That is the point. I thought that was obvious.

But I do believe that Scripture is a primary authority, just not the only primary authority

This is a double speak. "only primary authority"? This does not make sense. As a Protestant, I have authorities, that is why I have a primary authority. For example I consider creeds and confessions to be authoritative. However they are not Scripture and only should be accepted after examination that they conform with Scripture i.e. speaks with Scripture in one voice.

If there is another primary authority I have that is equal with the first, then the first by definition does not become primary.

How many summit does a pyramid have, only one. There is only one at the top.

Your position is self contradictory.

Or would you rather just prefer to ignore all that, as you have been doing?

I have a policy of not answering points that are not to be taken seriously. As I demonstrated above you are capable of making those points - points that are not to be taken seriously.


LP

kaycee said...

Wintrowski said... Is that the best you could muster? Having a slow day, perhaps?

Ok, how should I comment after you cut and paste the grandiose naked assertions from Rome.

Pistols at dawn? :)

It is clear that for the Roman Catholic, tradition and the church ARE the primary authorities over and above Scripture in spite of the lip service paid.

So, for the Roman Catholic, scripture means whatever Rome says it means.

Stacey said...

kaycee,

Although I disagree with how you feel Catholics use Scripture, isn't it then more than fair to say that Protestants have nothing stopping them from using their own private interpretation of the Bible despite the lip service they give to tradition in the form of history and creeds? Especially since tradition is in no way part of their dogma, in fact they have no dogma, and no attempt to bind them to any Christian rule of faith?

Wintrowski said...

Kaycee,

"It is clear that for the Roman Catholic, tradition and the church ARE the primary authorities over and above Scripture in spite of the lip service paid."

Well, for Catholics in Rome or anywhere else in the world, the quote I gave from the Catechism makes it clear that we believe that Scripture and Tradition are inextricably linked, two modes of expression of one source of revelation. The teaching authority of the Church is subservient to Scripture and Tradition, not its master, exactly like the Reformed faith -- the regula fidei is subservient to the Scriptures.

"So, for the Roman Catholic, scripture means whatever Rome says it means."

I don't see how the city of Rome is able to make any sort of proclamation about the meaning of Scripture that is in any way binding on members of the Catholic Church in the diocese of Rome.

As members of the Catholic Church, however, we believe that the Church has the charism to correctly interpret the entire Deposit of Faith which we have received from the Apostles. If the Church should interpret a passage of Scripture to mean a certain thing, then, yes, that interpretation would be binding on Catholics. However, such a binding interpretation cannot be contrary to anything else in Scripture, or anything else that is taught from Tradition. Contrast this with the Reformed churches who can and do interpret Scripture in many confusing and contradicting ways, and the individual is free to attribute whatever meaning to Scripture that he feels is right.

L P said...

Stacey,

Especially since tradition is in no way part of their dogma, in fact they have no dogma, and no attempt to bind them to any Christian rule of faith?

This is not correct, perhaps you are judging protestants from your experience being raised in a non-denomination protestant body. I do not blame you for having such a view, frankly I see evangelicalism today to have rejected its Reformation roots that they are functioning RCs already - semi-Pelagian as RCs. They have no concept of Law vs Gospel, Justification vs Sanctification, Impartation vs Imputation etc. They have no systematic catechism and so it is not surprising if they eventually become RCs.


Classic Protestants do bind their people to their confession. There is a difference between nuda scriptura vs sola scriptura. I am surprise you say Protestants have no dogma.

James Swan is Reformed and he is bound by his Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and Canons of Dort. These are documents that have not been obsoleted because of Scripture because they believe this to speak the same voice as Scripture.

I myself am Lutheran and I am bound by the Book of Concord. So I think you are judging Protestantism based on your experience with a section of it.

Protestantism is catholicism without additions, at least I can say this for Classic Protestantism- Anglican/Reformed/Lutheran.

LP

James Swan said...

So I think you are judging Protestantism based on your experience with a section of it.

This is what I call, "convert syndrome" wwhen one thinks they've been set free from the Matrix and now must save the world. I know, I went through it as well some years back.

Stacey said...

LP and James,

I am surprise you say Protestants have no dogma.

And what beliefs are binding on Protestants except that they use the Bible as the sole and ultimate authority? Rhology has said even Reformed churches are not bound to any traditions and are free to take or leave anything that is "extra"-biblical as they like. Luther acknowledged the power of an individual with his Bible over even anything he said. That's all modern day Christians have done, or that's what they think they've done.

These are documents that have not been obsoleted because of Scripture because they believe this to speak the same voice as Scripture.

That's what Catholics think tradition does - "speak the same voice as Scripture"

So I think you are judging Protestantism based on your experience with a section of it.

Darn tootin'.

I know that a lot of how I think about things is influenced by my past experiences. I'll even provide the ammunition for you to fire all sorts of accusations towards me. Yes, I have been angry, like you said you were, James, at those institutions, the men who ran them and their abuses. I know that the Reformed churches are better than modern post-denominational evangelicalism, but I think they're better because they have retained more of the truth that they walked away from the Catholic Church with. I do not think they retained all truth.

Do you really think that a system that began by rejecting authority and essentially saying "You guys have been wrong for 1400 years, and I have interpreted the Bible correctly" (basically surgically removing one of its legs and then tries to run with it) has any protection against modern day post-denominationalism? Of course not! These modern evangelicals have done the exact same thing as the Reformers by ignoring the finer points of Luther and Calvin's theology. If those placed in authority of Christ's Church can be ignored, then how much more can a private theologian be ignored? If there is no authority but the Bible, then even Luther and Calvin carry no weight, especially if you find something in the Bible (like in Joel 2) that you believe says something different than they saw. The Reformers were close to tradition and that formed their views, but in the modern society there is no tradition left and that is why I experienced the things I did.

An after thought: do you then believe that modern evangelicals are not regenerates?

This is what I call, "convert syndrome" wwhen one thinks they've been set free from the Matrix and now must save the world. I know, I went through it as well some years back.

What were you motivated by, James? I'm motivated by an irresistable urge to protect and proclaim the beauty of Christ's Church. I have no delusions that I will change anyone's mind, although I continually hope that Christ's bride will be embraced and loved for the wonderful thing that she is. I know however, that she will be hated as Christ was hated. I only do this, because I feel it must be done. I actually believe it is somewhat futile and that the world will not be saved, only a few will be saved from it.

Wintrowski said...

LP,

"Stop claiming them as if they were your own. That is the point."

To do so would be to deny historical realities, and to say that these men preached a doctrine unheard of until the 16th century. They were Catholics, and the New Testament was written by Catholics. I'm afraid you're just going to have to deal with that.

"... speaks with Scripture in one voice."

Oh, you mean like how the Tradition of the Catholic Church and Scripture both proclaim the same message?

"I have a policy of not answering points that are not to be taken seriously."

You don't think it's a serious point that the Church Fathers do not preach sola Scriptura, but, in fact, as can be demonstrated quite easily, the preach the same doctrine as preached by the Catholic Church today?

But, of course, I forgot, sola Scriptura means that only the Bible matters, and whatever you think the Bible means. Everything else is irrelevant, right? So, what were you saying about creeds and confessions again?

kaycee said...

Stacey said:.. kaycee,

Although I disagree with how you feel Catholics use Scripture, isn't it then more than fair to say that Protestants have nothing stopping them from using their own private interpretation of the Bible despite the lip service they give to tradition in the form of history and creeds?


Hi Stacey,

First, the often mis-used phrase "private interpretation" does not mean what Catholic apologists think it means.

A closer examination of this passage reveals that it has no reference at all to those who read the Scriptures, but refers instead to those who wrote the Scriptures. By studying the context of the passage, one learns that the passage is discussing how the Scriptures came into existence, not how they are to be “interpreted.”
http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2952

Especially since tradition is in no way part of their dogma, in fact they have no dogma, and no attempt to bind them to any Christian rule of faith?

2. Protestants recognize traditions, councils, etc., but we recognize scripture as the only infallible authority.

3. "Just as Rome disagrees with the Eastern Orthodox over matters of logical deduction concerning the role of Peter in the Church, so too do Protestants disagree with each other over matters of logical deduction from the text of Scripture. Everywhere one turns, whether within a given communion or between different communions, disagreement exists.

So what? This has been the case ever since the Apostolic Age itself, as is eloquently testified by Paul in 1 Cor. 11:19 ("No doubt there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you"). " Tim Enloe http://lionofjudah.tribulationforces.com/articles/roman_catholic/whatistruth.html

L P said...

Stacey,

The Reformers were close to tradition and that formed their views, but in the modern society there is no tradition left and that is why I experienced the things I did.

The proper thing to do then in your case, where you have been disillusioned or even doctrinally abused by your protestant church, is to go back and re-trace where they have strayed off, i.e. go back to the root.

This is what the Reformers did. Reformation does not stop, because the church is always being pulled away from the Gospel. The church that is reforming continues to reform. The church being a company of sinners is always going to mangle or corrupt its understanding of the Gospel, that is why the Scripture is there to bring her back in line. Scripture warns that from her own ranks, false teachers will arise tearing the sheep.

The Reformation was a movement to take out the abusee, fix what was broken and retain that is good, which is what the Bible says.

It is quite an exaggeration for you to say that Protestants do not have dogma. The moment some one says to you "you must be born again" or asks you "have you been saved", things that fundamentalists ask, they are into dogma.

Not every Protestant body is a non-denominational church and you are judging all by what you see in a section.

What if I do the same. How would you like it when I accuse all Roman Catholic priests to be pedophiles because of the $600 M payout she is giving to the children molested by some of her priests?

How would you like it if I say to you 'how could you say the RCC is a haven for you'? could these abused folks, now adults, say the same? They have been betrayed by the ones who were suppose to nurture them, many of them have been scarred for life, only God knows the emotional damage they are in.

Surely you would not like me to draw that conclusion, would you?

LP