I meant (that was) my last comment at Triablogue, nor merely my last comment under that thread.
And we can all see what good fruit that bore.
Scripture itself does not say that all we need to believe and do, as Christians, is explicitly stated in Scripture.
How can he then also affirm the words of Psalm 119?
In 2 Timothy 3:15-17, we see the richness of what the Scriptures are, and what they do:
-can give one wisdom…
-…so as to be saved (through faith)
-breathed out by God (cf: Matthew 22:31)
-profitable for teaching and correction
-can train one in righteousness
-to render the man of God adequate for every good work.
Jesus thought enough of it to say "The words I have spoken are spirit and are life" (John 6:63).
John 20:30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Two things about this passage:
1) John's Gospel alone apparently was, to his mind, sufficient to have life in Jesus' name. What else do I need, again?
2) The "other signs Jesus also performed", which by his own admission receive no mention, are unnecessary to have life in Jesus' name.
I've done a whole debate on this.
So has TurretinFan. Oh, wait, he's done more than that.
James White might have done a few as well.
It does not even say that everything which is "essential" is *clear* in Scripture.
"All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; the necessary things are all plain." (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Second Thessalonians, 3, v. 5)
More on why Christopher won't accept this teaching from Chrysostom in a moment.
As a Calvinist Protestant, I had to, and did, assert that my own "private judgement" on the meaning of Scripture was better than that of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, and the other early Church Fathers
And you continue in that to this very day.
Here's the proof - they've said things that are contrary to the modern dogma of Rome, and you don't believe those things.
Now, you or some other Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox might remind us that a given Church Father taught elsewhere something that does in fact agree with the modern RCC/EOC. So now we have two different teachings from the CF on a given topic. What do we do?
Let's just say for the sake of argument that you're right - the CF taught in more than one other place the opposite doctrine to what the Sola Scripturist already quoted.
For example, that Athanasius taught Sola Scriptura. Or that John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Hilary of Poitiers, and (Pope) Clement of Rome taught Sola Fide. Then an RC or EO friend counter-cites one or all of these men with clearly non-Sola-Scriptura/Fide verbiage.
That leaves us with CFs who have contradicted themselves.
Now, to fulfill what Christopher wants us to do, namely to be consistent with these CFs (and remember, my claim is that modern RCC/EOC is inconsistent w/ them), we would either have to:
A: Teach just as inconsistently as these two guys do, sometimes saying one thing, sometimes the other, or
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine/Apostolic Tradition.
The problem with resolution A is that the cognitive dissonance would be pretty much unbearable. The upshot is that I don't know if I'd expect a lot of people to turn away from RCC/EOC in real life.
The thing about resolution B is that they have indeed already done just that. Somehow these godly, forcible, powerful writers, from whom RCC/EOC (and thus, by profession, Christopher) ostensibly derives much of their tradition and doctrine, also produced impious, ungodly, and flat wrong teachings.
Now, how would Christopher know judgment about wrong teachings? Apparently from judging these non-"Apostolic Traditions" by... yup, you guessed it! What The Church® Says.
In the end, it's a vicious circle of question-begging. I claim the modern RCC/EOC is not totally faithful with CFs and then cite them when challenged. Then they say, "Hey, those aren't part of ApostolicTradition!" I say, "Thanks for proving my point."
I also pause to note how pernicious this is. The Lord Jesus set an authoritative example for how one is to judge tradition - by Scripture. The RC/EO refuses to do that and instead appeals to his own doctrinal construct which is already in place to then look back on tradition and Scripture and pick and choose what he will and won't believe. Thus the RC/EO holds to the Scriptural teaching of the Deity of Christ and rejects the Scriptural teaching of salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. He accepts the Trinity and rejects Sola Scriptura. He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.
It becomes easy to see how this not only dishonors God in ideal (that is, that we should not judge men's teachings by God's) but also later in practice (bowing down to images, praying to dead people, trying to work one's way to salvation).
A few more points on this:
As Steve already reminded you, but you either didn't read, were too disingenuous to care, or didn't understand how this wrecks your point, you had to engage in private interpretation to choose Rome over other "infallible interpreters", other rival magisteria, such as the WatchTower, the LDS, the Eastern Orthodox, the Copts.
It's either sheer obstinacy or rank ignorance that brings Roman Catholics back to this ridiculous "argument" time and again. It's as predictable as a priestly sex scandal.
Christopher Lake said further:
anytime that I dipped into the above Church Fathers and found anything faintly "Catholic," I asserted that my understanding of Scripture was simply better than theirs.
As mentioned above, however, you do that, and I commend you for it. The Apostle Paul's command to "test everything, hold fast to that which is good" is meant for everyone and anyone. We test the 1st generation of the church just like we test this current generation.
Your problem is that you do the same thing but reproach us for preferring what the Scripture teaches versus the limited selection of "Church Father" teachings that Rome enjoins upon us. This brings up another fundamental incoherency of the "Church Father" argument.
- You don't know that what these guys said is what the church of their time believed.
- You don't know how what they wrote was received by other churches. Any mere claims to "we believe thus" are not necessarily true. Not without proof, and more proof than their say-so.
- You don't know whether they were held in the highest respect by their contemporaries. Maybe you're reading the Charles Stanley of their time - not really all that bad, but quite shallow compared to others, most of the time.
- You don't know whether you have all their writings, or even what % their today-extant writings form of the total things they wrote over their lifetime. Thus you don't know if they ever took it all, or part of it, back.
- You don't know whether what they said in public or in private teachings actually comports with the extant writings you have.
- You don't take everything that is extant from a given "Church Father" and believe it. You believe only the parts that the modern Roman Catholic (though this applies to Eastern Orthodoxy too) Church has dogmatised and accepted for modern times. Why call them "Church Fathers" at all? Seems to me a traditional nomenclature that fails to take the above into consideration, fails to think through the divide between what any of them believed and what modern Rome believes, and has served as a useful tool for you, so you decided to keep it. And it is useful - citing "Fathers" sounds so imperial, so high-fallootin', so mysteriously powerful, that often it causes a brain block within the mind of the Sola Scripturist. I myself have experienced this many times.
What this illustrates for certain is that our certain guide, our certain lamp for our feet, is the Scripture. The Scripture is simply not subject to these kinds of questions (at least not within the RC/EO/Sola Scripturist circle of debate), for we all accept its authority and sourcing - it is the very Word of God.
Such is demonstrably not the case for "Church Fathers", however. We read them like we read DA Carson today - to understand who they are, what they taught, and their theological contexts. They are not authorities. They (and I, or my pastor, or Billy Graham, or John MacArthur) have power only insofar as they repeat the Word of God. Where they do so, let us praise God for the insight they have shared. Where they have not, let us learn not to repeat their mistakes.
The only sense in which they are "fathers" is that they are older and came before us. They made many mistakes, however, and we do not necessarily know even the majority of what any one of them believed and/or taught.
Nobody invests them with great authority - not Sola Scripturists, not RCC, and not EOC.
Sola Scripturists - obviously.
RCC and EOC, for reasons mentioned above - if these men really were their authorities, they would teach like them: inconsistently. And they certainly wouldn't anathematise Sola Fide, for example.
No, for the RC and EO, the modern church is the only authority in practice. "By their fruits you shall know them."
But for us who love and follow Jesus and believe His words in Mark 7:1-13 wherein He told us to test traditions by Scripture, our Church Fathers are named: Jesus, Mark, Luke, Paul, Peter and John and the rest of the 11, James, Jude, and the guy who wrote Hebrews. Do you want to know what the earliest church believed? Read the New Testament.