Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Early Church Fathers on Sola Scriptura

Irenaeus (ca. 150)
Against Heresies 3.1.1
“We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

Clement of Alexandria (d. 215)
The Stromata, 7:16
“But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.”

Gregory of Nyssa (d.ca, 395)
“On the Holy Trinity”, NPNF, p. 327
“Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

Athanasius (c. 296–373)
Against the Heathen, 1:3
“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

Basil the Great (ca.329–379)
On the Holy Spirit, 7.16
“We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”

Ambrose (340–397 A.D.)
On the Duties of the Clergy, 1:23:102
“For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures?”

St. Augustine (354–430)
De unitate ecclesiae, 10
“Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
Summa Theologiae, Question 1, art. 8
“For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books.”

Thanks to Reformed Rants for this list.

9 comments:

jswranch said...

Carrie, [Note: due to time, I can only respond to one of your posts a day.]
In googling this topic, I came across a page that made me chuckle. http://www.logos.com/products/details/518 It offers CD's of 'Early Church Fathers Protestant Edition' and an 'Early Church Fathers Special Catholic Edition.' At the bottom of the page, it explains, "The Early Church Fathers CD-ROM comes in two versions, Protestant and Catholic. Simply put, the difference is that the Protestant edition contains additional front matter written at a later date. There is no difference in the actual ECF text."
Haha, there is such a debate over who these guys belong to that companies market them differently.



So about these ECF quotes:
And the quotes you provided counter Catholic doctrine how? Not once have you shown scripture alone. Not once have you shown these guys reject tradition. You have shown they trust scripture as we do. For every quote you show they believed in scripture, I will show a quote that they also supported they believed in tradition, just as the Catholic Church does.

-Irenaeus (ca. 150)
Against Heresies 3.1.1
“... the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”
By the way, is he saying that "the ground and pillar of our faith" is Scripture, the will of God, the Apostles teaching the plan of salvation, or the gospel? Don't forget that 1 Tim 3:15 shows the Church is the ground and pillar of truth. You seem to be fighting an invented enemy that does not exist and calling the Catholic Church.
Don't leave out Irenaeus' other comments, which support Tradition like:
Against Heresies 3.3.1 "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."

-Clement of Alexandria (d. 215)
The Stromata, 7:16
“But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.”
Again, Clement teaches as we do today. This quote in no way says for us to reject tradition, as some Protestants conclude.

Don't leave out Clement's other comments, which support Tradition like:
Stromata, 1:1 "Well, they PRESERVING THE TRADITION of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God's will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds."

-Gregory of Nyssa (d.ca, 395)
“On the Holy Trinity”, NPNF, p. 327
“Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

Agreed, the scriptures should be our umpire and all our dogmas should agree with scripture. However, he does not discount Tradition

Don't leave out Gregory's other comments, which support Tradition like:
Against Eunomius 4.6.
"And let no one interrupt me, by saying that what we confess should also be confirmed by constructive reasoning: for it is enough for proof of our statement, that the TRADITION has come down to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them."


-Athanasius (c. 296–373)
Against the Heathen, 1:3
“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”
And we agree that they are fully sufficient for the prolamation of the truth. But are they the proclamation of the truth alone? That is what the Protestant case needs to prove.

Don't leave out Athanasius' other comments, which support Tradition like:
De Synodis 1.21
"Moreover it were fitting, now that you know for certain what has passed, and that the men have communicated with us and have been received by so great a Holy Council, that you should with all readiness hail this your coalition and peace with your own members, specially since the articles of the faith which they have published preserve indisputable the universally CONFESSED APOSTOLIC TRADITION and teaching."

or

1.47
"For it is right and meet thus to feel, and to maintain a good conscience toward the Fathers, if we be not spurious children, but have received the traditions from them, and the lessons of religion at their hands."


-Basil the Great (ca.329–379)
On the Holy Spirit, 7.16
“We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”
And neither are we. We need both. Tradition really helps teach us the meaning of scripture.

Don't leave out Basil's other comments, which support Tradition like:
On the Holy Spirit, 9.22 "Let us now investigate what are our common conceptions concerning the Spirit, as well those which have been gathered by us from Holy Scripture concerning It as those which we have received from the unwritten tradition of the Fathers."

or
9.25 "The one aim of the whole band of opponents and enemies of "sound doctrine" 1 Timothy 1:10 is to SHAKE DOWN THE FOUNDATION OF THE FAITH OF CHRIST BY LEVELLING APOSTOLIC TRADITION with the ground, and utterly destroying it."

-Ambrose (340–397 A.D.)
On the Duties of the Clergy, 1:23:102
“For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures?”
Like what? You are using this to say he would leave out Tradition. However, scripture teaches us to hold fast to the Traditions the apostles gave to us.

Don't leave out Ambrose's other comments, which support Tradition like:
On Psalms 118 "Wherefore all other generations are strangers to truth; all the generations of heretics hold not the truth: the church alone, with pious affection, is in possession of the truth."

or
Letter to Siricius 5. "But if they will not believe the doctrines of the Clergy, let them believe the oracles of Christ, let them believe the admonitions of Angels who say, For with God nothing shall be impossible. Let them give credit to the Creed of the Apostles, which the Roman Church has always kept and preserved undefiled.


-St. Augustine (354–430)
De unitate ecclesiae, 10
“Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”
Amen. How does this contradict anything we teach?

Don't leave out Augustine's other comments, which support Tradition like:
On Baptism 5.23.31 "The apostles," indeed, "gave no injunctions on the point;" but the custom, which is opposed to Cyprian, may be supposed to have had its ORIGEN IN APOSTOLIC TRADITION, just as there are many things which are observed by the whole Church, and therefore are fairly held to have been enjoined by the apostles, which yet are not mentioned in their writings.

On Baptism 2.7.12 "And this custom, coming, I suppose, from apostolical tradition (like many other things which are held to have been handed down under their actual sanction, because they are preserved throughout the whole Church, though they are not found either in their letters, or in the Councils of their successors),—this most wholesome custom, I say, according to the holy Cyprian, began to be what is called amended by his predecessor Agrippinus."

especially,
Against Ep. Mani 5:6 For my part, I should not believe the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.

-Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
Summa Theologiae, Question 1, art. 8
“For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books.”
Yes, our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and the Apostles. Yes, they wrote the canonical books. What is your point?

Don't leave out Aquinas' other comments, which support Tradition like:
Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 5, a. 3 "The formal object of faith is Primary Truth as manifested in Holy Scripture and in the teaching of the Church which proceeds from the Primary Truth. hence, he who does not embrace the teaching of the Church as a divine and infallible law does not possess the habit of faith."

or
ST III.25.3 "The Apostles, led by the inward instinct of the Holy Ghost, handed down to the churches certain instructions which they did not put in writing, but which have been ordained, in accordance with the observance of the Church as practiced by the faithful as time went on. Wherefore the Apostle says (2 Thessalonians 2:14): "Stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word"--that is by word of mouth--"or by our epistle"--that is by word put into writing."

Carrie said...

John,

You have admitted that the ECFs are not inerrant.

Let’s get back to scripture which is.

Where in scripture does it tell us that there exist revealed truths that are necessary for salvation that are captured in tradition and not captured in scripture.

In other words, prove that the oral traditions of the Apostles is different than the written words of the apostles.

jswranch said...

Carrie,
Excellent questions.

Where in scripture does it tell us that there exist revealed truths that are necessary for salvation that are captured in tradition and not captured in scripture.
No where. Never alluded to such concept. However, we have been taught to hold to such tradition anyway.


In other words, prove that the oral traditions of the Apostles is different than the written words of the apostles.
I would never attempt to do so. Both teach the same truth. One is the Word of God written down. The other is the Word of God spoken and passed on. They are both professing the same truth, but in two different mediums of communication. Both are inspired and we are to hold to both, just as St. Paul said.


I would really like to see your reflections on Dei Verbum, paragraphs 7-10. Specifically, where are we wrong in your eyes from this Vatican II document.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html

Carrie said...

No where. Never alluded to such concept. However, we have been taught to hold to such tradition anyway.

Congrats, John. You are half way to sola scriptura.

Of course, I don't think you are holding to Catholic doctrine on this one, but I don't have time to prove that now.

If what YOU say is true, then tradition is redundant and unnecessary. God's truth can be known through the scriptures alone.

Carrie said...

"Catholics, on the other hand, hold that there may be, that there is in fact, and that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible;"

-Catholic Encyclopedia
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15006b.htm

jswranch said...

Carrie,
Congrats, John. You are half way to sola scriptura.

Of course, I don't think you are holding to Catholic doctrine on this one, but I don't have time to prove that now.

Please do. I want the truth. Please read Dei Verbum and show me where the 'whore of babylon' is wrong.

If what YOU say is true, then tradition is redundant and unnecessary. God's truth can be known through the scriptures alone.
Ok, I agree. So does the Catholic Church.


"Catholics, on the other hand, hold that there may be, that there is in fact, and that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible;"
Sure, like we will have to resort to history/tradition to know which books belong in scripture and when things in the bible actually occured.

Carrie said...

Please read Dei Verbum and show me where the 'whore of babylon' is wrong.

John,

Is the only way you can make your point by misrepresenting what I say and try to implying certain "anti-Catholic" catch phrases which I have never said?

jswranch said...

Carrie,

I have been of the internet for a few days recently. My wife got a last minute vacation to visit one of her old friends... in Hawaii... without kids. So, I have been flying solo with the three chitlens. Keep her friend, Patrice, in your prayers. She suffers from SSA and was ousted by her A/G church cause the H.S. didn't 'cure her.' That was the church she and my wife got saved in.



Back to the fun and games:
John: Please read Dei Verbum and show me where the 'whore of babylon' is wrong.

Carrie: Is the only way you can make your point by misrepresenting what I say and try to implying certain "anti-Catholic" catch phrases which I have never said?
Honestly, I do not have a problem with the anti-Catholic/whore of babylon speech. As I have said before, the Catholic Church is what she prolaims to be, or she is the whore of Babylon and the pope is the anti-Christ. Protestants who do not believe this are:
a. not paying attention
b. Universalists
c. don't care to find theological truths


The fact remains that you have not looked at the Catholic Church's dogmatic Constitution on the Word of God (Dei Verbum) and commented on where our teaching are wrong from our own explanation of ourselves.

You have admitted that the ECFs are not inerrant.

Let’s get back to scripture which is.
Look up 'Unanimus Consent of thhe fathers"
here is a link:
http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/3.2/faithoffathers.htm

Besides, by turning to scripture, you need an infallible authority to tell you which books belong in scripture. I have a hard time accepting the infallible canon of scripture while rejecting that same authority's interpretation of scripture.

Carrie said...

Besides, by turning to scripture, you need an infallible authority to tell you which books belong in scripture. I have a hard time accepting the infallible canon of scripture while rejecting that same authority's interpretation of scripture.

Simple solution - stop looking to men and look to God.

God wrote the scriptures, do you think he wasn't capable of compiling them? Do you think he wasn't capable of making the scriptures clear enough to get the jist of the message?