This is the final installment of my Sola Scriptura series.
The previous posts (post crash) can be found here. Or you can download entire series in rough PDF.

UPDATE: I have already deleted about 10 comments today. Please don’t just spam with quotes from the church fathers. Had the poster who did read the entire series, he would have seen that the quotes used don’t argue against sola Scriptura, properly defined. So please, if you are going to engage, read the rest of the series. I don’t have the time to recreate all the previous posts so that others can get up to speed enough to engage here! Thanks for your attention to the blog rules as well.

I have attempted to present a balanced look at the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura. This is a doctrine that I hold to very strongly and believe is a sine qua non of Protestantism. What I mean by this is that this doctrine forms an essential bedrock of Reformation orthodoxy.

In the previous posts I have step by step attempted to defend this doctrine against competing models of authority held by both Catholics and (sometimes) Eastern Orthodox. But one of the most substantial claims that those who deny sola Scriptura make is that it does not find representation in the history of the church. In fact, Roman Catholics would argue that church history holds to a dual-source theory where unwritten tradition and Scripture are equal and the Magisterial authority of the Catholic church infallibly interprets both.

I agree that it would be a substantial argument if in the history of the church we cannot find the principles of sola Scriptura being held, but this is simply not the case. I offer two arguments here:

1. To require that one produce an articulated view of sola Scriptura in history is anachronistic. An anachronism is where one enforces a contemporary articulation of an idea or use of a word on an ancient audience. This is not unlike what many Christian cults do with the doctrine of the Trinity. They ask orthodox Christians to produce historical verification for the Trinity prior to 325 A.D. (the date of the Council of Nicea, when the Trinity was articulated in its near current form). They are not looking for seeds of the principle beliefs, but an actual articulation. Expecting to find the doctrine of sola Scriptura commits the same type fallacy. Both suffer from the same presumption that if something is true, we will find it in its current articulated form from the beginning. This assumption is unjustified and finds no parallel in any other discipline.

The doctrine of sola Scriptura as defined in this series was explained and articulated as such precisely because of the controversies of the 16th century. Search all you will and you will not find the phase “sola Scriptura” before the Reformation just as you won’t find the word “Trinity” commonly used before Nicea. But, in both cases, I do believe you will find the doctrine in seed form. In other words, the doctrine of sola Scriptura was undeveloped before the Reformation, but it was present in its undeveloped form.

As I have argued many times, there is a development that doctrine goes through, and controversy is the adrenaline to its development. If there is no controversy, it will remain an assumed part of tradition. It’s assumption does not mean it is right or wrong, it just means that the church had yet to deal with it substantially and holistically. (See my “An Emerging Understanding of Orthodox” for a more thorough breakdown of doctrinal development theory.)

2. Sola Scriptura did exist in seed form. I am going to post some quotes from the early church fathers. Those who are opposed to what I am arguing will say that I have taken these out of context, but the truth is that we all see what we are conditioned to see. If you are dead set on rejecting sola Scriptura and highly respect the witness of history, you will simply form a theological context around these statement so that they say what your theology says they must say. But I have been a student of church history for long enough to say that the more I read the early church fathers, the more I am convinced that they held to an unarticulated form of sola Scriptura. In other words, for most of church history, the Scriptures have been the final and only infallible source for truth.

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.”

Notice how Irenaeus equates the traditions with the Scriptures. They proclaimed the truth at first (unwritten tradition), and “at a later period” handed it down “in the Scriptures” which is now the “ground and pillar of our faith.” Sounds very Protestant.

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.”

Notice the final court of appeal is the Scriptures, not the church. The “those” who are encouraged to toil in the most excellent pursuits do not refer to the church ecclesiastical authority, but to all people. All people are encouraged here to search for truth and find it finally in the Scriptures.

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.”

Again, the final court of arbitration is the Scriptures, not the church. Respect is always given to the ecclesiastical authority and tradition by the early church, but Scriptures hold a unique place of authority.

Athanasius (c. 296–373)
Against the Heathen, 1:3

“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

This speaks to the vital doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture that we dealt with earlier. The Scriptures being “fully sufficient,” is simply a seed form of sola Scriptura.

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.”

This sounds a lot like Martin Luther at Worms. While we respect the tradition of the Fathers, they don’t bring contentment unless they followed the Scriptures.

Ambrose (A.D. 340–397)
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?”

This is even stronger than I would go. Ambrose sounds a little fundamentalistic. In fairness, it was the particular issues – doctrinal issues – which brought this about. The answer to Ambrose’s question could not be more plain. We cannot adopt those things which we do not find in holy Scriptures because Scripture is our final and only infallible authority.

St. Augustine (A.D. 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.”

The most important thing to notice here is the belief that the Catholic bishops can err. Agreement with them is not based upon some infallible authority which they possess, but is measured against the canonical Scriptures of God!

Again, to be sure, there is a great respect and authority given to tradition in the early church as there was among the Reformers. Protestants need to understand this when studying history. But I do not believe that the most prominent of the early church fathers would have rejected the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura properly defined.

While I have great respect for many who do not agree with me on this issue, I believe that I have represented a compelling case both biblically and historically that the Scriptures are the final and only infallible source in matters of faith and practice. To be sure, this does open up the problem of interpretation that we are always going to have, but, in the end, we must follow the truth as God has revealed it. Scriptures are the norma normans sed non normata—“the norm of norms which is not normed.”

This series is now complete! Who says I don’t finish what I start?


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    154 replies to "In Defense of Sola Scriptura – Part 10 – A Historical Defense"

    • ScottL

      Michael –

      Congrats on finishing the series. 🙂

      I do believe in sola Scriptura in that we have been given Scripture as the final measuring stick for our faith and the practice of such, though I also respect church history/tradition as well as being connected to the current body of Christ in helping to walk out our faith. Still, our consciences are to be held captive by God and His Word. I think first century Judaism shows tradition can go a bit askew (Matt 15:1-9).

      But, here are a couple of questions to think through more, though I am sure you have thought through such but did not have time to address every issue in a shorter blog article:

      1) How do we see sola Scriptura functioning in the first couple of centuries (100’s and 200’s) when there was not a completely formulated NT canon? We know that there was a general understanding of what was recognised as the God-breathed Scriptures, for even Peter refers to Paul’s writings as equal to Scripture (2 Pet 3:15-16). But there was some struggle and discussion over writings like Hebrews (not knowing who authored it) and the letters of James and Jude, as you are aware. So, I know you claimed an ‘underlying’ and somewhat ‘underdeveloped’ doctrine of sola Scriptura in the first centuries, but can we solidly claim such for those first couple hundred years since no NT canon was really set in stone until possibly such things as the Athanasius’ 39th Paschal Letter in AD367 or the Third Council of Carthage in AD397 (though maybe there were a few things before that to ‘set the canon in stone’)?

      2) Finally, how would you deal with the question in regards to the recognition of the canon is actually established through tradition (the decision of our fathers so long ago). I believe it was God’s providence that established such a canon, but we wouldn’t have that canon unless our father’s had concluded on such (tradition). So, does the canon actually rest on tradition more than we sola Scriptura’s like it too?

      But these questions might be addressed in the whole series, I just can’t remember. I will have to go back and read the PDF (all 31 pages!).

      Thanks again for the articles.

    • Dr. G.

      When and how, if ever, did the written word assume almost pre-eminent importance in Christianity?

      After 1) the death of Jesus; and then the death of living witnesses .. there was not a lot else left.

      A Temple? Not particularly 2) after the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of God’s main Temple, by Rome, 70 CE.

      Living memory was probably all but extinguised then particularly, when most Jerusalem Jews were killed or sent into exile, outside the city.

      At that point 4) a new breed of Rabbis appeared; necessarily not connected with the main temple, which no longer existed. And more dependent on … written records, texts.

      After all this, Jesus would have been known not in person; nor even through The Temple cult; but increasingly, only through – admittedly partial – written records.

      5) Indeed, the Road to Emaus has Jesus appearing primarily as “Scriptures” are read.

      6) So that by the time of John – c. 90 ACE? – the identification of Jesus with not just oral “words,” but probably with written texts too, was so great that Jesus and God were simply identified as the “Logos”; which is usually translated as the “Word.”

      A term which to be sure, might be taken to mean the new oral tradition. But which has connotations of writing too: cf. our English “logogram,” etc..

      But in any case, Jesus, c. 70-90 CE, is now in the aethereal “place,” as Foucault and Derrida might say (or we might say, the new temple), of Language. A kind of disembodied word or thought – or “spirit” – in an ethereal “heaven,” someone might say.

    • C Michael Patton

      Comments have been deleted due to spamming the blog with comments.

      Please make sure all comments are thought out and not just cut and paste. Please deal with the substance of this post. We can cut and paste the Fathers all day long. I have been in too many discussion where that is all that is done and it gets nowhere.

      Please read the rules.

    • C Michael Patton

      As well, the spam of blog posts assumed a different definition of sola Scriptura that I have not been defending (i.e. solo scriptura). I don’t have time to argue all the points that I have made in the previous 10 posts.

      Please, if you are going to try to make an argument here against what I am arguing, read the rest of the series.

      However, I understand if you don’t have time.

      Here is a list of Church fathers quotes that some would say doesn’t support sola Scriptura: http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Tradition.asp

      However, none of them that I can see militate against sola Scriptura. They simply argue for a high respect of tradition, the same thing I have done!

      It is not about whether the church fathers looked to tradtion or the regula fidei as an authority. We all agree they do and we all agree that we should. The questions is was the Scripture the final and ultimate authority.

      I believe this is the case.

    • C Michael Patton

      please read the update

    • ScottL

      Hey Michael. A discussion thread has begun on Theologica entitled – How Complete Is The Revelation?.

      I thought you might be interested. And, I hope you wouldn’t mind but I uploaded the full In Defense of Sola Scriptura document you wrote. I thought it would be ok since you uploaded the document to your blog and wanted it available to anyone.

      Thanks

    • Been looking forward to this for a long time, Dr. Patton. As an ex-Pentecostal, I’ve really loved the doctrine of sola Scriptura and this series has only heightened my appreciation of this teaching. Good stuff!

    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks Doug.

    • C Michael Patton

      For those of you who are interested in the early church (and you should be!), Reclaiming the Mind is seriously considering getting all the major early church documents on MP3. This includes the Apostolic Fathers and many works from Augustine, Athanasius, the Cappidocians, and some of the more relavent Eastern Fathers. We will spend time recording these ourselves.

    • ScottL

      If you want, you can click on this link for a really good website with all the early church father’s writings – Early Church Fathers.

    • Vance

      What I think is very important about the points Michael makes is the nature of progressive revelation. The Christian community did not articulate the concept of the Trinity, for example, for a couple of hundred years, but it was true all along. What is crucial here is that it is almost assured that there were hundreds of thousands of Christians who lived and died knowing nothing of that doctrine. In fact, I think it is highly likely that most, if not all, of the apostles themselves did not really have a grasp on this concept. If they had, they would have taught it, and we would have it. No, it was revealed slowly, over time, from (as Michael puts it) the “seeds” that were there all along.

      The same could be said of the many aspects of Jesus’ divinity, the role of baptism, etc.

      This is so very important because it is a clear example of how doctrines that we see as crucial to the Christian faith are simply not as crucial as we think. Again, Christians lived and died and are now in heaven without ever knowing the doctrine of the Trinity and very likely not realizing the true nature of Jesus’ divinity. We must keep that firmly in mind as we debate seemingly seminal doctrinal issues.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      CMP,

      Congratulations for completing the series!

      On a related issue, if one were to grant Sola Scriptura, how important is the Doctrine of Inerrancy?

      For example, if one were to deny Biblical Inerrancy and instead affirm and support Biblical errancy, what impact, if any, would this have on Sola Scriptura?

      What are the corporate and individual spiritual health impacts to Sola Scriptura and to errantists for being errantists.

    • Dr. G.

      At the time of the death of Jesus – c. 24-37 CE? – there were evidently, no uniquely Christian scriptures, gospels; there is not much of an account of the Apostles writing, even as Christ talked. And to be sure, if Jesus thought of himself as a loyal Jew, then he did not have in mind any other “scriptures” himself, but the OT/Jewish holy books etc..

      By the time of Paul – fl. 55 CE? – apostles begin to tell us to revere “all” the “Scriptures”; but we don’t know exactly which “scriptures” that meant. In fact, “all” would almost seem to a) include all writings altogether. Or b) certainly the Jewish OT, etc.. While c) we cannot be sure it included many (or even any?) of the “new” writings, of what would later be called the New Testament. Our Bible does not seem to offer a clear “canon” or list of exactly which books would be considered sacred.

      Still to be sure, we do see a reverence for some kind of sacred writings perhaps; even in Jesus being called the “Logos,” or “word.” And especially in the NT embrace of “scripture” … whatever that was.

      To be sure, most scholars think that the tradition of Jesus was for some time c. 30-55 AD, carried on mostly by simple memory and oral traditions, sayins. So that … for the critical first generation after the execution of Jesus, there may have been no uniquely “new” writing on Jesus, carrying his memory on. So that indeed, whatever writing was subsequently put down, would ultimately be dependent on … that first generation’s memory, and oral narration. Not scripture.

      So it seems almost certain, that there was a gap here, in the written record. IN the first generation after Jesus, essentially, there was perhaps no uniquely CHristian (as opposed to Jewish) scripture at all. Certainly, no fixed canon.

      Thus it would be hard to argue, very strictly, for any absolute primacy of scripture. Given this crucial break or gap, between Jesus himself … and the first appearance of scripture; c 30-55 CE.

      Given this, probably many modern/postmodern scholars, Biblical Critics, would just suggest that however firm the written scriptural tradition appears later on … it was all built on a foundation of sand; a perhaps vague memory, an oral tradition. For at least a generation. Or even two.

    • cheryl u

      CMP,

      I think I need to let you know that this mornings comments and deletions have left me confused to say the least. I read all of the quotes in the comments that were deleted this a.m. Granted, there were many of them and they were very long.

      But my probem as, at first reading, they did present an argument against the historical argument you have presented here. Now, you have clarified and said they were not defining Sola Scriptura in the same way you are. But I no longer have the opportunity to go back and reread what they said so that I can either agree or disagree with your understanding.

      So I am left with my head spinning and wondering if I was completely wrong in my first understanding due to a difference of definition or not! I only have two choices at this point: 1) take your word for it completely which is hard to do since I read quotes that seemed to be in contradiction, or 2) go and read all of the available printed material by the early fathers to find out for myself–which I certainly do not have the time to do, at least not now!

    • EricW

      cheryl u:

      Two things you could do:

      1. Google for “early church fathers” and “scripture” (and/or “tradition” or maybe also “sola scriptura”) and you will find lots of Websites or blogs that list many of the quotes Peter posted, or similar ones, esp. if the writer is defending the Catholic or Orthodox Churches’ understanding of Scripture and Tradition. Read or skim a few of them until you find the ones that give the lengthy quotes in defense of interpreting Scripture in conjunction with the Apostolic traditions a la the Catholic/Orthodox teaching.

      2. Buy/Read Keith A. Mathison’s bookThe Shape of Sola Scriptura in which he makes a strong case from the Church Fathers and from church history for the Protestant position. But some critics of Mathison charge him with being selective and misreading the Fathers to find support for Sola Scriptura. (Note: Mathison does NOT believe in or argue for “Solo Scriptura,” and he mentions this distinction many times in the book.)

      = Time and money saved!

    • mbaker

      It seems to me that there is a presumption, not proof, that there was a gap between the written scripture and the oral tradition. Certainly bits and pieces of earlier versions have been discovered. There may have been scholars who recorded Christ’s teachings at the time, to teach from, and it could have also been they were also available as well the OT. Since we don’t know for sure either way, I don’t believe we can then presume the inerreancy of scripture is in question simply by virtue of the gap between them being compiled and spoken.

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl, it would be good to go to the link I provided with has a lot of the quotes from the early church fathers that others would used that do not hold to sola Scriptura. I certainly would not think you need to go read all of the fathers to get up to speed, but that would be a great endeavor!

      I have just been seen the proof texting of the church fathers for so long that it does more harm than good (for both sides) and never ends. It is like John Hannah, the church historian says, we all walk through the gardens of church history and choose the flowers we like the best.

      My point in this post was not to illustrate that the early church fathers believed that the Scriptures were the only source of authority (something only the radical reformers promoted), but that it was ultimate among giants. Whether it is the word of God written, or the word of God spoken, the authority is the same. However, these quotes demonstrate that the early Church believed that the codified Scriptures were an ultimate representation of God’s word.

      Of all the quotes that were given as well as those that I link to, I could agree with just about everyone. So could any Protestant who understands these issues.

      However, if I just allow someone to come and and cut and paste over and over, it will give the impression, due to the multitude of references, that I must need respond to each one in order to make my case. However, if they would have read the entire series, they would see that most of those quotes are meaningless and cause me to have to start all over.

      Also, this guys has done this before. I leave and there are dozens of cut and paste posts. This is not only misleading and unhelpful, but runs others off.

    • C Michael Patton

      Or you could also buy William Webster’s book on the subject. It is massive and filled with quotes that support the Protestant position. While it is a good resource to relavant text, from my perspective, has a bit too much proof-texting.

    • C Michael Patton

      Sorry, Cheryl, I thought I posted this earlier right after I deleted all the comments. Here it is: http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Tradition.asp

      But again, none of which I would necessarily disagree. We all see through our lenses. But one of the best things about being a Protestant is that there is much more freedom to explore such issues and adjust. But, in this case, I don’t think there is reason to do so at all.

    • Dr. G.

      MBaker:’

      If the New Testament has no account of people taking down Jesus’ words exactly at the same time he spoke them (which I’m not sure about to be sure) … then that would seem to firmly indicate some gap, between the moment Jesus spoke … and any written record or scripture.

      Some write about things they have “heard” and have “seen” of the “power” of God. But does that refer to actually seeing first hand the events in God’s lifetime? Or say … seeing first hand the conviction of the 1st or even 2nd generation faithful? Indeed perhaps John did this … but most scholars think he wrote c. 90 CE.

      To be sure, there are perhaps accounts of people writing an account of Jesus after the crucifiction. But often they are modest even about their own accuracy. James for example admits that “we all make many mistakes,” even as he writes his section of the NT.

      In any case, a review of the early Church clearly shows that the earliest Christian writers we know … spoke in ways that implied a more limited list of NT writings than we have today; indeed, as someone noted above, the canon did not start to firm up until … even two hundred years or more after Jesus dies.

    • C Michael Patton

      I can see this turning into a “canon” thread. Be careful.

    • mbaker

      I don’t want to see that happen either, CMP. I think that’s for another day, and another post.

      My only point is that in questioning the inerrancy of scripture, which was done in a comment above, based upon a quid pro quo argument that one person can’t prove it isn’t and the other can’t prove it is, leads to unnecessary presumptions (not yours) about sola scriptura itself, and gets a discussion totally off point….

      This is a very informative series and I would like to see the discussion advanced in that way, not drift off into speculations like some of the other threads here have tended to get bogged down in.

    • Dr. G.

      Go ahead; we just wanted to sketch in some foundational questions briefly.

    • cheryl u

      CMP,

      Thanks, I did read the quotes at the link that you gave. There were a couple that I thought a little bit “ifey”. But for the most part I agree with your take on them.

      By the way, I am not questioning Sola Scriptura itself at all. I very firmly believe it to be correct.

    • cheryl u

      Sorry if this may seem off topic for a moment.

      Dr. G,

      Who is “we”? Conversing with, or reading comments from, an unknown group or entity is a bit disconcerting, to say the least.

    • mbaker

      I’m wondering what ‘foundational’ is considered to be in the above comment as well. Is this based upon the commenter’s belief or those of scripture, or is it specifically related to the writings of this post? And if so, where is the specific ‘foundational’ source it is referring to?

    • Dr. G.

      Who is the “we” that are arguing that the written record to Jesus is not continuous to Jesus himself? Therefore casting doubt on various claims for scripture?

      Who suggests that immediately? Post # 1, Scott L – and I – seem to be making a similar point. While “we” might also be taken as the editorial “we”; or a community of scholars too.

      Many are making this kind of point: if you want to argue that the church has always said, and should always say, that scripture is always the chief source of its authority – or even the only source, sola or solo – then note many scholars today, in many Protestant denominations, are suggesting that was not always true. Many are calling attention to issues of scriptural authority. While suggesting that other authority, plays a larger role than many thought. Including say, oral traditions.

      Note for example, in CMP’s introduction, that perhaps the first Church figure he quotes – Irenaeus – in effect seems to say that he or his aquaintances were among the first to begin to write (probably holy) scriptures … after the verbal testimony of others. So that the scripture appears first to have (in one reading of I.) was first orally transmitted, or “proclaimed in public.” And only at a later period, handed down in “scriptures”:

      CMP quotes 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.” (Roughly).

      [How do we get those nice green quote lines, by the way?]

      There’s more:

      “Notice how Irenaeus equates the traditions with the Scriptures. Indeed, they proclaimed the truth at first (unwritten tradition), and at a later period”handed it down in the Scriptures which is now the ground and pillar of our faith. Sounds very Protestant”

      But does that really sound Protestant to everyone? The Church today says that much of its authority comes not from scripture, but from oral culture. And notice here, a key phrase that has been hidden in quotes; that what became scripture began with an “unwritten tradition.” That only later becomes “scripture,” it seems.

      That doesn’t sound Protestant to some. In I’s time, the Church was already probably, rather Catholic – while the modern Church firmly asserts today that while some traditions came down in writing … others were “spoken” and so forth. While indeed, this quote by I. seems open to that understanding. (Among others to be sure; most Biblical passages having more than one level of meaning in them).

      To be sure, though, let’s not get bogged down in this issue.

      Still, perhaps it has been useful for once, to slow things down a bit; people were complaining about huge masses of Spam flying; too much volume. For once, a small slow-down, might have been useful here?

      Please feel free to pick up the thread again; comparing one scripture against another, etc..

    • cheryl u

      Dr. G,

      Saying “we” wanted to say something obviously implies mutual agreement to say whatever was then put forth. Saying “we” wanted to implies that you have conversed on this subject and this particular pronouncement in particular. It implies that you have been given permission to speak for a group. So I think it only logical to ask who the group is!

    • Dr. G.

      Here, the concern is for the “foundation” of scripture itself. Which is relevant to a discussion of solus or solo or sola scriptura. In that: if you want to claim that the Protestant church is firmly based on that … as a foundation, then … we need to ask 1) is that a firm foundation? And 2) do all Protestants really agree with that?

      You began with the assumption that one or more of these two elements, were true; they were the implicit “foundation” of your argument.

      By the way, we here and now do not offer any other firm “foundational” idea of our own. We am merely addressing what appear to be cracks in the foundational assumptions of any argument for solo or sola scriptura.

      To prove one thing is wrong, we don’t have to prove we have a ready replacement for it, a new foundation, that is true.

      In this case, it seems from the above, that solo or sola (or solus?) scriptura … has some foundational issues. Even the earliest Church fathers appear to be saying … it was from sayings, proclamations. And the source of those sayings is not clearly credited.

      But “Which they did at once time proclaim in public.” And then only later became writing it seems.

    • C Michael Patton

      I have update the rules: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/04/blog-rules/. Hopefully that will clarify some things.

    • C Michael Patton

      Here are the quotes that were posted earlier in defense of an opposing view. If you have any comments or would like to ask questions about any one of these, I would be happy to engage. But only one at a time. However, make sure that you have read the whole series first!!

      “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 levelling apostolic tradition with the ground, and utterly destroying it. So like the debtors, — of course bona fide debtors. — they clamour for written proof, and reject as worthless the unwritten tradition of the Fathers.” Basil the Great, Chapter X, Oration on the Holy Spirit,

      “In the same manner the Apostles and Fathers who laid down laws for the Church from the beginning thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices, that the knowledge of our dogmas may not become neglected and contemned by the multitude through familiarity.” Chapter XXVII, ibid

      “Time will fail me if I attempt to recount the unwritten mysteries of the Church. Of the rest I say nothing; but of the very confession of our faith in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what is the written source? If it be granted that, as we are baptized, so also under the obligation to believe, we make our confession in like terms as our baptism, in accordance with the tradition of our baptism and in conformity with the principles of true religion, let our opponents grant us too the right to be as consistent in our ascription of glory as in our confession of faith. If they deprecate our doxology on the ground that it lacks written authority, let them give us the written evidence for the confession of our faith and the other matters which we have enumerated. While the unwritten traditions are so many, and their bearing on “the mystery of godliness is so important, can they refuse to allow us a single word which has come down to us from the Fathers; — which we found, derived from untutored custom, abiding in unperverted churches; — a word for which the arguments are strong, and which contributes in no small degree to the completeness of the force of the mystery?” ibid

      “[T]he custom [of not rebaptizing converts] . . . may be supposed to have had its origin 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” (Augustine On Baptism, Against the Donatists 5:23[31] [A.D. 400]).

      “But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the apostles themselves or by plenary councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church” (Augustine Letter to Januarius [A.D. 400]).

      “[Paul commands,] ‘Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter’ [2 Thess. 2:15]. From this it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there is much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further” (Chrysostom, Homilies on Second Thessalonians [A.D. 402]).

      “It is needful also to make use of tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture. The holy apostles handed down some things in the scriptures, other things in tradition” (Epiphanius of Salamis, Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 61:6 [A.D. 375]).

      “Don’t you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Sirit is a custom of the Churches? Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command. For many other observances of the Churches, which are do to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law (Jerome, The Dialogue Against the Luciferians 8 [A.D. 382]).

      Whenever anyone came my way, who had been a follower of my seniors, I would ask for the accounts of our seniors: What did Andrew or Peter say? Or Phillip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew, or any of the Lord’s disciples? I also asked: What did Aristion and John the Presbyter, disciples of the Lord say. For, as I see it, it is not so much from books as from the living and permanent voice that I must draw profit (Papias, The Sayings of the Lord [between A.D. 115 and 140] as recorded by Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3:39 [A.D. 325]).

      Seeing there are many who think they hold the opinions of Christ, and yet some of these think differently from their predecessors, yet as the teaching of the Church, transmitted in orderly succession from the Apostles, and remaining in the churches to the present day, is still preserved, that alone is to be accepted as truth which differs in no respect from ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition (Origen On First Principles Bk. 1 Preface 2 [circa A.D. 225]).

      Without prefixing Consulate, month, and day, [the Fathers] wrote concerning Easter, “It seemed good as follows,” for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but about the faith they wrote not, “It seemed good” but, “Thus believes the Catholic Church”; and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to show that their own sentiments were not novel, but Apostolic; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles (Athanasius, Letter on the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia [A.D. 359]).

      That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief n two ways: first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church (Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory 2 [A.D. 434])

      “on the other hand, even if our reasoning be found unequal to the problem, we must keep for ever, firm and unmoved, the tradition which we received by succession from the fathers, and seek from the Lord the reason which is the advocate of our faith: and if this be found by any of those endowed with grace, we must give thanks to Him who bestowed the grace; but if not, we shall none the less, on those points which have been determined, hold our faith unchangeably” (On “Not Three Gods” in NPNF, vol. 5, pg. 331).

      [S]eeing, I say, that the Church teaches this in plain language, that the Only-begotten is essentially God, very God of the essence of the very God, how ought one who opposes her decisions to overthrow the preconceived opinion… 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, handled on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them.” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 4:6 (c. A.D. 384).

    • cheryl u

      CMP,

      Do you no longer have a working e-mail address for this blog? I have been trying since this a.m. to contact you by e-mail and it is not working. Would you mind e-mailing me so I can get in touch with you?

    • C Michael Patton

      Again, most of these quotes simply demonstrate that there is more than one authority…something that I have already argued and sola Scriptura has no problem with.

      But my quotes in this post at the very least demonstrate that there was an ultimate authority.

      You also have to understand the context and the time of history in which all of this is going on. There would be less need to appeal to the final authority of Scripture seeing as how the longevity of unwritten information had not necessarily run its course of solid reliability.

    • mbaker

      I think the point is that we do have a clear enough picture from both written and oral traditions that most can agree that there are enough facts from original sources such as Christ Himself and the disciples recorded that we can establish sola scriptura was not just belief of the church fathers, which followed, as CMP has also pointed out.

      I think it is clear that the source should be Christ himself, and the words of those who followed Him, which were subsequently recorded by men who could more easily prove or disapprove what was written because they lived in that time, or close enough to it that the facts were still pretty much known.

      Yes, there are parts of the church who unfortunately dispense with the Bible to advance their own prophecies, and oral traditions, however the tests for being considered either an apostle or a prophet, and thus being able to speak the words of God Himself were they had to be present with Jesus, and to have witnessed the events in the Bible.

      Paul, of course. was not present with Jesus as an original disiciple of His but was later appointed and counseled by Him directly to preach the gospel, and be qualified to say: Thus saith the Lord.

      I would think that there was as CMP indicated probably much controversy surrounding whether any of the claims Jesus or any of the original scholars made were true or not. The final test I would think would be this:

      If we are to believe that Christ offers salvation, then we must believe the other writings about Him in order to have any hope that any of it is true.

    • Dr. G.

      Suppose that for a while, the holy words of Jesus were not written, but were being passed from one person to another, in oral culture. Is that OK? Is such culture reliable?

      Ever play the game called “telephone”? You put a dozen or more people in a row; and whisper something to the first of them, just once; and tell him to whisper it, just once, to the next person. And so on to the end of the line.

      Then you ask the last person in that line, to write down what he heard. And compare that to what you originally said. Almost never, does what came out of this line of orally transmitted ideas, even remotely match, what went in.

      And that is in, say, five minutes in the world of oral transmission. Imagine what can happen in two generations. Or three hundred years.

    • mbaker

      To quote what CMP said in his post called “What Is The Anchor of Your Faith?”

      “I am curious. When you have doubts as you lay your head down on the pillow at night, what is the anchor of your faith?”

      I have to believe that sola scriptura, or the Bible, is as accurate a testimony of the Christian faith there is now available to man. The anchor of course to me is Christ Himself.

    • Dr. G.

      re # 35

      Today we “hope” for heaven, many say; but many suggest it is a “hope,” not a very, very solid “assurance.”

    • rayner markley

      Michael’s citations from early church authorities strongly support the principle of ultimate authority of scripture (whatever that scripture may be, whether the OT or new writings) in the early church. Yet, we know that principles are not always honored in practice. Can you cite any specific cases for which the issue was decided by appeal to scripture rather than tradition?

      Ironically, the notion of authority of scripture is itself a church tradition. This is true because Jesus Himself did not commission anyone to write, or authorize any new writings, or write anything Himself. Had He done any of these things, we would not be having this discussion. What Jesus did institute was the Holy Spirit as the guide for righteousness and truth. Evidently, the earliest church took that seriously.

    • mbaker

      Jesus did not have to write anything Himself to prove anything, because He was the scriptures made real, the Word of God made flesh, as John, his disciple testifies in John 1:1-14. Christ also taught from the scriptures Himself, and often quoted from them.

    • Kara Kittle

      mbaker,
      Also those times Jesus was quoting, He always said “It is written” or “that prophecy must be fulfilled”.

      He validated the OT when he quoted from it, He established teaching about Himself from it. Therefore the OT is certainly as important as the NT.

    • mbaker

      Yes, and certainly if He would have meant scripture was no longer of any value, He would have surely said, “It is not necessary to record anything else in writing, since you have the Holy Spirit.” Certainly the gospels would not have been written at all had it not been for His disciples wanting to tell the world the Good News had come, as recorded through the centuries by OT scripture.

      Interesting too, that when Christ came back from the dead He taught the disciples all the meaning of the scriptures that he had previously spoken to them before in parables.

      So we have several examples that Jesus was the logos, in person, and respected scripture as God’s word. John 17, quotes Him as saying: “Sanctify them in the truth, Father. Your word is truth.”

      After all, God Himself did have Moses transcribe the ten commandments on stone tablets, and told one of the other prophets to record their vision on a tablet.

      Not to mention the book of Revelation had to have been transcribed or passed along, at least in some manner by the disciple John before he died, since he was exiled on Patmos, and is it estimated that it was written about 95A.D. It was written in first person by John, and it opens with Christ’s messages to the seven churches, which by then had already been established.

    • Jay

      I skimmed the series. Nice work.

      But no mention of the Radical Reformers (Anabaptists)???

    • Stan Hankins

      When I pray for my brothers and sisters in China, Iran, North Korea and other places where they may be under persecution, one of the things I ask our Father to do is to provide each one with a copy of His Word. The Word of God is so precious and so powerful and so sufficient and so wonderful!!! Sometimes I feel guilty that I have so many bibles and some of my precious brothers don’t even have one. Will you guys help me pray for that?

    • mbaker

      I shall be more than glad to pray that God provide a way for those who do not have Bibles to obtain them, Stan.

      God bless.

    • mbaker

      I wanted to share something that i think illustrates the pure power of the word of God. During 911 I was at the Atlanta airport getting ready to return to the pacific northwest after my daughter’s wedding. I was on an airline pass, and didn’t make the first plane before the president closed the airports. All the passes were confiscated by the airlines because they didn’t know who all had them, so I had to return across country on the bus.

      I had my Bible sitting on the seat next to me. The first person it attracted was a woman with a tattoo of a third eye on her forehead, who asked if she could sit beside me. You can imagine what I thought. It turned out she wanted someone to talk to who would understand. She had given up her vacation (she was an EMT) to go help dig bodies out of the twin towers. She said she knew from my Bible that I would be able to comfort her, and she wanted to know why, why. She cried all night at the horror of it all. I was able to soothe and comfort her from the word of God. She finally slept.

      In North Dakota a middle eastern man got on the bus. He was being taunted by others there. He saw my Bible also and told me the one of the most incredible stories. He had been in the navy of one of the smaller middle eastern countries, and found a Bible hidden in the bathroom. He was curious and begin to read it. He accepted Christ right there in that bathroom, because of what the Bible said. He went home and converted his wife mother and sister. They all came to the United States because their lives were in danger staying there. He was on his way to see his dying mother. He was so happy she was a Christian, and he would see her again someday.

      So the word of God carries a power with it way beyond what any of us understand.

    • cheryl u

      mbaker,

      Thanks for those beautiful stories. The Word of God is indeed powerful and He uses it in mighty ways to bringing about His will for people’s lives and meeting their needs.

    • EricW

      That was very inspiring, mbaker. Thanks for reminding us to keep the Word not only in our hearts, but also on our laps or beside us when we ride public transportation for the sake of the eyes, ears and hearts that may be open to Him.

    • Jason C

      Suppose that for a while, the holy words of Jesus were not written, but were being passed from one person to another, in oral culture. Is that OK? Is such culture reliable?

      Ever play the game called “telephone”? You put a dozen or more people in a row; and whisper something to the first of them, just once; and tell him to whisper it, just once, to the next person. And so on to the end of the line.

      Then you ask the last person in that line, to write down what he heard. And compare that to what you originally said. Almost never, does what came out of this line of orally transmitted ideas, even remotely match, what went in.

      And that is in, say, five minutes in the world of oral transmission. Imagine what can happen in two generations. Or three hundred years.

      This displays a very poor understanding of oral transmission in the ancient world.

      Firstly, they were non-literate, that is writing wasn’t regarded as the most reliable form of information transmission. The spoken word was, and that backed by people who relied on memory for transmission. Even written materials like Paul’s letters were meant to be read out to an audience. Writing was an aid to memory, not a replacement for it.

      Secondarily the teachings of rabbi like Jesus were in a form that aided memorisation. We ourselves can usually recall fairly accurately the stories of Jesus from the Bible. We don’t need to look up the story of the man let down through the ceiling to recall Jesus’ words “friend, your sins are forgiven” nor his contemptuous response to his critics “which is easier, to say that your sins are forgiven, or get up and walk?”

      Thirdly it wasn’t passed from one person to another, it was passed from one group to another. Jesus had an audience when he spoke, whether it be as few as three or as many as ten thousand. Those who did manage to forget what he said would be quickly reminded by scores of co-witnesses. Likewise when the information was passed on the new recipients could come back to the first group and check to see they had the gist of the story right.

      Imagine if in your game of telephone, the speaker spoke out loud to the entire group. He would use a format that made for easy memorisation, “the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain”. The group could sit and discuss it, and come back to the speaker if they were unsure of what he said. Now the members of that group go and tells other groups, with the same thing happening, but at the end of it the second groups write down what they were taught. How many would get the “holy” words wrong? In the words of Scribe, “not many, if any.”

      That is oral transmission in the ancient world. That is why even two or three generations could have passed between the events happening and the records being written without any serious loss of information.

    • Dr. G.

      Of course my first simple illustration on the weaknesses of a predominently oral culture – the telephone game – is a very brief and simplified intro to oral culture. But note, yours is still not fully adequate either.

      Note that 1) many ancient cultures had some writing to be sure … but the literacy rate was about 2% of the population. So that many stories would have been simply told orally, over and over, before being written down.

      2) Specifically in fact, we have no reliable record of any consistent early written back-up, like a complete Bible in the early days; in fact what record we do have, strongly suggests an instable, incomplete canon.

      3) In the meantime, who any alleged experts in oral transmission have spoken to? The simple people that Jesus often talked to? Who often misunderstood him?

      Indeed, anyone who went around collecting stories of Jesus (like Luke?) – especially where there were only one or two witnesses; other people there besides Jesus himself – would often be … just talking, in oral culture. And talking to inexpert witnesses. Who we can see, if the Bible is accurate, often misunderstood him.

      4) You yourself suggest these things ar “fairly” accurate; and often get merely the ‘Gist” of the story.

      So first of all: the initial collection of stories would have been unreliable. Then too, regarding the subsequent transmissions? Over the next three hundred years?

      5) Though ancient cultures had ways of helping them memorize long passages … of course, still, memorization was often not reliable. Try to remember all the poetry you memorized forty years ago, yourself.

      6) Do you really personally think that memorization was so good? Then what good was the Guttenberg Revolution? And this printed screen? No advance at all?

      7) Then too, regarding sacred memorizing groups? When did they form? And what did they do when witnesses conflicted?

      8) Then too, many living witnesses and groups would have been killed, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome, c. 70 CE. So that many living memories disappeared.

      9) And when Christianity moved to Rome? An entirely different country, separated by generations from Jesus?

      10) Then too consider all the interested parties, that would like to “remember”/spin facts their own way. Easy to do when there are few witnesses to contradict you.

      11) While then too remember that many allegedly saw the miracles of Jesus … and yet did not believe/report them accurately; did not convert.

      12) Then multiply all these difficulties and more, by 300 years? And what do you get?

      You get absolute holy certainty?

    • Kara Kittle

      Jason,
      That’s the accusation of atheists and other religions to deny the truth of the Bible.

      You assume they were not literate. A very good book you need to read is How the Irish Saved Civilization. Moses was literate, and according to that statement, he would have relied on oral tradition to write the Pentateuch.

      The mid-eastern oral tradition is strict. Griots in Africa recite word for word for word every oral tradition from one to another. And most often oral tradition carries with it a certain truth because what history writers do is indeed leave out certain facts to manipulate or venerate who they want to present as being the hero or the villain.

      If writers do that, how can we be sure of the veracity of a message? We can see if it is consistent throughout time. And it was proven in the Dead Sea Scrolls that the Bible of today is supported from ancient documents, word for word and not interpolated back into verses at a later time.

      But the very clear understanding you must have about the Bible is that it was not ever just written solely by man. God moved through those people to write it. God is the author, therefore in the transmission of His word He makes it clear and through the Bible there is a clear consistency of unity of thought and mind, from people who never knew each other. So in this supposed “telephone game” there are huge gaps of time and space.

      One must conclude that if it were mere oral tradition, as many pagan religions themselves are, that the originator does not care about the message in each transmission, but He does and makes the effort to show us what is right, not through another oral transmission of person to person, but through speaking to the listener Himself and that is the difference in Judeo-Christianity as opposed to other religions, we have an interactive deity who works with His believers to not only hear the message, but understand the message.

    • cheryl u

      “But the very clear understanding you must have about the Bible is that it was not ever just written solely by man. God moved through those people to write it.”

      Amen, Kara.

    • Dr. G.

      My point would be that no human intitutions would have handled this well enough.

    • cheryl u

      Here is a very interesting article I found. It lists the dates that all of the New Testament books were probably written in the opinions of muliple scholars, some conservative and some liberal. Note the belief that all of them were actually written fairly soon after Jesus death.

      There were not many years, even centuries of memorization going on here that probably was not accurate any more as has been implied above.

      http://www.errantskeptics.org/DatingNT.htm

    • cheryl u

      Here is another very interesting quote:

      Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, martyred in A.D. 156 after being a Christian for 86 years. Polycarp had been a disciple of the Apostle John himself. Irenaeus had often heard from Polycarp the eyewitness accounts of Jesus received from John and others who knew Jesus.50 In Adversus haerese, III. I (ca. 180), Irenaeus writes:

      Now these, all and each of them alike having the Gospel of God,–Matthew for his part published also a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, whilst Peter and Paul were at Rome, preaching, and laying the foundation of the Church. And after their departure, Mark, Peter’s disciple and interpreter, did himself also publish unto us in writing the things which were preached by Peter. And Luke too, the attendant of Paul, set down in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards John the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned on His Breast,–he again put forth his Gospel, while he abode in Ephesus is Asia.51
      The high importance of this testimony of Irenaeus is demonstrated in the book, The Irenaeus Testimony to the Fourth Gospel: It’s Extent, Meaning, and Value, by Frank Grant Lewis.52

      From here:

      http://www.grmi.org/Richard_Riss/evidences/12date.html

    • Dr. G.

      Between the death of Jesus, and the appearance of many parts of the NT … is a generation or two in most cases; c. 55-97 AD.

      Though that is for just the earliest versions; the texts were not finalized for many centuries … if ever.

      Today translators are still coming out with new editions of the Bible, every few years.

      Which one is certain? Which one is the final authoritative version? Which one reflects the originals?

    • Dave Z

      Dr G,

      All the NT books were written during the lifetimes of the apostles. Actually by or at least under the authority of the apostles. These guys heard Jesus speak every day for several years. They had ample opportunity to absorb his message and even his very words. Then, within a week after the resurection, they were out telling the story – they devoted themselves to teaching the gospel. Also, they had each other to keep them in check. If one mis-remembered an event, the others could correct him.

      IOW, the gospel was not spread by some guy who heard Jesus once in a big crowd while munching on miraculous fish and bread.

      As far as Luke collecting stories, there are clear indications he spoke to those involved. I think verses like Luke 2:19 are based on a personal interview with Mary. Do you think she remembered the events of Jesus’ birth? It’s not every day that an angel shows up to chat.

      I was 7 when Kennedy was shot, but I still remember how and where I heard the news. I remember the Beatles on Sullivan. I remember hearing the news about RFK and MLK. I remember Armstrong on the moon. I clearly remember how and where I found out about the space shuttle Challenger blowing up and I’ll never forget the first news about 9-11 and the images of those towers falling.

      The point is that life-changing and world-changing events are forever burned into our minds. Those who walked with Jesus, heard his teachings, saw him die and then saw him alive again are reliable witnesses. I think they had his teachings fully committed to memory ( I figure Jesus taught pretty much the same stuff wherever he went, so the disciples heard it over and over again) and the image of the cross was always on their minds. Then they wrote it down. There was no oral transmission over generations, at least regarding the NT. It is first-hand, eyewitness testimony.

    • Dave Z

      Dr G, in post 55, you’re comparing translations to an original text. Apples and oranges. Regarding the certainty of the original text, that’s where textual criticism comes in. Dan Wallace (who contributes to this blog) has tremendous stuff on that, including an exercise where he has students intentionally corrupt a text, then through principles of textual criticism, has other students reconstruct the original. There really is very little doubt about what the writers originally wrote.

    • Dr. G.

      “Original” texts vary.

      And very early complete ones, can’t even be found.

      So textual criticism is now perfect? Glad to hear it.

      If schoars are reliable: note that most scholars now suspect that the Apostles themselves were not the authors; most could not read or write, they say. Rather, things were written in the name of, or tradition of, this or that apostle.

      So scholars now say.

    • cheryl u

      I find it very interesting indeed that scholars now say the apostles were not the authors of the books themselves, when Iranaeus who was born in AD 70 asserts they wrote them themselves. Seems to me like he may have had a lot more first hand knowledge on the subject than today’s scholars!

    • mbaker

      G,

      I am curious, from the sound of your posts on this and other threads. Do you believe the Bible is the word of God or not? If so why, and if not why not?

    • Dr. G.

      C: Did the Apostles write these books of the Bible themselves?

      See Iranaeus’ own comments in the blog intro, above; that’s not quite what he says.

      MBaker: I accept the Bible as the word of God. By way of an extended process, not necessarily relflecting infallible fidelity to any original document.

    • mbaker

      G,

      Would you mind expanding upon this:

      “I accept the Bible as the word of God. By way of an extended process, not necessarily relflecting infallible fidelity to any original document.”

      I’m not necessarily understanding if you mean it evolved over time or is based upon second hand information? Also if you think the information is not accurate do you believe the crucifixtion could have taken place as reported in the gospels, and the resurrection? I’m just interested in what you base your Christian beliefs on, and what school of thought you identify with.

      Thanks.

    • Kara Kittle

      Another thing is this that we often forget, what about people who lived in areas that did not have the Bible in book form? We know that the Catholic church was very good in evangelism early on, but did not reach all areas until much later. It was still isolated to Europe and the middle East during the Crusades, and not in Asia until the 1600s.

      There is something viable about a book that takes hold of people the way the Bible does, and it actually ended cultures that were pre-Biblical acceptance. Like the Vikings. We know the Viking culture ended as Scandinavians began to convert.

      Two important legends arise from Irish history, Connal Cearnach and Cuchulain. Both of those legendary heroes do indeed mention Jesus Christ and the crucifixion. Connal Cearnach was a gladiator fighting in Jersusalem and apparently according to legend went back to Ireland with this fantastic story of a Jewish man hung on a cross. This was at a time when Ireland was still Druidic pagan.

      The veracity of the Bible is evident in history, legend, eyewitness and martyrdom of believers. If it were not based in truth, why at that time did none of the converts from farther away from the original source ever challenge it? We are talking about cultures who had very sophisticated faith systems, not ignorant fools who didn’t know anything like we supposedly do today.

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr. G,
      The Gnostic Gospels were written by original authors, are they valid?
      The I Ching was written by original authors, is it valid? Why debate the accuracy of the Bible and never challenge any other faith system?

      How about the Maya Calendar that says the world is ending in 2012? Is it really going to? And the quatrains of Nostradamus…are they accurate?

      Let’s put all religious books on the table and examine them all. Sola scriptura is a phrase meaning “by scripture alone” so all books are in some regard scripture to the believer in said book, so sola scriptura could apply to all faith systems with a religious book.

      How about the Egyptian Book of the Dead? Can we have faith in it also?

    • Dr. G.

      “God’s progressive revelation”?

      Note that many have questioned – and changed – the dominant Bible. Note that Protestants threw out six or seven whole books from the Bible as it was, before 1515. (Baruch; Tobit; Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, etc.? SP?).

      The Catholic Bible today is bigger … because they kept many ancient books in it … that Protestants later questioned, and threw out.

    • Dr. G.

      Many people question all faith systems in fact. Whether the texts are by original authors or not.

      In the case of “God’s progressive revelation,” in fact, it might be argued that it is not even necessarily important to have fidelity to any original text; since God reveals himself better, over time. Or more appropriately for us, in our own time, by more contemporary statements.

    • Jason C

      Dr G. Not to be unkind, but did your doctorate come in a box of cereal?

      I have never argued for absolute certainty in the transmission process because it simply doesn’t matter. If we read the ancients we have to accept what they give to us in the form that they understood it. Among the curious features that frustrates the more retentive among us is their cheerful indifference to precision. Accurate recall of an event or speech was to convey the general gist of what happened.

      How do we know that people misunderstood Jesus? Because they managed to not only convey what he said, but also their confusion about it. Compare that to copiers who themselves cannot read, but simply replicate the letters that they see on the page. Many of our ancient documents rely on those illiterate scribes, yet I don’t see scholars throwing up their hands and saying that those documents are worthless.

      Your attempt to claim that memorisation is unreliable, firstly makes the assertion that it is and then try to support your claim by referring to my memories of what I may have read 40 years ago (I was -6 then so I wasn’t reading much). You show no ability to deal with the importance of memory to an oral culture, rather you simply beg the question.

      The Church in Rome was established in the forties (Paul was writing letters to them in the fifties) so we’re talking a couple of decades at most and a time when most of the witnesses were still alive.

      Memorisation/Gutenberg/printed screen? Elephant hurling is a disgusting habit. I haven’t said memorisation was perfect, only that it was good enough for the ancients.

      You keep throwing out this “300 years” as though it means something. It doesn’t. The canon may not have been firmly established but by the second century it was accepted that the four gospels, Paul’s letters, and a handful of other books, were authoritative for the Christian community. They were what was referred back to when confronted by a heretic like Marcion.

      As for your response to Dave, you again don’t show the ability to differentiate between what scholars believe, and what they can achieve. What they can achieve is the reconstruction of an ancient text like the New Testament to a confidence level of 99% through comparison of the numerous extant manuscripts (far more numerous and closer to the originals than any other ancient document). Belief about who wrote the Biblical books and when cannot be so firmly established. It is true that the scrolls that the gospels would have been first copied onto were not named, because the name would have been on the case they were carried in, much like Torah scrolls today. Literacy in the ancient would may not have been widespread, but Jewish men were lettered enough to read Torah, as Jesus did, and there were scribes available (Silus for example). Basically there’s no reason to dispute the traditional authorship.

      Basically your objections are those of a very sub-standard sceptic who reads the Biblical texts with the kind of fundamentalist (no disrespect to the original believers in Christian fundamentals intended) wooden literalism that judges the ancients by modern standards.

      Kara, I said the ancients were non-literate, that is literacy wasn’t given the same status it is today. Certain groups, like Jewish males, would learn to read for religious or political reasons, others would simply go to a scribe to get their letters made and read.

    • C Michael Patton

      Dr. G, please read the rules.

    • Dr. G.

      It appears our present sub-topic – biblical inerrancy or authority – might be regarded as somewhat off topic?

      Sorry therefore; I cannot respond to questions/insults not relating more directly to “sola scriptura.”

    • mbaker

      G,

      But how we know what the difference in what is the real progressive revelation of God and how the Bible shows it was revealed, regarding sola scriptura, if we can’t identify any source as accurate?

      Wouldn’t that put the story of Jesus Himself into some question? Could you be more specific about just where (authors, denominational beliefs, creeds, statement of faith, philosophers, theology books, etc;) you are drawing your own material and/or conclusions from, such as CMP has given?

      Otherwise, it is really hard to specifically follow your line of reasoning.

    • Kara Kittle

      Jason C,
      What is literacy? Does it mean the ability to communicate via the printed medium? And by saying that today’s standard of literacy is more relevant and more respectable is in my estimation a wrong statement.

      Nachmonides…or Rambam as he is commonly known as, proposed through his own scientific study there are 10 dimensions to the universe…and scientists now are beginning to accept it. And to infer that we have greater knowledge is not right. Think of the Baghdad battery, same principle is used in making batteries today.

      The ancients were very literate, even more so than today. The difference is that now it is on more of a wider scale of population. We do not possess all the knowledge today. And regarding the Bible, sola scriptura, what was the basis for their scientific methods? Creation. And if you read the Bible you clearly see there is science mentioned in many parts.

      The Bible itself can be a model of civics, civil engineering, sociology, anthropology, archeology, construction of massive scale, geography, agricultural sciences, astronomy, physics, medicine, tactical warfare, weapons manufacturing, economics, statistics, navigation by sea and land, and many more things we think were understood in the Renaissance.

      All these sciences are found in the clear forward message, so if there should be a Bible code…just think what that would entail. All the knowledge to do anything in a productive society is found there, and what not to do in a non-productive society. All we have to do is read it.

    • Dave Z

      I don’t know if this thread has veered off-topic or not; the trustworthiness of scripture seems like a valid sub-topic of sola scriptura, but I do think that Jason’s post, while making very good points, contained some inappropriate snide remarks in spite of starting off with “not to be unkind…”

      Let’s remain respectful.

    • Dr. G.

      The nice thing about “sola” scripture (as I understand it, having scanned the prompt above for two minutes), is that it acknowledges both Scripture and Tradition as part of how we approach religion.

      But what happens once we see that “Tradition” is everywhere? We learn the Bible for example, through teachers often … who are teaching a certain “tradition” of how to read it. So that Tradition is even part of our Bible “itself.”

      When we see – by the way, usually subjective – Traditions everywhere, then what should we do?

      Maybe we need to look at “Traditions” a little more closely. And decide whether we want to honor this or that tradition … or not. No matter how often it poses as objective fact.

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr.G,
      Please provide me with an example of tradition so I know whose traditions you are referring to. Clearly as an Arminian I would not hold exactly to the same traditions as Calvinists.

      Perhaps Christmas on Dec. 25 is one example, we do not find Christmas in the Bible, but we do find a God ordained celebration of the birth of Jesus. We do see presenting gifts as a tradition.

      But I personally do not mention Santa Claus as part of my tradition, neither do I celebrate the Easter Bunny and do not partake in Halloween trick or treating…I have no children anyway, but I do not pass candy out.

      Aside from those shared traditions though in Christianity, what examples do you find unique to Christianity, and specific to my church?

    • Dr. G.

      For example, being an “Arminian” would be one tradition.

      The idea of “sola” scripture seems to be that we acknowledge the importance of both 1) scripture, and 2) church traditions and so forth, as part of our religion.

      But the problem here, is that … there are many traditions; and they all say different things. They therefore seem subjective; they can’t all be right. So which one do we trust?

      And furthermore, traditions seem to be deeply imbedded, even in the way we see the Bible and truth.

      So when “sola scriptura” accepts both 1) scripture and 2) tradition, as authority, is that a good thing? (Cf. “oral tradition”)

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr. G
      To be honest though, I was never called Arminian until I came to Parchment and Pen. I never heard the phrase, so that’s not a big issue of identifying for me.

      Even though it might be subjective, does not necessarily make it invalid. The question should be more like, can we fit sola scriptura into our culture? Traditions seem to be more cultural rather than religious, but all cultures identify with a religion.

      We all realize the American culture is infused with varying traditions that are not all set in stone. So having something solid does give people something to hold close.

    • Dr. G.

      Sola scriptura, more properly, seems to want to say that it acknowledges both 1) Scripture and 2) Tradition … but feels, to be sure, that Tradition must always be subservient to Scripture.

      But to be sure, it seems as if our traditions are always intermingled with our idea even of scripture “itself.” Few of us can learn to read the Bible without help; others teach us how to read it. And they teach often, according to different traditions; church doctrines and so forth.

      And in fact, therefore, there seems to be a rather subjective traditional element inside our most “objective” idea of the Bible itself (cf. the Kantian “thing-in-itself”).

      And this seems acknowledged in CMP’s “sola scriptura”: “Scripture is always to be interpreted according to the accepted, albeit fallible, regula fidei of the early church as represented in the early creeds and councils.”

      Thus, even if the Bible was infallible … still we only see it, through the lens of our fallible subjectivity. (Specifically, the “fallible, regula fidei” of the early Church).

      So even when we look at the Bible, we still see it through a fallible tradition. We are indeed surrounded by fallible traditions. That may prevent us from seeing the Bible as it really is.

      Or even … maybe the Bible itself, in various translations, might have been infected by fallible translators and so forth? Especially in its Catholic origins: the “early church”?

      If that is the case, then how might we resurrect the true, right idea of Jesus and God? In part it would seem, by taking a critical look at what traditions might have infected our vision of Truth and God.

      KK: Traditions do indeed, “seem more cultural than religious,” as you say. So maybe we don’t really need them? So let’s see where subjective, cultural traditions are found; and how they infect our vision of God. How they change even our vision of the “Bible itself.”

    • cheryl u

      CMP made a distinction in his ariticle (right towards the end) in tradition and interpretation.

      It seems to me like maybe the two are being confused in the current conversation. Is any one else seeing that?

    • John C.T.

      G. (he ain’t no doctor if he can’t write proper sentences) seems to be questioning the doctrine of sola scriptura for some of the same reasons that Bart Ehrman does. That is, how can it be our final and highest authority if we cannot trust in its accuracy.

      However, the tradition of the New Testament canon is quite clear. There never was a time when other books were considered for the canon, such as books by gnostics. There is no canon list in existence that has other books. Even Marcion didn’t include extra books in his list. So it’s not as if the bishops met to decide what was in; that was always clear. Any discussion was about keeping stuff out, or deciding what theological concepts were consistent with the existing accepted scriptures.

      Now some books were read in some churches–e.g. the Shepherd of Hermas–but those books were theologically and christologically consistent with the accepted canon. The key canon criteria were settled in the second century (101 to 200) during the controversy over the Gospel of Peter: These key criteria were: apostolicity (written by apostles) and 2) eyewitnesses or co-workers of eyewitnesses. That forces the canon back into the first century, when such people were still alive.

      G. appears to speculate that there was a long enough chain of oral tradition that involved people who were not eyewitnesses, which eventually led to the writing down of these traditions by others who were neither eyewitnesses nor in touch with eyewitnesses. And this leads him to question our trust in s.s. However, given the canon discussion above, it is prima facie evident that such could not happen, as there were eyewitnesses living until the end of the first century, people that could say, “hey, that didn’t happen that way” or write their own book. Take, for example, Luke, who writes that he observed things of which he wrote “have happened AMONG us” and he also notes that others have compiled other written accounts, and he indicates that he consulted eyewitnesses. Luke is saying, “hey, I’ve checked my story and you can too”.

      Papias writes that Mark wrote down the things that Peter (eyewitness) told him, “Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements”

      One could go on with further examples, but it is by now clear that there was no game of telephone going on. Moreover, note the stress that both Luke and Papias laid on accuracy, and tracing of sources. This stress on, and early belief in, the accuracy of scripture is one reason that other, and later, church fathers could look to the written word as a final and sufficient authority.

      Which brings us back to CMP’s points about why it’s sola scripture.

      regards,
      John

      (good series, CMP)

    • Dr. G.

      Tradition is deeper; it might be the “paradigm” or model through which we see things; but in the CMP quote above, it would be related to interpretation:

      “Scripture is always to be interpreted according to the accepted, albeit fallible, regula fidei of the early church as represented in the early creeds and councils.”

      Here note, scripture is “interpreted” indeed, by .. the (note “fallible”) regula fidei; which is in turn, itself the body of early church doctrine/Tradition, as defined by the early church councils and so forth.

      [Hey! How do we get quotes with those nice green bars next to them, anyway?]

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr.G,
      Chinese Catholics…Native American Baptists…Ethiopian Jews…Charismatic Koreans….

      All those peoples that have clearly defined traditions, and yet transcend those traditions in favor of sola scriptura. It seems to me then tradition is more than Tevye says it is…traditions make us know who we are, and what God expects from us…hence the shawl with the tzitzits. But, tradition changes and even more so if you move farther away from the source of tradition…when in Rome, do what the Romans do.

      As far as skewing our vision of God, it is only when one tries to mix religions that causes our vision to fail. In other words, one can’t be a Buddhist Christian, a New Age Christian or a Wiccan Christian because all those are completely opposed ideas. Calling ourselves Calvinist or Arminian is not infecting our vision at all because even though they might oppose each other, they are still confined in Christian teaching from the Bible. And we have consistently pointed each other toward scripture in all our debates.

    • Dr. G.

      Note that in CMP’s (phenomenalistic?) sola scriptura, it seems that “fallible” Traditions interpentrate with all our perceptions; even of the Bible itself.

      So CMP is repeating, building into Protestantism, the classic philosophical observation: just as philosophy says we see the objective world through the lens always of our merely human and subjective minds, now Protestantism adds that … we see the “Bible” through the subjective lens of Tradition.

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr. G,
      I would take pause though with the authority solely of the early church fathers as some did indeed breed anti-semitism among the early church, that continues today. Sola scriptura means the Bible is the final authority…regardless of who says it is.

      Even if Ireanius or Justin Martyr or Polycarp never wrote anything about it, the Bible would still be the final authority, and in that final authority with God as the author, He also is the Revelator. It is learning by Him that we should understand the Bible.

    • Kara Kittle

      Dr.G,
      I am not sure, but perhaps you are asking do we believe sola scriptura because we have been told to through tradition, or do we have the ability to believe on our own?

      Sola Scriptura…means “only scripture” then by default it is the only written authority in itself, kind of like God. God exists therefore by default all discussions of Him are able to occur.

    • Dr. G.

      By the way: check early implied canons. Or lists of texts known to and referred to by the earliest Church fathers. There are many such lists today; nearly a) all have far shorter lists than our current canon. Some leaving out key texts. Some are only a few books long. And b) there are some of which have books not in the present Bible.

      Indeed, the Catholic Bible dominated Christiandom for many centuries … and had six or seven more books than we do.

      (Can’t cite my reference; I’m away from the library at present. But do a better check of early canons)

    • Dr. G.

      KK:

      Careful: “solo” scriptura means “only” scripture; sol”a” scriptura – which CMP is advocating – means roughly … primarily scripture. It acknowledges the interpenetration of our best idea of scripture “itself,” by traditions.

    • Dr. G.

      The Bible is the final authority. And yet how do we see and understand the Bible? Except through our own fallible human eyes and mind (and traditions).

    • Dr. G.

      John CT:

      “Co-workers of eyewitnesses” were enough to validate a text? Isn’t that getting a little remote from the real thing?

    • Dr. G.

      “Shepherd of Hermas” was read in some churches … and was therefore part of their implied canon. So that some churches had a different canon, indeed.

    • cheryl u

      Kara,

      I don’t think “primarily scripture” is accurate either. CMP said,
      “I believe that I have represented a compelling case both biblically and historically that the Scriptures are the final and only infallible source in matters of faith and practice”

      I think the words “final and only infalible source” sums up the doctrine much better.

    • Dr. G.

      By the way; if you look closer to see what the Bible itself calls a “witness”?

      There, it could be someone who himself with his own eyes witnessed to the “power” of God (John?); which might not mean having seen God himself at all; but only the power of faith in him, in a generation or two after all real witnesses are gone.

    • Dr. G.

      And if we are questioning the veracity of scripture … is it fair to cite scripture as your authority that scripture is true? Isn’t that circular or something?

    • Dr. G.

      But in any case, to stay on point: the interesting thing here is CMP’s “Sola Scriptura”; which again, seems to … admit an explicitly “fallible” element in our view of the Bible.

    • cheryl u

      Dr. G,

      I think you are the only one here, at the moment anyway, that is seeming to question the veracity of Scripture!

    • Dr. G.

      Or our perception of it.

    • John C.T.

      Those interested in the (off topic) issue of the canon can read this excellent series: http://neonostalgia.com/weblog/?p=540

      One might also look at the shorter article at http://www.bible.org/qa.php?topic_id=87&qa_id=378

      One can infer from some of the writings of the fathers that the four gospels were accepted as scripture and that the Pauline epistles were circulating as a group, but the first “canon” was that of Marcion, which one reads about in Justin Martyr. So G’s contention is inaccurate, unless he has a different understanding of what constitutes a canon. I’m referring, of course to the development of the new testament canon, because the Old Testament was already settled. As for the apocrypha, that’s a different matter, but one that need not concern us in relation to G’s arguments regarding the trustworthiness of what we use for sola scriptura. The extant canon lists clearly deal with those works that were compiled in the first century by eyewitness or in consultation with eye witnesses.

      regards,
      John

      BTW, neither “By the way: check early implied canons.” nor “Or lists of texts known to and referred to by the earliest Church fathers.” are complete sentences. I realize this is a blog, but some attempt at decent communication would be appreciated.

    • Dr. G.

      C:

      A point of semantics: “If we” are doing something, indicates … 1) a hypothetical allowed for purposes of discussion only. It does not imply definitely doing this thing. But only speaks “as if” for a moment. While 2) “we” implies … only the editorial “we.”

    • Dr. G.

      The point here is to reconstruct the (Kantian? Derrida-ian) phenomenological point (hypothetically again): whatever “Bible” we see, is seen though fallible eyes. Even our best most objective Bible. Therefore “The Bible” we have, is not true. Given this perspective.

    • Dr. G.

      Or to put it in simpler, straighter language: you’re not seeing the Bible right. Look at it a little closer. About what its “witnesses” are really saying, for example.

    • mbaker

      G,

      Re:#70.

      I repeat the question – would you please provide specific sources from which you are drawing what you seem to believe are factors which suggest a different point of view? You are simply re-quoting CMP, when it suits to agree, yet your arguments seem to suggest an entirely different, but very emphatic point of view.

      I believe that more specific facts and sources like others here are providing would go a lot farther in helping all of us understand the points you are trying to make, and keep the discussion from getting bogged down in endless repetition.

      In all due respect, simply throwing around a few rhetorical questions on every comment to avoid giving direct answers to anyone else’s questions does nothing to advance the thread. In fact, if anything, it sabotages it.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Dr. G:And if we are questioning the veracity of scripture … is it fair to cite scripture as your authority that scripture is true? Isn’t that circular or something?”

      Yawn. Do you really want me to explain the concept of ultimate authority and the pretentious objections of “circularity”?

    • Dr. G.

      RE # 70:

      If we can’t identity any source as accurate … then we must evaluate the truth of any given statement, exactly the way Jesus told us to: by its “fruits.”

      If I throw in lots of rheotical questions? Rhetorical questions often attempt to frame logical problems with a given approach; by way of examples. Hypotheticals that show that if you follow or believe what you claim to believe, then you would also logically have to believe … another, absurd position.

      But I can try to avoid framing objections as questions, if you like.

    • Dr. G.

      00 Truth:

      Yes I do. Explain why circular logic is good. Please do. Go ahead.

    • mbaker

      Re#101:

      “But I can try to avoid framing objections as questions, if you like.”

      Please, and thank you!

      Specifics are always more appropriate on a theology blog.

    • Dr. G.

      Again, here’s what CMP sez:

      “Scripture is always to be interpreted according to the accepted, albeit fallible, regula fidei of the early church as represented in the early creeds and councils.”

      This might mean that scripture is infallible … but our interpretations or understandings of scripture, are not.

      So when you tell me: “The Bible means” or “the Bible said” this or that, It’s your understanding of it. And that is always “fallible.”

      [Not for MBaker: Indeed, you might even ask, what’s the use of having an infallible Bible … if we will never live to see it as it is?]

    • John C.T.

      18 of the last 25 posts are from G.

      Please use some restraint in posting.
      Please stay on topic.
      Please do not hijack or sabotage this thread.
      Please use actual sentences.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Dr. G.: “Yes I do. Explain why circular logic is good. Please do. Go ahead.”

      First, please don’t misconstrue what I wrote. I did not say that circular logic was good. What I’m saying is that your objection of circularity is not a defeater for using Scripture and for appealing to Scripture as Ultimate Authority.

      Take a moment and think. Circular argument is unavoidable when we make the case for an ultimate standard of truth. One who believes that human reason is the ultimate standard will argue that view only by appealing to reason. One who believes that the Bible is the ultimate standard of truth can argue only by appealing to the Bible.

      Since all positions partake equally of circularity at this level of argument, it cannot be a point of criticism against any of them.

      Do you understand?

      Scripture is, as the Reformers emphasized, norma normans non normata,

      The norm of norms which cannot be normed.

      Sola Scriptura.

      There is nothing external to Scripture that can norm or correct it.

      Capisce, Dr. G.?

    • Dr. G.

      1) So scripture is true because scripture tells us it is true. And there is no appeal.

      Pretty neat. But….?

      2) At this level of the argument many types of thinking are circular. But move up a level. In fact, Reason for example is not quite so circular: reason has proven itself by other standards. Reason, logic, Math … is proven in other fields; when our Math works in empirical experiments for example.

      3) Do someone walking around with the self-appointed name “Truth,” really want to call anyone “pretentious” for talking about circularity …?

      There are many people attracted to Religion, not because of its goodness … but because being offered the change to borrow its position of absolute authority, appeals to their Vanity.

      It feels great to speak for God; to be even HIS VOICE. And to feel you can disallow any and all counterarguments? But …?

    • Dr. G.

      John CT:

      Sorry. My inadequate excuse fir hogging it all, is I’m responding mostly to posts directed to me specifically often: to G. And hopefully, they’re short.

      But we of course do want to hear more of your own, tightly-reasoned logical arguments.

    • C Michael Patton

      Dr. G,

      Please refain from posting so much. I don’t think many people are following you and it really highjacks the post and makes others less likely to comment. Thanks so much.

    • mbaker

      I quite agree with comment #106. Quid pro quo arguments are rarely helpful, especially if they are conducted in the vein of you can’t prove it is and I can’t prove it isn’t type of debate. Nothing is more boring or unfruitful. And G did state in a comment above, himself that it was the ‘fruits’ which proved a point.

      If G is really serious about having a theological discussion, as he has stated, let us see some real honest theology from him for a change. rather than continuing to flood this thread with vague rhetoric and unsubstantiated assumptions.

      To continue in this vein is not fair to the rest of us who do appreciate sound and informative debate, which addresses the who, why, where, what and how of things in a manner that all can benefit, and learn from reading.

      Looks like he’s succeeding in hijacking yet another good thread. One has to start wondering if it’s deliberate.

    • Dr. G.

      If I leave, you have the last word; if I respond, I’m hogging the site.

      Nice work M. See you around

    • cheryl u

      Sorry G, that doesn’t quite make sense. It was noted above that 18 of 25 comments were from you. That leaves 6 from other folks. If they were all addressed to you, that would give you 6 comments, not 18. You need 3 comments to evey one from someone else??

    • Kara Kittle

      Cheryl,
      I agree with you on #90. If we want someone else to define something so important as Biblical knowledge, then we sort of turn the power over to that person. It does a disservice to our ultimate understanding of doctrine.

      But relationship with God invariably is outside the scripture, even though some people are comfortable with it being only within the confines of the pages. With that said, the words on the pages are supposed to be living, alive…so when we read them we not only get understanding, we receive peace,comfort, joy and rest.

      We need to approach the Bible in such a manner that it speaks to us, but this is what I have found so important…even though we have the words on the page we still live from every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God, and He speaks in that still small voice. The Bible is written by God and we must learn it, but there are some who read it, but they choose not to really desire the benefit from it and miss out on great blessing. I like what David said…Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.

    • mbaker

      Yepper, it’s about the Man and his book, which is HIS word. I don’t see how the two can be separated.

    • cheryl u

      I just realized that in comment #113 above, I couldn’t seem to subtract correctly. I guess that makes it more like two and 1/2 comments to one instead of three to one.

    • rayner markley

      Kara: ‘But relationship with God invariably is outside the scripture, even though some people are comfortable with it being only within the confines of the pages.’

      I see that as the central point. We Protestants make a big deal of the scripture being our ultimate authority whereas Jesus did not intend that at all. Consider if Jesus had written a scripture for us Himself. All Christians would then have no trouble recognizing that as the ultimate written authority. But even that would be just words—a message cast in human language—limited and fallible.

      Jesus taught with words and actions, but it was his spirit that He wanted to impart. And wisely it was His spirit that he left with us. Thus, we are guided by a spirit and not simply by words.

    • Kara Kittle

      Rayner,
      Good thing He was the word made flesh….He is the express image of the Bible to begin with…both spoken and written word…makes Him the Logos…

      Jesus said “it is written” when dealing with three things….

      1:sustenance
      2:safety
      3:worldly fame

      I wonder if Jesus knew about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

    • Perry Robinson

      CMP,

      Granted that one should not make a word-concept fallacy, but we should be able to find the concept expressed. In point of fact you can find the term sola scriptura prior to the Reformation, for example in Aquinas, but Aquinas for example doesn’t mean by it what the Reformers meant by it. This is why the patristic citations you give are of lesser value in supporting your claim.

      2nd it is interesting that Protestants have to appeal to the development of doctrine, just like the Catholics to justify their distinctives. If such a development were right, we’d expect it to be taught somewhere in the bible. (Progressive revelation isn’t the same idea as DOD). That seems dubious. Moreover, any theological or conceptual model on a developmental schema can make sense out of any contravening evidence, even if the model is false so doctrinal development seems irrelevant to justifying certain claims.

      3rd. The citations you give articulate some necessary conditions for Sola Sriptura, but none of them give either separately or conjointly the sufficient conditions for it. The citation from Ireneaus is something a Catholic, Orthodox or a High Church Anglican holding to the Laudian Prima Scriptura position could hold to. It doesn’t single out the idea of Sola Scriptura

      Clement’s citation only indicates when people will be satisfied via a demonstration. It doesn’t say that the individual is the final judge using the scripture so that they alone can bind their own consciences. That is a necessary condition for Sola Scriptura that isn’t found in Clement. Further, to speak of the the Scriptures as the final court seems mistaken, since the Scriptures are on anyone’s account to be the rule employed by the judge. The question then is, who is the judge using the rule? Furthermore, your reading of Clement is contradictory if those people using the Scriptures are part of the church. And finding the truth of the matter is one thing, making a normative judgment which can bind others is another. High views of church tradition do not preclude the former.

      Gregory is speaking relative to heretics who reject ecclesiastical judgments. He is speaking in the context of persuading others he views to be outside the church.

      Athanasius’s comments are fully compatible with a high view of tradition which affirms that the Scriptures are sufficient for proclamation of the truth. That idea isn’t sola scriptura in a nascent form.

      Basil’s citation isn’t any help either. I’d suggest looking in a different translation. “But we do not rest only on the fact that such is the tradition of the Fathers; for they too followed the sense of Scripture…” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.vii.viii.html
      That reads a bit differently. Further, Basil is quite clear in that work that there are other sources of practice and theology than Scripture that possess apostolic normativity like the Scriptures do.

      Even taking Ambrose’ comments on their face, this is not sufficient for Sola Scriptura since a good Prima Scriptura like Archbishop Laud or George Bull could say such a thing.

      Augustine’s statement is compatible with the a high view of tradition, which includes the idea that individual bishop’s may err. Second, Augustine affirms that bishops have a spiritual authority passed down through apostolic succession to teach and interpret that laymen do not possess.

      None of the citations then express the idea of Sola Scriptura but only some necessary conditions common to a plurality of views with which they are compatible. You need to give citations that express the idea in question.

    • C Michael Patton

      I think you have missed the point of its development. These passages, I have argued, do indeed present sola Scriptura in a seed form. Of course they are not articulated as these type of things are only worked out through certain controversies.

      Having said that, the rest of what you said really beg the question in my opinion. Any response would only serve to respond in kind.

    • C Michael Patton

      But, I do appreciate your coming here and thinking through these issues!

    • Perry Robinson

      CMP,

      The point was that you need to show that the idea was expressed in nascent form. None of the citations show the idea expressed in nascent form. What they show is a more general view that shares some of the same necessary conditions with Sola Scriptura along with other views. So I have not begged the question, rather you have given not engaged the claim I made.

    • C Michael Patton

      I know what you are saying, but just saying it does not really do much? I they really speak for themselves.

    • Perry Robinson

      I didn’t merely assert, I gave arguments which show the conceptual content of the statements include some necessary conditions of SS but not the sufficient conditions and that those same necessary conditions are also necessary conditions for other non-SS positons. And that the conceptual content of those citations does not express in nascent form the idea of SS. So far, you haven’t addressed those arguments.

    • C Michael Patton

      Again, i would just say that your arguments are assertions based upon what you already believe. We both are bound by this, but my arguments present the reasons I believe the way I do. You may not agree, but they are all substantial. If you don’t think they are at all, we don’t really have a reasonable and balanced basis from which to discuss this.

    • Perry Robinson

      I engaged the claims you made directly. So far my you have left my arguments untouched. So let me try it this way.

      Your argument is that Sola Scriptura is not a theological novelty because such and so historical pre-reformation sources express in nascent form the idea of sola scriptura. Is that right?

      My arguments were the following.

      1st argument.
      Such and so texts express conditions X Y and Z.
      X,Y,Z conditions are necessary conditons for Sola Scriptura.
      Therefore such and so texts express some necessary conditions for Sola Scriptura.

      2nd Argument
      X,Y, Z conditions are necessary conditions for Prima Scriptura.
      X,Y, Z conditions are necessary conditions for Sola Scriptura.
      Prima Scriptura is not co-extensive with Sola Scriptura
      The same ecessary conditions can be such for two different concepts.
      Such and so texts express conditions X,Y, Z.
      Such and so texts express necessary conditions for both Sola Scriptura and Prima Scriptura.
      It is necessary for a demonstration of the expresison of Sola Scriptura from a text that the text express those conditions that are true of Sola Scriptura alone.
      Such and so texts do not express those conditions that are true of Sola Scriptura alone.
      Thertefore such and so texts do not express Sola Scriptura.

      3rd Argument
      It is necessary for a demonstration of the expression of an idea from a text that the text express or present the necessary and sufficient conditions of the idea.
      None of the texts given express both necessary and sufficient conditions of the idea of Sola Scriptura.
      Therefore none of the texts express the idea of Sola Scriptura.

      Therefore, such and so historical pre-reformation sources do not express the idea of sola scriptura, therefore sola scriptura is a theological novelty. QED via modus tollens.

      Now, where are my exactly are any one arguments mistaken?

    • C Michael Patton

      I don’t know, but it looks like you need to read the whole thing.

    • Kara Kittle

      The thing people forget is this. People like Thomas Aquinas and Samuel Beckett and Thomas More (which is an ancestor of mine along with Samuel Johnson) or was in Thomas A Beckett? Those men were already studing the great philosophies of great poets such as Plato and it was a symbol of status to read Plato in Greek.

      Intellectualism became the pursuit above actual relationship. The only issue Thomas More had with the Wycliffe Bible is because he was hired directly to debunk it without actually reading it. So even then it was nothing more than politics again.

      So they approached theology as they did philosophies and never thought to incorporate it into the natural sciences apart from the social sciences. We today do not understand the Hellenistic culture, but those men did and knew quite well how to best the person they were debating with, it was part of their education at Cambridge and Oxford. So many times it became like Celebrity Boxing match with ideas.

    • Perry Robinson

      CMP,

      I did read the whole thing a few times.

      Kara,

      I think you misread Aquinas to be fair. Aquinas fully admits that rational discourse is greatly limited. He remakred towards the end of his life that all his works were piles of straw.

    • C Michael Patton

      Perry, I believe that there are many options that are valid. I understand them all. I don’t think either one of us rejects the other because of a lack of understanding. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there are any really persuasive things that are left out that would bend us. So long as we are both not building straw men, there are other factors that lead us to our positions. Good men have been persuaded by the Catholic view, Orthodox view, and the Protestant view. There are other mitigating factors which draw the lines. It would come down to the validity of those factors.

      Agreement can be made on this even if we can’t agree about authority. So long as you are Christocentric, we can simply cover these details on the new earth. (Of course, this is not to say that this is not an important discussion here).

    • MG

      Mr. Patton–

      This has been a rather stimulating discussion, and I appreciate the fact that you chose to post.

      I am interested in is whether or not you now agree with Perry that the citations you have given fail to establish that SS was present in seed form in the Fathers. His attempt to undercut your claim seems to me to have been successful, though surely more can be said on the subject from both sides. I would like to see if you can show not only (1) the Fathers say things that are consistent with Sola Scriptura (which is only a moderately significant claim) but (2) the Fathers say things that, if developed consistently, would plausibly entail Sola Scriptura as opposed to other views (such as Laudian Prima Scriptura, the Roman Catholic doctrine, etc.).

      Absent a good argument for (2), it seems that at best we have arguments that the Fathers believed in Prima Scriptura or something like it. What would be really good for the Sola Scriptura case would be if we could locate patristic texts that teach that no ecclesiastical authority has any kind of normative power to bind our consciences to believe particular interpretations of Scripture. This seems to be a necessary part of the Reformation doctrine, and it looks like the main dividing line between Sola Scriptura and Prima Scriptura. Without this crucial piece of the puzzle, we don’t have testimony to SS in the Fathers. I believe there are some that may appear to say this, but when situated within the immediate context of the author’s writing and the larger context of the author’s belief about the Church, it becomes more difficult to sustain.

      Do you see texts indicating that any of the Fathers taught that hierarchs could not bind our consciences to believe specific interpretations of Scripture?

    • C Michael Patton

      MG, not at all. Prima Scriptura is much more complex to defend. These, I believe, are the seed form of sola Scriptura, as I said. But, certainly, it would be easy enough, for either side to see their view represented here, but I would think that prima would have to do much more reading into some of these text.

    • C Michael Patton

      “What would be really good for the Sola Scriptura case would be if we could locate patristic texts that teach that no ecclesiastical authority has any kind of normative power to bind our consciences to believe particular interpretations of Scripture.”

      Yeah, it would also be really good for us to find a Scripture verse that say God exists eternally as Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, three persons, one God. Better, just God is Trinity.

      We always have to look at the seed forms of the doctrines and allow them to be articulated as those forms are understood in time. I believe that because of the strong biblical support for sola Scriptura and seeing these early Fathers exhibit the same basic, though undeveloped, understanding (not to mention the practical issues involved), sola Scriptura is the most responsible choice for the Christian.

    • MG

      Mr. Patton–

      you wrote:

      “These, I believe, are the seed form of sola Scriptura, as I said”

      In what sense are they the seed form? In that they are consistent with it? Or are they the seed in that it is more plausible that they entail Sola Scriptura instead of Prima Scriptura?

      “prima would have to do much more reading into some of these text.”

      Can you explain this and give examples of texts that can’t be naturally read as teaching Prima Scriptura?

      You wrote:

      “Yeah, it would also be really good for us to find a Scripture verse that say God exists eternally as Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, three persons, one God. Better, just God is Trinity.”

      I’m not looking for an explicit statement, and I’m sorry if I communicated that I was abiding by such an extreme standard. I’m wondering if the concepts and ideas show up in any Fathers. Can you provide examples of where the concepts and ideas are taught?

      You wrote:

      “We always have to look at the seed forms of the doctrines and allow them to be articulated as those forms are understood in time. I believe that because of the strong biblical support for sola Scriptura and seeing these early Fathers exhibit the same basic, though undeveloped, understanding (not to mention the practical issues involved), sola Scriptura is the most responsible choice for the Christian.”

      Are you saying that the conceptual content of Sola Scriptura is taught in the Fathers, but not formulated the same way (in other words not stated in the exact words the Reformers use)? If so, where is the idea (note: not words or exact formulations) taught that no ecclesiastical authority has any kind of normative power to bind our consciences to believe particular interpretations of Scripture?

      If you mean something else by “seed form”, like “the Fathers teach or assume principles that more plausibly lead to Sola Scriptura than other understandings (ie. Prima Scriptura)” where do you see these principles taught and why do they more plausibly lead to Sola than Prima?

      If you mean by “seed form” that the Fathers taught a doctrine of authority consistent with SS if we added on additional conceptual content, but not that they taught anything that would lead specifically towards SS and away from Prima Scriptura, then why is this an important claim? This seems to be similar to saying that Barth’s view of Scripture existed in seed form in the Reformers, because the Reformers taught that Scripture contained the Word of God.

      You might protest “well, the Reformers taught things inconsistent with Barth’s view of Scripture; the Fathers don’t teach anything inconsistent with Sola Scriptura”. But this second statement, that the Fathers don’t teach anything inconsistent with Sola Scriptura, probably requires some argument. I could try and make the opposite case either here or on my blog if you’d like.

    • MG

      Also, would you mind if I commented on your biblical support for Sola Scriptura? Or is that post off-limits for commenting because its been awhile since you posted it?

    • C Michael Patton

      Mr. G,

      The concepts are included in this article. Your statements simply beg the question and restate your own position.

      The reason why I posted them is to say that I do see them as seed forms of the doctrine. Some come so close to describe and illustrate it perfectly. But I don’t want to read too much into them so I conservatively call them “seed.”

      I think that it would be a matter of refuting that these passages are saying that Scripture is our ultimate sorce. However, all attempts to do so seem to return to the ditch of nuda Scriptura.

      I hope you understand if I leave it at that. Once a post gets this far down, it is very hard for me to manage my time and continue to engage in such.

      I will, however, leave the post open for further discussion.

    • C Michael Patton

      BTW, DG and others,

      Here is a link to an extensive rebuttle of my posts: http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/11/reply-to-c-michael-patton-on-sola_14.html

      I don’t think it is persuasive, but it will give you an idea of how Cathlics who disagree with me might respond.

    • Kara Kittle

      Thomas Aquinas, founder of Thomism, inspired a book called Summa Theologica, second in importance to the Catholics.

      Thomism integrated theology and Artistotlism. And he was inspired by contemporary Islamic author Averroes. Blaise Pascal mentions the Thosmists in the Provincial Letters which I did read just recently. So it is amazing that building a scolarly life to which many people were forced to accept his teachings that at the end he would say he offered straw men arguments.

      If that was dangerous then why did he feel compelled to keep offering it? The Provoncial Letters by Pascal were a serious answers to a debate occuring in the university in Paris. I just read his book Pensees and the Provinicial Letters.

      Aquinas was a philospoher who taught people his ideas. It doesn’t matter to the latter what happened at the former and it just goes to show when theology is taught or wrote about, to leave it in the hands of a shallow few then it begins to narrow the viewpoint that those who are not intellectual or scholarly are left out of that seeking and made to eat the crumbs.

      I don’t think Aquinas was a bad fellow, I don’t know him, but it seems these philosophers were not concerned with the religion of the masses, but how to explain better along their heirarchy of church power. They debated among themselves while all of Europe hung in the balance waiting for the impact.

    • Perry Robinson

      Kara,

      There are a couple of things to correct here. Thomas uses terminology from Aristotle, this much is true, but so did all of the late Platonists commentators on Aristotle’s works, which were pretty much the only commentators on Aristotle’s works. Thomas is fundamentally an Augustinian with a Platonic metaphysic. Thomas was so fitted with such an accute intellect that while Averroes and other Muslims thought that the Book of Causes was from Aristotle, Thomas single handedly showed that it was not but the work of a Platonic commentator.

      Thomas doesn’t say that his arguments are strawmen arguments. He says that all of discursive theology is straw in comparison with experience of God. I am no thomist, nor a friend of Thomism by any means and in fact known for being a critic of it, but to say that Thomas is shallow is beyond reasonable. And at the time few people could read at all and even now, most people read literary junk and Christians are no better. How about the responsibility that a person in the western world with free access to a library, major universities, the internet, what do most Christians read? Junk like say Joel Osteen. The masses follow fools and wolves because the masses are irresponsible and shallow themselves. This is not to say that people like Osteen don’t bear some responsibility, but if people exercised just the smallest amount of dicernment and actually read some moderate beginer quality material, he wouldn’t have half the people he does on the wide path to hades.

    • Perry Robinson

      Kara,

      Addendum,

      Thomas didn’t inspire the Summa Theologica, he wrote it. And at the time, there were many Summas or Summaries written by many different theologians. Thomas’ wasn’t uniqu in writing summary handbooks of theology.

    • Kara Kittle

      Perry,
      I just borrowed my info from wikipedia and forgot the quotes. It says he did incorporate muslim ideology. I have read Thomas Aquinas and Beckett and Pascal and a host of philosophers. It should be noted they all are philosophers first and theologians second.

    • Perry Robinson

      Kara,

      Wikipedia is notoriously inaccurate and been subject to specific frauds specifically in relation to much of the material on Catholicism. The information there as you cited it is inaccurate. Avveroes or Ibn Rashid was the major commentator on many of the works of Aristotle. Aquinas responds to him, agrees to him, corrects him and modifies him. To say that he incorporates Islamic theology is grossly inacurate. As someone who holds degrees in philosophy and who taught it for a number of years, and specifically taught Aquinas with late antiquity and mediveal metaphysics as my area of specilization, I can say this with sufficient competence.

      Second, the line you draw between theology and philosophy is rather sharp and isn’t justified in a number of cases.

    • D.Williams

      Michael, I’ve read the whole series. I don’t really understand still how you can in any way support the statements of the fathers about tradition. I wonder if there is some wishful thinking on your part.

      The test I would propose is this: Would one of the tradition based churches (Catholic, Orthodox, maybe high-Anglican), notice anything odd if your quotes were preached in church? I don’t think so. Would a protestant church notice anything odd if the preacher started talking about holding to traditions? I think so! Very much so!

      Some posters above have tried to analyse your logic, but the basic smell test of whether your church could stand to have this preached I think gives the real answer to whether you can have a claim to be in the camp of the Fathers, and I find it hard to believe you pass this test.

      If your church can’t stand to have the Fathers preached about these issues of authority, then how can you claim to not be a solo scripturaist, since on this topic at least, you reject the tradition about scripture and tradition? I know you think you’ve explained it in this series, but I don’t get it.

    • Kara Kittle

      Perry,
      There is a distinct line between philosophy and theology.

      Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

      Was it not philosophers that Paul was speaking to when he made his Mars Hill sermon? Aren’t the Epicurians also philosophers?

      Ye men of Greece I believe in all things ye are too superstitious….and he goes on to say…even as your own poets have said…

    • Perry Robinson

      Kara,

      Paul is speaking of philosophies not according to Christ. How about those that are? The condemnation is not a carte blanch condemnation of philosophy. Besides, your view would toss out the theology of the Reformers. How will you state and defend Sola Fide without the idea of a Formal or Instrumental Cause? You can’t.

    • Kara Kittle

      Perry
      Again, I don’t hold to the theologies of the early church fathers. I believe they were in error because they advocated and promoted anti-semitism.
      Their theologies led them into excluding a great portion of the European population and gave way to pogroms and expulsions in the name of Christian theology. So no, I don’t agree with them. They used philosophical viewpoints to infuse into theology, not the other way around.

    • D.Williams

      Kara, can you define anti-semitism and then point us to what you’re talking about? People have accused the bible of anti-semitism too you know.

    • Kara Kittle

      D. Williams,
      I can indeed give you examples if you wish.

      John Chrysostom, 344-407 A.D., preached: “The Jews … are worse than wild beasts … lower than the vilest animals. Debauchery and drunkenness had brought them to the level of the lusty goat and the pig. They know only … to satisfy their stomachs, to get drunk, to kill and beat each other up … I hate the Jews … I hate the Synagogue … it is the duty of all Christians to hate the Jews.”

      Martin Luther “Set Jewish synagogues on fire for the honor of God. God will see we are Christians when we get rid of the Jews. Likewise homes should be destroyed; they should be put in a stable; they are not heirs of promises of God and deserve to die. Deprive them of all prayer shawls, prayer books and communication, revoke all passports, stop them from doing all business, everything they possess we believe they stole and robbed from us. They do not have God’s blessings, drive them out of the country … get rid of them.”

      Two examples from their writing themselves. How is is part of grace and mercy to promote and advocating killing people on the basis of their ethnicity?

      I believe the definition of grace has been changed to accommodate certain people and their own idea of their election because they believe themselves better than someone else in the eyes of God. How much more can you be anti-Semitic than to call for their deaths from the pulpit?

    • D.Williams

      Kara, Luther is not a church father, and Chrysostom didn’t call for their deaths.

      And it seems their problem is not ethnic but religious. Judaism is both an ethnicity and a religion.

      I’ll bet you haven’t actually read Chrysostom and have no idea where these quotes come from. They appear to be from some homilies Chysostom wrote against Judaizers in the church. You weren’t around at the time to know if Chrysostom’s assessment is correct. Remembering that the Jews of Antioch were very aggressive and they tried to help Emperor Julian the Apostate to overthrow Christianity in the empire and return to the pagan religion. Their activities in Antioch where Chrysostom was were particular nefarious, succeeding in shutting down the Church there for a time.

      So you’ve got to remember that Jews and Christians were at war – literally, in a winner take all battle. Haven’t you heard Christians in the modern day say negative things about Islam? Jews were the equivilent back in Chrysostom’s day. They had their own Osama bin Ladans, but they were Jewish, and they weren’t off in some remote land, but they were working with the emperor to shut down the church.

      Now, are you willing to read these people in the historical context in which they existed?

    • Kara Kittle

      D. Williams
      To say Christians and Jews were at war, is that completely accurate? They certainly had times of scuffles but really who instigated it?

      Now you could say they did and using your concept of time and place for historical accuracy can you tell me where Jews were calling for mass killings of Christians? And just because Luther came later than Origen or Chrysostom does not really make a difference because he is indeed founder of the Reformation age, therefore he is the father of Protestants in that sense.

      Ok the question is not Judaizers, but Jews because he specifically says Jews. Now the book I quoted from Luther was Von Den Juden und ihren Lugen…complete with umlauts that my keyboard does not have. That book in English is called Concerning the Jews and Their Lies.

      Chrysostom argued that Jews will be crucified throughout history because they crucified Christ: “It is because you shed the precious blood, that there is now no restoration, no mercy anymore, and no defence.” Is that really what happened or was that Judaizers who did that?

      Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny “Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human… I lead out from its den a monstrous animal and show it as a laughing stock in the amphitheatre of the world. I bring thee forward, thou Jew, thou brute beast, in the sight of all men”

      How much more should you have to read to understand that the hatred was again these people both ethnically and religiously, and I think it is a shame you assume I don’t know who or what a Jew is. Laws were passed forbidding marriage with Jews, slavery of Jews, death for any Jew who entered certain cities, Forbidding Jews to be outside during Passover, and oh yes, my favorite, the old accusation of eating Christian children’s blood.

      Have you read their writings? If not then perhaps you need to go the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod homepage and see that they have specifically denounced Martin Luther as anti-Semitic and are distancing themselves from his speeches regarding Jews. To say it was war is whitewashing and to say they deserve it because of that is absolutely baseless and to defend Christians who did this is utterly inexcusable.

      If you say these men were only saying what was politically correct for the time, remember they were the ones who created the policies of enforced religion.

      Do you really want to keep saying what you just did? If you do then you whitewash what they did.

    • Kara Kittle

      And the homilies you are referring to:

      Adversus Judaeos

      And in them he says Jews.

    • Perry Robinson

      Kara,

      In light of 300 years of Jewish direct and indirect persecution of the church and its continued daily prayer curse in the 13th daily prayer on Christians, Saint John Chrysostom’s comments are entirely understandable, especially in light of the renewed persecution by Jews of Christians during the reign of Julian the Apostate. I am ot excusing it, but to say that John was an anti-semite is anarchonistic.

      How later peoples used those statements, including those from saint Paul in Galatians 4:21ff (“cast out the bondwoman and her son”) is not germane. You don’t stop using kitchen knives since people use them to kill others. The abuse doesn’t negate the proper use.

    • D.Williams

      “To say Christians and Jews were at war, is that completely accurate?”

      When they are working with the emperor to forcibly shut down the church, what would you call it?

      “They certainly had times of scuffles but really who instigated it?”

      Probably the emperor instigated it. I don’t think apportioning blame is the actual point however.

      “And just because Luther came later than Origen or Chrysostom does not really make a difference because he is indeed founder of the Reformation age, therefore he is the father of Protestants in that sense.”

      Since I’m not a protestant, it matters a bit to me. What are you BTW?

      “Ok the question is not Judaizers, but Jews because he specifically says Jews.”

      No doubt, but the actual context of the quotes are judaizers. I’m sure part of the argument is along the lines of saying not to follow the Judaizers, because these things are wrong with the Jews.

      “Chrysostom argued that Jews will be crucified throughout history because they crucified Christ:… Is that really what happened or was that Judaizers who did that?

      Obviously, Chrysostom is drawing a connection between Judaizers and Jews. Errr, and Chrysostom does seem to have been nothing if not accurate here, for better or for worse.

      Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny is not a church father either, or at least I wouldn’t count him as one.

      “How much more should you have to read to understand that the hatred was again these people both ethnically and religiously”

      You haven’t shown anything that shows it was ethnic. I mean, these guys aren’t stupid, they know that Jesus and the apostles were ethnically Jews. Chrysostom was in close contact with the bishop of Jerusalem, and you can be sure that many of those people were ethnically of Jewish origin.

      “I think it is a shame you assume I don’t know who or what a Jew is.”

      Is the issue who you think a Jew is, or who the people you are quoting think a Jew is?

      “Laws were passed forbidding marriage with Jews…”

      Uh, yeah. The apostle Paul started that when he said only to marry a believer.

      “slavery of Jews, death for any Jew who entered certain cities… Forbidding Jews to be outside during Passover, and oh yes, my favorite, the old accusation of eating Christian children’s blood.”

      Let’s see the citations so we know what we are talking about. We are talking about the church fathers still?

      “To say it was war is whitewashing and to say they deserve it because of that is absolutely baseless and to defend Christians who did this is utterly inexcusable.”

      I have no idea what they “deserved” back then, and neither do you. And what exactly is “this” that Chrysostom did? He said that they were involved in debauchery and drunkenness which had brought them to the level of the lusty goat and the pig. They know only … to satisfy their stomachs, to get drunk, to kill and beat each other”. Is that true or not true of the Jews in Antioch in Chrysostom’s time? Do you know or not know? If he’d been talking about pagans, or a satan

    • D.Williams

      …or a satanic cult, or worshippers of Aphrodite visiting the temple prostitutes, would you then be ok with it? Or it is because the debauchers happen to be in a religion that it is politically incorrect to criticise in the 21st century, that you have a problem?

      And out of curiousity, do you also criticise Christians who want to speak out about Islam being a violent religion? Are you consistent in wanting to silence criticism of everyone, or do you only bash your ancestors based on having no understanding of the circumstances of history, resigning the next generation to bash you in the same way?

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