Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Early Church History: St. Polycarp

One of the reasons why I know that Christ is real is because we have so many witnesses who have come before us to testify to Him.  Think about it.  Christianity didn't use to be such an easy faith.  Today, we really do take for granted the freedom to practice this faith that we have now.  Do we ever consider that people died for Christ?  Do we ever consider the times of the Early Church, where it was a crime under penalty of torture / death for being a Christian?  These martyrs are our heroes.  Why?  It is to them and their example and the price that they were willing to pay, their very lives, which is part of the reason why we have the faith now.  There are truly some unsung heroes of the faith, that I knew nothing about and cared nothing about until recently.  One of them, is Polycarp.

Here is a great video that I happened upon regarding the life and death of Polycarp, one of our Church Fathers.  It must be said that I do not agree with everything that this site says, but they did a wonderful job with the life and death of St. Polycarp.

The video does not share it, but here is the official account of Polycarp's Martyrdom.  Also, here is the prayer that St. Polycarp offered to God before he was executed:

O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before you, I give You thanks that You have counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Your martyrs, in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before You as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as You, the ever-truthful God, hast foreordained, hast revealed beforehand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. 

Thank you St. Polycarp for your sacrifice and your example.  You are a role model for us all.

God bless...

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons why I know that Christ is real is because we have so many witnesses who have come before us to testify to Him. Think about it.

Have you heard of Joseph Smith?

Perhaps you should think about it just a little longer.

Carlus Henry said...

???

I am not even sure how to respond to this.

God bless...

Anonymous said...

Joseph Smith is the con-man (partnered with his father)who founded the heretical Mormon Church - the one that testifies that Jesus was Lucifer's brother and God was a human who achieved Godhood over his own planet. You can one day rule your own planet to if you "do" all the right stuff.

I think that the point is that not all who give witness to Christ give a true witness. I didn't see that comment saying Polycarp was not a good witness but I don't know a lot about the fellow. the great cloud of witnesses that I normally think about, not to mention just plain martyrs like most of the Apostles and innumerable others throughout History does not include Ploycarp.

Perhaps a better way to lknow Christ is real is the Holy Spirit bearing witness within us of His reality when regeneration takes place leading us to repentance, belief in Christ, justification and and eternal salvation.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

I think that the point is that not all who give witness to Christ give a true witness.

Amen!!!

I didn't see that comment saying Polycarp was not a good witness but I don't know a lot about the fellow.

I would encourage you to get to know him. Evidently, St. James thought that he was a good enough kind of guy to make a bishop. His writings are readily available Church Fathers, as well as some other heroes of the Christian faith.

the great cloud of witnesses that I normally think about, not to mention just plain martyrs like most of the Apostles and innumerable others throughout History does not include Ploycarp.

Polycarp was indeed one of the first martyrs of the faith. I believe him to be included in the great cloud of witnesses along with Mary and the Apostles and all of those who have achieved salvation through Christ.

Perhaps a better way to lknow Christ is real is the Holy Spirit bearing witness within us of His reality when regeneration takes place leading us to repentance, belief in Christ, justification and and eternal salvation.

This is indeed a great way to know Christ as well. However, He chooses to draw his flock to Him, is through His mercy. One way should not be looked upon as being better than another way. So long as we end up turning toward Him.

God bless...

Anonymous said...

We can't know Christ at all without the regeneragtion of the Holy Spirit that precedes salvation. We can know "about" Him by reading anyone who talks about Him. That's a totally different issue than relly knowing Christ.

So I certainly will say there is one way better than all others. The diffrence is being 'taught by God' or being taught by men.

You are probably correct however, in your Catholic teaching.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Part of me feels as though you are trying to pick a fight, however I could be wrong. Are you?

Just in case you are really being sincere...

How is a man to come to know God if someone doesn't teach him? When Jesus instructed His Apostles with the Great Commission, He expected them to go out and teach all the nations. My mother told me about Christ, so it is to her that I owe my first instruction. Someone had to tell you about Christ, or you wouldn't know anything about Him.

So I certainly will say there is one way better than all others. The diffrence is being 'taught by God' or being taught by men.

You are pitting to ideas in opposition that doesn't need to be. One is not oppose to the other. Instead it is a journey, two pieces of the same puzzle. With this logic, there leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to work through the person that gave you initial instruction of Christ, and then to continue to work within you for the rest of your life. It is all the same spirit.

You are probably correct however, in your Catholic teaching.

This is the comment, that makes me suspect that you are trying to invoke some kind of response. What response is it that you are looking for? Is there something specific that you would like to discuss regarding the Early Church and St. Polycarp?

Just out of curiosity, did you get a chance to watch the video that I shared about St. Polycarp?

God bless...

Anonymous said...

Not trying to pick a fight. You have consistently come from the position of Catholic teaching and from what I have been able to deduce from my own study of Catholicism, your interpretation of Catholic teaching has been right on. If you get a written or oral examination before the big day you will probably get an "A".

And I again affirm that the single, most important and eternally true witness that Christ is real is the indwelling Holy Sprit in the life of the believer.

I base this on pure scripture, not scripture with the approved Catholic 'spin'.

John 6:45 & John 14:26 for starters. Look at it this way - On one hand you have all these "human" witnesses, and on the other hand you "God" as His own witness. If you were speaking to them in say, a courtroom, and had to question either humans about Christ or His 'Dad', who would you choose?

If you still maintain that 'all witnesses are equal' you have been deceived by somebody.

Again, not picking a fight, but if what I say means it's a fight you don't want to be in I will just go away.

I would love to continue feeding you straight Scripture.

Dan

Anonymous said...

I forgot to answer your questions about my learning more about St. Polycarp. Thanks for the offer, but he is not really very high on my "need to know" list. Not off the list, but not in the top 10.

I haven't watched the video either but I probably will.

Carlus Henry said...

You have consistently come from the position of Catholic teaching and from what I have been able to deduce from my own study of Catholicism, your interpretation of Catholic teaching has been right on. If you get a written or oral examination before the big day you will probably get an "A".

Cool. Thanks.

And I again affirm that the single, most important and eternally true witness that Christ is real is the indwelling Holy Sprit in the life of the believer.

Can the Holy Spirit use men to teach, or is the Holy Spirit only restricted to teaching the believer within? Can we learn from others who are guided by the Holy Spirit? Of course we can. That is why we have Sacred Scripture. Scripture is inspired Word of God. God chose to use men to teach (1 Cor. 27-28). Once again, to pit the two against each other does not make much sense to me.

John 6:45 & John 14:26
Amen!!!

If you still maintain that 'all witnesses are equal' you have been deceived by somebody.

By your own admission, the Holy Spirit works within all of us. So, if it is the Holy Spirit working within someone to speak and to teach, and that same Holy Spirit is working within you and teaching you...where is the difference? Am I decieved? No. I am looking at it from the same perspective as Paul did (1 Cor. 11-29).

We are supposed to be a community of believers. We are not supposed to be led individually every which way. We are a community because the same Holy Spirit that resides in you, resides in all of us. At times, that Holy Spirit reveals things directly to you from within, other times the Holy Spirit uses someone else to reveal things to you. Read 1 Cor 12:11-29 and you will see what it is that I am talking about.

Again, not picking a fight, but if what I say means it's a fight you don't want to be in I will just go away.

No...you are more than welcome to be here. I enjoy the exchange. Just want it to remain civil and respectful, or else we are not doing each other any good.

I would love to continue feeding you straight Scripture.

Thanks. Let me also return the favor, and ask that you would spend some time in 1 Cor 12:11-29 so you can get a better understanding of what it is that I am talking about.

Thanks for the offer, but he is not really very high on my "need to know" list. Not off the list, but not in the top 10...I haven't watched the video either but I probably will.

I hope that you do get a chance to watch the video. Notice that the video is not hosted on a Catholic website, so believe it or not, this is a part of our Christian Heritage that we actually share. Polycarp is one of our heroes. We remember faithfully those who have given their lives in military service, we should also remember those who have given their lives in Christian Service as well.

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Also, the video is not more than 3 minutes long, so it shouldn't take that long to watch.

Anonymous said...

Well, I watched the short video about Polycarp and his martyrdom. The specific circumstances are not that different from other martyrdoms throughout history, except for the voice from heaven mentioned in some of the accounts. Many other martyrs have also served as examples to us and shamed weak faith. Is Polycarp's martyrdom somehow more significant to the church? Possibly, since as a church leader, his was more visible to more ordinary folks.

Since he is a 'venerated' saint of the Catholic church, much more is made of his martyrdom than others'. His status as a 'bishop' appointed by John over the church of Smyrna is made much of in Catholic teaching. "Bishop" in the NT means simply overseer and it was to that duty he was appointed by John. The system of official "Bishops" (uppercase "B") and all the authority, pomp and ceremony associated with the Catholic office, was added later by dudes in Rome.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Well, I watched the short video about Polycarp...

Great...I hope that you enjoyed it and you will be enriched knowing one more additional thing about the heroes of our faith.

Since he is a 'venerated' saint of the Catholic church, much more is made of his martyrdom than others'

All of the martyrs....all of them are venerated by the Catholic Church. Not just one, all of them. That is the Feast of All Saints Day.

His status as a 'bishop' appointed by John over the church of Smyrna is made much of in Catholic teaching.

Yes. You are right. There is an unending line of blessing from Jesus Christ Himself that exists in the Catholic Church.

"Bishop" in the NT means simply overseer and it was to that duty he was appointed by John.

Simply??? We are talking about the Apostle John placing someone into a position of authority over the Church. I don't think that is much more than simple. How blessed Polycarp must have been to be considered worthy of this office by one who walked with Jesus and used by the Holy Spirit to spread the Gospel?

The system of official "Bishops" (uppercase "B") and all the authority, pomp and ceremony associated with the Catholic office, was added later by dudes in Rome.

Out of curiosity, when do you think that this was added? I would argue that the bishops and their responsibilities have not changed since the time of Christ. The fact that Bishops are overseers, has not changed at all.

Anonymous said...

" Cool. Thanks."
Where Catholic teaching is supported by scripture, feel good about it. Where Catholic teaching contradicts scripture, be fearful.

My quote: " And I again affirm that the single, most important and eternally true witness that Christ is real is the indwelling Holy Sprit in the life of the believer."

Allow me to expand that what Scripture plainly said about Christ - that is also God speaking. Filter it through a man, any man, and the information passed is subject to error. Paul knew that and applauded the Bereans for examining everything he taught in the light of scripture.

" Once again, to pit the two against each other does not make much sense to me."

It's not a matter of pitting anything against each other. It is a point of fact that the testimony of God can be trusted as 100% reliable and the testimony of any man is susceptible to error. The testimony of godly men is greatly profitable, but not without the possibility of error and deception. It is really sad that you cannot see that.

"Can the Holy Spirit use men to teach, or is the Holy Spirit only restricted to teaching the believer within?"

Strawman alert! It's not about whether the Holy Spirit uses men to teach, it's about the truth of the "testimony", fallibility/infallibility of the source of the testimony. God is infallible.

"So, if it is the Holy Spirit working within someone to speak and to teach, and that same Holy Spirit is working within you and teaching you...where is the difference?"

Same strawman.

Concerning "bishops". All I was saying is that the Catholic Church's definition of a Bishop is is much large than the bishop/overseer in NT accounts where such a person is mentioned. When was it added? I do not know exactly, but it was added later by the Roman dudes at the conference table.

"There is an unending line of blessing from Jesus Christ Himself that exists in the Catholic Church."

If you are speaking of Peter as the first Pope here and subsequent Apostolic succession as maintained by the catholic church, that would be one of those things not strictly supported in scripture and again added/embellished by the Roman dudes around the conference table, most likely the Council of Trent, convened as sort of a counter-Reformation council and in which works were very specifically added to works for salvation, and from which the current Pope has not deviated, no matter how slick his "Catholic" spin on things in his sermon/homily late last year.

In case I need to merely take that statement literally for what it says, kind of like we should take the Bible, there is an unending line of Blessing upon the entirety of His True church, which is the called out body of believers for whom He shed His blood as a propitiation for their sin, consisting of people from all tongues and tribes and nations, and not specific to any specific organization calling itself a church.
You are quite good at building strawmen and I am becoming better at recognizing them and by extension, better at refuting them.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

Where Catholic teaching is supported by scripture, feel good about it. Where Catholic teaching contradicts scripture, be fearful.

How did a post that began talking about Bishop Polycarp end up here? I do not believe that Catholic Teaching contradicts scripture. We can definitely go back and forth on that one for a very, very, very long time, but let's stick to the subject at hand.

Filter it through a man, any man, and the information passed is subject to error. Paul knew that and applauded the Bereans for examining everything he taught in the light of scripture.

??? So, let me understand your position. The Holy Spirit that leads and guides you internally is a more true witness than the Holy Spirit the leads and guides externally? And the reason for this is because the Holy Spirit is communicating through a human being and therefore could be prone to error? Doesn't that mean that you, as you listen to the Holy Spirit, could also be prone to error? Or when it is you interpreting the Holy Spirit internally, it is not prone to error?

The Bereans were applauded for checking with Scripture. Doesn't this mean that they were interpreting the Scripture and the Holy Spirit was talking to them fallibly because the human is prone to error?

Filter it through a man, any man, and the information passed is subject to error.
This statement makes the most complete sense. If you filter it through yourself only, then you can be at fault as well.

It is a point of fact that the testimony of God can be trusted as 100% reliable and the testimony of any man is susceptible to error.

So how do you ever know who is doing the talking - whether internally or externally? You can listen to a preacher, who is a human filter of communication for the Holy Spirit and therefore prone to error. At the same time, you can read some scripture, where you are the human filter to reading the scripture and therefore prone to error.

Strawman alert!...

I didn't setup this straw man. I am just repeating what you said in your last comment, which was:

And I again affirm that the single, most important and eternally true witness that Christ is real is the indwelling Holy Sprit in the life of the believer.

versus your previous statement of

So I certainly will say there is one way better than all others. The diffrence is being 'taught by God' or being taught by men.

Which begs the statement that since the Holy Spirit works in all of us to teach, if it is that same Holy Spirit, there really is no difference.

Concerning "bishops". All I was saying is that the Catholic Church's definition of a Bishop is is much large than the bishop/overseer in NT accounts where such a person is mentioned. When was it added? I do not know exactly, but it was added later by the Roman dudes at the conference table.

And here is the problem. This is where learning more about Early Church History may do some good so at least you can have a problem with the Church based on something that the Catholic church is actually guilty of. Did the Catholic Church event the role of Bishop? Do you know what it means to be a Bishop in the Catholic Church? How do you know that the Catholic Church office of bishop is not the same as the New Testament and the Early Church?

If you are speaking of Peter as the first Pope here and subsequent Apostolic succession as maintained by the catholic church, that would be one of those things not strictly supported in scripture and again added/embellished by the Roman dudes around the conference table

Once again, look at the history of the Christian Faith. I would recommend looking at Irenaeus in his book Against Heresies Book 3 Chapter 3. This is the beginning of Apostalic Succession and this document was Irenaeus lived around 115-125. This is our, yours and mine, Christian Heritage.

Pope has not deviated, ...
Thank goodness someone sees that we have not deviated from the teachings of 2000 years. I read an article where it was saying that the Pope changed his mind / redefined salvation.

You are quite good at building strawmen and I am becoming better at recognizing them and by extension, better at refuting them.

I didn't invite the strawman...I am just trying to understand what it is that you are saying and how it relates to Holy Scriptures.

God bless.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous...

Here is a post that I did on Apostalic Succession...
Apostalic Succession

Clearly, in the Bible, you can see that the Apostles were putting people in charge, in positions of authority, overseers. That authority was passed down from the Apostles to the Bishops and all the other positions that reside in the church today.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

"How did a post that began talking about Bishop Polycarp end up here? I do not believe that Catholic Teaching contradicts scripture."

That referred to your taking my comment about your accuracy in interpreting Catholic teaching as pretty good, as a compliment. It was a caution. If you really examine scripture for what it says, you cannot walk away without seeing contradictions between Catholic teaching and what scripture speaks on its pages. You can be a non-believer and see the contradictions and where the Catholic system has "added" to/read in to what is in scripture. Jason, after 27 years as a Catholic, read the Bible and it changed his life. I read the Bible for myself and it changed my life - I found out my Christian walk was about much more than my liturgical Protestant tradition was teaching me.

"The Holy Spirit that leads and guides you internally is a more true witness than the Holy Spirit the leads and guides externally? And the reason for this is because the Holy Spirit is communicating through a human being and therefore could be prone to error? Doesn't that mean that you, as you listen to the Holy Spirit, could also be prone to error? Or when it is you interpreting the Holy Spirit internally, it is not prone to error?"

I thought I was clear that any human being is prone to error while the Holy Spirit always speaks truth. I am prone to error just like anyone else. So……I test the "Spirit" I think is speaking by guess what? The written word! This really all goes back to Sola Scriptura.

"The Bereans were applauded for checking with Scripture. Doesn't this mean that they were interpreting the Scripture and the Holy Spirit was talking to them fallibly because the human is prone to error?"

No. . .(sigh). It means they examined Paul's teaching by what was in the written word that they had at the time and did not just take his teaching for granted. That means they examined Paul's teaching against the "text on the pages of scripture".

"So how do you ever know who is doing the talking - whether internally or externally? You can listen to a preacher, who is a human filter of communication for the Holy Spirit and therefore prone to error. At the same time, you can read some scripture, where you are the human filter to reading the scripture and therefore prone to error."

Excellent question! By trusting in the perpescuity of scripture and letting scripture interpret scripture. By that I mean when you have two passages, one clear and one not, use what is clear to interpret what is unclear. Don't read into the text something that is not there.

"Did the Catholic Church event the role of Bishop?

No, but they sure added a lot to what was actually defined in the NT. Protestants have done the same sorts of things but not to the degree of Catholocism.

Do you know what it means to be a Bishop in the Catholic Church?

Not every jot and tittle, but enough to know that much was added to what the NT actually teaches about church leadership. I have a Protestant Reformation background and was catechized thoroughly via the Lutheran church. I also read the Bible as an advanced placement English project (I did my major paper on the Bible as literature)

How do you know that the Catholic Church office of bishop is not the same as the New Testament and the Early Church?

I examined the hierarchy and authority structure of the Catholic church (from it's own teachings, not a Protestant work with an agenda) in light of what is written in the pages of Scripture.

"Once again, look at the history of the Christian Faith. I would recommend looking at Irenaeus in his book Against Heresies Book 3 Chapter 3. This is the beginning of Apostalic Succession and this document was Irenaeus lived around 115-125. This is our, yours and mine, Christian Heritage."

There you go again! I don't care what Catholic teaching is going to tell me about its own church, or what any other sect, religion, denomination, etc. is going to tell me about itself! That's just plain stupid! I care what Scripture has to say about it. Remember what I mentioned about Jason and the Catholic church? He was one and read the Bible for himself.

"Pope has not deviated, ...
Thank goodness someone sees that we have not deviated from the teachings of 2000 years. I read an article where it was saying that the Pope changed his mind / redefined salvation."

You have got to be kidding! I said the Pope has not deviated from the Council of Trent, not 2000 year old teachings. The Council of Trent (have you read it?) was convened primarily to refute what was coming out of the Protestant Reformation. the reason I mentioned that is because in the Pope's sermon/homily of last fall concerning justification, he muddied the waters a bit trying to say that works of the Mosaic Law that cannot justify while works out of grace and love are part of the justification "process". Justification is a declaration, not a lifelong process.

If falsely misstating my position and then debating against 'your false interpretation' of my position, or falsely state my position to prove a point and say we agree, falls within the correct definition of a strawman, you are quite good at it.
"Clearly, in the Bible, you can see that the Apostles were putting people in charge, in positions of authority, overseers. That authority was passed down from the Apostles to the Bishops and all the other positions that reside in the church today."

Of course the NT shows a pattern of appointing leadership of local churches. My agreement in that point is as far as my agreement extends. Peter as Pope and vicar of Christ, and all that comes out of that in terms of authority over other churches and apostolic succession through a series of Popes (vicars) does not seem to be supported by scripture, but "read into" scripture.

Have you even examined Scripture for what is says on it's pages and interpreted it in light of it's own immediate and larger contexts?

I recommend you read everything at these links, including the scripture given, which is easy since the actual scripture will be displayed when you point to the scripture links.

Let scripture for itself, examine scripture for what it says, not look at everything through "Catholic colored glasses", in itself a monumental feat since your Catholic teaching constrains you to accept scripture for what Catholic teaching says it means.

http://www.gotquestions.org/pope-papacy.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/vicar-of-Christ.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/papal-infallibility.html

The material in all three is from a very well written and scripturally supported work listed at the bottom of each site. You will see some of the same material more than once because it peratains to more than one of the questions addressed.

I do not have an agenda here other than point to scripture as the final authority (not scripture interpreted by a particular organization of any persuasion).

I've said about all I can say at the moment.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

That referred to your taking my comment about your accuracy in interpreting Catholic teaching as pretty good, as a compliment.

I still take it as a compliment, even if you didn't mean it that way. I am proud to have a deeper understanding of the faith.


If you really examine scripture for what it says, you cannot walk away without seeing contradictions between Catholic teaching and what scripture speaks on its pages. You can be a non-believer and see the contradictions and where the Catholic system has "added" to/read in to what is in scripture.

I have accepted this challenge, and I have found that scripture does support the Catholic faith. Of course I didn't accept the challenge since you wrote this post, but this is exactly what I have done. I have also found that the History of the Church and the history of the faith supports the Catholic faith. I was a Protestant for years. I thought that Catholics had it wrong then. After doing some honest searching for answers in Scripture and in History, I have found that they have been consistent with their teachings since the time of Christ.

Jason, after 27 years as a Catholic, read the Bible and it changed his life. I read the Bible for myself and it changed my life - I found out my Christian walk was about much more than my liturgical Protestant tradition was teaching me.

Jason is a very intelligent person. You are an intelligent person. I have known people that have walked away from Catholicism. I have also known others who have joined the faith after being Protestant for many years. I know many preachers who have walked away from Protestantism in order to become Catholic. The fact that you have people going back and forth between the theologies of Catholicism and the many brands of Protestantism, does not prove that one is more right than the other. It just shows that there is evidence that if rightly understood would prove that one theology has more truth than the other. I have found my Christian walk enriched and my life changed by actually walking towards the Catholic Church as oppose to away from it.


I thought I was clear that any human being is prone to error while the Holy Spirit always speaks truth. I am prone to error just like anyone else. So……I test the "Spirit" I think is speaking by guess what? The written word! This really all goes back to Sola Scriptura.

Let's be clear about this. Scripture is always right. Always. So why don't I believe in Sola Scriptura? I don't believe in Sola Scriptura because people can be wrong. Just like you said, people are fallible. So when you say that you test the "Spirit" by using the written word, you can be wrong on how you interpret the written word. Your interpretation of scripture can be wrong. However, you feel that your interpretation of Scripture is always right. Instead of Sola Scriptura, you believe instead of Sola My Interpretation of Scripture. Anything that goes against the way that you understand scripture, must be wrong.




Bereans.... It means they examined Paul's teaching by what was in the written word that they had at the time and did not just take his teaching for granted. That means they examined Paul's teaching against the "text on the pages of scripture".

Amen. So we are to examine the Scriptures when it comes to someone teaching. That is great. I couldn't agree with you more. Now what happens if you interpret the scripture in error? What if you read something that says one thing, and you misunderstand it to say another thing? This is completely possible since we, people, are prone to err. Then you would have missed out on God's message.

We see this happening all of the time. There are plenty of different versions of Christianity being marketed right now. How many different denominations do we have? And all of them disagree with eachother on some level or another. Yet I am supposed to believe that they are all being led by the HOly Spirit? And my measuring stick is supposed to be my own personal, prone to error, interpretation? This is the problem that I have with the perspecuity of the Bible. If it was so easy to understand, then we should all be reaching the same conclusion - and we are not. Is Eucharist (Communion) and Baptism essential to the faith or not? How does one become saved? Baptismal Regeneration? Ask a Methodist, Lutheran, Calvinist or any Protestants of different traditions, and you will get many different answers. Scripture is clearly understood? Evidence shows otherwise.


...letting scripture interpret scripture. By that I mean when you have two passages, one clear and one not, use what is clear to interpret what is unclear. Don't read into the text something that is not there.
See my notes from the last comment. It seems pretty clear to me that when Jesus instituted the Eucharist, He said "This is my body...This is my blood". That would seem pretty clear to me, but some faiths would say otherwise. "Well, when He said that, what He really meant was...". But when you do the research, you will see that from the beginnings of our Faith, the leaders of the Church have always taught that it was literal. Now, who word should I take, someone who is telling me today in 21st Century American culture / tradition or someone who learned at the foot of the Apostles? There is no contest.


No, but they sure added a lot to what was actually defined in the NT. Protestants have done the same sorts of things but not to the degree of Catholocism.

What exactly?

Do you know what it means to be a Bishop in the Catholic Church?

Not every jot and tittle, but enough to know that much was added to what the NT actually teaches about church leadership. I have a Protestant Reformation background and was catechized thoroughly via the Lutheran church. I also read the Bible as an advanced placement English project (I did my major paper on the Bible as literature)


Still, what exactly? Give me an example of what was added to the role of a bishop?

I examined the hierarchy and authority structure of the Catholic church (from it's own teachings, not a Protestant work with an agenda) in light of what is written in the pages of Scripture.

Really...so what part doesn't fit?


There you go again! I don't care what Catholic teaching is going to tell me about its own church, or what any other sect, religion, denomination, etc. is going to tell me about itself! That's just plain stupid! I care what Scripture has to say about it. Remember what I mentioned about Jason and the Catholic church? He was one and read the Bible for himself.

So you mean to tell me, that after the Apostles took the time to setup the Churches, knowing and understanding the teachings of those churches is stupid? I am talking about the Early Church? Our, yours and mine, Early Church. This is a continuation of the Church mission here on Earth established by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The fact that the story continues after Revelation, should warrant you to look into it and understand, at least on a historical appreciation level, what happened to those churches.

You probably didn't mean to imply this, but I am going to mention it because it is worth mentioning. You are comparing the Early Church to being Catholic. Why would you do that? Was the Early Church Catholic? The same church that the Apostles spent time setting up? Honest investigation would show you that it definitely had some Catholic tendencies. Baptismal Regeneration, True Prescence in the Eucharist...and many many more.

You have got to be kidding! I said the Pope has not deviated from the Council of Trent, not 2000 year old teachings. The Council of Trent (have you read it?) was convened primarily to refute what was coming out of the Protestant Reformation. the reason I mentioned that is because in the Pope's sermon/homily of last fall concerning justification, he muddied the waters a bit trying to say that works of the Mosaic Law that cannot justify while works out of grace and love are part of the justification "process". Justification is a declaration, not a lifelong process.

He didn't muddy anything. He was in fact restating everything that the Catholic Church actually believes. Regarding Justification, we do believe Justification as something different. We view justification begins when you are baptized and is completed when you enter Heaven. Protestants view Justification and Sanctification as something different. In the end, does it matter? Is the result still the same, so long as you are continually being sanctified and made holy? I don't think so. Some people may argue differently, but it is a different way at looking at justification.

If falsely misstating my position and then debating against 'your false interpretation' of my position, or falsely state my position to prove a point and say we agree, falls within the correct definition of a strawman, you are quite good at it.

If I have misunderstood what you have been saying, then I am sorry. I did not mean to misrepresent you.

Of course the NT shows a pattern of appointing leadership of local churches. My agreement in that point is as far as my agreement extends.

So what is the job of leaders? To lead, right? Who did they expect to follow the leaders of the Christian faith? Christians. Did the leadership fail? What happened after the New Testament and the Early Church (regardless if you think that it was Catholic or not)? There were all kinds of heresies. The Christians followed the leaders of the time, to make sure that they didn't fall into heresey.

Peter as Pope and vicar of Christ, and all that comes out of that in terms of authority over other churches and apostolic succession through a series of Popes (vicars) does not seem to be supported by scripture, but "read into" scripture.

Once again, that is your interpretation. I would submit that the Roman Catholic Church, the worlds largest body of Christians one-sixth of the worlds population, would submit otherwise.

Have you even examined Scripture for what is says on it's pages and interpreted it in light of it's own immediate and larger contexts?

Yes.

I recommend you read everything at these links, including the scripture given, which is easy since the actual scripture will be displayed when you point to the scripture links.

Ok.

Let scripture for itself, examine scripture for what it says, not look at everything through "Catholic colored glasses", in itself a monumental feat since your Catholic teaching constrains you to accept scripture for what Catholic teaching says it means.

Scripture speaking for itself is impossible. It always requires an infallible interpreter in order to understand it. I would offer the same recommendation, don't look at it through your "Protestant colored glasses". Be objective when approaching the Scriptures and the Early Church.


I do not have an agenda here other than point to scripture as the final authority (not scripture interpreted by a particular organization of any persuasion).

The final authority has never been the Scriptures, until Martin Luther in 16th Century. I refuse to accept one flawed man's interpretation of authority, as oppose to the Apostles and all of Church History of over 1500 years.

God bless.

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Regarding the Pope and his position and Papal Infallability...I already took the time to try to help people (Protestants and Catholics) have a better understanding of why he is in a position of authority over the Church.

When time allows, please reference:
Defining Peter 1 and Defining Peter 2

Anonymous said...

You keep going in the same circles, with Catholic teaching at the center, rather than scripture itself. I take your last comments as a complete refusal to even consider reading the Bible for just what it says. Everything must be filtered to through the Magesterium of the Catholic church. Scripture only means what Catholic teaching says it means, even when it contradicts Scripture. This one is especially telling:

"Scripture speaking for itself is impossible. It always requires an infallible interpreter in order to understand it."

Since we both know 'who' you mean by that, I would say that your brainwashing has been complete.

Carlus Henry said...

You keep going in the same circles, with Catholic teaching at the center, rather than scripture itself.

You are trying to define who I am in the context of your own experience. You believe in Scripture alone, therefore you are restricted to Scripture Alone. I do not believe in Scripture Alone as the authority, therefore I am not restricted by that.

However, your point is taken. I will use more scripture in order to support the claims of the Church.

I take your last comments as a complete refusal to even consider reading the Bible for just what it says.

Maybe you didn't read the whole comment. Clearly, I told you that I investigated the Scriptures in order to prove the Catholic Church. This was before I became convinced in the Catholic Church, while I was still a Protestant. At the same time, like I mentioned before, I will use more scripture.

Everything must be filtered to through the Magesterium of the Catholic church. Scripture only means what Catholic teaching says it means, even when it contradicts Scripture.

Everyone has a filter. Everyone. You have your traditions, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide just to name two, and I have my traditions. We always filter information through the way that we see the world.

Have you ever read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? In it, Stephen Covey explains that we interpret information and what it means based on our perspective. Our perspective is the lens to which we see the world. You have one perspective and I have another. Let's discuss those perspectives and see what exactly conforms more to reality - truth.

Since we both know 'who' you mean by that, I would say that your brainwashing has been complete.

Brainwashing? So when someone is convinced of something that is opposition to your beliefs, they are brainwashed? Is that what you are saying?

Let's set a ground rule to not throw around insults. Instead, let's stick to the topic at hand. The post was originally St. Polycarp. We have gone from there to the perpescuity of Scripture to the role of Bishops in the Early Church to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to the Papacy....we are bouncing around all over the place.

Is there something in particular you want to talk about? Tell me, specifically, then I will start another post, and we can talk only about that - without all of the insults and name calling. Remember...

...And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.(1 Peter 3:15-16)

Let us be true to the Word of God. You are more than welcome to express your contrary belief system, but no conversation is worth going against the Word of God, by being harsh or disrespectful.

God bless...

Anonymous said...

"We always filter information through the way that we see the world."

Are you sure you want the public to know you even thought that?

Carlus Henry said...

???

What is the point you are trying to make?

Anonymous said...

1. Only some information needs filtering through a worldview. The definition of "kinetic energy interceptor" for example needs only to be defined.

2. On things pertaining to information concerning faith and living a Christian life, I try my best to "filter" data input by scripture, which is the whole point of what I have been trying to say.

Carlus Henry said...

On things pertaining to information concerning faith and living a Christian life, I try my best to "filter" data input by scripture, which is the whole point of what I have been trying to say.

That is ironic. So do I. And yet we have come to different conclusions. So, why is that? That is because you and I are different people. Different people see things differently, even when interpreting Scripture. We have different filters.

Once again, before we get even more off topic of Early Church History: St. Polycarp, than we have already, is there anything specific that you would like to discuss?

Anonymous said...

"And yet we have come to different conclusions. So, why is that?"

Can't answer that. Conclusions about what, specifically, are you referring.

We do both filter through scripture but your filtering is scripture as interpreted by the Catholic as the only infallible interpreter. I use Scripture as the final authority and you use Catholic teaching as the supreme authority.

I would have thought you might have picked up on that.

Enough of that. I am tired of running in circles.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

Enough of that. I am tired of running in circles.

Amen. So once again, I am extending you the same offer. What exactly would you like to discuss? Specifically so that we are not bouncing around talking about everything under the sun? I can start another blog post, and we can discuss that one item without bringing all other kinds of topics into the fold. Let's bring focus back to the exchange.

God bless.

Tuesday Morning said...

Anonymous,

>>We do both filter through scripture but your filtering is scripture as interpreted by the Catholic as the only infallible interpreter. I use Scripture as the final authority and you use Catholic teaching as the supreme authority.<<

But how do you know scripture is the final authority?

Melissa said...

I would like to interject a comment if possible, specifically in response to the posts that Dan has made.

Dan,

In reading the exchange between you and Carlus, I'm finding it difficult to get value from what you are saying, due to the combativeness and lack of respect that you are showing in your posts. Your posts do not seem to be geared towards providing useful information, but more towards trying to put someone down and tell them where they are wrong.

I would actually be interested in hearing what you have to say, but it doesn't seem like you are writing things that are meant to provide value for those reading this blog. The purpose of this blog seems to be for sharing information and having respectful, meaningful discussion.

I just wanted to throw my opinion out there as I think if these conversations are kept civil, they can provide a lot of value and understanding.

Adam

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

Due to missing specificity in your comment, I am at a loss how to reply. Since the comments in this blog post have taken various turn, I would be interested in which of the topics discussed you might be interested in. I might have alreadly spoken to them at my place.

http://born4battle.wordpress.com/

You are welcome to visit any time. If you stop by, don't be put of by the thtle of my blog. I am not trying to pick fights. There is a serious truth war going on.

Nice to have met you...

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

I think what Melissa is trying to say is let's keep in mind that we are Christians, and although we have different opinions, let us try to express those opinions with love and charity.

God bless...

Anonymous said...

I did some research about the Church Fathers and found several sources that seemed to say that Sola Scriptura was the rule of the day until the Council of Trent when all of a sudden Tradition Scripture and the Magesterium were declared equal. Prior to that time Scripture was the hightst authority. Polycarp, in fact, adhered to Sola Scripture. Is this true?

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

This sounds like a great start. Let's examine the evidence. What specifically did you find?

Anonymous said...

Here's one:

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/sola-scriptura-earlychurch.html

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

I am still working my way through the article, and it does raise a lot of good questions.

I also happened upon this article, which seems to answer those questions.

In an interest to be fair and balanced, I want to show the response that a Catholic Apologist made to this article that you shared with me.

http://www.chnetwork.org/journals/sola/sola11.htm

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

I have completed reading both articles. I hope you have a chance to read them as well.

I am not convinced that the Early Church believed in Sola Scriptura. I am convinced, that they did believe in the infallability of Scripture, and the material sufficiency of Scripture, but they did not believe that it was the sole authority of the Christian faith.

The article you sent me was rather tilted. It seemed to rely on the hope that the readers of the article would not do any further investigation to determine if what the author is claiming is true.

It tried to paint a picture that neither Irenaeus and Tertullian appealed to anything outside of Scripture. It then successfully paints an inaccurate picture of what exactly the two Church Historians, Van Leer and J.N.D. Kelly actually believe and wrote.

After reading the counter argument Did the Church Fathers Believe in Sola Scriptura, which is a complete dissection of what William Webster wrote, we see that it is full of errors - misrepresenting both the Early Church and the Church Historians.

I found Joseph Gallegos argument against William Webster's article to be very good. He spends time quoting the Early Church Fathers writings, showing that they did believe in Scripture and Tradition. He also shares more of the Book from the Church Historians where they do explain that they believe that the Church Fathers appealed to both Scripture and Tradition as the rule of faith.

He ends the article with:
Irenaeus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil are the only Fathers cited by Mr. Webster in support of sola Scriptura. I have provided passages from these same Fathers to provide the necessary balance. It would be easy for anyone to cut and paste the Fathers to their liking, however to find the authentic faith of a Father we must look at their entire writings.

It is clear the early Church Fathers appealed to Tradition alongside Scripture. This Tradition was normative, substantive, available to all, and preserved by the Apostolic Churches, particularly the See of Rome.


My hope is that you and others would spend some time reading both of these articles, side by side, to see who is being more objective with the complete evidence, as oppose to just partial.

So, did the Fathers of the Church that this article claims to believe in Sola Scriptura, actually believe in it? No. You can clearly see the documents of the Early Church and use the citations that are mentioned in order to show that they didn't. Most of the documents mentioned are available at New Advent.

Fathers of the Church

Ireneaus: Against Heresies

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Hey everyone,

Here is a debate between Joe Gallegos and James White on the topic of the Rule of Faith in the Ancient Catholic Church.

James White is supporting the position that it was Scripture Alone while Joe Gallegos is supporting the position on Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

God bless...

Anonymous said...

Joe G. does the same thing Patrick Madrid and a couple of others over at Catholic Answers does - he redefines the actual definition of Sola Scripture and then attacks it - that, my friend is a straw man.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Whoa. Before we go throwing around accusations of "straw man" and all of that business, let us not deter from the subject at hand. Did the Church Fathers believe in Sola Scriptura?

I read the article that you sent to me. Did you read the article that was a response from Joe G.? What did you think? They are two articles that are painting two very different pictures. Which one is closer to the truth? The article by William Webster, or the article by Joe Gallegos?

I have already shared my opinion on the articles, what is yours? Did the evidence present a picture of the Early Church believing in Sola Scriptura or not?

God bless...

Anonymous said...

I am not accusing. If it fits the definition of a "straw man", a straw man it is, regardless of the architect.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

Let us stay on topic.

What did you think of the two articles?

Anonymous said...

Accepting the proper definition of Sols Scripture and not the misrepresentation of that definition, without a doubt, the early church fathers believed in sola scriptura.

Anonymous said...

"The Apostles...delivered the Gospel...in the Scriptures"--Irenaeus
"Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine." --Augustine
"Let us come to...the testimony of the Holy Scriptures" --Augustine
"Let us seek the church in the books of the Lord." --Augustine
"Let us search for the church in the sacred Scriptures" --Augustine
"I am disposed to avoid every assembly of bishops." --Gregory N.
"Hearers should test what teachers say by Scripture" -- Basil
"Let God-inspired Scripture decide between us." --Basil, A.D. 374
"These canonical books are the fountains of salvation." --Athanas.
Scriptures are sufficient for...preaching...the Truth. --Athanasius
"We have spoken...our theology from the Scriptures." --Athanasius
"The Scriptures were spoken and written by God." --Athanasius
"We can learn the exact details of faith from Scripture. -Athanas.
"The tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture."
"The Scriptures are enough for instruction." --Antony
"Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us." --Athanasius
"Divine Scripture is sufficient above all things." --Athanasius
"Address all these questions to the Scriptures." -- Chrysostom

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

Two questions. I would like for you to answer these two specific questions, please.

1.) What did you think of the articles - William Webster and Joe Gallegos?

2.) What is the proper definition of Sola Scriptura that you believe the Church Fathers to believe in?

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

Regarding the quotes that you have made from the heroes of our faith, I have seen too many times, people's comments taken completely out of context in order to support one person's idea. This is something that I believe William Webster in his article is very guilty of.

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous...

Just with a brief search, I found the following statements that quote many of the Church Fathers that you mention:

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition...It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture or tradition(Irenaeus Against Heresies 3, 2:1)

Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?(Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3,4:1)

In the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15-19), down to the present episcopate.
And so, lastly, does the very name of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.
Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should...With you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me... No one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion...For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. (Augustine)


[F]or it is enough for proof of our statement, that the TRADITION has come down to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them. They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of arguments in abundance, if they were about to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish and so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who have successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense? (Gregory of Nyssa,Against Eunomius,4:6)

Of the dogmas and kergymas preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the Apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in manners ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject the unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the Gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce kergyma to a mere term" (Basil, Holy Spirt 27:66)

But what is also to the point, let us note that the very TRADITION, teaching and faith of the CATHOLIC CHURCH from the beginning, WHICH THE LORD GAVE, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian.(St. Athanasius, Letters to Serapion of Thmuis, 1,28, 359 A.D.)

God bless...

Anonymous said...

See my blog post:

http://born4battle.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/strawmanicus-maximus/

That should addres your questions.

This is how I see the issue at this point. Up until a certain point, "Tradition", to church fathers as a whole, meant that which was preached by the Apostles and backed up by scripture. At some point "Tradition" came to mean whatever came from Rome whether it could be backed up by scripture or not.

Sola scriptura merely places inspired scripture as the final authority.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Up until a certain point, "Tradition", to church fathers as a whole, meant that which was preached by the Apostles and backed up by scripture.

You mention up until a certain point. Are you implying that traditions / teachings of the Apostles at some point and time ceased? Did it lose the weight of authority that it carried? If so, when?

Sola scriptura merely places inspired scripture as the final authority.

According to your definition of Sola Scriptura, many of the Church Fathers in fact did not believe in Sola Scriptura.

Let's look at Augustine:

For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.(Augustine, Against the Fundamental Epistle of Manichaeus)

This does not sound as though Augustine believes that Scripture is the final authority and rule of faith - according to your own definition. If that were the case, why would he appeal to the Church when believing the Gospel?

Am I saying that the Church is above the Gospel? No. I am just of the opinion, like Augustine that there Scriptures are not the only and sole authority. Is it authoritative? Yes. It is the Written Word of God...of course it is authoritative. Did Augustine believe that it was the only authoritative source?

Look at Irenaeus(Irenaeus, for those who don't know, was a disciple of PolyCarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Imagine, this person was 2 degrees of sepration removed from our Lord Jesus Christ and Savior.):

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition...It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture or tradition(Irenaeus Against Heresies 3, 2:1)

When he says that the heretics do not consent to neither Scripture or tradition, why did he include tradition? It would make absolutely no sense to include tradition in this sentence if it was not authoritative like the Holy Scriptures. The heretics claimed that the scriptures were confusing / ambiguous and could be interpreted many different ways. Irenaeus follows up and says that they refuse to listen to the Scriptures or tradition. That is because both are authoritative. Did Irenaeus believe in your definition of Sola Scriptura?

Let's look at Basil:

Of the dogmas and kergymas preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the Apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in manners ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject the unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the Gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce kergyma to a mere term" (Basil, Holy Spirt 27:66)

Basil clearly states the position that Catholics hold. The Scriptures and Tradition are both from the same force, the Holy Spirit. If you are to reject one over the other, you have injured the Gospel. Did he believe in your definition of Sola Scriptura?

Clearly, looking at the information that I shared, the Church Fathers themselves have explained that they did not subscribe to the notion of Sola Scriptura, as you have defined it.

Here are my follow up questions:

1. Do you still believe that, Augustine, Ireneaus, Basil believed in the version of Sola Scriptura, by your own definition? If so, why?

2. Do you have any more evidence or any other Church Father in particular that would support your claim that they believed in Sola Scriptura?

Tuesday Morning said...

Anonymous,

>>This is how I see the issue at this point. Up until a certain point, "Tradition", to church fathers as a whole, meant that which was preached by the Apostles and backed up by scripture. At some point "Tradition" came to mean whatever came from Rome whether it could be backed up by scripture or not.<<

At what point in history did this change from Rome take place? I'm seeing quotes from Tertullian, Irenaeus and Papias dating back to the 2nd century that clearly support the Church as the singular authority not only on what is scripture but how it is to be interpreted.

Anonymous said...

"You mention up until a certain point. Are you implying that traditions / teachings of the Apostles at some point and time ceased? Did it lose the weight of authority that it carried? If so, when?"

Never said that, you are misstating my position and misdirecting the conversation, SM#2 (at my place)

"For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."

You: "This does not sound as though Augustine believes that Scripture is the final authority and rule of faith - according to your own definition. If that were the case, why would he appeal to the Church when believing the Gospel?"

If there is an underlying assumption that the authority of the Catholic was was limited to what was verifiable in scripture, as other writings by Augustine seem to indicate, it sure CAN sound like he did believe in sola scriptura. You have not proven your point, only suggested a possibility based on a statement out of the context of Augustine's overall teachings.

Your question is, to be kind, silly.

Your Iraneus quote doesn't prove your point either. He just makes a statement. You have merely "assumed" why he must have made the statement. Very poor scholarship there.

Concerning Basil:
"We are not content simply because this is the tradition (custom) of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.(On the Holy Spirit, 7:16.)

Same thing here. You are ignoring the fact that Basil seems to have assumed that tradition/custom mentioned in your out of context quote was directly supported by scripture.

Your follow-up questions:

1. Yes.
2. Yes, but I am not going to continue running around in circles with you, chasing and refuting straw men.

Dan

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Never said that, you are misstating my position and misdirecting the conversation, SM#2 (at my place)

I asked you questions. That means that I am interested in you stating your position, by answering my questions. Building a straw man means that I am telling you what you believe and then knocking it down. I am only asking questions so you can say what you believe. Please stop throwing around those accusations, where they are not warranted.

If there is an underlying assumption that the authority of the Catholic was was limited to what was verifiable in scripture, as other writings by Augustine seem to indicate, it sure CAN sound like he did believe in sola scriptura.

Really? Is that how you are reading this quote? The fact that he accepts the Holy Scriptures to begin with is because the Catholic Church says so is based on the fact that he believed in only those things that are only in the Scriptures? I don't think this is a rational explanation of what Augustine is saying. He accepts the Scriptures because the Catholic Church says to accept them. How is this Scripture Alone as the authority?

Regarding Irenaeus: Very poor scholarship there.

You can accuse me of poor scholarship, but this does not help to prove your argument. Instead of focusing on the quality of my scholarship, please let's continue to focus on the argument. How do you see Irenaeus supporting scripture alone, in light of this quote?

On Basil, you are quoting from the portion of the document where Basil is addressing the concern:

Against those who assert that it is not proper for "with whom" to be said of the Son, and that the proper phrase is "through whom." (Chapter 7)

The quote that I am using is regarding the concern:

Of the origin of the word "with," and what force it has. Also concerning the unwritten laws of the church.

You are absolutely right. Context is very important. The quote that I used is completely in line with this conversation, while the quote you are using is not. We are talking about the position of tradition. And clearly, tradition is authoritative and seperate from the written word of God. Both are necessary, and without one we have injured the Gospel.

Here is the document if you really want to get the whole story: The Holy Spirit

God bless...

Anonymous said...

I'll try again. . .

Augustine: For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.

Your comment: "This does not sound as though Augustine believes that Scripture is the final authority and rule of faith - according to your own definition. If that were the case, why would he appeal to the Church when believing the Gospel?"

My comment: IF there is an underlying assumption that the authority of the Catholic church was limited to what was verifiable in scripture, as other writings by Augustine seem to indicate, it sure CAN sound like he did believe in sola scriptura.

Your question: " Really? Is that how you are reading this quote?"

My point: You said it didn't "sound as though", which is fine until you assume that because he "didn't sound as though" means that he didn't. You assume to be fact what MIGHT not be fact, at least your posts indicate that you are trying to prove the Catholic position no matter what, even if there is a possibility that it might be wrong.

Note that in my response I said "IF" there was an underlying assumption and that other writings of Augustine SEEM to indicate he believed in sola scripture.

I did not assume anything to be fact, but merely responded to your assumption, which you seem to take as fact. Apparently Augustine made statements that by themselves could be taken to mean he believed in Sola Scriptura and statements that could be assumed to mean that he didn't. Furthermore, at least one quote taken from it's context (you used it) CAN fit into a larger context of believing in Sola Scriptura.

Consider this statement by Augustine: "This Mediator [Jesus Christ], having spoken what He judged sufficient first by the prophets, then by His own lips, and afterwards by the apostles, has besides produced the Scripture which is called canonical, which has paramount authority, and to which we yield assent in all matters of which we ought not to be ignorant, and yet cannot know of ourselves.
This sure sounds like Augustine placed scripture and not the Church as the final authority. His aforementioned appeal to the Catholic Church in your quote CAN fit into the larger context of Sola Scripture. That is what I was saying.

Again, at this point I am not trying to prove my point or advance a personal agenda, but I am getting an excellent opportunity to sharpen my reasoning skills.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

My comment: IF there is an underlying assumption that the authority of the Catholic church was limited to what was verifiable in scripture, as other writings by Augustine seem to indicate, it sure CAN sound like he did believe in sola scriptura.

I can only assume that you did not read the context in which Augustine was writing. Let me share with you the rest of the context.

But should you meet with a person not yet believing the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manichæus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am precluded from believing you;— If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly use the gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichæus; for it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the gospel

Clearly, Augustine is saying that he believes the Gospel because it was delivered to him by the Catholic Church. He believed the authority of the Catholic Church which claimed the Gospel.

Apparently Augustine made statements that by themselves could be taken to mean he believed in Sola Scriptura and statements that could be assumed to mean that he didn't.

Yes. In order to understand the mind of our Church Fathers, we should take into consideration everything that they have said, and the context of which they have said it.

I believe that the Scriptures are authoritative. In order for your statement to ring true, that the Church Fathers believed in Sola Scriptura, there cannot exist anywhere within any of their writings, them appealing to another authority outside of Scripture. If they appeal to another authority, then it is not Scripture Alone.

I have shown that Augustine appealed to the Authority of the Catholic Church. Therefore, Scriptures are not the only / final authority that he is claiming allegience to.

Here is another quote from Augustine:

"As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful,"
Letter of Augustine to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.


Did you notice how he placed the authority of tradition on the same level as the authority of Scripture? Not only that, but he also mentions that these authoritative teachings, are not found in Scripture. Therefore, how can you say that Augustine believed that Scripture was the final authority, when he is talking about things being authoritative that are not found in scripture, but instead found in tradition?

St. Augustine does not believe that Scripture is the final authority, in light of these writings. He is explaining the authoritative nature of the extra-biblical tradition that Sola Scriptura denies. If he truly did believe in the final authority of Scripture, then why would he consider anything outside of scripture, specifically Church councils and their decrees, authoritative?

Again, at this point I am not trying to prove my point or advance a personal agenda, but I am getting an excellent opportunity to sharpen my reasoning skills.

You are not trying to prove your point? Then what is the purpose of this discussion?

I would like to thank you as well. You are giving me a great opportunity to share with you and everyone else that the Early Church did not believe in Sola Scriptura.

You are also giving me a great opportunity to dig into the history of our faith, and give honor to our heroes who have come before us.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Augustine: "it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the gospel"

"Clearly, Augustine is saying that he believes the Gospel because it was delivered to him by the Catholic Church."

OK, let's talk context. This is about who carried the truth, the Church, or Manichaeus. It's not a matter of WHO commanded him to believe, but who had the truth to be believed. That seems to be the context of the thing. The same logic applies that I applied in my last comment.

If someone told me that they believed in Christ because I told them to, I would tell them thay have believed wrongly. The only thing anyone should believe from me is what is from scripture. It is the Gospel that Christ died for our sins that is the power unto salvation and not the one who carries the message.
Again, IF the Church carried the truth of the Gospel, genuine belief is possible, for it is the Holy Spirit that awakens the human heart to be able to believe. The Holy Spirit awakens the heart to the Gospel, NOT to a person or organization. Belief in an organization saves no one. Belief in the Gospel saves.

"Did you notice how he placed the authority of tradition on the same level as the authority of Scripture?"

Actually no. All he says about traditions is that they hold to them, not that they are equal to scripture.
Augustine's appeal to tradition MUST be taken as meaning tradition directly supported by scripture, because of the sheer weight of his insistence that scripture is the final authority, as has been shown.

Did you even read the definition of what Sola Scriptura is not and what it is at my blog? I think not.

Why am I here if not to prove a point?

1. to sharpen my apologetics skills.

2. I hate to seen anyone step willingly into bondage, and that is what you are about to do.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous...

It is the Gospel that Christ died for our sins that is the power unto salvation and not the one who carries the message.
Again, IF the Church carried the truth of the Gospel, genuine belief is possible, for it is the Holy Spirit that awakens the human heart to be able to believe. The Holy Spirit awakens the heart to the Gospel, NOT to a person or organization. Belief in an organization saves no one. Belief in the Gospel saves.


Amen!!!

Actually no. All he says about traditions is that they hold to them, not that they are equal to scripture.
Augustine's appeal to tradition MUST be taken as meaning tradition directly supported by scripture, because of the sheer weight of his insistence that scripture is the final authority, as has been shown.


On what evidence is Augustine's appeal to the tradition only supported by Scripture when you read this:

As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful,"
Letter of Augustine to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.


The argument that Augustine is only talking about the tradition that is supported by Scripture doesn't make sense in this writing. It is in fact the tradition that is not supported by Scripture that he is finding authoritative.

Did you even read the definition of what Sola Scriptura is not and what it is at my blog? I think not.

Sole rule of faith...The Church does not add revelation or rule over Scripture...All that one must believe in order to be a Christian is found in the Scriptures and in no other source...that not founded in scripture is not binding upon the Christian conscience...

Yes...I have read it. I think that Jim White did a fantastic job of explaining one version of Sola Scriptura. Now, in talking with you, I am assuming that this is the same version of Sola Scriptura that you subscribe to, and therefore, the only one that matters for our conversations. Now applying that criteria to St. Augustine, would he pass as someone who held to this definition of Sola Scriptura?

Is there anything that he believed that is contrary to what Jim White has just explained to be the definition of Sola Scriptura? Our conversation revolved around the Early Church Fathers, whether or not they subscribed to your definition of Sola Scriptura. You have taken the time to define what that means, I have taken the time to show where I think that he would fail the test.

Did Augustine believe that Scripture was the sole rule of the faith? Did he believe that things that are not found in scripture is not binding? If I show proof against any of these statements, then by your definition, he must not believe in Sola Scriptura. All I have to show is an instance where he relates tradition with scripture. If he shows that scripture, as it relates to tradition is the binding authority, and tradition is not, then your position is the correct position. If instead, I show that tradition as it relates to scripture, is binding, even if the tradition is not mentioned in Scripture, then my position, the Catholic position on St. Augustine's position, is the correct position.

"As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition..."
Letter of Augustine to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.


Holding onto the authority of something that is not found in scriptures is against your definition of Sola Scriptura. He goes on to say...

" it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful,"

According to St. Augustine, the Councils add rule over what is found in the Scriptures. Remember, he just said that the tradition that is authoritative, that was not found in the scriptures regardless if it came from the apostles themselves or councils...This is in fact adding rule above the scriptures. Then he goes on to say that the authority that the apostles and the councils hold in the Church is a good thing. A useful thing. A beneficial thing.

1. to sharpen my apologetics skills.

2. I hate to seen anyone step willingly into bondage, and that is what you are about to do.


Regarding sharpening your apologetics skills, I am happy to oblige. If you feel that you can grow personally and spiritually through our interchanges, then God bless our conversation.

The comment about me stepping willingly into bondage...I could have done without that.

I know that you mean well, and in my opinion, I have been pretty lenient regarding some of the insults. So, if you want to continue this conversation with Christian charity and brotherly love, you are more than welcome here. In order to do that, I want you to start thinking twice about whether or not you are going to say something that may be taken offensively. If you cannot stay objective in our discussions and focus on the theology as oppose to little jabs here and there about me or anyone else personally, then we cannot continue this conversation.

It's up to you. Converse and communicate focusing on the issues and not anyone's personal position position. I hope you do stick around.

God bless...