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Friday, January 28, 2011

Can we trust the Early Christians? And did they see Scripture as the sole standard of doctrine?

As seen from Theologica:

Tim said:

"I trust them to a point. I can’t just take whatever they say as truth, though."

So you are the deciding factor? I know you will say Scripture is, but you should know that when you say such things, I will naturally see you as being the deciding factor of what Scripture says and doesn't say......even if you feel otherwise.

Tim said: "Where did the church ORIGANLLY get all their doctrine before traditions?"

I know what you are trying to say for I use to be a Baptist. However, I see things differently now, and so the question you asked no longer makes sense to me, for all of it is Tradition......including Scripture itself. Scripture is an aspect of Tradition, it is not really separate from it. Nor is it the whole of it. It maybe the Primary aspect, but it's not the only aspect.

Tim said: "The Scriptures and direct apostolic tradition. Numbers are inconsequential. Just talk to Christopher Columbus."

If you believe it's Scripture and direct apostolic tradition, then how can you hold to Solo Scriptura?

Tim said: "Looking at the Scriptures alone, I just can’t see how you can see everything you hear taught now and equate it with what the apostles taught."

Do you believe in Sola Scriptura or Solo Scriptura? You seem to believe in Solo. It would seem as if all the talk of other authorities is nothing more than lip service. You don't really believe in other authorities.

Tim said: "But like I said, where did the church ORIGANLLY get all their doctrine before traditions? The Scriptures and direct apostolic tradition."

In the other thread about Head Coverings, do you believe what Paul said in Scripture to be binding today? If you say no, then I doubt if "direct apostolic tradition" really would matter to you since Scripture doesn't really matter to you. You pick and choose what you want from Scripture, and so Scripture is not really your final authority. You don't really believe in Scripture. You believe in yourself. You are the deciding factor. You are the boss. You make the decisions. You decide what is and isn't valid today in regards to Scripture. And thus, you are the real final authority. This is why you want to isolate Scripture from it's surrounding context. You isolate it because you want to be the one to determine what Scripture means, and you know that the Fathers disagree with you and so you don't want them to have a say. Either that or you don't want their say to really matter.

Tim said: "Since we only have the Scriptures as transfers of direct apostolic tradition,"

Says who? Do you believe all the people that sat at the Apostles feet got it wrong? Do you believe they all lost what the Apostles told them to keep? Do you believe they all got amnesia shortly after the death of the Apostles?

I'm sorry, but I don't believe this. I trust the prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

Chapter 17 verse 20
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;"

Jesus prayed for those who would listen to the Apostles. I believe the next generation was faithful, and the ones who were not regards to heresies.....we already know for they told us who the heretics were. Also Jesus said other things in other places that would support the idea that the visible Church that He started would still be wouldn't go away, and it wouldn't fall into utter apostasy when the last Apostle died. And so yes I trust them. Why don't you?

Tim said: "the Scripture then become the sole standard of doctrine."

According to who? Do you believe in Solo Scriptura or Sola Scriptura? You seem to believe in Solo Scriptura.

What was the Sole standard of doctrine in the 1st century? It wasn't Sola Scriptura. They still had Jesus, the Apostles, and the council in Acts chapter 15 in the first century. Not only that, but the New Testament doesn't really tell much about how Christians worshiped. Surely they Worshiped, and surely the Apostles and other Apostolic men taught them how. So what about the second century?

Well let's look at Saint Polycarp:
The genuine tradition of Apostolic doctrine

"Polycarpus (1) bp. of Smyrna, one of the most prominent figures in the church of the 2nd cent. He owes this prominence less to intellectual ability, which does not appear to have been pre-eminent, than to the influence gained by a consistent and unusually long life. Born some 30 years before the end of the 1st cent., and rasied to the episcopate apparently in early manhood, he held his office to the age of 86 or more. He claimed to have known at least one apostle and must in early life have met many who could tell things they had heard from actual disciples of our Lord. The younger generation, into which he lived on, naturally recognized him as a peculiarly trustworthy source of information concerning the first age of the Church. During the later years of his life Gnostic speculation had become very active and many things unknown to the faith of ordinary Christians were put forth as derived by secret traditions from the Apostles. Thus a high value was attached to the witness Polycarp could give as to the genuine tradition of apostolic doctrine, his testimony condemning as offensive novelties the figments of the heretical teachers. Irenaeus states (iii.3) that on Polycarp's visit to Rome his testimony converted many disciples of Marcion and Valentinus. Polycarp crowned his other services to the church by a glorious martyrdom." [1]

The third century?
Tertullian and Tradition/Observances/Customs not mentioned in Scrip...:

"If, for these and other such rules, you insist
upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be
held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as their strengthener, and
faith as their observer. That reason will support tradition, and custom, and
faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has.
Meanwhile you will believe that there is some reason to which submission is

The next following centuries aren't your friend either.

And so, If they didn't go by your version of Sola Scriptura, then why should anyone abide by it today?

Tim said: "Is that not like the old days then?"

No, it's not. What the Apostles spoke was just as authoritative as what they wrote. I don't know if you do, but if you fight against modern Pentecostals, then I don't see how you can see yourself as copying the Apostles. Saint Peter had a vision about the gentiles, do you believe in visions? If not, then you can't say what you just said. Like I said before, you pick and choose what you wish to believe in. You pick and choose what you want to be binding in Scripture for today. Thus, you are the deciding factor. You are the final authority.

[1] page 846 from the book "A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography: A Reference Guide to over 800 Christian men and women, Heretics, and Sects of the first six centuries" edited by Henry Wace & William C. Piercy. Originally published in London 1911 by John Murray, republished by Hendrickson publishers 1999


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