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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tertullian & Sola Scriptura by David W

As seen from the Orthodox Apologetics website:

Before I begin, I want to note that Tertullian is not a Church Father. There's no doubt that he was a genius and produced some great writings during his long career as a Christian apologist; however, his rigidity on moral issues eventually led him to renounce the Church and join the Montanist movement, a bizarre heretical group whose leader claimed to be an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. In spite of the great writings which he contributed to the library of Orthodox Christianity, his later heretical affiliations exclude him from being classed with the Fathers.

Although he is not a Father, I've decided to address him here because of his importance to the history of early Christianity. He is often called "the father of Latin Christianity" for having been the first significant Christian author to write in Latin, writing as an Orthodox Christian from about AD 197 to AD 207 and after that, until AD 220, as a Montanist. In his writings he did a great deal to defend the Christians from the various accusations of immorality that had been leveled against them, including charges that Christians cannibalized infants and committed incest during their services. And not only did he defend Christianity from false accusations, he also went on the offensive against pagans and heretics.

One of his most interesting tracts against heretics, which has great bearing on the issue of whether or not he might have held to Sola Scriptura, is a relatively short writing called The Prescription Against Heretics, in which Tertullian provides "the prescription against heretics": the Church! He argues that, in a dispute between the Church and some heretical group which has broken off therefrom, the burden of proof lies strictly with the heretical group, as the Church's very existence, being the only Christian body with a direct physical link to the Apostles, verifies its Truth. I'll let Tertullian speak for himself on this point:

To read the rest, please visit Orthodox Apologetics!

He really nocked this one out the ball park! He really did!



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