Sunday, December 6, 2009

THE CHURCH FATHERS

We stated in a previous post that the Catholic Church’s dependence on the church fathers to prove the truth of a particular teaching raises more questions than answers. For example, exactly which of the early Christians were considered to be church fathers? How do we know for sure? Does the Catholic Church have an infallible list of these? How do we know that we are correctly interpreting a certain father when we read his writings? If we can correctly interpret the fathers, shouldn’t we also be able to correctly interpret the Scriptures? Why is it that some of the fathers contradict each other? Why do they sometimes contradict the Catholic Church? And how do we know that the “heretics” were not the real fathers and the ones believed to be “fathers” weren’t the real heretics? Can the Catholic Church answer any of these questions without using circular reasoning (e.g., saying the fathers are right because the Church says so, and the Church is right because the fathers say so)?

Although Catholics are quick to use the fathers as authoritative sources, someone may find it difficult to find an “official” statement by the Catholic Church that clearly defines exactly who the fathers are, and precisely what type of authority they hold. But it seems, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) that the teachings of the fathers somehow tie in closely with Sacred Tradition (CCC #78; CCC #688). In fact, the fathers of the Church are said to be one of the “principal sources” in the creation of the Catholic Catechism (CCC #11). With this in mind, we must ask, “Are all the fathers’ teachings correct?” How do we know (again, without using circular reasoning)? The answer is simple…we compare their teachings with the Bible.


The Pope Has Spoken

But, according to a papal encyclical by Pope Pius XII, it is wrong to “judge the doctrine of the Fathers and of the Teaching Church by the norm of Holy Scripture, interpreted by the purely human reason of exegetes, instead of explaining Holy Scripture according to the mind of the Church which Christ Our Lord has appointed guardian and interpreter of the whole deposit of divinely revealed truth.” (“Humani Generis”, paragraph 22, August 12, 1950.)

In other words, according to the Catholic Church, we are not allowed to judge the teachings of the church fathers in light of Scripture without the “mind of the Church.” But the “mind” of the Catholic Church clearly contradicts the Scriptures in many of its teachings, so its claim of being the “guardian and interpreter” of the “whole deposit” of truth is an empty and deceitful boast.


The Test

The Bible commands us to TEST ALL THINGS (I Thessalonians 5:21; I John 4:1), which would include the fathers, and we test them with the Scriptures, just as Jesus did (Matthew 15:1-9). No one’s teachings are exempt from this test, whether it’s the Catholic Church, a Protestant church, any church father, or any individual or group. We are all subject to God’s ultimate authority, the Scriptures, which will judge us in the last day (John 12:48). Even the teachings of the APOSTLES were to be tested (Acts 17:11), as well as those who claimed to be apostles (Revelation 2:2). And if we can test an angel from Heaven (Galatians 1:8-9), we can certainly test the church fathers.


What If…?

But, just for the sake of argument, what if there were a perfectly unanimous agreement between all the fathers on all their teachings and Scripture interpretations? Would even this prove that the fathers’ teachings are true? The answer is still no. It’s not the level of unity on a doctrine that proves its truthfulness, but it’s whether it lines up with God’s revelation…the Scriptures.

To demonstrate the point, what if every single father firmly believed in a particular false teaching? Would that kind of unity make the teaching true? Of course not. Someone may answer, “But God wouldn’t have let them believe in it if it were false.” But this answer is just an unprovable assumption.


Apostasy in the Early Church

Can we always trust the fathers? Is it possible that even a church father could fall into error or apostasy? Yes, indeed. Note that apostasy, in one form or another, has entered the church from earliest times. Although not a complete apostasy, it was nevertheless present in different degrees and in different places early on, even in the days of the apostles. Note what the Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian elders:

28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in AMONG YOU, not sparing the flock.

30) Also OF YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)

Paul also dealt with the errors of the Judaizers in the early church era, in his epistle to the Galatians, and he dealt with Gnosticism in his epistle to the Colossians.

The Apostle John also had to deal with the false teachings of the Gnostics in the epistle of I John. Furthermore, the Lord Jesus pointed out, through John, the false teachings within two of the seven churches of Asia that needed to be dealt with. (Revelation 2:14-15, 20)

Now, this does NOT mean that the gates of Hell had prevailed over the church (Matthew 16:18), but only that some had fallen prey to false doctrine. So, there was no guarantee that a father would automatically be right. One’s position or ecclesiastical (church) office does not make his message true. His faithfulness to God’s Truth does. (John 17:17)


“Closer-in-Time” Proves Truth?


CATHOLIC CLAIM – BUT SURELY THE FATHERS WERE IN A BETTER POSITION TO KNOW WHAT THE APOSTLES REALLY MEANT, THAN WE ARE TODAY. THEY WERE MUCH CLOSER IN TIME TO THE APOSTLES, AND THEREFORE, THERE WAS LESS CHANCE THAT THE MESSAGE WAS CORRUPTED.


Being “closer” to the time of the apostles does not necessarily mean the fathers’ teachings had to be true. Just as the apostles sometimes had problems understanding Jesus, Himself, the students of the apostles no doubt also sometimes had trouble understanding the apostles. And so on, down the line. Error can, and did, creep into the church and led to more and more false teaching. But, if “closer-in-time” proves a teaching is true, then why did heretics exist during the time of the apostles? And if “farther-in-time” weakens the truth, then wouldn’t it be pretty hopeless for us today, since we are so far removed from the time of Jesus and the apostles? How could we know any truth today? Perhaps the likelihood of being correct in those days was greater, but proximity in time does not guarantee truth. The fact is, there was both truth AND error in their day, just as it is now. We don’t have living, infallible apostles today to keep us on track, but we do have infallible Scripture.


CATHOLIC CLAIM – BUT THE FATHERS BELIEVED IN CATHOLIC DOCTRINES, LIKE THE EUCHARIST, INFANT BAPTISM, PENANCE, THE PRIESTHOOD, PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD, ETC., AND SOME OF THESE MEN WERE TAUGHT BY ACTUAL APOSTLES! SO THESE TEACHINGS HAD TO BE TRUE.


This does not necessarily follow. The New Testament speaks of men who were probably directly taught by apostles, yet were teaching false doctrine, like Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Timothy 2:17-18). Worse yet, no doubt some had even stood in the very presence of Jesus Christ and claimed to be His disciples, and yet, misunderstood or misconstrued what He taught, and then went out and taught heresy. So, being in a line of students directly up to the apostles does not prove one’s doctrine. The Pharisees claimed a pedigree (lineage) from Abraham, but they didn’t do Abraham’s works or teach what Abraham taught (Matthew 3:7-9; Mark 7:6-8; John 8:39). Remember, these Pharisees were Jewish leaders to whom the oracles of God had been entrusted (Romans 3:2), just as the apostles had also been entrusted with the oracles of God. But this did not eliminate the possibility of error, abuse, or misunderstanding (even shortly) down the line. Once again, the teachings of the students of the apostles were true and accurate only in relation to their faithfulness to God’s Word.


CATHOLIC CLAIM – YOUR PROTESTANT ARGUMENTS ARE MERELY A “JOHNNY-COME-LATELY” THEOLOGY. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS BEEN AROUND FOR TWO THOUSAND YEARS AND HAS ALWAYS TRUSTED THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS. SO, WHO ARE YOU GUYS TO GO AGAINST THIS VENERABLE INSTITUTION WITH YOUR NOVEL IDEAS?


First of all, we’re not saying that the teachings of the fathers are never to be trusted…they just all need to be tested before they’re accepted.

Secondly, longevity does not prove truth. Just because the Catholic Church has been around a long time doesn’t mean they’re right. The Hindus have been around for about five thousand years (more than twice as long as Christianity), but I don’t think that any reputable Catholic would say that the Hindus have more truth than Christianity does.

Thirdly, there is an extraordinary assumption in the above claim: that the modern day Catholic Church is the same church that existed in the first century, i.e., the church we find in the Bible. But how can the Catholic Church be that same one when many of its teachings are not found in the Bible, and oftentimes even contradict the Bible?

It’s easy to say, “Yeah, that was US back then, and we’re still here, doing and teaching the same things as then!” But the proof of the true church is in its faithfulness to Scripture. Catholics like to say, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” But if someone wants to see the historical church, the church of the Bible, and what THEY taught, why look so much to the fathers in the fourth, third, or second century, as many Catholics do? Why not go all the way back in history to the Author of Christianity, Jesus Christ Himself, i.e., to Him Whose words were infallible? What someone else SAID He taught does not override our responsibility to go directly to His Words in Scripture to see what He actually did teach.


Conclusion

The Pharisees and scribes were sharply rebuked by the Lord Jesus when they put their man-made traditions above God’s Word. And just as the Pharisees put too much trust in their “tradition of the elders” (Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:3), so do Catholics today when they look to the church fathers. Let us never embrace the words of the church fathers at the neglect of the words of the Heavenly Father. (Matthew 6:26)

Please understand, we are in no way attempting to belittle the church fathers. They had good and valuable insight, their teachings were useful and informative, and they were important to the church. But we are trying to avoid the over-emphasis of their importance. Some of them were more important than others, and they had different levels of authority and recognition. But the fathers were human, just like you and me. They sometimes disagreed with each other, contradicted each other, changed their minds on certain things, and sometimes even fell into heresy.

Were the church fathers great men of God? We believe that most of them probably were. Were they good role models? Again, we believe that probably the majority of them were good Christian examples. But the real question is, “Were their teachings INFALLIBLE?” And the answer is no. Therefore, let us hold on to that which IS God-breathed and infallible, God’s Word, the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and let us use that as our Standard to test every teaching that comes our way.

24 comments:

  1. Hi Russell,

    I wonder, have you even read any of the writings of the Church Fathers? They were unanimously Catholic. And they certainly did not believe in doctrines like Sola Scriptura and Sola Fides! What is the origin of the Roman Catholic Church? When did all of the Catholic "heresy" enter into the "Christian" church? You see, we refer you to the CF's because that's how the church always understood Scripture passages. Did you know that the early church was in unanimous agreement on Mary's perpetual virginity? How then do you reconcile your beliefs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Russell,

    The above anonymous comment rose my interest.

    What would you do if the early church was unanimous on a uniquely Catholic doctrine such as Purgatory? What then?

    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Jesse,

    First of all, from what I’ve seen, there IS no “unanimous consent” (that the Catholic Church always brags about) in the early fathers on ANY strictly Catholic doctrine. But even if something would be unanimous, that is not a criteria for determining the truth.

    I’ve seen comments by the Reformed guys about Purgatory, and they seem to have some interesting arguments about Catholics misunderstanding what the fathers were actually saying about “praying for the dead.” You might look at some of their comments on that topic.

    By the way, I really appreciate the “back up” that you’ve been providing in our discussions with Catholics on the newer articles. It’s really helpful. Thanks again, my brother. I’m proud of you!

    God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hie Russel

      You said in one comment on another discussion that the early Church Simply recognised the books in the Bible as inspired(though i do not agree fully with it) i want to ask, which people in which years were refering to?

      But even if something would be unanimous, that is not a criteria for determining the truth.
      This standard can apply to SS believers. Its no criteria for determining the Truth either because the Bible has to be intepretated and on interpretating The Bible, we do not know what a certain passage actually meant your interpretation can be wrong or mine can be wrong or both can be wrong because we are all fallible, so the standard of Truth is nowhere to be found. Yes the Bible is there and it contains Truth but it is not self-interpreting, we cannot find the true meaning of the verses which are supposed to give us the truth. It does not matter if all protestants are in agreement on SS.

      The ECFs help us because they heard from the Apostles with their own ears and had the chance to even verify if they heard is what they actually meant, they would know what the Apostles writings meant and they would.

      2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

      Who were these Faithful men Paul was talking about here? Are these not the men who leant from the Apostles? Are these not the men we should look up to after the Apostles? Timothy leant from Paul and who later had to teach other faithful men.
      Mark and Luke also leant from the Apostles and they wrote the accounts of what we call the gospels today from what they heard from the Apostles. What of Linus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycard, Iraneus.

      Delete
  4. Hi Russell,

    Thank your for your complements. I really appreciate them.

    Do you know of any articles or reputable websites dealing with the Roman Catholic Church's claims regarding history?

    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read the History of the Christian Church by Eusebius, written around 300 AD, its more reliable than a Catholic Website when it comes to History

      Delete
  5. Thirdly, there is an extraordinary assumption in the above claim: that the modern day Catholic Church is the same church that existed in the first century, i.e., the church we find in the Bible. But how can the Catholic Church be that same one when many of its teachings are not found in the Bible, and oftentimes even contradict the Bible?

    1. To use SS as standard for testing Truth is false in itself because we do not agree at all that SS is scriptural, do not use this as a standard for Catholics until we agree that SS is indeed Scriptural.
    2. I have been reading many of your articles and you have nullified whatever you could have said by debating infallibility of the interpretor in them. If you claim that there is no need for an infallible interpretor then this blog does not need to exist at all because its now my fallible interpretation and against your fallible, which means that the CC is biblical but only differs on interpretations from yours. E.g. the CC teaches that the Bible is inspired and is a rule of faith but it disagrees that it is the ONLY rule of faith. If you are not infallible this blog is a joke since we have no need of infallible certainty of truth, therefore the CC is not at fault according to your logic since we have no need of infallible certainty of truth starting from the canon.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Bible commands us to TEST ALL THINGS (I Thessalonians 5:21; I John 4:1), which would include the fathers, and we test them with the Scriptures, just as Jesus did (Matthew 15:1-9). No one’s teachings are exempt from this test, whether it’s the Catholic Church, a Protestant church, any church father, or any individual or group. We are all subject to God’s ultimate authority, the Scriptures, which will judge us in the last day (John 12:48). Even the teachings of the APOSTLES were to be tested (Acts 17:11), as well as those who claimed to be apostles (Revelation 2:2). And if we can test an angel from Heaven (Galatians 1:8-9), we can certainly test the church fathers.


    Well we do not agree on your interpretation of those verses, and on your conclusion that the Ultimate Authority is Scripture. So you can use it as your standard but that does not apply to everyone, why do you think SS should apply to everyone when its only your interpretation and of the protestants that agrees to it? Is that not claiming to be infallible interpretors of scripture?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Perfect,
    (Part 1)

    There are just a few things that I would like to point out.

    Firstly, you told me to look at Christian history as recorded by Eusebius, who lived around 300 AD. Then, you went on to say that he was the BEST source to examine, even better than any reputable Catholic websites. But on what basis do you make such extraordinary claims? How do I know if you are not making this argument out of mere bias? I hope you do recognize that the "succession lists" made by the early fathers contradict each other. Even today, the Church of Rome cannot identify how many supposed popes have reigned since Peter! See this well researched article for more information:
    http://eaec.org/cults/rc/confusion_of_the_popes.htm

    Secondly, you have written SEVERAL paragraphs throughout this blog telling us (wasting time?) how the Bible is practically impossible to understand. But such empty talk gets you nowhere in the end. Let's allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves. "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Psalms 19:7-8). "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path" (Psalm 119:97-105). "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple" (Psalms 119:130). "And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). "But until this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds, but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed" (2 Corinthians 3:15-16). “For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand” (2 Corinthians 1:13). "That is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 3:3-5). "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed" (Luke 1:3-4).

    According to the above words, does the Bible sound AT ALL like a dead letter, as you are implying? I could NEVER deduce that! Be careful with how you treat God's Word.

    Jesse



    ReplyDelete
  8. (Part 2)

    Thirdly, you keep on emphasizing the idea of "infallibility". How do you know that the Catholic Church's interpretation of Scripture is correct? Just because you submit your intellect and will to a third party organization to interpret Scripture does not mean that you will be more correct than others. How do you know that your interpretation of official Catholic sources and the words of your teachers is correct? What about the things you read and/or analyze in general? If an infallible institution is necessary to obtain the correct meaning behind every Scripture passage, then which one (out of the many out there) is correct? After that, how do you know that you are absolutely right? You end up falling with a never ending series of "how do you know" questions. Ironically, Catholicism has offered "infallible" interpretations of VERY FEW verses in the ENTIRE BIBLE. This is very telling. Furthermore, being liable to error does not mean that we will always be wrong in our decision making. God obviously expects us to choose what is right. God uses fallible beings to accomplish His purpose and still does that in the church today. He can make ANYTHING work. One must wonder why Catholics make such a big deal over the issue of fallibility. It is almost as if you guys have a veil averting your eyes from the truth, just as the Jews who deny that Christ is the risen Messiah (as recorded in 2 Corinthians 3:15-16).

    Fourthly, you cited 2 Timothy 2:2 in an attempt to prove the concept of apostolic succession. However, notice that Paul exhorts Timothy to pass the truth on to "faithful men", not "bishops and priests". We are ALL called to preach the truth of the gospel (2 Peter 2:5-9). Furthermore, this text only describes the simple process of discipleship. It does not even say anything about passing on extra-biblical infallible oral revelation. Interestingly, the Apostle Paul does not mention anything about a future successor to him and points Timothy to the Scriptures as an infallible standard to turn to in times of deception (2 Timothy 3:13-17).

    It is funny that you quote large portions of Russell's articles and say nothing of relevance. Can you tell us why you disagree with his interpretation of the above passages? You have said nothing so far. What leads you to the conclusion that your church hierarchy has the final say in religious matters?

    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Russell,

    My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I hope that none of these Catholics have gotten on your nerves. Many of the things that they come up with can be just outlandish! But I am glad if I have been of any assistance or a source of relief.

    I was wondering if you could answer my question regarding resources on church history. But if you do not know of any, then I will not insist on an answer.

    Keep up the diligent gospel preaching which is for edification, and ignore the illogical arguments made by any possible detractors.

    Thanks,
    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  10. "you have written SEVERAL paragraphs throughout this blog telling us (wasting time?) how the Bible is practically impossible to understand." where did i say this?

    "According to the above words, does the Bible sound AT ALL like a dead letter" what led you to conclude that i imply that.

    i am asking simple questions about SS, how can i trust your interpretations of the bible yet you are infallible

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Perfect,

    The argument that we need an infallible interpreter of Scripture is really no different than the argument that we are unable to understand the Bible. These quibbles are built practically off the same premises to reach their conclusions. If the Bible cannot speak for itself or needs an "infallible" entity to reveal its meaning, then it must be "dead" or too "ambiguous". for us to understand. Otherwise, what is the big deal about infallibility? Nothing of what you are saying would make any sense. And yes, I feel that you do indeed spend much time ranting on about "infallible" interpretations of Scripture. Contrary to Rome, they are indeed intelligible to any person who desires to know God's will for mankind.

    As I have stated multiple times before, being liable to error does not mean that you will always be in wrong. Thus, you can test my interpretations of Scripture by examining the context, comparing it to what other passages say about that particular subject, use your common sense, and even a concordance, commentaries, or a Bible dictionary. It is not as if you would ever trust my interpretations anyway, no matter how reasonable or true they may be.

    How can we know with certainty that the Catholic Church's interpretations of Scripture are correct and that it is the one true church? How do you know that the pope is infallible?

    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  12. Infallibility is necessary for us to what precisely what the Word of God meant not reasoning to reach a conclusion which can be fault anyway. The Church came before the NT writings i do not read the NT writings as if the Church was born out of them but it was from the Church that people wrote those writings, before all those were written Peter was already the Pope and he was infallible. There is a reason why Paul calls the Church the pillar and bulwark of the truth. For you truth is what we can reasonably come to conclude and for us Catholics it is what we received, the Pope just confirms it.


    My question about infallibility is simple if the Catholic Church 's claims about infallibility are wrong since it is fallible as you assume according to your logic they are reasonably correct since no is fallible and you cannot say they are wrong because you are also infallible so why do you condemn the CC when yourself only uses reason which is affected by background, attachments and emotions as well?

    Our starting Point is Christ, according to Jesus would Peter be able bind and loose with error(whatever your intepretation of binding and loosing) when that same thing is bound/looseth in heaven as well? If not thats infallibility to that extent is it not so. But our intepretation of the Keys are different since our Lord says WHATSOEVER you shall bind/looseth we take it to mean whatsoever.now use your reason to say why it does not whatsoever. According to your limited definition of the keys it relates opening doors heaven to souls and since what they need is only the bible according to you then when he binds that this writing is scripture is it not bound in heaven? And that one is not is that not bound in heaven?

    Thanks for the discussion i am out

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Perfect,

    First, you said that the church came before the Bible, which is true of the New Testament Scriptures. But this does nothing to refute Sola Scriptura and is in fact irrelevant to the debate. The Old Testament Scriptures existed before the church came into being. Your claim neither proves that the Old Testament Scriptures could not function as the final authority for the first century Christians nor that the Bible as we have it today cannot be the final authority in doctrinal matters.

    It really takes a lot to read infallibility, apostolic succession, or other papal inventions into the context of Matthew 16:18-19.

    As for the rest of your post, it is far from being coherent and fails to address anything that I have said. In fact, I can tell that you have not listened to any of my arguments throughout this blog because YOU CONTINUALLY repeat yourself. Why haven't you answered any of my questions or arguments? Have you even read ANY of my posts to other Catholics who mentioned your SAME arguments? All you have been doing is talking past our arguments, used circular reasoning, and tried making me answer to double standards. And I will not tolerate your nonsense.

    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mug,

    You said:

    “Infallibility is necessary for us to what precisely what the Word of God meant not reasoning to reach a conclusion which can be fault anyway.”

    Listen, it would be great if we had infallibility, but there is nothing in Scripture that suggests anyone will have any kind of infallibility in the church after the apostles. Rather, church leaders are warned to guard their teachings, simply because they can, indeed, possibly teach error (1 Timothy 4:16, 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14; Acts 20:28-31).

    You said:

    “so why do you condemn the CC when yourself only uses reason which is affected by background, attachments and emotions as well?”

    I’m not sure, but I think what you’re asking here is why do I condemn the Catholic Church when I am not infallible, but only use reason? Well, do you suggest we DON’T use reason, Mug? I think you said that I “only” use reason… but what else are we supposed to use? Are we to leave our minds at the door and blindly follow the teachings of the Church (any church)? I think that common sense and a humble attitude goes a long way to understanding the Scriptures. After all, it was the poor, the uneducated and the lost that were attracted to Jesus… and He welcomed them.

    Concerning my thoughts on the keys and the binding / loosing of Matthew 16, see the latest article here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2016/10/matthew-16-keys-binding-and-loosing.html#comment-form

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are reasoning from your background and i am from my background, because you believe that SS is true you perceive everything in that direction, thats called perception, even when you read the bible you try by all means to bring out SS everywhere e.g. where the bible says Gospel you interpret it to mean scripture when Gospel does not mean scripture that is the effect of your background and emotions etc etc you need to examine your interpretations once more(as i will do to mine) to see if the Bible is really saying what you are think it says.

      this is what i believe, (in all this Chaos) what we received as long as i can trace it to the Early Church, thats what is reasonable to me, if the Early Church believed that Jesus was God and a watchtower and his interpretation comes and tells He is not i will show Him what the Early Church believed, they heard directly from the Apostles so i can trust them than i can do my reasoning.

      you believe in your interpretation in other words in your reasoning capacity and your ability to interpret scripture that is basically because of your background which believe in Sola Scriptura plus the use of reason.
      no more need to go further with this discussion. Thanx

      Delete
  15. since No one is listening to the other lets not waste our time

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Russell,

    Even though you specifically said in your post that it is logically possible for the entire church to be wrong on a particular issue (consensus does not determine truth), what would you think if the early church was unanimous on doctrines such as Purgatory or the Eucharist? My curiosity was raised by some of the comments on this article as as was reviewing them.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Jessie,

    First of all, as I said in the article, I don't believe that there was ever any "unanimous consent" of the fathers on ANY uniquely Catholic doctrine. It would certainly surprise me if there was. But if there was, it would not affect my faith at all.

    Jessie, I'm no expert on the fathers, but I think that one major problem is with many of the interpretations of the fathers today. Some of the language back then is similar to the "Catholic-speak" of today, but the meaning of those same words / phrases was often quite different in context.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Russell,

      Well, I appreciate the input.

      Delete
    2. Hi Russell,

      I have one more curious question for you to answer. What do you make of the Catholic conversion stories which are supposedly based on the reading of church history? I hear about them all the time, and it gets pretty annoying after awhile!

      Delete
  18. Hey Jessie,

    Yes, they do get quite annoying. It seems that the fathers solve all the problems. All you have to do is start reading the early church fathers and you will automatically become Catholic. It’s a no-brainer! To be deep in history…

    Sorry, but nice try, my Catholic friends. I don’t buy it. And if you guys want to risk your eternal salvation on UNINSPIRED writings, then that’s up to you. I’ll stick with Scripture.

    But Jessie, you and I (and many like us) need to keep on sharing the simple truth of the gospel with them, because there ARE a few of them who will listen.

    ReplyDelete