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June 18, 2010 / vivator

Did Irenænus believe in sola scriptura and reject apocrypha?

This post is to reply the allegations made by Mike in his recent comment that Irenænus, bishop of Lyon in 2nd century AD did not hold many Catholic positions.  You can read his comments here. Irenænus works (translated into English) are available online at www.ccel.org as part of Anti Nicene Fathers.  Mike wrote that Irenænus believes in sola scriptura but what I found below says otherwise (underlined emphasis is mine):

But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

Irenænus, Against Heresies 3.2.2

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

Irenænus, Against Heresies 3.3.2

Mike wrote that Irenænus rejected apocrypha – but in the following quotation from his works (underlined emphasis is mine) he quoted from Bel and Dragon (Daniel 14 in Catholic Bible)

For our Lord and Master, in the answer which He gave to the Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, and who do therefore dishonour God, and lower the credit of the law, did both indicate a resurrection, and reveal God, saying to them, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” “For, touching the resurrection of the dead,” He says, “have ye not read that which was spoken by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” And He added, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him.” By these arguments He unquestionably made it clear, that He who spake to Moses out of the bush, and declared Himself to be the God of the fathers, He is the God of the living. For who is the God of the living unless He who is God, and above whom there is no other God? Whom also Daniel the prophet, when Cyrus king of the Persians said to him, “Why dost thou not worship Bel?” did proclaim, saying, “Because I do not worship idols made with hands, but the living God, who established the heaven and the earth and has dominion over all flesh.” Again did he say, “I will adore the Lord my God, because He is the living God.” He, then, who was adored by the prophets as the living God, He is the God of the living; and His Word is He who also spake to Moses, who also put the Sadducees to silence, who also bestowed the gift of resurrection, thus revealing [both] truths to those who are blind, that is, the resurrection and God [in His true character]. For if He be not the God of the dead, but of the living, yet was called the God of the fathers who were sleeping, they do indubitably live to God, and have not passed out of existence, since they are children of the resurrection. But our Lord is Himself the resurrection, as He does Himself declare, “I am the resurrection and the life.” But the fathers are His children; for it is said by the prophet: “Instead of thy fathers, thy children have been made to thee.” Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spake to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers.

Irenænus, Against Heresies 4.5.2

Irenænus did not quote from all deuterocanonical books but neither did he quote from all thirty-nine books of Protestant Old Testament either.

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  1. Mike / Jun 23 2010 7:18 pm

    For the record, the original comment was: “.[I]…learned that [Irenæus] held many non-Catholic positions.” When you wrongly quote me as saying that “[Irenæus] did not hold many Catholic positions,” it doesn’t bode well for honest and objective discussion. Nevertheless, I persist.

    Irenæus, as you know, wrote Against Heresies to counter the heretical teachings of the Gnostics. William Webster in his book *The Church of Rome at the Bar of History* writes:
    “These were men (the Gnostics)did not dispute the authority of Scripture but they supplemented its message with another. They claimed to have access to an oral tradition, independent of Scripture, handed down by the apostles, of which they alone were the recipients. In this way they sought to blunt the *ultimate* and *final* authority of Scripture by saying that *not* everything the apostles had taught was in Scripture.
    The Gnostics professed to possess additional revelation which had been handed down to them orally from the apostles. Irenæus maintained, on the contrary, that what the apostles had at one time proclaimed orally they then committed to writing and handed down in the Scriptures, which thus became the authoritative standard of truth to which all teachings must conform. They are ‘the ground and pillar of our faith’. A secret oral tradition independent of Scripture, and which does not conform to the teaching of Scripture, is therefore, in his view, a gnostic heresy.

    To Irenæus, tradition is simply another term for the oral proclamation of the truth of Scripture in preaching, teaching or creedal statements…Tradition is equal to the apostolic doctrine which is equal to the Scriptures. In other words, the foundation of tradition is always the Word of God.

    Irenæus and Tertullian also define in their writings in explicit terms the *content* of the apostolic tradition which had been handed down to them. [Roberts and Rambaut, trans. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1874),The Writings of Irenæus, Against Heresies I.10.1-2, pp.42-43]
    What their writings show is simply a summation of the major teachings of the Old and New Testaments.
    And what we shall find as we compare the distinctive teachings of Roman Catholicism to what these early Fathers define as apostolic tradition is that the Roman Catholic Church has added to the rule of faith teachings which were not part of the teaching of the early Church.
    The concept of tradition promoted by the Roman Catholic Church is not that of the early Church…”

    It is with this background information that one makes sense of your citation from Irenæus in Against Heresies 3.2.2.

    Two other citations from Irenæus clarify further:

    “Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the church, and is permanent among us, let us *revert to the scriptural proof* furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God. [Roberts and Rambaut, trans. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1874),The Writings of Irenæus, Against Heresies, 3.5.1., p. 266]

    “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.” [ibid., 3.1.1., p. 258]

    Augustine agreed with this: “What more shall I teach you than what we read in the apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare be wiser than we ought. Therefore I should not teach you anything else except to expound to you the words of the Teacher.”

  2. RJ / Jul 5 2010 11:10 am

    Thank you Mike,
    this looks to me like a good and strong endorsement from Irenaeus and Augustine for ‘sola scriptura’.

  3. RJ / Aug 13 2010 7:25 am

    This compelling argument against the deutero-canonicals from William Whitaker’s Disputations on Holy Scripture, which quotes extensively from the early church fathers:

    “These books (the deutero-canonicals) were not received by the church of the Israelites; therefore they are not canonical. The syllogism may be framed thus:
    The ancient church of the Hebrews received and approved all the books of the old Testament.
    That church did not receive these books; therefore they are not canonical.(paragraph break)
    The major proposition is certain, and may be easily demonstrated. For, first, if that church had rejected a part of the Lord’s Testament, -especially so large a part,- she would have been guilty of the highest crime and sacrilege, and would have been charged with it by Christ or his apostles… But neither Christ, nor his apostles, nor any others, ever accused the Jews of mutilating or tearing to pieces their canon of the sacred books.” (p. 52)

    Whitaker anticipates the arguments of his Romanist adversaries by saying the following: “The allegation of Canus, that these books were neither received nor rejected, is merely ridiculous. For, surely, if the Jews did not receive these books, what else was this but rejecting them utterly?” (p. 53).

    • vivator / Aug 13 2010 6:13 pm

      Just like Webster, Whitaker either did not do his homework or tampered the facts with his own custom made historical facts. The early Church, not even during Chris and apostle time, did not have closed canon as he claimed. The Jews did not close their canon until 2nd century AD, as they themselves claimed in Encyclopedia Judaica (refer to my reply to Mike).

    • James Wallace / Feb 11 2013 11:29 pm

      Okay. A few things. Number one, the apocryphal books were accepted in the Greek translations of the OT in Jesus’ day and by the early church, so yes, Catholics accept the OT Canon because it was good enough for Jesus; The Catholic Church follows the Greek Septuagint, the work of approximately 70 Jewish authors, who translated the Hebrew texts into Greek, as Greek was more commonly used by the Jews than Hebrew at the time. This translation was done about 300B.C. Protestants, on the other hand, reject the bible used by Christ and His Apostles. Secondly, Ecclesiasticus, a section of Judith, 1 Maccabees, and Tobit have been discovered written in Hebrew (from the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries in the 1940s), so the very first argument that Luther, the Jewish Council, and St. Jerome put forward to remove them has been debunked. The NT clearly cited passages from the Apocrypha such as Revelation 1:4 and 8:3-4 to Tobit 12:15. 1 Corinthians 15:29 mirrors an almost identical reference to 2 Macc 12:44. And thirdly, let me pose to you a question: Jews decided (definitively) on their official Old Testament Canon at the council of Jamnia which was held at the year 80-85-90: what authority do Jewish Rabbis have in 90 AD? That’s 60 years after they’ve crucified their Messiah and the New Testament Church has already been established by Jesus and His Apostles, correct? Why are we relying on them to decide what the Christian Canon will be? Yeah, if we relied on their judgment with the Old Testament Canon, why don’t we rely on their judgment for what the New Testament Canon is? They said the NT Canon contains 0 books. Why won’t we accept that?

  4. Jim Paton / Sep 21 2010 3:52 pm

    About Irenaeus and his supposed belief in Sola Scriptura.

    If the same man can write that “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? (Against Heresies, 3:4:1).

    How can Irenaeus believe that the bible is the sole infallible authority (sola scriptura) when he tells us that when it came disputes, the Church was the places to go for an answer, not Scripture alone?

    And why does he state that the traditions entrusted to the Churches would suffice if there were no writings? The bible therefore cannot be the sole infallible authority for Irenaeus if there is another authority that would suffice in its place.

    Now the question is: can anyone prove that the traditions that were entrusted to the Churches by the apostles were nothing more than fallible traditions?

    Remember, these traditions were handed down by the apostles. They were not the writings of the apostles. So the traditions cannot be confused with Scripture.

    So is what the apostles wrote the only medium that we can consider infallible? Or were they infallible when they preached also?

    And if Irenaeus tells us that these traditions were given by the apostles then who has the authority to say that the traditions given to the Churches were not infallible?

    Is it being implied that Irenaeus believed that his Church could have a fallible rule of faith when he states that the Church could have survived without the writings of the apostles?

    Christ said to the apostles that “whoever hears you, hears me” So I think it is safe to say that these traditions Irenaeus writes of were infallible. If not, then pray tell how Christ is fallible? Either that, or prove that these traditions of the apostles were fallible.

    • Chris / Apr 1 2011 9:54 pm

      This is what immediately follows your cited passage from Against Heresies:

      “2. To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, [[believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendour, shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent.]]

      Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the (doctrines suggested by the) portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 3, 4, 1-2)

      Steve Rudd explains the passage:
      “Irenaeus identifies that both inspired apostolic oral and written tradition are carefully preserved by the churches in succession over time. It is obvious from the passage that scripture is included in this category of “ancient tradition of the apostles”. To say it excludes scripture, as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches say it does, and then say the text only discusses oral tradition, is as unwarranted as it is silly. The oral tradition that is identified in the text is in fact a creed [in brackets, above] that is identical to the scriptures.
      …[And]since there are no extra biblical doctrines, it actually supports our view that all “inspired apostolic tradition” was also contained in scripture. We are not denying “oral apostolic tradition”, we merely say it is identical with scripture.”
      More from Steve Rudd here: http://www.bible.ca/sola-scriptura-apostolic-fathers-irenaeus.htm

  5. vivator / Apr 2 2011 2:52 pm

    Thank you for your comment. Quoting what Steve Rudd wrote: “Irenaeus identifies that both inspired apostolic oral and written tradition are carefully preserved by the churches in succession over time. It is obvious from the passage that scripture is included in this category of “ancient tradition of the apostles”.
    Well, from what he wrote there were TWO inspired apostolic tradition, i.e. oral and written. The written one is the Scripture, which in Irenaeus time was not finalized yet, i.e he still cited as Scripture the book of Enoch and Shepherd of Hermas.

    • Chris / Apr 7 2011 4:48 am

      It is a mistake to assume Mr. Rudd gives equal weight to oral traditions that are not biblical. He clarifies further at http://www.bible.ca/sola-scriptura-apostolic-fathers-irenaeus.htm

      An excerpt:
      “Had this oral tradition contained a key doctrine not found in scripture, then the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches would have a powerful point. Our view of sola Scriptura is reinforced by this passage. What this passage is talking about happens all the time today when we spontaneously and unexpectedly teach a sinner the gospel in a city park when we have no Bible in hand. We rely on “oral tradition” in the absence of written documents. Had Irenaeus’ creed included any extra-biblical doctrines… then Roman Catholic and Orthodox defenders would still only have a weak argument at best.”

      In other words, oral tradition is authoritative only as it reflects the Scriptures.
      This is why Irenaeus wrote:
      “Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the church, and is permanent among us, let us REVERT TO THE SCRIPTURAL PROOF furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God. [Roberts and Rambaut, trans. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1874),The Writings of Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.5.1., p. 266]

      “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.” [ibid., 3.1.1., p. 258]

      Kinda hard to believe that Irenaeus would give much weight to later innovations: like a mediatorial priesthood, indulgences, purgatory, the Church’s penitential system, the elevation of Mary and saints, and the treasury of merit, baptism as a saving ordinance, transubstantiation of the wafer, prayers for the dead, enforced celibacy of priests, the Roman church as the only true church, immaculate conception of Mary, infallibility of the Pope, assumption of Mary, salvation as a cooperative effort.

  6. vivator / Apr 9 2011 5:06 pm

    Dear Chris,
    Sola Scriptura means Scripture ALONE as authority, not Scripture as authority. Irenaeus did refer to Scripture as authority but NEVER as the ONLY authority. Your hero Mr Rudd tried hard, but failed miserably, to prove sola scriptura from Irenaeus writings.
    First Irenaeus clearly did distinguish between Scripture and Tradition. Here what he wrote:
    It comes to this, therefore, that these men [the heretics] do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition (Against Heresies 3.2.2) Here Irenaeus treated Tradition as equal to Scripture, both as source of authority.
    Second if Irenaeus believed in sola scriptura then he would not write the following:
    For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church [of Rome], on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. (Against Heresies 3.3.2) What he wrote here is what Catholics refer later as Magisterium. For obvious reason Mr. Rudd did not quote this part.
    Third before one can believe in sola scriptura then what comprises Scripture should be defined. Yet in Irenaeus time there is no canon of Scripture. Thus Irenaeus cited Shepherd of Hermas as Scripture when he wrote:
    Truly, then, the Scripture declared, which says, “First of all believe that there is one God,
    who has established all things, and completed them, and having caused that from what had no being, all things should come into existence (Against Heresies 4.20.2)
    Irenaeus also cited Baruch (one of deuterocanonical book) as part of Jeremiah when he wrote:
    And Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out, that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left upon earth, should both be under the rule of the saints to minister to this Jerusalem, and that [His] kingdom shall be in it, saying, “Look around Jerusalem towards the east, and behold the joy which comes to thee from God Himself. Behold, thy sons shall come whom thou hast sent forth: they shall come in a band from the east even unto the west, by the word of that Holy One, rejoicing in that splendour which is from thy God. (Against Heresies 5.35.1)
    Irenaeus also cited from 1 Enoch (which was also cited in Jude 9)
    Enoch, too, pleasing God, without circumcision, discharged the office of God’s legate to the angels although he was a man, and was translated, and is preserved until now as a witness of the just judgment of God, because the angels when they had transgressed fell to the earth for judgment, but the man who pleased [God] was translated for salvation. [1 Enoch 12:4-5, 13:4-7 and 15:2] in Against Heresies 4.16.2
    Contrary to your belief Catholics do have scriptural support of ministerial priesthood, purgatory, communion of saints (we do not elevate them) and even Immaculate Conception. You may read my posts on these issues and leave your comments there.
    Catholic priesthood
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/priesthood-of-the-old-and-new-covenants/
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/year-for-priests/
    Celibacy of priests (they are NOT enforced)
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/forbidding-marriage-is-the-doctrine-of-demons-1-timothy-41-3/
    Purgatory
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/no-scriptural-reference-for-purgatory/
    Communion of saints
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/on-the-communion-of-saints/
    Immaculate Conception
    https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/10/06/on-the-immaculate-conception-of-virgin-mary/

    • Steve N / Apr 13 2011 10:25 am

      A commonly cited, but misinterpreted, by passage by Protestants from Iraeneus’s “Against Heresies” is the following:

      “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.” [ibid., 3.1.1., p. 258]


      However, when carefully examined, we can see that this means:

      We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through
      whom the gospel has come down to us to be the ground and pillar of our faith.

      And this gospel they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the
      will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures.


      So we see that Iraeneus is saying the gospel is the ground and pillar of our faith, and that it is transmitted to us in two forms, orally and scripturally. No conclusion as to whether he thinks one form to be superior to the other can be reached by his staement.

      Thus protestants have no leg to stand on with regards to this passage and sola scriptura.

      peace
      steve

    • vic / Apr 28 2011 10:05 pm

      Re. Your three points from April 9, 2011, above:

      1) The words “these men [the heretics] do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition” in no way equates the two. Demonstrate your logic in syllogistic form and you will bring its illogic to light.

      2) This red-herring quote from Irenaeus has nothing to do with “revert to the Scriptural proof.” When you have a text with clear meaning you don’t make fanciful leaps of interpretation with other texts to negate the clear one. You must deal with what Irenaeus actually says clearly and distinctly: “let us REVERT TO THE SCRIPTURAL PROOF furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God.”
      “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.” [ibid., 3.1.1., p. 258]

      3) Again, what does an alleged claim for canonicity have to do with the clear meaning of Irenaeus’s quote? Even if one were to take your wild leap into an expanded Catholic canon, let the reader decide if your scriptural support justifies the later innovations of “mediatorial priesthood, indulgences, purgatory, the Church’s penitential system, the elevation of Mary and saints, and the treasury of merit, baptism as a saving ordinance, transubstantiation of the wafer, prayers for the dead, enforced celibacy of priests, the Roman church as the only true church, immaculate conception of Mary, infallibility of the Pope, assumption of Mary, salvation as a cooperative effort.”

      Your attempted prooftexts for these doctrines are the kind of proofs that might satisfy someone looking for ANY answer whatsoever; someone zealous to defend only. They do not satisfy the honest seeker looking for a scriptural truth greater than your later traditions.

  7. chris / Apr 18 2011 4:49 pm

    This passage from Iraeneus is about authority. That the gospel is to be found in no other authority than the Scriptures. This means a gospel unadulterated by later innovations like a mediatorial priesthood, indulgences, purgatory, the Church’s penitential system, the elevation of Mary and saints, and the treasury of merit, baptism as a saving ordinance, transubstantiation of the wafer, prayers for the dead, enforced celibacy of priests, the Roman church as the only true church, immaculate conception of Mary, infallibility of the Pope, assumption of Mary, salvation as a cooperative effort.

    “Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the church, and is permanent among us, let us REVERT TO THE SCRIPTURAL PROOF furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God. [Roberts and Rambaut, trans. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1874),The Writings of Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.5.1., p. 266]

  8. vivator / Apr 18 2011 5:30 pm

    Chris,
    You keep on repeating what I already answered. Irenaeus did NOT write “let us revert ONLY to the scriptural proof” – do not add “ONLY” like what Luther added in Romans 3:28 to make Scripture agree with his predefined doctrine.
    It seems you don’t bother to read my earlier reply where I provided links to most Catholic beliefs you don’t agree. If you want to have communication pls read them – there should be two-way communication, not one way where you expect me to read what you wrote ONLY. If you keep on doing this I have no choice other than rejecting any comments from you.

  9. vic / Apr 24 2011 3:25 pm

    Forgive me for saying so but Chris nowhere uses or implies the word ‘only’ as you suggest. Nor does the context need it – it is quite clear that when Irenaeus starts with the two things then says we should revert to the one thing (scripture), the addition of ‘only’ would be superfluous. So whether the word ‘only’ is included or not, the meaning is the same. I’m afraid the only one adding ‘only’ here is you.

    This makes me wonder: What is your method of biblical interpretation?
    I ask this because you yourself do not seem to be consistent in your biblical interpretations – in fact you regularly do the same thing you accuse Chris of doing. Here is a case from this blog where you add words to Ephesians 2:8, and is egregiously worse because it changes the meaning completely:

    “Catholics understand the phrase “not by works” in Ephesians 2:8 to mean works before our conversion to Christ, while to Protestants and “Bible only” Christians it means all works, before and after our conversion to Christ.”

    Thank you.

    • vivator / Apr 24 2011 3:54 pm

      Hi Vic,
      Chris did write “This passage from Iraeneus is about authority. That the gospel is to be found in no other authority than the Scriptures.” Does it imply that he wants to say Scripture alone as authority, which Irenaeus did not intend to? If that was Irenaeus meant then pls refer to my earlier reply to him (dated 9 April 2011).
      I did not add words to Scripture – anybody who interpret Scripture will do the same.
      Thank you for the comment.

      • vic / Apr 28 2011 5:47 pm

        You have one set of rules (whatever supports your position) for you, and a different set of rules for others.
        This makes it hard to take seriously any argument that you make.

      • vivator / Apr 28 2011 7:51 pm

        Vic,
        As Protestant Chris obviously wants to prove that Irenaeus followed sola scriptura while as a Catholic I prove he did not. If you read my reply to him dated 9 April 2011 I wrote three reasons why Irenaeus did not practise sola scriptura, which Chris did not reply. Instead of talking about “rules”, why don’t you help him answering my three reasons?

      • James Wallace / Feb 11 2013 11:33 pm

        THE THREE CHURCH FATHERS (ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM / ST. BASIL / ST. ATHANASIUS)

        If Cyril of Jerusalem believed in Sola Scriptura, then he believed in quite a few doctrines you don’t. In his Catechetical Lectures, he teaches about the infallibility teaching offices of the Catholic Church (18:23), the Mass as a sacrifice (23:6-8), the concept of purgatory and the efficacy of expiatory prayers for the dead (23:10), the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (19:7), and the theology of sacraments (1:3). You don’t believe in any of these doctrines, but St. Cyril did…the man whom you just quoted. If he believed in Sola Scriptura, then he believed all of these doctrines came from the Bible. You’re cherry picking quotations, and denying his overall message. Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons do this because they want to validate themselves and their own “traditions as men” but not God’s revelation. He was not a Sola Scriptura man, but believed in Scripture and Tradition. Please read his lectures in their entirety.

        St. Athanasius was reproving priests and deacons in the church using guidelines, because at that time, some non-canonical Christian writings were being read and circulated in the early church (some that were even heretical). St. Athanasius was putting a stop to that. He wanted only canonical books to be allowed as Scripture. In addition, listen to what St. Athanasius actually wrote: “The confession [i.e., the formal teachings] arrived at Nicea was, we say more, sufficient and enough by itself for the subversion of all irreligious heresy and for the security and furtherance of the doctrine of the Church” (Ad Afros 1). And secondly, listen to this what Athanasius wrote: “The very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the apostles and preserved by the Fathers. On this the Church was founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian” (Ad Serapion, 1:28).

        St. Basil would’ve recoiled in horror with the Protestant notion of Sola Scriptura, and I’ll give you a few examples. Let’s see what he wrote besides the passage which has been illegitimately taken out of context. St. Basil wrote, “Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church, some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the apostles by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same…force!” (written On the Holy Spirit, section 27). This passage certainly demonstrates that St. Basil was not a Sola Scriptura man, but if you’re still unsure, let me read you this passage, “In answer to the objection that the doxology in the form with the Spirit has no written authority; we maintain that if there is not another instance of that which is unwritten, then this must not be received as authoritative. But if the great number of our mysteries are admitted into our constitution without written authority [i.e., of Scripture], then, in company with many others, let us receive this one. For I hold it….apostolic….to abide by the..unwritten traditions. One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us [under consideration], which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their successors, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time (On the Holy Spirit, section 71).

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