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Sola Scriptura before the Reformation?

Discussion in 'Semper Reformanda' started by JM, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. JM

    JM Particular Baptist Supporter

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    Any articles, quotes, etc that demonstrate the use/idea/doctrine of sola scriptura before the Reformation?

    Thanks,

    j
     
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  2. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

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    Wycliffe and the Lollards evidently looked to Scripture rather than the pope for the final say on doctrine.
     
  3. stenerson

    stenerson Newbie

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    Irenaeus: "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."
     
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  4. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

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  5. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Hey Bro. I'm more of the strand that likes to look at entire works and "reverse engineer" the process.

    If you look at the works of the early church fathers you will see all 27 books of the NT extensively quoted and in many more cases paraphrased or alluded to.

    Because of their extensive use of Holy Scriptures, we can deduce that is fount they went to refute hererics, provide commentary and encourage, exhort and rebuke the faithful.

    Best work which quotes 25 of 27 books is Against Heresies by St Irenaeus.

    New Advent Encyclopedia does a great job of listing and linking the associated Bible verses within the text.

    CHURCH FATHERS: Against Heresies (St. Irenaeus)

    So did they say Sola Scriptura? No, but they definitely applied the principal in action.

    Edit: good site where some dude actually went through hundreds of works to show how much of the NT books that ECFs quoted.

    Early Christian NT References
     
  6. JM

    JM Particular Baptist Supporter

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    I guess the doctrine can be inferred but it's not explicitly stated?

    Anyone catch the old debate Sola Scriptura with White and Madrid?



    The parameters of the debate are very limited but you have to admit White lost.
     
  7. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I believe you'll find a number of quotes from the Fathers that look like sola scriptura. However I think that (aside from precursors such as Wycliffe) the Reformation practice was still new. The change wasn't in claims about the authority of Scripture or the need to base doctrine on it. You can find those claims historically. The change was that Protestants believed the Church had departed from the truth, and that Scripture was the way to judge that.

    Generally the Catholic tradition was confident that this couldn't happen. I don't think you'll find Fathers from the mainstream church saying that Scripture could be used to judge the Church's departure from the truth, because that use never occurred to them. They didn't see the same kind of errors in the Church that the Reformers did, so they didn't need a way of judging the Church.

    One thing I find interesting is that in the various debates between Luther and Catholics, the use of Scripture to judge those debates didn't seem controversial. Its authority was widely understood. But it's still a new use because there was a new challenge.

    This doesn't mean the Church hadn't made errors before. It's just that, aside from groups that were persecuted out of existence, there wasn't a wide acceptance that it was seriously departed from the faith.
     
  8. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

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    I think a serious study into the Early Church would result with the conclusion that the Catholic Church evolved over the centuries, that the Catholic Church changed with her tradition additions many if not most of which have no foundation in Scripture. The Reformation was necessary and it was a purifying of the Church from many errors and the principal of semper reformanda is ever necessary to all generations.
     
  9. JM

    JM Particular Baptist Supporter

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    So...sola scriptura is another tradition but just newer? :ebil:
     
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  10. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    I read some of the transcripts. White tried to prove his point according to answering RC polemics.

    Never fight on terrain unfavorable to your strength.

    The multitude of evidence of the Holy Scriptures being the basis for testing doctrine and reproof is quite evident in the ECF writings. They taught from the actual Scriptures not encyclicals, bulls or edicts.

    When they do refer to doctrinal tradition (at least the earliest of the fathers) they refer to the rule of faith or apostolic tradition, which later became the creed of the faith.

    They did have differing and in some cases conflicting ecclesial traditions which I would consider of the second order and heavily based on region.
     
  11. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Not at all. But I think the way in which Scripture is used changed in the Reformation. Indeed the phrase "sola scriptura" implies that Scripture is taken above tradition and is used to judge it. I think most of the Fathers, however much they would say that doctrine should be based on Scripture, saw Scripture and Tradition as dual witnesses.

    If faces with a situation where they have plainly diverged, I think many of them would like have accepted sola scriptura, but that doesn't mean that they actually taught it.
     
  12. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    :)

    Actually I believe it was practiced since Pentecost and no one formulated SS as a doctrine.

    Let's ask the question....what did the apostles point to in order to confirm their truth claims? It was the Word coming with Power.
     
  13. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Defining what they meant as tradition vs what a Medieval Pope claimed was tradition is as far as the east is from the west in my opinion.
     
  14. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I agree. I think the nature and content of Tradition had changed. One was the medieval idea (not accepted by everyone) that Tradition was an actual source of revelation. I think the earliest idea is that it interpreted and supported Scripture. Or at least that it preserved the apostolic deposit of faith, which would still not see it as a source of ongoing revelation.

    I agree that many of the Fathers would not have accepted Tradition as it stood in the 16th Cent. But that doesn't mean that as a matter of history they taught sola scriptura.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  15. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I think not. IF, that is, we are using "Tradition" in the way that the RCC uses it--as a different source of divine revelation that is equally as authoritative as Scripture and can be used to establish doctrines that do not have a Biblical basis. I don't think that can be found in the early church.
     
  16. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I agree. But it's precisely because Tradition was used differently that the Fathers didn't need to formulate sola scriptura. Sola scriptura means that Scripture is above tradition and can be used to judge it. That's the reason for the "sola." With a more modest tradition that is closer to Scripture, the issue sola scriptura deals with doesn't arise. All you have is the authority of Scriptura.
     
  17. JM

    JM Particular Baptist Supporter

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    Yes, that's what I meant by 'narrow.' Madrid will not debate White again because he knows the outcome would probably be different.
     
  18. JM

    JM Particular Baptist Supporter

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    That's my understanding.
     
  19. JM

    JM Particular Baptist Supporter

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    Makes sense.
     
  20. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    I’m sure you have seen the various ECF writings where they say “do not accept what I say but search the scriptures.” That is a general paraphrase. I can cite later if you want. However, how much more of an explicit implicit statement could they give? They did not live through the medieval period when tradition took primacy over Holy Scriptures.
     
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