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Were the Church Fathers Closer to Protestantism Than to Catholicism?
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism ^ | August 25, 2006 | Dave Armstrong

Posted on 07/28/2009 11:03:59 PM PDT by bdeaner



CHURCH FATHERS
Protestantism is closer than Catholicism to the beliefs of the Church fathers


Many Catholic doctrines were only introduced centuries later and were corruptions

Initial reply

In fact, the exact opposite is true: the fathers as a whole were much more "Catholic" in their beliefs than they were some kind of primitive "Protestants", and this is amply confirmed by Protestant Church historians themselves.

Extensive reply

Ten major "distinctively Catholic" doctrines will be supported by documentation (that early Church fathers largely agreed) from the Protestant historians listed below:

Bible, Church, and Tradition, not Bible Alone (sola Scriptura) as the rule of faith (Oberman, 366-367; Pelikan, 115-119, 303-304; Schaff, II: 169-72, 525-28).

Organic connection of justification and sanctification, not Faith Alone (sola fide) (Geisler, 85, 89, 91-93, 99, 222, 502; McGrath, 108-109, 115; Schaff, II: 588-589).

Mary was a perpetual virgin, the Second Eve, and Mother of God (Theotokos) (Cross, 882-83; Kelly, 491-99; Schaff, III: 409-425, 716-22)

The papacy had strong, binding authority (Kelly, 417-21; Pelikan, 352-354; Schaff, II: 155-162, III: 299-319).

Real presence (not mere symbolism) in the Eucharist (Cross, 475-76; Kelly, 447; Pelikan, 166-67, 236-37; Schaff, III: 492, 500).

The sacrifice of the mass (Cross, 476, 1221; Pelikan, 146-47, 170; Schaff, III: 500).

Episcopacy, or the rule of bishops (Cross, 176; Pelikan, 159-160; Schaff, II: 133-39).

Purgatory and prayers for the dead (Cross, 1144-45; Schaff, II: 603-606).

Baptismal regeneration (forgiveness of sins) (Kelly, 207-211; Pelikan, 290-92; Schaff, II: 253-54).

The veneration and intercession of the saints (Cross, 1227-28; Kelly, 490-91; Schaff, III: 428-42)

[SOURCES]

F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, editors, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford Univ. Press, 2nd edition, 1983.

Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, with Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995, 502, 85, 89, 91-93, 99, 222

J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978 edition.

Alister McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993.

Heiko Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967 edition.

Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine: Vol. I: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1971.

Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. II: Ante-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 100-325, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970; from the 5th revised edition of 1910.

Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 311-600, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974; from the 5th revised edition of 1910.

Objection

But individual church fathers can certainly be mistaken. Catholics refer to a "unanimous consent" which is not true to history, because you can always find exceptions among Church fathers.

Reply to Objection

The Catholic Church understands and recognizes this. The phrase "unanimous consent" does not mean "literally everyone," but rather, "substantial, overwhelming agreement and consensus," such as was found, for example, with regard to the biblical canon (an example Protestants are fairly familiar with). This can be proven with historical facts, as above. Oftentimes, modern usages of a word differ from medieval usage, based on the original Latin definitions, so that some wrongly believe a contradiction is present.

J.N.D. Kelly and Philip Schaff (Protestant historians):

Throughout the whole period Scripture and tradition ranked as complementary authorities, media different in form but coincident in content. To inquire which counted as superior or more ultimate is to pose the question in misleading terms. If Scripture was abundantly sufficient in principle, tradition was recognized as the surest clue to its interpretation, for in tradition the Church retained, as a legacy from the apostles which was embedded in all the organs of her institutional life, an unerring grasp of the real purport and meaning of the revelation to which Scripture and tradition alike bore witness.

(Early Christian Doctrines, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978 edition, 47-48; referring to the third century)

If any one expects to find in this period [100-325], or in any of the church fathers, Augustin himself not excepted, the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, . . . he will be greatly disappointed . . . Paul's doctrine of justification, except perhaps in Clement of Rome, who joins it with the doctrine of James, is left very much out of view, and awaits the age of the Reformation to be more thoroughly established and understood.

(History of the Christian Church, Vol. II: A.D. 100-325, 588-589)


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ecumenism; History
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiccult; catholicism; churchfathers; churchhistory; protestantism; tradition

1 posted on 07/28/2009 11:03:59 PM PDT by bdeaner
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To: bdeaner

Coming from a website named “Biblical Evidence for Catholicism”, I guess your answer is a foregone conclusion.


2 posted on 07/28/2009 11:05:57 PM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Hey, quit yer complainin’. I posted a pro-Protestant essay the other day. When do you ever see a Protestant on here posting a pro-Catholic essay? *Crickets*


3 posted on 07/28/2009 11:09:23 PM PDT by bdeaner
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To: bdeaner

Just cooked up a fresh batch of popcorn last night.


4 posted on 07/28/2009 11:23:13 PM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 2 presnt: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: bdeaner
Since I've read all your references over the years, especially as required reading for some of my classes, you have only selected certain references that prove your a priori conclusion. I really wish that you wouldn't do that, it's most misleading. I could go through those same sources and take certain references out of context and prove just the opposite. Church history is not nearly as clear and simple as you wish to make it. First, I suggest that you start by defining the term “catholic.” There are at least four definitions to that term that I know. Secondly, you have to determine who or what determines who or what is catholic and who or what is not. Until those two decisions are made, it is useless to discuss catholicity.
5 posted on 07/28/2009 11:44:16 PM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: Nosterrex
Dave Armstrong is the author of the post, not me. FYI, since in your response, you seem to be directing your criticism at me as the author.

Armstong's bio and resume can be found here. He was raised Methodist, and converted to Catholicism in 1991.

If you disagree with his points, and have these books available, it would be interesting to see any evidence to the contrary of Armstrong's claims.
6 posted on 07/28/2009 11:53:50 PM PDT by bdeaner
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To: bdeaner

“If any one expects to find in this period [100-325], or in any of the church fathers, Augustin himself not excepted, the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, . . . he will be greatly disappointed . . . Paul’s doctrine of justification, except perhaps in Clement of Rome, who joins it with the doctrine of James, is left very much out of view, and awaits the age of the Reformation to be more thoroughly established and understood.”

Are you saying that the second century church fathers rejected Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith or just ignored it. Paul is pretty unambiguous on this count. Seems to me that relying on tradition instead of the writings of a apostle explicitly chosen by our Lord is a pretty slim reed to stand on. Or am I misunderstanding your argument?


7 posted on 07/28/2009 11:59:06 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: bdeaner

On my good days I could be a Pelagian heretic.


8 posted on 07/29/2009 12:07:36 AM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
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To: ModelBreaker
What you quoted there, from the bottom of the post, is a quote from Philip Schaff's book, History of the Christian Church, Vol. II (see reference above in the post).

Philip Schaff (1819-1893), according to Wikipedia, was a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant theologian and a historian of the Christian church, who, after his education, lived and taught in the United States.

So what's interesting about the quote here is that, as a Protestant, He says that the Church Fathers did not acknowledge the doctrine of sola fide. That idea did not come along until later, with the Reformation.

Catholics also reject the doctrine of Sola Fide, but not because they reject St. Paul's letters. They Church and early Church Fathers interpret Paul's letters differently than the Protestant Reformers.

The Catholic view of Paul's soteriology can be summarized as follows, taken from O. Gregory Stevens, The Life of Grace:

"Our life of grace is a life in Christ in the Church. We live to Christ by a life in the society of the faithful people of God which is Christ's body. This of course does not mean that the individual and the person is to be obscured by the social. It does mean, however, that all our life as Christians is a life lived as members of the society which is Christ's body. Christ without the Church is "incomplete." Paul sees Christ as a "collective person" which is the fullness of the Church united as members of the body of which he is the head. The principle of union of all in Christ is the common sharing of the life of Christ (at least by faith). The Church is not the body of the Father but of Chirst, in which all things are created (Col 1,16); as head of the body Christ is distinct from it, though he is also united with it. The body is united in the Spirit, its soul and source of union and unity. The Church is the continuance of the incarnation; it is the body of all who love Christ and live in him. We may recognize in the life of grace a divine force which unites us to the body of Christ existing here and now in the world as the Church. The Church is the locus, the setting, the mystical body, in which the Father vivifies us by uniting us to the life of His Son, in the vital efficacy of the Spirit. Our salvation, our life in the world, our final destiny is worked out by union with Christ, living in his body, his Church." (p. 38)
9 posted on 07/29/2009 12:25:33 AM PDT by bdeaner
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To: bdeaner
If any one expects to find in this period [100-325], or in any of the church fathers, Augustin himself not excepted, the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, . . . he will be greatly disappointed

Now there's an interesting statement...It's interesting because it's not true...

First off, most of 'your' early church fathers quoted far more often the texts that were compiled to become the Majority Texts than they quoted your LXX texts...

Plus, a number of your early church fathers made the claim that if you can't find it in the scripture, stay away from it...

The scriptures are full of statements about justification without works...

If you can come up with 'church' fathers that deny this, it only proves what Paul said about people in his midst who are already corrupting the word of God...

And what's even funnier is, you guys claim your religion wrote the very scripture that condemns such beliefs...

10 posted on 07/29/2009 6:09:44 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Iscool
And what's even funnier is, you guys claim your religion wrote the very scripture that condemns such beliefs...

Iscool, this is a major over-simplication of the issues of concern regarding justification in the Council of Trent. Protestants have a tendency to make straw man arguments that attack the Church's soteriology, because they do not understand that Catholics do not reject Paul's teaching on works, but rather understand it differently than Protestants do. Paul's letters are without error, but according to us, you guys get it wrong.

Nevertheless, we are in a period of time in which the Church is conciliatory toward Protestants on the issue of justification and striving for an emphasis on common ground, for the sake of the unity of the Church, which Christ desired. When the common ground is identified, the issues of concern are not faith vs works, because in Paul "works" refers to Judaic Law, not baptism or the Eucharist, etc. Whereas in James, faith is dead without "works" -- that is, without putting into action faith, hope and charity, which are in fact the virtues Paul consistently endorsed -- the greatest of these being charity (1 Cor. 13:13). Faith without hope and charity is dead. The implication is that just saying one is 'saved' is not enough -- with the help of the grace of the Lord (because the following is impossible without His grace), we are also asked to become part of the Body of Christ, making Him incarnate in our actions in the world, bringing faith and hope and charity to the world.

Recommended Reading: Setting the Record Straight
11 posted on 07/29/2009 7:44:46 AM PDT by bdeaner
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To: donmeaker
"...On my good days I could be a Pelagian heretic..."

On my few good days I could be a Joel Osteen Christian, because he says I'll get good parking due to karma or something.

12 posted on 07/29/2009 7:49:51 AM PDT by I Buried My Guns
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To: bdeaner
A lot more information about the Early Church Fathers -- many of them with Biblical references too!

Were the Church Fathers Closer to Protestantism Than to Catholicism?
The Faith of Our Fathers
The Early Church Fathers
The Early Church Fathers on The Church (Catholic Caucus)

Early Church Fathers on (Oral) Tradition - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Apostolic Succession - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Salvation Outside the Church [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
The Early Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on The Primacy of Peter/Rome (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

The Early Church Fathers on Hell - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Intercession of the Saints - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on The Real Presence - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Confession / Reconciliation - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Justification - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Contraception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Baptism - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on The Mother of God - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Quotes from the Early Church Fathers

Early Church Fathers - Worship on Sabbath or Sunday
The Early Church Fathers on the Assumption [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Look to the Church Fathers to Shed Light on Modern Problems, Writes the Pope
On St. Clement of Rome -The Church Has a Sacramental, Not Political Structure (March 7, 2007)
Truly a Doctor of Unity (St. Ignatius of Antioch) (March 14, 2007)

St. Justin Martyr: He Considered Christianity the “True Philosophy” (March 21, 2007)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons: The First Great Theologian of the Church (March 28, 2007)
St. Clement of Alexandria: One of the Great Promoters of Dialogue Between Faith and Reason (April 18, 2007)
On Origen of Alexandria: He Was a True Teacher (April 25, 2007)
Origen: The Privileged Path to Knowing God Is Love

13 posted on 07/29/2009 8:41:06 AM PDT by Salvation (With God all things are possible.)
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To: bdeaner

Get outta here! Where did you post that?!?!


14 posted on 07/29/2009 9:25:47 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus
LOL. This post here is from a Protestant website, as an attempt to evangelize to Catholics. I thought it was interesting, so I posted it. Mind you, I don't agree with the statements in the article, but I found it interesting because there is an attempt by the magazine to identify a common ground between Catholic and Protestant soteriology, which is something I've been researching. I was hoping to get more responses from people on that thread, but I think it just confused everybody, especially since I posted it. LOL.
15 posted on 07/29/2009 10:10:28 AM PDT by bdeaner
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To: Quix
Just cooked up a fresh batch of popcorn last night.

Hate to be the one to tell ya it isn't fresh anymore.

16 posted on 07/29/2009 5:08:28 PM PDT by Invincibly Ignorant
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To: Invincibly Ignorant

Ah well. . . not a biggy.

Still works to get the luggies off the back of my throat.


17 posted on 07/29/2009 7:47:22 PM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 2 presnt: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: bdeaner; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment

Obama: “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

18 posted on 08/30/2009 2:58:06 PM PDT by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: bdeaner
Wow ... we posted nearly identical threads on the same day! Here's a link to mine.

THE CHURCH FATHERS: A DOOR TO ROME (fundamentalist warns saying they sound too Catholic)

It's a hoot!

19 posted on 08/30/2009 3:02:25 PM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: Iscool

Er, where did your “religion” get its scriptures?

Aside from that, the problem with Protestantism in general is that it picks and chooses, and different Protestant sects will obsess on one or another part that has been picked out and build their whole new “religion” on that particular part or emphasis. So this means that while they may have obsessed on something that is true in itself, they make it the only truth and ignore all of the other aspects that they are afraid may conflict with this fragment that they have enshrined in their minds as the only truth.

The only place where you get the whole thing is in the Catholic Church.


20 posted on 08/30/2009 3:50:35 PM PDT by livius
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To: bdeaner; NYer

Thanks for posting! About 12 years ago when I was still Anglican, I came across David’s web site, checked it out and found it very interesting. At the time, he had a Catholic-Protestant-Eastern Orthodox forum and I participated in it for a few years. When David came to visit some friends that live in my neck of the woods, they invited me over and I got to meet him. Very engaging and personable guy. We don’t keep in touch as often as we used to, but every so often we email each other. My experience with David is that he is very gracious and respectful of his Protestant and Eastern Orthodox fellow Christians.


21 posted on 08/31/2009 4:23:35 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA (It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies - C.S. Lewis)
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To: bdeaner

http://www.staycatholic.com/about_the_early_fathers.htm


22 posted on 01/04/2012 9:16:00 PM PST by NKP_Vet (creep.)
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