Skip to comments.TULIP and the Church Fathers
Posted on 10/17/2013 8:32:30 PM PDT by matthewrobertolson
Calvinists occasionally claim that their beliefs -- commonly expressed with the acronym "T.U.L.I.P" -- are totally in line with historical Christianity, but below are some quotes from the Church Fathers that disprove the claim. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but I think it best summarizes the Church's points.
Total Depravity - "..as a consequence of the Fall of man, every person born into the world is morally corrupt, enslaved to sin and is, apart from the grace of God, utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to turn to Christ in faith for salvation."
(NOTE: Catholics believe in this, to an extent -- after all, our faith and our works only have meaning because of God's grace -- but the concept of Total Depravity is often taken to an extreme.)
"If any one is truly religious, he is a man of God; but if he is irreligious, he is a man of the devil, made such, not by nature, but by his own choice." - St. Ignatius of Antioch Unconditional Election - "God chose some individuals from the mass of fallen humanity unto salvation without regard to any merit or foreseen faith in them, but solely based on His sovereign intentions."
"'But unto them that are contentious,' he [St. Paul] says [in Romans 2:8]. Again, he deprives of excuse those that live in wickedness, and shows that it is from a kind of disputatiousness and carelessness that they fall into unrighteousness. 'And do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness.' See, here is another accusation again. For what defense can he set up, who flees from the light and chooses the dark? And he does not say, who are 'compelled by,' 'lorded over by,' but who 'obey unrighteousness,' that one may learn that the fall is one of free choice, the crime not of necessity." - St. John Chrysostom 
"There is not a class of souls sinning by nature and a class of souls [practicing] righteousness by nature; but both act from choice, the substance of their souls being of one kind only and alike in all." - St. Cyril of Jerusalem Limited Atonement - "..God's design and intent in sending Christ to die on the cross was to pay for the sins and secure the redemption of those whom God has predetermined to save, namely the elect. Therefore, the primary benefits of his death were designed for and accrue only to believers."
"For God made man free, and with power over himself. That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death upon himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting." - St. Theophilus of Antioch 
"Now if all have sinned, how come some to be saved, and some to perish? It is because all were not minded to come to Him, since for His part all were saved, for all were called. ... Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy? Of their own free choice. God, however, being very good, shows the same kindness to both. For it was not those in a state of salvation only to whom He showed mercy, but also Pharaoh, as far as His part went. For of the same long-suffering, both they and he had the advantage. And if he was not saved, it was quite owing to his own will: since, as for what concerns God, he had as much done for him as they who were saved." - St. John Chrysostom Irresistible Grace - "..the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save, whereby in God's timing, he overcomes their resistance to the call of the gospel and irresistibly brings them to a saving faith in Christ."
"This expression [of our Lord], 'How often would I have gathered your children together, and you would not,' [Matthew 23:37] set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually." - St. Irenaeus Perseverance of the saints - "..those who are truly saved [those who truly believe] will persevere to the end and cannot lose their salvation."
"And I hold, further, that such as have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back from some cause to the legal dispensation, and have denied that this man is Christ, and have repented not before death, shall by no means be saved." - St. Justin Martyr 
"Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time." - The Didache 
1. The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians [link 1] [link 2]
2. Homily 5 on Romans
3. Catechetical Lecture 4
4. Theophilus to Autolycus (Book 2, Chapter 27) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]
5. Homily 16 on Romans
6. Against Heresies (Book 4, Chapter 37)
7. Dialogue with Trypho (Chapter 47)
8. The Didache (Chapter 16)
I’m a Crazy Evangelical who once drove himself even crazier with Calvin. I’ve mellowed out because we have plenteous hints from Scripture that not all causation is tied to the familiar time line of our mortal coil.
The Calvinists won't even give this a second thought since its not from an approved version of the Bible.
After all, what the Church Father's said might be good, but it isn't the Word of God.
What you're doing is akin to using scientific evidence to argue Young Earth Creationism with a Creationist. He'll just claim it's all wrongheaded and of the devil.
“Calvin wa trained as a lawyer and jurist so his mind naturally embraced a rigid logicality in which a chain of precedents led back to an original truth. He must have gone round intellectually like the dog chasing its tail for much of his life. “
Obviously you’re quite wrong, and Calvin did not invent the Reformation doctrines, though he best expressed them. You can find his same sentiments in Luther’s “On the Bondage of the Will,” Augustine’s works against the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, and finally the Holy Scripture itself.
LOL! You must not hang out with any serious Creationists. Sigh. Popular caricatures die hard.
Augustine on irresistible grace, final perseverance, limited atonement, and whatever else I missed which he touches on here:
But of such as these [the Elect] none perishes, because of all that the Father has given Him, He will lose none. John 6:39 Whoever, therefore, is of these does not perish at all; nor was any who perishes ever of these. For which reason it is said, They went out from among us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have continued with us. John 2:19. (Augustine, Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints)
I assert, therefore, that the perseverance by which we persevere in Christ even to the end is the gift of God; and I call that the end by which is finished that life wherein alone there is peril of falling. (Augustine, On the Perseverance of the Saints)
And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice that He does it not for He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens. And when the apostle said this, he was illustrating the grace of God, in connection with which he had just spoken of the twins in the womb of Rebecca, who being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. And in reference to this matter he quotes another prophetic testimony: Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. But perceiving how what he had said might affect those who could not penetrate by their understanding the depth of this grace: What shall we say then? he says: Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For it seems unjust that, in the absence of any merit or demerit, from good or evil works, God should love the one and hate the other. Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that there were future good works of the one, and evil works of the other, which of course God foreknew, he would never have said, not of works, but, of future works, and in that way would have solved the difficulty, or rather there would then have been no difficulty to solve. As it is, however, after answering, God forbid; that is, God forbid that there should be unrighteousness with God; he goes on to prove that there is no unrighteousness in Gods doing this, and says: For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (Augustine, The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Love, Chapter 98. Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of Gods Free Grace.)
“But that world which God is in Christ reconciling unto Himself, which is saved by Christ, and has all its sins freely pardoned by Christ, has been chosen out of the world that is hostile, condemned, and defiled. For out of that mass, which has all perished in Adam, are formed the vessels of mercy, whereof that world of reconciliation is composed, that is hated by the world which belongeth to the vessels of wrath that are formed out of the same mass and fitted to destruction. Finally, after saying, If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, He immediately added, But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. And so these men were themselves also of that world, and, that they might no longer be of it, were chosen out of it, through no merit of their own, for no good works of theirs had preceded; and not by nature, which through free-will had become totally corrupted at its source: but gratuitously, that is, of actual grace. For He who chose the world out of the world, effected for Himself, instead of finding, what He should choose: for there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. And if by grace, he adds, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 15:17-19)
By the way, even the people you quote are still with us, just on different topics, and not with you.
For example, Cyril of Jerusalem on Sola Scriptura:
Have thou ever in your mind this seal, which for the present has been lightly touched in my discourse, by way of summary, but shall be stated, should the Lord permit, to the best of my power with the proof from the Scriptures. For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning , but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lecture 4, Ch. 17)
John Chrysostom on Sola Fide
By what law? Of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. See he calls the faith also a law delighting to keep to the names, and so allay the seeming novelty. But what is the law of faith? It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows Gods power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. (Homily 7 on Romans III)
For this is [the righteousness] of God when we are justified not by works, (in which case it were necessary that not a spot even should be found,) but by grace, in which case all sin is done away. And this at the same time that it suffers us not to be lifted up, (seeing the whole is the free gift of God,) teaches us also the greatness of that which is given. For that which was before was a righteousness of the Law and of works, but this is the righteousness of God. (John Chrysostom, Homily 11 on Second Corinthians, 2 Cor 5:21)
Theodoret, Bishop of Syria, on the same:
The salvation of man depends upon the divine philanthropy alone. For we do not gather it as the wages of our righteousness, but it is the gift of the divine goodness. (On the 3rd chap, of Zephaniah.)
Clemens Romanus, on the same:
Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. Romans 9:5 From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven. All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Letter to the Corinthians)
Though Ignatius appears to be with us in predestination and final perseverence:
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God: Abundant happiness through Jesus Christ, and His undefiled grace. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Ephesians, Ch. 0)
Seeing, then, all things have an end, these two things are simultaneously set before us death and life; and every one shall go unto his own place. For as there are two kinds of coins, the one of God, the other of the world, and each of these has its special character stamped upon it, [so is it also here.] The unbelieving are of this world; but the believing have, in love, the character of God the Father by Jesus Christ, by whom, if we are not in readiness to die into His passion, His life is not in us. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Magnesians, Ch. 5)
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High Father, and Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is beloved and enlightened by the will of Him that wills all things (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Romans. Ch. 0)
I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that you also hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Ch. 4)
Flee, therefore, those evil offshoots [of Satan], which produce death-bearing fruit, whereof if any one tastes, he instantly dies. For these men are not the planting of the Father. For if they were, they would appear as branches of the cross, and their fruit would be incorruptible. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Trallians, Ch. 11)
Yes, right. Here is Christ, in His explanation to the unbelievers on why they did not believe:
“But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
“Well Calvin was a lawyer and I have been around enough of them to get this precedent worshiping obsession many have. BTW you sound like the kind of smug and sanctimonious holier-than-thous that make the job of the secularists much easier. It must be great to sit in the pew of sanctimony looking down at all the damned sinners. You might have a surprise coming to you after lights out.”
I can’t help but to notice that you’re projecting on me your own behavior, and you didn’t even respond to the substance of anything I said.
I have a suspicion that the one who will have the surprise, is the one who pointed his finger first.
Who loves Jesus? Let’s be nice and seek the Truth with humility and awe.
Ping for (dum dum dum) later.
But what does Christ say? 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'"
Nothing stands like Christ's words, the Holy Scripture, all else if not founded upon the Holy Scriptures is sinking sand. Therefore all else, is false worship; the worship of men's words and not Christ's.
You do realize that, in the context of the quotes, the Church Fathers are simply giving their (the historical) interpretations of key Scripture passages, right?
Sacred Tradition is not apart from Scripture, but goes hand-in-hand with it.
Christ, in the very next verse: "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."
Men love to hold up other men over God and His word.
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NASB)
Obviously, there has always been a Tradition separate from Scripture, as evidenced by Scripture itself.
Ignore the Catholics. They’re a puff of smoke, dissipating quickly into the wind. You’ll just get strung along for nothing.
Ah the weasel words expected. Let's short circuit this real quick.
I will ask you what men can be trusted for "Tradition" and you will say the church fathers and the popes and I will ask how many are these men are these and you will say many and that I should trust all these men.
Then I look at Christ's words not to trust in men, but to Trust and put my faith in Him alone.
For with men, there are thousands of views, all attempting to bend things their own way. But Christ alone stands above them, clear pure and bright. He alone is pure, and the Apostle Peter was right "You alone have the words that give eternal life".
Men do not have this. Instead they provide a snare. Like an Octopus of opinions, once you let an arm grab you, they have you.
Trust in Christ Alone and not upon the Traditions of Men, nor the weasel words "Sacred Tradition", for "Sacred Tradition" is still being written according to your tradition as you well know.
And one written years ago is that Mary has "All Salvation". Therefore I must not put my trust in Men, but follow Christ and His Word alone.
I urge you to do the same, and turn from the Traditions of Men and follow upon Christ Alone as a Disciple of His.
The arguments against the Five points and the arguments seen in your posts all argue for the "Traditions" of men IMHO and avoid the scriptures as much as possible. Therefore I urge folks not to trust such arguments because they lead folks away from Christ to put their trust in men.
“Obviously, there has always been a Tradition separate from Scripture, as evidenced by Scripture itself.”
This kind of argument would be what Cyril would call “mere plausibility and artifices of speech.” The obvious reply is, what proof do you have that the completed scripture does not contain the fullness of truth? Why wouldn’t the Apostles, writing under the inspiration of the Spirit, record all the things necessary to know for salvation, but leave stuff out, like Mary being required for salvation, thus allowing for schism when this human authority is questioned? After all, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psa 118:8).
Hence such heresy as a denial of the sole authority of the word of God gives rise to different claimants of divine authority, from the RCC to its various Popes reinterpreting Catholic teaching from one generation to another, to the Eastern Orthodox, the other guys who claim to be the one true church of God on Earth, who conclude that the Catholic church is apostate. Mind you, I cannot complain. I agree with them, at least on that point.