Thursday, September 30, 2010

Luther and the Immaculate Conception: More Opinion From (Mostly or All) Non-Catholic Historians and Other Scholars

By Dave Armstrong (9-30-10)


[Luther's own words are in blue]

I have compiled more opinions from Luther scholars and other historians with regard to Luther's acceptance of the doctrine, and particularly whether he modified his views sometime after 1527 (some think he did so).

* * * * *


1) Donald G. Bloesch, The Church: Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, Mission (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press: 2002).


[I]t is important to consider that Luther was remarkably open to some of the Marian doctrines, including Mary's assumption, perpetual virginity and immaculate conception. While his formulation of the immaculate conception varied from the more traditional formulation, he steadfastly affirmed Mary's complete purity. (pp. 258-259)



2) Julius Köstlin, The Theology of Luther in its Historical Development and Inner Harmony, Volume 2 (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society: 1897), translated from the second German edition by Charles E. Hay.


Luther clung also to the opinion, prevalent in the Middle Ages, that, as Mary conceived without sin, so she brought forth also without pain or physical injury, and always remained a virgin. As a bee deftly extracts the honey from a flower without injuring the latter, so the Holy Spirit caused Christ to emerge from the womb of the Virgin, because He brought with Him a true fleshly nature, but without sin. But Luther maintains most stoutly, that the Child in the womb of its mother received from her everything which any natural child receives from its mother, only without sin—that the Virgin "was required to contribute of her seed and natural blood" — that He did not pass through her like a reflection, or shadow, or as a ray of the sun passes through painted glass — that, in the act of delivery itself, the womb of Mary fulfilled its natural office (only without receiving any injury) — that a body was not made in heaven for Christ, and then passed through the body of Mary. (pp. 370-371)



3) Julius Köstlin, Life of Luther (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons: 1883), translated from German.


The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which Pius IX., in our own days, first ventured to raise into a dogma of the Church, was zealously defended by the Augustinians, and firmly maintained by Luther himself, even after the beginning of his war of Reformation. (p. 45)





While Luther, Zwingli and even Calvin defended Mary's perpetual virginity, Luther's very traditional teaching on other key medieval Marian doctrines set him apart not only from Zwingli and the other leading proponents of the Swiss and upper German Reformations, but also from many of his own followers. Luther, for example, continued to describe Mary as sinless, though he emphasized that this state was achieved through God's grace rather than through her own merit. [151] His exact position on the Immaculate Conception has been the subject of extensive debate. [152] Belief in Mary's sinlessness did not necessarily imply belief in her Immaculate Conception, [153] but Luther does seem to have held that Mary had been purified from sin by the Holy Spirit at some point before Christ's incarnation. [154] His sermon on the feast day of Mary's conception in 1520 put him firmly on the immaculist side of the medieval controversy: Mary's first conception was, he argued, normal but at her second conception, when the soul informed the body, she was purified from original sin. 'So that from the first moment that she began to live, she was without all sin.' [155] His later position wavered somewhat, and in later sermons dating from 1539 and 1540 he stated that Mary was conceived and born in sin like all men. [156] Yet he still, in 1543, felt able to write that Mary was 'a holy virgin, who was saved and purified from Original Sin by the Holy Ghost', although he no longer specified at what point this purification took place. [157] (pp. 58-59)

[151] See especially WA, vol. 52, p. 633 (Hauspostille, 1544); Kreitzer, 'Reforming Mary', pp. 73-4.

[152] Dufel, Luthers Stellung, pp. 164-6; Campi, Zwingli und Maria, pp. 59-60.

[153] Kreitzer, 'Reforming Mary', p. 73.

[154] Ibid., p. 76.

[155] WA, vol. 17, part II, p. 288 (Festpostille, 1527); Kreitzer, 'Reforming Mary', pp. 241-5.

[156] WA, vol. 47, p. 860 and vol. 49, p. 173.

[157] WA, vol. 53, p. 640.



http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


5) Beth Kreitzer, "Luther Regarding the Virgin Mary," in Timothy J. Wengert (editor), The Pastoral Luther: Essays on Martin Luther's Practical Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.: 2009). Her chapter appeared originally in Lutheran Quarterly 17 (2003), 249-266.


In Luther's final sermon on the holiday of her conception, preached in 1520, he complains that the debate about her conception has caused a great deal of trouble among the monks, even though "there is not a single letter about it in the gospels or otherwise in the Scriptures." [41]

In this sermon Luther outlines his views on Mary's conception and clearly leans toward the immaculist side of the debate, but takes the middle position favored by most theologians. His explanation rests on the common medieval division of generation into two conceptions: the "first conception," that of the body, is during the act of intercourse, necessarily infected by concupiscence and thus sin; the "second conception" is at a later point when the newly formed soul enters the fetus, also called animation. . . . Mary . . . was born through the usual means of a father and a mother, and thus experienced a physical conception tainted with sin. It was at her second conception, when her soul entered her body, that she was "purified from original sin and decorated with God's gifts." [42] Because this second conception is more important than the first, and is the moment at which one is said to live, Luther can say that "from the first moment that she began to live, she was without all sin," placing Mary in the "middle between Christ and other men." [43] However, Luther insists that no required doctrine can be made about Mary's conception, as it is not expressly mentioned in the Bible. (pp. 246-247)

[41] WA 17II:280, Festpostille (1527).

[42] WA 17II:288. The words Luther uses, "von der erbsunnde sey gerainneget worden," clearly indicate the idea of cleansing Mary from sin rather than preserving her from it.

[43] WA 17II:288. Some scholars have doubted whether Luther maintained this belief throughout his life, and there are several ambiguous statements in later texts. He did not comment directly on the matter again.





Albert Ebneter, a Jesuit priest, also criticizes the earlier works on Luther's views of Mary, not only for their extreme positions but also for mistakes in interpretation, for removing quotations from their contexts, and for generally twisting the evidence to support their own ends. The problems are most evident in the various presentations of Luther's stance on the immaculate conception: the authors who tend to see Luther as devoted to Mary present his adherence to the commonly held theory, while those who find that Luther's mind and practice changed concerning Mary present him as eventually rejecting Mary's immaculate conception. [30] Ebneter tries to maintain a more nuanced view, by suggesting that while Luther definitely held to the immaculate conception until the early 1530s, certain statements made after that time call into question his final views on the matter. . . . Ebneter, despite his attempts to present a balanced view of Luther's position on the immaculate conception, fails to consider the context of Luther's statements on the queenship of Mary and
insists that Luther maintained a strong Marian devotion throughout his life. (pp. 7-8)

[p. 156: footnote 30] See Ebneter ["Martin Luthers Marienbild," Orientierung 20 (1956), 77-80, 85-87], 78-79.

Saturnin Pauleser [Catholic], in his book, Maria und die Reformation, indicates that Luther remained a devotee of Mary his entire life, at least in essentials, and even suggests that Luther continued to call Mary mediatrix. [34] (p. 8)

[p. 156: footnote 34] Saturnin Pauleser, Maria und die Reformation (Miltenberg, 1951); cited in Cole, 105-106.

Luther's position in the 1527 Festpostille is clearly in favor if the immaculate conception . . . However, some of Luther's later texts do call into question whether he held this position throughout the remainder of his life. In several sermons in 1532 he mentions that Mary was somehow healed from sin when she conceived through the Holy Spirit so "that she was without all sin." [97] In a Christmas sermon from 1540, Luther stresses that Christ's sinlessness did not simply come from the Virgin Mary's purity [Dave: Catholics have never asserted this, since we hold that Christ was inherently sinless and indeed incapable of sin, being God] but from the working of the Spirit: Mary was "born from her parents in sin like all men." [98] In a later writing Luther insists that Mary was "saved and purified from original sin through the Holy Spirit" at some point before Christ's incarnation, although he does not specify when this happened. [99] These ambiguous statements do not allow for a definitive answer to the question of whether or not Luther always held to the immaculate conception of Mary, . . . (p. 124)

[three footnotes from p. 205]:

[97] Hauspostille 1544 (Christmas, 1532), WA 52, 39: "das sie ohne alle Sund gewesen ist."

[98] Sermon on Christmas Eve, 1540, WA 49, 173: "Ideo describitue, quod natus ex virgine, nec tantum sic, quia Maria ist auch nicht zu rein, quia nata a parentibusin peccato utalii homines."

[99] Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi, 1543, WA 53, 640: "[Maria ist] ein heilige Jungfraw, die, von der Erbsunde erloset und gereiniget, durch den heiligen Geist." Ebtener thinks that because this statement falls in the context of a defense of the incarnation, Luther means that Mary was purified at that point. Others (e.g., Schimmelpfennig) believe that this phrase still supports the immaculate conception. See Ebneter, "Martin Luthers Marienbild," 78-79.

[Dave: the English translation of the key phrase from Gerhard Falk, in his book, The Jew in Christian Theology: Martin Luther's Anti-Jewish Vom Schem Hamphoras (McFarland & Co.: 1992) is "a holy virgin . . . freed of original sin and cleansed by the Holy Ghost" (p. 217) ]

[from footnote 94 on from p. 205]:

Duns [Scotus] stresses . . . that Mary was preserved by Christ from any original sin, rather than restored to grace. Luther's "sey gerainniget worden" may only be a manner of speaking rather than a technical explanation -- it is difficult to judge, as evidenced by the number of scholars who have disagreed on Luther's views on Mary's conception. See, for example, Algermissen, Heiler, Schimmelpfennig, and Cole in favor of Luther holding, throughout his life, the immaculate conception of Mary; see H. Preuss and Delius in favor of Luther's position shifting. Luther does speak of Mary as "in Erbsunden empfangen" (WA 17-2, 287) but distinguishes between the physical conception (act of the parents) and the animation by the soul, at which point the person is in existence. The reinigung of which he speaks refers, it seems, to the original sin present in the body . . . Max Thurian suggests that, when Luther speaks of Mary having original sin, he is referring both to her body before its union with her soul and to the presence of the effects of original sin in Mary's body (fatigue, etc.). See Thurian, Mary, Mother of the Lord, Figure of the Church (London: Faith, 1963) . . .

Luther makes a number of comments about Mary's freedom from sin, and even seems to have held to the immaculate conception, despite certain later ambiguous statements. (p. 137)

Even if one holds strictly to the doctrine of the immaculate conception, which Luther apparently did not always do . . . (p. 179)

Addendum: shortly after I compiled this paper, I became persuaded that Luther did change his later view, to a position which I describe as "immaculate purification." Briefly, the later Luther (sometime after 1527) thought that Mary was purified at the time of the birth or conception of Jesus, rather than at her own conception.

Zwingli's Belief in Mary's Sinlessness


By Dave Armstrong (9-30-10)



Huldreich (or Ulrich) Zwingli (1484-1531) was one of the founders of Protestantism. Note: since he rejected the orthodox Christian doctrine of original sin, he cannot be said to have espoused Mary's immaculate conception, because that doctrine presupposes original sin (in order to remove it from Mary by grace).

[Zwingli's own words are in blue]

* * * * *

1) Hans Joachim Hillerbrand, Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Volume 3 (Taylor & Francis: 2004).

Although Zwingli did not explicitly state a belief in Mary's immaculate conception, he did emphasize her sinlessness and her role in the stainlessness of Christ's conception. (p. 1173)


2) George Henry Tavard, The Thousand Faces of the Virgin Mary (Liturgical Press: 1996).

Although he does not explicitly relate Mary's virginal and immaculate conception of her Son with her own immaculate conception, Zwingli does call her "immaculate." As he also wrote in De vera et falsa religione, she was without "the smallest trace of a stain." (p. 107)


3) Gottfried Wilhelm Locher, Zwingli's Thought: New Perspectives (Leiden: E. J. Brill: 1981).

Zwingli goes so far as to state: "I firmly trust that she is exalted by God above all creatures of blessed men or angels in eternal bliss." [Z I 424; H 1 159] (p. 88)

. . . forceful expressions which Zwingli frequently used to describe Mary's purity ("immaculata", "illibata", "purissima", etc.) . . . [Zwingli:] ["]God has also sanctified and purified the mother (of the holy Son), for it was fitting that so holy a Son should have so holy a mother.["] (p. 88; original Latin version is also documented on this linked page)


http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


4) Raniero Cantalamessa, Mary: Mirror of the Church (Liturgical Press: 1992).

In a sermon in 1524, Zwingli called Mary "the pure virgin Mary, mother of our salvation," and he stated that where she is concerned, he never "thought, let alone taught or publicly affirmed the slightest thing that could be impious, dishonoring, unworthy or bad of her." (p. 130)


5) Andrew Pettegree, The Reformation: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies (Taylor & Francis: 2004).

. . . the eternally pure body of Mary . . . (p. 287)


6) Donald G. Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press: 2006).

Zwingli could refer to Mary as "the Mother of God, the perpetually pure and immaculate Virgin Mary." (p. 117)

***

Did Luther Believe in Mary's Immaculate Conception?: What Lutheran Scholars Think

By Dave Armstrong (9-30-10)



I wrote very extensively about the topic over seven years ago, and much of that research made it into my book about Martin Luther. Way back in 2003 I demonstrated how many Lutheran and other non-Catholic Luther scholars affirmed that Luther believed in Mary's immaculate conception (in slightly modified form).

Anyone interested in the fine (and many!) details can peruse my paper, but for my present purposes, here is a summary of what I found about what these scholars think:

[T]he following is a summary of the views of scholars on the subject of what Luther believed pertaining to the Immaculate Conception, in his later years (post-1528). I have not discovered a single scholar who treats this subject who denies that the early Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception in some form. The only dispute is over whether he later rejected his earlier views. I shall list the scholars from least convinced about the later Luther to most convinced: even to the point where it is thought his view was identical to that of the Catholic dogma proclaimed ex cathedra in 1854:
1. Hartmann Grisar (Catholic): Luther rejected the Immaculate Conception after 1528 or so.
2. Horst-Dietrich Preuss (Lutheran): Luther rejected the Immaculate Conception after 1528 or so.
3. Thomas A. O'Meara (C): later rejection "likely, but not certain."
4. Hilda Graef (C): probably accepted, but in somewhat diluted form.
5. Arthur Carl Piepkorn (L): "life-long" accceptance "(barring two lapses)."

6. Walter Tappolet (C): accepted (yes).
7. Max Thurian (Reformed): yes.
8. William J. Cole (C): yes.
9. Eric W. Gritsch (L): yes.
10. Jaroslav Pelikan (L): yes.
11. Richard Marius (probably Protestant of some sort): yes.
12. 10 Catholic scholars on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Committee (C): yes.
13. 11 Lutheran scholars on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Committee (L): yes.
14. Reintraud Schimmelpfennig (C): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.
15. K. Algermissen (L): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.
16. Friedrich Heiler (L): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.

Total:
Yes: 31 (16 Lutherans, 13 Catholics, 1 Reformed, 1 probably Protestant [uncertain] )
Probably: 1 (Catholic)
Probably not: 1 (Catholic)
No: 2 (1 Catholic; 1 Lutheran)
That makes for an 89% rate of scholars of various religious persuasions who positively affirm that the later Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception. Only one Protestant scholar is firmly against the opinion, while two Catholic scholars are against and probably against (putting to rest the charge of denominational bias and special pleading). The Lutheran scholars can be, I think, fully trusted for the interpretation of the founder of their branch of Christianity. Catholic scholars are, then, only agreeing with the consensus of Lutheran scholarship on this point. I, therefore, rest my case . . .


http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


Hartmann Grisar is one of a few scholars who believe that Luther ceased believing in Mary's immaculate conception after 1527 or 1528, of at least of the 35 scholars I've run across who give any opinion at all. The only others I've found who agree with that opinion are Horst-Dietrich Preuss (Lutheran) and Thomas A. O'Meara (Catholic). 

This was verified by the eminent Lutheran scholar Eric W. Gritsch, who studied for his doctorate under the famous Luther biographer Roland H. Bainton, and was a major translator of Luther's Works in English (edited by Jaroslav Pelikan), including the lengthy treatise, Against the Roman Papacy: An Institution of the Devil (vol. 41, 263-376). He wrote:
Luther defended Mary's perpetual virginity and regarded her Immaculate Conception as "a pious and pleasing thought" that should not, however, be imposed on the faithful.

(in The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, edited by H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992; 241)

In footnote 43 on page 382, he elaborated:

'Haec pia cogitatio et placet.' Exposition of the Ninth Chapter of Isaiah, 1543/44. WA 40/3:680.31-32. Two scholars doubt whether Luther affirmed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary: Preuss (n. 11 above came to the conclusion that Luther rejected the doctrine after 1528; O'Meara states that "it is likely, but not certain" that Luther rejected the doctrine (118 [n. 11 above]). But Tappolet (32 [n. 1 above]) demonstrated with the use of texts that Luther did not change his mind. The literary evidence from Luther's works clearly supports the view that Luther affirmed the doctrine, but did not consider it necessary to impose it.

Walter Tappolet is "the man" as far as documenting Luther's Mariology. Gritsch writes about him on page 379:
An exhaustive collection of Luther's statements on Mary has been offered by Walter Tappolet and Albert Ebneter (eds.), Das Marienlob der Reformatoren (Tubingen: Katzmann, 1962), 17-218, 357-64. Two studies have analyzed the chronological development of Luther's views in conjunction with his basic theological views: Hans Dufel, Luthers Stellung zur Marienverehrung ( . . . 1968) and William J. Cole, "Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?" Marian Studies 21, (1970), 94-202) . . .

So Gritsch recommends Tappolet and notes that the latter's opinion on Luther's espousal of the Immaculate Conception was that he "did not change his mind." He also cites the article by Cole that I have had in my library for many years, having copied it from the local Catholic seminary. Cole reaches the same conclusion as Tappolet:

It is noteworthy that Luther himself with considerable consistency down to the time of his death in 1546 accepted the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

. . . Luther's final attitude can probably best be described by saying that he believed the truth of the Immaculate Conception himself, but did not find it formally and expressly taught in Scriptures.

(pp. 121, 123)

That's only the tip of the iceberg of the many scholars' views that I detailed seven years ago.

Addendum: shortly after I compiled this paper, I became persuaded that Luther did change his later view, to a position which I describe as "immaculate purification." Briefly, the later Luther (sometime after 1527) thought that Mary was purified at the time of the birth or conception of Jesus, rather than at her own conception.


***

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catholics, Too, Can Believe in Imputed Justification and Justification by Faith Alone (With Proper Biblical Qualifications)


By Dave Armstrong (9-28-10)



The following is an excerpt from my book, Biblical Catholic Salvation: “Faith Working Through Love” -- Chapter One.

* * * * *


Many Protestants (and Catholics) are unaware that the Council of Trent does not absolutely rule out all notions whatever of justification by faith alone or even of imputation of God’s righteousness. It condemns only extreme versions of these notions. For example:

Canon IX. If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

We observe, then, that Canon 9 anathematized not faith alone (in the sense of initial justification) per se, but a minimalist, absolute position on faith alone that excludes further necessary cooperation, or “outworking” of the same faith. The term “faith alone” is carefully qualified and defined, but it is not itself rejected (the key phrase being “in such wise as to mean”).

Another way of looking at this is to say that Canon 9 doesn’t absolutely forbid imputed justification, either, as an aspect of justification, but rather, only the notion that justification consists solely of imputation. The next canon makes it clear that there is indeed a proper sense of imputed justification or “extrinsic” or “declarative” or “external” righteousness:

Canon X. If any one saith, that men are just without the justice of Christ, whereby He merited for us to be justified; or that it is by that justice itself that they are formally just; let him be anathema.

http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


Again, what is asserted is the denial of a minimalist view. The first clause espouses initial imputed, external justification (“the justice of Christ, whereby He merited for us”). But the second clause condemns the legalistic extreme of making this alone the cause of justification, as if there is no cooperation required (assuming the person proceeds on with his life after initial justification). Imputation is present (and indeed necessary) but not sufficient unto salvation, in and of itself. The next canon reiterates:

Canon XI. If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

We are initially justified by “the justice of Christ” and “grace,” but we are not justified by a “sole imputation.” Imputation is, thus, a truth of Catholic soteriology, but it is not the “whole ball of wax” of salvation. In this sense, and this one alone, Catholics deny imputed justification and justification by faith alone. Canons 1-3, in their condemnation of Pelagianism and salvation by works, assert essentially the same notion from a different vantage-point: the initial grace and justification comes from God, and God alone.

Moreover, it is made clear elsewhere in this section of Tridentine decrees, that justification by faith is also a Catholic concept, and that even justification by faith alone is properly applied to the stage of initial justification:

Chapter VIII. (In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously).

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.
Even the cause of the human faith, that brings about justification, is God’s grace: so that there is not the slightest hint or trace of Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism (yet Catholics, for some reason, are falsely accused of these heresies to this day). Chapter 5 concurs (“the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ” / “disposed through His quickening and assisting grace” / “God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost”).

Initial imputation and justification by faith alone in the first stages of justification are reiterated elsewhere in the same section:

Chapter VII. (What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof.)

Of this Justification the causes are these: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God . . .
. . . the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father . . .
. . . the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just . . .
. . . no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit . . .

Chapter X.
(On the increase of Justification received.)
Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, . . . they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, . . .

***

Monday, September 27, 2010

How Protestants Explain (or Explain Away) Conversions to Catholicism: a Collection of Links



Conversions to Catholicism, and away from Protestantism are definitely a trend. We know that because we see the alarm in Protestant circles (and quack analyses). Having had my conversion story published, it is often amusing to me to see how much people think they know about what supposedly went on inside of my heart and head during that exciting time.

Most times they don't have the slightest clue. It's like music critics pretending that they know what Bob Dylan or someone like that is talking about in their music lyrics. They're just winging it. But here we have vested interests. Someone thinks Catholicism is false; therefore they have to explain away by any means necessary (usually irrational, arbitrary ones) a person who became convinced of its truthfulness.

Even the analyses of more ecumenical Protestants, who acknowledge that Catholics are still Christians, are filled with "psychoanalytic"-type observations and fallacious explanations of why such a move has occurred. Most of these pieces are entertaining reading, but also disturbing and sad insofar as they miss the mark so widely.

http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


* * * * *

Romeward Bound: Evaluating Why Protestants Convert to Catholicism (David Hagopian) [7-18-96]

From Wheaton to Rome: Why Evangelicals become Roman Catholic (Scot McKnight, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sep 2002)

Shifting Boundaries and Protestant Conversions (Dan Clendenin) [13 January 2003]

Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism, and the Beckwith Controversy (Sam Storms, 10 May 2007)

They Went Out from Us, But They Were Not Really of Us (Elliot Miller, Christian Research Journal, Issue 30-06, 2007)

Why Evangelicals are Returning to Rome: The Abandonment of Sola Scriptura as a Formal Principle (Bob DeWaay) [April 2008]

The Church Fathers: A Door to Rome (Fundamental Baptist Information Service) [18 August 2008]

Going Catholic (Jason Byassee, The Christian Century, 22 August 2008)

Whose Rome? Which Catholicism? A Review of Beckwith’s Return to Rome (James K. A. Smith) [24 March 2010]

Why do Evangelicals convert to Catholicism? (Adam Omelianchuk) [25 March 2010]

Evangelicals ‘Crossing the Tiber’ to Catholicism (Jonathan D. Fitzgerald) [28 July 2010]

Why Evangelicals Convert to be Catholic, and Why Evangelicals should Care (Andy Gustafson) [18 August 2010]

A Summary Critique: Surprised by Truth (Ralph MacKenzie; PDF file) [unknown date]

Emerging Church is Leading Protestants back Home to Rome (Mike Gendron) [unknown date]

Why Are Evangelicals Converting to Roman Catholicism? (Michael J. Vlach) [unknown date]

Surprised by What?: A Defense of Sola Scriptura (Jake Magee) [unknown date]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

St. Augustine Was a CATHOLIC, Not a Proto-Protestant


By Dave Armstrong (9-25-10)



It's amazing how often this assertion is made: that the great Church father St. Augustine (354-430) was closer to Protestant beliefs than Catholic, or that (a less sweeping claim) he was at least closer to Protestants on some key divisive issues such as sola Scriptura and sola fide. I've written about various aspects of this hallowed Protestant myth many times.

Presently, I will simply list below his own words, categorized by doctrine, regarding 30 different beliefs. I've chosen some of the more striking excerpts from my latest book: Catholic Church Fathers. The only portions not from my book are the ones on the deuterocanonical books and contraception. You be the judge.

As a preamble of sorts (and in the end, a bit of ironic humor), I shall present the high estimation of St. Augustine from Reformed Baptist James White, who somehow (inexplicably) convinces himself that Augustine is more in his camp, than in the Catholic one -- that he (equally remarkably) deems non-Christian (my emphases):

The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached . . . Augustine and Calvin, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace . . . 
It does not seem that any discussion of ancient theology can be pursued without invoking the great name of Augustine. But surely by now Roman controversialists should be aware that Augustine is no friend of their cause. 
Certain men throughout the history of the Christian church capture the imagination. Paul, Augustine, Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli - . . . . 
("The Sovereign God, the Grace of Christ, and Sinful Man: A Brief Inquiry into the Theology of Jonathan Edwards")
* * * * *

Apostolic Succession?


[I]f you acknowledge the supreme authority of Scripture, you should recognise that authority which from the time of Christ Himself, through the ministry of His apostles, and through a regular succession of bishops in the seats of the apostles, has been preserved to our own day throughout the whole world, with a reputation known to all. (Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, 33:9; NPNF 1, Vol. IV, 345)

And if any one seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and that not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by apostolical authority, still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants. (On Baptism, 4, 24, 31; NPNF 1, Vol. IV, 61)

Baptism (Regenerative and Salvific)?


The Christians of Carthage have an excellent name for the sacraments, when they say that baptism is nothing else than "salvation" and the sacrament of the body of Christ nothing else than "life." Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? (On Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism, 1:34; NPNF 1, V, 28)

When you shall have been baptized, keep to a good life in the commandments of God so that you may preserve your baptism to the very end. . . . Baptism was instituted for all sins. . . . In the Church, therefore, there are three ways in which sins are forgiven: in baptisms, in prayer, and in the greater humility of penance; yet, God does not forgive sins except to the baptized. (Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed 7:15, 8:16; Jurgens, III, 35) 

"Catholic" Church

For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, deed, because they are but men, . . . - not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. (Against the Epistle of Manichaeus 4:5; NPNF 1, Vol. IV, 130)

For my part, I should not believe the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. (Against the Epistle of Manichaeus 5, 6; NPNF 1, Vol. IV, 131)

Church (Authority)?

God has placed this authority first of all in his Church. (Explanations of the Psalms, Tract 103:8, PL 37:520-521; in Congar, 392)


It is obvious; the faith allows it; the Catholic Church approves; it is true. (Sermon 117, 6)

Church (Scripture Interpreter)?

To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you; thus, since Holy Scripture cannot be mistaken, anyone fearing to be misled by the obscurity of this question has only to consult on this same subject this very Church which the Holy Scriptures point out without ambiguity. (Against Cresconius I:33; in Eno, 134)

Contraception?

The doctrine that the production of children is an evil, directly opposes the next precept, "Thou shall not commit adultery;" for those who believe this doctrine, in order that their wives may not conceive, are led to commit adultery even in marriage. They take wives, as the law declares, for the procreation of children; but from this erroneous fear of polluting the substance of the deity, their intercourse with their wives is not of a lawful character; and the production of children, which is the proper end of marriage, they seek to avoid. As the apostle long ago predicted of thee, thou dost indeed forbid to marry, for thou seekest to destroy the purpose of marriage. Thy doctrine turns marriage into an adulterous connection, and the bed-chamber into a brothel. (Against Faustus, Book XV, 7; NPNF 1, Vol. IV)

Deuterocanonical Books / So-Called "Apocrypha"?

Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:—Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth, which seems rather to belong to the beginning of Kings; next, four books of Kings, and two of Chronicles—these last not following one another, but running parallel, so to speak, and going over the same ground. The books now mentioned are history, which contains a connected narrative of the times, and follows the order of the events. There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra, which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach. Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative. The remainder are the books which are strictly called the Prophets: twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows:—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel. The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books. That of the New Testament, again, is contained within the following:—Four books of the Gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; fourteen epistles of the Apostle Paul—one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews: two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and one of James; one book of the Acts of the Apostles; and one of the Revelation of John. (On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Chapter 8, section 13: "The Canonical Books"; NPNF 1, Vol. II; bolding added presently)

http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


Eternal Security / Perseverence?

But if someone already regenerate and justified should, of his own will, relapse into his evil life, certainly that man cannot say: “I have not received’; because he lost the grace he received from God and by his own free choice went to evil. (Admonition and Grace [c. 427], 6,9; Jurgens, III, 157)

Man, therefore, was thus made upright that, though unable to remain in his uprightness without divine help, he could of his own mere will depart from it. (Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love, chapter 107; NPNF 1, Vol. III)

When you shall have been baptized, keep to a good life in the commandments of God so that you may preserve your baptism to the very end. . . . (Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed 7:15, 8:16; Jurgens, III, 35)

Eucharist (Adoration)?


For He took upon Him earth from earth; because flesh is from earth, and He received flesh from the flesh of Mary. And because He walked here in very flesh, and gave that very flesh to us to eat for our salvation; and no one eateth that flesh, unless he hath first worshipped: we have found out in what sense such a footstool of our Lord’s may be worshipped, and not only that we sin not in worshipping it, but that we sin in not worshipping. (Exposition on Psalm XCIX, 8; NPNF 1, Vol. VIII)

Eucharist (Real, Substantial, Physical Presence)?

“And was carried in His Own Hands:” how “carried in His Own Hands”? Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said, “This is My Body.” (Exposition on Psalm XXXIV, 1; NPNF 1, Vol. VIII)

What you see is the bread and the chalice . . . But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the Body of Christ and the chalice the Blood of Christ. (Sermons, 272; Jurgens, III, 32)

For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, becomes Christ's body. (Sermons, 234, 2; Jurgens, III, 31)


Eucharist (Salvific)?

Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? (On Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism, 1:34; NPNF 1, V, 28)

Faith Alone (
Sola Fide)?

This must not be understood in such a way as to say that a man who has received faith and continues to live is righteous, even though he leads a wicked life. (Questions 76.1; commenting on Romans 3:28; Bray, 105; Defferari, Vol. 70, 195)

Unintelligent persons, however, with regard to the apostle's statement: "We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law," have thought him to mean that faith suffices to a man, even if he lead a bad life, and has no good works. (A Treatise on Grace and Free Will; Chapters 18; NPNF 1, Vol. V)

[E]ven those good works of ours, which are recompensed with eternal life, belong to the grace of God, . . . the apostle himself, after saying, "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast;" saw, of course, the possibility that men would think from this statement that good works are not necessary to those who believe, but that faith alone suffices for them . . . "Not of works" is spoken of the works which you suppose have their origin in yourself alone; but you have to think of works for which God has moulded (that is, has formed and created) you. . . . grace is for grace, as if remuneration for righteousness; in order that it may be true, because it is true, that God "shall reward every man according to his works." (A Treatise on Grace and Free Will; Chapter 20; NPNF 1, Vol. V)

Irresistible Grace?

He who made you without your consent does not justify you without your consent. He made you without your knowledge, but He does not justify you without your willing it. (Sermons, 169, 3; Jurgens, III, 29)

[N]either is the law condemned by the apostle nor is free will taken away from man. (On Romans 13-18; commenting on Romans 3:20; Bray, 96; Landes, 5, 7)

Mary (Mother and Spouse of God)?


Mary was that only one who merited to be called the Mother and Spouse of God. (Sermon 208)

Mary (Perpetual Virginity)?


Virgin in conceiving, virgin in giving birth, virgin with child, virgin mother, virgin forever. (Sermo 186, 1 [Christmas homily]; Gambero, 220)

Did not holy Virgin Mary both give birth as a virgin and remain a virgin? (Sermo Guelferbytanus, 1, 8; Miscellanea Agostiniana, 447-448; Gambero, 224)

Thus Christ by being born of a virgin, who, before she knew Who was to be born of her, had determined to continue a virgin, chose rather to approve, than to command, holy virginity. (Of Holy Virginity, section 4; NPNF 1, Vol. III, 418)

Mary (Sinlessness)?

We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin. Well, then, if, with this exception of the Virgin, we could only assemble together all the forementioned holy men and women, and ask them whether they lived without sin whilst they were in this life, what can we suppose would be their answer? (A Treatise on Nature and Grace, chapter 42 [XXXVI]; NPNF 1, Vol. V)

Mass, Sacrifice of?



Thus He is both the Priest who offers and the Sacrifice offered. And He designed that there should be a daily sign of this in the sacrifice of the Church, which, being His body, learns to offer herself through Him. Of this true Sacrifice the ancient sacrifices of the saints were the various and numerous signs; . . . To this supreme and true sacrifice all false sacrifices have given place. (City of God, Book X, 20; NPNF 1, Vol. II)

Not only is no one forbidden to take as food the Blood of this Sacrifice, rather, all who wish to possess life are exhorted to drink thereof. (Questions of the Hepateuch, 3, 57; Jurgens, III, 134)

The entire Church observes the tradition delivered to us by the Fathers, namely, that for those who have died in the fellowship of the Body and Blood of Christ, prayer should be offered when they are commemorated at the actual Sacrifice in its proper place, and that we should call to mind that for them, too, that Sacrifice is offered. (Sermo, 172, 2; 173, 1; De Cura pro mortuis, 6; De Anima et ejus Origine, 2, 21; Pope, 69)

Was not Christ once for all offered up in His own person as a sacrifice? and yet, is He not likewise offered up in the sacrament as a sacrifice, not only in the special solemnities of Easter, but also daily among our congregations; so that the man who, being questioned, answers that He is offered as a sacrifice in that ordinance, declares what is strictly true? (Epistles, 98, 9; NPNF 1, Vol. I)

The Hebrews, again, in their animal sacrifices, which they offered to God in many varied forms, suitably to the significance of the institution, typified the sacrifice offered by Christ. This sacrifice is also commemorated by Christians, in the sacred offering and participation of the body and blood of Christ. (Against Faustus, XX, 18; NPNF 1, Vol. IV)

Merit: Opposed to Sola Gratia?

The Lord made Himself a debtor not by receiving something, but by promising something. One does not say to Him "Pay for what You received," but, "Pay what You promised." (Commentary on Psalms 83:16; Jurgens, III, 19)

You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts. (En. in Ps. 102:7; cf. Ep. 194, 5, 19)

Someone says to me: “Since we are acted upon, it is not we who act.” I answer, “No, you both act and are acted upon; and if you are acted upon by the good, you act properly. For the spirit of God who moves you, by so moving, is your Helper. The very term helper makes it clear that you yourself are doing something.” (Sermons 156, 11; Jurgens, III, 28)

Wherefore, even eternal life itself, which is surely the reward of good works, the apostle calls the gift of God . . . We are to understand, then, that man’s good deserts are themselves the gift of God, so that when these obtain the recompense of eternal life, it is simply grace given for grace. (Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love, chapter 107; NPNF 1, Vol. III)

Mortal and Venial Sins?


When you shall have been baptized, keep to a good life in the commandments of God so that you may preserve your baptism to the very end. I do not tell you that you will live here without sin, but they are venial sins which this life is never without. Baptism was instituted for all sins. For light sins, without which we cannot live, prayer was instituted. . . . But do not commit those sins on account of which you would have to be separated from the body of Christ. Perish the thought! . . . If their sins were light, daily prayer would suffice to blot them out.

In the Church, therefore, there are three ways in which sins are forgiven: in baptisms, in prayer, and in the greater humility of penance; yet, God does not forgive sins except to the baptized. (Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed 7:15, 8:16; Jurgens, III, 35)

The Papacy and Roman ("Apostolic") See (Primacy of)?

Argue with them when they speak against grace, and if they persist, bring them to us. You see, there have already been two councils about this matter, and their decisions sent to the Apostolic See; from there rescripts have been sent back here. The case is finished; if only the error were finished too, sometime! So, let us all warn them to take notice of this, teach them to learn the lesson of it, pray for them to change their ideas. (Sermon 131, 10, in John Rotelle, editor, The Works of St. Augustine - Sermons, 11 volumes, Part 3, New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993, Vol. 4:322; the saying, "Rome has spoken; the case is closed" is a paraphrase of part of this sermon. Jurgens, [III, 28] translates it as "two Councils have already been sent to the Apostolic See; and from there rescripts too have come. The matter is at an end; would that the error too might sometime be at an end.")

This was thought to have been the case in him when he replied that he consented to the letters of Pope Innocent of blessed memory, in which all doubt about this matter was removed . . . [T]he words of the venerable Bishop Innocent concerning this matter to the Carthaginian Council ... What could be more clear or more manifest than that judgment of the Apostolical See? (Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 3:5; NPNF 1, Vol. V, 393-394)

[T]he Catholic Church, by the mercy of God, has repudiated the poison of the Pelagian heresy. There is an account of the provincial Council of Carthage, written to Pope Innocent, and one of the Council of Numidia; and another, somewhat more detailed, written by five bishops, as well as the answer he [Pope Innocent] wrote to these three; likewise, the report to Pope Zosimus of the Council of Africa, and his answer which was sent to all the bishops of the world. (Letter to Valentine, Epistle 215; Deferrari, 32: 63-64) 

. . . the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished. (To Glorius et al, Epistle 43, 7; NPNF 1, Vol. I, 278)

Penance?


After they have been released from your severe sentence we separate from association at the altar those whose crimes are public, so that by repenting and by punishing themselves they may be able to placate Him for whom, by their sinning, they showed their contempt. (Letter to Macedonius, Imperial Vicar of Africa, 153, 3, 6; Jurgens, III, 7)

For those whom you see doing penance have committed crimes, either adultery or some other enormities. That is why they are doing penance. If their sins were light, daily prayer would suffice to blot them out. In the Church, therefore, there are three ways in which sins are forgiven: in baptisms, in prayer, and in the greater humility of penance . . . (Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed 7:15, 8:16; Jurgens, III, 35)

[T]his is why, either to demonstrate the misery he deserves, or for the amendment of his disgraceful life, or for the exercise of needful patience, a man is detained temporally in punishment even when by his guilt he is no longer held liable to eternal damnation. (Homilies on John, 124, 5; Jurgens, III, 123) 

Peter (Primacy and Preeminence)?


The Lord, indeed, had told His disciples to carry a sword; but He did not tell them to use it. But that after this sin Peter should become a pastor of the Church was no more improper than that Moses, after smiting the Egyptian, should become the leader of the congregation. (Reply to Faustus the Manichean, 22:70; NPNF 1, Vol. IV, 299)

Among these [apostles] it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, 'To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven' (Mt 16:19)... Quite rightly too did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It's not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord's sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is first among the apostles. (Sermon 295:2-4, in John Rotelle, editor, The Works of St. Augustine - Sermons, 11 volumes, Part 3, New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993, 197-199)

. . . the Apostle Peter, in whom the primacy of the apostles shines with such exceeding grace . . . who can be ignorant that the primacy of his apostleship is to be preferred to any episcopate whatever?" (On Baptism 2:1,1; NPNF 1, Vol. IV, 425-426)

Prayers for the Dead?

It is not to be doubted that the dead are aided by prayers of the holy church, and by the salutary sacrifice, and by the alms, which are offered for their spirits . . . For this, which has been handed down by the Fathers, the universal church observes. (Sermon 172, in Joseph Berington and John Kirk, The Faith of Catholics, three volumes, London: Dolman, 1846; I: 439)

Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. (Sermons: 159, 1; Jurgens, III, 29)
For some of the dead, indeed, the prayer of the Church or of pious individuals is heard; but it is for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not spend their life so wickedly that they can be judged unworthy of such compassion, nor so well that they can be considered to have no need of it. (The City of God, XXI, 24, 2; NPNF 1, Vol. II)

Purgatory?


The man who perhaps has not cultivated the land and has allowed it to be overrun with brambles has in this life the curse of his land on all his works, and after this life he will have either purgatorial fire or eternal punishment. (Genesis Defended Against the Manicheans, 2, 20, 30)As also, after the resurrection, there will be some of the dead to whom, after they have endured the pains proper to the spirits of the dead, mercy shall be accorded, and acquittal from the punishment of the eternal fire. For were there not some whose sins, though not remitted in this life, shall be remitted in that which is to come, it could not be truly said, “They shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come.” (The City of God, XXI, 24, 2; NPNF 1, Vol. II)

Relics?

But, nevertheless, we do not build temples, and ordain priests, rites, and sacrifices for these same martyrs; for they are not our gods, but their God is our God. Certainly we honor their reliquaries, as the memorials of holy men of God who strove for the truth even to the death of their bodies, that the true religion might be made known, and false and fictitious religions exposed. (City of God, Book VIII, chapter 27; NPNF 1, Vol. II)

When the bishop Projectus was bringing the relics of the most glorious martyr Stephen to the waters of Tibilis, a great concourse of people came to meet him at the shrine. There a blind woman entreated that she might be led to the bishop who was carrying the relics. He gave her the flowers he was carrying. She took them, applied them to her eyes, and forthwith saw. (City of God, Book XXII, chapter 8; NPNF 1, Vol. II)

Saints (Invocation / Intercession of)?


For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended. (Sermons: 159, 1; Jurgens, III, 29)

Saints (Veneration of)?


No one officiating at the altar in the saints’ burying-place ever says, We bring an offering to thee, O Peter! or O Paul! or O Cyprian! The offering is made to God, who gave the crown of martyrdom, while it is in memory of those thus crowned. The emotion is increased by the associations of the place, and love is excited both towards those who are our examples, and towards Him by whose help we may follow such examples. We regard the martyrs with the same affectionate intimacy that we feel towards holy men of God in this life, when we know that their hearts are prepared to endure the same suffering for the truth of the gospel. There is more devotion in our feeling towards the martyrs, because we know that their conflict is over; and we can speak with greater confidence in praise of those already victors in heaven, than of those still combating here. What is properly divine worship, which the Greeks call latria, and for which there is no word in Latin, both in doctrine and in practice, we give only to God. To this worship belongs the offering of sacrifices; as we see in the word idolatry, which means the giving of this worship to idols. Accordingly we never offer, or require any one to offer, sacrifice to a martyr, or to a holy soul, or to any angel. (Against Faustus, Book XX, section 21; NPNF 1, Vol. IV)

Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura)?



And thus a man who is resting upon faith, hope, and love, and who keeps a firm hold upon these, does not need the Scriptures except for the purpose of instructing others. Accordingly, many live without copies of the Scriptures, even in solitude, on the strength of these three graces. (On Christian Doctrine, I, 39:43; NPNF 1, Vol. II, 534)

Tradition (Infallible and Authoritative)?


I believe that this practice [of not rebaptizing heretics and schismatics] comes from apostolic tradition, just as so many other practices not found in their writings nor in the councils of their successors, but which, because they are kept by the whole Church everywhere, are believed to have been commanded and handed down by the Apostles themselves. (On Baptism, 2, 7, 12; Jurgens, III, 66; cf. NPNF 1, IV, 430)

Tradition (Oral)? 

. . . the custom, which is opposed to Cyprian, may be supposed to have had its origin in apostolic tradition, just as there are many things which are observed by the whole Church, and therefore are fairly held to have been enjoined by the apostles, which yet are not mentioned in their writings. (On Baptism, 5, 23:31; NPNF 1, IV, 475)

Bibliographical Sources

Bray, Gerald, editor [Thomas C. Oden, general editor of series), Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament VI: Romans, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Congar, Yves, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and Theological Essay, New York: Macmillan, 1967.
Deferrari, R.J., editor, Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, 86 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1947 --.
Eno, Robert B., Teaching Authority in the Early Church, Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1984.
Gambero, Luigi, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Thomas Buffer, translator, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, revised edition of 1999.
Jurgens, William A., editor and translator, The Faith of the Early Fathers, three volumes, Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1970 and 1979 (2nd and 3rd volumes).
Landes, P.F. editor, Augustine on Romans, Chico: California: Scholars Press, 1982.
Pope, Hugh, St. Augustine of Hippo, Garden City, New York: Doubleday Image, 1961 (originally 1937).
Schaff, Philip, editor, Early Church Fathers: Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers Series 1 (“NPNF 1”), 14 volumes, originally published in Edinburgh, 1889, available online.