Tuesday, August 31, 2010

sola scriptura error message


OK, I saw this and couldn't pass it up without passing it on! 

Arminianism v. Catholicism

Quite often in debates with Calvinists they like to say that Catholics are really Arminians - which, since Arminians are not of the hard-lined predestination view of Calvinists, on the surface seems applicable.  However, on further investigation we would find that Arminianism is rooted in the Dutch "Reformed" (Methodist) movement.  To label a Catholic as "Arminian" is, at the very least, anachronistic.  Jacobus Arminius (born in 1560), for whom the system is named, was left fatherless at a very early age and the local merchant community had compassion on him and saw to it that he was very well educated.  His roots were in Calvinistic thought, and it was the desire of those sending him to school(s) that he would be a good (if not great) Calvinist orator.  In 1582 he was sent to Geneva to take in true Calvinism, with hopes of bringing that back to the Netherlands.

Things seemed to change after Arminius went to Italy in 1586 and spent a prolonged period of time there.  The Calvinists feared he was coming under the influence of the Jesuits and called him back to Amsterdam, where he was declared to be orthodox and appointed to be a preacher in the "Reformed" congregation there.  Well, it seems the fears of the Calvinists were not unwarranted.  After preaching for about 15 years in Amsterdam, and gaining a great reputation for his orations Arminius began to find fault with Calvinism.  His preaching became so prolific and opposed to Calvinism that many, whom they called "Remonstrants," were actually splitting the universities and even the country, threatening the unity of Holland (keep in mind, "Church and State" are not separated as most readers of this blog are likely accustomed to).  

Initially the "Remonstrants" were banned, but eventually tolerated by the State.  This split the Methodist followers into two camps, those who followed John Wesley (Arminian) and those who followed George Whitefield (Calvinist).

So, the next time a Calvinist tries to put the label on a Catholic of being an Arminian this opens the opportunity to point out the anachronism of the Calvinist statement.  If anything, Arminians are more like Catholics than Catholics taking after Arminians.  The tactic, whether intentionally used as such or not, is typically a red herring - attempting to throw the Catholic apologist "off the scent" and chase after a side-topic/distraction.


Sources:
http://www.theopedia.com/Arminianism
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01740c.htm

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Depart From Me Evildoers

Last Sunday's readings struck a chord with me, and I wanted expound upon them (as did our priest in the sermon too).

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”

First off, in the Second Reading, we find that we are told to expect to be disciplined.  A good father does not neglect to discipline his children, likewise our Father in Heaven will "scourge every son He acknowledges," and that we need to accept or trials as discipline.  In short, He's not promising us a rose garden... but that we'll see hardship and trials. But do not get discouraged, make straight your ways and be healed.  The life of the true Christian will be not an easy life, but of work and discipline.

The Gospel, along the same line, tells us not to strive for the easy path, but to seek to enter by the narrow gate.  Again, this is not the easy way and you must be strong enough to enter - in other words we need to work at it and strengthen our souls so that we might be able to enter by that narrow gate.  There will be many who THINK they're doing the will of the Lord, listening to His teaching, even prophesying in His Name and drank in His company - but He will say to them, "I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!"  So strive to enter by the narrow and harder gate, if the path you're on is easy and people are telling you that you don't have to do anything - you may just find yourself as one of those Jesus casts out to where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Can the Calvinist really believe they are entering by the narrow and more difficult gate when they constantly preach that we have to do nothing and once saved, always saved?  The object person can see this sort of "gospel" is quite different from the one Jesus preached.

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other and the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" Gal. 1:6-8

"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Ti. 4:16

Jesus said in Matt 7:22-24 "Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."

So, as Christ did, I urge you to work diligently to enter by the narrow gate.  Do not become complacent with easy-believism - or the wide/easy gate, for that gate will not bring you into the Wedding Feast with the Bridegroom.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Wife Knows Everything!

OK, this has nothing to do with apologetics, but the call on this horse race was just too funny not to pass on:


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gargoyles on Churches

In a recent discussion on CDF a non-Catholic was asking about gargoyles on churches, below is my response to this person:
SP: But, don't you think it's odd to have monstrous artwork ordaining your churches.
sw: Gargoyles on churches served a utilitarian function, they directed water flowing from the roof of the church away from the walls and foundations.  Not all gargoyles are grotesque creatures.  That being said, there's no precise reason given for the use of hideous gargoyles, but lots of speculations.
 
First off, we must remember that gargoyles serve an architectural purpose - preserving the walls and foundations of the buildings upon which they sit.  Second, the name - while TODAY we might associate it with something evil and/or grotesque, what it boils down to is a Latin word, "gurgulio" which is also where we get the word "gargle."  The name is given to the statuary because of the sound the water makes going through them - so there's nothing sinister in the name.

The reasons for the designs range from a hold-over from pagan days, but this, if you'll pardon the pun, doesn't hold much water.  Great, tall buildings in the West were more part of the Medieval and later periods and that is when the use of gargoyles came into play for the building of large churches (though they do date back to even ancient Egyptian architecture too).  Some speculate they have no meaning at all - they're just serving a purpose.  Others say they were specifically designed to remind parishners of the evils which lurk around outside and along the same lines, some think there was some superstitious reason that the gargoyles were thought to ward off evil spirits.  Then you will have still others who think the designers of churches were deliberately posting evil sentries on churches as if some sort of secret message that the Church was really evil - but only the ignorant and/or conspiracy-theorists get into such off-based thinking.

SP:  If there were gargoyles on my church, I'd think something stunk in Denmark.

sw: Well, you shouldn't and if you take some time to actually learn about the history and the architectural purpose of gargoyles, you wouldn't be so suspicious.

I hope this helps you understand better,
In JMJ,
Scott<<<

--
Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Catholics Disagree?

On CDF, on Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 7:46 PM, Brian wrote:
As if Catholics dont disagree? C'mon now. Great Schism? Orthodox Catholics?

Brian
 
sw: Those are schisms where Catholics not only disagreed, some of them split from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  The bone of contention Protestants have and can't handle the answer to is that FAITHFUL CATHOLICS agree, 100% with each other on matters of dogma.  We HAVE to or we'd be excommunicated.  Protestants disagree with each other on fundamental issues - even on the definition of "sola scriptura," as there are several definitions in use.  Matters of baptism of infants, or even how many sacraments there are in the Church - if any - are disputed between cults of Protestants.  ALL Catholics agree on ALL Sacraments and that there are SEVEN of them, no more and no less.  The point is, Protestants attempt to use the "tu quoque" argument (#3 on my "Top Ten List" of Anti-Catholic Tactics) - the "you're as bad as we are" argument, which is not only untrue, it is an invalid argument in debate.  The One, True God established and built One, True Church - and Protestantism "protests" against and rejects THAT Church.
 
In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Friday, August 13, 2010

ECFs on the Papacy

+ St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. AD 98-117):

"Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the transcendent Majesty of the Most High and... which presides in the chief place of the Roman territory, a church worthy of God, worthy of honor... presiding in love, maintaining the law of Christ, and bearer of the Father's name: her [and her members -- EBB] do I therefore salute... who imperturbably enjoy the full measure of God's grace and have every foreign stain filtered out of them."
(Letter to the Romans, preface)

+ Irenaeus of Lyons (c. AD 175-189):

"Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority – that is, the faithful everywhere – inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere.”
(Adversus Haereses 3:3:2)

+ Hippolytus (c. 225 A.D.):

"Peter, the Rock of the faith, whom Christ our Lord called blessed, the teacher of the Church, the first disciple, he who has the keys of the kingdom."
(Hippolytus, Exfabrico. n.9)

+ Origen (c. 230 A.D.):

"Peter likewise, on whom the Church was founded by the good pleasure of the Lord, lays it down in his epistle..."
(Origen, De Bono Patient, p.484)

+ Cyprian of Carthage (A.D. 252), writing to Pope Stephen in Rome:

“They [those in favor or re-baptizing lapsed Christians – EBB] dare to sail even to the chair of Peter and carry letters from schismatics and seculars to the principal Church, the source of sacerdotal unity.
(Epistula 55:14, [PL 3:844-45])

+ Aphraates the Sage (c. AD 330), one of the oldest fathers of the Syrian Church:

"[King] David handed over the Kingdom to [Prince] Solomon and was gathered to his people; and Jesus handed over the Keys to Simon and ascended and returned to Him Who sent Him."
(Aphraates, xxi, 13).

+ St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria (A.D. 306-311):

"Peter, set above the Apostles."
(Peter of Alexandria, Canon. ix, Galland, iv. p. 98)

+ St. Anthony of Egypt (A.D. 330):

"Peter, the Prince of the Apostles..."
(Anthony, Epist. xvii. Galland, iv p. 687)

+ St. Ephraem the Syrian (ca. A.D. 350):

"Then Peter deservedly received the Vicariate of Christ over His people."
(Ephraem, Sermon de Martyrio. SS. App. Petri et Pauli)

[As if spoken by Jesus:] "Simon my follower, I have made you the foundation of My holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of all who will build on earth a Church for Me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which My teaching flows, you are the chief of My disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is the life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in My institution, and so that, as the heir, you may be the executor of all My treasures. I have given you the keys of My Kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all My treasures!

"To whom, O Lord, didst Thou entrust that most precious pledge of the heavenly keys? To Bar Jonas, the Prince of the Apostles, with whom, I implore Thee, may I share Thy bridal chamber...Our Lord chose Simon Peter and appointed him chief of the Apostles, foundation of the holy Church and guardian of His establishment. He appointed him head of the Apostles and commanded him to feed His flock and teach it laws for preserving the purity of its beliefs."
(Ephraem, Homilies, 4:1, 350 A.D.)

+ St. Athanasius (A.D. 362):

"Rome is called the Apostolic throne."
(Hist. Arian, ad Monach. n. 35)

"The Chief, Peter."
(In Ps. xv. 8, tom. iii. p. 106, Migne)

+ St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Patriarch (A.D. 363):

"Peter, the chief and foremost leader of the Apostles, before a little maid thrice denied the Lord, but moved to penitence, he wept bitterly."
(Cyril, Catech ii. n. 15)

+ Opatatus (c. 367 A.D.):

"In the city of Rome the Episcopal chair was given first to Peter, the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head — that is why he is also called Cephas [Rock] — of all the Apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the Apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would presume to set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner.... Recall then the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church."
(Opatatus, The Schism of the Donatists, 2:2)

+ St. Gregory of Nazianzen (370 A.D.):

"Seest thou that of the disciples of Christ, all of whom were great and deserving of the choice, one is called a Rock and is entrusted with the Foundations of the Church..."
(T.i. or. xxii. n.18)

+ St. Nyssa (371 A.D.):

"The memory of Peter, the Head of the Apostles, is celebrated; and magnified indeed with him are the other members of the Church; but [upon him] is the Church of God firmly established. For he is, agreeably to the gift conferred upon him by the Lord, that unbroken and most firm Rock upon which the Lord built His Church."
(alt. Or. De S. Steph. Galland. t. vi.)

+ St. Macarius of Egypt (371 A.D.):

"Moses was succeeded by Peter, who had committed to his hands the new Church of Christ, and the true priesthood."
(Macarius, Hom. xxvi. n. 23, p. 101)

+ St. Basil (Cappadocian; AD 329-379):

"What a hardened heart would not be induced to fear God’s judgment if even that great exactor of so great a judgment as Peter, who was preferred before all the disciples, who, alone received a greater testimony and blessing that the rest, to whom were trusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven, also has to hear: ‘If I do not wash you, you will have no part in me’.”
(De judicio Dei, Proemium, n. 7 [PG 31:671])

+ St. Epiphanius of Salamis (385 A.D.):

"Holy men are therefore called the temple of God, because the Holy Spirit dwells in them; as that Chief of the Apostles testifies, he that was found to be blessed by the Lord, because the Father had revealed unto him. To him then did the Father reveal His true Son; and the same [Peter] furthermore reveals the Holy Spirit. This was befitting in the First of the Apostles, that firm Rock upon which the Church of God is built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The gates of hell are heretics and heresiarchs. For in every way was the faith confirmed in him who received the keys of heaven; who looses on earth and binds in heaven. For in him are found all subtle questions of faith. He was aided by the Father so as to be (or lay) the Foundation of the security (firmness) of the faith. He (Peter) heard from the same God, 'feed my lambs'; to him He entrusted the flock; he leads the way admirably in the power of his own Master.
(Epiphanius, T. ii. in Anchor)

+ St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. A.D. 387):

"Peter, that Leader of the choir, that Mouth of the rest of the Apostles, that Head of the brotherhood, that one set over the entire universe, that Foundation of the Church."
(Chrys. In illud hoc Scitote)

"[Peter], the foundation of the Church, the Coryphaeus of the choir of the Apostles, the vehement lover of Christ ...he who ran throughout the whole world, who fished the whole world; this holy Coryphaeus of the blessed choir; the ardent disciple, who was entrusted with the keys of heaven, who received the spiritual revelation. Peter, the mouth of all Apostles, the head of that company, the ruler of the whole world."
(De Eleemos, iii. 4; Hom. de decem mille tal. 3)

"And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproches him with what had past, but says, 'If you love me, preside over the brethren, ...and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, 'How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?,' this I would answer that He appointed this man [Peter] teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world."
(Chrysostom, In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii)

+ Asterius (A.D. 400):

"In order that he may show his power, God has endowed none of his disciples with gifts like Peter. But, having raised him with heavenly gifts, he has set him above all ... as first disciple and greater among the brethren, ... [and thus] has shown, by the test of deeds, the power of the Spirit. The first to be called, he followed at once.... The Saviour confided to this man, as some special trust, the whole universal Church, after having asked him three times 'Lovest thou me?'. And he receive the world in charge..."
(Homily 8, in GILES, 145-146)

+ St. John Cassian (c. A.D. 362-435):

"O Peter, Prince of Apostles, it is just that you should teach us, since you were yourself taught by the Lord; and also that you should open to us the gate of which you have received the Key. Keep out all those who are undermining the heavenly House; turn away those who are trying to enter through false caverns and unlawful gates since it is certain that no one can enter in at the gate of the Kingdom except the one unto whom the Key, placed by you in the churches, shall open it."
(Book III, Chap 12, _Against the Nestorians on the Incarnation_)

+ St. Cyril of Alexandria (c. 424):

"He [Christ] promises to found the [local and whole – EBB] Church, assigning immovableness to it, as He is the Lord of strength, and over this He sets Peter as shepherd."
(Cyril, Comm. on Matt., ad loc.)

+ John Cassian, Monk (c. AD 430), to Pope Celestine I:

"That great man, the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore, we beg of you, Peter, prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God."
(Cassian, Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276).

+ Philip at Council of Ephesus, Session III (A.D. 431):

"There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever, lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place..."[4]
(NPNF, XIV:223)

+ Socrates Scholasticus (c. AD 380-450), a Greek Church historian in Constantinople:

"...the churches shall not make any ordinances against the opinion of the bishop of Rome."
(The Ecclesiastical History 2, 8, NPNF2, 2:38)

+ Acts of the Council of Ephesus (431 AD):

"Philip... the legate of the Apostolic See said: 'There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known from all ages, that the most holy and most blessed Peter... received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord... and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors.'"[4]
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III, col. 621)

+ The Emperor Theodosius and Valentinian to Aetius, Master of the Military and Patrician:

"It is certain that for us the only defence lies in the favour of the God of heaven; and to deserve it our first care is to support the Christian faith and its venerable religion. Inasmuch then as the primacy of the apostolic see is assured, by the merit of S. Peter, who is chief of the episcopal order, by the rank of the city of Rome, and also by the authority of a sacred synod, let no one presume to attempt any illicit act contrary to the authority of that see. For then at length will the peace of the churches be maintained everywhere, if the whole body acknowledges its ruler.

"Hitherto these customs have been observed without fail; but Hilary of Arles, as we are informed by the trustworthy report of that venerable man Leo, Pope of Rome, has with contumacious daring ventured upon certain unlawful proceedings.... For Hilary who is called bishop of Arles, without consulting the pontiff of the church of the city of Rome, has in solitary rashness usurped his jurisdiction by the ordination of bishops ... and after investigation they have been dispersed by the order of that pious man the Pope of the city. The sentence applies to Hilary and to those whom he has wickedly ordained. This same sentence would have been valid through the Gauls without imperial sanction; for what is not allowed in the Church to the authority of so great a pontiff? Hilary is allowed still to be called a bishop, only by the kindness of the gentle president; and our just command is, that it is not lawful either for him or for anyone else to mix church affairs with arms or to obstruct the orders of the Roman overseer. ... [I]n order that not even the least disturbance may arise amongst the churches, nor the discipline of religion appear in any instance to be weakened, we decree by this eternal law that it shall not be lawful for bishops ... contrary to ancient custom, to do aught without the authority of the venerable Pope of the eternal city. And whatever the authority of the apostolic see has sanctioned, or may sanction, shall be the law for all; so that if any bishop summoned to trial before the pontiff of Rome shall neglect to come, he shall be compelled to appear by the governor of that province. Those things which our divine parents conferred on the Roman church are to be upheld in every way."
(Valentinian III, Certum est. 8 July 445. In Leo, Ep. II. [P.L. 54. 637; Kidd, Docs. 2. 282.])

+ St. Peter Chrysologus (449 A.D.):

"We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope in the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the true faith to those who seek it. For we ... cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Letters 25:2)

"Just as Peter received his name from the rock, because he was the first to deserve to establish the Church, by reason of his steadfastness of faith, so also Stephen was named from a crown...the first who deserved to bear witness with his blood. Let Peter hold his ancient primacy of the apostolic choir. Let him open to those who enter the kingdom of heaven. Let him bind the guilty with his power and absolve the penitent in kindness."
(Sermo 154, P.L. 52. 608.)

+ Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, (d. AD 449), writing to Pope Leo I:

"The whole question [of Eutychianism -- EBB] needs only your single decision and all will be settled in peace and quietness. Your sacred letter will with God's help completely suppress the heresy... and so the convening of a council which is any case difficult will be rendered superfluous."
(As cited in V. Soloviev, Russia and the Universal Church, trans. H Rees [London: Geoffrey Bles, 1948], p. 134)

+ Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (A.D. 450):

"I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds."
(Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).

"If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble, run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo) healing for wounds of the the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives. ... Your city has the fullest abundance of good things from the giver of all good. ... But her chief decoration is her faith, to which the divine apostle is a sure witness when he exclaims "Your faith is proclaimed in all the world"; and if, immediately after receiving the seeds of the saving gospel, she bore such a weight of wondrous fruit, what words are sufficient to express the piety which is now found in her? She has, too, the tombs of our common fathers and teachers of the truth, Peter and Paul, to enlighten the souls of the faithful. And this blessed and divine pair arose indeed in the East, and shed its rays in all directions, but voluntarily underwent the sunset of life in the West, from whence now they light up the whole world. These have rendered your see so glorious: this the height of your good things. For their God has made their see bright, since he has settled your holiness in it to send forth the rays of the true faith."
(Theodoret Ibid, Epistle Leoni)

"...Twenty-six years I have been a bishop; I have undergone countless labours; I have struggled hard for the truth; I have freed tens of thousands of heretics and brought them to the Saviour, and now they have stripped me of my priesthood, and are exiling me from the city. ... Wherefore I beseech your sanctity to persuade the very sacred and holy Archbishop Leo to bid me hasten to your council. For that holy see has precedence of all churches in the world, for many reasons; and above all for this, that it is free from all taint of heresy, and that no bishop of false opinions has ever sat upon its throne, but it has kept the grace of the apostles undefiled."
(Theodoret, Ep. 116, to Renatus the presbyter. A.D. 449. [P.G. 83. 1324; P.N.F. 3. 295B.])

"For as I", he says [quoting Luke 22. 31,32 -- EBB], "did not despise thee when tossed, so be thou a support to thy brethren in trouble, and the help by which thou wast saved do thou thyself impart to others, and exhort them not while they are tottering, but raise them up in their peril. For this reason I suffer thee also to slip, but do not permit thee to fail, [thus] through thee gaining steadfastness for those who are tossed." So this great pillar supported the tossing and sinking world, and permitted it not to fall entirely and gave it back stability, having been ordered to feed God's sheep."
(Theodoret, Oratio de Caritate. [P.G. 82. 1509.])

+ The Greek historian Salminius Hermias Sozomen (A.D. ca. 375?-447/48), a contemporary of Leo:

"8. Athanasius, escaping from Alexandria, came to Rome. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Asclepas of Gaza went there at the same time. Asclepas, who was opposed to the Arians, ... and Quintian had been appointed in his place. Lucius, bishop of Adrianople, who had been deposed from his office on another charge, was also staying in Rome. The Roman bishop, on learning the accusation against each one, and finding that they were all like-minded about the doctrine of the council of Nicaea, admitted them to communion as of like orthodoxy. And alleging that the care for all belongs to him, because of the dignity of his see, he restored each to his own church. ...

"10....Julius, learning that Athanasius was not safe in Egypt, called him back to himself. He replied at the same time to the letter of the bishops who were convened at Antioch, for just then he happened to have received it, and he accused them of having secretly introduced innovations contrary to the dogmas of the Nicene council, and of having violated the laws of the Church by not calling him to the synod. For there is a priestly law, making void whatever is effected against the mind of the bishop of Rome."
(Sozomen, Church History, Book 3. A.D. 450. [P.G. 67. 1052; Bagster 113.])

+ Council of Chalcedon (451 AD):

"...the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him [Disoscorus] of the episcopate. Therefore let this most holy and great synod... [punish Dioscorus -- EBB]."
(Schaff and Wace, eds., NPNF, 2nd series, vol. 14, p. 259-260)

"1....You are set as an interpreter to all of the voice of blessed Peter and to all you impart the blessings of that faith. And so we too, wisely taking you as our guide in all that is good, have shown to the sons of the Church their inheritance of the truth. ... For if where two or three are gathered together in his name, he has said that he is in the midst of them, must he not have been much more particularly present with 520 priests who preferred to their country and their ease the spread of knowledge about him? Of all these you were the chief, as head to members, showing your goodwill in matters of organization. ...

"2. The enemy would have been like a wild beast outside the fold...if the late pontiff of the Alexandrians had not thrown himself to him for a prey....By his terror-won votes he aquitted Eutyches.... Besides all this he extended his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Saviour--we refer to your holiness-- and he intended to excommunicate one who was zealous to unite the body of the Church. ...

"4. We mention further that we have made certain other decisions also for the good management and stability of church affairs, as we are persuaded that your holiness will accept and ratify them when you are told. ... We have also ratified the canon of the 150 holy fathers who met at Constantinople...which declares that after your most holy and apostolic see, the see of Constantinople shall have privileges, being placed second; for we are persuaded that, with your usual interest, you have often extended that apostolic radiance of yours even to the church of Constantinople also. ... And so, deign, most holy and blessed father, to embrace as your own, and as lovable and agreeable to good order, the things we have decreed, for the removal of all confusion, and the confirmation of church order. ... But we ... recognized as fitting the confirmation of the honour by this universal council, and we confidently endorsed it,... knowing that every success of the children redounds to the parents. We therefore beg you to honour our decision by your assent, and as we have yielded agreement to the head in noble things, so may the head also fulfil what is fitting for the children. Thus ... the see of Constantinople will receive its recompense for having always displayed such loyalty on matters of religion towards you, and for having so zealously linked itself to you in full agreement."
(Council of Chalcedon, To Leo. A.D. 451. Leo, Ep. 98. [P.L. 54. 952; P.N.F. 12. 72A.])

+ Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople (A.D. 466-516):

"Macedonius declared, when desired by the Emperor Anastasius to condemn the Council of Chalcedon, that 'such a step without an Ecumenical Synod presided over by the Pope of Rome is impossible.'"
(Macedonius, Patr. Graec. 108: 360a [Theophan. Chronogr. pp. 234-346 seq.])

+ St. Fulgentius of Ruspe (A.D. 465-533):

"That which the Roman Church, which has the loftiest place on the earth, teaches and holds, so does the whole Christian world believe without hesitation for their justification, and does not delay to confess for their salvation"
(Letter 17, 21, A.D. 519).

+ Emperor Justinian (520-533):

>> Writing to Pope John I...

"Yielding honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the Head of all the holy Churches."
(Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).

>> Writing to Pope Hormisdas...

"Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Surpreme Pastor, the salvation of all.
(Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope Hormisdas).

+ Byzantine Emperor Justinian to Pope St. Agapetus (ca. A.D. 535):

"...the source of the priesthood...the venerable See of the most high Apostle Peter...No one doubts that the height of the Supreme Pontificate is at Rome."
(as cited in The Eastern Churches and the Papacy by S. Herbert Scott, p. 231.)

+ Patriarch Mennas (ca. A.D. 536-552; d. A.D. 552), commemorated in the West on August 25, in his own sentence against Anthimus at a council in Constantinople (ca. A.D. 536):

"Indeed Agapetus of holy memory, pope of Old Rome, giving him time for repentance until he should receive whatever the holy fathers defined, did not allow him to be called either a priest or a Catholic... we follow and obey the apostolic throne; we are in communion with those with whom it is in communion, and we condemn those whom it condemns."
(Mansi 8: 968-70, as found in "Keys Over the Christian World"; author Scott Butler).

+ Eulogius of Alexandria (581 A.D.):

"Neither to John, nor to any other of the disciples, did our Savior say, 'I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,' but only to Peter."
(Eulogius, Lib. ii. Cont. Novatian. ap. Photium, Biblioth, cod. 280)

+ St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (c. A.D. 638):

"Teaching us all orthodoxy and destroying all heresy and driving it away from the God-protected halls of our holy Catholic Church. And together with these inspired syllables and characters, I accept all his [the pope's] letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the Coryphaeus, and I kiss them and salute them and embrace them with all my soul ... I recognize the latter as definitions of Peter and the former as those of Mark, and besides, all the heaven-taught teachings of all the chosen mystagogues of our Catholic Church."
(Sophronius, Mansi, xi. 461)

+ Stephen, Bishop of Dora in Palestine (c. AD 645):

“...fly away and announce these things to the Chair [of Peter at Rome] which rules and presides over all, I mean to yours, the head and highest, for the healing of the whole wound. For this it has been accustomed to do from old and from the beginning with power by its canonical or apostolic authority, because the truly great Peter, head of the Apostles, was clearly thought worthy not only to be trusted with the keys of heaven, alone apart from the rest, to open it worthily to believers, or to close it justly to those who disbelieve the Gospel of grace, but because he was also commissioned to feed the sheep of the whole Catholic Church; for 'Peter,' saith He, 'lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep.' And again, because he had in a manner peculiar and special, a faith in the Lord stronger than all and unchangeable, to be converted and to confirm his fellows and spiritual brethren when tossed about, as having been adorned by God Himself incarnate for us with power and sacerdotal authority ... And Sophronius [Patriarch of Jerusalem (c. 638) -- EBB]... hastened to send my nothingness to this Apostolic and great See.... Transverse quickly all the world from one end to the other until you come to the Apostolic See (Rome), where are the foundations of the orthodox doctrine. ... Cease not to pray and to beg them until their apostolic and Divine wisdom shall have pronounced the victorious judgement and destroyed from the foundation... the new heresy."
(Mansi, x, 893)

+ Sergius, Metropolitain of Cyprus (c. AD 649), writing to Pope Theodore:

"O Holy Head, Christ our God hath destined thy Apostolic See to be an immovable foundation and a pillar of the Faith. For thou art, as the Divine Word truly saith, Peter, and on thee as a foundation-stone have the pillars of the Church been fixed."
(Sergius Ep. ad Theod. lecta in Sess. ii. Concil. Lat. anno 649)

+ St. Maximus the Confessor (ca. AD 580-662), a celebrated theologian and a native of Constantinople:[5]

"The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High."
(Maximus, Opuscula theologica et polemica [A.D. 650], in PG 91:137-144)

"How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until now presides over all the churches which are under the sun? Having surely received this canonically, as well as from councils and the apostles, as from the princes of the latter [Peter & Paul], and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or issues in synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate... even as in all these things all are equally subject to her [the Church of Rome] according to sacerodotal law. And so when, without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers [the popes] are of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is of the most great and Apostolic Church of Rome."
(Maximus, in J.B. Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)

"I was afraid of being thought to transgress the holy laws, if I were to do this [write this letter to Peter – EBB] without knowing the will of the most holy see of Apostolic men, who lead aright the whole plenitude of the Catholic Church, and rule it with order according to the divine law. ... If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God ...Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who... does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also [from] all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions, has received universal and surpreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world. -- for with it the Word who is above the celestial powers binds and looses in heaven also. For if he thinks he must satisfy others, and fails to implore the most blessed Roman pope, he is acting like a man who, when accused of murder or some other crime, does not hasten to prove his innocence to the judge appointed by the law, but only uselessly and without profit does his best to demonstrate his innocence to private individuals, who have no power to acquit him.
(Maximus, letter to the patrician Peter, ca. AD 642, in Mansi x, 692)

+ Fathers of the Third Council of Constantinople (A.D. 680-681) to Pope St. Agatho:

"Serious illnesses call for greater helps, as you know, most blessed [father]; and therefore Christ our true God gave a wise physician, namely your God-honoured sanctity, to drive away by force the contagion of heretical pestilence by the remedies of orthodoxy, and to give the strength of health to the members of the church. Therefore to thee, as to the bishop of the first see of the Universal Church, we leave what must be done, since you willingly take for your standing ground the firm rock of the faith, as we know from having read your true confession in the letter sent by your fatherly beatitude to the most pious emperor: and we acknowledge that this letter [of Agatho's --EBB] was divinely written (perscriptas) as by the Chief of the Apostles, and through it we have cast out the heretical sect of many errors which had recently sprung up."
(Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LXXXVII., col. 1247 et seqq.; and Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VI., col. 1071 et seqq.)

>> Third Council of Constantinople, composed of 170 Eastern Bishops (680 AD), writing to Pope Agatho as the "Head of the Church... [and his chair as] the First See of the Ecumenical Church."
(Hardouin, tom. iii., p. 1632)

>> from the edict of the Emperor, confirming the decrees of the council:

"These are the teachings of the voices of the Gospels and apostles, these are the doctrines of the holy councils and of the elect and Patristic tongues; these have been preserved untainted by Peter the Rock of the Faith, the Head of the apostles."
(Mansi, xi, 698.)

+ St. John Damascene (A.D. 680-740):

"The church was monarchial from the beginning, for the Apostle Peter whom our Doctor considers the first-called and the first to follow the Saviour."
(Homily on the Transfiguration 6; Migne, PG, 96:553D)

"Peter was predestined by Jesus Christ to be the worthy head of the Church."
(Homily on Holy Saturday 33, col. 636C, PG, 96:560C)

"It was not of tents that the Master consituted thee [Peter -- EBB] the orderer, but of the Universal Church. Thy disciples, thy sheep, which the Good Shepherd entrusted to thee as head, have fulfilled thy desire [to make tents on the Mount of Transfiguration -- EBB]. They have raised one tent to Christ, one to Moses and Elias, and now we celebrate our feasts here."
(Homily on the Transfiguration, PG 16:596D)

+ John VI, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. A.D. 715):

"The Pope of Rome, the head of the Christian priesthood, whom in Peter, the Lord commanded to confirm his brethren."
(John VI, Epist. ad Constantin. Pap. ad. Combefis, Auctuar. Bibl. P.P. Graec.tom. ii. p. 211, seq.)

+ St. Nicephorus (A.D. 758-828), Patriarch of Constantinople:

"Without whom [i.e., the Romans presiding in the seventh Council] a doctrine brought forward in the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by ecclesiastical usuage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is they [the Popes of Rome] who have had assigned to them the rule in sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of headship among the Apostles.
(Nicephorus, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).

+ St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826):

>> Writing to Pope Leo III...

"Since to great Peter Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church of Heaven."
(Theodore, Bk. I. Ep. 23)

>> Writing to Pope Paschal...

"Hear, O Apostolic Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ's sheep, keybearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, Rock of the Faith upon whom the Catholic Church is built. For Peter art thou, who adornest and governest the Chair of Peter. Hither, then, from the West, imitator of Christ, arise and repel not for ever (Ps. xliii. 23). To thee spake Christ our Lord: 'And thou being one day converted, shalt strengthen thy brethren.' Behold the hour and the place. Help us, thou that art set by God for this. Stretch forth thy hand so far as thou canst. Thou hast strength with God, through being the first of all."
(Letter of St. Theodore and four other Abbots to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152-3)

>> Writing to Emperor Michael...

"Order that the declaration from old Rome be received, as was the custom by Tradition of our Fathers from of old and from the beginning. For this, O Emperor, is the highests of the Churches of God, in which first Peter held the Chair, to whom the Lord said: 'Thou art Peter...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'"
(Theodore, Bk. II. Ep. 86)

"I witness now before God and men, they [the Iconcoclasts – EBB] have torn themselves away from the Body of Christ, from the Surpreme See [Rome], in which Christ placed the keys of the Faith, against which the gates of hell (I mean the mouth of heretics) have not prevailed, and never will until the Consummation, according to the promise of Him Who cannot lie. Let the blessed and Apostolic Paschal [Pope St. Paschal I] rejoice therefore, for he has fulfilled the work of Peter."
(Theodore Bk. II. Ep. 63).

“...a manifest successor of the prince of the Apostles presides over the Roman Church. We truly believe that Christ has not deserted the Church here [Constantinople], for assistance from you has been our one and only aid from of old and from the beginning by the providence of God in the critical times. You are, indeed the untroubled and pure fount of orthodoxy from the beginning, you the calm harbor of the whole Church, far removed from the waves of heresy, you the God-chosen city of refuge."
(Letter of St. Theodor & Four Abbots to Pope Paschal).

"Let him [Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople] assemble a synod of those with whom he has been at variance, if it is impossible that representatives of the other Patriarchs should be present, a thing which might certainly be if the Emperor should wish the Western Patriarch [the Roman Pope] to be present, to whom is given authority over an ecumenical synod; but let him make peace and union by sending his synodical letters to the prelate of the First See."
(Theodore the Studite, Patr. Graec. 99, 1420)

+ Fourth Council of Constantinople, canon 21 (869-870 A.D.):

“...no secular powers should treat with disrespect any of those who hold the office of patriarch or seek to move them from their high positions, but rather they should esteem them as worthy of all honour and reverence. This applies in the first place to the most holy pope of old Rome, secondly to the patriarch of Constantinople, and then to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

“Furthermore, nobody else should compose or edit writings or tracts against the most holy pope of old Rome, on the pretext of making incriminating charges, as Photius did recently and Dioscorus a long time ago. Whoever shows such great arrogance and audacity, after the manner of Photius and Dioscorus, and makes false accusations in writing or speech against the see of Peter, the chief of the apostles, let him receive a punishment equal to theirs.

“...Furthermore, if a universal synod is held and any question or controversy arises about the holy church of Rome, it should make inquiries with proper reverence and respect about the question raised and should find a profitable solution; it must on no account pronounce sentence rashly against the supreme pontiffs of old Rome.”
(J. Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima adp. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis..., 12 vols. Paris 1714-1715.)

+ Texts from Vespers and Matins of June 29 & 30 from the Byzantine-Slavonic Menaion (Feasts of the Martyrdom of Sts Peter and Paul and of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles) [so it is even today in the East!]:

"With what garlands of praise shall we crown Peter and Paul the greatest among the heralds of the Word of God, distinct in their person but one in spirit--the one the chief Ruler of the Apostles, the other who labored more than the rest?...

"Peter, foundation of the Apostles, rock of Christ's Church, beginning of Christians, feed the sheep of your fold, guard your lambs from the rapacious wolves and save your flock from ferocious assaults. You, O Peter, were the first bishop of Rome, you the pride and the glory of the greatest city, you were the confirmation of the Church that the forces of hell cannot overcome, as Christ foretold.

"O Peter, rock of foundation....O Peter, first of the glorious apostles and rock of faith....Rejoice, O Peter, apostle and special friend of the Teacher, Christ our God....O my soul, extol Peter the solid rock.... With hymns of praise let us venerate Peter, the rock of faith....

"Having put aside fishing in the deep, you received from the Father himself the revelation of the incarnation of the Word. Thus you confidently cried out in faith to your Creator: I know that You are the Son of God, consubstantial with Him. Therefore, you were truly revealed as the rock of faith and a trustee of the keys of grace.

"Three times Christ asked Peter: Do you love me? In this way He reversed the threefold denial of Himself. Henceforth Simon was to lead those who had witnessed God's mysteries. ... According to the promise of Christ, you have been a fisher of men. He has made you holy for his Church because from its beginning He placed you at the helm. ...

"Peter, it is right to call you the rock! The Lord established the unshaken faith of the Church on you. He made you the chief shepherd of his reasonable sheep. ... Today Christ the Rock glorifies with supreme honor the Rock of Faith and Leader of the Apostles, Peter, together with Paul and the Twelve....

+ the Byzantine-Slavonic Menaion, January 2 [so it is even today in the East!]:

"Father Sylvester....thou didst appear as a pillar of fire, snatching the faithful from the Egyptian error [the Arian heresy] and continually leading them with unerring teachings to divine light. ... Thou hast shown thyself the supreme one of the Sacred Council, O initiator into the sacred mysteries, and hast illustrated the Throne of the Supreme One of the Disciples. ... Endowed with the See of the leader of the apostles, you became an outstanding minister of God, enriching, establishing, and increasing the church with divine dogmas. You were the prince of the sacred council and you adorned the throne of the head of the disciples; like a divine prince over the holy Fathers you confirmed the most sacred dogma."

>> On the feast of St. Leo the Great, February 18 at Matins [so it is even today in the East!]:

"The pillar of orthodoxy, as the successor of Peter, endowed with his precedence and primacy, gave the divinely inspired definition of faith, appearing to the people of God like a new Moses, who, moved by God, engraved the teachings of the faith upon divinely stamped tablets, and who like a true patriarch fixed his tent in the City where the primacy and seat and order of the patriarchs now stand."

[1] To deny the basic nature of the Bible as a human text is to fall into the Docetic heresy, i.e., that the Word of God only appeared mortal. The Bible, as the icon of Christ, is, like Him, a man-made thing, and yet so much more.

[2] While we're on the topic of the Petrine ministry, it's hard to pass up these words of Martin Luther:

"If Christ had not entrusted all power to one man, the Church would not have been perfect because there would have been no order and each one would have been able to say [that] he was led by the Holy Spirit. This is what the heretics did, each one setting up his own principle. In this way as many Churches arose as there were heads. Christ therefore wills, in order that all may be assembled in one unity, that His power be exercised by one man to whom He Himself commits it. He has, however, made this power so strong that he looses all the powers of Hell (without injury) against it. He says: 'the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it', as though He said: 'they will fight against it but never overcome it', so it is in this way it is made manifest that this power is in reality from God and not from man. Wherefore, whoever breaks away from this unity and order of the power, let him not boast of great enlightenment and wonderful works, as our Picards and other heretics do, 'for much better is obedience than to be the victims of fools who know not what evil they do.' (Eccles. Iv.,17)."
(Sermo in Vincula S. Petri, "Werke" Weimar edition, I, 69)

[3] Lest I be accused of plagiarism, I hereby admit nearly every citation has been taken from either Stanley Jaki's The Keys of the Kingdom, Steve Ray's Upon This Rock, Butler and Dahlgren's Jesus, Peter & the Keys, works by James Likoudis, or E. Giles's Documents Illustrating Papal Authority AD 96-454.

[4]Philip's claims were affirmed by the other council fathers. Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, replied, "The professions which have been made by Arcadius and Projectus, the most holy and pious bishops, as also by Philip, the most religious presbyter of the Roman Church, stand manifest to the holy Synod. For they have made their profession in the place of the Apostolic See, and of the whole of the holy synod of the God-beloved and most holy bishops of the West. Wherefore let those things which were defined by the most holy Coelestine, the God-beloved bishop, be carried into effect, and the vote east against Nestorius the heretic ... be agreed to universally; for this purpose let there be added to the already prepared acts the proceedings of yesterday and today, and let them be shewn to their holiness, so that by their subscription according to custom, their canonical agreement with all of us may be manifest."

Then Arcadius, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Roman Church, said, "According to the acts of this holy Synod, we necessarily confirm with our subscriptions their doctrines." At which point the Holy Synod said, "Since Arcadius and Projectus the most reverend and most religious bishops and legates and Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, have said that they are of the same mind with us, it only remains, that they redeem their promises and confirm the acts with their signatures, and then let the minutes of the acts be shewn to them."

(cf. EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS, SESSION III [Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 621.])

Thursday, August 05, 2010

More On the Five Solas

A blogger by the name of John Samson posted the following article.  He and I have had a bit of an exchange going on at his blog, but this is too large for a combox reply, so I am replying in full here.  His words are left unedited and intact - mine are inserted in this color and font.

The Main Issue of The Reformation - The Necessity v. The Sufficiency of Grace


I posted the following article here on the blog back in December 2005... - JS
There is no doubt that the 16th century witnessed the greatest ever split in Church history. 

sw:  This is not quite a true statement.  In 1054ad when Eastern Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church split I would say this was a much greater split, but without a doubt, "the greatest ever split in Church history" is when Christendom erupted out of Judaism and the Jews rejected their Messiah.  Some 600 years later there was the birth of Islam under the false "prophet" named "Mohammed."  To look at the 16th century when Protestants split from the Catholic Church as "the greatest ever split in Church history" is quite an egocentric view of history on the part of Protestants.

JS: Some view the Reformation as a sad or even an evil episode. Others see it as a time when God restored the one true biblical Gospel back into the hands of the masses. But what exactly were the issues back then? And what are the issues in our own day? Was this a mere tempest in a tea cup?

sw: Now let us consider that the Will and Desire of God is that we be ONE, just as the Father and the Son are One, John 17:11, when a group of "Christians" decides to NOT BE ONE with the group which Jesus Christ Himself founded and built upon the 12 foundations of the Apostles - then would you not join me in declaring this "division" to be "evil?"

JS: I suggest that the issues then and now are exactly the same - who or what speaks for God, and what exactly is the Gospel?
In the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church believed (and still does today) that justification is by grace, through faith, because of Christ. What Rome does not believe is that justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. According to Rome, justification is by grace plus merit, through faith plus works; because of Christ plus the sinner's contribution of inherent righteousness.

sw: In actuality, it is the Catholic Church which adheres to Scripture here!  St. James makes it explicitly clear - in the ONLY PLACE where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together in Scripture (James 2:24) that we are NOT justified by faith alone!  Mr. Samson (and every Protestant apologist since Luther) argues AGAINST SCRIPTURE in demanding justification is by faith alone.  I believe it is important to quote, verbatim, St. James words here and let Mr. Samson (or any other Protestant apologist who would also dare to contrast their view with Scripture) respond to:  "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone."  It is actually quite interesting, and would be humorous if not so tragic, to see how Protestant apologists dance all around this issue and specifically this quote from St. James.
  
JS: In contrast, Martin Luther and his Reformers had 5 main slogans, all using the word "sola," which is the Latin word for "alone." It was this word "alone" that designated the biblical Gospel and set it apart from all other pretenders. The cry of these Reformers was not simply "FAITH!," "GRACE!," "CHRIST!," "THE SCRIPTURE!," or "THE GLORY OF GOD!" All embracing a false Gospel could do that!

sw: At this point, let us draw attention to the very factual statement Mr. Samson has stated here.  The "Five Solas" he (and others) refers to are nothing more than unscriptural slogans!  Well, four out of the five are unscriptural - with the fifth being found in Scripture - but in explicit denial of the "sola" he (and the others) affirms!  Of course I refer to "sola fide" and the scriptural reference to James 2:24 quoted and cited above.  My point being, these are slogans which come not from Scripture, but from extra scriptura sources, primarily Martin Luther, and thus someone who adheres to one of those "solas" (sola scriptura) should flat out REJECT the "Five Solas" on this premise alone!  

JS: The cry was "FAITH ALONE!," "GRACE ALONE!," "CHRIST ALONE!," "SCRIPTURE ALONE!," "THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE!" With Scripture alone as the sure foundation, the Reformers affirmed that justification is by grace alone, received through faith alone because of Christ alone — to the glory of God alone.
The central or material issue in the 16th century controversy was Justification by faith alone (Latin: Sola Fide). Yet often overlooked is another issue which was equally as serious for the life of the Church. The formal issue (the structure in which the whole debate ensued) was the issue of final authority - who or what speaks for God? It was here that Luther and the Reformers believed that Holy Scripture alone is the infallible rule of faith for the Church.

sw: To be accurate here, the "central issue" for Martin Luther was over the "sale" of indulgences - which we would affirm today was abused by folks like Tetzel.  Sure the "solas" came about, but a bit later in the scheme of things, but the "match that lit the fire" was over the sale of indulgences.  Keep in mind, that whole matter was one of discipline, not doctrine.  Luther's objection was not over indulgences, per se, but the sale of them.  But again, his revolt resulted in separation from the Church - and in this separation there was a void of authority now.  Where there was the Church, he could not turn to that, for he rejected it.  A new and "different gospel" had to be introduced - and THEN came the "Five Solas," and chiefly for authority - sola scriptura.  

SOLA SCRIPTURA - SCRIPTURE ALONE
JS: Sola Scriptura, means Scripture alone. This did not refer to simply "me and my Bible in the woods" so to speak, or interpreting the Bible in any way we choose to do so. This doctrine did not seek to negate the authority of the Church and of biblical eldership. Scripture teaches us to submit to godly leaders who have the rule over us (Heb. 13:17). Nor did it refer to Scripture in isolation. What sola Scriptura referred to was the idea that Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church.

sw:  As so many Catholic apologists have pointed out - Scripture NO WHERE says Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church!  NO WHERE!  In fact Scripture points us to OTHER SOURCES!  Specifically, in Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus imparts infallible authority upon Simon, whom He renames to Peter (a name which means "rock") but more to the point here - He tells Peter, "whatsoever you shall bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven."  Unless you can imagine error being bound or loosed in Heaven, this is infallible authority!  Two chapters later, Jesus gives this infallible authority to our first bishops, the Apostles, as a group (Matthew 18:18). 

JS: Though God has set teachers and other offices in the Church, they are not to exercise dominion over the Bible, but to submit themselves to it.

sw: Again, where does Scripture say teachers and other offices in the Church are not to exercise dominion over the Bible?  I'm not saying they should, but again Mr. Samson has gone into extra scriptura to make a point.  Going extra scriptura pretty much defeats the concept of sola scriptura - and this while he's defining sola scriptura!

JS: Only the Scripture is theopneustos or God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16), and every idea, thought and doctrine needs to have its foundation in Scripture to carry the weight of Divine authority and bind the human conscience.

sw: While I would not deny 2 Tim. 3:16 says Scripture is God breathed, it does not say that Scripture is the ONLY thing God breathed!  Again, Mr. Samson leaves us begging the question of "sola."
 
JS: Regarding false prophets and false teachers, Isaiah 8:19, 20 says, "When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn."
The law and the testimony is a reference to the Scripture. If a false teacher says something that cannot be substantiated by sacred Scripture, he/she may claim to be bringing new light, but actually there is no light present there at all. It is the entrance of His Word that brings light.

sw: Actually, Isaiah 8:19-20 doesn't say what Mr. Samson attempts to impute upon it.  The passage says "according to this word..." and to be in "accord" with something does not mean you're going to find every teaching, word for word within it!  No, to be in "accord" simply means a teaching cannot be contrary to "this word."  That's a far cry from "sola."
 
SOLA FIDE - FAITH ALONE
JS: The material principle of the Reformation was Sola Fide, meaning "by Faith alone." This was the material or substance of the preaching of the Reformers. The formal principle "Scripture alone" was the principle that Scripture alone (and not Church tradition) is the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church. This was the principle by which "Faith Alone" is affirmed, as well as the other solas. That is because these doctrines are the doctrines of the Bible.

sw: We've already shown sola scriptura to be a farce and exposed that NO WHERE does Scripture alone teach the doctrine of Scripture Alone, that is purely a man-made doctrine, and now we move to sola fide - Faith Alone.  The ironic part of THIS doctrine is that not only is it NOT TAUGHT IN SCRIPTURE, but Scripture, in the ONLY PLACE the words "faith" and "alone" are used together is in flat out DENIAL of sola fide!  "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone."  (James 2:24 NASB)  Many Protestant apologists will avoid this verse completely when talking about sola fide, those who do not avoid it (as we shall soon see from Mr. Samson) engage in double-speak with "faith alone, but not a faith which is alone."  Face it folks, sola means sola - or "alone" - so either faith is "alone" or it isn't.

JS: Against the background of a Europe filled with the traditions of men, including priestly absolution, penances, indulgences, pilgrimages, prayer to the saints, etc., Luther and the Reformers made the bold cry of "Faith alone."

sw: So, is it really "alone" or is it? 

This did not mean faith in isolation, or a dead faith that produced no works. This referred to a vibrant, living faith, for only a living and not a dead faith would result in justification. Faith without works is dead, and a dead faith will not save anyone (James 2:17).

sw: Ah, so "living faith" is NOT ALONE!  Faith which IS alone is DEAD and cannot result in justification.  Faith alone is clearly testified to be contrary to Scripture.
JS: Sola fide then was the belief that faith alone is the instrument of justification without any meritorious works of man added to it.

sw: Hmmm, the previous statement agreed with Scripture, that faith alone is dead, but now Mr. Samson goes out of context to St. Paul - who speaks against "works of the Law."  Works of the Law do not save, Catholics AGREE with that!  Likewise, Catholics would also say that for the same reason that faith alone cannot justify/save - neither can works alone.  Faith and works work together for justification.  

JS: In Romans 3:28 the Apostle Paul declared, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." Romans 4:4-5 says, "Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness."

sw: I have already answered for Romans 3, now as for Romans 4... keep reading!  The chapter is about circumcision - a "work of the Law" and speaks to how circumcision is the sign of the faith (see verse 11) thus in this example we're still seeing faith WITH something else.  Now circumcision alone cannot justify - nor can faith alone. 
Many other scriptures would affirm this as the heart of the Gospel (Rom. 3:21 - 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8, 9; Phil. 3:9). Martin Luther called the doctrine of justification "the article of the standing or falling Church." That is, in his estimation, a church preaching the doctrine was "standing," and one not preaching it was, or had already, fallen.

sw: If justification means by "faith alone" - then the church preaching that has already fallen.  Again, what we find in churches which actually defend sola fide, it is "a faith which is not alone" which they defend. 
SOLA GRATIA - GRACE ALONE
JS: Sola Gratia means Grace alone. Surely everyone who had a Bible would affirm this truth at the time of the Reformation. Well firstly, not everyone had access to a Bible, and secondly, no, that is not the case at all.
A pure Pelagian (a follower of the British monk Pelagius) would argue against grace as a necessity, believing that man, apart from God's grace, had the inherent power within himself to raise himself up by his bootstraps to become pleasing to God. But surely Rome would agree with Grace alone, wouldn't it? No, not at all.

sw: One has to wonder if  Mr. Samson is aware that it was through the authority of the Catholic Church that Pelagius and Pelagianism was condemned by the Christian community?  Scripture alone was not the authority by which Pelagius was condemned.
JS: The religions of man are usually comfortable with the idea of God's grace being necessary. Rome has always believed that, as do the Mormon Church in our day (2 Nephi 25:23), but as my friend Dr. James White states so well, "The issue has never been the necessity of grace. It has always been the sufficiency of grace!"

sw: I have to wonder what the source is of White saying that, in fact on his own website we find him saying the opposite!  http://vintage.aomin.org/JWDB7.html  "I’ve seen Him open eyes to the depth of sin, and the absolute necessity of grace. That’s my confidence, and it is truly my prayer that you will be the recipient of His grace even this hour."  (White responding in a debate with an LDS member).
 
JS: The question is this: Is grace able to save or is it merely a help to save, with man's will being the final deciding factor?

sw: The "final deciding factor" is GOD!  God is the JUDGE!  Now ask yourself, is God judging man - or is He judging Himself?  OR - as monergism would have has believe if we take this to a logical conclusion, "judgment" is not even part of the picture - for it would have already been "decided" by God upon whom He would give His Grace to.  
 
JS: The Reformers affirmed that grace actually saves. Grace alone meant grace at the start, grace to the end, grace in the middle, grace without fail, grace without mixture, grace without addition, grace that allows no boasting, grace that precludes all glorying but in the Lord.

sw: So where does "faith" enter into the picture?  Or more importantly, HOW does faith work in the scenario Mr. Samson has just presented?  This is why I say the logical conclusion of monergism eliminates faith from the picture - if we accept how Grace Alone is presented here - there is no room for faith, much less "saving faith" which necessarily would be accompanied by works done in faith (not works of the Law).
JS: It is here that we get into the arena of monergism (one working) v. synergism (more than one party working) regarding salvation. All the Reformers were monergists, believing that God's grace is the essential deciding factor that enables a person to believe. Both Roman Catholicism and Arminianism would affirm God's grace as necessary but insufficient in and of itself to save. One can readily see why a later generation of Reformers viewed the doctrines of the Arminians as the first steps on a synergistic highway back to Rome.
"So then, it is not of him who wills or of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." Rom. 9:16
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12, 13
"For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" Phil 1:29
Apollos "greatly helped those who had believed through grace." Acts 18:27
"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." Romans 9:16
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." Eph. 2:8, 9
"But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." Rom. 11:6

sw: Again, these are all answered by the fact that St. Paul objects to "works of the Law" which are different from what St. James is talking about when he said "we are justified by works, and NOT BY FAITH ALONE."  However, there IS a Catholic way to accept "sola gratia!"  Our salvation is due entirely to the Grace of God, and specifically to the finished work of Jesus Christ who took our sin upon Himself, suffered death and then rose victorious over sin and death and it is by GRACE that He freely gives the GIFT (grace) of everlasting life to ANYONE who will ACCEPT the gift.
SOLUS CHRISTUS - CHRIST ALONE
JS: The next sola was Solus Christus, the affirmation that it is Christ alone who saves. It is not Christ plus someone or something else. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."John 14:6
"by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead - by this name this man stands here before you in good health. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."Acts 4:10, 12
In all reality the doctrine of justification by faith alone is really theological short-hand for justification by the work of Christ alone. There was a double function at work in this regard. Christ not only died an atoning death for our sins, but we need to remember that He also lived a sinless life. If all that was necessary for our justification was the death on the cross, Christ could have come to earth on Good Friday, died on the cross for us, and three days later, rise again. However, for more than 33 years, Christ was tempted in every way like us, yet He was without sin (Heb. 4:15). Christ is the only One who can say that He loved His Father perfectly in life, with all His heart, soul, mind and strength.
At the cross then, all our sins were laid on Him (though of course, He remained the holy and spotless Lamb of God, in and of Himself) and as our sin bearer, He was punished in our place.
As the angel declared to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, "you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree" 1 Pet. 2:24).
Isa 53:5, 6 says, "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him."
But that is far from all that took place. There was a double imputation. Not only were our sins imputed to Christ and He bore their punishment for us, but positively, the righteousness of Christ was imputed to us. The punishment due to us came upon Him, and the pleasure of God due to Jesus' obedience to every jot and tittle of the law came upon us. That is because the righteousness of Jesus Christ is one that has fulfilled the entire law of God. 2 Cor 5:21 declares,"He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ)."
The righteous demands of the law (the requirement of total obedience) was met by Christ alone who becomes the righteousness of the believer (1 Cor. 1:30). The work of Christ is perfect in every respect, and perfect in every aspect. The righteousness now enjoyed by the believer is an alien one (one that comes from outside of himself) for it is the righteousness of Christ Himself. It is a gift, not something earned (Rom. 5:17), and is the cause of our rejoicing in the direct presence of the Lord. As believers in Christ, we've been made righteous with a righteousness that has never known sin. Hallelujah!
"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Cor 1:30, 31) We are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone.

sw: Well, a couple things need to be mentioned here.  1) Catholics do not oppose a view of Christ alone being the cause and reason of our salvation.  2) Mr. Samson stops a bit too early in his defense of Christ as the reason!  If it were merely His death (which is all that Samson alludes to above) then there is little difference between Christ's Sacrifice and that of the countless "spotless lambs" which were offered previously.  The real difference is not merely the perfect Sacrifice - but that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, victorious over death and Satan.  It is in His Resurrection that we have hope in our own.

SOLI DEO GLORIA - TO GOD ALONE BE THE GLORY
JS: The final sola was Soli Deo Gloria, which means "to God alone be the glory!" Again, wouldn't everyone agree with this?
Well, no, because at the time of the Reformation there was much attention given to Mary, to the saints, to the lighting of candles, etc.. In Medieval Catholicism there was massive confusion due to the plethora of idols, who for all practical purposes, became almost minor deities.

sw: Protestants like to point to the "honor" given to Mary and the Saints as idolatry, but they don't consider that the word "honor" in the English has many levels of meaning.  If we turn to the Latin terminology (still the official language of the Church for all official documents) the honor given to God is called "latria" whereas the honor given to Saints is "dulia" (with that which is given to the Blessed Virgin being called "hyper-dulia").  The point is, the honor given Mary or the Saints is not the same honor given to God Almighty, and it never has been nor ever will be.  I know that Protestants will immediately try to dismiss this and say "honor is honor," but that's simply not true!  Scripture even tells us to "honor" our father and mother!  So, "honor" is not reserved to God alone - but there is a level of honor we reserve for Him alone - and that is properly called "latria."
JS: Even the young Luther, in 1505, in the midst of the thunderstorm that threatened his life, prayed to Saint Anne. As a lightning bolt struck just feet away from him, in fear of his life, he shouted, "Save me Saint Anne and I will become a monk." Saint Anne was the patron saint of miners, and seeing that Luther was from a mining family, it seemed natural to him to pray to her to save him from impending death. Luther, in surviving the storm, kept his vow, gave up his studies to become a lawyer (much to the anguish and consternation of his father, Hans) and joined the monastery. The young Luther's devotion to the saints (before his conversion to Christ) was typical of that era.

sw: Again, keeping things in a proper perspective is important.  Merely asking for assistance from St. Anne is not the same as showing latria to her.  We need to add, Luther broke his "vow" when he left his vocation as a monk and married a former nun, who also broke her vow.  Keep in mind, these vows were made before God.
JS: God will not share His glory with another (Isa. 48:11). Salvation was designed to give God's glory the maximum amount of exposure. It redounds to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph 1:6), according to the riches of His grace (v. 7), to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory (v. 12), with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory, (v. 14). Only God gets the glory for our salvation. Human merit (or works) plays no part in a person's salvation but are merely the by-product, or fruit, of a relationship with God, established by God's grace alone (Eph. 2:8-10).

sw: Again, we do not share God's glory with anyone else.  God, and God alone receives our latria.
JS: The five solas are relevant in all ages, because they are truths that can be clearly demonstrated from sacred Scripture. To many, these doctrines are mere historical novelties - interesting milestones and beliefs of a former era. Yet, as far as I can see, it is very much apparent that we need these same biblical, Holy Spirit inspired correctives in our own day.
 
sw: Except, as we have already seen - sola scriptura is not found in Scripture and sola fide is contrary to Scripture - so while Protestants often say the Five Solas are found in Scripture - that's simply not true.
JS: The 16th Century is one very different to our own. We may strongly disagree with the burning of heretics at that time, and perhaps even be shocked by the very hostile rhetoric that flowed freely between those who disagreed on these issues. Yet at the same time, we must try to understand a culture so removed from ours where people believed the Bible was the Word of God; that heaven and hell were real places; and that doctrine actually mattered.

sw: And we must not ignore the fact that both sides participated in such things as "burning heretics" and the "hostile rhetoric...between those who disagreed."  Protestants don't get a free pass on this.  Such things were part of the culture of the time.
JS: Today, many want to hear a positive or affirming message when they come to a Church. They certainly don't want to hear about the majestic holiness of God, or the wrath of God against sin. I am not sure how popular the Apostle Paul would be if he was enabled to preach on Christian television in our day and taught from Romans Chapters 1 - 3. What do you think?
In 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul gave Timothy this charge:
"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

sw: On this, I agree with Mr. Samson.  While it is true that God is love - we cannot ignore that He is also just.  He has freely given mankind the gift of salvation through His grace, those who reject that gift will pay dearly for eternity.  

JS: Perhaps the greatest sign that all is not well in our day is the fact that God may well be giving the people what they want - preachers who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear (verses 3, 4 above). Could it be that this, by itself, is God's judgment? I'll let you, the reader decide. What I am sure of is this: God is calling the Church back to the proclamation of these doctrines that once shook the world.

sw: Interesting speculation, but the reader should also remember that the proclamation of these doctrines was unheard of for over 1500 years!  The objective reader should see these proclamations as the proclamation of a "different gospel" and flee from them - especially in light of the fact that sola scriptura is not even mentioned by Scripture and sola fide is flatly denied by Scripture.  The one who truly follows Christ will follow the Church He built.  He established His Church on bishops - the Apostles - and without a valid succession to those bishops - Protestantism has nothing but an impostor church preaching a different gospel.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<