Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reformation Solas in the Early Church - Part 1

Just this past week I heard a broadcast in which the person interviewed said that Martin Luther was the first to articulate salvation by faith alone (and by inference all the Reformation solas).  That is simply not true.  The solas were part and parcel of the early church if one is willing to look.  Thankfully, Wil Weedon has done just that.  What I will present in four installments is his compilation of who and where the church fathers made these known.

Sola Scriptura

The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.
Athanasius (Against the Heathen, I:3)

Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.
John Chrysostom (Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church, p. 118, vol. 96 TFOTC)

Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.
Gregory of Nyssa (On the Holy Trinity, NPNF, p. 327)

We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings.
Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection, NPNF II, V:439)

What is the mark of a faithful soul?  To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions.  For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin' as the Apostle says, and ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,' everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.
Basil the Great (The Morals, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC).

We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers.  What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.
Basil the Great (On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 7, par. 16)

For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech.  Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures.  For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.
Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, IV:17, in NPNF, Volume VII, p. 23.)

Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.
Augustine (De unitate ecclesiae, chp. 10)

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