Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SCRIPTURES ALONE ARE THE SUPREME JUDGE OF CONTROVERSY. FROM THE FATHERS.


 
SCRIPTURES ALONE ARE THE SUPREME JUDGE OF CONTROVERSY. FROM THE FATHERS. “XIV. The ancients here agree with us. Constantine (after stating what he thought was clearly taught concerning God in the gospels, the apostolical and prophets books) adds, ‘therefore laying aside warring strife, we may obtain a solution of difficulties from the words of inspiration’ (ten pelemopoion oun apelasantes erin, ek ton theopenuston logon labomen ton zetoumenon ten lysin, to the Nicene fathers according to Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History 1.6 [NPNF 2, 3:44; PG 82.290]). Opatus writes, ‘You say it is lawful, we say it is not lawful; between your permission and our prohibition the minds of the people fluctuate and waver. No one believes you, no one believes us, a judge must be sought from heaven, on earth we can get no decision; but why should we knock at the door of heaven when we have the Testament here in the Gospel?’ (De Schismate Donatistarim: Adversus Parmenianum 5.3 {PL II.1048-1049]). Augustine says, ‘We are brethren, why should we content? Our father did not die intestate; he made a will…open it, let us read, why should we wrangle?’ (Psalm 21 [ACW 29:224; P: 44.470]). And: ‘This controversy requires a judge. Christ shall judge; the apostle with him shall judge’ (On Marriage and Concupiscence 2.33 [NPNFl, 5.306; PL 44.470]). Lactantius says, “God speaks in the divine writings as the supreme judge of all things, to whom it belongs not to argue, but to pronounce [Divine Institutes 3.1 [FC 49.166; PL 6.350]). Gregory of Nyssa writes ‘The inspired writing is a safe criterion of every doctrine’ (criterion asphales epi pantos dogmatos he theopneustos graphe, Against Eunomious 1.22 [NPNF2, 5.62; PG 45.341]); cf. Cyprian, Letter 63, “To Caecilius,’ (ACW 46.98); Chrysostom, ‘Homily 23 on the Acts of the Apostles’ (NPNFl, 11.148-55); Augustine, On Baptism, Against the Donatists 2.6 (NPNFl, 4.428). XV. As a prince must interpret his own law, so also God must be the interpreter of his own Scriptures—the law of faith and practice. And the privilege allowed to other authors of interpreting their own words ought not to be refused to God speaking in the Scriptures.” Turretin, Francis. “The Institutes of Elenctic Theology.” Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1992. I.157.

(1)    The glory of old school Presbyterians is on full view here, putting forth historic theology over at P&R in New Jersey. Hope is alive and well.  We are thankful for Westminster Seminaries, Reformed Seminaries and Covenant Seminary for their work of love and labors in the old divines.

(2)    However, it’s also the shame of modern, side-lined Presbyterianism, “blowin’ with the wind.” We mean, thereby, the PCUSA.

(3)    Don’t look for any of this amongst American Anglicans or, far worse, the side-lined Episcopal Church either. Let my own children take note. Find some good leaders. Pray to find them. Listen and learn.

(4)    More largely, young folks, tolle lege. Take up and read. The old timers in many centers of power will not give you this stuff, but it must be maintained.

(5)    There are far more quotes on the sovereign supremacy of Scripture than here, trust me.

(6)    Lord, in your mercy, raise up a new generation of readers in the old school with appropriate liturgies, creeds, confessions and music, we beseech Thee, Amen.

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