Jan 25

The Myth of Catholic and Orthodox Tradition?

Cameron Porter, of Earnestly Contending, posts the following quote (apparently a favorite of his).

"Furthermore, that the body of tradition is not of divine origin nor apostolic is proven by the fact that some traditions contradict others. The church fathers repeatedly contradict one another. When a Roman Catholic priest is ordained he solemnly vows to interpret the Scriptures only according to 'the unanimous consent' of the fathers. But such 'unanimous consent' is purely a myth. The fact is they scarcely agree on any doctrine. They contradict each other, and even contradict themselves as they change their minds and affirm what they previously had denied. Augustine, the greatest of the fathers, in his later life wrote a special book in which he set forth his Retractions. Some of the fathers of the second century held that Christ would return shortly and that he would personally reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years. But two of the best known scholars of the early church, Origen (185-254) and Augustine (354-430) wrote against that view. The early fathers condemned the use of images in worship, while later ones approve such use. The early church almost unanimously advocated the reading and free use of the Scriptures, while later ones restricted such reading and use. Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome and the greatest of the early bishops, denounced the assumption of the title of Universal Bishop as anti-Christian. But later Popes even to the present have been very insistent of using that and similar titles which assert universal authority. Where, then, is the universal tradition and unanimous consent of the fathers to papal doctrine?"

– Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1962), pp. 78-79


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