Thursday, January 26, 2006

The tradition of the elders

In response to my statement that "on the sacraments, I take them to be symbolic," a “random reader of my blog” asked me the following question:

“All the early church fathers believed in regenerative baptism, though. How does a Calvinist explain that?”

In answer:

1.One doesn’t need to be a Calvinist to deny baptismal regeneration.

2.Since I’m not a patrologist, I will neither affirm nor deny what all the early church fathers believed about baptism.

3.I’m not interested in counting opinions, but weighing arguments. Did they offer an argument for their position? How good was their argument?

4.As Bishop Ryle once remarked, “dead teachers have always more authority than living ones!”

The church fathers are not entitled to any more or any less respect that any other Christian theologian or commentator from any other era in church history.

5.As a Protestant, my rule of faith is revelation, not tradition.

6.The Bible is a Jewish document, but the church fathers had a Classical education. As such, it is highly possible for the church fathers to unwittingly impose an alien conceptual scheme onto Scripture.

1 comment:

  1. Has anyone noted that the church fathers have great authority in Roman Catholic circles when they appear to teach what Rome teaches, but their opinions are of no relevance when it comes to their view on Pauline authorship of the Pastorals, Mosaic authorship of Genesis, six day creation or the like?

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