Skip to comments.Did Athanasus Have Any Right?
Posted on 08/07/2009 5:46:07 AM PDT by Ottofire
Did Athanasius Have Any Right?
08/06/2009 - James Swan It's sometimes argued the Reformers didn't have the right to call for the reform of the Roman church. How could a small minority challenge the authority of the established majority? Of course, there are many nuances and rabbit trails to meander down when one gets into this discussion- like did the reformers have miracles to prove their reform efforts? or who left who: did the reformers leave, or were they expelled? I'd like to bypass those topics for a bit, and apply what I'll dub, the rule of consistency.
Let's assume that the Reformers were wrong to go against the established church. The majority position was the Roman position at the time of the Reformation. What then do we do with Athanasius? I recently re-read Dr. White's article, What Really Happened at Nicea? The section most pertinent to this is about half way down entitled, "The Aftermath." Dr. White explains:
Modern Christians often have the impression that ancient councils held absolute sway, and when they made "the decision," the controversy ended. This is not true. Though Nicea is seen as one of the greatest of the councils, it had to fight hard for acceptance. The basis of its final victory was not the power of politics, nor the endorsement of established religion. There was one reason the Nicene definition prevailed: its fidelity to the testimony of the Scriptures.
During the six decades between the Council of Nicea and the Council of Constantinople in 381, Arianism experienced many victories. There were periods where Arian bishops constituted the majority of the visible ecclesiastical hierarchy. Primarily through the force of political power, Arian sympathizers soon took to undoing the condemnation of Arius and his theology. Eusebius of Nicomedia and others attempted to overturn Nicea, and for a number of decades it looked as if they might succeed. Constantine adopted a compromising position under the influence of various sources, including Eusebius of Caesarea and a politically worded "confession" from Arius. Constantine put little stock in the definition of Nicea itself: he was a politician to the last. Upon his death, his second son Constantius ruled in the East, and he gave great aid and comfort to Arianism. United by their rejection of the homoousion, semi-Arians and Arians worked to unseat a common enemy, almost always proceeding with political power on their side.
Under Constantius, council after council met in this location or that. So furious was the activity that one commentator wrote of the time, "The highways were covered with galloping bishops." Most importantly, regional councils meeting at Ariminum, Seleucia, and Sirmium presented Arian and semi-Arian creeds, and many leaders were coerced into subscribing to them. Even Liberius, bishop of Rome, having been banished from his see (position as bishop) and longing to return, was persuaded to give in and compromise on the matter.
During the course of the decades following Nicea, Athanasius, who had become bishop of Alexandria shortly after the council, was removed from his see five times, once by force of 5,000 soldiers coming in the front door while he escaped out the back! Hosius, now nearly 100 years old, was likewise forced by imperial threats to compromise and give place to Arian ideas. At the end of the sixth decade of the century, it looked as if Nicea would be defeated. Jerome would later describe this moment in history as the time when "the whole world groaned and was astonished to find itself Arian."
Yet, in the midst of this darkness, a lone voice remained strong. Arguing from Scripture, fearlessly reproaching error, writing from refuge in the desert, along the Nile, or in the crowded suburbs around Alexandria, Athanasius continued the fight. His unwillingness to give place- even when banished by the Emperor, disfellowshipped by the established church, and condemned by local councils and bishops alike- gave rise to the phrase, Athanasius contra mundum: "Athanasius against the world." Convinced that Scripture is "sufficient above all things," Athanasius acted as a true "Protestant" in his day. Athanasius protested against the consensus opinion of the established church, and did so because he was compelled by scriptural authority. Athanasius would have understood, on some of those long, lonely days of exile, what Wycliffe meant a thousand years later: "If we had a hundred popes, and if all the friars were cardinals, to the law of the gospel we should bow, more than all this multitude."
Movements that depend on political favor (rather than God's truth) eventually die, and this was true of Arianism. As soon as it looked as if the Arians had consolidated their hold on the Empire, they turned to internal fighting and quite literally destroyed each other. They had no one like a faithful Athanasius, and it was not long before the tide turned against them. By A.D. 381, the Council of Constantinople could meet and reaffirm, without hesitancy, the Nicene faith, complete with the homoousious clause. The full deity of Christ was affirmed, not because Nicea had said so, but because God had revealed it to be so. Nicea's authority rested upon the solid foundation of Scripture. A century after Nicea, we find the great bishop of Hippo, Augustine, writing to Maximin, an Arian, and saying: "I must not press the authority of Nicea against you, nor you that of Ariminum against me; I do not acknowledge the one, as you do not the other; but let us come to ground that is common to both- the testimony of the Holy Scriptures."
I often wonder about those who attack the Reformers for standing against the majority, and how they explain Athanasius. If we were to have witnessed Athanasius up close, would it appear that he was standing against the church? By what authority did he do so? Did he have miracles to back up his "mission"? Did he have "ordinary" or "extraordinary" authority to stand against the majority? On what basis, during the time period in which he lived, could one have judged him to be a true or false reformer?
People rebel against authority all the time, be they Catholic or Protestant. The real question: is their rebellion supported by the infallible source of truth, the Sacred Scriptures? Consider my Protestant friends, the recent Harold Camping debate shows, particularly Day 2. The logic and exegesis of the Bible used by Mr. Camping was outrageous: it was pure gnosticism. We don't have to appeal to an infallible church or council to deem Mr. Camping heretical. The Bible itself, if allowed to be read like any document should be read, shows that Mr. Camping is in dire error.
Before you balk at that statement my Catholic friends, consider Jimmy Akin's recent comment: "this isn't exegetical rocket science." Akin evaluated the errors of his priests based on.... Scripture. The Bible, according to Akin is clear enough to put his priests in their place. One has to admit, there are plenty of clear passages in the Bible. For some Roman Catholics, they give off the impression that the Bible must be so cryptic, confusing, and difficult, that none of us could ever understand any of it without being infallible. Just think of how difficult it is to understand such verses like Acts 3:1, "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer- at three in the afternoon." Imagine, without an infallible understanding of this text, none of us could ever comprehend even this simple verse. I would argue, even a non-believer could exegete a verse of Scripture and comprehend a passage in a context. When the Lord chastised the Sadducees in Matthew 22, he stated they were in error because they did not know the Scriptures. He further states, "have you not read what God said to you?" (Mt. 22:31). The Lord Jesus clearly held these men responsible for knowing and understanding the Scriptures. Were the Sadducees supposed to respond, "How could we? We did not have an infallible interpreter of the Bible!"
Ultimately Athanasius, the Reformers, or whoever, are right based on whether or not their teachings are supported by the infallible sacred deposit of truth. In the blog article I cited up top, it's stated:
"It's baffling, really, how men could have just decided that sola scriptura is the only rule of Faith, then based on that alone overturn 1500 years of traditions that did not contradict the Bible. Was it really Biblically necessary to cut the number of sacraments from seven to two? Of course not. But sola scriptura gave Reformers carte blanche to interpret everything themselves and start from scratch. Beliefs and practices began to boil down to the personal insistence "I'm right!" in their interpretation of the Bible, without consulting traditions or authorities. History meant nothing anymore, and perhaps that's why you never hear modern apologists talk about whether the Reformers had the right to do what they did. There's a disconnect with and almost an impertinent disdain for history in the world today."
It isn't baffling. Athanasius like Luther, appealed to a certain standard of infallible truth by which to judge by. Take the sacraments for example. During the early centuries the church did not limit the number of sacraments to seven. There were more, or less. Some lists had less than seven, others had as many as thirty. It wasn't until the mid-13th century that the number was finally set at seven. How does one decide how many there are? From the Bible.
As to the insistence that the Reformers simply stated, "I'm right" "without consulting traditions or authorities" - this is simply historically untrue, say for someone like John Calvin. He had a decent grasp of church history. In Luther's case, he stated, "the sum of my argument is that whereas the words of men, and the use of the centuries, can be tolerated and endorsed, provided they do not conflict with the sacred Scriptures, nevertheless they do not make articles of faith, nor any necessary observances." This is a far cry from "History meant nothing anymore."
There is indeed a "disconnect" but it's not due to Protestants having "an impertinent disdain for history." I love church history, as do many of my cyber friends. The "disconnect" that I see is that Catholics cannot produce what they claim to have. If there is another infallible rule of faith besides the Scriptures that could've helped out Athanasius, where was it? Why did Athanasius have to struggle for his life against the church majority? Why did he have to argue his position from Scripture? Why couldn't he have argued from some other infallible authority?
Let's apply the rule of consistency. I have a paradigm that can explain Athanasius and the Reformers. They both had an infallible standard that they sought to be true to: the Sacred Scriptures. Can you be just as consistent my Catholic friends? Did Athanasius have any right?
07:41:31 - Category: Roman Catholicism - Link to this article -
Salvation subsists within the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church guards the deposit of Revelation.
The Church is always reformed, but always in need of reform.
Therefore everyone has the right to call for the authentic reform of the Church.
And nobody has the right to call for the deformation of the Church.
Most of this article is revisionist nonsense. +Athanasius the Great was NOT a proto-protestant of any kind and what he was fighting was the theology of probably the then majority of the Church of Antioch, not of the “Established Church”.
That said, from an Orthodox perspective, it is even more nonsensical to say that the reformers had no right to attempt to reform the Latin Church in the 16th century. The “laos tou Theou”, the People of God, the laity, ALWAYS are the guardians of orthodox Christianity and it is their duty and role within The Church to keep hierarchs and clergy on an orthodox path. To say otherwise is to turn The Church over to hierarchs, some of whose skulls, we are taught, pave the floor of Hell, and reduce the laity to the status of pay, pray and obey serfs.
This article makes no sense.
Swan wrote: “I often wonder about those who attack the Reformers for standing against the majority, and how they explain Athanasius.”
What? Athanasius was one of US. He was orthodox Trinitarian and so are we. The pope supported his efforts.
Look at the creed ascribed to him:
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.
>The Church is always reformed, but always in need of reform.
>Therefore everyone has the right to call for the authentic reform of the Church.
>And nobody has the right to call for the deformation of the Church.
Does that mean that nobody has the right to stop the reform of the Church, if needed?
Hmmm. So then Trent was wrong to kick out those that were attempting what is needed?
You will note that the Reformers wanted to be back with the RCC, and were, much like Athenasius calling for the reform needed within, until Trent kicked them out... Trent was a door slammed in the reformers faces, a firm rebuke to those doctrines that were fine just a decade prior to Luther, though Hus might argue that the debate was getting rather heated, pardon the pun. That was the cause of the schism, not the call for reform.
Athanasius, like the reformers, was not just fighting one diocese, but the majority of the church was Arian, and after the Pope Honorius signed, maybe coerced, an Arian creed, then (according to Vatican I) the whole of the Church was against him. Athanasius Contra Mundum.
Should Athanasius have submitted to the Pope and, now, the whole of the church on this, a central tenet of the small o orthodox faith? With the reformers, there was a movement, with Athanasius, there was only him. Even after Athanasius, and after Nicea the point was not settled (which makes the reaction of the church to the early popes not quite the same as the church gave to later popes.) It took many many years of convincing through the scriptures to kill that heresy.
Note that prior to the reformation, those that held to reformational ideas were happily within the RCC, with hardy debate, but nothing worth a Foxes Book of Martyrs entry, oh, except for Hus and a few others (so much for separated brethren being an unchanging teaching of the Church.) The Reformation did not come out of whole cloth, thus those of the Protestant ilk can truthfully claim that what we believe was held by those within the church prior to Trent.
Note that during Trent, a plurality, not a majority, actually voted for the canonization of the deuterocanonical books, thus even within the scholars and doctors of the faith, had they stuck with their pre-Trent beliefs, they too would be outside the body of Catholic believers. But unlike Athanasius, they did not stick with their beliefs, and just submitted to something which they did not hold. Not that this is a HUGE issue with Protestants, it might have led to a firmer grip on the scriptures.
Another issue would be, “Were the “Reformers” trying to improve the Church or impose false doctrines on it?”
Clearly the answer is both. They wanted legitimate reforms and illegitimate ones at the same time.
Also, did the “Reformers” truly represent the faithful?
No. Although the “Reformers” tapped into popular anger over discipline issues, they did not have wide-spread support to change doctrines, dispense with the Mass and so on. That’s why the princes had to support the “Reformers” for them to succeed. Eamon Duffy has made this abundantly clear in Stripping of the Altars.
Is it necessary to say that true reform and renewal never sunder the unity of the Church? Reform does not weaken nor divide the Church. It builds it up and strengthens it.
The issue is not whether the Church of the 16th century needed reforming. The issue is whether Luther's and Calvin's methods were the correct remedy for the illness.
Just because a physician correctly diagnoses an illness, it does not automatically follow that his treatment is the most beneficial nor the correct one.
“Note that during Trent, a plurality, not a majority, actually voted for the canonization of the deuterocanonical books,...”
No. You are probably making reference to the so called 44% vote that Swan and later White have trotted out as if they know what they’re talking about. Since you are currently cutting and pasting an article from Swan posted at White’s site that’s a good guess on my part. In reality the vote was about attaching an anathema to the statement and not about the canon itself:
Don’t feel bad. Your mistake is apparently made by professional anti-Catholics as well. Then again, the more claims - no matter how false - that they can pile up, the more money they make.
Great article. Ping to re-read!
Much agreed, Kolo.
And nobody has the right to call for the deformation of the Church.
“Were the Reformers trying to improve the Church or impose false doctrines on it?”
Do you suppose they were intentionally attempting to impose false doctrines? Certainly, they did impose false doctrines for which there was no need in my opinion. If they did know what they were doing, do you suppose they felt the ends justified the means?
Some people today excuse what the Reformers did by saying that they were cut off from The Church in the East and so could only create their Reformed Church from their “sola scriptura” worldview. That of course is patently false. Within a generation from Luther and Calvin there was regular correspondence between the Reformers and Orthodox hierarchs discussing theology and ecclesiology. The Reformers rejected both the theology and the ecclesiology of The Church in the East and virtually all the dogmatic declarations of the Ecumenical Councils of The Church. Since that theology and ecclesiology would have addressed all of the original reformers’ concerns, one has to suspect the motivation of the later reformers. As +John Chrysostomos said:
“The desire to rule is the mother of heresies.”
I largely agree with you, but the REASON that St. John Crysostom wrote that the floor of Hell was paved with the is that the bishops bear moral responsibility to establish orthodoxy in their instruction of the laity, and for the reproof of sin and heresy. St. John condemned them because they failed to exercise proper authority.
When a Christian believes an instruction from a hierarchical authority to be incorrect, it is better to restlessly seek out the truth, than to blindly conform. Freedom of conscience gets a bad name in some corners, because it is confused with license to be willfully ignorant. When a bishop appeals to simple authority, rather than a sound argument, he forces his flock to choose between blind and oppressive submission or the commission of sin; both are wretched states. Thus, a bishop is responsible not only to uphold orthodox doctrine, but to be a responsive and effective instructor. So St. John’s condemnation also serves as a warning to ambitious priests not to covet authority they cannot properly wield.
>Most of this article is revisionist nonsense. +Athanasius the Great was NOT a proto-protestant of any kind and what he was fighting was the theology of probably the then majority of the Church of Antioch, not of the Established Church.
Proto-protestant? He was a protestor against what he saw as heresy in the church. As such, he was a protestant.
Did he hold to what I hold? No. Do all the church fathers agree on everything? No, there is a cacophony of voices from the fathers, and there is little agreement on anything, just as in the Protestant church. Hmmm.
Does that matter that he does not agree with me? No, he is not the authority for faith, but as he said to the Arian, (I paraphrase) it is to the scriptures we must turn, since we do not hold to the same traditions. And I agree whole-heartedly with him. Do you?
So what is meant by Athanasius Contra Mundum if it was only his diocese that was turned away from orthodoxy? Why was is the Emperors that repeatedly banished him if it was only a local phenomenon? Why did Nicea need to happen if it was only Antioch? Why was there STILL Arians about after Nicea, or was Antioch the only bad seed? Or is that just a bunch of revisionist double-talk?
>That said, from an Orthodox perspective, it is even more nonsensical to say that the reformers had no right to attempt to reform the Latin Church in the 16th century. The laos tou Theou, the People of God, the laity, ALWAYS are the guardians of orthodox Christianity and it is their duty and role within The Church to keep hierarchs and clergy on an orthodox path. To say otherwise is to turn The Church over to hierarchs, some of whose skulls, we are taught, pave the floor of Hell, and reduce the laity to the status of pay, pray and obey serfs.
Interesting! So the church is held on it path by the laity, not those that teach the laity? That the hierarchs and clergy, those that know the sacred traditions, and pass them from generation to generation, are the source of heresy?
That is, as I could easily hear a Catholic say, is a blueprint for anarchy! Where is the authority, if it does not come from the Apostolic Succession, if those that are OF the succession are the ones we need to keep our eyes on for apostasy? Search your doctrine with fear and trembling! :o) You are sounding downright protestant there, Koloktronis! (I feel the protestant rising within you! Turn to the Dark Side! Bwah-ha-ha-HA!)
(Darth Kolokotronis? Hmmm. A bit long I think....)
“I largely agree with you, but the REASON that St. John Crysostom wrote that the floor of Hell was paved with the is that the bishops bear moral responsibility to establish orthodoxy in their instruction of the laity, and for the reproof of sin and heresy. St. John condemned them because they failed to exercise proper authority.”
Indeed, but he was also speaking about the effect on the bishops of having people around them continually shouting “AXIOS” and “EIS ETI POLLA, DESPOTA”. That adulation can make them forget who they really are and what their role in The Church is.
>> Does that mean that nobody has the right to stop the reform of the Church, if needed? <<
Absolutely not! The greatest of Catholic saints were all reformers: Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assissi, Catherine of Siena, and, yes, Athanasius.
The author uses a straw man. The Catholic Church is most certainly NOT majoritarian, nor did Athanasius practice the kind of radical anti-authoritarianism attributed to him. More importantly, the Protestant Reformers weren’t reformers, they were destroyers. True, they sought the destruction of the Catholic Church because they thought it was wrong, and they had something better they would replace it with.
At the Council of Worms, the Catholic Church replied to Luther’s arguments within the parameters of Luther’s heresy of sola scriptura. They provided scriptural references supporting the facts that the souls of the saints who departed pray on the behalf of the living, that the living can participate in the atonement of other sinners, that those who die in grace but with the stain of sin suffer temporal punishment in the afterlife (purgatory), etc. Luther’s response was to declare that all of the cited books were diabolical forgeries, including the books of Hebrews, Revelation, and James. For this, he cited the authority of the 2nd-century Jews who had rejected Christ, and his own feelings that no loving God would ever inspire such writings. The author’s assertion that Athanasius was some sort of role model for such wickedness is bizarre and warped.
>> He was a protestor against what he saw as heresy in the church. As such, he was a protestant. <<
By that logic, Pope Benedict is a Protestant. The difference is that Benedict and Athanasius fought FOR established apostolic doctrine, AGAINST those who sought to change it. (And, of course, that they happened to be correct, but that’s a self-asserting argument.)
“The Bible itself, if allowed to be read like any document should be read...”
Insert here whatever interpretation the author holds to at this time in his life. Using St. Athanasius is silly since he would consider protestantism to be heresy due to it’s teachings on the Eucharist alone.
“No, there is a cacophony of voices from the fathers, and there is little agreement on anything, just as in the Protestant church. Hmmm.”
There is no cacophony of patristic voices, O. There is the consensus patrum which, along with the Divine Liturgy and the Scriptures, forms the greatest part of Holy Tradition.
“So what is meant by Athanasius Contra Mundum if it was only his diocese that was turned away from orthodoxy?”
Not just a diocese, O, the entire Church of Alexandria, one of the original four Patriarchates. His authority extended up to Jerusalem and throughout all of Africa.
“Why was is the Emperors that repeatedly banished him if it was only a local phenomenon?”
Arianism was not a local phenomenon, indeed the Emperor at Constantinople had Arian sympathies, but the Church of Antioch was the Patriarchate with the closest official, theological connection to Arianism.
“Why did Nicea need to happen if it was only Antioch?”
The Church of Antioch, in those days, was probably the largest of all the Churches. One would never have said “only Antioch”.
“Why was there STILL Arians about after Nicea.”
It hung on for centuries in the West, especially among the Germans and the Visigoths. My suspicion is that the Western bishops had trouble with Greek. Certainly the filioque would indicate that as would some of Blessed Augustine’s writings.
“So the church is held on it path by the laity, not those that teach the laity?”
Within The Church, the hierarchy, the lower clergy, the monastics and the laity all have their role. The ultimate guardians of Christian orthodoxy, however, are the laity.
“That the hierarchs and clergy, those that know the sacred traditions, and pass them from generation to generation, are the source of heresy?”
The laity pass on the Holy Traditions from generation to generation and reliably so. Are hierarchs the source of heresy? Almost invariably.
“Where is the authority, if it does not come from the Apostolic Succession, if those that are OF the succession are the ones we need to keep our eyes on for apostasy?”
The authority of hierarchs comes from their ordination as bishops within the Apostolic Succession. That the AS is the source of their authority is no guarantee that it won’t be abused. The laity watch for that abuse as we have for 1800 years. Within just the past 10 years, an Eparchial Archbishop was toppled from his see by the laity because of his uncanonical abuses of power. Even more recently the Pat. of jerusalem was removed for similar abuses.
“That is, as I could easily hear a Catholic say, is a blueprint for anarchy!”
It might be such a blueprint in the West. The mondset of the Western Church when it comes to hierarchs and ecclesiology is very different from that found in Orthodoxy.
“You are sounding downright protestant there, Koloktronis!”
You see, there was so much in Orthodoxy your predecessors should have embraced! :)
Thanks for the post on Trent. I didn’t know that, and I’m guilty of unintentionally spreading the misconception.
However, there is also this:
“Thats right. The decision to adopt the Florentine canon as an article of faith was agreed to by only 44% of the council members.
I guess my questions is, why did 56% of the council members believe that the biblical canon that was supposedly taught throughout church history, accepted by Hippo/Carthage and later confirmed by the Council of Florence, perhaps shouldnt be an article of faith? In other words, if the historical witness of the canon was so clear that Luther (and Protestants in general) could be accused of throwing out 7 books of the Bible (a common RC apologist claim), why were 56% of the council members not in favor of making the canon an article of faith?
All agreed on which books, but over half didn’t agree to make it an article of faith, even during the Reformation.
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