Early Church and Sola Scriptura


The author of the above linked article, William Webster, makes some pretty interesting claims. I was almost prepared to believe him until he quoted the following:

“Scripture and tradition were for the Early Church in no sense mutually exclusive: kerygma (the message of the gospel), Scripture and Tradition coincided entirely. The Church preached the kerygma, which is found in toto in written form in the canonical books. The tradition was not understood as an addition to the kerygma contained in Scripture but as handing down that same kerygma in living form: in other words everything was to be found in Scripture and at the same time everything was in living Tradition”.

It seems ironic that the article attempts to prove *sola scriptura *on the basis of Tradition. What the article appears to amount to, in my opinion, is more proof-texting of the Fathers themselves, treating *them as Scripture to support sola scriptura *and an understanding of it. It just goes to show that patristics is a **very **large category and it can be difficult to judge their individual degree of importance when taken outside of Tradition that they participated in.

Not ONE ECF ever defended the Bible-only or advocated it as many SS proponents present it. No ECF ever pitted Scripture against Tradition or vice versa. What many SS apologist do is merely “proof-text” some passages from an ECF’s work to convey a smoking gun. However,when one looks the at the entirety of the quoted passage in connection with the entire work,it no where supports the SS apologist argument.

It is an old trick and it is very easy to debunk.

I think the confusion happens because many seem to equate the Early Church Fathers with the Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers. While some Desert Fathers may have been priests St. Anthony of the Desert and St. Maron come to mind, the majority were from all walks of life from the very wealthy to the iterrant peasant that all heard Gods call and answered. They were the Anchorites, monks and nuns of their day. As a Maronite I greatly admire those who chose that way of worshipping God both then and now.

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