ECF's for Bible Christians?


#1

It’s true that we’ve used writings of the Early Church Fathers to support Catholicism. But I’ve also heard some people either left the Church after reading about the Church Fathers or used their writings to disprove Catholicism. I wanna hear some examples.


#2

You mean they are quoting from a minority of heretical early church fathers? Haha! Anyway, what we should really look into is the things approved in the ecumenical councils. They are the things that can be put into the Deposit of Faith.


#3

It is also the case, at least with Lutherans (and Anglicans as well), that the ECF’s are used to support beliefs we share with Catholicism. For example, Melanchthon’s quoting of Vulgarius and Cyril in defense of the Real Presence in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.

A lot depends on the issue. So it would be better to say disprove a particular teaching of Catholicism, instead of “disprove Catholicism”. In most ways, to disprove Catholicism is to dsprove Christianity.

Jon


#4

In the thread “Anti-Catholics on Early Church Fathers”, Luvtosew mentioned that reading about the ECF is what motivated him to leave Catholicism.

Also, the guy in youtube.com/watch?v=CMWbBB5wOW4 between 6:45 and 7:12 claims that the ECF stood against present-day dogmas and rituals of Catholicism.


#5

Well, neither the guys on the video nor Luvtosew is specific. In fact, one of the guys in the video says the ECF’s were Catholic so, essentially, we shouldn’t believe them

He goes on to site the real presence as an example, as if that’s only history and not scripture. :rolleyes:

As a Lutheran, my biggest complaint in this way is that the Fathers and the councils don’t seem to indicate a supremacy of the Roman see in the way the Catholic Church claims it today.

Jon


#6

Most of it is proof-texting. They misquote the fathers. How many times St. Augustine, and St. Ireneaus has been quoted to support bible only despite the fact that both did NOT believe in that, and never said such thing, but pick the right paragraph, and TADA it looks that they were bible only.


#7

Your implication is that the teaching of those who are not Roman Catholics are not based on the teachings of the ECF’s. Certainly, Luther, Calvin, Wesley the Anglican divines and the EO had the teachings of the ECF’s as foundational teaching.

Clearly, many Christians have found that the ECF’s support their teachings more than those of the Roman Catholic church, when there are differences.

It is well beyond the scope of a single thread to discuss the basis of all non-Roman Christian faith communities that rely on the ECF’s and find their teachings in opposition to Roman Catholic teachings. We could discuss each of the added doctrines separately, in addition to indulgences. There are many threads about the differences in theology in non-Roman Christian faith communities.

All the sacramental churches look to the ECF’s.


#8

Did he dox?


#9

Dox? What’s that?


#10

Hey, backwards Charlie, :wink:

The “real presence” is a very good example of how current Catholic teaching differs from the ECFs’…or perhaps Jon would prefer if I said, the “real presence” is a very good example of how the current Catholic understanding of the scriptural passages regarding the Lord’s Supper differ from the ECFs’ understanding of those same passages.
Have a look at these books:

  1. Ben Witherington III….Making a Meal of It

  2. Everett Ferguson’s article in …. Lord’s supper: believers church perspective

  3. Edward Kilmartin…The Eucharist in the West

  4. Gary Macy….The Banquet’s Wisdom

They are all renowned scholars (Kilmartin is deceased). The first two are non-Catholics and the last two are/were Catholics. Macy points out how the real presence started out with an understanding of a presence that was founded on Platonism…although it could be called a “real presence”, it wasn’t a real presence that involved any change in substance, but was spiritual in nature. Ferguson and Witherington point out that before Platonism got added to the mix by the ECFs, the Lord’s supper would have been understood from a Jewish perspective where the bread was the Lord’s body in the same way that the symbols in the Passover meal represented things in the exodus. Obviously, no change of substance was involved, but through that sort of representation one could share in and benefit from the original event. Kilmartin shows how Augustine, due to his Neo – Platonism, did not hold to a real bodily presence and that there were still other ECFs denying that any change in substance occurred well after the concept of a real bodily presence was introduced by the 4th century Antiochene school. Regarding what Christ/scripture meant by “this is my body”, regarding HOW the bread was Christ’s body, the Church (in the west) started with a Jewish understanding, moved to a Platonic HOW, then to a neo-Platonic HOW and an Aristotelian HOW…then with the Reformation, it added (returned to) a spiritual HOW and a symbolic HOW….and later still a mere symbol HOW. The spiritual and symbolic HOWs of the non-Catholics could be said to be more similar than the Aristotelian HOW to the earlier Platonic HOW.


#11

While Luther disagrees with the substance-change expression in transubstantiation, he would disagree with the claim that the ECF’s did not understand the real presence as being, um, real.

Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present.
Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.”

And with all due respect to you, Radical, and those who view it like you, I also share Luther’s sentiment that “before I drink mere wine with the Swiss, I shall drink blood with the pope”, meaning for me, that Transubstantiation is far more believable, far less unscriptural, than symbolic or mere spiritual presence.

Jon


#12

and I would agree, but with all due respect to Luther, you and yours, I believe that the very different HOWs that are found amongst the ECFs are disregarded so that an artificial continuity with the ECFs and an artificial consensus amongst the ECFs is claimed…”real presence”, when employed by the religiously devout, is about as flexible a term as can be imagined…

For example, let’s say that fellow A (Bob) believes that dreams were more “real” than what he perceives with his senses. Let’s say that fellow B (Bill) does not believe that what one dreams is real, but sees that reality is something that can be verified by repeatable observation and testing. Both Bob and Bill may even speak of a bear being really present in their back yards and both may use very realistic (and similar) language to describe the bears’ presence……but one would hardly be justified in concluding that Bob and Bill mean anywhere near the same thing when they both claim that a bear is really present …particularly since Bill would not believe Bob’s bear to be real (it is dreamt) and Bob would not believe that Bill’s bear was real (it is an illusion/deception of the senses). Nevertheless, both Bob and Bill claim that a bear is really present and that is the type of variety that can fit w/i the “real presence” tent. As such, a claim of a real presence is not that informative b/c it really gives no indication as to HOW that presence is achieved.

”… Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.” – Luther

well one can most certainly find fathers that insist that the substance remained unchanged…and yet, doesn’t the CC require that its members believe that a change in substance has occurred and doesn’t the CC declare that this requirement was made with the unanimous consent of the ECFs? How can such gross diversity constitute a unanimous consent?

And with all due respect to you, Radical, and those who view it like you,…

said respect duly noted and reciprocated

I also share Luther’s sentiment that “before I drink mere wine with the Swiss, I shall drink blood with the pope”, ….

…and in the end nobody drank with anybody else and instead they all spilt the blood of each other …what a disastrous example of Christian faith. BTW I’ll drink coffee with just about anybody, especially if the other fellow is buying (in case you are ever in the neighbourhood)

…meaning for me, that Transubstantiation is far more believable, far less unscriptural, than symbolic or mere spiritual presence

what troubles me most is that Transubstantiation is not merely put forward as being more believable and more scriptural, but is put forward as being absolutely right and required

….that said, as for believability, IMHO it is outdated Greek philosophy….when does anyone use such a philosophy to describe the presence of any other thing? It is the height of convenient inconsistency. To explain how the thing keeps the appearance it started with while being transformed into an entirely different thing one resorts to the Aristotelian concepts of “accidents” and “substances” ….but for the Catholic Eucharist one abandons Aristotle’s understanding that the substance of a thing can’t exist w/o its accidents… and for the existence of everything else in the world most (almost all moderns?) abandon the whole lot of that philosophy . IMHO, that’s not believable…it is simply bad philosophy. IMHO claiming to have a body (being a specific physical thing) really present w/o a body actually being physically present is like claiming that you have a square circle…and then claiming that the contradiction in terms is solved by the miraculous.

As for being scriptural…”this-my body” was likely spoken in Aramaic by a Jewish fellow to a Jewish audience at a Jewish ritual employing Jewish symbols. Greek philosophy had nothing whatsoever to do with the matter and so, I don’t see how an interpretation that resorts to Greek philosophy is very true to the whole Jewishness of the original event. I would advocate a return to the original Jewish understanding…that, I say, would be more scriptural. When one looks at the ECFs, one sees a bunch of non-Jews with Greek philosophical mindsets trying to explain their overly literal interpretation of the words of a Jew (who was also Lord). In looking at the ECFs one does not see a consensus that would indicate that an apostolic teaching was first given and then preserved and passed along (wrt this overly literal interpretation)…one sees a hodgepodge of ideas and claims that (IMHO) give no hint whatsoever of divine guidance but disclose floundering (purely human) efforts.


#13

Definitely, it is a hard teaching. Many left Jesus Christ back then when he said it, and many leave him now. Jesus says we must eat his flesh, and drink his blood. Very hard teaching, indeed.


#14

[quote="Patavium, post:13, topic:301683"]
Definitely, it is a hard teaching. Many left Jesus Christ back then when he said it, and many leave him now. Jesus says we must eat his flesh, and drink his blood. Very hard teaching, indeed.

[/quote]

it appears that you may have misidentified the “hard teaching” of John 6 as Jesus’ statement that his flesh must be eaten for eternal life. Here’s where (in the NIV) the hard saying, together with Christ’s response is recorded:

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a** hard teaching**. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
It is my position that the “hard teaching” is the teaching that Jesus came down from heaven.

Here is what favours my identification over yours:

1) The grumbling. The hard teaching is identified as the thing that the audience was grumbling about. Grumbling was mentioned earlier in the passage and in relation to Jesus’ claim to have come down from heaven and not with regard to his requirement to eat his flesh:
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
As such, the established association for “grumbling” is Jesus’ claim to have come from heaven.

2) The sequence. The sequence of Christ’s statements before the hard teaching is mentioned is:

a. Jesus talks about eating his flesh v.56
b. Jesus talks about coming from heaven v 58
c. Jesus talks about feeding on this bread v 58

As such, the mention of the hard teaching follows Jesus’s claim to have come from heaven more closely than it follows his mention of eating his flesh.

3) Jesus’ answer Part 1. The start of Jesus’ response “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!” fits far better with the hard teaching being Jesus’s claim to have come from heaven.

4) Jesus’ answer Part 2. The end of Jesus’ response “This is why I told you that no one can come to me** unless the Father has enabled them**” relates back to verse 44 when Jesus tells the Jews to stop grumbling about his claim to have come down from heaven.

5) Peter’s response. Peter’s response that identifies Jesus as the Holy One of God fits better with the hard teaching being Jesus’s claim to have come from heaven.

The Jews were still bothered about Christ’s origin a chapter later:
At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.
Have you got anything that you think favors your interpretation? BTW, Eilrahc wanted ECF references…..and in that regard Augustine claimed that Peter ate Christ’s flesh on the day of the Bread of Life discourse…before there was any Eucharist and w/o ingesting a thing. Augustine also had the OT saints eating the same thing and claimed Nicodemus would have eaten Christ flesh in John 3 had he made the same confession as Peter. Obviously, according to Augustine, to eat Christ’s flesh one did not need a priest’s consecration or a Eucharist…one needed belief.


#15

Radical,

How do you explain the Eucharistic miracles? There is scientific evidence of Eucharists becoming Heart tissue, and blood. In fact, samples of different heart tissues and blood from different Eucharist has shown that they belong to the same person. It doesn’t become clearer than that. The Real presence is, well, Real.

In your explanation, you say Jesus talks about coming from Heaven. Jesus talks about BEING THE BREAD from Heaven. He is talking about people eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, and that This flesh and blood comes from Heaven. He is that flesh and blood. Take note that the whole context is feasting on His flesh and His blood.

This link newadvent.org/cathen/05573a.htm also may help you with the ECF thoughts on the Real Presence along with citations from the actual texts (so you can look up those texts, and read them yourself) of the ECFs.


#16

As being dodgy at best

There is scientific evidence of Eucharists becoming Heart tissue, and blood.

no, there is no SCIENTIFIC evidence of the alleged transformation event as science becomes involved well after the alleged transformation is claimed to have occurred. Science can verify that the presented sample is of a human heart, but science has nothing to say as to where the sample came from.

In fact, samples of different heart tissues and blood from different Eucharist has shown that they belong to the same person.

this is absolutely false…the most that could be said is that the samples show characteristics of AB blood type, but then all aged blood samples tend to show those characteristics…it is a quality of deterioration. As such, there is no evidence whatsoever that they belong to the same person. DNA testing would be required in that regard and it is something that could be done…if the desire existed. Indeed, let’s have the samples tested and let’s see if they all come from the same Semitic male…it would be a wondrous opportunity for Catholics to have their claims validated, but they would have to be prepare to accept the risk that their claims could be invalidated.

It doesn’t become clearer than that.

agreed, you have clearly demonstrated how false claims lead to bad conclusions

In your explanation, you say Jesus talks about coming from Heaven. Jesus talks about BEING THE BREAD from Heaven.

and that claim is summarized as: How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’…the Jews knew that he wasn’t claiming to be real bread, but that he was claiming to have come down from heaven….and verse 42 reflects that understanding.

He is talking about people eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, and that This flesh and blood comes from Heaven. He is that flesh and blood. Take note that the whole context is feasting on His flesh and His blood.

actually that is rather limited…specific reference to eating flesh occurs only from verses 53-55. If you are counting, flesh is mentioned 7 times to bread’s 14…the whole context is actually that he is the bread that came down from heaven. Hence the reason why it is called the bread of life discourse and not the eat my flesh discourse.


#17

=Radical;9910968]and I would agree, but with all due respect to Luther, you and yours, I believe that the very different HOWs that are found amongst the ECFs are disregarded so that an artificial continuity with the ECFs and an artificial consensus amongst the ECFs is claimed…”real presence”, when employed by the religiously devout, is about as flexible a term as can be imagined....

Now of the HOW's, however, include a merely spiritual nor symbolic presence, but instead a real and substantial presence. And to that end, the growing convergence between Lutherans and Catholics, thus:

48.
Catholic and Lutheran Christians together confess the real and true presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. There are differences, however, in theological statements on the mode and therefore duration of the real presence.

49.
In order to confess the reality of the eucharistic presence without reserve the Catholic Church teaches that "Christ whole and entire"34 becomes present through the transformation of the whole substance of the bread and the wine into the substance of the body and blood of Christ while the empirically accessible appearances of bread and wine (accidentia) continue to exist unchanged. This "wonderful and singular change" is "most aptly" called transsubstantiation by the Catholic Church.35 This terminology has widely been considered by Lutherans as an attempt rationalistically to explain the mystery of Christ's presence in the sacrament; further, many suppose also that in this approach the present Lord is not seen as a person and naturalistic misunderstandings become easy.

50.
The Lutherans have given expression to the reality of the Eucharistic presence by speaking of presence of Christ's body and blood in, with and under bread and wine�but not of transsubstantiation. Here they see real analogy to the Lord's incarnation: as God and man become one in Jesus Christ, Christ's body and blood, on the one hand, and the bread and wine, on the other, give rise to a sacramental unity. Catholics, in turn, find that this does not do sufficient justice to this very unity and to the force of Christ's word "This is my body".

51.
The ecumenical discussion has shown that these two positions must no longer be regarded as opposed in a way that leads to separation. The Lutheran tradition agrees with the Catholic tradition that the consecrated elements do not simply remain bread and wine but by the power of the creative Word are bestowed as the body and blood of Christ. In this sense it also could occasionally speak, as does the Greek tradition of a "change".36 The concept of transsubstantiation for its part is intended as a confession and preservation of the mystery character of the Eucharistic presence; it is not intended as an explanation of how this change occurs37 (see the appendices on "Real Presence" and "Christ's Presence in the Eucharist").

prounione.urbe.it/dia-int/l-rc/doc/e_l-rc_eucharist.html

Regardless of the HOW's. the fact is that, by Christ's own words, the bread IS His body.
Further, Christ does not speak in detail regarding the HOW's, but only the IS. And, it is not a dream for Bill or Bob (Lutherans or Catholics), but a reality.
continued


#18

As such, a claim of a real presence is not that informative b/c it really gives no indication as to HOW that presence is achieved.
well one can most certainly find fathers that insist that the substance remained unchanged…and yet, doesn’t the CC require that its members believe that a change in substance has occurred and doesn’t the CC declare that this requirement was made with the unanimous consent of the ECFs? How can such gross diversity constitute a unanimous consent?

…and in the end nobody drank with anybody else and instead they all spilt the blood of each other …what a disastrous example of Christian faith. BTW I’ll drink coffee with just about anybody, especially if the other fellow is buying (in case you are ever in the neighbourhood)
what troubles me most is that Transubstantiation is not merely put forward as being more believable and more scriptural, but is put forward as being absolutely right and required

While my Catholic friends may or may not agree, the HOW’s are not as important as the IS, and none of the HOW’s include a merely spiritual or symbolic, effectively (and without malice), a Not IS.

….that said, as for believability, IMHO it is outdated Greek philosophy….when does anyone use such a philosophy to describe the presence of any other thing? It is the height of convenient inconsistency. To explain how the thing keeps the appearance it started with while being transformed into an entirely different thing one resorts to the Aristotelian concepts of “accidents” and “substances” ….but for the Catholic Eucharist one abandons Aristotle’s understanding that the substance of a thing can’t exist w/o its accidents… and for the existence of everything else in the world most (almost all moderns?) abandon the whole lot of that philosophy . IMHO, that’s not believable…it is simply bad philosophy. IMHO claiming to have a body (being a specific physical thing) really present w/o a body actually being physically present is like claiming that you have a square circle…and then claiming that the contradiction in terms is solved by the miraculous.

I can’t and won’t defend the aristotelian metaphyisical aspects of Transubsantiation, but I have no issue with it as an expression of the historically confirmed, believed, and confessed truth that Christ’s words, “Take and eat, this is my body”.

As for being scriptural…”this-my body” was likely spoken in Aramaic by a Jewish fellow to a Jewish audience at a Jewish ritual employing Jewish symbols. Greek philosophy had nothing whatsoever to do with the matter and so, I don’t see how an interpretation that resorts to Greek philosophy is very true to the whole Jewishness of the original event. I would advocate a return to the original Jewish understanding…that, I say, would be more scriptural. When one looks at the ECFs, one sees a bunch of non-Jews with Greek philosophical mindsets trying to explain their overly literal interpretation of the words of a Jew (who was also Lord). In looking at the ECFs one does not see a consensus that would indicate that an apostolic teaching was first given and then preserved and passed along (wrt this overly literal interpretation)…one sees a hodgepodge of ideas and claims that (IMHO) give no hint whatsoever of divine guidance but disclose floundering (purely human) efforts.

Then, I respectfully submit that we look to Christ’s words, “this…my body” and take Him at His word, and receive it as a mystery.

Jon


#19

you say mere spiritual as if it is less real, but for the Platonist, what the mind intuited was more real than what it sensed and as such, the spiritual could be very real….the spiritual could be the more substantial…so how exactly does your “real and substantial” compare to the Platonist ECFs real?

Regardless of the HOW’s. the fact is that, by Christ’s own words, the bread IS His body.

Aramaic doesn’t have an “is” so technically, it likely wouldn’t be Christ’s own words…it would be scripturally and, of course, scripture also has Jesus saying that anyone who does the will of his Father IS His real mother, brother and sister. That “IS” is merely spiritual and is very real.

Further, Christ does not speak in detail regarding the HOW’s, but only the IS. And, it is not a dream for Bill or Bob (Lutherans or Catholics), but a reality.

you miss the point…for Bob dreams are the reality…you seem to be equivocating across philosophies and speak as if “real presence” means the same thing for a Platonist as it means for you. IMHO it is like saying that since a Jew believes in one God and since a Muslim believes in one God and since a Christian believes in one God, then all three must believe in the same God.

Then, I respectfully submit that we look to Christ’s words, “this…my body” and take Him at His word, and receive it as a mystery

it seems that you want to insist that those words are a mystery (beyond our understanding), but then go on to insist that they must be understood in a certain way
.

I can’t and won’t defend the aristotelian metaphyisical aspects of Transubsantiation, but I have no issue with it as an expression of the historically confirmed, believed, and confessed truth that Christ’s words, “Take and eat, this is my body”.

I have a hard time believing that the Orthodox theologians will ever come round to endorsing the Aristotelian metaphysics of the Catholic claims…especially since it is a rather out-dated metaphysical view (and only getting moreso)…which is yet another reason to doubt that the union between Catholic and Orthodox will ever be real and substantial…though it is nice that they have found some merely spiritual common ground :wink:


#20

Radical,

How many times is it mentioned in that passage that we must feast on the Bread from Heaven? The passage repeats many time flesh and blood… How is this spiritual? symbolic?. Many times Jesus mentions drink the living water, eat his flesh, drink his blood… This is my body. This is my blood… I think I will be like the apostles, and stay and accept this hard teaching. Many left him then, and many leave him now.

Eucharistic miracles: I think the thread you quoted does a good job at answering you. If you wish to open a new thread we can discuss it further, but let’s focus on the ECF’s beliefs on Real Presence, and the conclusion is yes the ECFs did believe in Real Presence.


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