Yes cloak and stagg it is true that NO ancient Church Father taught justification by faith ALONE . . . . in the sense that faith is a mere intellectual assent.
Did the Early Church Fathers (ECFs) use the PHRASE “faith alone”?
Yes they occasionally did, but they NEVER used “faith” in the sense of a mere intellectual assent in those usings.
How do we know?
Because when you look at OTHER of those SAME ECF writings (sometimes “other” even in the same letters) they ALSO talk about the NEED for WORKING.
Or they will condemn working ON YOUR OWN (without the Holy Spirit) which the Church ALSO condemns.
Here is an example where one of our Separated Brethren tried to pass off an ECF as teaching justification by faith ALONE. (". . . we . . .are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works . . .")
Here is that SAME ECF in the same writing refuting such a notion (Chap. XXX. Let us do those things that please God, . . . standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words.").
Or else the ECFs condemn thinking you can be saved by “law” in the sense of “Torah” or “Law of Moses” which the Catholic Church LIKEWISE condemns.
Below will be an excerpt (with minor changes) from a different post of mine (here).
Yes it is true that no Early Church Fathers taught Sola Fide in the mere intellectual sense.
No “Sola Fide” or no “Sola Fides”.
. . . You quoted (here) Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrosiaster, etc. ostensibly to show they taught justification by faith ALONE.
NO ancient Church Father taught justification by faith ALONE in the sense YOU are trying to get them to say.
It is not persuasive to trot out those ECF quotes to try to force them to teach justification by faith ALONE.
Because they are either denying “works” in terms of “works of law” or “Torah” such as circumcision.
Or they are affirming FAITH alone with “faith” or “fides” meaning “FIDElity”.
**Fidelity includes ACTIONS.
When a spouse commits “infidelity” we know there were likely “actions” involved.**
When the Fathers use the term “Faith alone” they are using “faith” in the sense of “fidelity”.
How do we know that?
By looking elsewhere in their writings where they talk about Baptism, or works, or how sin can cut you off from Christ.
I have already addressed this issue in principle and quoted Trent to do it.
That’s EXACTLY WHY I said (in post 310) . . . .
If you want to define a “saving faith” as a faith that NECESSARILY works, and NEEDS to WORK, and CONTINUES working, you will hear no criticism from me.
The Council of Trent’s condemnation of “Justification by faith alone” seems to be OK with that as well.
But the Council was NOT OK with a definition of “faith alone” that means nothing else is required in the way of COOPERATION after your moment.
At that point I gave the quote from Trent that I was alluding to . . .
COUNCIL OF TRENT CANON IX - If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified;** in such wise as to mean**, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.
That’s what the Fathers sometimes do.
They sometimes use “faith” in the sense of “fidelity”, not divorced from working.
(The fathers use “fidelity” or fides just like St. Paul does when he talks about the OBEDIENCE of faith the very first and last times he mentions “Faith” in Romans (Romans 1:5 and Romans 16:26. As Dr. Hahn says: Obedience and Faith are conjoined by St. Paul in Romans as “bookends” so YOU the reader, don’t divorce faith and works.)
The Fathers use faith sometimes in the sense of fidelity.
And that’s WHY your ministers often won’t have you read Church history in my opinion.
Your ministers will urge you to read books ABOUT Church history . . . but they frequently cannot suggest reading the actual Fathers works (except for selective quotes) as they are too Catholic.