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WOMEN'S ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD

A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son  (Yes, this is about women's ordination.)

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Faith and Gender: Five Aspects of Man, blog of Fr. William Mouser, International Council for Gender Studies

Father is Head at the Table: Male Eucharistic Headship and Primary Spiritual Leadership, Ray Sutton

FIFNA Bishops Stand Firm Against Ordination of Women

God, Gender and the Pastoral Office, S.M. Hutchens

God, Sex and Gender, Gavin Ashenden

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

How Ordaining Women Harms Ministry to Men, C.R. Wiley

Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters, J.I. Packer

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

Male-Only Ordination is Natural: Why the Church is a Model of Reality, Steven Wedgeworth

Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy, John Rodgers

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

Priesthood and Masculinity, Stephen DeYoung

Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture, Rodney Whitacre

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood ,

Traditional Anglican Resources

William Witt's Articles on Women's Ordination (Old Jamestown Church archive)

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

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Monday
Jan282013

The English Reformation and the Early Church Fathers

“We and our people - thanks be to God - follow no novel and strange religions, but that very religion which is ordained by Christ, sanctioned by the primitive and Catholic Church and approved by the consentient mind and voice of the most early Fathers.” (Queen Elizabeth I)

I. Justification

Clement of Rome (30-100): “All these (saints of old), therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Source: Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 32.4. (Discussion of works follows.)

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (c. 130): “He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!”

Source: The Epistle to Diognetus, 9.2-5. (Quote occurs in discussion about the atonement, God’s objective act of “taking on the burden of our iniquities.”)

Justin Martyr (100-165) speaks of “those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death.”

Source: Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 13.

St. Irenaeus: “Human beings can be saved from the ancient serpent in no other way than by believing in him who, when he was raised up from the earth on the tree of martyrdom in the likeness of sinful flesh, drew all things to himself and gave life to the dead.”

Source: (Against the Heresies, IV, 2, 7)

Origen (185-254): “For God is just, and therefore he could not justify the unjust. Therefore he required the intervention of a propitiator, so that by having faith in Him those who could not be justified by their own works might be justified.”

Source: Origen, Commentary on Romans, 2.112.

Origen: “A man is justified by faith. The works of the law can make no contribution to this. Where there is no faith which might justify the believer, even if there are works of the law these are not based on the foundation of faith. Even if they are good in themselves they cannot justify the one who does them, because faith is lacking, and faith is the mark of those who are justified by God.”

Source: Origen, Commentary on Romans, 2.136.

Hilary of Poitiers (300-368): “Wages cannot be considered as a gift, because they are due to work, but God has given free grace to all men by the justification of faith.”

Source: Hilary, Commentary on Matthew (on Matt. 20:7)

Hilary of Poitiers: “It disturbed the scribes that sin was forgiven by a man (for they considered that Jesus Christ was only a man) and that sin was forgiven by Him whereas the Law was not able to absolve it, since faith alone justifies.”

Source: Hilary, Commentary on Matthew (on Matt. 9:3)

Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398) A person is saved by grace, not by works but by faith. There should be no doubt but that faith saves and then lives by doing its own works, so that the works which are added to salvation by faith are not those of the law but a different kind of thing altogether.”[31]

Source: Didymus the Blind. Commentary on James, 2:26b.

Basil of Caesarea (329-379): “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is justified solely by faith in Christ.”

Source: Basil, Homily on Humility, 20.3.

Jerome (347–420): “We are saved by grace rather than works, for we can give God nothing in return for what he has bestowed on us.”

Source: Jerome, Epistle to the Ephesians, 1.2.1.

St. Jerome: “Paul shows clearly that righteousness depends not on the merit of man but on the grace of God, who accepts the faith of those who believe without the works of the law.”

Source: (Against the Pelagians)

Jerome: "[When Paul writes] by grace you have been saved through faith, he says this in case the secret thought should steal upon us that 'if we are not saved by our own works, at least we are saved by our own faith, and so in another way our salvation is of ourselves.; Thus he added the statement that faith too is not in our own will but in God's gift. Not that he means to take away free choice from humanity...but that even this very freedom of choice has God as its author, and all things are to be referred to his generosity, in that he has even allowed us to will the good."

Jerome (on Romans 10:3): “God justifies by faith alone.”

Cyril of Alexandria: "What can we say to those who insist that Abraham was justified by works because he was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar? Abraham was already an old man when God promised him that he would have a son and that his descendants would be as countless as the stars of the sky. Abraham piously believed that all things are possible with God and so exercised this faith. God reckoned him to be righteous on this account and gave Abraham a reward worthy of such a godly mind, viz., the forgiveness of his previous sins...So even if Abraham was also justified by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, this must be regarded as an evident demonstration of a faith which was already very strong."

John Chrysostom (349-407): “For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, 4.2.9.

John Chrysostom: “But what is the ‘law of faith?’ It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 7.27.

John Chrysostom: “God allowed his Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins. This is God’s righteousness, that we are not justified by works (for then they would have to be perfect, which is impossible), but by grace, in which case all our sin is removed.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, 11.5.

John Chrysostom: "The purpose of the law was to make man righteous, but it had no power to do that. But when faith came it achieved what the law could not do, for once a man believes he is immediately justified."

John Chrysostom: “Everywhere he puts the Gentiles upon a thorough equality. ‘And put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith.’ (v. 9.) From faith alone, he says, they obtained the same gifts. This is also meant as a lesson to those (objectors); this is able to teach even them that faith only is needed, not works nor circumcision.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Acts, 32 (regarding Acts 15:1)

John Chrysostom: “What then was it that was thought incredible? That those who were enemies, and sinners, neither justified by the law, nor by works, should immediately through faith alone be advanced to the highest favor. Upon this head accordingly Paul has discoursed at length in his Epistle to the Romans, and here again at length. “This is a faithful saying,” he says, “and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Timothy, 4.1.

John Chrysostom: “”For it is most of all apparent among the Gentiles, as he also says elsewhere, ‘And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.’ (Romans 15:9.) For the great glory of this mystery is apparent among others also, but much more among these. For, on a sudden, to have brought men more senseless than stones to the dignity of Angels, simply through bare words, and faith alone, without any laboriousness, is indeed glory and riches of mystery: just as if one were to take a dog, quite consumed with hunger and the mange, foul, and loathsome to see, and not so much as able to move, but lying cast out, and make him all at once into a man, and to display him upon the royal throne.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Colossians, 5.2.

John Chrysostom: “Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon. For a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely. But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light.”

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 8.1.

John Chrysostom: “They said that he who adhered to faith alone was cursed; but he, Paul, shows that he who adhered to faith alone is blessed.”

Source: St. John Chrysostom (First Corinthians, Homily 20)

John Chrysostom: “For you believe the faith; why then do you add other things, as if faith were not sufficient to justify? You make yourselves captive, and you subject yourself to the law.”

Source: - St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to Titus, Homily 3)

John Chrysostom: “To declare His righteousness.' What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is .declaring,' that he has added, .That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus' [Rom. 3:26]. Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to al l men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declareth Himself to do so, and He, so to say, findeth a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glorieth in?”

Source:- St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 3)

John Chrysostom: “What is the principle of faith? This is salvation by grace. Here Paul shows God's power in that He has not only saved, He has also justified and led them to boast in a different way - not relying on works but glorying only in their faith.”

Source:- St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 7)

St. Ambrose of Milan: “We should believe both that we should be penitent and that we shall be pardoned, in such a way that we hope for pardon from faith just as faith obtains it from the written agreement.”

Source: (On Penitence Against the Novatians, II:9)

St. Ambrose of Milan: “But when the Lord Jesus came, He forgave all men that sin which none could escape, and blotted out the handwriting against us by the shedding of His own Blood. This then is the Apostle's meaning; sin abounded by the Law, but grace abounded by Jesus; for after that the whole world became guilty, He took away the sin of the whole world, as John bore witness, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Wherefore let no man glory in works, for by his works no man shall be justified, for he that is just hath a free gift, for he is justified by the Bath [Baptism]. It is faith then which delivers by the blood of Christ, for Blessed is the man to whom sin is remitted, and, pardon granted.”

Source: (letter 73, to Irenaeus, a layman)

Augustine (354-430): “If Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified? The apostle goes on to tell us how: What does scripture say? (that is, about how Abraham was justified). Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification.”

Fuller text: “Not so our father Abraham. This passage of scripture is meant to draw our attention to the difference. We confess that the holy patriarch was pleasing to God; this is what our faith affirms about him. So true is it that we can declare and be certain that he did have grounds for pride before God, and this is what the apostle tells us. It is quite certain, he says, and we know it for sure, that Abraham has grounds for pride before God. But if he had been justified by works, he would have had grounds for pride, but not before God. However, since we know he does have grounds for pride before God, it follows that he was not justified on the basis of works. So if Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified?” The apostle goes on to tell us how: What does scripture say? (that is, about how Abraham was justified). Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification.

3. Now when you hear this statement, that justification comes not from works, but by faith, remember the abyss of which I spoke earlier. You see that Abraham was justified not by what he did, but by his faith: all right then, so I can do whatever I like, because even though I have no good works to show, but simply believe in God, that is reckoned to me as righteousness? Anyone who has said this and has decided on it as a policy has already fallen in and sunk; anyone who is still considering it and hesitating is in mortal danger. But God’s scripture, truly understood, not only safeguards an endangered person, but even hauls up a drowned one from the deep. My advice is, on the face of it, a contradiction of what the apostle says; what I have to say about Abraham is what we find in the letter of another apostle, who set out to correct people who had misunderstood Paul. James in his letter opposed those who would not act rightly but relied on faith alone; and so he reminded them of the good works of this same Abraham whose faith was commended by Paul. The two apostles are not contradicting each other. James dwells on an action performed by Abraham that we all know about: he offered his son to God as a sacrifice. That is a great work, but it proceeded from faith. I have nothing but praise for the superstructure of action, but I see the foundation of faith; I admire the good work as a fruit, but I recognize that it springs from the root of faith. If Abraham had done it without right faith it would have profited him nothing, however noble the work was. On the other hand, if Abraham had been so complacent in his faith that, on hearing God’s command to offer his son as a sacrificial victim, he had said to himself, “No, I won’t. But I believe that God will set me free, even if I ignore his orders,” his faith would have been a dead faith because it did not issue in right action, and it would have remained a barren, dried-up root that never produced fruit.” (John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., WSA, Part 3, Vol. 15, trans. Maria Boulding, O.S.B., Expositions of the Psalms 1-32, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 2-4 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2000), pp. 364-365._

Source: Augustine, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 2-4.

Augustine: “When someone believes in him who justifies the impious, that faith is reckoned as justice to the believer, as David too declares that person blessed whom God has accepted and endowed with righteousness, independently of any righteous actions (Rom 4:5-6). What righteousness is this? The righteousness of faith, preceded by no good works, but with good works as its consequence.”

Source: Augustine, Exposition 2 of Psalm 31, 6-7.

Augustine: “Justification is obtained by faith. ... By the law we fear God, by faith we hope in God. But to those who fear punishment grace is hidden; laboring under this fear, the soul by faith flees to the mercy of God, that He may give what He commands”

Source: St. Augustine of Hippo (The Spirit and the Letter)

Augustine: “How should the law be upheld if not by righteousness? By a righteousness, moreover, which is of faith, for what could not be fulfilled through the law is fulfilled through faith.”

Source: St. Augustine of Hippo (Augustine on Romans)

Ambrosiaster (fourth century): “God has decreed that a person who believes in Christ can be saved without works. By faith alone he receives the forgiveness of sins.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:4.

Ambrosiaster: “They are justified freely because they have not done anything nor given anything in return, but by faith alone they have been made holy by the gift of God.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Romans 3:24.

Ambrosiaster: “Paul tells those who live under the law that they have no reason to boast basing themselves on the law and claiming to be of the race of Abraham, seeing that no one is justified before God except by faith.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Romans 3:27.

Ambrosiaster: “God gave what he promised in order to be revealed as righteous. For he had promised that he would justify those who believe in Christ, as he says in Habakkuk: ‘The righteous will live by faith in me’ (Hab. 2:4). Whoever has faith in God and Christ is righteous.”

Source: Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul’s Epistles; CSEL 81 ad loc.

Ambrosiaster: "Paul revealed that Abraham had glory before God not because he was circumcised nor because he abstained from evil, but because he believed in God. For that reason he was justified, and he would receive the reward of praise in the future."

Marius Victorinus (fourth century): “The fact that you Ephesians are saved is not something that comes from yourselves. It is the gift of God. It is not from your works, but it is God’s grace and God’s gift, not from anything you have deserved. … We did not receive things by our own merit but by the grace and goodness of God.”

Source: Marius Victorinus, Epistle to the Ephesians, 1.2.9.

Prosper of Aquitaine (390–455): “And just as there are no crimes so detestable that they can prevent the gift of grace, so too there can be no works so eminent that they are owed in condign [deserved] judgment that which is given freely. Would it not be a debasement of redemption in Christ’s blood, and would not God’s mercy be made secondary to human works, if justification, which is through grace, were owed in view of preceding merits, so that it were not the gift of a Donor, but the wages of a laborer?”

Source: Prosper of Acquitaine, Call of All Nations, 1.17

Theodoret of Cyrus (393–457): “The Lord Christ is both God and the mercy seat, both the priest and the lamb, and he performed the work of our salvation by his blood, demanding only faith from us.”

Source: Theodoret of Cyrus, Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans; PG 82 ad loc.

Theodoret of Cyrus:All we bring to grace is our faith. But even in this faith, divine grace itself has become our enabler. For [Paul] adds, ‘And this is not of yourselves but it is a gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast’ (Eph. 2:8–9). It is not of our own accord that we have believed, but we have come to belief after having been called; and even when we had come to believe, He did not require of us purity of life, but approving mere faith, God bestowed on us forgiveness of sins”.

Source: Theodoret of Cyrus, Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of Paul; FEF 3:248–49, sec. 2163.

Cyril of Alexandria (412-444): “For we are justified by faith, not by works of the law, as Scripture says. By faith in whom, then, are we justified? Is it not in Him who suffered death according to the flesh for our sake? Is it not in one Lord Jesus Christ?”

Source: Cyril of Alexandria, Against Nestorius, 3.62

Fulgentius (462–533): “The blessed Paul argues that we are saved by faith, which he declares to be not from us but a gift from God. Thus there cannot possibly be true salvation where there is no true faith, and, since this faith is divinely enabled, it is without doubt bestowed by his free generosity. Where there is true belief through true faith, true salvation certainly accompanies it. Anyone who departs from true faith will not possess the grace of true salvation.”

Source: Fulgentius, On the Incarnation, 1; CCL 91:313.

Bede (673-735): “Although the apostle Paul preached that we are justified by faith without works, those who understand by this that it does not matter whether they live evil lives or do wicked and terrible things, as long as they believe in Christ, because salvation is through faith, have made a great mistake. James here expounds how Paul’s words ought to be understood. This is why he uses the example of Abraham, whom Paul also used as an example of faith, to show that the patriarch also performed good works in the light of his faith. It is therefore wrong to interpret Paul in such a way as to suggest that it did not matter whether Abraham put his faith into practice or not. What Paul meant was that no one obtains the gift of justification on the basis of merits derived from works performed beforehand, because the gift of justification comes only from faith.”

Source: Cited from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ed. Gerald Bray), NT, vol. 11, p. 31.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: “You must believe, first of all, that you cannot have the forgiveness of sins except by the forbearance of God; but add further that you also believe that through Him your sins are forgiven. This is the witness that the Holy Spirit brings in your heart, saying, .Your sins are forgiven you.' For thus the apostle [Paul] concludes, that a man is justified freely by faith.”

Source: (Sermon on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

II. Grace Alone

“We have acquired the forgiveness of our sins and have been justified freely by the mercy and grace of Christ.”

- St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on Romans)

“We are righteous, therefore, when we confess that we are sinners; and our righteousness does not consist in our own merit, but in God's mercy.”

- St. Jerome (Dialogue Against the Pelagians)

“After speaking of the wages of sin, in the case of blessings, he has not kept to the same order: for he does not say, the wages of your good deeds, but the gift of God: to show, that it was not of themselves that they were freed, nor was it a due they received, neither yet a return, nor a recompense of labors, but by grace all these things came about. And so there was superiority for this cause also, in that He did not free them only, or change their condition for the better, but that He did it without any labor or trouble upon their part: and that He not only freed them, but also gave them more than before, and that through His Son.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to the Romans, Homily 12, Rom. 6:23)

“And he well said, .a righteousness of mine own,' not that which I gained by labor and toil, but that which I found from grace. If then he who was so excellent is saved by grace, much more are you. For since it was likely they would say that the righteousness which comes from toil is the greater, he shows that it is dung in comparison with the other. For otherwise I, who was so excellent in it, would not have cast it away, and run to the other. But what is that other? That which is from the faith of God, i.e. it too is given by God. This is the righteousness of God; this is altogether a gift. And the gifts of God far exceed those worthless good deeds, which are due to our own diligence.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homily on Philippians 3)

“Suppose someone should be caught in the act of adultery and the foulest crimes and then be thrown into prison. Suppose, next, that judgment was going to be passed against him and that he would be condemned. Suppose that just at that moment a letter should come from the Emperor setting free from any accounting or examination all those detained in prison. If the prisoner should refuse to take advantage of the pardon, remain obstinate and choose to be brought to trial, to give an account, and to undergo punishment, he will not be able thereafter to avail himself of the Emperor's favor. For when he made himself accountable to the court, examination, and sentence, he chose of his own accord to deprive himself of the imperial gift. This is what happened in the case of the Jews. Look how it is. All human nature was taken in the foulest evils. All have sinned,' says Paul. They were locked, as it were, in a prison by the curse of their transgression of the Law. The sentence of the judge was going to be passed against them. A letter from the King came down from heaven. Rather, the King himself came. Without examination, without exacting an account, he set all men free from the chains of their sins. All, then, who run to Christ are saved by his grace and profit from his gift. But those who wish to find justification from the Law will also fall from grace. They will not be able to enjoy the King's lovingkindness because they are striving to gain salvation by their own efforts; they will draw down on themselves the curse of the Law because by the works of the Law no flesh will find justification.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Discourses Against Judaizing Christians. Discourse I:6-II:1)

“The righteousness of God is not that by which God is righteous but that with which he clothes man when He justifies the ungodly. To this the Law and the Prophets bear witness....It is a righteousness of God apart from the law, since in that case it could not have been witnessed to in the law. It is a righteousness of God apart from the law because God confers it on believers through the Spirit of grace without the help of the law.”

- St. Augustine of Hippo (The Spirit and the Letter)

“All the commandments of God are kept when what is not kept is forgiven.”

- St. Augustine of Hippo (Retractions)

“God leads us to eternal life, not by our merits, but according to His mercy.”

- St. Augustine of Hippo (Confessions, IX:13) “God crowns His gifts in us.” - St. Augustine of Hippo, (Grace and Free Will)

III. Christ Alone:

“Take therefore first, as an indestructible foundation, the Cross, and build upon it the other articles of the faith.”

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lecture 13:38)

“God is a great lover of man. He did not hesitate to surrender His Son as prey in order to spare His servant. He surrendered His only-begotten to purchase hard-hearted servants. He paid the blood of His Son as the price. O the philanthropy of the Master! And do not tell me again, .I sinned a lot; how can I be saved?' You cannot save yourself, but your Master can, and to such a great degree as to obliterate your sins. Pay attention very carefully to the discourse. He wipes out the sins so completely that not a single trace of them remains.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 on Repentance and the Church)

“The fact that we who were such terrible sinners were saved is a very great sign, indicating how much we were loved by Him who saved us. For it was not by angels or archangels but by His only begotten Son that God saved us!”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 9)

“Christ is Master by virtue of His own essence and Master by virtue of His incarnate life. For He creates man from nothing, and through His own blood redeems him when dead in sin; and to those who believe in Him He has given His grace. When Scripture says, .He will reward every man according to his works;' (Matt. 16:27), do not imagine that works in themselves merit either hell or the kingdom. On the contrary, Christ rewards each man according to whether his works are done with faith or without faith in Himself; and He is not a dealer bound by contract, but our Creator and Redeemer.”

- St. Mark the Ascetic (ca. 425, On those who think that they are made righteous by works - in the Philokalia)

IV. Primacy of Scripture:

“the established authority of Scripture must outweigh every other” (Reply to Faustus the Manichean 13, 5).

“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

– St. Athanasius (Against the Heathen, 1:3)

“Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.”

- St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church)

“Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

- St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Holy Trinity)

"My single appeal will be to the Holy Scriptures. And yet, I am sure that it will be hard to gain entrance to ears and minds already filled, unfortunately, with a prejudiced opinion." –

-Niceta of Remesiana (335-415), a Serbian bishop of old

“We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings.”

- St Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection)

“What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if .all that is not of faith is sin' as the Apostle says, and .faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,' everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.”

- St. Basil the Great (The Morals)

“We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”

- St. Basil the Great (On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 7, par. 16)

“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.”

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures)

“Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”

- St. Augustine (De unitate ecclesiae, chp. 10) “The reason is that only canonical Scripture is a measure of faith.” - St. Thomas Aquinas (Commentary on the Gospel of John)

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Reader Comments (3)

When people research the fathers they discover that the Anglican Formularies are in truth catholic, in that they reflect the teaching of the fathers. I wonder if those eager to join Rome or the East have ever read the fathers, or if they simply assume the catholicity of those churches? I suspect the latter.

The fathers are extremely evangelical in the proper sense. Rome and the East have departed from the catholic faith.

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoger du Barry

An excellent job on compiling this information! I'm sure it will be a while before you do this again but may I be so bold as to request a similar post in the future with quotes from the Church Fathers on free will and predestination?

February 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAn Awkward Aardvark

Rather, I'll simply concede that in the patristic writings of the 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries, belief in "free will" seems universal. It wasn't until the late 4th and early 5th that some Latin Fathers, Augustine chief among them, began challenging that view. The Augustinian school was so successful in arguing its case that the free will theologies of the day, first Pelagianism and then Semipelagianism, were condemned in the West, the former heresy receiving condemnation as well by an ecumenical council (Ephesus).

Nevertheless, variants of free will theology lived on. Eastern Orthodoxy is noted for its defense of libertarianism, but the view persisted in the West as well. Some Anglican thologians (e.g., Moss) have noted the historical Pelagian tendency of the English people. (Pelagius was an English monk.) Though Augustinianism had a strong foothold in England before and after the Reformation, that historical tendency showed itself in the "Arminianism" that arose in the C of E in reaction to it.

February 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterEmbryo Parson

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