Monday, June 29, 2009
A robust dialogue in the combox of the Scripture and Tradition in the early Church Fathers THREAD has produced (to date) 63 comments. I am going to attempt to summarize some of the more salient points that have been made, and due to the length restrictions of the combox, I have chosen to construct a new thread to do so—I will add some of my own thoughts immediately following the individual summations. (Note: to Chris and others who have been participating—I have singled out Ken, Mike and Randy in this thread because of my interest in the relationship between Scripture and Tradition—hope you know that have appreciated your contributions as well.)
First, Ken Temple –
Ken’s reflections and arguments flow from the presuppositions that are consistent with his Reformed view of sola scriptura—i.e. Scripture is both materially and formally sufficient for determining all necessary doctrine/s. This position has been termed the “ancillary view” by A.N.S. Lane, and Ken believes that it the best candidate for the view held by the early Church Fathers. Ken attempts to defend this position in his June 26, 2009 9:18AM POST (reposted today HERE). Ken pretty much sums of his position with:
If you keep reading, following his argument, all the way down to 3:5:1, you get the ancillary view. By itself, 3:4:1 seems like the coincidence view; but when he fleshes his thinking all the way out; he says, "since we do have the faith in the churches, let us resort to that Scriptural proof, which the apostles wrote down for us"…
This shows that the Gnostics were wrong about their interpretation of the Scriptures, and their claim to have secret knowledge to secret oral tradition left by the apostles (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1:8:1 ) This is the method the RCC apologists employ claiming that the apostles taught orally on Mary and transubstantiation, but it did not come out until centuries later; it was secret and oral, but not written down in the Scriptures. No evidence or proof of any such thing.
My thoughts –
Because Irenaeus urges his readers to “resort to that Scriptural proof”, Ken concludes that this constitutes evidence that he held to the “ancillary view”, rather than the “coincidence view”. Along with so many patristic scholars, I must disagree with Ken on this for a couple of reasons: first, an important aspect of the “coincidence view” is the appeal to Scripture; and second, Irenaeus’ also invokes apostolic tradition and succession which is NOT part of the “ancillary view”, but is an essential ingredient of the “coincidence view”.
Concerning Ken’s comments about “the method the RCC apologists employ claiming that the apostles taught orally on Mary and transubstantiation”, I reject the view that the apostles passed on constitutive ‘oral tradition/s’ that is/are NOT materially contained in Scripture. It is my belief that Marian doctrines, transubstantiation, et al., are consistent theological deductions that are implicit in the original deposit. I do not believe that the apostles were preaching that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven any more than they were preaching the Trinitarian reflections found in the Nicene Creed. (More on this a bit later.)
Second, Mike Liccione –
Dr. Liccione summed his position in his June 24, 2009 7:33 PM POST. From that post we read:
My own position is that Scripture alone is not materially sufficient, but that Tradition is materially sufficient if Scripture be viewed properly: as the most normative record of Tradition. That's compatible with both Trent and Vatican II, which are usually seen as being in mutual tension on the question of the sources of revelation.
Mike’s position is neither the “ancillary view”, nor the “coincidence view”, but rather, it is known as the “supplementary view”. A.N.S. Lane wrote that according “to this view tradition does not just present the content of Scripture in a different form but also supplements it.” I pointed out to Mike that many important Catholic scholars reject this view (SEE THIS THREAD FOR EXAMPLES), as do I.
Third, Randy’s position –
I will let Randy correct me if I am wrong, but in his on going dialogue with Ken, I have yet to see him weigh in on which view of Scripture and Tradition he endorses. I hope that Randy will take the time to articulate his position in the combox of this thread. (BTW, I am truly enjoying your responses to Ken—your and Ken’s charity are stellar examples of how one should conduct themselves on the internet.)
Looking forward to the continuing reflections of all who have taken an interest in this on going dialogue.
Grace and peace,