The Church Fathers are full of numerous quotations which, if taken at face value, seem to support the idea of Sola Scriptura (although the doctrine itself would not be formalized and named until the reformation). Consider...
“But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.”
- Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-215)
“Scripture has absolute authority; whatever it teaches is necessarily true, and woe betide [‘befall’] him who accepts doctrines not discoverable in it.”
- Tertullian (AD 155-220)
“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 my mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures.”
- Cyril of Jerusalem (Approx. AD 315-384)
“…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.”
- Gregory of Nyssa (Approx. 335-394)
“Vainly do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded councils for the faith’s sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things…”
- Athanasius (AD 293 – 373)
How would a non-Protestant understand these and similar quotations? Am I quoting these fathers out of context? Am I retrospectively reading Sola Scriptura into these authors? I invite non-Protestant readers to join the discussion.
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