Chapter II:47: Critique of the Roman Catholic Position on the Authority of the Fathers, Part 3

To the Objections of the Papists our AUTHOR responds in the best possible manner, at whose nervous and exceedingly concise strictures all their devices readily vanish.

1.  For example, they argue: What infallible Norm and Criterion of true Interpretation the Scripture itself sets forth and commends to us, the same without doubt is to be acknowledged and received: but it sets forth or commends to us the sayings and writings of the Ancients, or Fathers:  Therefore.  But we deny the Minor in the sense controverted:  neither is this proven by Job 8:8, and similar passages alleged by them.

From 1 Corinthians 14:32, 33, only a seemly subordination is evident, which the Apostle wills for good reason to obtain in the Church among men living at the same time:  while he ascribed to no one of those men judging a Judgment normative, authentical, supreme, and infallible:  but the spirit of those prophesying is willing to be tested by the sole norm and Lydian stone of the Word of God, by comparison with 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:11; thus 1 John 4:1.

2.  When they allege Reasons in addition, and say, for example, that the Fathers are not members of the parties in today’s Controversies; We Respond, It is not sufficient that a Judge not be a member of the parties, for thus children playing in the street could most frequently be constituted as Judges to settle disputes: accurate knowledge of the controverted cause is additionally required; which is wanting in the Fathers in today’s various controversies, whence those paying less attention often also spoke with more imprudence than they would have done after the quarrel concerning such a cause was brought forward.

In order to enervate the Objections of the Papists in this cause, see also the Writers cited on § 46; HEINRICH ALTING, Theologia Elenctica nova, locus II, controversy IV with the Papists, pages 82-84; TURRETIN, Theologiæ Elencticæ, locus II, question XXI, § 11-18.

On § 46, 47, in addition consult VOETIUS’ Disputations I and II de Patribus seu Ecclesiæ antiquæ Doctoribus, Disputationum theologicarum, volume I, pages 75-106.

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