04 November, 2009

Scripture's Clarity

In the two testaments every word that pertaineth unto God may be sought and discussed, and out of them all knowledge of things may be understood. And if anything remains which Holy Scripture does not determine, no other third scripture ought to be received to authorize any knowledge, but we must “commit to the fire” what remains, that is, reserve it unto God.
Origen, Homily on Leviticus

When I arrived in the district of Arsinoe, when as you know this notion had long been widely held, so that schisms and secessions of entire churches had taken place, I called a meeting of the presbyters and teachers of the village congregations, with any laymen who wished to attend, and urged them to thrash out the question in public.
So they brought me this book as positive and irrefutable proof, and I sat with them for three days on end from dawn to dusk, criticizing its contents point by point. In the process I was immensely impressed by the essential soundness, complete sincerity, logical grasp, and mental clarity shown by these good people, as we methodically and good-temperedly dealt with questions, objections, and points of agreement. We refused to cling with pig-headed determination to opinions once held even if proved wrong. There was no shirking of difficulties, but to the limit of our powers we tried to grapple with the problems and master them; nor were we too proud, if worsted in argument, to abandon our position and admit defeat; conscientiously, honestly, and with simple-minded trust in God, we accepted the conclusions to be drawn from the proofs and teachings of Holy Writ.
Eusebius, The History of the Church, quoting Dionysius c. 200-c. 265, Bishop of Alexandria

They have not hesitated to corrupt the word of God; they have treated the standard of the primitive faith with contempt; they have not known Christ. Instead of asking what Holy Scripture says, they strain every nerve to find a syllogistic figure to bolster up their godlessness. If anyone challenges them with a text from Divine Scripture, they examine it to see whether it can be turned into a conjunctive or disjunctive syllogistic figure. They put aside the sacred word of God, and devote themselves to geometry—earth measurement—because they are from the earth and speak from the earth, and do not know the One who comes from above. Some of them give all their energies to the study of Euclidean geometry, and treat Aristotle and Theophrastus with reverent awe; to some of them Galen is almost an object of worship. When people avail themselves of the arts of unbelievers to lend colour to their heretical views, and with godless rascality corrupt the simple Faith of Holy Writ, it is obvious that they are nowhere near the Faith.
Eusebius, The History of the Church, Book 5, quoting an anonymous “orthodox churchman” who wrote during the time of Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome A.D. 201-217.

When we receive money, we do not trust to those who give it to us; we wish to count it ourselves: and when there is a question of Divine things, would it not be a folly rashly and blindly to receive the opinions of others, when we have a rule by which we can examine everything? I mean the Divine law. It is for this reason that I adjure you all, without resting in the slightest degree on the judgment of others, to consult the Scriptures.
John Chrysostom, Homilily 13 on 2 Corinthians

It is from ignorance of Scripture that all our evils arise; hence the plague of so many heresies, hence our careless lives, our fruitless labors… They err who look not to the bright rays of the divine Scriptures, because they walk in darkness.
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, more exact reference needed

Look for no other teacher; you have the oracles of God; none can teach you like these.
John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on the Epistle to the Colossians

When you shall see the wicked heresy, which is the army of Antichrist, standing in the holy places of the church, then let those who are in Judea head for the mountains, that is, those who are Christians should head for the Scriptures. For
the true Judea is Christendom, and the mountains are the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles, as it is written: “Her foundations are in the holy mountains.” But why should all Christians at this time head for the Scriptures?
Because in this period in which heresy has taken possession of the churches there can be no proof of true Christianity nor any other refuge for Christians who want to know the truth of the faith except the divine Scriptures. Earlier we showed in many ways which is the church of Christ, and which heathenism. But now there is for those who want to know which is the true church of Christ no way to know it except only the through the Scriptures. Why? Because heresy has everything just like the church. How, then, will anyone who wants to know which is the true church of Christ know it in the midst of this great confusion resulting from this similarity, except only through the Scriptures? The Lord, therefore, knowing that there would be such a great confusion of things in the last days, commands that Christians who…want to gain steadfastness in the true faith should take refuge in nothing else but the Scriptures. Otherwise, if they look to other things, they will be offended and will perish, because they will not know which is the true church, and as a result they will fall into the abomination of desolation which stands in the holy places of the church.
Ascribed to John Chrysostom, Glossa Ordinaria,49th Homily,on Matt 24
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