Revelation in Space and Time – How it was understood in the 3rd and 4th centuries


Matthew 13:52

52 And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”


Many Christians are interested in how our early brothers and sisters understood the  Book of Revelation – me too! This video is a bit dry but is in the end enjoyable and instructive. Lord bless you!



 

Quote of the day – Tertullian


John 4:23,24

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”


Alexander Hislop, in his work, The Two Babylons, states, 

“This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed; and we find Tertullian, even in his day, about the year 230, bitterly lamenting the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect, and contrasting it with the strict fidelity of the Pagans to their own superstition.

‘By us,’ says he, ‘who are strangers to Sabbaths, and new moons, and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia, are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians.’

“Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.” (pages 91-93)

Why Some Christians Dont Celebrate Christmas

SHODFEET blog

HT: Sherry, X Mass H8ers blog


 

If you want to know what the Early Church believed about tradition and the Word of God, here is a place to start.


1 Thessalonians 2

13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

2 Timothy 3

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


Those who defend Roman Catholic Tradition often refer to men of God of the first few centuries to support their own view that this Tradition is just as authoritative as God’s Word and is one of two sources of divine revelation. So, for Bible Christians it is a joy to discover that these men referred the believers of their own day to Holy Scripture. It is as if we can hear them shouting down the ages, proclaiming that Jesus Christ Alone is Lord and His Word Alone is to be trusted; in this way, they being dead still speak (Hebrews 11:4).

Here are several quotes about Holy Scripture from a few of the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 11:1-2): 

For all but Jerome’s quote:

William Webster, “The Fathers on the Meaning of Tradition and its Relationship to Scripture,” The Church Of Rome At The Bar Of History, The Banner Of Truth Trust, 2003, pp. 155–161.

For Jerome’s quote:

David T. King, HOLY SCRIPTURE: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume I, A Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, CHRISTIAN RESOURCES, INC., 2001, p. 130.

I did my best to check these authors’ sources for quotes in order to get to original sources. If I’ve made mistakes in vetting or formatting, please forgive and let me know.

Irenaeus (140–202 A.D.)

We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period by the will of God, handed to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. . .

Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded he doctrine regarding God. 

Against Heresies

Hippolytus (d. 235 A.D.)

There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source. For just as a man if he wishes to be skilled in the wisdom of this world, will find himself unable to get at it in any other way than by mastering the dogmas of philosophers, so all of us who wish to practice piety will be unable to learn its practice from any other quarter than the oracles of God. Whatever things then the Scriptures declare, at these let us look; and whatsoever things they teach these let us learn.

Against the Heresy of One Noetus

Clement of Alexandria (c.150–211/216 A.D.)

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. 

The Stromata [Miscellanies], Book VII, Chapter XVI – Scripture the Criterion by Which Truth and Heresy are Distinguished

Origen (c.185–253/254 A.D.)

In proof of all words which we advance in matters of doctrine, we ought to set forth the sense of Scripture as confirming the meaning which we are proposing. For as all gold which was outside of the temple was not sanctified, so every sense which is outside of the divine Scripture, however admirable it may appear to some, is not sacred because it is not limited by the sense of Scripture. Therefore we should not take our own ideas for the confirmation of doctrine, unless someone shows that they are holy because they are contained in the divine Scriptures as in the temples of God.

Philocalia [Philokalia]

Cyril of Jerusalem (315–386 A.D.)

For concerning the divine and sacred Mysteries of the Faith, we ought not to deliver even the most casual remark without the Holy Scriptures: nor be drawn aside by mere probabilities and the artifices of argument. Do not then believe me because I tell thee these things, unless thou receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of what is set forth: for this salvation, which is our faith, is not by ingenious reasonings, but by proof from the Holy Scriptures. 

Catechetical Lectures, NPNF2: Vol. VII, Lecture IV:17

Chrysostom (344/354–407 A.D.)

These then are the reasons; but it is necessary to establish them all from the Scriptures, and to show with exactness that all that has been said on this subject is not an invention of human reasoning, but the very sentence of the Scripture.

The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom, 2 Timothy, Homily 9

Hilary of Poitiers (315–367/368 A.D.) 

For all those things which are written in the divine Scriptures by Prophets and by Apostles we believe and follow truly and with fear.

On the Councils

Augustine (354–430 A.D.)

What more shall I teach you than what we read in the apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare be wiser than we ought.

The Unity of the Church, chapter 3

*Jerome (c. 27 March 347–30 September 420)

The sword of God smites whatever they draw and forge from a pretended (quasi) apostolic tradition, without the authority and testimony of the Scriptures. 

Jerome’s Commentary on Haggai 1:11, cited in Francis Turretin’s Institutes of Elenctic Theology*

Eusebius (263–340 A.D.)

And I rejoiced over the constancy, sincerity, docility, and intelligence of the brethren, as we considered in order and with moderation the questions and the difficulties and the points of agreement. And we abstained from defending in every manner and contentiously the opinions which we had once held, unless they appeared to be correct. Nor did we evade objections, but we endeavoured as far as possible to hold to and confirm the things which lay before us, and if the reason given satisfied us, we were not ashamed to change our opinions and agree with others; but on the contrary, conscientiously and sincerely, and with hearts laid open before God, we accepted whatever was established by the proofs and teachings of Holy Scriptures. 

Church History, NPNF2–01: Chapter XXIV  – Nepos and his Schism.

Athanasius (295–375 A.D.)

For the true and pious faith in the Lord has become manifest to all, being both ‘known and read’ from the Divine Scriptures.

Athanasius, letter 60.6

John of Damascus (645–749 A.D.) 

Moreover, by the Law and the Prophets in former times, and afterwards by His Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, He disclosed to us the knowledge of Himself as that was possible for us. All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by the Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honour, seeking for nothing beyond these. . .As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition.

Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book I, chapter I


FURTHER READING

The Church Fathers and the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture by William Webster

Church Fathers on Sola Scriptura by Armchair Theologian, WordPress


 

The Bible – Inspired, whatever the language!

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A Bible study

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Revelation 5:8-10

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”


Like many Catholic schoolgirls, I had to learn to speak and read at least a little French. Lately I’ve been trying to learn again, and even had the joy of reading short passages of the Word of God (La Parole de Dieu) in French. At Béréenne Attitude (Berean Attitude) in a post entitled “The Bible, a sacred book!” (La Bible, un livre sacré!), I found a link to the incredibly informative list about the Canon found below. 

In relearning what I’ve lost, there have been places to go for help. Here is an example of the simple kind of work I did to truly grasp Béréenne Attitude’s post. I’m grateful for the help of Google Translate, for one thing, which corrects or teaches me, as here, in how to correctly translate the title of the post:

<< La Bible, un livre sacré! >>

“The Bible, a sacred book!”

I didn’t have trouble grasping the simple French but I didn’t know if this should be translated ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’. What fun, but serious (sérieuse) too!

Here is a quote from this post in which the link was found. It states what we always affirm with joy, that the Bible that has come to us is worthy of all trust:

<< Ces listes englobent toutes à peu près les mêmes livres. >>

“These lists include nearly all the same books.”

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Ancient Canon Lists


“These are the fountains
of salvation, that he who
thirsts may be satisfied
with the living words
they contain. In these
alone the teaching of
godliness is proclaimed.
Let no one add to these;
let nothing be taken
away from them. For
concerning these the
Lord put to shame the
Sadducees, and said, Ye
do err, not knowing the
Scriptures.”

Athanasius

  1. The Muratorian Fragment (c. 170).
  2. Melito (c. 170).
  3. Origen (c. 240).
  4. Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 324).
  5. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350).
  6. Hilary of Poitiers (c. 360).
  7. The Cheltenham List (c. 360).
  8. Council of Laodicea (c. 363).
  9. Letter of Athanasius (367).
  10. Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 380).
  11. Amphilocius of Iconium (c. 380).
  12. The “Apostolic Canons” (c. 380).
  13. Epiphanius (c. 385).
  14. Jerome (c. 390).
  15. Augustine (c. 397).
  16. Third Council of Carthage (397).
  17. Rufinus of Aquileia (c. 400).
  18. Codex Claromontanus (c. 400).
  19. Letter of Innocent I (405).
  20. Decree of Gelasius (c. 550).
  21. Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (c. 550).
  22. John of Damascus (c. 730).
  23. Others

SOURCE: Bible Research | Internet Resources for Students of Scripture 

 

 

What Fellowship Hath Christ With Belial?

So here we are, in the midst of Christmas in July but outside the hubbub of the actual season. With plenty of time to think about it beforehand, why not think along with Pastor Douglas Comin, in the light of Scripture and the regulative principle of worship.

Comin Sense

An examination of the religious celebration of Christmas in light of the Scriptural duty of separation and the Regulative Principle of worship
by Douglas W. Comin

Preface

The following discourse was presented as a sermon to the congregation of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Beaver Falls, PA on December 22, 1991. It was not an easy message to preach. It is never easy to re-examine practices and patterns of thinking that have been presumed and taken for granted for a lifetime. It is especially difficult when these practices are associated with intense emotional feelings and are bound up with deep-rooted family traditions. Such is the case with the subject of Christmas. To even call into question the annual celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ is inconceivable for most modern Christians. That anyone would even suggest that Christmas and its festivities have no warrant in the Word of God…

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