Did the early Christians believe in "sola Scriptura" (Scripture alone)? Or did they also believe in Apostolic Tradition? Keith Mathison, in his book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura," claimed that the Catholic view wasn't found in the first centuries of the Church, and that the earliest Church Fathers believed in sola Scriptura. Mathison's views are thoroughly debunked by (of all people) Karl Barth, the Reformed theologian Christianity Today called "the most important theologian of the twentieth century." And Barth capably proved the Catholic Patristic case... even though he personally believed in sola Scriptura!
The earliest recorded prayer to Mary, dating to about 250 A.D. says: "Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God; do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one." Here's what that tells us about the early Church.
It’s not news to say that we Catholics struggle with beautiful music these days. More than two decades ago, Thomas Day released Why Catholics Can’t Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste, and the problems still exist. We mutter along with the responsorial Psalm; and mumble through the hymnody, with its milquetoast lyrics set […]
Early Christians like St. Justin Martyr and his companions died for the Christian faith, rather than worshipping idols. But if Protestants like Peter Leithart and Mike Grendon are right, these early Christians were idolaters anyways. Why? Because they believed in transubstantiation, that the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So are Protestants right? Should we call him "Justin Idolater" instead? Or can we trust the early Christians?
Woodcut of St. Patrick, Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) In an article entitled Saint Patrick the Baptist?, Stephen R. Button tries to claim St. Patrick for Evangelical Protestantism… or at least disassociate him from Roman Catholicism. Button is hardly alone: you can find similar attempts by Don Boys and others, some of them dating back several decades. The argument tends […]
Today, we arrive at the last of St. Edmund Campion’s Ten Reasons to reject the Reformation, and it’s a doozy. It turns out, he spent many of the prior nine reasons crescendoing towards this last one, and the result is epic: a sort of cosmic vision of the Catholic Church and the Reformation, with (in […]
Pope St. Victor I In October, I wrote about a fascinating conflict in the first-century church of Corinth. When a dispute broke out within their church, they wrote to Rome. Pope Clement wrote back, issued some orders, and resolved the dispute. Under any circumstances, this would be interesting, because it shows the way that papal […]
Caspar Schwenckfeld Catholic beliefs are often rejected by “Bible-only” Protestants on the grounds that they are “extra-Scriptural Traditions.” This accusation typically misses the mark: on teachings like the priesthood, or the Eucharist, or regenerative baptism, it’s not that the Church is deriving these views from a source other than Scripture. It’s that she sees support […]
Church Fathers, a miniature from Svyatoslav’s Miscellany (1076) The relationship between Protestantism and the Church Fathers is complicated, and necessarily so. On the one hand, the Early Church Fathers are an invaluable source for any Christian, whether they know it or not. They’re the ones who passed on the faith, even at the cost of […]
Councils are part of the history of the Church from the very beginning, as the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 shows. And they’re a source of potential unity between Catholics and Protestants, because so long as both sides recognize the authority of the early Ecumenical Councils, we have some common ground upon which to […]