Do any [( Triniterian)] Christians on here disagree with Bishop Irenaeus ???

by wobble 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Narkissos

    Jonathan Dough,

    Why start your chaff & wheat analogy with 2nd century (non-canonical) theologians, and not include earlier or contemporaneous NT works? Seriously.

    Your creed-centered perspective would gain in consistency if you did. Why not allow Paul, John, or other NT writers the same "right to be wrong" (from the anachronistic standpoint of 4th-century dogma) which you fairly allow Justin or Irenaeus? Imo they deserve it even more.

    The flip side of the "canonical privilege" conferred to the 1st- and 2nd-century works which happened to end up in the "New Testament" is an interpretive curse. If they have to agree 100 % with 4th-century dogma while later works (by Church Fathers in particular) don't, they are bound to be twisted until they do. I really think they deserve to be spared such a fate as much as Patristic works...

  • Earnest

    Along the same lines, I do not think there is any early "Church Father" who was not heretical in some respect as orthodox belief developed. Some of them were even excommunicated in their lifetime. Now, to take Narkissos' challenging suggestion to its logical conclusion, could it be said that some bible writers were heretical as their teachings/beliefs were not upheld as orthodox.

    Of course the Catholic Church (and, possibly, Eastern Orthodox...I am not sure) consider that tradition carries as much weight as scripture which relieves them of the necessity to "make" scripture say what was not originally intended.

  • jonathan dough
    jonathan dough


    Are you saying that the NT writers should be regarded as wrong or flawed (if they are) just like the 2-4th century fathers were as the Catholic Encyclopedia concedes? That NT writings (Bible) should be on the same level and on par with the Fathers' tradition as Earnest correctly points out is fundamental to Catholicism? That is where I part ways with the Catholics and where they have made a serious error in ascribing equal credence and weight to the "primitive" teachings (the Bible) and tradition. They might have been right but what they wrote is not Holy Scripture. The traditions are inferior to Bible truths even if they agree and reflect truth just like whatever comes out of Billy Graham is not "Holy Scripture." But this misses the point of the article!

    I am refuting the JW claim that because some traditionists or 2 - 4th century Fathers believed in theories antithetical to the doctrine of the Trinity that the Trinity is false and illogical. They are trying to make the argument that even Trinitarians didn't believe in the Trinity so it must be wrong, but fail to mention that such non-Trinitarian beliefs just didn't make it into official doctrine.

    JD II

  • Narkissos


    My point is simply that if you use a 4th-century-AD or later standard (the Nicea-Constantinople-Chalcedon dogma for instance) for assessing earlier stuff (like Patristic works) as comparatively "right" or "wrong," "wheat" or "chaff" as you put it, there is no logical reason to except 1st- or 2nd-century NT stuff from the same standard and assessment.

    The (artificial) difference between Christian "scripture" (or canon) and "tradition" exists in Catholicism and Eastern churches, in a qualitative way, but (Western) Protestantism has developed it into a radical and often antagonistic dichotomy: the former has to be 100 % "right" or "wheat" (0 % "wrong" or "chaff") while the latter is regarded as "just human" and subject to question (pick and choose the wheat that may be found, discard the chaff). This might have been a logical (although artificial, and impractical) ground to develop doctrine exclusively from NT exegesis (sola scriptura),provided the doctrine was effectively the result of free exegesis and not determined otherwise. But by accepting the ecumenical councils in addition to Scripture Protestant orthodoxy entered in a sort of double bind. It henceforth had to interpret NT scripture in a way that agrees with 4th-century dogma no matter the cost. Exegetical violence was bound to follow -- and the resistance of the texts again and again rises the nagging question, "why doesn't the 'inerrant' NT teach 'true dogma' as explicitly as later creeds do?"

    Don't take me wrong: I for one am of the opinion that neo-Arianism (like the JW brand) does more violence to the NT texts than Trinitarian orthodoxy does. But both do. The only way for a Trinitarian NT reader to read the NT texts as they are is to accept the possibility that they, just like the pre-Nicene Fathers, may be "wrong" inasmuch as they do not exactly suit the Trinity doctrine. If you do not allow for such a possibility, you are bound to torture the texts until they say what you want to hear.

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