23 October 2006

Patristic Quote for the Day

“What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.” Basil the Great, The Morals, Vol 9 of The Fathers of the Church, p. 204.

8 comments:

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

So is the semper virgo making an addition to Scripture, or is its denial a rejection of Scripture?

And what of the same Basil's statement "Concerning the teachings of the Church, whether publicly proclaimed or reserved to members of the household of faith, we have received some from written sources, while others have been given to us secretly, through apostolic tradition. Both sources have equal force in true religion. No one would deny either source--no one, at any rate, who is even slightly familiar with the ordinances of the Church. If we attacked unwritten customs, claiming them to be of little importance, we would fatally mutilate the Gospel, no matter what our intentions--or rather, we would reduce the Gospel teachings to bare words." _On the Holy Spirit_, pp. 98-99.

It is wrong to cite snippets from the fathers, and then claim that such decontextualized quotes are their teaching. It is as if one snipped a piece of St. Basil's beard and said, "This is Basil's beard; therefore this is Basil."

cheryl said...

Alot of the mischief in the church is caused by extra-biblical tradition though, that is the traditions individuals carry with them to the Scriptures. I agree with you that there are things like semper virgo, that can be construed as extra-biblical tradition, but which are just as doctrinally important, as that found in Scripture. But on the other hand, it's amazing what happens when Scripture is simply allowed to speak for itself...no assembly required.

Anonymous said...

Father Robb, don't you have some sheep to tend to, or steal, or something like that?

William Weedon said...

Father Gregory,

Have you read The Morals? You might want to, if you haven't, before you judge that this is a snippet out of context. You'd find some other statements that would trouble you as well. And you might wish to consult the first chapters of On the Holy Spirit as well. Finally, I'd also recommend the work from which this citation was taken:

“But if ‘the Lord is faithful in all his words,’ and ‘all his commandments are faithful, confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth and equity’ to delete anything that is written down or to interpolate anything that is not written amounts to an open defection from the faith and makes the offender liable to a charge of contempt. For our Lord Jesus Christ says: ‘My sheep hear my voice,’ and before this, He said: ‘But a stranger they follow not but fly from him because they know not the voice of strangers.’ And the Apostle, using a human parallel, more strongly forbids adding to or removing anything from Holy Writ in the following words: ‘ yet a man’s testament if it be confirmed, no man despiseth or addeth to it.” St. Basil the Great, Concerning Faith, p. 59 (Vol 9 TFOTC)

William Weedon said...

Dear Anon,

Please refrain from such comments on this blog - Fr. Gregory, even when you disagree with him and his actions, is still a neighbor and thus we owe to Him and to our God to put the best construction upon his actions. He is prompted by his heart-felt belief that he has found the one true Church and he wishes all to enter it with him. Understand that, and you will understand his zeal. I disagree with him, but he is an honorable man and a godly one and we should respect him for his zeal and honor the office he holds.

William Weedon said...

Oh, and Fr. Gregory, it's denial is a rejection of Scripture, for "this gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it. Therefore it shall remain shut."

William Weedon said...

Cheryl,

Forgot to add a hearty "Amen" to your last sentence especially.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Thank you, Pr. Weedon. It is good to hear that you still believe in the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos. As to the post by "anonymous," I see he/she is still lurking out there. (I used to see anonymous a lot on "What you do, do quickly.") God bless you, anonymous.