29 July 2009

Patristic Quote of the Day

Their complaint is that their custom does not accept this, and that Scripture does not agree. What is my reply? I do not consider it fair that the custom which obtains among them should be regarded as a law and rule of orthodoxy. If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this, we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favour of that side will be cast the vote of truth. -- St. Basil the Great, Letter 189


Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Great quote from the greatest of the Fathers in the East. Too bad the "Eastern Orthodox" didn't listen closely enough to him.

Trent said...

With St. Basil’s quote in mind, it proves that intercessory prayer is Biblical, correct Paul? If not, than either a) St. Basil forgot this line of thinking that Pastor Weedon quoted when he wrote his intercessory prayers or b) you are ascribing your own meaning to St. Basil’s thoughts on Scripture and Tradition other than what was his (for lack of a better term) “original intent”.

"Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the Apostles by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion, have the same force." ST. Basil, Holy Spirit 27

"Eastern Orthodox"

William Weedon said...


Of course intercessory prayer is Biblical; who on earth denies that? Were you referring to invocation of the saints? Certainly I, for one, do not dispute St. Basil advocated that (see his final letter - rather famous). Yet it is a practice that would seem to fall afoul of his own criterion.

For when it comes to St. Basil's approach to Scripture, at least from my admittedly limited reading in the English translations of his work, the majority of the time he speaks quite along the lines of the passage I cited from his letters. The passage from On the Holy Spirit is actually the "grace note" if you will to the main theme. Consider also:

“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, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC).

Trent said...

"Yet it is a practice that would seem to fall afoul of his own criterion" .

I agree, the Lutheran practice does fall afoul of Basil's own criterion.


William Weedon said...

Naughty, Trent! You know that's not what I meant. :)