24 May 2011

Patristic Quote of the Day

There comes a heathen and says, I wish to become a Christian, but I know not whom to join: there is much fighting and faction among you, much confusion: which doctrine am I to choose? How shall we answer him? Each of you (says he) asserts, ' I speak the truth.' No doubt: this is in our favor. For if we told you to be persuaded by arguments, you might well be perplexed: but if we bid you believe the Scriptures, and these are simple and true, the decision is easy for you. If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from this rule. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 33 on Acts


Ps-Iosifson said...
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Ps-Iosifson said...

That just kicks the can down the road these days. Now, each asserts, 'I speak the truth [form Scripture].' Now, every church tries to persuade by arguments from Scripture, leaving all as equally perplexed.

I'm guessing St. John is here speaking more about Gnostics and their various arguments from hierarchies and genealogies, etc., or against the hellenizing philosopher-theologians arguing given points of doctrine based on Aristotle and Plato and Plotinus.

William Weedon said...

Oh, not so much. What it does is refuse to offer the cop-out argument: Trust us, we're the church and we can't get things wrong - after all we believe we've been here from the start. Rather, it invites each hearer to see whether what X Church is professing accords with what the inspired Apostles and Prophets wrote down for us in the Sacred Scriptures as a light for our path - not something that needed illumining.

Ps-Iosifson said...

Exactly, it moves from "persuade by argument" to "persuade by argument on Scripture". It's still attempted persuasion by conflicting, contradictory argumentation.

Encouragement to think and investigate for oneself is laudable.