Author Topic: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy  (Read 4658 times)

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Offline CDHealy

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Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« on: Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 10:14:42 »
Advocates for sola scriptura argue that Christians need a written record since oral tradition is so given to inaccuracies and therefore untrustworthy.  Aside from the fact that anthropological studies have demonstrated the extremely accurate fidelity of oral traditions in cultures for whom such traditions are central to their culture (unlike literate cultures such as ours), there is a very accessible way to demonstrate both the accuracy and trustworthiness of the oral apostolic tradition.

If one were to compare contemporary Christian writers, who were separated by significant geographical distance, and were writing before the full canonization of the Christian Scriptures, and even during the period when there was some dispute over which books were Scripture, and also during the period when many heresies had arisen, and if those writers provided a summary of the Christian faith, then one can readily compare whether or not the oral apostolic tradition is accurate and trustworthy.  As St. Irenaeus of Lyon writes:

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As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points (of doctrine) just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shineth everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.(St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, Bk I, Ch. X, Par. 2)


Now, the historical period that would be ideal, in my view, would be the end of the second century, or beginning of the third.  My reasons that this period would be ideal are these:
1. Although all of the New Testament books had been written, historical evidence indicates that not only did not all Christian communities have all of the New Testament books, but that some considered certain books divinely authoritative that others did not, some of which in fact did make it into the New Testament canon (e. g., Revelation) and some of which in fact did not (e. g., Shepherd of Hermas).  Thus, given these canonical discrepancies, it would be theoretically possible for there to be equally discrepant practices and beliefs among these far-flung contemporary Christian groups.
2. Furthermore, given 1, there would need to be a great reliance on oral apostolic tradition, all the more so, if, as scholars generally assume, the vast majority of Christians at the end of the second century (and generally throughout history) were illiterate and entirely dependent on oral tradition.
3.  Thus, given 1 and 2, if oral tradition is inaccurate and untrustworthy, if one selects contemporary communities in geographically distant locales, it would stand to reason that there would potentially be great discrepancies among the central beliefs that they hold.

I will demonstrate that 3 is false, and that therefore the claim by sola scriptura advocates that oral tradition is unreliable is unfounded.

My three representative writers will be St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in western Europe; Tertullian of Carthage in northern Africa; and Origen of Alexandria, also in northern Africa to the west of Carthage.  Lyons is definitely significantly geographically distant from northern Africa, though Alexandria and Carthage are near enough to be geographically linked via trade routes.  Furthermore, Alexandria was well known for number of Christian heresies arising from teachers resident there.  Indeed, certain doctrines espoused by Origen were later condemned by ecumenical council.  And Tertullian himself later embraced the sectarian heresy of Montanism.  So this should be enough thrown in the mix to give one a reason to think there would be great discrepancy in the faith of these three men.

Since St. Irenaeus can be considered an orthodox standard against which to judge the others, I will cite him first.

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The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: (She believes) in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His (future) manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father "to gather all things in one," [Ephesians 1:10] and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess" [Philippians 2:10-11] to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send "spiritual wickednesses," [Ephesians 6:12] and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning (of their Christian course), and others from (the date of) their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.(St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, Bk I, Ch. X, Par. 1)


Next, let's look at Tertullian, who later abandoned the faith.

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Now, with regard to this rule of faith-that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend-it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen "in diverse manners" by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.  (Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics, Ch. 13)


And finally, Origen, who, although some of his doctrines were later condemned, was nontheless a significant influence on orthodox Christian writers such as St. Maximus the Confessor. 

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The particular points clearly delivered in the teaching of the apostles are as follow:-

First, That there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being-God from the first creation and foundation of the world-the God of all just men, of Adam, Abel, Seth, Enos, Enoch, Noe, Sere, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets; and that this God in the last days, as He had announced beforehand by His prophets, sent our Lord Jesus Christ to call in the first place Israel to Himself, and in the second place the Gentiles, after the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel. This just and good God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself gave the law and the prophets, and the Gospels, being also the God of the apostles and of the Old and New Testaments.

Secondly, That Jesus Christ Himself, who came (into the world), was born of the Father before all creatures; that, after He had been the servant of the Father in the creation of all things-"For by Him were all things made" [John 1:3]-He in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was; that He assumed a body like to our own, differing in this respect only, that it was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit: that this Jesus Christ was truly born, and did truly suffer, and did not endure this death common (to man) in appearance only, but did truly die; that He did truly rise from the dead; and that after His resurrection He conversed with His disciples, and was taken up (into heaven).

Then, Thirdly, the apostles related that the Holy Spirit was associated in honour and dignity with the Father and the Son. But in His case it is not clearly distinguished whether He is to be regarded as born or innate, or also as a Son of God or not: for these are points which have to be inquired into out of sacred Scripture according to the best of our ability, and which demand careful investigation. And that this Spirit inspired each one of the saints, whether prophets or apostles; and that there was not one Spirit in the men of the old dispensation, and another in those who were inspired at the advent of Christ, is most clearly taught throughout the Churches.

After these points, also, the apostolic teaching is that the soul, having a substance and life of its own, shall, after its departure from the world, be rewarded according to its deserts, being destined to obtain either an inheritance of eternal life and blessedness, if its actions shall have procured this for it, or to be delivered up to eternal fire and punishments, if the guilt of its crimes shall have brought it down to this: and also, that there is to be a time of resurrection from the dead, when this body, which now "is sown in corruption, shall rise in incorruption," and that which "is sown in dishonour will rise in glory."[1 Corinthians 15:42-43](Origen, De Principiis, Preface, Pars. 4-5)


One can easily note the striking similarity on doctrinal points as well as verbal formulations (even in translation, and from different original languages) of these three writers.

All that remains is to juxtapose these teachings against the Scriptures to note, even on sola scriptura terms, the apostolic origin of these teachings, and therefore their divine authority.

Now, let me readily admit that my stress on the oral apostolic tradition might well be compromised by the following facts.
1. All three of my representatives are literate, indeed, Origen is recognized as a brilliant genius.  These men themselves were not dependent wholly on oral tradition for their summations, but could recall those apostolic writings they had themselves read.
2. St. Irenaeus and Origen both cite Scripture directly, thereby demonstrating that they relied on the apostolic writings.
These facts would seem to obviate my claims that oral apostolic tradition was both accurate and trustworthy, for it seems clear that these men were not using oral apostolic tradition but the apostolic writings themselves.

But here's why such facts do not, contrary to my sola scriptura interlocutors, obviate my claims for the accuracy and trustworthiness of the oral apostolic tradition.

These men are offering summations of the faith, which requires not merely the direct reliance on Scripture, but an interpretive framework by which they can select and emphasize those different texts (and they use different texts to make the same points).  Furthermore, which books were deemed Scripture was itself not always a certainty, and this required some sort of incipient canon handed down through oral apostolic tradition.  That the Gnostic heretics in Alexandria emphasized different canonical and non-canonical texts, and interpreted them in a vastly different way from our writers is both obvious and evidence that our writers were not just operating from private interpretations but from a tradition that they themselves had received.

Now, it may well be that some other explanation(s) than oral apostolic tradition accounts for this consonance, but it's hard to know what that could be.  One could not appeal to private interpretation, for that would be belied by the heresies that also arose from private interpretation.  One could suppose that God worked directly on the minds of these men in separate locales to sum up the faith just in the way they did, but one wonders how this differs in essence from direct inspiration, and one is also hard pressed to justify that explanation in the face of Origen's heresies, and Tertullian's later abadonment of the faith.  One also wonders why such direct inspiration is not more readily at work today, given the increasing discrepancies among Christian bodies to sum up the faith.

No, given the facts, the best explanation which does not involve special pleading (direct inspiration) or manifest contradiction (private interpretation) is going to be that these men relied on the oral apostolic tradition, which had been faithfully and carefully transmitted throughout out varying geographical, religious and cultural locales.

Thus, oral apostolic tradition is accurate and trustworthy, and the fact that Scripture itself commands us to attend to both oral and written apostolic tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15) is enough to bolster this contention on its own in sola scriptura terms.

*Please note that I am indebted for my references to St. Irenaeus, Origen and Tertullian above in a passing reference by Eric Jay in his article "From Presbyter-Bishops to Bishops and Presbyters."

katholikos

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #1 on: Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 12:37:19 »
I responded to your post, but for some reason somebody moved my post over here: LINK

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #2 on: Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 12:56:57 »
katholikos:

I had asked that it be moved to its own thread since it is much narrower in scope than the present thread.  I'll respond to your post in that thread.

mods:

Thanks for the new thread.

katholikos

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #3 on: Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 13:01:50 »
katholikos:

I had asked that it be moved to its own thread since it is much narrower in scope than the present thread.  I'll respond to your post in that thread.

mods:

Thanks for the new thread.

Okay. I will continue over there. Just to clarify: I was merely trying to show that there are some "Traditions" of the ECF's which the EO's do not hold to, a fact which I thought was pertinent to the discussion. I was not trying to start a discussion on the papacy.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #4 on: Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 13:23:32 »
In my response, I have attempted to demonstrate that the Orthodox rejection of the universal jurisdiction of the Pope is, in fact, a consistent adherence to and application of the Tradition.

Offline Wycliffes_Shillelagh

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #5 on: Wed Jan 21, 2009 - 21:15:36 »
So a thought:

You say that the oral tradition is accurate.  But in what points?  Your authors agree in major theological tenets, so certainly we may say that in these points they are accurate.

But what of obscure points which are related only by one or a few of the church fathers?  What of those points which are not covered AT ALL by any of the fathers?  What of those doctrines which were clearly formulated well after the end of the apostolic age?

How should we say that these innovations are reliable, when their source is not from the beginning?

BTW, I enjoyed the quote from Origen.  It clearly refutes the Pentecostal view that the Spirit was not bestowed until after the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.  Which leads to a question...what then was Jesus talking about when he promised them a Comforter that had not had before?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #6 on: Thu Jan 22, 2009 - 10:23:13 »
So a thought:

You say that the oral tradition is accurate.  But in what points?

To be admittedly a little circular here (but with some explanation): in all the points that pertain to the Apostolic Tradition.

Now, your question is: what is that Tradition?  It is the one mind of the Church (Ephesians 4) which is the Gospel of Christ.  How do we know that is that one mind of the Church, that content of the Gospel?  As St. Vincent of Lerins put it: that which is believed everywhere, always and by all.  That is to say, if something has ubiquity (it has been held everywhere there are Apostolically founded Churches, and their daughter Churches), has antiquity (it has been believed by the Churches founded by the Apostles, and their daughter Churches), and has unanimity/consensus (*all* the Churches founded by the Apostles, and their daughter Churches, believe this), then the matter may be considered Apostolic Tradition.

Of course, I hasten to add that St. Vincent also noted that it had to be in conformity with the Tradition as written in the Scriptures.  But his point on ubiquity, antiquity and consensus was that there are disagreements on what the Scriptures do mean, so when there are the disputes, one appeals to these three qualities.

I also want to stress: the key, not only for St. Vincent, but also for St. Irenaeus of Lyons, and others, was "what do the Churches founded by the Apostles say?"  So, what are the views of Antioch?  What are the views of Thessaloniki?  What are the views of Corinth? What are the views of Jerusalem?  And so on.  Clearly, no one of these Churches could have been appealed to as the sole infallible interpreter/arbiter of Tradition (which history demonstrates), but St. Vincent isn't asking what any one of them believes, but what do all of them believe, since, given their closer connection to the Apostles than say the Churches in Gaul, they would reasonably have a clearer idea of what St. Paul, or St. Barnabas or whomever taught.  But it was especially important that it could be determined that a teaching was traced back to the Apostles (which is St. Irenaeus' point in his work).

Your authors agree in major theological tenets, so certainly we may say that in these points they are accurate.

Yes, to speak minimally.  But since these *are* major theological tenets and since these authors *do* agree, it gives us a reasonable presumption that, unless proved otherwise, the other matters on which they argree are authoritative and accurate as well.

But what of obscure points which are related only by one or a few of the church fathers?

Again, the so-called "Vincentian canon" noted above is a guide (though, I hasten to say, not a fixed and inflexible law).  If only a few, or only one, Church Father holds a thing to be Tradition, and if this point does not seem consonant with the things we do have agreement on, then we may feel free to express doubt about a matter.  It may be adiophora anyway, so it is neither harmful to hold it and helpful to hold it, so it may be held, but not eleveated to the level of Tradition.  For example: Church vestments for clergy.  All clergy wear them, and there are traditions about their wear, it would be improper for a clergyman to simply refuse to wear them, but vestments in and of themselves do not invalidate or validate a service or a sacrament.

What of those points which are not covered AT ALL by any of the fathers?

The  Church Fathers are not for us like a college of popes.  They are not in themselves infallible.  They are witnesses to the Church's life and Tradition.  We Orthodox have something like a proverb which goes, 100% of the Church Fathers are 85% Orthodox.  Even such luminous saints as Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa have parts of their writings which the Church has rejected, while it adheres to the rest of their teachings.

Further, the sources of the Church's Tradition are not simply an accumulation of all the Church's writtend documents.  There is one and only one Tradition, and that Tradition is expressed in the Scriptures, in the lives of her members, in the writings of her leaders (Church Fathers), in her worship (partiuclarly her liturgies), in her canons (regulating her life and administration), in the Sacraments (which are the life of Christ himself), and so forth.

So, whether the Church holds to a practice/teaching which is not at all found in the writings of the Church Fathers is irrelevant as a fact in and of itself.  I think I'm on firm ground in saying that no Church Father wrote about transmitting the Gospel via internet podcasts.  But doing so is not only NOT a violation of the Tradition, but is wholly consonant with it.

Finally, it has always been the case of the Church, that when confronted with a new practice or a situation in which there is to be exercised some sort of discernment, the Church is quite willing to take its time--even for decades or centuries--to consider a matter.

What of those doctrines which were clearly formulated well after the end of the apostolic age?

It is the Orthodox view that there have been no new doctrines forumalated since the time of the Apostles.  We have been given *the* Faith, *once* for all delivered to the saints.  The Apostles had no less knowledge of this Faith than do we.  So the question doesn't apply.

However, because of the rise of heresies and other innovations which the Apostles did not teach, the Church has had to find ways to safeguard the deposit of the Faith and thus new expressions have arisen (homoousias, Theotokos) which have been used to ensure that the exact same Faith revealed to the Apostles and handed down by them is the exact same Faith we hand down to the others.

Rome, a la Cardinal Newman, *does* believe she has developed new doctrines that the Apostles could not/did not know.  To the Orthodox, this is an admission of the departure from the Faith.

How should we say that these innovations are reliable, when their source is not from the beginning?

Well, I would question how we could know that the source was not apostolic, and how we would know that a source is not from the beginning.  Simply because we have no forensic or archaeological evidence of such a linkage does not necessarily imply that the source is not originally apostolic.  Absence of proof does not constitute proof of absence.

But again, I would refer you back to the comments above: if it is in concert with that which has been held by everyone, always, and everywhere, then it is reasonable to presume its apostolic origins.

BTW, I enjoyed the quote from Origen.  It clearly refutes the Pentecostal view that the Spirit was not bestowed until after the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.  Which leads to a question...what then was Jesus talking about when he promised them a Comforter that had not had before?

This assumes that Jesus' promise is different from the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit, and that Jesus did not have the authority to bestow the Spirit upon the Apostles prior to His outpouring on Pentecost.  I assume that the Apostles were given the Spirit in Acts 20, and that the Spirit came upon them again in the upper room.  I see  no reason to assume Christ could not or would not do that.

But I've also heard a couple of other explanations (I don't know if I buy either of them): a) Jesus' bestowal was typological, and the full/real outpouring was at Pentecost, b) Jesus' bestowal was temporary, and Pentecost was final.

Whatever.

Offline Wycliffes_Shillelagh

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #7 on: Thu Jan 22, 2009 - 14:11:35 »
What of those doctrines which were clearly formulated well after the end of the apostolic age?

It is the Orthodox view that there have been no new doctrines forumalated since the time of the Apostles.  We have been given *the* Faith, *once* for all delivered to the saints.  The Apostles had no less knowledge of this Faith than do we.  So the question doesn't apply.
Original Sin.
Infant Baptism.
The Nicene formulation of the Trinity.
Purgatory.

I could probably make a pretty good list if I really tried instead of just starting to name things off the top of my head.  Some of those might not apply to you; I don't think you believe in Original Sin?  is that right?

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But again, I would refer you back to the comments above: if it is in concert with that which has been held by everyone, always, and everywhere, then it is reasonable to presume its apostolic origins.
Well in this case, it wouldn't be 'always' so this solution is a bit like instructions on "how to use litmus paper when you're out of litmus paper."

BTW, I enjoyed the quote from Origen.  It clearly refutes the Pentecostal view that the Spirit was not bestowed until after the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.  Which leads to a question...what then was Jesus talking about when he promised them a Comforter that had not had before?

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This assumes that Jesus' promise is different from the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit, and that Jesus did not have the authority to bestow the Spirit upon the Apostles prior to His outpouring on Pentecost.  I assume that the Apostles were given the Spirit in Acts 20, and that the Spirit came upon them again in the upper room.  I see  no reason to assume Christ could not or would not do that.
No it doesn't make that assumption.  Because I believe otherwise than what you've written.  I'm assuming that there's a problem with the Pentecostal doctrine that the Spirit was not poured out on men prior to that time.

Thank you for your...thorough....reply.  ::smile::



Offline CDHealy

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Re: Why Oral Apostolic Tradition is Accurate and Trustworthy
« Reply #8 on: Thu Jan 22, 2009 - 15:16:34 »
What of those doctrines which were clearly formulated well after the end of the apostolic age?

It is the Orthodox view that there have been no new doctrines forumalated since the time of the Apostles.  We have been given *the* Faith, *once* for all delivered to the saints.  The Apostles had no less knowledge of this Faith than do we.  So the question doesn't apply.
Original Sin.
Infant Baptism.
The Nicene formulation of the Trinity.
Purgatory.

I could probably make a pretty good list if I really tried instead of just starting to name things off the top of my head.  Some of those might not apply to you; I don't think you believe in Original Sin?  is that right?

Original Sin: It depends on whether you mean the Roman Catholic view or the Orthodox view.  The RC view *is* indeed an innovation.  But the Orthodox view is simply the view of Romans 5: that the sin of Adam and Eve caused mortality to become part of human nature, and as such was then passed down to all descendents of Adam and Eve, and because of this mortality, humans were weakened and more susceptible to sin.  But the Orthodox do not believe that the guilt of Adam and Eve passed down to their children, nor do we believe in the Calvinist innovation (an extreme application of St. Augustine) that all are born total depraved.

Infant baptism: Its taken directly the NT--Jesus castigating those who would keep the little children from him, telling us we are to have the faith of a little child, the baptism of entire households, etc.  These aren't innovations, but are entirely keeping with the Apsostolic Faith.

Nicene Trinitarianism: Again, not an innovation--see the Scriptural accounts of the baptism of Jesus by John, the Trinitarian formulations (such as at the end of Mt 28) and so forth.

Purgatory: Again, if by that you mean the Roman Catholic doctrine, then, yes, this is an innovation.  Orthodox beliefs about the after life (i.e., our prayers for the "dead") have been taken to be the same thing as Purgatory, but this is an anachronisitc understanding.  And, again, the Orthodox view is taken from 1 Corinthians 3.

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But again, I would refer you back to the comments above: if it is in concert with that which has been held by everyone, always, and everywhere, then it is reasonable to presume its apostolic origins.
Well in this case, it wouldn't be 'always' so this solution is a bit like instructions on "how to use litmus paper when you're out of litmus paper."

Actually, as I've sketched, it *would* be always.

BTW, I enjoyed the quote from Origen.  It clearly refutes the Pentecostal view that the Spirit was not bestowed until after the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.  Which leads to a question...what then was Jesus talking about when he promised them a Comforter that had not had before?

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This assumes that Jesus' promise is different from the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit, and that Jesus did not have the authority to bestow the Spirit upon the Apostles prior to His outpouring on Pentecost.  I assume that the Apostles were given the Spirit in Acts 20, and that the Spirit came upon them again in the upper room.  I see  no reason to assume Christ could not or would not do that.
No it doesn't make that assumption.  Because I believe otherwise than what you've written.  I'm assuming that there's a problem with the Pentecostal doctrine that the Spirit was not poured out on men prior to that time.[/quote]

I meant to type John 20, not Acts 20.  In any case, I don't get what you're getting at, so I'll leave it there.

 

     
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