5 Solas prior to the Reformation

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Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
I'm in a civil debate with a Roman Catholic (a traditionalist one) and a Eastern Orthodox. It was said that none of the 5 solas where believed prior to Martin Luther, of course I know John Hus, Augustine, and many others are considered for that but I want proofs (those outside of scripture as well because arguing a sola scriptura position against them is irrelevant). I'd appreciate sources.

Actually I'd especially appreciate sources on the role of scripture as dominate in church affairs over tradition.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Here are a few things I have - although it should be remembered that there is a real danger of anachronism, and that the church fathers are by no means always consistent with themselves.

Epistle to Diognetus
As long then as the former time endured, He permitted us to be borne along by unruly impulses, being drawn away by the desire of pleasure and various lusts. This was not that He at all delighted in our sins, but that He simply endured them; nor that He approved the time of working iniquity which then was, but that He sought to form a mind conscious of righteousness, so that being convinced in that time of our unworthiness of attaining life through our own works, it should now, through the kindness of God, be vouchsafed to us; and having made it manifest that in ourselves we were unable to enter into the kingdom of God, we might through the power of God be made able. But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed for manifesting His own kindness and power, how the one love of God, through exceeding regard for men, did not regard us with hatred, nor thrust us away, nor remember our iniquity against us, but showed great long-suffering, and bore with us, He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors! Having therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain to life, and having now revealed the Savior who is able to save even those things which it was [formerly] impossible to save, by both these facts He desired to lead us to trust in His kindness, to esteem Him our Nourisher, Father, Teacher, Counselor, Healer, our Wisdom, Light, Honor, Glory, Power, and Life, so that we should not be anxious concerning clothing and food.

John of Damascus, Dogmatic Chapters

All things, therefore, that have been delivered to us by Law and Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists we receive, and know, and honor, seeking for nothing beyond these. For God, being good, is the cause of all good, subject neither to envy nor to any passion. For envy is far removed from the Divine nature, which is both passionless and only good. As knowing all things, therefore, and providing for what is profitable for each, He revealed that which it was to our profit to know; but what we were unable to bear He kept secret. With these things let us be satisfied, and let us abide by them, not removing everlasting boundaries, nor overpassing the divine tradition.
(...)
But neither do we know, nor can we tell, what the essence of God is, or how it is in all, or how the Only-begotten Son and God, having emptied Himself, became Man of virgin blood, made by another law contrary to nature, or how He walked with dry feet upon the waters. It is not within our capacity, therefore, to say anything about God or even to think of Him, beyond the things which have been divinely revealed to us, whether by word or by manifestation, by the divine oracles at once of the Old Testament and of the New.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica P.1-Q.1-A.8-R.O.2
Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): “Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning.”

William Whitaker collects many testimonies, especially from Augustine and Chrysostom (which are good because the RC should respect the one and the EO the other) about the supreme authority of Scripture in his Disputations on Holy Scripture. You can also hunt through the board archives for posts by user D. He collected an enormous amount of helpful patristic material.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I think if you do the search I recommend, you won't need to do much else. To get you started, here are a few threads:

http://www.puritanboard.com/f35/theodoret-definite-atonement-9738/

http://www.puritanboard.com/f35/justification-faith-patristic-doctrine-20449/

http://www.puritanboard.com/f35/augustine-definite-atonement-brief-reference-passing-43532/

http://www.puritanboard.com/f35/basil-caesarea-justification-49085/

If you click on the username of the original poster on those threads, there will be an option to "View Forum Posts" by that user. That will give you enough material to keep this discussion going for a long time.
 
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