Sola Scriptura: The Bible alone is enough!

Apostolic Fathers used scripture as the primary defense against false doctrine.

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Mandatory: Apostolic Fathers Catechism Class for Catholics and Orthodox.

350 AD: Hilary of Poitiers:

  1. "Such is their error, such their pestilent teaching; to support it they borrow the words of Scripture, perverting its meaning and using the ignorance of men as their opportunity of gaining credence for their lies. Yet it is certainly by these same words of God that we must come to understand the things of God." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book IV, 14)
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    An amazing text that refutes the Roman Catholic and Orthodox apologists claim that the church refuted heresy with "tradition" because they found that arguing scripture with the heretics futile, since the heretics also quoted scripture. Here we see as late as 350 AD, the church realized that the word of God, not tradition, was the source of how to "
    understand the things of God".
  2. But now let us continue our reading of this Scripture, to shew how the consistency of truth is unaffected by these dishonest objections. (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 5, 9)
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    Contrary to the claims of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, even after the Nicene creed, the church still used scripture as the primary force against the false doctrine of the Arians!
  3. "Having therefore held this faith from the beginning, and being resolved to hold it to the end in the sight of God and Christ, we say anathema to every heretical and perverted sect, and if any man teaches contrary to the wholesome and right faith of the Scriptures, saying that there is or was time, or space, or age before the Son was begotten, let him be anathema. And if any one say that the Son is a formation like one of the things that are formed, or a birth resembling other births, or a creature like the creatures, and not as the divine Scriptures have affirmed in each passage aforesaid, or teaches or proclaims as the Gospel anything else than what we have received: let him be anathema. For all those things which were written in the divine Scriptures by Prophets and by Apostles we believe and follow truly and with fear." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Councils, or the Faith of the Easterns, 30)
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    Hilary equates, the
    "faith from the beginning" with "faith of the Scriptures" and saw no difference.
  4. "Ignorance of prophetic diction and unskillfulness in interpreting Scripture has led them into a perversion of the point and meaning of the passage." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 1, 35)
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    Notice how Hilary expected the heretics to be able to understand the scriptures correctly! A Roman Catholic or Orthodox would never say this. Instead, they would say, "The reason the heretics are wrong, is the fact that it is impossible for them to understand the scriptures because only the church can correct interpret the Bible"! If Hilary were Roman Catholic, he would have said, "Its not because of your "ignorance and lack of skill" it's the fact that you are trying at all! Just ask me what the correct interpretation is!" Or even simpler, "Be silent heretic, and read the Nicene creed for yourself!"
  5. "In order to solve as easily as possible this most difficult problem, we must first master the knowledge which the Divine Scriptures give of Father and of Son, that so we may speak with more precision, as dealing with familiar and accustomed matters." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 3, 2)
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    Hilary again shows that the individual skill can make a difference in properly understanding the Bible whether you are in the church or a heretic! His solution to the Arian controversy was in the scripture, not the Nicene creed.
  6. "Such suggestions are inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 16)
    "There is no room for deception;
    the words of Scripture are clear" (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 32)
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    Hilary again states that the Bible is understandable! He dismisses the heretics, not because they can't understand the Bible, but because their doctrines are contrary to the "clear sense of Scripture". The Bible is clear! Its easy to understand! Hilary wonders why the Arians cannot see it? The Orthodox and Roman Catholics teach that the Bible is a veiled document that only becomes clear to the leaders.
  7. Their treason involves us in the difficult and dangerous position of having to make a definite pronouncement, beyond the statements of Scripture, upon this grave and abstruse matter. (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 2, 5)
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    Hilary states going "
    beyond the statements of Scripture" as a being "difficult and dangerous". While we feel it would have been better in the "Arian wars" for even the Nicene Fathers to simply maintain the personality of the Holy Spirit and the uncreated divinity of Christ, at least it bothered Hilary to venture into area where the scriptures were silent, like the question of whether Jesus was made up of the same stuff as the Father or not, in trying to explain the fact that God is three and one. Hilary echoes what Paul said in 1 Cor 4:6 "learn not to exceed what is written". If Hilary where Roman Catholic or Orthodox, he never make such a statement because of the separate witness of Tradition they rely upon. Notice that even though Hilary had the Nicene creed, he still used scripture, not "tradition" to prove the truth!
  8. "Now that we have exposed their plan of belittling the Son under cover of magnifying the Father, the next step is to listen to the exact terms in which they express their own belief concerning the Son. For, since we have to answer in succession each of their allegations and to display on the evidence of Holy Scripture the impiety of their doctrines" (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 11)
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    Wow, we love this statement by Hilary! He sounds quite "un-Catholic" and rather "Protestant" in his scriptural "proof-texting" to refute the Arians! On every little point the Arians taught, Hilary proved them wrong, not from the Nicene Creed that was now 25 years old, but from the scriptures!
  9. "Yet it is well for us to know all that has been revealed upon the subject, for though we are not responsible for the words of Scripture, yet we shall have to render an account for the sense we have assigned to them." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 19)
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    If the church is the infallible interpreter of Scripture as directed by the Holy Spirit, why would Hilary worry about the interpretation? Obviously then, each individual is responsible for the way they interpret scripture!
  10. "And now, although we have found the sense of Scripture, as we understand it, in harmony with the conclusions of ordinary reason, the two agreeing that equality is incompatible either with diversity or with isolation, yet we must seek a fresh support for Our contention from actual words of our Lord. For only so can we check that licence of arbitrary interpretation whereby these bold traducers of the faith would even venture to cavil [raise trivial objections] at the Lord's solemn self-revelation." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 16)
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    Another powerful statement by Hilary that the scriptures are to be interpreted by the individual. Notice he does not say, "we are the church, we have the Holy Spirit to guide our interpretation", but "as we understand it". He also says that the natural reading of scripture is enough. Why do the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches think that what they write is understandable with "ordinary reason", but what God writes is confusing to all unless you are the Pope? If non-Catholics cannot understand the Bible apart from "God's organization", because the scripture is veiled to the common man, why would they expect the common man to understand their defense of doctrine? Yet Orthodox and Catholic defenders think they are better skilled at writing religious literature than God! For only in their writings can man understand truth!
  11. "The Scripture is accurate and consistent; we detect no such confusion as the plural used of the One God and Lord" (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 28)
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    Hilary takes confidence in the scriptures when he refuted the Arians who taught Jesus was a creature!
  12. "And it is obvious that these dissensions concerning the faith result from a distorted mind, which twists the words of Scripture into conformity with its opinion, instead of adjusting that opinion to the words of Scripture." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 4)
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    Notice how different Hilary sounds from Catholics and Orthodox: They want heretics to adjust their views to the traditions of the church, or whatever the Pope or the priest teaches, but Hilary pointed them straight to scripture and expected the Bible to be the final authority.
  13. "This is no unsupported statement of his own, which might lead to error, but a warning to us to confess that Christ died and rose after a real manner, not a nominal, since the tact is certified by the full weight of Scripture authority; and that we must understand His death in that exact sense in which Scripture declares it. In his regard for the perplexities and scruples of the weak and sensitive believer, he adds these solemn concluding words, according to the Scriptures, to his proclamation of the death and the resurrection. He would not have us grow weaker, driven about by every wind of vain doctrine, or vexed by empty subtleties and false doubts: he would summon faith to return, before it were shipwrecked, to the haven of piety, believing and confessing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God, according to the Scriptures, this being the safeguard of reverence against the attack of the adversary, so to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as it was written of Him. There is no danger in faith: the reverent confession of the hidden mystery of God is always safe. Christ was born of the Virgin, but conceived of the Holy Ghost according to the Scriptures. Christ wept, but according to the Scriptures: that which made Him weep was also a cause of joy. Christ hungered; but according to the Scriptures, He used His power as God against the tree which bore no fruit, when He had no loath Christ suffered: but according to the Scriptures, He was about to sit at the right hand of Power. He complained that He was abandoned to die: but according to the Scriptures, at the same moment He received in His kingdom in Paradise the thief who confessed Him. He died: but according to the Scriptures, He rose again and sits at the right hand of God. In the belief of this mystery there is life: this confession resists all attack." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 10, 67)
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    Notice how Hilary engages in "proof-texting"! After each statement of faith, he refers the reader, not to some human creed, council or the authority of the church, but to the scriptures themselves! He feels that the scriptures, not some creed, are able to "
    resists all attack" from heretics! He speaks of how his doctrine is "certified by the full weight of Scripture authority" and is "that exact sense in which Scripture declares". Hilary sure doesn't sound like a Catholic or Orthodox! Why does he not say, "forget what the Bible says" you can't understand it anyway... the church currently teaches..."


by Steve Rudd


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