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Author Topic: Are the Five Solas basically negative truth claims?  (Read 2035 times) Average Rating: 0
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Volnutt
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« on: March 19, 2012, 05:39:42 PM »

It sure seems that way to me. Each of them: Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Sola Gratia, and Soli Deo Gloria all arose as privations, limitations,and denials or some real or imagined practice or teaching of the Roman Catholic Church (and, based on the Tubingen corresponence, we can say they are negations of Eastern Orthodox claims as well).

Since a negative cannot be proven, it seems to me that the Five Solas are dead on arrival. Since it is only with the Reformation that we find them explicitly articulated, any attempt to claim that the Early Church taught them is by definition unprovable. Sure, there are passages of Scripture and statements of the Fathers which seem to fit with Protestant theology better than RCC/Oriental/Eastern Orthodox theology (I lumb them together because the Five Solas more or less apply to them equally) but ultimately the most that can be done is to say that these are mere curiosities and difficulties for the RCC/Oriental/Eastern Orthodox because the burden of proof on the Five Solas is so large as to be insurmountable both by virtue of their nature as negative true claims and by virtue of their historical "lateness to the party."

It seems to me therefore that when you take a "bird's eye" view of Church History, the priniciples of the Reformation lose by default and the only theological disputes that remain are those within and between the various ancient churches.

A possible argument against this that I can see revolves around the accusation that I am assuming a priori that "ancient Christianity"= "modern RCC/Oriental/Eastern Orthodox Christianity." I suppos it could be argued that the correct procedure would be to draw a giant "question mark" over the beliefs of the earliest Christians and attempt to cull their beliefs from Scripture and the earliest Fathers without reference to later theology or history. The objection which I have to this view is that I quite simply don't believe that there is any such thing as a "plain meaning" to Scripture which can be said to exist outside of the Churches which have developed historically. In my opinion, God designed it in such a way that if the real answer doesn't exist somewhere in the traditions which we have then there is no real answer, Christianity is a lie. God never intended for the wheel to be reinvented. I admit, this attitude of mine kind of prejudices me against Protestantism from the start and also possibly opens me to charges of chronological provincialism in that all traditions which are now wre once new.

What do you all think? I'm not sure why I'm beginning this thread. It's probably entirely frivolous, but maybe it'll do some good. I guess I'm just trying to develop an idea I had today.
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LBK
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 06:06:11 PM »

A short answer: The Orthodox Church can confirm its apostolicity, consistency and authority through its historical, iconographic, hymnographic and patristic deposit. The five solas are easily dismissed in the light of this.
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Volnutt
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2012, 06:10:37 PM »

I see where you're coming from, but to me that's basically, "we're right because we say we are." Doesn't exactly work unless maybe if one already happens be Orthodox. I'm trying to take a broader view.
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orthonorm
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2012, 06:15:48 PM »

A trivial point as I take a quick break from trying to get stuff done.

Negatives absolutely can be proven.

You are not 17 feet tall.  

I bet I can prove that to the satisfaction of nearly every non-insane human who understands that statement.

In terms of the Solas, you know more about their history and what they mean than I do. But certainly when I have heard them put forth, they are put in a positive manner.

LBK's route, which is what nearly every route in arguing about such stuff, is just begging the question.

Ultimately, anything worth knowing cannot be proven.

That is truth. Not the race after the correspondence theory of truth of fundamentalists, whether Orthodox, like the apologists here, or otherwise. Sorry all, but the argumentation after being here amounts to pretty much the above. But that is notion of truth nearly every human who is still within modernism is caught up in.







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orthonorm
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2012, 06:17:13 PM »

I see where you're coming from, but to me that's basically, "we're right because we say we are." Doesn't exactly work unless maybe if one already happens be Orthodox. I'm trying to take a broader view.

Posted the above when you did. You are right, most folks around here simply beg the question in one form or another.

Again worse yet, they take truth as correspondence.

But what are you going to do?
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Volnutt
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 10:57:36 PM »

A trivial point as I take a quick break from trying to get stuff done.

Negatives absolutely can be proven.

You are not 17 feet tall.  

I bet I can prove that to the satisfaction of nearly every non-insane human who understands that statement.

In terms of the Solas, you know more about their history and what they mean than I do. But certainly when I have heard them put forth, they are put in a positive manner.
I take your point for a trivial case like height, but in terms of difficult questions like "what does Scripture mean?" and "What must one do to please God?" I think more rigor is necessary than an appeal to common sense.

I suppose the Solas can be put forth in a positive manner, but as originally formulated it seems to me they were essentially reactionary. Salvation is by faith alone and not all these other traditions. Faith (as intellectual assent) alone and not the Sacraments and following Christ...

I do think that the sentiments at the core of the Solas are completely Orthodox, actually, but as they are commonly put forth and as their terms are defined in Protestant theology they imply a rejection of Orthodox doctrine.

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Ultimately, anything worth knowing cannot be proven.

That is truth. Not the race after the correspondence theory of truth of fundamentalists, whether Orthodox, like the apologists here, or otherwise. Sorry all, but the argumentation after being here amounts to pretty much the above. But that is notion of truth nearly every human who is still within modernism is caught up in.
I'm unconvinced that such a view doesn't result in complete subjectivism, so I guess we're at an impasse there lol. It'll be awhile before I get to Being and Time, unfortunately.
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theo philosopher
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2012, 12:50:50 AM »

They're not really negative claims, rather, they are quite positive and make assertions.

It's better to show that the Reformation and the 5 Solas were/are an overreaction to the abuses of the RCC at the time (and the RCC had plenty of abuses and was quite corrupt at the time...hence Erasmus' counter-Reformation).

For instance, sola scriptura is an overreaction to the abuses of Papal authority. The original arguments for this sola wouldn't really apply in the Orthodox setting (nor would any of the other solas). The faith/grace argument was an overreaction to the indulgences.

By saying the solas are negative is to say that they are unprovable, which then moves us to say that they are wrong. But they aren't really wrong, they're simply taken too far and are too broad in scope. For instance, Scripture is authoritative, grace and faith are a part of salvation, and so on. So the solas aren't wrong, they're just taken to an extreme.

I've found that when the debate is framed that way with many Protestants, you tend to gain much more ground.
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2012, 08:33:13 AM »

It sure seems that way to me. Each of them: Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Sola Gratia, and Soli Deo Gloria all arose as privations, limitations,and denials or some real or imagined practice or teaching of the Roman Catholic Church (and, based on the Tubingen corresponence, we can say they are negations of Eastern Orthodox claims as well).

They along with most beliefs that are generally believed among Protestants are basically a denial of the traditional understanding of the natue of the Church and how God works in and through the Church, they're not an explicit denial but rather implicit and aimed at undermining the authority of the Church. Just my personal opinion, but one I hold to.

Quote
It seems to me therefore that when you take a "bird's eye" view of Church History, the priniciples of the Reformation lose by default and the only theological disputes that remain are those within and between the various ancient churches.

The principles of the reformation do not exist in any of the pre-reformation churches. This is why I'm not Protestant.

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God never intended for the wheel to be reinvented.

No, but He did progressively reveal Himself through His covenants that He established throughout the OT culminating in the final and full revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ. There is nothing more to be revealed to us until the second coming, until which we are to continually proclaim what we have been revealed. Our proclamation of that message may differ in various times and places in order to address specific controversies that arise in various places throughout history, but the message will always be consistent - what St Vincent referred to as being believed by everyone everywhere at all times. So while we may find different ways of describing different aspects of the wheel, the wheel itself doesn't change. I don't mean that in a "pelagianism, synergism, and monergism are just different ways of saying the same thing" sense or a "there was a point in time when noone anywhere taught the truth and it had to be rediscovered" sense, but in the sense of how various councils dealt with various issues throughout history (Acts 15 on what should be expected of gentile converts, Nicea conerning the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son, 7th Ecumenical Council concerning icons and the veneration of saints, etc) being consistent and understood within the greater context of each other and how they relate to the one message of the gospel revealed in the person of Christ.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2012, 08:46:25 AM »

*subscribed* as i want to read along but i'll not comment as i only have two 'lips.
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orthonorm
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2012, 08:50:43 AM »

*subscribed* as i want to read along but i'll not comment as i only have two 'lips.

*RIMSHOT*

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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2012, 09:55:06 AM »

Ultimately, anything worth knowing cannot be proven.

Exactly...
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 10:37:26 PM »

*subscribed* as i want to read along but i'll not comment as i only have two 'lips.

I think this is a joke that only works in American English.
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2012, 11:02:13 PM »

*subscribed* as i want to read along but i'll not comment as i only have two 'lips.

I think this is a joke that only works in American English.

American English speaker here, but not understanding the joke...
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orthonorm
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 11:33:22 PM »

*subscribed* as i want to read along but i'll not comment as i only have two 'lips.

I think this is a joke that only works in American English.

American English speaker here, but not understanding the joke...

You might lack the requisite knowledge of Calvinism.

And it is American. The Brits speak British American. The Australians, Australian American.

The group with the most speakers and power give the language its name. The English and Australians couldn't muster a defense against our ROTC.

And yes the Portugese speak Brazilian.

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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2012, 11:37:24 PM »

*subscribed* as i want to read along but i'll not comment as i only have two 'lips.

I think this is a joke that only works in American English.

American English speaker here, but not understanding the joke...

You might lack the requisite knowledge of Calvinism.

And it is American. The Brits speak British American. The Australians, Australian American.

The group with the most speakers and power give the language its name. The English and Australians couldn't muster a defense against our ROTC.

And yes the Portugese speak Brazilian.

Nevermind. As soon as you mentioned it dealing with Calvinism I got the joke. Tongue
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