If you’ve not had a chance to follow the earlier sola Scriptura posts, please read the past two before starting with this one.

Today, we examine quotes from the early Doctors of the Church, the scholars well versed in Scripture as well as Church teaching.

These come courtesy of the forensically-minded Turretin Fan and his debate on this issue with a Roman Catholic (emphases mine below):

First, concerning the Nicene Creed:

St Augustine of Hippo (Sermon 212): We call it Creed or symbolum, transferring the term by a kind of simile, because merchants draw up for themselves a symbolum by which their alliance is held bound as by a pact of fidelity … One makes progress toward this charity by faith in what is contained in the Creed: that you believe in God the Father Almighty, the invisible, immortal King of ages, the Creator of things visible and invisible; and in whatever else either sound reason or the authority of holy Scripture worthily tells us about Him.

Turretin Fan introduces the next quote: ‘Cassian described the Creed of Antioch, and Augustine [previous passage] apparently the so-called Apostle’s Creed, but both explain that creeds were derived from the foundation of Scripture, Cassian more explicitly and Augustine less explicitly.’

St John Cassian (Book VI, Chapter III): For as you know a Creed (Symbolum) gets its name from being a collection. For what is called in Greek σίμβολο is termed in Latin “Collatio.” But it is therefore a collection (collation) because when the faith of the whole Catholic law was collected together by the apostles of the Lord all those matters which are spread over the whole body of the sacred writings with immense fulness of detail were collected together in sum in the matchless brevity of the Creed according to the Apostle’s words: “Completing His word and cutting it short in righteousness because a short word shall the Lord make upon the earth.” This then is the short word which the Lord made collecting together in few words the faith of both of His Testaments and including in a few brief clauses the drift of all the Scriptures building up His own out of His own and giving the force of the whole law in a most compendious and brief formula. Providing in this, like a most tender father, for the carelessness and ignorance of some of his children that no mind however simple and ignorant might have any trouble over what could so easily be retained in the memory.’

Secondly, the authority of Scripture (note, sola Scriptura, not solo Scriptura):

Augustine’s letter No. 147 (to Paulina):  ‘I do not want you to depend on my authority, so as to think that you must believe something because it is said by me; you should rest your belief either on the canonical Scriptures, if you do not yet see how true something is, or on the truth made manifest to you interiorly, so that you may see clearly.’

Turretin Fan explains this excerpt:

The answer … is two-fold. First, knowing what is necessary (or not) to salvation is not itself necessary to salvation. Second, one must believe that the Scripture is able to make us wise unto salvation.

More from the letter of St Augustine to Paulina:

My reason for inserting these opinions of such great men on such a great subject was not to make you think that anyone’s interpretation should be accepted with the authority due to the canonical Scripture, but that those who are otherwise minded may try to see with their mind what is true, and to seek God in the simplicity of their heart, and cease to find fault so rashly with the learned expounders of the divine words.

Now, to St John Chrysostom:

All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; all things that are necessary are plain.

Thirdly, on the error of purely oral tradition, as with some of the Jews in Jesus’s time and the early Church:

St John Chrysostom: ‘… if the ceremonies of the Jews move you to admiration, what do you have in common with us? If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies. But if ours are true, as they are true, theirs are filled with deceit. I am not speaking of the Scriptures. Heaven forbid! It was the Scriptures which took me by the hand and led me to Christ.

And, so I hope it is with you.  But, please rely on the confession and/or catechism of your particular denomination for guidance.

Again, there is a huge difference between sola Scriptura and solo Scriptura.

Tomorrow: When sola Scriptura collides with the Magisterium