We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Challenge Against Some Roman Catholic Doctrines

The famous appeal of Bishop Jewel, known as “the Challenge at Paul’s Cross,” which he made in a sermon preached there on Passion Sunday, a.d. 1560, is an instance of “Præscription against heresies,” well worthy of being recalled, in a day which has seen Truth and Peace newly sacrificed to the ceaseless innovations of Rome. It is as follows:

—“If any learned man of all our adversaries, or, if all the learned men that be alive, be able to bring any one sufficient sentence out of any old Catholic doctor or father; or out of any old general Council; or out of the Holy Scriptures of God; or, any one example of the primitive Church, whereby it may be clearly and plainly proved, that
—1. There was any private mass in the whole world at that time, for the space of six hundred years after Christ; or that
—2. There was then any communion ministered unto the people under one kind; or that
—3. The people had their common prayers, then, in a strange tongue that they understood not; or that
—4. The bishop of Rome was then called an universal bishop, or the head of the universal Church; or that
—5. The people was then taught to believe that Christ’s body is really, substantially, corporally, carnally or naturally in the Sacrament; or that
—6. His body is, or may be, in a thousand places or more, at one time; or that
—7. The priest did then hold up the Sacrament over his head; or that
—8. The people did then fall down and worship it with godly honour; or that
—9. The Sacrament was then, or now ought to be, hanged up under a canopy; or that
—10. In the Sacrament after the words of consecration there remaineth only the accidents and shews, without the substance of bread and wine; or that
—11. The priest then divided the Sacrament in three parts and afterwards received himself, alone; or that
—12. Whosoever had said the Sacrament is a pledge, a token, or a remembrance of Christ’s body, had therefore been judged a heretic; or that
—13. It was lawful, then, to have thirty, twenty, fifteen, ten, or five masses said in one Church, in one day; or that
—14. Images were then set up in churches to the intent the people might worship them; or that
15. The lay people was then forbidden to read the word of God, in their own tongue:

“If any man alive be able to prove any of these articles, by any one clear or plain clause or sentence, either of the Scriptures, or of the old doctors, or of any old General Council, or by any Example of the Primitive Church; I promise, then, that I will give over and subscribe unto him.”

All this went far beyond the concession of præscription which makes little of any one saying of any one Father, and demands the general consent of Antiquity; but, it is needless to say that Jewel’s challenge has remained unanswered for more than three hundred years, and so it will be to all Eternity.

Rev. Peter Holmes, Elucidation V to Tertullian’s “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 3.


Alec said...

Very interesting quote, Glenn!

The history of the church has been the growth of new and the reappearance of old heresies. First individual Christians suffer wrath by objecting. Then later - sometimes - "official" church bodies sanction the orthodox teachings.

Rev Holmes's is calling for people to search the writings of early Christians to counter errors which appeared later. It would be like calling for someone to find the places where Luther or Calvin objected to "Jesus is my girlfriend" songs. First of all, such a thing never existed then. Next, why should we appeal to fallen men as proof of sound doctrine? At the best, the appeal to human authority can only be a secondary one, after Scripture.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I disagree with your analogy. The ancient church "fathers" stuck to Scripture quite well, and if these Romanist doctrines were something to be found in the Church which followed the Apostolic churches, then we would have known about it from them. The main point seems to me to be that Romanist doctrines appeared many years after the Church was founded, and no early Christian leaders taught anything resembling what Rome came up with later.