Rome Agrees With the Medievals Except When It Doesn’t

The related identification of Scripture as pure, holy, sufficient, and perfect—pure, holy, and sufficient in its teachings for the preaching of salvation and perfect or complete in its communication of those teachings—is a point of doctrine that marks out a major line of continuity between the medieval scholastics, the Reformers, and the Protestant orthodox… Indeed, the radically altered shape of the questions of interpretation and authority in the post-Reformation era placed the Roman Catholic polemicists in the somewhat unenviable position of arguing against the express statements of great medieval doctors like Aquinas and Scotus concerning the prior authority, sufficiency, and perfection of the text. Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics 2.310. (HT: Andrew Compton at the Reformed Reader.)

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  1. I am reminded of a recent discussion I heard, which was critical of Rome; it was pointed out that the contents of John’s gospel are sufficient to save. John says:

    Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    This also brings to mind a Turkish pastor that Michael Horton interviewed; perhaps the man is a former student of Dr. Clark? The pastor mentioned that a certain Islamic fundamentalist was reading Scripture in order to attack it (the man was planning to engage in holy war as well); the man came to the pastor one day and said that he had found evil (he might have said sin), but he found it in himself while reading the Scriptures. The man became a Christian and had to be hid because his family was attempting to kill him.

  2. Alister McGrath concurs:

    Whatever the origins of the ‘two source’ theory may have been, the late medieval tradition unquestionably included representatives of a school which insisted that ‘there are many truths which are necessary for salvation which are neither contained in scripture, nor which are necessary consequences of its contents’.

  3. Anyone have a quote from Aquinas or Scotus showing that they actually teach what Muller claims they do? (or perhaps Muller quotes them elsewhere)

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