Over at Called to Communion, in the comment box, Bryan Cross wrote:
In the first century, no one needed to confess that Christ is homoousious with the Father. But after the fourth century, to deny the homoousious is to fall into [at least material] heresy.
This is dead wrong and gets things exactly backwards. It has always been heresy to deny the Son’s divinity. Arius was a heretic before Nicaea, and the Nicene council simply affirmed (with respect to Arianism) what was always the teaching of the Bible.
The church does not make up orthodoxy. When the church does its job correctly, it merely recognizes the truth that was already once delivered to the saints. There was no new delivery in the fourth century or any of the succeeding centuries.
Of course, Romanists have to put the cart before the horse, because they’ve added to the gospel. If they tried to claim that it was always heresy to deny the Immaculate Conception, they’d have to treat Augustine, and the Augustinians down through Aquinas as heretics. So, they place the cart before the horse and say that it is only heresy to deny the Immaculate Conception after “the Church” makes that doctrine part of the gospel.
The absurd result is the one that Bryan Cross has illustrated above, where the Son’s divinity becomes something that it was ok to deny before 325 A.D.
Amazing – absolutely amazing.
Additional Commentary from James White:
Amazing indeed. The very nature of truth itself is now determined by Rome’s anachronistic reading of history and the proclamation of her own pretentious claims to spiritual authority.
The past few weeks have been rather eye-opening for me. Debating two of the three most recent dogmatic definitions from the Roman See has illustrated the reality that while Rome may claim revelation ceased with the last of the apostles, functionally, that is pure mythology. The Immaculate Conception is so utterly foreign to divine revelation and the beliefs of the early church that it makes a mockery of the claim that Rome often makes that she is guided by Scripture and Tradition, since neither could ever “guide” anyone into defining such mythology as dogma. While her arguments for other of her false doctrines manage to hide this fundamentally authoritarian character (believe it because we tell you to), there is simply no way to paper over these Marian dogmas with a plausible pretense of Scripture and Tradition.
Cross confuses the fact that Christian truth is capable of being communicated in ever widening circles of language, culture, and worldview (a truth) with the idea that Rome’s definitions (and Rome had almost nothing to do with Nicea, I note, and even the Nicene symbol had to fight for acceptance, and did so on the basis of its fundamental truthfulness, not on the basis of Roman support) determine the truth. If Rome speaks the truth, she does so only derivatively, after-the-fact, not because she has any authority whatsoever to determine such things. Rome says there is one God: well and good, that revelation was given long before the city of Rome arose from the cow pastures. Rome says Jesus is truly God: once again, very good, but that revelation was made by God himself in history in the incarnation of the Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and recorded for us in the warp and woof of the New Testament revelation. To make that truth dependent upon a man in Rome is a reprehensible denial of the Holy Spirit’s power to speak with clarity in His own divine revelation.