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What is the 'Rule of Faith'?

tomgroeneman's picture

How do you understand the rule of faith in light of the Apostolic teaching, the Scriptures, the Creeds and Church history? Is it similar to the idea of the deposit of faith that some speak of? How does your understanding of the rule of faith effect the way you interpret Scripture? The reason I am asking is because I am trying to determine whether or not Tradition is a valid means of receiving the revelation of God. At what point does an individual rely on the teaching of the Church to formulate doctrine and as guidance on questions of faith and morals? I am open to all arguments for or against. It seems to me that just me and my Bible are limited in providing the sufficient illumination necessary to survive in this world. I know Protestant theology teaches that Scripture alone is sufficient for all that the believer needs but I am thinking there is more available in the plan of God. As a Catholic, I am taught that the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church, works together with Holy Scripture to minister the life of God. Before the Canon was completed, the Early Church relied on the teachings of the Apostles (the rule of faith?) and the following generations of Church leaders to guide the people of God until the Canon was finalized. How much weight do the Early Church Fathers carry in our understanding of the truths of the Gospel? What say you?

tomgroeneman's picture

objective revelation vs. subjective self-understanding

Your personal interpretation is also of "man" so how is it that it should be relied on more than the Church throughout history? I am very cautious about embracing a discipline of interpretation that denies the value of the teaching of the Church. For many Protestants are content to believe that they can arrive at the truth by simply opening their Bibles and reasoning their own interpretations without any guidance or leadership. This has resulted in the fragmentation of the Church into thousands of separate denominations all claiming to have correctly divided the word of truth even if their interpretations differ significantly from one another. There are many Christians who are acting today as their own Popes and Magisteriums and have erroneously derived their authority unto themselves causing all the historical schisms in the body of Christ. The Gospel and the teachings of the Apostles established the rule of faith in the early years of the Church and without their guidance we would not have survived as a Church through the emergence of Gnosticism and various other heresies. Church councils were convened to articulate proper doctrine and the interpretation of God's revelation in Christ and the Scriptures and without their actions in this regard we would not have any orthodoxy or Canon for that matter. One of the main contributions of the Catholic Church and a quality that I appreciate is that among those ecclesial bodies that identify as Catholic, there is one body of doctrine and interpretation that agrees universally and is logically and theologically consistent. There is a practical unity of the Faith. Eph. 4:4-5 " 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, " 2 Peter 1:20 "20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,"

Tom Groeneman