Monday, September 20, 2010

Labourdette on faith as, not test, but indispensable principle

"the recognition of the divine authority in the testimony of the First Truth calls on our part for [simple] obedience and the acceptance of what it affirms, but that is not the whole of faith; above all it is in no sense its raison d'ĂȘtre.  God does not demand faith of us in order to humble [(humilier)] us in this time of testing; he gives it to us as the indispensable principle of our orientation towards our supernatural end, the beatific vision; he thus offers us already, but on [the strength of] his word, not face to face, the First Truth the [ultimate] vision of which will [someday] beatify us.  It is to this Truth that faith unites us; the substance of the object of faith, this will be what manifests to us its mystery and the means by which God saves us and leads us to see him in heaven."

M.-M. Labourdette, O.P., "La vie thĂ©ologale selon saint Thomas," Revue thomiste 58 (1958):  614 (597-622).

Gavrilyuk on the rule of faith

"the diversity of early Christianity was substantially different from that of pagan religions and early Judaism.  The concern for the unity of the kerygma, for the right teaching and practice was dominant in Christianity from the very beginning.  The pagan cults, in contrast, exhibited no tendency toward the unification of beliefs.  While some syncretism and blending was inevitable, the cultic leaders showed no interest in reconciling divergent mythological accounts or providing one confessional statement. . . .
"The Christianity of the great church emerged and differentiated itself from all religions of the Roman Empire, as well as from most of its heterodox rivals, as a confessional faith, as a religion uniquely committed to the rule of faith."

Paul L. Gavrilyuk, "Scripture and the regula fidei:  two interlocking components of the canonical heritage," Canonical theism:  a proposal for theology and the church, ed. William J. Abraham, Jason E. Vickers, and Natalie B. Van Kirk (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2008), 33 (27-42).  Footnote after "from the very beginning" cites Gal 1:6-9, 5:20; 1 Cor 11:18-20; 1 Tim 1:3; Heb 2:1; Acts 18:26; 1 John 2:24, 4:2-3; Ignatius, Trallians 6.1, Philadelphians 2.1; Polycarp 3.1.  Footnote after "a religion uniquely committed to the rule of faith" quotes Frances Young as follows:
Christianity is the only major religion to set such store by creeds and doctrines.  Other religions have Scriptures, others have their characteristic ways of worship, others have their own peculiar ethics and lifestyle. . . . But except in response to Christianity, they have not developed creeds, statements of standard belief to which the orthodox are supposed to adhere
(The making of the creeds (London:  SCM Press, 1991), 1).