Multiplying authors simply makes mutual consistency that much more difficult.
Absolutely agreed; which is why I consider the mutual consistency of the Fathers nothing short of miraculous, and a sign of Christ's fulfilled promise that the gates of hades would not prevail against the Chruch and that the Holy Spirit would guide it.
That's precisely what you were getting at when we were discussing the sign over Christ's Cross.
I've read this and other attempts at harmonizing the signs as reported by the evangelists. I find them unconvincing; too desperate.
No. They held to the deity of Christ. Monotheism. Baptism. An as-yet unrealised Eschaton.
They also held to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the visibility and unity of the One True Church founded by the Apostles, Apostolic Succession in said Church, and a belief in Theosis -- all of which you reject. So, the question remains: were they all simultaneously mistaken, but agreement with each other, as to the message of the Apostles OR did they conspire together to distort said message?
The shared beliefs far outweigh the differences.
the majority of CFs held to Sola Scriptura.
That's the very thing I'm exploring in my series on the issue -- and I'm finding the exact opposite of Mr. Webster, as everyone who actually takes the time to read the writings of the Fathers tends to do.
1 Clement contains a very clear endorsement of justification by grace alone thru faith alone.
I've read St. Clement's letter several times and never seen such an endorsement. Perhaps you could provide me with the quote or at least verse number so I can read it for myself?
Infant baptism was inconsistently held.
I think the Protestants are skewing the evidence on this one. It's a topic I investigated quite a bit, because I had my own doubts about it initially (even having been baptized as an infant myself). St. Gregory Nazianzen's objections are rather late in the early Church -- and not quite what the guy at this blog is trying to make of them (read it for yourself). The inscriptions, paintings, and fathers of the first, second, and third centuries are pretty clear on the issue. Later, beginning in about the 3rd century, some began to delay baptism into adulthood in order to assure that all previous sins were washed away -- this practice was later condemned by the Church for being what it was: an attempt to evade living a Christian life.
Kinda puts the kibosh on the whole "everywhere by all at all times".
St. Vincent, whose canon you're quoting here, addresses that very thing in the paragraph following that quote; and I've addressed it several times to you as well.
I take the CFs' mutual and internal inconsistencies and count them as 100% expected - they were MEN. ... especially since on many issues they were jumbled and thus useless as a prescriptive authority.
You've made this allegations many times in the past, but you have yet to present a single issue upon which this was the case. I'd love to see one, especially on an essential matter of faith or practice.
1) Which claim of course begs the question in favor of the EOC.
Insofar as the Orthodox Church is the One True Church founded by the Apostles and preserving the Faith thereof, yes, it does; it can't help but. No other Christian organization or church has a legitimate claim. The closest to having a decent claim are the Roman Catholics and the Assyrian Church of the East, as they both possess at least a physical link with the Apostles (via laying on of hands) -- but both have clear points of departure from the early Church, which can be quite easily named and dated.
But not the Bible alone, else we'd all be Jewish. and then the NT served in large measure to inform and correct churches in their error
Exactly -- for the most part, they were written to correct problems in the churches already founded. Which calls into question how they could have ever been intended as all-encompassing -- as standing alone. Correcting errors is not explicating the entirety of the Gospel.
That's a pretty disingenuous thing to say, since this whole time you've been making the CFs into at the very least a more useful tool.
I never claimed they were "more useful." They are necessary to Scripture, as they teach us the correct interpretation thereof.
Not to mention "the Faith of the Church", whatever that is.
The Faith of the Church is the Scriptures and the Councils, speaking in terms of dogma. More correctly, though, the Faith of the Church is our worship -- if one were able to attend every Church service in an entire year, he'd have heard the entirety of the Orthodox Faith explained -- it's the same standard the Fathers used in determining what belonged in Scripture hundreds and hundreds of years ago: the Liturgy.
They also held to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the visibility and unity of the One True Church founded by the Apostles, Apostolic Succession in said Church, and a belief in Theosis -- all of which you reject
You're missing the point. Congrats, you came up with three issues on which I'd largely disagree with at least your characterisation of their position, but there are far more with which they and I *are* in agreement. Just b/c the disagreements are more visible b/c we're always debating them doesn't mean that the disagreements are more numerous than the agreements. So again, your argument fails. As for how they ended up mistaken, we can see that at work already in the NT churches, the addressees of most of the epistles and the 7 letters in Revelation 1-3. I've said that many times to you; when are you going to take that fact into acct?
I'm finding the exact opposite of Mr. Webster, as everyone who actually takes the time to read the writings of the Fathers tends to do.
Rdr DavidB once told me sthg that an EO priest with whom he used to meet when considering conversion to EOC told him: EOdoxy is found in the Bible, just in the places less often quoted by evangelicals. That would apparently be the case for SS and the CFs. Maybe you should expand your reading and take a look at what Webster and King have found.
Later, beginning in about the 3rd century, some began to delay baptism into adulthood in order to assure that all previous sins were washed away
Next you're going to tell me that this fits in perfectly with Vincent de Lérins' aphorism and your rule of faith.
You've made this allegations many times in the past, but you have yet to present a single issue upon which this was the case.
Cyprian vs Pope Stephen on the issue of the baptism of heretics is a great place to start. Council of Hieria vs 2nd Nicaea.
Insofar as the Orthodox Church is the One True Church founded by the Apostles and preserving the Faith thereof, yes, it does; it can't help but.
yes, that's exactly my point. EOC says it's the OneTrueChurch, you've made the choice to switch your brain off when it comes to testing that claim, and so the circularity doesn't bother you. You have no way to test it, but you don't care to.
Exactly -- for the most part, they were written to correct problems in the churches already founded.
Which calls into question how they could have ever been intended as all-encompassing -- as standing alone.
1) the NT epistles were not meant to stand alone. 2) You're assuming w/o proof that the oral msg delivered to the churches covered material found outside the Bible. 3) The churches, standing alone, didn't do so hot either. So... what's the answer?