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Martin Luther on The Church Father and Biblical Interpretation 

128756_imagnoTaken from Martin Luther’s Table Talk, p 352

May 7, 1539

No 4567

There was talk on May 7 about the clarity of the Scriptures in this age, though in former times much had been written and read but little understood. He [Martin Luther] replied, “Surely a great light has gone up, for we understand both the words and the content [of the Scriptures] according to the testimony of the ancient writers. None of the sophists [scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages] was able to expound the passage, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live’ [Rom. 1:17], for they interpreted ‘righteous’ and ‘righteousness’ differently. Except for Augustine, there was great blindness among the fathers. After the Holy Scriptures, Augustine should especially be read, for he had keen judgment. However, if we turn from the Bible to the commentaries of the fathers, our study will be bottomless. (more…)

Why Don’t All Come to Repentance and Faith in Christ?

AmbroseOfMilanAmbrose (lived 340-397) was an archbishop. He was considered one of the doctors of the Church because of his wisdom in dealing with issues of the Church. Calvin, writes concerning Ambrose in his “A Treatise of the Eternal Predestination of God”.

Ambrose summarizes why all men don’t come to Christ, because God does not effectually touch their hearts. Now for the Calvinist, this is nothing new. Ambrose should say this because it comports with Scripture. But for those who would try to argue that Calvinist doctrine popped up out of thin air in the 1500s they would be either ignorant or liars. We should be charitable and before calling men liars at least give them the lesser accusation of being ignorant.

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Where Calvin Differs With the Fathers

Wherefore, let no one be perplexed because ancient writers labor to distinguish the one from the other. Their views ought not to be in such esteem with us as to shake the certainty of Scripture. For who would listen to Chrysostom denying that remission of sins was included in the baptism of John (Hom. in Mt. 1:14), rather than to Luke asserting, on the contrary, that John preached “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins?” (Luke 3:3). Nor can we admit Augustine’s subtlety, that by the baptism of John sins were forgiven in hope, but by the baptism of Christ are forgiven in reality. For seeing the Evangelist clearly declares that John in his baptism promised the remission of sins, why detract from this eulogium when no necessity compels it? Should any one ask what difference the word of God makes, he will find it to be nothing more than that John baptized in the name of him who was to come, the apostles in the name of him who was already manifested (Luke 3:16; Acts 19:4). Institutes, Book 4.15.7