Post Author: Bill Pratt
Indeed there is. Here are just a handful of quotes from church fathers that seem to support the supremacy of the Scriptures over all other sources.
Athanasius: “The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”
Cyril of Jerusalem: “With regard to the divine and saving mysteries of faith no doctrine, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the divine Scriptures. . . . for our saving faith derives its force, not from capricious reasoning, but from what may be proved out of the Bible.”
John Chrysostom: (as paraphrased by J. N. D. Kelley) “[Chrysostom] bade his congregation seek no other teacher than the oracles of God; everything was straightforward and clear in the Bible, and the sum of necessary knowledge could be extracted from it.”
Augustine: “It is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit subjection as to follow their teaching, without admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place.” (emphasis added)
Augustine: “He [God] also inspired the Scripture, which is regarded as canonical and of supreme authority and to which we give credence concerning all the truths we ought to know and yet, of ourselves, are unable to learn.”
Augustine: “Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself. . . . But in consequence of the sacred writing, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist.”
Augustine: “There is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, . . . [for] the authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles . . . and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims the submission of every faithful and pious mind. . . . In the innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority. Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself.”
Aquinas: “We believe the successors of the apostles and prophets only in so far as they tell us those things which the apostles and prophets have left in their writings,” and “it is heretical to say that any falsehood whatsoever is contained either in the gospels or in any canonical Scripture.” (emphasis added)
From these few quotes, we can see that at least some of the tradition seems to support the idea that the tradition is subordinate to Scripture. The Reformers, therefore, were not merely inventing a new doctrine that had no support from the church fathers themselves. I think this is an important point.