Monday, March 16, 2009

A Hillariously Stupid Quote From Philip Schaff

"The development of the orthodox Mariology and Mariolatry originated as early as the second century in an allegorical interpretation of the history of the fall, and in the assumption of an antithetic relation of Eve and Mary, according to which the mother of Christ occupies the same position in the history of redemption as the wife of Adam in the history of sin and death [Rom 5:12 ff., 1 Cor 15:22] . . . Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, are the first who present Mary as the counterpart of Eve, as a "mother of all living" in the higher, spiritual sense, and teach that she became through her obedience the mediate or instrumental cause of the blessings of redemption to the human race, as Eve by her disobedience was the fountain of sin and death.[Footnote: "Even St. Augustine carries this parallel between the first and second Eve as far as any of the fathers . . . "]" - Philip Schaff (History of the Christian Church, Vol. III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 311-600)

Now Philip Schaff is one of the most reverenced Ecclesiastical Historians around (in the Protestant Tradition) but I have to say that I laughed out loud when reading this on Dave Armstrong's blog.

I mean if the early church (2nd century = REALLY early Church) fell into the 'heresy' of 'mariolatry' then just give up. Burn your bibles, throw out your crosses, sell your churches, because if God in all his sovereignty couldn't preserve the church before the new testament was even assembled, then he's the weakest god in history, or the strangest God. I could never tell a Mormon he wasn't a Christian if I agreed with Schaff, both agree (the mormon, and in this statement Schaff) to the ridiculous idea of 'the great apostasy'.

Chesterton writes on the early church that, it's strange how those who were motivated only by love for him (Jesus) would rush off and immediately do all those things he hated.

I know it's just one statement, and that Schaff is pretty solid, and I'm not trying to rub salt in the wound, but even the Anabaptists give the church till Constantine sanction, and let it not be said now or ever that the Lutherans stray further from the Christian history than the Anabaptists.

There you have it the "heresy" of Mariolatry taught by such degenerates as Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Augustine and the other so-called "Early Church Fathers".


  1. I don't think Schaff is identifying this as a level of "heresy" like Arianism, Adoptionism, etc. One must acknowledge that early church fathers got it wrong sometimes. Read Ireneaus. He says one thing we MUST NOT DO is talk about God in Father Son and Spirit as analogous to fire (smoke, heat, light). What does Justin Martyr do? Talks about God as analogous to fire, smoke, heat and light as Father, Son and Spirit. There, Justin Martyr, in trying to expound a mystery, messed up and on something 100 times more consequencial than Mary. But I'm positive I'll see Justin in heaven. The early church is not infallible (I guess except for the Popes) and must be weighted in the balance of the whole, Scriptures, Councils and other aspects to see what is pure gold from what is underdeveloped or improperly interpreted.

  2. That's why Justin Martyr doesn't have a "St." infront of his name lol, but if I was going to Heaven (I accept Trent, so I'm reprobate) I'm sure I'd see him there.

    Philip Schaff is a greater scholar that I could ever dream of being, but I just felt this one sentence was funny.

  3. Um... yes, Justin Martyr is a saint. Has always been known as such. It's just that most of us don't really feel the need to repeat ourselves by saying St. Justin Martyr.

    Second, it's likely that if you'd asked Irenaeus (St. Irenaeus, that is) whether Justin Martyr did wrong to talk about God in terms of fire, I'm sure he'd say, "Well, yeah, he was okay, but those crazy students of his and the other folks since then have made it very inadvisable."

    It's like saying stuff on the Internet. There are plenty of true things I could say, but unless I annotate them, a lot of people would take me exactly the wrong way. Early Christian writers and thinkers were bedevilled by being taken the wrong way; and a lot of theology seems to have been developed almost in self-defense, so that one would not have people quoting you in support of things you'd rather die than support.