Primitive Doctrine

Primitive Doctrine It is the opinion of some persons that there is a "primitive doctrine," independent of Scripture, "always to be found somewhere in the Catholic traditions;" by which language, apparently, they mean to teach that the whole doctrine of the Church is not to be found in the Scriptures, nor yet in the writings of the early fathers; but they seem to suppose that some part of the oral teaching of the apostles might, though in an unwritten form, be yet in the possession of the' Church, so that the Church might at any time declare a doctrine not opposed to Scripture, on what is called the unanimous consent of antiquity, to have come down by successive oral delivery from the apostles. The opponents of such views consider that they are incapable of abiding the test of sober examination, because it is not possible for us, at this distance of time from the days of the apostles, to know what they did or did not teach orally, or how far what they really did teach may not since have been corrupted. They contend, therefore, that to the ancient apostolical writings alone can we look for that which is without doubt to be regarded as ancient apostolical teaching. SEE DOCTRINE; SEE TRADITION.

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