Arrested Development?

One of the most interesting and challenging arguments used by Catholics to defend doctrines that Protestants consider pure novelties is the argument from the devel-opment of doctrine, which states that though the initial deposit of the faith was given intact to the apostles and from the apostles to the first generation of bishops, the church’s understanding of the deposit develops over time, usually as a result of controversy or heresy. There...

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Developments, Novelties, or Good and Necessary Consequences?

A couple Sunday evenings ago a church member asked a question about covenant theology: “How long has this stuff been around, anyway?” This got me thinking about the issue of the development of doctrine (you know, that topic that comes up approximately 14 seconds into any dialogue with a Catholic brother or sister). In a nutshell, doctrinal development refers to the phenomenon of some teaching—such as the Immaculate Conception or the...

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Would a Nicene Creed With Any Other Copyright Date Smell As Orthodox?

The “God-Fearin’ Fiddler” has asked a series of provocative questions over at his blog, Army of Martyrs. The topic is the development of doctrine, and the Council of Nicaea’s doctrine of the Trinity is being used as paradigmatic of the phenomenon as a whole. The first point The Fiddler makes concerns the doctrine of the Trinity itself, and why we believe it. We do not believe it, he argues, because it is clearly taught in...

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