The appeal to history backfires, sometimes

I know it is fun to think of St Nicholas slapping Arius.  The problem is that the historical sources suggest that was impossible.   I am indebted to Wedgeworth on this point (who simply repeated the Nicene historians of the day):  Arius wasn’t at the Council and all we can prove from the histories was that a Nicholas was at the Council.  To say more is to go beyond history.

This illustrates a problem with traditionalist claims:  it’s easy to make fun of Evangelicals who simply say “Me and My Bible,” seemingly having no anchor to the ancient Church.  However, when one asks to see a 1:1 historical corroboration of a number of church practices, one meets the same embarrassment supposedly offered to the Evangelical.   For example, Tertullian admits the sign of the cross is not an early practice of the church.  Jesus had told his church he won’t burden them with anything else.   Tertullian further admits that the celibatic practices favored by most Church fathers (read Basil on Social Justice) was openly taken and adopted from heathen customs.

Not only in these cases are we not seeing a 1:1 correspondence from the apostles, but we have a major early witness saying that some of these practices are taken from the pagans!.

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