I am not going to name the website so it won’t look like I am picking on them. Still, a certain Orthodox apologetics site routinely quotes the renowned historian Jaroslav Pelikan as an example of why Protestantism is wrong. Almost every post’s format is the same: statement of the problem, section on Pelikan, a quote from Ignatius/Irenaeus, and a conclusion that Protestants don’t match this.
I am only going to point out one problem in the above presentation. Quoting Pelikan is not the same thing as an argument. I respect his scholarship as much as the next guy, but church history has come a long way and Pelikan never actually advanced arguments on whether a position is true. He merely stated the positions (and stated them well).
In volumes 1 and 3 I admit his introductory chapters on tradition do make it seem like Protestantism is out of tradition, but may I make two responses: 1) precisely what is the content of that apostolic tradition? You cannot use later church fathers and Scripture is obviously silent, so how do you know your tradition matches theirs? 2) Antiquity is not a sign of truth. The Pharisees were older (temporally speaking) than the church.
Further, Pelikan doesn’t have the room to analyze the specifics. In volume 4 he references Martin Chemnitz but never quotes his actual arguments. This is significant, for many consider Chemnitz to have utterly refuted Anchoretism. Secondly, the sword cuts both ways: I think the counter arguments to the Filioque in volumes 2 and 3 have just as much force as the presentation of the Eastern position. Using Pelikan alone, who adjudicates? My point exactly.