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Bainton Quote

by on May 18, 2015

Roland H. Bainton
The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century p.15-16.

The late Scholastics lost faith in the intelligibility of reality because they relinquished the meta-physical unities. For them reality was held to consist of unrelated particulars. Church and state are not antecedent entities but simply contractual associations. The church then becomes a voluntary society, the state a compact. Here is the philosophy of individualism undercutting the great unities well in advance of the Reformation.

Certain theological dogmas also were undercut, for if reality consists of unrelated individuals, then the three persons of the Trinity must be three gods. Nevertheless the doctrine of the Trinity was retained on the ground that what is true for philosophy need not be true for theology. But in that case theology, with no philosophical under-girding, can rest only on authority. The tendency of the papacy to make more pretentious claims as its power waned was also paralleled by the recourse in theology to authority when the grip on truth was relaxed.

From → Church History

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