Protestantism and the Filioque, a Good Argument

Currently reading and enjoying H J A Sire’s Phoenix from the Ashes, I came upon a passage that presented an argument worth spreading far and wide. It involves the doctrinal incongruity within Protestantism resulting from the so-called “Reformers'” acceptance of the Filioque, a doctrine that is not, as our separated Eastern Orthodox brethren would point out, contained in Holy Scripture — certainly not explicitly so, anyway. (That it is implicit in Holy Scripture is, on the other hand, quite arguable.)

Here are Sire’s words, which follow a discussion of the vague notion of the authority of the early Church according to the Protestant heresiarchs:

If [according to the “Reformers”] the early Church is authoritative, however, it gives no room for the Protestant reduction of the pope to mere “bishop of Rome,” for the first three centuries accorded a special authority to the two Petrine sees of Rome and Antioch (the jurisdiction of Alexandria being set up on the same model in 325). Monasticism and a zealous devotion to the Mother of God are equally vouched for by the period before the Council of Chalcedon. Besides such tests from antiquity, the Reformers fell at a hurdle which the simplest knowledge of doctrinal history would have cleared. The Filioque doctrine, which all the Protestant churches retain in the Creed [e.g., the first web page I found in a search for “Lutheran church creed”], is not defined by the first four councils, or indeed the first eight. It derives its dogmatic status from its incorporation into the Creed by papal authority in the eleventh Century; in other words it stands or falls by papal infallibility. This bone of contention between the Western and Eastern churches had been fought over as recently as 1439 in the Council of Florence, but the Reformers’ short historical view enabled them to accept the Nicene Creed as revised by the Roman Antichrist.

Point well made.