Cardinal John Henry Newman admitted that the early church (“catholic” / universal -first 500 years) is different than the later church (later = Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox).
It does not seem possible, then, to avoid the conclusion that, whatever be the proper key for harmonizing the records and documents of the early and later Church, and true as the dictum of Vincentius must be considered in the abstract, and possible as its application might be in his own age, when he might almost ask the primitive centuries for their testimony, it is hardly available now, or effective of any satisfactory result. The solution it offers is as difficult as the original problem.
John Henry Newman
Keith Matthison’s excellent article that demonstrates how wrong that Cardinal John Henry Newman was about “being deep in history”.
Keith Mathison, at Ligonier Ministries, and in the September 2010 issue of Tabletalk, has an excellent article on John Henry Newman’s claim to be deep in history . . . and he compares Newman’s take with another Anglican who converted to Rome in the 19th Century, Henry Edward Manning.
Here is an excerpt at the end. Excellent analysis of this shibboleth that is deceiving modern day evangelicals left and right.
“Cardinal Newman recognized the obvious difference between the current Roman Church and the early church. He was too deep in history not to see it. He had to develop his famous idea of doctrinal development to explain it. He argued that all the later Roman doctrines and practices were “hidden” in the church from the beginning. They were made explicit over time under the guidance of the Spirit. But the problem that many Roman Catholics fail to see is that there is a difference between development and contradiction. It is one thing to use different language to teach something the church has always taught (e.g., the “Trinity”). It is another thing altogether to begin teaching something that the church always denied (e.g., papal supremacy or infallibility). Those doctrines in particular were built on multitudes of forgeries.
Cardinal Manning solved the problem by treating any appeal to history as treason. He called for blind faith in the papacy and magisterium. Such might have been possible had the fruits of the papacy over 1,500 years not consistently been the precise opposite of the fruit of the Spirit (Matt. 7:16).
Cardinal Newman said that to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant. The truth is that to be deep in real history, as opposed to Rome’s whitewashed, revisionist, and often forged history, is to cease to be a Roman Catholic.”
From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: http://www.ligonier.org/tabletalk.