John Henry Newman Essay Development Doctrine

Development of doctrine is a term used by John Henry Newman and other theologians influenced by him to describe the way Catholic teaching has become more detailed and explicit over the centuries, while later statements of doctrine remain consistent with earlier statements.

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The first is that development of doctrine is not itself a doctrine, but a theory, and that there are several such theories.

The theory falls within the vast realm of free judgment.

However, authors such as Daniel Lattier have argued that some older Eastern Orthodox thinkers did not reject the concept outright, and that Eastern Orthodoxy may allow a form of doctrinal development, albeit more limited than Western forms of it.

wish to draw attention to four obvious ideas about what is called “development of doctrine,” which, despite their obviousness, are very often overlooked.

I try to relate it in a blog,, with the most recent post here: I had never heard of Cardinal Newman until I got serious about the Catholic question, have you?

‘Navigation for an ocean of interminable scepticism’: the enduring value of John Henry Newman's exploration of the nature of theology and its place in education. Ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in 1825, he converted to Roman Catholicism, being ordained as a priest and later appointed cardinal.He argued that various Catholic doctrines not accepted by Protestants (such as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Purgatory) had a developmental history analogous to doctrines that were accepted by Protestants (such as the Trinity or the divinity and humanity of Christ).Such developments were, in his view, the natural and beneficial consequences of reason working on the original revealed truth to draw out consequences that were not obvious at first.Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Note you can select to send to either the @free.or @variations.‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.He demonstrates that the basic "rule" under which Christianity proceeded through the centuries that throughout the entire life of the Church this law of development has been in effect and safeguards the faith from any real corruption.This book was a major piece of the puzzle in my conversion from the Protestant world into the Catholic Church.Newman used the idea of development of doctrine to defend Catholic teaching from attacks by some Anglicans and other Protestants, who saw certain elements in Catholic teaching as corruptions or innovations.He relied on an extensive study of early Church Fathers in tracing the elaboration or development of doctrine which he argued was in some way implicitly present in the Divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture and Tradition which was present from the beginnings of the Church.Increasingly drawn to Catholicism, he was nevertheless repulsed by the idea that the Roman Church, while preserving many ancient doctrines, had contaminated the faith by mixing into it its own invented traditions.Or could it be that these "new" doctrines were truly already present from the beginning, having only become more explicit and better understood with the passage of the centuries?


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