Someone hands you a crown; you test it for the correct weight, to see if it is pure gold or contains any dross; but you do not thereby create the value of the crown

Our opponents also put the authority of the Church above Scripture. Why? Because the church gave us the books of Scripture; therefore, they argue, the Church gave authority to these books. The Church rejected the Gospels of Nicodemus and Thomas, but accepted the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They glory in this argument, but actually it is merely a stuid and bare-faced example of the fallacy per accidens. Discerning the spirits and discriminating between them does not give the spirits their authority. Likewise, testing metals does not make the metals either good or bad. Or again, when citizens make a judgement about their king’s decree (that it is authentic, and that it means this or that), that judgement does not bestow authority on the decree, but rather seeks to accept without a mistake the actual authority that is in the king’s majesty, by being subject to his acknowledged decree. Someone hands you a crown; you test it for the correct weight, to see if it is pure gold or contains any dross; but you do not thereby create the value of the crown…The devil has mixed his own…books into the divine books; and the Church has sorted sorted out the divine from the diabolical. In so doing, the Church has not given authority to the divine books, but has withdrawn authority from the others, showing that they are not divine.

Martin Bucer, Commonplaces

 

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