Thursday, May 27, 2010

WHAT ABOUT TRADITION?

The Bible tells us of only one inspired (God-breathed) and absolutely trustworthy source of information for the church today. Only this source can infallibly (without error) supply us with doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. And this source is Scripture, itself (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It equips us for every good work. As our ultimate rule of faith, it is more than sufficient. It is God, Himself, speaking to us (Matthew 22:31-32).

However, Catholics have another source, or rule of faith, along with, and supposedly EQUAL TO, the Scriptures. According to the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal…Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit…As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.'" (CCC #80, #81, #82)

So we see that in Catholicism, “Sacred Tradition” is on the same level as the Bible. Therefore, according to the Catholic Church, Tradition must also be infallible, since both it and Scripture are to be honored with the SAME level of “devotion and reverence.”


The Big Question

But how does the Catholic Church define tradition? They speak of small “t” traditions, which are only “disciplines,” like not eating meat on Friday, or observing certain holy days, etc. These can be changed by the Church, if they so desire. But they also have big “T” Traditions, which are the main and binding teachings (doctrines) that allegedly cannot be changed.

But, what about an actual, meaningful definition of Tradition from the Catholic Church? What is it, precisely? What does it consist of? And where can we actually find all of it? Some Catholics will say that Tradition is the “living and growing truth.” Or it is the “common teaching, common life, and common worship of the whole Church.” Still, others say that it is the “sense of the faithful.” The Second Vatican Council says that tradition is “all that she herself [the Catholic Church] is, all that she believes.” (Dei Verbum, 8, 1) Or, maybe it is what former Pope Pius IX arrogantly proclaimed: “I AM TRADITION!” In light of these extremely vague definitions, it seems that Tradition can become anything that the Catholic Church wants it to be. The Catholic concept of Tradition is so broad and so vague that it seems to be a subjective assortment of teachings, practices, historical events, and interpretations of fathers, along with an unknown number of doctrinal "developments.” But, what are the parameters of such a rule of faith? How does one know if he goes beyond the borders of Tradition? And how can the Catholic Church answer these questions without using circular reasoning?

So again, we must ask, “What is it?” Is there an official, unchanging, “infallible” list of Catholic Traditions that we can turn to, so that we can know for sure? No, there isn’t. Interestingly, the Catholic Church claims that only she can authentically interpret this Tradition (CCC #100). Suspiciously convenient, isn't it? But this is simply circular reasoning…like saying, ”It is true, because we SAY so.” In this way, the Catholic Church can force new (and false) doctrines onto the people at will. So, it is just too dangerous to ascribe infallibility to something so vague, so unclear.


Tradition in the Bible

But, tradition (Greek, “paradosis”), according to Scripture, is simply the biblical principles and teachings that were handed down from the apostles to each successive generation. The Bible does use the word in a positive way, but more often in the negative sense. There is good tradition (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:6), and there is bad tradition (e.g., Mark 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:18). Acceptable tradition is linked with the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15). Traditions that are acceptable will either be in the Bible, or they will line up with the principles of the Bible; and those that don’t, should be rejected.


The “Oral” and the “Written”

There is a popular response from Catholics who try to defend their Tradition’s “equality” with Scripture. They contend that we don’t have ALL of God’s Word unless we have the “written” (Scripture), and the “oral” (Sacred Tradition), and they quote 2 Thessalonians 2:15, where Paul tells the Thessalonians:

"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth, or by letter from us."

Catholics often use this verse in an attempt to show a distinction or a difference between “infallible oral" teachings and "infallible written" teachings, insisting that they are EQUAL and we need BOTH today. According to them, the Bible is not enough as a rule of faith.

First of all, Paul's "distinction" here was NOT to emphasize a difference in content between the two, but rather, to demonstrate the unity of his message in both forms. Here, Paul was addressing the fact that someone (an imposter) had apparently written a letter in Paul’s name to the Thessalonians, saying that they missed the Day of the Lord (2:2), causing the Thessalonian church to be shaken and disturbed. He is now writing to correct that false letter and to bring comfort and strength to the church. So, Paul was basically telling them, "Why are you disturbed by this letter that was supposedly from me? Any true letter from me will agree with the message I already gave to you personally / orally. I wouldn't contradict that message, or give you two different gospels."

So, when Catholics use 2 Thessalonians 2:15 in this way, it is out of context and they are misusing and abusing this verse. It is NOT AT ALL saying that we need two infallible sources today. There is no need for an “infallible” Tradition to supplement the Bible.

Secondly, the Catholic Church claims to have this Tradition (that is supposedly different from Scripture) which Paul said to hold on to. Yet, what infallible information do we have from Paul that is not found in the Scriptures? None. Does the Catholic Church have any infallible statements from Jesus (or any of the apostles), apart from the Bible? No, they don’t. Then why do they claim to have this extrabiblical (i.e., outside of the Bible) Tradition that they say Paul is speaking of, if they can’t tell us what it is? Remember, we don’t have access today to all of the information that Paul taught them.

It is not that God was unable to infallibly preserve all this information, it's just that He chose not to. There may even be other writings that Paul sent them that we don't have access to today. But we don't NEED to know every single thing he told them. We can know the essence of what he taught them by looking to God-breathed Scripture, which we do have available to us. But we can be sure that the things that Paul wrote to them will not contradict the things he spoke to them. This is his whole point. They would be the same basic message, the same Gospel.


The Test

But this Catholic argument just begs the question. It's easy to say, "Oh, yeah, that was us back then and that was our tradition, and that was the same church as ours, back in Jesus’ day", etc. It's easy to claim a traditional "link" to the past, but it's another thing to prove the legitimacy of that "link"… especially when it contains teachings that contradict Scripture.

If Catholics want to claim that Paul was speaking of infallible Tradition as something different from Scripture, then they have the responsibility to do three things:

1) Identify exactly what that "Tradition" is,
2) Demonstrate that it is indeed DIFFERENT from Scripture, and
3) Demonstrate that it is Apostolic and infallible...

And she must do this WITHOUT CIRCULAR ARGUMENTS.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. But we don’t see this type of proof from the Catholic Church. In fact, we don't see anything near "extraordinary proof." Remember, any message today claiming to be "Apostolic Tradition" must line up with, and be tested by, Scripture (Mark 7:1-13).

History has shown us that when anything is considered “equal” to Scripture, it will eventually, and inevitably, override Scripture and produce unbiblical doctrines (like the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, Purgatory, indulgences, the Treasury of Merit, etc.). Catholic Tradition supposedly complements the Bible, but has actually steered multitudes away from the pure truth of the Scriptures… perhaps gradually, yet surely.

Long ago, the Lord Jesus Christ showed us that the Pharisees and the scribes were guilty of usurping the authority of Scripture with their own traditions (Matthew 15:1-9). The Catholic Church is guilty of that same error today.

31 comments:

  1. Hi Russel,

    While it won't be a shock to you when I say this, your first sentence is where I believe a significant error is rooted in regards to your overall claims.

    You said: "The Bible tells us of only one inspired (God-breathed) and absolutely trustworthy source of information for the church today."

    Where does the Bible say this? To speak of the present "church today" is pretty significant, considering the NT was directed at Christians living in the apostolic age. This suggests the Apostles gave instructions indicating things would change regarding sources of authority.

    If this claim cannot be supported by Biblical testimony, your thesis is self-refuting, and thus the rest of your objections are begging the question.

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  2. Hello Nick,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You are correct that my thesis would be self-refuting… IF …it had no biblical support. But, of course, I believe it IS supported by the Bible. The reader can view the article on “Sola Scriptura,” i.e., Bible Alone, (along with the discussion Nick and I had in the comments section) elsewhere on this blog in the post titled, “Welcome to Answering Catholic Claims” and the “Final Authority” article directly under it.

    Nick, I would add, though, regardless of whether Sola Scriptura is true or not, there are still some significant problems for the Catholic claims concerning “Sacred Tradition,” as the “What About Tradition” article indicates.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Russell,

    I'm here as invited. I agree with Nick's comment. You say in response:
    You are correct that my thesis would be self-refuting… IF …it had no biblical support. But, of course, I believe it IS supported by the Bible.

    Where? Here's what I see in Scripture:
    Hebrews 13:17
    Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    Matthew 18:17
    And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    2 Thessalonians 2:15
    Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    Hebrews 13:7
    Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

    Ephesians 3:10
    To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

    How do you get Sola Scriptura from Scripture when Scripture teaches that we must submit to men, to the Church, to the Traditions as well as to Scripture? That's a pretty neat trick. But it seems to fall under the category of twisting the Word of God:

    2 Peter 3:16
    As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

    I'm anxious to see you produce the verses which you claim overrule those I produced. Or your reasons why those verses no longer apply.

    Sincerely,
    De Maria

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  4. Russell,

    Under the caption, "the Big Question", you wonder what Tradition is and you give several definitions which Catholics provide but which you do not consider satisfactory. What you fail to recognize is that YOU and others who rely upon Sola Scriptura are in no better shape. In fact, you are in worse condition.

    How many times have I heard a Protestant say, "Everytime I read the Scripture, I learn something new!" "Scripture is ever ancient, ever new!" If I had a penny for overtime one of the Sola Scripturists said that, I'd be a rich man.

    Now, I, as a Catholic can point to the Catechism and say, "there are the Traditions of the Church." But you can't. First of all, if you point to your own catechism, as do the Lutherans, then that makes you a pot calling the kettle black. But you can't point to one catechism, because Sola Scripturists have dozens, if not hundreds of catechisms. Some of them are not even written down. They claim they are all in the Bible, but unless they indicate in the Bible, how they are interpreting a certain verse, no one else will come to the same conclusion.

    Another thing, is that Protestants deny that Christ's Traditions are the basis of New Testament Scripture. That is why we can see the Traditions in the Scripture. But you deny the Traditions and thereby reject the basis of the New Testament. Having also rejected the teaching of the Church, you are forced to re invent the religion of Jesus Christ every time you read the Scripture.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

    ReplyDelete
  5. WHAT ABOUT TRADITION?

    The Bible tells us of only one inspired (God-breathed) and absolutely trustworthy source of information for the church today. Only this source can infallibly (without error) supply us with doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. And this source is Scripture, itself (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It equips us for every good work. As our ultimate rule of faith, it is more than sufficient. It is God, Himself, speaking to us (Matthew 22:31-32).


    Above I've asked you to provide proof of this in my previous message. I'll await that proof there.

    However, Catholics have another source, or rule of faith, along with, and supposedly EQUAL TO, the Scriptures. According to the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal…Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit…As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.'" (CCC #80, #81, #82)

    So we see that in Catholicism, “Sacred Tradition” is on the same level as the Bible. Therefore, according to the Catholic Church, Tradition must also be infallible, since both it and Scripture are to be honored with the SAME level of “devotion and reverence.”


    Not quite. The ST and SS are one and the same Word of God. The two rules of faith are:
    1. the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition.
    2. the Church

    Neither the Scripture nor Tradition can interpret themselves. The Church makes the judgement as to what is meant by each and deciphers them for the ordinary believer.

    ReplyDelete

  6. The Big Question

    But how does the Catholic Church define tradition? They speak of small “t” traditions, which are only “disciplines,” like not eating meat on Friday, or observing certain holy days, etc. These can be changed by the Church, if they so desire. But they also have big “T” Traditions, which are the main and binding teachings (doctrines) that allegedly cannot be changed.

    But, what about an actual, meaningful definition of Tradition from the Catholic Church? What is it, precisely? What does it consist of? And where can we actually find all of it? Some Catholics will say that Tradition is the “living and growing truth.” Or it is the “common teaching, common life, and common worship of the whole Church.” Still, others say that it is the “sense of the faithful.”


    It is all those and more. It is the Word of God which is passed down from age to age. It is our very Faith. Did you not know that Christianity is a TRADITION? Christianity is passed down by word of mouth. Parents teaching their children and believers teaching non-believers.

    The Second Vatican Council says that tradition is “all that she herself [the Catholic Church] is, all that she believes.” (Dei Verbum, 8, 1) Or, maybe it is what former Pope Pius IX arrogantly proclaimed: “I AM TRADITION!”

    1. I can't find it in any Catholic sources.
    2. Even if it is true, it is not some formal Catholic teaching.

    In light of these extremely vague definitions, it seems that Tradition can become anything that the Catholic Church wants it to be.

    Compare Catholic Teaching to the 20,000 flavors of Protestantism.

    The Catholic concept of Tradition is so broad and so vague that it seems to be a subjective assortment of teachings, practices, historical events, and interpretations of fathers, along with an unknown number of doctrinal "developments.” But, what are the parameters of such a rule of faith? How does one know if he goes beyond the borders of Tradition? And how can the Catholic Church answer these questions without using circular reasoning?

    I think we spoke about this on another blog. The Catholic Church uses the methodology taught in Scripture. Let us visit the Bereans.

    Acts 17:
    10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
     11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
     12Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.


    Protestants often bring this up because they see Sola Scriptura here depicted. But in order to do so, they have to set aside several facts.

    First, it is the Church in the person of Sts. Paul and Silas who are teaching the Bereans the Word of God.

    Second, they are not using the New Testament as the Jews would hardly accept those Scriptures.

    Third. They are reviewing the Old Testament and therein explaining to the Jews of Berea where Jesus Christ is found in the Old Testament. Much like Jesus opened the Scriptures to the disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:44).

    And there we see the Catholic methodology. The Church teaching (Magisterium) the Traditions of Jesus Christ (Tradition) according to Scripture. What we informally call the three legged stool.

    It should be obvious that this is a much more objective methodology than Sola Scriptura, wherein Protestants DO NOT TEACH SCRIPTURE. They teach THEIR INTERPRETATION of Scripture and confuse their interpretation with Scripture. But give no point of reference to see if their interpretation is correct. They simply say, "This is what it means!" Period. The end. And all they do, all day long, is quibble about the meaning of the Word in Scripture.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So again, we must ask, “What is it?” Is there an official, unchanging, “infallible” list of Catholic Traditions that we can turn to, so that we can know for sure? No, there isn’t.

    First you ask for a definition, then you ask for a list. Please be consistent.

    1. The definition of Sacred Tradition is this:
    77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."36

    78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."38

    2. As for a list of Traditions, first you need to produce a requirement. Where is it required that a list be kept? In fact, there is no such requirement. It is simply Protestant illogical thinking which they try to impose on the Catholic Church. Thank God they have no authority to enforce such a witless idea. That is why they haven't produced one themselves. Like the Pharisees, they impose upon others bundles too heavy to lift (Matt 23:4). To what level of detail would they want this list? Must one say, "Jesus had 10 fingers and 10 toes." Is that sufficient to be considered a doctrine? Believe me, there would be no satisfying the new Pharisees of the Reformation (Matthew 11:18-20).

    Interestingly, the Catholic Church claims that only she can authentically interpret this Tradition (CCC #100). Suspiciously convenient, isn't it? But this is simply circular reasoning…like saying, ”It is true, because we SAY so.” In this way, the Catholic Church can force new (and false) doctrines onto the people at will. So, it is just too dangerous to ascribe infallibility to something so vague, so unclear.

    And what do you say Russell? If I give my opinion, and my opinion concurs with the Catholic Church, you claim that I am wrong. By what authority do you claim to be better than I am at interpreting the Word of God?

    Scripture tells us which entity can infallibly understand the Wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10).

    Tradition in the Bible

    But, tradition (Greek, “paradosis”), according to Scripture, is simply the biblical principles and teachings that were handed down from the apostles to each successive generation. The Bible does use the word in a positive way, but more often in the negative sense. There is good tradition (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:6), and there is bad tradition (e.g., Mark 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:18). Acceptable tradition is linked with the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15). Traditions that are acceptable will either be in the Bible, or they will line up with the principles of the Bible; and those that don’t, should be rejected.


    That is Catholic Teaching. See the Berean example above.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The “Oral” and the “Written”

    There is a popular response from Catholics who try to defend their Tradition’s “equality” with Scripture. They contend that we don’t have ALL of God’s Word unless we have the “written” (Scripture), and the “oral” (Sacred Tradition), and they quote 2 Thessalonians 2:15, where Paul tells the Thessalonians:

    "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth, or by letter from us."

    Catholics often use this verse in an attempt to show a distinction or a difference between “infallible oral" teachings and "infallible written" teachings, insisting that they are EQUAL and we need BOTH today.


    Not true. We don't make that distinction. It is a Protestant "straw man". The Catholic Teaching is that all Catholic doctrine is found implied or explicit in Scripture.

    According to them, the Bible is not enough as a rule of faith.

    This is true, but not for the reason you made up. Scripture says:
    Acts 8:29-31
    29Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
     30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
     31And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
    Clearly indicating that the Church needs to explain the Scriptures. Philip is represents the Church in this verse.

    First of all, Paul's "distinction" here was NOT to emphasize a difference in content between the two, but rather, to demonstrate the unity of his message in both forms.

    That is Catholic Teaching.

    Here, Paul was addressing the fact that someone (an imposter) had apparently written a letter in Paul’s name to the Thessalonians, saying that they missed the Day of the Lord (2:2), causing the Thessalonian church to be shaken and disturbed. He is now writing to correct that false letter and to bring comfort and strength to the church. So, Paul was basically telling them, "Why are you disturbed by this letter that was supposedly from me? Any true letter from me will agree with the message I already gave to you personally / orally. I wouldn't contradict that message, or give you two different gospels."

    Still Catholic Teaching. Notice how you are contradicting yourself however. Because St. Paul didn't say, "Hey, read the Scriptures and you'll be alright!" He said, "I have explained to you."

    So, when Catholics use 2 Thessalonians 2:15 in this way, it is out of context and they are misusing and abusing this verse. It is NOT AT ALL saying that we need two infallible sources today. There is no need for an “infallible” Tradition to supplement the Bible.

    On the contrary, it is you who have twisted the Scripture around and ripped it to shreds.

    Secondly, the Catholic Church claims to have this Tradition (that is supposedly different from Scripture)

    Again, that is the typical Protestant straw man. Show me the official Catholic Teaching saying such a thing. Or admit that you are making that up.

    which Paul said to hold on to. Yet, what infallible information do we have from Paul that is not found in the Scriptures? None.

    Correcto mundo. That which is included in infallible Tradition is either explicit or implied in Scripture.

    Does the Catholic Church have any infallible statements from Jesus (or any of the apostles), apart from the Bible? No, they don’t.

    Yes, actually.
    1. For instance, show me where Jesus said that Mark or the Apostles or ANYONE in Scripture says that Mark wrote a Gospel?
    2. Or, how about the Trinity? Find an explicit definition for it in the Scriptures.
    3. Or, how about the hypostatic union? Find that in Scripture.
    4. There are many others.

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  9. Then why do they claim to have this extrabiblical (i.e., outside of the Bible) Tradition that they say Paul is speaking of, if they can’t tell us what it is? Remember, we don’t have access today to all of the information that Paul taught them.

    Hm? It is Protestants who accuse us of teaching extra biblical Traditions. Not Catholics. But this is typical of Protestant confusion. You accuse us of teaching extra biblical material and then claim that we claim it is extra biblical. No, Catholic doctrine is in Scripture, implied or explicit.

    It is not that God was unable to infallibly preserve all this information, it's just that He chose not to. There may even be other writings that Paul sent them that we don't have access to today. But we don't NEED to know every single thing he told them. We can know the essence of what he taught them by looking to God-breathed Scripture, which we do have available to us. But we can be sure that the things that Paul wrote to them will not contradict the things he spoke to them. This is his whole point. They would be the same basic message, the same Gospel.

    We believe God chose to preserve His Wisdom in the Church. And we see that implied in Scripture. I'm anxious to see your response to my earlier challenge.


    The Test

    But this Catholic argument just begs the question. It's easy to say, "Oh, yeah, that was us back then and that was our tradition, and that was the same church as ours, back in Jesus’ day", etc. It's easy to claim a traditional "link" to the past, but it's another thing to prove the legitimacy of that "link"… especially when it contains teachings that contradict Scripture.


    The Catholic Church doesn't teach anything that contradicts Scripture. But even the Protestant pillars of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide contradict Scripture. I've already posted the challenge to SS in an earlier message. I'm looking forward to your response.

    If Catholics want to claim that Paul was speaking of infallible Tradition as something different from Scripture,

    We don't. That is the Protestant straw man.

    then they have the responsibility to do three things:

    1) Identify exactly what that "Tradition" is,
    2) Demonstrate that it is indeed DIFFERENT from Scripture, and
    3) Demonstrate that it is Apostolic and infallible…


    Your assumption is false therefore your logic fails.

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  10. And she must do this WITHOUT CIRCULAR ARGUMENTS.

    Catholic arguments are objective compared to Protestant methodology. But I want to make another point. Protestants often claim there is something necessarily wrong with circular arguments. But there isn't. Arguments which are false may be derived by circular and objective means. And Arguments which are correct may be derived by circular or objective means. By no means have Protestants, with their circular method of reasoning, come up to completely false theology. There are many points which they get right. But there are many points they get wrong, very many.

    The Catholic Church, however, is infallible by the grace of God. And that is the only way that the Church may be infallible. By the grace of God. The methodology is more objective than the Reformers. But it is still circular compared to secular science for instance. BECAUSE we rely upon God. We always come back to God's revelation in His Word contained in Tradition and Scripture.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    Agreed. I consider Scripture extraordinary proof.

    But we don’t see this type of proof from the Catholic Church. In fact, we don't see anything near "extraordinary proof." Remember, any message today claiming to be "Apostolic Tradition" must line up with, and be tested by, Scripture (Mark 7:1-13).

    Which it does. All Catholic Traditions line up with Scripture. Whereas, all Protestant Traditions which contradict the Catholic Church also contradict Scripture.

    History has shown us that when anything is considered “equal” to Scripture, it will eventually, and inevitably, override Scripture and produce unbiblical doctrines (like the Immaculate Conception of Mary,

    I don't see anything in Scripture which says that the Virgin Mary was not immaculately conceived. Perhaps you can point me to it. Whereas, the Scriptures do say, "hail, kecharitomene"….

    the Assumption of Mary into Heaven,

    Rev 12:1

    Purgatory,

    1 Cor 3:10-15

    indulgences, the Treasury of Merit, etc.).

    Those two are pretty much the same thing and we stand upon these Scriptures:
    Mark 12:43; Luke 12:33; amongst others.

    Catholic Tradition supposedly complements the Bible, but has actually steered multitudes away from the pure truth of the Scriptures… perhaps gradually, yet surely.

    It is Protestantism which has steered multitudes away from the Truth of God's Word, in Tradition and Scripture.

    Long ago, the Lord Jesus Christ showed us that the Pharisees and the scribes were guilty of usurping the authority of Scripture with their own traditions (Matthew 15:1-9). The Catholic Church is guilty of that same error today.

    On the contrary, the Catholic Church continues to teach the wisdom of God. The new Pharisees are the Reformers.

    Sincerely,
    De Maria

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  11. Hi De Maria,

    (Part 1)

    There was a lot to respond to, but to just touch on the main points…

    You said:

    “How do you get Sola Scriptura from Scripture when Scripture teaches that we must submit to men, to the Church, to the Traditions as well as to Scripture? That's a pretty neat trick. But it seems to fall under the category of twisting the Word of God”

    I agree that we must ultimately submit to Scripture, no problem there. But to what “men” or what “church” are we expected to submit? For instance, should we submit to just any church leader, or to, let’s say, the Mormon Church? Can I just randomly pick who I want to submit to and submit for just any reason I want to? Of course not. We must submit to those men whom God has put over us in the local church, men who put the Truth of the Bible first. And we must submit to that church in which God has placed us, again, one which has the Scriptures as its ultimate rule of faith. But the Catholic Church cannot be that church because it does not meet this requirement.

    Many Catholics misunderstand the concept of Sola Scriptura (“Bible alone”). So, I will give a very brief and simple definition of it:

    “Sola Scriptura means that the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith for the church today.”

    With this definition in mind, we need to recognize that there are other legitimate (but lesser) “rules of faith,” for example, church creeds, catechisms, tradition, godly leaders of the church, Bible commentaries, lexicons, handbooks, writings of the church fathers, etc. But there is only one available today which is INFALLIBLE, and that is Scripture, itself.

    You presented 2 Peter 3:16 as somehow undermining the concept of Sola Scriptura, and that the Bible is “hard to understand.” But this passage is speaking of the error of the “wicked” and unbelieving (verse 17), not the humble and prayerful person who is truly trying to find the will of God. And, in this passage, the apostle Peter says nothing about a need for an infallible human interpreter, although this would be an excellent place to mention it, if it were true.

    You said:

    “I'm anxious to see you produce the verses which you claim overrule those I produced. Or your reasons why those verses no longer apply.”

    Those verses you produced in your first post above about submitting to men and the church do not refute Sola Scriptura, as I just mentioned. You’re trying to make them say something they don’t say. On the other hand, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is a straightforward passage speaking specifically about the nature, purpose and authority of Scripture for the church. It is dealing with a rule of faith which will assure us of the truth in times of great deception and apostasy within the church. Also, notice in this context that Paul offers Timothy nothing else as a remedy for these hard times. The apostle says it is Scripture that equips us for EVERY good work and is therefore the ultimate rule of faith.

    ReplyDelete
  12. (Part 2)

    You said:

    “Under the caption, ‘the Big Question’, you wonder what Tradition is and you give several definitions which Catholics provide but which you do not consider satisfactory.”

    These definitions are extremely vague and pretty much meaningless. The Catholic Church is basically saying “Tradition is whatever we say it is,” without ever really saying what it is! And this is an INFALLIBLE entity?!! As I said in the article, it is much too dangerous to ascribe infallibility to something whose contents are so vague.

    At another point, you said:

    “2. As for a list of Traditions, first you need to produce a requirement. Where is it required that a list be kept? In fact, there is no such requirement. It is simply Protestant illogical thinking which they try to impose on the Catholic Church. Thank God they have no authority to enforce such a witless idea. That is why they haven't produced one themselves.”

    Why is it a “witless idea” to ask for the content of one’s rule of faith? Why is it wrong to want to know the boundaries of this supposedly infallible Tradition? Without this information, how can one know if he is fully obeying Sacred Tradition or not?

    Catholics often criticize us about the uncertainty of our “canon” (list of books in the Bible), but we know what our canon is, and where to find it, but Catholics can’t give us the “canon” of their own Tradition. That is the first of several problems with “Sacred Tradition.”

    You also asked:

    “To what level of detail would they want this list? Must one say, ‘Jesus had 10 fingers and 10 toes.’ Is that sufficient to be considered a doctrine? Believe me, there would be no satisfying the new Pharisees of the Reformation (Matthew 11:18-20).”

    Detail is not so much an issue, De Maria. We’re simply asking for a list of these infallible Traditions, those which are equal to, but not in, Scripture. If you say that they ARE in Scripture, then the “burden of proof” (and I know you don’t like that phrase) is on you to show where they are.

    ReplyDelete
  13. (Part 3)

    You said:

    “Now, I, as a Catholic can point to the Catechism and say, "there are the Traditions of the Church." But you can't.”

    Can you really? Remember, according to this same Catechism, Scripture and Sacred Tradition are to be embraced with the SAME amount of “devotion and reverence” (CCC #82). So, if you reverence all of Scripture as infallible and God-breathed, then you (as a Catholic) are expected to view Sacred Tradition in the same way.

    So, is EVERYTHING in the Catholic Catechism infallible? Is every bit of it on the same level as Scripture (i.e., inspired, God-breathed)? No, it is not. Furthermore, the Catholic Catechism does not tell us which traditions are inspired / God-breathed and which are not.

    You said:

    “But you deny the Traditions and thereby reject the basis of the New Testament.”

    First, please IDENTIFY all of these infallible, God-breathed Traditions and then we can go from there…

    You said:

    “And what do you say Russell? If I give my opinion, and my opinion concurs with the Catholic Church, you claim that I am wrong. By what authority do you claim to be better than I am at interpreting the Word of God?”

    One does not need to have a special “authority” to interpret the Bible. That is simply a false idea that most Catholics have. But I’m just saying that my (and many other Protestants’) interpretations are more reasonable and consistent with Scripture.

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  14. (Part 4)

    Several times you said that I was guilty of using a straw man argument because I had claimed that the Catholic Church makes a distinction between infallible “oral” revelation (Sacred Tradition) and infallible “written” revelation (Scripture), and that the Catholic Church says that BOTH are needed. And you said:

    “The Catholic Teaching is that all Catholic doctrine is found implied or explicit in Scripture.”

    As you know, this is known as the “material sufficiency” view. But there is another view called the “partim / partim,” which says basically that part of revelation is found in Scripture and part is found in Tradition. But both of these views are acceptable in the Catholic Church. Many Catholic apologists hold to the partim / partim view:

    1) According to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (online):

    “Catholics, on the other hand, hold that there may be, that there is in fact, and that THERE MUST OF NECESSITY BE CERTAIN REVEALED TRUTHS APART FROM THOSE CONTAINED IN THE BIBLE…” (Under the topic, “Tradition and Living Magisterium”) [Emphasis added]

    2) According to Karl Keating, founder and president of “Catholic Answers,” the nation’s largest apologetics and evangelization organization:

    "The part of revelation that was NOT COMMITTED TO WRITING – THE PART THAT IS OUTSIDE OF THE NT and is the oral teaching that is the basis of Tradition - that part of revelation Catholics also accept, and in this they follow the apostle Paul's injunction..." (Catholicism and Fundamentalism, 1988, p 151). [Emphasis added]

    By the way, Keating was referring to the very same passage that I used in my article (2 Thessalonians 2:15), which many Catholics interpret as “partly from Scripture” and “partly from ‘oral’ Tradition.”

    3) According to James Akin, Catholic speaker and Senior Apologist for “Catholic Answers,”
    "The decrees of Trent and Vatican II allow Catholics to hold the two-mode idea, but they do not require it. A CATHOLIC IS STILL FREE TO HOLD THE TWO-SOURCE VIEW.” (“The Complex Relationship Between Scripture and Tradition”) [Emphasis added]

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=6804

    4) According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Paragraph #82):

    “As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “DOES NOT DERIVE HER CERTAINTY ABOUT ALL REVEALED TRUTHS FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES ALONE. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."

    By the way, this quote from the Catechism comes from section 9 of “Dei Verbum,” another official Catholic source.

    5) According to “A Catechism of the Catholic Religion,” by Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J. (1889 with imprimatur), page 51:

    “Question 4. How has divine revelation come down to us?

    Divine revelation has come down to us PARTLY BY WRITING—that is, by the Holy Scripture, or the Bible; PARTLY BY WORD OF MOUTH—that is, by tradition.” [Emphasis added]

    So, De Maria, by what “authority” do YOU say that "Material Sufficiency" is THE Catholic view? Are you claiming to be “better” than other Catholics?

    So, it is evident that there are official Catholic sources, as well as seasoned Catholic apologists, who (if you are humble enough to admit it) that they are probably better apologists than you, and they agree that what I said about Tradition is indeed Catholic teaching.

    Therefore, your “straw man” accusation about me is false.

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  15. Beans Russell,

    How come you never bothered to comment on De Maria's argument from Acts 17 or any of the insults directed towards you?

    X

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Anonymous,

    You ask, why didn’t I bother to address De Maria’s remarks about Acts 17? Or any of his insults?

    Well, De Maria had eight longs posts above, with lots and lots of things to say, so it’s not like I could reply to every single item without writing a book! I don’t know, maybe he and I have addressed Acts 17 already in our many, many responses to each other in other places. I’m not sure. I had just intended to address some of his main points.

    So, getting back to Acts 17, De Maria said that we (Protestants) have to set aside several facts: namely 1) there is a church (represented by its leaders), 2) Paul and Silas didn’t use the New Testament, and 3) they were expounding things from the Old Testament to prove Jesus is the Messiah.

    And this is supposed to prove the Catholic “three legged stool.” And then he goes on to say that we (Protestants) are not teaching Scripture, but only teaching “our interpretation” of Scripture.

    Ok, to address the three points above: 1) There is a church. Ok, we already know that. No one who believes in Sola Scriptura is denying that there is a church, and that it has leaders. De Maria seems to be suggesting that we don’t believe those things, but he knows better. 2) Ok, so Paul and Silas didn’t use the New Testament. Of course not, it wasn’t even written yet. But that’s not a problem, since they DID use the Old Testament, which IS Scripture. And 3) So they found Jesus in the Old Testament - so what? All this is irrelevant and does nothing to disprove Sola Scriptura. And there is nothing whatsoever about “Catholic Tradition” in Act 17.

    Concerning the idea that Protestants only have “their interpretation” of Scripture, this is utterly ridiculous. EVERYONE must interpret not only Scripture, but ANY FORM OF COMMUNICATION. If Catholics (or anyone) are claiming that they are not interpreting when they read the Bible, they are not being honest.

    And lastly, if you feel that De Maria was “insulting” me, then why don’t you address him for wronging me, since insulting is not exactly a Christian thing to do, is it? Or is it ok to insult someone, as long as he is a Protestant?

    ReplyDelete
  17. But, tradition (Greek, “paradosis”), according to Scripture, is simply the biblical principles and teachings that were handed down from the apostles to each successive generation. The Bible does use the word in a positive way, but more often in the negative sense. There is good tradition (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:6), and there is bad tradition (e.g., Mark 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:18).
    i am in total agreement with the definition you have used for Tradition and as far as i know thats the one which is used by Catholics. in Fact in the fuller sense Scriptures are refereed in the Catholic Church as tradition because it was one of the way to pass on things to the next generation. that is what we mean by tradition, that which we received from previous generations. there is Apostolic tradition,the teachings of Christ and the Apostles which came down to us from the Apostles, these are different from traditions and teachings we can make up on our own and change over time as it suits us.
    http://www.sensustraditionis.org/webaudio/Sermons/Tradition/Sermon1.mp3
    listen to that sermon explaining what we mean by tradition from Fr Ripperger

    Acceptable tradition is linked with the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15). Traditions that are acceptable will either be in the Bible, or they will line up with the principles of the Bible; and those that don’t, should be rejected.

    i agree with you when you that the acceptable tradition is linked with Gospel of Jesus Christ, but i think you assume the Gospel means the Bible, no its not the verse there does not specify whether its in written form or oral form, it just says the Gospel.

    15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

    this verse is clear hold on to both forms and to make it more clear Paul tells Timothy the following

    2 Tim 2:2 And the things that you have heard me say among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others as well.

    this is clearly Paul instructing Timothy to pass on teachings which he had (heard from Paul among withnesses) not read from Paul.

    and they did teach others and it from tracing to the Early Christians who learnt directly from the apostles that you find out about these things. one example is when Pope Francis was asked about ordaining woman as deacons, he set up a commission to find out if that was practiced from the Apostles

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comments.

    When you say “this verse is clear hold on to both forms…”, are you saying that the “oral” and the “written” are two DIFFERENT things? In case you missed it, I addressed that in the article above, under the heading, “The ‘Oral’ and the ‘Written’.” Maybe you didn’t see it, but Catholics attempt to twist this verse (2 Thessalonians 2:15) all the time.

    If those “oral traditions” that Paul refers to are indeed different from those written, then what ARE those traditions, exactly? But if the oral and the written are the same, then why the emphasis on embracing BOTH of them?

    I think the key here is to determine exactly what those “Oral Traditions” are, and if they are compatible with Scripture.

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    Replies
    1. But if the oral and the written are the same, then why the emphasis on embracing BOTH of them? it is Paul who said BOTH not us, so the emphasis is from Paul, if they had been the same He would have not said both. your explaination is not clear thats why i had to through it again.

      If those “oral traditions” that Paul refers to are indeed different from those written, then what ARE those traditions, exactly? this i have explained already above, for example the interpretation of Scripture, we know that this passage and that passage has always meant this from the time of the Apostles like the Eucharist we know that it is truly the True body and blood of Christ because those were taught by the Apostles actually believe so and the Oral tradition just came up to us like that. another example is that of Apostolic Succession which we get from the lives of those who succeeded the Apostles. just read and study the Early church Fathers who were taught by the Apostles why are you scared of them.

      Delete
    2. Hello Anonymous,

      You said:

      “it is Paul who said BOTH not us, so the emphasis is from Paul, if they had been the same He would have not said both. your explaination is not clear thats why i had to through it again.”

      Did you actually read the article? I clearly said:

      “Paul's ‘distinction’ here was NOT to emphasize a difference in content between the two, but rather, to demonstrate the unity of his message in both forms.”

      Paul is not saying that the oral and the written are two incomplete pieces of the puzzle that must be put together to understand his message. He is actually saying that the two (oral and written) contain the SAME message, just in different forms. Yes, Paul said “both,” but not as two different, incomplete messages, like Catholics try to imply.

      I had said:

      “If those ‘oral traditions’ that Paul refers to are indeed different from those written, then what ARE those traditions, exactly?”

      And you answered:

      “this i have explained already above, for example the interpretation of Scripture”

      And the example that you gave was:

      “that is what we mean by tradition, that which we received from previous generations.”

      Ok, anybody can say that. But what exactly was it that was handed down from the previous generations? Tell me specifically what these Sacred Traditions are? Not just examples, but tell me where I can find all of them. If you can’t tell me the “boundaries” of this “Tradition,” then how can you know that you are following it correctly? Remember, I am talking about inspired and equal-with-Scripture type Traditions. Don’t just give us examples, but please give us a meaningful definition of Tradition, not just, “It’s whatever the Church teaches.”

      You mentioned the Catholic Church’s “Apostolic Succession,” but that is a problem in more ways than one. See here:

      http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2009/12/apostolic-succession.html

      You said:

      “just read and study the Early church Fathers who were taught by the Apostles why are you scared of them.”

      Anonymous, I’m not scared of them. They do have some value and we can learn a lot from them. That’s not a problem. But I believe that many read and cling to the church fathers more than they do the inspired Scriptures. That is often the problem. Here is an article on that topic:

      http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2009/12/church-fathers.html

      Delete
  19. "Paul is not saying that the oral and the written are two incomplete pieces of the puzzle that must be put together to understand his message. He is actually saying that the two (oral and written) contain the SAME message, just in different forms. Yes, Paul said “both,” but not as two different, incomplete messages, like Catholics try to imply"

    whats your basis of saying that the both forms contain the same message/content? we already know that all that the Apostles did and taught was not written down(unless if you think it was all written down). so when Paul is saying hold on to both, he does not say to only oral traditions which will be written down or those with the same content as those written down.

    Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    Jesus specifically told his Apostles to teach ALL, not only those things they will manage to write down, He meant all which includes the Oral teachings. the onus is on you to prove that all that Jesus Commanded was written down.

    Oral Traditions are simple, they are seen in those people who received them. i cannot give you a complete list were to get them because they are tradition, but you have to go to the Early Church to find them. Oral Traditions include the interpretations they had of the verses, their way of life and the way of church governance.i will give another example, on the Eucharist, the question you should just ask is Did the Early believe that Eucharist is truly the Flesh and Blood of our Lord, then you go to the Early Church to find out. The difference between us and protestants is you got the bible and started reading it and made your conclusions, but for us the writings came after the belief was there already, before Matthew, John, Luke and Mark were written the Church was already there believing the same things we believe today. so the teachings we have we just received them, from the Apostles and those who came after them. All those traditions that can be traced to their times are the Oral Teachings we call Tradition with a big T and those which were made after they were gone we use a small t for them.

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    Replies
    1. Sipho,

      You said:

      “whats your basis of saying that the both forms contain the same message/content?”

      If you have read the article, you can see my point on the two forms here:

      “First of all, Paul's "distinction" here was NOT to emphasize a difference in content between the two, but rather, to demonstrate the unity of his message in both forms. Here, Paul was addressing the fact that someone (an imposter) had apparently written a letter in Paul’s name to the Thessalonians, saying that they missed the Day of the Lord (2:2), causing the Thessalonian church to be shaken and disturbed. He is now writing to correct that false letter and to bring comfort and strength to the church. So, Paul was basically telling them, "Why are you disturbed by this letter that was supposedly from me? Any true letter from me will agree with the message I already gave to you personally / orally. I wouldn't contradict that message, or give you two different gospels."

      You said:

      “Jesus specifically told his Apostles to teach ALL, not only those things they will manage to write down, He meant all which includes the Oral teachings. the onus is on you to prove that all that Jesus Commanded was written down.”

      I’m sorry, Sipho, but the onus is really on you to demonstrate exactly what those inspired-but-non-Scriptural-teachings are, first. You can’t say something is inspired if you don’t know what that something is.

      You mentioned that Oral Traditions include things like “the interpretations they had of the verses, their way of life and the way of church governance.” But that’s pretty vague. Are you saying that each interpretation of their verses was “God-breathed,” on the same level as Scripture? How about every aspect of their “way of life” and every aspect of their “church governance”? All inspired like the Bible is? I don’t think anyone would actually say this. But for it to be equal with Scripture, as Catholics insist, this would have to be true.

      You see, you need to first identify each and every one of those big “T” Traditions before you can say they are equal with Scripture.

      Delete
    2. Why are you disturbed by this letter that was supposedly from me? Any true letter from me will agree with the message I already gave to you personally / orally. I wouldn't contradict that message, or give you two different gospels." thats your interpretation and i cannot agree with until you prove that everything they wrote was written. and you also need to show us that Word of God was not fruitful whether in deeds or any other way because Scripture(your only infallible source) tells us that every Word coming from God achieves results,
      Isaiah 55:10"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
      so if every Word of God was not written down, are you saying that which was not written down, it did not have any other effects on People 's lives who heard it? it just disappeared and became dead? Are you saying God if His Word is not written down it cannot be transferred from Generation to Generation? Are you saying only writings can be trusted yet we do not hold the original manuscripts on which the Books in the Bible you read are based on? how do you trust the books then? what if what was on the originals is actually different/very different to the copies we have today, is there any means of knowing what exactly they wrote?


      "I’m sorry, Sipho, but the onus is really on you to demonstrate exactly what those inspired-but-non-Scriptural-teachings are, first. You can’t say something is inspired if you don’t know what that something is."

      i do not need to identify Each and every one of the big T but there is already a standard to identify them, we go to the Early Christians, as Paul says to Timothy, “2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard me say among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others as well.” we just go and look for those faithful men(unless if you claim they never existed which you need to prove) they can be Bishops and even lay people but the bottom line is they were faithful men taught by the Apostles or by the disciples of the Apostles.

      I do not know where you are getting lost, but its pretty clear that all those teachings we believe in as infallible and you cannot find them in the bible they come from Oral Tradition. its Either the Bible teaches but is not clear on it and its fully explained from tradition or it may be absent completely but Tradition teaches it.

      Delete
    3. Mug,

      You said:

      “thats your interpretation and i cannot agree with until you prove that everything they wrote was written.”

      I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make any sense. I must prove that everything they wrote was written? Maybe you are asking if everything they wrote was canonical (belonging to the canon)?

      You said:

      “and you also need to show us that Word of God was not fruitful whether in deeds or any other way because Scripture (your only infallible source) tells us that every Word coming from God achieves results,”

      I never denied that everything God said achieves results. I don’t know why you bring this up. Yes, whatever God said, did, or had written down, will achieve its purpose and fulfill His will. I don’t have an issue with this. Maybe you think that I believe that the “Oral” is not important and won’t achieve results? If that’s what you mean, then yes… IF God said it (either Himself or through someone else), it will prosper. But that’s the point… IS THIS ORAL TRADITION THAT CATHOLICS SPEAK OF, ACTUALLY FROM GOD? What is the content of that Tradition?

      Speaking of the Bible manuscripts, you said:

      “what if what was on the originals is actually different/very different to the copies we have today, is there any means of knowing what exactly they wrote?”

      No, we don’t have the originals, but we have overwhelming evidence of the consistency of the five-to-six thousand copies of the New Testament Greek manuscripts. This is far better evidence than we have for any other ancient documents – even documents that no one questions.

      You said:

      “i do not need to identify Each and every one of the big T but there is already a standard to identify them, we go to the Early Christians,”

      And each and every one of these early Christians was inspired by God to say or write these things (Traditions), just as the writers of Scripture?

      You said:

      “I do not know where you are getting lost, but its pretty clear that all those teachings we believe in as infallible and you cannot find them in the bible they come from Oral Tradition.”

      I know that you label them “Oral Tradition,” but apparently, it’s not “pretty clear” AT ALL, since you cannot tell me what these teachings are to start with! I said many times: It is dangerous to ascribe infallibility to something so vague.

      You said:

      “its Either the Bible teaches but is not clear on it and its fully explained from tradition or it may be absent completely but Tradition teaches it.”

      Or a third option: It is both NOT in Scripture and it is AGAINST the principles of Scripture. This describes many of the strictly-Catholic teachings in “Sacred Tradition,” like the Marian doctrines, indulgences, transubstantiation, etc.

      Delete
    4. we are going around in circles on the same things, and you completely ignore whatever i say. i cannot keep on wasting my time re explaining the same things over and over again, just because you are just ignoring the simple things i am saying.

      Delete
    5. Part 1

      Why are you disturbed by this letter that was supposedly from me? Any true letter from me will agree with the message I already gave to you personally / orally. I wouldn't contradict that message, or give you two different gospels." thats your interpretation and i cannot agree with until you prove that everything the Apostles taught was written.

      and you also need to show us that Word of God was not fruitful whether in deeds or any other way because Scripture(your only infallible source) tells us that every Word coming from God achieves results,

      Isaiah 55:10"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
      the QUESTION HERE IS:
      so if every Word of God was not written down(if you believe everything was written DOWN which Jesus and the Apostles Taught then you have to prove it), are you saying that which was not written down, it did not have any other effects on People 's lives who heard it? it just disappeared and became dead? Are you saying God if His Word is not written down it cannot be transferred from Generation to Generation? Are you saying only writings can be trusted yet we do not hold the original manuscripts on which the Books in the Bible you read are based on? how do you trust the books then? what if what was on the originals is actually different/very different to the copies we have today, is there any means of knowing what exactly they wrote?

      i will be waiting patiently for your answer on my question on whether the things taught by Jesus and the Apostles were ALL written down or not, and if you say they were not all written down, i would want you tell us the effect they had on those who heard them being taught, because thats where we draw Oral tradition(Remember that the Word of God does not leave us without any effect) and if you say they were all written down you have to prove.

      Delete
    6. Part 2

      Russell you said

      "No, we don’t have the originals, but we have overwhelming evidence of the consistency of the five-to-six thousand copies of the New Testament Greek manuscripts. This is far better evidence than we have for any other ancient documents – even documents that no one questions."

      Russell my question is do we have the Originals to actually compare all those copies to, they may be consistent in the wrong direction and we have nothing to judge them against besides themselves, so is there a means of knowing what they exactly wrote?

      Russell you said,
      "And each and every one of these early Christians was inspired by God to say or write these things (Traditions), just as the writers of Scripture?" are you saying one needs to be inspired to live according to the things he has received? what we look for on Oral Tradition is what people in the Early Church lived accordingly, which standards they followed, how did they pray and finally who taught them all these things if it was from The Apostles or those faithful men taught by the apostles that qualifies as the Word of God which transformed them to do such things, does these things need inspiration. if these need inspiration then your claim that no one is inspired after the apostolic times needs to be reexamined.


      "I’m sorry, Sipho, but the onus is really on you to demonstrate exactly what those inspired-but-non-Scriptural-teachings are, first. You can’t say something is inspired if you don’t know what that something is."

      Russell you said
      "Or a third option: It is both NOT in Scripture and it is AGAINST the principles of Scripture. This describes many of the strictly-Catholic teachings in “Sacred Tradition,” like the Marian doctrines, indulgences, transubstantiation, etc."
      those Catholic teachings are only wrong according to your interpretation of the bible and to my interpretation of the Bible they are in PERFECT harmony with the Bible.

      Thank you, God bless you

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    8. Mug,

      Just a few things.

      You said:

      “thats your interpretation and i cannot agree with until you prove that everything the Apostles taught was written.”

      I never said that everything that the apostles taught was written down. I am sure that there are many specific things that they did and wrote that we don’t have a record of. But everything that we need AS A RULE OF FAITH is written down as Scripture. Not every single word the apostles wrote or taught was written down, but the ESSENCE of their teachings is enscripturated, made into infallible Scripture. Again, we don’t have ALL their writings, but I believe we have those things that God wanted to be placed in the Bible.

      Concerning the effects that the “Oral” had on people, just go back and see my comments on October 18 just above.

      One last thing. Concerning your questions about the biblical manuscripts, you are starting to argue like an ATHEIST! It sounds like you DON’T believe the manuscript evidence, thus you don’t believe the Bible. If that’s a problem with you, then you might as well stop calling yourself a Christian. If you want to follow through with that line of thinking, then maybe the whole Bible is wrong. And if the Bible is wrong, then we might as well all shut it down and go home! And maybe all the writings of the church fathers are corrupt, as well! You want to live with that assumption?

      I think you were right. We are going around in circles, and I think it’s best we drop the discussion. Thanks for your comments, but we just can’t seem to see eye to eye.

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    9. On the manuscripts issue i am trying to show you a simple thing that Both Oral and Written tradition have their defects yet you only accept one while the same arguiments against their infallibility can be used on all of them because they are all methods of passing on teachings thats why i was saying you use a double standard on the two but they are from the same source so if you cannot claim to have the originals then you no reason to claim that Scripture was faithfully transmitted to us and you have no way of saying your teaching from Tradition was not faithfully transmitted to this day.
      In other Words what you imply is God cannot protect His Word if it is not written down or if something is not written down it cannot be transmitted faithfully through God 's Guidance?

      We end this discussion with questions unanswered though i have learnt a lot from the discussion for future debates with Protestants but i only ask if you could a further research and prove that all the things of ESSENCE were written and also to prove that those which were not written down though they had an effect on people who were taught were not of ESSENSE or was a lower class Word of God(since its effects could not reach to us today according to your assumption)

      "If you want to follow through with that line of thinking, then maybe the whole Bible is wrong. And if the Bible is wrong, then we might as well all shut it down and go home!" Thats an interesting comment try to think Critically from your statement and the many canons that are in Christianity and you will see that Catholics have a point that SS is not reasonable and Atheists have a point as well this chaos in Christianity is not from God whom the Bible Potrays.

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  20. Protestants always claim that there is no way of Knowing which Traditions(the Word of God in Oral Form) came from the Apostles , there is no sure way of knowing which of the early church fathers or Christians were faithful to what they were taught and which ones were heretics. Well that same arguments can be used against the Written Word, because we have no surviving original manuscripts of the written Word.We have no original surviving manuscripts of any of the books of the New Testament. They are all copies! Furthermore, the copies we have are not all the same. In fact, no two copies are exactly alike! Some have estimated that there are as much as 200,000 variations within the various biblical texts. In your free time feel free to examine the following texts and see how different they are from each other: Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Bezae, Codex Ephraeimi .Rescriptus, Codex Washingtonensis, Codex Koridethianus. Which codex is the perfect text? The transmission of the written word also depended on who is copying and faithfully one is transmitting. This is the same with Oral Tradition so the protestant argument falls aways.

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