Sunday, March 13, 2011

DID THE APOSTLES PRACTICE SOLA SCRIPTURA?

Having already dealt with the concept of Sola Scriptura (“Bible Alone”) in more detail elsewhere on this blog, this article will briefly address one particular Catholic argument against it.

Many, if not most, of us who believe in Sola Scriptura will admit that this doctrine did not apply during the time of Jesus or His apostles, since the apostolic period was definitely a time when they were still receiving new, infallible, “oral” revelation. But we believe Sola Scriptura came into play in the post-apostolic church, when the apostles were all gone and new divine revelation had ceased.

But some Catholic apologists will say, “For Sola Scriptura to be true, it must have been the norm all along. Jesus and the apostles did not observe it, so we shouldn’t practice it today.”

In other words, they are saying that if it was operating in the beginning of the church, it has to be operating now, and if it was not operating in the beginning, it can’t be operating now. If THEY (the apostles) didn’t practice it, then WE shouldn’t practice it.

But if that’s true, then can anyone show where Jesus or the apostles taught people to pray to the saints in Heaven? Did they believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary or practice indulgences? Did they teach of miracles with no accompanying evidence (like bread and wine supposedly “changing” into flesh and blood)? Do we have any biblical evidence of any of these teachings at that time? No, we don’t. Then why are all of these teachings accepted in the Catholic Church? By their own standard, no one today should be doing these things either, since Jesus and the apostles didn’t teach them.

Catholics may say that these teachings somehow “developed” over time, but then we could also say Sola Scriptura “developed” and was, in fact, a process, a “transition.” Just as the Old Covenant transitioned into the New, just as Judaism is fulfilled in Christianity, just as the “types and shadows” of the Law had to give way to the “real thing,” so does Sola Scriptura emerge as the ultimate Rule of Faith.

Stop and think… if the Bible, as a Rule of Faith, really is “God-breathed” and able to equip the believer for EVERY GOOD WORK (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then it necessarily and effectively eclipses and replaces any other source that claims to be an infallible Rule of Faith. Thus, the transition from “oral plus written,” to “written only.”

In conclusion, the fact that the apostles didn’t practice Sola Scriptura does not nullify that teaching, but pointing out the practices of the apostles does not help the Catholic, since it undercuts his own position.

58 comments:

  1. Hi Russell,

    You said: "we believe Sola Scriptura came into play in the post-apostolic church, when the apostles were all gone and new divine revelation had ceased"

    I think you are misunderstanding why Catholics object to this. The objection stems primarily from the problem of anachronism. Consider this syllogism:

    Major Premise: The New Testament writings were instructions for Christians living in the Apostolic Age.

    Minor Premise: Sola Scriptura was not practiced during the Apostolic Age (only the Post-Apostolic age).

    Conclusion: None of the New Testament Writings could be teaching Sola Scriptura.


    You also said:
    "But if that’s true, then can anyone show where Jesus or the apostles taught people to pray to the saints in Heaven...Immaculate Conception...indulgences...Do we have any biblical evidence of any of these teachings at that time? No, we don’t. Then why are all of these teachings accepted in the Catholic Church? By their own standard, no one today should be doing these things either, since Jesus and the apostles didn’t teach them."

    I don't see how this is a valid argument. If something is unbiblical, you should object to it - you should not use that as a reason to accept your own unbiblical doctrine. Also, Catholics say the doctrines you list are Apostolic in origin, so even if you strongly object, your argument still isn't valid since you admit SS is not Apostolic.

    As for "development," there are two points to make: First, Protestants don't necessarily accept the idea development (at least post-Apostolic) is valid. Second, "development" never entails the creation of new teachings, only expanding upon existing ones.

    Sola Scriptura cannot "develop," since it was (by your words) a "transition." But even if it could, such an argument really only has force on the basis of (inspired) evidence.

    You quote 2nd Timothy, but your argument doesn't work because Timothy lived during the Apostolic Age and thus didn't practice Sola-Scriptura (as per your own definition), and Scripture never "eclipsed" or "replaced" what he was taught orally since he got along fine while the Apostles were alive. So there was no 'transition' going on there.

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    1. Your conclusion does not necessarily follow from your major and minor premises.

      There is a formal fallacy, since both your premises are true (although incomplete) as far as they go.

      The formal fallacy can be illustrated thus:

      You seem to be trying to say.....

      "If A, then B" or "A implies B".

      "Not B"

      Therefore, "Not A".

      However, the truth of your major premise, A, does not imply B.


      There is nothing about the fact that the "New Testament writings were instructions for Christian living in the Apostolic age", that implies that SS must have been practiced in the apostolic age.

      There were multiple sources of authoritative instruction for Christian living, during the apostolic age. These include, the words of the apostles, oral or written, and the words of inspired prophets, oral or written. Some of these written instructions were then and are now recognized as "scripture".

      As long as there were inspired apostles and prophets (really the definition of the "apostolic age"), sola scriptura could not be practiced, as to do so would deny the authority of the inspired apostles and prophets.

      Now, the scriptures certainly could (and does) speak to what vehicles carry God's authority after there are no more inspired apostles and prophets. Only scripture is said to have authority, other than the words of the inspired apostles and prophets. There is no notion of inspired, authorized successors to the apostles, as an alternative to scriptural authority, in the scriptures or the known writings of the inspired apostles and prophets.

      Delete
  2. Hello Nick,

    Finding Sola Scriptura in the context of 2 Timothy chapter 3 is not anachronistic if it is viewed as a transition, and you take into account the fact that Paul is about to die for his faith and he wants to leave something with Timothy (and the whole church) that will keep him grounded in the truth. Apostles had a special gift of infallibility (at certain times, at least), but they too, eventually die. But he tells Timothy where this gift of infallibility will be found after his departure. Paul is looking forward in time when no apostles will be around and no more new revelation is available.

    I think viewing it as such is the most reasonable way to interpret this chapter (along with the first few verses of chap. 4). It is interesting to note two things here: 1) It tells us that this source (Scripture), as a Rule of Faith, can equip us for EVERY GOOD WORK in our service to God (3:16-17); and 2) He mentions NO OTHER SOURCE here. Again, this context would have been a great place to mention another infallible rule, but Paul only points to Scripture. We don’t need ANOTHER infallible Rule of Faith, since Scripture provides all the tools needed to get saved, to live for God, and to teach others the same.

    I shared the “toolbox analogy” in a previous article on this blog: If you were an auto mechanic and had a toolbox that equipped you for EVERY JOB as a mechanic, then that toolbox would be SUFFICIENT (as toolboxes go). You don’t need any other toolbox because this one eclipses / replaces them all.

    In the same way, Scripture is our spiritual roadmap, our infallible “toolbox” which equips us for EVERY good work. So, by definition, Scripture is the only infallible Rule of Faith that is needed.

    Most Catholics interpret 2 Timothy 3 as, “Scripture is ‘MERELY PROFITABLE’ for doctrine, reproof, etc., and unfortunately, ‘needs help’ from some other infallible (yet unnamed) source.” But I think that “the Bible Alone” is a more reasonable interpretation because of the description of its effectiveness in equipping the saints.

    I had mentioned prayer to saints, the Immaculate Conception, indulgences, and “miracles” with no evidence, as examples of Catholic teachings that the apostles knew nothing about, and you said:

    “I don't see how this is a valid argument. If something is unbiblical, you should object to it - you should not use that as a reason to accept your own unbiblical doctrine.”

    Nick, I’m not using the Immaculate Conception, indulgences, etc., as a reason to accept Sola Scriptura. It was never meant to imply that this PROVED Sola Scriptura. I’m simply using these Catholic teachings to point out the double standard that Catholics employ when they use the “but the apostles didn’t practice that” argument. The problem here is that Catholics are attacking Sola Scriptura ON THE BASIS OF this faulty argument, but this same argument negates YOUR OWN position, because Catholics practice things today that the apostles did not.

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  3. Hi Russell,

    I guess your claim isn't logically problematic if it can be shown that Paul was indeed speaking about the future alone. But I believe Paul is speaking in the present, and this combined with v15 doesn't seem to me to be speaking of such a "transition", at least not the way you speak. The two biggest points you'd have to prove is that the Grammar absolutely is speaking of the future only and second that it would have to be clear that this only "kicks in" once the last Apostle has passed away.


    Using blueletterbible.com on 2 Tim 3:17, I see that the Greek verb "may be" ("that the man of God may be") is in the present tense, which means this occurs in the present (i.e. the very moment Paul was speaking and Timothy reading. And the verb for "thoroughly equipped" is in the perfect tense, indicating a completed action in the past.

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=2Ti&c=3&v=16&t=KJV#conc/17

    Given that, it appears the Greek grammar definitively points away from any futuristic application or transition. What Scripture ever could do for Timothy, it could do for him right then and there, which means your reading is anachronistic. This, combined with the fact this is the 'strongest' proof text you've offered makes the claim even less probable.

    As for the toolbox analogy, that doesn't necessarily prove your point since 'material sufficiency' works quite well with that analogy and yet doesn't amount to Sola Scriptura.

    Lastly, no dogma pronounced by the Catholic Church is said to be something the Apostles didn't believe or practice, thus it is not logically equivalent to you saying the Apostles didn't believe or practice Sola Scriptura. It is only a double standard if Catholics admit the Apostles didnt' believe or practice a given dogma and yet we believe it anyway. There is no "standard" the Catholic is applying to you and not to himself, thus there cannot be a "double standard." If that makes sense.

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  4. Hi Nick,

    You know, Catholics seem to spend a lot of time telling us what 2 Timothy 3 DOES NOT say, but let’s focus on what it DOES say. If Paul wasn’t speaking of a transition in this passage, then what WAS he saying here? What’s the point of his emphasizing the Sacred Writings. That Scripture is “merely profitable”??? Never mind the fact that it is God-breathed / inspired (3:16). Never mind that it is able to make one wise for salvation (3:15). Or that it provides one with doctrine… reproof… correction… and training in righteousness (3:16). Or that, as a Rule of Faith, it is the complete “toolbox” for the believer (3:17). 2 Timothy 3 climaxes with the nature and purpose of God’s written Word, and is presented in this context as the antidote to deception and false teaching (3:13). “Merely profitable”? Does anyone really think that this is what God is trying to tell us here?

    And if there is indeed another infallible Rule of Faith, why would Paul not point to it in this important context?

    Nick, why is it that Catholics ALWAYS make a big deal over the word “profitable” in 2 Timothy 3:16, but NEVER emphasize the word “inspired” (“God-breathed”) in the same verse? When they see that God (Jesus) “breathed” on the apostles in John 20:22, they make an incredibly big deal over it. Yet, why are His God-breathed Sacred Writings reduced to “merely profitable”? It is the same One Who "breathed" on both.

    Using this “merely profitable” argument is like someone limiting Jesus to being “merely good” because He is called the “Good” Shepherd (John 10:11). Not only would this be an insult to Him, but I would consider this near blasphemy.

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  5. Hi Russell,

    I cannot remember if I've told you this before, but I have given my interpretation of 2 Tim 3:16f in this article.

    One issue I have not seen you address, or if you have I forgot, was the Greek words for "all Scripture" in 3:16 (pasa graphe in Greek). The more accurate English rendering of pasa (every) and graphe (writing in the singular) is "every individual book or passage of Scripture". Sadly, I've not found any Protestant apologists willing to examine this issue, but obviously this issue directly impacts how "profitable" is interpreted. If Paul is speaking of an individual book or passage, then obviously he cannot be saying that single book or single passage is sufficient.

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    1. Paul says something is "sufficient" or "profitable".

      Now, within the context, what is that thing?


      Something is profitable "that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."


      Now, what besides "All scripture" is in the context that Paul might be referring to? It is certainly "sacred writings" that made Timothy "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus".

      If scripture can do that, why can't it be sufficient for ever other good purpose?

      Delete
  6. Hello Nick,

    Here are my thoughts on this concept of "All Scripture" vs. "Every Scripture."

    First of all, the Greek "pasa" can mean multiple things. According to my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the word can mean: any; every one; every kind; the whole (this is the one that Thayer lists 2 Timothy 3:16 under); everything; anything whatsoever; all things; wholly; altogheter; in all ways; all things collectively. So, it would seem that context would be important in determining the meaning in this case (as in most cases).

    Secondly, most Bibles, even some Catholic Bibles like the NAB (New American Bible), the Douay-Rheims and the New Jerusalem Bible render 2 Timothy 3:16 as "All Scripture" (which seems to make perfect sense).

    Thirdly, this seems to be more of an exercise in hairsplitting than exegesis. If "pasa graphe" means "every individual Scripture," then it still boils down to Scripture being "merely profitable"... something we should not be willing to accept.

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  7. Hi Russell,

    It's not just the word "pasa" alone, but also the fact "graphe" (Scripture) is singular. The phrase "pasa graphe" can be validly rendered a few ways, but context doesn't clearly point in either direction, meaning even context is insufficient here.

    I would not call this hair-splitting, since the various options are *valid* gramattically and don't contradict the context. The idea that "every individual scripture" is "merely profitable" is putting a spin on the text. The qualifier "merely" is not there but rather added by you. If something is profitable, that can mean profitable to various degrees, including "very profitable" (which is what I would accept myself).

    In other words, I can validly say "every individual Scripture is very profitable" and yet the original problem remains: 2nd Timothy 3:16f does not teach Sola Scriptura in any definitive manner.

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  8. Nick,

    I use the term "merely profitable" because many Catholics treat the Scriptures exactly that way, in an almost mocking fashion, while CLAIMING to have the "utmost respect" for Scripture. That is why I used the term.

    You said that something can be profitable "to various degrees," and I agree. Yes, Scripture is "very profitable"... and I would say even to the point of being SUFFICIENT as a Rule of Faith, which is indicated in 2 Timothy 3:17. The term "profitable" does not preclude sufficiency. And since the context strongly suggests sufficiency, to insist on using the phrase "Every individual Scripture" in v. 16 would make no sense. Remember, "All Scripture" is still indeed a gramatically valid rendering. But if we let the passage flow naturally, Sola Scriptura makes perfect sense.

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  9. Hi Russell,

    Luckily, I don't interpret it as "merely profitable," so that doesn't really apply.

    But as for disliking the rendering "Every individual Scripture," you cannot simply jump to personal preference. The grammar actually favors this rendering, especially since "Scripture" here is singular. Logically and grammatically, there is nothing wrong with saying "every individual book or individual passage of Scripture is very profitable," without at all implying Sola Scriptura.

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  10. Hi Nick,

    I'm no expert in grammar (as you can tell), but I don't think it's a good idea to let a "minor" override (and determine the meaning of) a "major" when interpreting Scripture.

    In other words, the clear and strong language of *sufficiency* in this passage should not be nullified by an *ambiguous* phrase ("every Scripture" vs. "all Scripture"). Rather, the ambiguous parts of the context should be determined by the clearer and more obvious sections.

    One other quick note concerning this particular passage (2 Timothy 3)... Catholics often point out to Sola Scriptura believers that it doesn't specifically say *only* Scripture. That's true, but neither does it say that Scripture is *only* profitable.

    Nick, I'm willing to let the reader decide which argument is the most reasonable. And I'll leave it at that.

    Thanks again for the discussion.

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  11. Hi Russell,

    I would not say this is a 'minor' overriding a 'major' for a couple of reasons.

    First, 2nd Timothy is already a 'minor' in regards to the proof-texts put forward for Sola Scriptura since it is the most often appealed to text by a long shot. This approach to me is building a major dogma from effectively a single text. There is no 'major' established.

    Second, grammatically, the reading "every individual book/passage of scripture" is the more likely ('major') since 'graphe' (Scripture) is singular and the very respected Theological Dictionary of the New Testament lists this as 'individual book/passage'. And the context here indicates "very profitable," but that's not equivalent to formally sufficient.

    I agree with you that we've said as much as we can and let the reader decide from here. Thanks for the good discussion.

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  12. Russell said,

    Having already dealt with the concept of Sola Scriptura (“Bible Alone”) in more detail elsewhere on this blog, this article will briefly address one particular Catholic argument against it.

    Many, if not most, of us who believe in Sola Scriptura will admit that this doctrine did not apply during the time of Jesus or His apostles, since the apostolic period was definitely a time when they were still receiving new, infallible, “oral” revelation.


    Very good. But there is more. Jesus Christ established a pattern.
    1. He didn't write anything down.
    2. He didn't command the Apostles to write anything down.
    3. He commanded the Apostles to teach.

    And there is still more.
    1. Jesus Christ taught the multitudes in unexplained parables.
    2. But when Jesus Christ taught His disciples, He explained the parables.
    3. Why? In order that the multitudes would come to the Apostles for the answers to their questions about the faith.

    And still more.
    1. Jesus opened the OT Scriptures to the disciples.
    2. Without Jesus' explanations, even the disciples would not have known where the OT Scriptures referred to Him.
    3. The disciples then went out in to the world and taught everyone where the OT Scriptures spoke about Jesus.

    It is evident that Jesus established this pattern of a teaching Church and we see that the Apostles and their disciples and their disciples disciples until today.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

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    1. How do you know that Jesus did not command the apostles to write anything down?


      Scripture says that many things Jesus did were not recorded in scripture.

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  13. Hi De Maria,

    Sorry for the delay.

    You said:

    “Very good. But there is more. Jesus Christ established a pattern.
    1. He didn't write anything down.”

    Ok, so what does this prove? That we can’t trust anything written?

    “2. He didn't command the Apostles to write anything down.”

    That’s not true. Several apostles wrote books in the Bible. Are you saying that these apostles were disobedient in writing these God-inspired accounts?

    “3. He commanded the Apostles to teach.”

    Of course He did, but NONE of this negates the concept of Sola Scriptura.

    “And there is still more.
    1. Jesus Christ taught the multitudes in unexplained parables.”
    2. But when Jesus Christ taught His disciples, He explained the parables.
    3. Why? In order that the multitudes would come to the Apostles for the answers to their questions about the faith.”

    De Maria, correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be implying here that Jesus (by using parables) was teaching the people to be dependent on “the Church” to answer all their questions. But this was not the purpose of the parables. He used parables to weed out those who were not serious about serving God, which is exactly what happened in John 6.

    You also said:

    “It is evident that Jesus established this pattern of a teaching Church and we see that the Apostles and their disciples and their disciples disciples until today.”

    Ok, I have no problem with a “teaching church.” That’s part of God’s plan. But once again, this does nothing whatsoever to disprove Sola Scriptura. The presence of leaders who teach in the church does not nullify the role of Scripture as the ultimate rule of faith. This is an all-too-common misunderstanding of Sola Scriptura. My definition of Sola Scriptura is simply this:

    Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith for the church today.

    You see, there are other (lesser) rules of faith (church leaders, church traditions, historical material, Bible handbooks and commentaries, creeds, many important books and teaching aids, etc.), but the Bible is the only INFALLIBLE one that is available today.

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  14. Russell,
    Surely, then, that infallible doctrine of Sola Scriptura must be contained somewhere within the Bible itself, to be infallibly true as you suggest. So tell me: where does it say in Scripture that "Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith for the church today"? Or anything else like it?
    And if two people have inherently contradictory understandings about the meaning of a given piece of Scripture, who is correct? Is there any way of knowing objectively who is right and who is wrong?

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  15. Hello Michael,

    You asked, “Where does it say in Scripture that ‘Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith for the church today’? Or anything else like it?”

    Michael, those exact words are not found in Scripture, but the CONCEPT is. As I mentioned in the article above, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 demonstrates that Scripture is sufficient as a Rule of Faith because it equips the believer for “every good work,” and it is the ONLY one Paul mentions in the context. The apostle Paul calls only Scripture inspired (“God-breathed”) and points to it as the critical remedy needed for the hard times ahead (for the post-apostolic church). Why does Paul not say that Catholic “Tradition” will also help infallibly guide us in this endeavor? This would have been the ideal place to say this.

    You see, Paul was about to be killed for his faith and he knew it. This would be his last letter and he needed to leave his spiritual “son,” Timothy, with something God-breathed, something he could utterly trust, to stand against the difficult times ahead for the church… against the persecution and the deception that would surely assault the church. But he mentions only the Scriptures as a remedy.

    He sums up and leaves Timothy a most serious charge (2 Timothy 4:1), and tells him to patiently “preach the Word.” Here, we know he is again speaking of SCRIPTURE, since 4:2 refers to “doctrine,” “reproof” and “rebuke,” pointing back to 3:16. This is Paul’s answer to the coming hardship. Nothing else is mentioned at this critical point.

    See also these links on Sola Scriptura:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2009/08/welcome.html

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/12/sola-scriptura-and-divisions.html#comment-form

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2013/03/quick-notes-on-sola-scriptura-part-1.html

    Concerning the understanding (interpretation) of Scripture, you asked:

    “Is there any way of knowing objectively who is right and who is wrong?”

    Michael, that’s really a good question, and I’m assuming you are sincere in asking it. But none of us can escape the issue of personal responsibility in interpretation. Just as the fallible Protestant has to interpret his infallible Bible, so must the fallible Catholic interpret his “infallible” Magisterium’s pronouncements. While a church hierarchy “infallibly” declaring the interpretation of a given passage (for the post-apostolic church) might seem attractive, and it may even seem objective, but it does not guarantee that the interpretation will be right. We are ALL fallible humans and we ALL approach the Bible with a certain bias. However, being fallible does not necessarily mean that the interpretation will be wrong, either. But we have no choice but to interpret EVERYTHING we read and every other type of communication.

    I guess the simple answer to Bible interpretation is common sense. It is coming to the most REASONABLE conclusion, using the basic rules of hermeneutics. Each passage must be understood in light of its immediate context, and also taken in light of the WHOLE of Scripture. These things, along with a good and honest heart (Luke 8:15), a willingness to do His will (John 7:17), having a hunger for God’s Word (Matthew 5:6), and simply asking in humility (James 1:5; 1 Peter 5:5) will go far in obtaining a true interpretation.

    But if only the “hierarchy” or the “elite” or the “educated” can interpret the words of Jesus, then why did Jesus appeal so much to the poor, the uneducated, and the downtrodden?

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    1. When reading the Bible, kindly reflect on this Bible verse:

      Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;"

      The Bible is not a novel where you, the reader, can interpret the way you want it to be. It is the infallible word of God and needs an infallible interpreter because the Bible cannot interprets itself.

      If you are open-minded, I suggest you read the book written by a former Protestant minister. You can read it for free at: http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/protestantism/wbible.htm

      Delete
    2. If the Bible needs an infallible interpreter, the interpretation of the interpreter needs an infallible interpreter, too.


      You construct a never ending sequence of infallible interpreters, but never deal with the problem that the final hearer is fallible.

      Delete
    3. Very well said, Anonymous!

      Delete
  16. Thank you for your comments, Kaizen.

    I plan to read the link you provided. But in the meantime, please answer this: How does one know for sure that the Bible needs an infallible interpreter? Who said so?

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    1. 2 Peter 3:16-17 warns us that it would be easy to fall into error by private interpretation of the Bible and the Bible clearly tells us that we cannot interpret the Bible on an individual basis (2 Peter 1:20-21, Acts 8:30-35).

      We should be of "one Lord, ONE FAITH, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5), ONE FOLD and ONE SHEPHERD (John 10:16), and Jesus even prayed that His followers may become PERFECTLY ONE (John 17:21-23).

      Are Protestants one in faith? No, they have contradicting beliefs even if they are only using the same Bible. Do Protestants have one fold and one shepherd? No, they are divided among themselves with different leaders and nobody to run to settle doctrinal differences. Are Protestants perfectly one? No, there are more than 40,000 denominations with different beliefs.

      If every country has a Supreme Court to settle differences of interpretations of the Constitution, how much more of the Bible as an infallible word of God? Do you think God would have left us a written document, the Bible, without a living interpreter?

      Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life... not 40,000+ truths. The devil is the father of lies. Where contradiction is, that is not the Spirit of Truth.

      The truth is, God left us a Church... the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

      Delete
  17. Hello again Kaizen,

    First of all, 2 Peter 3:16-17 says NOTHING whatsoever about private interpretation. 1) It is only saying that SOME things that Paul taught are hard to understand. He didn’t say they were unable to be understood without an infallible interpreter. And 2) These things were distorted by the untaught and unstable and was the error of wicked and unprincipled men (v. 17); they were not distorted by those who were humbly studying God’s Word and honestly searching for the truth.

    Second, you then referenced 2 Peter 1:20-21 to support your claim above. 2 Peter 1:20-21 is NOT about the READING of Scripture, it is about the SOURCE or ORIGIN of Scripture. And this passage is not a “warning” about private interpretation (as many mistakenly believe), but rather, it is an encouragement about the reliability of Scripture. See here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2014/07/private-interpretation.html

    Concerning divisions in Protestantism, see here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2010/12/sola-scriptura-and-divisions.html

    And finally, concerning 1 Timothy 3:15 (the church as the pillar and foundation), see here:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2009/09/pillar-and-foundation.html#comment-form

    Oh, and one more thing, you still didn’t answer my question: How does one know for sure that the Bible needs an infallible interpreter? Who said so?

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    1. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word "distort" as "to change (something) so that it is no longer true or accurate." If you read the Bible and believes that Jesus is God and another person reads it but doesn't believe that He is God, isn't that distortion? The Bible doesn't give you a list of its essential teachings so who has the authority to determine it?

      You said that 2 Peter 1:20-21 is not about the warning of private interpretation but "an encouragement about the reliability of Scripture." So, how do you propose to answer if I ask what are the basis for a letter (epistle) to be called scripture? How did the early Christians come up with 27 Books in the New Testament? Please cite scriptural references.

      "You said 'Oh, and one more thing, you still didn’t answer my question: How does one know for sure that the Bible needs an infallible interpreter? Who said so?'"

      -- If you read Luke 24:32, Jesus "opened the Scriptures" to the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus. Scripture itself appears to be informing us that some parts of it were "closed" and "not plain" until the infallible teaching authority and interpretation of our Lord Jesus opened it up and made it plain.

      Jesus’ own preaching caused confusion and division among his disciples (John 6); those same words as recorded in Scripture do likewise when left to individual interpretation, for the Bible is neither completely clear nor self-interpreting.

      If you read a novel and there are many possible endings, do you make your own interpretation or you should ask the author of that novel what he/she meant?

      If you were given by your professor with a book in chemistry, can you understand the concepts of your book all by yourself or you need your professor to teach you?

      The Catholic Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, made an infallible decision that only 27 books would comprise the New Testament out of hundreds of manuscripts found. If you believe that the Bible is an infallible word of God and you have accepted those 27 books as inspired by God, then why not accept the Church as an infallible interpreter of the Bible?

      Russell, where in the Bible does it say that God wants us to interpret His infallible word whatever we wish?

      Delete
  18. Kaizen,

    I never said or implied that we could read into God’s infallible Word “whatever we wish.” This is a misrepresentation of the things I said, and of Sola Scriptura, itself.

    Your whole post suggests the NEED for an infallible Magisterium to give us infallible interpretations. Ok, so tell me, how much of Scripture has the Catholic Church “infallibly” interpreted in its supposed 2,000 year existence? And how would you even know for sure the number of verses that were infallibly interpreted, since the Catholic Church does not have an infallible list of such infallible interpretations, and Catholic apologists disagree on this number?

    Kaizen, as I have said over and over, throughout this blog… we are ALL fallible. So, how does the Catholic escape the “dilemma” of using his own fallible mind to interpret his “infallible” church’s teachings? He cannot. Therefore, Catholics have no more certainty than anyone else. You haven’t dealt with that issue yet.

    There is no “special authority” needed to interpret Scripture, only basic hermeneutical principles to be considered, as well as common sense and a humble and prayerful heart.

    I had said earlier that 2 Peter 1:20-21 was not a warning of any kind, and then you said:

    “So, how do you propose to answer if I ask what are the basis for a letter (epistle) to be called scripture? How did the early Christians come up with 27 Books in the New Testament? Please cite scriptural references.”

    But here, you are changing the argument from “certainty in interpreting Scripture” to “certainty on the canon?” This is just a diversion. See this article on infallible certainty and the canon:

    http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2013/08/quick-notes-on-sola-scriptura-part-8.html#comment-form

    ReplyDelete
  19. 1/2

    Russell, if you as a Protestant believes in the doctrine of Trinity and another Protestant denies the Trinity, isn't that an interpretation of the Bible whatever we wish? Is God the author of confusion?

    If you really read the Bible, you should have known by now that Jesus did not promise to send a Bible straight from heaven for us to read and interpret whatever we wish. Jesus only promised two things, the Holy Spirit and the Church as Scripture says:

    Matthew 16:18, "You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build My Church, and the fires of hell will not prevail against it"

    John 16:13, "But when He, the Spirit of Truth is coming, He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak of His own, but He will speak of what He hears and tell you of things to come"

    About the Church, the Lord Jesus says that the Church is authoritarian as He says in Matthew 18:18

    Matthew 18:18, "And I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven"

    That is why the Church is called by the Bible as, '"The Pillar and Ground of the Truth" (1 Timothy 3:15) which teaches Apostolic Tradition in 1 Corinthians 11:2, "Now I praise you brothers because you have always remembered me, and have obeyed the Traditions that I have given you".

    St. John says, "But we are of God. Whoever is of God listens to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6)

    ReplyDelete
  20. 2/2

    The Bible is an authority being THE WORD OF GOD but IT IS NOT THE 'ONLY' AUTHORITY. THE CHURCH IS ALSO AN AUTHORITY BECAUSE IT IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. To reject the authority of the Church is to reject the authority of Jesus, the head of the Church.

    The authoriry of Sola Scriptura is not from Jesus, not from the Apostles, not from the Church, and not from the Bible. Got it? It's from Luther!

    We accept that all Scriptures are God-breathed but St. Paul doesn't say that because it is God-breathed therefore, the Scriptures is the only authority. There is no Sola Scriptura in 2Timothy 3:16-17. How could there be when during the time of the Apostles the New Testament wasn't compiled yet? How could there be Sola Scriptura when the word of God was preached ORALLY by the Church for several decades, even centuries before the Bible is printed? It was also a Catholic who invented the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg, and it was the Bible he chose to print above any other books.

    The Church came first before the Bible, just like the people of God came first before the first Scriptures in the Old Testament. So the Church is prior to the New Testament scriptures.

    The word of God can be preached even without the Bible. The word of God is Jesus per se and not the published Bible.

    Besides, the breath of God is given not to the Scriptures alone. The breath of God is also given to others if you don't know: Read Genesis 2:7 and John 20:21-23.

    The canons of both the Old and New Testaments were decided by the Catholic Councils. Isn't that an infallible decision which you also accept? The Catholic Church defined the doctrine of Trinity, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, that Jesus is God, that Jesus is one person with two natures... etc. Aren't they infallible interpretations of the Bible by the Catholic Church which you also accept?

    Your mistake is rooted in the fact that you erroneously interpret Infallibility with incapacity to commit mistakes. Paul committed mistakes but God gave him the authority to preach correctly and even to write his New Testament Epistles with grace of Infallibility. And so did for Peter, James, John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Jude and all Biblical authors.

    Oh, there was no diversion of topic like what you have claimed. You believe that 2 Peter 1:20-21 was "an encouragement of the reliability of the Scriptures" and I was merely asking you: What are the basis for a letter (epistle) to be called a Scripture? The writer didn't knew for sure that his letter would be included in the New Testament. Also, how did the early Christians come up with the 27 books in the New Testament? If your favorite verses, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, say that "ALL Scriptures are inspired by God......," then you explain using Sola Scriptura why the Gospels of Peter, Andrew, Thomas, etc. were not considered as inspired. This is your chance to prove that Sola Scriptura is indeed biblical and historical and should be the sole authority of faith.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kaizen,

    I am disappointed in your response. You rambled on at length, touching on a multitude of topics, most of which I have already dealt with on the links that I shared with you, or at least somewhere within my blog. Apparently you haven’t read the links before blurting out your latest comments.

    This discussion will not go any further unless and until you answer the simple question I asked earlier:

    How does the Catholic escape the so-called “dilemma” of using his own fallible mind to interpret his “infallible” church’s teachings?

    We’re wasting each other’s time if you continue to go all over the map. Any comment you make will be deleted unless you first deal with this question.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Russell,

    Bible verses taught Sola Scriptura, even when the Bible was incomplete or not assembled into a single volume. Notice how Paul specifically said, "Do not go beyond what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6)and that Scripture equips us for EVERY good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The meaning of Scripture passages like these still meant what they said, even during the period of inscripturation. Jesus and the apostles used the available Scriptures as the final authority in determining truth. God's words are capable of doing anything (Isaiah 55:11). If Sola Scriptura was not practiced during the time of the apostles (which it was), then it CANNOT be apostolic in origin. The above Catholic argument is based upon faulty logic and your response has been refuted.
    Tell me why you would disagree....

    Thanks,
    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Jesse,

    You have to remember what “Sola Scriptura” means. It means the Bible ALONE. It means that Scripture is the ONLY rule of faith for the church. But in the days of Peter, Paul, Matthew, etc., (apostles), there was also infallible divine revelation given to them. This was directly from God, so it was (at that time) ANOTHER (or a second) source of divine revelation, besides Scripture. Of course, this is how they got the infallible inspiration to pen the books of the New Testament.

    But there had to be a period of transition from two Divine Sources (the direct inspiration of God to apostles, plus Scripture) to one Source (Scripture alone).

    But today, there are no more apostles, and no more new revelation, so that leaves Scripture alone for our rule of faith.

    Does this make sense?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Russell,

      I DO understand what you are saying. But what did the above verses that I mentioned earlier mean back in the day? Why can't the WRITTEN revelation be superior to the ORAL, as is the case in texts such as Acts 17:10-12 and Galatians 1:8-9? How then do we explain this gap to our Catholic brethren?

      Jesse

      Delete
  24. ADDENDUM: I meant explain in detail...


    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jesse,

    One was not “superior” to the other, since it ultimately came from the SAME infallible source: God. If one of the apostles, under the inspiration of God, said something infallible, it would be exactly the same level of inspiration if it was also recorded in Scripture.

    In Acts 17, what Paul was preaching had the same authority as the Old Testament passages that he was using. The Bereans were just testing what Paul was saying to determine if what he said was true. One source was not above the other, here. They were both inspired by God. Same thing with Galatians 1:8-9. The inspired message that he first preached orally had the same level of divine inspiration as his epistle to the Galatians.

    There is no “gap.” Neither one was superior to the other as long as it was an APOSTLE teaching under the inspiration of God.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Russell,

    May I respond or are you too occupied with something at the moment?

    Jesse

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sure, Jesse. You can go ahead and respond anytime. If I get busy, I will get back to you as soon as I can.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "But if that’s true, then can anyone show where Jesus or the apostles taught people to pray to the saints in Heaven? Did they believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary or practice indulgences? Did they teach of miracles with no accompanying evidence (like bread and wine supposedly “changing” into flesh and blood)? Do we have any biblical evidence of any of these teachings at that time? No, we don’t. Then why are all of these teachings accepted in the Catholic Church? By their own standard, no one today should be doing these things either, since Jesus and the apostles didn’t teach them."
    your question here is not supposed to be show me in the Bible, but show me that in the Apostles time this was taught. they may not have been written down but it does not mean that it was not practiced.

    in this article you did not refute anything but you just shot yourself in the foot. Does anything in the bible tell us that Sola Scriptura shall kick in after the death of the last apostle? why was not the ONLY rule of Faith fully taught clearly in the Bible.

    "Stop and think… if the Bible, as a Rule of Faith, really is “God-breathed” and able to equip the believer for EVERY GOOD WORK (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then it necessarily and effectively eclipses and replaces any other source that claims to be an infallible Rule of Faith. Thus, the transition from “oral plus written,” to “written only.”
    Just because it can equip the believer for EVERY GOOD WORK it does not mean it Equips the Christian for everything He needs to be saved therefore it does not mean its a sufficient rule of Faith please do not use that phrase to make us think Every Good Work means its sufficient for all circumstances.

    my last question is: you believe that the only infallible authority is the Bible right, so it is fair that we should go into scripture to find out where it says after the last apostle die SS will start, and can we also find out where it says the period from Jesus and the Apostles was a transition from oral to written? also find out from Scripture why do protestants think that the Oral Revelation should be measured against the written not the other way around? they are both of equal authority since they have one source but why the written against the oral? why do Protestants think that all that was written is sufficient for us yet all that was revealed was not written down. can you answer these from the bible alone

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hello Mug,

    You said:

    “your question here is not supposed to be show me in the Bible, but show me that in the Apostles time this was taught. they may not have been written down but it does not mean that it was not practiced.”

    First of all, why should you have an aversion to anyone saying, “Show me in the Bible”? Is that an inherently evil thing to say? You’d think so, the way many Catholics react to Sola Scriptura. Secondly, for you to ask me to show you something that was taught in the apostles’ time, yet not in Scripture, is pretty silly. The ONLY way we know what the apostles taught with any certainty is through inspired Scripture! There are a LOT of things that could have been practiced, yet not found in the Bible. But is the criteria for being true that they COULD HAVE BEEN practiced? Why do Catholics crave the traditions that COULD have been, more than the God-inspired Bible?

    You said:

    “why was not the ONLY rule of Faith fully taught clearly in the Bible.”

    If, by clearly taught, you mean like using precise phrases… like “The Bible is the only infallible Rule of Faith for the church today”? Then no, the Bible doesn’t use those exact words, but I could turn the tables on you and demonstrate that MANY of your Catholic beliefs are not mentioned in such a way in Scripture. Even some that both of us believe (the Trinity, for example).

    Mug, I don’t know what your hangup is about “every good work,” but please tell me clearly what you think it means. You said:

    “please do not use that phrase to make us think Every Good Work means its sufficient for all circumstances.”

    Ok, then what circumstances is it NOT sufficient for? Remember, I’m talking about AS A RULE OF FAITH.

    You said:

    “also find out from Scripture why do protestants think that the Oral Revelation should be measured against the written not the other way around? they are both of equal authority since they have one source but why the written against the oral?”

    The inspired oral teaching that the apostles received was indeed equal with Scripture. But… do you actually have anything (with any kind of certainty) from an apostle or Jesus that was NOT in Scripture? All we know for sure about them and their teachings is what’s in the Bible. There are many things that Jesus did that are not written down, but we DON’T KNOW what these are. There may be traditions and speculation on some things, but that’s it. Catholics need to quit pretending that they know these things with infallible certainty.

    ReplyDelete
  30. its not an aversion but you just used a wrong test, which you assume that everyone interprets SS to be true.

    its silly to you not to us. if its pretty silly, you may go ahead and the answer the question you conviniently left out, Does anything in the bible tell us that Sola Scriptura shall kick in after the death of the last apostle?

    "The ONLY way we know what the apostles taught with any certainty is through inspired Scripture!" can you prove this taking into account that Jesus commanded His disciples to teach ALL He had commanded them not only the what they are going to write, and you have to prove that all that Jesus commanded them to teach was written down.

    “The Bible is the only infallible Rule of Faith for the church today" can you fully define this using the Bible since it is the only infallible Rule should we not get the final definitions from it not this one which unbiblical.

    "Even some that both of us believe (the Trinity, for example)." so when you agree with the Catholic Church the teaching in question becomes Biblical but when your interpretation is different it is unscriptirual, thats funny.

    “please do not use that phrase to make us think Every Good Work means its sufficient for all circumstances.”

    Ok, then what circumstances is it NOT sufficient for? Remember, I’m talking about AS A RULE OF FAITH.

    Russell you are trying to use the phrase "every good work" to mean that it covers everything one wants for faith and morals. Every Good work does not mean it covers everything one wants on faith and morals. a rule of faith should be the source of all the sufficient teachings for Faith is it not so? since you claim that Bible is the ONLY rule of faith, then using that phrase "Every Good work" to say that it is sufficient as rule because it enables one to be ready for every good work does not qualify since every good work is not sufficient in itself to get you to heaven. below is when you used that logic,

    Objection #1- “Paul says all Scripture, not ONLY Scripture, is inspired. And anyway, he says that it is merely ‘profitable / useful’. ‘Profitable’ does not mean sufficient.”

    Answer – It is true that the word “only” is not used in this verse, but the impact of the phrase “for every good work” in the next verse seems to be ignored by those using this type of logic. If Scripture equips us for every good work, then by definition, it is sufficient as a Rule of Faith.(IT CANNOT BE SUFFICIENT SINCE GOOD WORKS CANNOT SAVE US, UNLESS IF IT MEANS ALL WE NEED IS GOOD WORKS TO BE SAVED THEN IT IS SUFFICIENT in others words that phrase does not show sufficiency of scripture as the rule of Faith)
    YOU ABUSE THE WHOLE VERSE TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE IT SUPPORTS SOLA SCRIPTURA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mug,

      You said:

      “YOU ABUSE THE WHOLE VERSE TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE IT SUPPORTS SOLA SCRIPTURA.”

      It “sounds” like Sola Scriptura because IT IS Sola Scriptura!

      I have to hand it to you, Mug. You are an expert at taking something very simple and making it totally confusing! But you’re in good company… MANY Catholics do this.

      Delete
  31. "The inspired oral teaching that the apostles received was indeed equal with Scripture. But… do you actually have anything (with any kind of certainty) from an apostle or Jesus that was NOT in Scripture? All we know for sure about them and their teachings is what’s in the Bible. There are many things that Jesus did that are not written down, but we DON’T KNOW what these are. There may be traditions and speculation on some things, but that’s it. Catholics need to quit pretending that they know these things with infallible certainty."

    you neither know which books are scripture and which ones are not with Infallible certainty, protestants should quit acting as if they know with infallible Certainty that the books they are reading are actually scriptures.
    But we know the Traditions which were not written because faithful were entrusted with them who passed on to the next generation until now and the word of God whether Oral or Written is preserved by Him. Have you ever read Isaiah 55:11, No word that leaves our God 's mouth shall return without taking effect, even when its not written down it can be seen it the lives of the people whom the Lord has sent it to. This is how we know Tradition, from the lives and writings of those who were taught by Christ and His Apostles as St Paul would tell Timothy, 2 Tim 2:2 commit them to faithful men who shall be able to teach others, and surely Timothy and others who leant from the Apostles passed on to others who taught others, thats about 3 generations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mug,

      You said:

      “But we know the Traditions which were not written because…”

      Ok, show them to me, Mug. Show me ALL these inspired Traditions that are equal with the Bible’s inspiration. If not, please tell me where I can find them. That should be simple for you, right, since you have access to an “infallible” church?

      You keep saying that you KNOW it, so put your money where your mouth is, and show us! Shut the mouths of all these Protestants who are seeing this, and show us your infallible Tradition. Not just examples of it, but ALL of it. I don’t want to hear any vague definitions like, “It’s what the Church teaches,” or “It’s what the apostles handed down,” or anything like that. If you can’t show me, then stop telling me about your “infallible Tradition”!

      Catholics complain about Protestants not knowing the infallible canon of Scripture; ok, show us your infallible “canon” of Tradition.

      Delete
  32. "If you can’t show me, then stop telling me about your “infallible Tradition”!" by the same standard if cant show me how we can know that a certain book that is believed to be inspired, that it is actually inspired then stop telling me about your "infallible bible".
    which is different from ours anyway which makes us have no bases of arguing at all. (You lack respect of the Word of God just because it was not written down, you assume that Word of God cease to the Word of God because it was not written down, May God have mercy on you.)

    "Ok, show them to me, Mug. Show me ALL these inspired Traditions that are equal with the Bible’s inspiration. If not, please tell me where I can find them. That should be simple for you, right, since you have access to an “infallible” church?"

    typical protestants, they want to take their standards and apply them on everyone. you are the ones who claim that the Bible is the ONLY infallible we can draw infallible teachings from. we do not believe such a thing. we ask you such a question because we want to see if its fits the standards that you have set yourselves. you claim that to find the truth we should go to the bible alone and we can infallibly find it. now we ask you to prove your claims you are starting to get emotional.

    you cannot certainly prove that the writings in the bible are actually inspired without going to an outside source which is the Early Church. the next time you ask a Catholic the question, where do you find that in thee Bible, remember that, that question you cannot answer as well to show someone that a certain book in the bible is inspired, if you have a standard uphold.
    Sola Scripture came from how you interpret scripture, which is different from what the bible teaches like i said before this is not an infallible teaching hence cannot be used to judge everything. have a nice life trying to apply your standards to everyone else.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Mug,

    Yep, I knew you would cop out. I knew you would not answer my question about Tradition (which is critical to this discussion) because you CAN’T answer it. All you did was distract us from the question I presented to you.

    Concerning the canon, yes, I agree that we must also go to an outside source (the early church) to help us find evidence on which books belong in the canon. That’s not a problem. But that does NOT refute the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. As I said many times before, it is not necessary for a specific list of canonical books to be in the Bible for Sola Scriptura to be true.

    Now, back to the question you avoided… Can you show us your infallible “canon” of Tradition? You accused me of trying to apply “my” standard to you, but here, I am not asking you to show us from the Bible. I just want you to show us exactly what Tradition is, and how it is equal to the Bible.

    I am not going to let you go any farther until you answer this question in a meaningful way. Any further responses you give will be deleted unless and until you answer this.

    ReplyDelete
  34. It’s not couping out, it’s deciding to stop arguing where i see no hope of reason coming out of the discussions.
    THERE IS NO CANON FOR TRADITION if you require a list of the Traditions and no Catholic has ever said there is one and i was not avoiding the question and is not critical at all in this discussion. Canon is a rule/standard by which something is judged which does not mean necessarily it’s a list. And in Tradition we cannot have a list but a standard of determining what came from the Apostles. The standard is can we trace the Teaching to the apostles and the disciples of the apostles who they taught?
    “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.”
    That’s the standard, we go and look at the faithful men taught by the Likes of Timothy and we learn from them how they lived their Christian life and what they taught. One on this blog commented that it does not mean it’s a bishop or someone in the hierarchy, that’s missing the point, the point is there were faithful men who taught others whether they were bishops or not that’s immaterial but we know that it was the duty of Bishop to teach, and as tradition from the Apostles wherever they went and taught those whom they had taught they would ordain them bishops that’s why it’s more favourable to say it was the Bishops. That’s why St Ignatious of Antioch would dare to say,
    “See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. —Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8”

    And about Rome he would say the following,
    “You have envied no one; but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instruction may remain in force. —Letter to the Romans, Ch 3”
    If I am to ask can you trace SS to anyone who was taught by the Apostles, anyone who lived according to the doctrine of SS before Luther and Wycliffe can you.
    What is critical to here is to understand what you are saying “it is not necessary for a specific list of canonical books to be in the Bible for Sola Scriptura to be true" which actually means it does not matter if the standard of truth is not standard at all. my bible has 73 books and yours 66, Ethiopian Orthodoxy has 81 and other many canons, so the question remains which one is the true bible, where can we find that truth, which is the same question i have been asking how do i know if the writings of Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, etc. etc. are inspired.
    You base the inspiration of Scripture on tradition (Catholic Tradition) from the Church Fathers yet when a Catholic bases his/her beliefs on Tradition from the same Church Fathers you say it’s wrong that’s a double standard. If the Church Fathers are not to be trusted on matters relating to what was taught by Christ then we cannot trust them either on the information relating to the books which are inspired, hence denying tradition is essentially denying the canon which come through it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Mug,

    I am allowing your post here since it appears that you may be trying to give a meaningful response to my question.

    You said:

    “It’s not couping out, it’s deciding to stop arguing where i see no hope of reason coming out of the discussions.”

    I, too, am seeing little hope or reason coming out of this discussion. I, too, am finding it hard to reason with you. But I want to be fair. I want to give you opportunity to clarify your views on this exact topic.

    You said:

    “THERE IS NO CANON FOR TRADITION…and is not critical at all in this discussion…”

    You then defined “canon” as a rule / standard. So, what you are saying is that there is no standard for Tradition? And it is precisely for this reason that it is absolutely critical in this topic. If there is no standard (for Tradition), then there are no limits! If there is no standard, then anyone can make up a doctrine and call it “infallible Tradition.” If it is not in a list somewhere, then WHERE IS IT? How do you know that you are faithfully following Tradition if you have no standard, limits, or boundaries for it?

    Then you changed your mind and pointed to 2 Timothy 2:2 and say that THIS is the standard… i.e., Paul’s teachings passed down to Timothy and then to other faithful teachers. But this says nothing about the CONTENT of those teachings. How are you going to prove what Paul’s exact teachings were to Timothy in that day? Are you claiming to know this precise information?

    You went on to some other things, but I want to stop now and let you answer this question. I don’t want to move on until we clear this up.

    ReplyDelete
  36. if you require a list of them, then there is no such a list but there is a standard to know what was taught by the Apostles even if it was not written down and since there are standards there are limits as well. thats what i meant.

    If you want to know the content of what they were taught,
    1. you have to agree that they were faithful men taught by the Apostles.
    2. We have to identify who were these faithful men.
    3. If we manage to identify these faithful men we then look for their writings.

    I once commented on this blog on a article saying Eusibius is a reliable source for Early Church history the reasons
    1. is He lived closer to the times
    2. In his writing he does not narrates much but presents quotes from writings of those who witnessed events in the Early Church. so he can be a good source for you too

    i would ask, by what standard would one know from the Early Church which writings were inspired, we find this in the lives and writings of the Early Church members whom we assume were the faithful ones, so in their lives we do not only look for that and cast everything else aside if they were faithful enough to transmit the information about which books were inspired why do you disregard the other things they taught as from the Apostles which are not written down in the Books they passed on.
    These men were Clement, Linus, Timothy, Polycard, Iraneus, Ignatiua of Antioch, Justin the Martyr etc etc you may want to discount those you want to discount those who you think were not faithful stating your reasons why they were not faithful but if you claim there was none faithful then your conclusion just ends our discussion, because i do not want to go in circles again explaining a simple thing

    ReplyDelete
  37. So you pointed out that Catholic doctrines may have developed overtime, and you applied this to your belief about sola scriptura, trying to refute Catholicism. Well could that be turned around against you though. If sola scriptura was meant to be eventually uncovered why couldn't Catholic beliefs. When was sola scriptura supposed to be put in place, when the Apostles died? Well it took a long, long time for that important belief to be uncovered widely. People weren't even sure what scripture was supposed to be sola until the 3rd century, three hundred years after Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sean,

      You said:

      "If sola scriptura was meant to be eventually uncovered why couldn't Catholic beliefs."

      It is true that Catholic beliefs have eventually been “developed” or “uncovered” over a time period, but that doesn’t make them biblical. But Sola Scriptura is.

      You also mentioned the third century, but I’m not real clear what your point was about this. What was it that happened then that was relevant to this topic?




      Delete
  38. Also if the Apostles were infallible sources of revelation, then shouldn't we take their other teachings, the traditions of the Catholic Church, even though they don't appear to be in the Bible by your fallible interpretation?

    ReplyDelete
  39. One of the key points about this article is that the apostles were infallible sources of divine revelation at their time and placed this into letters, died, leaving the only certain infallible revelation in those writings, and this than led to sola scriptura. You said that we Catholics can't have certainty about our traditions. How can you have certainty that the apostles actually wrote what is attributed to them without tradition. Many scholars believe that Peter didn't write his letters and that some of Paul's weren't his. Since the apostles are the infallible ones who left their authority in letters isn't this pretty imptortant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean,

      You said:

      “You said that we Catholics can't have certainty about our traditions. How can you have certainty that the apostles actually wrote what is attributed to them without tradition.”

      Good question, Sean. First, my point has been that Catholics claim to have (in their “Tradition”) infallible teachings that are NOT in Scripture. I keep asking for the details of this, but they can never tell us. So, as I said earlier, Catholics need to quit pretending that they know these things (with infallible certainty, no less), since they can’t even tell us what “Tradition” IS.

      Now, as to how we know what the apostles actually wrote, we’re not denying that tradition played a part in the formation of the canon. We don’t actually have a problem with tradition filling in the blanks. The writings of the church fathers are very important here (although not infallible). We’re all dependent on tradition. But the problem is, what CATHOLICS are calling “Tradition” ALSO includes specific unbiblical teachings, as well. This "Tradition" we can't accept. So, it pretty much boils down to the definition of “Tradition / tradition.”

      Delete
    2. You said "We’re all dependent on tradition."

      Can Scripture work without tradition?

      Tradition is the teachings from the Apostles passed from bishop to bishop that complete the Revelation of God, things like in the ecumenical councils, Church fathers, what not. May you could somewhat say the teachings not necessarily found in the Bible (Purgatory, though one could make a Biblical argument for it), or a deeper sense of what is found in it, for some.

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  41. Sean,

    You said:

    “Also if the Apostles were infallible sources of revelation, then shouldn't we take their other teachings, the traditions of the Catholic Church, even though they don't appear to be in the Bible by your fallible interpretation?”

    The problem is that you would have to demonstrate that the traditions of the apostles are indeed the same teachings as those of the Catholic Church.

    But I don't think that anyone can do that.

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    1. You said, "The problem is that you would have to demonstrate that the traditions of the apostles are indeed the same teachings as those of the Catholic Church."

      You can't prove that the New Testament (Though some have a large consensus) were written by the Apostles and we can't prove what Traditions were of the Apostles, so we both have to trust. That's kind of like a double standard.

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