Thursday, April 10, 2008

Do you "think" or do you "KNOW"?

You can listen to the Radio Broadcast here: January 24, 2008 - Hour 2. It starts about 20 minute mark. Then, watch the follow-up footage below.

40 comments:

Kurt said...

Isn't it interesting that when witnessing and asking a person how they come to the understanding of their salvation, they never refer to the Scriptures. It is always a statement based on an individual theory, as this woman said, "I think..." or "I believe..."

LivingForHim said...

That was awesome!!!! I loved the music and the text you included… GREAT!!!!

LorMar said...

I've also noticed the same with catholics, professing the "I Think" or "I hope" rather than a full assurance of salvation.

Lauren said...

I was a Catholic for 33 years and I partook in the sacraments and I can honestly say I never knew Jesus. The verse "they worship me with their lips but their hearts are far from me" is so true for Catholics. The priest can't make anyone right with God, he's just a man... like you. He has no authority on earth to forgive sins, only Jesus Christ has the power and authority to do that. If you place your trust in a man and the traditions of a church rather the word of God then you may not be truly saved. The word of God is truth, and salvation is only found through Jesus Christ. I sure know I'm saved now, praise God he forgives me.

tank said...

I've been Catholic, too. They teach, at least where I grew up, that having assurance of salvation is the sin of presumption. No "good" Catholic would tell you that they know for sure where they are going. To the Catholic, they are just being humble by not presuming that God would save such a person as themselves, but the reality is that they are limiting God's power to forgive and the work done by His Son. Sad.

humbleservant said...

So is all truth entirely contained in Scripture?

Lauren said...

Yes humbleservant, every word is the inspired word of God.

Kacy said...

I used to be Protestant and became Catholic because the Catholic Church provides me with a greater hope for salvation than I ever found during my 20 years as a Protestant.

We don't beleive we can know for sure the eternal state of our soul, but I prefer this than having to rely on a one-time only salvation experience. As a Protestant I always wondered if I could truly be saved because I kept sinning. The Catholic Church affirms that we renew our relationship with Christ each time we recieve the Eucharist and each time we go to confession.

No we don't put our trust in the priest to forgive our sins, only Christ can do that. However, God has put the priest in his position to declare the words of Christ, "I absolve you of your sins."

We do not put our trust in our works, but in Christ. We also do not merely place our trust in our own fallible faith. Instead we seek to love Jesus more for it is this love that will lead us to eternal rest with Him. Faith, prayer, and works of mercy are ways in which God leads us into a deeper love for His son. This is why we are saved not by faith alone.

humbleservant said...

Thank you, Lauren, but I'm thinking you may have misunderstood my question. I know that every word in scripture is the inspired word of God, but this is what I want to know: is all truth entirely contained within scripture?

Lauren said...

I guess it depends on what you mean by truth, truth about what? I believe the truth about God and salvation is entirely in scripture, yes.

Kacey, here is a link for you to check out on why I believe the Catholic church is unbiblical.
http://www.biblicist.org/bible/catholic.shtml

humbleservant said...

I guess what I am trying to ask and understand is: can you find any truth (about God) outside of scripture and if so, where? If not, where does it say in scripture that all truth (about God) is only found in scripture?

Lauren said...

I guess what I am trying to ask and understand is: can you find any truth (about God) outside of scripture and if so, where?

Yes you can find proof of God outside of scripture. Creation is one proof, there is a lot of evidence to suggest intelligent design and a young earth. Also through biblical prophecy, things the bible said would happen in the future that have come to pass.
http://100prophecies.org/ (just one link of many also)



where does it say in scripture that all truth (about God) is only found in scripture?

Jhn 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

(just one of many, many verses.

Lauren said...

http://www.amazingbible.org/Documents/Bible_Desk/proof_bible_true.htm

I found the link I was looking for, too. Very good one on proving the bible to be true.

SteveG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

Luckily for us, God uses many different writers in many different books to give His word and you will find often that scripture is repeated in the different books so that we can know the truth. For example:

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

1 Peter 1:24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever."

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, coverting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

Look at the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and you will see how God has used more than one person to teach the same things about Jesus, and a lot of the Old Testament scripture was quoted in the New Testament also.

So we can see that the testimony about Jesus is true, and that salvation is through Him and not through the traditions of men.

SteveG said...

Fixing typos and deleted original post.

Sola Scriptura is a fatally flawed doctrine.

The main flaw is that the canon of scripture (what books should be in the bible) is not contained within the bible itself.

In the first 700+ years of the church, there were many books that 'claimed' to be scripture. Some of them indeed are in what we know of as the bible today, some (gospel of Thomas for example) are not.

The process of determining which books belonged in the canon, and which did not was a long and contentious one, and it was the church itself that ultimately had to make the determination (whether you call that church 'Catholic' or not is beside the point).

Every person today who picks up a nicely bound and published Bible is, whether they know it or not, relying on the church of the early centuries as having been trustworthy to pass down the correct books to be included.

The moment you appeal to that 'outside authority' (the early church) to tell you what books you can use for determining doctrine, you have at the outset, violated the fundamental premise of sola scriptura.

The Bible can't tell us what's in the Bible, and that fact alone dooms sola scriptura as a false teaching.

Further, unless you can work with the original manuscripts penned by the writers of each of the books (which by the way, do not exist as far as we know), you are relying on 1) the copyist who made the manuscripts that do exist and 2) the translators, who have brought it to you in your native language.

Again, the moment you introduce such dependence on anything external to the scripture itself, you have already violated your own basic principle of Bible alone.

On so many levels, sola scriptura is a self-refuting doctrine

SteveG said...

Lauren:
Here’s the big problem…you take too much for granted.

You have the books you quoted from in your Bible at your disposal, but do you know how they got to you?

You got them via the traditions of Christianity.

Tradition tells us that the Gospel of John, and 1 Peter should be in the New Testament canon.

Tradition tells us that Isaiah, and Psalms should be in the Old Testament.

Tradition also tells that the gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic writing that is not inspired and should NOT be included in the NT canon (are you aware that for nearly the first 4 Centuries of Christianity, that was debated?).

The moment you quote from any of the books in the Bible and you take those books (and not others) as being God’s inspired word to us, you are relying on Christian tradition to have handed that set of books (and only that set of books) down to you…

…and the moment you lean on Christian Tradition as having reliably passed you the ‘correct’ books, you’ve appealed to something outside of scripture as authoritative…

..at that same moment, the ‘sola’ part of sola scripture is dashed on the rocks.

You are now, without having realized it a believer in...

'Scripture + the tradition that tells us what books should be called scripture'

There is simply no way around that…sola scriptura is a self-refuting doctrine.

Lauren said...

Ok, so lets assume we can't trust scripture... should we put all our trust in tradition alone?

If we can't trust the bible, who or what do we turn to?

Lauren said...

PS Would you say the book of Matthew is reliable scripture?

SteveG said...

Ok, so lets assume we can't trust scripture

This is not what I said. Scripture can be trusted, but as I pointed out, the trust you/I/we place in it by necessity is borrowed from all of Christian Tradition.

... should we put all our trust in tradition alone?

Primarily we should trust Jesus Christ, and we should trust the Church that He established which we are told is...

“the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)

(let’s put aside the for now whether that church/community is the same one as the Catholic Church today. I think we can both agree that there was a community of believers in Jesus Christ from the beginning that we can broadly call ‘The Church’)

Let’s put it all in historical context if that helps.

We have this person named Jesus Christ who lived about 2000 years ago, and we are trying to figure out who and what He was that he was able to spawn this movement known as Christianity that has lasted for so long.

After Jesus’ ascension, what are his followers left with? They have scripture, but at that point, it is only the OT, agreed?

So what do ‘new’ believers, who never met Christ during his early ministry, and never saw Him risen, what do they have?

How do they to know what is trustworthy and reliable?

The ONLY thing they have is the community of believers to lead and guide them. The ONLY thing they have is the ‘tradition’ that’s being passed among the community which is at least at that time, led by the Apostles and their followers.

As the church grows and makes converts, the community realizes that it is important that the thoughts and teachings of those closest to Jesus should be put down in writing. So the books begin to be written, in most cases by the apostles (John, Luke, Matthew, Paul), or those who are direct disciples of the apostles (Mark—Peter’s disciple).

But at the same time a heresy called Gnosticism is already growing up right along and in the midst of the Church (wheat and chaff), and deceivers begin to write books and attach the names of the apostles to them as well (the gospel of Thomas, the apocalypse of Peter, etc.), and trying to pass them off as Christ’s teaching.

And in the early Church, the test of whether something was inspired or not, whether it deserved to be read in their worship, was...

*Whether it was in accord with what was handed on to the community by the apostles (the apostolic tradition)
*If it was written by the apostles themselves or one of their disciples
*If it was written within the first two generations.

That set of criteria was the absolute key tradition that came out of the first century in understanding how the bible came down to us.

A set of traditions that allowed the Church, the community, to test the inspiration of the writings handed on to them (and note that at this time, they are not ‘the bible’, but rather a bunch of scrolls/manuscripts that have been copied and handed on between the church communities-not all church communities even have all the scrolls in their possession).

And this is how the state of affairs existed for at least 4 centuries (some would argue 7) before the first ‘lists’ of inspired books show up.

And all during that time, there is TONS of contention about what manuscripts should be considered inspired and included for use in teaching and worship.

Over hundreds of years, the community more and more firmly lay down and ‘enforced’ those traditional criteria above, and we ended up with the books we consider inspired scripture.

At that point, now we have a set of inspired books that we know are trustworthy.

But if that’s the case, it’s only because the community of the early church, under the protection of the Holy Spirit, got that set of books right for us.

It’s their tradition we rely upon to be certain that we can rely on the scriptures.

It’s that apostolic tradition, passed from generation to generation in the community of believers that gives us the ability to rely on scripture.

So ultimately, it is the apostolic tradition of the early church that anyone who holds the bible to be the inspired word of God MUST rely on. There is no other possible answer.

Tradition comes first, and it delivers us the bible, which is a (but not the only) source of reliable information about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.


If we can't trust the bible, who or what do we turn to?

We can trust the Bible, but only because we first trust the early church to have safeguarded and delivered it for us. Thus we first must be able to trust their traditional understanding of what books were to be included.

PS Would you say the book of Matthew is reliable scripture

Yes, for all the reasons I explained above. Any of the books that we currently have in the bible are books I’d consider reliable scripture.

By the way, are you aware that even the authorship attached to the New Testament books is PURELY a matter of tradition?

The earliest manuscripts do not have ‘labels’ or authors attached to them on the actual documents. They do not say at the beginning (as our modern bible does) ‘The Gospel of Matthew.”

Many of the NT books are ‘anonymous’ (all of the gospels are).

We attach the name Matthew to the Gospel of Matthew because all of the writings of the early church when referring to that book, say that it was written by the apostle Matthew.

That the name ‘stuck’ was because those claiming that it was written by Matthew were the direct inheritors of the teachings of the apostles, and the tradition that Matthew was the author was considered trustworthy.

Finally, a heads up. If you are asking this question to pull out verses to prove/show me something that scripture says, you’ll have to first show why you, or I, should trust that book and verse as being something two believers in Christ (which you and I surely are) can appeal to.

I’ve shown my rational for accepting it as reliable, but unless you can establish a reason for holding it reliable without using tradition, then any appeal you make about a particular understanding will have to also be viewed in the light of that tradition.

Peace to you in the name of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Lauren said...

While I disagree with a bit of what you said about how the bible was put together, I will just agree to disagree at this point because the conclusion you get to I actually DO agree with. Scripture is reliable along with tradition. However, I believe that is conditional.

Now I am going to quote some scripture in Matthew (a teaching of Jesus), you can trust it as the priest in the Catholic church regularly quotes Matthew 26 at Mass (Take this all of you and eat it.. this is my body etc) so it’s reliable scripture in the Catholic and as well as Christian churches so we can freely discuss it.

Here is the scripture from Matthew 15: 1 – 8 (New King James version)

Mat 15:1
THEN the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,
Mat 15:2
"Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."
Mat 15:3
He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
Mat 15:4
"For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother';[fn1] and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.'[fn2]

Mat 15:5
"But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"--
Mat 15:6
'then he need not honor his father or mother.'[fn3] Thus you have made the commandment[fn4] of God of no effect by your tradition.

Mat 15:7
"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

Mat 15:8
'These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
Mat 15:9
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"[fn5]


Now, would you agree that Jesus is teaching that it’s not okay to rely on tradition IF it goes against God’s Law?

SteveG said...

While I disagree with a bit of what you said about how the bible was put together, I will just agree to disagree at this point because the conclusion you get to I actually DO agree with. Scripture is reliable along with tradition. However, I believe that is conditional.

I am sorry, but we can’t gloss over this. It’s too fundamental to the discussion. How it was put together, and how we understand the role of tradition, and how tradition and scripture work together is vital to understanding how we can use it (scripture), interpret it and discuss it

I say that because I am fairly certain (but want to be sure) that your conditions for tradition are that they are in accord with the Bible itself. If so, that simply doesn’t address the problem I’ve been raising.

To say that tradition must be tested against scripture you must first establish how you know the books of the bible are the correct ones (the canon) using something other than tradition.

In order to say that tradition must be tested against scripture you must show that scripture is ‘above’ tradition in ALL cases.

If you admit to ANY traditions outside of the bible itself (i.e. the tradition of which books to include in the canon), you have violated your first principle that the tradition must be tested against scripture.

Before we start discussing Matthew, let me ask it even more plainly…

How do you know that the book of Matthew is an inspired book and should be considered scripture?


If you could answer this for me, I'd be willing to discuss specifics of Matthew (my favorite of the gospels by the way).


Your brother in Christ Jesus
Steve

Lauren said...

We can know that the book of Matthew is inspired of God because of the fulfilled prophecies in that book which relate directly to the Old Testament scriptures (which have been authenticated by the dead sea scrolls).

Below are very quick references to scriptures which fulfil biblical prophecy. Also, out of a total of 1,071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with Mark and the Gospel of Luke, 130 with Mark alone, 184 with Luke alone; only 370 being unique to itself. Majority of biblical scholars declare the book of Matthew as scripture.

Fullfilled prophecies in Matthew include:

Matthew 1:22,23 "A VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD" as promised in Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 2:15,17,23 "OUT OF EGYPT HAVE I CALLED MY SON" HEROD KILLS BABIES (people mourn) JESUS WOULD BE CALLED A NAZARENE. Matthew 4;14 "THE PEOPLE THAT SAT IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT. Matthew 5:17,18 "THE PROMISE THAT ALL OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES WOULD BE FULFILLED" Matthew 8:16,17 THE SICK WERE HEALED AS PROMISED
Now you are coming to realize that THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT BELIEVING THAT JESUS IS . . . THE PROMISED ONE. Matthew 12:17 "that it might be fulfilled." Matthew 13:14 "they hear but they do not perceive." Matthew 13:35 "Jesus speaks in parables" Matthew 21:4,5 "JESUS ENTERS INTO JERUSALEM" "sitting upon an ass"
Now in Matthew 26:53-56 JESUS IS MOST CONCERNED ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES BEING FULFILLED verse 56 "but all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets ( In the Old Testament ) Matthew 27:9-10 might be fulfilled" JUDAS GETS 30 PIECES OF SILVER . . . The Old Testament in ZECHARIAH 11:12 records this. Matthew 27:35 "AND THEY CRUCIFIED HIM, AND PARTED HIS GARMENTS, CASTING LOTS . . . THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED. (That which was written in the Old Testament )

They are my reasons for placing my trust in the book of Matthew.

Now back to the original question... Do you believe that Jesus is saying in Matthew 15:1-8 that it’s not okay to follow traditions of men if they go against the law of God?

SteveG said...

Lauren
I apologize for being so bold here, but what you’ve provided is not even close to a reasonable explanation.

It’s not acceptable for two major reasons.

The first reason is because some of it is circular thinking.

The second is that the rest is a set of traditions, used for testing scripture, that you’ve either created, or picked up from others who you’ve learned your faith from.

First, you use the bible (OT) to prove the inspiration of the bible (NT). That’s circular because you have to then prove that the OT is inspired.

So, I’ll just ask the same question as before, but with regard to a different book of the bible…

Why do you accept Isaiah as an inspired book?

Second, the test you’ve set up regarding the fulfillment of prophecy is a set of traditions you (or those you’ve learned the faith from) have established to test inspiration. You are then putting the bible under the authority of those traditions.

The moment you use anything outside the explicit teachings of the bible (whether appeals to scholars, the dead sea scrolls find, or the textual analysis of the common passages in the synoptic gospels), you’ve now put the bible ‘under’, or in reliance of, something outside itself (scholarship, archeological finds, textual analysis).

At that point, the doctrine of sola scripture is dead.

At that point you have to admit that tradition and scripture go hand in hand. And then you have to provide a framework for deciding which traditions you think are valid and which are not.

You said: We can know that the book of Matthew is inspired of God because of the fulfilled prophecies in that book which relate directly to the Old Testament scriptures (which have been authenticated by the dead sea scrolls).

What does ‘authenticated’ mean here? Certainly the fact that the scrolls were found in the last century is not what proves the OT inspiration to us. Isaiah has been considered part of the OT canon long before the Dead Sea scrolls were found.

So again…why do you accept Isaiah as inspired?

In addition, can you show me where you got the teaching that ‘fulfilled prophecies’ are a test God has given us to use for determining inspiration?

You said: Also, out of a total of 1,071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with Mark and the Gospel of Luke, 130 with Mark alone, 184 with Luke alone; only 370 being unique to itself. Majority of biblical scholars declare the book of Matthew as scripture.

I am well aware of the different source theories (2 source, 3 source, Q, etc.) of how to reconcile the common passages in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), but this tells us absolutely nothing about whether any of them are inspired or not.

All it says is that the writers have to some extent a common source from which they draw to tell us about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Realize also that the gospel of Thomas (along with other non-canonical books claiming to be gospels) which I’ve been referring to, also has many verses in common with the three that we consider canonical. Yet Thomas is not considered inspired. If common passages are the test, then why isn’t Thomas also considered inspired?

Also please show me how/where God tells us that common passages are a test for inspiration?

In addition, biblical scholars do not generally declare Matthew or any other book inspired scripture. That’s not the job of biblical scholars.

If they are honest about their work, what they can tell us is their opinions about whom they think the author was, when they think it was written, and other related issues. What they most certainly do not do is speak to whether it is inspired or not. That is not a scholarly question, it is a theological one.

True, many religious people are scholars of scripture, but if they have an ounce of integrity, they will keep their opinions about the factual matters (dates, authorship, manuscripts, etc.) and their beliefs about the inspiration (which can not be proved by textual analysis) separate.

If you are going to claim that scholars attest to Matthews inspiration, it’s incumbent on you to provide those sources since you rely in part on their testimony.

Also, can you please show me how/where God says that scholarly opinion is a test of inspiration?


You said: They are my reasons for placing my trust in the book of Matthew.

Lauren, I want you to be sure that I am not being slick or tricky here. Neither am I trying to frustrate you.

If you fairly read what I’ve been saying above, you’ll see that my objections and questions for you are absolutely reasonable.

You’ve got a real problem here regarding the foundational doctrine of sola scriptura (bible alone) as the basis for deriving Christian Doctrine.

I’ve been discussing this issue with non-Catholics for many years now, and never seen even a moderately reasonable response to how to reconcile the reality that Protestantism on one hand claims that Scripture alone is authoritative, but they have no way of using scripture to show which books should be considered scripture.

They must rely on Christian tradition to get the bible, but then they want to dismiss all other tradition beyond that. This is a self-contradicting belief.

This is one of the fundamental issues that drove me out of evangelicalism to convert to Catholicism.

Now back to the original question... Do you believe that Jesus is saying in Matthew 15:1-8 that it’s not okay to follow traditions of men if they go against the law of God?

I realize what you want to do here, I really do. And I don’t blame you. You want me to give the obvious answer that it’s not OK to follow the traditions of men if they go against the law of God, then you want to begin to show me how Catholic traditions do so (go against the law).

But in order to discuss that, we’ll have to get into discussions about how to understand what are ‘traditions of men’ vs. traditions that are not ‘of men’. We’ll have to discuss how we know what God’s law is.

My guess is that you’ll point to a particular tradition in Catholicism that you think is a tradition of men, and then show how that is not in keeping with the scriptures.

But then we’ll end up right in the same place as before. You will have to show me why the scripture is the final and only authority that we can appeal to.

I’ve read the Book of Matthew from beginning to end more times than I can count (daily scripture reading is part of my prayer life) so I am fully aware of the passages that you are trying to use.

The problem is that unless you can reasonably explain to me why we should consider Matthew as the final/only authority in discussing tradition, how can I trust your explanation of these passages?

If you can show me a reasonable explanation of how to resolve the issue of the canon (what books should be included in the bible) without appealing to ANYTHING outside of itself, honesty would have to force me to rethink my conversion to Catholicism.

So far, the only explanation you’ve given as to how you know Matthew (or any of the books in the bible) is inspired are a set of external (meaning outside the bible) traditions (prophecy fulfillment, archeological finds, scholarly opinion, etc) that you’ve used to determine that.

Finally, having this discussion in a moderated comment box is a bit frustrating for both of us I would think. If you are interested in continuing the discussion, I’d be more than happy to supply my email, or if you have some other place online where you would like to take this, or we can just keep it here.

Lemme know what you think.

Blessing in the name of the Savior.
Steve

humbleservant said...

Steve-
If you and Lauren decide to continue this discussion somewhere else would you please let me know (I'm not sure how, as I am not used to posting on blogs).
I have been following your charitable conversation and would love to continue "listening in" as a curious bystander.

Lauren said...

Ok, I FINALLY see what you are getting at with regards to Sola Scriptura being false, as you believe that it takes some form of tradition to confirm it. Sure, I will agree with that... if you base sola scriptura on that definition... then yes, scripture alone is not possible.
However my definition of sola scriptura is that the Church does not speak infallibly in its traditions, but only in scripture. So while it ‘may’ take a traditional method to prove the bible scripture as inspired by God that’s not quite what Sola scriptura means. It is talking more about comparing traditions of the CHURCH and comparing those to scripture... where the Catholic Church considers things such as transubstantiation, the doctrine of purgatory, the veneration of images or icons, and the doctrine that the Pope in Rome is head of the Church on earth as infalliable also. Which is what I disagree with .
The Bible is inspired and has authority, not because a church declared it so, but because God made it so. God delivered it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and declared that it would abide forever. "All scripture is inspired of God..." (2 Tim. 3:16). "...Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Pet. 1:21). "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Matt. 24:35). "The grass withered, and the flower has fallen--but the word of the Lord endures forever." (1 Pet. 1:24-25). The Catholics are wrong that the Bible is authoritative only because of the Catholic Church. The Bible does not owe its existence to the Catholic Church, but to the authority, power and providence of God.
The Catholics say that without the Church there would be no bible, and say that man can only accept the Scriptures on the basis of the Catholic church which gathered the books and determined which ones where inspired and which were not. The Catholic church, however, cannot claim they gave us the Old Testament. The Old Testament came through the Jews who had them entrusted to them by God.



PS
I'm not really interested in continuing this outside of this blog, as I think we are both pretty clear on where we stand.

Lauren said...

Actually Steve, if you want to keep going with this conversation by email I'm fine with that. Just post it for me.
(changed my mind)

SteveG said...

Hi Again Lauren,

Here’s what we can do…I’ll post my response to your last comment here, and at the end I’ll provide my email address. At that point, it will be totally your choice whether to respond here, or to my email.

Either is fine with me.

In your last comment, you said…

Sure, I will agree with that... if you base sola scriptura on that definition... then yes, scripture alone is not possible.
However my definition of sola scriptura is that the Church does not speak infallibly in its traditions, but only in scripture.


The problem with this is that you now concede that it takes tradition to give us the books of the bible, but you say that tradition is fallible, it forces the question…

If tradition is always fallible, how do you know that the tradition that delivered the scriptures was correct?

Fallible means that something can be in error. If tradition in general can be in error, how do you know the tradition that delivered you the bible is not one of those traditions that IS in error.

Under your paradigm, we have know way of knowing if that’s the case or not.

Can you see the quandary you are in?

How can a fallible tradition give you an infallible biblical canon?

You said: It is talking more about comparing traditions of the CHURCH and comparing those to scripture...

So again…you now seem somewhat willing to admit that a traditional method is need to give us the bible, but then in the next sentence you say that tradition needs to be compared against scripture to be validated.

But how do we compare this particular tradition (the set of books) to the bible to test it’s validity, since the bible itself relies on the tradition?

You said:The Bible is inspired and has authority, not because a church declared it so, but because God made it so. God delivered it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and declared that it would abide forever.

Yes, what you said is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t really mirror the practicalities of how it happened.

Yes God delivered it and is its ultimate authority, but he did so through sinful human instruments.

Think about it this way…

You believe that God was able to use Peter, a man who denied the Lord 3 times, a man who most certainly continued to sin after the resurrection, a broken, sinful human like any other…you believe that God took this imperfect person and used him as a tool to pen 2 letters that you trust as inspired.

The list goes on and one. Paul was a murderer of Christians, and even after conversion spoke about how he at times did that which he hated (sin), and did not do the good that he loved. Yet this imperfect man penned most of the books of the NT.

Matthew, a despised and reviled tax collector penned one of the gospels.

You and I both believe that a set of imperfect individuals were the tools that God used, and that the Holy Spirit was able to inspire, and that as these imperfect men wrote, God’s power and authority protected them from making error….he made them in their writing infallible with regard to those writings.

Can you see that?

If so, is it so outrageous to believe that God used a set of fallible human beings (the early leaders/bishops) of the Church to do the same with the canon of the bible?

Is it so different to claim/believe that he exercised his authority through a set of imperfect human beings in an infallible way in order to deliver us the correct books of the bible?

You said: "All scripture is inspired of God..." (2 Tim. 3:16).

But Paul is writing this before the vast majority of the NT is even written. Paul’s letters come WAY before all of the gospels being written, before Revelations, and before most of the non Pauline letters. He’s most certainly referring to the OT here.

In addition, it still doesn’t answer the question…what is considered scripture. Unless he provides an index of what books he is referring to, this is true and useful information for the Christian, but it doesn’t address the points I am raising.

You said: "...Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Pet. 1:21).

But do you not see that it says spoke? It doesn’t say wrote, and it doesn’t address the issue under discussion.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Matt. 24:35).

Of course, I agree…but same problem…which ‘words’ is this referring to?

Jesus is saying it, but Jesus himself didn’t write any of the books. The NT isn't even begun when Jesus spoke that. And he doesn't tell us which books that will be written will contain his words.

His words…which the NT explicitly tells us over and over were passed on by both the written word and by tradition.

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. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

And John confirms this explicitly when he says…

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book

So not all of God's word is in scripture alone.

You should know this also because God's TRUE word is his Son Jesus Christ, and NO book, not even the bible, can contain the entirety of the Son of God made man in the flesh.

It tells us about him, it is true, beautiful and it is from God, but the book is not God, it is not Jesus himself.

The Catholics are wrong that the Bible is authoritative only because of the Catholic Church. The Bible does not owe its existence to the Catholic Church, but to the authority, power and providence of God.

But again…God used some ‘tool’ to get us the bible in the form we have it today. It simply didn’t fall out of the sky. That tool most certainly was the Church (forget for a moment if that Church is the Roman Catholic Church for now…let’s use the concept of just ‘the Christian Church’) that God used to exercise his authority, power and providence.

If the early church of the first few hundred centuries wasn’t the tool God used, can you explain to me what was?

The Catholic church, however, cannot claim they gave us the Old Testament. The Old Testament came through the Jews who had them entrusted to them by God.

This is not correct. The Jews wrote the books, but they had no true canon for their bible in the way that we do. The only books that all Jews agreed upon were the Torah (the first 5 books).

In many Jewish sects the Septuagint was also ‘generally’ accepted, but was not considered ‘the Bible’ in the way we consider the complete OT and NT our bible.

The first time that the OT is set forth as a specific set of books that are acceptable for Christian use is at the same time and through the same process as the NT. It all happened at the same time and it was exclusively an Christian endeavor.

The Jews of the time of the early church suffered from the same issues that I’ve mentioned above with regard to books ‘claiming’ inspiration.

The first real attempts by Jews to determine a canon for Judaism come 100’s of years after Christianity and in response to the fact that Christians had already begun that process of canonizing the OT for Christianity.

OK…if you are interested in continuing ‘off line’ I am at sgalvanek@ppg.com

In the name of Jesus Christ,

Steve

SteveG said...

Lauren
I hate to seem wishy washy, but I thought it was only you and I discussing this, thus the suggestion to go 'off line'.

Now that I see at least one other person is reading and interested, I think it's wise to just keep it here despite the delay that a moderated comment box has built in.

It seems a bit unfair to cut off others in the middle of the discussion, when they've taken the time to follow this far.

By the way, to whoever is approving the comments, my above statement is not meant as a complaint in the least. Your approval speed is more than reasonable.

Moderated comments have a delay by built in for a reason, and I understand that. I should probably just look at is as an opportunity to practice the virtue of patience for us anyway. :-D

Also, I want to piggy back on humbleservants comment about the charitable tone of the conversation.

Lauren, you've been great in that regard, and I hope that I am keeping up my end of the bargain as well.

These discussion have so much passion attached to them (as is fitting, we should be passionate when we are dealing with the truth), that the passion often gets the better of us.

It's so refreshing when that is able to be tempered by charity.

Thanks.

Lauren said...

The problem with this is that you now concede that it takes tradition to give us the books of the bible, but you say that tradition is fallible, it forces the question…

No I actually said that to verify the bible using outside sources would take traditional methods, however, I don’t believe that you need to go outside the bible to check it’s authenticity for reasons mentioned previously.

So again…you now seem somewhat willing to admit that a traditional method is need to give us the bible, but then in the next sentence you say that tradition needs to be compared against scripture to be validated.

Yes I believe that if you have a tradition that you are actively participating in during Church, then you need to make sure that tradition does not go against God’s word. (Scripture) If the tradition goes against scripture, you must stop it.

But how do we compare this particular tradition (the set of books) to the bible to test it’s validity, since the bible itself relies on the tradition?

I don’t believe that the bible relies on tradition AT ALL it’s only the Catholic Church who believes that. Confidence in the acceptance of specific books dates back to the first century recipients who offered firsthand testimony as to their authenticity.

You said:The Bible is inspired and has authority, not because a church declared it so, but because God made it so. God delivered it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and declared that it would abide forever.

Yes, what you said is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t really mirror the practicalities of how it happened.

Well that’s just in your opinion really now isn’t it? You believe the bible came to us one way but I don’t believe that’s how it happened. Not to mention the fact that both our bibles contain entirely different books!

On one hand you say, yes it is God’s word BUT we must test it through the (your) Church first.
Why do you believe this? If you say I can’t trust my tradition, how can I trust the tradition of the Catholic Church? What if the Catholic Church is not from God? Can I still trust it to put together my bible? And if I am to solely trust the Catholic Church, how can I discern whether or not the church is from God? If I can’t rely on scripture alone, then my only hope is to turn back to the Church again for the truth. But can it really deliver the truth if it’s NOT the Church Jesus left us with?

If so, is it so outrageous to believe that God used a set of fallible human beings (the early leaders/bishops) of the Church to do the same with the canon of the bible?

No, it’s not outrageous at ALL. If it’s God’s Church I would totally believe that God was capable of doing that. Problem for me is though, I don’t believe it’s God’s church. And if it’s not God’s church, how do you know that the bible was put together by the Holy Spirit? If you only have tradition to go by, then you are left in a precarious place indeed.

His words…which the NT explicitly tells us over and over were passed on by both the written word and by tradition.

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. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

And John confirms this explicitly when he says…

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book

So not all of God's word is in scripture alone.

Ok, so you quote scripture to back up the argument for tradition... but I can’t use scripture to show you what Jesus spoke about regarding tradition until I prove that it’s from God? How is that fair?

I pointed out to you a teaching of Jesus about tradition and was not allowed to discuss it without proving the bible true. Why is it okay for you to quote scripture to me to defend your argument about tradition but I’m not allowed to until I prove the scriptures correct?

You should know this also because God's TRUE word is his Son Jesus Christ, and NO book, not even the bible, can contain the entirety of the Son of God made man in the flesh.

It tells us about him, it is true, beautiful and it is from God, but the book is not God, it is not Jesus himself.

Tell me who is the Word in the beginning?

Jhn 1:1
IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Let me give you a hint....

Jhn 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

SteveG said...

No I actually said that to verify the bible using outside sources would take traditional methods, however, I don’t believe that you need to go outside the bible to check it’s authenticity for reasons mentioned previously.

I think we are still missing each other on this. In this discussion I have not been talking about the 'authenticity' of a particular book.

I’ve been talking almost exclusively about the canon of the bible…about which books we consider scripture.

Pretend for a moment that I am a non-believer. Now let’s say you want to evangelize me.

You start quoting scripture to me, and I ask the same question about how you know that what you have is the correct set of books from the early church. How will you answer me?

If you tell me that about dead see scroll finds, biblical scholarship and textual analysis, etc., I could fairly point out that sola scriptura appeals to outside tradition to stand up.

Then I’d ask what you use to decide to determine which traditions are valid, and you say to me that they are tested against scripture.


I will rightly point out at that point that you are engaged in circular reasoning and that you’ve assumed the truth of your answer without being able to show it.

The reason I put this in the framework of the non-believer is because I want to remove the argument for the Catholic position for a moment.

The validity or invalidity of that argument is irrelevant to whether your set of beliefs as a Protestant is mistaken or not.

Your premise of Sola Scriptura is either true or false without regard to whether my premises are true or false.

I don’t believe that the bible relies on tradition AT ALL it’s only the Catholic Church who believes that. Confidence in the acceptance of specific books dates back to the first century recipients who offered firsthand testimony as to their authenticity.

Whether you accept it or not, the canon of scripture that I’ve been attempting to discuss relies solely on tradition.

I’ve asked multiple times, but if you believe that is false, can you show me how you know that the exact set of books you currently have in your bible was determined and how you know they are the right ones.

I am not talking about the authenticity of the words within. That's an entirely separate issue.

I am looking for the infallible index you have that tells you that the Gospel of Thomas should be out and the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John should be in.

I am asking for the infallible index you have that says the letter of Clement (written by a follow of the apostles in 90 AD) should be out, but the Letter to the Hebrews should be in?

Do you see what I am asking?

I said at the outset that you take too much for granted, and this is what I was referring to.

Someone handed you a bible and told you it was the word of God. At that point you were, without realizing it, relying on 2000 years of Christian tradition to have delivered you the correct set of books to work with.

You accepted that tradition without question, and I am trying to get you to realize it and think about what it means to Sola Scriptura.


Well that’s just in your opinion really now isn’t it? You believe the bible came to us one way but I don’t believe that’s how it happened.

Then could you show me the way it happened? Could you explain to me your belief about how we can be sure the canon of books is correct?

Pretend I am the non-believer again…I don’t want to know the details yet.

I am just asking you to show me how you can be sure that the set of books in the bible you have is the right set. After all, I have a mormon friend who told me he has the final authority and it's a book called the book of Mormon.

I also happen to have a Jewish friend who says that only the OT (and in particular the Torah) is authoritative and the word of God.

For that matter I have a Muslim friend who says the same about the Koran.

How am I, as a non-believer, supposed to know which of those books is REALLY the word of God? They all make the exact same claim?

I want to know that first before I start trusting any of the words that are in any of the particular books.

Can you help me on that? Can you see how that question has to come before we move on?


Not to mention the fact that both our bibles contain entirely different books!

This is a bit exaggerated I think.

The NT have the same books (despite Luther’s effort to pull James out).

The OT are the same as well accept for the fact that the Catholic bible still contains all the books that Jesus and the apostles would have considered scripture.

I say that because the Catholic OT is based on the Septuagint and it’s pretty easy to show from quotations in the NT that the writers of the NT were using the Greek Septuagint as their scripture set.

The Septuagint has the books in it that Luther decided to take out (primarily because they supported the doctrine of Purgatory so explicitly).

The ‘additional’ books are the only difference, so I think it’s overstating things to say that they contain entirely different books.

On one hand you say, yes it is God’s word BUT we must test it through the (your) Church first.

I haven’t really said that yet. The validity of my own beliefs is something different.

I haven’t even begun to argue for it. I’ve so far only been mostly trying to highlight that regardless of Catholic claims, Sola Scriptura is false on it’s face.

It can not resolve the issue of the canon without appealing to tradition first. And it appeals to a tradition that can’t be tested by the scriptures.

At that point Sola Scriptura is dead.

Whether the Catholic church can save the day and provide a reasonable alternative framework is a different story altogether.

Why do you believe this? If you say I can’t trust my tradition

I didn’t say you can’t. I’ve been asking you to show me how to resolve the issue of the canon for me (other than the circular argument of testing it against scripture, or appealing to scholars, archeology, or textual analysis) without violating your first principle of Sola Scriptura.

If Sola Scriptura were true, this should be a very simple question to answer.

how can I trust the tradition of the Catholic Church?

That’s a fair question, and one I feel can be answered. Are you really interested in the answer to that, or is this meant as a rhetorical question?

What if the Catholic Church is not from God?

If it is not, then we are both fools and to be pitied.

Whether you can accept it or not, it’s clearly the case that the canon was determined via the councils of the Church during the first 7 centuries of Christianity.

That's not even a point of historical contention between scholars whether secular, Protestant, or Catholic.

If the church is not to be trusted in putting the canon together, then we have know way of knowing that the bible we have has the correct books.

Luther, and all Protestants since are working off the borrowed capital of the early church in this regard.

Even the bible that Luther worked with was something he’d already gotten from his Catholic tradition and upbringing.

What if the Catholic Church is not from God? Can I still trust it to put together my bible?

No, not if it’s not from God. But that’s the question, isn’t it?

And if I am to solely trust the Catholic Church, how can I discern whether or not the church is from God?

Through the use of reason, through prayer, through study of history, through discussion, and all the other tools any Christian uses to follow Christ.

There’s one thing that’s for sure though…the Protestant model is false.

If I can’t rely on scripture alone, then my only hope is to turn back to the Church again for the truth.

Correct, and it’s a hard reality to accept, I know. I was raised in a cultural Catholic family until my teens years, when I became ‘born again.’

I was sure I knew the falsity of the Catholic Church having gone to CCD all my life, having attended Catholic school, having received the sacraments.

When I turned from Catholicism, it was with a hatred for it being the Whore of Babylon.

When I finally realized the futility of the Protestant model with thousands of interpretations for the same bible that was supposed to be the clear word of God, Catholicism was LITERALLY the last place I looked for answers because I was sure it was the one I knew to be false.

But as difficult as it was, and as difficult as it was to hear, I was shocked at how little I really knew about Catholicism other than the really terrible catechesis and preaching that is too often found in the American Church.

More importantly, the fact that my family was purely cultural Catholics and did not live the faith, left me in a position to know a set of rules and dogma, but without any real example of how a relationship, how an encounter, with Christ was to be lived.

But can it really deliver the truth if it’s NOT the Church Jesus left us with?

No. But again, that's the question, because if it is not, then anyone calling themselves Christian is in deep trouble because the bible came out of the councils of that very Church 800 years before Luther was born.

No, it’s not outrageous at ALL. If it’s God’s Church I would totally believe that God was capable of doing that. Problem for me is though, I don’t believe it’s God’s church. And if it’s not God’s church, how do you know that the bible was put together by the Holy Spirit?

That’s the problem. If it’s not God’s church, you can’t know that.

Protestantism provides no sensible answer as an alternative.


If you only have tradition to go by, then you are left in a precarious place indeed.

No, once you realize that you must look outside of the scripture to know the books, you are no longer bound by that constraint.

You can use history, reason, prayer, and every other tool at your disposal to see if the case can be made for the Catholic church.

One of the really key tools you can use is to read the vast volumes of writings from the early Christian Church that came just after the 1st Century.

Protestants have this notion of what the early post apostolic church looked like, but if you read the actual writings of the first Christians starting from 90 A.D. onward, you quickly begin to see that it looks nothing like any Protestant denomination, and in fact looks downright Catholic.

Again, whether this is true or not, Sola Scriptura is false on its face, that much is certain.

As for the Catholic claim, they are certainly not irrefutable (otherwise there’d be no discussion), but they are far from precarious, and they are far stronger than you might imagine.

Ok, so you quote scripture to back up the argument for tradition... but I can’t use scripture to show you what Jesus spoke about regarding tradition until I prove that it’s from God? How is that fair?

It’s entirely fair. I am playing by your rules. You tell me you take scripture as the final authority. That’s your position.

At that point it’s entirely fair for me to use anything within to convince you.

That is totally playing by the rules…your rules.

You can’t do the same to me because I don’t take scripture as final authority.

You have to first show me that I should before you can appeal to it in the same way.

Just as I am playing by your rules, speaking your language, when addressing you.

If you want to convince me of something, you have to either 1) play by my rules, speak my language, when speaking to me or 2) convince me that your set of rules are correct.

Tell me who is the Word in the beginning?

Jhn 1:1
IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Let me give you a hint....

Jhn 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


Yes…OK, but I think you’ve missed my point here. Either that or I am missing your point.

My point was simply the reality that the Son of God is the word.

The son of God became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is a person not a book.

As true, beautiful, and trustworthy as scripture may be, it simply is not the actual person of Jesus Christ.

It may very well contain the words that are from God, but it does not contain the fullness of the word of God.

That fullness finds it’s realization in the PERSON (not the book) of Jesus Christ.

I am not sure what you are trying to show me with the verses you’ve cited. Could you explain?

SteveG said...

Lauren:
I was rereading your post again, and I want to add one more comment.

You said..
Confidence in the acceptance of specific books dates back to the first century recipients who offered firsthand testimony as to their authenticity.

This is exactly what I've been harping on. You haven't labeled it tradition, but this statement right here is nothing less than full blow extra biblical tradition, and EVERYTHING you believe rests on it.

I think you’ve made this statement without realizing the full impact of it.

In this sentence you’ve passed over 1900 years of history of how that testimony of the early recipients made it down to you, even though it's not in the bible.

In this statement you rest every bit of reliance you have on the specific books upon the tradition that the 1st century recipient’s testimony is trustworthy.

The recipient testimony is not within the books, but you rely on them with the confidence of infallibility nonetheless.

How can that be when ALL tradition must be tested AGAINST scripture?

This statement is at the heart of the issue I’ve been trying to get you to see, and the reality of it is the death blow against the false doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

Lauren said...

It cannot be proven that the church which held the Council of Hippo in 390 A.D. was the same church which is now known as the Roman Catholic Church. For example, the church of 390 had no crucifixes and images because, "The first mention of Crucifixes are in the sixth century" and "The whole tradition of veneration holy images gradually and naturally developed" (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, p. 667). The church of 390 took communion under both kinds because that was the prevailing practice until it was formally abolished in 1416 A.D. (See Lives and Times of the Roman Pontiffs, Vol. I, p. 111). The church of 390 was a church altogether different from the Roman Catholic Church today.
In the proceedings of the Council of Hippo, the bishops did not mention nor give the slightest hint that they were for the first time "officially" cataloging the books of the Bible for the world. It was not until the fourth session of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that the bishops and high ranking officials of the Catholic Church "officially" cataloged the books they thought should be included in the Bible and bound them upon the consciences of all Catholics. (See Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, pp. 17-18).
It can be shown that the New Testament books were gathered into one volume and were in circulation long before the Catholic Church claims to have taken its action in 390 at the council of Hippo. The following are some of the catalogues of the books of the Bible which are given by early Christian writers.
• 326. Athanasius, bishop at Alexandria, mentions all of the New Testament books.
• 315-386. Cyril, bishop at Jerusalem, gives a list of all New Testament books except Revelation.
• 270. Eusebius, bishop at Caesarea, called the Father of ecclesiastical history, gives an account of the persecution of Emperor Diocletian whose edict required that all churches be destroyed and the Scriptures burned. He lists all the books of the New Testament. He was commissioned by Constantine to have transcribed fifty copies of the Bible for use of the churches of Constantinople.
• 185-254. Origen, born at Alexandria, names all the books of both the Old and New Testaments.
• 165-220. Clement, of Alexandria, names all the books of the New Testament except Philemon, James, 2 Peter and 3 John. In addition we are told by Eusebius, who had the works of Clement, that he gave explanations and quotations from all the canonical books.
• 160-240. Turtullian, contemporary of Origen and Clement, mentions all the New Testament books except 2 Peter, James and 2 John.
• 135-200. Irenaeus, quoted from all New Testament books except Philemon, Jude, James and 3 John.
• 100-147. Justin Martyr, mentions the Gospels as being four in number and quotes from them and some of the epistles of Paul and Revelation.
• Besides the above, the early church fathers have handed down in their writings quotations from all the New Testament books so much so that it is said that the entire New Testament can be reproduced from their writings alone.
Thus, the New Testament books were in existence in their present form at the close of the apostolic age. As a matter of fact, the apostles themselves put their writings into circulation. "And when this letter has been read among you, see that it be read in the church of the Laodiceans also; and that you yourselves read the letter from Laodicea." (Col. 4:16). "I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren." (1 Thess. 5:27). The holy Scriptures were written for all (1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1) and all will be judged by them in the last day (Rev. 20:12; John 12:48). Jesus said that His Word will abide forever (Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).

The Catholic claim of giving the Bible to the world cannot be true because they have not been the sole possessor of the Bible at any time. Some of the most valuable Greek Bibles and Versions have been handed down to us from non-Roman Catholic sources. A notable example of this is the Codex Sinaiticus which was found in the monastery of St. Catherine (of the Greek Orthodox Church) at Mount Sinai in 1844 and is now in the British Museum. It contains all of the books of the New Testament and all but small portions of the Old Testament. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was made early in the fourth century, not later than 350 A.D. This manuscript found by a German scholar named, Tishendorf, who was a Protestant, and this manuscript which is the most complete of all has never been in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.
Another valuable manuscript that has never been possessed by the Roman Catholic Church is the Codex Alexandrianus. It, too, is now on exhibit in the manuscript room of the British Museum in London. It was a gift from the Patriarch of Constantinople (of the Greek Orthodox Church) to Charles I in 1628. It had been in possession of the Patriarchs for centuries and originally came from Alexandria, Egypt from which it gets its name. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was also made in the fourth century and, along with the Codex Sinaiticus, is thought to be one of the fifty Greek Bibles commissioned to be copied by Constantine.

(not all my words, i’ve copied and pasted text from various other sources to help prove my point)

Even if the Catholic Church could prove they gave us the current canon of the bible, they certainly don’t follow it.

In answer to some of your comments about me relying on tradition. If I hand you a cup, and you hand it down to your son who in turns hands it down to his son who hands it to his son, then yes, you could call that a “tradition” of handing down the cup. However, the cup is still the same cup that you started out with. Now, If I hand down a cup to my son and he trades it for another cup, and so on, then it’s still a tradition but the cup changes throughout history. This is what the Catholic Church does... it changes doctrines from generation to generation, and has ended up nullifying the word of God by its tradition.

You said...
What if the Catholic Church is not from God?

If it is not, then we are both fools and to be pitied.
Can you explain this to me some more? I’m not a Catholic... so if the Catholic Church is wrong, how does that make me a fool?

You said.... And if I am to solely trust the Catholic Church, how can I discern whether or not the church is from God?
Through the use of reason, through prayer, through study of history, through discussion, and all the other tools any Christian uses to follow Christ.
There’s one thing that’s for sure though…the Protestant model is false.

How do you know that the Protestant model is false for sure? And which “protestant” model are you referring to? According to the Catholic Church, anything not Catholic is protestant. However there is also Pentacostal Chrisians, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam and so on. How do you discern that these Protestant religions are false?

You said...
It’s entirely fair. I am playing by your rules. You tell me you take scripture as the final authority. That’s your position.
At that point it’s entirely fair for me to use anything within to convince you.
That is totally playing by the rules…your rules.
You can’t do the same to me because I don’t take scripture as final authority.

Awesome! Then I don’t have to worry about the scripture you quoted because it’s not the final authority in your eyes. I can disregard it. The same as the Catholic Church disregards all the word of God, in favour of its own traditions.

SteveG said...

Lauren,

Wow! This is gettting long, and you've thrown a ton of stuff out. I'll tackle some of it here, and some of it in a separate post (maybe tomorrow).

I’ll start by pointing out that you continue to argue against the Catholic Church specifically when I’ve not really been yet arguing for it much. I’ve not even brought up Catholicism except in response to specific questions/comments/objections you’ve made about Catholicism.

I’ve been talking so far mostly about the broader idea of Christian Tradition, and broadly speaking the Christian Church of the early centuries.

My questions/issues/objections are the same whether I am a Catholic or not.

In the proceedings of the Council of Hippo, the bishops did not mention nor give the slightest hint that they were for the first time "officially" cataloging the books of the Bible for the world. It was not until the fourth session of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that the bishops and high ranking officials of the Catholic Church "officially" cataloged the books they thought should be included in the Bible and bound them upon the consciences of all Catholics. (See Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, pp. 17-18).
The following are some of the catalogues of the books of the Bible which are given by early Christian writers.
• 326. Athanasius, bishop at Alexandria, mentions all of the New Testament books.
• 315-386. Cyril, bishop at Jerusalem, gives a list of all New Testament books except Revelation.
• 270. Eusebius, bishop at Caesarea, called the Father of ecclesiastical history, gives an account of the persecution of Emperor Diocletian whose edict required that all churches be destroyed and the Scriptures burned. He lists all the books of the New Testament. He was commissioned by Constantine to have transcribed fifty copies of the Bible for use of the churches of Constantinople.
• 185-254. Origen, born at Alexandria, names all the books of both the Old and New Testaments.
• 165-220. Clement, of Alexandria, names all the books of the New Testament except Philemon, James, 2 Peter and 3 John. In addition we are told by Eusebius, who had the works of Clement, that he gave explanations and quotations from all the canonical books.
• 160-240. Turtullian, contemporary of Origen and Clement, mentions all the New Testament books except 2 Peter, James and 2 John.
• 135-200. Irenaeus, quoted from all New Testament books except Philemon, Jude, James and 3 John.
• 100-147. Justin Martyr, mentions the Gospels as being four in number and quotes from them and some of the epistles of Paul and Revelation.


Don’t you see what’s happening here?

We’ve been discussing how Sola Scriptura can deal with providing a biblical canon. And what are you doing?

You are now doing what you must. You are pointing me to the church councils, and appealing to the authority of the early bishops to ‘prove’ the canon.

Don’t you see that at this point, the discussion about Sola Scriptura is really over?

You’ve conceded that it’s the tradition of the early church that delivered us the right set of books and that we are reliant on that tradition being correct.

And when you start providing lists from the Bishops which are different, the case becomes even clearer.

You at that point show what I said early on…different churches were using different lists and had different traditions about what books could be considered inspired.

At that point you’ve stepped totally outside the words of the bible and you now have to provide a framework for how to determine which of those differing lists you’ve provided is correct.

Sola Scriptura (SS) is dead now, and you killed it yourself. You killed it when you started appealing to sources/authorities (the early church fathers) totally outside the bible to prove its validity.

Which list is right? Maybe Revelations should have been excluded? Some church fathers included it others didn’t. How do we now judge between them?

Maybe Irenaeus’ list is right and we shouldn’t use Philemon, Jude, James and 3 John? How can we know? The bible can’t tell us and SS provides no answer as to how to judge between them.

In addition, the list is ironic on two levels.

Look closely at it and see that at the earliest times, only some of the books are listed by Justin, then as time goes forward, the lists expands as the church works out which other books to include (and implicit in the lists-which to exclude). But still, even by the time of Cyril, there is contention that Revelations should not be included.

All your lists for those books say ‘listed the books of the NT, except…’ this or that book. That’s the whole point; the lists were all different because the solid canon hadn’t yet been worked out.

It’s not until almost 200 years after the apostles that the current list we use ever even shows up (Origen’s list) and STILL it’s under contention as other later lists exclude books that he included.

And while the preface of the council of Hippo doesn’t say that they are going to ‘officially’ list the books of the bible, that is the first time that the wider body of bishops come together and more or less begin to solidify the canon.

That did not end the contention, but it was the beginning of the end, and it happened through a council of the church (whether you consider that church Roman Catholic or something else is beside the point for now).

Can you begin to see how devastating this is to Sola Scriptura?

Even by your own argument, we are at the beginning of the third Century (Athanasius list) before the biblical canon you accept begins really taking shape.

The second reason it’s ironic is because the Bishops you use to make your case would have scoffed at the idea of Solar Scriptura.

I could provide you quote after quote from any one of them that clearly states that the authority for doctrine comes from the church and from the bishops as the successors to the apostles.

To take the snippets from them that show what they considered scripture as evidence for Sola Scriptura is to do terrible violence to what they stated they believed about authority in the Christian life.

It can be shown that the New Testament books were gathered into one volume and were in circulation long before the Catholic Church claims to have taken its action in 390 at the council of Hippo.

The very list you provided shows the exact opposite. It shows that no one volume existed for the NT, and that until the 4th Century, as we approach the Council of Hippo, there is still widespread differences in what the early church fathers consider scripture.

Besides the above, the early church fathers have handed down in their writings quotations from all the New Testament books so much so that it is said that the entire New Testament can be reproduced from their writings alone.

It’s true…but again, you are continuing to make your argument for the validity of the canon from sources outside the bible. Yet another violation of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

Thus, the New Testament books were in existence in their present form at the close of the apostolic age.

The books were in existence (had been written), yes, and along with the other books that were claiming inspiration as well, and that’s the problem.

There’s a book called the gospel of Thomas that’s written very early that some were claiming was written by the apostle Thomas.

Now how to determine if that is so or not? You have to (as you have done) look to the early church tradition to see if they considered it scripture.

And further, it is an incredible mistake to try to pretend that because the individual books are in existence, the NT itself is solidified canonically. Some churches had only some of the scrolls present, but not others. Not all the churches even had all the gospels early on.

Remember, there is no printing press at this point. Copies have to be laboriously hand copied from one scroll to another, and paper is still a fairly precious commodity (as is literacy).

This idea the in the first century or two, a bunch of copies of all the books were made, and the NT was bound up nicely and sent to all the churches (let’s not even bring up how difficult it would have been to distribute them at the time) is sheer folly.

Different books existed in different parts of the Mediterranean and it was over hundreds of years that copies were made and distributed to the churches and STILL not in a bound volume , but as a bunch of scrolls.

As a matter of fact, the apostles themselves put their writings into circulation.

Probably mostly true. Now show me where those books claim inspiration for themselves?

It seems impossible to believe that the apostles (Paul least of all) would have ever claimed their writings as scripture. That would have been an act of hubris beyond reckoning.

That is a matter of opinion on my part (that it would have been hubris), but that they did NOT claim inspiration within the texts is simply the fact of the matter. None of the books of the NT (with the possible exception of revelations) claims they are scripture.

And I say mostly true because this is clearly not the case with the gospel of Mark. Mark was not an apostle, but rather a follower of Peter.

"And when this letter has been read among you, see that it be read in the church of the Laodiceans also; and that you yourselves read the letter from Laodicea." (Col. 4:16).

"I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren." (1 Thess. 5:27).

OK…so he charges them with reading his letter. Where does he claim inspiration for that letter, or that the letter(s) are scripture? Certainly he thinks them important, but he simply doesn’t claim them as scripture.

Reading a letter in the early church did not make it scripture. The proof for this is that the letter of 1 Clement written in the 90’s A.D. was for many years in the early church considered to be scripture.

Clement was an early Bishop and is believed to have known both Paul and Peter. It was only later that his letter began to be determined to not be scripture (when it started NOT showing up on the lists under discussion).

The holy Scriptures were written for all (1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1)

But other than a few of his own letters (which don’t claim to be scripture), he’s writing this before most of the NT has even been written (the gospels certainly haven’t). He’s almost certainly referring to the OT here. Are you saying that the OT is the bible we should use?

and all will be judged by them in the last day (Rev. 20:12; John 12:48). Jesus said that His Word will abide forever (Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).

We already covered this one. Jesus says those words before the NT has even begun to be penned. It tells us absolutely nothing about what books contain his word.


The Catholic claim of giving the Bible to the world cannot be true because they have not been the sole possessor of the Bible at any time. Some of the most valuable Greek Bibles and Versions have been handed down to us from non-Roman Catholic sources. A notable example of this is the Codex Sinaiticus which was found in the monastery of St. Catherine (of the Greek Orthodox Church) at Mount Sinai in 1844 and is now in the British Museum. It contains all of the books of the New Testament and all but small portions of the Old Testament. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was made early in the fourth century, not later than 350 A.D. This manuscript found by a German scholar named, Tishendorf, who was a Protestant, and this manuscript which is the most complete of all has never been in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.

Another valuable manuscript that has never been possessed by the Roman Catholic Church is the Codex Alexandrianus. It, too, is now on exhibit in the manuscript room of the British Museum in London. It was a gift from the Patriarch of Constantinople (of the Greek Orthodox Church) to Charles I in 1628. It had been in possession of the Patriarchs for centuries and originally came from Alexandria, Egypt from which it gets its name. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was also made in the fourth century and, along with the Codex Sinaiticus, is thought to be one of the fifty Greek Bibles commissioned to be copied by Constantine.


You are focused on the Roman Catholic Church, but even if you are correct, none of this does anything to salvage the dead doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

Now you are just appealing to the Tradition of the Eastern Churches, but it’s still tradition, and it’s still nearly 300 years after the apostolic age.

Beyond that, the argument is irrelevant, because the split (schism) between the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Churches didn’t occur until roughly 1054 A.D.

Both churches would agree that their heritage and traditions (and the codexes) prior to that are by in large shared.

To this day, the Roman Catholic Church still considers the Orthodox Churches as valid apostolic churches and recognizes the authority of their bishops.

That the Eastern churches have the codex is not surprising, nor damaging in the least to the problem that Protestantism has with Sola Scriptura.

Also, the Eastern Churches being appealed to are as against Sola Scriptura as the Catholic church. They know as well, that it is a false doctrine.


In answer to some of your comments about me relying on tradition. If I hand you a cup, and you hand it down to your son who in turns hands it down to his son who hands it to his son, then yes, you could call that a “tradition” of handing down the cup. However, the cup is still the same cup that you started out with. Now, If I hand down a cup to my son and he trades it for another cup, and so on, then it’s still a tradition but the cup changes throughout history. This is what the Catholic Church does... it changes doctrines from generation to generation, and has ended up nullifying the word of God by its tradition.

What I want to know is who made the cup, and why it’s meaningful?

That’s the problem… in your analogy, you’ve already been handed it to you in complete form, and you are relying on the effort and workmanship of someone(s) before it ever got to you.

You are relying on the person who smelted the metal, the person who formed the cup, the person who decorated it and a host of others before it ever made it to you.

If you hand it to me, and tell me what it means…am I wrong to go back to the actual maker(s) and ask them what it means to confirm your teaching?

And if the group of individuals who put it together tell me that there was a pitcher (tradition) that was made at the same time and was meant to be used with it, would I be wrong to suggest that their meaning is correct and yours is not?

Can you explain this to me some more? I’m not a Catholic... so if the Catholic Church is wrong, how does that make me a fool?

I was alluding to Paul’s statement that if Christ is not risen then we who believe in him are fools and to be pitied.

“17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope [2] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Cor 15:17-19)

My point was that we believe in Christ’s resurrection partly because of the testimony of the bible. And we believe in the testimony of the bible because we believe that the books that are in it were handed down to us correctly (meaning the correct books).

If we can’t be sure that the tradition that gave us the books is valid, we can’t be sure that the bible is valid, and we can’t be sure that the contents (including the resurrection account) are valid.

If we can’t have confidence in the resurrection, in Paul’s words, we are both to be pitied.

That was what I meant, not at all to call you a name. Sorry for the confusion.

How do you know that the Protestant model is false for sure?

Because Sola Scriptura is the foundational doctrine of Protestantism. If Sola Sriptura is false, the Protestant model for determining doctrine is also false.

And which “protestant” model are you referring to? ?

I was specifically referring to non-Catholic and non-Easter Orthodox Christian Churches. That encompasses everything from Anglicanism to evangelicals. In short, I meant any Christian group that relies on Sola Scriptura.

According to the Catholic Church, anything not Catholic is protestant.

That’s not quite right. The Catholic Church would consider Mormons, JW, Islam, and Jews (among others) to be non-Christian. They are one step removed from Protestantism.

How do you discern that these Protestant religions are false?

That is a HUUUUGE question...and we already have so much on the table that I will shelve that for now. There are answers (at least I’ve found answers to that question), but it varies depending on what you are talking about.

Awesome! Then I don’t have to worry about the scripture you quoted because it’s not the final authority in your eyes. I can disregard it.

I think you missed the point. How can it not being the final authority in MY eyes allow YOU to ignore it?

Am I your authority that my view can allow you to disregard the clear words of the source you claim to be authoritative?

It’s you who claim to believe in the bible as the final and sole authority, so it’s fair for me in speaking to you to point out that your own reference doesn’t agree with you.

If you want to convince me to take scripture as the only authority, you've got to convince me first that your 'model' is right.

Lauren said...

You said...

I think you missed the point. How can it not being the final authority in MY eyes allow YOU to ignore it?

I was being sarcastic, I was trying to show you your argument in reverse.

I have shown you scripture that says the bible is inspired by God, I’ve shown you reasons why I believe that it has been handed down throughout history relatively unchanged and separate from the Catholic Church, I’ve shown you Jesus’ teaching on tradition and how it’s not to be put over God’s law. If my reasons for believing that the bible is the inspired word of God isn’t enough for you, then that’s not my problem. Somehow though I don’t think anything I could show you will be enough evidence for you because you don’t believe in the bible’s authority. I could throw more and more scripture at you, but it will make no difference.

When you ask me to prove the scriptures are inspired by God without using scripture, you are really asking me to help you prove the Catholic Church’s authority. I believe the scriptures are inspired by God because the scripture tells me so. Therefore it’s now up to you to prove that they aren’t inspired by God.

If the Catholic Church is the final authority as you say and it gave us the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, why are the two contradictory? Shouldn’t both Scripture and Tradition be harmonious?

Quick examples of what I mean:

Jesus suggests that Mary shouldn’t be adored, rather blessed is the one who keeps God’s word.
Luk 11:27
And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"
Luk 11:28
But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Scripture suggests that all Christians should be priests, yet sacred tradition says one priest over the church.
1Pe 2:9
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1Pe 2:10
who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Scripture seems to say not to observe special days, but Sacred Tradition says its ok.
Gal 4:9
But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10
You observe days and months and seasons and years.
Gal 4:11
I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.


Scripture says that all Christians are to be called Saints, Sacred Tradition calls for only special people to be called Saints.
1Cr 1:2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Scripture says not to call anyone Father on earth, yet Sacred Tradition allows it.
Mat 23:9
"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

Scripture says that Bishops can married, yet Sacred Tradition says priests and bishops are not to be married.
1Ti 3:2
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
1Ti 3:3
not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[fn2] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

Scripture seems to go against the idea of purgatory, and yet traditionally the church teaches it.
Luk 16:26
'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'

The BIG question is Does the Catholic Church have the right to put Sacred Tradition and the authority of the Church over Sacred scripture?

Has the gospel of Jesus Christ been altered by the Church’s authority? Is the gospel (path to salvation) being preached in the Catholic church the same gospel that was first preached by Jesus Christ and His apostles?

SteveG said...

I have shown you scripture that says the bible is inspired by God,

No, you haven’t. You’ve shown me verses written before 90% the NT was penned and canonized, that Paul was writing about the OT scriptures. And you’ve given no arguments for why those verses apply to books not yet written when Paul wrote his words.

I’ve shown you reasons why I believe that it has been handed down throughout history relatively unchanged and separate from the Catholic Church,

No, you’ve borrowed from Catholic councils, bishops and early writers who clearly identified themselves as Catholic in belief and practice, and you’ve borrowed the bits and pieces you think help your case.

If you took any one of the names on that list you provided of early fathers, and read the entirety of their writings, you’d quickly come to the stunning realization that they are indeed Catholic, and in belief and practice not so different from the Catholic Church of today (I have a huge three volume set of writings from the first 7 Centuries of the Church sitting on my book shelf, and I HAVE read these writers in full).

In addition, you’ve shown very clearly that even the lists you provided are far from ‘unchanged’, but vary significantly from early writer to early writer, and vary greatly over the first three centuries.

You’ve shown neither separateness from the Catholic Church, nor unchanging canon.

The pasted quotes showed the exact opposite of what was intended.

I’ve shown you Jesus’ teaching on tradition and how it’s not to be put over God’s law.

No, you’ve shown one out of context passage that gives only the slightest part of the picture, and you’ve failed to tell me either 1) how to distinguish between ‘tradition of men’, and tradition not from men or 2) how to be sure where to access God’s law.

If my reasons for believing that the bible is the inspired word of God isn’t enough for you, then that’s not my problem.

It’s your problem because while you seem unable to see it, your reasons contradict your stated foundational principle.

You’ve flatly admitted that your reasons are the same reasons that Catholics believe the bible is inspired….because the tradition of our fathers in the faith did the hard work of determining the canon, and passing and safeguarding the bible for us.

But if that is true, that tradition is authoritative over the bible itself, because without it the bible as it exists doesn’t come down to us.

But for some reason, you say that one tradition is infallible, but all others are wrong. You give no framework or reasons for the distinction between that tradition and any others, other than that it fits what you want to believe.

Somehow though I don’t think anything I could show you will be enough evidence

Sure you could. Show me a non self contradicting set of steps for how you resolve what I’ve laid out above.

Show me how relying on early tradition and testimony to get the canon doesn’t violate the claim that the bible is the sole and final authority.

for you because you don’t believe in the bible’s authority.

That’s untrue. I think it is the infallible word of God, and is an authoritative source for doctrine. But since it doesn’t claim for itself that it is the final and sole authority (and states clearly that the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth), I don’t look to it as that final and sole/only authority.

Using it in the way that Protestantism does truly is a man made tradition that’s been handed down only since the time of Luther.

I could throw more and more scripture at you, but it will make no difference.

True, because in reality what you are doing is throwing your interpretation of scripture (one interpretation among thousands).

What you’d really be asking me to do is not to trust the authority of scripture, but your authority in interpreting scripture.

Even with regard to Jesus teaching on tradition, you’ve only given the piece of the puzzle.

I could throw back scripture that shows tradition in an entirely different light based on Jesus’ own words.

I’ve already shown you where Paul explicitly states that not all tradition that is to be safeguarded is written down.

But honestly, that wouldn’t be productive, because I’ve seen no reason thus far that I should trust your interpretation as authoritative, and I’ve probably given you no reason to trust mine.

So we’d end up with dueling interpretations with no one to judge between us.

Such is the state of Protestantism, and it’s why it’s constantly splintering.

When you ask me to prove the scriptures are inspired by God without using scripture, you are really asking me to help you prove the Catholic Church’s authority

I’ve not asked you to do any such thing. I’ve asked you to make sense of a very straightforward problem.

I’ve asked you to show me how SS handles the reality that it can’t account for the canon of what books are included without violating itself.

That you can’t answer it without appealing to outside sources is not a trick I’m pulling on you…it’s the bare reality that expose the falsity of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

That it is obvious that this reality naturally is evidence for the Catholic claims is actually something I’ve not really argued for, but that maybe you already see nonetheless.

I believe the scriptures are inspired by God because the scripture tells me so.

The only problem with this statement is that they do no such thing.

You keep claiming they do, but each time you’ve offered a verse in support, I’ve explained how it’s being misused, and I’ve seen no answer or response clarifying or showing me my error in describe how the verse is being misused.

Therefore it’s now up to you to prove that they aren’t inspired by God.

Why would I do such a thing? I do believe the bible is the inspired word of God.

It’s just that I don’t attribute to it something it doesn’t attribute to itself…'Sole' Authority.

And I believe it’s the word of God for non self contradicting reasons…I trust it because I trust the Church that worked out the canon, handed it down to me.

Lauren said...

You said...
No, you haven’t. You’ve shown me verses written before 90% the NT was penned and canonized, that Paul was writing about the OT scriptures. And you’ve given no arguments for why those verses apply to books not yet written when Paul wrote his words.

So the only way God could state by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that scripture is all-sufficent is if it was the very last verse of the very last book written in the bible? So if God had inserted those scriptures AFTER revelations then you would have to admit that the Bible does indeed teach the all-sufficiency of scripture. This argument is clearly an attempt to create a false dilemma.

You said...
No, you’ve shown one out of context passage that gives only the slightest part of the picture, and you’ve failed to tell me either 1) how to distinguish between ‘tradition of men’, and tradition not from men or 2) how to be sure where to access God’s law.

Please show me how I took that bible verse out of context, I copied and pasted it straight from the bible. Any doctrine or tradition that does not come from the bible directly can only be of two alternative sources...either commandments of men, or doctrines of demons! You have no other option.

You said....
It’s your problem because while you seem unable to see it, your reasons contradict your stated foundational principle.

No, they don’t. They contradict YOUR foundational principle.

You said....
That’s untrue. I think it is the infallible word of God, and is an authoritative source for doctrine. But since it doesn’t claim for itself that it is the final and sole authority (and states clearly that the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth), I don’t look to it as that final and sole/only authority.

"The doctrines of the Catholic Church are entirely independent of Holy Scripture." Familiar Explanation of Catholic Doctrine, by Rev. M. Muller, p.151
If you think that the bible is the infallible word of God, then compare it to the church’s teachings... the bible exposes the lies easily and at the same time uplifts itself as the sole authority for the Christian’s faith and practice and moral authority.

This is the main reason the Roman Catholic church hates any mention of the theological standpoint of "Sola Scriptura." They do NOT want to adhere to biblical jurisprudence simply because to do so would entail shutting down almost 90% of the churches teachings and doctrines! Fact is they MUST fight this notion of Sola Scriptura simply because it is their enemy! Hence, their enemy is Christ! Because it is plainly written that Jesus is the Word made flesh that dwelt among us according to John 1:14.

You said....
True, because in reality what you are doing is throwing your interpretation of scripture (one interpretation among thousands).

Actually, you will find the majority of other religions have their own doctrines outside of the bible that they refer to, and the majority also have twisted scripture to back up their claims. Christianity is the only ‘religion’ that truly follows the word of God alone.

You said...
I’ve already shown you where Paul explicitly states that not all tradition that is to be safeguarded is written down.

Yes, not all of what Jesus said or taught or did was written down...otherwise the bible would be too big to read! John 20 confirms this, and John also states enough is written for us to believe in Christ, which leads to salvation (life).
• John 20:30-31 - "Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name."

You said...
You keep claiming they do, but each time you’ve offered a verse in support, I’ve explained how it’s being misused, and I’ve seen no answer or response clarifying or showing me my error in describe how the verse is being misused.

I don’t remember seeing that at all, if you have found how I’ve misused the scripture please let me know, as I’ve only cut and paste scripture from the bible that directly states it.

You said...
And I believe it’s the word of God for non self contradicting reasons…I trust it because I trust the Church that worked out the canon, handed it down to me.

So we trust the bible for completely different reasons. I trust it because Jesus and the apostles themselves said I could, and the scripture itself shows that. You trust it because the Church tells you you can. Now, by what standard can we judge the Church? I’ve already shown you how the Church traditions contradict scripture, and yet you haven’t answered me on that issue.

In the words of Martin Luther... “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” Martin Luther, the Diet of Worms – April 18, 1521

SteveG said...

See here’s the problem and why I hoped to get the authority issue worked out first.

Every example you show suffers from either 1) a snippet of scripture taken out of context without regard to the rest of scripture, or 2) a poorly informed understanding of Catholicism.

What responding to these specifics devolves into is your interpretation vs. my interpretation. Then who will judge between us?

I’ve never seen this kind of back and forth verse slinging be productive, but I’ll respond in any event to show that the Catholic view is not only biblical, but more biblically sound on each item.

Jesus suggests that Mary shouldn’t be adored, rather blessed is the one who keeps God’s word.
Luk 11:27
And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"
Luke 11:28
But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"


Christ is not saying here that Mary shouldn’t be called blessed (he doesn’t use the word adored and neither does the Catholic Church).

He’s clarifying the reasons why someone should be called blessed. He’s saying that being called blessed should come not from nursing him, but because one listens to and does the word of God.

But we already know from earlier in Luke that this is exactly what Mary does in her fiat…

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [6] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

And we also see that scripture declares prophetically that...

Luke 1 For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

So, if you put the words of Jesus here in context of the rest of scripture, it’s clear that calling someone who hears and does the word of God blessed (which Mary clear did), is right and fitting.

So, which church recognizes that full reality and does as scripture commands and calls her blessed from generation to generation?

Which church is actually following scripture more closely? The one that takes one verse out of context and uses it to bash Mary, or the one who recognized the full picture and honors her as the bible indicates is proper?

Scripture suggests that all Christians should be priests, yet sacred tradition says one priest over the church.

No, the Catholic Church has always, and still does have the idea of the priesthood of all.

It refers to all Christians in it’s teachings as needing to fulfill their role as priest, prophet, and king (in imitation of the Savior).

But that being said, Paul clearly tells us that not all members of the body have the same role in living out their discipleship. We each have different gifts, and we each serve God in various ways.

That the Church has a label of priest for what a Protestant denomination might call minister or pastor is largely a matter of semantics.

Most Churches, whether Catholic or not, have a special place, and even show special respect to those who are leaders in their Church. There is more often than not the same kind of hierarchy, and division of service between the ‘ministers/pastors’ and the laity.

Your quibble is largely over the fact that in common speech we don’t refer to laity as priests, but we do refer to those ordained as priests.

But I’ll bet dollars to donuts that in regular speech, your own congregation doesn’t refer to the folks in the pews in the same way as the fellas/ladies doing the preaching (pastor minister).

Scripture seems to say not to observe special days, but Sacred Tradition says its ok.

So, do you not celebrate Christmas, Easter, Birthdays? Do you not gather to worship on Sunday? If you are, you must be in violation of this too. Why are you exempt?

But the reality is that you are taking this a bit overly literally and terribly out of context?

The context is the surrounding pagan culture from which they had converted. The pagans were basically nature worshipers and they saw as special days and seasons like the winter and spring solstice.

Paul is not admonishing them because they are using a calendar (which would be patently ridiculous), but because he’s worried that they are falling back into the pagan worship of the nature and the seasons based on the position of the sun and the time of the year.


Scripture says that all Christians are to be called Saints, Sacred Tradition calls for only special people to be called Saints.
1Cr 1:2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:


Catholicism is fine with calling living people who are saved Saints as well. The problem is that we don’t know for sure who among the living is a Saint and who is not.

We don’t know for sure if someone deserves the label saint because only God can judge the individual.

So, we’d have no problem saying something like, to the saints among you at the church of Washington D.C. (with the knowledge that surely there are saints among the members of that church), but we’d refrain from singling out an individual and calling them a saint, because that would be tantamount to judging them.

And Paul uses the term saint no differently. You don’t ever see him calling an individual a saint. You only see him speaking of ‘the saints’ at a particular church in the most general terms.

*To those sanctified
*Those who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord

This doesn’t tell us that ALL claiming to be Christians are to be called saints, but only those who are sanctified and believe in Jesus Christ.

But here’s the problem…how do we know those ‘true’ Christians among us?

By calling on the name of the Lord you will say. But Jesus himself says it’s not so..

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

…And in this we can see that for us to determine who is and is not a follower of Christ in their heart is not something we can easily discern from the outside.

Scripture says not to call anyone Father on earth, yet Sacred Tradition allows it.
Mat 23:9
"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.


Scripture also says not to call anyone teacher (in the very same passage). Do you follow that literally as well?

Do you call you biological father ‘father’?

And how do you reconcile this with the fact that throughout the NT, the usage of father in the spiritual sense is rampant.


*Acts 7:2, where Stephen refers to "our father Abraham,"
*Romans 9:10, where Paul speaks of "our father Isaac."


And how about this…

2 Timothy 1: 2-3 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did,

…where Paul in the span of two verses calls himself Timothy’s father, and then refers to his forefathers and would be in violation of Jesus words in both directions.

And this was not isolated. Paul referred to many of the converts he made as his children (thus he is their 'father')..

Titus 1:4 "To Titus, my true child in a common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior"

Philem. 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment"

In fact, the word father in both the biological sense and the spiritual sense is used so many times in the NT that it’s untenable to try to pretend that Jesus could have possibly meant those words literally.

What you have done again is selected one verse in isolation from the entirety of the NT and used it to try to admonish Catholics when in reality the wider context of the NT makes it clear that it’s not meant literally.

In context what Jesus is doing is using hyperbolic language (which he did often ) to make a point. His criticism was directed squarely at Jewish leaders who love "the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called ‘rabbi’ by men" (Matt. 23:6–7). His admonition here is a response to the Pharisees’ proud hearts and their grasping after marks of status and prestige.

There is simply no way to make sense of his command in the larger context of the NT (and it’s pervasive use of the term father) without realizing the context within which he made the statement.

Scripture says that Bishops can married, yet Sacred Tradition says priests and bishops are not to be married.

This one is actually kind of funny, because the unmarried priesthood truly IS a ‘tradition of men’, but what’s funny is that the Catholic Church fully admits that.

The teaching is not that it’s wrong for a priest or bishop to marry, but that it’s unwise. That tradition itself is based on scripture and the advice and words of Paul.

1 Corinthians 7: 32-34 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.

And the Catholic church has mostly seen that as good advice for those going into the ministry/priesthood, but it’s never been a matter of unalterable doctrine, but of cultural convention.

In fact, there have always been some married priests in the church. In the Byzantine (eastern) rite of Catholicism (these are fully catholic churches who recognize the authority of the pope), there have always been some married priests.

Even with in the Roman rite of Catholicism, there are sometimes exceptions made. If a Protestant priest/minister is married before he converts to Catholicism, and he wants to pursue he priesthood in the Catholic Church, he can be granted an exemption. There are currently a handful of Roman Catholic married priests even in the U.S. right now.

Scripture seems to go against the idea of purgatory, and yet traditionally the church teaches it.
Luk 16:26
'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'


But the rich man in the parable is not in purgatory, but in hell. And Lazarus is not in heaven because Christ hadn’t yet opened the gates of heaven for us with his death and resurrection. So where is Lazurus (it’s not purgatory by the way, this parable has nothing to do either way with purgatory)?

In addition, are you aware that Judaism currently has, and in the time of Jesus had, the same concept of purgatory? That reality is clearly attested in one of the OT scripture that Luther unwisely dropped (Maccabbees).

I say unwisely dropped because it’s very obvious from the quotes that the apostles use in the NT that they are drawing from the Greek Septuagint as their scriptural source.

The Septuagint includes all the books that Luther dropped.

The kicker is that the reason he dropped those books from the OT was because he had a preconceived notion about purgatory and those books didn’t agree with his understanding.

Luther’s solution? Just start dropping the books you don’t like.

Purgatory is nothing more than the purification of the already saved. It’s not a ‘third’ place. All who go to purgatory are going to heaven after purification.

This is based on OT scripture, the belief in a period of cleansing after death held by the Jews of Jesus’ time, and the understanding that nothing unclean can enter the presence of God, all coupled with the reality that most of us are not perfectly ‘clean’ (i.e. still retain some attachments to sin) when we die.

For lack of a better description, Purgatory is nothing more than the mudroom of heaven if you will.

The BIG question is Does the Catholic Church have the right to put Sacred Tradition and the authority of the Church over Sacred scripture?

Yes, absolutely. That right was given by Jesus Christ himself.


Has the gospel of Jesus Christ been altered by the Church’s authority? Is the gospel (path to salvation) being preached in the Catholic church the same gospel that was first preached by Jesus Christ and His apostles?

Yes, the gospel is one and the same.

The anemic, starved view that Sola Scriptura forces on non-Catholics makes that hard to see for those who adhere to SS.

That doctrine leaves people historically uniformed about the early church, and unable to work with the scripture as a whole and put teachings in context of other parts of the bible.

Look, the reality is (as can be clearly seen in this discussion where we have 'dueling' interpretations), the bible ‘needs’ interpretation. Much like the constitution, it's a document that came out of the work of the founding fathers.

But how would our nation be if each citizen was mailed the constitution and told interpret it yourself, with no final authoritative body to decide between differing interpretations (the Supreme Court).

It would be chaos.

It’s hard to believe that the founding fathers of America were smart enough to set up an interpretive institution (the supreme court) to rule on the meaning of the constitution, but apparently Jesus himself left us without the same.

This is why Protestantism itself is in chaos, with denomination after denomination spring up, and splintering off.

Everyone's got the bible and is interpreting it as they see fit and coming up with vastly different answers on almost every doctrine imaginable.

With no one to judge between competing interpretations, this is inevitable.

SteveG said...

Lauren,

You continue to talk about the bible as if it fell out of the sky from God.

Yet your own quotes show you the messiness of the formation of the canon, and the role that the church played in getting Christianity past that to give us the bible in the first place.

You have missed entirely the reality of how that destroys Sola Scriptura.


At this point we are just going in circles.

No, they don’t. They contradict YOUR foundational principle.

When the conversation devolves to the level of ‘I know you are but what am I’ it’s really time for it to end.

I can see from the rest of what you wrote that we are both being tempted to lose charity, and I can also see a very ugly, ill-informed, anti-Catholicism creeping out.

I understand, I really do.

I used to be there. Anything you could possibly say against Catholicism, I said myself at one point.

I think I’ll just make this my last comment and let this conversation stand as it is.

It will be clear to anyone that has an open heart and mind that you’ve not even remotely addressed the problems with Sola Scriptura, but continue to offer circular arguments that contradict each other.

I'll also leave you with a recommendation to pick up a book by Mark Shea called 'Making Sense of Scripture'.

It goes into all this in much greater detail than can be done in comment box discussions.

In the name of the savior Jesus Christ…may his peace be with you. I will keep you in my prayers.

Steve

SteveG said...

correction....the book name is 'By What Authority' by Mark Shea.