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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sola Scriptura is Unscriptural

I believe that 2 Timothy 3:16f is the most important passage for Protestantism, because this passage is indispensable for their foundational doctrine, Sola Scriptura. Few other major doctrines rely so heavily on such meager evidence as this, and if this verse is the 'strongest' proof they have to offer, then to remove this 'option' from their apologetics toolbag would - without exaggeration - prove disastrous to their entire system. The focus of this article is to address a few short, yet very effective arguments against using 2 Timothy 3:16f in support of Sola Scriptura (SS).

The popular rendering of the first few words of verse 16 is, "All Scripture is inspired by God..." What is little known about the first two words is that in Greek the terms used actually poses a serious problem for the SS advocate. Well respected and conservative Protestant scholar A.T. Robertson explains this discrepancy in his famous commentary Word Pictures of the New Testament (the bold text are Greek terms):
Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable (pasa graph qeopneusto kai wpelimo). There are two matters of doubt in this clause. One is the absence of the article h before graph, whether that makes it mean "every scripture" or "all scripture" as of necessity if present. Unfortunately, there are examples both ways with both pa and graph. Twice we find graph in the singular without the article and yet definite ( 1 Peter 2:6 ; 2 Peter 1:20 ). We have pa Israhl (Romans 11:26 ) for all Israel (Robertson, Grammar, p. 772). So far as the grammatical usage goes, one can render here either "all scripture" or "every scripture."
Given the first term can mean "every" and that Scripture here is in the singular, the phrase is validly rendered "every [individual] Scripture." This is fatal to the Sola Scriptura cause, for the classical Protestant interpretation of verses 16-17 is of the form "all Scripture (as a whole) is sufficient." The 'alternate' rendering (i.e. "every Scripture") would result in a meaning of "every individual book or passage of Scripture is sufficient" - which directly undermines the notion of a collection of books being sufficient.*

It should also be noted that when "Scripture" (Greek: graphe, singular 31, plural 20) is used in the NT, it almost always is in reference to the OT (the only clear exception is 2 Pt. 3:16). When it occurs in the plural, with little doubt, it is speaking of the entire OT. When it occurs in the singular, as it does in 2 Timothy 3:16, there is the opposite trend, usually referring to individual OT passages, but there are a few questionable verses which could be in reference to either a single passage or the OT as a whole. 

Some might object that "every Scripture" is merely a possibility, and thus not proof 'against' the Protestant claim. But this fails because the fact "every Scripture" is a possibility (and thus a valid rendering) means the Protestant must approach the text with a bias - and no foundational doctrine can be built upon an assumption! Thus, with one simple argument, the Protestant loses their most important verse, 2 Timothy 3:16f, at which point SS will soon have to be abandoned all together.

All that said, for the sake of argument, if Paul is saying "all Scripture" as in "Scripture as a whole is sufficient" - meaning anything less than the full canon is insufficient - then the Protestant is still in a bind, for they must prove two things: (1) that "Scripture" here includes the NT books, and (2) that all the NT had been completed (else Paul would be giving Timothy an impossible command in 3:16f). These two Protestant objectives will now be briefly examined.

(1) What "Scripture" Paul is talking about in this case is not easy to determine, the standard options include: (a) the OT, (b) individual books or passages, (c) the OT and NT. While there is considerable evidence for options (a) and (b), based on context (e.g. 2 Tim 3:15) as well as how graphe is used elsewhere in the NT, there isn't much for (c), yet this is the only option which will allow the Protestant any hope. The only clear example of writings other than the OT being regarded as "Scripture" is 2 Peter 3:16, speaking directly of Paul's Epistles. But even this is simply a general statement, and doesn't indicate which of Paul's Epistles are specifically included. Did it include Paul's Letters to Titus and Timothy, which were technically private correspondence? Or what about the 'lost letters' of Paul (e.g. 1 Cor 5:9; Col 4:16) which either were uninspired (yet obviously of some worth) or are speaking of some other NT work? Such lack of specific information ultimately doesn't help the Protestant cause. The only other NT book which comes close to being regarded as "Scripture" is the Gospel of Luke via 1 Timothy 5:18 - but even this isn't sure, for folks like John Calvin (here) and A.T. Robertson (here), among others, argue Paul isn't necessarily quoting Luke's Gospel but rather an authoritative oral statement of Christ, and they appeal to the parallel account in 1 Cor 9:9-14. All in all, the Protestant has an impossible burden on their shoulders, surely a burden which wouldn't exist had Christ and His Apostles intended to convey SS.

(2) Catholics have long pointed out that there is no Biblical evidence the Apostolic Christians practiced Sola Scriptura, one major reason is the fact the NT had not been fully written at the time. Protestant apologist James White agrees with this and explains the situation (here):
The main element of [Catholic apologist] Mr. Ray's misrepresentation of sola scriptura can be seen in just this: the doctrine speaks of a rule of faith that exists. What do I mean by this? One will search high and low for any reference in any standard Protestant confession of faith that says, "There has never been a time when God's Word was proclaimed and transmitted orally." You will never find anyone saying, "During times of enscripturation—that is, when new revelation was being given—sola scriptura was operational." Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is "sufficient." It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, "See, sola scriptura doesn't work there!" Of course it doesn't. Who said it did?
As many Catholics have noted, James White has effectively conceded Sola Scriptura (especially via 2 Timothy 3:16f) is false - the very doctrine he strongly defends. This is because texts like 2 Timothy 3:16f applied during a "time of enscripturation," it couldn't have been teaching SS without falling into the fallacy of anachronism (that is, reading back into a text a historically impossible detail). The truth is, the Protestant can only speculate as to when the last NT book was written and when. Many NT Scholars actually say Revelation was the last book to be written.

Now, an important disclaimer, should anyone misunderstand my intent with what I say in this essay: Catholics fully accept the inspiration of all 73 Books of Scripture and hold all Scripture in the highest regard (even above Protestants, who actually violate it by their errors). The point in all this is that Catholics don't come to such conclusions on the basis of Scripture alone.

To conclude, while a Catholic would have little problem accepting any one of these variations (for they generally won't negatively affect any Catholic doctrine), the Protestant position only survives if a very specific understanding of the passage is accepted, though as was shown is unprovable by exegesis alone. 


*End Note: The term applied to Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16 is actually "profitable," not sufficient (which is a much stronger term). I use the term "sufficient" in this article simply to show the Protestant take on this passage doesn't work. Protestants typically misread Paul's point here, thinking that verses 16-17 are saying 'Scripture is sufficient to fully equip the Man of God'. The truth is, the passage is to be taken in two parts: (v16) Scripture is *profitable* towards Four Ends (i.e. teaching, correcting, rebuking, righteousness), and (v17) these Four Ends equip Man of God.
They are falsely jumping to conclusions, saying Scripture fully equips Man of God. Consider this example: Water is profitable towards muscle growth, good metabolism, and healthy blood, so that the athlete will be fully quipped for every sport. To take this as saying "water fully equips the athlete" is not only false scientifically, it's misreading the passage. It is a good metabolism, strong muscles, and healthy blood that equip the athlete, and water is "profitable" towards those three factors. It's false to say water is sufficient for muscle growth, good metabolism, and healthy blood, just as it's false to read the text as saying Scripture is sufficient towards those Four Ends.

UPDATE: Oct 22, 2010
I came across some information very relevant to this topic a while back, but have not gotten around to appending it to this article. One of the most popular and highly respected Bible study resources available today is the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Some of it is available for preview on Google Books, which is where I came across the Dictionary's entry on the term "graphe" (Volume 1, page 130) - here is the relevant portion:
3. graphe for a Single book. There are no NT instances except perhaps 2 Tim. 3:16, though contemporary parallels suggest that this means "every passage."
This confirms the original point of this article, coming directly from the words of some of the most trustworthy Greek scholars.

UPDATE: 
Another important find is from the New English Translation (edited by scholars such as Dr Daniel Wallace), which says this in the footnote of 2 Timothy 3:16,
There is very little difference in sense between every scripture (emphasizing the individual portions) and “all scripture” (emphasizing the composite whole). The former option is preferred, because it fits the normal use of the word “all/every” in Greek (πᾶς, pas) as well as Paul’s normal sense for the word “scripture” in the singular without the article, as here. So every scripture means “every individual portion of scripture.”
This very honest footnote is also very devastating to any appeal to 2 Timothy 3:16f, because the terms more accurately do mean "every individual portion".

94 comments:

Nick said...

Two very helpful articles that discuss these and other difficulties of Sola Scriptura:

www.catholic-convert.com/documents/NTSelfAuthenticating.doc

http://www.catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/sola-scriptura/a2-timothy-3-16-and-sola-scriptura-by-james-akin/

Also, since someone is bound to object with the "universal negative" argument, I invite people to consult my other article: Sola Scriptura is Self Refuting:
http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/02/sola-scriptura-is-self-refuting.html

lozeerose said...

Good post. The Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura only makes sense on the surface.

Rhology said...

I've read this twice, and here are two initial reactions:

1) You told us what "every Scripture" means according to your analysis here. Let's say I grant that.
You didn't go on to apply that exegesis that "every individual Scr is sufficient" (since you granted "sufficient" in your endnote) to your position. If as you claim you hold Scr in highest regard, what does that mean? Work it out. A good example would be 1 Chronicles 2:4. Please show how that individual Scripture is sufficient for the 4 aims.


2) You said:
Catholics fully accept the inspiration of all 73 Books of Scripture and hold all Scripture in the highest regard

Surely you meant "SOME Catholics fully accept... while others (ie, liberal Catholics that the RCC has not even approached excommunicating) don't even get close".
Why, if you place such a high value on intellectual honesty, would you say such a misleading thing?

Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

Here are my responses:

(1) The difficulty here is on those who dogmatically assign "sufficient" to the passage; I don't. Your example shows the absurdity of the proposition. I don't accept any given text (e.g. 1 Chr 2:4) is "sufficient". I used "sufficient" because that's what Protestants read into the text, and my argument showed the absurdities of that.

(2) This really is irrelevant. Whenever I speak of "protestants" in my work, unless I clearly indicate otherwise, I'm talking about the "conservative" bodies of Lutherans and Calvinists. I don't grant "liberal" bodies/individuals any weight since they don't really represent the groups they claim to be members of. It's a fallacy and smear tactics to point to this or that liberal Protestant and project that as "true" Protestantism. I would never grant a proposition along the lines of "some Protestants (i.e. liberals) deny inerrancy of Scripture" since to deny inerrancy effectively removes one from the original body.

I strive to compare the best of Protestantism with the best of Catholicism, not their worst to our best. When I say Protestants hold Scripture in high regard, I'm *not* at all including the liberals, only those folks who take the Bible seriously as a Divinely Inspired book and genuinely strive to live by it's teachings.

Rhology said...

Nick,

1A) Yes, I know you don't, but your endnote says you granted it for the sake of argument.
Why even write the endnote, then? Looks like you need to shorten or significantly modify your post.

1B) Do you think that every Scripture is profitable toward those 4 aims? Just curious.


2) Since your church hierarchy
A. in many cases runs in liberal circles, and
B. has not made all that much hay about condemning lib theology and excomming its significant liberal presence, and
C. makes claims to unity over and against 'all those chaotic Protestants',
you're on the hook to answer this in a way I'm not. My church (SBC) doesn't have the serious liberal problem yours does. It used to, but we cleaned up in the 70s and 80s. We don't make the ridiculous and unsupportable claims to exclusive unity like RCC does. My local church DOES excomm ppl for sinful lifestyles and for liberal teaching, while yours doesn't.
Of course liberals aren't the best you have to offer, but that's not the point - taking RCC means you take the libs, until the Magisterium steps up and rules that out. It would be easy, but they've never done it. I don't see a reason to accept your word that "they don't really represent the groups they claim to be members of" when the Magisterium is busy appointing guys like Raymond Brown and Fitzmyer to positions of high theological authority and prestige. Why would I go with an anonymous blogger rather than the Magisterium?
So yeah, you're on the hook for this. I'm glad I'm not in your position, and you have my pity, but no one's forcing you to be a Vatican drone. You can always repent.

Nick said...

1A) Yes, I granted it for the sake of argument to show it *doesn't* work, at least not under the 'every individual scripture' rendering. The only way 'sufficient' has any hope is if all the other conditions I listed could be met.

1B) Yes, every Scripture is profitable to at least 1 of the 4 ends, though obviously with different degrees of profitability.

2) This is largely irrelevant to the topic at hand. It's the typical type of red-herring employed to derail the main subject, which I believe is too uncomfortable for Protestants to handle.

Rhology said...

Please give an argument as to why #2 is a red herring.

Nick said...

#2 is off topic because it is focusing upon the issue of 'unity' (especially over 'liberals' versus 'conservatives') rather than dealing with the actual subject - which is the exegesis of 2 Tim 3:16f.

I realize the stakes are high here, so it's not going to be an easy subject for most Protestants to deal with objectively.

Rhology said...

Forgot 1A last time - So your endnote is useless. Will you be consistent and modify the post, since you apparently don't want to defend the assertion?


2) If you recall, YOU were the one who made the assertion implying that RCs are united on this front.
Do you wish to retract that statement? Will you be consistent and modify the post, since you apparently don't want to defend the assertion?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Rhology, It is quite obvious the official Catholic teaching is clear on the 73 Book canon. Quoting individuals in the Church who disagree is a Red Herring argument. It has no bearing on the reality of what the defined Biblical canon is. This is what you get when you use faulty philosophical premises to hang your hat on. We are dealing with objective truth here, not personal opinion.

The Catholic Church teaches that when it defines something infallibly, or as being irreformable, such as the Biblical canon, that this is objective truth. So quoting people who deny what the Church defines is not getting you anywhere. The Catholic faith demands that the 73 book Canon be accepted as objective truth. Those who deny it are not Catholic regarding that doctrine any longer. So what does your argument on liberal scholars have to do with anything?

Rhology said...

MB hath spoken. The case is closed. Is that the deal?
An ARGUMENT, Bellisario. Bring forth an ARGUMENT.


So quoting people who deny what the Church defines is not getting you anywhere.

Sorry, if the Magisterium does not reject those ppl, I don't see why anyone should break with them if they desire to be consistent with real RC doctrine and practice. I'm going with the Magisterium, not you.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Rhology, prove the Magisterium does not reject their premise on the Canon. You are a fool if you think that the Catholic Magistrium agrees with their rejection of the 73 book Canon. Show us where Rome tells the faithful that the 73 book Canon is up for grabs, and that these liberal scholars that you speak of, are speaking for the Church. Where is your argument? The fact is you don't have one son.

J L. Paton said...

Hi Nick, thanks for taking the time to read my post.

I tried to get this up and running last year but didn't seem to find the time. I have lot more going on now than I did back then, but for some strange reason, I now have the time.

Anyway, I got round to reading your post and you are correct, we do make a lot of the same arguments. I suppose its a case of the old ones being the best :)

Keep up the good work.

God bless

Nick said...

1a) My end note is not useless, it appears you're not reading what the note actually says: "I use the term "sufficient" in this article simply to show the Protestant take on this passage DOESN'T work."

2) I already made it clear, I'm speaking of Catholics faithful to the magisterium.

The amusing thing here is all you have now is these tangents, because the main thrust of the argument exposes the fig-leaf that Sola Scriptura 'hides' behind. I've talked with enough Protestants of your variety to know that when they find their arguments don't work (and the Bible not supporting them) they rush to find all sorts of irrelevancies to flood the combox with in the hopes of taking the spotlight off the real issue.

I've googled my argument various times over the past week and I've yet to find any Protestant webpages trying to defend SS from it. This indicates 'fig leaf' theology to me.

Rhology said...

MB,

You are a fool if you think that the Catholic Magistrium agrees with their rejection of the 73 book Canon

I'm not the RC here. You are. Sounds, however, like you're appealing to private fallible individual judgment in inferring that the Mag's proclamation of a 73 book Canon of Scr is somehow applicable to liberals. Why don't you just produce where the Magisterium has made that connection? Thanks!



Nick,

1A) And thus you make the entire endnote unnecessary, yes, and thus you should rework the first coupla paragraphs. That's why I'm saying you should significantly modify your post since you have so far made zero attempt to defend this endnote.

2) And you're missing MY point. To the Magisterium, apparently, since they've made no attempt (unless and until you can show me one) to X out the strong liberal contingent within RCC, liberals ARE "Catholic faithful". YOU don't get to define "Catholic faithful"; the Magisterium does. So show me where they've defined it in such a way as to match your proposed definition here.
You can SAY it's a "tangent" all day, I don't care. Let the reader judge.


I've googled my argument various times over the past week and I've yet to find any Protestant webpages

Wow, I guess that must mean it has no answer! I mean, it just COULDN'T BE that your google searching might not be sufficiently exhaustive, or that those of us who like to answer RC arguments don't have enough time on our hands right now, or that none of us think it's really worth much of a rebuttal. No sir!

Jae said...

"Catholic faithful" in the sense are the ones that are conforming to the Catholic Teachings and not the one's (liberal members though they are also called "members") who are being disobedient/cherry picking to fit their own ideas, wishes , desires or whatever.The same can be said to thousands of protestant denominations and more so because of their separation of doctrines. Don't tell me you have weeded out all the "liberals" in your church, it's not just possibly true.

On point 2 I really think Rhology is making a futile attempt with the subject at hand, very void of logic.

Be that as it may, let us put it to the test today:

I hope you are aware that before 1930's ALL CHRISTIAN Churches AGREED that Artificial Contraception is against the Will of God....what happened since after the Lambeth Conference of the Anglicans in 30's? They opened the gates of allowing and teaching otherwise as morally-Biblically alright and quickly all Christian churches went along with her, only the Catholic church is the only prominent one standing and still proclaiming, teaching against artificial contraception as that whoever commits the act including catholics they would incur a grave sin to God. Besides the fact of the unchangeability of TRUTH, what happened to it? By historical data, protestants always follow the lead of Anglicanism.

Now, gay-marriage (aside from cloning, stem cell, stages of abortions etc.)is dividing mainline and even evangelical churches around the world , many already have succumbed to the secular pressures like the one of contraception.

This is what we defined as Apostolic Tradition and Authority and not your futile attempt to tie your agenda to it.

What happens when a protestant christian disagree with another protestant christian? who will say who is right?

The problem is any written document including the Bible can not make a decision and thus pass a judgment of who got it right o wrong.

When talking to protestants about this they just simply ignore or insist they got it right, funny they didn't realize by doing so they are making their own pope and tradition put together which they abhor the Catholic Church for. sad.

Peace



Peace

Nick said...

1) The end note is just that, a sort of appendage. It is not strictly necessary for my main argument.

2) Anything in this combox avoiding the exegisis of 2 Tim 3:16 is a tangent, and it's clear you're desperately trying to shift the argument away from what is a decisive blow against your most important verse and doctrine.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology, your point about the endnote is confusing me. You point out (correctly) that if the passage means "each Scripture," then the word "sufficient" can't possibly be correct. But isn't that Nick's point? Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying?

As for Catholic liberals invalidating the Catholic Church's teaching: this is a misunderstanding of the Church's claims about Herself. She doesn't claim to be simply a "body of believers." Therefore, Her Faith isn't just the sum of the collection of believers' faiths. That's why Judas can be a valid member until death in the Church without invalidating the authenticity of the Church even a single iota. In history, there have been a few times (e.g., Athanasius' lifetime) in which a vast majority of Catholic bishops were heretical. Didn't invalidate the Church: individual bishops, even if they make up more than 50% of the world's bishops, don't suddenly become the Magisterium. When the Church did speak authoritatively, She spoke condemning their heresy - a victory we call "Athanasius contra mundum."

That said, sure, we'd like to see dissidents rebuked and corrected, because the Church is called to do so (1 Cor. 5:4-5, 2 Cor. 2:5-8, etc.). So when bishops don't exercise their authority wisely, individual souls are imperiled. But this has been the situation from the start, as the verses I just cite suggest, since Paul was addressing the failure of the church at Corinth to discipline properly. But there are a billion self-proclaimed Catholics. To say that whatever any of them claim is now the Catholic Church's teaching, barring the Church finding them and excommunicating them would create utter nonsense: and more to the point, isn't a standard which the Church claims for Herself.

Nick, thanks for commenting on my blog. From your post, I'm hearing what the passage doesn't mean. But what does it mean? Are you suggesting that every passage, verse or book is useful for the four ends? Your "all v. every" discussion is potentially quite helpful, but potentially distracting as well.

Also I've responded here, with my two favorite parts of this post (spoiler alert: it's the James White quotation and part of the endnote).

Peace of Christ to you both,

Joe.

Rhology said...

Joe,

No, that's not Nick's point. I am asking him for a POSITIVE setting out of his position, given what he says 2 Tim 3:16 means. And note that the endnote grants the "Protestant position" that "sufficient" (rather than "profitable") is the best way to render the wording. When I pressed him on that in the 1st comment, you'll note that Nick made zero effort to defend his position and just hung his endnote out to dry. So I'm saying he should modify his post, b/c as it stands now, it is quite clumsy and for a large part meaningless.


Therefore, Her Faith isn't just the sum of the collection of believers' faiths.

Yes, I think that's precisely my point. The Magisterium, not you, and not Nick, decides what is the true faith and who is really a member. Since there are tons of liberals in RCC, and the Mag does nothing about it, it's quite disingenuous of Nick to say "Catholics believe _____" if _____ is not sthg that liberals would share.


Didn't invalidate the Church: individual bishops, even if they make up more than 50% of the world's bishops, don't suddenly become the Magisterium

If you read carefully, Nick has made no effort to quote the Magisterium. Rather, he seems to think it doesn't matter, which is very, very funny to me.


So when bishops don't exercise their authority wisely, individual souls are imperiled.

Hold up, there. It's not "bishops". It's the Magisterium. Who are you to judge the Magisterium as not exercising their authority wisely? Who are you to act Protestant with the one hand while beckoning me to Rome with the other?

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

(1)I'm with you in being interested in Nick's positive formulation, as my comment to him made clear. But as for the endnote, you claims that the endnote "grants the 'Protestant position' that 'sufficient' (rather than 'profitable') is the best way to render the wording."

In fact, Nick's endnote says,
The term applied to Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16 is actually "profitable," not sufficient (which is a much stronger term). I use the term "sufficient" in this article simply to show the Protestant take on this passage doesn't work.
He then calls it a misreading of Paul. That seems to me like the exact opposite of granting it as "the best way to render the wording." I actually think that the endnote is one of the strongest parts of the post, as I mentioned in my post (linked in the first comment).

(2) On the argument of liberal Catholics: you say,
The Magisterium, not you, and not Nick, decides what is the true faith and who is really a member.
This is really two claims in one, neither completely correct. The Magisterium doesn't decide what the true Faith is, but She does proclaim is faithfully; so in the sense that I suspect you mean “if you want to know the Catholic Faith, look to the Magisterium,” amen. On the second, though, the Magisterium doesn't really decide who "is really a member" at all. That decision is done through Baptism on the one end, and Excommunication on the other. The Magisterium is the teaching arm of the Church consists of the papacy (including the CDF) and the bishops acting in union with the pope (generally, in the form of Church Councils). In contrast, Catholic Baptisms can be done by any Catholic priest (and in a pinch, any Catholic, period), and excommunications can be done by individual bishops, non-CDF Curial offices, canonical tribunals, etc. Excommunications aren’t infallible (see: St. Joan of Arc), just as Baptisms don’t guarantee the person being baptized will end up in Heaven.

(3) Perhaps it would have been better if Nick had said, "the Catholic Church believes" rather than "Catholics believe," but that seems like splitting hairs to me. In complete honesty, I didn't like Nick's original sentence there: I thought it seemed like a potshot in an otherwise-good post.

But I understand what he's trying to say, which is that the Catholic Church, through (amongst other things) the three-year Lectionary cycle at Mass, does a remarkable job of emphasizing the entire Bible in Her teachings and Her worship, rather than picking a small selection on predestination, eschatology, or some other popular choice (a trap many Evangelical circles fall into).

(cont. - sorry for the long comment)

Joe Heschmeyer said...

(cont. from last comment)

I don't think Nick was intending to say that individual Catholics are better or more Bible-loving Christians than individual Protestants. Certainly, I hope that wasn't his point. I think his point was that the Church does a better job of affirming Scripture in toto than does anyone else.

Finally, I'm pleased that he's comparing the beliefs of the Catholic Church against the beliefs of sola Scriptura proponents, instead of meandering into comparing our nominal adherents with one another. Don't you agree that it's a more fruitful conversation this way?

(4) You criticize Nick for not citing to the Magisterium. But arguing "Protestantism is wrong because Catholicism says Protestantism is wrong" seems absurd. Sure, it's true, but who is that going to persuade? All things to all people, man. If you're arguing against someone who accepts the Bible and rejects the authority of the Magisterium, and you know that Scripture refutes their position, why not use Scripture? Besides that, it's not like we accept only the Magisterium.

(5) Finally, you say it's not individual bishops, it's the Magisterium. But that's not right for reasons I explained in (2).

I hope that cleared up whatever confusion there might have been, and if I'm misunderstanding you, please correct me. Thanks, and Pax Christi!

Joe.

Nick said...

Joe,

Thanks for your comments and your new post. You asked how I understand the passage:

Protestants put so much stake into this verse that they're really trumping it up to be more than what was intended. The *key focus* of Paul's teaching is 3:14-15, where Paul just got through telling Timothy a rough road was ahead of him, and that Timothy needs to stick with what he was taught and Paul's life example. Verses 3:16-17 are an appendage to *this*, indicating that every passage of Scripture can be used to help Timothy in his quest. I wouldn't say every individual passage needs to be profitable towards *all four* of the Four Ends, but at least one of the Four. Obviously, the more you expand the meaning of 'every Scripture' here (i.e. from each individual verse, to each individual passage, to each individual book), the more widely 'every Scripture' can contribute towards the Four Ends.

I'm careful in how much I open these types of discussion up, because I've dealt with enough Protestants like Rhology to know that it's best to keep things as narrow as possible, because it's too easy to be taken on tangents (which are often aimed at deflecting away from the real argument).

Lastly, you are correct to note that my point was never that Protestants dislike or don't hold Scripture in very high regard, they do; the point was that Catholics in properly interpreting it necessarily hold it in higher regard (which is impossible if one is espousing an unbiblical doctrine like Sola Scriptura).

Rhology said...

Joe,

1) What I meant was that Nick grants the Prot wording for the sake of argument. I'm not arguing he's necessarily wrong (he is, but I haven't argued that here), but simply that his refusal to defend his "for the sake of argument" makes the endnote 100% moot.

2) The Magisterium doesn't decide what the true Faith is, but She does proclaim is faithfully

You know, this disingenuity really gets to me from RCs. On the one hand you claim that the Mag = your killing hand to Prot theology. OTOH, when the Mag does sthg you don't like, alluvasudden it's not really the final authority; you can sit in judgment over it. Make up your mind.
Also, if the Mag proclaims the faith faithfully, we have no quibble. They don't do anything about the tons of libs in RCC, so you shouldn't either, nor do you have any call, prerogative, or right to.


On the second, though, the Magisterium doesn't really decide who "is really a member" at all. That decision is done through Baptism on the one end, and Excommunication on the other

Trying to be patient with you here. Who performs excommunications?



and excommunications can be done by individual bishops

And most liberals in RCC have NOT been excomm'd by individual bishops. So... my point stands 100%, doesn't it?



Excommunications aren’t infallible (see: St. Joan of Arc)

How do you know that? What Magisterial proclamation let you know that they are not infallible, and which that Joan of Arc was in fact wrongly excomm'd? Are canonisations infallible, then? How do you know that?


3) Perhaps it would have been better if Nick had said, "the Catholic Church believes" rather than "Catholics believe,"

That wouldn't solve the problem at all. The Church is only as good as its membership.



I didn't like Nick's original sentence there

So hows about you stop defending it?



does a remarkable job of emphasizing the entire Bible in Her teachings and Her worship, rather than picking a small selection on predestination, eschatology, or some other popular choice (a trap many Evangelical circles fall into).

Anyone who's familiar with the pop Mariolatry in many, many RC churches is laughing hysterically at this blind expression of self-unawareness from you.



I think his point was that the Church does a better job of affirming Scripture in toto than does anyone else.

And I'm telling you that my church has kicked out virtually all its liberals and is on the hunt for more. So you clearly had sthg else in mind. I'm just trying to help you understand that you can't make such sweeping claims.



I'm pleased that he's comparing the beliefs of the Catholic Church against the beliefs of sola Scriptura proponents, instead of meandering into comparing our nominal adherents with one another

Until the Magisterium steps up and does sthg about the libs in RCC, I have no basis (and neither do you) for marking out liberals as being "nominal adherents". They're just as much in communion with The Church as you are. This is the fundamental way you Protestantise yourself, apparently w/o even knowing it, and it's funny and sad at the same time.



All things to all people, man. If you're arguing against someone who accepts the Bible and rejects the authority of the Magisterium, and you know that Scripture refutes their position, why not use Scripture?

If someone is performing an internal critique of your position and has specifically, explicitly said "Magisterium" over and over, one would think you'd be best served to appeal to the Magisterium. Y'alls' inability to do so is most telling.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

I'm baffled by this outburst of hostility and imputation of bad faith. I assure you that no one here is trying to trick you. It's just that you're expecting Catholicism to work in a way in which She frankly doesn't. The two primary mistakes which you make are assuming that the Church's faith is the sum of beliefs of Her adherents (an alien Protestant notion, rooted in Church meaning "group of believers"), and assuming that Catholicism is rooted exclusively in explicit teachings of the Magisterium. For the first error, you say, "The Church is only as good as its membership." But this is flatly false. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, greater than the sum of Her non-divine adherents.

For the second error, I would suggest "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Ludwig Ott. If you're genuinely interested in what we believe, Ott's a great place to start. But it's a frequent error to believe that Catholics don't believe anything until the Magisterium tells them to (i.e., the idea that we didn't believe in the Assumption of Mary until it was formally defined in 1950). Both of these are Protestant assumptions about Catholicism, and both of them are faulty assumptions which Catholicism rejects.

So there's no disingenuity here. Precise Church membership isn't an article of faith, and falls outside of the Magisterium. I was emergency-baptized into the Church as a sickly baby by my dad using water from an old Coke can. Does that mean my dad is part of the Magisterium, formally declaring that I'm saved? Because from that point on, I was a Catholic. St. Augustine rejected your claim that the Church was whatever any of Her adherents believed back in the 4th century. He distinguished between Catholics by number (nominal Catholics) and Catholics by merit (those who actually believe in the Catholic Faith). Likewise, with excommunication, individual bishops also aren't the Magisterium, something which your response seems to misunderstand.

Catholicism has repeatedly recognized that some may be visibly Catholic but internally disagree with Her - and vice versa. The Church affirms Matthew 13, that She will consists, as Kingdom of God on Earth, of both wheat and tares until Final Judgment. So the Church is incredibly explicit that there are the damned within the Church. Their presence doesn't diminish the Truth of the Faith an iota.

But let's take your stance seriously. If Catholicism (or, for that matter, SBC) is defined as whatever any of its adherents believers -- that is, that failure to formally excommunicate someone means you agree with 100% of what they believe -- what faith could possibly prevail? What faith doesn't have members who doubt or question? You're holding Catholicism to an absurd and impossible standard, but more importantly, a standard She doesn't claim (and which you really have no basis to impose on Her). Even your bizarre assertion that you affirm all (and just just part of) Scripture by hunting for liberals tacitly concedes that there are liberals within your communion still.

If you really, for whatever reason, want a Magisterial teaching on the subject, Trent's Decretum de Canonicis Scripturis says that the Church "following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament—seeing that one God is the author of both —as also the said traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession."

But all of this is nitpicking and smoke and mirrors. Are you at any point going to defend sola Scriptura, or just complain about irrelevant collateral issues? Can we perhaps get back to talking about 2 Timothy 3:14-17, and treat each other with Christian charity?

Joe.

Rhology said...

Joe,

assure you that no one here is trying to trick you.

Actually, I react this way b/c of the claims RCs make in OTHER CONTEXTS. So yes, you are trying to trick me. Maybe not you, but again, you claim solidarity with other RCs, b/c you're not like those nasty schismatic Protestants. You're in a position to know, so there's not much excuse for you not to.



. It's just that you're expecting Catholicism to work in a way in which She frankly doesn't.

Tell that to RCs who make these claims about RCC's unity and the wondrous privilege and provision of the Magisterium! You're all dreamy-eyed until it gets down to the nitty-gritty, and all of a sudden the Mag is totally superfluous, like now. Look, RCC has a big problem with liberals in her ranks. What has the Mag done about it that's consistent with the normal RC apologetic, wherein "private, fallible judgment" is derided?



For the first error, you say, "The Church is only as good as its membership." But this is flatly false. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, greater than the sum of Her non-divine adherents.

Ah, so I suppose I should assume that Christ is not actually at work in His Church, then, since if He were, He'd be conforming His people to Himself.



I would suggest "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Ludwig Ott. If you're genuinely interested in what we believe, Ott's a great place to start

Please. Is Ott a member of the Mag?
No. So why would I go to his book? If I cite anything out of it, any RC will simply knee-jerk tell me that Ott's not a mbr of the Magisterium, and I'll have wasted my time. Please, stop wasting my time. Tell me where I can get info from the Magisterium.



Precise Church membership isn't an article of faith, and falls outside of the Magisterium

There's little that's more obviously false than this. When Ecum Councils publicly proclaim "anathema to _____", that is a matter of church membership. Don't try to roll me. I'm not a KJVO who just fell off the turnip truck.



I was emergency-baptized into the Church as a sickly baby by my dad using water from an old Coke can. Does that mean my dad is part of the Magisterium, formally declaring that I'm saved?

I would presume not. I would also tell you that the fact you actually think that RC dogma is true and that such special pleading can be ad hoc applied to "emergency cases", so your sick baby who's in danger of dying in original sin can be magically cleansed by water from a Coke can means you're pretty far gone. You need to repent. Seriously.



Likewise, with excommunication, individual bishops also aren't the Magisterium, something which your response seems to misunderstand.

Yes, you already said that. I also asked a question - would you mind answering it?



The Church affirms Matthew 13, that She will consists, as Kingdom of God on Earth, of both wheat and tares until Final Judgment.

1) Uh oh, failed exegesis alert. Speaking of unbiblical...
2) So why do you claim that RCC has the unity that Protestants lack? Or do you not make that argument? Or do you excoriate RCs who DO make that argument (b/c there are tons of them who do)?

Rhology said...

what faith could possibly prevail?

My local church would be just fine. We actually carry out Jesus' commands to exercise church discipline on the unrepentant. The RCC can't even bring herself to excomm serial pedophiles. Quite a difference!



What faith doesn't have members who doubt or question?

So now liberals are "those who doubt or question". Riiiiiggghhhhhht.



You're holding Catholicism to an absurd and impossible standard

No, Y'ALLS' CLAIMS hold up RCC to this standard. I'm calling you to be consistent. You apparently can't.



Even your bizarre assertion that you affirm all (and just just part of) Scripture by hunting for liberals tacitly concedes that there are liberals within your communion still

??? Ever heard of a hunt that was unsuccessful b/c the land was hunted-out? Don't be so dense. Really. There's a HUGE diff between a church that hunts libs to excomm them and one that does NOTHING, ZERO to them even though they're everywhere. Try again, but this is getting sad.



Trent's Decretum de Canonicis Scripturis

1) So why hasn't anythg been done about those who don't follow this teaching?
2) Not all decrees of Councils are infallible. How do you know this one is? Do you know that infallibly? If not, why is it OK for YOU to know things fallibly but not OK for me?



Are you at any point going to defend sola Scriptura, or just complain about irrelevant collateral issues?

I've already done so extensively.
Nick is welcome to expunge from his post the quote I'm ripping apart, and I'll stop after noting that he asserted sthg that he later found out to be totally false.


Christian charity

That runs both ways, of course.
1) I don't think I've been insulting to you. If you think I have, please quote me.
2) It's pretty uncharitable for you to represent a church that lies to me and then retreats from those lies when caught. I kind of don't appreciate that.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

Christian charity absolutely does run both ways. But while I tried to helpfully answer your question, you attacked me and imputed bad faith. Bad form. Your fall back, that it's uncharitable to defend Catholicism, isn't worthy of a serious response, because it's not a serious claim, but needless to say, Christians aim to still be charitable to those who scorn them, and even those who disagree with them.

The Magisterium, as I've said, is the teaching arm of the Church (and She is wondrous! I wholly agree with that assessment). They'll say which views are worthy of excommunication (because that's a question of faith -- these are the anathema sit clauses to which you refer), but not which individuals are precisely in the Church, b/c that's a job for Final Judgment, and not a part of public Faith and morals. And an anathema sit clause doesn't auto-excommunicate.

You understand the Matthew 13 reference: the world, in the context, is the Kingdom of Heaven in the world -- that's the context of the parable provided in v.24. More importantly, v. 42 says, "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil." Weed them out of His Kingdom. Which requires that they are in His Kingdom prior to that point. He even condemns trying to root out every weed in v. 29. Now compare the passage to Matthew 13:47-50, where the Kingdom is a net containing both good and bad fish until Final Judgment.

This, I think, answers most of your complaints about reprobate in the Church. But even if you disagree with the exegesis, it's the Catholic view. So trying to debunk Catholicism for practicing Catholic ecclesiology instead of your own is circular.

You asked for a list of Magisterial teachings. Ott provides it. Now you say Ott's not the Magisterium. But he references the Magisterium, so this line of argument is specious. You ask where you can get info from the Magisterium, and I've given you that answer twice now.

On Catholic unity, finally. There are fundamental differences on this issue. We have people who are objectively more or less Catholic in their belief structure.

So barring your attack on my personal salvation, does that answer everything?

Oh right: we were hoping to get to 2 Timothy 3:14-17. There's no way I'm going to read through your debate chronicles to try and figure out what you would say to this argument. But if you've made a cogent argument, feel free to formulate it in response. That would perhaps be a better use of our time, because I get a strong feeling that this is you just venting rage and hostility against a Faith you don't fully grasp.

Nick said...

Joe,

What you're witnessing is a good example of what I've learned (the hard way) to do in these types of discussions: detect early on any attempts to divert the discussion and refuse to go along. It's not so much that they are operating on bad faith as they are in a sort of panic. When dealing with issues as major as this, emotions run high and we should expect such tactics to do whatever necessary to salvage the Solas.

Rhology is dragging you into *his* agenda, which is to get *you* spinning (and eventually frustrated), having you answer his (and only his) never ending questions and demands without any intention of cutting you the least bit of slack nor intention of answering any of your simple questions.

It's a common tactic for Protestants to go on the offensive when cornered, but they don't realize the fallacious nature of such methodology: disproving Catholicism doesn't automatically validate Sola Scriptura - Sola Scriptura still must be proven from Scripture, not assumed.

The *fact* Rhology is frantically avoiding the "every Scripture" argument is what we need to keep front and center of this discussion.

Jae said...

@ Nick, I agree with you, this is a diversion tactic from the topic at hand coz really Sola Scriptura is NOWHERE FOUND in the Scripture, they are just reading between the lines (2 Timothy 3:16)- "ALL" as compared to "ONLY"...a huge difference, indeed!

Besides, even if it means what they're saying (which is not), the big problem still remains that is, what do we do IF a christian happen to disagree with another christian? who's gonna say who got it right and wrong?

I guess Our Lord overlooked this?

Nick said...

Jae,

Buddy, you've zeroed in on the heart of the issue: Sola Scriptura deliberately avoids addressing the issue of *authoritative interpretation* - this elephant in the room is simply ignored.

When Catholics confront them on this, their 'options' put them in quite a tight position: Either (1) they must say the disagreeing party is not led by the Holy Spirit and thus either deceived or not even Christian, thus creating their local own defacto magisterium or (2) that disagreement isn't that big of a deal, resulting in doctrinal relativism. The first "option" is too similar to the Papists, while the "second" option is nothing short of the work of the Devil (cf Gal 1:9).

Rhology said...

Joe,

The Magisterium, as I've said, is the teaching arm of the Church

So how does it teach you in this situation? Seems like you're having to resort to private judgment a whole lot.


They'll say which views are worthy of excommunication

And so apparently liberalism isn't. Which is why Nick shouldn't've said what he said, disagreeing with the Mag.


b/c that's a job for Final Judgment, and not a part of public Faith and morals.

Then so much the worse for RCC, for disobeying the direct commands of Jesus in Matthew 18, and Paul, in 1 Thess, 1 Cor 5, and other places.


You understand the Matthew 13 reference: the world, in the context, is the Kingdom of Heaven in the world -- that's the context of the parable provided in v.24

Yes, quite. B/c Jesus says it is. That's called Scripture self-interpreting. If only RC Canon Law would do so!


Weed them out of His Kingdom. Which requires that they are in His Kingdom prior to that point.

And obviously "His kingdom" in this context would be the world. Since He says "the field is the world".


Now compare the passage to Matthew 13:47-50, where the Kingdom is a net containing both good and bad fish until Final Judgment.

Oh, so even though Jesus told me what the parable meant, I should appeal to ANOTHER parable to explain what it meant? Right, thanks.


So trying to debunk Catholicism for practicing Catholic ecclesiology instead of your own is circular.

Obviously since I've actually made arguments for why "my" ecclesiology is the biblical one, and RCC's is different therefrom, and RCC claims to follow the BIble, it's an internal critique of the RC position.


You asked for a list of Magisterial teachings. Ott provides it. Now you say Ott's not the Magisterium

No, YOU say Ott's not the Magisterium. I'm just reproducing what RCC has told me in the past.


But he references the Magisterium, so this line of argument is specious.

Which again opens me up to the idiotic but common claim of "that's just your private judgment!" I want Magisterial teaching, not what could be accused of "selective quotation" or "fallibility". Can you provide it or can't you? Looks like you can't.


We have people who are objectively more or less Catholic in their belief structure.

And doesn't the Magisterium, and not you, define that? And didn't you tell me just above that the Mag is responsible for all that? So who are you to call out as "less Catholic" adherents to a worldview that the Mag has not told you is bad?


So barring your attack on my personal salvation

Um, RC teaching itself "attacks" your personal salvation, if by "attacks" you mean "calls into question your final salvation". You need a thicker skin, and more consistency. You don't know for sure you'll be saved; you have no room to rip me for calling your salvation into question.
Besides, I was trying to appeal to you to be actually saved, b/c I have love for you and don't want you to stand before God with trust in your own righteousness, as if that's worth anything.
Your response to me gives me a strong feeling that this is you just venting rage and hostility against a Faith you don't fully grasp.

Rhology said...

Nick said:
The *fact* Rhology is frantically avoiding the "every Scripture" argument is what we need to keep front and center of this discussion.

Until you step up and be honest enough to modify your post in accord with what I've indicated, I see no reason to go any further, to be honest.


jae blundered:
what do we do IF a christian happen to disagree with another christian? who's gonna say who got it right and wrong?
I guess Our Lord overlooked this?


Gosh, you're right! I never stopped to think that Matthew 18 and Mark 7:1-13 are actually NOT in the Bible! Nor Matthew 7! Nor Matthew 22:29!

Further, what do we do IF a RC happens to disagree with another RC about Tradition and/or Magisterial teaching? Who's gonna say who got it right and wrong?
I guess Our Lord overlooked this?

Peace,
Rhology

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

Do we disagree on Matthew 13? Or do we agree that the parable refers to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth? If so, it's worth considering that we're forbidden from trying to completely weed the field.

You've asked me for Magisterial teaching, and I keep offering you Ott. You claim that his list could be considered "selective quotation" or a fallible list. But obviously, any list I come up with would be subject to the same nitpicking. At this point, I'm pretty thoroughly convinced you don't actually care about what the Magisterium *actually* teaches.

That said, you claimed the Magisterium doesn't condemn liberalism. Obviously, it doesn't condemn "liberalism" by name, but it condemns a whole slew of propositions which the generic Catholic liberal embraces. This leaves the individual determination about culpability and knowledge of the heresy, etc.

You took my words to try and claim that the Catholic Church doesn't excommunicate anyone, and therefore, runs afoul of Matthew 18. You know that wasn't what I was saying, and you know that the Church has excommunicated individuals in the past. But my point is that She doesn't go on the hunt to try and weed out just anyone. Neither does Matthew 18 call for such an approach. Rather, it calls for the Church - as a last resort - to excommunicate those who are visibly choking the wheat.

And as for needing thicker skin, I've calmly answered all of your attacks. And they are attacks, because at no point have you engaged any of the thoughts we're discussing. You're just taking single sentences and attacking imprecise wording.

The thing is, I'd really like to have a charitable and thoughtful discussion with you on sola Scriptura, but at this point, you seem unwilling to uphold any aspect of that proposition. If you're uninterested in discussing the passage from 2 Timothy 3, or unwilling to show how the passage leads to sola Scriptura, just say so, and we'll part ways.

Shawn Miller said...

Joe,

I really appriciate your irenic and thoughtful tone. Some of us wandering this online territory are actually unprejudiced inquirers. A sober voice or two does help us to collect our thoughts--more so than the cacophony of ranting.

As a Classics undergrad considering conversion I will definitely pick up Ott. If you had to choose 5 essential, academically oriented works on all things catholic, what would they be?

Best,

Perplexity said...

Hello,

I think the original post and the discussion through comments has been rather informative. However, I thought maybe I could offer something to the discussion.

I am a Roman Catholic myself, but I believe the Protestant position *can* be stronger than it has been presented throughout this discussion.

I'm specifically referring to Nick's comment that,

"Either (1) they must say the disagreeing party is not led by the Holy Spirit and thus either deceived or not even Christian, thus creating their local own defacto magisterium or (2) that disagreement isn't that big of a deal, resulting in doctrinal relativism. The first "option" is too similar to the Papists, while the "second" option is nothing short of the work of the Devil (cf Gal 1:9)."

Here is some context for the argument itself: the authority argument ultimately reduces to an epistemological problem. On the very foundation, why an individual accepts or denies a religious system as true is because he or she is convinced by reasons.

These "convincing reasons" are known, and accepted personally and fallibly. Ergo, Catholicism as a religious system must be accepted or denied on falsifiable (doubtable, not necessarily doubtful) grounds.

Having said that, the only way we as individual apologists can demonstrate that the position of sola scriptura is false, is on factual terms which aren't necessarily infallible.

This merely contextualizes the protestant's strongest argument. The argument itself is that the interpretation authoritatively binding on Christians is the most consistent exegesis of the text itself.

Now we Catholics might object that this doesn't really give us certainty in the interpretation because it rests ultimately upon the authority man, namely scholars of history, philology, archeology etc. However, the reply to this objection is given in the context provided earlier. Namely *all* certainty, outside of direct and personal revelation is ultimately reducible to human.

Therefore, upon personally exegeting Scripture, and learning history, listening to scholars (plus prayer) etc., if an individual is convinced that all of this concludes that the RCC is what it claims to be, then he or she should become Catholic.

If upon personally exegeting Scripture, and learning history, listening to scholars (plus prayer) etc., an individual is convinced that all of this leads to the conclusion that Calvinism, or Lutheranism,or Copticism is what it claims to be, then he or she should be come that.

Now this may sound like Nick's second point but it is different. This position claims that any interpretation of Scripture claiming to be authoritative must be falsifiable. Ergo, Scripture itself will yeild, factually, and logically, a *best* interpretation. This is like any document in existence, while open to many interpretations there is only one that has the most explanatory power, textual consistency, and which answers the most defeaters etc.

They could argue this position itself should be accepted because there is no religion, including Roman Catholicism, that is accepted on any other basis than this. It (apparently) cuts everyone in any religion down to size so we all have to play in the same sand box. In any case, I myself am a Catholic, but I thought this might help the discussion.

God bless

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Shawn,

You've got no idea how reaffirming that is. I really appreciate your comment. Alright, so you asked for 5 essential, academically oriented works on all things Catholic. The first two are obvious choices: the Catechism, and the Summa Theologica. The Catechism is written more as a confession of Faith rather than an apologia, but it's a great starting place for determining precisely what the Church teaches. Plus, if you hunt the footnotes, you'll find lots of references to papal encyclicals which explain each topic in greater depth. The Summa is almost unreal. Thomas presently the strongest form of the anti-Catholic argument for each proposition (providing quotes which seem to support each position), then dismantles each one systematically. If you're a Classics major, you may have already read him. If not, do so. That said, the Summa is crazy long, so you might consider New Advent's online wiki-style version, so you can find specific answers to specific questions.

Msgr. Ronald Knox was a genius and a classist to boot. When I say "genius," I mean he was writing Latin and Greek epigrams from the age of 10, was a widely-read author by his twenties, and single-handed translated the Vulgate into English. He wrote a lay-friendly book called The Belief of Catholics which remains one of the finest short systematic treatments of Catholicism I've ever seen. As much as I love Mere Christianity (and think Lewis may be a more engaging writer), Knox is a more rigorous thinker, and predicts (and refutes) virtually every counter-argument you can come up with. [I've only read one of his other books (The Church on Earth: The Nature and Authority of the Catholic Church), and while it wasn't nearly as engaging, it was very engaging. So Msgr. Knox is probably a good author to check out overall.]

Fourth, I'd say Against Heresies by St. Irenaeus. He's writing it to instruct new Catholics in the Faith, so it's naturally systematic in scope, and explains lots of things which many other Church Fathers just assume their readers know (like that the Church is subject to the Bishop of Rome, that Apostolic Succession is the mark of the True Church, that the Liturgy is a Sacrifice, that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, etc.).

Fifth, I'd say St. Francis De Sales' Catholic Controversy. He's better known for his Introduction to the Devout Life (an incredible devotional book for those interested in improving their spiritual lives), but Controversy takes on the specific issues dividing Catholics and Protestants, and shows why the Catholic position is correct.

Hope that helps. If you're interested, I run a Catholic blog, too (www.catholicdefense.blogspot.com) and am more than happy to field any specific questions you've got about the Faith. God bless!

Joe.

P.S. Here's a bonus book: Fr. James O'Connor's The Hidden Manna deals specifically with the Eucharist, but the style is one you'll likely find appealing. He goes chronologically through the writings of virtually every major Christian thinker. Part I is on the Early Church on up through the Middle Ages, Part II deals with the Reformation, and Part III deals with the modern era. Part I is by far the most interesting. Fr. O'Connor's writing style is engaging, and he explains ambiguities and likely meanings in the Greek in an easy to understand way. He saves a lot of technical stuff for the footnotes. The clear conclusion one draws after reading is that the early Church was unanimous in its belief in the Eucharist. This one is technically not about all things Catholic, but it incorporates collaterally many other important things Catholic (like that there are bishops in the early Church, that people are answering to Rome, etc.).

Nick said...

Perplexity,

Your argument has much truth to it and I would agree with it to an extent as well.

When you say the Protestant position can be stronger than what's been presented, while that may be true in other discussions, as far as the "every Scripture" argument goes, I have yet to see evidence they can offer 'better'. And since no Protestant has addressed the 2 Tim 3:16 issue, I'd say they have no case coming into the combox with other arguments. Further, I've been looking all over the place online and cannot find this issue being addressed.

Focusing on the specific quote you're speaking on, I've had similar thoughts in the past myself and come up with some reasonable points when discussing the issue.

The idea that Catholic don't have to exercise private judgment is misleading because it's (a) not true, and (b) confusing what specific 'private judgement' is actually being condemned by the Church.

All men have to look at the evidence and reason it out in their mind, and nobody does this infallibly. This is what I refer to as "private investigation", which is not the same as "private judgment". The latter is in regards to granting every Christian the *right* to *authoritatively* interpret Scripture for them self, effectively granting everyone the status of personal pope.

When an individual is examining the various Christian 'options' out there, they are acting fallibly, and we should expect *some* level of uncertainty because otherwise we'd obliterate the fact *faith* is a component here.

Your said: "the only way we as individual apologists can demonstrate that the position of sola scriptura is false, is on factual terms which aren't necessarily infallible."

I agree to an extent, but infallibility isn't essential here. For example, we don't need infallibility to discuss whether a given claim is coherent. This issue of rejecting 'incoherent' propositions is *precisely* why when I discuss Sola Scriptura I invest the greatest amount of energy looking at the Biblical evidence. If the Bible *itself* doesn't (positively) teach SS, the Protestant is refuted, regardless of what other 'arguments' can be made from any other source.

You said: "The argument itself is that the interpretation authoritatively binding on Christians is the most consistent exegesis of the text itself."

Since Catholics believe to have the fullness of Truth on our side, we gladly affirm this in a certain sense. I believe Catholicism easily demolishes the Protestant tenets on Biblical evidence alone, while supplying sufficient evidence for all our major distinctives (and at least implicit evidence for other doctrine). My work is largely devoted to just that (and that's why you hardly see me quoting the Fathers and such). One should expect the true church to harmonized Scripture far better than false sects.

That said, there are limitations to the above argument, most notably on the fact the Bible wasn't meant to be a stand alone, post-apostolic 'judge of controversies', so to approach the Bible in that sense is not correct in so far as that's never the purpose of Scripture. For example, a Protestant might object to the Catholic pointing to Lk 1:28 "full of grace" for support of the Immaculate Conception, but the problem here is with the Protestant thinking that the Scripture have to be 'sufficiently clear' for all dogma. That's simply not the case, especially given the fact the Apostles were writing to believers and supplementing them with additional info and testimony, they weren't really concerned with 'proving' all doctrines from Scripture. When you write a letter to a friend, you need not go into details upon what is already agreed upon.

Rhology said...

Joe,

Do we disagree on Matthew 13?

Not since you've gone back and changed your story. You'd said:

The Church affirms Matthew 13, that She will consists, as Kingdom of God on Earth, of both wheat and tares until Final Judgment.

And now you're asking me whether I agree that the field is in fact the world (after I corrected you). I applaud you on the willingness to retract in the face of evidence to the contrary.
So let's see if we agree now...


Or do we agree that the parable refers to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?

No, that's not the meaning of the parable. The field is the WORLD. The world is right now the kingdom of Satan (2 Cor 4:4), into which the kingdom of God (the church, the Gospel) is breaking. AFTER the cleaning out mentioned in Matt 13, the world will be the kingdom of God, but it's not now. Why? B/c of all the tares!
Getting back to the original assertion from you, you said the field is the church. That is incorrect. Can we agree on that?



You've asked me for Magisterial teaching, and I keep offering you Ott

And so I conclude that you can't in fact provide Mag teaching.
The next question is: In what way is the Magisterium helpful?



any list I come up with would be subject to the same nitpicking.

1) By OTHER RCs, yes.
2) If you actually had a list (fallible, even, or infallible of course) of Mag teaching, then you wouldn't be stuck in this problem.
Ironically, RCs like to rip Sola Scriptura for not having a good answer on the Canon question, but turn around to RCC, and RCC doesn't even have a fallible Canon of authoritative teaching, much less an infallible one.



At this point, I'm pretty thoroughly convinced you don't actually care about what the Magisterium *actually* teaches.

I'd care if you could point me to where said teaching is.
So, is impugning my motives in the face of continual avoidance of my question "irenic" or "charitable"?



it doesn't condemn "liberalism" by name, but it condemns a whole slew of propositions which the generic Catholic liberal embraces.

1) Wait just a minute. How can you know that, since you can't point me to a list of Mag teachings? How do you know ANYTHING is a Mag teaching?
2) Liberalism is a huge problem in RCC. What good is the Mag if it doesn't address problems directly?



you know that the Church has excommunicated individuals in the past.

And I know that many, many more SHOULD be excomm'd, and aren't.



Neither does Matthew 18 call for such an approach. Rather, it calls for the Church - as a last resort - to excommunicate those who are visibly choking the wheat.

Then I'd suggest you read up on liberalism. Here's a good place to start, written, ironically, by a Presbyterian. Why are the good books against liberalism and postmodernity all written by Protestants and not members of The True Church?

Rhology said...

And they are attacks

Whining about your mistaken appraisal of my attacks on your POSITION as attacks on YOU is not an evidence of thick skin.


because at no point have you engaged any of the thoughts we're discussing.

Please. Then why are you answering my thoughts with thoughts of your own?
Is mislabeling all my arguments as abusive ad hominem "attacks" the work of a "calm", "irenic", "charitable" interlocutor?
(Please note that I'm only bringing up "irenic", etc, b/c YOU did. I don't tend to question people on their tone unless they use profanity, b/c it's generally a waste of time and a sign of a postmodernist streak and/or a thin skin. I'm just showing how ludicrous such complaints are.)



If you're uninterested in discussing the passage from 2 Timothy 3

1) I believe I asked Nick a specific question on that in my 1st comment. If you can find where anyone has answered the question, please be so kind as to quote it.
2) My 2nd question was also directly related to the post - that's why I quoted the post.



Shawn Miller,

If you had to choose 5 essential, academically oriented works on all things catholic, what would they be?

May I ask whether you find Joe's and my discussion of where Magisterial teachings can be found helpful and relevant to this question?
If not, why doesn't it bother you that Joe, an obviously fairly-well-educated RC, can't tell you where to find the living voice of the Church?

Peace,
Rhology

lozeerose said...

Rhology, I am going to address your first 2 points based on your last comment wondering why nobody seems to present an adequate defense of the truly orthodox position (a clue is your unwillingness to consider other arguments), which is found in what the Catholic Church teaches.

1)Why the term sufficient is not...sufficient in terms of Sacred Scripture: Let me first begin by pointing out what you may already know and what may have already been addressed. At the time of Paul's penning of 2 Timothy, the only scripture referenced was the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Septuagint. Should the error of sola scriptura be carried out to its conclusion then the entirety of the New Testament canon could not be considered "inspired" because its own existence is not biblical and I think is even be considered heretical by Jews today.

If we examine the verse in context (not only in the bible but also historically), we note that Timothy was already acquainted “with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15).” Most scholars agree that Paul wrote 2 Timothy sometime around the first half of the first century. This shows that 2 Timothy, as well as other Pauline texts, pre-date the penning of the 4 gospels (the earliest being Mark (AD 65-75), as Paul was executed by Nero sometime between AD 63-67.

As a young man, apparently well versed in the Old Testament, Paul was reminding Timothy that the Septuagint contained all that was necessary to affirm/confirm that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Christ. Early Christian homiletics were built upon the text from the Old Testament all of which point to Our Blessed Lord. An example of this is found in the First Reading of today’s Mass which comes from Acts 13:26-33 wherein Paul states in verse 33, “this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, `Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.'”

However, 2 Tim 3:15 informs us that Timothy still required an act of faith as the verbal instruction from Paul, as found in 2 Tim 1:13, 2 Tim 2:2. As with any element of instruction, one must have faith not only in their instructor but also in He Who instructed him. This is why Paul reminds Timothy in verse 16 “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” yet he does not state “sufficient” or even allude to Scripture as being enough. This is because, as the Church states in CCC108, “the Christian faith is not a ‘religion of the book’. Christianity is the religion of the ‘Word’ of God, a word that is ‘not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living’. If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, ‘open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures.’” This act of the Holy Spirit is the authority to interpret Scripture (and bind and loose, etc.) given to the Church by Jesus Himself (Mt 16:18-19, Mt 18:17-20, 1 Tim 3:15) and guaranteed free from error by the same.

lozeerose said...

2)Not all Catholics accept the 73 books (or even Church authority for that matter): Let me be blunt here. The Church is a hospital of sinners and not a museum for saints (Dear Abby). Moreover, your second point is total bull. You know that when Nick or anyone else says that “all Catholics” or even yourself if you say “all Protestants” do, say, or believe something – we are speaking in general terms. Yet, because the Church has divine authority Nick is correct in stating that “all Catholics,” I am certain he means faithful Catholics (John 5:24, 14:15, 14:23-24, 15:10, 15:20; Luke 6:47, 10:16 – you get the picture) accept not only the 73 books of the Bible but also the authority of Magisterium that defined them through the infallibility granted her by Christ via the Holy Spirit. Even you as a Protestant hold to what the Church defined as inspired text in the New Testament. Without the Church, you would have no certainty of what is and is not canon. Therefore, if you, as most Protestants I know, consider yourselves to catholic and not Catholic – then I would toss you into the camp with non-faithful Catholics. Because it is under your own false authority, of which Jesus (John 5:39; Mark 13:22; Matt 7:15, 24:11, 24) and Peter (2 Peter 1:20) warned you, that you interpret Scripture; “labor[ing] for the food which perishes (John 6:27)” instead of laboring for food that gives eternal life (John 6:40). That food, which is the “Bread of Life (John 6:22-59)” – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ given up for you on Calvary (Luke 22:19-20, Mark 14:22-24, Matt 26:26-28) – is the one you reject by your doubt and disobedience (1 Peter 2:4-7, Acts 4:11, Luke 20:17, Mark 12:10, Matt 21:42, Psalm 118:22).

For more on Scripture, you can find me on Twitter at reallozeerose.

Rhology said...

I admit I would like to know whether the other RCs reading this combox agree with lozeerose.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with Lozeerose and would like to inser here a small wrting from a document called "the canon of The Bible"
All Christians realize that if God has revealed Himself by communicating His will to man, man must be able to know with assurance where that revelation lies. Hence the need for a list (i.e. canon) of books of the Bible. In other words, man needs to know without error (i.e. infallibly) what the books of the Bible are. There must be an authority which will make that decision.
The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included therein. A canon distinguishes what is revealed and divine from what is not revealed and human. "Canon" (Greek kanon) means a reed; a straight rod or bar; a measuring stick; something serving to determine, rule, or measure. Because God did not explicitly reveal what books are the inspired books of the Bible, title by title, to anyone, we must look to His guidance in discovering the canon of the Bible.
Jesus has told us that he has not revealed all truths to us.
Jn 16:12-13
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.
Jesus then told us how he was planning to assist us in knowing other truths.
Jn 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.
Jn 15:26
When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.
The New Testament writers sensed how they handled truth-bearing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
1 Cor 15:3-4
For I handed on (paredoka) to you as of first importance what I also received ...
2 Tim 2:2
And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust (parathou) to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.
And always remember; the NT is a compilation of books declared sacred by the Catholic Church inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Lozeerose,

So good! Thank you!

Rhology,

Yeah, he's right on. I actually wrote on two of these topics within the last couple days:
(1) 2 Tim 3:13-17 originally referred to the OT (#2 here: http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2010/04/two-things-to-consider-regarding-sola.html)
(2) Paul's Acts 11 sermon has a profound set of OT prophesies ( http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2010/04/st-paul-summarizes-old-testament.html)

Hope that helps- God bless!

Despite this, I'd never drawn the connection until reading Lozeerose's comment.

JoeyHenry said...

The main argument of Nick is how to translate and understand 2 Timothy 3:16, whether it means "every scripture" or "all scripture", and that the protestants will lose the doctrine of sola scriptura if doubts arise against translating 2 Timothy 3:16 as "all scripture".

Answer: Nick misapplied 2 Timothy 3:16 in establishing sola scriptura. Whether we translate it as "every scripture" (emphasizing every part of scripture) or "all scripture" (emphasizing the composite whole of scripture) will not in any way diminish sola scriptura. The application of 2 Timothy 3:16 on sola scriptura hinges on the assertion about the unique nature of Scripture -- that it is theopneustos. There is a revelation from God that Paul asserts as "inspired by God" and it is Scripture. The verse says, "Every Scripture is theopneustos". There is no greater and of higher authoritative revelation about God than what God has spoken out of His mouth about Himself -- and this kind of "ultimate authority" is contained in Scripture per the assertion of 2 Timothy 3:16. The very reason then why Scripture is "ofilemos" for teaching, correcting, reproof and training in righteousness is because it contains the pure source of knowledge on God's revelation about Himself where no other competing source could offer.

Thus, the unaltered effect of using "God-breathed Scripture" is that the man dedicated to God may be "qualified or competent" -- meaning he is sufficiently or adequately equipped for "every good work" because of the pure source upon which he basis his teaching, reproof, correction and training. The source (i.e. the Scripture) simply is pure and carries with it the highest authority of God's divine revelation about himself because it is "God-breathed". Such pure divine revelation is not found in pagan rituals of the pagan world, nor the stories of Zeus or Artemis, nor the religious traditions of Judaism, nor the modern writings and traditions of modern religionists...It is found in "God breathed" Scripture.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Joey,

Very well-written and thoughtful reply. As I understand it, there are three possible ways of defending sola Scriptura:
(A)The Bible says that Scripture is sufficient, so it’s sufficient.
(B)The Bible says that Scripture is inspired. While 2 Thes 2:15 says that Tradition transmitted both by writing (Scripture) and word of mouth (extra-Scriptural Tradition) are binding, that was true only during the age of revelation. By the close of the Apostolic age, all binding traditions had be inscripturated.
(C)All Scripture is inspired, only some traditions are. Therefore, when there’s a tension, Scripture wins.

Nick originally makes four arguments against (A):
1. That the passage can mean "all Scripture" (collectively) or "each Scripture."
2. That St. Paul is referring to the Old Testament in the passage.
3. That at the time Paul wrote this passage, Scripture wasn't the sole rule of faith or the sole infallible source of the binding Apostolic Faith.
4. That grammatically, Scripture is "helpful," not sufficient. It is helpful for the Four Ends, which are, in turn sufficient (but brought about by more than Scripture alone).

In your response, you say Nick “misapplied” the passage. I think agree that 2 Timothy 3:14-17 doesn’t prove (A), but that you think it can be used to establish (B). Your argument seems essentially to be that in the Apostolic age, there were God-breathed Scriptures and God-breathing Apostles. Now we only have the former, so that's what we base everything off of. But the entire notion of Sacred Tradition is that the God-breathed things which the Apostles said (but didn't write down) were remembered and discussed by their followers, and that while we don't have transcripts of their sermons, we know what was discussed by their followers' writing about it later. It's less direct than Tertius quoting Paul verbatim (Romans 16:22), but functionally identical.

To arrive at your conclusions, you seem to be arguing:
1. Scripture is God-breathed (inspired), and helps us to arrive at the Four Ends.
2. Only Scripture is God-breathed. You argue that the “application of 2 Timothy 3:16 on sola scriptura hinges on the assertion about the unique nature of Scripture,” and contrast Scripture with any “other competing source.”
3. Therefore, since only Scripture is inspired (while everything else is edifying at best, an opponent of Scripture at worst), we should rely upon Scripture alone.

Your #1 is granted by all parties to this discussion. Catholics think that all Apostolic Tradition is inspired whether Scriptural or extra-Scriptural. So Scripture is clearly God-breathed.

Your #2 seems to assume what you’re trying to prove – that Scripture alone is inspired. Proving Scripture is God-breathed doesn't prove that only Scripture is God-breathed. It’s true Scripture is the only source of Tradition referred to in that manner biblically, but plenty of other passages describe the Holy Spirit speaking through people in oral form: Luke 1:41-42, Luke 12:11-12, Luke 21:14-15, Acts 2:4, Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:8-10, etc., etc. So Scripture isn’t “unique” in being God-breathed, nor are these oral forms of God-breathed Truth “competing.” 2 Thes. 2:15 shows that both written and unwritten forms of Tradition are binding.

(cont.)

Joe Heschmeyer said...

(cont. from above)

You might argue that this is no longer true after the Apostolic age, because of inscripturization. But inscripturization is an extra-Biblical tradition. Scripture says there are two sources of Tradition, and Scripture never says that everything important will be written down. A tradition of man (inscripturization) can’t then contradict Scripture and says, “now there is only one source of Tradition: Scripture.” Both Catholics and Protestants agree that there are no new publicly-binding revelations after the Apostolic age. But that doesn’t mean 2 Thes. 2:15 ceases to be true. Tradition (whether big or little t) refers to something “passed on,” and that passing on of the faith delivered once for all to the Apostles doesn’t cease after the last Apostle dies.

This leaves (C). The argument is basically that while there may be authentic Traditions, there are also traditions of men mixed in. How do we know that what was delivered once remains pure? There are two ways. First, the Holy Spirit. Second, the Church. And third, history (that is, comparing the primary sources with what we know believe). This is the same, incidentally, as for Scripture. Scripture literally means “writings,” so there are Sacred Scriptures and scriptures of men. The early Church struggled with the question of which scriptures were Scriptures, just as they struggled with the question of which traditions were Traditions. Ultimately, the Church settled both questions. But beyond this, we don't have a first-edition of a single book of Scripture. So both you and I have to trust that the Church, through the protection of the Holy Spirit, prevented any significant errors in translating and re-translating Scripture. In explaining and re-explaining the Apostolic Tradition, we can see the Church Fathers agreeing on a vast number of issues (similar to multiple Biblical periscopes agreeing on specific wording or context). For identical reasons you trust that a translation of a translation of Tertius quoting Paul constitutes the God-breathed Book of Romans in your Bible, we Catholics trust that Sacred Tradition remains uncorrupted.

Also, a significant problem with (C) is that it assumes we all agree on which books are Scriptures. The early Church’s answer differs from the Protestant answer. Find, if you can, a single 66-book proto-Protestant canon in the early Church. I tried to here, but wasn’t able to. For example, the notion that Christians determined the canon of the New Testament, while non-Christian Jews determined the canon of the Old would be an idea utterly alien to the early Christians (many of whom were born Jewish). Besides, if you concede that even some extra-scriptural traditions are in fact Tradition (even if you find it hard to determine which ones), you're already conceding that sola Scriptura is false. So (C) isn't really a defense of sola Scriptura at all.

So the short answer is, God has entrusted us with Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the Church is a helpful guide in distinguishing the true from the false. God bless!

Joe.

JoeyHenry said...

Joe,

I only see one way of asserting sola scriptura. The presupposition that I have to make is that revelation that comes from God is the ultimate source of authority we can utilize to perceive who God is as we are fallible and limited human beings. A certain branch of revelation falls under what theology calls Special Revelation which the mere revelation about God from creation can not convey.

Special Revelation is mainly revealed by the Apostles and Prophets. The prophets and apostles recognized that there are sources of revelation which are unique... Paul used the term theopneustos (btw, it does not only mean "inspired"). He refers to Scripture as theopneustos in 1 Timothy 3:16.

The revelation contained in Scripture may be preached verbally and may be reproduced in writing. 2 Thes. 2:15, for example, implies that "teachings" coming from the Apostle contained in the gospel (v. 14) is proclaimed in many ways... preaching (speech in nature) or writings. Thus, if an ordinary layman preach that Jesus died, was buried and rose again, it doesn't mean that what he is revealing to his congregation is NOT inspired. The source of such revelation are from the Apostles confirmed in Scriptures and thus even if a mere layman shouts its truths, the contents of those truths remain inspired for eternity.

Now, if there are competing revelations out there not found in Scripture, then it must be proven that it is a Special Revelation which comes from the Apostles and Prophets. That is why, even the ancients are careful to ground their teachings in Scripture as it is the only confirmatory source that such revelation is Special in nature and thus possess the ultimate seal of authority (i.e. it is theopnuestos).

On a practical note therefore, if the a certain group of fallible people such as the Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy asserts that to be called a Christian he/she must believe that Mary is immaculately conceived and that there is such a thing as the Assumption of Mary or Purgatory or the teaching from the Apostles to Veneration Images... well, they have to prove that this is a Special revelation. And without the confirmatory seal of biblical revelation, these teachings will always be put into question by the people of God.

That is why, I believe Scripture is the ultimate authority because any teaching not confirmed by it will suffer distrust among the churches.

Thanks,
Joey

JoeyHenry said...

Argument: Your #2 seems to assume what you’re trying to prove – that Scripture alone is inspired. Proving Scripture is God-breathed doesn't prove that only Scripture is God-breathed.

Answer: True. But to prove that I am wrong to assume that Scripture alone is theopneustos, you have to prove that there are other revelation out there that has the same nature as Scripture. So the question becomes, if revelation about God in Scripture is not the only theopneustos, what then are the "teachings" not found in Scripture that are "God-breathed" that should be believed by every Christian today?


Argument: It’s true Scripture is the only source of Tradition referred to in that manner biblically, but plenty of other passages describe the Holy Spirit speaking through people in oral form: Luke 1:41-42, Luke 12:11-12, Luke 21:14-15, Acts 2:4, Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:8-10, etc., etc. So Scripture isn’t “unique” in being God-breathed, nor are these oral forms of God-breathed Truth “competing.” 2 Thes. 2:15 shows that both written and unwritten forms of Tradition are binding.

Answer: Did you notice that all your examples of supposedly 'extra-biblical' teachings that are theopneustos are all in the Scripture? You just referenced them. So I am not sure where you're coming from. :)


Regards,
Joey

JoeyHenry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoeyHenry said...

Joe,

Just a final note on 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Both of us agree that divine revelation can proclaimed verbally or in writing. I do not dispute that. The thing is, the nature of revelation described in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is that it comes from the Apostles... ("teachings that we taught you"). The context further is about the gospel (v. 14). So if you think that there are other information out there about the gospel that comes from the Apostles that are not found in Scripture... tell us what it is! You seem to have a partim partim view of divine revelation in Catholic theology. Do you?

Nick said...

Joey,

You said, "Nick misapplied 2 Timothy 3:16 in establishing sola scriptura. Whether we translate it as "every scripture" (emphasizing every part of scripture) or "all scripture" (emphasizing the composite whole of scripture) will not in any way diminish sola scriptura. The application of 2 Timothy 3:16 on sola scriptura hinges on the assertion about the unique nature of Scripture -- that it is theopneustos."

My main objection with this is that it reduces the problem to 'inspiration', when that's really not an issue: all sides agree Scripture is inspired, but this says nothing uniquely in favor of Sola Scriptura. As for the term 'theopneustos', the most that can be garnered from this term is the concept of 'inspiration'.

The pasa graphe issue is extremely important, for it throws a wrench in proving 'sufficiency' from 3:16-17 - keeping in mind this passage is the 'strongest' proof text Protestants have for Sola Scriptura.

Nick said...

It seems that Joe H has said much of what I was just said, but did so in much greater detail and precision. Very good.

I'd like to comment now on Joey's response.

First, Catholics agree that "Special Revelation" is information God wants us to know but is not conveyed through natural means (e.g. creation) but instead Divinely Revealed. We also agree that "Special Revelation is mainly revealed by the Apostles and Prophets."

The *catch* here is that you can *not* *assume* this Revelation was "confined wholly unto writing" (WCF 1.1) in the sense SS teaches. This 'catch' is critical, but often overlooked in favor of a common logical fallacy, begging the question. This fallacy manifests itself in various ways, but in essences consists of the Protestant (intentionally or unintentionally) shifting the burden of proof onto the Catholic, rather than offering 'positive' proof (from Scripture) for Sola Scriptura. I wrote an apologetics article on this very subject titled, "Sola Scriptura is Self Refuting".

Without realizing it, you have engaged in this fallacious argumentation throughout your last three responses. For example, take the following quotes:

"Now, if there are competing revelations out there not found in Scripture, then it must be proven that it is a Special Revelation which comes from the Apostles and Prophets."

"On a practical note therefore, if the a certain group of fallible people such as the Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy asserts that to be called a Christian he/she must believe [...doctrine X,Y,Z...] they have to prove that this is a Special revelation. And without the confirmatory seal of biblical revelation, these teachings will always be put into question by the people of God."

And especially these last two,

"That is why, I believe Scripture is the ultimate authority because any teaching not confirmed by it will suffer distrust among the churches."

"to prove that I am wrong to assume that Scripture alone is theopneustos, you have to prove that there are other revelation out there that has the same nature as Scripture."

These comments all take the form of 'Sola Scriptura is *assumed* true until proven otherwise'. It is a fallacious form of argumentation and shifting the burden of proof. This is not 'positive' proof and thus does nothing whatsoever in favor of SS; quite the contrary, it causes SS to be a self-refuting doctrine. (Again, see my article, "Sola Scriptura is Self Refuting".)

JoeyHenry said...

Argument: My main objection with this is that it reduces the problem to 'inspiration', when that's really not an issue: all sides agree Scripture is inspired, but this says nothing uniquely in favor of Sola Scriptura. As for the term 'theopneustos', the most that can be garnered from this term is the concept of 'inspiration'.

Answer: Actually, Nick has not realized that the issue is exactly "inspiration". Are there any other ultimate authority that Christians must defer with than that which is "theopneustos"? The question then is, what other "inspired" teachings should a Christian believe than what is contained in Scripture?

JoeyHenry said...

Argument: The *catch* here is that you can *not* *assume* this Revelation was "confined wholly unto writing" (WCF 1.1) in the sense SS teaches... These comments all take the form of 'Sola Scriptura is *assumed* true until proven otherwise'.

Answer: First, let's put a little context. WCF 1.1 states that what is "knowledge of God" and "of His Will, necessary unto salvation" was preserved wholly into writing.

Second, the conclusion 'Sola Scriptura' is not assumed in the argument. The argument I made presupposes that what comes out from God's own breathing (metaphor) has the highest authority exactly because it comes from God. The revelation contained in Scripture carries that title as believed by Paul and early Christianity. Thus, the logic shows that what is contained in Scripture has ultimate supremacy against any other competing "teachings" unless those teachings has the same nature as "theopneustos". That's it. So, if you want to say that there are "teachings" out there floating around that are "inspired" but which information is not found in Scripture, then we want to know what it is... Can you tell us what those teachings are?

lozeerose said...

For the Protestant: If the matter is solely inspiration then I pose a few questions::
1. Outside of 2 Tim 3:16, how do you know the Bible, especially the NT canon, is inspired? Is there some prophecy or reference n the OT.
2. If the canon was not already established, how do you go about defining the canon? If there is a TOC in the Scripture, please identify.
3. Under whose authority did Luther remove the 6 Deuterocanonical texts and why should we trust a disgruntled ex-priest? Was his work inspired? If so, please provide evidence. If, not why follow a heretic?
4. Please respond to how the word found in John 20:21, "When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit." And 2 Thes 2:15, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle." Also 1 Peter 1:20, "Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation." All favor Sola Fide?

Rhology said...

Anonymous:
The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included therein

Just remember this, however:
1) The RCC does not have a definite closed Canon of Scripture, fallible OR infallible
2) For a Sola Scripturist like me, the Canon of Scr is my list of infallible, authoritative teachings. For the RC, "Sacred Tradition" + Scripture + Magisterial teaching are infallible, authoritative teachings. Where is RCC's infallible list of those teachings? Nowhere.
3) For that matter, where is ANY, FALLIBLE list of those teachings? Also nowhere.
So actually, the Sola Scripturist is in a better position with respect to this question.



Joe Heschmeyer,

Yeah, he's right on

Thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately, what lozeerose said was largely incoherent, so...so much the worse for your position.


(1) 2 Tim 3:13-17 originally referred to the OT

Of course it did - v 15 makes that very clear.
Yet by extension, it doesn't say "Only the Scripture that has been given up to this day"; it says "All Scripture". So that point doesn't do anything for you.



Paul's Acts 11 sermon has a profound set of OT prophesies

Yes, definitely. I don't know how that's relevant to this question, though. It's not as if I'm New-Testament-only.


Proving Scripture is God-breathed doesn't prove that only Scripture is God-breathed.

One would think that it might refer to another God-breathed source, then, rather than explicitly instructing us to subject all so-called authoritative tradition to the standard of Scripture to be judged by it.


But inscripturization is an extra-Biblical tradition.

What does that even mean? It's not a "tradition" - it's an event.


How do we know that what was delivered once remains pure? There are two ways. First, the Holy Spirit. Second, the Church

Or...one way - the Scripture.
Especially if you want to test whether the Church is getting it right. It IS made up of sinful people, after all.

Peace,
Rhology

lozeerose said...

To Rhology
1)No defined Canon of ScriptureYou are wrong here. The Church does have an infallibly defined set of Scripture canon 27 books in the New & 46 in the Old. The Church is infallible & scripture is inerrant. But which came first the Canon or the Church?
2)Canon of Scr is my list of infallible, authoritative teachings.You said it here - my li Who gave you the authority to define canon? Plus your extension of infallibility to SS is incorrect. SS is inerrant & the canon was infallibly defined. Infallibility, is inability to teach error. This prevents the Church from proclaiming dogmatic error. Sacred Tradition is inerrant but what is defined as such is done so infallibly. The mechanism for such definition is the Magisterium which is infallible in the matter of faith & morals (see 2 Thes 2:15 & Matt 16:18). There is nothing that is infallibly taught by the Church that can be contradicted in Scripture, yet sola sciptura is in itself without scriptural founding. & for a list of teachings please refer to the Catechism
3) For that matter, where is ANY, FALLIBLE list of those teachings? Also nowhere. The CCC. Read it & know what, why & how the Church truly believes.So actually, the Sola Scripturist is in a better position with respect to this question. Do you have more verification for this in scripture or even proof that the first Christians also believed this. As far as history can tell this only came about during the "Reformation."

lozeerose said...

Responding to a comment made through a response of Joe H.’s comment
Thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately, what lozeerose said was largely incoherent, so...so much the worse for your position. Really, so why not refute my arguments directly? Or for that matter answer the 4 questions of my previous comment?
(1) 2 Tim 3:13-17 originally referred to the OT Yet by extension, it doesn't say "…up to this day"; it says "All Scripture". So that point doesn't do anything for you. You are reading into scripture what you wish. NT canon was not defined then plus, the inspired author's did not know they were being "inspired" with exception to John when he penned the book of Revelation."
Paul's Acts 11 sermon has a profound set of OT prophesies
Yes, definitely. I don't know how that's relevant to this question, though. It's not as if I'm New-Testament-only. Goes to further my original point that references to inspired scripture always went back to the OT as the NT was being written & not yet recognized by all as "inspired."
Proving Scripture is God-breathed doesn't prove that only Scripture is God-breathed.
One would think that it might refer to another God-breathed source, then, rather than explicitly instructing us to subject all so-called authoritative tradition to the standard of Scripture to be judged by it. John 20:21 says that Jesus, who is God, breathed on the apostles & sent them...to forgive sins. But of course, a similar thing happened at Pentecost: "And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, & it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2)." & they went on to fulfill Mt 16:18 - the Church, which is the"the household of God...the church of the living God, the pillar & bulwark of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). Oh & take Acts 2:2 back to Genesis 1:2, 2:7 & 3:8 where the verbs moving, breathed & walking were, if I recall correctly, all the same in the original Hebrew & all referred to wind/breathing.
How do we know that what was delivered once remains pure?
Or...one way - the Scripture. Well who's going to interpret scripture & get it right? apparently I can go to several churches of the same protestant denomination & get a whole slew of contradicting interpretations on scripture "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace... (1 Cor 14:33)?" Also consider Paul's appeal in 1 Cor 1:10, "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree & that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind & the same judgment."
Especially if you want to test whether the Church is getting it right. It IS made up of sinful people, after all. But is protected from teaching error by He Who is not sin or sinful.

Nick said...

Joey,

You said: "Actually, Nick has not realized that the issue is exactly "inspiration". Are there any other ultimate authority that Christians must defer with than that which is "theopneustos"? The question then is, what other "inspired" teachings should a Christian believe than what is contained in Scripture?"

The reasoning here is flawed, regardless of how appealing it might sound. If the Bible gave a clear mandate for SS, your questions would be nonsense- they'd be *precluded*. Your very line of questioning demonstrates that you're assuming SS is true until proven otherwise, but an assumption is not proof positive at all.

I try to phrase my posts and arguments very carefully so that the real issues will not be missed. The issue at hand is whether *Scripture* itself gives Christians a mandate to engage in SS. This means regardless of what proof Catholics can or can't give for the Catholic Church, Sola Scriptura still requires Scriptural mandate, not assumptions.

You also said: "the conclusion 'Sola Scriptura' is not assumed in the argument. The argument I made presupposes that what comes out from God's own breathing (metaphor) has the highest authority exactly because it comes from God. The revelation contained in Scripture carries that title as believed by Paul and early Christianity. Thus, the logic shows that what is contained in Scripture has ultimate supremacy against any other competing "teachings" unless those teachings has the same nature as "theopneustos". That's it. So, if you want to say that there are "teachings" out there floating around that are "inspired" but which information is not found in Scripture, then we want to know what it is... Can you tell us what those teachings are?"

You're assuming "inspired" means "sole inspired," even 'sufficient', which is simply fallacious. It's a jump to conclusions. That God's Revelation holds a unique authority above non-inspired teaching is not disputed, *thus* your "thus" above (while agreed upon) is non-sequitor to proving *sole*-inspiration or sufficiency.

As a clear example of how your argument is fallacious, look back to the year 33AD, shortly after Pentecost. Paul had not converted yet, so obviously his Epistles couldn't have existed, and the Apostles had not penned anything yet either. We agree the OT is inspired, but does that in and of itself mean the OT was the only thing inspired or even that it's sufficient? Not at all. Further, it's clear the Apostles were inspired by God in their oral teachings, which is solid proof that more than one source can be inspired and co-exist with other inspired sources.

So you are, in fact, assuming a lot of critical factors here, even if you don't realize it.

The SS advocate should be striving to prove their doctrine *from Scriptural mandate*, not assumed principles, and that's why I specifically went after the critical 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (which is the 'strongest' proof they can offer).

Rhology said...

lozeerose,

You are wrong here. The Church does have an infallibly defined set of Scripture canon 27 books in the New & 46 in the Old.

Sorry, you are ignorant. Please see Gary Michuta's discussion of the Council of Trent's passing over 1 or 2 Apocryphal books in silence. Open Canon.


But which came first the Canon or the Church?

The Canon - God has known from eternity past what He will inspire.
Plus, the OT precedes the church.



Who gave you the authority to define canon?

Any rational reader will know that "my" is simply shorthand for "Sola Scripturists'".
The rest of that part of the comment is, again, incoherent.



The CCC. Read it & know what, why & how the Church truly believe

Please quote the section(s) of the CCC in which it defines your authoritative teachings. Note the section number so everyone can look it up.

Yeah, you can't. Like I said, not even a fallible canon, which puts the RC in the uncomfy position of asking questions he himself can't answer. Thanks, try again.



NT canon was not defined then plus, the inspired author's did not know they were being "inspired" with exception to John when he penned the book of Revelation."

Even if I granted you that they didn't know, I don't see how that's even remotely relevant. GOD knew, and God only breathed out certain books, and all the other books that have ever been written throughout human history are NOT theopneustos.
(BTW, why did you put "inspired" in quotations? That's what 2 Tim 3:16 says - inspired.)



not yet recognized by all as "inspired."

Again, please explain why that's relevant. God knew they were inspired.



John 20:21 says that Jesus, who is God, breathed on the apostles & sent them...to forgive sins.

1) And all your other citations don't tell us anythg about doctrine or teaching. Fail #1.
2) You have apparently never learned that Sola Scriptura takes the obvious into account - the apostles were shaluach of the Lord Jesus and had His authority. But I don't see any apostles around today. Please let me know if you know where I can find one, and if anyone's ever asked him how he survived all these 2000 yrs.



Well who's going to interpret scripture & get it right?

More incoherence. Well who's going to interpret tradition and church pronouncements & get it right?
This must be your 1st time talking to a Sola Scripturist.



apparently I can go to several churches of the same protestant denomination

Ooh, so much juicy fail. Read these articles and get back to me.



But is protected from teaching error by He Who is not sin or sinful.

That's a lovely assertion. Now all you need is an argument.

Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

Lozeerose,

You have written a lot of good stuff here, but please don't get sucked into dancing to Rhology's (off topic) agenda. He has yet to address the key issue here, pasa graphe, and he'll take any excuse to keep avoiding it.

lozeerose said...

Thank you for the encouraging words Nick. It is this inability to soundly defend Protestant doctrine that shows us the sad truth that they who profess "scripture alone" actually "follow the traditions of men."

Rhology said...

You may think it's key, and that's fine, but I've answered that and answered why I'm not dealing with it right now. I don't see you, however, answering either of my two original comments. And it's been 60+ comments now.
Besides, lozeerose is the one who started the incoherent comment thing.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

You've asked (once more) for a comprehensive list of every teaching which the Catholic Church believes. This is no more possible for you than for me. The best lists I know of are Ott's and the Catechism, but you already know that. But you want an infallible go-to guide for every moral situation, and I don't think that's a standard you can live up to yourself.

Take abortion, for example. Almost every conservative Protestant I know thinks it's both immoral and forbidden for any Christian to embrace. They cite to the Biblical injunction that "thou shalt not kill." But in addition to this major premise is an understanding that its scope refers to murder, not all killing; and murder of humans, not of animals (as this sola Scriptura website explains at length). There's then the minor premise that the fetus is a human person within the scope of what the major premise refers to, before the conclusion that "thou shalt not kill" also means "thou shalt not abort at any stage in the pregnancy." Don't get me wrong. I think that this conclusion is absolutely correct. I just don't think you can make a total list of every belief that Christians (of any stripe) have. After all, pro-choice self-proclaimed Christians claim to be following this Commandment as well, and typically believe that they are. Likewise, even claims about Christ operate on a near-infinite number of implicit assumptions.

My point is that you believe both in the Bible and in specific exegesis related to the Bible. And it's just impossible to compile every belief which you have. I suppose all I'm trying to say is: John 21:25.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

(1)In your reply to me, you acknowledged that "Of course" 2 Timothy 3:14-17 refers only to the OT. Then you say that what it says is true of all Scriptures, not just the OT. We agree on both parts of this. But this means exactly what Nick had originally argued -- namely, that 2 Timothy 3:14-17 isn't a passage arguing for the sufficiency of Scripture (rather, it's arguing for the inspiration of Scripture, which neither of us refute).

(2) Then, where I had said, "But inscripturization is an extra-Biblical tradition," you replied, "What does that even mean? It's not a 'tradition' - it's an event."

That's my point. Paradosis, the word translated "Tradition," just means something "passed on." The belief that all Apostolic teachings were later written down is a belief passed on. It has no Biblical authority. It's a belief about the Bible not found within the Bible, and is therefore extra-Scriptural.

I'm not positive, but you seem to be conflating "tradition" with "custom." Beliefs about an event (such as the Resurrection, or inscripturization) are also traditions at the point that they are held and passed on as the Truth. If your binding Truths are found only in the Bible, you'll have to point to where the Bible says it alone is the sole source of Faith.

(3) You said if Scripture taught that there was more than one source of Apostolic Tradition, "One would think that it might refer to another God-breathed source, then, rather than explicitly instructing us to subject all so-called authoritative tradition to the standard of Scripture to be judged by it."

This argument is an assumption. You even begin it with "One might think." And then it's supported by an indefensible misrepresentation of the Bible: that somewhere, it's "explicitly instructing us to subject all so-called authoritative tradition to the standard of Scripture to be judged by it."

Burden's on you now to show that this isn't just absurd blunder. Where does the Bible explicitly say to subject all Tradition to the standard of Scripture?

(4) You argued that the way to know that what was delivered once remains pure is, instead of the Holy Spirit and the Church, to use Scripture. But that argument is so circular as to be absurd: we know Scripture is not corrupted because Scripture doesn't mentioned being corrupted?

You say we should test the Church's teachings by the standard of Scripture, because the Church is made of sinful people. But again, this argument goes both ways. Scripture was written by sinful people (under the protection and inspiration of the Holy Spirit), and transcribed and copied and translated by sinful men. How does the argument change if you substitute "Tradition" for "Scripture" in the last sentence?

This seems like another instance of saying, "Tradition isn't inspired because only Scripture is inspired," but that's still meritless.

Does that answer all of the points you raised? If not, let me know which ones you raised (and actually want an answer to), and I'll do my best. Pax Christi,

Joe.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Joey,

Like I said to Rhology, sorry it's taken me so long to get back with you. I was busy this weekend, but I've been really excited about continuing the conversation. You've been an articulate and charitable Christian gentlemen the entire time so far, and I really appreciate that.

I just wanted to remark on a few things, because I think most of what you've said is being addressed.

(1)At the top of your third comment to me, you address 2 Thes. 2:15, and note that it refers specifically to Apostolic Tradition related to the Gospel. Exactly. It's saying that "the Gospel" is bigger than the Bible (or, Tradition "by epistle," in Paul's parlance). At the time he wrote it, he absolutely and irrefutably meant that there was more to Christianity than what had been written down. At the time of the writing, things like John's Revelation and the Gospels had probably not been written, and doctrines like the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception were known only orally.

So the Bible says, "there's more than just the Bible." For this to become no-longer-true, which is what the inscripturization theory claims happened at some point, there would seemingly need to be some equally authoritative God-breathed declaration, since a fallible opinion can't override God-breathed Scripture like 2 Thes. 2:15. So it really is necessary that sola Scriptura not just be an assumption, but provable by Scripture or an equally weighty authority (which the doctrine denies exists).

(2)At the top of your second comment to me, you say

True. But to prove that I am wrong to assume that Scripture alone is theopneustos, you have to prove that there are other revelation out there that has the same nature as Scripture.

So the question becomes, if revelation about God in Scripture is not the only theopneustos, what then are the "teachings" not found in Scripture that are "God-breathed" that should be believed by every Christian today?


That's two questions: (1) is there extra-Scriptural Tradition, and (2) what is it? The first question is clearly answered in the affirmative by the Bible. So regardless of the outcome of #2, the answer can't be "there are no extra-Scriptural Traditions."

Think of it this was. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 says that all Scripture is God-breathed. This then raises the question of which scriptures are Scriptures, but it requires that there are at least some scriptures which are Scriptures. Before we can discuss which books are canonical, we need to establish that such a thing as a canon exists, and 2 Timothy 3:14-17 does so. On this, we all agree.

Likewise, 2 Thes. 2:15 says that in addition to binding Apostolic Tradition by epistle, there is also binding Apostolic Tradition by word of mouth. You are correct in asking, “what are these traditions?” But just as 2 Timothy 3:14-17 requires that some Scriptures exist, 2 Thes 2:15 requires some extra-Scriptural binding Traditions. The question of which ones is a debate which can only be properly had once both sides acknowledge that these Traditions exist. Here, I think your question about which traditions are Traditions puts the cart in front of the horse.

We can get into the specific Traditions, but first, I'd just like to establish that they necessarily exist. Because even if you were right about each Tradition you cite as being non-Apostolic in origin, it wouldn’t make you right, it would just make us wrong. You would still be left tasked by Paul to cling to Traditions passed by word of mouth which you deny exist.

(cont)

Joe Heschmeyer said...

(cont)


(3)You said at one point that all of my examples “of supposedly 'extra-biblical' teachings that are theopneustos are all in the Scripture,” so you were not sure where I was coming from. I think you should look at the verses which I cited. While some of them record the content of the inspired spoken word, many do not. In Luke 12:11-12, for example, Jesus told the Apostles not to worry about their defense before “synagogues, rulers, and authorities” because the Spirit “will teach you at that time what you should say.” I mention this for two reasons. First, it’s God-breathed teaching transmitted orally. And second, Luke 12:11-12 doesn’t say what the teaching is, just that the Holy Spirit will tell them what to say. Acts 4:31 is the same way,where we’re told that a group of believers, lead by Peter and John, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly,” but we’re not told what they said. My suggestion isn’t that Catholics know exactly what was said in these Spirit-lead oral transmissions, but rather that Scripture never considers itself the only God-breathed source of Truth.

Pax Christi,

Joe.

JoeyHenry said...

Joe,

It is becoming clearer now that you are in the old school of interpreting Dei Verbum as teaching two sources of divine revelation which means that there are teachings not included or derived in Scriptures but are also inspired. This is called the partim-partim view of divine revelation. I am not sure what Catholic Seminary still teach this view now a days.

Now, to 2 Thes. 2:15. You would like to interpret it that the written and oral teachings of the Apostles ABOUT THE GOSPEL contains different revelations. The oral teachings being more exhaustive in its revelation that there are things in it necessary about the Gospel that they did not include in their writings. But, that kind of conclusion is not in the text.

The context here is about the Gospel. The verb "stand firm and hold fast" has its object which is the "Gospel teachings". This "Gospel teachings" is the same kind of revelation that the Apostles preached about and wrote about! This "divine revelation about the Gospel" is contained in what the Apostles preached AND also what they have written. We don't have the Apostles today. We don't here the Apostles preach in the street corner. But we are not left with no voice from them since according to 2 Thes. 2:15, the "gospel teachings" were also recorded in their writings. The text does not say that what they've preached orally are more informative to the deficiency of what they've written. Far from it. Rather, the "teachings" are the same "teachings" that they've taught "either by our (i.e. Apostles') spoken word or writings".

Now you've cited Luke 12:11-12 and Acts 4:31 as examples of "extra-biblical" revelation. The thing is, the divine revelation here is that God spoke to these people. That's it. The simple fact that it is not revealed to us in the narrative of the text is that it is not necessary information about the Gospel.

I don't know with you, but since we are not told what the contents of the revelation are in Acts 4:31, are we in a position to guess what the Apostles spoke about and make it mandatory for every Christian to believe our guess -- for example: MAYBE or "PROBABLY" the the revelation contains the "Immaculate Conception" or "Purgatory" or "Papal Infallibility"?

Sorry, Joe... It's just not a good argument for me. This is my last response though in this thread.

Thanks,
Joey

lozeerose said...

The issue here is simple. No Protestant can or has been able to adequately defend the false doctrine of Sola Scriptura and in our particular discussion, vis-à-vis, Nick's original argument. No defense for it can be made. Why is this? Because all Christians, especially Protestants, rely on the Church's dogmatic canon of scripture. Were it not for the Church no one would know that 2Tim 3:16, nor the book it is bound in, is inspired and inerrant. God chooses to work through His Church and most, if not all, dogmatic disagreements stem from the issue Him placing her in a position of authority.

Nick said...

It seems I have quite solidly demonstrated Joey is operating within a severely flawed framework here, and now he's out of arguments. He has (at least implicitly) conceded that Sola Scriptura is not mandated by Scripture and rather "assumed true until shown otherwise."

(As for the issue of pasa graphe, I know Joey is far better versed in Greek than I am, and if he cannot find a hole in my argument, I'm even more confident in my position.)

Lastly, regarding his analysis of 2 Thess 2:15, I'd say the 'or' operator in "word or epistle" suggests the various doctrines were passed on by one means or the other, with each mutually supporting the other, rather than each containing identical information (which would render two sources redundant). But this isn't to say there was a power struggle between the two sources or that radically different teachings were confined to either source; just the opposite - there was likely a lot in common, without having them be identical. Thus, while both could contain essentially the same information, they don't necessarily put the same *emphasis* on any given thing; thus one source might emphasize one doctrine while only implicitly teaching another doctrine, and vice-versa -- and thus one cannot assume that the loss of one is inconsequential to the Christian rule of faith.

Rhology said...

Joe Heschmeyer,

You've asked (once more) for a comprehensive list of every teaching which the Catholic Church believes.

The only reason I do that is b/c RC commenters have asked me for a comprehensive list of every teaching which the Sola Scripturist believes (ie, the Canon). Turnabout is fair play; if you revile my position b/c it doesn't answer the Canon question to your satisfaction, then if you were to be consistent, the RC position would be even more worthy of such reviling. IF you were to be consistent.



This is no more possible for you than for me.

So presumably you'll cut in when RCs ask Protestants for an "infallible canon of Scr" in the future and remind them that they don't want to ask that question. Right?



But you want an infallible go-to guide for every moral situation, and I don't think that's a standard you can live up to yourself.

Which is really funny, since I wasn't the one who brought it up.



They cite to the Biblical injunction that "thou shalt not kill."

It's "murder". But of course, abortion is murder, so we agree.



I just don't think you can make a total list of every belief that Christians (of any stripe) have.

I didn't ask you for a "list of beliefs". I asked you for a list of your infallible and authoritative teachings. You want that from me, I'll tell you to read your Bible. I then ask you for the same, and you point me to... apparently nothing.



I suppose all I'm trying to say is: John 21:25.

Indeed. Romans 14, 1 Cor 8. But also Mark 7:1-13.

Rhology said...

Now, the other comment:

Then you say that what it says is true of all Scriptures, not just the OT.

Yes, b/c it says "All Scripture" or "every Scripture". The NT is Scripture. Ergo...



2 Timothy 3:14-17 isn't a passage arguing for the sufficiency of Scripture (rather, it's arguing for the inspiration of Scripture, which neither of us refute)

Leaving aside whether it's a psg that argues for the sufficiency of Scr, you're quizzing me w.r.t. the RC assertion that there's another source of inspired teaching. I ask you where. You can't provide one. Then you argue that 2 Tim 3 just refers to the OT. I respond thusly. Now you're conceding the point.
You haven't kept track of the argument where it's gone. That would eliminate these kinds of misunderstandings.


The belief that all Apostolic teachings were later written down is a belief passed on.

Yes, the Scriptures were passed on.
And yet, this doesn't tell you what you think it does. Of course the Scr were passed on, but God had decided from eternity past which books He would inspire and which He wouldn't, and the fact that some books are inspired does get passed on, and that's fine, but that's not a "tradition" like, say, the Immaculate Conception. Rather, it's an artifact of revelation - if God inspires some books and not others, we'd expect that He'd enable His people to know which books He inspired.



It's a belief about the Bible not found within the Bible, and is therefore extra-Scriptural.

Hopefully the previous sentences help you understand the problem with saying this.
Further, apply this question to your own position - the stamp of "Magisterial/infallible/authoritative teaching" about Sacred Tradition is not found within the Sacred Tradition, and is therefore extra-Magisterial.
This is one of the major reasons I never became EO, though I considered it for a while - ask the EO (or RC) position the same questions as those they pose to Sola Scriptura, and the answers are far, far worse than Sola Scrip can provide.



And then it's supported by an indefensible misrepresentation of the Bible: that somewhere, it's "explicitly instructing us to subject all so-called authoritative tradition to the standard of Scripture to be judged by it."

Mark 7:1-13. Please provide your exegesis.
See mine for reference if you like.

Rhology said...

we know Scripture is not corrupted because Scripture doesn't mentioned being corrupted?

1) Now ask yourself the same question - we know Church Tradition and Magisterial teaching are not corrupted because Church Tradition and Magisterial teaching don't mention being corrupted?
2) We know it through the impossibility of the contrary. If God has not spoken clearly, sufficiently, and in a way understandable to people, then let us eat, drink, and be merry, for neither today nor tomorrow do we know anything about God, eternal life, atonement, sin, judgment, resurrection, or moral law. Indeed, I'd argue we have no basis for ANY objective epistemology or metaphysics. Such an idea is certainly unlivable, and if one is inclined to argue that its unthinkability is a crutch for weak-minded people, I simply respond that if God did not speak, there's nothing right OR WRONG with being weak-minded.

We're not atheists, my friend. We're theists. Let's act like it consistently, OK?


But again, this argument goes both ways. Scripture was written by sinful people

1) Don't be ridiculous, and don't argue like an atheist. Scripture was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We're both supposed to believe that (unless you're one of the liberals I've been talking about here). Do you? If so, why bring it up? Answer your own question!
2) Notice, also, how this doesn't answer the question about sinful ppl being mbrs of the church. You're just smokescreening. We both accept the Scr. We don't both accept the Magisterium. Defend your position or concede!

Peace,
Rhology

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

You're missing my point. You and I both believe that the Holy Spirit can prevent sinful people from erring, as was done in the inspiration and transmission of Sacred Scripture. My point is that the same was done for the inspiration and transmission of other forms of Tradition as well.

I'm not saying Scripture is corrupt. I'm saying that the whole "the Church is full of sinners, so Truth will be perverted" argument is an argument which taken seriously, would undermine the entire Christian Faith. You're employing special pleading for Scripture because you believe in it, which is why your argument is "we both accept the Scr."

We both accept the Scriptures because we know that sinful man is no obstacle for the Spirit, yet that's the crux of your argument against Tradition.

Rhology said...

You and I both believe that the Holy Spirit can prevent sinful people from erring

Agreed. But we only agree that actually happened with the Scr. W.r.t. to the Magisterium, we most certainly don't agree. Further, you can't tell me where they were protected and where they weren't. I think I have every right to be more than a little suspicious.


I'm saying that the whole "the Church is full of sinners, so Truth will be perverted" argument is an argument which taken seriously, would undermine the entire Christian Faith.

You forgot the 2nd half of the argument, Joe. That's why you think there's such a danger here. The 2nd half was "...so we need a stable, solid, unchanging, for-sure-inspired standard against which to test everything. That's Scripture."

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

You start a sentence, "Leaving aside whether it's a psg that argues for the sufficiency of Scr," but that's the exact point of this thread. Do you conceed that 2 Timothy 3 doesn't teach sufficiency of Scripture? We can both agree that it teaches the inspiration of the OT and NT.

Mark 7:1-13 doesn't remotely teach that every tradition has to be judged by the Bible. It prohibits "rules taught by men" which violate the commands and word of God. To assume that all Traditions are rules of men, and the word of God is found in the Bible assumes what you're supposed to be proving. This passage is great for attacking anti-Scriptural man-made traditions, but not extra-Scriptural tradiions or Traditions. The passage only works for you if you start from the assumption of sola Scriptura: it doesn't prove it even slightly. Catholics completely agree that customs and rules which violate the Gospel (in either written or unwritten form) are invalid.

Your "artifacts of revelation" means the same thing as my "Apostolic Tradition," right?

On your "turnabout is fair play" argument, I'm sort of baffled by this. Catholics think that there are teachings of the Apostles which were transmitted orally and which are reflected in early Christian writings, art, and liturgy. Trying to make a single list of every belief which can be deduced from them would be absurd and impossible. Sola Scripturists believe that every binding teaching must come from the Bible, and Catholics ask where in the Bible the list of books in the Bible comes from, and where in teh Bible the idea that all binding teachings must come from the Bible comes from. And you think that these are the same thing?

God bless,

Joe.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

You're burden-shifting. You're essentially saying, "We both agree on Scripture, so I don't need to prove it. We don't agree on the Magisterium, so you need to prove it." That's no defense of sola Scriptura, particularly since my point was that your arguments against the Magisterium would (taken seriously) invalidate our shared faith in Scripture.

As for your "2nd half of the argument," it's special pleading. You're saying that we can't trust fallible men to get the Faith right, so we need to put our trust in the Scriptures physically written, copied, and translated by fallible men.

Rhology said...

Joe H,

You start a sentence, "Leaving aside whether it's a psg that argues for the sufficiency of Scr," but that's the exact point of this thread.

It's the MAIN point of the POST, but not the ONLY point of the post, and I haven't really addressed it all that much in this combox. Like I said, it would really help if you would remember or review what MY COMMENTS have been addressing, and what RCs have been addressing to me.



Do you conceed that 2 Timothy 3 doesn't teach sufficiency of Scripture?

Of course not. But I don't see how the post's major point is all that dangerous to my position.



Mark 7:1-13 doesn't remotely teach that every tradition has to be judged by the Bible. It prohibits "rules taught by men" which violate the commands and word of God.

And how does Jesus propose in Mark 7:1-13 that we can distinguish between rules taught by men vs teachings from God?



To assume that all Traditions are rules of men

Never said that, so please respond to what I *did* say, not what you imagine I said.



Catholics completely agree that customs and rules which violate the Gospel (in either written or unwritten form) are invalid.

How about those that violate the Scripture? (Scripture and Gospel are not interchangeable terms.)
If so, how do you know you're not supposed to submit all other traditions to Scripture to see if they are good or bad?



Your "artifacts of revelation" means the same thing as my "Apostolic Tradition," right?

No. And I only said "artifact", singular.



Catholics think that there are teachings of the Apostles which were transmitted orally and which are reflected in early Christian writings, art, and liturgy.

Yes, I know you *think* that. The question is whether those are valid.



Trying to make a single list of every belief which can be deduced from them would be absurd and impossible.

Ergo, it'd be stupid for an RC to ask a Sola Scripturist for his infallible Canon of Scr and then crow "victory!" when he can't produce an infallible Canon, wouldn't it?



You're essentially saying, "We both agree on Scripture, so I don't need to prove it. We don't agree on the Magisterium, so you need to prove it."

That's precisely what I'm saying. Unless you want to argue like an atheist. Why would you want to do that? I know your church is all about Darwinian evolution, but do you really need to take it that far?



That's no defense of sola Scriptura

I've defended Scr plenty of times against atheists, for far longer than you've been blogging. Sorry, I don't think you've really grasped what's going on here and what you're doing.



particularly since my point was that your arguments against the Magisterium would (taken seriously) invalidate our shared faith in Scripture.

1) Not the ones I've used to attack the Mag from my POV.
2) I HAVE turned certain arguments back on the Mag, true, but if you pay attention, you'll note that all of them were arguments that RCs used against Sola Scr FIRST.



You're saying that we can't trust fallible men to get the Faith right, so we need to put our trust in the Scriptures physically written, copied, and translated by fallible men.

If you don't think that's been rebutted, sorry, I don't know what else I can tell you. You're welcome to your atheistic arguments. Atheism is irrational, so have fun arguing like adherents to an irrational worldview.
BTW, does your priest know you like arguing like an atheist?

Peace,
Rhology

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Rhology,

This discussion has become unserious and unhelpful. It's been a litany of personal attacks ("Does your priest know" was the final straw for me, if you're wondering).

You're just flinging insults and misrepresenting the other side. You're assuming the worst in all Catholics, like we're being sneaky and dishonest, while we've tried literally dozens of times in this comment thread alone to show your logical and exegetical errors.

If you want to discuss this subject like a charitable Christian and like a grown-up, I'd absolutely love to. But barring that, I'm done. If we don't speak again, God bless you in all your endeavors. I mean that.

Rhology said...

You're just flinging insults

I invite you to quote me "insulting" you.
"Does your priest know ___?" is not an insult, but if you're thin-skinned and bristle when people ask you about the logical outworkings of your position, I can see why one wouldn't want to answer the question.


your logical and exegetical errors.

Like being a theist by conviction and arguing like an atheist?

assuming the worst in all Catholics

Where have I addressed "all Catholics"? Isn't it a "logical and exegetical error" to commit such a category error of extension?

Nice talking to you.

lozeerose said...

To all the Protestants here:
1. How do you know that the Bible is inerrant?
2. Is the Word of God?
3. And that James and Numbers belong in the Bible as opposed to the Book of Mormon or the writings of Mary Baker Eddy?

Rhology said...

To all the RCs here:
1. How do you know that the Magisterium is infallible?
2. How do you know when the magic "ex cathedra"-ness has been invoked?
3. Do you know that infallibly?
4. Are its infallible statements the Word of God?
5. And that the Councils of Nicæa and Trent belong in Sacred Tradition as opposed to the Council of Hieria or the writings of St Cyprian rebuking Pope Stephen?

(To Joe H - this is an[other] example of me asking turnabout questions that I did not introduce. Hopefully you'll join me in acknowledging that lozeerose is adding even less to the convo than you think I am.)

lozeerose said...

Rho,

The reason for me asking those questions in the previous comment is because I am curious as to how solidly know that the Bible is the only authority, the only shepherd, that God left man after the Ascension.

And unlike you, I am going to answer your questions.

To all the RCs here:
1. How do you know that the Magisterium is infallible?

Jn 16:13 - guided by Holy Spirit into all truth
Jn 14:26 - Holy Spirit to teach & remind them of everything
Lk 10:16 - speak with Christ's own voice
1Tim 3:15 - Church called "pillar and foundation of truth"
1Jn 2:27 - anointing of Holy Spirit remains in you
Acts 15:28 - Apostles speak with voice of Holy Spirit
Mt 16:16 - first infallible pronouncement
Mt 28:20 - I am with you always
Lk 10:16 - He who hears you hears me
AA 6:10 - speak with voice of Holy Spirit
Acts 2:42 ... doctrine, community, sacred rite (bread).
Eph 5:25-26 ... Christ loved the Church.
Mt 16:18; 14:26 ... Christ protects Church.
Heb 13:17 ... obey.
Mt 18:17-18 ... church as final authority (bind on earth/heaven).
BONUS - Mt 23:2 ... Pharisees succeeded Moses (seat of Moses).


2. How do you know when the magic "ex cathedra"-ness has been invoked?
Matt. 16:17–19 "keys to the kingdom, bind on earth/heaven"
John 21:15–17 "love Me? Feed my sheep"
To answer your question, it mus be the “the Roman Pontiff” expressly speaking "ex cathedra” (“that is, when in the discharge of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, and by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority….”) to "define" a "doctrine concerning faith or morals” which "must be held by the whole Church.” An example of this invocation can be found in Providentissimus Deus: "To Our Venerable Brethren, All Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic World, in Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See.” (PD, n. 20)


3. Do you know that infallibly?
Yes. I have the assurance of Jesus Christ Himself.

4. Are its infallible statements the Word of God?
No. Infallible statements, which are usually made when some doctrine is called into question, are an affirmation of Sacred Tradition or Sacred Scripture (both the Word of God). These statements clearly define a dogma in order to address a heresy or prevent one.

5. And that the Councils of Nicæa and Trent belong in Sacred Tradition as opposed to the Council of Hieria or the writings of St Cyprian rebuking Pope Stephen
The Councils of Nicaea and Trent were ecumenical councils and thus any teaching made formally and with the similar intent as stated above (papal infallibility) would not be Sacred Tradition but an infallible teaching on such. In the case of Nicaea (first) they addresed the issue of Christ's divinity and set forth some precedent for furture councils. The later council addressed the iconoclast heresy that was brought about by the non-ecumenical Council of Hieria. This council was not binding because none of the patriarchs or representatives of the five patriarchs were present just a couple hundred bishops. Both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches reject this council.

(To Joe H - this is an[other] example of me asking turnabout questions that I did not introduce. Hopefully you'll join me in acknowledging that lozeerose is adding even less to the convo than you think I am.)
"It wasn't me dad I swear! It was lozeerose who started it!"

Yeah, I tend to do that.

Jae said...

To the point, bravo loseerose and joe, I find your arguments very logical and Biblical. The problem with Rhology is that he continually distrust the WORD OF GOD:

1). 1 Timothy 3:15

"...God's household, which is the Church of the living God, the PILLAR and FOUNDATION of the TRUTH."

When you say the words "PILLAR and FOUNDATION of TRUTH" it is what it is - not one's meaning of the "church" as a collection of differing churches who proclaims different truths according to their understanding of the Scripture.

How could the Bible call the FOUNDATION OF TRUTH is the CHURCH, if the truth is just subjective to men or majority votes? (viz. most if not all of Evangelical Churches caving-in to contraception, gay-marriage etc.)

2.) Jesus Christ only instituted and built ONE Church not churches which is guided by His Holy Spirit and can not be overcome by the gates of Hell when He said:

JN 16:13

"Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into ALL TRUTH. He will not speak on his own accord, but will speak whatever He hears and will declare to you the things THAT ARE TO COME."


Jesus said ALL, not one, two or three ....but ALL Truth. He will hold accountable those who lead their flocks over the edge.

2 OF THE MOST PROFOUND VERSES that shows the Truth of God is not just reveal to everybody but through the Bishops of the Church which are the modern successors of the Apostles.

Ephesians 3:4-6

“When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which WAS NOT MADE KNOWN TO HUMAN BEINGS in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy APOSTLES and PROPHETS by the Spirit.”

2 Peter 1:20

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation.”

I have no idea why are we insisting that we have the right and authority to say what the Bible TRULY teaches.

Peace.

JoeyHenry said...

Hehehe... I am familiar with Nick's triumphalistic claims with regards to his arguments. But actually, if he'll just care to look at my responses, he'll see where he losses credibility. :)

Nick said...

Joey,

I've gone back and read everything you wrote. I don't see where you've written anything that would make me lose credibility. I've addressed everything you said.

Your position is virtually limited to 2 Tim 3:16A, where as typical defenders of Sola Scriptura take verses 16-17 all at once.

Your position is built upon projecting various assumptions based on the term "theopneustos" - which basically means "inspired." Your logic becomes 'Scripture is inspired, and I'll assume it's the only thing inspired until someone shows otherwise'. The logic is simply faulty.

I realize things have to be taken slowly and carefully here, because a lot is riding on this doctrine, and so we shouldn't expect overnight conversion.

Nick said...

[Joey says] Sorry took me a long time to respond to this. Although, I've indicated in response to Joe that it is my last response, I would like to end it in this post.

1. The simplest way to respond to Nick's position is to point out his misapplication of 2 Tim 3:16. The passage does not say "All Scripture is sufficient" and yet his argument hinges on this assumption. The passage rather says "All Scripture is theopneustos" which emphasizes the origin and nature of Scripture first rather than its sufficiency. There can be no understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture apart from an understanding of the true origin and the resultant nature of Scripture. Thus, the Apostle asserts first the nature and origin of Scripture before he lists the practical results derived from that nature including sufficiency when he summarizes the resultant effect when the source of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness is derived from Scripture -- i.e. "so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work".

Having said that point, the seeming confusion, posed by Nick is of his own imagination because the passage says never says "All Scripture is sufficient". Rather, the passage first asserts the Scripture’s origin and nature (All (Every) Scripture is God-breathed) and then the resultant effect of that nature which is sufficiency (so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work).

2. Sola Scriptura does not deny that Special Revelation was delivered by the prophets and Christ’s apostles through preaching (orally) and in their writings. In fact, this is one of the assertions that must be believed before the conclusion of Sola Scriptura is reached. The conclusion is garnered upon the premise that we don’t have a living Apostle today. Thus, what we have in our era are their writings. Negatively stated, we cannot consult or physically hear an Apostle today. It is, therefore, normative to treat their writings as having the ultimately authority in the post-apostolic era where the Apostles’ physical voices have ceased. Anyone who teaches doctrines or “traditions” supposedly from the Apostles must prove it from Scripture as the normative rule of faith. Cyril of Jerusalem have succinctly laid this out:

"For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures." - Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, 4:17)

The standard response of RC Apologist is that Cyril believed many things that Protestants, nowadays, don’t believe. But, that is not the point. The point is, the principle of proving doctrine or “tradition” through Scripture is not foreign in the ancients. I can multiply this principle many times where “traditions” supposedly coming from the Apostles were claimed by different groups of people between the orthodox camp and the non-orthodox camp and yet the battle will always shift to who is in line with Scripture. The principle to prove questionable traditions from Scripture has been normative and no major tenet of the Christian faith has been admitted or believed without the authentication from Scripture being the normative rule of faith even during the time of the ancients. It is, therefore, disheartening to hear Nick throws accusation of illogic when I demand from him to tell me what sorts of “traditions” not found in Scripture that should be believed by any Christian today? He said I am merely assuming the principle of “Sola Scriptura” (although I am not) but, the fact is, this accusation can be leveled against him because he is assuming a “non-sola Scriptura” principle without also proving it.

Nick said...

(in response to Joey's post above, taken from here, post 14)

I'd make the following points:

(1A) I say "all Scripture is sufficient" because that is the intention of the appeal to the passage. Everyone agrees Scripture is inspired, so it's adding a layer of confusion to focus on that.

(1B) It is an undeniable fact that inspired is not a synonym for 'sufficient', else every inspired utterance from God (even purely verbally, like to Adam or Abraham) is sufficient. Thus, your objection largely fails.

This comment perfectly demonstrates what I'm driving at:

"Rather, the passage first asserts the Scripture’s origin and nature (All (Every) Scripture is God-breathed) and then the resultant effect of that nature which is sufficiency"

If the Greek is speaking of INDIVIDUAL books or passages, then the "resultant effect" is the sufficiency of an individual book or passage. Yet Protestants deny the sufficiency of an individual book or passage.

This highlights the reason why I stripped away anything that could be taken as an added layer of confusion, for Scripture's inspiration isn't an issue. The issue is whether the passage is speaking of Scripture individually or collectively, for *THAT* has direct impact on whether 2 Timothy 3:16f could be intending to convey "the resultant effect" of sufficiency.

(2A) You said: "we don’t have a living Apostle today. Thus, what we have in our era are their writings"

This is a fallacious argument. It assumes their Oral Teaching either 'expired' or was forgotten, just because they died.
The *key* here is that you're making that leap of logic without Scriptural warrant.

Who would have said that as soon as the last Apostle died the Christians (esp folks like Timothy) at the time would have put out of their mind all they were taught orally? Or who would have thought that once the last Apostle died, most churches had even half of the 27 NT books? Or who would have thought that once the last Apostle died, Timothy would make public the private correspondence Paul sent him? Etc, etc, etc.

*See the problem with assuming what you did?*

(2B) You further said: "It is, therefore, normative to treat their writings as having the ultimately authority in the post-apostolic era"

This essentially dogmatic claim of what is *now normative* isn't being derived from a Scriptural mandate, which makes it a self-refuting proposition.

You said: "Anyone who teaches doctrines or “traditions” supposedly from the Apostles must prove it from Scripture as the normative rule of faith."

The ironic twist here is the fact your assertion that Scripture is (now) the normative rule is in fact a "tradition" supposedly from the Apostles - because you've not shown Scriptural proof for it.

(2C) You said: "The standard response of RC Apologist is that Cyril believed many things that Protestants, nowadays, don’t believe."

I wont even go there. The Fathers are a side issue here. To focus on this quote would be adding a unnecessary layer of confusion to the situation (not to mention I would assume you don't even believe St Cyril to be a true Christian/ReformedBaptist). What any given Father taught is a side issue to whether the Bible ITSELF warrants SS (including your assumptions mentioned above).

The last half of your entire response was - whether you realized it or not - an attempt to shift the burden of proof and shift focus away from SS standing or falling on it's own merits.

John Lollard said...

Hey Nick,

You linked me to this, and I just wanted to let you know that I read it. There's 89 comments (!) and I don't have time to read them, so I won't post any disagreements here. I did want to say that, actually, I think you did a good job of illustrating the errors in a particular approach to Scripture, but that the approach you deconstructed is not my approach to the issue.

I also thought it was funny that you quoted James White. I kind of smiled when I read it. So far as I can tell, Dr. White holds a view of Scripture that is not addressed in this post - except as an argument against a less informed view of Scripture.

I'd go on, but I think 89(!) comments is enough :P

Love in Christ,
JL

Nick said...

Hi John L,

I don't expect you to read the comments section, only the main article.

If you don't think I refuted the appeal to 2 Timothy 3:16f, I'd like to see your take, especially since I don't see any other angles which 3:16 can be read.

I quoted White because (1) he is respected in the Protestant apologetics community, and (2) because he made a claim that has serious ramifications on this subject (and stands by those claims). To my knowledge, White has never addressed this discrepancy, and I don't think he ever will.

Anonymous said...

another good article to look at is here:

http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/11/solo-scriptura-sola-scriptura-and-the-question-of-interpretive-authority/

De Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
De Maria said...

Hi Nick,

Good post. I also like to note that the entire book of 2 Tim is about preaching. Not about passing out bibles. If we may, lets review a few verses throughout the entire letter of 2 Tim to see what St. Paul is really talking about:

Chapter 1: 7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

It sounds to me as though St. Paul is exhorting St. Timothy to give oral testimony, i.e. to preach and teach the Gospel. Not to pass out Bibles.

Chapter 2: 2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Again, that is an exhortation to pass down information by word. And to make certain that those whom he, Timothy, teaches will be prepared to do the same. That is the essence of oral Tradition....Read more.

Sincerely,

De Maria