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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The 5 Solas

The time has come to remember why we are called protestants, and why we broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. The reformers called into question Roman Catholic teachings based on 5 principles. Each week for the next 5 weeks I will discuss one of the 5 Solas of the reformation. The first is Sola Scriptura. This Sola has been very much in discussion over the last century. With the creation of "higher criticism" causing Scripture to be treated as any other piece of literature, to the defenses created by evangelicals and Roman Catholics to defend against them. The Sola Scriptura mantra of the Reformers was originally used as a defense against the Roman Catholic belief of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterial edict as equals. Luther and Calvin chopped the last two legs of the three legged stool of Roman Catholicism out. What is the reason for this? Do they and in turn modern day Protestants have an authority for doing this? Yes, Scripture itself is our basis for this. 2 Tim 3:16 tells us that Scripture is all we need for correction, reproof and teaching. A Roman Catholic response to this is that the Scripture is no more than another tradition of the Church. This however, elevates tradition to the presupposition or basis for all belief for the Church. This could not be more backwards or man centered, also it fails to separate Scripture from other traditions such as the Koran or the Vedas, when dealing with "higher criticism." The Protestant, God centered belief, is that we believe that not only is the Scripture true, but is our entire rule for life. Our belief is based on four simple words, "Thus saith the LORD." This response is two fold. One it answers the higher criticism arguments by saying that we don't treat Scripture as any other book, because it is God breathed. Second, it answers the Roman Catholic argument because Scripture being God breathed is above man made tradition, and magisterial edict, which bend Scripture to the whims of the day. Furthermore, many traditions, church counsels and magistrates have set down many rules that do not fit with the central theme of Scripture, which is... The triune God exists, created the whole world, and despite the world's rejection of him, Christ was sent in whom all Scripture is fulfilled to his sheep's salvation. There is much more to be said, however, I will now take comments and we shall tackle the other issues as they arise.

37 Comments:

At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Daniel said...

What is Scripture? Yes, I'm being serious. What I mean is, when you refer to Scripture, what do you mean by that? A certain collection of books we call the Bible, right? But how do we know what books belong in the Bible? In other words, where does the authority of the cannon of Scriptre come from? Not the authority of Scripture, but the authority of the cannon of Scripture. Who's to say I can't add some books I think should be included?

I look forward to your answer.

 
At 2:22 AM, Blogger Pio Francis said...

As a follow-up question to Daniel's, which Scripture is St Paul referring to in his letter to Timothy? Is he not referring to the Old Testament canon used by the Jews? For certainly he's not referring to the very letter he is writing, is he?

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Refmergant said...

Response, I think to both of your comments is as follows and is two fold. 1st comes from the book of 2 Peter 3:15-16 where Peter equates Paul's letters to that of Old Testament Scriptures. 2nd the rest of the New Testament Canon was attested to by the 1st century churches by what letters and Gospels they read in church. Such as, the Shepard of Hermas did not pass muster. Why, not because of the approval of men, but because it did not add to the purpose of the Bible which is the fulfillment of all the Law and salvation of the sheep by Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:18ff telling us Scripture comes not from man or his interpretation, but in fact is God breathed and this is our sure testament of what Christ has done. This may not answer everything... feel free to comment more

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous daniel said...

Thank you for responding.

With all due respect, and although it doesn't affect my argument either way, your response seems to show a lack of basic church history. What counted as true Scripture was far from being decided in the 1st century. In fact, St. John's Revelation was not recorded until 90-100 AD. If reading certain texts during Mass in the early church is what constitutes the canon, I suppose Shepherd of Hermas, the Gospels of Peter and Thomas, and the letters of Barnabas and Clement are all part of inspired Scripture. And many books that we take as Scripture now-- such as Hebrews, Jude, Revelation, and 2 Peter-- were widely disputed.

So, the question is, how did we finally arrive at our tidy canon we have today? Historically speaking, this was accomplished by a series of councils from 382-417AD. This is simple history, not history + Catholic spin. In fact, most Protestants accept the Council of Carthage in 397 as the authority on what NT books are inspired. Until Luther, no one disputed the inspiration of any books defined as canon at these councils.

Notice when talking about the early church and councils, I never called it the Catholic Church. Of course I believe history shows that the Catholic Church indeed was the original church. But that's beside the point for this argument.

What you should realize is this: whether you believe the Catholic Church is the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself, or that it's a perversion of true Christianity that first came about with Constantine, you MUST recognize that the church--whatever you define that to be-- decided the canon of Scripture. This is very important-- the CHURCH produced the Bible; the Bible did not produce the Church. If the church produced the Bible, it must follow that the church has authority over the Bible. That could be a dangerous statement, so please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. What I mean is, the church (again, whatever your definition, doesnt matter, still proves the same point) had the authority to declare inspired books and reject uninspired books, and thus must have some sort of authority by which it does this. If the Bible is infallible, and if the canon is an infallible canon, the Church must be infallible when deciding certain matters such as this! If the church was not infallible when deciding the canon, we all should be skeptical of Scripture. Find something that sounds odd in the Bible? Perhaps the church made a mistake in allowing that book in the canon. Of that's silly. God is wiser and more powerful than that. He would not leave us in such extreme doubt and uncertainty. You're very right to uphold Scripture as God's very word and as authoritative. But you must recognize that by doing so, you're upholding the authority of the people who put the canon together! If the church in the 300-400s had such authority and protection from the Holy Spirit to decide once and for all the canon of Scripture, shouldn't that church still be around today? Why would God suddenly abondon His church? Indeed Christ promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against His church. He kept his promise in the councils defining the canon; would he go back on His word once the canon was established? Of course not! The authority the Church had from God to establish the canon of Scripture still remains today. Catholics believe that authority rests in the Catholic Church. Of course this is far from our only reason for believing the Catholic Church is the True Church, but I'll save that for another day.

I'll end with 2 qutoes, one from Luther and one from Augustine.

From Luther's Commentary on St John, ch 16:
"We are obliged to yield many things to the Papists [Catholics]-- that they possess the Word of God which we received from them, otherwise we should have known nothing at all about it."

from St Augustine's "Against the Letter of Mani":
"I would put no faith in the Gospels unless the authority of the Catholic Church directed me to do so."

God bless.

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Refmergant said...

i cannot respond in full right now... but i beg to differ on your so called knowledge of church history, as you are misinformed or gravely mistaken and i challenge to read some church history books for yourself... perhaps starting with Phillip Comfort on the origin of Scripture. I will respond later after i am done with class

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

2 Tim 3:16 tells us that Scripture is all we need for correction, reproof and teaching." This verse NEVER says Scripture is "all we need." To quote the verse ACCURATELY, it says,
"All Scripture is inspired by God and USEFUL for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for instructing in justice; that the man of God may be perfect, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16)
To say something is "useful" or "profitable" is not the same thing as saying something is "sufficient" or "all we need", wouldn't you agree? Furthermore, St. Paul was specifically referring to the Old Testament as the New Testament had not yet been written.
St. Paul teaches that the Church, and not the Bible, is the "pillar and bulwark of the truth" and urges Christians to "stand firm and hold to the TRADITIONS which you were taught by us, either by WORD OF MOUTH or by LETTER." (1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Thess. 2:15) After all, "there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (St. John 21:25)
The Bible did not just fall out of heaven bound and complete with a table of contents for anyone to open up and interpret. There were many spurious gospels and epistles floating around which were being read in the churches the first several centuries of Christianity. But Holy Mother Church, under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit and gifted with the charism of infallibility, selected and confirmed the true inspired canon of the New Testament in 397 A.D.
Jesus said, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT." (Mt. 16:18) If the Church could err in matters of faith and doctrine and morals, Jesus' promise would not be true. Otherwise, why would He instruct "if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to the; AND IF HE REFUSES TO LISTEN EVEN TO THE CHURCH, LET HIM BE TO YOU AS A GENTILE AND A TAX COLLECTOR. TRULY I SAY TO YOU, WHATEVER YOU BIND ON EARTH SHALL BE BOUND IN HEAVEN, AND WHATEVER YOU LOOSE ON EARTH SHALL BE LOOSED IN HEAVEN."(Mt. 18:15-18). So, why don't YOU listen to the Church? If the Bible is all we need, and if the church is merely the invisible assembly of all the elect or saved, we would have not need of a church to teach us at all; every one should be able to open up the Bible and have the exact interpretation. This just occurred to me, but what of the instruction "that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses." (v. 16) If the Bible DID itself say that it is the word of God (which it never does; portions of the Bible claim inspiration but the Bible as a whole never does- we know it is all inspired because the Church teaches it), what would that count for? The Quran also claims inspiration. It is not enough for any book to simply claim to be the word of God. "THAT EVERY WORD MAY BE CONFIRMED BY THE EVIDENCE OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES."
As I read this, it brought to mind the "three-legged stool" of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Catholic Church. Just something to think about.
I have in my posession two fascinating little books:
"Scripture Alone? 21 Reasons to Reject Sola Scriptura" by Joel Peters and "Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church" by the Rt. Rev. Henry G. Graham. There are of course many in-depth works on the topic of sola scriptura I could recommend but if you want some light reading, I'd be happy to send you these little books.
In Christ.

 
At 12:41 AM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

I forgot to mention, but regardless of whether or not sola scriptura is actually true (many Protestants are honest and admit that "sola scriptura" is not itself found in the Bible, but is rather a "working assumption"), how do you have authority to interpret the Bible and how do you know your interpretation is accurate? There are hundreds of thousands of individuals who all believe in sola scriptura, and each one has studied the Bible just as diligently as you have, yet there are few things besides "sola scriptura" itself that all agree on. Every bad tree bears bad fruit, and division is a bad fruit, what does this tell you? Jesus prayed that all who would believe in Him would be one; he said there one be one flock, and one shepherd. Were his words untrue? Private interpretation of scripture is specifically condemned (2 Peter 1:20). Contrary to what most Protestants say, the Holy Spirit does not guide YOU as an individual in the correct interpretation of the Bible (essentially each protestant becomes their own little pope), the Holy Spirit guides the Church as a whole. The Catholic Church has preserved all of Christ's teaching and there remains in her "one Lord, one faith, one baptism"; the same cannot be said of protestantism.
Take just THREE denominations which teach sola scriptura (I'll be VERY specific):
the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Presbyterian Church in America,
the "Churches of Christ" (restoration movement).
Now, you know as well as I that these denominations disagree more than they agree. You might say it doesn't matter, that they agree on the "essentials" (typically, the Holy Trinity, Sola scriptura, and salvation by faith alone). Who is to say what are the essentials?? (Though I will agree that belief in the Trinity is essential). And the Churches of Christ would be excluded from this because they do not even teach salvation by faith only! They teach that works are necessary for salvation, including baptism (immersion only in their church)! Having just THREE separate churches that all claim sola scriptura is enough show the doctrine is flawed ... but multiply it by 27,000 (a conservative estimate) and what does that tell you about sola scriptura? I would even go so far as to call such a doctrine satanic. In your blog you seem to lament the state of modern American Protestantism, and you point to the principles of the "reformation" as the solution to the problems. It amazes me that you do not see that the doctrines of the "Reformation" ARE THEMSELVES THE VERY ROOT OF THE PROBLEM.
Soli Deo Gloria!
In Christ.

 
At 1:42 AM, Anonymous john said...

"Jesus said, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT." (Mt. 16:18) If the Church could err in matters of faith and doctrine and morals, Jesus' promise would not be true."
your exegesis is poor...as many a Roman have interpreted over the years, Christ did not found the Church upon Peter but upon himself, of which He alone is the head. Ephesians 5 speaks strongly of this. You also need to check the church history like Adam is saying. Yes history prior to the Roman Catholic Church.

 
At 1:45 AM, Anonymous john said...

addendum: I guess I failed to mention this...if Peter is the head of the Church he is human and hell will overcome it. But thankfully the Church has Christ as its founder and head, and the end of the book says that he wins, Hell hs not overcome him, and he alone gets the glory.

 
At 1:48 AM, Anonymous john said...

addendum part two: Also the more you all use the Scriptures to support our argument the more you concede the fact that Scripture alone is the source for faith and practice

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

"history prior to the Roman Catholic Church. " you mean Judaism? ;)

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Pio Francis said...

your exegesis is poor...as many a Roman have interpreted over the years, Christ did not found the Church upon Peter but upon himself, of which He alone is the head. Ephesians 5 speaks strongly of this.
Apparently, your common sense is poor. Read the Greek. Here: http://digitalviews.typepad.com/petros.bmp
In v.17 Christ calls Peter "Simon Bar-Jonah," his given name, and then immediately calls him "Peter," emphasizing the apostle's new name. In the same sentence, Christ says that upon this rock He will build his Church. "Peter," in Greek, is "Petros;" "rock" in Greek is "petra." I hope the play on words does not escape you. Besides this, to claim that Christ is really switching subjects mid-sentence more or less diagnoses Him with severe ADD, as if Our Lord couldn't even finish a thought before jumping to another.
Also, Ephesians 5 does address Christ's relationship to the Church, but it in no way contradicts the Catholic interpretation. St Paul writes of Christ being the head of the Church. Catholics do understand Christ to be the head of the Church; the Pope acts as Christ's chief shepherd on earth. The Orthodox would describe his role as "first among equals." Another analogy has been used: Christ is the head, and the pope is the prime minister.

You also need to check the church history like Adam is saying. Yes history prior to the Roman Catholic Church.
We have checked out Church history. In fact, we've checked out secular histories of the Church, and do you know what we found? They support the claims of the Catholic Church! Anyway, neither you nor Adam have been terribly specific as to what history we might look into, or what we might find when we read it. You're grasping at straws.
Oh, and there is no Church history before the Catholic Church.

if Peter is the head of the Church he is human and hell will overcome it. But thankfully the Church has Christ as its founder and head, and the end of the book says that he wins, Hell hs not overcome him, and he alone gets the glory.
You seem to be implying that God cannot work through men. Interesting, considering (getting back to the issue of Scripture) it was men who both wrote and compiled the canon of Holy Scripture we have today. "But those men were guided by the Holy Spirit!" I rest my case.

Also the more you all use the Scriptures to support our argument the more you concede the fact that Scripture alone is the source for faith and practice
Perhaps you misunderstand the Catholic stance on Holy Scripture. We accept it as the inspired Word of God. In fact, our perception of Scripture is where you got yours. The Catholic Church established the canon of Scripture, and reveres the Bible as a Holy Book. You should come to Mass sometime and experience it. As such, I really don't understand how using Scripture cheapens our stance on much of anything. In reality, your use of Scripture is a tacit submission to the authority and Tradition of the Holy Catholic Church. God bless you for that.

 
At 1:54 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

John,

you misunderstand Catholic teaching. The 264th successor to St Peter, John Paul II, promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Among its main purposes is the education of seperated brethren (protestants). Instead of setting up straw men, you can read the Catechism first and see if the Church actually teaches what you believe it to teach. I would remind you that all mankind is under a grave moral responsibility to seek the Truth. If the Catholic Church is as wrong as you claim, then your theology should not be harmed by your investigating the Catechism and early Church history. I challenge you to dedicate a good amount of time to such studies. Read some early Christian writings. See what they believed about The Lord's Supper. You won't find that description though; you'll only find references to this thing called the Eucharist, which the early Christians oddly enough believed was the very flesh and blood of their Savior Christ Jesus. But that's another post.

By referencing Scripture to support Catholic doctrine, we are not supporting the heretical belief that Scripture is the final authority. Rather, we are demonstrating that the Catholic Church is in no way contradictory to Scripture, since that is a protestant's test of truth. We're simply playing by your rules.

God bless.

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

Whatever case you might make for the Greek using Petros/petra in Matthew 16, you must take into account that, although the New Testament was written in Greek, Jesus would have been speaking Aramic with Peter, not Greek. Peter in Aramaic is "Kepha" (Rock). Peter is called "Kepha" in the New Testament (Jn 1:42, 1 Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal 1:18; 2:9; 2:11; 2:14). Jesus would have been saying, "You are Kepha, and upon this kepha I will build my Church"--literally, "You are Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church." Now why would Jesus change Simon's name to Rock--why he say to him "You are Rock" if the rock isn't Simon?? He wouldn't. And didn't. Nice try though. Jesus continues, saying "I will give you [Peter] the keys of the kingdom, and whatever you bin on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." In using "keys", Jesus was referring to Isaiah 22:20ff because the kings of Israel would appoint a prime minister to rule with great authority. The passage reads, "In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father's house." (Isaiah 22:20-23) Take a look at the last chapter in John.
Jesus appointed Peter and his successors to be shepherds of the whole church.
Why do you put limits on how God can work? God can work through a man if He so chooses. After all, God used men to write the Bible which you accept as infallible. The Lord send the Holy Spirit upon the apostles to guide them into all truth. I don't know which church you could be referring to when you say, "the Church has Christ as its founder and head..." If you believe this, why can't you accept the Catholic Church? The Catholic Church alone has Christ for her Founder and Head, built on the foundation of Peter and the Apostles, Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Only the Catholic Church has been in existence for 2,000 years, the gates of hell still have not overcome her, alleluia! Christ protects HIS Church and will not allow her to ever teach error. Protestantism continues to divide a splinter into its many competing sects, because it is not the true faith. The Catholic Church still endures, as Christ her founder and Head promised.
You stated: "Also the more you all use the Scriptures to support our argument the more you concede the fact that Scripture alone is the source for faith and practice." I hardly see how this is the case. Scripture is one authority, and since it's the only one you accept, it makes sense that I would use it. Besides, the Bible is a Catholic book, why wouldn't I quote it? ;) Your acceptance of the canon of Scripture means you concede the authority of the Catholic Church in settling it! Scripture IS authoritative, along with Tradition and Magisterium (Teaching authority) of the Catholic Church. Holy Mother Church received Scripture and Tradition from the Apostles and ultimately from Jesus Himself. Scripture itself is Tradition--just Tradition that has been written down rather than passed down orally.

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

Where to begin... so much to say. I will start with that which I feel is most pressing, Exegesis. I am going to assume unless told otherwise that I am the only one on this blog that has extensively studied Greek or Hebrew. I am hoping that Joel, you are conceding that Peter is not the rock the church is built upon, but the fact that Jesus is the Christ Son of the Living God. Just asking for clarification. Secondly, the Modern Roman Catholic Church was of no existence until beginning around 500 AD. The 1st bishop of Rome to call himself "pope" wasn't until Gregory. Up until this point there were nothing but Bishops in all major cities, the Bishop of Rome just being one among many. Regardless of that fact. Speaking of misconceptions. What makes us Evangelical is not the 3 things listed in doug's comment. INCLUDING SOLA SCRIPTURA. The Trinity yes, that is one. The incarnation and resurrection of Christ is two. Third, believe in these by faith by an outward profession and change of the heart (Rom 10:4). Finally, in order to at least attempt to stay on topic, the burden on proof is upon the Roman Catholic to prove their created system of government and church rule is true. This is because nowhere in Scripture do you find most of the things that Catholics hold most dear... such as Mary virgin into perpituity, creation of the office of Pope, or Cardinals for that matter, four possibly five of their sacraments (Eucharist is a Gnostic influence on the Church), and I could continue. I look forward to your replies, I'm sure they will be many and voluminous. I have enjoyed the discussion. As for more specific Church history sources... I mentioned Phillip Comfort, also to include Keith Mathison, O.J. Brown, Carl F.H. Henry. There are more but that is a start trying to be more specific. Joel you are right about one thing, the Church is, always has been, and will be the Holy Catholic Church, its just that that Church is not the Roman Catholic Church. Finally, back on topic, God forbid the day in which the God breathed God inspired Scripture, which is all about and is all fulfilled by Jesus Christ our Lord is subject to the edicts of mere men

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

One more question... while the Bible is an unchanging truth, the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church is not. If their edicts are equal to that of God breathed Scripture, how do you handle the conflicts, controversies, and or changes of opinion of the magisterium on Scripture

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

Sorry, one more question then I will wait for responses. When Peter and the other Apostles spoke they were encouraged to read the Scripture for themselves to see if what they said was true. (Acts 17) Would the magisterium send you to Scripture or tell you that the interpretation as Roman Catholicism sees it today is the answer, when there is a question of teaching. 1st generation believers were told to check for themselves.

 
At 8:59 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

I am a dirty liar... last thing promise (maybe). What about the fact that the Pharisees went over and above the Scripture with their own traditions oral (Yeshivah) and written (Midrash) as though the Scripture was not enough for them and Christ had to constantly rebuke them for holding their tradition on par with and above Scripture?

 
At 2:43 AM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

Refmergant,
I don't know where to begin. Your comment is filled with so many inaccuracies and untruths. I'm going to assume that you are an honest person who has been seriously misinformed. Can you point out any changes in Catholic magisterial teaching? There are none. The papacy has ALWAYS existed ... true, at one time all the bishops were called "popes." Whether the pope is called "Pope" or not, this doesn't change his status as Bishop of Rome and successor of Peter as Bishop of the universal church. The primacy of the Pope has ALWAYS been recognized in the Church.
You must accept some part of the Catholic Church's Magisterium, as it is what settled the canon of Scripture.
The burden of proof is NOT on the Catholic Church . . . it is on Protestants. Sola scriptura and sola fide have NEVER been taught until the "Reformation"--not in scripture, not anywhere in Church history. They are totally novel doctrines.
Most Catholic teachings are found in Scripture, implicitly or explicitly (the Eucharist is an example of one that is taught explicitly; the Trinity and Mary's role are implicit). The New Testament was written to people who were already Catholic and to address specific issues in churches. It is not meant to be a summary of the entire Christian faith.
Jesus only condemned traditions of men, not Sacred Tradition that comes from God. He didn't even condemn all human tradition.
I challenge you to find any history book (one that's not written by Evangelicals) that gives 500 A.D. as the date the Catholic Church was founded. You won't be able to. I can give you the exact date the Baptist Church was founded, the Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran Church, and basically any other protestant church. But I think even you could admit there is not a single date that can be pinned down when the Catholic Church started (except Pentecost 33 A.D., but that would force you to admit the Catholic Church is true).
How is the Eucharist a gnostic influence??? I can't wait to hear THIS one. That's new to me. It makes more sense to me that the DENIAL of the Real Presence is a gnostic influence (Gnostics believed that all matter is evil). Every Church Father believed that the Eucharist is Christ's Body and Blood. Nobody believed in symbolic communion until the Reformation!
The idea of an invisible church made up only of the elect existed until the Reformation; until then, everyone accepted the Church is a visible, identifiable structure. There was no difference between the "Holy Catholic Church" and the "Roman Catholic Church"--they are synonymous. Protestantism does not bear the marks of the true church and Catholicism does. The marks of the Church are that it is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
I won't comment on whether or not Protestantism is "holy" ;) . . . but it most certaintly is not ONE. It is not APOSTOLIC (going back to the Apostles). It is NOT CATHOLIC. The Catholic Church is in every land all over the world. The various sects of Protestantism are mainly confined to their areas. And many Protestant denominations are nationalistic (the Church of Sweden, Church of Denmark are Lutheran, the Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, the Church of England is Episcopalian, etc.).
My post is very scattered but I wrote this in about 8 minutes and typed whatever came immediately to my head. I'd love to continue this discussion and do it more thoroughly. God bless.
In Christ.

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger Pio Francis said...

Where to begin... so much to say. I will start with that which I feel is most pressing, Exegesis.
Unfortunately you address almost no specific concerns we have brought up. Where does our exegesis go wrong?

I am hoping that Joel, you are conceding that Peter is not the rock the church is built upon, but the fact that Jesus is the Christ Son of the Living God. Just asking for clarification.
I'm afraid I'm the one in need of clarification. I'm confused as to your notion that the Petrine primacy and the deity of Christ are mutually exclusive. I confess that Christ, the only Son of the True and Living God, founded His church upon the rock that is St Peter. He did not found it upon St Peter's confession, or upon Himself. Once again, when He founded His church upon St Peter, He retained His deity. What's the problem?

The 1st bishop of Rome to call himself "pope" wasn't until Gregory.
As Doug pointed out, this is hardly a point of interest. We can use a number of different titles for the Pope if you'd like. When they (the titles) came into use is moot. But since "pope" seems to be bothering you, let's refer to him as the "Vicar of Christ." And there is a long and glorious history, predating dear St Gregory, of the Church deferring to the Vicar of Christ and his God-given authority.

...the burden on proof is upon the Roman Catholic to prove their created system of government and church rule is true.
Not really. I think you've already put the burden upon your own shoulders, especially with your confession of the place of bishops over major sees. If you take this to be the historical church, I should think you'd be more comfortable in Eastern Orthodoxy than in the SBC.

This is because nowhere in Scripture do you find most of the things that Catholics hold most dear... such as Mary virgin into perpituity, creation of the office of Pope, or Cardinals for that matter, four possibly five of their sacraments (Eucharist is a Gnostic influence on the Church), and I could continue.
This hasn't anything to do with Catholic polity, for one. Second, those "unscriptural" objections you mentioned are actually very scriptural. What's more, they're all supported by what the Church has believed from the very beginning. Pick any one of them, if you'd like to know more.

God forbid the day in...Scripture...is subject to the edicts of mere men
I would still like to hear you admit that it was mere men who both wrote and compiled the Bible we have today. The important bit is that they were led by the Holy Spirit.
After you admit that, I'd like you to explain why the Holy Spirit was somehow unable to continue guiding the same men and their successors, within the same Church, to interpret these same Scriptures.

Final points:
No Magisterial teaching has ever been changed.

Christ condemned, among the Pharisees, traditions of men. Holy Tradition is different. St Paul exhorts us to adhere to all Sacred Tradition as well as Sacred Scripture.

For all your talk of exegesis, you don't do a very good job of it. Did you neglect to read the context of Acts 17? Here is the pertinent bit:
10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
These were God-fearing Jews hearing a radically new message. They were being called to completely change their lives. So, as good Jews do, they consulted the Scriptures. These were no the letters of St Paul, the Holy Gospels, or any of the other epistles. These were the Old Testament, the Tanakh. Perhaps all we need, then, is the OT.
(Earlier, when I brought up the point on OT vs NT canons, you mentioned that 2 Peter 3:15-16 ratifies St Pauls writings. Even allowing this point, Acts 17 is still another story.)

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

While I must admit your unflattering comments of me are strong, I still saw no real responses to anything, involving Sola Scriptura other than your reliance upon Roman Catholic Tradition, of which your presupposition is circular. Scripture many many times is reffered to for a guide to life... while all man made tradition (Roman Catholic is man made, nowhere in Scripture do you see its creation). OT is a dim reflection of the covenant of Grace we have in the NT. The traditions of men we see in the OT (Pharisees) is no different than that which we see in modern Roman Catholicism (RC) Matthew 15 is a demonstration of this. The Pharisees added to the Scripture their ritual of hand washing... Just like the RC add many many many man made traditions nowhere to be found in Scripture as called for by God. I will continue to reference the Word of God to make my points. While an attempt to box me in by the constant quoting of Church history and the Reformation, in an attempt to say my points are somehow tied to what Calvin, Luther or Knox said. I need not quote them or any other giant of the faith... the Sword of God is all that is needed for battle, not quotes from men, not man made tradition pridefully elevated to the equal or greater of God's Word, or anything else. As for the quote from Acts... Yes these were new believers reading the OT, to see the promises there in fulfilled in Christ, the OT and NT are not different other than the names ascribed to them... they all are the Word which points to Christ, Man or the Church despite your claims did not establish the Canon... they established themselves because their content is the Word of God. Briefly on the magisterial contradictions. The RC today teaches a very Pelagian doctrine today, which they declared heretical, as opposed to Pauline mimicked by Augustine they held over it. The RC once held to a faith alone belief but has morphed into a works based salvation. What about the Papal schizm, or indulgences, Papal infallability, or excommunication and the loss of your soul for disagreeing with man made RC doctrine? Where does Scripture call for Holy Tradtion? Where do we see praying to people in Scripture or Mary? Mary prays to God with the Apostles. Tradition was not held equal with Scripture until the Council of Trent. If you want me to give my list I suppose i will...

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

# Prayers for the dead; about 300
# Making the sign of the cross; 300
# Wax candles; about 320
# Veneration of angels and dead saints, and use of images; 375
# The Mass as a daily celebration; 394
# Beginning of the exaltation of Mary, the term “Mother of God” first applied to her by the Council of Ephesus; 431
# Priests began to dress differently from laymen; 500
# Extreme Unction; 526
# The doctrine of Purgatory, established by Gregory I; 593
# Latin Language, used in prayer and worship, imposed by Gregory I; 600
# Prayers directed to Mary, dead saints and angels; about 600
# Title of pope, or universal bishop, given to Boniface III by emperor Phocas; 610
# Kissing the pope s foot, began with pope Constantine; 709
# Temporal power of the popes, conferred by Pepin, king of France; 750
# Worship of the cross, images and relics, authorized in; 786
# Holy water, mixed with a pinch of salt and blessed by a priest; 850
# Worship of St. Joseph; 890
# College of Cardinals established; 927
# Baptism of bells, instituted by pope John XIV; 965
# Canonization of dead saints, first by pope John XV; 995
# Fasting of Fridays and during lent; 998
# The Mass, developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance made obligatory in the 11th century
# Celibacy of the priesthood, decreed by pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand); 1079
# The Rosary, mechanical praying with beads, invented by Peter the Hermit; 1090
# The Inquisition, instituted by the Council of Verona; 1184
# Sale of Indulgences; 1190
# Transubstantiation, proclaimed by pope Innocent III; 1215
# Auricular Confession of sins to a priest instead of to God, instituted by pope Innocent III, in Lateran Council; 1215
# Adoration of the wafer (Host), decreed by pope Honorius III; 1220
# Bible forbidden to laymen, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Valencia; 1229
# The Scapular, invented by Simon Stock, an English monk; 1287
# Cup forbidden to the people at communion by Council of Constance; 1414
# Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma by the Council of Florence; 1438
# The doctrine of Seven Sacraments affirmed; 1439
# The Ave Maria (part of the last half was completed 50 years later and approved by pope Sixtus V at the end of the 16th century); 1508
# Jesuit order founded by Loyola; 1534
# Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible by the Council of Trent; 1545
# Apocryphal books added to the Bible by the Council of Trent; 1546
# Creed of pope Pius IV imposed as the official creed; 1560
# Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, proclaimed by pope Pius IX; 1854
# Syllabus of Errors, proclaimed by pope Pius IX, and ratified by the Vatican Council; condemned freedom of religion, conscience, speech, press, and scientific discoveries which are disapproved by the Roman Church; asserted the pope s temporal authority over all civil rulers; 1864
# Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals, proclaimed by the Vatican Council; 1870
# Public Schools condemned by Pope Pius XI; 1930
# Assumption of the Virgin Mary (bodily ascension into heaven shortly after her death), proclaimed by Pope Pius XII; 1950
Not including the many holidays, foods, oils, orders that are extra Biblical, supposing to be better than what Scripture requires, just like the Pharisee's requirement of hand washing

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

Wow. You really have no clue what you're talking about. I'm interested in knowing what website you copy-and-pasted that big list from? I love how you choose which parts of Tradition to accept and which to reject. And you still haven't shown where Sola Scriptura is taught in the Bible ... doesn't that in itself defeat the idea of "sola scriptura"? That means sola scriptura is a TRADITION OF MEN! We've shown you where Tradition IS taught in the Bible but you've ignored it; you are engaging in willful ignorance, and if you continue in it, you cannot ever be saved. The doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura are found nowhere in history prior to the reformation. They came later than most of the "man made traditions" you cited in your big list.
(Most of the stuff in your list that you copied from somewhere else is "tradition" with a lowercase t; traditions are just customs or disciplines, not doctrine. You make the error of confusing traditions with Sacred Tradition. The canon of Scripture is part of Sacred Tradition, for example).

 
At 3:09 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

Oh man. I believe I'm officially done here. Refmergant, I do appreciate that you've allowed us to post and have taken the time to respond to us. Thank you, honestly.

However, your list of "doctrine" of the Catholic Church was simply hijacked from The Roman Road. It's also found on a few anti-catholic websites. I've seen it many times. If you truly believe the dates and practices as listed, I believe we have no grounds for a mutual intelligent conversation. Not only is the list extremely misleading, but most things listed are certainly NOT doctrine!

I beg you, read ANY book commonly called early christian writings, and see when the idea of "transubstantiation" began. You'll find it was in 33AD with this crazy guy Jesus. BTW, the word transubstantiation is just a technical term to describe in detail what happens at each and every Mass when the bread and wine are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Our Lord and Savior. Wherever you find an early christian speak of the true presence of the body of christ or the Eucharist, you have the dogma of transubstantiation, even if that particular term wasn't used. Transub. was the technical term given because the Church was forced to define more clearly the reality of Christ's presence in the Eucharist after Luther rejected it-- the first major rejection of this essential christian belief in the history of the Church.

Ref, please look into basic history. As I said before, if your beliefs are rock-solid, there's no need to fear checking out the Catholic Church to see what she has to say for herself. Read the Catechism. Read scripture passages that Catholics provide for defense of our beliefs. Read early christian writings.

Once again, I remind you that you-- and every human being-- are under a grave moral responsibility to look into the claims of the Church and seek the Truth.

I will check back to this site again, as I've enjoyed the discussion. But as I said earlier, I feel it futile to continue at this point because we've obviously moved out of the realm of anything intelligent with your post of the "list of Catholic inventions." If you concede that this list is not yours and that it's the work of extreme bias, I will be glad to continue intelligent discussion. Until then, God bless, and seek the Truth!

Daniel

PS this is a great resource for checking out what the early christians believed, and how that factors into modern catholicism: http://www.catholic.com/library/sacraments.asp

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger justin said...

I do not have much to say but kind of reading from a seoncd hand view, I see the arugmenrts beign directed elsewhere. The post is on Sola Scriptura, and it alone should be addressed. Is Scripture alone the final rule for faith and practice? What is wrong with the fallible tradition of man? How has God chosen to reveal himself? And on what grounds does the authority of this revelation depend?
I would also add that condecending comments should not be tolerated. This is a public forum, and John tells us that charity is how we know we are God's. Let us keep are argumants to the issue at hand, there are four other points in which there will be discussion.
WE also need to make our cases biblical and if need be acurately historical. Do not condemen us for using evangelical hisortians and we will not condemn you for using your Roman.
Make sure you define your terms well also. "Catholic" in the Roman sense is not scriptural, but it is a biblical idea referring to God's elect and Christ's bride the Church. Let us also draw a distinction on the term Church. Please refer to the Church of Rome as an entity seperate from that of the Church. Call me a heretic or not, I know what the Bible says of faith and practice and I by the grace of God am a beleiver, and that means I have been grafted into Christ's Church which he is the head, founder, priest, and all authority is by Christ alone.
It has been enlightening to read the discussion. And I have full confidence that all will keep a spirit of love behind every word they write.
Most gracious blessings!

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

One more question for the RC's that are responding... Do you hold to a partim-partim or material sufficiency view of Scripture?

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

Refmergant, I forgot to tell you that your list is incomplete. You see, it's missing stuff like "Canon of the New Testament, 397 AD" and "Doctrine of the Trinity, 325 AD"
Are you against calling the Blessed Virgin Mary "Mother of God" because you reject the divinity of Christ, or because it sounds too Catholic?

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger Pio Francis said...

First of all, Justin, thank you for your comment. I was wondering when you'd pop up, considering you're the one that funnelled us all in here :).
Anyway, I readily admit that I do struggle with charity, and if I've said anything uncharitable, I sincerely apologize. That I was driven by frustration rather than malice is merely an explanation, not an excuse.
That said, I don't appreciate the demands put upon us. I mean two different things when I refer to church and to the Church; by the Church I mean the Holy Roman Catholic Church. This point I refuse to compromise, because to do so would be to lay my beliefs aside for your better comfort. Imagine if I were to insist that you, when referring to your own churches, were to refer to the Protestant "church." Because, of course, the Protestant "church" is nowhere to be found in Holy Scripture. But I've allowed you that, so I beg you allow me the use of the Church, as is compatible with my understanding of what Christ intended. You don't seem to be confused as to my usage of it, so we'll leave it how it is.
Of course, if you continue to insist on this sort of nit-picking, I will further insist that you and yours cease to call us "Romans." That term, frankly, could be taken to be offensive, and you certainly wouldn't like that. We've let it slide for quite some time, but if we're going to be this uptight, then it's time to change.

And now, for Refmergant's comments. First, it is an ignorance of Scripture that leads you to say that Tradition is nowhere mentioned. Consider St Paul's words, for instance, both in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

Second, if you think that appeals to history are irrelevant, by the way, I'd as you to stop making them yourself. You've done so a number of times; by your own logic, you've weakened your own argument quite a bit.
I will mention, however, that appeals to history should concern you. Examine the writings not only of the Apostles, but of their pupils, and how they saw and understood the Church. Unless you think the guidance of the Holy Spirit is so inept as to let the Church slip away in a generation or two.

Third, I'm mystified as to your understanding of where the Bible came from. Did it fall from the sky? Was it chiseled into stone by God Himself, as on Mt Sinai? And even if this is the case, then why would a God who would not even guide his Church to compile a Holy Text entrust you, a mere man, to interpret it? Because you have to interpret it yourself, rejecting Tradition; you can't even accept your next-door-neighbor's interpretation of it, much less your pastor's. That might be construed as a form of authority other than God's; even Tradition!

Fourth, for someone complaining that the discussion hasn't remained solely (get it?) on sola scriptura you're putting up an awful lot of smoke screens. If you'd like to talk about Mary, the Saints, and any number of the other things you mentioned, I would love to. Mary is one of my favorite topics. I will, however, await your permission, and/or a separate venue.

Fifth, as Daniel mentioned, the list you pasted has its (very large) share of faults. Aside from the content of the list, which is laughable, I thought the dates were interesting. Was it not you who said that the Holy Roman Catholic Church did not come into existence until AD 500? Would you like to revise the list, and accept the first six items? Or instead, would you like to push your date back a bit (that is, a bit closer to the true date of the inception of the Church)?

As an end note, I do have a question simply out of curiosity (it's barely even loaded ;)). From whatever date (500 or earlier) the Catholic Church was established until the Protestant Reformation, where were the "true" (in your estimation) Christians? Was there a spiritual blackout for that millenium? There was no real Church to speak of but for the Catholic Church (until, of course, the genesis of the Orthodox Church, but I don't suppose you want to make any truth claims on their behalf, do you?).

May God bless you, and may He do it many times over.

 
At 6:40 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

I agree with Joel. Thank you, Justin, for reminding us to be charitable. I find that discussing very heavy issues over the internet often gives way to uncharitable comments because the medium is so far removed from anything personal. If we were having this conversation face to face, surely this would not have happened. For my part, I apologize for any uncharitable comments and ask your forgiveness.

I think we should return to discussing Sola Scriptura, and I'll be glad to enter the discussion again.

Thanks and God bless.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

I'll start the new conversation. Let's begin with a fresh attitude.

I contend that Sola Scriptura is a man-made tradition, found nowhere in Scripture, and has lead to the evil ruptures in the body of Christ we see today.

Ref or Justin, please state the Protestant position.

 
At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being the new-comer to the group, allow me a brief moment to introduce myself. While I will never claim to have all the answers, or even a quarter of them for that matter, I am a protestant and will be speaking from that viewpoint. I have not had any formal education in the scriptures with regards to seminary, etc.; only the knowledge that God has given me of him through his Holy and infallable word.

That said, I would like to state a brief response in regards to the current topic at hand. I firmly believe that the bible is the word of God and our only weapon in the spiritual battle. Scripture refers to the armor of God where the word of God is the sword. I find it no coincidence that this is the only weapon identified that we have. A good friend of mine who pastors a church once told me you can always tell false teachings by what they do with Jesus and the Holy word of God. If it's Jesus AND or the word of God AND......then you need to consider the source. While many traditions have been added to the church through the years, we must keep in mind that these are exactly what we call them.....traditions. When we get to a point where we equate traditions or other church writings on the same line with scripture, we need to take a moment and remember that God has already given us every tool we need in his word. More importantly, these are not traditions that were deemed by Christ as Holy in the scriptures. Since the entry of sin into the world, one thing is certain; everything that man touches is tainted with sin. This includes traditions upheld and created by man; excluding the Holy sacrements we are given by grace. This is exactly why we must hold tightly to our swords, (the holy word of God) as being all we need. No man, group, or organization has the diety to place tradition as equal to scripture. All of that said, let me close with this. Let us try to remember as we type our responses that it is only by the grace of God we are even able to think or speak of Him. Let us use our discussion and debates to bring glory and honor to Christ our Lord and Savior.

God bless.

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger blanter said...

The above post was done by me, I apologize for the anonymous name that was posted by accident. Please direct any responses to me as being the new-comer. Thanks!

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

good 1st post blanter... keep it up

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Mark 1:17 said...

Hi, another newbie!

This has been very informative and I think that I might be a little late, but one thing that I read and was very convicted on was this:

Daniel said,
"Once again, I remind you that you-- and every human being-- are under a grave moral responsibility to look into the claims of the Church and seek the Truth."

Are we to look to the claims of the Church?
I thought being a Christian (means follower of Christ) meant to look into the claim of Jesus Christ and Christ alone.

My fear in many of these debates is that people are putting more faith in the institution than in Jesus Christ.

Where is salvation found? In the church (whatever your deffinition of church may be) or is it in the Person of Jesus Christ?
If Church is deffined as the body of believers...they are saved yet have no saving function within them, or if it is the Holy Roman Catholic Church...this still has no salvific power.
Christ is the only one with the power to grant salvation! We must not put our hope in anything else!

In Christ,

Dave

 
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