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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sola Scriptura Pt. II

One brief old comment then on to the new. I have not posted any websites into this discussion, any quotes or lists are from books in my library. I do not want to cheapen this discussion. Now to the real discussion. Traditionalism begins where adding to or removing from the Word of God begins (Deut 4:2) To subtract is to contradict or neglect Scripture's Teaching. To add places human teaching equal to Scripture which belongs to God alone (Isaiah 29:13-14, Matthew 15:8-9). This is a problem not only with Roman Catholicism, but also Islam, Mormanism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and liberal theologians. (RC's I believe are christians while the others are not) This is not to say that no one anywhere at anytime other than the Author's of the Bible have had a correct theology. It is to say that, their teachings should never be held as an equal to the Holy Bible. Augustine, Ireanus, Origen, Jerome, Aquinas (yes Aquinas), Luther, Calvin, Edwards, so on and so forth (there are others) have had wonderful contributions to the Christian faith. They, however, are mere men whose commentary upon the Bible, and help for a Christian life are much appreciated at times, but not held at the equal as God's Word. If we as Protestants held or used their beliefs, without ultimately holding Scripture as our final authority, then we would be no different than the RC's or the Eastern Orthodox which each have separate different traditions they hold equal with the Word of God.
Traditionalism has weakened the rational basis for Christian Theology, in as much as it has replaced exegetical arguments with historical/traditional ones. In Christianity ultimately only Scripture is authoritative.
Sola Scriptura is the cure:
Do not add to what I command you, and do not subtract from it, but keep the commandment of the Lord your God that I give you (Deut 4:2, Deut. 12:32, Joshua 1:7, Prov 30:6, Rev. 22:18-19.
These people draw near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men (Isaiah 29:3 and Jesus quotes this in Matthew 15:8-9)
Scripture does not tell us everything we need to know in life like how to ride a bike or how to build a house. Scripture does tell us everything God wants us to know concerning all things, for His glory, man's salvation, faith and life. So while Scripture does not tell us how to ride the bike it tells us to ride it to the glory of God "in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through him" (Col 3:17) and working at it with all our hearts "as working for the Lord not for men" (Col 3:23)
Some would argue that the Church preceded Scripture, in some senses it did. From Adam to Moses there is no clear written record of revelation, but when God gives his written revelation to Israel it stands as his covenant with his people and that covenant document is to be the highest authority for God's people, the Word of the Living God Himself. Open to any page in Deuteronomy and your likely to find a verse to obey all the commands, testimonies and judgments of the Lord, i.e. God's Law the written Law.
The New Covenenant is subject to the Scripture of the Lord as well (2 Tim 3:16-17). No human wisdom must take precedence over Scripture, by allowing what Scripture forbids or by forbidding what Scripture allows. Thus, the wisdom of men actually makes the yoke of Christ heavy when he in fact made it light. May God enlighten us to his Word, and use us for His Glory. I must thank my former professor Dr. John Frame, for his teaching to me was most inspirational on subjects such as these
Soli Deo Gloria!

33 Comments:

At 11:25 PM, Blogger justin said...

hey adam I found this article on Banner of Truth magazine...thought it might be pertinent...
http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/
article_detail.php?899

 
At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Doug Poindexter said...

This has already been addressed in Joel's blog, if you all care to take a look: http://somethingcatholic.blogspot.com
If you would like to know what the Catholic Church teaches about the Bible being the infallible word of God , take a look at Pope Leo XIII's encyclical letter "Providentissimus Deus" . . . ttp://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18111893_providentissimus-deus_en.html

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

I'm not sure if y'all are interested in truth, but Jimmy Akin (Catholic Apologist) has also posted a good response to the Times article on his blog, http://www.jimmyakin.org/2005/10/times_religion_.html#more
Justin, weren't you the one complaining earlier that we were deviating from the issue at hand (sola scriptura)? I'm not sure what the article you linked has to do with Sola Scriptura . . .
In Christ.

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

If you want to read something disturbing read the Bishop of Rome's (John Paul II) encyclical on Mary
http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0224/__P3.HTM

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

You certainly have difficulty sticking to your own topic of sola scriptura. It's almost like you're purposely trying to deviate attention away from it. That is because when it is scrutinized, one realizes that it is a man-made doctrine having no basis in either Scripture or Church history. As for the encyclical of Pope John Paul II, I'm suprised you described it as "disturbing." I'm sure you mean to say it was "beautiful". That's what I would have said about it, anyway.

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

Doug, I started this line of discussion upon recommendation of Justin Sok, he told me that there were some good Roman Catholic guys that would be interesting to discuss these topics with that would participate. I am very disappointed, you have been nothing but cutting, sarcastic, and arrogant in your behavior since the discussion began. Your last comment is typical... why the need for the smart-alec comment. I am quite happy to know that you do not represent the actions of most Roman Catholics, however, know that you are killing your witness. I understand that you are young and in college and at that age you believe you know everything. That doesn't excuse you from having manners, and attempting to have Christ-like behavior. I would ask of you that you either quit posting comments on my blog, or begin to contribute seriously... you haven't responded to my last post, other than giving me what some other people have said. I hope you are better at demonstrating the compassion of what you call the true Church in the future.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

My sincerest apologies if I have come off as arrogant or unkind, this was not my intent. While I certainly do not "think I know everything", I do have a lot of zeal for the Church of Jesus Christ, especially when she is smeared and attacked. Your remark about Pope John Paul's encyclical on Mary was highly offensive, besides being completely irrelevant to the discussion. Calling Catholics "Romans" is offensive too; indeed, the very title of your blog--Reform the Romans--sounds like an affront to Catholicism. Your Part II of Sola Scriptura is filled with the same rhetoric as Part I, while you still have not addressed any of the challenges raised by me or my fellow Catholics. (All of us are former Protestants, by the way, so we're very familiar with your position).
God bless.

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

I will abbreviate from now on RC... reform the romans has nothing to do with your vein of belief, but rather has to do with the vein of theology I ascribe to and the book of the Bible that is most often associated with it. I now have a question for you Doug, Upon switching to RC, tell me, what oral tradition does Paul teach in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3... about Mary, the Pope, the College of Cardinals? Second question, if the RCC is the ultimate authority on what Scripture says and the Tradition of that body is its mode for interpretation, then in fact the basis for your belief comes down to sola ekklesia, correct, because the Bible's teachings and authority are solely based on the RCC interpretation, thus the real authority is your church and not the Bible... I sincerely am eager for your reply. Finally, if you do not believe me about the name of my blog (as you have questioned my scruples before) notice how I have never spoken of RC before on my blog until last week

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

Sorry one more thing... I cannot and therefore will not refer to you or Roman Catholicism as simply Catholic. That as stated before is a term reserved in the creeds for all believers. While I have extended you all the grace of stating that I feel that most RCs are Christians (I say most for not all in every denomination are saved), a grace by which one of you all said that Protestants were not in the Church. If you have followed Romans 10:9 then these discussions are not for salvation but for right theology, which should tone your rhetoric down some.

 
At 1:36 AM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

I don't know exactly what traditions St. Paul refers to in 2 Thessalonians. Is he referring to Mary or the Pope? Maybe. I know he's not referring to the College of Cardinals as that is a "tradition" (notice the little "t") and not part of Sacred Tradition. The point is not what part of Tradition Paul is referring to, but that he puts oral Tradition on the same level as written Tradition (Scripture).
As for Sola Ecclesia . . . I'm not sure how I feel about the term itself. But if by "Sola Ecclesia" you mean the Church alone has authority to interpret the Bible and Tradition, then yes, I believe it! After all, the Church, and not the Bible or Tradition, is the "pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)

 
At 12:58 AM, Anonymous daniel said...

Ref,
If you can answer one question for me, I will become Protestant this instant:

Where in the Bible does it say the Bible is our SOLE rule of faith, our only authority? I do not mean where it says the Bible has authority, or that Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching. Because I believe that already. I want to know where in the Bible it says the Bible is our only authority.

If sola scriptura is true, this should be explicitly stated in Scripture. If it's not, that's rather ironic! It would show that sola scriptura is itself not a scriptural belief!

Are you up for the challenge?

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Refmergant said...

I in turn then say to you, show me in Scripture where it explicity shows the Trinity, or that we should have a Pope, or that. Tradition is not taught as an equal in the Bible. The 2 Thessalonians verse is speaking about the fact that not only was Paul writing them but he was also preaching to them. This does not infer that oral tradition is equal with Scripture. Paul had a special calling which not of the rest of us has had or will have. His calling on the road to Damascus was unique. Prove to me that his preaching was not about what we see in all of his writings. Prove to me that his preaching was about praying to Mary or the office of the Pope or that he believed the Church was built on Peter whom he rebuked. You have the burden to show that Scripture is not the single authority. When the Law was given in writing... Moses told the Israelites that's it, nothing else is authoritative. Christ says he is the fulfillment of that Law. Furthermore, John tells us that Christ is the Word incarnate. The Scripture is the written manifestation of the Word. Christ says himself he is the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him, and he is the Word, not the Tradition. The burden is to prove that Scripture says that it is not the sole authority of God's Special revelation, the mere fact that it is the Word of God, means that all other claims of authority must prove themselves up against God's special revelation.
Show me where in Scripture it says the Church has the ability for infallible teaching, show me where it says the Church specifically can add to Scripture (which Scripture prohibits) show me where Scripture says we are anything but sinful fallible creatures here on earth even after we are redeemed. (Rom 7) Finally, prove to me that all of your beliefs do not rest on human decisions. Traditions not mentioned in the God breathed Word are of human origin... if you trace your beliefs back to your 1st presupposition you will find you stand on man, not God's Word. You cannot find that belief in Scripture, and if its not there you have the burden to prove why it is true. Finally, are you to say that the RCC has no terms theological or otherwise that they use that are not found in Scripture??? The ball is in your court

 
At 2:57 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

I in turn then say to you, show me in Scripture where it explicity shows the Trinity, or that we should have a Pope, or that.
That's the point, it isn't explicitly taught in Scripture. Most Tradition not explicitly taught in Scripture is implicit, but that does not present a problem to the Catholic belief.
However, the problem with Sola Scriptura is that it proves itself wrong--you claim to accept the Bible as your sole authority, while this belief itself is not taught in the Bible.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Refmergant said...

Show me any verses besides 2 Thessalonians adding to your point... the Trinity is proved by Scripture... pope, not... Sola Scriptura as I have shown is proven by Scripture... Tradition, not. Heaven and Hell yes... Purgatory, No. Christ our mediator yes... Mary, Co-mediator equal with Christ, or for that matter mediator at all... No. Prayers for the Dead... not in Scripture... Prayers for others that are alive, yes. Christ's sacrifice one time once and for all in Scripture... Yes, Continual sacrifice of Christ for atonement... no.

If you would like to meet to discuss some of these topics in better detail sometime, let me know.

 
At 6:22 PM, Anonymous daniel said...

Ref,

Thanks for responding. And yes I'd like to meet. Are you on campus?

Anyway, with all due respect, you still have not answered my question. All you've done is say that I need to show where all my Catholic beliefs are found in Scripture. You're assuming that all things must be stated in Scripture. And that's fine. I'm just asking you to show me where scripture says that.

Please give me a specific verse that says the Bible is our sole authority. That's all you have to respond with. Just one verse.

Thanks

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

Actually, all of the stuff you mentioned is found in Scripture (except Mary being equal with Christ; that's not taught by the Catholic Church either). It just depends upon what you choose to accept. You accept verses that teach the Trinity, but reject the ones that teach the primacy of Peter, the authority of Tradition and of the Church, baptism being necessary for salvation, prayers for the dead (the verse that explicitly teaches prayers for the dead got thrown out of the Protestant Bible by Luther, but that's another topic of discussion . . .) It really doesn't matter how many verses I give you in support of Catholic teaching, because it all comes back to your interpretation, doesn't it?
"Sola scriptura" is completely relativistic. The belief in whether or not something is true, or scriptural, ultimately depends on the opinion of the individual interpreting it. Every individual Protestant becomes, in essence, their own little pope. Every bad tree bears bad fruit, and the rotten fruit produces by sola scriptura is disunity. Protestantism continues to rapidly divide and multiply in many fragmented denominations. Often, an individual pastor, taking the Bible as his sole authority (as interpret by him of course) will start yet another "non-denominational" church, which really means it is just a denomination unto itself! Who is the judge of whether or not your interpretation of Scripture is accurate? You yourself are your own final authority.

Show me any verses besides 2 Thessalonians adding to your point. Show me any verse besides Ephesians 2:8 that teaches salvation by faith only. Show many any verse at all that teaches sola scriptura, or lists all the books that are found in Scripture. That's really not the point. Though I think the verse is quite clear about the authority of apostolic Tradition, we don't need any Scriptural references to Tradition to believe in it anyway. Scripture and Tradition have been held as equally authoritative from the very beginning of Christianity. Here is a link to quotations from the early Church on the authority of apostolic Tradition: http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Tradition.asp
The doctrine of sola scriptura was completely unheard of before the 16th century. It originated with Luther, one of his personal views on authority. It is found nowhere in Church history before him (maybe Wycliffe and/or Jan Hus believed in some kind of sola scripture, I'm not sure though). See if you can find any evidence that the early Church accepted sola scriptura or sola fide, for that matter.
Thank you.

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

Sorry, forgot to mention this . . .
Since sola scriptura originates with Luther and since the doctrine by its very nature would presume that IT is specifically taught in the Bible, you bear the burden of proof.

 
At 12:50 PM, Blogger risen_soul said...

Hey Ref. You may be pleased to have at least one person comment here that will fully stand with you. It's interesting in fact that on my blog I am debating this same issue right now.

Anyone who would like to visit is welcome. I would point towards Matthew 15:1-9 where Jesus rebukes the pharisees for following there man-made traditions over God's word. This is exactly what Roman Cathlics have done.

www.4hisword.blogspot.com

I'll check back on your site often!

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Mark 1:17 said...

aha, we meet again!

I just want you to know that I back you 100% on Scripture alone!

refmergant said: "I in turn then say to you, show me in Scripture where it explicity shows the Trinity, or that we should have a Pope, or that. Tradition is not taught as an equal in the Bible."

I don't know of verses that support the Pope or Tradition, however the Trinity I do!

1 John 5:7-8
Most version say this: "For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree." ESV
Who are the three that testify? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

The New King James makes it much more clear!
"For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one."

The difference is in what original manuscripts are used!

But on to the topic of Scripture alone!

John 1:1-5
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Jesus Christ is the Word of God.

The question then becomes do we put our faith "soley" in Him or do we believe other things as well?
Are we followers of Christ, or followers of Christ and....?

I very much agree with the previous statements about "Giant's of the Faith" having great contributions but not equal to Scripture! They have done marvelous work, but it is strictly commentary on the Eternal Word of God!

Jesus Christ should always remain our focus, if the focus is ever lifted from Him, "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Isaiah 6:5

Nothing is on the level of Jesus Christ---we must not forget His rightful place as LORD of all creation.

In Christ,

Dave

 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

I'm confused. It sounds like you're saying Scripture is Jesus!!??

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger Mark 1:17 said...

No, Christ is the living word of God.

Our focus must be on Him. For He is the Author of Scripture.

Does that clear up my point?

In Christ,

Dave

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

God is the author of Sacred Tradition as well as Sacred Scripture, for they both have Divine Revelation as their source.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Mark 1:17 said...

I must clarify my last two statements:
In light of something that the Spirit has just revealed to me.

Jesus said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Jesus is the Truth! Scripture is Truth. Therefore to your earlier question: " I'm confused. It sounds like you're saying Scripture is Jesus!!??"

Yes Jesus is the Scripture, He is the Living, Active Word of God. And the Scripture is Living and Active.
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

In Christ,

Dave

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

In light of something that the Spirit has just revealed to me.
I think that statement says it all.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger Doug Poindexter said...

"Yes Jesus is the Scripture."
I doubt that even most orthodox Protestants (oxymoronic as that sounds), including Refmergant, would agree with you about this one, especially since it's something "the Spirit revealed" to you. I can't wait to see what Refmergant has to say about this one!

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Mark 1:17 said...

So, are you saying that the Spirit of God cannot direct me to a certain verse of scripture? He doesn't have that power? To place within my mind a specific verse?

Also, not only can the Spirit of God do that, but He can also use other people. And these two things are exactly what He did last Saturday.
I was comenting while I was at work. On the drive home the Spirit brought John 14:6 and Hebrews 4:12 to the front of my mind. I talked it over with a trusted friend and was convicted again by the Spirit of God that I had misspoke (typed), and needed to clarify.


The Bible that you or anyone else holds in their hands (literaly) is not Jesus Christ, However, He is the Scripture! John 1:1-5
The written word is His revelation to us.
Christ is the Living, Breathing, and Active Word of God.
The Scriptures are the Living and Active (and in a sense it is Breathing) Word of God.

A Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ. Him living in our hearts and drawing near to us. Is what allows us to understand Who He is and What He has done. We talk to Him through Pray, and He talks to us through His Word and Prayer.

If you do not believe that God can reveal things to His people, I must question your personal relationship with Him. I am not saying this as a cut on your faith, I am saying this as a concerned Brother! If God cannot talk to His people, what type of a relationship is that? It sounds like man attempting to reach God, not God comming down to man.

Again, this is not meant to be a cut. Only voicing concern out of Love. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. One in which He can reveal things to us through a multitude of ways. (please take a look at my site...I am just ending a long series of posts that talk about how we come to know God and How He talks to us.) And one in which we can communicate with Him as well.


In Christ,

David

 
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At 12:57 AM, Blogger T.B. Vick said...

I am coming into this discussion several months after the initial post and probably the same length of thime since all these comments have been written here. However, I could not resist putting in my 'two cents.'

If you will go to this link



You will see a post I wrote regarding the issue of Traditon from a Protestant point of view.

From this article I say,

"The apostle Paul, for instance, certainly places a very high degree of importance on the tradition of the apostles. In Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians he declares, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” (2 Thess. 2:15; ESV) In this passage Paul declares several important things.

First, we as Christians are to “stand firm and hold fast.” But what are we to stand firm and hold fast to? The answer is, ‘the traditions that you were taught by us [the apostles].” Second, how were these traditions taught by the apostles? Well, the text says these traditions were taught in two ways. First, “by our [the apostles] spoken word,” and second, “by our [the apostles] letter.” Of course, “by our letter” would be the written word.

This one passage certainly raised several questions in my mind. For instance, what is the tradition of the apostles? What does Paul mean when he uses the word tradition?
The Greek word Paul uses here is paradoseis. In this context the word is plural and in the accusative case which means that paradoseis is a transmission of a doctrine or doctrines (since the use is plural), or depending on the context, it can mean the doctrine itself. However, we see in Mark’s gospel, chapter 7 verses 8-9 Jesus holds a certain contention with the notion of the Pharisees' idea of tradition.

In these verses, Jesus states, “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (Mark 7:8-9 ESV) Prima Facie this verse seems to declare that Jesus is rejecting the notion of tradition altogether. But this certainly cannot be the case for it were then Paul would be contradicting Jesus. However, Jesus is certainly using the same word as Paul, only in Mark’s gospel, the word is now singular instead of plural, but it is certainly the same word. But we must take into consideration the most basic rule of hermeneutics—context, context, context!"

To see the whole post go put the link above into your computer's url adddress searcher and it will take you there.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

 
At 12:59 AM, Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Apparently the html codes I used previously did not work, here is the link I mentioned earlier:

http://shadowsofdivinethings.blogspot.com/2005/11/protestant-view-of-tradition.html

 
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At 4:36 AM, Anonymous Doug Gibson said...

I just became familiar with the other phrase 'prima scriptura'. The confusion seems to center around sources AS authority rather than as witnesses TO authority. Hence, the traditions of the Lord's supper and baptism witness to the authority of the Apostles' doctrine. Since the ordinances were handed down before the New Testament was written, they still had Apostolic authority previous to and independent of any Scriptures. (So much for sola scriptura.) Irenaeus appealed to tradition commonly held by the churches planted by the Apostles because what the Apostles handed down VERBALLY agreed with what they handed down in WRITTEN form. The coolest thing that Romanists and Orthodox agree on that they reject in practice is: the true catholic and orthodox faith consists in what the Lord Jesus revealed, that the Apostles preached, and the Fathers preserved. In practice they deny this because it would require an ammendment 'and in whatever the Church ammends to it'. I think all Christians MUST agree with the original and put a period where the period is and leave it there. If that is what the true catholic and orthodox faith consists of, then NOBODY in heaven or on earth has the right to add to it. That creed implies that apostolic authority did not pass on to the Fathers; only that they only preserved the tradition (doctrine and practices)which does have such authority. No heresy can take root or live when this is strictly insisted on by the Church. Whenever the early apologists appealed to the fact that the same gospel was held by all the churches planted by the Apostles, they were NOT intending to elevate tradition to the level of Apostolic Scripture or to make the Church the SOURCE of truth. They pointed out that the Church was merely the RECIPIENT of the truth handed down by the Apostles. There is a BIG difference between a candle that bears the flame and the flame itself. Truth is absolute, but in its manifestation it is also relational.

 

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