The following was posted in response to an article posted on the [... Forum] related to belief in Sola Scriptura ("Scripture alone"):
If one says one believes that the Bible is the only rule for Christians, is that one really following the Bible?
Where in the Bible does it say that Scripture alone is the rule of faith for Christians?
The truth of the matter is that it doesn't. It does say that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" [2 Tim 3:16](NIV) It doesn't say that only the Scriptures are to used...but rather it says that Scripture is "useful" or "profitable".
(For compaison's sake..."All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" [RSV] and "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" [KJV])
There is much evidence in the Bible against "sola scriptura". The Council of Jerusalem...from which it is mentioned that St. Paul "delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem." [Acts 16:4] The decisions of the "apostles and presbyters" were binding on the faithful. Here we see early evidence of the authority of Church - authority that was given by Jesus Christ.
Paul admonishes the Thessalonians: "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. [2 Thess 2:15] "Stand firm and hold the the traditions" received *by word of mouth OR letter*.
John speaks in his Gospel account that not all things were written [Jn 21:25] Second and Third John speak of oral traditions/teachings as well. John finishes both letters saying that he wishes not to write everything, but to speak to them in person.
I have not provided an exhaustive account of the proof against sola Scriptura, but I have hopefully provided something which will cause Christians to think more about whether "sola Scriptura" is biblical.
I realize that sola scriptura is not sound, but I did not encounter these proofs until years after I read the Bible exhaustively and it convinced me that the Catholic Church was the church established by Jesus and that He wanted us all in the one fold. I wonder why we can't meet these guys on their own ground. For years I puzzled over what was wrong with Evangelical Protestants' Bible reading. They get enough practice: they should be good at it. I finally concluded they are too selective. I read the NT as a whole (no-one thought to warn me against it as Catholic literature ;o) which might make the difference.
Of course, my experience is no support of sola scriptura,but I suppose it proves something about the sufficiency of Scripture, ie, the whole truth is in there somewhere and it is possible to get it out.
Every Catholic doctrine and teaching is found, at least implicitly, in the Scriptures. I believe that Pope John XXIII or Paul VI called the Bible, "Our most sacred family heirloom". I believe the Vatican II document on Divine Revelation states that "we venerate Sacred Scripture just as we venerate the Lord's Body." (Apologies if I got the citations wrong...I didn't look them up.)
That should be quite a testament to the importance placed on the Bible in the Catholic Church. However, it is important to understand that, while of vital importance in our faith, Sacred Scripture is not the SOLE rule of faith. Authority is given to the Church, not to Scripture. For this reason, we need to accept the Church as the "pillar and ground of truth" rather than elevating the Scripture *alone* to such a level.
We must accept the Church AND the Bible:Both or neither.
Sola is an illogical Fundamentalist doctrine. It starts with a given which Catholics accept as well, that there is such a thing as the Word of God. Grant them that one. However, Catholics accept this on the authority of the Church.To be fair, belief in the Church is the starting point for Catholics. So each side has a given starting point. But then it (Sola) goes on to say that all God's Word is enscripturated with no proof (not even the Bible makes this claim). So that is their second given. Then they make the claims that scripture both defines itself (establishes its own canon - one has a third sense about what is truly inspired and what is not) and interprets itself (it is perspicuous - $3.00 word - plain to the understanding). Basically, you don't need a Church to determine what is inspired writing and how it is to be interpreted. This is a tall order. They then claim that Scripture is the teacher, not the magisterium of the Church. But in reality, it means that each individual Christian is his own little magisterium and hence infallible. Although Solaists do not make that claim; they say that scripture itself is the teacher and hence infallible. The Holy Spirit is there to assist but even He is not the teacher. Even the Spirit can only do so much with minds thick with clay! This is where it completely breaks down. Scripture essentially is a book of Revelation, a diamond field waiting to be mined. Although we can learn from it, it cannot teach us, it is not pro-active. Sola basically distorts the function of Scripture since it needs a substitute for the magisterium of the Church.
I think perhaps you have misunderstood the claims of Sola Scriptura. According to a Lutheran poster on another board The real claim of Sola Scriptura is not that it contains all of God's word, but that it contains enough of it (by itself) to lead one to salvation. Since some Catholics claim that the Scriptures bear witness to the Church, which is the means of salvation, aren't they agreeing in a sense that is true. That is, The Scriptures, properly understood, do lead men to salvation within the Church.
There are differences in the Protestant world; Mainline, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, etc. What the Reformers taught about the sole authority of Scripture is different from the Sola doctrine of today with its four pillars. The Reformers accepted that the Early Church established the canon and claimed the first six Councils were valid. The Solaists of today do not. I'm talking about the Fundamentalist Sola doctrine which mainline Protestants, like most Lutherans do not accept. For an advocate of Sola Scriptura, if it is God's Word, it is written down and if it ain't written down, it ain't the Word of God. You are right though about the general Protestant view, that what is necessary for salvation (essentials) can be found in the Scriptures.
Greetings again, ;-)
I wanted to post some further discussions between myself and the moderator of the CCF... hopefully many are being enriched by these defenses.
Any "Church Father" who contradicts God's Word is wrong. I believe God's Word, not Church created and unbiblical tradition.
Where does the Bible say it is the only authority for Christians?
Where does the Bible say it isn't the only authority? I would also point out the warning in Revelation 22:18-19, about adding or subtracting to God's Word. See other postings for more on the topic of the false teachings of the RC on tradition.
I have no problem with the "faithful teaching" of any Christian. My problem is with the false doctrine of your Church. There have been dozens of articles that have pointed out that long list of errors.
Well, it does not really fall on me to prove that the Bible doesn't say it is not the only authority because I do not hold the position that the Bible is my only authority. I could go to other sources that state my position. The burden of proof, from the Bible, that the Bible is the only authority, falls upon the person who believes in sola Scriptura.
I will, however, provide some verses for you to consider.
1. Peter was given the "keys" of authority. Mt 16:18-19.
2. Apostles given the power to "bind and loose". Mt 18:18.
3. Paul and Timothy deliver decisions of the "apostles and elders" at the council of Jerusalem to the people for observance. [Acts 16:4]
4. Authority given by God to the Apostles. [2 Cor 10:8]
5. Church is the "pillar and ground of truth" [1 Tim 3:15]
6. Not everything was written. [Jn 21:25]
7. Oral traditions. [2 Thess 2:15; 2 Tim 2:2; 1 Cor 11:2; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Jn 1:12; 3 Jn 1:13-14]
8. Guidance needed in interpreting Scripture [Acts 8:31]
As to Revelation:
If you look at Revelation 22:18-19, it speaks only to the book of Revelation. "For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy OF THIS BOOK: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book. And IF ANY MAN SHALL TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS OF THE BOOK OF THIS PROPHECY, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book."
As I have stated in my posting to the General area, I have spent too much time on the Forum lately. I have posted more articles on this issue. I hope that other participants join in on the discussion. There have also been articles and comments posted that address some of the verses you cited.
McArthur Study Bible on Revelation 22:18-19: These are not the first such warnings. These warnings against altering the biblical text represent the close of the NT canon. Anyone who tampers with the truth by attempting to falsify, mitigate, alter, or misinterpret it will incur the judgements described in these verses. See also Deuternonomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2.
God's takes His Word seriously. Anytime tradition differs with His Word, tradition is wrong. Anytime an individual differs with God's Word, that individual is wrong. Anytime a Church
differs with God's Word, that Church is wrong. God's word is sufficient.
The thing is, your other articles haven't answered the question of why the Bible is accepted as the SOLE authority for Christians. Why is that? Possibly because no one can answer that from a Bible-alone position.
Plenty of "Bible-believing" Christians (pastors, laymen, etc) have converted to Catholicism precisely because "sola Scriptura" could not answer these fundamental questions.
(In response the the last paragraph of his last post on "God's Word"...) From:
Additionally, Christianity is not a "religion of the book". We know from the Sacred Scriptures that God's Word is Jesus Christ. We also know that all Jesus said and did could not be contained in a book - or any number of books for that matter.
John begins his account of the Gospel telling us that Jesus is the Word and ends saying that everything could not be written.
It is precisely this reason that the Catholic Church does not limit herself to the written, but rather accepts the whole teaching of Jesus Christ - even as the command of St. Paul states...."hold fast" to that which is written or taught orally. [ 2 Thess 2:15 ]
As to your message regarding Second Thessalonians, it does not stand - even from a Bible-only standpoint. If that were the case, Timothy would not have been commissioned to teach the faith. The teaching of faith itself would have stagnated. And finally, theological proofs and explanations are part of providing "a reason for your hope."
Catholicism does not contradict those revealed truths, but rather accepts them, continues to explain and define them more clearly and receives the explanations of those truths through the centuries. This is the Catholic traditions of which we speak.
The Christian faith - Catholic and non-Catholic - has relied upon traditions for centuries. If it did not, there would be no Bible, there would be no teaching of historical thought and we would be left to fend for ourselves - knowing God in only a remote way.
The Protestant Christian who rejects tradition, must in fact, reject the teachings of persons such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others; but certainly we all know they do not.
A recent Catholic convert once stated, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." Protestants have been so busy rejecting traditions that many don't know where their beliefs stem from, or why. And anti-Catholics are more interested in condemning the supposed errors of the Catholic Church, than they are with supporting their own beliefs - evidenced by the fact that they cannot answer where in the Bible it says that Scripture-alone is to be the sole rule of faith for Christians.
It seems from his last post, about spending too much time on the board, that he is beginning to wear down - that he doesn't really have answers to the defenses we (I?) have presented - with the help of my Catholic brethren.
We can not rest, but have hope that the Truth will be heard and pray that all will come to accept it.
I have done, what little, I can. I support you in this though.
Praise the Lord everybody!
Even if the Bible said it was the soul rule of faith, it would be like me saying, " if you want to know if I'm telling the truth - just ask me". In other words a circular arguement.
I noted in your discussion that the Moderator said that no one should " alter " the bible.
But wasn't it they who took out seven books and added certain words? Or am I missing something?
Excellent point, [...]
An interesting Sermon
The Church or the Bible? Sermon by Arnold Damen, S.J. [circa 1880 A.D.]
On this, the feast of the Assumption, I cannot resist pointing out that Sola Scriptura is indeed Catholic doctrine: but, in the original sense of the words which the Church Fathers and the Scholastics gave it when they started teaching it. (Admittedly, it isn't found in so many words in the Bible, but I've been told it's in St. Thomas somewhere or other.)
By now, the consensus of Catholic theologians is that every dogma, or, doctrine-necessary-for-salvation, can be found in Sactred Scripture: perhaps well in, deep in, but still, in their somehow. Not in the sort of obvious way that anyone who never heard of it could l e a r n it from Scripture, but it is still there.
Pope Pius XII is the one who got them to change their tune. Because in his encyclical on the Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption, he showed them where it was in Scripture.
After that, can anyone doubt the Catholic Truth of Sola Scriptura?
In fact, Sacred Scripture is a sacrament: its text is like the body, and the Truth inside it is deep in, invisible, like the soul. Very relevant to today's feast, no?
As a Catholic, we are to accept the Bible as an authority in matters of faith but do not regard it as the ONLY source of Divine revelation. Scripture tells us that Christ left a Church with divine authority to govern in His name (Mt. 16:13-20, 18:18 and Lk 10:16). Christ promised that this Church would last until the end of time. The Bible also tells us that Sacred Tradition is to be followed alongside Sacred Scripture (1 Thes 2:15 and 3:6). In other words, Catholics do not depend solely upon the Bible for their Faith. In fact, the Bible tells us that we need more than just the Bible alone. The Bible confirms that not everything Jesus said and did is recorded in Scripture (Jn 21:25) and that we must also hold fast to oral tradition, the preached word of God.
Yes. I think it would be a lack of faith in God or a lack of scope in what God can do if we think that God's Word can only be found in writing.
There is a subtlety here which should not be overlooked. Just because there are two sources does not mean that not evrything is contained in one of them. In fact, every truth is contained in Tradition, as well as in Scripture, and also vice-versa. Catholics at least in Trent and Vatican I speak of "the Word of God" as meaning both written word and unwritten word, of course. The mistake Protesants make is to think that the meaning of Sacred Scripture is obvious. Really, the meaning might be so profound that humans require the Church to point it out and explain it, as so often happens with secular texts too, no?
No one can point to a specific Church doctrine which is in Apostolical Tradition andwhich is not in Sacred Scripture. They used to try to do it about the Assumption. But Pope Pius XII settled that.
By the way, Tertullian used to say that heretics had no right to use the Bible at all, and there is something to that.
For the most part, I agree with what "Newmannm" has to say. It is certainly true that every Catholic doctrine can be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Bible. The difference in belief of "sola scriptura" between Protestants and Catholics is that Protestants don't necessarily believe in an eccesial (sp?) authority necessary to interpret Sacred Scripture, therefore, there is much disagreement over those doctrines which are implicitly found in Sacred Scripture, and even some lesser disagreements over those things held explicitly in Scripture.
We, as Catholics, should be careful not to error in the other direction, so as to say that Church can simply "invent" doctrines because she has been given authority. Every Catholic doctrine, as I said, can be supported in Scripture and the interpretation and teaching can be strengthened through Tradition.
Sorry, Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) is not Catholic Doctrine. Perhaps Prima Scriptura (Scripture First) might be, but Scripture alone is not.
Consider this. If all we need is Scripture and the Holy Spirit to explain the truths of our Faith, then why do Protestants preach or teach? They should just hand everyone a bible and go on about their business. But they don't, even though their own doctrine proclaims that they have no authority to preach or teach.
And they pass it down, making it a tradition, even though the doctrine of Scripture Alone purports to negate traditions.
By creating this new doctrine, they have added to the bible something which (according to this doctrine) it doesn't need because it is sufficient onto itself, thereby contradicting this new doctrine and themselves.
Here's the kicker, if Scripture Alone were true, then everyone in every generation should discover the truth of scripture alone with the help only of the Holy Spirit. Since God's truths are absolute, there should be only one Truth. Is this anywhere near what has happened in the Scripture Alone tradition?
Have I been unfair in this evaluation.
Yours in the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts
No, I believe you have grasped the same things that caused me to deside that the protestent, esspessly pentacostal, church isn't where I belong.
And well said [...]!