Why do Catholics believe in things not in the Bible?

191 comments
sola scriptura

Let’s flip that question around and ask some more important questions first.

Why should we believe things that are explicitly written in the Bible? And if we should, then should those be the only things we believe?

It’s amazing how many people ask the original question without even pondering these other more fundamental questions. Perhaps it’s a matter of our American, protestant culture that simply takes the Bible as a given without a second thought. And perhaps it’s a lack of knowledge on the part of us Catholics when we automatically grant a non-Catholic that starting place without challenge. After all, at least we can all agree on the Bible…right? Or do we?

I would say yes and no.

First, an obvious disagreement is on what books should even be in the Bible. Many Christians falsely believe that all bibles are the same. They are not. Protestants gradually removed 7 of the Old Testament books (and parts of other books) shortly after the “reformation.” These books had always been in the official canon of the Bible. But some of these books contradicted some of the new protestant doctrine so they were removed. So we need to know which Bible is to be used.

But that brings up the next and more fundamental question: Who decides the canon of the Bible?

It is historical fact that the Catholic Church decided the canon of the Bible as we know it today. In the first few centuries there was a growing confusion over what writings were to be considered inspired scripture and which weren’t. It was the bishops of the Catholic Church that met at the end of the 4th century to finally, officially determine the canon. So basically, the authority of the Bible’s canon is only as good as the authority that defined it – that of the Catholic Church.

And since it is that same Church that Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom and the authority to bind and loose (Matt 16:19), then we can trust it. It is for this reason that Catholics can then believe in the Bible and trust in it as the inspired, inerrant Word of God. If you don’t believe in the authority of the Catholic Church, there is no case for such a claim.

So it’s important to put the Bible into that context when relying on it to determine what we believe. Once we’re on the same page as to why we should believe in the Bible (Because the Church that Jesus founded says so) then we can address the next question: Should we only believe things that are explicitly written in the Bible?

Well, as a start, does it say anywhere in the Bible that we should only believe the things written in the Bible? The answer is no. On the contrary, it explicitly instructs us through the apostles to “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). And it goes on further to say “What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

And this would have made perfect sense to those in the New Testament. First of all, this is how they had been taught. Jesus didn’t write the Bible, give it to them and say “here, this is your sole rule of faith. Get one of these into the hands of every person on the planet.” No. He gave us His Church. And He gave the Apostles the power to rule it and the Holy Spirit to guide them. And those Apostles entrusted their authority to other faithful men, our bishops, to teach us also.

Further, if we trust the Catholic Church’s authority to determine what the canon of the Bible is, should we not also trust them to tell us how to use it?

The Catholic Church tells us, as does the Bible, that the true “rule of faith” is both scripture and Apostolic Tradition (what the Apostles have passed down and the Church has always taught from the beginning). And it is these things working together through the teaching authority of the Church (given to it by Jesus Christ) that we come to know the fullness of the Truth.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about them (CCC 80-82):

“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.” Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”.

Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”

“And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

“As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

So to answer the original question…

Nothing in the Bible contradicts anything that the Catholic Church teaches and vice versa (when interpreted properly). Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are both sources of revealed truths so we must acknowledge them both and in practice reconcile them with each other. Therefore, Catholics believe in some things that are not necessarily explicitly mentioned in the Bible (although always supported by it) because God has revealed them to us through His Church.

Also, using the Bible as the sole rule of faith is a mis-use of the Bible. It was not created, nor contains instruction, to be used in such a way. It must be used in the proper context and interpreted in light of Apostolic Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church given to it by Christ.

Many Christians don’t realize that even the idea of using the Bible as the only rule of faith (Sola Scriptura) is actually a new invention only propagated in the past 500 years. It was unheard of before that point and was certainly not practiced by the Apostles or the early Christians. They would have been extremely perplexed at even the asking of such a question.

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191 comments Add comment

Cindy March 4, 2009 at 8:56 pm

This is great, Matt. I am going to save it & quote you the next time someone gets all antsy about converting me. There are a lot of protestants who get very bent out of shape when they are (gently) reminded that the Catholic Church determined (with guidance from the Holy Spirit) which books went in. Peace.

Peter March 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Utter Hogwash! 1) Your beloved apocrypha certainly was never recognized by the Jews as part of the Old testament canon 2) Jesus is the Rock (Petra) on which God founded his true church I belong to – certainly not Peter (petros) as the RC church has erroneously taught for centuries (what an absurdity, the man to whom Jesus said “Get behind me Satan” a few verses after saying “on this Petras [i.e., huge revelation that he was in fact the Messiah] I will build my chuch) 3) When Jesus hung on the cross and said “It is finished” he meant exactly what he said. The RC sacrifice of the mass (a continuing sacrifice for what’s already been completed) is an affront to God for the completed work of Calvary 4) I live “marvelous” Catholic Latin American country where the average Catholic doesn’t have much of a clue what’s even in the Bible because for 500 years your holy mother church has kept them in near total ignorance. Because of this spiritual exploitation, which began with the Conquistadores, this country is near the bottom in nearly every socio-economic measure. Farm animals in the U.S. live better than many people here. Yep, your Catholic truth certainly has set a lot of people free alright. Like I said – utter hogwash!

Edward October 16, 2009 at 3:51 am

You complain about the catholic church yet not the protestant. Isnt america mostly protestant. And arnt the protestants who use the king james version who actually added the infancy gospels in the back of the canon and had never taken all the apocrypha out also I dont believe Martin Luther did either. I suppose it wasnt commercialism turning the synogogue of the Lord(the protestant synogogue or church) into a market place. Isnt the protestant whos trying to sell to the world for their profit not the catholic church. I suppose Jesus commissioned us to go on national television and sell the bible to the whole world so we can become billionaires. Isnt that like murdering christ for money. How about those 33rd level freemason who blaspheme christ to reach their final level. Including the world renown evangelicals who without regard for their faith went through the ceremony. I believe Billy Graham is one. Or maybe lots of little congregations or sects of professed christians proclaiming to be the Lords disciples doesnt describe the gospels truth about he antichrist and false prophets. Well to me it does. The catholic church definately has an issue with catholic feminists and the roman church taking the right to mary and having taken the right to work away in the past does take the rights of an apostle away explained by the apostle Paul . And whats to die for if it isnt the freedom. Also it does explain how the authority in the Church isnt to Lord authority over people like a governor but to build up and edify. So there is a definate issue with having a Pope . Also I agree about Peter. Peter was rebuked by Paul to his face for living like a jew. Pauls ministry to convert gentiles and actually working with his hands not living off tythe. In reality whos works started the example of fighting for decent pay and rights. The freedom we so love is all the gospels work of the apostles. There was 12 apostles not one and Peter was never greater than paul who worked with his hands to my knowledge anyways. Nor any of the other apostles for that matter why isnt there 12 popes. Yet there are many catholic rites and the orthodox church itself doesnt have a pope. Have you ever read the apocrypha. If not then you probably hardly understand the Word of God. especially who mother mary is if you havnt read the infancy gospels. The protestants say that catholics worship mary some may in thier own mind want to do that. Yet it is not taught to do that. If you read the bible it states even Paul saught the intercession and prayers of the saints and angels in heaven. 1 Timothy 2 read the whole passage not just the few words the protestants would tell you are in it. Why would God allow people to dispute the word of God its his word not mans to dispute. Protestants are very wrong though we all have to strive for peace I think most people in urban society and some in rural who are protestant follow the law and its leaders more than they follow the Lord. So mans laws may make them appear innocent but woman preachers and gay ministers I think the real church can discern is not his teachings. Also all the phony charities for getting rich off the homeless people gatting grants and the community to give generously and taking home 100,000 or more a year to do it. It happens. I am sure the old monasteries would of taken them in if they were really seeking the Lord for shelter not just going along with phony protestant community.

Sandra January 31, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I just wanted to say that I read 1 Timothy 2, the whole chapter. And I found it interesting that it says nothing about Paul seeking the intercession of saints and angels, but it does say in verse 5, “for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. Doesn’t this suggest that a priest can not mediate? Hmmmm

Matthew Warner February 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

Actually, that’s not true. The verses right before that verse say “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men…” (1 Tim 2:1).

Also, we must be careful not to take one chapter out of the bible and interpret it all on our own out of the context of the rest of the Bible and Church history. There are other places in the bible as well that suggest quite clearly that praying for others and asking them to pray for us (including saints and angels) is a good and holy thing to do.

Sandra, I think you’re being a bit unfair. I’m sure that you ask others to pray for you. And I’m sure you pray for other people. Yet, when Catholics do the same thing we are accused of violating Jesus’ role as mediator.

For further reading on it if anyone is interested on that particular topic:
Praying to the Saints

The early Church and intercession of the saints

Bart February 12, 2010 at 12:25 am

Great post. Petras versus Petros, so close and yet so far.

Personally, I believe science, reason, poetry and freedom are God’s gift to humanity and people should develop those aspects of their being. Trusting any authority to think for you and determine what God wants, seems to me like putting a filter between yourself and your relation with God. First, their was God, then humans, they connected and then people created religion in order to institutionalize their experiences.

Matthew Warner February 12, 2010 at 8:36 am

Bart – Petra and Petros are latin terms adopted later in translation (Petros being the masculine form of the word and appropriate for a male name). In Aramaic, the language Jesus would have used when he said it, there is no distinction. It is Kepha and Kepha. You are Kepha, and upon this Kepha I will build my Church. A very clear statement by Jesus. And that was the interpretation and understanding of the statement by the apostles, the early Church and every Christian up until about 1500 years after the life of Jesus.

Ogden Chichester May 17, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Actually, Petros and Petra are Greek. The distinction, as you hint, is that Petros is appropriate for a man’s name, but Petra is required by the Greek syntax and grammar of the sentence.

Matthew Warner May 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Ogden – Doh, I meant to write Greek, not Latin. Thanks for the catch!

Ogden Chichester May 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm

You’re welcome, but please forgive me for not noticing that post was from February. :-/

Matthew Warner May 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm

No, I’m very glad you commented. It’s an ongoing discussion and of course it’s always good to clarify any errors. Thanks again!

Mark March 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

Did you know that the first king james Bible in 1611 had all the same books as the Catholic Bible has always has had.Have you ever read the last paragraph of any Bible it says you are dammed if you add to or take away from this book. Who took out the 7 books since 1611 and why read a incomplete book from someone who is dammed? Did you know that the word protestant means to protest Christ Church. If you love Jesus why do you hate his Church. And if you love Jesus why are you NOT a member of HIS Holy Catholic Church. Jesus told His Church if they reject you they reject me. Did you know that Christmas means Christ’s Mass. Do you refer to December 25 has christ’s going to meeting or do you use the Catholic word Christmas. just wondering . May God Bless you and convert you Amen.

Tyler March 4, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Peter,

If you have a grievance with Christ’s church I suggest you take it up in a more appropriate forum and in a gentler tone. You might try starting with the forums over at http://www.catholic.com where you’ll find lots of folks to dialog with.

Hurling Protestant polemics in dizzying fashion in a blog comment isn’t going to get anyone to take you seriously.

In addition, I might suggest checking out the writings of the Early Church Fathers, the first Christians, and see how their beliefs are the same as the Catholic Church today.

Bart February 12, 2010 at 12:28 am

I think the grevience is with your assumption that your Church is Christ’s Church and of cource vice versa. Isn’t that the problem though? People get caught up in the institution of religion, which distracts from contemplation of God’s presence in our lives.

Matthew Warner February 12, 2010 at 8:43 am

Bart – I think that’s an oversimplification. That’s like saying “people get caught up in the institution of the university, which distracts from a real education.”

Yes, people CAN get caught up in a university and it could lead them astray. But if the university is a good one (created by Jesus Christ) and it is embraced properly, then it can lead to the best education in the world – much better than if you are just left to yourself. It would be an aid, not a distraction. It’s the same with the Church.

Yes, there are people who allow their institution or practice or customs to distract them. That doesn’t mean the institution or practice or custom is at fault necessarily. It may mean that they are not embracing them properly.

Jesus gave us the Church to help us. The fact that some people don’t use it properly or at all does not mean it is the problem. The problem is the people when they allow it to be a distraction. If embraced fully and properly the Church will lead us to a more complete and deep contemplation and experience of God’s presence in our lives. That’s why Jesus gave it to us. And that’s why I’m Catholic.

Victor March 4, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Jesus said to the Pharisees “your tradition makes the word of God ineffectual” (Mark 7:13). Many traditions of catholicism fall into the same category that Jesus condemned: they are basically “traditions of men” that serve to detract from the power of the Word of God. Where does the Bible say that Mary was a perpetual virgin? Nowhere, but scripture does say that Jesus’ mother and brothers were waiting for him outside (Matt 12:46). Where does the Bible say Mary ascended to heaven? Again, nowhere, but the Bible does say Jesus ascended to heaven in plain sight (Acts 1:9). I could go on and on through a litany of traditions in catholicism that contradict the clear teachings of scripture – but I won’t. I will make one last point, however, evidently Jesus believed in Sola Scriptura, which can be clearly seen in his denunciation of the Pharisees for their traditions which made the word null and void! Think about it!

Adam September 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm

One of the worst arguments I have ever heard for sola scriptura. Sola scriptura is wrong because the Holy Scripture comes from the Holy Tradition. Also, God is the highest law and authority, not scripture alone. He shows us his law and authority to us in many ways. Two of them being Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Which only the Catholic Church has. Which would partially explain why they is only one true Catholic religion and thousands of protestant denominations. Who keep dividing and changing their cannons and rules to the popular times instead of keeping holy Gods laws (i.e. homosexual union, correct scripture, ect.) The Pharisees corrupted the Holy tradition which is one of the reasons Jesus rebuked them. However, you are correct in saying that the bible does not say Mary joined her son body and soul in Heaven. But, think critically for a moment and put yourself in the position of Jesus. Your mother, Mary, helped bring you into the world and loved you with all her heart. Also she gave God the biggest yes in the history of humanity. And, if you believe Jesus in God, her body physically held Christ inside her for nine months. Consider all those facts and again pretend for a moment your Jesus. Mary’s time on earth is over. Why let her body decay and become a worm feast like everybody else?
In the old testament the prophetcey says that the Messiah will be born of a virgin. So if you believe Jesus to be The Messiah than the bible does say that Mary is a virgin. Please think critically. If Jesus was not born of a virgin does that not compromise his validity as God? If he was born of someone who was not a virgin than a very good argument can be made that he is man alone and not God. In the bible Mary says “How shall this be done because I know not man?”. (Luke 1:34). When translated from Greek to English we lose the deep meaning of some words. This passage is a victim to the languare barrier. Because, what Mary is saying is that she has never had sex and will never. In the original language she tells Gabrial that she is a concesrated virgin, as we would say today, and therefore can not be with child. This translation issue also explains why the Bible says Jesus has brothers. In Hebrew there is no word for cousin. Therefore, the closest translation that could have been written is brother. I hope that clears some issues.

Peter March 5, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Tyler,
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and He’s my dearest and best friend as well. We walk and talk together on a daily basis. I love him and of course I love all who follow Him as well – regardless of the name over the door where they may congregate. Tyler, I pray that He will open the “eyes of your understanding” and reveal to you as well the many false teachings which you appear to so willing to follow without question. One of the essential characteristics of humility is being teachable.In humility, open your heart as well as your mind. Ask Jesus himself what is the truth. If you ask in faith, I know that his Holy Spirit will show you the truth.
“Knowleges puffs up, but love edifies.” Bendiciones.

Matthew Warner March 5, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Peter and Victor – I thank you for your comments. And I believe you’re sincere in what you’re saying and i thank you for that.

But I think you’re actually further making my point for me while at the same time missing the entire point of this post yourselves.

You’ve each introduced your own fallible interpretations and opinions of scripture and thrown up tired old arguments against Catholics that, in the end, only serve to reveal your deep misunderstanding of what the Church truly teaches.

In the process you’ve ignored the primary, more fundamental questions of this post and failed to provide any foundation for your beliefs from which you are now making your accusations.

I make the case that Jesus established a Church that gives us Truth in more ways than ONLY the Bible. And then you respond with random accusations of “oh yeah, well where in the bible is such-and-such a belief?” Kind of misses the point, don’t ya think?

Joe Keating March 5, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Matt, this is a great concise defense of the deuterocanon and our Church’s basis for adherence to Scripture and Tradition. Very timely, too, since next week’s Confirmation class is on the Bible! I am going to forward this to our catechists.

Seems you have some pretty angry detractors! I’ll bet they have never been to a Mass, which is absolutely laden with Scripture. Or set foot in a cathedral, with its statues and stained glass, intended to educate the illiterate about the faith.

If you like the idea of Sola Scriptura, I suppose you think the Word of God is only intended for those who have the ability to read. Sacred Tradition, the Holy Mass, and the living teaching of the Church are all intended to impart the faith, and to impart the Person of Christ into the docile hearts of all men, not just the literate ones. They are not detractions in the least.

It is strange to me that so many folks use proof-texts to support their points while having no understanding of where the Bible (and thus, the proof-texts) came from or for what it is intended. The Church was around for about 350 years before the canon was even decided upon. How else would it have survived without Tradition and the Magisterium (teaching of the Church)? Certainly the Bible is much more widespread today than the Jewish Bible was in the first through fourth centuries.

Where would we be without the consistent teaching of the Church? Anyone can twist scripture to make it say what they want it to.

Matthew Warner March 5, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Sacred Tradition, the Holy Mass, and the living teaching of the Church are all intended to impart the faith, and to impart the Person of Christ into the docile hearts of all men, not just the literate ones.

Absolutely beautifully put, Joe!

jim oberschmidt March 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Peace be with you brothers and sisters,

in humility and truth , if we listen, we can learn more from our critics , than our friends.

Nice Blog, though scripture is explicit in it’s use for instruction and correction.

Inspiration, tradition, scripture, though not necessarrily in that order are manifested in the will of God, and it is our understanding which will bring others to Our Lord Christ.

In my fallen condition, sin, I ask for prayer, forgiveness, and the mercy of the one True God.

Make it a great day. peace. Jim

Peter March 6, 2009 at 5:50 am

Matthew Warner,
Just a friendly suggestion: Why not take a few slow, deep breaths and then spend time communing with Jesus Christ who is the author of truth? Go to the source. Ask Him whether you are following in the traditions of men. What does He have to say on this.

Ogden Chichester May 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm

How do you know he hasn’t?

Jim Oberschmidt March 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

To Peter,
If You will practice your yoga breathing and study scripture- the priesthood of Aaron and also the priesthood of the 12 disciples, you will see tradition’s value alongside scripture, those men served the one true God, if only you will open your heart… brother, for part of love is understanding, peace be with you. jro

Juan Gomez March 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Wow, I learned so much just from reading this blog. It is funny because in the last few days I had encounter individuals who keep questioning my Catholic beliefs and who seem to be looking for a way to make me stumble with questions regarding Catholic Tradition. Thanks to this blog I can give them a better answer and will be able to defend the stand of the Catholic Church. It is also thanks to people like Victor and Peter who make us stronger in our beliefs because they make me realize that the billion plus Catholics in the world cannot be wrong and our two thousand year old Church cannot be wrong either.
And by the way, Peter, I also come from a Latin American country. Me, my friends and family are average Latin American people and we do know what’s on the Bible, we study it often, it is promoted by the Catholic Church to study it, we take part on retreats and seminars that promote the study of the Bible. It is true, we are oppressed but is not by our Catholic Church, we might have socio economical problems but please do not compare us to U.S. farm animals. We live happy, we feel loved and we love our Church.

Matthew Warner March 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Peter, thank you for your suggestions. I shall take them to heart. And while we’re opening our hearts, I would ask you to open yours just a little bit more too and consider not only communing with Jesus Christ in your walking and your talking…but in allowing his presence to totally enter and transform you in the most effective way that God has given us.

“Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” – John 6:53

If you want to talk about communion with Jesus Christ and going to the source of all truth then you will meet him most intimately – not in any deep breathing exercises but – as you commune with His own Flesh and Blood in the Eucharist. This is what he gave through his Church – not just a book, but a Person…Himself.

Peter March 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Matthew Warner,
The suggestion to breath deeply was meant as a suggestion that you s-l-o-w d-o-w-n in order that you might really listen and hear what He is saying. Jesus wants each one of us to get past knowing about Him (head knowledge) and to come into His presence. He wants our hearts as well as our minds. He also wants to be a friend as well as Savior.

Matthew Warner March 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Thanks Peter – that’s a good reminder!

(sidenote)All – this is a good example of how a lot of these conversations go. You raise a completely logical question like WHY should we believe in the bible? And then present the reasonable explanation that Christ’s Church gives us (see post above).

Then non-catholics illogically attack you with things like “well where is [this] in the Bible?” And say things like “Utter hogwash” without ever backing up their claims or answering the more fundamental questions presented.

Then when you point out their fallacious logic they get magically fluffy and respond with things like “you just need to slow down and stop thinking too much. Just take deep breaths and ask God to tell you what the Truth is.”

And they say things like “He wants our hearts as well as our minds.” Of course he does. Nobody has suggested otherwise. But then when I decide to use my mind and come to a logical conclusion that conflicts with what they believe then I’m “getting too head-y” and I need to just “slow down and breath and pray and ask God what the Truth is.”

Peter – God gave us both faith and reason in order to most fully contemplate His Truth. Further, he gave us a Church to guide us in that pursuit. If you want to most fully commune with Him I would suggest checking out His Church…that HE started. It’s not enough to just say things like “come into his presence” – you must do it. His presence is most fully in the Eucharist. It’s in His Church. God bless you!

BA September 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This is coming from a former RC of 49 yrs. Although it has been several years since these postes I just couldn’t let this go!! I happened to stumbled on this site and am floored at the complete lack of knowledge concerning scripture so many of you have. It’s no surprise though, I was just like you all, in a dead religion. Attending the same program year after year. Where was Christ among all those statues. On that cross, still dead. That was the only evidance of Him in the RC church. So instead of going through the motions and allowing someone to dictate to me what to believe, I took resposibility, prayed about it and asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to the TRUTH. Through reading the Word of God He began to little by little reveal Himself to me. Those of you who think Christ set up the Roman Catholic church and is the only true church, scripture teaches the church is BELIEVERS, (also called saints) in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who have been “Born Again” and filled with the Holy Spirit. Look forward to hearing from anyone, but please read scripture (the bible) first!! Then we can have a real dialogue. God Bless!!!!

Matthew Warner September 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

BA – that’s the “only evidence” of Jesus in a Catholic Church!? I’m sorry, but this reveals how little you knew/know about your Catholic faith when you left it. That’s such a huge disconnect from every single Catholic Church I’ve ever been in to (and that’s counting some really badly designed/arranged ones).

BA September 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Matt, than you tell me, where is the Lord Jesus Christ in the RC church other then still hanging on a cross? I have come to find that no RC can answer that. Look forward to hearing from you. Glory to God!!

BA September 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Awe Matt, still searching for Christ? Sorry Bud, that was me too, years ago. Know where I found Him, in a church that honors and trusts the Word of God. Sloa Scriptura folks!!! God Bless

Art September 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I know a true Christian by their love and those who are simply fundamentalists that think they know and are simply rude.

BA September 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Art, hopefully you don’t show your love by just telling someone only what they want to hear and the void of truth so not to hurt their feelings. You may believe calling me a fundamentalists is an insult, I don’t. I’m a Christian who believes in the infallibity of the bible….so I thank you. God Bless!!

Art September 26, 2012 at 7:18 am

Truth and love go hand in hand. You missed the entire point.

Matthew Warner September 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

BA – thanks for the encouragement. I wrote a quick blog post answering this important question: Where is Jesus in a Catholic Church?

Hope that helps!

BA September 24, 2012 at 5:43 am

Matt, there a reason my comments arn’t being posted on this sit. Responded to three yesterday, none are here.

Matthew Warner September 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

Yes, it’s because you always put some random words in the “url” field of the comment form (that are not actually urls). Not sure why you do that? But that causes the system to flag them as potential spam and I have to manually moderate them before they show up. And sometimes I can’t get around to moderating for awhile. If you just leave that field blank, it will probably help.

Dave September 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

BA, you mean “Sola Scriptura,” which is easily refuted. Where does the Bible say “only Scripture?” Don’t give me 2 Timothy 3:16, because that’s “all Scripture” and refers to the Old Testament, since the New Testament wasn’t to be assembled for hundreds of years.
For more detail, see http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/according-to-scripture

BA September 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Dave, Yes, misspelled, thank you :-) I’ll just touch on 2Tim 3:16, but there is so much, I could be here all night. All scripture is God breathed. If not, anyone, could add their own opinions. (God never asked our opinion). The bible came from God, through the men who wrote it. 2 Peter 1:21. God superintended these human authors so that, using their individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error God’s Word to man. Christ attested to the fact that inspiration extends to the very words Matt 5:18, John 10:35. In the same verse, Paul quoted Deuteronomy and Luke as Scripture, 1Tim 5:18 and Peter declared Paul’s epistles to be scripture, 2 Peter 3:16. Inspiration does not involve mechanical dictation but the accurate recording of God’s words. Inspiration does not extend beyond the original manuscripts, though the texts we possess today have been transmitted with high accuracy. God Bless you!!

Dave September 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

BA, I’m not debating the infallibility of Scripture, rather the sola scriptura claim that the Bible is the only source of truth. Jesus founded the Church, he did not write a book. Because without the Church, the Bible can and has been twisted to mean whatever people want to rationalize.

BA September 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Dave, I know that scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian. The bible is complete, authoritative and true. The roman catholic church has made it’s traditions superior in authority to the bible. The result is that many roman catholic practices were in fact contradictory to the bible. Some are prayer to saints/Mary, immaculate conseption, transubstantiation, infant baptism, indulgences and papal authority to name only a few. Yes, the bible does not teach sola scriptura, but we do know the bible is the Word of God. The bible declares it self to be God-breathed, inerrant and authoritative. We also know God does not change His mind or contradict Himself. And it most definitely does not allow for traditions to contradict its message. Hope this blesses you!!

Matthew Warner September 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm

BA – that makes no sense. Just because a book says it is the Word of God doesn’t mean it is the Word of God. You should check out my post on “Why should we believe in the Bible” for a little more on this topic.

And again, you clearly don’t understand what the Catholic Church teaches about the Bible, nor how she interprets it.

Don October 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm

BA,
I was raised in a secular family with no faith formation, no prayer, no church and no belief in God. Religion was nowhere on my radar even into my late 20s. At 30, Jesus invited me “out of nowhere” to become Catholic. I, simply as one witness, can assure you from the depth of my bones and the very core of my being that Jesus Christ is alive and well in the Roman Catholic Church and especially in the Eucharist. I have witnessed many miracles of his grace and I am proud and truly humbled to be his deacon today, 18 years after that initial moment of conversion whereby God manifested his love for me in a way I could comprehend. Blessings, peace and all good things to you!

Peter March 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Juan,
I live in a country where the average person makes $2.00 a day. This amount isn’t enough to afford the cost of living let alone be able to send your children to school. Last year in just one week more than 90 children died in the winter because of the cold – they simply didn’t have adequate warm clothing. Truly, many people here would experience an upgrade in their living conditions if they could just live in either a tool shed or a barn in the U.S. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is here, unfortunately.

This country, as one ot the centers of the Inquisition in the New World, allowed many Bible-believing Christians, as well as Jews, to be tortured and slaughtered by those who were convinced they were doing the will of God. In more recent times, Christian believers have been stoned and some even killed. I personally know a pastor who has scars on his head and body from when he was stoned and left for dead on the outskirts of town by angry Catholics who resented his presence in their town (I guess they didn’t consider it to be his town as well).

I’m glad that you were raised in a family and in a local church where such great emphasis placed on understanding and appreciating the Word of God. You’ve been very fortunate. Perhaps you would consider someday coming to a poorer part of the world and helping others who are in such desperate need – both physically and spiritually.

Matthew Warner March 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Peter, thanks for sharing your experiences in Peru. But I think we can all agree that just because an angry group of Catholics (or any religion) do something mean or horrible does not have anything to do with the subject of this post. Nor does it have anything to do with whether or not Sola Scriptura is logical dogma.

It’s horrible when anyone mistreats somebody else. But if we’re going to start blaming it on whatever religion they profess (however wrongly or rightly they profess it) and because of that making some sort of presumption about the Truth of the actual religion then we won’t get anywhere. Indeed there are many parts of the world and history where the persecution has been the other way around.

It’s all an obvious distraction from the real issue and the very simple questions and logic presented. If you have any actual legitimate points of contention with the post – I’d be happy to discuss our differences while also sharing our common faith with each other.

Peter March 7, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Matthew,
Though you don’t seem to recognize it, I am very much a part of His church. Jesus Christ is my very best friend! His precious Holy Spirit is a friend of mine as well.How else could I have such an abiding love for His Word as well as for His people?

BTW I would never say that ALL tradition fits into the category of “the tradition of men”. That would be ridiculous. However, some traditions espoused by mainstream Roman Catholic teaching are definitely not of God. How do I know? Any belief that clearly contradicts scipture is simply not of God. They are merely the “traditions of man”. God and His Word are in total agreement. He’s not double-minded and He didn’t change His mind just to accomodate the current understanding of the day – whether it was in the 5th century, the 11th century or in the 21st century. Let’s face it, even the best intentioned of men sometimes get it wrong. Part of being humble is being teachable.

Matthew Warner March 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Peter- you are right back to insisting that the Catholic Church has traditions that are not of God. And how do you “know” this?…because particular practices (ones that you don’t actually understand at all) contradict your FALLIBLE interpretation of scripture?

Aside from that not making any logical sense at all, here you are appealing to scripture again as authority to discredit the very institution who gave the canon of scripture to you in the first place (The Catholic Church).

In this post, I’m asking you to step back a level from that. Answer why you believe in scripture? How do you know it to be true? How is it that you can believe this book has any authority without recognizing the authority of the Church from which it came?

The Catholic Church does not contradict scripture in any way. If you think that it does it is either #1) that you do not actually understand what the Church teaches (as VERY evident from some of your earlier comments) or #2) that you are actually misinterpreting scripture yourself.

While we’re being humble and teachable – can you admit that your own personal interpretation of scripture is fallible? And can you admit that your understanding of what the Catholic Church truly teaches may be mistaken?

Peter March 7, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Matthew,
I know what the Roman Catholic church teaches my understanding is far greater than you’d imagine. But that’s not the point.
To believe an institution – one with as many dark stains in it’s history as Roman Catholicism – is magically error free in it’s doctrine is what defies logic. You can parrot what you’ve been taught, but what does Jesus Christ himself say? That’s what’s important. Go to the Source! Ask Him – after all He’s the head of His church! I can guarantee that if you go to Him with a humble heart – not with an attitude that you have all the answers – He will reveal the Truth to you.

Jim Oberschmidt March 7, 2009 at 10:17 pm

“I know what the Roman Catholic church teaches my understanding is far greater…” Peter, come on, your Hypocrisy is in your failure to walk as the humble walk, your methods of persuasion are not of Our Lord, nor of scripture. Your “head” knowledge is incomplete and I am in prayer for you , brother , this sunday.

In this moment me , a sinner, forgiven by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, know only, that I have fallen short as scripture teaches, and so too, you. Yet, by the Grace of God, I am called to reconciliation with our Lord. I am edified in that we will be known by our love! I ask you, proof read your discussion and underline the moments of love, peter, you have expressed many things, show me the love. Do you know the scripture, “..judge not, lest ye…”
May you repent, and the great peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Peter March 7, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Jim,
What exactly would you have me repent of? What I’ve seen displayed on this blog is some (limited)knowledge of who God is, but little evidence that there is a sincere desire to know the truth. I asked the Lord about it and He told me just to leave it alone – which is what I shall do.

Jim Oberschmidt March 7, 2009 at 11:06 pm

It is a minute or so to sunday, and in tradition we are in the sabbath, brothers and sisters, as I grow into a servant of our Lord and work to discern His truth, there are tears, and a battle wages inside for command of myself.

Tradition, Scripture, The Church, each called by different names, it is still by the grace of God, we can be discerning in our understanding, and practice.

May this Sunday be a holy and restful sabbath, may we truly experience the joy of Peace, in communion with our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am in prayer for my own complete reconciliation, the journey that represents and for each of you in yours. Please include me in your prayers.

May the grace of God, be of comfort, in the tradition of our Lord.

David L. DeCasien March 8, 2009 at 6:38 am

Too bad Peter dropped out just before I ask him about the Rapture.

Phil March 8, 2009 at 7:18 am

From time to time I struggle to understand the faith in Jesus and search the web for some enlightenment. But it’s a never ending circle of belief and argument. Seems to me that Jesus existed and preached and died on a cross. So what! Is there no thought for the people who never heard of him and their destiny. My interpretation of the Bible is the god preached about is quite logically, an evil entity. I am finding that I am discounting the bible as a complex compilation of ill conceived notions. I do not believe that a prophet has ever existed or that the teachings of Jesus are factually recounted. The Catholic account of itself was initiated by bible content. People are inherently looking for the higher being and have always done this. In frustration a lot of myth and story has become baseline. For those who talk to Jesus, this I would like to understand. If Jesus talks to me I would acknowledge this, but it really is not a matter of believing in him first…and for those who think so, just carefully consider how you think this through!

Jim Oberschmidt March 8, 2009 at 11:33 am

Good Sunday Afternoon Phil,

Two mysteries, one, Jesus commanded, “… to all nations.:” which would include those you mention,
Two, I pray you continue more often in your ‘struggle’ to understand, and do so with an open heart.
It part of love to reject all evil and he who spawns it. It is part of justice to pursue the truth.

I Hope you are blessed with both of these on your journey. peace.

Matthew Warner March 8, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Phil, you sound like you’ve done a lot of searching. That’s great! If you continue to do so with an open heart and honest search for Truth then I have no doubt that you will find it.

I invite you to read a book like “Reasons to Believe” by Scott Hahn. I would be interested in what you think after reading it. Might be right up your alley. it does a great job of making some sense out of all of the confusion we find today. I hope you’ll check it out! God bless.

DHunt March 8, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Dear Phil,

Would you consider reading the lives of the Saints?!

Cindy March 9, 2009 at 10:31 am

I had a wonderful conversation yesterday with an Evangelical Lutheran minister who told me that he was preaching a sermon (to his congregation of 10,000) that they will never bring anyone to Christ by quoting the Bible, debating, belittling, or antagonizing anyone with Jesus’ message.

When people were mostly illiterate and unable to read any version of the Bible our Church used love to teach the Gospel. Sometimes harsher methods, to be sure, but mostly love. I often think the whole Bible could be rewritten in four letters. Love.

Phil March 10, 2009 at 9:24 am

Cindy, interesting comment. Do you know Christ as the Son of God or are you accepting of this? I am trying to understand how people have an awareness of Jesus as our knowledge of Christ is typically derived from the Bible which was written and compiled long after his time on earth by people we have very little knowledge about. If people can know Christ as separate from what they read about him, this would be of great interest to me.

Cindy March 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Phil, I am not an apologist and would never attempt to get into high-falutin’ debates about religion with anyone. I know God is Love and that His Son, Jesus is love, too. I know there is an objective reality, mostly unknown to us, and that it is good. I would agree with DHunt that the lives of the saints are a wonderful path to Christ that doesn’t require memorizing the Bible. If the Divine rests within all of us and we can respond to that in each other then Christ is always present and can reveal Himself without benefit of Scripture.
The people I’ve encountered who have the best knowledge of the Bible’s words are very often the people who have the least knowledge of it’s spirit.

Phil March 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Cindy, I like your comment regarding “objective reality” and “the Divine rests within all of us”.

I don’t want to spark debate but I need to say that I don’t recognise the Catholicc view of Saints and miracles. An unselfish deed is a saintly quality but even the best achiever of such would not consider themself as a saint. I am aware of people who do much good in their lives and I see them as saint like people, but not as saints. I do believe without a doubt that we all have something good within in us that we can respond to (feelings of compassion, charity, love, kindness etc). But is this the thing you see as Christ driven and if so why do you know it is Christ and not something else?

Cindy, not to bait or undermine what you think or feel, and I am happy to let this go, but if you think you are able to show how you know Jesus, without reference to biblical accounts then……mmm sorry, maybe this is something beyond explanation… not sure!

Jim Oberschmidt March 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm

MYSTERY?
How is possible that fellowship and discussion always reveals that”…all things are possible..” Phil, as brothers and sisters, love is a humble sharing of that which is revealed to us, knowing we are incomplete, imperfect, and needing God’s mercy.

Peace and love, brother, in Jesus’ name.

DHunt March 11, 2009 at 8:50 am

Phil,

Dear Phil,

They are not recognized as Saints because of their “good deeds” .They are Saints because of their immense Love for Christ! Their lives point directly to Christ. Your interest in knowing about this Jesus figure could not be imparted by anyone (especially in this type of forum) more perfectly than these men & women could impart it! You don’t have to believe what the Catholic church calls these men and women, but their lives will serve as great witness to this Christ that you are interested in knowing apart from the Bible.
: )

Phil March 11, 2009 at 8:59 am

Sorry Jim, your comments are not helping me. I’m not sure you understand how I am looking at all this! It is unwise for me to just believe the biblical account of Jesus. Please don’t assume I will accept whatever happens as being a part of God’s plan. I am just trying to understand how people KNOW Jesus is God’s son.

Phil March 11, 2009 at 9:06 am

DHunt, as I understand things, Saints are not recognised by the Catholic church unless certain criteria is met. It is up to the Pope and church to assess even if miracles have been performed. Mary MacKillop is a recent consideration in point. May I add that the current Pope leaves me cold with some of his comments regarding fast-tracking yourself to heaven, limbo and washing machines.

Jim Oberschmidt March 11, 2009 at 9:10 am

Good Wednesday Phil,
Thanks for your reply, My only answer as to How we KNOW Jesus is God’s son, is that it is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Not only through scripture, but also in hearts, and in our walk with Him. Just as there were moments when Christ concealed himself from the disciples, we suffer those same moments.

There are mysteries in scripture that are beyond our current understanding, and in those moments, we have a free will choice to accept or deny what is revealed to us. peace, JIm

Phil March 11, 2009 at 9:16 am

Jim, more on track now…I would love the feeling and knowledge that the Holy Spirit imparts, but I think you may notice that I am not getting it. I say this sincerely and I am not suggesting to anyone this doesn’t happen to them. But without the feeling of this I will look at others and wonder about it. But for the moment I am quite disappointed that Jesus did not write a thing (maybe one word) for us to know him. What is written was not immediately done and we are unsure about the people who wrote it.

DHunt March 11, 2009 at 9:51 am

Dear Phil,

Set these aside the “Church” , the “Pope” and the word “Saints” if these are stumbling blocks for you… Let’s call these men & women “Great lovers of Christ” These “Great lovers of Christ” also exist outside of the Church. If you truly want to know Him than start with His best friends!Don’t look for someone to “prove” Christ to you.As a starting point first get to know Him through those that love/loved Him most deeply.Don’t give up your search.Great things await you!

Cindy March 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Phil,
I will never be able to show or tell how I can know the love of Christ. I guess that’s why it’s called faith. I personally believe that this fire that’s imparted by the Holy Spirit is always accessible to us if we really want it and if we are paying attention. As you seek, so shall you find.
Best wishes for peace and love in your life.
Cindy

Phil March 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Thanks DHunt. One important point I make is that I am not looking for proof as I know this is not there. The only proof that exists is ‘personal’. I am trying to understand the way people feel this. And again, it is something I don’t experience.

DHunt March 12, 2009 at 11:54 am

Dear Phil,

My best advice to you would be: Get yourself plugged in somewhere (i.e. a church)We were made to live in communion with one another that’s how He designed it. You can not encounter Christ alone (as an island!)and start living and reading His word. I understand you are skeptical that this is actually His word and question allot but you must have a starting point. Step out in FAITH! He knows all your doubts and fears (better than you do).But our Lord is a gentleman and He will not force Himself on anyone (again the free will thing)But your “Yes” to Him will start to open up in your life! If it is Jesus that you seek go where the people that know Him are & read His word! Start this Sunday Phil-You are in my prayers.His love for you will bring you to your knees!

http://www.piercedhearts.org/theology_heart/wisdom_heart/mother_teresa_i_thirst.htm

Phil March 18, 2009 at 8:44 am

Thanks all for your willing replies. The most meaningful information I benefited from was not to focus too much on the Bible. To give you a bit more about me, I have forever wanted to understand the feelings about God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, that my friends, relatives and family have faith in. It eludes me! I have had a Catholic schooling and upbringing, and as a child I always enjoyed listening to the parables. I have attended church and bible studies, I have read the Bible more than once.

Now, perhaps to your dismay or disappointment, it is in recent times I have become very dismissive of the whole thing. Today we are better informed with access to more information than ever before. Old Testament stories mean little to me as I try and profile in my mind what it was like back then. I doubt there was no burning bush, separation of the Nile or Noah and the flood as it is described. Even the Ten Commandments is most likely a succinct form of some 100 original commandments. Events occurred and were exaggerated to make a more prolonging and impressionable point for the people of the time. The coming of Christ may have been more of a hope rather than an eventual prophecy come true. For me there was no immaculate conception, rather more a situation of shame and denial. The Bible is more a collection of writings that best summarise an ethical form of behaviour. It is good information and plenty to base a good life on. However it does not have literal meaning for me.

Dhunt, for me to “plug in” to a church and have “communion” with others is a step back to where I have been before. Nothing has helped me feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. However having said this, I don’t believe other people are wrong on this either, and I consider that God may in fact choose the people he wants, a bit like what Jews believe. I wonder if there is in fact, infidel!? , (BTW I have no patience at all for Islamic belief here). The church preaches that not all will be saved and one can only be saved through a belief in the resurrection, which I find I don’t. I consider how wholesome and good God is meant to be, and just cannot accept a ‘just’ God would be a creator of all people and yet all will not be saved. The logic is that as there is and always will be evil in this world, it is there for there to be good in this world (Good for the sake of Evil and Evil for the sake of Good). The ones who aren’t saved end up as the sacrificial lambs for those who are! I do not believe one is saved by a sudden belief in the resurrection. This is not good enough! How can this thing called faith just magically be one’s revelation? I have tried and wanted faith but with no resolve and I guess my only hope is to feel the Holy Spirit and understand its presence according to the whole Christian faith. I can’t just say I believe if I can’t feel it.

Sorry for all this but I just want to be frank and heighten the boundaries a bit, it is not to pressure any further response.

Best wishes

Joe July 5, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Phil,

I have just been reading all of the posts that go with the above blog. Your posts in particular interest me. I have been a lifelong Catholic and have just recently become really deep in my faith. I am a mathematics graduate student working on my PhD. I say this because your posts seem to want a logical argument for our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. There are two books that I would recommend reading. The first is “The Case for Christianity” and the second is “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. I would read them in that order too. They give a logical and reason-based argument for Christianity without ever mentioning a specific denomination. Once you understand the baseline of these books, you can then start to delve into the readings of the Catholic Church. As a mathematician, I thoroughly enjoyed the use of reason and logic in these texts to defend Christianity. I know this is a new post on a really old blog, but I thought I could at least write in case you are still searching. Hope you enjoy the reading and God bless.

Phil July 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

Thanks Joe, will need to seek the reading material you mention.

Julian May 3, 2009 at 8:56 pm

I first thought this was irony, but then slowly gathered that this was meant seriously…

The major problem of this text is circular reasoning! We should believe what the bible says, because of the authority of the church, which is founded on the bible, which the church put together…

Matthew Warner May 4, 2009 at 6:09 am

Julian – actually, not so at all. First we would argue that the Bible is “reliable” historically (we can do this without the authority of the Church). Then from that as well as other evidence we can conclude that God created a Church with authority. And then only because of the authority of that Church can/should we believe the Bible to be inspired. Inspired is very different from historically “reliable.” So the argument is not circular at all.

I talk more about this in this post here: http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2009/04/06/why-should-we-believe-in-the-bible/

And this link explains in slightly more detail your thought there. http://catholic.com/library/Proving_Inspiration.asp

Julian May 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

One of the key sentences in the last article you mention is: “Through reason we can logically come to know that Jesus existed, that he must have rose from the dead, and is therefore what he himself claimed to be – God.” This is highly disputed and you cannot claim this to be true with absolute certainty. However, the Golden Rule makes sense regardless of its historic accountability, so I don’t know what the purpose of “His Church” really is…

Sandra June 30, 2009 at 7:37 pm

sorry I missed this discussion, but I have two teeny tiny points:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. Mark 7:7

This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. Matthew 15:8,9

Seems to me that the bible is the inspired Word of God and if it’s not from the bible, it’s just vain precepts of men. If I’m wrong, I’ve only erred in following God’s word implicitly. If you are wrong, you have followed mere men and their ideas.

I’d rather worship the God of heaven and earth, instead of an institution.

Matthew Warner June 30, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Sandra,

Thanks for the thoughts. I would ask you to examine your reasoning though.

First, just because some “worshipped in vain” does not mean therefore that anything not in the bible is “just vain precepts of men.” That doesn’t add up at all, sorry.

Second, it sounds as though you are saying Catholics worship an institution instead of the “God of heaven and earth.” That’s just plain ridiculous. Please educate yourself from a credible source on what the Church believes.

Third, (to rephrase your comment) if you are wrong…then you are missing out on the fullness of God’s revealed Truth. If I am wrong, I am still getting all of the Truth in the Bible and then also many other awesome things that have further revealed God’s love for us.

Fourth…if you are right, then you have no basis for believing the Bible when it claims for itself to be “inspired” as you quote it above. Only the Church reveals this to us and has the authority to reveal the authority of scripture. If you don’t believe in the authority of the Church, you have no basis to believe what the Bible claims in the first place. Therefore it is moot for you to use it in arguing the authority of scripture.

Artie July 1, 2009 at 7:49 am

Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) vs. Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magesterium teaching!

Always a great topic! I’ll have to get into more depth in this later, but I will let those on the “Bible Alone” camps have coming attractions.

1. If “scripture alone” is what the Bible teaches than Catholicism is false and “scripture alone” is true, if “scripture alone is *not* what the Bible teaches than the doctrine of “scripture alone” is false and Catholicism is true.

2. If you argument is based on “bearing false witness” against Church teaching and you have to demonize the Catholic Church in order to make your case for “Sola Scriptura”, then your case is very weak and becomes false.

3. Was the word of God passed down by the Church orally at any point in time after the Resurrection? 1 Thes 2:13, 2 Thes 2:15, 1 Cor 11:2,2 Tim 2:2

More to come…

Sandra July 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Matthew: Actually, it does add up—if one is worshiping a god made from the teachings of doctrines men have invented, then they are worshiping in vain because that ‘god’ does not exist. People ought to show reverence to the all-powerful and Sovereign Lord and not supplant His authority with an authority of their own. Also, your definition of ‘the church’ is different from the bible’s definition. The bible defines the church as the body of believers. I believe you are referring to the institution of the Catholic Church. Regarding the authority of scripture, the logic that you are using I find flawed. Nowhere does the bible say that it needs a governing authority to declare it true. It is truth in itself.
Artie: To address your points:
#1 & 2 The bible teaching that scripture alone is our sole focus for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction” (2 Tim 3:16) does not make Catholicism “false.” It would not be “demonized.” It would make it apostate. Look back on Mark 7:6-13— Jesus was very clear about teaching things that are not in the scriptures. We need to be very careful concerning this issue.
#3 You are using scriptural references that refer to preaching the established word of God. Not in one single place can you find the bible approving of man-made traditions and extra-revelations. It is complete in itself.

Matthew Warner July 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Sandra, inventions of men are not a part of the dogma of the Catholic Church. That’s my point.

You are hitting on too many different issues to go into all of them in a comment section. But I would ask you to reconsider your point of view in terms of why you believe in the Bible and with what authority you are now explaining it to all of us?

Your entire reasoning is circular as well. You believe in the Bible because the Bible says so. This doesn’t hold up, sorry.

Also, what authority do you personally have to interpret scripture and to tell me that my personal interpretation is wrong?

Here’s another example of where your point of view doesn’t hold up: You say “Jesus was very clear about teaching things that are not in the scriptures”. OK. So what was Jesus referring to when he uses the word “scripture”? Answer: The Old Testament (The new testament did not exist yet). Yet here you are teaching us from the new testament, which was not at all what Jesus taught from.

To understand the context and authority of the Bible you have to place it into the real history from within which is sprung. I would encourage you to read that history. Read the writings of the Early Church fathers. It will help enormously!

Also, you might find my post here of interest talking about why we should believe in the Bible: http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2009/04/06/why-should-we-believe-in-the-bible/

God bless you!

Sandra July 2, 2009 at 5:50 am

Matthew:
I read your “why we should believe in the bible” piece. Your main focus is to support and defend the authority of the Catholic Church. But in doing so you totally ignore the sovereignty of God Almighty. You place the church above God in your writings. I am sorry to be the one to point this out to you, and I doubt that you, in any case, will give this observation any serious consideration. But I am required by my Lord to illuminate a fellow believer to their going astray with idol worship. Jesus’ scripture, what we call the Old Testament, prohibits placing anything above God. That is what you are doing. May the Holy Spirit guide you in all truth.

Matthew Warner July 2, 2009 at 8:42 am

Sandra,

God, in his sovereignty, created a Church. Therefore, respecting that Church would in no way be “ignoring” his sovereignty. In fact, of course it’s quite the opposite.

Your main focus in all of your comments here has been to worship the Bible and totally ignore the sovereignty of God. You deny Him – the all powerful God – the ability to work through His Church to give us the Bible, to pass down His teachings, and to continue to be the pillar and bulwark of our faith. You arbitrarily limit God’s sovereignty to a book – clinging blindly to sola scriptura…a tradition invented by men.

I am sorry to be the one to point this out to you, and I doubt that you, in any case, will give this observation any serious consideration. But I am motivated out of love to allow Him to illuminate a fellow believer to their going astray.

May the Holy Spirit guide us all to all Truth.

Sandra July 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Reverence of the bible is not worship. I do not deny God the ABILITY to do anything. However, God LIMITS HIMSELF by His own nature and His own word. Ex: in Matthew 4:3-10, Jesus uses scripture alone to fight Satan.

2 Tim 3:16-17 says ALL SCRIPTURE is “God-breathed” and complete.

Matt 5:18 says heaven and earth will pass away, but not one jot or tittle of God’s word will pass away.

2 Peter 1:20 insists that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation.

Rev 22:18 says that scripture is a closed system of truth, complete, sufficient, and not to be
added to. It contains all the spiritual truth God intended to reveal.

Jude 3 says that through the scriptures God has given us a body of teaching that is final and complete.

When the canon closed on the Old Testament, there followed four hundred silent years when no prophet spoke anything of God’s revelation. That silence was broken by John the Baptist to usher in the New Testament age, with the last being the book of the Revelations. By the second century the exact and complete canon was recognized exactly as we have it today. And as before, it has been followed by the utter absence of new revelation in any form. No new written or verbal prophecy has been UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED by Christians as divine truth.

Lastly, there is no need to be snarky. We are all believers- in this there is the unity Jesus called the church or “the body of believers.” We will spend eternity together, we should learn to be friendly now

Matthew Warner July 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Sandra, You say that the book of revelation claims to be a closed system of truth and that it shouldn’t be added to. But when Revelation was written it was a letter all by itself. How could it have been referring to the entire Bible when the Bible didn’t exist yet?

Each one of your points are full of similar inconsistencies. And your view of history in terms of the Canon of the Bible is inaccurate. Also, I might add, that such a history is not in the Bible itself. Christ created a Church and instructed his Apostles to teach in his name and to pass on these teachings by letter AND by oral tradition.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that everything Jesus taught is in the Bible. You must reconcile such protestant traditions of men with the historic reality of the Church.

And please don’t call me snarky. It hurts my feelings. All I did was say something back to you in a parallel fashion to the way you accused me of some ridiculous things in the prior comment. But somehow when I respond in kind to show you how you sound it is now snarky? That’s not fair. I would ask you to check your own tone before you go criticizing others.

You accuse me of things like putting the Church above God, yet provide no evidence of it. And I do no such thing. If you for some reason got that impression, I apologize, but I assure you it is a misunderstanding.

Matthew Warner July 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I do appreciate your thoughts though, and I love a good friendly conversation with a fellow believer. But I don’t get the feeling that you’ve actually listened to anything written in these posts or to anything anyone else has said in opposition to you. You simply repeatedly reply with tangentially related scripture quotes that, in the end, actually muddle your case while not engaging in the questions asked back to you.

Perhaps you feel that if you throw enough scripture quotes taken out of context to make your point that it will appear you have done so. All the while you haven’t addressed why you have such authority to interpret scripture and tell us what it means in the first place? And you ignore that you have made no case for why you know the canon of the Bible to be correct? And you ignore the fact that the Bible wasn’t written for 50-60 years after Jesus’ death and the canon was not confirmed until the end of the 4th century. At which time it was confirmed by the Catholic Church (this institution you deny has any authority). And prior to that Christians depended on oral tradition handed down by the Apostles from Jesus through THE CHURCH. And you ignore that this CHURCH was given the authority to forgive sins and was Catholic in belief.

This is all historical fact. As Christians, we must reconcile faith with reality. And when Christians proclaim a faith that contradicts reality, it hurts our cause. As fellow believers, we should hold each other accountable.

Sandra July 3, 2009 at 5:29 am

My suggestion, before I leave for the holiday weekend, is for you to review apostolic authority (which is never removed from the authority of the Lord). THIS is where Jesus lay authority. And the Pauline letters were being circulated by the end of the first century— in the second century Justin Martyr referred to the memoirs of the apostles and placed them equal to the Old Testament. Yes, the Catholic Church approved them in the fourth century— but they were accepted by the believers long before that.

Your historical facts are Roman Catholic historical facts. If you search beyond the boundaries of Catholic church history, you will find these facts to be true.

Have a good holiday!

Matthew Warner July 3, 2009 at 6:28 am

Great questions and points! Now we’re getting somewhere!

Let me answer your question of apostolic authority by first clarifying another one of your points with you…

Did Justin Martyr have the authority to place somebody’s memoirs as equal to the Old Testament? And if so, where did he get such authority?

Since you believe in sola scriptura, please provide chapter and verse as to where it says that Justin Martyr was given the authority to decide what was in the bible. Then we’ll go from there!

Have a great holiday weekend!

Phil July 3, 2009 at 9:52 am

Matthew

I will re-read the exchange between you and Sandra as it really underlines the disparity I see how christians hold their beliefs. I don’t believe that a prophet ever existed and am challenged by the writings in old and new testament. I hold my own scenarios for all of this but do fail to understand faith. Without trying to re-open any of what I responded with earlier there is one thing I do try to clarify in my mind and that is how is it that the catholic church rationalises its authority and dogma and accept it without question. I think Sandra really has a major hit when she is of the mind not to follow the creativity of what may be conjured up in the minds of men, but in her heart wants to know and follow a path of the “God” she believes in (as I read it).

Matthew Warner July 3, 2009 at 10:36 am

Phil,

The weakness in Sandra’s position is that without relying on the “minds of men” there is no way to even get the Bible (what she bases her entire faith on).

There is not a neat separation between God and man when it comes to knowing God. The incarnation mixes them all together. God speaks through man, he always has. If God had wanted to simply give us all a book to read, he would have done that. And Jesus could have written it and handed it to his Apostles and said…here, this is your handbook. But he didn’t do that. He didn’t write anything actually. He taught it to men. And he told these men (the leaders of the Church) to go forth and teach others as He taught them. In time, these men wrote things down and canonized some of it (calling it inspired scripture, the Bible).

Whether you believe Jesus actually did that is another discussion. History reports these events very accurately. And through reason we can come to a solid conclusion that Jesus created a Church with leaders and authority (given by Jesus Hmmself to them).

I know that is hard to believe sometimes depending on where we are each individually coming from. But when compared to alternatives, I find it the most reasonable.

The Church doesn’t rationalize its authority. It was given to it in the beginning and has retained it consistently for 2000 yrs. We don’t accept it without question. We accept it in good faith because it makes sense and rings true when applied to our lives.

Matthew Warner July 3, 2009 at 10:43 am

cont’d…

It is ok to have questions and doubts. It’s healthy. And I’m not sure what your understanding of the authority of the Church is…but I suspect it may be a bit mis-understood. Catholics don’t believe the Church is perfect or free from sinners. We don’t pretend it hasn’t made mistakes in the past. But when it comes to Dogmatic teachings on faith and morals, it is protected from teaching error by the grace of God in the Holy Spirit.

Without this authoritative Church (that Jesus gave us because he knew we would need it) we have no way of even getting the Bible. We have no way of knowing the Bible is the inspired word of God. And we definitely have no way of remaining unified in our interpretation of such teachings.

Since the reformation when protestants rejected the authority of the Church, the Body of Christ has continued to split into tens of thousands of denominations precisely because there is no arbiter. There is no way to unify the many fallible, individual interpretations of a complicated book. So it continues to split. You essentially have each individual acting as their own Church…their own pope. Sandra is her own pope. She believes in her own authority to interpret scripture for herself and to tell all of us what it means.

Anyway, don’t wanna get off on a tangent. But it sounds like it might help you to learn a little more about what the Church actually claims to be and how it works. God bless you.

Artie July 4, 2009 at 9:05 am

1 of 4

I was going to chime in and add to this earlier but I have been extremely busy with home projects. I have seen and been to scholarly theological debates regarding Sola Scriptura vs. Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magesterium teaching.

The primary practical implication of Sola Scriptura is the absolute right of “private interpretation and judgment” which leads every Christian that adheres to Sola Scriptura to believe whatever they want to believe from the bible. They are essentially there own authority over scripture, even though they will tell you it is inspired by the Holy Spirit which leads to thousands of different interpretations from thousands of different people.

The difference for Catholics is that Catholics also believe in the right of private interpretation – but it’s limited. We are encouraged to read it, learn about it, study Greek, etc – but we do our interpretation within the limits of what the Church has already authoritatively defined as true.

For example I can study the Bible and ponder the meaning of the New Testament. But if I ever, in my interpretation begin to be led in an interpretation of my own studies that the New Testament denies the Trinity – then I immediately knows that I am wrong and that my interpretation is mistaken. It’s a limited right.

Luther, and the others following him (Calvin, Zwingli, etc) took this limited right and made it an absolute right. It’s not hard to see why…

Artie July 4, 2009 at 9:10 am

2 of 4

Remember what Luther said: “Unless *I* am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason, *my* conscious is captive to the Word of God. Thus *I* cannot and will not recant because acting against ones conscious is neither safe nor sound, here *I* stand, *I* can do no other, God help *me*, Amen.” (“I”, “me”, “my” – all individualistic!)

It’s only logical. If there is no authoritative teaching office, if Christ did not give the Holy Spirit to his Church – then what is left to say what Luther said? What is left to say that each Christian has the absolute right to decide for him or herself without being bound by any Church, or Council, or Pope.

In fact, Luther said: “Each Christian should be his own Pope and own Council”

Sola Scriptura implies an absolute right of private interpretation – it leads to individualism, skepticism, and ultimately – Christian division.

Protestants will say that “the councils, the creeds, the church, have a genuine spiritual authority – just not an infallible, binding authority – and it is always subject to Scripture, which is the final authority”. But this usage of the word “authority” is slippery. They’re saying this because they don’t want to admit that every man can have his own denomination and own interpretation, because they know this leads to doctrinal chaos.

Bottom Line: Scripture is the only authority to a Protestant. Precisely because Scripture alone is to be seen as authoritative.

Artie July 4, 2009 at 9:15 am

3 of 4

John Calvin states: “We hold that the Word of God alone relies beyond the sphere of our judgment. Fathers and councils are of authority only as in so far as they accord with the rule of the Word”.

And who will decide that it accords with the Word? That one, sole, individual Protestant!

For example, a Protestant minister when planning for his Sunday sermon might study all the great commentators and theologians on a particular Bible passage – but he will consult them only as advisors. Like the President who listens to his ‘senior advisors’. Of course, you can’t consider their opinions to be authoritative – after all, they were only fallible men. (In fact, many of their opinions contradicted one another). But then he gets up on Sunday, ascends the pulpit and teaches his interpretation of the passage.

Sola Scriptura was never taught in Scripture.

Sola Scriptura was never the historic faith of the Church, not held by Christians for centuries and centuries – only until the time of the Reformation.

Sola Scriptura has some very essential problems: The absolute right of private interpretation did lead to logically and inescapably to radical division and disagreement – the multiplication of denominations and sects, in contradiction to the absolute requirement and command of the New Testament that all believers be unified.

Sola Scriptura cannot work, has not worked, and by nature could never work. Sola Scriptura has a logical contradiction at its heart.

Artie July 4, 2009 at 9:28 am

4 of 4
Phil is right in that Sola Scriptura is the central issue separating Catholics and Protestants.

My question to Phil and others is why should we even care?

As Peter Kreeft has stated, “The divisions that make the Christian Church visibly many rather than one are scandalous and they are intolerable.”

I know of at least 3 agnostics/atheists that believe Christianity is a joke for this fundamental reason alone.

The most serious division today and the most serious division in history, is the division between Catholics and Protestants.

Here’s Our Lord Jesus, the night he was betrayed. He just instituted the Eucharist just moments before. Virtually the last recorded words of Jesus before his Passion began. And what did he have on his mind? (John 17) Complete unity of his flock after he leaves.

The Lord and his Apostles did not want thousands and thousands of different denominations and divisions. They established one Church, one body, one bride of Christ (our Lord is not a polygamist)

Sola Scriptura says only what is taught clearly in Scripture can be binding on the Christian – if Sola Scriptura is not taught in Scripture, then it’s called a self-refuting argument.

Which brings me to Sandra’s quoted scripture 2 Tim 3:16 for the proof that sola scriptura is true and the Catholic Church is apostate for not adhering to the Bible Alone.

Artie July 4, 2009 at 9:33 am

Sandra you stated that 2 Tim 3:16 proves the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and makes Catholicism apostate.

Interesting accusation considering Sola Scriptura was not taught or adhered until the reformation.

Let’s look at 2 Tim 3:16.

Notice how the word Paul uses is “useful” – profitable, helpful, etc – this doesn’t sound like the kind word we’d expect Paul would be using if he wanted to convey the idea that Scripture all by itself is all that you need. He’s saying that it’s profitable and useful – and we agree. But it’s not everything.

If a basketball player wants to do weight training in the off-season – it is very profitable for building your muscles, teaching discipline, gaining strength – so that in the end, you can be the best basketball player you can be. Everyone knows what that means. No one here thinks that weightlifting is all that is needed to be a good basketball player. Or – think of drinking milk. Milk will help your bones grow strong, make you tall and healthy – it’s useful – but drinking milk alone isn’t all that is necessary to be a great basketball player. [Notice how these examples mimic the words of Paul]

Artie July 4, 2009 at 9:41 am

Take a look at James 1:4:
And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Know that the Greek words and subject matter is different than 2 Tim 3:16 (James is talking about sanctification here). But the logic, the structure of the sentence is very similar to Paul’s words in 2 Tim.

But does James mean here that we all that we need here to be perfect is just perseverance?

We don’t need the Bible?
We don’t need the Church?
We don’t need love?
We don’t need each other? Not at all!

But yet, he says, “let perseverance be perfect so you can be perfect”.

The point is, numerous Protestant apologists are trying to squeeze much more out of 2 Tim 3:16 than what is contained in them. Paul is saying just what it sounds like he’s saying – that Scripture is profitable. It doesn’t follow that Scripture is all that we need. Or that we don’t need an infallible teaching office. Sola Scriptura does not come from this text. It doesn’t follow.

It is a fact that from the beginning, there has been Scripture, Tradition, and some form of a Magisterium.

Sola Scriptura was not taught or implied anywhere in the Bible. It was never embraced because it was discovered in the Bible. It was embraced because Martin Luther and the other reformers wanted to reject the authority of tradition and the church. Not because Sola Scriptura was found in an impartial study of Scripture.

Phil July 4, 2009 at 10:21 am

Matthew

This is my question “what the Church claims to be and how it works”. Whenever I ask for an explanation I feel I am being fobbed off. I am told to read the scriptures or some other thing. I am only asking how the Catholic Church knows it is the authoritative voice. From my view the Church is quite mystic when it tries to explain its authority. Some seem to think the Pope has a conduit to God and cements its authority. It’s all so mystic to me that God has enhanced the minds of certain individuals and delivers divine messages to them so that they then pass it on and it is accepted authority. I grew up in the Catholic faith but I am not overawed by priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. I just want to know the simple reason why the Catholic faith is beyond doubt rather than the convoluted complex mess extracted from biblical message. Maybe you are not seeing the view because of all the trees. I just thought you would have a simple explanation and not deflect me away. It can’t be that hard, surely!

Artie July 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

Sorry for posting like 7 times, but this topic *IS* what separates Protestants and Catholics.

I know some may or may not care about my story, but there was a point in my life right after college where I was going to leave my Catholic faith, but I owed it to my parents to at least explain why I was leaving the Catholic Church and protest against it. I started to study Christianity from various angles including WASP history and non-WASP history. Some of my closest friends don’t even know this had happened in my life.

The more I studied history of Christianity the more trouble I had in proving the Catholic Church wrong.

This is not to say that there were some evil and corruption within the Church. I believe Martin Luther was right about what was wrong, but wrong about what was right. In short he went about it the wrong way. Luther was not the only reason for the reformation there was also political things going on in the world during that time.

The debates over “Scripture Alone” is essentially what made me come to a logical conclusion with prayer to realize that if Sola Scriptura is true than the Catholic Church is false.

I found that many debating for ‘Scripture Alone’ were not to eager to talk about the right of “private interpretation” but it is absolutely essential to their doctrine.

As a Catholic The Bible is the inspired Word of God! I agree with everything in it including 2 Tim 3:16-17, I do however disagree with Sandra’s private interpretation.

Artie July 4, 2009 at 10:41 am

Phil you are asking Matthew the following questions. I asked the same exact questions about 6 years ago myself.

For the record you are asking very very appropriate questions.

Phil I am with you in that we should question everything in life. I know you asked Matthew, but I wouldn’t mind trying to answering these questions.

You have 3 questions about the Catholic Church.

1. What the Church claims to be and how it works?

2. How the Catholic Church knows it is the authoritative voice?

3. Why the Catholic faith is beyond doubt rather than the convoluted complex mess extracted from biblical message.

You have 3 perceptions about the Catholic Church

1. The Church is quite mystic when it tries to explain its authority.

2. Some seem to think the Pope has a conduit to God and cements its authority.

3. It’s all so mystic to me that God has enhanced the minds of certain individuals and delivers divine messages to them so that they then pass it on and it is accepted authority.

You also want Matthew to give a simple explanation.

I know from experience that simple explanations bring more questions. When I questioned the same things you did I tried to answer the fundamental questions simply. But the fundamental questions I asked involved prayer and much more reading on my own. This is not to say I am going to give up on answering your questions directly and poignantly as I possibly can. So I will take these questions you have one post at a time? Does that sound fair?

Artie July 4, 2009 at 11:13 am

1.What the Church claims to be and how it works?

I asked similar questions as yours circa 5/6 years ago.

What is the definition of Church?
What does it mean to be a part of a Church?
What Church was founded by Christ?
How can these Church’s prove to be Christ’s Church?
How should this Church function?

I had to go back in time to answer those questions.
I had to identify that Church in scripture as well as historically by tracing apostolic succession.

So in scripture we see Christ completed the founding of His Church just before His Ascension, when He commissioned the apostles to make disciples of all nations.

1. What is the definition of Church?
The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith.

2. What does it mean to be a part of a Church?
One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being “born anew,” a birth “of water and the Spirit,” that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism. Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world.

3. What Church was founded by Christ?
For the early Fathers, the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles. An additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church’s bishops are Spirit-endowed men who have been given an infallible charsm of truth

Artie July 4, 2009 at 11:32 am

4. How can these Church’s prove to be Christ’s Church?

In accordance with #3 it is apostolic succession. There is only 1 Church that can do this with its teachings matching up according to Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

5. How should this Church function?
The Church is enabled to lead men to salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who gives it life.

The work of salvation is the result of the operation of all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, it is especially the result of the Redemption by Christ, and because this work is one of divine love it is attributed to the Holy Spirit, who is the soul of the Church, of which Christ is the Head.

So to answer your original question, it was Christ that gave the Church authority by the gift of the Holy Spirit which can be traced by apostolic succession. The Church’s works are the fruits of Christ teachings, this is not to say that there are not sinners in the Church (I.E. Judas was a sinner yet chosen by Christ)

The Church has no other light than Christ’s; according to a favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light reflected from the sun.

Does that answer your first question “What the Church claims to be and how it works?”?

Sandra July 6, 2009 at 9:10 am

Wow. You all have been very busy while I was away! I don’t even know where to start—but I do want you to know I ruminated on our discussion, Matthew, most of the weekend. So first– could you tell me where it says that Catholic Church was given its authority “in the beginning”? (your statement back on 7/3 at 10:36) And where does it say we need a pope? You state these as facts, yet I can’t find reference to it.

Hello Arite,
I would like you to look at James 1 again, please because you are taking James 1:4 out of context. In this passage, James is referring to the trails that we will come into during our Christian walk. He stated that we should count it all joy when we fall into various trails and temptations because through the trying of our faith by these trials, we will develop patience— which, as this happens over and over as it does in life, God is telling us He knows that it will cause our faith to become stronger, we will become more and more completed in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character.

This is not my private interpretation. This is the consensus of highly esteemed biblical scholars throughout the ages. Although we do not require these men to inform us what the bible is saying, we should refer to them to make sure that we aren’t going off in a tangent. And this is my point:

Jesus was clear—He left so that He could send the Holy Spirit who was to guide us in all truth. (see John 14)

In John 14, Jesus explained very clearly that He was the “spirit of truth” that dwelled WITH the disciples, but that in a short while the spirit of truth would dwell IN them. The Comforter (the Holy Ghost ) would be sent. In John 14:26 Jesus says the Holy Ghost, who the Father will send in Jesus’ name, will teach all things and bring all things Jesus said to remembrance. He said ALL things.

So we can know that when the New Testament was written, it was written under the power of the Holy Ghost that the Father sent, who was teaching the writers ALL things and having them remember ALL the things Jesus said.

ALL is defined in the dictionary as the whole extent or quantity.

This in-dwelling is FOR ALL OF US! Peter, who was previously an impulsive (yet devoted and enlightened) coward BEFORE the filling of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, said in Acts 2:38 “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,”

When one is filled with the Holy Ghost, which happens upon receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is gifted the ability to read and understand scripture. (Since the Holy Ghost teaches us in all things— it’s part of His job description!) It is not just for the really smart, really holy, really decorated people in lofty positions in the world.

The two-fold problem with Protestantism is the same problem the Catholic Church has:
1. our own nature (for sin, for pride, etc.—too many biblical references to list here!) and
2. our enemy Satan.
It is he who causes division and chaos (Revelations 12:9—“that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, deceives the whole world”) among even the believers. (also refer to what Jesus said about Satan in John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)

Which is one very good reason why we have to take the bible as authority and NOT man because ANY man can be misled. We should run everything by scripture and be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and “search the scriptures daily to see whether those things are true.” Why would we be told to be like the Bereans if scripture wasn’t our sole source of truth? Maybe it would then say “search the scriptures daily and check out what the bishops are saying today.” But it doesn’t.

Now some will say that I am just throwing scriptures around to prove scripture— but if one cannot, at the very least, accept the uniqueness of the Testaments insomuch as it is a compilation of
66 books written over a 1500 year span from 1400 BC to 100 AD,
from over 40 authors from all different walks of life (there are fishermen, kings, peasants, shepherds, poets, scholars, doctors),
in all different places (palaces, prisons, wilderness),
in times of war and in times of peace,
in depths of despair and in heights of joy,
on three different continents (Africa, Asia, Europe)
and in three different languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek)
that ALL correspond and correlate—-
if one cannot see that is something that can only be deemed as Holy above all else…
then I can only say that God has not opened their eyes to the truth yet and all they are doing is trying to reach up to God in their own way by following a religion.

Phil July 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

Artie
Don’t mind your response at all. You wrote a lot yet I am not seeing anything differently. I am patient but I need to remind you that I don’t really believe in prophets or a lot of the supernatural or extraordinary events claimed to have happened from the Bible. However even being accepting of these things why does the Catholic faith believe it is the true extension to what Jesus instructed. The instruction is claimed to have been said by Jesus as is everything Jesus is recorded to have said. But out of interest I am a bit focused on this what you wrote:
“For the early Fathers, the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles. An additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church’s bishops are Spirit-endowed men who have been given an infallible charsm of truth

How can you say that the church’s bishops are spirit-endowed given infallible truth? How can this belief be so acceptable? How is it you know the Holy Spirit is so aligned with this church and not that of an other? If you know, are you able to help with the Church’s successive leaders through the first four to five centuries? Were these people known as popes at that time? This is an incidental question, don’t worry if unsure.
thanks for what you have said.

Sandra July 6, 2009 at 9:29 am

And to Phil,
Your questions are legitimate. I disagree with Artie’s answers, though. He states your questions as:
What is the definition of Church?
What does it mean to be a part of a Church?
What Church was founded by Christ?
How can these Church’s prove to be Christ’s Church?
How should this Church function?

I’d like to give the answers as:
1. What is the definition of Church? Jesus’ definition of a church was “ekklesia” which is a calling out. The word church is used in the bible to refer to the actual congregation of called out believers. We use it to describe a building or a particular denomination. (see Matt 16:18)
2. What does it mean to be part of a church? You suffer when other believers suffer, you are happy when they are happy, you worship together, etc
(see 1 Corinthians 12)
3. What church was founded by Christ? Wouldn’t it be great if we could agree on this? I’d suggest that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, the second person from the Trinity, who was born without sin, died for our sins, rose from the dead to have victory over death, and is seated at the right hand of the Father God is part of the church founded by Christ. Man gave it denominations. The scripture Matthew 16:18 is used by Catholics to declare Peter the first Pope but is you examine the original language you find this not to be so. It was a reference Christ was using to Himself being the ROCK.

Sandra July 6, 2009 at 9:33 am

4. How can these Church’s prove to be Christ’s church. If we had proof we wouldn’t need faith, now would we?
5. How should this church function? Jesus gave very specific ‘orders’– feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, take care of the orphans and widows, preach my gospel, make disciples, etc.

The bible is beautifully simple— yet amazingly complicated. I have enough on my plate to follow what it tells me without trying to add what any man wants me to do, too.

Matthew Warner July 6, 2009 at 11:43 am

Sandra,

I’m doing my best to have a meaningful discussion with you. I know it’s difficult in this forum and with multiple side conversations going on! I’m not the best at it myself.

I will happily answer your additional questions if you’ll answer the ones I posed previously first and then we’ll get to those.

Here are my previous questions which followed from your prior comments:

Did Justin Martyr have the authority to place somebody’s memoirs as equal to the Old Testament? And if so, where did he get such authority?

Since you believe in sola scriptura, please provide chapter and verse as to where it says that Justin Martyr was given the authority to decide what was in the bible. Then we’ll go from there!

Before you answer these questions your continual, self-interpreted scripture quotes don’t have a lot of meaning for the discussion.

Thanks!

Artie July 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Sandra you stated the following:

“I would like you to look at James 1 again, please because you are taking James 1:4 out of context. In this passage, James is referring to the trails that we will come into during our Christian walk. He stated that we should count it all joy when we fall into various trails and temptations because through the trying of our faith by these trials, we will develop patience— which, as this happens over and over as it does in life, God is telling us He knows that it will cause our faith to become stronger, we will become more and more completed in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character.”

I do not disagree with the explanation you give for James 1:4. What you stated is a summary of exactly what I summed up in 1 word… that being the word sanctification.

Perhaps you were confused about what sanctification is or even disagree with the Catholic view of how sanctification is obtained

In Catholic theology the envisioned end of our sanctification is an objective and real conformance to the Divine image. Our salvation has as its goal the genuine perfection of the individual. This is not a 1 time event in our life, just like James 1:4 indicates and your explanation of the passage accurately presents.

I don’t want this 1 scripture passage to stop the flow of the debate at hand which is Sola Scriptura vs. Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magesterium Teaching. So I will move on to your next claim.

Artie July 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm

“This is not my private interpretation. This is the consensus of highly esteemed biblical scholars throughout the ages. Although we do not require these men to inform us what the bible is saying, we should refer to them to make sure that we aren’t going off in a tangent. And this is my point..”

Sandra you are indicating that these biblical scholars serve as a genuinely authoritative norm and these men have genuine interpretative authority.

If these men are part of the “Church” “to the actual congregation of called out believers” as you defined it then I ask “are you saying that the Catholic Church has genuine interpretative authority in your life? The documents of Vatican II serve as genuine authoritative norms in your life?”

Based on what you stated above that this is not your private interpretation but agreed upon by many “highly esteemed biblical scholars”.

Your claim is that these men have genuine authority, but it is only to secluded to a finite group of men that may belong to a particular branch of protestantism that you adhere to.

Which, of course, you decide which have the proper authoritative teaching of scripture based on your own personal study of the Scriptures.

What happens if you disagree with Calvin, Luther, or Wycliffe’s interpretation of scripture. In short you fall back on your private interpretation scripture. It is only logical that every protestant is his “own pope” and “own council”.

Artie July 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Sandra stated, “Jesus was clear—He left so that He could send the Holy Spirit who was to guide us in all truth. (see John 14)”

Amen I agree that Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit. It is indeed the role of the Holy Spirit to guide, protect, and vivify the Church.

There are 2 factors which Christ promised and arranged in different ways to continue his mission the apostolate and the Spirit.

The apostolate is the external and objective factor, it forms the material body, so to speak, of the Church and is the source of her visible and social structures.

The Holy Spirit acts internally within each person, as well as on the whole community, animating, vivifying, and sanctifying.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and the Church.

Among the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. (Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots.)

Jesus promised, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). This means that his Church will never be destroyed and will never fall away from him. His Church will survive until his return.

Any merely human organization with such members would have collapsed early on.

Artie July 6, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Sandra stated, “So we can know that when the New Testament was written, it was written under the power of the Holy Ghost that the Father sent, who was teaching the writers ALL things and having them remember ALL the things Jesus said.”

I agree!

“Which is one very good reason why we have to take the bible as authority and NOT man because ANY man can be misled.

Where does it say in the Bible that we should have the bible as our only authority. I agree we shouldn’t adhere to man because any man can be mislead.

We as Catholics don’t just adhere to tradition of men, we adhere to Sacred Tradition which is taught in the bible. The true “rule of faith”—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition.

It is important to distinguish what tradition is and what it is not. Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching.

These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.

Jesus did not condemn all traditions; he condemned only erroneous traditions, whether doctrines or practices, that undermined Christian truths. The rest, as the apostles taught, were to be obeyed.

The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).

As a Catholic I adhere to traditions and scripture as taught in the bible.

Artie July 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Sandra stated, “When one is filled with the Holy Ghost, which happens upon receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is gifted the ability to read and understand scripture. (Since the Holy Ghost teaches us in all things— it’s part of His job description!) It is not just for the really smart, really holy, really decorated people in lofty positions in the world.”

All 300,000 denominations of protestantism claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit. This is exactly why my atheist/agnostic friends find Christianity to be a joke. Who is really guided by the Holy Spirit when they all adhere to the Bible Alone and come up with different doctrines?

Sandra wants to respect them, listen to what they have to say, because they represent the wisdom of thousands of Christians throughout the centuries – but let’s be honest – they are not authorities in Sandra’s life. And if in the end, Sandra comes to see Scripture as teaching something different, she will abandon any one of them or all of them. And if need be, she will write her own confession – her own statement of faith (just like Luther, Calvin, and church after church after church have wrote their own confessions in the past 500 years).

Sola Scriptura has some very essential problems: The absolute right of private interpretation leads logically and inescapably to radical division and disagreement.

Sandra July 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Matthew,

you said “And you ignore the fact that the Bible wasn’t written for 50-60 years after Jesus’ death and the canon was not confirmed until the end of the 4th century….And prior to that Christians depended on oral tradition handed down by the Apostles from Jesus through THE CHURCH.” — I brought up Justin Martyr as just one example that the epistles were being held as authority before the 4th century. Obviously the apostles inspired writings were being referred to as God’s Holy Word before the 4th century– as indicated in various second century writings.

Jesus Christ Himself, God incarnate, testifies not only to Scripture’s authority (Matt. 22:43), but to its reliability (Matt. 26:54), to its sufficiency (Luke 16:31), and finally to its finality (Matt. 4:4,7,10). Bottom line: The living Word (Jesus) bears testimony to the Written Word (the Bible).

So now I get to ask you another question: Why is it that you don’t want to acknowledge all the scriptures that indicate the sufficiency of God’s Holy Word?

Sandra July 6, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Artie, we will have to wait until tomorrow— it’s getting too late to start tonight! Have a great night.

Matthew Warner July 6, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Sandra,

I never said that the epistles weren’t thought of as “inspired” prior to the 4th century. My question to you is why is it that just because somebody THINKS they are inspired it means that they are inspired and the Word of God? This is what I would like for you to answer. If i get a group of people together and we all decide that some letter is the Word of God…does that make it so? Or heck, what if the WHOLE world got together and all decided that some letter was the Word of God…would that make it so? Of course not. You say Jesus “bears testimony” to the Bible? He does no such thing. As we’ve noted, the New testament wasn’t even written until AFTER Jesus was dead, risen and ascended. So Jesus was not around to bear testimony to the new testament.

Jesus started a Church. This is well documented over and over again. He started a Church, not a book.

And it was the Church that authoritatively defined these letters as such. There were other letters that many also thought were “inspired” epistles but the Church ended up throwing them out. There was confusion and uncertainty until the Church definitively set the canon in the 4th century. And it could only do so if it had the authority to do something so important.

You say it was Jesus that did this. Can you give any account anywhere, from any writing, that Jesus bore witness to the new testament?

This is my point, Sandra. Jesus doesn’t do that. You can’t answer those questions. The Bible wasn’t written while Jesus was alive to where he could ever “bear testimony to it.” So how is it that you believe in it?

The only way we can trust in the authority of the Bible is if we can trust in the authority of who set the canon. The Church came first. Not the Bible. Jesus started an authoritative, unified Church – not a book. If you have no authoritative Church, then you have no authoritative Bible. We can only trust in the Bible because we have a Church (whom Jesus gave authority) that defined it and preserved it as such.

Matthew Warner July 6, 2009 at 10:41 pm

You’ve not given any scripture for me 2 acknowledge that says everything Jesus taught is in the Bible. In fact, scripture says there are many things Jesus taught that were not written down.

You have not given one scripture that says what the canon of scripture is?

You have not given one piece of scripture that says our sole rule of faith is the Bible. In fact, scripture says to hold fast to teachings by written word AND by what was orally taught.

You’ve not given one verse that says the Bible is the foundation of our faith. In fact, scripture says that Jesus’ Church is the pillar and bulwark of our faith.

You’ve not given one verse that says if we are divided on a matter that the Bible has the final say. In fact, scripture says we are to take such matters to the Church.

Scripture does not support your beliefs on these matters. But before we can even GET to scripture, I’m trying to get you to take a step back and look at why you believe in the Bible to begin with?

Belief in this canon of writings (the bible) is a Tradition passed down to you. This Tradition was started by the Catholic Church. The Church Jesus founded could not have simply been a community of believers. It had to have been a Church with, at the very least, the authority to define and reveal the new testament as the inspired word of God. If you don’t believe in that Church, then why are u using its book to try and prove your point? If you do believe in that Church, perhaps it also has authority to interpret that same book?

Jim Oberschmidt July 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Good tuesday morning and peace be with you. I do so appreciate the effort each has put forth to illuminate each of your positions as we go forward and are ” called out “.

Since creation and the fall of man, we are inextricably on this path of life, and through the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ, that life path is changed, not by its route, by by the destination, by our obedience to Our Lord. His Heart, The Holy Spirit, only The way, The truth and The light.

Love is Truth, and we each proof read our word in these 80 plus posts, and remove any element, phrase, or sentence that does not align itself with the instruction, Love thy neighbor as thyself, We will see a different day, different tone, and more kindness with each other.

“Fear not” is a phrase our Lord used with us, more than once.

I have a question for all of you. If you are truly with Christ and He in you, why all these words? Sandra, what are you most afraid of? Artie, You? Each of the mysteries we hold, will be answered by the Holy Spirit, and in God’s Time- all will be revealed.

There is a big difference between one ego or another claiming the correct interpretation they have discovered, and a humble student claiming an interpretation which has be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Each of us must discern, with the Holy Spirit, both, that which we are now, and which we desire to be.

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with each of you in your journey, and may I add my prayers and request yours.

Sandra July 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm

1 of 2
Interesting, Jim, your comments. Something was brought to my attention yesterday that had convinced me to discontinue this discussion based on what I gather is the gist of your comment.

For whatever reason, not all of the followers of Christ agree on all doctrine. Not in any church will you find everyone in agreement with everything. The Catholic Church itself was splintered centuries ago. And, since He is a sovereign God, I am sure that God has a reason for allowing this to be so.

However, there are basic tenets of our faith that are absolute and cannot be compromised. To call yourself a Christian, you must believe in:

-One all-powerful God who made and sustains all things, seen and unseen.

-Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the second person in the trinity, born of a virgin in order to become a man.

-Jesus suffered, died, was buried, rose on the third day, and ascended into Heaven.

-Because of this, God forgives our sins without any price required of the believing, repentant sinner and gives the gift of eternal life to that believer.

-Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead.

-the Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity.

-the Bible is the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God.

Without these one cannot call themselves a Christian. The other points of various denominations can be debated- but not these.

Adherence to the main points, tolerance on the other points. One glorious day we will all know for sure!

Sandra July 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm

2 of 2

Whether there is tradition PLUS the bible or not is debatable. I am reminded of 2 Tim 2:23 and the caution to avoid producing strife.

Matthew: you have your point, which I believe the crux is: if you don’t have faith in the Roman Catholic Church, then how can you believe the bible? You then proceed to try to dismantle the bible in proving we should believe the church that confirmed it as the word of God. This reasoning upsets me. But nothing I say will alter your perception, nor anything you say would alter mine. The best we children of the living God can do is agree to disagree.

I pray that the peace that transcends all understanding is with you and that your passion for Christ continues to grow each day. May God bless you and keep you, shine His face towards you and grant you peace. Continue to press on towards your reward. Peace and Love in Christ, Sandra

Artie July 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Sandra,

I will admit I was probably too wordy and rambled! I apologize.

I do disagree with your statement that “The Catholic Church itself was splintered centuries ago.”

Yes, that’s true if you want to take a look at individuals. That is true. But we’re not talking about “individuals” here – we’re talking about principles.

We’re comparing the teachings of these two worldviews. And there is no comparison.

The principle of the Catholic Church is that there is an authoritative, teaching Church. So, to the degree that individual Catholics adhere to that principle – there is unity. In other words, that principle leads to unity of individuals adhere to it.

And, in fact, there is disunity, division – it’s because individuals are rejecting that principle, and accepting the ‘Protestant’ principle that they have the authority to decide things.

Protestantism, teaches just the opposite thing! Protestantism teaches the sole rule is Scripture, the absolute right of private interpretation for each believer. And if each individual follows that principle – there is division.

I hope I am not coming off as insensitive, but I have seen my brother and sister leave the Catholic Church, mainly because they really did not know their faith to begin with and they bought into caricatures and might I say bearing false witness from others about the Catholic faith.

Sandra thank you for the kind words and I really hope I am not coming off as rude! I actually love these conversations.

Artie July 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Jim,

I think you are reading me all wrong my friend. I happen to have a deep passion for apologetics being that I live in the Bible Belt! Let it be known everything I have written on this subject is done out of love.

“Love without truth is blind, truth without love is like a clanging cymbal.”

You say love is truth! I agree with that in as much as that there is truth and love, both most coexist one without the other is either blind or just arrogant.

Jim you stated,

“If you are truly with Christ and He in you, why all these words? Sandra, what are you most afraid of? Artie, You? Each of the mysteries we hold, will be answered by the Holy Spirit, and in God’s Time- all will be revealed.”

I will be honest I think this is a valid concern you have, but I believe it was made from a misunderstanding. I will say there is really no mystery in regards to “Sola Scriptura”.

Yes, sometimes I am a bit poignant and some people think it comes off as being uncharitable. I am sorry if I come across that way.

No doubt in my mind that Sandra loves God, in fact she probably has a better and more devout prayer life than I do. I don’t know…

Why should we even care about a topic like “Sola Scriptura”, I mean aren’t we being more divisive when talking about our differences? Shouldn’t we be talking about what we have in common and brush that topic under the rug?

In my personal belief I think it is healthy to talk about what we have in common and what really separates us.

Artie July 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Sandra,

The wording that you use is not the same wording that Matthew used when you stated the following…

“Matthew: you have your point, which I believe the crux is: if you don’t have faith in the Roman Catholic Church, then how can you believe the bible? You then proceed to try to dismantle the bible in proving we should believe the church that confirmed it as the word of God. This reasoning upsets me. But nothing I say will alter your perception, nor anything you say would alter mine. The best we children of the living God can do is agree to disagree.”

The problem with your wording is spinning what Matthew is getting at.

1. He did not dismantle the Bible.
2. He is not suggesting the Church Alone is the Word of God, nor does the Catholic Church teach that. (SIDE NOTE: I have been to a debate where they accuse the Catholic Church of being Sola Ecclesia)
3. It is not so much of having faith in the Roman Catholic Church as much it is from logical reasoning and studying of history of where the bible came

If what you stated were true Sandra, I would not be Catholic.

In the words of Bishop Fulton Sheen, “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

In other words there is a lot of folks out there with perceptions about the Catholic faith that are simply false.

I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but disagree with what I *actually* believe.

Jim Oberschmidt July 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

to Sandra and Artie,
Thank you for the kind and thoughtful replies.

Sandra you wonderfully expounded on our Lord’s words, ” I am the way and the truth, and the life” Your ” you must” to be Christian is wonderfully incomplete. The authority to “….hold bound on , will be held bound in heaven” was only given once and it was given with the keys to the kingdom of heaven. It was not given to me, or to Sandra. Our command was to love one another. When one would declare you must, on does not ” call out ” One divides. It is a communication principle to present with consent. This includes evangelists, and apologists.

Recently, I heard a professed Christian, declare, ” He is rotting in Hell, right now” about a recently deceased man.

This is in the same vain diatribe about “you must”.

For me it goes like this, I must, subject myself to the Lord Jesus, as my Saviour and King. He is the truth, the way, and the light.

Jesus died for our sins!

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, join us as brothers and sisters, and bless those we come in contact with.

Artie, I love these conversations too, I am inspired by Matt, to add value from my over 18000 days on the planet.

Artie July 11, 2009 at 9:32 am

Phil, I tried to post this up on numerous occasions so I am going to try this again…

Phil asked, “Why does the Catholic faith believe it is the true extension to what Jesus instructed.”

Because of history, what scripture indicates, and what the Church teaches.

I will provide you a link to why the Catholic faith believes it is the true extension to what Jesus instructed.

http://www.catholic.com/library/pillar.asp

This gives you the basics and we can progress from there.

Artie July 11, 2009 at 9:33 am

—–How can you say that the church’s bishops are spirit-endowed given infallible truth? How can this belief be so acceptable?”—-

http://www.catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp

There are 4 tests of infallibility
http://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/ORDIN.TXT

—-How is it you know the Holy Spirit is so aligned with this church and not that of an other?—-

From my perspective it is through studies of history in accordance with scripture and what Church teaches according to both of those.
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0607fea5.asp

“If you know, are you able to help with the Church’s successive leaders through the first four to five centuries? Were these people known as popes at that time?”
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0107bt.asp
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

Great questions and I would encourage doing your own research and not rely on a person such as myself to convince you of these findings. Look at what the orthodox say, look at what various protestants say and come up with your own conclusion. Many people agree and many disagree. right?

St. Bellarmine's Blog July 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm

“Farm animals in the U.S. live better than many people here. Yep, your Catholic truth certainly has set a lot of people free alright. Like I said – utter hogwash!”

What a way to win converts!

Rob August 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

I noticed way up in these threads that there are errors in the original discussion of what “church” organized the canon. It was not the “Roman Catholic Church” nor any other church, but rather a sanctioned event brought in by Constantine. This was the “early-church” when there was no distinction between Eastern and Western churches (eventually becoming Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches upon the Great Schism). Yes, as a Catholic I can trace it to the early church as can all orthodox members. The real change came about when the reformation occurred and the new teachers began printing the bible on the printing press, a new invention. They did not include the entire cannon at that time and it isn’t included now.

We are all broken as we are born with original sin, so does throwing rocks help?

Sandra August 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Rob, unfortunately I must point out an error in your assertion. It wasn’t until the Council of Trent in 1546 that the Roman Catholic Church pronounced the apocryphal books sacred. The books were never “taken out” of the Bible as you have been told. They were ADDED at that Council. That was also when the assertion that these books, along with recognized inspired, sacred scripture AND unwritten tradition were “of God” and were to be venerated as the Word of God.
Apocryphal books were not written in Hebrew, the writers never claimed inspiration, they were never acknowledged as sacred scriptures by the Jews (in fact, the Jewish people rejected and destroyed them), and they contradict not only canonical scripture but themselves.

Matthew Warner August 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Sandra,

Can you provide the source you are using to make these claims regarding Church teaching and the councils? Thanks. Every honest account of history I’ve ever read on this subject says something quite different.

Artie August 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Sandra I agree with you in that adding to or subtracting books from the bible is not a good thing. I will say your arguments sounds like something one would read from a fundamentalist web site (I.E. http://www.jesus-is-lord.com)

Sandra what you state is a myth and can be easily researched as a myth. It was actually at the Council of Rome in 382, the Church decided upon a canon of 46 Old Testament books and 27 in the New Testament. This decision was ratified by the councils at Hippo (393), Carthage (397, 419), II Nicea (787), Florence (1442), and Trent (1546).

Sandra, if Catholics added the deuterocanonical books in 1546, then Martin Luther beat us to the punch: He included them in his first German translation, published the Council of Trent. They can also be found in the first King James Version (1611) and in the first Bible ever printed, the Guttenberg Bible (a century before Trent). In fact, these books were included in almost every Bible until the Edinburgh Committee of the British Foreign Bible Society excised them in 1825. Until then, they had been included at least in an appendix of Protestant Bibles. It is historically demonstrable that Catholics did not add the books, Protestants took them out.

Furthermore, early Christians read the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. It included the seven deuterocanonical books. For this reason, the Protestant historian J.N.D. Kelly writes, “It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive [than the Protestant Bible]. . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called apocrypha or deuterocanonical books”

Edward October 16, 2009 at 4:03 am

I invite you all to read my bible study blogs at http://edwardelkins.blogspot.com/ . I chose many topics to right about and myself I am baptised catholic yet the main topic of my blog is the Modern Church meaning the body of christ not the institute. I truly expressed my opinions and in most blogs I wrote I state it is merely an opinion of my own to help others form their own opinions not to be misguide them . I welcome youre harmless efforts to correct me if you believe it is wrong what I have written but I cannot promise I will post youre comment. I think you will find most of them to be nothing to argue. Yet I have my own opinions about protestant and catholic institutes. I am catholic but in modern times that is more the Lords to confirm than some stranger with a title.

Michael November 10, 2009 at 7:23 am

But I Cannot Find that in the Bible!

One of the many false charges made against the Catholic Church:

False charge #1. “The Catholic Church and / or the Pope is the ‘Whore of Babylon.’

Many non-Catholic books have been written ‘proving’ that this is what the Bible ‘clearly’ says!”

Answer to false charge #1. Proving??? Clearly??? I have now donned my Sola Scriptura glasses for a reply using Sola Scriptura believers non-Catholic rules, and first of all, I cannot find the phrase ‘whore of Babylon’ in the Bible.

Not only that but I cannot find a single reference that says ‘Catholic Church’ or the word ‘Pope’ to connect to the non-existent ‘whore of Babylon’.

This is irrefutable proof that non-Catholics have a double standard (doublethink*).

When Catholic’s make a statement, they are greeted with Sola Scriptura, and nothing else.

End of conversation. However, when non-Catholics make a charge against the Catholic Church like this one, there is no such thing as Sola Scriptura.

They pull these charges out of thin air with not a single thread of proof.

Hypocrisy???

Answers anyone???

*Doublethink…! You cannot have it both ways, but some non-Catholic Sola Scriptura believers sure do try.

Randy Johnson July 7, 2010 at 7:21 am

I am thankful, Matt, for the Providential maze of links that lead me to this article! While I have been greatly blessed by the way in which you have ably defended the Truth of Christ and His Church, I must say that it is Sandra’s comments that have had the greatest affect on me for it is in her argument FOR Sola scriptura that I find the greatest argument AGAINST it.

I would like to say, by way of introduction, that I once held to (and defended) the doctrine in question. I was raised in the Baptist church, it was there that I first heard the gospel of Christ, it was there that I was baptized, and it was there that I was taught the foundational Protestant doctrine of Sola scriptura. (I am currently “swimming the Tiber” and hope to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church at the end of the Easter season, 2011.)

While Sola scriptura was, for me, the first Protestant doctrine to come into question, I have never before been struck by the absolutely indefensible nature of the position until I read Sandra’s comment (#68). Firstly, her choice of proof-texts (verses I myself once used for the same purpose) and her corresponding exegesis (eisegesis, actually) simply drip with irony. Yes, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired by God”, (her emphasis) but it does not tell us what comprises “All Scripture”. If we were to ask her what “All Scripture” is she would no doubt reply, “Why, the Bible I hold in my hand, of course.”, with no further thought as to WHERE THAT BIBLE CAME FROM other than that it was “inspired by God”, and with no thought at all as to what those words meant to Paul and Timothy. She goes on to make the claim that this passage tells us that all Scripture is “complete”. This is simply not true. Nowhere in these two verses is it even intimated that Scripture itself is complete in any sense of the word. Verse 16 reads “All Scripture is inspired by God and is PROFITABLE…”, NOT “…and is COMPLETE”. No, what Paul tells Timothy (and us) is that Scripture “is profitable…that the man of God may be complete (adequate, up to the task) for every good work.” Now, for Scripture to “complete” the “man of God” implies that there is another ingredient involved, one that leaves the believer incomplete when used by itself which, in turn, implies that Scripture ALONE, would leave the man of God incomplete. What might that other ingredient be? The ingredient that in conjunction WITH Scripture makes us complete? “Retain the standard of sound words which you have HEARD from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the TREASURE THAT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED UNTO YOU.” (2 Timothy 1: 13-14) And again, “The things that you have HEARD from me in the presence of many witnesses, ENTRUST THESE to faithful men who WILL BE ABLE to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) This sounds an awful lot like the Catholic position of Tradition + Scripture to me.

Joe August 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Peter, you said to Jim: “there is little evidence that there is a sincere desire to know the truth. I asked the Lord about it and He told me just to leave it alone – which is what I shall do.”

Clearly, truth doctrinally speaking, cannot be found in the CC according to you, and clearly truth, doctrinally speaking, cannot be found in the bible alone for there is more than one truth regarding any one doctrine eg the Eucharist – when it comes to the bible alone as the Christians final authority. Peter, help me find truth and please don’t ask me to ask Jesus; Jesus is no longer physically here, outside of the Eucharist, so He is not responding today. Jesus left us with His church and empowered His church to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth and to teach all that He imparted, according to Matthew 28.

By the way, why do you embrace man-made traditions such as sola scripture via individual interpretation, considering the fact that you denounce man-made tradition so often? Let’s put sola scriptura via individual interpretation to the test, shall we:

In one corner we have some isolated autonomous churches that defer to the bible as their final authority for doctrinal clarification and authoritative resolution, and they come away from the bible believing that Jesus was speaking in metaphor regarding the Eucharist. In the opposite corner we have some isolated autonomous churches as well, deferring to their bible as their final authority for doctrinal clarification and authoritative resolution and they too come away from the same bible believing the exact opposite and none of these churches were founded by God for I can give you the name of the man that founded each and every protestant church and when, and his name won’t be Jesus.

sandra August 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

Joe, in regards to your statement that Jesus is not physically here… so he is not responding today :
the end of Matthew 28 says “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” — and Jesus left us with His Holy Spirit who guides us. (Acts 1:8)

Jesus’ “church” is the body of true believers. No matter what man-made church they attend. Look up the Greek word for church: ?????????? (ekkle?sia) — a calling out. We who believe in Jesus are the “called out ones.” Every church we call “church” is a man-made organization and subjected to man’s mistakes.

What matters is not whether you believe in solo scriptura. What matters is that you believe:
There is one God.
God is eternal– always was and always will be.
God exists in a trinity (triune God) : Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God is the creator of the universe.
God the Son descended from heaven to become human (Jesus.)
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus lived a sinless life.
Jesus had an active ministry and performed many miracles.
Jesus was crucified for our sins on the cross.
He paid the debt for our sins once and for all.
He died.
On the third day He arose by the power of God.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God.
He sent His Holy Spirit to guide us, comfort us, lead us…
He will return again to judge the living and the dead.

All else is secondary doctrine. No one is going to get to heaven and hear God say to them “gee, you believed all the big ones but, shucks, you didn’t subscribe to the ‘Jonah in the whale’ part so I am sorry but you can’t get in.”

You can fill in the “Jonah in the whale’ with your choice of secondary doctrine.
Tongues,
Prophecy,
Eucharist,
Full-immersion baptism,
praying to saints,
etc.

We are all Christian if we believe the primary doctrine. Let’s focus on bringing Jesus to those that don’t know Him. Let’s focus on bringing Jesus to those that THINK they know Him but are deceived (Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example.)

I believe sola scriptura because I have been convinced by careful examination, contemplation and the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine a life where I would question Holy Writ. But let’s focus on bringing the Truth to others who are in darkness.

sandra August 28, 2010 at 8:27 am

oh and, Joe, PS: read Romans 14.

Matthew Warner August 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Sandra,

With all due respect, your over-simplification as to what you’ve personally and fallibly decided is “primary” vs “secondary” doctrine is just as problematic as any of the original issues at hand. It’s also a contradiction to your belief in sola scriptura…as there is nowhere in scripture that lists what are “primary” doctrine vs “secondary” doctrine as you have laid out here. In other words, nowhere in the bible does it specify a list of things that “matter” (as you put it) as primary and secondary. Yet you say you believe in Sola Scriptura (bible alone). This is a fundamental contradiction in your belief system.

Matthew Warner August 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Additionally, if we are to go by scripture, certainly the Eucharist would rank as “primary”! Jesus says in John 6 that unless “you eat my flesh and drink my blood you HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU.” If anything is “primary”…I think that would qualify.

sandra August 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Oh, I believe in every bit of the Bible, word for word… and there are deal breakers, so to speak. Things that divide God-fearing people from those that worship idols and non-believers. You might want to review the Nicene Creed. These are the fundamentals of the Christian belief system. And for those who haven’t had certain truths revealed to them yet, or are walking in ignorance, rebellion, or deception, or are just simply struggling, I extend grace. As I mentioned previously, read Romans 14.

As for the eucharist, I examine the Bible that contains commands, literal history, allegories, analogies, prose, poetry, similes, etc. Jesus’ words in John 6 are obviously not literal because to take it literally would discount His remarks on the cross “It is finished.” It was an allegory. He is the bread of life. His blood needed for forgiveness. There is no way we can live spiritually unless we partake of these two things. I am sure you have heard this before.

Besides, I was addressing Joe.

Matthew Warner August 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Oh I believe in the Nicene Creed. But that, too, is not found in the bible. So again, your belief in Sola Scriptura is being contradicted by your other beliefs.

And your analysis that John 6 is “obviously not literal” is in total contradiction to what the Apostles went out and did, what the first Christians practiced and preached, what the great saints believed, what other scripture would suggest, what the Christian tradition has always taught and believed, what all Christians held up until a few hundred years ago (even Martin Luther believed in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, btw), what best corresponds to the old testament types and the entirety of Christian theology, and the “analysis” of the great doctors of the Church throughout history…among many other things.

Edward August 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm

In my post above about the intercession of saints I guess I jumped the gun using that scripture about interceding for all. Yet if we are to interced for all making prayer and intercession wouldnt the saints be interceding for us all as his servants. In the apocrapha’s which fundamentalist dont honor there is much written. Yet How about the divisions of the church that protestants make a business out of . It tells us in the bible that there will be those who disauiese themselves as Jesus christs desciplies and they are really the antichriist. Isnt that a very common practice of evangels to pretend to be Jesus desciples. Also it says the divisions are immature. isnt that what martin luther was starting his own division. Even satan disguised himself as an angel of light how much easier a monk or priest. The jehovahs witness church for instance like the protestant church with martin luther having been a catholic. The jehovah witness teachings are the same as The catholic biishop who was excommunicated for teachings considereed heresy. i believe his name is arius . or aryionus or something like that. The egyptians let him teach there in egypt which is why jehovahs witnesses use so much of the egyptian symbols to back their beliefs. Really the catholic church is the one true institutte of the work of the saints yet life in the spirit is not an institution or a system its the whole kingdom of heaven within us . The light is much more than words. Protestant institute is very immature in my opinoin. I know that one of the main reasons for us to assemble on the sabbath is to remember our lords communion. How often to protestants do that. In fact there is only a few reasons to meet together on sunday. One is to commune, another is to be delivered from the power of evil. It says in the bible not to forsake his assembly . There is no unified proffession of faith in a protestant service. in many evangel services they will ask people if they believe in Jesus or have recieved his holy spirit. every catholic mass we all recite the creed confessing our faith in accord with one another in unity of the holy spirit. There is no like service except in 1st christian church or similar of the protestants who do this. The lutheran church is somewhat catholic because martin luther was a catholic. Its just strange how it says so much in the bible that protestants just seem to interpret for their own profit. It says not to peddle the word of God. Look at the evangelical 700 club they sell so many books about thier interpretations of the bible its ridiculous . Not to mention earning billions from selling a version they made up of the bible. Hey dont peddle the word of God get rich from it maybe thought it meant. Protestants dont even believe each other are the body of christ and for good reason though . So I guess the honor one another in the Lord scripture is out . Atleast out of their service . Where as catholic mass is in accord with this scripture and the heirarchy secures it as an authroity is witness to confirmation and wards the institute which provides sacrament of confirmation. Protestants dishonoring catholics usually is like an unbeliever dishonoring Jesus . It dont change the fact that Jesus lis Lord.

sandra August 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm

The Nicene Creed COMES from BIblical facts. Not one line has come from extra-biblical tradition or decree.

You all might want to remind yourselves of this bit of information regarding Christianity that I have simply cut and pasted from religionfacts.com because I have no time for this and because the Lord, through Paul, advised us not to quarrel in 2 Tim 2:14-16:
“Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” (emphasis mine)

So here it is and good day, gentlemen.

“For the first thousand years of Christianity there was no “Roman Catholicism” as we know it today, simply because there was no Eastern Orthodoxy or Protestantism to distinguish it. There was only the “one, holy, catholic church” affirmed by the early creeds, which was the body of Christian believers all over the world, united by common traditions, beliefs, church structure and worship (catholic simply means “universal”). Thus, throughout the Middle Ages, if you were a Christian, you belonged to the Catholic Church. Any Christianity other than the Catholic Church was a heresy, not a denomination.

Today, however, Roman Catholicism is not the only accepted Christian church. Thus to be a Roman Catholic means to be a certain kind of Christian: one with unique beliefs, practices and traditions that are distinct from those of other Christians. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church continues to maintain that it alone has carried on the true tradition of the apostolic church and has traditionally regarded dissenting groups as heresies, not alternatives (Martin Luther was swiftly excommunicated). However, the recent Second Vatican Council declared all baptized Christians to be “in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” (again, emphasis mine)
http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations/catholicism.htm

sandra August 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

And since you haven’t mentioned Romans 14 (you have read it, right?) I thought I’d post Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the part I am especially referring to:
“We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment. A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them.”
Have a great life.

Edward August 29, 2010 at 1:08 am

Honestly isnt it pretty chaotic all the protesstant ministries and divisions why would God allow chaos and anarchy . God is not an author of confusion. Which came first the chicken or the egg. The bible is full of scripture to argue theology is senseless. It explains in Isaiah about the conversion of the nations explaining how God created nothing in chaos and that the prophets did not speak in secret or in darkness. Isaiah 45 vs 14 through I believe 19.

Anyways this is Gods life we are living. Its not our faith its the lords and Jesus himself said its not he who is good but his father in heaven who sent him. So God the father is who it all is about and its he who’s power is performing the miracles and blessings in life. There is one truth but its not just a spate of words its a vast life more than even wisdom or knowledge would be enough to grasp hold of. So why not just live. If you are baptised in the holy spiri t the holy spirit is who christ left to teach us not sunday school teachers or theology teachers or street preachers. The power of God is not something we have in our own grasp to understand or make our own power. We could argue all day but why would argue with someone who I dont even know is confirmed except they say they are. Thats why I dont attend pro testant church. EVen satan believed . Its just strange how people make themselves herald the teachings of ministers of the many divisions . Anyone who is earning money from some thing is has an opposed opinion about the other guy. Furniture salesman have something to say about thier competitors. Burger king has something to say about mcdonalds. Here is the thing though thank God that the catholic church does welcome anyone and thank God that we dont have to live pretending to be Gods holy church . No one is bringing honor to God because God never put that on anyone to do. The protestants twist things around like we should be proving our faith to them not just the FAther in heaven or to the world who doesnt even believe or know God like its the worlds life or authority. Anyways. to much to say to little time in life to waste them arguing.

Edward August 29, 2010 at 1:35 am

I have a blog at blogspot.com edwardelkins.blogspot.com I wrote alot of blogs on many differnet subjects. they are not all completely in accord with protestant or catholic teachings me not being a clergy I was not writing on behalf of the institute just to share my own experiences and to do something positive on the internet since there is so much negative acivity trying to blog on sites like myspace and and facebook. I didnt write any to argue a point just to share my own insight and experiences. I dont know why I got caught up in this one. Its youre own mind , heart , soul ,ect. So if you fellowship saying there is no real one true body of christ and that his teachings are so unimportant that anyone can be an authority on the matter I cant really believe you know the true fellowship of the Lord. The fellowhsip is in the spirit but its not with the world or with the powers of this world. So swearing by doctrine none of us wrote is not going to really serve any cause. The orthodox church professes to have in their possession the ark of the covenant” atleast that is what I read. My grandmothers house was purchased by the orthodox church locally were I live. they turned it into a parish for awhile so I attended a few masses there. I have sang in a pentecostal choir before my uncle was a pentecostal. I sang in a 1st christian choir and also in a episcopalean choir, My grandmothers family moved here to america from norway and were strict lutherans who owned over 100,000 acres of farm land she despised the lutheran teachings and so her children my father and his siblings were raised an unstrict protestant way. I cant stand any of it. Honestly I am thankfull it is about life int he spirit the gospel . I think what happens is people mix politics with religion and mistake the two causes then start finding things to argue like politicians argue their points. There is nothing to argue its Gods life what he set in place we cannot move. My life in the spirit I do not attribute to any ones teachings I ever met. Sincerely It usually ends up the other way most people discourage and trouble me when they teach about Jesus. Its only the holy spirit I can stand to listen to anyone speak about Jesus or the bible. As far as being grafted in the vine like the bible says thankGod christ is the vine and if one branch withers we can all still live because we arnt all the same branch.

Edward August 29, 2010 at 2:05 am

I have another blog at myspace I recently wrote some words about the economy and earthly matters about our way of life here America. Some of you might be interested I dont know. I welcome anyone to read them.

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Sandra you said:

Joe, in regards to your statement that Jesus is not physically here… so he is not responding today :
the end of Matthew 28 says “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” — and Jesus left us with His Holy Spirit who guides us. (Acts 1:8)

Again, Jesus is not carnally here with us anymore outside of the Eucharist. However, Jesus is spiritually with His established church guiding His established church into all truth as opposed to partial or half truths until the end of time. And yes, He dwells within all of the baptized but Jesus did not send the HS to all of the baptized on Pentecost to guide all the baptized into all truth until the end of time; Jesus sent the HS to His fledgling church leadership circa AD 33, on Pentecost – ONLY – agreed?. Sandra does the HS guide Jesus’ one church into all truth in the same way that He guides you, me all Christians (regardless of church affiliation) – into all truth? Is the HS guiding each and every isolated autonomous church into all truth? Of course not. The HS is guiding the church (Jesus said, I will build MY church) – founded by God in the first century; if you don’t believe the CC is that church, simply provide the name of the church in the world today that was founded by God in the first century; it has to still be here, and I am not talking about the protestant churches for I can give you the name of the man that founded each of these churches and when, and his name won’t be Jesus, not to impugn the wonderful works of these churches – never – just trying to be faithful to the truth.

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Sandra you said:

Jesus’ “church” is the body of true believers. No matter what man-made church they attend. Look up the Greek word for church: ?????????? (ekkle?sia) — a calling out. We who believe in Jesus are the “called out ones.” Every church we call “church” is a man-made organization and subjected to man’s mistakes.

Very true, however, today we see many being called out, in the divided and isolated assemblies in the world today and quite often these churches are teaching contradictory doctrine. Sandra does church affiliation even matter to you? Belonging to the church founded by God (built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, in Jerusalem on Pentecost circa AD 33) – as opposed to one of the man made churches founded on the reformation, is not a top priority for you?

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Sandra, Jesus said: I will build my church…So, if you believe what your bible is telling you then every church “we call church” is NOT a man-made organization, but I will concede that Jesus’ church has been and will continue to be subjected to man’s mistakes, but, without altering doctrinal truth, for every generation has a right to know the unadulterated truths taught by Jesus – agreed?

You said:

What matters is not whether you believe in solo scriptura…

Yes it does matter if what you say is true about man-made doctrine not found in the bible, for the man-made dogma Sola scriptura is nowhere found in sacred scripture and was never taught by Jesus or the apostles or their successors and all it has done since 16th century is fracture Jesus’ Mystical Body. Very sad.

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Sandra, you said:

What matters is that you believe:
There is one God.
God is eternal– always was and always will be.
God exists in a trinity (triune God) : Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God is the creator of the universe.
God the Son descended from heaven to become human (Jesus.)
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus lived a sinless life.
Jesus had an active ministry and performed many miracles.
Jesus was crucified for our sins on the cross.
He paid the debt for our sins once and for all.
He died.
On the third day He arose by the power of God.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God.
He sent His Holy Spirit to guide us, comfort us, lead us…
He will return again to judge the living and the dead.
All else is secondary doctrine. No one is going to get to heaven and hear God say to them “gee, you believed all the big ones but, shucks, you didn’t subscribe to the ‘Jonah in the whale’ part so I am sorry but you can’t get in.”

Like Matthew said: What about: “unless you eat my flesh…you have no life in you?” That seems like a pretty important one and you just gloss right over it.

You said:

We are all Christian if we believe the primary doctrine.

This thing you call “primary doctrine” is utterly subjective to sola scriptura advocates eg, John 6, faith and works. What’s primary to me is secondary to you and that is why Jesus empowered His church to teach: Acts 1 Matthew 28:20. For example, my sister belongs to a man made church and that church says that baptism is a man made tradition and therefore unnecessary, and her isolated church is not alone in this belief. Thank God Jesus left us with His church and the HS to guide His church into all truth; you know what I mean?

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Sandra, you said:

Let’s focus on bringing Jesus to those that don’t know Him. Let’s focus on bringing Jesus to those that THINK they know Him but are deceived (Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example.)

Sandra, if sola scriptura is the Christians final authority (according to you) – then you cannot exclude Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses from the Mystical Body of Christ. They, like you, are simply deferring to their one and only authority for clarification of doctrinal truth, and this is the very reason why we see, so many being called out, in divided and isolated assemblies, teaching contradictory doctrine. Sandra, SS doesn’t work. If I am wrong you and I would have the same interpretation of the Eucharist. Sacred scripture is not flawed and there can be only one correct teaching regarding the Eucharist, and SS as the Christians final authority, does not provide us with the means to know the correct interpretation. If it did you and I would be in agreement.

Joe March 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm

@ Joe (like the name by the way) the only difference between our churches and Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses is that those other two are cults and not Christian denominations.

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Sandra, you said:

I believe sola scriptura because I have been convinced by careful examination, contemplation and the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine a life where I would question Holy Writ.

After what I have just demonstrated you still insist that SS works?

It’s not that anyone should question holy writ; far from it. What should be questioned is the interpreter just as you question the interpretation of the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses and who, no doubt question you interpretation.

Joe August 29, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Finally, you said:

But let’s focus on bringing the Truth to others who are in darkness.

Sandra, that’s going to be pretty difficult considering the fact that you and I don’t share the same truths. For example, you said,

“As for the eucharist, I examine the Bible that contains commands, literal history, allegories, analogies, prose, poetry, similes, etc. Jesus’ words in John 6 are obviously not literal because to take it literally would discount His remarks on the cross “It is finished.” It was an allegory. He is the bread of life. His blood needed for forgiveness. There is no way we can live spiritually unless we partake of these two things. I am sure you have heard this before.”

Sandra, how do we focus on bringing the Truth to others when you and I can’t even agree what truth is regarding such an important doctrine?

You claim that you, (being guided by the HS into all truth) – are right and I merely claim that the CC founded by Jesus, forever guided by the HS, into all truth, until the end of time – is right. Who do you expect people to believe – you, me or the church founded by God, forever guided by God into all truth??? How do we reconcile this little dilemma? Should I put my trust in your interpretation or my interpretation or should I put my trust in the interpretation of the church leadership empowered to teach and to be Jesus’ witnesses (starting with the apostles) – to the ends of the earth.

Joe August 29, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Sandra how is mutual edification even possible for sola scriptura advocates, considering the fact that these SS advocates, such as yourself, defer to no authority other than their own, when it comes to interpreting the holy bible?

It seems a tad hypocritical for these SS advocates to say that the CC has no authority to teach error free doctrine, all the while, they themselves, teaching authoritatively, error free doctrine. Every SS advocate interpreting the bible and teaching authoritatively, is his or her own Pope, many of which are founders of new churches, claiming just as much authority as the Bishop of Rome.

Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

Joe August 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Sandra you said:
Today, however, Roman Catholicism is not the only accepted Christian church.
____________
True. It is not the only accepted Christian church, but it is the only church founded by God in the 1st century as opposed to man in the 16th…21st century – right or wrong?

Did God fail to safeguard doctrinal truth in His church, the CC? If so, which church in the world today via SS as the Christians final authority, did in fact do what God could not, regarding the preservation of doctrinal truth?

There was only the “one, holy, catholic church” for the first 1000 years – right? Did God wait 1500 years to introduce sola scriptura as the Christians final authority, to the world? If so then why?

You said:

Thus to be a Roman Catholic means to be a certain kind of Christian: one with unique beliefs, practices and traditions that are distinct from those of other Christians.
__________________

To be a protestant means to be a certain kind of Christian: one with unique beliefs, practices and traditions that are distinct from those of both Christians belonging to the CC as well as other PC’s. This proves nothing, except that there are a whole bunch of churches out there in the world when there is only suppose to be one according to scripture.

You said:

Nevertheless, the Catholic Church continues to maintain that it alone has carried on the true tradition of the apostolic church and has traditionally regarded dissenting groups as heresies, not alternatives (Martin Luther was swiftly excommunicated).

If not for the CC many heresies would still be present in Christianity today. The CC does not regard other man-made churches as heretical sects. Dissent has been the mainstay of the protestant reformation for 500 year and that is the very reason why there are so many isolated churches. Dissenters leaving churches to start their own churches based on their own brand of Christianity which of course is based on their unique interpretation of the bible. This will never end as long as the bible remains the final authority for protestants.

sarah November 14, 2010 at 9:37 am

so is a catholic person a christian?

Matthew Warner November 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

Sarah – absolutely! In fact, I wrote a post on just that topic here if you’re interested in reading: http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/are-catholics-christian/

Peace!

Shawn Zappia December 28, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Sarah, what I can tell you is this, I was catholic. I was never taught to read the Bible, nor was I taught how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. In addition, the fundamental beginning to that relationship, according to scripture, (Romans Chapter 10) is to verbally confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is your personal savior and that you repent of all your sins. I’m not trying to make things up here, thats what scripture says! I am Italian, I have numerous family members who are catholic, they go to church every Sunday and sin like the devil the other six days of the week. I love these people, they would help at the drop of a dime, but the truth is the truth. They have no idea what scripture says and who they should establish a relationship with God. Unless one makes that verbal commitment, he or she can not be a TRUE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST! Scripture tells us that there shall be no mediator between you and God, except Jesus Christ. Pray and repent to Jesus, not a Priest! Scripture also tells us, no man unless born again will see the Kingdom of God! You can find all this in the NIV, KG, and LW Bibles.

Artie December 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Shawn, you are talking about a non practicing Catholic vs. a Catholic who practices their faith. Any Catholic who practices their faith knows that having a relationship with God is very important, they also know that their is tons of Scripture through the Mass as well as the readings through the year in the liturgical calendar.

The same argument you made about your Catholic family, could be used against the non Catholic Christian who also does not take their faith seriously.

Shawn Zappia December 29, 2010 at 9:52 pm

What you are saying is true! I am not here to argue, I want to make that point clear. My intention is nothing more than to accurately spread what I know about scripture and what it says. Well it may be that there are different interpretations of some scripture, most doctrines outside of the Catholicism DO AGREE WITH VERBALLY CONFESSING JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR PERSONAL SAVIOR. When this happens we become born again in the Spirit. This is what Christ talks about in the Bible when he says that no one will see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again. In addition, someone commented earlier in the thread that we as followers of Christ are allowable to add various obligations if you will such as some of the Sacraments. However, I would remind Christians that Gods word “The Bible” tells us nothing shall be added or taken away. If that is true and we believe that the men that wrote the Bible were 100% inspired by God and the Holy Spirit, then my friend it seems there are many people that are flirting with God in a very dangerous way.
In addition, I agree that there are people that play the game where I go to Church. I am apart of the “Church of God”. We are a Holy Movement Church. We believe in salvation, sanctification, and living a Holy Life. However, Holiness is preached from the pulpit, people are encouraged to repent and turn towards God, the majority of the congregation is Bible in hand, and we strive to witness and share our testimony. My friend we are called to be Holy people that demonstrate to the world how God works in our lives. Our manuscript for life is the Bible. Christ is the way and God is our Father.

Romans
3:23
Everyone has sinned
6:23
The penalty of sin is death
5:8
Jesus Christ Died for sin
10:8-10
To be forgiven for our sin, WE MUST believe AND confess that Jesus is Lord. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ

To the unsaved, the beginning of salvation starts here. Not because I got on some gloging sight, but because the Savior of the world died on the cross for you. And if you have not verbally confessed to God and Christ, my friends whats stopping you? The infallible word of God has proclaimed it, use it as your road map to salvation!

Artie December 30, 2010 at 8:59 am

Shawn,

Thanks for your kindness and explanation of how you practice your faith in Christ. Catholic and non Catholic Christians obviously have their differences.

Correct me if I am wrong, but your argument is that the only necessary requirement for salvation is to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and be able to live in Christ as a Christian. You are saying that Catholics are flirting with God by living a sacramental life (Baptism, Confession, Eucharist) which encompasses confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and also living a life in Christ.

A book I read years ago was “The Salvation Controversy” by James Akin. It was really good read for me, and I actually gave this book to a family member to read. It really sheds light on some of the issues that unite and separate Christians in regards to salvation.

Edward December 30, 2010 at 11:36 am

Shawn , During a catholic mass the ceremony of the sacrament are all really according to the scriptures of the gospel, Each mass we confess our faith by saying the nicene creed. So many evangelical christian churchs will have one leader confess christ in an unorthodox manner then offensively ask over and over again wether someone believes in christ who attends their services, Then to make it worse they brag about thier own confession of christs faith. Normal protestant organizations will only have their members confess christ once during baptism. Communion is very important and it says in the gospels as much as you commune you do this in rememberance of christ. So the catholics commune every mass . Protestants only commune on special occasions. Confessions are in accordance with communion. In the gospels where christ spoke his words about communion he spoke not to commune if youre not worthy of communion. Doing so the gospels say will put a person in danger of judgment because a person unworthy of communion sins against the body and blood of christ. That is why so many are weak and sick among you the gospel speak. So confession in the roman rite and even the orthodox catholic church is done on saturday to prepare for sunday mass so no one is unworthy of communion.

Shawn December 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Edward and Artie

I agree that you are using bits and pieces of scripture to support your view point.

Edward: What you say about communion is 100% accurate in scripture. We as professing Christians should examine ourselves each time before communion, however what does scripture say about confessing our sins. Why is it need to repent to a priest that then communicates to God on our behalf? This is not the Old Testament. We have a direct connection to God through the Holy spirit. Once more the Bible tells that we should have no mediator between us and God except Jesus Christ.

Artie: I did not full type out some of things you mentioned above, but I agree with what you said about Baptism. Absolutely that all professing Christians need Baptized, because scripture tells us so. However, Artie I want to you to look up scripture and tell me what the Bible tells us about Baptism and when it takes place. I won’t tell you the answer except for how the Catholic Church practices it is in accurate on how the Bible instructs us.

Gentlemen God Bless and Thanks for the healthy discussion

Artie December 30, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Shawn,

We can debate topic, by topic, and issue by issue and the sole argument is that either “Sola Scriptura” is true as a world view or Catholicism is true as a world view.

The protestant world view of Bible as the sole source of all authority implies an absolute right of private interpretation – it leads to individualism, skepticism, and ultimately – Christian division.

One Bible alone Christian will say that baptism must be by immersion, another will say that baptism is not necessary and look at the man next to Jesus on the cross, another will say faith in Jesus is all that is necessary, Baptism is a nice to have. All of these people believe that the bible is their soul source of authority, yet they can even agree on scripture.

The outcome is of Sola Scriptura is the absolute right of “private interpretation and judgment” which leads every Christian that adheres to Sola Scriptura to believe whatever they want to believe from the bible. They are essentially there own authority over scripture, even though they will tell you it is inspired by the Holy Spirit which leads to thousands of different interpretations from thousands of different people.

We can discuss Baptism, Confession and debate it, throw scripture at each other, show proof historically of how the earliest Christians practiced it, and the outcome will be the same story different day.

Zappia December 31, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Artie, good response two things to keep in mind

1) As far as Baptism goes, I never said one could not go to heaven unless he/she is baptized, However the Bible does instruct us to. In the case of the man who dies next to Christ, he accepted Christ as his personal savior at the very last moments of his life.

2) There all interpretations of the Bible, however the original text would have been in written in Greek. Translations have come from that language. Variations of the Bible that do not adhere to the original texts are because modern philosophy or the uneducated have altered the text to fit such theories as the “The Gap Theory” or “Evolutionary Science”…example would be the Scofield Bible.

Artie December 31, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Thanks Shawn, have a great new year!

Joe March 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I just have a few things to say about this article. No I’m saying it’s wrong to be Catholic, I was a former Catholic myself before becoming a follower of Christ, but I will say something in defense of truth and not just mere “Protestant doctrine” which, by the way, is the 66 books of the Bible; yes, I do believe that 66 books of the Bible were inspired by God and the remaining 6(?) were not.

Okay so now on to what I have to say about this article. First of all, I don’t believe you really did your homework on some of what you put down but I think you just simply went to what the Catholic Church teaches and not what the Bible says. Secondly, 2 Thess. 2:15 was not intended to say “We absolutely need to do all of these rituals in order to please God” like they did in the times of the Old Testament (which makes me wonder if that really does have something to do with why the Catholic Church does their masses like their in the Old Testament), but I think it simply means to hold fast to the Word of God and wait for Christ’s return. It was only meant to encourage those who are in Christ to keep going in their faith and nothing otherwise. Thirdly, Christ never made the Catholic Church. He created the Universal Church for all believers in Christ to come together in that name to worship Him. Also, no where does Jesus say that Peter is the first pope. He simply made him the leader of the apostles and therefore leader of the early church. God has never been about sects since they were created out of selfishness and pride of man over differences that weren’t really that big of deals. Fourthly, “Jesus didn’t write the Bible”?! Are you kidding, He’s God, yes he’s as much of an author of it as The Father or the Holy Spirit! I don’t mean to be mean to you in any way but I absolutely hate it when people make Jesus less than the God the Father even though the Bible is clear that The Father, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit are God, YES the Holy Spirit IS God too. I mean, how can anyone interpret “I (Jesus) and the Father are one” and “If you’ve seen me (Jesus again) then you’ve seen the Father” any other way? Fifthly, I’ve never heard about this “rule of faith” before. Maybe it was taught in the Catholic Church, but I never read anything about it in the Bible. As far as I know, the only rule of faith there is is what Romans 10:9-10 says (I’ll let you look it up so that you can actually see it for yourself). Sixthly, I just noticed something at the top of the page that says “Sola Scriptura is unbiblical”. Just know that God and His word was there long before the Church began and no man or religious institution has more authority than God Himself. This is just plain blasphemy and I think you really need to consider what you believe and why you believe it. Lastly, I’ll just ask you (and everyone reading this), do you even know why the Protestant Reformation began in the first place? It was because a Catholic Monk, Martin Luther, realized that the Church wasn’t really following what God REALLY says and people needed to know the truth.

In closing, I will say this, I am praying for you and other’s like you who DO need to look into the truth of scripture and ask “what does it REALLY say?” rather than “what does the leader of my church say it says?”

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28

Matthew Warner April 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Joe – I don’t really agree, nor do I follow your logic on most of your points. Your history is a bit fuzzy, too. But I do thank you for your thoughts and most especially for your prayers. God bless you!

Jim Oberschmidt March 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Brothers and Sisters in Faith,

Peace be with you, in the great mercy of Our Lord Jesus.
Knowledge of scripture and tradition are by sight and we are called to walk by faith.

By faith, in His will, we serve, and so, may we be a blessing to each other in His perfect love.

Yoli Gonzalez May 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I know I am very late in the game here, but I just came across this blog. I at one time considered myself a Protestant, I grew up in the Baptist church. I later married into Catholicism, I went to the RCIA classes twice to become Catholic and at the very end never followed through with the ceremonies. I must say that I am confused, i used to read scripture everyday and pray all of the time. My in-laws still try to get me invloved in the Catholic church, but I think I have changed so much that they wouldn’t care which church I attend. My husband looked at me last week with tears in his eyes(he is not a crier by any means) and said “What has happened to you, I used to look at you and see light and now i look in your eyes and I see frustration and restlessness” I couldn’t do anything but turn and continue what I was doing. I carry a deep sadness now and my life has never been the same. Five years of research in theology and studying both the Catholic origins and Protestant and I am as lost as i started out. I now never even glance at my Bible, my family attends the Catholic church alone. I say pathetic prayer just out of repetition. I know that this divide should not deter my love for Christ and I should be a stronger individual but it has ripped me apart and rocked me to my very core. Now when I see debates like this, I just shake my head and say my normal small prayer and ask God, not only ask but beg for an answer. Anyhow God bless you all no matter protestant or Catholic.

Yoli G

Phild May 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hi Yoli
Previously here I too have expressed dismay. Seems nothing can make me understand the nonsensical uprising of Catholicism and also Christianity. So much faith is based on the words of so few. The historical data is weak and also distorted leaving far too much open for interpretation. I listen to those who believe and soon find they have inability to explain their faith without resorting a comment like “read the Bible and your answer will be there”. For me the Bible is a mess, written too late and so unsubstantiated.
What I am hearing now is that people are turning away from religion and instead turning to God. I hope there is a God and not the type that the Bible may have us believe. I also add that I don’t believe in prophets and would say a prophet as a special person has never existed. I wish you all the best with the answers you seek.

Matthew Warner May 3, 2011 at 2:13 am

Yoli and Phild – God bless you both. I have no doubt that with your sincere, small prayers God will do powerful things to reveal himself to you. Just remain open and keep asking and praying. He will not let you down. Peace be with you.

Artie May 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Yoli your post was sincere. I will pray this simple prayer with you. Studying theology, Church history,etc can be intense. There are differences but there are lots of similarities between the Catholic and protestant world view

Yoli Gonzalez May 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Yes it is intense and thats why i am so tired now, but I cant give up, thanks for praying with me….God bless you Artie.

Yoli G

Jim Oberschmidt May 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Yoli, Peace be with you, Knowledge is a cruel taskmaster, and it is by sight. The gift of reason, when blessed by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, knows what we do not know. The church calls these a mystery, and it is by faith we receive that which we do not deserve. You are not alone in your struggle, I am 51 and have a spiritual growth spurt these last few years, through fellowship, through bible reading, and through prayer. May the compassion of our Lord Jesus, bring peace to your heart and to your family. Jim from Indiana

Alex Jones August 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

I’ve been reading all of this interesting information. I want everyone to just know right off the bat that I’m a cradle Catholic, and as some would say, have been “spoon fed” my belief to me my entire life. But I have made a choice to be Catholic because I feel that is is right, but wanted to bring up a few points.

1( That Catholic means “universal”, and the only way that will happen is if we all get along. I’ve never jugded anyone just because they aren’t Catholic. I’ve not tried to make them believe anything they don’t or are incapable of understanding. I’ve tried to followed the words of Saint Francis of Assisi (just paraphrasing here), “Teach God’s love at all times, and only use words when you have to.”

2( God is calling, we just need to listen.

Thank you. Just my two cents.

Joe D. August 30, 2011 at 12:45 am

Joe, regarding the following, you and I are both looking “into the truth of scripture,” as you suggested, and yet what sacred scripture says to me, sacred scripture does not say to you! Is it your opinion that this was what Jesus intended???

“In closing, I will say this, I am praying for you and other’s like you who DO need to look into the truth of scripture and ask “what does it REALLY say?” rather than “what does the leader of my church say it says?”

aaron crouse March 1, 2012 at 1:54 am

thats joke he gave the idea to grant and teaach in heaven but to rewrite book for politics that would be heresy . why do you believe in say succubus when cleary they are a roman pagan concept and no this isnta christian thing form medievil times. sigh igorance.

kim August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Is anybody there?

Anzlyne October 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

Sola scriptura would have been a foreign idea to jesus and his Jewish friends who not only knew and practiced the written Torah writings and prophets– but also the oral traditions.

Risha March 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

This is beautiful Matt. I used this as a resource for an essay i had to write. It really helped. Thanks.

James March 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Don’t believe the bible. It’s not perfect. It’s written by men. Books and Chapters of it were omitted/added depending on which ommission/addition would benefit which secular church.

Well, it is written by men, which takes personal interests first and edits it to fit their beliefs and traditions.

Even though it clearly stated on the last part of EACH bible to not tamper it. Would that stop humans? noooooooooooo…

So… Don’t believe the men who interpreted the bible. Humans are not perfect. They freely edit it depending on their or their religion’s interest.

If we cannot completely believe a scripture which is written by Humans (As this blog states), Then why should we completely follow traditions made by Humans as well?

What makes traditions made by men in their own interests, more credible than scriptures whom men freely edit for their own interests?

This is Great! Just Great! So who do we believe now?

P.S. I am a Catholic and if I may ask, why do we pray to statues at church when Yahweh clearly commanded (Part of the “original” 10 Commandments) us not to bow down or worship any graven idol made by man? Whether Stone or Wood. (I’m not gonna quote scripture as this blog stated not to rely on it completely)

Well, I understand He didn’t say “except images made using My face, My Son Yahushuah, His Mom, all his friends, and those who follow him who you want to consider saints.”. But you get the point. He clearly stated, “NO, DON’T DO THAT”. So why do we?

sage April 30, 2013 at 10:37 pm

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

CaLaBwChrist June 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm

I love the fact that belivers can come on here and discuss their faith but arguments are futile Christ didn’t call His Church catholic prostanant or penecoastal those titles are the man made traditions if we are not continuing in the teachings and works of our Lord we are all wrong all these divisions and Christ is not divided be a follower of the way not traditions from the acension to now things have changed dramaticly corruption and false teachings as prophecy foretell all we can do is fast watch and pray without ceasing and endure till the end when He come fighting arguing and debating doesn’t increase our faith but our love for each other does that’s how we win souls not just through doctrine

Matthew Warner June 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Christ didn’t call his Church “Christian” either. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good description of it. “Catholic” was used very, very early on by the early Christians to refer to Christ’s Church. Catholic means “universal”…also a very good description of Christ’s Church.

CaLaBwChrist June 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Agreed my brother even Christian was a word of hate used against us that we adopted but overall one faith one God one Church

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