Saint Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sola Scriptura, Not Good Enough for Protestants.




Why do so many Protestants spend so much time using extra-Biblical sources to prove their beliefs? For instance, one guy named James Swan spends hours culling through Martin Luther's writings, and writings about his life; leaving no stone unturned to defend his hero. Every time he gets a new book on Luther he has to tell everyone about it on his blog. The guy has been dead for close to 500 years. Isn't this a form of veneration? Heavens no, far be it for the Protestant. After all, if you spend hours and days reading, writing and defending a man who shares your religious beliefs, we couldn't call that veneration could we? What is all of this going to accomplish for the Protestant? Did Luther interpret the Scriptures infallibly? Do we actually need any of Luther's writings in order to understand the Scriptures? If someone is going to go by the Bible alone, shouldn't they be confident enough in their own interpretations instead of having to go out and look for other people's interpretations to verify their own? How does the Protestant know who is authentically called to be teachers of the faith?



The Reformed position of Sola Scriptura tries not to dismiss the Church and her teachers from their doctrine. They claim that not everyone can understand the Scriptures equally, and that there are people who are called to teach the Bible in some sort of authoritative position. Yet if that is the case, then why do their authoritative teachers disagree on core teachings in the Bible? How do they know that pastor Billy Bob is really called by God to teach the Bible? I mean knowing what the Bible teaches about sinful acts is important, no? Maybe it would be nice to know how one attains or receives salvation, how one is justified and sanctified, and why one is baptized and what it means to be baptized? But for the Protestant, those are just side issues. These "Reformed" apologists claim that most Protestants agree on the core issues, but I don't see any of them coming up with a list of core issues from the Bible. I believe that the Scriptures were written down and given to us by God, because all of it is important, no? No, not for the Protestant; its only what each individual thinks and decides to be important.

For example, recently I have had exchanges over the interpretation of Genesis 38 and the sin of Onan. The overwhelming Protestant interpretation of this passage up until the 1930 Lambeth conference was completely different than what it is now. For close to 500 years, Protestantism condemned masturbation and contraception as being grossly sinful based on this Biblical text, yet now it has become a convenient non-essential issue for them. It is certainly a convenient system to take something in the Bible that was considered to be grossly sinful, and now turn it into a non-essential. Lets take Martin Luther for example, who appealed to the Scriptures alone in order to uphold his beliefs against the contraceptive act.

Martin Luther says in reference to Onan,
"Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment. He was inflamed with the basest spite and hatred. Therefore he did not allow himself to be compelled to bear that intolerable slavery. Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore God punished him . . ."


Yet today we have proponents of various forms of Lutheranism and Calvinism who reject both of these Reformer's interpretations of this Biblical passage, in favor of their own. For instance, a guy who calls himself Turretin Fan wrote this about their interpretations.

"iv) The fact that Calvin (and Luther?) viewed Onan's activity to be inherently displeasing to God does not make it so.

A surprising number of people think that it is significant that Luther (?) and Calvin generalized Onan's sin rather differently than we do. Nevertheless, Luther and Calvin agreed with us that their views ought to be held up to the light of Scripture. Since their views of this particular text do not seem to be sustainable exegetically, we are justified in departing from their position on this issue."

Read Turretin Fan's entire post here.

So there you have it. This system of Sola Scriptura is up to the individual to decide what is worthy of belief, and what is not. If Martin Luther and John Calvin deem a passage of Scripture to condemn an act as sinful, then it is sinful because Scripture says so. If someone like Turretin Fan doesn't feel that the passage is clear enough for him, then he just dismisses it. A very convenient system indeed. This passage was clear enough for Turretin Fan's forefathers, but not for him. So now morality changes because his interpretation of Scripture has changed. We have a problem here, no?



What is the criterion a Protestant should use when considering extra-Biblical sources? They should be measured by the Scriptures, correct? Then why not go straight to the source? Why waste your time on extra-Biblical references at all? Is it done so that one may feel good about one's own private interpretation? After-all, a Protestant must feel good about aligning his or herself with some famous Protestant, no? Otherwise why would one even consider calling themselves a Calvinist, a Lutheran, or even a Turretin Fan? The fact is, no Protestant truly practices Sola Scriptura. They all appeal to extra-Biblical sources and traditions in order to justify their beliefs. They usually hold the opinions of their forefathers higher than the Scriptures themselves when it is convenient for them to do so. When it is not, then you can just change interpretations. Even the original Protestant Reformers did it. Calvin, being a legend in his own mind, frequently sifted through Church Fathers in an attempt to find writings that agreed with his Biblical interpretations. Those that did not fit his interpretations he dismissed as being wrong. We can see that this sole rule of faith called "Scripture alone", is shaping up to be, "my personal interpretation alone".



Sola Scriptura is an ideal that has been touted now for about 500 years, but it has never truly existed in practice. Protestants follow their own forms of tradition, while rejecting the true Tradition of the Church, which has been revealed by God. The Protestant will go out and buy books by the truckload so that they can better understand and interpret the Bible. Yet, I thought the Bible was the only rule one needs? Isn't the Bible clear enough to understand without Billy Graham's, Charles Stanley's, John Hagee's, R.C. Sproul's, Martin Luther's, John Calvin's and Paula White's personal opinions about them? John Calvin selectively quoted the Church Fathers, using his own personal opinions about Scripture to defend his beliefs. He also tried to use them to attack the Catholic Church. Yet, if someone brought a Church Father to his attention who contrasted his beliefs, and his personal Biblical interpretations, then he simply dismissed that interpretation and appealed to Scripture Alone. This is a clever shell game no? Isn't this a convenient system for one to follow? You can appeal to extra-Biblical sources to back up your opinions and interpretations of Scripture, but when someone else uses the same sources that disagree with you, you just appeal to Scripture Alone.

Protestants even do this when they debate their beliefs. What is amazing is that I have witnessed many Protestants try and defend Sola Scriptura in written and oral debates, and more than 90% of their source material is extra-Biblical. Once they realize that Scripture Alone doesn't support their argument convincingly, then they give up on the Bible alone, and they move on to extra-Biblical sources. I would like to see these Protestant apologists practice what they preach for a change, instead of appealing to non-Biblical material to support their beliefs and practices. The fact is, the Protestant does not live by Scripture alone. The Protestant lives in a delusional world where his own interpretation of Scripture is his rule of faith.It is not what God intends His Scripture to mean. God clearly gave us Genesis 38 to teach us a moral lesson, otherwise God would not have given it to us in Holy Writ. But for the Protestant today, that passage is non-essential. In order for the Protestant to feel secure in his Biblical interpretation, he finds others who agree with his. Their sole rule of faith is, "my interpretation alone, and those who agree with me."




Updated 10-1-09



Just to put this all in perspective, I wanted to make a list of some of the Protestant Bible commentaries. All of these guys were called by God to go and interpret the Bible, according to those Protestants who agree with their interpretations. Yet why do many of them disagree with one another on what the Bible actually means? I'll give you a clue, none of them were called by God to interpret His Holy Writ, that is why. All of these listed below are readily available either on the net or in bookstores. If you really want to see how the core issues stack up among these guys, I encourage you to have a browse through their commentaries. They can't even agree on what the core issues are, let alone agree on what they actually mean. There are many, many more, but these are some of the most popular ones in use by Protestants today.

John Calvin's Commentaries- Calvinist

Adam Clark's commentaries- Methodist

John Darby's synopsis- Plymouth Bretheren-Dispensationalism

Matthew Henry's complete commentary- English Non-conformist

Charles Wesley's Explanatory Notes- Anglican

Cyrus Scofield's Reference Notes- Dispensationalist

Charles Spurgeon Commentaries- British Particular Baptist

John MacArthur Study Bible- United States Evangelical

William Barclay Commentaries- Church of Scotland

John Gill Commentaries- English Baptist


18 comments:

Howard Fisher said...

Matthew, your post is an interesting claim. You write, "It is certainly a convenient system to take something in the Bible that was considered to be grossly sinful, and now turn it into a non-essential."

I am curious as to why you use one standard to judge Sola Scriptura, and another standard to apply to your own system.

1) For hundreds of years RCs believed in Partim Partim. Now many believe in Material Sufficiency. These are completely different positions and RC apologists can be found using both depending which one is convenient, even in the same conversation.

2) What does any of this have to do with Sola Scriptura? It is an awfully long post that may show inconsistency in an application of a position, but it is no more inconsistent than your own application of your position. Yet simply because men disagree over an interpretation doesn't deny God's Word anymore than 2 RCs disagreeing with contradictory positions within Rome's teachings. In fact, I would argue that it is easier for RCs to come to radically different conclusions because Rome's resources for what she believes is so vast that it adds more confusion than clarification.

In the end, I have to think you do not really know what the doctrine of Sola Scriptura really is. Why not take the time to go to the Protestant Confessions and really learn it.

God Bless

Howard

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks for the comments Howard. I understand the doctrine of Sola Scriptura fairly well. Remember, not even this doctrine is consistent among Protestants. Where is my faulty understanding of this doctrine demonstrated in this post? I pointed out that there is an appeal by Protestants of the need for teachers in the Church to teach Scripture. Let me know where you feel I have misrepresented your doctrine and I will be glad to correct myself or justify my position.

As far as the difference between God's Church and the doctrines that are given through her, by the authority given to her by God, and the Protestant system of personally interpreting God's Scripture alone outside the Church as they they see fit; there really is no comparison.

Howard Fisher said...

"I pointed out that there is an appeal by Protestants of the need for teachers in the Church to teach Scripture."

"the Protestant system of personally interpreting God's Scripture alone outside the Church as they they see fit"

The fact that you can make these two comments as if that is part of what Sola Scriptura is proves you don't know the definition. Again, go to the Confessions of the Reformation. Read William Whittacker's work among others. Historically speaking, neither of the comments above is true.

Sola Scriptura has never denied the gift of teachers by God to the church and it has never taught that we may interpret the Bible "outside" the church. These are strawmen that Protestants have constantly answered. Whittacker answered them in 1588 and Reformed men have answered them today.

I am not certain why RCs have a difficulty in understanding the doctrine. Perhaps because it is so poorly taught in many churches today that call themselves Evangelical may be a contribution to the constant misunderstandings of it. Nevertheless, if it was misunderstood by RCs 500 years ago, there are probably other reasons.

God Bless

Howard

Matthew Bellisario said...

Howard, I think part of the problem may be that your definition of Church, is not the correct definition of Church. That would really impact how one defines the rest of the doctrine. If you learn the proper definition, then you will understand what I am writing.

Howard Fisher said...

Sir, I appreciate your reply as to our differing views of church. I whole-heartedly agree that is a major problem, but that doesn't change the definition of Sola Scriptura and how it was defined centuries ago to the present.

I see no willingness by any RC apologist to apply the same standards to Rome's position as you apply to Scripture Alone. You simply dismissed my assertion as far as I can tell, and it has been that way in every debate I have listened to on the subject.

So allow me to give an oversimplified definition. Scripture alone simply means that the Scripture is the only God-breathed, infallible source of written revelation that we possess today.

None of this denies God's gifts of teachers or the role of the Spirit of God, the role of the church, ect.

Here is a the first sentence of chapter 1 of the LBCF,

"1._____ The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation."

So basically the problem is not Scripture Alone as God speaking to His people (to use an example, Moses coming down of the mountain and speaking in behalf of God or the Apostles writing a letter to Corinth). The problem that you really have is who gets to interpret Scripture.

In your view, there must be another infallible source to tell us infallibly what Scripture means. This, however, does not solve the problem. If you applied the same critique you have of Scripture Alone to your own position, then you would see this.

Basically, the Reformed Protestant believes that God is able to clearly speak about that which He desires for His people. Like anything, when someone speaks the listener must listen carefully. So we must listen carefully to when God speaks from His Word.

To deny this is not only to deny God's ability to speak clearly, but that He has actually spoken.

God Bless

Howard

Matthew Bellisario said...

Howard, you are making some erroneous assumptions here based on your own understanding of Scripture, the Church, God's Word, and how God chooses to communicate His infallible Word to His people.

For one, Scripture itself never proposes that it is the only infallible Word of God. In order to prove that, God would have to tell us that. That presupposes another authority higher than Scripture to tell us that that is the case. God did not tell us in any way, shape or form that your conclusion is true.

Secondly you made a conclusion that is not exclusive to Sola Scriptura. You said that if I denied your premise of Sola Scriptura, that I denied that God is able to communicate His Word clearly to His people. You said, and I quote,
"Basically, the Reformed Protestant believes that God is able to clearly speak about that which He desires for His people. Like anything, when someone speaks the listener must listen carefully. So we must listen carefully to when God speaks from His Word.

To deny this is not only to deny God's ability to speak clearly, but that He has actually spoken."

This conclusion is correct, but it does not conflict with the Catholic position. First of all, the Catholic never denies that God is not able to communicate His Word clearly to His people. Of course once again, we have a different definition of what the "Word" is as well. Protestants seeem to think that the "Word" is exclusive to Scripture, this is certainly not the case. The Word is God's Divine Revelation in Jesus Christ, some of which is written down in Holy Writ. Jesus taught Himself, not a written rule of faith. He is divinely communicated as the Word in Holy Writ and Oral Kerygma, united by the apostolic Church, which is infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit. Hence the Nicean definition of the Church.

The problem we have is that your definition of Church is not the same as the Catholic definition of Church. This has a great impact on defining Sola Scriptura, say what you will. If you are going to assent to a Church then you must define it properly. Your definition is not the accepted ecumenical Christian definition, as it was defined by the universal Church in her councils.

Finally, the interpretation of God's written word is not subservient to each individual, not is it subservient to the Church. The Church serves the Word of God and is faithfully united to the Word. Once you have a proper ecclesial undeerstanding, then your definition of Sola Scriptura falls apart. The Church never usurps the Word of God, she only serves that Word by the infallible guidence of the Holy Spirit.

You gave me a simlple definition of Sola Scriptura. When and where has that defintion been given to us by God? Did you see God hand out the Scriptures? Did you see God tell everyone that His Scripture alone was to be the sole rule of faith, or are you just assuming it?

I would ask that you define your definition of Church. I would ask that you prove that Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith, and not just asmmume and expect everyone to assume it as well. Either Jesus told us and expected us to go by the Scriptures alone, even hundreds of years before the NT written canon was ever formed, or He expected us to follow another authority that was estblished by Him directly while He was on this earth. Hence the apostolic defintion of Church. There is also no evidence that Jesus established a temporary authority only to be ursrped at a leter time when the NT canon was finished. You have a lot of explaining to do before you can assume your premise of Sola Scriptura that you posted for us all to read here. Thanks for your responses.

Howard Fisher said...

"First of all, the Catholic never denies that God is not able to communicate His Word clearly to His people."

So are you saying that Romans 8 is clear in and of itself? Or that we need the infallible magesterium and Traditions and ect to tell us what it means? If the first, has Rome ever provided an exegesis of this text? If the second, then it can't be sufficient to tell us in its parts along with the whole what it means.

"Hence the Nicean definition of the Church."

Are you saying that Nicea's definitions of anything, including the definition of the church, is the Word of God? In other words, it is God-breathed Scripture, just in council form?

"You gave me a simlple definition of Sola Scriptura. When and where has that defintion been given to us by God?"

Sir, remember that my original point is that you are not defining the doctrine of Scripture Alone properly. You may argue against it, but not redefine it. I pointed out a couple of errors as you asked for.

"I would ask that you prove that Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith"

I think I'll pass since this forum is not the place and public debates are accessible on the subject.

God Bless

Howard

Alex said...

["I would ask that you prove that Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith"

I think I'll pass since this forum is not the place and public debates are accessible on the subject.

God Bless

Howard]


?

Matthew Bellisario said...

The Catholic Church taught Romans 8 before Romans 8 was ever in written form. Do agree with this or disagree? If you agree then you realize the Church has no need to officially define Romans 8, because God revealed the teaching of Romans 8 in His Oral Kerygma in the Church before it was ever written. The written is another form of Divine Revelation, which came after the oral. Once again this shows how your understanding of Scripture and the Church is not coherent. You pit one against the other as if they are somehow in competition with one another. Read my latest post, maybe that will clarify some things for you.

Howard Fisher said...

"You gave me a simlple definition of Sola Scriptura. When and where has that defintion been given to us by God? Did you see God hand out the Scriptures?"

This again is a part of my original point. You defined Scripture Alone incorrectly. And I also pointed out that you are not applying the same critique against your own position. I guess Alex wants me to move on and defend this position from Scripture, but I am just going to stay with the original point.

You ask if I saw God hand out the Scriptures. No, I did not. Neither did I see (From your perspective) God hand out the Roman Catholic church whatever position you claim.

This again shows that you do not understand the definition of Sola Scriptura. This doctrine does not deny the role of the church's witness to the Scriptures. As the Protestant Confessions agree,

5._____We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

So from the Reformed Protestant point of view, the Scriptures are defined by the church in the sense that the church receives from God what God has given to her. One speaks, the other listens and receives. there is no "pitting" going on.

Now I know that you are going to respond by something like, "How do you know which books belong in the canon?" or something to that effect. I would submit the same way a 20 year old man came to know the books of Moses are Scripture 30 years after Moses write them.

Basically we have a different epistemology. Yet you are applying a standard of critique to a straw man that you will not apply to your own position.

God Bless

Howard

Matthew Bellisario said...

#1, Once again Howard, your definition of Church is not the correct definition, so no, I am not misunderstanding or misrepresenting Sola Scriptura. I never said that you denied what you conceive to be the church or her witness to the Scriptures, I said that the way you defined "Church" is not correct. You still are not grasping this fact. You have an idea of what you think the church is now, and was at the time the NT Scriptures were written, but you don't have a living connection to that Church, despite the fact that you have concocted your own definition of what the church is to you. The simple fact is, the church that you have invented is not the same Church that gives witness to the Scriptures.

#2, You never responded to my question. Did the Church not teach the doctrine of Romans 8 before there was a Romans 8, yes or no?

Howard Fisher said...

"Once again Howard, your definition of Church is not the correct definition, so no, I am not misunderstanding or misrepresenting Sola Scriptura."

Sir, you are forcing upon the definition of Scripture Alone that rejects what Protestants teach and forces what your definition is upon it. You admit as much in the quote above. In other words, you want me to accept your definitions in order for me to define my position. That seems a little odd.


#2, You never responded to my question. Did the Church not teach the doctrine of Romans 8 before there was a Romans 8, yes or no?

Sir, I did, and You missed it. Read my comments on Moses. I also asked several questions related to the definition. Are you actually saying that the decisions of Nicea are basically Scripture in a different form?

Perhaps an illustration, however poor, may be of help in explaining the Protestant position. Picture the people of God gathered together at Mt. Sinai. God speaks to the people through Moses. The people hear the Word of God and receive it. In time Moses dies and that spoken word is written down.

The Protestant position is that the written word (which was originally oral) is infallible. the reason is simple. It comes from God.

The people of God are not infallible. Yet God uses them to proclaim this infallible Word to others around them.

It seems to me that your position can't allow such a definition to take place. You see the church as speaking with an infallible authority simply because God gave her the authority to speak and proclaim the Gospel.

If we allow the Reformed Protestant position to define itself without forcing your presuppositions upon it, perhaps then more light may be shed on the subject.

Anyway, I think I have said too much already. I'll leave you with some resources for you to read that you may understand the position better.

William Whittacker's Holy Disputations of Scripture. William Goode's, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice. Also David King's Holy Scripture.

God Bless

Howard

Alex said...

"Are you actually saying that the decisions of Nicea are basically Scripture in a different form?"

Howard, allow me to give some definitions which would serve well as a starting point in the discussion:

Deposit of Faith: The heritage of faith contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, handed on in the Church from the time of the Apostles, from which the Magisterim draws all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed.

Tradition: The living transmission of the Gospel in the Church. The oral preaching of the Apostles, and the written message of salvation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Bible), are conserved and handed on as the deposit of faith through the apostolic succession in the Church. Both the living Tradition and the written Scriptures have their common source in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. The theological, liturgical, disciplinary, and devotional traditions of the local churches both contain and can be distinguished from this apostolic Tradition.

Magisterim: The living, teaching office of the Church, whose task it is to give an authentic interpretation of the word of God, whether in its written form (Sacred Scripture), or in the form of Tradition. The Magisterium ensures the Church's fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles in matters of faith and morals.

Definition/Dogmatic: A solemn declaration by an ecumenical council or by the Pope that a doctrine is revealed by God and must be believed by the universal Church; such definitions are called infallible, and must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.

Doctrine/Dogma: The revealed teachings of Christ which are proclaimed by the fullest extent of the exercise of the authority of the Church's Magisterium. The faithful are obliged to believe the truths or dogmas contained in divine Revelation and defined by the Magisterium.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Here are a few problems with your arguments Howard.

#1. Your Moses example is worthless as far as your argument for Sola Scriptura goes. Judaism did not believe in Scripture Alone. You have many unproven assumptions in your Sinai example. That puts that bad example to rest. I would recommend that you read some scholarly material on ancient Judaism before you try and pass that one off as an argument in your favor.

#2. When did the Church decide that all of God's Word changed over from oral, to written? When and where did God give that Divine Revelation? If God did do so, when did this extraordinary historic event take place in church history? I think something as important as this event would have been written about, no?

The fact is you would have to prove that God intended to replace His oral Kerygma with only a written, and you would have to prove that everyone in the Church understood this to be the case. The problem for you is, the Church never spoke of switching from Oral Divine Revelation to only a written form of Divine Revelation. This whole premise is impractical based on a number of reasons, which I won't go into here. I will say that anyone who buys into this crazy premise is not thinking very clearly. It is quite clear that the Church had no major shift in thinking after the New Testament was written and finally canonized. The Church continued on the in a similar way way with one exception. She now had some of the Oral Word written down giving her a written testimony of Divine Revelation. There are a number of reasons for this, one is liturgical. But you won't get that either, because you don't know what liturgy is supposed to be. You have your own definition of that as well. That is another problem for another day. The fact is, the New Testament never replaced Oral Kerygma, it accompanies it.

For a third time I tell you again, your definition of what the Church is, is not correct. As far as the Reformed position defining itself, that is the problem! Bingo, you hit the head on the nail. God doesn't let things like the Church define themselves. God is the author and arbiter over the Church. He established it the way He wanted to, not the way the "Reformed" position thinks it ought to be. If the Church is not apostolic, then it isn't real.

Howard Fisher said...

"You have many unproven assumptions in your Sinai example."

But it is an example of what Protestants believe. You may disagree with it. That's fine. But that's the issue I raised. I was not intending to defend the position necessarily, just allow the position to be defined properly.

"As far as the Reformed position defining itself, that is the problem"

You are getting carried away. I was simply trying to say, however poorly, that we must let the Reformed Protestant position define its position. Obviously we all think, "God is the author and arbiter over the Church."

If I misrepresented your position, would you not argue we must let Rome's position be defined by Rome and not someone else?

I know you keep asking these other questions but I am not interested in debating as I was just trying to explain that you have misunderstood the Reformed Protestant position and hoped to clarify some things.

You did ask, "I think something as important as this event would have been written about, no?"

I have to ask "why?" in light of my own Moses example. Remember, the trick is to understand the Protestant position before getting into forcing your epistemology upon my position.

If a Prophet speaks a Word from God to God's people, and then writes that teaching down, what is so hard about God's people recognizing that the same Voice and Word that was orally spoken has been preserved in writing?

If Jesus decides to appoint Apostles that legally represent Him, and they write their proclamation down, and then the legal representatives all die, and then we are left with their teachings in written form, again, from the Protestant viewpoint, how is that so difficult to see? (I realize you want to take either the partim/partim view or the material sufficiency view but remember I am defining the Protestant position).

As for Alex's definition of Tradition,

"The living transmission of the Gospel in the Church. The oral preaching of the Apostles, and the written message of salvation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Bible), are conserved and handed on as the deposit of faith through the apostolic succession in the Church."

I am curious. Is there an infallible list of the traditions? For instance, what is a teaching of the Apostles that has come down to us orally that Rome has defined dogmatically is to be believed?

God Bless

Howard

Matthew Bellisario said...

Howard, why does the Church need to give you a defined list of infallible rules and laws? Christ speaks through His apostles, through His one and only Church. When he speaks, we listen. This whole Protestant mentality of systematic theology is a modern Western phenomenon. I will elaborate more later. For now I need sleep.

Howard Fisher said...

"Howard, why does the Church need to give you a defined list of infallible rules and laws?"

Perhaps I need to expand my question that Alex helped raise as well as your question alluding to "How do I know what is and is not Scripture?"

Since quite often RCs use the argument that Protestants can not know what is scripture without the infallible church of Rome, and since it seems to be asserted that the Apostles have left us with oral traditions not found in Scripture, I was wanting to know what specifically the Apostles taught that we can point to dogmatically as having come from Peter or someone else.

It just sounds a little subjective when it is asserted that, "Christ speaks through His apostles, through His one and only Church."

Why do we believe this to be Rome? Why do we believe whatever Rome says is from the Apostles? Because Rome says so?

I know you'll begin to make historical arguments, ect. But as I have asked others, why is a RC allowed to do that and not a Protestant?

Also for the Protestant, we could just as easily say the above statement. We do not see the need for an infallible church. When the church proclaims the Good News of Christ, that proclamation comes from God's Word which the church has received.

"When he speaks, we listen."

From my perspective, because of your position and definition of the source of God's Word, Rome seems to be having a monologue with herself. If we do not distinguish God's Word in the Scriptures and its authority from the church's authority to proclaim this Word, then she can never truly receive correction.

Hence Rome inability to go back and un-anathematize herself from Trent's statements against the Good News of Christ.

When Protestants make errors, as one you alluded to earlier about sexual practices, we may be corrected by the Scriptures as some have begun to do (if you have read Albert Mohler's writings on the subject you raised you might be aware of this?).

Anyway, I see that I have done the same thing I have tried to stay away from. I have drifted away from my original point of clarifying the definition of Scripture Alone into a discussion on other issues.

My apologies. I'll just shut up and go back to the corner.

God Bless

Howard

Jae said...

"Again, go to the Confessions of the Reformation. Read William Whittacker's work among others."

Why do we need to go and verify our beliefs and definitions from fallible man made tradition such as this "confessions"? This goes against the principle of sole rule of authority which is the Bible Only, why need this or testing that, when we could go directly to the bible, right?
DoeS it make sense? or are we going to justify again to non-biblical sources?