> ACTS - Sola Scriptura Refuted at the Sources -
> An Article by Scott Windsor
> So many times the Catholic apologist, defending the
> Church's position of authority is confronted by the
> Protestant argument of sola scriptura (Latin for
> "Scripture alone" or "Scripture only"). Whereas it
> is the position of the "apologist" to "defend," at
> times a "good offense is necessary for a good
> defense." This is one of those times. Catholics must
> be able to show the invalidity of sola scriptura.
> Two of the chief complaints of the Protestant
> apologists is that the Catholic neither understands
> the teaching of sola scriptura, nor does he properly
> represent the teaching. It is my goal through this
> article to use primary sources of the Protestant
> teaching(s) and then refute these teachings - or
> allow them to refute themselves (which they often do).
> BJ: The claim is laudable, but the way it is carried
> out is not.
sw: To make this claim here and now and not support
it here and now is a bit polemical. Mr. Jaffray, when
you have a complaint, back it up when you make it or
if you plan to back it up later, hold the complaint
> Primary sources cited by Protestants and used in
> this article are:
> The Lutheran Book of Concord
> The Belgic Confession (Reformed)
> Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church
> Westminster Confession of Faith
> From the "Epitome of the Formula of Concord"
> Comprehensive Summary, Rule and Norm
> According to which all dogmas should be judged,
> and the erroneous teachings [controversies]that have
> occurred should be decided and explained in a Christian way.
> 1. We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and
> standard according to which all dogmas together with [all]
> teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic
> and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament
> alone, as it is written Ps. 119, 105: Thy Word is a lamp
> unto my feet and a light unto my path. And St. Paul: Though
> an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let
> him be accursed, Gal. 1, 8.
> BJ: First, this is _not_ what _sola scriptura_
> is, but it _is_ a position of the Evangelical
> (Lutheran) Church when understood in the proper
> way that it was intended. The words of men are
> to be judged and understood by Holy Scripture
> rather than Holy Scripture be judged
> and understood by men no matter how gifted and
sw: The point is that this _IS_ a position of an
"Evangelical" community - specifically Lutherans. It
is THEIR definition. It may not be what YOU claim
sola scriptura _is_, but it _is_ what _they_ define
it as. This is part of my overall point, there is
no _single_ definition of sola scriptura; it is a
moving target - depending upon which sect of
Protestant we're talking to.
> sw: First off we must "enlighten" the reader
> that Psalms 119:105 (118:105 in Catholic
> editions) only mentions "Thy Word" and does
> not stipulate whether that "Word" is written
> or spoken. Likewise, Galations 1:8 refers
> to the gospel that is "preached" - not to a
> written gospel! It would be an anachronism
> to insist upon this to be a "written gospel,"
> for at the time St. Paul wrote to the
> Galations most, if not all the Gospels had
> not been written yet! If we look objectively
> at St. Paul's words here, he clearly refers
> to the oral tradition of preaching the gospel.
> Neither of these verses can be used to support
> "sola scriptura" - for neither of them refer
> to the written Word of God.
> BJ: Windsor's words are gratuitious. The
> statement refers to prophetic words, which are
> reported in Holy Scripture. The Apostle Paul
> reports in what he wrote what he wanted the
> people to understand about what he preached. It
> is not at all hidden.
sw: No one said anything about God's Word being
"hidden." My point remains, Psalms 119 (or 118)
does not stipulate "written" word. Galations
specifically says "preached" not "written." So
I repeat, my point stands - and is not made
"gratuitiously." Jaffray's comment about something
being "hidden" is a complete red herring.
sw: I might also add, Jaffray has pretty much
dismissed the "Epitome of the Formula of Concord"
already as "this is _not_ what _sola scriptura_
is," so for him to continue as if defending the
Lutheran position seems a bit disingenuous. If
it is a good position, don't deny it but defend
it! To deny it in one breath and defend it in
the next seems to be the epitome of the formula
> sw: So, bearing in mind that we cannot
> use the out-of-context scripture
> references here - we must question the
> confession that demands we "believe,
> teach, and confess that the sole rule
> and standard...are the prophetic and
> apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New
> Testament." That "standard" is not taught
> in Scripture, so if that standard is not
> taught in Scripture, then logically a
> teaching that demands "all dogmas with
> [all] teachers" are to be held to what is
> contained in the Scriptures, must be
> BJ: This reasoning is illogical and invalid. What
> is stated is a necessary conclusion required by
> what is found by the Scripture texts cited. Windsor
> has nothing to say that refutes the statement made
> in the Epitome, but only invents a totally
> unnecessary requirement that the Epitome for some
> reason has to derive all of its statements directly
> from Scripture. That is _not_ what is claimed by
> the statement at all.
sw: What Jaffray seems to have overlooked here is the
fact that the Epitome states that the SOLE RULE AND
STANDARD is the Scriptures, period. I encourage both
he and the reader here to read it again. If it is to
be the SOLE RULE AND STANDARD - then any RULE must be
found within Scripture. That IS the logical conclusion,
whether Jaffray agrees to it or not. When a group,
like the Lutherans in this case, makes a statement
of a SOLE RULE AND STANDARD, then it is only LOGICAL
that we HOLD THEM TO THAT STANDARD! If the RULE of
sola scriptura cannot be found IN SCRIPTURE then by
their own STANDARD, such a RULE must be rejected.
> sw: The sola scriptura of the Book of Concord
> is self-refuting.
> BJ: Windsor has not given or identified what
> _sola scriptura_ of the Evangelical Church is. So
> it is nonsense to say that what is undefined is
> "self-refuting." But that is what is going to go on
> continually in this essay.
sw: The mistake Jaffray continues to make is one of
equivocation (a common fallacy). My first statement
(above) is regarding solely the Lutheran position of
sola scriptura as recorded in the Epitome of the
Formula of Concord. It is NOT a refutation of the
undefined "Evangelical Church" - which Jaffray has
inserted and equivocated here. It sounds to me
that Jaffray actually AGREES with me, that the
statement from the Epitome of the Formula of Concord
is NOT a logical or valid statement of sola scriptura,
for by its own statement, sola scriptura would have
to be rejected.
sw: I would urge Mr. Jaffray to take a side in this
one - does he support the Epitome of the Formula of
Concord, or does he reject it? He does both in his
> From the Belgic Confession of the Reformed:
> Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God We know
> him by two means: First, by the creation,
> preservation, and government of the universe,
> since that universe is before our eyes like a
> beautiful book in which all creatures, great
> and small, are as letters to make us ponder the
> invisible things of God: his eternal power and
> his divinity, as the apostle Paul says in
> Romans 1:20. All these things are enough to
> convict men and to leave them without excuse.
> Second, he makes himself known to us more openly
> by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need
> in this life, for his glory and for the salvation
> of his own.
> sw: Article 2 here flatly denies "sola" scriptura,
> for it says we know God by TWO MEANS!
> BJ: Again Windsor makes the utterly nonsensical
> and meaningless criticism that the article
> "flatly denies 'sola' scriptura," which has
> never been defined by either him or what he
sw: It doesn't take a linguist to know what the
word "sola" means, but it seems Mr. Jaffray would
like it explained further. "Sola" means "alone"
or "only;" the word "scriptura" can also be quite
easily understood as "Scripture." From a purely
linguistic point of view "sola scriptura" means
"Scripture only." Thus, if the "rule of faith"
is "Scripture only" - then the logic which must
follow is that all "rules of faith" must be
found IN Scripture. If sola scriptura is indeed
a "rule of faith" - then logically we MUST find
the teaching this "rule" IN Scripture. If we
have to go "beyond Scripture" (extra scriptura)
then we have violated "sola."
sw: Now Mr. Jaffray might explain sola scriptura
in a different way - but I submit that any such
explanation from outside of Scripture defeats the
basic tenet of "sola" in sola scriptura. As yet
neither he nor anyone else has been able to give
the teaching of sola scriptura from within the
pages of Scripture.
> BJ: This is so foolish as to be beyond
> comprehension, for no foundation of any kind
> has been laid for the very subject of his
> essay. This writer shows himself to be utterly
> incompetent in his writing by engaging in the
> crudest kind of polemical rhetoric.
sw: I submit that the concept of sola scriptura
is not as difficult as Mr. Jaffray seems to be
portraying it. I also submit that the essay
begins by presenting four views of sola scriptura
from four different mainstream Protestant sources.
The "foundation" he is looking for is contained
within the sources which I quoted and cited. Then
Mr. Jaffray enters into "the crudest kind of
polemical rhetoric" in reducing his argumentation
to ad hominem. He attempts to turn the focus on
me instead of countering with what he believes
to be the definition or foundation of sola
scriptura. The "valid" approach would be for him
to present what he feels _is_ the foundation and
then contrast that with my arguments. He would
also need to present, in this case, the Belgic
Confession's foundation and then demonostrate
that I somehow misrepresented that position.
Jaffray's arguments appear as nothing more than
complaints without substance.
> sw: So much for "sola!" The first method of
> knowing God is through our own senses and
> our minds ponder the invisible things of God.
> The second method is through His holy and
> divine Word.
> BJ: "Sola" used anywhere is supposed to be against
> _sola scriptura_. This is just further nonsense.
sw: It seems to this reader, and I'm sure others, that
Mr. Jaffray appears not to understand that "sola" means
there is "no other source" it is "alone" or the "only"
source. If there is another, then it is no longer "sola."
Article 2 of the Belgic Confession of the Reformed says
quite plainly that there are _TWO_ methods of knowing
God and for salvation - that's not "sola!"
> Article 3: The Written Word of God
> We confess that this Word of God was not sent
> nor delivered by the will of men, but that
> holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy
> Spirit, as Peter says.^1 Afterwards our God--
> because of the special care he has for us and
> our salvation-- commanded his servants, the
> prophets and apostles, to commit this revealed
> Word to writing. He himself wrote with his own
> finger the two tables of the law. Therefore we
> call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.
> ^1 2 Pet. 1:21
> sw: This is all well and good about the
> testimony of what Scripture is - but it doesn't
> tell us what Scripture DOES, and certainly
> doesn't even mention "sola."
> BJ: What silliness! Every article is supposed to
> complete in itself and say something about
> _sola scriptura_!
sw: I would like to remind Mr. Jaffray, I took the
Belgic Confession on recommendation from others as
to be a good source for the teaching of sola scriptura.
I took the time to summarize key points in the Articles
of the Belgic Confession which may be used to bolster
the position of sola scriptura. I am not saying every
Article is supposed to have the complete teaching of
sola scriptura in them. It appears that Mr. Jaffray
_AGREES_ with me that Article 3 says nothing about
> BJ continues: Nothing about _sola scriptura_ has
> been defined or even described, yet because a
> statement is made about Scripture without "sola,"
> it is supposed to mean something! Ridiculous.
sw: It means as much as I indicated... Article 3
does not mention sola scriptura. What is
"ridiculous" is that Mr. Jaffray, while he is
in apparent agreement with me, he is attempting
to use this point for ridicule, and yet he
accuses me of "the crudest kind of polemical
rhetoric." I believe the objective reader here
can see who is being crude and polemical. The
point here is that Article 3 does not mention
sola scriptura - Jaffray agrees, let us move on.
> Article 4: The Canonical Books
> We include in the Holy Scripture the two
> volumes of the Old and New Testaments.
> They are canonical books with which there
> can be no quarrel at all. (Then lists the
> Protestant canon).
> sw: So, where IN Scripture do we find this
> canonical list? We don't. This is an extra
> scriptura teaching.
> BJ: The Belgic Confession states the books that
> are accepted. There is absolutely nothing strange
> about that. It does not give a defense of the
> list. And there is no reason why Scripture has
> to give a list. That is simply an empty argument.
> Of course the canon is extra-scriptural.
sw: So again, Mr. Jaffray agrees with me! The
point of my question is to get the sola scriptura
supporters to question the very nature of the
Canon of Sacred Scripture. If the Canon is not
found IN Scripture, then by what authority does
the Church receive the Canon?
> The Reformed view of _sola scriptura_ is not
> that nothing but what is explicit in Scripture
> or derived directly from it is true.
sw: It is not my contention that those who hold
to sola scriptura maintain that only things found
in Scripture are true.
> Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture
> We believe that this Holy Scripture contains
> the will of God completely and that everything
> one must believe to be saved is sufficiently
> taught in it. For since the entire manner of
> service which God requires of us is described
> in it at great length, no one-- even an
> apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul
> says--^2 ought to teach other than what the Holy
> Scriptures have already taught us. For since it
> is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word
> of God,^3 this plainly demonstrates that the
> teaching is perfect and complete in all respects.
> Therefore we must not consider human writings--
> no matter how holy their authors may have been--
> equal to the divine writings; nor may we put
> custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the
> passage of time or persons, nor councils,
> decrees, or official decisions above the truth
> of God, for truth is above everything else.
> For all human beings are liars by nature and
> more vain than vanity itself. Therefore we
> reject with all our hearts everything that
> does not agree with this infallible rule, as
> we are taught to do by the apostles when
> they say, "Test the spirits to see if they
> are of God,"^4 and also, "If anyone comes to
> you and does not bring this teaching, do not
> receive him into your house."^5
> (Notes: ^2 Gal. 1:8 ^3 Deut. 12:32;
> Rev. 22:18-19 ^4 1 John 4:1 ^5 2 John 10)
> sw: Well, here is the strongest argument in
> this confession used by Protestants who
> adhere to this confession. Let us look at it
> again - it is teaching "sufficiency" - not
> BJ: Windsor admits that it is the "strongest argument"
> in the confession, but does not establish that it is
> a statement of _sola scriptura_, which has still
> incredibly not been defined.
sw: It was precisely my point that it is _NOT_ a
statement of sola scriptura! It _IS_ a statement
of the (material) sufficiency of Scripture.
> BJ continues: _Sola scriptura_ is a statement
> that has _always_ been intended to accompany
> _sola fide_, a statement about the way of
> eternal salvation. And this _is_ found in the
sw: Jaffray asserts it _is_ found in the confession,
but does not substantiate that assertion with a
quote from it. Another empty claim.
> BJ continues: But in the same nonsensical
> polemical fashion Windsor blunders on and on.
sw: Again I direct the reader to note the
polemical fashion in which Mr. Jaffray continues.
We don't need words like "blunders on and on."
> sw: Let us break this one down:
> 1) We believe that this Holy Scripture
> contains the will of God completely
> sw: Where do the Holy Scriptures themselves
> say they contain "the will of God completely?"
> Quite simply, they don't. This is not a
> teaching found IN the Holy Scriptures, so it
> is itself an "extra scriptura" teaching.
> BJ: No, Holy Scrpture does not explicitly say that
> "Scripture" contains "the will of God completely,"
sw: I should take this moment to thank Mr. Jaffray
for conceding Scripture does not contain this teaching.
> BJ continues: though that is a true statement
sw: How do we, in the 21st century, know this is a
true statement if Scripture itself does not teach it
AND if Scripture truly IS the "complete" Will of God,
then WHY would it NOT be taught IN Scripture? These
are valid questions which anyone investigating sola
scriptura should ask themselves. Mr. Jaffray has
already conceded it is NOT taught in Scripture, so
he too must be conceding some other "infallible"
source (for the confession itself calls this an
> BJ continues: and affirmed by the confession.
sw: I agree the confession affirms this, but my
point is that Scripture does not. The Belgic
Confession is not Scripture - so if we need something
like this confession to "complete" Scripture, then
sola scriptura is a farce and a lie.
> BJ continues: But in this essay Windsor _claims_
> that he is answering the objections to
> misrepresentation! He said that at the beginning.
> Yet he perpetuates the very misrepresentations that
> are complained of.
sw: Again we see an assertion from Mr. Jaffray without
the substance of support. What are the misrepresentations?
What is it that he alleges I continue to misrepresent?
We don't know because Jaffray does not provide a
> 2) and that everything one must believe to be
> saved is sufficiently taught in it.
> sw: Catholics do not argue against the
> sufficiency of Scripture - only against
> "Scripture alone."
> BJ: This is false. Catholics _do_ argue against the
> sufficiency of Scripture to teach anything apart
> from Sacred Tradition and the teaching of the
> Church's Magisterium.
sw: Jaffray claims this is false, but doesn't name a
single Catholic who denies the material sufficiency
of Holy Scripture. Perhaps Mr. Jaffray, is
confusing the concepts of material and formal
sufficiency? For example, one can extrapolate from
Scripture the definition of the Blessed Trinity
(material sufficiency), however Scripture alone was
not formally sufficient enough to prevent the Arian
heresy from coming into being. The Arians based
their heretical positions on Scripture too, as do
modern Arians, like Jehovah's Witnesses.
> BJ continues: The old fake saw is that to
> understand Holy Scripture within itself without
> reference the latter is "private interpretation."
> The truth is the exact opposite. Catholics use
> "private interpretation" _all_ the time; they
> interpret texts of the Bible any private way
> they see fit as long as it gives some semblance
> of harmony with what they think, right or wrong,
> is Catholic teaching.
sw: Well, I agree that Catholics use private
interpretation all the time! The difference is
Catholics do so, if they interpret properly, in
the spirit of the whole of Scripture and the
Sacred Traditions of the Church. We must not
read Scripture in a vacuum, ignoring these.
CCC: 113 2. Read the Scripture within "the
living Tradition of the whole Church". According
to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is
written principally in the Church's heart rather
than in documents and records, for the Church
carries in her Tradition the living memorial of
God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives
her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture
(". . . according to the spiritual meaning which
the Spirit grants to the Church" Origen,
Hom. in Lev. 5,5:PG 12,454D).
CCC: 136 God is the author of Sacred Scripture
because he inspired its human authors; he acts in
them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance
that their writings teach without error his saving
truth (cf. DV 11).
sw: Thus we CAN reach "saving truth" through the
Scriptures, but proper interpretation of them is
through the Holy Spirit in accordance with the
Sacred Traditions of the Church founded by Jesus
Christ and guided by the Paraclete.
> 3) For since the entire manner of service
> which God requires of us is described in
> it at great length, no one-- even an
> apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul
> says--^2 ought to teach other than what the Holy
> Scriptures have already taught us.
> (^2 refers to Galations 1:8).
> sw: Galations 1:8 says: "But even if we or
> an angel from heaven should preach a gospel
> to you other than which we have preached to
> you, let him be anathema." Nothing here
> about Scripture! That's about "preaching" or
> the "oral" teaching!
> BJ: That is an invalid argument if there ever was
> one. What is to be rejected is teaching that is
> contrary to what had been preached to them.
> The absolutely incredibly presumptious idea here
> is that Holy Scripture is devoid of the content of
> what was preached to them! That doesn't say
> anything indicating the gospel is not in Scripture.
sw: The point is valid because the passage does not
mention written teaching, only that which was preached.
Certainly much of what was preached to and by the
Apostles was written, but it is not only preposterous
to assume _ALL_ they were taught and teach is recorded
in Scripture, it is also contrary to Scripture!
sw: St. John closes his Gospel with: "And there are
also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if
they should be written every one, I suppose that even
the world itself could not contain the books that
should be written. Amen." (John 21:25 KJV)
sw: This takes us back to the material vs. formal
sufficiency of Scripture. Catholics are allowed to
hold that Scripture is materially sufficient, it does
contain enough truth to save, however Catholics may
not adhere to formal sufficiency - as Scripture alone
can, has and does lead to heresy (as noted earlier,
the Arians, both modern and past, base their heresy
> 4) For since it is forbidden to add to or
> subtract from the Word of God,^3 this plainly
> demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and
> complete in all respects. (^3 refers us to
> Deuteronomy 12:32 and Revelation 22:18-19).
> sw: Well, interestingly enough - there is no
> "Deuteronomy 12:32" - however, it seems 13:1
> is what is referred to here: 13:1 - "Every
> command that I enjoin on you, you shall be
> careful to observe, neither adding to it nor
> subtracting from it." Does this say "written
> command" or does it refer to "every command"
> (whether written or oral)? Whomever includes
> this footnote for support must be "adding to"
> this command, for it is not limited to what
> is inscripturated.
> BJ: My source is the translation given in the 1934
> Psalter Hymnal of the Christian Reformed Church,
> which differs and does not include biblical references.
> Some typo is totally irrelevant to the discussion. It
> again shows the poverty of mentality of Windsor to
> harp on this.
sw: There was no "harping" on this, only a comment
that the verse my source pointed to does not exist,
and then I pointed to the source it actually DID
point to, so that I could deal with what the author
of the footnote wanted to discuss! Mr. Jaffray does
not need to go into ad hominem, again, but has
chosen that invalid route (again). My point had
nothing to do with the non-existent reference, the
point is it says nothing about written commands.
> BJ continues: The commands of God _do_ appear in
> words in the text of the Old Testament books, and
> they are expected to be obeyed, so it is the
> height of ridiculousness to invent the idea that
> Deuteronomy was referring to _oral_ commands.
sw: The point is that we are to adhere to EVERY
command - not just the written ones. I have
invented nothing. It would seem that Jaffray is
taking AWAY from Scripture here in limiting what
is said in Deuteronomy to what is written only.
> Furthermore, it is irrelevant. Whatever was
> commanded written _or_ oral was not to be added
> to or subtracted from.
sw: And that is precisely MY point! I thank Mr.
Jaffray for agreeing with me.
> BJ continues: And if it was only oral to those
> who heard it it does not exist any more!
sw: Oral traditions do not need to be written
down to be passed down.
> sw: Revelation 22:18-19 - "I testify to
> everyone who hears the words of the
> prophecy of this book. If anyone shall
> add to them, God will add unto him the
> plagues that are written in this book.
> And if anyone shall take away from the
> words of this prophecy, God will take
> away his portion from the tree of life,
> and from the holy city, and from the
> things that are written in this book."
> Again, context is important here.
> BJ: It has everything to do with the referent
> and intent.
sw: The warnings St. John wrote apply to THAT
BOOK, which is "The Apocalypse of St. John"
(aka "The Book of Revelation"). To infer or
imply more is to add to what he wrote, and thus
would bring down upon such who add the plagues
also spoken of in THAT BOOK.
> sw continued: The context of these two
> verses is "this book," meaning "The Book
> of Revelation" (or "The Apocalypse of St.
> John the Apostle"). "The Bible," as we
> know it, was NOT assembled into a "book"
> form for quite some time. It would not be
> until the end of the 4th Century that the
> Church would finalize the canon for the
> Christian Church, which would later be
> made a dogmatic definition, after the
> Protestants attempted to remove several
> books from the Christian canon.
> BJ: What is written has meaning.
sw: I do not disagree!
> BJ continues: It refers to the Apocalypse of the
> Apostle John.
sw: Again, I do not disagree!
> BJ continues: By extension what is true of the
> particular revelation _has_ to be true of
> every other writing given by revelation!
sw: And though I might agree, there is nothing
in this passage from Revelation which states it
must be or even should be applied to all of
> BJ berates again: Apparently Windsor is too
> dense to understand this.
sw: Again, ad hominem attacks are not valid in
debate. Statements such as this one only make
Jaffray's arguments look petty and personal and
not dealing with the real meat of the issues.
sw: Let me add here too, the use of this passage
by Protestants is a bit of a red herring anyway.
It is typically used by Protestants against
Catholics because they feel we've "added" 7 books
to the Old Testament Canon, which is far from the
truth. The seven books in question were part of
the Canon long before there was a Catholic Church!
The Catholic Church, under the auspices and
guidance of the Holy Ghost, codified the existing
Alexandrian Canon of the Old Testament at the same
time the New Testament Canon was codified. It is
a bit ironic that Protestants, virtually without
exception, accept the authority of the Catholic
Church to define the New Testament Canon as it
was defined at the end of the 4th century by at
least 3 different councils of the Catholic Church,
yet they deny that exact same authority on the
Old Testament Canon - which was declared by those
exact same councils. It IS related, as it
demonstrates the authority of the Church through
the Holy Ghost, which is a negation of sola
> BJ: The main point of the confession, is that
> "the teaching is perfect and complete in all
sw: And I agree with that summary point! That IS
the main point of the confession - MY point is that
the "main point of the confession" is not scriptural.
Nowhere does Scripture declare it is the expression
of "the complete will of God," and the confession
does make that (unscriptural) claim.
> BJ continues: The Scripture is sufficient to test
> and judge the "persons, or councils, decrees or
> statutes" of the Church, whatever the Church may be.
sw: Again, Catholics can and do support the material
sufficiency of Scripture! What we disagree with is
the formal sufficiency of Scripture alone. Scripture
needs an interpreter - it does not interpret itself.
> sw: Clearly this section from this confession
> is misguided, and the use of out-of-context
> quotes that do not even support what the
> confession is attempting to say destroys the
> credibility of the confession. The rest of
> this section is based on the false premise
> already exposed. The objective reader clearly
> must reject this.
> BJ: False reasoning doesn't refute anything, and
> that is what Windsor engaged in.
sw: Again, an allegation without substance. Mr.
Jaffray does not support his allegation of false
reasoning - he just throws it out there and expects
the reader to take his word for it. Well again, in
a debate forum (which is where Jaffray posted his
response to my article) his personal say on things
is not valid argumentation. If he wishes to make
this a valid claim then he will represent what he
feels is the false reasoning and state why he
believes it is false and then I can answer him.
Otherwise I would just be assuming what he may
consider to be false and go off on a completely
different tangent than he intended. So this, as
with other allegations without substance, will
remain unanswered until there is something valid
to deal with.
> sw: Again, Catholics do NOT deny the
> (material) sufficiency of Scripture, we
> deny the false teaching, invented by men
> of the 16th Century that claim the
> Scriptures are the sole rule of faith
> (sola regula fide).
> BJ: The issue in the 16th Century _was_ the
> insistence of the Roman Catholic Church
> functionaries, and has been ever since, that
> Scripture is insufficient without Sacred
> Tradition as mediated by the Roman Magisterium.
> The Reformation _sola regula fide_ was not over
> Scripture alone being the only source of what
> was to be believed, but that all teaching be
> _tested_ ("regulated") by Scripture and anything
> inconsistent with it be rejected.
sw: Well some DO take sola scriptura so far as to
believe that no truth not explicitly taught in
Scripture has to be believed. Cloning or invitro-
fertilization are moral issues upon which the
Church has made quite firm decisions, yet the
Scriptures are silent on these matters. There
is no consistency with Scripture. A concept
which the Catholic can accept is that no teaching
of the Church can be contrary to Scripture.
sw: I would also add that Scripture tells us the
Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, would be with His
Church to guide it to all truth until He returns
again in glory. Therefore, any "truth" which is
infallibly defined as such by the Church is then
a defined Christian truth which no faithful
Christian can deny. This too is not only not
contrary to Scripture, but quite consistent with
it too. Sola scriptura _should_ be defeated on
that premise alone.
> BJ: This is clearly stated in the Article cited
> itself: "We reject with all our hearts whatsoever
> does not agree with this infallible rule which
> the Apostles have taught us, saying, 'Prove the
> spirits, whether they are of God'," etc.
sw: Catholics are quite confident to have any
Sacred Tradition tested by the standard of
Scripture. If that were all that sola scriptura
was, then there would be no issue between us.
The real issue is Protestants use sola scriptura
as a denial of the authority of the Holy Ghost
working through the Church (hierarchy) as an
infallible authority for the Church (as a whole).
> sw: One more thought, if "...all human
> beings are liars by nature and more vain
> than vanity itself," then why are we to
> trust the teaching in this Belgic
> Confession? Is this not written by such
> men, who are "liars by nature and more
> vain than vanity itself?"
> BJ: No, obviously not. It is a stupid presumption
> to take this to mean that each and everything
> that men say is a lie.
sw: I only repeated the very wording from the
Belgic Confession itself. Call it "stupid" if
you want, but those are their words.
> BJ continues: That is not its meaning at all,
> but what it says, to reject "whatsoever does
> not agree with this infallible rule."
> sw: So much for the Belgic Confession.
> BJ: No, Windsor ignorantly not only does not
> address the issue of what _sola scriptura_ is
> by refusing to deal with the complaints of
> misrepresentation, but rather perpetuates all
> kinds of nonsensical notions, but does not
> deal with _sola scriptura_ is at all.
sw: What Mr. Jaffray seems to be failing to
grasp is that I am not necessarily dealing with
what HE calls sola scriptura in this portion,
but with what the Belgic Confession says about
the topic. It must be noted that Mr. Jaffray
does not come out and spell out exactly what
his definition of sola scriptura is, only that
what I have responded to isn't it. Again, my
response which he is referring to now is to
the Belgic Confession and not necessarily to
what Mr. Jaffray would call sola scriptura.
> Thirty-Nine Articles (Anglican)
> BJ: Still there is no definition of _sola scriptura_.
sw: (sigh) We're still going through the foundations
of sola scriptura from the sources of sola scriptura.
These articles, etc. ARE the definitions I am dealing
with! If these articles, confessions, etc. are not
adequate - then let Mr. Jaffray present what he would
consider to be "the" definition of sola scriptura and
I would happily deal with that as well.
> Article 6: VI. Of the Sufficiency of the
> Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
> Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary
> to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read
> therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be
> required of any man, that it should be believed
> as an article of the Faith, or be thought
> requisite or necessary to salvation. In the
> name of the Holy Scripture we do understand
> those canonical Books of the Old and New
> Testament, of whose authority was never any
> doubt in the Church.
> Let us break this down:
> 1) Holy Scripture contains all things necessary
> to salvation.
> sw: Fair enough. The Catholic Church would not
> deny that through the reading of the Scriptures
> one would find it sufficient enough to bring one
> to belief in Jesus Christ and ultimately to
sw: I need to correct myself here - I should not have
said "would find it sufficient..." but "COULD find it
sufficient..." It is also possible to find Scripture
to be sufficient enough to bring one to their ultimate
damnation - as in the case of the Arian Heresy.
> BJ: No, the Roman Catholic Church _does_ deny that
> Holy Scripture _contains_ all things necessary to
> eternal salvation.
sw: Mr. Jaffray is simply wrong here. I challenge
him to document where the Church has explicitly
denied Holy Scripture contains all things necessary
to eternal salvation. As I have stated numerous
times already - a faithful Catholic can maintain
that Scripture is "materially sufficient" for
salvation. Where Scripture ALONE is lacking is in
"formal sufficiency." One could, as with the Arians,
read Scripture and come to an heretical conclusion.
> BJ continues: Windsor does not _really_
> acknowledge that it is "fair enough."
sw: I reject Mr. Jaffray's allegation that what
I said is not "_really_ acknowledging that it the
statement is fair enough." Mr. Jaffray has not
issued a single bit of documentation wherein the
Catholic Church teaches Scripture is not materially
sufficient. I continue to submit that Scripture
_IS_ materially sufficient _AND_ that this _IS_
supported by Catholic teaching, and I have
documented this from quotes in the Catechism of
the Catholic Church (CCC), made earlier in this
> BJ continues: He deceitfully changes the whole
> thing to say only that in his view Scripture
> finds enough to _lead_ a person "ultimately" to
> eternal salvation!
sw: There was no deceit in what I wrote! I have
presented what the Catholic Church teaches on
this matter. It was not "only in (my) view (that)
Scripture finds enough to lead a person ultimately
to eternal salvation." Again, it is the position
of the Catholic Church that Scripture is materially
> BJ continues: We _know_ what this means! - that
> Catholic apologists are capable of manipulating
> Scripture with their own reasoning and Catholic
> doctrine to make gullible people think that
> salvation and faith is in the Church through a
> mixture of Scripture and Sacred Tradition as
> interpreted to them by the Church's Magisterium.
sw: Fundamentally, Mr. Jaffray, though polemic in
his portrayal, is not "wrong." "Knowing this first,
that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private
interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20 KJV). We _know_ that
Scripture itself teaches that some will interpret
Scripture on their own, to their own destruction:
"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of
these things; in which are some things hard to be
understood, which they that are unlearned and
unstable wrest, as they do also the other
Scriptures, unto their own destruction"
(2 Peter 3:16 KJV). So with this in mind, we can
_know_ that by Scripture Alone (sola scriptura)
some have and will interpret Scripture in the
heretical (damnable) ways I have already alluded
to. What then is the scriptural solution to this?
But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the
Father will send in my name, he will teach you
all things and bring all things to your mind,
whatsoever I shall have said to you.
(John 14:26 DRB)
sw: Note, Jesus Himself does not say He will
send us a Bible, but would send the Holy Ghost
to the Church and lead us to all Truth.
But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send
you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who
proceedeth from the Father, he shall give
testimony of me. (John 15:26 DRB)
sw: Again, Jesus is not promoting sola scriptura,
but that after He leaves, the Holy Ghost would
come to His Church - and there is the Spirit of
But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you
that I go. For if I go not, the Paraclete will
not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to
you. (John 16:7 DRB)
sw: Again, repeating the fact that it is the
Holy Ghost who would come to the Church and it
is through the Holy Ghost in His Church that
we would know the Truth.
> sw continued: The Church does not deny
> that the Scriptures are _A_ good source,
> only that the Scriptures are the _ONLY_
> (or sola) source.
> BJ: And _that_ is the issue here, if Windsor
> would see it!
sw: Could someone remind Mr. Jaffray that it was
_I_ who said that?! I "see it" just fine! I am
professing this truth most earnestly! Scripture
is _NOT_ the sole (sola) source of Truth for the
> BJ continues: _Sola scriptura_ is first of all
> the teaching that the way of eternal salvation,
> "all things necessary to salvation" are found
> in Holy Scripture.
sw: And again I assert as a faithful Catholic,
that Scripture is materially sufficient in "all
things necessary to salvation." I challenge Mr.
Jaffray to demonstrate that such a position is
contrary to Catholic teaching.
> 2) So that whatsoever is not read
> therein, nor may be proved thereby, is
> not to be required of any man, that it
> should be believed as an article of
> Faith, or be though requisite to salvation.
> sw: OK, this brings us to the commonly
> echoed challenge to sola scriptura
> - if the teaching cannot be found in
> Scripture, then one who adheres to
> sola scriptura should reject it, right?
> BJ: No, not at all! That is _not_ what the words
> say or what the words mean. It is quite clear to
> any fair-minded person that what is not read or
> proved is not _required_, not that whatever is
> not read or proved is to be _rejected_. So
> clearly Windsor is not fair-minded but a biased
> and prejudiced polemicist.
sw: I do not reject a Catholic bias, but I do
reject Mr. Jaffray's position that I am not being
"fair-minded" about this. The statement from this
article is that if it is not read therein nor
proved thereby then it cannot be _required_ for
salvation, therefore it is "rejected" as a
requirement - any "fair-minded" person can read
that for themselves and come to the same
conclusion I have. The fact is that in Scripture
the Church is given infallible authority to bind
or loose whatsoever she chooses. If the Church
so binds or so looses on Earth then it is so
bound or loosed in Heaven as well - and since I
believe we all would agree that nothing errant
can be bound (or loosed) in Heaven, then this is
indeed infallible authority given to men _IN_ the
Church (see Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18).
> sw continued: Well, this very teaching is
> NOT found in Scripture! Nowhere do the
> Scriptures teach they are to be the "sole
> rule of faith" (sola regula fide) - so
> based on this premise of the Anglican
> _Thirty-Nine Articles_, sola scriptura is
> BJ: Obvious nonsense.
sw: Again, Mr. Jaffray makes an unsupported and
undocumented assertion - and I reject his assertion
as invalid, as any "fair-minded" reader of this
response would and should do.
> 3) In the name of the Holy Scripture we do
> understand those canonical Books of the
> Old and New Testament, of whose authority
> was never any doubt in the Church.
> sw: Well, again the problem cited in
> #2 - nowhere "within" the Scriptures do we
> find a list telling us what would constitute
> "those canonical Books of the Old and New
> Testament." Since it cannot be read therein
> nor proved thereby - there is no infallible
> way of knowing exactly what constitutes the
> Scriptures. So, the very existence of a
> "Canon of Sacred Scripture" is an "extra
> scriptura" teaching.
> sw: So here we have it - the Anglican
> definition for sola scriptura is definitely
> found to be lacking - and even an invalid
> statement. No one should accept this as an
> article of their faith.
> BJ: The above is full of the same invalid reason
> based on a whole-sale misrepresentation of
> _sola scriptura_.
sw: Again, Mr. Jaffray does not engage the challenge
I have put before him! He cannot show us the Canon
of Sacred Scripture _FROM Scripture_ nor can this
canon be "proved thereby" - thus the canon itself is
"extra scriptura" - and fallible (by the Anglican
standard put forth in the _Thirty-nine Articles_).
> Westminster Confession of Faith
> (BJ: I skip the largely irrelevant interchange between
> "BigScott" and "Jason646.")
sw: Mr. Jaffray, it seems, would like to avoid this
discussion between Jason and myself because Jason was
clearly silenced on the subject. I had challenged him
regarding his challenge to me about the "those former
ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being
now ceased." My challenge to Jason was on the subjects
of cloning and artificial birth control, clearly moral
issues facing Christians in the 21st century, and
Scripture is silent on these matters! Are we to then
assume that God's Will is silent on these matters, _OR_
did God provide for His Church the Paraclete to guide
us in such matters to "all truth?" My challenge to him
stands unanswered to this day.
> VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all
> things necessary for his own glory, man's
> salvation, faith and life, is either expressly
> set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary
> consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto
> which nothing at any time is to be added,
> whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or
> traditions of men. Nevertheless, we
> acknowledge the inward illumination of the
> Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving
> understanding of such things as are revealed in
> the Word: and that there are some
> circumstances concerning the worship of God,
> and government of the church, common to human
> actions and societies, which are to be ordered
> by the light of nature, and Christian prudence,
> according to the general rules of the Word,
> which are always to be observed.
> sw: The Catholic does not contest the material
> sufficiency of Scripture.
> BJ: The way Windsor has treated this before is
> definitely untrue.
sw: Again, I challenge Mr. Jaffray to present where I
have treated the material sufficiency of Scripture any
differently. He makes, yet another, unsubstantiated
assertion - and until such substance materializes, his
assertion is soundly rejected.
> sw continued: The Scriptures contain enough
> information to bring a man to salvation.
> BJ: I explained before how the Catholic view is
> that in itself Scripture _does not_ *contain*
> enough information to bring a person to salvation
> itself, but only lead a person to seek additional
> information in order to be "ultimately" saved, as
> Windsor puts it.
sw: Mr. Jaffray's representation of the Catholic
view here is in error. The Catholic view _IS_
that Sacred Scripture _IS_ materially sufficient.
That is, Scripture does indeed contain enough or
sufficient information that a man _could_ be saved
by reading it. The points Mr. Jaffray avoids are
the many heresies which are part of history and
undeniable as heresies - which base their heretical
beliefs upon Scripture! We would both, I assume,
agree that it is by an improper reading and/or
interpretation of Scripture that these heresies
came to be - but nonetheless, they are based
upon _their_ reading of Scripture.
> sw continues: This section actually
> denies sola scriptura as the sole rule of
> faith in acknowledging "there are some
> circumstances concerning the worship of God,
> and the government of the church, common to
> human actions and societies, which are to
> be ordered by the light of nature, and
> Christian prudence..."
> BJ: The Westminster Confession _does not_ deny
> _sola scriptura_ at all but only Windsor's
> misrepresentation of it.
sw: Again, Mr. Jaffray asserts without substance
that I have misrepresented the Westminster Confession
of Faith (WCF). I have, on the other hand,
documented my position with exact quotes and citations
from the WCF and explained my position(s) on the WCF
statements. Mr. Jaffray simply asserts the WCF
"_does not_ deny _sola scriptura_ at all," but does
not answer my example(s) of where it does. Therefore,
again, Mr. Jaffray has offered nothing valid to
counter my arguments.
> sw continued: So, the WCF has allowed for
> a second regula fide in "the light of nature
> and Christian prudence," and this second
> authority is "always to be observed."
> BJ: Windsor not only misrepresents _sola scriptura_
sw: Again, Mr. Jaffray does not explain HOW I have
allegedly misrepresented sola scriptura, he merely
asserts without substance that I have.
> BJ continues: but also _sola regula fide_, as
> explained before.
sw: Perhaps I missed it, but I do not recall any
earlier explanation of how I have misrepresented
either sola scriptura _OR_ sola regula fide! If
I have, I respectfully request Mr. Jaffray to
demonstrate where this oversight occurred so that
I might read it and respond appropriately. If
something is the "sola regula fide" - that
translates literally to "sole rule of faith" and
that can mean only ONE thing! Sola regula fide
means it is the SOLE rule of faith - there is no
higher rule - and I would submit that if we were
to take it literally, there is no _OTHER_ rule,
period. I am not imputing that ultra-literal
interpretation upon it - but in fairness, Mr.
Jaffray has not offered any _OTHER_ explanation
that I am aware of.
> BJ continues: Then Windsor has the malicious
> temerity to charge contradiction and inconsistency
> through his false straw men represenations.
sw: Again, more unsupported allegations. I have
taken the time and effort to validly document all
that I have responded to and have explained my
responses. There is nothing malicious in what I
have said, I am simply portraying the truth. I
understand that Mr. Jaffray does not agree with
the truth as it has been revealed to me, and
countless other Catholics - but that's the point
of this debate! The point here is to bring out
our differences in a valid and logical manner,
which I have done on my side, but Mr. Jaffray
continues to invalidly post unsubstantiated
assertions - and has reduced (quite often) his
statements to ad hominem attacks upon me, which
are also invalid in debate. I submit that the
objective reader here can see who is being
"malicious" in posting their thoughts and who
is attempting to validly present arguments to
support his position(s).
> VII. All things in Scripture are not
> alike plain in themselves, nor alike
> clear unto all: yet those things
> which are necessary to be known,
> believed, and observed for salvation,
> are so clearly propounded, and opened
> in some place of Scripture or other,
> that not only the learned, but the
> unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary
> means, may attain unto a sufficient
> understanding of them.
> sw: Section VII contradicts 2 Peter 3:16!
> St. Peter clearly states that the
> unlearned and the unstable would find some
> Scriptures hard to understand and to
> interpret them alone (sola scriptura) they
> do so "unto their own destruction."
> BJ: Section VII does _not_ contradict 2Pe 3:16,
> for it does _not_ assert tht _all_ unlearned
> interpret Scripture to their own destruction.
sw: The WCF clearly states "that not only the
learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the
ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient
understanding of them." Contrast that with what
St. Peter said: "as also in all his letters,
speaking in them of these things, in which are
some things hard to understand, which the
untaught and unstable distort, as they do also
the rest of the Scriptures, to their own
destruction" (2 Peter 3:16 NASB). Now, on one
hand the WCF says "the unlearned in due use
of the ordinary means, may attain unto a
sufficient understanding of them" and St. Peter
says the unlearned, as they do with the rest of
Scripture, distort to their own destruction.
Now I believe the objective reader here will side
with me on this! All Mr. Jaffray's objections
considered, the WCF clearly is still in direct
contradiction with 2 Peter 3:16.
> BJ continues: It is those who are unstable
> because not truly converted nor enlightened by
> the Spirit of God through the gospel who go
> down to destruction.
sw: The simple fact here is that Scripture doesn't
tell us WHY the unlearned distort the Scriptures to
their own destruction - only that they _DO_ and
the WCF clearly states the unlearned can, by
ordinary means, attain a sufficient understanding
of the necessary teachings on salvation. If this
were so, then how would _ANY_ heresy evolve? It
appears, to this reader at least, that Mr. Jaffray
is guilty of "adding to this book." Keeping in
mind, it is his standard that St. John's warning
in the Apocalypse (Revelation) applies to every
book of Scripture, not merely St. John's.
> sw continued: Another obvious contradiction
> to this section is evidenced in other groups
> that have interpretted Scripture wrongly and
> have developed their own churches - yet still
> claim to be Christian. Mormons and Jehovah's
> Witnesses both claim to be Christian and base
> their beliefs on their interpretation of the
> Scriptures. If we accept the teaching that
> "not only the learned, but the unlearned, in
> a due use of the ordinary means, may attain
> unto a sufficient understanding of them,"
> then we must accept the Mormons and Jehovah's
> Witnesses interpretations of Scripture to be
> just as valid as the Baptist or Lutheran
> (and many others) interpretation. Why should
> we accept the Baptist view over any other? How
> about the Lutheran view? How about the Anglican
> BJ: The Westminster Confession, like the others,
> enjoins us not to require _any_ teaching of any
> group of men or "Church" to be saved.
sw: Exactly! Yet, if the Holy Ghost has guided the
Church to define a truth - then it would be absolutely
wrong for a faithful Christian to deny such a truth.
In other words, it is de facto a requirement.
> BJ continues: So this is totally and completely
sw: It is not irrelevant to the topic at hand at
all! It is quite relevant that when the Holy
Ghost has guided the Church to declare and define
a spiritual truth that the faithful are then also
required to embrace it. For one to deny or reject
such a teaching would be to reject not only the
authority of the Church, but the authority of the
Holy Ghost - whom _IS_ God.
> BJ continues: As we saw before whatever
> contradicts Scripture is to be rejected.
sw: And I would certainly support this! IF Mr.
Jaffray could show how _ANY_ defined dogma of the
Catholic Church contradicts Scripture (and not
merely his or a Protestant interpretation of
Scripture) then I will renounce the teaching
myself - and if I were to renounce _ANY_ dogma
of the Catholic Church, then I could no longer
consider myself to be a Catholic. The fact
remains, Mr. Jaffray has not presented a single
substantiated argument, much less an argument
demonstrating a Catholic dogma to be in direct
contradiction with Holy Scripture. Therefore
I, and the objective reader here, must reject
any claims or assertions Mr. Jaffray has made
in this response to my article on "Sola Scriptura
Refuted at the Sources."
Respectfully, in JMJ,