Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fatal Flaws of Sola Scriptura

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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/catholicdebateforum/message/67646

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:40 PM, Barry H. wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: Scott Windsor
To: catholicdebateforum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: [CDF] The Fatal Flaws of Sola Scriptura

>sw: All you have done is further confirm this fatal flaw of sola scriptura,
>thank you. I have never, not once, stated that the Word of God was not
>indeed the Word of God - the problem is upon which authority to we accept
>given books of Scripture AS Scripture and the Word of God? God did NOT
>leave His People rudderless! He built a visible Church with structure and
>hierarchy - and outside of THAT Church you are not part of HIS Church but
>one made by men within the last 500 years. It was that One Church which
>determined, through the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Canon of Sacred
>Scripture - and you even accept the decision regarding the New Testament
>(casting off several books declared "canonical" by earlier bishops and
>including others they left out). You really have no leg to stand on here,
>Barry, well you do - it's the leg which is called the Catholic Church!

Nice rehash of what you believe. Of course, God did not leave his church
rudderless -- he gave us his word as the objective referent by which all
doctrine and practice must be measured.

sw: I apologize for taking so long to get back to this one... but Barry, you missed the point entirely. You RELY upon the Church for God's guidance to what even constitutes Scripture. And actually, while Scripture was there - what God left as an AUTHORITY was the Church. The REAL POINT in this discussion is AUTHORITY. Again, I do not challenge that Scripture IS the Word of God - it IS! That is not and has NEVER been the point of this discussion - although you and Jammy have, several times, attempted to make that the topic - but I am not dissuaded. THE authority which God left in place was and IS the Catholic Church! As I said before (and you're never really dealt with) there were MANY "canons" of Sacred Scripture prior to and into the 4th century - and it was THE Catholic Church, in several councils, which narrowed down THE Canon to what we have today... and YOU ACCEPT THIS AUTHORITY when it comes to the New Testament! They threw out several books which were previously declared canonical and included others which were not part of earlier canons - and WITHOUT QUESTION you ACCEPT the Canon of the New Testament which the Catholic Church put forth in the mid to late 4th century! The irony comes in when you REJECT that SAME AUTHORITY when it comes to the Old Testament Canon - and you side with the Jews who, at the time of the Christ and the Apostles, had a least TWO canons (Alexandrian/Greek and Palestinian/Hebrew). It would be some time AFTER the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus that the Jews (who deny Jesus was the Christ) rejected the Alexandrian Canon (which helps PROVE Jesus is the Christ). So you've taken the side of those who REJECTED THE MESSIAH!

sw: Now, if you TRULY believe that all God did was leave us a book - then why did it take over 300 years to compile this book into one volume/canon? While this canon was in flux - what was THE authority for Christians? Keep in mind as well, the ONLY copies of Scripture at the time were HAND-WRITTEN and VERY SCARCE! Every Christian home did not have a "Bible" - in whole or in part - but every Christian community DID have THE CHURCH! They had their bishop and priests and deacons, etc., but the ONLY place they would have SEEN a "Bible" or HEARD it READ - would have been IN CHURCH. And again, for 300 years that "canon" fluctuated and different churches had different canons - until the mid to late 4th century! THE Church stuck to THAT canon and then, over 1000 years later, as Protestants were editing the Canon - THE Church dogmatically, with all the scriptural authority of God, declared St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate canon of the late 4th century to be THE Christian Canon so that faithful Christians could no longer dispute it.

sw: So, the Protestant position would indeed be that God left the Church rudderless. To continue the sailing analogy, He did not leave them without sails (Scripture being the sails), but without a rudder (the Church) there would be little guidance - and thus casting adrift into differing interpretations of Scripture creates schism and heresy... like the Arians, etc. who indeed based their heresy on a false interpretation of Scripture. While a ship may have many sails (books of the Bible) it will only have one rudder.

sw: It is my hope and prayer that one day you will stop resisting this authority which God indeed put in place as the rudder.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Addendum, November 2, 2011:
Last Sunday Barry responded, I have included his response with my current response:

On Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Barry H. wrote:
BH: Let me see if I can respond to your claims serially here:

BH: 1) I did not miss the point -- I simply disagreed with your point.

sw: I disagree that you simply disagreed... THE topic is AUTHORITY. You either missed it or just didn't deal with it. You're beginning to deal with it a bit in this posting, so let us continue...

BH: 2) I do not rely on your Catholic church for guidance on what constitutes
Scripture. I rely upon the Holy Spirit, both in terms of giving the
Scripture, and in terms of recognizing the Scriptures.

sw: Well, whether you admit it or not, you do rely upon the authority of the Catholic Church for it was and IS through THAT authority that you have the Canon of Sacred Scripture, at least for the New Testament, which you use today. God used THE authority which HE put in place!

BH: a) In terms of the giving of the Scriptures, 2 Tim 3:16-17, the
Scriptures are θεόπνευστος, "God-breathed," or given by the Spirit (πνεῦμα,
also "breath"), and as such bear the unique stamp of God's authority. It is
the job of the church to recognize and accept.

sw: 1) I have never denied the nature of Scripture! You keep throwing that red herring out there as if it means something in this debate! That is not and has NEVER been the subject of this debate. 2) Yes, it IS "the job of the Church to recognize and accept" AND to proclaim the Scriptures and what constitutes the Scriptures for His People. Yes, when "God breathed" and did so upon His first bishops - He began the building blocks of His Church - which continues to this day in valid succession from those first bishops.

BH: b) In terms of recognizing the Scriptures, the witness of the Spirit so
that the church, and individual members thereof, can recognize that
authority.

sw: And therein lies the folly of Protestantism and sola scriptura. It is NOT left to "individual members" - it was left to the overseers, our bishops, to be that authority which recognizes the Scriptures for what they ARE.

BH: 3) Speaking of authority, you are right, it has been about proper authority
since the Reformation.

sw: Well, thank you... it IS about proper authority, but it predates the so-called "Reformation" by some 1500 years!

BH: Is the locus of authority the Scriptures, the
God-given canon of the church, or is the church itself? The Reformation
answer is the Scriptures.

sw: And back to the point you continue to avoid... you can't even KNOW what IS Scripture - at least not in whole (some parts are rather obvious) without the authority of the Church. Scripture ALONE is a fallacy. No book, or set of books, interprets itself or is validly self-proclaiming. As we have discussed before, NO WHERE does Scripture claim it is or is to be the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church.

BH: 4) The Reformers did not "throw out several books," but properly recognized
that those several books did not accord with the analogia fidei. They also
had historical precedent in figures no less weighty than Jerome and
Athanasius, and also found internal biblical support for the canon they
accepted.

sw: A lot of assertions here, with absolutely no substance. Would you care to try to document your assertions? Luther, among others, did indeed "throw out" books which were previously accepted in the Christian canon - and REMAIN accepted by those faithful to THE Church which Jesus Christ Himself built. Luther, Calvin, etc. came around and built NEW churches which answered to a different, previously unheard of authority and began preaching a "different gospel" - just as Scripture itself warns us that men one day would do!

BH: 5) That the ancient church properly recognized the NT Scriptures as
Scriptures is truly something to be thankful for, but passive recognition is
not the same thing as authoritative determination. The Scriptures have
objective existence and authority even when people fail to recognize them.
sw: It was far more than passive recognition! The Early Church had several differing canons... if this were a mere passive recognition, how does one explain the variations? The fact is the Church was ACTIVELY exercising authority in establishing the Christian Canon of Sacred Scripture throughout the first 400 years of Christendom and then for then next 1000 years there were NO authorized translations of Scripture which did not include the Deuterocanonicals, then when Protestants were actively attempting to limit the Christian canon the Church ACTIVELY and dogmatically stated THE Canon for faithful Christians REMAINED the same canon used in St. Jerome's Old Latin Vulgate. These are FACTS, Barry which, frankly, I do not see how you can possibly deny!

>sw: Now, if you TRULY believe that all God did was leave us a book - then
>why did it take over 300 years to compile this book into one volume/canon?

BH: Why has it taken 2,000+ years for the Lord to return?

sw: Let's not play the subject changing game, please.

BH: Why does it take a
lifetime (and according to Catholics, a lifetime+), for full sanctification
to take place in the life of a believer?

sw: The process of sanctification is not in question here - rather - we're talking about what YOU claim to be the "sole infallible rule of faith for Christians." That concept is not only NOT what was in practice by the Early Church - it's CONTRARY to Scripture wherein we are told of ANOTHER infallible authority! Of course I speak of Matthew 16:18-19 and 18:18 wherein a specific group of MEN were granted authority to bind or loose WHATSOEVER THEY CHOSE! There's NO LIMIT to what they COULD bind or loose in the terminology of "WHATSOEVER!" And if WHATSOEVER they bound or loosed was also bound or loosed in Heaven - then that binding/loosing HAS to be INFALLIBLE, unless you subscribe to a theology wherein error could be bound/loosed in Heaven! This is SCRIPTURE telling you of ANOTHER INFALLIBLE AUTHORITY!
Again, I'm not going to play the subject changing game with you - the economy of sanctification is NOT the subject of THIS debate. I have no problem discussing that process with you, but not in THIS thread.
BH: The Lord has always chosen to work
through historical processes to accomplish his purposes.

sw: Always? He chose 12 men, one of whom turned out to be "a devil" (His word), and built His Church, just as He promised He would. He didn't wait 1500 years to build that Church! Those twelve were selected and they have valid successors in their office (bishops) TO THIS DAY! If you want to talk about "history" - you lose this debate 6 ways from Saturday!

>sw: While this canon was in flux - what was THE authority for Christians? Keep
>in mind as well, the ONLY copies of Scripture at the time were HAND-WRITTEN
>and VERY SCARCE! Every Christian home did not have a "Bible" - in whole or
>in part - but every Christian community DID have THE CHURCH! They had their
>bishop and priests and deacons, etc., but the ONLY place they would have
>SEEN a "Bible" or HEARD it READ - would have been IN CHURCH. And again, for
>300 years that "canon" fluctuated and different churches had different
>canons - until the mid to late 4th century! THE Church stuck to THAT canon
>and then, over 1000 years later, as Protestants were editing the
Canon - THE Church dogmatically, with all the scriptural authority of God,
declared St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate canon of the late 4th century to be THE
Christian Canon so that faithful Christians could no longer dispute it.

BH: Again, the Lord works through historical processes and circumstances. One
does not have to own a Bible or even be able to read in order to come under
the authority of the Scriptures. The Scriptures nevertheless existed, and
those who read the word and heard the word read and proclaimed were expected
to bow to the authority of the Spirit speaking through the Scriptures just
as the reader today who downloads his various translations and has several
hard copies in his house. In fact, the authority of the word preached is an
important part of the Reformed understanding of how Scripture is to be
applied in the church.

sw: You didn't answer my question! What was THE authority for Christians during the time in which the canon was in flux? Are you saying that at one point in the "historical process" that St. Clement's epistles were just as authoritative as St. Paul's? St. Clement's epistles are part of several of the early canons!

>sw: So, the Protestant position would indeed be that God left the Church
>rudderless. To continue the sailing analogy, He did not leave them without
>sails (Scripture being the sails), but without a rudder (the Church) there
>would be little guidance - and thus casting adrift into differing
>interpretations of Scripture creates schism and heresy... like the Arians,
>etc. who indeed based their heresy on a false interpretation of Scripture.
>While a ship may have many sails (books of the Bible) it will only have one
>rudder.

The ancient Arians, if what we have reported of them is valid, based their
heresy more on philosophical and theological grounds than what anyone today
would consider a proper exegesis of Scripture. Modern Arians, such as the
JW's, have to go to extraordinary lengths to promote their heresy, even to
the point of producing a fallacious version of the Bible twisted solely to
support their several errors.

sw: Upon WHAT authority do you claim the Arians, ancient or modern, are the ones who are off-based? Why is YOUR claim any more valid than theirs? They would claim you (and me too) have "gone to extraordinary lengths to promote your/our heresy!" They claim it is OUR translations which are falsely produced and "twisted" to support our errors (namely the Trinity).

>sw: It is my hope and prayer that one day you will stop resisting this
>authority which God indeed put in place as the rudder.

BH: Pray all you want. Sometimes God's answer is to change the one praying, not
the one prayed for... :)

sw: Thank you, I will continue my prayers for you (and others) who have lost the "rudder" which Jesus Christ Himself put in place for His People.

In the spirit of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, (in JMJ),
Scott<<<


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5 comments:

  1. Question: The binding and loosing authority mentioned in Matthew 18 seems to deal with a disciplinary rather than a doctrinal matter--a dispute between two individual Christians. How does one know that authority applies to doctrine as well?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Joel, thanks for the question. The context just before verse 18 does teach how to deal with a sinner - however - when Jesus gives them the authority the wording does not limit them to just dealing with sinners! Jesus told them that "whatsoever" they should bind on Earth is also bound in Heaven. Such authority is infallible because error could not possibly be bound in Heaven.

    You're welcome and I hope this helps answer your question.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  3. Scott, thanks for your quick reply! Quick follow-up: would you say that the authority mentioned in Matt. 18 is what we see in operation in Acts 15? The decree that was issued seems to touch on both doctrine and discipline.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Joel,
    I'm out of town, and have limited access to computer. I'll get back to you soon. Playing "Papa" (Grandpa) for the weekend.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  5. Scott, no hurry. Very thoughtful of you to keep this little discussion in mind. The 'whatsoever' argument as mentioned above seemed quite cogent, but my bubble has burst. Using a concordance and a Greek-English NT yesterday, I looked up other instances of 'whatsoever'. Those instances show that 'whatsoever' does not necessarily mean 'whatsoever' in an unfailing or absolute sense, but only in a conditional sense. Elsewhere in St Matthew's gospel, the 'whatsoever' in 7:12, 21:22, and most pertinently 23:3, imply a condition, something along the lines of 'whatsoever--as long as it is in accordance with God's Word'. If you look the verses up, I think you'll see what I mean. The Lord bless you with a safe trip.

    ReplyDelete

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