Friday, December 05, 2014
Sola Scriptura James White v. Peter D Williams
I was browsing BeggarsAll and saw an article about James White debating the subject of sola scriptura with Peter D. Williams on Unbelievable, a British webcast/podcast. The debate took place while James was in England in 2013. To be honest, I am a bit surprised that Swan posted it on his blog!
While they were on-topic, Williams handled White quite well. For followers of White, it may have seemed White was "winning," but that would have only been when Williams allowed White to redirect the debate from sola scriptura to the Bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Granted, White was attempting to make the argument of where does that come from in apostolic tradition? However, the debate was not a challenge of Catholic authority, but of sola scriptura! Williams did pretty well answering the distraction - but it was still a distraction which he could have easily dismissed (and tried to) and simply answered White's challenge of where Catholic authority comes from, and it comes from Scripture! Matthew 16:18-19 gives to St. Peter the authority to bind or loose whatsoever he chooses and since Jesus "sent out" (that's what "apostle" means) the Apostles to do what the Father had "sent out" the Son to do (John 20:21) - then they too were ordained to continue the apostolic offices, especially that of St. Peter, who was given the coryphaeus (head) position in taking the place of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15-17). These facts put an end to White's diversion.
While not being diverted - Williams took White to the cleaner! The Fatal Flaw in any sola scriptura argument, which Williams quite eloquently elucidated, is based in the canon argument. Since Scripture nowhere gives us an "inspired table of contents" - White, et al, is dependent upon an extra scriptura authority to give him what he claims is the sole infallible authority for the Christian Church. The irony, as I stated above, is that Scripture itself gives us ANOTHER infallible authority - actually, at least two! 1) St. Peter's office, now held by the Bishop of Rome (from Matthew 16:18-19) and 2) the College of Bishops (given in Matthew 18:18) as the Apostles are our first bishops in the Catholic Church! This second one is exercised through ecumenical councils. White loses this debate, hands down. If one truly believes the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, then they must also yield to the authority God's Word tells us about!
Perhaps you can see why I am a bit surprised that Swan would post links to a debate which White lost - even the Protestant host (Justin Brierley) was challenging White's arguments!
So, I would recommend this debate to anyone interested in seeing sola scriptura soundly defeated. Like I said, the only thing I can see which would have made the debate even more convincing is if Williams had not been distracted into discussing the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for so long during it.