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#17753 Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:46 AM
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"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle."
2Thess 2:15 NKJV

Sola Scriptura has been a hallmark of the Protestant Reformation, the belief that the canon of scripture is the sole rule of faith, and that all doctrines stand or fall by these 66 books we call the Bible. After talking a while with a bible thumping fundamentalist (I say this with greatest affection) one would think that you couldn't be any kind of Christian without your red letter KJV in hand.

But let's put things in perspective. The early Church did not have a canon of scripture. They had most of the Old Testament writings and maybe an epistle or two, and the oral traditions given by the founding apostles. In Galations we read: "But if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." The gospel was given to them orally. The four gospels weren't written until decades after the Resurrection and only by necessity because the church was growing so fast that a written account from the eye witnesses of the life of Christ became necessary.

Yet without tota scriptura the early Church was a vibrant and effective community of believers and growing daily in numbers. The epistles were written only as a followup on the oral teaching of the apostles, to ensure that churchs were clear on their meaning and faithfully following the instructions they were given.

Some here have argued that the Catholic Church has yet to prove it's case for oral tradition, but in fact the Bible makes it very implicit repeatedly. In 2Timothy 2:2 we read: "And the things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." In actuality, the belief of sola scriptura cannot be substantiated using the Bible. The Bible says many things about itself; that it is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edge sword, that it is given by inspiration and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Most of these actually refer to Old Testament writings that comprise most of the quotes of the apostles and all the quotes of Christ.

But never does it say that scripture is sufficient or the entire embodiment of Christian truth. Let me give you an example of how the combination of scripture and oral tradition are superior in effect and in defense of the faith.

Recently pressure was put on the Vatican to downplay its stance on homosexuality, as it has with many Christian faiths. The typical defense of sola scriptura denominations is to turn to Leviticus and Romans and quote what is said on homosexuality. The Roman Catholic Church referred to these scriptures as well, but also included the vast numbers of church fathers throughout 2000 years of Church history who have likewise condemned the practice of homosexuality. Thus when the Vatican responded, it presented a far more stout defense, demonstrating an established continuity of witnesses for two millineums. This is why some Protestant denominations have caved in to pressures, conforming to the image of this world, having only a few scriptures that can be twisted, but lacking strong and certain witness that spans all of Church history.

It is, in fact, true that protestants err in placing ALL authority on Bible. For Christ did not establish a Bible, He established a Church and endowed it with teaching authority, telling His apostles to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." (Matt 28:19,20)

It is because of this teaching authority that the Church was qualified to assemble the canon, deciding which works were authentic Christian writings and which ones were heresies, and by this same authority, the Church has the authority to interpret scripture. For the Church is not under the authority of scripture, but under the authority of Christ(Eph 5:23), and holy scripture serves the Church, not the other way around.

Protestants are also mistaken in thinking that a devotion to scripture only will keep them from error. Even with the Bible as a sole rule of faith, Christians can ignore the clear writings and cling to the contradicting "traditions" of their denomination.

For example, there exists a large following to the pretribulation rapture belief. Nothing in scripture explicitly supports such a belief, but on the flip side in 2 Thess we are specifically told that our gathering to Christ WILL NOT precede the antichrist and the tribulation period. This was written for the explicit purpose of refuting the pretribulation rapture belief that was developing in Thessalonica because of Pauls previous description of the rapture in his first letter.

Further along this line, the Millerites believed that they knew the exact day in 1843 that Christ would return, though Christ repeatedly warns that He will come like a thief in the night and that no one would know the hour or the day. It was heartbreaking for me to read the account of what happened; how strong was their belief, and how crushing their disappointment. This was the flawed beginning of today's Seventh Day Adventist Church. (Now please remind me who is accusing who of following the vain traditions of men! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />)

Such errant beliefs cannot take over the Catholic Church, for our doctrines do not change with the whims of our constituency or the introduction of charasmatic, but misguided teachers. When we disagree, we don't go off and form our own denomination, for we all consider ourselves subject to the teaching authority endowed by Christ to His Church. In fact the beliefs of contemporary evangelicals are way out of sync with that of Martin Luther and the original reformers; it's very frightening, really how quickly the beliefs of protestants change and how denominations are forming at a geometric rate. Such is the fallacy of having an "invisible church" that has absolutely no authority of it's own.

In fact, these deviations are only made possible by misinterpretation of scripture and failure to consult the writings of wise Christian fathers throughout Church history. For there is a certain consensus throughout church history on the correct interpretation of scripture, and we would do well to heed their counsel.

Life is hard. God is good. Heaven is sure.

catholicsoldier <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/takethat.gif" alt="" />

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Such errant beliefs cannot take over the Catholic Church, for our doctrines do not change with the whims of our constituency or the introduction of charasmatic, but misguided teachers. When we disagree, we don't go off and form our own denomination, for we all consider ourselves subject to the teaching authority endowed by Christ to His Church.

Your first sentence says your beliefs do not change, then your second sentence says there are disagreements. Which is it? Rome did exactly that which you claim does not happen. Rome has placed herself as prime when this is missing from much of Church history as well as scripture entirely. The problem is evolving beliefs found outside any proclamation of God.

Man made beliefs;

Purgatory
Marian dogma
Baptismal regeneration
Sola ecclesia
Rome as the sole rule of faith
Papal infallibility
Keeping the Bible out of peoples hands

Need we continue?


God bless,

william


P.S. I don't think charismatics are Christians, so your example is poor and nearly useless.

#17755 Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:11 PM
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William

I think we have a misunderstanding here.

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P.S. I don't think Charasmatics are Christians, so your example is poor and nearly usless.

I used "charasmatic" as a personality description whereas one with alpha male, strong leadership, and irresistable appeal, can marshal a large following regardless of the truthfulness of his preaching. Such individuals as David Koresh and Joseph Smith fit this description. I was not referring to the Charasmatic Movement.

But more disturbing is how quickly you are to deal judgement on your brothers and sisters in Christ. To claim such insight into the salvation of other Christians is an ugly trait of arrogance and fleshly pride.

As far as the list of "man made beliefs" you produced, four of them aren't even teachings of the Catholic church. Do you not see the error in consulting only catholic hating sources for your information? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

I set MJM up as a good example of how to thorougly examine both sides of any issue. He did a stellar job of acquiring a deep familiarity with both Calvinism and Arminianism, consulting multiple sources before coming to a decision. We should all aspire to that level of scholarship.

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But more disturbing is how quickly you are to deal judgement on your brothers and sisters in Christ. To claim such insight into the salvation of other Christians is an ugly trait of arrogance and fleshly pride.

By what authority do you include them? They deny some very important aspects of Biblical theology. What does "Christian" mean? Are muslims Christians?

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As far as the list of "man made beliefs" you produced, four of them aren't even teachings of the Catholic church. Do you not see the error in consulting only catholic hating sources for your information?

List them. Oh.......nice judgment on my intellect.

Quote
I set MJM up as a good example of how to thorougly examine both sides of any issue. He did a stellar job of acquiring a deep familiarity with both Calvinism and Arminianism, consulting multiple sources before coming to a decision. We should all aspire to that level of scholarship.

MJM obviously was in error on some of his statements and this was addressed. We are still awaiting a response from him.

I am probably the closest person on this board to you, theologically. I am an Anglican, howbeit a reformed one. Now, could you address the issues instead of emotionally hyping what you view is others faults?


God bless,

william

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catholicsoldier,

I believe there is Scritural evidence for Sola Scriptura/Toto Scriptura. Here are some articles that explain this essential doctrine well, as well as answer Catholic claims against Sola Scriptura/Toto Scriptura:

What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura? by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey

The Sufficiency of the Written Word by John F. MacArthur

Is Sola Scriptura a Protestant Concoction? by Greg Bahnsen

The Concept and Importance of Canonicity by Greg Bahnsen

Sola Scriptura and the Early Church by William Webster

Surprised by What? A Defense of Sola Scriptura by Jake Magee


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
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used "charasmatic" as a personality description whereas one with alpha male, strong leadership, and irresistable appeal, can marshal a large following regardless of the truthfulness of his preaching.

My apologies, but using cults as your example is even worse. Your original post stated this in context of forming new denominations, which neither mormons nor branch davidians were. Attempting to link the protestant reformation with cult figures is poor taste and dishonest. Who is guilty of misrepresentation?


God bless,

william

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catholicsoldier posits:
In 2Timothy 2:2 we read: "And the things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." In actuality, the belief of sola scriptura cannot be substantiated using the Bible. The Bible says many things about itself; that it is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edge sword, that it is given by inspiration and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Most of these actually refer to Old Testament writings that comprise most of the quotes of the apostles and all the quotes of Christ.

But never does it say that scripture is sufficient or the entire embodiment of Christian truth.
David King answers this objection by writing:





2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”



While the defenders of Rome quote this passage in support of extra— biblical traditions, we know that this was no secret deposit or esoteric oral tradition. Tertullian wrote:
    What is this deposit? Is it so secret as to be supposed to characterize a new doctrine? or is it a part of that charge of which he says, ‘This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy?’ and also of that precept of which he says, ‘I charge thee in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ who witnessed a good confession under Pontius Pilate, that thou keep this commandment?’ Now, what is (this) commandment and what is (this) charge? From the preceding and the succeeding contexts, it will be manifest that there is no mysterious hint darkly suggested in this expression about (some) farfetched doctrine, but that a warning is rather given against receiving any other (doctrine) than that which Timothy had heard from himself, as I take it publicly: ‘Before many witnesses’ is his phrase. Now, if they refuse to allow that the church is meant by these ‘many witnesses,’ it matters nothing, since nothing could have been secret which was produced ‘before many witnesses.’ Nor, again, must the circumstance of his having wished him to ‘commit these things to faithful men, who should be able to teach others also,’ be construed into a proof of there being some occult gospel. For, when he says ‘these things,’ he refers to the things of which he is writing at the moment. In reference, however, to occult subjects, he would have called them, as being absent, those things, not these things, to one who had a joint knowledge of them with himself. [ANF, Vol. III, Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter 25] (emphasis mine).[/LIST]According to Tertullian, Paul committed to ‘faithful men,’ who in turn passed on this deposit of truth, the things of which ‘he is writing at the moment.’ It had nothing to do with extrabiblical traditions. It was a succession of apostolic teaching, not a succession of men.

    Among the things Paul conveyed, in this epistle, was his own instruction regarding the sufficiency of holy Scripture. Thus, this ‘proof’ text does not support the Roman contention regarding an oral deposit of doctrine passed down through successive generations in the Church.

    Source: HOLY SCRIPTURE: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Vol. I, pp. 122-3, (Christian Resources: BattleGround, WA, 2001)




    In His Grace,


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SemperReformanda

Thank you for these referrences and I did look at them. Mostly they are review for me because I am well familiar with these arguments.

I do not contest the critical role that scriptures play in our instruction in the faith, but rather the notion that the Bible is the embodiment of ALL Christian truth.

The Apostles were faithful people that God used. They wrote letters to encourage their fledgeling churches, and biographies on the life of Christ, but none of it was considered scripture until, a few generations down the line, it was the only way to receive a correct account of events.

But Church fathers kept writing, encouraging and exhorting new believers, and at no time can it be demonstrated that these writers no longer wrote authoritatively, or as inspired by the Holy Spirit, that their works should not be taken as valid instruction in the faith.

And so I challenge you to validate that the canon was at one point closed, that no more inspired writings would ever be considered as the Word of God. What event commemorated this event? When was this divine decree issued?

Life is hard. God is good. Heaven is sure.

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averagefellar

This is actually the second time I posted this, but the first time it didn't show up.

Of course I agree with you on most of what you wrote, however there is something that I must disagree with you on.

You said: "P.S. I don't think charismatics are Christians, so your example is poor and nearly useless."

I guess you don't believe that people like Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper are Christians then.
I am not a Charismatic (though I used to be), but I definitely would not go as far as you went. Not only that, but the first Calvinists I ever met were/are Charismatics. They are two of the most spiritual (for lack of a better way to put it) people that I have ever met.

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It did show up...

It was moved because it was off topic!


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
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The Apostles were faithful people that God used. They wrote letters to encourage their fledgeling churches, and biographies on the life of Christ, but none of it was considered scripture until, a few generations down the line, it was the only way to receive a correct account of events.

Peter considered Paul's epistles to be Scripture:

". . . as also in all [his (Paul's)] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and the unstable distort, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (II Pet. 3:16).


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Pilgrim,

Concerning this verse:
Quote
"And the things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" 2Tim 2:2

the writer you quote editorializes:
Quote
"For when he says 'these things,' he refers to the things of which he is writing at the moment."

Am I the only one that sees the error in this? First off, this exhortation appears at the beginning of the letter, though Paul refers to things Timothy has already heard from him. Secondly, in that Timothy was under the tutilege of Paul, it's unseemly that Paul would be referring only to the contents of the letter to the exclusion of all he taught by mouth.

This seems to be characteristic of protestant tendencies to reinterpret scriptures that don't agree with protestant traditions; ignoring the clear meaning and searching for an alternative hidden meaning.

Scriptures are not meant to be so confusing, unless God intended for the simple to be kept in the dark. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" />

And the term "extrabiblical traditions" is an argument that stands on the closed canon concept, that what is written is exclusionary to any other instructions in the faith. If this were so, then Timothy would have been correct in reading only this letter and disregarding anything else he learned from Paul.

What do you think?

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Point taken <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratchchin.gif" alt="" />

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But let's put things in perspective. The early Church did not have a canon of scripture. They had most of the Old Testament writings and maybe an epistle or two, and the oral traditions given by the founding apostles. In Galations we read: "But if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." The gospel was given to them orally. The four gospels weren't written until decades after the Resurrection and only by necessity because the church was growing so fast that a written account from the eye witnesses of the life of Christ became necessary.
The canon of the early Church developed over time as one would expect it to. The early Church stuck more to an oral canon then to the written one we have today, but none the less it was still a canon. As the Church developed in grace and truth by the guidance of the Holy Spirit they recognized the need for the generations after them to have the Divine word. Thus, the letters of Peter, Paul, and not Mary <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rolleyes2.gif" alt="" /> were maintained with several others by the saints as canon.

Quote
In actuality, the belief of sola scriptura cannot be substantiated using the Bible.
Sola Scriptura is substantiated by God himself. What person would believe that the creator of the universe and humanity could not establish and maintain His own Word in the world in which we live. Is He God almighty or not? Indeed, the King of kings not only spoke His word, and inspired others to write His word, but has maintained it through the centuries to His own glory. Indeed it is so powerful that you and I will be judged by it in the end and not by what the Early Church Fathers (ECF), etc. wrote. The Bible is self authenticating. It can not appeal to any other text for authentication as there is none greater. The greater is not authenticated by the lesser.

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This is why some Protestant denominations have caved in to pressures, conforming to the image of this world, having only a few scriptures that can be twisted, but lacking strong and certain witness that spans all of Church history.
And the Catholic Church is so sin-free of conforming to the things of this world because they embrace the ECF? Why then do you have Vatican Vice Squads policing up priests that rape little boys and girls? Which ECF embraced child pornography and child molestation for the glory of God? In the past 15 years, close to $1,000,000,000 (one billion) have been paid out in court costs, attorney fees, and victim/survivor awards by United States bishops to deal with clergy sexual abuse convictions. In addition to these sexual abuses, Dr. Richard Sipe of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reports,

Quote
Generally, 30 percent of U.S. priests (estimates established from all sources) are either involved in homosexual relationships, have a conflict about periodic sexual activity, feel compelled toward homosexual involvements, identify themselves a homosexual, or at least have serious questions about their sexual orientation or differentiation. Approximately half of these men act out sexually with others. The reporting of homosexual behaviors has increased significantly, and the reliable estimates of percentage almost doubled from 1960 to 1994.
You really need to rethink your argumentation here.

Quote
It is because of this teaching authority that the Church was qualified to assemble the canon, deciding which works were authentic Christian writings and which ones were heresies, and by this same authority, the Church has the authority to interpret scripture. For the Church is not under the authority of scripture, but under the authority of Christ(Eph 5:23), and holy scripture serves the Church, not the other way around.
So, now the CHURCH is ABOVE the WORD! Heresy. Have you ever read John 1:1 or 1:14? What about:

Quote
John 5: 43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Any Church or individual that is not under the authority of God’s Word is under its judgment.

Quote
Protestants are also mistaken in thinking that a devotion to scripture only will keep them from error. Even with the Bible as a sole rule of faith, Christians can ignore the clear writings and cling to the contradicting "traditions" of their denomination.
So, Catholics have never had a disagreement? Have you read the ECF lately? But what is hilarious here is that you accuse Protestants of clinging to “contradicting "traditions" of their denomination,” (which there are some) but in the same breath say “the Catholic Church… consider [themselves] subject to the teaching authority endowed by Christ to His Church,” which is “tradition” and shown to be “contradictory” by a simple reading of ECF. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/drop.gif" alt="" />

Please show us an arguments from the Scripture instead of emotional appeals. Where’s the beef of your argument? [Linked Image] Please exegete one (1) Scripture passage for us demonstrating either the RCC view of Scripture or why you think sola scriptura is incorrect. The Scripture please--since, according to you, the RCC is its interpreter you should have no problem here?


Reformed and Always Reforming,
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And so I challenge you to validate that the canon was at one point closed, that no more inspired writings would ever be considered as the Word of God. What event commemorated this event? When was this divine decree issued?

If the Bible was incomplete at the setting of canon, what else should be included? Why weren't the ECF's included? When the canon was set why wasn't it left open?

You may also be interested in this thread, Cessation.

Quote
But Church fathers kept writing, encouraging and exhorting new believers, and at no time can it be demonstrated that these writers no longer wrote authoritatively, or as inspired by the Holy Spirit, that their works should not be taken as valid instruction in the faith.

Big difference between valid instruction and infallibility as the Word of God is. Nobody, not even Rome, includes the ECF's as scriptural canon.


God bless,

william

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