Monday, April 17, 2006

Defending Sola Scriptura


Where in the Bible is the principle or concept of Sola Scriptura (By Scripture alone) espoused?

To answer this question, I believe the doctrine of Sola Scriptura must be defined first. I would define it to mean the Scriptures, the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible, are the only authoritative and infallible rule for the Christian faith. The Scriptures reveal all that is necessary for salvation. No other revelation outside the Scriptures is necessary for the Church. The Scriptures are the sole and supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and the authority of the Church, which includes its traditions, confessions and creeds, is subordinate to the Word of God.

What the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not: it is not a claim that the Scriptures contain all knowledge of human wisdom. It does not reject traditions, confessions and creeds; it means that any tradition, creed or confession must be tested through the Word of God. It is not a claim that the Scriptures record every single exhaustive detail of religious knowledge, for instance, an account of every thing that Jesus Christ has ever done on earth. It does not deny the authority of the Church to teach divine truths; that the Church has the duty to uphold divine truths found within the Word of God, while remaining subservient to the Scriptures.

Sola Scriptura was one of the five important doctrines in the 16th century Protestant Reformation, along with Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus and Soli deo Gloria. Even today, the divide between Protestants and Roman Catholics still exist, with the Vatican maintaining the infallible authority of its traditions, councils and the Pope.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read:
As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.
While Roman Catholicism contains many extra-biblical doctrines such as purgatory, the sacramental system, the immaculate conception and bodily assumption of Mary, the veneration of graven images, papal primacy and infallibility, and transubstantiation etc, many proponents of the Charismatic Movement hold in high regard extra-biblical revelations such as dreams, visions, and spectacular prophecies.

Here are two examples of outrageous extra-biblical revelations from two prominent personalities in the Charismatic Movement, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland:
  1. Adam allegedly flew into space
    “Adam was a super-being when God created him. I don't know whether people know this, but he was the first superman that really ever lived. First of all, the Scriptures declare clearly that he had dominion over the fowls of the air, the fish of the sea--which means he used to fly. Of course, how can he have dominion over the birds and not be able to do what they do? The word 'dominion' in the Hebrew clearly declares that if you have dominion over a subject, that you do everything that subject does. In other words, that subject, if it does something you cannot do, you don't have dominion over it. 1'll prove it further. Adam not only flew, he flew to space. He was--with one thought he would be on the moon.” – Benny Hinn (“Praise the Lord” program on TBN, 26 December 1991)

  2. Jesus was allegedly raped by Roman soldiers
    “Let me tell you something folks. Anybody in here that's ever been sexually abused, listen to me right now. Listen to me very carefully. The bible's very careful about the way it says these things. But down there in that dungeon, Romans, ungodly men, ungodly men, put him (Jesus) to every kind of abuse that you can think of. There is no sin that Jesus didn't bare. There is no thing, there is no such thing as a sexual abuse on somebody that Jesus doesn't know firsthand what it's all about. He's been where you are, I don't care what you've been through, Jesus has been through it. And everything's done to him that we couldn't even speak of.” – Kenneth Copeland (The Resurrection Truth)
The above cited excerpts show us how far these men deviate from the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. It is even more saddening that many Christians would defend these men and often times falsely accused discerning Christians of hypocritical judgments and causing unnecessary divisions.

However, I believe the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which was once and still used to defend the essentials of the Christian faith against Roman Catholicism, has to be firmly defended against extreme proponents of the Charismatic movement, especially those of the word-faith movement, who advocates special extra-biblical revelations apart from the Scriptures.

For if the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is compromised, it will lead to a denial of the rest of the Solas, which would eventually destroy the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can observe throughout the history of the Christian Church, there are many false prophets who claim that the teachings of the Bible are abrogated by introducing some “holy” books or teachings. These false teachings pervert the gospel, most often denying the Trinity and the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

DEFENDING SOLA SCRIPTURA FROM THE SCRIPTURES

I have highlighted only three passages of Scripture that can be used. Obviously, these are not the only passages available to defend Sola Scriptura.

2 Timothy 3:14-17
This is one of the classic passages often cited in most Protestant apologetics:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV
Here are some points to be noted:
  1. “…from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation…” The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, asserting that the Scriptures are able to make Timothy “wise for salvation.” There is no mention of traditions or extra-biblical revelations that is required for one to be saved.

  2. Even though the holy Scriptures mentioned in this epistle speaks only of the Old Testament, the key point of this passage is about the nature and ability of the Scriptures, not the extent of the Scriptural canon. This is an important point to note as Roman Catholic apologists would argue that any reference to the Scriptures would only apply to the Old Testament, not to the New Testament.

    Both sides of the debate, Protestants and Roman Catholics, do agree that the New Testament without question is “God-breathed.” Therefore, if this is the case, it is absolutely irrelevant whether or not the apostle was referring to the Old Testament or the New Testament, since the New Testament, by virtue of it being “God-breathed,” is sufficient for salvation.

    As the saying goes, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” The gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is in the form of shadows and types that prefigures Christ, which eventually finds its fulfillment in the New Testament. The Roman Catholic argument, therefore, demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the relationship between the testaments.

  3. The apostle referred to the origin of the Scriptures, hence the word “God-breathed.” It is the Scriptures, not the writers themselves that are “God-breathed.” Because the Scriptures originate from God Himself, the authority of the Scriptures is God’s authority. The authority of the Church is derived from the divine Scriptures themselves, and not the other way round.

    Some Roman Catholic apologists may argue that the Protestants must rely on Roman Catholic traditions to know which books ought to be included in the canon of Scripture. This presumptuous argument denies the special guidance and providence of God, who worked with His covenant people over time to recognize and collect His inspired written Word, both Old and New Testaments.

    The inspiration of the Scriptures is divine, not ecclesiastical. The Church did not give authority to the canon, but rather it recognized its authority. Hence, the canon of Scripture stands or falls because of its relationship to God, not to the Church.

  4. “…the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The King James translation renders this sentence as “that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Greek word for “perfect” is artios, which may be also translated to mean “complete” while the Greek word for “thoroughly furnished” is exartizo, which means to “furnish perfectly.”

    So what is the implication of this? It means that no one serving God has to search about for other divine sources. The Christian is furnished perfectly by the Scriptures alone. It is the Scriptures alone that are sufficient for every need in ministry. If there is a doctrine that is required for the Church, we should be able to find it in the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 4:6
“Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.” – 1 Corinthians 4:6 NIV
The New American Standard translation renders the sentence “Do not go beyond what is written” as “learn not to exceed what is written.” The Greek word for “exceed” is huper, which may be translated as “over, beyond, more than,” while the Greek word for “written” is grapho, which means “to write, with reference to the contents of the writing.”

The apostle Paul was, of course, referring to the Old Testament writings. However, as we have noted from the above explanation of 2 Timothy 3:14-17, the issue is not about the extent of the Scriptural canon, but rather about the nature and ability of the Scriptures.

The background behind this verse is found in 1 Corinthians 3. Divisions were formed in the Corinthian church. Some were following Paul; some were following Apollos; some were following Peter. The point the apostle Paul was making is that the Scriptures did not teach us to be a follower of Paul, Apollos or Peter, but rather to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul made it quite clear that the Scriptures alone are the limiting factor by which we must bind our conscience. We are not to appeal to any extra-biblical teachings or traditions that go beyond the Scriptures and exalt any one else other than Christ. Thus, 1 Corinthians 4:6 clearly supports the doctrine of Sola Scriptura in verity.

Acts 17:11-12
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” – Acts 17:11-12 NIV
Once again, Roman Catholic apologists may argue that the Scriptures in question were the Old Testament, not the New Testament. However, as I have demonstrated earlier, this is quite beside the point.

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is clearly established in this text. The apostle Paul preached the gospel to the Bereans. And how, may we ask, did the apostle preach the gospel? We would find our answer in Acts 17:2-3 where he preached to the Thessalonians,
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said.” – Acts 17:2-3 NIV
Over here, we can see that it was the custom of the apostle Paul to preach the gospel to the Jews by reasoning from the written word of God. If the apostle had to rely on extra-biblical teachings not found in the Scriptures, it would be hard to imagine that the apostle would have gain any Jewish converts at all, like what we see in Acts 17:4. After all, for the 1st century practicing Jews, the Scriptures, the Old Testament, were regarded as the only authoritative rule of faith.

It is therefore reasonable to deduce the manner in which the apostle Paul preached the gospel to the Bereans is similar to the way he did it to the Thessalonians. The apostle preached the gospel to the Bereans by reasoning from the Scriptures according to his custom. The Bereans then went back to the same Scriptures the apostle preached from, and examined them “every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

I must warn that Roman Catholic apologists may try to use a common misleading argument, countering that the apostle Paul was using “oral traditions” to preach the gospel to the Bereans. However, upon closer examination of Acts 17 as shown above, it is unmistakable that the gospel was preached by reasoning from the Scriptures alone.

REFUTING COMMON ROMAN CATHOLIC SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENTS

Here are three passages of Scripture commonly used against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

2 Thessalonians 2:15
This is a favorite verse of Roman Catholic apologists.
“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:15 NIV
The Greek word for “teachings” is paradosis and may be translated as “traditions.” Roman Catholic apologists would interpret this passage as referring to oral traditions.

At first glance, it appears oral traditions, that are teachings by word of mouth, are indeed found in the early church. However, we must ask, is the traditions the apostle Paul was writing about the same as the oral traditions of the Roman Catholic Church? Was the apostle writing about the immaculate conception of Mary and papal infallibility? This cannot be conclusively proven.

Secondly, when appealing to 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Roman Catholic apologists make an assumption that both written traditions and oral traditions are somehow different. This also cannot be proven, which leads to my third point.

Thirdly, and more importantly, is there any indication in the passage that part of the tradition comes orally and part of the tradition comes in writing? That in order to receive the entire teachings of the gospel, both oral and written traditions must be together? Roman Catholic apologists would maintain that unless you possess the oral tradition, you do not possess the entire Word of God.

Upon closer examination of the passage, this is a logical fallacy as the apostle did not write “hold on to the written tradition and to the oral tradition.” What he wrote is “hold on to the tradition whether you heard them orally or in writing.” When you compare these two statements, you would notice they are distinctly different in meaning. In the early days of the church and even today, the gospel message is communicated either through pulpit preaching or through the Scriptures. So logically speaking, there is no suggestion from the apostle that both oral and written traditions must be kept together in order to possess the entire gospel.

2 Thessalonians 3:6
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV
Again, the apostle Paul used the same Greek word paradosis for the word “teaching,” which may be translated as “traditions.” The points that I covered in my explanation of 2 Thessalonians 2:15 may also be used for this passage.

I would also direct the Roman Catholic apologist to understand the entire context of 2 Thessalonians, pointing him back to 2 Thessalonians 2:15 to understand what the apostle meant by tradition. In this passage, it is rather interesting that the apostle did not subdivide apostolic traditions into written traditions and oral traditions. This suggest there is only one body of traditions, which is either communicated orally or in written form.

2 Peter 1:20-21
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV
A casual reading of the first part of the passage sounds as though we are commanded not to privately interpret the Word of God. Roman Catholic apologists would use this verse to claim that only the Roman Catholic Church has the right to “public” interpretation. However, a closer examination of this passage indicates this is not so. Therefore, it is important that we read this passage in context.

Earlier in the epistle, the apostle Peter defended himself and the rest of the apostles in verse 16, stressing that they “did not follow cleverly invented stories,” but “were eyewitnesses” of Jesus Christ. He goes on to write in verse 19, “we have the word of the prophets made more certain.” Basically, the apostle was demonstrating that Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament scriptures.

Once we understand the context of the passage, we would realize that the apostle was writing about how the Scriptures came into existence, not how they are to be interpreted. The Scriptures has its origin through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not through the private will of men.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty weak arguments. Wow God left the christians without his true teachings for 1500 years until the protestants came along. amazing

18/4/06 2:03 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

It is rather interesting that this anonymous visitor makes no attempts to biblically address what I wrote, but instead have to resort to an ad hominem abusive accusation. Readers would also notice that the anonymous visitor has also introduced an argumentum ad antiquitatem logical fallacy (or else known as an appeal to tradition) to divert attention away from the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

The point he raised is essentially this: did God preserve a remnant of His people between the times of the New Testament churches and of the Reformation? In order to answer this correctly, we should first turn to the Scriptures.

If we observe carefully, throughout the entire Scriptures, we are able to see God’s providence in preserving His people. We see Noah and his family being preserved from the Flood, Lot and his family being preserved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joshua and Caleb being the only ones allowed to enter the Promised Land with the new generation of Israel, and a remnant of the exiled kingdom of Judah returning to their land.

In Romans 9:27, it is written, “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” We read in Romans 11:5, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Thus, from the history of God’s covenant people, we can infer how God worked for the first 1500 years after Christ – God would preserve a remnant in spite of the powerful dominion of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. So it is not true that God “left” the world without a remnant of true believers.

As we can see from history, the 16th century Refomation was not the only period where opposing views started coming about. For instance, Jan Hus and John Wycliffe were the precursors to the Reformation. There was the Great Schism, which divided Chalcedonian Christianity into Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. There were the iconoclastic periods within the Byzantine Empire during the 8th and 9th centuries.

The point I am trying to put across is this: it would be presumptuous to assume that there was no intervention from God until the time of the Reformation. As Christians who adhere to the Scriptures alone, we believe in God’s sovereignty and trust that He did preserve a remnant who believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ even though these people may not be adopt the outward label of Protestants.

Let me also give a historical example. The German Nazi Party was responsible for the Holocaust. However this does not mean that all Germans were evil by nature. We do hear of testimonies which contain accounts of Germans who risked their lives to save thousands of Jews from the clutches of the Nazi Party. A more recent example is the underground Christian church in Afghanistan. These Afghan Christians have little choice but to practice their faith in secret, professing themselves to be Muslims in order to escape death.

There are probably some more examples that I can highlight, which would showcase the disparity between the teachings of an organization or system and the actual beliefs of its people. Hence, it would be reasonable to conclude that not all who outwardly profess to be members of the Roman Catholic Church would automatically adhere to its teachings.

18/4/06 8:20 PM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hello,

I really don't want to argue with you. I just want to mention that the reason why the Catholic Church mentions that Scripture is equal to Tradition is that the Church existed for hundreds of years before the current Scripture was defined (and I'm talking about the 27 books of the NT...I don't even want to talk about the OT)

Yes, the 27 books were around but there were other Gospels (for example the recent Gospel of Judas or the Gospel of Peer) and other letters that the Catholic Church had to decide...is this considered Scripture or is it not?

Because of this, the Catholic Church cannot accept Sola Scriptura as it would have to reject a significant portion of it's history before the New Testament was compiled.

Before the New Testament was compiled, Faith was learned through the Apostolic Tradition which was handed down from generation to generation and this is what the Church holds and guards as equally important to Scripture. Most of it is supported by Sacred Scripture (as the New Testament is COMPLETELY Apostolic Tradtion) and some of it is not. It was, however, handed down by the Apostles and the Catholic Church feels the duty to protect it and will not change it.

Apostolic Tradition does not include things like eating meat on Friday or married priests. These things can be changed. Things like the Eucharist or an all-male priesthood are part of the Apostolic Tradition.

Anyhow, as I said, I don't want to argue about this. I just wanted to explain the Catholic viewpoint.

Dennis

19/4/06 5:26 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Dennis,

I appreciate what you wrote, but I believe your statements demand a response. I am aware the Roman Catholic Church believed that it, the visible and earthly institution, existed before the formation of the New Testament. You may be interested to know that we Protestants also believed that the Church existed before the New Testament canon.

In fact, we believed the Church, which is spiritual Israel, existed for thousands of years before the birth of the Messiah (dispensationalists would disagree with this interpretation however). Old Testament saints such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David etc are part of the Body of Christ, which is spiritual Israel. In other words, the Church existed in the Old Testament.

Suggesting that the New Testament canon was compiled by the Roman Catholic Church is like suggesting the Old Testament canon was compiled by the Sanhedrin. This is pretty absurd as the Scriptures does not require an earthly institution to confer to them infallible divinity status in order for them to be considered divine. As I have previously wrote,

“The Church did not give authority to the canon, but rather it recognized its authority. Hence, the canon of Scripture stands or falls because of its relationship to God, not to the Church.”

This view would be analogous to the unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness stated in your Declaration of Independence. You would not say that the United States awarded these rights to its citizens. No, these rights are inalienable. So just as these rights are not bestowed by human power but formally recognized as natural-born rights, the New Testament Scriptures themselves, which were being circulated among the local churches, were simply formally recognized as divine by the institutional Church, although they were long before regarded by believers as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I also disagree with your statement, “Before the New Testament was compiled, Faith was learned through the Apostolic Tradition which was handed down from generation to generation and this is what the Church holds and guards as equally important to Scripture.”

You might want to know that the epistles of the apostle Paul were already considered to be Scriptures as shown by the second epistle of Peter,

“Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” – 2 Peter 3:15-16

Therefore, it would be quite wrong to suggest that there was a long period of time where the New Testament scriptures were not recognized or compiled by the early New Testament Church.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, the apostle Paul wrote, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” This verse strongly indicates the early New Testament Church’s acceptance of the writings of the New Testament.

Since the early New Testament Church recognized the New Testament writings to be Scripture, it is also very likely that the inspired writings were also publicly read aloud in the local churches. The apostle Paul wrote, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13).

Please do note that my reference to the early New Testament Church is not to the Roman Catholic Church, the man-made earthly institution, but to the Body of Christ, whose members are found among the local churches in the New Testament.

19/4/06 3:06 PM  
Blogger Ignatius said...

Hey, you have always been helpful in pointing out the errors in the Charismatic Movement & RCC.

To answer the question of where the true teachings are, I had this interesting example.

In an interesting exchange btw Sir Henry Wotton and a RC priest.'Where was your religion to be found before Luther?' asked the priest.
'My religion was to be found then, where your's is not to be found now, in the written word of God'answered Sir Newton.

Whenever we speak of Sola Scriptura, it is as if it only concerns the NT. ... but the OT was present way before the NT, thus Sola Scriptura should not preclude the OT.

Bible or Church? WHich is the fixed pt of reference? I think beowulf's argument make sense.

Dennis wrote "Most of it is supported by Sacred Scripture (as the New Testament is COMPLETELY Apostolic Tradtion) and some of it is not."

Why is it that GOd left out some of the Apostolic Tradtion from the bible?

19/4/06 4:18 PM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hi Beowulf,

I think we should just agree to disagree as it will be pointless to argue. No matter what I say, I won't change your position and you won't change mine.

Let's just both work on praising God.

May the peace of God be with you,

Dennis

19/4/06 9:18 PM  
Blogger naniecheng said...

Hi beowulf

Thanks for taking time to write about Sola Scriptura. It was my encouter with some Roman Catholic (RC) friends that sparked off my interest in this topic.

On the issue of unwritten Apostolic traditions
After thinking through this issue and reading up a bit the catholic stance on this, this is my conclusion: I do believe that there might have been oral instructions left by the Apostles which were not recorded in written form. Just as Jesus did many miracles that were not recorded in the Bible, it is reasonable to assume that this was the case of the Apostles’ interaction with the early church. Thus I believe in all likelihood that there are Apostolic traditions which were not recorded in the the epistles.

However having said that, I must say that there is no clear and infallible way of determining what these oral apostolic traditions are and whether they have been corrupted through the centuries. Of course this then leads to the next question of the infallibility of the RC church – i.e. the infallibility of the RC Magisterium in interpreting and upholding all divine revelation and traditions. If the RC Magisterium is infallible then surely the traditions they uphold must be uncorrupted and divine.

The infallibility of the RC church
The Bible says very clearly that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and I truly believe that this applies to every person, whether layman, priest or pope. All of us need the redemptive work of the cross. We only have to look to history to see that it is possible for the RC church leadership to make mistakes. The corruption prevalent during the Reformation period bears good witness to the fallibility of the church.

However, all things equal, the church is still in the best position and authority to reveal the divine. We cannot deny this. (You may call this relative infallibility?)

But the danger arises if the church is accorded unquestioning authority as the infallible organ through which scripture is interpreted. It’s one thing to acknowledge that the church is in the best position to reveal the divine and another thing to say it is infallible altogether.


Thus In view of the fallibility of man and history has clearly shown that the church is fallible, it is just safer to stay with the apostolic traditions that are explicitly recorded in the New Testament. At the very least we can know for absolute certainty that the written traditions have not been corrupted.

I'm contented to stay with the written word of God because it contains all that is sufficient unto salvation and sanctification.

20/4/06 11:34 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi naniecheng,

You wrote, “I must say that there is no clear and infallible way of determining what these oral apostolic traditions are and whether they have been corrupted through the centuries.”

Actually, I believe the clear and infallible way to see whether oral traditions have been corrupted is by examining them through the Word of God. While oral traditions are susceptible to corruption, the Scriptures are unchangeable and infallible. Even Jesus positioned the Scriptures above traditions when He said to the Pharisees, “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:13)

By elevating their oral traditions to the level of the Scriptures, the Roman Catholic Church denies the five Solas, which are explicitly taught in the Scriptures. Roman Catholicism denies salvation is by grace alone, justification is by faith alone, salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, and that all glory is to be given to God alone. In other words, their oral traditions deny the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very essentials of the Christian faith. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura demands that all traditions be subordinate to the Word of God.

I believe the question we should be asking is whether or not the Scriptures reveal all that is necessary to salvation, not whether there were “oral instructions left by the Apostles which were not recorded in written form.” I would acknowledge there were probably some things the apostles said that were not written down. But surely if those instructions are essential to our salvation, God would have inspired the New Testament writers to put them in the Scriptures. After all, didn’t the Word of God teach us that the Scriptures alone are able to make us “wise for salvation” and warned us not to “go beyond what is written” in the Scriptures?

As Christians, it is our duty to reject any teaching or system that does not conform to the Word of God. We are commanded to test everything, which would mean oral traditions also (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We are to condemn false gospels. It is our Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, which places in us a responsibility to direct Roman Catholics to the gospel of Jesus Christ that is found in the Scriptures alone.

20/4/06 1:00 PM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hi Beowulf,

I don't think that the 5 Solas are explicitly taught in Scripture.

Dennis

20/4/06 9:03 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Sola Scriptura – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Solus Christus – “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Sola Gratia – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Sola Fide – “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” (Romans 3:28)

Soli deo Gloria – “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

20/4/06 9:37 PM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hi again,

I agree with all of those statements but I guess we'll have to disagree about the Sola part. I agree that Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, etc. But it doesn't say ONLY scripture. It also doesn't say Faith alone.

I do agree with Christ Alone and with Grace alone.

I guess I also believe that everything that is necessary for Salvation can be found in Sacred Scripture as you have mentioned.

I just believe that there is SO much more to it than that. To only concentrate on Salvation is like only concentrating on dessert for a meal.

As you have mentioned...Soli Dei Gloria (which I also agree with).

Peace,

Dennis

21/4/06 1:51 AM  
Blogger naniecheng said...

Hi beowulf,

You said,
"I believe the clear and infallible way to see whether oral traditions have been corrupted is by examining them through the Word of God."

But for Roman Catholics who do not subscribe to Sola Scriptura, your point above will not be a valid one for them.

I think for the RCs the oral tradition is accorded the same status as scriptures because both originated from the Apostles who were inspired by God. Thus both oral and written traditions are inspired by God. The only difference between the two is: one is oral and the other was recorded down in written form and it became the NT.

For them, the total revealed will of God is found in the sum of both oral apostolic tradition & written apostolic tradition (i.e Scriptures) Both of them go hand in hand.

This is at least what I understand about the RC's take on their church tradition. If I've misunderstood them at any point, pls do point it out to me.

What I’m not sure is whether the RC church believes in the continual ongoing divine revelation from God. That is, does God continue to reveal divine truths to the RC church today just as He revealed to the Apostles in the early church. If the RC church does believe in new revelation, then yes new traditions apart from the apostolic ones will be formed. But is this the case? I have not read enough of RC literature to ascertain this. Would you know?

But let me reiterate my personal view: I do not presume to know entirely the methods God uses to reveal His truths but I do know that the written scriptures which we have was what God had deemed sufficient to make us "wise unto salvation". There is no need to go beyond the written word of God because everything else is unverifiable.

21/4/06 9:38 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Dennis,

If I may, let me show you a nonsensical example. In Exodus 20:3, God commanded, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Well, I might say, God did not append the words “all the time.” So I will argue that God may allow me to have some gods some of the time. God also distinguish gods in Exodus 20:3 from idols in Exodus 20:4-5. So I am not allowed to worship idols, but I am allowed to worship other gods.

You may laugh at this, but Rome is guilty of such peculiar interpretative logic. Terms such as latria (worship given to God), dulia (special worship reserved for angels and saints), and hyperdulia (worship given to Mary) were invented to confuse anyone who questions Rome of violating the second commandment. So when you wrote that you agree with Soli deo Gloria, you are adopting Rome’s definition of terms. However, when we Protestants say Soli deo Gloria, we mean all latria, dulia and hyperdulia are due to God alone. All levels and types of worship are strictly to be given to God alone, not to any lesser creatures.

The word “only” or “alone” may not appear in the Scriptures, but the explicit concept is there. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states ALL Scriptures, not some scriptures or 99.9% scriptures. Likewise, this passage stresses EVERY good work, not just some good works.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 states that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. However, Rome would have to resort to eisegesis, that is to read your personal interpretation or preconceived ideas into the text. You wrote that you agree with Solus Christus, but Rome’s interpretation has to include Mary as co-mediatrix and co-redemptress. We Protestants believe that Christ alone is the mediator and in Him alone, we have complete redemption and the full forgiveness of all sins (Ephesians 1:7).

The substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross alone is sufficient for all sins; past, present and future (Hebrews 9:28). No one else needs to share in the work of Christ. We do not need any merits from the saints and Mary. We do not need to participate in the Mass or in the sacramental system of Rome. The merits of Jesus Christ alone are sufficient for all of our sins. That is the doctrine of Solus Christus. Only through Christ and Christ alone.

Grace alone means that salvation rests on the unmerited favor of God alone. You are elected to salvation, not based on any forseen works or actions, but based on the mercy of God alone. You are saved not through the outward sacrament of baptism, but through the inward regeneration of the Holy Spirit. It is God who will complete and maintain your salvation, not you. Works cannot maintain your salvation. The sacrament of penance denies the salvation by the grace of God alone. Even the faith the believer possesses is a divine gift from God. “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6).

Contrary to what you wrote, we Protestants believe salvation is a full-course meal, complete with dessert. Our salvation starts from before the creation of the world where God elects us as His people; God changed our hearts so that we would have repentance and faith alone in Jesus Christ alone; God adopts us into His family so that we become children of God; God sanctifies us and make us holy, enabling us to progress towards moral and spiritual maturity through the inward presence of the Holy Spirit; God preserves us from falling away from salvation so that His purpose of election will stand; God glorifies us, so that we can reign as saints with Him in Heaven for all eternity.

Salvation is the glorious plan of God, which He has planned right from the beginning and will see it through till the very end. That is why we stress the absolute sovereignty of God. For salvation truly belongs to our God and God alone. No man or angel may share alongside with God, for our God is a jealous God. To him alone are all things. Soli deo Gloria.

21/4/06 1:02 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi naniecheng,

I would prefer to put it another way: the oral traditions of Rome are allegedly originated from the apostles.

I believe that when discussing Sola Scriptura with Roman apologists, we cannot just confine our discussion to oral traditions versus the Scriptures alone. The root of the issue goes much deeper than this. It is not just about oral traditions being equal with the Scriptures, but Rome claiming to have full interpretative authority over both Scriptures and oral traditions. So in a sense, to them the authority of the Roman Catholic Church is greater than the Scriptures.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read:

“The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.”

No matter how well we exegete from the Scriptures, as long as our interpretation of the Scriptures is contrary to the teachings of Rome, all our points would not be valid to Roman Catholics, for they regard the authority of Rome infallible, supreme and above everything else.

From the way I see it, this matter is similar to the Muslims’ view of the Bible. While the Muslims claim that the Christians has corrupted the Bible and the Bible must be interpreted through the lens of the Quran, Rome claims the Protestants’ interpretation of the Bible corrupts Rome’s definitions and that the Bible must be interpreted solely by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

One question I would raise is if there are some essential oral traditions that are not communicated in the Scriptures, what actually makes Rome the true church? After all, we have the Eastern Orthodox Church, who also claims to be the guardian of oral traditions, allegedly dating back to the apostles. Since it is a free for all, why not include the Gnostics, who allegedly possessed some secret knowledge and writings? Why not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which have the Book of Mormon? Why not Benny Hinn and the modern-day prophets?

With regard to ongoing divine revelation, I do not see any indication from Rome that suggests any of their teachings is the result of new revelations. Rome claims that its teachings are handed down from the apostles in oral and written form, for instance, the doctrine of papal infallibility. However, it must be noted that there were Catholic dissenters who objected when this doctrine was defined in the first Vatican Council. These dissenters left the Roman Catholic Church to form the Old Catholic Church. Judging by this historic event, it appears that there was a large number of Roman Catholics prior to 1870 who believed Rome was guilty of incorporating new revelations into its teachings, apart from its alleged apostolic traditions.

21/4/06 3:08 PM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hi Beowulf,

I really don't think we should argue about this.

I will say that you don't have a very good understanding of Catholicism (as I also don't have a good understanding of Calvinism) and that what you are explaining to me isn't accurate.

As I have said (and failed to do), let's just work on praising God and not argue about our differences.

May God Bless you,
Dennis

21/4/06 11:35 PM  
Blogger naniecheng said...

Hmm... the claim to infallibility is truly binding for RC believers isn't it? It makes it impossible to question the church and it's traditions and interpretation. Hypothetically it also makes it necessary for the current papacy to uphold any traditions set by previous popes because those traditions are to be treated as infallible interpretations of the divine.

That is a scary position to be in simply because there is no infallible person or organisation in this world. As I mentioned before, the corrupt RC church during the Reformation is testimony that the church is not incorruptible in its interpretation of the divine. Only God alone is perfect and infallible.

Your point about the Eastern Orthodox church makes a lot of sense.

An RC friend once said this to me, the problem with protestants and all your various denominations is this: Each of you interprete scripture according to how you see fit. When a person holds to Sola Scriptura, it means that there is room for him to question the church's authority and interpretation. And from this comes the situation where each man does what is right in his own interpretation. I can see where she is coming from.

I must admit it is difficult to engage in conversation with RCs simply because we have such different definitions. The fundamental assumptions are already different to begin with making it difficult to move beyond. If the infallibility of the church is something that is not open to discussion, then there can simply be none.

BTW thanks for this blog entry. Truly engaging and it helped me to clarify some questions I had.

22/4/06 12:16 AM  
Blogger naniecheng said...

Dennis,

It was interesting to read what you had to say too. I agree that many protestants do not understand the catholic faith indepth and vice versa.

But it is precisely such conversations that help us understand each other's position better isn't it? Through conversations we uncover our fundamental assumptions about each other and if these assumptions are incorrect, it's a good opportunity to rectify them.

But I must admit such interactions are a very difficult exercise because the issues can be so sensitive. Sometimes it's just easier to ignore the differences.

22/4/06 12:31 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Dennis,

With all due respect, I simply do not share your view of ecumenism between Protestants and Roman Catholics. I believe essential doctrines affecting the gospel of Jesus Christ must be defended. I regard the doctrine of salvation very seriously as it is literally a matter of life and death. Therefore, I will strongly value biblical truths over superficial unity.

I do take exception to your insinuation that I do not have a good understanding of Roman Catholicism. Where needed, I would point to original sources to back up my facts. I have no intention to misrepresent Rome's position and that is why I link to official or largely neutral sources. If you think that I have misquoted or have not cited the relevant sources, do point them out and I will try to clarify them with the relevant data. And of course, I would expect any charge of misrepresentation to be backed up with facts from Rome’s official position.

22/4/06 12:39 AM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hi Naniecheng and Beowulf,

I guess I can't really respond to the argument because the breadth of the differences between what your concept of Catholicism is and what Catholicism really is is too big to cover in a blog.

A couple points.

1. Tradition

To answer Naniecheng's question about traditions, there are two types of tradition. There is what the Catholic Church calls the "Deposit of Faith" (look it up in Google) which is the Apostolic Tradition (or Tradition with a Capital "T") which the Church regards equal to Scripture. This will not be changed and cannot be changed by any Pope (good or bad). No Pope will add to it and no Pope will detract from it. (Even the REALLY REALLY BAD Popes from throughout history). One of the Catholic Church's chief responsibilities is to protect the Deposit of Faith. As corrupt and bad as the Catholic Church was during the Protestant Reformation, the Deposit of Faith was always intact.

Then there is tradition (with a small "t") that came after the Apostles (like celibate priesthood or not eating meat on Fridays). This is NOT regarded as equal to Sacred Scripture and can be changed, added to or taken away from.

2. Veneration of Mary/Co-redemptrix

This is Scriptural.

In Luke 1, the Angel Gabriel (whose sole reason for creation is to praise God and do His will)praises her (Hail Favored One). When she visits Elizabeth, Elizabeth praises her, "Most blessed are you..." and then after that, Mary proclaims that everyone should praise her ("from now on, all ages will call me blessed.") To say that we should not praise her is something that you've been told and it's not Scriptural.

Regarding the co-redemptrix, this is also Scriptural. I wrote a post about it around a month ago.

As you know, Jesus Christ is the "New Adam" who, through obedience to God, fixes Adam's original sin. (from Romans)

If you focus on Adam's original sin, you'll notice that even though the Fall of Man happens through Adam's sin, it's Eve's disobedience that gets the ball rolling (even though the fall of man happens through Adam's original sin).

Well, in order for Christ to save all of mankind (through obedience to God the Father), Mary's initial obedience gets the ball rolling (even though the salvation of man happens through Christ's Death and Resurrection).

This is all pretty deep and I assure you that the Catholic Church does not use Eisegesis in interpreting the Scripture. What I describe above is the understanding of the Early Church Fathers and is the understanding today and is part of the Deposit of Faith.

I disagree with your analysis and I know that you disagree with the Catholic Church. To me, that's not important. What is important is God's opinion of you and me (and Naniecheng).

What also is more important than any argument that we pour forth is our love for God. He really doesn't want us arguing about what divides us.

Regarding the other points you brought up, I really don't want to go into it as it's too long for us to discuss. Just please know that there are very valid reasons for EVERYTHING the Catholic Church does and believes. What you have learned is inaccurate. I can help you learn more (by pointing you to web sites or explaining more) but I don't want to argue about this.

I hope you guys have a great weekend.

Dennis

22/4/06 5:13 AM  
Blogger naniecheng said...

Dennis,

Thanks for your reply.

Regarding the Deposit of Faith - could you refer me to a reliable catholic source (preferably an online source) that would accurately list & elaborate on these oral Apostolic Traditions? thanks.

May the Lord bless you and your familiy too :)

22/4/06 1:30 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Dennis,

It appears that you do not seem to understand the meaning of eisegesis. As I have previously written, it is to read your personal interpretation or preconceived ideas into the text. It is using a presupposition to arrive at a meaning. It is the interpretation of a text by reading extraneous ideas into it.

You translate the angel’s words in Luke 1:28 as “Hail Favored One.” The Greek word for “hail” is chairo, which may be translated as “to rejoice, be glad; to rejoice exceedingly; to be well, thrive; in salutations, hail; at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute.” As we can see, this is simply an opening salutation by an angel to Mary. To go from “rejoice; be glad; be well” to hyperdulia (or “praise,” if you prefer) is not only an eisegesis, but a major distortion of the angel’s words.

The Greek word for “favored one” is charitoo, which may be translated “to honor with blessings.” Now, is there any indication in Luke 1:28 that show us what kind of future honor and blessings Mary would receive? Beyond the fact Mary was bestowed with the honor to be the mother of Jesus Christ, there is nothing in the Greek word that remotely suggest Mary is to be venerated by Christians. Eisegesis is to presuppose and to presume that the angel intended Mary to have a special position of veneration beyond her designated role of earthly mother.

In Luke 1:42, Elizabeth used the Greek word eulogeo, which means “to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers; to ask God's blessing on a thing; pray God to bless it to one's use; pronounce a consecratory blessing on of God; to cause to prosper, to make happy, to bestow blessings on; favoured of God, blessed.”

Luke also used the same Greek word eulogeo in Luke 6:28, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” So the question I would pose is, if the word “blessed” contains the implicit meaning that Mary will be venerated, so does it means “those who curse you” must also be venerated and exalted to the same status as Mary? After all, Roman Catholic apologists do presume that being blessed carries the same connotation as being venerated. Once again, we can obviously see that Rome’s interpretation of Luke 1:42 is a form of eisegesis.

In Luke 1:48 “… all generations will call me blessed,” Mary used the Greek word makarizo, which may be translated “to pronounce blessed.” This word is derived from another Greek word makarios, which means “blessed, happy.” The Greek word makarios is also used in Luke 12:37, which the King James Version translates as “Blessed are those servants.” Now do we then render every instance of “blessed” in the Scriptures as veneration? Would the servants Jesus was talking about needs to be venerated too? Rome’s interpretation of Luke 1:48 is yet another form of eisegesis.

To drive home my point, let me give a nonsensical example. If Rome insists Mary being blessed means every Christian must venerate her, why then confine blessings to veneration? After all, there are many forms of blessings. I can argue that having many children is a form of blessing from God. Therefore, it can be concluded Mary was blessed with many children. Word-faith teachers can say Mary was blessed with prosperity and health. Or how about Mary being blessed with superhuman strength like Samson? Or Mary being blessed with the ability to sprout wings and fly? I am sorry, but I could not help ridiculing how this sort of eisegesis would only open up to incredible theories and groundless speculations.

With regard to Mary’s obedience, Mary cannot take any credit for obeying God, the same way Abraham cannot take any credit for leaving his country, people and household (Genesis 12:1). For it is written, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Obedience is a divine gift from God. It is the will of God that Mary obeyed. God could have chosen any other woman to bear Jesus Christ and they would have just as readily obeyed because of God’s decrees. For no one can come to God unless God draws the person to Him (John 6:44). Mary was elected by God not because of any foreseen works or actions.

Furthermore, I would point out that drawing parallels between Eve’s disobedience and Mary’s obedience is biblically unwarranted. This is simply due to the fact none of the New Testament writers taught this doctrine, unlike the parallelism between Adam and Christ found in Romans 5:12-21. To force this extraneous doctrine of Eve and Mary into the Scriptures is surely an eisegesis.

The apostle Paul wrote, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8). The gospel of Jesus Christ is salvation by the grace of God alone through repentance and faith alone in Jesus Christ alone for the glory of God alone. This is the gospel message and the only gospel message we must preach to the world and none other. We cannot deviate from these essential truths for God require all of us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The greatest commandment is to love God first and then your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). To obey the greatest commandment is to worship God in truth. Therefore, it is important that we worship Him in truth before trying to resolve divisions with one another.

23/4/06 10:20 AM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hi Beowulf,

I think it's best if we just stop arguing as I don't think it builds His church and I really don't think it's bringing us closer to God.

What I'm telling you about Mary is not my argument. It's the argument of the early Christians and it's in their writings. They read the same Scriptures that we read and their understanding of the ancient Greek text is much better than mine or yours or anyone on the planet today.

May God bless you always,

Dennis

25/4/06 12:21 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Dennis,

I am too arguing from the writings of the early Christians, which are of course, the Scriptures. And these New Testament writers who wrote these Scriptures were definitely a much better source of authority than whomever or whatever tradition you are appealing to.

On one hand, you claim you do not wish to argue, but while on the other hand, you persist in continuing by introducing an appeal to authority logical fallacy. You appeal to the traditions of mortal men, whereas I appeal to the divine Scriptures alone, which are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Why would I go to men whose very words contradict the Scriptures? On what grounds do you make the claim that these men are better interpreters of the Scriptures? Are their interpretations infallible? Because the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church says so? Because Rome says so?

Are you also implying the power of the Holy Spirit has diminished or is not working today? The very power to help illuminate and to guide us in interpreting His Word? That the Holy Spirit failed to help us understand His Word correctly and that we have to depend on the interpretation of certain individuals who lived almost two thousand years ago?

I can tell you one thing: if you do not obey and preach the truth of the Scriptures, you will definitely not draw close to God. For it is the truth of the gospel that brings us closer to God. It is clearly written, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

It is through the gospel of Jesus Christ that His Church is built. For it is written, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). It is clear Rome has categorically rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rome does not preach salvation by the grace of God alone through repentance and faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone, which is taught in the Scriptures alone.

The Westminster Confession of Faith aptly puts it this way, “… and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ.”

When I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I have become His disciple who is sworn to defend and to protect His Word. It is my duty to preach the gospel and to refute false gospels according to His Word. To forsake the Great Commission that Christ gave us is truly to draw away from God, which I absolutely will not do.

25/4/06 3:09 AM  
Blogger TheDen said...

Hey Beowulf,

What I wrote does not contradict Scriptures. I'm not denying the Deity of Jesus or God the Father. I'm not denying the Scripture.
I'm not denying the Good News.
I'm not denying the Truth.

I'm upholding Scripture.

I'm holding fast to the traditions that I was taught either by oral traditions or by Paul's letters. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

May the Peace and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Dennis

25/4/06 4:26 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Dennis,

As long as you reject the false gospel taught by Rome and turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ that is clearly portrayed in the Scriptures, which is defined through the five Solas, I would agree you are upholding the essential doctrines of the Scriptures.

Rome denies the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rome denies the Good News. Rome denies the Truth. Rome does not uphold the Scriptures as I have proven before. I have been stressing this point over and over again to you: salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. So I would say it is overwhelmingly obvious Rome denies the Good News. Salvation can never come through the false gospel of Rome that it currently teaches for it is heresy.

It is interesting that you still made use of 2 Thessalonians 2:15 even though I have explicitly refuted Rome’s interpretation of the verse in the above article. I have refuted every misleading interpretation and every so-called tradition that you brought up by careful exegesis of the Scriptures, and yet you choose to bow to the authority of Rome rather than to the authority of the Scriptures alone. You have simply proven my point to Naniecheng that for Roman Catholics, the authority of the Roman Catholic Church is greater than that of the Scriptures.

25/4/06 11:48 AM  
Blogger Ignatius said...

Hi all,

On the Veneration of Mary/ Co-redemptrix....

I would like to add that even within the RCC, there is not really a consensus on the proper role of Mary. ... or even to what Mary should be rightfully called.This is despite the claim of RCC to be united. Since Vactican II, there has been a minimizing of Mary's presence in the RCC. However, at the grassroot, this is not completely so. For the veneration of Mary, some are really close to idol worshipping. The Marian statues [& the "Hail, Holy Queen" ("Salve Regina")(but I think this had been deleted in the "rationalized" rosary though) prayer]are non-biblical.

There are also differences in perception of Mary among Catholics. ...though they had the pope which acts as the authority in doctrine.
The perception of Mary in Catholic Theology is more of a 'striclty biblical' view,while that of grass root is of 'biblical plus'(adding to the bible). Traditional Marian devotion is seen by 'progressive' Catholic theologians as unscriptural. Mary Hines(a past officer of the Catholic Theological Society of American) in her book 'Whatever happened to Mary?'(2001),for example,celebrated the fact that the strictly biblical view of Mary has replaced 'the queenly Mary on a pedestal' with someone 'women are beginning to rediscover and reclaim as sister'(p. 86).

I think the RCC have appealed more to their feelings (seeing Mary as a motherly figure) and tradtions than scripture.

3/5/06 12:25 AM  
Blogger Noldorin_Calvinist said...

Excellent defense of the Five Solas! I commend your defense.

Soli deo Gloria

19/5/06 8:45 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Beowulf,

I am pretty sure that I agree with most/all? of your sentiments of Roman Catholic doctrine(although admittedly I don't know enough to test all that you wrote). However, I don't think Dennis needed the continual repeating of what you said of the sole divintiy of Christ (you can't drill it into his head). I personally think it is hard to take RC doctrine straight up. However, I think it is very possible that a layperson in the RCC may still be able to decern Christ. Admittedly this may not mean much b/c I think God has the power to reveal Himself to people of all religions (usually then having them encounter a Christian missionary who then leads them to what they couldn't previously understand). I put this out there only because I want to warn you that your zealousness, as praiseworthy as it may be, could turn someone away from Christ depending on who and how you say what is necessary. Be careful destroying what people have been learning since infancy, someone has to pick up the peices. Also Dennis, I did not realize you two were arguing except for the fact that you kept saying you did not want to. To me it seemed like and open and frank discussion of the differences upon how we view the history of the Church. If what you meant was no hard feelings or the two of us won't change our opinions, sure that makes sense I would never figure that you(pl) would, but the fact that this is online means that anyone can read it and form or reform opinions based on what the two of you discussed back and forth.

As always, God Bless.

28/7/11 4:01 AM  

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