As the discussion continued, he began to express his frustration with other Christians that do or teach things that are not found in the bible. I set down my beer, sat-up straight, took a breath and began to brace myself for what you know would be next. I was expecting him to barrage me with a litany of things Catholics do or teach that are not (explicitly) found in the Bible, but it never came up. Instead he began to complain to me about other “born again” Christians.
He is a member of what Catholics would call a parish council over at his church. He complained that his pastor taught that ANY consumption of alcohol was sinful. One drink leads to two; two will lead to three, and so on. Therefore, starting this process with even one drink would be sinful even if you stopped at one. A Catholic might call this kind of reasoning inviting the “occasion of sin”. There is some logic there, but my coworker had a big problem with this. The problem was not that he likes alcoholic drinks. His objection was, “that’s not in the Bible”.
|Were you just applauding?|
I thought to myself, "All Christian churches will do or teach things not specifically found in the Bible. What clear, real-world examples of how the teaching of Sola Scriptura (Bible alone) relentlessly affronts reason". Bible Christians do not actually use the bible alone; they use the bible along with whatever interpretations their leaders may have, and different interpretations results in different denominations as a natural consequence. I was going to tell him that using ONLY the Bible is also something that’s not in the Bible, but I was afraid he might self-destruct right there in front of me.
This got his attention on Catholicism, but he suddenly changed the subject to the 2nd coming of Christ. He said, “I believed Jesus is coming back very soon. What’s the Catholic take on that?” I mentioned Mat 24:36 “But of that day and hour, no one knows…”, but also added a twist of my own for him to think about.I told him that some Catholic thinkers speculate that since the 1st coming of Jesus came through Mary, it is conceivable that His 2nd coming will also come through Mary, except this time He would not come as a helpless baby. This could explain some of the increased Marian activity and apparitions around the world in the last couple of centuries as a kind of “spiritual pregnancy” for the 2nd coming (I also made it clear that is only speculation, not formal Catholic teaching). He said, “You know, that makes a lot of sense. I’ve never thought of that before”. Since he did not do very well in the class, I thought to myself, "I bet there are many things you’ve never thought of before".
On the surface, bible alone Christianity might make more sense than Catholicism to a believer that just wants to praise God and “be saved”, but as one asks probing questions about both faith & reason that go deeper and deeper, a reversal takes place. Catholicism stands-up to battering questions like that house built on rock we read about in Matthew 7:24-27. Bible alone Christianity crumbles like a biblical house built on sand.