Thursday, February 21, 2013

That's Not in the Bible: Contemporary Dilemmas with Sola Scriptura

Some time ago, I had a religious discussion with a co-worker that took on an unexpected twist. We were out at a local pub after the last day of a logic class I teach to our company’s support staff about problem-solving and decision-making. One of the members asked me, “So what else do you teach?” I responded, “Some technical product training and some religious education, specifically, confirmation class…I’m Catholic.” He said inquisitively, “Really?” I said, “Really.” He went on to tell me about how he gave his life to God a few years back and how it has completely changed his life; he described himself as a born again Christian.


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?
Really?
On another occasion he was invite to a piano performance by his niece during a worship service at his brothers’ non-denominational church. He began to applaud after the performance, but immediately noticed that no one else was applauding. Additionally, he received some icy stares as he began to applaud. Afterward, it was explained to him that during a worship service they only applaud for God. Applauding for others in church is taking away praise from God and is wrong. My colleague had a big problem with this also. Once again, the objection was “that’s not in the Bible”.


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.
 
Instead, I went on to talk about how scripture is subject to different interpretations and how the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus actually founded one, and only one, universal Church for everybody; a visible & authoritative Church that uses imperfect men, together with the Holy Spirit, to guide us in faith & morals. If there really is a God and He really cares about people, He would provide a way for us to know what is true or what to believe (faith), and how to behave (morals). A good Father would not just leave a book behind and for us to “figure out”; a good Father would not leave His children as orphans.

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.


75 comments:

  1. All Catholics Must read and adhere to the Bible and the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition".

    “ The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved ... and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. “ – Pope John Paul II. (CCC pg 5)

    “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (CCC pg xiv)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Growing up in a church (Free Methodist by choice as I went with my friend's family) that did not applaud and did not drink, dance or play cards made it a real challenge for me to become Catholic. But I sure am glad I did!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also came from the Free Methodist Church ( 20 years) and as thankful as I am for the foundation, I too, am so very glad that I became Catholic!!

      Delete
  3. I share some of my own thoughts on Bible interpretation from the perspective of a "Bible alone" Christian who entered the Catholic Church:

    http://pilgrimchronicle.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/thats-your-interpretation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very well written article. Congratulations on your conversion, and welcome to the family. :)

      Delete
    2. Squarepes
      This is a great thought:
      "The essence of fundamentalism, I think, is the maintaining of feelings of certitude by rejecting any information or question that brings their beliefs into doubt."
      I think this is true of many religions and philosophies including atheism. Thanks for sharing your link.

      Delete
  4. Actually its the Bible that shows many of the teachings of the RCC to be non-apostolic and unbiblical.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great blog!
    Thought you might want to change your 'PLEASE NOTE' as it says:
    'We believe EVERYTHING the Catholic Chruch teaches' rather than 'Church'

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Anonymous,

    To what do you refer?

    Joe

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Actually its the Bible that shows many of the teachings of the RCC to be non-apostolic and unbiblical."

    Anonymous...that is difficult to answer to when no references are noted. Can you clarify a bit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Take the immaculate conception of Mary. Her conception and birth are not mentioned in Scripture.

      Delete
  8. Hi Joe,
    There are so many that's it difficult to know where so start. The Marian dogmas, indulgences, treasury of merit and the papacy come to mind. None of these doctrines were taught by the apostles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.

      If you might consider a road less traveled, possible a place to start is here:

      http://www.amazon.com/Born-Fundamentalist-Again-Catholic/dp/089870569X

      Delete
    2. I see. So your assumption is that "all that is true in faith must be in the Bible." Is that correct?

      If so, I would challenge you in that your assumption itself is not in the Bible. If it is not, where did it come from? Sounds like a tradition of men to me.

      In fact, each of the items you state are backed up by the Bible. The Church simply draws the truths of the faith (dogma and doctrine) and restates them clearly via the Magisterium (or teaching arm).

      For example, the doctrine of Mary, the Mother of God was unchallenged by the Protestants. The Bible states that Mary was the Mother of Jesus. Jesus has two natures, but a mother is not the mother of a nature, but a person. If Jesus is the person, she is the mother of God.

      Mary's perpetual virginity was also understood as fact by the Protestant "reformers."

      Each of these (and more) is dealt with in a very small book, called "Where is That in the Bible?" by Patrick Madrid. Please check the library or at books.google.com (for most of it for free online).

      Delete
    3. What I am saying is that the scripture never mentions how Mary was conceived. The apostles never taught this and this means it's not apostolic.

      Delete
    4. "What I am saying is that the scripture never mentions how Mary was conceived. The apostles never taught this and this means it's not apostolic. "

      You are assuming that everything the apostles taught is explicitly written in the Bible. The Bible itself does not teach this, so by your reasoning the idea is not apostolic (!) In fact the Bible does say something contrary:

      So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 2 Thess. 2:15 (ESV)

      Delete
    5. It is true that scripture never mentions the conception of Mary. It does not follow, however, that the church never taught this. It only is true that we have no writings of the apostles that state this.

      In any case, Mary is described in the Bible as "full of grace." As grace (the life of God) cannot subsist in a person who is sinful, Mary must be sinless. Essentially, this doctrine means that Mary was always sinless.

      This was believed VERY early in the church and IS written about in the Church Fathers. See this link: http://www.staycatholic.com/ecf_immaculate_conception.htm

      Delete
    6. Just because a church teaches something does not mean it's apostolic or true. If you look up what "full of grace" means in a Greek lexicon of the New Testament you will find that it has nothing to do with morality, keeping the law of God or sin. This greeting has nothing to do with being sinless at all.

      Delete
    7. Squirrels,
      Where does Paul say in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that the traditions he refers to are about the immaculate conception of Mary? Where does he mention this in any of his writings?

      Joe,
      IF you look up what "full of grace" in a Greek lexicon of the New Testament you will find it says nothing about sin. This greeting by the angel has nothing to do with sin.

      Delete
    8. Anonymi, (not sure if you are two people or one)

      The angel, who presumably knew her name, greeted her in a singular way. The angel called her "full of grace." The Greek word kecharitomene means full of grace. If you know what grace is, it means God's life. God's life cannot coexist with sin. He simply does not grant grace where sin is.

      It does, in fact, mean that she is sinless. As she is a type of the ark of the covenant which contained the physical items indicating the presence of God (Heb 9:4, Ex 40:34, 2 Chron 7:1-3). Mary is referenced as the ark in Rev 11:19-12:1-6. Just to touch the ark is death for those who are unworthy. (1 Chron 13:10) Only something pure could contain Christ.

      So, a proper understanding of Scripture, taken together, indicates Mary's sinlessness. It is, in addition, proper that Jesus, who chose his own mother, would choose one who could be sinless in life. She is the new Eve, as well.

      I hope this helps to illustrate how the Church understands Scripture so well that it can bring clarity and teaching to its people.



      Delete
    9. Joe,
      Grace does not mean "God life". Rather it means a gracious favor or benefit. God certainly can coexist with sin. Just look at the Lord Jesus Who lived so among sinners. Their sin did not pollute or cause Him to stumble. Not even the arch enemy Satan could corrupt Him.

      What author of any of the New Testament ever refers to her as some kind of ark?

      Your church does teach but it's not apostolic doctrines. Because it doesn't it's people are confused and believe things that are not of Christ but of men.

      Delete
    10. I see we do not agree on a basic term. This is not a Catholic idea. It is accepted in non-Catholic Christian circles as well: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_gift_of_God's_life_in_us

      However, your example doesn't help your argument. Jesus was also full of grace (God's life) and was also sinless. Others cannot make you sinful. As Christ said, it is what comes from within that defiles. (Mark 7:18-23)

      St John in the book of Revelation shows the connection between the Ark and Mary (cf Rev 11:19,12:1-6).

      All the bible was written by men. These men were inspired by the Holy Spirit. However the church which taught then, teaches now. The Bible came from the church and is understood BY the church.

      Other than the Bible, do you accept any authority to teach correctly? Do you believe in the Trinity? There is no Trinity in the Bible, yet it is a clear teaching. Is that of men?

      Delete
    11. If you want to know the meaning of a word in Scripture you need to go a Hebrew-Greek lexicon of the scriptures. This where we will find the meaning of the word in context. Using a modern day dictionary can only give you the meaning in English. Where in Scripture does grace mean "God's life" in a person?
      Jesus was the perfect God-man. He was literally God incarnate. Only He was conceived without a sin nature because He alone was not conceived by a human father. Mary on the other hand was conceived by 2 fallen human beings and so was conceived in sin like all men.

      Just because John mentions the ark in Revelation 11:19 does not mean Mary is some kind of ark. To claim that is to read into the texts what is not there. Has your church ever infallible or officially interpreted these verses?

      The bible actually comes from God Who used men to write down what He wanted them to. It was the church of the 4th century that God used to discover the Canon of the New Testament.

      Anyone can teach the bible. The question is:can they do it correctly? There are many false teachers who are known to be false because their teachings warp and deny the scripture. The Marian dogmas are one such example.

      The Trinitarian doctrine is correct because it is clearly supported by scripture.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous,

      You are applying a standard to biblical interpretation that you, yourself, cannot fulfill. You have no authority to interpret scripture unless you grant it to yourself, which, again, you have no authority to do.

      You do not like my very brief connection between Mary and the ark, but say that the Trinity is "clearly supported." You say that "just because...(it) does not mean that..." It is the same with the Trinity. You can infer only three persons, but does that it means that there are ONLY 3? Nowhere in scripture is it stated that there are only 3. Maybe someday there will be 4. Where do you GET this teaching about 3? The answer is from the Church. Extra-biblical teaching.

      Your hermeneutic for interpretation is limiting if you only take what is literally said in the bible and don't dig to the meanings underneath. The Bible cannot contradict itself, but the Bible is NOT the only source of truth. In fact the Bible attests that the Pillar and ground of truth is ....... the Church. (1 Tim 3:15)

      In fact, why trust the Bible at all? It was not compiled in heaven and dropped, nicely-bound to earth. It was compiled by MEN who knew the faith, read the texts, and agreed that those texts matched THAT faith. Texts that did not meet up with those standards IN THEIR HEADS were discarded.

      You need to be very careful about the assumptions you make, and believing the Bible is the sole rule of faith is a large one. Where does that come from? Why believe that? Whose authority made it clear to you? Your pastor? Where did HE get it?

      Follow the links.

      Delete
    13. Joe,
      Why does one need authority to interpret the Scripture? Where in Scripture did Jesus or His apostles teach we are to have some kind of authority to interpret Scripture?

      As for the Trinity being 3 person who share the same essence as God and you ask "You can infer only three persons, but does that it means that there are ONLY 3? Nowhere in scripture is it stated that there are only 3. Maybe someday there will be 4." is only derived from the Scripture itself. If there were to be another member then that would have to come via some kind of revelation that would be equal to the inspired-inerrant Word of God. Such a thing does not exist. If someone were to claim this they would be teaching a false doctrine.
      The church did not make up this doctrine but based it on the inspired-inerrant Scripture. Only the Scripture is inspired-inerrant and not a person, church or institution. Because of this, the Scripture is the ultimate and final authority for the church and individuals. There is no higher authority than the Scripture and it has no equal.
      This is why its important to compare your church teachings with the Scripture. When some teaching is not grounded in the Scripture (such as the immaculate conception of Mary) it is either false or the teachings and speculations of men which are not binding.

      As for you claim -"Your hermeneutic for interpretation is limiting if you only take what is literally said in the bible and don't dig to the meanings underneath." is what false teachers do. They put meanings into the Scripture that are alien to what the Scriptures mean. Because Mary was "highly favored" by God is taken to mean she was sinless her entire life is an example of reading into the texts what is not in the text. It is wrong to do this. Its wrong because the definition of the term has nothing to do with sinlessness.

      BTW- who gives you authority to interpret the Scripture?

      Delete
    14. The Bible was compiled and written by the Catholic church, this gives the Church the authority to interpret what it says. that's the way it works, the authur is the one who, when there is a question, interprets what they wrote.

      Perhaps you summed up your problem when you stated; "There is no higher authority than the Scripture and it has no equal." Catholics have always believed the bible was written to help us know the 'higher authority', which is God.

      BTW- no person has the authority to infallibly interpret scripture. Interpretation falls to the church established by the Christ; the Catholic Church.

      Delete
  9. I ordered and read a book titled: 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura, by David Armstrong. I would encourage both Protestant and Catholic to read it. It is a phenomenal book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ordinary Catholic,
      Sounds like you have read this book. Can you define what Sola Scriptura is? What does the term mean?

      Thanks

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  10. I have been a Baptist for almost 30 years and now am Assembly of God seriously looking to convert to Catholicism. Not once did anyone tell me not to applaud,or sing out loud, not to dance with joy or raise my hands in praise. Of course the Bible is the supreme authority of Christianity, but it does leave some things to reason based on faith. My grandmother, a devout Baptist, didn't tell me not to drink although she wished I didn't, but she told me to do all
    things in moderation and respect my body as the temple of the temple of the Holy Spirit.My grandfather and one of my pastors told me that it is okay to have tattoos as long as they don't dishonor God. So I was raised differently than your friend and so were a lot of my friends.I just didn't like the stereotype I felt you were implying against Protestants and Evangelical s and in truth Evangelicals have made more strides in appealing to more contemporary worship to appeal to both young and old and I see the Catholic Church glacially slow to do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Derrick the Church is not here to "appeal" to young or old. The Church is not here to provide entertainment or spiritual highs. It is in the Catholic Church that you can find Jesus Christ in the Eucharist Blood, Body Soul and Divinity. It is for this reason that the Mass exists, it is for us to pray, honor God and receive him. It is for this reason that Mass is a Sacred prayer, it's hard to pray when there's a party going on. There is no greater or more fulfilling worship than receiving Jesus on your hands and knees in silence and allowing him to speak to you. It will never be as Evangelicals are, God forbid. The Church does not change to accommodate society or trends, we change to be part of the Church, the Body of Christ. Once you come home Derrick, and receive Jesus in the Eucharist you will know exactly what I mean and it will become very clear why the Mass is the way it is. Welcome Home!!

      Delete
    2. Hi Derrick,
      Seems you were raised well. I certainly had no intention of offending anyone with stereotypes. The post is based on the experience I had one evening with a co-worker. If you look at the post again, the issue my co-work brought up was applauding/praising someone OTHER THAN God during a worship service; and I’d have to agree with Anonymous, the purpose of the Catholic service (Mass) is the proper worship of God, not to provide entertainment or spiritual highs.

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm a convert too and Anonymous uses the same arguments that are always trotted out, but that with a bit of digging, reason, and plain common sense are easily answered, biblically! The thing I have loved about Catholic doctrine/teaching is that there are NO HOLES! NONE..the theology is SEAMLESS, as opposed to the Wesleyan-Armenian theology in which I was raised,,,,where there were tons of holes and hurdles that had to be jumped! So grateful for the truth of the Catholic Church, and especially grateful for the book mentioned earlier, Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic....when I read that book, I felt like there were fireworks almost literally 'blowing my mind'! Thanks for a great column.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne,
      I read that book a few years ago, although I was born Catholic (fell away, grew-up and came to my senses in my mid 20’s) that book also “blew my mind”. Thank you for your comment.

      Delete
  13. It is not the church's job to "appeal" to more "contemporary" worship. The church is not Windex or Tide which needs to be "new and improved". While the church may hurtle headlong into a new evangelization via social media and electronic devices, it is neither the onus nor the duty of the One True Church to become entertaining to legions of people who have immolated their soles at the altar of the quick fix, the catchy tune, or the 140 character mind box. God save us from ever "appealing to contemporary worship".

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good Morning,

    Convert myself (from Southern Baptist), but I took slightly different approach to everything; aside from praying - which is number one, I looked at the situation from a historical angle. I read the book of Acts; as well as the New Testament, but didn't find a wealth of information as far as liturgy and such, then I went and read the basic theological writings of Martin Luther, in which he surprisingly - for a Baptist, strongly attacks re-baptism as well as the memorial view of the Lord's Supper, from there I started reading the early church fathers - at that point it was pretty clear that the first Christians were Catholic period - in doctrine and liturgy.

    The supremacy of Sola Scriptura fails in practice: Not drinking alcohol was one such practice; the 'altar' call might be another, the term 'Trinity' itself (though admittedly the concept is implied - especially during the Baptism of our Lord, as well as the formula used).

    I've witnessed the disagreements over the Lord's Supper, Baptism, gifts of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of salvation, signs of, and whether one is always saved or can loose it; and these all take place in Sola Scriptura churches.

    Sola Scripture is non-biblical in theory, and utterly fails in practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning Joel,
      “from there I started reading the early church fathers”
      What specifically did you read? Original writings? Books about the fathers? Just curious. I’m looking for something myself, but with very limited reading time, it needs to be good. Thanks!

      Delete
    2. Joel,
      Can you define what Sola Scriptura means?

      Delete
    3. Ben,
      Early Christian Doctrines by JND Kelly is considered a standard and did more to sway me to the Catholic Church, even though Kelly is a Protestant. He provides lots of citations from the early fathers. But if you want to get it from the horse's mouth as it were...

      http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

      Delete
    4. squarepegs,
      Have you studied church history? Take the papacy. There is no evidence of a supreme leader after the apostles died for the entire church in the first century for example.

      Have you read the church fathers? I don't mean a quote book but the 38 volumes of their writings?

      Delete
    5. I have to some degree. I haven't read all 38 volumes. Nor do I have to, nor is this about me. We are all anonymous here so you or I could claim to be some eminent authority in the field and it would prove nothing.

      The evidence of Acts 1 is that the apostles regarded their offices as something that would be passed down by succession. The reference there to Isaiah makes this conclusion inescapable IMO. Nor could it be any other way since there is absolutely zero evidence in the Bible that Christ intended the Church to operate under a fundamentally different authority structure after the deaths of the apostles than the one He established under them. He gave the twelve the authority to bind and loose and to speak with His authority, and in the exercise of that office they appointed successors. That's what is written, and in Irenaeus and Ignatius we have evidence within a half century of the apostles that this was the common understanding of Christians then. The idea of a million final authorities (i.e. any Christian with an opinion and feelings of certitude) as the final arbiter of what is and isn't biblical, apostolic and true is unbiblical and a very late invention historically speaking.

      Delete
    6. And both Moses and Elijah gave a portion of their spirit to their successors. Jesus appeared with both of them at the Transfiguration. He also gave his spirit and authority to the apostles, his successors.

      Delete
    7. squarepegs,
      I agree that the apostles had authority in the NT church. However, their offices as apostles was not passed down nor could be since one of the requirements for being an apostle is found here in Acts 1:21-22
      'Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
      As you can see these conditions cannot be met today. There is no such thing as apostolic succession in the church. All that we have is a passing on of apostolic doctrines which are found in the NT alone.

      Do you realize you church has never officially or infallibly interpreted the Scripture?

      Its quite easy to see what is biblical-apostolic. All you need to do is to see if it was taught by the apostles. Mary's supposed immaculate conception is not even mentioned in Scripture. If its not mentioned then its not biblical or apostolic.


      Delete
    8. I think you are missing the forest for the trees. The apostles said as a matter of prudential judgment that the one who should succeed Judas should be one who witnessed Jesus' ministry. But the fact that their office was passed down by succession meant that at some point there would be someone who didn't and yet the office was still one that was passed down by succession. That is the inescapable conclusion of Acts 1. Unless you have a Bible reference that shows that the Church was to function in a fundamentally different manner after the original 12 apostles died...?

      Delete
    9. squarepegs,
      It is true that Judas was replaced by someone else who had the qualifications of an apostle (walked with Christ since the beginning of His ministry and witnessed His resurrection-Acts 1:21-22). It is these qualifications that make an apostle and these conditions can no longer be fulfilled. Secondly, the function of an apostle was temporary. The structure and the leaders of the church were to be done by bishops, elders, and pastors. See Eph 4:11; I Tim 3.
      What you don't find in any list of the offices of the church in the NT is a supreme leader of the entire (pope), celibate leadership nor priests.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous,

      Jesus created a church on Peter. You are implying that He had no intention for that church or those leaders to do anything. No new situations will arise. No decisions will need to be made. They are just to preach Jesus and stay mute if anything comes up that Jesus did not explicitly reference.

      Jesus did not talk about the situation that arose in the council of Jerusalem. Yet that was new for the apostles. They had to have the authority to deal with it. If the apostles were the limit of authority, then the next generation would be shepherdless. Jesus promised that would not be so. A shepherd that cannot lead is worthless. Christ did not leave such a church.

      Those items you talk about were perhaps not WRITTEN about by the apostles but the immediate successors (the Fathers of the Church) did write about many of them. If you stop at that one generation, you imply Jesus didn't want those men to lead.

      Again, Moses and Elijah both "gave a portion of his spirit" to their successors. So did Christ. He did not give an impotent spirit.

      Lastly, St Paul did recommend celibacy if possible and it is that celibacy that is the seed of the priestly spiritual practice.

      Delete
    11. Joe,
      If Jesus meant to establish His church on a man then we have a problem. That problem is that any man (except the Lord Jesus) is not strong enough to build something on. We see can easily see how weak Peter was as a man in Gal 2:11-14.
      The apostles did have authority that came from Christ Himself. That authority was used to spread the gospel, establish churches and teach apostolic doctrine which is found only in the NT. Part of their teachings was the structure of the church where we find the qualifications of leadership. It is this leadership that is to pass on the teachings of the apostles (NT) and nothing else. It is on the basis of apostolic doctrine that the leaders of the church such as bishops are to lead.

      Where do we find in Scripture the apostles creating more apostles after Acts 1:26?

      Paul's recommendation for celibacy is not in the context of church leadership but in the context sparing believers trouble in this world. See I Cor 7

      Delete
    12. Anonymous,

      Yes there is a problem. You are telling me Jesus was wrong enough when he said, you are Peter and on this rock (peter) I will build my church.

      I (and the church) hold that Jesus knew exactly what he was saying.

      You are correct regarding the apostles' job description. However you make the VERY large assumption that all they were meant to teach was written down in the NT. Stop that.

      Why make the arbitrary limit "after Acts 1:26" ? The NT is saying explicitly that apostles can make new apostles after one dies, yet you reject Scripture. So it's not Scripture alone, but Scripture and you, since Scripture is clear but wrong, otherwise Scripture is inerrant but needs you to clarify.

      Either way, it is NOT Scripture alone.

      Delete
    13. Are you saying that your church is built upon Peter the man?

      I am saying that the only way that we can have and know we have apostolic teaching is from the Scripture alone because the only thing we have from the apostles is found in the NT and nowhere else. Agreed?

      Of course churches teach other things that are not grounded in the Scriptures. Those teachings that are not, are not apostolic but the teachings of men. Correct?

      Notice the requirements to be an apostle: "Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection." Acts 1:21-22

      As you can see from this passage, no one today nor since the first century can satisfy this requirement. No new apostles can be made.


      Delete
    14. No I actually have to disagree with much of what you state.

      Again, Christ built the Church upon Peter the man. I did not, Jesus did.

      The Church contains are the teachings of Men inspired by God. Just as the apostles were. If you discard anything the apostles did then what good are apostles? What is the point of building a Church whose task was complete?

      Last question: Why would you keep the New Testament scripture when you discard everything else performed by or written by by the Church? Once we get this sorted out, we can continue. You seem unable to accept the contradiction.

      Delete
    15. Here is one of the problems you have with basing your church on Peter: he denied the gospel and was rebuked by Paul in Galatians 2:14. In the description of the structure of the church in Ephesians 2:20 he is not mentioned as the foundation but the apostles as a group are.

      Are you claiming the teachings of your church such as the catechism is inspired by God?

      Not sure what you mean by your last question. Can you clarify?

      Delete
    16. I didn't base a church. I joined a church. Jesus built a church. On a rock, whose name is Peter. I joined THAT church.

      Clarification: The New Testament was written by the first leaders of the Catholic Church. You accept that as authoritative, yet you refuse to accept anything else they did or said unless it is contained in those specific writings. That is contradictory. Explain.

      Delete
    17. Joe,
      The church that Christ founded and is building is not built on a man. It is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Himself as the being the corner stone. Eph 2:20

      It is true that I accept the NT as authoritative because these are the only writings-teachings we have of the apostles. There is nothing else.

      Delete
    18. Good morning,
      What of the Gospel of Thomas? (one of the 12)
      What of the Gospel of Luke? (NOT one of the 12)
      What of the book of Wisdom? Can that be in the canon also?No? Who says so?

      It always circles back to a central question: How can we know what’s true?

      Delete
    19. Good morning,
      The Gospel of Thomas was not written by an apostle. To late. Late 2nd century at the earliest.
      Luke was a companion of Paul so that is its connection to an apostle.
      Book of Wisdom is one of the deuterocanonical books and was not accepted as inspired-inerrant Scripture until Trent.

      There are a number of methods we can apply to determine the truth about something. We know the gospel of Thomas is not scripture because it fails the test of apostolicity. We believe in heaven and hell based on the authority of Christ and not because of evidence because there is none. We can test for doctrines being apostolic by comparing doctrine with what the apostles taught by Scripture.

      Delete
    20. “Luke was a companion of Paul so that is its connection to an apostle.”

      So all we need now is a “connection” to an apostle. From here we need to define the type of connection, the limits of the connection, etc. How can we know what’s true? Truth cannot be based on scripture ALONE. It’s scripture plus “something” in every Christian church.

      Delete
    21. The Scripture speaks the truth on what it deals with. We can know what is true by the various methods I mentioned.
      The Scripture needs to be interpreted and interpreted correctly. How do you know when your church is interpreted the Scripture correctly?

      Delete
    22. We spoke of some kind of “connection” to the Apostles. Catholics believes that todays’ Catholic Bishops together with the Pope are still connected (via Apostolic Chain) to the original Apostles and Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit. We trust that Holy Spirit has guided the Church to all truth over the past 2000 years and will continue to do so. This is done through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium (teaching arm).

      It relates to John 16: 12-13: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

      “You” in the verse, in today’s context, refers to those still connected to the original Apostles. Thanks for the chat and God bless.

      Delete
    23. Ben,
      Not so fast. You make statements without any support or exegesis of Scripture. Take John 16: 12-13. What Jesus said here is not about some later church but was only specifically to the apostles. The truth that the Lord Jesus would guide them into would later be called the NT.

      Delete
    24. The logical consequence of what you say is that the church would no longer need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, since the NT without the Holy Spirit is all one would need. How has that worked out? Have we one, single understanding of that NT? Nope. Without a single, Holy Spirit led entity (the Church), each person would be expected to individually come to the same conclusions about the meaning of Scripture. This is not the case.

      In short, you seem to be following a different church than the one Jesus founded. This is not a matter of the Catholic Church having "better" truth than anyone else. There is no merit in this at all. It is a gift of God and it is a precious mission to safeguard and authentically teach these truths. Praise be to God for making us dependent on some OTHER entity than ourselves because we are sure to screw it up! Thank you God for the Church!

      Delete
    25. Joe,
      It would be great if there was just one truth that has been uniform for the past 2000 years. If you study church history you will find this is not the case at all. There have been many issues debated in the history of the church and continue to be even to this day. Take the meaning of the woman of Rev 12 as an example. Your church has never infallibly interpreted this chapter and there are a number of different interpretations of this passage by RC scholars.
      Take papal infallibility for example. The pope was not always considered to speak infallibly. Its actually quite a late development. To depend totally on your church given its history is not a wise thing to do.

      Delete
    26. Anonymous,

      If what you stated were true, then we are on our own. We have only our own fallible interpretation of a fallible scripture. I would consider that as wishful thinking to be able to do God's will based upon that. Jesus did not give us that situation. I do not think you believe it either, since you seem to be trying to bring me to your way of thinking. You obviously also believe ONE way is correct. The difference between us is that you believe the truth is YOUR way and not the Catholic Church's way.

      The NT promises us that we could know his will based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the pillar and ground of Truth, the Church. The Church's teachings are infallible. Because of that infallibility, the Church CANNOT teach just anything. It has to be silent on issues of which it does not know for sure. Anything it does speak on, MUST be certain and in line with all other doctrine. This is a great limitation since there is only one truth, the Church is careful to never speak of what it does not know.

      Also, you may not know this, but papal infallibility was believed early on, but only promulgated as a doctrine 150 years ago. Be careful not to confuse the time of the promulgation of a doctrine with the first time it was believed. The doctrine of the Trinity was believed long before the word was coined.

      Delete
    27. Joe,
      How can you clam your church can never err when Jesus never promised such a thing? Paul and Peter warned that false teachers would come into the church and deceive many. Jesus in Rev 3 is already rebuking churches for teaching false doctrines. If Jesus had promised to protect the church from error then these warnings would be absurd.

      Delete
    28. I think this article answers your question very well: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm Please note that it makes use of Scripture to support the claim.

      Here is a relevant excerpt:
      Without infallibility there could be no finality regarding any one of the great truths which have been identified historically with the very essence of Christianity; and it is only with those who believe in historical Christianity that the question need be discussed. Take, for instance, the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. If the early Church was not infallible in her definitions regarding these truths, what compelling reason can be alleged today against the right to revive the Sabellian, or the Arian, or the Macedonian, or the Apollinarian, or the Nestorian, or the Eutychian controversies, and to defend some interpretation of these mysteries which the Church has condemned as heretical?

      Delete
  15. George responded, “Why do you worship Mary? Jesus referred to her by saying ‘who is my Mother...’ It doesn’t appear in Scripture that she was as special as you Catholics believe her to be.”

    “Let’s look at this from a logical perspective,” I said. “To begin with, Catholics do not worship Mary in any way, shape or form. As you know, the commandment teaches that we are to worship God and God alone. The Catholic Church literally condemns the worship of anything or anyone other than God in Trinity. I must admit that we Catholics hold Mary in the highest regard, but in doing so we are simply emulating God.”

    “How so?” George inquired.

    “Consider this,” I said, “Jesus (as God) created His own Mother. Do you agree?”

    “Well, I must admit that I have never thought of it in that way, but yes, I suppose we could say that He did”, said George.

    I continued, “Now, if you were God, and decided to create your own Mother, the Mother of the Incarnation, would you not make her perfect in every way?”

    George, once again, agreed.

    “The Bible tells us that nothing unclean will enter heaven, (Revelation 21:27). Doesn’t it stand to reason that if nothing profane can be in God’s divine presence in heaven, then God would not come into the world in a soiled vessel?

    “The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb, without the taint of the sin of Adam, which we call Original Sin. She would have to have been pure in every way or it would be an affront to God’s majesty. We call this doctrine the ‘Immaculate Conception.’

    Excerpt from "Bible Sabotage"

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ben,
    I would recommend reading the Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch.
    Ignatius was ordained by one of the Apostles, was made a bishop by St. Peter, was a disciple of St. John for more than 30 years, a died as a martyr.
    About 80% of basic Catholic theology are found in these letters.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Please let me have a biblical cite that says you can use a Hebrew-Greek lexicon to determine the meaning of the words of Scripture. While you're at it, how about a cite from the bible that says it is OK to translate it from the original. Can I assume also that everyone here discussing this has indeed read the bible. and not a translation? Does the word "translation" appear in the original bible? And may I also suppose that all of you who have not read the bible, but have read a translation, are using the same translation? If not, let me know the cite from the bible that tells us which translation to use and more importantly which one is correct [it seems that some translations contradict each other -so there must be wihtin Scripture the means to pick and choose the correct translation]. Which brings us to another point: I see some bibles have different books than other bibles, where in the bible does it tell us which version is right? which books are to be included and which not? So often Sola Scriptura is used only as a weapon against Catholics "that's not in the bilbe" - but this principle udnercuts Sola Scriptura over and over again. Guy McClung, Rockport TX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Translations are based on the various manuscripts that we have from the past centuries. With most literal translations such as the NASB we can have confidence of over 95% accuracy to the original autographs of the Scripture.
      You should study the history of the Bible and how it came to be. It would answer a lot of your questions.

      What is Sola Scriptura? Can you define it for me?

      Delete
  18. Mary said, in the bible, that generation will call me blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;" (RSVCE)

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's ridiculous to argue about what the "bible" says and not. Paul wrote most of it and he was a radical jew killing christians (what did he do about the Thou Shall Not Kill -commandment?). When he was converted to christianity, he was a radical christian. He is the reason the Amish all cover their heads!! This covering of the head is another jewish trait that Jesus condemned in the jews - all show and no heart.
    Most of what was taught was oral and the church calls that Tradition. The protestants will hang on to the bible because that's all they have. Most converts will say, they came into the church because they read and learned church history. Give them books on it such as Faith of Our Fathers by Jurgens. AND PRAY
    PLEASE GOD ENLIGHTEN YOUR "SHEEP"!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Or Lady of Fatima today!.....I always enjoy other denominations try to
    explain away this feast. Over 70,000 people (including atheist press)
    witnessed it. Mary is involved in bringing us to God.

    ReplyDelete