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definition of sola scriptura

Discussion in 'Non-denominational' started by I can eat 50 eggs, Jul 15, 2003.

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  1. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

  2. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

    2 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 3:15-16 - interpreting Scripture is not a matter of one's own private interpretation. Therefore, it must be a matter of "public" interpretation of the Church. The Divine Word needs a Divine Interpreter. Private judgment leads to divisions, and this is why there are 30,000 different Protestant denominations.

    Also, look at 1 Sam. 3:1-9, where the Lord speaks to Samuel, but Samuel doesn't recognize it is God. See also 1 Kings 13:1-32. Don't let yourself be deceived by not following the voice of the Lord!

    The Church is Infallible and Supernatural, in spite of Her human representatives.

    Isaiah 35:8, 54:13-17 - this prophecy refers to the Church as the Holy Way where sons will be taught by God and they will not err. The Church has been given the gift of infallibility when teaching about faith and morals, where her sons are taught directly by God and will not err. This gift of infallibility means that the Church is prevented from teaching error by the power of the Holy Spirit (it does not mean that Church leaders do not sin!)

    Acts 9:2; 22:4; 24:14,22 - the early Church is identified as the "Way" prophesied in Isaiah 35:8 where fools will not err therein.

    Matt. 10:20; Luke 12:12 - Jesus tells His apostles it is not they who speak, but the Spirit of their Father speaking through them. If the Spirit is the one speaking and leading the Church, the Church cannot err on matters of faith and morals.

    Matt. 16:18 - Jesus promises the gates of Hades would never prevail against the Church. Since the Catholic Church was the only Church which existed up until the Reformation, those who follow the Protestant reformers call Christ a liar by saying that Hades did prevail.

    Matt. 16:19 - for Jesus to give Peter and the apostles, mere human beings, the authority to bind in heaven what they bound on earth requires infallibility. This is a gift of the Holy Spirit and has nothing to do with the holiness of the person receiving the gift.

    Matt. 18:17-18 - the Church (not Scripture) is the final authority on questions of the faith. This demands infallibility when teaching the faith. She must be prevented from teaching error in order to lead her members to the fullness of salvation.

    Matt. 28:20 - Jesus promises that He will be with the Church always. Jesus' presence in the Church assures infallible teaching on faith and morals. With Jesus present, we can never be deceived.

    Mark 8:33 - non-Catholics sometimes use this verse to down play Peter's authority. This does not make sense. In this verse, Jesus rebukes Peter to show the import of His Messianic role as the Savior of humanity. Moreover, at this point, Peter was not yet the Pope with the keys, and Jesus did not rebuke Peter for his teaching. Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of understanding.

    Luke 10:16 - whoever hears you, hears me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me. Jesus is very clear that the bishops of the Church speak with Christ's infallible authority.

    Luke 22:32 - Jesus prays for Peter, that his faith may not fail. Jesus' prayer for Peter's faith is perfectly efficacious, and this allows Peter to teach the faith without error.

    John 11:51-52 - some non-Catholics argue that sinners cannot have the power to teach infallibly. But in this verse, God allows Caiaphas to prophesy infallibly, even though he was evil and plotted Jesus' death. God allows sinners to teach infallibly, just as He allows sinners to become saints. As a loving Father, He exalts His children, and is bound by His own justice to give His children a mechanism to know truth from error.

    1 & 2 Peter - for example, Peter denied Christ, he was rebuked by his greatest bishop (Paul), and yet he wrote two infallible encyclicals. Further, if Peter could teach infallibly by writing, why could he not also teach infallibly by preaching? And why couldn't his successors so teach as well?

    Gen. to Deut.; Psalms; Paul - Moses and Paul were murderers and David was an adulterer and murderer, but they also wrote infallibly. God uses us sinful human beings because when they respond to His grace and change their lives, we give God greater glory and His presence is made more manifest in our sinful world.

    John 14:16 - Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church forever. The Spirit prevents the teaching of error on faith and morals. It is guaranteed because the guarantee comes from God Himself.

    John 14:26 - Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would teach the Church (the apostles and successors) all things regarding the faith. This means that the Church can teach us the right moral positions on such things as in vitro fertilization, cloning and other issues that are not addressed in the Bible. After all, these issues of morality are necessary for our salvation, and God would not leave such important issues to be decided by us sinners without His divine assistance.

    John 16:12 - Jesus had many things to say but the apostles couldn't bear them at that point. This demonstrates that the Church's infallible doctrine develops over time. All public Revelation was completed with the death of the last apostle, but the doctrine of God's Revelation develops as our minds and hearts are able to welcome and understand it. God teaches His children only as much as they can bear, for their own good.

    John 16:13 - Jesus promises that the Spirit will "guide" the Church into all truth. Our knowledge of the truth develops as the Spirit guides the Church, and this happens over time.

    Acts 15:27-28 - the apostles know that their teaching is being guided by the Holy Spirit. He protects the Church from deception.

    Gal. 2:11-14 - non-Catholics sometimes use this verse to diminish Peter's evident authority over the Church. This is misguided. In this verse, Paul does not oppose Peter's teaching, but his failure to live by it. Infallibility (teaching without error) does not mean impeccability (living without sinning). Peter was the one who taught infallibly on the Gentile's salvation in Acts 10,11. With this rebuke, Paul is really saying "Peter, you are our leader, you teach infallibly, and yet your conduct is inconsistent with these facst. You of all people!" The verse really underscores, and not diminishes the importance of Peter's leadership in the Church.

    Eph. 3:10 - the wisdom of God is known, even to the intellectually superior angels, through the Church (not the Scriptures). This is an incredible verse, for it tells us that God's infinite wisdom comes to us through the Church. For that to happen, the Church must be protected from teaching error on faith and morals (or she wouldn't be endowed with the wisdom of God).

    Eph. 3:9 - this, in fact, is a mystery hidden for all ages - that God manifests His wisdom through one infallible Church for all people.

    Eph. 3:20 - God's glory is manifested in the Church by the power of the Spirit that works within the Church's leaders. As a Father, God exalts His children to roles of leadership within the body of Christ.

    Eph 5:23-27, Col. 1:18 - Christ is the head of the Church, His Bride, for which He died to make it Holy and without blemish. There is only one Church, just as Christ only has one Bride.

    Eph. 5:32 - Paul calls the Church a "mystery." This means that the significance of the Church as the kingdom of God in our midst cannot be understood by reason alone. Understanding the Church also requires faith. "Church" does not mean a building of believers. That is not a mystery. Non-catholics often view church as mere community, but not the supernatural mystery of Christ physically present among us.

    1 Thess. 5:21 - Paul commands us to test everything. But we must have something against which to test. This requires one infallible guide that is available to us, and this guide is the Catholic Church, whose teachings on faith and morals have never changed.

    1 Tim. 3:15 - Paul says the apostolic Church (not Scripture) is the pillar and foundation of the truth. But for the Church to be the pinnacle and foundation of truth, she must be protected from teaching error, or infallible. She also must be the Catholic Church, whose teachings on faith and morals have not changed for over 2,000 years. God loves us so much that He gave us a Church that infallibly teaches the truth so that we have the fullness of the means of salvation in His only begotten Son.

    The Catholic position always hold up to biblical scrutiny. Protestantism depends on whatever the individual decides to mold their god into.

    Protestantism gives us, nothing authoritative except one's own private interpretation. Until you can prove that your church is interpreting Scripture correctly, why should I leave the Catholic Church? It would be like leaving one uncertain denomination for another equally uncertain one.
  3. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

    Let's settle this down. There are several statements I see in this thread that violate rule 2. We are not to "put down" any denomination. You can state your case for your denomination but you may not put down any other.

    This goes for all sides of this issue.

    Informal warnings will follow this post.
    You may use the edit feature, it's provided because we are not yet perfect and sometimes need an eraser and forgivness.
  4. A. believer

    A. believer Contributor

    I'll refrain from responding to Bastoune until I get some clarification as to what you meant here, and if you were referring to anything in my post. I would hope that it would be clear that my point was not to "put down" Roman Catholicism, but rather to expose a double standard in a common RC argument many Roman Catholics use to try to portray evangelical Protestantism as a whole as inherently "disunified" because of our disagreements while portraying their own denomination as inherently unified, despite similar disagreements.
  5. A. believer

    A. believer Contributor

    I've received a private response in regard to my question, so I'll respond now to Bastoune.

    Please substantiate your statement that Luther and Calvin "cursed each other as devils."

    Luther and Calvin didn't agree on every point of theology, but this is no basis for saying that they weren't both led by the Holy Spirit. The church fathers, for example, exegeted many passages of Scripture differently from one another, and yet no Roman Catholic denies that they were indwelt by and led by the same Spirit. Luther and Calvin both affirmed the fundamental principles of evangelical Christianity--the five solas of the Reformation. The evangelical contention is that they, as well as the other Reformers, were all led by the Holy Spirit to instigate reform. This doesn't mean that any of them were infallible, and there's no valid reason to believe that it should.

    Exactly. Evangelicals (and again, evangelical Protestantism is defined by certain distinctives--it doesn't encompass all non-RC/EOs who profess to be Christians) agree on the nature of God and salvation. We disagree on non-essentials--just like you!

    I've come to suspect that the reason many RCs seem to think that Protestants don't agree on anything is because so many of them simply do not grasp that evangelical Protestantism is anything other than just "anti-Catholicism." In fact, I've seen more than one RC assert exactly that--that Protestantism is, by its very nature--simply a reaction against anything "Catholic." It's this kind of failure to understand what we believe and what we stand for that seems to be at the heart of this charge of us being in a some kind of a state of chaos.

    Transubstantiation is one just possible explanation among many, and it's an explanation that's inconsistent with what many church father's specifically stated about the Eucharist. But more importantly, since transubstantiation specifically points out a change in substance, it's in direct contradiction to what a Roman bishop, Pope Gelasius, said here.

    "The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries." (cited in Philip Schaff, 95)

    Occasionally I do just use the word Catholic (with a capital "C") alone to refer to your denomination, but since I don't consider a denomination that considers itself the "one true church" legitimately catholic, I'm disinclined to use it. And since papal documents use the term Roman Catholic to refer to all churches under Roman authority, I don't see any valid reason for Roman Catholics to object to me using it. So the thing is, I object to being excluded from the designations of catholic and of orthodox by specific communions who've arrogated those terms as titles applicable only to themselves, but I don't expect to be able to do anything about it. So why don't we just agree, I won't ask you to stop calling yourself Catholic, and you don't ask me to start calling you Catholic. Agreed?

    You needn't start a separate thread because I understand what you're saying about these issues--that they aren't inherently divisive. My point is that the same is true of the issues over which true evangelicals differ.

    The same reason that, throughout church history, genuine Christians didn't always exegete Scripture the same. In fact, Augustine retracted some of his interpretations of Scripture and changed them when he believed that he'd come to a more mature understanding. But he was legitimately Christian both before and after, and he accepted others as legitimately Christian who disagreed with him on these non-essential issues.

    Scripture is infallible--Christian's aren't. Rightly exegeting some of the more difficult passages of Scripture is a skill that sometimes takes certain specific knowledge as well as Christian maturity. But why do you consider it legitimate to point out the different views of predestination, for example, as a divisive point among evangelicals, but the different views of predestination among Roman Catholics that I pointed out, you write off as insignificant and having no bearing on essential Christian truths? Is the double standard really not apparent to you or are you just pulling my leg?

    It's all throughout. It's apparent, for example, in all the instances where the authorities in Israel were held to the ultimate authority of Scripture.

    What is this a response to?

    Historical continuity is heartily affirmed by the Reformers and by true evangelicalism. Uniformity on all points of belief, however, never existed in Christendom.

    Amen--nothing to disagree with here (except perhaps your implied interpretation of the 2 Peter verse.)

    Nothing today parallels the situation in Acts 15 since no modern councils have any apostles in attendance. Evangelicalism doesn't reject the validity of church councils. We reject the idea that conciliar decisions are infallible and more binding than Scripture.

    "But who can fail to be aware that the sacred canon of Scripture, both of the Old and New Testament, is confined within its own limits, and that it stands so absolutely in a superior position to all later letters of the bishops, that about it we can hold no manner of doubt or disputation whether what is confessedly contained in it is right and true; but that all the letters of bishops which have been written, or are being written, since the closing of the canon, are liable to be refuted if there be anything contained in them which strays from the truth, either by the discourse of some one who happens to be wiser in the matter than themselves, or by the weightier authority and more learned experience of other bishops, by the authority of Councils; and further, that the Councils themselves, which are held in the several districts and provinces, must yield, beyond all possibility of doubt, to the authority of plenary Councils which are formed for the whole Christian world; and that even of the plenary Councils, the earlier are often corrected by those which follow them" - Augustine (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, 2:3)

    Although many professing evangelicals (and particularly American evangelicals) behave as if Christianity is an individualistic endeavor, that's not what evangelicalism is really about. I only request from you what RCs often request from us--don't base your judgment of what we are by the failure of some to live up to the ideals of our tradition.

    Nevertheless, RCs contradict one another's interpretation of your magisterial pronouncements just as surely as evangelicals contradict one another's interpretation of Holy Scripture.


    It sounds as if you're reading a little too much into the NIV translation. The NIV is not a word-for word translation. It tries to convey terms in accordance with common usage, and since the word tradition has taken on a negative connotation for some, apparently they chose to use a different word that conveyed the same meaning. Nevertheless, I don't object to the word tradition per se, but rather to the RC understanding of tradition. But that would be a whole discussion in and of itself. Suffice it to say that you can't just make your assertions and assume your definitions and expect others who dispute those definitions to comply.

    But I have read a good deal of the fathers, and I don't see in them what you say. Granted, I don't approach the fathers with the same assumptions you do. I don't consider them to necessarily have a deeper understanding of Scripture simply by virtue of them being "the fathers." But the ironic thing is that, if I were looking to find "the church of the fathers," I don't find it in the RCC or the EO. Although some of the beliefs of some of them sounded fairly RC and/or EO, many others of their beliefs and foundational principles sounded much more evangelical. I've found over the years that RCs expect us to read the fathers with the presupposition that they were Roman Catholics, but I see no good reason to do so. Overall, the fathers simply don't sound particularly Roman Catholic.

    Perhaps we could discuss Irenaeus's, Against Heresies in the debate forum, but when I read Irenaeus's words in the context of the gnostic heretics he's refuting--men who claimed to have secret knowledge of traditions unknown even to the apostles, I find that his arguments, instead of being applicable against evangelicalism as RCs continually imply, they have an application quite appropriate to RCism.
  6. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

    I guess since we're not allowed to "debate" here, I cannot answer your Pope Gelasius quote, nor reply to the other questions. But you're unfortunately mistaken about Gelasius' denial of the Real Presence. The "accidents" remain, not the nature.


    Shall we take it to another thread on the interdenominational forum?

    But what do you regard as "non-essentials"?

    Infant baptism and the very nature and necessity of baptism, are they "non-essential"? The very nature of justification and salvation (can you lose it once you are "saved"), is that "non-essential"?

    Just remember: How do you know the Bible is infallible and complete? Who compiled it? Who safe-guarded it? Through whom did the Holy Spirit guide in these actions?

    Paul didn't start his own church, even though his call was directly from Jesus, and he had to be ordained (Acts 9:17-19) by Ananias before he was able to preach the gospel.

    Transubstantiation is one just possible explanation among many, and it's an explanation that's inconsistent with what many church father's specifically stated about the Eucharist.

    Please find me ONE CHURCH FATHER who did not believe in the Real Presence. Transubstantiation is, again, terminology, not a scientific term.
  7. sad astronaut

    sad astronaut Robot in Disguise

    Not to be rude, but please do.
  8. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

    Good idea.

    To A Believer: Did you read the actual, full document by Gelasius or just the "excerpt" provided to you by a Protestant site? You should always go to the source itself rather than to a biased site to insure authenticity.

    I knew a guy who tried to deny that Augustine believed in the Real Presence by some quotes quoted on an anti-Catholic site. As someone who has all Augie's works at my home, I was able to go and prove him wrong and he got REALLY angry about that. But goes to show, you can't trust a lot of what you pick out of context.
  9. A. believer

    A. believer Contributor

    Transubstantiation is not just "terminology." It's a detailed explanation of exactly what transpires with the Eucharistic elements after consecration by the priest, and the explanation explicitly says that the substance of the elements changes, and that the church has always taught this. Trent doesn't deny that the word transubstantiation came late, but they do teach that the concept they refer to as transubstantiation was always taught and believed in the church. But a Roman bishop, Pope Gelasius, explicitly says that the substance of the elements remains. These are irreconcileable.

    If you want to debate something, you can start a new thread in the other forum, but if you do, it has to be confined to a single issue.

  10. Filia Mariae

    Filia Mariae Senior Contributor

    A Believer,

    Just as a heads-up, we've all seen that list of questions from Eric Svendson before. It's not some great news flash to us that there are dissenters among the Catholic Church. But the failure of some people to submit themselves to the valid authority of the Church is not an idictment against that authority.

    A friend of mine already replied to that list in another forum, so I'll just paraphrase her:

    The historical facts are that the Catholic Church is the only Church in existence that's been around long enough to have been the one founded by Christ. It doesn't take a whole lotta brain power to realize that the Church founded by Christ is the one most likely to be the closest to Truth, as opposed to some random "Bible Church" that was founded overnight when Pastor Bob couldn't get a job elsewhere, and that will probably close its doors approximately the time he retires.

    Of course, it might not be Eric. It might be James or Jason...they all sound the same anyway.
  11. Yitzchak

    Yitzchak יצחק

    It seems that we have gotten off topic unto a tangent perhaps and off the orginal topic. The answer of course is right on topic. "sola scriptura". The scriptures are right and each group right in as much as it conforms to the teaching of scripture.
    I fear you are trying to apply a catholic doctrine to protestants who do not hold to an infallible apostolic succession whther that succesion holds the name pope or luther. We protestants hold to the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer and each believer may approach the scripture for himself without needing a pope to declare it's meaning.
    As a protestant, I value godly traditions and teachings within my own denomination as well as among other denominations. However, I feel no need to elevate one of these teachers or denominations to the status of infallible or inerrant for that matter.
    Does the lack of infallibility among protestants build the case for sola scriptura or tear it down? Hmmmmmm, interesting question.
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