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What is biblical authority...?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Saint Steven, Mar 22, 2021.

  1. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    What is biblical authority when differing denominational interpretations are based on tradition, experience, and even rational thought? (decision of a council)

    Consider what 1 Corinthians chapters twelve through fourteen mean to a:
    - Charismatic/Pentecostal/Continuationist
    - Baptist/Calvinist/Cessationist
    - Catholic/Orthodox
    - or any other denominations

    What is the basis for these denominational differences? What is the biblical authority in these cases? (since none of them agree)
     
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Despite the differences in interpretation of certain verses, it's still the Bible that is being interpreted. And it is considered to be God's word by those doing so.

    That's how it is for those denominations, mostly Protestant but of different varieties, which do consider the Bible to be God's word and unequalled by any of the other possibilities you mentioned.

    When it comes to the Catholic/Orthodox churches and the cults, however, it is something else that is considered as well when it comes to setting doctrine--Holy Tradition in the Catholic/Orthodox case, and, often, some other sacred writing that is considered also to be God's revelation and, therefore, authoritative by some of the cults.

    In answer to the question of authority, then, the choices are far fewer than the number of denominations in existence, but it's right to say that there are at least several different approaches to the issue.
     
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  3. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    The topic is very broad. I will just touch on one notion. Me arguing with certain Protestants, often Charismatics. Some of their theology probably could be described as "Solo Scriptura" for folks who know that term.


    When talking about unbiblical tradition, dominance by clergy etc. and being like "New Testament" times I had tell them that I thought they had no clue what it would be like to be under Biblical authority. Because based on my experience of them, if they really were in one of those congregations that saint Paul visited or managed, they almost certainly would have bumped heads with him seeing like they wanted a kind laizze faire church environment, and would have likely tried to do a dueling scriptures battle with him on some subjects and explain while their interpretation of a passage and doctrine is better or more authoritative than his etc. And it would basically be a New Testament equivalent of Korah's rebellion. :)


    Anyway, I had to tell them that as an Orthodox person, I had a better notion of what it was like being under the authority of apostle. That some people by way of their credentials, experience etc. have more say than other people who believe themselves "to be anointed" etc.


    OK I wanted to explain that a little better, but I was trying to explain that sometimes Biblical authority can be a little pushy, not in a bad way Lording it over you manner, but in a way that makes people living in modern Democracies uncomfortable. I'm talking about scenes where Moses scolds the Israelites for misbehaving (even having them ingest the gold of the Golden calf), and saint Paul doing much the same, and certain passages of Ignatius of Antioch that make him look like a control freak in his epistles to many Protestants.
     
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  4. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    People can claim the authority of the Bible in order to prove themselves right.

    Groups can use the credibility of the Bible in order to make themselves look trustworthy. They can be piggy-backing on how ones trust the Bible.

    Ones can look to the Bible in order to get ideas about what to believe and what do do . . . that they can get themselves to do. And then they evaluate others by if others are saying and doing what they do. And predators can put on this act that church culture people are looking for.

    In such cases, the Bible is not really God's authority for what people do with it.

    So, what has biblical authority? Whatever God means by His word > Isaiah 55:11. As we grow in Jesus, we discover how God has us doing His word with Him > Philippians 2:13. And I would say this does not bring us only to beliefs and practices, but to people who are examples (1 Peter 5:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8) of how to be and how to love, the way God's word says . . . means. Therefore, He in us is our authority, who works in us all He means by His word > it means how God has us doing what He says in sharing with Him > 1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 1:28-29, 1 John 4:17.
     
  5. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    On the issue of tradition, there is some kind of point to be made or delineated on a Reformation view of it. Namely Magisterial Protestants believe in it as a kind of secondary lower tier authority that kind of covers things when scripture is unclear, silent etc.


    1) But I think that is a little deficient etc. And that comes out at different times. Saint Augustine's battles with the Arians, especially "Debate with Maxaminius" kind of bring that up. There are some passages that can sound very Arian taking at face value e.g. Jesus does not know when his arrival on Judgement day will be, various passages about His submission to the Father etc. The Arian also railed against nonbiblical tradition in this case Trinity and Christology that he believed was based on tradition and philosophy and not on scripture, and pretty much could out quote the various orthodox Bishops on his position.


    2) There is some aspects of scripture that have to do with Tradition (Paradosis) because that term has to do with passing on a literal thing like an inheritance etc. And that especially has a lot to do with the New Testament especially the Gospels, epistles etc.


    3) Certain terms like Solo Scriptura are useful as far as describing people's position on Tradition etc. They however can be artificial distinctions when you look at the Reformers original position was, especially Luther. (Luther in his very early days seemed very confident, to the point of over confidence, that his positions could literally be proven by Scripture Alone).


    4) Keith Mathison in books like "the Shape of Sola Scripura" has some kind of terms that may be useful on the subject. Like Tradition 0 = the state of where the apostles were in the early chapters of the book of Acts, verses Tradition 1 the position of things they decided, verses Tradition 2, things coming from the Apostolic Fathers and Nicea, and Tradition 3 things coming after that time.

    I haven't actually read his book, only read lots of stuff about it. I don't really agree with a lot of his positions but I do cite him occasionally because I like some of his writings and quote some of them when I encounter some anti-tradition Protestants (very succinct and articulate statements why antitradition Protestants are wrong).

    A Critique of the Evangelical Doctrine of Solo Scriptura
     
  6. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I believe it would be more accurate to say that tradition and reason or maybe something else of that sort are aids to understanding Scripture, not secondary authorities.

    Right, but that's ordinary tradition, i.e. custom, as opposed to the Catholic/Orthodox concept of 'Holy Tradition' or 'Sacred Tradition' which is treated as an authority in itself.
     
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  7. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    Yes Albion that actually is why I mentioned Keith Mathison on below.
     
  8. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Biblical authority stands alone because it is from God's authority. All of the aforementioned interpretations are authorized by men. "Seek and ye shall find". Scripture can and will interpret itself to the beliver if they search as a Berean. Some share the wisdom of scripture, not by their own power, but by the power given to them through the Holy Spirit. Be blessed.
     
  9. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh, you ask good questions. This one is key.

    My opinion is that Biblical authority would be authority practiced in accord with the way it is described as being practiced in the Bible. Wherein the text of the Bible has authority AND the Church has authority. And the authority is cumulative over time, so what was so in the past is so in the present following the idea of the democracy of the dead.

    It is the interplay between the Biblical text and the living Church that is full of controversy. Some maintain that they follow the Bible alone, as if they didn't have their own interpretive traditions they lay on top of the Bible. And of course they disagree with the other guys who make the same claims about how they follow the Bible alone. So it actually comes down to how Bible and Tradition balance out. Those who reject Tradition have their own traditions but they are blinded by the sway those traditions have over them. The most traditionalist tradition is the tradition that says it has no tradition.

    I could see this thread developing in many fruitful ways and I hope to be a part of it along the way.
     
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  10. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    It looks like Keith Mathison was offering a critique of Solo Scriptura, however.
     
  11. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    OK one more posts, some of the Catholic Apologists make a kind of distinction on Scripture that I think comes from Aristotle's metaphysics. They speak of Formal Sufficiency and Material Sufficiency.

    If you use the analogy of building a building with bricks, wood, etc. as well as things like blue prints the Formal Sufficiency means the Scriptures give you everything you need.


    Under Material Sufficiency, ("the Scripture Prima" position of Catholics and probably many other Apostolic Succession churches), the Scriptures give you all the bricks and other physical things needed to make the building, but not the Blue Prints.
     
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  12. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Sounds like Aristotle, but I'm not sure it's helping us unravel this lineup. Sola Scriptura is the standard Protestant POV but it doesn't mean that Scripture defines or explains itself, and it doesn't suppose that everything that can be known is taken up somewhere or other in Scripture.

    SolO Scriptura is, to the best of my knowledge, a description of what some more fundamentalist denominations have taken up, but that's very much a minority opinion..

    And then there is Holy Tradition which considers Scripture to be God's word but also that it's part of Tradition along with what is believed to be an additional stream of revelation from God that is transmitted to us not by text but by the continuity of belief throughout the ages. The problem with it IMHO is that, in practice, the doctrines that are attributed to Holy Tradition are not based on continuity, universality, or consensus, even though those are all alleged.
     
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  13. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Do they claim "Biblical" authority?

    If so, it is simply claiming that the Bible authorizes whatever the subject is.
     
  14. Minister Monardo

    Minister Monardo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "Let each person be fully convinced in their own mind". Romans 14:5

    The only way to validate Paul's teachings in 1 Co is to fully commit to small group meetings
    with others who are equally committed, [do not be unequally yoked] and submit to the Holy Spirit.
    To have trust in the Spirit and the Word is the only way to see the gifts and manifestations.
    I have witnessed the Holy Spirit direct our fellowship, often from the least likely, for He is not
    a "respecter of persons". I honestly have no idea what the position of various denominations are
    on these instructions from Paul, but I know they are Truth, and are as valid today as ever.
     
  15. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    Biblical authority is God. For us it's God under a God commanded growing/learning faith and conscience under His command to not be deceived.

    Exegesis vs. eisegesis no matter the reason or motivation. Same as the first answer above.
     
  16. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    yikes...
     
  17. Minister Monardo

    Minister Monardo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It just occurred to me that maybe the Holy Spirit does not speak with authority among men
    (and women) who consider themselves to be in authority. Who's in charge? Who's on first?
     
  18. Minister Monardo

    Minister Monardo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yeah, I know, are we expected to obey first?
     
  19. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    Answered in my first answer to the OP.

    ???
     
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  20. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    Well in past discussions on the general topic, I have also related people's position on Scripture & Tradition to Theories of the Constitutional interpretation. That is kind of about the closest analogy you can get because "this is written" etc. is reason based on established precedent, and the times when you go against that often is a "Spirit of the Law" type reasoning.

    Judicial interpretation - Wikipedia


    Theories of Constitutional Interpretation
     
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