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Why Sola Scriptura Still Matters, Part Three

In part two, we left this discussion asking exactly what the point was of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, if it is not the sola scriptura conclusion that Protestants often draw. What exactly was this apostolic authority, St. Paul, saying to Timothy about the Scriptures?

Was St. Paul saying that “the Bible” would make the man of God “complete, equipped for every good work”?

Scriptures Can Be Misused

No. Let’s look at the text again, just verses 16 and 17, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Is it the Scripture that accomplishes this? No, it is teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness that makes the man of God complete, equipped for every good work. Those who do the teaching, reproving, correcting and training will find that the Scriptures are “profitable” for this endeavor. But note: profitable does not mean sufficient. This work depends upon the ministries of the Church mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-16, as we observed in the previous article. But why?

Because the scriptures can be misused, used in unprofitable ways. Even during the Apostles’ day scriptures were misused and misinterpreted — as St. Paul has just mentioned to Timothy (2 Tm 3: 13) “evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.” People could be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14), even by persons who were quoting Scripture, as St. Peter said of those who twisted the meaning of St. Paul’s letters (2 Pt 3:15,16). What was the protection against this? Not Scripture, but the apostolic Church. United to the Church which has Jesus as its head, one is protected from cunning and deceitful use of Scripture. In addition, one is protected from being deceived as to what Scripture is because the apostolic Church both witnesses to us that Scripture exists and tells us what constitutes Scripture.

Authority Is Still the Issue

Let’s look again at what St. Paul said to Timothy in verses 14 and 15 of the passage we have been discussing: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” From whom had Timothy learned? Well, certainly from St. Paul, who tells Timothy in verses 10 and 11 that Timothy had been a long observer of the Apostle’s life and the conduct of his ministry.

In fact in this same letter (2 Tm 1: 13), St. Paul admonishes: “Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus”; and then in chapter 2 verses 1, 2 he tells Timothy to entrust what he had heard to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

But it wasn’t from St. Paul that Timothy had come to know from childhood the sacred writings to which St. Paul referred. It was from his mother and grandmother (2 Tm 1:5). And from where did they get these sacred writings?

From Jewish tradition. It was Jewish tradition that told them what their sacred writings were. It was because Timothy could trust his mother and grandmother and the Jewish tradition in which they were steeped that he had become acquainted with Scripture to begin with.

Begin at the Beginning

Let’s begin at square one: What does a Protestant have before he is a Christian? He has what we all have — natural revelation. And what can we learn from natural revelation? We can learn that “Someone” is there. That is about as far as natural revelation takes us. This is the point of the first chapter of Romans. Now the heart of the epistemological problem — the problem of how we know — is this: How do you get from “Someone is there” to the very interesting idea that this “Someone” has inspired the writing of a book? Is the existence of a book which can be called the “Word of God” a conclusion of natural revelation? No, it is not. So, then how do we get from the natural revelation to the book? We get there because somebody tells us about the book.

Before the Scripture can witness to us, there must be a witness to us about the Scripture and that witness to the Scripture is always living human beings who deliver, not only the Scripture itself, but the testimony to the existence of the Scripture and the Scripture’s God. That is why we must insist that when Protestants quote 2 Timothy 3:16-17, they read also verse 14: “But as for you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” The “whom” came for Timothy before the sacred writings and so it is with all of us. So it is with Protestants too, and the “whom” for them is the Roman Catholic Church.

Not only does sola scriptura fail to answer the question about what constitutes Scripture, the very concept “Scripture” (i.e. the idea that God has a book for us) cannot find its epistemological basis in sola scriptura. This means the existence of the Bible is not known from the Bible; it is a presupposition (something that has to be known beforehand). That would be a bad enough blow to sola scriptura, but there is more: The Bible itself actually witnesses to the fact that a Sacred Tradition belonging to a people has to exist prior to Scripture and is the thing that produces Scripture and then transmits that Scripture.

Does this seem a bit complex? Maybe it is. But as a convert, I can tell you that it is the central issue converts from Protestantism must grapple with. If we converts have had to wrap our heads around this argument in order to become Catholic, is it too much to ask cradle Catholics to give it a shot for the sake of our dear friends still living apart from the sacraments? Besides, you’ve got until 2017 to get it down pat and lots of Protestants around to practice on in the meantime.

[Note: This presentation of the sola scriptura argument has been crafted with the average educated Catholic and Protestant in mind. More scholarly and philosophical approaches, and those that get into the Greek text, have their place as well. For those who want to examine a Catholic apologetic on this issue by a philosopher, I recommend this treatment by  Michael Liccione.]


Mary Kochan, former Senior Editor of CatholicExchange, is Editor-in-chief of CatholicLane.com.

Raised as a  third-generation Jehovah's Witness, Mary worked her way backwards through the Protestant Reformation to enter the Catholic Church on Trinity Sunday, 1996.  Mary has spoken in many settings, to groups large and small, on the topic of destructive cultism and has been a guest on both local and national radio programs. To arrange for Mary to speak at your event, you may contact her at kochanmar@gmail.com.

  • kmtierney

    Very good covering of the “protective” nature of the Church. I think sometimes people frame the Churches authority (being well meaning no doubt!) in almost a capricious sense, that the Church tells us what the truth is on her own accord.

    Far better to (as you did) point out the Church does so from a protective role. She protects the truth of the Scriptures from misuse. As 1st Timothy 3:15 says, the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. She upholds the truth, and makes sure it exists on solid ground (i.e. that our errors do not obstruct the ability to know it) so it is able to be accessed by all.

  • noelfitz

    Mary,

    as I wrote before you and CL are blessings for the Church. Here Catholics can discuss in a friendly and respectful way our faith. However to get a lively discussion going alternate views are beneficial. Both of us agree in the fundamentals of the faith but differ in some views. I think this is fine.

    [I am reminded of three priests, a Jesuit, a Dominican and a diocesan priest who when out walking and discovered an ancient jar. On rubbing it a spirit appeared and granted each a wish. The Jesuit asked that he would be preaching in the most magnificent church in the world, and whoosh he disappeared to this church. The Dominican asked to be teaching in the greatest university on earth and whoosh he flew off to this university. The diocesan priest was asked what was his greatest wish. He replied "I just got it"]

    So if I have some comments about your articles they do not detract from my huge admiration for them.

    First of all no one believes in “Sola Scriptura”. For a Lutheran, his religion is based on the “95 Theses”, for a Calvinist the “Institutes of the Christian Religion” is his theological foundation and for the Anglicans the “39 Articles” is his basis.

    Article 1:
    I am particularly impressed by your generous appreciation of the integrity of our non-Catholic friends. They have much of the truth, and I am pleased that here in CL we are not restricted to Catholic writers.

    Unfortunately many Catholics do have a diminished view of Scripture and Protestants may remind us that Christ is in Scripture as well as in the Church. Protestants are very much “either or”, while we are “both and” people.

    Article 2:
    You assume both Ephesians and the Pastoral Epistles were written by Paul. We will let that pass. But as has been pointed out the problems emerge due to faulty Greek translations.

    Article 3:
    You wrote
    ““But as for you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” The “whom” came for Timothy before the sacred writings and so it is with all of us. So it is with Protestants too, and the “whom” for them is the Roman Catholic Church.”

    I am a bit lost here the “whom” for me is not the Catholic Church but Jesus Christ. I am reminded of last Sunday’s gospel, especially John 10:9 ” I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. “. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

    I think of Thomas Aquinas:

    Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
    Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
    Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
    Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.

    Sight, touch, taste are all deceived
    In their judgment of you,
    But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
    I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;
    There is nothing truer than this word of truth.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoro_te_devote

    Newman gives a poetic translation:
    Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived;
    The ear alone most safely is believed:
    I believe all the Son of God has spoken,
    Than truth’s own word there is no truer token.

    http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=2196

  • Mary Kochan

    My dear, Noel, you are a very gentle soul and real treasure to know. It would not surprise me at all if Jesus Himself were to have appeared to you and given you a private revelation regarding what scripture is. However that is not how it worked for most of us and from the historical perspective, the various Protestant groups received their scripture from the Catholic Church (although many have rejected a protion of it). St. Augustine said that he would not have believed in Christ had the Church not witnessed to him about the Lord.

    You are quite right that Protestants don’t REALLY follow sola scriptura. But they claim to and that is what we have to deal with.

  • noelfitz

    Mary,
    many thanks for your immediate reply. I am pleased you agree with me to a point.

    I know what scripture is. it is the word of God. It took the Church hundreds of years to decide what books are in the canon. In fact some of the Apostolic Fathers were considered equal to those books later considered in the Bible, such as 1 & 2 Clement, Ignatius, Barnabas, Hermas and the Didache.

    But, of course, I fundamentally agree with you, and believe you are correct.

    So Mary, thanks again for this reply as well as everything in CL.

    Is it not encouraging that more replies seem to be appearing, both from old friends, as well as new people?

  • Tarheel

    Again another excellent article. As a convert myself I feel as if I’m walking down a familiar path once again. I especially loved this part “Before the Scripture can witness to us, there must be a witness to us about the Scripture and that witness to the Scripture is always living human beings who deliver, not only the Scripture itself, but the testimony to the existence of the Scripture and the Scripture’s God.” Each and everyone of us first learned of the Scriptures form someone else. Most likely our parents.

    But this part confused me some. Am I missing something? “Besides, you’ve got until 2017 to get it down pat and lots of Protestants around to practice on in the meantime.”

    • noelfitz

      Mary,

      thanks for your three excellent articles. They are of fundamental importance and I have been thinking about them for days. You have got to the heart of Catholicism.

      As you know essentially we both agree. How could it be otherwise for Catholics?

      As I have said before to get a discussion going often one has to be a bit provocative.

      Q: Is Christ or the Church the basis of our faith?
      A Protestant (‘either or’ religion): Faith.
      A Catholic (‘both and’ religion) 1: Both Faith and the Church.
      A Catholic 2: The distinction is not valid as Christ is the head of the Church, his mystical body, and hence Christ and the Church are one.

  • noelfitz

    Mary,
    once again, thank you for three excellent articles, which are of fundamental importance.

    I note the comments I made previously (c. May last year) and I agree with what I wrote. I am somewhat surprised that I am consistent.

    Keep up the wonderful you are doing for the Church and us ordinary Catholics.

  • Agape

    I still believe that the Bereans are there for a purpose. We look at what their reaction was upon hearing the preaching of Ap.Paul and they went straight to Scripture (OT)
    The apostles were the living epistles for the NT.
    After their death we need the writings.
    Let’s be honest which of us will sell our house based on “word of mouth agreement?” Just tell your lawyer and don’t even listen to his answer just look at the expression on his face upon hearing this.

    • Mary Kochan

      First of all, this is not dealing at all with the text of these three (three!!) articles. it is not engaging with any process of thinking through the line of reasoning presented and showing where you think it is wrong. Rememeber that you were the one who originally brought up the point about 2Tim 3: 16 for the purpose of saying that scripture was all you needed NOT the Church. Which leads to my second point:

      I am not arguing that scripture is expendable, so your response makes me wonder if you even read the article because you are making a comment that is completely irrelevant to the article. The point is not that we don’t need scripture (I never said or implied that) but that scripture alone is insufficient — we need the interpretation of the scripture from the Church AND we need the Church even to know what our scripture is.

      You said “after their death we need the writings” — but how do you know these are their writings? Who authenticated them for you? Luke was not an apostle. So why are his writings in there?

      • Agape

        I didn’t came to this site just to post a reply. I did read them, and I did noticed about the part where proper authority is needed. But before jumping there I wanted to show that even though only the OT was available in writing at that time the NT was available in apostles.
        Now, the word Church. Doesn’t this word come from the koine ekklesia? It means gathering, getting together, or better yet called out ones. So what exactly do you mean by Church? A building in Rome? A local building for the local parishioners? Or do you mean an elite group entrusted with teaching the rest what to believe?
        Luke was not an apostle. Checked.
        But the guidance of the Holy Spirit was the key in making the Bible.

        • Mary Kochan

          We aren’t denying the work of the Holy Spirit. It is even part of our creed to confess the role of the Holy Spirit in the formation of scripture.

          What I mean by Church is the very thing Jesus was talking about when he told Peter he would build his Church upon him.

          Back to the point. Have you recognized that you were in error when you attampted to use 2 Tim 3: 16 to prove that scripture was all you needed? Are you ever going to attempt to use that scripture to make that point again, or have you been convinced by the argument presented that that was an error caused by taking the scriptue out of context and misapplying it?

          • Agape

            Not so fast dear sister,
            I still beleive that the Scripture contains all the information about the Plan of God. It’s all in there, we only have to dig the treasure out.
            Back to the famous reply of the Son of God whenever He was tempted: “IT IS WRITTEN”
            If the Son of God said that, so must I. It’s not just Paul writtings to Timothy, it’s something much more than that, it’s my Head who showed me what to do.
            IT IS WRITTEN that I must follow His example.
            Peace and Grace

          • Mary Kochan

            I am not denying that scripture contains all doctrine. The Church says so. That is not the issue.

            The issue is whether the sola scriptura teaching (that scripture alone is all we need to know what you call “the plan of God) is true or not.

            To give an example, If I said that coal was not sufficient to make a steam engine run, that you also need water, it would make no sense for someone to reply by insisting that coal was necessary because I had not denied that. All I had said was that the coal alone was not sufficient.

            So please go back to my question about 2 Tim 3: 16 and tell me if you took it out of context and misapplied it when you claimed it taught that scripture was all you needed.

  • Agape

    Actually I was hoping that you will come up with the example I needed.
    If I may lend a helping hand?
    When talking to Protestants, the best way to show that the Scripture needs someone to show you what to look for is the example from the Bible (the Bible again! man, I tell you..) is the example of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip.
    The reason is because Protestants LOVE when you bring examples from the Bible.
    The things like water and coals and steam, etc works but are not as effective as examples from Bible.
    Absolutely stay away from quotes from famous saints, this will work against you.
    Are we still friends now?
    Blessings

    • Mary Kochan

      Yes, we are friends, but you have me at a great disadvantage in that you can toss something out in a few sentences that I read and realize it will take pages to respond to in something that even begins to approach adequacy. Meanwhile life is supposed to go on.

      Ok. First off, I appreciate your advice about how to talk to a Protestant, but I already know the way Protestants think. I was a JW and then a Protestant before I became Catholic. So I have three sets of “eyes” at least with which to read anything — more if you consdier that I can read from the angle of a fundamentalist evangelical as well as from the angle of a sacramental Protestant like a Lutheran. And I can read from the prespective of a Calvinist as well as an Arminian.

      So let me draw on something that happened early in the Protestant movement to answer you. Luther wanted to disarm Thomas Aquinas because Luther wanted to attack the Catholic doctrine of transsubstantiation and he understood (having been a Catholic professor of biblical studies) that he would need to undermine philosophy in order to undermine Catholic teaching. So he wanted his new Lutheran schools to stop teaching Aristotle. (Aristotelian philosophical categories provided the language in which Aquinas explained Catholic theology.) Melancthon, an associate of Luther and his princilple eulogist, was appalled by this. He forcefully opposed this move with the argument that what Luther was doing would cause Germany to “descend into barbarism” — rather prophetic words really, hunh?

      Melancthon didn’t want the Catholic Church anymore, but he understood something very important about what the Catholic Church had done for humantiy and he didn’t want to dismantle that (although Protestantism has gone a long way toward dismanteling it over the years). What the Catholic Church did was based on her understanding of the human person, which is based on her understanding of God. God became man. The revelation of Christ does not merely reveal God to us, it reveals man to himself in all the dignity God has conferred upon him, so much obscured by sin, but stlll present.

      Because Jesus is the light that enlightens EVERY man, the Church was eager to delve into and preserve the hints of that dignity which God’s grace provided through history in various cultures. Among the great gems of that deposit of God’s wisdom sown into the soil of the world was Greek philosophy — not skepticism with its suspicious approach to everything, and not cynicism with its jaded worldliness, and not sophistry that played tricks upon the simple, but Aristotelianism that delighted in creation, found proof of the Logos in the natural world, and was confident in reason to explore it. Who cannot read: “All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things” and not resonate deeply with it? Or read: “If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God’s self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal” and not say “Amen”?

      And so these great achievemnts of human reason the Church takes to her bosom, treasures, purifies, and distributes as gifts from God. Art, music, architechture, philosophy it all belongs to us as Catholics.

      Instead of constraining ourselves in the limitations of the dimly lit closet that Protestants have locked themselves in, the Catholic beckons to the Protestant from the wide banquet room of Catholic thinking which joins reason to faith — faith seeking understanding, as St. Augustine put it. So, yes, while Catholics could confine themselves to making purely biblical arguments, they will not. They will use the complete palette of analogy and logic and philosophy, because they do not place themselves under the less-than-fully-human (not to mention totally unbiblical) Protestant rubric of sola scriptura. We have a trust that you, as a human being, will find yourself attracted to, or at least intrigued by, the Church according to the natural affinity which the human being has for the true, the good, and the beautiful when they are joined together.

      • Agape

        I guess it comes down to what we value most. I also have experience about various denominations of the Christian palette. My journey was exactly the opposite. The problem I had was that none of the denominations was able to give me a clear, logical explanation of what is the plan that God has for this groaning creation, which has gone so far from the bliss intended to have in Eden. Absolutely every single denomination presented the Plan of Redemption as follows: God has send His Son to redeem mankind. He who believes in Him will be saved.
        For some this is enough, just join the group, become part of the true Church and you will come with us to Heaven. Of course the true Church meant the group of believers of which he was part of, none else. Exceptions you will find among some denominations which will concede that other denominations might also be accepted in Heaven.
        What about the rest? I ask. The Hindu people, the Jews, etc.
        I feel sorry for them, was the answer, but this is what is written.
        It is written, but there was more to it, as later I was going to find out. But for some, including me, is not enough. I always asked myself if this is really the Plan that God has intended. It did not make provisions for those who did not hear of or about Christ. The fate awaiting the unbeliever was beyond human comprehension. Torture, flames, screams of pain, darkness, gnashing of teeth, etc.
        No answers were given to me when I was asking questions after I learned the Bible somewhat. I would ask: why does the Lord say here that the tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter the Kingdom ahead of the Pharisees?
        Why did He said that If Sodom and Gomorrah would have witnessed His signs would have repented? Why weren’t they given this opportunity to repent? Why would it be easier for them, as opposed to Capernaum, Bethsaida, or Chorazim in the Day of Judgement? Why would Israel be saved after the number of Gentiles is fulfilled?
        What is going on here? It took time until I have found the answers to my questions, even more than I asked.
        The Plan of God for saving humanity does include all mankind. But first He is after a Bride for His Son. He showed this through some “shadows” as apostle Paul calls them in the Old Testament.
        Then indeed not only Israel will be saved but all people who will be meek will inherit the Earth. There is provision for the Jews (especially) for Hindu, Muslim, atheists, every single soul all the way to Adam included. This answered to my question about the rest of people
        And for the rebellious and evil doers, they will go into the second death from which there is no resurrection.
        This answered the rest.
        So, now we are in this time of the selection of the Bride of our Lord. They are tested through various means all the way to death, just like He was.
        Contrary to some expectations, these followers were not called to luxury and comfort, to rule over kings, to kill and torture people whose wives and little ones were waiting on their daddy who would never come home because he was embraced by the Iron Maiden, the love tool employed by “Christ’s people”. The fruits that shows.
        Luther has seen some of these fruits. He saw some, some were noticed later, as the light grew. Michael Sattler saw other fruits, Michael Servetus others. They all have contributed with the little they could.
        No wonder these times are called Dark Ages. But how are we to know what light can bring if we don’t see what darkness does? It was necessary for the testing, for learning certain lessons. Even the Catholic Church benefited as it saw the need to reform.
        Today the society is sickened by the fights, the name calling, the anathemas, the rivalry between the followers of Christ who are fighting over their souls to be saved. The society is sickened by how God is presented to them, by the fear that rules in these so called Christian churches. Similar to what happened in France some time ago. Every denomination present the God of Universe in such way that even the gods of Orient are worth find refuge into. No wonder we have reached this point. People become atheists or Buddhists, running as far as possible from such God.

        • http://www.schefter.org PrairieHawk

          Agape, you are wise to examine the fruits of the various people and groups that claim to speak in God’s name. I would only suggest that it is the Catholic Church, warts and all, that has sustained humanity through the last 2,000 years. Without the Church which Jesus founded, humanity would have fallen into darkness and ruin centuries ago.

          I’m not going to defend the indefensible – we have only to look at the recent scandals involving child abuse to see that the Church herself offends God at times. But given human weakness and evil – is there any other way besides the Catholic Church that we could have gotten this far?

          • Agape

            I would rather say it’s God who sustained the humanity. He gives the Sun, the rain, the light whether literar or spiritual, the life stems from Him.
            Our history in the West shows that we need to look back and re-examine what happened and where the problems started. (It was not the Reformation)
            In our daily lives, when we noticed we made a mistake and invoiced less, we correct that immediately. Mistakes are ment to show imperfection and they assist in making progress if addressed properly.

          • Mary Kochan

            Yes, and great human progress has been made in the past 2000 years because of the Catholic church. Here is a small acknowledgement of the work of the Church by Sam Miller, a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:

            Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States , namely the Catholic Church?

            Do you know – the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.

            The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students.

            The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people – not just Catholics – in the United States today

            But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage…

            The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

            Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States .

            Then remember what Jeremiah said: ‘Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.

            Be proud that you’re a Catholic.

            he is barely touching the surface because the Church invented, the hospital system, the university system, the scientific method, rules of evidence for courts, the concept of universal human rights, and much more.

            But let’s get back to the issue at hand, Agape. I wish to know if you have come to realize that 2 Tim 3:16 was misunderstood and misapplied when you previously attempted to use it to prove that scripture alone was all you needed to find out “the plan of God” as you like to call it?

          • http://www.schefter.org PrairieHawk

            It is God. The Church is the sacrament of God, God made visible. God works through human beings. Please make the effort to understand what you are rejecting, before you reject it. That’s all I have to say.

  • Agape

    Dear Mary,
    I don’t need Sam Miller to show me the accomplishments of the Catholic Church in terms of social accomplishments. I can see that a lot of things Catholic Church has done are good. There are role models in Catholic Church that can put to shame even great men from the Protestant side. Mother Teresa for example, and tons of other examples.
    Why, I don’t even have to go too far for that as our landlady is Catholic. She knows about our beliefs, even though she does not understand them. We get along extremely well. She asks me to say a prayer when we have dinner together, she asks us to take care of her religious objects of worship when she is not around and we do it without hesitation respecting her beliefs.
    When I do something bad such as raising may voice to our little 2 yr old, or say something bad to my wife, she shakes her head. To me that shaking of head speaks volumes, more than 10 preachers with their preaching altogether. It shows her disappointment: “You take your hands of your wife only to grab the Bible, you spend time reading, praying, yet here we are doing the opposite what Bible teaches” I can imagine her saying through that shaking of head.
    But,…the Catholic Church also had the possibility to do all that. Money without limit almost, personnel, influence with political leaders, etc.
    But let us remember that our Lord said that the poor widow who only had 2 pennies did offer more that the rich. So, the small ones are doing good deeds too but how can 2 pennies be noticed compared to the big bucks?
    Now coming back to our issue at hand, I think I stated my position that the Bible contains all information about the Plan of God as I so much like to call it. But I think I also said that a “Philip” is need it to show what to look for.
    This reminds me of the story with the old couple and the electrician. An old couple called an electrician to fix the lights in their house. Upon arrival the electrician asked what the problem is. We can no longer see the table from the couch, they said. We used to see it but we no longer can see it. There’s gotta be a problem with the power, they said. The electrician was young and his sight was perfect, he saw the table very well. He fixed the problem, was about to leave and the couple came to him to thank him. Thank you for fixing our power problem, they said. Oh no, he replied. The power was always there, I only replaced your bulbs.
    So have lost Christianity sight to the initial Good News over the years. It needs either a more powerful bulb or glasses.

    • Mary Kochan

      Agape, remember what I said earlier about logic? I did not ask you about the text in Acts regarding Philip. I asked you if you had misinterpreted and misapplied the verse at 2 Tim 3:16. Did you?

  • Agape

    It all depends how we apply that logic Mary. The way I se it I will say it one more time:
    The Scripture DOES contain ALL that is necesary for us to know. We only neeed to interpret that correctly.
    In yout text you used this paragraph:
    “What was the protection against this? Not Scripture, but the apostolic Church. United to the Church which has Jesus as its head, one is protected from cunning and deceitful use of Scripture”

    I believe that the protection is the Scripture. Even our Lord used for His protection. Seems like we both use the word logic but apply it differently.

    And remember when I said that the first followers of Christ were simply Christians and not Catholics?
    It is also in the Scripture. It is said that they were given this name in Antioch for the first time.

    Your logic tells you that the best way to know who knows better is to go to those who claim that they were the first and accept everything there because this is how it was from begining. The example with the letter received from an elder shows that you think this is the best approach.
    I beg to differ.

    • Mary Kochan

      Agape, my question is very narrowly focused. Instead of being afraid of the possible implications of the answer, just answer honestly. Did you misinterpret and misapply 2 Tim 3:16? Don’t try to make some fancy extrapolation about where you think the logic leads and try to head it off at the pass — that is a cultic technique called thought-stopping. It is dishonest and keeps you from using your mind for the purpose God created it. So back to the very simple and narrowly-focued question that I am now asking you for about the 6th time: Did you misinterpret and misapply 2 Tim 3:16?

  • Agape

    Question: “I am now asking you for about the 6th time: Did you misinterpret and misapply 2 Tim 3:16?”

    Answer: No

    And the key word for me is “complete”
    WHy didn’t you include verse 15 and focused here only?

    • Mary Kochan

      Agape, YOU are the one who selected and cited 2 Tim 3:16. I am the one who quoted it and analysed it IN CONTEXT going all the way back to verse 10! So don’t come on here with a silly statement to say that I neglected verse 15. Now, please go back and read the three articles on sola scriptura which demonstrate that it does not say what you claimed it says. We are really looking for you to demonstrate your ability 1. to read through a sustained argument 2. to grasp a text IN CONTEXT 3. to respond honestly. I dealt at length with the word “complete” in the second article. if you want to respond regarding “complete” under that article go ahead, but I give you fair warning, if you don’t start showing that you are actually reading this stuff and willing to deal with the argument presented, then you can just slink off because you are starting to look like a dishonest coward.

      • Agape

        I will slink off. Have a good day

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    All this citing of chapter and verse reminds me that the concept of chapters and verses is itself a fairly recent invention. Paul never applied such designations to his letters. He simply wrote them with a recipient (Timothy) and a purpose (teach Timothy) in mind. So he composed a literary work known as a letter, which has a specific form and rhetorical approach. Most letters, for instance, refer to facts outside the letter (e.g. the Church that Paul mentions) and to facts contained within the letter (the teacher, namely Paul, who told Timothy about Scripture).

    Since Paul’s chosen form is part of the original inspired writing, that form matters when attempting to understand the writing and its inspiration. However, the numeric designations (i.e. chapter and verse) were not part of the original inspired writing. While useful as far as they go, they can go too far — which is exactly what occurs when someone uses the chapter and verse designations (not inspired) as a means of deflecting attention from the full context of Paul’s letter (which, as part of the original form, is inspired).

    Thus, the context of Paul’s inspired writings not only matters. Failure to acknowledge that context can actually lead to falsehood. Or rather to incomplete truths, which can often be worse than outright falsehoods.

    Put another way, when chapter and verse citations serve to obscure the context of the original work, they skew the resultant interpretation so that it no longer represents the Holy Spirit’s actual inspiration.

    Context not only matters. It is part of what the Holy Spirit has to say.

    • HomeschoolNfpDad

      There is one more aspect of any letter. It is written by a person who brings his own history and knowledge to the act of writing. If we really understand that grace builds on nature, then we must understand Paul’s nature in order to get at the inspired message of grace that the Holy Spirit infuses into Paul’s words.

      And Paul was a Pharisee. With a Greek education. For those words to mean anything, you have to know how much form mattered to both the Jewish scholars of the Law and to the Greek philosophers. Go ahead. Read through the book of Numbers. Or Leviticus. Then pick up Plato’s Phaedo. Tell us after such an experience that the the ancient philosophers and and legal scholars weren’t concerned with form. Form matters.

      In Greek philosophy, form means the difference between a valid argument that is taken seriously and an incoherent string of statements which can (and should) be dismissed. In inspired writings, form forces context to the front as a means of encapsulating the message contained in the text.

  • Ed

    I read through these articles and I didn’t see Sola Scriptura defined. Maybe I missed it. If it was defined what was the definition?

    • Mary Kochan

      Toward the end of the first article, I described it as the “Protestant view that the Scripture is the only infallible authority in the Christian life, the only deposit of ‘God’s Word’ and that it must be so because Church councils and Traditions are not infallible.” I realize that there are as many permutations of definition for it as there are Protestants and Protestant sects, so with the understanding that this is generally the viewpoint, don’t get into quibbling about the precise definition and avoid the thrust of the argument. I’m perfectly happy to have you state your definition and then see you use Scripture Alone to defend it.

      By the way I received my Christian baptism in a Lutheran Church, and therefore very well aware of the position of Sola Scriptura, as I myself once accepted it and defended it with the same fervor you do until I came to see how unsupportable and erroneous it was.

      • Ed

        Ok. My defense of Sola Scriptura is based on 3 principles:
        1) The Scripture is inspired-inerrant Word of God.
        2) Only the Scripture is inspired-inerrant.
        3) The Scripture is the highest authority in the church.

        To defeat or weaken Sola Scriptura you will have to show and demonstrate that there is another source that is also inspired and inerrant. For example, you would have to demonstrate that RC Traditions are also inspired and inerrant. You would have to show they came from God Himself.

        • Mary Kochan

          No, you are mistaken, Ed. What YOU have to do, is prove number one, two and three using Scripture alone. Number one does not have anything to do with the “alone” part, but it does have to do with the “Scripture” part. So your first problem is to prove what Scripture is by Scripture alone i.e. identify Scripture for yourself and figure out which books belong to the Bible. And once you have done that, you have to prove number two and three using Scripture alone. Have at it, my friend.

          • Kevin Symonds

            Once, many moons ago, I was talking to a Protestant about the Canon of the Bible. I asked him where the infallible list of books came from.

            Actual answer: “Duh, it’s in the index….”

          • Mary Kochan

            I know. But it isn’t just the list, you know, it is even the titles of the books, i.e. their authorship. So, Ed, why do you care what books Catholic Churches were using? And how do you know those are the right tests, anyway?

          • Ed

            Mary,
            How do you think the early church determined which books belonged in the NT canon? One thing we know it was not by any papal decree.

            I think the tests were the right ones because one of the tests was it written by an apostles? This is the most important test since it was the apostles who knew Christ best. They lived with Him for 3 years and knew Him intimately.If anyone knew what Jesus taught and did it would be an apostle.

          • Kevin Symonds

            The Gospel of Thomas bore an apostle’s name. Who decided it was not written by him?

          • Ed

            Kevin,
            Lots of writings claim the name of an apostle or someone else like Mary but these were never accepted as Scripture for the mere fact they were written long after the apostles died. Take the gospel Thomas. Scholars do not believe it was written by Thomas because it was probably not written until the middle to late 2nd century at the earliest.

          • Kevin Symonds

            Ed, you missed the point. Who decided it was not written by Thomas?

          • Ed

            Scholars. Those that study manuscripts etc.

          • Kevin Symonds

            Scholars? Wait, you mean fallible depraved men decided which books belonged into the Canon…and they did not have a list of approved books from the Apostles, or better yet, Jesus Himself?

            Jesus said, “Go and preach” not “Go write a book.” Neither did the Eternal Father say, “This is my beloved book in which I have inscribed well. Read ye it.” No, He said, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased. Listen to Him.’

            Ed, caritas Christ urget me non dicere. I will no longer address this insanity.

            My parting words to you, brother, is to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Fathers of the Church. Do not just read. Pray and meditate upon them. I will pray Christ enlighten you.

          • Kevin Symonds

            *Christi

          • Ed

            Kevin,

            If this is the way you are going to defend your RC faith you might want to stay on the sidelines.

            Be careful in bringing up the depravity of men. Your church again is in the news because of some of the scandalous things some of its leaders are guilty of.

          • Kevin Symonds

            …and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

          • Ed

            ????????????????

          • Mary Kochan

            You mean the ones who don’t think Peter wrote 2 Peter? Those scholars?

          • Ed

            Do you you know why some scholars think Peter did not write 2 Peter or that Paul only wrote 6-7 letters and not 13?

          • Mary Kochan

            Yes, I know why. Because they are faithless modernists who have taken the Protestant principal of Scripture alone to its logical conclusion, which is no Scripture.

            I used to know all the details of their arguments. But I’ve blessedly cleared my mind of their demonic teachings and we won’t be rehearsing them here, even if it does provide you with a welcome distraction from the dawning realization that you have brought a knife to this gunfight and it is starting to look more and more like a toothpick.

            It does not matter “how” the Catholic Church determined the Canon. It is not as if, were you to know how, you could somehow replicate their process and make the determination yourself.

            What matters is THAT the Catholic Church determined the Canon. What matters is that through your entire life, every time you picked up a Bible, and said “this is the inspired word of God”, you have been unknowingly assenting to the authority of the Catholic Church. Now by some unfathomable act of God’s grace, and the pitiful efforts of a few of his unworthy servants, your ignorance is finally dispelled.

            Be shot through the head and the heart with the understanding that you have been unknowingly assenting to the authority of the Catholic Church and now bear the responsibility to knowingly assent. If the Catholic Church is not infallible, you have no Bible. If you have a Bible, it means the Catholic Church infallibly identified, preserved, and transmitted the Scriptures and infallibly interprets them.

            God love you.

          • Ed

            Is this the best that RC apologists can do? The Scripture does not come from any church but from God Himself. God may use men and churches to accomplish His will. When I pick up a Bible and read, I am reading God’s word to man.
            No church is infallible as you well know. Just study the history of your church and you will find very quickly nothing could be farther from the truth.
            As for an infallible interpretation of the Scripture by your church, there exist no such work. You have no way to know what the infallible-official interpretation of the Scripture means because no such work exist. Its sad but true.

          • Harry Flynn

            If you ask a question sometimes the best answer is silence because that is what Jesus did and no servant is greater than his master.

          • Ed

            Actually it was the enemies of Christ who were silenced and could not Him. See Matt 22:41-46

          • Harry Flynn

            Funny, I do not believe I said His enemies silenced Him. I said Jesus responded with silence.

            Nice attempt to take a grandiose “loftier” position though!

            You do not seem to pay attention very well, sir, from what I can gather from this and other posts. If you attempt such lofty positions, check your facts first and pay attention to how other people speak. You are what, early 20s? You have ample time to start.

          • Mary Kochan

            Have it your way. There is no infallible Church and we can only rely on Scripture, so prove what Scripture is by Scripture alone.

            Prove that only the Scripture is inspired-inerrant, using scripture alone.

            Prove that Scripture is the highest authority in the church, using scripture alone.

          • Ed

            It is true there is no infallible church. Just look at the history of your church for proof. Being infallible is not necessary to know the Scripture is inspired-inerrant.

            Christ is building His church. He gave the church pastor-teachers to teach the Word of God correctly to the people. They are teach apostolic doctrines that are found in Scripture alone. They were not to teach doctrines that are not grounded in Scripture in which your church has many.

            We know that the Scripture is inspired-inerrant. That is the nature of these writings. Since nothing else is inspired-inerrant then they alone are the highest authority in the church.

            Since we agree that the Scripture is inspired-inerrant then its up to you to demonstrate that the church is inspired and inerrant in the same way the Scripture is. If you can do this, then you can claim that the church is equal in authority as the Scripture.

            BTW- there has only been one individual in all of human history that could be said to be infallible and that is the Lord Christ. Only He could be said to be equal with the Scripture in authority.

          • Mary Kochan

            You’re doin’ a lot of yakkin’, but where are the proofs of what you say? Remember, according to your own principle of sola-scriptura, everything you say is supposed to be proven from the Bible. We are waiting for you to regale us with the scriptural texts that prove all of these bold assertion you are making.

            Like I said, you need to prove what Scripture is by Scripture alone

            Let me see if I can help you get a handle on this.

            You said that God gave us the Bible. That is a religious claim. You have also claimed that everything we know about religious truth is in the Bible. In fact you have claimed that the Bible should be our only source for religious truth.

            So where in the Bible does it say that God gave us the Bible?

            That is the first question you need to answer.

            We know from history that these decisions were made:
            1. which writings that claimed authorship of the apostles were authentic
            2. which writings that claimed authorship of other prominent early Christians were authentic
            3. which of these authentic writings were worthy to be read in the church
            4. which of these authentic writings should be collected into the Canon of Scripture

            We know from history that all of these decisions were made by Catholic bishops. But according to you, they are fallible. They could have been mistaken about any one or more of these things:

            They could have been mistaken about which writings that claimed authorship of the apostles were authentic, So maybe 2 Peter wasn’t written by Peter.

            They could have been mistaken about which writings that claimed authorship of other prominent early Christians were authentic. Maybe James didn’t really write James and it is just an epistle of straw that should not be in the Bible, as Martin Luther said.

            They could have been mistaken about which of these authentic writings were worthy to be read in the church. They read The Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement, The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles (the Didache) in church. Whereas James, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John were not very widely used.

            They could have been mistaken about which of these authentic writings should be collected into the Canon of Scripture. Maybe Hebrews doesn’t belong in the Bible. Maybe St. Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans, does.

            You have no way of knowing that you have the correct books of the Bible, because you think the Council of Catholic bishops that finalized the Canon are fallible. If church councils are fallible then you cannot know for sure that you have the correct books in the Bible. If these decisions were made by fallible men, then your Bible could be fallible because it could be missing something it needs to have or it could have something in it it’s not supposed to have.

            Second, you need to prove that only the Scripture is inspired and inerrant using Scripture alone. We have not seen one single reference to any text of Scripture which says that only Scripture is inspired and inerrant.

            Third you need to prove that Scripture is the highest authority in the church using Scripture alone. We have not seen one single reference to any text of Scripture which says that Scripture is the highest authority in the church.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            You are demonstrating that you really don’t understand the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. The doctrine does not deal with the specifics of how we know which books belong in the canon, or how we know something is inspired or how the OT Jews knew which books in the OT were Scripture or how the church of the 4th determined the 27 books of the NT canon, These are all separate issues that are not part of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Indirectly the Scripture does support the idea that the 66 books are inspired and thereby inerrant because God is the ultimate author.

            Since the Scripture is inspired-inerrant alone, it follows that it is the highest authority for the church. Men are not inspired-inerrant. Nor are churches or traditions. All of these things are below the Scripture in terms of authority.

            It is true that all we need that is necessary for salvation and how we are to live for Christ is found in the Scripture alone. It is by the Scripture that we grow in respect to salvation. (I Peter 2:2)
            This is not true of traditions. Scripture never makes such claims for traditions. Some traditions can be helpful such as what time to worship or the structure of a worship service.

            It is true that a church can be mistaken. Remember: Christ never promised to protect the church from error. We know from history that the church has erred. Even your church during the time of Luther recognized it needed to reform. Reform implies something that is wrong needs correction. If your church was without error it would not need to be reformed.

            To know the truth about something does not require infallibility. If that were true, the we would know nothing. Infallibility is not required to know which books belong in the canon.

            Hope this helps.

          • Mary Kochan

            Ed, the doctrine very specifically deals with whether church councils can be trusted! The initial Protestant explication of Sola Scriptura was made by Martin Luther and specifically mentions church councils. You forget that you are talking to a former Lutheran who knows the history of this doctrine very well. You did not show that you have any conception of the origin of sola-scriptura in the thinking of Martin Luther who specifically said that that church councils could not be relied upon and for that very reason the Christian must rely only on the Bible. this strikes right to the heart of our reliance upon Scripture, because it was a church Council that authoritatively determined the Canon of Scripture. it is what we call a self refuting statement. As soon as Martin Luther said it he had destroyed the basis for confidence in the Canon of Scripture itself. (note:I am using a speaking program that is not consistent in the way it renders the expression Sola Scriptura.)

            Calvin tried to solve the problem by theorizing that the Holy Spirit would individually reveal to every Christian by an “inner light” which books belong in the Bible and every Christian would come to the same conclusion! He, arguably one of Protestants greatest systematic theologians, himself recognized that Luther’s attack on church councils meant the destruction of any authoritative list or Canon.

            So yes indeed, the doctrine of Sola Scripture confronts one instantly with the problem of knowing what Scripture is. This is a problem for which you have proffered no solution other than to keep repeating that we already know what Scripture is. Well, I know, because I accept the infallible authority of the Catholic Church that tells me what Scripture is. You have yet to explain how you make that determination when you reject that authority.

            And then of course there are the other two assertions that you made as part of your argument, neither of which you have yet to support with one single scriptural text.

            Reform has to do with overcoming sin. It has to do with striving for virtue. It has to do with ever more closely following Christ. it has nothing to do with infallibility.

            I never said that to know the truth about something required infallibility. For example, I know the truth that Jesus is God even though I am not infallible. But that cannot be proven from Scripture alone,otherwise there never would have been an Arian controversy in the church — the Arians used Scripture also, just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do today. I know that Jesus is God because the early church, the same church that gave me the Canon of Scripture, validly and infallibly interprets the Scriptures.

            Jesus certainly did promise infallibility to the church. But I am not going to show you this from the Scripture because that is not my job at this point in our discussion, rather it is your job, because you have asserted Sola Scriptura to start finding the scriptural texts that say the Bible alone is our rule for faith and is a highest authority in the church. 1 Peter 2:2 says nothing about the Bible, not to mention the Bible ALONE.

            Still waiting for those list of Scriptures from the Bible that prove Sola Scriptura.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            Sola Scriptura (the Scriptures alone are inspired-inerrant and thereby the ultimate authority) does not depend on what Luther or or Calvin thought in regards to councils etc. Sola Scriptura is grounded on the fact that the Scripture alone is theopneustos, God-breathed, and hence embodies the very speaking of God, and must, of necessity therefore be of the highest authority. No church or man makes the Scripture theopneustos. Only God can do that.

            Just because people misinterpret the Scripture does not mean Sola Scriptura is false. It means people can misinterpret and abuse the Scripture. JW’s and Mormons do as your church has done with the Marian dogmas for example. Indulgences is another example.

            I know Jesus is God because that is what Scripture teaches. If you want to know what passages teach this then let me know.

            Where has your church infallibly interpreted the Scripture? Where can I find this work that shows the infallible interpretations of all the Scripture?

            Reform has do not only with sin but other things as well. Do you think the way Tetzel and the pope exploited the poor via indulgences was right?

            If Jesus promised His church would be infallible then why the warnings in Scripture that false teachers would come into to the church and deceive many? How could there be churches already being rebuked for teaching false doctrines in Rev 2-3?

            If the church was to be protected from error then why does Jude 3 tell Christians to contend for the faith?

            As you can see that if the church was protected from error then these warnings and exhortations would be foolishness.

          • Mary Kochan

            what verses in the Bible teach Sola Scripture? So far all you have done is give your opinion. Are you infallible? Am I supposed to take your word for these things as though you were some kind of an authority? You have yet to quote a single verse of Scripture that says that Scripture alone is the rule for faith. You have yet to quote a single verse of Scripture that says that Scripture is the highest authority for the church. I’m losing track of how many times I have asked you for the verses that support this doctrine. After all if it is such an important doctrine and it is so clearly taught in Scripture, then you should be able to quote some Scriptures that state it.

            The Pope being a sinner has nothing to do with infallibility. And you have yet to explain to us how it is you know you have the Scriptures if the church that gave you the list of books of the Bible is fallible. We’re still waiting for you to answer these questions.

          • Ed

            I don’t know why you keep asking for verses that teach Sola Scriptura when the doctrine is about the nature of the Scripture. To be sure there are passages that speak of the nature of Scripture and its power. 2 Tim 3:16-17 comes to mind as does 2 Peter 3:16.
            Only the Scripture is inspired-inerrant. Only the Scripture is the Word of God. Since these are facts, then it follows that the Scripture alone is the highest authority in the church.

            Do you deny that the Scripture alone is inspired-inerrant? Do you deny they alone are so? Do you deny they alone are the Word of God? If you deny any of this, then you need to demonstrate another authority that is inspire and inerrant.

            For example, do you claim your church is inspired and inerrant in all that it does and teaches? Do you claim its doctrines are inspired and inerrant as the Scripture is?

            I already told you that we don’t need an infallible church or council to know which books belong in the canon. What is required is that God is the author of Scripture and that He is capable of revealing His canon of Scripture to the church. This what happened in the 4th century.

            How did an OT Jew know what Scripture was without a church to tell him?

          • Mary Kochan

            I keep asking for verses that teach Sola Scriptura because YOU have said that the Bible is the only source of Christian doctrine. If what you say is true then the Bible should be the source of the Sola Scriptura doctrine. Otherwise you have a doctrine that you are asserting is true that must have some other source than Scripture. So which is i? Is the Bible the source of all doctrine or does the doctrine of Sola Scriptura have some other source?

            The question here is not about MY claims. I already gave you the proof for my claims. By proof is in the historical fact of how Scripture was identified for us. I don’t have to offer a scriptural proof for that claim because the historical proof suffices and because I have not limited myself to using only the Scripture as proof. YOU are the one who has done that. so where is your proof? Use the Bible alone to prove the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Go ahead, we are waiting.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            Why must there be a verse for Sola Scriptura for it to be the source of Christian doctrine? The source of the Scripture is God. It is His revelation to man. It is He Who inspires them which makes then inerrant.
            For a doctrine to be truly considered Christian doctrine it must be grounded on Scripture. If it is not grounded in Scripture then it is not truly Christian. There is no other source for Christian doctrine than the Scripture.

            Where in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura does it claim there must be a verse of Scripture to prove that Sola Scriptura is true?

            This is why you need to understand not only the doctrine of Sola Scriptura but also what the term means and why. Once you do, then you will have your answer.

          • Mary Kochan

            So you admit that Sola Scripture is not in the Bible?

          • Mary Kochan

            So you admit that Sola Scriptura is not in the Bible?

          • Ed

            What do the Scriptures teach? Did Jesus hold people accountable to the Scripture or to traditions?

            Do the Scriptures point us to another authority that is also inspired and inerrant?

          • Mary Kochan

            It is irrelevant whether the Scriptures point us to another authority or not. That is not the question currently under discussion.The question under discussion is whether sola-scriptura is found in the Bible. You have yet to give us a single verse where the Bible says that Scripture alone is the sole authority for doctrine, or is the highest authority in the church. You have rambled on and on and on, saying the same things over and over, things that are not in the Bible. The Scriptures certainly don’t point us to you as an authority, so why don’t you back up your statements with verses from the Bible?

          • Ed

            Yes the methodology of Sola Scrptura is found in Scripture. When Jesus refuted Satan He used Scripture. Jesus based His teachings on Scripture and they have their source in God Himself. ” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” John 7:16 See also John 8:28.
            Never did Jesus ground His teachings in the traditions of men. Nor did He command His disciples to either. They were to teach others only what He revealed to them.
            This is what Sola Scriptura looks like in practice.

          • Mary Kochan

            So what verse of the Bible says that all the teachings of Jesus are in the Bible?

          • Mary Kochan

            And after you get done answering that, tell us all what previously existing Scripture Jesus was basing his teaching on that we must eat his body and drink his blood in order to have life. (See the gospel of John sixth chapter.)

          • ed

            Jesus is speaking metaphorically in John 6. It is not literal. If it were it would be cannibalism.

          • Harry Flynn

            Mrs. Kochan just remember: the Bible is infallible because the Bible says so.

          • Mary Kochan

            But the Bible does not tell you what Scripture is. And the Bible does not tell you that it is the only thing that is infallible. we are still waiting for those Scriptures with the word only in them, but of course they do not exist. I bet you have been looking for them like crazy.

          • Mary Kochan

            Ed, is it possible for the church to exist and function without the New Testament?

          • Ed

            If a church is to be apostolic then the NT is a necessity for that because its in the NT alone we find apostolic teaching.

            A church could exist and function without the NT but it would not be apostolic.

          • Mary Kochan

            That is a silly and unhistorical answer since first century churches were planted and functioning all over the place before the New Testament was written. In fact, many of the letters of St. Paul were written to fully functioning apostolic churches. And many of his letters even predate the Gospels.

            It is time for you to go now, Ed. you have demonstrated that you cannot find the doctrine of Sola Scriptura in the Bible. You have demonstrated that you are unable to distinguish between infallibility and sinlessness despite the fact of it being repeatedly explained to you. you have demonstrated that adherence to the Protestant tradition of Sola Scriptura damages a person’s ability to think logically and to deal honestly with the witness of history.

            Thank you for stopping by CatholicLane. We will pray for you.

          • Ed

            Ok. How did a Jew who lived 500 years before Christ know what Scripture was? Remember: there was no church authority to tell him.

          • Mary Kochan

            Jewish tradition told him what his Scriptures are. Just like Catholic tradition tells us what our Scriptures are. Except we Catholics call it Sacred Tradition, because it comes to us from the apostles who got it from Jesus. Sola Scriptura is a Protestant tradition. It comes from the 1500s and has its origin in Martin Luther. It is you who are following the traditions of men.

          • Ed

            The Bible doesn’t tell me how to make cake or fix my car either. I guess the Bible is not infallible then.

          • Mary Kochan

            But that is not what the apostles taught.

          • Mary Kochan

            Also if Jesus was speaking metaphorically you have a real big problem because the Catholic bishops who gave you your list of Scriptures, your Canon, all believed that he was speaking literally. So how could you possibly trust these men to tell you what Scripture is?

          • Ed

            Like I said, to know the truth does not require a person to be sinless or infallible. If that was a requirement to know truth then we would know nothing because no bishop is sinless or infallible.

            The problem with a literal interpretation of John 6 leads to cannibalism.

          • Mary Kochan

            I’m sure that is exactly what all the Jews who walked away from Jesus thought. You too are walking away from Jesus, who founded the Catholic Church and put it in the hands of the apostles who faithfully passed it on to their successors the bishops.

          • Mary Kochan

            To know the truth does not require a person to be infallible (and sinlessness has nothing to do with infallibility, which is a gift and promise of the Holy Spirit to the Church). however as I pointed out before and you never answered– the bishops of the Catholic Church decided what books belong in your Bible. If it is possible that they made a mistake then you could have the wrong books in your Bible. You have no way of being sure that you have the correct Bible unless you trust the authority of those bishops. But you cannot trust their authority because they believed a bunch of things that you don’t believe. They believed that Jesus was being literal about his body and blood. They believe that the apostles held the office of Bishop and the bishops were successors of the apostles. They believe that priests could forgive sins in Jesus name. They worshiped Jesus present in the Eucharist. They called Mary the mother of God and asked for her intercession.

            It is a historical fact that that is how you got your Bible. From the Catholic Church. if you reject the authority of the Catholic Church then you simply have no Bible.

          • Ed

            Mary,

            If you could prove that bishops cannot make mistakes then you will have made your case. The problem is that I know you can’t. No RC in their right minds believes bishops don’t make mistakes.

            I do believe we have the right books in the canon because I believe God is behind it all. My faith is in Him and not in men.

            What bishops believe about the meaning of the Lord’s supper is a separate issue from the canon.

            The idea of private confession to a priest was another late development in church history as is asking for Mary’s intercession.

            Just because God used men in a church to discern the NT canon does not mean you must accept everything that church teaches. That does not follow.
            Do you accept the inquisitions your church created and supported for centuries?

          • Mary Kochan

            Exactly what the Roman persecutors of Christians accused them of.

          • Ed

            Jesus is referring back to the manna in wilderness.
            Exodus 16:1-36

          • Mary Kochan

            Exodus doesn’t say anything about eating a body and a drinking blood. once again you grasp at straws because you don’t have a leg to stand on.

          • Ed

            That is true. However, He is speaking metaphorically by making an analogy with His body and the bread. Just as the manna sustained the OT Jews physical lives so we are to believe in Him for our spiritual lives. Just as they depended on the manna to live, so we are to depend on Christ for life by faith.

          • Ed

            although John wrote that Jesus did other things not written down we don’t know what these things were. all that we have from Christ is found only in the New Testament.

          • Mary Kochan

            No Ed, you don’t know what any of these things were because you are a poor Protestant. We have the traditions of the apostles through the church so that we know not only what Jesus said in Scripture but also how he did things, like how he celebrated the Last Supper, the kind of gestures he used in prayer, how the priest is supposed to act when he forgives sins, that the office the apostles held was the office of Bishop and would be passed down to their successors, how holy orders are to be conferred, etc. we have the writings of the direct disciples of the apostles and the bishops upon whom the apostles laid their own hands.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            What specific “traditions” of the apostles do you have that are not in Scripture?
            We know from Scripture what Jesus did at the last supper but we don’t know ” the kind of gestures he used in prayer”. No one knows what gestures Jesus used in prayer.

            BTW- there is no office of a priest or pope in the NT. These were later developments. In fact a celibate leadership that your church demands is in contradiction to the Scripture. See I Tim 3.

          • Mary Kochan

            “Where in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura does it claim there must be a verse of Scripture to prove that Sola Scriptura is true?” Uh, in the sola scriptura part.”

          • Ed

            Where in the description of Sola Scriptura does it say that a verse in the Bible proves it?

          • Mary Kochan

            Which description of Sola Scripture are we talking about? There are as many descriptions as there are Protestants. I’ve been going by your description. Are you suddenly finding your own description to be problematic?

            You have said over and over again that every doctrine has to have its source in the Bible and that the Bible is the only source for Christian doctrine. You have said this over and over and over. All I’m doing is asking you where in the Bible the doctrine of Sola Scripture appears. Please answer the question or admit it’s not in the Bible.

          • Ed

            You have not refuted Sola Scriptura.
            Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that the Scripture alone is inspired-inerrant. It is alone is the Word of God. This means that it alone is the highest authority for Christians. It has no equal.

            Here is how you can defeat Sola Scriptura:
            1) Show that the Scripture is not inspired-inerrant.
            2) Show that Scripture is not the Word of God.
            If you can demonstrate these 2 points then you will have defeated Sola Scriptura.

            3) Show another source-authority that is also inspired-inerrant.
            If can demonstrate this then you will have weakened the doctrine enough for me not to claim that the Scripture alone is not the only source that is inspired-inerrant. I would have to admit to at least 2 equal sources that would be binding.

          • Mary Kochan

            You are mixed up. I am not trying to “refute” Sola Scriptura. I am trying to get you to apply it!

            Scripture being inspired has nothing to do with Scripture ALONE being the source of doctrine. Scripture being the word of God has nothing to do with Scripture ALONE being the rule for faith. Neither of them have anything to do with your assertion that Scripture is the highest authority in the church. You’re trying to scream “Scripture alone”, but when you are asked for proof, you only want to deal with “Scripture” and hope we all forget about the “alone” part.

            Still waiting for those verses that prove these strong assertions you have made. You said that Sola Scripture is a doctrine. You said, “There is no other source for Christian doctrine than the Scripture.” So where in Scripture is Sola Scriptura found?

            Or are you ready to admit that Sola Scripture is not in the Bible.

          • Mary Kochan

            This is finally getting downright amusing. You tell me the Bible must be the source for every Christian doctrine. You tell me the Bible must be the ONLY source for every Christian doctrine. Then you state a doctrine and I ask you where it is in the Bible and you get all tied up in knots.

          • Mary Kochan

            “For a doctrine to be truly considered Christian doctrine it must be grounded on Scripture. If it is not grounded in Scripture then it is not truly Christian. There is no other source for Christian doctrine than the Scripture.

            Where in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura does it claim there must be a verse of Scripture to prove that Sola Scriptura is true?”

            You typed these two above paragraphs. Hey I know — I can find a solution to your problem in what you typed. Sola Scripture is doctrine, but it isn’t CHRISTIAN doctrine. There you are, problem solved.

          • Suzanne T

            God did not just leave us with a book. He left us with a CHURCH. That Church is the Catholic Church whom God gave the Authority to compile the Sacred Scriptures. There is no ONE WORK tat the Church writes as a single infallible interpretation of scripture because, again, a BOOK isn’t enough. Our faith is living and we need a living teacher to interpret the scriptures for our times. Jesus Christ gave this authority to Peter and it handed down through the ages to is sucesors.

          • ed

            The book that God gave the church are the Scriptures. This is what the church is to teach because only the Scripture contain apostolic teachings. There is only one meaning to the texts of Scripture but varied applications in principle.

          • GuitarGramma

            Ed — Please see my comment which — at this time — is the first comment you see after the article. I think it’s important that you understand the technical meaning of the word “infallible.”
            I would like to quote scripture as a part of this discussion. 1Timothy 3:15 says “but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

            So according to scripture, the church of the living God is the pillar and support of the truth. This is in complete concert with Catholic teaching.

            Here’s another one that supports Catholic teaching: 2 Thessalonians 2:15 says, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught,
            whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” So according to scripture, not everything was written in scripture.
            These quotes from the Bible are part of the reason I remain Catholic despite the sins of Catholics, myself included.

          • Ed

            Mary,

            It is true that the church is to be the pillar and support of the truth. The question though is what “truth” is Paul referring to? It can’t be the Marian dogmas, the papacy or indulgences since he never taught such doctrines. So what “truth” is the church to support?

            It is true that Paul refers to some “traditions” that he himself taught. The question here is what traditions did Paul teach the Thessalonians? Again, we are limited to what he taught and all that we have of what he taught is found only in the letters he wrote. In those letters we do not find many of the doctrines of your church in those letters.

          • Ed

            My response should be to GuitarGramma and not Mary. my mistake. Sorry about that.

          • GuitarGramma

            Ed, I am sorry to have to disagree with you, but we are not, as you stated, “limited to what … is found only in the letters [Paul] wrote.” There was an oral tradition as well, carefully preserved by the Church which Jesus Christ founded. The proof that this is so is in Scripture itself, 2 Thes 2:15. Paul commanded that the oral traditions be adhered to, and they were.

            David Currie, in his excellent book, “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” points out that the epistles were, by and large, written in order to deal with particular problems that had arisen within particular areas. Because the oral tradition had been so well preserved, things that were going well didn’t need to be dealt with by letter. So, if the early Christians were giving honor to Mary (which she predicted in Luke 1:48), AND that was acceptable practice, you logically would not see it written about in a letter or epistle.
            May I please ask you, when was the last time you called the Virgin Mary “blessed”? Is it a regular part of your lexicon, because Scripture tells us that “all generations will call [Mary] blessed”? Is it not part of your duty as a follower of Christ and a lover of Scripture to call Mary “blessed”? Are you not pleased that at least Catholics do, so that this particular passage of Scripture is fulfilled to this day?
            If you were to study the history of the declarations of the Marian doctrines proclaimed by the Catholic Church, you would find most, perhaps all, were proclaimed in order to defend Jesus Christ as God! They were not, as I’ve had Protestant Christian friends state, declared to take glory away from God and give it to Mary — by no means!

            For lack of time, I will not be able to go through the same logic on the papacy and indulgences. But please know this, these are logical extensions from the doctrines taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles. The doctrines took time to develop fully, but the genesis of each is contained within the Bible and the Biblically commanded oral tradition of the Church which Jesus Christ founded.

          • Ed

            GuitarGramma ,
            During the the time that Paul lived those who personally under his teaching would have known more than we know today. They could have had his letters and oral teachings. Today, as its been for the past 2000 years are limited only by Paul’s letters. We do not have his oral teachings. If you claim to know what Paul’s or anyone else’ (apostles) oral teachings were then can you give me an example of it? What oral teachings of Christ or His apostles do we have today that is not in Scripture?

            Mary was blessed in what God called her to do. To be part of bringing Christ into the world and raising Him made her a blessed woman. However, it does not follow from this that we are to pray to her, devote our lives to her, claim she is the mother of us all or that all grace come through her. No writer of Scripture ever attributes such things to her.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            It is not necessary to identify what the Scripture is. That has already been done by the church and the OT Jews. . Secondly, how we know what Scripture is, is not part of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. It never has been.. We both recognize at least 66 books as being inspired-inerrant. (we can discuss the apocrypha later). The short answer to how we know which books belong in the canon is based on:

            1) Christ guiding men in the 4th century to determine which books belong on the NT canon.

            2) Various tests were used to determine canonicity. Tests such an apostolic test. Was the book written by an apostle or one closely associated with an apostle?

            3) Was the book used by the various churches in the past few centuries?

            These are just some of the tests that were used to determine the NT canon.

            Since your church and my church believes that the Scripture is inspired-inerrant, then we can discuss the implications of that in regards to doctrines and practice.

            The other discussion has to do with the claim of Sole Scriptura claiming to be alone inspired-inerrant. Is there anything else that is inspired-inerrant? Are church traditions or Sacred Traditions of your church inspired-inerrant? If they are, then the Scripture alone is not the only inspired-inerrant source.

  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    Ed,
    I do not want to add an extraneous note to this discussion which seems to be wandering far from its initial focus. But the Gospels of Mark and Luke were not written by Apostles.

  • GuitarGramma

    Ed, Welcome to this site from a long-time reader, most-time lurker, and occasional poster.

    As I read your posts, I suspect that you and Mary are using the same word but applying different meanings. That word is “infallible.” I am going to spend this post hoping to help you see what “infallible” means in the highly technical, Catholic sense of the word.

    “Infallible” does not mean “sinless.” “Infallible” does not mean “perfect.” From what you’ve written, I think perhaps you are including those two meanings when you write the word “infallible.”

    “Infallible” actually is a highly limited, technical word within Catholic parlance. “Infallible” refers to teaching without error. Scripture is inspired, which is more complete and perfect than “infallible.” Scripture is inspired, it is God breathed.

    We Catholics often say “The Pope is infallible.” This is an instance of Catholics using shorthand that can mislead people. It is more proper to say, “The Pope has the ability to proclaim doctrine that is infallible.”

    This means that when the Pope issues a declaration with the full authority of his teaching office on a matter of faith or morals, God prevents the Pope from saying anything wrong. The Pope may not declare God’s truth in its entirety, but nothing he says will be incorrect.

    To give an example, if a Pope were to state, “The Dodgers will win the World Series in 2013,” that is NOT an infallible statement. It is not a matter of faith or morals, and it was not proclaimed as a part of the teaching office of the Papacy.

    One of your posts states that we all know the canon of scripture was not declared by Papal decree. Actually, it was, as the affirmation of two church councils. If these councils had declared the canon of scripture and then no Pope affirmed either council, the canon would not be binding. We would not have had a firm Bible, at least at that point in history. God would have made sure we had the Bible as we know it today, because He inspired those books and wanted humanity to know about them.

    But I digress — let’s go back to infallibility. You state that history has proved the Catholic Church is not infallible. When you say this, do you mean that there have been sinful Popes? Very, very sinful Popes? Because there have certainly been very, very sinful Popes.

    But here’s something to ponder. Even those Popes who kept concubines never taught that keeping a concubine was morally acceptable. Why? Because God prevents all Popes from teaching error. That — and that alone — is what is meant by saying that the Pope is infallible; he will never teach error when declaring a doctrine of faith or of morals.

    Let’s face it, if a Pope had a harem, he could make his own life a lot easier by declaring with the authority of this teaching office that Popes may keep harems. Yet not one single Pope has ever done so. Why? Because God won’t let him. Remember how Jesus told Peter, “Upon this rock, I will build my church”? Jesus/God is always building His church, and He will not allow error to be proclaimed. This is how we know that God protected His church when a church council, affirmed by a Pope, declared whcih 72 books would comprise the Bible. (It only became 66 after Martin Luthor, a fallible man, decided he didn’t like what was taught in Maccabees. He almost succeeded in getting James thrown out of the New Testament; doesn’t that scare you? ).

    My beloved Pope John Paul II once said that all violence is caused by poverty. Perhaps he meant poverty of spirit, not just financial poverty; perhaps not. But this was not a statement where he was exercising infallibility, it was a simple opinion.

    When, however, Pope John Paul II stated in the introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church that he ordered its publication “by virtue of my Apostolic Authority” then we are getting closer to what might be a statement of infallibility about the contents of the Catechism. I am not competent to tell you whether that sentence in the introduction raises the contents of the Catechism to the level of infallible; I’m just trying to give you a flavor for the kind of wording that must be used when a Pope exercises the power of infallibility.

    In summary: “Infallible” — as used by the Catholic Church — does not mean “sinless” or “perfect” or “complete.” It is a gift from God preventing any Pope from teaching error. I ask you, please, to keep that in mind as you write your future posts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peggy-Bowes/1365444492 Peggy Bowes

    I find it interesting that the Protestant Bible has 66 books. In ancient Biblical times, the number 6 basically meant “short of perfect,” as 7 was the number of completeness or perfection. That’s why the mark of the beast is 666. The number 6 is not diabolical, but the devil can never get to perfection so is always stuck at 6. I don’t think it’s accidental that the Protestant Bible has 66 books. Not diabolical of course, but short of perfection. The Catholic Bible has 73 books. 7 for perfection, 3 for inspired by the Three Persons of the Trinity. Just my $0.02…

  • SusanF

    Susan Formica If the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is solid, then there should be no division within the Body of Christ. All Christians should believe the same about Baptism and Original Sin. All Christians should believe the same thing about the discourse in John’s Gospel (ch 6) about whether or not the bread and wine is truly Christ’s Body and Blood, or a mere symbol. For 2000 years, these beliefs have been unified. It was when this doctrine of “Sola Scripture” came onto the scene that the Body of Christ became divided. How on earth could someone in the 8th century have known that all they needed was the Bible alone, when the printing press hadn’t been developed, and not everyone had a Bible? Why would God say that all we need to know about our Salvation was this book, yet not make this book available to the masses until 1500 years after the death of his Son?

    • Ed

      Susan,
      The same could be said for the RCC. There are all kinds of opinions among RC that are in direct opposition to church teachings. Keep in mind this is with a pope and a infallible magesterium.

  • goral

    That’s why we get so many half-baked interpretations from self-professed bible “experts”.