Tag Archives: Sola Scriptura

Arminian Chronicles: A kinder, gentler anathema?

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EMBLEM OF THE PAPACY: TRIPLE TIARA AND KEYS

My friend over at Arminian Chronicles takes great issue with the Church’s authority to excommunicate members of the Church. Below, is the text of his response to a post in wherein I re-blogged a list of Protestant divisions theorized by Catholic Nick to be caused by the man-made doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Let us examine the post and I will respond in kind:

A kinder, gentler anathema?

I had claimed, and still do, that Rome’s anathemas needlessly divide the body of Christ; far more than sola scriptura does. For example, Rome (not scripture) anathematizes those who think indulgences are worthless. So Rome causes divisions that scripture alone does not.

This is not just in theory but in practice. Joseelcarpintero commented in a way that lumped me in with the unsaved false teachers in 1 John 2:19. And that’s not the only time people have tried to scare me into the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Rome is not the only group to anathematize me. With everyone thinking they alone have found the one true way, the only thing I know to do is turn to Christ and put my trust in Him.

Now consider the reverse. I don’t consider joseelcarpintero a false teacher. I don’t know him but I hope that he is trusting in Christ for his salvation. So which is causing division, sola scriptura or Rome’s anathemas?

My friend tried to soften the blow of anathema by saying:

“Anathema is actually a very formal, fancy and public way of showing that X person incurred latae sententiae or automatic excommunication. The Anathema itself was done away with in 1983. Excommunication, however, remains. Keep in mind that excommunication does not damn one to hell – it is simply a formal state of being way out of communion with Rome and is very severe because if one is totally out of communion with Rome, one is out of communion with Christ.”

And also:

“this is not a judgment against the person’s heart and mind. It is a judgment against the person’s actions in relation to what the Church, under the guidance/protection of the Holy Spirit (God), has stated.”

But to cause division, one does not need to be God and condemn his opponents to hell. Rather, by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division. So Rome’s anathemas do cause division. Think about it – Rome calls councils ecumenical, even if they don’t include Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. That’s division. Rome considers itself the one true church to the exclusion of all others. That’s division. Catholics threaten Protestants with hell. That’s division.

It should be clarified that Trent’s anathemas do not simply mean you can no longer attend mass but you can go across the street to an EoC or Protestant church and we will still consider you Christian. An anathema is a curse. Consider Paul’s use of anathema in Galatians 1:9:

If any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

Consider the formula of Rome’s old anathema ceremony:

“Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N– himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate” (link)

That’s division.

Now perhaps modern Catholics have a new and softer understanding of anathema or have even layed down a power inherent to the apostolic office. That’s good but not relevant because it’s anachronistic to apply a novel understanding of anathema to either Paul or Trent.

Posted by Godismyjudge

Now, in full disclosure, Joseelcarpintero is actually my father. And being my father not only will he defend his Catholic faith but in part, he will defend me so many times his tone will come off as a bit harsher than what I know him to actually be stating. This is a similar case but he recites one of his favorite passages 1 John 2:19 – and rightly so. Of course, not intending to lump my friend specifically as a false teacher but more implicating Protestant Reformers as false teachers, which to a very large degree, I agree.

On Indulgences and Excommunications

These men teach falsely because they were neither given the authority nor do they have the right to interpret, teach or define doctrine outside the Church that Christ establish. This is an affront to the sovereignty of God and His decision to establish a visible Church with a steward, a body of shepherds and the authority to bind and loose and heaven and earth (Mt. 16:18-19, 18:18).

Okay, so how does this fit into today’s discussion. Well, very simply. Anathemas (Greek – literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside) were again a rite of formally excommunicating an individual for the most grevious offenses. Indulegnces are included because the Church infallibly defined the pious use of indulgences, as Pope Paul VI states, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of Redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” [Indulgentarium Doctrina 1].

What does that all mean? Well, it means that, under the authority granter her by Christ, the Church has the ability to remit some of the temporal penalties of sin despite already receiving forgiveness. The principle of temporal punishment due to sin is something that is completely supported by Scripture (read A Primer on Indulgences by Jimmy Akin for more information). Those who do not believe what the Church teaches on indulgences and other infallible declarations is clearly out of communion with the Church and thus subject to whatever canonical penalty she deems appropriate. This is her right per Jesus Himself. So to anathematize/excommunicate any person for their disbelief in the infallible is more a matter of disobedience to the Church and subsequently God (Lk 10:16) rather than on understanding. That is what faith is all about. I have faith in Christ and His Church yet I do not understand everything about either – thus the phrase, “the mystery of faith.”

Another thing to note about excommunication is that this is a canonical penalty that only the Church can give out. That means that one must be a formal member of the Church to receive such a penalty. The first Reformers were all Catholic and thus subject to such penalties. But subsequent persons who know nothing of the Catholic faith are not necessarily subject to these same penalties. That would be unjust and unnecessary.

On the Catholic Church as the Cause of Disunity

Above my friend mentioned a solid truth about a root cause of division among Christians in general, “by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division.” This goes for all sides – if we as Christians do not see the image of God in each person no matter the faith then we are doomed to fail in our intereactions with them. I want to add though, that although I know that my friend knows that I am a Christian, he is one of the few Protestants I know that actually considers Catholicism a Christian denomination. So to reiterate what he said about treating opponents as Christians…

To move on, my friend makes the case for Rome and her excommunications as a cause of division. To a certain degree this can be seen as true. Hoever, the more accurate manner of looking at comes from Jesus Himself who stated:

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke (RSV) 10:16) 

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew (RSV) 16:19)

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew (RSV) 18:18)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” (Matthew (RSV) 10:34-35)

These are all divisive sayings. Clearly Christ knew that His Gospel of Salvation would divide families, friends and even persons within His Church. Yet He always made it clear that those who truly believe in Him will stick with Him despite all of these divisions and losses. Why? Because He is the “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by [Him]”  (John (RSV) 14:6). These divisions are not caused by Christ or His Church, they are caused by the light of Truth case upon the darkness that already exists thus illumining these divisions making their existence evident.

So when the Church calls for an ecumenical council she rightly calls for all validly ordained bishops from within the Church. Priests and bishops from the Eastern Orthodox Churches are certainly invited to attend, once of course, they come into communion with the One True Church just as many of the other Eastern Rites have already done. As for Protestants, none exist as a “Church.” Communities where Protestants gather to praise the Lord are more rightly defined as ecclesial communities rather than churches because none of their faith traditions were established by Christ, His Apostles or any subsequent validly ordained bishop, etc. Then communities where established solely by men and cannot trace their ecclesial history back father than Luther – who excommunicated himself by his disobedience to the Church and God. So in this, she does not cause division, the division already exists and was caused by men seeking to undercut the Church’s God-given authority for their own man-made attempt at it.

The power binding and loosing remains with the Catholic Church. This has always been the case since A.D. 33 and will not change until Christ’s return. Thus, the verse found in Galatians 1:9, that my friend quotes above, speaks directly to the inherent problem of Protestantism – they do not preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus are already anathema from the beginning. Protestant faith traditions are outside of communion with Christ because they are outside of communion with the Church.

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Arminian Chronicles: A kinder, gentler anathema?

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys
EMBLEM OF THE PAPACY: TRIPLE TIARA AND KEYS

My friend over at Arminian Chronicles takes great issue with the Church’s authority to excommunicate members of the Church. Below, is the text of his response to a post in wherein I re-blogged a list of Protestant divisions theorized by Catholic Nick to be caused by the man-made doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Let us examine the post and I will respond in kind:

A kinder, gentler anathema?

I had claimed, and still do, that Rome’s anathemas needlessly divide the body of Christ; far more than sola scriptura does. For example, Rome (not scripture) anathematizes those who think indulgences are worthless. So Rome causes divisions that scripture alone does not.

This is not just in theory but in practice. Joseelcarpintero commented in a way that lumped me in with the unsaved false teachers in 1 John 2:19. And that’s not the only time people have tried to scare me into the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Rome is not the only group to anathematize me. With everyone thinking they alone have found the one true way, the only thing I know to do is turn to Christ and put my trust in Him.

Now consider the reverse. I don’t consider joseelcarpintero a false teacher. I don’t know him but I hope that he is trusting in Christ for his salvation. So which is causing division, sola scriptura or Rome’s anathemas?

My friend tried to soften the blow of anathema by saying:

“Anathema is actually a very formal, fancy and public way of showing that X person incurred latae sententiae or automatic excommunication. The Anathema itself was done away with in 1983. Excommunication, however, remains. Keep in mind that excommunication does not damn one to hell – it is simply a formal state of being way out of communion with Rome and is very severe because if one is totally out of communion with Rome, one is out of communion with Christ.”

And also:

“this is not a judgment against the person’s heart and mind. It is a judgment against the person’s actions in relation to what the Church, under the guidance/protection of the Holy Spirit (God), has stated.”

But to cause division, one does not need to be God and condemn his opponents to hell. Rather, by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division. So Rome’s anathemas do cause division. Think about it – Rome calls councils ecumenical, even if they don’t include Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. That’s division. Rome considers itself the one true church to the exclusion of all others. That’s division. Catholics threaten Protestants with hell. That’s division.

It should be clarified that Trent’s anathemas do not simply mean you can no longer attend mass but you can go across the street to an EoC or Protestant church and we will still consider you Christian. An anathema is a curse. Consider Paul’s use of anathema in Galatians 1:9:

If any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

Consider the formula of Rome’s old anathema ceremony:

“Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N— himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate” (link)

That’s division.

Now perhaps modern Catholics have a new and softer understanding of anathema or have even layed down a power inherent to the apostolic office. That’s good but not relevant because it’s anachronistic to apply a novel understanding of anathema to either Paul or Trent.

Posted by Godismyjudge

Now, in full disclosure, Joseelcarpintero is actually my father. And being my father not only will he defend his Catholic faith but in part, he will defend me so many times his tone will come off as a bit harsher than what I know him to actually be stating. This is a similar case but he recites one of his favorite passages 1 John 2:19 – and rightly so. Of course, not intending to lump my friend specifically as a false teacher but more implicating Protestant Reformers as false teachers, which to a very large degree, I agree.

On Indulgences and Excommunications

These men teach falsely because they were neither given the authority nor do they have the right to interpret, teach or define doctrine outside the Church that Chri
st establish. This is an affront to the sovereignty of God and His decision to establish a visible Church with a steward, a body of shepherds and the authority to bind and loose and heaven and earth (Mt. 16:18-19, 18:18).

Okay, so how does this fit into today’s discussion. Well, very simply. Anathemas (Greek – literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside) were again a rite of formally excommunicating an individual for the most grevious offenses. Indulegnces are included because the Church infallibly defined the pious use of indulgences, as Pope Paul VI states, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of Redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” [Indulgentarium Doctrina 1].

What does that all mean? Well, it means that, under the authority granter her by Christ, the Church has the ability to remit some of the temporal penalties of sin despite already receiving forgiveness. The principle of temporal punishment due to sin is something that is completely supported by Scripture (read A Primer on Indulgences by Jimmy Akin for more information). Those who do not believe what the Church teaches on indulgences and other infallible declarations is clearly out of communion with the Church and thus subject to whatever canonical penalty she deems appropriate. This is her right per Jesus Himself. So to anathematize/excommunicate any person for their disbelief in the infallible is more a matter of disobedience to the Church and subsequently God (Lk 10:16) rather than on understanding. That is what faith is all about. I have faith in Christ and His Church yet I do not understand everything about either – thus the phrase, “the mystery of faith.”

Another thing to note about excommunication is that this is a canonical penalty that only the Church can give out. That means that one must be a formal member of the Church to receive such a penalty. The first Reformers were all Catholic and thus subject to such penalties. But subsequent persons who know nothing of the Catholic faith are not necessarily subject to these same penalties. That would be unjust and unnecessary.

On the Catholic Church as the Cause of Disunity

Above my friend mentioned a solid truth about a root cause of division among Christians in general, “by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division.” This goes for all sides – if we as Christians do not see the image of God in each person no matter the faith then we are doomed to fail in our intereactions with them. I want to add though, that although I know that my friend knows that I am a Christian, he is one of the few Protestants I know that actually considers Catholicism a Christian denomination. So to reiterate what he said about treating opponents as Christians…

To move on, my friend makes the case for Rome and her excommunications as a cause of division. To a certain degree this can be seen as true. Hoever, the more accurate manner of looking at comes from Jesus Himself who stated:

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke (RSV) 10:16) 

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew (RSV) 16:19)

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew (RSV) 18:18)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” (Matthew (RSV) 10:34-35)

These are all divisive sayings. Clearly Christ knew that His Gospel of Salvation would divide families, friends and even persons within His Church. Yet He always made it clear that those who truly believe in Him will stick with Him despite all of these divisions and losses. Why? Because He is the “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by [Him]”  (John (RSV) 14:6). These divisions are not caused by Christ or His Church, they are caused by the light of Truth case upon the darkness that already exists thus illumining these divisions making their existence evident.

So when the Church calls for an ecumenical council she rightly calls for all validly ordained bishops from within the Church. Priests and bishops from the Eastern Orthodox Churches are certainly invited to attend, once of course, they come into communion with the One True Church just as many of the other Eastern Rites have already done. As for Protestants, none exist as a “Church.” Communities where Protestants gather to praise the Lord are more rightly defined as ecclesial communities rather than churches because none of their faith traditions were established by Christ, His Apostles or any subsequent validly ordained bishop, etc. Then communities where established solely by men and cannot trace their ecclesial history back father than Luther – who excommunicated himself by his disobedience to the Church and God. So in this, she does not cause division, the division already exists and was caused by men seeking to undercut the Church’s God-given authority for their own man-made attempt at it.

The power binding and loosing remains with the Catholic Church. This has always been the case since A.D. 33 and will not change until Christ’s return. Thus, the verse found in Galatians 1:9, that my friend quotes above, speaks directly to the inherent problem of Protestantism – they do not preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus are already anathema from the beginning. Protestant faith traditions are outside of communion with Christ because they are outside of communion with the Church.

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List of teachings Protestants cannot agree upon due to Sola Scriptura

The following is a ‘open’ list of teachings (subject to further expansion) which Protestants cannot agree upon due to the doctrinal relativism caused by Sola Scriptura. Though many Protestants today would “solve” this problem by tossing a lot of these into the “non-essential” category, I believe the doctrinal issues I’ve mentioned have been clearly seen to cause division among Protestants:

  1. Once Saved Always Saved
  2. Universal versus Limited Atonement
  3. Infant Baptism
  4. Form of Baptism (e.g. full immersion vs pouring)
  5. Whether Baptism is necessary in ordinary circumstances
  6. Whether the Lord’s Supper is purely symbolic or some sort of ‘real’ presence
  7. Divorce and Remarriage
  8. Whether icons/pictures of Christ are allowed
  9. Which doctrines are perspicuous/essential
  10. Whether Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit have ceased
  11. Whether instruments are allowed in church
  12. Female ordination
  13. The “biblical” form of church government
  14. Sunday versus any day worship / Whether the Sabbath is still in force in some sense.
  15. House churches versus dedicated congregational churches
  16. Dispensationalism
  17. Rapture/Tribulation
  18. Imputed Active Obedience
  19. Whether traditional categories like Person/Nature are true/valid
  20. Mary being “Mother of God”
  21. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
  22. Whether Inspiration of Scripture is plenary or limited to faith and morals
  23. Whether one can/should pray to the Holy Spirit
  24. Whether Sola Scriptura applied during the time of Christ and the Apostles
  25. How to define/understand Sola Scriptura, especially as it relates to Creeds and Councils
  26. Should Christians engage in politics, civil service, etc. 
  27. Whether Christians should pray the Our Father
  28. Whether prayer should be only spontaneous
  29. Whether keeping the Commandments is necessary for salvation
  30. Whether illness, suffering, poverty, etc, are due to sin or lack of faith
  31. Whether Free Will and Double Predestination are true or not

Feel free to mention some other examples in the comment box!

As a Catholic, it is easy for me to treat this list as a “checklist” of sorts. All I have to do is go down each point and reference the matter in the Catechism. The Catechism is chock full of Bible citations, references to the Church Fathers and council documents, etc. wherein I can read the reasons behind why the Church teaches what it does on these matters.

That said, I do not post this here to belittle but instead to foster conversation and debate. Therefore, I am proposing that over the course of the next several weeks interested parties should speak touch on these matters in a civil and charitable fashion. Best of all, those who decide to meet in person can have a conversation on a set topic and thus prepare to speak on and teach on their theological opinions and understanding on the item of the week.

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List of teachings Protestants cannot agree upon due to Sola Scriptura

The following is a ‘open’ list of teachings (subject to further expansion) which Protestants cannot agree upon due to the doctrinal relativism caused by Sola Scriptura. Though many Protestants today would “solve” this problem by tossing a lot of these into the “non-essential” category, I believe the doctrinal issues I’ve mentioned have been clearly seen to cause division among Protestants:

  1. Once Saved Always Saved
  2. Universal versus Limited Atonement
  3. Infant Baptism
  4. Form of Baptism (e.g. full immersion vs pouring)
  5. Whether Baptism is necessary in ordinary circumstances
  6. Whether the Lord’s Supper is purely symbolic or some sort of ‘real’ presence
  7. Divorce and Remarriage
  8. Whether icons/pictures of Christ are allowed
  9. Which doctrines are perspicuous/essential
  10. Whether Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit have ceased
  11. Whether instruments are allowed in church
  12. Female ordination
  13. The “biblical” form of church government
  14. Sunday versus any day worship / Whether the Sabbath is still in force in some sense.
  15. House churches versus dedicated congregational churches
  16. Dispensationalism
  17. Rapture/Tribulation
  18. Imputed Active Obedience
  19. Whether traditional categories like Person/Nature are true/valid
  20. Mary being “Mother of God”
  21. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
  22. Whether Inspiration of Scripture is plenary or limited to faith and morals
  23. Whether one can/should pray to the Holy Spirit
  24. Whether Sola Scriptura applied during the time of Christ and the Apostles
  25. How to define/understand Sola Scriptura, especially as it relates to Creeds and Councils
  26. Should Christians engage in politics, civil service, etc. 
  27. Whether Christians should pray the Our Father
  28. Whether prayer should be only spontaneous
  29. Whether keeping the Commandments is necessary for salvation
  30. Whether illness, suffering, poverty, etc, are due to sin or lack of faith
  31. Whether Free Will and Double Predestination are true or not

Feel free to mention some other examples in the comment box!

As a Catholic, it is easy for me to treat this list as a “checklist” of sorts. All I have to do is go down each point and reference the matter in the Catechism. The Catechism is chock full of Bible citations, references to the Church Fathers and council documents, etc. wherein I can read the reasons behind why the Church teaches what it does on these matters.

That said, I do not post this here to belittle but instead to foster conversation and debate. Therefore, I am proposing that over the course of the next several weeks interested parties should speak touch on these matters in a civil and charitable fashion. Best of all, those who decide to meet in person can have a conversation on a set topic and thus prepare to speak on and teach on their theological opinions and understanding on the item of the week.

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Protestant Questions Sola Scriptura

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The first and most obvious question that anyone should ask of Sola Scriptura is whether or not it abides by its own principle. Can the idea that the Scriptures alone are the only source of infallibly inspired truth be proven from Scripture alone? I don’t want to spend a great deal of time on that question but I should note that I have yet to be convinced of the affirmative answer. The Scriptures say many things about themselves, even that they are inspired by God and perfect, but I personally have not found a verse that asserts the singular and exclusive infallibility of Scripture. The statement “All Scripture is God-breathed…” does not imply that only Scripture is God-breathed any more than the statement “all limes are green” implies that only limes are green.

via Second Thoughts on Sola Scriptura « genureflection. (H/T The Sacred Page)

When Martin Luther left the Catholic Church to follow what he felt was the true method of Christianity he created a source of sole authority in earth that God did not intend. This was the Bible – alone.

Since the beginning of Salvation History God never left His beloved creatures without One True authority. Early on it was Him and later He chose Abraham and then Moses, then other prophets all the way to Christ Jesus – God Himself once more.

During His time on earth Our Blessed Lord, always knowing that He was to return to heaven to reign from above in unity with the Father and Holy Spirit until the Eschaton, Christ choose a select group of men from all of His disciples to carry His work. These men, the Apostles, were the originators of the office of the episcopacy or bishopric. Ever unchanging, God left this group of leaders with its own leader, Saint Peter, our first Pope. He alone and/or the Apostles together, the constituted the first implementation of the Magisterium or Teaching Authority of the Church.

Through their missionary work, these men multiplied the followers of Christ, making many disciples, establishing Churches in foreign lands, ordaining priests and bishops and celebrating the Gospel in the Eucharist. They accomplished this by teaching, example and word of mouth. Letters followed but no rule or canon developed unit well after the Church herself was firmly established and visible.

It was Martin Luther’s break with the authoritative Bride of Christ that required a replacement authority. And thus, he was forced to elevate Sacred Scripture to a level that was never intended – the sole rule of the faith.

The linked post above originates in the mind of a Protestant who is now coming to the full realization that Scripture does not and cannot self authenticate or self interpret. Scripture requires an authoritative body, guided and protected by the Holy Spirit, to authenticate and interpret it. This body is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ – the Holy Catholic Church.

Protestant Questions Sola Scriptura

Titlepage and Portrait from a 1581 edition of ...

The first and most obvious question that anyone should ask of Sola Scriptura is whether or not it abides by its own principle. Can the idea that the Scriptures alone are the only source of infallibly inspired truth be proven from Scripture alone? I don’t want to spend a great deal of time on that question but I should note that I have yet to be convinced of the affirmative answer. The Scriptures say many things about themselves, even that they are inspired by God and perfect, but I personally have not found a verse that asserts the singular and exclusive infallibility of Scripture. The statement “All Scripture is God-breathed…” does not imply that only Scripture is God-breathed any more than the statement “all limes are green” implies that only limes are green.

via Second Thoughts on Sola Scriptura « genureflection. (H/T The Sacred Page)

When Martin Luther left the Catholic Church to follow what he felt was the true method of Christianity he created a source of sole authority in earth that God did not intend. This was the Bible – alone.

Since the beginning of Salvation History God never left His beloved creatures without One True authority. Early on it was Him and later He chose Abraham and then Moses, then other prophets all the way to Christ Jesus – God Himself once more.

During His time on earth Our Blessed Lord, always knowing that He was to return to heaven to reign from above in unity with the Father and Holy Spirit until the Eschaton, Christ choose a select group of men from all of His disciples to carry His work. These men, the Apostles, were the originators of the office of the episcopacy or bishopric. Ever unchanging, God left this group of leaders with its own leader, Saint Peter, our first Pope. He alone and/or the Apostles together, the constituted the first implementation of the Magisterium or Teaching Authority of the Church.

Through their missionary work, these men multiplied the followers of Christ, making many disciples, establishing Churches in foreign lands, ordaining priests and bishops and celebrating the Gospel in the Eucharist. They accomplished this by teaching, example and word of mouth. Letters followed but no rule or canon developed unit well after the Church herself was firmly established and visible.

It was Martin Luther’s break with the authoritative Bride of Christ that required a replacement authority. And thus, he was forced to elevate Sacred Scripture to a level that was never intended – the sole rule of the faith.

The linked post above originates in the mind of a Protestant who is now coming to the full realization that Scripture does not and cannot self authenticate or self interpret. Scripture requires an authoritative body, guided and protected by the Holy Spirit, to authenticate and interpret it. This body is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ – the Holy Catholic Church.

Long Response Part 6: On Sola Scriptura and the Church in History

Remember that the Bible is not the end-all, be-all of the Word of God.

Perhaps lozeerose could make a positive case for why he thinks the Word of God is also found elsewhere. And how that fits in with Mark 7:1-13. And why the Apostle Paul never directed us to this other Word of God, but only to Scr.

I see no problem with Mark 7:1-13. The Pharisees clearly exceeded God’s commandments by adding to the Sacred Tradition of Old Covenant things that were not intended by God. You should be weary of Mark 7:1-13 because those Protestant doctrines that do not originate from the Church (Trinity) are actually traditions of men, e.g., Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, etc.

The Jews relied plenty on oral tradition and what scripture they had, namely the Septuagint, did not have a defined Canon and in fact had some books that were later deemed by the Church as not inspired. Also, there are not two Words of God just one – one that was transmitted both “by word and by letter.”

2Thess 2:15

Does lozeerose prove that the word of mouth is different in content than the letter mentioned? That the tradition mentioned there is distinct from the Scripture?

I can try…John 21:25, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” And then there are Mk 16:15; Mt 23:2-3; Acts 20:35 (Paul quotes a saying of Jesus not found in the Gospels); Rom 10:17; 1Cor 11:2, 15:1-2;  2Thess 3:6; 2Tim 1:13, 2:2 and 1Pet 1:25.

Rhology: If you are suggesting that we accept the RCC a priori as the infallible interpreter, please let me know why I should. After all, there’s lots of competition out there for that spot! EOC

lozeerose: You must look at history.

1) How would that help? Do I have any reason to think that lozeerose wouldn’t simply say “you will note that history does not (cannot) contradict Church teachings”?

No other church can trace their lines of succession all the way back to Jesus Himself. That history reveals the Church of the Apostles is the same Catholic Church of today. As convert John Henry Cardinal Newman once said, “To be steeped in history is to cease being Protestant.”

2) Which is how all of these bodies I mentioned operate. Bring up historical teachings that disagree with their modern dogma, and alluvasudden they’re written out, assigned to “just a private theologian” status. Or part of the “Great Apostasy” or something. And it all makes sense – if the modern body is infallible, then history, just like Scripture, says what the modern infallible body says it means. No means of correction is possible.

By definition the infallible dogmas and teachings of the Church do not require a means for correction because none is required. Truth is truth. Unfortunately, Protestant theology and doctrines are completely fallible and full of holes. Thus, Protestants deny themselves the Fullness of Truth due to the age-old sin of disobedience and denial of His ultimate authority and will – which may differ from your own. What is ironic is that keeping to Protestant doctrines requires them to concede to the fact that the Catholic Church may be correct yet they always rule her out but they themselves do not have any means of self-correction with the exception of fads like the Rapture.

Remember I mentioned above that I pointed out where Irenæus disagreed with lozeerose’s statement, and lozeerose drops him in the trash can – ” I will comment on this by stating that just because St. Irenaues was a Father of the Church, it does not make him or his writings infallible. Saints are not infallible, just holy.”

That’s why it’s intellectually dishonest for someone in lozeerose’s position to tell me to verify RCC’s claims against history.

How so. Just there will always be persons within and without of the Church that will say and act contrary to Church teaching. This does not refute the fact that the Church is the divinely instituted Bride of Christ and the New Israel and has the authority and protection to teach infallibly.

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Long Repsonse Part 5: Interpreting Church Documents and Apostolic Succession

I cite these passages because they themselves are cited in the Catechism

1) So now an individual can understand the CCC, eh? But moreso than the Bible, apparently.

The CCC provides a compendium of Catholic teachings including dogmas and disciplines (there is a difference). It is the official reference manual to the Church and her beliefs.

2) Does he ever stop to ask himself whether the CCC is in fact correct to cite them?

The Magisterium has every right to cite the passages she does as everything she teaches is supported by Scripture. Citations provide references to the reader to further their understanding.

If, by reading Scripture, your interpretation lends to a contradictory understanding then you are definitively wrong concerning this truth and must reconsider in order to truly call yourself a Christian (see the account of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:27-39).

It is difficult to know what the Acts 8 psg is supposed to tell us.


Rhology contradicts himself by admitting that there is difficulty in understanding the quoted passage from Acts 8. From my fallible POV, it looks like the passage expresses the importance of having an orthodox teacher in order for us to learn the Fullness of Truth and even adds to the case against Sola Scriptura.

1) Philip was not an apostle, and so is not part of the supposed “apostolic succession” of the Magisterium.


Wrong, despite not being part of the Twelve, Philip’s role was no less important. He was an ordained deacon one of the first to be exact. This means he was gifted with the Sacrament of Holy Orders and does not in no way disprove Apostolic Succession. Besides, this succession refers the process by which the offices held by the Apostles were conferred on newly ordained bishops all the way through today. The deaconate is the first level of Holy Orders or the New Testament preisthood.

2) And he was an individual anyway. When we cite individual early church writers that disagree with modern Roman dogma, what do we hear? “He was just speaking as a private theologian” or some other line of turtle droppings. I guess I missed where “infallible ex cathedra” indicators appear in the Acts 8 psg. Maybe lozeerose can point it out to us. In fact, just look at further down his post – I pointed out where Irenæus disagreed with lozeerose’s statement, and lozeerose drops him in the trash can – ” I will comment on this by stating that just because St. Irenaues was a Father of the Church, it does not make him or his writings infallible. Saints are not infallible, just holy.”

Philip was a special person in the early Church but he was not an early author. On the point of infallibility, no one person on earth today can make an infallible statement except the Pope. And this is rare (done only twice in over 2,000 years).

3) Sola Scriptura is not: A claim that the Bible contains all knowledge; A denial of the Church’s authority to teach God’s truth; A denial that other Christians can help those less knowledgeable to understand the Scr; A denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the Church.

Then please explain for me, in your words, what this Sola Scriptura really is because to affirm all that you stated above is approaching Catholicism.

4) The eunuch didn’t tell Philip that he had no idea what the psg said. He asked for clarification on ONE THING.

The passage provides no evidence that the eunuch only sought clarification for ONE THING – there is actually the allusion that more than this was discussed because in verse 35 we are told that, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus.” What the eunuch sought was the full understanding of what he was reading. And by verse 35, it was not limited to that one prophecy in Isaiah.

5) And that was very plausibly b/c he didn’t know the story of Jesus’ earthly ministry, death, and resurrection. Philip did know it. We in modern times hardly have that excuse.

You make my case again. Philip knew what the eunuch did not. And thanks to the Church (established by Christ), by means of Philip, the Apostles and their successors, we have been taught the Good News of Jesus transmitted to us “by word and by letter (2Th 2:15).”

If I include Church docs it is to provide you with Church teachings in her own words.

Which he expects me to understand. Else he wouldn’t cite them. This is treading awfully close to disingenuousness.

I do not expect you to understand. If you understood them you would be Catholic. I cited them so that you may see the interrelation between Church teachings and the affirmation of such as found in Scripture.

This is why it is important to read Church documents so that you and/or I can scrutinize her teachings against Sacred Scripture

That’s rich. Didn’t he just finish telling us that “you will note that Scripture does not (cannot) contradict Church teachings”?


I sure did. That does not mean you do not have the right to scrutinize what the Church teaches. In fact, you should scrutinize her teachings so as to better understand and learn as well as validate. In my line of work we have a saying, “trust, but verify.” John stated something similar in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

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Long Response Part 3: Catholicity of the Bible and Teaching Authority

After all, the Bible is a Catholic book.


I don’t even know what this means. Does he mean it was written by the Roman Church?  That would be indefensible. Does he mean little-c “catholic”, but his finger reflexively held down the Shift key? Does he genuinely not know the diff between little-c “catholic” and big-C “Catholic”? Or does he simply not care? And since he told us earlier that he intended “to approach you both on your Sola Scriptura level”, does he think that making such crucial distinctions is unimportant?

As I stated earlier, most Protestants I know either do not know or do not realize how the Bible came to be. The Bible came out of the Church, the Church did not come out of the Bible. And although the Church did not author the Bible, she did recognize and define what books (Old and New Testaments) were the inspired written Word of God and thus set the Canon: 46 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). Only the Church, the New Testament Israel, was given such authority – not even the Jews and most certainly not Luther or Calvin or anyone else for that matter.

On the matter of the “c” versus “C.” This unfortunate distinction must be made so that the Church can remain “the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid”  (Matthew 5:14). She is to remain the beacon of hope in a sea of anti-Christs and false teachers.

you and Vox make the assumption that the Church teaches that individuals cannot interpret Scripture on their own.

Actually, that’s what lozeerose just finished telling us himself. And what CatholicNick was telling us before that.

Whether I was unclear or Rhology misunderstood, what I am stating (I cannot speak for Catholic Nick but I believe he would concur) is that proper, complete, and definitive interpretation is not given to any individual person, sans the pope under special circumstances, but rather the Church, to which Christ left such authority.

This authority does not prevent any person from interpreting and understanding Scripture, as the Church recognizes that much of Scripture can be interpreted in varying ways. What the teaching authority of the Church does is free us from error by defining infallibly what it is that God has revealed. All revelation is contained in the Word of God but not all revelation has been made explicitly so. As I have stated in the past (see below), can know that our understanding is orthodox by comparing it to what the Church teaches, i.e., if a person comes to believe that the Godhead is not comprised of Three Divine Persons with One Divine Nature then they and we can know that their understanding is false.

What it prohibits is the acceptance of interpretations that are contrary to Church teaching.


Which means precisely what we said.


And, as noted above, is the statement of an unthinking drone, who refuses to put the Scripture above his church.

What this means is that Church gives us boundaries so that we may stay on the path towards Christ.

On the drone piece, the more we exchange blog posts, the more evident it becomes that when placed up against a wall Rhology resorts to childish retorts to draw attention from his error and play on either my emotional response or to that of other anti-Catholics. Rhology is making the same mistake the Pharisees did – trying to mold God and His Word into what they want rather than what God wants.

Scripture cannot be placed above the Church just as the Church cannot be placed above Scripture. The Church is the guardian of the Truth as revealed by God to men and protected from men by God. This Truth includes both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. As such, the Church defined the Canon of Scripture and “stand[s] firm…hold[ing on] to the traditions which [we] were taught by [the Apostles], either by word of mouth or by letter” (2Thessalonians 2:15).

Rhology wishes for me to place Scripture above my Church but this is impossible. My Church, the Catholic Church, is the Church of Christ and was established by Him, is His Mystical Body, His Bride and was given by Him His authority to teach, interpret and define revealed doctrine. This, the over 2,000-year-old Church is held in conjunction with Scripture. It does not outrank Scripture just as Scripture does not outrank the Church. Both are united in One Truth.

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Long Response Part 6: On Sola Scriptura and the Church in History

Remember that the Bible is not the end-all, be-all of the Word of God.

Perhaps lozeerose could make a positive case for why he thinks the Word of God is also found elsewhere. And how that fits in with Mark 7:1-13. And why the Apostle Paul never directed us to this other Word of God, but only to Scr.

I see no problem with Mark 7:1-13. The Pharisees clearly exceeded God’s commandments by adding to the Sacred Tradition of Old Covenant things that were not intended by God. You should be weary of Mark 7:1-13 because those Protestant doctrines that do not originate from the Church (Trinity) are actually traditions of men, e.g., Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, etc.

The Jews relied plenty on oral tradition and what scripture they had, namely the Septuagint, did not have a defined Canon and in fact had some books that were later deemed by the Church as not inspired. Also, there are not two Words of God just one – one that was transmitted both “by word and by letter.”

2Thess 2:15

Does lozeerose prove that the word of mouth is different in content than the letter mentioned? That the tradition mentioned there is distinct from the Scripture?

I can try…John 21:25, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” And then there are Mk 16:15; Mt 23:2-3; Acts 20:35 (Paul quotes a saying of Jesus not found in the Gospels); Rom 10:17; 1Cor 11:2, 15:1-2;  2Thess 3:6; 2Tim 1:13, 2:2 and 1Pet 1:25.

Rhology: If you are suggesting that we accept the RCC a priori as the infallible interpreter, please let me know why I should. After all, there’s lots of competition out there for that spot! EOC

lozeerose: You must look at history.

1) How would that help? Do I have any reason to think that lozeerose wouldn’t simply say “you will note that history does not (cannot) contradict Church teachings”?

No other church can trace their lines of succession all the way back to Jesus Himself. That history reveals the Church of the Apostles is the same Catholic Church of today. As convert John Henry Cardinal Newman once said, “To be steeped in history is to cease being Protestant.”

2) Which is how all of these bodies I mentioned operate. Bring up historical teachings that disagree with their modern dogma, and alluvasudden they’re written out, assigned to “just a private theologian” status. Or part of the “Great Apostasy” or something. And it all makes sense – if the modern body is infallible, then history, just like Scripture, says what the modern infallible body says it means. No means of correction is possible.

By definition the infallible dogmas and teachings of the Church do not require a means for correction because none is required. Truth is truth. Unfortunately, Protestant theology and doctrines are completely fallible and full of holes. Thus, Protestants deny themselves the Fullness of Truth due to the age-old sin of disobedience and denial of His ultimate authority and will – which may differ from your own. What is ironic is that keeping to Protestant doctrines requires them to concede to the fact that the Catholic Church may be correct yet they always rule her out but they themselves do not have any means of self-correction with the exception of fads like the Rapture.

Remember I mentioned above that I pointed out where Irenæus disagreed with lozeerose’s statement, and lozeerose drops him in the trash can – ” I will comment on this by stating that just because St. Irenaues was a Father of the Church, it does not make him or his writings infallible. Saints are not infallible, just holy.”

That’s why it’s intellectually dishonest for someone in lozeerose’s position to tell me to verify RCC’s claims against history.

How so. Just there will always be persons within and without of the Church that will say and act contrary to Church teaching. This does not refute the fact that the Church is the divinely instituted Bride of Christ and the New Israel and has the authority and protection to teach infallibly.

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