Sola Scripture: A Blueprint for Anarchy (by Patrick Madrid)
AUDIO DEBATE: Bible Alone? (James Akin v James White)
Scripture is Tradition (by Jeff Cavins)
A couple quick notes:
Regarding the Protestants doctrine of Sola Scriptura, Catholics (well, the few Catholics that have heard of Sola Scriptura) believe it is inconsistent and illogical for Protestants to say they trust the Catholic Church’s authority and infallible decision regarding accepting the 27 books of the New Testament (a Church Council decision of the late 4th century), while ignoring the Church’s REASONS for including these books in the Bible.
In other words, if one accepts the fact that our Church Fathers were so reliable that, without error, they helped assembled our Bible correctly, then does it make sense to overlook the fact that these same Church Fathers embraced Catholic doctrines?
These brilliant, prayerful guys studied the heck out of Scripture, and they studied the heck out of what the apostles had taught while on Earth. They concluded that 1) 27 books were the inspired ones 2) that Christ’s Body and Blood were truly present under the form of bread and wine; 3) that God gave priests the power to administer God’s forgiveness 4) that the Church’s leaders must be successors of apostles….
In fact, they wouldn’t have accepted a book as inspired Scripture if it went against these Catholic doctrines! Again, it makes no sense to us that a non-Catholic would accept the 27 books of the New Testament, but not the reasons for their inclusion in the Bible.
For example, when the Church admitted the Gospel of John into the Bible, it was specifically affirming the book’s unchanging teaching about Real Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
When the Church affirmed that the Gospel of Matthew was inspired Scripture, it was also affirming the book’s constant teaching that Christ gave the leaders of the Catholic Church the power to “bind and loose” on earth.
When the Church admitted St. Paul’s letter to the Romans into the Bible, it was also reaffirming the long-held Christian doctrine that it was possible to lose one’s salvation after receiving grace (See: Romans 11:22).
Catholics believe the “Bible Alone” doctrine is unbiblical since Scripture never says Scripture is the “sole authority” or “only authority” or that it’s “sufficient” or that it’s “OK to personally develop doctrines from Scripture that contradict the original Church teaching.”
Instead, Scripture tells us the opposite - that the Church is “the pillar and foundation of truth” (I Tim 3:15), and that personal interpretation of Scripture is not permissible (2 Pet 1:20).
Scripture is the Word of God, so it is more than just a bunch of words. It contains specific truthful teaching that cannot be changed from one century to the next. If Scripture taught the Real Presence in the centuries after the apostles (which is precisely what the early Christians believed Scripture taught), then that’s what it still teaches.
We look at history and see that only the Catholic Church has preserved constant and unchanging interpretations of Scripture since Christ’s time.
When two interpretations of Scripture contradict one another, only one can be truthful.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would lead His Church “into ALL truth” (John 16:13)
Protestant pastors, on the other hand, will admit that their churches may err in pronouncing an interpretation of something contained in Scripture.
In all, there are more than 25,000 Christian denominations that believe that Scripture is all you need to properly interpret Scripture, but they all come up with a different interpretation of the Bible.
Some verses are easy to understand. Others are more difficult, especially for those unfamiliar with the original language and culture. Everyone turns to some authority when they want to know the meaning of a difficult Scriptural verse. The choices are: a pastor; a Bible study leader; the writings of the Reformers; a big book of Biblical commentary; the Bible plus picking and choosing among the minority voices of Church Fathers……and………. the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
That same Catholic Church, which authoritatively decided which books would be in the New Testament near the end of the 4th century, has for 2,000 years prevented man’s interpretation of the Bible from seeping into the sacred Word of God.
Catholics would add that the Bible Alone doctrine was not embraced by any Christian group until the 1500s.
Catholics would ask: How could salvation be dependent on the Bible ALONE for the 1,450 years before the invention of the printing press?
Historically, Christians learned Scripture by coming to Mass. They learned it through bishops who had a direct line back to the apostles, and by those men appointed by these bishops to assist them (priests).
The Word of God rules our lives as Catholics. But the Word of God must be interpreted in the same way it was intended to be interpreted by God. To ensure we do not obscure Christ’s original teaching, Christ established a Church.
Below are just a few examples of how the Reformers or those who followed them seemed to have reinterpreted the Bible to make it conform with their new doctrines:
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born again of water and Spirit”
For 1,500 years, the meaning of this Scripture verse was that baptism was necessary for entering heaven (being born again of water and Spirit was and is the literal definition of Baptism, and was understood so by early Christians). After Sola Fide was introduced in the 1500s, a brand new interpretation came down, saying the verse did not refer to Baptism. If you read down to John 3:22, you’ll see that Jesus then went out and spent some time baptizing, which makes complete sense if you understand that He is referring to Baptism in John 3:5.
1 Peter 3:21 “Baptism now saves you” This verse was a literal teaching in the Early Church. Reformers were forced to come up with a non-literal interpretation in the 1500s in order to fit the brand new Sola Fide theory.
John 6:35-71: The early Church clearly understood Jesus to be referring to real flesh, not symbolic flesh, in these verses and in later verses on the Last Supper. It was not until the 1500s that the Reformers decided to contradict 1,500 years of Christianity and interpret it to be symbolic instead of literal.
John 20:23: The early Church clearly understood this verse to be giving the Church and her priests the power to forgive sins on earth, (ie, to administer Christ’s forgiveness). The Reformers changed the meaning of Scripture once again.
Here is the verse….John 20:23 “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Mt 18:18 “Amen, 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”
In the language of the time, to bind and loose meant to give authoritative teaching. The entire world of Christianity understood exactly what Jesus was saying here.
After Luther unleashed his private judgment theory, he saw the dangers of it as numerous sects began growing and multiplying. He said in his Epis. ad. Zwingli (ap. Balmes, p. 423), "If the world lasts for a long time, it will again be necessary, on account of the many interpretations which are now given to the Scriptures, to receive the decrees of councils, and take refuge in them, in order to preserve the unity of faith."
The Reformers always intended to come back to the Catholic Church but it never happened.
Many Christians today are coming back to the ancient Church that Christ founded for us. It is the Church that all our ancestors were part of.
“No ancient Christian writer- not Tertullian, Origen, or any other-ever denied the apostolic succession or the authority inherited by the bishops. That the Church had been established on the apostles was a truth that no professing Christian would attempt to deny for at least another thousand years, when the mistaken idea that the faith of Christ could somehow be based on “Scripture Alone.” [p. 168 Kenneth D. Whitehead “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic.”]
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