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adampjr
Feb 3rd 2013, 03:34 AM
The first thing I have to say, before anyone mistakes me, is that Sola Scriptura is not the same thing as Inerrancy. I affirm that the Word of God is authoritative. Denying Sola Scriptura is not a denial of inerrancy. Just so we’re all clear. I’ll define my understanding of Sola Scriptura also, so that no one thinks I am disputing something here that I am not. I have to say this upfront as sometimes these things run together.
I know the nature of this forum is primarily evangelical, and I usually try not to push my beliefs that are well outside the evangelical mainstream here. However, I would like to discuss this issue with some Reformation Protestants, get a better understanding of where the notion comes from, and explain why at this point I find it dubious.

Sola Scriptura, meaning “scripture alone,” has a few different understandings, but basically means something like “Scripture is the only authoritative source of doctrine, it is clear, sufficient, and self-interpreting.”
Hilighted above are the parts I dispute.

1. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura fails its own test.


If every doctrine must be proved Biblically, then so must that doctrine itself.2 Timothy tells us that Scriptures is authoritative, but it does not tell us anything about “scripture alone” as far as I can tell.
On this board I often see people respond with something like “I need a chapter and verse for that.” Of course, it seems the natural response to such a thing would be “Actually, I need a chapter and verse for that.” So the first question for believers in Sola Scriptura is, “can you prove Sola Scriptura scripturally?”

2. Sola Scriptura appeals to an authority other than scripture.



Of course, some authority other than Scripture has to define authority. The early church accepted the LXX as canonical. I would imagine that most you accept the rather limited canon of what is left after Luther demoted a number of books found in the LXX to a lower class, which later disappeared entirely. I assume this because I do not often see 2 Maccabees cited, for example. So – a question for believes in Sola: What authority defines Scripture? Did Luther have authority to define Scripture? Did the Council of Trent or the earlier Councils? If so, does it not follow that the Church or Church Councils have authority in matters of doctrine and interpretation?
All of us assert an authority other than Scripture in order to have a Scriptures. I would suggest that if your Bible only has 66 books, the authority to which you appeal is a bit more convoluted than what I consider the complete canon. But either way – what is that authority and what are its implications regarding doctrinal authority?

3. You actually don’t believe Sola Scriptura, you accept the concept of Tradition



The vast majority of you believe in the Trinity (I assume and hope!). I know you did not all independently arive at this conclusion through private study and devotion. You accepted it in a manner similar to the way the older Churches accept Tradition, the concept that teachings handed down from the Apostles to the Church Fathers and preserved in the Church are authoritative. I know Matthew gives us the Trinitarian format for Baptism, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all over the Bible. For instance, I know Protestants affirm the Nicene Creed – not all of which is explicit in the Bible. It is an interpretation that Protestants accept as inerrant. So the questions: Is it permissible to entertain anti-Nicene notions or is Church Tradition authoritative? Or did you all develop the Nicene Creed directly on your own from the Bible on your own?

4. Apostolic Tradition is Biblical



It is in Thess 2:15 in what is my opinion complete black and white. Paul exhorts them to hold fast not only to what was written but what was verbally taught. Polycarp, for example, was taught by John. We do not have access in the Scriptures to everything Paul said must be held to. Tradition (that is, the teachings of Jesus to the Apostles, of the Holy Spirit inspired Apostles to their followers, and so on and so forth) is necessary for doctrinal completion and correct interpretation, no?

Please give any thoughts and I would love dicussion of these questions, and I welcome challenges to position with open arms and open ears.

I feel the msot important questions under discussion are related to 1 and 2.
-Can you prove Sola Scripture using only scripture?
-What authority defines scripture for us?

RogerW
Feb 3rd 2013, 06:12 AM
The first thing I have to say, before anyone mistakes me, is that Sola Scriptura is not the same thing as Inerrancy. I affirm that the Word of God is authoritative. Denying Sola Scriptura is not a denial of inerrancy. Just so we’re all clear. I’ll define my understanding of Sola Scriptura also, so that no one thinks I am disputing something here that I am not. I have to say this upfront as sometimes these things run together.
I know the nature of this forum is primarily evangelical, and I usually try not to push my beliefs that are well outside the evangelical mainstream here. However, I would like to discuss this issue with some Reformation Protestants, get a better understanding of where the notion comes from, and explain why at this point I find it dubious.

4. Apostolic Tradition is Biblical



It is in Thess 2:15 in what is my opinion complete black and white. Paul exhorts them to hold fast not only to what was written but what was verbally taught. Polycarp, for example, was taught by John. We do not have access in the Scriptures to everything Paul said must be held to. Tradition (that is, the teachings of Jesus to the Apostles, of the Holy Spirit inspired Apostles to their followers, and so on and so forth) is necessary for doctrinal completion and correct interpretation, no?

Please give any thoughts and I would love dicussion of these questions, and I welcome challenges to position with open arms and open ears.

I feel the msot important questions under discussion are related to 1 and 2.
-Can you prove Sola Scripture using only scripture?
-What authority defines scripture for us?

2nd Thessalonians 2:15
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

There is nothing future about this verse. Does Paul say to stand firm and hold fast to traditions that "will be" delivered? Does Paul say to hold on to interpretations and understandings that have not yet developed? No, this oral tradition [paradosis] or ordinance that they have been taught has already been delivered to the entire Church at Thessalonica. Now, what does oral refer to? We first note that the context of the passage is the Gospel and its work among the Thessalonians. The tradition/ordinances Paul speaks of are not traditions held by the Catholic Church. It wasn't the traditions of Papal Infallibility. Instead, the traditions Paul refers to have to do with a single topic. It was a topic that was close to his heart. He is encouraging these believers to stand firm--in what? Was it in oral traditions about subjects and doctrines not found in the scriptures? God forbid! No, he is exhorting them to stand firm in what he has orally taught them of what is already in the gospel. The Old Testament concealed is the New Testament revealed. There is simply nothing in these passages to support the theory of a separate oral tradition "different" from what was written or what Paul taught concerning Old Testament prophecy. Note it says what Paul taught "whether by word, or our epistle (letter). He's stressing that whether they heard it in a sermon or testimony, or whether they read it in a letter. It's not oral versus word, it's the oral of the word. i.e., explaining the word orally. Likewise note that in passages like 1st Peter chapter 1, the consistency of his Peter's teaching with that of the prophets, and of the other Apostles is vividly stressed.

adampjr
Feb 3rd 2013, 06:28 AM
2nd Thessalonians 2:15
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

There is nothing future about this verse. Does Paul say to stand firm and hold fast to traditions that "will be" delivered? Does Paul say to hold on to interpretations and understandings that have not yet developed? No, this oral tradition [paradosis] or ordinance that they have been taught has already been delivered to the entire Church at Thessalonica. Now, what does oral refer to? We first note that the context of the passage is the Gospel and its work among the Thessalonians. The tradition/ordinances Paul speaks of are not traditions held by the Catholic Church. It wasn't the traditions of Papal Infallibility. Instead, the traditions Paul refers to have to do with a single topic. It was a topic that was close to his heart. He is encouraging these believers to stand firm--in what? Was it in oral traditions about subjects and doctrines not found in the scriptures? God forbid! No, he is exhorting them to stand firm in what he has orally taught them of what is already in the gospel. The Old Testament concealed is the New Testament revealed. There is simply nothing in these passages to support the theory of a separate oral tradition "different" from what was written or what Paul taught concerning Old Testament prophecy. Note it says what Paul taught "whether by word, or our epistle (letter). He's stressing that whether they heard it in a sermon or testimony, or whether they read it in a letter. It's not oral versus word, it's the oral of the word. i.e., explaining the word orally. Likewise note that in passages like 1st Peter chapter 1, the consistency of his Peter's teaching with that of the prophets, and of the other Apostles is vividly stressed.

I agree that he cannot be referring to traditions that would be made 100s of years later, such as papal infallibility.I don't know how the text refers to exclusively teachings of stuff that is written. Why would the authoritative teachings of Paul in word necessarily all be in writing?

Walls
Feb 3rd 2013, 01:50 PM
The first thing I have to say, before anyone mistakes me, is that Sola Scriptura is not the same thing as Inerrancy. I affirm that the Word of God is authoritative. Denying Sola Scriptura is not a denial of inerrancy. Just so we’re all clear. I’ll define my understanding of Sola Scriptura also, so that no one thinks I am disputing something here that I am not. I have to say this upfront as sometimes these things run together.
I know the nature of this forum is primarily evangelical, and I usually try not to push my beliefs that are well outside the evangelical mainstream here. However, I would like to discuss this issue with some Reformation Protestants, get a better understanding of where the notion comes from, and explain why at this point I find it dubious.

Sola Scriptura, meaning “scripture alone,” has a few different understandings, but basically means something like “Scripture is the only authoritative source of doctrine, it is clear, sufficient, and self-interpreting.”
Hilighted above are the parts I dispute.

You address two issues, which if understood, might shorten the answers to your question.

The first question is; Is the great God of the Universe, who spoke out the billions of galaxies (Ps.33:6), with their massive amounts of matter and energy, able to control the affairs of men to such an extent that He can have the Canon as He wishes, despite the best efforts of men, both friend and foe of scripture trying to intervene? If the answer is no, then the whole discussion is moot, for the bible is subject to the weakness and perfidy of men. If the answer is yes, then the concept of Sola Scriptura is simple to understand and abide by, for this great God has written no other known book of His revelation and precepts.
The bible is not a congenial book. It tells men and women about themselves and it is not flattering. It is actually abhorrent to man's opinion of himself, even to the most honest of us. It also regulates how God wants things done, and this again stands in opposition to man's free will. Therefore, it presents us all with a huge motive for finding an alternate source of instruction, of which "tradition" is the easiest to introduce. If you want and example of this, just look into any evangelical Assembly today and see if the meeting is run according to 1st Corinthians 14 or not. In 99% of these meetings you will see devout and motivated Christians blatantly thwarting the Holy Spirit's instruction on who may speak and who may not.


Each man must decide for himself...

What are the Words of God
Whether he will abide solely by them or not


Nothing has changed since the first words of God to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Pleasure some 6'000 years ago. God spoke, Satan called it into question and Eve added to it. The results were catastrophic. Today, God has left a Canon of scripture. Certain men always call it into question. Certain men not only call it into question, but add to it. However much I would like to enter into the questions posed above as an intellectual exercise, I have to answer that these questions must be turned around and the questioners of Sola Scriptura must prove why they will accept any authority BUT scripture.

Watchman
Feb 3rd 2013, 01:57 PM
I feel the msot important questions under discussion are related to 1 and 2.
-Can you prove Sola Scripture using only scripture?
-What authority defines scripture for us?
Good thread and opening post, adampjr. Sola Scriptura can be disproven using only scripture. However, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, as I was taught it is a bit different that what you've provided. The difference lies in the word, sufficient, and the idea was that the scriptures contain all we need to get us to heaven. The notion that our purpose it to get to heaven is a flawed premise, so the conclusion will be flawed as well. Our purpose is to become sons of God, brothers of Jesus, part of God's family. Heaven is simply where we will all party together eternally. (Use the word, celebrate or worship, if party offends!) Oh wait...I haven't used any scripture yet...silly me. :rolleyes:

“Scripture is the only authoritative source of doctrine, it is clear, sufficient, and self-interpreting.”

Let's see here...

John 16:12-13 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

From these fragments, it can be seen that there are things each of us will need to know that are not contained in scripture. Each of us has a set of good works prepared for us in advance, yet the scriptures do not contain the list for each of us. The only way we can know whether we are walking in God's will at any given point in time is via attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. In effect, these passages disprove only the sufficiency aspect of Sola Scriptura, and at that, only a misguided part of it that is based on a flawed premise. The doctrine (that we each have unique paths prepared by God and that they are brought to us as we need to know them by His Spirit) came from scripture, but the application of it, which is doctrine as well, does not.

Oh well, I need more coffee before I think about this any more...:D

blessings,

W :)

adampjr
Feb 3rd 2013, 02:14 PM
You address two issues, which if understood, might shorten the answers to your question.

The first question is; Is the great God of the Universe, who spoke out the billions of galaxies (Ps.33:6), with their massive amounts of matter and energy, able to control the affairs of men to such an extent that He can have the Canon as He wishes, despite the best efforts of men, both friend and foe of scripture trying to intervene? If the answer is no, then the whole discussion is moot, for the bible is subject to the weakness and perfidy of men. If the answer is yes, then the concept of Sola Scriptura is simple to understand and abide by, for this great God has written no other known book of His revelation and precepts.
The bible is not a congenial book. It tells men and women about themselves and it is not flattering. It is actually abhorrent to man's opinion of himself, even to the most honest of us. It also regulates how God wants things done, and this again stands in opposition to man's free will. Therefore, it presents us all with a huge motive for finding an alternate source of instruction, of which "tradition" is the easiest to introduce. If you want and example of this, just look into any evangelical Assembly today and see if the meeting is run according to 1st Corinthians 14 or not. In 99% of these meetings you will see devout and motivated Christians blatantly thwarting the Holy Spirit's instruction on who may speak and who may not.


Each man must decide for himself...

What are the Words of God
Whether he will abide solely by them or not


Nothing has changed since the first words of God to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Pleasure some 6'000 years ago. God spoke, Satan called it into question and Eve added to it. The results were catastrophic. Today, God has left a Canon of scripture. Certain men always call it into question. Certain men not only call it into question, but add to it. However much I would like to enter into the questions posed above as an intellectual exercise, I have to answer that these questions must be turned around and the questioners of Sola Scriptura must prove why they will accept any authority BUT scripture.

Thanks for the reply walls.

Firstly, let me affirm the omnipotence of God. I do believe He is capable of just that. However, that does create problems. He seems to have failed for over 1,000 years if your Bible has only 66 books, and now numerous different Christian groups have varying canons. So either, He preserved it once and for all and the early church had the right canon OR despite being capable of preserving the Word, He chose to leave us to our own devices. Neither bodes well for the Protestant canon IMO, so I think a 66-book canon is somewhat of a difficulty for Sola Scriptura.
Setting all that aside, even if God DID preserve His Word perfectly (which I affirm He did, but NOT as you probably see it) and even if it were YOUR Bible, it does not follow that Sola Scriptura is true IMO. Inerrant, yes. Solely sufficient on its own, I doubt.

By tradition, what I advocate BTW is not something in 99% of Evangelical circles that you describe, but Apostolic Tradition as affirmed by all pre-Protestant Christian groups.

Thanks for the discussion!

adampjr
Feb 3rd 2013, 02:16 PM
Good thread and opening post, adampjr. Sola Scriptura can be disproven using only scripture. However, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, as I was taught it is a bit different that what you've provided. The difference lies in the word, sufficient, and the idea was that the scriptures contain all we need to get us to heaven. The notion that our purpose it to get to heaven is a flawed premise, so the conclusion will be flawed as well. Our purpose is to become sons of God, brothers of Jesus, part of God's family. Heaven is simply where we will all party together eternally. (Use the word, celebrate or worship, if party offends!) Oh wait...I haven't used any scripture yet...silly me. :rolleyes:

“Scripture is the only authoritative source of doctrine, it is clear, sufficient, and self-interpreting.”

Let's see here...

John 16:12-13 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

From these fragments, it can be seen that there are things each of us will need to know that are not contained in scripture. Each of us has a set of good works prepared for us in advance, yet the scriptures do not contain the list for each of us. The only way we can know whether we are walking in God's will at any given point in time is via attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. In effect, these passages disprove only the sufficiency aspect of Sola Scriptura, and at that, only a misguided part of it that is based on a flawed premise. The doctrine (that we each have unique paths prepared by God and that they are brought to us as we need to know them by His Spirit) came from scripture, but the application of it, which is doctrine as well, does not.

Oh well, I need more coffee before I think about this any more...:D

blessings,

W :)

Ah, just waking up? Enjoy that coffee. I'm off to church then to bed. Night shift! I always have to catch up on what is said during the day. Excellent point about the Holy Spirit and John 16. Good stuff.
My opinion is that we need Apostolic Tradition and the visible Church, we may differ a bit here - but I appreciate your view.

As it were, we need something to interpret scripture. My opinion is that we need Apostolic Tradition and the visible Church (apart from which is not the usual realm of the Holy Spirit's work IMO), we may differ a bit here.

Watchman
Feb 3rd 2013, 02:36 PM
Ah, just waking up? Enjoy that coffee. I'm off to church then to bed. Night shift! I always have to catch up on what is said during the day. Excellent point about the Holy Spirit and John 16. Good stuff.
My opinion is that we need Apostolic Tradition and the visible Church, we may differ a bit here - but I appreciate your view.

As it were, we need something to interpret scripture. My opinion is that we need Apostolic Tradition and the visible Church (apart from which is not the usual realm of the Holy Spirit's work IMO), we may differ a bit here.
Not sure whether we differ or not...depends upon what you mean by apostolic tradition. The scriptures teach that apostles were given to the church by Christ for the equipping of the saints until the church grows into the full stature of Christ, so that gift is ongoing. They cannot teach in contradiction to what has been written, but what has been written is not all truth...not the entirety of truth, I should probably say. In fact, Daniel 10:21 refers to the Book of Truth of which we have no copy. Many adherents of Sola Scriptura have a people-centered view of the scriptures, rather than the correct view Jesus gave us--that they testify of Him.

Sleep well, but not during church!

W :)

Walls
Feb 3rd 2013, 03:30 PM
Thanks for the reply walls.

Firstly, let me affirm the omnipotence of God. I do believe He is capable of just that. However, that does create problems. He seems to have failed for over 1,000 years if your Bible has only 66 books, and now numerous different Christian groups have varying canons. So either, He preserved it once and for all and the early church had the right canon OR despite being capable of preserving the Word, He chose to leave us to our own devices. Neither bodes well for the Protestant canon IMO, so I think a 66-book canon is somewhat of a difficulty for Sola Scriptura.
Setting all that aside, even if God DID preserve His Word perfectly (which I affirm He did, but NOT as you probably see it) and even if it were YOUR Bible, it does not follow that Sola Scriptura is true IMO. Inerrant, yes. Solely sufficient on its own, I doubt.

By tradition, what I advocate BTW is not something in 99% of Evangelical circles that you describe, but Apostolic Tradition as affirmed by all pre-Protestant Christian groups.

Thanks for the discussion!

You have a good argument. And I commend your honesty for using the plural "groups." But Apostolic Tradition "as affirmed by pre-Protestant groups" is actually what is under discussion. If the last Apostle was John then Apostolic Tradition is limited to the sum of scripture. And this in turn predates Constantine in 313 AD, the founder of that "pre-Protestant group" which contends for the extra books. So if Apostolic Tradition is the sum of scripture, have we not proven Sola Scriptura? But if you claim (from tradition) that Peter is your source of "Apostolic Tradition", I would like to show from Peter how Apostolic tradition is limited to scripture already written. In his second letter, in Chapter 1:12-15 and Chapter 3:1 he does not add anything new, but calls all to put things that have been said (past tense to Peter's writing) "in remembrance" (including those said by Paul - 2nd Pet.3:15-16).

If there was anything new to come after his writings, or his death, he would not have had to call men to put things in remembrance. He would have said that men should heed those who would show us things to come. Moses, chosen and inspired of God, did this when predicting Christ (Deut.18:15). He said that Israel was obliged to hear and do what he said UNTIL that other One came and spoke. This was affirmed by the thunderous voice on the Mount of Transfiguration. When a battle-hardened Marine sergeant trains his troops over six months, his final briefing before they go into battle contains only this admonition, "remember what I taught you" (past tense). He does not allow for something new on the eve of battle, for what he has taught is the only proven way to go.

I propose that all "Apostolic Tradition" stops with John.

adampjr
Feb 4th 2013, 02:26 AM
You have a good argument. And I commend your honesty for using the plural "groups." But Apostolic Tradition "as affirmed by pre-Protestant groups" is actually what is under discussion. If the last Apostle was John then Apostolic Tradition is limited to the sum of scripture. And this in turn predates Constantine in 313 AD, the founder of that "pre-Protestant group" which contends for the extra books. So if Apostolic Tradition is the sum of scripture, have we not proven Sola Scriptura? But if you claim (from tradition) that Peter is your source of "Apostolic Tradition", I would like to show from Peter how Apostolic tradition is limited to scripture already written. In his second letter, in Chapter 1:12-15 and Chapter 3:1 he does not add anything new, but calls all to put things that have been said (past tense to Peter's writing) "in remembrance" (including those said by Paul - 2nd Pet.3:15-16).

If there was anything new to come after his writings, or his death, he would not have had to call men to put things in remembrance. He would have said that men should heed those who would show us things to come. Moses, chosen and inspired of God, did this when predicting Christ (Deut.18:15). He said that Israel was obliged to hear and do what he said UNTIL that other One came and spoke. This was affirmed by the thunderous voice on the Mount of Transfiguration. When a battle-hardened Marine sergeant trains his troops over six months, his final briefing before they go into battle contains only this admonition, "remember what I taught you" (past tense). He does not allow for something new on the eve of battle, for what he has taught is the only proven way to go.

I propose that all "Apostolic Tradition" stops with John.

Interesting. I would agree that any traditions taht were first concocted after the last Apostles died cannot be considered Apostolic. But the Apostles went all around the known world teaching, so i'm not sure why the sum of Scripture is the limit of the Apostolic Tradition. Really, everything ever said by the Apostles under the influence of the Holy Spirit or memory of the words of Christ are part of it as well. Surely not all things ever preached by the Apostles are recorded in epistles and the Acts of the Apostles. Surely Paul wrote even more letters than those that survived, as well as John and probably all the others. This is why I do not think we can limit Tradition to the sum of canonized Scripture. Remember the Jesus spent a year a with the Apostles in the end and that they taught Paul for a while too. And all of them spent time with their disciples in turn. If Peter closes authority to what has already been said, that cannot be taken to necessarily mean only those things which have been written, much less those that would make it into the canon of Scripture.

PS: The Apostles all quoted the Septuagint, which includes those 'extra' books, and the next two generations of Christians all believed in the inspiration of the LXX (see Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Ignatius) the latter being very probably a personal disciple of the Apostle John.

Walls
Feb 4th 2013, 07:23 AM
Interesting. I would agree that any traditions taht were first concocted after the last Apostles died cannot be considered Apostolic. But the Apostles went all around the known world teaching, so i'm not sure why the sum of Scripture is the limit of the Apostolic Tradition. Really, everything ever said by the Apostles under the influence of the Holy Spirit or memory of the words of Christ are part of it as well. Surely not all things ever preached by the Apostles are recorded in epistles and the Acts of the Apostles. Surely Paul wrote even more letters than those that survived, as well as John and probably all the others. This is why I do not think we can limit Tradition to the sum of canonized Scripture. Remember the Jesus spent a year a with the Apostles in the end and that they taught Paul for a while too. And all of them spent time with their disciples in turn. If Peter closes authority to what has already been said, that cannot be taken to necessarily mean only those things which have been written, much less those that would make it into the canon of Scripture.

PS: The Apostles all quoted the Septuagint, which includes those 'extra' books, and the next two generations of Christians all believed in the inspiration of the LXX (see Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Ignatius) the latter being very probably a personal disciple of the Apostle John.

I think we are at the correct place for this discussion. If both of us agree in the inspiration of what we call the Canon (let's include the Apocrypha in that for the sake of the argument), and both of us agree that God is omnipotent in the matter of sustaining that part He has chosen, you must now put forth the proof for the validity of Tradition, as this lies outside the Canon.

But before we go there I must comment on your statements above. While all scripture is inspired (2nd Tim.3:16), not all other writing is inspired, and not all the actions and words of the Apostles are inspired. There is a difference between the Lord being with the Apostles and the Lord inspiring the Apostles. For instance, Paul is warned twice by bona-fide sources from the Holy Spirit, not to go to Jerusalem or his ministry of Church-building in various parts of the world would be over. Paul goes anyway and the end result is as predicted. But in his captivity, Paul writes that God has turned the failed situation to His (God's) favor (Phil.1:12). Here we see Paul's words and actions not in accordance with the Holy Spirit. Paul had been specifically sent to the Gentiles by the direct instructions of the Holy Spirit (Rom.15:16; Gal.2:7), so his final trip to Jerusalem flew in the face of this. Even though Philippians 1:12 shows how God is with His servants and turns their failure to "furtherance of the Gospel", it would be folly for us to say that Paul's behavior sets the pace for Tradition.

I do not doubt that other letters were written. But if God, in His omnipotence, has rejected these writings for His Canon, who are we to include them?

Finally, as I posted in a previous post, the bible sets forth behavior - the Law for the Jews and the New Testament writings for the Church. I cited the example of how even devout and Evangelical Christians of today, willingly overthrow God's instructions on how a meeting is to be run (citing 1st Corinthians Chapter 14). Now, why do you think that the Christians would do this? And what is their authority for the overthrow of direct instruction from the Apostle and his inspired writing? It is tradition. Tradition is given for one reason only. To do what scripture does not require. It is given credence because it allows men to overthrow scripture. Let's look at some examples;

I repeat the behavior of Catholic AND Evangelical Christians in a Church meeting
Most Catholic and Evangelical Churches have one leader, either Priest or Pastor - scripture always associates "Elders (plural) to a Local Church).
In a Catholic Church there are graven images, something forbidden in the Old Testament and not changed in the New.
In a Catholic Church, among the graven images, is one of Mary crushing the serpents head with her foot. Scripture said it would be the "seed" of the woman who crushed the serpents head.
The Catholic Church commanded fasting before the Lord's Table (Communion). Scripture commands to eat before the Lord's table (1st Cor.11:21-22)
The Catholic Church forbids meat on a Friday but scripture says the forbidding of foods is a doctrine of demons (1st Tim.4:1-2)
Again the Catholic Church forbids its Elders (Priests) to marry. Again, a doctrine of demons in scripture (1st Tim.4:1-2)
The Catholic Church has steps up to its altar. In reference to this in the Old Testament, this was forbidden, and in the New the place of worship is the human spirit, not a place (Jn.4:23-24).
The Catholic Church lights a lamp to indicate Christ's presence in their Church buildings. Scripture says that God does not live in houses made with hands (Act.7:48).
The Catholic Church requires confession before Mass and Holy Communion. Scripture says let ever man examine himself before this (1st Cor.11:28).
In Catholic and Evangelical Church buildings a cross is hung. But scripture did not give this sign.
Catholics and Evangelicals celebrate Christmas and Easter, both known pagan feasts. These feast were never even alluded to by scripture except in the negative sense in the Old Testament (e.g. Jer.10:3).


The list can go on. I do not think the behavior of the Catholic Church, or the Evangelicals, is the theme of this thread, but the motive behind the above list is not found in scripture. So Tradition does not enhance scripture in any way. It annuls it. That is why our Lord Jesus, when addressing the leaders (who sat in Moses' seat) of the only God-given religion on earth at that time, said that by their traditions they did two things;


they had made the Word of God of no effect
the resulting worship was "vain" (Matt.15:6-9)


Shall we not examine the current traditions in the light of scripture and judge whether they added to the Canon, or subtracted?

adampjr
Feb 4th 2013, 08:05 AM
I think we are at the correct place for this discussion. If both of us agree in the inspiration of what we call the Canon (let's include the Apocrypha in that for the sake of the argument), and both of us agree that God is omnipotent in the matter of sustaining that part He has chosen, you must now put forth the proof for the validity of Tradition, as this lies outside the Canon.

I think that is the wrong place to ask. I am denying Sola Scriptura (only scripture) and it appears you want a defense of Tradition using only scripture. Let me respond to another portion and we can see where specifically we part.


But before we go there I must comment on your statements above. While all scripture is inspired (2nd Tim.3:16), not all other writing is inspired, and not all the actions and words of the Apostles are inspired. There is a difference between the Lord being with the Apostles and the Lord inspiring the Apostles. For instance, Paul is warned twice by bona-fide sources from the Holy Spirit, not to go to Jerusalem or his ministry of Church-building in various parts of the world would be over. Paul goes anyway and the end result is as predicted. But in his captivity, Paul writes that God has turned the failed situation to His (God's) favor (Phil.1:12). Here we see Paul's words and actions not in accordance with the Holy Spirit. Paul had been specifically sent to the Gentiles by the direct instructions of the Holy Spirit (Rom.15:16; Gal.2:7), so his final trip to Jerusalem flew in the face of this. Even though Philippians 1:12 shows how God is with His servants and turns their failure to "furtherance of the Gospel", it would be folly for us to say that Paul's behavior sets the pace for Tradition.

I can't deny that right here you raise a strong objection to at least the idea that everything from the Apostles is ipso facto infallible. But we also know that the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say, and that at many times they prophesied directly from the Holy Spirit. So it does follow that not everything done or said by all the Apostles at all times is perfect. But I don't know how we can on the other hand say that only those things they said in their epistles or as recorded in Acts were inspired. I suppose that's the key here. Why do you suppose that we must limit authority to only those actions of the Apostles recorded in canonized Scripture?
Don't we already know that Paul must have written other letters, presumably under direction of the Holy Spirit? Don't we know that there were other prophets beyond those whose writings are canonized in the Old Testament.

Most importantly of all, don't we know that Jesus taught much more than what is in the gospels, as John concludes his account with a hyperbole about this very thing?


I do not doubt that other letters were written. But if God, in His omnipotence, has rejected these writings for His Canon, who are we to include them?

I don't want to include anything new in the canon in the sense of adding any books. I don't think there are any surviving authoritative works from this time. But there are things we know as consistent teachings of the early church that claimed to be the teachings of the Apostles to their disciples, etc. It's on oral passing down of the faith preserved within the Church that is Tradition.


Finally, as I posted in a previous post, the bible sets forth behavior - the Law for the Jews and the New Testament writings for the Church. I cited the example of how even devout and Evangelical Christians of today, willingly overthrow God's instructions on how a meeting is to be run (citing 1st Corinthians Chapter 14). Now, why do you think that the Christians would do this? And what is their authority for the overthrow of direct instruction from the Apostle and his inspired writing? It is tradition. Tradition is given for one reason only. To do what scripture does not require. It is given credence because it allows men to overthrow scripture. Let's look at some examples;

I repeat the behavior of Catholic AND Evangelical Christians in a Church meeting
Most Catholic and Evangelical Churches have one leader, either Priest or Pastor - scripture always associates "Elders (plural) to a Local Church).
In a Catholic Church there are graven images, something forbidden in the Old Testament and not changed in the New.
In a Catholic Church, among the graven images, is one of Mary crushing the serpents head with her foot. Scripture said it would be the "seed" of the woman who crushed the serpents head.
The Catholic Church commanded fasting before the Lord's Table (Communion). Scripture commands to eat before the Lord's table (1st Cor.11:21-22)
The Catholic Church forbids meat on a Friday but scripture says the forbidding of foods is a doctrine of demons (1st Tim.4:1-2)
Again the Catholic Church forbids its Elders (Priests) to marry. Again, a doctrine of demons in scripture (1st Tim.4:1-2)
The Catholic Church has steps up to its altar. In reference to this in the Old Testament, this was forbidden, and in the New the place of worship is the human spirit, not a place (Jn.4:23-24).
The Catholic Church lights a lamp to indicate Christ's presence in their Church buildings. Scripture says that God does not live in houses made with hands (Act.7:48).
The Catholic Church requires confession before Mass and Holy Communion. Scripture says let ever man examine himself before this (1st Cor.11:28).
In Catholic and Evangelical Church buildings a cross is hung. But scripture did not give this sign.
Catholics and Evangelicals celebrate Christmas and Easter, both known pagan feasts. These feast were never even alluded to by scripture except in the negative sense in the Old Testament (e.g. Jer.10:3).


The list can go on. I do not think the behavior of the Catholic Church, or the Evangelicals, is the theme of this thread, but the motive behind the above list is not found in scripture. So Tradition does not enhance scripture in any way. It annuls it. That is why our Lord Jesus, when addressing the leaders (who sat in Moses' seat) of the only God-given religion on earth at that time, said that by their traditions they did two things;


they had made the Word of God of no effect
the resulting worship was "vain" (Matt.15:6-9)


Shall we not examine the current traditions in the light of scripture and judge whether they added to the Canon, or subtracted?

Some of that list I agree with you about and some of it I do not and would dispute. We should certainly examine current traditions and see if they have Apostolic and IMO Patristic (that is, the generations of disciples immediately following the Apostles - in other words people who grew up passing on Apostolic teachings) roots.

Walls
Feb 4th 2013, 03:49 PM
adampjr

You've been a fair and courteous debater. May I just add a comment on what I perceive (I could be wrong) is a case of mistaken conclusion. The blame though most probably lies with me for not being more explicit.


I can't deny that right here you raise a strong objection to at least the idea that everything from the Apostles is ipso facto infallible....

I maintain that while the actions of some characters in the bible are obviously contrary to God's will, the record of these actions is inspired and infallibly correct. When Satan spoke to Eve in Genesis Chapter 3 his words were untrue, but the record of them is infallibly correct. Paul, after writing in Romans chapter 8 that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit, "purposed in his spirit" to go to Jerusalem (Act.19:21). His history and attachment to his brethren according to the flesh most probably lead him into this mistake. God records and verifies the account. Paul was fallible, but the account is not. Paul had an immoveable "thorn" in his flesh which obviously caused him to stumble somewhat. God chooses not to remove it, but to add grace. Peter was fallible and Paul rebukes him (Gal.2:11), but the account is infallibly correct. The doctrines set forth by Paul and Peter, both fallible men, are infallibly correct.

All through this exchange of ideas, I have been wondering why you want the freedom that "Tradition" affords when scripture is sometimes so immoveable. Are we going to hear why you argue so astutely for it? Is there something or some doctrine you wish to strengthen that scripture alone cannot (or will not)?

adampjr
Feb 5th 2013, 02:20 AM
Yes, we take the accounts as infallible. Paul was fallible. But he was not fallible at all times, as we know he wrote with the Holy Spirit and preached as well.

I argue against Sola Scriptura for no other reason than I think its false.

Allow me an analogy regarding this freedom that supposedly comes with Tradition. I lose track of who participates in the political discussions and what framework everyone is in. But I would like to submit an example of what I mean that should make sense to anyone coming from anywhere within the conservative spectrum (I'm a conservative -leaning libertarian myself).

So, taking Scripture into account without the concept of Apostolic Tradition (that is, the words and actions and doctrinal legacy of the Apostles and Early Church Christians) sounds an awful lot like taking the Constitution's words and wholly ignoring the words, actions, and interpretations of the very people who compiled it! Ignoring the latter leads to all sorts of novel concepts of what is permissible and what the meaning. One must only look at the early American history and most importantly the Federalist Papers to learn what the limitations of teh ICC are, what a "militia" is, and all sorts of other supposedly "controversial" pieces of the Constitution that are by no means up for real debate when you factor in historical context. Ignoring that Tradition in American jurisprudence leads to more freedom of interpretation of the Constitution (and, usually, less freedom for us!). In other words, Tradition limits, not liberates, what interpretations are permissible. This is true of everything, including the Bible and the Constitution.
We can see the result of Sola Scriptura in the bajillions of Protestant denominations (I know I am using the word 'Protestant' rather loosely here, technically only churches that broke off from the Roman Church of broke off from those churches can be considered 'Protestant' not the many churches that formed out of the blue - but they share the Sola Scriptura legacy) including the doctrinally independent Baptist groups and the ecclesiastically anarchist "emergent" church. The result of Sola Scriptura is more freedom and we can see in practice that Scripture is not so immoveable after all when it is removed from all ecclesiology and tradition (Apostolic Tradition, ecumenical councils, patristics, etc). We can see the resurrection of classical heresies, even including Arianism, when Scripture is decontextualized like this.

As it were, I am strictly arguing against Sola Scriptura, and for the concept of tradition, I in no way wish advance any particular doctrine here (although I may try and form an argument for Mariology and post that some time).

Walls
Feb 5th 2013, 01:09 PM
Yes, we take the accounts as infallible. Paul was fallible. But he was not fallible at all times, as we know he wrote with the Holy Spirit and preached as well.

I argue against Sola Scriptura for no other reason than I think its false.

Allow me an analogy regarding this freedom that supposedly comes with Tradition. I lose track of who participates in the political discussions and what framework everyone is in. But I would like to submit an example of what I mean that should make sense to anyone coming from anywhere within the conservative spectrum (I'm a conservative -leaning libertarian myself).

So, taking Scripture into account without the concept of Apostolic Tradition (that is, the words and actions and doctrinal legacy of the Apostles and Early Church Christians) sounds an awful lot like taking the Constitution's words and wholly ignoring the words, actions, and interpretations of the very people who compiled it! Ignoring the latter leads to all sorts of novel concepts of what is permissible and what the meaning. One must only look at the early American history and most importantly the Federalist Papers to learn what the limitations of teh ICC are, what a "militia" is, and all sorts of other supposedly "controversial" pieces of the Constitution that are by no means up for real debate when you factor in historical context. Ignoring that Tradition in American jurisprudence leads to more freedom of interpretation of the Constitution (and, usually, less freedom for us!). In other words, Tradition limits, not liberates, what interpretations are permissible. This is true of everything, including the Bible and the Constitution.
We can see the result of Sola Scriptura in the bajillions of Protestant denominations (I know I am using the word 'Protestant' rather loosely here, technically only churches that broke off from the Roman Church of broke off from those churches can be considered 'Protestant' not the many churches that formed out of the blue - but they share the Sola Scriptura legacy) including the doctrinally independent Baptist groups and the ecclesiastically anarchist "emergent" church. The result of Sola Scriptura is more freedom and we can see in practice that Scripture is not so immoveable after all when it is removed from all ecclesiology and tradition (Apostolic Tradition, ecumenical councils, patristics, etc). We can see the resurrection of classical heresies, even including Arianism, when Scripture is decontextualized like this.

As it were, I am strictly arguing against Sola Scriptura, and for the concept of tradition, I in no way wish advance any particular doctrine here (although I may try and form an argument for Mariology and post that some time).

Thanks for the answer.

In your example of the Constitution, the operative word is "interpret." I dare say that the Founding Fathers were educated and astute men. Did they not produce a document that was not to be interpreted. Is it not all the attempts to "interpret" it that have led, or will lead to diminished freedom? Let us take the militia. Without repeating a whole history book, I am aware of the flavor of the Puritan background and the lessons learned as far back as Cromwell. The guarantee of an armed militia is THE solution to despotic government. Equal and even superior arms are the sign of free men, and the first thing every despotic government in history did was disarm the people (as you are now in the process of). Supposing there was NO attempt to "interpret" the Constitution? I dare say that the wording is clear enough and the endless debates you have over it would have been spared. The Supreme Court should not interpret the Law. It should apply it as it stands.

Your example of the Denominations is a good one. You need not use nice language with me. According to the first three Chapters of 1st Corinthians, all the Denominations are (a) works of the flesh, (b) a sign of stunted spiritual growth, or spiritual immaturity, and (c) as they "divided" the Body of Christ, can only expect severe judgement of that fateful day (1st Corinthians 3:16 in context of the previous verses on building the Church). But there is quicksand in this for you too, for we all know that the Roman Church is based on "tradition" and dates back, not to Jerusalem and Peter, but Constantine and a dream. The Roman Empire, as it waned, became the "Holy Roman Empire" even unto today. The armor was simply swapped for priest's clothes (and Old Testament priests at that).

According to scripture, and history as far as it can be traced, there is (a) no evidence of the headquarters of Christ's Church in Rome, and (b) no evidence of Peter ever being there. To have been there he would have overthrown scripture which says;
Peter was sent to the circumcision, not the Gentiles like Paul (Gal.2:7-9 - three times in three verses)
Peter is last recorded as staying in Jerusalem even after the great persecution dispersed Christians all over (Act.8:1)

The single event of Peter going to Cornelius is simply to show that what had been dealt to Jews in Jerusalem, the scene of Jesus, was available to the Gentiles too via the same source. It was never repeated. And Peter's letters are directed at those in "dispersion" (1st Pet.1:1). The only nation in dispersion is Israel. The rest are kept in their borders (Deut.32:8; Act.17:26).

I dare say that we have got to the crux of the matter. Scripture or Tradition? I can understand all Roman Catholics fighting for their doctrine of Tradition equal to Scripture. The whole existence of the most politically powerful, and wealthiest entity on earth, is based on it.

adampjr
Feb 5th 2013, 02:08 PM
Thanks for the answer.

In your example of the Constitution, the operative word is "interpret." I dare say that the Founding Fathers were educated and astute men. Did they not produce a document that was not to be interpreted. Is it not all the attempts to "interpret" it that have led, or will lead to diminished freedom? Let us take the militia. Without repeating a whole history book, I am aware of the flavor of the Puritan background and the lessons learned as far back as Cromwell. The guarantee of an armed militia is THE solution to despotic government. Equal and even superior arms are the sign of free men, and the first thing every despotic government in history did was disarm the people (as you are now in the process of). Supposing there was NO attempt to "interpret" the Constitution? I dare say that the wording is clear enough and the endless debates you have over it would have been spared. The Supreme Court should not interpret the Law. It should apply it as it stands.

Your example of the Denominations is a good one. You need not use nice language with me. According to the first three Chapters of 1st Corinthians, all the Denominations are (a) works of the flesh, (b) a sign of stunted spiritual growth, or spiritual immaturity, and (c) as they "divided" the Body of Christ, can only expect severe judgement of that fateful day (1st Corinthians 3:16 in context of the previous verses on building the Church). But there is quicksand in this for you too, for we all know that the Roman Church is based on "tradition" and dates back, not to Jerusalem and Peter, but Constantine and a dream. The Roman Empire, as it waned, became the "Holy Roman Empire" even unto today. The armor was simply swapped for priest's clothes (and Old Testament priests at that).

According to scripture, and history as far as it can be traced, there is (a) no evidence of the headquarters of Christ's Church in Rome, and (b) no evidence of Peter ever being there. To have been there he would have overthrown scripture which says;
Peter was sent to the circumcision, not the Gentiles like Paul (Gal.2:7-9 - three times in three verses)
Peter is last recorded as staying in Jerusalem even after the great persecution dispersed Christians all over (Act.8:1)

The single event of Peter going to Cornelius is simply to show that what had been dealt to Jews in Jerusalem, the scene of Jesus, was available to the Gentiles too via the same source. It was never repeated. And Peter's letters are directed at those in "dispersion" (1st Pet.1:1). The only nation in dispersion is Israel. The rest are kept in their borders (Deut.32:8; Act.17:26).

I dare say that we have got to the crux of the matter. Scripture or Tradition? I can understand all Roman Catholics fighting for their doctrine of Tradition equal to Scripture. The whole existence of the most politically powerful, and wealthiest entity on earth, is based on it.

Well, the Constitution requires interpretation. It should apply as it stands, but confusion can result from even simple, modern sentences. Every text has to be interpreted, especially older ones. It's pretty obvious that the 2nd Amendment is rather confusing to some people, leading politicians to get away with things that they wouldn't if it wasn't confusing to the voters. The confusion goes away of course in the context of American tradition and history. (The politicians are generally not confused, but have an agenda for ignoring tradition).

Come on, Tradition tells us that Peter went to Rome lol. I play (well sort of, tradition does say that, but I understand you not taking that at its word).
FYI for this conversation, I am in semi-regular attendance (I say it this way because one does not simply walk in and become a communion taking member of Older Churches - and I've been taking my time with the process from evangelical to orthodox) at an Eastern Orthodox parish. From a Protestant perspective, they appear rather similar. And as it were, some (perhaps many) of the things you do not like about the Roman Church apply to the Eastern Church as well, but not all of them. The Church split in 1054 largely due to Western (Roman) theological innovations and unilateral papal authority. Just so you are aware of my experience and framework. No worries about the assumption of Catholicism, as I avoided being specific initially to try and abstract the concept rather than tie the discussion to any particular understanding of church tradition.

Walls
Feb 5th 2013, 02:57 PM
Well, the Constitution requires interpretation. It should apply as it stands, but confusion can result from even simple, modern sentences. Every text has to be interpreted, especially older ones. It's pretty obvious that the 2nd Amendment is rather confusing to some people, leading politicians to get away with things that they wouldn't if it wasn't confusing to the voters. The confusion goes away of course in the context of American tradition and history. (The politicians are generally not confused, but have an agenda for ignoring tradition).

Come on, Tradition tells us that Peter went to Rome lol. I play (well sort of, tradition does say that, but I understand you not taking that at its word).
FYI for this conversation, I am in semi-regular attendance (I say it this way because one does not simply walk in and become a communion taking member of Older Churches - and I've been taking my time with the process from evangelical to orthodox) at an Eastern Orthodox parish. From a Protestant perspective, they appear rather similar. And as it were, some (perhaps many) of the things you do not like about the Roman Church apply to the Eastern Church as well, but not all of them. The Church split in 1054 largely due to Western (Roman) theological innovations and unilateral papal authority. Just so you are aware of my experience and framework. No worries about the assumption of Catholicism, as I avoided being specific initially to try and abstract the concept rather than tie the discussion to any particular understanding of church tradition.

;) May your search bring you to the Lord in a rich way.

adampjr
Feb 5th 2013, 03:02 PM
;) May your search bring you to the Lord in a rich way.

Well thank you.
I'm off to bed for now.

If I think of anything else relating to Sola Scriptura vs Tradition, I'll come back with later.

Thanks for the good talk so far.

guero
Feb 9th 2013, 02:14 PM
Much too controversial a topic to jump into, but I happened to see this sentence:



The Roman Empire, as it waned, became the "Holy Roman Empire" even unto today.


This is not exactly true. Constantine moved the seat of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, but for the most part after he died the Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern Empire with its seat at Constantinople and the Western Empire with its seat in Rome.

The "Holy Roman Empire" was an invention of Charlemagne in the 9th century, who was a Frank and not a real Roman, but who wanted to legitimize his kingdom in the West by claiming some sort of heredity form the Western Empire. Many historians would say that he manipulated the Pope and "hijacked" the Roman Church to this end, which suffered his ill effects ever since.

The Eastern Empire suffered its own internal and external challenges, but never saw the same permanent spiritual corruption that the Western Empire did. It did, however, continually shrink in size as it was beset by various barbarian invaders, Muslims, and even Western Christians. In one of the Crusades, the Crusaders passed through Constantinople, sacked it, and tried to convert the Christians there to Roman Catholicism. Having been weakened beyond repair, it finally fell completely to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Pope John Paul finally apologized to the Eastern Orthodox Church on behalf of the Roman Catholic church in 2004 for the sack of Constantinople.

With respect to Sola Scriptura, I think there are three main families of viewpoints:

1. First there is the "Protestant" view, which I put in quotes not out of lack of respect but rather because I am not sure the view is uniform across all denominations. The view here I believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that Divine Revelation only comes from Scripture and that the Church is founded on Scripture. There is no ultimate human spiritual authority over the Church.

2. Second, there is the view of the Roman Catholic Church which I believe can be stated that Divine Revelation comes from Scripture and from the Church and that over the centuries there has been new extra-Scriptural Divine Revelation provided by the Church. The Pope serves as the ultimate human spiritual authority over the Church.

3. Third, there is the view of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is that Scripture is a witness to Divine Revelation, but not its source. Christ Himself is understood to be the source of Divine Revelation and the Church is founded not on Scripture but rather the Church, as the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23) and the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) is itself the foundation of Scripture. Like Protestants and contrary to Catholics, Orthodox also hold that there is no ultimate human spiritual authority over the Church - the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Eastern Orthodox Church is administered ecclesiastically by Patriarchs and Metropolitans in various regions around the world, but there is no analog to the Pope.

Among these views the Orthodox view is the oldest and reflects the beliefs of the earliest Church.

The Roman Catholic view developed gradually beginning in the time of Charlemagne and reached its apogee I think with the First Vatican Council of 1869-1870, which clarified papal infallibility as an official doctrine.

The Protestant view I think one could say was a legitimate reaction against the innovations introduced in the Roman Catholic Church up to the time of the Reformation.


I was raised a Roman Catholic, became a Southern Baptist later in life, but finally came to the Orthodox Church a few years ago. This does not make me any kind of comparative theology expert by any stretch of the imagination, though, so I won't be offended if anyone needs to correct me.

LandShark
Feb 10th 2013, 05:14 PM
Good discussion, I would like to share two thoughts if I may?


The first is not a big deal, just something to consider. It was stated that "The Apostles quoted the Septuagint," which is true to a point. However,the LXX has variances between it and the Massoretic texts. For some this casts doubt on the LXX but I think an obvious point is often over-looked, that the LXX was based on a Hebrew manuscript we no longer have. Personally, I don't believe Paul wrote exclusively in Greek, he may have... and Luke and probably Mark did as well. But regarding Peter, James, John... I don't think they did. Eusebius wrote that Luke was Paul's translator and that Mark was Peter's. Perhaps that the case, perhaps not. But I still doubt that at least some of them were quoting a Greek source, but rather the Hebrew the Greek source was based on. Just my opinion.


The second thing is dealing with the OP. Solo Scriptura is admirable, but it doesn't account for context affecting externals that would otherwise go unconsidered. The culture of the day is not overly expounded on, and so going to an external source, even the Talmud, to grasp the Jewish influences (especially Pharisaical decisions) on first century believers is not a bad thing to do, as long as the "weight" is always left on Scripture. Understanding the Pharisaical influences, for example, helps us better understand what was really being said in Acts 15:1-2... which was really the continuation of a 50 year old debate. But I digress, in this 21st century Western Greek influenced form of Christianity, we often miss the Hebraic aspects of the authors. Paul for example used the Rules of Hillel quite often, and we are not even taught they exist let alone taught to recognize them and they affect context often greatly! Also, there are certain Hebrew idioms, or other more Hebraic figures of speech that go unrecognized by us leading to faulty conclusions because, again, the context is missed.


Scripture has to be the final say... but that doesn't mean we can't go outside of Scripture to understand the cultural influences the Apostles were dealing with, or go outside of Scripture to better understand meanings of certain words understood as "common" in that day, but "foreign" in ours.


Blessings.

guero
Feb 10th 2013, 09:38 PM
Good discussion, I would like to share two thoughts if I may?


The first is not a big deal, just something to consider. It was stated that "The Apostles quoted the Septuagint," which is true to a point. However,the LXX has variances between it and the Massoretic texts. For some this casts doubt on the LXX but I think an obvious point is often over-looked, that the LXX was based on a Hebrew manuscript we no longer have. Personally, I don't believe Paul wrote exclusively in Greek, he may have... and Luke and probably Mark did as well. But regarding Peter, James, John... I don't think they did. Eusebius wrote that Luke was Paul's translator and that Mark was Peter's. Perhaps that the case, perhaps not. But I still doubt that at least some of them were quoting a Greek source, but rather the Hebrew the Greek source was based on. Just my opinion.

...

Blessings.

The Septuagint is fascinating.

The best discussion I have found on the topic of the Masoretic text vs. the Septuagint is in the 1999 Jewish Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press. This particular Bible is rich in commentary and in my opinion far surpasses any English translation of the Masoretic Old Testament that any group of Christians have ever produced. On pg. 2069 one of the commentators writes:

"The earliest complete manuscripts of the Septuagint are centuries earlier than our first complete Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible, and it is clear that the Septuagint was translated from a Hebrew text that differed in significant ways from the Masoretic Text. (There are many cases where this is now confirmed, where the Septuagint agrees with a Dead Sea scroll fragment against the Masoretic Text)."

Thus, rather than taking variances between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text as evidence that the Septuagint is somehow flawed, I would instead take the position that the variances point to possible errors in the Masoretic Text. These can be seen quite clearly in comparing certain Old Testament quotations in the New Testament against the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text. The Masoretic Text is not the original Hebrew, but rather a medieval synthesis wherein vowels were supposed which were missing in the original Hebrew. In many cases the Masoretes inferences appear to be wrong.

There are many examples of errors and distortions in the Masoretic Text. One illustrative example is from Paul's letter to the Hebrews:

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff [προσεκύνησεν ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ] (Hebrews 11:21, KJV).

In the Septuagint, the Greek text of Genesis 47:31 agrees almost verbatim:

And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did reverence, leaning on the top of his staff [προσεκύνησεν Ισραηλ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ] (Genesis 47:31, Brenton LXX).

The Masoretic Text does not, however, agree with Paul's quotation:

And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head (KJV).

So either Paul is misquoting the Old Testament, or the Greek manuscripts of the Epistle to the Hebrews are in error, or the Masoretes committed an error in transcription. The latter appears to be the case, explained as follows:

The original Hebrew text in the Torah showed the un-voweled word הטמ. In producing their medieval Hebrew text, the Masoretes inferred voweling for each word in the original Hebrew to the extent they could. The choices for הטמ are:

מָטֶה - coming
מַטֶּה - tribe; branch; staff; scepter; arrow; lance
מַטָּה - below; less
מִטָּה - bed; couch; bier
מֻטֶּה - injustice
מֻטָּה - outspreading

If we are to believe that Paul quoted the Old Testament faithfully, then the Masoretes voweled this particular word incorrectly, indicating bed (מִטָּה - mittah) instead of staff (מַטֶּה - matteh).

(True to its self-critical form, the Jewish Study Bible remarks "The meaning of Jacob/Israel's bowing is unclear.")


I say that the subject of the Septuagint is fascinating, though, because I can also play the lawyer and argue from the other side. Chapter 5 of the Septuagint provides a genealogy from Adam to Noah which differs considerably from that of the Masoretic Text. To whit, lets just look at the genealogy of Methuselah:

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. (Genesis 5:21–27, KJV)

And Enoch lived an hundred and sixty and five years, and begat Mathusala. And Enoch was well-pleasing to God after his begetting Mathusala, two hundred years, and he begot sons and daughters. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty and five years. And Enoch was well-pleasing to God, and was not found, because God translated him. And Mathusala lived an hundred and sixty and seven years, and begot Lamech. And Mathusala lived after his begetting Lamech eight hundred and two years, and begot sons and daughters. And all the days of Mathusala which he lived, were nine hundred and sixty and nine years, and he died. (Genesis 5:21–27, Brenton LXX)

In both accounts Methuselah lives 969 years, but for some reason the other durations disagree. Enoch was 65 in the MT when Methuselah was born, but 165 in the LXX. Methuselah was 782 years more after he begat Lamech in the MT, but 802 years in the LXX. The whole chapter is rife with inconsistencies. In fact, if one does the calculation from the Septuagint one finds that Methuselah lived for some 14 years after the flood, which, one would argue, clearly points to a flaw in the Septuagint.

In fact, such inconsistencies abound and were known very early in the Church. Although the Old Testament text that formed the basis for the Church was the Septuagint and not the Hebrew, proto-MT texts that were available in the 4th century around the time of Jerome's translation were revealing these inconsistencies and, it seems, alarming some. Augustine actually comments on these in City of God (written around 418 AD) and seems to take them in stride in Chapters 10 and 11 of Book XV, entitled "Of the Different Computation of the Ages of the Antediluvians, Given by Hebrew Manuscripts and by Our Own" and "Of Methuselah's Age, Which Seems to Extend Fourteen Years Beyond the Deluge", and in Chapter 43 of Book XVIII, where he writes:

"If, then, as it behoves us, we behold nothing else in these Scriptures than what the Spirit of God has spoken through men, if anything is in the Hebrew copies and is not in the version of the Seventy, the Spirit of God did not choose to say it through them, but only through the prophets. But whatever is in the Septuagint and not in the Hebrew copies, the same Spirit chose rather to say through the latter, thus showing that both were prophets. For in that manner He spoke as He chose, some things through Isaiah, some through Jeremiah, some through several prophets, or else the same thing through this prophet and through that. Further, whatever is found in both editions, that one and the same Spirit willed to say through both, but so as that the former preceded in prophesying, and the latter followed in prophetically interpreting them; because, as the one Spirit of peace was in the former when they spoke true and concordant words, so the selfsame one Spirit hath appeared in the latter, when, without mutual conference they yet interpreted all things as if with one mouth."

So for my part, I like to read the English translations of the Septuagint (e.g. Brenton, Orthodox Study Bible) as the original "Christian" version of the Old Testament and the surprisingly self-critical Jewish Study Bible as a reasonable proxy for the Hebrew Old Testament and view both of them as divinely inspired.

TrustGzus
Feb 10th 2013, 09:43 PM
Sola Scriptura, meaning “scripture alone,” has a few different understandings, but basically means something like “Scripture is the only authoritative source of doctrine, it is clear, sufficient, and self-interpreting.”
Hilighted above are the parts I dispute.

So you believe sola Scriptura is false and you dispute the highlighted portions. Which leaves me with questions. No point having any discussion if viewpoints aren't understood.

You reject that Scripture is the only authoritative source for doctrine.

Question: What other authoritative source for doctrine do you believe in?

You reject that Scripture is sufficient.

Questions: Sufficient for what? In what way do you think Scripture is not sufficient?

You reject that Scripture is self-interpreting.

Explain more please.

Your OP brings these things up but I don't really see how they are addressed or explained.

Also, what is your source for what sola Scirptura is?

LandShark
Feb 10th 2013, 09:51 PM
The Septuagint is fascinating.

The LXX was first done about 300BC. I find the work just as fascinating as you do... but mainly for the reasons I shared. The Massoretic texts, which I have no issues with, were not completed until what, the 900's? The Hebrew the LXX is based on had to be a different set of manuscripts, there is simply no other explanation for the variances. So... while I can read Hebrew, I read in English and then compare the few versions of the LXX I have. Tell you something else Guero... a little trick I was taught years ago which "sometimes" give a neat perspective worth considering. Take a NT Greek word that may not have a good definition or you have a question about, and see when and where and how it is used in the LXX. Then, find the Hebrew word that underlies it in the LXX and see where that Hebrew word is used, and how. Sometimes... this will give us a more Hebraic view and with Jesus being a Jew, sometimes that perspective helps. Peace!

guero
Feb 10th 2013, 11:25 PM
The LXX was first done about 300BC. I find the work just as fascinating as you do... but mainly for the reasons I shared. The Massoretic texts, which I have no issues with, were not completed until what, the 900's? The Hebrew the LXX is based on had to be a different set of manuscripts, there is simply no other explanation for the variances. So... while I can read Hebrew, I read in English and then compare the few versions of the LXX I have. Tell you something else Guero... a little trick I was taught years ago which "sometimes" give a neat perspective worth considering. Take a NT Greek word that may not have a good definition or you have a question about, and see when and where and how it is used in the LXX. Then, find the Hebrew word that underlies it in the LXX and see where that Hebrew word is used, and how. Sometimes... this will give us a more Hebraic view and with Jesus being a Jew, sometimes that perspective helps. Peace!



a little trick I was taught years ago which "sometimes" give a neat perspective worth considering. Take a NT Greek word that may not have a good definition or you have a question about, and see when and where and how it is used in the LXX. Then, find the Hebrew word that underlies it in the LXX and see where that Hebrew word is used, and how. Sometimes... this will give us a more Hebraic view and with Jesus being a Jew, sometimes that perspective helps.


That's a good suggestion. I go to the Septuagint a lot, but have never really looked at the underlying Hebrew, although I have a Hebrew-Greek interlinear Septuagint.

Even more helpful I think for understanding the Greek New Testament is reading the commentaries of the Greek Church Fathers. They can often indicate the proper context and interpretation of a word and even clear up ambiguities in punctuation. Also, if one chooses, one can seek to understand how these Scriptures were originally understood in the Church.

- John Chrysostom by far is the most complete and is available online and in print and has commentaries on the Gospel's of Matthew and John, Acts, and all of Paul's Epistles

- Cyril of Alexandria's commentaries on the Gospel according to Luke are available in print from Amazon.

- Theophylact's commentaries, although written much later (11th c.), are also useful because they are a lot more concise. English translations of the Gospel commentaries have been published by Chrysostom Press.

- Dr. Eugenia Constantinou, Bible scholar and wife of a Greek Orthodox priest, has recently completed the first English translation of the oldest commentary on the Book of Revelation by Andrew of Caesarea. It is here: http://www.revelation-resources.com/2009/10/01/e-s-constantinou-andrew-of-caesarea-and-the-apocalypse/


The willingness to accept the Masoretic Text without question has always puzzled me:

First, it is not the original Old Testament text of the Church

Second, it is not the original Hebrew, but a facsimile

Third, it was produced over the centuries by bodies of talented Jewish scholars who of all people should have understood the meaning of the prophesies they were reading and assembling. That they read these prophesies and, rather than becoming Christians, remained steadfast in their apostasy means that

(a) they rejected Christ out of ignorance or

(b) they rejected Christ out of malice

Either way, it would seem we should be cautious with them, would you agree? Perhaps my viewpoint seems odd.

LandShark
Feb 11th 2013, 01:00 PM
I would weigh in any source and at least consider it. To "prove all things" means we must be willing to at least "consider all things." I do consult "church father" sources from time to time, but I also do so understanding that 1) they were for the most part a couple of hundred years removed and 2) fairly Greek in thought by then. Regardless of where you and I come down on certain positions, the bottom line was, "Jesus was a Jew." Moreover, so was Paul, James, John, Peter, etc.

Some may shrug their shoulders at that statement and say, "so what?" My answer is and has been.... that there is a perspective difference between Hebrew and Greek thought. May I share an example?

Hebrew thought = function... it sees the goal as being more important than the details
Greek thought = form.... it sees how things look, appear

So in a practical sense.... when we see a verse like, "be of one mind and one accord," the Greek mind says, "We must agree on all things, look the same, act the same." The Hebrew sees the same verse and says, "Of course we won't think perfectly alike, but we are joined by a common purpose."

Christianity has 30,000+/- denominations and sects based on form... we divide over minutia, details, and miss the big picture. So I will weigh in the thoughts of a church father, but I do so understanding the paradigm he saw through.

LandShark
Feb 11th 2013, 01:09 PM
My point is... those who penned Scripture did not think in terms of form, rather, they thought in terms of function. Their paradigm was Hebrew, not Greek. I don't care what language any of us believes the NT was penned in, personally, I think some books may have been written in Hebrew, but most others in Aramaic and Greek. Nevertheless, the "mindset" behind it was Semitic, not Greek. This is clear in the idiom usage, rules of grammar and exegesis (Paul's extensive use of the rules of Hillel for example), and so forth. We have to understand that before the Temple was destroyed, "Christianity" looked fairly Jewish "in practice." After he Temple destruction, and 'especially' after the Bar Kokhba revolt of 125AD and Rabbi Akiva naming him "messiah," did a shift in positions change. By that I mean that Christians began to pass decrees to make themselves look less Jewish, while the Jews began to distance themselves from Christianity. This is called, "reactionary theology," and it slowly caused the church to appear less and less like it once did. Now I am NOT saying that makes anyone lost or not a son or daughter of God... I am simply saying that a lack of understanding when it comes to this history coupled with our "born into" paradigm which is Greek based, not Hebrew based, does hinder us at times in terms of context. Simply, we miss some blessings of connections because we are spiritualizing things as the Greeks did, not seeing them concretely as the Hebrews did. But... that is how I see things in this regard, you are all welcome to reject the idea. I am not pushing it on you, just sharing a thought!

guero
Feb 11th 2013, 02:05 PM
I would weigh in any source and at least consider it. To "prove all things" means we must be willing to at least "consider all things." I do consult "church father" sources from time to time, but I also do so understanding that 1) they were for the most part a couple of hundred years removed and 2) fairly Greek in thought by then. Regardless of where you and I come down on certain positions, the bottom line was, "Jesus was a Jew." Moreover, so was Paul, James, John, Peter, etc.

Some may shrug their shoulders at that statement and say, "so what?" My answer is and has been.... that there is a perspective difference between Hebrew and Greek thought. May I share an example?

Hebrew thought = function... it sees the goal as being more important than the details
Greek thought = form.... it sees how things look, appear

So in a practical sense.... when we see a verse like, "be of one mind and one accord," the Greek mind says, "We must agree on all things, look the same, act the same." The Hebrew sees the same verse and says, "Of course we won't think perfectly alike, but we are joined by a common purpose."

Christianity has 30,000+/- denominations and sects based on form... we divide over minutia, details, and miss the big picture. So I will weigh in the thoughts of a church father, but I do so understanding the paradigm he saw through.

Thanks! I didn't mean to sound dismissive. Actually I never considered looking back through NT Greek at the Hebrew - it is something I am going to try!

With regards to the Church Fathers and your point of the 30,000 denominations:

When we speak of the Church Fathers we are speaking of a time when there were not 30,000 denominations but one unified Church. For sure there were schisms and heresies, but these were fought off and defended against in the Ecumenical Councils. If we ignore the Oriental Orthodox, who separated early on over the Monophysite heresy, there was unity in the Church until Rome started to waver during the time of Charlemagne, breaking off completely in the 11th century. The 30,000+ denominations are schisms of schisms of schisms ... from the Roman Catholic Church, not the Eastern Church. To my knowledge there are no Protestant denominations that ever broke off directly from the Eastern Orthodox Church.

TrustGzus
Feb 11th 2013, 03:49 PM
I would weigh in any source and at least consider it. To "prove all things" means we must be willing to at least "consider all things." I do consult "church father" sources from time to time, but I also do so understanding that 1) they were for the most part a couple of hundred years removed and 2) fairly Greek in thought by then. Regardless of where you and I come down on certain positions, the bottom line was, "Jesus was a Jew." Moreover, so was Paul, James, John, Peter, etc.

Some may shrug their shoulders at that statement and say, "so what?" My answer is and has been.... that there is a perspective difference between Hebrew and Greek thought. May I share an example?

Hebrew thought = function... it sees the goal as being more important than the details
Greek thought = form.... it sees how things look, appear

So in a practical sense.... when we see a verse like, "be of one mind and one accord," the Greek mind says, "We must agree on all things, look the same, act the same." The Hebrew sees the same verse and says, "Of course we won't think perfectly alike, but we are joined by a common purpose."

Christianity has 30,000+/- denominations and sects based on form... we divide over minutia, details, and miss the big picture. So I will weigh in the thoughts of a church father, but I do so understanding the paradigm he saw through.

If the Greek mind is "we must agree on all things, look the same, act the same" and we supposedly have 30,000 denominations give or take based on form (Greek thought according to your description) . . . then how come with the form/Greek approach they all think different, look different, and act different? Doesn't sound very Greek to me.

How does this help with the discussion about sola Scriptura? Aren't we getting a bit removed from the OP too?

LandShark
Feb 11th 2013, 04:50 PM
Geuro.... the first church was in Jerusalem and was headed by James. It had over 20,000 members which is incredible seeing there were only about 60,000 or so who lived in Jerusalem at that time. As the churches began to crop up, and pagans began to convert, there was a constant pressure to refrain them from bringing in with them their baggage. In fact, just reading Paul's letters to the various cities reveals different problems, different pressures, different things dividing the peoples. My point is simply, it isn't an "unified" (at least in form) as we might think.

Regarding why this is related to the OP TrustGzus? Context is everything.... if there were external pressures being put on the church in the first century that is inferred but not spelled out in Scripture and those pressures are affecting the context of the letters we now have, then going "Solo Scriptura" does not allow one to have a complete understanding of the time period, context is lost! And regarding Solo Scriptura... what exactly does that mean? Does that mean KJV Only? Greek manuscripts ONLY and if so, which ones? Hebrew OT Aramaic NT? Which ones are counted as "Scripture Alone" when there are variances in the manuscripts? We don't have the original letters, therefore, we are forced to weigh in all things in order to prove all things. Multiple versions, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic manuscripts, and understanding of the Abstract Terminologies (idioms, figures of speech) that were used and employed by NT authors as inspired in that day. Scripture Alone does not allow for the search for context affecting items external of Scripture, and if they are context affecting (like Paul's use of the 7 Rules of Hillel) how can they not be considered if we are to "prove all things?"

guero
Feb 11th 2013, 07:35 PM
Geuro.... the first church was in Jerusalem and was headed by James. It had over 20,000 members which is incredible seeing there were only about 60,000 or so who lived in Jerusalem at that time. As the churches began to crop up, and pagans began to convert, there was a constant pressure to refrain them from bringing in with them their baggage. In fact, just reading Paul's letters to the various cities reveals different problems, different pressures, different things dividing the peoples. My point is simply, it isn't an "unified" (at least in form) as we might think.


True, there was both unity and diversity in the early Church, but diversity in beliefs was never tolerated. Peter urges Christians Be ye all of one mind! (1 Peter 3:8) and warns there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1). Paul urges his readers to Be of the same mind toward another (Romans 12:16) and Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded (Philippians 2:2) and to avoid the teachers of false doctrine:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

Paul even enumerates heresy along with murder and witchcraft as an example of grave sin (Galatians 5:19-21).

When disagreements over dogma occurred between the local churches, they were resolved in councils of the Church leaders. We see this in the Acts of the Apostles, when the first general council of the Church was held to discuss how to receive Gentile converts and we see the practice of convening councils of bishops continuing through the 8th century in the form of the seven Ecumenical Councils, each one of which was convened to refute heresies that were predominant at the time.

The current situation of the 20,000 or 30,000 denominations, each with its own particular beliefs, is an abomination. May God help us.

LandShark
Feb 11th 2013, 09:57 PM
The current situation of the 20,000 or 30,000 denominations, each with its own particular beliefs, is an abomination. May God help us.

On that my friend, we are very united. You know, the fact that we have teachers and students proves we have people on different levels and we won't all have the same understanding at the same time. And because we are different in our function, likened to body parts (and a foot doesn't look like or work the same as a hand!), then we need to allow each other the room to walk as they understand it all... but stand together in unity toward the common goal. There would be less denominations if we all understood that. Blessings!

TrustGzus
Feb 12th 2013, 01:14 PM
The doctrine of sola Scirptura was a reaction to the Roman Catholic Church's misunderstanding and misplacement of what was/is the ultimately authority. Yet, that background is being discussed so little, it leaves me wondering how many really understand the meaning and purpose of sola Scriptura in this thread.

LandShark
Feb 12th 2013, 01:45 PM
Yet, that background is being discussed so little, it leaves me wondering how many really understand the meaning and purpose of sola Scriptura in this thread.

A deviation or "rabbit trail" away from the topic happens, it is not a reflection of the understanding and intelligence of those that took part. I seriously doubt that anyone who has been a Christian for longer than a year or so, or one who has done any study, does not know that "Scripture Only" was the tool that revealed the invalid claim of Papal authority, a tool which was ridden into a Protestant culture. Scripture Only is necessary, for by anything else we leave conclusions solely to the whims of imperfect man. Scripture Only did not become manifest at the foot of the Reformation as history records however... prior to the rise of Pharisaical Judaism which led to Rabbi Akiva giving Rabbis virtual Papal authority through an interpretative manipulation adding weight to an "Oral Law" that in truth does not even exist, Israel lived according to "Torah Only," and since in that day only the Torah and Prophets were "Scripture," they lived by Scripture Only, or, "Solo Scriptura."

guero
Feb 12th 2013, 02:13 PM
The doctrine of sola Scirptura was a reaction to the Roman Catholic Church's misunderstanding and misplacement of what was/is the ultimately authority. Yet, that background is being discussed so little, it leaves me wondering how many really understand the meaning and purpose of sola Scriptura in this thread.

How is Sola Scriptura defined?

I assumed the doctrine was equivalent to the Articles of Affirmation and Denial in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Is this the right source, or should we look elsewhere?

Thanks!

adampjr
May 24th 2013, 01:26 PM
So you believe sola Scriptura is false and you dispute the highlighted portions. Which leaves me with questions. No point having any discussion if viewpoints aren't understood.

You reject that Scripture is the only authoritative source for doctrine.

Question: What other authoritative source for doctrine do you believe in?

You reject that Scripture is sufficient.

Questions: Sufficient for what? In what way do you think Scripture is not sufficient?

You reject that Scripture is self-interpreting.

Explain more please.

Your OP brings these things up but I don't really see how they are addressed or explained.

Also, what is your source for what sola Scirptura is?

I happened to be searching through some old threads and found some responses. I unfortunately am away from the computer or internet for stretches at a time and sometimes don't come back to forums right away. Sorry, if I'm necromancing here (necromancy is bad), but I'll respond to these questions (but I'll be brief in case this thread is totally off the radar for you).

I tried to at least partially address the first question in my OP and follow-on posts. Scriptures authority rests on the Church, whether people like that or not. What I mean is that the canon of Scripture had to be determined at some point, and there multiple councils about this. The Scripture cannot be the foundation for the Church, since the Church preceded Scripture and defined it (listed the books). So whenever we appeal to the Scripture as authority, we are necessarily appealing to the Church councils that determined the canon for authority. So to cite Scripture is to cite the authority of the Church. Now, most Christians accept this, I think. We cite the Nicene Creed and other early Church councils and creedal statements (such as the Trinitarian creed of Athanasius). These authorities are something other than Scripture.

By sufficient, I mean sufficient for a Christian to know everything he should know. In other words, the Christian life cannot survive on the Scriptures alone.

I should have used a different word than self-interpreting. Perhaps 'easy to interpret.' What I am trying to say with this point is that Scripture does not lend itself to one easy interpretation. The Trinity is a good example of something not clear in Scripture, and most Christians are very willing to cite the Nicene creed and historical interpretations to support this doctrine. The Trinity had to be defined by the Church, and early Christians such as Irenaeus argued for the Trinity before there was even a standard canon of Scripture (which there wasn't for hundreds of years)

As for the definition, if you have another one I'm not worried about it. I defined SS as I was disputing it.

Boo
May 25th 2013, 11:08 AM
Sola Scriptura has spawned how many denominations? And we believe that it is a valid philosophy where people are not actually following it? Some of those who have tried to have been accused of being cults because they looked different from everyone else.

mailmandan
May 25th 2013, 11:31 AM
To the Roman Catholic, tradition is a body of undefined teachings, apart from the Holy Scriptures, allegedly of apostolic origin, that is passed on perfectly from generation to generation through the church, and especially through Catholic bishops. Roman Catholics quote 2 Thessalonians 2:15 to support this concept of "Tradition" but a closer look reveals that the apostle Paul has something different in mind. Writing to the believers in Thessalonica, among whom he had personally laboured, he says: But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15). The apostle Paul had preached the gospel to the Thessalonians, and they believed the truth for their salvation. Now that he was absent, Paul exhorted them to hold on to the "traditions" he had passed on to them. These traditions, or teachings, are simply the truths of the gospel which the apostle Paul had "handed on" to them by two means: by preaching ("by word") and by writing ("our epistle"). There is nothing here about the perfect transmission of an undefined body of teachings through a succession of bishops. The concept of tradition is a convenient excuse for the Roman Catholic magisterium to teach whatever they desire as if it is the Word of God. Tradition is their carte blanche.

What is read in the Scriptures is God speaking to us. Therefore the Scriptures are the infallible rule of faith. 'What is the infallible rule of faith?' remains the a major dividing issue between Catholics and Protestants. And rightly so. We are building on different foundations.

The Roman Catholic answers something like this, 'God's Word is found in the Bible and in Tradition. But you can't understand the Bible correctly. As for Tradition, no one knows exactly what it contains. Therefore you must submit without reservations to the Pope and the bishops of the Roman church. The teaching of the Catholic magisterium is the infallible rule of faith.'

An Evangelical answers differently, 'The Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that God's people may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.' (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

adampjr
May 25th 2013, 12:45 PM
To the Roman Catholic, tradition is a body of undefined teachings, apart from the Holy Scriptures, allegedly of apostolic origin, that is passed on perfectly from generation to generation through the church, and especially through Catholic bishops. Roman Catholics quote 2 Thessalonians 2:15 to support this concept of "Tradition" but a closer look reveals that the apostle Paul has something different in mind. Writing to the believers in Thessalonica, among whom he had personally laboured, he says: But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15). The apostle Paul had preached the gospel to the Thessalonians, and they believed the truth for their salvation. Now that he was absent, Paul exhorted them to hold on to the "traditions" he had passed on to them. These traditions, or teachings, are simply the truths of the gospel which the apostle Paul had "handed on" to them by two means: by preaching ("by word") and by writing ("our epistle"). There is nothing here about the perfect transmission of an undefined body of teachings through a succession of bishops. The concept of tradition is a convenient excuse for the Roman Catholic magisterium to teach whatever they desire as if it is the Word of God. Tradition is their carte blanche.

What is read in the Scriptures is God speaking to us. Therefore the Scriptures are the infallible rule of faith. 'What is the infallible rule of faith?' remains the a major dividing issue between Catholics and Protestants. And rightly so. We are building on different foundations.

The Roman Catholic answers something like this, 'God's Word is found in the Bible and in Tradition. But you can't understand the Bible correctly. As for Tradition, no one knows exactly what it contains. Therefore you must submit without reservations to the Pope and the bishops of the Roman church. The teaching of the Catholic magisterium is the infallible rule of faith.'

An Evangelical answers differently, 'The Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that God's people may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.' (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I suspect you are mischharacterizing Catholics a bit, but I can't speak for them (not having ever been Catholic). I do know that they affirm what you say Protestants affirm at the end however.

LandShark
May 27th 2013, 07:05 PM
I personally think Sola Scriptura fails on multiple fronts. First of all, Scripture can be vague at times, and I think it is designed that way, by God, so that He through His Spirit can open our understanding and fill in any blanks. We also have aspects of the NT that are dealing with cultural issues in that day which we are all but ignorant of. One example that comes to mind is the church tends to lump all Pharisees into one group... when in fact there were two sects of Pharisees and on all but the topic of divorce, only one sect was disagreed with or rebuked. We might even consider the exegetical methods in use at that time. Paul for example uses the 7 Rules of Hillel often, and they affect context in certain places. Yet, we are not even taught there are exegetical tools being used by Paul let alone taught to discern them.

NOTHING external of Scripture should trump Scripture or alter it. But if the writers of it were using certain rules in writing, using certain phraseology and language unique to that day, or were dealing with situations also unique to that day, then the context demands we at least consider those things and weigh them in, prayerfully. So on those grounds, Sola Scriptura falls short, IMHO!

TrustGzus
May 27th 2013, 07:17 PM
I personally think Sola Scriptura fails on multiple fronts. First of all, Scripture can be vague at times, and I think it is designed that way, by God, so that He through His Spirit can open our understanding and fill in any blanks. We also have aspects of the NT that are dealing with cultural issues in that day which we are all but ignorant of. One example that comes to mind is the church tends to lump all Pharisees into one group... when in fact there were two sects of Pharisees and on all but the topic of divorce, only one sect was disagreed with or rebuked. We might even consider the exegetical methods in use at that time. Paul for example uses the 7 Rules of Hillel often, and they affect context in certain places. Yet, we are not even taught there are exegetical tools being used by Paul let alone taught to discern them.

NOTHING external of Scripture should trump Scripture or alter it. But if the writers of it were using certain rules in writing, using certain phraseology and language unique to that day, or were dealing with situations also unique to that day, then the context demands we at least consider those things and weigh them in, prayerfully. So on those grounds, Sola Scriptura falls short, IMHO!

I find your commentary here odd since you spend a paragraph rejecting sola Scriptura, but in the first sentence of your second paragraph you affirm it via a sentence that basically paraphrases a definition it.


By sola Scriptura orthodox Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source of authority, the final court of appeal, for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals).

Geisler, N. L., & MacKenzie, R. E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and differences (178). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

To use your words, Geisler basically just said, "nothing trumps Scripture".

What Geisler said here is the same definition I find in all informed books dealing with Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. So I'm not sure what you think sola Scriptura is since you reject it in one paragraph and affirm it in the next paragraph unless while you think nothing trumps Scripture, you have an equal item to Scripture that also doesn't get trumped.

Perhaps you can spell out what you think sola Scirptura is so as to not have different people talking about different things because different definitions are being poured into the words.

LandShark
May 27th 2013, 09:25 PM
Trust.... look, Solo Scriptura is Scripture ONLY, no consideration for the culture or issues of the day. I am saying, trust Scripture, but when we KNOW certain Hebraic idioms are in use that were common in that day and unknown today, we DO need to weigh them in because they were part of the mindset of the author. Now, to learn of those idioms or other abstract wordings that are in play, we need to go outside of Scripture in order to learn them. Scripture doesn't define an idiom, it just uses it.

You last sentence was well stated... words mean different things to different people. Those I have been exposed to that are "Scripture only" will not consider first century Jewish history when dealing with things mentioned in Scripture. Blessings.

Balabusha
May 28th 2013, 06:12 AM
Trust.... look, Solo Scriptura is Scripture ONLY, no consideration for the culture or issues of the day. I am saying, trust Scripture, but when we KNOW certain Hebraic idioms are in use that were common in that day and unknown today, we DO need to weigh them in because they were part of the mindset of the author. Now, to learn of those idioms or other abstract wordings that are in play, we need to go outside of Scripture in order to learn them. Scripture doesn't define an idiom, it just uses it.

You last sentence was well stated... words mean different things to different people. Those I have been exposed to that are "Scripture only" will not consider first century Jewish history when dealing with things mentioned in Scripture. Blessings.

To redefine Solo Scriptura as different than Sola scriptura is not a realistic statement, imagine using the same definition to redefine Sola Gratia? Sola means "alone" or "only" in English, so now you would have to redefine Sola Gratia to Solo Gratia in order to have grace alone..

-Sola scriptura does not eliminate finding the historical context of the bible for one example. A person could make the words sola scriptura walk on all fours...learning greek, Hebrew, or even English for example would not be Sola scriptura..this was never the intent of the words and to interpret sola scriptura in a strained wooden literalism makes the term loose its bite and leads to absurdity never intended.
1.The dogma of Mary is not Sola scriptura as it is not in the bible
2.The Jewish dogma of the miraculous oil burning in the temple practiced during Chunnakah is not Sola scriptura, as it is not in the bible.

One poster used the example of the word Trinity as a reason for tradition and an anti-sola scriptura stance; but this argument really is a case for Sola Scriptura. As the bible teaches the Trinity throughout the bible, not by Word, but by example-the same case is made for Sola Scriptura. Many Christian teachings are a necessary logical deduction of what is clearly taught in the Bible
Second, the Bible does teach implicitly and logically, if not formally and explicitly, that the Bible alone is the only infallible basis for faith and practice. This it does in a number of ways. One, the fact that Scripture, without tradition, is said to be “God-breathed” (theopnuestos) and thus by it believers are “competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17
Paul declares that the God-breathed writings are sufficient. And contrary to some Catholic apologists, limiting this to only the Old Testament will not help the Catholic cause for two reasons: first, the New Testament is also called “Scripture” (2 Pet. 3:15-16; 1 Tim. 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7); second, it is inconsistent to argue that God-breathed writings in the Old Testament are sufficient, but the inspired writings of the New Testament are not. Further, Jesus and the apostles constantly appealed to the Bible as the final court of appeal.

This they often did by the introductory phrase, “It is written,” which is repeated some 90 times in the New Testament. Jesus used this phrase three times when appealing to Scripture as the final authority in His dispute with Satan (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Of course, Jesus (Matt. 5:22, 28, 31; 28:18) and the apostles (1 Cor. 5:3; 7:12) sometimes referred to their own God-given authority. It begs the question, however, for Roman Catholics to claim that this supports their belief that the church of Rome still has infallible authority outside the Bible today. For even they admit that no new revelation is being given today, as it was in apostolic times. In other words, the only reason Jesus and the apostles could appeal to an authority outside the Bible was that God was still giving normative (i.e., standard-setting) revelation for the faith and morals of believers.
This revelation was often first communicated orally before it was finally committed to writing (e.g., 2 Thess. 2:5). Therefore, it is not legitimate to appeal to any oral revelation in New Testament times as proof that nonbiblical infallible authority is in existence today. What is more, Jesus made it clear that the Bible was in a class of its own, exalted above all tradition. He rebuked the Pharisees for not accepting sola Scriptura and negating the final authority of the Word of God by their religious traditions, saying, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…You have nullified the word of God, for the sake of your tradition” (Matt. 15:3, 6). It is important to note that Jesus did not limit His statement to mere human traditions but applied it specifically to the traditions of the religious authorities who used their tradition to misinterpret the Scriptures.

The fact that apostles sometimes referred to “traditions” they gave orally as authoritative in no way diminishes the Protestant argument for sola Scriptura. First, it is not necessary to claim that these oral teachings were inspired or infallible, only that they were authoritative. The believers were asked to “maintain” them (1 Cor. 11:2) and “stand fast in them” (2 Thess. 2:15). But oral teachings of the apostles were not called “inspired” or “unbreakable” or the equivalent, unless they were recorded as Scripture. The apostles were living authorities, but not everything they said was infallible. Catholics understand the difference between authoritative and infallible, since they make the same distinction with regard to noninfallible statements made by the Pope and infallible ex cathedra (“from the seat” of Peter) ones
Second, the traditions (teachings) of the apostles that were revelations were written down and are inspired and infallible. They comprise the New Testament. What the Catholic must prove, and cannot, is that the God who deemed it so important for the faith and morals of the faithful to inspire the inscripturation of 27 books of apostolic teaching would have left out some important revelation in these books. Indeed, it is not plausible that He would have allowed succeeding generations to struggle and even fight over precisely where this alleged extrabiblical revelation is to be found.
however authoritative the apostles were by their office, only their inscripturated words are inspired and infallible (2 Tim. 3:16-17; cf. John 10:35). There is not a shred of evidence that any of the revelation God gave them to express was not inscripturated by them in the only books — the inspired books of the New Testament — that they left for the church. This leads to another important point. The Bible makes it clear that God, from the very beginning, desired that His normative revelations be written down and preserved for succeeding generations. “Moses then wrote down all the words of the Lord” (Exod. 24:4), and his book was preserved in the Ark (Deut. 31:26). Furthermore, “Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and made statutes and ordinances for them… which he recorded in the book of the law of God” (Josh. 24:25-26) along with Moses’ (cf. Josh. 1:7). Likewise, “Samuel next explained to the people the law of royalty and wrote it in a book, which he placed in the presence of the Lord” (1 Sam. 10:25). Isaiah was commanded by the Lord to “take a large cylinder-seal, and inscribe on it in ordinary letters” (Isa. 8:1) and to “inscribe it in a record; that it may be in future days an eternal witness” (30:8). Daniel had a collection of “the books” of Moses and the prophets right down to his contemporary Jeremiah (Dan. 9:2). Jesus and New Testament writers used the phrase “It is written” (cf. Matt. 4:4, 7, 10) over 90 times, stressing the importance of the written word of God.

The Catholic use of 3 John to prove the superiority of oral tradition is a classic example of taking a text out of context. John is not comparing oral and written tradition about the past but a written, as opposed to a personal, communication in the present. Notice carefully what he said: “I have much to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink. Instead, I hope to see you soon when we can talk face to face” (3 John 13). Who would not prefer a face-to-face talk with a living apostle over a letter from him? But that is not what oral tradition gives. Rather, it provides an unreliable oral tradition as opposed to an infallible written one. Sola Scriptura contends the latter is preferable.

Boo
May 28th 2013, 09:46 AM
Just about nobody ever uses Sola Scriptura. They promote it and even waive it like a banner, and then they depend on tradition to guide them along the way. They don't accept Sola Scriptura when they choose to believe what they learned in Sunday School instead. The believe the Pastors interpretation instead of reading Scriptura for themselves and accepting what it actually says.

Each denomination that I know of has a Statement of Faith and their websites shows a page called What We Believe. If Sola Scriptura was what they actually follow, that page would not be there. They are saying "This is our interpretation of Scriptura. If yours is different, go elsewhere."

Because of that, I have come to understand that Sola Scriptura simply means that we will not adhere to Roman Catholic dictates. That was the purpose of the phrase originally.

adampjr
May 28th 2013, 10:01 AM
I think I disagree a bit, Boo. In most of those statements of faith that I've seen, the cited source for all doctrinal matters is still Scripture. So, the statements of faith do seem to go against the notion that the meaning of Scripture is obvious, but they are usually consistent with the idea that Scripture is the only place to cite authority.

TrustGzus
May 28th 2013, 10:58 AM
Going back to Geisler . . .


By sola Scriptura orthodox Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source of authority, the final court of appeal, for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals).

Geisler, N. L., & MacKenzie, R. E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and differences (178). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

The Bible alone is the final court of appeal for all doctrine and practice. There isn't a second, equal court of appeal for all doctrine and practice. If anyone here has a second source that they put equal to the Bible for doctrine and practice, then yes, you reject sola Scriptura. But if the Bible is your final court of appeal, then you hold to sola Scriptura.

Paul tells Timothy . . .


2 Timothy 3:15–17 (HCSB)
15*and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16*All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17*so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


So the Scripture is able (i.e. sufficient) to:

give wisdom for salvation
it is profitable for teaching
it is profitable for rebuking
it is profitable for correcting
it is profitable for training in righteousness
it is able to make the man of God complete
it is able to make the man of God equipped for every good work


Quite a list. That's what Paul says. All of those things are things that Paul attributes to Scripture. Scripture is sufficient for all of that.

What we can not do is muddy the waters by adding things to the idea of sola Scriptura that aren't intended. It is never intended to mean that we don't apply grammatico-historical methods of hermeneutics to our study. It is never intended to mean that because Christians come to different interpretations that it can't be true. All those Christians are appealing to the Scripture. By their appeal to Scripture, they are demonstrating that Scripture is the infallible authority. All this proves is we don't infallibly interpret the infallible authority.

I'm going to quote a lengthy section of Geisler & Mackenzie here where they address an error that seems to be hovering in this thread . . .


One final comment is in order. Catholic apologists sometimes make the assertion that “Protestants must prove . . . that Scripture is so clear that no outside information or authority is needed in order to interpret it.”32 They insist this is so since Catholics can, and many do (e.g., John Henry Newman and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), claim that the content of revelation is in the Scriptures alone (i.e., material sufficiency). But Protestants affirm (and Catholics deny) the formal sufficiency of Scripture, namely, that one needs nothing else to interpret Scripture. However, this argument is misleading for several reasons.

First, even the translation of Scripture involves interpretation, and Protestants do not deny the need for good linguistic scholarship to make good translations of Scripture. Indeed, Catholic Bible translators use this kind of “outside information” to translate their Bibles without depending on the authority of the church to do so, at least with regard to all the truths essential to our salvation.

Second, Protestants do not hold, as Catholic scholars sometimes assert, that the Bible is formally sufficient without any outside help on everything taught. Perspicuity only covers the main (essential) truths of salvation, not everything.

Third, when orthodox Protestants utilize outside “information” to properly interpret Scripture they ought to do so with two very important restrictions in mind: (1) no information should be used to conflict with any clearly taught doctrine of Scripture, and (2) the outside information should only be used as a material cause, not a formal cause, of the interpretation.33 The form of meaning must come from the text itself, as placed there by the author, not from outside the text. One may get material on the meaning of words, archaeology, culture, and so on from outside the text, but this is only data to help understand the text; the determination of its meaning must come from the text itself. In a piece of literature, any interpretive framework (formal cause) taken from outside the text and alien to the meaning of the text that is used to interpret the text is illegitimate and will invariably lead to error. This, of course, is not necessarily true in oral communication, where gestures and tones can give context for meaning. One may use whatever information is available from linguistics, history, and culture, but the structure of meaning must be found in the text itself.

Of course, all of this is not to say that Protestant interpreters cannot utilize traditional commentaries, confessions, and creeds as aids in understanding the text. They can use scholarly sources in their interpretation, but in order to remain true to the principle of sola Scriptura they must not use them in a magisterial way. Otherwise, they are just replacing the Roman Catholic teaching magisterium with a magisterium of Protestant scholarship, an unfortunate error into which more than one Protestant scholar has fallen.

Geisler, N. L., & MacKenzie, R. E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and differences (190–191). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

I've asked a couple times in this thread where people are getting definitions and their ideas from. I could care less what the average Joe from the pew says about a subject because the average Joe is usually too uninformed about theological stuff like this. An example would be that sometimes the average Joe will take a phrase like sola Scriptura and take it in a wooden literal sense and pour a meaning into it that he thinks matches those words. Or he might have a couple lines from his pastor. And often pastors are too rushed in trying to hurry together a sermon for Sunday and don't do adequate preparation on deep subjects like this. It seems to me like too many ideas in this forum are coming from discussions with average Joes instead of good, solid writings on the subject.

People are rejecting sola Scriptura for things that the phrase never meant. This is the straw man fallacy.

The best place to go is to scholars who have spent much time digging and researching the Protestant/Catholic differences and take the time to read their works. Preferably not just one but a multiplicity of scholars.

Geisler's book that I've quoted a few times is a good source. James White's book The Roman Catholic Controversy is another good book on this subject. R.C. Sproul is another man who has written much on this subject with clarity in several of his books. There is a very good book on the subject titled sola Scriptura that is an edited book with a number of reformed contributors. It worth the time and money to sometimes buy a book or two or five and not get ideas from a guy in the pew or from people who have websites that cost next to nothing for them to put their uninformed ideas out on the web.

adampjr
May 28th 2013, 11:43 AM
I don't know what makes you think the issue I'm dealing with is something other than sola scriptura as you described, because it's not. I know you asked me earlier, but I don't share your view that a sourced definition is necessary for a discussion. I provided a working defintion as I understood it, which is very similar to Geisler's, and even if it wasn't that has no effect on the idea being discussed. That's not a straw man fallacy. If I argued against position Y and were calling it position X, but am still arguing against position Y and simply naming it wrong - that is NOT a straw man. That's a sloppy definition. But as it were, I am specifically talking about Scripture as the sole final authority, which is precisely what you are providing too. So what's your objection with the definitions?

And I know perfectly well that sola scriptura does not preclude hermeneutical approaches.

LandShark
May 28th 2013, 01:08 PM
If this is the definition, "By sola Scriptura orthodox Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source of authority, the final court of appeal, for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals)," then there likely isn't anyone who argues against it. Ultimately we ALL allow Scripture to be the final answer, which means, according to the above definition, we are all Scripture Only. However, the definition above does NOT prevent the use of historical books, or books left out of the canon that are quoted in the canon, and so forth. The canon can be the primary absolute source of authority but clarification can come from other sources. For example:

John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. (KJV)

The Feast of dedication is NOT a Feast or Appointed Day of God, it is not in Lev. 23 where all other Feasts are listed. So, we have to go outside of Scripture to determine what this day even is and why Jesus would apparently take part. Now, this day is Hanukkah, a tradition of man but NOT one which stands in contrast to the character of God, thus Christ did take part. My point, unless I went outside of Scripture, I couldn't know what he was even doing in the Temple... the Feast of "Dedication" is not mentioned in the current canon!

adampjr
May 28th 2013, 01:18 PM
If this is the definition, "By sola Scriptura orthodox Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source of authority, the final court of appeal, for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals)," then there likely isn't anyone who argues against it. Ultimately we ALL allow Scripture to be the final answer, which means, according to the above definition, we are all Scripture Only. However, the definition above does NOT prevent the use of historical books, or books left out of the canon that are quoted in the canon, and so forth. The canon can be the primary absolute source of authority but clarification can come from other sources. For example:


Of course. I opened this thread as an introduction to some of the reasons non 'orthodox Protestants' don't accept sola scriptura. I know this isn't controversial within it, since the definition of an orthodox Protestant is probably acceptance of sola scriptura.

TrustGzus
May 28th 2013, 06:19 PM
If this is the definition, "By sola Scriptura orthodox Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source of authority, the final court of appeal, for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals)," then there likely isn't anyone who argues against it. Ultimately we ALL allow Scripture to be the final answer, which means, according to the above definition, we are all Scripture Only.

Since this is a Protestant forum, most people should have a view like this. Surely, there are some non-Protestants floating around, but most should and yes, by definition, those appealing to Scripture as the final court are adhering to sola Scriptura.


However, the definition above does NOT prevent the use of historical books, or books left out of the canon that are quoted in the canon, and so forth. The canon can be the primary absolute source of authority but clarification can come from other sources.

Exactly. This is part of what the extended quote I used said.

Landshark, this is where I just am finding your writing confusing or you are flipping sides. You wrote on the previous page . . .


Trust.... look, Solo Scriptura is Scripture ONLY, no consideration for the culture or issues of the day. I am saying, trust Scripture, but when we KNOW certain Hebraic idioms are in use that were common in that day and unknown today, we DO need to weigh them in because they were part of the mindset of the author. Now, to learn of those idioms or other abstract wordings that are in play, we need to go outside of Scripture in order to learn them. Scripture doesn't define an idiom, it just uses it.

Sola Scriptura does allow consideration for the culture and issues of the day in interpreting. In this post above, you are saying it's Scripture only without consideration of the culture or issues of the day.

Perhaps you can clarify. I don't know if there is typo or if I just am not understanding what you said in one or more posts or if you adjust your view between posts.

LandShark
May 28th 2013, 06:36 PM
Trust, not all Protestants think alike, in fact, there are 30,000+/- denominations and sects of Protestant Christianity. Don't allow yourself to fall into a place where you think everyone defines everything the same! I have been in Southern Baptist churches that claim both "Solo Scriptura" and "King James Only" and if you DARE bring in something found outside of the KJV, or waste their time on first century Judean history, they will ask you to leave the church seeing you as a heretic. If I were to mention the 7 Rules of Hillel which Paul often employs in his writings, they will cry foul saying I am confusing the simplicity of the gospel. I know, it's happened! :)

Thus, I haven't flipped sides, you are just seeing this topic from YOUR definition of it assuming there is no other definition out there, when there is. I submit this respectfully, blessings to you!

TrustGzus
May 28th 2013, 06:58 PM
I don't know what makes you think the issue I'm dealing with is something other than sola scriptura as you described, because it's not. I know you asked me earlier, but I don't share your view that a sourced definition is necessary for a discussion. I provided a working defintion as I understood it, which is very similar to Geisler's, and even if it wasn't that has no effect on the idea being discussed. That's not a straw man fallacy. If I argued against position Y and were calling it position X, but am still arguing against position Y and simply naming it wrong - that is NOT a straw man. That's a sloppy definition. But as it were, I am specifically talking about Scripture as the sole final authority, which is precisely what you are providing too. So what's your objection with the definitions?

And I know perfectly well that sola scriptura does not preclude hermeneutical approaches.

adampjr, see my above post to Landshark where I address a little of the issue where I am seeing issues of definition. I have seen others throughout the thread and I'm not going to list them.

Back to your OP . . .


1. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura fails its own test.

If every doctrine must be proved Biblically, then so must that doctrine itself.2 Timothy tells us that Scriptures is authoritative, but it does not tell us anything about “scripture alone” as far as I can tell.
On this board I often see people respond with someting like “I need a chapter and verse for that.” Of course, it seems the natural response to such a thing would be “Actually, I need a chapter and verse for that.” So the first question for believers in Sola Scriptura is, “can you prove Sola Scriptura scripturally?”

Can you comment on what I wrote about 2 Timothy 3:15-17 where I list all the things Scripture sufficient for? I'll repaste . . .




Paul tells Timothy . . .

2 Timothy 3:15–17 (HCSB)
15*and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16*All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17*so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


So the Scripture is able (i.e. sufficient) to:


give wisdom for salvation
it is profitable for teaching
it is profitable for rebuking
it is profitable for correcting
it is profitable for training in righteousness
it is able to make the man of God complete
it is able to make the man of God equipped for every good work


Quite a list. That's what Paul says. All of those things are things that Paul attributes to Scripture. Scripture is sufficient for all of that.

What we can not do is muddy the waters by adding things to the idea of sola Scriptura that aren't intended.

Paul's list is pretty complete. Scripture is sufficient to give us wisdom for salvation.

I see this as similar to the Trinity. The Bible never uses the word Trinity, but the concept is taught. If the Bible teaches that there is only one God, and if the Bible teaches three persons are called God, and if the Bible teaches the three persons are distinct, and not the same person, then the Trinity is taught without ever using the word.

Along with passages like 2 Timothy 3:15-17, the constant appeal of it is written, often made by Jesus, they are using that phrase, they are appealing to the Scripture as the final court that settles the issue. That is sola Scriptura.


2. Sola Scriptura appeals to an authority other than scripture.


Of course, some authority other than Scripture has to define authority. The early church accepted the LXX as canonical. I would imagine that most you accept the rather limited canon of what is left after Luther demoted a number of books found in the LXX to a lower class, which later disappeared entirely. I assume this because I do not often see 2 Maccabees cited, for example. So – a question for believes in Sola: What authority defines Scripture? Did Luther have authority to define Scripture? Did the Council of Trent or the earlier Councils? If so, does it not follow that the Church or Church Councils have authority in matters of doctrine and interpretation?
All of us assert an authority other than Scripture in order to have a Scriptures. I would suggest that if your Bible only has 66 books, the authority to which you appeal is a bit more convoluted than what I consider the complete canon. But either way – what is that authority and what are its implications regarding doctrinal authority?

The church doesn't determine what the canon is. The church discovers what it is. Take the gospel of John as an example. God either breathed the gospel of John or God did not breath the gospel of John. A church council cannot decide that God breathed it if in fact he did not. Conversely, if the church had rejected the gospel of John that would not make it not-God breathed. Churches can vote from now to eternity and it will not change what writings God breathed or what God did not breath.

This doesn't effect sola Scriptura. Scripture is still the final court of appeal. If the church has made a mistake in the canon, then at some point, people are appealing to a book that really doesn't have that final court of appeal authority. Scripture is still the authority even if we've added a book that shouldn't be there or removed one that should. This doesn't change the authority of book. It just means we are mistaken in which ones should or shouldn't be use in such a way.

Sola Scriptura doesn't appeal to a higher authority. The church isn't over the Scripture. The Scripture is over the church. The church doesn't define what Scripture is because the church can't change the fact that God breathed or did not breath ________. All the church can do is make it's best effort to determine which of those writings God did breath.


3. You actually don’t believe Sola Scriptura, you accept the concept of Tradition


The vast majority of you believe in the Trinity (I assume and hope!). I know you did not all independently arive at this conclusion through private study and devotion. You accepted it in a manner similar to the way the older Churches accept Tradition, the concept that teachings handed down from the Apostles to the Church Fathers and preserved in the Church are authoritative. I know Matthew gives us the Trinitarian format for Baptism, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all over the Bible. For instance, I know Protestants affirm the Nicene Creed – not all of which is explicit in the Bible. It is an interpretation that Protestants accept as inerrant. So the questions: Is it permissible to entertain anti-Nicene notions or is Church Tradition authoritative? Or did you all develop the Nicene Creed directly on your own from the Bible on your own?

Most here probably didn't arrive at a Trinitarian doctrine independently. However, as I stated in talking about your point 1, the doctrine is formed by an appeal to Scripture (which is what sola Scriptura does - it appeals to Scripture as that final court of authority). The Scripture teaches there is only one God. The Scripture teaches the Father is God, Jesus is God & the Holy Spirit is God. The Scripture teaches the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father. Therefore, the Trinity is true.

Accepting the way a doctrine is presented in a Creed or council doesn't make the Creed or council or tradition a co-final court of appeal on the level of Scripture. Appeaking to a creed or council is simply the church not re-inventing the wheel a millennium and a half later.


4. Apostolic Tradition is Biblical


It is in Thess 2:15 in what is my opinion complete black and white. Paul exhorts them to hold fast not only to what was written but what was verbally taught. Polycarp, for example, was taught by John. We do not have access in the Scriptures to everything Paul said must be held to. Tradition (that is, the teachings of Jesus to the Apostles, of the Holy Spirit inspired Apostles to their followers, and so on and so forth) is necessary for doctrinal completion and correct interpretation, no?

In answer to your last question of that paragraph, no, Tradition is not needed for doctrinal completion. According to Paul in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Scripture is for doctrine and for thoroughly equipping the man of God. And if Scripture is not sufficient for that, then Paul erred in 2 Timothy.

Part of this I think can be resolved by the dates of the writing. 2 Timothy was the last epistle Paul wrote. 2 Thessalonians was one of the earliest. There was a lot not yet written. But by the end of 2 Timothy Paul is saying Scripture is what the man of God needs to be thoroughly equipped. It wouldn't have been too hard for Paul to say in 2 Timothy that Scripture and tradition are needed to make the man of God thoroughly equipped, but he didn't.

TrustGzus
May 28th 2013, 07:26 PM
Trust, not all Protestants think alike, in fact, there are 30,000+/- denominations and sects of Protestant Christianity. Don't allow yourself to fall into a place where you think everyone defines everything the same!

Landshark, I never would think everybody defines everything the same. Why would you even suggest that? No one thinks that. I own thousands of books. In having bought these books over the last couple decades, I have deliberately bought opposing views from the best possible authors I can find so I can hear each view from the "horse's" mouth. So, as a Christian for over a 1/4 century with a very diverse library (and church experience) I recognize the vast differences and would never think everyone describes things the same. No point going down a trail like that.

But that doesn't mean that a term has no specific, definite meaning and that just because someone pours different meaning into a term that their presentation is valid. If all ideas are valid, or in other words, if how anyone defines sola Scriptura is a valid definition, then we have moved from objectivism into relativism. There is no reason to discuss anything at all anymore. Because what's good for you is good for you and what's good for me is good for me. Sola Scriptura came out of a historical context and has a precise meaning. People can't pour anything they want into that term and call it sola Scriptura. If they can, adampjr's OP is a waste of time. Whatever we think it is, that is what it is. Adampjr has his definition, you have yours, I have mine, end of discussion. We're all right. Nobody is wrong. We can only discuss sola Scriptura if there is an objective meaning to it that we are measuring each of our ideas against. If there is no objective definition to measure our ideas against, then why discuss? We can't clarify anyone's view if there isn't a true objective meaning to align our view with.


I have been in Southern Baptist churches that claim both "Solo Scriptura" and "King James Only" and if you DARE bring in something found outside of the KJV, or waste their time on first century Judean history, they will ask you to leave the church seeing you as a heretic. If I were to mention the 7 Rules of Hillel which Paul often employs in his writings, they will cry foul saying I am confusing the simplicity of the gospel. I know, it's happened! :)

If the KJVO church rejects anything that isn't quoted from the KJV in a way that misuses and abuses sola Scriptura, then it isn't that they have their own valid definption of sola Scriptura, it's that they are historically ignorant and are misusing the term from its historical context.

There certainly are a multiplicity of views on a multiplicity of topics, but that doesn't make all views and definitions equally correct and valid. If a KJVO advocate misuses the term sola Scriptura, shame on them for not studying history and knowing what the term means! KJVO churches are filled with zeal without knowledge on a lot of subjects. Just toss this into the category of subjects they are confused about.


Thus, I haven't flipped sides, you are just seeing this topic from YOUR definition of it assuming there is no other definition out there, when there is. I submit this respectfully, blessings to you!

You say "MY definition"? "No other definition?" Landshark, hopefully by now you are seeing my point, but I'll reiterate what I did above. Sola Scriptura has a specific meaning. It's not TrustGzus definition v. Landshark's definition. If that's all it is, then we are left with nothing but relativism. The question is does my understanding line up with what the term means historically? Does yours line up historically? Does adampjr's line up with the historical definition? If mine is wrong, then I want to line up with what term really means. Then, and only then can we discuss the validity of it.

Ok, so you haven't flipped. That addresses one possibility of why I find your posts confusing in this thread. But then as I stated on page three you claim sola Scriptura won't appeal to anything but the Bible for understanding a passage.


Trust.... look, Solo Scriptura is Scripture ONLY, no consideration for the culture or issues of the day.

Then the next time you posted you said the opposite . . .


However, the definition above does NOT prevent the use of historical books, or books left out of the canon that are quoted in the canon, and so forth. The canon can be the primary absolute source of authority but clarification can come from other sources.

So, I am confused. If you are defining sola Scriptura by what you said in the first quote, then I would say you are misdefining the term from what it means in its historical context. If you are defining how sola Scriptura operates by the second quote, the that is a proper understanding. Which one is what you think sola Scriptura means? Can it use other sources to clarify and properly interpret the Scripture (which is still being used as the final court of appeal) or can it not use outside sources?

I hope that clarifies what I find so confusing about those couple posts from you.

LandShark
May 28th 2013, 07:43 PM
I am done trust. You have missed the point and don't seem willing to entertain anything beyond what is right in front of you. You insist there is ONLY one definition of Scripture only and demean those KJV only groups who have their own view. Words have more than one meaning, they are concepts that carry pictures, and pictures can mean different things to different people. I gave a VERY clear example of a people who define SS differently than you and instead of allowing them to have their own definition, you say that they are "ignorant and are misusing the term!" That is the same bad attitude that caused 30,000+/- denominations to begin with! Don't let every man work out his own salvation there trust, make sure they all agree with you first! Good day, sir.

LandShark
May 28th 2013, 09:02 PM
Incidentally, I am not anywhere close to KJV only, I just saw no reason to demean them.

adampjr
May 29th 2013, 03:05 AM
Paul's list is pretty complete. Scripture is sufficient to give us wisdom for salvation.

Sure. My response is taht I think the authority of Scripture is still derived and non-exclusive, which I don't think is refuted by Paul here.

A few thoughts on Scripture's exclusivity in the mind of Paul:

I'd like to hear how you deal with romans 1:20. Paul says taht God's attributes are clearly ascertainable in what was made - so that men are without excuse. In order for this to be true, it has to be possible to get wisdom for salvation apart from Scripture.

Furthermore, what of 1 Timothy 3, in which Paul identifies something other than Scripture as the 'pillar and ground of truth'?




Along with passages like 2 Timothy 3:15-17, the constant appeal of it is written, often made by Jesus, they are using that phrase, they are appealing to the Scripture as the final court that settles the issue. That is sola Scriptura.

Not sola Scriptura. Appealing to Scripture as an authority is not a declaration of its exclusive authority.



The church doesn't determine what the canon is. The church discovers what it is.

Same thing, really.





Take the gospel of John as an example. God either breathed the gospel of John or God did not breath the gospel of John. A church council cannot decide that God breathed it if in fact he did not. Conversely, if the church had rejected the gospel of John that would not make it not-God breathed. Churches can vote from now to eternity and it will not change what writings God breathed or what God did not breath.

Sure, I didn't mean to imply that the Church can call whatever it wants Scripture, or change its determinations.




This doesn't effect sola Scriptura. Scripture is still the final court of appeal. If the church has made a mistake in the canon, then at some point, people are appealing to a book that really doesn't have that final court of appeal authority. Scripture is still the authority even if we've added a book that shouldn't be there or removed one that should. This doesn't change the authority of book. It just means we are mistaken in which ones should or shouldn't be use in such a way.

Sola Scriptura doesn't appeal to a higher authority. The church isn't over the Scripture. The Scripture is over the church. The church doesn't define what Scripture is because the church can't change the fact that God breathed or did not breath ________. All the church can do is make it's best effort to determine which of those writings God did breath.

I does effect sola Scriptura. In saying that it is derived, I don't mean what the church can change whether a book is inspired or not - but a determination (of, if you dont like taht word, the synonym: discovery) has to be made.,. In citing the Bible as authoritative, we are ceding to the Church the authority to make that determination, ie, trusting that they make the determination accurately. I see that as a form of authority. Do you?

Boo
May 29th 2013, 09:43 AM
I think I disagree a bit, Boo. In most of those statements of faith that I've seen, the cited source for all doctrinal matters is still Scripture. So, the statements of faith do seem to go against the notion that the meaning of Scripture is obvious, but they are usually consistent with the idea that Scripture is the only place to cite authority.

Even if they incorrectly cite it.

TrustGzus
May 29th 2013, 11:57 AM
My response is taht I think the authority of Scripture is still derived and non-exclusive, which I don't think is refuted by Paul here.

A few thoughts on Scripture's exclusivity in the mind of Paul:

I'd like to hear how you deal with romans 1:20. Paul says taht God's attributes are clearly ascertainable in what was made - so that men are without excuse. In order for this to be true, it has to be possible to get wisdom for salvation apart from Scripture.

Furthermore, what of 1 Timothy 3, in which Paul identifies something other than Scripture as the 'pillar and ground of truth'?

I'm not sure what you mean by Scripture is derived. As for non-exclusive, who said it was exclusive? Calling it the final court of appeal isn't saying it's exclusive. I'm not sure why you bring up such an idea. I haven't said it. I'm not aware that the quotes I've supplied say it. You say no straw man, but if you counter ideas that aren't presented, what is that but straw man?

Dealing with Romans, sola Scriptura doesn't deny natural revelation. You say in order for Rom 1:20 to be true, it has to be possible to get wisdom for salvation apart from Scripture. What does Romans 1:20 say about salvation? Let's look at the verse . . .


Romans 1:20 (HCSB)
20*For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.


We learn by looking at natural revelation that God is powerful. We learn he creates something out of nothing. But what do we learn in regard to salvation? What is it that Paul is saying that people are without excuse for in verse 20? It seems they are without excuse for denying his existence. They are without excuse for denying he is powerful. I think as you get into chapter 2, natural revelation tells us something is wrong. Our consciences tell us we don't live how we should. So we recognize we are sinners though we wouldn't know the word sinner. But that's as far as nature really takes us, don't you think? We don't get all the way to salvation by natural revelation.

As for 1 Timothy 3:15, what do you think Paul is packing in the claim that the church is the "pillar and foundation of the truth?" Are you saying the church is on an equal or higher level of authority than Scripture?


Not sola Scriptura. Appealing to Scripture as an authority is not a declaration of its exclusive authority.

Again, I think this is a straw man. Sola Scriptura doesn't claim Scirpture is the only authority, but the final authority. Sola doesn't mean only as in there is no other authority. Go back and read the Geisler quote or even read Wikipedia's article on the subject. Sola means it's the only ultimate or final authority, not that there are no other authoritative things out there, but they all are lower than Scripture.


Same thing, really.

This is your comment to determine v. discover.

You and I are equivocating on determine. I am using this defintion . . .


1 a : to fix conclusively or authoritatively 〈determine national policy〉
b : to decide by judicial sentence 〈determine a plea〉


Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

You are using this one (at least it appears to me this is what you are using) . . .


4 : to find out or come to a decision about by investigation, reasoning, or calculation 〈determine the answer to the problem〉 〈determine a position at sea〉

Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Using definition #4, the terms determine and discover do mean the same. But I fail to see how if the early church investigated the issue and realized that God breathed books X, Y and Z, how does that make the church equal in authority to X, Y & Z by simply realizing God breathed those books? I don't see how that follows.


Sure, I didn't mean to imply that the Church can call whatever it wants Scripture, or change its determinations.

Nice to agree on this. BTW, I like this entire post from you because I think it's a post that is helping us move forward in the discussion.


I does effect sola Scriptura. In saying that it is derived, I don't mean what the church can change whether a book is inspired or not - but a determination (of, if you dont like taht word, the synonym: discovery) has to be made.,. In citing the Bible as authoritative, we are ceding to the Church the authority to make that determination, ie, trusting that they make the determination accurately. I see that as a form of authority. Do you?

No, as I stated above, I don't see if the church simply came to realization that books X, Y & Z were God breathed, how coming to that realization makes the church authoritative as X, Y and Z.

Perhaps you can explain why you think that follows.

Matt25 Brother
May 29th 2013, 01:00 PM
Not sola Scriptura. Appealing to Scripture as an authority is not a declaration of its exclusive authority.On the contrary, it is the only authority to which Jesus appeals, and as He is the Living Word, He is establishing Himself as that Authority, and all we have by which to govern our lives is His word, nothing else. He never speaks of "tradition" having any authority whatsoever.

adampjr
May 29th 2013, 01:31 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by Scripture is derived. As for non-exclusive, who said it was exclusive? Calling it the final court of appeal isn't saying it's exclusive. I'm not sure why you bring up such an idea. I haven't said it. I'm not aware that the quotes I've supplied say it. You say no straw man, but if you counter ideas that aren't presented, what is that but straw man?



Dealing with Romans, sola Scriptura doesn't deny natural revelation. You say in order for Rom 1:20 to be true, it has to be possible to get wisdom for salvation apart from Scripture. What does Romans 1:20 say about salvation? Let's look at the verse . . .



We learn by looking at natural revelation that God is powerful. We learn he creates something out of nothing. But what do we learn in regard to salvation? What is it that Paul is saying that people are without excuse for in verse 20? It seems they are without excuse for denying his existence. They are without excuse for denying he is powerful. I think as you get into chapter 2, natural revelation tells us something is wrong. Our consciences tell us we don't live how we should. So we recognize we are sinners though we wouldn't know the word sinner. But that's as far as nature really takes us, don't you think? We don't get all the way to salvation by natural revelation.


Okay. I am not trying to 'get away' with any straw manning here, but I admit to being insufficiently careful with my wording. I mean exclusive as a final authority. Now, the natural revelation is a bad example for my case, since I don't put it as an equal to Scripture myself - and I'm not certain how far it can even take us. I do think that in order for Paul's point to be valid, it has to go a bit further than where you left off. Natural revelation would have to be sufficient not only to tell us we are wrong, but also to lead us into saving repentance.



As for 1 Timothy 3:15, what do you think Paul is packing in the claim that the church is the "pillar and foundation of the truth?" Are you saying the church is on an equal or higher level of authority than Scripture?

Well, that is the main Protestant/non-Protestant divide. When non-Protestants talk about Tradition, that is generally a combination of Scripture, oral tradition from people like Polycarp who sat under the Apostles, and ecumenical councils. Now, to be clear, I fully admit that I think the RCC -in particular- has taken this concept to an obscene level, but what can we do with 1 Tim 3:15? What do you do with it? And as someone in a transitionary period, I am genuinely interesting in hearing a response to this. I have trouble getting a remotely cogent account on how this does not mean what it appears to me to mean.

Also, as an aside, I realize this is in Bible Chat. My mistake. I meant to put in the Aeropagus, since non-Protestants who still affirm the fundamental Nicene doctrines of the faith are also relegated there with non-Trinitarians and JWs - and I am calling into question a pillar of the Protestant movement. I want to be in compliance of rules, and I try to be silent on my views that don't fit in the evangelical mainstream in the main fora. If a mod reads this, please move this if it belongs elsewhere.



Using definition #4, the terms determine and discover do mean the same. But I fail to see how if the early church investigated the issue and realized that God breathed books X, Y and Z, how does that make the church equal in authority to X, Y & Z by simply realizing God breathed those books? I don't see how that follows.

No, as I stated above, I don't see if the church simply came to realization that books X, Y & Z were God breathed, how coming to that realization makes the church authoritative as X, Y and Z.

Perhaps you can explain why you think that follows.

Sure. This is what I mean when saying the church determines Scriptures. I don't think it 'decides' (although decide can also have this meaning I think) Scripture in the sense that it makes up a list from whatever. What I do mean is that, being the pillar and ground of truth, we can trust it to be correct in this matter. By placing our trust in Scripture as an authoritative source of truth, we are simultaneously placing our trust in the tradition of the church as a source of truth. I know you don't see it that way, but how can that be separated?

My problem with Scripture as the final authority really all comes down to this issue of determination (discovery).
Did you independently 'discover' the canon of Scripture? Or, rather, do you know what is Scripture by some means other than direct appeal to the authority of the church, by co-realizing it with them or something? If so, how? If not, does that not place the church equal to or above scripture as a final authority?

TrustGzus
May 29th 2013, 07:35 PM
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to adampjr again.

Adam, good post. I don't have time at this moment to give the response it deserves. I will when I have more time. The mods are pretty good at moving threads to areopogus when appropriate. You might want to give a link to this thread and just start a thread in "chat with the mods" to draw to their attention to your desire to move this thread there.

one_lost_coin
May 30th 2013, 02:58 AM
Well, that is the main Protestant/non-Protestant divide. When non-Protestants talk about Tradition, that is generally a combination of Scripture, oral tradition from people like Polycarp who sat under the Apostles, and ecumenical councils. Now, to be clear, I fully admit that I think the RCC -in particular- has taken this concept to an obscene level, but what can we do with 1 Tim 3:15? What do you do with it? And as someone in a transitionary period, I am genuinely interesting in hearing a response to this. I have trouble getting a remotely cogent account on how this does not mean what it appears to me to mean.

You seem to have a misunderstanding of the Catholic teaching of Sacred Tradition you are incorrect in stating it as "oral tradition from people like Polycarp who sat under the Apostles". That is not exactly correct. Is is correct that Polycarp and his friend St. Ignatius witnessed to Sacred Tradition and faithfully presented it and the sense of passing it on in continuity we look to them but not as a source of Sacred Tradition.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."

In the apostolic preaching. . .

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".

. . . continued in apostolic succession

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."

We see a witness to this Sacred Tradition in the book of Acts 15 at the First Church Council of Jerusalem where the Apostles and Presbyters met with the Holy Spirit to decide on the issue of circumcision of the Gentiles. v28 ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,... and all the gentile men rejoiced:bounce:

Does this help any?

adampjr
May 30th 2013, 04:11 AM
You seem to have a misunderstanding of the Catholic teaching of Sacred Tradition you are incorrect in stating it as "oral tradition from people like Polycarp who sat under the Apostles". That is not exactly correct. Is is correct that Polycarp and his friend St. Ignatius witnessed to Sacred Tradition and faithfully presented it and the sense of passing it on in continuity we look to them but not as a source of Sacred Tradition.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."

In the apostolic preaching. . .

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".

. . . continued in apostolic succession

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."

We see a witness to this Sacred Tradition in the book of Acts 15 at the First Church Council of Jerusalem where the Apostles and Presbyters met with the Holy Spirit to decide on the issue of circumcision of the Gentiles. v28 ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,... and all the gentile men rejoiced:bounce:

Does this help any?

Yes it does, and I apologize if I misrepresented your views. I should have made it clearer that Polycarp was handing down the Sacred Tradition and not inventing it (if that's what I appeared to be saying).
I think the Eastern Tradition is different somewhat from yours, but I think they are the same with regards to this. But I'm only still in catachesis.

one_lost_coin
May 30th 2013, 06:28 PM
Yes it does, and I apologize if I misrepresented your views. I should have made it clearer that Polycarp was handing down the Sacred Tradition and not inventing it (if that's what I appeared to be saying).
I think the Eastern Tradition is different somewhat from yours, but I think they are the same with regards to this. But I'm only still in catachesis.
I am Eastern Catholic (Atiochene Syriac Maronite Catholic, Maronite for short) and it is the same. Catholic is Catholic no matter what the time or place. Sacred Tradition is understood the same for Orthodox also.

I picked up in how you were using Polycarp but only added "not the source" for those reading along mostly but when I read it in context of your statement "that is generally a combination of Scripture, oral tradition" I thought it should be clarified for the sake of a clearer understanding of a very good thread.
78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it.

A proper understanding of what Sacred Tradition is becomes crucial when for example asking oneself question like "How is it we know what books make up the bible?" as no where in Sacred Scripture does it tell us what books are to make up the bible.

Eastern Christianity as well as all Christianity that can trace itself back 2,000 years through Apostolic Succession have recognized that Sacred Scripture comes out of Sacred Tradition.

What catechesis are you in? Orthodox of some sort like Melkite. Is that why you chose the screen name Arab Knight?

adampjr
May 30th 2013, 09:20 PM
I am Eastern Catholic (Atiochene Syriac Maronite Catholic, Maronite for short) and it is the same. Catholic is Catholic no matter what the time or place. Sacred Tradition is understood the same for Orthodox also.

I picked up in how you were using Polycarp but only added "not the source" for those reading along mostly but when I read it in context of your statement "that is generally a combination of Scripture, oral tradition" I thought it should be clarified for the sake of a clearer understanding of a very good thread.
78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it.

A proper understanding of what Sacred Tradition is becomes crucial when for example asking oneself question like "How is it we know what books make up the bible?" as no where in Sacred Scripture does it tell us what books are to make up the bible.

Eastern Christianity as well as all Christianity that can trace itself back 2,000 years through Apostolic Succession have recognized that Sacred Scripture comes out of Sacred Tradition.

What catechesis are you in? Orthodox of some sort like Melkite. Is that why you chose the screen name Arab Knight?

I'm with the Eastern Orthodox Church in America.
Our understanding is similar in some ways, but I've read numerous Orthodox sources on the subject and they do not draw the distinction between Scripture and Tradition that you do. Scripture is IN Tradition, or a PART of the Holy Tradition, and is right at the center and heart of it.

If I can try and address TrustGzus again: with the appeal to church authority that I think is inherent in an appeal to the canon of Scripture, I want to clarify another way that I don't think the church can declare whatever it wants to be Scripture. Ie, II John is inspired because it is inspired not because the Church said so. But we know that it is inspired because the Church said so. In the same way, God created the heavens and the earth because that's what He did, not because Moses 'decided' so - but we know its true because Moses in Scripture tells us. If that makes sense. Ie, the Tradition of Church is inspired just as Scripture is. If that clarifies anything rather than further confuses.

one_lost_coin
May 30th 2013, 11:29 PM
I'm with the Eastern Orthodox Church in America.
Our understanding is similar in some ways, but I've read numerous Orthodox sources on the subject and they do not draw the distinction between Scripture and Tradition that you do. Scripture is IN Tradition, or a PART of the Holy Tradition, and is right at the center and heart of it.


to quote myself "...recognized that Sacred Scripture comes out of Sacred Tradition."

to quote you "...Scripture is IN Tradition, or a PART of the Holy Tradition, and is right at the center and heart of it."

two ways of saying the same thing if you ask me.

adampjr
May 31st 2013, 01:22 AM
to quote myself "...recognized that Sacred Scripture comes out of Sacred Tradition."

to quote you "...Scripture is IN Tradition, or a PART of the Holy Tradition, and is right at the center and heart of it."

two ways of saying the same thing if you ask me.

Ah. Perhaps I was reading the statement following 78 incorrectly.