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  #1  
Old May 8, '10, 6:00 pm
richardacombs richardacombs is offline
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Default Fallacies of sola scriptura

Many protestants still insist on sola scriptura--that the Bible should be an owner's manual for Christian life, that the Bible through the illumination of the Holy Spirit provides all the guidance believers need.

The obvious failure of this doctrine is proven by the numerous (thousands) protestant denominations, not including all the neighborhood churches with no denominational affiliation. Each of these protestant denominations and backyard churches believes the Bible tells them something different. The predestination of Calvinism is far different from the Holy Ghost liberties of the Assembly of God, no criticism intended of either denomination, but obviously if Spirit-guided illumination of the scriptures is good enough to use as an individual life-long road map, this supernatural illumination should lead to fairly similar interpretations, so that all interpreters basically follow the same road with only slight deviations.

Of course, that is not the case. Instead, Martin Luther opened Pandora's Box. The freedom of self-interpretation of the scriptures, loosely defined as sola scriptura, has led to little more than Christian anarchy, with sundry denominations and believers all pointing to different verses and chapters to justify their beliefs.

Snake handlers point to the Bible, just as David Koresh pointed to the Bible, and as Calvin pointed to the Bible, even to the point of immolating at the stake those who disagreed with him, certainly no Torquemada, but just as intolerant.

The point of this is that a central authority, like the Majesterium, has to set guidelines on the interpretations, so that basically all interpreters end somewhere near the same point. That does not mean that all Catholic interpreters of the scriptures agree, but as varied as their interpretations may be, they stay loosely within the guidelines provided by the Church.

I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God; that it provides inspiration and illumination, but that my ultimate interpretation must fit loosely within the guidelines provided the Majesterium, not always the current catechism, but within the infallible dogmas and doctrines of the Church.

For discussion: how do you interpret the Bible and how do you counter the advocates of sola scriptura.
  #2  
Old May 8, '10, 6:12 pm
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Marc Anthony Marc Anthony is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Here's a question for those who believe in sola scriptura: Why do you believe in the Bible?

No, really. Why do you think everything the Bible says is true? You can't quote a Bible verse because that's like me saying (for the record, I obviously don't really believe this, it's just an example) "I'm never wrong because I say I'm never wrong and that has to be true because I'm never wrong". See how that's a logical fallacy?

The answer: We believe the Bible is true because the Church established by Jesus through its divine authority (thanks to the Holy Spirit) says that the Bible is true.

Jesus didn't write a book or establish a book as Holy. The New Testament was written many years after Jesus's death. What Jesus did was establish a Church and give it the authority to make infallible decisions on faith and morals. The Bible is a book full of truths of our faith. The reason we believe the books are true is because our infallible, divinely guided Church said so. So when Protestants believe in books of the New Testament, they are unwittingly following Catholic Tradition!
  #3  
Old May 8, '10, 11:34 pm
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Victorious Victorious is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Not even Martin Luther really believed in sola Scriptura. Otherwise, he would never have presumed to take a blue pencil and a pair of scissors to the Bible, cutting out or changing whatever he didn't like.

Besides which, the Bible itself refutes sola Scriptura:

2 Peter 1:20-21:

Quote:
First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
2 Peter 3:15-16:

Quote:
So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
John 21:25

Quote:
But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
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  #4  
Old May 8, '10, 11:39 pm
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Victorious Victorious is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Anthony View Post
Jesus didn't write a book or establish a book as Holy. The New Testament was written many years after Jesus's death. What Jesus did was establish a Church and give it the authority to make infallible decisions on faith and morals. The Bible is a book full of truths of our faith. The reason we believe the books are true is because our infallible, divinely guided Church said so. So when Protestants believe in books of the New Testament, they are unwittingly following Catholic Tradition!
Yep. There is no divinely inspired table of contents.
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  #5  
Old May 9, '10, 3:39 am
Desertsailor Desertsailor is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Sola Scriptura makes each man his own ultimate authority. If you tell a SS believer he is wrong he will say, "Are you calling Jesus a liar?"
  #6  
Old May 10, '10, 8:58 am
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lutherlic lutherlic is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

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Originally Posted by Desertsailor View Post
Sola Scriptura makes each man his own ultimate authority. If you tell a SS believer he is wrong he will say, "Are you calling Jesus a liar?"
Some might. It is probably best to explain our belief in Holy Scripture, where the Holy Bible came from, how it is infallible through the authority given to the Magisterium, etc. In other words, support their position on the importance of Holy Scripture while introducing the bigger picture.
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  #7  
Old May 11, '10, 6:13 am
drtimstephens drtimstephens is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

To anyone who would *seriously* like to know more about why any rational person would ever hold to sola Scriptura then PM me and we can arrange a discussion over skype where we can talk and address each issue that is constantly brought up on these forums concerning sola Scriptura.

Beyond that, those who are serious can find many great books that defend sola Scriptura and address the questions that are repeatedly raised here.
  #8  
Old May 11, '10, 6:38 am
CoachSTL CoachSTL is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Quote:
Originally Posted by drtimstephens View Post
To anyone who would *seriously* like to know more about why any rational person would ever hold to sola Scriptura then PM me and we can arrange a discussion over skype where we can talk and address each issue that is constantly brought up on these forums concerning sola Scriptura.

Beyond that, those who are serious can find many great books that defend sola Scriptura and address the questions that are repeatedly raised here.

hello drtistephens,

I have tried to have intelligent talk with you and your intelligent responses only lead to deeper ambiguous replies. There is no need to go on "skype" to prove a point. Make your points here where you can be held accountable for what you want to say.
  #9  
Old May 11, '10, 6:50 am
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardacombs View Post
Many protestants still insist on sola scriptura--that the Bible should be an owner's manual for Christian life, that the Bible through the illumination of the Holy Spirit provides all the guidance believers need.

The obvious failure of this doctrine is proven by the numerous (thousands) protestant denominations, not including all the neighborhood churches with no denominational affiliation. Each of these protestant denominations and backyard churches believes the Bible tells them something different. The predestination of Calvinism is far different from the Holy Ghost liberties of the Assembly of God, no criticism intended of either denomination, but obviously if Spirit-guided illumination of the scriptures is good enough to use as an individual life-long road map, this supernatural illumination should lead to fairly similar interpretations, so that all interpreters basically follow the same road with only slight deviations.

Of course, that is not the case. Instead, Martin Luther opened Pandora's Box. The freedom of self-interpretation of the scriptures, loosely defined as sola scriptura, has led to little more than Christian anarchy, with sundry denominations and believers all pointing to different verses and chapters to justify their beliefs.

Snake handlers point to the Bible, just as David Koresh pointed to the Bible, and as Calvin pointed to the Bible, even to the point of immolating at the stake those who disagreed with him, certainly no Torquemada, but just as intolerant.

The point of this is that a central authority, like the Majesterium, has to set guidelines on the interpretations, so that basically all interpreters end somewhere near the same point. That does not mean that all Catholic interpreters of the scriptures agree, but as varied as their interpretations may be, they stay loosely within the guidelines provided by the Church.

I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God; that it provides inspiration and illumination, but that my ultimate interpretation must fit loosely within the guidelines provided the Majesterium, not always the current catechism, but within the infallible dogmas and doctrines of the Church.

For discussion: how do you interpret the Bible and how do you counter the advocates of sola scriptura.
The "key" to understanding the Word of God is "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" - 2 Tim. 2:15. Also, it will greatly help in our understanding if we "test the things that differ" - Phil. 1:10. We should also ask the question: "Whose mail are we reading?" Is this Scripture addressed to Israel or the Body of Christ? Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us an example of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" in Luke 4:16-21 where He quotes from Isaiah 61:1,2. He stops the quotation right in the middle of the sentence because the second half will be accomplished at His second coming. We must also believe our Lord when he says, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" in Matthew 15:24. I would suspect that most pew packers don't even know this verse is in the Bible because most apply our Lord's first advent to the Church.
  #10  
Old May 11, '10, 6:57 am
CoachSTL CoachSTL is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickCat View Post
The "key" to understanding the Word of God is "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" - 2 Tim. 2:15. Also, it will greatly help in our understanding if we "test the things that differ" - Phil. 1:10. We should also ask the question: "Whose mail are we reading?" Is this Scripture addressed to Israel or the Body of Christ? Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us an example of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" in Luke 4:16-21 where He quotes from Isaiah 61:1,2. He stops the quotation right in the middle of the sentence because the second half will be accomplished at His second coming. We must also believe our Lord when he says, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" in Matthew 15:24. I would suspect that most pew packers don't even know this verse is in the Bible because most apply our Lord's first advent to the Church.
QC,

With all due respect to you, the key to understanding what is written in the Bible (the Word of God) is to hear from the writers of the letters and books what they meant by their writings. Agreed?
  #11  
Old May 11, '10, 7:00 am
Garland Garland is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Hi all, I and 24 other people were given an owners manuel for a 57 chevy. We went our seperate ways and agreed to meet 1 year later to see who had built a 57 chevy that was like the original 57 and had all its functions down to the last jot and tittle. Well one year later we gathered to see our new 57`s. As you might have guessed no 2 cars looked or acted, or ran as any other of the 25 cars. They all had differing looks and all did things differently. Now we all had the same owners man. and each person read and interpeted it differently, and each argued that his way was what was meant by the manuel, and the confusion and distrust between us lead us to go our different ways shattering, the team and in most cases causing a deep resentment and distrust of each other. The moral of this little story is, the book is not enough. One must have the schematics [the church], the engineers[the magisteriam], the machinery ,[sacred Tradition], to build a 57 that is truly what the maker of 57`s intended it to be like. Not everyone who has an owners manuel for a 57 chevy, can build one. Blessings. Garland
  #12  
Old May 11, '10, 7:07 am
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FidesSpesCarita FidesSpesCarita is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertsailor View Post
Sola Scriptura makes each man his own ultimate authority. If you tell a SS believer he is wrong he will say, "Are you calling Jesus a liar?"
I got this just yesterday :-( It was quite sad for me...


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  #13  
Old May 11, '10, 7:07 am
CoachSTL CoachSTL is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garland View Post
Hi all, I and 24 other people were given an owners manuel for a 57 chevy. We went our seperate ways and agreed to meet 1 year later to see who had built a 57 chevy that was like the original 57 and had all its functions down to the last jot and tittle. Well one year later we gathered to see our new 57`s. As you might have guessed no 2 cars looked or acted, or ran as any other of the 25 cars. They all had differing looks and all did things differently. Now we all had the same owners man. and each person read and interpeted it differently, and each argued that his way was what was meant by the manuel, and the confusion and distrust between us lead us to go our different ways shattering, the team and in most cases causing a deep resentment and distrust of each other. The moral of this little story is, the book is not enough. One must have the schematics [the church], the engineers[the magisteriam], the machinery ,[sacred Tradition], to build a 57 that is truly what the maker of 57`s intended it to be like. Not everyone who has an owners manuel for a 57 chevy, can build one. Blessings. Garland
Garland,

Very good! I will use this story for future illustration.
  #14  
Old May 11, '10, 7:51 am
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

I think any serious discussion needs to begin with the question of "How should one understand the Bible and use it?" and include a defense of why that approach is best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardacombs View Post
Each of these protestant denominations and backyard churches believes the Bible tells them something different. The predestination of Calvinism is far different from the Holy Ghost liberties of the Assembly of God, no criticism intended of either denomination.
What I find more amazing is how the Lord uses the hardness of men's hearts (ie, the differences in doctrine, and we Catholics are not immune to having hard hearts either) to speak to us where we are and bring us all towards Him. Obviously I like to see Protestants become Catholic and am disheartened when the reverse happens - especially if it's for the wrong reasons (like my wife's friend who became Lutheran because she thought they were more tolerant of gays), but I expect to say many of our Protestant brethren in Heaven. Indeed, I hope to see all of them, though I know not all (Catholic or otherwise) will be saved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardacombs View Post
Instead, Martin Luther opened Pandora's Box. The freedom of self-interpretation of the scriptures, loosely defined as sola scriptura, has led to little more than Christian anarchy
I don't blame Luther as much as evangelical movements such as Restorationism that literally had every pastor as his or her own inspired interpreter. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and most of the other Reformers proposed that Scripture was fully self-perspicuous, that it could be understood on its own without magisterial influence, however they were staunchly critical of any deviation from their own understanding. Some even waged war against each other, though I think this because of the time rather than a characteristic of Reformed Christianity. Consider that Zwingli died in battle with Catholic forces who were trying to break his food blockade of the Catholic parts of Switzerland.

Bear in mind also that the Reformation had political roots as well - the desire for State-controlled churches, rather than those led by the Papacy. There was a desire for a more local control of liturgy and theology. It was a swap of Magisterium rather than an elimination thereof, though we see that more in Europe (with the Church of Denmark, Church of Norway, Church of Sweden) than in the U.S. So there was a recognition of the need for some measure of unity and conformity in order to maintain church.

No, I think the liberal tendency of "read and decide on your own" was really a prominently American 19th century feature of Protestantism - the same folks who didn't pick up Calvin's "Institutes" and indeed may have had access only to the Bible.

Even then, how long can one community remain whole if part of the members believe quite differently from the rest of the membership - if one part emphasizes the necessity of a godly life while the other condemns any such efforts to "work your way into Heaven".

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardacombs View Post
That does not mean that all Catholic interpreters of the scriptures agree, but as varied as their interpretations may be, they stay loosely within the guidelines provided by the Church.
This is a good distinction to make, because I think there's a misperception among our Protestant brethren that Catholics are spoon-fed everything we believe. There is some leeway allowed - for example, you can believe in predestination in Catholicism, provided it isn't active reprobation (ie, God doesn't create people for the purpose of damning them).

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardacombs View Post
For discussion: how do you interpret the Bible and how do you counter the advocates of sola scriptura.
The most efficient method I've found is to defend Catholic doctrine on the basis of Scripture alone - or show that they cannot defend a portion of their doctrine on the basis of Scripture alone. The purpose isn't to get them to not believe in the Bible but rather to understand that the Bible is not a Catechism.

Caveat, sometimes this doesn't quite work - a friend of mine (an evangelical who led a 'non-denominational' Bible study I was in) argued that my infant baptism was not sufficient. I argued that it was, citing Scripture, and his end conclusion was that baptism was not necessary for salvation. Quite a stark turnaround!
  #15  
Old May 11, '10, 8:09 am
macaronte macaronte is offline
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Default Re: Fallacies of sola scriptura

The best approach in explaining to a protestant that the New Testament is a catholic book is by detailing how the New Testament came about. I challenge my protestant friends to read the history of the New Testament and the participation that the Catholic Church had in putting the New Testament together. The Holy Catholic Church under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave us the New Testament. I urge every Catholic brother to challenge a protestant friend to search the "How-it-came-about" of the Written Word of God in the N.T. I'll never forget the one-on-one I had with an evangelical minister over the N.T.; he finally finished accepting the historical position of Catholic scholars. Make no mistake about it... the N.T. is a Catholic book.! --macaronte
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