A dialogue with a sola scriptura Guy


#1

I’m chatting with a guy i met in one of catholic answers forums in facebook and I asked him this:

just curious, if you believe in sola scriptura, how do you settle disputes among differing interpretation of a passage?

Then he goes on to reply this:

Your assuming problems must yield negative or produce negative results. An Example from scripture in which this is not the case= Genesis 50:20… God’s intent is good though man’s is evil… or a historical example = the response to Marcions truncation of Scripture.

I do certainly agree there are poor hermeneutics applied to scripture among many, MANY evangelicals but doctrine among churches that actually take their authority from the word (which are few) is not affected. If you would say then “well if they differ at all thats proof of is invalidity…”. We know that can’t be as well… if there are thousands of variant manuscript NT books written before a Vulgate, Eds. of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, the “TR”, et al would be in perpetual “dispute” as well. My point here is that “dispute”, even as history has shown, has encouraged reform or clarification/solidification of already held doctrines (a recent example here in the states is the Nashville Statement) on the subject in dispute… the example I gave prior was Arius and the council of Nicea… here again we see the church meeting for why? Not because they came to, on a whim, decide what proper Christian doctrine was… but actually a response to the heresy of that time. This point is important because these men did not suddenly decide what should be included in the canon. That’s wasn’t the problem in the first place. In other words, everyone knew scripture taught Christ is God… they came there to solidify teachings on the trinity.

And I have heard many Catholics use the argument “well see! They have no authoritative body so that’s why there are so many denominations and they are so divided!” And then I get that 30000 denominations figure thrown at me. Nope. that number is straight up lie. It’s a dishonest attempt to simply justify a position. That number is indeed high but includes groups that even remotely mention Christ in their doctrine… ie, gnostic groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons… heck, even Catholic groups are included in that number.

So yeah. The exhortation to disputes then is a biblical one.

2 Corinthians 13:5 NASBS

1 John 4:1 NASBS

Hebrews 5:14 NASBS

Romans 12:2 NASBS

In scripture it is very clear the God doesn’t just “appoint” an answer to be fed to His sheep… He expects diligent study of His words so that His people may use wisdom and discernment to detect error.

James 1:5 NASBS

So the exhortation to accurately use it… as not all do I admit.

2 Timothy 2:15 NASBS

I suppose if I put it bluntly… depending on one authority body or council other than scripture to rule on a dispute… instead of being a Berean and searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11)
… is laziness, irresponsible, and dangerous… it makes one susceptible to false teaching and error

your thoughts? Thank you in advance


#2

I did not include the verses due to limited characters in the body of the post.


#3

My biggest problem with sola scriptura (as an ex Lutheran current Catholic) is that nobody can ever give a hard date as to when the Catholic church became the heretics. The only church that even holds a candle are the Orthodox Churches who still agree on many major points. In that same light, everytime someone uses sola scriptura to justify a doctorine without a body agreeing a new faith is born. Who can then say that they are right. Luther hates 95 things with church, Lutheranism comes into existance and a few books are removed. A king disagrees with the pope and uses his version of the church and bible, and suddenly we have Anglicans. And thus the trees expand farther out as each justifies its own doctrine with new translations and understanding of biblical verses. For me that was enough to go wait, without tradition what holds the Bible accountable to how Jesus and apostles would have understood it and meant it for the early church. That is why I converted, sola scriptura is in the eye of the beholder without anything to curb it.


#4

DM-P.―There’s another thread on Sola scriptura which you might like to take a look at.


#5

The bigger part of the Christian population for centuries didn’t have the luxury of being arm-chair theologians or good little Bereans, because they were illiterate! Arianism virtually took over the Christian world at one time-and how did Arius, as well as JWs later, defend their non-Trinitarian beliefs? With Scripture, of course. Sola Scriptura makes doctrine-making a matter of best-guess theology.

But in the eastern and western ancient churches beliefs regarding the Real Presence, the necessity of baptism for regeneration, infant baptism, the role of man’s will in salvation, etc, were settled from the beginning-because they were based on the lived experience of the church, the church that received and proclaimed the gospel before a word of the New Testament was written. But these and other relevant matters are still hotly debated by SS adherents to this day!


#6

why is a date so important?
As a former Lutheran now continuing Anglican, I don’t recall the term heretic used in the confessions, but they are specific in the CA as to what teachings they consider heterodox.

As a former Lutheran, you probably know that this is not a proper use of Sola Scriptura.

As a former Lutheran, I’m sure you are aware that Luther’s translation has 74 books, and the confessions do not state a 66 book canon.


#7

Depends on who you mean. Lutherans do not hotly debate the real presence or baptismal regeneration. They are doctrine.


#8

Exactly. Lutheranism is a main stream Protestant church which has always taught Baptismal regeneration, the Real Presence and infant baptism. Whenever you have arguments on these doctrines you can bet you are discussing these things with an Evangelical, non-denom, or Baptist (or variations.) I always like to be very specific about these doctrines, as in my view, disbelief is not Christian. I hold them as CENTRAL to Christianity.


#9

I agree entirely


#10

I would ask him to show, from scripture alone, where Jesus taught bible alone.


#11

This is my favorite question.

In order for Bible alone to be valid, the Bible must teach that it alone should be the source of revelation. It clearly doesn’t, given that it didn’t exist for 300+ years, meaning that Sola Scriptura cannot possibly be true.


#12

That may work, if he is using a faulty approach that disregards the scriptural ascribing of the teaching role to the Church.


#13

That’s not the point tho. If I go on to a non-Catholic Christian forum, people of various Christian stripes, strictly because they use Scripture as their norm, debate each other on these and other issues all day long. EO & RC can jump in, and use Scripture as well, but the basis for their doctrine is not Scripture to begin with such that Tradition, a living legacy so to speak which was secured at the beginnings of the faith, serves to inform their doctrine. So what happens, for example, is that a doctrine such as the Real Presence which can be argued for or against quite plausibly going by Scripture alone, becomes easily up for grabs on that basis. Sola Scriptura is simply untenable in the end.


#14

Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Only The Catholic Church has the sole right to interpret the scriptures and to correct errors Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd (Pope and his Successors) the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 2 Timothy 3: 13 But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

John 21:25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.

Finally Catholicism is not a “Sola scriptura” religion. We claim the Bible and an oral tradition dating back to Jesus himself. This “faith of our fathers” has been passed down and preserved from the apostles unto the current times.


#15

How many study Scripture their whole lives?
Yet, still they disagree on rather big points.
Why? Because Sola Scriptura is not how Scripture should be used.


#16

Hi, you said:

That’s why we frequently say that Catholics become Protestant and then return. Take, for example, Jeff Cavins. Former Catholic, turned Protestant and returned to the Catholic Church with a wealth of knowledge that he might not have received if he had simply remained a Catholic.

or a historical example = the response to Marcions truncation of Scripture.

Actually, this is an example of why Sacred Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium are so important. Without the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition, Maricionism would remain alive to this day. Sacred Tradition was used as the form to which Marcion’s interpretation of Scripture was compared by the AUTHORITY which was recognized by both parties. This could not have been resolved by Scripture alone because neither party would have given in to the other’s opinions.

I do certainly agree there are poor hermeneutics applied to scripture among many, MANY evangelicals

Among all evangelicals. The only proper hermeneutic is the Deposit of Faith handed on by Jesus Christ. Otherwise known as Sacred Tradition and which all evangelicals reject.

but doctrine among churches that actually take their authority from the word (which are few) is not affected. If you would say then “well if they differ at all thats proof of is invalidity…”.

Correct.

We know that can’t be as well… if there are thousands of variant manuscript NT books written before a Vulgate, Eds. of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, the “TR”, et al would be in perpetual “dispute” as well.

Outside the Catholic Church, they are in perpetual dispute. How many Protestants want to be rid of the Johanine Comma, for example? How many want to be rid of Mark’s longer ending? There are tons of disputes, outside of Catholicism, about the NT books.

My point here is that “dispute”, even as history has shown, has encouraged reform or clarification/solidification of already held doctrines …

Previously, you mentioned Marcion. But Arius is an even clearer example of the established use of the Three Legged Stool to judge whether a teaching is heretical. Arius’ teaching was judged by the Church by comparing his interpretation of Scripture to the Traditions held by the Church. Again, if Scripture alone had been used, there could have been no decision. It would have been a stalemate, since one man’s opinion is as good as another.

Note also that the doctrine of Scripture alone can’t be found in Scripture. But the practice of bringing disputes to the authority of the Church is found in Matt 18:17.

cont’d


#17

cont’d

… In other words, everyone knew scripture taught Christ is God… they came there to solidify teachings on the trinity.

Exactly! Because they knew that the authority to interpret the Word of God is vested in the Church. Otherwise, why convene? Just let everyone read the Scripture and make up their own mind.

…And then I get that 30000 denominations figure thrown at me. Nope. that number is straight up lie. It’s a dishonest attempt to simply justify a position.

Uh, if it’s a straight up lie, it’s a Protestant lie. Since the source of that data is David B. Barrett a Protestant. As of 2005, the number was up to 45000. I think Protestants have shut down Mr. Barrett, though. Apparently, this number is no longer something to be bragged about.

That number is indeed high but includes groups that even remotely mention Christ in their doctrine… ie, gnostic groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons… heck, even Catholic groups are included in that number.

That does nothing to alleviate the fact that Protestants divided the Body of Christ into fragments.

So yeah. The exhortation to disputes then is a biblical one.

On the contrary, you’re merely selecting your cherries knowing full well that the Scriptures Teach that there must only be one doctrine.

2 Corinthians 11:4For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

In scripture it is very clear the God doesn’t just “appoint” an answer to be fed to His sheep…

That’s exactly what God has done:

Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you [a]keep away from every brother who [b]leads an [c]unruly life and not according to the tradition which [d]you received from us.

He expects diligent study of His words so that His people may use wisdom and discernment to detect error.

True. By comparing to the Teaching which He passed down through the Church:

Phil 1:27

So the exhortation to accurately use it… as not all do I admit.

But who are you to judge? You don’t use it accurately either, as this message is proof.

I suppose if I put it bluntly… depending on one authority body or council other than scripture to rule on a dispute… instead of being a Berean and searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11)
… is laziness, irresponsible, and dangerous… it makes one susceptible to false teaching and error

On the contrary, the Bereans used the Three Legged Stool. They did not use the lazy, irresponsible and dangerous method of Scripture alone. They listened to the Tradition, passed down by the Christian Church and compared it to the Scriptures. They did not go by Scripture alone and decide for themselves what to believe. If they had, they would have remained Jewish. Because they only had access to the Old Testament. Unless the Apostles had taught them where to find the answer, they would have not found it.

your thoughts? Thank you in advance

I hope that helps.


#18

So, in the CA, Catholic Teaching is considered heterodox?

Can you give an example?

As a former Lutheran, you probably know that this is not a proper use of Sola Scriptura.

Then why is it called “sola” Scriptura?

As a former Lutheran, I’m sure you are aware that Luther’s translation has 74 books, and the confessions do not state a 66 book canon.

I’m sure you’re also aware that Luther denied the inspiration of 7 of those books.


#19

I would ask him what people relied on for Truth before the Bible was put together, which was several hundred years after the death of Jesus.

I would also ask him how the early Christians disputed heresy without Scripture readily available.


#20

Ishould have probably split that into pretext with 2 sentences. Eventually books were removed. I see how that could look very misleading the way I typed it. I should have said now a few books have been removed. Atleast in the LCMS several books are gone completely.

As for your question about the date, it is quite important. A hard date for the day the church went astray and left the way would give creedence to whatever the first church who broke of was (assuming the argument that sola scriptura was the supreme authority in the early church and that it was the reason said group broke away). Not so much for arguing with an Anglican or (conservative) Lutheran. But in terms of trail of blood baptists, latter day saints, jehovahs witteness, and few other non denominational doctrines who believe either the church became heretical or that the church was actually carried on in secret via another route to avoid Catholic lies. If they could give a date or even an estimate it would give atleast a touch of realism to the argument and allow for counterpoints. A big one in my old line of work with baptist leaning protestants was the belief that the Catholic church is the whore of Babylon that it has always supressed true teachings of the church since Nicea.

And I agree with your comment on it not being the proper use of sola scriptura, especially as an ex Lutheran. But it is amazing what people can find for themselves under assumed scriptural authority via how they feel about a passage. It leads the theologies like once saved always saved or Sermon on the Mount christianity which disreguards the whole other sections of the bible.


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