I read a non catholic defend Sola Scriptura by
saying that there is no evidence that 2 Thess 2:14-15
and 1 Cor 11:2 traditions are not written already in
the scripture. She claims all tradition are in the Bible.
hence we only need scripture.
and that the canon of the Bible was already a
common knowledge by 3rd century by Athanasius.
(i) that her assertion is complete speculation (how does she know that all the traditions referred to are written in the Bible - the traditions aren’t identified);
(ii) nowhere does the Bible itself say that scripture “alone” is authority (which is quite ironic since they claim they rely on “scripture alone” but scripture alone doesn’t state this);
(iii) the scriptures themselves do not identify which books make up the cannon - so “by definition” it took extra-scriptural authority (tradition) to define what the cannon is (its a fact, the scriptures themselves don’t define which books are in and which books are out); and
(iv) if scripture alone is sufficient then (x) why do most protestant denominations have catechisms (e.g, the westminster catechism) of statements of faith - the Bible alone should speak for itself unambiguosly and why are there so many different protestant interpretations of the same verses? (rhetorical question - because you need tradition to understand the historcal context and original meaning of the verses).
She further claimed that since scripture is the Word of God She knows what books are inspired and she does not need any authority. that all we need is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
As an ex. She told her readers that Christ use
Scripture in his temptation in the desert not traditions. and that the Catholic Church could not produce a bunch of written doc. stating the Holy
Scriptures they correctly interpreted.
I don’t follow the first point - yes the Holy Spirit moved the Church to define the cannon, but the list of books is not in the Bible itself so by definition, she is relying on an extrabiblical source (the Holy Spirit) to define scripture. All Tradition is guided by the Holy Spirit - so her argument is circular.
Protestants like to say that they are guided by the Holy Spirit and don’t need tradition, but the consequence of that has been the splintering of the early reformation protestants into over 30,000 denominations, each preaching different doctrines but each claiming truth because guided by the Holy Spirit!
My arguement would be that if we have the canon of Scripture which we all believe to be infallable, then we also need an infallable interpretation of it because it does not interpret itself or we would not have thousands of different interpretations of it by all these different non-catholic groups who claim that the Spirit guided them to their beliefs.
She was correct about Athanasius and the canon to a degree, but her point would only be solid if the canon was defined by Jesus or the Apostles themselves and not by the Catholic Church throughout the 3rd and 4th centuries. But then again even if Jesus or the Apostles had defined it you would still need an infallable interpreter of the Bible that spoke universally and not subjectively.