I found this on the internet and it seems to embody some of the classic “sola scriptura” arguments against our Church and Catholic practices. How would anyone respond to this? These are the types of arguments I am often confronted with when defending our Catholic faith.
See Below…I would be interested in comments on this…
Wayne Greeson and Bill Rutland
Debate On The Catholic Church
Wayne Greeson, a preacher for the church of Christ, hosted a Bible call-in radio program called Searching Daily four days a week in Northwest Arkansas. Bill Rutland, was the Education Director for the St. Vincent De Paul parish of the Roman Catholic church located in Rogers, Arkansas.
Mark of the True Church & Catholic Traditions
Rutland began his argument in support of Catholic tradition by arguing that Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 gave unity as the identifying mark of the one true church. In the course of the discussion he explained that the Catholic church had unity identifying it as the one true church in contrast to 30,000 Protestant churches which follow the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.
Catholic apologists like this argument and make it often. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a Latin term which simply means “the Scriptures only” are to be our authority. This is in contrast to Rutland’s proposition which adds Roman Catholic Church tradition as an authority in addition to the Scriptures. Rutland used the Protestant “Westminster Confession of Faith” to define Sola Scriptura. Greeson took great exception to the use of a man made statement and said that it was no more authoritative than the Catholic traditions Rutland followed.
Greeson responded to Rutland’s unity argument by arguing that the Catholic Church could not be the one true church regardless of whether it was unified because its traditions were contrary to the Scriptures. These traditions originated from men not from God and therefore are condemned by Jesus in Matthew 15 and Mark 7.
Rutland argued that there was a difference between “apostolic tradition” and “ecclesiastical tradition.” Rutland used several passages to suggest that the apostles gave oral tradition outside of and in addition to the Scriptures. On the other hand Greeson argued that all apostolic tradition necessary for truth and to receive salvation was found written in the Scriptures (Eph. 3:4-5) and all other traditions, whatever they were called, were from men and thus condemned by the Lord.
Matthew 16—Did Jesus Build His Church Upon Peter?
Matthew 16 and Jesus’ promise to build his church upon “this rock” is a favorite proof-text for Catholics and it was discussed extensively. Rutland argued that when Jesus stated to Peter “you are the rock and it is upon this rock” he was not speaking of himself or some confession Peter made, but of Peter. Rutland supported his argument by quoting from several Protestant commentators and claiming this was the position of most Bible scholars.
Greeson responded by pointing out that Peter could not be the rock Jesus promised to build his church upon because two different words are used. Peter is masculine from Petros and refers to a small stone, such as what one would hold in their hands. Whereas, “upon this rock” is a different word. It is the feminine form of the word, which is petra, and it refers to a large foundation. The Scriptures state that “there is no other foundation other than that which is laid, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).
Rutland made two arguments in answer. First, he argued that Jesus spoke in Aramaic and that there was no difference in Peter and “this rock” in that language. Second, he argued that the difference in the Greek was not “theologically significant.”
Greeson pointed out that Aramaic did contain masculine and feminine forms of the term for “rock.” Further, since the Holy Spirit gave Matthew two different words that it certainly was significant. Greeson clearly demonstrated the significance of the difference in English using the sentence, “Thou art Mr. Rock and upon Mrs. Rock I will build my church.”
Rutland also argued that Jesus giving the keys to Peter was a reference to Isaiah 22:15-24. He suggested that Peter’s authority was demonstrated in Acts 2 by telling the disciples one had to be chosen to take Judas’ office.
Greeson went to the early church fathers and demonstrated that there was no “unanimous consent” that Jesus built the church on Peter but that many of them stated otherwise.