Getting Overwhelmed with this Discussion


#1

I’ve been having a friendly discussion through my blog with a Baptist blogger. At first the issues and topics were pretty basic (Catholics DO read the Bible, salvation not by works, traditions of man vs. God). Now we’re getting into deeper waters and I’m not sure the best way to proceed.

I pointed her toward several verses, one of the church councils, the catechism, and a Jimmy Akin article on one topic and she fired back asking if I removed the councils, catechism, and Akin would I still believe what I believe. I answered yes, and pointed out that a study of church history reveals that the early church was responsible for not only giving us the Bible, but passing on the faith before it was compiled and long after (before the common man had KJV to reference :rolleyes: ).

Her response and where I need some direction:

As you said, a study of Church history (which I’m assuming you mean the Catholic one) along with the scripture would probably lead one to the beliefs of the Catholics. However, I’m 100% convinced that the study of scripture alone…not church (any church ) history too…would never lead one to believe/practice some of the things so many denominations are a part of. I also know for a fact that I’m not the only one who is convinced of that…several readers already have testified of the same.

Please make sure your faith is placed solely in God and His Word…not church history/catechism too!! Think about the Mormons, JW’s and Mslms…each one of those beliefs have another book besides some Bible truths that they go by. Why? Because they wouldn’t be able to believe what they did believe without those books.

Now I can’t really fault her with the reference to JW or Mormons, but I’m not sure how to make her understand that the Bible really cannot be taken without the Church history surrounding it. To me they seem inextricably linked, but to her that’s obviosusly not the case.

[FONT=Arial]I don’t understand how she can reject the very history that gave her the Bible she prizes so much. It’s not “Catholic” history. It’s Christian history. The facts seem pretty clear. In addition, that the Bible was never meant to be the sole rule of faith. I guess it’s pointless if she truly thinks that Christianity is meant to be supported by the Bible alone-- which the Bible doesn’t even teach!

My faith IS based solely on God and His Word-- revealed through Scripture and Tradition!

All right, I’m rambling! Any help?
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#2

Remind her that plenty of what she would agree are heretics (e.g. people who deny the Trinity, or who deny the nature of Christ) have only the bible and no other book. So “bible alone” is no protection whatsoever from error.

Besides, she does have another book besides the bible. She has the Protestant truncated bible. That’s not the bible.


#3

I would ask in return:

If she woke up tomorrow and all Bibles, and all commentaries were gone…
Where would she go to learn more about the Lord?

Apparently, she is not aware that the Bible is the book of the Catholic Church.

Her “church” is only a faith community based on recent individual (mis)interpretations of our Bible.

A question that can and should be asked more often of our separated brethren is “What is your authority for that?”

When discussions lead to the authority issue… Catholics only will survive.

.


#4

I’m 100% convinced that the study of scripture alone…not church (any church ) history too…would never lead one to believe/practice some of the things so many denominations are a part of. I also know for a fact that I’m not the only one who is convinced of that…several readers already have testified of the same.

She’s awfully good at defeating herself.

Let’s look at what she said: " . . . the study of scripture alone. . . would never lead one to believe/practice some of the things so many denominations are a part of."

That’s one of the best refutations of sola scriptura I’ve ever read. Tell her she’s absolutely right. Then ask her why she, going by scripture alone, believes that the 27 books in the New Testament are the right books.

The fact is, she too is relying on extra-Biblical tradition.


#5

This is a good tack. If sola scriptura can’t even get the list of the books of the bible right, how can it possibly get the meaning of the books of the bible right?! :eek:


#6

All of the other posters have good points so hopefully I can add one to them. To properly understand the Sacred Scriptures one must have a FOUNDATION (key word) to build off of. That foundation should be composed of at least history and general dogmatic teachings.

If you want to go back and read the Old Testament you must have some history behind you and that is one of the reasons why I believe that there are so many historical books that are part of the ancient canon. There is so much emphasis on history in the Bible and it doesn’t take much to determine that it is the history which is the foundation for the teaching.

If you look in the New Testament, particulary the letters, it is obvious that the Apostles where writing to individuals who they believed already knew the teachings of the Church. They where written to firm up a specific community’s faith not create it. So the foundation was already there.

I guess what I am saying is that the Holy Bible was written for those who already believe, not for those who do not.


#7

Hi BasBleu,

At this point, she has relinquished every authority outside the Bible. She has,so to say, painted herself into a corner. What is her authority for believing in the Bible? What tells her it’s the word of God? She cannot use the Bible to prove the Bible. So?

You will find the Protestant arguments at probe.org/content/view/39/77/

Here is the Catholic position as stated by Catholic Answers.

catholic.com/library/What_Your_Authority.asp

Here is a debate on this subject in which Scott Hahn defends the Catholic position.

mindspring.com/~jdarcy/files/authorit.htm

Verbum


#8

Great answers so far.

The main issue here (and the one that all such discussions invariably come back to) is that of authority. Protestants such as her take it for granted that the Bible is the foundational rule of all Christian belief and practice. They find incomprehensible the fact that the practice of the Church preceded the close of the canon, making it impossible for the Bible to be the norm for Christian practice. Also, it is clear from the format of the Bible that it was not written as a catechism to address each and every instance a Christian might encounter but (especially when it comes to the NT) as a series of inspired letters, sermons, and historical accounts. The Bible **nowhere **claims this all-encompassing catechetical status (which is REALLY wierd if God wanted us to do so). The fact that there are tens of thousands of competing Protestant denominations all claiming to be able to interpret the Bible shows a terrible flaw in their logic. They simply don’t think about it.

Here is one more article that at least might help get your friend to question her pre-suppositions:

ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/PRACTICL.HTM


#9

Thank you for all the replies so far (keep them coming)! They are very helpful.

ERose, exactly. This is my thought too. I heard someone say recently that the Church gave us the Bible, not the other way around. Or something along those lines…


#10

I think what she is failing to see, is that the authority of scripture(the Bible alone) was impossible previous to 382ad, for there was no book called the Bible.

If she says that the scriptures still existed, you can tell her that the NT scriptures were not even brought together from all over the map to be be studied together until 197ad. The first book of the NT was not written until the late 40s a.d. what did they do for almost 15 years without thessalonians? The church led the people.
What did they do until 197ad, when they were just bringing the offered NT books for study to decide which were inspired and which were not? The Church led the people.
What did they do before 382ad when the canon of scripture was finally done? The Church led the people.

I believe God purposefully made this almost 400 year period without the Bible to show where His authority was found. It was found in the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth, The Church of the living God. 1 tim 3:15

And oddly enough, we know from the second book written by Paul, 2 thess 2:15 that it was the Sacred Tradition brought down by word of mouth and written epistle from the apostles, which the people held fast to.

The canonical list of inspired books of scripture do not appear in the pages of scripture and therefore the Bible is a book written, protected and decided by the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I would ask her to prove otherwise.

The real problem here is that she is looking from the wrong direction. She as a person living in the 21st century must first look at what the church taught in the beginning, before there was a Bible, and work her way forward to see what they taught and believed until 382ad, until 1054ad at the schism and before and until the reformation in 1521ad.

The drastic difference in teaching is seen from the entire first 1500 years, to the grotesquely different doctrine seen almost immediately after the mid 1500s. The advent(invention and beginning) of sola scriptura caused this strange and different theology and belief system called the Bible alone. The fruits of the Bible alone are chaos and division, as is made evident in only 500 years of the doctrine and over 30,000 denominational splits because of it.

Therefore one must not look from the reformers lens into scripture, but from the lens of the first 4 centuries of Christians living and teaching by the power of the Holy Spirit guiding them from the apostles forward and then work you way up to the reformation period. Then and only then can one see the drastic change in doctrine that occurred and one can see that this set of doctrines was brand new for the most part and never heard of before the reformers, ever.

I hope this helps.

peace to you, justin


#11

Her response and where I need some direction:

As you said, a study of Church history (which I’m assuming you mean the Catholic one) along with the scripture would probably lead one to the beliefs of the Catholics. However, I’m 100% convinced that the study of scripture alone…not church (any church ) history too…would never lead one to believe/practice some of the things so many denominations are a part of. I also know for a fact that I’m not the only one who is convinced of that…several readers already have testified of the same.

Simple… have her show you where the Bible concisely tells us that it is meant to be the sole authority for all that Christians believe. She can’t do so because it’s not there, though you can pretty well count on receiving a pile of scripture that 1. WON’T include this verse.2nd Timothy 2:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
and 2. WILL include a load of verses and passages that will display her mental and theological gymnastic ability as she seeks to make them support what they really do not. This will help. Sola Scriptura - The Bible Alone?

The other point to make here is simply…“What’s wrong with history?” Facts are facts regardless of source and these are from the authentic writings of the guys who were discipled by the apostles themselves. (The Didache, Polycarp, and Ignatius of Antioch.)

Please make sure your faith is placed solely in God and His Word…not church history/catechism too!!

I expected this and you should too. You’ll find that most n-Cs will make this statement and expect you to buy into it, but you never should because it’s unscriptural.

The fact is that Catholic faith is based on God and His word and the historically verifiable teachings of the early church which inform us as to what the apostles taught that scripture means. (The Eucharist is a prime example.)

Here again, you go back to “where is Sola Scriptura in the Bible?” Answer: It’s not…

Think about the Mormons, JW’s and Mslms…each one of those beliefs have another book besides some Bible truths that they go by. Why? Because they wouldn’t be able to believe what they did believe without those books.

Non-sequitur argument. Just because some errant religions have more than one sacred text does not invalidate those of true Christianity.

Notice that she obviously does not understand the function of the Catechism in our most holy faith since she seems to thing we consider it sacred like the Bible when in fact it is a concise teaching aid.

The errors of others do not carry over to the Catholic faith, regardless of what they consider sacred text. Catholics actually have only one sacred text…you guessed it: The Bible, all 73 books of it. :smiley:

(Cont’d)


#12

Now I can’t really fault her with the reference to JW or Mormons, but I’m not sure how to make her understand that the Bible really cannot be taken without the Church history surrounding it. To me they seem inextricably linked, but to her that’s obviously not the case.

This is because that is what she is taught. Having been a Baptist for a while, I know. Still… the horrible irony of it is the simple fact that the Bible Alone is NOT taught in the Bible. To her it is a sort of spiritual security blanket because although n-Cs give lip service to the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide the church into all truth, they really don’t display any faith that that happens because it’s just too mystical and amorphous for them. In fact we often point this out to them when we have to ask, "If your interpretation is correct and you claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, then what about the other main stream Christians who claim the very same thing and yet disagree with you while basing their teachings on the Bible? See the illogic and fundamental error there?

The truth is that what the JWs, Mormons, et all teach is actually irrelevant to Catholicism and we can and do support every teaching with the Word of God.

I don’t understand how she can reject the very history that gave her the Bible she prizes so much. It’s not “Catholic” history. It’s Christian history. The facts seem pretty clear.

Well said! You see one of the main reasons that we cannot accept a “Bible only” premise in faith sharing. The fact is that if you pin her down, she will prove that she cannot give you any realistic reason for her faith in the Bible she has. Ask her to show you where in the Bible it offers an inspired text that tells us what writings belong in it. It’s a can of worms that she dare not open.

In addition, that the Bible was never meant to be the sole rule of faith. I guess it’s pointless if she truly thinks that Christianity is meant to be supported by the Bible alone-- which the Bible doesn’t even teach!

Exactly!

My faith IS based solely on God and His Word-- revealed through Scripture and Tradition!

She’ll flip when you mention tradition, but point out to her that Baptists have them all over the place.

  1. Baptism by immersion only.
  2. 'Invitations"/altar calls.
  3. Wedding rings (actually pagan, but Christianized)
  4. Sinner’s prayers that are nothing like the ones actually found in the New Testament.

…just to name a few.


#13

Her main error appears here:

“Please make sure your faith is placed solely in God and His Word…”

Her error is her assumption that “God’s word” consists solely of the Bible. Scripture itself disagrees.

"We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers,” 1 Thes. 2:13

Catholics believe this. We consider God’s word to consist of two things: (1) Scripture, and (2) the preaching of the Apostles, which we call Apostolic Tradition or Sacred Tradition. 1 Thes. 2:13 states very plainly that the preaching of the Apostles was God’s word, not man’s word.

Therefore, my reply to her would be to suggest that she place her faith solely in God’s word, which is both the Bible AND Apostolic Tradition.


#14

This is the best scriptural argument against “Scripture Alone” I’ve witnessed.

scripturecatholic.com/scripture_alone.html#scripture-II

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#15

Point out some of the ridiculous (by our standards) new testament canons suggested even in the 3rd century, that include books like Shepherd of Hermas and 1 Clement over books now included and point out that the 27 book NT canon was only fixed when Rome stepped in (and also point out that 1 Clement and Shepherd of Hermas support apostolic succession and papal primacy and so would benefit Rome to include them had the decision been for worldly reasons).

Yesterday my housemate was trying to shove his heresies down my throat and everytime I made a sensible comment he started shouting and screaming and mentioning his theology degree and saying everything must be based on his 66 book canon. Especially when I asked where his NT canon came from he said history and I asked if that meant tradition :wink: . Also when told that it was up to each person to interpret the Bible I said I’ll interpret it Catholic then

Some evangelicals are open to sensible discussion but talking to some is like banging your head against a brick wall.


#16

google.com/search?hl=en&q=No+creed+but+the+Bible+Restoration+Movement

The battle cry of the Christian Connection, Adventist movement and Restoration Movement was something like “No Creed but the Bible”

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3204701


#17

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3204701

Hi investigate this thread. A group of boston unitarians called the Christian Connection held to the creed, “no creed but the bible”. They directly or indirectly influnced modern arianism in the Restoration Movement ( barton stone ), Seventh Day Adventism ( Uriah Smith, James White ), International Bible Students ( Charles Taze Russell ) which became the Jehovah’s Witnesses and even King James Onlyism ( Wilkinson Ben ). By the way, Mormonism is part of the Restoration Movement. So, you can make an argument by its fruit. Besides, the average christian did not even have a bible to read until well after the printing press.


#18

and the muslims.

how could you, for they have already taken the bible without church history. :smiley:

to each his/her own. just agree to disagree with her, and keep your friendship. :slight_smile:

hey try persuading some muslims instead. they need rome more than her.


#19

Ask her how the NT came to be. Most Protestants don’t know the Bible is a Catholic book.

Ask here where in the Bible it says “sola Scriptura”.

Ask her why the Apostle Paul puts oral Traditions on par with written (2 Thess. 2:15).

Ask her what it means to be the “pillar and bulwark of the truth”, (I Tim 3:15) and why this is said about the Church, instead of the Bible.

Ask where the word Trinity is found in the Bible, and why she believes it.

Ask her why she honors the Sabbath on Sunday, instead of Saturday, since God never changed the Sabbath day.


#20

Scripture without Tradition is Christianity with amnesia: there is no context by which to understand it.

You can’t read Scripture in a vaccuum. In some manner or another, we ALL approach Scripture with some set of preconceived ideas. We are all formed to some degree by our environment, and this has an often unseen impact on the way we interpret Scripture.

The real question is, do you want your preconceptions shaped by the Holy Spirit and the Church Christ established or not? :smiley:


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