NonCatholics: Are you able to know it's Scripture from reading a text?

So in a discussion with a NonCatholic poster on another thread, I posed the above question, and this poster said:

I’d like to know if other NonCatholics believe this, also?

If so, how do you know? What would tell you if something is theopneustos (inspired) or not?

And does that mean that you are required/obligated to read through all of the ancient texts to determine whether they are inspired or not?

And does that mean that if you personally determine that Manuscript A is theopneustos (and it’s not in the Bible) that you could still believe it’s the Word of God?

And if you personally determine that New Testament Book X is NOT inspired, you could reject it and everything that’s in Book X?

Of course, I believe as a Catholic that the answer to the above is a resounding “NO!” You can’t know something is Scripture from reading it! That’s actually absurd.

But that means that everyone who reads their Bible, and believes that it’s theopneustos, defers to the authority of the Catholic Church to tell them what’s inspired. They believe the CC got it right…(at least, as far as the 27 book canon of the NT).

Thoughts?

Thanks for your post PRmerger…

The scriptures I believe are there for us to read and cogitate… Yes… If you really want to plumb their depths you need to dedicate yourself to study … All of us are learning and exploring…

To me it’s appropriate for people to say somethinig like this…

I’ve read so and so and my personal view is thus and so…

in other words keep a humble attitude when discussing scriptures…

You can cite whoever you accept as authority…

As for studying the Gospels…for myself… the work of George Lamsa was important as he opened the window of Aramaic and Syriac studies in learning more about the idiom and meaning of the words.

Baha’is accept that the Gospels are inspired but generally we do not interpret them literally…word for word… We accept there can be layers of meaning and signicance to the verses.

We also have our own revealed Writings and defer to them… and allow for personal views as well.

  • Art

=PRmerger;13135173]…

So in a discussion with a NonCatholic poster on another thread, I posed the above question, and this poster said:

[quote] Originally Posted by Protestor
Yes I believe it is possible to know from reading.

I’d like to know if other NonCatholics believe this, also?

If so, how do you know? What would tell you if something is theopneustos (inspired) or not?

And does that mean that you are required/obligated to read through all of the ancient texts to determine whether they are inspired or not?

And does that mean that if you personally determine that Manuscript A is theopneustos (and it’s not in the Bible) that you could still believe it’s the Word of God?

And if you personally determine that New Testament Book X is NOT inspired, you could reject it and everything that’s in Book X?

Of course, I believe as a Catholic that the answer to the above is a resounding “NO!” You can’t know something is Scripture from reading it! That’s actually absurd.

But that means that everyone who reads their Bible, and believes that it’s theopneustos, defers to the authority of the Catholic Church to tell them what’s inspired. They believe the CC got it right…(at least, as far as the 27 book canon of the NT).

Thoughts?
[/quote]

I do not. I trust that the early Church had those discussions, and that within the narrow range of disagreement that they expressed in their writings, we can trust the Church in this way.
Lutherans, Catholics, Orthodox, and others may have differing views about a small list of those books, or how to use books that have a history of dispute, but the fact is I would not know, simply by reading, based on my own knowledge or insight. For example, I love the Prayer of Manasseh. It is a wonderful book, particularly during Lent. It certainly could be theopneustos. Luther thought enough of it to include it in his translation. But western tradition does not consider it theopneustos. I love the book, and trust the Church.

Jon

well I see where you are going with this question. It is a setup to establish Catholic Authority over the Canon of Scrptures as codified and translated by St. Jerome. The protestant arguement is not so much over the Canon, as it is over the Apocrypha and its inclusion in the OT. When Tyndale and Coverdale translated the bible in the 1500’s they kept the apocryphal books. As did the early Anglican and Lutheran translation. Even the original KJV had it. But as protestants continued to evolve it was dropped. To be fair, some of the early church fathers questioned some of the apocryphal books as well as some NT writtings which did not make the cut.
It is a valid arguement that the authority over sacred writtings belongs to the Church, just as the magesterium has over revelation and tradition, doctrine and discipline.
But many protestant bible scholars have no issues with the canon and the early church fathers. Their disputes come later, after Constantine and the establishment of the Church as an entity with Roman, and Constantinople rule. And trust me, there are many very knowledgeable biblical scholars in protestant seminaries. Men who have spent a lifetime studying in hebrew, aramaic, Greek and latin. When the Scriptures are the source of your faith formation, you spend allot of time in study.
Any time you start into a discussion with protestants over Church authority it is going to become very complicated. One must understand that their are generations of individuals raised in protestant denominations who know no other tradition other than their own. And just as cradle Catholics point to their Church as being the true Church, you will find many protestant denominations who do the same. The roots of the reformation are easily studied, and in some cases easily refuted, but 500 years after the fact, it becomes complicated.

I find this such a peculiar way to look at things.

It calls to mind the little anthem “When I submit only when I agree then the one to whom I submit, really is me”.

IOW, arthra, it seems that you are the supreme authority regarding the Word of God?

Am I correct in this conclusion?

But this prompts the question, Jon, as to how you know when the Church gets it right and when you may disagree with her.

I know we’ve had this discussion before, and forgive me for bringing it up again, but I am still uncertain as to your position: are members of your communion free to tell your leaders, “You are wrong about Doctrines A, B and C, and if you do not correct your teachings, I must disengage myself from your authority”?

Yes.

as codified and translated by St. Jerome

Um…no. St. Jerome had no authority to “codify” the canon of Scripture.

The protestant arguement is not so much over the Canon, as it is over the Apocrypha and its inclusion in the OT

Well, there is no such thing as a “Protestant argument”, since Protestantism is a behemoth of differing positions.

But this does acknowledge that any Protestant who accepts the 27 book canon of the NT either claims for himself the right to decide what belongs in the Bible, OR…MUST accept the authority of the Cc.

Incidentally, the use of the term “apocrypha” is incorrect. The correct term is “Deuterocanon”.

Then they are deferring to the authority of the CC on the canon of the NT.

And trust me, there are many very knowledgeable biblical scholars in protestant seminaries. Men who have spent a lifetime studying in hebrew, aramaic, Greek and latin.

No doubt.

Any time you start into a discussion with protestants over Church authority it is going to become very complicated. One must understand that their are generations of individuals raised in protestant denominations who know no other tradition other than their own.

So what we must do as Catholic is help them connect the dots.

=PRmerger;13135453]But this prompts the question, Jon, as to how you know when the Church gets it right and when you may disagree with her.

Sometimes it depends on the nature of the dispute, but on doctrine, I look to the Church for guidance. That guidance is significant: the early councils, the three creeds, and for Lutherans, the confessions.

I know we’ve had this discussion before, and forgive me for bringing it up again, but I am still uncertain as to your position: are members of your communion free to tell your leaders, “You are wrong about Doctrines A, B and C, and if you do not correct your teachings, I must disengage myself from your authority”?

It depends on what you mean by free. Am I, or you, free to leave the communion we are in? Yes. Of course. There are lots of ex-Lutherans, and probably many more ex-Catholics. From a Lutheran perspective, if you disagree with Lutheran teaching, you simply aren’t Lutheran anymore, other than perhaps in name.

Jon

Jon stated it well for me. I would not know by just reading the books - I have to trust the Early Church Fathers who studied them and developed a canon including them. I have not read the Apocryphal books yet but plan to in the near future.

Blessings,

Rita

Following up, I think its safe to say that there are entire Lutheran groups that really aren’t Lutheran anymore, other than in name. For example, if I say to a Lutheran, “orthodox Lutheranism does not teach female ordination.” If they say, no, female ordination is OK, they’re probably not orthodox Lutherans anymore.
Same with Catholics. There are entire groups of Catholics who reject the idea of papal infallibility. Are they still Catholic?

Jon

I followed the link you thoughtfully provided and you didn’t actually ask that question, your question was “Are you saying that you’d be able to tell, by reading, if it’s theopneustos?”.

Well, long Greek words confuse this simple Baptist, so I looked it up in Strong’s, which says:

theopneustos: God-breathed, i.e. inspired by God
Original Word: θεόπνευστος, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: theopneustos
Phonetic Spelling: (theh-op’-nyoo-stos)
Short Definition: God-breathed, inspired by God
Definition: God-breathed, inspired by God, due to the inspiration of God.

I’d have thought anyone well-versed in scripture would be able to make a estimation of whether something is God-breathed. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

Along the lines of an example usage of θεόπνευστος: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” - 2 Tim 3 NIV

PS: I was just wandering around filling-in time while waiting for something, and reserve the right not to get further involved :onpatrol:.

Based on this, how do I know, then, whether or not the Prayer of Manasseh is or is not God-breathed.
Prayer of Manasseh

Ascription of Praise

O Lord Almighty,
God of our ancestors,
of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
and of their righteous offspring;
you who made heaven and earth
with all their order;
who shackled the sea by your word of command,
who confined the deep
and sealed it with your terrible and glorious name;
at whom all things shudder,
and tremble before your power,
for your glorious splendor cannot be borne,
and the wrath of your threat to sinners is unendurable;
yet immeasurable and unsearchable
is your promised mercy,
for you are the Lord Most High,
of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful,
and you relent at human suffering.
O Lord, according to your great goodness
you have promised repentance and forgiveness
to those who have sinned against you,
and in the multitude of your mercies
you have appointed repentance for sinners,
so that they may be saved.
Therefore you, O Lord, God of the righteous,
have not appointed repentance for the righteous,
for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you,
but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.

Confession of Sins

For the sins I have committed are more in number than the sand of the sea;
my transgressions are multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied!
I am not worthy to look up and see the height of heaven
because of the multitude of my iniquities.
I am weighted down with many an iron fetter,
so that I am rejected because of my sins,
and I have no relief;
for I have provoked your wrath
and have done what is evil in your sight,
setting up abominations and multiplying offenses.

Supplication for Pardon

And now I bend the knee of my heart,
imploring you for your kindness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,
and I acknowledge my transgressions.
I earnestly implore you,
forgive me, O Lord, forgive me!
Do not destroy me with my transgressions!
Do not be angry with me forever or store up evil for me;
do not condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,
and in me you will manifest your goodness;
for, unworthy as I am, you will save me according to your great mercy,
and I will praise you continually all the days of my life.
For all the host of heaven sings your praise,
and yours is the glory forever.
Amen.

Jon

Then, of course, you know that I am going to ask how Fr. Luther was able to do what you are saying you cannot do?

Then, dear Rita, it would be correct to assume that you believe in the charism of infallibility.

That is, at least as far as the canon of the NT is concerned.

For unless you believe the CC/ECFs got it wrong when they met to discern the canon, you believe that the HS guided them to the correct 27 books, right?

You are correct, Jon.

Yes, it’s the same question, inocente.

Theopneustos = Scripture.

I’d have thought anyone well-versed in scripture would be able to make a estimation of whether something is God-breathed. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

Well, first you have to accept what the CC declared IS Scripture.

You read it, study it, as provided by the CC, and then you can know if something is theopneustos.

But the point remains, you accept what the CC discerned…

at least as far as the 27 book canon of the NT is concerned.

And I will respond with a question about how the patriarchate of Rome was able to do what I am saying not to do, as well (keeping in mind that I am as much a western Christian as you) around the 11th century.

I have often said here that there are about three contingencies within which I would transfer my membership.

  1. If our communions reconciled.
  2. If there were full communion / reconciliation between Rome and EO.
  3. If Lutheranism were to turn away from the doctrines that, a) make it part of the Universal Church, and/or b), turn away from the doctrines that mark the Lutheran tradition within said Universal Church.

Making a move such as #3 is not one should make with haste, and it should be done with full knowledge of both what one is leaving behind, and what one is going to. It should be done out of conscience, and not pride.

In another thread, Rob Koon’s idea in A Lutheran’s Case for Roman Catholicism was brought up. In it, he says:

The strongest case for the Reformation can be made along these lines: that the Roman Church at the time of Luther failed to maintain a proper sense of proportion (between, say, hell and purgatory, or temporal and eternal penalties) and failed to express clearly the intimate connection between Christ’s righteousness and our justification. In particular, the teaching of the Church at that time, and even in the Council of Trent, could be understood as implying that all Christ accomplished for us was to supply us with
the tools (spiritual helps and blessings) that we would need to obtain for ourselves
an autonomous state of inherent righteousness that could, all by itself and apart
from any relation to Christ and his righteousness, win for us God’s favor and
acceptance. Moreover, it was easy to confuse our “meriting” God’s grace with our
earning God’s acceptance, putting God himself under an obligation to reward us.
Finally, on overemphasis on satisfaction, temporal penalties and purgatory tended
to obscure the good news of Christ’s victory for us over sin, death, hell and God’s
wrath.
However, to the extent that the justification for separation and protest is made
along these lines, Lutherans must be willing with each new generation to
reconsider the rationale for continued separation in light of the current state of the
proclamation of the Gospel by the Roman Catholic Church
.

I agree with the part I bolded, though I don’t entirely agree with his total reasoning, in that for me being in communion with the Bishop of Rome means I have to accept that he is what he claims; the Vicar of Christ on Earth, infallible ex cathedra, and having universal jurisdiction over all of the Church on Earth.

So, as you can see, it is not a matter of church-hopping, derisively and disrespectfully referred to by some as part of protestantism. It is a much deeper thought process.

Jon

I think the problem in this approach, PR, is the idea that if one accepts the CC’s discernment, then one should accept all of its discernment. A couple of flaws:

  1. the assumption that we can’t agree on some things, but disagree on others.
    As an example: all Christians, by definition, accept the early council’s teaching on the Trinity, on the Incarnation. Most agree on the nature and Person of Christ.
    Some might not say they accept the councils themselves, the teachings are there.

  2. That the discernment of the early Church is the same, necessarily, as the discernment of the post-Schism Catholic Church. Most non-Catholics will dispute that the authority of the early Church arrives unscathed in Rome following the Schism.

All of the early Church agreed on the 27 books of the NT. As I said in my first post, there is a range of disagreement within the early Church about a small number of books. That all Christians today essentially agree on the 27 book NT may be the best example of the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

Jon

The nother thing a Catholic needs to do is discuss “charism of infallibility”. This is not usually in the nomenclature of non-Catholics. Many will read this and hear - “the pope is infallible”, which we will reject out of hand.
Being right about even a lot of things does not mean infallible.

Jon

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