It strikes me that sometimes ‘Sacred Scripture’ can turn into a kind of idol. The “Word of God”, is, in fact, Jesus Christ (who is made present through the Catholic Church) not a compilation of ancient Hebrew and Greek texts…
It strikes me that whereas Islam and Judaism are ‘religions of the book’, it is more correct to consider Christianity a ‘religion of the Church’- since it is what the Church teaches, not what Scripture says, which is the authority…Sure, the Church uses Scripture liturgically and as material for meditation- but it is free to do so how it wishes, since it is the Church which authorizes the Scriptures, not the Scriptures which authorize the Church…
I am fond of saying “the Bible says”, but only because I recognise that authority comes from God, as the Scriptures were written by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, do I think the Bible can be come an idol? Sure I do. Anything can become an idol.
I’ve been on forums where the bibliolatry was palpable. There are not just a few in the fundie protestant circles who absolutely worship the Bible. By their behavior you would gather that they wouldn’t be too fond of Jesus if they actually knew Him.
You listen to pastor, do you not? That is micro-authority in the nuclear Church. In fact, scripture seems not to control in bible-based communities. It cannot because everyone knows what the scriptures say, but no one knows what they mean. My handbook of American denominations clearly demonstrates that.
Here is an excerpt from the introductory pages of The Open Bible, ®1975, a KJV translation which is/was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers in the 1970s. According to a certain Dr. Wilbur M. Smith (bolding mine),
The Bible discovers and convicts us of sin.
The Bible helps us cleanse us from the pollutions of sin.
The Bible imparts strength.
The Bible instructs us in what we are to do.
The Bible provides us with a sword for victory over sin.
The Bible makes our lives fruitful.
The Bible **gives us power **to pray.
The good Doctor seems to assign human, or even divine and providential qualities to the scriptures.
Yes- but surely even Protestants (of whatever persuasion), must interpret the Bible ‘selectively’ and as a living tradition.
If the “Word of God” is taken ‘solidly’ as the Bible in itself- there are so many contradictory things. And there are some points clearly articulated (like women not teaching, stoning adulterers, not charging interest, renouncing possessions etc.), which virtually no-one would, or could, follow.
Some of the most fruitless discussions I’ve had have been ‘Bible based’, where people throw quotations out, in support of their own positions. And this can be done to support virtually an position…
You will not find any in my circles that have much use for “The Living Bible”, nor any other paraphrase of Scripture.
As to Dr. Smith, I know him not, but his assertions are correct.
I also disagree with your statement " because everyone knows what the scriptures say". We know that is not true because “everyone” is not a Christian. And many Denominations, including yours and mine, misinterpret Scripture. Sometimes honestly, sometimes intentionally.
What I believe is
"The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21."
Along with The promise of Jesus:
“John 16:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
“2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Well, actually Qoeleth, Baptists do not consider themselves as Protestants since our branch of Christendom did not originate from Luther, Calvin, Zwingli et al. We draw more from Albigensian, Waldensian, Anabaptist, Paulician theology. Not to point to Carroll’s “Trail of Blood” doctrine, which I do not agree with, but we, Baptists, were also persecuted by the 'Protestants" of the day.
And to the statement “there are so many contradictory things”, we disagree. We use the Bible to interpret the Bible, and we find that when Scripture is taken literally, it interprets itself quite well.
If you desire, here is a link to a Pastor I like and his series on how to properly study Scripture.
You seem to have an unusual understanding of your origins. I believe you are writing your history retroactively. Southern Baptist didn’t exist until after England became Puritan and back again, were ousted, and went underground, immigrated to America. Southern Baptist is Puritan in origin, and Puritan is Calvin.
I should also mention that any Christian who claims heritage from Albigensian Cathar roots, quite literally knows nothing about them. If you did you would isolate yourself from them dispensing them entirely.
But what I am sensing here is you are seeking an affirmation to a persecution complex. On that respect you are indeed looking in the right place.
So, you are saying that absolute truth cannot be known? That Jesus really did leave us orphans? Every Christian denomination interprets the bible according to the opinions of their leaders. Only one - one - in all the earth, is absolutely guaranteed the leading of the Holy Spirit. Period. Read Acts 15. That is why Catholic teaching never changes while bible communities are either unsure, or constaltly changing their doctrines. No, thanks!
Except Jesus, our Savior, did not teach that. Neither did He establish that system for passing the faith on. Who did?
Each and every disagreeing denomination tosses this out as they preach something different from the church across the street. Insane! Nonsense!
As I said: Everyone knows what it says, but hundreds - even thousands - of denominations all disagree on what it means! Buy a copy of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States for $5 from Thrift Books and have a look. No bible Christian group agrees with any other! This is insanity. There is far less division in Islam!
Your scriptures are true, but do not apply to every Tom, Dick and Harry who happens to have a bible. Why do you think the bible itself speaks of being “rightly divided”? Why did Peter write that, even 2,000 years ago, the ignorant and unstable were twisting and distorting the scriptures? Do you honestly think it is better today? Only one Church on earth (Catholic + Orthodox) traces to Christ, wrote and canonized the bible and is guaranteed by the promise of Christ to get it right.
As well, we must not ignore Christ founding a Church, giving it all authority on earth and in heaven, Paul defining the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth, Paul commanding us to hold fast to the traditions he received and passed on, the Church deciding that you do not have to be circumcised, the Church writing a tiny fraction of Christ’s life and handing it on as written Tradition, etc .etc etc.
I do not question your faith of your love of God. I question the theology and doctrines that others have taught you - because many of them (beginning with bible alone) trace to men - men in 16th century Germany - men who had zero Christ-given authority to do what they did to the scriptures. That is why the best and brightest protestants are converting to Catholicism, and the most poorly catechized Catholics are heading out where the doctrines let them do anything they want.
Thanks for the psychoanalysis, but I am neither feeling, nor physically persecuted. There were many strains of early Christianity that did not follow Constantine’s edict and march to Rome. History is full of them. We draw our basis of belief from the Inspired word of God, as is, without a filter of “what it really means is…”. And while I admit that during the early years of the Baptist denomination there was a combining of "protestant " views, and in some cases still are, you will find that the distinctive character of Baptist is vastly different from the mainstream protestant Churches.
I was raised in a Christian sect that actually began in 1830s. One author from that sect traced our history back through the same lines as what the southern baptist has also done, back through all the obscure names they could find. It is historically inaccurate for them as it is for the southern baptist. it is an historical fiction.
It is actually easiest to go back to the Church Fathers directly, the days before Constantine became the arch-nemisis of so many (and it was the Puritans who made him so), rather than trace a fictitious line.
On that respect the Alex Jones video submitted by po18guy for examination is well worth watching.
Bishop Henry G. Graham, 110 years ago, noted that some Christians had apparently made an idol of the scriptures. He wrote as much in his book Where We Got The Bible - Our Debt To The Catholic Church. This book is an excellent read for all Christians, as it lucidly relates the origin and purpose of the scriptures as subservient to the Church.
With all charity intended, I’d like to point out that you use Luther’s Bible as do all Protestants. He based his selection of books for the Old Testament on what was available in Hebrew in his day (the Dead Sea Scrolls were found hundreds of years later and support the tradition of the Septuagint, which is the basis of the Catholic Bible today) – Luther used only what we today would call the Masoretic Text.
When Luther translated the Bible into German, it contained the words 2 Ti 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Well, if that’s true, that ALL scripture is inspired, then why did Luther leave out a lot of text from the OT, seven books and some other tests? Didn’t Luther commit heresy against the Bible that Protestants so adhere to? When Luther was born, there were 73 books in the Bible. When he died, his Bible had 66 recognized books. All Protestants follow Luther, unless there are some outliers someplace. Protestants follow a HUMAN tradition initiated by Luther. "All scripture " today for Protestants is not what “All” meant before, viz. when Paul wrote that letter.
When Paul wrote “all scripture” he was writing in Greek to Greek-speaking people, who would understand “all scripture” only as the Septuagint which was used in Greek-speaking areas. Paul knew that his readers would understand what he meant: it seems to me that Protestants today, following Luther’s editing of the Bible, are not adhering to what Paul wrote.
You can read Jewish commentaries today (Jewish Publication Society) and learn that Judaism did not settle on a “canon” of scripture until the second century, and they were influenced by the beliefs of Christians and their interpretations of scripture. There is even some suggestion that words of the Hebrew text were changed to shift the meaning away from Christian interpretations. That, in my opinion and in the tradition of the Catholic Church, is not a good starting point for defining scripture. That is “begging the question” or, more simply, “rigging the outcome.”
Catholics generally will lump Baptists in with all Protestants, sorry, no offense intended. But, “Protestants” relying Luther’s Bible do not seem to have the “Bible as their only authority” – it seems, in fact, that their final authority is Martin Luther.
I would encourage you to actually take a careful look at Christian history because I have seen your type of Baptist put forth that they originate from Christ and the early church which is grossly inaccurate as indicated in my blog article here linked. What Was Authentic Early Christian Worship Really Like?
Sola Scriptura has no basis in scripture itself and as such violates its own premise that doctrine and practice needs to be found there. So even by its own standard it is an error in doctrine. We’ve discussed this many times as you will see in these linked threads.
For our brother in Christ, Purvis, what comes immediately to mind is the Didache ton Dodeka Apostolon (“Didache”), which was written about 70-90 AD*, while the Apostle John was yet alive. It is an abstract of the Apostolic teaching, rather than a summary. It mentions nothing - zero, zip, nada, regarding baptism as an “ordinance”, a “personal relationship” with Christ, the “sinner’s prayer”, “Altar calls”, “bible believing”, “worship services”, “bible as sole rule.”
What it describes is about as opposite from Baptist practice and doctrine as can be imagined. This is not to judge the love of Christ which our Baptist brothers and sisters possess. Rather, it serves as irrefutable evidence that the Baptist denomination cannot trace to Christ via any rational argument. Trace the Baptist denomination back and it stops dead at 1609, credited to John Smyth. What some modern Baptist leaders have done is to reverse engineer the faith, hoping to match up somewhere along the line with Christ. This is akin to driving your car in reverse until the odometer reads “0” and then declaring that you have arrived at the factory.
As to the scriptures, the Didache does not mention scripture of any kind! The reason for that is simply because there was no “bible” as we know it. The New Testament was not even finished. This lack of scripture did not stop the faith from growing explosively to the ends of the world. Rather, the Apostolic teaching carried out Christ’s commands precisely. Hundreds of years later, when the NT canon was set, the irreplaceable bible made a huge addition to the Church, but was not its foundation.
What the Didache does is describe the early liturgy - the mass. It clearly identifies a sacrifice that must be pure. The Eucharist is prominent. It spells out the proper methods of baptism and of testing prophets. It looks strikingly Catholic. With good reason. It is a quick read and I highly recommend it to all Christians, so that they might possess the truth of the Apostolic age.
*The Treasury Of Catholic Wisdom, Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J.