Sidestepping Sola Scriptura?


#1

I notice something that seems to come up with some Protestants when discussing the error of “Sola Scriptura” or going by the Bible alone. I think some know the weakness of this unreasonable, unbiblical, unhistorical and unworkable position and try to sidestep it by claiming that they don’t really believe in Sola Scriptura when in fact it is exactly what they practice. Here’s one approach to focus the issue:

Non-Catholic: I don’t really believe in Sola Scriptura. I look to history and tradition, such as the early Christians. I also look to my pastor. So the issue doesn’t apply to me.

Catholic: Really? Which of the sources you listed give you infallible pronouncements when a controversy arises?

Non-Catholic: Well, I don’t think those supplements are infallible,
just valuable.

Catholic: Then you don’t really have a final authority outside of your own personal interpretation of scripture. That is Sola Scriptura.

geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/staplessolascriptura.html
geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/solascriptura21.html


#2

Dear DeFide,

"Non-Catholic: Well, I don’t think those supplements are infallible,
just valuable" quote,DeFide

A fair assessment of a position, I think.

Would you tell me what other area in life, as adults,
can we count on, to be “infallible.”?
Life is messy. Certainty is desireable but not
necessary.
When the young man asked Jesus how to be saved,
He answered "Love the Lord thy God with thy whole
heart, mind and strength, and love thy neighbor
as thyself."
How complicated is that, theologically?

It is this seeming lack of ability to tolerate a degree of
uncertainty on the part of some human beings that
utterly fascinates me. To me, it is this very mindset
that was the driving force behind the dogma of
infallibility.

reen


#3

Most Protestants, when debating this topic and most other topics, I realized drop in issues not pertinent to the discussion in order to sidetrack the main issue. It’s a clever tactic, and it’s hard to resist not to reply to the new issues they bring up. Of course, once they’ve successfully sidetracked the issue, they quietly drop the main point.


#4

[quote=reen12]Dear DeFide,

"Non-Catholic: Well, I don’t think those supplements are infallible,
just valuable" quote,DeFide

A fair assessment of a position, I think.

Would you tell me what other area in life, as adults,
can we count on, to be “infallible.”?
Life is messy. Certainty is desireable but not
necessary.
When the young man asked Jesus how to be saved,
He answered "Love the Lord thy God with thy whole
heart, mind and strength, and love thy neighbor
as thyself."
How complicated is that, theologically?

It is this seeming lack of ability to tolerate a degree of
uncertainty on the part of some human beings that
utterly fascinates me. To me, it is this very mindset
that was the driving force behind the dogma of
infallibility.

reen
[/quote]

Hey reen,
While the Two Greatest Commandments may be simple in verse, their application is complex. Without a final Authority, divisions occur. We don’t need Infallable pronouncements on everything, but when individuals are fighting over the same verse or line and use them to justify diametric behaviour (sometimes to the point of killing), certainty in some areas is no only desireable but necessary. Thanks and God Bless.


#5

Hi, slinky1882,

I read your post carefully.
It is what I used to think, too.

I think the point could be made that Jesus, in
saying “Love the Lord thy God…”, meant
follow the 10 commandments.

One of these is: Thou shalt not do murder.
This covers abortion.

If I came across a church claiming to be Christian
which also had no problem with abortion, I’d run
a mile in tight shoes to put as much distance
between them and me as possible. Why?
Because I would be able to see clearly, with
no infallible statement necessary, that this
position was an open violation of the Ten
Commandments.

It’s like I woke up one morning and said to
myself: What *is *this?
Do I really believe that some little framehouse
church, membership 210, who celebrates
the Lord’s supper, doesn’t receive the Body
and Blood of Christ, whether or no their theology
is accurate?
And I said to myself: Jesus is present to them
in their communion service. He takes their
dear faith into consideration and comes to them,
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Even if they
don’t know that!

The Church was broken apart in 1054 over
Who proceeds from Whom in the Trinity.
Churchmen of the time actually had the gall
to think that such a ‘definition’ was desireable.
We couldn’t even let the poor Blessed Mother
just “be.” We couldn’t just honor her as the
Mother of the Messiah, who stood at the foot
of the cross. No. We had to produce Marian
dogmas.

Please understand that I’ve come to these
positions rather late in life, after having spent
a lifetime defending the Church’s position,
set forth in various dogmas.
I *could *be wrong. But what am I going to do?
Lie to Jesus when I appear before Him?
Try to say: “Yes, I believed X, when I don’t”?
He already knows what I think.

Life is messy, I think, but only rarely are things
complex, I find.
Hold to what you believe, slinky1882. If you
think that I am in error, pray that I find my way
out of error.
God bless you,
reen


#6

[quote=reen12]Hi, slinky1882,

I read your post carefully.
It is what I used to think, too.

I think the point could be made that Jesus, in
saying “Love the Lord thy God…”, meant
follow the 10 commandments.

One of these is: Thou shalt not do murder.
This covers abortion.

If I came across a church claiming to be Christian
which also had no problem with abortion, I’d run
a mile in tight shoes to put as much distance
between them and me as possible. Why?
Because I would be able to see clearly, with
no infallible statement necessary, that this
position was an open violation of the Ten
Commandments.

It’s like I woke up one morning and said to
myself: What *is *this?
Do I really believe that some little framehouse
church, membership 210, who celebrates
the Lord’s supper, doesn’t receive the Body
and Blood of Christ, whether or no their theology
is accurate?
And I said to myself: Jesus is present to them
in their communion service. He takes their
dear faith into consideration and comes to them,
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Even if they
don’t know that!

The Church was broken apart in 1054 over
Who proceeds from Whom in the Trinity.
Churchmen of the time actually had the gall
to think that such a ‘definition’ was desireable.
We couldn’t even let the poor Blessed Mother
just “be.” We couldn’t just honor her as the
Mother of the Messiah, who stood at the foot
of the cross. No. We had to produce Marian
dogmas.

Please understand that I’ve come to these
positions rather late in life, after having spent
a lifetime defending the Church’s position,
set forth in various dogmas.
I *could *be wrong. But what am I going to do?
Lie to Jesus when I appear before Him?
Try to say: “Yes, I believed X, when I don’t”?
He already knows what I think.

Life is messy, I think, but only rarely are things
complex, I find.
Hold to what you believe, slinky1882. If you
think that I am in error, pray that I find my way
out of error.
God bless you,
reen
[/quote]

reen,
I do pray for you and ask for the same. Ironically, you and I have taken different courses. I started out in Sci-Fi books sugar coated with Eastern Philosophy and Religions to extreme Supernatural Christian books (iex. Peretti). From there I was given a seminarian Intro to Logic book to teach myself when I was a sophmore in high school and classics such as Les Miserables, Crime and Punishment and Camus’s The Plague. From Philosophy and the classics, I moved into Theology. My family was not practcing Catholic when I was born or for my first young years. So although I am not a convert, I have had similar experiences as the extended family for the most part was not supportive adn I grew in my Faith as my family did. And it was hard at times. I will grant that Jesus comes to the service as in when two or more are gathered and praying together, He is in their midst. But as for the same Presence as the Eucharist, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, no I do not believe He does. And what is amazing, almost all of the other Christian churches don’t believe He does either. I find this fact amazing as I do not have to point it out to my Protestant friends because they know it inherently. And as for the Schism around 1054, the split was a result of sin. Sure there were Doctrinal matters, but the more I read I see sin as the root cause. So and so did this, but so and so did this first, perpetuated through time, etc… And as for producing Dogmas, I would hesitate to use that verb b/c in ordinary defintion it would imply something of human origin. I still rest that in some areas definitive statements are necessary as I watch the chaos unfold without, and in certain cases, we “honor” Mary best by defending our Mother in Faith through Dogmas. And you are right, we cannot lie before the Lord., but to the end, we must keep seeking the Truth. Thanks and God Bless.


#7

A wonderful reply, slinky1882, and I expected

no less from you.
Yes, our routes have been very much different.
Our “worlds”, even, have been very much different.
I did not at all grow up in the chaos that
characterizes the last 40 years.

In retrospect, I find that the atmosphere in
which I grew up was suffocating in it’s
"sure-ities." You have reached adulthood with
the exact opposite set of conditions prevailing.
Please understand, I did* not* rebel; I was not
"part of the sixties" mindset. I did not question
authority, in any of it’s legitimate forms.

More later, got to put breakfast on the table.:slight_smile:
reen


#8

Contd:

My family were devout Irish Catholics.

I’m not silly enough to say that nothing needs
defining. [the Arian heresey springs to mind.]
Or, that no authority is needed. It is the prudential
judgements of that authority that I *do *question.

I understand, and was pleased to see, that you
cautioned me about characterizing the creation
of dogma as a purely human activity. I say that
that authority has grossly over-stepped it’s mandate.
[procession of the Trinity, transubstantiation,
Limbo, Purgatory, Marian dogmas, infallibility…
indulgences! Martin Luther, call your office.]

Instead of having the humility to say that these
things are mysteries that the Church proclaims
and treasures, it states that X is ‘true’.]
The whole enterprise gives me a headache.


I was additonaly pleased to see a younger
poster on another thread stating that his or her
generation was sick of “not knowing.”
[And here I am, fed up and disgusted to *distraction
with “certainties.”]

You know what I *really *think, slinky1882?
If Jesus came back today, the ‘tables’ He
would overturn would not be the those of
the sellers in the Temple. They would be 'tables’
labeled doctrine/dogma. He would not say,
I surmise, that 'this is not My Father’s house",
but, rather, 'what have you *done *to My Father’s
house?"
And that makes me a ‘heretic’, I guess.

Where I find Jesus is not in the house that
systematic theology built, but in the midst
of a Salvation Army band, a storefront church,
a rescue mission, a parish thrift shop.
Among the outcast and marginalized. Not in
the lecture halls. And I’ve spent *lots *of time
in ‘lecture halls’.

If the Church stopped being the Church, I’d
probably faint with anxiety. Somebody has to
be in charge. But, for myself, I want nothing
to do with it, actively. I’m content to view it
from afar. Ultimately, I’m more at home with
Bartimaeus than Aquinas.
Bartimaeus cried: Jesus, Son of David!
And I echo his cry.

reen
PS: remember Dr. Rieux, in The Plague saying:
“I will not accept a world in which little children
are allowed to suffer.” That has to be one of
the most sophomoric statements in literature.
As if the rest of us were content to sit by and
view same without taking action.


#9

[quote=reen12]Contd:

My family were devout Irish Catholics.

I’m not silly enough to say that nothing needs
defining. [the Arian heresey springs to mind.]
Or, that no authority is needed. It is the prudential
judgements of that authority that I *do *question.

I understand, and was pleased to see, that you
cautioned me about characterizing the creation
of dogma as a purely human activity. I say that
that authority has grossly over-stepped it’s mandate.
[procession of the Trinity, transubstantiation,
Limbo, Purgatory, Marian dogmas, infallibility…
indulgences! Martin Luther, call your office.]

Instead of having the humility to say that these
things are mysteries that the Church proclaims
and treasures, it states that X is ‘true’.]
The whole enterprise gives me a headache.


I was additonaly pleased to see a younger
poster on another thread stating that his or her
generation was sick of “not knowing.”
[And here I am, fed up and disgusted to *distraction
[/quote]

with “certainties.”]

You know what I *really *think, slinky1882?
If Jesus came back today, the ‘tables’ He
would overturn would not be the those of
the sellers in the Temple. They would be 'tables’
labeled doctrine/dogma. He would not say,
I surmise, that 'this is not My Father’s house",
but, rather, 'what have you *done *to My Father’s
house?"
And that makes me a ‘heretic’, I guess.

Where I find Jesus is not in the house that
systematic theology built, but in the midst
of a Salvation Army band, a storefront church,
a rescue mission, a parish thrift shop.
Among the outcast and marginalized. Not in
the lecture halls. And I’ve spent *lots *of time
in ‘lecture halls’.

If the Church stopped being the Church, I’d
probably faint with anxiety. Somebody has to
be in charge. But, for myself, I want nothing
to do with it, actively. I’m content to view it
from afar. Ultimately, I’m more at home with
Bartimaeus than Aquinas.
Bartimaeus cried: Jesus, Son of David!
And I echo his cry.

reen
PS: remember Dr. Rieux, in The Plague saying:
“I will not accept a world in which little children
are allowed to suffer.” That has to be one of
the most sophomoric statements in literature.
As if the rest of us were content to sit by and
view same without taking action.

reen,
Rieux, in a moment of anger with Father Paneloux, avows “I shall refuse until the day of my death to love this world in which children are tortured.” Ironically, that is one of my favorite lines in literature as I have seen it translated both ways. (personally, I found “The Plague” a far better work than Camus’s “The Stanger” or “The Rebel” although Camus makes an interesting argument that all revolution ends in tyrrany. The intersting part is that if we used the Greek word Tyrranus from where we get the English word Tyranny and Tyrrant, the Greek word did not carry the the negative connotation that the English Translation does. I.e. A Tyrranus could be a powerful ruler who was good or bad. Food for thought). More later as I have just returned home from a trek through the mountains of 5 miles. Great exercise and God’s Creation, Beautiful. :thumbsup: I recommend “The Plague” to anyone, and I personally believe that the innocent suffering, especially children, is THE hardest part of Theology for the agnostic that is seeking Truth. More later, thanks and God Bless.


#10

Hi, slinky1882,

Yes, I understand how it might be one of a person’s
favorite lines in literature.

I also realize that Rieux’s point was not addressed
to relieving the suffering of children, but to the
fact that such suffering exists in the first place.

Is the reason that I recall it so well, after 35 years, the
fact that it hit home? That having suffered a great
deal in childhood, I resented Rieux implying that
there is no meaning in that suffering?

That my mind verges on shut-down even thinking
about such suffering? much less having experienced
it personally?

I don’t have an answer for why such things occur.
I have to believe that such suffering has meaning
and has eternal significance beyond even Rieux’s
grasp.
I also thought the book made a characiture out of
Father Paneloux. His character was a literary
device Camus used to smear the Church, in
my opinion.
Movies do it all the time in our day. Agnostic
portrayed as young, strong, attractive; believer
portrayed by late middle-aged, worn, rigid
believer. It’s so hackneyed, I could write the
scripts myself! Camus did the same, with panache.
Just my take on it.
reen


#11

Wow, I have to say that the dialogue between Slinky1882 and Reen12 has to be the best I’ve read on this board.


#12

Good heavens, ScottH, now that made my

day!

Let me tell you upfront that psychological illness
sometimes make me sound like a Catholic,
a Lutheran or a Noahide gentile.

For sheer intellectual integrity, I don’t think
there’s anything to compare with Catholicism.
*

I may be a tad looney, but my intellect’s intact!:tiphat:

God bless you, ScottH,
reen

"God’s Freelance:) "*


#13

[quote=reen12]Dear DeFide,

"Non-Catholic: Well, I don’t think those supplements are infallible,
just valuable" quote,DeFide

A fair assessment of a position, I think.

Would you tell me what other area in life, as adults,
can we count on, to be “infallible.”?
Life is messy. Certainty is desireable but not
necessary.
When the young man asked Jesus how to be saved,
He answered "Love the Lord thy God with thy whole
heart, mind and strength, and love thy neighbor
as thyself."
How complicated is that, theologically?

It is this seeming lack of ability to tolerate a degree of
uncertainty on the part of some human beings that
utterly fascinates me. To me, it is this very mindset
that was the driving force behind the dogma of
infallibility.

reen
[/quote]

A bit off-topic, but…

The protection of infallibility is not an “area of life”. Do things need to be found in an exact analogy elsewhere to be true? Do you reject God because you cannot find another Creator of all somewhere else? We can deduce the nature of the church through evidence:

catholic.com/library/Proving_Inspiration.asp

However, the Church can be infallible (assuming you know what infallibility means) with or without us realizing it or knowing it with certainty. It does not come from human desire, but from Christ’s establishing a teaching authority.

‘If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. . . . But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you. . . . If he refuses to listen . . . tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector’ (Mt 18:15-17).

The Bible is very clear to me about what to do if we have a disagreement with one another over some issue pertaining to the Faith. And please remember: To lead someone into heresy is a grievous sin against your brother according to Galatians 5:19-21! The Bible tells us that the Church, not the Bible, is the final court of appeal.


#14

[quote=reen12]Good heavens, ScottH, now that made my

day!

Let me tell you upfront that psychological illness
sometimes make me sound like a Catholic,
a Lutheran or a Noahide gentile.

For sheer intellectual integrity, I don’t think
there’s anything to compare with Catholicism.
*

I may be a tad looney, but my intellect’s intact!:tiphat:

God bless you, ScottH,
reen

"God’s Freelance:) "*

Reen, we are extremely similar. My God bless us both.
[/quote]


#15

Hello Maureen,
Nice to see you posting such high-level stuff. At the risk of draging the dialog down several notches, I though I’d throw in my two cents.
As far as the necessity of doctrine and dogma and lots of rules, if one just looks at the differing beliefs among the Protestant denominations (however many thousands of them there really are) about, oh, baptism, one sees the entire range of beliefs from, “it’s only symbolic,” to , "it’s absolutely necessary for salvation."
Multiply that by all the dogmatic teachings of Christ (Jn 3:5 for baptism) and, without precise Magesterial declarations, we can see that the mess we’d have would be even bigger.
I truly believe that we do have the humility to say that theses are the mysteries that the Church poroclaims as true AND must have the authority to say that X is true.
I almost came out of my chair when I read what you wrote about that little framehouse church. Maureen, there are times when we must have the absolute surety you find so curious. Jesus said it, then he said it again, then he said again until he’d lost most of his disciples. He reiterated it at the Last Supper and he left it for us after he died and only we have it.
And if Jesus came back today, I think he’d be more upset that so many of his former disciples found Catholic dogma and doctrine “a hard saying,” and left, just as they did 2000 years ago.
I guess I’m a hard-liner on the rules, but that’s because I’ve seen what the “rules are made to be broken” bunch have done to his church again and again. It just breaks my heart.
If we all saw things the same way, wouldn’t it be boring.
Hang in.


#16

Dear DeFide,

“However, the Church can be infallible (assuming you know what infallibility means) with or without us realizing it or knowing it with certainty. It does not come from human desire, but from Christ’s establishing a teaching authority.” quote, DeFide

You’re providing me with an opportunity to reiterate:

"I say that that authority has grossly over-stepped it’s mandate.
[procession of the Trinity, transubstantiation,
Limbo, Purgatory, Marian dogmas, infallibility…
indulgences! Martin Luther, call your office.] quote, reen12

And, yes, I have a glancing acquaintence with the
definition of infallibility.:o

To me, the Church is a freeway with no off-ramps.
[to borrow a phrase.]
You’re baptized as an infant; then told that, if you
don’t accept dogma/doctrine, your a heretic.
If you publicly leave, you’re an apostate.
And the terrors of hell await. [Catch22 revisited.]

If that is what you hold, I respect that position.
I don’t, however, share it.

To me, it’s a closed system, DeFide. Humming along
from the outside of that ‘set’ [as in mathematics]
I have peace of mind and heart.

That may be annoying. However, it also has the distinct
advantage of being true for me.
[If you’d prefer that I take this topic to another
thread, I would respectfully comply.]

I am not a “cafeteria Catholic.” I don’t pick and choose
what I’m willing to believe. I just say: Sing ho! for disjoint sets.
:slight_smile: Catholic :o God’s Freelance

“Pray for me,
As I will for thee,
That we may merrily
meet in Heaven.”

reen
"God’ Freelance:) "


#17

Dear ScottH,

Amen.

reen


#18

[quote=ScottH]Reen, we are extremely similar. May God bless us both.
[/quote]


#19

The Church is the highway to heaven. I choose to obey the teacher.:slight_smile:


#20

Hello, Strider,

“I almost came out of my chair when I read what you
wrote about that little framehouse church.” quote, Strider


If you only *knew *what a rule observer and approver I’ve
been all my life! * How do I know that
what I wrote is true? I don’t. I actually kind of
scared myself when I wrote that. I awaited a
lightening-bolt, and, when nothing happened,
I went about my day, nervously.


During the sixites, I didn’t “protest”, harry authority,
participate in “sit-ins”. My ‘mindset’ was right
out of the 1940’s, for heaven’s sake!

What I’m trying to work out in my mind, Strider,
is the distinction between ‘normative’ and all that
falls outside that reality.
The normative way is the Roman Catholic Church.
I’m not going to give you an argument on that.

But many lives, my own included, could never
be regarded as ‘normative’, in terms psychological.

What does the Church do for people like me?
It insists on confession and ‘worthy’ communions.
I have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
I literally lost my mind and ended up hospitalized
over scrupulosity, a form of OCD. I’m functioning, but barely.

The sight of a Roman collar gives me vertigo. All I
can think of is: “The Keys. He has the keys to bind
and loose…” and I feel paralyzed, sickened and
terrorized. So much for ‘normative.’

As I said in another thread, for me the choice is
sacraments or sanity. I can’t have both.
So, no, I’m not going to the Lord’s supper and
feel excluded from the table due to psychological
*illness and my inability to cleave to the sacramental *
system the Church has set up.

That’s why I feel at home with the 'marginalized’
and rail against the 'sacramental system.'
You guys keep the faith, OK? Some of us loonies don’t
fit in. I comfort myself by recalling Jesus saying:

“I have not come for the healthy, but for the sick.”

I think what distresses, is that intellectual function
has not at all been impaired by my illness.

God bless you, Strider. And may He forgive me
for any distress I may have caused you.

reen

"God’s Freelance:) "*


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