Sola Ecclesia?

An argument that many Protestants seem to use is that, although we Catholics claim Scripture, Tradition, and the authority of Church as infallible rules of faith, since the Church interprets the other two, the only thing we really have as an infallible rule of faith is the Church, since the other two are simply reinterpreted by Catholics in light of the teachings of the Church, and thus the other two are subordinate to the authority of the Church. They usually coin a term “sola ecclesia” to describe this supposed view, because they consider it analogous to sola scriptura, which is the doctrine that Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith, and that any other authority must be subordinate to it. How would a Catholic respond to this charge?

It’s a self-defeating argument. If the Church “interprets” Tradition and “interprets” Church authority, then the Church “interprets” the bible as well.

In effect-- Every single church in the world “interprets” the bible. The most fake thing “bible only Christians” do is say “we only rely on the Word of God”.

No-- they rely on THEIR OWN INTERPRETATION of the bible. They also use their own traditions and church authority as much as anything else.

Christian who are spirit filled – rely on the Holy Spirit – other religious groups and churches – rely on the memorization of that particular doctrune as explained by some one "smarter " than you.

if some one who dosen’t function in any of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit-- then they don’t know the holy Spirit-- and are deceived-

this is why the AOG have a doctrune that speaking in tongues is the first evidence of being filled with the Spirit-

even simple prophecy – is “easy” 1 cor ch-12 and chapter 14-- if you have the Holy Spirit–

BUT each church group maintains its own doctrune authority-- even when they are not led by the Holy Spirit

so-- how are you doing in the Gifts and evidence of the Holy Spirit?

youtu.be/7tuK2WJUlFM

Christians believe that Scripture alone is our highest authority, but does that mean it is our only authority?

What implications does that have for us when it comes to issues that Scripture doesn’t address?

Pastor Mark Driscoll investigates the doctrine of Sola Scriptura in this clip taken from Revelation: God Speaks, the second week of Doctrine -

What Christians Should Believe.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I’ve encountered this line of argument before and address it more fully in an article I wrote (you can read the whole thing HERE, if interested). Basically, the argument is circular as it assumes the Bible is meant to be a regula fidei, a rule of faith, which is exactly what Prots and Catholics are arguing about.

How? I like to look at it this way…

The United States is governed by a Government that enforces and interprets a document.

If the good citizens of the U. S. of A. were all handed a copy of the United States Constitution, and then told to go out there and live your lives according to this document… we’d have anarchy.

If the United States had a govenment that had NO codified laws to govern it, and the gov’t had free reign to do as it pleased; I think you know what kind of nation we’d have…

The United States NEEDS WRITTEN LAWS AND A GOVERNMENT TO INTERPRET AND ENFORCE THOSE LAWS. The two go hand-in-hand. Our lives as Christians are much like our lives as Americans.

To live our lives the most fully, and to achieve the ULTIMATE goal of joining Christ in His Heavenly Kingdom; we need the TEXTBOOK (the Holy Bible), and the TEACHERS (the clergy).

The Holy Bible is a GOLDMINE of holiness; to get the MOST from it, why not be taught by men who have dedicated their LIVES to STUDYING, LIVING, PREACHING, AND TEACHING from that most sacred book? The Church can NOT change the Good Book; ONLY TEACH FROM IT. That’s all it is! That’s all it ever was!!!

A very good and holy priest said to me once; “I am a servant of the liturgy, not it’s master.” Many of Catholicism’s harshest critics fail to realize that.

I will leave you with this…

John 21:15-17 ~

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (Jesus) said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Acts 8:27-31 ~

So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him…

Bear in mind that this argument will not satisfy anyone who absolutely does not want to be convinced. Good luck, my friend.

How did you come to this conclusion?

this is why the AOG have a doctrune that speaking in tongues is the first evidence of being filled with the Spirit-

How did you come to the conclusion that “speaking in tongues” is “the first evidence” of being filled with the Spirit"?

even simple prophecy – is “easy” 1 cor ch-12 and chapter 14-- if you have the Holy Spirit–

How did you come to this conclusion?

What is the difference between being a regula fidei and what we believe the Bible is?

Very interesting and well said!

Thank you, sir.

What baffles me is how many are 100% incapable of seeing it that way. It doesn’t take a genius.

In churches of every kind - every Sunday - men (and some women, too) read from the Gospel and tell their parishoners/congregation what their (the preacher’s) thoughts are about that day’s readings. I believe that’s called “interpretation”.

It’s okay for everyone else to do it; but when a Catholic seminarian, deacon, priest, bishop, or pontiff does it; somehow it’s elevating the man above the Word. I’m completely baffled by it…

Hi rfournier103: I like what you had to say about the US constitution and interpretation. I have used that thinking many times in the past. I t just seems to me that if everyone were to be able to interpret the Constitution as they want it would be chaos since then each would have a different interpretation and claim that theirs is the only correct one to have. I see this with our catholic faith in that we have at lest the Church to point the way we should know what it is that we believe and need to do.
When it comes to the Protestant churches at least it seems to me most of the fringe denominations they think that somehow they need to make sure that the preacher is right with Scripture and need to check to make sure that the preacher is not preaching a different doctrine than what they think the Bible says. No wonder they are all over the place in their thinking. You have made good points using the US Constitution as a means to illustrate your point. Good work my friend.

If we believe in Sola Ecclesia because the Church interprets the Bible and Tradition, then they believe in Solo Ego (my attempt at writing “myself alone” in Latin) since the Protestant individual is interpreting the Bible.

This artlicle explains it well:

Ecclesial Deism

calledtocommunion.com/2009/07/ecclesial-deism/

‘Tradition’ becomes whatever one agrees with in the history of the Church, such as the Nicene Creed or Chalcedonian Christology…What makes it ‘authoritative’ for Mohler is that it agrees with his interpretation of Scripture. If he encounters something in the tradition that seems extra-biblical or opposed to Scripture he rejects it. For that reason, tradition does not authoritatively guide his interpretation. His interpretation picks out what counts as tradition, and then this tradition informs his interpretation.

That, of course, depends on the communion. There are communions that are very doctrinal and even dogmatic. Lutherans, for example, have a rather well formulated set of doctrines. To be Lutheran means one holds to those doctrines, regardless of ones interpretation. I, much less my pastor, have no more privilege to deny the real presence, for instance, than you or your priest do.

Jon

Am I correct in assuming those doctrines go back to what Luther taught?
If so, what is the basis for believing Luther’s authority superceded the authority of the Pope and Magisterium to determine doctrine — that is, that he was now the source entrusted with articulating Christian doctrine correctly, with authority to supercede the Pope?
Did Luther claim authorization from anyone or anything other than his own intellect and will?

I always respect your posts Jon, so please know that I am not asking this to be combative in any way. I just plain don’t understand how it (source of authority claim) could be anything other than what he personally thought and determined. And if there is some other explanation, I consider you the best one on CAF (at least that I’m aware of) who could provide it.

I to would like to know if doctrines go back to what Luther taught and by what authority that gave him the right to do so?

=Nita;11701230]Am I correct in assuming those doctrines go back to what Luther taught?
If so, what is the basis for believing Luther’s authority superceded the authority of the Pope and Magisterium to determine doctrine — that is, that he was now the source entrusted with articulating Christian doctrine correctly, with authority to supercede the Pope?
Did Luther claim authorization from anyone or anything other than his own intellect and will?

The question during that era was, and to a degree remains, does the pope supercede his own authority, vis a vis the authority recognized in the early councils.
I don’t believe Luther had any authority, quite frankly. At least no more than you or I, and that was my original point. Sola scriptura is not a doctrine, and individual interpretation is definitely not.
Lutheranism has never considered Luther or any of the other Lutheran reformers a “source entrusted with articulating Christian doctrine correctly…” Our view of Luther and the others is not dis-similar to our view of the Fathers of the Church, in this way. We depend on them, look to them, in their writings, for greater understanding of the faith, but their words are held accountable to the final norm that is scripture.

I always respect your posts Jon, so please know that I am not asking this to be combative in any way. I just plain don’t understand how it (source of authority claim) could be anything other than what he personally thought and determined. And if there is some other explanation, I consider you the best one on CAF (at least that I’m aware of) who could provide it.

Nita, I’ve never seen your posts to be combative. It isn’t my intention to change the nature of the thread, which is about the charge of “sola ecclesia”, a term which I find frankly odd.
I see no reason to doubt that Catholics do in fact recognize the importance of scripture.
As for authority, as I said above, I see authority in a different way, that the historic authority of the Church is splintered by Schism.

Jon

Interesting, and thanks.
And, I don’t want to derail the thread either, so will refrain from further questions.

That’s a really interesting point by Jon. I have felt the same way for quite awhile, although my view of Church authority is probably higher than Jon’s.

Hi CSF. I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective …

For simplicity let me take an extreme example, like if your friend was afraid that the pope might declare that Christ never rose from the dead or something else flatly contrary to the bible. You may not be able to convince him/her that that could never happen, but you could at least assure him/her that such a declaration would not be ex cathedra.

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