Sola Scriptura cannot answer the Liturgy question

I think one of the ultimate proofs that the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura cannot be true is that nowhere in the Bible (especially in the New Testament) does it lay out in any significant detail what a typical Sunday Liturgy should look like.

If you think about it, man’s most important duty is to properly worship God. I underline the word “properly” because if we worship God according to whatever sounds good to us, then it’s not really God we are worshiping, but rather our own tastes, which is a form of idolatry. Some people think that as long as what you do during worship comes straight from the Bible that it’s OK to do, but that is still just taking whatever verses sound good and making up your own liturgy. This is what Protestants are forced into doing, not realizing that nowhere in Scripture are they told to do this. Nowhere in Scripture is the Liturgy laid out as a glorified Bible Study, as we see in most of Evangelicalism. The way we know what Liturgy is supposed to look like is because it came to us from Inspired Apostolic Oral Tradition, and thus the only way a Protestant can avoid falling into man-made liturgy is to reject their central dogma of Sola Scriptura.

Here is a short blog post on this issue if people want to read more about it. I appreciate your thoughts.

Greetings.

I ask everyone who questions the liturgy to read two early documents…the Didache and the first apology of Justin Martyr. Then attend a Catholic Mass and a service at your Protestant Church on that same weekend and ask yourself which one of those services most resemble what you read in the early documents.

And I am a big believer in the gifts of the Spirit and Charismatic renewal, but there is a time and place for it. The Mass should always be focused on the Eucharist, not a man made rock concert.

I’m not even a fan of singing the hymns during the Mass, wish it was all chant. Even though I love some of those hymns like Amazing Grace.

Okay. I honestly don’t understand. How is SS proven not true by the liturgy? The Catholic/ Lutheran/Anglican masses are almost entirely from scripture.
As far as scripture not telling us to do this, and leaving aside that this premise is not what SS is used, how about, “…as often as you eat…”

Jon

Thanks Catholic Dude for the thread,
it is an interesting read and good to
keep in mind when confronted by
Protestants who have “a case” ag-
ainst the Catholic Church!!

Article XXIV: Of the Mass.

1] Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among 2] us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added 3] to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned 4] be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. And not only has Paul commanded to use in the church a language understood by the people 1 Cor. 14:2-9, but it has also been so ordained by man’s law. 5] The people are accustomed to partake of the Sacrament together, if any be fit for it, and this also increases the reverence and devotion of public 6] worship. For none are admitted 7] except they be first examined. The people are also advised concerning the dignity and use of the Sacrament, how great consolation it brings anxious consciences, that they may learn to believe God, and to expect and ask of Him all that is good. 8] [In this connection they are also instructed regarding other and false teachings on the Sacrament.]** This worship pleases God; such use of the Sacrament nourishes true devotion 9] toward God. It does not, therefore, appear that the Mass is more devoutly celebrated among our adversaries than among us.**

bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php#article24

Jon

Jon,

The Bible does not lay out a Christian Liturgy in any significant detail (e.g. do we start off with the Sign of the Cross?). This information must come from somewhere else, namely the oral teaching of the Apostles.

That quote from the Lutheran Book of Concord is misleading for two reasons: first of all, the Mass as a Sacrifice was indeed repudiated as idolatry by the Reformers, and secondly, that still doesn’t answer the question of where in Scripture is the Liturgy taught. **Where did the Lutherans get their Liturgy? **

Lutherans recognize at the mass Christ’s once for all sacrifice, as well as our sacrifice of thanks and praise.
The Lutheran mass is essentially the same as the Catholic mass, but that doesn’t answer the question. Why do you think scripture has to lay out worship from invocation to benediction?

Jon

re: Sola Scriptura
"First of all, it is not a claim that the Bible contains all knowledge. The Bible is not exhaustive in every detail.

Secondly, it is not a denial of the Church’s authority to teach God’s truth. …

Thirdly, it is not a denial that God’s Word has been spoken. Apostolic preaching was authoritative in and of itself.
And, finally, **sola scriptura is not a denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the Church. **

vintage.aomin.org/SANTRAN.html

As JonNC asked “Why do you think scripture has to lay out worship from invocation to benediction?”

Scripture needs to answer that question because you cannot just make up your own Liturgy. The fact that the Lutheran “Mass” looks similar to the Catholic Mass is because Luther stole it from the Catholics and basically turned it into his own new liturgy.

Because worshiping God properly is not optional. It is essential. It is probably the most essential thing a Christian is to do. So the fact the Bible is silent on Liturgy is not something to take lightly.

Why does scripture have to answer that question?

Jon

From a Catholic point of view, Scripture doesn’t have to answer that question. We have tradition and the magisterium.

From the point of view of the people who tend to challenge every detail of Catholic worship and belief with “Where is that in the Bible?”, it’s a problem. Because most of the stuff they do isn’t in the Bible, either.

I got in a discussion once where I pointed out that microphones and pews were clearly “man-made traditions,” and my discussion partners had to admit I had a point!

But I really feel bad when I point out this sort of thing, because a lot of people who aren’t Catholic really can be swayed by any wind of doctrine. Some people react to the idea that microphones are “man-made tradition” by heading to a church that forbids music or amplification, or that has some kind of remade house church with beanbag chairs. The guy whom I told that there was no harm learning more about Jewish Old Testament practices because it wasn’t Judaizing, ended up joining a church that really did Judaize!

Hmm, I seem to have wandered from the point…

The point is that the OP’s point is probably a good defense against people who use Sola Scriptura as a whacking stick against Catholic worship. It’s not going to impress people who believe in both Sola Scriptura and a certain amount of “freedom of the children of God” in matters of worship, or who think that community worship isn’t actually important or necessary if you have your Bible (the “just Jesus and me” thing). So as always, you will have to find out what the other person believes, as well as what they are actually talking about.

From a Catholic point of view, Scripture doesn’t have to answer that question. We have tradition and the magisterium.

From the point of view of the people who tend to challenge every detail of Catholic worship and belief with “Where is that in the Bible?”, it’s a problem. Because most of the stuff they do isn’t in the Bible, either.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:

So, one could conclude from what you are saying that those same folks would use the same whacking stick on us waskally Lutherans (and Anglicans, and some Methodists) because we use the same liturgical worship.

Whack away. :stuck_out_tongue:

Jon

:thumbsup:

Hopefully you see that your premise only applies to those that Mintaka is speaking of. The practice of Sola scriptura need not and should not deny the value and importance of Tradition, or the teaching role of the Church.

Jon

This merely highlights the profound contradiction/nonsense of Sola Scriptura, for all you end up using it for is to affirm whatever Traditions and Church Teachings you feel like embracing while rejecting any you do don’t feel like embracing. If the Liturgy which you embrace is not found from the inspired text of Scripture, then it is de facto a tradition of men, an invention of men, a form of idolatry, and subject to any modifications according to anyone’s whims.

In the case of the Lutheran liturgy, it is a cut and paste of the Catholic liturgy, throwing out the parts Lutherans don’t like and keeping the parts they do like. It’s a blatant inconsistency and delusion, for the Truth never works in this pick-n-choose manner.

You cannot say you have embraced any Tradition or Church Teaching for your Lutheran Liturgy, because no such Lutheran liturgy is to be found in Scripture, Tradition, or anywhere else in history. Please realize that.

In fact, this has been happening since the Eucharist was instituted. This is why Ignatius wrote:

“You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one appointed by him”.

There were schismatic groups purporting a valid Eucharist.

I dont’ think this is a fair accusation of Luther. On the contrary, Luther was trained in celebration of the Latin Liturgy in Catholic Seminary, and was given authority to celebrate it when ordained by the Catholic Bishop. He did not “steal” anything, it was given to him!

As far as I know, he did not make substantive changes to it, either, except that he stopped praying for the Pope, against whom he seemed to have quite a bit of resentment.

The Church of Norway has a Mass that looks more Catholic than many post Vat. 2 Masses.

I would not say silent, entirely. :smiley:

I dont think this is an accurate assessment of High Church Protestants. Confessional Lutherans and Anglicans never claimed that everything in their faith had to be found in Scripture. It seems like you are setting up a strawman here.

Which parts are thrown out?

I have known Catholics that attended and Anglican Mass and could not tell it was not Catholic. Is there some reason you would expect something other than continuing with what they had received?

I think you may need to invest some study time in the history of the Reformation. The Lutheran liturgy came from the Latin liturgy.

=Catholic Dude;13859983]This merely highlights the profound contradiction/nonsense of Sola Scriptura, for all you end up using it for is to affirm whatever Traditions and Church Teachings you feel like embracing while rejecting any you do don’t feel like embracing. If the Liturgy which you embrace is not found from the inspired text of Scripture, then it is de facto a tradition of men, an invention of men, a form of idolatry, and subject to any modifications according to anyone’s whims.

The most recent Lutheran Service Book did a remarkable thing in the liturgy: it referenced scripture for each and every part of the liturgy. The fact is that the western liturgy - whether you like it or not, we share the western liturgy - is almost entirely scripture. The order in which the mass is done may vary from tradition to tradition, but it is from scripture. The mass is scriptural.

In the case of the Lutheran liturgy, it is a cut and paste of the Catholic liturgy, throwing out the parts Lutherans don’t like and keeping the parts they do like. It’s a blatant inconsistency and delusion, for the Truth never works in this pick-n-choose manner.

The only parts typically not in a Lutheran mass are references to requests for the Blessed Virgin Mary intercession. Some Lutheran parishes even use bells and incense. What’s not missing is word and sacrament, and that’s what the mass is all about - His precious body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.

You cannot say you have embraced any Tradition or Church Teaching for your Lutheran Liturgy, because no such Lutheran liturgy is to be found in Scripture, Tradition, or anywhere else in history. Please realize that.

Oh, nonsense. If there’s no Lutheran liturgy in scripture, then there’s no Catholic liturgy. This sounds like the very kind of criticism from some evangelicals that your thread was started to complain about.

Jon

Luther said repeatedly that the Catholic Mass was the worst blasphemy, and he threw out all prayers referencing it as a sacrifice, for the benefit of the dead, and other such “Catholic” things. Even if he “only” removed prayers for the Pope, this in itself is a serious perversion, for the Mass is not independent of the Papacy, in so far as its efficacy relies on being in communion with the visible head of the Church.

That’s a highly problematic way of thinking. So when it comes to man’s highest duty, Christian Worship, this is left up to whatever man-made traditions a person feels like? If the Mass didn’t come from the Apostles, then what you’re saying is that all the high-church Protestants thought it was ok to follow along with some random guy from the early church who literally invented a liturgy, invented random prayers, and this is acceptable?

I think you may need to invest some study time in the history of the Reformation. The Lutheran liturgy came from the Latin liturgy.

The Lutherans reject the sacrificial priesthood and the Mass as being in essence a Sacrifice. That’s a huge substantial change. It’s like saying fornication isn’t much different from chaste wedlock because outwardly sex is taking place in both.

The Mass is not “Scriptural” in the sense that Scripture does not list enough details to derive the Mass from the pages of the Bible alone. You can’t just cut out verses from here and there and put them in whatever order you want and call that Liturgy, because that’s not Liturgy, it’s your personal invention.

If the Catholic Mass is not substantially different from the Lutheran Liturgy, then there is no Reformation. You are sinning by not being Catholic if the Catholic Mass is as orthodox as the Lutheran Liturgy. The Catholic Mass of course references intercession of Saints, Purgatory, Sacrificial Priesthood, Pope, etc, etc, so either these things are blasphemy and thus not the same Liturgy as you, or they are orthodoxy and you shouldn’t oppose them.

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.
Psalm 134:2

I am wondering if will you be lifting your hands in praise of the LORD this Sunday:

I will.

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