I’ve been reading Protestant defenses of Sola Scriptura, trying to better understand their perspective to explain and point to the one true Church. Until recently, this has been frustrating because I’ve been unable to find any logical basis for Sola Scriptura, and its adherents I’ve talked to have held to a logically untenable position.
However, a recent essay by C. Michael Patton presented the first potentially reasonable argument I’ve seen. In his case (page 19-22 of this document: reclaimingthemind.org/content/Parchmentandpen/In-Defense-of-Sola-Scriptura.pdf), he admits that Protestants have no absolute certainty that the canon of Scripture is correct, if there is no infallible Church to base it off of. However, he contends that it is also impossible for the Catholic to have absolute certainty, since we have no infallible source upon which to base our belief in an infallible Church. Instead, both groups rely on probable, rather than absolute, certainty in the truth of the Scriptures. He sums it up like this:
Catholic Position: Fallible Person -->(Fallible Belief in) -->Infallible Church -->(Infallible Declaration about) -->Infallible Scripture
Protestant Position: Fallible Person -->(Fallible Belief in) -->Infallible Scripture
This seems problematic to our “spiral argument” that historical evidence leads to infallible Church which leads to infallible Scripture. If the basis of our knowledge is fallible, then how can the consequence of it be infallible? As Catholics, how might we respond to these arguments? I feel like there’s some counterpoint I can’t quite grasp.