Ok. Less than 10% of those are considered distinct denominations for reasons that are sectarian in nature, but I do see that you assume 100% of them are that way. I looked, I saw, we reached different conclusions. Mine is more solidly grounded in reality, yours is careless, offhand criticism that doesn’t stand up well to examination and criticism.
Private interpretation has lead to nothing but confusion.
Such a short statement, so much to clarify and potentially correct…
Ok, first of all, “private interpretation” is a phrase that’s used in the Bible, where the inspired writing of Scripture is distinguished from something that is written by strictly human authorship. The point of the distinction is to state that men were carried along by the Holy Spirit in writing the Bible, and none of them produced it all on their own (or, resulting from private interpretation).
This is often misread and mis-applied, as if the passage in question is affirming Magisterial teaching authority and banning Protestants from interpreting anything outside the context of full union with Rome. All of this because the words “private interpretation” come up in some sort of negative context. If you choose to actually read the passage in question, however, you’ll notice that it pertains to details concerning the writing-down of Scripture, and it doesn’t make any comment whatsoever about the way in which people ought to be reading and/or interpreting it. Whoever reads it ought to remember that the men who wrote it did so through divine inspiration rather than just writing things down on their own- but beyond that, the all-too-predictable progression from “These writings were not a product of private interpretation” to “Why can’t Protestants understand that this condemns their despicable practice of private interpretation?” is quite the misadventure in not-carefully-reading-Scripture and it comes up embarrassingly often, I mean really I am truly embarrassed on your behalf and I’m not even playing for your team.
Second, the interpretive efforts of Protestants in general and Evangelicals in particular have led to a pattern of consensus that is consistently moving in a positive direction, even if you are ignoring the positive because you prefer to look at the negative.
How is your interpretation more valid than mine?
You personally? Well, I achieved competency in ancient Greek, and this opens up a wide variety of interpretive tools that you most likely aren’t able to use. That’s how. Remember, translation is the first step of interpretation. Without the ability to use basic lexical tools, what pray tell is your first step? Wait, let me guess, assuming that your church affiliation, absent any real interpretive ability, automatically makes your interpretations awesome?
Answer: it’s not. As a former Southern Baptist of 30+ years I can tell you that I don’t know any Baptists who can speak or read Greek or Hebrew save maybe a pastor or two.
Sounds like you didn’t go to a school where they teach ancient languages. It also sounds like you must not have been attending church with anyone who learned an ancient language while they were going to school. Why was that? Did all of you go to state schools? Community college? No continuing education beyond high school? What’s the deal with that?
Just so you know- if there are any Christian schools near to where you live, it is common practice for them to allow people of a certain age to audit classes for free. I remember one older member of my church (his wife played the organ and piano while they were both still alive) did this after he retired, he didn’t pay any money and he didn’t get any course credit but he attended individual classes for a couple of years and learned as much about ancient Greek and Hebrew as he wanted to. The main reason he wanted to do it? So he could finally be competent in making the first key step of interpretation, which is to translate.
I don’t know exactly how old you are, but it’s something you can keep in your back pocket. There probably is some specific age restriction on this sweet deal, and you’ll probably want to find out what that is.
As for your contention that the Catholic Church holds only seven passages of scripture as infallible, please provide a link as this is news to me. The Catholic Church canonized scripture and according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
I read what you posted, and I didn’t see how any of that was relevant to the assertions I made. As for the link, here it is.
I will make a couple of additional comments. One- if memory serves, I think Jimmy Akin had a very similar article in a magazine formerly known as This Rock. It used to be available in the archives but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore, that was the article I really wanted but I’m going with this one instead.
Last thing I’ll say about this- one of the things you’ll immediately read from that page is that the Catholic Church has rejected thousands of different interpretations of Scripture. There have been almost innumerable things that it has said “No” to, and in a definitive way at that, such that all Catholics are compelled to also say “No.” But there are only seven examples of “positive interpretation,” especially in the sense that it is definitive positive interpretation, such that all Catholics must agree to these particular things about this particular passage at a minimum (while not entirely discounting the additional discussion concerning the passage that may be possible outside of what is strictly defined).
These are the seven, and they are all outlined at Trent.