With respect to a discussion on this forum recently, and in direct response to the argument FOR Sola Scripture, this is my response…and I’m sure that of many Catholics.
First of all, while morally, the basic teachings of the Bible (love neighbor as thyself, love God above all else, 10 commandments, etc…) are very much relevant for today, and will always be, the matters of social justice cannot be practically applied in our society. We can not, as Christians, look upon the Bible as a sole means of administering this social justice. It is no longer appropriate, since the arrival of Christ, to pluck an eye for an eye or take a hand for a hand.
On a strictly theological level, the Bible can no longer be considered the ENTIRE truth. It remains entirely truthful (although, not always in the literal sense (creation narrative in Genesis for example)), while not being the ENTIRITY of truth. Sola Scripture teaches that it is ONLY scripture that can be seen as inspired by God. SS rejects belief that a Church can move and breathe under God’s inspiration and with His spirit. This poses MANY problems for those who endorse the idea of SS:
If the Church cannot and does not work by His grace and through His spirit, how did this very same scripture ever get written in the first place? How have they been preserved this long, if not by God’s grace/will/inspiration/favor, upon the Catholic church which preserved it? The early Church (and the scripture it wrote/preserved) would’ve never survived the Roman persecution of Nero if it weren’t acting through God’s inspiration. The Crusades could’ve been the end for Christianity. Our Church is widely persecuted even today, and yet IT GROWS!!
Christianity would’ve died along with Christ if He hadn’t poured the Spirit out upon them on Pentecost. Yet He did, and they broke down the doors of that house where they were hiding to proclaim the truth, as frightened as they once were. The early church fathers (apostles) may have well disbanded and gone back to their prior lives. Even after having witnessed Christ’s resurrection AND ascension, Christianity would’ve never survived had He not breathed His spirit upon them @ Pentecost. And if God, by His grace would ensure the Church’s survival in that first century, would He not do so until Christ’s return??? Wouldn’t He instead work through those church fathers to guarantee its survival? Sola Scripture is also at odds with the reality of Apostolic Succession (even though every Protestant church I know of, ordains their ministers by their version of the ‘laying on of hands’). What is it exactly that Protestants believe is happening during the ordination of their ministers? They either believe in the transferral of God’s spirit in such a celebration, or it is done as tradition, which is one of their chief arguments against Catholicism. Knowing full well that the Church would not and could not survive outside of God’s guidance, why would He ensure its survival one generation only to remove His spirit from the magisterium the next? God wouldn’t be unfaithful to US, would He? Frankly, NO he wouldn’t. In fact, He couldn’t…as it would be contrary to His love and mercy. God doesn’t work against Himself.
3). Where would we be if we had no supreme authority in the Church to look to for interpretation of this same scripture? There would be thousands of different interpretations for every single verse of scripture!! Are we left to interpret it on our own?? Satan would love for that to be the case!! How much easier it must be for him to deceive when one relies on their own interpretation of scripture! Isn’t it much more probable, knowing God’s loyalty to justice, that He would give us all access to His interpretation, to be understood by one person the same as the next?? YES!! This is where Apostolic Succession, the Pope, the College of Cardinals and our beloved Priests come in. On any given topic one could surmise, there is ONE official Church teaching. So again, I ask you, where would we be without that authority to interpret God’s word? No offense…but we would all be Protestants!!
To wrap it up…the Church DOES have authority. It does enjoy God’s inspiration. The very idea that drives Sola Scripture, defeats itself. God’s spirit is very much within the Catholic Church…without it, our church, Christianity, and the Bible itself wouldn’t exist. And if the magisterium is divinely inspired, as it most certainly is…our faith, worship, and adoration of Our Lord should be guided and directed by it with the same value that we place in scripture. This argument is similar to that which Protestants love to argue…Faith Vs Works. Just as it is not one or the other that is necessary, but both complimenting and responsible for the other by God’s grace…so it is in this argument. BOTH scripture AND the Church are divinely inspired, by His great grace.
P.S.-Please, do yourself a tremendous favor and become Catholic!! There are so many great blessings and tools of salvation (note: OF salvation, not FOR salvation) that Christ has afforded you that you are denying yourself!!