Why Sola Scripture is WRONG

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:

  1. 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!!

  2. 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.

God bless!

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!!

=ROBO the First;11861758]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:

Do you have a citation for this?

Respectfully, this is not my understanding of what sola scriptura is. We know that the Church moves and breathes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He does this, primarily, in the reading of the word and administration of the sacraments. But He also does this in His call to the Church to “feed His sheep”, to “go into all nations”, and to care for the least of His children.
In fact, the only way the Church does work is by and through His grace, so I’m not completely sure I understand the premise.

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.

As a non-Catholic I am convinced as well that God works His grace through the Catholic Church, just not exclusively so. His grace is found in His Church, when the label on the door happens to be Lutheran, or Orthodox, etc. Christ established His Church, so of course it works by and through His grace. Where the believers are gathered to hear His word and receive His sacraments, there is the Church, and His grace abides. Where the regenerate are doing His will, doing good works that benefit our neighbors, there the Church is, and His grace abides. I don’t see how sola scriptura can be construed to deny this.
Sola scriptura, as a practice, does essentially one thing, it holds doctrine and teachings accountable to scripture as the final norm. And at least in Lutheranism, that practice is exercised by the Church.

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!!

Invitation appreciated. :slight_smile:

Jon

The Church, by definition is the Body of Christ. It is comprised of all who believe. Currently that Body is broken into various factions, “bringing scandal to the world.” The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ prayed that all His followers be united as one.
The Acts of the Apostles tells how the early Christians “devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the bread.” [Acts 2:42]. When we, as Catholics, accept the teaching authority of the Church, or magisterium, we likewise submit to the teaching of the Apostles. Protected by the Holy Spirit, they have handed on the same teachings received by the original 12 Apostles. We need not worry of misinterpretation of God’s Word on our own part. This is what is meant by Tradition, which unchanging versus customs (traditions) which change through the ages and in various parts of the world. Tradition, and the Truth of the Gospel remains Universal.
The Catholic Church venerates both Sacred Scripture and the Body of the Lord, Both are offered in the Sacred Liturgy, the Mass. The Word of God did not come to earth in written form, but incarnate. “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, among us, and we saw his glory, the glory, as of the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14].

[quote=JonNC]As a non-Catholic I am convinced as well that God works His grace through the Catholic Church, just not exclusively so. His grace is found in His Church, when the label on the door happens to be Lutheran, or Orthodox, etc. Christ established His Church, so of course it works by and through His grace. Where the believers are gathered to hear His word and receive His sacraments, there is the Church, and His grace abides. Where the regenerate are doing His will, doing good works that benefit our neighbors, there the Church is, and His grace abides. I don’t see how sola scriptura can be construed to deny this.
Sola scriptura, as a practice, does essentially one thing, it holds doctrine and teachings accountable to scripture as the final norm. And at least in Lutheranism, that practice is exercised by the Church.
[/quote]

Good answer Jon! :thumbsup: Unfortunately it doesn’t go far enough toward the Truth. :blush:

In today’s reading: John 5, 31-47 it was borne in upon me that Jesus had this very same debate with the Pharisees!

The Pharisees as we know, rejected the Living Breathing Son of God, in preference to their perceived HIGHER AUTHORITY, meaning Moses, and the Torah. Jesus was saying and doing things not found (explicitly) in the Torah, and they rejected him.

Where Jesus says “another shall judge you, Moses, in whom you trust” just substitute the words “another shall judge you, the Bible, in which you trust.”

The same conditions apply as well. Jesus accused them of believing one who came in his own name and not the one that was sent. This too is true. The Apostolic Catholic Church was SENT into the world. It did not come on its own authority or witness. It was sent by Jesus Christ. Then others (much much later) came along on their OWN authority (based on their new doctrine of Sola Scriptura) and so many were willing to listen, exactly as Jesus had accused the Pharisees.

Nothing changes. The same debates, errors, misunderstandings we find in Scripture are still with us today. We just have to UNCOVER them, as they are hiding under new names and new guises. :wink:

Why is Sola Scriptura wrong? Because it is contradicted by Scripture itself.

In 1 Thess. 2:13 Paul addresses the people of Thessolonica saying

[quote=“1 Thess. 2:13”]We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.
[/quote]

Thus indicating the divinely inspired nature of the spoken words of the apostles, and in his follow up letter, he says:

[quote=“2 Thessalonians 2:15”]So then, brothers and sisters,[a] stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.
[/quote]

He makes no distinction whatsoever between the oral teaching he gave through preaching and the divinely inspired epistles he wrote, referring to both as tradition, and to hold fast to both of them, indicating that they are equally binding.

In Colossians 4:16, Paul says, Give my greetings to the brethren at La-odice’a, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the La-odice’ans; and see that you read also the letter from La-odice’a.
That letter that was sent to La-odicea has the same authority as this letter and Colossians, yet that letter didn’t make it in the Bible.

Also 1 Timothy 3:15-16 Paul says that the Church, not the Bible is the pillar and bulwark of truth.

Jon, no I do not have citations. I am basing my interpretation of sola scriptura entirely on past discussions I’ve had with numerous Protestants, a few of which were Protestant pastor friends of mine. This is the understanding of sola scriptura I was led to see. Perhaps it is wrong, but if so it is being taught that way in at least a few places…which points to something I brought up later…Catholic Church (as they have one central authoritative body of leaders to interpret scripture) has ONE official teaching, whereas Protestant faiths may have any number of teachings on the same topic. As is the case with my Protestant friends, it is often left to the Pastor of any congregation to make their own interpretations. My apologies if this isn’t correct, I feel my assumptions were reasonable, coming from multiple Protestant ministers.

The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation coming out of Vatican II states that “sacred tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church , in accord with God’s most wise design are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute to the salvation of souls.”
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that ignorance of scripture is ignorance of God. We do learn about God when we read his Word, but we receive Christ in the Sacraments. God’s Word is proclaimed and explained in the liturgy. Not only is the Word proclaimed, but as Catholics, we receive Christ in the Eucharist. We receive the same teachings, the Apostles received from Christ himself.

Very well put. I had never drawn this parallel myself and I think it explains very well the problems with Sola Scriptura.

Pax,

Sean

Goodness! No need to apologize. Your experience with those pastors is “citation” enough. You based your thread on what was known to you. Hopefully you understand where my response came from.

That different protestant communions may have differing understandings shouldn’t be surprising. Even different communions that reject sola scriptura as a practice and instead look to Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture have differing understandings of, for example, ecclesiastical authority.
Our divisions are much more related, I believe, to sin than it is to any hermeneutical principle or practice.

Jon

=AmbroseSJ;11862059]Good answer Jon! :thumbsup: Unfortunately it doesn’t go far enough toward the Truth. :blush:

Hi Am,
It wasn’t my intent to provide all truth. :slight_smile:

In today’s reading: John 5, 31-47 it was borne in upon me that Jesus had this very same debate with the Pharisees!

The Pharisees as we know, rejected the Living Breathing Son of God, in preference to their perceived HIGHER AUTHORITY, meaning Moses, and the Torah. Jesus was saying and doing things not found (explicitly) in the Torah, and they rejected him.

Where Jesus says “another shall judge you, Moses, in whom you trust” just substitute the words “another shall judge you, the Bible, in which you trust.”

The same conditions apply as well. Jesus accused them of believing one who came in his own name and not the one that was sent. This too is true. The Apostolic Catholic Church was SENT into the world. It did not come on its own authority or witness. It was sent by Jesus Christ. Then others (much much later) came along on their OWN authority (based on their new doctrine of Sola Scriptura) and so many were willing to listen, exactly as Jesus had accused the Pharisees.

The huge difference is neither of us is rejecting the Christ. And in fact, we both confess that same Church He founded. I actually have heard similar comparisons of the Pharisees to the Catholic Church, what with your hierarchy, etc. I find both arguments unconvincing. Neither of us rejects Him. Neither of us rejects His Church, though we certainly have a difference of opinion on what the proper nature of its authority should look like, both from a biblical and an early Church standpoint. And as I mentioned to Robo, differing views of how the ecclesiastical structure of the Church should look goes back long before the Reformation. In fact, ISTM that the practice sola scriptura is, in many ways, a response to that fracturing of Tradition some 500 years before the Reformation.

Hopefully, we are in a new era where these differences can be resolved, with the guidance of the Spirit who now guides and always has guided His Church.

Jon

The huge difference is neither of us is rejecting the Christ. And in fact, we both confess that same Church He founded. I actually have heard similar comparisons of the Pharisees to the Catholic Church, what with your hierarchy, etc. I find both arguments unconvincing.

Yes, I understand. However, it doesn’t stand up to the test of reality. What I mean is, the world itself has judged. As said by St. Augustine against the Donatists “securus judicat orbis terrarum”

The Donatists used your argument as well against the Catholic Church. But the world has judged. The Catholic Church and the Lutheran church are NOT the same church.

Let’s take another example: The Jews objected to Pilate posting “King of the Jews” on the Cross of Jesus Christ. But the world (Pilate) judged differently. The Jews preferred that it be posted “HE SAID he was the King of the Jews.” But the world judges rightly. (As St. Augustine says.) Therefore, it is ONLY Lutherans who believe they are the same church as the Catholic Church. The world (All of the world except Lutherans) believes they are NOT the same church.

Another example: The Jews rejected Jesus in preference to Moses and the Torah (their higher authority) You say you HAVEN’T rejected Jesus like the Jews. But you HAVE REJECTED HIS CHURCH. (Anyone who rejects you rejects me, and therefore Him that sent me.) You have preferred the Bible over His Living Breathing Church. That is why you will be judged BY THE BIBLE. Is ANYONE so SURE of the Bible, that they have NO FEAR of having erred in their interpretation? In their own private judgement? That is what you have in common with the Jews. They were SURE they knew and understood Moses and the Torah. That is why they rejected Jesus.

Another: The Jews doubted that Jesus could be the Messiah because they knew where he was from. (But did they?) Likewise, Sola Scripturists doubt the Catholic Church because they know where it is from (the errors of the Antichrist) But do they?

Finally, there is a danger in supposing that all religions are pretty much the same, ESPECIALLY if they share similar understandings of the Sacraments. Why the danger? Because then we play fast and loose with the Truth. We know that the Sacraments are Sacred and Holy. They can not just be mimicked. But what if they are? That is the danger.

I agree with you that one should not follow all the exact words written in the Christian canon (or any religious canon, for that matter).
But just looking at your first point for now…

The irony is, as you know, almost none of the original scripture has been preserved.
All we have are bits and fragments. The earliest full manuscript we have of these writings are from approx 300 years after they were written–copies of copies of copies…and we see changes and mistakes among these earliest copies that we have, so we cannot be sure exactly what the original scripture said.

Also, plenty of scripture written during the “early church” days by church fathers and followers and disciples that were centuries later considered heresy were also preserved and survive up to today. That would have to be considered “God’s grace/will/inspiration/favor” too.

As for surviving the persecution of Nero…some of the scripture in the Christian canon was written after Nero died.

And regarding statistics…Pew Research studies say that in 1910, Catholics comprised 17% of the world’s total population, according to historical estimates from the World Christian Database.
A century later, in 2010, the Pew Research study found that Catholics comprised16% of the total global population.
So while it’s going up and down in various countries, the overall numbers seem to be going down.

.

I agree that a good chunk of it was written AFTER the time of Nero…but the point is, up until it was finally written down, everything was transmitted orally. If the early church fathers and their disciples had all been killed and Christianity was eliminated as Nero was attempting to do, nothing of Christianity would have survived, especially BECAUSE it had yet to be passed on and written down…no one to pass down what was written

17% of global population conservative estimates in 1910 (1,985,000,000)=334,750,000
16% of global population in 2010 (6,985,000,000)=1,117,600,000=1.1 billion…a ‘little’ over actually

1,117,600,000-334,750,000=782,850,000 MORE Catholics now than there was in 1910.
782,750,000/334,750,000=

Only displaying these numbers is a bit misleading. Let’s crunch the numbers…

17% of global population conservative estimates in 1910 (1,985,000,000)=334,750,000 (Catholic church THEN)
16% of global population in 2010 (6,985,000,000)=1,117,600,000 (Catholic church NOW)
Like i pointed out, approximately 1.1 billion Catholics in the world today…a ‘little’ over actually. Just because it is not growing at the same rate as the global population, it is STILL GROWING. At a very good rate of its own, too!

1117600000-33475000=So yes, I stand by my original comment…The Catholic church IS growing, and at a very good rate

Only displaying these numbers is a bit misleading. Let’s crunch the numbers…

17% of global population conservative estimates in 1910 (1,985,000,000)=334,750,000 (Catholic church THEN)
16% of global population in 2010 (6,985,000,000)=1,117,600,000 (Catholic church NOW)
Like i pointed out, approximately 1.1 billion Catholics in the world today…a ‘little’ over actually. Just because it is not growing at the same rate as the global population, it is STILL GROWING. At a very good rate of its own, too!

1117600000-33475000=1084125000 (increase in Catholic Church)/33475000

So yes, I stand by my original comment…The Catholic church IS growing, and at a very good rate

DaddyGirl, assuming your numbers and percentages are correct…
Only displaying these numbers is a bit misleading. Let’s crunch the numbers…

17% of global population conservative estimates in 1910 (1,985,000,000)=337,450,000 (Catholic church THEN)
16% of global population in 2010 (6,985,000,000)=1,117,600,000 (Catholic church NOW)
Like i pointed out, approximately 1.1 billion Catholics in the world today…a ‘little’ over actually. Just because it is not growing at the same rate as the global population, it is STILL GROWING. At a very good rate of its own, too!

1,117,600,000-337,450,000= 780,150,000 (increase in Catholic Church)/337,450,000=2.31189 X 100=231.1 % rate of increase!!

So yes, I stand by my original comment…The Catholic church IS growing, and at a very good rate

Interesting thread so far.

My apologies for 3 different posts regarding the calculations…posting from a phone can be a pain in the butt sometimes :slight_smile:

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