The Highway
Posted By: AC. The Bible - Mon May 30, 2011 1:39 PM
In listening to Harold Camping recently go on one of his rants..... he was talking about the Bible as if God handed the Bible down to Him personally.

It got me thinking about the Bible.

Obviously the early church recognized what books were the inspired word of God. Then the books were joined together to form a unified whole that we have today.

When you take somebody like Camping, who uses every word and number to represent something symbolic I think it detracts from sola scriptura.

Then you have groups like the SDA's & Baptists who argue that Sunday worship and infant Baptism are not explicit in scripture.

I think it was Luther who said if a Christian practice is not condemned by scripture it is ok while Zwingli said if a practice is not commanded it should be abolished.

So my point is....does sola scriptura when put in practice for worship, instruction, etc. leave some holes? Should church tradition ever be considered when making a case for a doctrine or practice? Sunday sabbath and infant baptism immediately come to mind.

I hope I'm making sense???
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: The Bible - Mon May 30, 2011 3:02 PM
Originally Posted by AC.
Should church tradition ever be considered when making a case for a doctrine or practice? Sunday sabbath and infant baptism immediately come to mind.
Good question!

1. Neither the perpetuity and change of the Sabbath nor infant baptism are based upon tradition. grin

2. There is a legitimate recognition, purpose, and use in tradition which is solidly derived from Scripture. See John Murray's excellent article: Tradition: Romish and Protestant.
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Mon May 30, 2011 4:03 PM
don't get me wrong, when you take God's Word as a whole, change of Sabbath & infant baptism are definitely Biblical....but it seems never explicit enough for them who challenge....

I look forward to reading that article!
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 2:05 AM
This brings us to the question, did the early church believe in and practice sola scriptura, particularly the apostles?

The day of worship was changed from Saturday to Sunday and circumcision was done away with...and all this during the apostolic age. A strict adherence to the scriptures at hand would have prevented such changes, I imagine. It's almost as if the Apostles believed their authority came from Christ who commissioned them, not a book.

As far as infant baptism goes, I would argue that the "age of accountability" is the supplanting doctrine. Entire families were baptized together regardless of age. I have my own theories about why there is disagreement on this point, but suffice to say, waiting until a child is 8 and understands the rudimentaries of the gospel is a practice that can hardly be justified by scripture.

We will obviously have some disagreements on this since I come from a Catholic perspective, but since this Camping episode came out, I've been making the point that the practice of date setting didn't begin in earnest until the pretribulation teaching became popular in the 19th century; error springing from error. It's this populist movement that I think we can agree has abused the Bible. The Bible at no point gives direct support to dispensationalist eschatology or a "rapture" that precedes the Great Tribulation. In fact, it specifically contradicts these teachings by spelling out a sequence of events commonly associated with the Tribulation, that must precede Christ's return and our reunion with Him in the air. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 could not be more clear.

Though I clearly do not agree with Sola Scriptura, I do respect it as a rite with explicit orthodoxy. I should wish that all Protestants would follow it without deviation. A dogmatic observation of Sola Scriptura would have prevented the errors of pretribulation teaching and the rise of popular cults like that of Harold Camping. The idea that Christians will be whisked away any day and more importantly before any real persecution happens is an example of the "ear tickling" that Scripture strictly warns us against. This is why I believe that a rebellion against Sola Scriptura is the problem and it can only be resolved by returning to Sola Scriptura in its simplicity.
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 1:34 PM
I appreciate your thoughts....I am an ex-Catholic. But to be fair, in my neck of the woods there are not many knowledgable Catholics. I love asking Catholics around here what is meant by 'Immaculate Conception', 9 out of 10 believe the term refers to Jesus' conception bash. So back to myself, I was never a sincere Catholic. I know much more about Catholocism since I became a Reformed Protestant.....as a Roman Catholic, are there any beliefs, practices or doctrines that you feel are too far removed or in conflict with scriptures?


Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
This brings us to the question, did the early church believe in and practice sola scriptura, particularly the apostles?

The day of worship was changed from Saturday to Sunday and circumcision was done away with...and all this during the apostolic age. A strict adherence to the scriptures at hand would have prevented such changes, I imagine. It's almost as if the Apostles believed their authority came from Christ who commissioned them, not a book.

As far as infant baptism goes, I would argue that the "age of accountability" is the supplanting doctrine. Entire families were baptized together regardless of age. I have my own theories about why there is disagreement on this point, but suffice to say, waiting until a child is 8 and understands the rudimentaries of the gospel is a practice that can hardly be justified by scripture.

We will obviously have some disagreements on this since I come from a Catholic perspective, but since this Camping episode came out, I've been making the point that the practice of date setting didn't begin in earnest until the pretribulation teaching became popular in the 19th century; error springing from error. It's this populist movement that I think we can agree has abused the Bible. The Bible at no point gives direct support to dispensationalist eschatology or a "rapture" that precedes the Great Tribulation. In fact, it specifically contradicts these teachings by spelling out a sequence of events commonly associated with the Tribulation, that must precede Christ's return and our reunion with Him in the air. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 could not be more clear.

Though I clearly do not agree with Sola Scriptura, I do respect it as a rite with explicit orthodoxy. I should wish that all Protestants would follow it without deviation. A dogmatic observation of Sola Scriptura would have prevented the errors of pretribulation teaching and the rise of popular cults like that of Harold Camping. The idea that Christians will be whisked away any day and more importantly before any real persecution happens is an example of the "ear tickling" that Scripture strictly warns us against. This is why I believe that a rebellion against Sola Scriptura is the problem and it can only be resolved by returning to Sola Scriptura in its simplicity.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 1:45 PM
via_dolorosa,

It appears you haven't really grasped what "Sola Scriptura" is. scratch1

Harold Camping, for example, can't really be accused of violating the principle of "Sola Scriptura" because he isn't using any 'outside source' to formulate his atrocious predictions. He claims to be using the Bible alone as his source. His problem is a hermeneutical issue. The Dispensationalists also have a hermeneutical problem, one being among many, that they use a 'psycho-statistical-mean' method of interpreting texts. They then use current news to corroborate their doctrine.

Both are woefully in error and in the case of Camping, it boggles the mind that he has gone so far afield and that he has such a large following. (Matt 7:14; 24:11-13; 1Cor 11:19; 2Pet 2:1) It is one thing to read of these things in Church History books but an entirely different matter to witness them in one's own time.
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 4:20 PM
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
Though I clearly do not agree with Sola Scriptura, I do respect it as a rite with explicit orthodoxy. I should wish that all Protestants would follow it without deviation. A dogmatic observation of Sola Scriptura would have prevented the errors of pretribulation teaching and the rise of popular cults like that of Harold Camping.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
He claims to be using the Bible alone as his source. His problem is a hermeneutical issue.

Pilgrim knows a little about my returning to the Reformed Faith and the faith journey I've been on in the last few years.

A large reason for my wandering was because of the difficulties the Church has with interpreting and understanding the Bible.

I came to a point where I was just simply exhausted by trying to understand everyone's Biblical views.

So, I decided to take a close look at the Apostolic Church and the early Church Fathers and I decided through modern Catholic Apologists; that "Church Tradition" was very appealing to me. I got rid of all the work on my end... "The Keys of the Kingdom were given to Peter." Therefore, Peter has authority not Scripture.

I concluded that God did not simply stop revealing His will with Christ, but continued to guide His Church via the Popes. This was all very attractive to me, remember; the person who was sick and tired of trying to figure out the Protestant Faith with all of it's 3000 flavors.

So it became a lot easier to just chuck my Bibles and a hundred or so other Reformed books into the closet and just Let Church Tradition take control.

So I started to learn Catholicism. I went to a Traditional Catholic Church where the Mass was done in all Latin and I learned the Catholic Faith on my own. I then became a Catechumen and stared to go the RICA.

It was about this time, that I decided to read through Romans again and the whole thing crashed.

The whole Catholic position on the Epistle to the Romans is that Paul is referring to the Levitical Law; but it is very obvious that Paul is in fact referring to the Mosaic Law.

After re-reading Romans again and again, it was indisputable that Justification comes by faith alone apart from the works of the Law.

The Gospel is that we are saved by the Grace of God not by our own goodness or self righteousness.

So I finally started to discern all who were relying on their own righteousness ( religion ) and those who were relying on the Atoning work of Christ imputed to them through faith alone.

So I say all of this to say that; in our day, I fully believe that the Majority of the Church is in Error. There is major apostasy going on in the world today. This is the reason why no one can agree.

I believe, based upon the New Testament Scriptures; that Church Tradition should serve to keep and protect the Truth of God's Word and to guide the Church in their Sanctification.

One of the truly most disheartening realities of our day is the fact that there is absolutely no Church Authority and Discipline anymore. The Church is no longer truly sanctified anymore.

Even the most "Reformed" Presbyterian Churches in my area don't exorcise much to any authority anymore.

I see more authority exorcised in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches then I do in the Reformed Churches in my area.

This is a clear sign of little to no Church Tradition anymore. Most Churches, and sadly, even the Reformed Presbyterian Churches are being effected by the Modern Seeker Sensitive/ Arminian heresy.


Anyway..... here is my personal experience point; when I put all my extra-Biblical stuff off to the side and I committed myself to just read and listen to the Bible for a few months. ( I work alone and I drive a lot, which allows me to listen to many books of the Bible in a week ) Through Scripture Alone, I came back to the Reformed Faith.

It wasn't that I was Reformed and learned the Bible; it was I learned the Bible and became Reformed.

One who knows and understands and accepts and has faith in Genesis thru Revelations will become "Reformed."

The problem is that "Being Reformed" can just be a genre. In other words; there are many who call themselves "Reformed" but don't have an deep understanding of the Bible. They read everything but... so they become very "theologically reformed" but still aren't being washed by the Word.

This is why you have so many differences in the Reformed community; again leading to people who are trying to understand their faith better scratching their heads in frustration with all the differences among Reformed leaders and preachers.

My solution?

Sadly, I can not find too many people in my area who love the Word and spend time in it and in prayer every day. I can not find too many Church communities who are likewise.

So I just seek out and establish discipling fellowship relationships with those few that do love and understand the Truth. They always seem to be the most well rounded Reformed folks that I find.

Like Pilgrim as an example.


Dave
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 4:32 PM
Originally Posted by AC.
I appreciate your thoughts....I am an ex-Catholic. But to be fair, in my neck of the woods there are not many knowledgable Catholics.
That equation is changing rapidly. One of Blessed John Paul's life works was to make the catechism more available and encourage every lay Catholic to read the Bible and the CCC. More than ever, we are in a world wide exchange of ideas where the best ideas prevail on their own merits. In this world, every Catholic is on the front lines of this new battle.

Originally Posted by AC.
I love asking Catholics around here what is meant by 'Immaculate Conception', 9 out of 10 believe the term refers to Jesus' conception
If I asked Protestants what "imputed righteousness" means, I might get a blank stare from 9 out of 10. The ability to articulate one's faith is a rare skill indeed in every corner of Christianity.

Originally Posted by AC.
So back to myself, I was never a sincere Catholic. I know much more about Catholocism since I became a Reformed Protestant.....as a Roman Catholic, are there any beliefs, practices or doctrines that you feel are too far removed or in conflict with scriptures?


The whole question is set upon a false premise. For us, the Bible is a part of the revealed word of God, not the final arbiter of all Christian truth. The Church's authority is greater than that of the Bible evidenced clearly by the Church forming the canon by counsil to begin with. A servant does not become greater than its master. For this reason, St. Augustine said that he should not believe in the gospels themselves if it were not for the authority of the Catholic Church.

With that said, scriptural evidence of nearly every Catholic belief and practice can be easily demonstrated. An unfortunate trend is the knee-jerk question, "Where is that in the Bible?" which is applied almost thoughtlessly. "Where in the Bible does it say Mary was assumed into heaven?" How many times have I heard this question and how many times did I have to remind "bible-savy" protestants that Scripture does not record the demise of Mary at all. The Bible is not downplayed in Catholic teaching, in fact, as the revealed word of God, it receives a special reverence, but it's put into its proper role and context and we don't cause the Scriptures to shoulder a burden it was never meant to bear.
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 4:54 PM
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
via_dolorosa,

It appears you haven't really grasped what "Sola Scriptura" is. scratch1

Harold Camping, for example, can't really be accused of violating the principle of "Sola Scriptura" because he isn't using any 'outside source' to formulate his atrocious predictions. He claims to be using the Bible alone as his source. His problem is a hermeneutical issue. The Dispensationalists also have a hermeneutical problem, one being among many, that they use a 'psycho-statistical-mean' method of interpreting texts. They then use current news to corroborate their doctrine.

Both are woefully in error and in the case of Camping, it boggles the mind that he has gone so far afield and that he has such a large following. (Matt 7:14; 24:11-13; 1Cor 11:19; 2Pet 2:1) It is one thing to read of these things in Church History books but an entirely different matter to witness them in one's own time.

The kook church in Kansas that is protesting the funerals of fallen U.S. military members also derives its warped theology from the Bible only. You have to give me more credit as I'm intimately familiar with Sola Scriptura, especially as espoused by John Calvin who taught a method of exegesis that would have precluded the error of Harold Camping and the entire pretribulation rapture movement. In particular, Calvin warned against ignoring those scriptures that categorically contradicted a cherished belief. To ignore lay-of-the-land eschatology and to try to wring out of the Bible that which it doesn't support is to me a departure from the principles of Sola Scriptura. Pretrib is guilty of this. To emphasize some parts of scripture at the expense of other parts is also a departure from Sola Scriptura. The Kansas church is guilty of this. And John Calvin expressed stout opposition to both of these.

What's more disturbing than anything, Pilgrim, and something I addressed in my last post is the "escapism" at the heart of the pretribulation rapture teaching and what that says about the character of Christians today compared to those who experienced real persecution and did not seek reprieve from it.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 5:11 PM
via_dolorosa,

I really wish I could give you more credit in regard to your alleged understanding of 'Sola Scriptura', but unfortunately I simply cannot do that due to what you have written above. You are confusing the AUTHORITY of the Bible with the INTERPRETATION of the Bible. Camping, Dispensationalists, Premillennalists of all flavors and so many others unabashedly claim that their bizarre and fallacious views come solely from 'studying the Bible'. igiveup

However, I can agree with you whole-heartedly re: the 'escapism' of these eschatological systems, which fly in the face of clear biblical teaching that the Church will undergo severe persecution and cleansing until the day the Lord Christ returns. This certainly is appealing to Western culture's preoccupation with hedonism.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 5:28 PM
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
The whole question is set upon a false premise. For us, the Bible is a part of the revealed word of God, not the final arbiter of all Christian truth. The Church's authority is greater than that of the Bible evidenced clearly by the Church forming the canon by counsil to begin with. A servant does not become greater than its master. For this reason, St. Augustine said that he should not believe in the gospels themselves if it were not for the authority of the Catholic Church.
And of course, we historic Reformed Protestants would vehemently disagree... and have for centuries. wink

Tomes have been written on both sides defending their respective views and nothing I could possibly say here would therefore be of any import whatsoever. However, I have often put my observation of the error espoused by Rome in very simple terms: Rome claims the Bible is the very Word of God and therefore authoritative. And, that Bible gives Rome the ultimate authority over the Bible, thus making itself not only the supreme authority but de facto and of necessity, infallible, neither of which is logical or possible.

Given that my time is severely limited today, I'll simply provide some articles written by men far more qualified to explain the differences between Rome and Protestantism and who do an excellent job of refuting Rome's position.

- The Authority of Scripture
- What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?
- The Argument for an Infallible Body
- Unshakable Authority
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 7:11 PM
I'm going to try to remain on topic here.

Pilgrim already provided an excellent link I think - Tradition: Romish and Protestant

I have a problem when "Tradition" breaks with the plain truth of Scripture.

It seems very reasonable that God didn't become completely silent after the Ascension. Or maybe I should say after the Island of Patmos.

I haven't really done a lot of research on my own about God further revealing Himself to the Church after the death of the John.

But, from what I'm fully convinced of by Scripture; is that God doesn't change His mind and or His Character.

So in other words; the reason I'm not Catholic is because Catholic Doctrine goes against the plain truth of Scripture.... even if you accept the deuterocanonical text's.

I have to agree with Pilgrim in that the problem isn't with the Bible alone it's with interpretation.

Something I do agree with the Catholic Church is that private interpretation is very dangerous. The Bible isn't easy to understand; so the Church should have a level of authority in this area, but at the same time, individuals should be comparing the Church's teachings to that of the Scriptures on their own and have a voice towards possible error.

Another thing I like about the Catholic Church is that if something is disagreed with; people don't just "jump ship". The area of possible doctrinal error is addressed over a period of time. It might take several of years but there is the possibility of correction.

Unlike the Protestant Church which has gotten in the bad habit of schism'ing every time someone feels like it.

Again, lack of authority..... I do have to acknowledge the obvious main concern of the Catholic Church during the Reformation in that it was plainly obvious to them that "Scripture Alone" would result in thousands of different independent churches.

While I'll never be Catholic, I have to admit I'm not too fond of the Protestant Church either.

Dave
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 10:02 PM
Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
I'm going to try to remain on topic here.


I have a problem when "Tradition" breaks with the plain truth of Scripture.
And I'm trying to keep this on track too. The OP is about the Bible and how easily some who proclaim it the loudest can so easily deviate from it. That deviation then becomes a tradition and takes on a life of its own, defending its own interests against any attack and against, oddly enough, refutation by the very Bible from where it supposedly sprang.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
It seems very reasonable that God didn't become completely silent after the Ascension. Or maybe I should say after the Island of Patmos.

I haven't really done a lot of research on my own about God further revealing Himself to the Church after the death of the John.
It pains me to compare this thinking with the error of the LDS church, but there is an unmistakable parallel. Having found itself in disagreement with the Catholic Church that has reigned supreme as the sole representative of Christianity from the apostolic age to the Reformation, some Protestants have adopted the belief that God's revelation and involvement was either absent or utterly ignored for all those centuries. Mormons call this an apostacy prevalent until Joseph Smith restored the "true" church. Whether it be the advent of Joseph Smith or Martin Luther, there exists this belief that true Christianity was lost and needed to be restored. I could write a whole book on the problems with this belief.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
I have to agree with Pilgrim in that the problem isn't with the Bible alone it's with interpretation.
I don't wholly disagree with Pilgrim, but many Protestants agree that misinterpretation is an abuse of the Bible and a deviation from Sola Scriptura. Perhaps to make it clearer, Tota Scriptura, Sola Scriptura should be used to emphasize the exegetical method of fine tuning every part of scripture with the entirety of scripture. Put another way, no verse of scripture is complete without the rest of the Bible to aid in correct interpretation. R.C. Sproul warned against the errors resulting from a deviation of Tota Scriptura saying, "Once we remove ourselves from a view of tota Scriptura, we are free then to pick and choose what portions of Scripture are normative for Christian faith and life, just like picking cherries from a tree." Recent events have only served to highlight this truth.


Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
Something I do agree with the Catholic Church is that private interpretation is very dangerous. The Bible isn't easy to understand; so the Church should have a level of authority in this area, but at the same time, individuals should be comparing the Church's teachings to that of the Scriptures on their own and have a voice towards possible error.


One of my principle disagreements with Sola Scriptura is that the most compelling evidence of the correct interpretation as expressed by the practices and beliefs of the early church, is disregarded. The gospels did not contain all the teachings of Christ, but we see those missing parts played out in the later teachings of the apostles who taught those things they heard from Jesus. By the same token, all the teachings of the apostles were certainly not spelled out by the written epistles either. In fact, the epistles were largely written to follow up on teachings that were given orally. The proximity of the first few centuries of Christiany to the apostolic age should be far more credible a source of interpretation than our feeble guesses lo these 2000 years later.

For instance, Jesus said to call no man on earth your father, on that we are agreed. But then some Christians will lecture Catholics about how they are in violation of Christ's teaching. Had they had a greater familiarity of the use of the word "father" in the early church to refer to those of spiritual authority, they might understand that those removed from the life of Christ by mere decades had a very different understanding of His commandment.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
Another thing I like about the Catholic Church is that if something is disagreed with; people don't just "jump ship". The area of possible doctrinal error is addressed over a period of time. It might take several of years but there is the possibility of correction.

Unlike the Protestant Church which has gotten in the bad habit of schism'ing every time someone feels like it.
I know a pastor who often preached, "stay in your assigned seat" and decried the fact that when God heats up that seat a little, we're prone to get up and find another. There's a certain humility, precious in God's sight, by which someone accepts injustice within their immediate fellowship, yet does not leave but works through it. Such a person can reap a great reward by sticking around long enough to receive it.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
Again, lack of authority..... I do have to acknowledge the obvious main concern of the Catholic Church during the Reformation in that it was plainly obvious to them that "Scripture Alone" would result in thousands of different independent churches.

Another grave concern was printing copies of the Bible without the imprimatur of the bishop. Luther attempted to make his changes not only in the wording (like adding "alone") but by removing books he disagreed with from the canon itself. The reason we can have good faith that the Bible today is accurate, true, and free from corruption is because the Church faithfully preserved it through the centuries. What may seem like heavy-handedness in using even the penalty of death to deter unauthorized copies of the Bible was the method used by the Church to protect the Bible throughout the centuries. We ought not second guess it.

Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Tue May 31, 2011 11:56 PM
Only the Reformed Camp would know about imputed rightousness.....

as for the rest, we'll have to agree to disagee...maybe if the RCC maintained an Augustinian view of grace we'd be a little closer....but I know the divide runs deeper.....it's all a matter of who and through what means are the most reliable sources of Christian authority.

You must accept all aspects of RCC teachings or else you undermind the whole authority....we don't share that burden.

We may have a few kinks here and there but for the most part we are well grounded, at least that's our perspective.

Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:38 PM
Originally Posted by RC
We may have a few kinks here and there but for the most part we are well grounded, at least that's our perspective.

This is where I'm not convinced. I've been to a lot of "Reformed" communities in my area, and I've read a lot of Reformed thought online and I would have to say that there are a wide variety of differences even in and among the Reformed Camp.

In my area, the only "Reformed" denomination is the PCA. So I don't have any personal experience with any other Reformed Church. So my opinion here is limited as far as my physical experience. But of course, I've read a lot from other Reformed Churches online.

There is no Church Authority in the PCA in my area. If someone attempts to discipline another member, they can just pick up and go to another PCA church in the area.

But I realize that there are still Reformed Communities that are more strict. It's just sad that there are none in my area.

Now that being said; in my earlier comments about the RCC - I was referring to the Authority of the Magisterium, not of local parishes. The Parish that I went too, that was the "Traditionalist" Parish with Priest's of the Fraternity of Saint Peter; it still maintained a more "PreVat2" stricter authority. But in all the other Modernest Parishes, there really wasn't any authority either. Parishioners were allowed to do what ever they wanted.

So in that aspect, The RCC is in just as much dire straights as the Protestant Church.

And as AC stated... authority is only good if it protects and upholds the truth. I was just using the RCC as an example, I didn't mean to imply that I agreed with it.

Here is another example... Via Dolorosa mentioned R.C. Sproul. I've enjoyed Sproul's teaching for many years. So it took me as odd that His son R.C. Sproul Jr., whom is a Minister, had a different doctrinal belief on Communion the R.C. Senior.

And I'm thinking to myself "Really?" is whether or not children receiving communion enough to cause schism?
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:24 PM
I understand your concerns RM. I think, Pilgrim would agree that we have to find a church that is loyal to the confessions. I'm very high on Joel Beeke and his Heritage Reformed Congregations. Check him out on-line. I think when the essentials are sound, everything else can fall into its proper place....when a personal relationship with our Lord must be established a church that can rightly cultivate that bond is most critical....

Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:45 PM
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
The whole question is set upon a false premise. For us, the Bible is a part of the revealed word of God, not the final arbiter of all Christian truth. The Church's authority is greater than that of the Bible evidenced clearly by the Church forming the canon by counsil to begin with. A servant does not become greater than its master. For this reason, St. Augustine said that he should not believe in the gospels themselves if it were not for the authority of the Catholic Church.
And of course, we historic Reformed Protestants would vehemently disagree... and have for centuries. wink

Tomes have been written on both sides defending their respective views and nothing I could possibly say here would therefore be of any import whatsoever. However, I have often put my observation of the error espoused by Rome in very simple terms: Rome claims the Bible is the very Word of God and therefore authoritative. And, that Bible gives Rome the ultimate authority over the Bible, thus making itself not only the supreme authority but de facto and of necessity, infallible, neither of which is logical or possible.

Given that my time is severely limited today, I'll simply provide some articles written by men far more qualified to explain the differences between Rome and Protestantism and who do an excellent job of refuting Rome's position.

- The Authority of Scripture
- What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?
- The Argument for an Infallible Body
- Unshakable Authority

Greetings, Pilgrim.

Thank you for these sources and I have endeavored to read some of it. Of course many points are made that can hardly be contested in one post. Moreover, I'm not disposed to launching into an full blown agenda that undermines this site. I'm aware of the rules and respect them.

One consistant theme I can seize upon in regards to arguments for sola scriptura is the wide chasm between specific authority spelled out in various books, especially the epistles and the assumed general authority that would imply upon a canon that would be officiated 350 years in the future. While I cannot argue against Paul sending an epistle with specific mandates he expected to be observed, he also expected the tradition he gave orally to be observed as well, one not being inferior to the other. It's a stretch to suggest that Paul thought his words to apply to a canon of scriptures the content of which would be decided by a college of men several generations removed from him who would be deciding based on a much broader picture which books belonged and which didn't.

The Bereans were lauded because they searched the scriptures to verify the claims they were hearing. This is often used as a defense of Sola Sciptura, but again it's difficult to make this claim. The Bereans were searching prophesies that foretold of Jesus and, as we see by the form in which the gospels were written, the gospel was certainly preached citing multiple references from the scriptures. What stretches credulity is that Bereans verifying prophestic writings translates into a future canon, decided by Church council by the authority by which Christ commissioned the Church, having lordship over that same church; being a final arbiter of all matters of doctrine and practice.

One area that also bears mention in which I believe Sola Scriptura comes up short is demonstrating that Jesus, before He ascended, invested his authority in a book rather than the Apostles who he taught and commanded to teach as they heard from Him. By what other boldness could the Apostles go against Scripture by changing the Sabbath and doing away with circumcision? This isn't to say that the scriptures weren't cited to support the gospel message, but again deciphering the use of scripture as alluding to a bibliarchy is unreasonable.

These are only a few observations I want to make. In contending with Sola Scriptura, I don't want the wrong message to be sent that I am downplaying the Bible. Scripture is for us a written testamony of the story of salvation, a guide to living rightly and spiritually, a reference for the formation of doctrine and liturgy, and a daily source of inspiration, correction, and sustanance. It's value cannot be overstated and it is certainly precious to me. I have more thoughts to share as much as they are welcome here. Thank you.
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:59 PM
I believe, as a Roman Catholic representative on this board, your points have merit......

Where I have a greater problem is when scriptures run contrary to tradition. For me, tradition gets the boot every time.

And that's why Augustine referenced scriptures (not any type of church authority) in much of his arguments against Pelagius.

I can't rely on men or popes as upholders of truth, I could never believe Peter was a pope or that Mary holds such a prominent position in terms of worship, intercession or supernatural attributes. You, as a Roman Catholic, have to stifle any doubts you could have regarding the veracity of any of these so-called truths.

The problem with the RCC is that it took its own path along time ago, with subtle and not so subtle erroneous practices & traditions/doctrines. Just look at the indulgence controversies that was running rapid in the time of Luther. If a practice so wrong and ungodly could take root under the authority of the Catholic church why should I not believe all types of abuses of power, authority and truth could transpire over a few months let alone many centuries, even very early on.

I don't think having to rely on Sola Scriptura is a perfect way to go, but it became the necessary, reliable Christian standard.

If the transition from the simplicity & commands of scriptures that derived under the apostolic age from the pomp and circumstance and the related practices of Rome could be verified I would go back to Rome.

But even when considering the writings of the ECFs, to try to present the RCC in its present form as the immutable, unchanging authority isn't believable even if the changes that transpired over time are argued to be merely cosmetic.

Bible Christians rely on the Bible because they can't believe and accept what comes out of Rome as the ordained truth & authority of God.

I don't believe God is working out of a physical institution, there is an invisible church where God's spirit dwells. His people will spot truth from error for the most part(not perfectly) and will not be deceived with the Bible as their guide, the only reliable source of truth.
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:48 AM
Originally Posted by AC.
I believe, as a Roman Catholic representative on this board, your points have merit......

Where I have a greater problem is when scriptures run contrary to tradition. For me, tradition gets the boot every time.

Greetings, AC.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Catholics and Protestants keep missing each other. We are starting from different premises. The Catholic Church does not pit the Bible against tradition as Protestants do, but rather consider the Bible a part, and a significant part, of Sacred Tradition. The either/or of Protestants are on a different paradigm than the both/and of Catholic belief and these differing paradigms explain a lot of issues on which we see differently.

Originally Posted by AC.
And that's why Augustine referenced scriptures (not any type of church authority) in much of his arguments against Pelagius.
There are strong and weak defenses of Sola Scriptura, and this is a weak one. It helps to step outside of the argument to see why certain arguments, while seeming to buttress Sola Scriptura, are actually ineffective. The use of scripture to demonstrate a doctrinal point does not translate to scripture being the supreme authority over all doctrine, usurping the authority Christ gave to the Church.


Originally Posted by AC.
I can't rely on men or popes as upholders of truth, I could never believe Peter was a pope

Let's hold right there. Aside from the fact that Peter was the leader among equals, there's an important scripture that lays the groundwork for the Seat of Peter:

Quote
Matthew 23:
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,[a]that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.


In spite of their hypocrisy, the Pharisees held a trans-generational office. If this was true for the Old Covenant, how much more is it true for the New Covenant as demonstrated in the opening of Acts where the apostles nominated a replacement for Judas, the first example of apostolic succession. This is an example of where the charge that Catholics make up unbiblical traditions proves untrue. Though you may not agree with the interpretation, you can see why we believe the Seat of Moses was replaced by the Seat of Peter in scripture.

Originally Posted by AC.
or that Mary holds such a prominent position in terms of worship, intercession or supernatural attributes. You, as a Roman Catholic, have to stifle any doubts you could have regarding the veracity of any of these so-called truths.

Strawman arguments deal ineffective blows in any rhetorical exchange. Mary is neither worshipped nor endowed with supernatural powers. To say Catholics ought to be criticized for holding these beliefs when we don't is to posit a strawman.

Originally Posted by AC.
The problem with the RCC is that it took its own path along time ago, with subtle and not so subtle erroneous practices & traditions/doctrines. Just look at the indulgence controversies that was running rapid in the time of Luther. If a practice so wrong and ungodly could take root under the authority of the Catholic church why should I not believe all types of abuses of power, authority and truth could transpire over a few months let alone many centuries, even very early on.
And few Catholics will argue that Luther didn't have a valid point on the abuse of indulgences and the general corruption that infested the Vatican leadership at that time. The 95 Thesis was entirely correct and, I believe, served as a warning that dire consequences would follow continued recalcitrance in these matters. The Protestant Reformation resulted from a massive failure of the Church to heed God's correction.

Originally Posted by AC.
I don't think having to rely on Sola Scriptura is a perfect way to go, but it became the necessary, reliable Christian standard.
On that we are agreed. As I've argued from the beginning, it's a departure from Sola Scriptura that causes Christians to fall prey to cults like that of Harold Camping.

Originally Posted by AC.
If the transition from the simplicity & commands of scriptures that derived under the apostolic age from the pomp and circumstance and the related practices of Rome could be verified I would go back to Rome.
The problem I see with Sola Scriptura is that it imposes on a growing Church the strictures of a much smaller, simpler church. It would be tantamount to having the U.S. Army operate on the ordinances that governed the Continental Army 230 years ago. The Doctrine of the Trinity, the Creeds, the Canon of Scripture, and many other matters were solved by a church tackling issues that didn't present themselves during the apostolic age.


Originally Posted by AC.
I don't believe God is working out of a physical institution, there is an invisible church where God's spirit dwells. His people will spot truth from error for the most part(not perfectly) and will not be deceived with the Bible as their guide, the only reliable source of truth.
You're quite incorrect about the "invisible church". Jesus compared his future church to a shining city on a hill, a visible representation to which the world can look to for answers and guidance. An authority structure immediately followed Christ's ascension, and the Counsil of Jerusalem was the first example of official leadership deciding doctrinal and administrative issues.

Buildings? It might do well to remember that the early Church was mercilessly persecuted and in hiding until Constantine ended the persecutions. Archeology points to buildings and cathedrals that went all the way back to the first centuries. But more importantly, there is a certain continuity to be expected from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant considering our God is changeless. The first tabernacle that the itinerant Israelites built would eventually be replaced by a glorious temple that God physically resided in. The constant theme through the Old Testament is that God took pleasure in the magnificent structures Israel built for His honor, but when the hearts of Israel departed from God, then the temple and rituals became an empty show. Nothing is different today. The ancient cathedrals throughout the world are absolutely breath taking, and all built for the glory of God, but it's far more important that our hearts are turned toward God that our religious labors may not be in vain.
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:53 AM
Well, I give you credit for standing your ground in enemy territory takethat I must really like that 'smile' since I use it a lot....

I'm not looking to get into a debate about RCC's claim to Apostolic succession , the primacy of Peter & whether he reigned in Rome and many other points of contention between Catholics & Protestants...

Just to clarify about Mary, I would consider the belief that she was sinless and bodily ascended to heaven supernatural claims that fell outside the miraculous virgin birth. Obviously prayers of intercession to Mary & saints would fall short of worship. Although I think that becomes a natural yet unintended consequence....

And again, I'm not looking to argue these matters. Where there is good will between members, and I feel there to be so, these discussions usually end in each side praying for the other....that's where I'll let it lie on my end.

AC



Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:52 PM
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
Strawman arguments deal ineffective blows in any rhetorical exchange. Mary is neither worshipped nor endowed with supernatural powers. To say Catholics ought to be criticized for holding these beliefs when we don't is to posit a strawman.

I'm sorry via_dolorosa but if I went to the zoo; it wouldn't matter how long I stood and pointed at an elephant and called it a tiger, even after hours, no one would still believe me.

Point here is, It's ridiculous for Catholics to make this claim. Mary is worshiped in my Catholic circles by many Catholics. To deny that is to deny plain and obvious truth.

Now I do affirm that many Catholics do not have any focus on Mary.... just like they don't have any focus on anything else either.

Mary is also looked upon to be a mediator of grace and therefore to have as you put it "supernatural powers."

While the Rosary is largely about Christ, one is still doing it for Mary and to receive saving grace through her.

The whole Catholic theology on Mary is that she is a mediator of grace. From the false interpretation of the Vulgate of Genesis 3:15 to the wrong focus on the Marian types in the Old Testament to the focus on the Wedding Feast at Cana; in where Jesus obey's His mother's request - thereby proving her to be a mediator. To the wrong interpretation of John 19:26 - trying to establish the command made by the Lord establishing Mary as the Mother of the Church and then of course onto Revelation 12....

Here is my point.

On one hand, I do like putting focus on Mary. Mary is a wonderful example to Christian women. I encourage my daughters to think and meditate on Mary's life and her faithfulness.

I also have to admit that I liked doing the Rosary when I was thinking about becoming Catholic. I also liked Mariology.

But.....

Scripture is very clear, there is only one Mediator. Period; and that hasn't changed. There is no knew revelation, God doesn't change His mind. It doesn't make any sense that none of the Apostles ever said anything about the importance of Mary, but rather put all of the importance on Christ alone.

Also.... in the Marian Catholic view, Jesus hates us because we're sinners and Mary loves us as a loving forgiving mother. So that is why she has to mediate between us and Christ. She has to "smooth things over with him" and she does this by our worship to her through our own works righteousness. i.e.; Rosary, novenas, feast days etc.... etc...

The Bible is very clear; the gospel of Jesus Christ is Justification by faith alone, anything else is empty religion.
Posted By: Tom Re: The Bible - Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:48 PM
Quote
Well, I give you credit for standing your ground in enemy territory takethat I must really like that 'smile' since I use it a lot....

I'm not looking to get into a debate about RCC's claim to Apostolic succession , the primacy of Peter & whether he reigned in Rome and many other points of contention between Catholics & Protestants...

Just to clarify about Mary, I would consider the belief that she was sinless and bodily ascended to heaven supernatural claims that fell outside the miraculous virgin birth. Obviously prayers of intercession to Mary & saints would fall short of worship. Although I think that becomes a natural yet unintended consequence....

And again, I'm not looking to argue these matters. Where there is good will between members, and I feel there to be so, these discussions usually end in each side praying for the other....that's where I'll let it lie on my end.

AC

It is a misunderstanding to say that all (many do) RC’s worship Mary, yet like you indicated it is an unintended consequence. The thing however, that I would pursue on this matter is that Christ is the only one that makes intersession between the saints and God. We should never pray to or through anyone other than Jesus Christ to make intersession for us. Of course we also know that the Spirit makes intersession for us. (Rom. 8:26-27)
I have talked to some very knowledgeable RCs that make it quite clear that they do indeed pray through both Mary and other saints to make intersession for them and their loved ones. I can’t remember their justification for doing this, but they appeal to tradition, not Scripture itself.
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:34 AM
Originally Posted by Tom
It is a misunderstanding to say that all (many do) RC’s worship Mary, yet like you indicated it is an unintended consequence. The thing however, that I would pursue on this matter is that Christ is the only one that makes intersession between the saints and God. We should never pray to or through anyone other than Jesus Christ to make intersession for us. Of course we also know that the Spirit makes intersession for us. (Rom. 8:26-27)
I have talked to some very knowledgeable RCs that make it quite clear that they do indeed pray through both Mary and other saints to make intersession for them and their loved ones. I can’t remember their justification for doing this, but they appeal to tradition, not Scripture itself.

oh yes I agree with you Tom!

http://www.prayerfoundation.org/why_protestants_dont_pray_to_mary.htm
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:49 PM
Originally Posted by Tom
Quote
Well, I give you credit for standing your ground in enemy territory takethat I must really like that 'smile' since I use it a lot....

I'm not looking to get into a debate about RCC's claim to Apostolic succession , the primacy of Peter & whether he reigned in Rome and many other points of contention between Catholics & Protestants...

Just to clarify about Mary, I would consider the belief that she was sinless and bodily ascended to heaven supernatural claims that fell outside the miraculous virgin birth. Obviously prayers of intercession to Mary & saints would fall short of worship. Although I think that becomes a natural yet unintended consequence....

And again, I'm not looking to argue these matters. Where there is good will between members, and I feel there to be so, these discussions usually end in each side praying for the other....that's where I'll let it lie on my end.

AC

It is a misunderstanding to say that all (many do) RC’s worship Mary, yet like you indicated it is an unintended consequence. The thing however, that I would pursue on this matter is that Christ is the only one that makes intersession between the saints and God. We should never pray to or through anyone other than Jesus Christ to make intersession for us. Of course we also know that the Spirit makes intersession for us. (Rom. 8:26-27)
I have talked to some very knowledgeable RCs that make it quite clear that they do indeed pray through both Mary and other saints to make intersession for them and their loved ones. I can’t remember their justification for doing this, but they appeal to tradition, not Scripture itself.

Tom,

Sorry, but actually Catholics do appeal to Scripture in their stance on the mediation of Mary and the Saints.

In Mary's case, they look at the Vulgate and they misinterpret Genesis; in saying that: "I will put enmity between you and the woman and that SHE will crush thy head." ------ alluding to Mary rather then Christ.

We then see Old Testament typology focusing on Mary

We then see the misinterpretation of the Wedding Feast at Cana where Jesus "obeys" the will of his mother.... alluding to Mary's being the mediator of grace.

We then see in Jesus telling John to "behold thy mother" while He was on the cross; ---- alluding to the establishment of Mary being a mediator between the saints and Christ.

We then see the misinterpretation of Revelation 12 being about Mary instead of the Church....

So it is very clear to Catholics..... especially Catholic Religious, especially monastics that it is proven from Scripture that Mary is and should be the mediator of all graces.

Dave
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:14 PM
Thank you. I digress as well, especially seeing as it's a little off topic. One may wonder why I'm a member of a DB such as this and even give financial support from time to time. It's because all of my family is Protestant and my father is the pastor of a church. Having broken with tradition to become a lifelong Catholic, I have an intimate familiarity with the way Protestants think and the faultlines that exist between Protestants and Catholics. You're right that I'm in hostile territory and it appears some even believe that Catholics aren't Christian which is sad indeed. I hope to present compelling evidence otherwise.

In the Sacred Heart of Christ
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:16 PM
via_dolorosa,

As you have stated above, you are on a "Reformed Protestant" forum.

I personally, as many others on this board I believe, do not bare any ill will towards Catholics. It is unfortunate that in the area of apologetics; for most, personal feelings are involved. Which is understandable. But when one person is defending their convictions, it doesn't mean that they are being insensitive.

Anyway with that being said; I afraid that it will be impossible for you to sway the moderators here. They are fully convicted and have been defending the Reformed Faith for a long time. They know the arguments.

I don't say this to try to "shoo" you away, I'm just saying it so that you might not get offended and discouraged. Even though I don't agree with your faith and or doctrinal belief's I don't want to see you upset.

In fact, I enjoy having Catholics here and not so I can try to "prove" anything, but because it's simply good to dialog.

Anyway, I hope that I haven't said anything offensive, I'm just simply trying to defend the Reformed Faith and or my personal faith belief's against what I consider to be errors based on Scripture.

One other note.

I can't count how many times I've heard people state "how sad it is for Reformed Protestants to not consider Catholics as Christians."

Again, this isn't a personal attack.

But the same can be said about Catholics.

Now, I do understand the new language of Post Vat2.

For me personally, If I ever became a Catholic, I would have to be a pre Vat2 Catholic..... and I'm not saying that I would ever become a Catholic.

But the pre Vat2 Catholic would have said, "only Catholics are Christians."

But now the Post Vat2 Catholics say that there is still the possibility of true saving faith outside of the Catholic Church.

This new language of course is more "inclusive" and less offensive language.

But it's still based on works righteousness.

The question I ultimately had to ask myself when I was a Catholic Catechumen was this; "what separates me from a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Jehovah's Witness, a Mormon, a morally good person....etc... etc...

As a modern post Vat2 Catholic, I simply couldn't answer that question.

Because at the end of the day.... the modern Catholic's answer is "well there's always the possibility of salvation as long as a person is demonstrating good works."

For me and the other Reformed Protestants, we firmly stand on Faith Alone. Anything outside of Faith Alone is considered by our interpretation of Scripture is "unbelief."

Therefore that is why a Reformed Protestant has to stand firm on this point of contention and so it isn't with ill will that they have to say that they do not believe Catholics are saved, it is because they are defending the most important doctrine for them.

Dave
Posted By: Newman Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:08 PM
Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
via_dolorosa,
But the pre Vat2 Catholic would have said, "only Catholics are Christians."
Perhaps so, yet at the same time, Protestants were and are usually not required to be re-baptised. It seems to me that this was/is an explicit (or at the very least implicit) acknowledgment that Protestants are indeed Christians.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
But now the Post Vat2 Catholics say that there is still the possibility of true saving faith outside of the Catholic Church.

This new language of course is more "inclusive" and less offensive language.
That is partially true. It's true that this is certainly a conciliar teaching, and very much a part of the post-conciliar Church. Its false though, to imagine that this all began with V2. The V2 documents on salvation for non-Catholics was very much a continuation of pre-Conciliar teaching in the previous 100 years...really continuing the work of Vatican I that was interrupted 100 years earlier. The 1910 Catechism of Pius X for example stated:

Quote
“If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best he can, such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation.”
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:40 PM
Originally Posted by Newman
That is partially true. It's true that this is certainly a conciliar teaching, and very much a part of the post-conciliar Church. Its false though

False?

Hmm.... seems to me that Pius X and the Current Magisterium says exactly what I stated in my above comments.

I've discussed salvation with many Catholics and this is precisely the language they use.

"Implicit Desire" means that anyone can be saved.

Plus this just affirms my point of works righteousness.

"sincerely seeking God's truth and doing Gods will as best as a person can."

Nowhere in there does it mention having faith in Christ.
Posted By: Newman Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:18 PM
Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
Originally Posted by Newman
That is partially true. It's true that this is certainly a conciliar teaching, and very much a part of the post-conciliar Church. Its false though

False?
"Its false though, to imagine that this all began with V2." If you didn't mean to imply that this all began with V2, then I gladly stand corrected. Is that not what you meant to imply?

Originally Posted by RM
Hmm.... seems to me that Pius X and the Current Magisterium says exactly what I stated in my above comments.
If by that you mean that they speak the same way, more or less, I agree.


Originally Posted by RM
Plus this just affirms my point of works righteousness.

"sincerely seeking God's truth and doing Gods will as best as a person can."

Nowhere in there does it mention having faith in Christ.
A sincere question. We know that babies and young children cannot, before a certain age or ability, have faith in Christ. If they happen to die before receiving this capability of knowledge, can they be saved?
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:11 AM
I wrestle with the whole salvation issue especially when Catholics and even other free-will protestants are concerned....

so I'd like to speak as candidly as possible, and I'm trying to speak out of love for my fellow man and specifically to ALL the board members.....

I tend to have a pretty narrow view of salvation....and let me be clear, this does not mean a true Christian is some Holy, Pious, Super Christian or anything like that....if that were true myself and the family of whom I am the head would be in major trouble!

I'm thinking more along the lines of a true Christianity, not the type of Christianity that simply runs on the surface or simply fits God in here or there...and this is the type of Christianity I often fall prey to myself.

I'm thinking more of those moments in which His people feel separated and long for communion with Him and His people. The Christians whose life started when they were made to feel the vileness of their sins and have been in heavy pursuit of God and His grace ever since, daily putting their trust in Jesus and as a result there is a natural (spiritual) engaging in repentance and sanctified works of obedience.

So there is the concern for the Catholic Church....a concern that even the preaching and teaching is faulty and many of the laity and the leaders of the institution will go eternally lost.

No church saves, but I think many churches gloss over the starting point in which we enter into a right relationship with God where Jesus is made precious to the lost sinner.....I think of Peter who told Jesus to flee from Him for he is a sinful man, or Paul and how he was completely transformed by the spirit of God. There is David who daily walked with God and was chastised when he went astray. John who loved Jesus and rested on His breast. Mary who laid at His feet and washed His feet with her tears. And crooked Zacharias who repented of his wicked life, actively gave restitution and followed Jesus from the moment He was born of God. These are people who felt their sins and lived for God. I think it's a narrow road that leads to the promised land. I think a multitude are walking it. And I think the call is going out all over the world and Jesus will welcome those with open arms. But I think we're all looking for short-cuts and are seduced by many worldly distractions that are even taking root in the churches. This is my concern for myself and my fellow man, whether it be Calvinist, Roman Catholic or Jew, etc.....

I'll step off the soapbox now!
AC

rantoff
Posted By: Tom Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:13 AM
A few years ago didn't the current pope say something about only Catholics being true Christians?

Tom
Posted By: Tom Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:33 AM
That is interesting; I can only go with what RCs say. I will say however, if what I hear is true there is a sense that even these misinterpretations have an element of "tradition" in them. Unlike Protestants, Catholics do not interpret Scripture with Scripture, they appeal to tradition.

Tom
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:39 AM
I agree that there needs to be a standard of who may be called a Christian. We are assured by Jesus that the road that leads to life is narrow and few find it. Balance that with God's sincere desire to save as many as possible, reaching out to the highways and outlands to those who never were invited to the wedding feast to replace those who were and turned up their noses.

Is the Mormon a Christian? The Jehovah Witness? I would give a hesitant yes to the first and a categorical no to the second. While Mormons take a radical departure from orthodoxy by suggesting that Christ is a creature, Jehovah Witnesses seem wholly indifferent to Christ crucified for sinners.

But there is another issue as well. Who God decides to save will not fall along the same gerrymandered lines that we draw, nor will God abide by the formulas we propose to put on Him. While there can be no doubt that Jesus is the only name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved...how, when, and under which circumstances people come to accept or reject God's grace is not something that can be judged accurately by outward appearances. Like David was chosen by Samuel out of all of his "more qualified" brothers, we too can be deceived by our own eyes and ears.

When we start down the path of saying who is and who isn't Christian, where does that end? Shall we consider the lunatic rants of Ellen G. White who believed anyone who worshipped on Sunday took the mark of the beast and were not Christian as an example of how far adrif we might go? I rather like Christ's teaching that he who is not against us is on our side (Mark 9:39). Our duty is to preach Christ crucified and leave the final judgement to God.
Posted By: AC. Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:36 AM
I agree with that statement to a point....and I agree we should try not to make Christianity into a formula...but if some of these differences in doctrine were irrelevant when considering the big picture then what is all the fuss about.....I think you are taking a bit of a laissez faire attitude here....with the Reformation various forms of heresy and more importantly God's honor was at stake with each side fighting a virtual holy war against the other, obviously for good reason resolution and harmony was never achieved.

Thankfully, the bloodshed and persecution stopped but I still believe there are spiritual consequences on the line in these disputes....while I agree with you that only God knows the heart and He is the final judge....

Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
I rather like Christ's teaching that he who is not against us is on our side (Mark 9:39). Our duty is to preach Christ crucified and leave the final judgement to God.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:44 AM
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
Is the Mormon a Christian? The Jehovah Witness? I would give a hesitant yes to the first and a categorical no to the second. While Mormons take a radical departure from orthodoxy by suggesting that Christ is a creature, Jehovah Witnesses seem wholly indifferent to Christ crucified for sinners.
I must admit that I was deeply saddened to read what you wrote here. Despite the fact and because you appeared to be an ardent Roman Catholic, I have always thought you held to the historic evangelical Creeds, e.g., the Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedon. Evidently, you too have fallen into modernism and either ignore these foundational statements of the Christian religion or deny their verity and secondary authority. You might as well include Muslims as those who can be saved for they like the Mormons deny the doctrine of the Trinity.

There IS a "faith once delivered unto the saints", that "faith" being a body of truths, doctrines which come from God himself. Without truth there is no salvation. As to how much truth one needs to have in order to be considered a Christian is a much debated question. Obviously the answer will vary considerably depending upon who you talk to. The most lackadaisical will of course generally make the requirements minimal and the Pharisaical will make the requirements extraordinarily narrow and harsh. And in case you couldn't guess, I believe the Reformers and Puritans took the biblically 'narrow road' that leads to eternal life and set forth those doctrines which were and are commonly believed by all who have a true living faith. Issues as to whether you should immerse, sprinkle or pour in baptism are minor although some on both sides make them to be monumental, fellowship-breaking doctrines, much to their shame. But to deny the very doctrine of God's nature can hardly be considered a minor issue.

Again, I am deeply shocked that you would even hesitantly consider a Mormon as being beloved of God and destined for glory. And IF this is what the modern RCC is OFFICIALLY teaching, then this just goes to show how far afield the Roman State Church has gone over the past 50 years. So you see, it isn't just Protestantism that has cast off its roots, which it has for the most part and gone far astray in doctrine and life. [Linked Image]
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:33 PM
We are probably going to have different opinions on this, but our points of agreement would certainly outnumber our disagreements.

Mormons call themselves Christians, something that JW's will not do, which is why I can't place them in the same basket. Of course, in defining what it is to be a Christian, we can ultimately fall back on the Creeds, the first significant winnowing fan separating orthodox from heretic. The Creeds defined the Trinity, the eternal nature of God, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, resurrection and bodily ascension, and so on. In saying that Christ is a creature instead of the eternal God, the LDS church has taken a radical departure from the doctrinal essentials of Christianity, and as such, I can't blame any Christian who doesn't want to include them under our banner. The most generous thing I can say of the LDS is that they can be subsumed into a more aggrandized definition of Christianity in that they attempt to follow Jesus as best they understand him.

But one thing I cannot do is make the leap between saying they are not Christian and saying they cannot be saved and one thing I can definitively say is taught by the Catholic Church is that the only one who knows who will go to heaven is God himself. The LDS church is besotted with error in many ways, but if we take upon ourselves the task of deciding how much error can keep those who strive to follow Christ from the salvation Christ offers, then where do we draw that line, and by what authority? We can claim that the Mormons follow a different Jesus and preach a different gospel, and there is ample scriptural evidence for this, but to then suggest that this alone puts out of their reach the very salvation they are seeking is to trek into uncharted territory, that is the impeccable judgement of God. Jesus told the Pharisees that tax collecters and harlots would enter the kingdom of heaven before them; an indicator that an unpenitant heart is the sure harbinger of damnation, not error in belief.

Perhaps it is my fervent prayer and desire that the deceptions of the LDS church will not consign to perdition those sincere followers who all their lives have hoped for heaven and eternity with Christ as I do. My own parents came out of the RLDS, having discerned the error and set free by the truth, and that is my prayer for all Mormons; that the veil of darkness might be lifted. And for my part, I will do all I can to expose the falsehoods of the LDS in hopes that somebody can become free of it. But that failing, I still hope to be in heaven with them.

Edit: As far as official Catholic teaching goes, we accept all converts from non Catholic Christian denominations without requiring rebaptism, believing the Protestant baptism meets all the requirements for legitimacy. That is not extended to LDS converts who must undergo a correct baptism. Let that fact speak for itself.
Posted By: Reformation Monk Re: The Bible - Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:56 AM
Via_dolorosa,

This is what I believe to be an example of why I personally believe in Scripture Alone.

I am a Cessationist when It coms to further Special Revelation. I believe by Scripture that God's final special revelation ceased with Christ and His apostles.

The reason I say that, is because It doesn't make sense to me to have a God who "changes" His mind.

Therefore; I can't accept any truth that contradicts the plain truth of scripture.

My only recommendation to you at this point is for you to read the Bible.

As this thread has proven, at the end of the day, there is still always going to be minor differences in doctrine, such as credo and paedo baptism and what not, but the differences are minor.

You talk about the creeds.... but even in the Apostles and Nicene Creed's there is no mention of Faith Alone. So in my opinion there isn't enough in them.

For myself personally, the gospel is faith in Christ's atoning work on the Cross imputed to us through this faith alone without any personal work of justification of our own. To deviate this, to add any work righteousness is to preach another gospel.

Which can lead to any belief.

So again, my only recommendation is for you to just pick up your Bible and read it for a few months and let it speak to you.
Dave
Posted By: via_dolorosa Re: The Bible - Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:35 AM
Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
Greetings, Reformation Monk.

[quote=Reformation Monk]
I am a Cessationist when It coms to further Special Revelation. I believe by Scripture that God's final special revelation ceased with Christ and His apostles.
On that we definitely disagree. The Council of Jerusalem itself set the template for further revelations in regard to doctrine and administration. To say that special revelation ceased with Christ and the Apostles is to make the eggregious error of saying that the Bible itself is not a product of revelation.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
The reason I say that, is because It doesn't make sense to me to have a God who "changes" His mind.

Therefore; I can't accept any truth that contradicts the plain truth of scripture.
God never changes his mind. Not ever. And none of God's revelations contradicts another, but rather all of God's revelation is pluperfect in continuity. What we may disagree on is what constitutes God's revelation as I don't believe it begins and ends with the Bible notely because the Bible, particularly the New Testament, was never designed as an exhaustive account of all that Christ OR the apostles taught. For this reason, we are exhorted to "hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." (2Thess 2:15)

More on the theme that God does not give conflicting revelations, what appears as a conflict at first glance is not a conflict when examined in detail. Even within the Bible, there is a perception by the ignorant that the Bible "contradicts itself." But those who know the Bible well can easily clear up that mistake. In a broader sense, what teachings and traditions you think conflict with the Bible I can readily explain in the context of early church tradition, a far more credible indicator of true doctrine than our feeble guesses 2000 years later. For instance, to refer to presbyters, elders, and other mature Christians in leadership as "father" was common in the early church, indicating that those Christians had quite a different take on what Jesus meant when he said to call no man your father. This is an example of how a glancing view of scripture can lead to incorrect conclusions about which doctrines and practices are correct or incorrect and why a thorough exegesis of scripture must include the context of the beliefs of the early church.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
My only recommendation to you at this point is for you to read the Bible.
I have read the Bible since I was a wee lad and have a deep love and reverence for it. The Bible has helped to lead me to the holy Catholic faith. But I thank you all the same for your exhortation as we should always be reminding each other to do this more.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
For myself personally, the gospel is faith in Christ's atoning work on the Cross imputed to us through this faith alone without any personal work of justification of our own. To deviate this, to add any work righteousness is to preach another gospel.

Which can lead to any belief.

The reason we could arrive at a Joint Declaration of Justification is because our beliefs are not really that far apart and are often just expressed in a different way. That we are saved by grace, through faith given to us from God is a unifying belief. I'm fond of using Christ's "unprofitable servant" teaching to underscore that though we do those works which are our duty to do, in the end, nobody can outgive or outdo the Lord and we rest on the fact that we are saved by grace, unmerited favor given to us out of love, not remuneration.
© The Highway