Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Religion is probably the biggest divider in world history, but for those that believe in God it is central to our existence. Share your views.
silentwssj
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Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » November 16th, 2014, 8:01 pm

Ok people! I Have decided to start round 2 of my discussion on the Catholic faith. I am going to pick a topic and write a separate post for each one. I want to do this so that we can stay focused on each new topic and not make one individual post so long that it becomes unreadable to the casual observer. I would like to urge people to keep all comments to the original post topic! It is way to difficult for me to address everything that Catholicism teaches. I want to pick one subject and work systematically through them one by one. That way if someone ever wants to reference or comment on one individual subject it will be easy to do so. Also, this will enable me to add things to posts at later dates. I also want to emphasize that I am in no way trying to disrespect other Christians beliefs. I am simply trying to explain the Catholic Churches point of view. So, in the spirit of ecumenism my only hope is to bring other Christians to a fuller knowledge of what the Catholic Church actually teaches. As I have stated before, it only does harm and creates division when our purpose is to win arguments instead of souls! I want my writings to stimulate minds and make people question things that they have been taught. I say this because I have come to the conclusion that most non Catholics actually have no idea what the Catholic Church really is or what it teaches for that matter! I will do my best to not bash Protestantism. They are after all Christians and a part of the body of Christ by virtue of their Baptism! I do insist on talking about other Christians beliefs because I have to defend my faith and I cant do it with addressing certain historical facts and doctrines that they hold to. I will do my best not to get disrespectful when doing this though. Also, being that this is a one topic at a time discussion, there will be certain things that I will allude to Such as the Church, Tradition, Magisterium, Etc. I will address those topics individually on their own in the very near future. This topic is about the Bible. I may use those words in this post but it will be in regards to explaining the Bible. I will define each of those topics clearly at a later date so lets not get lost in all of that. Another thing is that this is a huge undertaking! I will probably be making posts for a year or more straight. Please do not expect me to try to conclude anything on Catholicism as a whole right now. I am not trying to type a one post rebuttal that will win over converts. I am trying to explain the faith one subject at a time. Again, lets not get caught up in wholesale anti Catholic posts or remarks that cover the Church as a whole. I will do my best over time and many posts to explain everything one subject at a time. This way I can be thorough and write a conclusion at the end of it all.

First off, a little about me! I come from a mixed religious background! One parent was raised Catholic and the other was raised Methodist! Neither one of them believes in God or at least any "Man made religious myths" as they would put it! Both of my parents are highly educated people! My father has a doctorate degree in Anthropology and my mother has a Masters degree in Psychology! On a side note, You guys are probably wondering how in the hell did you end up gangbanging coming from a family like that. Well, I grew up in the neighborhood, I was down to put in work and damn sure knew how to make a buck! LOL! The only way that I can describe it is you become who you associate with and I was a product of my environment. I liked to party and fight, so I followed those type of people around and became one of them. Those of us who lived that life know that there are all kinds of different people roaming around in it! Anyways, It is my belief that all that schooling turned my parents away from their strict religious upbringings. I don't know how many of you have any kind of advanced education but trust me Universities are full of atheist professors. I only have an AA degree and I started a Bachelors degree but never finished it. I saw enough in that short time to gain some incite into what would lead my parents to abandon the faith on the alter of so called knowledge! They believe in science and only science! They do not accept That there could be a God who is the architect of the world as we know it. In their way of thinking the universe is governed by a random set of laws this is not constructed by any higher power! To them all peoples and cultures express their belief in God differently depending on their geography, culture, and myths that have been passed down from each groups respective race or culture. In fact what I was taught as a little boy was that Christianity was a made up religion to control the population or society that we live in. In my fathers mind it is ridiculous to believe in a Father in the sky who is hovering over us. He taught me that Christianity was simply the culmination of varying myths that came out of the middle east! All religions have their own unique ways of defining the world as we know it and the laws that people should adhere to! In his mind Christianity was simply just one of many of these mythological traditions. He truly believes that when the Bible talks about sin it was written as a means to control society. If you have a set of rules supposedly commanded by God, then people will follow them and not sin if it is presented as a choice of going to heaven or hell! The reason that I am telling you guys all of this is because this is what I was taught as a child! I believed it all and what resulted was a child that had no moral compass! I did drugs, I gangbanged, and most of all I was an all around criminal who did as he pleased! I determined what was right and wrong in my own life based on my own instincts and sense of judgment. I believed that I was free totally and completely. No man made rules of society or mythological God figure could tell me what to do. I determined my own life course and fate! I am sorry if I have gone way off course in saying all of this. This after all is supposed to be a post about the bible right! The reason that I put this personal touch on this post is to give it a twist! I want you to understand that I in no way shape or form should be the Christian that I am today! Everything in my upbringing screamed "NO" to religion! All 4 of my grandparents were devout Christians, yet my parents rejected absolutely everything that was taught to them and they passed it along to me! I in no way shape or form should have ever believed in anything that the bible had to say or teach, after all I was taught and believed that it was simply Hebrew myths put together to control the people of Palestine! Now lets jump back in time to one of my incarcerations. Many years ago I found myself doing time in Elmwood which is Santa Clara counties main jail facility. I was in Lockdown at the time and those of you who have been there or to similar environments you know that reading material is sparse. It is a dorm room with one TV and one combination workout station with a pull up bar and a dip bar, that is it! I being a Norteno usually passed my day by working out. the problem was that will only get you so far into the day. You can only work out so much, eventually you need other things to occupy your mind. TV in jail, there is only one and its use is governed by democratic election. This means that everyone gets a say in what we watch. This usually leads to something being on that you personally do not want to watch. At least that usually the situation that I found myself in. One day out of shear boredom I picked up the one piece of reading material that was available to me, a bible! You see, the jail system allows Christians to distribute them throughout the system free of charge in the hopes that us criminals will happen to read them. This is exactly what happened in my case. I was simply bored out of my mind and decided to see what could be found in the pages of these mythological Hebrew manuscripts, or so I thought! It is funny because looking back on it, it was God himself placing me in that environment and sending people my way to further minister his word to me. You see I was an addict-alcoholic-gang member, who would not ever have the clarity of mind due of all the substances that I put into my body, or the desire to read anything religious because of my upbringing. Anyhow, I picked up this little bible that had psalms, proverbs and the new testament in it. I skimmed through some of the prayers and songs that were contained in psalms and put it down for a few days. What I did not realize was that God was moving in my life! This dorm contained a lot of us homeboys from VHS, my varrio! Sometimes different Christian groups would show up at the jail to minister to us convicts. There was an older homeboy from my hood that we called Huero. He told me "Hey bro, lets go to the prayer service. Even if you don't believe in God it is a way to get out of this dorm and see all the homies from the other dorms. This is one way that we can communicate with the rest of the jail, plus it passes time". I thought hey what the hell. Once we got there, I felt that weird feeling almost like a tingling sensation that I get to this day when I walk into a church! The best way I can describe it is a physical aura or feeling of a presence. I honestly believe it is the holy spirit! At this time I did not know what to believe though, all I knew was that I had been touched by this weird mysterious feeling that I had never experienced before. A few days later I noticed that some inmates were coming back to the dorm with brand new bibles. These were full editions, not the little ones that were inside the dorm. I asked a guy who had just got one and he said to fill out a chaplain request form for a bible. I did this and got more than I bargained for. about a week later my name was called over the loud speaker to exit the dorm for a visit. I thought this is weird, I was not expecting anyone. When I showed up to the room there was this little Vietnamese pastor. I thought oh boy, here we go. I quickly explained to him that I was not even a Christian, I was simply interested in the bible and wanted a copy to learn more. He then asked me what I was in there for and he wanted to know more about me and my life and upbringing. I quickly told him that I got busted with a meth lab and a stash of guns! I was facing some pretty serious prison time and he wanted to pray with me. Once again I thought oh boy. We held hands and closed our eyes and prayed. Once again I felt that weird physical presence come over me. At the end of it, he told me that he had a special bible that he was saving to give to the right person. It was an expensive leather bound NIV study bible. He then went on to say that God was telling him that I was that special person. He could tell and he wanted me to have it. I then went back into then dorm with it and all the other inmates were jealous. hey wanted to know how I got such a nice bible. They were all lining up trying to trade me what ever I wanted for it. I was not having any of it though. This became my one and only prized possession. A few days later another west side Homie happened to be bunked up right next to me. We called him Scully. He was an older Norteno, from the neighborhood and was definitely a veterano of the streets and the prison system. He was different from everyone else. He programmed like the rest of us and did his duty for the cause as we all do in jail. The thing that set him apart was he had this quiet confidence and wisdom about him. He also had his head in his bible all the time. I began to take out my prized possession and look at it one day. I told him that I had never read the bible before and that I was thinking about starting at the beginning with genesis. He told me no little homie! You need to start with one of the gospels. That is where all the good stuff is at. He then said that his favorite book of the bible is the book of John. He also explained that there are 4 books that are all basically the same, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. They are called the synoptic gospels and they each tell the story of jesus from different points of view. In his opinion the book of John was the best though. I being new to this and looking up to the older homie decided all right lets see what this bible stuff is really all about. I proceeded to read the book of John and have to say that I was touched from that moment forward. This was not some idle collection of mythological writings. This was God himself talking through the pages to me! It felt the presence once again and knew that something was happening deep inside of me as read about all the miracles and teachings of Christ. This was not some devious plot designed to control people as I had been taught. This was God himself speaking to his people. These were not idle commands, he was explaining sin and how to overcome it in an authoritative manner and I was feeling it! He was performing miracles before peoples eyes and they were following him because of it! I thought about all the martyrs there were in Christianity and how the apostles all had willingly given up their lives for the Church. I also though about how some people say that Jesus body was simply stolen and that he did not really rise from the dead. Then it popped in my head would you die a horrible death knowing that you were trying to defend a made up lie. Hell no! Most martyrs were given an option to renounce their faith and yet they still choose death because they knew God was real! There was no other option! Jesus choose his apostles carefully and they knew that they had had to carry the gospel message all over the world even unto death! Anyhow, I continued reading this prized possession of mine until I had finished it. At he time I was facing anywhere from 5 to 12 years. At my preliminary hearing the prosecution decided they would dangle an offer of 3 years in front of me to save the county the expense of a trial. I sensed that this was the best I was going to get. I also knew that if I lost at trial they would max me with 12 years. So, I did what most of us convicts do, I jumped on the deal and found myself on the next departing greygoose! I took that bible with me all over the County jail and through San Quentin and High Desert state prison. I still possess it today! When I paroled out I can honestly say that I was a different person. Gods word had slowly transformed me from the inside out. I still gangbanged in there. I was not one of those guys that all of a sudden hid behind his bible. I rationalized that I was not reading it on the streets so why hide from your obligations as a Norteno in here behind it. What I did gain though was a new friend, a secret confidant that I could talk to about anything and ask for guidance, his Name is God. I learned to close my eyes at night and fall into deep prayer and I discovered something else, that mysterious presence covering my whole body when I did this. I wanted to tell this story to you guys out there on streetgangs, so that you can understand that I should have never been one to read the bible or come to Christianity at all. It was God working in my life that lead me to Christianity. I never would have made it through the initial doubts that came with my conversion if it were not for the Gods word in the Bible. I say this out of deep respect and reverence for the word of God and I know that I would be where I am today had that Bible not been given to me! Anyhow enough about me! What I want you guys to know is that my path to where I am at now took many twists and turns. I was a lukewarm Christian at best in the beginning. Once I paroled out to the streets I was once again caught up in the worldly desires of the flesh. A few more prison adventures would soon follow. Finally, while doing a ten month violation in San Quentin, I decided you know what I am going to make God a promise. When I get out of here I am going to actually try and live a life of faith. You see in there I would go to all kinds of services Catholic or Protestant it did not matter to me. I was thirsty for the word of God and I was open to all denominations. It is funny because I was serious in prison on my last go round. I went up for altar call and everything! All the homies were looking at me like oh man! Silent is feeling it. They could tell I was real about it this time. You see a lot of convicts believe in God but we don't usually follow him in our daily lives because of who we are and the environments that we operate in. This time I was determined to follow through though. I paroled out in early 2003 for the last time. I visited a protestant church first and then had a talk with my father of all people. It is funny looking back on it all because he gave me some real good advice considering he's somewhere between an atheist and agnostic. He told me if you are going to become a Christian why don't you become a Catholic. They after all were the original Christians and they have a great history and tradition of being exceptionally scholarly amongst the various Christian groups. Not only that unlike fundamentalist bible only Christians they are open to science and all of its teachings as long as you don't take God of them. He knew this because he was sent to Catholic school all of his life and raised Catholic. Even though he does not believe, he was still trying to give me the best advice that he could. Anyhow, I decided kind of on a whim screw it, I promised God that I was going to make this change and follow him in real life, so here it goes. I will become Catholic! The nearest church to my parents house was Sacred Heart parish on willow street in San Jose, CA! This is located in a 4 gang boundary area. See my map on San Jose gangs if you want to know what I am talking about. VHS, WSM, SSP, and C14 all roughly meet each others respective territories right about at this parish. I went to mass and told them afterwards that I wanted to become Catholic. They asked me my story and were shocked to be honest. They hooked me up with a sponsor for RCIA and I began my process of becoming Catholic. It took me almost 2 years to complete it. I used to walk through hostile areas to get mass and even see enemies there. all I can say is that God was with me because I am still here today writing this! Finally I was accepted into the church and given all of my sacraments. I also had the pleasure of giving the Father there a seven page eye popping confession. He totally tripped out on me because he was aware of all the gang violence surrounding the parish. here I was sitting in his office asking for absolution for a lifetime of sin committed against my community. In the end he gave it to me and I have never looked back! Praise God! As part of my becoming Catholic I wanted to really learn my faith. I purchased and read numerous books on the faith and I continue to grow and learn more all the time! Sorry for veering so far off of the beaten path here, this is after all a post on the bible. I just wanted you guys on streetgangs to understand the road that took me to where I am today as a person, what things influenced me and how I got to where I am now! I am definitely not an expert on anything, I am simply a man who wants to share what he has learned in life with others. This is what my studies have taught me! I will now share them with you.

When Christ came to earth he founded a church and put a person in charge of that church "Peter", who was chief among all the apostles and is considered the first pope amongst us Catholics. The reason why I am bringing all of this up is that in the earliest stages of the Christian church there was no new Testament and therefore no Bible! There was only the Church that Christ had founded on Peter, "The Catholic Church". There was scripture, but it was all old testament. In fact, the first words of the new testament were penned in AD 50 (1 Thessalonians) and the last words of the new testament were penned sometime between AD 90 and AD 100 (Revelations). This means that the new Testament was not even complete until the end of the first century. This begs the question, just what were the first Christians believing and doing? I thought that the bible was the sole rule of faith? How could that be if the Church was functioning without it? Obviously the First Christians were not Bible Christians at all because it did not exist. A little more about that time period. Jesus spent the last 3 years of his earthly life fulfilling all of the prophesies of the Old Testament, evangelizing and forming his church. after his crucifixion and resurrection the apostles were left with the Church that he had founded. They did not have a bible, at least not a New Testament to guide them at all. What they did have was an authoritative group of people to govern this church, peter and the apostles. They taught the people orally and over time they wrote letters to different churches which in turn became what we know as the New Testament. This is extremely important to understand! There was no bible in the beginning. The apostles taught orally by word of mouth! I emphasize this because Protestants believe the bible to be the sole rule of faith! It did not just magically drop from the sky directly from the hand of God though! It was the Church who wrote it and decided which books belong in it. The early Christians did not have a New Testament to guide them in anything, it was still being written! What they did do was devote themselves to the apostles teachings (acts 2;42), this was long before their was a New Testament. From the very beginning , the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, not in a book! The teaching Church, with its oral, Apostolic Tradition was what these early Christians had! In fact that is how the Catholic church decided which books belonged and which did not belong. Tradition and Scripture both derive from the same source according to Catholicism. When choosing which books belonged in the cannon, the Church only choose books that meshed with sacred tradition. There were in fact many books out there! Most did not make into the cannon of scripture. As an example, do the Gnostic gospels ring a bell! This Tradition is the original deposit of faith, it is not some man made tradition of men! Not only that when one reads the Scriptures today it is always in light of sacred Tradition that one must read them and interpret them. You see, the Catholic Church is the author of the entire New Testament. All of its writers were Catholic! Before it all was written they had the sacred deposit of faith directly from Jesus and the Apostles themselves. We as Catholics believe in every single word of the bible. It is the inspired and infallible word of God after all. The problems between different Christian arise in interpreting it. The Catholic Church has the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition to guide it. Protestants have only their numerous individual interpretations to guide them. This is wrong and unbiblical! The Catholic Church was founded by Christ, Protestant churches did not appear for 1500 years after Christ. No one believed in anything that they teach until about 500 years ago. There version of Christianity still had yet to be invented! Here is proof of who the real Church that Christ established is (Mt 16:18-19) "and so I say to you, you are peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it". Peter was the first pope! There is a direct line of Popes traced from peter to the present! This is the church that Christ established. The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. If Catholicism is wrong then and Protestantism is right then for 1500 hundred years the gates of hell were prevailing against it. I think not, at least if you believe in what the bible says. It would be impossible! After all, nobody believed in any form of Protestant teaching until 500 years ago!The bible tells us that sacred Tradition is to be followed alongside scripture (2 thess 2:15) "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement by letter of ours". The bible also tells us that Jesus will be with his church until the end of time (Mt 28:20) The Catholic Church is the only Church that was there from the beginning! It was literally founded by Christ himself! All these other Protestant denominations literally had someone who started a new branch of Christianity with the founding of their new denomination! I need to remind people that (1 Tim 3:15) states "The Church is the pillar and the foundation of truth". Who is the Church, The Church is the one that was there from the beginning, founded on Peter and the Apostles, The Catholic Church Historically it was the Catholic Church who used her authority to determine which books belonged in the bible, and to assure us that everything in the bible is inspired, this is historical fact! Other Christian groups deny the authority of the Catholic Church, yet they adhere to its authority in choosing the cannon of scripture! Martin Luther himself admits that Christians owe their bible to the efforts of the Catholic Church. "We are obliged to yield many things to the papists [Catholics]-that they posses the word of God which we received from them, otherwise we should have known nothing at all about it". Another interesting fact about Martin Luther who is the father of the Protestant movement is that he advocated removing the books of Hebrews, James, Jude, and revelation. He wanted to do this because he came up with his own doctrine of "faith alone" and submitted the books of the bible to his own doctrine and found them incompatible with them, Wow! Is all I can say. I would not want to follow someone who adds or takes away anything from the bible and that is exactly what he did! He considered Jude a modified copy of 2 peter, he bashed revelations denying that an apostle wrote it or that the holy spirit inspired it, he stated that James does nothing more than drive to the law and its works and he called it an epistle of straw, to be burned! Remember (Jam 2:14-24) "a man is justified by works and not faith alone". He did want verses like that in his new version because it would challenge his new theology. speaking of the word "faith", he added the word "alone" to (Romans 3:28) it actually reads " For we consider that a person is justified by apart from works of the law" He changed it to "faith alone". If you don't believe me Google this stuff or read a book about it! I am speaking truth here and you should really think about that! He also removed 7 books from the old Testament. Catholics call these books Deutero Canonical and Protestants call them the Apocrypha. He wanted to reject these books for two main reasons, One was (2 Maccabees) included a reference for prayers for the dead. This is a practice that the Church encouraged for the souls in purgatory which he denied existed! Remember he came up with a totally new set of beliefs He taught a totally unheard of Doctrine where once you were saved you were always saved! Purgatory cant exist in this new doctrine, or it wouldn't make any sense. So he removed The books of the bible that Contain references towards it! The other reason he gave was he wanted to use the cannon of scripture that the Jews accepted at the council of Jamnia around AD 70. This sounds good on the surface. Why wouldn't you want to use the version of the Old Testament written in Hebrew and accepted by the Jews? The problem with this is anything that the Jews do after the time of Christ is irrelevant. This council was in AD 70. They had no more authority at that time. Remember authority now lays with the foundation of his Church. He delegated all power to his apostles. The Church decided instead to use the same Old Testament Cannon that it always had used which was the Septuagint. This was the Greek version of the Old testament which included the Apocrypha. I need to point out that Christ himself used the Septuagint! In fact, the great majority of the Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament come directly from the Septuagint. 340 places where the NT cites the Septuagint but only 33 places where it cites from the Hebrew cannon instead. Wow, that is over 90% of the time. Obviously the Apostles were reading and using the Septuagint if they were quoting Scripture from it! It is worth mentioning that there was no official cannon of scripture or Bible as we know it until the councils of Carthage AD 397 and Hippo in AD 393. This is almost 400 years after the time of Christ! Think about that! There was no Church in existence that even had a complete Bible for the fist 4 centuries. Until then Christians only had the original deposit of faith contained in sacred Tradition to go by. At these councils the Church decided which books were to be included in the bible. For the New Testament the criteria chosen was, was it written by an apostle and does it stay consistent with sacred Tradition found in the Church. Remember, in the beginning their was no Scripture to go by, they only operated on the original deposit of faith passed from Christ to his Apostles and the Sacred Tradition that flowed from that and out of that we get the Bible! For the old Testament, The Church choose the Septuagint version of the old testament as it was used by Christ himself and the apostles. All the early church fathers quoted this version. it was not until 1500 hundred years later that Martin Luther trashed them because it did not mesh with his new theology. In fact he tried to justify it with the writings of Saint Jerome, who had doubts about the Septuagint because it was written in Greek and not Hebrew. Well guess what! Greek was the international language spoken by all people in that region during that time. Christ and the Apostles used it! It is irrelevant to exclude books used by God himself because they were thought not be written in Hebrew. I say thought because in modern times we have also discovered the dead sea scrolls. They contain them and in Hebrew as well! To bad they were not discovered in Martin Luther's day, this would have saved these books from being dropped by Martin Luther. The other reformers only allowed him to do this because they did not know that there were in fact Apocryphal books written in Hebrew! Now Protestants are forced to keep their incomplete bible or admit that Luther was wrong and watch all their arguments against Purgatory come crashing down! Ouch! Another good point to bring up is Saint Jerome actually initially had his doubts but eventually conceded that he needed to trust the teaching authority contained in the magisterium. This leads me to bring up another point! Protestants say that all you need is the word of God and the holy spirit will guide you into truth. I say that if this is true then Why is their no doctrinal unity amongst them? If they are truly basing their beliefs on the Bible alone without the taint of man made traditions and the holy spirit is guiding them into all truth then we would expect some doctrinal unity amongst them. Truth is you cant find it amongst the thousands of denominations out there. They are rudderless ships all drifting on their own interpretation of the bible. This has only led to chaos and confusion. If Protestantism is true, then God intended for Christians to base their beliefs in the Bible alone. This is obviously not true, as they all believe in completely different versions of the same story! They love to cite (2 Tim 3:16-17) "all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work". A good point to make here is that "all scripture" should not be forced to mean "only scripture". Read that last sentence carefully! We as Catholics believe every word of that passage. The thing is there more that is commanded in the bible! As I stated before the bible commands adherence to sacred tradition. I would like to point out a few verses. (Jn 21:25) " Not everything Jesus said is recorded in scripture". Hold fast to traditions, whether oral or by letter (2 Thess 2:15) " Shun those not acting according to tradition" (2 Thess 3:6) "There shall be one fold and one Shepard" (Jn 10:16) Now ask yourself was my Church their in the beginning? Was it built on the rock of peter? Does my Church have the Authority determine what is scripture and what is not scripture. Do I want to entrust that decision to the One and only apostolic church founded by Christ himself who he gave all power to (Mt 28:18-20), Or do I want to follow the precepts of "Sola Scriptura" or bible alone even though the bible does not teach this? I ask you to ask yourself these questions. Personally, I want to belong to the Church that I know was there in the beginning, was founded on the apostles themselves, and holds to all of the bible and everything contained in it. Not the private interpretation of some independent person claiming to be inspired by the holy spirit. Remember (2 Pet 1:20) "No prophecy is a matter of private interpretation" We need to be mindful of this and keep in mind "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me". (Lk 10:16) I think is good to keep scripture in its rightful place. To a Catholic it is simply one part of the whole truth. It is not to stand alone. Jesus established a Church. This Church is hierarchical which I will explain in later posts. The Magisterium is the hierarchy which I am talking about. All Scripture flows from sacred Tradition and is read in light of it. This is not man made Traditions of men, which I will also touch on soon enough. For me, I want to be apart of the original Church! I do not want to put blind faith in some individual denominations own way of doing things based on their own private interpretation of scripture. This is blatantly wrong in my eyes! I have had conversations with Protestants where they assert that all Churches fall into some sort of error or another. They have to say that because they can not agree with one another on simple matters of faith and doctrine! I got news for you there is one Church that has been there from the beginning! It is considered infallible in matters of "faith and morals and its name is Catholic! It is guided by the holy spirit and scripture backs all of this up! we will talk more about that later as well. It has held to a set of beliefs that are found from the very beginning. All this is found in the early writings of the first Christians. If you want to know what these early Christians were doing try reading the writings of the saints and early Church fathers. You will find out they were all solidly Catholic in teaching and belief and name! It has been said to immerse yourself in early church history is to cease to be a protestant. Read some Cardinal John Henry Newman. He set out to read early church history so he could rebut the Catholic Church. At the end of his research he converted to Catholicism! You cant come away from it any other way. To do so would require a denial of the truth put before you. most Protestants don't know this because they believe in the Bible alone and refuse to read any other material! Instead they choose to ignore history and tradition and follow their own erroneous interpretations of scripture. This only leads to taking things out of context and mass confusion! In conclusion, the Catholic Church believes in Sacred scripture but not Sacred Scripture alone! Everything must be read in context not out of context. Tradition is all that the Early Church had to go on for the first 4 centuries! The Bible itself commands believers to follow it!! The New Testament was written by Catholic authors the Apostles! It literally is the author and Guarantier of it! It was the Catholic Church that decided what was scripture and what was not. The Catholic Church uses the complete Bible. This means using the Septuagint version of the Old Testament which was used by Christ and Quoted by the Apostles when they wrote the New Testament! Hopefully this clears some things up for all you readers out there!

This post was quite long! I had much more to say, but all good things must come to an end! I hope I did not bore you guys with all of the personal details of my life. I simply wanted to add a personal touch to all of this. I felt that after all you guys needed to understand how someone actually comes to God! There is a lot of emotion behind it believe me. This post only scratched at it! The next post I will cover Tradition, Authority, and the Papacy! I personally think that those are good topics to start off with and to lay a good solid foundation for answering all the rest of the questions that are yet to come. Hopefully I did not disrespect anyone. It was not my intention to do so if I did. I simply wanted to stimulate everyone's mind and make them think about certain things a little differently! Yes I talked about other Christian groups quite a bit here, but I felt I had to. I wouldn't have been able to drive certain vital point home if I did not. I only seek to explain the truth as I see it and to clear up any misconceptions about the the Catholic Church. As always, Peaceout Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » November 16th, 2014, 8:37 pm

I just re-read this post in its entirety! I want to apologize for not proofreading it better! I see a lot of grammar mistakes here. Also, I should have broken it up by paragraph better! That would make it easier to read. After re-reading it may seem that I said that Jesus Spoke Greek, That is not what meant! He spoke Aramaic! I meant that the Septuagint was written in Greek and that Greek was the language of commerce for the entire Mediterranean region. This was post was extremely long and honestly I got tired of typing! After re-reading it, I should have taken a break and proofread it better! Anyhow, I tried my best! More to come later! I will probably take a few more weeks to do this next one maybe even a month. Until then God Bless! Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 17th, 2014, 8:59 am

Silent you mentioned we as Catholics believe in every Word in the Bible I have to call you on that statement only now remember Im your homie and friend so there will just be some facts stated by the way great post,you wrote well this believe it or not I study after years in the SHU Faith is believing what is true. Faith has 2 elements,1. Being convinced of the truth and being certain of reality,having evidence of unseen things and 2. Believing,hoping in,embracing seizing the truth1.Calling Priests Father is Forbidden does Jesus approve of calling Leaders in the Church you say was founded by Him ? Here is scripture stating truth:Matthew 23:9Do not call anyone on earth your father,for one is your Father He who is in Heaven,Silent there is alot of Catholic doctrine that contradicts the bibles teachings as bright as you are I dont understand you cant see this but I will always keep it 100% with you .2. Praying repetitive words using Rosary beads is also Forbidden and contradicts the bibles teachings again Read Matthew 6:7And when you are praying do not use Repetition as the gentiles do, for they suppose that they will. be heard for their many words. I believe you were also taught the Vigin Mary never had sex after Jesus was born and that Jesus. Had no brothers or sisters? The pope teaches that mary is the mediator between God and man and Catholics also engage in more praising of mary than Jesus I will list others as time goes by and these are truths of Gods infallible word which is made perfect as we know there are many more that you are aware of or not but I will bring them to the Light for you Silent so I believe the statement you made is incorrect The bible is contradicted by your Catholic Reigion more than once many times and alot of it is based on tradition take it Catholics are the biggest Chistian Denomination and believe it has alot of man made garbage. In it plain text as you post I will match scripture to detest it if it is not truth for all to read,The Truth Will set us Free fom non fiction to fiction with respects bumper

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 17th, 2014, 9:39 am

IJohn1:9 we are only to Confess our sins to God our only Father not priests another misconception in the bible by Catholics. You said you gave a man your confession Why? When Jesus death burial and resurection happened Confessing to Priests was abloshid we no longer since Jesus died for our sins are to confess our sins to any priests brother they also got ypu believing that is the truth its not brother.stay tuned for more truths Gods infallible word not mine .

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » November 17th, 2014, 9:23 pm

Hey there Bumperjack! I will definitely touch on all the issues that you brought up in depth in future posts. What I really wanted to do was take one subject at a time and work on only that single issue. I promise you that I will touch on all things Catholic! Believe me I have spent the last 16 years studying this subject and I am pretty well versed in both sides of it. I will quickly give you a couple of answers to your post though. Hopefully we can avoid this in the future as I want to devote the bulk of my energies working on my next posts. That way we can work through them individually and in detail. I am not going to give the full blown explanation here for any of these answers. They will all get their own post in due time.

1. Confession! We as Catholics always ask God for forgiveness directly! When you go to confession you stand in line for about an hour awaiting your turn. That entire time, when I go, I am talking to God. Just me and him! The part that Protestants don't get is that we do it through his ministers or priests because that is what God requires, as clearly taught in scripture. I am only going to hit you with one for now, as I will cover the other ones later in my future post about confession. Here it is (Jn 20:21-23) Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." Obviously, before the priest can forgive sins he must hear them! This is what God commanded in the scripture above!

2. Call no Man father! What Jesus was forbidding was the improper use of the word "father". At the time of Christ, his fellow Jews had the practice of giving the title "Father" to a founder of a school of rabbinical thought for rabbinical teaching, and rival traditions often fought with each other based on who followed which "father". Christ condemned the misuse of the word "father" in that context, but he did not forbid its analogous use. The scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees would enjoy the privileges and the honor of being considered "the fathers of Israel", but they did not act like spiritual "fathers" , who loved and cared for their spiritual children, when they misused their authority for personal aggrandizement . That abuse of fatherhood is what was being condemned. In (Matthew 23: 1-12), When Jesus tells us to call no man "father" or "teacher", He is using figurative language to emphasize that all legitimate authority and truth ultimately come from God. We cannot take these passages literally. Otherwise, Jesus would be contradicting himself for repeating the 4th commandment, "honor your father and mother (Mt 19:19), and referring to "father Abraham" (Luke 16:24) There are many more scriptures that I can talk about here My Brother Bumperjack. Here is a good one for you though. (1 Corinthians 4:14) I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel". This is St Paul, the Apostle calling himself your "Father in Christ" We will talk more about this later, but I think you get the picture here. This is a classical example of how Protestants take passages out of context! On the surface it looks like oh wow! these Catholics sure do contradict scripture. When you did a little deeper you find out no, as I said before we believe in everything in scripture! The Catholic Church is the author of the Entire New Testament and we understand it better than any other Christian group. Be vary weary of stuff like this Bumperjack! Context is everything! I may have to expand on my Bible post a little more. I should have talked about how to read the Bible!

3. The virgin Mary and the Brothers of Jesus! Tradition holds that Mary was ever Virgin! We have yet to cover Tradition or the Virgin Mary in their own posts, but we will soon enough. I just want leave you with something to think about though. When the bible was translated into English it was translated from Greek! In Greek the word "Adelphoi" which is the plural form of "Adelphos", which can mean brother, cousin, uncle, nephew! So, when you read about "the brothers of Jesus" keep in mind that Tradition holds that he had none and there was no word in the Greek to distinguish A brother from any other relative! Most importantly! The greek was translated originally from Aramaic the language of Jesus. Guess what the word for Brother and cousin is one and the same! They do not have a word to distinguish a brother from a cousin! That is why it was translated into English as brother! Once again another Protestant scripture taken out of context! On the surface it looks like oh man! these Catholics sure don't follow the Bible! Dig a little deeper and the truth hits you right between the eyes! Protestants actually take things out of context and don't do the scholarly work to back up their claims!

4. The rosary and repetitious prayers! First of all the Hail Mary is scriptural! The first part is taken virtually word for word from it! (Luke 1:28) "Hail, full of Grace the Lord is with you!" (Luke1:42) "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb". The second part is based on scripture. (Luke 1:30) Holy Mary-"You have found favor with God". (Luke1:43) Mother of God-"Mother of my Lord". Pray for us sinners-(as we Christians pray for one another) Now and at the hour of our death. The actual Prayer goes like this "Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women and Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death!" Mary is a saint and in heaven in the presence of God right now as we speak! We are asking for her prayers to God on our behalf just as you would ask another Christian Brother or sister to pray for you. That is Biblical and so is this. Also, there are other prayers involved, "the glory be", "The our Father and the "Apostles creed"! In (Mt 6:7), Jesus is not condemning all repeated prayers. He says "Do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words" Jesus is teaching Christians that we are not to pray with the Pagan attitude that the more we repeat a prayer the more likely we are to be heard (see 1 Kings 18:25-29) for an example of this Pagan mentality). A Christian who thinks he needs to repeat a prayer in order to be heard in heaven has a problem with faith. This is the error Jesus is correcting. Notice that Jesus repeats the same prayer 3 times in the Garden of Gethsemani (Mt 26:44) The Publican who humbly repeated "God, be merciful to me a sinner" (Lk 18:13) went home justified. How could this be if we are not to repeat prayers? The 4 living creatures in heaven repeat day and night, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come" (Rev 4:8). These verses show that prayer repeated with the proper attitude is very pleasing to God. The Rosary recited devoutly, fulfills part of the biblical exhortation to "Pray without ceasing" (! Thess 5:17) Another important point is that while the Rosary is being prayed the person is also meditating on the mysteries of the Incarnation! There used to be 3 now a 4th set was added recently. Each set has 5 mysteries of the life of Christ contained in it! That can hardly be called vain repetitious prayer! You are focused on God the whole time while saying prayers!

Anyhow, wow! I hope I answered some of your question my Brother Bumperjack! I do hope that we can from this point onward focus on each individual issue! It takes to much time and energy to go about it like this. I want to thoroughly cover each issue one at a time. as I post a new topic feel free to ask any and all questions about that one topic. That way we can cover it all. It makes it easier to stay organized. Not only for me and you but for future readers! Who knows someday someone new will want to read about the bible and only the bible. It causes chaos when we cover multiple topics in one thread. Believe me, I plan to cover everything in due time one subject or topic at a time! Another thing we should shy away from is bold, all encompassing, and damning condemnations of each others religion. As I have said before it causes harm and does not help either of our respective causes! I am Honestly trying to work within the framework of the "Spiritual works of mercy" here. 1.Admonish "warn" sinners. 2. Instruct the ignorant. 3. Counsel the doubtful. 4. Comfort the sorrowful. 5. Bare wrongs patiently. 6. Forgive others. 7. To pray for the living and the dead. In light of that let me just say to you Bumperjack my Brother! I got your link in e-mail form and read the material that you sent me. I got to say that I don't agree with any of it. That is the far out Christian hate material designed to turn people away from the Catholic Church! Most Protestants would not agree with certain things said in it and they certainly would not present it that way! Be very careful in what you read and quote! There is a broad spectrum of knowledge out there to draw from. Instead of spreading hate, lets actually debate certain points, intelligently, and respectfully! There are many good Protestant apologetics websites and books to be drawn from. I can only hope that I can encourage you to study and quote from them instead! I think you will learn a lot more and things will be presented in a pleasant manner for all! I need to emphasize that I do comment on Protestant things in my posts but I never say they are not true Christians, or are not saved! I think even most Protestants would agree that, that kind of talk is way out there. Just saying Homie! Anyhow, you and I are fast becoming friends! I got a lot of love for you Brother. Lets work our way through each topic individually from now on! Maybe some other interested, brave and curious souls will join us in these discussions! All are welcome! Peace out as always! Your brother in Christ Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby TarHeelRED » November 17th, 2014, 9:41 pm

Preach Bumperjack!!!!

I just thought about prayer also. We are told by God the Son Himself ONLY 2 pray 2 the Father. Not 2 a momentary virgin who was only a virgin so long as she was pregnant and gave birth 2 the God Man. Nor 2 saints. We pray 2 God the Father in God the Son's name.

In all instances where Jesus prayed or instructed suppliants 2 pray, those prayers were ALWAYS issued 2 the Father in His name.
[a] The Father receives prayer: Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:2: "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father...."; John 17:1, "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee."; 23"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 26At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you."
John chpt. 17 is the real Lord's Prayer b/c the whole chpt. is Jesus praying 4 the disciples and then 4 those who would believe in Him through the disciples' witness (v. 20)

[b] The Son mediates & makes intercession on our behalf: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"- 1 Timothy 2:5; "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."- Hebrews 7:25

[c] God The Holy Spirit perfects our prayers so 2 speak & offers them 2 the Father & also intercedes 4 us: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."- Romans 8:26

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 18th, 2014, 6:19 am

Yes Silent,agreed you know I got alot of Love and respect for you and we will of course keep it respectful,I will let you post. Your subjects on the bible, I have read alot and interpertation of scripture can be chopped up many ways and I agree,We have to remember Christians are not under the law,we are saved by grace my brother in Christ I will from this point on refrain from other peoples veiws but there will be disagreement and agreements I dont want to throw you off so I will patiently wait for you to finish a subject my brother,BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING AND EVERYTHING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATIONS. AND THANKSGIVINGS,I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE 16 YEARS ON THIS SUBJECT AS I ALSO HAVE MATURED AFTER OVER ,25YEARS STUDYING SCRIPTURE AND BEING SAVED FOR 46 YEARS TRADITIONS AND THE OLD COVENANT ARE STILL BEING PREACHED TODAY.I DONT WANT TO INTERUPT YOUR CATHOLICISM POSTS UNTILL YOUR FINISHED AFTER YOUR FINISHED LET US KNOW WHEN YOU ARE READY FOR COMMENTS ARE DEBATES ON SCRIPTURE WHEN I INTERPERT SCRIPTURE I PRAY ABOUT TRUTH AND THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MY TEACHER NOT BOOKS AND TRADITION OR THEOLOGIAN SCHOLARS,TAKE IT WE ARE BROTHERS IN CHRIST I WOULD LIKE TO GET MORE INVOVLED ALSO INTERPERTATION OR OUT OF CONTEXT CAN GO BOTH WAYS BUT REMEMBER THE HOLY BIBLE IS THE INFALLIBLE WORD NOT HISTORY BOOKS OR SOMONE ELSES EXPLANATION ,I CAN SEE WILL WILL AGREE TO DISAGREE BUT THE TRUTHWill set us all Free .I SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND IAM IN AGREEMENT WITH INTERPERTATION ALL DENOMINATIONS GET IT WRONG BECAUSE ITS MANS DOCTRINES THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT ARE NOT THE TRUTH ABOUT RELIGIONS SILENT WE CAN SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH I BELIEVE NO MAN POPE INCLUDED BECAUSE WE ALL FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY LET THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE YOU AND LET NO MAN OR WOMAN INTERCEDE BROTHER WITH YOUR REALATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST JESUS MY BROTHER PEACEOUT BUMPER WITH ALWAYS LOVE AND. RESPECT.JUST REMEBER WHO OUR REAL COUNSLER AND TEACHER IS THE HOLY SPIRIT MY BROTHER NOT A PRIEST OR THE POPE

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 18th, 2014, 7:43 am

Silent no where in the bible does it say to confess our sins to a minister,priest or leader of a church in James 5:16 It says Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed. If you sin against another,The bible clearly states you shouldnt go to the altar,but first go get it right with that brother or sister are whoever it is you sinned against! Matthew5:23-24 So confession is crucial at that point to another person.The bible Anywhere in its text says to Confess our sins to a minister for the simple fact He falls short of Gods glory also because we all do,We want two things to happen in repentance ,We want the air cleared with us and God so we say God I have sinned Im sorry apply to me a fresh start with the blood of Jesus and we again be able to enjoy that fresh fellowship and forgiveness And we want this horizontal relationship to be clean and clear and open ,because so much pain comes into life ,when we are keeping our sins inside. I kept my sins in and my bones wasted away. So agreed there is a healing that comes at the horizontal level as well as the vertical when we confess our sin to one another,. There will be the times we must confess our sins to one another,It is not sufficent to confess our sins only to God I understand is where you stand when you state it says we must committ our sins not to a minister to one another not to someonebyou have not sinned against my brother that is where you are taking the bible out of context personally not Catholic or Christian Gods infallible word interpertation is a must thats why we need the Holy Spirit to give us discernment of the truth know where in the Bible does it state we are to confess our sins to a Priest brother Jesus has strong words to say about CONFESSION. That leads to reconciliation and makes true worship possible.Matthew 5:23-24 First go and be reconciled to the one you have sinned against.resolve the problem confess your sin and seek forgiveness,when that has been accomplished then and only then come to worship the Lord. Acceptable worship cannot exist where reconciliation does not exist.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 18th, 2014, 4:33 pm

Silent my bad I know you wanted to do one subject at a time so finish your subjects and I will do my best to keep my self from answering them untill your done like I said my bad I also understand when the bible was translated into different languages but brothers and sisters Jesus had and Mary was not a Virgin Brother Tradition and going back to interpertation of context when the languages of the bible will not hold up I dont know any language brother means Cousin or sister means aunt ,Jesus had four Brothers James,Joesph,Simon,and Judas he also had 2 sisters,Tradition and going back to when the translation was change does not dispute this claim Silent there is distinct differences in scripture and its all to back up claimsnof correct interpertations I believe the Roman Catholics always use tradition and try to go back in time to back up there conception of truth ,to tell you my visionvI have spiritual Mentors who are Bible experts and have doctorates in theology I dont claim to be a wise man because thats foolishness but quite as its kept brother been in the word along time hate the sin not. The sinner Catholicism has alot of Tradition but alot I believe is twisting scripture to cover your belief and calling it the truth silent but it is what it is bumper Religion and denomination has alot of Man made doctrines they all do even Catholicism brother ypu can defend your belief brother but there are many things that contradict the bible you can defend it with Tradition or what you honestly think is the truth like I said before we will stay on the word and scripture is interpertation of the bible is because of many reasons there are bible experts
I have listen to and have become the truth I dont claim to be a expert and I dont believe your are either but live this subject I will never lose the love or respect for you my brother in Christ we can agree to disagree this is one of my favorite subjects above all else much respects Silent...bumper

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 18th, 2014, 6:01 pm

SILENT WHEN YOU HAVE PLACED YOUR CONFIDENCE IN ANY PRIEST OR MINISTER AS MEDIATOR BETWEEN YOURSELF AND GOD YOU HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THEM AS BEING EQUAL TO CHRIST. YOU HAVE THEN PLACED YOURSELF IN A POSITION TO BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO ANY OTHER FALSE TEACHING THAT IS PRESENTED. FOR ANY MINISTER OR PRIEST TO DECLARE THAT YOU MUST GO THROUGH HIM TO OBTAIN FORGIVENESS OF SINS IS LUDICRPUS,APOSTATE,DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED TO THE WORD OF GOD. NO MAN BY HIS OWN POWER AND AUTHORITY COULD POSSIBLY FORGIVE SINS. ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT BECAUSE SIN IS AN OFFENSE AGAINST HIM,WE HAVE TO COMPARE SCRIPYURE ON EVERY SUBJECT IF THEY ALL AGREE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TEACHING IF THEY DONT YOU HAVE FALSE TEACHINGS ,THERE ARE A NUBER OF SCRIPTURES ON EVERY SUBJECT IN THE BIBLE BACK THEM UP WILL ALL SCRIPYURE THAT PERTAIN TO THAT SUBJECT NOT ONE NOR A FEW THERE ARE SEVERAL TO EVERY SUBJECT IF YOU CANNOT BACK IT UP ITS FALSE TEACHINGS PERIOD .

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 18th, 2014, 6:32 pm

I guess we are on Confession,to sum it up here it is plain TRUTH brother THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON WHO CAN FORGIVE YOUR SIN,THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON WHO PAID FOR YOUR SIN,THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON WHO IS YOUR MEDIATOR, AND THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON WHO CAN GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE,THAT PERSON IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHETHER YOU GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL DEPENDS ON WHO YOU WANT TO BELIEVE,LUTHERAN PREACHER,CATHOLIC PRIEST OR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » November 18th, 2014, 6:50 pm

Hey there My Brother Bumperjack! I am just wanted to let you know that I read your post and I feel real good about what you said! I want you to know that I got a lot of love and respect for you as well! As I said before you and I are fast becoming friends! You are the only one on here that knows who I really am. I wouldn't have taken the steps that I took with you had I not felt good about you! I was thinking about this post a lot today at work. I still think that we should take it one subject at a time. This will enable me to say all that I have to say on that one subject and you or anyone else can respond back. That way we don't get all caught up in multiple things all at once. Last night for example I was hoping to add to the bible post or answer any questions that various peoples had on it. Instead, I had all kinds of other things thrown at me that I felt that I had to defend! To make a long story short, I had to spend what little time that I have in the evening typing my last post which had nothing to do with the Bible. I really want to keep moving with the posts. That way we have the ability to actually talk about all that other stuff. I know it time consuming, I honestly picture myself working on this for 6 months to a year to really cover everything. This type of stuff involves a lot of ground to cover and we can not just throw out a post or two and call it good! I have been working crazy hours lately! 60 a week! It is hard on me to come home every night and do this! I go to school one night a week and hit the gym 3 nights a week as well! I honestly prefer one or two good posts a month! That way I can think about what to say next, answer any questions about what was just posted and not burn myself out! You came with a real good amount of respect right now and I appreciate that! I think that our best course of action is to simply work through each subject and try to keep an open mind! Who knows I may learn something from you and you may learn something from me. Tar heel Red the same goes for you! I can tell that you are an intelligent man and passionate about this subject! I respect that! I am not going to answer any of the other questions that either of you shot at me since my last post. At least not in this post! We have got to keep moving! I will get to them when we touch on those subjects though. All in due time right! I tell you guys what. I will just simply let you know what the next subject is going to be. That way we can all be prepared! Fair enough right! I will touch on Tradition next for sure! It also may cover The Church, Papacy, and authority as well, we will see how it goes! If the amount of information gets to big, then I will chop it into 2 separate posts. The last 3 topics go together anyway! I am going to chill for the rest of the evening! I had surgery on my back last thursday night! The doctor told me it was either a boil or a Brown recluse bite! They literally carved that bad boy out of my back! Right over an old tattoo that I got about 26 years ago. It sucks but oh well, it is what it is! I have been still showing up at work cause I got a mortgage, a wife, and 4 kids to feed. Such is life right! My wife tells me that I can rest when I die! Lol! Anyhow. I should have Sunday off, or not we will see! If I do, I will start work on the next one. Tar Heel red, I don't really know anything about you? If you are cool with it why don't you tell us a little about yourself. Did you ever Gangbang? If so with who? Where are you from? Also, what brought you to God? I like to know you who I am dealing with, feel me! Anyways may the Peace of God be with you both and anyone else who is reading this! I pray for you guys daily hopefully you can do the same for me! Peaceout, Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 18th, 2014, 8:35 pm

Yes my brother just keep moving Im open to learn from your point of veiw just move in the direction you want to travel brother only answer what you feel wont delay your subjects take care of yourself homie and yes we both might learn something if our beliefs are open to the right translation I was taught to gain evidence by scripture that all agrees is how you find the true teachings but I agree we have to be open you know after 8 months on streetgangs you have become a good friend silent and your attention to respecting one another is crucial first and foremost brother you have shown what a real true exgangbanger is all about for sure as we have gained a great deal of respect for one another and Like I said we have to be open to learn and yes tar heel red what is your story and position you sound like you know scripture are you a gangbanger? I see your a believer everybody is welcome to comment of course we all different schooling for sure,I have seen you on streetgangs.com but me and silent no little about you where are you from ? We are from Nor. Cali and we are both Ex gangbangers...Hope to get some feedback on your background a faith worth having is a faith worth having Silent you got alot on ypur plate take ypur time Im kool bro and sorry about bombarding ypu I have more free time as Im working on and off as the weather is getting cooler but 60 hours a week plus you have your family you have come along way brother stay grounded and healthy homie you know how we do it but greater then He is in me then He is in the World your Brother in Christ Bumper.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 19th, 2014, 7:06 am

Silent there are 100 verses in the Bible about Confessing Sin and they all back up my claim of God's infallible word brother true story,Here is a scripture We need to be alert and aware of. Matthew 15:9 In vain do they worship me,teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.Mark 2:7 Why doth this man speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? Here are scriptures you can check out when you have time they all are in context with Confessing Sins: 1John1:9,James 5:16 Colossians2:8,1John1:6-7,Hebrews10:14,Matthew 9:6-8,Here is only a few every subject you hit on has to be backed up by scrpture brother Not tradition are Old Covenants or science or History because that confuses the spirit of truth ,I learned how to dig in the Bible for the truth if you can not back it up with mulitible scripture pertaining to God's infallible word it is not the correct teaching my brother,If we have no Spiritual Mentors we can get lost in Tradition also Take it Catholicism dates back to the times you state from the turning translation from different languages we only have one Book we have as Truth The Holy Bible ,There are denomination and Religion Tradition of Men that have done what you claim tooken the Bible out of Context EVERY RELIGION THERE ARE 4,200 RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD MY BROTHER,AND YES THE BIGGEST CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION IS CATHOLIC BUT IS ITS DOCTRINE GOD'S TRUTH AND INFALLIBLE WORD?I SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH I LIKE TO SAY IM A CHRIST FOLLOWER IM NON RELIGIOUS OR DENOMINATIONAL,I DONT BACK UP ANY MAN MADE DOCTRINES OR RELIGION THERE IS ONE GOD ONE CHURCH ONE BAPTISM AND GOD'S INFALLIBLE WORD ALL OF THEM DOCTRINES ARE MAN MADE THEY DO NOT COME FROM GOD BROTHER,THE TRUTH LIES IN THEM66 BOOKS THE CONTEXT MAN TRYS TO TRANSLATE THERE ON WAY IN THE BIBLE IT CLEARLY TELLS US ALL TO NOT ADD NOR SUBTRACT ANYTHING TO IT AND ALL RELIGIONS AND DENOMINATIONS ARE GUILTY OF IT CATHOLICS INCLUDED MY RELIGION OR DENIMINATION EXCLUDED BECAUSE IM SAVED BY GRACE NOT A MAN MADE RELIGION OR DENOMINATION...MY STUDY IS TO BECOME A BIBLE EXPERT ONE DAY I HAVE SOME GREAT TEACHERS AS WE SPEAK THE BEST TEACHER IS HE WHO TRULY RESIDES WITHIN I CAN BACK UP EVERY CLAIM WITH SCRIPTURE NOT HISTORY SCIENCE OR TRADITION SILENT BUT I WILL BE OPEN TO YOUR TEACHINGS AND STUDY AS WELL YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY AND SELF OLD BUMP ISNT GOING ANYWHERE THIS HAS BEEN MY SUBJECT OF STUDY FOR AWHILE NOW BUT WE MUST REMAIN OPEN WE ARE. SO WE ARE ALL GOOD YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH MY BROTHER FIRST AND FOREMOST AND YOUR FAMILY THEY DEPEND ON YOU MY BROTHER IN CHRIST AND I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU TO BE HEALED MIND,BODY AND SOUL LOVE AND RESPECTS YOUR HOMEBOY AND TRUE BROTHER IN CHRIST BUMPERJACK FROM WAY BACK

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » November 19th, 2014, 7:23 am

I agree 1Subject at a time...I guess I have been on CONFESSING SIN BUT LIKE I SAID DO NOT RESPOND TO ANY ONE PARTICULAR POST THAT WILL GET YOU TANGLED UP YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DEFEND YOUR POSITION ON YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS PEOPLE CAN WAIT AS I WILL ALSO I GET A LITTLE CARRIED AWAY BECAUSE I STUDY DAILY AND GOD BRINGS ALIT TO THE LIGHT I WANNA SHARE,BUT I WILL BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING KEEP MOVING IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT TO TRAVEL PLEASE DONT FEEL YOU HAVE TO DEFEND YOUR VEIWPOINTS UNTILL YOU FEEL YOU HAVE THE THE TIME 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR WILL BE ALONG BIBLE STUDY IM ON BOARD SO DO YOUR THING ONE SUBJECT AT A TIME AND REMEMBER YOU CAN KEEP YOUR DENFENSE IN MUTE SOMETIMES SILENCE IS WISDOM WHEN YOU DONT RESPOND RIGHT AWAY THAT IS ALSO WISDOM ASK FOR OR PRAY FOR WISDOM OUT OF HIS MOUTH COME KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING MY BROTHER TAKE CARE AND LIKE I SAID DONT LET ANYONE EVEN ME TRIP YOU UP ON YOUR GOAL ONLY RESPOND TO THINGS YOU THINK YOU CAN ADDRESS IN A TIMELY MANNOR BECAUSE YOUR SCHEDULE IS BUSY.BUMPER

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 10th, 2014, 9:58 pm

March 21, 2014 | 31 comments


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According to ancient Greek legend, the great warrior, Achilles, was invulnerable against attack, except for one area of weakness—his heel. That weakness would be exploited near the end of the Trojan War by Paris. As the story goes, he shot Achilles in the heel with an arrow, killing his seemingly undefeatable foe.

Okay, so referring to Sola Scriptura as the Protestant Achilles's Heel is not a perfect analogy. There are many weak spots in Protestant theology. But the use of the image of "Achilles's Heel" in prose today is employed not only to accentuate a singular weakness in an otherwise impenetrable person or institution, but a particularly acute weakness. It is in that sense that I think the analogy fits.

Sola Scriptura was the central doctrine and foundation for all I believed when I was Protestant. On a popular level, it simply meant, “If a teaching isn’t explicit in the Bible, then we don’t accept it as doctrine!” And it seemed so simple. Unassailable. And yet, I do not recall ever hearing a detailed teaching explicating it. It was always a given. Unchallenged. Diving deeper into its meaning, especially when I was challenged to defend my Protestant faith against Catholicism, I found there to be no book specifically on the topic and no uniform understanding of this teaching among Protestant pastors.

Once I got past the superficial, I had to try to answer real questions like, what role does tradition play? How explicit does a doctrine have to be in Scripture before it can be called doctrine? How many times does it have to be mentioned in Scripture before it would be dogmatic? Where does Scripture tell us what is absolutely essential for us to believe as Christians? How do we know what the canon of Scripture is using the principle of sola scriptura? Who is authorized to write Scripture in the first place? When was the canon closed? Or, the best question of all: where is sola scriptura taught in the Bible? These questions and more were left virtually unanswered or left to the varying opinions of various Bible teachers.

The Protestant Response

In answer to this last question, “Where is sola scriptura taught in the Bible?” most Protestants will immediately respond as I did, by simply citing II Tm. 3:16:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

“How can it get any plainer than that? Doesn’t that say the Bible is all we need?” Question answered.

The fact is: II Timothy 3—or any other text of Scripture—does not even hint at sola scriptura. It says Scripture is inspired and necessary to equip “the man of God,” but never does it say Scripture alone is all anyone needs. We’ll come back to this text in particular later. But in my experience as a Protestant, it was my attempt to defend this bedrock teaching of Protestantism that led me to conclude: sola scriptura is 1) unreasonable 2) unbiblical and 3) unworkable.

Sola Scriptura is Unreasonable

When defending sola scriptura, the Protestant will predictably appeal to his sole authority—Scripture. This is a textbook example of the logical fallacy of circular reasoning which betrays an essential problem with the doctrine itself. One cannot prove the inspiration of a text from the text itself. The Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Koran, and other books claim inspiration. This does not make them inspired. One must prove the point outside of the text itself to avoid the fallacy of circular reasoning.

Thus, the question remains: how do we know the various books of the Bible are inspired and therefore canonical? And remember: the Protestant must use the principle of sola scriptura in the process.

II Tim. 3:16 is not a valid response to the question. The problems are manifold. Beyond the fact of circular reasoning, for example, I would point out the fact that this verse says all Scripture is inspired tells us nothing of what the canon consists. Just recently, I was speaking with a Protestant inquirer about this issue and he saw my point. He then said words to the effect of, “I believe the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth as Jesus said in Jn. 16:13. The Holy Spirit guided the early Christians and helped them to gather the canon of Scripture and declare it to be the inspired word of God. God would not leave us without his word to guide us.”

That answer is much more Catholic than Protestant! Yes, Jn. 16:13 does say the Spirit will lead the apostles—and by allusion, the Church—into all truth. But this verse has nothing to say about sola scriptura. Nor does it say a word about the nature or number of books in the canon. Catholics certainly agree that the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to canonize the Scriptures because the Catholic Church teaches that there is an authoritative Church guided by the Holy Spirit. The obvious problem is my Protestant friend did not use sola scriptura as his guiding principle to arrive at his conclusion. How does, for example, Jn. 16:13 tell us that Hebrews was written by an apostolic writer and that it is inspired of God? We would ultimately have to rely on the infallibility of whoever “the Holy Spirit” is guiding to canonize the Bible so that they could not mishear what the Spirit was saying about which books of the Bible are truly inspired.

In order to put this argument of my friend into perspective, can you imagine if a Catholic made a similar claim to demonstrate, say, Mary to be the Mother of God? “We believe the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and guided the early Christians to declare this truth.” I can almost hear the response. “Show me in the Bible where Mary is the Mother of God! I don’t want to hear about God guiding the Church!” Wouldn’t the same question remain for the Protestant concerning the canon? “Show me in the Bible where the canon of Scripture is, what the criterion for the canon is, who can and cannot write Scripture, etc.”

Will the Circle be Unbroken?

The Protestant response at this point is often an attempt to use the same argument against the Catholic. “How do you know the Scriptures are inspired? Your reasoning is just as circular because you say the Church is infallible because the inspired Scriptures say so and then say the Scriptures are inspired and infallible because the Church says so!”

The Catholic Church’s position on inspiration is not circular. We do not say “the Church is infallible because the inspired Scriptures say so, and the Scriptures are inspired because the infallible Church says so.” That would be a kind of circular reasoning. The Church was established historically and functioned as the infallible spokesperson for the Lord decades before the New Testament was written. The Church is infallible because Jesus said so.

Having said that, it is true that we know the Scriptures to be inspired because the Church has told us so. That is also an historical fact. However, this is not circular reasoning. When the Catholic approaches Scripture, he or she begins with the Bible as an historical document, not as inspired. As any reputable historian will tell you, the New Testament is the most accurate and verifiable historical document in all of ancient history. To deny the substance of the historical documents recorded therein would be absurd. However, one cannot deduce from this that they are inspired. There are many accurate historical documents that are not inspired. However, the Scriptures do give us accurate historical information whether one holds to their inspiration or not. Further, this testimony of the Bible is backed up by hundreds of works by early Christians and non-Christian writers like Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, and more. It is on this basis that we can say it is an historical fact that Jesus lived, died, and was reported to be resurrected from the dead by over 500 eyewitnesses. Many of these eyewitnesses went to their deaths testifying to the veracity of the Christ-event (see Lk. 1:1-4, Jn. 21:18-19, 24-25, Acts 1:1-11, I Cr. 15:1-8).

Now, what do we find when we examine the historical record? Jesus Christ—as a matter of history–established a Church, not a book, to be the foundation of the Christian Faith (see Mt. 16:15-18; 18:15-18. Cf. Eph. 2:20; 3:10,20-21; 4:11-15; I Tm. 3:15; Hb. 13:7,17, etc.). He said of his Church, “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk. 10:16). The many books that comprise what we call the Bible never tell us crucial truths such as the fact that they are inspired, who can and cannot be the human authors of them, who authored them at all, or, as I said before, what the canon of Scripture is in the first place. And this is just to name a few examples. What is very clear historically is that Jesus established a kingdom with a hierarchy and authority to speak for him (see Lk. 20:29-32, Mt. 10:40, 28:18-20). It was members of this Kingdom—the Church—that would write the Scripture, preserve its many texts and eventually canonize it. The Scriptures cannot write or canonize themselves. To put it simply, reason clearly rejects sola scriptura as a self-refuting principle because one cannot determine what the “scriptura” is using the principle of sola scriptura.

Sola Scriptura is Unbiblical

Let us now consider the most common text used by Protestants to “prove” sola scriptura, II Tm. 3:16, which I quoted above:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The problem with using this text as such is threefold: 1. Strictly speaking, it does not speak of the New Testament at all. 2. It does not claim Scripture to be the sole rule of faith for Christians. 3. The Bible teaches oral Tradition to be on a par with and just as necessary as the written Tradition, or Scripture.

1. What’s Old is Not New

Let us examine the context of the passage by reading the two preceding verses:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood (italics added) you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

In context, this passage does not refer to the New Testament at all. None of the New Testament books had been written when St. Timothy was a child! To claim this verse in order to authenticate a book, say, the book of Revelation, when it had most likely not even been written yet, is more than a stretch. That is going far beyond what the text actually claims.

2. The Trouble With Sola

As a Protestant, I was guilty of seeing more than one sola in Scripture that simply did not exist. The Bible clearly teaches justification by faith. And we Catholics believe it. However, we do not believe in justification by faith alone because, among many other reasons, the Bible says, we are “justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24, emphasis added). Analogously, when the Bible says Scripture is inspired and profitable for “the man of God,” to be “equipped for every good work,” we Catholics believe it. However, the text of II Tim. 3:16 never says Scripture alone. There is no sola to be found here either! Even if we granted II Tm. 3:16 was talking about all of Scripture, it never claims Scripture to be the sole rule of faith. A rule of faith, to be sure! But not the sole rule of faith.

James 1:4 illustrates clearly the problem with Protestant exegesis of II Tim. 3:16:

And let steadfastness (patience) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If we apply the same principle of exegesis to this text that the Protestant does to II Tm. 3:16 we would have to say that all we need is patience to be perfected. We don’t need faith, hope, charity, the Church, baptism, etc.

Of course, any Christian would immediately say this is absurd. And of course it is. But James’s emphasis on the central importance of patience is even stronger than St. Paul’s emphasis on Scripture. The key is to see that there is not a sola to be found in either text. Sola patientia would be just as much an error as is sola scriptura.

3. The Tradition of God is the Word of God

Not only is the Bible silent when it comes to sola scriptura, but Scripture is remarkably plain in teaching oral Tradition to be just as much the word of God as is Scripture. In what most scholars believe was the first book written in the New Testament, St. Paul said:

And we also thank God… that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God… (I Thess. 2:13)

II Thess. 2:15 adds:

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions you have been taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

According to St. Paul, the spoken word from the apostles was just as much the word of God as was the later written word.

Sola Scriptura is Unworkable

When it comes to the tradition of Protestantism—sola scriptura—the silence of the text of Scripture is deafening. When it comes to the true authority of Scripture and Tradition, the Scriptures are clear. And when it comes to the teaching and governing authority of the Church, the biblical text is equally as clear:

If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone … But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you … If he refuses to listen … tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Mt. 18:15-17)

According to Scripture, the Church—not the Bible alone—is the final court of appeal for the people of God in matters of faith and discipline. But isn’t it also telling that since the Reformation of just ca. 480 years ago—a reformation claiming sola scriptura as its formal principle—there are now over 33,000 denominations that have derived from it?

For 1,500 years, Christianity saw just a few enduring schisms (the Monophysites, Nestorians, the Orthodox, and a very few others). Now in just 480 years we have this? I hardly think that when Jesus prophesied there would be “one shepherd and one fold” in Jn. 10:16, this is what he had in mind. It seems quite clear to me that not only is sola scriptura unreasonable and unbiblical, but it is unworkable. The proof is in the puddin’!

If you liked this post and you would like to dive deeper into this topic and more, click here.


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Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

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The Sword Of The Spirit
Are you ready to do battle against the forces of heresy and dissension that threaten to undermine the Catholic faith? Not sure about the strength of your own shield against such forces? Tim Staples is here to help. An established speaker in the area of defending the faith, he knows just what to say and how to say it when dealing with the slings and arrows of false teaching. In this set, he provides solid arguments for six of the most important teachings of the Catholic faith.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 11th, 2014, 8:10 am

Silent as always you find good material to post,Im going to be going next year to a 4 year Institute for Ministry maybe to become a Jail Chaplin? Pastor or Ministry in a Leadership role anyhow after I graduate in 2019 hopefully I will start next year its called TUMI The Urban Ministry Institute its in 23 California Prisons now free of chatge they are starting to put campuses on the street so the inmates can finish there studies and Graduate you recieve a Certificate for Leadership in Chistian Ministry.

Christians are God's Ambassadors as we both are my friend,in that we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel ( 1Thessalonians 2:4) As we travel through this world my brother,we represent another Kingdom (John. 18:36) and it is our responsibility to reflect the "Official Position" of heaven. We are in this World ,but not of it ,(John 17:16) God's Ambassadorsare to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves ( Matthew 10:16) Empowered by the Holy Spirit,we must take the message of our king to the ends of the earth ( Acts1:8) imploring men & women everywhere to be reconciled to God.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 11th, 2014, 3:17 pm

I guess it always ends up Protestanism and Catholicism,It seems to always end up in debate over who is right who is wrong and I guess its how and what you were taught and then what you believe Historically it could be proven Peter was not the Roman Catholics First Pope,and Tradition did not write the new testament,Peter died in 67AD the office of the Pope didn't get started for over 300 years later and the Catholic Church did not Become a organized church untill 606 AD so there that blows the apostlic succession out of the waterThe authority they claim is HC to the Catholic Church by Continuess succession from the time Peter was in Rome The Church was around but so was The New Testament Catholics claim it wasnt around but it was circulating before the Catholic church became a Church another falsehood these are things that they claim but cannot be proven but I would myself question confessing my sins to another man and he has the same authority as Christ on earth that is perposterous to believe because it isnt so.anyway,I will step back and post rebuttals on Catholicism it goes back further in time but it isnt the true church that Jesus founded like other denominations claim not only Catholics the Church is the Body of Believers the Head of the Body is Jesus Christ not Peter or paul or a priest or pope.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 11th, 2014, 5:41 pm

Hey there Bumperjack! Congrats on taking up some serious studying! I have always wanted to go to something like that myself! It is all good as far as the posting thing goes. You and I have come to far to let religion get in between us! At the end of all of this I think that we will simply agree to disagree and that is fine by me! I will say that this is definitely strengthening my base of knowledge which I like! "Iron Sharpens Iron my Brother!" I find myself strapped for time to do all of this and I have taken up reading at work during lunch. My co-workers are definitely asking questions, so who knows it all could lead to me helping some other Brothers out there. At the very least our dialogue is being read by countless others on this very site and they can all make their own minds up according to their conscious. In the end the important thing is that they follow God to the best of their ability! I think you will find our conversations beneficial to you when you start school. I am sure that I am opening up the Bible to in ways that you have never experienced? We all read the same Book but we all interpret its meanings in different ways. I think it is important for you as a Christian to be well rounded and know both sides of the Protestant-Catholic debate! Hopefully I have presented my side in ways that will not seem to disrespectful? My only goal is to make you think! At the end of all of this I will definitely pose some questions and hopefully we can discuss those questions and get some solid answers. Anyhow, I am still reading and thinking about how to write this next one. I am planning on starting it Sunday! Much Love and Respect Brother bumperjack!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 12th, 2014, 10:02 am

Silent,Yes we wont lose sight of our first and foremost respect for one another being well rounded is knowing both. Sides and I learn everyday and read everyday and study we have to chew and digest the word to really get the revelation from the Holy Spirit for discernment I have opened my books wider now And I have learned much from my San Jo homeboy I believe your insight is right on point,we must learn About Christianity from the begining,Im going to always agree to disagree with you homie and never will I take any of it as disrespect I believe we both will learn from our studys I know Im.I work with a Instructor in Theology and soon to be going to Theological College next year I know a little but we must humble ourselfs in the process as you know,we both are well read in Religion,I been wanting to become a minister for along time you just need the education and have to be in the Word daily,I have 2 homeboys who have churchs now in Nor. Cali old VSL Locos check out TUMI.org and you see the curriculum its 4 years of schooling.Hey brother you could go to school also but you cant become a priest cause your married but you could be a Jail Chaplin or Minister?Yeah the Main thing is staying a Ambassador for Christ brother Im with you we are saved by grace remember it is a gift silent,I will always be open to education in Religion there are things I have already learned from you do I agree I guess thats not the point really its education agreed or not Im on board with you brother and it has helped my outlook and I pray daily for wisdom,spiritual wisdom because out of His mouth come Knowledge and Understanding.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 19th, 2014, 7:41 pm

The Protestant Achilles' Heel







Tim Staples

March 21, 2014 | 31 comments


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According to ancient Greek legend, the great warrior, Achilles, was invulnerable against attack, except for one area of weakness—his heel. That weakness would be exploited near the end of the Trojan War by Paris. As the story goes, he shot Achilles in the heel with an arrow, killing his seemingly undefeatable foe.

Okay, so referring to Sola Scriptura as the Protestant Achilles's Heel is not a perfect analogy. There are many weak spots in Protestant theology. But the use of the image of "Achilles's Heel" in prose today is employed not only to accentuate a singular weakness in an otherwise impenetrable person or institution, but a particularly acute weakness. It is in that sense that I think the analogy fits.

Sola Scriptura was the central doctrine and foundation for all I believed when I was Protestant. On a popular level, it simply meant, “If a teaching isn’t explicit in the Bible, then we don’t accept it as doctrine!” And it seemed so simple. Unassailable. And yet, I do not recall ever hearing a detailed teaching explicating it. It was always a given. Unchallenged. Diving deeper into its meaning, especially when I was challenged to defend my Protestant faith against Catholicism, I found there to be no book specifically on the topic and no uniform understanding of this teaching among Protestant pastors.

Once I got past the superficial, I had to try to answer real questions like, what role does tradition play? How explicit does a doctrine have to be in Scripture before it can be called doctrine? How many times does it have to be mentioned in Scripture before it would be dogmatic? Where does Scripture tell us what is absolutely essential for us to believe as Christians? How do we know what the canon of Scripture is using the principle of sola scriptura? Who is authorized to write Scripture in the first place? When was the canon closed? Or, the best question of all: where is sola scriptura taught in the Bible? These questions and more were left virtually unanswered or left to the varying opinions of various Bible teachers.

The Protestant Response

In answer to this last question, “Where is sola scriptura taught in the Bible?” most Protestants will immediately respond as I did, by simply citing II Tm. 3:16:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

“How can it get any plainer than that? Doesn’t that say the Bible is all we need?” Question answered.

The fact is: II Timothy 3—or any other text of Scripture—does not even hint at sola scriptura. It says Scripture is inspired and necessary to equip “the man of God,” but never does it say Scripture alone is all anyone needs. We’ll come back to this text in particular later. But in my experience as a Protestant, it was my attempt to defend this bedrock teaching of Protestantism that led me to conclude: sola scriptura is 1) unreasonable 2) unbiblical and 3) unworkable.

Sola Scriptura is Unreasonable

When defending sola scriptura, the Protestant will predictably appeal to his sole authority—Scripture. This is a textbook example of the logical fallacy of circular reasoning which betrays an essential problem with the doctrine itself. One cannot prove the inspiration of a text from the text itself. The Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Koran, and other books claim inspiration. This does not make them inspired. One must prove the point outside of the text itself to avoid the fallacy of circular reasoning.

Thus, the question remains: how do we know the various books of the Bible are inspired and therefore canonical? And remember: the Protestant must use the principle of sola scriptura in the process.

II Tim. 3:16 is not a valid response to the question. The problems are manifold. Beyond the fact of circular reasoning, for example, I would point out the fact that this verse says all Scripture is inspired tells us nothing of what the canon consists. Just recently, I was speaking with a Protestant inquirer about this issue and he saw my point. He then said words to the effect of, “I believe the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth as Jesus said in Jn. 16:13. The Holy Spirit guided the early Christians and helped them to gather the canon of Scripture and declare it to be the inspired word of God. God would not leave us without his word to guide us.”

That answer is much more Catholic than Protestant! Yes, Jn. 16:13 does say the Spirit will lead the apostles—and by allusion, the Church—into all truth. But this verse has nothing to say about sola scriptura. Nor does it say a word about the nature or number of books in the canon. Catholics certainly agree that the Holy Spirit guided the early Christians to canonize the Scriptures because the Catholic Church teaches that there is an authoritative Church guided by the Holy Spirit. The obvious problem is my Protestant friend did not use sola scriptura as his guiding principle to arrive at his conclusion. How does, for example, Jn. 16:13 tell us that Hebrews was written by an apostolic writer and that it is inspired of God? We would ultimately have to rely on the infallibility of whoever “the Holy Spirit” is guiding to canonize the Bible so that they could not mishear what the Spirit was saying about which books of the Bible are truly inspired.

In order to put this argument of my friend into perspective, can you imagine if a Catholic made a similar claim to demonstrate, say, Mary to be the Mother of God? “We believe the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and guided the early Christians to declare this truth.” I can almost hear the response. “Show me in the Bible where Mary is the Mother of God! I don’t want to hear about God guiding the Church!” Wouldn’t the same question remain for the Protestant concerning the canon? “Show me in the Bible where the canon of Scripture is, what the criterion for the canon is, who can and cannot write Scripture, etc.”

Will the Circle be Unbroken?

The Protestant response at this point is often an attempt to use the same argument against the Catholic. “How do you know the Scriptures are inspired? Your reasoning is just as circular because you say the Church is infallible because the inspired Scriptures say so and then say the Scriptures are inspired and infallible because the Church says so!”

The Catholic Church’s position on inspiration is not circular. We do not say “the Church is infallible because the inspired Scriptures say so, and the Scriptures are inspired because the infallible Church says so.” That would be a kind of circular reasoning. The Church was established historically and functioned as the infallible spokesperson for the Lord decades before the New Testament was written. The Church is infallible because Jesus said so.

Having said that, it is true that we know the Scriptures to be inspired because the Church has told us so. That is also an historical fact. However, this is not circular reasoning. When the Catholic approaches Scripture, he or she begins with the Bible as an historical document, not as inspired. As any reputable historian will tell you, the New Testament is the most accurate and verifiable historical document in all of ancient history. To deny the substance of the historical documents recorded therein would be absurd. However, one cannot deduce from this that they are inspired. There are many accurate historical documents that are not inspired. However, the Scriptures do give us accurate historical information whether one holds to their inspiration or not. Further, this testimony of the Bible is backed up by hundreds of works by early Christians and non-Christian writers like Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, and more. It is on this basis that we can say it is an historical fact that Jesus lived, died, and was reported to be resurrected from the dead by over 500 eyewitnesses. Many of these eyewitnesses went to their deaths testifying to the veracity of the Christ-event (see Lk. 1:1-4, Jn. 21:18-19, 24-25, Acts 1:1-11, I Cr. 15:1-8).

Now, what do we find when we examine the historical record? Jesus Christ—as a matter of history–established a Church, not a book, to be the foundation of the Christian Faith (see Mt. 16:15-18; 18:15-18. Cf. Eph. 2:20; 3:10,20-21; 4:11-15; I Tm. 3:15; Hb. 13:7,17, etc.). He said of his Church, “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk. 10:16). The many books that comprise what we call the Bible never tell us crucial truths such as the fact that they are inspired, who can and cannot be the human authors of them, who authored them at all, or, as I said before, what the canon of Scripture is in the first place. And this is just to name a few examples. What is very clear historically is that Jesus established a kingdom with a hierarchy and authority to speak for him (see Lk. 20:29-32, Mt. 10:40, 28:18-20). It was members of this Kingdom—the Church—that would write the Scripture, preserve its many texts and eventually canonize it. The Scriptures cannot write or canonize themselves. To put it simply, reason clearly rejects sola scriptura as a self-refuting principle because one cannot determine what the “scriptura” is using the principle of sola scriptura.

Sola Scriptura is Unbiblical

Let us now consider the most common text used by Protestants to “prove” sola scriptura, II Tm. 3:16, which I quoted above:

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The problem with using this text as such is threefold: 1. Strictly speaking, it does not speak of the New Testament at all. 2. It does not claim Scripture to be the sole rule of faith for Christians. 3. The Bible teaches oral Tradition to be on a par with and just as necessary as the written Tradition, or Scripture.

1. What’s Old is Not New

Let us examine the context of the passage by reading the two preceding verses:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood (italics added) you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

In context, this passage does not refer to the New Testament at all. None of the New Testament books had been written when St. Timothy was a child! To claim this verse in order to authenticate a book, say, the book of Revelation, when it had most likely not even been written yet, is more than a stretch. That is going far beyond what the text actually claims.

2. The Trouble With Sola

As a Protestant, I was guilty of seeing more than one sola in Scripture that simply did not exist. The Bible clearly teaches justification by faith. And we Catholics believe it. However, we do not believe in justification by faith alone because, among many other reasons, the Bible says, we are “justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24, emphasis added). Analogously, when the Bible says Scripture is inspired and profitable for “the man of God,” to be “equipped for every good work,” we Catholics believe it. However, the text of II Tim. 3:16 never says Scripture alone. There is no sola to be found here either! Even if we granted II Tm. 3:16 was talking about all of Scripture, it never claims Scripture to be the sole rule of faith. A rule of faith, to be sure! But not the sole rule of faith.

James 1:4 illustrates clearly the problem with Protestant exegesis of II Tim. 3:16:

And let steadfastness (patience) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If we apply the same principle of exegesis to this text that the Protestant does to II Tm. 3:16 we would have to say that all we need is patience to be perfected. We don’t need faith, hope, charity, the Church, baptism, etc.

Of course, any Christian would immediately say this is absurd. And of course it is. But James’s emphasis on the central importance of patience is even stronger than St. Paul’s emphasis on Scripture. The key is to see that there is not a sola to be found in either text. Sola patientia would be just as much an error as is sola scriptura.

3. The Tradition of God is the Word of God

Not only is the Bible silent when it comes to sola scriptura, but Scripture is remarkably plain in teaching oral Tradition to be just as much the word of God as is Scripture. In what most scholars believe was the first book written in the New Testament, St. Paul said:

And we also thank God… that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God… (I Thess. 2:13)

II Thess. 2:15 adds:

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions you have been taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

According to St. Paul, the spoken word from the apostles was just as much the word of God as was the later written word.

Sola Scriptura is Unworkable

When it comes to the tradition of Protestantism—sola scriptura—the silence of the text of Scripture is deafening. When it comes to the true authority of Scripture and Tradition, the Scriptures are clear. And when it comes to the teaching and governing authority of the Church, the biblical text is equally as clear:

If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone … But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you … If he refuses to listen … tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Mt. 18:15-17)

According to Scripture, the Church—not the Bible alone—is the final court of appeal for the people of God in matters of faith and discipline. But isn’t it also telling that since the Reformation of just ca. 480 years ago—a reformation claiming sola scriptura as its formal principle—there are now over 33,000 denominations that have derived from it?

For 1,500 years, Christianity saw just a few enduring schisms (the Monophysites, Nestorians, the Orthodox, and a very few others). Now in just 480 years we have this? I hardly think that when Jesus prophesied there would be “one shepherd and one fold” in Jn. 10:16, this is what he had in mind. It seems quite clear to me that not only is sola scriptura unreasonable and unbiblical, but it is unworkable. The proof is in the puddin’!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 19th, 2014, 7:43 pm

Scripture and Tradition

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Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith, meaning that it contains all of the material one needs for theology and that this material is sufficiently clear that one does not need apostolic tradition or the Church’s magisterium (teaching authority) to help one understand it. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages. Anything extraneous to the Bible is simply non-authoritative, unnecessary, or wrong—and may well hinder one in coming to God.

Catholics, on the other hand, recognize that the Bible does not endorse this view and that, in fact, it is repudiated in Scripture. The true "rule of faith"—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.

In the Second Vatican Council’s document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum (Latin: "The Word of God"), the relationship between Tradition and Scripture is explained: "Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

"Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence."

But Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants, who place their confidence in Martin Luther’s theory of sola scriptura (Latin: "Scripture alone"), will usually argue for their position by citing a couple of key verses. The first is this: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31). The other is this: "All Scripture is
inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be equipped, prepared for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17). According to these Protestants, these verses demonstrate the reality of sola scriptura (the "Bible only" theory).

Not so, reply Catholics. First, the verse from John refers to the things written in that book (read it with John 20:30, the verse immediately before it to see the context of the statement in question). If this verse proved anything, it would not prove the theory of sola scriptura but that the Gospel of John is sufficient.

Second, the verse from John’s Gospel tells us only that the Bible was composed so we can be helped to believe Jesus is the Messiah. It does not say the Bible is all we need for salvation, much less that the Bible is all we need for theology; nor does it say the Bible is even necessary to believe in Christ. After all, the earliest Christians had no New Testament to which they could appeal; they learned from oral, rather than written, instruction. Until relatively recent times, the Bible was inaccessible to most people, either because they could not read or because the printing press had not been invented. All these people learned from oral instruction, passed down, generation to generation, by the Church.

Much the same can be said about 2 Timothy 3:16-17. To say that all inspired writing "has its uses" is one thing; to say that only inspired writing need be followed is something else. Besides, there is a telling argument against claims of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants. John Henry Newman explained it in an 1884 essay entitled "Inspiration in its Relation to Revelation."



Newman’s argument



He wrote: "It is quite evident that this passage furnishes no argument whatever that the sacred Scripture, without Tradition, is the sole rule of faith; for, although sacred Scripture is profitable for these four ends, still it is not said to be sufficient. The Apostle [Paul] requires the aid of Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15). Moreover, the Apostle here refers to the scriptures which Timothy was taught in his infancy.

"Now, a good part of the New Testament was not written in his boyhood: Some of the Catholic epistles were not written even when Paul wrote this, and none of the books of the New Testament were then placed on the canon of the Scripture books. He refers, then, to the scriptures of the Old Testament, and, if the argument from this passage proved anything, it would prove too much, viz., that the scriptures of the New Testament were not necessary for a rule of faith."

Furthermore, Protestants typically read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context. When read in the context of the surrounding passages, one discovers that Paul’s reference to Scripture is only part of his exhortation that Timothy take as his guide Tradition and Scripture. The two verses immediately before it state: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:14–15).

Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned for two reasons: first, because he knows from whom he has learned it—Paul himself—and second, because he has been educated in the scriptures. The first of these is a direct appeal to apostolic tradition, the oral teaching which the apostle Paul had given Timothy. So Protestants must take 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context to arrive at the theory of sola scriptura. But when the passage is read in context, it becomes clear that it is teaching the importance of apostolic tradition!

The Bible denies that it is sufficient as the complete rule of faith. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2). He instructs us to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15).

This oral teaching was accepted by Christians, just as they accepted the written teaching that came to them later. Jesus told his disciples: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me" (Luke 10:16). The Church, in the persons of the apostles, was given the authority to teach by Christ; the Church would be his representative. He commissioned them, saying, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19).

And how was this to be done? By preaching, by oral instruction: "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). The Church would always be the living teacher. It is a mistake to limit "Christ’s word" to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing. The Bible nowhere supports either notion.

Further, it is clear that the oral teaching of Christ would last until the end of time. "’But the word of the Lord abides for ever.’ That word is the good news which was preached to you" (1 Pet. 1:25). Note that the word has been "preached"—that is, communicated orally. This would endure. It would not be
supplanted by a written record like the Bible (supplemented, yes, but not supplanted), and would continue to have its own authority.

This is made clear when the apostle Paul tells Timothy: "[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). Here we see the first few links in the chain of apostolic tradition that has been passed down intact from the apostles to our own day. Paul instructed Timothy to pass on the oral teachings (traditions) that he had received from the apostle. He was to give these to men who would be able to teach others, thus perpetuating the chain. Paul gave this instruction not long before his death (2 Tim. 4:6–8), as a reminder to Timothy of how he should conduct his ministry.



What is Tradition?



In this discussion it is important to keep in mind what the Catholic Church means by tradition. The term does not refer to legends or mythological accounts, nor does it encompass transitory customs or practices which may change, as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.

They have been handed down and entrusted to the Churchs. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).



Handing on the faith



Paul illustrated what tradition is: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. . . . Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed" (1 Cor. 15:3,11). The apostle praised those who followed Tradition: "I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2).

The first Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching" (Acts 2:42) long before there was a New Testament. From the very beginning, the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, not in a book. The teaching Church, with its oral, apostolic tradition, was authoritative. Paul himself gives a quotation from Jesus that was handed down orally to him: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

This saying is not recorded in the Gospels and must have been passed on to Paul. Indeed, even the Gospels themselves are oral tradition which has been written down (Luke 1:1–4). What’s more, Paul does not quote Jesus only. He also quotes from early Christian hymns, as in Ephesians 5:14. These and other things have been given to Christians "through the Lord Jesus" (1 Thess. 4:2).

Fundamentalists say Jesus condemned tradition. They note that Jesus said, "And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matt. 15:3). Paul warned, "See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ" (Col. 2:8). But these verses merely condemn erroneous human traditions, not truths which were handed down orally and entrusted to the Church by the apostles. These latter truths are part of what is known as apostolic tradition, which is to be distinguished from human traditions or customs.



"Commandments of men"



Consider Matthew 15:6–9, which Fundamentalists and Evangelicals often use to defend their position: "So by these traditions of yours you have made God’s laws ineffectual. You hypocrites, it was a true prophecy that Isaiah made of you, when he said, ‘This people does me honor with its lips, but its heart is far from me. Their worship is in vain, for the doctrines they teach are the commandments of men.’" Look closely at what Jesus said.

He was not condemning all traditions. He condemned only those that made God’s word void. In this case, it was a matter of the Pharisees feigning the dedication of their goods to the Temple so they could avoid using them to support their aged parents. By doing this, they dodged the commandment to "Honor your father and your mother" (Ex. 20:12).

Elsewhere, Jesus instructed his followers to abide by traditions that are not contrary to God’s commandments. "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice" (Matt. 23:2–3).

What Fundamentalists and Evangelicals often do, unfortunately, is see the word "tradition" in Matthew 15:3 or Colossians 2:8 or elsewhere and conclude that anything termed a "tradition" is to be rejected. They forget that the term is used in a different sense, as in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15, to describe what should be believed. Jesus did not condemn all traditions; he condemned only erroneous traditions, whether doctrines or practices, that undermined Christian truths. The rest, as the apostles taught, were to be obeyed. Paul commanded the Thessalonians to adhere to all the traditions he had given them, whether oral or written.



The indefectible Church

The task is to determine what constitutes authentic tradition. How can we know which traditions are apostolic and which are merely human? The answer is the same as how we know which scriptures are apostolic and which are merely human—by listening to the magisterium or teaching authority of Christ’s Church. Without the Catholic Church’s teaching authority, we would not know with certainty which purported books of Scripture are authentic. If the Church revealed to us the canon of Scripture, it can also reveal to us the "canon of Tradition" by establishing which traditions have been passed down from the apostles. After all, Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18) and the New Testament itself declares the Church to be "the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 29th, 2014, 3:53 pm

Are Catholics into the Bible?


In this Article
1.What does the Catholic Church teach about Bible access and reading?
2.The Catholic Mass is totally Bible centred
3.The Catholic Church protected the Bible
4.Does the Church agree that the Bible is the unerring word of God?
5.Why do we need help interpreting Scripture?
6.Paul & Barnabus consulted Church authority on Scripture interpretation
7.Isn't the Bible the only authority?
8.Why does the Catholic Church think it has the right interpretation?
9.Catholics take the Bible at its word
10.Is the Church squashing private interpretation?
11.Is an evolving understanding of Scripture relativistic?
12.Don't most Evangelicals trust an interpretive authority?
13.Why do Catholics refer to the Catechism? Why don't Catholics just use the Bible?

Related Articles
1.Traditions of Men?
2.History of how the Bible came to us
3.What's with these "extra" books in the Bible
4.Mary in the Bible
5.A biblical examination of gay sex
6.How come Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible?
7.Flowchart of Catholic Doctrine



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Catholics and Evangelicals are in total agreement that the Bible is the Word of God. It is the most happening book on the planet. This site has over 1000 Biblical quotes on it. I love the Bible. Amen! Catholics and Evangelicals use the same New Testament. Thirty-nine books of the Old Testament books are identical. Catholics and Evangelicals can get into the Word together. I think it is good that Evangelicals and Catholics have lively and animated discussions about the interpretation of Scripture. That's the spice of life. Evangelicals do that with each other all the time. That's part of the reason why there are so many denominations :-)

What does the Catholic Church teach about Bible access and reading?

In sections 131-133 of the Catechism we find this:


Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."...Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology...The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful...to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.

We do not think it could be any clearer than this. The Church is telling Catholics "Read your Bibles." You may have heard that Catholics were not allowed read the Bible in earlier centuries. That is a very complicated subject that many Evangelical pastors have turned into a simplistic slogan against Catholics. In the days when peasants were illiterate, peasant Catholics depended on clergy who could read, on the Scripture stories as depicted visually on stain glass windows and statues. We explore the history of Catholic Bible reading here.

The message to Catholics of this generation, who are literate and able to read, unlike Christians in earlier centuries is "Read your Bibles." We thank our Evangelical friends for so enthusiastically getting into Scripture and helping turn the last century into an age of Bible literacy.

The Catholic Mass is totally Bible-centered

The Processional March of each Mass is lead by a person holding the Cross and then a person holding the Bible up high in the air. What many Evangelicals don't know is that each Catholic Mass has four Bible readings in it, and the Liturgy is pulled right out of Scripture (Mat 26:26-28, Mk 14:22, Lk 22:17). This layout of the Mass has continued for over a thousand years. If I follow Church advice and go to Mass everyday, I make a beautiful journey through the Bible. Perhaps by going to daily Mass we do not learn the chapter and verse numbers but it is still a wonderful exposure to Scripture. It is kind of like this. When we were kids we did not know all the street numbers in our neighbourhood like the postman, but we knew where everybody was because we were exposed to them every day. We got to know them. By going to Mass we get a fantastic exposure to God's Word.

Of course we have to study privately and/or in groups also and the Church instructs us to do that.

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The Catholic Church protected the Bible

The Catholic Church protected the Bible across the ages until the Gutenberg press was invented. Century after century, Monks in Monasteries faithfully copied Scripture. They were incredibly accurate. We have a modern discovery that is a testimony to how accurate the Monks were when they copied the Bible. The "Dead Sea Scrolls" were discovered in 1947 and they date back to 200 BC. They contain Old Testament books such as Isaiah. They predate some of the Monk's copies by 1500 years. Yet the hand copied Bibles created by monks are almost identical to the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is remarkable given that the Monks were working from copies of copies. It would take each monk a lifetime to copy one Bible and thousands of faithful Catholics dedicated their lives to this work. Catholics protected the Bible over the centuries of wars, famines, plaques, the fall of Rome, fires, and threats from all sides. This was long before any other denomination existed.

The Bible didn't just drop out of the sky, spiral bound, with an NIV sticker on it. The Catholic Church chose which books to include in the Bible in the Synod's of Hippo (393 AD) and confirmed it at Carthage (397 AD). A timeline of how the Bible came to us is here. Here are the words of Professor Peter Flint, the non-Catholic scholar who translated the only English version of the Dead Sea Scrolls which won first prize from the Washington Biblical Archeology association:

"Without the Catholic Church you have no Bible, just a bunch of books and letters. With the Church you have the Bible!"

Even the word Bible is a Catholic word. Surprisingly, the word "Bible" is not in the Bible. It means books from the Greek word βυβλος-byblos meaning "papyrus", from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus, the "paper" of the day. We love the Bible. Honest!

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Does the Catholic Church agree that the Bible is the unerring Word of God?


The Church's official position on the complete inerrancy of the Bible
•Vatican I: These books [of the canon] the Church holds to be sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author (De Fide Catholica 2:7).
•Pope Leo XIII: "it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred" and condemned "the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond" (Providentissimus Deus 20).
•Pius XII regarding Pope Leo XIII's quote: "[a] solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, by which such divine authority is claimed for the ‘entire books with all their parts’ as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever." He repudiated those who "ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals" (Divino Afflante Spiritu 1).
• Vatican II: In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things that he wanted. Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully, and without error that truth that God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation (Dei Verbum 11).

The Catholic position on Scripture has always been that it is without error on faith and morals and also on everything else. It is the word of God, word for word. The imperfect people who received inspiration to write it did not mess up when they put the pen to paper, even though they were fallible humans. Even with the rise of science Vatican I asserted it, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pious XII, and Vatican II all reasserted the complete inerrancy of Scripture. The box to the right shows the councils and Popes' reaffirmation of this truth.

Some modern "theologians" at Vatican II wanted to limit the inerrancy of Scripture to "faith and morals" allowing "errors" in Scripture on historical events, dates etc... but Pope Paul VI stood by the Church's consistent position. The line "for the sake of our salvation" probably meant that God gave us Scripture for the purpose of our salvation. It does not make sense to say that God would put exactly what he wanted in Scripture and create an error there. To assume that the inspired writers made mistakes is to put the Bible on the same level as every other inspired book, which clearly it is not.

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Why do we sometimes need help interpreting Scripture?

Scripture says:


Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch...reading the prophet Isaiah...[Philip] asked "do you understand what you are reading?" He replied "How can I unless someone guides me?" and he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him (Acts 8:30-31)

Philip, who was an apostle and a representative of Christ's Church, helped the Ethiopian eunuch interpret the Scripture. In the Old Testament we read:


So the Levites read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8 - my emphasis)

Catholics and Evangelicals agree that the Bible is the unerring word of God. Where we differ is where the burden of interpretation lies. Evangelicals follow Martin Luther’s feeling that an individual can interpret the Bible perfectly if they pray first. Catholics agree that the Holy Spirit guides our Bible reading and illuminates our understanding. I've had some amazing experiences with Scripture where the words just came alive for me.

However, I'm not sure that every time someone picks up a Bible, prays, and starts reading, that they are surrounded by the Holy Spirit, even if they are sincere. For example, Martin Luther, after praying and reading the Bible, decided that the Book of James didn't belong in the Bible. To me this is a problem, because here is a guy prayerfully reading the Bible, who decided parts of it didn't belong there, yet he said the Bible was the unerring word of God. This seems kind of cyclical to me. In the preface to his Bible, Martin Luther said:


"the St. James' Epistle is really an epistle of straw ... for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it."

About the Book of Revelation, Luther said:


"I miss more than one thing in this book, and this makes me hold it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic.. . . and can nohow detect that the Holy Spirit produced it . . . there are many far better books for us to keep."

So even for Martin Luther, Scripture alone was not enough, he acknowledged that there needed to be human authority governing it, he just thought that the authority should be him, rather than the Catholic Church.

Some Evangelicals might say that that the Bible is self-explanatory and needs no interpretation. They say, "the main things are the plain things." My response would be that the Evangelical movement itself does not support that statement. Everyone interprets Scripture the moment they pick it up. Sometimes the Holy Spirit reveals stuff to us as we study which is great. But almost all of the conflicting views among Evangelicals are forwarded by sincere honest Christians who claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Surely God did not want people to have conflicting interpretations of Scripture, because that would be in conflict with the Bible itself which calls us to unity. (Jn 17:21) Each of these 33,820 denominations was formed because people came to an irreconcilable difference over the interpretation of Scripture. If Truth is not relative then there can be only one Truth. Therefore, not everyone who honestly feels they are led by the Holy Spirit when reading Scripture is correct. It is sad but true.

Ironically, the way that many Evangelical denominations have decided to have unity with each other is to agree not to look at Scriptural references that they are in disagreement about.

To me this is an unauthentic and superficial unity, not the deep unity that we are called to. Many have written to me and said "the only thing that is important is that we agree that Jesus is Lord." I totally agree that Jesus is Lord, but if that is all we needed to know then I wonder why He gave us 1500 pages of Scripture. He could have just showed up for a day and said "I'm Lord" and did a big miracle and split, but He didn't. He taught his apostles, who were the Church, for 3 years. His apostles wrote down his words and eventually it became what we now call the Bible. I think this was Jesus' wish.

Many "Bible believing" denominations who say "Jesus is Lord" have now ruled that Gay Marriage and abortion are OK. This includes Lutherans, some Methodist churches, the United Church, Anglicans, Episcopalians etc. That is their interpretation of Scripture. I have a problem with that. I think Jesus understood the human mind's capacity to rationalize its own wishes even with the Bible in hand, and while saying "Jesus is Lord." I believe we need a higher authority than millions of diverse and conflicting Christians with Bibles in their hands. Catholics think that the final word on the interpretation of Scripture falls on the authority to which Jesus appointed. (Mathew 16:18-19).

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Paul and Barnabus consulted the central authority of the Church on the interpretation of Scripture

We have a Biblical example of the Church having a central interpreter in early times during the crisis of faith over circumcision. (Acts 15-16) Paul and Barnabus went to Jerusalem to settle the circumcision issue. "As they (Paul and Timothy) went through the towns they delivered to the believers the rules decided upon by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and they told them to obey those rules." (Acts 16:3) This is a good example of the Lord using the "Church" to decide on matters of interpretation.

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Isn't the Bible alone the only Authority? (Sola Scriptura)

That is probably the biggest division between Catholics and Evangelicals. So I thought I should explain it a bit and not leave it hanging, 'cause I can see how it seems blasphemous for a Catholic to say the Bible is not the "only" authority. Most certainly the Bible is infallible. However, Catholics believe that the Bible itself teaches us that the Church came before the Bible. Jesus did not write any books of the Bible. Jesus chose NOT to write but rather to build his Church, and 30-60 years later He inspired the members of his Church write down the Gospels. Several hundred years after that, He inspired members of his Church to decide what books belong in the Bible. A history of the Bible is here. If Jesus inspired members of the Church to infallibly write the Bible and later infallibly decide on what writings to include in the Bible, I think He can inspire the Church to make right interpretation of Scripture on matters that are critical to our salvation.

The following passage is often used to profess Sola Scriptura (Bible alone)


"...the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training" (2 Timothy 3:15-16)

The passage simply says Scripture is inspired and useful. Catholics totally agree. Water is necessary for my existence but is it all I need? Most certainly not. Interestingly, there was no New Testament written back then so if this passage was saying Scripture is all we need, it would be saying that the New Testament wasn't necessary, which is obviously untrue.

Catholics believe that the "Bible alone" theory is not what the Bible teaches.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say the Bible alone is the only authority. However, the Bible does say that Jesus founded his Church and gave it all authority. (Mat 16:18)

Scripture says "And the Word became Flesh" (Jn1:1) It doesn't say "and the Word became paper." God became Flesh, He instituted and commissioned his Church. Later He inspired members of his Church to write, then He inspired members of the Church to discern which books to include in the Bible, and He inspired his Church to interpret it. This is what Catholics believe, and that is what all Christians believed for the first 1500 years of Christianity.

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Why does the Catholic Church think that its interpretation of Scripture is right?

Catholics believe Jesus ordained Peter and the Apostles to be the teaching authority over God’s Word to us. I believe that God gave Peter a special Grace to teach infallibly. Jesus said "...you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Mat 16:18). I believe that Jesus extends this grace through Peter's successors to the present day Pope. We call this special grace infallibility. We think it is a rallying point and a great source of unity that Jesus summons us to in Scripture. More Christians are in unity with Rome in this way than all the other denominations combined.

The Catholic Church does not claim to fully understand all Scripture. There are many mysteries within its pages that still are not fully understood. What the Church is saying is that whatever has been revealed to it and set out in Dogma is true. There are many areas of Scripture that are still mysteries, and therefore not defined as Dogma. There is much for the Church to learn. I believe God is not finished with us. That is why we say that the Catholic Church is on a pilgrimage. (more about that below)

How is it possible for one organization to be confident in its claim of infallible interpretation of Scripture? Perhaps the question should be "Can God make it possible for one organization to have the power of discernment?" Could God do this if He wanted to? I believe every Christian would agree that He can do anything. The Church believes Jesus wanted to do this, He promised it, and He delivered. (Mat 16:18-19, 18:18, 28:20; Jn 14:16, 25, 16:13).

Catholics think that perhaps God organized the authority thing to prevent us from having a thousand variations of Catholicism based on every person who gets a conflicting insight about Scripture. If this happened, it would not be consistent with Jesus' wish for Unity. (Jn 17:20-23, 1 Cor 1:10; 12:25 Phil 1:27 Eph 4:13-15, Eph 4:5).

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Catholics take the Bible at its Word

A Catholic friend Gary Hoge says that he discovered that in most cases where Catholics and Protestants disagree over biblical interpretation, it was, ironically, the Catholics who interpreted the Bible literally, where we Protestants gave it a figurative, allegorical interpretation. For instance:
•When Jesus says, "You must be born of water and the Spirit," Catholics interpret this literally: "Water" equals "water," i.e., baptism. But some Protestants say that the water refers to something else, perhaps the preaching of the gospel, or even the amniotic fluid of natural child-birth.
•When Paul says that Jesus cleanses his church by "the washing with water," Catholics interpret this literally. "Washing with water" equals "washing with water"; another reference to baptism. But some Protestants say it refers to something else, perhaps the Scriptures.
•When Jesus says, "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven," Catholics, again, interpret this literally and believe that Jesus gave his apostles the authority to forgive sins in His name. But some Protestants say that this is just a reference to the apostles' authority to preach the gospel.
•Again, when Jesus says, "This is my body," and "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life," Catholics interpret this literally. The Eucharist is His body; it is truly His flesh and blood, though it does not appear to be. But most Protestants say that it remains only bread and wine (or grape juice) and that, once again, we should not take Jesus' words literally.
•[and I add] When the Angel Gabriel says Mary is "full of Grace", and when Mary says "all generations will call me blessed" and "my soul magnifies the Lord" we take the Bible at its word.

...It seemed to me that Catholic theology usually allowed the Bible to simply mean what it says, without the complicated exegesis and linguistic gyrations that were sometimes necessary to make it support my beliefs. (From Gary Hoge)
Catholics do believe what the Bible says.

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Is Church authority squashing the individual's private interpretation of Scripture?

I don't think the Church is into squashing the individual. In fact it has great respect for the individual. Most of our Saints were simple individuals not in positions of power. Yet they have become great examples to the whole Church. The Church has great respect for these individuals who have said "yes" to the Lord. The Church learns from these individuals and has incorporated their interpretations of Scripture into doctrine. The Church relies on gifted individuals. The Church feels that God has anointed some individuals such as Thomas Aquinas with understanding. The Church goes into a process of prayer and discernment on the validity of interpretations by individuals and makes doctrine from some of the interpretations that emerge out of this official discernment.

The Church is totally cool with private interpretation of Scripture. In fact many of our doctrines were defined through the giftings of people like Thomas Aquinas and Jerome who had private revelations about the interpretation of Scripture. These insights went through a process of discernment, prayer and examination by the Church. Once accepted, they eventually helped mold our understanding of what God was saying to the Church through his Holy Word.

The Church is also cool with guys like you and me having private revelation, if it does not conflict with sound doctrine. If we have a new insight into an area, it can be discerned, prayed over and reviewed the same way as it was for Thomas Aquinas and others who helped mold the Church's understanding of Scripture.

We have a recent example of this. Thérèse de Lisieux was a young nun who died at 24 years old. She was a "nobody" in the Church - just a little nun in a far away Carmelite convent. The Church looked at her writings and they were floored! They made her a doctor of the Church and she has influenced modern thought about the Bible in a major way. My evangelical friends will be glad to know that her greatest contribution was her total abandonment and confidence in Jesus. She had a personal relationship to Him. He was her personal Saviour.

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What about the Catholic Church's evolving understanding, isn't that relativism?

Some Evangelicals might say that that the Bible is self-explanatory and needs no interpretation. My response would be that the Evangelical movement itself does not support that statement. I would say that that is pretty well the entire job of an Evangelical preacher, to help people interpret Scripture and put it into practice in their lives. There are presently dozens of conflicting interpretations of Bible passages by different Evangelical denominations and cell groups (i.e., the Rapture). Everyone interprets Scripture the moment they pick it up. Sometimes the Holy Spirit reveals stuff to us as we study which is great. But almost all of the conflicting views among Evangelicals are claimed to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. If I believe that Truth is not relative then there is only one truth. Catholics think it's better that it is interpreted by the authority to which Jesus gave the authority. (Mathew 16:18-19). The Catholic Church doesn't claim that it understands everything about Scripture. Rather, it says that what has been revealed and defined as Dogma is true. The Church is on a pilgrimage of faith and its understanding of the mystery of God is evolving.

What many Evangelicals do not know is that no mainstream Evangelical denomination agrees with the writings of the early reformers on some fundamental issues; for instance, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the role of the Eucharist, contraception, etc... Martin Luther's writings (even after the reform) are closer to Catholicism than they are to modern ECLA Lutherans. I think this clearly shows that the Evangelical understanding of Scripture has "evolved."

Richard John Neuhaus describes the Catholic Church's Pilgrimage of Faith this way.


. . . the Catholic Church, knowing that theological formulations fall short of expressing the fullness of truth, trusts the continuing guidance of the Spirit in a course of doctrinal development toward the ever more adequate articulation of God's Word relative to the questions posed by the time . . .(3)

Article 66-67 of the Catechism says:


"The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."28 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries. ...Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

Evangelicals had an "evolving understanding" of Scripture regarding slavery

Perhaps the best way to throw light upon the Catholic approach is to look a dilemma in the Protestant world in the last century. Many slave owners used Scripture to justify the slave trade. They had many Bible quotes to back it up. Some would say that people who were against slavery were against the Bible and therefore against God. However, good Christians had a revelation about the interpretation of Scripture. Careful and prayerful examination of these scriptural passages revealed that the abolition of slavery would in no way contradict Scripture. Although the Bible had not changed, its meaning on this matter sharpened. Scriptural understanding matured on this matter. After much pain, God's will on the interpretation of Scripture about slavery won out. Praise God. "Amazing Grace." (The Vatican's interpretation of Scripture always was against slavery.)

Right up until the 1500's Christians including the reformers such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and the Catholic church thought the planet earth couldn't move around the sun. They cited Scripture passages stating that the world was "immovable" therefore they felt it could not turn as Copernicus theorized. (i.e., 1 Chron 16:30, Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, and Ps 104:5)

Currently thousands of denominations are interpreting Scripture differently from each other, even though Scripture warns against this. (2 Peter 1:20) Each group is saying they have the correct interpretation. To me this is a perfect example of the "many truths" problem that is found in relativism.

Catholics feel that God is not finished with humanity and that He is constantly revealing things about his Holy Word to us. The Church is on a "Pilgrimage" of faith and understanding. It is maturing and evolving. I don't think the Bible is a dusty archaic book that is frozen in time. It is the living word of God.

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Evangelicals often trust an "authority's" interpretation of Scripture rather than their own personal interpretation

Not many of us understand Hebrew and Greek of 2000 years ago which is considerably different from today’s Hebrew and Greek. Each translation of the Bible is interpreted based on many historical factors such language usage of the time, etc. The Evangelical who reads the Bible in English, is already reading someone else’s interpretation of Scripture. They trust someone else’s judgment.

The minute we walk into Church and hear a pastor's sermon we are influenced on Bible interpretation. Every Evangelical who goes to a Bible study is being influenced by someone else's interpretation of Scripture. Every student in an Evangelical Bible College is being influenced. We must admit that we are all affected by many different influences when interpreting Scripture. And in a way, these Evangelical sources act as teaching authorities, the way the Vatican does for Catholics.

One of my Evangelical friends used to open up the New International Bible Commentary (an authority) in order to get the "right" interpretation. This does not appear to me to be consistent with his Sola Scriptural beliefs? It seems that commentaries, concordances and even Bible studies are quite a Catholic idea in that they represent an "authoritative correct" interpretation of Scripture. Any Evangelical student in Bible college has accepted an "authoritative" interpretation of Scripture. But many of these organizations are in conflict with each other on the interpretation of Scripture even though their leaders are prayerful, brilliant, faithful and humble people. It still doesn't solve the unity problem. Who's right - they both prayerfully read their Bibles? Jesus wanted all Christians to be unified in their understanding of Scripture. We think the inspired authority explanation is more Biblical and offers a greater chance at Christian unity.

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Why do Catholics refer to the Catechism? Why don't Catholics just use the Bible?

If I walk into any Evangelical book store I will find abundant commentaries on the Bible. Every Evangelical seminary has hundreds of books that are studies to support the students on the interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Every denomination has statements about how it interprets Scripture. The Catechism is a synopsis of the Catholic faith. Its primary source is Scripture. Its other sources are the history and writings of the very first Christians (which we call the Church Fathers), the liturgy, and the Church's teaching authority which is called the Magisterium. If you want to know what the Church teaches about anything from abortion to the Trinity, you will find it in the Catechism. The Catechism in no way replaces Scripture. It is dependent on Scripture. You can read about the early reformers' catechisms here.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 29th, 2014, 3:56 pm

What's with these "extra" books in the Bible?

Deuterocanonical Books (The Apocrypha)


In this Article
1.Deuterocanonical Books
2.Bible Timeline

Related Articles
1.History of how the Bible came to us
2.What's with these "extra" books in the Bible
3.Mary in the Bible
4.A biblical examination of gay sex
5.How come Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible?
6.Flowchart of Catholic Doctrine




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During Jesus' time there were two Old Testaments in use. There was the Palestinian canon (written in Hebrew) , which is identical to the Protestant Old Testament, and there was the Alexandrian canon (written in Greek) also known as the Septuagint, which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament ("canon" means the list of books). Comparisons of the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls indicates that an accurate "eyewitness" exists to the Septuagint. Jesus quotes the Septuagint in 80% of his Old Testament references. The Septuagint was the Scripture of Jesus' time. It has the order of Bible books that we find in modern Bibles, the Palestinian canon has a completely different order. The NIV Bible use the Septuagint's order of books, yet it leaves out some of the books (Deuterocanonical books) that we find there.

The Alexandrian and Palestinian canons were almost identical except the Septuagint contained the seven Deuterocanonical books, which Protestants call the Apocrypha. The Apostles and the early Church including the early Church fathers used the Septuagint. The African Synods of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage (397 AD) also approved it.

Evangelicals favour the Palestinian canon because it is the one that the Jews ratified in 90 AD at the Jewish (non-Christian) Council of Jamnia. Catholics feel that this Jewish council was not binding by God because God's authority was passed over to Christians at the Pentecost (Acts 2:1) sixty years earlier. Some people question if an actual council occurred at Jamnia but that does not change the premise. The Jews decided to review their canon books after the resurrection of our Lord, and those decisions are not at all binding on Christians.

We got an email that said:


Plus Jerome never included them [apocrypha] in the canon of the Vulgate, but kept them separate from the inspired scripture. The Catholic Church never officially declared this books inspired until 1546. The Church may have considered them in the canon, but never Officially declared them as scripture.

Here is a snip from Columbia University (a secular institution):


"As to the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, Jerome made hasty translations of Tobit, Judith, and the additions to Daniel and Esther; the rest he did not touch, hence the Vulgate includes Old Latin versions of them." http://www.answers.com/topic/vulgate

The Vulgate *always* included the Deuteros. Four were translated by Jerome and the rest of them used the old Latin. In other words the Church *always* accepted them.

The Deuterocanonical books were not added to the Bible at the council of Trent like many opponents say. Christians always considered them part of the Bible. The Latin Vulgate written in 400 A.D. by Jerome included the Deuterocanonical books. Their formal acceptance happened at Trent as a response to the Reform. This was the first time the Deuterocanonical books were called into serious question.

The Gutenberg Bible of 1455 contained the Deuterocanonical books. It was the Vulgate.
It was written in Latin. It predates the Reformation.

This is something most Protestants are not taught.

There was not a published Bible before the Reformation that did not contain the Deuteros.

I've heard some Evangelicals say the Deuterocanonical books don't belong in the Bible because they are unbiblical. To me that is a circular argument. Martin Luther removed them from his version (he also wanted to pull the Books of James and Revelation). Now, based on this new canon, Evangelicals are saying the Deuteros are unbiblical. If the Deuteros were in the Bible from the beginning, which is what history reveals, then I would say they are biblical by their very definition.

I asked Dr. Art Sippo (a well-known Catholic apologist) to explain a bit of the history of the Septuagint - the Greek Old Testament - that Jesus quotes from most often:


There is no single text corpus called The Septuagint (LXX). There are actually several families and the vast majority of them are Christian in origin well after the 1st Century. We know that they [Deuterocanonical books] were in virtually all of the Christian collections of the time. That is the point that counts. When Christians collected the OT in the first 3 centuries AD, they INVARIABLY used the LXX and included some if not all of the deuteros and sometimes included other works that we consider apocryphal. We know this because we have several codices (i.e., bound books) from the early Church which appear to have been created by Imperial edict right after the Council of Nicea in 325. We also have lists of books from the 2nd Century (e.g., the Muratorian Fragment) and the testimony of several Fathers to that effect starting with Justin Martyr in150 AD. The Fathers also extensively quoted from the Deuteros from the late 1st Century onwards. Until the mid 4th Century, no one seriously challenged the long OT Canon.

I (David) went to a lecture by Peter Flint, the author of the only existing English translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls (published in 1999, www.deadseascrolls.org). His book on the scrolls was declared book of the year 2003 by the Institute of Biblical Archeology in Washington, DC. He made it plain that the Deuterocanonical Books (Apocrypha) were included with the other books of the Old Testament in the scrolls. They were found together. This helps to confirm that the Deuterocanonical books are part of the Bible.

Professor Flint (who is not a Catholic) made a powerful statement. He said, "you cannot have a Bible without the Church." When I asked him about it during the book signing after the lecture he said to me, "Without the Church you have a bunch of books. With the Church you have a Bible." (Lecture Feb. 13, 2004, Ottawa, Canada)

To me as a convert to Catholicism, this is a very important statement from a scholar like Mr. Flint because of its implications. Particularly because he is not a Catholic. If the Bible requires the Church for its Canon (list of Books to include), I would think that the decision process to decide on the Canon would have to be "inspired" by God. I think the same kind of Grace would be required to decide on what books to include in the Bible Canon as was required to write the books in the first place. It seems there are 4 possibilities:
1. God did not inspire the decision on the Canon.
2. God gave the Jews that Grace in the 2nd century A.D. when they chose the Masoretic Canon (after they rejected his son, the Messiah)
3. God gave the Reformation that Grace in 1546
4. God give the Catholic Church that Grace at Carthage in 397 A.D.

I can't imagine God being okay with there being two Canons floating around so I would rule out #1. I can't imagine God waiting 1550 years until the Reformation to inspire a decision on the Canon. So I also would rule out #3. That leaves me with the option that either the Jews were given that Grace in the 2nd century A.D. or the Catholic Church was given that Grace at Carthage. I have difficulty believing God would give more grace to the Jews after they rejected his Son the Messiah than they would give the early Christians who used the Deuteros. So I believe that Grace was given to the early Christians who used the Deuteros and ratified their inclusion in the Canon in 397 A.D. at Carthage.

So that's the Catholic reasoning for including those books. I've pulled a tremendous amount of inspiration from them. I was particularly struck by the books of Tobit, Wisdom, and Judith. If you haven't read them, please give them a spin and judge for yourself. Martin Luther was totally into Tobit. It formed part of Luther's Bible.

Timeline of the decisions on the books of the Bible (Canon)



Date

Event


AD
51-125
The New Testament books are written.

140
Marcion, a businessman in Rome, taught that there were two Gods: Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament, and Abba, the kind father of the New Testament. Marcion eliminated the Old Testament as scriptures and, since he was anti-Semitic, kept from the New Testament only 10 letters of Paul and 2/3 of Luke's gospel (he deleted references to Jesus's Jewishness). Marcion's "New Testament", the first to be compiled, forced the mainstream Church to decide on a core canon: the four Gospels and Letters of Paul.

200
The periphery of the canon is not yet determined. According to one list, compiled at Rome c. AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the NT consists of the 4 gospels; Acts; 13 letters of Paul (Hebrews is not included); 3 of the 7 General Epistles (1-2 John and Jude); and also the Apocalypse of Peter. Each "city-church" (region) has its own Canon, which is a list of books approved for reading at Mass (Liturgy)

367
The earliest extant list of the books of the NT, in exactly the number and order in which we presently have them, is written by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in his Festal letter # 39 of 367 A.D. (Arianism starts introducing spurious books)

382
Council of Rome (whereby Pope Damasus started the ball rolling for the defining of a universal canon for all city-churches). Listed the New Testament books in their present number and order.

393
the Council of Hippo, which began "arguing it out." Canon proposed by Bishop Athanasius.

397
The Council of Carthage, which refined the canon for the Western Church, sending it back to Pope Innocent for ratification. In the East, the canonical process was hampered by a number of schisms (esp. within the Church of Antioch). However, this changed by ...

AD 405

Innocent sends a response to Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse

Qui vero libri recipiantur in canone sanctarum scripturarum brevis annexus ostendit. Haec sunt ergo quae desiderata moneri voluisti: Moysi libri quinque, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium, necnon et Jesu Nave, et Judicum, et Regnorum libri quatuor simul et Ruth, prophetarum libri sexdecim, Salomonis libri quinque, Psalterium. Item historiarum Job liber unus, Tobiae unus, Hester unus, Judith unus, Machabeorum duo, Esdrae duo, Paralipomenon duo. Item Novi Testamenti: Evangeliorum libri iiii, Pauli Apostoli Epistolae xiiii: Epistolae Iohannis tres: Epistolae Petri duae: Epistola Judae: Epistola Jacobi: Actus Apostolorum: Apocalypsis Johannis. Caetera autem quae vel sub nomine Matthiae, sive Jacobi minoris, vel sub nomine Petri et Johannis, quae a quodam Leucio scripta sunt, vel sub nomine Andreae, quae a Nexocharide, et Leonida philosophis, vel sub nomine Thomae, et si qua sunt talia, non solum repudianda verum etiam noveris esse damnanda. Which books really are received in the canon, this brief addition shows. These therefore are the things of which you desired to be informed. Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Judges, and the four books of Kings 2 together with Ruth, sixteen books of the Prophets, five books of Solomon, 3 and the Psalms. Also of the historical books, one book of Job, one of Tobit, one of Esther, one of Judith, two of Maccabees, two of Ezra, 4 two of Chronicles. And of the New Testament: of the Gospels four. Epistles of the apostle Paul fourteen. 5 Epistles of John three. Epistles of Peter two. Epistle of Jude. Epistle of James. Acts of the Apostles. John's Apocalypse. But the rest of the books, which appear under the name of Matthias or of James the Less, or under the name of Peter and John (which were written by a certain Leucius), or under the name of Andrew (which were written by the philosophers Xenocharides and Leonidas), or under the name of Thomas, and whatever others there may be, you should know they are not only to be rejected but also condemned.

1. The Latin text here conforms to the one printed in B.F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (5th ed. Edinburgh, 1881), pp. 570f.

2. That is, First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings.

3. According to Augustine, five books were sometimes ascribed to Solomon: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus.

4. That is, Ezra and Nehemiah.

5. F.F. Bruce prefers "thirteen" here, which implies the omission of Hebrews. He states that "the three best" copies of the letter "reckon Paul's epistles as thirteen (written xiii), but the rest reckon them as fourteen (written xiiii)." (Canon of Scripture, p. 234.) But it is not at all probable that Hebrews would have been deliberately omitted from the list by a Roman bishop in the year 405, and the variation between xiiii and xiii is easily explained by scribal error.

http://www.bible-researcher.com/innocent.html


AD787
The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II, which adopted the canon of Carthage. At this point, both the Latin West and the Greek / Byzantine East had the same canon. However, ... The non-Greek, Monophysite and Nestorian Churches of the East (the Copts, the Ethiopians, the Syrians, the Armenians, the Syro-Malankars, the Chaldeans, and the Malabars) were still left out. But these Churches came together in agreement, in 1442A.D., in Florence.

1442
AD : At the Council of Florence, the entire Church recognized the 27 books. This council confirmed the Roman Catholic Canon of the Bible which Pope Damasus I had published a thousand years earlier. So, by 1439, all orthodox branches of the Church were legally bound to the same canon. This is 100 years before the Reformation.

1536
In his translation of the Bible from Greek into German, Luther removed 4 N.T. books (Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation) and placed them in an appendix saying they were less than canonical.

1546
At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church reaffirmed once and for all the full list of 27 books. The council also confirmed the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books which had been a part of the Bible canon since the early Church and was confirmed at the councils of 393 AD, 373, 787 and 1442 AD. At Trent Rome actually dogmatized the canon, making it more than a matter of canon law, which had been the case up to that point, closing it for good.

The term "canon" means is that a book is approved for reading at the Divine Liturgy --that is, the Mass. This is what "canon" (a Greek word meaning "rule") originally referred to. The "canonical" books were those books which were approved for reading at the Liturgy.

Books which were not approved for reading at the Liturgy were called "apocryphal" (or "hidden"), and so excluded from the Liturgy. Among the "apocryphal" books, some were considered to be very orthodox and even inspired (but still not approved for public reading at the Liturgy), and others were considered to be uninspired or to contain errors (or even to be outright heretical). Only the "canonical" books were approved for reading at the Liturgy (the Mass).

Before the late 4th Century, each city-church had its own, local "canon" of the Bible, and these local canons differed from city-church to city-church ---some local canons including books which are currently excluded from our present Bible (such as 1 Clement to the Corinthians, or the Epistle of Barnabas, or the Book of Enoch, etc.), and some local canons excluding books which are currently included in our present Bible (such as the Epistle of James, and Hebrews, and 2 Peter, and 2 & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation). The reason that city-churches had different local canons is because city-churches had different local Liturgies --that is, the Liturgy (form of worship) in the city-church of Rome was different from the Liturgy (form of worship) in the city-Church of Corinth, or the city-church of Ephesus, or Antioch, or Jerusalem, etc. This included the yearly Liturgical calendar, with different city-churches celebrating different local feast days on any given date.

Since the feast days differed, so did the corresponding readings for those feast days; and since there were only so many Liturgical readings (from so many canonical books) that a city-church could have in a given year, this limited the number of books in the local canon of that city-church.

As the Church entered the 4th century, there was no such thing as one, universal "Bible"
(one universal Scriptural canon, which the entire, universal Church shared in common).

When the Arian heresy ripped the Church apart (pitting bishop against bishop, and city-church against city-church), this created an enormous problem, since you had different bishops (Arian vs. Catholic) quoting from different books (or sets of books) in defense of either Arianism or Catholic Trinitarianism. Needless to say, this complicated and prolonged the controversy, and made Arianism much harder to defeat. Well, by the year 382, when the Arian heresy was finally defeated, Pope St. Damasus of Rome (who had been the librarian for the church of Rome prior to becoming Pope) took it upon himself to correct this problem, and to guarantee that it would not happen again, by initiating steps for the formation of a universal canon of Scripture which all city-churches would hold in common, which would eliminate any book which even implied Arianism (or other condemned heresies).

To "start the ball rolling" on this, Pope Damasus promoted a Biblical canon which was a synthesis of the canon of the city-church of Rome and that of the city-church of Alexandria --the two leading city-churches of the universal Church. Damasus then turned this proposed canon over to the bishops of North Africa for analysis and debate. And he did this for four reasons:
1.North Africa was not part of the theology schools of either Alexandria or Antioch, which were the two intellectual factions that had caused the Arian controversy.
2.North Africa had the most bishops per capita of anywhere in the universal Church at the time, so they would reflect a good sample of universal opinion among the bishops.
3.The North African Church had a traditional custom of meeting in council (either at Carthage or at Hippo) every two years, which would give them the ability to hash things out effectively; and
4.Many of the North African bishops were renowned scholars, such as St. Augustine of Hippo, who participated in the debate and helped to formulate the canon.

So, at both the councils of Hippo (393) and at Carthage (397), the North African bishops worked out the final canon of the both the Old and New Testaments for the universal Church. This is the present canon of the Catholic Church, which the North Africans then submitted to Rome for final ratification. Now, we're not sure when this final ratification was given, but we do know that, by A.D. 405, Pope St. Innocent I was promoting the so-called "canon of Carthage" (397) throughout the Western Church. Rome would also have sent rescripts of its decision (final ratification of the Carthaginian canon) to Alexandria, the 2nd See of the universal Church and the primate in the East, with the expectation that Alexandria (as Eastern primate)would disseminate it throughout the East.

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 30th, 2014, 8:33 am

This is probably the most Important people "ABOUT OUR FAITH" This is basically a study from the bible about our faith,There are many arugments about Catholicism vs.Protestansism & That has went on for 500 years, I believe we must strive for the need to get back to the basics,No of us have all the answers,nobody has seen Heaven nor Hell or God or the Devil,So its based on Faith what we are lead to believe? What is Faith? what is Your Faith?

It says in Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Perhaps no other component of the Christian life is more important than faith. We cannot purchase it, sell it or give it to our friends. So what is faith and what role does faith play in the Christian life? The dictionary defines faith as “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.” It also defines faith as “belief in and devotion to God.” The Bible has much more to say about faith and how important it is. In fact, it is so important that, without faith, we have no place with God, and it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is belief in the one, true God without actually seeing Him.

Where does faith come from? Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with, nor is faith a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. It is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.

Why have faith? God designed a way to distinguish between those who belong to Him and those who don’t, and it is called faith. Very simply, we need faith to please God. God tells us that it pleases Him that we believe in Him even though we cannot see Him. A key part of Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This is not to say that we have faith in God just to get something from Him. However, God loves to bless those who are obedient and faithful. We see a perfect example of this in Luke 7:50. Jesus is engaged in dialog with a sinful woman when He gives us a glimpse of why faith is so rewarding. “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” The woman believed in Jesus Christ by faith, and He rewarded her for it. Finally, faith is what sustains us to the end, knowing that by faith we will be in heaven with God for all eternity. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Examples of faith. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the “faith chapter” because in it great deeds of faith are described. By faith Abel offered a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord (v. 4); by faith Noah prepared the ark in a time when rain was unknown (v. 7); by faith Abraham left his home and obeyed God’s command to go he knew not where, then willingly offered up his only son (vv. 8-10, 17); by faith Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt (vv. 23-29); by faith Rahab received the spies of Israel and saved her life (v. 31). Many more heroes of the faith are mentioned “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (vv. 33-34). Clearly, the existence of faith is demonstrated by action.

Faith is essential to Christianity. Without demonstrating faith and trust in God, we have no place with Him. We believe in God’s existence by faith. Most people have a vague, disjointed notion of who God is but lack the reverence necessary for His exalted position in their lives. These people lack the true faith needed to have an eternal relationship with the God who loves them. Our faith can falter at times, but because it is the gift of God, given to His children, He provides times of trial and testing in order to prove that our faith is real and to sharpen and strengthen it. This is why James tells us to consider it “pure joy” when we fall into trials, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and matures us, providing the evidence that our faith is real (James 1:2-4).

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 31st, 2014, 4:42 pm



This video reminds me of me and you Bumperjack! Lol! I do thoroughly enjoy our debates by the wa Much love and God bless!

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Re: Catholicism part 2, "The Bible"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 31st, 2014, 10:17 pm

According to Scripture







By: Tim Staples


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"If a teaching isn’t explicit in the Bible, then we don’t accept it as doctrine!" That belief, commonly known as sola scriptura, was a central component of all I believed as a Protestant. This bedrock Protestant teaching claims that Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith and morals for Christians. Diving deeper into its meaning to defend my Protestant faith against Catholicism about twenty years ago, I found that there was no uniform understanding of this teaching among Protestant pastors and no book I could read to get a better understanding of it.

What role does tradition play? How explicit does something have to be in Scripture before it can be called doctrine? Does Scripture tell us what is absolutely essential for us to believe as Christians? How can we determine the canon using sola scriptura? All these questions and more pointed to the central question: Where is sola scriptura itself taught in the Bible?

Most Protestants find it in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:


All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The fact is that this passage (or any other) does not even hint at Scripture being the sole rule of faith. It says that Scripture is inspired and necessary—a rule of faith—but in no way does it teach that Scripture alone is all one needs to determine the truth about faith and morals in the Church. My attempt to defend this bedrock teaching of Protestantism led me to conclude that sola scriptura is unreasonable, unbiblical, and unworkable.

Unreasonable

The Protestant appeal to the sole authority of Scripture to defend sola scriptura is a textbook example of circular reasoning, and it betrays an essential problem with the doctrine itself: It is contrary to reason. One cannot prove the inspiration of Scripture, or any text, from the text itself. The Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, the Qur’an, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and other books all claim inspiration, but this does not make them inspired.

Closely related to this is the question of the canon. After all, if the Bible is the sole rule of faith, we first have to know which books are included in the Bible. Many books were believed to be inspired and, therefore, canonical in the early Church. How do we separate the wheat from the chaff? The Protestant must use the principle of sola scriptura to answer the question of the canon. It simply cannot be done.

I recall a conversation with a Protestant friend about this. He said, "The Holy Spirit guided the early Christians and helped them gather the canon of Scripture and declare it to be the inspired word of God, as Jesus said in John 16:13." I thought that that answer was more Catholic than Protestant. John 16:13 does tells us that the Spirit will lead the apostles, and by extension, the Church, into truth. But it has nothing to say about sola scriptura or the nature or number of books in the canon.

The Bible does not and cannot answer questions about its own inspiration or about the canon. Historically, the Church used sacred Tradition outside of Scripture as its criterion for the canon. The early Christians, many of whom disagreed on the issue, needed the Church in council to give an authoritative decree to settle the question. Those are the historical facts.

To put my friend’s argument into perspective, imagine a Catholic making a similar claim to demonstrate that Mary is the Mother of God. "We believe the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and guided the early Christians to declare this truth." Would the Protestant respond with a hearty amen? No. He would be more likely to say, "Show me where it says in the Bible that Mary is the Mother of God!" The same question, of course, applies to Protestants concerning the canon: "Show me where the canon of Scripture is in the Bible!"

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

The issues of the inspiration and canon of Scripture are the Achilles heel of any intellectual defense of sola scriptura. So weak are the biblical attempts at an answer that often the Protestant response just turns the argument against the Catholic. "How do you know Scripture is inspired? Your reasoning is just as circular. You say the Church is infallible because the inspired Scripture says so, then you say that Scripture is inspired and infallible because the Church says so!"

Not only is this not an answer, but it also misrepresents the Catholic position. Catholics do not claim the Church is infallible because Scripture says so. The Church is infallible because Jesus said so. The Church was established and functioning as the infallible spokesperson for the Lord decades before the New Testament was written.

It is true that we know Scripture to be inspired and canonical only because the Church has told us so. That is historical fact. Catholics reason to inspiration of Scripture through demonstrating first its historical reliability and the truth about Christ and the Church. Then we can reasonably rely upon the testimony of the Church to tell us the text is inspired. This is not circular reasoning. The New Testament is the most accurate and verifiable historical document in all of ancient history, but one cannot deduce from this that it is inspired.

The testimony of the New Testament is backed up by hundreds of works by early Christian and non-Christian writers. We have the first-century testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the Church Fathers—some of whom were contemporaries of the apostles—and highly reliable non-Christian writers such as Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, and others, all testifying to the veracity of the Christ-event in various ways. It is on the basis of the historical evidence that we can say it is a historical fact that Jesus lived, died and was reported to be resurrected from the dead by over 500 eyewitnesses (1 Cor. 15:6). Many of these eyewitnesses went to their deaths testifying to the truth of the Resurrection of Christ (Luke 1:1-4; John 21:18-19; 24-25; Acts 1:1-11).

The historical record also tells us that Jesus Christ established a Church—not a book—to be the foundation of the Christian faith (Matt. 16:15-18; 18:15-18; cf. Eph. 2:20; 3:10, 20-21; 4:11-15; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 13:7, 17). Christ said of his Church, "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Luke 10:16).

The many books that comprise the Bible never tell us that they are inspired, nor do they answer many other essential questions about their canonicity. Who can or cannot be the human authors of the texts? Who wrote them in the first place? But Scripture does tell us—remarkably clearly—that Jesus established a kingdom on earth, the Church, with a hierarchy and the authority to speak for him (Luke 20:29-32; Matt. 10:40; 28:18-20). If we did not have Scripture, we would still have the Church. But without the Church, there would be no New Testament Scripture. It was members of this kingdom, the Church, who wrote Scripture, preserved its many texts, and eventually canonized it. Scripture alone could not do any of this.

The bottom line is that the truth of the Catholic Church is rooted in history. Jesus Christ is a historical person who gave his authority to his Church to teach, govern, and sanctify in his place. His Church gave us the New Testament with the authority of Christ. Reason rejects sola scriptura as a self-refuting principle.

Unbiblical

There are four problems with the defense of sola scriptura using 2 Timothy 3:16. First, it does not speak of the New Testament at all. The two verses preceding 2 Timothy 3:16 say:


But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

This passage does not refer to the New Testament. In fact, none of the New Testament books had been written when Timothy was a child. Claiming this verse as authentication for a book that had not been written yet goes far beyond what the text claims.

Second, 2 Timothy 3:16 does not claim Scripture to be the sole rule of faith for Christians. As a Protestant, I was guilty of seeing more than one sola in Scripture that simply did not exist. The Bible teaches justification by faith, and we Catholics believe it, but we do not believe in justification by faith alone, as Protestants do. Among other reasons, the Bible says that we are "justified by works and not by faith alone" (Jas. 2:24). There is no sola in 2 Timothy 3:16 either. The passage never claims Scripture to be the sole rule of faith.

James 1:4 illustrates the problem:


And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If we apply the same principle of exegesis to this text that the Protestant does to 2 Timothy 3:16, then we would have to say that all we need is patience (steadfastness) to be perfected. We don’t need faith, hope, charity, the Church, baptism, or anything else.

Of course, any Christian knows this would be absurd. But James’s emphasis on the central importance of patience is even stronger than Paul’s emphasis on Scripture. The key is to see that there is not a sola in either text. Sola patientia would be just as wrong as sola scriptura.

Third, the Bible teaches that oral Tradition is equal to Scripture. It is silent when it comes to sola scriptura, but it is remarkably clear in teaching that oral Tradition is just as much the word of God as Scripture is. In what most scholars believe was the first book written in the New Testament, Paul said:


And we also thank God . . . that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God. (1 Thess. 2:13)

According to Paul, the spoken words of the apostles were the word of God. In fact, when Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians, he urged Christians there to receive the oral and written Traditions as equally authoritative. This would be expected because both are the word of God:


So, then, brethren stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thess. 2:15)

Finally, 2 Timothy 3:16 is specifically addressed to members of the hierarchy. It is a pastoral epistle, written to a young bishop Paul had ordained. R. J. Foster points out that the phrase "man of God" refers to ministers, not to the average layperson (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1149). This title was used in the Old Testament to describe those consecrated to the service of God (Deut. 33:1; 1 Sam. 2:27; 1 Kgs. 12:22). Not only does the text not say Scripture sola, but Paul’s exhortation for Timothy to study the word of God is in the context of an exhortation to "preach the word" as a minister of Christ. To use this text to claim that sola scriptura is being taught to the average layperson is—to borrow a phrase from Paul—going far "beyond what is written" (1 Cor. 4:6).

Unworkable

The silence of Scripture on sola scriptura is deafening. But when it comes to the true authority of Scripture and Tradition and to the teaching and governing authority of the Church, the text is clear:


If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. . . . But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you. . . . If he refuses to listen . . . tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matt. 18:15-17)

According to Scripture, the Church is the final court of appeal for the people of God in matters of faith, morals, and discipline. It is telling that since the Reformation of almost 500 years ago—a Reformation claiming sola scriptura as its formal principle—there are now over 33,000 Protestant denominations. In John 10:16, Jesus prophesied there would be "one flock, one shepherd." Reliance on sola scriptura has not been effective in establishing doctrine or authority.


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