EMBRACING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Carson Weber, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    This year, I am blessed to have two housemates with strong Baptist backgrounds who have committed themselves to the study of the Christian faith, and this study has lead both of them to embrace the Catholic Church.

    In respect to the other similar thread on this section of BaptistBoard.com, I have included this testimony by Fr. Brian Harrison, whose theological writings I have profited from as a graduate student. I did not know that he was once a separated brother until I found his testimony at chnetwork.org - I have presented this article of his in order to apply reason to the proposition of Protestantism.

    LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM

    by Brian W. Harrison


    As an active Protestant in my mid-twenties I began to feel that I might have a vocation to become a minister. The trouble was that while I had quite definite convictions about the things that most Christians have traditionally held in common—the sort of thing C.S. Lewis termed "mere Christianity."

    I had had some firsthand experience with several denominations (Presbyterian, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist) and was far from certain as to which of them (if any) had an overall advantage over the others. So I began to think, study, search, and pray. Was there a true Church? If so, how was one to decide which?

    The more I studied, the more perplexed I became. At one stage my elder sister, a very committed evangelical with somewhat flexible denominational affiliations, chided me with becoming "obsessed" with trying to find a "true Church." "Does it really matter?" she would ask. Well, yes it did. It was all very well for a lay Protestant to relegate the denominational issue to a fairly low priority amongst religious questions: lay people can go to one Protestant Church one week and another the next week and nobody really worries too much. But an ordained minister obviously cannot do that. He must make a very serious commitment to a definite Church community, and under normal circumstances that commitment will be expected to last a lifetime. So clearly that choice had to be made with a deep sense of responsibility; and the time to make it was before, not after, ordination.

    As matters turned out, my search lasted several years, and eventually led me to where I never suspected it would at first. I shall not attempt to relate the full story, but will focus on just one aspect of the question as it developed for me—an aspect which seems quite fundamental.

    As I groped and prayed my way towards a decision, I came close to despair and agnosticism at times, as I contemplated the mountains of erudition, the vast labyrinth of conflicting interpretations of Christianity (not to mention other faiths) which lined the shelves of religious bookshops and libraries. If all the "experts" on Truth—the great theologians, historians, philosophers—disagreed interminably with each other, then how did God, if He was really there, expect me, an ordinary Joe Blow, to work out what was true?

    The more I became enmeshed in specific questions of Biblical interpretation—of who had the right understanding of justification, of the Eucharist, Baptism, grace, Christology, Church government and discipline, and so on—the more I came to feel that this whole-line of approach was a hopeless quest, a blind alley. These were all questions that required a great deal of erudition, learning, competence in Biblical exegesis, patristics, history, metaphysics, ancient languages—in short, scholarly research. But was it really credible (I began to ask myself) that God, if He were to reveal the truth about these disputed questions at all, would make this truth so inaccessible that only a small scholarly elite had even the faintest chance of reaching it? Wasn’t that a kind of gnosticism? Where did it leave the nonscholarly bulk of the human race? It didn’t seem to make sense. If, as they say, war is too important to be left to the generals, then revealed truth seemed too important to be left to the Biblical scholars. It was no use saying that perhaps God simply expected the non-scholars to trust the scholars. How were they to know which scholars to trust, given that the scholars all contradicted each other?

    Therefore, in my efforts to break out of the dense exegetical undergrowth where I could not see the wood for the trees, I shifted towards a new emphasis in my truth-seeking criteria: I tried to get beyond the bewildering mass of contingent historical and linguistic data upon which the rival exegetes and theologians constructed their doctrinal castles, in order to concentrate on those elemental, necessary principles of human thought which are accessible to all of us, learned and unlearned alike. In a word, I began to suspect that an emphasis on logic, rather than on research, might expedite an answer to my prayers for guidance.

    The advantage was that you don’t need to be learned to be logical. You need not have spent years amassing mountains of information in libraries in order to apply the first principles of reason. You can apply them from the comfort of your armchair, so to speak, in order to test the claims of any body of doctrine, on any subject whatsoever, that comes claiming your acceptance. Moreover logic, like mathematics, yields firm certitude, not mere changeable opinions and provisional hypotheses. Logic is the first natural "beacon of light" with which God has provided us as intelligent beings living in a world darkened by the confusion of countless conflicting attitudes, doctrines and world-views, all telling us how to live our lives during this brief time that is given to us here on earth.

    Logic of course has its limits. Pure "armchair" reasoning alone will never be able to tell you the meaning of your life and how you should live it. But as far as it goes, logic is an indispensable tool, and I even suspect that you sin against God, the first Truth, if you knowingly flout or ignore it in your thinking. "Thou shalt not contradict thyself" seems to me an important precept of the natural moral law. Be that as it may, I found that the main use of logic, in my quest for religious truth, turned out to be in deciding not what was true, but what was false. If someone presents you with a system of ideas or doctrines which logical analysis reveals to be coherent—that is, free from internal contradictions and meaningless absurdities—then you can conclude, "This set of ideas may be true. It has at least passed the first test of truth—the coherence test." To find out if it actually is true you will then have to leave your logician’s armchair and seek further information. But if it fails this most elementary test of truth, it can safely be eliminated without further ado from the ideological competition, no matter how many impressive-looking volumes of erudition may have been written in support of it, and no matter how attractive and appealing many of its features (or many of its proponents) may appear.

    Some readers may wonder why I am laboring the point about logic. Isn’t all this perfectly obvious? Well, it ought to be obvious to everyone, and is indeed obvious to many, including those who have had the good fortune of receiving a classical Catholic education. Catholicism, as I came to discover, has a quite positive approach to our natural reasoning powers, and traditionally has its future priests study philosophy for years before they even begin theology. But I came from a religious milieu where this outlook was not encouraged, and was often even discouraged. The Protestant Reformers taught that original sin has so weakened the human intellect that we must be extremely cautious about the claims of "proud reason." Luther called reason the "devil’s whore"—a siren which seduced men into grievous error. "Don’t trust your reason, just bow humbly before God’s truth revealed to you in His holy Word, the Bible!"—this was pretty much the message that came through to me from the Calvinist and Lutheran circles that influenced me most in the first few years after I made my "decision for Christ" at the age of 18. The Reformers themselves were forced to employ reason even while denouncing it, in their efforts to rebut the Biblical arguments of their "Papist" foes. And that, it seemed to me, was rather illogical on their part.



    LOGIC AND THE "SOLA SCRIPTURA" PRINCIPLE

    Thus, with my awakening interest in logical analysis as a test of religious truth, I was naturally led to ask whether this illogicality in the practice of the Reformers was, perhaps, accompanied by illogicality at the more fundamental level of their theory. As a good Protestant I had been brought up to hold as sacred the basic methodological principle of the Reformation: that the Bible alone contains all the truth that God has revealed for our salvation. Churches that held to that principle were at least "respectable," one was given to understand, even though they might differ considerably from each other in regard to the interpretation of Scripture. But as for Roman Catholicism and other Churches which unashamedly added their own traditions to the Word of God—were they not self-evidently outside the pale? Were they not condemned out of their own mouths?

    But when I got down to making a serious attempt to explore the implications of this rock-bottom dogma of the Reformers, I could not avoid the conclusion that it was rationally indefensible. This is demonstrated in the following eight steps, which embody nothing more than simple, commonsense logic, and a couple of indisputable, empirically observable facts about the Bible:

    1. The Reformers asserted Proposition A: "All revealed truth is to be found in the inspired Scriptures." However, this is quite useless unless we know which books are meant by the "inspired Scriptures." After all, many different sects and religions have many different books, which they call "inspired Scriptures."

    2. The theory we are considering, when it talks of "inspired Scriptures," means in fact those 66 books, which are bound and published in Protestant Bibles. For convenience we shall refer to them from now on simply as "the 66 books."

    3. The precise statement of the theory we are examining thus becomes Proposition B: "All revealed truth is to be found in the 66 books."

    4. It is a fact that nowhere in the 66 books themselves can we find any statements telling us which books make up the entire corpus of inspired Scripture. There is no complete list of inspired books anywhere within their own pages, nor can such a list be compiled by putting isolated verses together. (This would be the case: (a) if you could find verses like "Esther is the Word of God," "This Gospel is inspired by God," "The Second Letter of Peter is inspired Scripture," etc., for all of the 66 books; and (b) if you could also find a Biblical passage stating that no books other than these 66 were to be held as inspired. Obviously, nobody could even pretend to find all this information about the canon of Scripture in the Bible itself.)

    5. It follows that Proposition B—the very foundation of all Protestant Christianity—is neither found in Scripture nor can be deduced from Scripture in any way. Since the 66 books are not even identified in Scripture, much less can any further information about them (e.g., that all revealed truth is contained in them) be found there. In short, we must affirm Proposition C: "Proposition B is an addition to the 66 books. "

    6. It follows immediately from the truth of Proposition C that Proposition B cannot itself be revealed truth. To assert that it is would involve a self-contradictory statement: "All revealed truth is to be found in the 66 books, but this revealed truth itself is not found there."

    7. Could it be the case that Proposition B is true, but is not revealed truth? If that is the case, then it must be either something which can be deduced from revealed truth or something which natural human reason alone can discover, without any help from revelation. The first possibility is ruled out because, as we saw in steps 4 and 5, B cannot be deduced from Scripture, and to postulate some other revealed extra-Scriptural premise from which B might be deduced would contradict B itself. The second possibility involves no self-contradiction, but it is factually preposterous, and I doubt whether any Protestant has seriously tried to defend it—least of all those traditional Protestants who strongly emphasize the corruption of man’s natural intellectual powers as a result of the Fall. Human reason might well be able to conclude prudently and responsibly that an authority which itself claimed to possess the totality of revealed truth was in fact justified in making that claim, provided that this authority backed up the claim by some very striking evidence. (Catholics, in fact, believe that their Church is precisely such an authority.) But how could reason alone reach that same well-founded certitude about a collection of 66 books which do not even lay claim to what is attributed to them? (The point is reinforced when we remember that those who attribute the totality of revealed truth to the 66 books, namely Protestant Church members, are very ready to acknowledge their own fallibility—whether individually or collectively—in matters of religious doctrine. All Protestant Churches deny their own infallibility as much as they deny the Pope’s.)

    8. Since Proposition B is not revealed truth, nor a truth which can be deduced from revelation, nor a naturally-knowable truth, it is not true at all. Therefore, the basic doctrine for which the Reformers fought is simply false.

    CALVIN’S ATTEMPTED SOLUTION

    How did the Reformers try to cope with this fundamental weakness in the logical structure of their own first principles? John Calvin, usually credited with being the most systematic and coherent thinker of the Reformation, tried to justify belief in the divine authorship of the 66 books by dogmatically postulating a direct communication of this knowledge from God to the individual believer. Calvin makes it clear that in saying Scripture is "self-authenticated," he does not mean to be taken literally and absolutely. He does not mean that some Bible text or other affirms that the 66 books, and they alone, are divinely inspired. As we observed in step 4 above, nobody ever could claim anything so patently false. Calvin simply means that no extra-Biblical human testimony, such as that of Church tradition, is needed in order for individuals to know that these books are inspired. We can summarize his view as Proposition D: "The Holy Spirit teaches Christians individually, by a direct inward testimony, that the 66 books are inspired by God. "

    The trouble is that the Holy Spirit Himself is an extra-Biblical authority as much as a Pope or Council. The third Person of the Trinity is clearly not identical with the truths He has expressed, through human authors, in the Bible. It follows that even if Calvin’s Proposition D is true, it contradicts Proposition B, for "if all revealed truth is to be found in the 66 books," then that leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to reveal directly and non-verbally one truth which cannot be found in any passage of those books, namely, the fact that each one of them is inspired.

    In any case, even if Calvin could somehow show that D did not itself contradict B, he would still not have succeeded in showing that B is true. Even if we were to accept the extremely implausible view represented by Proposition D, that would not prove that no other writings are inspired, and much less would it prove that there are no revealed truths that come to us through tradition rather than through inspired writings. In short, Calvin’s defense of Biblical inspiration in no way overthrows our eight-step disproof of the sola Scriptura principle. Indeed, it does not even attempt to establish that principle as a whole, but only one aspect of it—that is, which books are to be understood by the term "Scriptura."

    The schizoid history of Protestantism itself bears witness to the original inner contradiction which marked its conception and birth. Conservative Protestants have maintained the original insistence on the Bible as the unique infallible source of revealed truth, at the price of logical incoherence. Liberals on the other hand have escaped the incoherence while maintaining the claim to "private interpretation" over against that of Popes and Councils, but at the price of abandoning the Reformers’ insistence on an infallible Bible. They thereby effectively replace revealed truth by human opinion, and faith by an autonomous reason. Thus, in the liberal/evangelical split within Protestantism since the 18th century, we see both sides teaching radically opposed doctrines, even while each claims to be the authentic heir of the Reformation. The irony is that both sides are right: their conflicting beliefs are simply the two horns of a dilemma, which has been tearing at the inner fabric of Protestantism ever since its turbulent beginnings.

    Reflections such as these from a Catholic onlooker may seem a little hard or unyielding to some—ill-suited, perhaps, to a climate of ecumenical dialogue in which gentle suggestion, rather than blunt affirmation, is the preferred mode of discourse. But logic is of its very nature hard and unyielding; and insofar as truth and honesty are to be the hallmarks of true ecumenism, the claims of logic will have to be squarely faced, not politely avoided.

    Fr. Brian Harrison is currently teaching at the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.
     
  2. MikeS

    MikeS
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    Excellent stuff, Carson, and on one of my favorite topics!

    [​IMG] to Fr. Harrison!
     
  3. GraceSaves

    GraceSaves
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    Excellent testimony. I wonder where Singer and Ray and Pastor Larry are when you need them? I can't wait to see their systematic reply to this.
     
  4. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    If you accept that "the 66 books" alone are not "revealed truth," then where is the "proof" that scripture + tradition + whatever the leaders say = "revealed truth" ?

    Isn't it just this simple:
    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
     
  5. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    In my most honest opinion, Fr. Brian Harrison never had an experience of faith, namely being born again during his struggling years. No one who is saved would get so far off the scope to say that they might become an agnostic, which Carson freely admits in his post. You are asking us to believe that a saved man could almost say that there is no God or at least he did not care if there is a Divine being who will judge us all. That's a real stretch!

    Hopefully, for the man's soul, he has enough of the Christian faith in his heart that God will receive him at last. But, after having the truth of the Bible Gospel, I sure would not trade shoes with him, not for a million dollars. In stead of finding the correct road to home {Heaven} let's just say he found a place to lodge his confidence and hope.

    How about sinners embracing Christ rather than the merits of the Catholic Church.
     
  6. WPutnam

    WPutnam
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    What 66 books?

    That question is more profound then you think...

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    I believe in God,
    the Father Almighty,
    Creator of heaven and earth;
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son,
    Our Lord;
    who was conceived by the holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died,
    and was buried.

    He descended into hell;
    the third day He arose again from the dead;
    He ascended into heaven,
    sitteth at the right hand of God,
    the Father almighty;
    from thence He shall come to judge
    the living and the dead.

    I believe in the holy Spirit,
    the Holy Catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting.

    Amen.


    - The Apostles Creed -
     
  7. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
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    It is, but it isn't. It's a little like math. You start someone on what they can understand- simple addition and subtraction, then you move on and get more and more complex.

    The wonderful Truth that Jesus Christ is our only Lord and Savior and that he died for our sins, and that it takes only a true and honest faith in Him to be saved is universal, from Catholics, to Lutherans, to Baptists, to SDA's.

    These groups usually agree until we start to get into more complex issues- such as Trig, Calculas and theory. I.E.- what is the nature of Grace (how does one recieve initial salvation), what is the role of works in the life of the believer, what is the spiritual purpose of baptism and communion, we part ways dramatically. Some actual protestant teaching will tell you that Jesus does not have equal divine and human natures and that there is no Trinity. Catholics tend to go dramatically far on Mary's role in Christian life.

    But in the end, it does boil down to that essential truth- Do you have faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation or do you not?

    Hope this helps!
     
  8. WPutnam

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    You mean, like, answering the sinner's call at some revival, accepting Christ as your savior and Lord, and going out as being then there, saved?

    I am not putting this down, really, and I have had this experience in my youth (Church of the Nazarene) but then I have witnessed serious relapses of others back to their former ways, as if they were never saved at all.

    Then you have not witnessed anyone going into apostasy, have you, Ray? I have. Now, are you going to reply that the person was not saved in the first place? If so, then how can anybody really know if they are "saved in the first place"?

    Including taking the serious step of a vow of celibacy as a priest? But then I would have to agree that many would not trade for that stricture for a million dollars, right, Ray?

    Where do the "merits of the Catholic Church" comde from when she is the only church who can trace her history, doctrines and faith back to Jesus Christ Himself? Is not embracing the Church, embracing Christ who founded the Church?

    What are the "merits of your church" that you can point to, other then to go back to a period of tine where the "founder" of your church/denominartion/sect/cult was a former member of the Catholic Church, hummmmmmmmm?

    Yet if you pray to God, "believe" in Jesus (which needs to be qualified) I will give you credit for the merits that such prayer gives, God knowing the heart and will judge accordingly...

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    Pillar and Foundation of Truth, the Church. (1 Tim 3:15)
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    A systematic reply would take longer than I want to take to write it and certainly longer than you are interested in reading. He has made so many errors in thinking and theology that it would take entirely too long to address them. This is the type of stuff that has long been answered. This kind of writing seems to indicate that someone didn't do a lot of study on this topic prior to writing .

    He makes a number of errors, both in logic and in theology. Both what was astounding was to see this man who claims an orthodox belief in God assert that the Holy Spirit is an extrabiblical authority just as the pope or the councils. How absurd can he be? Do you really think this man has anything to offer any thinking person? How can you assert that the Holy Spirit is extrabiblical on the level of the pope or a council? That is inconceivable to anyone with an orthodox view of the Spirit.

    Second, he has made some major errors with respect to what is meant by self-authenticating and the inner testimony of the Spirit. He has tried to assert that as extra-biblical from a flawed understanding of the whole issue. The inner testimony is not an extrabiblical source in the manner in which he uses it.

    Thirdly, this "canon of Scripture" argument has been tried before and failed miserably then. The canon was the canon long before the Catholic church ever came on the scene. The RCC no more dictated what the canon would be then they dictated how Christ would pay for sins. The canon is the canon, not because men chose it, but because God inspired it and bore testimony to the early church as a whole.

    To say that Catholics believe their church is "such an authority" is to say nothing for belief is not the test of truth. Truth can only be measured by its correspondence to reality. Is the RCC indeed authoritative or are the only believed to be so? A study of history and theology shows the latter to be the case.

    There is enough fodder for rebuttal in this little article to fill this forum. It is very inadequate. It doesn't show the evidence of serious thought and interaction with the real issues of history and theology.
     
  10. Johnv

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    Like I said on another thread, if someone feels that they can better serve the Lord by leaving Catholicism, more power to ya. I'm in no position, and have no spiritual authority, to tell you otherwise. If, otoh, someone feels they can better serve the Lord by converting to Catholicism, more power to ya. I'm in no position, and have no spiritual authority, to tell you otherwise.
     
  11. GraceSaves

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    Seriously Larry...

    He never at all said that the Holy Spirit is extrabiblical. He said that the information provided by the Spirit of what constitutes a complete canon of Scripture IS.

    That was not that hard to see, and I know you saw it.
     
  12. BrianT

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    Pastor Larry, as I understand the argument about canon, it deals with "authority". Sola scriptura means only scripture has authority doctrinally. The acceptance of the NT canon, at least in my thinking, shows that there was, at least in this case, an instance of doctrinal authority in addition to scripture, namely the church. However you define the church at that time ("RCC", "Catholic", "catholic", "universal", whatever), the core premise remains intact - that by accepting the NT canon, we accept a second authority. I am willing to admit my acceptance of the authority that recognized the NT canon - I could not recognize what books should be included in the canon on my own, let alone authoritatively recognize them.
     
  13. GraceSaves

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    Thank you Debby! You're the first so far to actually provide a valid response and not criticize the author or focus on a tangaent (although no one has yet been able to disprove the 8 points).

    Debby, your point is good and valid. But it also shows that at some point, we trust a source that is extra-biblical, because both "Scripture alone" and "Scripture and Tradition" are both extra-Biblical at their core.

    The point is that as Catholics, we admit it, and non-Catholics are left grabbing at straws. If not, why has no one attempted to disprove the 8 points as being logically invalid? Larry tried, but as usual misrepresented as you can see in my other post. Larry completely fails to identify how he can know for certain what that canon is if all revealed truth is contained in Scripture). He claims the Holy Spirit leads him to this conclusion, but I shouldn't have to be repeating that. If all Truth is found in Scripture, but the list of what is canonical is not found in Scripture, then all Truth is not found in Scripture and each person is given a personal revelation as to what text is to be trusted as inspired.
     
  14. Stephen III

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    Larry, you said:

    quote: He makes a number of errors, both in logic and in theology. Both what was astounding was to see this man who claims an orthodox belief in God assert that the Holy Spirit is an extrabiblical authority just as the pope or the councils. How absurd can he be? Do you really think this man has anything to offer any thinking person? How can you assert that the Holy Spirit is extrabiblical on the level of the pope or a council? That is inconceivable to anyone with an orthodox view of the Spirit.

    Steve says
    The "orthodox" view of the Holy Spirit is that the Spirit was sent to be with us by Christ to guide us towards sanctity. I don't think you are arguing that the authority of the Holy Spirit is derived from a book!?
    If the authority of the Spirit then is extrabiblical- which it obvoiusly is. And the Spirit is an active participant in the lifes of the shepherds and church councils in regards to their correct and proper instruction of their flock. Then obviously the Pope and the councils are speaking as inspired by the Holy Spirit as a mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit. And in this sense they are on Par because it is the Holy Spirit speaking through His shepherd or council.

    I can understand from your perspective that a pastor could not possibly speak with an authority that has been directly inspired by the Holy Spirit as you have so many differing expressions of your Protestant faith. And we all know the Holy Spirit would never contradict Himself the way you guys do.

    But just to ask it: From what mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit did you receive your canon of inspired books?

    The Catholic believes that the Pope and the appropriate councils are given that assurance, when necessary, as given by Christ directly and use Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the constant Apostolic witness of the ages to confirm this truth.
    God Bless
     
  15. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Hi Pastor Larry,

    You wrote, "The canon is the canon, not because men chose it, but because God inspired it and bore testimony to the early church as a whole."

    Rewriting history are we? The fact of the matter is that numerous churches in Early Christianity accepted the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Epistle of Barnabas as Sacred Scripture. Numerous churches in Early Christianity rejected the Book of Revelation, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, and James.

    Someone had to make the decision to exclude the former books and to include the latter books according to Apostolic Tradition.

    Your premise is automatically invalidated due to the actual course of Church history. In order to avoid the necessary components of a living Apostolic Tradition and a valid Apostolic Teaching authority composed of Bishops, you must rewrite history, as you have done above.
     
  16. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    And so - from the very "start" of the argument from illogicality - the "logic" of the opening post is flawed.

    For one thing - it makes the RC blunder of lumping all non-Catholic churches "into one" church that is simply "anti-Catholic" and that "has a flawed view" of sola-scriptura.

    Since that is "not true" - the entire argument is bogus.

    But then -- "how unnexpected"? :rolleyes:

    The point is that many non-Catholic churches DO accept the continuation of spiritual gifts seen in 1Cor 12 WHILE ALSO accepting the 2Tim 3:16 statement about the OT as "Scripture" ...

    The author does not "deal with the 2Tim 3" fact NOR does he address the sola-scriptura argument of Acts 17:11 or Gal 1:6-9. And so - his rambing discourse is simply a "marketing note to his fellow Catholics" as a priestly "cheerleader" in Puerto Rico.

    Notice the "contrast" of this marketing "blurb" to the substance contained in Mayberry's post about leaving the RCC?

    Surely no one can fail to see the "details".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  17. Harley4Him

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    Bob, your entire argument is not bogus. Maybe parts of it are but there's no reason to run yourself down like this.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    In a sense.

    [qutoe] Sola scriptura means only scripture has authority doctrinally.[/quote]In part.

    Actually it is the other way around. The acceptance of hte NT canon is submission to the self-atteseting authority of Scripture. There were some debates, but they were minor. The fact is, that regardless of Carson's revision, the NT was widely accepted as it stands.

    The problem with the RCC attempt to define this issue is their inconsistency and illogic.

    1. The churh is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, not the other way around. Therefore, the church does not determine the canon. The church is built on teh canon. The canon of Scripture existed long before the church.

    2. There is no reason to substantiate the authority of hte RCC. Arguments for the authority of the RCC are more flawed then they view the argumnents for the canon. There is not scriptural attestation for the RCC being the authority. In fact, there is every reason not to believe they are an authority. You cannot point to a verse of Scripture where Christ identified the RCC (and remember that is Harrison's major claim about the canon--the canon doesen't explicitly identify itself). Well, the RCC is the authority by virtue of only its own proclamations. The steps which it has taken over the years to maintain that air of authority are drastic and in reality undermine their own claim.

    As I said previously, this article is full of holes.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    You just made some huge jumps in your argument that are completely unsubstantiated. To jump from the work of hte Holy Spirit as an active participant to the "obvious" fact that the Pope and councils are speaking as inspired as the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit isn't even an attempt to make a point.

    They are not on par in the least. The work of the Holy Spirit is the illumination of the revealed word of God. He does not work apart from Scripture. He opens the minds and hearts to the word of God.

    I can speak with authority. No one today is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. I speak with authority when I speak from the word of God. You have a mistaken impression that all Protestants are on an equal basis. The reality is that they are not. Protestants and Catholics are correct when they rightly deal with teh word of God. They are incorrect when they do not. On this regard, in general protestants as a whole are much more often correct than are Catholics. But the authority does not derive from the RCC but from the word of God.

    The testimony of the Christian church through the ages and the internal testimonium of the Spirit in illumination. Both work only in conjunction with the word.

    But what the Catholic believes is not the determiner of truth. There is no theological argument that can be made for this position. It is, in fact, adhered to in spite of the revealed word of God, not because of it. The constant apostolic witness is the Scripture. Sacred tradition provides a supporting role when it conforms to the apostolic witness. It is never given a authoritative role by God. That is something that man added in. Christ never affirmed the RCC as the authoritative church. By comparison with the teaching of Christ, we must conclude that the RCC is not the authoritative church.

    On this issue of inner testimony, begin with Sproul's article in Hermeneutics edited by Geisler. It will provide a decent starting place to begin clearing away some of the fog that has accumulated over this issue.
     
  20. BrianT

    BrianT
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    In part.</font>[/QUOTE]What do you mean "in part"? What other authority for doctrine does sola scriptura allow?

    What do you mean "submission to the self-attesting authority of scripture"? For example, why should I believe that Jude is "scripture"? How would I know, on my own, not to accept some other writings that are not part of the canon?

    What??? Scripture was written by the church! Some of the NT books weren't even written until approx 50 years *after* the church was established.

    But scripture DOES say that the "church" has authority, at least in my understanding of scripture. I realize many people do not agree that that necessarily means the Catholic Church. But then what do these passages mean? Does the "church" still have authority today? If so, which church, and in what form does this authority exist? If not, when did it cease?
     

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