Sola Scriptura: The Sufficiency of Scripture

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by herbert, May 7, 2016.

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  1. herbert

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    Martin Marprelate stated the following:

    "But of course, Sola Scriptura is not dependent on a couple of verses. In His temptation with the devil, our Lord did nothing but quote Scripture at him. In conversation with the scribes and Pharisees, He is constantly pointing them away from 'tradition' to the word of God. "It is written......." "Have you not read.......?" The Holy Spirit prompts the writer to the Hebrews to quote the Scriptures over and over again to prove his points, and never from 'tradition,' because, of course, if He did, it would become Scripture, wouldn't it?"


    He then invited me to start a few new conversations. I am honored that he'd be happy to pursue this dialogue further. Thanks to him!

    At this point, I'd like to start by saying that Martin has, it seems, presented a logical fallacy here.

    Martin, you have presented what I would describe as a non sequitur.

    In other words, if you see the fact that the Writer of Hebrews quotes Scripture and the fact that Christ quotes Scripture as the premises according to which you are right to conclude that Scripture Alone is sufficient as the sole "Rule of Faith," I'd respond by saying that those premises do not lead to that conclusion and that these two (and more) factors are perfectly compatible with the truth of the Catholic Faith.

    Further, if you would like to discuss 2nd Thessalonians 2:15 or the Canon of Scripture or Christ's institution of the Papacy or the fact that Christ instituted the Mass, I'd be happy to do that, also. But since I am starting this discussion up according to your invitation to do so, I'd like to avoid taking things too far by starting five new discussions. For that reason, for now I will leave it up to you to start those discussions if you feel so inclined.

    For starters, here, then, I'd ask you to demonstrate how it is that you see the fact that Christ quotes Scripture and that the Writer of Hebrews quotes Scripture as somehow revealing to us that we are justified in holding to Sola Scriptura.

    And one more point: As I see it, there is another non sequitur present in your comments. It seems that you believe that were the Holy Spirit to verify (in some way) the legitimacy of Sacred Tradition, this fact would necessarily be revealed (according to your private standard) in Scripture itself. On the one hand, I'd say that the validity of Sacred Tradition is indeed upheld in Scripture (and thus according to the witness of the Holy Spirit). On the other hand, though, I'd like to see how it is that you'd explain your (apparent) belief that were the Holy Spirit to stand by the legitimacy of Sacred Tradition, such a fact would necessarily be present (according to your private standard) in Sacred Scripture.

    Thanks again!

    Herbert
     
  2. utilyan

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    Most folks here wouldn't even agree on what the scripture is. One guy points says they took away books, another declares books were added. Let alone the meaning to all verses.


    A little boy can swear he is a grown man to me all he wants. Likewise I look at the man made AUTHORITY who chose what the bible is for believers of "sola scriptura"
     
  3. herbert

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    Hello, utilyan. Thanks for responding.

    Although I think I see what you're getting at, I'd say that most people here agree with each other as far as the identification of Scripture goes. Where they run into a problem, which reveals their position as bankrupt, isn't entirely a result of the fact that they have no principled reason to, for example, see the Canon as "closed" or accept or reject any one book from its collection. What reveals their position as untenable is the fact that they don't agree with each other concerning what it is the words of the 66-Book Canon reveal. So although they have identified a common enemy in the Catholic Church, and they generally agree upon the Scriptural "Table of Contents," their disagreement with Catholics is really quite secondary to their differences with one another.

    I would say that the reason Sola Scriptura doesn't work is simply this: It's not a divinely revealed doctrine. It's not taught in the Bible. It's neither rightly inferred from any one passage of Scripture nor from Scripture in its entirety.

    Although I'd be happy to hear a response from anyone who believes we are justified in "inferring" the doctrine of SS from Scripture, I am here asking Martin Marprelate the following:

    "For starters, here, then, I'd ask you to demonstrate how it is that you see the fact that Christ quotes Scripture and that the Writer of Hebrews quotes Scripture as somehow revealing to us that we are justified in holding to Sola Scriptura."

    Beyond this, I hope to focus upon 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which "Martin" seems to see as a sound exegetical basis according to which one may justify her adherence to Sola Scriptura.

    Ultimately, with Sola Scriptura as sole, final authority for the Faith, one has no principled means by which he may distinguish between human opinion and divine revelation. Hence, it reduces to a system by which a believer is bound only to his own conscience and cannot be convinced he's wrong when he's right nor can he be convinced he's wrong when he's wrong.

    Herbert
     
    #3 herbert, May 8, 2016
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  4. utilyan

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    James 1
    4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    I might start new denomination........with a "Patience Alone" catch-phrase.
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

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    Thanks for starting this thread and the others, Herbert.
    I hope to reply within the next day or so.
     
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  6. DHK

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    Why would you doubt that Christ was quoting Scripture?

    Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
    4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
    --The words "it is written" indicate that it is a quote from the OT. In this case Jesus quoted a part of Deuteronomy 8:3
    Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
    --This is a fairly direct quote. Remember that there will be some differences.
    First they were probably speaking in either Greek or Aramaic.
    Second, the NT was written in Greek and the OT was written in Hebrew. Thus one has an OT Hebrew verse being quoted in a NT Greek testament. When one language is translated into another there will always be slight differences. We need to account for those. I am only stating that as a general rule though the quote seems fairly accurate here.

    Let's go on.
    Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
    --Another reference to a quotation in the OT.
    Deuteronomy 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
    --A fairly accurate quote isn't it?

    Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
    "It is written" is another reference to the authority of the OT.
    Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
    --It is basically the same. The difference is more in the translation. He was quoting the verse. "It is written. The OT was his authority. He referred to it each and every time. It is a perfect example of sola scriptura even for Christ.
     
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  7. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    All you have said in this long post is,
    1) To anybody else, Shut up!
    2) To yourself, Times and again lying, Jesus instituted your church.
    3) Scripture is useless nonsense.
     
  8. Martin Marprelate

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    First of all, thank you for agreeing to look at these various doctrines separately. I think that will be much more helpful than lumping everything together and constantly going off-track. As I've said, I am in awe of the volume of your output on this board (though not of your conclusions!). I should have some free time for a week or so from Thursday to get into some meaty discussions
    To take the case of the Lord Jesus Christ first, whom should we copy and imitate, if not Him? If we see Him opposing the Pharisees in their attachment to tradition (eg. Mark 7:1-13) and constantly referring them and the Saducees to the Scriptures (eg. Mark 12:10, 24-27), should we not think that this might be the right way to proceed? The Lord Jesus, in His time on earth should be our example in all things, should He not?

    The writer to the Hebrews has obviously taken that lesson to heart as He constantly quotes Scripture, and ascribes its authorship to God the Father (eg. Hebrews 6:13-14), to Christ Himself (eg. Hebrews 10:5-7) and to the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:15-17). Now Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience who would be expected to know the Scriptures, but even when writing to largely Gentile congregations, Paul is constantly referring them to the word of God (eg. Romans 3:10-18; Galatians 3:10). He prefaces both these quotations with the words, 'It is written.....' just as our Lord did in resisting Satan (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). These are our examples and we should follow them. 'It is written.....' should be our watchword and an end to unbiblical argument.

    But the locus classicus for 'Scripture alone is undoubtedly 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Since the whole periscope is important, I shall write it out in full.

    '.....and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.'

    This is the first point: through Scripture (whether preached or read) the child and the unbeliever gain the knowledge that can save them. Paul does not ascribe this power to anything else but the Holy Scriptures. The faith that saves is not faith in the Scriptures but in Christ Jesus, but we find out everything we need to discover about Him through the Scriptures (John 5:38-39).

    'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [or '...is God-breathed'] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.'

    The second point relates to the 'man of God,' which I take to be someone who is saved by faith in Christ Jesus. The Scriptures are able to equip him, not somewhat, but 'thoroughly,' not for a few things, or even quite a lot of things, but for 'every good work.' So what will 'tradition' equip him for? Every bad work?

    Thank you. I agree that we should work through these things one at a time. I think 2 Thes. 2:15 will need to be discussed on this thread in due course, but the others can wait for a little while.
    When we do discuss 'tradition' we need to bear in mind that the word in 2 Thes. 2 & 3 and 1 Cor. 2 (paradosis) is the same word as our Lord used in Matthew 15 and Mark 7 (cf. also Galatians 1:14).

    I think you have misunderstood me, and perhaps I did not explain myself very well. All I was trying to say was that if 'tradition' was ever written down in the Scriptures, it would automatically become Scripture and not 'tradition.' I think probably the point was not worth making. Redface

    I probably won't be able to post again until Wednesday evening or Thursday (UK time), so there's no need to hurry your reply. :)

    I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
     
  9. SovereignGrace

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    To get away from Sola Scriptura is to fall prey to all other unworldly religions. Even they have a 'bible' they adhere to.

    The Muslims have the Qu'Ran for instance. They use it to justify their religion.

    But Jesus quoted scripture upon scripture as He taught. Sola scriptura is the only was a christian can know how to conduct their life.
     
  10. herbert

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    Gerhard Ebersoehn,

    1) I did not suggest that anyone "shut up."
    2) Although I may be deceived, I can assure you that I am not lying. For to lie is to deliberately bear false witness.
    3) I believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God.

    Thank you.

    Herbert
     
  11. herbert

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    DHK,

    My statement was not intended to suggest that Christ didn't quote Scripture. I believe most definitely that He did. I am sorry if I was unclear on that point.

    Herbert
     
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  12. DHK

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    No problem. Perhaps you could give a clarification on what you meant in your previous post.
     
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  13. herbert

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    Hello, DHK-

    I said this:

    "For starters, here, then, I'd ask you to demonstrate how it is that you see the fact that Christ quotes Scripture and that the Writer of Hebrews quotes Scripture as somehow revealing to us that we are justified in holding to Sola Scriptura."

    The mere quoting of Scripture is not itself a revelation of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. So I am asking how Martin somehow gets from two uncontroversial facts (That Christ and the Writer of Hebrews both quote Scripture) and arrives at "Sola Scriptura." Again, this is what I see as a non sequitur. The fact that Christ and the Writer of Hebrews quote Scripture doesn't inexorably lead one to the conclusion that "Scripture is the sole, fallible, and final authority for all matters of doctrine and practice for the believer."

    Herbert
     
    #13 herbert, May 11, 2016
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  14. Martin Marprelate

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    My apologies to all lovers of the English language. In my post #8 above, I intended to write 'pericope,' meaning a small passage or paragraph, usually of Scripture, but it has come out as 'periscope.' Redface
    Another triumph for predictive text! :mad:
     
  15. DHK

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    Satan uses scripture to appeal to Christ in Matthew 4 during the temptation. Why the appeal to scripture, even on the part of Satan?
    Matthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
    --Satan quotes directly from Psalm 91:11,12. Why quote scripture? Doesn't Satan hate God and his Word?

    But Jesus quotes from Deu.6:16, the law itself, when answering Satan,
    Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

    Why? They appealed to scripture because scripture is the authority. Even Satan knew that. He was tempting Christ on the basis of his own authority, thus making the temptation even greater. It is not a non sequitor which simply means it is not relevant. It is very relevant as both parties refer to the Word of God as their authority. It is written...

    In the Book of Hebrews the author takes the Old Testament system of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifice, and compares and contrasts it with the New Testament covenant that Christ has made with the believer. Obviously there is much scripture appealed to because there is much contrast made.

    The quoting of scripture by Christ in Matthew 4 is a more powerful example of sola scriptura because it is an appeal to an authority.
    Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, he said. Why. That is what the Law says, and it is therefore an authoritative statement.
     
  16. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    You aren't <<most folks>>.

    Most Christians agree on what the Scriptures is / are. And they all know it is not the RC's 'bible' or and 'tradition' or and pope.
     
  17. herbert

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    1 of 3 to Martin


    A writer once said "I have made this letter longer because I lack the time to make it shorter." I think I feel the same way he did.


    Responding to this:



    You offered the following:



    A. I absolutely agree with you here. But that's because a Catholic Bishop could have written that statement. For everything you stated above is fully compatible with the truth of the Catholic Faith. I am not questioning the "constant reference" to Scripture. Nor am I suggesting that we don't proceed by imitating Christ in every way possible, including through continual reference to Scripture. As a matter of fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is quite possibly the most Scripturally-saturated document on the planet. At the same time, though, the Pharisees, as Christ indicated, didn't have a problem with Scripture per se, but with mistaken, twisted interpretations of Scripture. They knew Scripture very well. They wrongly interpreted it and wrong-headedly applied its precepts (Luke 6:1-11).


    B. I asked that you would "demonstrate how it is that you see the fact that Christ quotes Scripture... as somehow revealing (our justification) in holding to Sola Scriptura." So where I am asking you to demonstrate how Christ's example justifies our holding to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, you've defended an entirely separate and unquestioned practice. I am asking not that you justify the mere quoting of Scripture. I am asking that you demonstrate that your appeal to His example to justify your adherence to Sola Scriptura is anything but a non sequitur. You've responded not by speaking to what I asked about, but by introducing another entirely separate matter which, incidentally, I never questioned. So at this point instead of addressing the question of the non sequitur you've presented, we're dealing with two distinct and separate questions:

    i) The question of the validity of quoting Scripture (which you rightly justify according to Christ's example).

    ii) The adoption of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (which you've not yet addressed).


    C. The mere fact that Christ does something does not amount to a demonstration of our being justified in adopting the same practice. To claim so much would require you to (in order to avoid arguing according to another non sequitur), provide a demonstration for having validly reached such a conclusion. In other words you'd have to demonstrate the idea that if Jesus does something (in His Person), you are justified in doing that same thing. So even if you do imagine Him providing a demonstration of Sola Scriptura in some practical manner, such would not necessarily represent your justification for attempting to follow suit. For there were certain things He and the Apostles did whose rightful exercise we rightly don't claim for ourselves. He is the uncreated Cause and we are His effects. We cannot arrogate to ourselves those rights rightly held by Him (and the Apostles upon whom He conferred His divine authority). Further, even Scripture is an Effect of Him, the Cause, having proceeded from the very Mouth of God. So, ultimately, when He quotes Scripture He's ipso facto demonstrating more than just the authority of Scripture alone. In His very being He necessarily makes manifest the very power of God in the flesh. In other words, He necessarily proclaims Scripture infallibly. Whereas, we don't. It's not the mere quoting of Scripture, then, which guarantees one's doctrines. For as we all know, even the heretics quote Scripture. What guarantees one's rightful interpretation of Scripture, then, has something to do with a broader alignment with that which God has instituted for His divine Purposes. In the case of the New Covenant in His Blood, this "broader" understanding of Christianity, though it is essentially bound to Scripture, contains, according to Christ's divine institution, other components which we now recognize according to the four Marks of the Church: its unity, its holiness, its catholicity, and its apostolicity.


     
  18. herbert

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    Great. Let's take a look.



    An uncontroversial statement: Rightly understood, Scriptures are able to make one "wise for salvation" in Christ.



    A. I beg to differ. The “first point(s)” St. Paul makes are found before this verse. Just before your line, St. Paul states the following:


    But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them. For some of these slip into homes and make captives of women weighed down by sins, led by various desires, always trying to learn but never able to reach a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so they also oppose the truth—people of depraved mind, unqualified in the faith. But they will not make further progress, for their foolishness will be plain to all, as it was with those two. You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, persecutions that I endured. Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me. In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it.


    Here we see that St. Paul, within the broader context of his exhortation, says many important things:


    1) He links the validity of Timothy's doctrines with the very people from whom he received the teaching “But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it”. He applauds Timothy for remaining faithful to what he “learned and believed” specifically “because” of those from whom Timothy received the faith. In other words, according to St. Paul a fundamental point here, and a necessary and essential component of a sound faith, is the identity of the very persons (themselves members of a public communion) through whom the transmission of faith takes place. St. Paul clearly points out two things which provide the basis for the soundness of Timothy’s doctrines:

    i) The trustworthiness of those from whom Timothy learned

    ii) The fact that Timothy has known the Scriptures for his entire life


    In other words, to borrow your term, there, according to St. Paul, a certain “power” is expressed not in Scripture alone, but in the organic and interpersonal nature of the transmission of the faith. The means of delivery is not incidental, then, to the faith. St. Paul states this idea in Chapter 2, verse 2 of this same Epistle when he says: “And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.”

    2) He speaks of those who "make a pretense" of religion, but deny its power.

    3) He speaks of those who always try to learn but never reach a knowledge of truth, even referring to the “deceivers” as those who are also themselves “deceived.”


    B. Also, there is no "knowledge that can save" a person. Knowledge operates in the service of the Lord. Rightly exercised, knowledge is ordered toward the good of salvation, yes. But it is not knowledge or wisdom which, in any way, saves. As St. Paul says "And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Even 1st Timothy 2:4, a well-known verse which speaks of knowledge and salvation quite profoundly doesn’t imply that salvation itself depends upon knowledge. Rather, the passage only speaks of the fact that God would have all men be saved and, in addition, would come to the knowledge of the truth- not that the former is dependent upon the latter.



    St. Paul doesn’t speak of any “power” here per se. But he is speaking of various means and ends. Only by reading the text according to various categories of potency might one minimize one component of this complex equation for the sake of another which he perceives of as somehow more “powerful.” In this case, “salvation through faith” is the “end” that St. Paul clearly identifies. And among the various means to that end, according to the text, you’ll find the following:

    1. The trustworthy people through whom one receives the Gospel.

    2. The truth of the content of the faith itself (that which Timothy learned and believed).

    3. Faith in Christ (which is itself a gift)

    4. “All Scripture” (which, collectively, are rightly seen as “material sufficient” as concerns the content of the Gospel).

    5. The person or persons who are responsible to “train” youth in righteousness.

    6. Wisdom, as opposed to the foolishness exhibited by Jannes and Jambres.

    Just as Christ taught the Pharisees, so St. Paul teaches us, that the mere possession of, or even an attempted “sole” or “final” reliance upon, Scripture doesn’t guarantee one’s rightful interpretation of it. For it is, according to this text, “through faith in Christ” that the Scriptures themselves are described as operating properly and thus not through “Scripture alone.” Faith is a one necessary component (among the others) to which St. Paul appeals so that a man may be made “wise unto salvation.” Again, though, the “end” that he has in mind is “salvation” and all of these things are ordered toward it, through Christ.



    Now you’re speaking of the role of Scriptures in service to that ultimate end: faith in Christ. I’m on board with you here.


    But when you go on to say “...but we find out everything we need to discover about Him through the Scriptures” we encounter things that need to be explored more deeply if we’re going to accurately assess our doctrinal differences.


    With certain qualifications concerning Biblical interpretation, I affirm that idea that “we find out everything we need to discover about Him through the Scriptures” merely by affirming the material sufficiency of Scripture. In other words, I believe that, rightly interpreted, the Scriptures contain all we *need* to know about Him. So the content of Scripture isn’t really the focus of our disagreement. Our differences arise in an entirely different category: the interpreting mind of man...


    For just as St. Paul encourages Timothy to factor in the individuals through whom he received the message of truth, so does a Catholic accept the Church’s teaching on account of the Church herself, upon the trustworthiness of the Magisterium instituted by Christ to safeguard the deposit according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


    So where we part ways is, again, in the interpretation of the deposit of Scripture, and not as much our identification of it (though there are differences there, also). So it is that I see, for example, 1st Corinthians 10:1-22 and 1st Corinthians 11:20-34 as profoundly sacramental while you don’t. The question which arises, then, is not one pertaining to Scripture itself (for the validity of the Scripture remains unquestioned), but to those other factors which St. Paul earlier described as serving that ultimate end: the salvation of souls. Thus, Catholic wisdom may appear as foolishness to a non-Catholic, and vice versa. And where Catholics see the organic communal transmission of the faith, literally embodied through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, as a *necessary* and essential component of the faith (and one of the factors by which we seek to determine the validity of a doctrine) non-Catholics often see theology/ideology as essential and the community through which a truth is transmitted as quite accidental.
     
  19. herbert

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    3 of 3 to Martin


    There are many things to consider here. I’ll share just a few points and then respond to what you offered below:


    1. The first portion of this text is, according to both Catholic and non-Catholic interpretations, quite uncontroversial. We both agree that “All Scripture” is God-breathed, profitable, and useful for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness.

    2. But since we aren’t wise to “read into” the Scriptures things they don’t say, we should here consider the meaning of the phrase “All Scripture.” This phrase would seem to suggest the idea that, on one level, Psalm 23:4 is “profitable” or “useful” for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness. Further, Isaiah 54:3 is “profitable” or “useful” for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness. And Luke 22:19 is “profitable” or “useful” for teaching, reproof, correcting, and training in righteousness. In other words, just as St. Paul says, we should affirm the idea that “All Scripture,” that is, every single verse, carries within it the capacity to be put to use for these purposes. But certainly you don’t mean to suggest that, say, Judges 9:30 is alone capable of revealing to you everything you need to be “wise for salvation.” It may, however, prove profitable for some teaching point, some needed occasion of reproof or correction, or as one seeks to “train” another in righteousness.

    3. The presence of a person or a teacher is necessarily indicated in the text through the phrase “instruction in righteousness.” So right there in the text we see a violation of Sola Scriptura. We see “Scripture + a trustworthy instructor.” In other words, St. Paul assumes that there will be a person present during one’s formation to guide and direct him just as St. Philip was there for the Ethiopian Eunuch who answered his question “Do you understand what you are reading?” by saying “How can I, unless someone guides me?” So just as the Holy Spirit, through St. Luke, illustrates the necessity of a trustworthy teacher by capturing this event for us in Scripture, so can we see this entire section of Scripture, as consistent with, as I mentioned, 2nd Timothy 2:2, which reads “ And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.“ We should see the Scriptures, in their entirety, as a witness to the New Israel, the Church, within which the pages of the New Testament itself were written, safeguarded, collated, recognized as God-breathed, affirmed, preached, and handed on to succeeding generations of believers.

    4. All of this demands that we accept, by some principled and objective means- and not as a matter of mere human opinion- those texts which have been rightly ascribed Canonical status. After all, our affirmation of a text’s “God-breathed” status is only as reliable as our ability to rightly identify the text itself. And since the Bible did not come with an inspired Table of Contents, we must necessarily look outside of the Bible to rightly identify the valid contents of the Bible. This, we do, in part, according to the authority of Sacred Tradition.

    5. Moving on, and very importantly, the clause “...that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” describes a goal St. Paul has in mind for the “man of God.” This clause represents the expression of an ideal end which St. Paul has in mind for the “man of God.” If someone said, for example “I want my 15 year old son to get a summer job so that he may grow up to be responsible, completely dependable, and thoroughly equipped for the job market.” one wouldn’t be justified in looking to the summer job he held during his teen years as solely responsible for his growing up to be a responsible employee. Rather, the job could be seen as profitable and beneficial for the sake of the boy’s development. But that would have something to do with the nature of the work, the boss on the job, the fellow employees, the wages. The job wouldn’t rightly be granted sole credit for the son’s healthy development apart from wisdom, his parents’ guidance, his faith community’s impact upon him, his school environment, etc. A similar point was made by utilyan above. I believe he cited James 1:4 which reads: “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” or “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” or “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” One wouldn’t be justified in crediting “steadfastness” or “patience” alone with the final achievement of the goal identified in the text. Neither is one justified in working backwards from the description of the end goal that St. Paul has in mind for the “man of God” in an effort to, by some sort of attempt at logical induction, conclude that Scripture plays a role not described for it in the text itself.

    6. Beyond all of this, the final phrase raises another important question. For we see that Scripture is “thoroughly equipping” a man. The equipping of the man of God is presented as being ordered toward some particular end or ends, however. In this case, then, we should ask for what the man of God is being equipped? We find that the verses culminate in a very concept which categorically removes the entire pericope from the question of salvation itself (according to the adherent to the doctrine of Sola Fide). The end for which the man of God is being equipped is “...for every good work.” For even if you’re rightly interpreting these verses concerning the question of Sola Scriptura (which I don’t believe to be the case), the whole matter is there at the end revealed as one distinctly NOT related to the question of salvation (or Sola Fide). It may have something to do with sanctification. But according to your framework of interpretation, the verses are manifestly NOT speaking to matters concerning a man’s justification before God. By identifying an end goal which, according to your own ideology, renders the previous text pointless as far as salvation is concerned, this section of text is categorically impertinent to the question of one’s salvation.


    Notice what you did there. The text says 'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.' But you have rendered it to mean “The Scriptures are able to equip him...” Look again at the text, though. Nowhere does it say “The Scriptures are able to equip him...” Instead it says that the Scriptures are profitable toward a particular end that St. Paul has in mind. St. Paul describes Scripture in a manner perfectly compatible with Catholic teaching and then goes on to identify the goals or ideals that he has in mind for the man of God, which, also, are perfectly compatible with the truth of the Catholic faith. And as I said, verse 16 affirms the necessary role of a valid and trustworthy teacher by its inclusion of the term “training.” So simply put, verse 16 is about Scripture (and an instructor) and verse 17 is about the goals and ideals St. Paul has in mind for the man of God. You’ve somehow blended the ideas found in these two verses so as to credit the Scriptures alone with the actual achievement of the ideal which St. Paul identifies for the man of God. In other words, you’re, on account of St. Paul’s words related to the fact that Scripture is profitable in many ways, imagining Scripture as the *sole causal factor* in the actual consummation of those ideals which St. Paul outlines for the man of God (“...that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”).


    None of this even addresses John Henry Newman’s comments concerning this passage which I brought up earlier. For now, I think we have plenty to discuss! I look forward to hearing from you.


    Herbert
     
  20. herbert

    herbert
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    DHK,

    If you're trying to point out the fact that Scripture is inherently authoritative, I agree. I don't know how many times I've acknowledged this point. I agree with you. Where I think you're mistaken isn't on that particular point. Where I think that you're mistaken is in imagining Scriptura to be the sole, final authority for all matters of faith.

    To suggest that something is a non sequitur is not to speak directly to the question of a point's relevance to a given topic. To say something is a non sequitur is simply to say that a given set of premises do not logically lead one to a given conclusion. To suggest the presence of a non sequitur is to say that someone has made an unjustified philosophical leap from one lily pad to another. The first lily pad (The Authority of Holy Scripture) is one thing. The second lily pad (The Sole Authority of Holy Scripture) apart from its practical problems, represents an unBiblical, illogical leap... a non sequitur. The fact that Scripture is God-breathed, authoritative, quoted by Christ, quoted by the Author of Hebrews, etc. does not inexorably lead one to accept the conclusion that Sola Scriptura is a divinely-revealed Christian doctrine.

    Further, you're once again so fixated upon the Scriptures that you're looking right past Christ, their Author. This leads you to say things like "They appealed to scripture because scripture is the authority." Again, Jesus is the Authority. He uses Scripture rightly simply because He's God. Satan uses it wrongly. We, too, can wrongly interpret or misapply Scripture. Christ is the Eternal Word made flesh, however. Therefore, when He speaks, whether or not He's quoting Scripture, He does so infallibly. One writer by the name of Jimmy Akin puts it more succinctly than I could when he says "This kind of verse (which cites Christ referring to Scripture) can be validly used to prove that the Old Testament has doctrinal authority, but it cannot be used to prove sola scriptura since Jesus does not say that only the Old Testament has doctrinal authority (in which case we would have a sola Old Testament doctrine)." In other words, you're demanding from the text a conclusion which it does not imply. For that matter, the author continues "Jesus citing the Old Testament to prove a particular doctrine shows only that Jesus considered that doctrine to be provable by that passage of the Old Testament. It does not show that he considered all doctrines to be provable by the Old Testament or by Scripture in general. And so it is no surprise when we see Jesus sometimes answering his enemies by appeals to his own authority or other extra-Scriptural sources."

    Yes, all of this is perfectly compatible with the truth of the Catholic faith. I'd still ask that you look again at Hebrews 8:10-12, which reads:

    For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
    After those days, saith the Lord;
    I will put my laws into their mind,
    And on their heart also will I write them:
    And I will be to them a God,
    And they shall be to me a people:
    11 And they shall not teach every man his fellow-citizen,
    And every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:
    For all shall know me,
    From the least to the greatest of them.
    12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
    And their sins will I remember no more.

    Though there is certainly an affirmation of the idea that this covenant applies to the individual believer ("For all shall know me") as you suggest above, I think it's important to stress the idea that we mustn't overlook the commmunal element of the New Covenant which is affirmed here, also. For the writer appeals to this aspect of this new Covenant, saying "And they shall be to me a people:..."

    DHK, your continued appeals to Scripture quotations within Scripture suggest to me that you don't see the distinction I am making here. Do you see how it is possible that Scripture can be authoritative and that Sola Scriptura need not be true? For, after all, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura isn't reducible to a statement such as "Scripture is authoritative." If that were all SS demanded, then Catholics would accept Sola Scriptura, also. Where we part ways, and this is largely the point I am trying to make to "Martin," is in the "Sola" part. We don't teach "Sola Scriptura" because, simply put, the Bible doesn't.

    Herbert
     
    #20 herbert, May 14, 2016
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
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