Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Confession about the Islam Blog Below

Ok, Ok, So I confess about a little fib I told on my blog post regarding the Understanding of Islam from the Koran the other day. Turns out that the quote from Islamic apologist (Jaimete Wahabbi) was really a quote from Dr. James White, well known anti-Catholic Calvinist apologist. I just simply exchanged the words mosque for church and Koran for Bible and left the rest of the statement intact. Jaimete doesn’t exist except in my mind.

The actual quote was Dr. White’s definition of Sola Scriptura posted to my blog by a commenter trying to defend his particular interpretation of Sola Scriptura. I posted it as an object lesson to show the logic, or lack thereof, of using the Bible to authenticate itself. When you read the statement as if it was written about the Koran, I am sure most readers didn’t agree and accept that it was God’s word just because it says it. But when you read the original statement as if it was about the Bible, people don’t hesitate to say ‘Yeah the bible says it’s God’s word so it is.” The honest truth is that we all accept the Bible as God’s Word because a church 1700 years ago said it was. Whether we admit it or not it has become a permanent and not necessarily conscious part of a believer’s perspective regarding the Bible

In no way is my point to demean Scripture, for Catholics are the ones who originally told the world which Scriptures should be considered inerrant and infallible. I think one of my commenters got the mistaken impression that Catholics don’t read or respect Scripture. Let’s see what the Catechism says about Scripture. The Catechism is not the Word of God but is a reliable source of Catholic teaching and doctrine and pretty much everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask…We don’t venerate the Catechism, but use it to gain knowledge about our Catholic faith and to deepen our relationship with our Savior.

"And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life."109 Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."110

"Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."111

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.112 (St Jerome 5th Century)

See My Post regarding Reformation Traffic

See my new Post about Christmas!

13 Comments:

Blogger Prodigal Daughter said...

So Catholics are allowed to read the Bible?

November 28, 2006 10:48 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yes Prod! Just don't tell anybody, why spoil the mystique?

As a matter of fact, 25 percent or more of the Mass is Scripture, and Catholics are encouraged to "search the Scriptures daily" on their own.
Check out this blog post
http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2006/10/scripture-and-mass.html

November 28, 2006 10:58 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"The honest truth is that we all accept the Bible as God’s Word because a church 1700 years ago said it was."

I have to ask again. Why do you believe the church has ultimate/infallible authority to tell us the Bible is the Word of God? Does God have to appeal to the church to validate His Word? If the church did not exist, would God not be able to speak to man at all?

Perhaps when God proves something, He appeals to that authority that is above His own Word, the RC church?

November 29, 2006 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very clever! It is amazing how logic can just be thrown out the window (often completely unintentionally and unconsciously) when people start trying to prove sola scriptura. I think everyone needs to go out and read By What Authority!! One of the points in his book is how sola scriptura relies on circular reasoning, while the Catholic position does not, because it's not a circle, but a line...a line of authority, that, starting from the bible, goes back to the Church, back to apostolic succession, and then directly back to Christ. Some will say, "But you use the scriptures as inspired proof that the Church has authority, and then say because the Church has authority they canonized the scriptures...so that's circular!"

But as the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "In order to prevent misconception and thereby to anticipate a common popular objection which is wholly based on a misconception it should be premised that when we appeal to the Scriptures for proof of the Church's infallible authority we appeal to them merely as reliable historical sources, and abstract altogether from their inspiration. Even considered as purely human documents they furnish us, we maintain, with a trustworthy report of Christ's sayings and promises; and, taking it to be a fact that Christ said what is attributed to Him in the Gospels, we further maintain that Christ's promises to the Apostles and their successors in the teaching office include the promise of such guidance and assistance as clearly implies infallibility. Having thus used the Scriptures as mere historical sources to prove that Christ endowed the Church with infallible teaching authority it is no vicious circle, but a perfectly legitimate logical procedure, to rely on the Church's authority for proof of what writings are inspired."

So again, it is no circle, but a line of authority extending back to Christ.

November 29, 2006 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Very, very good explanation Stephanie. And also hats off to you Tiber Jumper. You have presented a fine lesson here.

November 29, 2006 4:14 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"...when we appeal to the Scriptures for proof of the Church's infallible authority we appeal to them merely as reliable historical sources..."

If it (the bible) is just a historical source, why should I believe it is authoritative to tell me that the RC church is the true church?

"Even considered as purely human documents they furnish us, we maintain, with a trustworthy report of Christ's sayings and promises"

So a mere human document proves that authority of the RC church which proves the bible is the Word of God? If this is not man-centered, I do not know what is.

The other premise that is false is that RCism thinks it is not interpreting the Bible as it starts to prove its authority. For instance, when RCism goes to Matt 16 as just a historical document, they are in fact interpreting the passage and then saying poof, we fulfill the the meaning of that passage. If that is not circular, I do not know what is.

In conclusion, your "line" starts with man, then tries to prove itself with man's authority. The Scriptures are God's Word. We must start there first.

God Bless

November 29, 2006 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard asked Tiber:
"I have to ask again. Why do you believe the church has ultimate/infallible authority to tell us the Bible is the Word of God?"

--

I interject:

This is an excellent, salient question.

We believe this because we believe that Jesus himself founded the Church and commissioned her as the pillar of truth. This presents the obvious follow-up question: Why do Catholics believe that Jesus did this?

We believe this because we believe in the authenticity of Sacred Tradition by direct apostolic succession.

We believe these teachings are handed down *linearly* and directly from Jesus through his apostles. We believe that one of the means by which the apostolic leaders handed down these teachings is by written word. We also believe (with copious documentation) that the church invoked this same unbroken line of apostolic authority when it declared what writings ought to be considered sacred and inspired, and what should not.

By *no means* should any reasonable Catholic expect that all who read or hear us explain why we believe as we do, will agree.

However, we should *reasonably* expect that once answered, the questioner would at least acknowledge the answer is given.

---now, given that at least this salient question is again answered with at least enough meat for one to agree, disagree or mull over; will you Howard, finally answer the salient questions:
What writings do you believe are Scripture, How do you know you are infallibly correct in your list, and how do you know all other lists are incorrect?


Your Brother in Christ,
--Theo

November 29, 2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Howard Fisher has left a new comment on your post "A Confession about the Islam Blog Below":

“We believe these teachings are handed down *linearly* and directly from Jesus through his apostles. We believe that one of the means by which the apostolic leaders handed down these teachings is by written word. We also believe (with copious documentation) that the church invoked this same unbroken line of apostolic authority when it declared what writings ought to be considered sacred and inspired, and what should not.”

Theo, Here is where we agree in part and disagree in part. It is where we disagree that may begin to explain your last question.

It is true that Jesus taught the Word of God and appointed His Apostles to represent Him. It is this authority of Christ in the proclamation of the Word and Gospel that establishes His church. Therefore the Word of God existed. We know the OT canon was known for it was committed to the Jews. You deny this of course. So we are as polarized as we can be.

“the church invoked this same unbroken line of apostolic authority when it declared what writings ought to be considered sacred and inspired” you also asked, “How do you know you are infallibly correct in your list?”

It is the premise of the question that causes you to not understand what I am saying. You believe there must be a succession of Apostolic authority outside of the Scriptures. Protestants believe the Scripture is the Spirit speaking today.

The church didn’t infallibly determine the list of books to be in the Canon. God by His Spirit brings the church to recognize the Canon. I refer you back to that Blog you read quite some time ago.

“how do you know all other lists are incorrect?”

How do you know all other churches are incorrect? You use arguments demonstrating what you believe as to Rome’s ultimate authority. Why is it you are allowed to do that for the RC communion and Protestants are not allowed to do the same for their Ultimate authority? Consistency requires that we both be allowed to demonstrate our ultimate authority through various means.

I do not deny the church’s role in the books I have. How could it be otherwise? You believe however that the RC church today is the church of the first century. I don’t grant you that premise. Therefore I do not believe in your presuppositions at all. I don’t believe Rome infallibly gave us anything but error.

The Jews did possess the OT canon. They knew what books belonged in the OT canon. Jesus knew this to be the case. He held men accountable to that canon. The Apostles themselves taught that this OT canon was knowable. Therefore your whole premise of HOW we must come to know the NT canon is flawed.

Hopefully this gets slightly closer to where we need to go. I keep saying that this discussion would be very involved as you can see. Is there another place to take this?

November 29, 2006 10:33 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Howard says:

I do not deny the church’s role in the books I have. How could it be otherwise?
(I assume you mean
the Roman Catholic Church here since it was the only Church in town in 397 AD when Scripture was canonized by a Church Council overseen by Pope Damasus)

But in the same paragraph you state: "I don’t believe Rome infallibly gave us anything but error."

So first you say that the Catholic Church had a role in the canon of Scripture, how could it be otherwise?, but then you state that you don't believe "Rome can give us anything but error."

By simple reasoning Howard, you have concluded that the Scripture is "error" since you don't believe the Catholic Church can infallibly give anything but error!
You can't have it both ways. You can't accept the Book in your hands called the Bible if the Church that you admit "had a role"
in it has never given us anything infallibly but error." You must therefore believe that your bible came to you in error, or you accept the authority of the Catholic Church.

Yes, Howard, there is another place you can take your discussion. Mike Gendron and other anti-Catholic web sites feature comments such as the one you made above and will be welcomed there. This type of logic fueled by hate and prejudice is not
what I really was hoping for here and I am disappointed that you weren't truly interested in a reasoned mature discourse. After weeks and weeks, of discussion, you made your point and I now fully understand where you are coming from.

God bless
Tiber Jumper

November 29, 2006 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it (the bible) is just a historical source, why should I believe it is authoritative to tell me that the RC church is the true church?

Um...because if it is an accurate historical source, it shows us that Christ did indeed give infallible authority to a Church (setting aside for the moment the issue of which church that is.) This, already, goes against most of any protestant theology, as most protestants don't believe in any kind of physical authoritative Church on Earth.

So a mere human document proves that authority of the RC church which proves the bible is the Word of God? If this is not man-centered, I do not know what is.

It is not simply a mere human document, far from it, but for the sake of avoiding logical fallacies, such as circular reasoning, at this point we approach it only as an historical document. Therefore, we see that the historical facts point to Christ instituting a Church and giving that Church authority, and that the Church would have the authority to say which scriptures are inspired or not. The point is, while protestants point to a self-attesting Bible (which is nothing but circular), Catholics point to a line of authority.

The other premise that is false is that RCism thinks it is not interpreting the Bible as it starts to prove its authority.

Hmm?? Sorry, I'm a bit confused...of course the Church interprets the scripture, that is one of her primary roles. The argument is that she has the authority to do so, which was given to her by Christ himself, while other splinter groups do not. In fact, I grew up in a church that tried to convince us they did not "interpret" anything, but only "read" the scriptures. I much prefer the honest approach that of course the scriptures are being interpreted, but they are being interpreted correctly because of the combination of oral tradition that accompanies scripture and the promise of infallibility.

For instance, when RCism goes to Matt 16 as just a historical document, they are in fact interpreting the passage and then saying poof, we fulfill the the meaning of that passage. If that is not circular, I do not know what is.

In conclusion, your "line" starts with man, then tries to prove itself with man's authority. The Scriptures are God's Word. We must start there first.


Lol, that's a bit simplistic...there's no "poof" about it, there is indeed interpretation going on, no question about it...but again, the claim is that the Church has the right to interpret. On top of that, they rely on more than just this assertion, they show why such scripture points to handing on authority to a church, using linguistic explanations and parallels from the Old Testament and history, especially Jewish tradition and history, and much more. It's unfair to act as if assertions are being made without proof...the proof is provided, and simply saying "It ain't so!" doesn't cut it, unfortunately.

And once again, I have to disagree...the line goes from Christ, to His Church, to the Scriptures. If, as you say, we must start with the scriptures, then should you not be concerned about where those scriptures came from? After all, they can only be as authoritative as their source. While they were certainly inspired by God, they didn't fall from the sky! There was a human element involved, and something is only as strong as its weakest link. If the Catholic Church is in error, then how can we trust that the canon of scriptures is not compromised?

God bless!

November 30, 2006 12:00 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"There was a human element involved, and something is only as strong as its weakest link. If the Catholic Church is in error, then how can we trust that the canon of scriptures is not compromised?"

Good point Steph. Yes, there had to be human involvement in the transmission of God's Word to us. After all, He is the Incarnation!Any other presupposition borders on Gnosticism, a secret knowledge that God can impart to an elect few.

Let's pretend for a minute that it was the "First Christian Church of Chalcedon" that had a meeting in the 4th Century to finally decide which circulating letters and gospels were to be included as inspired Scripture, this discussion we are having would not be happening now. Why?
People could easily accept that God can work through His church(small c) .

But since that first church was historically proven to be the Catholic Church, the "falling out of the sky" (UFO) approach to accepting where the Bible came from is easier to swallow.

But if people are to be consistent and intellectually honest, they need to say to themselves as they crack open their old zondervan: "This came from a Church that can't produce anything but error" but I'll a put clothes pin on my nose and read it anyway!"

At this point, I have come to respect that Martin Luther had the consistency to say "Rome is in error" and "I therefore am going to try to remove the books that I feel weren't inspired."

To say Rome is in error, but at the same time accept their choice of which books should have made the "final cut" doesn't make sense. (at least not to me)

November 30, 2006 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

TJ,
I do enjoy your blog. If Howard is still visiting, I ask him this:

How do you know the Gospel of Matthew is inspired and belongs in the Bible?

TJ and others,
Have you asked the above question - or one similar to it - in your discussions? If so, aside from the expected, "Well, because it's in the Bible," what answers do you get?

December 01, 2006 7:00 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Good point Chris. Unfortunately the answer that is going to be given starts out with the presupposition that anything that points to Rome as a possible source of authority is error. As one commenter in the heat of his "commenter fervor" made the inadvertent admission that anything that comes from Rome is error (including the books of the Bible!) Folks hate Catholicism so much that they will twist themselves into knots to reject its Sacred tradition.

Based on that presupposition (which I knew he held anyway)I felt that no constructive debate could be had. Chris, these folks start with the presupposition that Catholics are apostate, are not believers and don't really listen to the argument.
Believe me, my blogomometer and comments recently sent proved to be very informative in this regard. Also fearing for the souls of those who were directing the vitriol, I felt it best not to post their comments.

December 01, 2006 8:04 PM  

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