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.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My Experience with Sola Scriptura

Sola Scriptura was the rallying cry of the reformers. It meant that only the Bible should be the sole source of authority for defining doctrine and truths of the faith. The intent was to reject the teachings of the Catholic Church that are referred to as Sacred Tradition, and to develop doctrine "only from the Scriptures." This approached never worked and you'll see why by reading on.

Recently, I had a rather protracted e mail debate with a "Bible only" Christian who insisted that Catholics believe a "false gospel" based on his personal interpretation of the Scriptures. It became evident after a few e-mails that he considered most other Protestant sects that didn't adhere to his personal interpretation as "false gospel believers" too! After many e mails, back and forth, it degenerated into a contest of who could find the most verses to back up their point of view or the doctrine each of us believed in. " His last e-mail volley: "It is a real tragedy that you are placing your eternal destiny in the hands of fallible men when you could place it in Christ and his word and know for sure."
In that very setting I realized, that we were no different than Calvin, Zwingli and Luther sending each other polemic and inflammatory diatribe because of the failure of each party to see things "my way". Each of the reformers rejected the teachings of Catholicism and the firestorm of debate that erupted made it obvious very quickly that they "didn't know for sure. " It further helped me to understand why we need Christ's Church to be the "Pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15) You see, there I go again using the Bible to prove my point!
But seriously, it's a great joy for me to know that the church Jesus started continues to hold the deposit of faith given to the apostles. Trying to use the Bible alone as the source of all authority for doctrine leads to a road splitting off into innumerable pathways (and each one thinking they are the only right way to go!) Christ said he would build the Church upon Peter giving it the authority to loose and bind, forgive sins and yes...even interpret the Bible! But remember, this church was flourishing, growing, spreading and preaching the gospel throughout the world hundreds of years before the Bible was ever compiled and available! So clearly the Bible alone as the source of all authority was a paradigm that never existed in the early centuries of our salvation history. It's also good to remind ourselves , the Catholic Church gave us the Bible, the Bible didn't give us a church. History will support this, but then again, as my "Bible-only" friend said to me, 'The history of the early church is written in the book of Acts.' It would be defying Sola Scriptura to read any history outside the Bible to help understand our faith. Ironically, the tradition of Sola Scriptura isn't in the Bible so by my friend's own definition must be a tradition "of fallible men."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scripture Alone Disproves "Scripture Alone"

Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 - these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us.

Acts 15:1-14 – Peter resolves the Church’s first doctrinal issue regarding circumcision without referring to Scriptures.

Acts 17:28 – Paul quotes the writings of the pagan poets when he taught at the Aeropagus. Thus, Paul appeals to sources outside of Scripture to teach about God.

1 Cor. 5:9-11 - this verse shows that a prior letter written to Corinth is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. Paul is again appealing to a source outside of Scripture to teach the Corinthians. This disproves Scripture alone.

1 Cor. 11:2 - Paul commends the faithful to obey apostolic tradition, and not Scripture alone.

Phil. 4:9 - Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. There is nothing ever about obeying Scripture alone.

Col. 4:16 - this verse shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. Paul once again appeals to a source outside of the Bible to teach about the Word of God.

1 Thess. 2:13 – Paul says, “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us..” How can the Bible be teaching first century Christians that only the Bible is their infallible source of teaching if, at the same time, oral revelation was being given to them as well? Protestants can’t claim that there is one authority (Bible) while allowing two sources of authority (Bible and oral revelation).

1 Thess. 3:10 - Paul wants to see the Thessalonians face to face and supply what is lacking. His letter is not enough.

2 Thess. 2:14 - Paul says that God has called us "through our Gospel." What is the fullness of the Gospel?

2 Thess. 2:15 - the fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter. Scripture does not say "letter alone." The Catholic Church has the fullness of the Christian faith through its rich traditions of Scripture, oral tradition and teaching authority (or Magisterium).

2 Thess 3:6 - Paul instructs us to obey apostolic tradition. There is no instruction in the Scriptures about obeying the Bible alone (the word "Bible" is not even in the Bible).

1 Tim. 3:14-15 - Paul prefers to speak and not write, and is writing only in the event that he is delayed and cannot be with Timothy.

2 Tim. 2:2 - Paul says apostolic tradition is passed on to future generations, but he says nothing about all apostolic traditions being eventually committed to the Bible.

2 Tim. 3:14 - continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it. Again, this refers to tradition which is found outside of the Bible.

James 4:5 - James even appeals to Scripture outside of the Old Testament canon ("He yearns jealously over the spirit which He has made...")

2 Peter 1:20 - interpreting Scripture is not a matter of one's own private interpretation. Therefore, it must be a matter of "public" interpretation of the Church. The Divine Word needs a Divine Interpreter. Private judgment leads to divisions.

June 14, 2006 4:24 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Wow! I couldn't have said it better!

June 23, 2006 1:04 AM  

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