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.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Doctrine of the Trinity Proves the Inadequacy of Sola Scriptura

Yesterday the Universal Church celebrated the feast of the Trinity. It always falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost and reminds the faithful of the importance of this doctrine. What I always reflect on however, is how the Church could have come up with this doctrine without using the bible alone as its source of information and revelation?  A couple of quick historical facts will illustrate my point.

1) The bible as we know it today was not even fully collected and canonized in 325 AD when the Catholic Church met in Nicea to write the "white paper" on the nature of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (Also known as Christology) The books that later came to be included in the New Testament were circulating and being read at mass but a formal list of what should be considered inspired and worthy of reading in the liturgy was not yet formulated until the Council of Rome in 382 AD. So if sola scriptura is a valid paradigm, how could the doctrine of the Trinity be enunciated at that council if the bible, which sola scripturists believe is the only source of truth, was not even available?

2) If you disagree with the above point and claim (falsely I might add), "like, but the bible was around dude, like, it's just that your church hadn't like put it's official gnarly imprimatur on it yet"
then I may ask, why then did they need the council in the first place? The Council of Nicea was held because of the fact that many Christians were believing and promulgating the wrong concept of who Christ was. The bishop Arius was preaching that Christ was not truly God, but sort of  like God. This was so rampant, that the Arian heresy threatened to destabilize, politically, the entire Roman world.
SO, if the bible alone (even if it had been canonized at that point) was adequate in clearly formulating Christology, why did the Council of Nicea need to even meet?

3) Non-trinitarians always use the bible to disprove the doctrine of the trinity, thereby illustrating the failure of sola scriptura to be useful in resolving doctrinal disputes. Here's one of their sites using 100 verses to "disprove" the trinity.

The point of this exercise is not to disregard the bible (for we as Catholics revere it as the written Word of God), but to show that Christ Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to His Church as a way to lead us in all truth. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about the dogma of the Holy Trinity:

"From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church's living faith, principally by means of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis, and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify its Trinitarian faith, both to deepen its own understanding of the faith and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people's sense of the faith."


Anonymous the church left me said...

And the real beauty of this is that it occured without the dogma of an infallible pope. This was how the church was meant to address heresy, not in the way it degraded over the next centuries.

May 27, 2013 12:50 PM  
Blogger At Your Service said...

as usual, informative and right on the mark!

May 27, 2013 2:27 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

To The Church Left me" (AKA Mark Jorgensen) I do wonder why you don't post by your real name? What are you hiding from? At any rate, once again Mark you fail to stay on topic. You bring up an unrelated point in an attempt to avoid dealing with the issue at hand, which is that solo scriptura fails miserably at attempting to address crucial doctrinal issues. Yes I agree after the reformation the way your church addressed "heresy" did degrade. The way heresy was addressed was to just start a new church based on your particular interpretation of the bible. The fact that Luther and Calvin were in disagreement over so many core issues was further evidence of the failure of sola scriptura to solve anything.

May 27, 2013 3:29 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Another thought Mark Jorgensen- If you lived in the early fourth century and heard of this heresy called arianism, how would you have dealt with it using your solo scriptura paradigm? No need to answer, just food for thought....

May 27, 2013 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sola Scriptura is useless in the battles over baptism - infant or believer. Because the Bible does not speak for or against infant baptism. It is only when you read writings by the early church fathers that you see they were baptising infants in the year 140 AD or so, these men who were evangelized by the apostles or evangelized by their students. And you can see that these early Christians were sticklers in trying to keep doing things in the proper and same way. Anybody who says the early church went of the rails, does not know Jesus or his followers! Julie

May 30, 2013 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you read 1 John 5:7

June 04, 2013 12:44 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Anon; Your question itself proves my very point of the post! Thanks for illustrating it nicely. If one verse in an epistle that later came to be a portion of the New Testament could have proven the nature of Christ to the Arians, there would not have been a need for a Council of the Catholic Church. The Arians came armed with tons of scriptures as they do to this day in attempting to prove Jesus is not God. That is why Scripture Alone, is not adequate in sorting out these theological issues. The Church was given the authority by Christ to bind and loose, establishing dogma, by the authority of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, breathed upon the apostles and their successors. The triad of Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the magisterium of the Church prevents heresy. Scripture Alone has proven to be a failed paradigm for teaching and defending truth.

June 04, 2013 5:19 PM  

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